The Darwin Awards

The Darwin Awards

Forget about ghost peppers, it’s all about detergent these days. The Tide Pod Challenge is the latest in a long line of weird things humans do because they’re bored, enjoy putting strange things in their mouths, and have completely lost their minds.

Tide Pods are pillowy little sacs of ultra-concentrated detergent that are designed to be thrown in the wash. They’re pre-measured, so not only do they save time, they also save money – no more over-scooping laundry powder, or laundry liquid, which can affect the efficiency, and longevity, of your washing machine. It’s less garbage, too. The plastic that encases the detergent is completely dissolvable, so this can also be good for the environment.

One little sac, or pod, contains enough concentrate to clean a light-to-heavy load of laundry; some come with a little spurt of bleach for extra stain removal, some have a bit of fabric softener, some have both. The pods are cute, very colourful, and smell amazing, like a clean mountain breeze, or flowers after a spring rain.

And teenagers are eating them on a dare. Not babies attracted to bright colours, not mentally challenged children unable to distinguish between the edible and inedible, not senior citizens with poor eyesight. Teenagers. Even better, they’re documenting themselves eating said laundry pods for posterity and uploading the evidence online, all in the name of fame and clicks which, hopefully, gives them a sense of accomplishment and validation before they’re carted away to the ER and scheduled for a nice, cleansing stomach pump.

Side effects of ingesting laundry concentrate include burning of the throat and lungs, seizures, loss of consciousness, and yes, death. Procter & Gamble came out with a public service announcement, essentially begging  teenagers not to eat Tide Pods. If you have to be told via PSA that eating detergent is bad, it’s too late for you. We don’t want humans with poor life choices and faulty mental wiring to spread their genes, do we? This is a positive thing, people. It’s just human evolution at work, Mother Nature finding new ways and means to weed out the stupid.

Of course teenagers know when they’re doing something dumb. I say let them. Some things can’t be taught, and some people wouldn’t listen anyway. Lessons that have been learned as consequences of stupidity are usually lasting ones. You can bet they’re never going to undertake stupid eating challenges again, mostly because of the giant hole in their esophagus, but let’s just focus on the positive, shall we?

A huge part of  humanity is obviously not going to go all in and start scarfing up laundry pods like there’s no tomorrow, because I don’t know, most of us actually want to keep living.  But then you have the outsized reactions, people panicking, with the PSAs and the finger pointing and calls to “ban Tide pods.”

It’s not time to ban Tide pods. It’s time to rediscover the principle of common sense. Keep laundry detergent away from babies and toddlers. Help your child understand consequences. Stop buying your children Unicorn frappucinos. Explain that not everything bright and beautiful is meant to be put in one’s mouth. Inform them that once upon  a time, eating a soap bar was considered punishment, not a one-way ticket to internet stardom.

Nature isn’t safe. Nature isn’t harmless. It is a jungle out there, and we can’t just keep protecting our children from everything. Children need to be allowed to make mistakes. Children need to learn how to recognize warning signs, to know what’s dangerous and what isn’t. All we can do is try and ensure they grow up with good heads on their shoulders. The failure to parent is not a good enough reason  to deny the rest of us the convenience of concentrated laundry soap.  Why do we have to be suffer? We’re not the ones eating the damn things.

 

The Theory of Me Too

The Theory of Me Too

“I remember being sexualized by gardeners – gardeners are the construction workers of Long Island, you know. I’d walk past a gardening truck and I remember feeling like wow, I’m way too young to be getting this kind of sexual energy from these guys. I only wanted that attention when I wanted it. I guess that’s what every woman wants. No one wants unwanted sexual attention.”

– Amy Schumer to Judd Apatow, Sick in the Head (Random House, 2015)

 

Because 2017 was the year we lifted the rock and found a maggoty nest of perverts, it’s gotten to the point where we wake up in the morning utterly unsurprised to find another famous, powerful man outed for being a creep. Nothing new, no big deal, just adding a little more grist to the #MeToo mill.

I am not discounting the stories of women who were and are victims of sexual assault, rape and harassment. These are situations many of us hope never to experience. #MeToo is about women (and men) who were abused by men in power, who can no longer stay silent or tamp down their rage at being made to feel helpless. #MeToo was born out of victims forced to do or accept things they found abhorrent because the perpetrators held all the cards.

But say I piped up and said #MeToo because a motorcab driver wolf-whistled at me as he drove past? #MeToo because I’m having fun on the dance floor and some rando comes over uninvited and starts dancing suggestively with me? Or #MeToo because a neighbour was peeping over the fence into our kitchen while I was washing dishes, happy being completely unsexy in ratty house clothes not even worth donating to the Salvation Army?

Do I cower? Do I say I’m never going to dance again, Careless Whisper? Do I say I’m scarred for life, am emotionally unable to function and that my dreams are dead? Or do I stealthily grab one of my Dad’s very legit looking air rifles, haul ass over the kitchen sink, crouch down, wait for the guy’s head to appear again, then pop up and point the barrel of it at him like a vengeful harpy bent on bloodshed?

(Incidentally, I never saw that neighbour again.)

Take the pigeons outside of my building. All day, every day, males waddle after a chosen female, flapping their wings, ruffling their feathers, trying to get the female to mate. They only stop when someone throws them stale bread. It’s a biological imperative – male birds are programmed to mate, thereby ensuring their DNA doesn’t go to pot, while female birds are programmed to ensure the DNA they get is worth the hassle of gestation and subsequent baby pigeon rearing. While humans operate on a higher level than pigeons, you can’t deny the similarities when it comes to finding a mate.

Flirtation is one thing, out and out harassment another. There’s really no grey area when it comes to sexual harassment. It’s wrong. You know what makes it worse? Harassing people if you’re not gifted in the looks department. It’s just too risky. Females do not want unwanted sexual attention. And no one wants unwanted sexual attention from a dud.

I think a bit of the subtext behind #MeToo that no one wants to admit is that harassment is offensive because it cheapens the receiver by undermining their view of themselves. If we’re going to be hit on, we should be hit on by Mr. Right, not a corpulent gasbag with a bald patch. In other words: maot man ka, (you’re ugly), how dare you.

Put it this way: if I show up to audition for Tom Hardy in his hotel room and he greets me in a bathrobe and asks me to join him in the hot tub, then… I’ll purify my black soul later. If I show up to audition for Harvey Weinstein in his hotel room and he greets me in a bathrobe and asks me to join him in the hot tub, then… maot man ka, how dare you.

Every red-blooded female has had her fair share of eager males looking for a little something something. It happens, and I’m not saying it should be ignored, but crying about it is a waste of time. Let’s not be the girl who went on a date with Aziz Ansari and blabbed to a media outlet about how crappy it went because she didn’t get to pick the wine of her choice and he kept trying to get her to have sexy times and somehow “didn’t read her nonverbal cues,” therefore #MeToo. Her career wasn’t on the line. She had nothing invested. He held no cards. He didn’t force her to get naked.

We’re in danger of shooting ourselves in the foot if we trivialize the #MeToo movement by raking over every perceived sexual slight we’ve ever experienced, however trivial. Let’s not turn the #MeToo movement into a witch hunt.

Women are not powerless. Neither are we weak. There are some things that don’t need the intervention of the local militia. We can stand up and walk away. We can say, directly and unequivocally, to the offending party, that we don’t like what we’re seeing, hearing, or experiencing, without resorting to the public spectacle that is the internet. I won’t say it’s easy being a woman. I will, however, say it’s not as hard as we’re making it out to be. 

The Pink Panther

I’ve always been one for a good throwback. I don’t know about you, but Rafael Nadal going sans sleeves and all body-ody-ody at this year’s Australian Open is making me feel things. The last time he went sleeveless was in 2008, tearing through the men’s draw in that swashbuckling pirate look. No sleeves, long shorts, and somehow he made it work.

He still does.

Nike has our dear Rafa revisiting the sleeveless look but ditching the long shorts. It’s decidedly more mature but somehow more compelling because he’s all grown up and filled out and who cares what’s going down on the tennis court with biceps like that? 

I mean come ON.

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Sheht pare, hijo de. You can barely even notice that ungodly combination of dove gray and highlighter pink.

Today I have reduced my favourite tennis player from a hugely talented athlete to a walking piece of very meaty beef. But, eh. The best things in life are free.

Dioramas

Dioramas

Dear Elly G,

Word of the day: diorama. I am seriously pissed off that I never got the chance to take a picture of the Sinulog diorama they had outside Robinson’s Department Store. I want to kick myself. That display was something that will go down in the annals of our history of ridiculousness.

It was a display of superheroes: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, etc. (it was a League of Justice thing) and it wasn’t just a painting. It was a real mock-up of superheroes doing their thing. Superman was flying and shit.

In the middle of it all stood Sr. Sto. Niño holding up that scepter and wooden ball with a cross on it, because the “greatest superhero” is still Sto. Niño. The first time I saw that mess, I nearly choked. What a classic what-in-the-mother-effing-eff moment. People here are insane.

Just thought I’d share. Wish you’d seen it. So sorry I didn’t get it for posterity – I was just too busy staying away from the crazy crowd. I wish I hadn’t.

Regretfully,
Nikka
1/31/08

The Things We Leave Behind

Funerals make me feel awkward.

I have a chronic inability to deal with death, so I deflect. There are two ways I do this. Humour helps me deal with emotional upheaval because I find it goes a long way toward making the unbearable, bearable. My first step is to try and find a little levity. Note I say a little, because a funeral is obviously not the right time to be cheerful and gay and too much levity is disrespectful. There are other ways of processing trauma and my method may not be the most mature way of going through the stages of grief, so I can’t exactly recommend you kids do this at home. If it helps you with discomfort and pain, you’re welcome to try. Just remember to be appropriate about it. No one wants a crazy guest in the corner, pointing and laughing at a hearse.

death becomes them.gif
I blame Meryl Streep for my issues.

The second way I deal is to have takeaways. I note specific details to incorporate in my own funeral, i.e. open vs. closed casket, appropriate Biblical passages, whom I would want doing the eulogy, what to feed the guests. I never had plans for a dream wedding but it would seem I have plans for a dream funeral.

I met my aunt when I was much much younger, and I knew the basics: she was a nurse, had two boys, lived in Montreal. It wasn’t until her funeral that I found out she hadn’t just been a nurse, she’d been the head nurse of a prestigious hospital and a damn good one. So good, after she retired they named a hospital award after her. She was socially active, a woman who touched many, and had been, by all accounts, a pearl of a human being. For her funeral this week, I didn’t need very much levity. I am fortunate to have extended family in these parts and we were all together for the first time in a while, which meant stories of the misadventures of my aunts, uncles and cousins were shared to everyone’s delight. It also meant we were creating new memories just by being together again, catching up after a bit of time had passed. You can always make new friends and keep the old, but there’s nothing quite like the shared history unique to people related by blood. It seemed like a great way to honour her memory in a land far away from the place where she was born.

They say we take nothing with us when we die. I think we spend so much time making it a priority to enjoy the things we can’t bring with us, we forget to focus on what we actually leave behind. And this was my takeaway: while we take nothing with us when we pass on, we leave everything behind for others to deal with. And although we are by nature more forgiving when it comes to remembering someone who’s already dead, it does matter that we leave behind as many good memories of ourselves as possible because no one wants to be remembered as a jerk. It doesn’t matter if we’re no longer around to enjoy our own eulogies. It matters that others don’t struggle to write a decent one for us.

Flashback Finesse

The year is off to a good start if this is what we have to greet it. Bruno Mars reworks Finesse – the original being a fave off of his album 24K Magic, which as a whole sounds like it was triple dipped in the goodness that was 90’s RnB – into the perfect nostalgic trip back in time. He throws in a little Cardi B in this outing, even managing to make her make a little more sense than usual (what, exactly, is Bodak Yellow? I feel so old). Giving her her props for making that sassy mid-90’s look pop. Everything about this video is perfect, from the music, to the choreography and the outfits. Doesn’t everyone look cute, happy and innocent?