Msnowe's Blog

Michelles Against Michel[l]es**

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on January 28, 2011

If we have learned anything from the wisdom of the ancients, or the mystical revelations of the oracle of time, we have learned that sometimes you have to throw up your hands and say this: Bitches Be Crazy!

Of course, there are the male equivalent of “bitches,” and they often “be crazy” too. But sadly, the plight of the crazy woman is that much more severe, and unfairly reflects that much more poorly on her very sane, lovelier partners in gender (i.e. all other women, who aren’t any more crazy-insane than the average male).

But lately, msnowe has noticed that certain crazy bitches share one ornamental and superficial, yet essential quality: the first name “Michele,” or in some sadder cases, “Michelle” with the double “l.” Obviously, msnowe has a vested interest in those with this name.

There are more, but here’s the short list:

–Michele Bachmann: This Tea Party Congresswoman cuckoo bird is from Minnesota, a usually sedate state.

She’s anti-abortion, anti-environmental reform, and thinks we’re all going to face death panels. Oh, and she thinks the “gay community” is targeting “our” children. Wait, what? YOU ARE SO NOT A MICHELE!

Michelle Malkin: This fiasco hails from Pennsylvania, and blogs and commentates for whatever right-wing thing she feels like.

She’s anti-immigration (even though her parents immigrated?), anti-women’s rights, and anti-unemployment extensions. She plays dirty and doesn’t care. She calls Obama a “racial opportunist.” Wait, what? YOU ARE SO NOT A MICHELLE!

According to Urban Dictionary, which adapts to cultural trends much more fluently than the OED, a “Michelle” might be: 1. One who is amazingly conceited and very crazy. They are also nymphos.

Given the state of things, msnowe can understand why some might feel that way. But if there are any sane, awesome people out there named Michelle, or Michele–msnowe entreats you! Let’s take back the name! Who’s with me?

Oh, thank goodness, there you are, Michelle! Phew… (Although, you and msnowe need to have a sit down about calling yourself, first and foremost, Sasha and Malia’s mum. That’s nice, but not very progressive of you.)

** A not-for-profit, outreach program. Donations are encouraged.


Coffee Conundrum

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on January 14, 2011

Howdy, folks! Today, m.snowe could have written  a riveting response to that Jesse Bering piece on Slate about how women have evolved in order to prevent themselves from getting raped.

But, it’s Friday. Fridays are days to do less work and then get drunk, not to talk about sexual assault, and/or the implications of evolutionary science.  So in order to waste some time (while hopefully still entertaining y’all) I’d much rather tell you all about my daily morning dilemma.

m.snowe gets up ridiculously early. Not garbage-collector early, but definitely early for someone in publishing. Think: school-teacher early, give or take. So naturally, a lot of coffee needs to be had. And when does critical mass approach? Right on my walk into the office, after thumping up the stairs out of the subway and onto 35th Street.

There is one Starbucks on my way into work. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Before m.snowe goes any further, let me stress–this is the ONE Starbucks that I can handle.  And believe me, I’ve tested out many. It is the only one directly in my path, and it is almost never busy. It’s not dirty, and there are almost no tourists that don’t know how to order things–just people in a hurry, that understand everyone else is in a hurry.

Okay, so there is one Starbucks (and yes, I also know that you are thinking Starbucks is an evil empire. I guess that makes me a Storm Trooper, but Jesus, who isn’t a Storm Trooper for one reason or another before 8AM?).  I get a Grande, Bold, Plain Ol’ Cup O’ Joe every blessed morning. Of course, this only happens when I’m not on one of those “strapped for cash so I can only consume $2 tacos for the rest of the week” kicks, which happen more often than not.  (Again, as I work in publishing.) So, anyway, that is my coffee order.

You would think there is nothing problem-causing about this order. You would be wrong. There are further nuances here:

1. I drink my coffee absolutely black. Blacker than Robin Williams’s back hair.

2. I am incredibly worried about over spending.

3. I have an irrational commitment to the idea of fairness and justice.

4. I like to be pleasant to food service workers, because I used to work in food service (can you say, college mess hall/work study?).

So, my dilemma: I immediately noticed that usually, the Barista leaves at least one or two ounces of liquid out, so as to leave room for folks who like milk, sugar, etc.  The first time I noticed that, and felt that I wasn’t getting my money’s worth, I asked if the Barista could fill it to the brim.

His response: “Oh, so you want ‘no room.'” Yes.  I had the easiest solution, right? In order to get a full cup of black coffee, all I need to do is order it with “no room.” No worries, right?

Wrong. In fact, every time I say, “Grande bold coffee please, no room,” one of two things happen:

The Barista says, “huh?” and looks at me funny while proceeding to fill me an un-full cup, or the barista completely ignores what I said and gives the order (minus the instruction of no room) to another person, who gets me a coffee with a few ounces missing.

And now I am trapped in an untenable situation: I need their coffee, but every visit, msnowe is either:

–The asshole who hands the coffee back and politely says “I asked for no room please,” and gets dirty looks


–The unhappy customer with 2.3 ounces less coffee than she paid for, who walks the last block to her building crestfallen, head hung low in defeat

Viable solutions are strongly encouraged. This is about as philosophical as m.snowe can get on a Friday afternoon. To have such troubles, right?

p.s. Unrelated and way, way more substantial: Obama kicked ass with his speech the other night. Just sayin’.

The Immortal Life of Good Reviews

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on January 11, 2011

m.snowe’s “tips” for how to write a book that will invariably be reviewed well by the general/intellectual audience and the media outlets they praise (i.e. NYTimes, NYRB, etc.):

1. Be pretty/handsome in your author photo. Smile into the camera and tilt your head if female. Gaze ponderously (with glasses) and look towards something in the distance if male.

2. Have a long title (so that it eats up review word count and reviewers don’t have to say as much about your book, or alternatively, they can give it a snappy abbreviated title). Example: “The Soul-Crushing Work of Staggering Boredom in Which Everything is Illuminated to Radioactive Levels, Bitch.”

3. Make your book at least partly about race or poverty, and be sympathetic to it. That, or the plight of middle America. Immediately, Oprah will make your book into a made-for-tv movie on HBO, and no reviewer will ever be able to completely hate your book, for fear of being labeled as a racist or upper-class elitist. (But do not think you will get a similar reaction if it’s about gender or neuroscience.)

4. Where appropriate, add “local color.” That can be in the form of cool story framing or the use of accents specific to Southern locales. Do not correct grammatical errors in speech. You’re not being lazy or exploiting a different race/class because, you know, it’s for local color and authenticity.

5. Write well, but not unimpeachably so. Because if you write too well, people will review your book poorly just to be contrarian or self-aggrandizing.

6. Add a spiritual revelation. Laying on of hands and shaking are optional, but encouraged.

–m.snowe just finished reading “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” by Rebecca Skloot. While m.snowe for the most part enjoyed reading it (especially the aspects of law, science, racial tension, and privacy), she really hated the sections written in the first person by Skloot. Her interaction with the family, while unavoidable to mention, is covered in a way that is deeply patronizing and self-congratulatory. And considering everybody has been shitting daisies all over this book, she thought someone should mention its flaws.

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For All You Winter Travelers

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on January 4, 2011

Apologies, I’ve been neglecting my blog in favor of far-flung voyages (as if anybody actually reads this blog anyway!).

But here’s a little snippet of an extremely-satisfying -to-compose story… m.snowe has found that perhaps better than any corporal reality, fictional punishment is quite enough when exploring very personal injustices. Hope you enjoy, and please do let m.snowe know if she should compose further hellish levels.

BUSFERNO…The stress -reducing imaginings of a withering traveler.

While sitting on the MEGAbus one cold November evening along the Hudson River, I remember falling asleep, my head stuck in the vice-like crack between my headrest and the window, and then I woke up with a jolt…I think…

To my surprise, a rather portly man silently tapped me on my shoulder to wake me. The bus, it appeared, had been emptied; all the other passengers were gone. The most peculiar glare was coming from the windows, as if light was filtering through a deep fog against the glass. The rotund gentlemen with a blue bowler cap beckoned me forward silently with his index finger, and let himself out the bus door, which opened as he approached it as if by a motion sensor, without any levers pulled or buttons pressed.

I decided to follow him. At once, as I stepped off the increasingly narrow and angled flight of stairs, I was thrust into a world that looked nothing like the boring suburban hometown that was my bus’s destination. The first thing I noticed was the ground (if you could really call it that). It was littered with all manner of garbage in such a way that you couldn’t decipher the bottom–gum wrappers, dirty clothes, used condoms, half-eaten sandwiches, sticky old already-been-chewed gum, snotty hankies, banana peels, all manner of rotting food–I only mention the most inoffensive objects to you now, to spare you the gruesome scene. It was worse than Brighton Beach the morning after a college all-night bonfire party. By no means did I want to stay in this neighborhood. It expanded out as far as the eye could see, and the sound of crunching and crumpling and grunting got louder as I carefully maneuvered through the filth.

The portly gentlemen seemed to want me to follow him, and in the distance, I could see what looked like another bus, parked and ready. Perhaps my way out of this horrid place. Halfway there, I noticed that some of the garbage was moving.

In fact, it was moaning. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the upright bags of Sunchips–those eco-friendly, extra-noisy crinkly bags–were spinning around. I leaned down to look closer at one of the slowly oscillating bags–indeed, amongst the logos and pictures of chips, was a tiny set of eyes, a larger nose, and at the bottom—a gaping human mouth. When the eyes focused on me, I realized, it was a person, buried in the trash-laden ground up to their neck, head glued tightly inside a potato chip bag, as if it were a mask. To say the least, from what I could make out, this guy looked incredibly stressed out. “Nom, nom, nom! Help me eat out of this!” he cried, mouth full, in between huge chomps of brownish black apple cores, used chewing gum, and moldy, half-eaten sushi. “Imost aate talll!!!!” was his cry of increasing urgency. But it seemed no matter how much he consumed, the pile of putrid refuse just refilled itself and tumbled into his screaming and chewing mouth. Only after his cries became piercing did I run away, and while running, remember that he looked strikingly similar to the man I sat across from on my bus–the one who was constantly eating with his mouth open and smacking for all to hear.