America Needs N.W.A Now More Than Ever

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This is a poster for Straight Outta Compton. The poster art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, Universal Pictures, the publisher of the film or the graphic artist.

This is a poster for Straight Outta Compton. The poster art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, Universal Pictures, the publisher of the film or the graphic artist.

I’m a 40-year-old white lady from the suburbs who just saw Straight Outta Compton at a Sunday afternoon matinée. (I know, it doesn’t get less gangster than that.) But you know what? I couldn’t wait for Straight Outta Compton to come out, and I wasn’t disappointed. The performances were genuine and electrifying. The story was sometimes joyous and sometimes heartbreaking, but always compelling. But I’m not writing this to give you a review of Straight Outta Compton – there are dozens of people already telling you how amazing it is. This isn’t about why it was great, but why it’s important.

I first heard of N.W.A in 1988 when I was in eighth grade. I was sitting in Ms. Davis’s English class when my friend, Tracy (who happens to be black if it matters), passed me a note that said, “Do you know what N.W.A stands for?” I shook my head. She wrote: “Niggas With Attitudes.” I had no idea what she was talking about, but I knew that the N-word wasn’t something people around me said. We lived in the suburbs. We watched The Cosby Show. The only rap on my radar at that point came from DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.

Then the show Yo! Mtv Raps came out. I watched it after school and found a whole genre of music I had never heard on the radio. I discovered Public Enemy, Ice-T, Eric B. & Rakim, and of course, N.W.A. I wouldn’t have had any exposure to hip-hop back then if it weren’t for Mtv. By extension, I wouldn’t have known anything about inner-city life either. Crips versus Bloods. West Coast versus East Coast. For a white girl from Kalamazoo, Michigan, there was a lot to learn.

Then in 1991, four LAPD officers beat Rodney King, and it was caught on videotape. I had been hearing about police brutality in the rap music I was listening to, but I had never seen it before. That didn’t happen in my neighborhood. Remember, this was before cell phones, social media, and even the internet. If your local news didn’t think you needed to hear about something, you didn’t. I was seeing this because a citizen was in the right place at the right time and was able to catch this happening with their VHS camcorder. It was shocking.

When the unthinkable happened and those four LAPD officers were found not guilty, it rocked the country. Los Angeles exploded with frustration and burned with the deadliest riots to happen in this country in over a hundred years. I saw the coverage on television. Rappers had been telling us about police violence for years, but now we were seeing just how tumultuous the situation had become. Ignore a problem long enough and eventually someone is going to make you pay attention.

Fast forward to now. In the twenty-five years since the mainstream explosion of rap music, hip-hop seems to be moving in a different direction. Eminem, Dr. Dre’s prodigy, exploded onto the scene and white suburban kids everywhere were enamored with the white rapper who got constant radio airplay. (Although Eminem didn’t rap about gang life, his rhymes were every bit as dark and violent as N.W.A’s ever were.) After the deaths of Tupac and Biggie, gangsta rap seemed to be winding down in favor of auto-tuned club anthems. For a long time, we stopped talking about inner city life and police violence, at least in the suburbs.

Until now.

With the prevalence of smart phones ensuring that most citizens have a video camera with them at all times, it was inevitable that someone would shine a spotlight again and force us to pay attention.

On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner was put into an illegal chokehold and killed by a NYPD officer. Garner was unarmed. The incident was captured on video. The officer responsible was not charged. The following month, John Crawford III was shot and killed by a Beavercreek, Ohio police officer as Crawford shopped at a Walmart holding a toy BB gun he had picked up while there. The incident was captured on store surveillance video. The officer involved was not charged. A few days later, on August 9, 2014, 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson. There was no video evidence this time, and the circumstances were in dispute. Wilson was not charged, and Ferguson erupted in protest. By this point, anyone who was old enough to remember watching the Los Angeles riots after the acquittal of the four LAPD officers accused of beating Rodney King (on videotape) was wondering how it’s possible that in over twenty years, not a damn thing has changed.

From N.W.A’s song “Fuck Tha Police”, released in 1988:

“Fuck the police, coming straight from the underground,
A young nigga got it bad ‘cause I’m brown,
And not the other color, so police think
They have the authority to kill a minority.”

There have been many, many more victims.  On April 12, 2015, Freddy Gray was arrested in Baltimore under questionable circumstances, sustained injuries while in police custody, and died days later. This time, the death was ruled a homicide and the six officers involved were indicted. The population of Baltimore is primarily black. What about the police officers involved in the death of Freddy Gray? Three of them were white and three of them were black.

From N.W.A’s “Fuck Tha Police”:

“But don’t let it be a black and a white one,
‘Cause they’ll slam ya down to the street top,
Black police showing out for the white cop.”

So, were the members of N.W.A prescient? Of course not. The same police brutality that was happening in 1988 is still happening nearly 30 years later. I don’t know how we stop it, but I know we have to keep talking about it. We might have 24/7 news coverage and “citizen reporting” via Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels, but maybe what we really need is another N.W.A – somebody reporting from the front lines to tell us what’s really going on outside of our own neighborhood, and packaging in a way that people will listen to. We need someone to keep us informed and keep us angry.

Listen, just about anybody my age is going to love the movie Straight Outta Compton. We were listening when N.W.A came out and we remember how revolutionary it was. But I hope that young people are going to see it too. We need to acknowledge how far we haven’t come in racial equality, particularly when it comes to treatment by the police. (Maybe you think we’ve made progress. Watch that Rodney King video again and you’ll see that we haven’t.) So, everyone, go see Straight Outta Compton for the groundbreaking music and the compelling story. You’ll get a valuable history lesson at the same time.

Why Caitlyn Jenner was the perfect choice for the Arthur Ashe Courage Award

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CC image courtesy of Synergy by Design on Flickr.

I’ve been seeing some backlash on social media about Caitlyn Jenner winning the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY awards. I really don’t understand the controversy. Caitlyn Jenner is the perfect choice for this honor, and I’m going to explain why, using language from ESPN’s description of the award.

What is the Arthur Ashe Courage Award? From espn.go.com:

“The Ashe Award is one of the most prestigious in sports. Recipients reflect the spirit of Arthur Ashe, possessing strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost. The award is inspired by the life that Ashe lived, using his fame and stature to advocate for human rights, although, at the time, those positions may have been unpopular and were often controversial. From speaking out against apartheid in South Africa to revealing to the world his struggle with AIDS, Ashe never backed away from a difficult issue, even though doing so would have been easier. Winners of the Ashe Award strive to carry on Ashe’s legacy in their own lives – – inspired by those who do so each day.”

So, why Caitlyn Jenner?

First off, Bruce Jenner, the athlete, was a big fucking deal.

If you only know Bruce Jenner as the put upon patriarch of the Kardashian clan, get the hell out of here and watch a documentary about the 1976 Summer Olympics and get back to me.  Or you know what? Watch Miracle and substitute Bruce Jenner for the entire American hockey team. That will give you an idea.

When Bruce Jenner won the men’s decathlon in the 1976 Summer Olympics, he was considered the world’s greatest athlete. If I had to compare him to someone more relevant to my generation, the best I can come up with is Michael Jordan. (For you kids out there…LeBron James?) Jenner not only set the world record for the decathlon, he did so by defeating the Soviets, which was a big deal at the time. If the Ashe Award is one of the most prestigious in sports, it makes sense to choose one of the most prestigious athletes in sports. At one time, Bruce Jenner was a bald eagle in a Superman cape, high-jumping over communism. Respect the athleticism, people.

Athletic accomplishments aside, there are people who don’t think Caitlyn Jenner, as a transgender woman, is as deserving of this award as other contenders, like Noah Galloway or Lauren Hill.

Noah Galloway is a former United States soldier and double amputee who appeared on the November 2014 cover of Men’s Health. (He was also the third place finisher on season 20 of Dancing with the Stars.) I don’t think anyone would argue against fighting for your country being one of the bravest things you can do. Coming back from severe injuries to achieve a superior level of physical fitness is motivational to say the least.

Then there’s Lauren Hill. Hill was a freshman basketball player who resolved to continue playing for the Mount St. Joseph’s women’s basketball team even as she battled terminal brain cancer. She died earlier this year at the young age of 19, but not before helping raising over $1 million for pediatric cancer research and undoubtedly inspiring multitudes of sports fans.

Noah Galloway and Lauren Hill are obviously two shining examples of courage, but do you know what else takes courage? Being your true self and paving a way for others like you, knowing that most of the general public will ridicule you for it.

Here’s the part where I remind you about the bit in the description of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award that says, “The award is inspired by the life that Ashe lived, using his fame and stature to advocate for human rights, although, at the time, those positions may have been unpopular and were often controversial. From speaking out against apartheid in South Africa to revealing to the world his struggle with AIDS, Ashe never backed away from a difficult issue, even though doing so would have been easier.” Human rights. Unpopular. Controversial.

To my knowledge, nobody criticizes Noah Galloway for having sustained life-threatening injuries while defending his country. He’s considered a hero. Lauren Hill was so popular that when her school played Hiram College, the game had to be moved to the 10,250 seat Cintas Center on the campus of Xavier University. Theirs is the kind of bravery that makes everybody stand up and cheer. Caitlyn Jenner’s bravery is met with public ridicule and criticism. She’s not referred to as a hero; she’s the punchline to an off-color joke. How much braver do you have to be to fight your personal battle when you don’t have the public on your side? Could you do it?

In the last ten years, we’ve seen more and more gay, lesbian and bisexual celebrities come out of the closest. Marriage equality is now the law of the land. But what about transgender men and women? How are they fairing in this battle for acceptance and equality? Research shows that transgender men and women, specifically transgender women (and more specifically transgender women of color), are more likely to be victims of discrimination and violent crime than gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals.

Part of the continued discrimination against transgender men and women could be because there aren’t many visible transgender celebrities. I mean, how many can you name? Okay, the lady from Orange is the New Black. (That’s Laverne Cox, by the way.) Chaz Bono? Anyone else?

There are literally millions of transgendered men and women in the world. Millions. You can probably count the number you are aware of on one hand. Now think of all of the gay, lesbian, and bisexual celebrities you can. Two of them – Michael Sam and Robin Roberts – have won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, in 2014 and 2013, respectively. Doesn’t there seem to be a correlation between increased public visibility of LGBT individuals and increased acceptance?

What do you think happens to a young person who feels isolated from everyone around them, is constantly ridiculed for their differences, and has nobody to look up to? According to a 2011 report on transgender discrimination, 41% of transgender respondents reported having attempted suicide, compared to 1.6% of the general population. They are four times more likely to live in extreme poverty. They experience discrimination and harassment at school, in the workplace, and by the justice system. This is unacceptable and it must change.

Caitlyn Jenner can help. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like her. It doesn’t matter if you think she’s a publicity whore. Maybe ESPN chose her because they knew it would boost their ratings. It doesn’t matter. Her story will save lives.

A superior, record-breaking male athlete coming out as a transgender woman in a world of omnipresent social media and criticism is one of the most courageous things I can imagine.

Arthur Ashe said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” He also said, “We must reach out our hand in friendship and dignity both to those who would befriend us and those who would be our enemy.” I think Caitlyn Jenner is doing that.

 

Saturday Afternoon Movie: 16 Observations About “Poke Her” (An Adult Film)

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PokeHer“Poke Her” is a dirty movie my husband and I purchased many years ago, when people still bought porn on DVD. (Or anything on DVD?)

Bored on a Saturday afternoon, we decided to dust it off and see if it would spice things up.

It did not.

  1. “Why is the DVD making that rattling noise? None of our other movies do that. Our DVD player is literally rejecting this movie.” (Bryan places the DVD case under the front part of the DVD player and the sound goes away.)
  2. “Why can’t I go directly to the menu? There are a million commercials. Do you think any of these 900 numbers are still operational?”
  3. “Man, I just got a glimpse of who these movies are marketed toward. Now I feel sad.”
  4. “Finally. Which scene should we select? How about ‘Respect Her’? I have a feeling that’s going to be an inaccurate title.”
  5. “Wait, they both have four aces and a king? Why are they acting like that’s a real thing that happens? I have a feeling this porno isn’t going to be very realistic.”
  6. “Doesn’t that stripper with the boots remind you of the stripper in that Canadian strip club we went to that one time? Remember?” (Bryan: “I do not remember that.”)
  7. “I’m going to have to blog about this.”
  8. “Why is that guy playing strip poker nearly naked, but still wearing his cowboy hat? That’s Strip Poker 101: Lose the hat first.”
  9. “Big Dick looks like Doug Wilson from Trading Spaces. It’s kind of distracting.”
  10. “Oh, look – two women sucking one dick. Again.”
  11. “How is there no girl-on-girl in this?”
  12. “I just want to point out that the woman who just lost at strip poker, removed her G-string, and was banished to the ‘Loser’s Lounge’ is still wearing both of her stockings.”
  13. “The poker announcer just said that in a previous hand, girl #1 beat girl #2’s ‘Pocket Rockets’ with a pair of aces. ‘Pocket Rockets’ ARE aces. Was there no research put into this movie?”
  14. “Did the announcer just introduce that woman as ‘Fredericka Paprika’?” (Bryan: “I was just going to ask you the same thing.”)
  15. “It’s weird that the action doesn’t look any different when I’m fast-forwarding it.”
  16. “I am actually less horny than when we started watching this.”

5 Things You Need To Know Before Getting a Pixie Haircut

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Michelle Williams is the perfect pixie.

So, you’re thinking about getting a pixie cut?

When Jennifer Lawrence lopped off her hair into a pixie last year, it was the haircut heard ’round the world. Soon, it seemed as if every Hollywood starlet was making the big snip: Julianne Hough, Kaley Cuoco, and Anne Hathaway, just to name a few. Even Pamela Anderson, who is arguably as famous for her flowing blonde mane as she is her bright red lifeguard buoys, took it all off.

Six months ago, I finally worked up the nerve to go short, and now I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about getting a pixie haircut. I wish someone had told me these things before I ventured into the world of short hair. Instead, I had to take a Xanax an hour before my appointment and hope for the best.

1. Just Do It Already

You’re nervous about how you’re going to look with super short hair. I get it. Listen, there’s no real way to know how you’re going to look with short hair if you’ve never had it before. Sure, you can try a virtual makeover application, but all that is really going to do is tell you how you would look with a cartoon helmet made of a vaguely hair-like material. (I tried several makeover applications and they leave a lot to be desired. I pretty much looked like Chaz Bono in every style.)

You know what your head looks like. Do your ears stick out? Do you have Rumer Willis’s jawline? Then maybe you should continue to nurture that long hair blanket you wrap around your shoulders and hide your face behind. If, on the other hand, you’re comfortable wearing your hair pulled back in a ponytail or a bun and letting your face hang out for the world to see, then you’ll be fine with cropped hair. It really doesn’t matter how much preparation you do anyway, because…

2. You Probably Won’t Get It Right the First Time

You might think you know what style of pixie haircut you want, but you’ll probably need to tweak the cut after you live with it for a couple of weeks. I walked into my salon with pictures of Jennifer Lawrence’s hair from every angle imaginable. I was in love with her style and Jennifer’s look was what made me want to get my hair cut in the first place. But here’s the thing – I don’t look like Jennifer Lawrence.

It turns out that there is a reason I haven’t had bangs since elementary school. I hate them and they drive me crazy. A lot of pixie haircuts have heavy bangs, oh so artfully swept to the side. Also, longer pixies tend to be fussier and take longer to style. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I went back to my stylist a few days later and had her lighten up the bangs. The next time I went in for a trim, I decided I wanted it shorter all over. It took a few tries to dial it in.

Don’t get me wrong. Taking pictures with you is a good idea – it gives the stylist a concrete image of what you want. If you just say, “I want to look like Jennifer Lawrence!” you could end up with whatever picture your stylist has in her head. If the person cutting your hair is a big X-Men fan, there’s going to be some serious miscommunication about your finished look, and you don’t want any more trouble than you’re already going to have because…

3. Your Shorter Hair Will Take Longer to Style (At First)

I bet you’re looking forward to rolling out of bed with cute, perfect hair! Forget it. When you look in the mirror first thing in the morning, you’re going to have Chris Farley looking back at you. Your hair will be standing straight up, with flat patches here and there depending on how you slept. You can no longer just throw your hair into a ponytail and go either. You could put on a baseball cap if you’re in a hurry, but with no hair to stick out the back, be prepared to look like a twelve year old boy.

So, you have to do something with your hair, and if you’re used to having long hair, you’re probably going to suck at styling your pixie cut. It will be impossible to replicate what the stylist did with your hair in the salon, and you will be filled with regret. It’s okay – this is normal and it will pass. Getting your hair cut short brings out all kinds of weird cowlicks you didn’t know existed. Your hair might be used to laying in a different direction and now you have to train it to sweep forward instead of backward, or vice versa. Just keep practicing with it. Watch some YouTube videos if you have to. If all else fails, you can always ask your stylist to show you what to do because…

4. You’re Going To Be In the Salon Every Month Getting Trims

I used to go six months between haircuts when I was growing my hair out. When your hair is past your shoulders, three inches in length doesn’t make much of a difference. When you have a pixie haircut, four weeks’ worth of growth is the difference between looking chic and resembling a homeless person. Even if you think your hair grows slowly, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your hair grows out and becomes hard to style. You have to keep your cut maintained.

At $50 a pop, I was going broke getting my hair done every three weeks at my fancy salon. That’s how I ended up switching to a no-frills barbershop around the corner from my house. (I had already taken the big plunge and cut most of my hair off, so I was kind of fearless at this point.) Lucky for me, the owner had been cutting hair longer than my previous stylist had been alive, and he razored away at my hair with the speed and precision of Edward Scissorhands. When it was all over, I had the best pixie haircut I’ve had since deciding to make the chop and it was only $17 including tip.

Which goes to show…

5. It Gets Better

It has been six months since I cut my hair into a pixie. There were rough patches in the beginning, like when I realized that if I don’t blow dry my bangs in the right direction, I look like Joffrey from Game of Thrones. And before I discovered the barbershop down the street, monthly trims at the salon were putting me in the poorhouse. That’s all under control now.

I’ve learned a few things. I can style my hair from start to finish in five minutes flat. I know that no matter how badly I want to make it happen, I cannot rock a fauxhawk. I discovered that other women think you’re brave when you don’t have a curtain of hair to hide behind. “I wish I had the guts to do that,” is something I hear a lot. Most importantly, I learned that with a pixie cut, you have to be vigilant about not getting any hickeys. (I bruise easily, and I once had to wear a scarf to work in July.)

So, there is everything I wish I would have known before getting a pixie cut. Now you can stop pinning celebrity pictures onto your Pinterest account and just do it already. After all, life is too short not to take chances, but it’s too long to put up with a bad haircut.

Women Against Women Against Feminism

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This morning, thanks to The Today Show, I became aware of a phenomenon called “Women Against Feminism”. I am amazed that this is a real thing. After viewing the website for Women Against Feminism, I can only surmise that these (mostly young) ladies do not understand what feminism is.

My initial reaction to the images on the Women Against Feminism website was of the FLAMES ON THE SIDES OF MY FACE variety, but now that I’ve calmed down (a tad), I think I need to respond to some of these misguided individuals.

Actually, oppression is not universal; That’s what makes it “oppression”. If everyone were universally oppressed, there would be nobody left to do the oppressing. Also, prior to the ratification of the 19th amendment, no women were allowed to vote – not even ones with wealthy parents! Poor men could vote though! (By the way, that was less than 100 years ago.)

On the subject of voting, black men were given the right to vote before white women. (Although certainly, in much of the country – particularly the Jim Crow south – they were not actually allowed to exercise this right.) Would you suggest that we no longer need the Civil Rights Act or the Voting Rights Act?

Maybe you should read up on the Equal Rights Amendment, which has never been passed.

This is like saying, “I’ve reached my goal weight so I don’t have to watch what I eat or exercise any more.” Achieving equal rights is one thing; Maintaining them is another.

You are arguing against feminism while dressed as female World War II icon Rosie the Riveter. I don’t even know where to start with this.

Working mothers don’t need to be treated equally by their employers because THEY SHOULDN’T EVEN BE WORKING IN THE FIRST PLACE. Dear working moms: Why do you hate your children so much?

This woman doesn’t need feminism because she DOES WHAT SHE WANTS. But that had nothing to do with feminism. Women have always been able to do whatever they wanted, right? Also: sometimes things are too heavy and we need men. If feminism continues, WHO WILL LIFT THE SOFA? (For the record, I have these and they work great and didn’t make me love my husband any less: EZ Moves Furniture Movers.)

Not me. I’m a feminist and my husband and I just call each other “dude” and high-five a lot.

Women don’t need equal pay for equal work or laws against sexual harassment or the right to vote because her boyfriend treats her right. That should be enough for all of you. Also, we didn’t need to abolish Jim Crow because Martin Luther King Jr. had a white friend who treated him quite nicely. Oh wait – one girl’s boyfriend is not indicative of the entire socioeconomic and political system in our country? Damn, she almost convinced me for a minute.

How nice that you get to choose. Do you understand that this was not always a choice women were able to make for themselves? Where’s my Susan B. Anthony emoticon?

I didn’t realize that feminism meant “kill all the boys”. Then again, I don’t live in Poland and it is possible something was lost in the translation. KILL ALL THE BOYS. Sorry. Sometimes it just slips out.

I’ve been sitting here for ten minutes and I still can’t figure out to say about this one, so I’m just going to post a link to an article about Malala Yousafzai.

Listen folks, I realize there are extremists in every movement, including feminism. There are women who label themselves as “feminists” who suggest that men are unnecessary or that all sex is rape. But seriously? Do we abandon the pursuit of equality because of a few extremists?

Do you really think that all feminists hate men? That feminists don’t want you to be a stay-at-home mom or wear lipstick? That’s like confusing the civil rights movement with black nationalism. For Pete’s sake, there are even the Log Cabin Republicans.

My point, people, is that there are shades of grey within any social movement. (This is the point where people searching for the Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer accidentally stumble upon this post.) You don’t throw out an entire movement, particularly one aiming for equality, because you disagree with the opinions of a few.

And while we’re at it, how about we quit taking pictures of ourselves holding up signs and pretending like it’s an actual discussion? Maybe some issues shouldn’t be distilled down to a hashtag. Just maybe.

 

The 5 Stages of an R. Kelly Song

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This man is disgusting.

The other day I was driving to work with the Spotify app playing 90’s era tunes through my car stereo. I only have the free version of the app, so sometimes I have to listen to songs I don’t really like. This is what happens when “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly comes on.

Stage 1: Denial

I don’t want to listen to an R. Kelly song, damn it. I was having a pretty good run with this 1990’s playlist I’m following: Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer, that sort of stuff. Oh well, I’ll just skip it. I don’t have to listen to this.

Stage 2: Anger

R. Kelly is such a scumbag. Didn’t he pee on some underage girl or something? Nasty-ass pedophile. How is he not in prison? Fuck him.

Stage 3: Bargaining

I don’t have any skips left. Why can’t Spotify just let me skip whenever I want? What do they care? I still have to listen to their commercials either way. I’d switch to another playlist, but seeing as how I’m driving 70 mph over a bridge, I should probably keep my eyes on the road.

Stage 4: Depression

Well, I guess I’m listening to this song. At least that bastard isn’t making any money off of it, right? I remember this song from…high school? College? It was a big hit. I think that was before Kelly started getting into trouble and we couldn’t listen to his music anymore without feeling guilty.

Stage 5: Acceptance

At the top of my lungs while driving: “I BELIEVE I CAN FLYYYYYYYYYYY!!!”

 

Death By Chicken

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Chicken_suit1I just finished handling some raw chicken in preparation for dinner. I’ll be taking a Silkwood shower from the elbows down and blowtorching the kitchen if anybody needs me.

I’m sick of grocery stores advertising amazing prices on meat and then you find out you have to buy a metric tonne of it to get the deal. This is how I came to be wrangling a ten pound frozen mass of boneless, skinless chicken breasts this afternoon. The chicken breasts were thawed when my husband purchased them, but one of us (I’m blaming him) just threw the whole bag in the freezer without separating them into usable portions. When I took it out of the freezer, it was an intimidating ice ball of mangled chicken. This bag of frozen chicken has been in the refrigerator for two days, and it is just now showing signs of thawing.

I improvised last night, but we need this chicken for dinner tonight. With about five hours to go until dinner time, I decided I better take that big frozen bitch out of the refrigerator and start making shit happen.

I have to say, if toxic waste were treated with the same caution I exercise for raw chicken, EPA regulators would be sitting around with nothing to do, much like the Maytag repairman. The Toxic Avenger movie would have never been made. (Actually, that would be a tragedy.) Maybe instead we could have Salmonella Avenger – the woeful tale of a hippie housewife who didn’t believe in the powers of bleach and triclosan. I ain’t going down like that.

Preparing a regular-sized package of raw chicken isn’t that big a deal. You open the package over the garbage, wash your hands 37 times in five minutes, and hose down the kitchen with anti-bacterial cleaner when you’re through. Wrestling an icy chicken mass larger than a newborn baby is a different sort of ordeal.

I hate putting food in the kitchen sink because everybody knows your kitchen sink is dirtier than your toilet. That being said, I needed to run some water over this frozen chicken ball to break apart the boobs, and the nearest toilet was too far away. You want to know something about frozen meat? That shit is fucking cold. I alternated between prying the chicken meat pieces apart under the running water and holding my fingers under the faucet to thaw them out as well.

I finally separated three Dolly Parton-esque chicken breasts from the pack and put them in a casserole dish to finish thawing. Then I had to put the remaining frozen mass back into the bag and clothespin it closed since it didn’t have a Ziploc opening. (A ten pound bag of meat that isn’t reclosable? Seriously, Albertson’s, you are officially too ghetto for me. I’m done with you. I don’t care if your chicken breasts are 17 cents per pound.) Of course, by now the outside of that bag is covered in salmonella. I considered wiping it down with bleach, but since I couldn’t completely close the bag I was worried I would get bleach onto the chicken and poison myself in a whole different way. So I put it inside a plastic shopping bag and returned it to the fridge to continue thawing over the next six weeks.

I’m pretty sure my entire kitchen is now a bacteria-laden petri dish. I scrubbed my hands and arms up to the elbows, but I’m worried that tiny micro-particles of chicken death are irreversibly jammed up my fingernails. Also, I’m pretty sure that salmonella from the chicken bag is now molesting everything else inside of my refrigerator.

I’m a little worried about all of this, but I have a pretty surefire solution for situations like these: I’ll just wait until I’ve forgotten about how dirty everything is and then go about my normal business. (Hey, it works with my “dry clean only” clothes that I hang in the back of the closet.) Does anybody want to come over for chicken parmigiana? I’m pretty sure I’ll have enough for all of you.