Michele Fiore’s Bizarre Calendar Out Putins Putin

In case you’re still waiting on your copy of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s sexy propaganda calendar (propagalendar?) here’s the lowdown. He likes puppies:


Even Beethoven, there, is like, “This guy is cray.”

Is not gluten-intolerant:


“Act natural…no…I really meant…okay…whatever.”

But is shirt intolerant:


I feel like these pictures are what happens when old issues of Playboy get shipped overseas. There were also pics of him pant-less in a library.

Now, obviously, Putin is a deluded, cruel, narcissistic, dangerous leader. But putting out a glam calendar of himself is about the least wack-o thing he’s ever done. And, really, is it any different that that calendar you made for Mother’s Day when you were five? I promise you: she didn’t need to see that picture of you exposing the weird bloody gap where your tooth used to be when she’s trying to make Thanksgiving dinner.

And, honestly, Putin is by far the first politician to make the public a gift it never asked for, in calendar form or otherwise.

I will never forget my father–a visual artist–coming home from work one day to tell us he needed to produce baseball cards of our governor with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Who would not be governor of anything, except for maybe Rae Dawn Chong’s nightmares


for at least a decade. Why? Who told this governor to get down with the young people and give them a baseball card with a no-necked robot killer on the front? Let me clarify: a baseball card about with a no-necked robot killer on the front that reminded us to stay in school?


“Thanks for the card, Grandma. I’m having fun already,” deadpans Little Billy.

In fact, right here in the good ol’ USofA we have a lawmaker cranking out a calendar that gives Vlad a run for his money.

Meet Michele Fiore Nevada Assemblywoman. You may know her from her family’s viral Christmas card


Or from her charming work to build international goodwill. “He’s like, ‘The Syrian refugees.’ I’m like, ‘What, are you kidding me? I’m about to fly to Paris and shoot ’em in the head myself.’ I mean, I am not OK with Syrian refugees. I’m not OK with terrorists. I’m OK with putting them down, blacking them out. Just put a piece of brass in their ocular cavity and end their miserable life. I’m good with that.”

But what you may have missed if, like me, you try to avoid knowing this woman exists, is her absolutely awesome and subtle 2016 calendar. Not only does it remind me what day it is, it also tells me all I need to know about Representative Fiore in the flick of a few pages.

Michele Fiore…

…clearly lives on a terribly unsafe ranch.


…just called you lazy.


…is enjoying her shore leave…from the Army?


…killed Colonel Mustard in the library.MicheleFiore4

…and thinks Benjamin Franklin was in Basic Instinct.


I don’t know about you but I think Fiore is going to run Putin out of the Inexplicable Politician’s Calendar game.

Or, yanno, DIE TRYING.


The First Noel

It’s time for another installment in my “Year of Divorcing Dangerously” series about the misadventures of one married couple as they decide whether or not they should, in fact, be married. Yes, Neal said he was okay with it as long as (a) he didn’t have to write it and (b) I didn’t use too many em dashes — a promise I have no intention of keeping but we’re still married, SO THERE.

There’s little doubt: if your relationship hangs in the balance, you find a competent, caring couples counselor.

But we are very IN-teresting *sweeping hand gesture* and have IN-teresting unicorn problems *sweeping hand gesture*.


“Monsters lead such IN-teresting lives!”

And so no competent caring counselor would do. We needed someone special.

Neal and I had been down the couples counseling road before and had been thwarted by the expense, the scent of eucalyptus candles, the demands of having a new baby, or the other person winning. But this time we felt as if having someone to shame my mate  declare a victor  adjudicate  act as a neutral but constructive facilitator was necessary. And so we researched: ratings, ages, academic backgrounds, cool-sounding-names, and settled on the one person who would accept my insurance.


In network? SOLD.

Enter Dr. Feelgood.

We received some immediate cues that Dr. Feelgood wasn’t your garden-variety therapist. For one, she worked in an unmarked building made of hope-inducing vomit-yellow cinderblocks with a bizarre steeple on top. As if someone had kidnapped Captain D and made him redecorate and hang out a shingle as a couples counselor. Once you found the waiting room–why is everyone getting on the elevator sobbing and stabbing each other?–you could not signal to Dr. F that you were there. No bells. No receptionist. No dumbwaiter. She would just sense you and eventually wave you inside.


Artist’s Rendering


Our next tip that Dr. Feelgood might be…er, more informal, was that at our first visit, after explaining her co-pay and fee schedule, she accepted our crisp twenties and immediately began counting a large stack of money. Not the two bills we gave her. A towering stack of paper money she produced, seemingly, out of the cloudless sky.

Our accounts differ slightly. I firmly believe that she wore a green visor and sleeve garters.


Neal remembers her more like so:


“Hey,” we thought, “Who are we to judge? She’s probably a genius. Geniuses are quirky. And she probably doesn’t get paid in stacks of cash because her last client looked like this:”


So we looked past her quirks and let her begin her treatment. We each dubbed her a miracle-worker…on the weeks in which WE WON and the other person was exposed as a Marital Saboteur who REALLY COULD STOP GOING FOR THE CHERRY JOLLY RANCHERS ON THE THERAPIST’S COFFEE TABLE BECAUSE MAYBE THEY’RE MY FAVORITE AND ALSO IS NOW REALLY THE TIME FOR CANDY?!?!?!

But despite her hit-or-miss gifts for helping us communicate, there were more quirks. Teeny tiny red flags we could not ignore.

  • She changed into her running shoes during every session. Early in every session. Like seven minutes in and typically when I said something she didn’t like. As if she worried she might have to run from us screaming, “They can’t be helped!”
  • Sometime she didn’t say hello or “‘Sup?” or “You first.” She just stared as if she was about to kick off Thunderdome.


  • She would complete other people’s paperwork while meeting with us.
  • She routinely became distracted by a shiny object on her shelf.

Who’s a pretty therapist???

And, oh, the small matter of her inability to remember Neal’s name.


In the first session, she called him, “Neal” once. God as my witness, I heard the woman. But from that moment on, he was “Noel.” “Noel has a point.” “Noel, I think what Molly is trying to tell you is…” “Noel, help me count my money.”

I swear, you have no idea how frequently a therapist says your name in the space of an hour until she’s calling you the wrong name. And here’s a pro tip: if you don’t get in front of that mistake the very first time, you have to live with it. And then there you are, terrified that you will giggle. Certain that she will realize her mistake. Wondering how “Noel” (pronounced “nohl”) could, so quickly, stop sounding like it was ever someone’s name. Considering, momentarily, that Dr. Feelgood might actually be a therapeutic genius when she started to call him “Neal” but then said, “I’m sorry. NOEL.”


Ice in her veins, man. ICE.

I will say, though, that the extreme comical discomfort of sitting on that sunken sofa waiting for her to say “Neal” was a bonding experience that Noel and I had not had in a long time. The last time may have been squeezing the life out of each other’s hands while a strange man who once stole clothing from William Katt told us “it [was] a secret but he was totally fifth runner-up to play Robin in the George Clooney Batman movie.” Or maybe even in the delivery room, looking at each other over a new baby that we were expected to feed and not lose.

There were useful moments in our therapy with Dr. Feelgood, but none so helpful as her refusing to learn Neal’s f—ing name. And so, when after a few months we realized that we’d gotten what we came for, we called Dr. Feelgood to tell her we wouldn’t be back.

“I’m sorry to hear it,” she said to my voicemail. “I’ll look for the final co-pay in the mail. Cash, please. Good luck to you and NEAL.”

You win, Dr. Feelgood.

This time.



The Year of Divorcing Dangerously

Some say the internet has gotten entirely too confessional. They say we fetishize every personal problem for the whims and giggles of strangers.

I say: “Here is a blog series about the year my husband and I spent deciding whether or not to get divorced!”


I mean, if you don’t gaze at me gazing into my own navel, do any of us really exist?

When I first told Neal–to whom I am still married, for those keeping score at home–that I was interested in writing about this, he seemed entirely unfazed. He has grown accustomed to me being self-indulgent in the Internet Age and I have grown accustomed to him being a pain in the ass. It’s sort of our thing. Yet while he didn’t seem surprised by my proposal, he didn’t seem to understand why I was proposing it.

If I’m being honest, I first thought of blogging about our rough period because, frankly, a lot of funny sh-t happened.


Okay, maybe like “Stooges Injury Funny” but still…

As it turns out, trying to sort out your relationship actually leads you down some fairly comical roads. And for all of the painful, soul-wrenching work you do to determine whether a marriage will work, don’t you deserve a few laughs???

Once I really thought about what I would write and whether or not I would write it, though, I thought more about people. The legions of people I know who are wrestling and have wrestled with marital/relationship troubles. And having been there, I know how isolating it can feel, because, for some reason, we’re not supposed to talk about it. I mean, with anyone.

And say you do “confess” that things are rough or not working out or ending. Suddenly people crease their brows in disappointment or pity. Suddenly you’re a tragic figure or a failure. Suddenly your relationship troubles trump every other story line. It’s like that Bradbury story “Crowd” in which the same crowd gathers at every accident.


If we do ever divorce, it won’t be because of my awesome taste in Ray Bradbury fan art.

Even if no one’s leveling blame, per se, you immediately get the cosmic cue to panic. It’s been drummed into us. You must excel at People Things such as love or friendship or else you’re not much of a person yourself.


“I will never get ‘I have failed at life and must live out my days drifting on an iceberg’ to fit on this sampler.”

The fact that people don’t always ace being married to someone at first or ever strikes me as entirely logical. What is illogical is seeing someone who’s never ridden a bike before fall off that bike and then racing over to kick them and shout, “YOU STUPID BASTARD. YOU HAVE FAILED. DIE IN SHAME AND YET NEVER SPEAK OF IT FOR IT MAKES ME FEEL OOKY!”

So I wondered if writing about this might resonate with someone. Might make someone giggle thinking of their own misadventures in trying, successfully or unsuccessfully, to mend a marriage. Might help someone out there feel a little less alone.

But, yeah, mostly I thought it might be funny.

CHAPTER 1: The First Noel

The Ramones To Davy Jones: The Lost Art Of The Scooby Doo Chase Song


Admit it: early January is a total downer. Holidays and vacations make way for bosses and bootcamps. Where a glittering tree or shimmering champagne flute once stood, your home is now back to its usual glam-free ramshackle status. And booze-fueled memories of Kathy Griffin simulating oral sex with Anderson Cooper in Times Square become hazier…well, actually, that one’ll probably hang around for awhile.


Hey, Coop? Buddy? Buddy? Time to go home.

So I’ve taken it upon myself to brighten your day as you face the interminable stretch between now and the next holiday or vacay. And what’s the best way to brighten a glum day? Music, of course!

What music, you ask? The music nested so neatly in your psyche that you’ve forgotten you love it…or, even, know it. The music universal in its appeal, deft at stirring your emotions and spurring you to action. The music that unites us as humans.

The music that plays when Scooby Doo and friends are chased and get chased by [some disenfranchised dude dressed as] a gooey, godforsaken ghoul.


PSSSSSST, FRED! Worry less about where everyone else is going and more about the f—ing monster behind you.


You know the songs: inexplicable pop-y confessions of love and longing that had nil relevance to the plot or situation at-hand, but for the occasional lyric along the lines of “Girl, I’m gonna get ya.” Maybe you came of age in the era of TBS reruns of the original 1969-1973 run, Scooby Doo, Where Are You? Maybe you watched Scoobs and Shag (and the much-reviled Scrappy and Scooby-Dum) on ABC on Saturday mornings any time between 1976 and 1991.

Maybe your wee kids make you watch the bizarre What’s New Scooby Doo? on Cartoon Network, where no one but Fred gets a wardrobe update.


“You know what kids today like, Boss? STRIPES.”   “Stripes, eh?”

But regardless of whenever and however you watched, you know you love the songs. So here’s a round-up of your [subconscious] favorites. Take THAT, winter blahs!

The Theme from Scooby Doo, Where Are You?

The theme from the first (and greatest) Scooby series is best.  So catchy and inspirational. What do you do when you have to reverse engineer a rhyme with the word “shiver?” Why, you concoct a bizarre implied backstory about a dog getting a splinter (I think?), of course! “Come on Scooby-Doo, I see you — pretending you got a sliver. But you’re not fooling me, cause I can see, the way you shake and shiver.”  Never give up, kids.

Bonus Fun Fact:  that guy singing the theme song is “that guy” you remember singing most every other non-guest-star-singing, super-swinging ’70s Scoob song. You know, THAT guy. Anyhoo, his name is Austin Roberts and he had lots of real music jobs…but who the eff cares about the other jobs?

“Pretty Mary Sunlight”

This is the quintessential Scooby-Doo chase song — a 60’s pop-folk tribute to stopping to smell the roses [while hiding in drag in a wax museum so as not to be disemboweled by a drippy phantom].

Bonus Fun Fact: the song was reprised at the end of the episode by guest star Jerry Reed, country guitar legend. Because of course it was.

“Seven Days a Week”

What says, “Girl, I can’t stop thinking about you” more than abusing a whale to thwart an unfrozen, angry neanderthal? For that matter, what says, “Beat it, angry neanderthal” or “One thousand pardons, poor whale” better than a song about mad-crushing on some girl? NOTHING, THAT’S WHAT.

“I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You” 

The Ramones were not alone in contributing a Scooby Doo chaser for the What’s New, Scooby Doo? series in the early aughts. The Donnas, A Simple Plan, Tegan and Sara, and The Muffs all chipped in, too — some with originals. Hey, Scoob’s no poseur.  But this Ramones song, featured in “Lights! Camera! Mayhem!,” best embodies the Scooby canon. It’s not really about running away from a monster…or is it? *organ music*

“I Can Make You Happy” 

Even in a laugh-tracked cartoon, late Monkees heartthrob Davy Jones’ line “I’ve never sung for frogs before, just monkeys” gets nary a chortle. It’s okay, Davy. Rest in peace knowing you soothed the heck out of that savage moat monster.

“Tell Me, Tell Me”

You just have to listen between the lines, you see. “Hey, Girl, you got me running.  Na na nananana…” really means “Hey, werewolf, please don’t eat me.  No no nononono…” And a love song TOTALLY makes sense for a werewolf chase scene. After all, he’s taken a lichen to her.


“Shout It Out Loud”


Someone’s chasing something here, alright. The Elusive Relevance Monster.

“Recipe For My Love”

Big finish: Scooby, a skinny Solomon Grundy-esque villain, Shaggy strapped to a gurney, one smile, and a whole lotta lovin’. And the do-a-double-take lyric, “Things ain’t what they seemin’.” Heh.  Seemin’.


Don’t try to distract me, Fred. I totally heard them say “semen.”

BUT ANYWAY, there you have it. Are you entertained? Filled with nostalgia? Rage? Befuddlement?  Whatever you’re feeling, I bet you forgot—at least for a minute—that the holidays are over and you’re back at work.

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