Another mass shooting, another spike in my cynicism

When October 1 rolls around again in five years, or even next year, will you remember? Will you remember October 1 is the day nine innocent people were shot and killed by a deranged man with a gun at a college in Oregon?
Or will you not even register the date’s significance, because it was just another mass shooting, just another day in America?
I shared this satire and commentary on Facebook on Thursday, mere hours after the shooting. I considered deleting it upon realizing how cynical it sounded, but decided not to.
I don’t want to be cynical about gun violence in this country. When I hear about yet another mass shooting, I don’t want to simply shrug my shoulders and move on with my day. I want to be hopeful. Hopeful that this one will be the last straw. If nothing else, I want to be hopeful for the sake of my 9-month-old daughter, who before I know it will be out experiencing the world on her own, where I can’t protect her all the time.
But I’m not hopeful. I’m cynical. I have been since Newtown. If nearly two-dozen school children can so easily be shot and killed, and we as a society do nothing to fix the problem — a problem that is uniquely ours, that doesn’t happen in other civilized nations — what could possibly give me hope it will ever change?
Blame mental illness. Blame racism. Blame religion. Blame the media. Sure, those all contribute to the problem, to some extent. But that does not negate the fact that all these incidents still have one significant detail in common: Guns. Guns that can murder throngs of people in mere minutes. Guns that are much too easy for anyone with sinister motives to access.
I’ve never understood the logic behind the opposition to stricter background checks. If you are a responsible gun owner, what do you have to worry about? Is it really such an infringement on your freedom if you have to wait a few days before obtaining a firearm? Or to pass a basic psychological evaluation beforehand? When it could prevent someone who intends to deliberately inflict harm on innocent victims from following through? Is that not worth it to you?
b b
I want to be hopeful that at some point, enough of us will admit that while individual rights, including the right to bear arms, are sacred, they are not so sacred that it’s worth sacrificing the common good, over and over and over again. I thought Newtown was that point. But here we are, almost three years and dozens of mass shootings later, and nothing’s changed. Nothing’s fucking changed.
I want to be hopeful, but I’m not. America is sick with its gun obsession, its glorification of these weapons. Even if we found a cure for this sickness, it would probably be too late. Honestly, I’m not sure why I’m even writing this. Mostly to vent my frustrations, I suppose. I know it won’t change anyone’s mind. People never change their minds. I certainly don’t plan to, not on this.
So, I am cynical. But maybe — just maybe — beneath this deep cynicism, there’s still a sliver of hope that this time, America will prove me wrong.

My Alpha Phi

APhi photo

I’ve been debating whether to share my thoughts on the “controversy” over the recruitment video posted by the Alabama Alpha Phi chapter. Frankly, I’ve moved past the need to defend my choice to be part of a Greek organization, but I suppose I’ll do it one last time.

Joining Alpha Phi at the University of Montana almost 12 years ago marked the first time I felt I could truly be myself without feeling judged. When I was with my sisters, I finally felt comfortable in my own skin, squirrely awkwardness and all. Every women — every human — deserves to feel like this.

This self-esteem gradually radiated into other areas of my life, and I owe much of the confidence and self-acceptance I possess today to Alpha Phi.

I could go on ad nauseam about the other benefits of being in a sorority, but surely you’ve heard them all before. Philanthropy, scholarship, leadership, etc. I have no doubt I am a more well-rounded person because I decided to go Greek.

But when it comes down to it, being an Alpha Phi in college made me happy. Being involved as an alumna and helping mentor our young collegians embarking on their own Alpha Phi experience makes me happy. Spending an evening laughing with my Alpha Phi sisters, who are still my best friends today and will be 30 years from now, makes me happy.

If that makes me “vapid” and “unempowering” (which is not actually a word, Ms. Smarty Pants Columnist who jettisoned this non-issue into the limelight) and “worse for women than Donald Trump,” so be it. (Side note: It doesn’t.)

I’m not defending the video by any means. The criticism of it, while overblown, is valid. I suspect most of the Alpha Phis who appear in it appreciate other “more respectable” qualities above good looks and having fun, and the video sells them short in that respect. But some probably don’t, and that’s OK. I hope their Alpha Phi still makes them feel valued for who they truly are, just as mine did for me.


Need a cure for insomnia? You should Have a Baby™!

Do you have trouble falling asleep night after night?

Does your mind start to race as soon as your head hits the pillow, no matter how tired you are?

Are the Ambien-induced hallucinations finally starting to freak you out?

Well, we here at Squirrel Thoughts Industries have finally discovered the secret to falling asleep quickly and easily: Have a Baby™!

Our patented Have a Baby™ technology will leave you so physically and mentally exhausted, your brain will have no choice but to shut down and drift off into sweet, sweet slumber mere minutes after you collapse into bed.

Under no circumstances will you wake up feeling well-rested and refreshed while using Have a Baby™ — you’ll get far less sleep than before, actually. But hey, at least you won’t lie awake all night worrying about it!


Have a Baby™ will allow you to fall asleep anywhere, anytime! [Image source:]


Side effects of Have a Baby™ may include:

  • Miniature human dependent on you for survival infiltrating your home
  • Taking a quick nap while nursing miniature human dependent on you for survival
  • Waking up two to 3 billion times per night
  • Taking a quick nap in the shower and/or on the bathmat in front of the shower
  • Pulling a Costanza at work by napping under your desk*
  • Taking a quick nap on your way to the office coffee pot after you wake up from your nap under your desk
  • Rapidly falling into REM sleep, which may cause weird dreams that involve Billy from Family Circus chasing you through your high school
  • Taking a quick nap during the therapy you need after dreaming that Billy from Family Circus was chasing you through your high school
  • Decreased effectiveness once baby starts sleeping through the night** because OH GOD IS SHE STILL BREATHING?!!?!
  • Taking a quick nap while blogginZZZZZZZZZZZZdifjadsre;s e
  • Heart exploding due to overflow of love and affection every time miniature human dependent on you for survival smiles or coos at you
My personal miniature human dependent on me for survival

My personal miniature human dependent on me for survival

*If my boss is reading this: I haven’t actually done this. I’ve only seriously considered it.
**Not that we know what that’s like.

#tbt to the time my mom tried to make me look like Hitler

My mom sent me this photo the other day, because she thinks it proves Lily looks like me.

Me Lily

         Me                                                                                                      Lily

I think it proves she tried to make me look like Hitler when I was a baby.

Me Hitler

           Me                                                                                                         Hitler

The resemblance is uncanny, amirite? I mean, with that choice of hairstyle, I’m not sure why she didn’t just draw the Fuhrer’s mustache on me and get it over with.

She vehemently denied any wrongdoing, of course.

Convo 1

Convo 2

I think we all know which one of us is truly off her walker.

Some members of this household are not taking the projectile pooping issue seriously

I don’t intend to make this blog entirely about parenting now that No. 1 Munchkin has taken over our lives. And I certainly don’t want its focus to narrow to only her excremental tendencies. But I feel some people in this family are not acknowledging the gravity of the projectile poop situation.
My husband. It’s my husband.
Take this example from the other day. I was mid diaper change, and Lily really let one fly. It projected so far, it landed on the Stormtrooper clock in the nursery, about 4 feet away.
(What, you don’t have a token Star Wars relic in your nursery? Weird.)
Poo 1
Poo 2
For a little context, here is another view of the Stormtrooper, in relation to the changing table upon which the assailant sat:

Now that I see it in this photo, I think it’s probably more like 7 or 10 feet. A world record, no doubt.

Upon receiving such panic-stricken messages, I expected Zach to respond with an appropriate amount of sympathy. But because he was being a cranky pants that day (Note: When you become a parent, you instinctively start referring to all people by what kind of “pants” they’re currently “wearing” — silly pants, cranky pants, fluffy pants, copacetic pants, etc.), his response was something along the lines of:
“DERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Please don’t send so many texts in a row when I’m at work. I was in a big Lawyer Person Meeting and derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.”
The text probably included a few more “derrrrrrrrrrrrrrs,” but I’ll save him the embarrassment of printing it verbatim.
See, Zach has not yet experienced the projectile poop. In fact, he’s even had the audacity to utter the phrase “I think it’s a myth,” as if I currently have the time and wherewithal to sit around making up shit about shit.
So instead of the bare minimum response of some feigned sympathy that I was expecting following this traumatizing event, all I got was a bunch of derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrs. This is my life, people.
Granted, my texts may have been a bit overdramatic. Especially since I sent them after I had already cleaned the poop off Lily and her targets. I mean, come on, guys … did you think I would leave my baby and her surroundings covered in feces while I took photos of it, just so I could blog about it later? What kind of mother do you think I am?

Here’s another riddle for you, Internets!


Why does my child appear green in this photo?

a) Poor natural lighting in our house

b) Because my iPhone camera has been on the “Process” setting for the entire year I’ve had it and I just realized it today

c) She’s about to vomit on my face

d) She’s an alien

Share what you see in the comments below! And be sure to start fights with your friends and family over it!

I have to rename my child Squirmy McGruntsALot


Well, Lily is now 5 weeks old, and we already have to rename her. We have no choice. Because she squirms. And grunts. A lot.

Squirmy McGruntsALot’s favorite time to do this is when she’s sleeping. Which wouldn’t be an issue, except that it kind of keeps Mom from “sleeping when the baby sleeps,” since I’m constantly rousing from my hard-earned slumber to look over into the bassinet, making sure she’s not hungry or being poked and prodded by alien abductors.

I took a video of it, but I’m too tired to figure out how to get it on here. So here’s one someone else put on YouTube of their kid squirming and grunting in his sleep. It’s pretty much the same thing Squirmy McGruntsALot does, so just go with it.


She’s clearly not the first baby to do this, but I feel like this isn’t necessarily “normal.” At least, no one warned me about this. It only seems to happen when she’s in “light” sleep, but that accounts for approximately 15 1/2 of the 16 total hours she sleeps each day.

I mean, I’ll take squirmy gruntiness over endless crying jags any day. But still. I’m tired.

Will she outgrow this? Or will poor Squirmy McGruntsALot stop getting invited to sleepovers when she’s older because her squirming and grunting weirds out her friends? Stay tuned.



dana cass

the anti-lifestyle blog

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