Top 5 Halloween Party Themes

In less than three weeks, it will be Halloween. You’re running out of time to plan an unforgettable, totally unique Halloween party that will set you apart from all the boring sugar cookie decorating and pumpkin carving celebrations.

Please. You’re better than that.

If you’re having a hard time coming up with a unique theme for your Halloween Hullabaloo, I’ve done all the thinking for you.*

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: This terrifying moral tale was meant to teach kids to avoid gluttony, greed, pride, sloth, etc. As young Charlie Bucket watches his fellow factory adventurers fall in the traps of the insane chocolatier, Willy Wonka, we learn . . . ummm . . . candy is made from children?? Add creepy Oompa Loompas and you’ve got the makings of one cocoa-crazy party.

Dental Visit: Create a Halloween nightmare with a drill, a reclining chair, shiny lights, medical face masks and the smell of nitrous oxide. Let panic ensue.

dental chair

(Looks sanitary to me. Open wide.)

Sesame Street: Imaginary woolly mammoths, 10-foot birds running amok, green monsters jumping out of trash cans, a red furry creature screaming, “Hug me!”, a vampire count with no concept of personal space, creepy puppets just waiting for someone to shove a hand up their spine—just a normal day on Sesame Street. But a super creepy party theme.

Junior High School: Tap into those repressed fears of being clumsy, inadequate, sweaty, stupid, terrified, alone, mocked, left out and smelly. Turn your kitchen into a junior high lunch room, complete with a “cool-kids-only” table and extra sloppy sloppy Joe’s. Hand each child a pop history quiz and tell them they get no treats until they answer everything correctly. No cheating, dammit!

jrhigh

(Can’t you feel the terror??)

Hospital Waiting Room: Arrange uncomfortable chairs around the edges of the room. Toss in a few Popular Mechanics magazines from 1998 and a handful of STD pamphlets. Hang a broken clock on the wall. Hand party goers novel-length medical forms to fill out because the hospital has updated its medical records system again and needs all your information in triplicate. Have someone constantly sneeze without covering their nose/mouth.

What’s been your favorite Halloween party? I’m always looking for new ideas!

*This pre-thinking service is available for only $99. If you call today, you get a second one free.

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Top 5 Reasons to Avoid Yoga

No one told me once I started practicing yoga, it would destroy my life. I wish someone had mentioned the potential side effects before I took my first class. But it’s done and I can’t reverse the process. It would be like trying to un-melt a s’more.

If you’ve considered starting a yoga practice, it’s only fair I warn you about what you might experience. I hope you’re more prepared than I was.

  1. All the feels. It’s not that I was heartless, but once I took up yoga I became one of those people who get emotional about shit that never bothered me before. Like the planet and bumble bees and dolphins and other people*. Once you feel that connection, you don’t know how to stop it! It can be super annoying.stripmining
  2. You can’t gossip. Again, I wasn’t a horrible human but I could be judgmental, unforgiving and even mean. Now I can’t imagine being hurtful toward another person*. In fact, I avoid drama altogether. So if you enjoy being a mean girl (or guy), yoga will wring that right out of you. Sorry.
  3. You can’t enjoy food.  You’ll begin to notice how soda makes your stomach hurt or how eating five dozen Oreo cookies leaves you lethargic. Pretty soon you’ll start avoiding those foods because you feel so much better when you don’t eat them. Even worse, you’ll eat foods like spinach and grapefruit and almonds and Greek yogurt. See! Yoga sucks.
  4. You don’t give a shit what people think. As a card-carrying, lifetime membership people-pleaser, it was a tough adjustment to realize other peoples’ opinion of me don’t matter. Once I decided to take away their power to humiliate, shame or degrade me, I had to accept the fact that maybe they were wrong. Which leads us to . . .
  5. You connect to yourself. One day you admit you’re not happy. You admit you treat yourself like garbage. You admit that all those years of negative self-talk have screwed you up. When you realize that, you have to do something about it. And that’s super hard. You have to learn how to accept your weaknesses without criticism, but also accept your worthiness without cynicism. Suddenly your default mode can’t be “skeptic” or “sarcastic.” It’s like re-learning how to walk.maxine

So if that list of side effects doesn’t dissuade you from purchasing a yoga mat and walking into a class, you’re on your own. You’ve been warned.

 

*Donald Trump is excluded for now. I’m not that good at yoga.

Top 5 Ways to Fix Healthcare

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Congress is too worried about pissing off big medical, pharmaceutical and insurance companies to fix healthcare. Instead of curing a dying healthcare system, Congress sits on its chest slowly suffocating the life out of any reform.

Maybe our representatives don’t see the populace walking towards them with torches and pitchforks, but we’re coming. If those cut-off-from-reality SOBs don’t pull it together soon, the middle class will implode and heads will roll.

As much as I’d love to see our congressional “leaders” dragged through the streets like a United Airlines passenger, here’s another option: Fix the damn healthcare situation. A few places to start:

  1. Bring down drug costs. Prez Trump is good at issuing ultimatums. Here’s a quote he can use. “Listen up, Pfizer and Bayer and Novartis! You either drop the price of your products or continue to live in greed and luxury!” Wait. I think he’s already used that quote.
  2. Cover holistic practices. Massage, acupuncture and energy healing isn’t just a bunch of malarkey. But after being sick for three years, try to explain to an insurance carrier that holistic practices actually made you well. They look at you like you suggested bringing back polio and dodgeball.
  3. Make medical lobbying illegal. Medical weasels should be banned from Washington, D.C.  Yes, they drive nice cars and smear money around, but they also spread dis-ease and pestilence through their regular use of bribery and ass-kissing.
  4. Cap medical costs. Costs are so out of control, you’d think hospitals were being run by a team of ego-driven chimpanzees. Three of my daughters have been hospitalized in the last year and owe a total of nearly $50,000–AFTER INSURANCE! That isn’t healthcare. That’s pad-our-wallet care.costs
  5. Employers should embrace wellness programs. Including my commute, I spend at least 10 hours a day at my job. If you don’t think sitting on your ass all day makes you unhealthy then you are in denial, my friend. Great employers offer wellness activities DURING business hours. It will make employees happy and lower company insurance costs.

Congress needs to stop protecting the healthcare industry. Everyone knows that enabling someone only makes the situation worse. I don’t think our representatives will like how the voters conduct an intervention.

 

Top 5 PowerPoint Mistakes

Working for a government agency, and just living on planet Earth, I have suffered through  PowerPoint presentations that could be listed as war crimes. Here are some tips on how to use PowerPoint in ways that don’t violate the Geneva Convention.

  1. Don’t go over time. There’s nothing worse than to hear a long-winded speaker say, “I know my time is up, but I have a few more points to address.” Stop it. For God’s sake, stop talking.
  2. Small wording. Unless you’re presenting at the Perfect Vision seminar, don’t use weird or super-small fonts. This only teaches people how to squint, get headaches and hate you.bad-powerpoint

    (The text is too small and it’s about math. That’s what you call a double negative.)

  3. Don’t over-complicate the info. Indecipherable charts, unrelated clip art and graph after graph after graph after graph. These techniques absolutely destroy someone’s will to live. Add in extra-twirly transactions and explosive slide changes, and you might as well be inserting bamboo under the listeners’ fingernails.
  4. Don’t speak low and slow. As your voice ticks like a slow metronome, heavy and hypnotic, you realize your audience is gently snoring, dreaming of a PowerPoint free world.
  5. Don’t read the slides. For the love of all that’s good! Don’t read the damn slides! Even if it’s just bullet points–don’t read verbatim. Everyone in the room can read. Even that coworker you’re convinced is half Hobbit can read.

DeathbyPP

(If annihilating your workplace was your goal: Mission accomplished.)

Go forth and make this world a better place.

Top 5 Reasons I Feel Bad For Melania Trump

When the KGB approached Melania Trump and “encouraged” her to seduce Donald Trump so they could infiltrate American high society, she jumped at the chance. But now her life has taken a dark twist. She’s the new First Lady.

melania1

(The happy First Family)

I wonder if Trump and Melania discussed his idea to run for president or if he just came home one day with red hats, patriotic ties and a family-loaded entourage. I can hear him saying something like, “Suck it up, buttercup” when she expressed her concerns. Maybe not. Probably.

Here are the Top 5 reasons I feel pity for Melania:

She only signed on to be a trophy wife. The deal was, she got an unlimited budget, a swanky New York penthouse and she only had to have sex with Trump when the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped below 10,000. Now, she has to spend time with Trump and pretend to like him for four (please, God, let it be only four) years.

Her husband treats her poorly. Trump’s actions say a TON about their marriage. I think he loves the idea of having a beautiful wife but has no idea how to treat her with respect–which seems consistent with how he treats other beautiful women.

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(The Donald doesn’t even wait for her before he clumps over to the Obamas.)

She’ll be scrutinized.  For the next four (please, God, let it only be four) years, every article of clothing she wears, every hairstyle she dons, every comment she makes, every somber expression she has, and every part of her schedule will be criticized, attacked, praised and Twittered. She’ll be a meme, a gif, a vime and a Facebook post.

Her husband’s lecherous behavior. I’m sure she’s aware that her husband treats women like chewing gum. But having a private conversation about Trump’s misogynistic behavior is much different than having the press have the conversation for you. No more privacy when her husband molests the pizza delivery girl.

She’ll be underestimated. Yes, Melania is beautiful, but she also speaks five languages. She’s traveled all over the world, she’s protective of her son, she’s naturally shy and tends to avoid the spotlight. I don’t think we should mistake her calm demeanor for ignorance. She might be the best thing to come out of this election.

 

 

Top 5 Christmas Party Games

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Everyone loves a good party game (except introverts and cats). A fun game gets guests mingling and talking to each other. (Never mind. Christmas games sound like hell.)

But if you insist on tormenting your party goers with games, at least get creative. Here are the Top 5 Christmas Party Games for you to try this year.

Christmas Charades: Acting out common holiday phrases seemed like a good idea until drunk Aunt Edna horrified all the party guests with her depiction of “Santa’s sack.”

Two Truths-One Lie–Christmas Edition: Each person describes the funniest Christmas presents they’ve received, two should be true and one is made up. This was going well until Great-Grandma said, “During Christmas 1932, I got drunk, got herpes and got pregnant with this asshole.” (Pointing at your grandpa.) “And those are all true!”

Holiday Twenty Questions: If your parents are fighting, don’t even start this game. You’ll be traumatized for life.

Mom: Okay, Frank. Here’s your first question. Did you &$%# that girl from Jimmy John’s at the office party?

Dad: I don’t think that’s the way this game is played, Ruth.

Mom: Talk to my attorney.

Christmas Carol Pictionary: Draw the name of a popular Christmas song and your team has to sing it once they figure out what it is. This seems like cruel and unusual punishment for people who can’t draw or sing. You’ll probably also get into arguments that go something like, “Who taught you how to draw a Christmas tree? Helen Keller?!”

Family Feud Christmas: Wait. That isn’t a game. That’s just Christmas.

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Happy Holidays!

Top 5 Reasons Thanksgiving Gets No Respect

Shelved between the gory chaos of Halloween and the rabid excess of Christmas, Thanksgiving gets no respect. It’s the Rodney Dangerfield of holidays.

rodney

(Google him, you young punks.)

Is it because we’re not grateful? Is it because no one really likes stuffing and cranberries? Here’s my hypothesis regarding Thanksgiving’s no-respect status.

  1. We’re too busy formulating Black Friday plans. It takes a foolproof strategy to hit 17 stores before 4:30 a.m. to get free plush footballs and a jar of pickles for 25 cents. Instead of giving thanks, we’re shredding the fat Thanksgiving newspaper to plan our Black Friday pillaging.
  2. There’s no cute mascot. Along with Santa, reindeer and Baby Jesus, you have that rat-bastard Elf on the Shelf and his minions that are marketed to death for the Christmas holiday. Time to introduce Scruffy the Squirrel who sits in the tree outside your bedroom making sure you count your blessings every night . . . or else. . .
  3. Boring backstory. Once you’re out of elementary school, you’ve heard the story of the first Thanksgiving SO MANY TIMES you can’t take it any more. Blah, blah, blah feast. Blah, blah, blah pilgrims.
  4. There are no presents. Getting to the crux of the matter, if you don’t get free stuff (toys, shoes, candy, beer, etc.) you’re not interested. (Hint: We’re supposed to be grateful for what we already have.)
  5. Maybe we just forget. After Halloween, merchants remove ANY fall merchandise, including turkeys and pilgrims, to make way for Christmas. If you’ve ever tried to purchase autumn-toned napkins on Nov. 19, you are s*** out of luck.

napkins(Just pretend it’s a turkey, will ya?)