Women in Games

It’s a new year and time for resolutions that I’m sure to break within the month.  Will it be yoga?  Will it be eating better?  No.  Although those are good and maybe I’ll give them a go.  One thing I would like to do however is re-dedicate myself to some writing.  In that vein, I thought I’d give a few words on a new board game I just purchased.

Thanks to some Amazon gift cards, I got to do a bit of shopping for me and settled on a couple board games.   The one I thought I’d mention today is called Monarch.  The game was created by Mary Flanagan with art by Kate Adams.  A game created and illustrated by women is pretty cool straight off.  I don’t know what the percentage of games created by women is, but I play a lot of board games and I don’t see many women’s names on them.

Even the box is fantastic!

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage.” – Ranier Maria Rilke

Monarch is better than a game made by women in a beautiful box, though.  The players also play women – princesses, in fact.  The players become the dueling heiresses of the kingdom of Minervia.

The game layout is simple.


There are twelve land cards used to make a nine tile kingdom with farms to bring in harvest and villages to bring in taxes.  There’s a deck of cards that’s used to make the market from which the players improve the lands, build their court, reap the benefits and demerits of the moons, and even a few unwelcome guests to pawn off on their sisters.

The rules are fairly simple, but the gameplay requires more strategy than it first appears.  I played with my family – myself, my husband, and my son – and we breezed through our first game.  It was so fun we played it again immediately.

The estimated game time is 45 minutes, which we found to be about accurate and happily so.  As much as I love board games, I don’t have an excess of free time on my hands, so if a game says 45 minutes it can often be a problem if it stretches out to an hour and a half.  We didn’t even have to give Monarch the first play through time discount.


I highly recommend Monarch for everyone from a board game novice to a regular player.  It’s a fun and fast fantasy game for the whole family (as long as your family is not more than 4 people)!


“The Party” is You

Since one of the most devastating election results in modern American history, there has been a lot of hand-wringing from the high and the low alike about how awful the leadership of the Democratic Party is and how much it needs to change.  Most recently – at this moment – is a piece by Robert Reich wherein he says that the Democratic Party needs to “clean house”.

I don’t necessarily disagree.  As a Democrat living in a red area, I’d love to see party leadership that is willing to take a risk to expand the board, which is to say attempt to recruit candidates in areas they’re likely to lose.  American elections have become incredibly uncompetitive.

Pennsylvania has a lot of government, or rather a lot of governments.  In the upcoming local election year (yeah, we have elections in odd years too), there will be 100 offices up for election in my county alone.  What this year will bring is anyone’s guess, but during the local elections I have observed, I’ve seen the vast majority of local offices go, without contest, to either the incumbent or a hand-picked member of the majority party.  The same thing is happening across the country.

Sorry, I’ve digressed.  Where was I?  Oh yeah…

The Democratic Party leadership should change.  Yes, Robert Reich is right.  The thing that I haven’t really heard anyone say, though, is that the DNC is nearly invisible to most local party members.  Ask a member of your county Democratic Party how often they interact with the DNC.  Unless they’re from a hugely populous Democratic majority county I bet the answer is almost never.

What I’m trying to say is this, if you want to change the Democratic Party, maybe try getting involved at  the local level.  I know, you say, that’s so pointless until a critical mass of people begins to get involved!  How am I going to make a difference?  What if other people aren’t doing it?

Let me ask you this: what are you waiting for?  Do you not have time?  Neither does anyone else.  Make some time.  Do you think you don’t understand how local politics (or any politics) works?  You’ll learn.  If Donald Trump can be President-elect of the United States, you can help your local party elect school board members and city councilors and borough supervisors, etc.

Robert Reich’s message is exactly what I expect of someone who is so vastly far-removed from local parties that he probably forgets we exist.  What makes me utterly unhinged is when I hear people who aren’t even involved or who are marginally involved spend all their politically-motivated energy on who’s leading the DNC and how awful they are and can’t we please sign a petition to get rid of whoever it is that’s leading the DNC right now (it’s Donna Brazile, and yes, I know that).

I’m not saying you can’t support Keith Ellison for DNC Chair.  Do that, if you want to, but spend about 100 times more effort on making a difference in your county party or – if you’re in an area with more Democrats – your sub-county local structure.  Can’t find your county party?  Try a neighboring county, they might be able to help you.  Above all, don’t sit on the sidelines and think a change in leadership at the DNC is going to solve your problem.

If there is one thing that has happened since Donald Trump won the electoral college vote that makes me happy, it’s the number of messages I’ve gotten from people who now know that they can’t sit by and wait until the next presidential election.  They have to do something now, and I’m happy to assist them in that.

A Paragon of Virtue: The Donald Trump Story


I’ve been MIA for awhile because I’m a busy person and often times as soon as I think of something to write about it just jumps out of my head.  I should carry a journal around with me and write things down instantly.

Sorry, that’s beside the point.

Donald Trump had another episode of tweetarrhia this morning.  I’d like to focus briefly on the tweet at the top, above the .gif of Squidward that accurately depicts the look on my face when I read the tweet.  Know why?  It was one single word.


Virtue has been but one in a toolkit of blunt instruments used to beat women about the head with for – oh, I don’t know – the length and breadth of history.  Virtue is the definition of a woman.  A woman lacking in virtue is a woman of no worth.  That’s what Donald Trump is reminding you.

Just for fun, and because I apparently have very little disregard for my blood pressure, I googled “women and virtue”.  These are but the first of the results that followed:


Men like Donald Trump use the word virtue as a standard which invariably invalidates every accomplishment that a woman has made in her life.  What Donald Trump, in that tweet and elsewhere, is currently having the gall to declare is that Alicia Machado is somehow of less value as a human being because she’s not living up to his standards of sexual morality (for women).

You know what the most aggravating thing is, though?  Alicia Machado’s “virtue” has nothing to do with anything.  Hillary Clinton is not attempting to put her forward as a “paragon of virtue”.

Hillary Clinton pointed out that Donald Trump’s well-documented obsession with women’s bodies.  She pointed out that when Alicia Machado had the unmitigated cheek to – like most regular people – gain a little weight.  He then publicly humiliated her, something he is continuing to do today.

And what is Donald Trump’s response to those people “knocking” him today?

I don’t know about answering calls, but I do know that it seems that there is no time of day or night that Donald Trump isn’t ready and willing to use his public platform to denigrate, degrade, and humiliate any woman who doesn’t meet his personal physical standards or who publicly disagrees with him.

Girl, You’ll Be A Woman…Soon

The question of whether you can call a grown woman girl and even whether it’s okay for a grown woman to refer to herself as girl, is perennial among feminists.  It’s one of many colloquial references to women that seem innocuous at first glance, but connect deeply to the way that women are viewed by ourselves and by others.

Just last summer, when I was eagerly awaiting the premier of Supergirl on CBS and one of the discussions that I had about the show, one that came up again and again, involved a scene in the trailer in which Cat Grant (played by Calista Flockhart) is questioned as to why she named the newly minted hero “Supergirl” rather than “Superwoman”.  In case you didn’t see it, check out the First Look trailer.  The moment happens around 3:06.

Cat Grant, as we can see, embraces the term girl.  In many ways I love embracing the positivity of being a girl.  So often being a girl is denigrated through insults like “throwing like a girl” or “running like a girl”.  So yes, embracing “girl” is fantastic.

But…  At some point a girl is an adult human woman.  At some point “girl” turns into a way to infantilize a woman.  Everyday Feminism has a pretty good list of reasons why using the word “girl” for a woman is indeed infantilizing.

And once you start listening, it’s kind of all over the place.  As I was thinking about this issue – just over a day or so – I ran across these two examples:

“This girl that I’m seeing.” s.6 ep.22 The Good Wife

“I married a Juniata girl.” A minister at a meeting that I attended.

In both instances the women in question are indeed women.  There’s no particular reason other than the convenient excuse of colloquialism for why these two women should be referred to as girls.  This is simply what we do.

So when Hillary Clinton’s campaign uses the term “girl” to describe her, I’m not shocked.  Indeed I expect the particular wording in the email is due in large part to the person who purportedly sent the email.


Probably you’ve heard James Carville talk.  He’s from Louisiana and he’s never made any effort to drop his accent.  In fact it’s part of his whole schtick.  Likely he’s quite familiar with Hillary, given that he was a lead strategist in her husband’s presidential campaign.  Possibly he says “our girl” often and in regular conversation.  I presume this is why the staffer who actually wrote the email titled it thus.  Honestly, there is no part of this that I don’t understand.  Still…  Couldn’t it just say “Hillary needs you right now”?

She isn’t “Our girl”.  She is a woman who is a serious contender for the position of President of the United States.  She is a grown woman.   You don’t have to support her candidacy.  It would be nice, however, if we could at least address her as an adult human being.  This is not too much to ask, certainly not of her own campaign.  The email itself doesn’t hinge on the “our girl” of it all.  It’s not necessary.

You’re trying to make us feel like we’re part of the team.  I get it.  Anyone who got and didn’t immediately delete this email gets that.  Anyone that deleted would have gotten it if they read it.  The intent is abundantly clear.  All I’m saying is that there are ways to do it that don’t call a 68 year old woman “girl”.

As a Hillary supporter, I’d like to see her campaign do better than this.  One of the improvements in her campaign this time around as opposed to 2008 – for me, and many women – has been that Hillary Clinton isn’t shying away from being a woman running for President.  I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m going to hear “woman card” as long as she’s running, but I can deal with it as long as Hillary Clinton and her campaign continue to understand that – whether we like it or not (ps. We don’t) – there are differences in how Clinton is judged because of her gender.

So, given that, let’s use our words wisely and recognize that Hillary Clinton is not a girl and that’s okay.




Kathleen Turner Zombie Time (Plus Presidential Drama)

It’s less than two weeks away from Election Day, I’m a political semi-professional, and I sound like a congested Kathleen Turner looking to audition for a reboot of the Night of the Living Dead.  Eat your heart out George Romero.  …or…you know, let me do it.  Of all the times to get sick.

Meanwhile, Wolf Blitzer has successfully bullied Lincoln Chafee out of the Democratic Primary race. It’s like SNL is prophetic.  Though in fairness you didn’t really need to be a prophet to predict this shit.

We should also bid fairwell to Jim Webb.  Of course he says he may run as an Independent because the problem isn’t his candidacy but rather the corrupt Democratic Party that weirdly insists that a guy whose primary name recognition stems from him bragging about killing people in ‘nam is probably not going to fly as a presidential candidate.

Whatever, how about Hillary Clinton answering questions before the BullshitBengazi committee for 11 hours.  How on earth are there that many questions to ask about a thing that happened three years ago that you’ve spent $4.6 million investigating?  Happily, at least, over the course of 11 hours of questioning, Hillary Clinton managed to be so cool that even conservatives felt that she embarrassed Republicans on the committee.

If only I could feel that good right now. I’m both hot and cold.  Filled with mucus…and yet my throat is dry and scratchy.

BS Attacks on Repro-Rights Watch:

the practices of providers of second and third trimester abortions, including partial birth abortion and procedures that may lead to a child born alive as a result of an attempted abortion;Look out for this term “live-birth abortion”.  Seriously.  Partial birth abortion wasn’t good enough for these assholes.  Rep. Virginia Foxx (demented long-lost sister of Phyllis Schlafly I’m pretty sure) introduced a resolution to – among other things:
“the practices of providers of second and third trimester abortions, including partial birth abortion and procedures that may lead to a child born alive as a result of an attempted abortion”
Obviously the resolution passed with flying colors because the US House of Representatives is chock full of people who hate women.
Things I’m Binge-Watching to Survive
  • Parks and Recreation – It’s on Hulu and Netflix.  Go watch it.  In fact…

  • Veep – If you like the word fuck and politics (and I’m honestly not sure which one of those things I love more) then you need to watch Veep.
  • Difficult People – Hulu’s original show exec produced by Amy Poehler, starring Julie Kasner and Billy Eichner is fantastic.  They’re as awful to people as I would like to be most days and that makes me feel good inside.  It’s only one season at this point so at 8 episodes it’s more like a mini-binge, but whet your palette.  You’ll love it.

Return to the Terrordome: GOP Primary Debates, Round 2

Well, the second GOP Presidential Primary Debates have come and gone and my strongest sentiment is one that I’m sure anyone else who watched the debates must share: I want that five hours of my life back.  Yeah you heard me, five hours.  I watched the junior varsity debate and the Big Ten…I mean eleven…debate.

Hey, speaking of the big debate having 11 candidates instead of 10, let’s touch on that for a moment.  Someone needs the genital fortitude – be it ovarian, testicular, or otherwise – to tell Chris Christie and Rand Paul that they’re no longer “top tier” candidates.  At the point that you’re earning less than 2% (on average) of the polling share you are not top tier.  Frankly, were it not for the sheer number of candidates I’d say that if you’re earning less that 5% you might as well pack up and go home, but if that were the case it would have been a debate between Trump, Carson, Bush, Cruz, and Rubio.  The fact that Carly Fiorina had to lobby to get on the top tier debate stage is ludicrous.  She is polling higher than Chris “I was appointed Assistant US Attorney by George W. Bush on September 10th” Christie (PS. He wasn’t) and Rand “Let’s Not Talk About My Father” Paul.  If we’re splitting up the field into two tiers then Chris Christie and Rand Paul at the very least should be bottom tier.  Hopefully the CNBC debate on October 28 will yield something slightly better in terms of candidate distribution.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  I did actually live tweet throughout the debates except during the time that I read to my son before he went to bed (we’re reading Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, it’s pretty awesome).  Happily I was home for this debate and got to sit on my comfy couch as I destroyed many totally usable brain cells watching this nonsense.  Speaking of nonsense, as much as I didn’t really want to, I did hear some of the pre-game patter which basically amounted to Wolf Blitzer talking over everyone ever couple minutes to give an update on where Donald Trump was.

And before I knew it we were off to the races…

It was weird, but yes, the candidates were standing in height order from George Pataki (Giant-American) to Lindsay Graham (He Who Would Blow Up Iran).

So, in brief, here is what I learned from each candidate at the JV Debate:

  • Lindsay Graham
    • He’s never met an illegal Canadian.
    • He’s pretty sure than Hispanics are also Americans.
    • He will destroy radical Islam with the power of pearl clutching.
    • Did I mention that he’ll destroy terrorists?  All of them (that are also Muslim) forever.
    • Benghazi.
  • Rick Santorum
    • He has seven kids.
    • Thinks that a 50 cent minimum wage raise over three years is super generous
    • Was in fact briefly a Senator before he began running for President professionally.
    • Thinks you need laws to protect constitutional amendments
  • George Pataki
    • So tall.
    • Thinks Ronald Reagan was super keen.
    • Was the only person on stage who didn’t find sciencing-while-brown to be a potential breach of national security.
    • 9/11
  • Bobby Jindal
    • He’s an American and his parents came here legally.
    • Is totally sure that Americans don’t discriminate based on skin color
    • Does not stand with Ahmed.
    • Cares more about the idea of America than actual America.

During the break between debates I had to – as I mentioned – read to my son.  So I just started watching the portion of the debate that I missed and was delighted that I missed this quote from Mike Huckabee…

“None of us are a self-professed socialist.”

No. Shit.

If I could say one thing to Marco Rubio it would be this: you are not funny.  Don’t ever make jokes.  Especially don’t make jokes about an ongoing resource crisis in one of the states you hope to lead as President.

I know this is nitpicky…but I don’t think that putting your finger on the nuclear codes is what launches nuclear weapons. What I think you meant, Jake Tapper, is to ask Carly Fiorina whether she’d want Donald Trump’s finger on the button, which I’ll admit is somewhat suggestive.

It’s a little shocking that it took an entire ten minutes for the top tier debate to devolve into full-on cat-fight mode.  And I think it speaks to Donald Trump’s experience in the entertainment industry, having seen how much we all enjoyed last debate’s slap fight between Rand Paul and Chris Christie, that he wasted no time in picking his own fight with Rand Paul.  In the words of another famous Paul…

I could watch this gif all day.

At this point, I’m beginning to wonder whether CNN watched the Fox debate and thought “I feel like it needs more Trump.”

Scott Walker suddenly comes out of his mayonnaise-induced coma to utter the logical sentence:

“Just because he says it doesn’t make it true, the facts are the facts.”

…and then proceeds to say whatever the hell he wants whenever he can jam a word in for the rest of the debacle…I mean debate.

These people are about to start making me bleed out of wherever.

I will say this, I love Donald Trump’s commitment to a lie.  Not only did he commit to saying that he did not in fact ask for casino gambling to be legalized in Florida, but called Jeb Bush a liar for calling him a liar.  In other words: I know you are but what am I.  Oh and by the way, Ben Carson doesn’t want big money in his campaign either.

You know what, I think Donald Trump would get along really well with Vladimir Putin.  I can absolutely see them going topless horseback-riding together.

So here (sort of) is where we started talking about actual issues:


Please allow me to to summarize the entirety of the discussion on the Iran deal thus…

— Gillian (@LibrallyGillian)

Using Your Religion to Oppress People (AKA. Religious Liberty)

Of course soon enough, the topic shifted and Kim Davis suddenly became the topic of discussion.  Unsurprisingly, Mike Huckabee had a lot to say, including that allowing a Muslim prisoner to grow a beard is the same as Kim Davis denying same sex couples marriage licenses.  Those are not the same things.  If the Muslim prisoner was trying to force other people to grow beards that would be the same thing and then courts would have ruled against both the Muslim prisoner and Kim Davis.  However, the prisoner in question just wanted to grow a beard on his own face and so that is in no way the same thing.

Planned Parenthood (The Defundination)

Clearly the GOP field would have been remiss if they didn’t spend what felt like an eternity spewing outright falsehoods about Planned Parenthood and jockeying for Planned-Parenthood-Hatingest-Conservative of the Year.  Carly Fiorina was maybe the worst offender in terms of blatant falsehoods about the infamous(ly bullshit) Planned Parenthood videos.  Meanwhile Jeb Bush fielded a question about saying that the government didn’t need to spend $500,000 on women’s health without ever once saying the word “woman”.  Not. Once.


The discussion, if I may be so charitable to call it that, about immigration was one of the most xenophobic, awful things I’ve ever heard.  ‘Assimilate’ was the word of the discussion, which of course followed candidate after candidate trying to be the most American.  Did you know that Marco Rubio’s grandfather loved America?  I hope your grandfather loved America.  Another fight broke out, this time between Donald Trump and Jeb Bush over a comment that Donald made about Jeb’s wife, Columba.  Because, you know, Jeb Bush married an immigrant which makes him too lenient on immigrants.  This leads me to wonder…wouldn’t that make Donald Trump three times more lenient on immigrants because all three of his wives have been immigrants?

Ben Carson broke in intermittently to point out that he would build an impenetrable double-fence and also he has talked to farmers so he knows that his plan isn’t amnesty.  He didn’t spell that out for you, but allow me.  Ben Carson thinks it’s okay for immigrants from Latin America to work in agriculture because that is punishment enough.  He’s cool because the back-breaking labor at wouldn’t-it-be-nice-if-these-were-poverty-level wages is the sort of grueling labor that Americans won’t do and thus we need the easily exploitable labor force that immigration provides.


Could this have gotten any more predictable at any point?  So flat tax, obviously.  I think it’s odd that Ben Carson and not former preacher, Mike Huckabee is the one that likens a flat tax to tithing but whatever.  I’m just saying, Mike, seems like a gimme.  Let’s not even talk about how pointlessly silly it is to think that a flat tax of 14.5% would cover all of our revenue needs (Rand Paul).  Also, when Donald Trump has the most reasonable sounding tax plan, we’re all in trouble.

Wait, I almost forgot where Ben Carson tries to reintroduce the youth minimum wage.  You know, because how will young people ever find jobs if employers are forced to pay them enough to live on?

And Then Carly Fiorina…

Look, I think there were legitimately times in this debate when Carly Fiorina was disrespected by both the moderators and her male counterparts.  That does not excuse apparently refusing to use the appropriate honorific when referring to Hillary Clinton.


The Longest Debate Of All Time

It probably wasn’t the longest debate of all time, and I’ve definitely skipped some parts I tweeted about, but at this point I was about to lose my mind when Jake Tapper said they’d have another commercial break and be back and I thought for sure it would be the last commercial break BUT IT WASN’T.


I just can’t.  I really can’t.

Putting a Lady on the Ten Dollar Bill

Suggesting that you would put your wife or mother on the ten dollar bill is disgraceful and disrespectful to the extremely long list of women who have made substantive contributions to the history of the United States.  Unless your wife or mother is a legitimately important historical figure, suggesting that she should be on our currency is tantamount to suggesting that the contributions of people like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Frances Perkins, Wilma Mankiller, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, or Dolores Huerta – amongst others – are equal to your mom raising you or your wife “putting up with” you.  I’m sure your wives and mothers are saints, but they are not an integral part of our national history.

Oh, and by the way, Carly Fiorina’s “pick” wasn’t “the perfect pick”.  No one thinks that putting a woman on money is going to magically give us gender equality.  Her statement was the functional equivalent of the last debate when Ben Carson said he knows we’re all really the same because he’s operated on people and everyone’s insides look alike.  What it will do is show Americans young and old that we value the historical and ongoing contributions of more than just a few rich, white, slave-owning white men.

And Finally…

I barely remember the end of this horrifying nightmare-scape.  By the time I’d gotten to 11 o’clock I’d had Republicans pumped into my ears for almost five hours and my brain hurt.  My brain is still recovering.  The general gist that I got from everyone’s closing statements is that if we elect literally any Republican they will create a magical utopia.  I’m pretty sure that isn’t the case.  In fact as I think about it, I’m certain it’s total horseshit.  I’m not sure why I do this to myself.  For Pete’s sake, even Bernie Sanders didn’t make it to the end:

Indeed, I too have had it.  At least the next debate is a Democratic one.

I’m Tweeting @HuluPlus About SeaWorld And You Should Too

So, SeaWorld is awful.  From Blackfish to Beneath the Surface, we’re hearing a lot about how crap SeaWorld is.  SeaWorld would rather that we don’t buy the hype, but I’m buying.  It has been bought.

I’m not an anti-zoo activist…or really any kind of animal rights activist.  It seems to me, however, that it’s time to stop using animals – maybe especially large animals – as entertainment spectacles.  Maybe SeaWorld means well (and I think that’s seriously debatable), but I think there’s a fair amount of meeting the bare-minimum and saying, look we’re following the law like…

“When you look at the Animal Welfare Act, the parks meet it, but the act is outdated. Killer whales aren’t even acknowledged as being dangerous.” – Former trainer Bridgette Pirtle via NatGeo

SeaWorld is in trouble and they know it.  They’ve even launched a snazzy new commercial to talk about how they really are awesome and all these people telling you otherwise have no idea what they’re talking about.  Their commercial is airing frequently on Hulu.  I’m sure that commercials are a bit different for everyone on Hulu because they are tailored to some extent.  I know that whenever I’m watching Hulu on my computer and I see (or hear…because let’s be honest during the commercials you pop over to another tab and do something else) a commercial that I’m not cool with I say “no, this is not relevant to me” because that’s an option on my computer.  On my television, it is not.

Now, I’m a paying HuluPlus customer and I have been for a few years.  It is weird to me at this point that HuluPlus doesn’t have an option to note relevance of commercials on their television app.  Still, it’s not an option.  How ever will I then express my discontent?  Well, I emailed them and expressed my discontent and explained the ways in which I have no ability to stop these commercials that I find very offensive to the point of being upsetting.  Seeing them is doing the opposite of what I think SeaWorld is interested in doing.

To the point, finally, I’ve decided to start using twitter to let HuluPlus know about my discontent, and I hope that if you watch shows on Hulu that you will too.  I know, I could just unsubscribe from Hulu and stop watching it entirely, but I like my Hulu and screw SeaWorld, that is not how this is going down.  Instead, I’ve decided to tweet my displeasure @HuluPlus every time I see this asinine SeaWorld commercial.  I, however, am just one person and that’s why I’d like to enlist you.  If you watch Hulu and have a twitter account, please tell HuluPlus every time you see one of SeaWorld’s damage-control propaganda commercials and tell them to stop accepting ad money from SeaWorld.

From here on out I’ll be hashtagging all my tweets to HuluPlus “boycottseaworld” and I hope that you’ll join me.