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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 


Like Canada, but sexier--much sexier.

Everyone’s so down on the red states for, well, being red, but no one has talked about the other great schism in our country: the men vs. the women. The majority of men voted for Bush, while more women went for Kerry. What can we conclude from this statistic?

Isn’t it obvious? The men must go.

Sorry, guys, you had your chance. You could have voted for Kerry, but Bush reminded you of that bully from junior high who sent you notes in class that read “meat me after school so I can kick yur ass”and who invited everyone but you to his pool parties; you secretly always wanted him to like you and now he does because you voted for him hooray! You are totally going to his pool parties now! You can play Marco Polo with Dick and Karl! And then George will be all, “Dick, heh heh,” and you’ll laugh, “Good one, George,” and you’ll put up your hand for a high-five and he will totally high-five you!

“But I didn’t vote for Bush,” I’m sure some of you will protest. Well, neither did I, and I’m stuck with him. If you had talked more of your men-friends into voting for Kerry, we wouldn’t be in this mess. If, just once, you had turned down the volume on your porn rental and said to your friends, “Dude, we have to make sure Bush doesn’t get reelected. He will send this country straight into the toilet, bro. Right? Dude,” you could have changed the course of history. But no! You had to find out why those lady plumbers helping Amber with her faulty massaging showerhead were so erotically dressed! And what were they doing to her with that plumbing snake? Wow!

So here’s what I suggest: we come up with some equitable division of the states—I don’t care how we split it up, as long as I don’t have to move. The men get to live in Circle-Jerkania or Enormous Penisland or whatever the hell they want to call it. Bush will be their leader, and as such will rationalize getting into all kinds of cool wars where tanks can shoot buildings and go BOOM and SCRROOOSH and he can illustrate his reasoning with his Hot Wheels collection. As for the women, we will live in our country, Gynomerica, where Kerry will lead his people (he will call us his “Angels” and we will get all red-faced and giggly) into a future of untold peace and prosperity. We will have four-day work weeks, because working is good, but let’s not get crazy about it. The women can marry each other, if they so choose. The ones who don’t lean that way can visit the men whenever they want, and then drive back in their electric cars to their clean and quiet neighborhoods. And when our male neighbors from the South (or wherever) attempt, as they undoubtedly will, to invade and occupy our great land, we’ll unleash our military, whose finely honed powers of Shaming will emotionally devastate the enemy and cause them to retreat, weeping, back to their lean-tos*. Who's with me?

(*In my imagination, men can’t even get their acts together enough to build houses.)


Happy belated Halloween.

Henry says, "Vote tomorrow, or I shall sting you."





Why I’m not really an adult.

Twice a week, Henry and I go to a pretend pre-school called “Terrific Twos!” Actually, I think it might be called “Terrific Two’s!” (Bad apostrophe. BAD.) When I signed him (and by extension, me) up for this, I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was what two women in the neighborhood told me--that it was a fun way to spend a couple of mornings. The class description in the brochure didn’t sound promising. Alongside other courses, such as cooking (“Watch your wee one learn to chop and dice—safely, of course!”) and art (“Explore different media with your toddler—and have fun, to boot!”), the “Terrific Twos!” description was decidedly frosty, with only a few lines on teaching the toddler to “negotiate transitions” and “manage group interactions” as well as “deal with separation issues.” No mention of arts and crafts, exercise, singing, or human warmth of any kind. I pictured a bare, windowless room, the children huddled in a corner, a woman wearing a severe bun and a unitard (Why a unitard, you ask? Why not?) barking orders. “Henry, hand this ragged doll to Emma. Emma, return the ragged doll to Henry. Good. Here is a nutrition pellet. Now I will leave. Then I will return. Do not cry. Or else.” But hey! Wouldn’t that be a good story for the blog! And we needed something to get us out of this vermin-infested dust trap, so I forked over the cash.

Turns out there are snacks and Play-Doh and hugs a-plenty, and the teacher wears her bun very loose and is warm and amiable, although way too young. Not too young for the kids—too young for me. Also too cute. Henry and five other kids play in a small room, while the mothers try not to hover too close even though there’s nowhere else to go; we also try to come up with something to say to each other, and usually fail. Then we all go downstairs to the gym, which is a couple of playschool slides on some gym mats in an auditorium, and Henry goes apeshit for ten minutes. Then we sit in a circle and sing idiot songs for idiots. Or, I guess, children’s songs for children, if you want to get technical about it. All I know is, we already take a music class, and that class has songs I can stand to hear, and a teacher who can sing, and really hot parents who make me feel less than hot, but at least they’re easy on the eyes. And, let me not be modest about it, I’m a singer. I can belt a tune, my friends. I got me the training. I could get operatic on their asses, if I chose to do so. So the whiny half-hearted off-key “Wheels on the Bus” each week—it hurts, is what I’m saying. But then comes “Where is Thumbkin?” and also the reason I’m not an adult. Because I seriously have never sung that song past the thumb, so when the teacher trilled, “Where is Pointer?” and started the next verse with her index finger, all I could think is “Oh my god she’s going to do the middle finger and her middle finger is going to be pointing at us OH MY GOD” and, indeed, she sang “Where is Tallman?”, with her middle finger right out there, and no one cracked a smile. Of course.

No one except me, I mean. I laughed. Out loud. And now every time we sing it, I start to laugh when my middle finger starts to make the trip from behind my back to the entire class. I can’t help it. Tallman! Ha!

Anyway, that was my point.


Ernie loves only himself, his rubber ducky too.

My group of FWAP (Friends Who Are Parents) all exert considerable amounts of energy bitching about the sorry state of today’s Sesame Street. “It used to be so great!” they moan. “Remember Kermit? And Gordon wearing bellbottoms? And how Bob was a young guy, not a gray husk of withered tissue, neither alive nor dead? And how Mr. Hooper wasn’t a pile of decomposing remains buried under Big Bird’s nest? Remember?”

But most of all, they hate Elmo. They hate all the other new Muppets too, of course. (And I agree with them about Baby Bear. Yes, we get it, you’re wee. Now shut your puppet-hole before I stab you in the wee little eye.) But Elmo apparently represents all that is bad in this world. Elmo is George Bush/Bin Laden/Jennifer Love Hewitt* in a fur suit. Down with Elmo. Boooo. Boooo.

(*I dislike Jennifer Love Hewitt.)

As an all-too-frequent viewer of Sesame Street, I have watched Elmo in action plenty of times. And I have to say, he doesn’t particularly bug me. Partly this is because my son is in love with him; it’s hard to hate someone your son discusses with such dewy-eyed reverence. But also he strikes me as benign, if alarmingly cheerful. No, the character who really causes me distress is an old favorite—an old favorite who I believe is in dire, dire need of retirement.


Before you start hissing at the screen, have you people watched Ernie in action lately? He does nothing but wreak havoc wherever he goes. He’s a sociopath.

Let us compare and contrast:

Elmo: Uses amiable, albeit imaginary, conversations with his pet goldfish as opportunities to learn and grow.

Ernie: Blames malevolent impulses on rubber ducky.

Elmo: Is patient and kind with the deranged lunatic (and, occasionally, the deranged lunatic’s brother) who loiters outside his window.

Ernie: Torments his long-suffering roommate, Bert, on a regular basis.

Elmo: Invites guests to “Elmo’s World” to talk about themselves. Then he sings a song about them.

Ernie: Takes big Muppet-dumps on everyone’s feelings. For instance: he repeatedly disrupts a “Birdketeer” meeting, finally taking over and declaring it a “Duckateer” meeting, thus emotionally devastating Big Bird. And: he ruins Baby Bear's porridge, for no reason. I know it's Baby Bear, but still!

It was his breakfast!

Elmo: Patiently works through conflicts with all of his friends, even Zoe, who’s clearly suffering from several personality disorders.

Ernie: Forces Big Bird to accompany him on mind-altering “journeys” to frightening, hallucinatory landscapes, where he hides, taunting him.

Elmo: is sweet.

Ernie: is a shithead.

Now do you see?