Gifts For People You Hate, 2017

Every year I sit down to write this and think, “what am I even going to come up with this year? I have used up all possible Bad Gift Ideas and am doubtless in reruns at this point” and then I start poking around looking at what’s available for purchase on Amazon:

unicorn

This is a wine-bottle holder and it’s supposed to look like the unicorn is drinking your wine. I guess. 

And I realize that I have barely scratched the surface of astonishingly terrible objects that one could give to those people to whom one is required by circumstance and etiquette to give gifts.

Maybe your office has a Secret Santa exchange, and you don’t officially have to participate except at your last performance review you got dinged for “not being enough of a team player, so you kinda do have to participate, and then you get assigned to buy a gift for that person who puts all their calls on speakerphone and leaves dishes in the office sink. Or maybe you’ve tried to talk your family into just exchanging festive greetings and this resulted in DRAMA so you’ve resigned yourself to buying gifts forever for that family member you try not to get stuck next to during the meal.

Sometimes you’re shopping for a gift because it’s worth that $15 to keep the peace and even though you know that, you resent every moment trying to figure out what would please this person. And that’s where my shopping guide comes in! Free yourself from the burden of trying to make an asshole happy, and embrace the idea of giving them something that won’t.

There are certain basic principles that apply every year. It should be cheap, but untraceably cheap. (Buying them a hand-crocheted who-knows-what for $2 at a thrift shop and pretending it came from a craft show is a terrific idea but you will need to make sure it looks new and doesn’t have that distinctive, identifiable Smell Of Savers wafting from it.) It should be easy to get, and it should look like a gift you might honestly have picked out because you thought they’d like it.

(And a final disclaimer: I don’t actually buy gifts for anyone I don’t like, so if I have given you a bad gift in the past, I promise this was not an intentional slight!)

ON TO THE SHOPPING.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Minneapolis Elections: Naomi’s Sample Ballot

A quick reminder to those who don’t know this: I actually live in St. Paul (I lived in Minneapolis for 17 years, and started election blogging when I still lived in Minneapolis, but I moved across the river in 2012.) These are the people I would be voting for — I don’t actually vote for any of them.


MAYOR

  1. Betsy Hodges
  2. Raymond Dehn
  3. Nekima Levy-Pounds

All my posts on the Minneapolis Mayoral race.


CITY COUNCIL

Ward 1

  1. Jillia Pessenda
  2. Kevin Reich

Ward 1 analysis here.

Ward 2

Cam Gordon is running unopposed.

Ward 3

  1. Steve Fletcher
  2. Samantha Pree-Simpson
  3. Tim Bildsoe

Ward 3 analysis here.

Ward 4

  1. Phillipe Cunninghamd
  2. Stephanie Gasca

Ward 4 analysis here.

Ward 5

  1. Jeremiah Ellison
  2. Raeisha (RA) Williams

Ward 5 analysis here.

Ward 6

  1. Mohamud Noor

Ward 6 analysis here.

Ward 7

  1. Janne Flisrand
  2. Teqen Zea-Aida

Ward 7 analysis here.

Ward 8

  1. Andrea Jenkins

Ward 8 analysis here.

Ward 9

  1. Gary Schiff
  2. Mohamed Farah

Ward 9 analysis here.

Ward 10

  1. Lisa Bender

Ward 10 analysis here.

Ward 11

  1. Erica Mauter
  2. Jeremy Schroeder

I’ll add to this one — whichever you rank first, you should definitely rank the other second. They’re both awesome.

Ward 11 analysis here.

Ward 12

  1. Andrew Johnson

Ward 12 analysis here.

Ward 13

  1. Linea Palmisano

Ward 13 analysis here.


BOARD OF ESTIMATE AND TAXATION

  1. Carol Becker
  2. David Wheeler

BET analysis here. (Carol and David are unopposed on the ballot.)


PARK AND RECREATION COMMISSIONERS AT-LARGE

  1. Latrisha Vetaw
  2. Devin Hogan
  3. Londel French

(Note: there are three open seats, but order matters.)

Park Board At-Large Race analysis here. All Park Board posts (including my analysis of the Political Cycle of Life) here.


PARK AND RECREATION COMMISSIONERS, DISTRICT SEATS

District 1

  1. Chris Meyer
  2. Billy Menz

Park Board District 1 analysis here.

District 2

  1. Kale Severson
  2. Mike “Talley” Tate

Park Board District 2 analysis here.

District 3

  1. AK Hassan
  2. Abdi Gurhan Mohamed

Park Board District 3 analysis here.

District 4

  1. Jono Cowgill
  2. Tom Nordyke

Park Board District 4 analysis here.

District 5

  1. Steffanie Musich
  2. Bill Shroyer

Park Board District 5 analysis here.

District 6

  1. Brad Bourn

Park Board District 6 analysis here.


And, hey, was my analysis useful to you this year? Are you thinking to yourself, “wow, I wish this fine person had a Patreon link”? I do not have a Patreon link, but you could buy a copy of my latest book (a short story collection) or one of my two ebook-only collections (Comrade Grandmother or Gift of the Winter King). Or! For a limited time only (the next month), you can donate to my fundraiser for the Bridge For Youth!(Because it’s specifically my fundraiser I can see how much my fans have donated,which is pretty awesome.) The Bridge for Youth is a Twin Cities non-profit that provides counseling, support, shelter, and services (including long-term transitional services) to homeless teens (and even younger children — their shelter houses kids as young as ten.)

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to vote tomorrow!

 

Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxation

So the Board of Estimate and Taxation has two open seats and two people on the ballot:

David Wheeler
Carol Becker

John Edwards of WedgeLIVE is also running a write-in campaign. Commentary below the cut.

Continue reading

Saint Paul Elections: Naomi’s Sample Ballot

Here’s how I’m ranking the people on my ballot.

Mayor

  1. Melvin Carter
  2. Elizabeth Dickinson
  3. Pat Harris
  4. Dai Thao

School Board (unranked)

Marny Xiong
Jeannie Foster
John Brodrick

You can read all my analysis on the St. Paul races here.

And, hey, was my analysis useful to you this year? Are you thinking to yourself, “wow, I wish this fine person had a Patreon link”? I do not have a Patreon link, but you could buy a copy of my latest book (a short story collection) or one of my two ebook-only collections (Comrade Grandmother or Gift of the Winter King). Or! For a limited time only (the next month), you can donate to my fundraiser for the Bridge For Youth! (Because it’s specifically my fundraiser I can see how much my fans have donated, which is pretty awesome.) The Bridge for Youth is a Twin Cities non-profit that provides counseling, support, shelter, and services (including long-term transitional services) to homeless teens (and even younger children — their shelter houses kids as young as ten.)

 

 

 

And one more (final?) visit to the Minneapolis mayor’s race

A bunch of people have asked me why I am so concerned about Jacob Frey and developer money, I saw an online conversation involving Nekima Levy-Pounds that I wanted to talk about, and I got asked why I didn’t say more about Raymond Dehn. So whee, one. more. post.

I’m going to skip the linked list of candidates and just put my analysis below the cut.

Continue reading

St. Paul Mayoral Race, Final Days

The five viable candidates from before remain the five viable candidates:

Elizabeth Dickinson
Melvin Carter
Dai Thao
Tom Goldstein
Pat Harris

Last week there was some controversy over a mailing that did an excellent job of underscoring why I view the Police Union endorsement as a negative rather than a positive.

Continue reading

Minneapolis Mayoral Race, Final Days

Because various things have come out or turned up or been added to people’s websites since I first started researching the race two months ago (!) I’m doing a followup post on just the five candidates that I think might plausibly win this election.

Running (and likely to win the race) for Mayor of Minneapolis:

Raymond Dehn DEMOCRATIC-FARMER-LABOR
Jacob Frey DEMOCRATIC-FARMER-LABOR
Tom Hoch DEMOCRATIC-FARMER-LABOR
Betsy Hodges DEMOCRATIC-FARMER-LABOR
Nekima Levy-Pounds DEMOCRATIC-FARMER-LABOR

You get to rank three. Analysis under the cut.

Continue reading