Monday, April 29, 2019

Death by Whippit

Whipped cream chargers

What is a whippit?

Deadly.  And for sale at a smoke shop near you.  Your kids may be buying and using them.

Hooray for Barbara Lodge, a friend in my writing class, who published this article in the Op-Ed pages of the Los Angeles Times today.

We all need to support Senate Bill 193 in the California Senate, written by Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) representing farming counties near Sacramento.   

But the manufacturer is lobbying heavily against the bill.  

It's stuck in the Appropriations Committee, where the decision on whether to send it to the senate will be made by Senator Anthony Portantino (D-La Canada-Flintridge) and other committee members. Technically, the bill's status is "suspense" and it will be decided on May 17.

We have 19 days to call and send emails/tweets to Portantino 916-651-4025 and Nielsen 916-651-4004 and members of the Appropriations Committee, who include:
Senators Patricia C. Bates (R-Laguna Nigel) - 916-651-4036,
Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) -916-651-4035,
Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) - 916-651-4013,
Brian W. Jones (R-Santee and Escondido) - 916-651-4038, and 
Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) - 916-651-4010.  

Twitter handles are @portantino, @senatorpatbates, @stevebradford, @senbrianjones, @bobwieckowskiCA, and @CASenatorJim.  (Apparently Jerry Hill does not use Twitter.)

You should also contact your own state senator and representative by using this link:

Ten facts to know about whippits.

And another fact: the manufacturer is making big money.  

Whip-It! Brand cream chargers are sold around the world, both for legitimate and illegitimate uses.

You can even buy whippits online--just $7.99 for ten of them.  Risk your life for a low, low price.  

As Barbara points out, a common result is permanent brain damage.

See this article in The Daily Beast:

One distributor to smoke shops makes $60,000 per month distributing the cannisters.

Contact Sen. Anthony Portantino at:

Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 3086
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4025
Fax: (916) 651-4925
Glendale District Office
116 E. Broadway, Suite 204
Glendale, CA 91205
Phone: (818) 409-0400
Fax: (818) 409-1256
Satellite Office
201 East Bonita Ave
San Dimas, CA 91773
Phone: (909) 599-7351
Fax: (909) 599-7692

Contact Sen. Jim Nielsen at:

Capitol Office

State Capitol, Room 5064
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4004
Fax: (916) 651-4904

Roseville District Office

2200A Douglas Blvd. Suite 100
Roseville, CA 95661
Phone: (916) 772-0571
Fax: (916) 772-0589

Chico District Office

2635 Forest Ave, Suite 110
Chico, CA 95928
Phone: (530) 879-7424
Fax: (530) 879-7437

Yuba City District Office

1110 Civic Center Blvd., Suite 202-A
Yuba City, CA  95993
Phone: (530) 751-8657
Fax: (530) 751-8865

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Christians for Pete Buttigieg

"Christian gays are the new thing apparently" texts my daughter Roz to me with a happy face laughing so hard it's crying.

She also sends a quote from USA Today with a photo of Pete Buttigieg captioned,

Buttigieg to Pence: If you have a problem with who I am, your quarrel is with my creator.

Then she comes upstairs to ask if I want anything from  I don't.  It's 10 pm. 

"Have you heard of this Christian gay guy?" she asks.  

"Yes, Vicki emailed me about him a month ago.  She wanted me to donate $10 to help him reach the required number of donors to be included in the presidential debates, and I did."

"So did I," she says.  "The media are acting like it's something new, but you and your friends knew about it forever."

"Right," I laugh.  "They're only 30 years behind EEWC."

Evangelical Women's Caucus, now EEWC-CFT, took a stand for gay civil rights in 1986, and two of our leaders published a pro-gay book in 1978, four years before Roz was born.

"I like him--he's my religion," she continues.  "He's an Episcopalian.  The Democratic Party needs to claim the religious high ground so those stupid evangelicals--"


"Sorry, present company excluded!"

She identifies as a gay Episcopalian, not an evangelical. 

Hooray for the Creator and for churches changing their understanding of sexuality--gradually.

Check out Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? by Letha Dawson Scanzoni and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.  

Give a copy to a friend and to your church.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Rockstars and Nightmares

Craig Duswalt;s #7 tip for making podcasts or videos

It was eerie.  

There I was, was listening to Craig Duswalt's humorous presentation of Step #8 in his Twelve Steps To Become a Rockstar Marketer.

Many of his "Think outside the box" suggestions were hilarious: get a sandwich named after you at your local eatery, slip your business cards into magazines in your doctor's waiting room, have employees picket outside your business with signs saying how nice the company is.

The last suggestion looked innocent at first: "Campaign and run in a local election."  

Then Craig began describing his own experience with this publicity tool.  He realized that a local election would involve free coverage in the local papers, candidate sessions with Q & A,  and other publicity events that would help his marketing business.  

Because he also wanted to contribute to the well-being of schools in his community, he decided to run for the school board.  He was enjoying all the coverage when he actually attended s school board meeting and heard an hour debate over whether to spend 2 cents per pupil on some improvements.

The prospect of many such meetings scared him, so he decided "I have to lose this election."  

After many goofy tactics, he did lose the election but only by 600 votes out of 9,000.  It was a close call.

Suddenly it hit me: this tactic was exactly what Donald Trump had done.  He campaigned and ran in an election as a publicity stunt for his business and his own ego.  He knew it would increase interest in his hotels, golf courses, and other enterprises.

But he didn't lose.  Because polls showed his opponent as likely to win, he didn't worry too much about possibly having to govern the United States of America until the last few weeks or days. Now he has to find ways to avoid the boring stuff. 

Earlier in the day, I'd been noticing that Craig sounds a lot like Donald.  After all, they both grew up  in suburbs of New York City.  Same accent.

Furthermore, the vocabulary they each use overlaps to a great extent, perhaps because they are both salesmen.

"We are an incredible resource for amazing connections," Craig said.  A few sentences later, "It's unbelievable!"

Seeing and hearing Craig line up with Donald suddenly brought the picture into focus.  I had suspended disbelief, but now I felt skeptical about all the marketing tips I was hearing.

They didn't seem harmless any more. 

Check it out for yourself.  Go to and browse.  

And of course, visit my site too:

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Birth of a Saleswoman

I never like it when someone is trying to sell me something, but I signed up for a 3-day marketing seminar for this week at a hotel near LAX.

Today I dipped my foot in the water to test it.  

The emails I've been receiving sound as if they'd been written by Donald Trump:

Hello RockStars:
I’m heading over to the hotel in the morning to help supervise the set up for the EVENT OF THE YEAR!  This will be, by far, the best RockStar Marketing BootCamp to date… EPIC!

Words like "epic" make me want to run in the opposite direction as fast as I can.  On the other hand, I'm writing a book, and I need to market it.  

I showed up, reluctantly, for my first lessons in marketing.  

Truth be told, this event was not marketed as a seminar (my sort of gathering).  It was designated a "bootcamp."  Macho.  Military.  Lots of action.  

"You're killing it" was a constant refrain as various stars gave six-minute pitches of their products.

Despite my skepticism, I quickly recognized that Craig Duswalt has some good tips.  For example:
  • Write in your blog every day--not once a week.
  • Set up an e-commerce system on your blog.
  • You must have an opt-in box on your home page.
  • Your email address must have the name of your business or book.

I had to laugh when some of his tips involved just slipping your book onto the shelves of a bookstore or donating it to a library.  It reminded me of last summer when I slipped six or seven copies of my pro-choice book on abortion into the library of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee.

I'm relieved not to be pushed into doing anything that seems too blatantly selling myself.  In fact, the whole approach seems to be "Take what you like and leave the rest"--just like AA and Al-Anon.  

If I actually do even 20% of the recommended steps, these classes will be worth the money.  It was a small amount of money, anyway, a donation to KPFK, a local independent radio station with this course as the free premium.

Everywhere I see various forms of one phrase: change your life.  Apparently everyone wants to change her life, or his, or hir/their.

The similarity to born-again Christianity is striking.  No wonder the Way preached by Jesus took off as it did--he was selling "change your life," and that's the recommended approach for selling anything, from a car to a bottle of water.

Anyway, I published a blog post today.

Craig says to end every blog post with a call to action of some kind.  So here it is:

Go to Amazon to buy your copy of Abortion,  My Choice--God's Grace: Christian Women Tell Their Stories (Pasadena, CA: New Paradigm, 1994).

And look for my forthcoming memoir: Can You Be a Christian and a Feminist?