Ten pounds of weird in a five-pound bag.

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My goofy-ass mug (photo credit: Matthew Maniaci)

Hi, my name is Matthew Maniaci, I’m 34, and I’m a huge nerd. I enjoy playing board games with friends, going to sci-fi conventions, and playing with my four cats. Also, apparently I can’t write a short article to save my life.

I was always an awkward kid in grade school. I would often spend my recesses walking around the blacktop and just…thinking. The teachers were a bit worried about me. In sixth grade, with all the changes and hormones, I started getting depressed. I got so depressed, in fact, that toward the end of the year, at age 12…


Or: How a couple of friends and some dice can help keep up your mental health.

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Photo by James Pond on Unsplash

We are coming up on one year of lockdown. The country, and the world, for that matter, have been (mostly) isolating from social contact for eleven months as of the writing of this article. As has become increasingly apparent, everyone’s mental health has suffered.

So, to help keep our spirits up, we all turn to a variety of different things to hold onto whatever hope we can. We create small bubbles of people that we can see in person to gain some semblance of social contact. We keep up with each other over the phone, messenger, and Zoom. …


When you tell blatant lies, those lies get fact-checked

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Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

Both conservatives and liberals lie about things when campaigning and posting to their followers, and not all lies are intentional. However, Donald Trump was fairly unique in that he seemed to intentionally tell whatever lies he thought of at the time if it furthered his agenda and riled up his base.

The Washington Post, a longtime foe of Trump, counted over 30,000 lies told during his presidency. These lies were told with increasing frequency as his term dragged on — according to the article, nearly half of those lies were told in his final year in office, particularly about the…


Sometimes, the world is full of bad advice.

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Photo by Jordan Whitfield on Unsplash

Did you know that if you turn out the lights, light a match, and say “depression” into a mirror three times, someone in a “live laugh love” shirt will appear and tell you that taking a walk will make you feel better?

Dumb jokes aside, as someone who lives with mental illness, I have been the recipient of a lot of bad advice on how to deal with it. …


When you can’t win without suppressing votes, maybe you should change your platform

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

The modern Republican party faces many issues in 2021. Trump still holds significant sway over the party, which is causing a bit of a schism between Trump supporters and old-school Republicans. Demographic shifts towards more people of color and more out LGBTQ folx, two groups that largely support Democrats, are also hurting their prospects.

Fortunately for the Republicans, they’ve spent the past ten years building systems to ensure that they stay in power. The REDMAP project, which focused on redistricting in 2010 to cement Republican power in congress and various statehouses, worked. …


A story of stress, depression, masculinity, and mental illness, wrapped up in a riot

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Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash

Like many Americans, I watched the unfolding events of January 6 with horror. American democracy was under attack by a wannabe strongman and his horde of goons hell-bent on undoing a fair election. Violence had overtaken reason, and for a moment, nobody was sure if democracy would hold on.

Ultimately, democracy survived, and two weeks after the election, Joe Biden was sworn in during a largely drama-free ceremony. I probably should have watched the proceedings. Instead, I put in my headphones and worked furiously until I got the push notification that Biden had become the 46th president. …


What kind of strong man can’t even finish the job?

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Photo by Pau Casals on Unsplash

Donald Trump swept into office through a cult of personality, and that personality was of a strong, successful businessman who didn’t take any shit from anyone. His various Twitter tirades are well-documented, and he’s insulted many, many people, from gold star families to people with disabilities to the many women who have accused him of sexual assault. These insults are so well known that I don’t feel the need to link to any of them.

He rampaged around the Oval Office like a bull in a china shop — not separating from his businesses so he could profit from his…


We have developed into a nation where emergency expenses are paid by the kindness of strangers, and that is awful.

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Photo by Melissa Walker Horn on Unsplash

I opened my email this afternoon and saw that an acquaintance of mine had started a new project on DonorsChoose. DonorsChoose is a fundraising platform for teachers to pay for supplies and technology for their classrooms. My acquaintance works in a school that is 98% black in a lower-income neighborhood. For this project, she’s fundraising for an iPad for her third graders.

I’ve given to this person’s fundraisers before when I had some money to spare. I believe in giving back, both to nonprofits (especially since I work in the fundraising industry) and to individuals in my circles (I have…


Why Senator Hawley is an embarrassment to my state and the nation.

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Photo by Jose M. on Unsplash

First off, I want to say that the title of this piece doesn’t do it justice. I’m fucking pissed off at my senator.

Josh Hawley was the first senator to come out publicly as an objector to the electoral college results. He was immediately followed by Ted “I’m an opportunistic piece of shit” Cruz and 11 other senators.

Josh and Ted both have presidential ambitions, and having the Trump Train on their side is politically advantageous to those ambitions, so there is an element of logic here. Harnessing the MAGA magic that Trump did in 2016 could propel them to…


And how it took a global pandemic to drive this change forward.

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Photo by Cookie the Pom on Unsplash

COVID-19 changed everything for everyone. Gone are the days where we can go out to eat at restaurants or see our friends and family without worrying about whether we will become deathly ill or inflict that illness on our loved ones. Shopping for groceries has become even more stressful with the specter of illness hovering over everything.

One major thing that has changed with the pandemic is the doctor’s office. Routine things, like getting a checkup or going to the dentist, are now nerve-wracking affairs where everyone in the waiting room is suspect. …

Matthew Maniaci

Living with and talking about mental illness in an open, honest way to help break down stigma. I was one of those suicidal kids you read about. He/him/his.

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