Weekend Links

“Words were so puzzling. Present should mean a present just as attack should mean to stick tacks in people.” 
― Beverly Cleary, Ramona the Pest

Poppets, I’m back! Jeff and I spent last weekend with friends in Portugal and had a delightful time away. Once I get my act together and all my photos downloaded you’ll get a proper update on Porto with highlights and recommendations. It will not surprise a single one of you to hear that a bookstore features heavily.

In the meantime, the world spun on with much to enjoy and much to horrify. As per usual, I’ve collected a cracking bunch of weekend reading to help sort through it all. It’s extra long this week to make up for my neglect of you.

This weekend the plan is to do some more immigration paperwork and final square away the final steps, enjoy the additional hours of sunlight and buckle up for the last season of Game of Thrones to start. Share your own links to your favorite stories or weekend plans in the comments.


This could not be more relevant to my interests if it tried!

The Scandinavians have solved all our linguistic problems.

Cry me all your tears, prudes and patriarchs!

Rise up! (It works.)

Sometimes, when I read a story about AI, I’m reminded that it took all of a day for some program or other to “learn” from Twitter and turn horrifically racist. AI isn’t going to save us, it’s based on code written by humans and we are phenomenally messy.

The dream!

I can’t tell if I’m interested in this or not. As per the current cultural moment and the [waves hand generally at the state of the world], I’m currently fundamentally uninterested in narrative arcs of men who, in response to trauma, inflict trauma on a whole bunch of other people but with whom I’m still supposed to empathize as the designated protagonist. Perversely, I have a lot more space for women pulling that exact stunt, I acknowledge the hypocrisy.

I have zero sympathy for former-Secretary Nielsen and am even less moved to read that apparently one reason she took so long to resign was that she worried about her post-administration reputation. Well…yeah? Her legacy is separated families and children in cages and repeatedly lying about the policies regarding it.

The carnage didn’t stop there, of course. My utter lack of sympathetic feelings aside, it is Actively Bad that the American government is currently stocked with “acting” post holders.

Meanwhile, the context to the reasons as to why President Trump wanted former-Secretary Nielsen gone is also Actively Bad. According to multiple press reports, she and her allies are seeking a PR rehabilitation and I am NOT interested. Several articles point to the fact that she was fired for refusing to break the law and should be applauded for that, to which: no. That is the bare minimum we require of our enforcement officers.

A fascinating conversation on who gets to claim music genres: do old categories even matter any more?

More on Fleabag in the upcoming Favorites post, I promise, but I really enjoyed this piece from the Financial Times’ arts desk on the art of artists walking away at the right time. British TV in particular gets this right much more than American, in my opinion.

Oh man, first a villains based makeup launch and now this icon gets some love! *Struts away singing, “Why don’t you do righhhhhhhht…”*

Important reporting on the difference between the online world and real world. This profiles the left, but I’d be curious to see a similar piece on the right, to be honest, as this isn’t a one sided phenomenon. As the barriers between internet culture and the tangible world become more complicated, it behooves anyone who spends time in any bubble to be aware of their own echo chambers. But it’s also worth remembering that those barriers are blurring and we ignore the online space at our peril…as we’ve seen all to often at our collective cost lately when it comes to radicalism.

Speaking of…Alexa, show me irony.

This story is WILD.

President Trump goes to Mount Vernon and his comments are that he could have “built it better and for less money.” I’m actually speechless…

We finally see the legendary event horizon. The universe is great, even if it sometimes looks like a Tolkien villain.

Julian Assange was arrested in London this week. Let’s recap.

How the heck did I miss this? Quick, to Greenwich!

A thoughtful take from Man Repeller that’s giving me cause for reflection: in an age of peak outrage, it’s not necessary to have a take or even an opinion on everything that crosses are collective desks and feeds.

Another really good profile from The Atlantic about the population of Trumplandia, this time about its de facto Second Lady, Ivanka. What she has left in order to transition from New York society to Washington D.C., whether it has been worth it, and whether that society will welcome her back again. Probably? Society, as the piece points out, is just about as hypocritical as politics.

Beverly Cleary is 103 today and is due all the adulation on her birthday. Ramona Quimby is the first character I remember reading as a child and identifying with. Ms. Cleary’s books were vital to my childhood and so many other’s and even written decades ago, they still feel deeply personal and current. Such is childhood and adolescence, I guess.

Guessing time, will this really be the last installment? Place your bets!

Thank god for good news and blessings! The Queen knew we would need this this week.

3 thoughts on “Weekend Links”

  1. WHEW! So many links!!!!

    TEAM leggings — wearing cozy/soft/black TNA ones from Aritzia and try to peel them off me at your peril! Not cool, but true — depending on your size and shape, leggings can be more or less attractive, more or less comfortable and (NO CAMEL TOE) OK or weird.

    I am not thin, but am proportionate and my legs decently shaped. I gave up wearing trousers (sorry to admit this) thanks to one of the many treasures menopause confers — a belly. Yes, fighting it. But in the meantime, I want to be stylish/comfortable/modest — and not retreat to (ugggggggh) Eileen Fisher drapes. I can’t bear to be uncomfortable and don’t want to spend $$$$$ on trousers and hate how I look and feel.

    Love the 14 yr old archeologist!

    We have never had or wanted Alexa. NOPE. I recently and belatedly taped over my laptop camera as well.

    LOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEEE Fleabag and cannot wait for Season 2; you know she writes or exec produces Killing Eve…?

    I want your hot take (even tepid) on Queer Eye Season 3 and the latest Project Runway — it’s very different w Karlie Kloss and Christian Soriano. (I miss Tim Gunn a lot, not Heidi so much.)

    1. I love trousers and feel most comfortable in them, but am actively leaning into dresses more lately. My weight fluctuates (easy when you’re petite) and I’ve gained a few pounds back since I injured my knee in February. Grumble.

      Completely agree on smart devices! I’m not a Luddite by any stretch but I have never felt the desire and will probably be the last holdout when everyone else has embedded computers into their eyes or something…

      Pheobe Waller-Bridge also did Doctor Foster, check it out if you haven’t seen it! A modern retelling of Medea.

      I haven’t watched the latest Queer Eye season and bowed out of Project Runway long ago (although I have been closely following the pop culture dialog on both thanks to NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour and Tom and Lorenzo, both of which I highly recommend). I like S1 of QE so much that I almost want to let it stand alone because I’ve heard mixed reviews and don’t want to blemish the positivity I feel towards it. PR went off the rails when it left Bravo so I’m glad to see it’s back and have heard very good things about the revival. If I can find it in the UK, I’ll give it another go. And yes, pour one out for Tim!

      1. I am definitely team dress now — my go-to brand is Aritzia where I splurged (for me) $150 each full price 2 years ago for 2 identical dresses: thick/stretch/ribbed knit, one mustard, one black, with a dramatic neckline that is revealing of shoulder but not of cleavage. I wear them to death, with jackets and sweaters over, day and evening. Mid-calf length with fantastic long sleeves you pull up. Being curvy actually helps with some styles.

        Def. give Queer Eye Season 3 a try. I cried at every one of them.

        And PR got reeeeealllllly boring and lousy and I was also sick of it. Felt like they were scraping the bottom of their audition barrel. The only talent I remember at all (amazing!!!!) has never been heard of since — NZ whiz kid Sean Kelly. This season feels different enough; each contestant has more on-camera time for their back-story (how many shots of someone sewing do we need?) and Karlie Kloss is gentler and sweeter. I don’t love Siriano who is not a mentor at all, in my view, but just offers tart criticism. I also find this crowd just not compelling as people or as talented designers. I have noticed a very big difference — they seem really affectionate and kind to one another in ways other seasons did not.

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