Category: Humor

Weekend Links

It’s been a rough week of news, kittens. Between the British election (which went the way I thought it would but much more overwhelmingly than I anticipated) and the impeachment news in the US, I’m feeling pretty grim overall. Taking a step back, the largest takeaway I continue to have is that all of the old ways of categorizing people and voters seem fundamentally overturned. Old party lines have been redrawn along very different agendas and it’s foolish for anyone, of any political persuasion, to rely on traditional default allies. MAGA and Brexit have subsumed any other conversation or loyalty. Normally these flips take at least a generation, now it’s happening in single term limits. Setting aside my personal biases, it’s academically fascinating. I still think the direction of travel is badly dangerous.

Here’s a week of reading to help you muddle through. It’s entirely election-free, for your mental health and mine.

Yes, I saw the story about the banana. I cackled.

Weeping.

An interesting news story out of Finland! While I would obviously like to see more female leadership overall, I’m also interested in younger leadership in politics. In the same way that we have actively promoted other forms of diversity, I think we need badly to add more elected representatives in the age ranges of the electorates they represent…ie, I’d like more millennials representing me because I’d trust them to have a more personal and correct view of my experience and priorities as a citizen.

What a grim, grim piece of reporting–thanks to aggressively pursuing FOIA requests for years.

Climate change, like the gun debate, often serves as shorthanded for wider culture wars in American society. It’s tribalistic and unhelpful when facing planetary crisis, so I was pleased to read this piece on how the tide may be changing with a key demographic. It’s self-evident to me that the agriculture industries could turn into one of our biggest assets in dramatically reworking our ways of living around necessary change.

Rise up, Vanna!

Why yes, I would like a decade perspective of our Queen and Goddess Beyonce.

OH DUCKLINGS, I will have much to say on the glory of the knitwear of Knives Out later, but in the meantime this article will suffice more generally.

Ugh. With the benefit of hindsight, I’m very convinced that being on hormonal birth control for a decade contributed significantly to my health challenges (especially regarding mental health and anxiety). Let me be clear, I am NOT a person who dismisses hormonal treatments and scientific medicine and people who try and peddle pseudoscience around health enrage me. But I wish I had been much more proactive about seeking medical guidance on what was the best option for me long before I finally did so. Don’t make my mistake, peeps. If you’re not feeling right, physically or mentally, ask for help!

This should have been a much bigger news story, but of course it landed among all NAFTA 2.0 and impeachment news and so got a bit lost in the shuffle.

Good for her! Though I’m reminded that she herself once said something to the effect that the grownups would laud her and probably not do anything to fix the problem…

And all shall bow before him!

This piece thoughtfully lays out the debate I’ve been having with myself for most of my adult life, and which I believe to be the simmering argument beneath a lot of American politics. What do we need to adapt or tweak, and what do we need to tear down and rebuild outright?

Global inequality is now more about disparities in opportunity than disparities in income.”

Yes, give me a longform read on this meme!

Jia Tolentino, who you may remember from my recent favorites posts if you weren’t already familiar with her writing, has dropped her latest for The New Yorker on how our current media and online life is leading to a fairly comment “lewk,” as the children say. What this reveals about is is…a bit scary.

Ten Things I Loved in October and November

Hey kids, I’m still taking things easy, but I felt bad for not sharing a few of the things that have made the last couple of months a bit easier to manage. I’ve done a double batch for two months of failed updates to make up for my continuing, shameful neglect of you. As always, it’s a grab bag of pop culture, beauty, randomness, and silliness and I want to hear about your own bundles of random goodness too. Share your seasonal favorites with me in the comments, I need all the good things I can get.

 

Lancome Teinte Idole Ultra Wear Nude Foundation

I needed to replace used up foundations this year and hoped to try and find an alternative to my beloved (and expensive) Armani Luminous Silk Foundation at a lower price point. I did this…barely…and discovered a fab new addition to the makeup lineup that isn’t getting quite as much attention as I think it should. This newish foundation is very liquid-y, less viscose than most I’ve tried and yet with very good coverage. Most importantly, it’s one of the best color matches I’ve found for my skin–and when you find that, kittens, you cough up the money and don’t ask too many questions! If you like lighter feeling formulas that can be built up or sheered out based on your preference, I think this is a great contender and can recommend it!

 

Baume de Rose, By Terry

It’s cold and dark and my lips are chapped. Huzzah for winter! For reasons yet unknown to science, every other lip balm I had to hand suddenly revolted on me and I endured several weeks of what are either the worst chapping I’ve ever had, or some kind of allergic reaction. It took a long time to calm down and left me paranoid about putting anything on the skin around my mouth that didn’t come highly recommended and vetted. Alas for me, this little pot (which is hideously expensive) turned out to be the only thing that didn’t make a flaky and painful situation worse and I’ve been slathering it on since the weather changed. I’m not sure I can recommend it in good conscience given the price, but if you have the money and the need to spend it on something a bit more upscale than Blistex, it’s a very soothing formula. And yes, I’m probably going to repurchase it when I finish the pot…

Chanel Nail Polish in Richness

I only bought three things to “update my wardrobe” for winter this year: one was the beautiful camel coat I actually swapped for, the others were two Chanel nail polishes–the first I’d ever bought from the brand. I’d actually performed a clear out of the small bag that I keep my nail products in as most of them were years old and separated and decided to replace them all with just two shades: an all-purpose, deep red and a near-black, both part of Chanel’s excellent holiday collection. The red is especially beautiful, a brown-y, red-y color that, true to its name, looks expensive and good with everything. It also looks good on every skintone I have seen it used or swatched on! It was a simple way to streamline my beauty cabinet yet further, reduce the waste and wasted space used on expired items, and treat myself for a new season without breaking the bank.

Trick Mirror, by Jia Tolentino

On to books, one fiction and nonfiction. Starting with the latter, this essay collection from Jian Tolentino–a writer with The New Yorker who writes about modern life and experience from a decidedly female and millennial perspective–was a page turner. I admire Tolentino’s writing a great deal, and found her exploration of the strangeness and complexity of life thoughtful and sharp. She seems fairly unflinching in her examinations, especially of herself, and tackles topics such as sexual assault and journalism related thereto, consumerism, and what the internet is doing to all of our brains in both large and deeply personal ways.

Home Fire, by Kamila Shamsie

Without intending to, I seem to have fallen into a theme of adaptations of ancient Greek myths of late! You may remember some previous favorites like The Song of Achilles and Lore Olympus in this vein. I now am thrilled to include this novel which is a haunting take on the Antigone story, with a brilliant twist. The ancient themes of divided loyalties between family, state, piety, and morality are still there but set in modern Britain and the rebellion that divides the famous siblings against the state is the rebellion of their brother in running away to join the Islamic State. It’s beautiful and absolutely devastating. Don’t you dare ruin it for yourself, but the final page will cause you to lose your breath.

FBoL (censored!)

My darling literature lovers and fellow liberal arts majors, gather round the podcasting fire to enjoy this hilarious independent podcast called F**** Bois of Literature. A funny and feminist review of all the characters in literature who we may love, but know in our hearts to be deeply problematic. Tropes and themes, genres and genders, myth and modern masculinity…it’s all on the table and hilariously explored.

 

Thirst Aid Kit 

A podcast from Slate, this joyous celebration of unabashed thirstiness and horniness is laugh out loud funny, as if you were sitting around with your friends indulging in sheer aesthetic appreciation of the finer specimens of the human form. And (crucially!) it manages to do this in a way that isn’t gross in the slightest. Truly a feat in our day and age!

 

Therapy

Still going. Still grateful.

 

Sweaters you choose to sleep in

Coziness is a much underrated sensation, but it’s one that I actively pursue at this time of year. To that end I purchased a cheapish cashmere sweater whose primary function is only to keep me feel toasty in bed. It’s bougie as hell, but I do not regret this decision at all. Slipping into my sleeping sweater has added a nice little tactile moment to bedtime and I consider it money well spent!

 

Shearling slippers

See above comment about coziness. My first pair of shearling slippers were worn to a thread and I cheerfully replaced them a few weeks ago for shuffling about the house and keeping toasty. My godmother was the first person who really sold me on specialist foot gear for warmth and snugness by religiously gifting me slip resistant chenille socks for every year I was at university, but these may be an upgrade!

Weekend Links

Gather round for your batch of weekend reading, my Christmas goslings! I am currently still basking in the joy of seeing a really good movie (“Knives Out,” go see it!) and reading up on Instant Pot recipes after we went to dinner with friends from out of town last weekend and they convinced us to buy one. In other words, prime weekend activities. Let’s all cozy up and be lazy together, shall we?

 

Lisa Page’s professionally mandated silence is up and I’m pleased she’s speaking out against the institutional breakdown and gross misogyny she has faced.

Festivus is here with the airing of grievances. I joke to keep from screaming into a cushion.

How is she out and mediocre, old white men are still buying their way in? I’m actually angry…the only consolation is that she will be able to focus on the senate activity coming up and possibly be a contender for future cabinet positions. I’d be delighted to see her as Attorney General. (I type this pretty well convinced at this moment, grimly, that Mr. Trump will get re-elected if something big doesn’t happen.)

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

 

A dual piece of good news: NPR has released their list of the best books of the year and HANNAH’S DEBUT IS ON IT. (How to find her first and pre-order new next novel here!)

It. Never. Went. Away.

I’m very curious, kittens: what changes, if any, are you making to your digital footprint as a result of data breaches, information on how personal information is used, your perception of social media, or other factors?

We wouldn’t believe this shit if it was scripted for TV

Yes. I have seen the Peloton ad. Do we need to stage a rescue for this woman or what? (The Great and Good Mull breaks it down a bit more.)

Gotta hand it to Ryan Reynolds, though, this almost-immediate follow up ad was genius. I hope this actress rides (if you’ll pardon the pun) her fifteen seconds for all they are worth.

Go Miguel!

Diplomacy is going great, team…

Investigative journalism.

I’m always here for the podcast rankings, oversaturated as my beloved medium market may be.

Being a woman caught between nations is such a strange thing. I’m invested in so many elections in which I can’t participate, but which intimately affect my life. Both of “my” countries feel so deeply unmoored and subdivided right now. But I feel as though Britain–smaller, more internally diverse and multi-national in its own right–should serve for a lesson for the rest of the democratic west. This election feels like a bellwether.

Color me underwhelmed. (See what I did there? See?!)

I’m actually interested in this live action remake, what on earth is happening. (Editor’s note: Gong Li was what was happening. C. has had a crush on her for literal years.)

At this point this is the only famous person I still care about, and he still has much to teach us.

Wut.

December Moodboard

This month I’m going classic. I’m probably not going to break any moulds, but what I do give my time and efforts to, I’m going to try to do well. Already I’m looking ahead to 2020 and a few things that need to change or be shaken up, but for the moment I’m trying to find some pleasure and enjoyment in the traditional, tried and true.

“Weekend” Links

Happy Monday-after-Thanksgiving, kittens! We spent a few days on break and hanging out with friends, blissfully ignorant to most of the world, and it was delightful. But I would never leave you totally defenseless to face the week…have a nice batch of reading to kick off December!

We’re all a lot more conscious of how our digital data is being used (which is a good thing!). If you want to have a bit more control over your data situation overall, this handy primer with links on how to “opt out” out of common data handlers is a useful read.

Small Dog Nation loves a heist.

We’re not ready for 2020, the latest episode.

So long, fare well, auf wiedersehen, goodbye!

An interesting change for Londoners, and interesting in the ongoing debates about the gig economy and related topics.

Not great.

You might think that e-books meant easier experiences for readers at libraries…but you’d be wrong! A fascinating dive into why e-books, which could theoretically democratize books in so many ways also suffer from some peculiar limitations.

What a pleasing project!

A perfectly seasonal and topically appropriate piece.

My fellow winter lovers, unite.

This planet is going to shake us off like a case of the fleas….

Ditto above, this time from the sea.

What the actual fuck is wrong with these people?!

This is such a Small Dog Nation catnip story.

Year of Discipline: October and November

Hi kittens, I’m not dead. Read on for more info.

General Motivation

Some things have really helped me stay on track this month. I was finally able to hire for my department which has been a game changer in my work life. Simply having another set of hands has freed up my time and brain tremendously, which has in turn allowed me to focus and be more effective. In turn, this has allowed me to free up energy and time for other things, like continuing to order the house and prioritize health…

 

Health

The most important thing I’ve done for my health over the past couple of months is to finally tick off that major goal of setting up some mental health support via therapy. This is something that I should have done a long time ago, but like an idiot, I can see in retrospect how I was trying to muscle through some really challenging things and times thinking that because I wasn’t actively falling to pieces that I was fine. And the frustrating thing is that I KNOW this is bullshit! Had my experience been one of my friends or loved ones, I’d have pushed them to take advantage of therapy a long time ago. The ability alone to create mental space for and talk through the paths in my brain that have become entrenched and may need paving over has been game changing. I foresee there’s still a while to go in some of this work, but I’m grateful to have simply bitten the bullet and wondering again what took so long to do something that would have clearly been of benefit.

Anyway, if you think you may need therapy: seek it out. There are resources at most pricepoints (even though I know it remains a financial burden for way too many people…) and I don’t know a person alive who wouldn’t benefit from a check in with themselves at some point, guided by a professional.

 

Financial

This month I opened a new UK savings account and set up standing orders to pay into it. We made this a joint one to try and share the savings load a bit more than we have done to date. While this may seem odd and very basic, it’s been due to our unique banking situation over the past six years (both US and UK banking that we have to track meticulously, and US debt with UK income from separate jobs). I wasn’t actually eligible for a UK bank account when we first moved here and we had to develop a lot of work arounds, as well as phase my full financial set up in this country, which has taken years. Stemming from this, we have set up a probably too complex system with lots of joint collaboration on debt, but without enough household collaboration on savings. We have this is in our US banking, but didn’t in our UK one and it was good to change that up deliberately.

I also continued my culling project and sold multiple items. In fact, my personal moment of smugness this month was due to scoring a new winter coat–something I put off buying last year–by TRADING for it with a luxury consignment and vintage seller. I had another piece that I bought years ago, a classic case of shopping for a fantasy self rather my real self–which was still in pristine condition. Due to swapping, I effectively scored a brand new with tags, beautiful camel coat that would have cost me a few hundred pounds on its own for no cost, and got value out of something that otherwise was causing me a lot of unhelpful guilt. Second hand shopping, people!

 

Grooming

This year has been good for my hair (she admitted grudgingly). It’s taken literal months but I’ve finally found the combination of products that seems to produce a sleeker, shinier strand that I want and feels more professional.

On other fronts, this has also been a good year for my overall presentation skills…but perhaps more on that in the yearly wrap up?

 

Other

Completed another month of no/low buy challenges, continuing the slow but steady march towards the financial situation we want.

Deep cleaned the apartment and did some more settling and rearranging of stuff.

Read tons of books! I’d fallen a bit out of the habit and behind on my book goals, but more than made up for lost time over the past two months.

Began planning some 2020 travel. I’m sick of talking about it and not making it happen.

Did a small social media fast from Instagram.

 

Weekend Links

Sorry for the gap last week, kittens, but I didn’t want to leave you bereft for two weekends in a row. Enjoy!

Even by the standards of 2019, the changing justifications for Mr. Trump’s behaviour towards Ukraine have been ridiculous and annoying. The sheer audacity to move the goalposts this much, this blatantly is insulting.

Also even by 2019 standards, this is a bit thick on the irony and grimness.

This has been an odd story. On the one hand, we’ve known he’s racist for a very long time. He’s not been shy about his views at all. On the other, it’s darkly fascinating to see it laid out in such stark detail.

NINE NINE!

Limewire was probably the first website I have a distinct memory of when it comes to the internet of 20 years ago. I was never on MySpace or LiveJournal, so this was a big one.

What a ride this story is!

A fantastic piece on the role of our Queen and Saviour Beyoncé as an individual performer and her powerful role in black art in the 21st century. It also features the work of other pioneering performers of colour who are breaking moulds, and almost all of whom I love. What I most appreciate about this piece is its emphasis on the quantity and scale of work it has taken to achieve and sustain the success–a nice alternative to the flashy stories of easy genius far too many believe or hope for. An important aspect of my deep love for Beyoncé is that it’s known how hard the woman works. I don’t fetishize it, but I respect the hell out of it.  

Speaking of: GIVE LIZZO HER THINGS.

This is a reboot I’m wholly in favour of!

The truth about me is not that I’m volatile and unstable, but that I’m really vibrant, and the color of my sorrow is just as bright as the stripes of my delight.” This interview actually made me tear up a bit.

Bill Gates has been in a bit of hot water regarding the mood towards taxation recently, and I think a lot of that criticism is deserved, but I also think his investment in disease prevention is very admirable and worthy as well. This latest project reveal is also something I was fascinated and pleased to read about.

Vive les canards!

Sometimes I’m crippled by imposter syndrome, convinced I’m bad at my job. And then I see what other communications or marketing people manage to churn out and I’m comforted.

Also, PR people! You don’t notice their worth until yours quits and you go on to do That Interview with predictable results.

This is the only explicitly political story I am sharing this week–not because I don’t think the news isn’t important (quite the reverse!) but because there is so much of it every single day that trying to recap it is a fools errand and there are actual pros doing that work for you. Which you should be reading, following and listening to. Anyway. It doesn’t surprise me at all to hear that the administration didn’t actually want an investigation into a political opponent so much as they wanted the show of one. Because that’s what they are: reality TV producers whose primary goal has always been crafting a narrative more than accomplishment. Anyone who says differently at this point is so obviously lying that it’s hardly worth arguing.

Emma is the best JA heroine. Do not @ me.

This is devastating

Damn. I lied, I’m also sharing this story because Dr. Fiona Hill managed to cut through bullshit, disinformation, and bad faith with knife like precision and deserves recognition. She was polite in the face of monologuing, clear when others tried to obfuscate, and firm in her defense of her profession and its importance. Our world order doesn’t work without seasoned diplomats.

You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain….

The founder walked away with a billion dollars. With a B.

Speaking of, you don’t always expect comedians to make these point this calmly or pointedly, but Sacha Baron Cohen made a personal case for why six billionaires do and should not have the right to wield as much power as they do.

Speaking of again, the bullshit our mythologized rich people get away with never ceases to amaze me.

We’re not ready for 2020 and it’s going to be so ugly I can barely breathe thinking about it.

Reader, I cackled.