Category: Humor

Weekend Links

“In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” 
― Friedrich Nietzsche

Happy weekend, kittens!

I spent yesterday walking 20 miles for charity and my body is hurting. Therefore we are diving straight into the links. Political news is almost moving too fast to keep up with but to summarize some major stories of the week: Manafort’s bail was revoked, Michael Cohen might be flirting with the prosecution, an the FBI released a report that may or may not affect your personal feelings on James Comey, but has nothing whatsoever to say about “exonerating” Mr. Trump in relation to the Russia investigation given that the report was on the handling of the FBI’s investigation into Ms. Clinton’s emails. No matter what the hell he tweets.

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A look into a world we don’t get too many glimpses of.

When it all went wrong, at least pop culturally speaking, and at least according to current curmudgeons.

There is so much shady money hiding in plain sight. Here’s some engrossing reporting from The Guardian on Russian money in the UK, but this is hardly the only combination out there. I appreciate the point made that in many cases of money moving through the world, it’s not happening necessarily with nefarious intent so much as it is a need for aggressive self-interest in preserving wealth through uncertain financial and political times. Conspiracy theories about “elites” sitting in darkened rooms smoking cigars and contemplating the best way to keep poorer people down and shake governments aren’t really true. Conspiracy theories about wealthy and powerful people meeting in daylight in comfortable office spaces and speaking practically about the best way to use completely legal means to protect their assets are.

Our entire society–media, politics, you name it–seems built on charlatans all scheming to get out just before the house of cards comes down at the moment. Some of them even manage to luck into success doing it.

Let’s be clear: broadly speaking, it’s still much harder and more negatively consequential for women to come forward about sexual assault and harassment then for me who assault and harass.

We were all rooting for this little guy this week.

This is horrific and unacceptable.

The White House is trying to shift ownership of this policy onto the opposing party, probably to try and force people to the negotiating table. It’s disgusting. Don’t cite holy writ, whatever your creed, to justify it. Either buck up and own your cruelty or be ashamed of it and stop weaponizing suffering.

God, we need Mr. Rogers more now than ever before...

Queer Eye is an active force for good in the world (with bonus Mormon content!)

Three cheers for healthy masculinity!

How the Netflix model works when it comes to programming and showrunning.

Here in Britain there is a bit of a celebrity gossip news this week that rather stuck in my craw in a way I couldn’t put my finger on. Then, Lainey put it better than I ever could.

Weekend Links

“We have not journeyed all this way because we are made of sugar candy.” 
― Winston S. Churchill

What an absolute rollercoaster of a week, kittens. I’ve got some very exciting things in the pipeline, work I’m genuinely thrilled about, but the truth is I’m having to burn the candle at both ends to get set up for it. I’m not feeling 100% and the news has been pretty grim this week on most counts. Here, have a bunch of links, only a few of which are about political, to get you through this weekend.

Damn you, poverty!

Damn you, poverty, twice!

This is not ******* normal. Here is a more coherent take on Monday’s news.

The best people. Because of course he did. The reporting this week on this front has been wild.

Another example of how key people and statements in this whole mess are fundamentally untrustworthy. The Trump family line reads like the narcissist’s prayer: I didn’t do it. If I did do it, it wasn’t wrong. If it’s wrong, it’s not my fault.

The nominal reason for disinviting the Philadelphia Eagles to the White House this week was players kneeling for the national anthem…which none of them participated in during the past season. This White House statement on the occasion reads both pettily and oddly. I realized eventually that it’s the use of the words “their president” in relation to the that was so jarring to me, which is usually referred to as “the president.” I’m on record as being a fairly patriotic person who simultaneously deeply dislikes “performed” patriotism. This step of enforced performance linked to the person of the president (as opposed to the office) feels deeply weird and gross.

Jeff and I (morbidly) speculate about this a lot…

The next time anyone asks me about having kids, I’m just forwarding them this link.

Tragic news in the fashion world this week. The Fug Girls wrote a lovely piece on her place in fashion and what wearing her pieces felt like to so many women who bought them.

Tragic news in the food world too! Have a read of the piece that put him on the map here. This piece from The Cut is fitting tribute. Remember how we were hoping for 2018 to be less awful than 2017 and it keeps being worse?

The War of 1812 rears its head once more. Will we never be free of that nightmare…she muttered sarcastically.

Rosewave for life!

The notebooks of Bill Cunningham are on display, please someone from New York go see this and report back.

 

 

Weekend Links

“It is easy to decide on what is wrong to wear to a party, such as deep-sea diving equipment or a pair of large pillows, but deciding what is right is much trickier.” 
― Lemony Snicket, The Slippery Slope

I’m on birthday leave, kittens, let’s get straight to the links!

The objectification of men and masculinity is a tricky but real subject for conversation.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason, AKA the internet’s new boyfriend, has been a delight to discover. Let him and Bob Marley bless your ears this day.

Interesting. But let’s pick this up in six years, shall we?

Ireland, come through! Here’s to a future where we don’t need martyrs first.

You know what? Credit where it’s due to a guy who realized that he was part of the problem and owned it in public (after that awful NYT interview). This is what complacency and complicity looks like in real life, and it’s good to be reminded of the fact. Most accomplices to toxic or sexist workspaces are not Jeffrey Tambor, most are Jason Bateman. Let’s know better and do better.

Another deep dive profile for the ever reliable McKay Coppins at The Atlantic, this time on White House aide Stephen Miller and what the culture of trolling has to do with where is based today. I’d genuinely like sociologists and experts to do more writing and speaking on what the long term effects of trolling as professional or political strategy may be. Coppins points out that the difference between provocateur comments for the sake of being “edgy” and outright racism have effective blurred in many area and that studied irony and sincerity are near impossible to tell apart on some forums. There has to be some kind of study on what this mentality does to a society.

I will read the crap out of this book.

Important reminder that by most standards, the world is getting better. But also a reminder than progress isn’t inevitable.

Immigration has been in the news lately and with good bloody reason. Vox has a (policy based!) take on how the Department of Justice is reshaping the immigration debate and system in a way that will have long term ramifications.

There are solid pieces of advice in this reddit thread.

Bach as a weapon.

This series is a joy.

A comprehensive overview of the coverage and surrounding issues for the ICE stories in the news this past week.

We live in such a weird time.

Where? Point me to these women? I sure as hell don’t know any of them. And to give them all due credit, the vast majority of millennial men I know are supportive of their partners who do out-earn them. As Jeff put it to a coworker who queried this exact subject in our own marriage, “Who the hell is mad about more money?!”

Our dispatch from the Mormon world this week is not religiously based, but says something interesting (I feel) about men who feel increasingly displaced in society–which is a valid academic and social discussion to have–and what some of them want in response to gender dynamic changes–namely, the right to rule again.

A lot of people really want to believe a conspiracy because it’s a lot easier to think a malevolent force is in charge than that our government is run by idiots.” This piece is an intense read, or would be in normal times. In any other age, a confirmed and avowed conspiracy theorist of this caliber would not hold the office he holds, or have the capacity to damage/shift narrative the way he does.

These photos of the fading remains of WWI are powerful.

Wow, this guy had a bad day

The cancellation of Roseanne was a hot topic this week, but this take from Variety resonated most with me. Roseann Barr has been a controversial figure (and overtly racist/conspiracy theorist tweeter) for a long time. ABC knew that when they hired her. They still gave her a show. I’m glad there are consequences to this kind of speech, unless you’re running for president or something, but it feels like they’ve taken away something she should never have been given in the first place

I’m convinced every woman has SOME kind of story that she has had to go over, review in her own mind, and re-contextualize over time. Was it me? Should I have done this differently? Am I at fault? It’s a funny story…right?

Oh J. Crew, will you win me back? Time will tell!

And finally, this whole YouTube series about how the Alt Right uses language as a tool and a weapon is fascinating listening.

This guy has a delightfully specific vocation!

 

Five Things I Loved in May

It’s May, the lusty month of May
That darling month when everyone throws self-control away
It’s time to do a wretched thing or two
And try to make each precious day, one you’ll always rue
– Camelot

Another month has whizzed past us! Here are the things I loved and got me through May, share your own finds in the comments.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

I confess that I have been sleeping on this show and I. Am. Sorry! It was on the long list I have of pop culture to be consumed but for various reasons I’d never gotten around to it until the minor Twitter saga this month when the show was cancelled before being optioned and picked up by another network–all within a couple of days. Obviously I had to make up for lost time by mainlining the series. It’s fantastic and the characters are a joy. Terry is a loving family man, who happens to be gorgeously jacked for both aesthetics AND humor. Charles is a nice guy whose weirdness is teased but also actively embraced, instead of being a venue of mocking and bullying. Gina is a rockstar. Amy is a type A control freak (whom I relate to on a level that left my husband howling with laughter) who is also really, really good at her job and whose ambitions are celebrated. Jake is immature but grows as a character–and also is fundamentally kind and decent in a way that most male lead characters on sitcoms are not written or allowed to be. Every character gets an arc, the running gags are legitimately hilarious, the side characters are as great as the main ones, the vibe is aggressively good willed. One of the things I absolutely adore about the show is the main romantic story between Jake and Amy which is both realistic in the sense that the characters have believable quirks and foibles, but also is healthy and loving. There is no back and forth drama about their relationship, both are supportive partners (extra shout out for how Jake’s character is written to genuinely rejoice in and encourage Amy’s success and ambitions in a way that is not in the least pandering but actually feels like how a good couple would behave), and their love story feels very…normal. We need more representations of healthy, sweet romance on TV. love this show and I will evangelize for it hard.

 

The High Low Podcast

Run by prolific British journalists (and gal pals) Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes, this weekly news and pop culture podcast is a fresh and decidedly from the female perspective. The hosts review the news, recommend media–especially books and journalistic pieces, and talk about cultural happenings. According to Ms. Sykes, “Our founding mantra is that there is no shame in asking questions – but reading (a lot) can help inform you.” My kind of girl talk!

 

MM LaFleur Dresses

I’ve written about this line before, but I own four dresses from MM LaFleur and hope to get at least a couple more. I’ve been lusting after the Aditi dress in green, pictured above, but am being fiscally responsible. Damn it. Between this company and Everlane, I have built a classy and modern capsule work wardrobe that both makes me feel great and gets a lot of (work appropriate) compliments.

 

PBS Eons

If you were obsessed with dinosaurs as a child–I personally had a cardboard box time machine and a well-loved book on the subject that guided me on my time travels as a tot–this YouTube channel scratches an itch you might not have realized you had. Scientific, thorough, nerdy. Love it.

 

 

The Curated Closet, by Anuschka Rees

There are lot of books out there on personal style, many of which are unhelpful, lazy, full of tired language and phrases, and often a marketing ploy to sell more of the author’s products or services. This book is actually a thoughtful take on organization and strategic wardrobe building that I enjoyed and found helpful in reorganizing my closet. Again. Because I am Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Amy Santiago and things like organization and planning make me super excited.

 

Why (So Far) My 30s are Better Than My 20s

“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.” 
― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

I’m on the cusp of another birthday so I thought I’d reflect a bit on why, thus far, my 30s are leaving my 20s in the dust. I always looked forward to my 30s in my teenage years and young adulthood and I was not wrong to do so. You could not pay me to set the clock back to my previous decade. Here are a few reasons why:

Body confidence. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a shed load of insecurities but I’m no longer crippled by excruciating self hatred for my corporeal form. Thank god, I never want to go back to that dark self-inflicted shame spiral! I also, shock surprise, actually like quite a few things about my body which is a future 21 year old me could never imagine. Which was foolish and short sighted in the extreme because I now know in my 30s that my 20s body was pretty good and I miss it.

A somewhat congealed sense of self. I feel like everyone is a bit lost or up in the air in their 20s and though on paper I was ticking a lot of boxes, the truth was that I had no idea what I was doing most of the time. My identity was all over the place and most of my identifiers were external. Now, in my early 30s, I feel like I have a handle on my personality and personhood (warts and all). I may not like all my traits, but I also know which ones I want to work on improving, and which are 100% okay to accept. I own my likes and dislikes, my strengths and my terrible weaknesses, my ambitions and my shortcomings much more handily than I could have ever imagined a decade ago.

A developed professional grounding. Ten years ago I was about to graduate university and had no clue what I was getting into. Now I’ve been able to try a couple of different jobs and ways of working, and learned the things I value in a workplace. I’ve freelanced full time and worked in offices, and while I haven’t found the perfect balance (I’d like to get more creative or writing work back into my life), I’m earning where I feel I should be at the present moment.

Fewer ****s to give. I care less about what other people think about me than I have ever done and it’s great. There are a few, carefully identified people in my life whose good opinion matters to me and whose judgement I value. The commentary or disapproval of anyone not on that list barely registers anymore. This shift has been life changing.

Goals accomplished. There have been setback and surprises and there is a long list of life goals that I feel behind on, but in my 30s I feel like I can say I’ve started achieving some of the things I’ve prioritized and that are important to me. I wanted to move back to London, and we made it happen. I wanted to try to freelance full time and I did it for three years. I wanted to be making a certain salary and I’ve hustled hard towards that goal and it’s within reaching distance. Am I where I’d thought I’d be in all cases? HELL NO. Am I okay overall? HELL YES.

I’m going to spend the weekend being grateful for where I’m at.

How I Handle Stress (Spoilers: Poorly)

“I was a little excited but mostly blorft. “Blorft” is an adjective I just made up that means ‘Completely overwhelmed but proceeding as if everything is fine and reacting to the stress with the torpor of a possum.’ I have been blorft every day for the past seven years.” 
― Tina Fey, Bossypants

The other week was Mental Health Awareness Week and it gave me pause for thought. Depression and anxiety run in my family and while I’ve been fortunate to avoid a serious medical diagnosis, I’ve had my share of challenges over the years. I benefited from therapy in my teenage years and have been feeling the pull towards it again in my early 30s for a bit of a “tune up.” In the last decade I’ve graduated university in a recession, gotten married, supported myself as a freelancer, had a public and painful breakup with the faith community of my youth, moved countries, switched careers, and moved house three times.

While I look back on a decade that has been overwhelmingly positive in hindsight, going through all of this has been stressful and do you know what I’ve learned? I am shit at stress management, and stress has been at the root of a lot of my personal health issues over the years.

I’m not great at relaxing.

I mean, we’ve touched on this before, but let’s be honest. I am type A, the stereotypical smart kid in school who did not entirely enjoy the transition to adulthood where her past achievements meant little in the real world. I am a walking cliche. So, in the spirit of a bank holiday weekend, I decided to ruminate on this a bit.

While I’m healthier now than I was this time a couple of years ago, and god knows I’m much better than I was at the start of the last decade, I still have longstanding habits that have been with me for most of my life. For example, I bite and pick at my nails compulsively. My best remedy against this is to paint them frequently; I don’t know if it’s the visual cue to keep all ten matching or what but I seem more able to grow and maintain them when I’ve made them pretty. On the flip side, the moment one of them chips or flakes, I feel a powerful urge to peel the rest of the polish off. Sometimes this is unconscious but I’ve been known to end a stressful day, look down at my fingers, and find all my carefully applied polish picked off and scattered. It’s not a nice habit and I’m not proud of it. I also, in no particular order, enjoy bouts of stress-induced insomnia, stress eating, minor compulsive behaviors, and stress-induced migraines, most of which is due to poor work/life balance.

In addition to habits, I’ve also acquired less than ideal physical symptoms in periods of high stress. My hair has fallen out, my eczema has flared up into a rash across my neck and chest, and (most memorably) I had to be referred to a breast cancer clinic when I developed a lump in my breast tissue. It was only a swollen lymph node or cyst that resolved itself, but it was scary, and given some other health symptoms and challenges at the time, my doctor suggested stress was probably a contributing factor. Yikes.

A lot of the life changes I listed have happened in the last five years since moving to London and it is another cliche universally acknowledged that city life can be grinding. London, like most major cities, will chew you up and spit you out if you let it. It’s nothing personal, but as the lyrics of the song go, “London town, you can toughen up or get kicked around.”

I wish understood sooner how important an emotional and life skill the art of resilience was. I also wish I understood that sometimes life just throws you lemons for no good reason and no amount of smarts, hard work, or effort will spare you the stress that comes from a shitty situation. I could have saved myself a lot of angst (and steroid ointment for my throat…yikes again) if I had learned to rank stressors and how to prioritize my reactions and efforts to tackle them. It took me a couple of years to adjust to the style of a big city with a competitive work culture and learn to not treat every challenge or set back (personal or professional) as a five alarm fire.

What’s helped? Nothing groundbreaking, I’m afraid. Losing a fear of failure helped but that took experiencing some failures, which were not enjoyable. Forcing myself to adhere to smarter work practices made a difference, but I had to get the balance wrong for a long time to figure out what worked for me. Exercise, mindfulness practices, better food habits, and boundary setting have all helped me learn to manage stress better. But there are still gaps, I’m working on ’em.

Basically, adulting is hard and while I wouldn’t trade the past five years for anything, I wish I had gotten a hold of my stress management a lot sooner because I think I would have managed several situations and decisions much better. I wish I had connected dots better and learned to recognize unhealthy habits, people, and behaviors before they turned into problems.

How do you handle stress? Is it something you struggle with, or do you feel you mostly have a handle on managing and dealing with yours? Throw a girl some tips!

Weekend Links

“Every person needs to take one day away.” 
― Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now

It’s a long weekend this week and I took an extra day off for my first holiday time since Christmas so links are landing early, kittens. Forgive the short intro, but I’m on break mode!

Scene of the crime.

This take on the Duchess of Sussex’s wedding dress was my favorite. Her evening reception frock was a lovely, lovely number as well!

Yay, heraldry!

One last take on the Royal Wedding from the great and good Linda Holmes.

This man was not prepared for the replies to his tweet.

It’s the guns.

Much surprise, such shock, wow.

More shock. This is one hell of a FARA violation. 

Yet more shock. (ETA: he might not know what he’s talking about. Super shocking.)

Yet more shock still. Such a shocking week this has been. Please read this and the past four links in a devastatingly monotone voice.

We live in such weird times

I have to stop falling in love with brands. One will always break your heart. The Deciem weirdness continued this week.

Speaking of skincare, though, this is 100% how I lured Jeff in.

Also this week in awful, an organisation with almost 100% white ownership and a 70% black workforce told its members that they couldn’t engage in certain acts of civic protest over police brutality. I refer of course, to the NFL. There is some hope, however.

They may have a different version of the truth than we do.” This year’s version of “alternative facts.”

ARE THERE NO HEROS LEFT?! Also Weinstein has turned himself in on rape charges. Good.

Two bad ICE stories in the news. Both horrifying.

Here, something good in the world.

Good dog.

#RepealTheEighth

I’m not dwelling overly long on the various political dramas of the White House week, but I’m conflicted about that choice. Because in part I think that it means the perceived tactic of this White House is working: they are sowing so much chaos, unreliable information, or outright conspiracy theories that it’s almost impossible to land any kind of blow on them no matter how necessary. The president is in tone (and who knows, I’m typing this on Wednesday, this could total expand by the end of the week) suggesting that the FBI planted evidence against him. This is farcical. He’s tried this tactic before, claiming that the game was rigged against him and his messaging was rather thrown off course when he actually won the election. Meaning that the long term scheme was for the government to plant a spy in his organization to gather information that they didn’t release while simultaneously investigating his opponent’s campaign organization and holding press conferences about that, so that he would win the election to install an administration of his own supporters….to then start undermining him?

The alternative option on this Occams Razor edge is that at some point Mr. Trump or people around him came to FBI attention due to the various shady dealings in his business past. But hey, why be simple when you can start another conspiracy theory. The president lies constantly and no one cares.

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Oops. I dwelt.