Category: Humor

Weekend Links

A flying drop in of links for your reading delectation, my ducklings. I’m still semi absent, but I’m also still finding you things to help us all distract ourselves from the general…er…everything…

Never not interested in antique jewels!

Also never not into the women who make other powerful people (especially women), well, powerful.

Reupping this story from last week, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex continued to be candid and vulnerable in powerful ways. I’m more convinced than ever that she (and likely he) did not understand the ugliness she was going to face and I think this interview speaks to that. “I never thought it would be easy,” she said of tabloid newspaper coverage, “but I thought it would be fair.”

2020 is going to be so ugly I can’t think about it without feeling panicky.

What a week for journalism! Not only did McKay Coppins drop another brilliant profile this week, Ashley Feinberg did her usual investigative brilliance and discovered Senator Romney’s secret Twitter feed within hours of learning of its existence! “C’est moi!”

We need to talk more about menstrual cups.

People are going to have to move. Millions of them. And anyone who doesn’t like that fact now is in for a world of hurt and anger in the foreseeable human future.

Messaging matters. It’s why I have a career, and you don’t always notice it until you notice its absence.

Long live Bilbo the cat.

This feels like it should be a much bigger story in the wider conversations we’re having about money, citizenship, capitalism, and culture. We already pay a literal cost to participate in society, it’s called taxes. To be in a position to have to pay in ORDER to pay for taxes is mad.

On the one hand, he’s right. On the other hand, I was personally awash in thirst in most of the films in some way or another.

I’m not proud of the fact that I follow at least two astrology meme social media accounts. I don’t believe in it…and yet…

I spend a lot of time thinking about collective anger. Everyone is angry right now–*I’m* angry. And a lot of interested parties (irrespective of faction) have spent years whipping up anger to suit their own ends. I think a lot of those interested parties have badly misjudged how much control they will have over that anger in the long term.

Such malicious enjoyment I felt reading this!

Why it’s wrong to dismiss the power and draw of online communities and the very real value they give.

Why journalism failed the Brexit debate (and elsewhere).

Just when you’re convinced 2019 could not get any dumber: butt dialling.

Something I think a lot about and I suspect Small Dog Nation does too.

An excellent piece on how our collective perceptions of time and experience have changed in the last decade. It’s flattened. Our experiences have become performative. Privacy is mostly a delusion. We’re going to have to do some real psychological work as a culture to figure out what to do and where to go next as a result.

Because it’s witch season, let’s indulge in a bit of history on the subject, shall we?

this story…I just…the poodles?!

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Facts.

Weekend Links

A short intro this week, ducklings. I actually may have to take a blog break for a bit, life has simply overtaken me of late, but here’s some weekend reading to get you through until then. Sending you good vibes for the week ahead.

This is quite the romantic tale

Journalist Spencer Ackerman put it best this week, “If you read Comey’s memoir, the story that he doesn’t realize he’s telling you is a story about a man so convinced of his own heroism that he constantly searches for opportunities to intervene and ends up making things worse. An extremely American story.” It was in relation to this profile.

I want them. I want them all. (I mean, except the Nazi and Confederate ones and their various deplorable associates. Yikes, people!)

I laughed with Mr. Gowdy was announced, and reader I chortled to read the update.

This is vile and if I never hear another pearl-clutching diatribe about civility in the public square again it will be too soon. (For those who try to pull the “whataboutism” card of how satirists and political adversaries have also produced graphic depictions of violence towards political leaders, the important differences are context and power. A comedian acting in bad taste is just that. Boycott or shrug as you wish. A president or his supporters showing a violent targeting of enemies, at an event designed to garner support, is wielding power. One of these has an actual army under their command, the other doesn’t.)

Reality TV is all he understands.

This week in Mormon news: it’s not great.

Here have something slightly better: a deep dive into the wacky, wonderful world of the Utah film industry!

Ho’ boy. Seems fraud-y.

Caption this.

I found this article about a fan “breaking up” with a star incredible poingnant. It’s a silly topic on the surface, but surprisingly deep. It resonated with me and my experience breaking up with not just my religion, but specific cultural aspects of my old faith. I got to a point where I was reading and participating in the activism and blogosphere and personalities in the feminist Mormon community so much that it had taken over my life is highly negative ways. I defined almost everything in my life by my relationship to these communities! I had to choose to to assign my attention and time in fundamentally different ways–which impacts identity, priorities, and any number of other things–and it was not easy.

Cry me a damn river. I’m pretty well convinced this guy’s goal is to try and become president some day, and I will be delighted if his ambitions collapse. There are plenty of principled conservatives who could be elected whose policies I’ll cheerfully complain about, confident that they aren’t implicated in corrupt schemes.

The letter itself is insane and the response was just about as reassuring.

I.Con.Ic. Paint it in oils and hang it high.

Why the Young Folks are mad, exhibit 2,604.

If the most effective form of propaganda in the digital age is to overwhelm the public with so much bullshit that they stop believing anything, then that puts people like me in a near-impossible position because we’re no longer debating what’s true and false; instead, the question of truth is off the table, and politics is purely about aesthetics and cultural identity.”

A little seasonal witchiness for you.

Good, this is exactly a time where it needs to be tested and people need to make decisions. It’s a worthy debate to have in good faith, regardless on where you land on an answer.

One of the blogging OG’s reflects on the effects of social media on her self.

Rest in power.

Brexit slogs on. Johnson does as well.

GUYS, NO. This is how we die!

I’m kind of over the Joker discourse, but still enjoyed this take on why Jared Leto’s Joker in Suicide Squad (an objectively bad film) simply didn’t work.

Important cookie content.

The Duchess of Sussex did something quietly revolutionary this week: she told people how she felt. I’ve seen both American and British responses to her choice to be so vulnerable, but I don’t think most American realize that what she’s doing is completely outside the norms and expectations for her role. I applaud her. The virulent racism and misogyny she has been subjected to is next level and, I personally believe, she did not really comprehend what she was getting into. Even being a celebrity is no apprenticeship for being a royal. The scrutiny she was going to face was always going to be horrible, always. But I don’t think she (or probably her husband) realized it would be this ugly. Meanwhile, the role of the royal family is not to be human; it is to be a group of living, breathing symbols and ciphers for other people’s patriotism, criticism, pride, and anger. She is choosing to be a person. I cannot say enough how much I admire that, but she has unquestionably chosen the hard route. She will pave the way for many women, both in the public and private sphere who will find inspiration in her example, but I cringe to think how much more abuse she will be subjected to as a result of her bold choices.

The impeachment news this week is too much to try and summarize myself, so here’s a summary of updates from the week as well as a couple of new podcast resources (this one from WYNC is hosted by Brian Lehrer, this one is from Vox). It’s been interspersed with the ridiculously corrupt news that the administration (aka the President) effectively awarded a government contract to himself, in announcing that one of his resorts would host the next G7 summit. He walked it back days later on Twitter because of the backlash. I suspect it’s like a genuine attempt to drive money towards a business that the ProPublica and Washington Post teams have compiled enough evidence to confirm is wildly under-performing, wrapped a test case for what his party will and will not protect him from.

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Weekend Links: WAGatha Christie and Wagging the Dog

“The glory which is built upon a lie soon becomes a most unpleasant incumbrance. …  How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and how hard it is to undo that work again!”
– Mark Twain

This week has been NUTS. We’ve got footballers wives doing a better job that national security apparatuses, the Ukraine scandal spiraling into new depths, and ursine QUEENS. This is an extra hefty dose of links to help you process the *waves hands at general state of things.*

It’s going to be a very normal and calm week, I see…

Super normal.

What BULLSHIT. This is what toxic gender roles mean for everyone: loneliness and disdain for all involved, unless we all participate in a system which requires a hierarchy with winners and losers. Imagine the world we could build if we dedicating one tenth of the energy we put towards reinforcing unequal systems to building better ones that rewarded different many different kinds of success instead of a designated few.

We’ve been playing the “horrible goose” game for a week, this might be next.

I’ve fled that country

Words cannot express how much I love Caitlin Moran and her writing. Her last column in the Sunday Times is short but nails the appeal of chaos to so many right now–particularly those who should, theoretically, be most opposed to it.

LOL to the entire idea that Perry is the criminal mastermind. Also, the internal logic continues to impress me. This “perfect” phone call that is entirely above board was also totally this guy’s fault. Let me be clear, I completely am onboard with the idea that Rick Perry is involved in this mess (and so do other people, given he’s been subpoenaed), but you will have a hard time convincing me that the Oops Guy is responsible for it all.

I need to print out this list and post it. It’s nominally about writing, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the advice is multi faceted.

A rather interesting case progressed this week, wherein the President tried to keep his personal financial records hidden via a rather extraordinary set of circumstances and claims that his office grants him immunity from any kind of criminal prosecution–which would have been a deeply problematic ruling to enshrine in precedent.

This shift in policy is not just bad and last minute on it’s face, it puts one of our most stalwart allies in the fight against ISIS in direct harm’s way, thereby breaking promises and diminishing the likelihood that we are seen as a trusted partner to our own friends the world over. (ETA, two days later…)

TikTok makes me feel very old.

Ooh, someone running the social experiment I want follow!

Ronan Farrow’s latest book exposes a lot more about the shadowy world of private protection and security that the wealthy move in to safeguard them against reputational damage. He’s released excerpts with The New Yorker and they are not fucking around! Part I, Part II, Part III.

Related to the previous, what happens after, you ask?

who’s in for the next pony party?

I don’t like this weird dystopia.

Meanwhile, Holly is a goddamn icon as far as I’m concerned!

SOMEBODY BUY THIS CAPE RIGHT NOW.

We’ve had to go through a lot of pain to realize that this should have been the take from the jump as a society, but I stan a sassy delivery of truth any day of the week.

Also, Elizabeth Warren is extremely good at this.

What a mess this is going to be…on Tuesday the White House sent a rather sloppy legal letter advising the House that they aren’t going to participate in the investigation into their behavior. This is either ridiculous gaslighting or they don’t understand how an investigation works. Likely both. Now is when we are going to see if our constitutional checks and balances actually work: will the House be able to serve and enforce subpoenas, or is the president above the law? Regardless of your politics, this has huge implications for American politics.

On Wednesday, the prominent legal scholar Noah Feldman summed up the impasse are barreling towards.

Also, greater insight into how a fairly small outfit (all things considered) is destabilizing nations and events around the world.

Something I honestly think about a lot: will Jeff and I ever really be able to retire?

A tragic and difficult read, about individual pain and community trauma.

I love fall!

The kerfuffle with the NBA and China, explained.

How did you survive the WAG War of 2019? Anything that gets the term “Wagatha Christie” trending will absolutely command my attention.

How handy! A new list of things to read, all of which tickle my fancy!

Another week, another great Amanda Mull piece.

It’s leather jacket season!

Thursday. Welp. (A tiny reminder of how deeply incestuous all of this world is, and a quick summary. Another tiny nugget/reminder that their companies are called Fraud Guarantee and Mafia Rave. Seriously.)

“…the best people…”

Reminder: to understand the Ukraine shenanigans, you have to understand the world of conspiracy theories. It’s also increasingly likely that some of the most powerful men (and they are mostly men) in the world, actually DO believe these.

On the flip side, here’s a succinct timeline of the Ukrainian situation as it actually happened. In other words, Mr. Guiliani was not “looking for dirt”

All the AOC haircut “scandal” has made clear to me is that most men don’t realize how expensive it is to be a woman.

Hey, that Webtoon I shared on a previous monthly favorites post has some great news!

Friday. The role of the Supreme Court really is the Chekov’s Gun in the Trump presidency.

Also Friday.

Also also Friday. (Her statement is not messing about.)

And did sweet f a about it, apparently.

Fuck.

Extremely relevant to my interests and past professional life. This change will affect how money flows across this entire planet!

SHAMELESS PLUG OF THE WEEK. I’m so bloody proud of her I could burst! Enjoy this pleasing tease of the British version of her upcoming book and sharpen your knives in anticipation.

Welp, this baby made me cry.

Three Days in Naples

“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

I’m finally getting around to sharing some of our travel escapades from earlier this year–all of which have been a lot less planned and organized that we probably intended. Jeff’s done a friend’s birthday in Denmark, I’ve had a last-minute jaunt to Italy, and my brother’s wedding was organized on about three month’s notice, so it’s not been a year of grand escapes so much as trying to fit in what we can. But we’ve had some good times nonetheless…even if we want to take a solid two weeks off for Christmas!

So, why did I flit off to Naples earlier this year with less than a month to plan you ask? Simple:

X and I had an anniversary to celebrate: our 20 year Friendiversary. We met 20 years ago, at a weeklong summer camp arranged by our then-church. I had just moved to Virginia from Texas and she from Scotland. We were both military brats, Air Force to be specific, and we had what L.M. Montgomery once immortalized as a “kindred spirits.”

X is older than me by a couple of years and has always held the role of best friend and older sister. She has been a constant in my life for two decades and though our lives have not mirrored, they have flowed alongside one another without stopping. We went to the same university, both experienced a great faith change, have changed careers multiple times, struggled in the hustle and grind of the world’s biggest cities, laughed, and cried.

She’s one of the great loves of my life, and I fully intend that she and I will be frolicking along until a ripe old age.

Our agenda was not complicated. Hours of talking, eating our bodyweight in pizza and wine, all the local coffee and baked goods we could reasonably consume, beauty and perfume boutiques, and nerdery. We exceeded every single goal

Fulfilling a lifelong ambition, she indulged me in a day in Pompeii.

I was incredibly relaxed and not at all bugging out about the whole thing.

Pompeii is easily accessible by public rail from the city center and incredibly visitor friendly. There are comprehensive maps which can point you to the more famous tourist spots, or you can simply wander to your heart’s content. We did a bit of both

I truly didn’t understand the scale of Pompeii until I got to wander through it. I’ve been fortunate to visit a lot of cultural heritage sites and ruins in my life, but this is another scale when it comes to completeness. Roman grafiti have been preserved and restored on the walls. Shop stalls are set up as they were on the day of the catastrophe. Homes and gardens are laid out in ways that are perfectly understandable and accessible to a modern viewer.

Two girlfriends, both alike in dignity…

I cannot over recommend the Airbnb route. X and I decided to do this trip on something of a whim and within one frantic Google Docs and call session had arranged for dirt cheap flights and a place to stay fairly locally. Like many cities, Naples has a thriving non-hotel market (which is admittedly causing other challenges for local industries) and there are excellent options at a variety of pricepoints. We saved money by going for a cheaper one bedroom joint that allowed for late night chats reminiscent of our teenage sleepovers, and a killer view of Mount Vesuvius. Get a local pad, stock up on coffee, bread, cheese, and fruit, and spend your money travelling or shopping.

The whole city is gorgeous, a mix of ancient and modern, gritty and grand.

We were lucky enough to stumble across a church which also functions as a museum which happened to be housing a Chagall exhibition–X’s favorite artist. Of course we took it in, and we fell head over heels in love with their resident (official) mouser:

And ducklings…the pizza! Naples is widely considered the birthplace of pizza as we know it and there are a million local joints with their local fans and factions, all willing to do battle over which reigns supreme. PERFECT if you’re a visitor whose only goal is try EVERYTHING. My favorite was a fairly modest looking, hole-in-the-wall family restaurant which just happened to hold a well-deserved Michelin star.

Our last night in town we stopped by an antique bookseller which converted into a bar by night. It was the perfect place for a farewell hang.

I would, however, be remiss if I didn’t tell you that the airport contained not just one but two fully fledged cheesemongers. My kind of city!

 

Weekend Links

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”
― Groucho Marx

Ducklings, another weekend is upon us and it has been a bonkers one. Short intro this week we have a lot to catch up on and discuss!

Honestly, SNL nailed it. And by “it” I mean my fears, the reality of the moment, and the correct chaotic energy.

I heartily love the phrase “yoga babble” and find it a very apt description.

RIP to an icon.

I’ve gone on a roller coaster in the run up to this film, first being excited by the idea of it, put off by the groundswell of toxicity that sprang up in the worst corners of the internet around it, and troubled by … Based largely on this review, I think I’ve circled back around to being fairly excited to see it. It seems very current to the times and for that reason, I’m interested. Jeff and I went to see Hustlers last week (bit of a weird segue, but walk with me) and afterwards I opined that it was the first film I’d seen since The Big Short that I felt was about our current era in a very deliberate way. It was certainly the first movie I’ve seen that expressed anger and a revenge fantasy for the past 10 financial years. Pop culture has been largely been centered in the realm of science fiction and fantasy (Marvel and Game of Thrones, anybody?) and avoidant of The Now. I know Joker is a comic book piece, but the themes it’s clearly tackling are all 2019.

Like catnip for Small Dog Nation.

I too am THIS many years old.

In fact, I’m getting too old for the new platforms of Kids These Days…how grim.

Of COURSE they are. Just get out of the way, peeps, and let the teen girls do their thing. They are 100% our best hope for the future.

Shaken or stirred?

DUH.

How is James Franco still allowed out in society?

Baby steps, I guess? I actually perversely hope that what this accomplishes is enough social cognitive dissonance to drive real social change for women.

You guessed it, I’m still not over this business story.

Content warning: this reporting from the New York Times is incredibly hard to read, and some people may not be able or wish to, but it’s important. The scourge of online abuse and sexual exploitation of children has exploded in recent years and our ability to track it, hold abusers to justice, and protect victims is fundamentally not scaling with the technical ability of the individuals and communities creating and spreading it. Here’s hoping that sunlight provokes change.

The political news will be summarised at the end of this post (to avoid my brain exploding) but this piece is worthwhile both because from what I’m seeing early on this week, most of the defense attempts of the administration’s behavior are trying to invoke an outright conspiracy theory. This needs to be understood, alongside the remembrance that the current president rose to political prominence and viability off the back of conspiracy theories. It’s simultaneously vital info, but will not dissuade those support him BECAUSE of conspiratorial views and not IN SPITE of them.

Meanwhile, some local reporting out of Wisconsin that has relevance not just to the state and a major local industry but also to America, the land of opportunity and where hard work definitely always pays off… In America, the big get bigger and the small go out,” Perdue said. “I don’t think in America we, for any small business, we have a guaranteed income or guaranteed profitability.”

Ah, another British American cross over event. Our special relationship is not just about hairstyles, it’s about mutually punishing political foes. Cool.

In other British news

Brexit is also going great, by the way.

We are a pro-bath family.

“Kirstjen, you didn’t hear me the first time, honey,” Mr. Trump said, according to two people familiar with the conversation. “Shoot ’em down. Sweetheart, just shoot ’em out of the sky, O.K.?” What. The. Fuck. I’m not talking about the alligator filled moat. I can’t.

QUEENS OF INFAMY UPDATE.

Maybe dudes should sit this one out, just generally.

What a beautiful essay from Zadie Smith.

AH. Nothing is new. We’ve circled back to his original desired endgame, back before he thought he would win.

The UK and the US are both reporting dramatic drops in native wildlife in recent decades. In case you wanted some cheery news this week…

LOLOLOLOL. This guy is SO bad at crimes. Her subtweet was perfect.

Who had “Ruin Whisky” on their 2019 bingo card?

At this point I will read anything by Amanda Mull, her beat of shopping, consumption, women’s perspectives, health and wellness is very much my jam. Her latest on how Forever 21 (but really a lot of other people in capitalism) underestimated the young folk, and women in particular, to simply not need them.

Who asked for this? Why? How did they do the math to identify this demographic?!

Oh, fuck off. Woke culture didn’t harm you, it’s making you rich. Shut up.

This week’s best Twitter profile.

Okay, this is moving unbelievably fast. *cracks knuckles*

Monday through Wednesday: let’s sum up the mess of conspiracy theorist trash, honest debates about nepotism we need to have–right alongside the discussion of bad faith defenses of corruption when it’s Your Guy we’re talking about, and wide ranging complacency/complicity that got us to this point. (This interview with the former Ukrainian prosecutor general is stunning, but it cuts through the noise quite a bit.)

Thursday: THERE it is, just saying the quiet parts out loud and betting that if he does it in broad daylight, he’ll get away with it. He may, depressingly, be right. Meanwhile, at the OTHER coverup

Friday: a summary. Bleeding hell. A lot of aides have apparently been privately “horrified” at the President’s cavalier calls for a long time and decided to do fuck all about it. Profiles in courage.

Five Things I Loved in September

“We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.”
― Heny Rollins

September was a productive but exhausting month for Small Dog Headquarters and the news is enough to make anyone’s head spin. Here is a short list of the things that kept me sane, healthy, and laughing uproariously this month.

 

Schitt’s Creek

This month, in pop culture that C. is late to! Schitt’s’Creek had been on my list to catch up on for a long time and now I’m kicking myself for how long it took me to get around to it. This is a laugh-out-loud gem of a show! The premise is that a wealthy family loses everything and has to start over in the last asset they own, the eponymous rural Canadian town. Hijinks ensue.  Every single character is perfectly formed and standalone, and the inside jokes and interrelationships layer wonderfully throughout its so-far five seasons. There is apparently going to be a final, sixth season and I hope it wins every comedy award possible. Wacky, earnest, and fundamentally kind while still being extremely funny, it walks a very precise line for entertainment that’s hard to accomplish but very satisfying when pulled off.

The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller

I devoured this retelling of the Trojan War myth in about two sittings and I cannot recommend it enough. The prose is wonderful. Madeline Miller crafts the world of ancient and mythological Greece in such a way that the Homeric legends are presented as present reality to the characters–gods and heroes fully included. It’s not over-glamorized in the way of TV or cinema when they try to depict the “swords and sandals” dramas; the ancient parts feel authentic and gritty. And yet, you aren’t at all surprised when a meddlesome goddess shows up to twist the mortals about, or one of Zeus’ many offspring are referenced. Told from the point of view of Patroclus, a romance grows, set against the backdrop of the west’s most famous war. I’m still to get my hands on Circe, the latest novel by the same author, but I’m more eager than ever to do so.

 

Grocery Delivery Services

Once again, I have to sing the praises of the very kind gentleman who drops of a box of fruit and veg to my door once a week. When I skipped the service the week before and of our move, I noticed an immediate change in my cooking and snacking habits–for much the worse. Now that it’s back up and running, I’m back to cooking and eating more fresh fruit and veg again and feeling tons better overall. Many urban environments have a lot of these services to choose from, but mine is Able & Cole.

 

Independent Movie Theatres

In Bermondsey there is a small theatre set behind a cafe and drinks bar off a historic square. It’s got about thirty red leather seats and the general closeness of the space makes it feel more like an over the top home theatre. It’s fantastic! Apparently it’s one of three similar theatres within bars or events spaces, and I cannot tell you how delighted I am to have such a joint in walking distance. We tried for the first time on a date night, but I’m already booking future tickets because not only does the theatre show new releases, it also is a venue for National Theatre broadcasts which show live or filmed viewings of West End productions. It’s a great way to see a show you may not have been able to catch in person.

 

Burberry Lipstick

An old favorite, but let me endorse the Burberry Lip Velvet in bullet and liquid lipstick form. I’ve started wearing the deep, deep burgundy color Oxblood in both formulas in celebration of the arrival of fall, and it’s the perfect option for anyone looking to feel just a bit witchy as the season changes!

October Moodboard

“Everybody sat in the dark cellar, suspended in the suddenly frozen task of this October game; the wind blew outside, banging the house, the smell of pumpkins and apples filled the room with smell of the objects in their fingers…”
– Ray Bradbury

October is a glorious month, it’s all moody weather and pleasant chill. The season of leather boots and chunky knits!

This month I’m going to focus on settling. September was all upheaval and change, October is (I’m hoping!) about slowing down, getting deliberate and mindful, and focusing on the things that provide a sense of stability. There’s going to be lots of food, a few classes, and hopefully a return to a more balanced approach to work and life. I’m pairing back…while still including pops of drama and color just to keep things interesting. So what if the fashion inspiration is from the midcentury and the eye makeup look I’m devoting myself to is from last winter. Find joy, ducklings!

On the To Do list are a local viewing of the original Fleabag stage show, leaving the office on time, and catching up on my library check out queue (which is out of control with all the news reading and podcast listening which has taken over my media life). What are you doing or looking forward to this October?