Category: Links

Weekend Links – Bring on the Bank Holiday!

Ducklings, it’s a Bank Holiday weekend and the links are dropping early because mama needs to lie in a sunbeam and do as little as possible for three days. I mean, let’s be real that’s my usual go to, but with quarantine we do it with GUSTO.

This week I introduced Jeff to Fleabag and he got me to finish The Last Dance which I enjoyed tremendously, in spite of not being a sports person outside of live collegiate games.

I know the weather is brilliant in the UK right now, but guys…please don’t be dumb. There’s still a pandemic on. Act accordingly.


I’m obsessed with the squirtgun priest. More creativity in unusual times, please!

A charming story about my favorite wildlife critter.

A firm rebuttal to my post of earlier this week. Okay, okay I’ll give up on the self-loathing already!

The British Museum is producing a film of its famous Pompeii exhibition and making it available for free. (YouTube)

As a long time fan of The Financial Diet, this podcast episode (doubling up as a YouTube vid) discussing the ephemeral nature of fame and fortune that we’ve been living with (and completely rebuilt commerce and social capital around) was a great listen.

One of the few bright spots out of this mess, but also a sobering reminder of what it will take to affect climate change trends.

Setting aside the batshit craziness (which is admittedly a challenge) can we all agree at this point that the one thing we cannot and should not do is take the guy “at his word?

God, I hope we don’t go back, at least not the way things were.

Elegant and refined solution. Pure couture.

It’s bad faith all the way down and has been for a long time.

Yes, let’s experiment!

Still don’t really get where QAnon came from, what it encompasses, and what people who believe in it…believe? This is a long read, but worth your time.

Reader survey: trolling or a side effect of that unproven med we cannot be sure that he’s taken or not – thanks to the masterful work of a press release that refuses to confirm or deny whether he’s been dosed.

Trolls and Twitter eggs are going to kill us all… I don’t think anyone imagined the great science fiction digital undoing of our world to be this stupid.

Speaking of Twitter, yes, I followed this privileged saga and thought Roman really didn’t do herself any favors, but cannot help but contrast her being “on leave” while other (male) columnists have actively attacked and pursued punishing actions against critics (Bedbug Stephens, anyone?) and still have their jobs.  Roman publicly apologized and Teigen publicly accepted.

And in THIS week’s drama of white women trying to elevate themselves by comparing or contrasting themselves to other women – particularly women of color – Lana del Ray pulled one out too, on Our Lady and Savior Beyonce no less!

Weekend Links

Two links post in a single week, my doves, you’re either really lucky or we’re in the middle of a global pandemic that forbids us from leaving our houses. How are you keeping this weekend, beloveds?

Why yes, Small Dog Nation WOULD like a bunch of highly bespoke curated collections, thanks.

Another bit of SDN catnip, an antiquities mystery!

Anyone else follow the Alison Roman situation? One of the unexpected skills I’ve developed whilst being Extremely Online, is the uncanny ability to spot a cancellation coming. A few weeks ago, I was suddenly finding Alison Roman content everywhere, the algorithim was feeding it to (props to her PR team, without irony)…meaning it would not be long. Lo and behold, she said something super dumb and the internet piled on to rage at her in the time honored tradition of hating women – mixed with the problem of women putting down other women to tell their own stories. Nothing new to see here, kids, and yet Kristin Wong from The Financial Diet wrote something pretty dang smart about the whole Twitter tempest.

I’m still in mourning for a bygone time.

So what I’m hearing is that we could always have set up our fiscal and social policies differently to benefit workers more, but chose not to. Cool cool cool. Tax the rich next.

Bless their hearts.

Well, this is horrifying.

The disaster has become so dire so quickly owing, in part, to the legacy of the 2008 financial crisis. Minimum wage, in real terms, is more than thirty per cent lower than it was fifty years ago. (Since the nineteen-eighties, most of the benefits of America’s growing economy have gone to the wealthy.) Meanwhile, housing costs have more than doubled since 2000. “When people say they live paycheck to paycheck, it’s not that they’re managing their money poorly,” Sharon Parrott, a senior vice-president at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told me. “Instead, their housing costs are taking up a disproportionate share of their incomes.” The result is a slim margin of error: forty per cent of Americans don’t have four hundred dollars cash to spare in an emergency, and would need to rely on credit cards or friends and family to come up with the money.”


We all remember Stanley Tucci being daddy and making cocktails for us, yes? Well, daddy came through with food.

Another Friday night, another Inspector General fired.

Gender equity in the workplace requires gender equity in the home. (Side note, I’ve have low key enjoyed the male commentary about being quarantined at home with children and how difficult it is to provide childcare and work at the same time. YEAH, MY DUDES. EXACTLY.)

Lockdown is horrible, but I am loving and eternally grateful for the cultural heritage industries in particular who are finding ways to bring us plays, operas, ballets, museums, and now art lectures in dark times.

I still hate the Space Force. Super Duper.

An ITG Top Shelfie for the ages.


Midweek Links

You know what’s a first world problem? Your internet and broadband dying the Friday morning of a Bank Holiday weekend when you’re not supposed to go outside. It was fun. Not stressful in the slightest.

But we’re back and we’re connected and we’re overdue with some links so let’s hop to it, kittens! Mama’s missed you.

Let’s learn about monkeys.

Interesting read on the idea and power of “home.”

Oh J. Crew…I’m heartbroken for all my past love, but not surprised.

Will llamas save us all?

Seems natural

Brand matters!

A bit of science reporting to help explain the genetics of COVID-19 and how it can be traced. (I also recommend an old episode of Radio Lab about the evolution of HIV, but which explains how viruses make the jump from animals to humans in high detail but accessible narrative).

A damning/hilarious/chilling indictment.

It’s probably the epitome of tempting the fates, but is this peak 2020?

Cool. Cool cool cool...

The lipstick effect is real, and it is powerful!

For a bunch of personal and professional reasons (expat coupled with work coupled with an international family), I’m following the aviation industry news with a lot of mixed emotions right now.

The UK is such a strange place to be right now. Furlough has been extended until October, but what that means and how we’ll do it, and the implications of how we may possible inadvertently completely change the social safety net forever are still being worked through. Let’s see what happens and hope we don’t die, shrug emoji?

I have watched this 17 times:

Weekend Links – May Day, May Day!

Well, we made it, kittens. April is behind us and good riddance. Short and sweet today as we’re powering through the last few hours before the weekend…even though it won’t look massively different from our weekdays.

Nonetheless, this weekend I intend to enjoy the sunshine, cuddle effusively with my husband, and cook. Let me know your plans in the comments, and I promise to cheer them on whatever they are.

We elected our dumbest and worst person to be president. You cannot convince me otherwise at this point.

New single from The 1975, one of my favorite bands.

Culture matters in good times, but it matters desperately in rough ones. Take advantage of the artistic generosity swelling forth, but also donate if you can now and commit to funding it when you can later.

2020 is so wild that this barely broke into my awareness this week.

Shall we volunteer, Small Dog Nation?

As I spend more time cooking, I am thinking more about cookbooks (as opposed to family recipes, or what I find on pinterest or online). But I have read few as BOOKS, and plan to rectify this.

Andrew Yang was an unusual candidate in that he seemed fully focused on future problems and did not sugar coat the risks he saw. While he was never my preference, I’m pleased he advocated for certain issues and found this interview with him to be worth a read given the state of the world.

This may be the only time a mediocre book review compels me to read the book in question, because it so perfectly encapsulate a current moment that it might feel remiss not to. “As I read The End of October, I found myself resenting it. It was such a silly potboiler of a novel, with such unbelievable characters, such leaden sentences, such infuriatingly clumsy dialogue. How dare the world in which I am actually living so closely resemble a fucking airport thriller?

Yes, I have read “the nanny piece.” No, I have no further comments beyond “Eat the rich.”

The coming war between venues of all kinds, artists, distributors, and agents is going to be nuts. I don’t think movie theatres or theatrical venues are ever going to go away (if the last five thousand years of human history are anything to go by). But that doesn’t mean they won’t, or shouldn’t change. Concerts won’t stop, but I also hope artists will continue to stream straight to their fans when all this is over. I hope gyms will continue to provide online classes. I hope the ways in which we consume and enjoy all manner of things stays accessible and doesn’t just serve to make a few people rich.

Longtime readers will know that Small Dog Nation stans Yoga with Adrienne, so seeing her process and success detailed was both pleasurable and genuinely interesting. She’s a great exercise resource, especially right now.

Celebrating good spuds and good people.

Either we take sexual assault claims seriously or we don’t. Biden needs to provide answers to these accusations, the public needs to grapple with them and come to a consensus and partisanship won’t cut it. His statement today and call for transparency is the right first step, investigation must follow.

Death to FOMO.

Five Things I Loved in April

What a strange month April was. We left the house once a day, if that, and the most exciting decisions we had to make were around what to eat. And yet, given the uncertainty of work, health, industry, and…everything else, it was still difficult in its own way. We’re very fortunate to be safe and healthy thus far, including our extended families, but continue to be aware that this is largely a matter of privilege and luck. Who knows what May is going to bring but in the meantime, here’s what helped the past month feel a little less locked down.

Share your faves and finds in the comments, ducklings. Sharing is caring.


Tiger King

Ok, let’s be clear: this show was a wacky, wild trip and has more than a few flaws as a documentary. It is not an objectively good show in many ways, there are no heroes and more than a little fanciful positioning of characters. False equivalents abound and conjecture is presented as if not fact, then likely. And yet, it’s compelling in the worst way: it’s great television.

Its editors in particular nailed their task of keeping audience sensibilities and allegiances shifting, while also holding them in the uncomfortable space of confronting the fact that none of the characters (in every sense of the word) are likeable or even decent. And yet, it gripped the pop cultural landscape because people watched it and couldn’t look away, myself included. It’s a master class in upping the ante with every episode and genre shift. Just when you think you’re watching a perfectly normal wildlife rescue documentary, BOOM. There’s a cult. Then there’s a murder – or is there? Then there’s polyamory. Then there’s an election campaign. Then a hit man. And it’s a true testament that I have given NOTHING away with any of those statements

I inhaled it, I talked about it with friends, I’m still not done thinking about it.


Psycle London (specifically their Instagram TV feed!)

This was a later find in the month, but my goodness what a treasure it has been! Psycle is a very trendy gym brand in London and I’ve wanted to try some of their classes in the past, but the locations stopped being handy when our schedules changed and I never could muster the timing or cash to go for it. Well, like many other brands, they’ve started producing content online and via social media. Apart from being absolutely what’s needed for many right now, it’s brilliant marketing. Several instructors hold their usual 45-minute classes multiple times a day on Instagram Live and, at least once a week, a selection of those videos are then added to their Instagram TV channel. I’ve done a class daily since discovering it and finally getting to try barre workouts – reminiscent of dance days and a killer class. These are all free, though there is pleasingly a way to donate any amount to help them meet costs right now. Once all this is behind us, I will definitely make it to their in-person classes, but I hope they continue an online program in some way – I will definitely keep participating and paying!


My Dark Vanessa, by Kate Elizabeth Russell

This is definitely going to be Not For Everybody, but this book absolutely gripped and gutted me. It needs all the trigger warnings as the subject matter includes sexual abuse and its long aftermath.  Straight from my Goodreads review: “What a difficult, complicated book. I’m not sure anyone has successfully tackled the layers of complexity of harms, desires, manipulations, and even bizarre affections that can be part of an abusive relationship, but this book gets the nearest I’ve ever come across. “A haze of unspeakable things,” as the narrator puts it when trying to articulate all the questions she has about her relationship with a person who took advantage of his position and power over her. If anything I think this book gives a visceral account of how our own identities can become interwoven with other people’s and the stories we tell (and tell ourselves) about our relationships to others. Even evil people are the heroes of their own tales. Uncomfortable and confronting.

“The second half of the book isn’t as crisply constructed to me and I think could have been edited down, but that’s a minor technical quibble and I’m still impressed that this is a debut novel.”


Glossier, FutureDew

I’ve shared this favorite before but I’ve finished my first bottle in record time for any face/makeup product and am already on my second. While I’m certainly not putting on a face every single day, I’d be lying if I said my vanity and desire to look good on video conference calls didn’t mean that I threw some slap on in April. This oil/serum hybrid provided a lovely glowy base for “bare” days and a decent canvas for when I had to look a little more presentable – at least from the waist up. I foresee this being a daily beauty product throughout summer, quarantine or no.



Nothing like a little lockdown to help you focus on your plans to cook more. I’m determined to expand the family cooking repertoire and really master both classic recipes (boeuf bourguignon, I’m coming for you) and as many different cultural styles as I can try. I’m slowly pushing the boat out on vegetarian options as well, both for health and money reasons. Jeff would like it publicly noted that he disagrees strongly with this, but even he had to admit my first dhal was pretty damn tasty. In the spirit of charity, here are a few of things we’ve made this month:

A beautiful savory dhal dish – my first proper attempt at a lentil-based meal

My go-to baking vice – for something with a bit of chewiness and heft

The BEST breakfast or brunch meal on the planet, do not @ me

Easiest banana bread 

Weekend Links

Happy Friday, ducklings. It’s been a hell of a week. Work continues to be rewarding but tiring, the news continues to be bad (PLEASE don’t inject yourself with bleach, team…)

Ouch. This one landed right in the feels.

Pop culture critic and unabashed musical lover Lindsay Ellis took on CATS. And she is 100% correct.

Some really good ideas and tips in this vlog about taking some time whilst we’re all at home to maintain your wardrobe items.

How are cities going to change in the future? It’s not original to say they are expensive and stressful to live in (even those of us who love them), but how might COVID-19 force societal shifts, even if they were already in the making?

Good for them. No one is required to be complicit in their own abuse, especially after having taken the decisions they have to reduce their public obligations.

Another potential positive outcome to this whole mess: a correct recalibration on the importance of science over anecdote. I’m on record as finding the Anti Vaxx movement dangerous and, in my opinion, a by product of other pernicious elevations of opinion over reason and bizarre tribalism. I’d be delighted to see their platforms and influence vanish.

Bleeding hell. There’s been some stabilising since but it’s an example of exactly how bad things can get – and how the economy is NOT the stock market.

Yes, Stanley, I think we all need that drink right about now.

Big Data for union busting. Yay…

If you’re looking for some quarantine exercise routines, Instagram is here to help! My newest find is Psycle London’s live feed and subsequently posted classes. Send me your recs in the comments.

Reminder – this is classic and academically documented troll behavior, and there is a history of tactic coordination that appears local but isn’t. Apply healthy scepticism accordingly.

Active force for good in the world.

Active force for depression, but worth reading.

Me reading this story:

Weekend Links

Sharp and sweet this week, my ducklings. It’s been another frantic one and I’m out of energy to do anything but read and veg. Check in and let me know how you’re doing!


No kidding

On the one hand, it’s nice to know my wacky dreaming is not just my brain short circuiting. On the other, share your most bizarre ones in the comments!

I’ve been screaming for a more creative society where we experiment with solutions far more than we do now, and here was a refreshing attempt. What would you experiment with? Tell me in the comments again, I’m highly interested in hot takes!

The legend of Mary Magdalene, a thoughtful read following Easter Week on the individual, the history of christendom, and evolution of religious belief.

Well, this is grim

What an ugly, small, vainglorious awful man.

He’s going to get people killed. More of them, I mean.

Not great, team.

No, I’m still not over Tiger King. This is just gravy at this point.

I am among the many Animal Crossing widows.


The economist who has made me think and rethink my opinions on more financial issues in my lifetime is Mark Blyth, based out of the Watson School for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. He’s given many informative (and entertaining) talks over the years, about macro and micro economic histories with an emphasis on how fiscal policy affects political and cultural trends. Two virtual podcasts/seminars to shout out this week from him, one serious and the other more fun. “Facts are behind paywalls, rumors are free of charge.” 

A question we badly need to answer and soon.

I delight in museum Twitter battles!

Their strategy has always been to drown out inconvenient facts with a noisy barrage of distortions—to “flood the zone with shit,” as Steve Bannon once put it. But in recent weeks, the president and his allies have been waging a dystopian campaign of revisionist history more brazen than anything they’ve attempted before.”