Tag: Humor

Weekend Links: 2020 Begins Edition

Beloveds, 2020 is upon us! And my god, we’re only three days in. I’ve honestly been trying to muster up some positivity for the new year, as I normally enjoy fresh slates and clean starts, but I’m struggling. 2019 was hard on a personal level and scary on a macro one, and 2020 is…ah…seeming to start as it means to go on.

However, on a long and delightful call with X the other day we discussed the wonderful motivating power of SPITE. So join me, poppets, in declaring at the outset, that we are not going to give in to despair or undue cynicism–for no other reason than that our collective antagonists are hoping for just that. Get hydrated, caffeine up, register to vote, pick a small handful of causes that you care about deeply to devote your energies to, decide whose good opinion and love is actually important to you and prioritize your life according, and hug a dog. We’re going to get through this year and we’re going to do it with aplomb.

Here is a nice batch of weekend reading to look back fondly on the good, catch up on some things you may have missed, and ground yourself for what we’re likely going to deal with in 2020.

The year in memes.

The year in fashion.

The year in podcasts.

I bet you didn’t know you needed a deep dive into the world of lingerie, but you do.

I’m glad that the news media seems final able to confront some of their failings, particularly the areas that fall in talking head and “opini-tainment” as Jon Stewart once called it. I also think that for it to have taken this long denotes something more disappointing if not sinister.

Anatomy of a radicalization.

At this point, reporting that does not do the connecting work of white nationalism and other political views is doing an active disservice to us. I’m grateful to see this changing.

I’m also grateful to see the discourse on climate change improving, but it’s horrifically late.

Let’s hear it for the girls.

This is a fantastic round up of culture “moments” of the past year, and a good list of things to try and catch up on if you’ve thus far missed out.

Behold a goddamned headline!

People who are anti-immigration in my country can’t do math.

I could read a whole book on how “fan culture” has taken over everything from politics to pop culture, and what this means for us as a society. I spend an inordinate time thinking about it. In the meanwhile, this article is a great starting point.

Romance is a genre I used to morally eschew, then read in shameful secret, and now revel in openly. There is some seriously good writing to be found in its pages, too often dismissed because the target audience is women and the main topic is feelings. That’s a rant for another day…what you need to know is that some major DRAMA went down in the Romance world this week. I watched it unfold in real time on Twitter, but for those who need a primer, Lois Beckett from The Guardian is here to help!

Relatedly to all of the above mess, let’s all diversify our reading this year, shall we?

Oh. So that’s why witnesses are being blocked. Shock, surprise.

Oh. So that’s why the secrecy. More shock, surprise.

We had a fascinating debate in my office about this! It spiraled into the differences between religious and “philosophical” belief systems, and how we chose to allocate protections.

Still developing as I finish up this post but…this feels horribly huge. The consequences are already starting. Mar-al-ago guests and Russian diplomats knew about the attack before the appropriate members of congress did. I remember this all too well from 20 years ago. The performative hawkishness and patriotism, the propaganda to circle the wagons around the government, the othering of whole nations and cultures with a long tail of hideous racism that we are still dealing with. 20 years later, thousands of Americans and allies dead, hundreds of thousands of civilians dead, no clear gains, no increased stability, recent revelations that there was no fucking plan in the first place…NO. NOT AGAIN. Not to appease ideologues, not to distract from domestic scrutiny, not for anything.

Weekend Links: Yuletide Edition

It’s Christmas week, kittens! We were woefully unprepared for the holidays this year and much of our preparations have been of the last minute variety. I snagged the last slot available for Tesco grocery delivery, the last tickets for our local theatre’s “The Rise of Skywalker” (didn’t like it at all, I’m sorry to say), and the second to last delivery option for our Christmas tree. We got my sister’s present in the mail to Japan on the last possible day. We are one missed time slot away from disaster, here!

However, this year we are attempting some holiday baking which is not something we’ve really done in our time in London. Every year that goes by and we “settle” we seem to have a more functional kitchen, so we are leaning into that this season. That being said I burned the last thing I put in the oven to charcoal crisps so…watch this space.

Other than that, we are indulging in food and drink this week and doing precious little else. There are a few more posts coming your way before the end of the year, but in the meantime, I hope your Christmas preparations are going better than mine–if you celebrate–and that you are enjoying the winter season with friends and family.

We’re all going to have to move.

I’ve made a complete break mentally with the world I used to live in.”

Some leading conservative commentators, campaign veterans and media personalities have launched a PAC aimed at defeating President Trump in 2020…or more specifically Trumpism. Their argument, with which I agree, is that Trump does not represent the ideological conservatism that they revere and wish to restore. However, the rise of Trumpism has made me question how much of this ideology was genuine in the first place, and how much of it was simply a wish for ingroups to maintain their own power (financial, racial, perceived control over life circumstances, and so on). Trumpism s

It’s always a joyous week when Anne Thériault drops her latest in the Queens of Infamy series!

Add this to the list of films I want to see. Preferably with Hannah whilst sipping wine.

This piece is over a year old but it’s new to me and how pleasing it is!

I am glad we are asking the question seriously, “What are we going to do with/for/about men?” and making art that tackles that topic. Men may need to puzzle this out on their own, and there’s a question of what role women should take in this debate. (Contrapoints, a prominent left-wing YouTuber, recently made a video arguing this point of view as well–content warning re drug references, sex and sexuality frank talk, and some pretty bold/provocative visuals. I love her and her hyperbolic and performative aesthetic, but she’s definitely not going to be all my reader’s cup of tea!)

Longtime readers know how much I love murder mysteries–a “cozy” murder read or show is quite probably my favorite way to relax. …I’m not saying I’m healthy, I’m saying I’m self aware. And one of the purely aesthetic aspects my film and TV murder favorites all share is that they are stylish as hell. (And in Small Dog Nation, we stan Madeline Khan forever!)

Well, it’s happening.

In religion news this week, this editorial is blistering and it’s still sobering to think of how little effect it will have on the intended community. (ETA, The National Review got in on the act. I predict the same results.)

The Good Place is on hiatus until January, but here is a lovely piece on it and its approach to hopeful humanism and the limits of philosophy. I truly believe TGP is an active force for good in the world.

More Small Dog Nation catnip!

Woof. This is something I’m thinking a lot about recently, both in and out of therapy.

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.

Weekend Links

“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” 
― Mark Twain

Hi kittens, I type this to you in the middle of both a literal and a metaphoric firestorm. Between a new Johnson premiership and the Mueller testimony, everything feels like it’s on fire. Meanwhile, Europe is consumed in a massive heatwave that is not prepared to cope with. People were sent home from work yesterday, and several of my coworkers were unable to travel safely as a result of breakdowns or delays caused by heat-induced malfunctions. Whatever you believe about changing weather patterns (spoiler, climate change is real), humans don’t really appreciate how much of our society and infrastructure is not built for any kind of permanent shift. Heat, cold, rain, drought, fire, tectonic plates…we are a resilient but stubborn species.

There’s a LOT to be mad about this week, so let’s recap. I’ve put together a nice batch of reading, and as always, there are lovely links interspersed with the political nonsense. To help keep your spirits up as we plan the revolution.

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Last week the horrible-ness of the news took over, but this is still worth sharing.

Premium cat content.

This profile on Missy Elliot is wonderful. What an icon!

Also an icon: RUFUS!

This piece is about what we carry, physically and metaphorically. It’s also about gender and gendered work, again physical and metaphorical, so it’s very much in the venn diagram of my interests.

Short answer: blackmail, probably.

What a great piece on the nostalgia of a ceramic pattern! Growing up my mother used and collected Blue Willow china and for me it’s synonymous with the concept of “home.” I have a set myself, sadly in storage due to a trans-Atlantic move, but fully intend to stock my kitchen with it someday.

Yay! Good news for us and the Star Trek Enterprise, who I assume played some kind of covert role.

OH MY GOD I TYPED THE ABOVE BEFORE THIS WAS RELEASED AND CHILDHOOD ME HAS LOT ANY VESTIGE OF CHILL.

Seriously.

We need to face up to the fact that Epstein is, in part, a product of a culture where wealthy men can do whatever they want. Consequences are for little people.”

A wonderful longform piece that’s about the rise and fall of French cuisine, and therefore ALSO about the changing nature of culture, prestige, and taste. Small Dog Nation catnip!

A solution to radicalization online: making the opposite case? Well, at least maybe…

This is a horrible story about a failure of a law enforcement vetting system with some shocking results.

I WEPT at the trailer alone. (If you want to read the article which inspired the screenplay, voila.)

This pleases me.

I am a woman caught between two governments, both headed by poorly be-coiffed showmen who have “failed upward” to prominence and now power via demonstrable lies, if not outright conspiracy theories. I think this piece in Politco on why direct comparisons between Trump and Johnson are not quite right, especially in terms of clout and especially with the European Union, is worth a read to get a sense of the international perspective. I’m exhausted by politics…

I’m exhausted, because it’s exhausting.

Here, have a bit of women’s history and art history delightfully combined.

If you’re not outraged you’re not paying attention. This individual was (thankfully!) released, but how many more victims of this will there be? How many violations of citizenship or residency right are “acceptable collateral damage?”

…that is certainly one way to quit!

What if you invented something truly groundbreaking in terms of human communication…and it backfired? “It dawned on me that this was not some small subset of people acting aberrantly. This might be how people behave. And that scared me to death.”

What. A. Story.

Sign me up for ANY job where the descriptor “flair for darkness” is an asset!

We live in the upside down. (Update, the designer speaks!)

I was not really expecting the Mueller testimony to change anything: the battle lines are drawn and no one is shifting. But the nightmare scenario for me is now that bad actors (foreign and domestic) realize they can get away with meddling in our elections, they’re going to do it again. Mr. Mueller said their attempts are ongoing and Congress just failed to pass election protection legislation. Either it’s criminal ignorance or criminal bad faith.

So much to look forward to.

A Summer Capsule Wardrobe: The List

“Anyone can get dressed up and glamorous, but it is how people dress in their days off that are the most intriguing.”
—Alexander Wang

So, capsule wardrobes. The internet is awash in content about it and recommendations on how to do it about. Some people encourage as part of a minimalist lifestyle (a worthy goal that holds zero appeal for me, an unrepentant maximalist), some people as a way to push a reset button when it comes to style or consumerism (which I think is a great idea on the whole). Books have been written about this stuff.

I ignored most of it. My intentions were not lofty but deeply practical. The major desired outcomes were ticking a box on a goal list, and finding a way to begin packing now for a move that wasn’t happening for another month and a half. Any added benefits such as a reduction in stress or faff when getting out the door in the morning were gravy, as far as I was concerned.

The only advice I followed, which seemed fundamentally sound was simple: have a color palette. The idea was that if everything came from the same general grouping of colors, the chances of everything matching one another and creating easy outfits was much higher. Blue and white together are one of my favorite color combinations generally and especially for summer, so I chose that with black and green (my other favorite mix) thrown in for variety.

I was most dubious about this idea working with workwear, notoriously tricky at the best of times and hugely intimidating for a London summer where we might legitimately experience all four seasons in a single week (if not day!), but thus far it’s working great. I’m getting use out of my investment pieces and have enough basic, mix-and-match items to deal with the variance in temperatures, sun, and wet.

Some people include shoes or accessories in the list of items, but I couldn’t be bothered with that, nor did I see any point in listing items like sleepwear, activewear, or other specialty items. My list didn’t include items for my brother’s wedding, for instance, or the t-shirts I often sleep in (usually purloined from Jeff…). The only rule I gave myself, plucked more or less from thin area, was to try and restrict myself to 20 core items.

Notwithstanding the general laissez-faire and last minute approach to this project, I’m still a bit surprised that the first month of this project has sort of just whizzed by. This indicates to me that I still have too many clothes (which is not news), but also that my general project towards overall wardrobe streamlining is working. For a while in my 20s, when I was still deciding who I wanted to be and how I wanted to dress, I had a lot of things that would never have gone together no matter how hard I tried. These days, the mix between reliable basics and statement, personality pieces feels correct and more like “me.”

Without further ado, this is what my two month capsule looks like:

Tops (11)

  • White silk button up shirt (Everlane)
  • White silk button up sleeveless top (Everlane)
  • White silk tank top (Everlane)
  • Black sleeveless top
  • Black silk button up shirt (Everlane)
  • Blue and white polka dot silk shirt (Sezanne)
  • Blue cotton button up (GAP)
  • White linen shirt (found at a street market in Italy)
  • White t-shirt (Everlane)
  • Green cotton tank top (GAP)
  • Green and print silk button up shirt (& Other Stories)

Bottoms (5)

  • Black trousers (no clue)
  • Light blue jeans (Glassworks)
  • White jeans (GAP)
  • Navy pencil skirt (J Crew)
  • Navy shorts (GAP)

Other (4)

  • Black short sleeved work dress (MM LaFleur)
  • Navy sleeveless work dress (MM LaFleur)
  • Black and white print casual dress (J Crew)
  • White linen blazer (J Crew)

I’ll check in at the end of August and let you know how the project turns out, but I’m curious! If you have done a capsule, what did it look like? How did you build it? What were your rules, and why?

A Summer Capsule Wardrobe: The Background

“Clothes mean nothing until someone lives in them.”
—Marc Jacobs

Alright, we’re doing this. We pulled the plug and we’re moving apartments at the end of the summer. We have a lovely relationship with our current landlord, and truly love our current address, but when doing some mutual goal setting we just couldn’t deny how much money we could save if we changed our circumstances and the inconvenience of moving did not outweigh that number.

I’ve written about this before, but I love the cleansing process that goes into moving. It’s psychologically freeing. Growing up, every two or three years, I got the chance to “start over” in some way, in a new place with a clean slate. It’s not a perfect process and you eventually learn what’s indelible in your personality after a few moves, but the process was really formulative for me personally. It also gave me a much cleaner perspective on “stuff” by having to evaluate what was coming with you to a new city or country and what would literally left behind.

It also made me a damn effective and ruthlessly efficient mover. It should surprise none of you to hear that having made this decision, I am afire with Type A energy to prepare for this move. Bolstered by a military brat’s encyclopedic knowledge on the subject of packing and household transfers, Things. Are. In. Motion.

Currently there is a list of items that need to be thrown away or sold (farewell ironing board we have almost never used, you were purchased with good but flawed intentions). I’m starting to go through cabinets and cupboards for things that need to be eaten; no hidden hoard of dried pasta or canned beans is safe from this ruthless hunt. A large batch of chili has already been consumed with many more to come due to the sheer backlog of ingredients I’ve managed to unearth. I haven’t yet tacked that monstrosity of disuse that is our electronics drawer (or in our case, basket) but that’s on the To Do list.

And of course, both our wardrobes continue to be under review. Lest you think I’m the only clotheshorse in this family, Jeff is going through his stuff (with particular emphasis on work shirts) to evaluate what’s hopelessly stained or damaged and needs to go. The man appreciates his fashion just as much as me! We’ve both got items that have been gifted to us that we’re donating, we’re both going through the proverbial underwear and sock drawers to get rid of worn items, and just generally continuing to assess with a critical eye. I’m delighted with the overall state of my wardrobe, as I’ve written, but am still taking the chance to set aside some items to pass to my sister when we see her at the family wedding next month.

I was searching online for some plastic tubs for packing (as most of our prospective new apartments will have some kind of storage space – currently a major gap in our housing situation) when I had a bit of a brainwave. One of my projects is to do a couple of capsule wardrobes. What if I did that in preparation for the move and save myself a lot of hassle by simply packing everything else up?

In other words, what better time to start a new personal project, than in a ridiculously overbusy and crowded time where my stress will already be at a maximum!

Joking aside, I did it. I created a 20 item list, excluding occasion wear, athletic gear, and basic accessories, and decided I was only going to wear those items for two months: July and August. I was a bit hesitant to write about it until I was sure I could get the hang of it, but I’m nearly one month in…and it’s been fantastic.

So that’s what we’re going to talk about this week, kittens. In the next post I’ll go through the list itself, what I chose, how I chose them, and why. In the meantime, if you’ve ever tried this trend, how did it work for you? Let me know in the comments!

Weekend Links

“No one loves the messenger who brings bad news.” 
― Sophocles, Antigone

Well, we made it to another Friday, kittens. What a dumpster fire of a week.

I’m posting this early because to say I’m in the mood to log off for a day or two is an understatement.

Here is a nice batch of weekend reading to get you through until Monday–and yes, there are good stories in here too! We’ve got 90s throwbacks and weird trailers, plus a nice mash of history and spacesuits. Check in in the comments!

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Truly we live in the darkest timeline. Of course a Brexit party boss is in bed (literally) with the writer of the story that took out Britain’s ambassador to the US. Of COURSE he is.

President Trump made and then doubled down on racist comments and went unchecked by…anybody. His staunchest supports have a new racist campaign chant aimed at (what else?) women in power who he hates and has chosen to make a foil. He’s floated hideous conspiracy theories about Congresswoman Omar that come from the grossest internet corners (including ties to terrorism and incest) and may very well incite actions with his speech that harms her or gets her killed. Tweets from the left are not enough in response and the near-total silence from the right (interspersed with actual statements from Neo Nazis, to which I will not link, about how his comments don’t go far enough) are deafening. No mealy mouthed attempt to walk it back, contrary to video evidence, cuts it. Especially when he immediately walked back the walk back…AS HE ALWAYS DOES.

Well, I feel a little bit better.

The president of the Unite States is racist. This is a matter of long documented, publicly available fact. (Some publications hesitate to use this word the way the do the word “lie,” and I’m not sure history is going to look kindly on the decision.)

have we found Captain America? We need him!

Do let’s talk about this, both as an incident and as a wider phenomenon.

The deep dive I never knew I needed.

What an absolutely gripping read.

Why yes, I AM interested in fashion for space.

This piece on the President’s racist comments feels unfortunately right. Trump understands that there are many different Americas, what makes him unique is that rather than trying to appeal to many of them simultaneously, he’s picked his preferred version and caters only to it and the people who share that worldview. He’s betting it’s enough to keep him in power, Republicans are betting the same with a slightly longer timeline. I personally don’t think it’s a sound bet unless one is, in fact, working to unmake democratic norms to ensure one’s supporters keep representation and one’s detractors are excluded from it.

How DARE this article attack me!

Of course it’s millennial pink. Of COURSE.

The Emmy nods are really good this year, team. Weirdly there’s not too much to be upset about! Who are you rooting for?

Audiobooks to add to your summer holiday or beach read list.

The latest from an old fave around here, McKay Coppins at The Atlantic presents the Epstein case in the wider context of our current age of conspiracy thinking.

Speaking of, this guy can get kicked into the sun.

Well this takes me way back to puberty!

I cannot believe we have to say this in the year of our Lady Beyonce 2019, but maybe think twice before you upload your image (or other biometric information or adjacent stuff) to apps that go viral? Not to sound like a member of the tinfoil hat brigade, but we’re not very good at knowing what other people are doing with this stuff.

Speaking of Beyonce, I don’t care about The Lion King, but I always care about what the Queen is doing.

Do you want some archaeology news? Of course you do, why else are you here?!

I don’t even have the energy to touch the Twitter kerfuffle that is the new CATS trailer and reactions thereto!

Last week the influencer economy was in trouble, is streaming next? How about podcasts? (Sidenote, that podcast story is ridiculous; a true work of overly privileged art. Enjoy it with this knowledge going in.)

Sobering story.

Who pissed off Poseidon?!

And as we were “going to print,” some frankly scary news.

Finally, let’s end this on a nice note, shall we? God knows we need it.