And we're back.

Now with even more vital info

Update to the below: we lost John Prine. I do not care about anything now. The Prine video below went in before I heard. I loved him so much.


Still having the important topical conversations that really matter to Americans (I started by acknowledging that Tony Stark probably throws better parties than Cap, also Cap is bisexual and would be eventually great at oral sex with everyone):


While I’m talking about my MCU obsession, turn the volume up for this perfect fan service (don’t watch if you haven’t seen Endgame, but also, now is the time to change that, despite its flaws). Also I enjoyed Birds of Prey and Uncut Gems over the weekend. Steve couldn’t finish Uncut Gems, he was like “I do not care what happens to this man, this man is a nightmare person” and that’s fair but I really liked it.


Today’s Featured Pet (sung to the tune of Parker Posey doing “Teacher’s Pet” in Waiting For Guffman) is Lulu.

Her human companion, Alexie, has the following to report:

“She's a French Bulldog. Originally she was my grandparents dog. They got her when I was pregnant with my son. My grandparents absolutely adored her. Unfortunately in 2018 my grandfather passed. Then in 2019 my grandmother had knee surgery and wasn't able to take care of her anymore now that's she's living alone.”

“From the time I met her when pregnant her and my son have been best friends. She would lay on my belly and my son would kick her. Their love grew once he was born and hasn't stopped growing. So when she needed a home we found a way to make it work.”

“Now that they are living together they are complete siblings. They are either playing together, bickering, or missing each other. Lulu loves people. When we take her to the dog park she greets all of the owners and tolerates the other dogs. She's also a fantastic emotional support animal. At night if I'm having a nightmare she gently wakes me up. If I start to get anxious she's promptly jumps on me and gets me to focus/calm down. I can't show a screenshot but lately she's been hoping in on our video conference therapy sessions. Which is rather entertaining. We love her greatly and she brings us much joy.”

Alexie, thank you SO much for sharing Lulu with us today.


Whoever asked if “Karen” is a racial slur got told

Where do I even start with this? 

First of all, let’s acknowledge that the use of “Karen”, as a shorthand for a vocally entitled white woman who’s probably going to ask to speak with your manager, has caught on way more than “Becky” ever did – or maybe there are just far more reasons to use “Karen” this way lately.   

As for “why Karen”, well, I know I don’t have to spell this out for readers of this column in particular but… Karen was in the Top 10 names in the US throughout the 50s and 60s, and remained in the top 50 for the two decades following that, which means that calling someone a “Karen” is most definitely referring to a woman of a certain age. Yes, yes, yes, there are Karens who are younger, or who aren’t white (or who have never once in their lives called for a manager), but I’d wager the vast majority of us can picture at least one Karen who fits the profile we’re talking about here. 

Is this offensive? God knows I always thought the incendiary phrase that would fracture relationships between two generations would be stronger than “OK, Boomer” so I’m not going to sit here and definitively say it’s not offensive, because people get riled up about anything. But if the question is whether it should be considered offensive? Well… 

Let me just pull up a list of the literal decades’ worth of jokes in mass media about traditionally Black names like Shaniqua or D’Shawn, or every “hilarious”, i.e. extremely racist, Asian name like Sixteen Candles’ Long Duk Dong. There are countless examples, and I was looking for a corresponding example of Indian/South Asian extraction, but none comes to mind, because Hollywood didn’t acknowledge that South Asian people existed before, like, 2003. 

“Right, but those are racist! So—”

They are. But, crucially, those name jokes were often THE ONLY REPRESENTATION of people of colour in the media, and they were crude, lazy, uninformed jokes. Somehow, I’m not quite so worried that the representation of white women is going to be formed solely on the punchline of “Karen” (though I’m sure there are people who think it should be.) 



Today’s Absolute Unit is this 14 week old puppy, George:

It’s also this video of a very large Dutchman. We can have both.


From my Monday column, please do not infantilize your parents out of a well-meant sense of concern for their happiness:

Dear Care and Feeding,

Like a lot of us right now, I have an older parent (my mom, in her 70s) who lives alone halfway across the country. While otherwise healthy for her age, I know that the lack of in-person human interaction is starting to take a toll on her mental health.

A few days ago the son of a close friend of hers reached out to me to let me know her friend (his mother) had passed away, and asked if I could let my mother know since he didn’t have her phone number.

I’m afraid if I tell her it will only make her mental health situation that much worse. But if I don’t tell her she might try to call her friend and get the news from her grieving family (who expected me to tell her) or worse, from the newspaper.

What should I do?

—Agonized in L.A.



no you still cannot do this:

A reader writes:

Why are you telling people that spouses as a rule cannot contact their partner’s boss and saying that is unprofessional?

Is that in every situation? What if my spouse is on the autism spectrum or what if an employer is forcing sick workers to come in and illegally break stay-at-home orders given by the government?

I think the advice you are giving on this is off-base. My partner and I are a team, and it is reaching a point where her employer is really pushing her boundaries and mine and she is at her wit’s end with trying to manage it herself. Your advice would be fine if every employer was reasonable and allowed people to stand up for themselves. We both know it doesn’t work like that. Personally, any employer who takes an ego bruising by being respectfully spoken to by someone outside of their employ, to me, is not worth working for at all.

She is trying everything she can to maintain healthy boundaries, but this employer is pushing and pushing and your advice has got people accusing me of not caring about my partner because I’m keeping my nose out of her business when she might be out there passing along COVID or getting it herself. Seriously, I’m being accused of not caring by thinking of her career over her health and safety! All because of your advice with no appreciation context at all.

So can you please rethink your position on this and give out some new advice in the context of life-threatening natural disasters and y’know, employers adhering to laws about discrimination, exploitation, and retaliation.

Also, let’s ask, who does your advice benefit? It benefits employers by shielding them from the realities of their staff’s humanity and seeks to keep them cocooned from that reality. There is no good reason why people should not be allowed to help each other and advocate for each other and I would rather test an employer to see how they react to this to see if they take their duty of care to their employees seriously.


MUSIC:

I am a massive Chris Farley fan (I have read The Chris Farley Show about four times, I think he was one of the greatest and purest physical comedians of our time and Tommy Boy should be in the Criterion Collection), so I obviously watched the 2015 documentary and his close friend from his college rugby days and onward is a musician and this lovely song he wrote played over the final credits and now I have listened to it eighty times:

always here for Carly

The Highwomen, perfection:

John and Iris!

Just Iris, doing one of my favourite hymns in one of my favourite movies based one of of my favourite Great American Novels:

Hailee’s greatest non-musical work:

This shoulda won the Oscar:

Spamalot is not a great musical but Sara Ramirez is amazing:

Just one of the best songs:

From one of the best albums that never got enough play:

Another Joan Baez deep cut:

Uncle Tupelo:

And this Son Volt beauty:


Today, thinking of you, my close personal friends, I was reminded of the words of Robert Burns (I guarantee the line breaks will get destroyed on publication, it’s just one of those things):

O my Luve is like a red, red rose

   That’s newly sprung in June;

O my Luve is like the melody

   That’s sweetly played in tune.

So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,

   So deep in luve am I;

And I will luve thee still, my dear,

   Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,

   And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;

I will love thee still, my dear,

   While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve!

   And fare thee weel awhile!

And I will come again, my luve,

   Though it were ten thousand mile.

That’s how I feel about you. Exactly that. You are a marvel. You’re better than an ABBA song. You’re just that good. And you’re having such a dreadful time, I’m so sorry. Better days are ahead.

xoxooxo

nicky

I apologize

My baby was sick yesterday and then slammed her hand in a door (nothing broken! only owies) so you have an open thread today. Tomorrow will be extra-special great, for the both of us, as Dewey Cox’s younger brother said.

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Monday Open Thread!

For mysterious technical reasons, my Friday post did not get emailed out, so you can chit-chat here instead!!!!

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Just a Music Day, Talk About Whatever You Like!

music days can be nice

I am not handling the loss of Bill Withers well, love to Bill Withers and those who loved him:

Another personal fav:

Seems apt:

I enjoy Bruno’s energy:

This is my personal pump-up song, even (especially?) as it becomes Increasingly Deranged:

Try not to have emotions:

My niche Johnny Cash all-timer is so fun to try to sing:

There are no bad songs in “A Chorus Line” but this one is one of my faves (if you haven’t seen the documentary about casting the Broadway revival, it’s incredible, and also Marvin “EGOT” Hamlisch talks about how the song used to be called “Tits and Ass” and it gave the joke away and no one laughed, and once they changed it to “Dance: Ten, Looks: Three”, people fell over themselves laughing:

Judith Hill, a genius:

Two great songs about best friends, very different:

Let’s end on this one:

We Made It!

it means nothing, but we made it

Steve said Portrait of a Lady on Fire is “an incredible film”, so our home is now one of harmony. I made him put aside his devices for the final unbroken Vivaldi Feelings shot, and I was right to do it. My father is extremely into Tiger King, because he has always assumed the US was exactly like Tiger King, and all the work I have put into broadening his opinions on the US is swiftly going down the drain. But I’m glad he has something to do. I’m watching the American remake of the American remake of The Grudge, and it’s not good, but it has John Cho in it and also Jacki Weaver (a great Australian) and Lin Shaye, who is really good at being terrifying. If you have been terrified by an older woman in a horror movie, it was probably her. She’s great.

Now, how about a Featured Pet of the Day? Meet Nelson:

His human companion, Sophia, offers the following Nelson-related intel:

“Nelson was born in a barn (something I remind him of whenever he is especially rude) and then I met him in a distillery about two years ago. When he was a kitten I picked him up every day when I got home from work so he would get used to being held. This got more complicated in the winters when I would come in wearing gloves and million layers and he would demand to be picked up immediately but it was worth it overall.”

“I live alone so he is a big source of joy and companionship. He loves people but hates other cats. The jury is still out on dogs. We are currently sheltering in place at my parents house, where he is enjoying napping by the fireplace, playing on the stairs, sleeping under the covers, and watching the wildlife.”

“Since I am working from remotely I’ve learned that he likes to play all morning…”

“and sleep all afternoon.”

Thank you, Sophia! We are so happy to get to know our new friend, Nelson.


THIS PERSON IS BAD AND YOU SHOULD DUMP THEM, FUCK:

So, long story short: I'm schizophrenic. Got properly diagnosed at 18 but have honestly struggled with the symptoms since I was about 15. It's been a very rough uphill battle, but I'm doing well now. My therapist is absolutely amazing and I've found a medication that agrees wth me. I won't pretend that I don't still have problems, but things are definitely manageable now.

As of the start of this year, my girlfriend and I moved in together. She's always been a bit of a practical joker, but they've always been relatively harmless things like changing the settings on my phone so "hey" autocorrects to "butts", or wearing a ridiculous hat and refusing to acknowledge it or putting framed photo of Nic Cage up on our mantlepiece and waiting for me to notice. They're not always super funny, but they're never anything serious.

Now that we're on lockdown, she's taken it upon herself to try and play this pranking game. So far we've had salt in the sugar bowl, toothpaste Oreos, a plastic spider in the bathtub and a day where she'd call me over to "come see what's outside!!" when there was nothing outside. It's slightly annoying, not gonna lie, but seeing the way her lil face lights up and she laughs and goes "gotcha!" makes it kinda worth it.

Yesterday, however, she crossed a line big time. I keep my medicine on my bedside table because I take it first thing in the morning. When I woke up yesterday, it wasn't there. I asked my gf if she'd seen it, and she said that she hadn't. I started to panic a bit then; I never move the meds from the bedside table bc I never need to. Still, she suggested maybe I put it down somewhere else and forgot, which I've a habit of doing with my keys and phone and stuff, so I started searching for the pills. I pulled out everything from our bathroom cabinet, searched the kitchen high and low, went through every bag and pocket I own, dumped everything out of every drawer in our bedroom... I even started looking in ridiculous places where they would never feasibly be like the airing cupboard and the fridge and our storage space in our buildings basement. I looked for a good 45minutes-1hr and they weren't anywhere. Whole thing ended with me sitting on the kitchen floor in floods of tears with no idea what I was gonna do.

And then my girlfriend goes "Gotcha!"

Obviously my reaction is "what the fuck?!" Turns out she had hold of my medicine this entire time and was hiding them from me as a prank. I'm not proud of it but I absolutely blew up. I asked her what the fuck was wrong with her and how the fuck she could ever be so cruel. I asked her if she fucking understands what life is like for me when I'm unmedicated and I said something along the lines of "I'm glad you don't know what this shit is like but some of us don't get to coast through life without this kind of help". She kept repeating that she thought I could take a joke and she thought I would laugh. I told her that I'm glad my mental health is a joke to her and she started crying, saying that wasn't the case and that wasn't what she meant. I just took the medicine from her and went and locked myself in my office and left her crying in the kitchen.

She's sulking with me now and saying I overreacted but I really don't think that I did. She says I had no right to shout like that because she was always gonna give them back and it was all just a joke but that doesn't seem like a joking matter to me?? Especially because she knows one of the things my abusive ass parents used to do to me was withhold medication as punishment. I just can't wrap my head around how she thought I was going to react, and when I ask her she just says she thought I could take a joke.

Idk what to do here. Did I overreact? This has made me see her in an entirely different light and I just don't know what I should do.


A tucked-in dog:


No one is ever Bad In The Comments here, magically, even though literally anyone can comment, but a Good Reader expressed a (understandable) desire for dick in these trying times and a Bad Reader called her a whore and I have blocked him from commenting indefinitely. I am amazed this has not happened before but I assure you, I’ll block a motherfucker. I’ll block a man just to watch him be blocked. I am ruthless. If you see something, say something.


Some brilliant soul rainbow-chalked their entire home to amuse their kids and wow, nicely done:


My friend Katelyn Burns wrote this lovely thing:

On a Friday in a little Cambridge, Massachusetts, ice arena, as a gaggle of middle schoolers lingered after a game and two men’s league teams were taking the ice, 17 hockey players were huddled in a corner, getting ready to make history.

Jessica Platt’s excitement shone in her eyes as her teammates on Team Trans, perhaps the first-ever all trans hockey team to play a game together, dug through a stack of blue and pink uniforms to find their own. Platt, a 30-year-old former CWHL player, said she had stopped playing hockey in her early 20s because she was uncomfortable with the overly masculine attitudes of the male players who surrounded her.

“I pretty much had to be careful how I presented myself,” she said. “I got really good at putting on the facade of who I thought I needed to be, and I tried to stick to that as closely as I could when I was in that area. I was a little bit more myself around my friends, but definitely not in the hockey scene.”

Platt traveled from Toronto to play with Team Trans, which was taking part in the 2019 Friendship Series tournament hosted last November by Boston Pride Hockey, New England’s largest LGBT hockey association (not to be confused with the Boston Pride of the NWHL). About five years ago, she finally felt comfortable enough with her transition to enter a women’s locker room and return to hockey. Though she had never met many of her new teammates, they bonded quickly around the familiar fear and anxiety they had felt to play a game they loved.


Lucinda, no. Bad Lucinda! (shakes can of coins at Lucinda):

I’ve been working in the same department since I graduated college four years ago. Due to a few sudden departures amid a restructuring, I was promoted much more quickly than is typical at my workplace. (I went from the department assistant to an “associate manager” within a couple of years, though I don’t manage anyone or have any direct reports.) My boss assured me that I was more than competent to take on this role and I’ve never felt overwhelmed or out of my element.

But Lucinda, a coworker of mine who shares my title, routinely treats me like I am her subordinate. I’ve worked at the company for longer than she has by about a year, but she’s just slightly older than I am (nearer 30). This is probably her second or third job since graduating college, and she has a master’s degree. I’ve recently been instructed that I will be taking over a large, annual project she had been handling for the past two years. She is apparently too busy to be involved with the project any longer. Problem is, she’s been sending me condescending emails about the work, with my boss cc’d, asking me why a report isn’t finished or a blog post hasn’t gone up. For example, if I tell her I’m waiting on someone else to send me material, she tells me I need to “communicate my needs” better.

My boss has already given me a timeline for the project, which I’ve been doing my best to meet—to be fair, now that we are working from home, things have been delayed. But why does Lucinda feel like she should be the one to reprimand me for that? Especially when my boss seems not to mind whatsoever? If Lucinda is too busy to handle this project, how does she have time to complain about how I’m handling it? I get the feeling she finds me generally immature and is trying to get me into line. I also think she thinks of herself as more qualified and experienced, which leads to her “forgetting” that she is not, in fact, my boss.


Out of solidarity with my friend from yesterday’s newsletter who had a SURPRISE! VIDEO! job interview, I have purchased the shirt he was wearing. You will have to imagine the look of confusion, mild terror and straight male bedhead for yourself:

As our friend Carina said, “Best to approach any interview with a clear stance on Fresno—and really the entire San Joaquin Valley”.


Today’s Absolute Unit is Ian McKellan’s Big Stunt Double from LOTR, truly a lad we’re in awe at the size of:


MUSIC:

Me, blocking people:

Are we emo enough yet to be re-listening to Jeff Buckley? I am!

This just always makes me laugh:

Which, of course, always leads back to Icona Pop:

It’s been so long since I ugly-danced to Robyn:

“Elaborate Lives” from AIDA is a banger, I don’t make the rules:

RIP to Adam Schlesinger, a great talent and, by all accounts, a helluva dude:

One of his best for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend:

He did not write this one, it’s just objectively very good:

This one is for the UK (you are having a very hard time!):

This is for Amelia:

This is for me:

This will be you, when you can go out again:


You got through another week! I promise you, there is someone who would not have gotten through this week if you were not here, in whatever way you are able to be “here” for people. Maybe you drew them a silly picture. Maybe you shared a video about sourdough that was different from all the other videos about sourdough. Maybe you are a food delivery person or a health care worker or a sanitation worker. Maybe you are just a good friend. I bet you are. If you sent me a nice email, thank you so much. I read it and it gladdened me. I hope you get to feel some sun on your face and your forearms. I hope you get to eat something delicious. I hope you had a nice cry at some point. A nice cry is underrated, and then you usually feel a lot better.

You are my friend. A good friend. I’m so glad to have you with me during this time. I couldn’t do it without you. I really couldn’t. I love you.

xoxooxox

nicky

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