Thursday, So Much Better Than Tuesday

we're getting there!

Hi teammates! I am working at TOP SPEED today but we have a lot to cover. I also have other things I desperately need to do but picking our music videos is very soothing to me?

I clicked real fast on this:

It was announced last week that after 67 years, the days of MAD magazine publishing new material each month will soon be no more. The tributes poured in immediately as fans, such as Weird Al, voiced their sadness. Even if you never read the magazine, you’ve no doubt felt its effects in some way, either through the numerous comedians and writers it has inspired over the years or through the two television series (MADtv and Cartoon Network’s Mad) that have carried the name. But you may not have known that the attempts to bring MAD to television started as far back as 1973 when NBC commissioned an animated pilot, later rebranded as a television special, that never made it to air: The Mad Magazine TV Special.

In the 1970s, MAD magazine was at the height of its popularity, having established its reputation for taking no prisoners (or advertisers) and refusing to talk down to the teens who made up the bulk of its audience. In 1974, it hit its peak circulation at 2.1 million, and with the more adult National Lampoon nipping at its heels, the time was right for the MADbrand to expand into other mediums. The special was announced as a direct translation of the magazine to television, bringing along the original artists to be “enhanced by the dimensions of motion and sound.” Whether or not the art of Mort Drucker, Don Martin, and Jack Davis needed to be enhanced by these dimensions was not debated.

I am really feeling the Ariana profile in Vogue because I’m thinking a lot about grief this year, while friends push through it and wish there was a shortcut:

Although she has a home of her own in Beverly Hills, the kind of vast, marble-paved manse that young stars buy before they’re ready for them, Tommy’s is where she likes spending time when she’s in Los Angeles. Grande is wearing black leggings and an oversize sweatshirt emblazoned with the words SOCIAL HOUSE, the name of a pop duo from Pittsburgh who are friends and now one of her opening acts. A large white pearl, her birthstone, glimmers on her finger. (She is a Cancer: a little crab happiest in her shell.) It occurs to me that we’re talking about the weather for precisely the reason that people talk about the weather, in order to dance around the “heavy shit.” It’s a dance that spins out quickly. Grande begins to cry nine minutes into our conversation, at the mention of Coachella, which she headlined this year for the first time. Following a bumbling interchange of apologies—“I’m so sorry I’m crying,” “I’m so sorry I made you cry”—she explains that the festival offered near-constant reminders of the rapper Mac Miller (born Malcolm McCormick), her dear friend, collaborator, and ex-boyfriend, who died of an accidental overdose in September 2018. I imagined we would visit this and other delicate topics somewhere deep in our discussion, but grief creates a conversational black hole, drawing all particles to it. “I never thought I’d even go to Coachella,” she explains. “I was always a person who never went to festivals and never went out and had fun like that. But the first time I went was to see Malcolm perform, and it was such an incredible experience. I went the second year as well, and I was just kind of a mindfuck, processing how much has happened in such a brief period.”

For a woman who recently turned 26 and is enjoying the most successful chapter of her career, it has also been a spectacularly, and publicly, brutal couple of years. Fifteen months before Miller’s death, in May 2017, Grande had just finished the encore of a sold-out show on her Dangerous Woman tour in Manchester, England, when a suicide bomber detonated in the foyer, leaving 23 people dead, including an eight-year-old concertgoer. Shell-shocked and reeling, Grande and her mother, who was in the audience that night, flew home to Florida. (The tweet she mustered the next day was for a time the most-liked in the medium’s history: “broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.”) But she quickly determined that before she was going to sing anywhere again, she needed to sing in Manchester. She returned two weeks later to visit survivors in hospitals and families in mourning. And she staged a benefit concert that raised $25 million. Guest stars included Coldplay, Katy Perry, and Justin Bieber, and Grande cruised the stage belting out her dirtiest songs at the request of one victim’s mother after it was suggested that the bomber, who had links to the Islamic State, had acted in protest of her racy pop persona.

what is wrong with this country, and also people are so fucking resilient:

Chris Anderson moves through the Target clearance racks with cool efficiency, surveying the towers of Star Wars Lego sets and Incredibles action figures, sensing, as if by intuition, what would be profitable to sell on Amazon. Discontinued nail polish can be astonishingly lucrative, but not these colors. A dinosaur riding some sort of motorcycle? No way. But these Jurassic Park Jeeps look promising, and an Amazon app on his phone confirms that each could net a $6 profit after fees and shipping. He piles all 20 into his cart.

It’s not a bad haul for a half-hour’s work, but it’s not great either. He consoles himself that he hit upon a trove of deeply discounted Kohl’s bras the day before as he left East Brunswick, New Jersey, on his way here to Edison. Home is still 300 miles away, in Tyrone, Pennsylvania, and there are plenty of stores between here and there.

Anderson is an Amazon nomad, part of a small group of merchants who travel the backroads of America searching clearance aisles and dying chains for goods to sell on Amazon. Some live out of RVs and vans, moving from town to town, only stopping long enough to pick the stores clean and ship their wares to Amazon’s fulfillment centers.

The majority of goods sold on Amazon are not sold by Amazon itself, but by more than 2 million merchants who use the company’s platform as their storefront and infrastructure. Some of these sellers make their own products, while others practice arbitrage, buying and reselling wares from other retailers. Amazon has made this easy to do, first by launching Fulfillment by Amazon, which allows sellers to send their goods to company warehouses and have Amazon handle storage and delivery, and then with an app that lets sellers scan goods to instantly check whether they’d be profitable to sell on the site. A few sellers, like Anderson, have figured out that the best way to find lucrative products is to be mobile, scouring remote stores and chasing hot-selling items from coast to coast.

“It’s almost like I’m the front end of the business and Amazon is just an extension of my arm,” says Sean-Patrick Iles, a nomad who spent weeks driving cross-country during Toys R Us’ final days. It was a feeding frenzy Anderson and others also hit the road for. “I find the products, and then they mail them to people.”

this is beautiful:

Hanson is a retired schoolteacher, not a scientist, but experts say he probably has spent more time with Pacific seahorses, also known as Hippocampus ingens, than anyone on Earth.

“To my knowledge, he is the only person tracking ingens directly,” says Amanda Vincent, a professor at the University of British Columbia and director of the marine conservation group Project Seahorse. “Many people love seahorses, but Roger’s absorption with them is definitely distinctive. There’s a degree of warm obsession there, perhaps.”

Over the last three years, Hanson has made the two-hour trek from his home in Moreno Valley to the industrial shoreline of Long Beach to visit his “kids” about every five days. To avoid traffic, he often leaves at 2 a.m. and then sleeps in his car when he arrives.

This is bad for your health and your heart and your mind:

1. My business travel is full of exhausting layovers and cost-cutting

I’m writing to you exhausted after my most recent bout of work travel. I’m a 27-year-old woman working at a smallish (15 people) company. I’ve been here just over two years and have worked my way up to the head of my small team. I live in Big City A and travel to Big City B every two or so months for meetings. Direct, the journey would be an 11-hour flight. To save money (maybe a few hundred US$) the company usually books me a 16-hour flight with a stopover in the middle. This is usually doable, if exhausting. (It feels a bit penny pinching from the company I bring in so much money for, especially when my boss is flying direct in business class. The disparity is REAL.)

Well, I just got back from my most recent trip where they really stepped the penny pinching up a notch. My itinerary consisted of three separate flights and took over 26 hours to get from Big Asian City to Big European City.I arrived beyond jetlagged and all but crawled to my appoinments. Over a dinner, my boss mentioned how we could further cut costs next trip by flying me to a smaller airport a few towns over and taking a train for a few hours (!!). All to save a few hundred dollars on flights. This is bananas, right? I’m worried I’ve let this go on for so long that it’s beyond repair. How much can I push back on this? It’s exhausting and demoralizing to be the butt of all this stingy penny pinching from a company that is financially doing very well.

This was such a journey, in every sense of the word:

The sheer physical feats contained in Maiden are compelling enough; mammoth waves constantly pound their salty sprays at a camera pitched atop a sinkable boat holding 13 women’s lives in its grasp. But the film carries an impressive emotional weight, too. Edwards is an imperfect heroine, an intense and angry young person who occasionally alienates her crew as she white-knuckles her way to the finish line. Near the beginning of the film, she scoffs at a reporter who asks her if she’s a feminist. “I hate that word,” she says, laughing. Edwards eventually changes her mind though — in part due to the deeply misogynistic ways the press and the male boating community treat the Maiden crew (one journalist refers to the women’s boat as a “tin full of tarts”), but primarily because of the camaraderie Edwards finds among them. There’s a symbiotic, predestined feel to her fellow Ocean Race sailors: In one moving scene, Edwards talks about how, by the end of the race — yes, they finished — the women barely had to speak in order to communicate with one another. This was despite their personalities ringing so distinct. Each crew member feels pulled from the page; think The Baby-Sitters Club at sea, or Little Women transplanted to the 1980s. Among them are Jo Gooding, Edwards’s gentle childhood friend; sail trimmer Angela Heath, she of bawdy wit; no-nonsense helmer Sally Creaser Hunter; and the volatile, passionate Marie-Claude Kieffer Heys, whom Edwards unceremoniously fires just before the competition starts.

Maiden’s only flaw is that it doesn’t let you in on what happens after the Whitbread. As the credits rolled, I realized I was dying for a sequel, or at the very least, a title card with updates on where each woman went once she got off the boat. So a few days before the film’s premiere, in the lobby of their New York hotel, I sat down with as many of Edwards’s crew as I could. Fresh off a day trip to Oyster Bay, they explained that they didn’t see one another, altogether at least, for almost three decades after they returned to land in 1990. It wasn’t until this time last year, when they reunited to watch Maiden. So what happened the moment they stepped back on land? How do you move on to anything after you’ve sailed around the world? Do they feel they changed the sport of sailing forever? And most importantly, can they still communicate telepathically? “We just look at each other’s eyes,” says trimmer Heath. “We don’t even have to have an expression.”

“We’re very emotional about all of this,” trimmer and medic Claire Russell adds. “So much has happened in between and I’d forgotten all about it. It was so long ago, and now it’s come, whee!, back into our lives again.”


So, Sir John Tavener was a very fascinating and brilliant man who wrote, among many other truly truly lovely pieces of music, “Song For Athene” which I sang in my choral music days (not this well, and as one part of a beautiful and rich mix of voices.) It was written for a young family friend who died in an accident but is most familiar to audiences from its performance at Princess Diana’s funeral. I would really appreciate if you waited the whole way through for the moment where it blooms and breaks open like a glorious flower and leaves you in shock and then quietly fades away:

now, pitbull featuring kesha, to reorient ourselves

I fuckin love Steve Earle

kelly willis’ take on truck stop girl

mr cellophane

neko case (people got a lotta nerve)

neko case (deep red bells)

fruit bats (I love this song)

this is my husband’s fav Ella & Louis song

Frank and Ella


the Exploding Hearts were an amazing pop-punk band that were sadly only with us for a brief time, due to a tragic tour bus accident in 2003

they played the Harvard Lampoon shortly before and I wasn’t there but should have been

I love all Patty Griffin songs but “Poor Man’s House” just murderers me

Love you all. You’re the best. I am really crushing it today with work. “Today” is Wednesday to me. I am writing to you from the past.