Hello, my friends. I’m writing this from Florida again. I think I’ve driven back and forth from Florida and North Carolina… four times? Five? I’m not sure, but the last two months have been pretty rough. I flew down from New York with the hopes of caring for my grandpa when he got out of the hospital, but instead he died just a few days after I arrived, and my time has instead been spent with my mom arranging cremation, settling his affairs, and cleaning out his house. I’m grateful that I was able to help my mom in this time and that we could be there for each other, but I’m also exhausted and overwhelmed and sad.
This will be the last newsletter of the year, so I can relax and regroup over the holidays. I’ll be returning to New York before the new year, and I’m going to be so relieved for my life to calm down a bit. I will again recommend my patented Self-Care New Year’s Eve™️ plan, which is more relevant than ever. Two years ago people thought I was being boring by staying in alone and taking care of myself, but I was preparing for this moment! Self-Care NYE is the only way! Join me in starting off the year organized, refreshed, moisturized and well-rested. We all deserve it, now more than ever.
Something else you deserve: recs! The last ones of the year!
“Yes … ha ha ha … YES!”
“Sickos” is truly one of my favorite reaction images. It’s so specific, much more so than something like the “this is fine” dog, so you can only use it when it’s exactly needed. That makes it more special. Slate has an interview with the man behind the meme — or, to be more precise, the man behind the man behind the meme, as cartoonist Ward Sutton draws for The Onion in character as the always-incorrect Stan Kelly. The New Yorker profile of Sutton linked therein provides more information about how he came to create Kelly, a man whose reactions are always wrong. I loved learning more about him, like a true sicko, and I’m probably going to buy some sickos merch.
Tis the season!
I am so very sorry, but I watched Love Actually for the first time and now must catch up with like 17 years of The Discourse. I know everyone is exhausted by this discourse. I’m not trying to start discourse. I neither hated nor loved the movie, but I love Lindy West to death and this review is so fucking funny.
“This old French woman shows up at Chateau de Firth and is like, ‘Here, I found you a lady. I’m literally giving you this lady.’ Score! Free lady!”
If you’d like a more scholarly film analysis that’s not specifically about Love Actually, I highly recommend Hope Rehak’s “Towards a Grand, Unified Theory of the Richard Curtis Cinematic Universe.”
Oops I’m doing it again
Look, I know I am obsessed with Britney Spears, but hear me out: Emily Alford’s essay about growing up in the rural South, projecting onto Britney, and growing to understand how the entire world had done the same is very, very good. Alford’s own biographical parallels to Britney allows her a special empathy and perspective that, like all things on the subject, broke my heart and infuriated me. Read it! Share it! #FreeBritney!
RAFFI! The greatest!
Were you a Raffi child? I definitely was. When reminiscing about his Christmas album with my mom, she asked if I’d heard the 40th anniversary edition of “Baby Beluga.” I had not, and I’m definitely in a vulnerable place right now, but the new verse made me cry big baby tears! This man is the sweetest man who ever lived!!
Graeter’s! Also the greatest!
I’ve got family in Cincinnati, so I grew up knowing the magic that is Graeter’s ice cream. For years, our Ohio relatives would bring this local delicacy to family reunions or even ship assortments of pints for special occasions. Graeter’s is not just a good ice cream. Graeter’s is so delectable that it feels like it might have slipped through some portal from some better universe into ours. No other food has ever matched the texture or flavor of the silky, sweet ice cream and legendary chunks of dark, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. The Graeter’s process involves pouring warm chocolate into the batches as blades churn the ice cream, so the chocolate is chopped into different sizes and shapes as it cools. (As kids, we would refer to the rare enormous slabs that turn up as “chipzillas,” and any family member to find a chipzilla was the object of burning envy.)
Graeter’s has ruined all other ice cream for me, and they started selling it in grocery stores nationwide!! You can just go to a STORE and BUY IT. Their signature flavor is black raspberry chip, a sweet berry cream with a hint of tartness cut with that perfect dark chocolate. I’m also a huge fan of the regular chocolate chip, because their vanilla is simply sublime. Find some near you immediately! It’s the perfect present for yourself.
And on that note, I’m done with this newsletter for 2020. It has certainly been a year!!! Have a happy, safe holiday and take care of yourselves. I love you all and appreciate you and wish you all the best. Let’s glide into 2021 and have a fresh start.
This week last year:
“Friendmendations 12.29.19” — information about the infamous “Folgers incest commercial,” black utopias in pop culture, excellent writing on the excellent movie The Talented Mr. Ripley, a Killers demo I enjoy despite its subject matter, and a man on his gap yah