Things I’m Liking
- That Duchess Kate takes her own pictures of her kids for press release rather than having a professional photographer manipulating their little selves into pleasing moments. It’s possible I’m a fan of mothers with cameras stop calling my children “long-suffering” admire this birthday portrait of Princess Charlotte
- That the nieces of Chimimanda Adichie (the author of Americanah) are running an Instagram account featuring her Nigerian-based fashion, and it is joy
- That Blondie has a new album out — uneven and fun and full of surprising collaborations. Pitchfork’s review concludes it’s “…an album that shows one of the most crucial American rock bands searching for footing in a chaotic, collapsible pop landscape.” Note to self: all the most dynamic music is searching for footing, all the better when it’s made by a group whose sound tugs at the heartstrings of youth
- That I’ve been cranking on some extra work that pays a stipend — earning my way towards shoes with so much personality they distract me from reality; one day soon I shall wear these as I hold hands with my best friend Michelle Obama while we stroll through the herb garden we planted together
- That Sally Yates has agreed to be my Prom date next year; I’ma make Ted Cruz be our limo chauffeur that night and require him to wear an organ-grinder monkey costume behind the wheel. Lolling in the back seat of our ride, I will hold Sally’s hand when I command “Pancake-Faced Monkey Man, take us to the convention center so we can toss some dice and celebrate this year’s theme of ‘Crapped out in Las Vegas’.” As he replies, I will roll up the divider window, slowly and decisively
- That my daughter’s Prom caused me once again to wonder where all the bitches and drama have gone. The 1980s were teeming with rude comments and cruel behaviors dismissed as “funny.” Now, in 2017, I understand a fair amount of Bitches & Drama may be hosted by the volleyball and basketball teams, but not one whit of it exists in my girl and her friends, and that is the most beautiful thing I didn’t even know how to hope for
- That the 8th grader loves his new tall-kid softie jammies so much he lays them out on the bed like some sort of fleece-conjured Flat Paco. “I don’t want them to get rumpled because then they won’t be as soft.” This from a boy who is hard pressed to find two matching socks within the walls of his personal castle of chaos
- That I have latched onto a few new podcasts as I seek voices to fill my ears:
Up and Vanished — I’m not necessarily a fan of true crime, except when I am, and right now, I am. The first season of this podcast revives the “cold as Alaska” case of Georgian beauty queen Tara Grinstead, missing since October of 2005. Although the host’s speaking style isn’t my favorite, and although he sometimes has “my friend Rob” do incredibly not-on-purpose-cheesy readings of character profiles and transcripts, I decided early on to give the creator my “Bless your heart; you’re young and figuring out how to make a podcast” seal of patience. I’m glad I did. The case of Grinstead’s disappearance is resuscitated episode by episode as listeners learn about the men in her life, question the presence of a latex glove on the front lawn, wonder about that broken necklace on the floor of her house, and yowl with frustration over unreleased cell phone pings. Basically, if you were into Serial, Season 1, this show will scratch the same itch. CAUTION: don’t google the name Tara Grinstead or do anything beyond downloading the show…because someone was recently arrested with regards to her disappearance, and it’s all over internet!
The Read — Listen, most of you will hate this show, so I’m only mentioning it for two of you. Then again, if you’re itching to expand your understanding of the racial conversation in the U.S., this podcast, hosted by Kid Fury and Chrissle — both gay, both black, both fresh outta fucks except for concern about why the plate of edibles went missing — you might open yourself to these smart, funny voices that, each episode, devote a segment to “Black Excellence,” make well-deserved fun of white people if they give whites any time at all, deconstruct the politics of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (I’ve never watched a half-second of any Housewives show but no matter), weigh who’s winning current rap beefs, and close each episode by “reading” the nonsense of a chosen person, event, or behavior. Three things in particular appeal to me about this podcast: 1) I rarely am able to say what I REALLY think, so hearing Kid Fury and Chrissle be straight-up about all things is vicariously therapeutic; 2) Chrissle’s laugh is as welcome and satisfying as Nutella on warm toast; 3) I am grateful to all forms of social media, including podcasts, for making it possible to hang around the edges of dedicated Black Spaces and learn. some. shit.
DTR — This is a “branded” podcast from Tinder — “about defining relationships in the digital age” — so I was wary. However, all worries swooned gently to the braided rug on the floor within five minutes of the first episode. The storytelling is good; the inside glimpse into the dating zeitgeist eyebrow-lifting; the flow engaging. YOU’LL NOT WANT TO MISS THE DICK PIC EPISODE, Mavis
- That the library finally had a copy of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas available for my hands to hold. I’m not necessarily a fan of YA, except when I am, and for this book, I was. Having heard raves about its ability to give life to the story behind news reports, I cracked it open and fell into the charm of 16-year-old protagonist Starr as she lives through the realities of having one of her best friends shot by a police officer — killed for the crime of being black while driving. Fiction does it every time: it puts us inside the stories that our brains might otherwise skim across. For me, during a week when I had to grade a paper that argued the Black Lives Matter movement, the Black Panthers, and Standing Rock protesters all have been in the wrong for putting “blue lives” at risk, this book was particularly welcome. It is reaching people. It should. During the days I was reading Starr’s story, 15-year-old Jordan Edwards was killed by a police officer for hopping in a car and driving away from a party. This book reminds — teaches? — readers that boys like Jordan have family and friends whose lives are defined by senseless violence
- That Aziz Ansari released Season 2 of Master of None, and it is so good — taking the hackneyed tropes of a half-hour comedy and turning them into something like art. Full disclosure: the acting is uniformly terrible. But I’m willing to argue the acting isn’t the focus of this on-point program that follows a young Indian-American man through his days. More important is its sense of exploration and authenticity. When we watched Episode 6, “New York, I Love You,” I kept saying to Byron, “This is so fun!” At the end, Himself noted that it felt much like our favorite episode of Broad City (Season 3, “The Lockout”), wherein the characters spend most of the show wandering around the streets of the city, engaging in the micro-moments that make up a day. Turns out I’m hardcore for micro-moments, Moby
- That my husband is able to dash away from the library at lunch time and attend some classes at the Y with me. When we do moves that really hurt, I sometimes slither over to his mat and whisper, “Can you please make it stop”
- That you are here right now, reading these typings, because as much as I’m one to drop to all fours in Aisle 8 and skitter behind the #10 cans of tomatoes rather than encounter the guy who lives down the street,