Of note this week

I learned the word bro/brah from my boss, who's up on trendy language markers. We were convening at a mid-workday bridal shower (crepe cake and sparkling cider were served) and she was describing the crowd at a concert the night before; I immediately pictured the mansiere but she followed up later with clarifying hyperlink references for the benefit of us squares. Turns out this is a subspecies of bros known previously to me as meatheads, and I do appreciate the categorical nuance; i.e., more coastal surfing, less Midwestern cow tipping. I get that labels are fluid and frequently misapplied but am inordinately fond of sorting by adopted group behaviors that aren't class or income based. See also: your are miss informed.

The phrase "carb bomb" is easy to mishear. I'm not saying don't use it—free speech, etc.—only proceed with caution re: diction as a courtesy for your listener. Anonymous tip.

If you dream of living/eating in Italy. Unfortch I'm more the kind of person who wishes she dreamed of living/eating in Italy, but that's between me & my psyche.

I went with a friend to see this play about Christian spankers Thursday night and during dinner we were talking about childhood dreams and what we wanted to be when we grew up. I couldn't think of anything specific, which was a matter of personal concern until it occurred to me that I grew up dreaming of being actual people and not of career paths. Maybe that's weird but I remain the only person whose head I've lived inside of, so on this one I refuse to self-judge. Anyway, at various stages of personal evolution I wanted to be Chris Evert(-Lloyd), Mary Lou Retton, Dorothy Hamill, Mary Ingalls, Jo March, Laura Holt, Princess Leia, Sabrina Duncan, my second grade teacher Miss Nolan, or Natalie Wood. None of which came to pass, in case you were wondering, which is how I wound up living the dream of automotive marketing.

p.s. Christian spanking is a real thing. Obviously!

Speaking of religions, here's where I tell you to go read this new piece on Kris Jenner and this older piece on Kim Kardashian. I've only seen three episodes of their show but I think it's important to understand and not simply scoff at their whole cultural phenomena. This is a world we're all somehow complicit in forming, however passively and/or unwillingly, by virtue of occupying this time and place and partaking in certain social behaviors that are enabled by certain technological tools, and to reject or imagine yourself above it just seems lazy. BTW I don't know why I delivered this lecture on the K family, I'm not an investor or anything. Merely a curious bystander.

I tried really hard to get into this incredibly well-written and well-received book on raising a goshawk as a grief-coping mechanism but according to Kindle only made it to 33% at which point REMOVE FROM DEVICE. Still a bird-hater, that's what I learned from the hawk book.

Reading for company

From "Lorrie Moore is not inside your head" (a point on which I, like many, beg to differ; she and Nora Ephron are my Joan Didion[s]):

You have to be willing to have only a few friends, Lorrie Moore said. Writers, if they are honest with themselves, cannot worry about offending or how many allies they have acquired in this world. It's an obnoxious position, hard to defend. But they do not work for the Chamber of Commerce; they are not examples to the community. They are there for their story, and if it sounds harsh...

Well, maybe.

She said this nicely.

We got on the subject because I mentioned she is one of those writers from whom readers take cues on how to live, and how not to.

"I hope not," she said.

Then she considered the point a moment -- a point that John Cheever and Raymond Carver and Alice Munro and the other short story masters she is routinely lumped in with have all heard -- and she said, somewhat coyly, "I always thought people read for company."

— Christopher Borelli

Source: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009-12...

10 things I will never ever say

10. I stayed up late watching Transformers last night.

9. I stayed up late watching Persona last night.

8. I'm thinking of getting involved in an office relationship.

7. Let's go camping.

6. No problem, I'll just make my own yogurt.

5. Could you take away these french fries and bring me a side salad?

4. Maxi dresses flatter all body types. 

3. I'd hate to be late for church. 

2. When in doubt, send a fruit basket.

1. Yes, you should definitely buy a monkey.


Ooh, capslock! It's like I'm smiling right up in your face before I punch you in the snout.

Illustrate with a favorite picture: 

Is anyone more kickassy than Michael Caine? Not actually a question.

First, this is Marjane Satrapi via Lux Lotus, by way of Bookslut, care of The Guardian:

“I’m a lady.” She likes the sound of lady so much that she repeats it, running it off her tongue with lascivious delight. “I’m a lady.” She likes to mislead people, she says. “It is better not to look like what you are; it is better to look like a bourgeois woman because then all the doors are open for you and then you can just go and make hell. That is much more exciting.”

Then: butterfly colors! Give me the creeps, frankly. Have you seen that film Angels & Insects starring Mark Rylance and a schoolmarmish Kristin Scott Thomas? There is a scene wherein the humble, bumbling naturalist tries to romance his beloved (not DAME KST) by releasing a flock (passel? cluster? ensemble?) of moths in a conservatory, and this poor chick does her damnedest to go with it until they start nesting in her hair and settling all over her beautiful Victorian gown, and by the end it is just about the most horrifying sight you have ever witnessed and you'll want to crawl right under the sofa and die. Lesson: best not to woo with bugs or anything bug-related unless you are also a bug. Although that seems like the kind of tip you shouldn't even have to write down for people.

If like me you are anti-Lepidoptera, pro-puppy: Teddy's at a pool party

Of practical use: What to know about crowdfunding and manufacturing and fulfillment and and hopes and dreams and kissing your money goodbye

Long live the colophon: "Colophons are the ticket out of the imagined world and back to the world of late trains and heating bills."

This blog is why blogs exist (& whence the CAPSLOCK): SHE IS BUTTERS. I read through the whole thing approx three times a week and I don't even like dessert.

Rest your weary head on Gilbert Blythe. Aw, Gil. Still not over it.

The best advice from Two Bossy Dames: "It’s clothing’s job to look good on your body, not your body’s job to look good in clothing."

The new laughter: "My “haha”s make me look the way I do in party photos: open-mouthed, loud, a little vulgar. Writing “hahaha” makes you look deranged, but, then again, so does laughing."

100% the only thing you need to read about APPLE WATCH: "Apple seemed to say there should only be ten watch faces and we should be thankful for them even though one is Mickey Mouse which is kind of like saying we get 9 faces."

When I grow weary of Manhattan I am moving to Cranberry Street. Naturally I shall rechristen it Cranapple, unless that's trademarked somewhere by a beverage conglomerate, in which case it becomes Crapple. My mind is full of rich ideas.

Not a day goes by: Original Crossword Puzzles by Stephen Sondheim (from New York Magazine's 40th anniversary)

I love this kid. His reaction to donuts is my reaction to Stephen Sondheim.

Last, my personal gift to you: When in doubt about the direction in which your day is heading, MAKE ANOTHER POT OF COFFEE and if necessary stick your head inside it.

Please Come Late

Please come late,
so that I have almost given you up
and have started glancing round the room,
thinking everyone is you.
Please don’t come
until I have started missing you,
thinking I will never see you again,
praying you are lost.
Come too late for me not to notice.
Make me suffer,
wondering what you are doing
on the other side of town,
still in your dressing gown.
Make me beg for mercy
when you pick up a magazine.

Are you looking in your mirror,
suddenly remembering me?
I’m on my second coffee by now,
eating the little bits of sugar in my cup.
Haven’t you set out yet?
I decide I don’t want to see you after all.
I don’t really like you.
I’d rather be on my own.
I know it is all over between us

but I go on sitting here,
reading a newspaper,
not understanding a word.
If you came in now, I wouldn’t recognize you.
Don’t come anywhere near me
until I have gone slightly mad for love of you.

— Hugo Williams

Introvert cool

Instagramm'd from NY Mag: Rob Greig/Camera Press/Redux

Instagramm'd from NY Mag: Rob Greig/Camera Press/Redux

I consider Bill Nighy a thinking girl's crumpet, even though it's gauche to describe another human being as a toasted cake and I'm not technically "a girl," ie "female child" (or, let's face it, "a thinker"). I saw him having dinner alone once at Cafe Fiorello, back when he was starring in The Vertical Hour on Broadway, a play that bored me out of my gourd and set off a long spell of Julianne Moore-hating. I don't know why I blamed her, when the whole thing was terrible and everyone involved equally culpable, but as the most famous cast member she became the focus of my ire. Eventually I got over it. Life is too short for one-sided showbiz grudges, especially when you are not personally involved in showbiz. It's like being angry at air, or frisbees.

The cafe sighting was exciting, though, and it's what established the crumpet angle for me, since eating dinner alone in some sturdy, non-posh Lincoln Center staple remains one of my top cool cat moves for grownups: it's such a signal that you're okay with your life and your choices and your own company, and there's nothing in the world sexier than that. It's not a heroic exploit or anything, I won't start giving out awards for it, but on a sliding scale of sophisticated, morally neutral acts it ranks pretty high. "Dedicated blog post" high at any rate. Plus Fiorello is one of those places you pass in the dark that glows all warm and orange inside, and it features just the sort of private but not totally concealed booth you'd want to slide into if you were a solo performer far from home who'd grown weary of dining in your extended stay hotel room night after night and craved, say, a simple seafood risotto or veal chop Milanese in the midst of other culture-minded individuals. As in, separate but not in a snobbish way, a part of yet still apart from the whole milieu, and appropriate for certain theatrical or British levels of fame. Hence a textbook lone eatery for good ol' Bill Nighy. (I have seen Renée Fleming and Patti LuPone and others at this same restaurant, so it's hardly an unknown hideaway, but they were both dining with parties, which requires zero effort or nerve.)

The good news is that Bill Nighy is back on Broadway right now in Skylight, with Carey Mulligan, which I saw last night and loved, not least because it continued his tradition of wearing coats really well, to the point where coat-wearing became a minor narrative theme. Maybe that's a plot thread they should've looked into for Spider-Man! Turn off the Dark! Just have him doff/don his coat all the time and bitch about the climate. Maybe it would've saved millions of dollars in embarrassment and frivolous lawsuits.

But the best news of all is that according to New York magazine, Bill Nighy is currently still eating alone at stylish yet sedate Upper West Side establishments and then prowling around Central Park, counting trees, which I guess is what I might do too if I had most of my days free. Cool cat moves there, crumpet! Look out for the raccoons.

Source: http://www.vulture.com/2015/03/bill-nighy-...

Shyness & social media

Social media offers a chance to present a persona to the world, one who may not resemble in all particulars one’s real-life self, and yet my favorite social media presences tend to be those whose online personalities hew fairly closely to their offline selves—who manage to be appealing and interesting without being significantly more aggressive or boastful online than they’d have the nerve to be in person. Instead they seem to be restrained by the same considerations (tact, empathy, fairness) that operate in real life.
— Adelle Waldman
Source: http://www.vogue.com/946962/shyness-imposs...

Writing funny

Several years ago, someone asked me to talk to a class at Yale—a humor-writing class. To me this was the joke. Really, why not have a class on how to have blue eyes? If I was a parent and I found out that my child, on whom I was spending eight billion dollars a year sending to Yale, was taking a humor-writing class, I would be furious. I can’t imagine a more fraudulent activity than teaching a humor-writing class. Certainly those people should be in jail. I would like to arrest them personally.
— Fran Lebowitz
Source: http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/1...