Friday, March 27, 2015


Weekend Roundup / Open Thread


TODAY IN CLUELESS NEWS: I just realized that Murray wears a Superman necklace throughout the movie, and then my multiple viewings of Scrubs throughout the years made me go, "Wait, Turk had a Superman tattoo!!!" And now I'm going to spend the rest of my weekend trying to figure out Donald Faison's affection for Superman. Please feel free to leave all theories in the comments.

Haley started this week with a meditation on a small fashion magazine, then we... put on some poison dresses, wrote a poem in Dutch, figured out if he was into us, watched some Bollywood videos of Helen, recast The First Wives Club, wondered if God ever spoke to us through cats (probably not), named our plants, quenched our thirst, wrote a letter to Jenna Lyons, talked to Baba Yaga, wrote some neurotica, praised Uncovered Classics and all our piles of books, repeated a word, and interpreted some dreams.

As always, here are some women who gave us life (load up your Instapaper): Arabelle Sicardi on Fresh Off the Boat and her mother, Kathleen Hale interviewed Fran Lebowitz, Kristin Russo, Nicolette Mason, Arabelle Sicardi, and Rae Tutera on fashion and the queer identity, ">too many women we love named the funniest women on Twitter by Playboy, and a small-town steel worker, Kim Kardashian impersonator and beverage enthusiast wrote about gel manicures in the New York Times magazine.

In other weird/sad/exciting/weeeeird news: next week is my last week at the Hairpin. * please insert every emoji ever created here * You'll hear more on that from me soon, but LET'S MAKE THIS LAST WEEK A GOOD ONE, EH?????? See you Monday. Let's do it big.


The National Geographic has a piece on how swarming bats avoid crashing into each other:

A new study finds that the nocturnal creatures follow a few simple "traffic rules" to avoid midair collisions: The bats first home in on the positions of other bats using their built-in sonar, then follow the flight path of a leader bat—or wingman, as it were.

And, oh my god, the idea of little creepy bats following traffic rules is so adorable to me. I am imaging little bats staying in their own little bat lanes and stopping at their little bat four-way intersections to give the other little bats the right of way, and they all have little bat bumper stickers that say things like, "My other vehicle is the Batmobile" and "Bela Lugosi on Board" and "Honk if you love echolocation" and wait a second I think I just invented a kids' TV show.

The Best Places to Get Free Coffee in LA

coffeeeeFrom Sunset to Sun Valley, here are eleven of the city's finest free coffee establishments.

1. Milt and Edie’s Drycleaners, Burbank

Milt and Edie's, which has been open twenty-four hours a day since 1962, offers far more than just coffee: they have free cookies, free hot dogs and popcorn, free treats for your dog, free flag-cleaning, and on their website, a page of free fashion tips with confident headings like, “How Long Pants Legs Should Be.” The free coffee comes out of an automated machine set beside a plate of Hydrox cookies, both types, and under a bulletin board advertising local businesses, mostly dog walkers and dialect coaches.

2. Sunset Car Wash, West Hollywood

There was nothing I loved more when I was a little girl than going with my father to Sunset Car Wash on Sunset Boulevard, a low-slung Brutalist monument with an interior viewing window through which I'd watch our red Mercury Topaz slowly trundle through suds-covered tentacles. We referred to our car as “The Sharkmobile” because it would instantly overheat if you tried to stop or slow down. Then we'd have to pull over and my father would lift the hood and bang at the radiator with an old espadrille that we kept in the trunk specifically for that purpose. My father would pour himself a free coffee from a Mr. Coffee set into an alcove alongside an uncovered pitcher of cream and an open box of sugar cubes. I always begged for a sugar cube but my mother had forbidden my father to give me one because she'd heard somewhere that fiends would dose unattended sugar cubes with LSD just for kicks.

3. Emergency Room, Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, Burbank

I went to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center Emergency Room after my eight-month-old tumbled face-first off the kitchen counter and landed on his fortunately pliable eight-month-old nose, chipping his front tooth and severing the frenulum that once connected his upper lip to his gums. The free coffee is not located in the main emergency room waiting room with the vending machines and the TVs playing soap operas, nor in the triage area to which you will later be assigned to sit and chat about infant head trauma with a man who looks like Sting, but in a smaller subsequent waiting room in an area called, without apparent irony, Rapid Care. While drinking your coffee you can try to avoid eye contact with a room full of people who look perfectly fine to you and one person who definitely doesn't, a gardener who sliced through his forearm on the job and is now standing with his arm wrapped in a jacket, his demeanor calm and slightly apologetic, like a man sorry for getting blood all over your perfectly nice waiting room.

Three and a half hours later the cheerful doctor assured me it's all but impossible to break a baby's nose (“at this stage it's all cartilage”) and that most healthy American boys have torn their frenulums by the age of six; she should know, having two young sons of her own. The baby had no signs of brain injury, though she did recommendI check in on him every two hours overnight “to make sure he's still breathing.” READ MORE


Dream Interpretation: Dying Fathers and Falling Cars


I often ask clients if they've had any dreams. I ask them because, to a Jungian psychotherapist, dreams are what an X-Ray is to a medical doctor: a look below what is visible to the naked eye, a peek into what is happening beyond what a person consciously knows or believes.

Dear Satya:

I took a nap and I dreamed about my father passing away. He was laying in a coffin, but in real life he is still alive. This dream was a nightmare for me; I was crying and very afraid.

Dear Dreamer,

I'm so sorry! Those dreams are awful. You wake up confused about who's dead and who's alive, and maybe worried that the dream is a premonition of an actual event. As you've adjusted to daily living, you've probably come to find that your father is alive and not in literal danger. So what does this dream mean for you?

Without having spoken with you, I would gander a couple of strong possibilities: your father complex is dying due to some new events or awareness in your life, and/or you have an unconscious and confusing death wish for your father. Let me explain.

If you're anything like anyone alive, your relationship with your father is complicated. In your own particular blend of feelings that all children share, you love your father and are angry with him. You are hurt from past events and also grateful for things. Unconsciously, you balance out all of your conscious beliefs about him with their opposites. For instance, a woman may dream of her father all the time but in therapy will proclaim to have had a very good childhood with him, with nothing more to say. After months pass, however, she may begin to have conscious memories of his angry episodes or feeling his cold tone filter throughout the house. Consciously, she liked her dad. Unconsciously, things were much more complicated. READ MORE


Real Love

OK remember that CRAZY New York mag profile of Martine Rothblatt, the trans-everything CEO? (Here is a moment of silence for that weird cover line, ugh.) I remember it well, because it was my first week at the Hairpin and I was also still working at New York magazine and it was FASHION WEEK and I kept forgetting to eat and I was running on like three hours of sleep every night, LOL!!!!

ANYWAY: In the article, we learn that Rothblatt commissioned an AI robot that looks like her wife, named Bina48. Commissioned. Robot. Wife. WHAT.

Sitting on a computer table in the converted garage that serves as Terasem headquarters, and molded in “frubber” to resemble skin, is a head-and-shoulders bust of Bina, loaded with 20 hours of interviews with Bina, familiar with Bina’s favorite songs and movies, programmed to mimic Bina’s verbal tics, so that in the event that Bina expires, as humans always do, Martine and their children and friends will always have Bina48.




I am not supposed to say the same thing twice
who cares
i was born twice READ MORE


A Post About Books, Sort Of

HEATHCLIFFFFFFFFI am completely charmed by Uncovered Classics, a project by writer and designer Amy Collier to celebrate 20th century novels by women. (The project was created in response to Modern Library's dude heavy list on the same topic.) Uncovered Classics both revisits and rediscovers old titles as kind of an ongoing book club, and Collier is recruiting different artists to design new covers, because let's be real, that's the best way to judge a book.

I am a sucker for books as tactile objects. I am actually trying to be less precious about them! I own, ahem, a metric fuckton of books, and I've gotten a lot of them for free. I have spent years working as a bookseller, publishing house intern, literary critic, columnist, etc, that at any given time I have enough galleys to build a sizeable fort. I also spend most of my disposable income on books (second only to roti), constantly buying new ones just because I like the way they look at my shelf. Last year I discovered I own three different editions of Wuthering Heights. I do not need three different editions of Wuthering Heights!


A Loss For Words

There are approximately seven billion inhabitants of earth. They conduct their lives in one or several of about seven thousand languages—multilingualism is a global norm. Linguists acknowledge that the data are inexact, but by the end of this century perhaps as many as fifty per cent of the world’s languages will, at best, exist only in archives and on recordings. According to the calculations of the Catalogue of Endangered Languages (ELCat)—a joint effort of linguists at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, and at the University of Eastern Michigan—nearly thirty language families have disappeared since 1960. If the historical rate of loss is averaged, a language dies about every four months.

The mother tongue of more than three billion people is one of twenty, which are, in order of their current predominance: Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, English, Hindi, Arabic, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, Japanese, Javanese, German, Wu Chinese, Korean, French, Telugu, Marathi, Turkish, Tamil, Vietnamese, and Urdu. English is the lingua franca of the digital age, and those who use it as a second language may outnumber its native speakers by hundreds of millions. On every continent, people are forsaking their ancestral tongues for the dominant language of their region’s majority. Assimilation confers inarguable benefits, especially as Internet use proliferates and rural youth gravitate to cities. But the loss of languages passed down for millennia, along with their unique arts and cosmologies, may have consequences that won’t be understood until it is too late to reverse them.

Guys, I'm telling you, language is cool and we should all think about words and what they mean all the time.


Happy Birthday to the Moonwalk

Yesterday was a national holiday: 32 years and one day ago, Michael Jackson debuted the Moonwalk while performing "Billie Jean." (GOD, I know, how could I forget???) Jackson didn't originate the move, but catapulted it to the mainstream and started a national craze. Soul Train's website (everybody text your mom: did you know Soul Train had a website?) has a really charming backstory:

The audience thought they had already seen a dynamite performance, but they had not seen anything yet. During the bridge, Michael proceeded to demonstrate on television for the very first time the Backslide, which caused screams throughout the entire audience. He did the move again towards the end of the song and he recalls seeing a sea of people standing up and applauding him at the end of his performance.

Everyone backstage–from his brothers, Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops and the special’s host comedian Richard Pryor–congratulated Michael on a fantastic performance. He did not feel totally elated about his performance since he wanted to stay suspended on his toes during one part of his performance; he didn’t feel better about his performance until a little kid came up to him and told him, “You are amazing! Who taught you how to dance like that?” “Practice, I guess,” Michael told the star-struck kid.

"Practice, I guess" is now the only acceptable response to being fly. Thank you, Michael.


The Word I Hate This Week

Do you know what is the most garbage word in the English language? Harmless.



Neurotica: Erotica For the Slightly Anxious

He pulled me close to him, his hips grinding up against my own. "I promise you," he said. "I'm not into you because you remind me of my mother who was emotionally distant after my father died." I kissed him, my heart pumping furiously now that he had answered one question that had been plaguing me all along.

"Are you sure?" I asked. "You're not just saying that because you know it's what I want to hear? If you are, just tell me. I'll be fine with it. But honesty is really important to me." He stopped my ramblings by covering my mouth with his hand. "I'm not just saying that," he said, then dropped his hand to my waist. Before I could say anything, he added, his hot breath against my neck, "I washed my hands with soap and hot water just before this. Don't worry." I sighed, relieved that I hadn't just been exposed to a handful of New York City germs. Did he use brand soap or generic? I should have checked his bathroom more closely when I had gone in earlier, but I had been too busy examining the mold-less shower curtain. "Brand," he whispered as if he could read my mind. "Mrs. Meyers' Clean Day." He was sanitary and eco-friendly. My knees weakened and he pulled me towards him again, this time with more force. READ MORE

The Car Seat

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 4.59.42 PMIf I had to choose the single worst aspect of parenting in the first year of a baby’s life, I have a very simple answer: the fucking car seat. Every aspect of it—choosing one, buying it, installing it, removing it, putting it into another car, strapping a screaming baby into it—is totally maddening and utterly exhausting.

The first challenge you will face, alone as parents, just unleashed from the hospital, will be getting your baby home. If, like me, your baby was born at the tail end of a blizzard in Manhattan and if, like me, you live in Brooklyn, well, getting home will possibly be worse than the delivery.

We planned in advance: We researched the best and safest infant car seat (which it turns out is, unsurprisingly, probably the most expensive), and we bought it. We installed the base into our tiny car weeks before Zelda’s planned escape from my womb. We hauled the little seat into the hospital, where a nurse showed us how to strap her little body into the seat. She sat there, strapped in, surrounded by sausage-rolled blankets, seemingly gasping for each breath. We threw the seat into the base which, we’d read, shouldn’t budge “more than an inch” in its position. It budged. We white-knuckled it all the way home. We made it.

We didn’t drive that much after the baby was born, so she never really got a car groove going. She threw up in the car sometimes, she yelled, and I wrestled, often, with the sneaking suspicion that the car seat was improperly installed. Finally, I hired a professional car seat installer, and paid the best seventy-five dollars of my life to find that I was correct: The car seat wasn’t situated correctly. The installer showed me how to get it in and out of the car in seconds flat: You need to move seats and get your entire body into the back seat of the car. You push on the seat with your body, you tug harder than you’ve ever tugged on the seat belt which will be all that stands between your baby and the outside should an impact occur. You struggle and huff and puff. You turn red. And you get that fucker installed properly. And then, before you know it, the little rat has outgrown her first car seat and needs an upgrade. READ MORE


Ask Baba Yaga: What's the Difference Between Adventure and Destruction?

baba ill bird
Transcript after the jump. READ MORE


An interview with Dayna Tortorici, the self-professed "angriest woman of them all," is exactly what we need today. Listen to this, good night, see you back here tomorrow.


An Open Letter to Jenna Lyons