Thursday, March 20, 2014


The Ex of Frankenstein

From UCB comedian Aimée Lutkin, THE EX OF FRANKENSTEIN: "There were all kinds of red flags! All kinds of weird, Freudian shit happening with his creator!" [YouTube]


"Excuse me, we've had some complaints you're intimidating people with your toned body."

Today's best #humblebrag-as-news-story award goes to Tiffany Austin, who was kicked out of a Bay Area Planet Fitness for being too fit:

Austin said things started out well. She hopped on a treadmill, set the speed to slow, put her earbuds in and started walking. She started to notice others staring at her, and quickly grew self-conscious but she kept on walking. That is until a staff-member stopped her.

According to Austin that staff member said, "excuse me we've had some complaints you're intimidating people with your toned body. So can you put on a shirt?”

Austin was wearing a tank that showed her stomach and capri-pants and says she didn't see anything wrong with the outfit. She says she was only told not to wear a string tank because of the dress code policy at the gym.

Tiffany! I hope Tiff tipped this story herself. I want to read every possible version of this story: "Excuse me, we've had some complaints you're intimidating people with your intellect and wit. So can you take it down a notch?" [KTVU]


Did People Watch Doll & Em Last Night?

Edith Zimmerman: LOGAN. What did you think of this show? We watched all of it yesterday in your apartment, and I originally brought the screeners over thinking it would be fun because HBO is generally fun, and the show seemed like a light-n-easy watch, but then it kind of steamrolled me. I'd thought we'd at most watch three episodes, but then we watched the whole thing—all six episodes—pretty much without stopping, and we didn't even look at each other between episodes five and six (the last two). Admittedly they were all pretty short, but I'd had no idea. This was in many ways the most transfixing show I've ever seen. Haha. I HAVE SO MUCH TO SAY ABOUT IT TO YOU.

Logan Sachon: Yes, it was pretty stunning, actually. I'd also had no idea about the show, hadn't even heard of it, going in, which I love. I wish we could experience all things with that purity of knowledge, that clean slate. I mean, I guess it's possible, actually, you just don't go on the internet or talk to people. Solved! But yes. DOLL & EM. Very uncomfortable, at first! A bit like Curb Your Enthusiasm, except there are two Larry Davids and both are women. But then those last two episodes, yes yes yes. So much real and so much heart. It's funny now, to think, that I thought it could be Curb Your Enthusiasm. Because there is no heart in that show, and this show is all heart.  READ MORE


tUnE-yArDs' "Water Fountain" and a Banks Aaliyah Cover

Here's the latest from tUnE-yArDs (capitalization non-negotiable), the former puppeteer and general drum loop master from New England. "Water Fountain" has a hundred different types of drums and lots of "hoo-ha!" shouts, so you can't really go wrong there. The group's third album, Nikki Nack, is due out May 6.

Elsewhere, and after the jump, Hairpin fav Banks covers Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody" on BBC radio 1. READ MORE


Chicken From Hell!!!!! Now Known as "Anzu Wyliei"

The Chicken From Hell, the "birdlike dinosaur" that was some 7 feet tall that weighed around 500 pounds, now has a scientific name:

The creature was formally introduced to the scientific community Wednesday as scientists published a description and analysis of its anatomy, and finally bestowed a name: Anzu wyliei. The moniker comes from a mythological feathered demon plus the name of a Carnegie museum trustee's grandson.


The dinosaur lived some 66 million to 68 million years ago in a hot and humid landscape, rather like the Louisiana bayou, he said. It ate plants and maybe small animals when it wasn't fleeing from a hungry and much bigger T. rex, he said.

Had science asked, I would've voted for chickenfromhellasaurus, personally. Call me next time, science. [AP, Newsweek]


And the Chocolate Pills Taste Like Chocolate Pills

In a novel collaboration, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Seattle-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the National Institutes of Health, and Mars, Incorporated plan to partner on the largest research trial to date that will investigate the heart health benefits of cocoa flavanols. Once initiated, this large-scale, prospective nutritional intervention will evaluate the role of flavanols in reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from cardiovascular disease.

Let's cut to the chase here: they're testing out chocolate pills for our health. I say, skip the pills and keep eating the chocolate, but I'm no doctor. Where do we sign up? [BWH, AP]


Interview With My Mom, Who Never Had a Single Moms Club

I rarely have visceral reactions to movie previews, let alone previews for Tyler Perry movies that I am never, ever going to see, but I gaped through a two-minute trailer for The Single Moms Club. Gathered on a broad porch, drinking rosé and sharing laughs, are five single moms, none exhibiting a single dark eye-circle or a frenzied need to get somewhere they’ve forgotten. They look like they smell nice and eat well. They’re laughing. They’re talking about men, ho ho, how can we lock them down?

My mother, who divorced my father in England in 1995 when I was eight and my brother was nine, and moved us across the ocean to America, never looked like those women. She did her best to hide it, but she was often harried and panicked, shuttling us from school to activities while pursuing her master’s degree, then her doctorate, all with a lower middle-class income and mounting debt. She moved us to a new country with little to nothing and continued to support us through years of fighting, ungratefulness, and trial. When I was home last week, she and I reclined on my bed and talked about her experience as a single mother operating under precarious and challenging circumstances.

When you were living in England and you wanted to get a divorce, did you have apprehension because you knew you were going to have to raise us by yourself?

Yeah, just like anybody would. Previously, before things started to go badly in our marriage, I wasn’t worrying about things like money and security and your future. It wasn’t a concern of mine until I knew I was going to be on my own.

Again, the situation is unique because once I decided I wanted to get a divorce, I knew that I wanted to go back to America. So that was the driving impetus. I didn’t want to stay in England, and your dad wanted me to stay there. At one point I even suggested that we go back together, and he didn’t want to do that.

Would you have been happy doing that, though?

How could I know?

If you’re going to divorce someone, it’s about the person. It wouldn’t matter where you were living with them.

I was going to give it a shot, you know. I was torn because I didn’t want to be the bad guy taking you two away from your dad.

Why do you think it was so important to not take us away from our dad?

I think it’s a sad thing for any child. Not that I felt that you were particularly close to your father. You were only eight and your brother was nine. And my parents were divorced when I was nine. You don’t want to replicate the same mistakes your parents had made.

Why did you see their divorce as a mistake?

At the time, I didn’t know enough about their relationship. Now I know that if my parents had stayed together, it would have been a disaster. And with your father and I, it just became more and more apparent as the years went on that we were so different. I just couldn’t see it working.

Why did you want to come to America?

I felt very lonely, coming from a large, extended Italian family as I do. I was missing so many things—you know, people’s marriages, people died and I didn’t get to pay my respects. England is a different place, it’s a whole different culture. Your father’s family weren’t exactly the warmest, touchy-feely kind of people. There wasn’t that closeness.

What was it like when you first divorced Dad?

Our divorce went through in around July of ‘95, and it took 9 days because I wanted to take you back with me. The way the law works in England is that if you’re a citizen of another country, you can divorce and go back at any time, but if there are children involved, then the court decides whether or not the children leave.

How did you convince the court?

The judge ruled that he was going to let me decide. He said these words: “I know that you will make the right decision. I’m not going to decide for you.” Barristers on both sides had never heard of this happening before. But we had witnesses. Grandmom flew over from America. Your aunt was there. A few people wrote letters that were read out in court. READ MORE


Are You DTQ?

From last week, but maybe you missed it, Hairpin pal Kassia Miller was over at McSweeney's documenting The Queso Dip Consumption Ritual Between Female Roommates, which, I don't know, you could find relatable, possibly:

A day, a week, a month will go by before either roommate dares discuss the jar of queso dip. Several jars of salsa, bags of chips, the odd tub of icing, all of these foodstuffs will come and go. But Queen Queso shall remain, biding her time as the roommates bide theirs.

The first step toward consumption will begin with a casual aside: “Oh, I noticed we had some queso?” one roommate will remark. While delivered as an off-the-cuff observation, the twinkle in the roommate’s eyes will betray her true intentions.

She is obviously “DTQ”: Down to queso.

[McSweeney's, photo via]

Ask Polly: My Boyfriend Thinks I'm Ugly

Dear Polly,

The amazing man I'm with told me to improve my looks when we first got together. We've been together four years now. Here's the story:

When he first met me, he had fallen for me straight away, always coming in for coffee on my shift at the local cafe, always texting first, offering rides home, asking me out first. He was very sweet and persistent.

I was hooked and I said yes, yes I will be your girlfriend. Then some shit started...  READ MORE


Family-Style Restaurants That Appear Only in Dreams

Eerie Mists & Weird, Uneven Shadows Baking Co.

Enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet of classic Southern grub, like pulled pork and mac & cheese, at this abandoned, mist-filled parking structure, whose walls are covered with undulating shadows even though you are there all alone. At night, the spot turns into a funky after-hours cabaret, with white leather banquettes and top-shelf cocktails. You are still the only person there, but you can faintly hear the sound of your best friend from middle school singing “Edelweiss,” off in the distance. Do not, under any circumstances, follow the sound of her voice. Tuesdays are two-for-one margarita night!

Café Forgot to Finish Tenth Grade

Kick back with a bottomless cup of our signature blend coffee as you realize, with mounting panic, that you forgot to file some kind of important paperwork back in 1999, and as a result, you now have to re-take the tenth grade. And don’t forget to pick up some of our authentic French pastries on your way out! You’ll need them to barter with the high school bullies who keep writing ‘GRANDMA DUMBASS’ on your locker in Sharpie.

Ashlee Simpson’s “Pizzas of Me” Italian Trattoria

Take a bite out of the early 2000s at this elegant eatery, where former reality TV sweetheart Simpson prepares a menu of unique, fresh takes on Tuscan cuisine. She’s even developed some vegan options that are as scrumptious as they are healthy! But if she tries to offer you a complimentary platter of shrimp cocktail, don’t accept it—the dipping sauce is made from all your most horrible unspoken thoughts about your sister and her home jewelry-making business, and is also absolutely lousy with gluten. READ MORE


Almost 90 years after JRR Tolkien translated the 11th-century poem Beowulf, The Lord of the Rings author's version of the epic story is to be published for the first time in an edition which his son Christopher Tolkien says sees his father "enter[ing] into the imagined past" of the heroes. [Guardian] | March 19, 2014


Sadie Dupuis, "Pretend To Be Nice (Josie and the Pussycats Cover)" (!!)

Sadie Dupuis, frontwoman for Speedy Ortiz, covers this TIMELESS CLASSIC (written by the Fountains of Wayne guy!) for a Record Store Day compilation called "Faux Real," which will feature real-band versions of fake-band songs (Bent Shapes covers Mystik Spiral, oh myyyyy god). Except the Josie and the Pussycats band is the most real in my heart forever, and this song is my Christmas and for the rest of the day I'll be trying not to stop everything and watch the movie and certainly saying bless you, Sadie Dupuis.


Ask Baba Yaga: Am I Actually Better Than Everyone Else or Just Extremely Arrogant?

Transcript after the jump.  READ MORE


Can You Charge a Woman With Murder for a Stillbirth?

ProPublica has a fascinating, sad, complicated story up about a young woman named Rennie Gibbs, who was 16 in 2007, when she delivered a stillborn infant one month premature:

To experts who later examined the medical record, the stillborn infant’s most likely cause of death was also the most obvious: the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. But within days of Samiya’s delivery in November 2006, Steven Hayne, Mississippi’s de facto medical examiner at the time, came to a different conclusion. Autopsy tests had turned up traces of a cocaine byproduct in Samiya’s blood, and Hayne declared her death a homicide, caused by “cocaine toxicity.”

There are too many pieces here to summarize well (one important one is that Hayne, the medical examiner, has performed up to 1,800 autopsies each year, and four murder convictions based on his evidence have been overturned), but it seems clear that these fetal harm laws are still operating in an area that's very gray.

An Indiana woman who attempted suicide while pregnant spent a year in jail before murder charges were dropped last year; an Iowa woman was arrested and jailed after falling down the stairs and suffering a miscarriage; a New Jersey woman who refused to sign a preauthorization for a cesarean section didn’t end up needing the operation, yet was charged with child endangerment and lost custody of her baby. But the vast majority of cases have involved women suspected of using illegal drugs. Those women have been disproportionately young, low-income and African American.

In this case, the birth defect linked to cocaine use was not a factor in Samiya Gibbs' birth. The director of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women states here that "women are typically convicted based on evidence that would be demolished by lawyers with the time and resources to effectively refute it in court – lawyers, say, for pharmaceutical companies whose drugs are challenged in court as being unsafe." More at ProPublica.


Finally, Some Endives for a Diva Like Me

Via Sociological Images, tireless chronicle of all that is casually ridiculous:

This is a Quebec company formerly called Connaisseur, and the rebrand has apparently worked: "Since launching Endives Diva, company president Philippe Schryve has already announced a significant rise in sales." More products like this here, and two others great ones after the jump.  READ MORE