79-ish cool things
this is too long for email; if you wanna read the whole thing (and why wouldn’t you????) click thru to your browser, babe.
albums i’ve spent the most minutes listening to this year:
chet baker each day is valentine’s day (on repeat: i remember you)
banks serpentina (on repeat: holding back)
florence and the machine dance fever (on repeat: cassandra)
drake honestly, nevermind (on repeat: massive and falling back and currents)
samara joy linger awhile (on repeat: guess who i saw today)
lou rawls all things in time (on repeat: from now on)
lifafa jaago (on repeat: nikamma)
waxahatchee saint cloud (on repeat: ruby falls)
mel tormé encore at marty’s (on repeat: day in, day out)
mitski laurel hell (on repeat: stay soft)
beyoncé renaissance (on repeat: cuff it!!!!!!!! i mean, come on)
julia jacklin pre pleasure (on repeat: magic and ignore tenderness)
roy orbison the classic roy orbison (on repeat: pantomime)
kim petras slut pop (on repeat: throat goat)
lianne la havas self-titled (on repeat: read my mind)
ogi monologues (on repeat: bitter)
issy wood if it’s any constellation (on repeat: i’ll hold)
atsuko okatsuka: the intruder
i am obsessed with her! obsessed!! she’s so funny!!! atsuko i adore you!!!!
lisa hanawalt’s patreon
right now i ain’t got no job, and i know your first thought is DAMN WHY YOU SO SLOW ON THE NEWSLETTERING PAL and honestly the answer is “severe mental illness,” but the question you should be asking is “why in the fuck did tuca and bertie, a flawless show, get cancelled???” (please watch this scene from a season two episode i wrote in which bertie masturbates with an evil vibrator!) i don’t know how these decisions get made but i do know y’all need to hurry up and go watch the entire series before the grinch disappears it from hbo max in the middle of the night and i no longer get my 25-cent residuals (approximately) per written episode. anyway i miss lisa a whole lot, but lucky for us all she makes genius comics on her patreon and that eases the sting of not being able to watch her drink many seltzers throughout the workday inside her tiny zoom box. everyone who worked on tuca is the best, and here is a behind the scenes story about me and my boyfriend steven yeun: one day we’re all on zoom waiting for everyone to show up for the table read and he very sweetly decided to fill the silence by asking where everyone was logging on from. when i said “kalamazoo” he got super stoked and was like WHAT I WENT TO K COLLEGE and i said “wow! neat!” or something equally fucking stupid (it’s stressful talking to celebrities, especially when they can see your digitally-enhanced large pores) and then steven started describing the frat house he lived in when he was in school here. he was ruthlessly going in on how shitty and ramshackle the house was and how he and his frat bros really tore it up and everyone was laughing and he kept saying how the house was absolutely trashed and when he paused i said “what was your address? do you remember?” and he rattled it off, then i got real quiet and whispered “that’s my house” and everyone looked queasy and he was so apologetic, i mean he looked horrified, and then i said “just kidding!” and we all had a big laugh. rip to my fave horny birds.
the hater’s guide to the williams-sonoma catalog
y’all know how i feel about drew magary: i love him. and in addition to his genius why your team sucks rundowns at the start of summer football season i also wait in breathless anticipation for his williams-sonoma takedowns every winter. he never disappoints!
is this the best horror movie i’ve ever seen??? probably! jessie says the reason i love it is because i have unresolved mommy issues and she’s right but also this movie fucks. i can’t say anything about it because i want you to go in as cold as i did. i can’t say enough times how fucking great barbarian is. GO WATCH IT RIGHT NOW.
smile for we
my guy damon mosley put together this deceptively simple book concept: portraits of black men smiling. it’s gorgeous, you need it, it’ll make you feel good.
the modern proper’s turkey pumpkin chili
i just made this, and when i say just made i mean my flame le creuset dutch oven is sitting on the stovetop right this minute bubbling with this delicious chili. i am an absolute sucker for those “watch these disembodied hands dice an onion” cooking videos, so i’ve followed the modern proper insta for a minute, but this is the first time i’ve cooked something of theirs and it was so easy and delicious that i am fully a convert.
matt rogers have you heard of christmas?
i cried laughing the entire way through this special. i’m not sure how many of you are devoted readers of las cultch, one of the funniest podcasts to ever exist,
the jinkx and dela holiday special
MY QUEENS!!! i love these two demented geniuses!
i started this playlist in 2018 and it’s a wild ride, perfect to throw on as you grind in front of the christmas tree or whatever y’all like to do. when i say “weird” i mean it: there’s dancehall christmas songs and mariachi christmas songs and freddy jackson and weezer and alvin and the chipmunks. i’m sure it’s blasphemous but also it rips. my only caveat is that you have to play it on shuffle, because i am not detail-oriented enough to go through a mix and move songs around. ho ho ho!
catherine newman’s house tour on cup of jo
i’m not sure i can fully articulate why, but this made me want to be a better person. catherine is just so nice? and her house is so lived-in and inviting and warm?? anyway it made me seek out catherine and her work, and her book we all want impossible things is hilarious and heartbreaking and i die for her.
all the overdue library books currently located somewhere in my house:
commonwealth ann patchett
the need helen phillips
ill will dan chaon (scary as fuck, ending made me GASP)
sundial catriona ward (terrifying!!)
the keep jennifer egan
shmutz felicia berliner
nobody gets out alive leigh newman
seasonal work laura lipmann (perfection as always)
the souvenir museum elizabeth mccracken
amy miller’s comedy special ham mouth
this woman is funny as hell, omg. “REAGAN TITTIES” made me scream.
flight lynn steger strong
a perfect book, truly. i love a sticky, tangled family drama, sibling drama specifically, where people are mad at each other over shit that happened 20+ years ago and are doing passive aggressive shit to each other based on a thing that happened before their frontal lobes were fully formed. i live for that shit.
i’ve watched this video of a monkey riding a dog approximately 97 times, and i will never stop.
my dumb ass on the podcast normal gossip
i have done my fair share of guesting on podcasts (here’s a link to me on my man hamish’s podcast the active voice talking wild shit) and at this point i’m rarely nervous beforehand, but so many fucking people love normal gossip and there’s a subreddit about it and i was very intimidated and afraid to draw the ire of however many millions of people love the show by accidentally ruining it. even though i love kelsey’s ass and it was all hilarious fun, if you listen closely you can hear me having a complete nervous breakdown throughout the episode!
a podcast my dumb ass is not on
i’m not sure how i was introduced to joel stein and his work (maybe on a long-forgotten iteration of i love the 80s/90s/00s??? who the hell can say, sometimes i confuse him and mo rocca in my brain, was one of them on 60 minutes? why don’t i know anything) but joel is my platonic ideal: skeptical, sardonic, sarcastic, self-effacing. he’s so funny and miserable and his podcast story of the week is great.
“my closet was holding me back” by kara brown
kara has long been one of my absolute favorite thinkers and writers and women in general and i wish she would hurry up and start a podcast or a newsletter or literally anything but until then we have this!!!
i subscribe to a lot more newsletters than i can regularly consume because i have extreme newsletter guilt, but hunter harris is the finest celebrity gossip hound and pop culture historian around. she’s so funny it makes me mad!! i’m also a big fan of emily kirkpatrick’s i <3 mess and meecham meriweather’s now that i mention it!!!!!
jo malone pine & eucalyptus holiday diffuser
i don’t love the holidays nearly as much as i love smelling all the holiday shit. i’m a jo malone head from way back, when i discovered a bottle of french lime blossom in the bathroom of this winnetka woman i was dogsitting for (among the list of rich people shit i learned about in 2002 at her house: sk-II face cream, frette blankets, heated kitchen tiles) and thought it was the best thing i ever smelled. pretty sure most of my dogsitting money went directly to nordstrom, where i purchased my own (tiny) bottle that i guarded with my life. i don’t like to smell like flowers anymore (these days i wear this or this), BUT: the room diffusers are a jam. i also really love the ds&durga portable christmas tree candle (the prime chanuka is good as hell, too; and the bergamot superior is nice, esp in the bathroom after a poop) and detroit rose’s mistletoe candle is also a holiday dream (it doesn’t smell like fresh woods and fallen snow or whatever but i burn their very delicious neroli candle every single day in my office) and the quality is nice and won’t make your head feel like your brain is trying to push through your skull. sometimes i like to snuggle up and pretend i’m the little baby jesus cooing in my manger and some frankincense and myrrh incense really sets the born of a virgin vibe, and it’s also considerably cheaper than everything else and you won’t have to worry about how to recycle the glass. honorable mention: cire trudon abd el kader and gloria candles. but let me tell you something right now, you are not allowed to buy yourself these candles. they range in price from $145 to $730, which is batshit fucking insane. seven hundred american dollars for a cup of scented wax?????? you’re out of your mind! what are they made from, unicorn pelts??? a fancy rich lady sent me some as a gift and i burned them all up within a week like a greedy lil truffle pig, then i searched online for replacements because they smell good as hell but when i saw the prices my soul left my body. i will never be smelling those again.
i’m into podcasts that feel like eavesdropping on a couple friends talking about whatever cultural thing is relevant to my general age group, and listening to zach stafford, saeed jones, and the inimitable sam sanders is like kicking back with your bitchy sisters and bugging out over the news of the day.
true lime/lemon/grapefruit etc
i read about this stuff in yara shahidi’s strategist list, and because i am a fool for any useless novelty item i ordered a variety pack immediately and it rules. what can i say, i love convenience and technological advancement. i’m not sure what this stuff is made of (dehydrated lemon peels…..? who tf knows) but if you add a packet to plain water it tastes like you put a wedge of actual fruit in your drink. could you just slice a grapefruit and squeeze the juice into your glass? of course you could, but then you’d be juicy and sticky and you gotta find a vessel in which to store the unsqueezed remainder, not to mention all the driving to the store and finding a parking spot in the snow and paying $.60 a pound and worrying about the fruit going bad and and and isn’t it just easier and more fun to sprinkle a few granules into your water bottle and keep it pushing????
mike’s hot honey
i’m not typically a honey person or a spicy person, AND YET: i find this shit irresistible. i’ve tried it on pizza and fried chicken and in hot tea and also substituted in this southern living vinaigrette recipe and it was incredible every time.
kathryn jezer-morton’s parenting column brooding
i don’t have children and i’ve never been pregnant (brag) but lately i’ve been reading a ton of excellent writing on parenthood (and motherhood, specifically) because it’s just so good and illuminating and offers a glimpse into a parallel universe i didn’t choose. sometimes i feel relieved (i thank the universe every day that i don’t have to navigate my child being on social media) but there are other times when i wonder what kind of person i’d be or what my life would look like if i’d had kids. intellectually i know it would be worse (i am sick in the head and sick in the body and i do not make good choices; if the last man i slept with and i had procreated, i would surely have given birth to a horror-movie monster with a mile-long list of expensive maladies) but purely from a fantasy perspective maybe i could’ve been a cool mom with an interesting kid? i’m 42, i have had a successful uterine ablation, i am currently in menopause: i am never ever gonna have my own baby but i’m endlessly fascinated by the motherhood journeys of my peers. especially because they write about them in such layered, interesting ways. my babe angela garbus is like, my north star on all things motherhood and caregiving in general, and if you haven’t read like a mother already you should. my babe amil has been writing lots of good stuff about aging and parenting; my babe jessi klein just put out a hilarious essay collection about midlife and motherhood called i’ll show myself out; i just reread meaghan o’connell’s fantastic and now we have everything: on motherhood before i was ready; and i am a faithful reader of/subscriber to sara petersen’s newsletter in pursuit of clean countertops, in which she does a lot of unpacking of momfluencer culture, a thing i didn’t even know existed until recently?? and now i’m watching ballerinafarm make mozzarella cheese with her 37 children toddling around and thinking about how if that was me we’d all be dead.
did i just order a la dame candle? you bet your sweet little ass i just ordered a la dame candle!!!!!! I WORSHIP AT THE ALTAR OF KAREN HUGER.
we watched this in real time and it was agonizing because every episode is so good and you immediately want the next hit, but can i just say that there’s something really nice about the return to weekly tv? i get so stressed when an entire season of a show i want to watch comes out, because it feels like someone flips an hourglass the moment it’s uploaded and you gotta watch the whole thing in a day or else you won’t have any idea what your friends are talking about. all that to say: sharon horgan is an actual genius.
did you know you could order a personalized copy of my future book for your future self!? well you can and it’ll get to your house just in time for spring christmas!! order a copy (or 12?) from my local bookstore and they will bring books to my actual house where i will get my actual germs on them while drawing diagrams of the digestive system or whatever you’re into inside them. click here for future joy.
merry merry happy happy! i love you deep and hope your holiday is whatever you want it to be! xx samantha