“I’m glad you brought him up”

There are few things I enjoy more than Fran Lebowitz ringing the bell on ding-dongs, regardless of political persuasion, and especially since it's only mid-July and I am already tired of everybody.

From a conversation with Fran Lebowitz and Bill Maher at the New York Times:

Fran Lebowitz: The worst thing about this is that there’s always outrage over people in show business, who have no actual power. They’re entertainers. We would prefer that they agree with us, and do the right thing. But moral outrage should be reserved for Congress or the Supreme Court. To me, the fact that people can’t tell the difference between these things is why we have Donald Trump as president. People want to be entertained 24 hours a day. And they’re seeking from entertainment what they should be seeking from other branches of life.

Philip Galanes: Have you ever had to do a public apology?

FL: No. This is very specific to people who have mass audiences. Remember that whole period when Charlie Sheen was news. That’s not news, O.K.? You can watch Bill; you cannot watch Bill. But you can’t not have this Congress. That’s the misplaced moral outrage.

PG: Better to save it for Paul Ryan?

FL: I’m glad you brought him up. Every time I see the sentence “Paul Ryan is the conscience of the Republican Party,” I think: What is that? Is that like being the quarterback of the New York City Ballet? But yes, that is where your outrage should be.

See also: 

FL: Trigger warnings are ridiculous. I’d never heard about them until I was speaking on a college campus. What world are we preparing these young people for? Actual life does not give you a trigger warning before it comes up behind you and mugs you.

And amen:

FL: I am so tired of hearing about what the Trump voters want. I don’t care what they want. How’s that? And you know what? We do know what they want. They want a Confederate flag. We all know what this is about. I’m tired of hearing people, particularly men, explain to me what Hillary Clinton did wrong. Donald Trump didn’t win because he did something right; he won because he did something wrong. We always knew you could win that way — appealing to the worst. You’re just not supposed to win the presidency that way.

Go read the whole thing; it is well worth your time.

The key to life
PETER SAGAL: So do you have any tips for those of us who would like to arrive at 93 as spry and as successful and happy as you are?

NORMAN LEAR: What occurred to me first is two simple words... Maybe as simple as any two words in the English language—over and next.
— @ Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!
Workin’ for a livin’

My friend Kelly told me at work today that she finds the concept of old male rock 'n roll stars who still perform onstage absurd: "Imagine seeing your 70-year-old dad up there!" she said. I said that was an ageist statement and I would have to report her to HR. I also told her being a musician was a job like any other job except what kind of person would ever choose to stop rocking? Not me! Then we talked about what kind of fan goes to see these old male rock 'n roll stars and how nostalgia plays the biggest role in their continuing careers. We discussed Bruce Springsteen, of course, which led right into my story about how the first rock 'n roll concert I ever attended was Huey Lewis and the News at Alpine Valley, because we couldn't get tickets to see Bruce Springsteen that summer (the summer of "Born in the U.S.A."). I didn't mention the year, but she said something to the effect of "You were alive back then?" I have no idea how old she actually thinks I am, but it's true! I was living! My dad drove my friend Kris and me to Milwaukee and fell asleep under a tree while we rocked happily 'neath the stars with Huey Lewis and the News, who we love dearly to this day.

Ahem. Don't get me wrong: Kelly and I talk a lot but I did manage to get some work done today, too. Launched a whole goddamn website!

Then tonight I got a text from my friend Erin, who was at...a Huey Lewis and the News concert.

Watching: Hunt for the Wilderpeople

For pete's sake, watch this movie! It is an utter delight, and has the bonus (well, not exactly "bonus," as he's the star) of Sam Neill, who once upon a time (the mid-90s) appeared in nearly every movie I saw with my dear friend and roommate Diana, so this reminded me a lot of Diana, so much so that approximately 3/4 of the way through it—as Sam Neill and the kid who plays his foster son reach a sort of pinnacle of their time together on the run from the law and child services in the New Zealand bush—I had to pause and wipe away a tear for Diana. Because you know who would've loved this movie as much as me? That's right: Diana. So I sincerely hope you love it as much as me and Diana. (Sorry for the sloppy grammar there, but I'll take consistent sentence structure over conventional politeness every time.) Anyway, you know what to do.

Wishing you sort of well

This recent commencement speech by Chief Justice John Roberts is a real peach. At first I assumed it was for Ivy League graduates (who perhaps need this advice more than anybody but the Koch Brothers), but it turns out he gave it to a bunch of junior high school kids. Tough love!

Now the commencement speakers will typically also wish you good luck and extend good wishes to you. I will not do that, and I’ll tell you why. From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion. Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.

I'm sure there are many reasons the liberal firebrand in me is supposed to hate this but I got ~3 hours of sleep last night so I don't even care. Life is a crapheap, nap when you can.

ed. Oops liberal is bad too! I am failing at everything!

A podcast & a newsletter plus

Two more of my favorite things in the world: podcasts and newsletters!

I weave in & out of many, many podcasts, but these are currently in my "Listen up yo" playlist. I'm anti- most podcasts over 60 minutes long, which is a ridiculous amount of time for anything to be that's just people talking to a microphone, but I also set Overcast at "1x +" speed (I have no idea what this technically means, but it's faster), and that helps. Note that none of these are exactly "hidden gems," but I got no time to fish for rare treasures when I have all these f&*LS@#% podcasts to get through:

And fave newsletters:

I do always have time for more good reads, so let me know if you have any. I'm tired of being a person who says "I hate X" all the time, even though I'm usually mostly joking and even though I just did it re: 60-minute-long podcasts. But it's a terrible way to live! So I'm actively on the hunt for new things to love that don't involve illegal substances or communicable diseases.

Anyway, the latest Nerdette podcast was my favorite entertainment this week, and not only for the long "Tom Hanks swoons over typewriters" interlude. Start here, near the end, with Dr. Sheyna Gifford, who talks about life in space & right here on earth: 

Begin to look around your world and think of yourself as having only so much of anything. Behave accordingly. Buy only the food you’re going to eat and if you’re not going to eat it or use it, compost it. Turn lights off. Wash dishes in the sink and then use that water to do the floor. Plant something that generates oxygen. And really choose when you buy things — when you purchase things, when you fill your life with stuff — think of it as the thing you want with you on your ship. And if you don’t want it with you on your ship, do you really want it? Fill your life with the people you want with you on your ship. And if you don’t want them with you on your journey to the unknown? Well, maybe choose other people. And most of all, decide who it is you most want to be in life and be that person. Be your boldest, most brilliant, most generous, most patient individual.

Then go back and listen to Jessamyn Stanley, who talks about yoga and self-acceptance and trying things that are hard just because they're hard, and then go back to the beginning and listen to the whole thing. Nerdette is the best! Of course it is, it's from Chicago.

Then read/subscribe to Bim Adewunmi's newsletter, ...the fuck is this?

I remembered something an older cousin once said about me and my attitude. In less harsh words, she basically told me I was dangerously smug, and that my need to be superior (her diagnosis, not mine) was severely off-putting. Ominously, she told me that I should watch that tendency. Like it was a custard that might form lumps if I ever stopped stirring, or a baby with a malignant stare. I mean, it did its job: I have carried her observation with me for more than two decades. I try to be kind when people do not know what I know. I try to be less of a shit when I am imparting a version of wisdom or knowledge. Some days it comes easy. Other days, well, you can’t outrun habit.

You should always try, though. Just as I'm trying by only proofreading this newsletter one time. It's giving me the vapors yet I soldier on. Peace out, chickens! Stay gold!

Best things in the world

Apart from America! that is.