Last Sunday, writer Sheila Heti sent out a Tiny Letter follow-up to another Tiny Letter she had sent earlier the same day. It was titled "Ps" and was an apology for the first Tiny Letter, which she had deemed inadequate after hitting send. It seemed unnecessary, in my opinion, since the first letter was fine and I have no rules or expectations for what constitutes a Tiny Letter, but I appreciated it anyway. That she cared enough about this to send a related note.
I highly approve of the p.s. and use it frequently myself, as I always have more to say after I think I'm done. The Grammarly blog has a lot to say about the correct use of P.S., which I didn't read since I use it however I want and don't need no stinkin' rules fouling that up. But they do include this lovely quote from Shaun Usher, the author of Letters of Note:
The P.S. is the most charming part of a letter. It’s the wink you give as you walk away.
Here are some other things that happened this week.
The song I listened to the most
I’m very protective of things from my past that I still love wholeheartedly, not just because they’re comforting in their familiarity or because they’re inherently better than other, newer things (they're not!), but because anything that sticks around in your head for 20 years or more should be respected, while also gently mocked. I think you need to honor the things that made you who you are, because without them you might have grown into an asshole or a serial killer (not that those are mutually exclusive). Who knows what turned the tide in your case, or mine? Plus, in uncertain times like these, we need to appreciate what we can, especially when it’s free for the taking and not suspected of committing any tax fraud through sketchy third-party payments to porn stars.
For me this week that was Jimmy Buffett. Yes! The one and only. I still love the scruffy, hairy Jimmy of the early 70s, who wrote almost exclusively about beach bums and deadbeats and drunks. I love not the famed party songs that turned him into a cash register but the quiet story songs about sad, shabby lives in far-off places. This one is a small epic and it ends with a real bang.
Also this photo
Actually he looks a lot like my cousin Greg.
Some things I read
🔗 Joan Acocella in a review of a new book on Bob Fosse ("Crotch Shots Galore"):
His first big role was the lead in a 1951 summer-stock production of the Rodgers and Hart musical /Pal Joey/. If ever there was typecasting, this was it. Like Joey, a small-time nightclub emcee, Fosse could reel out breezy, lame jokes and get good-looking women to do him favors. This role, to which he returned many times, may have helped to form his rather sleazy personality, and vice versa.
🔗 Ephrat Livni at Quartz writing about loving your job (or not):
It’s not the job itself that gives us a sense of purpose, but the pleasure of work. Yes, that’s right. Pleasure. Because work at its best—whether it’s pouring coffee or defending the indigent accused in a county jail—is a kind of play. In the moment of doing, meaning doesn’t matter, just the task. That’s a relief from spending time dwelling on the big picture: who you’re meant to be and what you should try to achieve in your life.
This was the DVR description for the Hart to Hart episode "Murder in Paradise": "After murder interrupts their Hawaiian croquet game, Jonathan and Jennifer postpone vacation plans for intrigue."
Pause for a moment while I repeat that for you:
"After murder interrupts their Hawaiian croquet game, Jonathan and Jennifer postpone vacation plans for intrigue."
Here, I even took a picture of it:
So. It's a little tough to know where to go after that.
Something about soap operas
From No End to Her: Soap Opera and the Female Subject by Martha Nochimson:
[T]he linguistic syntax of women's entertainment, which is constantly breaking the action, challenges the intellectual as well as the psychological foundations of patriarchal culture, which emphasizes the need to suppress femininity in order to maintain a concept of order. Perhaps the severity of the linguistic assault on male domination in the structure of soap opera and women's movies explains why power establishments of all kinds would rather laugh at than cry about these two subgenres of screen fiction—and why, of the two, soap opera is more daring in its resistance to the linear syntax of conventional narrative. As we have noted, gaps abound: during commercial breaks, between the intercut segments of the many plots that make up a daily show, and at the end of each installment. Its defiance of ordinary (masculine) narrative syntax, its permanent disruption of the linear, suggests why soap opera is commonly the target of an intrinsically masculine power establishment.
A clip from General Hospital
Monica disrupts the masculine power establishment by yelling at two dudes at once even though Alan tries to shut her up (5:30). It's not a secret that there was some amazing hair happening in 1983. She's a heart surgeon, btw. Always important to bear that in mind.
Monica and Alan spent the whole back half of 1983 fighting about whether or not she would allow him to bring his illegitimate infant son to live in their enormous mansion after the child's mother (Susan Moore, Alan's former mistress) was murdered in the midst of a blackmail scheme (spoiler: eventually she gives in, and then raises the kid as her own, which goes very well until 20 years later he loses his memory in a car crash and becomes an angry mobster).
I’ve repeated this claim ad nauseam but my favorite thing in the world is things (plural) that exist on the internet for no reason. Like this weekly-ish / occasional newsletter called "famous people" that I subscribe to, which is a review of parties the writers attend with people who are famous only to them, the writers of this newsletter. Like this guy named Jon who just moved to Berlin and hosted a goodbye party for himself. I don’t know him, nor the writers of this newsletter, yet I was sad to see him go.
This newsletter is deadpan and sunny and light, and it makes me smile every time it arrives in my inbox (usually Wednesdays I think, I haven’t tracked it). It’s the kind of newsletter where you’ll read something like “Then I sat next to the stove with the salt potatoes while my mom drove my grandma and her Crockpots full of meatballs over to the party.” Low key missives. It’s just nice to hear from strangers out in the universe once in a while who have interesting ideas about what to take note of in their lives. What captures their fancies, I guess. Details. And then we all continue on with our own separate battles until the following week or so. Similarly I hope the three people reading this blog who don’t know me at least think to themselves, well it’s weird that she always talks about soap operas, but okay. The people who do know me, I’m not sure what excuse or justification you’re using, although sooner or later there will be a quiz. Take notes! Nostalgia may be free but friendship is not, FYI.
Your weekly Bruce
I went to the YouTube and distractedly typed "Bruce" into the search box, which resulted in a lot of Bruce Willis videos showing up, who not coincidentally I also once paid to see in concert at Summerfest in Milwaukee with my friend Michelle. We crafted a huge multi-colored banner for this concert (BRUCE), which happened in the 80s (obviously), and then the concert was canceled or postponed due to a thunderstorm that threatened to blast us right out of our metal bleacher seats. This was during his "Bruno" days, I believe, when he was calling himself "Bruno" to separate his harmonica self from his Moonlighting self, like Garth Brooks temporarily adopting the alias "Chris Gaines" while wearing a wig and a lot of eyeliner. I honestly don't think I'm making any of this up.
Here's correct Bruce singing with Bryan Adams, for some reason (another hero of my youth, although as my friend Kris reminded me, our prom song was not "Heaven" as I've long arrogantly claimed without performing even the most rudimentary fact checking, but "Meet Me Halfway" by Kenny Loggins. Kris is a police detective so I should have believed her from the start, although I have no memory of that song at all. Kris also has a lot of patience, as you can tell.).
“And that's life,” as they say. Good luck with yours!