Good morning!

Great things happening in the world! We're all doing just fine!

Says Vogue: "Just Friday, The Guardian reported that Swedish model Arvida Byström received rape threats after she appeared in the Adidas Originals campaign with unshaved legs, even though her blonde hair and petite frame otherwise match most existing beauty norms."

Interesting how randos with keyboards (and, presumably, fingers) still toss out rape threats at the drop of a hat, isn't it? Interesting how that remains the default go-to response to any woman who steps over the arbitrary line they've drawn for acceptable behavior and/or comportment for 49.588% of the world's population?

These are all exclams and question marks of aggression, btw. Do not mistake me.

In other news, my name is Kari, I'm 48 years old, and I like Dave Matthews. Hope you can handle it!

3 things for today

Like all writers, I don't get plot. I don't understand it, I don't like it, whenever I try to come up with it outside of a story, it makes me crazy. So one thing I've found is that if you spend a lot of time creating and then revising one of these voice-driven monologues, and really working with it as text, you know, trying to make it sing, what happens I think is that the lens gets very fine. And a very small tendency in the person as a character will sort of get heightened a little bit, and that's where plot comes from.

Linda Holmes wrote a beautiful piece on Anthony Bourdain yesterday, and in it she mentions that he had been one of her guides, along with Roger Ebert: someone who demonstrated for her how a life could be lived ("a guide to being, as to paraphrase John Muir, in the world rather than just on it"). George Saunders is this for me—a generous voice of calm and reason, as well as a gentle nudge, and a necessary reminder that there are many, many ways to be a writer.

2: I always walk out of a heist movie feeling taller and stronger and a little aggressive, like I'm tough enough to evade a police chase or punch a worthy perp in the chops and sail away with a cool million. Ocean's 8 is no great heist movie (nor a great movie period: objectively, it is not a very good movie), but it was great fun, and a heist movie, so I will let it pass. There's something about watching a group of confident, breezy hucksters perform utterly frivolous magic tricks on scandalously wealthy villains and/or corporate entities—and get away with it—that just really fires me up.

Serious query though: what's the difference between a heist and a caper? I feel it’s largely a matter of tone, or sensibility, but can't quite put my finger on the divide, only that capers feel more madcap, more screwball, more Cary Grant. More Muppet? That's my general theory, anyway; feel free to crowdsource this one amongst yourself.

3: I was reminded again this morning via SiriusXM's THE BRIDGE that sometimes the old joys are the best (as is SiriusXM's THE BRIDGE):

The story behind the story

Another chapter in my long-running obsession with this song... Word on the street is they rehearsed this performance only once, over the phone. I'm not sure if I made that up or if I actually read it somewhere, but I like it to be true.

“Flowers” was never intended to be a pop song, let alone a duet with legendary singers. Diamond first wrote it as the theme song to an ill-fated ’70s soap opera spoof. When the tune was no longer needed, he and his co-writers turned it into a pop song — which Diamond released in 1977 and Streisand covered in early 1978.

But if a DJ in Kentucky hadn’t created his own mashup of the two versions, splicing them together to create a “divorce present” for his wife, it probably never would’ve become such a hit. Word got out after the mashup was created, creating enough buzz that Streisand and Diamond recorded it as a proper duet in late 1978. The song spent a few weeks on top of the Hot 100 chart. Perhaps its message held special poignance for those caught in the throes of the ’70s divorce revolution.

Source: https://www.ozy.com/performance/the-grammy...

p.s. Neil Diamond

p.s. Neil Diamond was "the bomb," as they say in 2008. There was an overlong (and frankly unwelcome) bird interlude somewhere in the middle, staged to a video loop of swooping pigeons 'neath azure skies, along with some number I'd never heard before about a bunch of random people whose only connection to each other was that they were "done too soon." This was essentially a worse version of "You Didn't Start the Fire," itself one of the worst songs in the history of the world, only Neil's list included, for some reason, John Wilkes Booth.

Now "done too soon" is the sort of nonsense tautology that could apply to literally every person who has ever walked the earth (you seldom hear "he lived exactly the right number of years" when somebody croaks), except for someone like Hitler or Idi Amin or, of course, John Wilkes Booth. It wouldn't even occur to me that this was debatable. At first I thought perhaps I misheard a lyric, but there was JWB's face in the corresponding montage video, which actually made it worse.

And then I wondered why nobody has ever pointed this out to Neil. It made me concerned for him a little, that he hadn't realized what he was putting down in song was strange and unwise, and that nobody around him thought to mention it. In the end I guess I don't care about it all that much, except for being a thousand percent sure I don't need to hear any of those songs ever again.

Me shouting to Groucho during the bird segment: "This is like a Christopher Cross video."

Groucho shouting back to me circa John Wilkes Booth: "This must have been a low point in his career."

Here's where our faces tell the story of joy, followed by concern and confusion:

I realize I sound pretty harsh, but there was an entire row of very drunk forty-something folk sitting right behind us who were enthusiastic about Neil Diamond in all the wrong ways, and even though Groucho and The Old Man and I were appropriately behaved, it sort of colored my enjoyment of the whole affair. The lesson here is okay, have your fun, but also don't use that fun in an oppressive and encroaching way—through kicks in the back of the head and non-stop chatter and the repeated middle-aged screeching of the made-up word "beautimous"—to fuck it up for others. I can't even believe I have to type that out loud, but there you have it. 2017.

He did sing all my faves, though, and wrapped it up with "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show," which I hope we can all agree is a pure and unfettered force for good in the world.

Rock on! Enjoy your diamonds while you can! etc.