Get a Load of This

Our brains never stop thinking about stuff. Random stuff, weird stuff, funny stuff, important stuff. This is the place where we share all that stuff with you.

Civics 101 part 2

Civics 101 Podcast Part 2

Pivot is a great word taken over by business types and made cringeworthy. They did the same to silo. But NPR’s excellent podcast, Civics 101, has created a part 2 and pivoted toward classroom education. And since it’s NPR, they’ve done a bang-up job of it.

If you have kids in middle school or high school, I highly recommend this particular resource. Summer is upon us and in many areas there is no end in sight to all this sitting around and getting on each other’s nerves. If your kids aren’t interested in it, give it a whirl yourself. As usual, I am going to quote from NPR’s webpage rather than reinvent their wheel.

“The single greatest compliment Civics 101 can receive is that you use it in some way with your students. Whether it’s assigning episodes as a primer before class, listening to the show in class, entering our student contest, or (my personal favorite) having students put in headphones and take a walk; we want to do whatever we can to support you and your teaching.

We have created Graphic Organizers on which students can take notes while listening, offer timestamped transcripts for all episodes, and cut our more recent episodes into 3-7 minute segments for easier use in class. All of these are available on the page for each episode.

If you’ve had any success using the show in your classroom, we’d love to hear what you did so we can share it with others. Drop me an email anytime, nick@civics101podcast.org, and I promise we’ll get back to you. Furthermore, if any of you would be interested in contributing lesson plans paired with our episodes, please send us a message, we’d love to collaborate.”

The original post we wrote in 2018 about this excellent NPR podcast can be found here. Happy learning!

our new movie night

Our New Movie Night

Felicia and I watched Logan Lucky on Saturday night. She was on her couch 200 mikes away from where I was on mine. Took us a bit to sync up the sound but aside from that it was great fun to watch a movie together. Our new movie night wasn’t so bad, especially if you find a movie as charming as Logan Lucky.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Rebecca Blunt, a pseudonym for Jules Asner, Soderbergh’s wife, Logan Lucky is a charming, slyly funny and well-crafted heist movie starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver and Daniel Craig. You read that right. I proposed we watch the movie without even know what it was about, simply based on those three names.

Felicia is crazy for Adam Driver and I tend to lose the power of speech when Daniel Craig turns on the charm and Channing Tatum is America’s sweetheart. They could have spent two hours arguing over a Denny’s picture menu and I would have watched it.

Luckily the movie was very good. We got confused a couple times but that was because we were distracted at the beginning trying to sync up the sound on our two TVs. There was a lot of, “I’m confused.” and “Wait, is that his sister or his…oh, it’s his sister. I get it. Sorry.”

I wonder when we will return to movie theatres. I think we will, the experience is so closely tied to ancient rituals of collective entertainment. We’ve spent millennia packed into uncomfortable seats, irritated beyond bearing by our noisy neighbors, and I seriously doubt we will give it up anytime soon. Maybe a trip to the movie theatre will be more of an occasion, the way it is going to a musical or a play or whatever other live performance you don’t mind shelling out 45 bucks a head to see.

Our new version of movie night was fun but I miss the movie theatre because when we all laugh together or gasp as one or there are sniffles and furtive searches for those woefully inadequate napkins to mop up unexpected tears, there is nothing like experiencing those emotional highs and lows among my fellow humans.

 

 

Introvert's Social Distancing Log 1

Introvert’s Social Distancing Log, Day 1

Introvert’s Social Distancing Log, Day 1, Saturday, March 14, 2020 (so many commas, probably too many)

Well, my good intentions of getting up early, showering and eating breakfast before 9AM were shot to hell when I snorted myself awake at 10:15.

In the evening, before I fall asleep, I think myself capable of all sorts of miraculous behavior. A healthy breakfast, an ecologically minded 5 minute shower, taking time to brush my hair and apply mascara and eyeliner.

Morning me is unshowered, a banana flavored kid yogurt eaten while driving (uncomfortably eaten with the only clean spoon in the house which is those dreadful serrated grapefruit spoons), ratty hair swept up in a lopsided bun and needless to say, no makeup.

Yet I was out of bed by 11AM and I ate a bagged salad for brunch so the day isn’t a complete loss. I’ve set myself the enviable (according to me and only me) task of rereading Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell series with pencil in hand to note all the lovely odd words she uses so I can look them up in my OED. I have an OED. I might have that tattooed on my chest in the same font gang members have their affiliations tattooed on theirs. I am exceedingly proud of my OED. If my apartment catches fire I will probably die trying to save it.

Be advised: my possession of a twenty volume, woefully out of date dictionary makes me an idiot. I bought it for myself as a divorce present. My friend bought herself breast implants as a divorce present and she has a devoted boyfriend. I have an OED and I am as alone as a woman on a desert island.

Let that be a lesson to you newly divorced humans.

But that’s neither here nor there.

Where was I? Oh, that’s right. The majority of Americans are trying to live the life I have been training for. I have been a weirdo introvert most of my life. I love being left alone (no questions about why I am divorced? I didn’t think so). I love spending days on end in my apartment alone. I am on day one of social distancing and I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to being left the fuck alone without people calling or texting to make sure I haven’t died and begun to decay.

On that note, that’s it for today. Take care of yourselves. I’ve starting to put together lists of movies and books and songs for you to listen to as you wait out this pandemic. It’s not that I don’t think you have your own taste in these things, you do. It’s just that while you’ve been living a highly social and productive life, I have been here like the bridge troll that I am, piling up things I want to read, watch and listen to.

Please try not to worry. It’s not a bad thing to go back to first principles. Try to be kind and gentle to the ones you love. And yourself.

Talk soon.

Romantic Movies Where No One Ends Up Dead

Romantic Movies Where No One Ends Up Dead

There are two types of people in this world. People who are fine with and sometimes even welcome movies where a great romance ends in the death of one or both partners. And then there are people who really hate that.

I am in the second group. And that is okay. Neither group is right or wrong. We are just different. Sometimes we have trouble agreeing on what movie to watch. I say if you are in that situation, watch The Great Race or Auntie Mame. Or just go bowling.

In this time of political upheaval, worldwide pandemics and possible toilet paper shortages, here is a list of Romantic Movies Where No One Ends Up Dead.

You’re welcome.

Romantic Movies Where No One Ends Up Dead

Love & Basketball

The story of Quincy McCall (Omar Epps) and Monica Wright (Sanaa Lathan), two next-door neighbors pursuing their basketball careers before eventually falling for each other. Directorial debut of screenwriter Gina Prince-Bythewood. This is the movie you have been waiting for and wanting to watch. It’s funny and smart and everytime I watch it my heart…oh, my heart.

 

Romantic Movies Where No One Ends Up Dead

It Happened One Night

This movie has it all. Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert directed by Frank Capra. It won all the major Oscars (even Best Picture) in 1934. It isn’t long or boring and the female character flouts her father’s authority and she doesn’t end up dead or a nun! It’s also a charming road picture between equals, a mouthy man who thinks he knows it all and a woman who refuses to live the way her father and the world at large expect her to. A favorite of movie snobs and grandmas alike. As Roger Ebert put it, “‘It Happened One Night’ is one of the easiest movies to love and one of the hardest to think of as a work of art.” Read his wonderful review here.

 

Romantic Movies Where No One Ends Up Dead

Say Anything

This was the movie that won my heart when I was in high school. Lloyd Dobler from “Say Anything” wears a long tan trench coat while holding up the boombox playing “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel. It’s in iconic scene and even if you haven’t seen the movie, you’ve seen that part or some version of it. This is a movie about love and truth and lies. Roger Ebert loved this movie as well, he rated it 5 stars.

 

Romantic Movies Where No One Ends Up Dead

His Girl Friday

I love this movie because I love Rosalind Russell. And Cary Grant is just so very Cary Grant in this one. “A scintillating battle of the sexes. Rosalind Russell plays Hildy, about to leave journalism for marriage to cloddish Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy). Cary Grant plays Walter Burns, Hildy’s editor and ex-husband, who pretends happiness about her impending marriage as a ploy to win her back. The ace up Walter’s sleeve is a late-breaking news story concerning the impending execution of anarchist Earl Williams (John Qualen), a blatant example of political chicanery that Hildy can’t pass up. The story gets hotter when Williams escapes and is hidden from the cops by Hildy and Walter–right in the prison pressroom.”

 

Romantic Movies Where No One Ends Up Dead

10 Things I Hate About You

I am so old I saw this movie in a theatre. It’s a loose retelling of The Taming of the Shrew. The performances are top-notch, Heath Ledger’s smile makes me both swoon and tear up and Julia Stiles remains a criminally underused talent. The paintball scene is boring, use it to go pee or get a snack.

 

Romantic Movies Where No One Ends Up Dead

Crazy Rich Asians

The beginning is a bit slow but once they get going, it is on! Awkwafina’s performance makes me happy to be alive. Her father is a crack-up as well. A synopsis from the Warner Bros. webpage, in case you missed this juggernaut the first time around. “Crazy Rich Asians” follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) as she accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding), to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. Excited about visiting Asia for the first time but nervous about meeting Nick’s family, Rachel is unprepared to learn that Nick has neglected to mention a few key details about his life. It turns out that he is not only the scion of one of the country’s wealthiest families but also one of its most sought-after bachelors. Being on Nick’s arm puts a target on Rachel’s back, with jealous socialites and, worse, Nick’s own disapproving mother (Michelle Yeoh) taking aim. And it soon becomes clear that while money can’t buy love, it can definitely complicate things.​”

 

Romantic Movies Where No One Ends Up Dead

Plus One

The male lead, Jack Quaid, is Meg Ryan’s son so that is why he looks familiar. He has her charisma and I think her eyes. The female lead, Maya Erskine, is from PEN15 and I would defend her with my life. She is so funny and bright and talented, I can’t wait to see what she does next. What’s the movie about? Ben and Alice, longtime friends, agree to be each other’s plus one for the endless number of weddings they have been invited to. Wackiness and romance ensues.

 

/Romantic Movies Where No One Ends Up Dead

The Princess Bride

There is nothing I can say about this movie that hasn’t been said before or better. It is a fairy tale. It is a comedy. Anybody want a peanut? Here is Roger Ebert’s review from 1987, when the film was released. “It is filled with good-hearted fun, with performances by actors who seem to be smacking their lips and by a certain true innocence that survives all of Reiner’s satire. And, also, it does have kissing in it.” -Roger Ebert

 

Romantic Movies Where No One Ends Up Dead

Leap Year

Anna (Amy Adams) travels to Ireland to propose to her boyfriend on Leap Day. Apparently there’s an Irish tradition, Bachelor’s Day, that a man who is proposed to on Leap Day must accept the proposal. Thank God there is not one of those for women, well, except the sport stadium proposal. You have to say yes to that or be treated like a Red Sox fan anywhere but Boston. But she ends up far from Dublin, where her super successful surgeon boyfriend is. And there is Declan (Matthew Goode). Now, I would have just moved into the bar where Declan worked and watched him for the rest of my natural life but I am creepy. Wackiness ensues. Declan is a jerk but he’s handsome and Irish so what in the hell does anyone expect?

Romantic Movies Where No One Ends Up Dead

Friends With Benefits

Adorable comedy starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. They are beautiful, talented and charming. You can not go wrong with this little gem.

 

Romantic Movies Where No One Ends Up Dead

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

This is a better movie than the synopsis makes it sound. I generally avoid Jim Carrey movies because he exhausts me but in this I am charmed by his character. Kate Winslet is as always a delight. “Jim Carrey stars as Joel Barish, a man who is informed that his ex-girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) has had her memories of their relationship erased from her brain via an experimental procedure. Not to be outdone, Joel decides to have the same procedure done to himself. As bumbling underlings Stan (Mark Ruffalo) and Patrick (Elijah Wood) perform the operation on Joel — over the course of an evening, in his apartment — Joel struggles in his own mind to save the memories of Clementine from being deleted. Kirsten Dunst, David Cross, and Jane Adams also star.” ~ Matthew Tobey

 

Romantic Movies Where No One Ends Up Dead

Out of Sight

Okay, this movie has it all. Steven Soderbergh directing, Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney starring and the line that is famous in my family, “What do you need a hatchet for?” Here’s a useful synopsis from Bhob Stewart, “Steven Soderbergh directed this crime caper adapted from the novel by Elmore Leonard. When ex-con Jack Foley (George Clooney) robs a bank, his car goes dead, and Foley lands in a Florida prison. His escape from prison doesn’t go as planned, since it’s witnessed by deputy federal marshal Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez). Foley’s pal Buddy Bragg (Ving Rhames) intervenes, with the result that Sisco winds up in the trunk of the getaway car with Foley, and the two realize they’re attracted to each other, despite being on opposite sides of the law. However, that doesn’t stop Sisco from her mission to capture Foley.”

 

Romantic Movies Where No One Ends Up Dead

sex, lies, and videotape

Another Soderbergh film, “Sex, Lies, and Videotape” was made in 1989, hence the videotape. It is a quiet film and can be slow but I think it’s one of Soderbergh’s finest. There’s a lot of talking about sex and depictions of sex so be advised. James Spader is absolutely beautiful. Andie MacDowell in one of her best performances.

A note on the film from Roger Ebert’s review: The story of “sex, lies, and videotape” is by now part of movie folklore: how writer-director Steven Soderbergh, at 29, wrote the screenplay in eight days during a trip to Los Angeles, how the film was made for $1.8 million, how it won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, as well as the best actor prize for Spader. I am not sure it is as good as the Cannes jury apparently found it; it has more intelligence than heart, and is more clever than enlightening. But it is never boring, and there are moments when it reminds us of how sexy the movies used to be, back in the days when speech was an erogenous zone.

movie series social distancing

5 Movie Series to Watch While Social Distancing

Here are 5 movie series (and a couple of lists of movie series) to watch while practicing social distancing. Once this is over, I think we are all going to realize that we don’t hate each other as much as we thought we did. We might very well become lonely for each other. Who knows, stranger things have happened. After 8 years of drought here in Southern California, I don’t know anyone who complains when it rains. Before the drought, the entire region lost their minds when it rained and now everyone smiles and points at the sky and happily chirps, “It’s raining!”

Well, I’ve stress shopped and stocked my house. I did not overbuy toilet paper but I do have 3 dozen eggs. We all have our weaknesses. Six is out of school for three weeks and I am trying to get Older Son to come home but thus far to no avail. I do want Older Son home but what I really want is his dog, Barbara. Barbara will let me cuddle and coo and fuss and fidget over him whereas my kids won’t.

In lieu of Barbara the Dog, I have turned to TV, movies and books. And it occurred to me that there are people who have been living full, productive lives and might not have a list of books, TV and movies they want to watch. So I thought I’d make some lists and share them. Let’s start with movies in a series.

Harry Potter- Did the last book need to be split into two movies, especially considering so much of it was magical camping? Decide for yourself. Also, you’ll never get the theme song out of your head. Don’t forget the prequels. I liked the first Fantastic Beasts movie but the second one was downright confusing. And if you’re feeling it, reread all the books!

Hunger Games- Okay, so dystopian fiction might not be the best thing for your mental health right now, so think carefully before indulging. These are solid movies with solid performances and I couldn’t leave them out. Not up to watching the story? Maybe think about reading or rereading the books? There’s a new one coming out in May so might be time to brush up.

 

Star Wars- Good lord, where to begin? I have no idea. I watched the three prequels and I still can’t figure out why but that is entirely up to you. There are so many movies and TV shows and LEGO video games (which I highly recommend) that I will link to a webpage where people who know more about this than me make suggestions on how to consume all of this.

Pirates of the Caribbean-There are more of these movies than I realized. I think I stopped at the third one? Who knows. These movies are some slickly produced mind candy and that is what we are after here. The first movie is still a delight to watch.

                            

Marvel Universe- Where to begin? I have no idea. So I asked the internet and there were as many opinions as there are movies so here is the one that seemed the least hysterical about the idea of watching them in the wrong order. Does this universe include the Xmen? Is that how you write Xmen? Does is matter? DeadPool is horribly, horribly violent. Is that in this series? I’m obviously lost.

Best Movie Series- If none of those caught your fancy for movie series to watch while social distancing, IMDb has a list as does Ranker  and here is just a list of every Disney movie ever made. 

Good luck and let me know what you decided on.

 

55 great christmas gift ideas

55 Great Christmas Gift Ideas

Christmas shopping can be fun. But sometimes it is a desperate, long, lonely slog through crowded stores full of items you can’t imagine anyone wanting. We are here to help with a list of 55 Great Christmas Gift Ideas, with Helpful Categories.

Our categories include: Random gifts for people you love but can never figure out what to give them, books for people you want to annoy, books for people you want to impress, annoying toys for kids of parents you can’t stand, necessities for outdoorsy people, necessities for indoorsy people, supplies for glamorous tweens and teens, picture books for kids, toys for kids of parents you like.

Let the Shopping Begin! Amazon said I had to put this where you could see it and that seems totally fair. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Random gifts for people you love but can never figure out what to give them

55 great christmas gift ideasDo not laugh! This little weather radio has all the bells and whistles to keep anyone feeling secure during the outset of any disaster.

55 great christmas gift ideasIf anyone bought me a thing that taught me how to make knots I would love it! And it’s under 10 bucks!

55 great christmas gift ideasEveryone should have one of these multitools on their keyring! I would get one for my older son but he habitually loses his keys.

55 great christmas gift ideasJapanese Origami for Beginners Kit: 20 Classic Origami Models: Kit with 96-page Origami Book, 72 High-Quality Origami Papers and Instructional DVD. Includes a DVD? Awesome. And if you no longer have a DVD player, use the DVD as a coaster. Or frisbee. 

55 great christmas gift ideasThe Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln. Most everyone loves Lincoln. And the book is 3 bucks, get one for everyone!

Books for people you want to annoy

55 great christmas gift ideas So People Say You’re an Asshole seems the perfect gift for that hard to handle friend or relative who might be able to take a joke. Also, maybe it’ll help. Give them the Lincoln book as well.

55 great christmas gift ideasFor the racist.

55 great christmas gift ideasFor the fat shamer.

55 great christmas gift ideasFor the climate change denier.

55 great christmas gift ideasFor the white supremacist.

Books for people you want to impress

55 great christmas gift ideasKindred by Octavia Butler: Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana’s life will end, long before it has a chance to begin. This is the novel you have been looking for, waiting for.

55 great christmas gift ideasWe are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby is the book everyone did not know they needed. Buy a copy for everyone you love and become the person everyone comes to for author recommendations.

55 great christmas gift ideasThe Library Book by Susan Orlean details the Los Angeles City Library fire that consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Was it arson?

55 great christmas gift ideasData is fundamental to the modern world. From economic development, to healthcare, to education and public policy, we rely on numbers to allocate resources and make crucial decisions. But because so much data fails to take into account gender, because it treats men as the default and women as atypical, bias and discrimination are baked into our systems. And women pay tremendous costs for this bias, in time, money, and often with their lives

55 great christmas gift ideasWomen in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists, and more!

Picture books for kids

55 great christmas gift ideasBeast has been robbed! And so has the whole village. Without tools the villagers can’t put on their legendary Winter Party, so Beast sets off to solve the mystery. Discovering that a stranded Snow Beast is behind the robbery, Beast has to decide whether to help this odd-looking stranger.

This is the absolute best children’s book out there. Jabari is brave, his father is endlessly patient and waiting, always waiting, is the call to climb and leap and succeed!

55 great christmas gift ideasWilma’s parents don’t know quite what to do when their daughter wakes up green and requests bugs for breakfast. At school, Wilma’s teachers are appalled by her unusually colorful antics. Wherever Wilma goes, surprises await her and readers of this irresistibly funny fable. Absurd and action-packed.

55 great christmas gift ideasOnce upon a time there was a Princess . . . who made a pit stop. While the Birds and Beasts changed her tires, her Fairy Godmother told her she was in last place! With just one lap left! She might as well give up! Give up? Not THIS princess! Instead, she hits the gas!

55 great christmas gift ideasHave you seen Oliver K. Woodman? You’d know if you had–he’s made of wood. And he’s on a spectacular cross-country journey. Folks of all sorts guide Oliver along the way and report back in letters and postcards to his friend Uncle Ray. After all, there’s a lot of road–and adventure!–between South Carolina and California.

55 great christmas gift ideasA bear, lost in the city, who happens upon an unattended sandwich in the park. The bear’s journey from forest to city and back home again is full of happy accidents, funny encounters, and sensory delights. The story is so engrossing, it’s not until the very end that we begin to suspect this is a TALL tale.

 

Necessities for the outdoorsy

(it occurs to me that these gifts illustrate the fact I know nothing about what people do outdoors and that I think it is incredibly dangerous, which it most certainly is)

An axe seems important. There is much hostile flora and fauna out there and this little baby is capable of handling anything that comes your way. Except bears, which is why I suggest…

BEAR SPRAY! Do not go into the woods without it. You know what, don’t take out the trash without it. I used to live on the side of a mountain in La Crescenta and there was a bear that used to wander around the neighborhood. He had a cute name, I can’t remember it. Porkchop? Marshmallow? Rip-You-To-Shreds-And-Eat-Your-Spleen? Something like that… Meatball! It was Meatball.

Always have binoculars so you can see the bears or the murderers coming to kill you. I really thing you should stay inside but if you just can’t help yourself, bring all the above stuff and…

Don’t Die In The Woods: World’s Toughest Ultralight Survival Tent to huddle and shiver in while clutching your bear spray and axe. Help will arrive in a timely manner if you also bring…

55 great christmas gift ideasWhatever the hell this thing is. It’s 500 bucks so you might as well save your money and your life and stay home! Our next set of gifts might help convince you of how wonderful it is to be indoorsy.

Necessities for the indoorsy

55 great christmas gift ideasLet’s begin with the basics. A good robe. This one is unisex so the sizing might be a bit of a challenge, read the comments and answered questions and you should be fine. There are 10 colors to choose from.

crocs makes slippers, they are unisex, they are wide in the toe box which I love and yes, I am wearing a pair as I write this. 11 colors to choose from and unisex sizing. So much better than a hatchet and some bear spray, am I right?

55 great christmas gift ideasThrow blankets are the life blood of the indoorsy. One can never have too many. This one is 20 bucks and comes in 15 colors and 2 sizes. That’s such a wide range of options, you could probably find one an outdoorsy person likes.

55 great christmas gift ideasIf you are new to the indoorsy lifestyle, you won’t have a backlog of books, magazines, movies and TV shows you are determined to consume before you die. The New York Times Book of Movies is a great place to start. And it smells better than bear spray.

55 great christmas gift ideasYou’ll need a warm beverage to consume while agonizing over what order to watch the movies you decided you want to watch. Loose leaf tea is a bit fussy but it is fun.

This pretty teapot is only 30 dollars!
55 great christmas gift ideas
You can fuss around with a teapot if you want but if you are going solo on your indoorsy, this tea cup with a built in infuser does the trick. There are many different colors and patterns, I just liked this one. I might buy it. Also, when you run out of tea you can just put booze in it. Or water. Whatever your doctor recommends.

Treat yourself to this beautiful 3 volume set of illustrated Harry Potter novels.

55 great christmas ideasThese noise cancelling headphones are so expensive ($349) they make my spine itch but I still really, really, really want a pair.55 great christmas ideasI also want one of these! It’s a Breville Convection oven with an air fryer and it will make toast! It’s also super expensive at $350! But it does so much…

Let’s be honest, I am going to buy all of the indoorsy products, except the slippers because I already own a pair of those. Let’s move on to the kids and whether or not we like their parents.

Annoying toys for the kids of parents you can’t stand

55 great christmas gift ideasAn actual review from a horrified customer, “It’s gift able only if you don’t like the parents. The noise is awful, you can’t turn it down or off when you’re playing with it. I sent it back.” The most common complaint about this toy is that there is no way to turn the sound off or down.

55 great christmas gift ideasI love glitter glue and my house is coated in it but I don’t care. My ex-husband once said our house looked like an embarrassing romper room. There are people who will loose their minds at the idea of glitter stuck all over their house and/or car.

55 great christmas gift ideasIt sings the Baby Shark song. You can buy a baby shark for 7 bucks, a mommy shark for 7 bucks or a daddy shark for just over 8 bucks. Buy one for every member of the family.

55 great christmas gift ideas6 cans of slime ground into the carpet, 6 cans of slime ground into the carpet, rent the steam-cleaner from Home Depot…6 cans of slime ground into the carpet!

55 great christmas gift ideasThese little toys get tangled in absolutely everything. It’s as if someone with a hatred of children invented a toy. I hate them. My kids hate them. You should have a wee bit of a grudge against the kid as well as the parents because no one is safe from having to have one of these things cut out of their hair.

Toys for kids you like

55 great christmas gift ideasEvery adult and kid I know loves tinker toys. It was one of the few toys I play with when my kids ask my to. The other one is…

55 great christmas gift ideasLEGOS! Yes, it hurts beyond bearing when you step on them but some joys are worth suffering for. The absolute best gift and if you have kids on your list below the age of 4, there are always…

55 great christmas gift ideasDUPLO!

55 great christmas gift ideasMy family has had many Connect 4 tournaments and I have lost every single one of them. No matter, this is still a fun game and people of a certain age love to repeat the best advertising line ever, “Pretty sneaky, sis,” when they lose.55 great christmas gift ideasCrayons are like Lego and books, you can never have too many. Get a shoebox to store them in if your collection is getting out of hand.55 great christmas gift ideasI loved coloring books but my kids never liked them. If you end up with someone who draws a lot, get a ream of cheap printer paper. For all others, this is a good quality drawing pad and it’s only 3 bucks.

For glamorous tweens and teens

55 great christmas gift ideasMaleficent, Cruella and Ursula are here to help you feel beautiful as you engage in mischief. Get a set for yourself, I did.

55 great christmas gift ideasThere is a lot here to love. It’s a small, plastic banana. It has hand lotion in it. And there are mangos and red apple versions if you want to make someone a little fruit bowl.55 great christmas gift ideasImitation is not the sincerest form of flattery, envy is.

55 great christmas gift ideasA little pouch to store their dreams of world domination in. And a lipgloss and some cash.

Weird dishtowels to buy for people you know will love a weird dishtowel

I want a burrito to tuck me gently into its warm beans and say ‘Rest here, my child be at peace now’ 55 great christmas ideasFuck, I love cheeseGet the Hell out of my Kitchen
Hot Sauces GONE WILD

And finally, this!

It’s a bag for snacks! Or lunch or a paperback romance and a can of diet coke…the possibilities are limitless!

And there you have it. Happy Shopping! If you have a category you’d like me to source gifts for, email me at info@persistiny.com and I will see what I can do!

Sense8

Sense8 was a sensation when it was released. It was so loved that when Netflix cancelled it after two seasons (the thing was crushingly expensive to make) the public outcry was such that they let the Wachowskis make a finale that wrapped up the storyline. I have my favorite storylines but I will not influence your watching by telling you mine. I’ve already watched it so you can feel free to let me know what your favorite characters and arcs are. Be assured, I won’t debate you on them because I am not that kind of person. I tend not to be judgmental, not because I am a good person, but mostly because I am enormously self-absorbed. 

In case you didn’t know (and there is nothing wrong with not knowing) the Wachowskis are the siblings we have to thank for the Matrix. That movie is 20 years old this year and since it has been the season of Keanu, do yourself a favor and go back and watch it. I was listening to Nicole Byer’s excellent podcast, Why Won’t You Date Me, and she was talking to Ashley Nicole Black. They were talking about The Matrix and how remarkably good looking the leads are. And boy-howdy are they! Just so you know and if you have HBO you should really watch A Black Lady Sketch Show. Maybe  you don’t laugh enough. This show will remedy that. Actually, I don’t know if you laugh enough, maybe  you are getting 3,333 percent of the FDA’s recommenced daily allowance of laughter but there is always room for more.

But that is not what I came here to tell you.

Sense8 is worth watching. The show takes time to develop every character and where they are within their own lives. Then it goes into how being connected to 7 other people impacts, imperils, upends and enriches those lives. 

I can’t recommend it enough.

Back to the Beginning of RuPual's Drag Race

Back to the Beginning of RuPaul’s Drag Race

Okay. Deep breath. There have been 11 seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race. On August 19th of this year it was announced that there will be a 12th season. Many marriages don’t last as long as this show. And do you know why? Because most people do not work as hard on their marriages as RuPaul works on this show. So, in honor of RuPaul’s work and Older Son’s and my dear friend Cynthia’s love of this show, I am going back to the beginning of RuPaul’s Drag Race. I will either rewatch or watch for the first time all 11 seasons. 

I am not committing to All Stars. There are 5 seasons of that show. That’s 16 seasons. I am only one person and I do need to do other things. If I end a gibbering idiot at the end of this, so be it. Join me as I go back to the beginning of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

You gotta work.

From an excellent article by  

Since “Drag Race” first aired in 2009, the conversation around identity and gender has shifted tremendously. For all the show has done to challenge its audience’s notions of masculinity and femininity, it has shied away, until the most recent season, from any serious discussion about the ways the drag community intersects the trans one. There have been trans queens on the show, but the topic is a touchy one in the drag community. For most drag artists, the point is the performance; it is not their sole identity. But for those queens who identify as trans or nonbinary, their stage persona is not necessarily a performance. The centerpiece of the show is the contestants’ transforming themselves into queens, and then, after each competition, taking off their wigs and removing synthetic breasts to reappear as men. For years, “Drag Race” prioritized entertainment over any nuances of the culture. Much of the queens’ vernacular, body language and movements come from the drag world’s — especially white queens’ — interpretation of black femininity. I’ve always been uncomfortable with that phenomenon, despite how much I enjoy the show. In his essay “ ‘Draguating’ to Normal,” the academic Josh Morrison argues that by using the bodies of women, people of color and other marginalized groups, “through an often loving, well-intentioned impersonation of them,” drag “unintentionally does them discursive violence.”

Veronica Mars Lives On

Veronica Mars Lives On!

Thank you, universe! I am so happy that Veronica Mars lives on to annoy the seedier denizens of Neptune. If you are a Marshmallow, you have already watched all of the new episodes of Veronica Mars on Hulu. If you are not a Marshmallow, then have I got a treat for you. Read more

She's All Fat Goes to Camp

She’s All Fat Goes To Camp

I love the She’s All Fat Podcast. But this episode, SAF Goes To Camp, is a keeper among keepers. It’s about the experience of going to fat camp as a young child or teenager.

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