things to boost your mood in the face of a global pandemic, vol. iii

no one asked for this but

*logs back on after a few months*

Um, okay, hi. I promise I have a good excuse for why these have been lacking as of late and why they will likely continue to be sent sporadically in the future but I, lol, don’t think I’m allowed to actually it until the new year. I do have at least one more of these, maybe even two planned for you, but first:

Things are getting bad again: It’s too cold to spend much time outside (in fact, it snowed, which I guess some people love, but let me ask: At what cost?); but even if it wasn’t, we shouldn’t anyway, at least in close proximity to other people, given the rapidly rising rates and all; there’s a Big Sad encroaching as many of us prepare to spend the holidays alone.

The people have been asking for it (no), so I am back once again with a list of recommendations of tried and tested, medical doctor approved cures (no) for the Winter/Christmastime/Unending Quarantine Big Sad. As always, take what you need and pass it on. (And wear a goddamn fucking mask. And by “wear a goddamn fucking mask” I mean: “Yes, wear a mask when you step out of your apartment into your building hallway to walk 12 feet to take out the garbage. Yes, put your mask on in your car before you step out into the parking lot of the grocery store. Yes, wear a mask when you’re running in a park where there are other people around because, I simply don’t understand why y’all aren’t getting this, but just being outside does not abate you from needing to wear! a! mask! Okay?) 

Woo, felt good to say that. Anyway, as always

thanks sorry love u bye,

Okay, look. If I’m not going home for Christmas this year and forcing my family to watch a movie I like that they have absolutely no interest in, then will at least ONE of you here oblige me? Listen: I have been watching a lot of Not Great films this year. I know some of you have been cranking through obscure Criterion, but my brain is so smooth it can only handle so much stimulation. In the spirit of the holidays, one recommendation, reconsideration, and take: Mixed Nuts (1994) is not that bad! I firmly believe that if you took out the (very 90s) transphobia, cut Adam Sandler, gave Robert Klein more scenes, and set it in New York instead of Venice Beach (Nora Ephron is always at her best when a film is set in New York and, honestly, it’s a far more appropriate setting for the black comedy), it would have been a success. Okay, I realize these seem like major structural changes but I promise you they’re really not. At the very least, this film is ENJOYABLE and a nice break from the usual holiday film suspects. It is on all the major streaming platforms, and if you send me a photo of you watching it, I will… I don’t know what I’ll do. Be happy?

If you’re still entertaining the idea of working out, might I recommend:
Isaac Boots, who is fun and funny and makes me feel like I’m back in a deliciously gossip-y bougie boutique class in Manhattan that I can only afford because I bought a package with my annual corporate health and fitness allowance. Fortunately for me, and all of us, though, these classes are free, and streaming on Instagram live every day at 11 am. (posts saved to grid to do whenever)

Also, honestly, Jane Fonda was not joking around with her Workout tapes. Doing The Workout started as a bit, but it has since become my main go-to. (The OG is on Amazon Prime. For free on YouTube, I’m not ashamed to say I have done the walking workout for seniors on days I crave steps but it is too cold to go outside; the New Workout — whatever that is — is insane, especially if you’re stupid like me and go straight to the advanced version, but it is also good.) Also recommended: My friend Emmy’s stellar deep dive into the political history of The Workout and why they really do hold up all these years later. 

I cannot in full faith recommend Cher’s Hot Dance workout, nor can I endorse Mary Tyler Moore’s Every Woman Workout (targeted “to women 35 to 60”!), as I have not yet tried either, but I am aware of their existence in my quest to try every workout made during the celebrity workout tape boom, so I think you should be, too.  

Obviously, as an Annie stan practically since birth, the sudden death of Ann Reinking had me revisiting her entire oeuvre and, unfortunately, I am still the half-assed theatre kid I was in my youth. (By which I mean: I exist on the fringes of Theatre Kids: someone who loved performing but was never actually a lead and quit after a handful of chorus parts in middle/high school musicals and plays and a pretty great, actually, performance as Harper in a college workshop of Angels In America (I went method, which is to say I was already anxious and likely depressed) because my instructors told me even though I was talented, I didn’t ~stand out.~ So, of course, performing went the way of basketball, improv, and competitive running, for I simply never grasped the concept of doing something you’re reasonably good at and enjoy if you are not (a) the best or (b) able to make a career of it. I am now learning that’s, um, not totally right, but anyway, I DIGRESS as this is becoming all about me!) This is all to say: I did what I always do when I watch great dancing that looks so effortless (I mean, come on.): I, hopelessly not a good dancer and seemingly unable to follow choreography, took to YouTube and did a slew of Fosse-inspired dance workouts before I gave up in a fit of frustration with the limitations of my own stupid brain and body (oops I have not changed as much as I thought I have!). This one, though, is fairly easy (as in, it is 13 minutes long but it took me 45 to get okay at it and the whole time I thought “oh this feels like i’m back in my high school auditorium holding the rest of the cast from moving forward because I keep getting the steps wrong and the director is clearly pissed! Love this nostalgia for me!”) and a lot of fun and, look, I don’t know. It’s yet another amusing way to pass some time in this hellscape.

Karen Allen’s Instagram account for her textiles store in the Berkshires is……..soothing. The second we get the vaccine, I WILL be road tripping there with my pals, the aforementioned Emmy, and Carrie W., and it will be wonderful. (We really gotta get her a Nancy Meyers movie, folks.)

Deuxmoi! Deuxmoi! Deuxmoi! Call the people behind the private Instagram account (the Facebook group is lame, I do not recommend) “curators of pop culture” (as they call themselves); call them the Louella Parsons our generation deserves. Their collected anonymous tips—sourced and reposted via Instagram stories—have become my nightly bedtime stories, ones I click click click away at in bed at 2 a.m. when I really should be asleep, the pale blue light of the screen lulling me to a state of calm. 

I am an Old Millennial and therefore don’t fully get TikTok so apparently I’m late to this BUT Lili Hayes…...I would take a bullet for this woman.

I’ve gotten very into binging forgotten late 70s-90s sitcoms from comedy stars that are not great (to varying degrees, some worse than others) but entertaining nonetheless. They’re free on YouTube, obviously. We’re talking Madeline Kahn’s short lived series Oh Madeline, her series with George C. Scott Mr. President, Gene Wilder’s Something Wilder, Bonnie Hunt’s Life With Bonnie (also recommend YouTube clips of her short lived talk show), Mary Tyler Moore’s 1985 Mary and 1988 Annie McGuire, and many more. Smooth brain city, no weinkls!

On the topic of television, are you watching the Drew Barrymore Show—a daytime talk show where Drew Barrymore does everything from making cocktails with the Shirley Temple King (a child) in studio while Zooming with a very confused Stanley Tucci to talking about her love of Lexapro and the 2009 comedy Bride Wars to booking a medium to talk to a guest’s dead husband in the A block—every morning, or do you hate yourself?  

Folks, it’s Roberto The Soup season again. (My hack is making this without sausage but double beans and sometimes chickpea pasta, though I recently made a version with double beans and carrot chonks instead of pasta and, folks, the carrots are a great addition.) If anyone has good soup recipes that are relatively simple (and, preferably, don’t require an immersion blender because I don’t want to buy yet another kitchen tool I will use precisely once before relegating it to the back of a junk drawer), you know where to send ‘em. 

While we’re on the topic of food: Did you know Food Network has a dessert competition show that is a life size version of Candy Land (aptly, it is named Candy Land) and it features something called “sugar artists” and is hosted by short legend Kristin Chenoweth?! Yes, it’s true! I watched the two hour pilot and was too overwhelmed to watch any more, but I continue, even in these times, to be a person who has a habit of reading recaps of shows I don’t feel like committing time and energy to watching but want to remain aware of because of ~the discourse.~ Lucky for me, and you, Caitlin Bower has recaps over on her Substack that are funnier and better than the show and make me snort with laughter and choke on my Twizzlers every single week. 

Did you know you can just buy Cool Whip whenever you want, just because you want it? And you can just eat it straight out of the tub with a spoon? It’s great on its own. You know this and I know this. You don’t have to save it to use as a garnish or work into a dessert or anything. (The same goes for canned frosting.) Is it kind of gross? Yes. Are we all going to die one day? Also yes. The way our own stupid inevitable mortality has been forced down our throats this year, I think we all deserve to indulge in some lowkey trash, lowkey gross food things in the privacy of our own homes while we are still living breathing flesh vessels. I don’t have a link to this or anything; the Bewitched (the movie, shh) clip I just watched after drinking two glasses of wine just reminded me that this was something I did this summer and enjoyed. So.

I, personally, would like to see a Pulitzer for Jane Fonda’s blog. That she has given us dispatches on her Christmas tree, the squirrel in her backyard, AND climate change? Hero. 

Speaking of Pulitzers, Helena Fitzgerald’s Griefbacon newsletter is back and I love to cry reading each and every essay she sends out, even the ones that aren’t explicitly sad. 

And finally: Fran Lebowitz hating things YouTube videos. You are welcome. Sometimes it’s nice to not like things. I think we should all do it more! We’re allowed!


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okay that's it that's the end thanks bye