Whether godless or godly, we all consult a private pantheon of authorities, living or dead, to gauge our comportment. We read ethics columns on subway trains and in cafes for vicarious solutions to our secret troubles. Since the days of Dear Abby and Ann Landers, the availability of emotional and behavioral self-help information has grown exponentially. In the digital age, now adrift in a wide, shallow sea of media outlets, wondering where to turn for advice only increases our anxiety. Cable TV and the Internet have left us splintered and atomized; they’ve negated the comforting clarity of our few favorite go-to gurus.
One such erstwhile guru has just left us for official divinity. You probably hadn’t seen Dr. Joyce Brothers on the small screen in a while (though you may still catch the AlertUSA emergency response ad in some TV markets) and were perhaps surprised that she had been yet among us. But if you are of a certain age, she was already wedged into your psyche, an unacknowledged aspect of your superego guiding your attitudes and behavior. For a significant hunk of the 20th century, millions of us asked: “What Would Dr. Joyce Brothers Do?”
Amy Poehler has a pretty solid resume as both a comedian and a person. After spending time studying at Second City and iO in Chicago, Poehler moved to New York with friends Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, and Ian Roberts to found the Upright Citizens Brigade, which has since grown into the massive community of learners and performers of long-form improv and sketch that it is today. In more recent years, on her off time from her TV work on SNL and Parks and Recreation, Poehler and friends Meredith Walker and Amy Miles started Smart Girls at the Party, an online network to encourage and educate young women about being smart by being themselves. Along the way, Amy Poehler has proven in countless interviews, podcasts, and articles, that she is smart, kind, and funny, about every topic from feminism to Hell to old TV. Check it:
At the age of 15, King Edward VI was dying. For his last act as king, he excluded both of his half-sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, from the line of succession. (To get Mary out of the line, he had to ditch them both.) His Protestant cousin, Lady Jane Grey, was named the Queen of England.
Two days after his death, Mary raised an army of nearly twenty thousand. It took just nine days for Mary—the only child born to Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon—to correct her half-brother’s final request. Coercion by force was an effective instrument, and it would come to define her reign.
At 37, Mary finally got that throne, and she intended to stay to there.
The Queen was indeed her father’s daughter, but she would avenge her mother’s unceremonious banishment, and restore the kingdom to the sovereign nation she was born into: England would once again be Catholic, Spain would be an ally, and threats to monarchy would be quelled immediately.
- Wait, is this a thing where, like, now they’re going to go on a crime spree and commit suicide by cop and this was their last meal (no joke, this was my first thought).
- Stolen credit card. I mean, people steal credit cards and they have to use them somewhere. Like that time someone stole my credit card and immediately spent $600 at Porn Palace, and my mom had to call and ask me if I had done it, and should she just let it slide, and then I wept in Thailand on the phone with a skeptical Wachovia associate who kept asking me what had happened to my card. Dude, I don’t know. Someone stole it. It got stolen, is what happened to it. Can you not just write “stolen”? Jesus Christ, he’s probably at Porn Citadel right now, can we not hurry on this a little tiny bit?
- Maybe he has a thing? With numbers? And he liked how those numbers kind of … make sense together? You never do know what goes on in the minds of others, after all.
- Haha, oh wait I’m terrible at math. That’s just 20%.
- I’m an idiot.
Late Friday afternoon, NBC announced that it has declined to pick up John Mulaney’s sitcom, Mulaney. It was a surprising move, given that the highly anticipated and already buzzy show had Lorne Michaels as a producer and an incredible cast. Having seen a version of the script, and based on Brad’s on-the-scene reporting, I can say that it was a good pilot and that the series had enormous potential. It’s a shame that it won’t be on NBC’s schedule this fall. But in the long run, what NBC will really regret is not just picking up the show Mulaney, but adding John Mulaney to its primetime ranks.
There are no surefire bets in comedy or television, but I stand by this as a truism: Lorne Michaels picks winners. Regardless of the near-constant din about the quality of Saturday Night Live‘s writing that has lingered for decades, it’s impossible to dispute his eye for talent. The list of major stars who got their first exposure from Michaels is thoroughly impressive, with everyone from Bill Murray to Kristen Wiig owing huge debts of success to their SNL breaks. The most amazing rags-to-riches (or awkward-to-megastar) story will always be Conan O’Brien — not many people saw what Michaels did in the early of years of Late Night with Conan O’Brien (as the ratings proved). Now it’s impossible to imagine the modern day comedy scene without Conan’s influence. And remember the reaction when Jimmy Fallon was announced as his late night successor? That guy? Who wants to watch him giggle for an hour every night? And yet, it was the now-68-year-old Michaels who saw Fallon’s potential to build a light-hearted late night show that appeals to the young audience rapidly deserting the format.
Hi Mom! A few years ago on my birthday you described some of your memories from the day I was born, in an email, and I don’t think I told you, but I printed it out and carry it around with me in my wallet. Thank you — for the email, and for having me. Also I know I was big, so I especially appreciate that.
You were a fabulous baby — big and lovely, so you could sleep and feed more than smaller ones. Because you came 11 days after the due date, I had wondered whether nature was playing a joke on me, making me the only woman to be permanently pregnant.
Oh my god — I misread that as “feed on the smaller ones”!
Speaking of food, what would you want me to make for you if we were having dinner together tonight? I guess because I don’t cook much, I’m curious what you’d like me to know.
My mother sauteed soft-shelled crabs for her birthday and mine, serving them on toast. Another treat was shad roe, floured, cooked quickly in butter, and topped with crossed pieces of bacon, also on toast. (They spatter if the egg sacks rupture, so you want to avoid that.) So rich but so delicious! Both dishes require lemon slices. Asparagus or fiddle-head ferns would taste great with either.
Do you remember the time I made a lemon meringue pie, which you used to love, and dropped it as I took off the pastry ring, burning my hand? You cried (age 3?), and I felt like it, too. But I scooped it onto a plate and we all enjoyed it anyway. Funny memory — crying over spilt pie.
Deviled eggs were apparently big in 1922, so they might make a good addition to any Gatsby-themed parties you’re forced to attend or throw. (Searching for “popular in 1922″ also brought up this baby-name list, if you’re interested, Mildred.)
1. Rub a hard-boiled egg in a mixture of water and green food coloring.
24. Nash Equilibrium/Stackelberg Competition
23. The Production Function
22. Pareto Optimality
21. The Phillips Curve
20. The Gauss–Markov theorem
18. Say’s Law
17. The Lucas critique
16. Theory of the Firm
15. Quantity theory of money
14. Keynesian Stabilization
I wore a baby doll summer dress to the concert that Saturday night, even though it was 25 below zero. I had only worn it once before. The chest and stomach were made of a see-through material, and I didn’t know whether it was too revealing, but I zipped into the dress and glanced in the mirror. My chest looked big. I inherited my mother’s hearty breasts and my father’s flat feet and wide shoulders. I have been asked countless times If I’m a competitive swimmer. Well, you should be, they say. You’ve got the shoulders for it.
It was a weird but typical night in Whitehorse: two folksy, local musicians would play in the living room of a cramped townhouse, followed by a women’s-only arm-wrestling competition, followed by a Led Zeppelin dance party where no one actually danced.
I hadn’t planned on competing. I even told my roommate, JoJo, to stop me from signing up if I got tipsy and decided it was a good idea, but when we walked into the house I couldn’t help myself. I knew I could win, and that awakened a strange part of my non-competitive self. There was the featherweight category for girls under 125 pounds. The only person who signed up was the women singing on stage in boot cut jeans and red lipstick. The midweight category, for those who weighed between 125 and 165 pounds (I fit in on the heavier end), had the longest list of names. I knew all the women. One was a graphic designer for the government, the other a barista, another a friend’s ex-girlfriend who played roller derby. Whitehorse is the kind of small, northern, government town where if you’re young,”artsy,” and left-leaning, you’ll run into the same people all the time: potlucks, protests, the ski trails, and the corner store that sells over-priced organic produce. The ultra-weight category for women over 165 pounds was empty.
Not that you asked, but when it comes to the more Labor-Intensive aspect of availing myself of the Facilities, as it were, I generally prefer to handle my Business, if you will, at home, in the privacy therein and so forth. Every once in awhile, in my workaday world, in an extreme circumstance, I may find a need to be alone with my thoughts while in an office environment, uncomfortable as I may be with the entire process. It helps to read most of this in a phony English accent, I think, like one of those powdered-wig lawyers on Public Television. Go on, start over and see if it helps. No? Worse? Yeah, sorry, at this point, I am starting to hallucinate-smell some of those “air freshener” things in Public Restrooms, bleagh. Anyway.
I’m not trying to bring this up to make anybody feel bad or anything, it’s all natural and whatever, and when you feel the need, you should be Taking Care of Business, don’t put any additional strain on yourself, you know? It’s not healthy. I’m addressing the worst, emergency-level aspect of “Needing a Loo,” in the words of the “Patsy” character on “Absolutely Fabulous,” which might be why I think about going to a Public Restroom in an English Accent, I dunno. I don’t think the subject has ever come up on “Doctor Who,” you know? It’d probably just be a sound-effect. Maybe on “Downton Abbey,” but I haven’t watched too many of those.