1. I love a newsstand. I am one of those people who loves to read words on a page. Of paper, though of course, I read on my thingie all day and night. But a newsstand -- a big one, with foreign magazines and obscure titles fills me with delight. I discover new writers, new subjects, new destinations to dream about, and new clothes to covet. I discover new editors I want to write for. Newsstands at airports tend to be better than the kiosks on the street, which now seem to mostly sell tabloids and cold drinks. In a time of waning print publications, I find newsstands a reassuring nod to the way things used to be.
2. When I type "Good Places to Cry" in my Google search bar, 6 seconds later I get 10 pages of listings. "Best Places to Cry on Campus," "Best Public Places for a Secret Cry," "17 Best Places to Cry in St. Louis," "Best Subway Lines to Cry On," "Top Places for Dudes to Cry," and so on. I was inspired by the sight of a woman having a big cry, talking on her cellphone on Tuesday afternoon. I tried to avert my eyes out of respect and to give her privacy, though I wanted also to give her a warm smile and say it was okay. (What was okay? Maybe it wasn't. In any case, it was none of my business.) I've had those days. This summer has been harder than usual for all the usual reasons and some uncommon ones too.
I found myself fighting tears today watching a video of a parent and child who were reunited after 47 days apart, thanks to ICE. The tiny child didn't seem sure it was really her mother opening her arms for a hug. On Facebook, a distant friend wrote about his young nephew's death by suicide, and I did cry. The pain this young man experienced was wrenching, as was the unbearable feelings of helplessness and loss by his family. What I'm saying is there's no point in tamping down your feelings and keeping a stiff upper lip. Every now and then we just need to weep. Google your home city to get recommended locations.
3. I went to a new butcher the other day -- a throwback -- a stand-alone beautifully curated butcher shop with young (it's a relative term) men behind the counter, who were very helpful. I bought 2 and a half pounds of London Broil and a meat thermometer, and learned a thing or two about cooking meat. The butchers told me to salt the beef before cooking, but not to use pepper until after the meat was done. Why? Because you get the full floral range of the pepper after the cooking. (Also something about the taste not being as good.) I enjoyed the exchange so much I asked if the shop delivered, offering the shopkeepers my highest compliment: return business. No, I was told. "We like our community and like to talk to our customers." You know what? I like that they like those things. I'll be back, Hudson & Charles.
4. Separated At Birth. I did not create the beloved feature in Spy Magazine, though I was responsible for keeping it going for the year or less I was an editor there. Lately I've been honing my skill at finding lookalikes. (This part will be tough in the podcast, I know.) I now present to you Peter O'Toole and Armie Hammer:
Now, Brett Kavanaugh and Martin Short, respectively.
5. He celebrated his 74th birthday this week. He has the enormous responsibility to sieve through the muck and then prove that Russia interfered with our 2016 presidential election. It hasn't been easy and it won't be pretty. Happy Birthday to my hero, My Top 5 Solid Citizen, Robert S. Mueller!
Stay cool, and act natural!