We're moving right along. Dames Nation!
On the road again! Your Dames are traveling this week (regrettably, not together) and are taking next week off, so we’re keeping things short & sweet here. We will be back with a full spread on July 10. Stay cool (or warm, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere), lovelies!
(Neither of us, tragically, is in New Orleans.)
Dame Margaret's travels this week took her to Washington D.C. (it's paradise to me!) and wise readers will guess what that means-- a guest appearance on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour! She joined them this week to discuss Judy Blume's new novel, In the Unlikely Event, about the imagined effect three real commercial airplane crashes had on the town of Elizabeth, New Jersey, over a span of a few months in 1951 and 1952. Dame M. is using this as a flimsy excuse to share this neat collection of mid-century airline advertisements, from which this section's header image was nabbed. In addition, we spoke about the new lifetime series, UnREAL, which Dame Margaret is thoroughly enjoying. If our conversation piques your interest, you can (1) find the first four episodes of the show for free on iTunes, Amazon Prime, your cable provider's OnDemand service, or the Lifetime website and (2) read this very smart take on the specific, potent appeal of UnREAL's setting by Friend of the Dames/Noted Television Genius Kathryn.
Dame Sophie’s Top 5
RIP, Don Featherstone, the designer of the iconic mid-20th century pink flamingo lawn ornament. I grew up in a haute-WASPy town, with parents who refused lawn care in favor of a boatload of ivy, in which were nestled three exuberant lawn flamingos. I think they were definitely a bit of a cheeky nose-thumb at some of our neighbors, but they were also definitely an expression of my mostly-unironically kitsch-loving parents’ aesthetic, so I’m not sure I’m buying the entire argument of What Pink Lawn Flamingos Say About Class in America. There’s certainly a touch of that Simpsons episode where John Waters was a guest star going on, but I think the pink flamingo has rounded Kitsch Corner to enjoy a well-earned sojourn on Venerable Nostalgia Court. Longtime readers know how much we ponder design’s place in the cultural imagination, so what say you? Are we at a point with the flamingo where we can just appreciate its good design, or is it still a little outre to you? Share your flamingo hypotheses with us on Twitter!
The DOPE Soundtrack!!! (AKA a great collection of old-school hip-hop to get your weekend started right.)
Take a minute to browse the highly useful #Charlestonsyllabus, a crowd-sourced collection of readings (conceived by Dr. Chad Williams) that educators can use to initiate conversations and provide context for last week's horrific attack. Because you can take Dame Sophie out of the school library, but you cannot take the school librarian out of her.
A Laurie Colwin-themed summertime dinner party: easy, tasty perfection. I have made all the desserts featured here and can vouch for their deliciousness & ease of preparation. (If you haven’t read Laurie Colwin, please give yourself the gift of enjoying her work. She is the most influential writer in my personal canon, as she’s an all-rounder for me in voice, thematic concerns, and approach to cooking & baking. Between her two cookbooks, I give a slight edge to More Home Cooking and my favorites of her novels are her debut, Happy All The Time, and her final work, A Big Storm Knocked It Over. [Ed. Note: Okay, sheesh, Dame Sophie. I'll get on it <3 XOXO Dame M.])
If you remember but ONE thing about your Dames, it’s that puns are our jam(mmmm, jam). If they make you say “for fox sake!”, we can only respond, “OH WHALE!” Don’t sweat it, though, that’s coo. ‘Cause we SNAILED IT.
Did you know that, in the silent film era, many films were not just colored, but vibrantly so? It's true! The resulting images are surreal and beautiful.
Bonus Track: The Tea Lover's Way to Make the Best Cold Brew Iced Tea gives you an easy, economical way to make delicious & truly refreshing iced tea. I usually drink a lot of hot tea in the fall & winter and switch to cold-brewed coffee concentrate in the summer (I looooove the Toddy Method), but I’ll definitely give this a whirl.
Margaret’s Top 5
In honor of the long awaited release of Kacey Musgraves’s new album, Pageant Material (early favorite tracks-- "Dime Store Cowgirl" and "Cup of Tea"), Dame M. thought it might be good to share this deep (and statistical!) dive into the myth that women won’t listen to female country artists. It's a great example of how confirmation bias can blind even people with in-depth data at their fingertips... and it lead to Dame M. reading at least 6 more articles on that site, examining the chart trajectory of a bunch of other songs. Once you start, it's hard to stop.
"The Craziest Fascinators at Royal Ascot" is the kind of slideshow that needs no further introduction. Like...just look:
Could YOU resist this? ARE YOU MADE OF STONE????
While we're speaking about royals, let's spend a minute with Princess Anne, the Queen of Make-Do and Mend, who apparently repeats entire outfits from her 1970s-1980s heyday on the regular. If you don't think this is what Dame M. hopes to be able to do with her immense library of novelty print fit-and-flare dresses for the next 40 years, then you don't know Dame Margaret very well at all. Plus she is really into what the article deems Princess Anne's "Mary-Poppins-meets-Dynasty" style.
Have you ever wondered, linguistically, what was behind the strange sneering of So-Cal pop punk singers? Honestly, Dame M. hadn't either, but then Atlas Obscura sat down with a Blink-182 song and a linguistics professor and it turns out the results were wildly fascinating! (As you know if you recall this back issue with thoughts on accents & class, Your Dames have a long-standing fascination with rhoticity.)
Last week, Kim Kardashian appeared on the "Not My Job" segment of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. She was funny, charming, and either much worse or about as good as you'd expect at distinguishing Kim Jong Un fact from Kim Jong Un fiction, depending on how you'd rate her intelligence. In and of itself, this is just the kind of fun and interesting story that your Dames love to share. What makes it even better, of course, is that Kim Kardashian's appearance on NPR caused a certain segment of its listening audience to have a complete and utter meltdown. Who are these people and what can listener research into NPR's classical music audience tell us about them? Pop over to Slate and let guest host Mike Pesca answer these questions.
And for Dame Margaret's bonus track: Did she already tweet The World's Greatest YouTube Video from both her personal account and the Two Bossy Dames account? She sure did. But do you think that will prevent her from sharing it again in this week's newsletter? Hahahahahahaha. That's so cute. You're so cute. You're almost as cute as The World's Greatest YouTube Video.
Due to TRAVEL MADNESS, this email very nearly didn't happen. But thanks to the following people and institutions, it's not only coming out, but it's coming outhours earlier than usual:
Liz Burns, who comforted Dame Sophie when her luggage for ALA (where the power cord for her laptop was packed!!) was inexplicably delayed. Dames Nation, please pray for Sophie and her luggage to be joyously reunited as soon as possible.
Nico Piro and Jeremiah Cushman, who both introduced Dame Margaret to the genius of Guido Anchovy and the rest of the Samurai Pizza Cats and dropped her off at the airport at 8:30 AM this morning.
The Ronald Reagan Airport of Washington D.C. and its comprehensive complimentary wifi!