We’re Andrew and Craig, and thanks for having us back as your guest editors! You might know that we run the #1 book podcast for teens Overdue, which is mostly an opportunity for us to yell about Twilight and gag on Turkish delight. If you haven’t already, please go listen to the excellent episode on Erich Segal’s Love Story recorded by your Dames. Their debunking of the axiom “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” is absolutely *chef’s kiss*. Before we share our links, they are going to pop in and share a SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT about this Sunday’s Livetweet.
LIVETWEET UPDATE: Our Feet, We Have Been Swept Off Them
HELLO, Dames Nationals! We have a change of plans to announce for this weekend that we hope you will be as excited about as we are. While we were looking forward to livetweeting Moonrise Kingdom with you (and hope to do so sometime in the future!), another movie arrived and spun us right round, baby, right round, like a record, baby...
Right round round round
THAT’S RIGHT! Like everyone else on the internet, We Your Dames have fallen completely in love with Netflix’s adaptation of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. And we’ve talked it over and decided to dedicate our Sunday livetweet to watching it with all of you! It’s so rare that we get to share a brand-new movie with you, in its first bloom of popularity -- not to mention one where so much of the creative team, from the author who wrote the novel to the director to the screenwriter -- are female. WE SIMPLY CANNOT RESIST! So, the new details are as follows:
WHEN: 7:30 PM Eastern Time on Sunday, August 26th, 2018
HOW: Streaming on Netflix
WHERE: On Twitter, where we’ll be using the preferred hashtag for the movie, #ToAllTheBoysIveLovedBefore. (We know, it’s hatefully long, but it’s way more popular than the far briefer, if far sillier, #TATBILB)
We’ll see you all Sunday!
And now, back to your wonderful guest editors!
“BOOK”MARK THESE LINKS!
How to make a TBR pile
The amazing N.K. Jemisin made history this week by becoming the first author ever to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel in three consecutive years. She secured her hat trick with the third book in her Broken Earth trilogy, The Stone Sky. Jemisin became the first African-American author to win a Hugo for the first novel in the series, The Fifth Season (we highly recommend it). In her acceptance speech, she spoke to her acknowledgements within the aspirational genre of science fiction, saying “As this genre finally, however grudgingly, acknowledges that the dreams of the marginalised matter, and that all of us have a future, so will go the world.”
We recently read the first book in the Hardy Boys series of boy-crime novels, and it came as a surprise to us (and some of our listeners!) that author Franklin W. Dixon is not a real person at all. Indeed, if you read pretty much any of those young adult mystery series—Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, and a whole bunch of others—you were actually reading the work of a series of uncredited ghostwriters hired by the Stratemeyer Syndicate. Of course, ghostwriting is fairly common in children’s literature series; most of Ann M. Martin’s later Babysitter’s Club books were written or co-written by ghostwriters, and R.L. Stine worked with outliners to put together some of the Goosebumps books. But the Stratemeyer Syndicate books (which later became Simon & Schuster books in the 80s when the publisher bought the ailing Syndicate) have been both ghostwritten and pseudonymous for almost a century.
Despite his own wishes, Franz Kafka’s work has lived on, spawning adjectives and rock operas -- all thanks to the tireless efforts of his close friend Max Brod. Benjamin Balint’s upcoming book Kafka’s Last Trial (covered by Adam Hirsch in next month’s The Atlantic) chronicles the 1968 court case in which Germany and Israel each laid claim to some of Kafka’s surviving manuscripts. It raises fascinating questions about nationality and identity, especially when you consider that Kafka was Jewish, not a German citizen, and had his work suppressed by the Nazi government.
ANDREW’S GRAB BAG CORNER, WHO SAYS I NEED A THEME, YOU’RE NOT MY DAD
Try, try again.
This newsletter is not normally a space I associate with Hot Video Game Recommendations, but bear with me a sec: I can’t stop thinking about Celeste, which you can buy for PC or Nintendo Switch. It’s an entry in the crowded genre of super-difficult, super-precise pixel art jumping games, and if that’s all it was, I’d have enjoyed it but I wouldn’t be telling you about it. But what’s quietly revolutionary about it is how it puts dealing with anxiety, depression, and crippling self-doubt at the core of its gameplay and story. Your protagonist, Madeline, has set out to climb a fictional Canadian mountain Because It’s There, but the biggest obstacles on the way to the summit are what she takes with her. Her efforts to tussle and make peace with literally her personified personal demons captivated me like nothing else I’ve played this year; the soundtrack is also awash in atmospheric bops.
I dig this Twitter thread about the pocket calculator boom of the 1970s, and not just because of all the highly excellent pictures of old calculators and advertisements for old calculators. There are parallels between the Calculator Wars and both the personal computer boom of the 80s and 90s and the progression of smartphones in the 00s and 10s—they start out as luxury gadgets on the cutting edge of technology, pioneering new stuff and constantly trying innovative and weird things. Then, just a few years later, they become commodified and boring and everyone takes them for granted, but millions of people have access to powerful and useful tools they didn’t have before. Neato frito!
My list was going to be vaguely tech-centric until I spotted this story about Centralia, a town in Pennsylvania that has been on actual fire for more than half a century. I only moved to PA a couple of years ago and I’m still learning its lore, but the short version is: the coal mines under Centralia most likely caught fire sometime in May 1962 as the result of a garbage fire at a nearby dump that, through oversight or incompetence, found its way underground (this is called a “coal seam fire” and they are distressingly common and long-lived). Despite multiple efforts to put it out, the fire slowly continued to spread in the mines, where it smolders to this day—a combination of toxic gases and sinkholes prompted Congress to pony up $42 million to relocate Centralia’s citizens in 1983. People have been telling the last handful of stubborn Centralians to leave for decades (Pennsylvania started using eminent domain to buy up the private property in 1992, and the town’s ZIP code was discontinued in 2002), but around 10 people are still hanging around as of 2014; a 2013 settlement with the state means their land will become state property when they die or leave, and the town will be gone for good. Also affected by the fire were the nearby (and ironically named) village of Byrnesville, which has been a mostly featureless clearing since the mid 90s, and re-routed stretches of PA highways 54 and 61, since the original road has been split open by smoking fissures.
There are lots and lots of reasons to be frustrated by Twitter right now—their inconsistent and lackadaisical enforcement of the service’s rules; their near-total inability to explain how the service works and how they’re policing it; their caving to bad-faith actors and Sandy Hook truthers; and their petty moves to make third-party Twitter clients like my beloved Tweetbot less capable and useful. If you, like me, sometimes need to remind yourself what you’re still doing on that dang site, I suggest following these always-absurd, never-about-dog-rating accounts: the weird Facebook meme pastiche of da share z0ne, the enlightening Wheel Of Fortune Answers, the reality-defying Dark Stock Photos, and the unlicensed off-model fun of Bootleg Stuff.
We’ll be talking about this on my TV podcast Appointment Television soon, but if you’re all out of Great British Bake-Off seasons and you’re looking for something that features pleasant people being nice to each other in a competition setting, Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman’s crafting show Making It scratches a similar itch. The American-ness off it can sometimes be jarring to Bake-Off devotees—there are prominently positioned advertisements and the judges won’t (or can’t) stop saying “wow factor.” But Poehler and Offerman are both extremely cute and it’s a soothing way to spend an hour every week.
CRAIG’S SPORTY SECTION FOR SPORTS
You got to win Slams like nobody’s watchin’
One of the joys of being a tennis fan is following one of the greatest athletes of all time: Serena Williams. Her career accomplishments are mind-boggling, but the past few years have been uniquely stunning. After learning she was at least four or five weeks pregnant, she won the 2017 Australian Open without dropping a single set. She’s told the story a few times in various publications, chronicling both her motherhood and her wedding to Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian. What I have been particularly struck by (aside from that fact she is already back in the top 30 thanks to a runner-up finish at Wimbledon) is her openness about her pregnancy and resulting postpartum depression. America is generally doing a terrible job by its mothers, so it’s inspiring to see one of our best moms speaking out.
I love the Little League World Series for much the same reasons that I love the Scripps National Spelling Bee: it’s a blast to watch kids be amazing at stuff! I became an annual follower of the LLWS when Philly’s own Mo’ne Davis became the first girl ever to earn a win and pitch a shutout in LLWS history. Girl went on to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, win an ESPY, launch a line of footwear benefiting impoverished girls, and help to honor the ground-breaking Mamie ‘Peanut’ Johnson. The wonderful 2018 LLWS (which concludes this Sunday) has already brought us Big Al, who hits dingers, and a kid nicknamed Donkey pitching a perfect game.
As much as folks might like to pretend otherwise, the sports world is neither devoid of nor immune to politics. Colin Kaepernick is still unemployed for...reasons. Prominent men in tennis are putting their award-winning feet in their mouths when asked about equal pay for the women’s tour. And last year’s World Series champs recently signed a guy still awaiting trial for a domestic abuse charge. Despite a lot of wishful thinking on our country’s part, sports frequently fail to “rise above” our social ills and instead magnify them. All the more reason why we should celebrate the people who DO advance the ball (see what I did there?) in ways big and small. Take for example, this profile on Marysol Castro, the Mets’ first female PA announcer and MLB’s first Latina, or Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins’ season-long series on criminal justice.
I happen to hail from the same city as the best mascot in baseball, so I’ve developed a real appreciation for goofy mascots and hilarious team names. And there’s something about the relative obscurity of minor league sports that really helps them thrive. Did you know that a single San Diego-based firm is responsible for a whole host of team logos? Recent delights include: the Hartford Yard Goats, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, and the New Orleans Baby Cakes. But my all-time favorite? My dear departed Brevard County Manatees.
The worst thing about soccer isn’t the low scoring, it’s all the fake floppery. But the best thing in soccer is the goal celebration. The Telegraph analyzed all of the goal celebrations from this year’s World Cup and found that the two most common could be categorized as a “jump + punch” or a “knee slide.” Personally, I’m partial to ones with a little more choreography.
TALKING ‘BOUT POLITICS
Paid for by the Mayor Quimby for Mayor Mayoral Committee
If you follow either of us on Twitter, [Ed note: and you should, both Andrew & Craig are delightful AND insightful] you are likely familiar with our yelling about politics, and it’s been a busy week even by Trump-adjusted standards. There’s so much going on that the indictment of a sitting Congressman and his wife for a quarter-million dollars worth of fraud was barely a blip. But the midterm elections are only two and a half months away, and in the spirit of this empowering, uplifting newsletter, we wanted to highlight some actions you can take and some organizations you can support if you’re wondering what you can do to help.
Donate to Flippable, which has been focusing on building good government from the ground up by supporting quality candidates for state legislatures. These oft-overlooked elections are enormously consequential, since Washington’s gridlock means everything from healthcare to gun control to voting rights is often handled by the states. Andrew even wrote for their blog last year, breaking down the whole voter fraud thing.
Mentor young candidates with Run For Something. They serve up inspiration each and every Election Day with tweets celebrating progressive candidates on ballots around the country. But the bulk of their work is providing resources and mentorship to electoral hopefuls under 40.
Donate to Emily’s List, which is helping a record number of pro-choice Democratic women seek elected office. And they’re effective, too—to date, candidates nominated by Emily’s List have won open primary races 72% of the time, a better hit than the vast majority of other left-leaning candidates and institutions.
Sign up for Get Her Elected, a a mailing list run by Refinery29’s Lily Herman. These weekly-ish newsletters focus on matching women candidates—mostly running in under-covered elections for local or state-level positions—with volunteers who can help with social media, graphic design, writing press releases, building websites, and more.
Knock doors with Let America Vote, which is leading the fight against voter suppression with grassroots action, including door-knocking campaigns and endorsements of state officials who’ve committed to protecting and expanding access to the ballot.
Battle disinformation with Sleeping Giants, a collection of grassroots social media accounts dedicated to letting advertisers know when their ads appear next to hate speech, death threats, and propaganda (seriously, the way online advertising works makes it hard to know exactly where your ads are showing up at any given time).
Donating your money and time is important, but the most important thing is actually showing up to vote for candidates whose policies you support. Vote.org is an excellent resource that you can use to register to vote, check the status of your registration, get absentee ballots, find your polling place, get election reminders, and more. Use it yourself, and then tell all of your friends and family members to use it too.
If you’re into statistics, 538 recently published its absurdly detailed model for its US House forecast. You probably shouldn’t sweat the daily ups and downs of these charts (do as we say, not as we do), and you shouldn’t let them make you complacent—there was another recent election where the forecasted odds were extremely similar—but if you want a bird’s eye view of 435 separate elections, this is the place to go.
To offset the seriousness of this fall’s elections, we’ve compiled a list of literal political animals. “Ain’t no rule…,” right?
Duke, a Great Pyrenees, has served as Mayor of Minnesota’s Becker County, Minnesota’s Cormorant Township since 2014. Citing old age and failing health, he announced his retirement last month.
Clay Henry, Sr., a beer-drinking goat, served as Mayor of Lajitas, TX for six years before he was killed in a drunken brawl by his son, Clay Henry, Jr. For a time, Clay Senior’s taxidermied body remained on display like Vladimir-frikkin-Lenin.
Bosco the dog was elected honorary mayor of Sunol, California in 1981, beating two human candidates—he became a “symbol of democracy and freedom” after his election was called out by a Chinese newspaper as evidence of the failings of democratic elections. Bosco was mayor until he died in 1994, and today he’s still commemorated by a statue and also a bar named Bosco’s Bones & Brew, where a dog-shaped tap will pee a cold beer into a glass for you.
Last year, we said goodbye to Stubbs the Cat, who served as Mayor of Takeetna, AK for twenty years. His final years in office were unfortunately marked by health issues due to a 2013 assassination attempt and the fact that he was a twenty-year-old cat.
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