Ham Sandwiches for One and All!

Greetings, Dames Nation! Get ready to discover a fresh way to delight in Melissa McCarthy!

She has been a favorite actor of ours for Lo, These Many Years-- ever since her humbling beginnings as Sookie St. James on Gilmore Girls, and perhaps never more than in SPY, a perfect action-comedy that you should watch tonight, whether for the millionth or the first time. But despite our long-running admiration for her, we have never felt closer to her as people than we did upon reading that she smuggled forty truly delicious-sounding ham and cheese sandwiches into the Golden Globes to pass out to fellow attendees. Apparently, dinner is served before the awards, which then last a small lifetime, leading people to get peckish. And it is, DARE WE SAY IT, a total Dame move to deal with that by smuggling snacks NOT JUST FOR ONESELF but also for everyone in one’s immediate surroundings. It is the kind of telling detail upon which one can build a really flourishing imaginary friendship, and that is what we’re now doing. Our only note? We would have taken care to have snacks for our vegan and vegetarian friends, too.


Your Dames had a little State of The Newsletter conversation recently and we decided to offer a little something extra semi-regularly for our paid subscribers, which, obviously, we hope will be enticing! We are calling it PREMIUM YELLING, and it will consist of a mini-issue where one or both of us talks about a Very Favorite Thing of recent weeks-- whether it’s a new face mask we love, a TV show we’re dying for you to watch, or a link that’s SO good it deserves its own issue. Paid subscribers can look forward to the first issue of PREMIUM YELLING to hit their inboxes in a couple of weeks, but, as a taste, here’s what we’d have put in this week’s issue, if we were publishing one this week.

Dame Sophie would like to holler enthusiastically with you about the new-to-Netflix series Derry Girls. This six-episode sitcom set in Derry, Northern Ireland during The Troubles, is here to scratch your “oh, I just love coming of age narratives packed with jokes and pathos and a soundtrack full of 90s bangers” itch.

The cast, led by a quintet of scrappy, fractious teens, is so good and sharp, each episode is full of delightful capers, and every character is both broad and specific. Perhaps most remarkable of all, the show never lets you forget that the threats of both state-sanctioned violence and retaliatory outlaw violence is ever-present, while also celebrating the characters’ determined pursuit of their everyday lives, in all their hilariously petty quotidian glory. Excuuuuuuse us, heavily armed occupying army and/or paramilitaries patrolling the streets, Erin and her friends’ body language screams, we have bigger fish to fry, like haplessly plotting to lose our virginity and telling tales to Sister Michael about a crying statue of the Blessed Mother!

It’s a remarkable balancing act that goes down smooth; you could easily binge it all in one evening. Be ready to have a tab open to Wikipedia so you can quickly look up answers to your contextual questions, and also be ready to embrace the subtitles. The actors talk fast and I’ll admit I could understand them maybe half of the time without subtitles.

This seems like a great plan, doesn’t it?

If you liked this taste of PREMIUM SHOUTING and don’t want to miss out on more of it, well HEY! We’ve got a button for that!

Dame Sophie’s Winter Survival Strategies

I want to live inside this gif

My contributions this week are dedicated to cultural things I’m engaging with in my pitched battle with winter. We’re past the winter solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere, and although I know we’re cruising towards spring, but January & February always seem to take forever to get through and it’s just too damn gloomy for this sun & SPF 50-loving gal. We can do this but we’re gonna need reinforcements. Here are mine!

  • Baking: One of my favorite goals from 2018 was baking new-to-me recipes. I rarely cook these days, though I still love reading about cooking. Baking still holds a lot of charm and interest for me, perhaps because it’s always optional, and I can give it away. Last year, my challenge recipes were Pear Bread (a snap), Bee Sting Cake (lavish but homey), and Baklava Babka (quite fiddly & worth every moment of it), which I got in juuuust under the wire on New Year’s Eve. So far in 2019, I’m eyeing this Russian Honey Cake and the Ligurian Focaccia from Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. I think I want to get more into yeasted desserts, too. Watch this space for further teeth-gnashing & prideful crowing, and if you have a favorite recipe to pass along, please do.

  • Audiobooks: I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of loving to be read aloud to. Some of my fondest memories are of my mom reading aloud to me, and I particularly love listening to audiobooks of books I’ve already read. This ticks several boxes for me: reading aloud, revisiting stories I know I love, and the comfort of knowing that I don’t have to pay super-close attention to every word. I can half-listen and rewind if I like, or just let the narrative current pull me along if I prefer that. Current & upcoming listens include: Bring Up The Bodies, The Complete Sherlock Holmes (read by Stephen Fry), Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking, My Life as a Goddess, by Guy Branum, and Tina Brown’s Vanity Fair Diaries. These last two aren’t rereads but I think they’ll easily fit into my rewind-to-catch-up strategy.

  • Weirdly Compelling Celebrity Profiles: as much as I love US Magazine’s Celebrities: They’re Just Like Us! feature, what I love even more is the school of profiles that take as their foundational premise the notion that the main way that celebrities are like us is that they are deeply odd, but unlike us, their fabulous wealth insulates them from having to pretend to be normal and they can just go all in on being gigantic weirdos. Some of the ones I’m stockpiling include a recent piece on Jeremy Irons on His Irish Castle and Antiques Obsession, Taffy Brodesser-Akner on Jimmy Buffet & his distinctly non-Buffet-y lifestyle,  everything on this juicy list from way back when in 2014, and one that’s actually a book excerpt by surviving Beastie Boys Mike D and Ad-Rock, about how their record label just about killed their now-classic sophomore album, Paul’s Boutique, in favor of a late-career album by...Donny Osmond.

  • Improving My Various Processes: Yes, like any of us who have bought in even the smallest amount into late-stage capitalism, I’m invested in doing a better job of being myself. I’m not trying to change who I am fundamentally; I’ve decided that’s a fool’s errand, so I’m refining certain things. Or at least revisiting them to see if I want to refine them. The element that’s most on my mind this week is timing, prompted in part by Daniel Pink’s recent appearance at DC’s Politics & Prose Bookstore, where he outlined four or five of the big concepts in his book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. I’m particularly intrigued by his 25-minute nap routine of gulping down a cup of coffee, putting on his noise-canceling headphones, and shutting his eyes til the timer on his phone loudly dings for his attention as the caffeine hits his bloodstream.

Dame Margaret Hasn’t Ripped Her Nose Off Yet, But It’s Not For Lack of Spite Towards It!

Unlike my nose, Olivia the Dog is perfect, and ready for her close up.

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