HELLO old stalwarts of Dames Nation!
Hello mildly terrifying crowd of new friends!
The Barrie Hardymon/Pop Culture Happy Hour recommendation juggernaut just keeps rolling on!
We ticked over to 2000+ subscribers this week, and are feeling like this every time we dare to peek at those numbers:
New readers, we want you to feel welcome around here & comfortable in your new surroundings, so here’s the deal: The only thing we really try to do is make something we ourselves would be excited to receive every week. We hope you end up excited to receive it, too. We're awfully glad to meet you-- come say hi to us on Twitter! And nowwww, on with the showwwww!
The piece that spawned it all, for our new readers: Dolly’s Yoga Nemesis!!!
BOW DOWN BEFORE CORVIDS, THE GREATEST FAMILY OF BIRDSFriend of the Dames Lisa Schmeiser asked in a recent issue of her almost maddenly smart and useful newsletter if her readers have favorite flying feathered friends. What perfect timing she has, because this is the week Dame Margaret planned to share with you all her rationale for the greatness of corvidae, the order of birds which includes ravens, crows, magpies, and blue jays (FoD Lisa's stated favorite!). WHY are the birds of the family corvidae the absolute greatest? Let Dame Margaret count the ways:
The very first word used to describe them in their Wikipedia entry is "cosmopolitan," which is only the best word that could possibly be used to describe a quality bird. In a imilar vein, their collective nouns -- a MURDER of CROWS! an UNKINDNESS of RAVENS! a PARLIAMENT of ROOKS! a TIDING of MAGPIES!!!! -- are among the most scrumptious of all animalkind.
Crows' use of tools is so sophisticated that scientists consider their reasoning skills superior to those of a 7-year-old human* *(At least in terms of understanding the dynamics of water displacement.)
Through a series of experiments, biologists in Seattle have determined that crows: (1) are capable of recognizing the faces of humans who wrong them, (2) can communicate information about those humans to other birds who've never encountered them, and (3) will remember the faces of said enemy humans for as many as seven years. So... all I can say is, Dolly's not wrong:
SPEAKING of crow armies! During the Cold War, ravens were trained as spies by the CIA, where they could reliably distinguish one desk from another, open file cabinets, carry large folders of letters that would easily have defeated other birds, and other feats of impressive subterfuge.
Magpies understand not JUST misdirection but COMIC misdirection, as this video of one repeatedly untying shoes in an attempt to steal a frying panunequivocally demonstrates.
Finally, with their fabled (but scientifically unsupported) propensity for gathering bright and shiny objects and the guarantee that TWO of them will bring JOY, magpies seem like a particularly apt animal avatar for Your Two Favorite, Joy-Bringing Dames. Certainly, illustrator Jane Watkins' drawing (which opened this section) seems to capture your Dames' truest essence.
So, in not-at-all-short: Corvidae. The greatest family of birds OF ALL TIME.
Tasty Grooves of the Week
“Les Cornichons” by Nino Ferrer: this is basically just a recitation of various foodstuffs in a gravelly Mahna-Mahna voice. In French. We defy you not to do a mad frug around the office when you play it. (ADDENDUM: Dame Sophie just realized that the reason she likes this song so much is that it’s a foody, Frenchified version of “Soul Bossa Nova”, by Quincy Jones, father of sophisticated newborn baby Rashida Jones. Everything comes full circle here at TBD.)
“Jersey Thursday” by Donovan: you may recognize this as a song that didn’t quite make the final cut for the Rushmore soundtrack (it’s the song that plays as Max lights a bonfire of leaves and gives Headmaster Brian Cox the finger). The line “night put on its purple cloak” is so autumnal, but we can’t resist sharing it now, as we give the finger to winter.
We’re calling it now: Kacey Musgraves’ new song "Biscuits" includes the Lyric of 2015 Most Worthy of Immortalization by Cross-Stitching On A Pillow: “Mend your own fences and own your own crazy.” Your Dames will accept pillows such as these as fit tribute.
A YouTube playlist of all the times Stephen Fry & Hugh Laurie sang ‘round the piano as the immortal Jeeves & Wooster. Chaps, it'd be simply ripping if you popped in for an old sing-song, what?
Twee as Hell:
“'Fairy control' to halt tiny doors in Somerset woods” is just one of those headlines that really speaks for itself, twee-wise.
Prada’s newest collection may *technically* be for fall, but the cuts and colors are spring all over to us AND ALSO necessary to Dame Margaret’s life.
Dame Margaret is in LOVE with this graphic designer’s adooooorable proposal for Hungarian Euros decorated with woodland creatures. BONUS! Under UV lights?? You can see their skeletons!
Designer dresses made from Crayola Crayons, because obviously.
We really don’t want this newsletter to turn into the Wes Anderson Weekly, but we also don’t want to leave great Andersoniana by the wayside, so:
And an Andersonian take on The Uncanny X-Men, featuring locations from The Royal Tenenbaums.
And finally, this highly necessary Music From Wes Anderson Movies playlist on Songza.
BUT THAT’S IT ON ANDERSON. (....for this week.)
Jack Donaghy wept: a perfectly preserved 1956 kitchen with original GE appliances! Wall-to-wall Button Classic!
Chicana Flappers, proving once again that true chic transcends every boundary. (Here’s a story about how great serendipity is: Dame Sophie saw this link on Twitter, via NPR journalist Jasmine Garsd, who shared it as one of the gems she found in her research for a piece she wrote this week.)
McCall’s Pattern Behavior combines vintage sewing patterns w/snarky captions. BOOM. There’s your Friday afternoon commute guffaw:
Annnnd, here’s one for the fans of the hot & brainy (that is, all of you): the eye-scorching Dr. Oliver Sacks, astride his motorcycle (!!) in New York in 1961, when he was but a soon-to-be-famous neurologist. Excuse us while we stagger to our fainting couches, handkerchiefs in hand, because we know his time with us is limited by metastatic cancer. Dame Sophie particularly recommends his deeply personal work, Island of the Colorblind, both because it’s her favorite of his books (it’s something between a memoir and a scientific endeavor, and it features ancient plants, so come on) and because its South Pacific setting makes her feel a gentle tropical breeze across her cheek.
Miscellany, Like Ralph Bellamy! (We are silly.)
No, Cary, we were talking about your co-star but couldn't find a gif of him.
An ode to the greatness of Jerry Gergich, anti-careerist genius.
This Nina Simone documentary, forthcoming on Netflix, looks sooooo good.
That Way We’re All Talking Now: In Which Clive Thompson Gets Dame Sophie’s Interests, At Like, A Sub-Cellular Level.
When Elon Green says something like “Laura Turner writes one piece for BuzzFeed a year and it’s always great,” you pay attention. And he’s right!! Here’s the proof: “Fireworks and Brimstone: The Personal God of Katy Perry,” on the relationship between Perry’s Pentecostal upbringing and her ideas about religion, and “Beyonce and Jay-Z Show How Sexy Christian Marriage Can Be,” which has some startling insights into the similarities between “Drunk in Love” and The Song of Solomon.
And, p.s. also this one Austalian magpie befriended a Jack Russell Terrier puppy, so God does exist and he desperately wants Dame Margaret to be happy.