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Home: The Toast

Hi guys! I hope you all had a restful, restorative weekend. I feel very loved and appreciated and supported and sustained by the warmth and constancy of your internet friendship, and thank you for all of your words and GIFs and emojis on Friday. The Daily Dot did a great roundup. I am moved by you, but not humbled, bc that makes no sense and is a silly thing to say when obviously you mean ENNOBLED. Let’s get to the links.


The Dutch Prime Minister is a Robert Caro stan:

In the front seat of the car sat the prime minister of the Netherlands.

“Hi, I’m Mark,” said the prime minister, Mark Rutte.

Mr. Rutte and his friend Koen Petersen, a historian and coffee company executive, had invited Mr. Caro to lunch last year and asked if he would someday show them some sights from the book. They said they visited the city every year with a copy of “The Power Broker.”

“We’re like groupies,” Mr. Rutte said.


(Settles in):

At the peak of her powers — back in the mid-’70s, when she was essentially practicing therapy on stars while millions watched — Rona Barrett drove around Hollywood in a Rolls-Royce with a license plate that read MS RONA, the nickname she’d picked up when she first started delivering Hollywood tidbits at the end of the ABC evening news. She wore miniature heels for her size 5 feet and massive minks on her 5-foot frame, crowned with a layered bob (“like an artichoke”) dyed platinum silver.

Her 1974 memoir, Miss Rona, had sold over half a million copies, in part due to its irresistible lede: “Just an inch, Miss Rona, just let me put it in an inch!” Barrett attributed the come-on to a “major masculine Hollywood star,” and rumors swirled as to his identity. It couldn’t be Frank Sinatra, who’d taken to calling Barrett horrible names at every concert — or Love Story star Ryan O’Neal, who’d sent Barrett a live tarantula. Some guessed it was her neighbor, Kirk Douglas, whose Hollywood estate backed up onto hers. But Barrett would never confirm. Sparking that sort of speculation was what Barrett did best: Every broadcast was an invitation to join her in the campiest, dirtiest game in town.


go fuck yourself, John:

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Check out the Nebula Awards results!

Earlier tonight, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America handed out the Nebula Award in Chicago, and this year women have swept one of science fiction’s biggest awards.

This year’s Nebula Award Banquet toastmaster was actor John Hodgeman, who opened the show with a fun performance of ‘Radio SFWA’, pitched his own novel idea, A Feast for Bros and lamented the lack of genre NPR shows such as Car Talk: Fury Road.

The science fiction world has had its share of drama with the Hugo Awards as various slates have worked aggressively to push against the growing numbers of women and people of color appearing on award ballots. The Nebula Awards have demonstrated, for two years in a row, that science fiction and fantasy literature remains a strong, inclusive body of literature.


Nina Bernstein on Hart Island (see also this Awl piece by Chris Arnade):

New York is unique among American cities in the way it disposes of the dead it considers unclaimed: interment on a lonely island, off-limits to the public, by a crew of inmates. Buried by the score in wide, deep pits, the Hart Island dead seem to vanish — and so does any explanation for how they came to be there.

To reclaim their stories from erasure is to confront the unnoticed heartbreak inherent in a great metropolis, in the striving and missed chances of so many lives gone by. Bad childhoods, bad choices or just bad luck — the chronic calamities of the human condition figure in many of these narratives. Here are the harshest consequences of mental illness, addiction or families scattered or distracted by their own misfortunes.

But if Hart Island hides individual tragedies, it also obscures systemic failings, ones that stack the odds against people too poor, too old or too isolated to defend themselves. In the face of an end-of-life industry that can drain the resources of the most prudent, these people are especially vulnerable.

Indeed, this graveyard of last resort hides wrongdoing by some of the very individuals and institutions charged with protecting New Yorkers, including court-appointed guardians and nursing homes. And at a time when many still fear a potter’s field as the ultimate indignity, the secrecy that shrouds Hart Island’s dead also veils the city’s haphazard treatment of their remains.


This thread:


Racist monster is also sexist monster:

The New York Times interviewed dozens of women who had worked with or for Mr. Trump over the past four decades, in the worlds of real estate, modeling and pageants; women who had dated him or interacted with him socially; and women and men who had closely observed his conduct since his adolescence. In all, more than 50 interviews were conducted over the course of six weeks.

Their accounts — many relayed here in their own words — reveal unwelcome romantic advances, unending commentary on the female form, a shrewd reliance on ambitious women, and unsettling workplace conduct, according to the interviews, as well as court records and written recollections. The interactions occurred in his offices at Trump Tower, at his homes, at construction sites and backstage at beauty pageants. They appeared to be fleeting, unimportant moments to him, but they left lasting impressions on the women who experienced them.



WAIT WAIT GO ON:

It’s a shame that popcorn isn’t allowed in the grand theaters of Cannes, because if ever a movie called for binge eating out of a tub, eyes riveted to the screen, it’s Park Chan-Wook’s The Handmaiden (French title:Madamoiselle), which jolted awake every bleary-eyed reporter at its packed debut screening Saturday morning. An adaptation of Welsh author Sarah Waters’s kinky, award-winning 2002 historical crime novelFingersmith set in Victorian England, Park moves the action to 1930s Korea under Japanese colonialism, where class and tradition still loomed large, but a rich family could flaunt status by having electricity — which plays a dramatic role in the movie — in their big homes.



prince return to us:

He pressed a button and off we went. There were two cracks of thunder followed by clapping and girls’ voices singing, “We will rock you.” We sat there for the next eleven minutes and fifty seconds taking it all in. Audio only. While we were listening, he wheeled around the suite doing this or that. Towards the end—when “Purple Rain” was playing—he wheeled back in carrying a box of tissues and, without a word or explanation, gave each of us one from the box. Taking our cues from him we all held our tissues aloft in our hands wondering what exactly was coming next.

The music ended and there was an awkward silence as no one was sure what to say. We looked at him and he stared back at us holding his own tissue, with a penetrating expression on his face. He placed the tissue up to his eye and it appeared he was starting to cry. Just as things couldn’t get more uncomfortable, he broke out in a very big smile and started to laugh. “It brings a tear to your eye,” he said.



The following are all comments left on the possum piece, likely by possums:

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