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Home: The Toast

Most important link of the day: Carvell Wallace, for us, on The Negro Motorist Green Book. If you do not share it on social media, I will hunt you down like the ungrateful Giving Tree boy you are:

The fact that the American Dream presents two very different faces depending on the color of yours is why Victor H. Greene created the Negro Motorist Green Book in 1936. Greene, an African-American postal worker, and an early social entrepreneur, saw opportunity in the fact that Black people wanted to enjoy the vast American landscape, but had to take into account inconveniences like being refused service, spat on, or lynched. Jewish newspapers had long published comprehensive listings of establishments for readers to avoid and the analogy to Black life was not lost on Greene. He developed a solution to what he termed the “embarrassment” that comes with being refused service for the color of your skin. Greene created a travel guide that listed all the restaurants, filling stations, museums, hotels, guest homes, grocery stores and establishments that readers would feel safe being Black in. The Green Book, as it was affectionately known by Black families, began publishing annually in 1936 and ran for 28 years, growing steadily in listings and readership, and becoming a staple in Black homes. The final issue ran in 1964, by which time the combined forces of the Civil Rights Act and the development of the freeway system made it easier to avoid uncomfortable stops, rendering the book theoretically obsolete.


The totes are GONE. Holy crap. Okay, here’s how this is gonna go down (I will be playing “Landslide” as these things happen):

  1. The freebies are mailed out first (this week, actually!)
  2. The International orders are mailed out, each individually, as I instruct the post office to tell me the cheapest and slowest way possible.
  3. The weird one-offs go out (these are usually, like, people who bought three totes over different days, or people who are “can you actually send it to my niece, Bertha,” etc.)
  4. I hire a dang Taskrabbit to address and stuff the thousands of normal domestic orders, they go out.

The general idea? Do not ask me when your tote will arrive. It will arrive. If it gets bounced back to me, I’ll email you. If it’s September, email me. Deal?


Angels in America, the oral history:

Stephen Spinella: I wasn’t a core member of ACT UP, but I was on the issues committee and knew all those people. So I started to get a really more politicized view of AIDS issues. Then I found out one of my good friends, a teacher at NYU, Paul Walker, was sick.

Jeffrey Wright: The first director who hired me at Arena Stage in D.C., Hal Scott; my favorite teacher at NYU, Paul Walker; these people were so important to me in my early days, and they all died of AIDS.

F. Murray Abraham (replacement for Roy Cohn in New York): When I did The Ritz, that was a big cast. Eighty percent of that cast died of AIDS.


get yours, mama:

Q. Mama’s boy!: My mom is 66 years old and has never been married or dated very much. She’s not rich and looks good for her age, but not unusually so. Last month, she told me her boyfriend was moving in with her, and this weekend I met him. Prudie, he’s my age (31), devastatingly handsome, nice, and seemingly intelligent. I’m totally baffled. My mom seems head over heels for him, and as far as I can tell, he reciprocates. I don’t even want to think about why my mom and this 30-year-old hottie are dating, but should I meddle or leave her alone? A part of me worries she’s being scammed in some elaborate way, and another part is just reeling. Advice would be much appreciated!


Sharing ROOMS on business trips varies a lot by industry (corporate never, nonprofit often!) but I would NOT want to share a BED with a COLLEAGUE:

Some coworkers and I recently went on overnight travel, and the plan was to have us split two hotel rooms. Sharing a room with people I work with is less than my favorite thing, but we’re a nonprofit, and it has been decided that this is what we’ll do to save money, so I grit my teeth and vent later if needed to friends and family.

I expected this trip would follow the standard room sharing format, and that I would probably be the one who ended up sharing a room with my boss. However, there were some unexpected changes that ultimately resulted in three people sharing one room with two beds. Those last two points I did not realize until the moment we walked into the room. My stomach dropped when I saw the beds. As the more senior of the two, I quietly told my coworker to take the extra bed for themselves; through what remaining crumb of fortune there was, it ended up that I shared a bed with Coworker instead of Boss.

I hope it doesn’t require much explanation to convey how very, very upset I was to have to share what amounted to every last inch of personal space. It’s bad enough to lose any potential downtime during these trips because I am sharing a room with a coworker who usually is more interested in continuing work conversations late into the night, or who snores, or who talks in their sleep, or who gets up an hour before I need to, or who simply by virtue of their presence means I won’t be able to take my brain out of work mode after a 12- or 14-hour day. But to share a bed?! There is a very, very short list of people who I want to share a bed with, and no matter how much I will ever like the people I work with, they will never, ever be on that list. I have enough things to worry about on these trips. Kicked or being kicked by my coworker as we toss and turn, or not being able to actually sleep because there is a strange person in my bed, should not be one of those things.


The best of Jessica Williams


Aziz Ansari’s dad continues to crush it:

Did it make sense to you? Was he funny growing up?
Ah, no. The thing is, in front of us he’s always obedient. “Yes sir, no sir.” He will be very nice. He won’t joke with us. But when he gets out of the house, he’s always surrounded by friends and telling his jokes. His friends only make him try these things. Today Aziz is a famous man but I know how he started. He worked hard and sold tickets in the middle of the night. Zero degrees outside, Times Square and all. He’s always worked hard.

As a child, his goals were different. When he was in the first grade he was moved to the second grade in six months. And when he moved to second grade, they called me and said, “We want to talk to you.” I said, “Did Aziz do anything wrong?” “No, we want him to speak in the Parents’ Night.” He was about seven years old and he gave a small talk. They gave him a paper and asked him to read it. I said, “You cannot read. You just memorize that.” And so he rehearsed it two or three times and he took the mic and just rattled it out.


okay this recap of the Game of Thrones finale by someone who has never previously watched an episode of Game of Thrones is very funny:

The girl from Whale Rider works in like, some kind of all girl castle and they all discuss…something?


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