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Sansa and my daughter are good chums.



The Hurley Medical Center, in Flint, released a study in September that confirmed what many Flint parents had feared for over a year: The proportion of infants and children with above-average levels of lead in their blood has nearly doubled since the city switched from the Detroit water system to using the Flint River as its water source, in 2014.

The crisis reached a nadir Monday night, when Flint Mayor Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency.

“The City of Flint has experienced a Manmade disaster,” Weaver said in a declaratory statement.

Ashley C. Ford on her lifelong obsession with Grace Jones:

There are few things I’m more grateful for than the lack of censorship in my childhood. When the 1993 Tina Turner biopic What’s Love Got To Do With It? hit theaters, my grandmother and I saw it opening weekend. I was five years old. Two years later, I overheard my mother telling my aunt she couldn’t lend her our rented tape of Poetic Justice, since she’d promised me I could watch it the following day. Both of these movies were rated R, but I was permitted to watch them until I’d memorized entire scenes of dialogue. The only films or music I can remember being restricted involved some form of witchcraft, chanting, or mystical behavior my mother feared might bring the devil into her house. I harbored no such fear.

Eddie Murphy’s Boomerang had its share of colorful language and sex scenes, but at least none of the characters seemed to be pagans. My brother and I surrounded ourselves with blankets and pillows on our living room floor before popping it into the VCR. From the opening, I was hooked. I saw young, professionally successful, sexy, single, black people in a real city. I was too young to recognize that this particular depiction of black lives was rare, and much too young to appreciate the role reversal of gender stereotypes. In fact, the only thing I processed clearly was my immediate and fervent love for the woman on my screen named Strangé, played by the inimitable Grace Jones. She was ferocious, and I thought she could eat me alive if it meant I could get closer.

We watched Die Hard again instead of the debate, but this seems right:

My IRL bestie, Amelia Lester, is leaving me/The US/The New Yorker to take over Good Weekend, which is great news for residents of her beloved Australia and longform journalism enthusiasts everywhere, and has me moping and stress-eating. I only get to see her a few times a year anyway now that I’m in Utah, but she is my bosom friend, and one of the most talented women I have ever known, and Aussie Toasties can be assured that we’ll be devoting extra time to your nation’s writing going forward.

Amelia and I met in college and she is the only person I have ever lived with successfully in a small apartment and we can do a VERY passable rendition of Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue’s “Kids” duet and I am excited to watch her continue to take over everything she touches for the rest of her life, like a beautiful, Australian Alexander Hamilton, minus the personal hubris. She once said something gloriously cool and snide to Tony Abbott at a party, and is the wind beneath my wings and I named my daughter after her.


settle in to longreads’ end-of-year lists!

oh no:

Each doll is 15 pounds and 39 inches tall and they are anatomically correct.  Or they are correct up to their tiny hand-sewn skirts. Beyond that, Judy Bowman, the museum’s administrator tells me, “No no no no no no no. They are not.” And she leaves it at that.

Her discomfort with the question might be due to the museum’s personal relationship with the dolls’ mysterious maker—Robert Smith, a farmer from Battle Creek, Iowa. Smith was born in 1916. He died in 2002. No one knows much about Smith and there are few who remember him. Both his wife, Bethany, and daughter, Isabella died in 2012. Smith left no heirs and no immediate family besides the 81 wooden women he liked to call his “Firewood Floozies.” But they are most often known as the Dollies.

The divine Pilot Viruet on The Year In Natural Hair:

There is no such thing as an unbreakable comb. I learned this early on, during one of the Sunday evenings when my mom struggled to wrangle and subdue my hair. Sundays were hair days in my house: My mom would sit on the couch and I would sit on the floor, her knees occasionally holding me still while I squirmed and yelped, as she combed, detangled, and twisted my hair into thick braids. She bought combs that were labeled “unbreakable,” but I’d sometimes find the teeth stuck in a thicket of my hair, or hear the comb snap in half completely. It was mostly a pointless exercise; the braids wouldn’t last more than two or three days before I haphazardly undid them during class, arriving home with a wild, nappy, sort-of-afro that would often collect fuzz and falling leaves.

During these Sundays, my mom quickly learned that one of the ways she could keep me relatively still was to make sure that the television was on and loud. Like any person who grew up with television as a babysitter, in adulthood I tend to turn to fictional characters during any change or big moments in my life. And in 2015, it was like natural hair was suddenly everywhere.

Muriel Rukeyser’s forgotten novel (ARCHIVISTS THIS IS FOR YOUUUUU):

And then, there is the one remaining draft of the novel Savage Coast, the pages yellowing, the revisions heavy, at times burdensome, a rejection letter hovering above the first pages. Written immediately upon her return from Spain in the autumn of 1936, the novel remained unpublished in her lifetime. It was brutally panned in her publisher’s rejection letter, from 1937, for being, among other things, “BAD” and “a waste of time,” with a protagonist who is “too abnormal for us to respect.” Rukeyser was strongly encouraged to abandon the novel for a “brief impressionistic sketch” of her experience in Spain and to continue working on her poetry. This is to say, the first critics of Savage Coastdiscouraged Rukeyser from writing the kind of large-scale, developmental, hybrid, modernist war narrative that she had begun—one that is sexually explicit, symbolically complex, politically radical, and aesthetically experimental—in favor of the gender-appropriate lyric poetry of her first book and the brevity of “small” personal narratives.

The exploitative scourge that is MLM (GET OFF FACEBOOK WITH YOUR JAMBERRYOILSHAKES) is, indeed, specifically pitching itself as a chill non-job that a certain segment of Christian stay-at-home moms can do without being a JOB-JOB:

“As long as MLMs are regarded by conservative Christians as a more honorable option for women than a normal part-time or full-time job, these organizations will continue to attract women within the church at significant rates,” says Jen Wilkin, a minister at the Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, where she leads a citywide women’s Bible study.

Mallory does a good job explaining to this woman that polyamory comes in many forms, and also you can still adopt more cats if you want:

Q. Strange dating world: A friend and I are mutually interested in each other, but her girlfriend doesn’t want her to get involved with me. They’re in an open relationship, and the only reasoning she gave was that we were “close friends.” I don’t want to cause trouble for my friend and her girlfriend, but it seems like a weird double standard. I maybe am just confused by the whole poly queer dating scene altogether. Maybe I should just adopt more cats.

Thank you so much for indulging my wish to yell about Ted Kennedy yesterday, I really enjoyed it. How lovely to know that your conservative relatives can be right about something, even if for the wrong reasons, so if you are in an apocalypse bunker together someday, you can bond over it! I have also found that people’s conservative relatives often make really strong, excellent drinks, but YMMV.

Also, I finished the new Rosemary Kennedy biography yesterday, and I am filled with WHITE-HOT RAGE but will spare you the details.

Our beloved Tech Goth Marco had his top surgery yesterday, and it went GREAT, and he is happily in recovery being doted on by his super-hot and rad girlfriend, and all is well with our world.

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