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The totes are sold out! I have re-ordered a thousand of the Take to the Sea model (we are not re-ordering Mermaid or Spear) and will release them to the storefront for pre-order later this week. I have set up a Tote Distribution Center in my guest room and once I have done a thorough inventory of the freebies, I will probably release a small handful of Mermaid and Spear totes back to the storefront (I had held back a few so I didn’t promise anyone a freebie and then sell it accidentally.)

It’s good I am about to be unemployed, because I will be doing all the international orders myself, without the assistance of the UPS store, so please know, International Toasties, that your totes were lovingly stuffed into padded envelopes by my own two beautiful hands.

I am so, so touched by the kindness and generosity of Toasties who have given to the Toast Totes Bursary (still taking donations! Just give to the normal place and if it’s in a $25/$50/$75 format I will assume it’s for totes.) International Toasties are eligible for freebies as well, by the way, especially if your currency has just turned to shit. I DO encourage you to keep donating to the bursary if you’re so moved, because we have more worthy recipients than we have donations at this EXACT minute.

Bill Cunningham

I tweeted for HOURS about Robert Hanssen, the world’s worst spy, and please read his Wiki page and report back to agree with me:

What Brexit means for the Irish peace process:

The rather patronising English joke used to be that whenever the Irish question was about to be solved, the Irish would change the question. And now, when the Irish question seemed indeed to have been solved, at least for a generation, it is the English who have changed the question.

Recklessly, casually, with barely a thought, English nationalists have planted a bomb under the settlement that brought peace to Northern Ireland and close cordiality to relations between Britain and Ireland. To do this seriously and soberly would have been bad. To do it so carelessly, with nothing more than a pat on the head and a reassurance that everything will be all right, is frankly insulting.

Do writers need to be alone to thrive?

Leslie Jamison: I guess I would say, for me, there’s a spiritual answer of the question of solitude, and there’s a pragmatic way of answering that question. I do think that every project I’ve worked on, it has felt really important that I have some period in my life where I can just disappear into it for a month, or for a few months. There were times in my life when it felt possible to disappear for longer, to kind of give myself days where I didn’t need to immediately emerge into the banal accountabilities of the rest of the world. Like all the errands I need to run, the after-school deadline of 6pm every day, you know… To be in some protected space where you can really get lost in the work. I use that phrase intentionally because I think there’s a kind of work I can do once I know the shape of a book, or the shape of an essay, where I can say, “Okay, I have three hours, I can do this piece of it.” But there’s a time in the kind of wilder, crazier, unknown stage of a project where I don’t know yet what it wants to be, what it needs to be, or what I want it to be, where I just need to go down a lot of wrong paths, or go down a lot of paths that I can’t see where they’re going, or I can’t see the end of them. It’s that stage where the ability to lose myself in the work more fully feels like it matters so much, because I need to have that experience of disappearing into the thing and not knowing where I’m headed.

Angela Flournoy: I never really had solitude as a writer. So it’s very abstract. I think about my novel, the way it was written, where there were some periods of time I was not necessarily living with other people, which is probably as alone as one can get in a big city. But I am also a person who’s really interested in voices in my writing, and I feel that especially when I’m stuck, that I need to be around a lot of people and just listen to them. So I think the solitude I like is the kind that’s really abundant in the city, which is that you are alone, but you are around a lot of people. That’s kind of my sweet spot of solitude, when nobody’s asking anything of me, but I can still be nosy. I don’t know so much about this next writing project—it’s still very new—but I think that there’s probably a later point where solitude perhaps could benefit me more, but at the early stages I need to hear voices. Not all the time, but for at least a good quarter of the day.


With an apartment on Central Park West and an office on Wall Street, Eliseo was, to all appearances, a fabulously rich Mexican banker—“without doubt the wealthiest resident of the City of Mexico” as one newspaper reported in 1897.

In reality, however, Eliseo had begun life in slavery, an African American born on a cotton plantation in the small, dusty South Texas town of Victoria.

To escape the Jim Crow South, the young William Henry Ellis relocated to Manhattan in the 1890s. Fluent in Spanish from his childhood along the Mexico border, he soon persuaded his new acquaintances that he was from a well-to-do Mexican family—an enticing pose to Wall Street investors at a time when almost every item in the U.S.’s burgeoning consumer economy owed its origins in one way or another to Mexican resources, from the Mexican copper used to electrify American cities to the Mexican rubber that went into making tires for the newly invented automobile.

I would set myself on fire before doing this shit for free:

I’m in the wholesale foodservice business. Today, as I was about to call it a day, I receive an email from one of our customers, who represents maybe 0.0001% of our annual sales.

This particular customer has apparently made a deal with the government in our part of the world which gives them some sort of grant on food purchases, providing every ingredient in every item provided to them comes from this region. The email said, in no uncertain terms, that they needed us to provide them with a breakdown of every order they’ve placed with us over the past 15 months, breaking down each item on every invoice, indicating which item was completely made from our region. They gave us some guidelines (“even if you sell us Coca-Cola, and it came from this region’s bottling plant, you can’t count that since some of the ingredients came from outside.”) In other words, they’re asking us to come up with a spreadsheet listing every item on every invoice we’ve given them, and telling them which particular items on every invoice was 100% sourced from our region. Furthermore, they wanted this spreadsheet in a very specific format, which they described, but didn’t give us the common courtesy of providing some sort of template to follow.

Our industry is in the business of providing fresh food products, using sources from all over the world, with this product made to order. It would literally be impossible, short for some third-party packed products we distribute, to determine where exactly each part of each ingredient came from at that particular time of year–remember, they’re asking us for this informaton going back 15 months! And on top of that, wanting us to give it to them in a very specific format.

The boss and I are in basic agreement: tell this demanding client to stick his request where the sun doesn’t shine, especially since this project would take a huge amount of time, in our busy season, to complete. We were thinking about telling him that in order to complete the request, we would need to spend an ample amount of time to compile this data, and we would need to be compensated for that. How do you suggest we go about this? Losing this client’s business would certainly not affect our bottom line, but in this age of social media, it may affect us in other ways.

Friend and Authoress of The Toast Samantha Powell was visiting me this weekend, and we are both totally obsessed with slow-moving, confusing British spy movies, our favourite being the 2011 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, so we rewatched it for the billionth time and we just had the greatest time and can we talk about that movie again, and especially Connie Sachs?

Your dad is a tit (there is an update which reconfirms his titness):

I’ve been with my boyfriend (M25) for three years. We both just finished school, and are finally ready for marriage. He proposed last week and I happily said yes. I could not be happier. I love him and he is going to be an awesome dad someday. But my bf is very new school and my dad is kind of old school.

My dad was beyond mad that my boyfriend did not ask my dad for my hand before proposing. My dad said he was willing to hear my boyfriend’s apology if my boyfriend formally asks for my hand at a dinner that my dad said he will pay for at the restaurant of my boyfriend’s choosing. My dad feels like he is being very accommodating. He will bring my boyfriend’s favorite wine to celebrate. I spoke to my boyfriend last night and he won’t budge. He doesn’t believe in that tradition.

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