Juniper Disco || no. 9

Nancy Meyers' Kitchen, Sister Michael, and Super Tuesday

Before we get into it, I forgot to tell you last time about Rachel Cargle’s Black History Month Series. I know the month is almost over, but you can go to her Instagram feed and look these up any time. It’s been eye-opening.

Here are links to some of the topics to get you started: Florynce Kennedy, Igbo Landing, Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project, Birmingham Children’s Crusade, Black Emergency Coalition Compact, Combahee River Collective, Augusta Savage.

When I was a wee one, my parents’ worst punishment was to take away my TV time. They always said I was nicer when I wasn’t watching TV. (Of course I was! I wanted my TV back!) As soon as the Sunday paper arrived, I confiscated the TV guide insert, poured through the listings, and circled my shows in bright felt tip pen so I could maximize my viewing time for the week (which is basically my approach to 100% of my life.)

I’m giving up TV in March.* No Netflix, no Hulu, no Amazon Prime, no Disney+, no Kanopy. No Youtube videos. No HBO. No DVR. No cable. No streaming. It’s the next thing on my 2020 editing project list. This one will be much, MUCH more difficult than Dry January. I’m curious to see how much time will free up and what will take it’s place.

*Because cold turkey might kill me, I’m allowing for a few exceptions: Super Tuesday results, whatever I need to watch while flying to and from Mexico to keep my anxiety under control, and the new seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race and Top Chef All Stars.

  • Red Sea Diving Resort: The holiday village run by spies.“The only thing was, unbeknown to the guests or the authorities, the Red Sea diving resort was entirely fake … They used it as a cover for an extraordinary humanitarian mission — to smuggle out thousands of beleaguered Ethiopian Jews stranded in refugee camps in Sudan and evacuate them to Israel.”

  • No One Knows Amy Sedaris Better Than Her Brother David.” “Amy wore a long gingham dress from Comme des Garçons that made her look like a hostess at Cracker Barrel …”

  • The Jerks of Academe.” “Do not try to seduce them with treats. Walk as far away as possible. Jerks are best viewed from a distance.”

  • Quietly Beautiful Polaroids of Massachusetts’ Queer Community.” “Ten years ago, Michael Joseph made his first trip to Provincetown, the fabled LGBTQ summer getaway situated at the very tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He did the cursory stroll down Commercial Street, wandered through shops, ate a lobster roll, sampled some saltwater taffy, and took the ferry home disappointed. A friend told Joseph that he had done it all wrong, explaining that ‘the town is about the people and experiences you have with them, more than the place itself.’

  • The Little-Known Story of a Frank Stella Work Once Mistaken for a Lunch Table.” “ … after a dramatic coup d’etat … , this high-profile painting disappeared from public view for almost 20 years and ended up in use as a lunch table for unwitting museum workers.”

A lot of people tell us that they plan to retire here. Often they also ask us if we are planning to stay in Ptown for the long term. It’s a moment when I always hedge and mumble something like, “we’ll see.” But the voice in my head is whispering all Dead Poets Society carpe diem-like “Provincetown is not going to be here.”

Ever since I read this quote from a local minister, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it: “‘How important is it to raise a building if the town is not going to be here?’”

It changes how you live day-to-day — with a sense of impending disappearance and loss. I used to think about what I would miss about Ptown if we moved away, but that was always with a sense that we could return to visit. But what if it’s all just gone? And you can’t come back? What couldn’t be rebuilt somewhere else? What cannot be replaced?

The saltmarshes. The dunes. The birds. The foxes. The whales feeding just offshore. The creative layering of houses built on top of each other, some without obvious access to the street. The little surprises I find tucked in the tiniest and most unexpected of places. The cadence of the seasons and the parade of annual traditions that help us mark time. The sense of connection to those before us and before them and before them who have anchored their lives to Helltown. The sense of freedom to be oneself — the weirder, the better.

We’ll be starting the season again soon. I don’t want it to go by leaving nothing but the smudgy residue of drunkenness and lost opportunities. Or the uselessness of hiding from the hordes and complaining about the heat. Or spending even a second doing things I can do anywhere.

I want dune hikes and whale watches and saltmarsh expeditions. I want long slow walks up and down the side streets of the town looking for visual prizes. I want sunsets at the beach and time spent sitting in the hidden benches in the woods. I want more time looking for treasures on the beaches you have to work harder to reach. I want more of ALL that. Before there’s nothing.

COOL STUFF

  • Digital coloring sheets (#colorourcollections) from libraries and archives. Librarians are my favorite people to work with. I love their ability to imagine, organize, and cooperate to create super cool stuff for the public like this.

  • Are you watching/reading/listening to …? The Expanse (Amazon). I know I’m very late to the game on this. It is SO good — shades of Battlestar Galactica, but less think-y and with better battle scenes. // Briarpatch (USA). It’s pulpy and cinematic and off-kilter weird and has Rosario Dawson. // The Neighbor’s Window (Vimeo). This year’s Oscar-winning short starts out a bit, um, interesting, but stick with it until the tears start flowing. // The Turning Point (Vimeo). A few minutes in length, but really impactful. Humans trade places with animals as climate change victims. //

    McMillions (HBO). I can’t believe this story and all these people in it are REAL! That FBI agent! // Life Overtakes Me (Netflix). Painful Oscar-nominated short about refugee children in Sweden who slowly go into a coma-like state called Resignation Syndrome. // Walk, Run, Cha-cha (Vimeo). A chaser to the previous short, this beautiful Oscar-nominated short is about a couple who emigrated here from Vietnam and their love of dancing. //

    A Beautiful Wife is Suddenly Dead.” A short story with passages like: “She is Virginia Woolf. She is E.T. the Extra-terrestrial. She is Khloe Kardashian. She is Ross from Friends. She is Samantha from Sex and the City. She is a roast-beef sandwich. She is a standard poodle. She is an open-casket funeral. At least that’s what Buzzfeed quizzes tell her. ‘Pick a New Outfit for Kim Jong-un and We’ll Guess What Kind of Funeral You’ll Have.’” // “Picnic”, an excerpt from Jenny Offill’s climate change novel, Weather. “My #1 fear is the acceleration of days. No such thing supposedly, but I swear I can feel it.” // “Faking Catholic to Attract A Hot Gay Man.” A short story that is witty and terrible and sad. “‘Probably I’m already damned,’ I said. ‘Is avoiding that even an option for me at this point?’” // Women’s Prize 25th Anniversary Reading Challenge: #ReadingWomen. For the 25th anniversary of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, you can read all 24 books plus this year’s yet-to-be-announced winner. It’s a powerhouse list! //

    The “Hillbillies Need No Elegy” episode of The Bitter Southerner. A strong counterpoint to Hillbilly Elegy from people who actually live there. // “A Board Game Where Birds (And Science) Win” episode of Short Wave. I think I need to splurge and get Wingspan! // And the Short Wave episode, “Harvard Professor's Arrest Raises Questions About Scientific Openness.” When I first heard about this I had one thought: Is this the beginning of Trump’s Cultural Revolution-esque attack on liberal intellectuals? Turns out there is a lot more to it. // An interview with Siobhan McSweeney on The Irish Times Women’s Podcast. She plays my favorite, Sister Michael, on Derry Girls. //

    Nancy Meyers Kitchen playlist. This playlist of 279 songs is SO good. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon of analog pursuits. //


    Low Season by Poolside. Jazzy, disco-y, light, and simple. A less oozy version of Tame Impala. //


    Spencer Brown’s Stream of Consciousness. Starts out dreamy and builds to full-on dancefloor trance. //

    Joyful by Andras. The whole thing is, well, happy, but the “Goggles” track is super fun. It centers around a familiar riff played in organ-at-the-baseball-game style. //

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

There was a German Shepherd-sized coyote standing in our driveway in broad daylight last week. It’s coyote mating season right now. They howl all night, which means Stephen BARKS all night. A pack of five have been stalking people walking their dogs at Herring Cove Beach and around the Provincelands. Stephen’s tiny dog friend from the Bark Park was attacked there in December (he’s ok, thank God!).

We don’t leave the house without an airhorn, a strobe flashlight, and a sharp weapon these days. Stephen wears a spiked Kevlar vest that protects his neck and flank when he’s out walking with us (on a leash) if it’s anywhere near dusk or dawn. Most people think it’s a fashion statement. This is Ptown, afterall.

It’s weird living in a place where the dangers of nature are so in our face. Besides the coyotes, we have the Great Whites that have completely changed the way people interact with the ocean here. Everyone knows someone who has Lyme Disease from the ticks that lie in wait all over the Cape. Mosquitoes tested positive for EEE just down the way at Head of The Meadow last year. Gone are the days of just putting on your shoes and leaving the house. We have to suit up with bug spray, tick socks, long sleeves, light colored long pants, and arm ourselves with deterrents and weapons.

And don’t get me started on those rats again. At least maybe the coyotes are taking care of that issue.

Every morning I drink coffee out of a mug that says, “I Just Want to Pet My Dog and Pretend Like Obama is Still in Office.” Truth is that’s no longer enough for me. I want to live in Elizabeth Warren’s vision of America. I’ve voted for her twice already as my Senator and will vote for her a third time next Tuesday. If you are deciding between Bernie and Elizabeth, this sums up the differences for me:

Also, worried about the coronavirus? She has a plan for that! “Preventing, Containing, and Treating Infectious Disease Outbreaks at Home and Abroad.”

Also, Amy (at times) is the personification of the mean girl voice in my head that tells me a hundred times a day that I am unworthy.

  • 2020 Environmental Voter Guide. Looking at the more moderate candidates and worried about the environment? I was shocked by the low grades some of them got on this critical issue. Also check out their Climate Scorecard.

  • Also, not sure about Medicare For All? Here’s how much it will save us: “it would reduce national health-care expenditure by more than $458 billion AND save more than 68,500 lives every year.”

  • Listen to the Authoritarian Democracy episode of the Strange Days podcast. A conversation with Sarah Kendzior of Gaslight Nation and former CIA Senior Officer Rolf Mowatt-Larsen. There may be a whiff of conspiracy theory underlying it all, but it still shook me to the core!

  • Hope Fucking Hicks. Becky With the Good Hair is back in the White House.

Also, Happy Fasnacht Day to my fellow Lancastrians and Pennsylvania Dutchies!