New in Des Moines

Oct 01

Yes, I am hitting Pinot Grigio straight out the bottle. Give me all the side-eye you want. It’s been a day.

Yes, I am hitting Pinot Grigio straight out the bottle. Give me all the side-eye you want. It’s been a day.

Sep 30

akashicbooks:

(via Countdown to The Butter)
Congratulations to roxanegay, Nicole Cliffe, and Mallory Ortberg!! We’re super SUPER stoked about The Butter.

akashicbooks:

(via Countdown to The Butter)

Congratulations to roxanegay, Nicole Cliffe, and Mallory Ortberg!! We’re super SUPER stoked about The Butter.

The important message here is that you shouldn’t lick any Texans for a while.

The important message here is that you shouldn’t lick any Texans for a while.

Worst Number One Hits, 1960 edition

1960 was an interesting year in number one records. Elvis had three and sat atop the charts for 15 of the 52 weeks. Connie Francis topped twice, but for only 4 weeks. The longest running number one was an instrumental by Percy Faith and His Orchestra titled “These from A Summer Place,” which you’ve probably heard without realizing it—it’s elevator music. And it was a number one for 9 freaking weeks from late February to late April. 

But what 1960 really had going on was novelty songs, and truly horrible ones at that. There were 4 of them to reach number one that year, and they make up the entirety of the finalists. Here they are, in chronological order:

"Running Bear" by Johnny Preston

Alley Oop” by The Hollywood Argyles

"Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" by Brian Hyland

"Mr. Custer" by Larry Verne

None of these songs are worth a second listen. Seriously, they’re all shitty in their own special way, but one has to be crowned the worst number one of 1960. And as one friend of mine astutely pointed out while we were debating this, these weren’t just songs that popped up for a week or two and then disappeared, songs you might miss if you were busy with life. These were number one hits. They were on all the damn time, and in a world with far fewer distractions than the one we live in today.

I’m going to take “Alley Oop” out of the running for worst right now. It’s a dumb song, but it’s a song about a character from an unfunny comic strip, and about the best thing that can be said about it is that it’s only mildly offensive. And I want to punch the lead singer in the throat when he pronounces “di-nah-so-wah.”

In almost any other year, “Itsy Bitsy Fuck It I’m not typing the rest of that shit” would be a serious contender. It’s a dumb song, and the repetition of “two three four tell the people what she wore” is enough to make you shoot yourself in the eardrums. 

We’re down to the last two contenders, and this is causing a bit of a quandary for me. Both songs are offensive in very similar ways—“Running Bear” has the whole tomahawk chop sound going in the background, and “Mr. Custer” has what is supposed to sound like arrows whipping through the air all around the singer, killing off the cavalry around him. The thing is, “Running Bear” is actually a catchy little tune. It’s the kind of thing you can catch yourself humming along to if you’re not thinking about it. It’s a potential earworm. “Mr. Custer” is a godawful song as well as being offensive. Verne’s voice makes me want to pull out my fingernails and use them to stuff my ears. 

So what’s the greater sin? An offensive song with staying power or an objectively worse song that fades from memory quickly? Most of the time I think I’d go with the staying power, but “Mr. Custer” is just so bad that it overwhelms the longevity of “Running Bear.” “Mr. Custer” is the worst number one hit of 1960.

Sep 28

I sprained my eyeballs from rolling them too hard.

I sprained my eyeballs from rolling them too hard.

(Source: aznmaddy, via 2similar)

[video]

Sep 27

Caitlin Moran: "Men are not being taught that shit." -

authorstalker:

image

Longreads did a fun, interesting, and yes, long interview with Caitlin Moran. Among many other great pieces of advice, she says women should just do what they want:

What draws you to the prescriptive how-to title formulation?

I like the idea of reading something…

(via balletbookworm)

2014 Reading List Book 49: How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran -

This was the September Rumpus Book Club selection, and man, did I enjoy the hell out of it. Moran’s protagonist is (at the start) an incredibly horny, intelligent, overweight girl from a council estate in Wolverhampton, one of the more economically depressed areas in the mid-1990’s. It’s one of the places basically cut loose by Thatcher in her time as Prime Minister. Her family is desperately poor—they’re on benefits and nothing else—and she’s the second-oldest of five kids, the two youngest being infant twins. (I related to so many different parts of this story in different ways.)

It’s one of those moments of desperation which causes her to try to make some money by writing, and she transforms herself from Johanna Morrigan, estate council kid with no future, into Dolly Wilde, scathing music critic for a London magazine. 

Where Moran excels in this story is that she doesn’t make Johanna/Dolly triumphant. She turns out fine, but this isn’t some coming-of-age fairy tale. The voice is engrossing, and the digressions/jokes/strange leaps of logic that occur in her head had me rolling. It’s a fantastic book and has already been optioned for a movie, and there are two sequels to come (which are currently composed of post-its above Moran’s computer—this is the kind of thing you learn when you get to chat online with the author because of the Rumpus Book Club). I can’t wait to see the next one.

Sep 26

[video]

Sep 25

Really freaked out my girlfriend need help? -

I haven’t laughed this hard or been this disturbed in forever. Thank you universe, for reminding me I can still be taken aback by something.