The Daily Word

My grandmother had a well-thumbed book of prayers that published one “word” per day, which she would read in the breakfast room. Turns out, it’s still a thing and, inevitably, an online thing: the dailyword.com. Today’s word is this:

But he said to me, “The Lord, before whom I walk, will send his angel with you and make your way successful.”—Genesis 24:40

I understand nothing of this quote—not the syntax, not the odd reference to success, not the nature of the angel. But I bet she would have.

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Two people and a ham

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Ham, also known as eternity

A man by the name of Joe Clark—clever, Southern, a school teacher—says this is the definition of eternity. He was quoting someone, although he didn’t say who. Turns out, it’s Dorothy Parker, as verified by the The Paris Review, which goes on to call baked ham a “professional leftover.” Even better.

“It’s not just that hams are big—they were even more massive in Parker’s day than they are now—or that a little of the salty meat goes a long way. It’s also the fact that a ham goes immediately from a thing of festive beauty (cue pineapple rings, scored surfaces studded with cloves, glistening patina) to a professional leftover. It goes very gentle into that good night. And, because it is cured, and because it can be used in so many ways, and because you can always, always scrape more meat off that bone—well, you’re really never justified in throwing it away. It’s with you for eternity.”  

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Crepuscule

This word means twilight, which is always my focus around the summer solstice. The twilight is the prolonged part of the day, it seems to me, not the morning or afternoon—it’s as if the extra daylight is tacked on from 5 pm on. This is such a lovely time: the blue sky deepens, lavenders and finally dims but so, so slowly. Last night I celebrated the actual solstice with an epic walk home, starting at the World Trade Center and walking through the Hudson River Park all the way to 97th Street. Two and a half hours, maybe five miles (nope just looked it up, 6.7 miles), with so many people doing so many things around me: jogging, doing yoga in bikinis, men boxing (a fight club?), couples smooching, kids acting crazy in a fountain, aggressive bike riding , all of it while the sun sank on the other side of the river.

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I am remembering now a summer solstice long ago, back when I was a teenaged babysitter for a family whose name I am forgetting: the Smalls? They were wild cards, as employers, sometimes not coming home at all and always forgetting to have snacks or even dinner on hand. I remember sleeping on the couch, waking at dawn, still babysitting, and feeling equal parts thrilled and forlorn. Anyway, it was the summer solstice and Mr. Small, if that was his name, told me that every day after this one would be shorter. Obvious, maybe, but that made me feel forlorn as well.

Regardless, I have a category of blog posts called Holidays We Hate, but the solstice is not one of them.

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Dear Southwest Airlines

People like this airlines and the way it accommodates human passengers with free bags and reservation changes and whimsical flight attendants. On my first Southwest flight, I’d offer these gentle criticisms:

  • Your app has short-term memory issues, not recalling me or my flight once I leave it
  • There are zero plugs in the Atlanta terminal (we could blame this on Atlanta, if you like)
  • There are zero plugs on board (this one’s on you, Southwest)
  • This phrase, to announce take-off: “Tug your seatbelt and hug your neighbor, ‘cuz this Boeing is ‘a-going (ouch).”
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10 Things I Hate About You (Spellcheck)

Oh Spellcheck and your even pushier cousin Autocorrect. You two are bullies, replacing your words with mine. Spellcheck, you unhelpfully underline words with that jaggedy (oh I guess you think jaggedy isn’t a real thing when it’s totally understood by absolutely everyone) red squiggle. So judgy (also not a word, per you) and wrong-headed—I did not mean “jigged” or “judger.” Autocorrect, you just straight up make changes and if I don’t reread what I’ve written, I’ll have to send one of those *corrections, which are annoying to me and the recipient (green underline here, why?). Eight additional bad things about you two:

  • That bad-grammar jaggedy (sigh) line doesn’t help at all, forcing me to try “that” and then “which” and then commas inserted all over the place and when none of that works, recasting my sentence entirely.
  • Can you be a better guesser when it comes to your suggestions? “Reowned” is not at all what I meant when I misspelled “reknowned.” And now I’m going to have to go with “esteemed” not because it’s a better word but because I know how to spell it.
  • How do you spell reknowned (as in “world reknowned” bass fisherman?) Not one of my things, I just want to know this.
  • Sometimes I use French words, not because I’m pretentious but because…I don’t have to explain myself to you, just be OK with it, OK?
  • Sometimes writers like a two-word sentence. To emphasize. To focus the reader. We do not want them underlined.
  • I don’t like alt spellings for common names (Hey, D’iane) anymore than you do, but it seems really judgy to call them out as wrong.
  • Hah! In that last one, I misused the word “anymore” (s/b any more) and you didn’t catch it!
  • Go away, both of you.
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Where Should We Begin?

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Esther Perel is the unlikely name of an esteemed couples therapist, who made her name with a book called “Mating in Captivity,” about the death of desire in marriages. (Why unlikely as that relates to her name? I read “Perel” as “peril” and Esther as a cognate of “etre” or “to be.” But maybe that’s just me.)

Moving on, she’s got a podcast called “Where Should We Begin?,” which is a really excellent title and a TED Talk called “Rethinking Infidelity.”

(How do I get to have a TED Talk?)

A quote I like, from The New Yorker: “Betrayal may spell the painful end of a chapter in a relationship, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the whole thing is done: Your first marriage is over. Would you like to create a second one together?”

And this one: “it’s never been easier to cheat and it’s never been harder to keep a secret.”

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“easier said than done”

What isn’t really?

File this under things people say that need not be said.

Another: “It is what it is.”

And: “Mistakes were made.” This passive-voice non-apology comes with the unsaid disclaimer “but not by me.” And today I learned this is the actual name of an actual book, by the psychologist Carol Tarvis: “Mistakes Were Made But Not By ME” (emphasis hers).

 

 

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did you ever …

not blog for so long that they change the interface up on you — and you can’t figure out how to do it, even when you have something really interesting to say?

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Signs

Does everyone do this? Anyone out there? I have a big decision to make about my job. In truth, and as is my way, I’ve been circling around this decision for a year, waiting for the “right time.” Waiting for a sign. Waiting for the “now.” Waiting for someone to make it for me: fire me, promote me.

Today might be the day. So here is what I read in my horoscope this morning, from Lenny Letter (so you know it’s true).

Although it can be scary at first, it can be very refreshing to be reminded that the world is much bigger than you: whether that means it is bigger than your plans and ideas for yourself, wider than your beliefs about life, or stranger than what you thought was supposed to happen. Keep following the path of the big, wide, and strange wherever it leads you this month.

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Watch Weiner

The documentary that trails Anthony Weiner during the final weeks of his failed mayoral campaign is fascinating. The candidate is pure id: eating with his mouth open; picking fights with a guy in a deli while surrounded by rabbis; flipping off the press; dancing in the streets at block parties; and, famously, taking photos of himself and sending them, recklessly, to so very many women. Huma Abedin is his breathtaking opposite: composed, fortress-like and gorgeous in her red lipstick and heels. If she were the actress playing Huma, someone would surely say, “get a less pretty actress, no way that one is marrying Anthony Weiner.”

They have an odd and charming chemistry. Until such time he sends another sext, and then she gets this face on and it sticks:

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Huma Abedin: Portrait of a Woman Pissed

 

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