Shared posts

10 Aug 15:34

The Scene is not Desolate

by swissmiss

“As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time.”
E. B. White

08 Aug 03:32

Diversity politics have made blockbusters of films that pivoted to non-white stars. Enter Crazy Rich Asians.


these photoshoots are awesome

How do you get a well-known Asian actor if you don’t ever cast Asians in leading roles, which you are constrained from doing because none are well enough known?

↩︎ Vanity Fair

View Post →

21 Jul 18:12

#1125: “I’m stressed and embarrassed whenever I have to go places with my bigoted parents.”

by JenniferP

Really good scripts in here about stopping bigoted speech.

Behind a cut for the casual fatphobia, racism, and misogyny of entitled white folks of a certain age. Update: People are sharing some of the specific slurs and types of comments their bigoted relatives say and asking how to challenge those things esp. in the comments, so I would counsel POC and other marginalized folks especially to be careful before clicking – y’all already know this stuff and maybe you don’t need it in your eyes while we white folks sort out our bullshit.

Dear Captain,

I (23 woman) am very temporarily living at home, so my problem can sort of be solved by waiting and moving out as I am planning, but it would be great to stop this problem for any future visits. My issue is that I feel incredibly uncomfortable/stressed/anxious going out in public with my parents due to any combo of their rude/racist/sexist/entitled comments they make to store employees or about strangers walking by.

For example (not said directly to them, but sometimes within overhearing distance): wow they’re fat/ugly/slow, so many Koreans, threatening an annoying kid, coughing while saying asshole when someone they don’t like walks by, etc

or yelling and almost crying on the phone talking to an employee.

or talking to an employee (at some store, tone escalating)

Cashier: Do you have a rewards card?
Mom: Well I do, but for some reason your system has it as my daughters name.
C: Well we only get names if you give them to us, so she must have signed up.
M: She didn’t. She doesn’t go to Storename.
C: We only can get names that are given to us, she must have signed up.
M: She didn’t. and why would she use the home phone number?
C: If that’s her name in our system, there is no other way for us to have gotten that unless she told us.
M: That’s what you said, but I’m telling you she didn’t. She had no reason to come to Storename! So I’m just wondering where it came from.
Me: Mom, I must have signed up at some point, it’s no big deal.
M: They only started doing this a few months ago, and you said you didn’t sign up, so how did they get it?
C: We could have only gotten it if she gave us her name.

That’s the gist, honestly went on longer in the same inane circle, we had finished paying and were just holding up the line behind us. The cashier had nothing else they could possibly say! The conversation started pretty level, but I don’t think my mom realizes her tone escalates until it feels like a big deal. She repeatedly *says* it’s not a big deal, but her actions say otherwise. I’m just standing here feeling like I can do nothing to escape this awkwardness.

Frankly, I am embarrassed and stressed out by these interactions. I am constantly on edge, I find myself noticing these people I worry my parents will talk about, I feel like I have to be overly smiley and apologetic to these employees because they have to deal with customers like this all day.

I told my mom I was stressed about it, and later overheard her whispering to my dad about how I said I was stressed and her tone definitely conveyed that she though it was ridiculous/she couldn’t believe it!

I don’t know what to do. I feel like I can’t police their actions in public, but trying to be honest is met with incredulity. I am just considering refusing to be with them in public. I still feel awful for everyone they interact with.

-Stressed in Public

Dear Stressed In Public,

My mom used to do the whole “Let me talk to your MANAGER” voice thing to berate retail employees when I was a little girl and I would stress-pee my pants. Usually a bastion of good manners, she had this very ugly way of speaking to service workers that implied that the brassieres that should have been on one rack were instead placed on the sale rack deliberately to deceive her. Good times. To all the former employees of the Auburn, Massachusetts Sears, I’m sorry for all the times I urinated on your carpets out of terror. Terror of what? I don’t even know. Just, raised voices ==> fear ==> pee.

Good news: I’m not five anymore and neither are you. So, Letter Writer, could you get comfortable raising your voice a little and intervening?

Good news/bad news: Your feelings of embarrassment and stress are very real and upsetting, but you are not the person who is most being harmed by what your parents are doing when they harass and bully people around them. They are at work, where they can’t leave, and they can’t say anything back if they want to keep their jobs. You are uniquely positioned to say something to help those people, and ***unless your very survival depends on it**** I think you have a responsibility to do something about it. Not a responsibility to stop it before it happens or fix it or change your parents (they are responsible for themselves), but a responsibility to not just let it keep happening over and over again in silence.

Let’s take the store card example. What if you raised your voice a little and said, Mom, Let’s drop it! We can go talk to the service desk, or call them or adjust it online when we get home.” Mom! Let’s pay and get out of here. You’re holding up the line.Mom, this person can’t help us, and it’s not her fault, let’s not yell at her, ok? Let’s just pay and sort it out later.” Also, if you can, de-escalate and pull her away from the conflict if you possibly can so that if she reacts badly it won’t get even worse for the target of her bullying.

It won’t change your mom’s mind about “being right.” And she might be a total jerk to this very same employee the very next time she’s there. But it might snap your mom out of it enough that she’ll stop. And it might help you to channel your stress in that moment into action. The employee can’t really fight back or stop it. You can.

Your mom clearly cares what you think, since she’s talking to your dad about it, so why not place the awkwardness you’re feeling back where it belongs?

With their more passing comments, try “Wow.” or Really? Dad! or “Dad, do you even hear yourself right now?” or Mom, I cannot believe that came out of your mouth!” “We do NOT talk about people’s bodies like that.Gross! If you are going to say racist stuff, I am going to go home, see you there.”  Raise your voice. Make it awkward and boring for them to do this stuff in front of you. Make them know that you will call this out every single time from now on.

There is probably a bigger talk that’s like “Mom, Dad, you have to be nicer to people who work retail. You just do. They have hard jobs. They want you to be happy with their service. They aren’t your enemies. You are so rude to them sometimes, it completely embarrasses me! Do you want to end up in one of those Permit Patty or Sidewalk Susie YouTube videos? ‘Cause that’s what you sound like!” 

Many bigots and bullies think that everyone in their families and workplaces secretly agrees with them and are just hiding what they really think because of “political correctness.” Many others try to use the social contract of ‘civility’ as camouflage, like, they can say and do whatever they want but if you call them out on it you are the one being rude or mean. It can be a double-form of bullying – bullying the people in the marginalized group but also bullying witnesses by basically daring you to “be uncivil” (and invite reprisals) by speaking up and challenging them.

My Grampa Oscar (RIP) used to send horrifying and racist emails from the Rancid Old Man Internet™ to our entire family, allllllll our elected officials, and local news media. If I replied (copying all the same people) to methodically debunk whatever it was, I would get tons of heat from the family – “Why are you antagonizing him?” Sorry fam, I wasn’t the one who just casually advocated building concentration camps for Muslim people because of 9/11, and also why do I have to do all the “antagonizing” all by myself? Family: “He’s an old man!” Me: He’s an old man who fought Nazis up one side of the world and down the other and he literally knows everything about how this kind of hateful ideology spreads and corrupts, making him an old man who should know better. (While I’m issuing apologies, sorry to all the Massachusetts congressional and media interns who got CC’d on these exchanges between 1998-2011. I used to like to imagine that y’all had a binder somewhere of this old man and his mean uncivil granddaughter, duking it out between our AOL addresses.)

Here’s the secret, though: My Grampa cared what I thought. He cared a lot. It super-bothered him that I wouldn’t go along with him, that I wouldn’t tell him he was brilliant, that I didn’t validate his “superior” knowledge of world affairs. He loved me a lot and he was proud of me (about most things) and it bothered him into his grave that he couldn’t convince me to sign off on his gross Fox News talking points. And over time, when I was like “Oh Grampa, let’s not talk about politics, we have so little time left and I don’t want to spend it debunking your crap” he would literally wail at me in frustration. He wanted my agreement and my good opinion and my compliance and, while he had my love always, as long as he advocated for hatred and bigotry he could. not. have. those. things.

One of the things I could reliably use against my Grampa that you might be able to use against your parents are the things they taught us in better times when they acted like better people. “But, you taught me not to say those kinds of things.” “You taught me to be kind to people.” “You taught me that everyone is equal and worthy.” “You taught me that if I don’t have something nice to say to someone I shouldn’t say anything.” “You taught me that all human beings are valuable and deserve kindness and safety.” “You taught me that everybody is the same and deserves respect, this isn’t like you, I know you are better than this!”  

They’ll say “I didn’t mean you should talk like that to ME” or “I didn’t mean Those People” and you’ll say “but of course you did, the Golden Rule is about everyone.” And their faces will turn red and maybe it will be embarrassment or maybe it will be anger that they take out on you and I’m sorry for that if it goes that way.

Your parents probably won’t change their minds or their behavior when you aren’t around, but I’ll say it again: They notice and care what you think. They want you to agree with them. They want you to think they are good people. They want you to be a reflection of them. They want you to comply with them and support their points of view in public. They probably don’t care as much about not stressing you out in public as they do about wanting to look good in your eyes. You can use that, even if it’s just to shame them into pretending to be better.

Back to practicalities:

1. Practice speaking up in the moment. It won’t feel good, it will feel scary and weird, but you aren’t a kid who can be sent to your room without supper anymore. It doesn’t ever feel easier but it becomes easier with practice. And it is the best tool you, as a person who shares your parents race and class status, has for assigning consequences to bigoted remarks. Make it socially expensive and awkward for them to behave like that around you.

2. Talk to your parents about what you are observing. “Mom, Dad, I’ve noticed some troubling stuff lately when we’re out together, you both say some things that really aren’t kind [give a recent example or two]. What’s going on there? That’s not how you brought me up to behave.” 

Listen to their defenses and then say something like “Ok, well, I respect you a lot, which is why I brought this up with you directly. I don’t want us to fight all the time, but I also don’t want to just be silent when it happens – it’s so rude and stressful for me and the poor people who are just trying to do their jobs – and if you can’t figure out how to put a lid on it I don’t know how much I’ll want to go places with you.” 

3. Enforce the boundaries. You’re at the store with a parent and they say or act rude? “Ugh, [Parent], we talked about this. Please leave this person alone.” 

If they won’t cool it, leave, even if it’s to go sit by the car. And stay home the next time they ask you to go somewhere. Give them less of your time and attention.

4. Think in terms of baby steps. Catching themselves about to say something, muttering under their breath, a pointed “I could say something but MISS SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIOR is here so I WON’T,” stony silence, making ugly faces while they tamp down their ugly thoughts in front of you, “I guess I gotta behave myself because SOME PEOPLE won’t give FAMILY a BREAK,” calling you a snowflake, etc. etc. are what victory looks like here.

Stay firm. If they say mean stuff about you, try agreeing with them to remove the teeth- “Yes, I’m very sensitive and might melt like a delicate snowflake out of embarrassment if I see my Dad say something racist to the waiter again! Let’s not risk it!” 

Converting hearts & minds is great and hopefully the long-term plan, but it’s not the only thing that matters. Getting bigots to stop harming people in the moment is important even if the hearts and minds stay withered and small.

P.S. I’ve gotten a bunch of emails from people who are like “I live with bigots but I am literally dependent on them for survival/housing/health care needs and if I antagonize them I might die.” 

In these cases, I think you speak up the best you can when you can, and forgive yourself for when you can’t. Sometimes the best you can do is to live to fight another day. You’re the best judge of what you can and cannot risk.

I also think you organize online and find other people who are doing good work in your community and in the world, so that you’re not alone with these people all day and night. You may not ever convince your folks, so, if you decide that they are lost causes, what work can you do? Do that. There’s more than enough human rights defense work to go around right now, you don’t have to throw yourself down an impossible emotional black hole for the revolution. Can’t convince them? Out-organize them. Out-vote them. Out-number them where it counts.

But if it’s not about survival? It’s just a little stress and discomfort and some raised voices and the risk of some people falling in your esteem or thinking you are hard to get along with? It’s celebrating holidays in a different way, seeing less of people you wish you could count on to be better? In those cases I think a lot of bigots have mistaken silence for compliance for way too long, and that a whole lot of us can endure some awkward family dinners or car rides or shopping trips if we have to, like, “yep, I’m really unreasonable and hard to get along with about these topics so you should stop saying horrible stuff where I can hear it or I might literally explode from being so dang sensitive! Thanks for noticing/Bless your heart!” This is literally the least that we can do.

And we can do it. It takes resolve and practice and having each other’s backs, the way the Letter Writer is about to have the backs of a whole lot of service industry folks who can’t escape from her terrible parents.

17 Jul 11:40


by swissmiss

“The connections we make in the course of a life–maybe that’s what heaven is.”
― Fred Rogers

17 Jul 11:25

Highlight the Remarkable

by swissmiss


This Stabilo Boss campaign highlighting the remarkable, as in history’s forgotten women, is fantastic.

13 Jul 19:14

record a question for the Ask a Manager podcast

by Ask a Manager


There are now two ways to ask a question on the  Ask a Manager podcast:

1. If you want to come on the show yourself to discuss your question with me in real time, email your question to The advantage of this option is that we get to have lots of back and forth and refine the advice to make sure it works for your situation. We record over Skype and it’s quite easy.

2. If you just want your question to be answered on the show, but don’t want to come on yourself, you can record your question on the show voicemail at 855-426-WORK (855-426-9675). Any question you leave there might be played and answered on a future show. This is a good option for questions that seem shorter/simpler (stuff like the daily “short answer” posts), or if you’re just not up for lots of back and forth or having so much focus directed on you.

record a question for the Ask a Manager podcast was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

11 Jul 03:31

my intern is refusing assignments because of her politics

by Ask a Manager

I am immediately curious about what museum, what exhibition, and what politician.

A reader writes:

I am a curator at a large museum, and we are currently running a major special exhibition. There has been an enormous amount of public interest in the exhibition, and demand for tickets is very high.

Recently I was asked by my higher-ups to give a private tour of this exhibition to a prominent and controversial political figure. It’s not Trump, by the way (lots of people have asked!), but it *is* someone whose name would be nationally recognized.

I have a summer intern and have offered to let her come along as an observer. This kind of inclusion would usually be considered a major perk for an intern. But she is adamantly refusing, citing this gentleman’s political views and threatening to physically attack him if she is “forced” to be in his presence (although I’m hoping that she is rather tastelessly joking about that last part). She is also refusing to do any of the logistical or planning tasks that would normally fall to her, and that’s a problem as well.

Here’s the tricky part: I completely and totally agree with her opinion of this politician’s views and behavior. I have actually literally protested outside his office in the past. I’m not looking forward to spending any time in his presence. But my perspective is that my personal views aren’t relevant in these circumstances, and that a significant part of my job is representing my museum with dignity, even when I really don’t want to. I will never agree with this politician (nor he with me, probably) but I keep telling myself: at the very least, this is a good opportunity for us to showcase to him the value of well-funded cultural institutions.

I’ve told my intern she can sit this one out, but I feel like we need to have a conversation about this when the dust settles. I am very torn, though. As I alluded to above, I’m active in social justice work and various kinds of protests, but all on my own time; no one I work with is aware of my outside activities. I don’t want to force anyone to do something they don’t believe in, but I worry this young lady will be shooting herself in the foot if this is her stance in the long term. What advice would you give me?

Yes, talk with her. The way she’s handling this is juvenile and it doesn’t reflect well on her professionally, and I say that as someone with a deep appreciation for social justice activism (and possibly for her stance as well, just not the way she’s executing it).

It would be one thing if she’d said, “I feel very uncomfortable interacting with this person; would it be possible for me to sit this out?” Even that isn’t necessarily ideal, and you still might need to talk to her about what it means to work for an institution that welcomes all visitors and the benefits to the museum of not turning away people whose views might be at odds with those of its staff. But that would have been a reasonable way for her to handle it. But threatening to physically attack him? Even assuming she’s joking, that’s just an incredibly unprofessional thing for her to say in a work context, and she should probably think about whether she wants to normalize that type of response in our discourse more broadly. She might also benefit from contemplating whether she really wants any employee to be able to refuse to serve anyone they disagree with or find immoral — because that goes both ways, and people tend not to like it when it’s reversed on them.

That’s not to say that there isn’t room for people to act on their consciences at work. There is. But there’s a professional way to do that and an unprofessional way, and she’s choosing the unprofessional way. The professional way would be voicing her concerns, asking if they could be accommodated (not demanding it), realizing the answer might be “no” — and knowing that if it were, then at that point she’d need to decide if she felt strongly enough to leave the job over it.

So yes, talk with her. The fact that you share her views about this particular politician might give you more credibility when you do. (Or who knows, maybe she’ll just think you’re a sell-out.)

You could say, “We’re not in the business of deciding who can and who can’t tour our exhibits, and that’s a good thing because access to museums shouldn’t depend on individual employees’ personal viewpoints. I’d be outraged we turned someone away because they supported Issue X or Issue Y (insert issues here that you support), and I suspect you would be too. We’re on very dangerous ground if we let people say that their own personal views will determine who they do and don’t serve at work.”

You could also say, “It’s not that you can never take a stand on work based on principle. You can. But it’s a big deal to refuse to do parts of your job, and so if you do that, you need to be professional about it. That means raising your concerns in a mature manner, not threatening physical attacks, and asking if work-arounds can be found, not just assuming you can refuse and that’ll be that. Sometimes it might not be possible for you to be recused, and if that’s the case, you might need to decide if you’re willing to leave the job over it. But the way you handle moments of conflict at work will have a big impact on your professional reputation, and so here’s why you’d want to approach this differently in the future…”

All that said … there are people whose actions are so directly harmful to others that I can understand why someone might take the stand your intern is taking. Sometimes our morals do compel us to stand up and say, “No, I will not act as if this normal because it is profoundly wrong.”

But it’ll be helpful to her if she learns how to do that in a way that maximizes her chances of getting the outcome she wants, and without hurting her own standing in the meantime. And of course, sometimes something is important enough that it’s worth hurting your own standing! I don’t mean to imply that professionalism is the be-all, end-all, because there are other things that are more important. But it’ll help her to learn to figure out when she has no choice but to take that hit, and when there are more effective paths to achieve what she wants.

my intern is refusing assignments because of her politics was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

06 Jul 16:12

Stay cool!

by swissmiss

I am feeling this GIF by Thoka Maer these days. Stay cool everyone!

06 Jul 16:07

Are Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime About to Release a Secret Trump Show?

by Anne Victoria Clark


2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones - Arrivals

A real-life television mystery is coming together and the clues are everywhere. This week, Showtime released two promos for a mysterious new show, refusing to reveal the title but announcing the lead character is “shameless,” “unhinged,” and “cold-blooded.” It will apparently be “perhaps the most dangerous show in the history of television” and premieres on July 15.

On July 4, Sacha Baron Cohen tagged Donald Trump in a mysterious promo that announced “[h]e’s back as you’ve never seen him before.” However, there was no date set in that promo aside from an ominous, “Soon.”

27 Jun 15:27

Friday Link Pack

by swissmiss

sharing for the muppet outtakes link, about halfway down

How to Befriend the Universe: Philosopher and Comedian Emily Levine on the Art of Meeting Reality on Its Own Terms

Bill Gates’ reading recommendations for Summer 2018

This Is How a Brick-and-Mortar Store Can Thrive in the Age of Amazon

– Love this statement of a parent of twins. (via Paul)

How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You)

– The New York Times Witty, Irreverent Photos That Satirize Family Living

You Can Now Mute Your Annoying Instagram Friends

– This will be my next read: A life of one’s own

A livesize puppet struggling to get through a revolving door.

Morning Sloth is a personalized wake-up service to help people start their day with a creative boost.

– This made me laugh: Muppet outtakes (Thank you Manu)

– Be still my heart: The Obamas Are Officially Making Netflix Shows Now

– Add yours: What are female owned/run service or e-commerce companies you LOVE?

– Want to see what your Twitter timeline would’ve looked like 10 years ago today, if you followed all the same people you do now?

– Amy Wambach Barnard Commencement 2018: Give me the Ball!

– The USPS is launching scratch-and-sniff stamps!

– Absolutely love this DesignMatters episode with Priya Parker who just published a book called The Art of Gathering.

– I’ve watched 120 hours of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway meetings — these are the top 5 things I learned

– There’s nothing like arriving at a family gathering or party with the FUNNEST Pack from Tattly. instant super friend/aunty status

– So many creative jobs on the CreativeGuild Jobs Board.

– A big thank you to Parsons at Open Campus for sponsoring my blog this week.

18 Jun 21:41

Standing On A Little Ball of Dirt

by swissmiss

“You’re just standing on one little ball of dirt and spinning around one of the stars. From that perspective, do you really care what people think about your clothes or your car?”
― Michael A. Singer

13 Jun 18:03


by trillpocahontas


12 Jun 19:00

12 New Podcasts for Summer

by Lindsey Schuette

There is a Good Place podcast!!!!!!! I am very excited about this.

New shows abound, from indies to the big networks

Summer is upon us, and we’ve got a great list of new shows to be excited about. In our list, you’ll find some new voices (plants! inanimate objects!) and some old favorites (Manoush! Judy!), all of them are guaranteed to help get you through those hot summer days.

Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

Fun Fiction (May 22)

From the BS Network comes (another) pop culture podcast. The twist? Hosts Scottye Moore and Brenna Clark discuss movies, TV shows, music videos — and the fanfiction that rises up from that fertile (or not so fertile) ground. This is the podcast I never knew I needed.

For Teenage Girls (May 25)

Hosted by Bee Hyland, this podcast by and for teens interviews women and woman-aligned people about the experiences that shape their lives. Listen for the special ways teens use audio to cultivate and express some truly beautiful ideas.

Branch Out (May 30)

The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is behind this podcast about the surprisingly compelling world of plants and the vital roles they play in our society. The show describes how humans have used botanical science to improve our lives, and strikes a good balance between information and entertainment. The sound mixing will make you feel like you’re right there with them at the Garden. Oh, and the first episode clocked in at a completely manageable 10 minutes.

The Good Place (June 1)

You love the show? Of course you love the show. Well now there’s an official podcast from NBC for fans of The Good Place and…that’s genuinely all I can tell you about it because I’m terrified of season 2 spoilers. Well, and also that it’s hosted by Marc Evan Jackson, who plays Shawn on the show.

Binge Mode: Harry Potter (June 11)

Binge Mode, from The Ringer, specializes in pop culture recaps, and this summer they’re recapping the entire Harry Potter series. Beginning June 11, grab the wand that you bought for far too much money at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (worth it)and strap in for a deep dive.

Bubble (June 13)

If anyone could convince me to try out a scripted show, it’s Maximum Fun. Bubble tells the tale of a group of monster killers eking out a living in the gig economy. The cast, including Alison Becker & Keith Powell, is top-notch, but what we’re all really here for is the promised appearance of Judy Greer (of Archer fame). With an 8-episode arc, Bubble could be a gateway podcast for people who might be overwhelmed by the idea of catching up with other long-running scripted shows.

Middle:Below (June 13)

I’ll leave it to my esteemed fellow podcast critic, Elena Fernandez-Collins, to sum this one up: “Middle:Below is the one about ghosts and cats by that dude who did the one audio drama I like.” Okay, but more specifically, this new horror comedy from Tin Can Audio follows a ragtag group (of people? animals? still unclear.) as they travel between the earthly and not-so-earthly realms. Expect serious shenanigans to ensue.

Playback (June 13)

Medium is stepping into the podcasting arena with its new show, Playback. Hosted by Manoush Zomorodi (formerly of WNYC Studios’ Note to Self) and Kara Brown, the show offers up interviews with Medium’s most popular writers, such as Roxane Gay & Baratunde Thurston.

ZigZag (June 14)

Radiotopia is coming out with an exciting new lineup this summer, including the sure-to-be-excellent ZigZag podcast. Also helmed by Manoush Zomorodi and her former Note to Self producer Jen Poyant, it’s the surprisingly funny and bluntly earnest portrayal of two determined women trying to make it on their own in a new media venture.

Aftereffect (June 21)

I’m going to be frank with you here: the trailer for Aftereffect, hosted by WNYC’s Audrey Quinn, is just plain difficult to listen to — but it’s also important. Aftereffect is an incredibly raw look into how America treats people with disabilities, from police violence to physical abuse in psych wards. It’s a show where you already know you’ll leave it just little bit different.

Everything Is Alive (July 17)

Do you ever see a concept for a strange idea and just want it to work? That’s how I feel about Radiotopia’s Everything is Alive. Hosted by Ian Chillag of Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me fame, the show is a series of interviews with inanimate objects. In those precious seconds between when I hit download and pressed play on the trailer, I worried whether it could live up to my dreams—less than a minute in, I was ready for more.

The Realness (July 19)

WNYC Studios’ The Realness tells the heartbreaking story of Prodigy, the rap star who lived his life with a debilitating illness that would eventually lead to his death. One thing that is clear from the interviews with people who knew him: the pain sits just under the surface. Get ready for some tears.

Militantly Mixed (July)

An indie podcast out of Los Angeles, Militantly Mixed is set to tackle tough conversations around mixed-race identities. Activism, intersectionality, and lived experiences feature heavily in their episode lineup. They also have an open call out for interview candidates, so hit them up with your stories.

The Bello Collective is a publication + newsletter about podcasts and the audio industry. Our goal is to bring together writers, journalists, and other voices who share a passion for the world of audio storytelling.

Subscribe to the Bello Collective fortnightly newsletter for more stories, podcast recommendations, audio industry news, and more. Support our work and join our community by becoming a member.

12 New Podcasts for Summer was originally published in Bello Collective on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

08 Jun 12:54

sirfrogsworth: As you wish. 


wuv... twu wuv!


As you wish. 

07 Jun 20:27

20 Questions with the Mysterious Breakmaster Cylinder

by Ashley Lusk

Omg go listen to that Raffi remix

We talk with BMC about their days as a wee Cylinder, what Alex and PJ are really like, and who might play them at a live event.

Image courtesy of Breakmaster Cylinder

This week, the mysterious Breakmaster Cylinder (BMC) released a new album, REMIX 3. For anyone who can spot a BMC theme song right away, this new release will feel like familiar territory (see: “Morning Edition Remix”).

Recently, I invited BMC to drop into the Bello Slack channel to answer questions from the editors and our members. The result? More mystery and more adoration for our favorite anonymous musician.

How did you so thoroughly break into the podcast-music market?

Alex [Goldman] and PJ [Vogt] brought me with them when they left WNYC Studios to go make Reply All, ’cause they’re nice like that. The show is great, and it took off immediately, which gave me some name recognition. From there, I think I’ve just tried to take pretty much every job request anyone’s thrown at me. I’m not sure why people reach out to me, honestly, but I’m honored. I guess the anonymity is interesting. That wasn’t my intention, but I’m sure it helps.

Can you talk about why you continue to be anonymous? Do you mind that you might never personally get credit for your work?

I don’t know, it doesn’t feel like I’m not getting credit. You don’t need to know the real names of the people in bands you like to say you like them. It’s just as though I’ve chosen to go by a really ridiculous name half the time. My face (if I have a face) doesn’t matter.

What’s it like working with the Reply All team?

The Reply All team is lovely! Truly kind, passionate, interesting people. I dig ’em. They give me freedom to be creative and rein me in where necessary.

What’s your favorite podcast right now?

Honestly, if I have any free time I’m going to spend it writing. When I’m flying around and physically can’t write music, I’ve been really enjoying Today, Explained. Their musical parodies are spot on. Noam Hassenfeld has an incredible Brian Johnson (of AC/DC) voice.

What kind of music do you listen to for fun?

When I’m traveling, I’m probably flipping through Spotify as fast as I can. I like any music where I feel addicted and have to restart it immediately.

I just put out a mixtape of all the loops of music I retreat to when the world is ugly. They’re all songs I’ve had on endless repeat at one point or another, stapled together for about 50 minutes. This is totally therapy to me.

I don’t really have a genre I listen to more than others. Well, maybe I favor some fuzzy West Coast beats. Or literally any country’s 60s psych rock. But mostly I think every genre has something they do well. There are always good songs waiting to be found.

What’s the origin of your “pen” name?

It’s a long story. Can we say it’s a tribute?

Can you share the timezone where you live?


If you could pick a brand on an any medium — TV, movies, a household brand, podcasts, bands, etc. — that you could make music with, who would it be and why?

My knee-jerk response is I’d like to work with Busdriver. I think he’d be down for making music of the cosmos. I feel most alive writing intricate, weird time signature, transcendent kind of stuff, and that feels like something he’d do in his sleep. Can’t plan for the transcendent part, that just happens accidentally from time to time. You can set it up though.

Image courtesy of Breakmaster Cylinder

Should we look for Easter eggs in your music?

Well I have a ‘Nina’, which is to say I’ve stuck the exact same melody in different albums all over the place. It’s nine notes that just feel right to me. I think some of the really sample-heavy albums just have so many dumb little references that made me happy, but the connections aren’t obvious unless you’re me, sitting there listening to it 100 times. Let’s say whenever I use a sample, it’s mostly an inside joke.

Do you make the mini-narratives at the end of Reply All?

I do make the little sci-fi episodes at the end of Reply All. Dog and I are lost in space without internet and can’t get home. Also a magical piano that bends space to travel to other planets. Also musical phrases that act as a language to conjure objects or choose destinations. Also Steve Bannon in a sexy Santa outfit. 6 episodes after introducing the piano, I realized I was actually doing “Pontoffel Pock, Where Are You” from maybe your or someone’s childhood.

Have you/would you consider making a (full-length) narrative podcast of your own?

A narrative podcast would be difficult because the vocoder voice gets grating after a while. On the other hand, there’s nothing that says the narration has to be using spoken language.

I have a lot of ideas for shows, just focusing on the sci-fi thing for now though.
I think it’d be fun to push the line between a fictional, episodic podcast and an album. Even without words you could follow the sound of someone traveling from location to location, track to track, picking up objects and battling things and figuring out puzzles, but all presented in such a way that it’s still a collection of songs. Including the room atmosphere and the sounds of a protagonist navigating each song could give it an overarching plot to follow.

Speaking of Easter eggs, I sort of did this in Blithering Heights 2: If you listen closely Dog and I are sitting in a room playing the mixtape for you. Somewhere early on we leave the room to get tea, I break a television in the first few seconds, and Dog fixes it a little while later, and so on.

I feel like your music can express a kind politic (or philosophy, if you prefer) that I might say leans toward humanism. Is that on purpose? Does BMC have a political message?

Oh interesting! I don’t know if I’m consciously pushing humanism. That resonates with me though.“Singable Songs For The Increasingly Enraged” was a consciously political EP.

Someone sent me some Raffi tapes and I was blown away by “Down By The Bay”. That song says it isn’t safe to go home because Mom will say some crazy shit to you, which is a weird message for a children’s song, but is actually how many adults I know feel about [going home for the holidays]. I crowd-sourced super-talented women on Twitter saying horrible, bigoted things and remixed Raffi, and hopefully now it’s a therapeutic little ditty you and the family can sing on the drive down to Christmas dinner or whatever.

I have a lot to say about that album, but I guess an underlying belief that our similarities ought to dwarf our differences feels right. This is a continuing reason for the helmet and anonymity: that BMC as a character can stay reasonably inclusive and you can just imagine them however you want.

Image courtesy of Breakmaster Cylinder

What was your music like when you first started?

Way back when I got Fruityloops and started producing I was making trance albums for my raver friends. Those are all gone, I think.

Long before that though, I had a keyboard which had some rudimentary layered loop-recording capabilities and I’d just spitball there.

Wayyyyyy long before that, as a wee cylinder, I used to make choptracks on a two-deck tape recorder: Insert Sesame Street tape into Deck A. Record one or two words to blank tape in Deck B. Replace tape in Deck A with a new one, search for a sentence that would connect sensibly to what you’ve recorded so far, and add some more to Deck B. Repeat until you end up with a rapid fire series of twisted words to form new, (probably filthy) sentiments on your once blank tape.

How does composing podcast themes differ from composing other themes?

The majority of themes I’ve written have been for podcasts. You’re looking for 90–120 seconds, recognizable intro, catchy melody, and some manner of expressing the show’s theme (subtly or not). That’s not much different from film/advertisement/video game work I’ve done, except I guess that there’s no visual element. And the length, maybe.

In some ways, podcast music is probably much more freeing; your theme song is indirectly constructing the listener’s visualization. It seems more likely they’ll take your music cues and mix it with their own ideas and biases and expectations; the whole experience should naturally appear to them in a way they already understand. The host and the theme of the show color that too, but you’re not directly competing with (or trying too hard to match) a visual component.

Breakmaster Cylinder estimates they have composed over 60 theme songs. (Image via Twitter)

Is there a particular set of criteria of shows you work most frequently or style of show that if they approach you for a theme you will almost always say yes?

I try to say yes to as many as possible. Maybe I have a soft spot for science/nature/feminist/identity/experimental kind of stuff. If your show sounds like it might be potentially problematic to me, I’ll ask some follow up questions, but as far as I know, I haven’t written a theme song for Nazis.

We’ve heard your name on a lot of other podcasts after Reply All. Has it been different working with other producers? Do most folks give you a lot of freedom?

There’s a difference in how hands-on different producers want to get with their theme. Some take three or four drafts, others take like, thirty. Neither one is an inherently bad way of going about it though. The whole theme-writing process is an exercise in admitting I’m not a mindreader, and then hearing what they’re trying to communicate in whatever language they use to describe it. There are a ton of little drafts as I try different things, and then the back and forth between my drafts and their feedback.

This was my absolute favorite ‘describe your ideal theme’ answer from a show though:

“Something fun and girly, but powerful. Like Sex and the City, and 90’s Veruca Salt, and if our vaginas could play an instrument… but also, we’re feminine. Like we go to church, but we don’t wear underwear there. Also we’re in a coven.”

The podcast industry as a whole is famous for projects being “side hustles” or seen as a hobby, etc, while [producers are] still working another (often unrelated) full-time job. Would you count yourself in a similar population, or do you get to create music and mystique all day?

I have duties and responsibilities that often pull me from the tireless pursuit of trying to shoot music out of my fingertips all day. That said, it’s a large part of my life. I feel lucky to be able to keep expanding it.

Even if I have to pretend to be a real live person for a while, there are sometimes opportunities for music and mystique in the way you interact with the surrounding world.

What’s a question you wish people would ask you?

I don’t know, really! I like talking about music and directors and things. People grew up with, or currently have their days shaped by, music I’ve never even heard of. That stuff, someone’s really important, ingrained, nostalgic music is always interesting to me.

Or when someone can break down the math of how we got somewhere, I like that too. Like how arguably:

mento + jazz = ska

ska slowed down = rocksteady

continuing to slow down with a heavier halftime feel = reggae

reggae stripped down to drums and bass + reverb and delay fx = dub

dub sped up and made more electronic = drum n’ bass

drum n’ bass with halftime drums = dubstep, and so on.

Also, someone explain the 5,000 different metal genres to me, please.

If you were ever asked to perform live at a live podcast event, what would represent you on stage?

I’m not sure what would represent me on stage! There have been discussions as to how I could get away with appearing at one, or how I could get away with appearing to appear at one.

Some listeners have theorized I’ll show up to Gimletfest incognito and just mingle, with a name badge like ‘Fred Podcast’ or something else equally not-at-all-suspicious-as-hell. Anyway I encourage people to do this. Let’s all be Breakmaster Cylinder.

What else in Breakmaster Cylinder working on right now?

I do some kids video game music.

I scored a horrific documentary on Trump and online hate (I actually did those simultaneously and the effect on my mindset was not insignificant).

Dog and I visited a mono planet once, which was a place where only one sound could be heard at once. So now I’m working on an full ep of tracks like that.

Podcast theme, podcast theme.

I have a weird VR album I’ve only just imagined.

I’m writing a supplemental campaign for SPELL: The RPG, which is literally a board game.

Someone just asked me to write a hymn.

I’m hosting beat battles with insane structural constraints on Indaba Music this year.

The other 99% is just cross-stitching.

Finally, how do you feel about Alexa? We’re asking because Alexa is also a (quasi)-anonymous cylinder.

Alexa, quit stealing my thunder. No that’s ok, you can stay. If anything she’s more legit than I am.

The Bello Collective is a publication + newsletter about podcasts and the audio industry. Our goal is to bring together writers, journalists, and other voices who share a passion for the world of audio storytelling.

Subscribe to the Bello Collective weekly newsletter for more stories, podcast recommendations, audio industry news, and more. Support our work and join our community by becoming a member.

20 Questions with the Mysterious Breakmaster Cylinder was originally published in Bello Collective on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

01 Jun 14:33

my boss uses a human skeleton as office decor, declining an awards dinner, and more

by Ask a Manager

#4 hits home. "technically two of those months were for caregiving and the rest were for me" - caretaking and the initial phases of grieving are visible - the meal trains, condolence notes, offers of support, etc are all concentrated in a specific time. Later, after the dust has supposedly settled but the grief or exhaustion continues, it's a less visible phenomenon with a less robust support system. I give the LW credit for taking time off when they needed it.

It’s four answers to four questions. Here we go…

1. My boss is using a human skeleton as office decor

I work in the administrative offices of a government research program. We moved into a new building recently, and I was started to discover that our director has brought in a real human skeleton to hang in his personal office. His grandfather was a doctor and apparently it is some sort of family medical curiosity that was passed down to him. I am pretty creeped out by this and find it super disrespectful — who knows how these remains were procured! But he seems to have no such feelings, and will occasionally pose the skeleton in humorous ways in his office to greet the people who come visit him. We do work in the biological sciences, but in a field that has nothing to do with human anatomy. Can I ask him to take this down?

I’m curious to hear other people’s opinions because I might be an outlier on this, but mine is that you should leave it alone. Human skeletons are displayed in classroom settings enough that it’s not going to be universally shocking in the way that, say, displaying a mummified corpse might be. His office isn’t a classroom, of course, but I think you’re likely to come across as oversensitive if you ask him to remove it. (That said, you might be fine with coming across as oversensitive, in which case you could say something like, “I’m pretty creeped out by that skeleton — any chance I can convince you not to keep it at work?”)

2. How do I politely decline an awards dinner?

I work for a small educational body as an editor, producing studytexts for our range of exams. In order to produce these texts we commission industry professionals to write the content.

In this case, one of my updaters is a very high up in a particular niche sector of the industry and has invited me to a summit he has organised. He posed it as a great opportunity to better understand the subject matter, and I agree that it would be very educational. Additionally he has invited me to the awards dinner that ends the summit.

I suffer from GAD and, while I don’t mind sitting in a dark lecture hall listening the presentations, the idea of going to the awards dinner (where I wouldn’t know anyone) is setting off my anxiety. My immediate thought would be the make up an excuse, but that isn’t professional and it would be too stressful to concoct some lie. I do not know this updater very well as I’m only 10 months into my role and this is the first time I have been assigned this particular studytext. How do I politely, but firmly, decline the invite without damaging a fledgling professional relationship?

I’m going to push back on your statement that it would be unprofessional to make up an excuse. You’re allowed to decline things you don’t want to do (assuming you don’t need to do them for work reasons, and it sounds like you don’t). It would be rude to say “I don’t want to go to your awards dinner,” but it’s perfectly polite and professional to say, “I’d love to attend the summit — thanks for inviting me! I have a conflict with the dinner afterwards, but I’ll be there for the lectures.” (And really, this isn’t even making up a lie. You do have a conflict with the dinner — you have plans to do something else, even if it’s just to sit on your couch. You’re allowed to be vague about what the conflict is.)

Also, even if you didn’t have anxiety, it’s utterly reasonable to skip this kind of dinner. An awards dinner where you don’t know anyone would bore the pants off many of us, and you can happily decline things like that. (And I promise you that unless your contact is highly unusual, he’s not going to be shocked that you’re skipping the dinner.)

3. Can I keep my office door closed to block out noise?

I am in the luxury position that I have an office, with a door. I share this office with a colleague. I work in a junior managerial position in a clinical setting and need to be both approachable and able to work with focus and concentration when at my desk. The easiest way to give the message of presence at my desk and approachability is to work with my door open.

There is one problem: my office is on the edge of our department and very close to the paediatric waiting room where a lot of sounds are produced. I can understand that the children waiting there aren’t the happiest children in the world and can be expected to make a lot of noise (crying and yelling, also loud musical toys). However, it is very very distracting and I am becoming increasingly annoyed. I have resorted to closing my office door (thick wood) and playing music. However, this seems to give off an unsocial message and people (both my bosses and admin employees) feel very uncomfortable to drop in, making easy questions or conversations immediately awkward.

My boss and other colleagues understand that the location is annoying, yet as there are big relocations and refurbishing plans in the next 18months anyway, no action is taken to change the situation. I tried to barter with the neighbours and get them to at least remove xylophone-like toys, but to no avail.

My roommate seems to think it highly entertaining that I get so worked up by all the sounds. She pretends like I can just not handle it because I am a 35 year-old woman who has experience with children. She does often wear headphones to shut out distraction. I think working with headphones on is an extra layer of unapproachability. Especially since there are phones to be answered, which she routinely fails to hear.

So question: is it indeed not done as a low manager to work with your door closed? Could I put up a non-passive-aggressive sign on my door inviting people in? What’s your policy on open/ closed doors? Are headphones accepted?

It’s true that a constantly closed door can seem like it’s signaling “go away,” but in your case you have a good reason for keeping it closed, and people will understand that. Put up a big, cheerful sign that says “I’m here! Please come in!” and reinforce that by explaining the situation to your coworkers and encouraging them to open the door whenever they need you. If you find people are still hesitant to come in, you might need to change course (or reiterate to them again that you want them to), but give this a shot for now. (If you think this will be totally counter to your office culture, ask your boss’s advice on whether this will fly, pointing out your unusual context.)

Headphones can be fine too, but you’re right that they can signal you don’t want to be interrupted (more than a door with a welcoming sign on it does). In this case, the door and sign seem like your best option.

4. Explaining time away from work when returning to a job hunt

My dad was elderly, frail, and lived in another state; he decided last spring to move to assisted living and the only way to get enough time to help him transition was to quit my job. He got sick and passed away unexpectedly, and I spent a couple of months taking care of him and then repairing and selling his house. I’ve taken the last few months as a sabbatical to grieve, take care of my health, travel, and re-fill my tank. In the last three years, I’ve done some heavy-duty caregiving, lost my dad, mom, and stepmom, changed jobs, worked continuous 50-hour weeks, and was completely exhausted. I’m really grateful I could have this time; I feel good now and am job-hunting.

How should I frame this sabbatical so that potential employers focus on my skills and knowledge, and not the time away from work? My LinkedIn profile shows it as “Time away for family caregiving” with an end date when I started job hunting in February. Cover letters say “I had to step away from work for several months for family caregiving; I’m returning to work now and looking forward to my next opportunity.” However, technically two of those months were for caregiving and the rest were for me. I don’t want to seem apologetic for needing time off, but I also want to be clear that I’m ready to dig in now. Should I change anything on my LinkedIn profile or the cover letter? And how would you recommend addressing this in an interview? Conversations with friends and colleagues have shown me that a lot of people don’t understand that caregiving is actual work, or what a big life change it is to lose your parents. And – I wouldn’t wish this understanding on them, because it usually means they’ve been through it too.

Nah, I think the way you’re doing it is fine. If anything, you could be even more vague — it doesn’t really need to go on your LinkedIn at all (just as it wouldn’t go on your resume). You definitely don’t need to get into the details of how much was taking care of your dad and how much was for you; it’s fine to just lump it all under one umbrella. You originally took the time off to care for your dad, and then you extended it a bit because you could. The finer details aren’t really relevant to an employer.

If you’re asked about it in an interview, you can simply say, “My father was ill and I took time off to care for him at the end of his life.” (And I’m sorry about your parents and your stepmom!)

my boss uses a human skeleton as office decor, declining an awards dinner, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

25 May 22:27

The Cat That Surfed on a Van Going 60 MPH Is Somehow Still Alive

by Drew Schwartz

omg this #catcontent is metal af

Ronda Rankin was whizzing down a stretch of interstate in Omaha, Nebraska, on Friday night when her daughter noticed something strange about the car next to them. There seemed to be some sort of round, fuzzy blur on the roof of the maroon minivan that was flying down the road at about 60 MPH. When they inched a little closer to the van, there was no mistaking it: The ball of fluff clinging onto the roof for dear life was, without a doubt, a cat.

Side-by-side with the minivan, Rankin waved at it while her husband honked. "There's a cat on your roof!" Rankin mouthed, pointing up at it. "A cat on your roof!"

The minivan slowed down, veered off to the side of the highway, and disappeared behind them, taking the uncertain fate of the daredevil feline with it.

But on Thursday, ABC affiliate KET7 managed to track down the cat's owners, and discovered that—miraculously—the cat, aptly named Rebel, was still alive. And he hadn't even gotten injured. Michelle Criger, the Rebel's owner, told KET7 she had no idea that he had been surfing on top of their van. Apparently the cat likes to hang out around the car, and Criger knows to look under the van and inside of it before she drives anywhere. But she didn't think to check on top of it—until the Rankins flagged her down.

"When I got him off the roof of the van, he wasn't scared at all," Criger told KET7. "He wasn't shaking, heart racing, nothing. We were more scared than him."

And so Rebel the cat lives on, presumably, as his name suggests, gearing up for his next death-defying feat of bravery. Maybe he'll graduate from hitchhiking and move on to scaling very tall telephone poles, or perhaps, feeling bit by the travel bug, he'll try to make his next getaway via plane. And why not? He's still got eight lives left.

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23 May 17:50

Ariana Grande and SNL’s Pete Davidson Are Reportedly Dating

by Halle Kiefer


2017 MTV Video Music Awards - Press Room

Something about all those pitch meetings, all those re-writes, all those wigs and the intoxicating scent of all that wig glue. From Emma Stone’s romance with director Dave McCary to Ben Affleck’s relationship with producer Lindsay Shookus to Scarlett Johansson spending some quality time with Colin Jost, one thing is clear: if you want to date superfamous people, get hired to work on Saturday Night Live. You should also do it because you love sketch comedy, but if new rumors about Ariana Grande dating SNL’s Pete Davidson are true, sketch really doesn’t have to be in, like, your top ten reasons.

As of Monday, US Weekly and People claim they can both confirm that Grande and Davidson are casually dating, having reportedly been spotted out at a restaurant and hanging out (where else?) at the Saturday Night Live afterparty on May 12. Grande announced her split from boyfriend Mac Miller earlier this month, while Davidson recently parted ways with long-time girlfriend Cazzie David, daughter of Larry David. While a guest on Peter Rosenberg’s Complex show Open Late last Wednesday, the SNL performer was asked if he’d be okay after his break-up. Replied Davidson, “Yeah, probably.”

23 May 17:43

coworker uses icebreakers in every meeting, is it wrong to fake enthusiasm in a job interview, and more

by Ask a Manager

super curious to know what #3's field is: "non-traditional service industry type job that involves going to my clients’ homes (think childcare, but if it were extremely lucrative)"

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. My coworker uses icebreakers in every meeting

One of my coworkers runs a lot of the meetings at my workplace. He’s good at his job and generally well-liked, but I’ve noticed that he almost always schedules an icebreaker for meetings — even small ones with only three or four people. They don’t usually have anything to do with the meeting topic, more along the lines of “Rank these breakfast foods.”

I do like to get to know my coworkers, but I don’t think icebreakers before meetings are particularly effective in that regard. I can see their value in situations where people don’t know each other or there might be tension, but when it comes to quick meetings with people I already work with regularly, they just feel like a waste of time. Is there a purpose they serve here that I’m not seeing?

Nope. The idea with icebreakers is supposed to be to give people some comfort and familiarity with people who they don’t know well or, in some cases, to switch them into a more relaxed mode than they might be in for most of the work they do together. It’s weird to do them for every meeting in your office, and especially weird to routinely do them for meetings or three or four people. I’d be annoyed by the waste of time too.

I suppose it’s possible that most people in your office enjoy them (do they?), in which case you might not really have standing to ask for them to stop in general, but certainly in meetings with just a few people it would be reasonable for you to say at the start, “I’m crunched for time today — can we skip the icebreaker and get straight into the budget figures?”

2. Is it wrong to fake enthusiasm during an interview?

I’m considering leaving my current job and have been sending out job applications to get a feel for what is out there. I just had an interview and I think I did well and may get an offer. However, I’m not sure if I want to accept the job. It’s not because the job post misrepresented the actual job, it’s just that I’ve changed my mind on what I want in my next job. I came to to this realization before the interview, but went ahead with the interview just in case it changed my mind (it didn’t).

During the interview, I was asked twice if it sounded like the kind of role that I would be interested in, and both times I responded with an enthusiastic “yes.” I was generally quite warm and enthusiastic through the whole interview.

Was it okay to fake enthusiasm or should I have been more honest in the interview? Was there a better way of handling this? I’m still not ready to say that I absolutely wouldn’t accept a job offer, but I’m leaning heavily towards a no.

If it was a big company or through a recruiter, I may not feel as bad, but it’s a small company with the owner conducting the interviews, so everything feels a bit more personal here.

As an interviewer, I always want people to be honest with me about their enthusiasm level, because it helps me figure out if I want to hire them for the job or not.

But as someone who advises job candidates, I will tell you that if you don’t appear enthusiastic about a job, it’s likely to take you out of the running.

What you did was fine. While you’re still in the process of figuring out if you want the job or not, it’s fine to default to a generally enthusiastic stance. That’s just smart to do, so that you’re not taken out of the running.

That said, you don’t want to fake enthusiasm across the board. If you know for sure that you don’t want to do X or Y and that you wouldn’t take a job that focused heavily on those, you’d be shooting yourself in the foot if you faked enthusiasm about those; that’s a recipe for ending up in a job you’re not going to be happy in. But seeming generally interested in the job itself, while you’re still in the process of figuring out if you really want it? That’s just savvy interviewing.

3. How to set boundaries with clients for my days off

I work in a non-traditional service industry type job that involves going to my clients’ homes (think childcare, but if it were extremely lucrative). In my line of work, forming close emotional relationships with clients is very much the norm, and generally this is something I appreciate about my job. Because of this closeness, however, it can often be difficult to set boundaries about the hours I am and am not available to work.

Because my job is non-traditional, my schedule is too, but I do still take two days off in a row each week because I have to do laundry and go to the store and generally have a life. I frequently get requests to work on these days and I always reply simply that I’m not available, but often clients will press for details or pressure me to work anyway. It’s difficult for me to say no, especially in situations in which they are very reliant on me, but when I don’t take my normal “weekend,” my mental health really suffers. How can I be clear – but polite – about the time that I need to myself, and how much of an obligation do I have to explain how I’m planning to use that time?

For reference, I’m not a freelancer. I work for a company which assigns and manages clients, but I set my own schedule and I have a lot of flexibility. Unfortunately, though they are generally good employers, they aren’t very supportive in this area – employees at my level earn them LOTS of money, so they basically want us to work as much as we can, and they’d happily have me work from noon to midnight (which I do from time to time) every day of the week.

You don’t need to explain anything about how you’re planning to use that time. You should just be able to say, “I’m sorry, I’m not available on Sunday, but I can see you on Monday if you’d like.” And if someone pushes, you can say, “I’m fully booked then” or “don’t have any time open then.” You don’t need to specify “that’s my day off” if that seems to invite people to push you to make an exception for them; sticking with some version of “that time is booked up” is likely to be harder to argue with. (And it’s not a lie — that time is booked up; it’s just booked with your weekend, rather than another client. And you don’t need to explain that.)

4. Can I treat a job fair like a networking event?

This may end up being a little niche, because I’m in teaching–the hiring cycle is pretty specific. Private and charter schools February-early May, public schools late May-July, not very good schools August. I just graduated and was feeling pretty anxious about finding work, so I started sending out my resume early, and have been lucky enough to receive a few offers from charters, one of which I’m likely going to accept. However, long term, I want to be working in the public school system–I just can’t afford to turn down the definite job until my student loans are paid off.

I got an email from a recruiter about a public school job fair in three weeks. I will almost certainly have accepted a job by then, and I don’t want to waste people’s time, but I’d love to attend anyway and start getting a feel for the schools and principals in my area, what their timelines are, what they look for, etc., so that in a year or three, when I’m making the jump, I’ll be more prepared and maybe have established some relationships. Should I go and just explain that I’m not looking for the 2018-2019 school year? Should I print up a special version of my resume that explains this at the top? Do I just say nothing and wait to explain if I’m offered any interviews? I definitely don’t want to burn any bridges, because teaching in this area is a very who-you-know job!

I can’t speak to teaching in particular, but for job fairs in general, I wouldn’t do this. For one thing, most job fairs aren’t great for networking, as they tend to be staffed by HR or relatively junior people, who aren’t necessarily the people you’re hoping to network with — and they are probably not thinking about hiring that’s a few years off. But also, if your new school has a table there, there’s a risk that they’ll spot you there and be uneasy that you’re at a job fair when you’re already committed to working for them (and sure, you could explain it, but it’s potentially going to alarm them). I’d look for other ways to network instead of this, like other events that are likely to attract people in your field who you’d like to meet.

5. My boss said I could work from home on Fridays … but it seems to have disappeared

I’m a woman, so is my boss. She has several kids, I have one almost-toddler. Shortly after I returned from maternity leave, she told me: “It’s fine with me if you work from home every Friday. When I first had kids, I wanted to reduce hours but realized I’d just reduce my pay with the same work expectations, so I negotiated working from home on Fridays.”

So that’s pretty cool, right? Except … nothing was formalized, I felt uncomfortable taking her up on an informal offer so didn’t take full advantage, I’m basically a coward, and that offer seems to have disappeared. For example, my baby was sick (just a slight fever so had to stay home from daycare) on a Friday and I asked if I could work from home rather than take a personal day. She said no.

Can I negotiate that work-from-home deal back? Should I look for another job that is actually flexible or part-time? My salary is a fraction of my spouse’s and cutting back on my salary wouldn’t be a big deal for our overall household income.

It’s possible that the reason she said no to that particular request was that she doesn’t want you to work from home as a substitute for child care — because with very young kids, that generally means you won’t be getting much work done. With the original offer, she might have assumed your baby would be at day care while you were working from home.

But if you’re interested in getting that work-from-home-on-Fridays offer back, ask about it directly! For example: “When I returned from maternity leave, you told me it was fine for me to work from home on Fridays if I wanted to. At the time I wasn’t sure yet exactly what would end up making sense so I didn’t take you up on it, but I wonder if that’s still possible. If it is, I’d love to experiment with it.”

And then if she says yes, start doing it right away so that it gets normalized as a thing you do.

coworker uses icebreakers in every meeting, is it wrong to fake enthusiasm in a job interview, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

17 May 17:47

How to Watch Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Royal Wedding

by Devon Ivie

ok i might actually watch the ferrell and shannon hosted version (but not live, for god's sake)

Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle during an official photocall to announce their engagement at The Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace on November 27, 2017 in London, England.  Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been a couple officially since November 2016 and are due to marry in Spring 2018.

Ask any American what they’ll be doing at the crack of dawn on Saturday, May 19, and the answers will likely vary from Huh, sleeping? to Watching some British people get married! That’s because, of course, the long-anticipated wedding of “Meghan” Markle (of Suits fame) and Prince Harry (of ginger fame) will then occur, where the happy couple will exchange vows and smooch for all the world to see at the unbearably regal Windsor Castle. Whether you want to watch it live, record it for later, or totally ignore it in favor of some precious zzzs, television networks are making it easy to watch the big day unfold — but yes, having a cable subscription is advisable. Damn the Yanks! Here’s how to watch the royal wedding.

A special Good Morning America will be dedicated to the wedding, hosted by Robin Roberts and David Muir live from St. George’s Chapel. The coverage will also be livestreamed on the official ABC app and website. Start time: 5 a.m. ET.

BBC America
The network will air the entire event with limited commentary, both on its channel and through a livestream on the official BBC America app or website. Start time: 4 a.m. ET.

Gayle King and Kevin Frazier will be hosting a special CBS News report on the wedding, which will also include “special correspondent” Tina Brown. The wedding will be aired in full on the network, and through its livestream on the official CBS app and website. Start time: 4 a.m. ET.

Giuliana Rancic, Brad Goreski, and Sarah-Jane Crawford will be hosting E!’s coverage, which will air the wedding in full while peppering it with the trio’s commentary. Start time: 5 a.m ET.

Fox News
Shepard Smith and Sandra Smith will be reporting live from St. George’s Chapel, during which time the wedding will be aired in full. Start time: 6 a.m. ET.

Following their smashing success from the Rose Parade, Cord Hosenbeck and Tish Cattigan — or rather, Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon in character — will break out their hosting chops once again for the royal wedding, which will be available to watch on both HBO and HBO Go. Start time: 7:30 a.m. ET.

Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb will be live from Windsor Castle for NBC’s coverage, which will air the wedding in full with the duo’s commentary. It will also be available to livestream on the official NBC app or website. Start time: 4:30 a.m. ET.

PBS will be switching between its own original commentary by Meredith Vieira and Matt Baker, and live coverage of the wedding from the BBC in the U.K. Start time: 4:15 a.m. ET.

Joy Reid will be anchoring the network’s coverage of the wedding, which will air in full. Start time: 4:15 a.m. ET.

The Anglophile subscription service will be utilizing Phillip Schofield and Julie Etchingham for the wedding coverage, which will be livestreamed in full. Start time: 5 a.m. ET.

Hosts Randy Fenoli, Lori Allen, Monte Durham, George Kotsiopoulos, and Hayley Paige will provide fashion commentary throughout TLC’s live coverage of the wedding, which will air in full. Start time: 5 a.m. ET.

16 May 13:10

Jennifer Love Hewitt Is Replacing Connie Britton As a Phone Answerer on 9-1-1

by Jackson McHenry

sharing for Dirty John news

2014 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour -CBS, The CW, Showtime & CBS Television Distribution

9-1-1, formerly a show about Connie Britton answering phones, will now be a show about Jennifer Love Hewitt answering phones. The Ryan Murphy–produced Fox show is replacing Britton, who had only signed a one-season contract, with Hewitt as it heads into its second season. Hewitt will play Maddie, a new call-center operator, as Britton heads off to Bravo to star in its mini-series adaptation of the podcast Dirty John. Murphy had previously suggested that Britton might return for guest appearances in the future, so viewers could check in on her character (and her character’s glasses), but otherwise it seems that Fox couldn’t hardly wait to replace her with someone else.

16 May 06:15

Tessa Thompson Will Play Janelle Monáe’s Love Interest in Dirty Computer Visual Album

by Hunter Harris

sharing less for this gossip item and more for the NYT profile - MORE MONÁE ALWAYS

Honoree Tessa Thompson (L) and Janelle Monae onstage during the 2018 Essence Black Women In Hollywood Oscars Luncheon at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on March 1, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California.

Janelle Monáe says that Prince’s death inspired to set aside her Cindi Mayweather persona — the protagonist of her previous studio albums — and present her fans with a fuller portrait of her identity on her new album. Dirty Computer, she told the New York Times in a new profile, will introduce fans to herself, without the android metaphors. “Right now I’m escaping the gravity of the labels that people have tried to place on me that have stopped my evolution,” she told the Times. “You have to go ahead and soar, and not be afraid to jump — and I’m jumping right now.” One aspect of that: Dirty Computer’s 50-minute film (Monáe calls it an “emotion picture”) about star-crossed lovers in a authoritarian government. The lovers will be played by Monáe and Tessa Thompson, who frequently appears in her music videos.

When Times reporter Jenna Wortham asked about Monáe and Thompson’s relationship, and rumors about them dating, Monáe deflected. “I want it to be very clear that I’m an advocate for women,” she said. “I’m a girl’s girl, meaning I support women no matter what they choose to do. I’m proud when everybody is taking agency over their image and their bodies.” Wortham presses her a bit more on the topic:

I asked Monáe what she thought of the internet’s speculation about her romantic relationship with Thompson. Watching her as she decided on a response was like watching a mathematician working out Fermat’s Last Theorem. Gears were churning; calculations were being made. Finally, she laughed, raised her eyebrows and deflected: “I hope people feel celebrated,” she said. “I hope they feel love. I hope they feel seen.” It was late into the evening, and I was conscious of how long we’d been talking — at least two hours — and let it drop. But the issue lingered for me, especially the more times I watched her film.

15 May 12:45

Jessica Williams Joins J.K. Rowling to Announce Her Fantastic Beasts Character

by Halle Kiefer

ok, i may not have liked the first FB all that much but I'm here for Jessica Williams in the sequels. her story of meeting JK on 2 Dope Queens was so sweet.

To be a fly on that wall! Or preferably just a normal human being, as J.K. Rowling and Jessica Williams don’t seem like the type to hang out in a lot of fly-infested theaters. While attending tonight’s Broadway premiere of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the author and one half of 2 Dope Queens took a moment to announce Williams’s role in the Fantastic Beasts universe: Professor Eulalie “Lally” Hicks, who, of course, teaches at the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the American equivalent of Hogwarts.

But, as Rowling went on to explain on Twitter, you’ll be waiting a little while longer before you see Jessica Williams fully assume her role as fantasy film star. “You only see a HINT of Lally in Fantastic Beasts 2,” the author tweeted at a fan. “Her true glory is revealed in FB3.” The franchise’s second film, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, hits theaters November 16 of this year.

15 May 02:28

some things about my mom

by Ask a Manager

sounds like an awesome lady. i laughed out loud at the condolence card bit.

A few years ago, I wrote up some things about my dad, on what would have been his 71st birthday.

My other parent is still here, thankfully, and so for Mother’s Day, here are some things about my mom:

* She is an extrovert’s extrovert, but somehow ended up with two introverted daughters. She makes up for this by talking to random strangers as much as possible when we are out in public. Whenever she travels (which is frequent), she comes back with detailed stories about the lives of all the strangers she met.

* Her need to talk is so strong that she once called me from the woods during a silent yoga retreat.

* She thinks that yoga is the cure for all ills. Whenever I get sick — even if it’s just a cold — she tells me I need to do yoga. When I once pointed out that she’d had the exact same cold as me a few weeks earlier, despite daily yoga, she denied ever getting a cold and changed the subject.

* Some of my happiest childhood memories are of watching “Dallas” with her and heatedly discussing JR Ewing and Cliff Barnes. In retrospect, it wasn’t an appropriate show for an eight-year-old, but it was our Friday night thing and we were super into it. We were also heavily into Benson.

* She becomes a superhero when someone is ill or injured. She was never an especially demonstrably affectionate mom — she is too no-nonsense for that — but when you are sick, she tends to you like you are a baby kitten.

* Years after divorcing my dad in a not especially amicable split, she was sometimes found driving him to chemotherapy appointments.

* When I was about 12, I told her that I figured adults stopped having sex around 26 years old, because after that point they’d be too old and gross. About a decade later, when my then-boyfriend turned 26, she sent him a sympathy card. She is still immensely pleased with herself for this.

* She was once convinced she had shingles and was Very Upset about it, but it turned out to be a bug bite.

* She’s normally very careful not to give me unsolicited advice (I think as a reaction to having parents who gave her waaayyyy too much), but every once in a while she feels strongly about something and swoops in to tell me to do something. She’s nearly always right (aside from the yoga). Most of the really excellent advice I’ve received in my life has come from her.

* Things she has never pressured me to do: get married, have a wedding, have kids. Things she did pressure me to do: buy property, invest money, return library books.

* She is an excellent grandmother. She is constantly flying across the country to see my nieces, who love her.

* She likes to cook extravagant things, like a baked Alaska, just to see if she can, but she’s also unflappable about food issues. When I went vegan in my 20s and my vegan friends all had families who were varying degrees of unsupportive, my mom calmly started holding vegan Thanksgiving dinners. When my sister went kosher, my mom found kosher stores and restaurants. When my sister’s diet then got really complicated for medical reasons, my mom learned the 500 new rules my sister had to follow, hunted down obscure ingredients and recipes, made sure they were all kosher on top of it, and to this day calmly juggles myriad people’s varying dietary preferences without seeming in the least put out. I think she actually likes it.

* She stayed in a bad marriage for years because she thought it would be better for my sister and me. She was wrong — so, so wrong — but she sacrificed years of her life because she thought it would be good for us.

* She taught me to speak up when something is wrong in the world — whether it’s an unjust law or a silly company policy — and she has always supported me in doing that, even when she didn’t like what I said.

* She isn’t one to tell you she loves you, but if you pay attention, she’s saying it.

some things about my mom was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

14 May 06:07

The Best Crowns, Veils, and Pope Hats at the Met Ball

by Chavie Lieber

i'm so obsessed with some of these beauty looks. like amanda seyfried's smokey eye, emilia clarke's crazy blush, amber heard's gold painted hair, cardi b's FLAWLESS's a good time to be a MUA.

What exactly IS a halo, anyway?

Monday night, celebrities and regular rich folk alike descended on the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the annual Met Gala, the fundraiser for the museum that’s often called the Oscars for fashion.

This year’s costume exhibit theme is “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” and celebrities were invited to dress in their interpretation of Catholicism’s influence on fashion. Many chose to honor the theme by wearing headpieces. While ostentatious veils and and bejeweled crowns are beautiful accessories, they also nod to Catholic ritual and history. Some were literal, while others were hybrids of several traditions. Some took a lot of creative liberties.

Here’s a round up of the best of the best of them.


Plenty of celebrities chose to wear veils, presumably as an homage to imagery of the Virgin Mary, the most important virgin in Catholicism (sorry, priests). Historically, veils have signified modesty. Wearing a chapel veil to Mass was a tradition for a long time in the Catholic Church. (Remember Melania Trump’s veil when she visited the Vatican?)

Kate Bosworth

Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Doutzen Kroes

Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Kate Upton

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Bella Hadid

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Diane Kruger

Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images


Some Met Gala attendees wore crowns, which show up often in Catholicism. Popes wear papal tiaras, and Mary, Jesus’s mother, is also often pictured with a crown in her designation as the queen of heaven. In art, Mary gets coronated by angels (or by God Himself). At the Met Gala, you get crowned by your stylist.

Mindy Kaling wore the crown of all crowns (although it was incredibly unclear how it stayed on her head).

Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Lynda Carter wore a gold crown with Hebrew words that read “Never forget.”

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Amanda Seyfried wore a crown and the vibes of “Ray of Light” Madonna.

Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Hailee Steinfeld

Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Madonna fulfilled her destiny.

Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Emilia Clarke obviously wore a crown because she’s Daenerys Targaryen, queen of the Seven Kingdoms.

Photo: Karwai Tang/Getty Images

Jared Leto. Hey, Jesus.

Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images


Halos are symbols of holiness. So if you’re an angel, a saint, Jesus, closely related to Jesus, or otherwise divine, you are depicted with one in art. It’s basically a way to tell who the normies are.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images


Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Solange Knowles

Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Amber Heard

Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Rita Ora

Photo: FilmMagic/Getty Images

Anne Hathaway wore a very good/complicated one. It sort of looks like a halo but also could symbolize Jesus’s crown of thorns. Good job, Annie.

Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Cardi B

Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Lily Collins

Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Blake Lively

Photo: Karwai Tang/Getty Images

Janelle Monáe

14 May 05:38

17 Wonderful Reader Comments on Grief

by Joanna Goddard

Cup of Jo is really nailing it with some beautiful, thoughtful posts lately. I found some really beautiful advice in here.

17 Wonderful Reader Comments on Grief

We’ve shared wise and wonderful reader comments on dating, career and parenting, but today we’d like to talk about something intimate: loss, including a kind thing to do for someone in grief…

On grieving as long as you want:

“Our daughter died at six months old.… Read more

The post 17 Wonderful Reader Comments on Grief appeared first on A Cup of Jo.

10 May 19:00

Why You Should Make Useless Things

by swissmiss

this is really wonderful

Simone Giertz is my hero. She creates useless machines. They make me laugh.

In a turn of tragic events, she found out shortly after giving this TED talk, that she has a brain tumor. I am sending her all of the love. The world needs her and her silly inventions.

10 May 18:52

Cannes 2018: Fan Bingbing, Marion Cotillard, Jessica Chastain, Penelope Cruz, Lupita Nyong’o at the “355” Photocall

by Tom and Lorenzo





Darlings, that is a LOT to take in. Take a moment for yourselves.

Also, to be accurate, they’re not lady superheroes, they’re all co-starring in a spy thriller together which is SO MUCH BETTER WE CAN’T STAND IT.

It better not be some dreary take on the genre. We like our spies fashionable as fuck, thank you very much. And on that note…


In the matter of style, we’d say this lot is fairly well coordinated. Each is distinct to herself and none of them are overpowering the others. And they’re all more or less playing to expectations.


You expect to see Fan Bingbing in something light and princessy. You expect to see Marion Cotillard in something sleek and kickass. You expect to see Jessica Chastain in something stylish and photogenic.



You expect to see Penelope Cruz in something romantic and lightly sexy. And you expect to see Lupita Nyong’o take something classic and make it seem fresh and hardcore chic.

If we have any criticism, it would be that some of them are dressed for night while others are dressed (more appropriately, we might add) for day, making it seem like they all just ran into each other going in different directions. Even so, they look so spectacular together. Just imagine the red carpet promo tour for this one. It’s going to make Ocean’s 8 seem like a warmup act.


[Photo Credit: INSTARImages]

The post Cannes 2018: Fan Bingbing, Marion Cotillard, Jessica Chastain, Penelope Cruz, Lupita Nyong’o at the “355” Photocall appeared first on Tom + Lorenzo.

08 May 17:48

Beer Can

by swissmiss


“This seems to be an era of gratuitous inventions and negative improvements. Consider the beer can. It was beautiful – as beautiful as the clothespin, as inevitable as the wine bottle, as dignified and reassuring as the fire hydrant. A tranquil cylinder of delightfully resonant metal, it could be opened in an instant, requiring only the application of a handy gadget freely dispensed by every grocer. Who can forget the small, symmetrical thrill of those two triangular punctures, the dainty pfff, the little crest of suds that foamed eagerly in the exultation of release? Now we are given, instead, a top beetling with an ugly, shmoo-shaped tab, which, after fiercely resisting the tugging, bleeding fingers of the thirsty man, threatens his lips with a dangerous and hideous hole. However, we have discovered a way to thwart Progress, usually so unthwartable. Turn the beer can upside down and open the bottom. The bottom is still the way the top used to be. True, this operation gives the beer an unsettling jolt, and the sight of a consistently inverted beer can might make people edgy, not to say queasy. But the latter difficulty could be eliminated if manufacturers would design cans that looked the same whichever end was up, like playing cards. What we need is Progress with an escape hatch.”
Jon Updike

Originally appeared in The New Yorker (Jan. 18, 1964).

(via Clay)

07 May 23:16

Could You Imagine David Tennant As Hannibal’s Titular Villain? Bryan Fuller Sure Did.

by Devon Ivie

i am very late to the party and only just now watching hannibal. just started the last season and very pleased for the increased presence of gillian anderson.

Benefit Celebration Honoring Royal Shakespeare Company's

Somewhere in his timey-wimey timeline between making us swoon in Doctor Who and terrorizing us to death in Jessica Jones, David “DTenntz” Tennant was flirting with the idea of taking a villainous role on American primetime television. That character, as you can surmise from the headline, was Hannibal Lecter on NBC’s cult-favorite Hannibal series, although the role ultimately went to noted spooky man Mads Mikkelsen instead. Still, what could’ve been! “I met Bryan Fuller a couple of times, and we talked about it,” Tennant told EW. “But I think they quite wisely chose Mads Mikkelsen, I think he was a perfect choice for it, and I think he did things with that character that I wouldn’t have managed, so I think the right man got the job.” To make up for the loss, Tennant will take a selfie wearing a leather face mask.