New Music Friday: Lavendar Haze by Taylor Swift

As I suggested in my New Music Friday post last week, I do have some thoughts on the new Taylor Swift album. I have said in this space many times before that for the most part Taylor Swift is not for me. I do not know what it is about her voice in the way that she sings in most songs that grates on me. I can’t really put my finger on it, but there’s something I do not like about it going all the way back to her early country days. I respect her as an artist. She’s obviously insanely savvy in creating a fan base and working within while also subverting the business music establishment. So more power to her, but I just don’t particularly care to listen to most of her songs.

I have listened to Midnights all the way through. There are a handful of songs that I like, but they’re all the ones that don’t sound like Taylor’s normal voice and in some ways remind me of other artists and songs. I like “Anti-Hero”, which is good since it’s the single out there right now. It’s catchy and Taylor’s voice is either synthesized enough or has her singing in a high enough register that it subverts the quality in her voice that bugs me. “Vigilante Shit” is giving off real Billie Eilish vibes to me. I’m going to focus on the song “Lavendar Haze” because it demonstrates perfectly all the things I’m talking about.

Her voice in “Lavendar Haze” is lowered enough in most of it that for most of the song it doesn’t trip whatever is in my brain that turns me off from Taylor’s voice, though there are a few times that happens. This song immediately reminded me of other songs that I like in various places. At the 40 second mark where she starts singing “I’ve been under scrutiny” immediately reminded me of Halsey’s “I Am Not a Woman, I’m a God” and directly leads into a drum fill that sounds exactly like the one used in “Fallingwater by Maggie Rogers. For someone who loves music so much, I have no music talent and cannot process things likes beats and chords. So they might both be using the same drum fill coming from the same drum machine, or it might be entirely different but just sounding similar to me. I cannot say. Then the tenor of her voice in starting at the 52 second mark is at least to me reminiscent of part of another Maggie Rogers’ song, “Alaska”. But then at the 58 second mark, we get to the Taylor voice that irks me in the line, “I’m damned if I do give a damn what people say”. This song is barely tolerable to me. Her voice is edging on that sound for most of the song, but only sometimes fully tips over into it, whereas “Anti-Hero” avoids it altogether. So this is all to say that Taylor Swift still mostly not for me, but there’s a couple songs on Midnights I can add to few other Taylor Swift songs I actually like. I’m happy for all the Taylor fans out there who are eating every second of this album up though.

Last Week Delight 10/24/2022

As is very apropos for the third week of October, this week’s delights are very fall based.

  • It’s starting to look very fall like around here with a lot of pretty leaves. I feel like we don’t always get good color around here, but I feel like the leaves are holding up their end of the bargain this year.
  • I like that the people in my neighborhood are super into decorative gourds on their stoops. I live in a neighborhood of rowhouses and you just walk around and it’s house after house with decorative gourds lined up the three or four stairs on their stoop leading into their house. I approve.
  • I do like the large array of squash that I see, but I am particularly fond of the goose neck squash. It really does look like a goose! I did not buy one for myself because I have a very simple display of mini pumpkins that start small-ish on my bottom step and ascend just slightly larger to the top. I enjoy seeing them in other people’s displays though.
  • It’s not true of all parts of Baltimore, but even though I live in the middle of a city it is very naturey around here. I don’t have to walk very far from my house to see lots of wildlife. The rich people neighborhood just to the north that I walk through every morning where people actually have yards has tons of wildlife. I see lots of bunnies, foxes, and most recently deer. Actually the deer freak me out a little because they are way too comfortable with people. These deer do not startle at all. They’ll be munching away in somebody’s yard and they don’t blink an eye when I have to walk very near them to get by. They are very cool to look at at though, and I’m not the one being annoyed by them eating all my vegetation.
  • My friends had their annual Oktoberfest party this weekend. It’s always a good time, and we had great fall weather for it. Lots of German and fall inspired food plus fresh pressed apple cider that we put the kids to work making in the cider press my friend rents every year. A good time with good friends.
  • Need a chair? This is a random game my husband and I play with each other. There are a surprising number of random chairs littered along roads and various other places. Whenever one of us sees one we ask the other need a chair? They are remodeling the space that was a movie theater in my neighborhood that closed at the beginning of COVID so another theater can move in. My husband walked by there yesterday and saw a bunch of the old chairs being tossed in a dumpster so he texted me a photo and asked need a chair? Despite telling him that I obviously did, he did not bring me back any movie theater chairs.

And now for your musical delights

  • I continued to listen to the Spotify playlist I mentioned last week and reminded myself of the song “Be My Stars” by local Baltimore artist Cris Jacobs. I adore this song, and I was happy to hear it again.
  • I heard the song “Strut” by Sheena Easton on the radio driving home from the Oktoberfest party. I could not tell you the last time I heard that song. It is very 80s sounding and I’m not sure that I like it as much as I once did, but I remember loving that song when I was a small child. It came out when I was only 6. We had some neighbors who lived next door with boys named Craig and Mike that were about my sister and my’s age who we used to play with. They moved after we had only been there a couple years, but I still have a distinct memory of hearing this song on a record at their house.

New Music Friday: Swan Upon Leda by Hozier

I had been planning on writing about this new Hozier song this week figuring that no one needed me to tell them about the new Taylor Swift album and I don’t particularly care for Taylor Swift. Then I heard a song off the album this morning that I had some thoughts about so I considered switching it up, but I actually don’t have much time to write this morning. So I’m sticking with the Hozier song that I don’t have much to say about other than hey it’s a new song by Hozier obviously based off the myth of Leda and the swan. Maybe I’ll write about Taylor Swift at some other point. Here’s the Hozier song for you.

TV Diary


As is tradition, once I find a tv show I really like it gets unceremoniously canceled. So that is to say there is only one season of Maggie on Hulu and there will only ever be one season. If you like lighthearted rom com type shows I still recommend you watch the episodes that do exist. The titular Maggie is an actual psychic who has stayed away from dating because she has always been able to see glimpses of problems in her relationships. She meets a guy who she finally thinks is the one, but then her visions seems to be telling her something else so she breaks it off and then he winds up living in the apartment beneath her with his fiance, a long time girlfriend he got back together with after Maggie breaks up with him. It’s a funny and sweet show with good characters. I’m sad that more people don’t seem to like these types of shows because I would love more lighthearted character based shows.

Five Days at Memorial

Five Days at Memorial is absolutely compelling misery porn. It details the five days that patients and staff spent at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. It’s all completely depressing and reveling in terribleness. It’s also extremely watchable, especially the first five episodes that take place during those days in the hospital. The final three episodes focus on the investigation and trial of Dr. Anna Pou, who was accused of killing patients as the hospital was being evacuated. I didn’t like those episodes as much.

Junior Baking Show

Apparently for years there has been a kids version of the Great British Baking Show called Junior Baking Show, but we’ve never been given access to it in the United States until this, the sixth season. Netflix didn’t bother obtaining the rights to the previous five seasons. I’m curious if all the seasons were set up like this one or if this was structured differently due to COVID. They have 2 different heats with 8 kids each that last a week and then 4 bakers from each heat compete in the finals week. I generally found it enjoyable to watch though it’s not as good as the adult version. The age range is too big so there are vast differences in abilities between the kids, and some of the challenges seemed a bit too difficult for their skill level. I seriously wonder if the judges know how much food they ate off the floor. There was one kid who I think was 10 whose confidence I totally want to have. Every challenge his bakes looked terrible, but every time he was so proud of himself and convinced that the judges were going to love whatever he made.


Loot is an AppleTV+ show starring Maya Rudolph as a woman who inherits a vast fortune after getting divorced from her rich husband after he cheats on her. Up to this point she has just been enjoying being a rich woman of leisure but decides to actually get involved with a charity that bears her name much to the chagrin of the people who actually work there. It’s essentially workplace comedy. It’s decent enough.


Echoes had a chance to be a good show, but it really wasn’t. It stars Michelle Monaghan as twins who switch places in each other’s lives every year on their birthday. There are lots of dark secrets in their past including how their sister wound up in a wheelchair when they were kids and how they might have been involved with a man dying in a fire when they were teenagers. Now one of the twins decides she wants out and tries to fake her death and run, but the other one steps back into her life and forces the other one to come back. The story constantly tries to switch who you’re supposed to think is the good twin and which is the bad one. I do actually really like Michelle Monaghan as an actress, but I’m also starting to wonder if she actually knows how to smile because I feel like she just plays all these really dour characters. They really did her no favors making her give one of the twins some heavy Southern accent that sounded super fake to try and help the audience differentiate between the twins. For a show that included so many actors that I like, the story was not great and ended in a very cliched way.

The Great

The Great is loosely based on Catherine the Great. It stars Elle Fanning as Catherine and Nicholas Hoult who does a great job as Peter the Great. For some reason it was not a show that I ever felt compelled to watch. We took an extremely long break in the middle of season one before eventually picking it back up again. I also fell asleep during many episodes, so I probably only really saw about 3/4 of the show because I never felt like I needed to go back and rewatch what I slept through. Despite all that I usually enjoyed watching the episodes when we actually thought to put it on and was actually awake during them.

Julie and the Phantoms

Julie and the Phantoms is another show that will only ever see one season. It is a young adult show about a boy band in the 90s who are killed just as they are about to make it big and the teenage girl trying to get over the death of her mother who can somehow see them. Magically when they’re performing together other people can see the ghosts as well, but only then. It was a sweet little show with some decently catchy music.

Boo, Bitch

I watched one episode of this show and then never felt compelled to watch another one until the day I had a colonoscopy and was just resting up until the anesthesia wore completely off and I binged the whole season. That was about what it was good for. It’s another teen show about a girl who dies but is a ghost because she needs to fulfill some destiny before she passes completely on. She now adjusts her life so that she can become popular and date the boy she had a crush on. She becomes completely insufferable in a way that isn’t really fun to watch, and then there is a twist at the end of the series that makes no sense looking back at everything that happened in the show before that.

Paper Girls

Paper Girls on Amazon is based off of a graphic novel of the same name. It involves 4 girls in the 1980s who are delivering papers on their bikes early in the morning the day after Halloween when they are chased by what they think are just people who were out causing trouble for the holiday, but then they wind up time traveling to the present day where they have to rely on adult versions of themselves to figure out how to get back to the past while also battling the people who made them time travel in the first place. It had its moments, but I slept through a lot of this and don’t really even know how it ended.

Last Week Delight 10/18/2022

  • My luck was apparently strong last week because I won all the things. I had entered a contest to win Courtney Marie Andrews new album, Loose Future. She painted the image that appears as the album cover. As part of my winnings I got a handpainted alternate version of the cover to store my record in. They also sent me the album on CD and cassette, which I don’t know what to do with. I need someone in Gen Z to explain to me why they have decided to adopt the worst audio format ever invented save for maybe the 8-track. So if anyone wants a copy of the album on CD or cassette let me know.
  • I also won tickets to my choice of shows from the Shriver Hall Concert Series. I entered to win tickets at RemFest, a local neighborhood street festival, a few weeks ago and I just got an email this week telling me I won tickets to either the October 24 or November 6 concert. We’re going on November 6 to see someone named Davóne Tines, who apparently interweaves Bach with contemporary settings that draw on the traditions of art song, spirituals, and gospel according to the website.
  • I went to see The Killers in concert at Capital One Arena. I already wrote about it, so I won’t both rehashing it, but it did bring me great joy so I’m noting it here.
  • Some people a few blocks over from me have skeletons on their porch that they dress in different costumes every week. I love seeing what they change into. So far they’ve been pirates, bananas, a hot dog, ketchup, and mustard, and Luigi and Mario. Presumably we should get a few more costume changes before the season is over. I can’t wait to see what they do next.
  • Today is actually my 14th wedding anniversary, so that’s a delight. We’re not really doing anything today to celebrate though. We are still outdoor dining only people and tonight is going to be too chilly. Saturday was very pleasant though, so we made a last minute decision to go out and celebrate then instead. We wound up having to eat at 5:45 because I could only find reservations at like 5 or 9 anywhere by the time we decided to go. We went to the Black Olive and had some delicious Greek food. They have a really nice courtyard in the back that we got to sit in, which was much nicer than the more plentiful outdoor dining they have set up on the sidewalk and street out front. There was another couple that came in shortly after us and she was asking him where he wanted to sit and he said doesn’t matter to me. I’m going to have the best view in the city no matter what. It was super cheesy, but really sweet and it made me smile.
  • We had indoor, in-person meeting for one of my book clubs for the first time since COVID. It was nice to get to see everyone in person. I still wore my mask because I’m trying to figure out how to balance keeping my immunocompromised self safe while not spending yet another winter locked away.
  • I drove home from book club on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and noticed a new sign entering the city. There’s an old wooden sign that says Welcome to Baltimore, which has been there forever, but someone tacked some additional signs to it. Someone has been creating these signs that say Be Kind on them in the shape of crayons that have all kinds of different designs on them. They are tacked up all over the city and are plentiful in my neighborhood. One of those signs was tacked to the Welcome to Baltimore sign alongside just a square piece of wood that said Hon on it. Hon is also a very old school Baltimore term of endearment. It was probably the same person who tacked both of them up at the same time, but in my head I like to imagine that someone put up the Be Kind sign and then someone else came along behind them and added the Hon.
  • For your musical delight this week I have the song “Worn Me Down” by Rachael Yamagata, which is a song from 2004 that I still really love. I usually listen to WXPN while I’m working, but they’ve been in membership drive mode since last week, so I’ve been listening to a playlist I put together in 2016 where I added one song a day that I heard and liked, so it’s a wide range of songs. This song was on it, and it was the first time I had heard it in awhile.

New Music Friday: Ships in the Harbor by Tommy Prine

Tommy Prine is John Prine’s son. About a month ago he released the song “Ships in the Harbor”, which is about endings and very much about the death of his father from COVID during the early days of the pandemic. John Prine’s birthday was earlier this week, so it feels only fitting that this song is my New Music Friday selection this week. Honestly it was on my docket for today before I even realized John Prine’s birthday was this week, but that made it seem all the more kismet. It’s an absolutely beautiful song. Tommy Prine is certainly carrying on his father’s mantle. I look forward to hearing more from him.

The Killers at Capital One Arena

My friend and I bought tickets to see The Killers at Capital One Arena almost a year ago. I remember at the time still naively talking about surely, surely that COVID would be less rampant by now but also saying that if it was I might have just given up by then. One of those things is sort of true. Despite the way everyone else is acting, COVID is still running wild. I’m still being pretty cautious about it, but was apparently correct that I did finally decide to take a chance and make this my first real indoor concert with an N95 firmly planted on my face the entire time. (Technically my first indoor concert as Allison Russell at the Barns at Wolf Trap back in February, but that was 400 people seated, masks and vaccination required, and lengthy info on the venue website about the upgrades to their ventilation so I hardly feel like it counts.) There were more people in the crowd wearing masks than I anticipated, but I’d still estimate only about 10% of people were.

I really liked our seats and would definitely try and snag seats in that section for another concert at Capital One Arena. We were pretty far down in our section, so it almost felt like we were on the floor, but with actual seats and elevated so we could actually see over people. Also, I liked that I was sitting at the end of my row next to a railing overlooking the entrance to the concourse below where I got to watch the arena staff take out all the people on the floor who couldn’t handle themselves. Pace yourselves people and don’t guzzle down the giant cup of beer because then you’re just going to wind up getting wheeled out of the crowd just as the main act is taking the stage. There were multiple people that went down within the first two songs. Then there was a long stretch until the end when some guy was getting kicked out and fighting with the cops and his girlfriend was trying to get him to calm down and not punch the cop, so then he shoved her and it did not end well for him. Amazingly though my concert karma was good for a change and I did not have anyone around me being terrible. In fact even though the show was sold out the seats to the right of stayed empty as did the seats in front of us though once people were standing during The Killers set that space kind of filled in as people spread out.

There was never any indication anywhere that there was an opening act for this concert. I made a concerted effort to try and find out if there was one and who it was because I thought it was odd that there wasn’t. The info wasn’t anywhere. Not on the tickets, the Capital One Arena or Ticketmaster event listings, or The Killers’ website. So I was like maybe there really isn’t. Then some band that was decidedly not The Killers took the stage, so I was like I guess there is one. I just have no idea who it is. Two songs into the set the singer introduced himself and the three other people on stage all by their first names. I was like well this doesn’t help. Then he finally started playing some well known Smiths songs at the end of the set and I figured out that it was Johnny Marr. I was never super into the Smiths. I was always more of a Cure girl. If I know anything that Johnny Marr has done since the Smiths broke up I don’t really know that I do. Morrissey was the one who seemed to have a bigger career after they split. I was happy to get to hear “How Soon is Now?” live, which is a song I have always loved, and I’m happy to have done it without purposefully giving Morrissey any of money, though since he co-wrote he’s probably getting some tiny fraction of a cent from that performance.

I feel like I have a very interesting relationship with The Killers. I never considered myself a fan of The Killers even though I enjoyed their singles here and there. I really do not like the song “Mr. Brightside” and since that was their first big hit, for a long time I just wrote them off and thought I didn’t like them. Eventually I realized how many other songs of theirs I did like without even realizing that I knew them. Like I never actively chose to listen to a Killers album until Imploding the Mirage and Pressure Machine, which are departures from their earlier stuff, especially Pressure Machine which was one of my favorite albums of last year.

Realistically they should be touring that album, but it they are an arena rock band playing an arena and that album is decidedly not an arena rock album. I had looked ahead at some of the most recent set lists to figure out what we were going to hear. It was mostly the same set of their biggest hits with a couple of different songs from Pressure Machine rotating through. I was happy we got “Runaway Horses” in our set, though I wish the second song would have been something other than “Cody” because that one is not my favorite. Somehow the Anthem got them to play their 5 year anniversary show tomorrow night, so I’m going to be curious if they mix up the set list a lot more for that and do break out more of Pressure Machine, because that is a venue where they could do that.

As I said I have never really listened to any of The Killers older albums other than the singles that I heard on the radio and being out in the world, so I was a little surprised that there were only a couple of songs I didn’t know. I guess their hits really accumulated, and they bring the people what they want. As I said they pretty much played their singles with a couple of other songs thrown in. They brought Johnny Marr back out during the encore and covered the Smiths song, “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby”. They of course finished the night off with “Mr. Brightside”, which I still don’t like but wasn’t surprised to hear as the final song of the show.

I’m usually not big on arena shows because I feel like it often becomes more about the spectacle of whatever they’ve done to keep the people in the rafters entertained rather than the music and the actual performance by the band. I did not feel that way with this show at all. Brandon Flowers is a consummate performer. There was plenty of the spectacle stuff with large video screens, laser lighting and other light show stuff, and three different rounds of confetti cannons that every time they set one off I said to my friend the arena staff that has to clean that up really hates you right now. However, I in no way felt like the show was relying on that. I felt like Brandon could have kept the crowd just as energized without any of that stuff. In fact there were some songs that didn’t really have much in the way of theatrical staging going on, so he proved my point. They are so very much an arena rock band I was trying to actually imagine them playing in small clubs like they must have done early in their career, and I have a hard time doing it because they are meant to be seen in an arena. I rarely if ever say that. I very much enjoyed watching them perform and the experience of dancing and singing along with the crowd. Now let’s hope I managed to not get COVID while I was doing it.

Last Week Delight 10/10/2022

I am forcing myself to write this today. It’s the last thing I want to do because I’m feeling whatever the opposite of delight is. But let’s do it.

  • After 6 days of gloom and rain thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Ian lingering over the mid-Atlantic, the sun finally came back out at the end of the week and led to the perfect fall weather weekend. I am decidedly not made for living with so little sunshine. I would shrivel up and die in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Thursday was the first really nice day in almost a week, so my husband I went out to dinner at Tapas Teatro. The weather is starting to get a little chilly to eat outside, so it may have been our last meal at an actual restaurant for who knows how long. I usually get the salmon when I go there, but I’ve been craving lamb chops recently, so got those instead. They did not disappoint. They were perfectly seasoned and extremely juicy. Also, after my husband tossed most of our order of croquettes on the ground trying to pick up the plate, the waiter kindly replaced them without charging us even though we offered to pay for the replacement order since it was our fault.
  • Our plans were delayed a week because of the weather, but I went with my friend and her godson (his mom was also supposed to join, but wasn’t feeling great) to Weber’s Cider Mill Farm for some fall fun. I had been a number of years ago with another friend when her kid was little, but since it’s really aimed at children I hadn’t been any time recently. They had lots of little kid activities. He got to feed goats, mine for gems, ride in a barrel around a field, and go on a hay ride. We also got cider and apple cider donuts and picked out some decorative gourds. There were other activities to do as well, but we were working with a toddler here and he was ready to go, so he did not enjoy things like the hay bale maze, the boo barn or various climbing and sliding activities. Most importantly I got a dozen apple cider donuts and some pumpkin butter to take home with me.
  • Sunday afternoon I went to the viewing and musical tribute for the woman who has been the worship leader at my church for years, who as I previously mentioned passed away the other week. It started with an Omega Omega service with her Delta Sigma Theta sorority. It was not something I was familiar with previously as I was never part of Greek life and know even less about Black sororities. It was a tribute and induction for her into Omega Omega chapter, with Omega obviously signifying the end. After that there were lots of friends and musical colleagues sharing stories and providing musical tributes to her. It was a beautiful service that honored what a wonderful person she was and how many people’s lives she influenced.
  • While at the service I got to see a friend who moved to the Eastern Shore of Maryland last year after she got married. We only got to chat for like a minute because there were lots of people she was trying to say hello to, but it was nice to see her even for a brief second.
  • Driving home from the service my GPS took me a way I normally wouldn’t drive to help me avoid the traffic heading to the Ravens game. At one point I was driving east of downtown over a bridge that gave me a clear view of the city and last night’s incredible moon over it. I really wish it had been a spot I could have hopped out and taken a photo. After I turned off that street and started driving east the moon felt like it was huge and right in front of my car window. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it so big.
  • There’s a house I walk by that has two flat metal dinosaurs stuck in their yard. They used to take little hats that they made out of paper and laminated to them to celebrate various holidays. The dinosaurs had been sadly hatless all of this year though, but this week they got some Halloween hats. It made me happy.

And now for your musical delights.

  • One of my favorite hymns is “It Is Well with My Soul”. I first remember hearing it when we moved to Dallas and the church we attended sang it frequently. It’s been on my mind a lot in the last few weeks because of Paula saying “all shall be well” until the very end of her life. It was the first song they sang at her service last night, which seemed very fitting. There are lots of versions of this song on YouTube. I went with this one because it gave the appropriate emphasis to the final verse of the song, which is one of the things that I have always loved about the song. Not all the versions I tried out did that.
  • One of the very few good things to come out of the pandemic was that due to church moving online for many months at the beginning of the pandemic and then remaining as an online option after it restarted in person is that we now have lots of videos of Paula leading us in worship that wouldn’t exist if not for COVID. So I’m sharing one of those early online services cued up to her sharing her wonderful gift with us.

New Music Friday: The Story (cover) by Japanese Breakfast

You always have to love when an artist that you love covers a song by another artist you love. We’ll somewhat ignore the fact that it only exists because it was commissioned by North Face for an ad campaign. “The Story” used to be Brandi Carlile’s biggest song and the one that people knew if they had any clue who I was talking about. Most often because of it’s use in conjunction with Grey’s Anatomy. Now I feel like Brandi Carlile lives in this weird liminal space where she’s gotten way more popular than she was when I first got into her. I get fewer blank looks when I mention her, but there are still a lot of people who have no clue who she is. Case in point, the first comment on this YouTube video from someone saying they have to go look up Brandi Carlile because they’ve never heard of her. Now I have no clue what might be the song people associate with her.

Anyway “The Story” is still an absolutely fantastic song. Michelle Zauner aka Japanese Breakfast does a fine job doing a fairly straightforward cover it. Brandi brings a rawness to the original version that is not present in this one that is a little more smooth. I do like it and wish as multiple people have said in the YouTube comments that they would make it available on Spotify.

Last Week Delight 10/3/2022

I’m not in the mood to write this post. The weather has been gross for days on end. Monday is starting off with a whole bunch of stuff at work that I don’t want to deal with and shouldn’t be my job except that we can’t hire anyone to actually do this job so it’s mine for the moment. It’s probably the perfect time to remind myself that there are better things in the world. The first couple are more contemplative than joyful, but I think they fit in what I’m trying to do here.

  • As I mentioned in my New Music Friday post last week, the woman who has been the worship leader at my church passed away last week. There will be an actual viewing and a homegoing service for her next week, but our Sunday service this week was in honor of her. My church does not have an actual building. We rent space from other places, usually in Baltimore City Schools. Once COVID hit and the schools closed that obviously wasn’t possible, so we’ve been renting space at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Between about Easter and mid-October we’ve rented space in their Pavilion the past few years. When the weather is nice you can’t beat meeting there with a view of the harbor. This weekend wasn’t nice. We’re still a few weeks away from our contract for the cold winter months moving back into Federal Hill Prep after many years elsewhere. So that is to say even though the weather was drizzly, windy, and chilly we still had to meet outside. Usually on those sorts of days the number of people attending in person drops drastically with a lot of people opting to view online from home. I’m 100% guilty of this. Despite the weather people showed up to celebrate Paula. The pavilion was fuller than it is on most Sundays, even the really nice ones. It was definitely the only reason I dragged myself out to church in person. I will never understand why someone with such a beautiful spirit and who dedicated her life to lifting other people up was taken so young while there are plenty of awful people just out there sowing division and hatred who live to a ripe old age. All I know is that Paula was apparently at peace with it, saying “all shall be well” to the very end. And all I can say is that it’s far better to spend your life in such a way that people are going to come out to sit in terrible weather conditions brought on by the remnants of a hurricane to celebrate the light you were in the world.
  • Ed Yong’s writing about COVID has been a lifeline for me throughout this pandemic. He rightly won a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism for his work. He’s done a lot of long form writing and gone in deep with people who are being unequally affected by the pandemic from health care workers, to immunocompromised people, to now people suffering from long COVID. His writing has made me feel seen at so many times where it felt like no one cared. I have so many of his stories saved to reread. He has expressed on Twitter how much of a mental toll doing the research and writing these stories has taken. This week he announced that he is taking a 6 month sabbatical to refresh and hopefully avoid burnout so that he can continue his work, something he recognizes is a real privilege to do. I am very much going to miss his writing, but I wish him the best and thank him for being a voice to people society wants to sweep aside because it’s easier, and his call for the United States to do better. His final article in The Atlantic this past week “The Pandemic’s Legacy is Already Clear” is a great encapsulation of all the work he’s done over the past three years.
  • On my walk the other day I was stopped at an intersection waiting to cross the street, and there was a woman diagonally across from me also waiting and while doing so was really getting down to whatever she was listening to on her headphones. It amused me.
  • We got dinner from Amicci’s, a restaurant in Baltimore’s Little Italy, on Thursday. Whenever we do that it also means that I get dessert from Vacarro’s, which is a delicious Italian pastry shop. I always get their chocolate vanilla Napolean. It was delicious as always.
  • Back when the tv show Community was on they were often on the bubble of getting renewed. At some point in the one the later seasons a hashtag for #sixseasonsandamovie sprung up to get NBC to renew them. I don’t remember all the details about what seasons everything went down, but I know that against all odds with a final sixth season pickup by Yahoo! tv, I think. they made it to the six seasons part of that hashtag. Peacock announced this week that they would be fulfilling the movie part of it. I loved Community when it was first on. It did get not so great in some of the latter seasons. I’m honestly not sure how well it would hold up these days, so I have never rewatched it. I do appreciate that this random hashtag has come to fruition, and I probably will subscribe to Peacock for a month to watch it whenever it comes out.
  • I discovered this week that the first two seasons of the Great British Baking Show never aired in the United States and that they are now currently streaming on the Roku Channel along with the remainder of the BBC version of the show with Mary Berry, Mel, and Sue. The first season is kind of crazy in that they literally move around the UK each episode and 2 people are eliminated each week. I guess that’s why they bake in a tent. They used to have to move the set, and then since it was already established they kept it even once they stayed put in one location. I miss Mel and Sue a lot. I can’t stand Matt as a host. I miss when the show was less schticky than it is now and the challenges were more about the baking than people being able to create elaborate works out of baked goods. I do think it was the right call to get rid of the history segments though and just focus on the bakers. If I was smart I would be saving these seasons to fill the GBBS void after the season that is currently airing is over, but apparently I am not smart.
  • My friend and I went to see Our Town at Baltimore Center Stage this past weekend. We used to have season tickets before the pandemic, and had not renewed them since then. I had never seen Our Town before and it felt like a big hole in my theatre going life, so I asked if she wanted to go to that one show with me. I have nothing to compare it to, but it was an interesting production with the set and costumes all contemporary Baltimore life with a largely Black cast even though the setting is still Grover’s Corner, New Hampshire at the beginning of the 1900s. An interesting juxtaposition and I think something that speaks to commonality of human existence that I think is the whole point of the play. I also appreciated that Center Stage was still requiring people to mask. I was going to wear mine regardless, but it was nice that the entire audience was masked and not just me because masks work best when we’re all doing it.
  • Rolling Stone recently did an article on the Top 100 TV Shows of all Time where they polled a bunch of critics and asked them to provide their to 50 and then calculated the responses. Apparently they got one very unusual ballot response, which is just a real joy to read.
  • The Netflix is a Joke Twitter account had a robot watch Cobra Kai and then write an episode of the show. This couple minute animated short version of an episode is both utterly ridiculous and entirely accurate.

And now for your musical delights:

  • I honestly don’t think I need to include the Lizzo/Library of Congress flute story because I’m pretty sure everyone in the world has seen it, but it made me and a lot of people happy this week so it must be mentioned.
  • I spent some time this weekend livestreaming the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival. I takes place in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. I have friends that live in San Francisco. I should totally go visit them one year and go to this festival. For now, it’s nice that you can stream it for free. I watched Joy Oladakun, Allison Russell, Lucius, and Marcus Mumford. All of them were great and collaborated with other artists at the festival, which is one of my favorite things that happens at the Newport Folk Festival, so I was happy to see it happening here too.