Welcome to Issue 38.5 of Digestable, your daily mouthful of real things happening in the world, minus alarmist pandemic news.
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Today’s news, fermented:
In the last 24 hours, I’ve talked to almost everyone I love about flooding or wastewater treatment, two of the things I most love talking about. (If you didn’t know that about me, welcome, this is my truest self.)
There’s too much to elaborate on today, so I’ll just leave you with this weekend reading: New York Is Scouring Its Sewers for COVID-19. Are We Learning Enough From What We Flush?
And here’s some prime animal content. Thanks to Gavi for this one.
Caro's Advice Corner
I love my parents dearly, but they are not taking the pandemic as seriously as I wish they would. They are both older and at risk, and I don’t know how to communicate the severity of the pandemic to them, any advice?
Cautious and anxious
Dear Cautious and anxious,
Thank you for asking this question, I don’t think you are alone in this scenario, and it is evident by the amount of rising cases across the country. I will admit, this is not an easy situation to be in. While we want to respect others' freedom of choice, it’s tough when that freedom of choice means people feel like they can continue socializing as if a global pandemic is not happening.
I think my first piece of advice to you is be gentle but firm in your boundaries at this moment. Let you parents know why you are not comfortable with their behavior, and tell them the measures and precautions you are taking in your own life and why. A co-worker of mine made a fantastic observation this week, and that is that we are all getting practice in communicating what our boundaries are to others, and while it is hard, it is a great precedent moving forward in so many ways. So get clear with your own boundaries, and share that with them. I have had friends in similar situations who have made it clear to their parents, that unless their behavior changes, they will not be able to gather with them until it does.
It is important when having these conversations with our loved ones that we not shame them. Studies have shown that shaming someone for a belief or negative behavior is not going to stop that belief or behavior, it’s just going to make people hide that belief or behavior for fear of shaming—and we don’t want to create this type of dangerous air of dishonesty. We want to normalize talking about who we have been in contact with in order to give others their own choice about whether they interact with us or not. So this brings me to my final piece of advice, which is to have a frank and serious conversation with your parents about what is happening across the country. Just a few days ago we had the highest amount of reported deaths so far in this pandemic, over 3,100 souls. This is serious, this is so serious and so devastating.
Talk to your parents about how much you care about them, and how much it matters to you that they take care of themselves, and talk to them about the reality of this pandemic. Perhaps even find a podcast or article, or anything that will help be supporting evidence in your conversation. There are no easy conversations to be had here, but they are important.
Sending you love and courage, Cautious and anxious, I hope this conversation with your parents goes well and I hope they listen!
With love and boundaries,
DJ M0RO’s low-key Music Show
To start this column today, I offer the opening words of someone else.
What's there to be said about 2020 that hasn't already been said. What a time to be alive! Stuck together and pulled apart. Thank goodness for music, right? Three cheers for melody, harmony, poetry and rhythm!
This comes from the good folks over at Empty Cellar Records, who send out a newsletter so infrequently that when it does arrive I get to rediscover them all over again because it’s like oh wait, yeah totally, that cool record company!
Three of their artists released music recently, notably Frank Ene, formally of Pure Bliss. His pared-down six track release won’t make you any happier, but it does kind of revel in the numbness of this moment in time. There’s a kind of visual and auditory field-trip vibe going on in No Longer, and it’s completely captured my attention and patience this morning. Focusing on pain points can be cathartic (maybe? I hope?)
Ene plays nearly every instrument on the recording. “Some songs are affirmations,” he says. “The saddest ones I can’t remember writing, as if someone entered my mind and body in a really brutal way.” And, if you can believe it, these were written in a self-prescribed isolated quarantine PRE-covid. I’m sorry, what?! WILD.
And in case you were wondering, gee DJ M0Ro, what was that about a visual and auditory field trip you say? and what did you get up and dance to alone in your bedroom this morning? Well that would have to be Window Paine by Gravité - I promise, go find yourself an open space and see what happens. It was very nice. In the band’s own words, “This is portal music for mortal metamorphosis, shaped and reshaped via endless improvisation and perhaps some psychedelics.”
Okay go have a melancholy and then uplifting transformational solo dance party! Oh and can someone please explain to this dj the year wrapped spotify stories? Like, just looking for ANY reasonable explanation about what that says about us as a music culture and why it’s necessary. I’m genuinely confused/curious/concerned. Thanks a bunch.
Brought to you by the superb Latifah Azlan.
After saturating the beauty industry with numerous their own makeup and/or skincare lines, celebrities are now looking to the next frontier of products to brand: cookies!
I'm a huge cookie gal. Home-baked or store bought, I love them all. And anyone who knows me probably also knows that I'm a huge Oreo fiend. I like to keep it simple with the Double Stuf Oreo, but I'll venture into some of the many different flavors the cookie has to offer. And I'm kind of excited for this new limited edition Lady Gaga Chromatica-designed Oreos that are hitting grocery stores in January! The cookie will be hot pink with a neon green cream filling. No one knows what it will taste like but as an Oreo connoisseur, I think the cookie will probably taste like normal Oreos with an eye-catching design rather than have a different flavor to it. I think I might go hunting for these Oreos in the new year and perhaps I won't even them -- just keep them on my shelf as a decoration piece for however long they keep.
Lady Gaga's also not the only artist to launch her own sweet treat: the Christmas Queen herself, Mariah Carey, has also developed a line of cookies just in time for the holiday! Mariah's Cookies will be launching online on December 4th (today!), offering cookie boxes of a dozen and half-dozen baked goods at assorted flavors like gingerbread, white chocolate cranberry, pumpkin, and many more. I'm sure her cookies will sell out in no time but as interested as I am in them, I probably won't be spending the time or money on Mariah's Cookies. Too much hassle when I can just walk down to the Dollar Store two blocks away from my apartment and get a delicious packet of Tate's chocolate chip and walnut cookies (my favorite cookies, fyi) for probably cheaper than what her box of goodies will cost! But I'm sure it will be delicious.