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LZ Lerman   

This week
On some Fridays I have deep thoughts for you. On others, I just have links and Val Kilmer gifs. This week is one of the latter.

On CYG, we're listing things we're afraid of (in an homage to the excellent WNYC "Ten Things That Scare Me," a podcast I love) and also talking to Eva Holland, who has a new book out about the science of fear.

I'm reading
Ahmaud Arbery should be alive. (Here's a fund for his family.) How Hanif Abdurraqib turns scraps into poetry. "We are not essential. We are sacrificial." The despicable conditions in modern meatpacking plants. Why is our cultural memory of the 1918 pandemic so faint? A final "I love you," spoken over the phone. On dyeing your hair, trying to stay soberbeing coupled up, and reinventing grief in isolation. Sheltering in an RV and stuck on a cruise ship—and what it's been like for one stranded cruise ship performer. Isolation survival advice from a woman who spent years trapped in a glass bubble. How "Karen" became a coronavirus villain. The office is over. A generation outgrows Drake. New campus sexual assault rules bolster the rights of the accused. The woman who invented leavened bread. The Native illustrator behind the Land O'Lakes maiden. The complicated task of naming a child to honor her heritage. This is your brain on motherhood. Goddess bless the bidet. Just call me, don't zoom me.

Pie chart
The Masked Pie
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I’m looking & listening
A story from Pop Up magazine and Veena Rao about best friends of 74 years. A few Kraftwerk videos to memorialize Florian Schneider, who's now driving that great autobahn in the sky. A delightfully choreographed zoom dance by Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. Alan Cumming and Daniel Radcliffe play "Samuel Beckett or Eeyore?" The writer Ocean Vuong on On Being.

This profile of Val Kilmer [from which I've taken the subject line of today's newsletter] compels me to suggest you watch his 1997 performance in The Saint with the assistance of your favorite mind-altering substance. It has that old-timey comfort of every character failing to recognize our hero just because he's glued on some facial hair and popped in a set of prosthetic teeth. The wigs in this movie! And trust me, it's worth it for this scene alone—no big deal, just doing some doodling in my leather trousers. Next time someone asks who I am, I'm going to reply, "Just a traveler searching for purity."

I endorse
This scrolling visualization of wealth inequality by Matt Korostoff. I thought I understood the truly disgusting amount of money that Jeff Bezos has amassed, but I really did not. And seeing this visual, which shows wealth to scale and turns it into an interactive scrolling experience, helped me tap into a new wellspring of anger about the richest handful of Americans.

I'm recording

Oh hey, remember that sporadic audio project that I've been messing around with while I'm shut inside my house? I've got a new episode coming soon (maybe later today? maybe Monday?)! You won't miss it if you subscribe via your podcast app of choice: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts.

The Classifieds

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Struggling with how to feel sexy at a time like this? Join The Intimacy Incubator for resources on love, trauma healing, sex & self love.

Today's ad dollars are going to National Bail Out, which is bailing Black mothers out of pretrial detention and ensuring they "are alive, well, and safe for Mother’s Day and beyond." To join me in donating to reunite a woman with the kids she loves, click here.

Every Friday until June, I'm giving 100% of my ad revenue to COVID relief efforts. If you know someone who could use a financial boost in this moment, click here to tell me about them

You can also support this charitable effort by purchasing an ad—I'm almost sold out for May but there are a few left. Click for rates and info.

I've got a balmy pair of endorsements today!

"A balm to my hectic mind is @annfriedman weekly newsletter." -Lauren B. Parker

"Annotation is a balm. A soothing companion while making toast or trying an at-home wax kit or seeing if an old milk frother you found still works. This 'audio project' is a passageway into the thoughts of one of my favorite minds. The randomness of the topics make it an escape from the continuous scroll that is 2020. " -Nicole. 

From a safe digital distance, this newsletter is showing its full face.
Forward it to a master of disguise.

Have you pre-ordered a copy of Big Friendship yet? I'd love it if you did.

Ann Friedman

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