T LOunge for June 14th, 2021

Posted on June 14, 2021

The Ivy Dawson Street Bar and Restaurant – Dublin, Ireland


Wake up, darlings! Wake up! Lorenzo is serving you a LOunge full of life, light and color in order to get your motor running. Today is MONDAY and if you’re a relatively functional human, you’re going to need all the help you can get in order to tackle the day.

Haha. Just kidding. Let’s all sit and procrastinate sourly together. Let’s put the bitter back in Bitter Kittens. Why? Did we mention that it was Monday?

Go and frolic through the Distraction Buffet lovingly curated for you below. Tell us all how you’re weekend went or how your day’s going. Sit silently in the corner and judge everyone else. It’s all good in the T LOunge, darlings.


The Healing Power Behind Gratitude And A Handwritten Thank You Note
Interest in gratefulness practices exploded during the pandemic. Gina Hamadey explores the latest research into how and why being thankful can help during dark times.

I’m not the only one who’s been turning to gratitude as a coping mechanism during the pandemic. In February 2021, search terms such as “How to thank the bus driver,” “How to thank a nurse,” and “How to thank a health care provider” began trending. Overall, internet searches for the term “What is gratitude” have increased nearly sixfold, from 1,400 searches in January 2020 to 8,000 in January 2021; over the same period, searches for “gratitude journal prompts” have tripled to a high of nearly 10,000 searches in January 2021.


Queen Elizabeth Hilariously Insisted on Cutting Her Cake with a Ceremonial Sword
Queen Elizabeth II will cut cakes however she sees fit, with whatever she sees fit, tyvm.
On Friday, the Queen attended a reception with volunteers who are working to organize her Platinum Jubilee—the celebration to mark her 70th year on the throne, which will take place next year. She was joined by her daughter-in-law, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and her granddaughter-in-law, Kate Middleton.
She was also joined by a massive celebratory cake, which she decided to cut with a ceremonial sword. And when someone at the event suggested that make she shouldn’t use, you know, a sword as a cake knife, she shut them down hilariously.


The Moment Lin-Manuel Miranda Got Teary-Eyed on the In the Heights Set
Choreographer Christopher Scott talks working with Miranda, those massive dance numbers, and finding inspiration in New York.

If you’re in need of a large, elaborate dance number, Christopher Scott is your guy. The three-time Emmy-nominated choreographer has worked with everyone from Selena Gomez to Miley Cyrus to Gloria Estefan. Most recently, Scott served as choreographer for In the Heights, the new film adaptation of the hit Lin-Manuel Miranda musical. Over the course of the movie, Scott’s numbers, ranging from massive group dances to intimate duets, add bursts of energy to the production, without overshadowing Miranda’s lyrics or stalling the flow of the film. In working with director Jon Chu and Miranda himself, Scott brought the musical to the big screen, but in a distinctly new way.


Ms. Rockefeller’s Cannabis Farm
Once upon a time, a forward-thinking heiress met an eager younger farmer who persuaded her to grow 10 acres of magical plants on her upstate New York farm. A modern-day fairy tale? Nope. Just a plan to save the planet and feel pretty darn relaxed while doing it.

It all started in 2013, at the end of a dirt track in a rural section of New York’s Hudson Valley where a humble white farmhouse stands among a few colonial-red barns. Old Mud Creek Farm, as it’s called, had been put up for sale by the agrochemical giant Syngenta, which had used the 386-acre property for years to test products—fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides—on corn and soy crops. Nothing remarkable, just another tract of heavily used industrial farmland in a region where people have been rushing to get out of the industrial farming business. Who would buy such a place?


The Cult of Blue Moon Ice Cream
Blue moon is a sweet staple of Midwestern summers.

Blue moon ice cream is not only memorable because of its vivid shade, but also because of its mysterious flavor. No one can agree on what it actually tastes like; some claim it tastes of citrus with strong hits of vanilla, while others swear it is flavored with almond extract. Some say it tastes like a bowl of Froot Loops or Fruity Pebbles; others say it is cotton candy and bubble gum. Recipes to re-create the flavor at home commonly call for raspberry and lemon. Personally, I think it tastes like a concoction of black cherry, vanilla pudding, and marshmallow.


Reclaiming Native Knowledges Through Kelp Farming in Cordova, Alaska
Historically, dAXunhyuu (the Eyak people) have used many types of seaweed, and around those organisms our knowledges proliferated. Some seaweed we ate when thick with herring spawn. Other seaweed we would boil on the inside of a newly carved dugout canoe to develop a fine protective finish that would prevent cracking. Other times we pressed seaweed in layers. Given a particular pressure, those layers turned into a solid block and would be later soaked in water, or I imagine dipped in hooligan or seal oil, and eaten for its many nutrients. Some seaweeds, named after the way that long hair moves in water, were used as binder twine. Kelp: duh.


Queen Elizabeth Has Now Met with 13 Out of the Last 14 Presidents
She’s having tea with President Biden this weekend at Windsor Castle.

Over the course of her nearly 70-year-reign, Queen Elizabeth has seen more than a few regime changes in American politics, and this weekend, she’ll have tea with President Biden during his first overseas visit in office. In total, she’s now spent time with 13 out of the last 14 sitting U.S. presidents. (Somehow, Lyndon Johnson missed the cut.) See photos of her meetings with presidents from Truman to Biden right here.


Can Sex and the City Still Matter?
And how will HBO Max’s new show And Just Like That… deal with the loss of glorious Samantha? Our critic can’t help but wonder.

In 1998, being single and female in your 30s, no matter how successful or satisfied, thrust you into our idiotic but powerful culture wars. Because of the intense pressure to “settle down” and reproduce, the unmarried woman was assumed to be in a state of rebellion, even if all she wanted was that exact domestic fantasy. In Sex and the City, Carrie offered the valuable perspective of ambivalence. She enjoyed her carefree life, but the tug of romance—and the knowledge that the party can’t last forever—made her wonder what else was out there. Without mentioning that dreadful term “biological clock,” the pilot episode of Sex and the City examined the suffocating expectations of women even in the midst of Manhattan’s ostensibly no-strings-attached dating circuit. The characters were constantly aware that their worth, in this ruthless city, was measured by their hotness—and, in their 30s, it was already perceived to be running out.


On the Set of ‘Genius: Aretha’: How the Anthology Series Brings the Queen of Soul’s Musical Artistry to Screen
The third season of the Nat Geo anthology, starring Cynthia Erivo, also highlights the late singer’s social activism.

Nearly everyone on the set back in January 2020 had a vivid memory of when they fell in love with Aretha Franklin. For Parks, it was listening to the singer’s records and learning trendy dances alongside her aunts. For hairstylist Coree Moreno, it was watching Franklin perform at President Obama’s historic 2009 inauguration. Cynthia Erivo, who portrays the late singer in the series, says her earliest memory of the icon was listening to Franklin’s music in the back seat of her mom’s car on the way to school. Imagine the thrill when Erivo realized her hero was singing along during Erivo’s own performance at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2016.


Olga Merediz, Heart and Soul of In The Heights, on Playing the “Quintessential Abuela”
Similar to her character, Merediz was born in Cuba. Her family then moved to Miami when she was five, and again to Puerto Rico, which is where she mainly grew up. She has been performing across genres for decades, landing her first film credit in 1984. Merediz has also appeared in dozens of television series, including Law & Order, Orange Is the New Black, George Lopez, Diary of a Future President, and more. Before In the Heights, which nabbed her a Tony nomination, she had a smattering of other Broadway appearances.
“It’s amazing for me to have this journey with this character from its inception. It’s very rare for a theater actor to have the opportunity to play their role in a movie. I’m so grateful, it’s like a miracle, a dream come true,” Merediz says. “I knew that the audition was make it or break it for me, life or death. I had to really blow it out and do the best job possible.”


The Rise of Black Homeschooling
Often underserved by traditional schools, Black parents are banding together to educate their children, sometimes with an unexpected funding source: the Koch family and other conservative donors.

Black families have only recently turned to homeschooling in significant numbers. The Census Bureau found that, by October, 2020, the nationwide proportion of homeschoolers—parents who had withdrawn their children from public or private schools and taken full control of their education—had risen to more than eleven per cent, from five per cent at the start of the pandemic. For Black families, the growth has been sharper. Around three per cent of Black students were homeschooled before the pandemic; by October, the number had risen to sixteen per cent.


How understanding your sleep type can unlock your day’s full potential.
Sleep may be a habit as old as humanity itself, but it was only in the last several decades that we really began to understand exactly why we sleep when we sleep.
The answer, it turns out, lies in a complex system of physiological timekeepers distributed throughout the body. These so-called “body clocks” are managed by a tiny control center located inside the brain’s hypothalamus, and regulate not only our sleep schedules but also our temperature, hunger, and hormone levels throughout the day. One of the big discoveries has been that these clocks are set, in part, by our genetics—meaning that being an early bird or a night owl is not so much a choice as it is something you’re born with.


Is there an uncontroversial way to teach America’s racist history?
A historian on the unavoidable discomfort around anti-racist education.

There’s a debate raging over the history and legacy of American racism and how to teach it in schools. The current iteration of this debate (and there have been many) stretches back to 2019, when the New York Times published the 1619 Project, but it evolved into a kind of moral panic in the post-Trump universe, in part because it’s great fodder for right-wing media.
The hysteria over critical race theory, or CRT, has now spilled beyond the confines of Twitter and Fox News. As I explored back in March, conservative state legislatures across the country are seeking to ban CRT from being taught in public schools.
There are lots of angles into this story, and frankly, much of the discourse around it is counterproductive. The main issue is that it’s not clear what these concepts mean, as tends to happen when ideas (à la postmodernism) escape the confines of academia and enter the political and cultural discourse.


Coming Out: Queer Erasure and Censorship from the Middle Ages to Modernity
Taking a queer lens to medieval and Renaissance images reveals the fluidity of gender and sexual identity beyond reductive labels

Human sexuality and gender identity are complex topics, and our understanding of each is continually expanding and deepening. It is sometimes tempting to generalize about what constituted “normal” male and female behaviors, expectations, identities, and relationships in the past, but the norm in one place and time was not necessarily the norm in another. Even categories like male/female, gay/straight, or Christian/non-Christian risk essentializing, oversimplifying, or anachronism. Such binaries begin to break down under greater scrutiny. In scholarship, the term “queer” is often used to describe any expression of sexuality or gender that disrupts or disturbs traditional binaries. Each image discussed in this post could be described as providing a queer lens with which to view the past—“queering,” if you will. This approach is not exclusively about gay, lesbian, transgender, or straight individuals but about the potential for multifaceted, iterative, and complex identity dynamics. Before examining the fluidity of ideas like gender and sexuality in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, it is important to acknowledge that many of the terms we use today (and continue to develop and refine) such as hetero-, homo-, bi-, and a-sexual, did not exist at the time. Rather than attempting to redefine or label these works, we hope that by approaching the material with a new critical vocabulary we may uncover a narrative that was rarely depicted, difficult to see, and often too easily ignored.




[Photo Credit: theivydublin.com]

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