Issue 2 - 12/17/18


  • Nextdoor Clippings 
  • Sam Reviews: The Way Matt Eats String Cheese
  • Matt Reviews: The Way Sam Eats String Cheese
  • Poem: No Additional Information
  • Mormon Authors
  • Reader Mail
  • Horoscopes
  • Office Chart

Nextdoor Clippings

Ascendant-level contributor Matt Spradling

Jesse - Hyde Park - Help find our horrible cat

We are cat owners but no longer because we have lost our horrible cat. He is terrible and white and about two feet long or three if you include his terrible tail, but we usually don't because we can't bear to look directly at it. We are afraid there is something like a snake head growing from the end. He is about the height of our nextdoor neighbor's young son.

Our hot garbage sack pet ran out the door yesterday around two in the afternoon when we opened it to air out all the pasta smell. We try to keep the gross wet cat inside because we can't imagine what bleak havoc it could wreak upon the already burdened world, but we have failed our neighbors in this charge.

If you see our shitty furry hellspawn, continue to act naturally because it will probably have seen you. Do not try to approach it or run or call us. Just call the police and maybe climb a tree. I know cats can climb trees but sometimes this toilet cat is too lazy after it has been feeding and pursuing its dark purpose. Do not contact us because we are going to move away.

UT - Paid Research Opportunity

The University of Texas Psychology Department needs participants for a study. Compensation will be $100 cash for 30-60 minutes of participation between 11-7pm on February 18-19. You will be asked to beat the shit out of our graduate students. All genders, ages, and demographics are welcome to beat the shit out of our awful graduate students. You may use your fists, legs, head, or anything else, and we will have on hand various implements such as brooms and wrenches and chairs for your convenience in beating our deplorable soft graduate students within millimeters of their shitty lives. Lemonade and other refreshments will be provided to quench your thirst whilst and after desecrating the feeble bodies of our unworthy graduate students. If you feel that you are qualified, please walk in during listed hours and share this with your friends so as many participants as possible can can unmake the polluted flesh of our crummy fallacious graduate students. 

Ricky - Brentwood North - For Sale - Candy

Editor's note: I swear to god this is an actual unedited Nextdoor post

$40 - Four large bag candy bar all kind lots and lots of candy about 300.00 worth of candy. 

Sam Reviews: The Way Matt Eats String Cheese

Seneschal-level contributor Sam Strohmeyer

Buckle up y'all. This one is wild.

What I am about to tell you will forever change how you view Matthew Spradling.

I don't remember how it came up, but earlier this year I discovered that Matt eats string cheese by biting into it. Whole. This was immediately offensive to me. I would have felt the same way if he had bitten into a Kit Kat bar without breaking off a section or if he had punched an elderly person and also their elderly dog. But this was only the beginning.

Matt didn't know you were supposed to peel it apart.

Reader, I know how you're feeling because I felt it too: shock, horror, and the urgent desire to be single.

I asked him why he thought it was called string cheese then. He said the shape was like a string. You know, how string is shaped like a five inch long cylinder. I was silent. It got worse.

Matt's face is mirroring mine, contorted in disbelief. He. Doesn't. Believe. Me. He is still skeptical. It's been months since this revelation and when the topic comes up we resume our stare-down, equally exasperated. After many therapy sessions (s/o to my therapist, Jenny), I've come to understand this rift will never be bridged and I can love Matt anyway. It's hard but relationships are hard sometimes. Only very rarely this hard. This is really a one in a million case. 

Anyway, I rate Matt's understanding of string cheese a -10/10. I'm sorry I've let you in on this dark secret. I can ask Jenny for therapist recommendations for you. Text me.

Matt Reviews: The Way Sam Eats String Cheese

Ascendant-level contributor Matt Spradling

This won't be a long entry. When you have both god and history on your side, I think it often pays to be quiet. Study. Learn. Be thankful. 

I won't contest that string cheese is supposed to be eaten by doing that thing where you tear off thin, ragged strands that fill your mouth up to about 2% capacity. I might've done months ago, but it would be a fool's errand given the actual bag in my fridge right now which is labeled "string cheese" and which bears a logo depicting this, shall we say, strategy. For a while I thought this must be a very long-term joke being played on, if not Sam, her ancestors or perhaps the younger brother of the inventor of cheese sticks. Patient Zero for ridiculous practices are nearly always younger siblings. But no, regardless of original intention, string cheese is clearly a thing now. 

My contention is that while it is a way to eat it, it is in fact the worst way to eat it. There are some snacks that are difficult to eat whole/bite directly. A cheese stick is not one of them. It's the diameter of about a nickel and has the consistency of, well, cheese. You can down it in three bites, two when desperate, one when bored. Was the peeling method developed for starving kids in old-timey schools that had to split a single stick eleven ways? For those with no teeth? Is there a subset of the population I live in privileged ignorance of that must compulsively find a use for both hands while eating? Also, as someone who wasn't blessed with a high tolerance for chewing noises, discovering a habit that multiplies the duration of snack times is sort of like noticing a unit on waterboarding in your class syllabus. 

That's my piece. I want children out there who may feel confused or even endangered to know that they aren't alone. I rate the peeling method 1 strand out of I guess 13 strands.

Poem: "No Additional Information"

Five-stars-on-Yelp-level contributor Andrew Lucas Piotrowski

MATT: Text me a poem to put in the newsletter


M: Well

A: do you not like my poem

M: Does it have a title?

A: no additional text

M: Is that the title or an instruction to me

A: yes

A: also maybe censor the phone number?

A: I don't remember whose phone number it is

M: Slut

M: But yeah I was gonna ask

M: Also your tax ID?

A: idk probably

A: that might be private

M: What the hell is home trash 53 seconds

A: fuck if I know

A: that's what makes it a great poem

M: Oh

Mormon Authors

Ascendant-level contributor Matt Spradling

On Halloween I took a Lyft along with two women. I sat in the front and they sat in the back. This was partly because they were discussing something, but also because I've developed a talent for deflecting the tension that usually accompanies riding in silence beside a rideshare driver. This one had no intentions of succumbing to our party's simple tactics. After a distressing minute of chuckling, he exclaims with a thick Guinean accent that I, Matt, have two wives. Nah, we answer. I am a lucky man to, he insists, have two wives. Nah, we answer. I am a blessed brother, he informs me. Nah, we answer as I reciprocate a fist-bump, the underlying communication of which is please see fit to end this pain and also keep your eyes on the road on which you are in fact driving. Which is the first wife and which is the second wife, he asks. That one's first, we agree, but nah. I am blessed because my wives don't fight, he suggests. Well, yeah, we answer, but nah. His wives fight all the time, he confides. Ah, we commiserate, but nah. I ask if he has any pets. This man who holds our lives in his hands has no pets but two wives in Guinea. I talk to him about Naby Keita because if you know one soccer player from every country, it guarantees you at least two minutes of emergency conversation with any and all rideshare drivers. This man solves my word-maze in twenty seconds flat and then reverts to his default state of chuckling in, frustratingly, apparent disbelief about my wives until the conclusion of our dark odyssey. I leave five stars because I'm a millennial and therefore consider service industry feedback to be an all-or-nothing choice between "kindly refrained from doing premeditated murder on me or mine" (five stars) and "actually committed premeditated murder against me or mine" (three stars). Besides, I shudder to think of how many children he's supporting. 

What's up with Mormon authors? It seems like a whole thing, doesn't it? For starters, you've got Orson Scott Card, about whom you may remember from the whole Ender's Game movie boycott thing. The issue at hand was gay marriage and what related organizations he may or may not provide financial or ideological support to. Turns out this is in fact religiously motivated for him as he is Mormon, and a particularly outspoken one. Like, just opinions out the wazoo, for fun. Youtube him, it's wild. 

So that's that - except it doesn't end up as simple as usual, because his writing (at least Speaker for the Dead which I recently read) is not just excellent, but rife with the exact kind of thoughtful insight into human nature and frankly progressive spirit that you'd think would serve to thwart bigotry, not forward it or even tolerate it. So that's my confusion: it's one thing when chik-fil-a makes dope milkshakes, as hateful owner agendas understandably do very little to affect sugary recipe quality, but given this particular literary point of data, it's difficult to fathom how a mind can espouse what it does in that book and simultaneously be anything other than socially progressive and deferential towards that which is not understood. And I think that runs a lot deeper than "I loved what he said here, so he should surely agree with me on most other things as well," although I guess some amount of that sort of bias is easy to let slip. 

I guess there's a lot to unpack there. I didn't mean to make this a one-entry category - it turns out fantasy juggernaut Brandon Sanderson is Mormon, although he seems to be pretty universally liked and also much more open-minded about public discourse, compromise, and reconciliation (which I guess is to say separation) between government and religion. Plus, in fairness, what Sanderson I've read doesn't delve deeply enough to risk unearthing such contradictions as Card. Also of note is Stephanie Meyer. I guess I don't have anything to say about her other than that it makes sense that the only person who could write Twilight is someone with extensive personal experience in sniffing out the scraps of erotic intrigue that fall through the floorboards of cold hard abstinence. Which, like, isn't the worst thing to hand to middle schoolers, when you think about it.

I guess it was finding that all of these authors were out of the temple-garment closet in close succession that made it feel like something of a pattern to me, but I'm mainly concerned about Card here. I would jump at the opportunity to have lunch with the guy purely because I'm dying for answers vis-à-vis the whole being-super-thoughtful-and-insightful-except-for-this-one-big-red-flag quandary. I really can't parse it. It's like that episode of Community in which Troy and Jeff find the secret garden with the trampoline but then the caretaker turns out to be super racist at the end, but more so and without the subtle hints. Now maybe more thorough research would help, but that would be veering precariously close to work, and that's not what this newsletter is about. From what I have gathered from interviews on the topic, though, it sort of seems like he acknowledges his opinions are purely theological and I'm not sure he necessarily supports anti-gay organizations or legislation (and to be clear, abstaining from a shitty thing is not the same as opposing a shitty thing, it's sometimes just passively shitty rather than actively shitty, which is still, in fact, shitty). Or maybe he totally does; I made my stance on work here pretty clear. 

What's the point of all this? I don't know. Did this just become a Genuinely Asking segment? Sure. What do you do when you've got a nice warm slice of universe pie cut out and ready to go and then some guy with terrible facial hair sneezes on it? Can you separate an artist from their art? Even when said art isn't, say, some cliche-lathered love song but a full-bodied, deep dive into their own mind and understanding? Is it because Mormonism is, to whatever degree, more cult-like than mainstream Christianity and therefore otherwise-bright minds are more likely to remain stuck in what they were born into even though it otherwise wouldn't be for them? Is that entire framing belittling to religion in general? Sorry, if so. I'm not particularly concerned about religion anymore and certainly am not trying to attack it. 

Am I worried that, through Card, I'm eating food that tastes healthy but is, beneath perception, contaminated and harmful to ingest? What does it say about my confidence in my agency and mindfulness that that is even potentially a worry of mine? Twilight readers, did Stepho make y'all feel this way a decade ago? But I guess there's some evidence for this as I spend about 15% of my waking life with a Newsboys song stuck in my head even though I haven't really listened to them in well over a decade. 

Or is it perfectly reasonable that such competing approaches to life as Card's can coexist in the same mind and not constantly inform each other (whether through cognitive dissonance or simply by not overlapping), and am I just thrown off by the reminder that things I don't understand or like are alive and well, sometimes in minds brighter than my own, like an in-similar-circumstances-that-could've-been-me scenario? You could've been Mormon. You could've been given two wives. But that wouldn't excuse you from any harm you caused as a result. Is anyone still reading this? A Newsletter: for publicizing shallow existential misgivings. Try it today!

Reader Mail

Cornelius Crossfire: hello yes i am wondering why not make any mention of the political situations

     Thanks Cornelius! We agree and will take this into consideration.

Jeffrey Jefferson: [redacted by editor] 

     Thanks Jeffrey! We agree and will take this into consideration. 

Garrison Harrison: u doxxed i see you you should shower more often

     Thanks Garrison! We agree and will take this into consideration. 

Garrison Harrison: re: showers could u please do it tomorrow around 2:35pm thank u

     Thanks Garrison! We agree and will take this into consideration. 

Harry Scary: plz show tit

     Thanks Harry! We agree and will take this into consideration. 

MC Ronald Donald: vere pretty u show bobs me?

     Thanks Mr. MC! We agree and will take this into consideration. 


COLOGNE-WEARERS - stop wearing cologne



OLD MEN WHO PLAY DOMINOES AT WORK - stop wearing cologne

ADULT-LEAGUE SOCCER REFS - don't change a damned thing

SPOOKY BITCHES - stop wearing cologne


NAMELESS ONES - stop wearing cologne 

Office Chart

TORRES - Helen in the Woods

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Got A Thing On My Mind

Overcoats - Nighttime Hunger

Car Seat Headrest - Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales

LCD Soundsystem - Christmas Will Break Your Heart

Barbra Streisand - Prisoner (Love Theme)

BADBADNOTGOOD - Speaking Gently

Thom Yorke - Unmade 



Cover for Radiohead's TKOL RMX - Stanley Donwood