Issue 44 - 01/11/22


  • You Can Just Buy the Jacket From Drive
  • So You Thought You Blocked Your Ex
  • Car Pay Diem
  • I Should've Died By Now, Probably
  • Convert To Cerealism Today
  • Rating Songs on Spotify's "Jazz in the Background" Playlist by Their Ability to Prevent Panic Attacks
  • The Gang Gets Arrested
  • Office Chart

You Can Just Buy the Jacket From Drive

Chief Fashion Correspondent Alex Speed

Have y'all seen Drive? I think it's okay. I watched it for the first time when I was like nineteen after someone explained to me that there are movies other than Holes. I honest to god do not remember the plot or the characters or the theme or anything important or relevant to what makes teenage film students absolutely shit their collective dick about this movie.

I remember the jacket.

That white satin high-collared no funny-business jacket with a giant golden scorpion embroidered on the back. The type of jacket that, in the real world where you and I exist, typically ensures its wearer's virginity. The type of jacket typically purchased at the very bottom of the worst cases of mid-life crisis after the corvette and the lake-house fail to bring back the youthful joy of being hot and spontaneous. The type of jacket that has no business being worn by anyone until it is safely displayed beyond the aesthetic safety net of a well-shot movie starring the hottest man who has ever existed (Ryan Gosling if you're reading this I am free this Saturday at 8:00PM MST).

It was a thing so specific that you couldn't have one unless you paid a tailor an insane amount of money, or had a mom or grandma that was a killer on the sewing machine. The unachievable coolness of this jacket is what draws in unsuspecting drifters who need an identity to attach themselves to. Buying a jacket like this is not just obtaining a jacket you think is cool or stylish, it is an attempt to purchase a whole ass personality or mystique or projection of what you wish you were to your friends.

To be fair, that is how cool this jacket and subsequently this character from Drive are. I seriously don't remember a single god damn thing about this movie other than that guy and that jacket being the new cultural lightning rod for coolness.

Amazon has entered the chat.

Followup to my initial question: did you know you can just buy the jacket from Drive on Amazon? Jamie, pull that shit up.

There it is. For $65 you can buy an iconic piece of fashion that should 100% only exist in a movie or if you are really stoned with your buddies at a thrift store and then a light illuminates a rack of clothes and you walk over to it and with the precision and intention of King Arthur extracting Excalibur from the cursed stone you pull this one of a kind article of badassery out and make a silent promise to yourself and God to use the jacket only for good.

That doesn't exist anymore because anyone can just catch a wild hair and order this jacket on the internet. Imagine you are operating at 100% confidence so you hop online and order a little something-something to match this newfound poise - then this bad boy show up on your doorstep. You have to make a decision. Are you gonna fake 100% confidence at all times? Are you going to fully commit to taking on the identity of the coolest mother fucker you can imagine 24/7 365 so long as you both shall live so help you god? Or are you gonna discretely put this under your bed where you don't have to acknowledge its existence?

I know what you're thinking.

Hey Alex, how the hell are you gonna dig yourself out of this weird writing hole?

Well sometimes metaphors (a fancy term us writers use for something that exists solely in the metaverse) just sort of write themselves - like this Amazon review for said jacket:

Because, after all, what is identity if not a flimsily sewn together replica jacket that we have no business wearing?

So You Thought You Blocked the Your Ex Who You Thought You Were Going to Marry but You Forgot Because ADHD and Then They Texted You Terrible Things So You Turned the Texts Into Funny Paintings Instead of Going to Therapy

Chief Pain(t) Correspondent Loh Hunt

Wow. Great to be here. Wow. What a night. Pre-written from Austin it's Wednesday night. I'd like to start off by thanking @SkyDaddy and mostly Captain Sergeant Highness Larry-Matt for his kind offer to let me take up some space on this coveted online platform. Honestly, I feel bad for the first born kid I am likely never going to have because that kid will never live up to the moment Larry-Matt graciously asked me to write a guest post for A Newsletter.

In a surprise to almost everyone, I have consumed some wine instead of Coors Light before writing this. Wine has a funny way of making me nostalgic, angry, sad, and whatever other emotions there are. I don't know. I don't know how to label feelings. That's something for my therapist, Bob Ross, to figure out. Instead of nursing a Silver Bullet, I actively chose get this private but public confession up and running with a little bit of chaos sponsored by Jesus' favorite bévéragé. Speaking of confessions and Jesus, if Jesus were a vegetable, what do you think church confession booths would be made out of in that world? I think about that a lot.

Tracy Jordan thoughts aside, I think it's really important we curate the right mood here. Let's all turn on "The 1" by Taylor Swift. No, you're right. That's too sad gorl. Alexa, play "FBGM" by T-Pain.

So what had happened was a relationship ended. I won't name names, but his name rhymes with Ferdinand if you took away all of the letters and replaced those letters with other ones and then rhymed something with the new letters. Speaking of Ferdinand... that feels like a fun name. If you're a Ferdinand reading this, this story is probably not about you. Unless we dated. But I don't think I've dated a Ferdinand, so that would be uncomfy if it was about you.

It wasn't a dramatic breakup. It was just two people who figured out the other person is probably "the one" for someone else. Heartbreak hurts even when you know it's the right thing to do. Love isn't real though so is that heartbreak or just extended release heartburn? I'm getting old, so it very much could just be untreated heartburn.

Shortly after the breakup, I thought I took a healthy dose of virtual Pepto Bismol by blocking Ferdinand but I got distracted by a puppy. And then probably burned some cereal so I had to call someone to have them walk me through putting out a milk fire. How would you put out a milk fire? I should ask Sam. She probably knows.

So after some days of both of us being solo again and the milk fire extinguished, some texts were received. You can remember you blocked someone only to realize when those dreaded notifications come through that you didn't actually block them and then you only have yourself to blame for that one. Life, man. It keeps you humble.

I am not here to serve up all of the words that were received. I will only give you an appetizer of the best lines: "Cool Cool Cool. Talk to you never." You have to respect the effort it took to capitalize all three "Cools." Real recognizes real.

After re-reading those words which were sandwiched between some other harsher words, I knew I could either moisturize my face with some good ole tears or spend an absurd amount of money at Michael's and deal with it. I chose the Golden route. That's a paint joke. Niche jokes are cool. It's extra funny because there's no chance in hell I was buying Golden brand paint at that time. I was no billionaire. I'm still not a billionaire, but sometimes I pretend like I am and buy a $12 tube of colorful goop. It's what Daddy Bezos would advise.

Anyways, I think Michael's sold me tequila paint that day because I blacked out and this somehow appeared?

(Apple plz don't sue me. I made no money off of this. I just put it on my wall.)

But now I paint. Like a lot. It's quite possibly the best bit I've ever done: pretend to be an artist.

What started as a therapy session quickly turned into me shamelessly asking people for their most intimate breakup texts to turn them into art. We all have them. Why not make them into something that looks deceivingly happy until you actually figure out what it is? And even when you do figure out what it is, at least you can laugh about it now. Right? Maybe? Sorta?

At the time of this post, I have 10 ex text paintings hanging up on my walls. It's another good bit watching people react to these in real life. Someone saw these one time and boldly asked, "Are any of these mine?" My misogynistic teen magazines told me to always play it cool, so the question was met with, "I guess we'll never know."

Anyways, here's my art Instagram if you want to see some of the others: @yo_loh_

It's not much, but it's honest work. Talk to you internet friends soon except we will probably never talk because this is an online newsletter and jury is still out on if I'll be invited back.

hug hug, kiss kiss, hug hug, big kiss, little hug, kiss kiss, little kiss


Car Pay Diem

Chief Jovian Correspondent Wendy Fernandez

As I'm sure no one knows, I have a significant birthday coming up. This birthday has been highly anticipated for years, and has occupied a piece of my travel-planning mind ever since I learned what an airplane was; by far more significant than turning 16, 18, or 21. Next week, I share a dream with my 25th birthday.

If you've ever rented a car, you know why this is an essential age for travel. Between the ages of 18 and 24, car rental companies can charge upwards of $80 extra a day to rent a small car for personal use. This shall tax me no more! As of one week from probably today (depending on when this is published), I can, without hesitation, rent a car for a completely normal price.

In honor of this momentous celebration, I'd like to take you on a journey through the car rentals of my life. Please understand that wearing a seatbelt is necessary as we will be going quickly and only taking insurance-mandated stops in towns outside of other, volcanic towns.

The year was 2018 - age 21.

This was my first time dealing with a rental car, especially since I wouldn't have my license for another three months. Me and my group of high school theater friends were planning our annual vacation, Splish Splash, and we had decided on the Florida Keys. I took the lead booking everyone's flights, arranging the condo rental, and figuring out how to get a car. We had 8 people on the trip that year, and I quickly learned most cars seat up to 7. I ended up booking something close to a Ford Escalade and begrudgingly paying the surprise extra fee at the airport.

This was also notable because I had overestimated how much the trip was going to cost, so we all had plenty of extra money saved up and it wasn't really an issue. Only our pride was hurt.

One of our friends is notoriously smaller than the rest of us, and so we invented a seating workaround. We grabbed a pillow from the condo and tossed it on the floor of the car, and boom, seating for 8.

For a while we took turns on the ground, but on the drive back from Key West (the furthest Key and legitimately closer to Cuba than our condo), I sat wet and shivering on the ground for two hours because everyone had pointed their AC away from them. The good news is we didn't get caught. We would hide our floor person whenever it mattered, but also, it was Florida so it was kind of a free for all. We even saw a man on the highway doing wheelies on his dirt bike. We were the safest people on the road.

Overall, 9.7/10 car rental experience.

Next was December 2020, same group of people - age 23.

This time, we took our Splish Splash trip in the winter and with only five of us because of the panini. We were also determined to fit in one car. And boy howdy, will this car live in infamy in all of our memories for the rest of our lives. The plan was road tripping to Santa Fe, the Grand Canyon, Roswell, and White Sands. We were prepared for heavy duty winter camping which means we were simultaneously overpacked and underpacked. But oh, the car.

Right off the bat, the driver's seatbelt refused to acknowledge when it was buckled. This meant that every time we started the car, it beeped for ten minutes, and then on and off occasionally after that. Everyone had bags and blankets in their laps (except the driver of course) and we were generally stuck in our seats. The poor car was weighed down significantly.

Each leg of this trip was a minimum 5 hour drive and I think the longest drive we had was 11 hours. At each stop, we had to seriously think about whether it was worth getting out of the car because the process of unburying ourselves was an Effort. We camped one night by some mountain somewhere in Arizona, and I remember our blood running cold hearing our friend try to start the car. The engine just kept turning over and over and over. Everything ended up being fine. She wasn't used to a push-to-start and was doing it wrong, but if we had gotten trapped out there? In the middle of nowhere? We were deep in the woods, I don't know what we would have done.

This car didn't have a problem driving on ice or up a mountain, nor was there an issue driving on sand. In Roswell, New Mexico we vacuumed her up and gave her a nice wash before returning her the next day. We all agreed to not mention what we put this car through, probably because it put us through more. I think we did try to get a discount because of the seat belt thing, but I can't remember if that worked or not.

The worst part of this car was undoubtedly the lower back condition it caused me. I needed to go to a hospital but I didn't know that until a couple months later. It was torture to sit, to stand, to move, to bend, to basically do anything other than lie still on my stomach. I had to sit on my neck pillow in the car so I could utilize the donut hole shape. It was so painful I felt every bump in the road. I still managed to roll down sand dunes which was fun. #NoRegrets.

4/10 car rental experience. Lost major points for the medical condition, gained some back for nostalgia.

Lastly and most recently, September 2021 - age 24.

I visited my friend up north in Seattle, and we took a three day road trip around the state to look at trees. She's 25, so for the first time, I felt the freedom of no extra fees. And it was going great! We didn't overpack, so we were incredibly comfortable, the car was nice and we had downloaded music and maps ahead of time.

We drove to Forks, Washington and La Push beach (because I'm a freak), the Hall of Moss, Crescent Lake, and through the Olympic Forest. When it came time to go to Mt. St. Helens, I drove so my friend could take a nap. Naturally, 30 minutes into the drive, we passed some large cliffside and a small pebble tumbled off and embedded itself into the windshield, eye level.

It was so loud my friend instantly woke up. That or it was my scream that roused her from her sleep, it's a toss up, really. We had to pull over in some town 40 minutes away from the volcano to deal with paperwork and insurance. It's illegal to drive with the driver's view obstructed, and it's also illegal to let the person not on the contract drive. So to everyone reading this, I was not driving at the time. Unrelated, but we also ate the worst fish and chips of our lives in this town.

Everything ended up being fine; we went to the volcano anyway (hiked around in some lava tubes), and a nice man with a tow truck met us that night and gave us a new car. However, he kept saying how lucky we were because he usually tows corpses, which was not appreciated considering I could have died, but I managed to change the subject to backyard astronomy and I taught him about Jupiter and how he can find it in the sky. The new car was fancier, had working Apple CarPlay, and successfully made it up and down Mt. Rainier and back to Seattle.

But really, that pebble could have killed me. It had made it through the windshield just enough that I could feel the glass bump on the backside. I shudder at the thought sometimes.

9.5/10 for this one. Nothing about the car(s) were the problem, but I don't like being reminded I'm mortal while on vacation.

So there you have it, the three car rental experiences I've had. I'm looking forward to many more adequately priced rentals starting next week. I plan on visiting Boston hopefully soon and would love to drive down to Salem for less than $120 a day. Society hypes up your 21st birthday, but no one talks about how great it is to afford cars. I'll check back in at 30 and let you know how it went.

I Should've Died By Now, Probably

Chief Gems Correspondent Marina Martinez

I turned 28 this week, please hold your applause. Birthdays are a time of introspection for most of us - another year older, another year...wiser? In my experience, at least, I don't think I can claim additional wisdom or personal growth. Every birthday comes as a fun surprise. It's not that I expect to die, exactly, although I know that'll happen eventually, and the current world state seems particularly conducive to sending hot young things like me to an early grave. It's just that I've lived through a lot of things that should've killed me by this point in my life and I'm surprised that I, with the body of an 88 year old woman, am still standing.

Why Marina, you gasp, surely you haven't had a dangerous life! No, my friend, I haven't. When I was 7 I read the whole Redwall series and decided I wanted to live my life like a church mouse: eating bread and cheese and elderberry cordial and not going out into the world taking risks. Even living as cautiously as I have, there's no escaping my own stupidity and the situations the universe just puts me in.

So yeah here's five times I could've died in the last 28 years. No need to stress! I survived.

5. When I was a couple weeks old I almost got bitten by a black widow spider.

I obviously do not remember this one, but my mother swears that a spider was descending from the ceiling into my crib until she grabbed me and killed the spider. Well, I assume it was a spider and not a black widow agent like in Marvel. I should double check. Regardless, my mother is braver than any US Marine (well she was a US Marine, but she was the bravest one ever) and this attack is the building block in my theory that there are forces at work to stop me before it's too late. Even as a baby I was too big a threat to live.

4. I almost drowned in the Pacific as a baby.

I was born in Oceanside, California and we lived on Camp Pendleton until I was 4. (Yes, Marina from Oceanside had two parents who were Marines. I can't swim and I'm not joining the military, so nominal determinism is BS). I don't remember a whole lot from that part of my life, but I do remember that we lived about 5 minutes from the beach. Anyway, this meant that we spent a lot of time at the beach and in the ocean. This particular occasion involved a childless friend of a parent taking me into water a bit too deep for a toddler and assuming that babies could just hold their breath and swim without prompting. I remember my eyes stinging and seeing stuff floating in the water (and a lobster???) and then seeing black and then I was choking on a towel on the beach. So anyway I still don't like swimming that much, especially in large bodies of water. No funny joke here, I just genuinely don't like water! I'm sorry for the energy I've created in this joke article here today.

3. I ingested poisonous substances on a routine basis over several years.

Let me ask you a question: if you're not supposed to eat kid's toothpaste, why do they make it blue and sparkly and bubblegum flavored?? Don't answer that. Anyway, I got through like three tubes before my mom found out that I'd been eating some every time I brushed my teeth. She was not very happy and also my teeth are permanently slightly yellow and translucent now.

The second time I accidentally almost poisoned myself is even stupider because I think I was like 10. I had a really sick rock collection and I liked learning about all of the origins and properties of the rocks and gems I had. One of my favorite stones was a smooth, polished chunk of malachite, which I read was believed to help you sleep better if you slept with it. The sane person who wrote that probably meant that you were supposed to sleep with it next to your bed or under your pillow or something like that. 10 year old me thought she was onto something, though, so for about 6 months I slept with malachite IN MY MOUTH. It tasted horrible and the polish nearly wore off. The polish was probably the only thing that kept me from actually poisoning myself. I was an idiot. Learn from my mistakes.

2. I thought my hair straightener would heat up faster if I ran it under hot water.

This one is maybe the most embarrassing because I was 14 and fully knew about electricity and machines and safety. In my defense, we were running late for something and I needed to get my hair straightened in like 10 minutes (and my hair has always been a bushy mess that took a minimum of 30 minutes to straighten) so I was grasping at straws to figure out a way to beat the clock. If I heat up the metal, the plugged-in straightening iron will get hotter more quickly and I can get started on my hair! Thankfully my mom stopped me before I actually did it. Can you imagine? My mom still looks at me and says 'fizzle' sometimes and cracks up laughing. This is my greatest shame.

1. I almost flew to San Francisco to spend the weekend with a guy I'd dated for like a month and probably would've been murdered.

I was 23 and fairly fresh out of college and I was waiting for my whirlwind romance to happen. I dated several people (most of which had just a lot of red flags) but this one dude seemed pretty decent, despite the fact that he traveled for work so we really only hung out when he was in town on the weekends. After dating for a few weeks (meaning we'd had like 4 in-person dates), he mentioned that he would be unable to make it back to Austin because a job would run late. Instead of rescheduling for the next weekend, he offered to pay for my roundtrip plane ticket to fly out and stay with him at his hotel for a 'fun weekend'. The thing is he said all this after I was a bottle of wine down and we were into our 4th hour of playing Borderlands 2 on a Thursday evening so I was like 'hell yeah'.

Reader, I made it to the airport until I realized I did not know this man that well, did not know where I was going (so I couldn't text anyone an address for them to check up on me), and I remembered that I am in fact afraid of flying. Would I have had a romantic weekend with that 6' 2" bear of a man? Would he have murdered me and left no trace of the crime? Idk but I didn't get on the plane and I'm still alive today. For what it's worth, it took me another two months to break up with him and I don't think he tried to kill me again (outside of a sexy context). Mom if you're reading don't think about that. Ignore this whole article. What's it like to write something and not immediately regret it?

In the words of the band Smashmouth, 'Your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb'. Do I manage an academic program at a prolific public university? Maybe, maybe not. Am I technically pretty smart? In certain contexts, sure. Am I a big dumb idiot sometimes? Yup. But hey, I haven't died yet! None of us have! The world is big and scary and the oxygen in the air is literally causing your cells to slowly decay and eventually die, but if I've learned anything, it's that you can literally suck on a poisonous rock for months and still somehow not be instantly one-shotted.

My actual theory is that I have some sort of guardian looking out for me. Whether it's a ghost or a biblical angel with a thousand eyes and 14 wings or a really tired spectral hedgehog, there's basically no way that I am still alive without external (probably supernatural) influence. Or am I just an idiot? Don't answer that. Actually, I shouldn't fear death! Death should fear me. I am its successor. I am unto a god. (Knock on wood oh god oh geez)

Convert To Cerealism Today

Chief Culinary Correspondent Jenna Hay

Oh, I'm sorry, we're you expecting an emotionally mature and intellectually riveting article from
me after a 6-month hiatus? Prepare to be disappointed, but also ecstatic, because I'm here with
something better. I'm here to share the good word about cereal.

I love cereal. I'm a girl who can get down on a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch when I'm living
careless and free. Or maybe Special K when I'm watching my athlete's figure. Or Raisin Bran
when I'm staying at a La Quinta. I'm an aficionado of cereals, but not just because they "taste
good." Don't simplify my obsessions. Don't assume you understand. Have you even considered
the cultural bridges or historical significance cereal represents? Have you even THOUGHT about
that?!? Because I HAVE! I think about it ALL THE TIME!!

Now that I've established my credibility in the field, let me tell you why you should care.

Cereal is reminiscent of our evolutionary roots. In this advanced age of technology, eating
cereal is one of the few experiences that still connect us to our hunter and gatherer origins. The
action of sweeping through milk to find viable food product? Nearly identical to picking berries
from a thicket, or digging through dirt to find a potato, or harvesting fish spawn from a
riverbank. Eating cereal connects us, in so many ways, to the Neanderthals we call our great-
great-great-great-great-great-great-great-super great grandparents. And don't you want to
know more about them? You have their nose.

If not for the respect of your ancestors, cereal should demand your acknowledgement because
of its nutritional efficiency. It's one of the few meals that hydrates you while feeding you (with
the exception of Gusher's fruit snacks, obviously. And probably most raw fruits and vegetables.
But those aren't "meals," they're food items, and therefore a totally different category and we
just don't have time for both lectures today).

If I have yet to persuade you of cereal's worth, maybe a small, personal testimony will. I'm
being very vulnerable in sharing this. My elementary school hosted an annual Field Day, which
was unquestionably the best day of the year because everyone skipped class to go outside and
enjoy some relay racin', water balloon tossin', water melon eatin', rope jumpin', and just a bunch
of good, old fashioned, all-American fun.

I was a chonker, so you best believe I wasn't recruited for the 100-yard dash or anything
remotely athletic. No sir, I was drafted to compete in the most sedate, most Zen relay of them
all - the egg relay. Children line up and, with a spoon in their hand and an egg in the spoon,
they must walk blindfolded from point A to point B without dropping the egg. To be successful
takes focus, balance, body awareness, speed, grace, attractiveness, and honestly, I'm confused
why this sport isn't in the Olympics yet.

Now I didn't have much going for me in fifth grade besides my perfect grades and my flowery
stretch pants, so I had no doubt I'd crash and burn in this relay. The whistle was blown. I began
to blindly navigate the terrain, wandering timidly toward the sound of my cheering teammates,
and soon I became fearful. It was so dark and lonesome under my bandana blindfold. The metal
of the spoon was so alien, so cold.

On the brink of a panic attack, I thrust my consciousness into the happiest place I could think of,
and suddenly I was back in my kitchen, eating cereal. I could feel the sensation of my spoon
weaving its way through milk and corn flakes and in that moment, I felt that the spoon and I
were one. I knew that I was a concave piece of metal just as certainly as I knew that the spoon
was a chubby, freckle-faced, stretchy-pants-wearing 9-year old. All at once my chakras aligned,
my consciousness returned to the relay race, and in an induced Avatar state, I sprinted to the
finish line, the egg completely stable in my spoon, or rather, my hand. And I didn't stop. I just
kept sprinting, blindfolded, into oblivion, toward my destiny, through my front door, into my
living room and onto the couch, where I spent the rest of the afternoon wearing my blindfold,
still lonesome, but much warmer and safer. The end.

Folks, it's in black and white. Cereal is manna from heaven drenched in milk. In my time of
greatest need, cereal saved me. It can save you, too. And it's come to my attention that the
good word about cereal, well, it ain't gonna spread itself.

I won't live forever, but maybe you will. This is a call to action. I ran blindly so you can run with
your eyes open. With knowledge comes power, and with power comes responsibility, and with
responsibility comes expectations. I expect you to expand cereal's influence. I expect you to do
this despite your current obligations. I expect you to do this despite your dietary restrictions. I
expect you to do this even if it means your wife leaves you, your kids hate you, or you have to
declare bankruptcy and sell the farm. I expect you to do this.

But how, Jenna?? How can we expand cereal's influence??

Easy. We make more of it. As lore has it, we are commanded to be fruitful and multiply, and
that includes Froot Loops. We must make more cereals. What cereal is the world waiting on
that has yet to be created? What foods have we been engaging with and failing to wonder how
they would taste drenched in milk?

Before we get ahead of ourselves and imagine a bunch of RIDICULOUSLY STUPID cereals, let us
first ask: what makes a good potential cereal? After praying about it and shaking my fists at the
sky while screaming, I concluded that to be considered potential cereal, a food must follow
these commandments:

  • Be able to be served in a container full of milk
  • Be safely served cold (EX: Corn, yes. Raw egg, no.)
  • Leave behind a beverage reminiscent of itself (EX: Cocoa Puffs chocolate milk)
  • Must not immediately disintegrate or mix with milk on contact (EX: balsamic vinegar would not be good cereal)

Now, I'm the kind of noble leader who will roll up their sleeves and dive into the work alongside
my subordinates, so before I ask my newfound brethren to go through the work of vetting food
items and welcoming them into the cereal sphere, it only makes sense that I do the work

I will impartially and objectively offer you this excerpt from my diary, a list of foods, in hopes of tantalizing your thoughts, sparking curiosity within your palette, and making you ask yourself the only important question: "would the world be a better place if I put this in a bowl of milk?"

  1. Flamin' Cheetos - this could work but only if we ate it fast. We can call them Cheeto-O's.
  2. Mashed potatoes - the melted version of dipping fries in a milkshake, so based on logic, this should work and people should like it.
  3. Lindor truffles (unwrapped) - people who enjoy Moose Tracks ice cream or chocolate chip cookie dough will be a fan of Lindor Truffle cereal because they could get the same satisfaction of fishing a prize out of the milky abyss.

My list is a significant start, but the lord's work is never done. I must rest now, and you must
take over. To help you share my burden, I'll send you off with a second list of foods I've
brainstormed, to get you on your way to becoming a loyal, effective cereal evangelist.

  1. Blueberries?

Okay that's enough. I don't want to give you all the answers. Teach a man to fish and all that
jazz. Good luck out there my beautiful corn flakes. I want that report on my desk by tomorrow.

Rating Songs on Spotify's "Jazz in the Background" Playlist by Their Ability to Prevent Panic Attacks

Chief Jizz Correspondent Matt Spradling (That's Canonically What Jazz Is Called In The Star Wars Universe)

This may seem like an outlandishly niche article that no one would ever actually need, which, granted, is the kairos of just a whole bunch of Newsletter articles. But if you think this, then get ready to get up, take a slow walk to whichever bathroom in your dwelling is furthest away from you, take a deep gander at your face in the dirty mirror, and tell yourself out loud that you are wrong and should probably start giving the Newsletter more credit, trust, and money.

In fact, this article is relevant to the most important person imaginable: your hypothetical future self. How much time and energy do you spend investing in that freeloader? Eat vegetables? Open up a 401K with your job and then never think about it again? Drunk-purchase yourself The Black Cauldron on DVD? You care about Future You a lot.

You may be thinking, that's all true and smart and clever, but I still find it highly improbable that Future Me will need this. Honestly, you're right. But there are a few timelines out of the possible thousands in your near/medium-well future that go something like this:

  • You live in an apartment because you're not rich (likely)
  • You get trapped inside of this apartment for long, long periods because of global catastrophe (super unlikely right)
  • You draw a short straw in the neighbor lottery and are stuck listening to excessive music and/or dog barking day in, day out (unlikely)
  • You draw another short straw in the neighbor lottery and are stuck listening to yet a second source of excessive music and/or dog barking day in, day out, now with the added dread of confrontation associated from when you tried to do something about it previously (unlikely)
  • This strongly exacerbates an already existing urge to find a house to rent instead of an apartment by hook or by crook to experience the quiet, private, non-shambolic life afforded by not sharing walls with strangers (likely)
  • This leads you to jump at the first affordable house you're able to sniff out and sign for it whilst missing numerous red flags because you're desperate, have no house-renting experience, and have never lived in other areas of the city (moderately likely)
  • You draw a short straw in the neighbor lottery and are stuck listening to excessive music, construction noise despite there being no construction, and several dogs barking outside day in, day out and maybe even giving you fun bites on the way to the bus stop (starting to seem slightly more likely)
  • These and several other factors push you just about to your breaking point, driving you to figure out how breaking a lease works, talking your landlord into it, and finding a nicer, safer, newly renovated apartment to move into (likely)
  • The move goes well and everything is magical and nothing hurts. Turns out things have a sort of shine to them when they haven't been used by a dozen different people across two decades. The courtyard outside is peaceful. The weather is fair. (moderately likely)
  • You draw two and a half short straws in the neighbor lottery and are stuck listening to excessive music and dog barking day in, day out (at this point apparently super likely)
  • Perhaps exacerbated by general underlying anxiety, you are now conditioned to enter a state of catatonic panic when subjected to prolonged neighbor noise which results in you being a dysfunctional hermit most days who seldom leaves the bedroom and is more or less able to keep some form of headphones on 24/7 at the risk of increasing hearing damage and untethering from reality (moderately likely)

See? It's so common. Doctor Strange can't kick a rock without hitting that timeline. And when - when - it happens, you'll come crawling back to the Newsletter, the one lifeline you can remember that might understand, that might have answers. You'll look up and shout, save us, and I'll look down and whisper, Chili's blah blah have you heard of this band blah I'm so quirky blah blah.

Deep In A Dream, LaSalle Street Trio - Bad. The brushing percussion is constant enough to just about drown out the large amounts of blank space, but also kind of grating on its own. I have noted "background voice makes me feel like I'm hearing the exact thing I'm trying to escape" but upon relistening I can't find this background talking. Either it's there and therefore the song is bad, or it's not there and therefore the song is bad for clearly not keeping me from going insane. I feel this is harsh but fair.

My Romance, Ballroom Jazz Collective - Good. The sax in general is a great instrument for blocking out noise, and as used in this song, it kind of drags you along for the ride with it. It's hard to focus on anything else, and yet is not overstimulating.

You've Changed, Keith Jarrett Trio - Bad. Generally quiet and has a lot of piano, which is bad at blocking out noise. Has background voices of people seemingly drunkenly singing along, then ends with a ton of blank space as well as applause which somehow feels like it is mocking me.

All the Stars, Franklin Trio - Good. The rolling snare is so constant it's essentially pink noise, which is the best noise for blocking other noise. Everybody only ever talks about white noise. I can tell you which room every neighbor is in while listening to white noise.

Blue Moon, Andy Goodman - Bad. It's got sax, but still just enough blank space to make you uneasy. Also it's a little annoying, frankly, but it can be good to focus your dread on something else for a few minutes.

It Might As Well Be Spring, Bill Evans Trio - Bad. It's okay, I even kind of like it, but it's just too quiet in pretty much every way. Man there are a lot of jazz trios. What's up with that?

All My Tomorrows, Keith Jarret Trio - Good. Slightly too mixed, some quiet, some loud, and a little background voice even, but it's pleasant, varied, and the applause at the end actually means it. You're hiding in bed so good!

Garnier Fructis Style Curl Shape Defining Spray Gel - Good. This isn't a song on the playlist, this is the hair spray/gel stuff that Sam has that I borrowed instead of the cream pudding stuff that I've been using for years and boy howdy is it way better. I'm so dumb at hair. It kind of gives it shape and keeps the bushiness down without being all hard and authoritarian about it? Good stuff. Great stuff.

Goodbye Mr. Evans, Bill Charlap Trio, Scott Colley, Dennis Mackrel - Good. A trio within a trio? Are you kidding? But it's nice and noisy, perhaps thanks to having... five? five? people. Also has the best album art. Look at that - maybe high-risk/high-reward in the context of assuaging a panic attack, but I for one like it.

Birthday, The Beatles - Bad. This is just on the white album? Have you heard about this? Did you know about this?

I'm Old Fashioned, Andreas Gidlund - Good. Solid sax. Made me say "that's showbiz, baby" to my cat.

The End Of A Love Affair, Cedar Wright - Good. Jaunty, although it does remind me of the end of my sanity. What is up with the title anyway? This song is very relaxed and pleasant for not the happiest idea.

Midnight Midtown, Nordic Swing - Good. A little too much blank space for comfort but the sax again makes up for this by going HAM. Makes you feel like a cool noir detective, who may just have the downtrodden fortitude to withstand the noise of the city. This damn city.

Should this have been my goal all along? To not merely mask and evade the maddening noise, but to figure out how to accept it? To stop fighting against the external threat and instead adjust the internal reaction?

I guess there's only one way to find out.

Join us next week for: I WAS WRONG HIDE IT'S BAD

The Gang Gets Arrested

Chief Slack Correspondent Alex Speed et al.

Train Under Water - Bright Eyes

No one will ever ask me this question but the hill I continue to be willing to die on is that Conor Oberst is the greatest American songwriter, and the entire album I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning is probably the best single argument for this. This is just a track five where most albums would start to get a little filler-y, and at first it doesn't seem to quite have all the swagger and connection of some of the bigger hits, but then it goes places, and then continues to go places until you're writing about it in public.  -Matt

Dreams - The Cranberries

Did anybody have a phase where they got really into The Cranberries when they were 18 or was that just me? Either way it's still relatable.  -Marina

Give Me Love - George Harrison

My article last week was all about the Beatles doc so naturally I have included a song from a Beatle post-Beatles. George had the funnest, goofiest, most spiritual, most friends-with-Tom-Petty career of all The Beatles. This song is a perfect mesh of what his solo career was. Excellent songs with some wildly good piano parts and arrangement. Constantly a surprise, but not the scary bad kind.  -Alex

Now It's Dark - Tuxedomoon, Cult With No Name

This album sounds like Jonny Greenwood and Mort Garson joined Portishead to make a jazz album.  -Matt

You're Dead - Norma Tanega

Just an upbeat and optimistic tune, better known as the What We Do In The Shadows theme song. I love folk music so much.  -Marina

Ooh La La - Faces

Hey so I know I did this song last week, I just think it's really good. It is the exact feeling of getting your hopes up for something and then that something breaks your heart so you get into baking to cope and it turns out you're the best baker of all time. It's the feeling of stumbling gracefully between weird bad situations and how the fuck did they put that feeling into a song?  -Alex

Let It Be - Take 28 - The Beatles

Okay look. I understand that if you're going to choose a Beatles song, this is one of the most basic ones you could land on, but watching Get Back gave me a new appreciation for Paul and how he could just drop something like this in the midst of all the chaos, and it really is beautiful. I do also want to take this opportunity to say Ringo is the best Beatle.  -Matt


Banners - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning - Zack Nipper for Bright Eyes

Amazon review - Zero Cool ft. Jeffery Bezos

Loh's actual art - actual art, she actually just does that I guess

Goodbye Mr. Evans, Bill Charlap Trio - goggle

Slack screenshot - taken without my written permission and I will be contacting HR about this once I invent our company's HR position this week

Join us next time for such hits as Why Do We Take Kids To Tour Apple Orchards Instead Of Factory Farms?