The Crush Letter No 128: What to DEVOUR

. 16 min read

I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about life, love, and culture for those 50+. Because midlife and beyond is so much hotter than they said it would be.  Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.


Hello Crush,

Good Morning, CRUSHes. Thanks for being here on this early fall Saturday morning.

We're DEVOURing. It worked out so well for our last DEVOUR Letter that, for a second month in a row, we are publishing CRUSH Reader recommendations on what to do, read, watch & listen to at the top of the heap below. Thanks to Mike, SVB, kt, Mark, Sara, Lisel, Peter, Stephanie and Sam. That's some really good shit there. I'm going to be eating it up.

And you really saved my ass this week by sharing your suggestions because at this very moment (while you're reading this), I am unpacking boxes and arranging delivery of the dining room table to my apartment, which has been under construction all summer. It's been a hectic week, and while I didn't get my act fully together, you did, CRUSHes. And so did Lisa Ellex, Contributing Editor for the DEVOUR Letter (as she always does). Thank you.

Gimme Shelter. Meanwhile, if this clip didn't come across your feed this week, it'll make your day. It's from the great documentary 20 Feet from Stardom, and it's of Merry Clayton telling us about trying out to be a back-up singer for the Rolling Stones for their 1969 album Let It Bleed ... let's just say, she blows the Stones out of the water with her haunting vocals. Listen to the clip here. Watch the excellent 2013 documentary on background singers 20 Feet  from Stardom on Hulu or Prime Video. Maybe this week end?

Listen here.

I feel deep into Henri Cartier-Bresson photography this week. Picked out some of my favorite ones for you that depict love – romantic love, friendship love, dog love (one capturing all of the above). And that makes up all of our Social Media I Loved This Week.

Don't you feel like a kid, seeing this? Wheee!

Have fun!


If you're new here (welcome!), I'm Dish, the Master of Ceremonies. For more about me and why we're here go here.


In This Letter. +DEVOUR What to do, read, watch, listen to & know about this week.  +Social Media I Loved This Week By Dish Stanley    +Our Song of the Week


DEVOUR {things to watch, read & listen to}

In our monthly DEVOUR column, we share all the things we think you should eat up.

From Mike: Watch. Formula One: Drive to Survive (Netflix)

"I don’t think I saw this in DEVOUR when Season 1 originally came out in 2019, but this wildly popular Netflix show about the fast-paced and fascinating people who make up the world of Formula One racing is up to five seasons now for a reason. It’s surprising and engrossing, and I knew nothing about F1 racing before it started. A sixth season is on its way, so this is a good time for anybody who overlooked this series to catch up."


From SVB: Watch. Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story

"This is more than just entertaining, it is loosely based on Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, King George III’s wife. He reigned for over 50 years and had real mental health issues that the series addresses intelligently. It develps a story around why she was the way she was, and how women take charge of their lives when they are constrained by society. It’s an argument against a victim mentality, and toward agency. I had a full, cathartic cry at the end."


From Mark: Read. Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention. By Johann Hari


"We really sort of know that social media (and modern life) have invaded our minds to such an extent that we can’t pay attention, but having all the research in front of you is really powerful. Hari makes the case for why we have lost our focus, and why and how to get it back. Reading it is the first step in beginning to pay attention.


From Sara: Watch. Tetris (Apple TV+)

"It's a biographical thriller based on the true story around the race to license and patent the video game Tetris from Russia in the late 1980s during the Cold War. Has major Bill Brodeur vibes. Exciting and fascinating."

From Peter: Watch. Arnold (Netflix)

"I swear to god this biopic on Arnold Schwarzenegger is really good. It is a true American immigrant story, as Arnold goes from being an Austrian bodybuilder, to a Hollywood actor to an eight-year term Governor of California, our largest state (by population). Oh, and meanwhile, he married Maria Shriver (and into America’s political dynasty) but then fathers a child with their housekeeper. It is sort of a lay-up in the sense that Arnold obviously wouldn’t have participated if the series did not make him likable despite his obvious flaws, but his life and personality are astonishing. And it’s an “only in America” story of rags to riches."


From Sam: Read. 2034: A Novel of the Next World War By Elliott Ackerman and Admiral James Stavridis


"This is a geopolitical thriller about the (imagined) next world war written by two former military officers. It constructs an imaginative but believable story about the Chinese maneuvering to draw the United States into a confrontation for control over the South China Seas. While the U.S. focuses on the China threat, Russia unleashes technological warfare on us. Ackerman and Stavridis both have extensive military and policy backgrounds, and a central theme of 2034 is the overextension of American power and an outsized reliance on twentieth century grand strategy principles."


By Lisel: Watch. Foundation (Apple TV+)

"I’m not a big sci-fi fan generally, but I’m really into this series. Based on novels by Isaac Asimov, it builds a world of exiles living in space who are trying to save humanity. Both cerebral and exciting."


From Stephanie: Listen. 235. Tracee Ellis Ross - We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle.

‎We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle: 167. Tracee Ellis Ross: How to Make Peace in Your Own Head on Apple Podcasts
‎Show We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle, Ep 167. Tracee Ellis Ross: How to Make Peace in Your Own Head - Jan 9, 2023

"How to Make Peace in Your Own Head," is the name of this episode, which is one of the most popular episodes of all time for this series. I am not the daughter of a wildly famous person, nor am I a childless woman who never married, yet I could relate to Tracee Ellis Ross's story of not fitting into any archetype. She has done a lot of hard work to carve out her own thoughtful way to be in this world, and the fact that she has done it in the shadows of a superstar Mom (Diana Ross) only makes the peace she has found all the more inspirational and impressive. She is original, thoughtful and in inspiration to all of us trying to find a life lived true to ourselves.

Thank you to all the CRUSH Readers who sent in DEVOUR recommendations. If you've devoured something you loved, please share it with us! You can write me directly at Dish@PrimeCrush.com, or use the easy link below.

Listen. Huberman Lab, a wonky podcast series on mental, physical, emotional and sexual health. Huberman's podcast dives deep (and I mean really, really deep) into specific topics that relate to various aspects of physical and mental well-being, with a focus on using science-based tools to improve everyday life. He asks, for instance, what do we really know, based on the science, about willpower or motivation or risk taking – or how to protect your hearing, or eyesight? And then he considers the related tools, both behavioral and technological. I'm really excited about a series he is doing this month with Dr. Paul Conti on mental health. It covers what it means to be mentally healthy, and what specific practices we can do to build our mental health: how to address your anxieties, build confidence, change your internal narrative, as well as ways to help with overthinking and defense mechanisms. It's a four-part series (with two of the four published so far), and just the first one alone is 3 hours and 40 minutes. This is serious stuff, CRUSHes and, to me, it's a thrilling and powerful series of conversations that are helpful for examining and, where it makes sense, reshaping thought and emotional and behavioral patterns.

Another recent episode with Dr. Rena Malik provides a deep dive into male and female sexual health, much of which is particularly relevant to us at this phase in our lives. Dr. Malik is illuminating on a range of health issues related to our sexual lives. Dr. Malik points out, for instance, that some men are surprised to learn that not breathing correctly (through the diaphram - exhale on the effort!) or certain weightlifting or abdominal routines can result in erectile dysfunction due to pressure on the pelvic floor and decreasing blood flow (this is at 29:00). Again, it's wonky and very detail-oriented but also practical and helpful to both women and men. The episode also addresses arousal, testosterone, vaginal lubrication, prostate health, orgasms, and male and female hormone health.

‎Huberman Lab: GUEST SERIES | Dr. Paul Conti: How to Understand & Assess Your Mental Health on Apple Podcasts
‎Show Huberman Lab, Ep GUEST SERIES | Dr. Paul Conti: How to Understand & Assess Your Mental Health - Sep 6, 2023
‎Huberman Lab: Dr. Rena Malik: Improving Sexual & Urological Health in Males and Females on Apple Podcasts
‎Show Huberman Lab, Ep Dr. Rena Malik: Improving Sexual & Urological Health in Males and Females - Aug 14, 2023

Follow. Jefferson Fisher "I help people argue less." I started following this personal injury lawyer (yes, he's a personal injury lawyer in Southeast Texas!) in 2022 when his Instagram had about 200k followers. He's up to 2.7M now. He gives short, helpful takes on how to handle a range of ordinary, everyday often awkward interactions. He provides advice that helps you walk the fine line between firmly and honestly holding your own, while respectfully addressing the other person. He just dropped what is probably my favorite one The Right Way to Accept A Compliment. His advice is so obvious, but I am frequently shocked about how none of us do it: Just say "thank you" and tell them how it made you feel, or what it means to you ("that means a lot to me"). Don't downplay, dismiss or deflect the compliment by saying, for instance "this old thing?" or "I wasn't that good." That would actually be negating the thoughts and opinions of the compliment giver, which is not a great way to make them feel.

Another particularly helpful one for me is How to Diffuse An Argument. Fisher suggests that if somebody is adamant about something, you simply respond with "maybe you're right." Especially for something subjective, instead of planting your feet and making it worse, simply indicate that you're considering the possibility that they may be right, which is what they really want. And also, maybe they are, in fact, correct. I also appreciate his advice in the clip What to Say When Someone Asks What's Wrong? If you're not ready to talk about it or not settled in your thoughts about it, he says instead of answering with "nothing" say, "I'm not sure yet. Thanks for asking.'" Soooo much better than "nothing," when that's not actually true.

Watch/Listen. Talking Sopranos Podcast

A new generation of audience has discovered the ground-breaking HBO series, The Sopranos, and they can’t seem to get enough.  From 1999 to 2007, creator and head writer David Chase presented a total of 86 hour-long episodes that focused on the home and work life of fictional New Jersey capo dei capi Tony Soprano. With 111 Emmy nominations and 21 wins, the cinematic series enjoyed critical acclaim.

Enter Talking Sopranos Podcast, the weekly one-hour re-watch podcast hosted by Sopranos cast members Michael Imperioli (Chris Moltisanti) and Steve Schirripa (Bobby Baccala). Launched during Covid and recorded in 2020 and 2021, the podcast covers all 86 episodes (6 seasons) and features guests like cast members Edie Falco, Lorraine Bracco, Aida Turturro, Frankie Valle, and Little Stevie Van Zandt, as well as directors, writers, and other creatives who offer behind-the-scenes stories (Bracco was offered the role of Carmela Soprano but turned it down and asked for the role of psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi).  In addition to being a gifted actor, Imperioli is a talented writer who penned several of the episodes in the series.  Here, he serves as dramaturg, schooling the audience in symbolism, historical and literary references, imagery, through-lines, recurring themes, and keeps a continuing discussion with Schirripa regarding the use of  violence.

Schirripa complements his co-host well, with amusing anecdotes and insightful questions of the guests.  The podcast is truly a course in the inner-workings of TV production and would be of special interest to anyone interested in dramatic writing.

When you’re done with the podcast, you can…

Read. Woke Up This Morning: The Definitive Oral History of The Sopranos

This oral history of the series is a must for any Sopranophile.


Listen. The leaves aren’t the only thing dropping this fall season. Check out these new jams to load onto your Fall Foliage Cruisin’ playlist:

Listen Here

“Lil Boo Thang” by Paul Russell - If you haven’t listened to Paul Russell yet, that’s about to change.  The MOR hip-hop/R&B leaning artist out of L.A. recently had his track, “Lil Boo Thang” hit 7.7 million views on Instagram with 75,000 other reels using it – even before his sample was cleared!  The sample? It’s the 1977 platinum hit, “Best of My Love” by the Emotions, composed by Maurice White and Al McKay of Earth, Wind & Fire. If this collab doesn’t get you up and dancing, get your pulse checked. Russell’s music is rhythmic and his lyrics are never explicit. In his own words, his sound is “happy and melodic” as exhibited in his summer 2023 single, “Touristy Places” with its undeniable California sound. This is good stuff you’ll enjoy, with or without the kids.



Veronica Swift - You’ve heard us sing her praises here before. Previewing her upcoming release, it’s safe to say that vocal dynamo Veronica Swift is the most versatile vocalist you will ever hear.  Growing up at her parent’s jazz gigs groomed her to become one of the most skillful jazz singers on the scene today, but as a teen Swift fantasized about singing with the Dresden Dolls. This year that dream came true when she briefly joined them on tour after coming off the road as a featured vocalist with trumpeter Chris Botti’s band.   Trained as a coloratura, Swift perfected her instrument to dizzying heights, as evidenced on this latest self-titled album, Veronica Swift, a “cross-genre” work that drops September 15th.  She’s already dropped two singles off the record. The first: is a kick-ass version of the song that has become the LGBTQ anthem, “I Am What I Am”.  In her own words, “My new single “I Am What I Am” is an unapologetic manifesto of taking pride in who you are.”

Then, in a hard 180, Swift delivers the next single, a Nine Inch Nails cover of “Closer.”  

Yes, indeed, Veronica Swift has something for everyone here. Don’t miss it.


How Love Begins by Nicole Zuraitis - Zuraitis’ latest album, How Love Begins, is a glorious labor of love. Each one of the ten original tunes (some co-written by Cyrille Aimee, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Claude Debussy) is a gem, no matter what the form. On “Burn,” “Well Planned, Well Played,” and the gorgeous “Reverie,” Zuraitis is joined by the masterful bassist Christian McBride, while holding it down on drums is her husband and talented musician, Dan Pugach.  How Love Begins is the richest of Zuraitis’ albums and my favorite works of hers yet.


Martina DaSilva - It’s been a busy summer for jazz chanteuse, composer, and arranger Martina DaSilva as she dropped two “double singles” just one month apart.

In July she brought us an arrangement of “That Old Black Magic'' that moves like a musical freight train, then slows it down with one of the most gorgeous songs about loss and longing,  “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.”

August’s release gave us Jobim’s bossa nova standard “Chega de Saudade,” which DaSilva delivers in the original Portuguese.  Followed by a delicious duet with vocalist Brigitaa Teuscher, that puts a new spin on the standard “Prisoner of Love.”

It seems like there’s nothing DaSilva can’t conquer– not only does she sing with the famed Post Modern Jukebox, but she makes her own gig clothes!


Low Ridin' by Chris Washburne (2015) - Not a new release but worth a listen, this 2015 instrumental offering from trombonist Chris Washburn is not your grandma’s muzak.  Here, Washburne reimagines the tunes you know and love, delivered in a Latin groove.. From Lou Reed’s “Walk On the Wild Side” to The Doors 1967 release, “Break On Through (To the Other Side),” you’ll be ticked by his imaginative arrangements of rock classics.

Watch. Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip Hop (Netflix)

Some of us have been celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop music all year but this docu-series shines the spotlight solely on the women in the hip hop industry and their contributions to the culture. Interviews with Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Latto, Saweetie and other artists, writers and industry experts candidly discuss misogyny and racism in this 4 part docuseries.

Read. The Invisible Hour by Alice Hoffman

Considered the mistress of American literature, the author of The Marriage of Opposites and the Practical Magic series brings us The Invisible Hour, a historical novel centered on a cult in which children are not allowed to read books or go to the library, and all contact with the outside world is forbidden. When Mia, the novel’s main character, finds Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, she travels back in time and falls in love with the revered author.

Social Media I Loved This Week

@HenriCartierBresson_

Song of the Week

Cape Cod by Anders Osborne

Thanks to CRUSH Reader kt for sending along this moody, wandering summer-inspired song. Still feeling it.

Listen Here

If you've got shit to share for next month's DEVOUR Letter, write me at Dish@PrimeCrush.com or hit this link.

And have a wonderful week!

Dish Stanley XO,
Dish

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