The Crush Letter No 133: 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,

Happy Halloween week end, Crushes. I snapped some ghoulish shots for you when I was cavorting around the Upper East Side in New York with my friend Nina last week. I am particularly partial to the severed foot. And couldn’t help but wonder whether the owner of that townhouse might have something of a foot fetish … I guess we’ll never know. Not that there’s anything wrong with that if s/he does, of course. Even if it is swollen feet, and clearly involves a saw. When it comes to kinks we’re a judgment free zone here at The Crush Letter.

This is our once a month(ish) DEVOUR Letter, where Contributing Editor Lisa Ellex and I pull together our picks of things to do, read, watch, etc. A few months back we started adding Reader contributions, and you guys have really stepped it up. So we’re starting with those. It’s so fun to read what turns you on, Crushes, thanks for sharing. And as far as our (Lisa and my) recommendations go, I just want to inquire — which other newsletter that you’re reading is going to tell you that you should really get a bidet? See. We’re fearless here. We go where others won’t.

One more plug for those of you watching The Golden Bachelor to share your thoughts. I am one episode behind myself, but I see from the headlines that Gerry is down to his final three. If I’m going to pull myself together and write about the show, I better get my act together stat. Honestly I don’t know if I’ll be able to. I swear to god I CANNOT. TAKE. ALL. THE. HEARTBREAK. Not his (from losing his wife). Not the women’s and all their respective losses. And then 21 of them (except the one he gives his final rose to) are losing Gerry ON. TOP. OF. WHAT. THEY’VE. ALREADY. GONE. THRU. They’ve all fallen in love with Gerry, of course, because he is golden, and sensitive, and he really listens and then there’s the full head of hair and ALL THAT makes each and every one of them overlook the fact that he made them compete in a talent show in order to win his love. (Frankly, I am utterly talentless (other than my ability to misplace more personal items in a week than anyone else could in a lifetime, which is my superpower) and would have dropped out right then and there when they announced the talent show.)

It is as if every single broken heart bumps up against a tender bruise. I am a wreck over the show. You know how if you have a bad break-up sometimes you want to take some time off before you start dating again because you just can’t handle it? That’s how I feel about my dating life while watching this show. Like I can’t actually handle dating and, at the same time, live through all the heartbreak on the show. I need spaaaaace. Last week a nice guy asked me out on a date by text “Hey, want to have dinner?” and I scribbled out “I’m sorry but I can’t handle dating until The Golden Bachelor is over.” But then — thank god — I deleted it before I sent it and just replied “Thanks! Actually I’m out of town.” Which in some sense is definitely, obviously true.

But if you are handling it better than I am — and frankly, you probably are, and even if you aren’t — please tell me your thoughts on the show. Thanks so much.

Song of the Week. I was separated from my beloved dog Ricky while I was cavorting about Manhattan in October. We’re back together, thank god. But that explains the Song of the Week, which is John Hiatt’s tribute to his canine.

And here’s a photo of my dearest, taken this summer while we were spooning in the early morning hours on a friend’s lovely summer terrace. Notice that she is flat-out asleep and not, for instance, protecting me from foxes. Isn’t she beautiful though?

In This Letter. +DEVOUR What to do, read, watch, listen to & know about this week. +Our Song of the Week Then she gives me that look like she’d lay down her life

DEVOUR {things to watch, read & listen to}

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

From Susie*: Listen. Bad Dates Podcast & Normal Gossip Podcast 

Bad Dates affirms that everyone, no matter how beautiful or famous, has had weird, uncomfortable or awkward stuff happen on a date. And we all overlook a lot of behavior because we want to be loved or have sex (or both). It’s a funny reminder (especially as I embark on dating in midlife) that even if it’s bad, it’s still a good story.

Normal Gossip is just good fun. The host shares a story from “a friend of a friend” with a guest on each episode, and the two discuss. These are not juicy tabloid fodder; they are everyday situations that have plot twists and recognizable characters from most of our lives. A frequent commenter in the Facebook group, a questionable dog owner, the hot guy from the farmers market. It’s just fun and light, and sometimes that’s what you need.”

From "Andrew": Listen. To Lucinda Williams on Tour!

My daughter and I saw Lucinda Williams last weekend in St. Louis (I was visiting her at WashU). Williams had a stroke last year and has been physically compromised but I want her die-hard fans to know that she still sings and talks very well. It is one of the bravest performances I have ever seen. She is currently touring, so if you want to be deeply inspired and moved, by her music as well as her performance, go see her. You can check out her tour schedule here.

Listen to her new album here

From "Steve": Watch. Old Dads (Netflix)

If you like Bill Burr, watch Old Dads. It's about a middle-aged Dad and his two best friends, based on Burr’s own experience being an older father. (If you don’t like Burr don’t bother.)

Edouard Manet, Olympia (1863). Collection of Musee D'Orsay.

From Diane: Read. What Makes ‘Olympia’ So Astoundingly Modern?

If you saw the Manet/Degas exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, or even if you didn’t, you might enjoy this article about why Manet’s painting Olympia is considered the star of the exhibit.

What Makes ‘Olympia’ So Astoundingly Modern? Here Are 3 Things That Help Unlock Manet’s Enigmatic Canvas | Artnet News
‘Olympia’, Manet’s ’scandalous 1863 painting of a courtesan and her maid is on view in New York for the first time.

Do. Consider taking up (or working on your ) art this winter! I enrolled in a well-known online class, Gregory’s Sketchbook Skool, and it’s fabulous. It is a very well-thought-out, structured online program for furthering anyone’s interest area for art. I took the watercolor class, but there are a wide variety of classes, from drawing to colored pencils to “being an iPad artist.” And it is not just classes, there are a lot of resources, plus you are part of a community. Depending on what you want, you can include “studio time” on Zoom where you work on your art alongside other students and a professor and have the opportunity to ask questions as you work. It’s very cool.

Playing in my sketchbook Skok studio class. This drawing is a riff of a tiny drawing I saw somewhere?

From "Allison": Watch. Lincoln Lawyer (Netflix)

I wanted to share a Netflix recommendation: Lincoln Lawyer. The trial part is improbable (like every TV law show) but the storyline is amazing. The characters are great and the crime unfolds with such unexpected twists and turns - my husband and I binged the first season together. I am an attorney and he is not, but he liked it as much as I did.

Thank you to the CRUSH Readers who sent in DEVOUR recommendations. If you've devoured something you loved, please let us know!

And now for some recommendations from Lisa Ellex and me.

Watch. Zero Gravity on Amazon Prime. A Gentle Genius. In the opening of the three-part docuseries, Zero Gravity, the voice of composer, bandleader, and saxophone great, Wayne Shorter, is heard saying, “There are two great events in one’s life; one is being born, the other is knowing why.”  There is no doubt that Shorter was born to make music, and his music is divine. Before his passing in March of this year, Shorter created a legacy that included over 100 recordings, contributions to Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Miles Davis’ Second Quintet, Horace Silver, and his own fusion band, Weather Report. Eight years in the making, the docuseries features an illustrious list of musicians including Herbie Hancock, Joni Mitchell, Sonny Rollins, and Carlos Santana, who come together to celebrate the man who has been called the greatest improviser of the soprano and tenor saxophone. With a sound that is complex and mystical, Shorter will forever remain one of music’s greatest contributors to the jazz, bop, post-bop, and fusion eras.

Get. The Toto Washlet C5 Seat. Please be seated. Invented in 1710 by French craftsman Christophe des Rosiers, the bidet is finally finding its way into more U.S. households. Though mainstream in France, Japan, Italy, and Portugal, Americans are beginning to enjoy the benefits of a beautifully buffed booty. Want Santa to leave a bidet seat under your Christmas tree this year? Read all about it:

This Pricey Bidet Is an Investment We Can Get Behind (It’s Been Our Pick for 7 Years!)
This bidet offers an experience most people agree is excellent, whether they’ve used one for years or are totally new to it.

Listen. The Love Commandos. Prisoner of Love. A 5-episode NPR series that follows Indian newlyweds who ran away with their “love mates” after refusing to enter arranged marriages.  Told that “love marriage” is a selfish act punishable by imprisonment, these newlyweds seek the shelter of “The Love Commandos” after being cut off by their families. The Commandos bring the newlyweds to a safe house where they can safely celebrate their marriage, but are the Commandos comrades or kidnappers?

He was hailed as a crusader for love. Now he’s accused of being a villain
Sanjoy Sachdev was lauded as India’s cupid. But Sachdev and his group have became villains in the eyes of many of the people they promised to help.

Read. Now’s Your Chance to Read These Riveting Books Bound for the Small Screen.

Big Swiss - Beagin, Jen

Big Swiss by Jen Beagin is a very offbeat love story / an anti-trauma screed / dark comedy and highly original novel about one woman (a little lost) who transcribes the sessions for a sex therapist, then falls in love with one of the patients but continues to transcribe her sessions anyway. It is exceptionally well-written, though self-consciously clever at times. It was the subject of a bidding war for screen rights. It will be starring Jodie Comer as the title character, in what is certainly the most perfect get by the casting director. Every bit worth the hype. Capote's Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song  for an Era (Audible Audio Edition): Laurence Leamer, Carrington MacDuffie,  Penguin Audio: Audible Books & Originals

Capote’s Women by Laurence Leamer is an eye-opening nonfiction exhortation on Truman Capote’s real-life swans (headline: they’re all f*cked up) - and his cold-blooded betrayal of them. The book is the basis for an upcoming FX series Feud: Capote vs. The Swans and the cast includes a fabulous roster: Tom Hollander, Naomi Watts, Chloe Sevigny and Diane Lane.

Listen. BONNET by John Patrick Shanley. Radio Days… The new season of NPR’s outstanding radio play series, Playing On Air, is in full swing, bringing works by playwrights Amanda Quaid, James McLindon, David Ives, and others. The latest episode, Bonnet, by playwright John Patrick Shanley (Moonstruck, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea) features actors John Turturro and Debra Messing as a married couple hoping to heat up what’s been cooled down in the bedroom.  Hilarious and touching, you can listen by clicking the image above or wherever you get your podcasts.

Listen. Champian Fulton's New Album, Meet Me At Birdland. Live from New York, it’s… It’s finally here and it’s up for Grammy consideration! Champian Fulton’s Meet Me at Birdland is her latest release, recorded live at one of New York’s finest jazz rooms.  I’ll take a live jazz recording over a studio-produced recording anyday, as it delivers the energy, excitement, and communion of the form in the best possible way. As always, Fulton’s style embodies singer/pianists of days gone by. Listening to her perform the chestnuts on this record one might feel as if they’re sitting in a small, smoky club in 1950, especially on “Just Friends” and “I’ve Got A Crush On You,” though each cut is a gem. Fulton is joined by her bandmates of twenty years, bassist Hide Tanaka and drummer Fukushi Tainaka who make their usual magic with Fulton, but especially on their hypnotic rendition of  “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most.”  Available on CD and limited edition vinyl, be sure to add this new release to your collection. 

HIGH KICKS - playlist by Block Shop Textiles | Spotify

Listen. The Perfect Playlist for Your Next Dinner Party: HIGH KICKS By Block Shop Textiles. Boy, do I love a great playlist. And there are fewer out there than you’d think. Yeah, everybody can do a playlist. It’s a beautifully democratic enterprise, and for that I’m grateful. But doing one well? That’s an art.

Playlists for dinner parties are even trickier because you want upbeat, but you want to be able to converse too. And you want to hit a few moods. You want to start warm and frisky (but not overpowering) when your guests arrive, so they are stepping into something lively. Then you want to lower it A LOT to create much more of a background ambience. In a perfect world, I turn the music off in the dining room for the dinner but leave it on for the kitchen, living room and hallways so people can hear it when they hit the bathrooms and on their way home.

HIGH KICKS is a great playlist for a casual dinner party, especially something where it is indoor/outdoor or people are grabbing food from a buffet and mixing throughout. I have a friend with a dynamite outdoor pizza grill game who often entertains very casually around that. This is her playlist. Or yours, perhaps.

Read. Genealogy of a Murder by Lisa Belkin. Bad Blood. Is murder in our genes? Award-winning journalist Lisa Belkin (New York Times) has written a true-crime work that answers this question as she followed the stories of three families through four generations.  Ten years in the works, the real life story examines how we become what we become – and what changes life’s trajectories – reminding us that there are no accidents.

Read/Listen. Hello, hello…? After losing his cousin in Japan’s 2010 tsunami, Itaru Sasaki created a public “Wind Phone” where he and his neighbors could talk to lost loved ones. With no operating phone connection, Wind Phones have popped up in the U.S., Europe, and Canada and have proved to be an effective bereavement tool, connecting those who grieve with those who have passed. Listen or read about it here and then visit The Original Phone of the Wind to learn about wind phone sites in other locations.

Lost loved ones are just a dial away
Wind phones provide a line to help people cope with the loss of a loved one. They’re not attached to a physical phone line. They can be rotary phones or portable phones. The phones are not in service. And no one is talking back on the other end. The movement that started in Japan has made its way to…

Listen/Read. The Rhythm Method. Ever wonder what musicians and the male palm cockatoo have in common? They both know how to get the chicks! Scientists in ? have discovered a Male Palm Cockatoo drumming mating ritual in which the male bird walks out on a tree limb, plucks a branch, forges it into a drumstick, and plays a rhythm that will attract a mate.  Proving, there’s more than one way to woo a cockatoo!

To woo a cockatoo, scientists find having your own drumsticks and rhythm is key

“If music be the food of " love…”
Read. The Enchanted Symphony
Written by the mother-daughter team of Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, and illustrated by Elly MacKay, the story is inspired by the June 2020 closing of Barcelona’s Liceu Opera House in the midst of Covid.  In this enchanting story, a town is besieged by a mysterious fog until the young son of the village maestro discovers how to stir the souls of the villagers. The book makes a wonderful children’s holiday gift to help navigate these turbulent times.

The Enchanted Symphony

Then listen to Julie Andrews and her daughter talk about the events that inspired the book and the important themes of nature, arts, family, and community here.

Song Of The Week

My Dog and Me by John Hiatt

Listen to his 2014 live performance here

Happy Halloween, kids.

Dish Stanley XO,

DEVOUR {things to watch, read, and 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
Dish Stanley’s Rules for Polite Society
New York Magazine never reached out to ask Dish to share her etiquette tips for their series. But the fall social season is in full swing. And who else is going to tell you that offering lube is just plain polite? And to remind you not to be a picky
How One Group of Men Does A Good Book Club. And the Books They’ve Liked Best. By Dish Stanley
There’s been a lot of attention the last few years on men, loneliness and suicide rates, particularly for those in midlife and beyond. In one of our first Crush Letters I wrote about that in Don’t Touch My Hat: Men, Friendship & Loneliness. When I spend time with male
Geopolitical Conversations with my Father. By Dish Stanley
I joked recently with a friend who had learned Minecraft in order to hang out with his teenage son that when your parents reach a certain age you revert to a similar strategy. The best way to stay close is to dive into whatever it is they do. Geopolitics has

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The Crush Letter
The Crush Letter is a weekly newsletter from Dish Stanley curating articles & intelligence on everything love & connection - friendship, romance, self-love, sex. If you’d like to take a look at some of our best stories go to Read Us. Want the Dish?


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