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How Do I Feel About A Midlife Crisis? Whatever.

Last spring, I celebrated my 50th birthday. Some might say I’ve finally reached capital-M Midlife, but I’ve always contended that Midlife started back when I turned 39. I mean, I harbor no unrealistic dreams of longevity, based solely on the amount of chemicals I put away in the ‘70s in the form of Tab, Bubble Yum and Pop Rocks. Then again, I’m a Gen-Xer, for whom dry-eyed pragmatism is a generational calling card. And it’s exactly that deeply ingrained bias against bullshit that I think means my cohort and I are going to totally rock middle age. Let me explain. At 46 million members, Gen X is small, wedged between some 80 million Baby Boomers and 78 million Millennials. We have classic middle child syndrome — ignored and overlooked and stuck between two hulking siblings who’ve taken up all the legroom and media attention on our 78-year road trip around the sun. Demographic shorthand for Americans born 1964-ish to 1980-ish says that most of our parents were divorced and distracted, leaving their latchkey offspring to …

10 Ways We Remember When Music Was a “Thing”

 Remember when music was a physical object — before it was just an ethereal file floating from one digital device to another? There were technical snafus, social mores and some heavy lifting that went along with the era of vinyl and magnetic tape. Herein, a few: 1. Using a pencil to fix an unraveling cassette tape. 2. Moving boxes and boxes of LPs from dorm room to apartment to apartment (Sorry, Dad.) 3. Merging record and CD collections with your partner. My rule: Do not merge until married. (And even then, Dave Matthews is never allowed to mingle) via GIPHY 4. Taping over someone else’s mixtape. The ultimate diss.  5. Using Scotch tape as a cassette-tape wonder tool. By taping over the little notches on top to record a mixtape over an unwanted cassette. 6. 8-Track Tapes And that satisfying sound of the 8-track tape clicking and connecting into its gears in your parents’ Buick Regal car radio. 7. When people actually cared about speakers. via GIPHY 8. Losing the 45 spider Aka that little …

A Stranger on the Road: A Syrian Woman Finds a New Home in Connecticut

It’s been a volatile time for refugees trying to get to America, especially since January 27 when Donald Trump signed an executive order banning entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries. But the judicial system’s fast reversal of the ban created a window of opportunity — and something of a roller coaster ride — for refugees who had been previously cleared for entry. Syrian refugee Fradh Alfaawri and her four children rode that roller coaster last week. The back story: Alfaawri escaped war-torn Syria in 2013 after her husband died in police custody. The family lived in a Jordanian refugee camp for four years before they heard the good news: The U.S. would accept all five of them as refugees. But less than a week before they were to leave, Trump imposed his ban, leaving them stranded, “shocked and very, very sad,” Alfaawri told the press through an interpreter. And then another phone call: If the family could board a plane in three hours, they would, they were told, be admitted after all. Some days …

Why I Marched: 9 Women Across The Country Share Their Reasons

Planned as a protest in Washington, D.C. to the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States the day before, the January 21st  Women’s March on Washington surpassed all expectations of size and scope. Millions of people showed up in D.C. and in cities all over the country—and beyond that to all seven continents—to march, chant, and listen to speakers, united in focus on resisting Donald Trump’s agenda. Many of the women wore the famed pink knit “pussy hats,” although headgear was entirely optional, and most carried signs with pro-woman and equality, anti-Trump and fascism messages.  I talked to several women about why they marched, what steps they plan to take next, and if they consider this day the birth of a movement. Sandie Angulo Chen, writer Maryland I marched in Atlanta while attending the American Library Association’s annual midwinter conference. I marched because as Rep. John Lewis reminded us, we can’t afford for our nation to take even one step backwards when it comes to human rights, civil rights, women’s rights. Since then, …

My Proof God Wants Us to Keep Laughing

When I was a kid attending church with my family, the worst offense we could commit was to laugh in the middle of the service. Which is why my siblings and I regularly prodded each other into laughter so forceful that it seemed to emit from our mouths, noses and ears. My brother and sister and I were regularly reshuffled to opposite ends of the pews by parental glares set to “SALT PILLAR” until the moment Miss Smith arose and called the kids to follow her out for Sunday School. The lesson was driven home at an early age: God and humor do not mix. So I was so delighted, as an adult, to find a church in my adopted hometown in NorCal where a) our priest is an accomplished stilt walker and never misses a chance to explain a parable from ten feet overhead; b) the send-off gift to newly ordained seminarians as they head to their first big jobs is a flaming Bible (to be used ironically, of course); and c) when a …

Finding God and Letting Him Find Me Too

I have never known a time when God was not in my life. He was a foreboding presence from my first memory. God was everywhere, critically watching everything. I never questioned his existence. Not the way I did Santa when I realized there was no chimney in my house for him to come down. There may have been no Santa, but God was absolutely real. I grew up going to Pentecostal churches with my mother and my younger brother. First in D.C., where I was born, and later in Philadelphia, where I lived from the time I was nine until I went to college. My father believed in God but saw no need to go to church. In both cities, my church was predominately black. You dressed up for service. Men in suits, women in dresses — never pants. The adult women like my mother typically wore lace coverings that looked like doilies over their hair. The differences between denominations were confusing for me at that time. I just knew Pentecostals to be a lively …

13 Homemade Gifts that Don’t Suck

I’d guess I was about seven or eight when I made my dad an ashtray for Christmas. I’m pretty sure everyone in art class made their parents ashtrays for the holidays that year. We might even have been told to. Who knows. Mine was quite the specimen. It looked like I had taken a misshapen ball of clay, jumped on it with a pogo stick, dropped it and then fell on it. Oh – and stabbed it in with an eraser and etched a shamrock on the side with a pencil (because I actually did those things). Had my parents smoked, it at least would have been a practical gift – function not form and all. (In my defense, the glaze was spectacular. A nice emerald green. Ye olde Irish ashtray.) Let this be a lesson: Don’t do stupid homemade gifts. Don’t decoupage anything, don’t use papier mache unless you actually have talent, and – whatever you do – don’t bedazzle anything. NOTHING. Hear me? If you’re dying to express your creativity or don’t have …

11 Gift Guides From a Few of Our Favorite Women Bloggers

(Photo collage: Erica Hornung/TueNight) We are smack in the middle of the alleged most wonderful time of the year, and I have one question: Are you still shopping? Because I am. And when I’m in this kind of cyber-December-retail mode, there is no enabler like the internet, home of gift roundups of every size and focus. Some of our favorite women online have made lists of the best gift ideas for anyone on your list. If you’re still out in the internet streets looking for the as-yet elusive perfect gift for anyone or everyone, I can help. Read on: 1. The gift guides at Petit Elefant include this one with great ideas for women. The Complete Works of Jane Austen in a beautiful hardcover boxed set and a blanket scarf from ModCloth are just two of the picks your sister, your mom, or your best friend are likely to love. 2. The gift guides at Girl of a Certain Age are a double treat—packed with cool presents, and fun to read. I’m loving her list …

Midlife Mixtape: Albums, Books and Other Music-Inspired Gifts

(Photo: sharonjonesandthedapkings.bandcamp.com) O Holy Night, it’s already end of November and I’ve done zero holiday shopping so far this year – whoops. Normally all that’s left for me buy by December 1 are the tangerines for the toe of the Christmas stocking (that go uneaten in favor of the chocolate, but at least I try for the healthy option.) Not this year –  2016 kept knocking me down every time I got up. Suck it, 2016. No tangerine for you. I do, however, have lots of ideas for Christmahannakwaanzukah gifts for the music lovers, book readers, and sense of humor-havers in your lives. Some caveats: I believe in paying creative people for their work, so I still buy albums and print books (for which the musician/author gets a much higher royalty percentage.) I encourage you to shop locally. And this year in particular, I’m trying to find products that are made in parts of our country where manufacturing jobs have been lost. Maybe if people weren’t so disaffected and hopeless about the economy, they wouldn’t …

We Toast 2016: Some Good Things Actually Happened

(Graphic: Adrianna Dufay/TueNight) Man, it has been a shitty year. From the music world alone, we lost Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen and Sharon Jones. We lost our chance at electing the first woman president of the United States. And, everyday, we get to watch our buffoon of a President Elect attempt to distract us from his disastrous cabinet appointments with the Twitter stream of a toddler. Good times! Still, throughout this terrible year, many wonderful things did bring us joy. We asked several TueNight contributors to write in with their toasts to some of their favorite moments of the year. Mallory Kasdan 2016 has been marred by loss and violence constant enough to numb. So I’ve found it helpful to cling to art, and especially to music, as a salve. Released days after a disastrous and surreal presidential election, A Tribe Called Quest’s final album WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE THANK U 4 YOUR SERVICE is potent and prescient, calling out for justice and healing in these raw times. Phife Dawg, who died suddenly …

7 Steps to Making a Successful Toast

(Photo: Ira Lee Nesbit/Pixabay) It is an American tragedy, a weakness of our education system. We teach our children multiplication and division, a smattering of reading skills and how to use a condom, but never the ancient skill of the proper toast. Americans become tongue-tied when raising their glass at a colleague’s retirement dinner, a nephew’s graduation or a friend’s wedding. So let’s make 2017 the year we learn to make a toast. Of all the toasts in the toasting genre, the wedding toast is the most dangerous. It requires a bard’s wit and a magician’s sleight of hand. A wedding toast must be humorous and serious, spontaneous and heartfelt. It must celebrate our culture’s most sacred bond, marriage, with the most ephemeral of human emotions, love. Here is a handy guide to the steps of making a proper toast, using my own wedding from fifteen years ago as an example. Step 1: Establish the premise. As in any good story, from a dirty joke to David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, there is always a basic …

5 Champagne Cocktails To Send 2016 Off Properly

(Photo: condesign/pixabay) A little bubbly never hurt anyone, and Champagne cocktails are indisputably one of the more elegant ways to celebrate, especially during the holidays. But what could you add to Champagne to make it any better, you might ask? Well, fine Cognac for one — and why not? This year has been a doozy. Here are five bubble-driven drinks to set it right: The French 75 Created around the time of Prohibition and ironically named after a WWI field gun, this drink packs a punch. When served in a flute, it can also make for an incredibly elegant and enticing toast. Though the French 75 was originally made with gin, I often prefer a rounder, richer choice of Cognac or, sometimes, bourbon. A lemon twist brightens the drink and adds a touch of class. Remember: Garnishes can make a room. French 75  1 oz Louis Royer Force 53 VSOP Cognac 1/2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice 1/2 oz simple syrup Top with Champagne Directions: 1. Combine Cognac, lemon and simple syrup with ice into a cocktail shaker. 2. …

Easy Recipes for Fancy Toast (Yes, Including Avocado)

(Photo courtesy Nichole Baldino) There’s really no easier meal than toast. All you need is a piece of bread and a toaster, right? Technically yes, but it can, and should, be so much more than just a piece of bread. Toast toppings are just about endless, and whether you prefer a sweet or savory breakfast there’s a way for everyone to enjoy it. You can pretty much top a slice of toast with anything you have in your fridge already, it’s the combination of ingredients that may be new to you. Nothing complicated, nothing too fancy, no extra frills needed. You can prepare the rest of the ingredients in the time the bread is toasting for a five minute breakfast that’s easy, healthy and delicious. Remember though, toast doesn’t only have to be for breakfast. These make great snacks and even a light lunch with something extra on the side. Feed more than yourself with a “Toast Bar” and lay out multiple topping options for everyone to create their favorite combination. Let’s toast to toast!! …

I’m Muslim. Don’t Tell Me It Will All Be Okay

The day after the election, I woke up crying. Not really sobbing — I just had a steady stream of tears rolling down my face. I was sad and incredibly disappointed. I pulled myself together, got my son his breakfast and then stopped, remembered, and the tears started again. I started working, and that’s when my phone started buzzing with texts all day: “thinking of you” or “I love you” or “are you ok?” and the tears would fall once again. I hopped on conference calls and someone would start the call innocently, “How’s your day?” And I couldn’t even lie: “Honestly, I’m not good today,” and we’d spend the first 10 minutes talking about what the eff just happened. It was a hard, sad day that left me heartbroken. I’m a Muslim, and half of this country doesn’t want me here. It doesn’t matter that I was born here or that I’m sixth-generation American. It doesn’t matter that no matter the linage we’re all AMERICAN, whether by birth or because we came here and became …

Healing Arts: In Troubled Times, Artists & Galleries to Support

There is so much happening inside of me as I question everything in the wake of this election’s results, myself and my work included. I’ve been letting the anger that comes fuel my productivity into asking those questions, researching answers and writing out an action plan. I’ve been using the grief that swallows me up to focus on taking care of myself as I process all I’m experiencing. There are so many unknowns ahead but what I do know is that I have my art, and I can use it in the service of others. I know I can use it as a way to keep speaking out, keep disrupting, keep connecting these issues to people in a way that pierces through their defenses. I have art. It has been what’s held me this week and steadied my resolve to keep fighting and standing up against hate. So I thought I’d share with you a list of the artists I personally follow and am inspired by on a daily basis. Their work challenges and informs …

Events, Rallies and Parties for Change: A Nationwide List

As thousands of demonstrators across America react to the election of Donald Trump, many of us will continue to look for ways to effect change, protest and find solidarity, comfort and inspiration in one another.  From rallies and marches to vigils and brainstorming meetings, hundreds of events are being planned for people to gather and make our voices heard.  Here is a sampling of events scheduled around the country in the days and weeks ahead. Be sure to confirm details and keep checking your social media feeds, local news outlets, community centers and places of worship.  The “secret” Facebook group Pantsuit Nation has a comprehensive list of events. We’ll be updating this list from time to time. Wednesday, December 14 New York, NY–Young Women and Political America, with Susannah Wellford The Comaraderie NYC brings together an evening with Susannah Wellford, president and founder of Running Start, a Washington DC based non-partisan organization working to bring women to the forefront of the political landscape. Wellford will discuss “a broad range of information covering the workings of political America, the …

Wait! Before You Unfollow Everybody…

Maybe you’re sick of social media at this point. We get it. We’ve been unfollowing friends from high school left and right. It’s hard to navigate the need to stay engaged and focused, and our need to take care of our psyches. It’s my job to be on social media all day long. Intermittent breaks aren’t just necessary, they’re mandatory. But when I come back to the screen, there are certain people and pages I follow to keep challenging my own beliefs, point me toward helping to change the future, and give me a much needed laugh — occasionally all at the same time. Here’s a short list of the Facebook pages and Twitter accounts that keep us going in these dark days. Facebook: Periods for Politicians Formerly Periods for Pence: P4P organizes direct contact campaigns with a focus on reproductive justice awareness. You want to legislate my body? You’d better know how it works! Pantsuit Nation: This started as a private group in the week before the election to show broad support for HRC. It now …

Here’s Your Protest Playlist: 11 Songs to Fight the Power

A playlist of some of our favorite artists. (Photo collage: YouTube) One of the things we love about music is its power to tap straight into the emotions you need to feel and get out, the ones that defy words and logic. This week saw me put in my earbuds and walk and walk and walk, finding messages in every song I heard that helped me process shock, disappointment and fear. I’m trying to be ready to move on. And if you are too, I’m sharing a list of inspirational protest songs to fuel you for the hard work ahead of us. What would you add to the list? “Can’t You Tell?”  — Aimee Mann In the run up to this election, Dave Eggers’ 30 Days, 30 Songs project saw artists released 30 songs in the days leading up to Election Day, “united in our desire to speak out against the ignorant, divisive, and hateful campaign of Donald Trump.” It’s no longer a campaign but a presidency, which just makes the need for creative protest and creative community …

5 Things I Wish I’d Said to the Men Who Grabbed and Groped

 It’s inevitable. Someone wrongs you, and then you think of the perfect response hours later. Here are some of the things I wish I had said to the numerous men who have flashed me, touched me and invaded my sexual space over the years: When I was maybe 10 years old, my little sister and I were walking home from the bus stop after school and our neighbor, an elderly Irish man, was outside of his home waiting for us. He was creepy and not all there mentally (knowing what I know now, I wonder if he had dementia or if he was drunk). Anyway, he had his penis out, and he was trying to masturbate as he was talking to us on the street corner. I didn’t quite grasp what was happening, but I knew we had to get out there. I never trick-o-treated at their house after that. To him I say: “Leave thy neighbor alone.” In middle school, my best friend and I were standing on the street outside our town’s main shopping mall …

Women in Midlife Share Memories of Sexual Assault

When we talked about doing an issue around sexual assault, there was a collective head nod. So many of us have experienced incidents in one form or another. Now in our 30s, 40s and beyond, we may have shrugged off the minor incidents, worked through the more egregious attacks with our shrinks or kept them locked up in a secret brain vault. But we’ve never, ever forgotten. We asked a few of our contributors to share their stories — reading them we find a common theme of confusion and shame that lingers. Collected here, these vignettes remind us we’re not alone and that there’s power in sharing. Il Bastardo I’m 20 years old in Europe traveling with a girlfriend over the summer. We’re in Pisa, having pizza at a cafe after the requisite tower viewing. My friend is an extrovert; I’m an introvert. At the cafe, she’s talking and laughing with our waiter. She even asks him for a cigarette. This mortifies me, but I can’t tell if it’s because it seems potentially dangerous — …

Spared From Assault: Did My Mom Teach Me or Am I Just Lucky?

I don’t have a sexual assault story to tell. I wasn’t raped, attacked, groped by a stranger, pressured into sex, molested as a child. I did have a male camp counselor tell me I’d be beautiful when I grew up and hug me close one time. I proudly introduced him to my mom! There was also the exposure to a vibrator via a clueless girlfriend of my dad’s: “Oh, it’s like a massage machine. Here’s how it works!” It felt great. I was five; I couldn’t figure out why my dad wigged. I saw guys in parks with their things out. In college, there was a peeping Tom outside our house who got caught. As a teen and young woman, I had encounters that could have gone badly but my male partners respected “no,” or maybe I said “yes” at the right times. Overall, I had luck on my side. Many — most — of my female friends didn’t. The million women who tweeted Kelly Oxford their sexual assault stories in the course of one …

We Can Be Friends Without Being Facebook Friends

At least once a week, I invariably have a conversation that goes like this: My friend: “Jamie is so annoying! She won’t stop posting pseudo-science articles about how coconuts cure cancer. And then she liked all my vacation photos from three years ago. Who does that?” Me: “Just unfriend her.” My friend: “I can’t do that! It’ll hurt her feelings!” I really don’t understand all the tiptoeing around Facebook friendships. Don’t get me wrong, I love Facebook. As a native Philadelphian transplanted to the suburban wilds of Connecticut, Facebook lets me easily keep in touch with my nearest and dearest at a time in my life when my closest family member is a four-hour drive away. I don’t have to miss anyone’s kids growing up, and I can easily arrange dinner, drinks and karaoke when I’m back in town for a visit. But I’ve found that people put up with an amazing amount of BS in the name of Facebook “friends.” As Roger Murtaugh said in Lethal Weapon, “I’m too old for this shit.” A …

Welcome to the Smelliest Time of Year

I love fall. It’s my favorite season. And I know what I’m talking about: I grew up in New England and live in Upstate New York, which makes me a bona fide autumnal expert. It is the most glorious time of the year around these parts. It’s also, unfortunately, the most intensely scented. I’m not talking about the natural scents of sweet ripe apples waiting to be picked or smoky leaves crunching underfoot. I’m talking about the olfactory assault of artificial fragrance that fills pretty much every public space from September through November. Normally I avoid stores that specialize in home fragrance or perfumed lotions, but this time of year, the scents spill over their normal boundaries and I have to steer clear of entire wings of the mall. Craft stores display fragranced candles and incense at the front end; bookstores sell autumn potpourri on racks near the checkout. Even my local grocery store has a display of seasonally scented wreaths by the entrance. And the most pervasive seasonal scent of all is Pumpkin Spice. …

Boys Will Be Boys — If We Say So

When I was kid, I lived in a suburban neighborhood, down the street from a boy in my class. He was an athlete, crude and a bit rowdy — the kind of kid who gets his name written on the chalkboard. Though we went on to become friends in high school, we weren’t close as kids. My family has a tradition of carving pumpkins for Halloween, and I remember this one year in grade school, my younger sister and I were particularly proud of our little jack-o-lanterns. My mom placed them on the steps in front of our house with candles inside, and as we trick-or-treated around the neighborhood with friends, we couldn’t wait to walk by our house later to show them our pumpkins. But when my sister and I returned home, the glowing faces of our jack-o-lanterns were nowhere to be found. Instead, the splattered remains of our pumpkins were strewn across the sidewalk and the street. Someone had kicked them off the stairs and stomped them to pieces. There had always been rumors about …

Pumpkin Pie Cookies for Those Who Want to Eat a Whole Pumpkin Pie

I’m a firm believer in cooking things from scratch, except when it comes to baking. Boxed cake mix is my best friend, as are those break-and-bake cookies and pop-open cinnamon rolls. I am, however, always looking for new ways to make my pre-made baking look fabulous and homemade. (Because no one has to know my secrets!) Autumn is my favorite time to experiment with baking. It’s cooling down just enough that you want to warm your house up by turning on the oven, and everybody is talking about their love of pumpkin — pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pasta and, of course, pumpkin pie. These Pumpkin Pie Cookies are just the right portion of pie to pop one or two in your mouth (if you can stop there!) and feel satisfied. They pack a whole lot of flavor in a little bite AND look super fancy while being incredibly easy to make. Just cut, fill and bake. Make a batch for your Friendsgiving dinner or gift a dozen to your kid’s teachers. These mini …

Jennifer Saunders as "Edina" and Joanna Lumley as "Patsy"

Here’s to an AbFab Evening — And Bloody Good Mates

Jennifer Saunders as “Edina” and Joanna Lumley as “Patsy” in the film ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE. Photo by David Appleby. © 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved Every time I dabble in the “now” of fashion (which is usually a retread of the “then” of fashion) — gaucho pants, massive Jackie O’s, chartreuse tights, orange lipstick — I wrinkle my nose in the mirror and think, am I an Edina? That would be Edina Monsoon, the hilariously oblivious character from the British tv series Absolutely Fabulous. Edina, or Eddy, tenuously “works” as a PR rep and sports the most techni-crazy mash-ups of trendy items — and often wearing form-fitting, lycra-esque pants and avant-garde hats. Like Eddy I am at the age where I’m supposed to settle into weekend khakis and clogs, but of course wouldn’t dare dahling. Well at least not all the time. I, too, have my neurotic moments: Can I pull this off lovey? A little more botox in the brow? This past Tuesday night (natch), TueNight was invited to a …

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10 Books To Have an Affair with This Summer

Choosing books that represent “Fling” is a challenge due to the word’s definition. A “fling,” after all, is “a short period of enjoyment or wild behavior.” Many novels about sexual side stories focus instead on affairs because they last longer and often morph into difficult and tragic tales. That’s the case with the titles on this list — but each of them includes enjoyment and wild behavior, too. Any — or, better yet, several — of these will add fun and a little scorch to your vacation reading. Among them: A women bent on revenge who also has a taste for orgies, a secret affair by the sea, lovers with a connection to the real Casablanca, and a sort of Sliding Doors fantasy about love’s possibilities. 1. If you’re hooked on scandi-crime: All In by Simona Ahrnstedt You may not have thought a novel about “Sweden’s financial elite” would make its way to the top of your to-be-read pile, but look out — Ahrnstedt’s U.S. debut is smart and smoldering, using an affair between cutthroat …

How Flying on a Trapeze Helped Me Defy My Age

I twist and turn my way up four sets of metal stairs. Breathless, I finally reach the roof. The sun hits my eyes, obscuring the blue sky momentarily. When my eyes adjust I see a man swinging back and forth from a narrow bar, the skyline of New York in the background. Muscular legs wrap around the bar, his arms and shoulder-length blonde hair hanging free. Finally I spy the sign: Trapeze School New York. I stand next to my boyfriend. He is 29. I am turning 45. Today. When I told him I wanted to go on the trapeze for my birthday, I thought he’d pick me up afterward and take me to dinner. Instead, he wanted to come. Reluctantly, I let him. We’d already talked children (I’m too old, neither of us are interested) and managed late-night concerts (I went home at midnight, he at dawn). And yet, I was still afraid he didn’t realize what my age really meant. That I was at risk for osteoporosis and a host of older-age ailments. That …

The 3 Things You Need to Be a Vanner

Ashlie Atkinson outside the log cabin van (Photo: Leon Chase) Our vacation home has four wheels. And no bathroom. It’s not all that nice to look at. There’s not a lot in the way of furniture. But we have had some of the best times of our relationship in it. And we are just one couple of many. We call ourselves “Vanners.” Though local events started cropping up in the decade prior, the first National Truck-In was held in 1973, bringing together members of the custom-van subculture — a crew that would hold together through schism, aging, tragedy, astronomical gas prices and countless rounds of Bucket (a devastatingly yummy alcoholic brew passed around in a wooden bucket for all to drink; that’s the short explanation, anyway). For the past six years, my fiancé and I have fought our demanding schedules in Brooklyn so we can get away from city life and hang out with these rebellious, warm-hearted, frequently intoxicated friends, soaking up as much of their attitude as possible. Yes, we’re camping with electricity supplied by …

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Here’s Why Brunch Is the Absolute Worst

Brunch is cancelled until further notice. (Photo: Mac Premo/TueNight) What I’m about to say may sound indelicate, impolitic or even impure, but here goes: fuck brunch. Brunch is the absolute worst. If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, brunch is the least important, most overhyped, overblown and overindulgent meal of all time. It combines two of my least favorite things (sitting too close to other New Yorkers and paying too much for eggs) into one undeservingly grandiose food event. Brunch doesn’t need the foolhardy pomp and circumstance and gratuitous excess of a Monster Truck rally. It’s just a plate of eggs, y’all. Let’s all calm down. Now, don’t go befouling your boy shorts. Just know that I truly believe that brunch is for sucker emcees and basics. It’s easily the biggest racket of the post-industrial modern age (next to thigh-firming creams — might as well rub a half-dozen hot glazed Krispie Kremes all over your legs because same/same.) Why spend $18 on two eggs when you know how many eggs $18 will …