I’ve decided the Starbucks Cup thing is NBD. Let’s focus on Detective Pikachu now.

Art isn’t created in a vaccuum.

It’s created near a Starbucks.

Today, the Internet exploded in response to some coffee weaseling its way into Westeros.

“How could this have happened?” type-A people lamented. “How could no one have seen that?”

It’s Starbucks’ brand saturation being so heavy that no one sees it any more. My hypothesis is that effective branding is like a mind-worm. It becomes so part of your life that you fuse with it.

Like, for example, what’s that thing you blow your nose with? Quick. It’s a Kleenex®, right? And that thing you use when you have a cut? A Band-Aid®, yeah? You rarely call the former “tissues” or the latter “adhesive bandages.”

The word “Starbucks” is basically just a synonym for “coffee” at this point.

Camera and continuity people were looking around the shot for things that are clearly off — like, for example, a character looking at an iPhone. Did people in the middle ages talk on iPhones? No. But did they drink something with their meal? Sure.

As errors go, I’m giving this one a pass. I didn’t even notice it.

Plus, if they can afford to animate dragons, they can afford to edit this out for the DVDs.

Meanwhile, here are 5 other things I’ve looked up recently besides “Game of Thrones Starbucks Cup”:

What’s the new Notre Dame going to look like?
Maybe this.

How’s Detective Pikachu faring on Rotten Tomatoes?
Pretty well.

What’s going on with Kevin Spacey?
He pled not guilty on felony charges 4 months ago.

(sorta related to previous) What are the statutes of limitations for various crimes?
I’m probably going to get onto some kind of federal watchlist just for wondering this, but anyway, here’s the answer for Pennsylvania.

How do you tell the Property Brothers apart? 
Left-handed vs right-handed, obviously.

You’re welcome, Internet.

Art History: 5 Pictures of Hairy Mary Magdalene

I was meandering through medieval paintings for inspiration (as one does), I fell into a pit of hairy ladies.

I guess we can check that fantasy off my bucket list, am I right?

So what was happening with this very fluffy dame?

Turns out it’s Mary Magdalene, former prozzie and Jesus’ homegirl.

According to some religious historians, Mary’s hair was a reaction to the sun. After Jesus passed away, she wandered off into the desert to, you know, repent or think or whatever. Instead of getting a sunburn — as people typically do — she developed a pelt. In an era before sunblock, people had to find creative solutions.

The patriarchy intended the coif to reflect her carnality. Her locks were an externalization of her sin.

If this could happen to her, it could happen to you, you dirty girl, you.

But hey, I dig Mary’s top-to-toe mane.

We’re body positive around here.

5 Questions About That Netflix Will Smith Thing

Bright is an original made-for-Netflix film about Will Smith being Will Smith, opposite an orc, fighting fantasy evil. The film’s about as good as any cynical, world-weary person would expect. Which is to say, it’s not all that great. The argument I’ve mostly been hearing about the film is whether it’s good enough to finish. 

I have some other concerns.

Does anyone else miss the titular songs in movies that describe the movie? Like Vanilla Ice’s “Ninja Rap” about the Ninja Turtles? Mc Hammer’s “Addams Family Groove“? Run DMC’s “Ghostbusters II Rap“? Will Smith’s very own “Men In Black” and “Wild Wild West“?

Listen, I know that Will Smith is probably still reeling from Wild Wild West, but he needs to recover. Writing another rap anthem for his blockbusters is immersion therapy.

Is Will Smith ever not a cop? He is an officer of the law/government in his biggest movies and series: Bad BoysMen In Black, Independence Day, I Robot, I am Legend, Bright, and — of course — Wild Wild West. Plus possibly some of his other movies I haven’t seen.

So, like… is racism… bad? In this film, humans constantly shit all over orcs (metaphorically). It’s weird to watch a person of color act racist. Shouldn’t he be more compassionate? Maybe the orcs were the slaves instead? 

Contemporary race/class structures among humans do still seem to exist.

For example, there is a Latinx gang we meet. They are a slapdash collection of uncomfortable-to-watch Chicano tropes. It’s fairly clear that, at the very least, these particular people are in a position to choose this unsavory life. So humans still have some sort of disparity within them.

But the orcs are still the worst.

While I was watching the movie, I was like “how the fuck is racism still a thing in this universe?” Then remembered that, in the real world, humans are shitty to other humans. So there’s that.

People are racist, maaaaaaan.

Was this written by a committee of 13-year-olds? The two legs that the plot stands on are: 1) Racism Is Bad; and 2) Violence Is Fun. The plot is so simple that it feels like a few young teens on Adderall came up with it.

“I want a bunch of shit to blow the fuck up,” Mike said.

“I think there should be magic,” Joe said. “Like, sexy, backflipping elves.”

“But, like, an underlying message, maybe about racism being bad?” Ella said.

“Can Will Smith do a rap?” Joe said.

“I don’t think he does that any more,” Mike said. “Don’t worry. We’ll include a gratuitous strip club scene. Tits.”

“And one of the cops is a centaur,” Ella said.

What now? Despite being torn asunder by critics, Netflix has ordered a sequel.

We can only hope the cop centaur gets a bigger role.

5 Favorite Books I Read in 2017

2017 wasn’t the year of the novel. Though I read many, I didn’t find any that spoke deeply to my heart. Instead, it was a year dominated by essays and short stories by women. If those genres are on your TBR list, here are my picks:

2 short story collections: Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado, and At the Mouth of the River of Bees by Kij Johnson.

Both of these stories feature otherworldly magical realism, unsettling elements, and lush prose. They’re stories you can chomp on and swallow whole.

2 essay collections: Moranifesto by Caitlin Moran, and Fear and Clothing: Unbuckling American Style by Cintra Wilson.

Both talk about larger societal issues — capitalism, feminism, self-expression — via the lenses of pop culture and fashion, respectively. Both authors have compelling, personable styles.

Nonfiction: The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton.

This is a great beginner’s introduction to how humans interact with their architecture. What it means, how it feels, why people construct buildings the way people do. It definitely gives me a leg up on understanding the basics (the very basics) of architectural types and theory.

The books I’m looking forward to in 2018 are here. Fingers crossed for another great year of reading!

5 Books I’m Looking Forward To In 2018

2017 was a shitshow; but I firmly believe that 2018 is going to be My Year.

I don’t have any compelling reasons to believe this, but I do have a TBR (to-be-read) list, which is close enough.

Florida by Lauren Groff (June 5, 2018)
Groff has an electric writing style, and she turns her attention in this story collection to Florida. I loved Monsters of Templeton and Delicate Edible Birds. I hope this book is somewhere between that and Swamplandia!, another book set in Florida that I adored.

The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander (January 23, 2018)
An alternative history novel that integrates the Radium Girls and the death of Topsy the elephant at the hands of Edison? I’ll meet you there.

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (January 9, 2018)
Four siblings meet a psychic that tells them the exact dates of their deaths. How does this influence their lives? Will they, in fact, die on those dates? The pre-reviews say this is a page-turner.

The Infinite Future by Tom Wirkus (January 16, 2018)
This story’s about an obsessive librarian, a down-at-heel author, and a disgraced historian who are trying to hunt down an elusive author and his final work. Apparently the second half of the book is the elusive work itself, which entwines with the main plot in clever ways.

The Sea Beast Takes A Lover: Stories by Michael Andreasen (February 27, 2018)
The title was enough for me. If you somehow require more, note that the stories allegedly include “mermaids, prophetic dancing bears, exploding children, and distraught time travelers.”

What’re you interested in reading in 2018?