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Photo by James Sutton on Unsplash

2020 is nearing its end but the Year of the McFecal Sandwich doesn’t have to.

Right now, you can still get in on the taste folks say is un-for-gett-able.

Regulars and McVirgins around the world are taking a bite out of the McFecal magic — lightly seasoned with despair, that boneless shank of fecal matter grilled to perfection, slathered in a tangy secret sauce, topped with the thinly sliced paychecks of frontline workers and garnished wages, and toasted on a homestyle roll.

Unlike the regional release of other sandwiches in the past, the McFecal’s flavor has resonated globally. The hickory smoked shitwich shows no sign of fading from menus in every country whose leadership has been McWimpy in the face of the spread of the coronavirus. …

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Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

Mentioning your zero-emissions luxury vehicle when friends have zero-admissions to their bank account is probably not the best move.

Each December, I revel in the veritable cornucopia of holiday cards: photos of fat Santa babies and reindeer-cats; impressively embossed envelopes that cost more than my station wagon; letters rife with humblebrag and sins of omission.

In 2020, though, the very notion of a holiday card is a slippery fish. This year we all had to take a bite of a giant garbage sandwich. Some of our sandwiches were double-stacked. Some came with a garbage milkshake chaser. Some of us were afraid to ask if we could get fries with that. However supersized your unhappy meal, you survived. …


Please don’t call me an ironic accessory

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Photo by Athena Kavis on Unsplash

I am the pristine Australian Akubra that sits jauntily on the head of an influencer, her one hand mock-steadying me in place. I am in no peril of being blown off, however, as today we are in a green screen studio, flanked by a giant banner announcing the fiscal year’s hashtag #Made4MORE in glittery gold letters.

Oh, mate. You bet your American ass I was made for more.

Precisely speaking, I am made of 12 Tasmanian rabbits, a full dozen rascals who managed to survive the Calcivirus and who lent their fur for the love of all that is wild and rugged. …

The female relationships in a show about British men’s football are redemptive

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Juno Temple and Hannah Waddingham in “Ted Lasso,” now streaming on Apple TV+ (Photo: Apple TV+ license)

The scene that best showcases the treatment of female relationships in Apple TV’s new feelgood series “Ted Lasso” is not much of a scene at all. It occurs midway through the series. In Episode 5, “New Underwear,” Keeley Jones (played by Juno Temple) strides unbidden into her ex-boyfriend Jamie Tartt’s home (played by Phil Dunster). Jones finds Tartt walking around in nothing but his briefs, with an unnamed woman wearing a silken pajama top by his side. The unnamed woman is instantly starstruck upon Jones’s arrival. Despite the fact that the unnamed woman has apparently just spent the night with fictional AFC Richmond’s star player, the woman is far more dazzled to be in Jones’s midst. She says, “Sorry, can I just say, I’m your biggest fan. I follow your Insta, your Snap — everything.” …

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Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

I live in Boston where gravestones from 1693 and even earlier are common sights. Oh, how we revel in our colonial roots! We’ve built an entire tourism industry around nostalgia, which serves us well in times of non-pandemic.

In a time of pandemic, though, history can only help us so much.

Yet a reliance on history to sustain our institutions seems a popular view. I’ve heard many folks, from school leaders to government agents, assure me that the organizations we have relied upon for hundreds of years have weathered great crises before, and will weather this country’s current public health catastrophe in kind. Messages to the tune of, “This storied academy has survived the Spanish Flu. World Wars, recessions and the Great Depression. Coronavirus isn’t going to bring us down.” …

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Photo by Riley McCullough on Unsplash

To the Athletes of the Ivy League:

League Council recently issued its memorandum calling for the cancellation of fall sports. The Council recognizes that “sport” is defined broadly by many in the League and therefore clarification is needed as to which recreational activities will not be postponed this season. The following should be exercised only with social distancing precautions in place:

  • Online Poker
  • Polo (for funsies)
  • Lacrosse Stick Speed-Restringing
  • Rap battles incorporating rhymes to names Chad, Chip, Chaz, and Chet
  • TESLA drag racing (on off-campus courses)
  • Contactless Flash Mobs
  • Mindful breathing (expectoration strictly prohibited)
  • Boarding School Bingo
  • Foosball (masks encouraged)
  • Yachting…

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Photo by Pang Yuhao on Unsplash

To the High School Seniors of 2020:

We are all so sorry that the graduation ceremony that was planned has now been canceled or modified, given the strict quarantine orders our country is under. Your moment to be embraced by and to embrace the friends and teachers, counselors and coaches, and the proudest of parents who accompanied you on this journey is an incalculable loss that we can only imagine. You have, no doubt, had to count it among so many other disappointments in recent weeks. This is not the kind of history any of us hoped to be making.

A global pandemic certainly puts the bookends on this educational voyage for you, which, for so many of you, began with the shattering news of September 11. You were just beginning your formal education when, no doubt, televisions were turned on and swiftly turned off, when voices in hallways were hushed, when hands were grasped and names were read and thoughts and prayers were lifted. …

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photo credit: davidfiresterny

It all started with this guy, Colin Kaepernick. He’s a decent guy, even if he does twang some words like he wants you to fall in goddam love with him on the spot. And he has this huge afro that you’d think would be lousy to stuff all into a goddam helmet but he likes to wear it out. It kills me.

The reason Colin Kaepernick is such a big goddam deal is because he was a professional football player. I forgot to mention that. He played for the San Francisco 49ers. My brother, D.B. who made a pot of dough in Hollywood, took me to the one of their games. Everybody in the stands was a first-rate jerk, they really were. Taking selfies and not paying a lick of attention to the game. …

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Photo by Kseniya Petukhova on Unsplash

I had a driveway moment the other day when NPR reported on a Korean novel that had been translated into English: Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982, just before the film based on the book was to be released. I had to get my hands on this novel.

As a white American married to a Korean-American man for the last 15 years, I have not had to explain or defend the societal norms that have served as the backdrop to my whole life. White normativity has been my province, for better or for worse. …

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Photo by Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition on Unsplash

My manlove and I got to see “Jagged Little Pill” last weekend on Broadway. Shoutiest of shout-outs to Nana Red for watching the offspring over the weekend that we ran away from home.

Microreview: the show is very, very good. The talent on stage overfloweth, from choreography to song arrangement to the book, which was written by Diablo Cody. I wouldn’t say the musical is a timeless work of unparalleled brilliance, but the songs and dialogue hang together pretty seamlessly, the character portraits are interesting, and you leave feeling hopeful, with a whole new appreciation for the Alanis Morissette canon.


Kendra Stanton Lee

Writer of essays, collector of vintage, reader of books, wife of one, mother of two. Subscribe to my monthly love letter:

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