the new rats

Listen: VBS by Lucy Dacus

If you had a certain type of upbringing, you’ll recognize “VBS” as an acronym for “Vacation Bible School,” which Lucy Dacus has brought back to life in all its nostalgic glory on this velvetty track. Reviving her time as a promising youth who was meanwhile doing drugs in her bunk with some troubled boyfriend, she really nails summer as a vibe. Take a listen and bring back your own teen misadventures.

Fossils here, get your fossils

“Natural history is really a very, very fascinating area of the art market right now,” according to an auction guy. Hear that? TWO VERYs. Last year, a full T-Rex skeleton sold at Christie’s for about $32 million; last month, a single T-Rex tooth went for almost $12,000. This all predates the NFT boom but these things are most definitely related. If you’ve got a dino tooth, not only do you actually own it, but you can bet it’s the only one, not one of like sixteen and a half prints. But once you have a dinosaur, what’s stopping you from acquiring some prints, too? Diversify those assets, baby.

Sans NFT

Don’t got fossil money? Be like the rest of us Snake People* and start collecting experiences. The hot hobby of 2021 appears to be “lake bagging,” a competitive activity where you jump in as many lakes as you can (naked, if possible) and track your progress against your friends’, Pokémon-style. Conservationists hope it’ll take pressure off of mountain trails that have been over-taxed thanks to peak baggers, who seem to have coined this “bagging” thing. But in the realm of natural experiences, why stop at swimming and climbing? If you can count it, rest assured, it can be bagged.


Bag that landfill

While you were out bagging lakes, you may have missed what’s going on back in the city, which is that seagulls are becoming the new rats. Anecdotally, I’d noticed an uptick in seabirds in the city, but had always rationalized that New York is really a beach town (can YOUR public transit take you to the ocean I don’t THINK so). But word is that they’re nesting in growing numbers as far inland as the midwest, which can only mean they’re our newest urban nuisance. If you want to know who’s the real nuisance, though, it’s us: after industrial fishing disrupted the birds’ natural habitats, gulls have started to relocate to feed on food waste in city landfills, a never-ending source that allows their populations to boom. So next time you get hit with that white gunk falling from the sky, know that we all make our own luck :)

One last thing

I recently learned about Sidekick, a newsletter full of smarter living recommendations that are actually quite useful. They’ve got how-tos on stuff like DIYing your own furniture and gracefully quitting your job, in addition assorted links that you might want to bookmark, like NPR’s glossary of gender identity terms and a NYC voting resources guide (AHEM). Check it out and add some spice to that inbox.

Life Is Better At The Lake,


On that note, @ all my New Yorkers, happy voting if you didn’t knock it out early! (And don’t forget to look up your judges.)