The Weekender, April 15, 2022


As I mentioned on Monday, my kids are on spring break this week so I’m kind of/sort of on vacation — and as a result, I don’t really have a lot to say here today. But I did want to take an opportunity to make a book recommendation.

A while back, I shared that my neighbor, Marlene, wrote a fantastic book titled “Gained a Daughter But Nearly Lost My Mind: How I Planned a Backyard Wedding During a Pandemic.” As the title suggests, it’s the story about planning a wedding in her backyard during the pre-vaccination COVID-19 era, but it’s really the story about the humor and grace needed when everything goes wrong and its suddenly your job to fix it. One of the reviews of this book — and it’s not the one I’m here to plug! — says “this writer is authentic, genuine, caring, profound, and funny,” and I think that’s both high praise and perfectly accurate.

“Pandemic Wedding” averages 4.7 stars across exactly 100 reviews on Amazon right now, so you know it’s good. And Marlene hasn’t stopped writing. She has a blog on Facebook (she publishes it directly there) with almost 32,500 followers and has been sharing story after story there — not related to the pandemic or the wedding necessarily — for a few years now. She’s taken some of those stories and a few others and combined them into a second, brand-new book, titled “Trapped In My Sports Bra and Other Harrowing Tales.” It’s only a few weeks old and right now it’s averaging a perfect 5 out of 5 stars across 18 ratings on Amazon. Here’s part of the book description:

Trapped in My Sports Bra and Other Harrowing Tales is an uplifting, funny, and heart-warming collection of true stories. From raising her three rambunctious sons to navigating the aches, pains, and challenges of middle age to dealing with death, Marlene puts it all out there. She writes about her battle of wills with her non-compliant oldest son, the time her middle son called 9-1-1 because he wasn’t allowed to go to a sleepover, and other stories to which every parent will relate (except perhaps those with exceptionally well-behaved children).

If that sounds good, pick it up! You won’t regret it. (And I’m not just saying that because the author knows where I live.) Just don’t let your kids read it — you don’t want to give them ideas. 

The Now I Know Week in Review

Monday: The Far Side Dinosaur: I spent a LOT of time at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City when I lived there, and I really think the relevant Far Side cartoon needs to be part of the dinosaur exhibit.

Tuesday: Where Everyone Has Gone Before: A story about the bathroom habits of soon-to-be astronauts.

Wednesday: When Belgium Flipped the Coin at France: I once played poker at a casino that used $2.50 chips, and I think that was kind of cool, so I really appreciate what Belgium did here.

Thursday: The Man Who Buys All of Israel’s Bread. Passover is only seven days long in Israel (and I should have known that), so, oops, made a small mistake in this one.

And some other things you should check out:

Some long reads for the weekend.

1) “Secrets & Wives” (Truly Adventurous, 45 minutes, January 2019). The subhead: “A single working mom begins a whirlwind romance with a man named Martin Lewis, then discovers that Martin Lewis doesn’t exist. This true story picks up right where Scorsese’s ‘GoodFellas’ left off.” And for the record, I am not related to the nonexistent Martin Lewis, but I’m definitely related to a somewhat-existent Martin Lewis.

2) “The (Edited) Latecomer’s Guide to Crypto” (Molly White, 23 minutes, March 2022). Last week, I linked to a New York Times article titled “The Latecomer’s Guide to Crypto.” A few of you wrote in to say that this annotated version by Molly White is a good balance to that piece, so I’m sharing it now. Thanks to everyone who recommended it.

3) “Meet the woman who builds the world’s most unique Airbnbs” (The Hustle, 12 minutes, March 2022). No, something can’t be the “most unique” thing, but I’ll forgive this headline. Why? Because the woman has built a real-life hobbit hole.

Have a great weekend and a happy Easter, Ramadan, Passover, and Mets Home Opener to those who celebrate!