You’re My Natural Selection, Said Darwin to His Wife

Valentine’s Day. February 14. That special day each year when we celebrate love, romance, and the 1779 death of the British colonizer Captain James Cook, killed by indigenous Hawaiians after he tried and failed to kidnap the Hawaiian chief, Kalaniʻōpuʻu.

Yes, surprising absolutely no one, I am not a “Valentine’s Day” person. I love Jess, and enjoy showing my affection and appreciation for her in my own way. Doing so on a D-list holiday weaponized by the Valentine’s Day Industrial Complex to encourage performative demonstrations of love to one’s significant in the manner of flowers, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, and a trip to the Garden of Olives? Not for me.

Fortunately, Jess has similar if, admittedly, less melodramatic feelings regarding Valentine’s Day, and we typically stay in. This year, though, we decided to mix it up, and traveled to Dayton to see a special 25th anniversary showing of YOU’VE GOT MAIL at the Neon. There was a signature cocktail and an array of desserts made by Megan Smith, the founder of St. Anne the Tart. It wasn’t til after the movie was over and we were about to head out that I realized the drink and desserts were a salute to Café Lalo, a NYC restaurant that was apparently made famous by the movie. There was even a cute neon sign that I wanted to abscond with. Alas, I had no pockets that were big enough. Say la vee.

My attitude towards Valentine’s Day remains unchanged, but even I will admit that this was a fun way to spend it, and the best person to spend it with.

Next time I’ll wear JNCOs.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week.


Finally finished THE DAUGHTER OF DOCTOR MOREAU. The first half was slow and hard for me to get into — not much happened, and there was a little more focus on romance than is perhaps my cup of tea — but the second half more than made the experience worth it. Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s next book, SILVER NITRATE, due out July 18, definitely sounds more up my alley.

I’ve rented two books for the Kindle from the library for my San Diego trip: THE VERIFIERS, by Jane Pek, and THE GLASS HOTEL, by Emily St John Mandel. I am excited about both and have been saving them for this trip.


AMSTERDAM was a peculiar film. It was a kind of screwball comedy mystery thriller? And also a period piece? It was weird and tonally inconsistent af, but it’s the sort of weird that appeals to me. Plus, the performances were superb. I enjoyed it overall.

I somehow went nearly thirty years without ever having seen FARGO, which is curious because I love a number of films in the Coen Brothers’ oeuvre and am in general a fan of darkly funny crime stories. So I don’t know, man. It’s just one of those weird cultural gaps I talked about a few weeks ago. Regardless, I remedied that glaring oversight this week. And, well — FARGO is the kind of movie that, when it’s over, you sit back and think “fuck that was good.” Only 98 minutes long, too, which is *chef’s kiss*. I kind of want to watch it again already.


This gorgeous Ganzeer print.


One day I will talk, probably at a length far greater than anyone wants, about how much I used to love Incubus, and how, even to this very day, I still lament the change in sound they underwent, around 2001, from “oh christ this is sweet” to “a more boring and generic example of alternative rock you shall not find.” I will title that future essay “Mourning View.”

In the meantime, here’s “Take Me to Your Leader” from Incubus’s 1997 EP ENJOY INCUBUS, which I have been playing this week. The video is just awful, so close your eyes and just, like, vibe to the tunes, man.

And Kirby:

Kirby, forlornly looking for Jess. Fret not, though — he eventually found her.

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