As-Salaam-Alaikum, Bitches

a scandal... over... a "hospital smell"

Welcome to The JP Pick version 7 (wow!!) To view last week’s newsletter, click here.

Every Monday, we’ll start with a round-up of things to distract, dazzle and delight you. Between mini-essays on the beauty of the Bravo network, Internet videos that have haunted my brain for 20 years, books you can read, sweets you can treat, anything to help you along as we go through These Times (and beyond). Let’s get started!


Another Beautiful Thing That No One Asked For

  1. David Bowie and Flowers

The powerful hear our call. We all gather virtually in a huddle. Looking up to the same Internet moon and clapping hard “Tinkerbell-style” for a second heaping helping of the silly Internet fix we so desperately crave. Somewhere, a hero will rise within the shadow of “Birds as Prince” and deliver to us the new only thing that matters:

“David Bowie and Flowers”

Is there anything more punk rock than creating something online that truly doesn’t need to exist? Anything more freeing from the corporate rules-following culture than busting out of your 9-5 and pairing an old headshot of DB to a matching freaky fern?

I love that not only is this a thing on the Internet but it’s a thiiiiiiiiing. An entire sub-genre of perceiving a celebrity’s inner-essence to a soothing non-celebrity. The best case scenario of “one of these things is not like the other”. The kind of wall art we should all proudly display in our guest bathroom at granny-age.

We owe it to him.


A Safe, Sweet Way to Museum

  1. Heritage Square Museum in Highland Park, CA

I’m like you and you’re probably like me: staring down indoor spaces with a Poltergeist-like terror saying, “Ain’t no way I’m going in there.” But the museums, like all of the other local businesses need to survive the pandemic. And we, as social creatures clawing at the walls both literal and figurative — need to get out from time to time.

Cue the Heritage Square Museum in Highland Park. A funky fake-neighborhood of historical residences moved from various locations throughout the east LA area right as they were on the brink of demolition by unsentimental city officials. If you live around here or have ever traversed the scary-as-all-hell historical 110 freeway, this is the series of Mary Poppins-esque buildings that suddenly accost your view making you go, “What IS that?” and “How can I get THERE?”.

But much in the way true LA navigation requires a little more than a Star Map, even life-long Angelinos (like me) will spend decades of their life contemplating this big life question only to finally hunker down and realize it was one hairpin turn away (insert ‘breaking in to Hollywood’ metaphor of your choice).

The museum is small and easy to wander around, less a hike than a mosey. Though the interiors are off-limits, the hyper-detailed outside will give you more than enough to dazzle over.

When I went on a Sunday afternoon, there was only a couple other patrons sleepily taking in the property (including a couple of strangers wearing superfluous wigs and a “ghost tracking device” which I… shall not unpack). I spent my day strolling with their on-staff docent (a sweet vintage-loving HS student who had a pack of index cards she followed with nervous dedication) and felt the sweet release of squinting your eyes during this abominable year and feeling like — if just for one second— the only thing we had to worry about was sexism and class wars at the turn of the century. Ahhhh yeah, that’s the stuff.

Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for kids. Member levels start at $40 for an individual.


The Most Wholesome Thing on the Most Wholesome Internet

  1. Ratatouille the Musical

Y’all on TikTok? The elder millennial says as she sips her home-made cold brew so she can feel the vibrancy of youth once more. I must admit — I dig the wholesomeness of TikTok. The dances, the baby videos, the however-they-do-that-reacting-to-a-meme-video-thing. It’s a place where cheery theatre teens got their kicks out when the world shut down — and nothing could be a better crescendo of that collective talent than the DIY trend of “Ratatouille the Musical”.

I won’t bore you with my recap of it (simply because Carlye Wisel’s podcast “Very Amusing” did such a kickass job) but the long and short is — someone was stoked to visit Disney World — then had to reschedule their vacay several times (‘cause ya know) and started humming a little song about Ratatouille as they anticipated their future visit and the rest is history. People started joining in, making their own songs, writing a TANGO, I could go on…

You can check out a couple recap videos here. But my specific favorites are

Grab your own life-affirming cold brew, cuddle with the non-singing animal of your choice and let the positive vibes just washeth over.


The Shit You Can’t Write

  1. “The Points Guys” Breaking News

I don’t think I need to tell you cruising during a pandemic is a bad idea, but dammit if the travel influencers will be undeterred.

About a week or so ago, my customized google news delivered a slow-burn gift in the form of this article on the first cruise to sail out of the Caribbean during the pandemic.

Hyped to be “surprisingly normal” (save for the several covid tests the writer had to endure before boarding) once safety precautions gave the greenlight, it was like entering into a ship drifting through a “before time”. Guests were encouraged to leave their face masks at the door and engage in friendly conversation with their non-social bubble neighbors. For a 7-day sojourn you too could luxuriate in your own budget-friendly version of Kim K’s “covid-free birthday private island”.

And then the inevitable happened. The first positive Covid test on board.

Then, the situation got worse — a handful more positives surfaced.

What was once regaled as a “triumph” is now teetering into travesty and this Dad-porn credit card-points super-website-hyper-blog is front row center, covering it all.

I DON’T KNOW WHY I’M BORDERLINE AMUSED BY THIS. Is my schadenfreude that desperate to be soothed? Is my love for viewing the folly of man that intense?? Do I want people to get hurt? No! Do I want people to get a proper warning not to fly too close to the influencer sun? Absolutely!

So, follow me if you will — watching the 2020 equivalent of a blogger giving us cheery beat by beat recaps as the Titanic plunges further into the Atlantic because (let’s all say it together) there’s no purple heart for dying in exchange for a wilted cruise buffet on the Lido deck.


The Series That’s Right-on-fucking-time

  1. Real Housewives of Salt Lake City on Bravo

Praise be— we got a new President and a new ‘First Family’ all within the span of a week.

The Real Housewives franchise is an acquired taste and far from “one size fits all”. I’m a diehard of the RHNY group (they truly don’t give a shit if the camera catches them spitting into the overly-botoxed eye of their glammed-up betrayer) and the RHBH (they overly give a shit in a way that veers into a delusional fashion circus with Lisa Rinna as self-professed Ringmaster). I rarely if ever fuck with Potomac (too hard to pronounce) and New Jersey (it is possible to overdose on the dram) — but there’s something special about this new round-up, y’all.

A birthday party that mimicked a Hollywood premiere (complete with red carpet). A woman who “got her odor glands removed” and yes, that same woman is MARRIED TO HER STEP-GRANDFATHER because her late Grandma “willed it to happen when she died”. A drawn-out cliffhanger OVER — A WOMAN — “SMELLING LIKE HOSPITAL” (because she was visiting her sick Aunt who had to get her legs amputated!!!) and a vow renewal ceremony where the bride swung on a stripper pole while her zenned-out Mormon Dad watched and felt nothing.

And that was just the first episode.

Bless you, you beautiful God’ed-up bitches. I haven’t been to church in ages, but I feel welcome in your congregation.