Nigthmare Before Christmas: A Love Story

5 Delicious, fresh out the oven pretzels

What up, pumpkinheads? It’s been a minute, but I thought I’d pay tribute to what might be my favorite movie ever. I’ve watched it at least once every October, November, and December since I was eleven-years-old. So, a long time. And I’m probably low balling the number of watches to avoid sounding like a complete nerd. But I love every damn thing about this movie, so we’re going to get in to a few reasons why I love it.

The Art Form

First of all, stop motion is, while maybe a little spooky, a damn art form. I mean, we’ve all seen “Requiem for a Tuesday”. It took Ben Wyatt three weeks to make that one second of hot garbage.

Requiem For A Tuesday GIFs | Tenor

Can you imagine making a feature film with about a gazillion characters? I would have lost patience and burned that place to the ground.

Catherine O’Hara

Catherine O’Hara is a gem who should be universally adored and celebrated. She voices two different characters in Nightmare, Sally and Shock. And, most recently, she portrayed a nightmare on Schitts Creek. A delightful nightmare. A nightmare full of awesome advice. I want to be her.

Disgruntled GIFs | Tenor

Catherine O’Hara has starred in about a million things, but my very first memory of her is my beloved Sally. Sally is everything MOST people would want to be. Smart, kind, helpful. I’m still shooting for Moira, but if I land on Sally, that’ll work, too.

The Soundtrack

Lookie here, I will fight anyone who says anything bad about the score and soundtrack to this film. Including my Music Appreciation teacher who flunked me because, and I quote, “Danny Elfman isn’t a composer.” Dafuq? Yes he is.

Anyway, the soundtrack is sick. Especially the flute part. I played the flute in junior high and high school. Danny Elfman treats those woodwinds correct.

Agt GIF by America's Got Talent - Find & Share on GIPHY

The Whole Vibe

The movie really captures the spirit of the holiday season. A spirit I used to hate, but I’m kinda leanin’ in to now thanks to LeRoux kidnapping me and forcing me to be jolly. Well, jolly-ish. It helps that, in Nightmare, Halloween is the star of the show as it well should be.

Also, it’s the Grinch in reverse. Rather than taking down Christmas out of hate, Jack inadvertently takes it down out of love.

Chokeslam brooklyn nine nine GIF - Find on GIFER

And then he’s the most extra about it.

The nightmare before christmas tim burton jack skellington GIF - Find on  GIFER

It’s Tradition…

And…

AI:SS 2019 - You don't fuck with tradition! - The Something Awful Forums

Folklore Flashback: Will O’ the do What Now?

Do you ever watch those ghost hunting shows on basic cable? They always have a presentation of the evidence that they’ve discovered at the end of the episode and without fail they have captured footage of some orbs floating around.

The skeptical ghost hunter insists that it’s dust and the true true believer is always convinced it’s a sign that General Tecumseh Hogsqauble was in the room with them THE WHOLE TIME. I was always convinced that those were the only two orb explanations possible. Either you needed a Swiffer or you had a 200 year old soldier chilling in your laundry room daydreaming about what a Tide Pod tastes like.

As it turns out, if you spot an orb outside, there are a couple of other orbsplanations available. So, let’s say you’re out just a wanderin’ around the woods one night and you see a glowing ball of light in the distance. It could be a one person rave, which is kind of sad but not life threatening. Whatever makes a body’s glowstick gleam is their business, ya feel me?

If you don’t hear even a little bit of techno echoing across the hills you have likely come across a Will ‘o the Wisp, and that is much more troubling.

See, Will ‘o the Wisp are these disembodied blobs of light that float around darkened wooded pathways and beckon you to follow them. If you do, follow they will do one of two things: they either guide you to an adventure that will help you to overthrow the patriarchy and embrace your true destiny like the one in Brave did, or they will lead you right into a swamp or a bog where you will sink to your death while it bobs gleefully about watching you take your last gurgling breath. You don’t know which plan the Will ‘o the Wisp has on its agenda until you follow, so no matter what, you should know that if you get all caught in the magic of the moment and choose to chase one there is at least a 50% chance that you’re gonna die terribly, and if anyone ever finds your body, they are certainly going to think you’re a dummy who can’t tell a walking path from a murder lagoon. They will judge you, and they will be well within their rights.

Nobody actually knows where Will ‘o the Wisps came from but my favorite explanation is that they are the souls of people who have been deemed too evil to enter heaven or hell, so they’re forced to spend their afterlife haunting the earth. There’s this one story about a blacksmith named Will who was just the most atrociously awful person ever. When Saint Peter booted him down to hell the Devil was like, “Nah, girl. Get to steppin. I’m not trying to mess with you. Here’s a lump of coal to light your way through the spirit world or whatever. Peace!” I guess, once Satan himself says that you’re a little too hardcore for his tastes you just do whatever you want. So Will decided to use the Devil’s charcoal to prank unsuspecting people for the rest of his afterlife. Which…seems mean and extra but many people say that’s the origin of the Will ‘o the Wisp. They have been spotted all over the world for hundreds of years, so if you’re the outdoorsy type, you may just come across one some summer night. Lynx & LeRouxnatics, I beseech you! Don’t be a dummy. Do not follow the murder light. Because, well, murder. In fact why not stay inside just to be safe?

Want more folklore? Grab our book here.

Folklore Flashback

Are you ready to get away from it all for the weekend? Trips to the lake or beach are expensive and a snore. You can do better than that. Have you ever wanted to visit an area where nightmares come to life? Get off the beaten path and spend a night exploring historic zombie road. Located in Wildwood, MO just outside of St. Louis this hidden gem has been home to the early days of the railroad, a long abandoned resort town teeming with mobsters, and countless grisly deaths. Come on down the path where the past comes to life every night!

You don’t need reservations or to pay admission fees. All you need is a good flashlight and a reckless disregard for your own safety. Scenic Zombie Road is a narrow path carved into a dense and foreboding forest that leads to a bridge across the Meramec River. Rumor has it that the spirits of the Native American tribe who first roamed the land cursed it once the white man started killing and systematically oppressing them. Their restless spirits will have their revenge. We’ve got it coming, haha! The dark and eerie woods around the road echo with unearthly growling and moaning every night. It’s a truly immersive woodland experience. Parasailing schmarasailing, you feel me?

You will be welcomed onto the path by the shrieking ghost of an elderly woman. “So good to see you!” She’ll howl as she storms out onto the porch of her quaint cabin. “It’s a lovely night for a walk!’ She’ll wail as her eyes begin to bleed a dark goo. Not to be confused with the Black-Eyed Children, this is actual goo. The hairs on the back of your neck and your spirits will rise as you take in the craftsmanship of her cabin. People really knew how to build things back in the day.

After you stop trembling, you’ll continue on down to the railroad bridge. Woowee, there sure is one heck of a view. Way back in the 1950s, a young couple fell right off the ridge just above. The boy’s head got wedged between two tree limbs and his face tore clean off before his body crashed onto the rocks. Their spirits are still on the ridge today. Johnny may have lost his face, but he still only has eyes for his number one girl. Zombie Road is for lovers, y’all!

As you gaze down at the water below, you’ll be gently enveloped by the whispers of the lost souls that local mobsters fitted for a cement overcoats and dumped into the beautiful river. Their skeletal hands are raised towards the surface of the water as they beckon you to release them from their watery prison. Don’t do it! It’s a trap. History really comes to life on Zombie Road!

Speaking of history, let’s talk about the train tracks that snake through the area. So many folks got nailed by one of those majestic old locomotives when the tracks were still active. It’s almost like the place is cursed. Oh wait, it totally is!

The townsfolk with the strongest stomachs would form a search party and gather together the scattered limbs for burial. Now that’s what I call community. The sense of community is so strong that the shadowy revenants of the townsfolk still drift through the darkened woods to this day. Sure, they’ll chase you but it’s just because they’re so excited to meet you. They can’t wait to make you a part of the community forever!

What a special place it is. You’ll stumble blindly down that road for seemingly endless hours praying for daylight. Assuming you survive you’ll have so many awe inspiring stories to tell. Those chumps who went to Cabo will be hella jealous. Sadly, there’s nowhere to buy souvenirs ,but who needs a keepsake t-shirt when you can be forever plagued by night terrors to remind you of the experience? Come on down to Zombie Road, Lynx & LeRouxnatics. It’s a trip you’ll never forget!

Oh, and check out our book for more spooky folklore tales.

Enola Way, Man!

Enola Homes

3 3/4 Pretzels

Y’all know I’m a straight up sucker for a good mystery so I was enticed to watch Enola Holmes on Netflix this week. Had I known that they would cancel Glow, Teenage Bounty Hunters, and I Am Not OK With This just a few days later I would have used that time to toilet paper Netflix’s house. Enola Holmes stars Millie Bobby Brown as Sherlock’s little sister, Henry Cavill as far more ripped and less drug addled Sherlock, and Helena Bonham Carter as their Mom, Eudoria.

As the story goes, the Holmes boys moved out right after Enola was born leaving their mom the freedom to raise baby Enola to do judo, play tennis in the house, and blow things up with science. It’s exactly how I imagine HBC would home school a child in real life. Truly, Enola’s childhood was enchanting but one day she wakes up to discover that her mom has peaced out to do feminist spy stuff without a word or warning. This leaves Enola just as bereft as anyone would be after having been abandoned by Helena Bonham Carter-SO BEREFT- so she calls her brothers to come home and find their mom but Sherlock says that Momma Holmes appears to have ghosted them all for good, and he doesn’t mean she did pottery all sultry like, he means she ain’t coming back.

Helena Bonham Carter loved the idea for Enola Holmes: 'It's like a f***  you' to Sherlock | The Independent

That leaves Enola as Mycroft’s ward but he isn’t cool to his ward like Batman would be. Enola does not get a nickname and a costume. Nooooo. Mycroft plans to send her off to a finishing school run by Mrs. Dursley. Since Mycroft is a dillhole Enola follows a series of clues that their mom left and sneaks away to London hot on momma’s trail. On the way she runs into a member of Victorian One Direction who has also decided to run away from home by hopping the same train as Enola. A villan is trying to murder this kid for reasons that are probably political but I believe are deep down related to the boy’s utter lack of personality. Kids a total drip.

Enola ends up spending the rest of the movie trying to save Ye Olde Harry Stiles, find her beloved radical feminist mother, and avoid getting shipped off to Mrs. Dursley’s School for Future Stepford Wives. Will these wealthy white children survive on their own? Will HBC teach me how to blow things up with science? What does a ward have to do to get an underground lair around here?

None of these questions are answered in this film but it’s still fun. The look of it is gorgeous and Millie Bobby Brown is charming as hell. There’s this running bit where Enola looks to camera and talks to the audience that a weaker actor couldn’t pull off.

Exclusive: See Millie Bobby Brown as Sherlock's sis in 'Enola Holmes'

The movie drags near the end but I would recommend it if you just want a fun thing to watch on a Wednesday night. I think I would be madly in love with this movie if I was a kid. It’s made for 6-14 year olds who will idolize Enola and watch it with the fervency that I watched Adventures in Babysitting when I was a kid.

Enola Holmes is far more appropriate and it’s based on a series of books by Nancy Springer so if you or someone you know loves to read words about teen sleuths there’s a whole series of entertaining stories about a brilliant and obstinate firecracker of a detective to get in to. Hooray teen sleuths! I love ’em. Also, Enola is Alone spelled backwards which is a prominent part of the story that seems way more important to the writers than it does to the script. Maybe they just love sister super group Heart? Yeah. How could the not.

Folklore Flashback

Look, we love spooky season. We celebrate all year long. We thought we’d help you get super into it by flashing back to some of LeRoux’s spookier folklore adventures.

First up, the Candy Lady.

Halloween is my very most favorite holiday so I thought I would talk about candy this week. Not just any candy. Spooky window candy. I’m sure most of y’all have heard of/been traumatized by the Candyman, but have you heard the story of the Candy Lady? Grab yourself some Bit O’honey, kids. It’s story time.

candyman gif | Tumblr

It’s hard to say which child discovered it first, but the kids in Terrell, TX began receiving gifts of candy. Someone would creep up to their windows at night while they were sleeping, close enough to just slip an arm in, and leave a piece of candy on their windowsill. The kids didn’t have any idea why the candy began coming, but they were sure happy about it.

Now, no doubt, this is the sort of thing a child should report to a parent right away, but it was 1903; candy was pretty hard to come by and kids can be pretty dumb. So, they decided they wouldn’t tell any grown-ups because what if that made the candy stop coming? After a couple of weeks, the kids started to find notes attached to the candy wrapper. “Come play” was all that it said, and the handwriting was so pretty. Surely, no bad guys could have handwriting as beautiful as that.

It really is a shame no one told their parents. So many lives could have been saved. Of course, the children were too young to remember Clara.

Clara Crane was convicted of murdering her husband in 1885. Their daughter Marcy died in an accident while he was supposed to be watching her and Clara never could forgave him. She did what any grieving prairie wife would do; she cooked up a batch of poison laced caramel and let him eat his fill.

She plead guilty due to grief related insanity and was institutionalized for four years. Other than that one murder she was a real nice lady, so she was released in 1889. There isn’t any record of where she went after that, but a whole lot of people think she came back home to Terrell.

Then, in 1903, the first child disappeared. He went to bed and, when his family woke up the next morning, he was gone without a trace. Soon after, several other children disappeared. Finally, one little boy told his momma the truth and all of the adults just knew it was Clara. She was famous for murder and candy after all. They searched the Crane farm from top to bottom, but no one had lived there for years.

One terrible morning, Jeb Smith was working his fields when he noticed something glinting in the sunlight near the fence. Puzzled, he walked over to investigate and saw that there were no fewer than ten candy wrappers strewn along the ground. What the heck? He bent to pick one of the bundles up and nervously untwisted the brightly colored wax paper. Inside he found two small, bloody teeth. Frantically, he opened another wax parcel and then another. Each one held teeth. Some were jagged or cracked as though they had been torn violently from an unwilling mouth. Jeb was appropriately horrified and ran to get the sheriff.

The town sheriff had been working himself to the bone to find the missing kids. He swore to the town he would find the monster responsible. I suppose he kept his promise; he just didn’t survive the encounter.

His body was found two days later in a ditch. He had been stabbed through each eye with a metal fork and, when they loaded his body into a wagon to bring back to town, they discovered his pockets were filled with candy.

That was the end of it. No more children disappeared after that day. Perhaps the sheriff’s life was enough to satisfy the Candy Lady. Had Clara gone completely mad and taken the town’s children to replace her lost daughter, or was it someone or something else entirely?

Eventually life went back to normal in Terrell. People were finally able to relax and breathe. Still, they would warn their kids, “Behave yourself or the Candy Lady will come get you and never bring you back!” The Candy Lady became a legend. A new boogeyman meant to keep children in line. Nevertheless, in 1903 she was very, very real.

We recently took a trip to Terrell in hopes of tracking down the Candy Lady. Well, not tracking her down, really. We didn’t want to piss her off or anything. So, I thought I’d use reverse psychology on her. I laid out a trail of candy and waited. And waited. No Candy Lady. I lost track of Smoky at some point. That’s when I realized my mistake. I’d laid out those Khalua filled chocolates thinking the Candy Lady is a grown-ass woman, maybe she’d like a little kick to her candy. Turns out, Smokes ate it all. But the trip wasn’t completely wasted. We took a detour and ran into another old friend of mine. More on that later.

Want more folklore? Check out our book, Folklore: A Field Guide. You can get it here! We strongly suggest the paperback for the special bonus features.

The Perfect Wife. A Mediocre Book.

The Perfect Wife, Blake Pierce

3 kinda stale pretzels.

I’ve been in a bit of reading funk, so I’ve been hitting up audiobooks on Hoopla. If Hoopla is available through your local library and you aren’t using it, what are you even doing? Hoopla is dope. Tons of ebook and audiobooks, and you get them for 21 days.

So, anyway, I’ve been all in on these thriller audiobooks. I gave The Perfect Wife by Blake Pierce a shot and here’s what I thought.

If, like Uncle Stevie says, the road to hell is paved with adverbs, then The Perfect Wife is the well-maintained toll road. Good god a’mighty. Every other word ends in ly. Aside from that, I had one major problem. The plots. There are two of them, and one of them is interesting as hell. The other one is full of terrible, gaslighting men. It’s tedious, so we’ll get through that one first. Jessie and her hubby – honestly, I don’t even remember his name – have moved to the ‘burbs. They’ve been accepted at a super exclusive country club and homeboy legit has the vapors. Someone get this man a fainting couch. He’s a huge freakin’ deal.

Meanwhile, Jessie is kinda dope. She’s going to school to be a profiler. Interacting with real life psychos is part of her schoolin’. Thankfully, this weird ass club she and hubs have joined is chock full of them. Anyway, Jessie gets special permission to visit a super high security facility housing the worst of the worst. She begins interviewing Brady. She has her own personal reasons for wanting to meet with him that I won’t get into because it will spoil the best part of this book. The part of the book that will absolutely make me read the second one.

Let’s get back to the douchebaggery, shall we? So, big surprise to no one, the club is a weird sex club. The men get to bang gals from Russia while the wives get unlimited Gucci bags and to have brunch whenever they feel like it. Seriously. The ladies get that laid back glamour life while the husbands get herpes. Probably.

So, Jessie finds out what’s goin’ on in da’ club and is less than pleased. I don’t blame her. Look, he husband didn’t even have the decency to tell her about the brunch perk. I don’t tolerate much, but I’m more likely to tolerate stuff if I’m kept in bloody Marys and eggs Benedict.

Again, I don’t want to give too much of the plot away because the book is decent. So I’ll get back to the actual writing. A lot of people in this book scowled moodily and smiled happily and sat in silence silently. It’s a lot. I think maybe if I’d read it with my eyes rather than my ears, I wouldn’t have noticed.

Okay, byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Smoky Lynx

If it Bleeds: A Review

5 Lexapro laced pretzels for this little gem.

Uncle Stevie is back with a short story collection, possibly his best since Different Seasons.

Let’s get into to it, shall we?

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone

Creepy ass old man pays a young boy not near enough money to tend his flower beds and read to him. But the kid is sweet and kinda likes the old man despite him being a cranky butt, so he goes along with it. As a gift, the boy gets the old man a cell phone, and old man’s world is opened up. Then he dies. Then shit gets weird.

It’s classic Stephen King. Take something totes normal like a phone and make it creepy. It’s what he does best, and it works really well here.

The Life of Chuck

Told in three acts in reverse order, this story is different than his typical creep factor. But there is a really fun supernatural twist. I really enjoyed this one. Act Three, the beginning of the story, but the end of the time line, is super fun. Act Two was probably my favorite. King wrote in a fun little street dance scene that absolutely delighted me.

If it Bleeds

This is the one I was waiting for. If it Bleeds is a Holly Gibney story and I for one was here for it. Here’s the thing, kids; if you plan to read this one, you need to read four books first. I know that sounds like a lot, but what if I told you they’re all super fun, five star reads? You won’t be disappointed.

So, before cracking open If it Bleeds, read in this order:

  1. Mr. Mercedes
  2. Finders Keepers
  3. End of Watch
  4. The Outsider

You can even take a small break from reading and watch The Outsider on HBO. It has Jason Bateman in it. Do I need to say anything else? No. No I don’t.

At its core, If it Bleeds is a detective story. But a detective story with a supernatural twist, making it the perfect case for Holly. It was a joy to have a standalone Holly story, to see Jerome and Barbara Robinson again, to get to know a little bit of what makes Holly Holly.

Rat

I love it when King writes about writers. Dark Half is one of my favorites of his. You can read that review here.

Rat is about a writer who, like all of us at times, is struggling to put his ideas down on paper. He’s a wiz at short stories and makes a decent living teaching writing at the college, bu the dreams of writing a full length novel one day. Except, every time he tries, he goes completely round the bend. Like, set his own house on fire round the bend.

When he tells his lady love he wants to head up to the cabin to work on a novel, she is understandably like, “Say what???” But he goes. And things go swimmingly. He writes during the day, relaxes in the evening, is back home in a quick twenty one days. I’m kidding. It doesn’t go that way at all.

 

So, there you have it, kids. We’re officially back to the reading and the reviewing. Not quite the writing yet. Our next project is actually a three woman job and we’re trying to be responsible as possible, so we are socially distancing even from one another. It’s been a rough year, but we’ll get through it.

If you’re looking for something lighter and hilarious, check out our book. It’s $1.00. Probably the best dollar you’ll ever spend.

Okay, byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Smoky Lynx

 

Guess Who’s Back in the House

Look, it’s been a minute since we’ve written a blog. Honestly, between the wildfires, COVID, the BLM movement, murder hornets, cocaine pigs, and duck army, our opinions seemed, I don’t, super unimportant.

But, we thought we’d check in and let our four loyal readers know what the hell we’ve been up to:

Drag Race

Look, we were both hella stoked about All Stars Season 5. Because Shea Coulee`, Miz Cracker, and Jujubee in the same season? What isn’t exciting about that?

season 9 GIF by RuPaul's Drag Race

Turns out, that’s about it. The cast was KILLER. I mean, KILLER. The challenges were…um, phoned in? Speaking of phoned it, what the heck was that phone call with Mama Ru in the second to last episode? Who was on the phone? Did the writers completely forget about it?

The Summer of Stevie

You guys, every summer I go on a full-blown Stephen King bender that I lovingly call the Summer of Stevie.

stephen king halloween GIF by Challenger

So far, I’ve read the following Uncle Stevie books:

    1. Colorado Kid
    2. Mr. Mercedes
    3. Finders Keepers
    4. End of Watch
    5. The Gunslinger
    6. If it Bleeds – full review coming Tuesday
    7. Bag of Bones
    8. Dolores Claiborne

That’s a whole lot of Uncle Stevie, and I am living for it.

Chess and Chutes and Ladders. We’ve been stuck inside and playing a lot of board, or bored, games. I’m a bit of wiz when it comes to chess, but I have no one to play. So, I play myself. I’m getting pretty good, too. I win about 37% of the time. We also play a lot of Chutes and Ladders. Hey, don’t knock it until you try it.

Getting out of doors. LeRoux is working on one of her little folklore projects, so we’ve been heading out to the woods looking for bowtruckles, nymphs, tree sprites, and, lord help us, Keebler elves. I’ve told her a million times that they’re simply a marketing tool to sell mediocre at best cookies – except Fudge Stripes. Those bitches are delicious – but she insists on searching for them. I have no interest at all in outside, but she has a stupid, impractical car – an orange lowrider with a Pat Benatar CD stuck in the CD player – so I have to drive her. I mean, I don’t have to, but I’m not a complete asshole. Plus, I worry she’d get lost, and she does literally everything around the house.

Turning down collabs left and right. For reasons unbeknownst to us, we’ve been getting hit up for collaborations on Insta like mad. Boutiques, jewelry places, outerwear for dogs, and, strangest of all, swimsuit companies. Have you ever seen two people less likely to model swimsuits than us? I responded that we’re in as long as all photos can be taken under a blood moon and we insist on wearing those old-timey suits with the bloomers. No one has gotten back to us.

So, that’s about it. We haven’t been doing much writing. 2020 hasn’t been good for us creatively, but we plan to be back at it soon.

Okay, byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Smoky Lynx

 

Virtues are not Opinions

Our publisher is pretty amazing. They’ve articulated out feelings about the current client perfectly. So, we’ve shared their words here.

We’ve been silent for a while now. Partially because we’ve been doing a lot of
listening, praying, and grieving. Mostly because words are very hard to find when you
know they will never, ever be enough. But the time to be silent is over.
When so much is so complicated and so wrong, it’s hard to know where to start
sorting it out and cleaning it up. We’re going to keep things simple and stick to the
subject we’re best at: words. A lot of words are being thrown around carelessly with very
little, if any, thought to what they actually mean and what we’re really saying when we
use them.
Here are the words we’ll be defining:
 Belief
 Opinion
 Fact
 Value
 Virtue
 Entitled/Entitlement
 Respect

(If you’re as exhausted by certain phrases as we are, that list is probably where you
figure out where this blog is going.)
All definitions were taken from merriam-webster.com.

Belief: a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some
person or thing; something that is accepted, considered to be true, or held as
an opinion; conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some
being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence.

Opinion: a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a
particular matter; belief stronger than impression and less strong than
positive knowledge.

Fact: something that has actual existence; an actual occurrence; a piece of
information presented as having objective reality; the quality of being actual.
Value: (n) the monetary worth of something; relative worth, utility, or
importance; something (such as a principle or quality) intrinsically valuable
or desirable. (v) to consider or rate highly.

Virtue: conformity to a standard of right; a beneficial quality or power of a
thing; a commendable quality or trait; a capacity to act.
Entitled: having a right to certain benefits or privileges; having or showing a
feeling of entitlement. Entitlement: a right to benefits specified especially by
law or contract; belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges.

Respect: (n) an act of giving particular attention; high or special regard; (v) to
consider worthy of high regard.

This brings us to the phrases we would prefer to never hear again.

“Everyone’s entitled to their own beliefs. We have to respect each other’s values. A difference in opinion isn’t worth losing a friendship.”

“Isn’t worth losing a friendship…”
Really? We ask that you stop and carefully consider how much privilege that
statement is based in. While we can’t speak for Breonna Taylor’s friends, we imagine
they feel that the enforcement of a no-knock warrant searching for 2 people who were
already in custody was not worth losing her friendship over. Her life was worth so, so
much more. We can’t speak for George Floyd’s friends, but we’re certain his friendship
was worth more than $20. His life was worth so, so much more. We could go on, and on,
and on, because the examples are coming faster than we can acknowledge them. In the
time it has taken us to outline and complete this blog, 3 more black lives have ended,
and that count just comes from the headlines we’ve seen without intentionally looking
for them. More friendships. More lives. We’ll come back to this sentence later.

“Everyone’s entitled to their own beliefs.”

That is a fact. Everyone is free to believe whatever the hell they want, whether those
beliefs are rooted in fact, virtue, respect, or not. But no one is entitled to inflict or force
their beliefs on anyone else. They’re entitled to have them. They’re entitled to speak
them. That’s it. You can choose to share and respect them or not. They have no say in
your choice.

“We have to respect each other’s values.”

No. Just, no. Virtues, yes. Values, no. A value is simply that—something an
individual person has assigned worth and value to. Whether or not what someone values
is respectable is up for you to decide; they can’t demand any more than the respect
they’re entitled to. You are obligated to respect someone’s right to life. You are obligated
to respect their right to hold and voice their own opinions, beliefs, and values. You are
under no obligation to respect the way they live their lives, or the opinions, beliefs, or
values they hold.

“A difference in opinion isn’t worth losing a friendship.”

This is a copout and we’re calling bullshit. We can’t listen to it anymore. Some
differences of opinion aren’t worth losing a friendship. We have been friends for more
years than we care to publicly count. In those years, we have held countless differences
of opinion. We’ve held many different and sometimes conflicting beliefs. We hold
shared values and unshared values. None of them have been worth losing our friendship over because, despite our different opinions, beliefs, and values, we are rooted together
by common virtues. But if tomorrow one of us wakes up, straps a swastika to her arm,
and takes to the streets with a torch—or even suggests that those who do so are “good
people”— this party is over. We’re no longer dealing with just a difference of opinion or
beliefs. We’re dealing with a diametric opposition of values with the presence of virtue
on one side and a lack thereof on the other. No shared history would ever matter if there
was such a complete break in what’s held us together.

If you’re not confronting racism because, “A difference in opinion isn’t worth losing a friendship,” then please start using the right words. “I’m opting for complicit silence because the consequences of confronting racism would be more detrimental to my life than racism itself has ever been.”

If you’re not willing to own that last statement, then start saying what actually needs
to be said. Call racism out when you see it, no matter how large or small the aggression.
Stand up to your friend, neighbor, pastor, teacher, family member, or anyone else who’s
guilty of these aggressions. They’re a lot more likely to listen to you than the people
they’re discriminating against. Educate them if you can. Approach them with love and
try to change their minds and hearts if that’s what you feel called to do. Call them out
and cut them out of your life if that’s what you feel called to do. But never, ever let them
or yourself off the hook by saying it’s not worth losing a friendship over while other
people are losing their lives.

To our friends and readers of color. We have failed you. We as a society and we as
two educated and informed white women who could never claim we haven’t been paying attention. We haven’t done enough. We have no idea what “enough” is, but until every person in this country is more outraged by the lynching of your children than the
burning of a department store, we haven’t done enough. Until every bystander is willing
to become an activist in the moment, willing to confront, name, and interrupt racism as
it’s happening—willing to swarm, overpower, and pull the racist’s knee off your child’s
neck the moment it makes contact instead of watching and filming him call for you as
his life is snuffed away—we haven’t done enough.

We have no hollow platitudes or empty excuses to offer. No past actions, intentions,
or efforts matter when the failure has been so complete. You’re still dying at the hands of
people who look like us. You’re dying because for generations, too many white people
have said things like “I didn’t enslave anyone,” or “my people had it just/almost as bad,”
and shrugged all responsibility for the broken system we inherited while holding tight to
the privileges it affords us. You’re dying because for 400 years, too many white people have given themselves permission to believe that someone can simultaneously hold
hate, contempt, and disregard for your lives and be a good person. You’re dying because
in the 165 years since the 13th amendment was ratified, there hasn’t been a single
generation with enough white people willing to admit that a giant genocidal mess was
made and still needs to be cleaned up. You’re dying because you’ve been left to defend
your right to breathe to people who don’t believe you have a right to speak, kneel,
gather, or even exist.

You’re dying and all we can say is, we know. We see you. We see them. We have
always been paying attention. We have always been trying. We have failed and for that
we are immeasurably sorry, but the burden of forgiving our failures isn’t on you. You’re
carrying too many burdens that shouldn’t be yours as it is. It’s on us to do better. To be
better. To show up more, to speak out more, to keep listening, learning, reading, and
teaching. To keep doing the work and having the hard conversations it will take to get
where we need to be. We will make more mistakes along the way. We will listen with
respect when you point them out, learn from them, and do better. We will never
question your truths, struggles, or experiences. We will likely fail again, but we will
never stop trying; we have no right to quit when you don’t have the option.

If you are looking for more resources, or ways to help. please visit the official Black Lives Matter website.

-Jessica and Ryanne

All Stars Eleganza!

Okay, so, 2020 has been a…weird year. Really, the only bright spot has been Drag Race. Season 12 has ended, but guess what? Mama Ru has blessed us with an All Stars season right on the heels of Season 12. AND I AM HERE FOR IT.

So, let’s meet our all stars, shall we?

  1. Shea Coulee: One of our Season 9 queens. She’s amazing, and I love her. I expect her to go far.
  2. Miz Cracker: It’s time for dinner!!! I love Cracker. I’m still sad about her Season 10 elimination. I’m glad she’s back for her rudemption.
  3. Alexis Mateo: BAM! Our Season 3 queen is back and she looked sickening, no?
  4.  Blair St. Claire: Our little Broadway baby is all grown up, y’all.
  5. Derrick Berry: It’s Derrick, bitch.
  6. India Ferrah: We’re throwing it back to Season 3. India is best known for getting manhandled by Mimi during a lip sync. I’m interested to see more of her.
  7. Jujubee: I have nothing but love for little Juju. I’m so glad to see her back in the work room.
  8. Mariah Balenciaga: She’s back, back, back again.
  9. Mayhem Miller: She, and her white contacts, are back in the work room.
  10. Ongina: Last but not least, our Season 1 queen. She’s presh.

The theme of this season is old versus new, hence the early season queens against our newer season queens.

And, with the new season, we get new All Stars rules. That’s right, no more lip syncing for your legacy. Well, there’s still that, but there’s no longer a top two. There’s a top one and a super special lip sync assassin. So, not only do we have a cast of killer queens, we get special appearances by other killer queens.

Also, the safe queens gets to vote on which of the bottom two should be eliminated. So, everyone’s voice counts. I think Mama Ru is sending us a message about the importance of voting.

If our All Star wins, her boob lipstick gets sent home. If the assassin wins, the safe queens’ pick gets sent packin’.

The Mini Challenge: The Library is Open

In the great tradition of All Stars, we’re kicking it off with a reading challenge. Everyone did well, but Jujubee killed it.

The Main Challenge: It’s a Talent Show, Y’all

Our queens are tasked with displaying their talent and entertaining our judges. Including special guest judge Ricky Martin. Who was a doll baby, by the way.

Our queens had a variety of talents: dancing, singing, pickle impersonations. You name it, they did it. Our top of the week was India Ferrah, with Derrick and Mayhem landing in the bottom.

I do have to say, Mariah’s performance was amazing. She did a performance art piece about oppression, fighting back, and racism. Super timely, y’all. And Ricky Martin made a point to praise her for it.

Assassin: Yvie Oddly

Yes, girl. I was stoked when Yvie was ruvealed. I was stoked, India was nervous. Y’all, Yvie is practically Gumby, and she’s already a winner, baby. She had nothing to lose. She killed it. Truly an assassin.

Yvie won, and Derrick Berry was sent packin’. Girl, bye. She’s very dramatic and I’m not feeling her.

It was a great episode, and I’m looking forward to this season.

I’m also looking forward to seeing who our assassins are.

My assassin predictions are:

  1. Kameron Michaels
  2. Peppermint
  3. Monique Heart

Are you watching All Stars? Tell me about it. If you aren’t, what the heck is wrong with you?

Okay, byeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Smoky Lynx