Captain von Trapp and Maria in their luxury upstate New York treehouse. Photo: pure julia

Watch your worries evaporate like steam off a freshly baked loaf of sourdough and snuggle into this 12-hour ASMR-inspired winter soundscapes playlist.

Tracks include:

Lively 1920s New York Café Inside Hogwarts’ Great Hall

Cat Purring In Boston Bookstore While Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole Crunch Through Snow in Nearby Park

Bilbo Baggins’ Crackling Fireplace with Finnish Sauna Steam in Background

Snow Falling on Pigeon Wings in Trafalgar Square in January, 1844 (now with extra hustle and bustle)

Church Bells Chiming in Medieval Alpine Village While Robins Peck at Hot Pie Cooling on Windowsill in Grandma’s Cottage

Reykjavík Rain Falling…

A Man from Gondor offers Middle-earth’s most powerful wizards a progressive alternative to killing each other.

Chatting over a tea: Something the Elves and Sauron should have done a long time ago. Photo: Harry Cunningham

As the Dark Lord Sauron’s rising power threatens Middle-earth, Gandalf travels to Isengard to seek Saruman’s advice. The two wizards meet and a heated discussion erupts over whether to join Sauron or fight against him. When Gandalf accuses Saruman of abandoning reason for madness, Saruman’s temper boils over. In a bid to deescalate the situation, Gandalf summons a nonviolent communication facilitator, a Man from Gondor, to help both parties come to an agreement. Saruman reluctantly complies.

Facilitator: Why don’t you tell Saruman how you’re…

Take a swig of rum, strap on your lifejacket, and steel yourself for the best guide on how to fool your guests into thinking they’re at sea when they relieve themselves in your home.

Going to the bathroom or submerged in an underwater world? Your guests won’t be able to tell the difference. Photo: Francesca Zama

1. Collect some nautically-themed images on Pinterest. One to two thousand should be enough to spark some inspiration.

2. Buy a new house. Your current one doesn’t have a bathroom vast enough to contain your oceanic dreams. If you calmly explain your project to your bank manager, they will respect your idea and offer you a loan, no problem.

3. Decide on your sub-theme: Will you go tropical or cold water? Do you want to feel like a Scandinavian fishmonger or a sunburnt Pacific Island tourist when you take a shit?

4. Install portholes. Go for tinted glass if you…

Together, we’ll find the monster who did this to your hand. Photo: Clare Wieck

As we hurtle through the information age shouting, “Let’s do it!” to anything and everything that we can make possible with our COOL TECH, (because who needs ethics when you’re just, like, really curious?) we’ve accomplished some astounding things.

My personal favorites so far: the infinite scroll (better to stay informed than to sleep like a tired idiot), Gmail’s Smart Compose (“Sorry for the late reply. We’ve had a family tragedy and I’ve had to pause the hiring process. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Could you let me know your availability next month?” >> “Sounds…

*as far as we know

(Unwind yourselves, gentlepeople, it’s comedy)

Combining list items 3. and 31. Photo: Matthew Henry
  1. Shakespeare’s sonnets
  2. Danish architecture
  3. Rewatching Dunston Checks In
  4. The Kuiper Belt and associated celestial bodies of the trans-Neptunian region
  5. Baroque music
  6. Remembering the time you used the office printer on your lunch break to print out your resumé so you could apply for a new job and your boss saw you and as you hurried out of the room, you tripped over the carpet, rolled your ankle, fell on your face, and you were humiliated
  7. Raindrops on roses
  8. Weasels Ripped My Flesh, by Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention

Unwind yourselves, gentlepeople, it’s comedy.

I need to work on my pouring technique. Photo: Piotr Makowski

In order to cope with the deluge of pandemic news and worldly horrors that have probably had Stephen King’s pens running out of ink for the past eight months, I’m proud to say that I’m now drinking alcohol from Monday to Friday only!

My weekends are dedicated to laundering sweatpants; attending to my personal hygiene; and pushing my frail and unhappy body to its absolute maximum for seven punishing minutes on my Peloton*. During the week, I enjoy two to five red wines a day, depending on my Twitter feed.

Since committing to this schedule…

Me, on my favorite rock. Photo: Michael Bernander

¡Hola humans!

This is Jorge. Some of you may know me as the iguana who ran across the tennis court during the Haas vs Vesely match at the Miami Open in 2017.

I’ve been laying low since the incident, which admittedly isn’t that physically hard for an iguana, but I need to set the record straight about what really happened on that balmy March day.

What everyone got wrong about my ascent of the scoreboard and subsequent mad dash across the court was either that I wanted to watch the match or that I was lost and petrified. First of…

An exemplary home (vacuum not pictured). Photo: Philipp Berndt

Step 1.

First of all, I can’t believe you need to read this guide. Take some time out to reflect on how you got to your age without knowing how to vacuum correctly. Allow 15 minutes for reflective journaling if you’re under 20; half an hour of meditation and a stiff drink if you’re under 30; and a 7-day life coaching program if you’re under 100. I’ll wait here.

Step 2.

Name your vacuum. Names that denote brawn and forceful cleanliness, such as The Lint Leviathan, Dr. Dust Bunny Homicidal Maniac or The Forensic Strip-Down work well.

Step 3.


I’ve done some research and have identified this place as a potential area to visit. Photo: Reiseuhu

An open letter to Mr. Nadal’s team,

I’d like to speculatively apply for the position of Personal Assistant to Rafael Nadal exclusively when he is onboard his catamaran Great White.

Since his latest victory, I’m sure Mr. Nadal is in the market to expand his team, particularly when it comes to the help needed on his yacht, which I can only assume will be facing a luxurious renovation in the weeks to come. …

Unwind yourselves gentlepeople, it’s parody.

My third smallest office — a peaceful respite from all the craziness. Photo: Jon Tyson

An open letter to my celeb dependents,

This is definitely Elton John and I’ve got something I want to get off my gorgeous chest.

As a legendary, record-smashing, diamond-encrusted artiste, I fully appreciate how much you admire me and my decades of music industry experience. I know you respect how much I’ve gone through in terms of coping with fame, massive wealth, coke, snow, nose candy, big c, mama coca, blow, dust, California cornflakes, cocaine, and life in general. You’ve confided in me about your (comparatively lightweight) problems over the years and I have patiently…

Clare Wieck

Writer and musician. Sayer of sooth and silly.

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