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Nice masks. The Sand People. They get it.

Like millions of other Star Wars fans, I found the Tusken Raiders (aka Sand People) both fearsome and laughable. Their weird sea-lion cries, pumping their staffs to the sky, riding single-file on mammoth beasts of burden, their bodies and heads wrapped like mummies.

Now, I get it.

Under quarantine in the midst of a heat wave, my head swaddled in cooling fabrics, eying my neighbors through binoculars to see whether or not they are wearing masks, I realize how deeply wrong I was to make fun of the Sand People and their way of life.


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Hello, you have reached the Department of Justice.

If you’re hearing this message, we are busy delivering an important case of Diet Coke to the White House. Please listen closely, as our options have changed.

Press 1 to reach the DOJ’s Donald J. Trump Team if you’ve been convicted, jailed, or otherwise witch-hunted.

Press 2 for our Supreme Court Nominee Criminal Background FastTrack program.

Press 3 to reach our All Lives Matter adjudication division.

Press 4 to speak with someone on our totally un-politicized Whistleblowing Team.

Press 5 if you’re a lifelong nonpartisan public servant who wishes to retire in disgust. …


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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

What’s up, Algorithm? Do you know that phrase, “What’s up?” I’m sure you do. But as a disembodied intelligence, I know you’ve never felt the sensation of up—going up in an elevator, jumping. Hanging upside down, knees folded over the monkey bars, feeling the rush of blood to your head.

You don’t know down, either. What it means to feel down.

I admit, you have led me to feel down many times. I am not alone in that. Algorithm, has anyone told you how many suicides you’ve brought about this decade? …


After spending many days as a prisoner in my own house

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Good news: I just woke up to a habitable Earth. After spending many days as a prisoner within my own house (okay, within the small section of it that my air purifier could keep clean), I sat up in my darkened bedroom, checked the air quality app, and discovered that the weather outside was not frightful.

As if it was Christmas morning, I sprang out of bed, ran to the living room, and threw open all the windows and doors like a redeemed Ebenezer Scrooge.

Fresh air poured in. I breathed.

I walked outside. I stood there, breathing.

I beheld the trees around me. The grass. I walked a few paces away from our house and looked back at it. I was grateful. For so many things, including the reminder that there are worse things than a pandemic. …


In which my mother, and Mother Nature, share a smoke.

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Ionce dreamt I was teaching an acting workshop about all the ways to convey emotion with a cigarette, without saying a word. I demonstrated, for example, how to put it out while sneering at someone: “Act as if the ashtray is their face. As you finish, silently congratulate yourself for your restraint.”

Ironically, I have never been a smoker. My mother smoked two to three packs a day—every gesture and technique in that Acting with Cigarettes Master Class was a second language, one I had internalized in early childhood. …


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A few years ago, Lisa and a friend started a new reading series in Portland. The quarterly event is held at Leach Botanical Garden — a location you might’ve seen in the last episode of Portlandia, when the mayor shoots lightning bolts out of his fingertips at a witch in a stone cottage.

Back in March 2019, in what now seems like the distant past, I helped with the spring reading.

Under the flowering trees of the garden, out on the large brick patio, we arranged white chairs in rows before a podium. Above us were strings of glowing lights. …


Lates 80s, Early 90s Rappers Issue Joint Statement

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Many people in smoke-covered California, Oregon, and Washington now realize that the words AIR QUALITY ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL MONDAY 2PM do not mean that air quality will improve on that day and time; rather, that is simply the furthest into the future that meteorologists can foresee. An advisory in effect until Monday, for example, could easily be in effect until Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or any other known date in the calendar year.

In light of increased sensitivity around air quality advisories and the term “in effect,” rappers from the late 1980s and early 1990s have stepped forward to apologize to the Air Quality Monitoring Community for ever saying that they themselves were “in effect” or “in full effect.” …


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This morning I woke to the low, comforting hum of our air purifier, its soft breeze flowing over my face and head. My son was still asleep on the makeshift bed we had set up on our bedroom floor last night.

I knew, from looking at an air quality app the night before, that the air outside might be cleaner than it’s been in days, but only for a period of a few hours, before it would return to what the app’s developers whimsically called “Airpocalypse” levels.

I sat up and put on my robe, the one I’ve been wearing 90% of the time for the past six months. Knowing that if I turned the air purifier off it would chime and potentially wake my wife and son, I unplugged it so it would stop without making a sound. …


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Brennan and Dale to Restore America’s Prestige—Worldwide

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRESTIGE WORLDWIDE (WIDE… WIDE…) the leader in Entertainment, Management, Financial Portfolios, Insurance, Computers, Black Leather Gloves, Research and Development (putting in the Man Hours to study The Science of What You Need), and Security is proud to announce….

WE are taking over the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS (AFFAIRS… AFFAIRS…)

Ask yourself: Is it MERELY a COINCIDENCE that PRESTIGE is in our name?

NO! Because WE will restore AMERICA’S PRESTIGE on the WORLD STAGE!

Our founders, Brennan Huff and Dale Doback, stars of BOATS ’N’ HOS and VISIONARIES who pushed the LIMITS of what humanity can DO with Liquid Paper, are HEADING UP this whole thing. …


Sorry, I Honestly Can’t Remember

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Image by EM Stonestreet based on an 1887 painting by Viktor Vasnetsov.

As I write this, the skies outside my home office window are an orange-grey from nearby raging wildfires.

High up in the clouds, I see four horsemen riding out of the sky. And my first thought is: Wait, did I order Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse on Amazon?

I mean, I order things on Amazon every few days and, honestly, I forget what I ordered minutes later. Boxes arrive at my door and it feels like Christmas without the wrapping paper. I can’t wait to find out what past me sent to present me!

I’m pretty sure I didn’t order Four Horsemen though. …

About

EM Stonestreet

Father, writer, funny person. https://linktr.ee/stonestreet

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