News · Weekend Reads and Listens

Weekend Reads And Listens: When The World Sucks Edition

To be blunt, the world is in the shitter right now. Domestically, internationally, in war zones, and in what should be safe places. Places where we work, pray and learn. Only certain people are afforded the comfort of trusting the police and the most effective political campaign strategy seems to be to see how many people you can offend in a single soundbite.

It makes me sad, angry, scared and apologetic to my boys for the world in which I fear they will grow up.

But of course, in the midst of so much Big Stuff, there are the little things. The inspirational stories of benevolence, the power of music and the people who make you laugh. I’m sharing a few quick things this week that make me smile, appreciate and cherish the little things in life. Because honestly, what else can you do?

The Reads

Instead of apologizing to my sons for the messy world we live in, I should be doing something to make it better. Whatever I do will likely be very minute compared to the commitment Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan made this week. I loved his letter posted on Facebook announcing not only the birth of their daughter Max, but the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (digging that her name is first, BTW). They are pledging 99% of their Facebook shares over time to invest in projects aimed to make this world a better place for future generations. He goes into more specifics on his goals in the 2,200-word letter.

Of course haters gonna hate, hate, hate, and Zuckerberg’s post was met with critics slamming it as a way for publicity or to incur less tax penalties on his wealth since he set up the initiative as a for-profit LLC instead of a non-profit (Zuckerberg responded to the critics on Thursday).

Look, as long as he does the things he claims and he doesn’t do them illegally, I don’t care if he sets it up as a neighborhood book club. Zuckerberg isn’t a Hollywood starlet promoting a new movie. He doesn’t need publicity. And philanthropy is not new territory to him. I choose to believe he and his wife are truly devoted to these causes and that, like most parents, having his own child inspires him more than ever to build a world with less disease and poverty and more education and opportunity. And for this, I say thank you and congratulations!

The Listens

Okay, now on to the funny because I could use a good laugh. Do you watch Billy on the Street? You should because he is hilarious, and the way he gets other celebrities (think Julianne Moore, Tina Fey, Anna Kendrick, David Letterman and more) to play along with his histrionics on the streets of New York is pretty great.

Billy Eichner is also a fellow Northwestern grad. We graduated in the same year, so while I didn’t know him, the school isn’t that big. I think if I claim we sat next to each other in a class, there is a good chance it could actually be true.

Most of his best clips are on YouTube. Check out the one below with Chris Pratt (the clip is safe for work, but some of his others have profanity so be warned).

Hanukkah starts on Sunday and Adam Sandler has released Part 4 of his popular song enumerating famous (sometimes infamous) Jews. “We might not have a cartoon with a reindeer that can talk, but we also don’t have polio, thanks to Dr. Jonas Salk (smart Jew).”

The Feels

While I refuse to watch live television due to commercials, I am a little obsessed with watching them online when the urgency to know what Olivia Pope is going to do next is removed.

I watched this new German commercial dubbed the “saddest Christmas commercial ever” this week because I am a glutton for punishment and enjoy sobbing alone in my living room (and then again in my office). Do you find it sweet or morbid?

When the world is feeling especially sucky (or if I am just having a tough parenting day), I pull up the following Coke commercial from Argentina. The look on the father’s face at the end is… well, I won’t ruin it if you haven’t seen it, but it’s awesome.

Finally, complete throwback, but I love this Dave Matthews Band song and I love spontaneous hugging. Boom! All in this video. It always makes me smile and man, as cheesy as it sounds, this world could use one big spontaneous hug.

When I look at all of my recommendations, the themes seem to be family, love and Chris Pratt. I can’t really argue with that.

I hope you have a great weekend. Please share what gets you smiling in stressful times!


7 thoughts on “Weekend Reads And Listens: When The World Sucks Edition

  1. I’m not sure how I feel about the German commercial. I get it, I do – by my goodness, how duplicitous. Even had them at cemetery. I think I would have been feeling less than loving!


    1. I know, Allie. It’s pretty dramatic and mean! But the shots of the father so lonely at the beginning soften me up so by the time the end comes, I’m in a forgiving mood 🙂 Thanks for reading!


  2. Great post! I love all the bits of information. I was listening to a story on NPR about why Zuckerburg structured the gift the way he did. It makes a lot of sense because there are more things he can do than if it was put in a traditional non-profit, 501(c)3 organization. It so bothers me when people judge so harshly without bothering to know the facts.


  3. So, regarding the flack from others for Zuckerberg, I say this common saying applies perfectly (and i have never used it, but) “Haters gonna hate.” Really, sometimes people are just looking for something to criticize.


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