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Saturday Links: Lake Eerie Edition

This place is the creepiest.



These photos by Nick Brandt at National Geographic of the vast, watery graveyard that is Lake Natron make it look like something from a mythical underworld, but it’s a real place in Tanzania. Its name comes from its concentration of natrocarbonatite, which is a rare type of lava with a high alkali (salt) content that in this case trickles down from a nearby volcano. Because it’s so salty, the lake isn’t home to many living things—apart from some bacteria, the odd fish or two, and flamingos. But the OTHER thing about Lake Natron is that birds and other flying animals like bats often crash into it and die—and no one knows why for sure. One theory is that they confuse its glassy surface with the sky. Whatever the reason, the animals’ bodies are preserved by the briney water, resulting in mummy-like creatures such as the one above. For his pictures, Brandt collected carcasses on Lake Natron’s shore and then posed them in the water, on branches, and on rocky outcrops. Creepy!


My mind imploded earlier this week when three of my obsessions—Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live, and Girls—collided in this SNL parody of Girls starring Fey. Think of everything you know about Hannah, Jessa, Shoshanna, and Marnie, then add a disgruntled Albanian peasant woman named Blerta (played by Fey), who seems to be suffering from more severe problems than the ones we typically see the other girls crying about. They’re all lost in the big city; some more than others. Blerta!!

Anna F.


I’m heading to New York this weekend for Rookiepalooza, and I’ve been saving all my Big Internet Reads for the trip. But I always have time for a book list, and Flavorwire is one of my go-to places when I need recommendations. This week, Jason Diamond rounded up “10 Must-Read Books for October” (I can barely wait to read Donna Tartt’s new one, The Goldfinch) and “25 Independent Presses That Prove This Is the Golden Age of Publishing” (two of my personal favorites, Two Dollar Radio and Melville House, are mentioned along with a slew of others I still want to check out). Books!!!



My reading list this week consisted mainly of open letters. There was that one Sinéad O’Connor wrote to Miley Cyrus, then that other one Amanda Palmer wrote to Sinéad O’Connor about writing to Miley Cyrus. Both of them related to power and what young women in the music industry (Miley in particular) should do to get it, keep it, and wield it. They also made the timing of this earlier essay by Ella Yelich-O’Connor (a.k.a. Lorde) about her some of her own experiences as a young woman in the music industry feel weirdly perfect. “I’m a teenager, and I’m a girl, and those are factors that can stand in the way of maintaining control,” she wrote. “I’ve had more people than I can count talk to my manager in meetings instead of me, like it doesn’t matter what I think. This usually lasts all of 10 minutes, until I insert the kind of dry sentence that makes most adults splutter and blush and reach for their water, and after this they start taking me seriously.”


William Masters and Virginia Johnson.

William Masters and Virginia Johnson.

I’d been waiting to see the new TV show Masters of Sex for a while, not only because of the raw talent involved (it stars Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen) but also because of the plot line. I knew it was loosely based on the true story of Dr. William Masters, his secretary and eventual work/life partner Virginia Johnson, and the research they did together on human sexual response. What I didn’t know until I read this Associated Press article (sidenote: check out the byline) was the impact they made on how Americans view women’s sexuality—a topic that hadn’t been particularly explored or even talked about before their experiments came along in the ’50s. Apparently, Masters was a pretty traditional dude when it came to gender roles on the personal level (the article says he “kept his wife at home”), BUT the research he completed with Johnson helped prove that women are independently sexual beings, which in its own way contributed to the feminist movement. Maybe it wasn’t intentional, but it’s still pretty cool. ♦


  • Viaperson October 5th, 2013 12:58 PM

    just wanted to say how puuUuuUmped i am for the rookie party in brooklyn tomorrow :))) i’m a tiny bit nervous also b/c i am attending alone – that isn’t bad, right?! will we make friends with each other??? should i be afraid?!?!?!?

    • Anaheed October 5th, 2013 1:40 PM

      Yes we will! Find us and introduce yourself!!

    • speppie94 October 7th, 2013 6:43 AM

      How was it @Viaperson?! I wish i went. I live in Australia though. Hope all went well! :–)

  • w.brittani October 5th, 2013 3:15 PM

    Am I the only one who when I click on Britney’s link to the ‘byline’ it comes up with a wiki article on sandy Cohen? Am I missing something?

    • Lena October 6th, 2013 1:15 AM

      The person who wrote the article about Masters of Sex just happens to be named Sandy Cohen, too.

  • FlowerandtheVine October 5th, 2013 5:08 PM

    OMG, Lorde is amazing. I think we’ll be hearing from her for many years to come, because she’s actually in control of her own career and image. I feel that way about Lily & Madeleine, too.


  • Violet October 5th, 2013 7:09 PM

    loved the Amanda Palmer letter, and thank you for making me discover Lorde – her article is great.

  • wallflower152 October 5th, 2013 7:15 PM

    If you’re interested in Masters & Johnson I recommend the book Bonk by Mary Roach. Roach is a science writer and she explores many different aspects of sex (anatomical, sociological, etc) in Bonk and draws heavily from the research of Masters & Johnson. And don’t be intimidated by it being a science book, Roach writes about science in a way that is super interesting but also easy to read and FUNNY!

  • fennec37 October 5th, 2013 7:42 PM

    Where will I be able to purchase the yearbook in New York since I won’t be there for the event? Thanks I am really excited to get it :)

    • Lena October 6th, 2013 10:07 AM

      It should be in most bookstores (especially ones that stock Drawn and Quarterly titles), but you can also order it in the Rookie shop: http://rookiemag.com/shop/

      I’m really excited for you get it, too! It’s so good.

  • teencat October 5th, 2013 7:55 PM

    i am so jealous about the rookie party in brooklyn. if i went i would meet you all and fangirl and hypnotize you with my powers into reading my blog MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

    lol i’m weird


  • Lascelles October 5th, 2013 8:14 PM

    …AHHHH!!! It would be really nice to add a spoiler warning to that Masters of Sex note about “life partner.” You just spoiled the finale for me for what I am sure is the only good show for the rest of the year. Cyrus from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is real. I feel a little better now :D

    • Lena October 6th, 2013 1:04 AM

      Oh man, sorry about that! The show is based on Masters and Johnson’s real lives, though, so details like that are already out there!

      • Lascelles October 7th, 2013 8:28 AM

        I am not a big fan of bios, so I was unaware of the details. I am actually happier about the whole thing now since I saw ep 2 today. Also, from reading about the book the series is based. I think it ends ends with their disputes over gay conversion therapy not a fairy tale like wedding.

  • Jes October 5th, 2013 8:53 PM

    I completely agree with Amanda Palmer. A world where a naked woman is believed to be “prostituting herself” is a world where women are not allowed to make their own choices.

    The way Sinéad O’Connor assumes that because Miley wants to be sexual she is being brainwashed and taken advantage of makes me angry. Young women are capable of being in charge and making their own decisions. Enjoying one’s own sexuality is something many young women choose to do of their own accord.

    • elfine October 6th, 2013 6:11 AM

      Definitely! Though it is true that many young women have their sexuality exploited by the music industry, it is completely inaccurate to assume that all female artists who incorporate sexual elements into their work are too young and naive to know what’s best for them and are being controlled by faceless puppet masters in black suits.

  • I W October 6th, 2013 9:03 AM

    That first picture is really creeping me out *shiver*

  • thelilacparadox October 6th, 2013 5:37 PM

    Saw Lorde in concert on Tuesday night. She is the most amazing, talented, mature person near my age I think I have ever seen. And her stage presence blows every other current star out of the water.

    Praise the Lorde.


  • Joyce October 6th, 2013 6:48 PM

    i really like it when you guys start the list with something really creepy like that. I LIKE IT.

  • emlyb October 7th, 2013 5:58 AM


  • speppie94 October 7th, 2013 6:42 AM

    I loved everything on this page! Amazing!