Don’t look up golden albatross on Urban Dictionary. WTF? I told you not to do that.
Let’s focus on the more traditional meaning. According to Wikipedia, “the word albatross is sometimes used metaphorically to mean a psychological burden that feels like a curse. It is an allusion to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”
Bonus points if you immediately thought of Iron Maiden instead of Coleridge.
Extrapolating the metaphor, the golden albatross is the burden that feels like a curse but looks like a blessing, also called, “the golden handcuffs.”
I’ll be there for you. Yep, I just gave you today’s earworm. You see, that stupid theme song became a golden albatross for the Rembrandts. You can read between the lines in the Variety.com article and know how that song changed the trajectory of their career, for better or worse.
But through it all, Phil Solem and Danny Wilde remained friends (<- you don’t need the quotes to see what I did there, right?).
If you’re giving a golden albatross (thanks again, UD), please stop. If you’ve got one hanging around your neck, it might be time to decide if the juice is worth the squeeze.
P.S. I hate Friends. Have always hated the show. Just thought I needed to demonstrate my journalistic integrity in building a newsletter theme around something I don’t like for the sake of making my point.
Seize the day.
Who Let the Blogs Out? // The Friends Reunion Has One Surprise
“This is the uncanny power of Friends, the emo pull of perfectly executed vanilla.”
I’ve already put my cards on the table. The above quote from Paskin’s article on Slate.com perfectly summarizes my critique of the show. That huge Manhattan apartment with nothing but plain, white (literally) adventures.
A few weeks ago, HBO debuted a Friends reunion. I didn’t watch it.
What’s intriguing about the reunion and this article about it, is the way Paskin talks about the passage of time, as well as the cognitive dissonance in seeing the eternally youthful characters contrasted against the aging cast.
The bigger question is around one of my favorite things: nostalgia. Is it helpful, or empty mental calories? I guess you’ll have to decide for yourself.
The Friends Reunion Has One Surprise (blog post)
Pod Save the Queen // But it’s totally true. Right?
I don’t know any of the podcasters on the GenX Stories podcast, and yet I know them all as well as myself. I can’t even call this show a guilty pleasure because there’s no guilt involved. Take a handful of folks my age and listen to them talk about growing up Generation X. Score.
In this episode, they talk about common urban myths of our childhood. What I find interesting is the subtext around the role of friendships before Al Gore created the internet (<- a callback from WAY back).
Are text messages the modern equivalent of passing notes? Maybe. I wish I could fold my phone up and slide it through the slit on my wife’s locker. I’ll let you decide if that’s a double entendre.
“You know the story – something happened to your best friend’s 3rd cousin and OMG it’s sooo true. And yet. On today’s episode, the GenX Stories gang starts season 3 digging into all our favorite urban myths. Where did they come from? How did we find out ? And why did we believe them? From Mikey dying by mixing pop rocks and Coke, to gerbil adventures, to UFO’s & Nessie, and even the birth of fake news, we’re on it. But just in case, have that Ouija board handy, cuz you never know.”
But it’s totally true. Right? (GenX Stories Podcast) (podcast episode)
Mall Food Court // How to Eat Healthier With Family and Friends
“In one study, researchers looked at the way that we change our eating habits to match the eating habits of the people around us. They found that our friends and family are especially influential. We tend to change the amount of food we eat and the type of food we eat to match the choices made by our closest companions.”
People who are overweight have friends who are overweight. I would say surprising, but true. But it’s not surprising. Our friends influence us in many ways, for better and worse.
This short article explains how this influence swings both ways. You might be tempted to eat more at a social gathering because your friends are, or you might eat healthier because that’s what your buds brought to the potluck.
Either way, it pays to be mindful about your diet at social gatherings.
Pass the Remote // Friends
Lucky for me, Courteney Cox made news, so I don’t need to write much about a show I didn’t like. On Variety (Courteney Cox Scores First Emmy Nomination for ‘Friends,’ Almost Two Decades After Show Ends), she tells Howard Stern that she was upset to be left out of the nominations.
But now she’s been nominated for her Facebook Watch docuseries “9 Months With Courteney Cox” (in the short form daytime nonfiction program category).
Statistically speaking, you probably love Friends. Good for you. I won’t shit on it. But I can’t pretend that I’m constantly streaming episodes like I do for The Office.
“Ross Geller, Rachel Green, Monica Geller, Joey Tribbiani, Chandler Bing, and Phoebe Buffay are six 20 something year olds living in New York City. Over the course of 10 years and seasons, these friends go through family, love, drama, friendship, and comedy.”
Friends (Amazon Prime Video)
Mixtape Rewind // “Something in the Way” by Nirvana
I might be a cheating a bit given that “MTV Unplugged in New York” was released in 1994, but was not a CD of new music.
But l vividly remembered watching Cobain on that stage in New York, and feeling the pain coming through the television screen. This song in particular still gives me goosebumps, the acoustic version is even more haunting.
While 1994 might be the second-best year ever for rock music (check out releases in 1969), it also marked the departure of our generation’s John Lennon.
“Something in the Way” by Nirvana (Spotify)
Where Were You When… 
Conspiracy theories and accusations would soon follow the early April suicide of Kurt Cobain in 1994.
This was a time when I still tuned into MTV for music news headlines, and this was one I wish I didn’t have to see.
Kurt Cobain Death MTV News April 8, 1994 (YouTube.com)