Incredulity: Eric Reads the Week, #18

Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?

Years ago I got a postcard from my parents. It had Mount Rushmore on the front and on the back, in my mother's perfect cursive, it read "Spending your inheritance! XOXO"

Hilarious. My family is low-key full of comedians. In fact, I tell people that I'm the least funny person in my family; they're all hilarious. But I'm the only one who gets paid to write comedy so what's good with that inheritance now?!

A couple of days ago I texted my mother to tell her I'd be in Baltimore to tell a story at The Moth Mainstage show. "I'd love to see you," I wrote. She wrote back, "I'd love to see you, too! But we'll be in Hawaii." These people are always traveling now. I love it. My father didn't buy himself a new sweater for literally 20 years while putting my brothers and I through school. They've earned every leisurely minute. You better live that Barack and Michelle post-White House life, Mommy and Daddy. I'm obsessed! My mom continued, via text: "Your brother's watching the house. You can see him. Also, you got a jury duty summons."

I have lived in Philadelphia for nigh on 14 years and I am still getting jury duty summonses from the State of Maryland. I cannot believe this. This is the second time this has happened. I am incredulous. What is y'all doing down there? I don't have a Maryland ID, I don't pay Maryland taxes, I don't have a Maryland address (I'm not getting that house. My parents are going to trade it in for an RV and a lifetime supply of P.F. Chang's gift certificates.) Why does the State of Maryland insist on summoning me? Like, I'll go. I have a lot of opinions. But I'm just warning you: if I have to get on a train to do my civic duty, everybody's going to jail. My commitment to criminal justice reform disappears the minute I buy an Acela Express ticket. (I feel like that's a pretty universal statement, actually. That Acela is another country sometimes, honey!)

Anyway, I don't know what's going on down there but I'm about to find out. If you're in Baltimore, you should come out to the Moth at Center Stage on Saturday. And also pick up a copy of Baltimore Magazine; I'm featured in the May issue. And also if you're a Baltimore-based criminal, get ready to serve some time. I have opinions and if I have walk into that courthouse, y'all going to hear from my gavel (jurors have gavels in Maryland, right?) I don't care if it's a civil case, divorce, name change hearing--everybody's guilty!

Gavel, gavel, gavel!

Much like my summons, this week's columns are FULL of things that I literally could not believe were happening. I walked through this week absolutely gobsmacked and screaming. (It's a new thing we're trying in therapy.) Aretha Franklin reignited a retired row, Jeff Goldblum opened a meat truck, and Emmanuel Macron has a soap opera life, but first, the most influential dumpster fire of our time...

The Disastrous Saga of Ja Rule's Fyre Festival Is the Craziest Thing You'll See Today

"When people arrived at what was supposed to be a glamping paradise, they found half-constructed tents and errant trash like it was a bootleg Boy Scout Jamboree. Additionally, chartered flights out of Miami were halted and disembarked because the island was at capacity.

Y'all, these people paid up to $12,000 to ride a plane and see Blink 182 in the year of our Lord, 2017. Who is flying that plane, Wonder Woman? This is the kind of Joanne the Scammer Caucasian nonsense that I live for." [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Turns Out the Only Way Jeff Goldblum Looks Hotter Is When He's Giving Out Sausages

"ATTENTION K-MART SHOPPERS. Jeff Goldblum, that toothsome lynx, that salt-and-pepper tomato, spent the day in a food truck in Sydney, Australia, making pleasant conversation with the world's luckiest Aussies whilst handing out free meat bearing his name. THIS IS A STATE OF EMERGENCY. Stop what you are doing! I don't care what it is. I don't care if you're at work, I don't care if you're driving. I don't even care if you're in labor; put your thing down, flip it and reverse it because these Jeff Goldblum photos are essential." [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Aretha Franklin Resurrects 5-Year-Old Beef With Dionne Warwick Via Fax

Your friends may call you TNT because "you know drama," but you have never known drama the way Aretha Franklin knows drama. This week, the Associated Press received a "lengthy fax" from the Queen of Soul, complaining about something Dionne Warwick said. Five years ago. At Whitney Houston's funeral. Which was in 2012.

I have to stop and express my deepest praise for the phrase "a lengthy fax." Like, if you're going to start drama between septuagenarian soul legends, it better originate in 5 to 12 single-spaced pages spitting out of a machine that everyone in the office forgot was there. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Emmanuel Macron's Life Is a Nighttime Soap and I'm Obsessed

The French Centrist placed first in the the nation's elections, setting him up for a May runoff with Marine Le Pen, Trump's kid sister who hates immigrants, the EU, puppies and Christmas. (Hi, I read a few tweets and a Wikipedia page so now I'm an expert on French politics. Ask me anything.) According to French Wikipedia, Macron is only 39-years-old. He's the same age as Ludacris and he's about to be president of France? Sacré bleu! He's only one victory away from being the Croque-est Monsieur, Father France, Le Fitzgerald Grant. This is stunning. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Disney Announces New Flicks Through 2021; Postpones End of the World

Like Fast & Furious movies, your children's children will not see the last Disney movie. The company announced a slate of upcoming movies stretching well past the end of this presidential term. Good news!

The year 2019 will bring us Star Wars: Episode IX. You may think this concludes the new trilogy but you clearly don't know movies. There are so many stars to war. We'll be watching Jedis discover they have the Force, learn how to use the Force, manipulate the Force to bring victory to a rebel army and then decide that the Force should probably take a stay-cation for generations to come. We will be orbiting Jupiter in Wall-E pods and they'll still be filming Star Wars movies. At that point they'll be considered documentaries and they'll be called Outside, but still. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

From Theater Philadelphia...

My second theater date column is out! This time I took Katie Monroe to see Philadelphia Theater Company's Hand to God, a play about a church terrorized by a possessed puppet named Tyrone.

"Belief is a powerful thing. I am constantly fascinated by that undefinable impulse that prompts people of all religions to take what they believe to be true internally and use it to try to change the behavior of others externally. Personally, I like think that most people have the best intentions in this regard, even though the result can be less than good sometimes. Tyrone would disagree with me wholeheartedly. But I’m just one person and he’s a sock with eyes, so who cares what we think?" [READ THE FULL ARTICLE]

Random thing from the internet...

I just purchased a Sunday New York Times for the second week in a row. Last week, I bought it to get my hands on a copy of the article I wrote for the Travel section. I was shocked to find that it doesn't still cost $2.00 like it did back in 1999 when I lived in Manhattan and would sometimes buy the paper to feel like I was living my full Felicity life. Of course, back then I was shocked to find that the New York Times doesn't have comics, so I don't really know what I expect from print journalism, actually.

This week I bought it so that I could get my hands on the beautiful cover story in the real estate section written by my friend and idol, Anna Goldfarb. Anna and I met years ago when I was hosting a story slam and she was promoting her book, Clearly, I Didn't Think This Through. I've admired her voice, her wit and her business acumen since then so it was a thrill when she asked me if I'd like to get together regularly and write in the same coffee shops. Now that I'm writing full-time, I jumped at the opportunity. Every time I sit with her, I'm inundated with positivity and inspiration for my own writing. We all should have friends who make us better at our work. Anna's great; she's a fantastic writer, she's got great pitch ideas, she's hilarious and she's on the cover of the New York Times Real Estate section. I'm obsessed. If you don't want to pay $6 American dollars for a paper paper, you can read her article here and sign up for her newsletter here.

To an unbelievable week!

If you're in Philly, come out to The Moth Story Slam at World Cafe Live tomorrow, May 1. I'm hosting, as usual, and the theme is Karma!