Whodunit: Eric Reads the Week, #28

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

I decided to read a murder mystery novel on the beach last week. That was my "Beach Read" because nothing says fun in the sun like the mysterious decapitation of a man with a lot of enemies at an old English manor. That's me, just digging my feet in the sand and reading about a town of people so full of venom that it is perfectly conceivable that any of them could commit murder at any moment, really. No time for the ocean today; investigating the darkness of humanity! Tra lala, darling!

I'm confused about the concept of Beach Reads. One year all the lists were saying that Gone Girl was a beach read. Gone Girl is about a guy who may have murdered his wife who may have been a sociopath. Not exactly the thing to get you in the mood for boardwalk fireworks, is it Mona? Another year I bought The Girl on the Train because it was a "beach read." That book is about a woman suffering from alcoholism who witnesses the murder of her ex-husband's new wife or something. I don't completely remember because it was so unrelentingly dark. Anyway, enjoy that daiquiri, Lauren! Next year's beach read is In Cold Blood.

I'm totally that person who devours every list of "Summer's Hottest Beach Reads." I have no idea why. I buy, on average, 6-10 books a month. I am full up on books. Any book is a beach read if you're reading it on the beach just like any body is a beach body if your butt is in on the beach and your mouth is saying "OMG, it's so hot. Why do we do this every year? What is the purpose of this? I'm actually baking myself. I'm marinated in sunscreen and breaded with sand. Turn me once and serve me with a frisée salad. I'm all the way done, honey!"

(I'm sitting at a coffee shop and giggling to myself and the guy next to me just looked over at my screen and saw that Angela Lansbury photo and legit, actually, made this face.)

Judging from his reaction to seeing Jessica Fletcher, I can only surmise that he is the guilty party.

That's the thing that gets me about murder mysteries: you're a murderer in a small town or on a train with an antiquated name or whatever and a weird detective who no one knows shows up and starts asking questions; why are you talking to them? Like, leave. Also! At the end of the whole affair, the detective gathers you and 6 of your equally shifty friends in a parlor and tells you the entire plot before revealing that you are the killer. Honey, I don't want to tell you how to live your life but why are you RSVPing to that party? What do you think is going to happen when you get the Evite for "Miss Marple's Rockin' New Year's Killer Reveal Party (Shh! It's a Surprise)"? I wouldn't go to that even if I wasn't the killer. Sounds like a real downer. Do they serve crudite at this shindig? That's what I want to know. Will we be eating or just sitting around uncomfortably while a man with lint in his mustache tells us we're all sort of trash people but one of us is even more of a trash person than we thought. I don't need that in my life. That's essentially what happens at every drag brunch but at least at brunch there's Eggs Benedict.

So, in conclusion, unless there's a decent spread of baked goods, bacon and Benedict, all the small town English murders are going to stay unsolved under my watch.

This week, was full of mysteries! Why did Idris Elba release so much hotness in the middle of the Northern Hemisphere Summer? Why is Justin Bieber wearing two outfits at once in the middle of Southern Hemisphere Winter? Why isn't Thomas J. Whitmore on the dollar bill? But first, something is afoot with Justin Trudeau...

Something Was Afoot in Trudeau's Meeting With Ireland's Leo Varadkar

I'm just saying, if I had known that modern diplomacy would involve so many pictures of attractive men in well-tailored suits smiling at each other and occasionally giving you a glimpse of ankle like an old-timey burlesque star, I would have majored in political science. Fortunately, I am a sock journalist, so this is my purview, too. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Grab a Glass of Water; This Idris Photo Will Give You Such Thirst

Suit pants with flip flops?! Not on my watch! Where are you going dressed like that? A beach wedding on Sexy Island? A black tie pedicure? Room 607? (That's where I'm staying.) And a bathrobe with a very open dress shirt exposing just enough pectoral muscle to level a village? Why are you doing this? Everything about this lewk says "I'm super sleepy but I'll stay up. If you know what I mean." [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Let Us Honor Our Greatest President: Thomas J. Whitmore

Bill Pullman is our most inspiring white president. He is deeply human, which is helpful when fighting aliens and also in general. The documentary Independence Day begins with talking heads on the news complaining about his less than 40% approval rating, which seems astoundingly low for someone who fought in the Gulf War and doesn't tweet out hate speech on a daily basis, but the '90s were a simpler time, I guess. Despite what the film describes, frankly, as well-intentioned incompetence, he is surrounded by intelligent, powerful women including his communications director, Constance Spano, his wife, Laura Roslin, and his daughter, Egg from Arrested Development. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Justin Bieber Has Apparently Decided to Wear Two Looks at Once

It's a bold choice for the "Despacito" singer, one that forces the viewer to ask "Is he aware that he has on two outfits at once? Does he know that they seem to be for two completely different activities? Now that I think about it, why am I only wearing one outfit? Do I seem naked next to the Bieber?" We all seem naked next to the Bieber. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

9 Reasons to Celebrate Being American on the 4th, Despite America Being Kind of Terrible Right Now

It's true that America is in what future historians will refer to as "A post-shaved head Britney period." As a nation, we are wildly swinging our umbrella at the paparazzi right now. I mean that metaphorically. And also actually. It's not all dumpster fire tweet storms, of course. We, as a nation, did manage to defeat the Unicorn Frappuccino in a week so there's hope to be culled from that. But in general it's an odd time to be an American. Or a human in general. Incidentally, it's also an odd time to be a hippopotamus because you're like "Uh, I'm actually basically a dinosaur but everyone is treating me like I'm cute and while it's true I am fresh to death, I'm also literally death." Hippos are super existential and it's a lot, honestly. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Random Thing from the Internet...

A couple of weeks ago, David and I were asked to record an episode of The Loving Project, a podcast series that profiles interracial married couples in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia. Farrah and Brad, another interracial couple, welcomed us into their home on a Saturday morning and let us talk, question, giggle and hope as we told the story of how we met, talked about spaces where our races play a larger part in our relationship than we anticipated, and recounted the magical way that Whitney Houston has shown up at every major step in our time together. Give it a listen here. You'll hear David being wise and witty and you'll hear me say insane things I probably shouldn't say on the radio.

To the mystery!