How Do You Solve A Problem Like A Family?


A game of logic for the ages

Getting my family together under normal circumstances is like the setup of an especially vexing LSAT logic problem, e.g:

An event is planned including individuals A, B, C, D, E, F, G, days Weds, Thurs, Fri, Sat, and potential locations 1, 2, 3, and 4. Each individual must attend the event for no less than two and no more than four days.

Assume the following conditions:

  • Individuals C and D cannot attend location 1
  • Individuals A and B must attend the same consecutive days
  • Individuals F and G must attend the same consecutive days
  • Individual D can only attend for two days
  • Individuals A and B cannot attend location 4
  • Individuals F and G cannot attend locations 3 or 4
  • The entire set of individuals must be present at the location for two identical consecutive days

Please provide one complete and accurate scenario of the dates, attendees, and locations of the event.

Planning holidays with my immediate family has always been a throbbing nightmare headache—there are seven of us, in four locations, all of which are at least five and up to twelve hours apart. There’s a renegade aunt who may or may not attend and leaves us all hanging until the last minute. My little brother is my mom’s favorite, so his schedule gets unspoken priority and the rest of us have to wait until he makes plans to make our own, and he is a world-class procrastinator.  (I’m just kidding about the “favorite” part.  Kind of.)

But now here comes the part in the exam where you’ve drawn your grid and mapped out the variables and the test writers throw another set of conditions into the mix. This condition is knowns as “q” or “Election 2016.” 

  • Individuals C and E cannot discuss topic q with individual A without crying
  • Individual H has decided to attend the gathering at the last minute, and *only* wants to discuss topic q
  • Individual F lives in location 2 and is rumored to have voted for Gary Johnson
  • Individual D did not vote
  • Of the eight individuals, three supported the loser of the popular vote

How many configurations of the gathering are now possible?

This Thanksgiving I will be sharing a small Airbnb in Columbus, OH (location 2) with individuals A, B, D, E, and H. I love them all. I love that individual A calls Airbnbs “Flying Breakfasts.” I love that individuals D, E, and F are the only people in the whole world that understand the idiosyncrasies of individuals A and B and what it was like to grow up in their house. I love that individual H self-describes her fashion sense as “flashy-trashy.”  I love that individuals A, B, C, D, E, F, and H cannot communicate without interrupting or speaking with their mouths full, and regularly bicker over topics as important as cooked goose (“had once, did not like” - individual B), trash can liners, who gets the “nice” bedroom, and the best time to look up Google Maps driving directions, and then memorialize the outcome in an Excel spreadsheet. I love that individual G evaluated this situation and decided yes, she could take it, for better or for worse.

I rarely write about my family, although I write about myself constantly.  Part of me wants to protect them, part of me fears not being able to get them right, to show them in the way I know they are.  I look in the mirror and see my mother’s mouth and chin, like she is standing there with me.  “Same model, different year,” my best friend said when she met my sister, looking back and forth between the two of us.   If I’m in a strange place, I leave my keys in my shoes, to make sure I don’t lose them.  This comes so naturally to me it was only a few years ago, watching my dad come home from work and divest himself of his jacket, wallet, cell phone, etc. that I realized where my habit had come from. I know my parents are good people, the way I know my own phone number.  But just like I can’t explain how my phone works, I cannot explain the way they are, what they believe, without stumbling through suppositions I can’t prove, concepts I don’t understand.  A lot of us are now in the position of grappling with the “good people” in our lives.  Why do we say “good” when we mean “deeply flawed?”

Or, put another way: Is it possible to convincingly explain institutional racism to white people over the age of 60? 

My father and I stopped talking about politics years ago, but this election was a bridge too far. I wanted to make sure he wasn’t one of “those” voters, the ones with whom I disagree fundamentally, whose support for their candidate is not in spite of the candidate's rhetoric but because of it. Arguably (and this is what I would argue), outright support for this rhetoric, and implicit tolerance of it, are the same.  But start where you are, right?

The thing about arguing with your dad is that no matter how well-informed you are, how logical your arguments, how strong your evidence, you are still arguing with your father. He has the Dad Card. The Dad Card is a wild card that makes you feel wrong all the time.  It’s the suicide king that wins the table. Playing the Dad Card is also known as “Casting the Patriarchy.” There is no counterspell powerful enough to defeat “Casting the Patriarchy.” At least, not yet.

We are told now there are two Americas, one red, one blue. One rural/exurban, one made of cities. The coastal elite vs. the Heartland. Our Americas are so different we can’t even agree on the facts of our reality. “One nation under God,” and “Two (or more) nations under ¯\_(ツ)_/¯?” It only took one round of back and forth with my father for one of us to conclude (and it doesn’t matter who) they thought their points were self-evident and attempting an item-by-item rebuttal, futile.

It is crazy to me that I grew up in someone’s house, came from their body, and now live in a different America than they do. Maybe I still carry them both with me, red and blue, in my broken heart. I know I’m not alone.  The travel patterns we’ll see on the airport monitors at LaGuardia, at JFK and Logan, at LAX and Reagan and SeaTac, prove that I’m not alone, that there are many of us “coastal elite” making our way to the heartland to attempt empathy, and, I hope, receive it as well. For my part, we’ll all be living together, red, blue, and purple, city dwellers, small business owners, and farmer’s daughters, in a tiny Airbnb in Columbus, OH. It’s almost like a reality TV show.  But I guess we’re living in one of those already.

Photo by Imani Givertz

Premiering today via NYLON

Small Talks, aka Cayley Spivey, has come a long way since starting a band, then becoming the entire band herself and forging her own fan base from the ground up. On her recent album A Conversation Between Us, she began to unpack any lingering baggage with one particular song: "Teeth." Today, she premieres the accompanying music video exclusively via NYLON.

"'Teeth' is about my personal battle with letting go of the past," Spivey tells NYLON, admitting that it's easily her favorite song off of A Conversation Between Us.

Watch the video for "Teeth" below.

Small Talks - Teeth (Official Music Video) - YouTube

Photos by Joe Maher/Getty Images, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TIME

Must have been pretty awkward

Taylor Swift and Sophie Turner were guests on the U.K.'s The Graham Norton Show together, which must have been awkward for Turner's husband, Joe Jonas, seeing as he also happens to be Swift's ex. I wonder if his name came up?

The interview doesn't come out until Friday night, but promotional photos show the two sharing a couch. Swift is making an appearance to perform her new single, "ME!" while Turner is promoting her new film, X- Men: Dark Phoenix. But it seems necessary for the two to be asked about Jonas.

Swift was just on the Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this month, where she brought up the fact that she felt bad for putting Jonas "on blast" on DeGeneres' show back in 2008 by telling the audience that he broke up with her in a record-setting short phone call. But, according to Swift, she and Jonas are chill now, since it happened pretty long ago, which means she's probably already hung out with Turner and maybe even gossiped about him with her.

We can only hope that they get the chance to spill some tea on television.

Screenshot via YouTube, Photo Courtesy of HBO

"That's! His! Auntie!"

Leslie Jones has rewatched the Game of Thrones finale with a beer in hand, Seth Meyers at her side, and a full camera crew ready to take in all her glorious reactions. Spoilers ahead, but, if you haven't watched last week's episode already, that's kind of on you at this point.

When Jon Snow started to make out with Daenerys, also known as his aunt, only to stab her through the chest moments later, it was emotional whiplash for everyone watching. And, Jones' reactions—both from her first and second viewing—sum it all perfectly.

"That's! His! Auntie! [gagging noises]," Jones says before making an aside about calling the police if her uncle ever tried to do the same. But then the knife goes in, and Jones screams. "Did you see that?!" Jones asks, "Yeah bitch, that's a knife in you." Meyers points out the funniest part of all: "Why are you so upset about someone kissing their aunt but totally fine with someone killing their aunt?" Jones replies, "Because that bitch needed to go," and, well, same.

Other highlights from the comedians' rewatch include comparing Dany's victory speech to a bad improv gig, predicting that their dogs would have less of a reaction to their deaths than Drogon did to his mother's, and more.

Watch all of Jones' reactions from this Late Night clip below.

Game of Jones: Leslie Jones and Seth Watch Game of Thrones' Series Finale

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These lyrics are a lot

Robbie Tripp, aka Curvy Wife Guy, is back with a music video, titled "Chubby Sexy," starring his wife and a trio of models. In it, Tripp raps about his bold choice to find women with an average body size attractive.

The video begins with a series of statements laid over some pool water: "Curves are the new high fashion," "Chubby is the new sexy," "We Out Here." Tripp posits that these queens deserve an anthem, which they do. What they do not deserve is this Cursed Song. As he lists all the names he knows to call them by (thick, thicc, and BBW), one model (who I really, really hope was paid well) squirts some lotion down her cleavage, and Tripp begins dancing.

"My girl chubby sexy/ Call her bonita gordita," Tripp states in his chorus, before going on to compare "big booty meat" to the peach emoji. Another thing he mentions is that his wife can't find a belt that fits her waist, and that's why he calls her James and the Giant Peach. He then tries to dab. Here are some of the other Cursed highlights from his, uh, verses:

Got those Khaleesi curves/ Knows how to dragon slay
She like a dude that's woke/ We like a girl that's weighty
Some say a chubby girl that's risky/ But they ain't met a curvy girl that's frisky
Imma dunk that donk like I'm Andrew Wiggins.
Thick like an Amazon/ Built like Big Ben.

Tripp says one thing in the video that I couldn't agree more with: "She don't need a man." No, she does not. Please run. If you must, watch the entire video, below. Or send it to your nemesis!

Robbie Tripp - Chubby Sexy (Official Music Video)

Photo by Emma McIntyre / Getty Images.

See the promo here

It was bound to happen. The Kadashians and Jenners have committed themselves to letting the cameras roll on their lives, for better or for worse. So if you thought that the Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson cheating scandal was off limits, you thought wrong. The trailer for Sunday's episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians was just released, and it involves the famous family working through the fallout of what happened when Woods went to a party at Thompson's house.

The teaser includes the infamous clip of Khloé Kardashian screaming "LIAAAARRRRRR." It's still not explicitly clear who prompted that strong response. She could be responding to Thompson, who clearly isn't always honest. Or she could be reacting to Woods account of the events on Red Table Talk. But the most revealing moment comes when we see Kylie Jenner—who was Woods' best friend before all of this happened—react for the first time.

In a heart-to-heart conversation, momager Kris Jenner says, "For you and Jordyn, it's like a divorce." Kylie only offers this in response: "She fucked up." Based on Woods' version of events—which I'm inclined to believeThompson is the one who fucked up. Still, I'm hoping for some kind of reconciliation between the two longtime friends. Perhaps we'll have to wait until next season for that.

Check out the promo video below.