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Happy new year!

I'm a big fan of the polar bear plunge. I did my first one in 2015 in Coney Island on a dare and I've been hooked ever since. There were hipsters and old ladies and a whole Russian family wearing matching fur hats while they swam. A giant, motley crew of strangers all screaming obscenities as frigid sea water approached the level of their genitals. It's hilarious and amazing. What more could you want?

For this year, I wanted to avoid the crowds but I was still committed to the water and the screaming. And since I live in Los Angeles now, it was less of a polar bear plunge and more of a "polar bear" plunge (what's a warmer weather bear? A koala bear plunge? A panda plunge?). When I got to the Pacific, I asked the lifeguard on duty if it was safe to swim and he told me that it had technically been more than 72 hours since the last rain, which means "any sewage overflows should be dispersed by now." I decided that I was going to ignore his use of the word "should" and jump in anyway. It felt incredible, but I made it a quick dip. Afterwards, I thought about how that's probably the perfect metaphor for how I'm going into 2021. I want a fresh start and for things to have instantly changed, but sometimes it takes longer than you'd like to deal with last year's crap.

Afterwards I went home and showered thoroughly, just FYI!

This week's list

We're now in the part of the year when each day is longer than the last. It's still dark but it's a little bit less dark each time I check. I reread one of my favorite poems recently and I felt like it particularly resonates in this time of the year (and this new year in particular). It's all about hanging in there as we wait for the rescue. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale by Dan Albergotti

When's the last time you saw a box of bucatini pasta? I can't say I was personally ever aware of bucatini but after reading this wild report into why there's a nationwide shortage, I will never naively walk past a box of those precious noodles ever again. Rachel Handler investigates everyone from the FDA to Alison Roman to the National Pasta Association to get answers. It's so funny and so good. What the Hole Is Going On? The very real, totally bizarre bucatini shortage of 2020.

I spent some time this week reading about the folks we lost in 2020. There were so many that I often missed learning about the legacies they left behind. But Mimi Jones is someone so important to American history that I can't believe I'd never heard her name before. As a teenager, she played a crucial role in the civil rights movement and her activism was a major factor in pushing the civil rights bill through the Senate. In later years, she moved to Boston's Roxbury neighborhood and kept up her fight. Read more about her legacy and work here: Mimi Jones Understood the Power of Public Resistance

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading! And a special welcome to everyone who found me from the great Edith Zimmerman's newsletter.

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Have a great and completely sewage free week,

I'm Chris Duffy, comedian, TV writer, creator/host of You're the Expert, spoon enthusiast, a former fifth grade teacher and former fifth grade student.
Copyright © 2021 Chris Duffy, All rights reserved.

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