Modern Love Podcast 102

credit: Michael Buckner/Deadline; Brian Rea/The New York Times/WBUR

Folks, this is one of the most amazing things that’s ever happened to me.  The Oscar-nominated duo behind last year’s film The Big Sick, Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, teamed up to perform my New York Times Modern Love essay.  It’s this week’s episode, which is doubly special because it’s Valentine’s Day!

Here’s the podcast!!!

Much thanks to the great people at WBUR (where Modern Love the Podcast is made), especially Caitlin O’Keefe who was gracious and patient as I prattled on during our interview.  Also thanks to WBGO for hosting me and providing crystal-clear communication between Newark and Boston.  Huge thanks to Dan Jones and The New York Times for publishing my essay in the first place.

Lastly, thank you to my wife Dawn and my mother, who provided the fodder for my essay. 🙂

Favorite Songs of 2017

It’s still January, so not too egregiously late: Here’s a list of my top songs for this year, in an order that might be surprisingly mixable. These are not necessarily from 2017; I just happened to have heard them in the last twelve months.

Paris, by The Chainsmokers on Memories…Do Not Open
On Hold, by The xx on I See You
Should’ve Been You, by Imelda May on Life Love Flesh Blood
Castle on the Hill, by Ed Sheeran on Divide
Want You Back, by HAIM on Something to Tell You
Ride, by Twenty One Pilots on Blurryface
Cleopatra, by The Lumineers on Cleopatra
Fault Line, by Michelle Branch on Hopeless Romantic
Walk on, by Overcoats on YOUNG
Liability, by Lorde on Melodrama
Making Love Out of Nothing at All, by Air Supply on Definitive Collection
New York, by St. Vincent on MASSEDUCTION
Beautiful Trauma, by Pink on Beautiful Trauma
Love Me Like You Do, by Ellie Goulding on Delirium
Sign of the Times, by Harry Styles on Harry Styles
The Industry, by Okkervil River on Away
Don’t Take the Money, by Bleachers on Gone Now
White Flag, by Joseph on I’m Alone, No You’re Not
Ordinary World, by Green Day on Revolution Radio
Tachycardia, by Conor Oberst on Ruminations
Apocalypse, by Cigarettes After Sex on Cigarettes After Sex

I don’t know if any one particular song stands out here — maybe Lorde’s “Liability”?  Or perhaps The xx’s “On Hold.”  Let’s just call it a tie, because they’re both wonderful.

Essay in The New York Times: The Unexpected Branch on the Family Tree

I just realized that I neglected to put this on my blog, so now the circle is complete.  I must say, I love this artwork — I have a feeling Giselle Potter found a headshot of mine on the internet, which explains my long hair, but how in the world did she nail my mother’s likeness?  Giselle, you are amazing.

SI Tennis Mailbag, Grammar Edition

I’m back in the Sports Illustrated Tennis Mailbag, this time with a grammatical gripe!


The text:

Dear Jon, I got a bone to pick with tennis players, especially American and British tennis players. My beef is simple: the pervasive misuse of the adjective “aggressive” in our beloved sport. You can be aggressive, but you do not play aggressive—you play aggressively! I understand if non-native speakers don’t realize the distinction (Rafa is especially fond of leaving off the -ly) but in your podcast with Jared Donaldson, he says, “play aggressive” (10:08 mark). He was talking about Rafa, so perhaps it’s contagious. Jared’s not alone—John Isner’s guilty as well.  And it doesn’t help that even journalists are making this errorQ. This match, Jelena played very aggressive.” Granted, these writers may be foreign, but still. We need to aggressively rescue this adverb from further grammatical degradation!
—Sung, Washington, N.J.

Read Jon Wertheim’s response!