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Episode 47 - With Kim France - Lisa Birnbach's Five Things That Make Life Better for May 31, 2019

By Lisa Birnbach

I don’t even technically have an exhibit™ in school this semester, but my body is still hard-wired to respond appropriately to the universal school calendar.  Therefore, it feels like I’m rushing to finish up a lot of projects now, as I’m getting ready for end-of-the-year exercises. Weird, right?  I have no exercises – not even Pilates lately. But I digress.  I’ve been eager to speak to today’s guest, writer and editor Kim France for a while now.  She is the creator of the now mourned Lucky Magazine that I’m sure many of you remember.  And she has been writing a blog, Girls of a Certain Age since 2012.  I read it slavishly. Five things that made my life better this week: 1.   Generosity:  Just after we finished last week’s podcast I had a V8 moment.  I forgot to mention the generosity of graduation speaker Robert F. Smith, the billionaire investor ambushing the Morehouse College graduation with his excellent news that he and his family decided to pay back every single outstanding student loan for members of the class of 2019.  That could reach as high as $40 million dollars.  Mr. Smith, a graduate of Cornell University and Columbia Business School said, "On behalf of the eight generations of my family that have been in this country, we're going to put a little fuel in your bus. This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans," Smith said. "I know my class will make sure they pay this forward ... and let's make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward, because we are enough to take care of our own community."  Incidentally, Robert Smith is the first black man to sign Warren Buffet’s Giving Pledge.  Wow.  What a guy! 2. GENEROSITY:  You don’t have to be a billionaire to be a giver.  Case in point, altruist Courtney Holmes, a barber in Dubuque, Iowa, has been giving free haircuts to kids who will read to him.  That’s right.  He’s helping kids get interested in reading, in becoming better readers, and feeling like their winning something at the same time.  Kudos to Mr. Holmes, who is now receiving unsolicited donations from strangers, as well as boxes of books for the children.   3. What the Constitution Means to Me play.I dare you to find an evening at the theater that sounds more like a homework assignment than this (more or less) One woman show, but the writer/performer, Heidi Schrek, spent her teens giving speeches with just this title at Elk lodges and Kiwanis and so on all over the northwest and midwest.  With great presentational skills and confidence she won enough money to pay for her entire college tuition.  The play is 15 year old Heidi giving one of those talks along with 48 year old Heidi of today. And today’s Heidi feels disenfranchised by the words she has come to care deeply about.  Her own feelings of disappointment and despair are pretty raw and moving.  As a bonus, everyone gets a pocket-sized copy of the Constitution.  Maybe after we read it, we should send it to Lindsay Graham or William Barr?  4. Levi’s 724 high waisted jeans.  Like buttah.  I live in jeans – something I want to talk to today’s guest Kim France about, but first my number 5.   5. Coyo non-dairy yogurt.  Hurrah!  I found it!  Something I can eat without grimacing about the lack of dairy.   I fear I won’t find it again.  It’s like all those indy bra companies that spring up online.  I don’t feel they’ll still be in business next week. Since 2012, my guest Kim France has written and put together a great looking, and user friendly blog and shopping site called Girls of a Certain Age.  From her I’ve learned about Cocofloss, and the Israeli designer Nili Lotan.  Prior to that Kim was the founding editor of Lucky magazine – one of the few living people whom Si Newhouse allowed to start an entirely new title that ran for 5 years. Kim France’s Five Things: 1. Pasteis de Nata (a Portuguese custard tart)  2. The band Yo La Tengo  3. The commenters on my blog, Girls of a Certain Age  4. My dogs, Sammy and Mister  5. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, creator of Killing Eve and Fleabag

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