Photo: Win McNamee (Getty Images)

RIP, Texas Dairy Queens

Photo: Andrew Burton (Getty Images)

In some small towns, a fast-food restaurant is the only place where residents can gather, gossip, and check in on each other. Those restaurants tend to take on an oversized role as not just lunch spot but community center; as such, their closings are devastating. This Texas Monthly piece about the shuttering of about a dozen Dairy Queens in the Texas pandhandle’s sleepy rural towns is a melancholy tribute to their social importance. Let’s pour a Blizzard out for them. [Kate Bernot]


Why I felt pretty after I Feel Pretty

I’m on my annual clear-out-the-house kick in preparation of my neighborhood’s annual garage sale next month, While going through a bunch of boxes I haven’t touched since we moved two years ago, I came across what I would like to call “the ’90s box.” Love letters, ticket stubs, old datebooks, and most importantly, photos I had forgotten that ever existed. I could hardly believe myself looking at them. I showed them to my son and he gasped, “That’s you? You were so pretty!”

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Yes, the tense is hurtful (my daughter, tossing me a bone, says she likes the way I look better now, as my forehead was the wrong size before, whatever that means), but he was absolutely right. I almost gasped myself at the pictures of twentysomething me. In Clueless terms, I definitely resembled one of those “Botticelli babes.” A mysterious smile, near-perfect skin, really impressive eyebrows (I had forgotten); 1990s me could have been the new short, curvy neighbor guest-starring on a Melrose Place episode.

What kills me, though, is that I know that my appearance plagued me as much then as it does now. I probably looked at those pictures at the time and saw only 10 pounds (or more) to lose, a near-invisible blemish, a sweater I hated. I never thought I was beautiful, even when (I have photographic evidence!) I actually was.

This is a super-long way of saying that I get why some people have issues with Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty, but when I saw it last week, I totally got what Schumer was trying to do. In fact, I nearly cried. Maybe it was because I had just found that ’90s box, but I liked Schumer’s movie a lot more than the reviews had led me to believe I would. Yes, there’s no reason for Schumer to disparage her own appearance as an ugly duckling with a head injury. But in a way, that’s the whole point. We’re all perfect the way we are: right now, right this very second. I dearly wish I could go back and tell twentysomething me that very thing, and I’m happy if I Feel Pretty helps spread that message to people besides myself and Schumer’s new BFF Oprah. [Gwen Ihnat]

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Michael Jackson performs “Human Nature” live at Wembley Stadium

I had no idea Toto wrote and performed the backing instrumental of “Human Nature” on Michael Jackson’s Thriller album. Once I heard the synthesizers and chord changes, it made all the sense in the world. Here’s a live version of that song from 1988. [Kevin Pang]

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Last CallLast Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and use the comment section as an open thread. Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching/listening around the office today.