Ask Rachel

Ask Rachel

Interesting fact: Derek Thompson, writing at The Atlantic, calls the presidential administration’s coronavirus efforts “a shambolic bonanza of incompetence,” and that is now my favorite five-word descriptor in the history of coronavirus.

Dear Rachel,

I am in my mid-50s and otherwise healthy. Next week, I am supposed to go to my much younger half-brother’s wedding in Miami. I must admit I am a little leery of flying right now, given coronavirus concerns. But this is the kicker: my brother and his betrothed met on a cruise ship, where they both work, and many of the weddings guests are cruise ship employees. I am not particularly close to my brother but I do feel bad because most of the rest of the family has already bailed. Am I giving into the panic by not going, or am I flying in the face of red flags if I go?

– Please help, Holding Pattern

Dear Guest,

Between you sending this letter and my answering it, the question feels wildly quaint. There’s no way you should get on that airplane. There’s no way you should get within coughing distance of a cruise ship. And there’s no way no how you should take a +1, because remaining six feet apart negates the entire purpose of taking +1s to weddings. Has your brother considered that this entire global pandemic might just be a sign intended for him that he should not get hitched right now?

– Send my regrets, Rachel

Dear Rachel,

My lady friend looked at my kitchen counter the other day and pondered aloud why men are the only ones who use toaster ovens. I balked at the accusation. But I realized, my dad has a toaster oven and my mom does not. And my toaster oven is made by the same fine factory folks as my power drill. It’s conclusive: she’s right. But why? Why do only men use toaster ovens?

- E-Z Bake

Dear Simple Chef,

I thought for certain that the famous product you allude to is, as you spelled it, E-Z Bake. But the internet tells me it’s an Easy-Bake Oven. I’m disappointed in the branding team from the ’60s. But in my circle of friends, once-young girls used the Easy-Bake at a 5:1 clip compared to once-young boys. And remember that movie about the Brave Little Toaster? I remember a certain gender balance in our love of that film. Maybe women should reclaim the toaster oven. It’s time.

– Rise up, Rachel

Dear Rachel,

I seriously can’t figure out the s#!tstorm about TP. If things get that dire, guess what? I have wash cloths and old T-shirts, and a laundry machine that accepts bleach. We will survive a paper shortage, my fellow humans. And the grocery store meat counters are bare, while the produce sections overfloweth. Squash quarantines just as well as pot roast. Can you give me one thing that will restore my faith in people?

– Alone and Forsaken

Dear Home Alone,

I was born for this. I feel like the Grinch on Christmas morning, realizing that the world goes on without sports and pub crawls and all the junk we use to distract ourselves. Now we can get down to some serious housecleaning in our souls. By which I mean, housecleaning in my streaming video queue. Does that make you feel any better?

– A shambolic bonanza, Rachel

Top Shelf

Long live rock!
Long live rock!
By Chris Aaland
05/21/2020

It’s been nearly two months since “Top Shelf” last graced these pages. In my first 12-plus years of writing this column, I think I only missed two weeks.

Raised on radio
Raised on radio
By Chris Aaland
03/26/2020

Social distancing is driving many of us stir crazy, especially after last week’s big dump. Not only do we crave physical interaction with each other, but we’re also an active community.

The week the music died
The week the music died
By Chris Aaland
03/19/2020

For more than 12 years, I’ve written “Top Shelf” on a weekly basis as a column about the local music scene and nightlife. I also drift into sports, pop culture and political territory from time to time. And, on far too many occasions, I’ve paid homage to a family member or friend who has passed, like my son, brother, mother and festival friend. 

Bogguss' aces, Irish eyes and Salmon splash
Bogguss' aces, Irish eyes and Salmon splash
By Chris Aaland
03/12/2020

Perhaps the biggest and baddest Durango Celtic Festival to date runs tonight (Thurs., March 12) through Sunday, with events alternating between the Henry Strater Theatre and the Irish Embassy Pub. This year’s line up is one of the best in the festival’s history, with five internationally acclaimed artists. 

Read All in Top Shelf

Day in the Life

Soaking it up
Soaking it up
05/21/2020
Local color: Telegraph coloring page winners
Local color: Telegraph coloring page winners
04/30/2020

A look at some (OK, all) of the Telegraph's coloring page submissions

Sole man
Sole man
03/12/2020

At the age of 19, Durango’s Mervin “Merv” Stilson started making shoes and never looked back (except for the time he made a Western-style jacket for Neil Young).

Wonder wall
Wonder wall
By Stephen Eginoire
03/05/2020

Southeastern Utah has no shortage of natural wonders, and perhaps one of the most curious is the 80-mile-long sandstone monocline known as Comb Ridge. 

Read All in Day on the Life