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As well as one very special McDonalds in Columbus, Ohio.
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I was first introduced to Saeed Jones' writing at a holiday party at Gracie Mansion, the home of the New York City mayor. 

I was invited to fête the holidays there in 2013 with other New York City reporters, and I had a sense it'd be my last time going. I'd just moved away from covering the New York politics beat to start working on the show that would become Death, Sex & Money—but that at the time I still only had vague notions about.

This was the first party where I found myself having to put my ideas about my new project into words, and I didn't have my pitch down at all. I knew the feeling I was after, but not really how to describe what it would sound like or, you know, actually be. 

As I stumbled through my description again about wanting to host conversations that dug in where others flinched, an editor at BuzzFeed News got it immediately. "Oh yeah, that's very now," I remember him saying, which made me put my shoulders back a little more. And then he said, "Have you read Saeed Jones?" 

At that time, Saeed was a fairly new editor at BuzzFeed, and when I got home I dug up the essay the editor told me about, which recounted a night when what started as a sexual encounter turned into a homophobic beating. I invited myself to BuzzFeed soon after to introduce myself to Saeed, ask him more about his work, and tell him what I was up to. We had a lovely conversation, and I've followed his career (and his essential real-time commentary on Life in 2019 on Twitter) ever since.

Saeed adapted that essay I read years ago into a beautiful memoir that's out this month called How We Fight for Our Lives. Do not miss this one. It's getting glowing reviews, like this one (click this link, it will bring you joy). And yes, that recommendation over wine-in-plastic-cups was spot on. My conversation with Saeed is precisely the kind of thing I  dreamed of when we were first trying to make this show.

Anna and the Death, Sex & Money team
P.S. The retreat I wrote about last week was fantastic. Get ready for what's to come from Team DSM. We ended the day with a fancy cocktail with our new producer Afi Yellow-Duke, who just started this week. Welcome, Afi!
This Week on Death, Sex & Money
A couple of months ago, writer Saeed Jones moved from New York City, where he was hosting BuzzFeed's morning show AM2DM, to Columbus, Ohio. It was a move he'd been thinking about for a while—last year, he visited the city while on a road trip and walked into a McDonalds where five older black men were having breakfast. "They were so happy, and they greeted every single person that came in," Saeed tells me in this week's new episode. "And so the thing that clinched it for me was [...] black people are happy here." Today, he and I talk about his new life in Columbus (including the dating scene!), grieving his mother after her early death, and what sex has taught him about all different kinds of people.
We're Hiring A Spring Intern!
Breaking news! We're looking for a part-time intern for Spring 2020 (hard to believe, but it will be here before you know it)! If you're a student or recent graduate of any age looking to get your foot in the podcast door, head on over here to send in your application. We can't wait to read them!
Your Stories: Climate Change & Children
After we shared our listener Will's email about climate anxiety in last week's newsletter, we heard from a lot of you who are thinking about climate change—and about how it's affecting your choices when it comes to having children. 
"I would love it if you all did a series on climate grief and how people are navigating it/how it affects life choices. The big one, for me, is whether or not to have children. I'm nearly 30 and still single, but I always thought I would have a family. The impending doom of climate change makes me long even more for what many of my friends have as they start their own sweet families. It feels like, by the time I am ready to have kids, it will seem like a far riskier/perhaps selfish decision than it does now. I know how I feel about climate change now is much different than even 2 or 3 years ago. I saw a tweet that encapsulated this well, stating that 'having a baby feels a bit like sending them on a rocket ship to an unknown planet.' I know even my friends who are having children are really wrestling with this, and have spoken to me about feeling guilty and fearful at times. I think this is looming large in the minds of everyone my age, and I would love to hear more from others on how they're navigating it."
 
—Annalise, 29, AZ
"I have twins who are four years old. Every time I think about climate change and how we're basically in the end times, I start to get almost physically sick, equal parts wanting to vomit and cry. The parental instinct to protect your children is so strong, but there's not much I can do personally about climate change. We compost, we have a plug-in electric car, we recycle. But the major factors in climate change just cannot be addressed by individuals. The corporations that are driving humanity faster and faster toward its end take no responsibility for that fact. As long as profits are up, things are fine, even if the ice caps are melting and we're all going to drown or burn or starve.

Recently my husband has been expressing interest in having a third child. Of course, there are various personal factors that influence that decision. But for the first time, I also really thought about climate change and if it's responsible to bring another child into this world when it might not be around to live in for much longer."

 
—Sheila, 37, CA
"I range wildly from my desire to purchase nothing and recycle everything to not giving a shit because I am but one person. Once you've traveled to other countries or even other cities (outside of the Pacific Northwest, where there are a variety of recycling options everywhere), you can really see that climate change is not a concern in most places. Non-reusable plastic bottles are everywhere! I really feel deep inside that I'll be likely dead in 35-ish years, so whatevernot my problem, right?  But, in the end, I do caredeeply.  

The thing that gets me is that people keep reproducing. People clearly do not understand about global footprints on the planet, especially in the global north. But people clearly do not know how to recycle either
and they don't care to learn. Nor do they understand carbon offsets. It's like people just don't care enough about this problem to learn to live differently."
 
—Amy, 56, OR

Listen to This: Audio We Love

Speaking of anxiety (climate and otherwise), if you're looking to hear about how other people manage theirs the anxiety episode of The Cut on Tuesdays is a great listen. “I make chicken soup. Peeling carrots really does it for me,” says one listener. From another woman's love of the game Two Dots to artist Jenny Odell's growing interest in crows, hearing listeners and friends of the show share their struggles and coping mechanisms is simultaneously funny and comforting.

The new podcast Moonface is best enjoyed "sitting in the dark, alone with some nice headphones," according to its creator, producer James Kim. The show is based on his own experiences, and immerses you in a fiction world centered around Paul—a gay Korean-American man in his late 20s who lives at home with his mom, but has trouble communicating with her because of their language barrier. No matter what, you'll feel pulled in by the show's beautiful sound design and excellent acting—but dimming the lights and donning your fanciest noise-canceling headphones can't hurt. 
Next on Death, Sex & Money
Last summer, we gave you a sneak peek of a new pilot project from WNYC Studios and comedian Chris Garcia, about Chris's quest to learn more about his dad, Andres, a Cuban immigrant who suffered from Alzheimer's before he died. You told us that you wanted MORE of this show, and good news: the full series—now called Scattered—is coming your way starting next week! So next Wednesday, we're sharing the second episode of the series here in the Death, Sex & Money feed. If you like what you hear, head on over to your favorite podcast app and subscribe so you don't miss the rest. 
Team DSM grew this week!

We're PUMPED to welcome new producer Afi Yellow-Duke to the show! 
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