Est. Read Time: 6 minutes. Read Time brought to you once again by the Ashburton Energy + Hair Logistics Group, in association with the Bradley Hills Bureau of Corrections.
Hello, Sternal Journalists!
And welcome to the first business day of 2022. I wish you great business and an even greater day.
If you’re reading this in the present, I have a show Friday. It’s at a laundromat.
If you’re reading this in the future, hello and welcome! Perhaps you’ve been linked here from another Sternal Journal article! Perhaps someone forwarded this to you because they thought you’d be a fan.
In case you are new, the Sternal Journal is a weekly newsletter1 where I, Julian Stern—writer, comedian, ranter—do whatever the hell I want. Sometimes, I write essays, sometimes I interview interesting people, sometimes it’s a hodgepodge.
Below, you’ll find a few collections of articles from the past year. Rather than doing a “best of,” this year, I thought I’d try to make it a little more user friendly so that readers or future readers can do deep dives into the things they gravitate most towards.
There are five categories: Interviews, Artsy Stuff, DJ Khale-chronicles, Essays, and Sternal Choices. Altogether, they’re a pretty honest snapshot of what you get when you sign up for the Sternal Journal… which you could do right here if you want to:
If you don’t, that’s alright too! One more thing: if you are enjoying this in real time, thank you so very much. I once again stayed up later than I’d intended to put this Sternal Journal together, but in doing so, I was pleased to see how much I accomplished this year:
I did much more regular interviews, more focused essays, tried short stories and poems, and finally started fleshing out my one-day-magnum-opus about DJ Khaled. In The Sternal Journal, as in many things I did in 2021, I felt like I was both experimenting and refining more than I have in a long time.
It was a blast and I couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks.
Now onto those clips!
A novelist! Poet! Director! Screenwriter! Influencer! Every single one of these interviews was a blast and, even in re-reading them, have given me new things to think about and ways to think.
Emily Layden, on all of the feelings that debut with your debut novel.
Josh Edelman, on his film Mentally Al (NYT Best Comedy of 2021: Best Documentary)
Ray Gordon + Conor Sullivan, on their epic, unauthorized American Pie finale.
Lydia Keating, on blowing up and reinventing on Tiktok during the pandemic.
Joe Cabello, on comic book lettering, hyper-productivity, and being paid to write.
Joe Cabello (cont’d.), on insecurity being a venomous narcissism.
Ben Kassoy, on dancing versus stage presence.
Samee Junio, on watching Happiest Season almost every day of December 2020.2
The Artsy Stuff
I took a writing class at the beginning of 2021 that really got me thinking outside the box creatively. Tried a few new forms. Here are some examples (in some cases, they’re parts of longer posts so if you don’t see it right away, keep scrolling!):
Oh My Slimy Sacred Gunky God (short story)
Insect Stuff/All Natural/The Sexiest Building on the Atlanta Skyline (poem)
Maybe The Afterstuff (poem)
Imaginary (nano-story) + She’s Been Trying to Staff Forever (t-shirt, but kinda poem)
What I Like About Joe’s Writing (poem)
The DJ Khale-chronicles
I finally wrote about my obsession with DJ Khaled. Then I did it again. And again. And again… and I promise you I’ll do it again.
Episode 1: “What We The Best About When We The Best About DJ Khaled.”
Episode 2: “I Can Pretty Much Tell You This Won’t Fly.”
Episode 3: Khaled Lost at Sea”
Episode 4: It’s Not What You Said in Your Hit AdLib Record. It’s How You Said It.”
Sort of essays, sort of rants. Quintessential Sternal Journal.
Let They Who Is Without Procrastination Dunk the First Ye: My rant about how silly and damaging it was for people to complain that Donda was unfinished.
Who The Hell Does Ben Platt Think He Is: My befuddlement and ultimate endearment to Ben Platt, with a sprinkle of complaining about the completely unnecessary hit NBC drama, Ordinary Joe.
Old People, Come Ruin Tik Tok Please!: My attempt at keeping my cool while fearing that old people’s foolish dismissal of TikTok might be yet another horseman of the apocalypse3.
The Reply All Thing is Such a Bummer: My reaction to the unfortunate news that some podcasters I loved had hypocritically treated their colleagues like shit, as well as some weedy dives into the horrors of union-busting and trickiness of turning intellect into property.
The Sternal Choices
These are honorary mentions, but not in that they’re second to the other categories. Rather, they’re my personal favorites that didn’t quite fit into other categories. Two serious, one silly.
And that’s all, folks! But if you’re new to the Sternal Journal, I should tell you that I never let your brain leave empty-handed. Here are some-
South Side. Television show. This Comedy Central show about two repo men on Chicago’s South Side is now on HBO Max. I just started watching it yesterday and it’s one of the funniest, most current shows I’ve ever seen.
According to Need. Podcast. I loved this five-part series about the “coordinated entry systems” for unhoused people to try to get housing. It made me cry, curse, and laugh.
The French Dispatch. Movie. I finished my first viewing of Wes Anderson’s filmography and are you surprised I loved his most recent, which was billed as a love letter to journalism??? Of course you’re not.
Lookin’ at this picture. Activity.
I mean look at this picture. I came upon this scene earlier tonight. A Gordon Ramsay book, two Gordon Ramsay headshots, an In n Out bag, some business cards, another cookbook by people I’d never heard of, and a mug that says (on both sides) “I wonder what TEA tastes like with gin in it.” What happened here?! I can’t stop thinking about it!
ANYWAY, that’s all for now. Thank you all for another wonderful year, and I wish you once again an excellent business week.
P.S. I spend anywhere between two and twelve hours a week on the Sternal Journal. If you enjoy receiving it (and are RICH) consider becoming a paying subscriber. For just a few bucks a month, you can provide me with a bit more time to come up with fun topics, poems, and interviews; and you with probably fewer typos.
Rounding out our second full year of weekly issues!
This was actually the last Sternal Journal of 2020, but because it was so recent, I didn’t shout it out in last year’s clip show. But it was too good not to be highlighted.
Or be what the horseman brings? Is the horseman the bad thing, or are they bringing the bad thing in their satchel?