A whole chicken contains multitudes

Notes on eating a whole rotisserie chicken, plus: to delay death, lift weights; "selling sex"; I am in my gruel era. This is Link Letter 62!

A whole chicken contains multitudes
Alison Marras via Unsplash.

“Is it that impressive?” said many of the Philadelphia man who, this week, completed his run of eating a whole rotisserie chicken every day, for 40 days. “A chicken is not that much,” they said. “I could do that,” they said.

Stop reading now if numbers bother you. But “a chicken is not that much” is technically true: A standard uncooked whole chicken usually weighs between 3 and 5 pounds. Once cooked, it yields about 18 ounces of meat, 1,100 calories, and 114 grams of protein. It’s the same number of calories as a Big Mac and large fry, but with four times as many grams of protein. Take strenuous note, those of you who struggle to hit your macros.

I don’t know that our chicken man, Alexander Tominsky, is a weight lifter. He might be (my DMs went unanswered). But a whole rotisserie chicken is the dear friend of an athlete, pre-seasoned and cooked to fall off the bone and slide easily down the gullet. In his Juilliard days, Adam Driver famously could often be found standing astride the world, literally holding a gallon of water in one hand and a whole chicken in the other. Reportedly, Driver did this every day, not for 40 days but for four years. It seems to be the main thing people remember about him from that time. How many people do you remember from your college days, and why?

Not only did he eat the chicken, he did it in front of an audience assembled behind a cordon. When Marina Abramovic sits unblinking at a table for our perception, we put her in MoMA. (Did I google “Maria staring artist” to re-apprise myself of these details? Maybe.) When Alexander Tominsky does it, we put him in a Walmart parking lot. But this does not stop him from, however briefly, holding the rapt attention of all of Twitter and most major publications.

Eating a whole chicken is not for everyone. But what is gluttonous and repulsive to some is a brave and audacious act of self-preservation to others. A whole chicken is a blunt tool. A whole chicken contains multitudes.

Like so many things in art: Sure, you can. But will you?


~Beasties Discord Pick of the Week: You might have noticed all of social media is, not to mince words, falling apart. I’ve had not a few people request the Liftcord link again this week as a cozy haven for the total chaos that has ensued (though rest assured this reporter will be riding the feeds like a flaming mine train right into hell; I live for these moments of precarity and brinksmanship). In that vein, our newest Liftcord channel, #any-given-training-day, is for posting your everyday workout clips and photos! PRs optional, no form checks, no unsolicited advice, vibes only. A huge shoutout to our newest mod and perennial Discord fixture Jesse for this idea!~

To delay death, lift weights.

Negative reps aren’t a weight-lifting cheat code. Facts! Each day I spend a little time goggling at how the big Tim Ferriss 4-Hour Body “secret” was obscenely long 10-second reps. I’m still trying to make up for all the eye-batting that should have happened back in the early 2010s and didn’t.

In my gruel era”: same

A first dance for when you met at the gym (and, in all likelihood by the looks of it, at a Crossfit).


Is spinal flexion bad when deadlifting? I think this graphic protests a bit too much, and it would be too much to get into here. But I’ll say this: I think it’s right that you can only do a safe deadlift with a ramrod-straight torso. There is a margin of error around how flat your back has to be. But my issue with these diagrams is that once most people start to round their backs, it’s just a rapid slide into Cat Back Town. (Even then, if it doesn’t cause you pain: anything goes!) But it doesn’t happen that often that someone can round halfway, hold that way, and complete their lift pain-free. This also seems to often be a symptom of not knowing how to engage your hips and using your lower back too much in the first place.

I’ve said it was coming: athletics are making the smooth transition from fretting over athletes’ body weight to fretting over body composition and body fat percentages. Good god: Being the lowest-possible body fat is not necessarily better! It becomes miserable in ways that are material to athletic performance, hormonally, emotionally, and mentally.

I hate this paternalistic NYT article about NCAA athletes making money “selling sex.” Just once, I’d like any Times writer to be forced to write a 1,000-word essay on the topic “sex is not a moral crisis; sex is marginalized labor.” Discuss!

The complexity of self-loathing when it comes to being a girl.

What else is new?: Doctors being supremely weird about IUDs.


Nostalgia! At the music festival.

How to live in a catastrophe.

How to road-trip across the American Southwest.

Edward Hopper’s portraits of urban alienation.

A Reddit thread rehashing this classic Katie Notopoulos Twitter prompt: What was “the incident” at your high school? (Mine is, before my time: teacher left his wife, also a teacher, for a student).

That’s all for this week! I love you for reading, thank you, let’s go—