A Missed Opportunity for Anti-maskers

“A woman uses her chiffon scarf as a ‘face mask’ during the Great Smog of London, 1952.”
Photo colourised by Tom Marshall, 2020 of Photografix. You can visit his shop here.

I have been ranting a LOT about masks lately. I live in Wisconsin and on August 1st our Governor finally issued a mask mandate. When I read the headline in the newspaper it brought me so much joy I can’t even tell you. His action will be life-changing for me.

You see, I’m a at-risk person. I actually have multiple health issues that put me at-risk so I’d even say I’m a super-duper at-risk person. I’ve been isolating at home since March 11th and unlike most people who have been able to venture out a bit since around the end of May, I am still essentially sheltering at home. Other than weekly trips to pick up groceries, a few doctor appointments, and about the half dozen times I’ve gotten curbside pickup from restaurants instead of delivery, I haven’t been anywhere. According to my report from my insurance company (I have one of those little devices in my car) I am averaging less than 5 miles a week.

I did start having visitors in June, once the weather got nice enough to sit outside, but I can count the number of visits on one hand. I had one group of friends over that I hadn’t seen in over six months and between not seeing them for that long and just not seeing people in general I almost started to cry at one point.

Anyhoo, I realize it will take a little time for the effects of the mask mandate to settle in. The numbers won’t go down immediately and people obviously won’t all wear them willingly right away, but in time, hopefully in a month or two, I may actually be able to go into a store myself to shop or get my haircut or go over to friends’ homes, or have people come to my house, and not worry (as much) that it’s putting my life in jeopardy.

You see, it isn’t that I don’t trust my salon or my friends, I do. I know that they are doing everything they can to be safe, but they may unknowingly have interaction with someone who is not taking any precautions and that is what scares me. And really, even people who are completely careful have been known to catch the virus. The problem is, if I catch it, it’s pretty much a death sentence.

Sadly, the Wisconsin GOP, who control the legislature, decided they don’t like that the Governor has used the powers that he is authorized to use by law. The truth is, they don’t like that the Governor has any power at all and have done everything they can to take away any power and authority he has (even though he was elected Governor by a majority of the voters of this state, but I digress.) And now they want to repeal the mask mandate.

Trusting though that democracy is important and that I should make my opinion known and that if enough people did this that the WI GOP would actually listen, I wrote to my representative, Alberta Darling. I told her how extremely important it was that the mask mandate not be repealed. I told her what I said above, that the mask mandate will be life-changing for me, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Here is the reply I received from one of her aides…

Dear Ms. Stoltz,

Thank you for reaching out to Senator Darling’s office regarding the Governor’s recent statewide mask mandate. I will pass along your thoughts to Senator Darling.

First and foremost, Senator Darling believes that people in Wisconsin should continue to make smart decisions to protect themselves and those around them. She believes that everyone should practice social distancing guidelines and wear a mask when appropriate, and encourages businesses to follow WEDC guidelines to protect customers. Senator Darling supports the decisions of many local municipalities, restaurants, doctor’s offices, bars, gyms, and other businesses that already require individuals to wear masks and keep their distance while inside, as these decisions are best made at the local level instead of through a one-size-fits-all statewide mandate.

With that being said, Senator Darling takes issue with the process through which the mask mandate was implemented. She worries that a fresh emergency declaration is the beginning of an effort to keep students out of in-person classes this fall, which she has publicly expressed deep concerns with on many levels. As you are likely aware, many school districts in the area have been planning to begin session in-person this fall in conjunction with the recommendations of many scientists, experts and pediatricians.

Thank you again for reaching out. If you have any questions or further comments for me to pass along, please feel free to do so again.

Many thanks

I want you to notice that Senator Darling doesn’t have an issue with masks and that she is still encouraging people to wear them. But she (and her colleagues) are prepared to strike down the mask mandate because they fear it will lead to the Governor eventually adding a virtual school mandate, which he has publicly stated he will not.

(Side note, the Senator Majority Leader, Scott Fitzgerald has criticized the governor on changing his mind on issuing a stay-at-home order. This is one of the most asinine things I have ever heard. The fact that a political leader might need to change his mind on a health decision during a global pandemic and then get criticized for it is outrageous. Even more outrageous: that anything related to the pandemic is being made political in the first place.)

Of course the logical thing to do would be to wait to see if he actually does try to do a school mandate and then strike that down but no, they are going to let people suffer and die over their ideological zealotry and thirst for power. It terrible what people on a sinking ship that are desperately clawing at whatever they can are willing to do to try to survive. Sadly a lot of people will get hurt or die in their attempt to save themselves.

FYI, healthcare workers* support the mask mandate, businesses* support the mask mandate, municipalities* support the mask mandate and fortunately it turns out that health departments can enforce the mandate which may be necessary in some areas since there are some sheriffs in the state who have said they would not enforce the mandate (which is part of public health emergency, so they are basically ignoring a law.)

So, getting back to the original point of this blog – what is the missed opportunity. Well, for all these anti-mask people, who most likely were also anti-lockdown people and may very well have been carrying signs at those protests, well, you are giving up prime real estate for posting messages. I mean seriously, check out some of these masks.

Missed opportunity for getting ONE’S MESSAGE ACROSS. Here’s a few for the anti-maskers…

Swearing means your smart
These have a more literary bent to them. The irony of the bottom two would be lost on most people who would wear them I’m sure.
Course he was talking about slavery but I suppose you could compare that to having to wear a mask.

Or for those in support of masks and/or who want the world to be sane again there are masks like this:

For myself though, I see masks as an opportunity to ACCESSORIZE!!!
There are some gorgeous masks out there…

This baby is ridiculously expensive, but isn’t it gorgeous? And 100% of the proceeds go to a food bank.
I ordered several masks from this site. Gorgeous!
Lisa Shepherd is an obviously talented Metis artist from British Columbia. Isn’t this stunning????
Admittedly, this looks like part of a bikini

OR, for those who have disposable income, why not buy the world’s most expensive mask that costs a mere $1.5 million…

Parts and a model of a mask is displayed in the Israeli jewelry company Yvel in Motza near Jerusalem, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020.
An Israeli jewelry company is working on what it says will be the world’s most expensive coronavirus mask, a gold, diamond-encrusted face covering
with a price tag of $1. 5 million. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

And there is also the missed opportunity to show one’s INDIVIDUALITY

They are currently sold old, but they are going to be back in stock soon. I mean, how is this for clever!? A leather alien facehugger mask, super unique.
View this post on Instagram

Quarantine day 5 -mother of pterodactyls mask During the lock down, as we have limited access to resources, with photographer @anthonylycettphotography we started a project focusing on facemasks. Highly coveted, out of stock, stolen between countries, at the heart of a public health scandal… Useful, not useful. Medical grade, surgical or homemade crafty fabric one… In this new era will a mask become the new indispensable fashion accessory ousting hats or scarves? Compared to eye mask that is supposed to hide your identity what does mouth mask reveal of your persona? The etymology of the word “mask” could come from the Spanish más que la cara (literally, "more than the face" or "added face", Maybe mask like make up or jewellery could bring another dimension to our bare face and tell something of the way we want to present ourselves, as an intimate banner, a personal flag. As costume designer, I have never worked on masks before and I am finding new creative potential from this little surface directly applied on the skin. As they conceal our mouth and emphasise our eyes in a very performative way, they change the whole dynamic of our facial expressions. Placed on the mouth and directly under the eyes “the window of the soul’’ they bring new narratives to the face. Another layer of meaning through another layer of fabric. Costume assistant @femfms #pterodactyl #dinosaurmask #fabricmask #protectivemask #facemask #selfandstylish #self&stylish #golddinosaur

A post shared by Anne Sophie Cochevelou (@sophiecochevelou) on

Steampunk aficionados already are adept at wearing masks so this is giving them an excuse to buy more/better ones.
Disco ball mask? Yes, please!
How about a Gin & Tonic mask!

By the way, since I’ve gone on so long about this topic (and because I am librarian after all) I might as well go all the way and provide some factual information.

Apparently some anti-mask geniuses have been making claims that they are exempt from wearing masks for health reasons. Sadly, people are even using fake “exemption” cards like the one below, which has been making its way ’round the internet. It cites the ADA and says they aren’t required to disclose their condition. How very convenient. But it is also complete crap.

FACT – more and more doctors have been getting the word out via various news outlets that there really are very few health concerns which prevent a person from wearing a mask. For most people it is simply a matter that it is uncomfortable or takes some getting used to.

They say if you find it difficult to breath in a mask, the solution may be to try a different style mask. Some suggest you practice wearing a mask for a little bit at a time at home, where you are comfortable and relaxed, and build up to where you can wear it for longer periods of time.

Here’s something from the Asthma.org.uk website that is excellent –

Do I have to wear a face covering if I have asthma?

Most people with asthma, even if it’s severe, can manage to wear a face mask for a short period of time, and shouldn’t worry if they need to wear one. Wearing a mask does not reduce a person’s oxygen supply or cause a build-up of carbon dioxide. You may have read stories that say that it can, but this isn’t true.

Some people with asthma tell us that face coverings can make breathing feel more difficult, which might be uncomfortable. It’s a good idea to try wearing a face covering at home, or on a short walk around the block first. It might not feel comfortable straight away, so give it a chance.

You can also experiment with different types of mask – some are easier to wear than others. Sometimes the feeling of wearing a face mask might take a bit of getting used to, but trying different types and starting with short periods of time can help you feel more comfortable.

There isn’t a blanket rule about face covering exemptions for everyone with asthma. But if you find it impossible to wear a face covering for health reasons, you don’t have to wear one. An example of this might be if a mask makes you too breathless.

https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/triggers/coronavirus-covid-19/what-should-people-with-asthma-do-now/should-i-wear-a-face-mask-or-face-covering/

I realize that this is specific to asthma, but it really could apply to anyone who finds it difficult to breath in a mask. Of all at-risk individuals, those with asthma would probably be the ones who have the most obvious breathing issues, so if they are being advised to wear masks, I think it’s pretty reasonable to assume most everyone should be wearing masks.

FACT – masks ARE effective, despite the politicians who keep to say they aren’t.

I had been thinking about how I hadn’t heard much about the reversal of the mask mandate for some time. It took me a while to write this blog post (I usually work on multiple things at the same time and also, it takes time to gather the info) so I started it about a week ago when the the WI GOP came out saying they were going to reverse the mandate come hell or high water. I thought that was curious.

It occurred to me it may be because they are waiting for today’s primary election to be over. You see the Governor had to call up over 900 National Guard to work as poll workers because that is how many the clerks across the state were short. There was some question about whether or not he would be able to do that if the WI GOP reversed the mask mandate because you see, the mandate wasn’t just a mask mandate, I believe it was also a Public Health Emergency which gave him the authority to do things like call up the National Guard for duties such as this. I wondered if they were simply waiting until the election was over to reverse the mask mandate and if that were the case that would be appalling. But it turns out, they appear not to have the votes to reverse it. OMG!

I thought I’d end with a few PSAs…

Here’s one by the State of Oregon. It was for the Fourth of July weekend but it’s relevant anytime.

Here’s a great campaign – Mask Up Milwaukee. Who do YOU MaskUp for?

Wearing a mask can be scary, not wearing one can be deadly.

This PSA from California – if this doesn’t make you want to wear a mask, you have a serious problem.

And the most powerful video of all of them I think, this PSA from the Czech Republic, a country with a population of over 10 million people but with less than 20,000 total cases and under 400 total deaths.

*Of course when listing a group of people, you can never say ALL scientists or ALL doctors or ALL business owners, but a good number of these groups support the mandate.

Seven Things that I Love (8-10-2020)

1. This videoclip from a 1996 episode of Sesame Street with Patrick Stewart (aka Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise) where he helps the Count get ‘Number One’ back in his(?) proper place. Those who know me know that I’ve been a HUGE fan of Sir Patrick for decades (that voice), and I’m a fan of the Count as well, so this is a two-fer. (Found on Laughing Squid.com)

2. This story about George Washington, who called for a temporary cease fire so he could return the dog to his enemy’s commanding officer. Although there currently is a bit of controversy surrounding our Founding Fathers due to their ownership of slaves, we will never be able to deny what they accomplished and contributed to the creation of our democracy (despite its current state.) And George Washington, for good or bad, will always be our first president and he seems to have had some good qualities despite not being able to recognize that slavery is abhorrent.

One memorable story that stands out to dog lovers alike, is when George Washington showed his loyalty by returning a terrier to it’s rightful owner–even when the owner was the enemy. After the Battle of Germantown, Washington found a small terrier running around the battlefield between British and American lines. It turns out that General Howe’s dog had gotten loose, as it was identified by it’s collar. Washington’s soldiers suggested that the dog be kept as a trophy of the British to weaken the morale of the British General Howe.

Instead, Washington took the pup back to his tent where he fed him, brushed him and cleaned him. He then wrote a letter and attached it to the dog’s collar. To everyones surprise, he ordered a cease fire and had his aide return the terrier under a flag of truce.

From “George Washington Loved Dogs So Much, He Wrote To A British General About A Dog Mid-Battle” on BarkPost.com

3. Library Porn

4. The Playlist from the series POSE – 80s bliss! (And the show is damned good too.)

5. Mapleworth Murders on Quibi – it’s like a hilarious, gay Murder, She Wrote. Dammit Quibi, why do you have to have to be so addictive???? (and for those of you not familiar with Quibi yet, it’s only available as an app for your phone/tablet and the shows/series episodes are all around 7 to 10 minutes long. I know that sounds strange but it totally works!)

6. Jessie Gallan – Ms. Gallan passed away in 2015 after being declared not only Scotland’s but the entire UK’s oldest woman at 109 years of age. She said the secret to her longevity was avoiding men and eating porridge every day. I read this article several years ago but came across it again and have decided it’s time to take up a new life plan.

7. The Flying Train, Germany, 1902 – Denis Shiryaev is a master craftsperson the way he takes old black and white films and repairs them, colorizes them, and adds sound to make them look and feel so much more approachable. He’s done this to several videos but has difficulty actually finding clips that he can works with that are interesting and copyright free. He worked really hard on one video and apparently the organization that stored it told him he could put it online. Truly awful, considering how much work it takes to do just one short video. Anyway, enjoy this. It’s amazing.


Have a GREAT Week!

Seven Things That I Love (8-3-2020)

Well, I’m officially changing the regular Monday ‘5 Things that I Love” to ‘7 Things that I Love” since I’ve consistently had more than five things for the past few months. I’ve been hesitating do this because I didn’t want to commit to having more items each week, but it seems clear I’m having no problem finding more than enough so here goes. Let’s try seven for a while!

1. Morgan Freeman reading John Lewis’ Last Words – John Lewis and Morgan Freeman were friends for many years and there really is no better person to read this editorial that Lewis wrote just days before his passing.

2. Ambience/ASMR Videos – I’ve become a little obsessed with these videos. I realized that I wasn’t getting much done during the day between watching mysteries on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel and watching the news. But I like to have sound and movement in the house so now I put these on YouTube, which I can pull up on my wonderful smartTV (technology is da bomb) and let them run for hours. There are hundreds and hundreds of these videos and I have made a folder so I could keep track of the ones I really like. Here are my favorites…

Have to have a least one library!

3. This Community Coronavirus Art Project – a few months ago I found a beautifully painted stone near my mailbox. I wasn’t sure who had left it but after a few weeks I discovered that several people in the neighborhood had received similar stones and that local kids had been painting them as a craft project during isolation. I eventually brought my stone inside and now have it as a paperweight. A few days ago I drove past the epicenter of the Art Project and took a few photos because it has grown quite a bit. People still can pick up rocks to paint and some have started leaving them around a

And be sure to note the ‘Please No Peeing’ sign…

4. Trey KennedyMoms Pre-Pandemic vs Post-Pandemic. Though technically it’s not ‘post-pandemic’ yet, it’s mid-pandemic but it still definitely works. It should probably have been Pre-Pandemic Isolation vs Post-Pandemic Isolation. I have a personal affinity for Trey Kennedy because my niece and nephew got him to do a personal birthday video for me for my birthday and it was da BOMB!

5. This Birthday Celebration – a friend of mine and a few of her friends rented this Air B&B, which is a “boat house” here in town. Formally known at the Edmund B. Gustdorf Milwaukee Boathouse & Lighthouse, it can be rented for a really reasonable rate and I hope when it is safe for me to venture out that I can rent it with her and go have a shindig there myself! Anyhoo, my friend made all these lovely paper fish for the birthday party and it made me happy so I needed to share it.

6. The U.S. and World Population Clock – I don’t think it’s any sort of secret that I’m a big nerd but if there as any doubt this will cinch it. I find this site mesmerizing. Just watch that world population number spin and try to grasp what the reality of those numbers.

7. Last but not least, Perry Mason – I’ve been a huge fan of Mr. Mason for years. Haven’t read many of the books but I’ve seen most of the movies and a decent number of the half-hour original television show. I always thought Raymond Burr was intriguing and I loved his relationship with Della, it wasn’t romantic but they clearly had a strong bond.

I was thrilled when I found out that they were doing kind of a reboot, it’s more of a prequel, to the series. And I will say, I have not been disappointed. Although the series on HBO is nothing like the Perry Mason shows most fans know and love, this origin story is completely believable and really just makes me love him and Della (who is a lesbian in the reboot) and Paul Drake (who is black in the reboot) all the more. Oh, and John Lithgow is fabulous.

I’ve also just started watching the entire original series which began in 1957 and lasted for nine seasons. It’s amazing how much they were able to pack into these episodes!

Raymond Burr as Perry Mason and Barbara Hale as Della Street

Five Things I Love (7-27-2020)

1. Dr. Anthony Fauci on the cover of ‘In Style’ magazine. Yowzah! The article is an interview with Dr. Fauci and his wife, Dr. Christine Grady, and it’s super interesting. I think it’s amazing that we finally made a rock star out of a scientist!

2. This article calling for the return of Parasols – I am taking this on as a personal mission.

3. Home Movie: The Princess Bride – Damn you Quibi! I have been resisting subscribing to any more streaming services. Quibi isn’t even really like other streaming services, you can only watch it on your phone (or tablet) and the films/episodes are no more than ten minutes in length. Initially I saw a trailer for a series called “Dummy” with Anna Kendrick and I wanted to see it but not enough to subscribe but after I saw this video, well, that was it. The clip below is a compilation of the episodes telling an abridged version of the movie. If you want to see the entire thing you will need to subscribe and I tell you, it is WORTH IT! Not only can you download the episodes to watch anytime, but if you turn you phone sideways you can see the original film side-by-side with the “Home Movie” for comparison. It’s marvelous!

4. The Moving of Booth Cottage – a Frank Lloyd Wright gem, Booth Cottage was purchased by a couple who wanted to tear it down to build a new house. W-T-F??? What kind of person tears down a Frank Lloyd Wright???? Anyway, a group of conservationists raised about $300,000 to help get the house moved to a new location in Glencoe and also worked out a long-term lease from the municipality. Once the foundation is laid and the house is put in place it will become a museum. Thank God there are still people in the world who value history and art. If you don’t want to watch the video here is an article from the Chicago Tribune with a few good photos.

5. Whitney: ‘Can I Be Me?’ – watched this documentary over the weekend and it was excellent. Whitney Huston was only two years older than me and I had pretty much grown up loving her, so like most people my age, her death was devastating. Seeing her in this movie was like bringing her back to life, even if it was just for a few hours. It’s difficult knowing that, had it been a different time, she might be alive today. And it’s frustrating knowing that so many people used her. Still, I will be watching it again.

6. Every player and coach on the Yankees & Nationals took a knee before the national anthem tonight in D.C. – this made my heart SOAR!

7. Charlie Berens & Alex Wehrley – I think I’ve included Charlie on my list before. I’m including him (and his wife Alex) again because he’s just so damned hilarious. It’s funny ‘cuz it’s true!

8. This “Remarkable ‘Reading Station’ by Charles Hindley & Co., London, с. 1890″ – the stuff that (librarian’s) dreams are made of!

9. Olivia de Havilland cussing up a storm – we lost a true star this weekend when Miss de Havilland passed away at the age of 104. She has always been one of my favorite actresses from the Silver Screen. Not only was she beautiful but she was a woman who didn’t take shit from anyone and she stood up for things she believed in.

Have a
FANTASTIC WEEK!

Ten* Things I Love (7-20-2020)

1. If We Treated Teachers Like Pro Athletes – Key & Peele – this is from a few years ago but SOOOOOO relevant right now.

2. This Ingenious Hummingbird – Paraguayan Conservationist Bianca Caroline Soares snapped this photo back in September of 2019. She had been observing hummingbird nests for over a year but when she saw this one she knew it was something unique and special.

“The hummingbird went on to have two chicks, and Soares was able to capture the trio under one roof—literally. The flexible nest expanded to fit the new additions and the leaf was able to cover them all.”

From ‘Clever Hummingbird Builds a Nest Complete With a Giant Leaf Roof‘ by Sara Barnes, My Modern Met, July 14, 2020

3. This Tutorial by Telenovela star Kate del Castillo on How to be an Action Star – She is HILAROUS! I had tears in my eyes. I am planning on subscribing to Peacock TV I’m just waiting for my smartTV to get an app.

4. These three incredibly talented beauties – Norah, Yarah & Rosa known as Let it Happen (thanks to my friend Jeta for originally sharing this video). Just wow.

5. Hear Ye, Hear YeThe Queen has her own Gin. There is pretty much nothing more perfect (and British) than this. Sadly it has already sold out. It is/was only available in the UK but I was hoping to get a bottle when I went over next year. Sigh.

The Queen is famous (infamous?) for having the same four cocktails every day.

From Vanity Fair (and Food & Wine):

And Food and Wine uncovered another detail about the Queen’s daily intake: the 91-year-old reportedly consumes four cocktails a day. And why shouldn’t she!? Let’s run through what they are:

Her first drink, per former royal chef Darren McGrady, enjoyed shortly before lunch, is a gin and Dubonnet with a slice of lemon and a “lot of ice.” Sure, this sounds about right. A classy and posh and powerful concoction.

Then, during lunch, she’ll have a piece of chocolate and a glass of wine at meal’s end. (That we have been eating lunch all these years without closing with a piece of chocolate and glass of wine now makes us feel utterly foolish.)

O.K., then, also at lunch, the Queen drinks a dry gin martini, according to her cousin Margaret Rhodes. So, yes, we are now at three drinks by roughly 1 p.m.

Her final drink of the day? It actually doesn’t come until she’s going to sleep: a glass of Champagne before bed.

6. Quarantine Public Library – this delightful little site currently houses over 40 one-page pdfs that you can download and fold into little “books.” They are really more like works of art. I made a donation of $30 and donated the mega-pack of the entire collection in one zipped file. If you donate $10 you can print out your own library card and there is also a general $5 donation level. Funds collected from the Quarantine Library are being directed to EveryoneON, which is a non-profit that connects low-income families to affordable internet service and computers. That is a non-profit I can absolutely support!

7. Urzila (pronounced Ursila like ….) Carlson – this South African comedian who does “not identify as fat” is my new favorite funny person. Her show on Netflix called ‘Overqualified Loser‘ is a hoot. Some might say she overshares, but then, isn’t oversharing really a subjective thing? For myself, I’ve always felt that society needs to stop being so freaking uptight and talk more about stuff. If we didn’t try to hide things that are part of life like menopause and mensuration and puberty and various stages of aging we’d all be more informed, less ashamed, and people that needed might need help would get it.

Anyhoo, back to Urzila, come on, how could a menopausal broad not adore a female comedian who is a lesbian, has a South African accent, and who does not identify as fat? Pinch me!

8. This video of Billy Joel playing a discarded piano – no words necessary.

9. Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Hand Cream – I have been using this for years. In fact, a while back one of my staff told me that my office smelled like this cream and it always reminded her of me. Which made me happy. It’s a nice scent. When I went to look for a link for this I started to panic because as I typed “Crabtree & Evelyn” into Google up popped “Crabtree & Evelyn closing down” – EEK! It appears that the retailer hasn’t survived the online sales surge so it did shut down its brick & mortar stores. So sad. But it relaunched in the middle of last year as online only and so this product is still available. Though sadly it has been repackaged and is not available in the larger size that has a pump. Still, I may need to stock up just in case.

10. Henry Cavill building a Gaming PC – seriously there is nothing hotter than a guy working on electronics. Is anyone else watching ‘The Witcher?’ I’m REALLY looking forward to seeing him in the new ‘Enola Holmes‘ movie!

*This week there was just too many things so I upped it to TEN things but this is not going to be a standing thing (I don’t think.)

Have a LOVELY week!

Mosquito Slut Shaming?

One of my favorite comedians Charlie Berens just happened to post this recently and it was so perfect I had to include it.

Last summer I went to several outdoor events that resulted in my having numerous mosquito bites, the majority of which were on my ankles – itchy!

The worst part was that Burt’s Bees discontinued the only product I’ve ever found that works on bug bites. Damn I miss this stuff… (I did find a different balm I’m going to try, fingers crossed.)

ANYHOO, each time this would happen. I’d call up the friends I was with the night before before and ask, “Man, I got eaten alive last night, did that happen to you too?” They would inevitably say the same thing – they got a couple of bites but nothing serious (some would actually say they didn’t get bitten at all.) I was perplexed. Why was I being targeted?

I started carrying along mosquito repellent whenever I knew we were going to be outdoors. Sadly though, often I would be someplace expecting to stay indoors (especially when it was horribly hot outside, I am, after all, a delicate flower) and we’d end up al fresco.

It was then that I started to wonder, is it possible that my weight had anything to do with my being bitten? After doing some research (cuz that’s what I do) I was distressed to discover the answer is yes. Well, it isn’t the sole reason the nasty little winged demons love me, but it’s one of them. Turns out that I’m a mosquito slut. (Right Mimi?) Pretty much everything I do attracts those damned skeeters.

I thought this was important information that should be shared, so here’s a comprehensive list of the things that I found which attract mosquitoes:

  1. Night time – this actually depends upon the species and where you live but the majority of species in the US are most active at dusk.
  2. Fragrances – this doesn’t just apply to actual perfume, this can be any products that have added scent like perfumed shampoo or lotion or laundry detergent/fabric softener. Mosquitoes are drawn to certain floral scents because they need nectar for survival and flowers for the females to lay their eggs. But guess what, there are actually perfumes that repel mosquitoes. And the good news is, you don’t have to smell like citronella!
  3. Carbon Dioxide (this relates to the weight thing, and also applies to pregnant women). Mosquitoes can smell CO2. In fact, there is such a thing as CO2 traps, which simulate humans or animals breathing. It’s lures the mosquitoes in and then traps them, thus keeping them away from real humans and animals.
  4. Drinking alcohol – alcohol raises the body temperature and makes a person sweat. Just a single beer can do it!
  5. Sweat – it has something to do with lactic acid. If you want to know more read the article that I linked to on the word ‘sweat.’
  6. Skin Bacteria – it turns out that the mini-vampires are particularly fond of the organisms that grow on the biggest organ of our bodies. And they particularly love stinky feet – P.U.
  7. Movement – one of the first things that will get on their radar is movement – so if you are a fidgeter know that you are going to make yourself more noticeable from a distance.
  8. Wearing dark clothing (black, blue or red) – mind you, wearing light colored clothing won’t repel mosquitoes but it’ll make it more difficult for them to find you. Also, wearing lighter colored clothing, at least in the daytime, will keep you cooler and as mentioned above, sweating is a lure.
  9. Having Type O Blood (and also Type B, but not as much as Type O)
  10. Exposed skin – Of course the problem with this is that mosquitoes come out in the summer and people are just generally going to be exposing more skin – swimsuits, tank tops, shorts, sandals – it is natural for we humans to wear less in order to keep cool. But in doing so we are helping the mosquitoes out, particularly with the sandals, no socks and shorter pants thing. It turns out that skeeters have evolved over time. I mentioned above that they are attracted to Carbon Dioxide and as they hone in on their next target they know they can’t just go all Red Baron and fly straight at it. They’ll end up being toast. Instead, they have to be covert, Ninja-like, and attack so that people don’t know they were even there until after they are gone.
  11. Obesity/pregnancy – people who are larger and women who are pregnant have a higher metabolic rate thus causing them to breathe harder, which means they will produce more carbon dioxide. Also, even though movement helps mosquitoes home in on a person, They also can be more still which makes it easier for the little buggers to get to them.

10 out of 11 (I have A+ blood so there’s one thing I have going for me.) Turns out I’m a wanton, shameless mosquito floozy. At least now I know what to do to make myself less appealing! (Note: needing to make oneself less appealing only applies to mosquitoes.)

Have a Happy and Safe Summer – Physically Distance – Wear a Mask

Back into the Fray

For the past few months I’ve only had the psychological capacity to write my “Five Things I Love” posts. Many of those posts didn’t contain much text, they were, let’s face it, simple listicles.

It’s the stress that has been doing me in. Just like most everyone, I’m mentally exhausted. It’s been nearly a decade of getting up each morning to find out something bad has happened (I live in Wisconsin so we basically were the testing ground for a lot of what has been going on for the past 3-1/2 years nationally.)

And then 2020 rolls along. I had actually been looking forward to this year, had TWO trips planned. The first to India, which as you know, I managed to get in. The second was for May. I was supposed to travel for three weeks through Scotland, Ireland, and Wales with a couple friends and end in London where I could reunite with a new friend I had met in India. Obviously that trip didn’t happen.

Nick Seluk, the most beloved creator of The Awkward Yeti* recently posted this cartoon. It perfectly illustrates how I, and I’m sure every other person on the planet, feels right. I know I am counting the days until next year (or at least until November 3rd.)

*I’ve posted a few of Nick’s cartoons before but if you aren’t following him yet on Facebook and/or Twitter and/or Instagram,
you’re really missing out – myself I’m an Awkward Yeti Supporter, and proud of it!)

A few weeks ago something bad happened, I can’t remember specifically what it was, and a friend of mine said it wasn’t on their 2020 Apocalypse Bingo Card. They were joking but I thought, hey, I should actually make one of those. So I did….

The problem was, I ran out of squares. The online bingo card generator I used only allowed for 25 squares. I’m guessing any more than that and the writing wouldn’t be legible. As I began to post my new bingo creation here and there people would say – oh, “you forgot this” or “you forgot that.” Daily, things would happen and I’d find myself saying, ARGH, I have no more squares!

Here are a few things that should be on the 2020 Apocalypse Bingo Card:

  • Russian Bounties
  • COVID-19 Cyberattacks
  • Wildfires in California
  • Harvey Weinstein sentenced to prison (which of course is a good thing but he should never have gotten away with his atrocities for so long. Also, just this week, a judge quashed the class action suit the victims had made against Weinstein and his production company basically leaving them in limbo on whether they will ever get any restitution. As a friend said to me earlier today, THIS is why we cannot have all white men on the bench anymore. )
  • Ghislaine Maxwell (Jeffrey Epstein redux)
  • US withdraws from the World Health Organization
  • Tornadoes in the southern United States
  • (Continued) Declining Freedom of the Press
  • Bubonic plague
  • Mask “protesters” (THIS is insane)
  • Roger Stone pardon (can’t believe he really did this)
  • Kanye West drops out of the Presidential Race after less than two weeks
  • Ivanka Trump poses with a can of GOYA beans on her twitter (can you say ethics violation?)
  • Elon Musk (pretty much anything that comes out of his mouth anymore)
  • Twitter Bitcoin hack
  • Kanye West actually is running for president (it seems, will be on a few state’s ballots after all)
  • Duda reelected (the autocratic, nationalistic, and anti-LGBTQ president of Poland was re-elected by a slim margin)
  • CIA conducted secret cyber attacks against Iran (but the bigger concern is that the CIA has been given authority to choose targets without White House approval and that a new secret order issued by Donald Trump gave the agency broad power, undoing many restrictions that had been put in place by previous administrations)
  • Smear campaign of Dr. Anthony Fauci – also insane and DANGEROUS
  • The SUPREME COURT ruled that Trump has to hand over his tax forms to the Manhattan District Attorney and his legal team is trying to figure out a way around the decision.
  • Economic Recession

So that’s 20 more squares that would be needed. That would be one huge mother of a bingo card. And I bet you can come up with even more. This year can just BITE ME.

Still, even though not much has changed from a month ago or two months ago and there still is a shitstorm going on in the world, I’ve decided that I think I’m ready to wade back in. Note the wade part. My biggest concern has been a fear of criticism. I’m feeling nervous about whether I want to or can endure trolls at the moment. Which is why I have been avoiding, for the most part, anything controversial. But honestly, I am just too damned opinionated and passionate about things to not use an available platform and I need to start using my voice again. So, here goes…

Five Things I Love (7-13-2020)

1. Hamilton Mask-Up! by the Holderness Family – Do you have Disney+? Did you get it just so you could watch the new Hamilton movie? I actually already had Disney+ (got it for The Mandalorian) so I watched Hamilton on the day it premiered, July 3rd*. SO GOOD! I was lucky enough to see Hamilton on stage. Went last year with a good friend. The theater experience itself was exciting and completely worth it but being able to see the original cast and notice the expressions on their faces and hear the words so clearly, it was equally exciting.

2. Mask Lanyards (or chain or cords or keepers or whatever you want to call them.) I saw one of these advertised in an article about mask accessories. Most everything in the article was crazy expensive but I thought the mask “chain” was cute and it was only $4.99. But I wasn’t sure about the clips so I browsed around until I found exactly what I wanted. There are a ZILLION options. I have already used this several times and I only got it last week. I think it will really come in handy going out to dinner (which I’m not doing yet.)

3. This video, Le Mythe Dior – the House of Dior dresses “creatures” from mythology. It’s mesmerizing.

4. This photo taken by the Hubble Telescope (you can see more photos at this article)

5. This new children’s book, ‘First Day Critter Jitters,’ illustrated by one of my favorite artists Liz Climo and written by Jory John – it really makes me wish I was still a children’s librarian so I could read this for storytime (when there wasn’t a global pandemic of course.)

[Bonus] The York Museum Trust’s twitter thread comparing Judi Dench to items in their collection (not quite as good as the thread comparing Angela Lansbury to teapots but pretty dang close)…

[Another Bonus] Gary Larson is BACK!!! Who isn’t a huge fan of Gary Larson’s cartoons? After a 25 year hiatus, Mr. Larson has gifted the world with three brand new cartoons and there is the possibility of more because he says that working in a new digital format has reinvigorated him, sparking his creativity. WHOO HOO! To see the new cartoons you’ll need to visit his website.


I’d like to thank my friend Ann for contributing the
Dior and York Museum Trust items this week!


*I’m sure that Disney+ chose July 3rd to premiere ‘Hamilton’ simply because it was the Friday before Independence Day but there is something also very apt about the movie premiering on that date (or rather not on July 4th.) July 3rd is the day between the day we now celebrate as our Independence Day and the day that independence was formally declared and that John Adams said would call “the most memorable epocha in the history of America.” It appears that we all celebrate our nation’s birthday on a date that was written on the back of the Declaration of Independence by an unknown person.

Despite conspiracy theories and movies, there isn’t a secret map or code on the back of the Declaration of Independence. There are words, however. An unknown person wrote “Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776” on the back. It’s believed that was added as a label when the document was rolled up for storage.

Thomas Jefferson is often called the “author” of the Declaration of Independence, but he wasn’t the only person who contributed important ideas. Jefferson was a member of a five-person committee appointed by the Continental Congress to write the Declaration. The committee included Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman.

The Declaration of Independence wasn’t signed on July 4, 1776. In fact, independence was formally declared on July 2, 1776, a date that John Adams believed would be “the most memorable epocha in the history of America.” On July 4, 1776, Congress approved the final text of the Declaration. It wasn’t signed until August 2, 1776.

From the article Why do we celebrate the 4th of July? Independence Day facts, history by Leada Gore

Five Things I Love (7-3-2020)

I decided to put this out a little early because of the holiday. Turned out to be all videos this week. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

ENJOY!

1. This Comedian – HEY, I’m a new old person! Though I don’t think I’m going to be sitting around talking to anyone in 50 years. In fact I’m pretty sure I won’t.

2. Pandora’s Box? Julie Nolke is hilarious AND brilliant.

3. This KICK ASS WOMAN who is an awesome dancer even though she’s not a size 0. This video is WAY too short. We definitely need to see MORE of her!!!

4. This Jewelry Artist – okay, full disclosure, this wonderful woman is my sister-in-law, but clearly she’s super talented and I’m really proud of what she’s accomplished!

5. Hamilton on Disney+ – I’ve been waiting (impatiently) for this. Essentially it’s a filmed version of the Broadway production but don’t think it’s going to be the same experience as going to the theater. This is filled with closeups and angles that you would never get to see and this has the original cast! It starts today, July 3rd.


Five Things I Love (6-29-2020)

1. This Census video – I don’t think they could have found any better spokesperson than the Count and his pals at Sesame Street. Have you completed your Census yet?

2. These amazing photographs – A collaborative project, CreativeSoul Photography and LaChanda Gatson, makeup artist and hairstylist, created these stunning photographs of Disney princesses reimagined as young Black girls. You can go to this My Modern Met article to see more photos from the series. They describe the girls as regal and that is exactly what they are.

3. This cool Pride Flag – for the second to last day of Pride Month. Designer Daniel Quasar has added to the traditional colors to make the flag even more inclusive. For the details you can read an article about it here in them.

4. Birding with Chris Cooper – I don’t want to get into a big rant about the incident that brought Mr. Cooper into the limelight, just watch the video. He’s lovely.

5. This Granola: Kick Ash Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Granola – I start every single morning with the same breakfast: a cup of plain Greek yogurt (I use Fage), anywhere from a 1/4 c. to 1/2 c. organic blueberries (the fresher and plumper they are the more that ends up in the bowl), and about a 1/4 c. of this granola. Mix and consume. I used to only get this when I’d go up to Door County (my favorite part of Wisconsin – it’s in the thumb) to visit my Aunt & Uncle. But with the pandemic my normal trip up has been greatly delayed. Fortunately they ship!!! (They have several other flavors, I just ordered a package of Chai Spice Granola to try.)


I love this one…
I’ve had to straighten my crown quite a bit lately but straighten it I do!