1. This Cover of VOGUE Magazine – The world was given Amanda Gorman in 1998 but so many of us were unaware of this gifted woman until January 20, 2020. Thank goodness President Biden chose her as his Inaugural Poet! Good job Vogue – keep going – let’s see scientists and artists and teachers and healthcare workers and activists and environmentalists and small-business owners and single Moms and… on the cover.
2. This Graphic Showing what “Reasonable Police Officers” said as the Trial of Derek Chauvin Regarding Use of Unreasonable Force – I can’t say I love this but I appreciate that someone put it together. I have listened to a good portion of the trial and happened to turn it on today right at the point where the defense attorney was discussion this specific topic in their closing arguments. It was infuriating listening to him try to manipulate and twist his words to make it sound as though what Chauvin did was at all reasonable, even after so many officers had said it wasn’t. I only pray the jury sees through his legal speak.
3. This Comic Book Artist – I actually saw these a few years ago but ran across them again and needed to share. The artist’s name is Francois Schuiten. He illustrated a series of comic books called Obscure Cities, written by his longtime friend, writer Benoit Peeters.
As you can see, the artwork is magnificent. For years the only way to get them in the US was in black and white and in the original French but the good news is, just this year, Penguin began releasing them in English and in full-color! I’ve ordered one already from my local bookshop.
4. These Selections of Brahms – Famous individuals from the music world choose their favorite five-minutes of Johannes Brahms. A fantastic way to become accustomed to Brahm’s music if you are unfamiliar or reacquaint yourself if it’s been a while. [From the New York Times]
5. This Television Series from a Series of Novels – The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness (A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life) were published between 2011 and 2014. This series is based on the three books with each season covering one of the books. Two seasons have been aired so far, the second season only recently becoming available. I was able to watch it via Prime with my AMC subscription but if you have a Sundance subscription that is another option.
People have often compared this series to Twilight and Harry Potter, the former because of the vampires and other creatures in the story and the latter because of the literary aspects, and I can see why they would, but as a friend of mine said, these are more mature, grown-up versions of the stories – more complicated, more clever.
And I don’t think I mentioned that there is time travelling. The second season is spent mostly in Tudor London while the first season is mostly in modern day Oxford (or Venice or the French countryside.) The entire show is a treat to watch.
6. This Email from Kitsch Regarding Mother’s DayPromotions – I’ve never received anything like this before and I really wish more businesses would follow suit! There are a multitude of reasons why Mother’s Day is difficult for me. Being bombarded by ads and promotions (not just in my inbox but on television and radio too) for nearly the a full month before the actual holiday, makes it all the more difficult.
7. This Sneak Peak of a Bourbon Street Chemist (with Products Made Entirely in Felt) – I love Lucy Sparrow’s art. She works primarily with felt and wool and often creates life-sized recreations of everyday objects.
Her latest exhibit is at the Lyndsey Ingram Gallery and you can see a nice overview at the video below. You can purchase the items at the NFS (or National Felt Service, which is Lucy’s spin on the UK’s NHS or National Health Service.) As they are pieces of art, they are not inexpensive.
1. These Magnifying Monocles by LUKA– am I advertising that I’m getting old? Yep. Am I doing it in an incredibly cool and stylish way, damn straight. There are many more styles. They are a tad expensive but I can’t tell you the number of times I had to go find my magnifying glass before I got this. Now I always have one with me. And when I actually start leaving the house I bet it’ll come in even more handy.
2. This Short Film, Mobile – no words necessary really, just as cute and funny as can be.
3. This New Series on CNN ‘Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy’– this show will make you want to hang out with Stanley Tucci, long for delicious Italian food, and kick your wanderlust into high gear. It’s a three-fer.
4. This Game from the Creator of The Oatmeal – it’s crazy addictive, mostly because the guy who created The Oatmeal, Matthew Inman, is so damned funny so you’ll keep wanting to play just so you can see more of his hilarious cartoons in between the game play. What a riot!
5. This New Version of ‘Biko’ by Peter Gabriel – this one makes me even more emotional than the original.
In honor of Black History Month, we are proud to bring the message of Peter Gabriel’s “Biko” back to the forefront, 40 years after its initial release. Inspired by the death of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko while in police custody, this song’s relevance still holds true with the unfortunate police brutality that continues to take place in the USA, Nigeria and many places around the world. More than 25 musicians from seven countries join Gabriel for this global rendition to share a message of unity, peace, and hope, including Beninese vocalist and activist Angélique Kidjo, Silkroad’s Yo-Yo Ma, and bass legend Meshell Ndegeocello.
6. This Enchanting Mexican Songstress singing Una Vida (here’s the English translation of the lyrics) – not only is her music beautiful but her videos are wonderfully artistic. Frida Kahlo would definitely have approved.
7. This Lawyer’s Technological Snafu – it makes me giggle every time I see it! (At this point everyone has seen this, unfortunately it’s a drawback of only sending out a blog post once a week.)
(Sorry guys, had to go over seven things this week. There were just too many things to include. Pour yourself a cup of tea, this is a long one!)
1. Supermajority – “A community for women who want to work together to build economic and political power, organize for gender equity, and transform this country.”
I signed up for Supermajority a while ago and it’s fabulous – provides a lot of interesting and useful information. But as the election draws nearer they are kicking it into high gear. Last week a friend of mine (who is also a member) posted on Facebook that she had signed up as Supermajority Supermajor, a leadership program to help get out the vote. I immediately signed up too. This upcoming election is the most important election of my lifetime, and as you all know, I’m not being melodramatic.
I’m scheduled for a few online training sessions this coming week and after that I’ll be texting, calling, writing letters, and helping to recruit poll workers. All things I can safely do from my home!
There are a lot of organizations helping to get out the vote but I like this one because of its focus is on women, particularly women of color. If you aren’t already signed up for something consider joining right now!
Also, the leadership at Supermajority is a wonderfully diverse group of women (and two men) that includes one of my heroes, Cecile Richards.
2. Protect the Results – they are “building a coalition of voters ready to mobilize if Donald Trump refuses to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election.”
I don’t know if my fear of things going badly after the election is an irrational fear being promoted by the “liberal media” but based on everything I have been reading and seeing, I don’t think….
Oh hell, it’s primarily due to this: when Kayleigh McEnany, the White House Press Secretary (who clearly has had a few too many cult initiation sessions for the Church of Trump) was asked, “Is the president saying if he doesn’t win this election, that he will not accept the results unless he wins?” She responded, “The president has always said he’ll see what happens and make a determination in the aftermath. It’s the same thing he said last November.”
W……T……F. That’s not the way you answer that question.
By the way, this was preceded by:
“The president said this week the only way we lose this election is if the election is rigged,” a reporter asked McEnany at a briefing Wednesday. “It begs the question: Does the president believe there’s any circumstance under which he can lose the election fairly?”
“The president believes he’s done a great job for the American people, and he believes that will show in November,” McEnany responded. “He believes that voter fraud is real, in line with what we see all across the country, particularly with mail-in ballots which are prone to fraud.”
McEnany: Trump will ‘see what happens’ before accepting the results of the election: Washington Post, August 19, 2020 https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/08/19/mcenany-trump-will-see-what-happens-before-accepting-results-election/
Bernie Sanders is the latest in a string of respected and long-standing government officials, both former and current, who have voiced concerns about Trump possibly not conceding if he loses the election.
Last week on the Samantha Bee’s show they had a segment on this exact topic. The video clip is below and it’s where I heard about Protect the Results. I suggest you watch this, it includes discussions with a few experts including Rosa Brooks who led the ‘Transition Integrity Project,’ a group of current and former senior government and campaign leaders, academics, journalists, polling experts and former federal and state government officials formed out of concern about potential disruptions to 2020 United States presidential election and transition by the RNC. They ran multiple war-game scenarios to see what would happen depending on various outcomes of the election and, well, it wasn’t pretty.
3. The Cast of the Princess Bride (and Patton Oswald) – the cast and director of one of the most beloved films ever made – Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Carol Kane, Chris Sarandon, Mandy Patinkin, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, and Rob Reiner – are going to have a reunion where they will do a table reading of the script of ‘The Princess Bride’ and answer questions sent in by attendees, moderated by the wonderful Patton Oswald. This is being done to raise money for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, which we all know is one of the major battleground states for the upcoming election. Kudos to them for using their fame for good! I’ve made my donation, registered and even sent in a question. You can go to this link to make a donation. You;ll receive an email acknowledging your donation (you can donate any amount!) and it will include a link that says “Get access to the event URL here.” Click on that to actually register for the event itself and you’ll get the URL so you can watch everything on Sunday, September 13th at 6 pm. SO EXCITED!!!
4. Penzeys Spices – If you are a Penzeys’ fan you are already aware of the advocacy that they have been doing over the past three and half-plus years. They decided to take a stand fairly early on and have not been shy at all about declaring their opposition to the person occupying the White House.
Just one example of the sort of thing they’ve been doing – recently they offered “Get Out the Vote” supply kits – totally awesome.
Another cool thing though unrelated to voting, Penzeys has a store in Kenosha but it is some distance from where the protesting and turmoil is/was going on. Bill Penzey, not at all unexpected, wrote to his customers in support of the BLM protesters. As usual received a flood of kudos mixed with a little bit of criticism from a few of his customers. (If you look at their Facebook page, especially at the posts from 2017, you’ll see hundreds of supportive comments on every one of his posts interspersed with a negative comment here and there such as “I will never shop at Penzeys again.” He clearly is having no problems business-wise with his decision to oppose the “president.”)
Penzey said that someone wrote to him “that you would be singing a different tune if it was your store being looted.” In order to show that he wouldn’t be “singing a different tune” (and to put his money where his mouth is) he decided to loot his own store! He took a photo of the inventory that day and then gave away that exact amount of inventory to community organizations that could benefit from the donation. He asked people to make recommendations to community groups/organizations that could benefit from the donation and in just a few days had received over 5,000 messages! Be sure to support Penzey’s! Not only is it a local business but they are clearly socially aware and awesome!
5. The Milwaukee Bucks (and the sports teams which followed suit, not just in the NBA but in other leagues as well) – the Bucks was the first team to take a stand and protest the Jacob Black shooting by sitting out for a playoffs game. This led to other teams joining them, not only other NBA teams but teams in the WNBA, the MLS, NFL, MLB, NHL, and CFB. Ultimately the Bucks actions led to a negotiation between the NBA and the players union on several things including using the arenas for polling places for the November 3rd election. Bravo Milwaukee Bucks!
6. The Lincoln Project – is a political action committee (PAC) that was formed in late 2019 but several current and former Republicans, one of the most well-known being George Conway, Kellyanne Conway’s husband. Recently both George & Kellyanne quit their positions to focus on their family after their daughter, Claudia, made a very public announcement that she was seeking emancipation. This family has the most complicated home life – you have the (now) former senior counselor to the “president” married to one of the leading “Never-Trumpers” and their kid appears to be as far left as one can be. And yet, although she says that her mother’s job has ruined her life and while criticizing her father (though I would have thought she’d be happy he’s against Trump) she still says, “They are the most generous, most well-educated people I have ever met. I look up to them and want nothing but success and good fortune for them. They are my parents and that trumps all — no pun intended.” C-O-M-P-L-I-C-A-T-E-D.
Here’s an example of the kind of work that the Lincoln Project is doing. They are prolific, sometimes having more than one video released in a day. And the quality is exceptional. I think they may have some Hollywood people helping them out.
And this one, which just brings tears to my eyes. Compare this man to the person currently occupying the White House. If we don’t have Joe Biden as president, well, I don’t know what I will do.
7. Old Navy – Old Navy is paying its employees to staff polling places on election day. As I’m sure you’re aware, there has been a massive shortage of poll workers due to the pandemic. Most poll workers are retirees and therefore are at-risk from COVID-19 so the people that normally work the polls are bowing out leaving municipalities across the country short-handed.
To give you an idea of what kind of problems this could cause, the State of Wisconsin chose to hold its in-person primary elections IN APRIL (right in the middle of when most states had issued shelter-in-place orders) and the republican controlled legislature refused to allow them to be postponed. The municipality that was most greatly affected was Milwaukee. Normally Milwaukee would have had 180 polling sites but they ended up with only FIVE. That led to very long waits and long lines and increased the risk of people who went to the polls. Here’s an article that explains why Milwaukee ended up with so many fewer polling sites than Madison.
Maybe other companies will follow Old Navy’s lead and do the same thing. Having employees go work the polls and/or giving them the day off to go vote would be an incredibly good thing to do for the nation and it wouldn’t be bad for their public image either (aka free marketing.)
8. Mrs. Fred Rogers– Joanne Rogers doesn’t mince words when talking about the “leader of our country.” She is most definitely not a fan, mostly because of his lying and his character. I think that this is something that I find most astonishing, how so many people who claim to be Christians can support him. Talk about selling your soul to the devil.
9. Fact Checking – if I hadn’t been a librarian this would have been my other dream job.
FactCheck.org – this site is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center which is a center of study for public policy at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. It describes itself as a “consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics”. It is primarily funded by the Annenberg Foundation, which is a family foundation that funds non-profits in the US and around the world. Their primary focus is in educational television on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) as well as programs in science and the arts.
Snopes – one of the “oldest fact checking sites,” Snopes was originally called “Urban Legends Reference Page” and was founded in 1994 by David & Barbara Mikkelson. The amazing thing is that because it’s been around so long and because so many people reference it as the to go place to check whether something is legitimate AND most likely because it is a couple at the helm, there are all sorts of conspiracy theories flying around about the Mikkelsons themselves. It’s gotten so bad that even other fact checking sites had to fact check them.
Ad Fontes Interactive Media Bias Chart – the Ad Fontes Media Bias Chart has a rather complicated methodology for how it ranks the various media outlets. If you want to see how it is done you can read about it here. I have used this one for years because one of my family members constantly sends me things from sources I’ve never heard of. I am able to send him back information saying this is where this media outlet is located on the Media Bias Chart. At one point I told him I would only believe things from the Associated Press and Reuters which were the two news sources most highly rated as being least biased/most accurate. That worked for a bit but eventually even those because “too left-leaning” and “fake news” for him. Right out of the fascist handbook.
Media Bias/Fact Check – I’ve been using this site a bit more because, well frankly, the Media Bias Chart started to charge money to download the static chart and the interactive chart of it isn’t as easy to use. This site is funded mostly through ads and memberships and donations. It was founded by Dave Van Zandt, an academic administrator and law professor. Plus it gives a bit more detail than the Ad Fontes Media Bias Chart.
10. Republican Voters Against Trump – While waiting for the next Chef Kobe video, I spend a lot of time on this YouTube channel. It helps me know that the entire country hasn’t gone insane. It’s one video after another like this….
They also had these two very important videos…
11. Walter Shaub – the former Director of United States of Government Ethics resigned fairly early after Trump’s regime, I mean term began, in July of 2017. His resignation was primarily due to Trump’s refusal to divest his businesses and the administration’s delaying in disclosing ethics waivers for appointees. That seems so long ago and so mild compared to what he does now. Walter’s personal Twitter account has been a sanctuary for those of us who felt that our country was going mad. I know for myself, it was always assuring to see someone I know to be of such high moral standards freaking out over the same things I was.
12. Voter Accessories – Getout the Vote bling!
This VOTE ID Bracelet – from Kris Nations, this beautiful bracelet is inspired by the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment which guarantees and protects women’s constitutional right to vote. And 50% of the purchase price goes to When We All Vote, a non-profit “working to ensure that every single eligible voter is registered and ready to vote in the 2020 elections.” (I am totally ordering one for myself. I will wear it all year round because we should already be reminded of the importance of voting and celebrate the accomplishments of the Suffragettes. Course if things don’t go well in November I may feel differently.) $48 for the sterling silver (the 18K gold vermeil are sold out.)
This Vote Rhinestone Bobby Pin – I LOVE this! According to MyDomaine, “This sparkly rhinestone hair clip represents an important partnership between stylist Justine Marjan, the brand Kitsch, and the When We All Vote organization, which encourages people who haven’t yet registered to get out and vote. For just $29, this sparkly statement accessory can be yours. Wear it proudly between now and election day, and feel good about the cause you’re supporting along the way.”—Melanie Berliet, General Manager
This V-O-T-E Necklace from ByChari – I’m sure you all heard Michelle Obama give her inspiring speech at the Democratic National Convention. Well, if you are like me, in between listening to everyone, you can’t help but notice all the wonderful details like this necklace Michelle was wearing (or that the letters on the shelves behind Elizabeth Warren spelled out B L M.) Well, not surprisingly this is from a black-owned business called ByChari and you can get it in gold, silver or rose gold. If you really want to make an investment, you can even have the letters be in diamonds! I would LOVE one of these. $295-$1260
This Vote Tote from ClareV – Again, via MyDomaine, “This blue cotton tote by Clare V. reads ‘I Vote, You Vote, She Votes, We Vote, They Vote’ in a lovely French script. While it’s an easy way to advocate for voter participation, part of the bag’s proceeds are also donated to When We All Vote—a nonprofit organization co-chaired by Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Janelle Monae, among others—so you can feel good about the fact that your money is being funneled into worthy grassroots campaigns around the U.S.”—Chelsea Stuart, Senior Lifestyle Editor $25
This VOTE Mask – Via MyDomaine, “I’m a big believer in the power of positive peer pressure when it comes to voting, and I can’t think of a better way to remind everyone of their civic duty than by wearing this mask when I leave the house. It’s from a collaboration between Resistance By Design and Stacey Abrams’s Fair Fight Organization, and a portion of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to the Southern Center for Human Rights.”—Karli Bendlin, Email Editor
I think we all need to do whatever we can to make sure that everyone we know gets out and votes in this election. Make sure your friends and family members have requested their ballots. And besides voting for Joe Biden, we need to also be voting for Democrats across the board, not just in the presidential election. Because change isn’t going to happen if we still have a republican controlled Senate or republican controlled legislatures across the country.
We’ve have six years of republican control – in our Senate and ten years in our State Legislatures and Governorships and look where we are. And if you’re argument is, well it’s because of the pandemic and it isn’t fair to judge, the fact is, we should have been much better prepared and we would have been, if the current president hadn’t reversed a lot of things that had been put in place to deal with emergencies because he didn’t think they were necessary and he was looking for things to pay for his tax cuts.
(Side rant – And were those tax cuts so important? We can look at it now and now that they weren’t, especially when we see who benefitted the most:
IRS data on the 2018 tax season released in May 2019 shows that savings for taxpayers were uneven. For example, the average refund was $90 higher, nationally, in 2018 than 2017. But the taxpayers who saw the largest refund increases had an adjusted gross income (AGI) of at least $200,000. Tax returns showing an AGI of less than $100,000 paid less income tax overall, but returns with an AGI just above $100,000 (many middle-class families) owed more tax, on average. Note that this AGI is per tax return, not per taxpayer: A married couple where each spouse has a salary of $65,000 could very well have an AGI of just above $100,000 if they file jointly.
We also know that businesses didn’t actually use the tax cuts they way they were intended, to invest in employees and the business. Instead they used it for buybacks, which helps shareholders and the company.)
Oh, I’m adding this John Oliver at the end, because he’s awesome and this is a great episode and you need to watch this if you haven’t seen it yet.
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!
1. Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man – former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho started a series of videos to create a safe space for discussion about race and racism. For white people who want to educate themselves (and that should be all of us), this is an excellent resource.
2. Hildegard von Blingin’ – I don’t know much about this Hildegard but she is taking modern songs and giving them a medieval twist. She’s done four covers so far – ‘Creep’ by Radiohead, ‘Bad Romance’ by Lady Gaga, ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ by Foster the People and ‘What is Love’ by Haddaway.
4. Karolina Zebrowska – I’ve included a video from this incredibly talented, clever, and funny Polish director, historian, and film maker before but she is so eclectic I thought I’d share a new one that I’ve run across…
In this video, Zebrowska has used her love of vintage clothing and created a 1940s (and one 1960s) look for several of ‘The Office’ cast members. She’s SPOT ON! If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll love it.
5. This Cellist, Sheku Kanneh-Mason – I can’t even describe what his music does to my heart.
5. These Hand Soaps – you know, when you have to wash your hands a few dozen times a day, it’s not a bad idea to invest in a hand soap that not only make the experience more pleasant (smell so nice) but aren’t so harsh on your hands. Here are three of my favorites:
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Hand Soap – I love the Peppermint scent, $3.99 A la Maison de Provence Liquid Soap – I’m currently usinhe Provence lemon but I am going to try either the Lavender Aloe or Rose Lilac next. They are super foamy, all natural ingredients, and have oil added which makes my hands feel soft afterward, price varies (depends upon where you buy it) Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash – this is pricey but the bottle is big and will last a while. Think about how often you wash you hands and how important it is to protect your skin (it is, after all, the largest organ on your body!), $39.00
6. [BONUS]The Art of JP Cummings – this digital artist creates fictional, vintage inspired buildings and rooms that are so inviting you will wish you could walk into them.
I’m so happy to be celebrating PRIDE MONTH but after today’s historic Supreme Court decision there’s really something big for LGBTQ people and their allies to cheer about! Love=Love. WHOO HOO!!!
3. ThisInternet Dad– I figure there are three categories of people who could find this endearing and informative Dad’s videos both useful and comforting: (1) people who actually grew up without a father, (2) people who grew up with a father but whose father was gone a lot, and (3) people who grew up with a father, whose father was around but whose father was kinda inept. But the fact is, this guy’s videos are what we ALL need right now. Whether you have a great dad who can fix anything or not. His videos just get better and better and the best part, free DAD JOKES!
4. TheMKE Unite Chalk the Sidewalkproject – held in front of the Milwaukee Art Museum on Sunday, June 7th as part of the fight against systemic racism, people created a strong and beautiful visual in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
5. This Congratulatory Message to the Class of 2020 from the Cast of Schitt’s Creek – SHEER PERFECTION!
6. TheseSelfie-Snapping Penguins – these two discovered a camera left behind and curiosity got the best of them. Lucky for us we are left with this wonderful video clip.(Bonus – there’s just too much good stuff this week!)
7. Chef Kobe plays peek-a-boo. Cutest thing EVER… This is what I watch before bed, just to calm down in the evening.