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.)
1. This (Uncensored) End-of-Year PSA – (ICYMI, it’s scientifically proven that people who swear are more honest and more intelligent. FUCK YAH we are!)
And now, we invite you to lift a finger for this cause, which we feel–and speak–quite strongly about. Text 🖕 to 1-877-EFF-THIS (1-877-333-8447)to donate $5 to the Mental Health Coalition*, share this video with everyone you know, and join our conversation on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook with #EFF2020.
2. This New Year’s Card from LovePop – the card is so popular they’re already sold out, but you can sign up to be notified for when they get more in stock. Course now that I’ve included it in my “7 things” I suppose I won’t need to mail out as many as I had planned…”
4. This Google Year in Search Video – it’s gonna to make you weep, both in a good way and a bad way.
5. This Last Monologue of 2020 by Stephen Colbert – Colbert, Seth Meyers and Trevor Noah kept me sane this year. In fact they kept me sane the past four years.
6. This Virtual New Year’s Eve Concert with Pink Martini – one of my favorite bands!!! You can purchase the New Year’s concert ticket here. A portion of each ticket supports Kentucky performing arts. Always good to support the arts!
7. This Liz Climo New Year’s Cartoon – She just gets me.
[Update on 12-29-2020: a few additions that I came across since I posted this…
Bonus – This New Netflix Special, Death to 2020 – I laughed my ASS off for most of the Tennyson Foss (Hugh Grant) segments. Grant has brilliant comedic timing. SO many good people in this!!!
Bonus – This Meme that My Brother Sent Me – can’t you just hear it?
Bonus – This Series of AP Photographs from 2020 which “Captured a World in Distress” – I can’t say I “love” these photographs but it’s a record of our history and they are incredible to see.
My New Year’s Resolutions:
Lose Weight – always on my list but this year I’m actually going to try.
Have a more positive outlook – I’m tired of being negative.
Take better care of my skin – been working on a blog post on this.
What do YOU plan to do next year? (Besides get a vaccine of course.)
1. This Children’s Librarian – who set up the best display ever the day after the Vice Presidential debate.
2. These Celebrities teaching us American Slang – I grew up in Iowa where we have no accent and no slang! Mwah ha ha ha ha ha. So not true. In fact, my Mom, whom I adored, used to say things like “be sure when you worsh the dishes in the zinc that you don’t break anything.” And my dad still says the words “Worshington” and “garuntee.” And then there was the pop/soda incident of 1984. I’d rather not talk about it.
A few years ago I few out to a conference in California and the majority of the attendees were native Californians. I’d never met any of them. The first evening I was sitting across a table from a woman who was sort of staring at me. Understand we hadn’t introduced ourselves at this point and weren’t wearing name tags. We’d only arrived and checked in and were having cocktails while we waited for our rooms. After people started getting called to go check-in she came over and sat next to me and said, “It’s so great to talk with a fellow Iowan again!” I asked how she knew I was from Iowa. I hadn’t even said all that much (at least for me) and after all, I hadn’t lived in Iowa for about thirty-five years. She said, “Your accent!” I have an accent? Go on, I don’t have an accent. She insisted I did.
Turns out she had lived in California for quite some time but was born and raised in Iowa as well. As you can imagine we became fast friends. I still can’t tell the difference between her “accent” (or my “accent”) and the accents of the other Californians attending the conference. Apparently I am no Henry Higgins.
ANYHOO, this video is fun to watch. Here are all the people that show up in it and exactly where they were born and/or raised.
Jennifer Garner was born in Houston, Texas but raised in Charleston, West Virginia
Olivia Munn was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Keegan-Michael Key was born in Southfield, Michigan and raised in Detroit
Matthew McConaughey was born in Uvalde, Texas
Adam Devine is actually a fellow Iowan, born in Waterloo, Iowa but grew up in Omaha, Nebraska
E-40 is from Vallejo, California
Michael Sheen is, of course, not from America but is from the beautiful Newport, Wales
Jon Hamm is from St. Louis, Missouri!!! (A branch of my family tree hails from there.)
Chloe Grace Moretz was born in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ike Barinholtz is from Chicago, Illinois
Tiffany Haddish is from Los Angeles, California
Jason Bateman is NOT from the Ozarks but was born in Rye, New York.
Laura Linney was born in New York City (did you know her father was a prominent playwright named Romulus Linney?)
Julia Garner was also born in New York City, in the Bronx.
Jennifer Lawrence was born in Indian Hills, Kentucky near Louisville
Joel Edgerton was born in Blacktown, New South Wales, Australia (and his reaction to Kentucky slang is wonderful.)
Mark Wahlberg was born in Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts
Adam Sandler (interesting detail about bodegas) is a Brooklyn, New York boy (not a surprise)
Idina Menzel was born in Manhattan, grew up in New Jersey until she was three, then moved to Syosset, New York on Long Island.
3. This Book, Emeralds of Oz by Peter Guzzardi – honestly, there is a lot we can learn from the Wizard of Oz books (plural). Also, have you ever read Wicked (and the sequels) by Gregory Macguire. They really are genius. The first one is best, they get less so as you go along but the vocabulary is almost Tolkien-level of brillance.
4. This Cartoonist for The Guardian, Tom Gauld – I’ve been a fan for ages. His cartoons generally have a very literary slant. I have a couple of his books and am asking Santa for another one for Christmas!
5. This Reenactment of the iconic four-way phone scene from Mean Girls by four young women with disabilities. The intent is to show that people don’t have to be defined by their disability. It’s wonderful!
6. This Famous (infamous) Merrie Melodies scene, Leopold… The Leopold that they keep whispering about is a real-life conductor, Leopold Stokowski.
I also loved it when Merrie Melodies went completely into the adult arena, making cartoons for grown-ups. This cartoon has all sorts of famous people from the era: Peter Lorre, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Greta Garbo (Garbo wore size 8AA shoes but between her own self criticism and Hollywood standards the rumor few around that her feet were too big), Ann Sheridan, Humphrey Bogart, Bing Crosby, Clark Gable and many more. How many can you name? Oh, and LEOPOLD again!
7. This Young Girl – about five years ago (damn, time flies) my library system staff went to one of the local county fairs to promote libraries. They did this a lot, library advocacy is part of their thing. In addition to handing out materials about what our system libraries provided and they wanted to do something interactive so they put together this simple little activity using pool noodles and artistic letters laminated onto cards so that they would stand up. People could create any message they wanted and have their photos taken and my system put the photos up on social media. There were TONS of them but this one really caught my attention for two reasons – first, because of the word that she choose and second, because of the way she’s holding up the word, there’s just something so powerful about the way she’s standing. I just love everything about it.
I meant to post this last night but I wanted to proof-read it and it got too late. You see, yesterday I had to straighten up my house because I have my cleaning person coming back after being away for almost eight months. I’m so excited!
It’s kind of a long story but when I moved four years ago into my “Golden Girls Dream House” I knew that this was going to be the last house I lived in until I died (or went into a home). I figured I needed to make it exactly what I wanted it to be and that meant it had to be big enough for my family and friends to visit and to have parties. That also meant that I had a fairly large house for one person and cleaning it by myself wasn’t an option.
Enter my amazing cleaning people. Course when the pandemic hit they could no longer come so I’ve been doing everything myself. I asked them, back in June, to restart cleaning but unfortunately they are short a person. I’ve been waiting until they could get me in. Last week we worked it out that they could come less frequently and only clean the kitchen and the bathroom. Originally I was told Friday but then yesterday I got a text and was asked if it was okay if they could come this morning instead. Heck yes! Knowing their situation I have to be flexible.
I remember when I was a kid my Mom would always spend nearly a day straightening up before our cleaning person came over. I used to think she was nuts. But now that I have a cleaning person myself I totally get it. You don’t want them wasting their time straightening up, you want them to be able to focus on the cleaning part. Sadly, after months of isolation there was a bit more straightening to do than usual.
And so my friends, that is why my “Seven Things I Love” post is a day late.
This Meme Comparing Generations – Eerily accurate. I fall on the cusp of GenX and Boomer. Though I most definitely identify as GenX, lately my Boomer side has been starting to show. Maybe I need more gin. Nah, fewer attacks on democracy would be better.
2. The Dole Fr*it B*wls Commercials – I’m not sure if these ads will become as popular as the Geiko ones but some of them are pretty clever. I really love this one in particular – with the two Moms showing what real-life families are like and then asking, was it your idea to have kids or mine? The expressions on their faces is what really makes it so wonderful, it captures so much – love for one another, resignation, and exasperation. (Side note, this commercial aired over and over again a week ago Sunday on the Hallmark Channel during a Jane Doe Mysteries marathon. Hallmark seems to be on board with the LBGTQ thing. They aren’t stupid.)
3. This biopic about Harriet, Tubman of course – this biographical film is amazing. What I liked most – though it spends a good amount of time showing the atrocities inflicted upon the people kept as slaves, it spends an equal amount of time showing Harriet’s success with emancipating others after she herself has escaped slavery. It’s tremendous. So many films like this would spend the entire thing on just her journey to freedom and then would go to a black screen with a message that would say something like,
Harriet Tubman made 13 total trips to Maryland, saving 70 people on her missions. She continued to be known as the “Moses of her people.” She served as a scout, spy, guerrilla soldier, and nurse for the Union Army during the Civil War. She died at the age of 93 surrounded by her family and friends and was buried with military honors at Fort Hill Cemetery.
But we wouldn’t get to experience the joy of seeing the rescues – that is the gift of this movie. I know that a lot of our heroes suffered and even shed blood for causes that meant so much to the world today but we need to see more films that show both the good and the bad.
(I will say this though, with what has been going on this past week, these past several months, when you do watch this movie, you will find yourself horrified that things haven’t come so much further in 170 years.)
4. This Cartoonist, Jackie Ormes – who was the first female African American cartoonist popular in the 30s, 40s, and 50s
She is being honored in the September 1st Google Doodle and it’s really wonderful. Take a look.
5. This article (which is excerpted from a book) on How to Identify Pebbles on Britain’s Beaches – what drew me to this initially was the drawings (by one of my favorite artists, Eleanor Crow) but the idea that someone would actually try to identify the various types of pebbles was fascinating to me. I would have thought that pebbles were as unique as snowflakes, but apparently not. The original book, The Pebbles on the Beach, was written by Clarence Ellis in 1954. Studying rocks and beaches is something that people, particularly Brits, have done for a very long time. There is a new film coming out called Ammonite, starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan, about British Palaeontologist Mary Anning and her romantic relationship with Charlotte Murchison. It looks like a must-see film. Mary Anning definitely knew that there were different types of pebbles on the English beaches.
6. This Last tweet from Chadwick Boseman’s twitter account, posted by his family, announcing his passing. It has become the most-liked tweet in Twitter history. So a propos for a regal man and the King of Wakanda.
7. This Evian Commercial: Baby Reflection – just so damned cute. (I’ve always had a thing for commercials, so you know. I think some of them are like mini-films/works of art and some are so damned funny so don’t be surprised if I include them.)
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.