Tag: Education

Seven Things I Love and One Thing that I Don’t (6-27-2022)

Last week was rough.

(For some of us, things have been difficult for a while – in Wisconsin it’s been particularly difficult for those of us who are/were public employees for example.)

But last week was, by far the most audacious example of complete disregard of the Constitution, Precedent, Freedom of Religion (which is literally why our country exists), Respect for Women, and Democracy.

Of course I am talking about the Dodd Decision which resulted in the overturning of Roe vs. Wade. But, the decision on abortion wasn’t the only major decision SCOTUS made last week that will impact millions of Americans and that went against wishes of the majority of Americans.

  1. On Tuesday SCOTUS ruled that Marietta Memorial Hospital could reimburse their employees requiring dialysis at low rates in the hopes that the employees would switch to Medicare (so they’d be completely off the hook.). DaVita (a dialysis provider, frankly not necessarily the hero in this – they’re just trying to get more business) sued the hospital claiming that the hospital was discriminating against their employees by offering the low reimbursements. SCOTUS said that because the hospital offered the same reimbursement amount to all renal disease patients, whether they had end-stage renal disease or not, it wasn’t discrimination. (End stage costs a lot more.) I think it’s appalling that insurers, especially a hospital, can pick and choose what diseases to cover. (FYI, shockingly Sonia Sotomayor voted with the conservative justices. I wonder if it was her effort to “regain the public’s confidence“. Think she feels differently now? And/or after hearing this?)
  2. Also on Tuesday, SCOTUS ruled that Maine could not prevent religious schools from receiving public funds through the statue tuition program. Separation of Church and State is gasping for air and about to take its last breath.
  3. On Thursday three rulings came down. The first SCOTUS ruling was not only an attack on States’ Rights but was an outrageous interpretation of the 2nd amendment. The timing was also deplorable considering the Uvalde, Brooklyn, and other recent mass shootings. In this ruling, the conservative majority struck down a New York State law that set limitations on carrying guns outside of the home.

    To me, the Second Amendment seems fairly clear:
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


    It’s that second comma that is the problem. It basically says – because a WELL-REGULATED Militia is necessary for a “State” (or government) to remain free and secure, the government shall not infringe the rights of individuals to keep and bear “Arms.” Setting aside that it SAYS “well-regulated” right in the amendment, my feeling is as long as people are able to have access to some “arms” (it doesn’t define arms, could that be pitchforks, pinking shears, a rolling pin?), I would think the government would be within its right to regulate guns that it felt were a threat to public safety. After all, that is one of the government’s main jobs. But what do I know. I’m no lawyer. Clearly.

    I read this article today and I think the question is not just specific to California. Are Americans prepared for black and brown people to be carrying guns in public? This is not going to end well.
  4. Another ruling was an attack on every American’s right to Miranda. A man named Mr. Tekoh wasn’t read his Miranda rights and was questioned “at length” by a sheriff. He ended up signing a confession.

    The judge ALLOWED the confession (which is hugely problematic for so many reasons,) Still, the jury acquitted the man. Mr. Tekoh filed a civil lawsuit against the sheriff for violating his constitutional rights.

    These conservatives (@#$%^(#*) Justices have ruled that Miranda isn’t actually a constitutional right. Alito had the balls to say that although Miranda has constitutional roots, “a violation of Miranda does not necessarily constitute a violation of the Constitution.”

    Justice Kagan wrote in dissent:

    “Today,” she wrote, “the court strips individuals of the ability to seek a remedy for violations of the right recognized in Miranda. The majority observes that defendants may still seek ‘the suppression at trial of statements obtained’ in violation of Miranda’s procedures.”

    “But sometimes,” Justice Kagan continued, “such a statement will not be suppressed. And sometimes, as a result, a defendant will be wrongly convicted and spend years in prison. He may succeed, on appeal or in habeas, in getting the conviction reversed. But then, what remedy does he have for all the harm he has suffered?”
  5. The third ruling on Thursday had to do with an individual on death row. A man was asking that his death sentence be carried out by firing squad instead of lethal injection because his veins were compromised, which means a lethal injection death would be cruel and unusual.

    There are only four states in the country that use firing squad as an approved method of execution. Georgia, where this prisoner resided, is not one of those four states.

    Coney Barrett, Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch were in dissent. They claimed that the man was trying to get out of his punishment because death by firing squad may never be approved in Georgia. It’s telling that these four put execution before the 8th Amendment. But then they are all Federalists.

  6. AND TODAY (Monday) SCOTUS issued three more decisions:
    a. The first was interesting – it will allow some prison inmates to ask for reduced sentences. The reason for this – Trump’s First Step Act, signed into law in 2018. And it was the three liberal justices, Gorsuch, and THOMAS who said Yea! The intent is of the law is to reduce racial disparity. Shame on the other four.
    b. The second – And the wall came tumbling down. No surprise the praying coach won. Prayer is soon coming to a public school near you.
    c. The third – Doctors are pretty much off the hook (or getting a second chance) on the opioid thing.

There is one more big decision come down the road. That is WEST VIRGINIA v. the EPA. If SCOTUS rules against the EPA, the US will have no way to limit greenhouse gases, power plant emissions or any pollution that is creating climate change. The likelihood that this Supreme Court would rule in favor of WV is fairly high.

I will say though, there are a few things that ensued from this shitstorm of anti-democratic decisions that made me feel better, gave me hope, but also made me recognize that this country is most likely going to become more divided before we return to any semblance of normalcy.

These tweets would be two of them…

ANYWAY, on to my SEVEN THINGS!

1. This Font – Honestly, this is genius and if I could read everything in this font I would not only be a happier person but a more educated one as well. If you click HERE it’ll take you to the Bionic Reading website where there is a Chrome extension you can add to convert pages into the font (I haven’t tried that since I don’t use Chrome) and there is a general convertor where you can either enter a URL (which is great for those really long Atlantic and New Yorker articles) or you can upload a file (unfortunately it only accepts TXT, RTF, RTFD, EPUB or DOCX – NO PDFs.)

Maybe someday everything will have Bionic Reading as an option and we can just turn it on!

[Found on Upworthy]

2. This Seventeenth-Century Woman Artist Artemisia Gentileschi – “Judith and Her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes” (c. 1624-27), oil on canvas, 73 11/16″ x 55 7/8″. Detroit Institute of Arts

3. This News about Mandy Patinkin and Kathryn Grody – O…..M…..G I don’t know how many of you made it through the pandemic watching videos of Mandy and Kathryn (like I and millions of others did) but I could watch the two of them ALL DAY! Sadly, this show will only be a 30 minute sitcom on Showtime, it’s called Seasoned. Just like with their home videos, their son Gideon is involved. I cannot wait!!!

To get an idea of what it’s gonna be like…

[Sent to me by Ann L. – Thanks Ann!]

4. This Clever Pride Flag – Kitsch + Pride Month = Perfection.

[Found on Queerty]

5. This Chihuly Museum – How have I never heard about this???
It’s located in Seattle.

Photos by Mellanie Mercier

[Found by my friend Mellanie]

6. This Sparkling Water – Finally something I can drink that isn’t caffeinated, has no sugar or artificial sweeteners, and isn’t overly carbonated. I picked up an 8 pack of this from Imperfect Foods and gave it a try. Was I delighted! Found out it’s at my local grocery and I promptly picked up a second 8 pack. I really like the raspberry-lime flavor. The only other one I’ve tried is the “Arnold Palmer” (half lemon/half tea).

They have cocktail recipes on their website. These would be genius in cocktails or mocktails!

7. These Magazine Covers – I think all of them except for the Blondie cover are from the best decade of the 20th century, the 1980s (the Blondie one is from the 70s.) Richard Bernstein created the covers of Warhol’s Interview Magazine from 1972 through 1989. Iconic.

Word of the Week


Quote of the Week


Song of the Week

Seven Things I Love (5-2-2022)

Hoping all those who celebrate had a blessed Eid al-Fitr

1. This Method for Poaching Eggs – I’m an egg junkie (also a toast and salmon junkie.) One of my favorite things to make – smoked salmon and cream cheese on toast with capers and an egg on top – YUM!

I used to fry the egg even though I always knew that poached would be the better option. But I didn’t think I could do poached eggs – didn’t even try. Then I found this trick. It’s so flippin’ easy!

You will probably need to test this out to see how it works with your microwave. Microwaves can vary depending upon wattage or how old they are. It may work better to start with room temp water if the egg doesn’t cook through enough. Or you may need to cook it longer. You can try out different tweaks.

  1. Fill a mug or a small bowl with about 8 ounces of cold water. Make sure to leave about an inch at the top so it doesn’t boil over.
  2. Take the egg, crack it open, and carefully slide the egg into the water. Make sure you don’t break the yolk. Toss the shells into the compost bin.
  3. Using a toothpick, poke a small hole in the egg yolk. You really won’t be able to see the hole. Make sure that the yolk stays intact and doesn’t “bleed” into the water.
  4. Cover the cup/bowl with a small plate (or one of these handy-dandy silicone lids from Food52) and microwave it for 60 seconds.
  5. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon.
  6. If it is overcooked or undercooked reduce or increase cooking time in 10 second increments.

My preference is a slightly runny egg so 60 seconds works perfectly for me. Also, just as an FYI, this won’t look like the typical poached eggs you get in restaurants (or that your Mom makes.) They are more spherical. Still, they taste the same and no pans to wash.

[Found on Well + Good]

2. This Twitter Account – It’s the Count’s Twitter account. I’ve removed myself from Twitter but that doesn’t mean I still won’t be snooping around. Frankly, I think it’s going to turn into an even bigger shit show soon but I (and many others) may be proven wrong. Only time will tell.

I will say, it’s nice not getting all those notices.

Anyway, this made me smile (and also brought me the warm fuzzies.)

3. This Chemistry Teacher – Bill Nye, the Science Guy, Magic School Bus, Beakman’s World, Emily’s Wonder Lab, and Chem Teacher Phil! I could watch his video shorts all day. Hooray for Science! GO STEM!!!

4. This Book about Women Over Fifty – Ellen Warner, the photographer responsible for this publication, started it all the way back in 2003! Filled with inspiring photographic portraits of women, aged 53 to 107.

Available at Bookshop.org.

[Found on Hyperallergic]

5. This Deodorant – Last year I decided to switch to a natural deodorant. I have been using Secret deodorant since college but then I saw this video. Although I didn’t verify her information, I knew it couldn’t hurt to switch so I tried a few out. I have a lot of friends who use natural deodorants and they said I should make sure I use one that doesn’t cause rashes.

So I read about a dozen articles. I ended up trying four:

ALL of them caused me to have a terrible red rash under my arms. As you can see, one of them is Native, Cotton & Lily scent.

After the fourth I decided to give up. It was getting expensive and frankly painful. I went back to my Secret.

THEN I watched the documentary limited series, Not So Pretty on HBO. If you haven’t seen it yet, you absolutely should. (Besides this show there are many others on HBO including Julia, Starstruck, Minx, and Our Flag Means Death, just to name a few. It would be worth subscribing IMHO.)

That’s how I found out about all the crap in our beauty products. YIKES! I already knew that the U.S. allows manufacturers to use thousands of ingredients and additives that are banned in the EU and other countries but I guess I didn’t know how bad it really was. (Seriously, you should watch ‘Not So Pretty.’)

One ingredient that is truly problematic is talc. You may have heard about the Johnson & Johnson lawsuits regarding their talcum powder – I never realized how many other products contain talc, like D-E-O-D-O-R-A-N-T. Guess what deodorant contains talc….. Secret. Ugh.

I stopped using it the next day. But then I had to find a natural deodorant, and fast, and on a weekend. In desperation I picked up Native Sensitive at Target. I figured I’d try it again (not realizing I hadn’t tried the sensitive version the first time) Bam, it works! No redness, and it last pretty much all day unless I work out.

I went back and looked at the original articles and see now that they recommended the sensitive version of Native. Sigh. Guess I didn’t notice the little purple stripe (they should really make the regular and sensitive packages look more different) and none of the articles made it clear that there were two different types of Cotton & Lily. At least I finally figured it out.

6. This Online Trivia Game – If you think that the ultimate trivia game is Jeopardy, than you will definitely love this well maintained site of the archive of all the Jeopardy games. Enjoy.

[Found on AVClub.com]

7. This Woman’s Rules for Her Funeral – If only we all could be this lighthearted about funerals.

[Found on Modern Met]

Word of the Week


Quote of the Week


Song of the Week

Seven Things I Love (3-29-2021)

  1. 1. This Incredible Photo of Astronaut Bruce McCandless II – Honestly, when I first saw this I thought it must be photoshopped by the person who posted it sent me to this link on the NASA website.

The photo was taken on February 12, 1984. Are you surprised, I was! I actually thought it would have been more recent. According to the website, it was the first ever untethered space walk. “Astronaut Bruce McCandless, ventured further away from the confines and safety of his ship than any previous astronaut had ever been. This space first was made possible by a nitrogen jet propelled backpack, previously known at NASA as the Manned Manuevering Unit or MMU.”

The photo below, which I discovered on social media, is a little more photographic/dramatic than the one found on NASA. I’m not sure if that is because there was more than one camera taking photos and this took them at a higher resolution or if someone has tweaked the “original” version, either way, the photo is amazing.

Here’s a few more photos…

2. This Door that Converts into a Ping Pong Table – Genius, no? There’s only one eensy weensy problem. It costs nearly $15,000!!!

3. This AWESOME Tweet that Includes a Video of the Celebration that Ensued After the Ship Stuck in the Suez Canal Finally Started Moving – EPIC! It brings tears to my eyes.

4. THIS Seven-year-old Boy Who Dressed Up as Amanda Gorman for “Dress as Your Idol Day” – well done!

Poet AMANDA GORMAN at the Inauguration of President Joseph Biden on January 20, 2021

5. This SNL Video from this Past Weekend – People who actually think of themselves as the “greatest generation” are NOT the greatest generation. Just sayin’.

Man, Boomers suck! Please God, don’t let us turn into them! Too late, it’s already happening…

6. This Gorgeous Apartment in Covent Garden that you Can RENT – it’s about $900 per night but if you shared it with two other people it would be completely worth it!

7. This WONDERFUL Art Teacher – EDUCATORS ROCK!

Word of the Day


Quote of the Day


Seven Things I Love (9-28-2020)

Sorry guys, lots of videos this week but I had no choice, they are all just TOO good.

1. This Kindergarten Teacher, Mackenzie Adams (and a NY Times article that includes Adams and some other extraordinary educators is here.) The video shows that to teach virtually a teacher has to put in about 300% more energy to get students engaged. No doubt it must be exhausting but these dedicated individuals are up to the task and they’re doing it with smiles on their faces because you know what? Teachers aren’t in it for the money.

2. This (the) Cottage Fairy – I just discovered artist Paola Merrill and now I’m obsessed. She lives a “simple living” lifestyle in rural Washington state and as an artist loves to make things more visually beautiful. She releases new videos on Wednesdays so now I’ll have to wait because I binge-watched everything she had posted. It looks like her Facebook page has been around for a while and you can see some of her delightful art there. She also has an Etsy shop but since she got on YouTube her popularity is really taking off, so it’s empty at the moment. Who doesn’t need a little mindfulness and beauty right now?

3. This Dad, Craig Conrad – he created a series of videos for young women/girls who, when they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation. They can pull one of the videos up on their smartphone and it will appear as though they have called their dad. Then they can have a conversation with the video and whoever is around will believe that they have someone who knows where they are and that they are expected home shortly. Very cool.

https://twitter.com/nowthisnews/status/1291500044634513410?s=20

4. This Japanese photographer… definitely worth following on Instagram.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CFbIh5gg3Nc/

5. This (fake) trailer for the (fake) film ‘Harding’ from ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ – it was aired a while ago but I was reminded of it because there is a little bit of a kerfuffle with the Harding ancestors over and, well, you can read about that here but it just fits so well with trailer. Perhaps someone does need to make a movie called ‘Harding.’

6. RANDY RAINBOW – He’s a national treasure.

7. This Comedian Magician, Lucy Darling – my brother introduced me to Ms. Darling and I’m so glad he did. She’s, well, darling. Her shows are very cocktail-centric, which is something I appreciate. I was able to catch a virtual show last Friday and it was fabulous. I’m sure it has to be difficult to put together a show that will work online.

Bonus – This Mask PSA by “Certified Young Person” Paul Rudd – OMG, who doesn’t LOVE Paul Rudd?????

This ad for Hugh Jackman’s coffee company, Laughing Man, narrated by his “archenemy” and best bud, Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds could read the phone book and make it funny.

This ad for UberEats starring Sir Patrick and Mark Hamill. PINCH ME!!!


Have a great week!

Five Things I Love (1/27/2020)

1. I love making this recipe

In England this is called Toad in a Hole though I haven’t exactly been able to figure out the origin of the name. The “in-the-hole” part seems easy/obvious enough to explain. The toad part is what is eluding me. What I have found out so far is that back in days when meat was scarce and expensive, household cooks would stretch out their beef, kidney, pork or other animal-derived victuals by cooking them into a pudding (that is how Yorkshire pudding came to be) or other dish made from less expensive ingredients. Often times this was done my hollowing out the center, most often a loaf of bread, and filling that with the more expensive ingredients.

Nowadays people will generally use a slice of bread, so this Toad-in-the-Bagel-Hole is a slight variation on what you will usually find in the UK. The only explanation I saw regarding the ‘toad’ part is that in the traditional toad-in-a-hole, the egg can sometimes look like the head of a toad popping out of a hole in the ground. Yeah, I don’t buy that one at all!

2. This method of storing sweaters is BRILLIANT! – How to Hang Sweaters So They Don’t Take Up Your Entire Closet.

And here’s another method that is equally clever (I am using both because each one works a little better for different types of sweaters)….

3. This video on why Daylight Saving is a bunch of hooey!

4. PICARD! I was gleeful when I first read that Patrick Stewart was returning as Jean-Luc Picard. I was a huge Star Trek: the Next Generation fan but I was a fan of his even before the show (that voice, he stands out in every roll he plays and since I am a fan of historical films, well, I got to see him in a few – I, Claudius, Excalibur, and one of my favorites, Lady Jane.)

I was NOT disappointed, first episode of Picard gave me goosebumps. Unfortunately in the US you have to subscribe to CBS Access if you want to see it without waiting for it to show up on Amazon Prime (it’s showing on Amazon Prime everywhere else in the world so I assume that after the first season they will move it over to Prime.) I have been resisting getting CBS Access out of principle but man, I cannot resist Patrick Stewart.

5. Last, but definitely not least, THIS ARTICLE about a man who, after being sentenced to 17 years in prison for having shot a former marine, is nearing completion of a Master’s Degree program. The man, Brandon Brown, has been participating in the University of Maine at Augusta prison college program. He received approval to do his thesis on research about his fellow inmates because he has come to realize that education and restorative justice are things he is extremely interested in and is passionate about. It’s a wonderfully hopeful article and I think it is evidence that education could and would help reduce the incarceration numbers in our country.

Brandon Brown is on track to be the first Maine State Prison inmate to earn a master’s degree while serving time. (Portland Phoenix/Jordan Bailey)

Thanks to my sister-in-law for originally posting this article! xoxoxo