Sorry to have been absent for awhile but there was good reason. I migrated the website to a new host – YAY! Unfortunately it took WAY longer than expected. The data finally finished transferring last Monday, so now I should be able to do a lot more with the site. It’ll just be a matter of figuring out how to do it.
I’m starting an online course this week so expect some big changes in the near future (fingers crossed – I have a vision of what I want in my head, let’s see if I can actually pull it off!)
I’ve been saving things to post and have a lot to choose from so let’s get to it!
1. This New Show on Hulu called ‘Only Murders in the Building‘ – I’m OBSESSED with this new series! And I’m not the only one, it’s getting rave reviews.
Steve Martin came up with the idea for ‘Only Murders…’ and co-wrote it with John Hoffman. He stars alongside Martin Short and Selena Gomez. Anyone who is a fan of Steve Martin & Marty Short know they work very well together. The addition of Selena Gomez though seems way out in left field. But it works, so well. She’s an excellent straight person to the zaniness of two of comedies great legends.
Here’s the premise – it’s about three people who live in an old but still rather posh apartment building in NYC. They are all pretty much alone, each having issues in their personal relationships. Martin & Short’s characters, being in their 70s, are also dealing with their feeling of obsolescence and/or fading stardom.
There is one thing that connects the three of them – their love of murder mystery podcasts. And one night, as they discover their common interest, they find out that a person in their building has died by suicide. But the trio isn’t satisfied with how the police have closed the case so the they decide to start their own podcast (named “Only Murders in the Building” because they are only going to solve murders that occur in their building) and they vow to solve the mystery.
To pair up with the show there is, obviously, a PODCAST to listen to.
The episodes drop once a week, on Tuesdays, on Hulu. They’ve already done four episodes and there will be a total of ten episodes in the season.
(Although a second season hasn’t been officially announced, there is a good chance there will be one. The writers/actors involved seem to be onboard to continue and the viewership has been great. Although streaming services don’t release actual numbers (why is that?), Hulu did say that ‘Only Murders…’ was the most-watched comedy premiere in its history. That comes with a one big caveat though. Either way, people are excited about it and watching. If you aren’t watching yet do it now – we want to get a SECOND SEASON!
2. This Tweet of a video of Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain in slo-mo. Are they both married to other people that they adore, yes. Did they put this on for the cameras to promote their new movie, yes. Is it swoonworthy, HELL YES.
3. These Gowns from the Met Gala, 2021 – this year’s theme is “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” Of course there was no Gala in 2020 but the themes for the last five balls were:
2019 – Camp: Notes on Fashion (and by camp they meant to camp it up, be campy) 2018 – Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination (my favorite theme so far) 2017 – Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between 2016 – Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology 2015 – Through the Looking Glass
I personally find this year’s theme a little boring compared to the previous ones but nevertheless, the clothes did not disappoint. Here are a few of my favorites:
Natalia Bryant (Kobe’s daughter) wearing an exhibit dress by Conner Ives chosen by Anna Wintour. I think it’s beautiful – the color, the sparkle, and the fact that it de-emphasizes a woman’s figure to me is a wonderful statement on body image and body positivity. Gorgeous!
Billie Eilish – I personally love this dress because it’s (a) Oscar de la Renta, (b) pink, (c) a classic design and (d) totally out of character for Eilish! Plus, the girl actually has gorgeous boobs! Who knew!
Alexandria Ocacia-Cortez with the designer of her dress, Aurora James. Message is loud and clear AOC! (It says “Tax the Rich.”)
Jennifer Hudson, wearing AZ Factory – the woman is a goddess.
Rep. Carolyn Mahoney (NY-D) – I’m a sucker for positive political statements if you haven’t figured that out.
4. Russian Caviar Sofas – I’m not sure who thought of making these or why but honestly, I absolutely ADORE them!
5. This Tweet of a Video of Steve from Blue’s Clues! – Menopausal Broads are a little too old to have grown up actually watching Blue’s Clues, but that doesn’t mean that we didn’t get to experience it. Either we had our own kids who enjoyed the show, or our siblings had kids who were fans, or maybe some of us were even children’s librarians, who worked with kids, for well over a decade, during the time Steve was on the show, and who always made sure that Blue’s Clues books and videos were always on the shelves.
SO lovely to see him again. All those warm & fuzzy feelings!
6. This Patch You Can Order on Etsy – TOO PERFECT! Unfortunately the shop owner is currently away, but you can ask to be notified by email when they open back up.
7. This Response by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to the Governor of Texas’s LOATHSOME & OUTRAGEOUS claim that he was going to “eliminate rape” when he was asked about the new Texas abortion law not having an exemption for rape & incest – AOC is excellent at explaining things clearly and in a way everyone can understand. It’s why she is such a threat to Republican politicians and why they have done everything they can to demonize her to their base.
Word of the Week
Quote of the Week
(And to be clear, there are pros and cons to both.)
1. This Design by Stephen Burrows – If you haven’t watched Halston yet on Netflix, DO! They rather thoroughly cover “The Battle of Versailles Fashion Show” which occurred on November 28, 1973. Publicly it was advertised as an event to fund raise to revamp the Versailles, which was in dire need of restoration, but it also was an opportunity for American designers to show that they could hold their own against the French.
Many of the designers who were involved in the ‘Battle of Versailles’ have either retired or passed away but Stephen Burrows is not only still around but he’s on Instagram!
2. This Parody of the famous Queen Song called ‘Menopause Rhapsody’ – I mean, is there anyone who doesn’t love the song ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,” even when it’s used for satirical purposes? This is kinda genius.
3. This Painting – ‘The Merchant’s Wife at Tea’ by Boris Kustodiev, painted in 1918, oil on canvas; at the State Russian Museum.
4. This Fascinating Short Film about the Last Matriarchy in Europe – Kihnu is a small island off Estonia’s western coast. There are men on the island but they work as fishermen and leave for long periods of time. So the women are left alone and have learned to do everything for themselves. It’s an incredible microcosm and it would be tragic if it was lost. In fact, the Kihnu culture is on Unesco’s intangible cultural heritage of humanity list. But the younger members have been leaving to go to larger cities, where they can make more money and have more options.
Of course this is happening everywhere in the world. It used to be that people grew up and tended to live in the community where they were born. I know if you look at my family, both my parents had three siblings and five of them live within a 50 mile radius. Then if you look at their kids, even just on my mother’s side of the 14 grandkids only TWO live within a 50 mile radius.
Still, I think there are young people who would like to live this lifestyle. All those millennials into cottagecore.
Still, trying to find them might be difficult and of course they all would want wifi. And the current residents of Kihnu may not welcome newcomers.
5. These Gorgeous, Biological Illustrations by Ernst Haeckel – “Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel was a German zoologist, naturalist, eugenicist, philosopher, physician, professor, marine biologist, and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology, including ecology, phylum, phylogeny, and Protista.” [Found on MessyNessyChic]
6. This Poemby Alison Luterman – thanks to my friend LeAnn for posting it.
7. This New Series on PeacockTV – To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have watched this (I can’t start a new series!) but then I saw the cast – Sara Bareilles (Jesus Christ Superstar and who doesn’t love her song ‘Brave‘?), Busy Philipps (been in a bazillion things and I just adore her), Paula Pell (most famous as an SNL writer but also recently did a hilarious Quibi series called the ‘Mapleworth Murders’), and Renée Elise Goldsberry (one of the original Schuyler sisters!) The premise of the show actually seems made for me (the only thing I would have changed is making them an 80s band instead of a 90s band – obviously.)
Girls5eva used to be a popular girls band back in the 90s when these women were only teenagers. The name plays on the number of band members. Unfortunately things happened and the band separates and loses touch.
One day Dawn (Bareilles) hears a popular rapper doing a cover of one of Girls5eva’s songs on the radio. It occurs to her she’s owed some royalty money so she checks in with her old agent. She finds out he’s been sitting on the royalty checks for almost three months and the checks will be void with a day so because she doesn’t want her former bandmates to lose out on the cash she decides to deliver them and reconnects. I don’t want to get into any more of the storyline but here’s my thoughts:
I had no idea that Sara Bareilles was just a good actor (yes another one of those people who is multi-talented
Sara Bareilles wrote the songs used in the show, so of course they are amazing
I really wanted to like Renée Elise Goldsberry’s character (Wickie) better but I feel like they haven’t developed her character enough/told enough backstory – I pray they do a second season!
Was kinda bummed that they had all the women except Paula Pell play themselves as teenagers because she’s the only one who isn’t “thin.” I think they should have gotten teenagers that looked like the three other girls too.
I think anyone who considers themself a Menopausal Broad can use a “second chances” story.
Word of the Day
Quote of the Day
One last thing that I have to close with, a video from ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.’ He wasn’t on the air but he did gift us with one of his delightful web exclusive videos. As usual, John Oliver nails it.
1. This Patent Drawing – Which finally puts to rest the question over or under. I don’t mean to gloat but I KNEW IT and my Mamma never lead me astray.
From My Modern Met:
Over or under? This is the question that has plagued the Western world since the invention of modern toilet paper. It was in 1857 that New York-based inventor Joseph C. Gayetty developed the first packaged variety to be made widely available in the U.S. However, it wasn’t until 1871 that perforated rolls of toilet paper were invented. Seth Wheeler filed a patent for his innovative design for the first time that year, and he filed another for a refined version of his invention again in 1891.
The illustrated diagram from Wheeler’s 1891 patent sheds some light on how the toilet paper roll was originally intended to be used. According to the image, it appears that the dangling end was designed to hang over—rather than under—the roll. This may be a crippling blow to those who are of the persuasion that under is the way to go. Even so, if hanging your toilet paper roll under is wrong, they probably don’t want to be right.
2. These Videos about Women’s Clothing in History – They are all just too good. The first talks about how women’s clothing may actually have been created to help protect. The second gives the history of how standard sizes came to be and the motivations behind doing so (hint, it’s always money.) The third video is a fascinating history of why men traditionally wear pants and women traditionally wear skirts (or did they….)
And last but not least (and this is a a wee bit of a stretch but I’m including it) a video about the clothing in the show ‘The Nevers‘ – my current favorite television show, which can be seen on HBO Max. They’ve already aired the first half of season one (8 episodes) and will be airing the second half sometime in the fall I believe (another 8 episodes.) As the vlogger mentions, the show is extremely historically accurate with their costumes (and she should know, it is her area of expertise.) She takes the opportunity to bust the myth that clothing from that era was extremely restrictive. There have been anti-corset campaigns for some time. Certainly the extremely boned corsets that reshape the body are not/were not good, but for women of this era most weren’t wearing the tightly drawn or heavily boned corsets (like Scartlett O’Hara). Unless a woman was from a wealthy family she would have been quite active and probably wouldn’t have had the luxury of having a ladies maid.
3. This Article about the New Version of the Game ‘Oregon Trail’ – A fascinating essay where the author, who is a black historian, is in a battle between his longing for childhood nostalgia and truth-telling in history. Is there really any correct way to make a game about colonialization?
4. This Article on Book Curses – In medieval times, because books were handmade, written by scribes, and took a long time to make, they were rare and had great physical value. Most scribes and book owners did not have the financial means to protect their libraries with armed guards so instead they used words to fend off would-be thieves. Fortunately for them, most people believed in curses so it worked fairly well.
What I want to know is why don’t we use book curses today? They would look so nice on a bookplate. Even if most people don’t believe in curses anymore, at least it would remind them to keep their paws off of things that aren’t theirs.
I looked up some more and found one [here] that I am going to make into stickers so I can put it inside all my books:
Whoever steals this book Will hang on a gallows in Paris, And, if he isn’t hung, he’ll drown, And, if he doesn’t drown, he’ll roast, And, if he doesn’t roast, a worse end will befall him.
From a 15th century manuscript owned by Count Jean d’Orleans.
5. These Articles about Coco Chanel and Her Nazi Connections – I’ve always been a huge fan of Coco Chanel so when I first read about this it made me extremely sad. The first article was from nearly a decade ago and appeared on MessyNessyChic. It was written about eight months after the book Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War by Hal Vaughan was released. This was the first book to really include details about her involvement with the Nazis (not just that she was dating one) such as her code name, agent number, that she was included in nazi missions and worst of all, that she had taken advantage of her “Aryan rights” (meaning the seizing of Jewish-owned property and businesses.)
The second article was equally interesting. This one appeared on Forbes last year. The author is trying to determine if we can justify overlooking such a horrifying past in someone like Coco Chanel, whose left such a legacy. It’s an interesting question. I think this might be a good analogy – what if there was a building built by the nazis and after the war, all that remained was the foundation. So the French come and build a ground floor and the English build a 1st floor and the Norwegians build a 2nd floor (I’m doing the european counting of floors) and the Danish build a 3rd floor and so forth. And each floor is filled with beautiful things. But ultimately that base was built by nazis – should the entire thing be torn down and rebuilt? Should it be moved? I don’t think so.
BUT what I do think is that Chanel should stop avoiding Coco Chanel’s horrific history. I know that they think it can’t be good for PR but what they need to do is use it to help and get ahead of it. Just admit – we realize that our founder was a nazi sympathizer, possibly a nazi collaborator and our response is that we are appalled by the information as much as you are. Our founder was a talented woman and we cannot deny that Chanel wouldn’t exist without her genius but the nazi atrocities were unforgivable and that she was involved is a huge black stain on the origin of our company. They could put their money where their mouth is and contribute to a Holocaust organization.
My believe is that we should not be completely erasing bad history but instead we should be making it accurate and using it as a teaching opportunity.
6. This Article about How Women in the UK/Ireland Were Duped into Believing it was Bad to Drink Tea – Though it’s me who is saying that the women were actually duped. The article implies it but doesn’t come right out and say it. Neither does this one.
Here’s the situation – first and foremost, tea was considered expensive back then. So was sugar if you wanted to sweeten it (because milk and honey in tea just doesn’t work.) Right away men (husbands and fathers) were going to say that women shouldn’t be drinking something as expensive as tea.
Then there were the wealthy, who liked to feel that drinking tea was something the gentrified did, certainly not the poor.
And of course, there was concern that women who sat around drinking tea would have time to talk to one another and that could lead to anarchy.
Even without social media, the “powers that be” managed to get messages out that women shouldn’t be drinking tea – said it was “unhealthy”, it made you lazy, etc. And the worse part is that the poor, uneducated women were the ones that bought into the lies and helped spread it. Hmmmm, that sounds vaguely familiar.
7. This ‘Self Portrait’ by Photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston – I was thrilled when I finally found out who this photo was of and what it was about. I’ve loved it for years! Taken around 1896 by the photographer herself, it is supposed to represent the “new woman.”
Here’s a great article about the photo and the photographer from Smithsonian.
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.
4. This Performance by Lady Gaga Singing the National Anthem – Gaga did NOT disappoint. I had already been teary-eyed by openly weeping by the end of this.
And JLo’s performance was beautiful!
5. This Unfamiliar Act of Humility – looking forward to all of us acting more kindly, respectfully, generously, humanely, and with humility. Everyone knows you must lead by example.
6. This Field of Flags – between the pandemic and the potential risk of domestic terrorism there couldn’t be many people in attendance at this Inauguration so an installation of flags represented those who could not be present. The flags represent every state (with Washington D.C.) and territory including American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
7. This 93-year-old Inauguration Announcer – no explanation necessary.
8. I wasn’t going to include this but just had to. Good night, good bye, and good riddance.
A POEM FOR THE END by Sheila Dershowitz
Good night loon, Good night goon, Good night nastiest man in the room. Good night lies, Good night spies, Good night rants and alibis. Good night twitter, Good night tweets. Good night all those crazy bleats. Good night red hats, Good night cruel chants, Good night sniveling syncophants. Good night wall, Good night cages, Good night endless midnight rages. Good night fine people on both sides, Good night losers, good night suckers, Good night evil nasty fuckers. Good night Ivanka Good night Jared, Good night Barron, we hardly knew ya. Good night thief, Good night grief, Good night cruel and callous chief. Good night fake news, And Fox and friends, This is how the nightmare ends. Good night at last. It’s time to go, The American people told you so.
1. This Short Film, The Magic of Chess – The Milwaukee Film Festival is running from October 15-29 and this year, for obvious reasons, it’s gone completely virtual. Frankly, I’m thrilled because it’s giving me the opportunity to see a lot more movies than I normally would be able to see. Because of that I bought a pass (and I’m a Milwaukee Film member so I got a really good deal 😊.)
I usually see all the film short collections and this year is no different. I also usually start with the kids film shorts. I have about a half dozen favorite short films so far, this is one of them. There is something about all these kids going on and on about chess, with such passion and enthusiasm – it’s amazing!
3. This Fashion Line that used Puppets for a Socially Distanced Fashion Show – Moschino’s Creative Director, Jeremy Scott, is responsible for using marionettes dressed in doll-sized versions of the garments. I’m sure it was a tremendous amount of work but wonder, now that they’ve done it, will it get easier from this point forward to do it with puppets and less expensive than a show with live models? People do love things in minature too!
4. This Letter written by the Attorneys for the Lincoln Project (one of my two favorite Republicans against Trump groups right now) to Jared Kushner & Ivanka Trump’s lawyer. It brings me such joy! The Trump family (as has many other of their ilk) has gotten away with “having their cake and eating it too” for far too long. I hope that their stint in the White House was the straw that broke the camel’s back and that after the election everything crumbles. (November 3rd is ONE WEEK from tomorrow – EEK!)
5. These Photos of Birds in Motion by photographer Mark Harvey – you should click on the photo below or this link to see all the rest. Simply breathtaking!
6. This Recipe for Bread of the Dead – super clever, easy and realistic way to make skulls from mushrooms! I’ll have to remember this for next year when I can actually entertain again.
7. This Bronze Sculpture inspired by the legend of King Arthur for Tintagell Castle, Cornwall by Rubin Eynon
1. This new female-hosted science show, Emily’s Wonder Lab (thanks Stasie!) – move over Mr. Wizard (okay, he passed away 13 years ago but you get where I’m going with this), step aside Bill Nye the Science Guy (we still adore you), get out of the way Beakman (you’re still the geek we all had a little bit of a crush on), Emily Calandrelli (aka The Space Gal) is here and she’s gonna make some waves and some goo and some rainbow bubbles and some barfing pumpkins and some… all while pregnant!
3. This Geico Commercial “Aunt Infestation” – I told you I have a thing for commercials. This is by far the best Geico commercial EVER!!! And I’m not saying this just because I’m an Auntie. These women are hilarious.
4. This hometown candy shop: Betty Jane’s Candies – people from Dubuque, Iowa are very familiar with Betty Jane’s. And now that it’s cooling down outside, you can enjoy Betty Jane’s too because they ship everywhere! They are most well-known for their Gremlins, which are similar to turtles but 1000x better. Trust me. And now you can get them in either milk chocolate or dark chocolate or both! Back when I was younger it was only milk chocolate (but then I was a kid so like I cared.) They also have Snacker packages in 6 and 12 oz that are less expensive than getting them in the box (but also, more difficult to keep yourself from eating too many.)
It’s also Caramel Apple season right now – but I’m sure you need to order quickly if you want to get some of those.
I recently though, have found myself addicted to their dark chocolate covered almonds. Over the summer I couldn’t order from them because of the heat and so I attempted to find a comparable dark chocolate covered almond – tried at least two dozen brands (even had to toss out a few of them), not a single one came even close.
5. This new app by Kevin Costner (swoon) called HearHere – HearHere is great for people who take lots of road trips. You get to hear stories about the places you drive through, some of them are actually narrated by Kevin Costner himself. It’s pretty cool.
6. This Last Video of ABBA – rather than trying to figure out all of this and rewriting it myself I’m cutting and pasting the information from an ABBA site I found:
“The four ABBA members reunited (kind of) in the humorous film Our Last Video, where they each filmed a (silent) appearance lasting just a few moments each. The film was shown during the interval of the Eurovision Song Contest’s Semi-Final on Wednesday 12 May 2004 to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of ABBA’s Eurovision win. Most of the script of the film was made up of ABBA song lyrics.
Agnetha and Frida filmed their parts separately although they were edited to look like they appeared together. Björn, Benny and Agnetha filmed their parts in Stockholm while Frida filmed hers in London.
The Last Video is the film about four hopeful musicians (a set of ABBA puppets made by Henson Creature Shop Limited who made The Muppets) in search of a record contract. They pay a visit to the Big Record Company Boss and his oily assistant, performing one hit after the other, cheered on by their manager. But things don’t really work out as planned and as they leave, “the real ABBA” arrive (in footage taken from ABBA – The Movie) in the lift as the puppets leave.
The film was produced by Radical Media UK and filmed at Independent Studios AB at Saltsjö-boo, outside of Stockholm; and directed by Calle Åstrand. Apart from the puppet versions of Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Frida (which in reality are about 50cm tall), the film starred:
From Abbaontv.com https://abbaontv.com/programmes/2004/39875
7. This Podcast, Sistory Untold – this is SUPER cool. These two London-based sisters started a podcast during quarantine and it’s absolutely brilliant. They were trying to come up with a topic that was unique and relevant at the same time so because they are part of a big family of sisters they decided to cover famous sisters in history. And by sisters, they don’t mean they have to be blood relations, simply women that had relationships that affected history.
“Importantly, they focus on the women’s relationships rather than the men they were associated with, from Hamilton‘s Schuyler sisters to Jane and Cassandra Austen to 18th-century rivals Maria Coventry and Kitty Fisher (as seen in Harlots on BBC Two).”
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.
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.
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…
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…
OR, for those who have disposable income, why not buy the world’s most expensive mask that costs a mere $1.5 million…
And there is also the missed opportunity to show one’s INDIVIDUALITY…
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.
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.
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.
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.