1. This Grrrl – It’s no surprise that Lizzo the goddess would handle a mistake like an adult.
After the release of the track Grrrls from her upcoming album ‘Special,’ there was a bit of a social media uproar because the lyrics contained some words considered derogatory to the disabled community.
Instead of making excuses and getting defensive or apologizing and then doing nothing about it, Lizzo apologized andchanged the lyrics. She actually listened. Shocking!
2. This Performance Artist / Dada “Dynamo” – She was one of those people who lived many lives in a lifetime. Elsa Hildegard Plötz was born in 1874 in Swinemünde in Pomerania, Germany (now Świnoujście, Poland.) ,
In her younger years she did vaudeville in Berlin and then traveled around Europe leaving a string of lovers behind her. She eventually landed up in NYC where she worked as an artist’s model and she also created her own art, mostly with found objects – sculpture, fashion, performance art, she didn’t limit herself in the mediums she worked with.. She also wrote poetry and it was considered “perhaps the best of any woman’s of our time” by TheLittle Review.
She made sculptures and costumes from found objects (her wedding ring was a rusted metal hoop picked off the pavement) and wrote experimental poetry, which she also performed. Memorable ensembles included a bra constructed from tomato soup cans and a caged canary; hats tinkling with stolen teaspoons; postage stamps worn instead of rouge. Modesty, whether in the studio or on the street, was for squares. She collaborated with fellow surrealists Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray on the film The Baroness Shaves Her Pubic Hair. Alas only a few stills survived the editing process.
From ‘Sleep with everyone! Be embarrassing!’ – the dada baroness who shocked society by Hettie Judah; The Guardian; 31 May, 2022
It was in NY that Plötz acquired her Baroness title, after a brief marriage at age 39.
She was considered a pioneer in dadaism, she is credited with having invented “Readymade” (though like so many woman in art, she isn’t really given any sort of honors for the achievement – case in point, an article about Readymade that doesn’t even mention her and which is linked to from the article about the Baroness where it saying she invented “Readymade”!)
She was a contemporary of Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray and other , were members New York’s literary and art scene, especially those in the Arensberg Circle of Artists. In fact she collaborated with Duchamp and Man Ray on a film called “The Baroness Shaves Her Pubic Hair” (there are only a few stills remaining.)
Still, despite all these accomplishments, her male counterparts, who actually, in some cases, were working on concepts thought up by the Baroness, are the ones people know of, whose names people recognize, who are in the museums, who received the credit. Will the historical sexism ever be rectified?
3. These Crocs – These are wonderful sandals – They have great support and cushiness which are the two things most important to me nowadays. They don’t run particularly wide or narrow, which is good because the straps aren’t adjustable (and they don’t come in a “wide” size). I also like that they give me a little height. For decades I tried to hide my height but now that I’ve started shrinking I am actually happy to have a little lift back.
Having said all that, there are a couple things I wish were different…
Ass I mentioned, the straps aren’t adjustable. That’s actually not a good thing. My left foot is slightly bigger because I broke it years ago. The sandals fit me great but when my feet swell, as they are bound to do, especially if I’ve been on them all day, or if it’s hot, or if I’ve had too much sodium, the left shoe gets uncomfortable tight.
I REALLY wish they would have made these flat. To clarify, as I said, I like the height, I just wish the heels were even with the toes. I just don’t think it’s good for anyone’s foot to have all the pressure on the ball of your foot. They certainly don’t do this for men’s shoes.
One last thing, they don’t really “breathe” so your feel will may get hot sometimes.
4. This Sheep – JUST TOO CUTE!
5. This Teacher – Mr. Daniel Gill has kept an empty chair in his classroom for FIFTY years. He’s done this to teach his students the importance of making people feel welcome.
Let me explain. When Gill was a kid he had a best friends named Archie. Archie was black. Gill was white. Neither boy thought anything of this until one day when the two of the went to a birthday party together. They showed up and the mother of the child who the party was for, answered the door. She looked at both of the boys and proceeded to tell them she didn’t have enough chairs. Gill told her that was okay, they didn’t both need a chair, they could either share or could even sit on the floor. She repeated that there wasn’t enough chairs and that is when the boys realized it had nothing to do with chairs, it had to do with the color of Archie’s skin.
So, in the 1980s, when Daniel Gill started teaching, he put an empty chair in his classroom s that there would always be an extra seat available for anyone who stop by – there would never not be enough chairs.
He has taught five decades worth of students lessons of tolerance and anti-racism.
After completing her studies, Aldridge worked as a concert singer, piano accompanist, and voice teacher. A throat condition ended her concert appearances, and she turned to teaching and published about thirty songs between the years 1907 and 1925 in a romantic parlour style, as well as instrumental music in other styles. Among her pupils were the children of London’s politically-active Black middle-classes, including Amy Barbour-James, daughter of John Barbour-James, Frank Alcindor son of Dr John Alcindor, and composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’ssister Alice Evans. Her notable students included African-American performers Roland Hayes, Lawrence Benjamin Brown, Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson, and Bermudian-British actor Earl Cameron. In 1930, when Robeson performed as Othello in the West End, Aldridge was in attendance, and gave Robeson the gold earrings that her father Ira Aldridge had worn as Othello. Aldridge also took the singer Ida Shepley under her wing and converted her from a singer to a stage actor. In 1951, African-American weekly magazine Jet reported that she was still giving piano and voice lessons aged 86.
1. This Reaction to a Young Fan’s Gift – If you’re not a fan of the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo already (or if you haven’t heard of him), you will be after watching this. THIS is the kind of athlete we want kids to have posters of on their bedroom walls and who they should hope to be like someday and try to emulate.
Here’s more… when asked by a reporter, who taught him about keeping his ego in check, this was Antetokounmpo’s answer:
“When you focus on the past, that’s your ego: ‘I did this. We were able to beat this team 4-0. I did this in the past. I won that in the past.’ When I focus on the future, it’s my pride: ‘Yeah, next game, Game 5, I do this and this and this. I’m going to dominate.’ That’s your pride talking. It doesn’t happen. You’re right here.
“I kind of try to focus on the moment, in the present. That’s humility. That’s being humble. That’s not setting no expectation. That’s going out there, enjoying the game, competing at a high level. I think I’ve had people throughout my life that helped me with that. But that is a skill that I’ve tried to, like, kind of — how do you say it, perfect it, master it. And it’s been working so far. So I’m not going to stop.”
By the way, I love Giannis full name – it’s Giannis Sina Ugo Antetokounmpo. How gorgeous is that?!?!
[Found the second tweet via CBSSports.com – you should read the full story, the guy who wrote it is very good]
2. This Auction of Sylvia Plath’s Recipe Cards and Rolling Pin at Sotheby’s – Sadly, when someone’s life ends so tragically, one tends to make assumptions about what their life must have been like or how they lived. Myself, being someone who lives with depression (albeit moderate depression), I think that if a person is so depressed that they are driven to take their own life they must be miserable all the time. I don’t know why I think that. It’s certainly not that way for me. But then, I’m not suicidal.
When I get depressed all I want to do is build a cocoon around myself and not let anyone in. I don’t want to talk to people, I don’t want to go anywhere, I don’t want to do much of anything. I just want to pass the time with things that will distract and take very little mental effort. For me that generally means watching mystery television series from the 80s, 90s or 2000s and doing puzzles.
But I know other people who have depression and their way of dealing with it is much different. Some like to throw themselves into their work. Some like to surround themselves with friends and family. Some like to clean their house or do gardening or repairs they’ve put off. No one deals with depression exactly the same way. Everyone is unique.
My point is, there is a lot more to Sylvia Plath’s life than her being depressed and having committed suicide but unfortunately, that is mostly what people learn about and remember. But it’s really lovely to see these recipe cards with Plath’s handwritten notes and the names/ nicknames included in the recipes titles, which for me always is indicative of affection and sentimentality.
3. This Movie (This Beautiful Fantastic), Which is Currently Available to Stream FOR FREE on YouTube – A friend of mine suggested this movie to me a while back and I was lucky enough to catch it while it was streaming (can’t remember where) but shortly after I watched it, it was removed. For months it hasn’t been available anywhere. Now it looks like in addition to being available on YouTube it’s available on Amazon Prime. But I’m never sure when I see something that says it’s available on Prime (for free) whether it’s because I have the Masterpiece & PBS memberships or if it just is generally free.
Either way, whether you try watching it at the link below or watch it via Prime, I highly recommend this movie. It stars Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil in Downton Abbey, Charlotte Wells in Harlots and Elizabeth McKenna in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society) as Bella, Andrew Scott (John Parry in His Dark Materials, The Priest in Fleabag, and Moriarty in Sherlock) as Vernon, and Tom Wilkinson (Author in Grand Budapest Hotel, Graham Dashwood in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Gerard in The Full Monty) as Alfie Stephenson.
The premise of the story is that Bella lives alone in a small house which she rents. She’s a unique person, a bit compulsive, who likes to keep to herself. Now I’ll tell you, she works in a library, but that is only one of several reasons why I love this film so much. Many reviews call it a modern fairytale and it truly is.
Bella has a small garden behind her house and part of the rental agreement was that she needed to tend to the garden but she has let it go. She meets her neighbor, who is an ornery SOB, and not long after that happens, a representative for the owner of the house comes by for an inspection an discovers she has not kept her side of the deal. He tells her he’s going to have to evict her but she persuades him to let her have a month to fix the garden up.
I don’t want to tell you anything more but the characters are wonderful, the film is visually beautiful, and it has a magical quality to it.
4. This HISTORIC News from Chile – I mean, it’s actually rather pathetic that the first time a constitution is being written by an equal number of men and women is in 2021 but, well, it’s still commendable. (And there are negative nellies out there.)
5. These New Emojis – Turns out it was “World Emoji Day” on Saturday. I am excited about the disco ball! Though does it seem like these are a little male-heavy to anyone else? It could just be my mental state right now. These are awaiting approving and will become available in September.
6. This Airship of the Future – The airline industry is responsible for about 5% of global warming and these ships will “operate with 75% fewer emissions than a conventional airplane.” It may take longer (but look at how comfortable it will be.) Yes please!
7. This Incredible Pencil Shop in Tehran – There are a lot of bazaars in Tehran. I don’t think that this is in the Grand Bazaar. The video below says it is in the “Traditional Market” which I believe is also called Tajrish Bazaar. One person describes it as being “located in a corner of the bazaar between the two mosques in Tehran.” I can hear the call to prayer.
And here’s a video (pre-pandemic). You don’t need to speak arabic to be impressed or to find the owner, Mr. Rafieh, completely darling. Anyone so passionate and knowledgeable, how can you not love them?
1. This New Rollin’ Wild Video – The first new ‘Rollin’ wild’ film short in THREE years. And was it worth the wait? I think so…. I laughed my buttootie off! Have watched it about a dozen times so far, laugh just as hard every time.
2. This Perfect Man – He really does exist! The White House decided to rebrand Doug Emhoff as “Douglas Emhoff. Apparently they believe the formality is more suited to his position and sounds more “grown-up.” I’m going to guess that all the adult men who go by the name Doug disagree with this assessment. As one late night comedian pointed out, Bernie goes by Bernie and not Bernard and no-one dares to not see him as grown-up and serious. Let’s just hope and pray that the White House doesn’t tell “Douglas” he has to cut back on the PDA! (The Vice President is SO lucky!)
[Thanks to Ann for this one.]
3. These Breathtaking Still Life Photographs – it’s hard to believe they aren’t paintings. If you click on the photos it will take you to each photographer’s website. Or click on the link below to see the original story where I first ran across these works of art.
4. This Podcast about Florence Nightingale – It checks all my boxes: a woman fighting against the patriarchy, British history (particularly the Victorian era), nerds, how information is power – check, check, check and check.
Recently I’ve read about several people/historical events where I thought, why isn’t there a movie or best-selling book about this?!? Then I’d think, wait, maybe there is and I just don’t know about it. And I’d look up the person or event and find out that yes, there was a movie but it was filmed 40 to 50 years ago or it was a made-for-tv special or there was a book but it’s for children or by some author I’ve never heard of.
That’s what happened when I looked up Florence Nightingale. There actually are a ton of books but none that are by well-known historians (there are loads of kids books about her). There is an autobiography called “Notes on Nursing.” I’m sure is interesting but doubt it’s all that readable (after all, she could do many these exceedingly well but writing wasn’t one of her talents.)
There was a tv movie with Jaclyn Smith playing Nightingale. I’m sure THAT was historically accurate. There’s a 1915 British Silent film about Florence. And there was a British film made in 2008 with not a single name in the cast I recognize (which never happens) and the one review it got on IMDB gave it one star and wrote, “One of the worst costume dramas I’ve seen in years! The acting was terrible. the script was terrible, the screenplay was dull and the characters seem like they had been plucked out of the 21st century and thrown back in time! Laura Fraser was useless, good looking, but useless. She plays the strong modern woman type which is totally out of context for the time, and all the male characters are weak.” (By the way, the review ends with “Americans will love it!” I’m not joking!)
I came across which is that Elizabeth Moss is supposedly working on a new film about Florence Nightingale. I hope this isn’t one of those projects that gets announced but never happens but the article I linked is from 2018 and I couldn’t find anything past late 2019. Well, we’ll see what happens. Maybe they’ll be a resurgence of Nightingale-mania!
[Thanks to my friend Kathy for sharing this with me!]
5. This Book about the Classic Restaurants of Milwaukee – This is a bit niche for a general blog, but I think the majority of my followers will appreciate it. Talk about a trip down memory lane! My only complaint is that it wasn’t physically bigger (it’s only 6″ x 9″) because I wish that the photos were larger and frankly I’d like to have seen more restaurants included. But it’s an Arcadia Publishing book and this is the standard size for the majority of their titles. But I suspect it’s the only way to get a book like this published anymore. Sigh. Anyway, I enjoyed reading it immensely.
6. This Reboot of Leverage with the Original Cast (minus one) – I know that people who didn’t watch Leverage won’t be as excited about this as I am (in fact, you probably won’t give a hoot) but I’m over the moon about this news. I was super bummed when they ended the show in 2012. They did tie everything up, but in the four years it aired it built up quite a following and I know we would have been happy for the show to continue for several more years.
But it’s back with the entire cast, except for Timothy Hutton. (I had no idea there had been accusations made against him too.) I’m a bit surprised, although thrilled and relieved, that Aldis Hodge is returning as Alec Hardison. I mean, he’s hit the big time with ‘One Night in Miami’ and he’s also been on ‘City on a Hill.’ The addition of Noah Wyle to the cast must also mean that a return of ‘The Librarians’ is not in our future. Oh well. You can’t have everything.
7. This Miniature Round Bookcase – If you love miniature things you’ll enjoy perusing the entire Instagram for the Daily Mini.
1. This VACCINATED Menopausal Broad – pardon my hair, I forgot to fix it before the photo. You can’t see it but I’m both a little teary-eyed and overjoyed.
Not surprisingly, I’ve been reading everything I can on the vaccines and post-vaccine life and I found this excellent article in the Washington Post. WashPo has a paywall, so you may not be able to read it but here’s my favorite part, where the authors, Emily Heil and Tim Carman, talk about keeping a coronavirus budget. I think it’s a brilliant idea:
“There’s no such thing as zero risk, and nothing is 100 percent risky,” says Leana Wen, a visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health and contributing columnist at The Washington Post. “It’s a spectrum.” She has long urged people to think about their risks as expenditures from a “coronavirus budget,” and says the budgets of those who have been vaccinated just went way up. “You still have to think about how to spend it, and if your priority is seeing grandchildren and going to church, then maybe you’re not going to restaurants all that often.”
With encouraging headlines, springlike temperatures and our collective covid fatigue at an all-time high, it might be tempting to throw caution — and another round of takeout — to the wind. But experts agree that now is not the time to lower your guard, but instead to maintain your vigilance so we can return to something like normal by the fall.
2. This Photograph of the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs – I became obsessed with the Crystal Palace dinosaurs after reading the children’s book ‘The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins‘ by Barbara Kerley (illustrated by Brian Selznick). The book won a Caldecott Honor Medal in 2002 . I was still a Children’s Librarian at that time. It has everything I loved – London, the Victorian Era, paleontology/innovation/science and the illustrations are fantastic. Here’s a video of a reading of the book that is charming.
I thought – it would have been amazing to be there then and see the dinosaurs in person. Honestly, I didn’t realize they still existed until a couple years ago. I learned many moons ago the Crystal Palace had burned down, twice I believe, so I assumed that nothing had survived. But the dinosaurs did and I got to see them in May of 2019! Here are a few of my photos… (the guy in the photo is my London pal Rob.)
2. This Story about the Golden Tickets in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory – Charlie & the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl was my all-time favorite book as a kid. I’m not sure if I’ve already told this story but one year, I think around when I was in second or third grade, I got a hold of a copy of the book. I read it and loved it so much that I re-read it over and over and over again. Around the twelve time my Mom started getting a little concerned that I was so obsessed with just one book so she bribed me with my first Nancy Drew book. That wasn’t such a bad thing, it led to a whole new world of my favorite teenage sleuth, but I always loved Charlie and his family and Mr. Willy Wonka.
I also loved the movie with Gene Wilder. To me he will always be the one and only Willy Wonka. I was actually excited when I first heard that Tim Burton was going to give the book a try and that Johnny Depp was slated to play Wonka, but I think I’ve spent to many years visualizing the candy maker as Gene Wilder.
I stumbled across this story while searching for something else and thought it was very interesting. For fans of the story, it’s not a major thing but curious nonetheless.
For some reason the book originally had it say on the golden ticket that the visit was to in February but in the first movie they changed it to October. Here is a brief post on Roald Dahl Fans.com where the person who runs the blog received an email with a question about this difference.
Here is what it says in the book:
“And now, here are your instructions: The day I have chosen for the visit is the first day in the month of February…”
“The first day of February!” cried Mrs. Bucket. “But that’s tomorrow! Today is the last day of January, I know it is!”
The person who runs the Roald Dahl Fans blog has one theory that I think is most likely/logical and that is that the filming schedule was from August to November and so it simply didn’t look like February outdoors (and it would have been too expensive to make it look like February back then.) I think that this is the most likely explanation but one has to wonder if there might be some other reason like, is October 1st someone’s birthday or anniversary?
3. This Instagram Post by 99 year-old Betty White – how is it that I have only just thought to follow Betty White now???? So many shows like this that I would love to watch – thank goodness they aren’t available to stream because I don’t have enough time in the day! (If you haven’t watched the Betty White documentary on Netflix yet I highly recommend it. I‘ll be posting my ‘Menopausal Broad’s Guide to Netflix’ soon, hopefully within the next week.)
4. This Number from the 1957 Movie, Funny Face – Pink has always been my favorite color. I’d like to think it would have been even if I wasn’t born a girl, but in the 60s in Iowa there were only two options – girl or boy – and it wasn’t kosher for boys to like pink. Having said that, you just know that at least half of the guys in those white painter jumpsuits wish their suits were pink too. But they still look like they’re having fun! Aren’t the clothes fabulous?
5. This 360 Degree Van Gogh Painting – you may want to actually visit it on Facebook to so you can make it bigger.
6. This Website that Lets You Create Your Own Bayeux Tapestry – The Bayeux Tapestry is made up of seventy-five scenes depicting events leading up to the Norman Conquest in 1066. It has a very distinct style and has been studied in depth (in fact they even know that there are 93 penises, not all belonging to men, included in the art piece.)
Here’s my first attempt…
And here is an artist named Andrew Swainson’s clever version of the Bayeux Tapestry in a tribute to Monty Python…
7. These “Personless Protests” in Myanmar – human ingenuity knows no bounds.
1. This Video on the Accents of All Fifty States – Myself, I knowIdon’t have an accent. Well, at least I didn’t think I did (except that one time I had a bunch of people stare at me when I ordered a pop instead of a soda but that was more dialect than accent.) But then a few years ago I went to this conference in California. The first day I was there, before I had been introduced to anyone else, before I had even checked in, I was waiting in the lounge with some of the other conference attendees while they slowly checked us in one by one. I was chatting away with several of the people, most of whom were from California.
After about five minutes the woman across from me said, “It’s so to be with someone from Iowa again!” I looked at her and said, “Wait, how did you know I was born in Iowa?” And she replied, “You accent! It’s great hearing that Iowa accent again.” I couldn’t believe it. Not just because I thought I had some sort of universal (and semi-classy) accent but because I had been living in Wisconsin twice as long as I had been living in Iowa. Though I moved to Wisconsin when I was 18 so I guess the accent was already pretty much permanent. You know what they say, people don’t lose an accent unless they move by 16 years of age, at the latest.
2. This Dance Compilation – I’ve seen a lot of compilations like this but when Kevin Bacon, THE Kevin Bacon, posted it on his Facebook page and wrote, “What a compilation! This might be the best of all dance numbers. Feeling inspired to watch one of the greats tonight. Are you with me?” I thought – I need to watch. And he wasn’t kidding. It’s FABULOUS!!!
3. This Nature Photographer, Tim Flach – this guy is a genius.
4. This Interview of Jason Mantzoukas by Seth Meyers – Been watching a lot of the talk shows – Seth Meyers (probably the most religiously), Colbert, Trevor, Drew Barrymore, the two Jimmys (Fallon and Kimmel) and James Corbin (the last three not as regularly as the rest). During the pandemic I’ve seen scads of interviews and I must say I don’t think I’ve seen one as entertaining as this.
5. This Canadian Artist, Tom Thomson – I recently discovered this artist because of a show called the ‘Murdoch Mysteries‘ (which I obsessed with) and now I’m looking for everything I can, not just about his art but about his life too. It turns out there was quite a bit of mystery surrounding his death and that just makes this all the more alluring.
6. These InStyle Virtual Elevator “Entrances” for the Golden Globe Awards – you can see more of them here but my favorite was Nicola Coughlan’s (and not only because she was wearing a fairy princess dress):
7. This Photographer, Kristina Makeeva – her work is truly magical. (Trying to only choose a few to highlight was incredibly difficult, you’ll want to look at more of her photos here, trust me!)
1. This “Personal Library” – housed in his home, WOW! I wonder what his house looks (looked) like. Right after college I landed a job at a wonderful bookshop called Webster’s. It was originally like something out of a movie. (I say originally because it kept expanding and became less and less charming.)
Anyway, one of our regular customers was a professor. And he so looked the part – bearded and tweedy, patches on the elbows of his suit coats. He came in pretty much every week for most of the time I was there. I heard a story that because he had so many books he had to have the floors reinforced in his house to support his the weight of them all. When I saw this photo I immediately thought of him. I imagine his library could have looked like this.
2. This Bible, Known as ‘The Wicked Bible’ – In 1631 the English printers Robert Barker and Martin Lucas printed 1000 copies of a bible with two errors. Unfortunately a word was omitted in Exodus 20:14 and instead of it saying “Thou shalt not commit adultery” it read “Thou shalt commit adultery.”
There was also a second error in Deuteronomy 5. In a sentence that should have read ‘Behold, the Lord our God hath shewed us his glory and his greatness’ the word ‘greatness’ had been replaced with ‘great-asse.’ Of course implying that the Lord God has a great arse did not go over well with the King, nor the promotion of adultery.
Charles I fined the printers £300, which is equivalent to over $50,000 today. He ordered all copies be burned and he also took away their printing license. At the time they were the only printers licensed to print bibles, which was, of course, a lucrative business. Somehow 11 copies managed to survive and they have gone to auction and sold for hundred of thousands of dollars.
A theory has bounced around that possibly a competitor to Barker & Lucas set them up and had those errors inserted as sabotage so that they would lose their printing license. Course we’ll never know if that is true but the second mistake ‘great-asse’ seems a bit more than something that could have been accidental.
3. This Article by Writer and Therapist-in-Training Shrestha Singh – this essay resonated with me for a variety of reasons – the Wisconsin connection, the India connection (that’s a long story,) but mostly it was the part about having family members (and/or friends) who were supporting people who were bigoted.
For Ms. Singh it was having in-laws who were huge Trump supporters despite the fact that he’s overtly racist, especially when she is East Indian. It’s mind boggling to me how anyone who has family members who are (or worse who IS) Mexican, East Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian (especially Chinese) or basically anyone from any foreign country or any person of color can still be a Trump supporter based on what he has said and done regarding immigrants. But there are plenty.
I have a family member who is a staunch Trump supporter who has grandchildren who are half-Chinese and whom he adores. Despite the fact that there is a clear correlation been a surge in anti-asian hate-crimes across the country and Trump’s use of discriminatory language like the term “China Virus,” his support has not waned.
The most frustrating thing about Trump supporters and their racism problem is that when you point it out to them, when you call them out on it, they will deny it is racism.
4. This Website that Lets You Draw Your Own Iceberg – A friend of mine sent this to me (thanks KK!) Megan Thompson-Munson is a Glaciologist and climate scientist and a PhD student. She has been bothered of late by the portrayal of icebergs, especially in stock photography. As pointed out in her tweets, the way they are pictured is impossible according to physics. So she created this fun site called Iceberger where you can draw whatever shaped iceberg you want to see how it would float in the ocean.
Here was my first attempt and I thought, hey, I got it to stand up – it looks like it does in the stock photos! BUT it turns out that some of the icebergs need a bit of time to turn on their side.
So I tried again and let it sit for a while and sure enough….
I tried over and over and over again and had the same thing happen, no matter what I did it ended up on its side. It’s a really cool site!
5. This Family in Kent Who Do Pandemic Version of Songs – The Marsh Family went viral about nine months ago with their version of “One Day More” from Les Miserable. They are REALLY talented!
A few other parodies I loved: Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart‘:
6. These Photographs that Norman Rockwell Used as Inspiration for His Paintings – I’m sure all of you have at least seen a Norman Rockwell painting, even if you didn’t know who the artist was. Rockwell is most known for his Saturday Evening Post covers. His career with the Post spanned for decades, from 1916 to 1963 and when he retired he had drawn a total of 321 cover paintings. (Click on the photo/painting below to see more original photos and their companion Rockwell paintings.)
The paintings ended up appearing in the Saturday Evening Post and each one was accompanied by an essay. I have linked each title above to the original essay. You will absolutely want to read the Freedom of Speech essay, trust me!
My favorites have a little present 🎁 at the front.
WINSLOW FEGLEY as the young Jack Doyle in ‘8-Bit Christmas’ on HBOMax.
🎁 8-Bit Christmas, 2021 (HBO Max) – With an admiring nod to A Christmas Story, the movie has an adult Jack Doyle (played by Neil Patrick Harris) reminiscing with his daughter (played by Annie Doyle) about the story of his quest to get his first Nintendo. The majority of the film is spent in 1980s Chicago and is wonderfully nostaligic. If you grew up in the 80s or have younger siblings that were kids in the 80s you’re gonna want to watch this. Starring Neil Patrick Harris, Annie Doyle, Winslow Fegley, Steve Zahn, June Diane Raphael, Bellaluna Resnick, Che Tafari, Santino Barnard, Max Malas, Brielle Rankins, Braelyn Rankins, Cyrus Arnold, and Chandler Dean. [TRAILER]
HENRY LAWFULL is Nikolas in ‘A Boy Called Christmas’
🎁 A Boy Called Christmas, 2021 (Netflix) – One of the best Christmas stories I’ve seen in years. A young boy, named Nikolas, lives in the woods with his father. They are poor but the boy is content enough because he’s with his papa. One day his father is summoned by the King to the castle (along with the other strongest people in the kingdom.) The King has chosen these individuals because he believes they are the best in the kingdom and he wants them to go to all corners of the land to search for hope. If they find hope they need to bring it back with them. Eventually, Nikolas’s father decides to take on the King’s challenge. He thinks it’s the only way to get enough money to live. He agrees to join a group that is going to travel to the mountains in search of a mythical elf land. The adventures that ensue lead Nikolas to discover information that not only changes his life but the lives of everyone. For me, the true sign of a good movie is when I’m still thinking about it days later. Now, a week later, I am still thinking about Nikolas and his father and aunt and the King and the rest – so much so that I am planning on watching it again. There are so many amazing actors in it. Starring Maggie Smith, Henry Lawfull, Michiel Huisman, Jim Broadbent (LOOOOVE him), Rune Temte (how great a name is that?), Kristin Wiig, Toby Jones, Sally Hawkins, and Zoe Margaret Colletti. [TRAILER]
Loretta Young as Julia and Cary Grant as Dudley in “The Bishop’s Wife”
The Bishop’s Wife, 1947 (Prime Video) –There was a remake of this movie titled The Preacher’s Wife, it wasn’t nearly as good as the original (and I really, REALLY wanted to like it – because I adore Whitney Huston.) I’m generally open to remakes if they are done well and somehow manage to both not copy the original while at the same time not stray from the original (a difficult task). So I find I can enjoy them as much as the originals, but the problem with this remake was that Denzel Washington was not the right fit for the role of Dudley the Angel. That role needed a person who could convey charm, charisma, confidence, assuredness, and a soupcon of innocence. Cary Grant fit the bill perfectly. Everyone in the film is enamored with Dudley – men, women, even pets. Everyone except the Bishop of course, who is jealous of his wife giving so much attention to Dudley. Denzel couldn’t pull that off. Cary Grant is Dudley in real life! Admittedly I’m a HUGE Cary Grant fan, so it’d be difficult for anyone to top him. Starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven, and Monty Woolley. [TRAILER]
🎁 A Castle for Christmas, 2021 (Netflix) – The minute I saw the trailer for this I KNEW I was going to love it. And I wasn’t disappointed. Brooke Shields plays an author who has gone through a difficult divorce and is now in a writing funk (she writes romance novels which I’m sure is difficult to do when you hate men.) On a whim, she decides to go to Scotland to visit the castle where her father once worked. She runs into the Duke (who owns the castle) a couple of times, and well, let’s just say they’re like oil and water. But after Sophie finds out that the cash-strapped Duke had to put the castle up for sale she decides it would be a wonderful irony for her to own the place. I don’t want to tell too much of the story and it’s a romantic comedy so rest assured, it’s going to end well. The movie is set in Scotland, you have Brooke Shields AND Cary Elwes (I love them both) and the members of the Knitting Club are simply delightful. Mark my words, when we can start traveling again this movie will boost the tourism in Scotland! Starring Brooke Shields, Cary Elwes, Lee Ross, Andi Osho, Tina Gray, Eilidh Loan, and Stephen Oswald. [TRAILER]
A Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965
A Charlie Brown Christmas , 1965 (Apple TV+ and PBS) – this year A Charlie Brown Christmas will air on PBS and PBS KIDS on Sunday, December 19, 2021 at 7:30 pm ET/6:30 pm CT (check local listings). If you miss the one-night only airing on PBS you can catch it on AppleTV which is now home to most of the Peanuts movies. [TRAILER]
MATHONWY REEVES as Thomas and DENHOLM ELLIOTT as Old Geraint
A Child’s Christmas in Wales, 1987 (Britbox, Crackle (with ads) and YouTube) – Based on the piece of prose by Dylan Thomas, the movie is a wonderfully simple story about a Christmas spent by a young boy growing up in Wales in the 1920s. In the film, Denholm Elliott plays Old Geraint who tells the Christmas story from his childhood to his young grandson Thomas. Starring Denholm Elliott and Mathonwy Reeves. Here is the link is to the full film on You Tube.
BRANT DAUGHERTY as Paul, KIMBERLY DAUGHERTY as Lacey, and CLEARY HERZLINGER as London.
A Christmas Movie Christmas, 2019 (Hulu Plus) – If you are a fan of Hallmark or Hallmark-like movies you are gonna LOVE this movie. After making their Christmas wishes, two sisters wake up inside a Christmas movie! (FYI, little Cleary Herzlinger, who plays London, steals every scene she’s in.) Starring Lana McKissack, Kimberly Daugherty, and Brant Daugherty (Kimberly’s real-life husband.) [TRAILER]
BEN LAMB as Prince Richard and ROSE MCIVER as Amber
A Christmas Prince, 2017 (Netflix) – Articles about these movies often use the word “ridiculous” and I once read that “The Christmas Prince” is the Christmas movie that everyone loves to hate and hates to love. But no matter how much people throw shade at it or criticize it the fact is the movies have been incredibly popular. It seems the third film may have been the last though. If they had continued the pattern of release, Christmas Prince 4 should have come out in 2021 but there is no mention of any new movie coming out in the franchise. It’s possible that with the popularity of the Princess Switch movies and new Netflix stand-alone movies it may have simply run its course. Starring Rose McIver, Ben Lamb, Alice Krige, and Sarah Douglas. There are two, count ’em TWO sequels (also on Netflix): A Christmas Prince 2: The Royal Wedding (2018) & A Christmas Prince 3: The Royal Baby (2019). [TRAILER]
IAN PETRELLA as Randy, PETER BILLINGSLEY as Ralphie, SCOTT SCHWARTZ as Flick, and R.D. ROBB as Schwartz
A Christmas Story, 1983 (HBOMax) – A classic. Ralphie puts a lot of effort into trying to get word to his elders that he wants “an official Red Ryder, carbine-action; two hundred shot range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time” before being devastated by having Santa tell him, “You’ll shoot your eye out kid.” Anyone who grew up in the 40s, 50s, 60s, or 70s will appreciate this movie. Starring Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Ian Petrella, Scott Schwartz, R.D. Robb. and Zack Ward (as Scut Farkus – I just love saying that name. Oh, and by the way, check out what Zack Ward looks like now. [TRAILER]
AUSTIN ABRAMS as Dash and MIDORI FRANCIS as Lily
Dash & Lily, 2020 (Netflix) – Note: this is an eight-episode series based on the novel by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan but it definitely is Christmas-centric. And if you love bookstores, particularly the Strand in NYC, you’re gonna wanna watch this. Starring Austin Abrams and Midori Francis [TRAILER]
MELISSA JOAN HART as Natalie Morgan and JASON PRIESTLY as Chris Massey
Dear Christmas, 2020 (HBOMax) – Natalie Morgan (Melissa Joan Hart) is a podcaster specializing in true-life stories of holiday romances. She drives home to Lake Tahoe for Christmas but right before getting into town she gets a flat tire. She calls for a repair truck and to her rescue comes “Mr. Christmas” (Jason Priestly) – an attractive and charming man who swoops in, changes her tire, and even lets her sit in his truck (where he has a mini hot cocoa station set up and phone charging cables). A DREAM repair truck driver! As they are ready to part ways she thanks him and he says he’ll see her tomorrow. She replies, “You seem pretty sure about that.” His response, “Pretty sure.” Well, he was pretty sure because Mr. Christmas knew who she was even though she didn’t recognize him. Turns out they went to high school together and he knew he had a job at her house the next day. A romance blossoms, but can Mr. Christmas be Natalie’s “true love” when she’s only “known him” for a week (or has she actually “known him” longer?) I also loved the bookshop in this film and the cast was fantastic, Jason Priestly looks damn good! Starring Melissa Joan Hart, Jason Priestly, Ed Begley, Jr., Faith Prince, and Nicky Whelan [CLIP}
Ebenezer Scrooge voiced by JIM CARREY
Disney’s A Christmas Carol, 2009 (Disney+) – I personally have not seen a version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ that I didn’t like, probably because I love redemption stories. And I also LOVE animated films so even though this has gotten some negative reviews, I myself enjoyed it. It’s a little disconcerting to watch at first because the animated figures are designed to look like the stars that are portraying them. So, for example, the rather rotund Mr. Fezziwig has Bob Hoskins face and the kindly nephew Fred looks a bit like Colin Firth, but not exactly like him. And of course, Scrooge has mannerisms and some features that resemble Carrey. But after a little while, you get used to it. Kind of like when you first start watching a Shakespearean play and have to adjust to the style of speaking. Starring (the voices of) Jim Carrey (who not only does Scrooge at all ages but all three Ghosts as well), Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Bob Hoskins, Lesley Manville, and Molly Quinn. [TRAILER]
MACKENZIE FOY as Clara and KEIRA KNIGHTLEY as Sugar Plum
Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, 2018 (Disney+ and Netflix) – I can’t lie, the movie was a little disappointing but it is a feast for the eyes. Starring Mackenzie Foy as Clara with Matthew Macfadyen, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Omid Djalili, Richard E. Grant, Keira Knightley, and Misty Copeland. [TRAILER]
Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square, 2020 (Netflix) – I generally am not a fan of this kind of movie – it’s schmaltzy, cheesy, and a bit religious but it starred Dolly and Christine so I had to watch. Those two things were enough to land it on my list. Starring Dolly Parton, Christine Baranski, and Treat Williams. [TRAILER]
BOB NEWHART as Papa Elf, ZOOEY DESCHANEL as Jovie, and WILL FERRELL as Buddy
🎁 Elf, 2003 (HBO Max) – Ed Asner is definitely one of the best Santas ever and Bob Newhart as an elf is pure genius. (Also, how many of you knew that Ralphie from ‘A Christmas Story’ was in this movie????) A modern classic and definitely one of my top five Christmas movies. Does it make you feel old that this will be 20 years old in 2023?Starring Will Farrell, Zooey Deschanel, Bob Newhart, Ed Asner, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, and Daniel Tay. (I also loved the performances by Faizon Love as the Gimbel’s Manager – HILARIOUS, Amy Sedaris as Walter’s assistant Deb, and Peter Dinklage as Miles Finch.) [TRAILER]
Father Christmas is Back, 2021 (Netflix) – Starring April Bowlby (Jackie), Katy Brand (Reverend Jane), John Cleese (John Christmas), Natalie Cox (Caroline Christmas-Hope), Ray Fearon (Felix), Naomi Frederick (Paulina Christmas), Kelsey Grammer (James Christmas), Elizabeth Hurley (Joanna Christmas), Kris Marshall (Peter Hope), Amelie Prescott (Daisey Christmas-Hope), Caroline Quentin (Elizabeth Christmas), Talulah Riley (Vicky Christmas) and Oliver Smith as Henry Christmas-Hope
JILLIAN SHEA SPAEDER as Jane, JILLIAN BELL as (Godmother-in-training) Eleanor & ISLA FISHER as Mackenzie
Godmothered, 2020 (Disney+) – Starring Jillian Bell, Isla Fisher, and Jane Curtain. [TRAILER]
DAN LEVY as John, KRISTEN STEWART as Abby, and MACKENZIE DAVIS as Harper
The Happiest Season, 2020 (Hulu Plus) – Starring Dan Levy, Alison Brie, Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Aubrey Plaza, Mary Steenburgen, Victor Garber, and Ana Gasteyer. [TRAILER]
MELANIE LYNSKEY as Kelly and MARK WEBBER as Kevin
Happy Christmas, 2014 (Paramount+) – After a bad breakup, Jenny (Anna Kendrick) goes back to Chicago and moves in with her brother, Jeff (Joe Swanberg) and her sister-in-law, Kelly (Melanie Lynskey). Jeff and Kelly are living a “grown-up” life. They have a two-year-old son, Jeff is gainfully employed, they are careful, responsible, all that jazz. The exact opposite of Jenny who has never really grown up, still drinks and smokes pot to excess, sleeps around and is basically just a mess. But, it turns out that everything is not so perfect in Jeff & Kelly’s world. Kelly, a novelist, is frustrated that she doesn’t have time to write because she’s become a full-time mother. As Kelly and Jenny begin to bond they help one another grow and find direction in their lives. Cast members include Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Lena Dunham, Joe Swanberg, and Mark Webber. [TRAILER]
EMMA ROBERTS as Sloane and KRISTIN CHENOWETH as Aunt Susan
Holidate, 2020 (Netflix) – Fun Christmas Rom-Com where two strangers who’ve had it with love agree to be each other’s plus one for all holiday invitations so that they won’t have to deal with family asking “When are you finally going to find someone and settle down?” Obviously, as time passes they start to have feelings for one another, which was not the plan. Starring Emma Roberts, Luke Bracey, Kristin Chenoweth, and Frances Fisher. [TRAILER]
JUDE LAW and CAMERON DIAZ with MIFFY ENGLEFIELD and EMMA PRITCHARD.
🎁 The Holiday, 2006 (Hulu Plus) – Oh to live in Rosehill Cottage. Sigh. (For photos of the interior, click here.) The exterior shots of Rosehill Cottage in ‘The Holiday’ were filmed at Honeysuckle Cottage in Holmbury St Mary. Starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black, and Jude Law. [TRAILER]
KAT GRAHAM as Abby Sutton and RON CEPHAS JONES as Gramps
The Holiday Calendar, 2018 (Netflix) – Starring Kat Graham, Quincy Brown, Ethan Peck, and Ron Cephas Jones. [TRAILER]
KRISTIN DAVIS (Kate) and ROB LOWE (Derek) fall in love rescuing elephants.
Holiday in the Wild, 2019 (Netflix) – Starring Kristin Davis and Rob Lowe (I didn’t think I’d like this as much as I did but between the African scenery and the elephants, well, the baby elephants totally put it over the top). [TRAILER]
MACAULAY CULKIN, 1990; Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved, Courtesy: Everett Collection.
Home Alone, 1990 (Disney+) – Starring Macaulay Culkin, Catherine O’Hara, John Heard, Daniel Stern, Joe Pesci, and of course our beloved John Candy. (There is also two sequels (both available on Disney+) but only Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is worth it. Tim Curry, Dana Ivey and Rob Schneider are fantastic in HA2 as staff at the Plaza Hotel. Sadly, the Orange Monster owned the real Plaza Hotel at the time the film was made and makes a brief cameo, so be forewarned.) [TRAILER]
Everyone loves Cindy Lou Who.
🎁 How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 1966 (Peacock) – the original animated version.
🎁 It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946 (Prime Video) – Starring Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, and Lionel Barrymore. [TRAILER]
JINGLE JANGLE: A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY (2020) Madalen Mills as Journey Jangle. Cr. Gareth Gatrell/NETFLIX
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, 2020 (Netflix) – Starring Phylicia Rashad, Forest Whitaker, Madalen Mills, Anika Noni Rose, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Bonneville, and Ricky Martin. (Lisa Davina Phillip, who plays Ms. Johnson, is hilarious!) [TRAILER]
Klaus, 2019 (Netflix) – Starring (the voices of) Jason Schwartzman, J.K. Simmons, Rashida Jones, Will Sasso, Norm MacDonald, and Joan Cusack. [TRAILER]
The Knight Before Christmas, 2019 (Netflix) – Starring Vanessa Hudgens and Josh Whitehouse. [TRAILER]
QUEEN LATIFAH is Georgia Byrd
🎁 Last Holiday, 2006 (Showtime) – Starring Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Timothy Hutton, Alicia Witt, Giancarlo Esposito, Gerard Depardieu, and Susan Kellermann. [TRAILER]
Love Hard, 2021(Netflix) –
The Man Who Invented Christmas, 2017 (Hulu) – starring Dan Stevens. [TRAILER]
🎁 Meet John Doe, 1941 (Paramount Plus) –
Miracle on 34th Street, 1947 (HBOMax) – Starring Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, and Natalie Wood. [TRAILER]
Miracle on 34th Street – this is the 1994 version. I don’t think it’s fair to try to compare a black & white film to a color remake. The tone, mood, and atmosphere of a b&w film are going to always be different, simply because of the lack of color – and that’s not a bad thing. It’s just, it’s like trying to compare oranges and limes, they are both citrus but they are not completely interchangeable. I hope that this makes sense (I’m doing my rambling thing now). The bottom line is, I love both versions.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, JOHNNY GALECKI, BEVERLY D’ANGELO, CHEVY CHASE, JULIETTE LEWIS, 1989
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, 1989 (HBOMax) – “Hurry up Clark, I’m freezing my baguettes off.” Starring Johnny Galecki, Beverly D’Angelo, Chevy Chase, and Juliette Lewis, 1989 [TRAILER]
Noelle, 2019 (Disney+) – Starring Anna Kendrick, Shirley MacLaine, Bill Hader, and Kingsley Ben-Adir. [TRAILER]
Prep & Landing, 2009 (Disney+) – (Sequels called Prep & Landing: Naughty or Nice and Prep & Landing: Operation: Secret Santa)
VANESSA HUDGENS and VANESSA HUDGENS as Stacy and Margaret in the Netflix holiday confection ‘The Princess Switch’
Santa Claus: The Movie, 1985 (Peacock) – Starring David Huddleston, Burgess Meredith, Judy Cornwell, Dudley Moore (if someone else had been cast in Moore’s role this movie would have been so much better) and John Lithgow. [TRAILER]
TIM ALLEN as Scott Calvin (aka Santa Clause) and ERIC LLOYD as Charlie Calvin.
The Santa Clause, 1994 (Disney+) – Starring Tim Allen, David Krumholtz, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, and Eric Lloyd. (There are two sequels, also on Disney+, with the same original cast: Santa Clause 2 (2002) adds Elizabeth Mitchell as the future Mrs. Claus and Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006) adds Martin Short as Jack Frost and Alan Arkin and Ann-Margaret as the new Mrs. Claus’s parents who don’t have a clue who their son-in-law is.) [TRAILER]
Shaun the Sheep: the Flight Before Christmas, 2021 (Netflix) –
🎁 Single All the Way, 2021 (Netflix) –
Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993 (Disney+) – Starring Chris Sarandon (Jack Skellington’s speaking voice) and Catherine O’Hara (Sally and Shock’s voice) [TRAILER]
BING CROSBY, ROSEMARY CLOONEY, VERA-ELLEN, and DANNY KAYE in ‘White Christmas.’
White Christmas, 1954 (Netflix) – Starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen. [TRAILER]
And of course….
Die Hard, 1988 (HBO Max) – Starring Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, and Alan Rickman. [TRAILER]
Baking It, 2021 (Peacock) – For fans of Making It, comes a baking (and Christmas) version of the show! I’m a HUGE fan of Making It (hosted by the fabulous Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman). Baking It is hosted by the equally fabulous Maya Rudolph and Adam Sandler! They start the series by having Amy pass off the space to Maya and Adam and then things take off. Before Making It (and now Baking It) I never watched realty shows. Well, except when my niece and faux-daughter were visiting. These are shows I actually watch because I enjoy them and the main reason is because they intentionally make the show have a positive, encouraging vibe on it. Obviously the entrants are competiting against one another but they will even help one another to finish on time or solve problems – it’s really a good message. I also love the judges they have for Baking It.
The Holiday Movies That Made Us, 2020 (Netflix) – [TRAILER]
Course some of the best Christmas movies aren’t available on a streaming service for free:
Arthur Christmas, 2011 – from the Wallace & Gromit people! [TRAILER]
A Bad Mom’s Christmas, 2017 – Starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christine Baranski, Susan Sarandon, and Cheryl Hines. (You can watch this without having seen the original ‘Bad Moms’ but it’s better if you have. Unfortunately the original isn’t streaming for free.) [TRAILER] AppleTV or Prime Video
JIM BROADBENT is Santa
🎁 Get Santa, 2014 – A charming Christmas movie with a Paddington-esque quality (they were both released in 2014) where things go quite afoul for Santa. But with a little help from his friends, he manages to make his deliveries on time. With Jim Broadbent as Santa Claus. Unfortunately, Netflix removed this from its library (I get why they can’t keep everything but they have so much crap!) but it is available on Apple TV or Prime Video to rent ($3.99) or buy ($5.99.) Personally, when something is only a couple of dollars more to buy I tend to go that route. In this case, you will probably want to watch this every Christmas. I know I’ll be watching it again. [TRAILER]
Last Christmas, 2019 – Starring Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Emma Thompson, and Michelle Yeoh. [TRAILER]
Love, Actually, 2003 – I mean really though, this movie is worth an investment. Surely you watch it every year? Hugh Grant (as The Prime Minister), Billy Campbell (as Natalie’s octopus brother) and Martine McCutcheon (as Natalie) [TRAILER]
Polar Express, 2004 – I really liked this movie but similar to the Disney Christmas Carol it takes some adjusting to get used to seeing the animations where the voices are completely familiar (Tom Hanks) but the face looks a little off. You’ll see what I mean. [TRAILER]
BILL MURRAY (playing Frank Cross) and KAREN ALLEN (playing Claire Phillips)
Scrooged, 1988 – Frank Cross (Bill Murray) sees the light after being visited by three ghosts. [TRAILER]
STEVE MARTIN plays Neal Page and JOHN CANDY plays Del Griffith
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, 1987 – god I miss John Candy. But at least we still have his movies! [TRAILER]
BARBARA STANWYCK as Elizabeth Lane and DENNIS MORGAN as Jefferson Jones
Christmas in Connecticut, 1945 – Stanwyck plays Elizabeth Lane, a journalist who has been faking being the perfect housewife. After getting away with pretending she has a husband, a baby, a farm in Connecticut (and using recipes from her uncle, who is a chef) she is told by her boss there’s a returning war hero who’s a huge fan and read her recipes while he was in the hospital. The publisher invites himself and the war hero to her house for Christmas. Lane jumps through hoops to carry on the charade, including [TRAILER]
(P.S. And if you like Frank Capra and Barbara Stanwyck you should try Meet John Doe. Technically it’s not a Christmas movie but it has a climactic ending on Christmas Eve so I always think of it as a holiday film. It’s one of my favorites.)
Joyeux Noel, 2005 – you might not know of this French film but you may have heard the story of the truce that took place for one night on Christmas eve during World War I. This is the story of that event. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2006. Starring Diane Kruger, Benno Furmann, Guillaume Canet, Natalie Dessay, Rolando Villazón, and Daniel Brühl. [TRAILER]
The Ref, 1994 – if you can handle watching a movie with Kevin Spacey (sadly so many things are ruined for me now, but he does get terrorized for a while so that may help,) Dennis Leary is freaking brilliant. So are Judy Davis and Christine Baranski (duh). Starring Denis Leary, Judy Davis, Kevin Spacey, Robert J. Steinmiller Jr., Glynis Johns, Raymond J. Barry, Richard Bright, and Christine Baranski. (Note: this movie isn’t available through any pay subscription services but if your local public library has Hoopla you may be able to stream it) [TRAILER]
DAN AYKROYD is Louis Winthorpe III
Trading Places, 1983 – YES, Virginia, it absolutely is a Christmas movie! Starring Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Denholm Elliott, Ralph Bellamy, and Don Ameche. [TRAILER]
Wishing everyone a very HAPPY, HEALTHY, AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!
1. The Technicolor Fashion Show Scene from the original version of the movie ‘The Women’ (1939) – I suspect more people are familiar with the 2008 film version of ‘The Women’ starring Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, and Jada Pinkett-Smith. The casts of both films are entirely women, you never once see a man, though there are constant references to them or a man will call on the phone.
The video below isn’t the entire scene unfortunately, it’s just the beginning – the full fashion show lasts about six minutes and includes the styles of designer Adrian. The film is in black & white but briefly switches to technicolor for this one scene. Apparently they filmed the fashion show in both black and white and technicolor. It was only shown on television and on DVDs in black & white but Turner Classic Movies restored the technicolor fashion show and how marvelous that they did!
2. Curbside Larry (Thanks KK!) Most places have someone like this. A person who does such obnoxious commercials that they become endearing. In Milwaukee we had a pitchman named “Crazy TV Lenny” who now owns an e-bike business called “Crazy Lenny’s.” I think it’s BRILLIANT how they used it to promote library services!
3. This Hallmark Movie – ‘Wedding Every Weekend,’ the latest Hallmark movie, has finally included an LGBTQ couple. YIPPEE!!! And it was NOT done subtlety either. This is now my favorite Hallmark movie (well, non-holiday Hallmark movie, I still really LOVE Christmas Getaway.)
4. Thomas Fitzpatrick: The greatest “Hold my beer and watch this” ever – Picture it, Sicily, 1956… wait, that’s wrong, not Sicily, it was New York City. Mr. Thomas Fitzpatrick makes a bet that he could land a plane outside the bar that he was drinking in, a couple hours later he does exactly that, in a stolen plane no less. Years later when someone refuses to believe him he even does it again! (Found on MessyNessyChic)
5. Rebecca – it won’t premiere on Netflix until October 21st but I am so excited about this upcoming movie I can barely see straight. The novel Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier has been one of my favorite books since high school. I also love the old black & white movie with Joan Fontaine and Lawrence Olivier (1940.) It was my first introduction to the actor George Sanders. Most people only know his voice – he was Shere Khan the Tiger in the 1967 Jungle Book. His voice is beyond sexy, he really does sort of growl. His role in Jungle Book was just too perfect.
Getting on to the new Rebecca – good lord, Armie Hammer is playing Maxim de Winter. SWOON! And Lily James plays the unnamed woman who narrates and becomes the second Mrs. de Winter. Kristin Scott Thomas is Mrs. Danvers, Keeley Hawes (The Bodyguard and Durrells in Corfu) is Beatrice Lacy and Sam Riley (Maleficent and Radioactive) is Jack Favell. It’s all my favorite people in one film!!! Pinch me!
6. Suffragettes – tomorrow (August 18th) will mark the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote. That’s right, it was only 100 years ago that women were given the right to vote in our country. New Zealand was actually the first country in the world to give women the right to vote. They did that in 1893, although there were actually some women on the Isle of Man (geographically part of the British Isles but not part of the UK) who were able to vote from 1881. New Zealand women were allowed to vote though they could not run for office.
There are two important dates to celebrate in 2020 – June 4th was the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment and August 18th is the 100th anniversary of its ratification and being added to the Constitution.
Want a fun activity for you and/or any kids you may know? Here’s Flat Susan B. (a twist on Flat Stanley), color her in and share her with friends, or use her as a bookmark, or take her along wherever you go and have her show up in photos that you post on Instagram! Flat Susan B is AWESOME! (And remember, coloring is therapeutic.) If you click on the image below you’ll go to the printable version.)
And remember, even though women won the right to vote in 1920, there is still a lot of problems with inequality in this country, which became very obvious with this summer’s BLM protests.
Sadly, the American’s Suffragette’s appear to won their battle at the expense of their black sisters. And the Equal Rights Amendment, though approved by both the House and the Senate in the early seventies never was able to get ratified by enough state legislatures before the deadline SEVEN years later. The deadline was extended for four years but still, the required of number of states was not met so Congress considers it dead. Several groups have tried to get Congress to remove the deadline but nothing has happened. Can you believe though that we, as a country, couldn’t get enough states to ratify the ERA in the first place???? Let’s see what happens in November, shall we?
P.S. if you haven’t seen the film Suffragettes yet, now’s the time!
7. The National Park Service’s ‘Recreate Responsibly’ Campaign Posters – the NPS began the campaign in April and it is genius. Humor really is the best way to get people’s attention, get things to go viral, and to get people to actually read things! The most recent poster, ‘Wildlife Petting Chart,’ is obviously in response to the recent bison incident (hint, don’t approach a baby bison when its mama is looking on.)
1. Stanley Tuccimaking a Negroni – if you haven’t seen this video yet, you have to watch it. It’s true, I could watch Stanley Tucci reading a phone book (there’s a handful of actors that I can say this about and he’s one of them,) but this is entrancing.
2. The Film Short made while isolating by one of my favorite history buff/film makers. I love her sense of humor.
3. Children’s Book Emoji Pictionary – how many can you figure out? I managed to get 15 out of 15 (yes I’m bragging, but full disclosure I was a Children’s Librarian for 12 years before becoming a library director so I have a bit of an advantage.) I’ll put the answers at the bottom of the post.
4. Gabe Kaplan beating the pants off of Robert Conrad in a race from the Battle of the Network Stars. Raise your hand if you remember this show! I do, I do!!!
5. This video of Mr. Rogers & Julia Child cooking together. I would have given anything to meet Mr. Rogers but I can say I got to meet Julia Child back when I worked at Schwartz Bookshop in Milwaukee during her ‘The Way to Cook’ book tour. She’s as fabulous as you would hope she’d be and so wonderfully tall. As a tall person myself I was overjoyed about that.
6. This article on ‘5 Reasons to Bake Pretzels with Walter the Baker‘ – yesterday was National Pretzel Day and when I think of pretzels I can’t help but think of the book Walter the Baker. For those of you who haven’t read the book, here is a lovely video story time. Walter the Baker is one of my favorite Eric Carle books. It may be because it’s about pretzels. It may be because it has a Duke & Duchess in the story, (good or bad I’m partial to stories that include royalty.) It may be because I love all Carle’s books.
Anyway, being in isolation, pretzels are the perfect thing to make at home, assuming you have flour – I hear it can be difficult to find in some areas. How yummy!
7. Last but definitely not least, these Coloring Sheets inspired by WES ANDERSONS & HAYAO MIYAZAKI films. O……M…..G, I’m in heaven!!!
And the answers to the Children’s Book Emoji Pictionary are:
Whoops, I missed a week. But I had some other things I had to blog about. I’m sure that it’s not the end of the world. I’ll have a doubly long list this week.
1. SomeGoodNews – John Krasinski (“The Office,” “A Quiet Place,” and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan”) has begun a YouTube channel/”network” dedicated to reporting ONLY good news. It’s absolutely wonderful. This is the first show. You’re going to want to subscribe! (And wait until you see who shows up for episode two!!!)
2. Have you seen this Monty Python COVID-19 gif yet?
2. Sir Patrick – those who know me know I have had a lifelong love affair with Patrick Stewart. There are so many things to love about this man. His voice. His intelligence. His generous spirit. His sense of humor. I could go on and on. If you already aren’t aware of this, Sir Patrick has been reading a sonnet a day on his twitter feed and I tell you, there is nothing more calming. You need to check it out.
3. Fragrant Isle Lavender and Chamomile Dusting Powder – I’ve been obsessed with this stuff for a while. I realize dusting powder is an old fashioned term. The thing is, people really shouldn’t be using talcum powder anymore. I only buy dusting/baby powder that is made from corn starch. This fits that bill AND as an added bonus it reminds me of my Gramps, who used to smell of lavender dusting powder, pipe tobacco, and in the winter, wool.
As people around the globe stay home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, health care professionals continue to work at the forefront to serve the community. Iranian artist Alireza Pakdel captures the surreal state of the world in his series of emotional illustrations featuring brave doctors and nurses fighting the virus in both realistic and imaginative scenarios.
Pakdel uses reoccurring imagery of giant green germs to convey the fear of an unseeable enemy, while also casting medical staff as the true heroes that they are, tirelessly keeping the threat at bay. Mask-wearing characters save people from the virus in a multitude of metaphorical scenes where COVID-19 presents itself as a visible enemy. For example, Pakdel portrays the disease as handcuffs that doctors must break apart, as well as a maze that medics must pass through, and even as an enormous bear trap that threatens a car driving towards it. This type of ever-changing enemy is emblematic of the incredible challenge it poses to doctors on the front lines.
‘Illustrations Highlight Bravery of Healthcare Professionals During Coronavirus Pandemic’ By Margherita Cole on April 7, 2020
6. Every Hotel Ever – this video is HILARIOUS – it truly is EVERY hotel you’ve ever stayed in.
7. Blueberry Baked Oatmeal – I’ve been trying to cook/bake more while at home and I’ve been doing a halfway decent job of it. One of my favorite things to make is this recipe: Cookie and Kate’s Blueberry Baked Oatmeal. You could use other berries instead of blueberries. There are so many great things about this dish – it works with frozen fruit, it allows for all sorts of variations, it’s healthy, it’s really filling. Most importantly though, it’s delicious! It’s definitely on my comfort food list. I only use 1-1/2 tablespoons of butter (instead of the full 3) because I don’t save aside half to drizzle over the bake when it’s finished. Instead, when I am ready to eat a piece, I warm it up then I warm up a wee bit of milk as well and pour that over the top. Yum!
8. I texted a friend to check on her the other day and ‘Salright popped into my head. For those of you who remember Señor Wences. Are you ‘salright? I’m ‘salright.