1. This Music Video by Ingrid Michaelson (Featuring Zooey Deschanel) – I’ve always been obsessed with animated stop-motion films created with felt.
Here’s another short film I’ve watched about a half dozen times (it’s on Netflix). It’s called ‘Robin Robin’ and it’s a delightful holiday gem.
2. This SNL Monologue by John Malkovich – truly a national treasure.
3. This Tour of Fortnum & Mason (and also Harrods) at Christmas – My friends know this, but F&M is my mothership and it’s been calling to me for the past couple of years. For myself personally, not being able to get to London and Ireland to visit my friends there and do all the things I love to do in the UK is in the top five most difficult things about the pandemic.
4. This Christmas Short (which is actually a Christmas Advert)
5. This (Faux) Letter to Santa – gotta love a little historical humor.
6. This Collection of Eggnog Cartons – Called the “Eggnog Project“, graphic designer Madeleine Eiche has curated a museum-worthy selection of eggnog cartons that exhibit the variety of designs in American eggnog packaging.
[Found on ‘Messy Nessy Chic’]
7. These Letters from J.R.R. Tolkien to His Children – Can you imagine receiving something so incredible? Not only were the stories wonderful (which is no surprise) but the drawings are magnificent!!!
1. This Cover of VOGUE Magazine – The world was given Amanda Gorman in 1998 but so many of us were unaware of this gifted woman until January 20, 2020. Thank goodness President Biden chose her as his Inaugural Poet! Good job Vogue – keep going – let’s see scientists and artists and teachers and healthcare workers and activists and environmentalists and small-business owners and single Moms and… on the cover.
2. This Graphic Showing what “Reasonable Police Officers” said as the Trial of Derek Chauvin Regarding Use of Unreasonable Force – I can’t say I love this but I appreciate that someone put it together. I have listened to a good portion of the trial and happened to turn it on today right at the point where the defense attorney was discussion this specific topic in their closing arguments. It was infuriating listening to him try to manipulate and twist his words to make it sound as though what Chauvin did was at all reasonable, even after so many officers had said it wasn’t. I only pray the jury sees through his legal speak.
3. This Comic Book Artist – I actually saw these a few years ago but ran across them again and needed to share. The artist’s name is Francois Schuiten. He illustrated a series of comic books called Obscure Cities, written by his longtime friend, writer Benoit Peeters.
As you can see, the artwork is magnificent. For years the only way to get them in the US was in black and white and in the original French but the good news is, just this year, Penguin began releasing them in English and in full-color! I’ve ordered one already from my local bookshop.
4. These Selections of Brahms – Famous individuals from the music world choose their favorite five-minutes of Johannes Brahms. A fantastic way to become accustomed to Brahm’s music if you are unfamiliar or reacquaint yourself if it’s been a while. [From the New York Times]
5. This Television Series from a Series of Novels – The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness (A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life) were published between 2011 and 2014. This series is based on the three books with each season covering one of the books. Two seasons have been aired so far, the second season only recently becoming available. I was able to watch it via Prime with my AMC subscription but if you have a Sundance subscription that is another option.
People have often compared this series to Twilight and Harry Potter, the former because of the vampires and other creatures in the story and the latter because of the literary aspects, and I can see why they would, but as a friend of mine said, these are more mature, grown-up versions of the stories – more complicated, more clever.
And I don’t think I mentioned that there is time travelling. The second season is spent mostly in Tudor London while the first season is mostly in modern day Oxford (or Venice or the French countryside.) The entire show is a treat to watch.
6. This Email from Kitsch Regarding Mother’s DayPromotions – I’ve never received anything like this before and I really wish more businesses would follow suit! There are a multitude of reasons why Mother’s Day is difficult for me. Being bombarded by ads and promotions (not just in my inbox but on television and radio too) for nearly the a full month before the actual holiday, makes it all the more difficult.
7. This Sneak Peak of a Bourbon Street Chemist (with Products Made Entirely in Felt) – I love Lucy Sparrow’s art. She works primarily with felt and wool and often creates life-sized recreations of everyday objects.
Her latest exhibit is at the Lyndsey Ingram Gallery and you can see a nice overview at the video below. You can purchase the items at the NFS (or National Felt Service, which is Lucy’s spin on the UK’s NHS or National Health Service.) As they are pieces of art, they are not inexpensive.
1. This Couple, Annie Kampfe and Cliff Donnelly, Who Built a Miniature Mid-Century House Based on the Homes They Grew Up In – who doesn’t love miniatures and someone who put this much into the details of a Mid-Century home – I mean, it really would be every kids dream house, right?
2. This DoorDash Commercial – I don’t know about you but there is something quite comforting about the idea of being roomies with Cookie Monster. Yeah, he’d make a mess when he ate, yeah, you’d have to hide the cookies, but how cute is he sitting there on the sofa, reading next to Daveed Diggs?!?!
3. This New(ish) Television Series, Resident Alien – based on a comic book series, Resident Alien takes a fairly common premise – alien invasion – and turns it upside down. In the SyFy series (which stars Alan Tudyk, most famous for his role as Hoban ‘Wash’ Washburne in Firefly, though I also love his ‘Steve the Pirate’ in Dodgeball: a True Underdog Story, one of my all-time favorite movies) is an alien who crash lands in Colorado while on a mission to actually destroy planet Earth. In the crash he loses some of the equipment he needs to destroy earth because it’s winter and it gets buried in the snow, somewhere on a rather large mountain.
Without alien equipment he has to go old school and look for it by walking around and digging, which he knows could take weeks. He decides he will need food and shelter and luckily finds a remote home on the lake. Not so lucky for the homeowner, it isn’t abandoned. The alien kills the man and disposes of his body in the lake but also takes the human’s form in case he’s noticed while searching for his lost equipment.
Soon after though a murder occurs in the nearby town and the victim is the town’s only doctor. The people in the town need someone to help them with the autopsy and guess who is the nearest doctor, yep, the guy the alien killed and transformed himself into.
What is most hilarious I think is that there are a couple kids in town who can see through the facade. I can’t remember what the explanation was – I just took it as being something like in the Polar Express and why kids could still hear the jingle bell. At first there was only one boy who could see him and the alien decided he was going to have to murder the kid. But the kid was a bit more of a challenge than he anticipated.
Anyway, it’s an excellent show! The first episode was a little slow but it has only gotten better and better.
You can watch the trailer here. OR if you really want to get drawn in, here are the first 7 minutes.
4. This COMPLETELY FABRICATED Series Called Tiny Secret Whispers‘ that Seth Meyers Has Been Gushing Over on His Show for the Past Three Weeks – Sorry Stephen, but Seth has officially become my favorite late night host. His impressions, his banter with his staff, long running jokes like the Thorn birds, the Sea Captain and now this. It’s sheer brilliance and it keeps his audience tuned in every night.
5. These Waterproof Notepads, Aquanotes – I’ve found that I think most clearly in the shower. I suspect it is because there is no distractrations. I’ve tried for several years to find the best way to keep track of my thoughts and ideas. I moved in an Alexa. I bought a waterproof recorder, a few different ones actually. But nothing worked because everything that I bought required me to then take transcribe what I dictated and that was a pain. I finally found these and they have been the best solution. They keep me from rambling (as we know, that is my tendency) and then I can rip off the page, take it to my desk and get it all taken care of without having to listen to a recording first. They are a little pricey but after you buy the first pencil/pad set for $9.75 you can get refills, 3 pads for $26, so it’s a little over a dollar less per pad.
6. This Response from LeVar Burton on the Decision by Seuss Enterprises to Discontinue Publication of Six of Their Titles – Who is better qualified to speak on this topic than Mr. Reading Rainbow himself (and of course ST:TNG’s Geordi La Forge)? You should watch the entire interview and listen to his full reply. It’s exceptional.
“Actually, I think that, in the general sense, once you know better, it is incumbent upon you to do better, and that’s exactly what Seuss Enterprises is doing here. They are being a responsible steward of the brand and they looked at these six titles and determined that in the light of today, they really don’t fit with the values that we’ve all come to know Dr Seuss for. Look, all of our heroes are human; they are all flawed. It’s one of the things I learned from Gene Roddenberry, one of my storytelling mentors. Gene was a guy who had this great vision, but he also wanted all the women in short skirts, so our heroes are flawed.”
7. This Website that Drives You Around Most Major Cities of the World – called Drive and Listen, the website will make you feel like you are sitting in a taxi in one of over 50 cities in the world. You can choose whether you want to include street noise (why wouldn’t you?!?) and a local radio station. Unfortunately you don’t get to choose the radio station but that only makes the ride more realistic.
Word of the Day
I came across a great list of female related words (most of which I will be using in the future so I’m not going to include the link.) I’m starting with this one. The root of the word, vir-, is Latin for man, such as in the word virile. Don’t you find it interesting how one definition is a nagging shrew and the other is strong, heroic woman?
I want to thank my friend Ann who was the person who shared a few of this week’s ‘Things I Love’ with me. Thanks Ann!
1. This Suffragettes’ Christmas Card – Savvy Twitter users who could read music noticed that the music at the bottom of the card was actually for ‘La Marseillaise,’ the French national anthem. One Twitterer pointed out the song was indeed used by the movement.
In fact it was called “The Women’s Marseillaise‘ and it was the official anthem of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU.) With words written by Florence Macaulay, the song was sung by suffragettes both in the United Kingdom and in the United States. I don’t think women today can truly grasp how much we owe to the Suffragettes of the early twentieth century.
2. This Netflix Series, ‘The Holiday Movies That Made Us’ – a holiday version of the popular ‘The Movies That Made Us,’ the series covers two films: ‘Elf‘ and “Nightmare Before Christmas.’ (Personally, I enjoyed the ‘Elf‘ one better, even though “Nightmare Before Christmas‘ is one of my Mom’s favorite movies of all-time.)
3. This Excerpt from a Letter from Virginia Woolf to Violet Dickinson. – This excerpt of the letter is from the site ‘Letters of Note (LoN).’ I’m rather obsessed with ‘LoN.’ ‘LoN’ started as a book (I have a personalized copy) and eventually turned into this incredible online museum, all the brainchild of one person named Shaun Usher. Now there are multiple volumes with more on the way. I suggest signing up for the newsletter so you get a handful of letters delivered straight to your inbox daily.
So you know, Violet Dickinson was an old family friend of Virginia Woolf. Here is some information about her from Ellen Moers NYT review of “The Letters of Virginia Woolf, Volume I: 1888-1912“:
“Violet Dickinson gave far more than affection. She nursed Virginia at her Welwyn home through her suicidal depression in the summer of 1904, and then introduced her to the women’s editor of The Guardian and to Nellie Cecil. The Guardian assigned Virginia books to review and published her first writing; with Nellie Cecil (a professional critic, as will as daughter and wife of peers – her nephew is Lord David Cecil) she collaborated on a literary column for The Cornhill. From then until her marriage, Virginia Woolf was a hard-working literary journalist; she adored it.”
It is Christmas evening, and we are all soporific from the effects of a Christmas tea eaten on top of a Christmas turkey. Sophie never lets us off on Christmas day at all, and when this letter is finished, I shall have to go down and attack the turkeys legs which were left intact. Thoby had such a large helping that another plate had to receive the overflow, and he ate impartially from both. They spent the afternoon in making Rum Punch, which is made half of rum half of brandy, with sugar and lemon and hot water thrown in: the house smells like a public house in consequence, and we shall have a very merry evening. Isn’t this better than your high and dry aristocrats? We all talk at once, and make such brilliant jokes as never were seen.
Virginia Woolf | Letter to Violet Dickinson, Christmas Day 1904
4. ThisScatelogical Celebration in Catalonia – I actually wish this was a thing here. These are called “caganers” and they are meant to bring luck. They need to be placed in a Nativity and the idea is that the defecating (caganer supposedly loosely translates to “the defecator”) figure is fertilizing the soil and therefore will bring good crops – basically it’s a symbol of fertility and good fortune. This explains why there are more figures of beloved people/things taking a poop than of ones that are disliked.
5. This Map Showing the Favorite Christmas Treat for Each State – if you’d like to see a larger version you can click on this link. Not sure if you agree with the map. I grew up in Iowa and we never had oreo balls. But we were right on the border of Wisconsin & Illinois so we weren’t really typical Iowa. I’ve lived in Wisconsin for the majority of my life (about 37 years,) and I don’t particularly recall seeing a lot of Andes Peppermints around during the holidays.
6. This Special Reading by Neil Gaiman of ‘A Christmas Carol’ – Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors and it’s not just because he’s an amazing writer but it’s also because he’s a HUGE advocate for public libraries. There are many Gaiman quotes to choose from about public libraries but his most “famous” in the library world is this one:
“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.” ~ Neil Gaiman
7. This Collection of Rankin/Bass Christmas Specials that includes the “Vintage” Commercials –
Another vintage show with original commercials…
[Bonus] 8. These Vintage Ceramic Christmas Trees – one of my favorite things about Christmas is decorating and the reason I love it so much is because it takes me back to my childhood. Every year, right after Thanksgiving, when I start to open up the boxes that store all my Christmas decorations I find myself mostly thinking about my Mom. Which is the best part.
I inherited a lot of her Christmas decorations and as I look at them, every one of them makes me think of her and the Christmases we spent together. The memories have become hazy but the feelings haven’t.
We actually never had one of these trees when I was a kid, not that I remember (as I said, hazy) but there is still something very familiar about this tree and I now own one. They are absolutely delightful. There’s a wonderful history of the trees written up here. And here is an article from Taste of Home with advice on how to find a ceramic tree if you are interested in having one for yourself.
Christmas collectibles have great sentimental value. Nowadays there isn’t a lot that gets passed down from generation to generation anymore. Mothers don’t give/leave their children china or silver or antiques. But that treasured tree topper or those favorite Christmas ornaments, well, that is something that any kid of any generation will appreciate.
[Bonus] 9. This Christmas Playlist – and don’t forget to check out the Menopausal Broad Playlist: Christmas Edition. I’ve added some new tunes and I’m sure that I’ll be adding even more music as the week goes on…
Word of the Day
Quote of the Day
(We’ve been at the threshold of hell most of this year but we’re close to being saved!)
1. This article about the Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle and Friends – I’m sure most of the rest of you menopausal broads (and even those of you who simply grew up as a Gen Xer) remember Bullwinkle, the good-humored moose and his best buddy Rocky, who happened to be a flying squirrel. My favorite part of the show was ‘Fractured Fairy Tales’ but everything was great including ‘Peabody’s Improbably History,’ ‘Dudley Do-Right,’ and ‘Aesop & Son.’
This article starts out right away with a very relevant and obvious story. Turns out that Rocky & Bullwinkle were teaching us a lot about politics through satire. Seems like maybe we should all start watching it again.
Mr. Chairman, I am against all foreign aid, especially to places like Hawaii and Alaska,” says Senator Fussmussen from the floor of a cartoon Senate in 1962. In the visitors’ gallery, Russian agents Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale are deciding whether to use their secret “Goof Gas” gun to turn the Congress stupid, as they did to all the rocket scientists and professors in the last episode of “Bullwinkle.”
Another senator wants to raise taxes on everyone under the age of 67. He, of course, is 68. Yet a third stands up to demand, “We’ve got to get the government out of government!” The Pottsylvanian spies decide their weapon is unnecessary: Congress is already ignorant, corrupt and feckless.
Hahahahaha. Oh, Washington.
That joke was a wheeze half a century ago, a cornball classic that demonstrates the essential charm of the “Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends,” the cartoon show that originally aired between 1959 and 1964 about a moose and a squirrel navigating Cold War politics.
“How Bullwinkle Taught Kids Sophisticated Political Satire” by Beth Daniels, Smithsonian Magazine, September 7, 2017
2. This wonderful video about how mimes may be endangered…
4. Regency Novel or Pandemic Life? They really are nearly identical. Perhaps that is why I have accommodated better than most?
5. I’m a big game person – love all kinds of games. Recently I’ve been playing a game that kept advertising an app called Happy Color and it looked kind of fun. I downloaded it just to try it out and I’m totally obsessed. It’s really helpful with reducing my stress level. The app is free but you do have to watch an ad when you first start. You can watch more ads while your coloring if you want to earn credits for help on finding a spot that you might have missed coloring. Trust me, you may need it, especially for pictures with loads of detail. There’s also a cool function where you can save both a copy of the picture you color and/or a short video of the coloring process. Here’s an example!
These protesters who leapt in front of people who were trying to loot an area Target and stood in front of the store to block people from entering.
These white women, who formed a line of protection between the black protesters and the police.
These black protesters who protected this police officer. The officer became separated from his squad during a riot.
The cops in Queens who knelt in solidarity with demonstrators protesting racists police violence
Here’s one last article that includes many other places where police joined protesters marching against the violence and brutality that black and people of color have faced in American for centuries. It’s time for CHANGE! History is happening in front of our eyes.
This articlethat comparespeople who refuse to wear masks to men who refuse to wear condoms. It’s freaking brilliant. Here’s the beginning of the article:
Am I the only woman who finds a suspicious similarity between the excuses made by people who refuse to wear masks in public and men who refuse to put on a condom in the bedroom?
“I don’t like the way it feels!”
“I don’t like the way it looks.”
“I’m safe — trust me!”
Uh — no.
You’re not safe, dude. You’re just selfish.
2. ADRIAN MONK (and friends) is back! And I couldn’t be happier. Absolute perfection.
3. The Wes Anderson Guide to Surviving a Global Pandemic – the woman who put this together needs to be hired immediately by Mr. Anderson. (I wish there wasn’t the microphone issue – still, you can obviously overlook that one thing.)
4. ZOOM, and I don’t mean the video conferencing …. All my fellow GenXers will appreciate this fabulous New Yorker article about the best kid’s show from the 70s. If you’re like me every time you hear someone refer to a Zoom call you say to yourself “Come on and Zoom-Zoom-Zoom-a-Zoom…” And I am happy they did the reboot (1999 to 2005) but sadly it never captured the magic of the original show.
5. #ReadALetter campaign – Last month Benedict Cumberbatch announced the details of the campaign, asking for videos of people* reading letters, either ones they have written themselves or written by someone else. Below are two of my favorites so far.
*He clarified that if you’re camera shy, you may point your phone at something else while you read: the letter itself, the view from your window, your adorable dog.
I plan on giving this a try myself. I have a letter in mind that I would like to read.
A friend of mine gave me this Barbie a few years ago for my birthday. I recently moved her so she is sitting next to me in the living room, where I am spending the majority of my time. Seeing her every day is bringing me much joy so I thought I’d share her with you all today. This morning she’s reminding us to stay hydrated while isolating!
1 Dead Feminists broadsides – I discovered the postcard versions in a shop in Milwaukee’s Third Ward. I wanted to get ALL of them but settled on one to start. The broadsides are nearly sold out but you can buy extra large (5″x 8″) postcard versions that are suitable for framing
2. I’m obsessed with ice bubbles. They’re created from methane gas which has frozen beneath the water. The methane gas forms as a result of microbes consuming dead organic matter at the bottom of a body of water, usually a lake. Are the microbes basically burping up the methane gas?
3. This article about the real spies who were the inspiration for James Bond. Whoa.
4. Have you tried the new ‘Beyonce’ of apples – the Cosmic Crisp? I’m a HUGE fan!
5. My sister-in-law’s floral artistic talents…. If you are in the Portland area, my brother & sister-in-law’s establishment will be opening soon. In the meantime you can follow them on Instagram.