1. These KN95 Masks – I’m sure you’ve heard all the new recommendations saying cloth masks aren’t very good anymore and that we should all be wearing N95 or KN95 masks now. Still, I’ve hesitated to purchase new masks for a couple of reasons.
After all, I already own about two dozen beautiful cloth masks. (I particularly love the embroidered ones I found). You can’t really get N95 or KN95 masks that look nice. Another reason – there are too many masks to choose from and the ones that I know are good (not counterfeit) have been sold out – argh! A third reason (and the one that is the most important) all these disposable masks are ending up in landfills and that’s making me catatonic. I’m trying very hard not to make my footprint any larger than it already is.
That’s why, when I read about how VIDA masks includes a prepaid shipping label so that you can return your used masks so they can properly recycle them, I promptly placed an order.
Full disclosure, they haven’t arrived yet, but since ordering them I’ve seen the VIDA masks show up on many different recommended masks lists so I’m thinking they must be pretty good.
2. This Piece of Art by Argentinian-American Artist Cecilia Lueza – a friend of mine reposted this along with the poem below.
“Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the the world through joy. The birds still remember what we have forgotten. that the world is meant to be celebrated.
From ‘When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice‘ by Terry Tempest Williams
[Thanks Edell (I think it was Edell!)]
3. This Online Game – Last week I started seeing loads of people posting images of these grey, gold, and green blocks:
Initially, I thought the pictures were of some sort of flag or social awareness campaign (obviously I didn’t look at them very carefully.) But then I noticed on one friends post the hashtag WORDLE. After a quick Google search I found out it is an online word game! LOVE me a good word game. Sooooo now I’m completely addicted. The great thing about this online game though is there is only one posted per day so you won’t end up wasting hours playing it.
My best score to date has been the game above on the right – got it in three tries!
If you want to know more about Wordle you can read this article.
4. This GENIUS List of “100 Ways to Slightly Improve Your Life Without Really Trying“ – Modified from a list originally published in January of 2000 (that’s 22 years ago, can you believe it?!?) this contains simple suggstions such as “Mute or leave a WhatsApp group chat” (I’ve been turning off notifications for group texts, kind of the same thing) or “Don’t have Twitter on your phone.”
This is from a British newspaper so you’ll need to Americanize a few of the items. For example, #51 says to write politely to your MP, in America you will want to write politely to your legislator. Another, #63 says “Volunteer” and then lists a UK URL which provides many opportunities for civic engagement. There isn’t a comparable site in the US but I found this article about civic engagement from 2020 that is excellent.
5. This Graphic Illustrator – Cassandra Calin draws cartoons that show the trials and tribulations that women face in their day-to-day life and she’s a hoot!
6. This Video on the Four Levels of Omelets – Fantastic! It turns out this “4 Levels” thing is a series. I plan on watching the lobster roll one once I have omelets mastered. I learned SO MUCH from watching this one video. After the amateur cook, the amateur chef, and the professional chef make their omelets, a person from Epicurious explains what was was done right and what was done wrong and tells you how to make a fourth level (perfect) omelet.
7. These Islands – the Faroe Islands are an autonomous territory of Denmark located about 200 miles northwest of Scotland.
1. This Photographer, Kirsty Mitchell– she is possibly my favorite photographer and I was lucky enough to get to see an exhibit for her book “Wonderland” in 2017. And incredibly they allowed photographs! I purchased the book (a completely worthwhile investment) but I love that I have several gorgeous digital shots. Here are a couple of my favorites (a few are close-ups of sections of photos; I thought I should limit how many full photos I posted – to see more be sure to visit Kirsty’s website!
3. This 3-Year-Old Who Dressed Up As All Her Role Models – when Scout Penelope‘s “Nonnie” was diagnosed with breast cancer her mom Ashley tried to think of a project that they could work on together that would keep both of them occupied. The result was a series of amazing photos, a few of which are below with many more at this link. Scout is three-years older now (have been looking through things I have filed away so I’m finding older articles and links); don’t be startled when you look at her Instagram.
4. These Formal Memos between the Produces of the Original Star Trek Discussing Vulcan Proper Names – this is very clever and hilarious! These people clearly are having fun and have a good working relationship.
Here’s the first letter:
FROM: Bob Justman
DATE: May 3, 1966
SUBJECT: STAR TREK PLANET VULCAN PROPER NAMES
I would like to suggest that all proper names for denizens of Mr. Spock’s “PLANET VULCAN” follow a set routine. To wit: all names begin with the letters “SP” and end with the letter “K.” All names to have a total of five letters in them—no more and no less.
Therefore: Mr. Spock aptly fits this pattern. Other names would be as follows:
Hope that the suggestions are of immense help to you. I remain,
Your humble and obedient servant,
Robert H. Justman
5. These Classic Movies Done in the Style of Persian Miniature Paintings – these are amazing drawings done by Turkish illustration Murat Palta. You can see several more at this link, though most seem to be from rather bloody films. And then there are more here.
Here are two of my favorites:
The Little Prince
6. This INCREDIBLE Colorized Collection of Short Historical Films – I’m a huge fan of Denis Shiryaev’s restoration work. I particularly love how he starts his videos explaining all the work he did to create the videos and the changes he made – fascinating! In this particular video he makes sure to clarify that his work is not completely historically accurate – he doesn’t know exactly what the original colors were, etc., so he needs to make educated guesses. Plus he sometimes will enhance things to make them look better, but again, sometimes it requires him to use his best guess. I think the final result is fantastic.
7. This Ad Seeking a Wife from 1865 – I must say, my favorite lines are the last three: “I want to buy bread-and-butter, hoop-skirts, and waterfalls for some person of the female persuasion during life. That what’s the matter with me. But I don’t know how to do it.”
I had to look this up but I think by “waterfalls” he means “waterfall bustles”.
Sorry guys, lots of videos this week but I had no choice, they are all just TOO good.
1. This Kindergarten Teacher, Mackenzie Adams (and a NY Times article that includes Adams and some other extraordinary educators is here.) The video shows that to teach virtually a teacher has to put in about 300% more energy to get students engaged. No doubt it must be exhausting but these dedicated individuals are up to the task and they’re doing it with smiles on their faces because you know what? Teachers aren’t in it for the money.
2. This (the) Cottage Fairy – I just discovered artist Paola Merrill and now I’m obsessed. She lives a “simple living” lifestyle in rural Washington state and as an artist loves to make things more visually beautiful. She releases new videos on Wednesdays so now I’ll have to wait because I binge-watched everything she had posted. It looks like her Facebook page has been around for a while and you can see some of her delightful art there. She also has an Etsy shop but since she got on YouTube her popularity is really taking off, so it’s empty at the moment. Who doesn’t need a little mindfulness and beauty right now?
3. This Dad, Craig Conrad – he created a series of videos for young women/girls who, when they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation. They can pull one of the videos up on their smartphone and it will appear as though they have called their dad. Then they can have a conversation with the video and whoever is around will believe that they have someone who knows where they are and that they are expected home shortly. Very cool.
4. This Japanese photographer… definitely worth following on Instagram.
5. This (fake) trailer for the (fake) film ‘Harding’ from ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ – it was aired a while ago but I was reminded of it because there is a little bit of a kerfuffle with the Harding ancestors over and, well, you can read about that here but it just fits so well with trailer. Perhaps someone does need to make a movie called ‘Harding.’
6. RANDY RAINBOW – He’s a national treasure.
7. This Comedian Magician, Lucy Darling – my brother introduced me to Ms. Darling and I’m so glad he did. She’s, well, darling. Her shows are very cocktail-centric, which is something I appreciate. I was able to catch a virtual show last Friday and it was fabulous. I’m sure it has to be difficult to put together a show that will work online.
Bonus – This Mask PSA by “Certified Young Person” Paul Rudd – OMG, who doesn’t LOVE Paul Rudd?????
This ad for Hugh Jackman’s coffee company, Laughing Man, narrated by his “archenemy” and best bud, Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds could read the phone book and make it funny.
This ad for UberEats starring Sir Patrick and Mark Hamill. PINCH ME!!!
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. 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.
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!