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 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 “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!
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”.
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 Tea Party – Truly amazing. I belong to the Facebook group called ‘The Gilded Age Society.’ The Edwardian Era has always been my favorite time period, even before ‘Downton Abbey’ was a thing. Recently a young person name Paul Ryan T. Co, who is also a member of the group, posted these photos. He recreated a most magnificent Edwardian Era tea. I wrote to him immediately and asked if I could share the photos and he said yes so here they are.
Here are some of the details included in Paul’s description:
The menu includes fresh fruits, dried fruit with nuts, chicken truffle quiche, scones with clotted cream and jam, and the pièce de résistance is a Lady Baltimore cake, which is a white cake filled with nuts and figs and then frosted with a fluffy marshmallow meringue icing. THAT sounds divine!
Paul used the original 1906 recipe which was copied in several newspapers, including Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s Daily Gazette and Bulletin, The Columbus Journal, and The Washington Times.
There is a fascinating history of the cake on this site.
I myself might try a more modern recipe and am thinking of giving Martha’s version a try.
Additionally, the service is traditional to the period. It’s made up of an American sterling tea set by Gorham from the 1880s, a set of monogrammed sterling cutlery by Watson from 1902, a silver cake server by Whiting (from their King Edward pattern introduced in 1900 to commemorate Edward’s accession to the throne, which makes it rare), a Ridgeway dessert service, a Minton cake pedestal, a double-handled, molded Prussian cake plate, and a trio of Coalport tea cups (all produced from the late 1800s to early 1900s.) This guy needs to be hired by a production company, STAT! He’s a true artist.
Tell me you wouldn’t pay beaucoup bucks to attend a tea at this place!
2. This Governmental Body – The Irish Parliament discussed the “Santa Claus Issue” and formally announced that Santa is exempt from their national quarantine, that he will indeed still be visiting homes in Ireland, but social distancing should still be practiced and people should remain 2 meters away from him. Gotta LOVE THIS!
3. This Xfinity Short Film – It’s not really an advertisement. I saw a brief clip of this on television and it was so intriguing I wanted to watch the entire thing. Steve Carrell is a fine Santa Claus!
4. This Video on Mourning a Relationship You Never Had – I love Anna Akana so much and I really wish that she could time travel back to the early 80s and tell me exactly what she says in the video. Course I’m not sure if I would have been smart enough back then to listen to her.
5. This IG of Chris Evans Playing the Piano! – just when you think he can’t get any more adorable/perfect/wonderful….
and then watch Jimmy Fallon’s response to Chris’s piano playing viral video, it’s HILARIOUS.
6. These Recipes and Tips for Roasting Chestnuts – unless you live in a pretty large city (with lots of pedestrian traffic) you probably don’t run across many places selling roasted chestnuts during the Christmas season (despite what Hallmark movies makes Christmas look like). Myself, I’d actually never had them until well into my 50s.
I don’t have a gas stove so I have two options – one is two use my gas grill and the other is to roast them in the oven. I prefer them on the grill because they’re on an open flame but when it’s too cold (doesn’t happen much anymore with climate change) or when I’m visiting family and it’s too much of a hassle, the oven method works just fine. Especially when I use them in recipes, with, oh, for example, Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts and Bacon.
In fact, last Christmas I tried to make the above recipe at my sister-in-law/brother’s house. In the notes it says, “If you prefer to roast fresh chestnuts instead of using vacuum-packed ones, cut a slit in the shell of each chestnut with a serrated knife.” I’m going to tell you something – a freaking serrated knife will not slit the shell of a chestnut. I mean, it will, but it’s like trying to saw wood with a butter knife.
Recently I ran across this nifty gadget and now I know that next year I will be completely prepared! It will score the chestnut so that it doesn’t explode while roasting (after all, that’s the primary reason why you’re cutting it.) Once you roast it, it should be easy to peel.
Bring it on Christmas 2021! I’m ready for you…
7. This Search Result When You Google Alex Trebek – SO sweet!
Before I get to the Word and Quote of the Week I strongly recommend that you watch these two movies before the end of the month. They are very different films but there’s one major similarity – you will figure it out quickly.
What I couldn’t help but think while watching both of them is how much better the world would be if people weren’t so judgmental and how so much bad behavior – masculine toxicity, repressed emotions, abusive tendencies, the list is endless – are passed on from generation to generation.
The first movie is Uncle Frank – amazing cast.
The second is The Happiest Season and it’s on Hulu (Dan Levy not surprisingly steals every scene he’s in.)
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. This Children’s Librarian – who set up the best display ever the day after the Vice Presidential debate.
2. These Celebrities teaching us American Slang – I grew up in Iowa where we have no accent and no slang! Mwah ha ha ha ha ha. So not true. In fact, my Mom, whom I adored, used to say things like “be sure when you worsh the dishes in the zinc that you don’t break anything.” And my dad still says the words “Worshington” and “garuntee.” And then there was the pop/soda incident of 1984. I’d rather not talk about it.
A few years ago I few out to a conference in California and the majority of the attendees were native Californians. I’d never met any of them. The first evening I was sitting across a table from a woman who was sort of staring at me. Understand we hadn’t introduced ourselves at this point and weren’t wearing name tags. We’d only arrived and checked in and were having cocktails while we waited for our rooms. After people started getting called to go check-in she came over and sat next to me and said, “It’s so great to talk with a fellow Iowan again!” I asked how she knew I was from Iowa. I hadn’t even said all that much (at least for me) and after all, I hadn’t lived in Iowa for about thirty-five years. She said, “Your accent!” I have an accent? Go on, I don’t have an accent. She insisted I did.
Turns out she had lived in California for quite some time but was born and raised in Iowa as well. As you can imagine we became fast friends. I still can’t tell the difference between her “accent” (or my “accent”) and the accents of the other Californians attending the conference. Apparently I am no Henry Higgins.
ANYHOO, this video is fun to watch. Here are all the people that show up in it and exactly where they were born and/or raised.
Jennifer Garner was born in Houston, Texas but raised in Charleston, West Virginia
Olivia Munn was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Keegan-Michael Key was born in Southfield, Michigan and raised in Detroit
Matthew McConaughey was born in Uvalde, Texas
Adam Devine is actually a fellow Iowan, born in Waterloo, Iowa but grew up in Omaha, Nebraska
E-40 is from Vallejo, California
Michael Sheen is, of course, not from America but is from the beautiful Newport, Wales
Jon Hamm is from St. Louis, Missouri!!! (A branch of my family tree hails from there.)
Chloe Grace Moretz was born in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ike Barinholtz is from Chicago, Illinois
Tiffany Haddish is from Los Angeles, California
Jason Bateman is NOT from the Ozarks but was born in Rye, New York.
Laura Linney was born in New York City (did you know her father was a prominent playwright named Romulus Linney?)
Julia Garner was also born in New York City, in the Bronx.
Jennifer Lawrence was born in Indian Hills, Kentucky near Louisville
Joel Edgerton was born in Blacktown, New South Wales, Australia (and his reaction to Kentucky slang is wonderful.)
Mark Wahlberg was born in Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts
Adam Sandler (interesting detail about bodegas) is a Brooklyn, New York boy (not a surprise)
Idina Menzel was born in Manhattan, grew up in New Jersey until she was three, then moved to Syosset, New York on Long Island.
3. This Book, Emeralds of Oz by Peter Guzzardi – honestly, there is a lot we can learn from the Wizard of Oz books (plural). Also, have you ever read Wicked (and the sequels) by Gregory Macguire. They really are genius. The first one is best, they get less so as you go along but the vocabulary is almost Tolkien-level of brillance.
4. This Cartoonist for The Guardian, Tom Gauld – I’ve been a fan for ages. His cartoons generally have a very literary slant. I have a couple of his books and am asking Santa for another one for Christmas!
5. This Reenactment of the iconic four-way phone scene from Mean Girls by four young women with disabilities. The intent is to show that people don’t have to be defined by their disability. It’s wonderful!
6. This Famous (infamous) Merrie Melodies scene, Leopold… The Leopold that they keep whispering about is a real-life conductor, Leopold Stokowski.
I also loved it when Merrie Melodies went completely into the adult arena, making cartoons for grown-ups. This cartoon has all sorts of famous people from the era: Peter Lorre, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Greta Garbo (Garbo wore size 8AA shoes but between her own self criticism and Hollywood standards the rumor few around that her feet were too big), Ann Sheridan, Humphrey Bogart, Bing Crosby, Clark Gable and many more. How many can you name? Oh, and LEOPOLD again!
7. This Young Girl – about five years ago (damn, time flies) my library system staff went to one of the local county fairs to promote libraries. They did this a lot, library advocacy is part of their thing. In addition to handing out materials about what our system libraries provided and they wanted to do something interactive so they put together this simple little activity using pool noodles and artistic letters laminated onto cards so that they would stand up. People could create any message they wanted and have their photos taken and my system put the photos up on social media. There were TONS of them but this one really caught my attention for two reasons – first, because of the word that she choose and second, because of the way she’s holding up the word, there’s just something so powerful about the way she’s standing. I just love everything about it.
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. Dr. Anthony Fauci on the cover of ‘In Style’ magazine. Yowzah! The article is an interview with Dr. Fauci and his wife, Dr. Christine Grady, and it’s super interesting. I think it’s amazing that we finally made a rock star out of a scientist!
2. This article calling for the return of Parasols – I am taking this on as a personal mission.
3. Home Movie: The Princess Bride – Damn you Quibi! I have been resisting subscribing to any more streaming services. Quibi isn’t even really like other streaming services, you can only watch it on your phone (or tablet) and the films/episodes are no more than ten minutes in length. Initially I saw a trailer for a series called “Dummy” with Anna Kendrick and I wanted to see it but not enough to subscribe but after I saw this video, well, that was it. The clip below is a compilation of the episodes telling an abridged version of the movie. If you want to see the entire thing you will need to subscribe and I tell you, it is WORTH IT! Not only can you download the episodes to watch anytime, but if you turn you phone sideways you can see the original film side-by-side with the “Home Movie” for comparison. It’s marvelous!
4. The Moving of Booth Cottage – a Frank Lloyd Wright gem, Booth Cottage was purchased by a couple who wanted to tear it down to build a new house. W-T-F??? What kind of person tears down a Frank Lloyd Wright???? Anyway, a group of conservationists raised about $300,000 to help get the house moved to a new location in Glencoe and also worked out a long-term lease from the municipality. Once the foundation is laid and the house is put in place it will become a museum. Thank God there are still people in the world who value history and art. If you don’t want to watch the video here is an article from the Chicago Tribune with a few good photos.
5. Whitney: ‘Can I Be Me?’ – watched this documentary over the weekend and it was excellent. Whitney Huston was only two years older than me and I had pretty much grown up loving her, so like most people my age, her death was devastating. Seeing her in this movie was like bringing her back to life, even if it was just for a few hours. It’s difficult knowing that, had it been a different time, she might be alive today. And it’s frustrating knowing that so many people used her. Still, I will be watching it again.
6. Every player and coach on the Yankees & Nationals took a knee before the national anthem tonight in D.C. – this made my heart SOAR!
7. Charlie Berens & Alex Wehrley – I think I’ve included Charlie on my list before. I’m including him (and his wife Alex) again because he’s just so damned hilarious. It’s funny ‘cuz it’s true!
8. This “Remarkable ‘Reading Station’ by Charles Hindley & Co., London, с. 1890″ – the stuff that (librarian’s) dreams are made of!
9. Olivia de Havilland cussing up a storm – we lost a true star this weekend when Miss de Havilland passed away at the age of 104. She has always been one of my favorite actresses from the Silver Screen. Not only was she beautiful but she was a woman who didn’t take shit from anyone and she stood up for things she believed in.