Tough times, right? Two hundred thousand Americans dead, hundreds of thousands sickened. But consider this, 100 years ago, world-wide 25-40 million died, many more millions sickened and yet the world survived the pandemic of 1918-19. So there is hope for us. History is on our side.
Today, I’m grateful that we have so many medical professionals working on a vaccine that will stop this virus completely. We are so close to getting our lives back and I pray that we remember those victims of this virus. But more importantly, that we come together as one nation, one world giving thanks and gratitude that much better, healthier future is ahead of us.
Thank you Lord for my family and friends. Keep them safe as we wait for a cure. And as we celebrate this Thanksgiving separated not together, hope shines brightly today and I am thankful
Playing cards are known and used the world over—and almost every corner of the globe has laid claim to their invention. The Chinese assert the longest pedigree for card playing (the “game of leaves” was played as early as the 9th century). The French avow their standardization of the carte à jouer and its ancestor, the tarot. And the British allege the earliest mention of a card game in any authenticated register.
Today, the public might know how to play blackjack or bridge, but few stop to consider that a deck of cards is a marvel of engineering, design, and history. Cards have served as amusing pastimes, high-stakes gambles, tools of occult practice, magic tricks, and mathematical probability models—even, at times, as currency and as a medium for secret messages.
In the process, decks of cards reveal peculiarities of their origins. Card names, colors, emblems, and designs change according to their provenance and the whims of card players themselves. These graphic tablets aren’t just toys, or tools. They are cultural imprints that reveal popular custom.
The birthplace of ordinary playing cards is shrouded in obscurity and conjecture, but—like gunpowder or tea or porcelain—they almost certainly have Eastern origins. “Scholars and historians are divided on the exact origins of playing cards,” explains Gejus Van Diggele, the chairman of the International Playing-Card Society, or IPCS, in London. “But they generally agree that cards spread from East to West.”
Scrolls from China’s Tang Dynasty mention a game of paper tiles (though these more closely resembled modern dominoes than cards), and experts consider this the first written documentation of card playing. A handful of European literary references in the late 14th century point to the sudden arrival of a “Saracen’s game,” suggesting that cards came not from China but from Arabia. Yet another hypothesis argues that nomads brought fortune-telling cards with them from India, assigning an even longer antiquity to card playing. Either way, commercial opportunities likely enabled card playing’s transmission between the Far East and Europe, as printing technology sped their production across borders.
In medieval Europe, card games occasioned drinking, gambling, and a host of other vices that drew cheats and charlatans to the table. Card playing became so widespread and disruptive that authorities banned it. In his book The Game of Tarot, the historian Michael Dummett explains that a 1377 ordinance forbade card games on workdays in Paris. Similar bans were enacted throughout Europe as preachers sought to regulate card playing, convinced that “the Devil’s picture book” led only to a life of depravity.
Everybody played cards: kings and dukes, clerics, friars and noblewomen, prostitutes, sailors, prisoners. But the gamblers were responsible for some of the most notable features of modern decks.
Today’s 52-card deck preserves the four original French suits of centuries ago: clubs (♣), diamonds (♦), hearts (♥), and spades (♠). These graphic symbols, or “pips,” bear little resemblance to the items they represent, but they were much easier to copy than more lavish motifs. Historically, pips were highly variable, giving way to different sets of symbols rooted in geography and culture. From stars and birds to goblets and sorcerers, pips bore symbolic meaning, much like the trump cards of older tarot decks. Unlike tarot, however, pips were surely meant as diversion instead of divination. Even so, these cards preserved much of the iconography that had fascinated 16th-century Europe: astronomy, alchemy, mysticism, and history.
Some historians have suggested that suits in a deck were meant to represent the four classes of Medieval society. Cups and chalices (modern hearts) might have stood for the clergy; swords (spades) for the nobility or the military; coins (diamonds) for the merchants; and batons (clubs) for peasants. But the disparity in pips from one deck to the next resists such pat categorization. Bells, for example, were found in early German “hunting cards.” These pips would have been a more fitting symbol of German nobility than spades, because bells were often attached to the jesses of a hawk in falconry, a sport reserved for the Rhineland’s wealthiest. Diamonds, by contrast, could have represented the upper class in French decks, as paving stones used in the chancels of churches were diamond shaped, and such stones marked the graves of the aristocratic dead.
But how to account for the use of clover, acorns, leaves, pikes, shields, coins, roses, and countless other imagery? “This is part of the folklore of the subject,” Paul Bostock, an IPCS council member, tells me. “I don’t believe the early cards were so logically planned.” A more likely explanation for suit marks, he says, is that they were commissioned by wealthy families. The choice of pips is thus partly a reflection of noblemen’s tastes and interests.
While pips were highly variable, courtesan cards—called “face cards” today—have remained largely unchanged for centuries. British and French decks, for example, always feature the same four legendary kings: Charles, David, Caesar, and Alexander the Great. Bostock notes that queens have not enjoyed similar reverence. Pallas, Judith, Rachel, and Argine variously ruled each of the four suits, with frequent interruption. As the Spanish adopted playing cards, they replaced queens with mounted knights or caballeros. And the Germans excluded queens entirely from their decks, dividing face cards into könig (king), obermann (upper man), and untermann (lower man)—today’s Jacks. The French reintroduced the queen, while the British were so fond of theirs they instituted the “British Rule,” a variation that swaps the values of the king and queen cards if the reigning monarch of England is a woman.
The ace rose to prominence in 1765, according to the IPCS. That was the year England began to tax sales of playing cards. The ace was stamped to indicate that the tax had been paid, and forging an ace was a crime punishable by death. To this day, the ace is boldly designed to stand out.
The king of hearts offers another curiosity: The only king without a mustache, he appears to be killing himself by means of a sword to the head. The explanation for the “suicide-king” is less dramatic. As printing spurred rapid reproduction of decks, the integrity of the original artwork declined. When printing blocks wore out, Paul Bostock explains, card makers would create new sets by copying either the blocks or the cards. This process amplified previous errors. Eventually, the far edge of our poor king’s sword disappeared.
Hand craftsmanship and high taxation made each deck of playing cards an investment. As such, cards became a feast for the eye. Fanciful, highly specialized decks offered artists a chance to design a kind of collectible, visual essay. Playing-card manufacturers produced decks meant for other uses beyond simple card playing, including instruction, propaganda, and advertising. Perhaps because they were so prized, cards were often repurposed: as invitations, entrance tickets, obituary notes, wedding announcements, music scores, invoices—even as notes between lovers or from mothers who had abandoned their babies. In this way, the humble playing card sometimes becomes an important historical document, one that offers both scholars and amateur collectors a window into the past.
While collectors favored ornate designs, gamblers insisted on standard, symmetrical cards, because any variety or gimmickry served to distract from the game. For nearly 500 years, the backs of cards were plain. But in the early 19th century, Thomas De La Rue & Company, a British stationer and printer, introduced lithographic designs such as dots, stars, and other simple prints to the backs of playing cards. The innovation offered advantages. Plain backs easily pick up smudges, which “mark” the cards and make them useless to gamblers. By contrast, pattern-backed cards can withstand wear and tear without betraying a cardholder’s secrets.
Years later, Bostock tells me, card makers added corner indices (numbers and letters), which told the cardholder the numerical value of any card and its suit. This simple innovation, patented during the Civil War, was revolutionary: Indices allowed players to hold their cards in one hand, tightly fanned. A furtive glance offered the skilled gambler a quick tally of his holdings, that he might bid or fold or raise the ante, all the while broadcasting the most resolute of poker faces.
Standard decks normally contain two extra “wild” cards, each depicting a traditional court jester that can be used to trump any natural card. Jokers first appeared in printed American decks in 1867, and by 1880, British card makers had followed suit, as it were. Curiously, few games employ them. For this reason, perhaps, the Joker is the only card that lacks a standard, industry-wide design. He appears by turns the wily trickster, the seducer, the wicked imp—a true calling card for the debauchery and pleasure that is card playing’s promise.
Vacuuming is a pretty straightforward chore we all know how to do, right? Well, this year our home director Stephanie Sisco taught us that there actually is a right way to vacuum. Her editor-approved method lifts as much dirt and dust from rugs and carpets as possible. To take our vacuuming lessons one step further, we rounded up a few vacuuming hacks that make household cleaning and deodorizing more effective. Here’s how to freshen the air, remove dents in a carpet, and even find lost jewelry—all using a vacuum.
Deodorize the Carpet
Rugs and carpets tend to hold onto bad odors. To freshen them up, sprinkle baking soda onto the carpet and let it sit for a few hours to absorb the odors (you’ll want to keep kids and pets away during this time). Then, vacuum up the baking soda.
Find Dropped Jewelry
If you’ve ever dropped a small earring back while getting ready in the morning, then you know how difficult it can be to find it on the floor or in a fluffy carpet. Bookmark this trick for the next time that happens.
Grab an old pair of stockings and place the foot of the stocking over the nozzle attachment of your vacuum, then secure it in place with a rubber band. Turn on the vacuum and run the nozzle over the floor. The suction will help you find the dropped jewelry, while the stocking prevents it from getting sucked into the machine.
Freshen the Air
Place a few drops of essential oil, like soothing lavender or refreshing lemon, onto a cotton ball. Place the cotton ball in the canister of the vacuum and it will release a subtle scent as you clean.
Fix Furniture Dents in Carpets
If you’ve had your sofa or side chair in the same spot for forever, the next time you move this furniture you’ll likely notice indents in the rug or carpet. Try this trick: place an ice cube or two in the dent, then let it melt completely (have patience, this could take a while). As the ice melts, the water will slowly revive the fibers. Pat the area dry, then vacuum the spot, and the dent will have disappeared.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the challenge of keeping every room in your house clean, especially now that we’re spending more time than ever at home. Whether you choose to tackle one or two cleaning tasks a day or to whip through all of them on the weekend, your home will stay cleaner if you make sure to take care of these 10 chores every week.
Disinfect Your Sink
The kitchen sink is a breeding ground for bacteria. According to NSF International, an organization that works to protect and improve human health around the globe, the sink is the second dirtiest thing in your home, after kitchen sponges and rags. Ideally, you should wipe down your sink every day. But once a week you need to give it a more thorough cleaning by washing the surface with soap and hot water and then using a disinfecting product to eliminate potentially harmful microorganisms.
Clean Your Microwave
While you probably wipe down the most visible surfaces in your kitchen regularly, you may be neglecting the inside of the microwave. One trick for easily removing stains and grime is to put a half cup of water and a half cup of white vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it on high until the mixture boils. The steam will loosen any food particles caked onto the interior of the microwave and let you quickly wipe away the residue with a sponge or microfiber cloth.
Clear Out Your Fridge
You should go through your fridge once a week to discard spoiled foods and expired leftovers. According to a study published by NSF International, the vegetable crisper and meat drawer in your fridge can harbor dangerous microbes like salmonella, listeria, E. coli, yeast, and mold. While a weekly deep cleaning isn’t necessary, be sure to wipe up any spills and clear out crumbs and other food debris.
Sweep Your Floors
The high-traffic areas of your home, such as the kitchen and hallways, should be swept or vacuumed daily, especially if you have children or pets. Once a week, however, be sure to give the rest of the rooms in your home attention, sweeping under furniture and in corners to ensure they’re free of dust and dirt.
Launder Your Towels
According to the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), bath towels should be washed after approximately three uses, which for most people means at least once a week. Kitchen towels are particularly productive breeding grounds for bacteria, as noted in a study published in “Food Protection Trends,” so heavily soiled kitchen towels should be washed after every use. Otherwise, laundering them once a week is sufficient.
Clean Your Toilet
Cleaning and disinfecting your toilet weekly is vital for eliminating potentially dangerous microorganisms like E. coli. While the exterior surfaces of the toilet can be wiped down with a paper towel and some all-purpose cleaner, the bowl itself should be scrubbed with a brush and specialty toilet cleaner. It’s a good idea to wipe down your bathroom counters and sink at the same time. Your bathtub and shower can be cleaned every two weeks.
Wash Your Toothbrush Holder
This seemingly innocuous bathroom accessory may be harboring frightening levels of bacteria, according to NSF International. Research by the organization found that the toothbrush holder is actually the third dirtiest place in your house. Fortunately, toothbrush holders can be cleaned quickly and easily. Most are dishwasher-friendly, or you can wash them by hand along with other dishes. You can also wipe them down periodically with a disinfectant.
Wash Your Sheets
Considering we spend a third of our lives in bed, it’s important to launder our sheets often to eliminate the skin cells, body oils, hair, sweat, and dust mites that build up while we sleep. Experts recommend washing your sheets once every one to two weeks. Those who have allergies or tend to sweat in their sleep will benefit from washing their bedding more frequently.
Vacuum Your Rugs and Carpets
Whether you have wall-to-wall carpeting or just a scattering of area rugs as decorative accents, it’s important to clean these soft surfaces at least once a week. Those with pets that shed heavily will benefit from vacuuming twice a week or more. The same is true for rugs in high-traffic areas. As a general rule, vacuum rugs and carpets before they begin showing signs of dirt.
Dust is made up of hair, dead skin cells, pollen, dirt particles, and dust mites, and it is constantly accumulating on surfaces throughout your home. The ACI recommends dusting the furniture in your house weekly, unless you have allergy sufferers in your family, in which case you should dust even more frequently. Rather than using a traditional feather duster, which simply moves dust around, opt for a microfiber cloth that will trap the dirt.
After a long, dark winter with plenty of grays and browns, you’re ready for some spring color! Whether you live in the snowy North or the sunny South or anywhere in between, spring means a renewal of your garden. Flowering plants are just what your winter-weary soul needs this time of year. If you’re planting a perennial, which returns for many years, or shrub, make sure it’s suited to your USDA Hardiness Zone (find yours here) so it can survive winters in your area. Spring-blooming bulbs must be planted in fall before the ground freezes (that’s as late as early December in some parts of the country). Some annuals can take a frost, but for those that aren’t as tough, you’ll want to plant them after the last expected frost date in your area; your local university coop extension service can advise you about that estimated date in your part of the country.
Here are our favorite spring-blooming flowers to brighten up your garden and celebrate the first day of spring.
These hardy bulbs often will pop up when snow is still on the ground in wintry climates. Crocuses must be planted in the fall for a spring show—and don’t be surprised if you find them where you didn’t plant them—like under a shrub! They’re tasty to rodents so they often dig them up and bury them elsewhere.
These classic springtime bulbs, which must be planted in the fall for spring blooms, are one of the first signs that spring finally has arrived! Their cheery yellow flowers are super-reliable. Rodents and deer will leave them alone.
These beautiful, fragrant flowers should be planted in the fall for spring blooms. Rodents won’t bother them (there’s a toxic substance in the bulbs, foliage, and flowers). Another plus? Their flowers last for weeks!
Primroses appear in very early spring in a rainbow of colors including white, canary yellow, deep purple, and pink. They’re easy, low-care perennials, which often bloom when snow is on the ground. There are many varieties, so make sure you buy one that’s a perennial that will survive winters in your region.
The bright yellow blooms of forsythia are a sign that spring is here. Older types can become quite leggy, so if you need to trim this shrub, do it right after flowering or you’ll cut off next year’s buds. Also, look for newer varieties that are more compact for smaller gardens.
Tulip bulbs must be planted in the fall for spring color. They’re technically a perennial, but they often fade after the first year, so they’re treated as annuals and planted every year. They’re also delectable to critters, so plant them in pots where rodents can’t dig or layered underneath less tasty bulbs such as daffodils.
7) Pansies and Violas
These adorable annuals come in bright, cheerful shades and last until summer’s heat fades them. They’ll tolerate frost—and even a mild freeze, so don’t be shy about planting them early in the spring.
8) Grape Hyacinth
These tiny bulbs, which you plant in fall for spring blooms, naturalize themselves quite easily, so you start with a few and end up with a whole swath of grape hyacinths in a few years! Rodents don’t bother them, and their cheery purple, pink or blue blooms last for weeks.
9) Sweet Alyssum
This dainty annual looks delicate, but it’s tough as nails. It doesn’t mind frost at all. As long as you keep it watered, it will bloom and bloom from spring until the first hard freeze in the fall. Now that’s a great investment!
If you’re looking for something a little more exotic in appearance, fritillaria are for you! These fall-planted bulbs bloom have unusual bell-shaped blooms that appear around the same time as tulips and daffodils. Rodents usually leave them alone. They’re typically treated as annuals because they don’t reliably return.
Rhododendrons have glossy leaves and bloom in late spring in shades of white, salmon, peach, pink, and purple. There are both evergreen and deciduous (which drop their leaves) varieties, so read the plant tag or description to be sure about what you’re buying.
If you consider December a time to sit and watch holiday-themed shows and movies, then Netflix has you covered. By Christmastime, the streamer will have premiered countless new shows and movies about finding love in the winter months, helping Santa deliver his presents and baking themed treats.
But there are also a variety of other titles to get you through the end of the year.
Some of December’s highlights include “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” the final film of Chadwick Boseman, who died in August; “The Prom,” the star-studded movie adapted from the Broadway musical; “Bridgerton,” a high-society series from Shondaland; “Selena: The Series,” about the tragic life story of Selena Quintanilla; “Mank,” a “Citizen Kane” origin story; and “The Midnight Sky,” which stars George Clooney as a bearded scientist trying to save a team of astronauts.
Angela’s Christmas Wish (Netflix Film) The animated family film follows Angela, who’s determined to reunited with her dad in Australia in time for the holidays.
The Holiday Movies That Made Us (Netflix Original) A docuseries that goes behind the scenes of Christmas blockbusters “Elf” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
Natalie Palamides: Nate – A One Man Show (Netflix Comedy Special) Comedian Palamides brings her character Nate and absurd show about masculinity and consent to Netflix, with the help of executive producer Amy Poehler and director Philip Burgers.
Netflix’s new cheesy Christmas movies: ‘The Princess Switch’ sequel and more
Alien Worlds (Netflix Documentary) A series that combines science fiction and fact to imagine what like is like on other planets.
3 Days to Kill (2014)
50 First Dates (2004)
A Thin Line Between Love & Hate (1996)
Angels & Demons (2009)
Are You The One: Season 1-2
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Effie Gray (2014)
Gormiti: Season 1
The Happytime Murders (2018)
Ink Master: Seasons 1-2
Jurassic Park (1993)
Jurassic Park III (2001)
Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
Little Nicky (2000)
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
Monster House (2006)
Quigley Down Under (1990)
Runaway Bride (1999)
Super Wings: Season 3
Stargate SG-1: Seasons 1-10
Transformers Rescue Bots Academy: Season 2
Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family (2011)
Why Did I Get Married? (2007)
Ari Eldjárn: Pardon My Icelandic (Netflix Comedy Special) The Icelandic comedian pokes fun at Nordic rivalries and Hollywood’s take on Thor in his English-language special.
Fierce (Netflix Film) In this Polish movie, a young singer becomes a hit on a popular talent show where her dad is a judge.
Hazel Brugger: Tropical (Netflix Comedy Special) The stand-up comedian from Switzerland discusses chatty gynecologists and German bank loans.
To see the full December schedule, Click on the link.
With Thanksgiving fast approaching, people around the U.S. are preparing their holiday menus, albeit for smaller crowds. While stuffing, turkey, and cranberry sauce may be staples on Thanksgiving tables across the country, there’s one potentially polarizing element of the meal: the dessert. Read on to discover which common Thanksgiving treat people are most likely to avoid at your holiday celebration.
According to a new survey from YouGov, there’s a major divide among Thanksgiving celebrants when it comes to dessert. Among the 1,055 individuals polled, 840 of whom planned to celebrate the holiday this year, 37 percent said they were planning on making their desserts from scratch, while 26 percent said they’d save themselves the hassle and opt for store-bought desserts instead. However, whether your holiday sweets are homemade or come from the freezer case at your local supermarket, there’s a clear standout when it comes to the least popular Thanksgiving dessert. Read on to find out which Thanksgiving treat simply isn’t worth the time it takes to make
7. Pumpkin pie
Thanksgiving diners who say it’s their favorite: 35 percent
6. Pecan pie
Thanksgiving diners who say it’s their favorite: 16 percent
5. Apple pie
Thanksgiving diners who say it’s their favorite: 11 percent
4. Sweet potato pie
Thanksgiving diners who say it’s their favorite: 10 percent
3. Chocolate pie
Thanksgiving diners who say it’s their favorite: 6 percent
2. Cherry pie
Thanksgiving diners who say it’s their favorite: 4 percent
1. Banana pudding pie
Thanksgiving diners who say it’s their favorite: 3 percent
There you have it. So I guess pumpkin pie takes the honor as the most popular holiday dessert. I can’t believe chocolate comes in at number 3 worst!
The Crown’ Season four curtain closes on a Britain in which Margaret Thatcher is struggling against growing threats to her power, as Charles and Diana’s marriage continues to unravel publicly. The fourth season, richer with gripping interpersonal and emotional drama than some of its more politically-focused predecessors, was well worth the year long wait. Unfortunately, we may be waiting even longer for Season Five of the acclaimed Netflix series, which will follow the royal family into the late 1990s and early 2000s. Here’s everything we know about the upcoming season so far.
Who is in the cast for Season 5?
It feels like just yesterday we had to give a little royal wave goodbye to Claire Foy as the Queen in The Crown, but just like that, the sun has set on Olivia Coleman’s rendition of the role. At the close of Season Four, Coleman passes Queen Elizabeth’s crown to Imelda Staunton for the final two seasons of Netflix’s beloved historical drama.
So far, also joining the cast is Elizabeth Debecki as Princess Diana, Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, and Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip. Dominic West is reportedly in talks to take over for Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles.
While the show had initially declared that Season Five would be its last, creator Peter Morgan announced in July that the final cast would get two seasons, just like the previous casts. As he told Deadline: “As we started to discuss the storylines for series 5, it soon became clear that in order to do justice to the richness and complexity of the story, we should go back to the original plan and do six seasons. To be clear, series 6 will not bring us any closer to present—it will simply enable us to cover the same period in greater detail.”
When will Season 5 be released?
Season Five is expected to begin filming in 2021, but won’t air on Netflix until 2022. We would have had to wait this long with or without the pandemic, though. “It’s a normal schedule for us because what happens is, as you’ve noticed, we filmed The Crown in two-season chunks, so we had Claire Foy for two seasons, we’ve now got Olivia Colman for two seasons,” said Peter Morgan. “And there was a gap year in there in which I frantically do a draft of all the scripts, and then I rewrite the scripts and polish the scripts after that—but at least we have a roadmap of where we’re going for the two seasons. And I said that there was no way that I could possibly do that and be showrunning the seasons if they were in production. You do need a gap year to get ahead with the writing.”
What will Season 5 cover?
Seasons Five and Six will follow the Royal drama into the 1990s and early 2000s. This is a period that spans the ruin of three of Elizabeth’s children’s marriages—Prince Andrew, Princess Anne, and Prince Charles all got divorced in this stretch of time. It will also arrive at Princess Diana’s tragic 1997 death in a Paris car crash, and possibly the 2002 death of Princess Margaret, as well. The series will not, however, arrive anywhere near present day or cover any recent news such as Prince Andrew’s connection to Jeffrey Epstein or Prince Harry and Meghan Markle giving up their royal titles. As creator Peter Morgan told the Hollywood Reporter:
“I’m much more comfortable writing about things that happened at least 20 years ago. I sort of have in my head a 20-year rule. That is enough time and enough distance to really understand something, to understand its role, to understand its position, to understand its relevance. Often things that appear absolutely wildly important today are instantly forgotten, and other things have a habit of sticking around and proving to be historically very relevant and long-lasting. I don’t know where in the scheme of things Prince Andrew or indeed Meghan Markle or Harry will ever appear. We won’t know, and you need time to stop something being journalistic. And so I don’t want to write about them because to write about them would instantly make it journalistic. And there are plenty of journalists already writing about them. To be a dramatist, I think you need perspective and you need to also allow for the opportunity for metaphor.”
And now, back to aimlessly scrolling Netflix until 2022.