ON WATCHING A DEMOCRACY DIE

“Republican institutions don’t protect against tyranny when powerful people start defying political norms,” wrote economist Paul Krugman, prophetically, in The New York Times on December 19, 2016.

And he meant “Republican” with a small “r”. He was describing the type of government we appear to have, not the venial and cynical political party of the same name. (The party that showed its repulsive true colors minutes after Congress began this week by holding a secret meeting to gut the Independent Office of Congressional Ethics, and then backtracking when the news attracted public outcry.)

“And tyranny, when it comes, can flourish even while maintaining a republican facade,” Krugman continued.

Ever since the quasi-election of Donald Trump (lost the popular vote by a considerable margin but won in the Electoral College), I’ve been in a state of trauma bolstered by fear and grief. Not just because I believe — and, being a New Yorker, have believed for decades — that Donald Trump is disgusting, mentally ill, and a disgrace to humankind. Not only because he’s an egotistical liar. And not only because I believe, deep in my heart, that he’s a joke — a bad joke that the universe is playing on America as punishment for starting too many wars. (I can hear the universe laughing, can’t you?)

No, I have been in a state of perpetual anguish because I am old enough to remember.

I remember how grateful I have always been that my maternal great-great-grandfather, Barnet Schneider, bravely brought his five motherless children from Krakow to New York City in the 1870s. His courage is the reason that I and the generations that follow me are alive today. I am proudly the child of immigrants. Who isn’t?

I remember the stories my paternal grandparents told about the Russian tzars who decided to blame the Jews for their own miserable society and encouraged murderous pogroms across the Pale. My grandmother and grandfather — separately — escaped to New York, which is the other reason I’m alive today.

I remember how my mother’s family fell apart when my uncle died fighting against Hitler.

And since my family lived in a Jewish enclave in New York City, I remember what it was like in 1946 and 1947 when, as a small child, I could feel in my bones how scared, threatened and revolted my parents and their friends were when the Holocaust refugees started arriving in New York and we learned the truth about what they had been through. My pediatrician had numbers tattooed on the inside of his arm. So did the first rabbi I ever studied with. So did his wife.

I remember reading Kafka and knowing that in totalitarianism it doesn’t matter if you are innocent, because the state can do what it wants with you — even drive you mad.

I remember being in Czechoslovakia in 1970, just after the Russians marched into the country to end the Dubcek government’s liberalization and reform policies — that brief end of censorship opened a blooming of self-expression in art and literature. The Russians put an end to it with tanks and guns. I remember the day students took me to the center of the city to show me the bullet holes in the walls there.

I remember being handed a samizat newspaper there. It was made of faded, torn, well-worn, badly mimeographed pages; the country’s mainstream media was spewing Soviet propaganda and lies and these students were ready to die to disseminate the truth. It was the first time in my easy, assimilated, privileged American life that I understood the importance of a free press and of the First Amendment.

I remember the fights of my own generation: first abortion rights so our female friends didn’t have to be afraid of dying in back alleys. Then black power. Then left-wing politics. Then feminism. In fact, the first two things I did when I woke up on November 9, 2016 and learned that Trump was really going to be our president was write a large check to Planned Parenthood and reserve a seat on a bus to Washington D.C. for the Woman’s March on Washington.

I remember the rage I felt when Ronald Reagan killed the unions. And when George W. Bush started a nonsensical war in Iraq that was clearly — even back then — going to destabilize the region for decades. I wrote entire columns against it filled with quotes from Rudyard Kipling, who figured out early on that there was no way to win a war in that region of the world. I marched against that war — millions around the world did the same thing— and felt helpless and disenfranchised once the fighting began.

I remember Bubbling Bob. “Dozens of corpses lay rotting by roadsides or in cars blown up by U.S. forces as they captured Baghdad,” reported David Fox of Reuters. “Nearby, the corpse of an airport worker rolled around in the current of a pool… ‘That’s ‘bubbling Bob’,’ said one soldier. ‘Been there a while. I ain’t gonna fish him out. Let the Iraqis do it.'”

With close to 75 years of lived American history inside me, I remember all of these things.

And now every instinct I have and every thread of nerve is screaming out a danger and a warning — all over this land.

How can I, just one of thousands of American journalists who care about getting it right, live in a world where a megalomaniac president casually lies? Where “truthiness” and “fake news” abound. Where science, knowledge and intelligence are scorned? Where the president is not adult enough to admit even a single mistake. Where he can dodge press conferences and intelligence briefings alike at will, while the “pet” press fawns over him simply to maintain access, appear important and please their billionaire bosses for whom Trump represents dollar signs and nothing more.

Thanks to Trump, the woman-hating, white supremacist uber-right-wing-Christian Mike Pence will be running what is effectively a shadow government, Trump will spend his time — and our money — being royally entertained at the state dinners of dictators while he sells off the U.S. piece by piece to enrich himself.
If lies are the new truth, if propaganda replaces information, if people become afraid and if protesting does nothing except make the government push guns in our faces, what will make Trump leave office? Even if he is elected and serves eight years, would he ever leave? Why would he? He can simply suspend the Constitution and carry on.

For the whole of my blessed American lifetime, honesty and truth have been in the air we have been lucky to breathe. We have had the cherished ability to read and write what we want to read and write, to think what we want to think, and to say what we want to say. (And yes I know that free speech doesn’t give you the right to call “Fire” in a crowded theater, just as the Second Amendment doesn’t give you the right to open fire with your Uzi there.)

I’m sure that Trump has never read Shakespeare, but he appears to be taking a page from the playbook of Iago, the villain in “Othello,” who says, “For honesty’s a fool.”

Krugman called his piece “How Republics End.” In it he talks about the politics of ancient Rome. First he quotes historian Adrian Goldsworthy: “However important it was for an individual to win frame and add to his and his family’s reputation, this should always be subordinated to the good of the Republic… no disappointed Roman politician sought the aid of a foreign power.”

Krugman continues, “America used to be like that, with prominent senators declaring that we must stop ‘partisan politics at the water’s edge.’ But now we have a president-elect who openly asked Russia to help smear his opponent, and all indications are that the bulk of his party was and is just fine with that. … Winning domestic political struggles is all that matters, the good of the republic be damned.”

As Krugman mulls over the Trump era, he’s not wondering why “white working-class voters support politicians whose policies will hurt them.” He’s out for bigger game: “Why one party’s politicians and officials no longer seem to care about what we used to think we essential American values.” He adds, “And let’s be clear: This is a Republican story, not a case of ‘both sides do it.’”

His answer is that it’s not ideological. It’s “careerism on the part of people who are apparatchiks within a system insulated from outside pressures by gerrymandered districts, unshakeable partisan loyalty and lots and lots of plutocratic financial support.,.. But if there is any hope of redemption, it will have to begin with a clear recognition of how bad things area. American democracy is very much on the edge.”

How I can best join the Resistance? Especially when my body might not be able to handle a march on Washington and my checkbook can withstand just so much pain. The bill to gut Social Security is already in Congress. And for those of you Trump supporters who cry “He promised to strengthen Medicare and Social Security,” all I can say is “Suckers! He lies!” Ask Bernie Sanders about that.

I hope all those Republican voters who just wanted “a change” are happy when Grandma, cut off from her rightful Social Security check, comes to live with them.

What I believe I can do, first and foremost, is to uphold — in every single way I can find — the values in which I believe as a woman, as a senior, as a Jew, as a journalist and as an American. What are those values? They start with truth, with justice and with the Golden Rule.

Patrick Henry famously cried, “Give me liberty or give me death.” and while I’m certainly afraid to die, I stand with him. We must hold fast to our values, because right now the end times are coming for our democracy and I don’t think I can bear to see it die.

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WHY I LOVE PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

barack and michelleAs a so-called liberal, I should be disappointed in President Barack Obama, right?

No gun control, Guantanamo still open, an immigration policy that is no policy at all, drones, no universal health care, an NSA run amok, vicious unchained violence in the Middle East, a locked-down North Korea testing long-range missiles, a bunch of demented and drug-fueled Islamic terrorist boys looking for those 72 virgins I hope they find in hell, Israel up in arms against America?

Hey Barack, what the hell?

But I love President Obama and I think, when historians have a chance to
weigh in, they may find much to love about him too.

First of all, remember when George W. Bush and his neocon greed-heads bankrupted the country? Who can forget those pallets stacked with hundred dollar bills — our money! — being shipped out to Iraq, millions of dollars which remains unaccounted for to this very day?

They bankrupted us with an unnecessary war that either killed or maimed millions of Iraqis and Afghanis, thousands of American soldiers, and which destabilized the entire Middle East. And then, after the mortgage crisis toppled the banks and the auto industry, unemployment rose to near-Depression heights and Wall Street was about to crumble, they happily skipped town.

After Bush, who would want a clean-up job so big? Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney should send prayers straight to whatever heaven they actually believe in that they didn’t inherit the mess that Obama did.

Once Obama won, while many were rejoicing over having a black man in the Oval Office — remember “racism is over” —Obama’s mere presence opened a
Pandora’s box of evil that is still out there twisting and fermenting today.

One recent book estimated that Obama is the target of about 30 death threats a day. It called him ”the most threatened president in history.”

The Huffington Post and Wikipedia both have pages — long pages —dedicated to Obama death threats. Once there was a Facebook page called  “Reward for Capture of Obama.”  The nut job who sponsored that particular website felt that Obama had committed so many illegal acts (has he been watching too much Fox News?) that his life was forfeit and under the Second Amendment to the Constitution, anyone could legitimately kill him. Facebook finally shut the page down.

In 2013, Colin Powell, a Republican, said, ”Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists, and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin, and that’s despicable.”

Amen, brother. Obama has been called “the Anti-Christ,” the N-word, an
immigrant, a Muslim terrorist and God only knows what else.

And still he serves, implacably and impeccably, this man Jerry Seinfeld calls “the
coolest guy to ever hold this office.”

He must be, because the coolest First Lady to ever hold this office is married to him. If Michelle thinks he’s OK, so do I.

A word about Michelle and Barack. They live in the world I live in. They know about the Blues. They move and groove to Motown and rock and country. Michelle, for one, can really dance; I just love to watch her, although sometimes I think she embarrasses her kids. But what else is a mother for?

The stunning Michelle wears new American fashion designers. They raised their two daughters out of the spotlight for seven years. Barack loves babies and old women and relates to women who have hearts and guts rather than blonde helmet hair. This couple lives in our world, not in 1959 or whenever Ronald Reagan started to systematically kill democracy in this country. (Bill Clinton helped, by the way.)

True, Obama can’t get control of the gun laws yet. But he cried when he talked
about the children gunned down in schools, the worshippers gunned down in
churches and synagogues and mosques, the people gunned down on the
streets. He wiped real tears from his face and openly expressed his grief and
rage. Showing your feelings. It’s a start.

“Second amendment rights are important,” he said. “But there are other rights that we care about as well, and we have to balance them…Our unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were stripped…first graders…Every time I think
about those kids it gets me mad. And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day.”

OK, he couldn’t get restrictions on guns through Congress, but think of the legislation he managed to pass against giant odds.

Obama came into office preaching bipartisanship, yet the right wing of the Republican party got together on the day of his inauguration, and decided that whatever the Obama administration tried to do, they would just stonewall it and shut it down.

Fortunately, the Democrats still controlled Congress for the first two years of his presidency. That was how he passed an economic stimulus package that, while it was small and limited in scope, was just enough to keep the nation from sliding into a depression.

Obamacare (a.k.a., the Affordable Care Act) barely passed Congress without a single Republican vote. It’s certainly not perfect. The government didn’t force the issue of negotiating drug prices, and the mandatory coverage requirement itself is a bonanza for the insurance industry, but about 15 million more people now have some kind of health insurance. Boo-yah!

The unemployment rate when was 9.8 percent on Jan. 1, 2010 at the peak of the Great Recession. Now it’s 4.9 percent. There’s been a 70-month streak of steady job growth Boo-yah again!

When Obama came into office, the auto industry was tanking. Now it’s paid
back its bailout money with interest and is flourishing both here and abroad. Boo-yah, boo-yah, boo-yah!

The big banks that were “too big to fail” didn’t fail. I guess that counts
for something.

The economic collapse of 2007-08 (under George W. Bush) wiped regular
people’s savings, but their investment portfolios (under Barack Obama) have
gained back those losses.

Gay marriage became the law of the land.

“Love won,” Obama said. “No matter who you are, here in America, you’re free to marry the person you love, because the freedom to marry is now the law in all fifty states.”

America —at least the non-batshit crazy one — finally admitted that climate change is real and signed a god-damned treaty — what the hell took it so long?

Wind and solar power have tripled under Obama, and alternative energy now accounts for more than 5 percent of America’s electricity, a figure that’s rising every month. The Saudis, who enslave women and fund Islamic terrorism, are scrambling.

We’re trading with Iran, which gave up its nuclear bomb potential to do it, and with
Cuba!!  Pistachio nuts and cigars all around!

And Osama bin Laden — whose family George W. Bush flew out of the United
States on Sept. 12, 2001, when worldwide flights were cancelled — and
whom he refused to capture in the caves of Afghanistan — is gone.

It’s still a dangerous world. The damage that Bush and Cheney caused so casually will resonate for decades. But if you remember how bad it was in 2008, you can easily see the good, and that’s attributable to Barack Obama.

Barack Obama has often been called “the smartest guy in the room.” A lot of people don’t like the smartest guy in the room. They’d rather have a president whom they can drink a beer with, or watch selling snake oil on television.

Yet with everything rising against him, Obama is leaving America in a significantly better state than the one his predecessor handed off to him.

Politics is most like football, Obama argued. “A lot of players, a lot of specialization, a lot of hitting a lot of attrition but then every once in a while you see an opening,” he said. “
“You’re hitting the line you get one yard, you try one play and you get sacked, now its like third and 15, you have to punt a lot, and every once in a while you’ll see a hole and then there’s open field.”

###30###

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LITERARY COUP DE FOUDRES: THE FIVE BOOKS CHANGED MY LIFE

It was a natural. I was interviewing the town’s new library director and we fell to talking about the books that changed our lives.

“It’s a fabulous thing, the serendipity of finding a book that changes your life,” she said. “For me, it was ‘Little Women’ where those strong women without a father managed to prevail. It’s important in childhood to know that people have had hard times and gotten through them. I read that book over and over again. I’d be sobbing and sobbing at the end, and then I’d open it at the front and start all over again.”

She was a Jo, of course. A lot of us girls were Jos while we were growing up.

But now that I’m about to turn 74, and entitled to a bit of reflection, I don’t think “Little Women” changed my life. Although I cried when Beth died, and was impressed that Jo found a way to be a writer, I’m a coup de foudre baby. I believe in the power of metaphorical lightening strikes. And five books actually did change my life.

As novelist Alexander Chee described the experience: “(The book) radicalized me, the writing rewiring me somehow, in a way I’d never want to undo,”

Each of these five books — and I’ll get to their names in a minute — rewired me irrevocably.

Surprisingly, some people argue that this can’t happen. That a book can’t change a life; five books can’t change one life five times.

This argument has been going on for centuries. For example, back in the Roaring Twenties, New York City had a flamboyant mayor named Jimmy Walker. When he was asked about censorship and the banning of books, he famously said, “No woman ever lost her virginity to a book.”

Not true! cries critic Rebecca Solnit.

“Photographs and essays and novels and the rest can change your life; they are dangerous,” Solnit wrote. “Art shapes the world. I know many people who found a book that determined what they would do with their life or saved their life. Books aren’t life preservers; there are more complex, less urgent reasons to read them, including pleasure, and pleasure matters… (But) art can inflict moral harm and often does, just as other books do good.”

I’ll leave it to you, the reader, to decide if these books were dangerous, if they did me harm or good.

THE FIRST BOOK

When I was 10, Sherlock Holmes came into my life. He came in two volumes, a collection of four novels and 56 shorter stories bundled together as “The Complete Sherlock Holmes” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

At 10 I was already an omnivorous reader. Holmes was the first adult book I managed to get my hands on, and as I started reading, I could see those children’s books — mostly fairy tales with colors in the title — getting smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror of my life.

“The Study in Scarlet” formed the personality that would lead me out of childhood. I was in many ways already like Holmes: an outsider, a loner, eccentric by nature, intelligent. and cursed by a literal mind and the ability to reason abstractly that seemed to dismay the rest of my family.

Until I read Conan Doyle, I thought I must be the strangest person in the world.

But I was meant to be a detective — and being an investigative journalist is very much life being a detective — and at the tender age of 11 I did manage to solve a case. We kids were playing in the street when a man came by and asked us for help. He had parked his car somewhere and couldn’t find it again. I questioned him in detail about what he remembered of the terrain near where he had parked, and then I found the lost car parked near the grammar school. Case closed.

Even though my parents thought it was a lucky coincidence, it was one of the proudest moments of my early life.

Then there’s this:

Watson on Holmes: “My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System. That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth travelled round the sun appeared to me to be such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it.

“‘You appear to be astonished,’ (Holmes) said… ‘Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it…I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose…You say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or my work.”

Holmes’ derision of irrelevant learning was a blessing to this bored little middle school child, although of course my teachers disagreed. And later in life, I had an idiot of an editor who argued that of course I had to know that the earth revolved around the sun, although even if it went around the moon, what difference would it make to the way I covered my beat? But for the next three months he challenged me with arcane Sherlockian trivia and felt triumphant when I could not remember the names of the stories in which these details appeared.

It’s the concept, fool, I wanted to say to him. Your questions prove my point. Move along here, there’s nothing more to see.

Thanks to Holmes, I would study human nature closely for the rest of my life. And I learned that eccentricity has its purposes; an understanding that saved my tender young soul. The books blessed my unbridled curiosity, which still helps me as a journalist and as a writer. They let me believe that life can be a series of adventures. As an added benefit, they left me with an affection for crime novels that continues to this day. I owe Sir Arthur Conan Doyle an undying debt of gratitude.

There’s a caveat here. Sherlock Holmes was a man. I identified with him completely. Yet I was a girl on her way to being a woman. Was I misled? Was I somehow made more manly? Was I damaged?

No, no and no. It was the concept, fool.

THE SECOND BOOK

OK, I’m a little older now. I’m in middle school, The books I tend to read are avant garde, although I don’t understand that term yet. And I can’t explain how Henry Miller’s sexy “Tropic of Cancer” and “Tropic of Capricorn,” which were were written in the 1930s and banned in the United States until 1961, came into my hands in 1956 and taught me how to masturbate.

It was Miller’s language that affected me, the raw, forceful, sexual language. As I read the books, previously unknown sensations of warmth, moisture and inchoate craving developed between my legs. I had no idea what these feelings were. I had never felt them before.

But when I read about Henry Miller having sex with his wife, June, in the back seat of a Paris taxi cab, I tentatively put my hand between my legs. A few pages, a few gentle strokes, a few orgasms and I was hooked two ways — one on Henry Miller and the other on my hand.

By the way, I can’t claim that I identified with either Henry or June. I read most of his books, some of hers, and some of their lover Anais Nin’s diaries. She had a big following when I was in college. I found her diaries mewling and uninspiring and Miller’s later work left me cold.

THE THIRD BOOK

Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” was published in 1957 and I read it in 1959, the same year Bob Dylan did. ‘It changed my life like it changed everyone else’s,” he said, and as usual he was correct.

“On the Road” was a lightening bolt that entered the body of this shy little girl from Far Rockaway and changed every molecule in her body.

It never crossed my mind that all the main characters in “On The Road” were guys. I wanted to be on the road like Jack and Neal. I wanted the romance of constant movement, parties, ecstatic conversations about philosophy and writing and poetry and jazz, pain, loneliness, suffering and sorrow. I wanted danger, cops and jail, friendships with madmen, adventures to match Jack London’s. I wanted to hang out heavy like Hemingway wrote about in “The Sun Also Rises.” The adventure was in the rush, the ping-ponging from coast to coast, the characters you met along the way, everybody high on talk, strange drugs, hustling and sex, and I wanted to experience all of it.

Kerouac used language to create movement and driving (ahem) rhythm, and those were the forces that drove me, too. I was restless, frustrated by conventional civilization and eager to get on the road. But it would take another book to send me on my way.

THE FOURTH BOOK

Well, what woman doesn’t say that Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” changed her life? There’s even a collection of Friedan’s writings on the women’s movement that uses it as a title.

When Friedan died in 2006, one of her fans printed dark blue bumper stickers that say “Thank you Betty.” I have one pasted on my desk next to my computer keyboard.

Friedan published “The Feminine Mystique” in 1963, the National Organization of Women was founded in 1966, but the idea that women were equal to men didn’t explode in my brain until the early 1970s.

In 1972 I was living in New York and unhappy for reasons I could not understand. (My ex-husband is one of my best friends today, so it wasn’t that I didn’t love him.) I was in a profession, theatrical costume design, for which I was emotionally unsuited. My life left me unsatisfied, often terrified and mainly stalled.

I picked up “Feminine Mystique,” opened it to the first section and felt that bolt of lightening run through my body once again. Frankly, I don’t think I ever finished the book. I didn’t need to.

In 1974 I combined “On the Road” with “The Feminine Mystique. I left my husband and career and went on the road in South America for 14 exciting, sometimes disturbing, often dangerous years.

THE FIFTH BOOK

It was 1974. I was in Misahualli, a sleepy Ecuadorian jungle town. The few travelers who were on the Gringo Trail — and I was usually the only woman traveling alone — left a trail of books behind them. In Misahualli I found in my pension a paperback copy of George Eliot’s “Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life.”

It took only a few pages before I grabbed a pen and started underlining her insights. Eliot’s sharp eye and depth of understanding of other people’s inner lives and motivations was a revelation. I hadn’t realized that a writer could be so deeply knowledgeable about her society and write so beautifully and mercilessly about it.

I can’t say that I became a better writer because of Eliot, but I can say that I realized that many of the things I had been observing on my own — women’s infuriating place in the world, the failure of consumerism, the stagnation of society, the hypocrisy of government and organized religion — were now topics I could write about.

I still have that book. I still treasure that book.

AFTERMATH

My last coup de foudre came from a newspaper, not a book.

In 1989 I was still recovering from my years on the road. I was in Brattleboro, Vermont, ostensibly to take a masters degree in international management from the School for International Training. In reality, I was there because I couldn’t think of another way to reenter the culture of my own country.

After the coursework finished, I found myself in deep emotional turmoil — no home, no job, an estranged family, no clue as to what to do with myself. And I was 48 years old!
To pay the rent I took a job in the publicity office of the umbrella organization that ran the school. One day my boss asked me to write a piece for the local newspaper’s September back-to-school issue.

When the paper came out, I saw my name — my by-line! —in print for the very first time. The earth moved. Bells rang. The very same day I called the newspaper and asked for a job.

“Have you ever had anything published?” the editor asked.

“Just open today’s paper,” I said.

I started my new job the next day. I have never looked back.

In one moment, one lightening strike, I found my career and the place where I belonged in this world. A year later I found my husband on the sports desk. There hasn’t been a coup de foudre since.

Perhaps my life doesn’t need any more changing. I’ve made a million mistakes and suffered a lot of loss. I know there’s more loss coming. But right now I have my work and my love and I am happy.

I still read omnivorously — three books and about 10 magazines at a time — but another life-changing book may be in the rear-view mirror, where once upon a time and long ago all those fairy tale books with the colors in their titles once disappeared

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Happy New Year!

My New Year’s Eve Tale:

For reasons forever unexplored and unexplained, as a young girl I became fixated on the 1930s “The Thin Man” movies.

That being so, I grew up thinking that every New Year’s Eve, like Myrna Loy, I would put on a gorgeous frock with thin straps and ruffles and host a glamourous New York City party full of laughter and clinking martini glasses, while my tuxedo-clad husband (I married Bill Powell, of course) mixed the drinks.

The truth is that I live — happily — in the back woods of Vermont and have never owned an evening dress, much less one with thin straps and ruffles. I don’t even own a regular dress. And I’m married to a bearded newspaper guy who doesn’t own a suit, much less a tuxedo. And we mostly stay home on New Year’s Eve,

Last night, as if reading my mind,Turner Classic Movies hosted a Thin Man marathon. There was host Robert Osborne in a tuxedo with a champagne glass in his hand, and there for the taking were the gowns, the glamour, the parties — and the murders to be solved.

I spent New Year’s Eve very happily on the couch under a down quilt, reliving all the New Year’s Eves I never had.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

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