It was warmish here, certainly warm by seasonal standards, last Friday, which happened to be Groundhog Day, the day we celebrate the pulverized pork product usually called “sausage.” Okay, I’ve been waiting to make that joke for years, and the fact that I do now reflects a mood that I think others share.
It was 45 years ago that a band called “The Buggles” had a hit record, “Video Killed the Radio Star.” The song was big, as you’d expect, on MTV, which at the time played music videos. The song was wrong. Video didn’t kill the radio star, the internet did. (It also pretty well killed MTV, too.)
So I’m thinking we should change the date of the new year. It’s not as ridiculous as it seems at first, so please hear me out. But first, a recap of how 2024 seems like an extension of 2023, only worse, though to be fair I have to note that things have been heading downhill for a while now; the decline is simply picking up speed.
Yesterday, Marvel Studios premiered a new streaming series on a fascinating character. I don’t plan to watch it. With Echo, Marvel has bowed to the inescapable dogma of HBO that a series must splatter blood or rip off clothes to be prestigious. Why would one of the most successful franchises in history shed the family-friendly tact that made it stand out in the explicit modern media landscape?
True, it’s a little late to be talking about Christmas shopping, but throughout the year we need to give gifts from time to time, often to young people, so I don’t think it’s a waste of time to discuss presents a little even at this late date.
It is as familiar a phrase as any in American English, usually remembered in the smooth baritone of Nat “King” Cole: “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire . . .” The song was written by Robert Wells and Mel Tormé in 1945. (The first line made more sense then.) It is secular, as Christmas songs go — both Wells and Tormé were Jewish — but it acknowledged that yes, this is a religious holiday.
The conversation with my friend Angelo was satisfying and thought-provoking, as they always are. We had been talking about how men, when they grow up (chronologically) and have money, are wont to buy the things they desired but didn’t get when they were little boys.
Today I was looking for a photo from the end of last year and inadvertently stumbled on one of my uncle from then. My Uncle Jay went on hospice a few weeks ago amid a sharp decline. The difference of a year was shouted from that picture.
We’re not-so-slowly being overrun by invasive animal and plant species, and it’s costing money. Costing me money in particular. And like so many terrible things for which no one can be held personally accountable, in many cases the government is to blame.
My feed on X has filled with posts from officials of Ukraine, Romania and the Netherlands touting the opening of the European F-16 Training Center in Romania. Highlighting this was a video of Ukrainian pilots showing off their newly acquired skills in piloting said aircraft. The word “resolve” comes to mind given that I can write that sentence at all — for a long time, the West refused the beleaguered nation access to advanced jets. “Resolve” also speaks to the dangerous test ahead hinted at in that hesitancy.