2019 in review, too

Carolina Chocolate Drops

Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg at the EU
More 2019 in review

Where did most of your money go?

The house, specifically the new refrigerator

What did you get really excited about?

Finding quite a bit on my family tree

Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

Marginally happier

Thinner or fatter?

Marginally thinner, and need to do much more.

Richer or poorer?

I feel poorer, but our financial planner says that in retirement, over time, we’ll be richer

What do you wish you’d done more of?


What do you wish you’d done less of?

Dealing with the retirement paperwork

How did you spend Christmas?

Christmas Eve means singing at church, so that. Eventually, we go to the in-laws

Did you fall in love in 2019?


How many one-night stands?

Jaquandor always says: “Now, that’s not the kind of question a gentleman answers!”

What was your favorite TV program?

CBS Sunday Morning, JEOPARDY!, Grey’s Anatomy, CBS This Morning Saturday

The hate question

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Hate is such a tricky word. I don’t want to give them that much power. Enraged with, perhaps. But, oh yeah, I certainly loathe the behavior of a whole lot of people. I noted some of them yesterday

What was the best book you read?

The Twilight Man, a graphic novel about Rod Serling by Koren Shadmi

What was your greatest musical discovery?

Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. She was on the Country Music series that Ken Burns did for PBS.

What did you want and get?

The new Hess truck – what a shock!

What did you want and not get?

The luxury of more time that I thought I’d have

What were your favorite films of this year?

Cold War
The Farewell
Toy Story 4
Jojo Rabbit
Blinded by the Light

What did you do on your birthday?

Actually, I wrote about that!

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2019?

There was SOME new trend in men’s apparel I noticed some months ago. I thought was SO stupid, I was sure I’d write about it at the end of the year. Then, because it’s fashion, and I don’t really care about it, I’ve managed to totally block it from my mind. Which is fine.

What kept you sane?

Once again, I continue to argue the premise of the question.

The fame question

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I’m hard-pressed to answer this, because celebrity, for the most part, does not interest me. I saw this in the New York Post in November: “Bristol Palin and boyfriend Janson Moore are Instagram official.”

Everything in that sentence bugs me. The idea that Bristol Palin is enough of a celebrity to merit the coverage. The notion that “Instagram official” is a thing. Bleech.

That said, Greta Thunberg, because there are people who like to bash her.

What political issue stirred you the most?

If we haven’t screwed up the planet ecologically, we’ve hosed it politically.

Who was the best new person you met?

Some new church members

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2019

“The trouble with normal is it always gets worse” (Same as last year, and the year before)

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year

White Man’s World by Jason Isbell


There’s no such thing as someone else’s war
Your creature comforts aren’t the only things worth fighting for
If you’re still breathing, it’s not too late
We’re all carrying one big burden, sharing one fate

2019: year in the rear-view mirror

Retiring is work

Vera Michelson
Vera “Mike” Michelson
This is that thing that Jaquandor has done on December 31, but I do on January 1.

And this looking in the rear-view mirror is getting so damn long, I’m going to split it in half.

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Last year, I noted an article that resonated with me. Talking about making changes will make them less likely to happen. Why you shouldn’t share your goals. It doesn’t help me with mine, for sure.

That said, I did plan on leaving work this year, and I did. But I didn’t talk about it until I had to.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Anna, who’s named for me, had her second child.

Did you attend any weddings?

Don’t think so.

I attended at least seven funerals

Did anyone close to you die?

Hell, yeah. Bob Lamar and Charlie Kite and Bob Pennock and Tim Ryan-Pepper. Plus a couple moms of friends.

I was really sorry about Sarge Blotto’s passing. To this day, I keep thinking I can ask Dustbury some obscure musical question and that he’d answer.

I never mentioned my high school friend Jane Vandament Clair, with whom I reconnected on Facebook a few years back. She died in August.

Everyone who was a progressive advocate in Albany, and many who were not, were friends with Vera “Mike” Michelson. Among other things, she donated her home to the Underground Railroad history project so they could sell it and raise money. They renamed a street after her.

What countries did you visit?

None, but my passport is in order, just in case. Actually, it expires in 2020, but I got the enhanced DMV thing, which is good for a few more years.

What would you like to have in 2020 that you lacked in 2019?

The ability to read about far fewer examples of amazingly stupid behavior.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Retiring. Retiring is WORK!

What was your biggest failure?

Finding equilibrium

What was the best thing you bought?

A round-trip train ticket to New York to see my friend Karen when she retired.

Human behavior

Whose behavior merited celebration?

A few patriots who honestly testified at the impeachment hearings, in spite of intimidation. John Oliver, Seth Meyers, Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah. Those who helped people dealing with weather disasters. Those who helped the people dealing with the human-made disasters

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

OMG, there are so many of them. Pam Bondi, the terrible former Florida attorney general, turned WH defender; I saw her on CBS This Morning in November. Rudy Guiliani: he wasn’t always this crazy, was he? The racist Stephen Miller.

Members of Congress: Jim Jordan, “the most craven and shameless of the Republican reps available” to try to defend Trump. In his previous career, “he is a man that allowed younger men to be molested and raped by his coworker.”

Devin Nunez, who was the hatchetman behind the Benghazi hearings, and continues his slash and burn. It’s why I couldn’t watch the impeachment hearings. Also, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the enabler.

Virtually the entire Cabinet: William Barr protects illegalities. Rick Perry is one of the three amigos in Ukraine. Betsy DeVos is everything you don’t want in education. Mike Pence. Whoever’s currently destroying the EPA. Wilbur Ross.

Mike Pompeo and his boss make a travesty of foreign policy. See Iran, Turkey, North Korea, Syria – the Russians drinking the Coke abandoned by US troops, et al. The U.S. softens its stance against Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

And of course, the guy who just moved his residence from New York to Florida, and his weaselly eldest son.

Year 2019: those turning three score and ten

Shelley Duvall, Shelley Long, and Michael Richards have the same birth date!,

Jessica Lange
Jessica Lange
I really can’t wait for 2019. I anticipate that the first quarter will be a pain, the second chaotic, the third mildly uncomfortable, but the fourth quarter inspiring. If that isn’t cryptic, I don’t know what is.

I’ve actually started figuring out what I’m going to write about. Not surprisingly, as I begin my (slow) approach towards 70, there is an increasing number of famous people who will be hitting three score and ten. I’m going to write about nearly two dozen of them.

But here are some other folks ALSO turning 70 in 2019 – or would, if they were still alive – that I decided NOT to write about. Well, unless you force me to by invoking Ask Roger Anything. Then I WILL write about that person, BUT I maintain the right to postpone it to a date near their actual natal day.

17 – Mick Taylor, first substitute in the Rolling Stones after Brian Jones’ death
22 – Steve Perry, former lead singer of the band Journey. Don’t expect a reunion
28 – Gregg Popovich, NBA basketball coach

9- Judith Light, actress- best known on the TV show Who’s The Boss. I last saw her on a short-lived TV lawyer show Doubt (2017)
20 – Ivana Trump, ex-wife of Donald

16 – Erik Estrada, actor – best known for playing the California Highway officer Ponch on the TV show CHiPs (1977–1983)
17 – Patrick Duffy, actor – from the TV show Dallas, in which his character apparently died, then didn’t

13 – Christopher Hitchens, author – since he died in 2011, I passed, but I AM writing about folks who died earlier
20- Jessica Lange, actress – in a LOT of worthy material, but I believe I’ve only seen her in Tootsie, Cape Fear and All That Jazz

26 – Pam Grier, actress- the film Jackie Brown, among many credits
28 – Steve King, United States Representative (R-IA) – blowhard

8 – Wolfgang Puck, chef, restaurateur

23 – Rick Springfield, TV soap opera actor, singer (Jessie’s Girl)
25 – Gene Simmons, musician – from the rock group KISS

10 -Bill O’Reilly, talk show “personality” – formerly with FOX

3 -Lindsey Buckingham, singer, musician- until fairly recently, in Fleetwood Mac
4 – Armand Assante, actor
21 – Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel

3- Anna Wintour, magazine editor, fashion journalist
30 -Shelley Duvall, film Actress, television actress – best known from the movie The Shining (1980)
30 – Shelley Long, actress -best known as overeducated barmaid Diane Chambers in the TV comedy Cheers (1982-1987, 1993)
30 – Michael Richards,, television actor, comedian – best known as Kramer on the TV comedy Seinfeld

1 -Pablo Escobar, Colombian drug lord) – died in 1993
15 – Don Johnson, actor – I did watch him as Sonny Crockett in Miami Vice (1984–1990), but eschewed his music career

What will YOU write about, or not, in 2019?

For ABC Wednesday

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