During this season, lists of “bests” for the last twelve months appear. Why isn’t it a slam dunk that at the top of best American athletes is Simone Biles or Mikaela Shiffrin? Or better yet, they should share it.

          The temperature was in the 50s two days before Christmas, and I thought it was silly for the dog to be wearing a coat in the balmy weather. But as I got closer, I realized that the garment may not have been for warmth, for I could see inscribed on the back “Hanukah.” I did not check the Brooklyn pooch’s circumcision state.

          I was driving midweek in central Pennsylvania. Signs seemed to be everywhere for a weekend church festival. I was sorry that I was not going to be there then because the festival offered not just the usual music and food, but something that I have never experienced and could not entirely imagine: A Polka Mass!

          The newspaper headline read: “Is There a Religious Way to Get Angry?” My reaction: “You’re goddamn right there is!”

          “Question: Why are there plenty of televangelists in America, but not a single tele-ecologist?” Lawrence Millman, At the End of the World: A True Story of Murder in the Arctic.

          ‘Tis the season: Athletes get athletes foot, but astronauts get missile toe.

          A thought for the season: “The pleasures of acquisition are well known—says the thief, the former thief—but who ever mentions the quiet pleasure of letting things go?” John Banville, The Blue Guitar.