Talk all you want about Tom Brady, LeBron James, or Mike Trout, but isn’t Mikaela Shiffrin the best American athlete competing today? Or is it Simone Biles?

With all the hospital mergers, institutions end up with strange and seemingly impossible names. Thus, not far from me is the New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital.

          On a diet, one is supposed to eat slowly. So, at the farmer’s market seafood stand, I bought my diet food—oysters. It takes me fifteen minutes to open each one.

          How often in the coming years do you think Ivanka and Jared will socialize with people who unironically wear MAGA hats?

Although I don’t like to be out in one, I like to hear the term because it sounds poetic: Wintry mix.

We had a winter storm, which raises the questions for boys of all ages: Can you write your name in the snow? Sometimes it is better to be Bob than Randolph.

“It was evening all afternoon/It was snowing/And it was going to snow./The blackbird sat/In the cedar-limbs.” Wallace Stevens.

I read online an article from The Federalist. At the bottom of the article, it said: “The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media.” Can it be “wholly independent” and a division of a larger company? Perhaps someone can explain to me what “wholly independent” means.

Sometimes I am surprised at a lacuna in the spouse’s knowledge. She does not know who Aaron Rodgers is. That prevented me from discussing with her the burning topic of whether he is overrated.

At my age, an aphorism that no longer applies: “A pessimist is a man who thinks all women are bad; an optimist hopes they are.”

Overheard on an elevator at the Whitney Museum, this truism and puzzler: one young man social distancing from another, said, “Taking care of your mother while she dies is an opportunity of a lifetime.”

I did not sleep well on the night before a stress test necessary for an important medical procedure. I had discomfort in my lower abdomen with an occasional sharp pain. As I lay in bed, I convinced myself that I had a kidney stone. My mind raced. Should I go to the emergency room? Maybe the stone would pass naturally with a bit of pain and blood. Did I know of a doctor to go to? Did the spouse? Could I postpone my scheduled stress test? Would this postpone my valve replacement? Surely, I had to deal with the kidney stone first. Finally, I fell asleep but fifty minutes later I was awake again with a racing mind. What should I do about the kidney stone? How do I cancel my heart procedure appointment? Finally, back to sleep again but awake an hour later. So it went all night long until I finally got up to go up to the hospital for the test, and the worries about the kidney stone dissipated. I came to the convincing, and loud, conclusion that it was only gas.


          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.