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Kettle Porn, Kettle Corn

As a Jewish witch, I don’t get that worked up about the gift-giving aspect of the challahdaze, as I like to call the winter holidays while rolling great buckets of phlegm from the back of my throat. (Take that, GOP!) Oh, I like the lights, the pine trees, the pageantry. I especially like all the unchecked love. But mostly I view this season as yet another effort of the Church and capitalistic structures to rain–er, snow–on pagan parades since the real star of December is the winter solstice.

If you consider the true messages of Jesus, who reportedly was born in the spring and of whom I am a lifelong fan, they have nothing to do with cumpulsory gift-giving. In fact, if you parse out his words, it’s clear the dude was an anti-materialist. A freaking socialist, really.

So I receive very few presents, which is fine because I give very few presents. Instead, I use this time of year as an opportunity to buy myself one item that I really need–something practical and well-crafted–because it makes me feel so very Laura Ingalls Wilder. (Oranges from Pa in the stocking, anyone?) Which is all to say: Meet my new beautiful tea kettle (left), the replacement of the Le Creuset I bought at the beginning of this tired teen decade (right).

Ain’t time tough?

Little Women, Inner Children

Yesterday we taped the first episode of Talking Pictures since my back went kablooey (and yes that’s the official medical diagnosis). To celebrate I got it into my head to decorate my head, and so into my triple-braided bun wove pine cones and branches, baby’s breath, and tiny birds, an effect that raised more than a few eyebrows among the normally unflappable population of NYC. Chalk it up to the fact that I was reviewing the most recent iteration of Little Women, which I had approached with great trepidation and from which I had floated with great elation.

There have many, many film, television, and stage adaptations of Louisa May Alcott’s Civil War-set saga about four Massachusetts sisters who are rich in love and poor in cash–it’s a YA novel with which I’m plainly obsessed–but this is the most ravishing and the first that does not betray the intense feminism of its author. Directed by mumblemouth millennial Greta Gerwig (cue my trepidation), it boasts an intensely good cast including Soirse Ronan as stalwart Jo, Meryl Streep putting her mugging to good use for a change as drolly disapproving Aunt March, Timotheeee Chalomet very right (if too slight) as Laurie, and Florence Pugh, channeling the authentically big emotions of her Midsommar character to animate Amy, the most bedazzled and entitled of the March girls. (Laura Dern is too Modern Millie for the Marnie of my dreams, but I’ve always been immune to her Lynchian charms.) Continue Reading →

Welcome to the Fun House

I woke Friday with the words suspended above my head like a cartoon bubble, like a neon sign:

Yesterday was fun.

Which may not sound like the sort of weighty dispatch I typically unpack here but if you’d had a year like I’ve had–and chances are, you have—then such words are a bolt from on high. Life-changing.

Because this Year of 12 Novembers was simply not fun. But it being December—the season of goofy Sagittarius, no less– I’m finally better. Not perfect, mind you, but by middle-age only fools strive for perfection. Fun on the other hand–

Fun is precious indeed. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy