For someone who doesn’t like social media, I hear a lot of things about social media. This is a tweet someone sent recently – it’s actually a redo of a tweet someone else did a couple of years ago – that asks an interesting question:
Having only one (rotary) phone in the house, in the kitchen, where everyone could hear what you were saying, and it was plugged into the wall so you had to stay in one place. Having to answer that phone when it rang and you didn’t know who was calling. Busy signals (I miss busy signals). Waiting for the news to come on at 6pm. Having to wait for a TV show to be rerun if you missed it (if it was rerun at all). Getting off the couch to turn off the TV. The “this concludes our broadcasting day” sign-off. Listening to the radio, hoping they’ll replay that song you really liked. “10 records for a penny!” Showing an ID to use a credit card. Carbon paper. Collecting S&H Green Stamps. Inserting those little yellow things in the center of 45s (also, 45s). Woolworth’s. Waiting until the next day for the print newspaper. Encyclopedia Brittanica. Using the encyclopedia to look up a fact, or calling someone else who might know. Having a TV repairman come to the house. Restaurants that gave out free matchbooks. The need to memorize the phone numbers of all of your family and friends.
How about you?
I’ve been grappling with something for months now, and since the start of a new year is a time for big choices, I’ve come to a decision about something.
My favorite Journey song is “Separate Ways.”
I should start this post by saying “Happy New Year!” Hopefully that greeting will lessen the blow of telling you that I didn’t get around to doing the next Letter last week like I told you I would. I’ll get it out next week or so.
I had hoped to have The Letter out to you yesterday. Actually, it was more than hope, it was a concrete plan. I started it and then things like the holidays and other factors got in the way and now I’m not going to be able to get it finished and into a mailbox until the 27th.
Here’s hoping you and your family have a great Christmas.
Just a quick note to point you to this week’s Saturday Evening Post column, where I talk about the best books of the year, homeless Muppets, Friends, Christmas cards, and fruitcake, among other things.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. That special season when strangers you pass on the street, the people at the supermarket, your close friends and family, with a twinkle in their eye and a bright, wide smile, all greet you in the same way.
“Die Hard is a Christmas movie!”
Sigh. Yes, it’s a Christmas movie (and a great movie, period), but at this point it’s not a particularly insightful observation. You’re not being clever or contrarian by saying it. It has gotten to the point where saying the opposite would be the more daring viewpoint. Last year I wrote a piece for Vulture on great non-Christmas Christmas movies (that aren’t Die Hard), and I thought you might like to read it if you haven’t already.
(By the way, remind me some time to tell you about the behind-the-scenes ridiculousness that happened when I wrote that piece. Let’s just say I’m not in any mood to write about movies for Vulture again any time soon.)
Here’s another festive season link, the Christmas song supermix I did a few years ago. I’ve been too lazy to make another one but this has some great stuff on it.
A few observations about this graphic:
- Mac & cheese is a bigger holiday thing than I realized.
- I’m a New Englander, but didn’t know about the dominance of squash.
- Apparently no one in the U.S. eats mashed potatoes?
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Even you weirdos out west with your salad.
This is the new issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Lots of great stuff inside, including classic articles from Truman Capote and Joan Didion, an essay by a friend of Mister Rogers, a visit to an ice hotel, new books, new movies, holiday recipes, and more. The cover is a Rockwell. No, not that one. Rockwell Kent.
On a related note, here’s my column for this week.