It’s beginning to look a lot like the next Letter will be mailed after Christmas

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.


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:

  1. Mac & cheese is a bigger holiday thing than I realized.
  2. I’m a New Englander, but didn’t know about the dominance of squash.
  3. Apparently no one in the U.S. eats mashed potatoes?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Even you weirdos out west with your salad.


This week we answer the question, can a stoner dude successfully complete a transaction at the supermarket? (Answer: not really.)

I bought some groceries and the clerk was a real-life Jeff Spicoli. At one point, as he was pressing buttons to accept my debit card and giving me my receipt, he said to the guy in line behind me that was buying some food product he was familiar with (and I swear to you he said these very words): “whoa, dude, that stuff is rad!” It was like he was from California stoner/skater central casting.

He forgot to give me the cash I had asked for so he had to open his money drawer again, which is always a hassle. They have to call over someone at a higher pay-grade and they have to open the drawer with a special code and a key and I think a fingerprint or retina scan.

We had a Nor’Easter yesterday, which dumped approximately 4000 wet leaves on my front stairs. Been here 25 years and I’ve never seen anything like it. I think it’s because we had a late foliage here and the trees were still filled with mostly green leaves. Swept them off the stairs and put them into a trash bag. I’m throwing the broom away too because there’s no way I’m using it inside again.

But the leaves on the ground actually looked right, and felt right. The trees are getting bare and there’s a nip in the air (I swear I didn’t mean for that to rhyme). Turned on the heat for the first time this season, and that remains one of the more pleasant household aromas.

It’s fall.

Right here, right now

An old MacBook. A full cup of vanilla chai. A Westclox travel alarm clock I use as my desk clock. A coffee table because I don’t have a desk. Four remote controls because everything has to be more complex now. A copy of Boston magazine. A box of tissues (Scotties) and a pack of gum (Extra cinnamon). A Uni-Ball Jetstream pen and three Field Notes. Columbo on my TV. Books by E.B. White, Peg Bracken, and Walter Mosley. Thoughts on what to have for dinner tonight, what I need from the supermarket, and a crisp October wind coming in through an open door.