MINDY NEWELL: Happy Christmas! Merry Chanukah! And Festivus For The Rest Of Us!
We lived on a “not quite” cul-de-sac that had an island in the middle of the street. On that island was a huge old fir tree, and every holiday season all the “cul-de-sac’ers” would decorate it for Christmas. Yep, it was “National Brotherhood Week” on Hodges Place – I always wondered if the street was named for Gil Hodges of the Brooklyn Dodgers. I doubt it – this was on Staten Island, not Brooklyn – but it would make a nice story, wouldn’t it?
Anyway, my brother and I didn’t feel cheated in mid-December – like every snotty, young, selfish Jewish kid, Chanukah meant eight days of presents. And latkes ; potato pancakes for the uninitiated. But truth to tell, we also thought the story of the oil in the Temple miraculously burning for eight days was pretty cool, and the candlelight was so pretty. My brother and I didn’t lose on Christmas either.
Christmas Eve was when my mom took me, my brother, an done friend each into Manhattan for our annual visit to Rockefeller Center and the Christmas Tree, then to skate on the Rockefeller Center ice rink, then to Radio City Music Hall to see the movie and the Christmas show, then to walk down Fifth Avenue to see the fantabulously animated window, and finally to then meet up with our Dad at Macy’s, where we would all bundle into the car for a trip through the tunnel and home. And once at home, bathed and tucked into bed – with visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads – dad and mom would hang Lord & Taylor’s, or Saks Fifth Avenue, or Bloomindales or B. Altman ‘s (yeah, I’m that old) shopping bags for Santa to fill – I guess jolly ol’ St. Nick was kosher, but real stockings were trafe.
So here’re some suggestions for your shopping bags and/or stockings, trafe or not. Some political – hey, it wouldn’t be my column with at least one political comment, would it? – and some not.
- The full collection of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, beautifully drawn by various artists such as P. Craig Russell, Mike Dringenberg, Glenn Fabry, Frank Quitely, and Bill Sienkiewicz.
- 1000 Comic Books You Must Read, by Tony Isabella. A wondrous collection that takes you through 70 years of comics, and if you don’t find something in this chock-full-of-‘mazing stuff that wets your whistle, you ain’t a comic fan!
- Loading up your stocking with everything you need to enable you to enact your basic right as a citizen of the United States – to vote for the candidate of your choice. Republican governors are attempting to disenfranchise the vote to those they consider “undesirable,” i.e., those they fear will vote for President Obama and/or the Democrats. 34 states have already loaded the registration process with so much debris it makes it nearly impossible for many to do what nearly 40,000 American deaths and casualties gave to the Iraqis and Afghans – please, don’t let those deaths be in total vain. Whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent, a Libertarian, a Communist, or something altogether different: VOTE, goddamn it!
- If you’re a fan of the original Law & Order, and you have roughly $700 dollars to spend, consider the boxed Complete Law & Order DVD Collection. (Hmm, I just checked on Amazon, and it’s selling there for the bargain price of $450.99, a 36% savings.) Check out Michael Moriarty, George Dzunda, Chris Noth before he was Mr. Big and Mr. Julianne Margulies, Dan Florek as Captain Donald Cragen before he moved to the Special Victims precinct and S. Epatha Merkeson as the luminously jaded Lt. Abigail Van Buren. See the fascinatingly different styles of D.A. Steven Hill, Fred Thompson, and Dianne West. Watch Sam Waterson’s hair turn grey. And mourn the premature passing of the one and only Lenny Brisko – Jerry Orbach.
- And speaking of L & O, for you video-gamers out there, I just read, it was either in Entertainment Weekly, or, believe it or not, TV Guide, keep your eyes out for Law & Order: Legacies, in which you’ll have the choice of being either part of the Law or part of the Order as you hunt down the criminal and aim for justice.
- Fly to the second star to the right and then straight on to morning. Get tickets to see Cathy Rigby as Peter Pan. You’ll be in Neverland.
- A donation to your favorite charity, be it a couple of dollars in the Salvation Army red bucket or $1000 to Oxfam.
With our troops “officially” coming home from Iraq – my girlfriend is in the Army and she knows soldiers who have gotten marching orders to Baghdad to help protect the nearly 20,000 “diplomats” who will remain in the Emerald City Otherwise Known As The United States Embassy, it’s time for you to really understand how the fuck we got involved there in the first place.
- Want to know what made Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda tick? Buy The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright. The best book I’ve read on the rise of the terrorist organization and its megalomaniacal leader.
- Next read about the fucked-up U.S. politics that led to 9/11 in Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001.
- Or check out Bob Woodward’s trilogy, Plan of Attack: The Definitive Account of the Decision to Invade Iraq; State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III; and The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006 – 2008. It’s amazing how freely people spoke to Woodward, including President Bush. And you’ll wonder how these people slept at night.
As for me? What do I want for Christmas, Chanukah, and Festivus for the rest of us? Oh, say, it’d be nice to part of the 1%, wouldn’t it? C’mon, you know you’d like it, too. I’m joking. (Or am I?) A guarantee that President Obama will have a second term, this time with a Congress that’ll work with him instead of demonizing everything about one of the smartest men to ever hold the office. Barring that, a Presidency for Hillary – and yes, I know she said she’s done with politics after winding up her term as Secretary of State. To write Wonder Woman again.
Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men.
Yeah. I like that one.
Ho, Ho, Ho!
TUESDAY: Michael Davis