I wrote this blog on “Presidents’ Day” and I post this picture of a great president and a great Republican, Abraham Lincoln. It’s no wonder he is considered one of our greatest presidents. And isn’t it shocking that we’ve only had 45 presidents preside over our country? I think Andover has had more than that! (By the way, if you are a fan of audio books, George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo” is an incredible audio experience — more like a play mixed with a dream. I highly recommend it.)
Here are the five things that made my week sweet.
1) It’s hard to find a stock image of POLITENESS, which goes to the top of the list. Actually it could go to the top of the list every week. As a culture, we used to be more mannerly. When someone makes the (nominal effort) to say please or thank you, I practically pant with appreciation. It’s gotten that bad. Today I heard a young girl, I’d say about 11 years old follow her mother out of a shop. Her mother said nothing but the girl said thank you and made the effort to make direct eye contact with the clerk she had worked with. I was impressed with this kid. Call me a fuddy duddy if you like. I call myself a fuddy duddy. Good manners make everyone feel better. They grease the wheels of pleasantness to one another.
2). Shtisel on Netflix. When my friend Fred raves about something I pay attention. A discerning consumer of culture, he wrote a few social media posts about this tv series and used the word “obsessed.” I confess I’m way behind the usual NPR-American when it comes to tv series. I’ve yet to watch “Homeland” or “Breaking Bad.” (If you leave me now I’ll understand.). I came very late to “Downton Abbey”, “The Crown“ The Americans”, “The Good Place.” But I urge you to watch. . Made in Israel, it is the story of an extended Hasidic family. Now that I’ve lost you let me add that the script is in Hebrew and Yiddish with English subtitles. Want to hear more? On Shtisel we meet some of the most original characters I’ve ever met on any show. The writers and performers have made me fascinated about the people behind the unruly beards and sidekicks , and frumpy long skirts, and wigs. These are not the Jews of “The Goldbergs” or “Transparent”, yet they are fully formed and flawed, passionate human beings. The first season consists of 12 episodes. I watched all of them in 2 days. I just learned there’s a second season, and perhaps plans for a third. And from what I’m reading on other columns, blogs, and so forth — you don’t have to be Jewish to be fascinated.
3). Brodo bone broth. I read somewhere that bone broth was good and good for you. It’s a ton of protein in a low-calorie dose, it’s good for your skin, etc. (But do you believe everything you read?). (I respectfully retract that question.). Then I read about Brodo, a restaurant that sold very good bone broth made from the bones of cows, chickens, and turkeys or a combination thereof. I tried it at their Lower East Side store. Good. Warming. Great as a take-out drink when you can’t possibly have more coffee or tea. If you don’t live near a Brodo — as most of you do not — there’s hope in a plastic container for you. Brodo delivers its elixir — free in 39 states. If you live within a Fresh Direct region, you can order yours there. (I recommend its “Hearth” blend.) Brodo.com. (I still miss Bovril, the English “beef paste” which I used to consume like tea in the cold weather; no longer for sale in the US.)
4) My friend Jessica is always game to try new places and experiences (remember the Rose Immersion?) and she invited me to meet some of her friends at Spring Place, a downtown work/social/fill in the next word club in Tribeca. It was Fashion Week. Spring Place is a Fashion Week sort of place. It is a large building, and there were hundreds of people everywhere — waiting to get in, waiting for an elevator, leaving a fashion show. A concierge told me where to meet Jessica (in the “Sixth Floor Sunken Living Room” to watch a documentary about the return of the 1970s brand Fiorucci). I ended up in a fashion show by mistake. And once in, I couldn’t leave. I felt like Lucy or more likely Ethel (Please don’t tell me you didn’t get the reference.) or say Melissa McCarthy in a fish-out-of-water comedy. No one noticed me when I took an actual seat. I got actual swag. While everyone else was oohing or pretending to ooh, or not oohing, I was looking at my watch wondering if the documentary would still be playing when I got out. That was a big laugh.
5). For all of you who think I have an actual crush on Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, let it be said here that I don’t. I mean, it’s not romantic. I’m just really impressed with his service and his determination.
Stay warm and act natural!