Po, po pitiful me. (With apologies to Mr. Zevon.)

Self-pity is one of, if not the, least attractive all human traits. As soon as I catch myself wallowing in the throws of it (which is pretty often) I make an effort to grind it down to a fine powder. It’s downright unmanly.

What helped snap me out of my recent funk (although I had good reasons this time) was the theater, which will come as no surprise to regular readers. I am moved by a live performance the same way others are moved by a piece of music or literature or a gourmet meal.

Who in their right mind would sit through a play about a woman dying of cancer? Sounds like an awful night out. But it isn’t! When WIT opened off-Broadway in 1999, there was talk of moving it to a Broadway house. But the bean counters decided that nobody would go. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and there have been countless regional productions.


It’s finally about to open on Broadway with Cynthia Nixon. She’s on stage dying of ovarian cancer for the entire 1:45 with no intermission. It was a tough, superb performance and an exceptional piece of writing.

They mess with your emotions by loading the script with heaping helpings of sharp humor. Laughs abound. But they can’t fool me. They only do that for juxtaposition. They get you laughing so that when she’s crying in pain it seems all the more horrific. It’s the oldest trick on the book but it works. There was a lot of weeping in the house.

If anything, I suppose the play can be accused of being highly manipulative. But I dare anyone to not surrender to Nixon’s performance. I can’t imagine the critics saying anything negative about her or her excellent cast mates. (Although, you never know, with those bitter old queens.) In the last scene, in a final act of heroism, Nixon stands in a bright, white spotlight, arms stretched upwards, completely naked. Not that her nakedness was the primary focus of the moment. But I did notice.

As I was saying…

For the past few years, December has had the uncanny ability to be a watershed month for both joy and cruelty. The Christmas season arrives all wrapped up in a pretty package that contains bad news on my doorstep I couldn’t take one more step. So I didn’t care to write very much. It’s difficult to type with a 50-pound stone strapped to your back.

I used to have a pretty good belly laugh at the expense of people who constantly poured over facebook, twitter and other social media sites. Foursqare. Please. “Here I am everyone! Look at ME!” Don’t be such a stooge for Madison Avenue. Get a life.

Then I stopped posting to my blog.

Those first few weeks of not posting exacerbated my melancholy. I couldn’t put my thumb on it. Then I recognized that old, familiar pang. I got the same blue blues you get from a break-up. As the years peel away, I find there are fewer and fewer people in my social circle. One of Christopher Hitchens’ parting shots before he died was, “As you get older, you realize that you can’t meet any new old friends.” And I realized that over the years, unbeknown to me, this stupid, tedious blog had become an on-call friend. This explains my weird obsession with my comments section. Along with my other issues, I was grieving over the loss of that connection.

Who’s laughing now?

It’s a shame that I didn’t post any photos of the city over Christmas/New Years because that has become one of my favorite holiday traditions. The town gets all gussied up like an old, cheap, broken-down, 10-cent whore on my arm and I like to show her off. Bergdorf had the best window displays I‘ve ever seen. But the few times I sat at a keyboard, all it spat out was dreary junk. And you know what you do with dreary junk, don’t you? You throw it in the garbage.

Thank-you x 1,000 for your thoughtful comments and emails.

* * *

I had these left over in my iPhone. Consider them a late entry for the holiday season.

Not all holiday window displays are of the heartfelt Norman Rockwell/ Hallmark variety, particularly here in New York. A drug store on 57th Street really knows how to get into the spirit of things in a Tim Burton-ish kind of way.

This consumer-crazed holiday shopper…


…is actually a monstrous 8-armed shopaholic, grabbing everything off a store shelf that comes within reach of her tentacles. To hell with credit card limits! This is Christmastime in America, baby!

CC2Poor, clumsy Santa had a Christmas Eve mishap. This’ll be one Christmas morning the kiddies will never forget.

As I gazed into Santa’s glassy, dead eyes, I got the notion that this was once a female. So much gender confusion going on these days!


* * *
If things don’t start to improve around here I could throw another hissy-fit and disappear again. Just so you know.