1. Sadly, I had to break off the daily morning nuzzling session with Maia because I had to leave for a dental appointment. Two hours, one dentist, and one trip to the vet to pick up more cat food, later, I returned and we resumed right where we'd left off.
2. The location for sitting shiva was in the midst of a neighborhood filled with brilliant displays of Christmas lights, and on the drive there, the classical station was playing Christmas music. Since my destination was a Jewish religious ritual, these surroundings made me feel more than usually like a stranger in my own land. And those special snowflakes who go around moaning the decline of the cultural ubiquity of Christmas can go bite themselves.
3. The most tiresome and dishonest sentence in literary discourse is that defense of bad movie adaptations that goes "The book is still on the shelf." I give it no credence in a world which contains comments like this one: "It's really difficult to read the original novel now without seeing clashing visions of Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp being Willy Wonka, and of the 1971 Oompa-Loompas vs Deep Roy." (I have many examples of this type of complaint: this is just the latest.) It doesn't matter where the book is, if the movie is in the head.
4. I'm seeing lots of gushing articles about the engagement of Harry and Meghan, and almost as many complaints about it. My annoyance is purely with the media cooing. It's not the royals' fault; indeed, they've publicly stated how much they dislike it. Here's a couple of sufficiently mature years who wish to marry, but they can't do it without negotiating a gauntlet of publicity (and of criticism: of her background, or of dumb things he did when quite young). My only thought is to wish them well and to hope they survive it; the most hopeful sign is that Meghan already likes to do publicity on behalf of good causes internationally: this is fortunate because she's going to be doing that for the rest of her public life. I tend to feel sorry for the British royals, who mostly try to do their best at their job, and must endure having their human imperfections horribly magnified, in a situation they're trapped in. Abdicating would not free them from the glare of media attention; neither divorce nor even death freed Diana.
5. Articles of note:
5a. Another good analysis of the delusions that cause people to support Trump.
5b. On implanting preset narratives onto mass shootings.
5c. Let the punishment fit the crime.