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I totally got sucked into the Harry and Meghan drama over the weekend. I blame Olivia Coleman.

Booker’s out.

Compare textbooks across different states.

The demise of a white, working class family.

As we peal wallpaper off our bedroom, we decided to finally get a headboard for the bed. Mostly to avoid the pillow falling behind the bed problem. I bought one from Wayfair for around $100 with free shipping. An almost similar one from West Elm, a low end furniture place, was $500, including shipping. I’m sure the Wayfair headboard was made at some child labor factory in China, but that’s a major savings. Does anybody buy furniture in actual stores any more?

Internet Slow Down

Over the past 16 years that I’ve monitored traffic statistics on this blog, I’ve learned several things: 1. People have a hard time getting their brains back to work on Mondays, so they use the Internet to procrastinate for a while. 2. People use their summers for good stuff, like vacations, and unplug. 3. People are too busy to look at the Internet between mid-December and January 2nd. 4. But after January 2, they’re back looking at their screens.

Online writers, like myself, and editors are probably the ones that look at unplugged time as bad things. We demand your eyeballs! I had an article accepted in late December, but everyone decided to hold it until January 2. I have to do some serious cuts on it before then, so I should get in a couple of hours this morning.

Then I have to prep the kitchen for more cooking, because friends are stopping by. We’re doing a super casual dinner with Steve, my mom, and I all making something different at the same time. Short ribs and polenta are on the menu, along with lots of other little stuff. I can’t get too loaded, because I’m running a 5K tomorrow morning at 11am.

Here are some things that we’ve been talking about IRL:

Obama’s best of books, movies and TV shows of 2019. While I was watching Fleabag, I kept thinking, “I’m going to have watch this all for a second time.” It was THAT good. We’re in the midst of Watchmen and loving it. We also enjoyed: Working Moms, Game of Thrones, Schitt’s Creek, The Crown, and Russian Doll.

The crazy dude who stabbed people at the Rabbi’s house in Monsey is a big topic here, because we live about twenty minutes from Monsey. My brother, who is a local reporter, spends a lot of time covering similar communities in the area. Anti-semitism is disgusting and should be called out with equal vigor as other forms of prejudice.

Check out the house where Harry and Megan spent the holidays.

What are you all doing for New Year’s Eve?

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Busy day here. I’m juggling five different essays/articles right now. I really need to just finish one of them and get it out, instead of tinkering on all of them simultaneously. I have to get some real xmas shopping done, order cards, and usher a group of high school boys with Aspergers around town for the tree lighting.

After of a couple of years of solid anti-charter school activism, there is suddenly a backlash from the charter school advocates. The fact that a majority of African-Americans like charter schools is a real vulnerability. Elizabeth Warren is suddenly on the defense, because charter school advocates showed that she sent her own child to a private school. There’s a lot of chatter on twitter about her recent interview with the NEA.

The outcome of this impeachment thing is predictable and depressing. It’s pretty clear that our tacky president is a buffoon, but the Senate is going to give him a pass. I don’t see anybody watching the hearings, other than geeks like me. Nothing has happened will change anybody’s mind. Nothing that has happened in this full year of the Democratic primary will change anybody’s mind; Biden’s got it. I thought that Mayor Pete had a shot last week, but now I’m recanting.

Here’s a lovely profile about a lawyer in Cleveland who sent away for his birth certificate to learn about his birth parents. Turns out he knew his father.

(Series of pictures taken by Jonah, when we were in an outdoorsy shop in Scotland this summer.)

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My in-laws live in Emerald Isle, NC, just down the block from David Sedaris. When I first sent them one of his essays about there, they didn’t quite get his sense of humor. Now, they stalk him and notify me when a Sedaris is in residence. And they send me links to his latest essays.

The New Yorker’s Best Books of 2019.

Going to see the Nutcracker is a very expensive, but awesome NYC-area tradition. We’re going this year with an added bonus of more diversity. Truth be told, Jonah isn’t totally excited about this, because he associates the show with matching sweaters and other terrible things that we did to the boys when they were children. He’ll get over it, after we let him wear his scruffy beard and get a beer at the microbrew across the street from Lincoln Center.

For anybody who has read the Federalist Papers, it’s very clear what Madison and Hamilton would have thought of Donald Trump. I’m not sure if we will ever recover from his presidency. I think that one of the first jobs of the next president and Congress should be putting in place all sorts of laws that limits the power of the president and reforms election laws, so this NEVER happens again. I think that proposals for these reforms should be part of every campaign.

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Me elsewhere… The latest newsletter. Check out these pretty books that turned out to be worth more than I thought. (I paid $4 for them. Shhhhhh.)

Share your favorite Thanksgiving recipe. I do the Ina Garden method, so I already brined my bird. And Pioneer Woman’s stuffed mushrooms for an app. We actually roast our own pumpkin for pies; I discussed the process (and handled criticism) before here and here.

We just signed up for our local Turkey Trot. It’s going to be really lame, because I was actually lame for two months and am now totally out of shape.

Just calling it now — I think the final ticket is going to be a mayor — current or former — whose name begins with B. Oh, wait! There’s three of them. Who knew? Have there ever been this many majors in a primary before? Not sure. Anyway. Based on my highly scientific polling of people I drink with and/or am related to, I think it’s going to be Pete with VP Cory.

Girlie Friday

Who needs a girlie Friday? I do! I do! What am I digging lately?

Drinks in hotel lobbies. We had fabulous cocktails at the Fairmont Hotel in Toronto. I love that you can surround yourself by luxury for the price of a glass of wine and not even stay for the night.

Farro. It’s the alternative carb of choice here at Apt. 11D. It’s easy to make, but it does require a deft touch. My method of cooking: 2 cups of water, 1 cube of chicken bouillon, 1 cup of farro. Bring to a boil. Then cover and keep on simmer for about twenty minutes. Then turn off the heat and just let it hang out in the remaining liquid for a while, when finishing off the rest of dinner. Drain, if necessary.

Newsletters. Newsletters are the new podcasts. I subscribe to a bunch that range from ones that focus on education to conservative and liberal politics, to home decor. I have to work on mine after I finish this blog post. Please subscribe to Apt. 11D, the newsletter.

Black jeans. They can go from the school pickup line to the home office to an airplane to a conference. With a nice pair of healed booties and an oversized blouse, they are the most versatile item in a closet right now.

The Crown. OMG, this show is so good. Yes, Olivia Coleman is adorable. If you watched Outlander, you know how Tobias Menzies rocks the long monologue thing. But Helena Bonham Carter, as the eye rolling, chain smoking Prince Margaret, steals every scene. And the cinematography is so awesome that you want to pause the show and take pictures of certain frames. With Prince Andrew in the news, you can’t help seeing how so many tensions with the English royalty in a democracy still are present today.

Dr. Fiona Hill.

That’s it for now. I have to pump out a newsletter and clean the house for the housecleaner. If I get everything on my to-do list polished off, I’ll be back later in the afternoon.

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This essay by Deirdre McCloskey as she reflects on the last 20 years of life after she transitioned in early 50’s, is so beautiful and sad. How could her children walk away from her? Best thing I read today.

I just downloaded Robert Pondiscio’s How the Other Half Learns. I’ll read it on Thursday during the flight to Chicago for my education conference.

Get ready to hear more and more about trade school. Why? Because a whole lotta students aren’t making it in college.

Post Malone is all over my running Spotify play list at the moment.