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Fasten Your Seatbelts...

Bette Davis as Margo Channing in "All About Eve."

One of the few things that my other half Rich and I do not have in common is an appreciation for old movies, especially if they're in black and white or were made before the advent of cell phones. If this is the worst of our differences, I'm still a rather lucky guy. But when I get a hankering to lose myself in a good old classic film, I must do so solo. This is why we have two TVs in two different rooms. It's fine.

As most of you know, we fly a great deal, something I absolutely dread. But ironically, I'm less fearful on the long haul flights where I can hunker down with a glass of wine and catch up on a movie or two or, sometimes even three. Sadly, the airlines don't have the same taste in classic films that I do. In their minds, "Ghostbusters" and "Home Alone" are considered classics, not the Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant masterpieces that I can quote verbatim. Once in a great while, they will show a big technicolor thing like "How to Marry a Millionaire" or "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," or maybe "Auntie Mame," but even those can get tired after the tenth time.

I shall never grow tired of watching "All About Eve." Not only is it the perfect plot with a razor-sharp script, it is the kind of film that reveals something new with each and every viewing. The casting couldn't be better, and depending on my mood, I tend to align with one character for the entire time. I know, I know... my sharp tongue has you all thinking that I relate to Bette Davis's Margo Channing, but I honestly don't think I'm that clever. I sympathize with Celeste Holm, I wish I looked like Gary Merrill, but in reality, I probably have more in common with the portly, dyspeptic Max Fabian, played by character actor Gregory Ratoff. Of course there's George Sanders' brilliant portrayal of theater critic Addison DeWitt, but if I have anything in common with that twisted, hateful manipulator, I need to seriously consider getting some professional help. I don't want to be that man.

Gregory Ratoff as Max Fabian in "All About Eve."

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve, and I am thinking a lot about the coming year. Of course I cannot get my concerns over our country's future out of my head. Like many, I am going through the motions of hopefulness, but for me, sadly, there's still a mind-numbing sense of dread the likes of which I have never felt before. I think about that poignant Stephen Sondheim lyric... "Sometimes I stand in the middle of the floor, not going left, not going right." Am I losing my mind? I hope not.

My very smart cousin Elaine Wynn said to me, "We must remain hopeful AND vigilant." So that's what I'm gonna do. It IS going to be a bumpy night, but as long as we all cling tightly to each other and stand up for what's right, I'm hopeful that hopefulness will find its way to me- and others.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, peaceful and HOPEFUL 2017!



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