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Free Form Friday: My Year

2023 was a pretty sad year. The biggest event in many life was the death of my friend, Letizia Tagliafierro. I miss her and think of her every day. Societally, it seems like we have been moving in reverse, as we learned the wrong lessons from the pandemic and American (and world) fascism is on the march. Meanwhile, I have managed to maintain my commitment to myself to post an entry in this blog on a daily basis, though I don’t think anybody reads this blog.

Amidst all this Michelle and I managed to do many interesting things, including taking several trips. She spent two of the last twelve months out of the country entirely, however there are plenty of places to go within driving distance of where we live. In part because Michelle was training to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, we kind of rediscovered hiking trails around Albany (like, in the Adirondacks and Catskills). This has been a revelation despite being in front of us for all the time we’ve lived here. I’ve even taken to walking up the 20 flights of stairs of my building as often as I can for exercise.

My job— I don’t feel like I can really write much about the specifics of my job, however I continue to find it interesting. I’m increasingly struggling with operating in a world in which COVID and other diseases are fairly rampant, yet our society is ignoring the threat. This is not theoretical — people “all around me” have been getting sick all year, some seriously (with at least one notable COVID-related death). The challenge is not simply avoiding illness but holding firm on safe behavior in the face of pressure to conform.

The one other thing I’ll say about my job is that I got my first negative editorial directed against me this year, from the Buffalo News. While the editorial didn’t disagree with anything I said, it accused me of engaging in poltiical squabbling with Governor Kathy Hochul, despite my not so much as mentioning her (or her responding to me). It was a bizarre moment.

Another dispiriting experience had to do with a memorial in Letizia’s honor. I became deeply involved with an effort to stand up a scholarship in her name, and fundraising event in support of that scholarship. While the effort succeeded in terms of fundraising, it was a painful process. I heard every manner of complaints from all sorts of people, and in the end the event was smaller than it should have been for discouraging reasons.

Last week I wrote about my favorite book from the year, The Name of the Rose. In terms of movies, most of the new movies I saw this year were at the drive-in, which doesn’t show most of the types of movies that make “best of” lists. I did see Oppenheimer (I streamed it), which was very good, but I’m going to take the unconventional position that my favorite movie of the year was Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, which I think has been misunderstood (I think its about aging and the desire to turn back the clock).

I realize that much of this post has been fairly melancholy, because that’s how I feel on the day I’m writing it. But I’m illustrating the entry with plenty of pictures of myself from happy moments throughout the year (in near-chronological order from New Year’s Eve ‘22 to last month).

20023 wasn’t the worst year ever, but I’m hoping for ‘24 to be much better.

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