‘Tis the season!

I’ve noted before that the days between Thanksgiving Day and the first of December are among the silliest of the calendar year. When Thanksgiving is over you just want it to be December.

This year I’m trying to make the most of that time, having gone full Clark Griswold on holiday decorations from about seven a.m. last Friday morning.

If you want to see my progress…

mine’s the one with the eight-foot-tall inflatable Santa Claus in the yard.

They got it right?

I’ve been a teacher for the past 16 years. During this time I’ve seen dozens of movies and TV shows that involve an unspoken premise, that somehow it’s easy to enter the teaching profession. Like any other job, you show up, interview, get hired, and start. Or often, after many failed attempts at “real” jobs, you decide to settle for being a teacher. So you just start. Somehow.

A little like knocking on the door of Yankee Stadium and asking for a tryout.

This week’s episode of Frasier shows Dr. Crane in full Dr. Crane mode, attempting to parlay his charm and celebrity into full-professor status. (Just being Doctor Frasier Crane isn’t good enough; Professor Crane is the title he seeks.) Without giving too much away, let’s just say that in the episode, it’s tougher than it looks. There’s a process and a review board and Frasier is reminded that these promotions take years, regardless of celebrity status.

Yeah, it was weird how on the first episode of the reboot the gentlemen of Harvard just let him waltz in and be a teacher, but this time they got it right.

‘Bout time.

Another Fielder gem

Some artists are prolific, dealing in quantity as much as quality. Others, the J.D. Salingers among us, parcel out their genius more deliberately. For some it’s not their fault. Who knows how many more movies James Dean would have made had his life and career not ended at 24? Well, he made three movies and they’re all gems.

It is on that subject that I invoke the name of Nathan Fielder. I’ve mentioned Fielder before, he of Comedy Central’s Nathan for You and HBO’s The Rehearsal.

And that’s it.

(Yeah, yeah, some minor credits, just like James Dean’s uncredited parts pre-stardom, but who’s counting those?)

Enter “The Curse,” Fielder’s latest and his latest home run. One episode in I was hooked. Unlike Fielder’s other projects he is not playing himself, but like his other projects it’s best to go in fresh. And let’s just say there’s a lot going on. Knowing that my wife and son would never watch the thing I tried this week to explain to them the first episode. Twenty minutes later I was still talking and hadn’t even scratched the surface.

Do yourself a favor and watch “The Curse,” somehow presented by Showtime or Paramount+ or Amazon prime or some combination of all of those things. It’s what everyone else is talking about, so why not?

And who knows when you’re going to get another Fielder project.

The holidays are here

Never mind the barren trees, never mind the early nights, never mind the colder temps. The true sign of autumn turning to winter is Wendy’s swapping out the pumpkin spice frosty for peppermint.

Yup, it’s on.

For this and other signs of the holidays, check out today’s episode of Math and Musings. I’ve got a special guest who knows a thing or two about food, lists, and celebrations.

It was a nice, quiet few days

Remember last week when I was so happy that the onslaught of political ads would finally cease since Election Day had passed?

(Clicking that link and looking back.)

Well, that was Election Day 2023.

Now I’m already getting ads (text messages, actually) for the next gubernatorial election.

(Pause to reflect how far away November 2024 is.)

Uh, no, it’s actually November 2025.

Sadly it was not satire.

Once again, why didn’t I think of this before?

Over the weekend my son suggested to me, out of the blue, that an interesting list would be one which associated a beverage with every month of the year.

My son.

Clearly I have raised him well, if I do say so myself. And I do.

Here’s what we came up with.

January–hot chocolate


March–Shamrock Shake






September–apple cider

October–Pumpkin Spice Latte

November-Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry

December–egg nog

Ten years on

A decade ago I started posting at “the web home of Michael O’Connell,” my little corner of the Internet labeled mikeoconnelljr.com.

Among other things the first post noted the “non-pecuniary benefits of having one’s own blog.” I can pretty much say this for everything I’ve ever done: books, TV shows, music albums, podcasts.

Well, such is life.

And for a description of my latest one-off vanity project at my ongoing vanity project, check out today’s episode of Math and Musings.