No more denying that as much fun as it is to go to the movies, or how close those lights coming down is to a time machine back to childhood hours with Indiana Jones and Marty McFly, it’s a little ridiculous to spend $40 plus for two movie tickets, two bladder buster sodas and a large popcorn, especially when a solid three quarters of the movies we saw in 2019 ranged from OK to ass, so we may be forced to allocate our resources to more enriching pursuits. Probably not, but we’re highly considering it. 

No more putting off re-reading “Moby Dick” for the first time since the college days, and this time, no skipping the chapters where ol’ Herman throws a two-day bender on random whale facts. We’re gonna get back into Shakespeare, too, and not the greatest hits, either. “Troilus and Cressida” or bust. May even wind up dabbling in some Toni Morrison too, if time and energy permit. 


In 2020, we’re declaring an absolute moratorium on subscribing to new streaming services for the boob tube; your Disney Pluses, Cartoon Network Ochos, New York Times Presents: Documentaries About Polar Bears Drowning and such. We know we’re missing the boat on that Baby Yoda everybody is cooing over ’round the water cooler, but we’re already shelling out for Hulu, Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime and whatever else Junior has signed us up for deep down in the night with his mother’s filched credit card, leaving our television an embarrassment of sedentary riches that would have simply poleaxed the kid we once wuz, living out in the sticks of Saline County with two respectably clear channels and one snowy mess to choose from for a big Friday night of must-see TV. And on a 55-inch high-definition screen to boot? How dare we want for a gatdamn thing? Besides, if we pop for anymore channels, we’re gonna start edging into the range of the same amount we used to pay to Comcast before we took a hatchet to the cable many years back, and then what’s the point? At that juncture, it’s just Basic Cable 2.0. Nobody wants that bullshit again. 

In 2020, we will answer one call per month from a number we don’t recognize, just to help keep our spirit of adventure alive. In that same vein, we will also tell the woman down at the haircutting place, “Just work your magic,” by way of instructions on every third haircut, then just close our eyes and let the locks and eyebrow notches fall where they may. 


In 2020, Yours Truly will try to laugh more and gripe less, though that might be a tall order, given that in November of this very year, we’re all going to be faced with the choice between whatever basically decent human being the Democrats stand up and the addled, bigoted orange creature slouching eternally toward Mar-a-Lago to be born, fat little thumbs always at the ready to spread some more cruelty on Twitter. It has been a minor miracle that over the course of the last three years, we haven’t had a large scale, history-changer event like a 9/11, ’29-level stock market crash, Cuban Missile Crisis or Pearl Harbor, as one can only imagine how badly our current White House occupant could screw up any one of those. Give him eight years, and eventually we’re all gonna get unlucky. Saddest thing is, all these Republicans defending him like he’s their dear sainted father know exactly how bad it would be if anything approaching an existential crisis strikes on his watch. But still they cower on. 

Speaking of crazy, this is the year we get serious about getting these cats that prowl The Observatory some mental help, or at least the year we get a good, honest dog up in here to give them something to focus their energies on. A beagle, maybe. Beagles are, in our experience, a force for good wherever they go, and if anybody can straighten this outfit out, that’s the one. We’re not looking forward to walkies in the rain, though, so maybe we can convince him to poop in that little box in the back room with the rest of ’em. That may, however, be an indignity too far. 


One thing’s for sure in 2020: less rootin’ and more tootin’. 

No more considering whether this is the year we should just go ahead and get one of those trained helper monkeys to do all our picking up, bending over and beer-gettin’ out the fridge so we don’t have to tear our attention away from Cartoon Network Ocho for even a solitary moment. We’ve already got too damn many critters up in this joint, both adopted and volunteer. 

It’s a whole new year, friends — a whole new decade, even — and even though 2020 is bound to be a rollercoaster full of ups and downs, left hooks and right jabs, dizzying heights and drops, the rattling cars careening through dark and spooky tunnels haunted by all the ghosts we thought we could leave behind for good, there’s still plenty to be thankful for no matter how it all turns out. First and foremost: that we’re all still around, above ground, to read these words. Considering the alternative, that ain’t chicken feed, no matter what you’re facing otherwise. The Observer wishes you and yours good fortune in the coming year, Dear Reader. And if you can’t manage good fortune, we hope to see you back again this time next year, when we’ll again give thanks for the simple fact of being vertical in the sun from time to time.