When the great Larry King would poll his late-night radio audience on Why Are You Up night, I was among his largest demographic, law school students. He remains a distinctive host and interviewer. King's also a fine guest, as he reminded fans of the irrepressible Norm Macdonald's podcast last summer.
King's greatest achievement may have been his 20-year run writing a weekly column for USA Today. There was nothing in print like his stream of consciousness. He'd write something like "James Polk was the most underrated American president. Smuckers still makes the best strawberry jam. I saw Elizabeth Taylor Thursday night. She's been the world's most beautiful woman for 40 years. Her new perfume is out in time for Christmas."
Editors allow columnists to widen their brief at the end of the year. Friends and readers, an homage to the Larry King school of column at the dawn of a new year.
The most remarkable theater production I saw this year was "Macbeth" done with bird puppets. I'm not kidding. Humans should not try to surpass that achievement. Kenneth Branagh, if you are as shrewd as you appear, you've starred in the Scottish play for the last time.
I've figured out what went wrong with the cable series "Homeland." Remember when it was unmissable? A crew culled from the Obamacare websites must have been recruited to bring their wrecking ball to Showtime. It's the only explanation of an epic failure. The final episode of the third series collapsed this month.
Speaking of Obamacare, did you see The Courant story on Connecticut's health care exchange fiasco? Thousands received inaccurate information on their plans and costs when they signed up in October. This is the sort of mistreatment of consumers that would attract the outrage of the state's attorney general if it were happening in the private sector.
You have seen "12 Years a Slave," haven't you? Put down the remote and get to the theater. Take a young person with you. Expect a surge in babies named Solomon Northup. It's not just the saga of the Saratoga fiddle player's ordeal that will sear you. It's a reminder of what pervasive injustice does to all.
New York politics made a contribution to a more vivid common lexicon this year. Eliot Spitzer revived the use of the word "louse." The former governor's bid for city comptroller revived Democratic primary voters' memory of Client No. 9's prostitution scandal. Politicians, hookers and hotel rooms are a fatal career taboo.
If you plan to hit the gym in January, here's some advice on how to make that resolution endure. Do not falter for the first month. Four weeks of consistent effort will usually turn something into a habit.
If you want to do something about climate change, cut back on beef and milk. Livestock releases a lot of gas into the atmosphere.
The centennial year of the First World War is upon us. You'll want to know more about the conflagration that shaped the world we live in. Start with Christopher Clark's "The Sleepwalkers," move on to Max Hasting's "Catastrophe 1914." It was the first murderous year in a century stuffed with them.
Whatever shall we do without Walt Mossberg's weekly tech column in The Wall Street Journal?
Former U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman has discarded his pledge not to become a lobbyist. Lieberman has signed on to represent an ambitious Libyan businessman. It has the feeling of a venture that won't end well. Lieberman is a retired Tier I Connecticut state employee, so he can't be doing it for the health benefits.
What a year awaits federal law enforcement authorities investigating public corruption in Connecticut. Photos of Hartford insurance broker Earl O'Garro's palatial Montego Bay wedding posted on my blog, DailyRuctions.com, suggest the missing $670,000 in premiums paid by the city of Hartford will not be recovered soon. How O'Garro got hundreds of thousands in largesse from state government will continue to make headlines and generate comment.
I end the year with a note of thanks. I am lucky to write 700 words a week about what other people have done for good or ill. Thank you to those who with some risk to themselves make me their vessel to you, and thank you for reading.
Kevin Rennie is a lawyer and a former Republican state legislator. He can be reached at email@example.com.