This year's fall books look weak. The New York Times now prints most of its book reviews inside the arts section, which itself declines.
*Could the Times banish drama critic Ben Brantley? His increasingly self-indulgent reviews are an embarrassment to the paper once known for its distinguished coverage of the theater.
*At the same time, please get rid of op-ed columnists David Brooks, Nick Kristof and Gail Collins.
*Lawerence O'Donnell on his MSNBC show pointed out that 49 percent of the American electorate didn't vote. Wonder how many of those who failed to go to the polls turned out for those street protests against Donald Trump's election?
*Alabama football coach Nick Saban was among those with no interest in the election. In response to a reporter's question, the leader of the No. 1 Crimson Tide claimed he wasn't even aware of Election Day. Watching too much football video. Doesn't a man who makes millions a year exploiting young football players have some obligation to participate in the country's political process? The highest paid employee of the state of Alabama can't be bothered to vote.
*Saban's mentor Bill Belichick, the sullen coach of the New England Patriots, really did send a letter to Trump before the election. Just a gesture of friendship, the noted football cheat said, nothing political. Trump read the letter at an appearance in New Hampshire. Many thought that Trump had made it up, but Belichick confirmed he'd sent the letter.
*Nor did San Francisco 49ers QB and National Anthem protester Colin Kaepernick vote. The system's too rigged for the wonderful Mr. K.
*I support Kaepernick's right to protest, but it made me proud to see the Cubs and Indians standing tall for the stirring National Anthem performances during the World Series. The young black, white and Latino players were obviously moved by the singers and the flag.
*Billy Collins' collection' "The Rain in Portugal" had a few good poems, but many collapsed with forced conceits and arbitrary endings. The book reveals how popularity can ruin a poet.
*Trump's election bids me to return to Mary Beard's "SPQR," a history of the Roman empire. The book's well-written, but I bogged down trying to keep up with all of the emperors and their intrigues. In light of Trump'a election, I'll consult the chapters on Nero and Caligula.
*Like many others, I loved Lin Manuel Miranda's musical "Hamilton." But with the Democrats losing the election despite winning the popular vote, I curse Alexander Hamilton and his colleagues for burdening modern America with the electoral college. Another dumb Republican, George W. Bush, also won the presidency without a majority of votes.
*Former model Melania Trump's will make history: No other first lady had posed nude before taking over the White House. At least I don't think Mamie Eisenhower ever did.