Having a blog is dangerous. Sometimes I think I am talking to myself but other people read it and they get pissed off at me and then I realize I have indeed been careless (especially when friendships are involved). Without an editor keeping me in line, I can find myself being a tad too snarky---so much more readable than being nice. But at least for the next week, I am only to channel the Ms. Nice side of me. (We'll see who breaks first, me or you.) My niceness won't be faux. And I will write about things that I appreciate! That make me smile, happy ...and I'm not even allowed to indulge in any self-deprecation, no matter how tempting that may be. I've already started in my previous blog and note on Jadot. Which brings me to Ethel. Some of you might remember my mother (see the Shalom Auslander entry for one). I get such a kick writing about her because she is at once familiar and an original. (And if any of you need a new watch or gold or diamonds you should go visit her shop on the Bowery --email me for the details. Consider this a family ad.) But, Ethel is indeed a piece of work. When she heard the new me over the phone she asked about it. Ethel: So, what's this new positive attitude about? Me: Oh Mom. I just, I (stammer), you see the world is so much better if you walk outside with an open heart and great people with warmth instead of fear. Ethel: Sounds scary. Sounds suspect. Are you okay? Me: It's the New Year Resolution. I'm testing it out. I think this is going to be big. Ethel: Just don't forget, to be real and to be sarcastic. Don't turn into a phony on me. This is the wisdom from a woman who things Carmel Matuk Rouge (naturally sweet) is G-d's gift to wine. L'chaim. Which brings me to the burgundies of Pierre Naigeon. Know them?