Even after his debilitating stroke eight years ago, even after all the subsequent public appearances and New Year's Eves when his speech was slurred and his once-impeccable timing seemed to have checked out for eternity, Dick Clark still appeared somehow above and beyond normal physical laws.
Here is my New Year's Rockin' Eve fantasy: A lipstick-red strapless dress (think Ava Gardner in "One Touch of Venus") finished with a pair of Brian Atwood heels that make your legs look like the floor is the only thing that's stopping them from going on forever, a crystal flute of Veuve Clicquot, a little "Auld Lang Syne," a lot of colored lights, and the man of your dreams (obviously, in this case, that would be my boyfriend -- not Clive Owen, not Benicio Del Toro, not the green-eyed guy who sold me sunglasses at Barneys -- and shame on you for dragging them into this) takes your face in his cool, confident hands and gives you the kind of kiss that makes the world fall away just as the clock strikes 12. Friends are giddy, caviar is glistening, the old year is ending, and the new year is whatever I say it is.
For the entire summer of 1978, Brad Sheares guillotined rats. It was the heyday of Merck's research laboratories, and the experience left the earnest Sheares, a preacher's son from Chicago, intent on leaving Merck to pursue a career in academia.