Which Is it? Visit or Visitation?

As the holidays approach, so do family gatherings. If the relatives are coming to town, the question arises: what should we call the occasion, a visit or a visitation? I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen the word visitation misused for visit. It reminds me of the times I’ve seen simplistic erroneously used for […]

The Fortuitous Evolutionary Design of Human Ears

If not for our ears, we might all be wearing a pince-nez Every once in a long while I get a flash of insight. It happened again yesterday morning as I was putting my glasses on and glanced over at our cat. As I slipped the eyeglass “temples” – the supports that extend along the […]

Another Memorable Thanksgiving

I’d been considering re-posting the blog item I wrote last year at this time, My Most Memorable Thanksgiving, when I recalled another unconventional celebration of this wonderful holiday from my boyhood. I was perhaps 6 or 7 at the time, and my parents were going to do something unusual for the four-day weekend. They decided […]

Sidney!

The headline is the punchline. The backstory goes a long way back – to my childhood in New Jersey. One fine summer’s day when I was around 10-12 years old, my dad and I went to buy a gallon of ice cream to bring home to our new refrigerator – the first one we’d had […]

¡Welcome to Bolivia!

Andean “Andrews Sisters” About a month ago, I regaled readers with stories about a few of my travel adventures in India. Fast forward a few years and spin the globe halfway around its axis and you’re in the Andean highlands of Peru and Bolivia with me in 1975 – and another great travel adventure. With […]

A Rose by Any Other Name … Well, Maybe Not ANY Other Name!

Margaux Hemingway While recently browsing the wine aisles, I spotted several moderately priced bottles of Margaux (but not Chateau Margaux, the queen of all wines in that exceptional appellation d’origine, which commands a correspondingly exceptional price). Like many other incidents in life, this find somehow prompted my brain to shift to a new, but only […]

Father’s Day Memories

Dad, in a characteristically playful mood, horsing around with champagne corks at a birthday party (at about age 80) On Father’s Day, as spring gives way to summer in the Northern Hemisphere (and a heat wave here in California), we can all appreciate the pleasure of a nice, cool shower. I have a little twist […]

They’re Not Actually Birdbrains

Blinky with my dad (I was perhaps 10 years old when I took this Polaroid shot; Dad would have been about 42) Most of my friends and family love dogs and cats. My preference, however, has always been birds, the parrot family in particular. I’ve always thought it would be cool to have a beautiful, comic […]

Happy Easter!

Russian Easter Eggs Have you ever locked yourself out of the car? With the motor running? On a narrow street? With traffic stuck behind you? Because you’re just outside the Russian Orthodox Cathedral as the Midnight Easter Service is about to begin? Yup! It happened to me. Which is a self-exculpatory way of saying, “Yes, […]

The Power of Garlic

Leo Tolstoy began his novel Anna Karenina by observing that “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” As a devoted student of Russian literature, human folly, and baloney in its many guises, it seems to me a similar pattern may apply to many of the life events we […]