The Limits of Canine Intelligence

  Rin Tin Tin Years ago, when Johnny Carson was the face of late-night TV, he once drew hundreds of outraged letters after he dared to say, in conversation with a guest, that pigs are smarter than dogs. Lassie lovers were not amused. I spent my childhood largely unaware of the limits of canine intelligence. […]

Finding the Easter Basket

It’s only a week after Easter, and in fact the Orthodox churches are celebrating the holiday today, so this post is not yet untimely. This is the tale of an Easter past, when all three kids, in their early teens, were still living with Sandra and me in Honolulu. So … what does a part-Jewish, […]

Kisses and Buses: Do You Know the Difference?

Can you tell the difference between a kiss and a bus? What a crazy question! A kiss is a smooch and a bus is a coach, two entirely different things (that almost rhyme). Do you know any other words for kiss? Probably very few. Smooch is pretty good, and if you want to pile on […]

The Hung Fat Brassiere Company Let Me Down

Years ago, when I was living in the Washington, D.C., area, I spotted an article in the Washington Post about amusing – to native-English speakers – signs and menu items in Asia. The article included a number of funny names, but the only one that occasionally pops back into my head was that of a […]

California’s Next Big Thing

It’s been over four years since Sandra and I moved from Hawaii to Wine Country – aka Sonoma County in Northern California – and, while winter is a little chillier here than in “the Islands,” we really love it. One of the things we like best about this area is something we just couldn’t do […]

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 […]