55 Years and Counting

That’s me – the kid with his hand on the pile of books – as a freshman at Asbury Park High School in 1958. Yesterday, I attended the 55th reunion of my Asbury Park (N.J.) High School class of 1962. It prompts me to write this week about my coolest extracurricular involvement there: with our […]

Culture Shock

CHI Summer Abroad participant with Kenyan students at the CHI Academy outside Nairobi A few weeks ago I attended a fundraising breakfast for Children’s Humanitarian International (CHI), a Sonoma County charitable organization for which I’ve been providing a good deal of writing and editing assistance over the past several years. CHI is the creation of […]

How Do I Know a Twin-Engine Jet Can Fly on Just One Engine?

Because I was at 30,000 feet when one of our engines quit, and I’m still here to tell you about it. That’s how. It happened in 1974. I was living in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, at the time, and my wife and I were flying to São Paulo. We were already familiar with Brasilia – where […]

The Ambassador Wanted My Scalp

Train following the Rhine, like the one on which I came down with chicken pox You’re getting ready for next week’s business trip to Europe and your kid comes down with the chicken pox. You don’t remember ever having had chicken pox when you were a kid. What do you do? Well, that’s what happened […]

A Chilling Tale From a Cold Moscow Night

Lenin’s mausoleum, Red Square, Moscow In my blog post last week (about, in part, the words “consul” and “consulate”), I mentioned that while serving in the U.S. consulate-general in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg, Russia), I was involved in the case of an American who died there and whose body had to be shipped home. It […]

Consul – Council – Counsel: What’s the Difference?

Russian consulate in San Francisco The latest round of tit-for-tat “undiplomacy” between the U.S. and Russia was in the news this past week. The State Department ordered the closure of three Russian diplomatic offices, including the Russian consulate-general in San Francisco. This reminded me of the time, back in the 1970s, when I was serving […]

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 […]

Wipeout … and Triumph!

Last week I wrote about meeting and, a year later, marrying Sandra. Here’s a tale about a little incident from our first couple of weeks of courtship that helped endear her to me. One of the things I’ve long enjoyed is water skiing. Actually, my dad introduced me to it when I was a teen. […]

A Love Story

Naomi, Sandra, Howard, Melissa, Adam – Santa Barbara, August 8, 1987 This is a story I’ve told many times, but never written down. With our 30th wedding anniversary coming up in two days, however, this seems a good time to finally commit to “paper” the tale of how Sandra and I met and married. Total strangers, […]