My Peculiar Little Footnote to Apollo 11

I wrote and published this item on Facebook on July 21, 2009, when the 40th anniversary of the first landing on the moon was triggering numerous reminiscences. The incident described here is a unique, if little-heralded, footnote to this landmark event in the history of the human species. All the attention to the 40th anniversary of the […]

Eyewitness to an Astonishing Moment in History

Palace Square Last week, on the eve of July Fourth, I wrote about my late father-in-law, Bob Kelley, and his Bicentennial Essay in The American Historical Review. With the fireworks still (figuratively) echoing in my ears, I’m writing this week about another personal connection with the Fourth of July. On that date in 1978, I witnessed […]

July Fourth – a Personal Connection

America’s Independence Day reminds me of my late father-in-law, Robert L. Kelley, a history professor. A warm, wonderful man, he made an indelible first impression on me. As Sandra, then my fiancé, ushered me into her family’s home in Santa Barbara, California, for the first time shortly before Thanksgiving 1986, Bob Kelley spread his arms […]

Lumpy, Crunchy … Yummy!

Winter Palace, St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), Russia Six weeks ago I posted an item about my experiences with tea – chai – in Russia and India. This week I want to invite readers back to both places to share another culinary/cultural recollection, this time in connection with two sweet-and-sour dairy products that I find nearly identical […]

Helping Bring Progress to the Third World & Crack Open the Iron Curtain

The following are some thoughts I was invited to write about “national service” – in view of my having served in the Peace Corps and the U.S. Foreign Service – for inclusion in the Class Book of the Yale University Class of 1966, in preparation for our 50th reunion next weekend (June 3-5, 2016): Don’t […]

Oh, Brother!

Last week, I told a tale about a trilingual conversation my dad witnessed between guitar immortal Andres Sergovia and luthier Mario Maccaferri. Much of that conversation would have been unintelligible to my dad – whose familiarity with other languages was limited to Yiddish (the native language of his immigrant parents) and high school French and […]

On Playing the Guitar, Segovia Didn’t Always Have the Last Word

This week, I was reminded of a story that my dad, Nathan I. Daniel, a pioneer in the field of electric guitars and musical instrument amplifiers, used to tell about the time he met Andres Segovia, perhaps the greatest guitarist the world has ever known. The meeting took place in the early 1950s at the […]

Chai … Чай … चाय

Chai: a wonderful thirst-quencher I was fond of long before it became trendy. Actually, I often drank tea as a boy, as it was my parents’ regular post-prandial refreshment. They enjoyed it with lemon rather than milk, which (unlike coffee, to which they would always add milk) made it acceptable after a meal with meat […]

Pianos and Diaper Buckets: The Perils of Intercontinental Moves

When I married my “starter wife” (defined in “The Fly,” below) I was not yet 30 and in more ways than one was just getting acquainted with the various responsibilities of life as an adult. I was living in Washington, D.C., at the time, but was preparing to leave on my first Foreign Service assignment […]

‘One of the Cowboy States’

My last Foreign Service overseas assignment was to Japan in 1985. This was no ordinary assignment to our embassy in Tokyo or one of the U.S. consulates around the country. No, this assignment was to the U.S. Pavilion at an international exposition, Tsukuba Expo ’85 (http://bit.ly/1RweFds), held that summer in Tsukuba Science City, 35 miles […]