Woolly Mammoths, Saber-Toothed Bunnies and GMO Puppies

You can hardly look at your newsfeed these days without coming across something about GMOs (genetically modified organisms) or bioengineering. It’s a topic that comes in right behind Trump, climate change and gluten. Some people claim that edibles containing genetically modified ingredients amount to “Frankenfood.” The scientists who research and create GMOs, on the other […]

Sky’s the Limit for Hotel Tax? Ask Icarus!

  I wrote this opinion piece (op-ed) in response to an article that appeared in the Jan. 9 issue of the North Bay (California) Business Journal. It was published this week’s (Jan. 23) issue, which was delivered to my mailbox yesterday Jan. 21. (The published version appeared under an additional headline – “Visitors pay hotel […]

May I Help Who’s Next?

Have you ever been in a store needing assistance when a clerk or barista who’s just finished helping another customer asks, “May I help who’s next?” It’s happened to me more times than I can count – umpty-ump times at least, if not skatey-eight, as my mom used to enumerate such things. In checking to […]

Tired of the Oxford Comma Debate?

Oxford, Harvard, Serial or Cereal Comma? We’re tired of the tiresome “Oxford” – or serial* – comma debate, whose annoying persistence seems largely the doing of the Oxford proponents. Proponents say that when you don’t use the serial comma, you can introduce ambiguity into a sentence. Serial comma opponents point out that when you do […]

A Tribute to My Dad, Danelectro Founder Nathan I. Daniel, on His 104th Birthday

Nathan I. Daniel, Danelectro Founder, 9/23/1912 – 12/24/1994 A lot of people know about Danelectro – especially the now-retro-looking electric guitars, which have become collector’s items and have even given rise to that sincerest form of flattery, a company of the same name as the 1940s, 50s and 60s Danelectro, which manufactures reproductions of the […]

9/11/2001 – 9/11/2016

Fifteen years ago today, with the al-Qaida attacks that murdered nearly 3,000* innocents in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, the world changed. Since that horrible day, perhaps even more ink has been spilled on those events than blood on September 11, 2001. I will waste little additional ink here. Readers can find plenty more on […]

A Linguistic ‘Insight’ That Was Not Terribly Insightful

An article recently posted by a Facebook friend about the “ancient kinship” of Sanskrit and Russian brought to mind a linguistic “insight” that popped into my head several decades ago. Ever since I learned, as a graduate student, about the great prehistoric migrations of people out of the Eurasian steppes, westward into Europe and southward […]

The Liberation of Rome

On June 5, 1944 – 72 years ago today, and one day before the D-Day invasion of Normandy – American troops, advancing north in Italy, liberated Rome from the Nazis. I am lucky to have had a personal glimpse of Rome’s liberation from one of my professors at Yale, the late Ivo Lederer.* Fourteen years […]

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 […]

Complicating the Search for a Unified Field Theory

A few nights ago, my wife Sandra and I were enjoying a meal at an Italian restaurant, and – just as a falling apple is said to have triggered Sir Isaac Newton’s discovery of the universal laws of motion (aka gravity, planetary orbits and all the rest) – my plate of spaghetti triggered another insight. […]