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 […]

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, […]

Father’s Day Memories

Dad, in a characteristically playful mood, horsing around with champagne cork cages 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 […]

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 […]

Mother’s Day Memories

As I write this post in the week preceding Mother’s Day, I’m sifting through memories of my mom, trying – but failing – to come up with something as amusing, or at least as memorable, as some of the stories I’ve told in this blog about my dad, who was a certifiable character. Mom – […]

Boyhood Memories of the Danelectro Factory

Howard Daniel, age 4 or thereabouts To all readers who may be interested in stories about Danelectro and my dad, Nathan I. Daniel, and his many innovations in the field of electric guitars and musical instrument amplifiers, this post is for you. A few days ago, I got an inquiry from John Ward, editor and […]

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 […]

A Memory of Christmas Past

Christmas morning never fails to remind me of the most memorable holiday event I’ve ever experienced. No, this is not the heart-warming story of family gathered round a blazing fireplace, sipping eggnog and inhaling the aroma of freshly baked cookies. Rather, it’s a tale of a somewhat less time-honored Christmas tradition – the grab-bag game. […]

The Perils of Flying With Small Kids

Some four decades ago, my wife and I were flying with our two kids, Naomi and Adam, then aged 3 and 1, to visit my dad. It was a long trip – from Leningrad, where I was then working in the American consulate general, over halfway around the world (13 time zones!) to Hawaii, where my […]