What Makes Hawaii Unique, Part 3 of 5

Multiethnic, multicultural Hawai‘i Author’s Note: Here are links to Part 1 and Part 2 in this series of posts. Demographics: The Genesis of “Local Culture” Hawai‘i is America’s most culturally and ethnically diverse state. As shown in the following table, no single group constitutes a majority. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 census Note: These numbers […]

Joe Lieberman May Have Been the Guy Who Taught Me How to Create a Martini — And a Few Loftier Thoughts on a Principled Politician

Joseph I. Lieberman, Feb. 24, 1942 – Mar. 27, 2024 Joe Lieberman’s death this week brought back memories of my freshman year at Yale, when I made a brief effort to “heel” (that is, to try out for a position as a writer) at the Yale Daily News, the nation’s oldest independent college daily newspaper […]

What Makes Hawaii Unique, Part 2 of 5

Author’s Note: Here is a link to Part 1 in this series of posts, which we published half a year ago, on Sept. 10, 2023. (Please forgive the delay in resuming publication of this series.) The introductory Author’s Note to Part I will give readers of this post important context for what they will now […]

Speaking My Mind

Pro-Gaza demonstration at Columbia University, New York City A great deal of water has spilled over the dam since I wrote about Israel’s existential struggle against Hamas following the latter’s blood-curdling attack on October 7. Because it is a truism that silence in the face of developments you dislike amounts to complicity, today I refuse […]

If You View Israel’s Gaza Response as Disproportionate, What Do You Think WOULD Be Proportionate?

Pro-Hamas demonstration in London It’s now 11 days since Hamas launched its barbaric October 7 attack from Gaza, brutally murdering — according to the latest figures I’ve seen — more than 1,200 Israelis (most of them civilians), injuring over 4,100 more and kidnapping nearly 225 people, including children, and holding them hostage in Gaza. As […]

A Bird’s-Eye View of the Wagner Group Mutiny

Wagner Group tank on the streets of Rostov-on-Don (SIBERIA painted on front — read into it what you will) Thanks to my background in Soviet/Russian affairs, I’ve been following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with enormous interest — and great sympathy for the victims of this brutal, unprovoked aggression. The lightning-fast events of the past two […]

America Shamed Itself in 2021 — Must We Continue Down the Same Path?

Afghan refugee family crossing U.S. southern border Following America’s shameful, chaotic flight from Kabul in August 2021, I wrote to my senators and congressman in Washington and, in two blog posts (https://pen4rent.com/chaos-in-kabul and https://pen4rent.com/shameful-unforgiveable), to my friends and family. I said, in part, It is … reprehensible for the U.S. to be so callous in […]

Crowning Thoughts — And Raining on a Reigning Parade

King Charles III Yesterday’s coronation of King Charles III in Great Britain brings to mind a few thoughts. First, some seven-decade-old recollections and then a bit of provocative musing for which admirers of monarchy — not just fans of the British royal family — could be forgiven for thinking that I’m raining on the reigning […]

Vignettes From Long-Ago Travels — Part Two, Israel

Defunct railroad tunnel to Lebanon at Rosh Hanikra, on Israel’s northern border. (See below for the rest of the story.) Following up on my December post about traveling in Italy and Burma, today I’m presenting several memories from my travels in Israel. This was on the same adventure I had in Italy with my friend […]

My Immigrant Family — Part Two

My mom, Mollie Sekuler Daniel, roughly two years old, circa 1914 A month and a half ago, I started off the new year with a little century-old history of my dad’s family. Today I’m turning to my mom’s family. Like the photos of my dad with his family in January’s post, the wonderful photo of […]