Wake-up Call

Me (Howard) in hospital shortly before discharge to rehab facility, Jan. 19, 2024 As some readers may already know (if they also follow me or Pen-for-Rent on Facebook or LinkedIn), I had myself a little myocardial infarct (love that word!) back in mid-January. As you will no doubt infer from this post, I’m now well […]

For His 111th Birthday, a Few More Dad Stories

Dad test-driving my tricycle, late 1940s Yesterday would have been my dad’s birthday. Actually it was his birthday — not “would have been.” Unfortunately, he is no longer with us to have enjoyed it, not that he would likely have enjoyed being as creaky as one might be at 1.11 centuries of age. I recall […]

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 […]

The Critical Ingredient

  A few days ago I joined a recently formed LinkedIn group of alumni of and current students at the REECA (Russia, East Europe and Central Asia) master’s degree program at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. When I was there, 1966–1968, it was known more simply as the Russian Research Center (RRC), […]

A Long-Ago Moment That Will Live Forever

Melissa, Adam and Naomi a few years after the event in this post. Dull moments were a rare luxury when Sandra and I were still living with our three teenagers — Naomi, Adam and Melissa — back around 1990, give or take a few years. However, one particular anything-but-dull moment stands out. It happened early […]

Nu, Omicron

Just when a lot of us were beginning to think that Covid and its Delta variant had begun to run out of steam, we learned about the pandemic’s latest mutation, the Omicron variant — apparently a great deal more virulent, transmissible and, we fear, potentially deadly than all its predecessors. While the world still has […]

Are You Ready to Join The Illuminati?

If you’ve seen claims that a shadowy, conspiratorial group called The Illuminati (“The Enlightened”) is behind everything that’s screwing up the world, I’ve got news for you. With simple click of your mouse, you too can enter the world of The Illuminati and revel in their power. Yes. If you’d like to roll up your […]

Happy WHAT?!

Back in the Cretinaceous Period when I was a kid, there was a popular TV program called Father Knows Best. In today’s “woke” age when “old white males” are no longer widely imagined to have all the answers, the premise of that show — that middle-aged guys might possess a special kind of wisdom — […]

Dog Food

Zebee Not long ago I spotted something funny online about the attributes — from a female viewpoint — of a perfect guy. One of them was a good memory.1 I’ve forgotten the rest. OK, just kidding. But only partly. Actually, while I don’t remember them all, one of those “great guy” attributes was that he’d […]

Heroism

Bon voyage! (Courtesy Matson Navigation Company) A few days ago I spotted a funny story on Facebook that reminded me of something a very brave man, Aba Taratuta, told me back in 1978 or thereabouts, when I was on the staff of the U.S. consulate-general in Leningrad (today again known by its original name, St. […]