Dad Stories

Dad with me, probably 1945, Long Branch, N.J. On Father’s Day I’m recalling a few more stories about my dad, Nathan Daniel. They’re mostly “short takes,” so I’m presenting them in bullet form. One day, when I was about eight, Dad brought home a chunk of dry ice, something I’d never seen or heard of […]

Rioting: The Light Side

Bladderball In this time of rioting and broad-brush condemnation of America’s police, both of which I find deeply troubling, I’d like to lighten the mood with a recollection of rioting as I witnessed it in “olden times.” When I was a student at Yale (1962–66), riots were a joyful tradition. Entirely apolitical, they were simply […]

More Than One Way to Skin a Cat or … 

… carve a turkey … or slice a banana. Yes. And I’ve witnessed it. As regular readers of this blog will recall, last week I wrote about my grandson’s bar mitzvah. That got me thinking about my own bar mitzvah, back in 1957. That was a significant year. It was when the USSR put the […]

Brownies

Brown E’s for dessert! April Fools’ Day — yes, that’s the correct way to write it — is now a little over a month in the rear-view mirror, and as followers of this blog will be aware, I’ve had other things on my mind since then. Nevertheless, my daughter Naomi found a great way to […]

ZOOM-ing in on an Online Pajama Party

Even though the COVID-19 plague has many of us cocooned safely away at home, for some people, work continues online. For those whose professions require “virtual” meetings, here are a few useful tips: If Time-Zone Follies require you to join a coast-to-coast meeting at “O Dark Thirty” and you haven’t yet managed to brush your […]

The Census Reminds Me of the Weirdest Things

When Sandra and I got a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau on Friday, it reminded me of a joke that my dad, a wonderful raconteur, told me many years ago. With the coronavirus and the political season combining to depress everyone’s mood, I thought it would be nice to lighten up my blog this […]

Trump’s Impeachment Reminds Me of a Soviet Era Joke

Leonid Brezhnev The passions whose flames are being fanned on both sides by the Trump impeachment trial bring to mind a joke that Russians would tell each other (if they felt confident the KGB wouldn’t overhear them) back in the 1970s when I was posted to the U.S. consulate-general in Leningrad (today, St. Petersburg). At […]

Levitation

The illustration above, which I posted tongue in cheek on social media several weeks ago, depicts telekinesis.1 It reminds me of an actual demonstration of physical “levitation” — raising a recumbent person off the ground without actually touching him — that I witnessed some 50 years ago. This is an unvarnished account of what I […]

Speechless!

Nat Daniel, at 80+ years, clowning around with champagne cork cages at a birthday party If my dad were still alive, he’d be marking his 107th birthday tomorrow (he was born on Sept. 23, 1912). Nat Daniel was a smart, innovative guy.  He was also very funny. So I’ll celebrate on his behalf by regaling readers […]

Streetcorner Blasphemy

Rosslyn’s most notable edifice. The Foreign Service Institute was housed in the glass-walled building at left. Trigger Warning: The following post may offend your religious sensibilities. In a little over two months, Sandra and I will be joining our son Adam and his family in the Washington, D.C., area for Thanksgiving. In beginning to think […]