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 […]

The Restaurant Review You’ve Always Been Tempted to Write

Pierogi On Thursday evening (Aug. 8), Sandra and I celebrated our 32nd anniversary* at one of our favorite restaurants, Tisza Bistro, just two miles from our home. Yesterday, after getting a request to comment on our dining experience, I wrote a glowing review. I’m supplying a link to it here because I want to demonstrate […]

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

1965: The author of this blog in Zurich, after learning what could go wrong Have you ever looked at one of those ubiquitous signs in public places that display a laundry list of prohibited activities …      NO Swimming      NO Running      NO Fingernail Biting       NO Playing 3D Chess  […]

National Doughnut Day — Did It Roll Right Past You?

Naomi (here in a forest outside Leningrad, 1977 or 78) in the hooded snowsuit which, with its neck slightly unzipped, prompted a passerby to claim she was “naked” I hope you didn’t miss National Doughnut1 Day this past Friday. If Facebook had not brought it to my attention, I certainly would have. As it turned out, […]

Who Said History Is Boring?

Ilya Yefimovich Repin: Zaporozhian Cossacks Write a Letter to the Turkish Sultan Advisory: Despite this blog’s ordinarily being family-friendly, this post is not appropriate for readers under the age of 18 (no nudity, just language). The painting above is one of the strongest possible refutations of the notion that the study of history is dull […]