Want to Avoid Real Estate Agent Commissions? Not a Good Idea!

Over the years, I’ve met a number of people who, when they want to sell their home, try to do it without the help of a real estate agent. From personal experience, I’ve learned that this is not such a great idea. Good agents are worth every penny of the commissions they earn. Here’s how […]

Déjà Vu All Over Again

Former U.S. Consulate, Leningrad We had a mini-emergency a few days ago in our senior community/mobile home park in Santa Rosa, California. In the dead of night, the pump that supplies our homes with well water tripped a circuit breaker. In order to be on time to a 7 o’clock meeting the next morning, I […]

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 […]

A Soviet Citizen’s Reaction to a Western Department Store

Stockmann, Helsinki Here’s a vignette from the time I was posted to the U.S. consulate-general in Leningrad, 1976-78. Sasha, one of our Soviet-citizen drivers,* had just been granted a passport, a privilege that very few Soviet citizens enjoyed. This allowed him to drive the consulate’s truck (a vehicle very much like a UPS delivery van) […]

Cats!

Among the many criticisms leveled at Facebook and other social media is the amount of time so many of us spend watching cat videos. To human eyes (and brains), cats are wonderfully entertaining. Years ago I watched a feline performance, in person, that still makes me smile whenever I see a cat rub against someone’s […]

A Little-Heralded Footnote to Apollo 11

All the attention to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969, reminds me of my own peculiar little footnote to this historic event. At the time, I was a Peace Corps volunteer living in the north-central Indian village of Rajnagar (rough translation: Kingston) where I was working, together with […]

From Bali to Timor — a Memorable Flight

A DC-3 With the 50th anniversary of mankind’s first landing on the moon just days away, I’m reminded of a somewhat more down-to-earth flight that I experienced only a year or so after Apollo 11. It was on my trip home to the United States from India, where I’d been serving in the Peace Corps. […]

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 […]

Wine Country Airport

Sonoma County Wine Country (photo by Howard E. Daniel) The following column (op-ed), which I wrote, is scheduled to appear in tomorrow’s (May 6, 2019) North Bay Business Journal. Because subscribers to the publication generally receive their copies in the mail on the preceding Saturday, I am taking the liberty of republishing it here, on […]