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 […]

Vinnie Bell, July 28, 1935 – October 3, 2019, RIP

Vinnie and Howard, at Vinnie’s house, a “few” years ago A guitar immortal succumbed to human mortality this week, but his music will long outlive him. Legendary studio guitarist Vinnie Bell (Vincent Gambella) passed away on Thursday, but left us an unsurpassed legacy in scores of hit songs, movie soundtracks and even advertising jingles in […]

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 […]

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 […]

What I Did on My Summer Vacation, Part Three

Niagara Falls — Horseshoe (“Canadian”) Falls with Hornblower boat as close as it dares It’s back to the East Coast (well, almost — we didn’t get much past Lake Erie) this week, as I wind up this intermittent series on what Sandra and I did on our summer vacation.1 After an al fresco breakfast at […]

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) […]

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 […]

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 […]