A Tribute to My Dad, Danelectro Founder Nathan I. Daniel, on His 104th Birthday

Nathan I. Daniel, Danelectro Founder, 9/23/1912 – 12/24/1994 A lot of people know about Danelectro – especially the now-retro-looking electric guitars, which have become collector’s items and have even given rise to that sincerest form of flattery, a company of the same name as the 1940s, 50s and 60s Danelectro, which manufactures reproductions of the […]

9/11/2001 – 9/11/2016

Fifteen years ago today, with the al-Qaida attacks that murdered nearly 3,000* innocents in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, the world changed. Since that horrible day, perhaps even more ink has been spilled on those events than blood on September 11, 2001. I will waste little additional ink here. Readers can find plenty more on […]

‘You’ve Got Communism’

Soviet propaganda poster: “Forward. To the victory of communism!” Banner shows profiles of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin. Foreground figures are idealized representations of a laborer and a collective farmer in the “workers’ paradise.” On the eve of Labor Day, I’m reminded of an incident that took place back in early 1978, when I was posted to […]

My Peculiar Little Footnote to Apollo 11

I wrote and published this item on Facebook on July 21, 2009, when the 40th anniversary of the first landing on the moon was triggering numerous reminiscences. The incident described here is a unique, if little-heralded, footnote to this landmark event in the history of the human species. All the attention to the 40th anniversary of the […]

Eyewitness to an Astonishing Moment in History

Palace Square Last week, on the eve of July Fourth, I wrote about my late father-in-law, Bob Kelley, and his Bicentennial Essay in The American Historical Review. With the fireworks still (figuratively) echoing in my ears, I’m writing this week about another personal connection with the Fourth of July. On that date in 1978, I witnessed […]

July Fourth – a Personal Connection

America’s Independence Day reminds me of my late father-in-law, Robert L. Kelley, a history professor. A warm, wonderful man, he made an indelible first impression on me. As Sandra, then my fiancé, ushered me into her family’s home in Santa Barbara, California, for the first time shortly before Thanksgiving 1986, Bob Kelley spread his arms […]

Lumpy, Crunchy … Yummy!

Winter Palace, St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), Russia Six weeks ago I posted an item about my experiences with tea – chai – in Russia and India. This week I want to invite readers back to both places to share another culinary/cultural recollection, this time in connection with two sweet-and-sour dairy products that I find nearly identical […]

Helping Bring Progress to the Third World & Crack Open the Iron Curtain

The following are some thoughts I was invited to write about “national service” – in view of my having served in the Peace Corps and the U.S. Foreign Service – for inclusion in the Class Book of the Yale University Class of 1966, in preparation for our 50th reunion next weekend (June 3-5, 2016): Don’t […]

Oh, Brother!

Last week, I told a tale about a trilingual conversation my dad witnessed between guitar immortal Andres Sergovia and luthier Mario Maccaferri. Much of that conversation would have been unintelligible to my dad – whose familiarity with other languages was limited to Yiddish (the native language of his immigrant parents) and high school French and […]