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 […]

Look, Mom – Fish Sauce!

Have you ever wondered about fish sauce, the all-but-ubiquitous ingredient in so much of Vietnamese, Thai and several other Southeast Asian cuisines? The one that, when sitting innocently on the table in an unlabeled bottle, looks almost identical to soy sauce but which has a peculiar fragrance and flavor that seem quite unlike anything you […]

‘No-Crash’ Courses in Driving in Italy, England and Japan

Our tiny Fiat The experiences I recounted in last week’s post about driving in Brazil were hardly the only adventures I’ve had behind the wheel. My first encounter with “crazy foreign drivers” took place in Europe in 1965, on the same trip when my friend Arlee and I drove our car — a Fiat so tiny […]

Earning a Ph.D.

Here I am with my Corcel, a Brazilian-made Ford, relaxing in Brasilia in 1972 or thereabouts. I got my bachelor’s degree in Connecticut and my master’s in Massachusetts, but I had to cross the equator and fly all the way to Brazil for my Ph.D. I hasten to add that this doctorate was not in […]

Kibbutz Adventures

This is me, age 21 in 1965, standing atop the silo at Kibbutz Dvir in the Negev Desert. The orchards in which we worked can be seen below. In the background, the arid hills of what was then the West Bank of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Last week, in writing about a couple of […]

Everything (Well, Almost) You Ever Wanted to Know About Sweet Kosher Wine … But Were Afraid to Ask

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled on an article reporting that “Americans like sweet wines, but nobody talks about it.” The article piqued my interest because my first encounters with wine came as a child, when I’d be offered1 Manischewitz Concord grape wine at traditional Jewish Friday evening meals at my grandparents’ home and, of […]

Learning to Ride a Motorcycle — From an Instructor With Whom I Shared No Common Language

Nepal countryside. One of those snowy peaks is Everest, but I don’t recall which one except that it’s not the one that looks tallest, a result of its being closer than the others to my vantage point on a road outside Kathmandu. (All photos: ©Howard E. Daniel, 1971-2018) Speaking with a motorcycle-loving friend recently, I was […]

Pride Goeth Before a Fall

Eiffel Tower (Photo: ©Howard E. Daniel, 1965-2018) Have you ever been too embarrassed to dust off your high school French or Spanish when you’re in a country where you’re actually immersed in that linguistic environment? It can be pretty uncomfortable, as I can attest from witnessing any number of such situations. Some people — even […]

Climbing Fuji

Fuji-san in summer, free of snow Scrolling through my Facebook feed yesterday morning, I spotted a post by my cousin Ken Kelley, who, with several friends in the Anthem Ranch Hike Club, recently climbed Colorado’s highest peak, Mt. Elbert (14,433 ft./4,399 m). Ken reported that it took them not quite five hours to ascend 5,000 […]

One of the World’s Great Museums Is Also the Czar’s Attic

Winter Palace, home of much of the Hermitage’s collection Two recent events — one mundane, the other calamitous — came together in my mind and prompted me to write this short piece about one of the world’s greatest museums, the Hermitage, in St. Petersburg, Russia. The mundane event is my recently begun exploration of the […]