Category Archives: Life

Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd

In the Spring of 1967 I took part in Hamden Hall Country Day School’s production of George Bernard Shaw’s “Androcles and the Lion”.  I was the Lion. In spite of the prominence of the name in the title, the role … Continue reading

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Consider THE Dog

I was born and raised in New Haven, CT; and as such, from birth I was hardwired for Pizza, or more appropriately, groomed to participate in the debate over the relative merits and ranking of New Haven’s three anointed Pizza … Continue reading

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THE MAMALOSHEN

In 1791 Catherine the Great created the Pale of Settlement.  It was the territory within Russia where Jews were permitted to live. It included all of Belarus, Lithuania and Moldova, much of present-day Ukraine, parts of eastern Latvia. And with Second Partition of Poland in … Continue reading

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Games Before the Digital Age

Having just acquired a rather nasty case of shingles, a reminder of my overly protected childhood (but clear evidence of not overly protected enough) when I contracted chicken pox, I find myself in a fair amount of pain. My effected … Continue reading

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Lunch with Kara Morrow

Columbus Magnet School, I’m thinking 1988.  My Shaina was in Carol Lewis’ kindergarten class, and I was taking advantage of a Wednesday off from work to join in for lunch.  Carol would take wallpaper samples from area home decorating businesses, … Continue reading

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For My Friends and Family

Some of you were there to see Sandy at her worst… the encephalitis a raging storm gripping her mind and body.  I have said to some of you, “I would have gladly signed a contract with God two and half … Continue reading

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THREE FACES OF HELL

I knew that he loved the sun, and even with his eyes closed his face seemed to enjoy the spray of sun that filtered thru the blinds of his room.  If his hospital bed were closer to the window he … Continue reading

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Leave it to Hammacher Schlemmer

So… tootsies cold are they?  And regardless of the boot, overshoe or thermal socks, you just can’t get your precious toes warm enough on those frigid winter days! Rest easy… the astute buyers at Hammacher Schlemmer have found the perfect … Continue reading

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The Visit

“I think it all began when my parents wouldn’t let me wear blue jeans…” “Wouldn’t let you?” “Well… that’s not entirely right.  I didn’t know that blue jeans existed until I went to college!  Well look… sure the other kids … Continue reading

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So… Have You Seen The New Penny?

My day was not going well… nothing that $100,000 or a whisky wouldn’t cure.  And then I looked at the change I got from Pauli’s Bagels first thing in the morning (a plain “everything” bagel and a grapefruit juice), and included therein was … Continue reading

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Uh-Oh! Part II

It appears that the U.S. Mint has time on its hands.  Understandable, I suppose.  Creating the same coins every day… every week… every month. I can imagine all the excitement that must be generated when they gear up to change … Continue reading

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Basketball, As They Know It

It’s not often that we are visited by life forms from another planet… or life forms that declare themselves as such, in a clear manner.  Unlike, for example, Roger Clemmons, Boy George and Sarah Palin, who have kept their true … Continue reading

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Making a Difference

In 1998 two couples (the Gottliebs and the Bowers) published a book, 1000 YEARS, 1000 PEOPLE… Ranking the Men and Women Who Shaped the Millennium.  The millennium that they referred to covered years 1000 to 1999.  I love the book.  … Continue reading

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The Curse of Toplitsky

Perhaps you’ve heard the old joke… “Mrs. Feinman, what a magnificent ring!” “Yes, and it’s a legendary diamond!” “Legendary?  Do you mean that it has a curse?” “Of course it does… the curse is Mr. Feinman!” The story I am … Continue reading

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40 Years Ago

Where were you 40 years ago?  I watched our lunar landing from the train station of a Czech  border town.  I had been kicked off a night train going from Berlin to Vienna because I did not have a “transit visa.”  The border … Continue reading

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Traveling Companion

I think you’d be safe in calling me low tech.  I take no offense.  My Dad shunned the zip code, and he was lost forever when we dropped the use of names and numbers for our phone numbers.  My Dad was … Continue reading

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Secret Ingredients, Thinking of Paul & Alan

One of the best gifts given to me by Sandy is the complete collection of The New Yorker on DVD. We have every issue printed… all the covers, all the writing, all the cartoons and all the advertisements. You can search the archives … Continue reading

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Thank God for Jimmy Hoffa

It’s 6:30AM, a biting cold in the air, cars and and vans belching exhaust from their tailpipes, vehicles kept idling while their inhabitants rush in to get a hot cup of “joe”.  There are a dozen places like this on my … Continue reading

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Thirsty No Longer

Shared experiences can create bonds stronger than the cable on a bridge.  Family ties are a natural… so too, childhood friends. But it can happen in the jury room or the fox hole, too… times that have a clear time … Continue reading

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It’s not just about Christmas, Channukah & Kwanzaa

Winter Festivals have been going on for a long, long time.  Well before there were organized religions, our human ancestors would celebrate the solstice in mid-summer and mid-winter… those days of greatest light and greatest darkness. Tomorrow, in the Northern … Continue reading

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Why talking to Mikey Bordeaux on a slow day is a bad idea, reason #6

“What do you know about the Mayans?”  The question was put to me by my colleague, Mikey Bordeaux… well, his real name is Mike Wofsey; but I have another friend of that name who lives on the other side of … Continue reading

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Rachel’s Day

Rachel announced that this was her favorite holiday!  It being so close to Memorial Day… I figured it was that holiday to which she referred… But no, she had another day in mind.  “Come on”, she prodded me… “you know… … Continue reading

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Blue Books

I have this re-occurring dream.  While not a full fledged nightmare, it’s something upsetting, and on more than one occasion it has brought me out of my sleep.  Although the specifics are never the same, the dreams always involve feeling … Continue reading

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The Origin of Phrases

Certain phrases have crept into our common usage… we use them every day… yet their origins are often shrouded in obscurity… and in some cases their original meaning are very different from current meaning.  I enclose herein a few of … Continue reading

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Not Quite Extinct

With the extinction of the dinosaurs the world moved into the Age of Mammals.  The diversification of animal life was stunning in the Miocene Epoch, readying the stage for the appearance of Homo habilis in the Pliocene and continuing thru to the … Continue reading

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I’m Going to Disney World!

Well… isn’t that’s what you’re supposed to do when you win the Super Bowl?  Sometimes you get to go to the White House, too.  And have a local parade. I’ll pass on the parade… and going to the White House … Continue reading

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National Groundhog’s Day

Look at our calendar.  It’s filled with “holidays” that are flawed in one way or another… and I think it is sapping our National strength. First… let’s define a holiday.  A “proper” holiday is a day when banks are closed, … Continue reading

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He Played the Game

Although it was the Etruscans who first introduced gladiatorial games to the civilized world, it would be the Romans who would give greatest expression to this form of entertainment. The first record of gladiator combat took place in 264 BCE.  … Continue reading

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On This Day…

76 years ago on this very day, Franklin Delano Roosevelt mixed the first legal martini in White House in 13 years… when Utah (can you believe Utah!) became the 36th State to repeal the 18th Amendment. FDR preferred a Gibson … Continue reading

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A Noble Trade

It was Edward IV in 1492 who granted the charter for the creation of the barber’s guild… The Company of Barbers. Surgeons were given a charter 30 years later… giving you an idea what was considered more important at the … Continue reading

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Promotion at Grapes!

Yes, yes… I know what you’re thinking! It’s about time! Jim deserved a promotion! Hard for me to maintain my humility. I had trained for it all summer… completed the course successfully, proved my mettle… Ash and John had to … Continue reading

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It’s Tad Early For This, But…

I’m in front of a computer all day. I think I would go nuts without LAUNCHcast. This is a Yahoo product that allows me to construct my own radio station. I get a steady supply of music that I have … Continue reading

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De Significatu Verborum

In Fortune’s Uncertainty published in 1667, Charles Croke wrote, “Rudolphus therefore finding such an earnest invitation embrac’d it with thanks, and with servant and portmanteau, went to Don Juan’s; where they first found good stabling for their horses and afterwards … Continue reading

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Representations of Memory

I am both fascinated and moved by how folks choose to represent and honor the memory of those who have departed. I have passed too many stretches of road dotted with bouquets, wreaths and occasional crosses placed near stone walls, … Continue reading

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A Journey of Completion

Ed Kirik had told me they were still in the area. I spotted one when I was on the Connector in Newtown just before getting on to I-84 East at Exit 11. I picked out the four engines as it … Continue reading

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All Roads Lead to Rome

Well… not all roads. For example, Chapel St. leads to the Yale Bowl. But certainly there was a time when the extensive Roman road net linked the far reaches of the Empire, and it is accurate to say that each … Continue reading

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Formula One

I have never been one to enjoy driving fast cars. Speed for me is strictly utilitarian. I want to get from point “A” to point “B” as quickly as I can. But speed, in and of itself, is no interest, … Continue reading

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Even a Tiger Can Cry

I guess the first time I picked up golf clubs I was 10 or so. Our family had a membership at Racebrook Country Club in Orange, CT. This was a golf club. At the time there were no tennis courts. … Continue reading

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Light Show

I think the spine of the heat wave has been broken; but not before we had a flash storm that alternated between headache producing thunder, crashing rain & crashing rain with hail… and, oh yes, lightening. Route 1 could not … Continue reading

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Italy vs. France

Italy: Barolo vs. France: Bordeaux. EDGE: France. It’s all about Chateau Latour. Simply put, Latour is the best wine made anywhere on this planet earth (and unless they’re growing grapes on the moons of Jupiter… make that in this star … Continue reading

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Barb

And then there was the day that Barbara gave me the finger. I forget what prompted it. I must have said something smart-assed. But I always say smart-ass stuff, it had to have been special smart-ass to warrant the finger. … Continue reading

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It’s Called A Pitch

Have you ever wondered why the rest of the sporting world plays a ball game with their feet and we don’t… well that’s not exactly true… we’re learning. But you know what I mean. Maybe it goes back to the … Continue reading

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Time & Space: A Perfect Position

I travel on Route 8 twice a day… in the morning coming either from Derby or Woodbury, and my return in the evening from Norwalk. Ride a road every day and you get to know the ups & the downs, … Continue reading

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The Buzz

Have you ever been to a quiet place? A place where the houses are set far apart… and maybe you can’t even see the next house. It might be a place where air conditioning is not in vogue. And on … Continue reading

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The Woman in the Long Coat

It was either my Sophomore or Junior Year at Union when I took a Graphic Arts course with Arnie Bittelman. For the most part it was a photography class… and I would learn how to develop my own film and … Continue reading

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Sounds of Summer

“Don’t raise your voice,” she said. “If I have to say this again Alex, you will have to go to your room for half an hour with no music, no computer and no games!” I shudder… that sounds like condemning … Continue reading

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A Red Sox Nation Outpost

Zack assured me that my brief visit to California wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Sonny McClanes on Wilshire in Santa Monica. I thought that I had fulfilled all the obligations for an “LA Badge” by hitting an In … Continue reading

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Sideways, Straight-Up

When you live in the East, States are of sensible size. A three hour drive from Norwalk, CT and you can be in any one of 8 different States (although it would take another half hour to get to UCONN, … Continue reading

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Formerly, Negativo Man

It was either Ascher Baer or Frank who originally proposed that if I were the embodiment of a “Super Hero”, it would have to be Negativo Man. Amused by this, Frank would put words to a melody (sung with arms … Continue reading

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Calling Dr. Lee

I can’t remember my exact age when I stepped into the Great Dinosaur Hall at Yale’s Peabody Museum. For sure, I was a little kid, and my small size made the Apatosaurus (called a Brontosaurus back then) seem much more … Continue reading

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Sushi, Sashimi, Origami & Angling

Josh Ronish is the newest addition to the Bullpen at Grapes. He brings to our number a love of wine (which is a first base issue with us) and a very interesting background that adds to our diversity. If you … Continue reading

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The Sales Force

You know how it is… on the way to work you stop at your favorite place to pick up a bacon-egg-and-cheese-on-a-hard-roll, a large coffee, the morning paper and a powerball ticket. It’s your favorite place because it’s nearby (or at … Continue reading

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Punch the Sky

I love to watch Tiger Woods play golf. I want him to win. I want him to win every time he plays. It’s the way I felt about Arnold Palmer when I was a kid. I no longer play golf. … Continue reading

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Treasure the Day

I bumped into Brad at the Office the other night at my second office, AKA Ash Creek Saloon. I haven’t seen him much since the Yanks took it on the chin in September (or was it October?). He ordered his … Continue reading

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The Unexpected Return

My Mother no longer mentioned him. His absence had become a routine in our lives. And as Springs turned to Summers, and then early Falls brought on harsh Winters… and one year melted to the next, his memory faded to … Continue reading

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The Winter Olympics Suck!

Zack and I had a chat around the water cooler the other day and he mentioned that the Winter Olympics were completely uninteresting save for hockey, speed skating and bobsled. I agreed in general with his assessment… except I enjoy … Continue reading

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Rootbeer Float, Please

I had to stop into a CVS Pharmacy on my way to the gym this morning. I could have chosen one in either Derby, near my Nest, or one in Norwalk near my gym. Quite convenient. Both are open 24 … Continue reading

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12 Things I have Done Since the Colts Were Eliminated From the Play-Offs

1. Went to all 126 Antiques establishments in Woodbury. What a fun hobby! I love junk. 2. Read Silas Marner. Well… I got by page 17 for the first time. 3. Watched Steel Magnolias. 4. Caught a special on the … Continue reading

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Call Me an Ol’ Sour Puss

I am not quite a curmudgeon; but I am working on it. Age and memory does that to citizens. We get older and sand beneath a finger nail is an irritant that we can no longer abide… Combine this with … Continue reading

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The Sermon

I am less familiar with the purposes of the Sermon in religions outside of Judaism. But I can imagine that all of the great religions use some form of an address to speak to their congregants… something meant to in … Continue reading

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A Hallmark Moment

Maybe it is because TV Commercials bear the brunt of our animus about watching network TV (those repeated interruptions to watching what we really want to see) that we tend to overlook the concise creativity that can be contained in … Continue reading

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The Yearly Holiday Inferiority Complex

The most important Sunday of the year in the United States is Super Bowl Sunday (it’s February 5th this year, mark it down). It rarely is a good football game; but it matters not. It is the ultimate party Sunday … Continue reading

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An Intersection in Life

Sometimes it happens when you’re young… sometimes it happens when you have some mileage on your tires… but when you hit one of “life’s intersections” it is bound to have an impact on your life from that point forward. And … Continue reading

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Everything Plantain

  Several years ago Doc Reid, a Grapes colleague at the time, and I would share our thoughts on life… a collection of things that would make us laugh & smile, make us wince… or could make us cry. Perhaps … Continue reading

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Hey! Who The Hell Thought This Up?

  I wonder if there is a numismatist lobby.  There must be… and I think it must be as powerful (if not more so) than the tobacco lobby. I envision a collection of old men, gathered in leathered private studies, … Continue reading

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13 Beers & The Merritt

  I don’t know much about Freud… practiced psychiatry in Vienna didn’t he?  Helped folks out with their mental problems I’m told… and got paid to do it!  Sandy Koufax practiced pitching in Brooklyn and Los Angeles.  He struck out … Continue reading

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It’s Gone!!

  It’s been awhile since I “transferred the flag” from the mercedes to the porsche; but unknown to most of you… the mercedes remained on Grapes’ Lido deck awaiting for its final disposition. I had heard about various charitable organizations … Continue reading

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A Return

  I hadn’t been there in awhile.  But from time to time I feel the need to “re-charge the batteries”, as they say… and a visit to the sea shore is something that restores my inner gyroscope. A visit always … Continue reading

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The Family Business

I have a friend… Glenn Grossman.  He went to Union with me.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  It’s not like we’re the best of friends, and all. But we are friends.  At Union his nick name was “Spider”.  I think it … Continue reading

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Wembley

  I guess we all have favorite articles of clothing.  It’s more than liking the look of the garment itself.  It’s really about feeling good when you wear it.  In small or large ways perhaps, this special piece of clothes … Continue reading

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Transferring the Flag

I have been remiss in not acknowledging my recent change in vehicles. It is with a touch of sadness that I must report that I am sending the mercedes into retirement. After rejecting offers from the Smithsonian, I have decided … Continue reading

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Black Tie

I grew up in the “rag trade”… you have to forgive me. Clothing terms have meaning and inflection to me that probably are unimportant to the general population. Many of these terms were put before my feet by my Father. … Continue reading

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It’s Life

I guess it’s part of aging. We are lucky enough to live long enough, we are unlucky enough to mark the passing of those who have contributed to our lives. And of recent, these thoughts are happening far too much … Continue reading

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Riding Along

One day when I was in Basic Training at Fort Jackson, I was given the duty assignment of being a company driver. I got this honor by answering “yes” to the question “Can you drive a stick shift”. This is … Continue reading

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Comfort Food

Some place in Heaven, let’s call it “Legion Avenue in the Sky”, my Grandmother, Mommie Soph must be smiling. Her arms would be crossed supporting her ample bosom as she surveyed the scene. The term “comfort food” came into vogue … Continue reading

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A Top Down Day

Save for four years in up State New York when I attended Union, I have lived in Connecticut all my life. And I have to scratch my head… I can’t recall a cooler or more miserable Spring than this year… … Continue reading

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You Gotta Giggle

I just shake my head and laugh when I learn about stuff… simple stuff that other folks have known all along that some how had eluded my understanding… Take that common instruction that Doctors give to us boys to “turn … Continue reading

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Mr. Billy

Look around… who can you trust with your ills? It ain’t your Doctor… that’s purely medical… and that’s not what I’m talking about. No. And sometimes you can’t talk to your “significant other” either. Maybe that part pinches a bit… … Continue reading

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In Mothers’ Arms

I guess you could say that I work in a “mixed neighborhood”. In this case it means a couple of things. It is a neighborhood of small businesses that line the Boston Post Road… a transmission place (two in fact), … Continue reading

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Here’s a Good Line

SAUL BELLOW Saul Bellow passed away yesterday. I read several of his books, and while he will not replace John Iriving as my favorite writer… he still was an extraordinarily gifted author and winning the Noble Prize for Literature is … Continue reading

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Put It On Your Calendar

I got the call from Zack at 6:30PM or so. He has decided to nominate the first day after Daylight’s Savings as the best day of the year. So I’ve been thinking about this… perhaps aided by some liquid refreshment … Continue reading

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Mikey Bordeaux

Well… his given name is Mike Wofsey. I gave him the moniker “Bordeaux”… and it just stuck. It was a couple of summers ago and Grapes was experiencing one of its acute cash shortages. Don’t dwell too much on this. … Continue reading

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Update the Ides of March

The Eve of the Ides of March… Activities to do… 1.Go to the beach deploy the concertina wire and the claymore mines (both can be gotten at Costco… Aisle #3). This is in case a seaborne assualt is planned; but … Continue reading

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Boxing Day

You know I think the English (and by connection, the Canadians, the Aussies & Kiwis) have the right idea. This holiday after Christmas is a good thing… Boxing Day. I mean… here it is… the biggest Holiday of the year… … Continue reading

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

A VERY HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR I applaud the decision of the People’s Republic who this year have mandated a change from the traditional association of a Year with an animal, to identifying a Year with a vegetable or other … Continue reading

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Watch Out!!

WARNING!! There are 61 days left before the Ides of March… don’t say I didn’t warn you! Look… if only Julius Caesar had paid heed the course of Western Civilization would have been altered. First, he would still be here. … Continue reading

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Mr. Hoffman

I think that Zack must have been in grade school and he had an assignment that related to “careers”. You know… what do you want to do when you grow up? The idea was to start the kids thinking early … Continue reading

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Chamomile Tea

Guilty! Yes, I freely admit to it. Things I see, hear, taste, smell or feel today will often put me in mind of things that took place in the past. Do I live in the past? Hardly. But I do … Continue reading

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Second Helpings: The Enemies List

Well it certainly is nice to hear from some folks… a few of the faithful have questioned putting Hitler on the same plane as humus… and rather than give a very clever and amusing retort, let me say that the … Continue reading

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The Enemies List

This little exercise began when I casually made reference that I preferred sour cream to apple sauce as an accompaniment to latkes. My friend agreed; but not before dropping an emphatic *blech* to apple sauce in any use. I had … Continue reading

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Black & White

They came to my “office”. It was moderately late — I had just finished a Wine Tasting that can only be described as a complete “camel fuck”. I was in no mood to talk to my brethren at Grapes and … Continue reading

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Past Peak

When did it become popular? When did local news programs (usually the weather portion) begin showing maps that had swaths of colour representing what part of New England was experiencing “peak colour” of Autumn? I don’t remember this being talked … Continue reading

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An Extra Day

I don’t remember when it happened. But one day the “powers that be” decided that there would be certain National Holidays celebrated on a Monday regardless of the calendar. Memorial Day would no longer be observed on May 30; but … Continue reading

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A Road Well Traveled

You can travel the same stretch of road day in, day out, week after week, month after month & season after season until you know it the way you would know the path from your bed to your bathroom… you … Continue reading

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For Us Moms & Dads

These circulated emails are a bit vexing… and for those who know me, I typically don’t like passing these things along. More than anything else it is a wound to my creative pride… “Why couldn’t I think of that?” or … Continue reading

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How Wonderful the Mind

I still marvel at the mind… the ability to weave ornate dreams… pasting together places that aren’t quite right with folks from different parts of our lives. Sure a pure plot or story line is missing… no clear beginning and … Continue reading

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In the Paddock: Making a Difference

So I’m behind the times. My kids point this out to me all the time. I don’t watch TV, I don’t know the latest films, don’t know the “stars” or trends… it took me only a month to figure out … Continue reading

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Scary Stuff: Emotions

I can remember thinking that Mr. Spock on the original Star Trek — he half human, half Vulcan, a logically oriented being, whose emotions were buried beneath his Vulcan half — was an entirely lucky sort. Problems came up on … Continue reading

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Colours From Saturday Evening

Usually I travel “to the sun”… in the early mornings I drive East into the rising sun and in the evenings I drive West and catch the sinking sun. So Saturday Night was a bit of a novelty for me… … Continue reading

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Roland Groves

I have always found it fun to think about dreams… to dig thru the assorted characters, the misplaced locations and disjointed activities. What does it all mean? I try not to dwell on what it really means. I figure I … Continue reading

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