Monthly Archives: January 2013


We told my mother we wanted to do something special for her 90th birthday. She insisted we do nothing at all. She always discouraged us from making a bother over her. After months of pressure, though, she consented to an Oneg Shabbat, or Sabbath celebration, in her honor, at the apartment building for senior citizens […]


After I first posted this, it became one of my most-viewed blog posts. Perhaps googlers thought it would be titillating. It was especially popular in other countries.     When I was a kid, one of the Boston newspapers had a section in the women’s pages called “Confidential Chat.” Women readers were supposed to ask […]


I’m drinking water in a café in one of those neighborhoods no one used to live in unless they had to, but now people in sneakers and narrow jeans keep walking by, all of them under 30, carrying paperbacks, the kind that cost 14.95, and I realize that much of this water could’ve come from […]

NOT WHAT YOU THINK – Around New York, Clarifying Identity

A cloudy, damp Sunday in Washington Square—noon, but no one’s around. I’m early for a film shoot, my lunch the foil-wrapped remains of last night’s Indian meal—flatbread and half-eaten hunk of tandoori chicken. Two neatly dressed people, on their church’s mission to feed the homeless, offer me— in my old jeans and windbreaker, with food […]


Almost everyone of my generation whom I’ve asked can recall nightmares about atom bombs during our elementary-school years. Was there a plan out of Washington for early political indoctrination? A scheme to create neurotics? Or just insensitivity? I remember one summer night when a close flash of lightning and its boom of thunder woke me […]


When you’re a star people know who you are. They remember you when you are dead. When you’re a star everyone wants you in bed. Just sit back, smile, and wait. Stars don’t do their own laundry or take buses or scrub toilets or worry about doctor bills. Your children are proud of you, though […]

HOW WE DIDN’T ASSIGN A SOW BUGGERY – Adventures in Culture & Publishing

When I worked for an educational publisher in the 1990s, I was given the job of adapting an Australian textbook series for the U.S. market. The subject was science for the early elementary grades. The science was simple enough for my limited knowledge—luckily I didn’t have to deal with astronomy, which would have required me to know […]