Tuesday, August 25, 2015

DT Fans and Followers

So what are we calling them?


Trumpets and Trumpettes?


Hmm… That last one does have a certain ring to it...

Friday, June 26, 2015

Love Wins!

Supreme Court Declares Same-Sex Marriage Legal In All 50 States

Just one of many articles, this one from NPR

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion. Here is the closing paragraph:

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.
The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.
It is so ordered.”

As I wrote six years ago:
“Perhaps the most transformative aspect of living in a state where same sex marriage was legalized May 17, 2004 is that the sky did not fall. None of the dire predictions and specious arguments made by the opponents came to pass - in particular the idea that allowing same sex couples to marry would undermine “traditional” marriage between a man and a woman. It didn’t happen. And that wonderful, ho hum normalcy has been one of the most powerful arguments in favor of marriage equality.”

I am proud of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and so grateful that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of justice and equality and love.

As President Barack Obama said this morning:
“Today, we can say in no uncertain terms that we have made our union a little more perfect.”

Layout, photo of granite and paper by LMR/Pink Granite. Software: Apple iPhoto ‘08 & Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Mac. Font: Helvetica.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Caitlyn and Courage

I've seen some angry posts on the internet about Caitlyn Jenner. Many of them take issue with the use of the word "courage" to describe Jenner's very public transition. Most of these posts are accompanied by a photo of military personnel with captions stating that their courage is real or true courage.

Courage and heroism are part and parcel of our military. We are blessed to have men and women who stand and fight in our name, protect us and preserve our liberty.
We also see courage in every firefighter who rushes into a burning building and every police officer who confronts a criminal. Their courage is made manifest not just in crisis, but when they first pledge to protect and serve and it is renewed daily when they put the uniform on and walk out the door.
We see courage in children fighting grave illnesses and just as powerfully in their parents who comfort them, care for them, stand vigil by incubators or bedsides and wait painfully long hours in surgical waiting rooms.
We see courage in children and teenagers who do the right thing; who stand up to bullies; who hold on to the moral compass and say no to what would be so much easier to say yes to.
Courage - writ large or writ small - comes in many forms.
Courage, like love, like kindness like compassion, is not finite.
Courage, like pain, need not be compared. What is painful to you may feel as a mere twinge for me. What takes courage for me may be second nature for you.

Bruce Jenner before his surgery; Caitlyn Jenner after her transition did not block out the sun. All the joy, all the pain; all the virtue, all the crime still exists. But there might be someone who has had similar feelings and experiences to what Bruce Jenner lived with for 65 years, whose world got a little brighter. Maybe our generation, like Christine Jorgensen's generation in the 1950s, has their understanding of gender identity and the boundaries of their world view expanded. Perhaps the positive posts about Jenner on Facebook, plus the tweets on Twitter outweighing the negative ones is evidence of our progress.

Then again, as Jon Stewart pointed out, listening to the pundits swiftly pivot to misogynistic objectification of the newly female image of Caitlyn, shows we still have a long way to go...

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Love and Peace

Family is constructed in so many ways.
Ties stretch to welcome in new members; ties break casting some adrift.
Our hearts swell with joy; they break with shocking suddenness.
Love is where we start. Love is what we return to. Love endures - in all its complicated and blessed forms.

This week we lost two members of our extended family. Both too soon; both too young.

May the Source of peace send peace to all who mourn, and comfort to all who are bereaved...

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Three Years...

It still doesn't seem possible.
How I wish the phone would ring and I could hear your laugh again.
What I would give for just one more hug.
I love you Karen…
Thank you for everything...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

From The Hills of Western Worcester County

This is the path I had to shovel from our back porch and barn, in order to get to the far side of the kitchen wing to rake that roof.
The top of the snow on the path is up to my hip.
But I should note that I did not shovel all the way down to the ground!
The snow high on the barn siding is what has been blown there by the wind.

What a winter!

Sunday, February 8, 2015


I grew up in a household with a father, mother, two sisters and an occasional grandparent. Back when more of us were still alive, we often sat around the table after a meal and told stories. So help me Hannah, to listen to us tell the tales, none of us lived in the same house or shared the same experiences. Frequently, it was the conversational equivalent of Rorschach tests crossed with Rashomon. And those stories morphed over time. The funniest bits got played up for laughs; the sad ones; the painful ones, well, if we were generous, we learned to edit and ease up on those.

So I'm going on the record to support Brian Williams, Anchor and Managing Editor, of NBC Nightly News. I don’t know how or why his story of his time in Iraq evolved. There are vast amounts of digital ink being spilled on Mr. Williams’ chronology; not nearly as much on the science of memory; and far too much umbrage, snark and glee for such a serious subject. Mr. Williams has acknowledged what he did. He has apologized. And he is temporarily off the air.

I understand this is journalism. I understand there are ethical standards. I also understand Mr. Williams has sustained a crushing blow to his credibility and his career.

Back in 1995 Jay Leno asked Hugh Grant: “What the hell were you thinking?”
Hugh Grant eventually replied: “I did a bad thing, and there you have it.”

Yeah, Hugh Grant is an actor. Brian Williams is a journalist. I get that.

I also know I am very grateful no television crew was ever in my home rolling tape as my family and I told our stories; grateful no internet existed to pounce upon any of our missteps, misspoken, misremembered moments, nor the embellished tales we told.

My gut says Mr. Williams is a smart, well intentioned human being who screwed up.
I hope he rides out this media tumult and emerges tarnished, battered, but unbroken.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Our View

This was the view down our road at the end of the last snowstorm.
Or was it the snowstorm before that…?
Yes, this is really being a winter to remember - even if the details are already beginning to blur!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Milk, Bread & Eggs

There was a cute article in the Washington Post: Milk and Bread Are Actually Pretty Terrible Survival Foods.

We all joke about the French Toast Alert System and rushing to the store before storms, stripping the shelves bare. The Washington Post article takes all that on and wonders why we do it.

I believe a big reason we do what we do goes back decades.
What three staples used to be delivered to homes because they were perishable and we ran out of them?
Yup. Milk, Bread & Eggs...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Thank You Josh!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Two Words

In the past few weeks I have read a lot of advice about how to make changes in the New Year: how to keep a resolution; why you should never make a resolution; how to shed excess pounds and excess baggage; how to cleanse your body of toxins; how to bid farewell to toxic people.

Lots of advice is available to us; much of it good.

My two cents?

Two words:

Choose Joy.

I don’t mean hedonism nor selfishness.
We still must work for peace and justice - not to mention food on the table and a roof over our heads.

I am talking about an internal shift.
An attitude of gratitude? Yes.
The Golden Rule? Yes.
Generosity? Yes.
Engaging with the world well intentioned, with kindness and respect? Yes.

But in addition to those; even more than those, I urge you to choose joy.

This, from David Buskin and Robin Batteau, is the “Choose Joy” theme song. ;o)

Here’s to a Happy, Healthy - and Joyous New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

With Honor

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Their Music Is A Blessing

It was five years ago this month that Chuck and I first visited The National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts. It was a wonderful, powerful and influential experience for us. (I wrote about it here.) Right after that first visit I went in search of Yiddish music. That was how I discovered and fell in love with The Barry Sisters.

Born in the 1920s in the Bronx, New York, Clara and Minnie Bagelman began performing as children. They eventually took the stage names Claire and Merna Barry. First generation Jewish girls of Ashkenazi descent, they sang in Yiddish, Hebrew, English and other languages. They became international stars known as The Barry Sisters. They appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show sixteen times, so chances are good I saw them more than once. But unfortunately my strongest memories of that show are mostly of The Beatles, Topo Gigio and various comedians.

Claire and Merna have powerful, beautiful voices. Their singing can be haunting, moving, exhilarating and charming. Yes, some of the arrangements are certainly of an era and to some, may feel a little dated; a little campy; a little schmaltzy. But I grew up listening to Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Tony Mottola, Perry Como, Doris Day, Tony Bennett, Patti Page - - - you get the idea! So when I first heard The Barry Sisters, I was an immediate fan.

The photo above is one of my favorites. It was used on their album “Their Greatest Yiddish Hits”. That was the album that drew me in. You can still find many reissued and compilation albums for The Barry Sisters on Amazon and elsewhere.

Sadly, Merna died in 1976. She was only 51 years of age.
Her sister Claire died last Monday. She was 94.
Zichrona liveracha ~ May their memories be a blessing.

The Jewish Daily Forward published a nice write-up about Claire’s passing.

Here is Claire’s more comprehensive obituary from the Music section of The New York Times.

And here is Merna’s 1976 obituary, also from The New York Times.

Aleha hashalom ~ Peace be upon them

This is one of my favorite songs by The Barry Sisters...