Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Passover memories

miriam's ideas When I was a child seders seemed to last for eons. All my mother's family, my parents, my two uncles and their wives and children were always present, because anything bubbe hosted was a command performance. The good linens, china, and silver made the table gleam under the light of bubbe's two candelabras. We children were excited beyond hysteria until the ceremony began, and we were forced to come to the table and stop hanging upside down from the sofa, climbing the walls, and knocking down the furniture. I particularly enjoyed the presence of my cousins because I was an only child at the time, and lonely. My eldest cousin, three and a half years older than me, was a goddess of sophistication to me; her brothers were rowdy playmates. Uncle Doc's little girls were too young to play with but they were mighty cute and dressed to the nines. Once the youngest child present had recited the four questions the prayer competition began. Both my uncles and my cousin Bernie read the haggadah aloud --individually--in Hebrew as quickly as they could. The conversation went like this: Uncle I: It's time for the first (or second, third, or fourth) cup of wine. Uncle II: I haven't gotten there yet. You read too fast. Uncle I: It's a long service. Uncle II: All right, all right. Come on everybody. Drink the fourth (or third, or second) cup. Where's the bottle? Pass me the wine, somebody. They raced through the prayers and then had to stop and wait impatiently for the others to catch up. It was rather like riding in a car that alternately speeded up and stopped dead, causing you to lurch forward and back. Meanwhile, my cousin Sam and sometimes one or two of the other children would drink too much wine and slip quietly to the floor. It taught me the meaning of drinking yourself under the table. After a brief nap the culprit would re-appear, refreshed. The two little girls were too small to read, so they raced around the table fighting with each other until Uncle Doc started yelling at them and threatening to spank them. My aunt, his wife, would burst into tears because he had shouted at the girls. She would threaten to leave. They would yell some more until he calmed down and apologized to the girls and gave them some candy or gum he just happened to have in his pocket. The girls, of course, would stuff themselves with sweets and would not eat the festive meal when it appeared. The festive meal! Chicken soup with matzoh balls. We called bubbe's matzoh balls cannon balls. They were heavy but nourishing. Then we had chicken. With the chicken came potato kugel and chopped liver. Gefilte fish. Someone probably slipped a green vegetable in there somewhere, but I don't remember it. Bubbe didn't hold with all this greenery anyway. Her idea of a salad was: take one cucumber; add pint of sour cream; eat. And we couldn't have that, this was a fleisheke meal. Bubbe would heap each of the children's plates with massive portions of food and then bawl them out for not eating it all. We were starved and ate voraciously. If someone had thrown one of us into the river we would have plummeted to the bottom and sunk without a trace. Dessert featured, but was not limited to, Manischevitz macaroons, served in the can. The featured wine was Mogen David. After eating, there was a timeout while the children searched for the afikomen and the adults sat still and burped. Since I was not used to staying up late, the remainder of the seder was one big blur to me, except for opening the door for Eliyahu hanovi. Then came Chad Gadya, which meant the end of the service and blessed release.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Looking out for our great great grandchildren

I always thought the people running Texas were pragmatic, hard headed souls, but the weather events of the last couple of weeks have disillusioned me. Texas has loads of oil, but decided to rely on the untested and unproven pipedreams of the treehuggers, and were looking to heat their homes and power their vehicles with wind power and solar power, both of which failed them.

Their energy needs were completely okay today, they thought, but they were worried about how climate cnange would affect future generations. So existing children were allowed to suffer freezing temperatures so people who aren't even born yet could live better lives in the future, if there is a future. (More presidents like Biden might eliminate any chance of our having a future)
So the present is being sacrificed for a future that may never exist. We all might be living on another planet in the future, or the environmentalists might have acheived their dream of the extinction of humanity so the earth t will be safe for gophers, polar bears, and cockroaches, but devoid of people. Predicting the future is a tough call. I was alive 50 years ago, and nobody could have dreamed of what our lives would be like today. Did anyone ever anticipate computer games? Or Netflix? Or college degrees in Chicano studies? Or college students who would run the colleges, while the administratrrs cowered in fear?

Friday, February 19, 2021

A dissenting view of a Man Called Ove

If I hadn't done time in various libraries for so much of my life, I might have been more tolerant of this book. Unfortunately, as a library director, I met my share of curmudgeons. What other, more tolerant people might like and admire, I frankly don't want any more of. "Curmudgeon" is a synonym for a rude. overbearlng person who freely shares his views of the world even with those who don't want to hear them. Especially with those unfortunates who really don't want to hear them. Every day, some curmudgeon with an axe to grind would corner me with their ideas, particularly ideas relating to the library. But not necessarily. I was informed that the Holocaust never occurred, that Kennedy was killed by Lyndon Johnson, abd that their neighbors were stealing their mail and reporting to the KGB. So the hell with a man called Ove, and all their heirs and assign. It didn't warm my heart, it gave me a pain in my stomach. Read it at your peril.

The death of print

I'm a reader. but I haven't always been one. I learned to read when I was four, but didn't think much of it until I finished my first chapter book, at seven or eight, A Bobbsie twin book. I don't remember the title, but the author was Laura Lee Hope. I know now that it was a book produced by a factory, like the Hardy Boys books. But it made an inpression on me. I still remember the names of the twins; Nan and Bert, Freddie and Flossie. It was illustrated with line drawings, as I remember. I had other books that I liked just for the pictures. One was a compendium of nursery rhymes illustrated by a number of artists; arther Rackham was one. My aunt owned a bookstore in Danver, and she would send me books. among them was Mary Poppins, and The Wind in the Willows, and the christopher Robin books, books that I loved and re-read until the covers fell off and the books deteriorated. I loved the Englishness of them, so different from my American childhood. I longed to eat scones and ride in lifts; the foreignness of them made them more exciting. I became an Anglophile, though I wasn't familiar with the word until I was much older. w When I was thirteen I was miserable from circumstances beyond my control. I was waiting for my mother in a drugstore, which had a rack of books. I pulled out a book by PG Wodehouse, one of the earliest Jeeves books, a collection of Bertie Wooster stories.I felt like stout Cortez when on a peak in Darien.* I hAD discovered a new reason for living. Fortunately the Bexley Public Library had plenty more Wodehouse, having not weeded the collection in the last 25 years, blesss their hearts! i have to confess that I prefer reading books the old-fashioned way, line by line. But no one else does. People encourage their children to read, but they don't read themselves. People appear to believe that books are an excellent thing for somebody else and act accordingly. Meanwhile, there are no more books in drugstores, department stores, or grocery stores, so no one just picks up a book in the course of their lives, by serendipity. *Look it up. Hint: it's from a poem by Keats. .

Friday, January 22, 2021


I just got done trying to place an order for delivery with Walmart. I have a 15 day free trial period. But Walmart snd I are having a tough time arranging a meeting of the minds. I am grumpy, as often happens nowadays. I had a procedure Monday and got sick immediately. The hospital said it was pneumonia. However, they did not hear it through their stethescopes.Anyway, I now have a bunch of pills to take at varying times of the day.A very modest pneumonia. I want to thank Reader Tat for recommend ing Philip Kerr. I am now reaading one of his books right now. thanks, Tat. Can IO recommend an author to you? Lionel Davidson. You can get his output on Abebooks. The rose of Tibet is one of my favorites. Try him and see whether you like him. I don't always like authorz I am supposed to like. I'm not saying they are not good, they just don't suit me. Faulkner is one writer I don't have much time for. I concede that he is brilliant and a genius. I just don't want to read him. If I had been assigned his work when I was in college, I might have enjoyed his work. I read Fitsgerald in college.But he is a more accessible writer. Faulkner is a lot of work, like Beowulf, another book not on my top 50 favorites list.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Inanimate objects are malevolent

Inanimate objects have it in for me. A case in point: my new Eufy robot vacuum cleaner. It worked three times, whizzing all over my new apartment and then returning to its home base. so i lovingly cleaned it, emptying the receptacle for dirt and removing the brushes and filter and cleaning them. So how did it repay me? I turned it on yesterday and it went merrily about the place. It seemed to be working. But it never returnined to its charging station. It's smeowhere in my home but seems to be hiding. I looked in all the posible sits where it could be hiding, and then in the impossible under the beds, etc. and then the improbable ones, then the impossible ones. Could it be lurking in a closet? Perhaps it had leaped into he bathtub? It's nowlere to be found. Perhaps it realizes that when I find it, it is gning back to Amazon toute suite. Meanwhile, the dust accumulates and I have to clean it myself!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Isn't every dog entitied to one bite?

If you are paying attention youo might notice that BLM-antifa rioters did not get the same treatment as the Pro-Trump crowd. Resiglnations and tut-tuts all around, especially from bad sport supreme Mitt Romney. Chris Christie weighed in, he of the Fort Lee crossings fame. Another hypocrite reveals himself. I don't know exactly what happened last Wednesday night nor does anybody else. The prese is purposely vague. One gathers from press accounts that the pro-Trumpers enraged the ire of the press by even existing, let along showing their faces. Did the police encourage the rioters? What happened? Maybe the attorneys investigating the deaths will shed light on this. Surely the deaths of four people can't be passed over. But what of the rioters who have kept us entertained all Summer? Will they suffer any consequences? Probably not.

Did Al Sharpton get a nasty letter from the IRS? Did Tim Geitner?

So I got a letter from the IRS that if not nasty was imperious and abrupt. They threatened to seize my property. It was sort of the iron had in the velvet glove, except there was no glove. I'm just wondering whether the "reverend"* Al Sharpton got a similar letter? If so, what did he do? I don't know just who reveres the good rev. Not me. But I understand President Obama had hin as a guest in the White HOuse more than once. I won't say he is an anti-Semitem but he is.

Monday, January 04, 2021

Looking for my glasses

I have three pairs of glasses and finally found one of them. The other two are somewhere in the upheavel of moving. This was the worst moving experience I've ever had. The movers lost a 40 in television set. Youo would think this would be hard to lose, but not for the boys and girls at Overland Movers. They also lost the two bedside tables and two matching lamps I had in the second bedroom. All that's left of them is a single, dented--but not dented by me--lampshode. My ssecond bedroom does n't have room for them anyway. But I would like to have my digital scale, my shower chair, and my robotic vacuum cleaner, and the $100 antenna which are also missing. And the television. I actually found the remote for the television set in another box. How do you lose a television set? Well, how do you lose your glasses. I don't absolutely haxve to have them since I had cataract surgery. But I like wearing them because they are progrsssive, so I can read with them. I found one pair but the earpiece was hanging by a thread. So I called America's Best, which fixed these glasses before. You have to have an appointment with America's Best because they are frightfully busy. Anyway, they put me on hold so I could listen to their commercial about what bargains they offered for about 5 minutes--an eternity in real time--and when I finally got a sentient body on rhe phone, she asked my if I had bought them from America's Best and I had to answere in the negative. The sentient body then informed me that they could not fix these foreign glasses. I asked why and was told if was because of Covid. What the hell is the connection? Covid 19 a wonderful excuse for not doing your job or doing a half-assed job. The United States Post Office apparently suffers from this disease. Important documents which were mailed to me never came. So when I ordered new glasses I opted to pay extra for two-day delivery. I did this the day after Christmas and I am still waiting for this lightning fast delivery. By the way, WalMart's optical department fixed my glasses. They were very gracious about it and did not charge me. I guess Covid has not spread to WalMart.