Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The nightmare continues

 What would you say if I told you I lost my Social Security number?Well. my SS # actually lost me. This was in a dream, mind you.

I  had a reservation for a place to sleep.  When I got to wherever this was, I was dead tired.  I wanted to get into the bed, but the bed rejected me.  When I complained to the management, I was told this was not my Social Security number. The number was printed upon the bed. I protested, but was turned away.

Friday, May 28, 2021

2020 was horrible, and now we've got Biden

 I lived in Delaware for 16 years, and Joe Biden was my Senator.  In fact he was so mouthy that I believed --knowing how absurd it was--that he filled both Senatorial  seats by special dispensation.  I knew that this could not happen but I sort of kind of believed it anyway.  He just sucked all the  oxygen from the atmosphere.

I never took him seriously, anyway, as presidential material.  He seemed as a nice enough guy, though.  (He isn't. I was wrong.) So when none of the  rest of the 330 million citizens  was available, I had no illusions that he would be to my liking but thought we would muddle through well enough and the republic would still be standing in four years.  

wrong again!  I am wrong as often as Paul Krugman, and he is a noted economist who is paid to be wrong. What Joe seems to have done is take a list of everything Trump ever did and sought to undo it, no matter how inconvenient this would be or how deleterious  for the country.  He has managed to make the price of gas go up, allowed the country to be overrun by immigrants and drug cartels.  Well, people can disagree about these actions, but what is the upside of kissing up to Iran?  Aren't they the bad guys?  I seem to remember that they took some Americans hostage and were very nasty about it, so why are they our new best friends?  What positive developments can we expect from our friendship with them?

Perhaps they are offering a really good job to Hunter?

Thursday, May 20, 2021

On the treadmill

I was on the treadmll for thirty minutes, not listening to music, not watching television, certainly not reading, just enjoying the tedium of it all, when someone asked me if I didn't get bored.

Bored! I who have sat through at least a hundred--it seems more like several rhousands, but I'm not that old--library Board meetings, many budget hearings, city council meetings.   I welcome boredom.  It certainly beats listening to the countless orations of mayors and other politicians.

  As a young person, I had great respect for politicians.  I thought they were knowledgeable about arcane matters.  I was disabused of that notion when I started dealing with New Jersey politicians, who are the smallest of the small-minded. They will go on about light bulbs for hours, but require the police to change a light bulb if it becomes necessary. Their only distinction is a low cunning.  and it is very low.

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.