Random Selections from the Blog

Click here for another random selection

The Christmas Letter – 2013

Posted December 14th, 2013
The Christmas Letter - 2013

“And we walked off to look for America…” Well, perhaps not in the way that Paul Simon’s lyric suggests, but our travels in 2013 took us to corners of the country less familiar to us. My Dear One and I fled Maryland’s January chill to Tampa, Florida, and enjoyed gardens, manatees and the company of…

Next Great Artist 3: Pride of Art, Prejudice of Commerce

Posted June 25th, 2010

“I am a fine artist” said Judith. The idea of designing a book cover, even one for a classic novel, seemed to her to be a task beneath contempt. Mark, a contestant who makes a reasonably steady living as a commercial artist, was insulted by Judith’s comments. Did I catch murmurs from the television audience…

Of Time and Family 2: Getting on the Granny Trail

Posted August 28th, 2012
Of Time and Family 2: Getting on the Granny Trail

“Dontchaknow”punctuated her every third or fourth sentence. Granny was fabulous. She was easily moved to laughter, her eyes sparkling and her face a constellation of wrinkles. She made brownies and applesauce. She took us out to lunch at some restaurant between Hingham and Cohasset and bought us as many orders of french-fries as we wanted….

I-35: Des Moines

Posted October 12th, 2016
I-35: Des Moines

There were dropped jaws and more polite phrasings like, “What has persuaded you to make this move?” when I told people that I was moving to Iowa, in 1985 for a job as curator of education at the Des Moines Art Center. “Big careers are made in smaller museums,” I often answered. But the truth…

Molasses, Ginger and Rain

Posted March 13th, 2010

Yesterday’s moisting turned into today’s steady downpour—a good thing as I need to correct essays and grade quizzes. In the woods, a muddy stream undulates through the woods, hanging a sharp left to pass under the fallen tree that provided deer shelter during the worst of the February snow. Elsewhere the ground gleams with a…

Next Great Artist 8: Significant Form and the Reality of Television

Posted July 30th, 2010

I found a certain irony in Challenge 8. Last week I railed about the triviality of the challenges. I even weighed in on the subject on Jerry Saltz’s New York magazine blog where some of the more interesting discussions about the show take place. This week the Great Minds at BRAVO decided to go with…

The Naples Jaunt 3: Swiss Army Knife Cooking

Posted January 5th, 2017
Swiss Army Knife cooking

I don’t want to be unduly critical of Casa Futura Retrò at vicolo Pietra del Pesce in Salerno, 2. It’s charming, decorated with a modern sensibility (and old photos of kissing couples in the bedroom). I love the gated stair with terracotta tiles that leads to the front entry. The space is lovely, with a large…

The “F” Word

Posted November 7th, 2010

Why has the “F” word become so indispensable to—dare I make the pun—daily intercourse? As a verb it exudes hostility. As an adverb it displaces countless positive and negative modifiers more explicit, poetic, and expressive. The “F” word seems to be in constant use, in music, film and television, in conversation, and on Facebook. I…

Of Time and Family 3: Barking up the Wrong Family Tree?

Posted August 29th, 2012
Of Time and Family 3: Barking up the Wrong Family Tree?

In genealogy, I have found, it is always easier to see a connection than prove one, to imagine a family than establish one, to design a tree rather than allow it to grow. When we attempted to track down my Dear One’s Lithuanian progenitors, for instance, an administrator at the National Archives in Vilnius sniffed…

What I Don’t Realize That My Students Don’t Know

Posted May 28th, 2013
What I Don’t Realize That My Students Don’t Know

Since the class of 2002, Beloit College has published an annual “Mindset List,” a statement of cultural milestones and realities that current college freshman may or may not know or share. Needless to say, it is a list that makes my Baby-Boomer’s heart clank like a junkyard jalopy. Here are a few items that caught…