Category: Family

Portraits of a Presidency

Posted February 15th, 2018
Portraits of a Presidency

On February 12, 2018, the portraits of the 44th President and First Lady of the United States were unveiled. How do I like them? Let me, as it were, count the ways. The paintings are modern. The artists who made them (Kehinde Wiley, b. 1977, and Amy Sherald, b. 1973) are young-ish. Both are figurative…

Book #6 in 2018: “City of Endless Night” by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Posted February 9th, 2018
Book #6 in 2018: "City of Endless Night" by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

No genetically engineered monsters, no exotic locations, no time-travel: #17 of the Pendergast series, The City of Endless Night by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Grand Central Publishing, 2018),  is a good, old-fashioned thriller. Truth be told, Doug Preston is my cousin. I adore him and I think he is a wonderful writer in any genre. I would…

Book #5 in 2018: A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived by Adam Rutherford

Posted February 4th, 2018
Book #5 in 2018: A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived by Adam Rutherford

My sister used to drive me crazy—well she still does in many ways—for her interactions with her daughters. One of the worst things was her flat assertion about her younger daughter’s problems with math. “She can’t do math,” Sister said. “She get’s it from me.” Then a few years ago we were at lunch with…

Book #2 in 2018: Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Posted January 4th, 2018
Book #2 in 2018: Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

I had read David Grann’s article in The New Yorker, “The Marked Woman,” last March so the outlines of this appalling story were familiar to me.  The completed book, however, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (Doubleday, 2017), includes a dark coda that reminds us that all…

Book #1 in 2018: “It’s All Relative” by A.J. Jacobs

Posted January 1st, 2018
Book #1 in 2018: "It’s All Relative" by A.J. Jacobs

I decided a few days ago that I would record every book I finished reading in 2018 and say something about each. As it turns out, this book, It’s All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree by A.J. Jacobs (Simon & Schuster, 2017), a Christmas gift from My Dear One, went faster…

Based in Batignolles 2: One Thing After Another

Posted May 10th, 2017
Based in Batignolles 2: One Thing After Another

Gounod’s Faust was the first opera I ever saw, and I saw it at Palais Charles Garnier in Paris in March 1970. As we ascended the massive stair forty-eight years later, studied Marc Chagall’s rainbow of a ceiling and gazed out over the loggia outside the ornate Grand Foyer, it all came back. I was…

Christmas Letter 2016

Posted December 13th, 2016
Christmas Letter 2016

Dearest all, I made the pilgrimage on my own, from our moorage on the Danube in Passau, Germany, up the Wallfahrtsstiege, the 321 steps to the Mariahilf.  I counted off the Stations of the Cross and contemplated the gifts people had left, pleas for help and expressions of gratitude. No one else was there, no…

I-35: Mason City

Posted October 12th, 2016
I-35: Mason City

There is sculpture everywhere. Sofas, side tables and chairs in the park, children playing, bears looking confused, a marching band worth of horns, welded dinosaurs, silvery dancers, and even Frank Lloyd Wright looking approvingly at his hotel and bank downtown. Realism, abstraction, high art and humor. Who knew. And who knew that Mason City, a…