Category: Friends

The Mouth In The Oval Office: Boss Tweet

Posted July 5th, 2017
The Mouth In The Oval Office: Boss Tweet

As I write this, Donald John Trump has been President of the United States for 161 days—not quite 24 weeks. He has been, as he tweets it, “modern-day presidential.” I can’t even begin to parse that; obviously such presidential qualities as dignity, humanity and patriotism are utterly unknown to this Know-Nothing Nativist and portly, “short-fingered…

Based in Batignolles 7: Bienvenue et Adieu

Posted July 1st, 2017
Based in Batignolles 7: Bienvenue et Adieu

Inbound from Charles de Gaulle-Roissy airport, all had gone smoothly until we were in a taxi headed into Paris—at a crawl. The traffic was simply horrific, as bad as anything I have experienced from route 128 outside Boston to any freeway from San Diego to Los Angeles. Our plane arrived at 8:00 am and around…

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: 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…

The Mouth That Would Be President: Endgame

Posted July 5th, 2016
The Mouth That Would Be President: Endgame

It is July and Cleveland is battening down the hatches in anticipation of Tornado Trump. The Drumpf has been sitting pretty as “presumptive nominee” since early May and Ted Cruz’s disappearance after the Indiana primary. Hillary could not rest easy, as it were, until just about a month later when she collected the delegates in…

Beautiful Blue Danube 6: A Viking Cruise

Posted June 9th, 2016
Beautiful Blue Danube 6: A Viking Cruise

As we approached Vienna, the sun shone steadily and the Danube momentarily reflected blue. We passed through another lock, dropping to match the water level to the east, watching as massive gates swung toward us, a vertical opening that widened and widened, a sort of concrete-and-steel proscenium curtain. As the Atla moved forward a light…

That Is Such Sad News

Posted August 22nd, 2015
That Is Such Sad News

A Facebook friend inquires, “Is death always sad?” The comment followed former president Jimmy Carter’s announcement that he has terminal cancer. A number of people from NPR’s Diane Rehm to ordinary friends have found the news “sad.” My FBF continued: “Although I greatly admire Carter, I disagree. Of course, I don’t want him (or anyone)…

Šeima Means Family 2: The Determination of Memory

Posted April 30th, 2015
Šeima Means Family 2: The Determination of Memory

Most of us choose what to remember. We cherish feelings illuminated through rose-colored glasses and forget the uncomfortable; sometimes we nurse the grievances and grudges that give us our sense of self. In any case, the content and color of the past, the limning of our history is largely up to us. In Lithuania, memory…

Šeima Means Family 1: The Family We Choose

Posted April 25th, 2015
Šeima Means Family 1: The Family We Choose

We reached out to Audrius about fifteen years ago as we jumped into the quagmire that is the genealogy of Lithuanian immigrants to the United States. He shares a surname with my Dear One and a rather random Internet search turned him up in Kaunas. We grasped at that straw; it was an article of…