San Francisco's jumble of socioeconomic experiences never fails to astonish. And after five years in this burg, that is, five recent years, one would think that day-to-day reality would take over. It hasn't. I can't quite accept what I see, all the time, even if this particular day seems heightened. Vive la Tarte is one of those San Francisco establishments with an industrial feel and, in this rare instance, perhaps an industrial reality. It occupies a lofty warehouse, high ceilings and exposed Read more [...]


I am supposed to speak to a class titled 'Journey to Judaism' soon, and dammed if I know why. I took this class myself a few years ago at a local synagogue. I should say 'my local synagogue' and slightly balked. But I don't know why. Yes, I joined Sha’ar Zahav, paid my dues and everything. ‘My’ is the right word. I am part of the thing. But what is that thing? Again, dammed if I know. After all, as the class title suggests, it's a journey, right? Why? Why? Well, originally, in the Palo Read more [...]


I have gone from several years of complaining of not knowing enough people in San Francisco and not having enough to do…to a pleasantly opposite state. I'm busy. Perhaps too busy. I still haven't read the exciting dénouement of  ‘Kolymsky Heights', my current mystery. And it is not because I have no interest. In fact, the hero is literally all at sea, as I write. The Bering Sea to be exact. So, yes, this blog may be short one. The Gubbio Project is among my weekly stops. And even Read more [...]

Amtrak California

I have, let us say, been dealing with anxiety. The latter being one of those nebulous, borderline useless terms for something vague, pervasive and, I suspect, generally human. Whatever. I still maintain that a conscious effort to sort out legitimate from illegitimate fear is worth the effort. In any case, I do see a general shift in perspective. Let's see if it lasts. In fact, let's see if it is even real. First, let's say that I care about some things more than others, and that at age 72 caring Read more [...]

To the Bench

When I tell people that my hometown is Banning, California, they nod and recall their drive through the place on the way to Las Vegas. This is a sure sign they don't know what I'm talking about. Or maybe they do. Banning is a place one only recalls having driven through. But, no, it's not Las Vegas, which generally involves a drive through that other "B" desert town of Barstow. It's Palm Springs. The last burg before the resort town is Banning. Jane and I just returned from two days in Palm Springs, Read more [...]


It's barely 2019, and I have thrown up my hands. Really. Literally. I just tossed two more of them, tiny plastic hands, in the general direction of Christmas presents. Yes, it is 6 January, and Christmas is allegedly passed. Not really. Jane tells me that this very day is Christmas for the Greek Orthodox Church. And, although I have slightly lost count, the 12 days of Christmas may still be rolling off the conventional calendar. In any case, Jane's daughter Eleanor, son-in-law Martin and grandson Read more [...]