Family

Some Father’s Day Ruminations

Some Father’s Day Ruminations

When I was a kid, and probably for decades before that, a common comment about Father’s Day, in lower-east-side-of-New-York dialect, went something like this:

“On Fodder’s Day, be sure to t’ank yer Mudder — ‘cause if it wuzn’t fer yer Mudder, yer Fodder wouldn’t be no Fodder.”

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For Some of Us, Memorial Day is a Day of Atonement

Memorial Day has always been a day of atonement for me since only six numbers prevented my being called up to serve in the U.S. Army in 1969.

It was during the height of the Vietnam War and the reboot of the Selective Service System’s draft lottery for the first time since 1942. Men born from January 1, 1944 through December 31, 1950, were eligible. I was born on November 15, 1950. If I’d been able to hang around in utero for another 17 days, I’d have been home free.

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Why I Was Never Allowed to Forget Mother’s Day

Why I Was Never Allowed to Forget Mother’s Day

Until my mom passed away in 2006, I never forgot Mother’s Day. I never got the chance to.

Even when it was still at least three weeks away, she’d remind me it was, successively, (a) on the horizon; (b) looming; (c) coming into view; and (d) tomorrow.

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Are Bathing and Strolling Now Next to Godliness?

Are Bathing and Strolling Now Next to Godliness?

Look, “Singin’ in the Rain” is one thing. But are you ready for “Strollin’ to the Tub”?

Two recent side-by-side New York Times stories, “Baths May Benefit the Heart” and “Find Health 4,000 Steps at a Time,” intrigued me because they seemed at first to contradict each other.

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Confessions of a Political Know-Nothing!

Starting with the election of Donald Trump as president in 2016—and the simultaneous dissolution of the alleged world order of American politics—I’ve come to realize that despite my decades in journalism, with side trips into marketing and public affairs—I know absolutely nothing.

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Why Aren’t House Pets Considered in the Census?

Why Aren’t House Pets Considered in the Census?

Why are house-pets considered to be part of our families except when things get official, like for the 2020 Census?

First, some background. I gladly stayed inside to work on my census questionnaire on-line during this pandemical year, when a rallying cry like “Stand Up And Be Counted” should probably have been replaced by “Stay In And Be Counted.” But this had less to do with the coronavirus than my distaste at having census takers come to my door, (which is what they’ll do if I don’t email the form in time).

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Why Does My Cat Think I’m Doctor Who—and Am I?

Why Does My Cat Think I’m Doctor Who—and Am I?

My cat thinks I’m Doctor Who.

You probably know who Who is. He’s that extraterrestrial do-gooder who’s been played by at least a dozen actors in the staggering 57 years since the show first began airing on British tellies. The doctor is a universe-hopping Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, if you’re following along on your inter-galactic Thomas Brothers atlas.

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Kirky Memories

Kirky Memories

I’d like to say it was quite a coincidence that I was watching “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” at the exact moment one of its stars, Kirk Douglas, died at 103 years old a couple of weeks ago. And I really was watching it, at that precise time. But since I watch it at least three times a year, I’m not sure this qualifies as a coincidence.

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Dying to Get into Print

For my President’s Day column, I’d like to discuss obituary notices—those things most of us claim to not read but secretly do. Mind you, the column has nothing to do with President’s Day. I just like to seem current.

Let’s start with a not-that-grim old joke.

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Bachelors Are We/Born to be Free

Bachelors Are We/Born to be Free

My cat, Osborn the Magnificent, really likes the bachelor life. Mine, mainly—though, technically, he qualifies as a bachelor as well.

While he’s developed serious crushes on two women I dated (years apart, I hasten to add) he seems to be most contented when it’s just the two of us hanging around the condo we share here in …

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Family Business Succession

When I was young, I thought it would be great to someday join my mom and dad in the family business. But they never had one.

What reminded me of my long-ago wish was reading recently about a statewide association of family business owners based in Sacramento and …

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Amtrak Dining

I have a very distinct memory of Amtrak’s dining car, which the company says it plans to abolish—the dining car, not my memory. (“No, no, they caaaan’t take that away from me…” Oh, for God’s sake, younger readers. Download “Shall We Dance,” 1937, Fred Astaire, Ginger …

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Cue Cards

Cue Cards

A friend of mine, Michael Lawrence Green, gives talks and workshops all across the country to companies, government agencies, trade associations, salespeople and news organizations about memory.

One of his gimmicks is to mingle with the people attending his …

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Cats Aloof?

Cats Aloof?

Because I’m a bit overdue for an eye exam, I thought a recent New York Times article asked if a cat is a “loofah,” not if a cat is genuinely aloof.

I found the notion of using my beloved tabby, Osborn the Magnificent, as a bath sponge to be not only repugnant, but …

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