Back in the days when I used large photocopiers, I was always amazed how well the machine could guide me through the process of clearing a paper jam, while at the same time being completely incapable of preventing such a problem.

It always struck me as odd that the manufacturer put all that effort into helping me help myself, instead of simply eliminating the need for help in the first place. Fortunately I spend very little time these days in front of Buick-sized copy machines. […]

That Wasn’t Very Smart


I grew up in a calm, upper middle class suburb of Rochester, NY. Although we didn’t discuss it much, the concept of an I.Q. was something with which me and my classmates were all familiar, and to quote Garrison Keillor, where I lived, “all the children were above average.”

We knew that an average I.Q. was 100, but we never publicly discussed the scores any of us received from tests we had taken at school, at home, or at the table of a roadside diner. […]

Check-In With The Oboe

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a performance by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra with my parents, and my 8th grade son Lewis. Lewis plays the cello and has recently spent dozens of volunteer hours playing in the “pit orchestra” for his school’s production of Oliver (not to be confused with my other son of the same name). He and I are the lone torchbearers of classical music in our household of six. […]

Be The Sea

This post is the last in a series called “500 Words To Save The World.” For each piece, I used exactly 500 words to address a problem. Later this week I will be returning to my longer format, and I have long list of great stories to bring you. Until then, enjoy this tenth installment of short solutions to the greatest human challenges. You may start counting words… now!


I am writing from an eastbound Amtrak train.

The musician Jill Sobule said, “there’s something about a train,” and on this point I must agree. Like attending a live baseball game, a train forces you to slow down and accept its pace for what it is. It might be on time and it might not, but in the end, you will get there when the train does; nothing you do is going to change that.

Last week I purchased digital versions of some music I once had on cassette. I say “had” (not owned) because I never paid for these albums before. It felt good to toss these artists a few bucks after enjoying their work for decades. […]

Happy Birthday To Blog


One year ago today, I sat nervously in front of the WordPress admin page and clicked “publish” for the first time. Would anybody read it? Would anybody care?

My first post was called I’m Just Getting Warmed Up, the title of which is a nod to Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade, a character played by Al Pacino in the 1992 film, Scent Of A Woman.

Reading back over that first post, I am pleased with how true I’ve been able to keep to the mission I laid out 365 days ago. I really had no idea what to expect from what I set out to do, but it has been one of the greatest experiences of my life so far. And yes, people read it and yes, they care. […]