All The Essays

How does it look for Democrats in New Jersey and Virginia with just two weeks to go?

The 2021 elections end on November 2. New Jersey and Virginia are electing governors, while Boston and New York City will elect new mayors. Michelle Wu appears to be well-ahead of Annissa Essaibi George in a race between two Boston Democrats, while Democrat Eric Adams is a near-lock to be elected New York City’s second … Continue reading How does it look for Democrats in New Jersey and Virginia with just two weeks to go?

“The Burns woman”: Nell’s grandfather, statutory rape…and Eugene O’Neill

When Nell and I moved to a new Brookline apartment in early July, we unburdened ourselves of a large quantity of – stuff – we had accumulated from Nell’s mother, who has resided in a senior living facility near us since we moved her there from DC in the summer of 2013; a storage unit … Continue reading “The Burns woman”: Nell’s grandfather, statutory rape…and Eugene O’Neill

Measuring the Unmeasurable: Ranking One’s Favorite Music, Part II

In late June, I wrote the first in a series of essays outlining the evolution of the methods I use to rank my favorite tracks (a term I prefer to “songs”), beginning with my first-ever mix cassette tape in August 1981. In the interim, however, moving to a new apartment, the ongoing search for a … Continue reading Measuring the Unmeasurable: Ranking One’s Favorite Music, Part II

Interrogating Memory, Confirmation Bias and … My Great-Grandfather

After Nell first suggested in early July 2017 I write a book – and this essay popped into my head – I simply wanted to flesh out the separate facets of my film noir “journey” into a larger book, perhaps with a little family and local history for context. But, as everyone who reads this … Continue reading Interrogating Memory, Confirmation Bias and … My Great-Grandfather

My Book INTERROGATING MEMORY: FILM NOIR SPURS A DEEP DIVE INTO MY FAMILY HISTORY…AND MY OWN Is Now Available For Purchase!!

I grow weary and gray-bearded promoting my book Interrogating Memory: Film Noir Spurs a Deep Dive Into My Family History...and My Own while waiting for "official" publication - though I continue to pursue that option. [UPDATE: I am taking the last few steps toward self-publishing - I expect it to be within a few months.] … Continue reading My Book INTERROGATING MEMORY: FILM NOIR SPURS A DEEP DIVE INTO MY FAMILY HISTORY…AND MY OWN Is Now Available For Purchase!!

Grappling With the Instinctive – and Unnecessary – Fictionalization of History

I recently watched Michael Mann’s Public Enemies for the first time since its 2009 theatrical release. Based on Bryan Burrough’s excellent 2004 book of the same name, it narrows the focus of the sprawling book to the cat-and-mouse game played by bank robber John Dillinger and Melvin Purvis, special agent in charge of the Chicago … Continue reading Grappling With the Instinctive – and Unnecessary – Fictionalization of History

Fact and Fiction in Relationship Portrayals: BEAUTIFUL GIRLS Meets My Romantic History

The indispensable Internet Movie Database (“IMDb”) informs me the underrated romantic dramedy Beautiful Girls debuted in American movie theaters on February 9, 1996. However, I did not see it until sometime in the last decade or so. I enjoyed it, especially the bravura performance by then-14-year-old Natalie Portman. Her portrayal of Willie Conway’s (Timothy Hutton) … Continue reading Fact and Fiction in Relationship Portrayals: BEAUTIFUL GIRLS Meets My Romantic History

When Failure Is Success…And Vice Versa

It was likely in 2001 – though it may have been just after I moved into my new apartment in the Philadelphia suburb of King of Prussia in February 2003 – I received this handsome piece of engraved metal from my more off-than-on-again girlfriend. When I first read the question, I tried earnestly answer it … Continue reading When Failure Is Success…And Vice Versa

Moving, Non-Publication…and Dada?

I rarely break the fourth wall here: personal stories I tell are usually contextualized within some larger theme, like interrogating memory. Today, however, I speak directly to you – to explain why, after 16 posts in 3½ months, I have not posted since June 25. I will not, however, explain why I did not post … Continue reading Moving, Non-Publication…and Dada?

Measuring the Unmeasurable: Ranking One’s Favorite Music, Part 1

I recently updated a data-based discussion of my cinematic “guilty pleasures,” adding a comparison of “most-acclaimed” and “my favorite” films from a given year or years. In so doing, though, I side-stepped the question of determining with something approaching academic rigor just what my favorite films are, relying solely on my gut to select a … Continue reading Measuring the Unmeasurable: Ranking One’s Favorite Music, Part 1