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

That Time We Seriously Flirted With Joining A Cult

On January 29, 2021, 3½ years after my wife Nell suggested in financial exasperation that I write a book, I put on “outside” clothes, sneakers and my protective mask, then walked down to our local FedEx office. There, I plugged my thumb drive into a printer…then watched in relief and wonder as it printed out … Continue reading That Time We Seriously Flirted With Joining A Cult

That Time My Detective Grandfather’s Partner Was A Total Rascal

On January 29, 2021, 3½ years after my wife Nell suggested in financial exasperation that I write a book, I put on “outside” clothes, sneakers and my protective mask, then walked down to our local FedEx office. There, I plugged my thumb drive into a printer…then watched in relief and wonder as it printed out … Continue reading That Time My Detective Grandfather’s Partner Was A Total Rascal

That Time My Great-Uncle Helped Send a Man To Prison

On January 29, 2021, 3½ years after my wife Nell suggested in financial exasperation that I write a book, I put on “outside” clothes, sneakers and my protective mask, then walked down to our local FedEx office. There, I plugged my thumb drive into a printer…then watched in relief and wonder as it printed out … Continue reading That Time My Great-Uncle Helped Send a Man To Prison

Dispatches from Brookline: Home Schooling and Social Distancing IX

I have described elsewhere how my wife Nell, our two daughters—one in 4th grade and one in 6th grade—and I were already coping with social distancing and the closure of the public schools in Brookline, Massachusetts until at least April 7, 2020. Besides staying inside as much as possible, we converted our dining room into … Continue reading Dispatches from Brookline: Home Schooling and Social Distancing IX

Upon further interrogation…

In the middle of August 2019, I spent nearly a week in Philadelphia—where I was born 53 years ago Monday—conducting further research into my family and personal history for the book I am writing (new tentative title: Interrogating Memory: Film Noir Spurs an Investigation into My Family History...and My Own). Unlike last year, however, I … Continue reading Upon further interrogation…

My great-grandfather, his brother-in-law…and The Three Stooges?

This coming October 15 would have been my great-grandfather David Louis Berger’s 150th birthday. Eight days later, I will mourn the 100th anniversary of his passing, under bizarre circumstances, but that is a tale I reserve for my book. “Louis,” as he preferred to be called (like my own father David Louis Berger liked to … Continue reading My great-grandfather, his brother-in-law…and The Three Stooges?

Organizing by themes III: Interrogating memory and identity

This site benefits/suffers/both from consisting of posts about a wide range of topics, all linked under the amorphous heading "data-driven storytelling." In an attempt to impose some coherent structure, I am organizing related posts both chronologically and thematically. The sequence of events that resulted in the unifying concept of “interrogating memory” went like this: September … Continue reading Organizing by themes III: Interrogating memory and identity

Two (at least) Samuel Schmucklers: a cautionary tale

In a recent post, I described the metaphoric journey my maternal grandfather took from being Yisrael HaCohen, born in the small town of Shpola (in what is now Ukraine) in November 1905, to being Samuel Joseph Kohn, born in Cleveland, OH in December 1904. His literal journey included crossing the Atlantic with his parents, Joseph … Continue reading Two (at least) Samuel Schmucklers: a cautionary tale

Visiting Philadelphia: …very few answers

The first indication of the nature of my recent trip to Philadelphia was the absence of SD’s and my favorite server at the Westgate Pub my first night there (the night before a Thor-like thunderbolt short-circuited the air conditioning in my hotel room for four nights). As I detailed here, I shoehorned seeking answers to … Continue reading Visiting Philadelphia: …very few answers