After leaving Twitter in early December 2022, I began to write short posts on the Home Page. These posts are at least two weeks old.
May 16, 2023: Noir By the Numbers returns with a countdown of the actors most often associated with film noir. Enjoy!
May 9, 2023: The first-ever NOIR CITY Philadelphia will be held at the Colonial Theater in Phoenixville, PA from July 21 to July 23, 2023. I cannot think of a more perfect venue in which to showcase my book Interrogating Memory: Film Noir Spurs a Deep Dive Into My Family History…and My Own. The book was not only inspired by the question “Why do you love film noir?” it is a heart-felt love letter to the city where I was born way back in 1966. I then grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and while I have lived most of my adult life in the Boston area, I still identify with the feisty underdog sensibility of the city that embraced my Jewish ancestors.
I have thus reached out to both the Film Noir Foundation, with whom I have a decade-plus long relationship, and Reads & Company, the bookstore directly across Bridge Street from the Colonial Theater. There is no better incentive for me to revise and expand Interrogating Memory into a more affordable paperback edition than the possibility of debuting it in Phoenixville that weekend.
As of now, I plan to attend NOIR CITY Philadelphia with boxes of Interrogating Memory, which I will sign and sell at a discounted price – but stay tuned to learn whether this will be an “official event.”
May 8, 2023: As I think about revising my Interrogating Memory book, I just found a woman who is my 3rd cousin in two different ways. We have great-grandfathers who are brothers and great-grandmothers who are sisters. One of the brothers married one of the sisters, one of whose younger brothers married into the same family as one of her younger sisters. To be fair, the shtetl of Shpola, in what is now Ukraine, only had about 13,000 residents in 1897, and only a bit under half were Jewish.
May 5, 2023: Noir By the Numbers returns with a countdown of the films released after 1966 most often deemed film noir. Enjoy!
May 4, 2023: In the summer of 1976, when my parents controlled the car radio, I kept hearing a song that opened with the most haunting steel guitar playing I had – and still have – ever heard. The opening lyrics were equally riveting: “The legend lives on/from the Chippewa on down/Of the big lake they call/Githcie-goomie.”
What followed was the best bit of history in song I had – and still have – ever heard: a harrowing depiction of the sinking of the freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald during a tremendous storm on Lake Superior on the night of November 10, 1975.
The writer and singer of this astonishing six-minute-and-30-seconds song – more than twice as long as the typical pop single – was a 37-year-old singer-songwriter from Orillia, Ontario, Canada named Gordon Lightfoot. Lightfoot had already had a string of hit songs in his native Canada, as well as three top ten singles in the United States, each a pop gem.
As good as these songs – and the ethereally-lovely “Pusswillows, Cat-Tails” and “Beautiful” – were, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” is, to me, his absolute masterpiece. Listeners are right there with the “good ship and crew…in peril.” You can hear when the “church bells chimed, and they rang 29 times, for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.” The song reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, the last time Gordon Lightfoot reached the American top 10.
Despite years spent battling alcohol and drug addictions which carved themselves into his drawn, withered frame, Lightfoot continued to tour into his 80s. Finally, though, it was time to let go, and, on May 1, 2023 Gordon Meredith Lightfoot, Jr., CC OOnt, died in Toronto. He was 84 years old.
I took advantage of a “10 discs for a penny” deal to purchase a CD of his greatest hits in early 2005, and I played the heck out of that thing for years, falling in love with songs from before and after his early-70s chart peak, including the lovely “Restless.” For whatever reason, I rarely pay much attention to song lyrics, hearing them as just another instrument. But Lightfoot’s lyrics forced me to sit up and listen, which is the highest compliment I can pay any songwriter.
Rest in peace, Mr. Lightfoot, you are loved and missed.
April 27, 2023: I just deleted my “I Never Wrote the Most Important Story I Ever Wrote” video from YouTube. The sheer cringiness of it finally outweighed whatever lesson I was trying to learn or convey.
April 25, 2023: Noir By the Numbers takes a break from An Adventure in Place and Time with a look at the top 25 directors of film noir.
April 21, 2023: Noir By the Numbers continues with Episode 3, Act II. This video centers on the years 1944 to 1946, when critics first began to notice something darker, more cynical and more violent in recent American crime films.
April 14, 2023: Noir By the Numbers continues with Episode 3, Act I, the first in a series of videos in which I use my film noir database to present an overview of the historical geography of film noir. This video establishes the parameters of database films, then tracks them from a 1912 D.W. Griffith short through the end of 1943.
April 6, 2023: As historic as the first indictment, arrest and arraignment of a former president of the United States is, I predict that the far more consequential political event of April 4, 2023 was the election of Milwaukee Circuit Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Judge Protasiewicz replaces a conservative Justice, giving liberal Justices a 4-3 majority. This will give the Court an opportunity to protect reproductive rights and end what is perhaps the most egregious Republican gerrymander in the United States. While I am generally agnostic on gerrymandering, the Wisconsin maps make a mockery of both “to the victors go the spoils” and fair (i.e., one person, one vote) representation.
April 4, 2023: Noir By the Numbers continues with Episode 2, in which I use my LISTS and POINTS metrics to count down the 100 films most often cited as “film noir” by experts.
[April 13 follow-up] To my surprise and delight, this video has taken off on YouTube! After less than 10 days, it is closing in on 3,000 views. It already has 55 likes, and I have crossed the 50-subscriber mark. This may not sound like much to seasoned YouTubers, but I will gladly take it after less than three months on the platform!
[April 16 follow-up] This video is now closing in on 6,000 views, with 133 likes (and 2 dislikes). And I now have 122 subscribers. This may not last, but I am enjoying the ride while I can!
[April 25 follow-up] This video just topped 20,000 views and is nearing 400 likes. I am also closing in on 400 subscribers. I may yet become a real YouTubers.
[May 8 follow-up]: Well over 31,000 views, closing in on 700 likes. Overall, I have topped 700 subscribers and 40,000 total views across more than 3,300 hours watched.
April 1, 2023: While much of YouTube is a fetid swamp of inanity, misinformation and narcissistic preening, a handful of creators stand out for their sustained excellence. One is Canadian filmmaker James Somerton, who “makes videos about stuff. Mostly queer stuff.” His videos – beautifully shot, intelligently written and always engaging – resemble my own essays (or, at least, what my essays aspire to be), combining the personal and the cultural/historical into elegantly-woven narratives about the realities of being a gay man in a still-too-hostile society. He applies what I call “interrogating memory” to his presentations, carefully marshalling his facts and seeking the truth above all else. For all that he has every right to scream about the unfairness of it all, though, he never loses his calm dignity, that instinctive sense the best teachers have that the softer the tone, the more rapt the listener.
I write this now, today, because Somerton’s channel is in some trouble. There is little I can do for him financially at this time, but I will use whatever platforms I have to shout about his wicked-awesomeness.
March 31, 2023: For nearly 50 years, I thought President Gerald Ford made the correct decision to grant former President Richard Nixon a full and complete pardon in September 1974. I reasoned resigning was punishment enough for the narcissistic Nixon, and the last thing a nation reeling from more than a decade of assassinations, political upheaval, radical social change, the Vietnam War and Watergate itself needed was a highly-divisive trial of a former president.
However, the indictment of former president Donald Trump by a Manhattan grand jury, and the resulting discussion of the necessity for the rule of law to apply equally to all at all times has me rethinking my position. In Bayesian terms, I am updating my priors. I now see that rather than “saving” the nation, Ford short-circuited the legal process and effectively denied Nixon the chance to defend himself in court. He also missed a golden opportunity to show non-democracies that the phrase “rule of law” has practical meaning.
March 27, 2023: As a boy, I adored Lost In Space. I still say things like, “Oh, you wretched robot!” and “Danger, Will Robinson, danger.” But only the other day did I learn that its captivating themes (one for Seasons 1 and 2, one for Season 3) were written by some cat named “Johnny Williams.”
I wonder whatever happened to that guy…oh, right, he went on to win five Oscars, four Golden Globes, seven BAFTAs and 25 Grammies. His 52 Oscar nominations are second only to Walt Disney.
March 26, 2023: Fully embracing my Doctor Noir persona on YouTube, I just launched the “Noir by the Numbers” series with Episode 1: To LIST or not to LIST. Enjoy!
March 17, 2023: Forget “Ginger vs. Mary Anne.” When it comes to classic television, put me firmly in camp Zelda Gilroy. Sheila James Kuehl (a trailblazer in her own right) deftly portrayed Zelda as brilliant, thoughtful, strong-willed and utterly adorable. She had spirit and depth. Yes, I had a huge crush on Zelda when I discovered reruns of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis in the early 80s. Thalia Menninger and the rest of the “Many Loves” could not touch her. (Nothing against the great Tuesday Weld, mind you, who gave an astonishing performance in Thief).
March 15, 2023: At the end of my most recent YouTube video I hint at an upcoming video. Betwen 1937 (Charlie Chan at the Olympics) and 1942 (Castle in the Desert), legendary cinematographer Virgil Miller (1887-1974) photographed nine of the 22 Fox Studios Charlie Chan films, including an exceptional seven-film run from Charlie Chan in Reno (released June 16, 1939) to Murder Over New York (December 30, 1940). It is no coincidence the classic era of film noir starts around this time. I argue in Interrogating Memory that these films – model “B” pictures of immense popularity – served as a necessary bridge between the flat-lit crime films of the 1930s and the high-contrast crime films of the 1940s. I also argue film noir was less an artistic movement than an economic one, as film studios needed to crank out inexpensive B pictures to fill pre-booked movie theater slots. Miller’s cinematography in these films was both transcendent and trend-setting.
Here is the funny thing, though.
I watched my first Charlie Chan film – 1941’s Dead Men Tell – on at 8 pm on Saturday, July 24, 1976, as part of a double feature with the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes film Pearl of Death. While Dead Men Tell was one of three (of 11) Fox Charlie Chan films starring Sidney Toler not photographed by Miller, he did photograph Pearl of Death.
March 12, 2023: Because this is apparently what I do now, here is my fifth YouTube video. It is a pretty solid introduction to my channel.
March 3, 2023: Upon further reflection – and an embarrassing watch with my wife and daughters – this video is a hot mess of cringiness. So much so, I wrote this comment on it on YouTube:
I am taking the unusual step of trashing my own video. 🙂
Just bear with me a moment while I explain.
I made an embarrassing rookie mistake – I let an imagined audience dictate my creativity, not my own original ideas. This video is an audio-with-random pictures version of the first in a series of essays on my Just Bear With Me website called “I Never Wrote the Most Important Story I Ever Wrote.” That is a thoughtful and carefully-researched bit of non-fiction writing – about the act of writing, the fallibility of memory, and the fickleness of love and romance – that gently unfolds over 11 parts. I am proud of it, and I invite you to read the essays for yourself, starting here.
When I received a relatively high number of likes for the series – particularly Part 8 for some reason – I thought, “Oh, this would make a great video series.”
Give the people what they want, right?
But as I tried to find images to match the audio – it is not as though someone filmed these events at the time, and I could not use photos of folks whose identity I sought to protect (even though I used them for my own narrative purposes!?!) – the cringy absurdity of the task gave me serious pause. I decided to forge ahead multiple times, though, not wanting to leave a creative task unfinished. Plus, I learned some new skills in the process.
The resulting video is not awful, but it is meandering, confusing and more than a little TMI-squirmy. Images are often weirdly divorced from the narrative, sometimes telling wholly unrelated stories. The thing is, I think more like a writer than a videographer, as this comment suggests. The latter requires a skill set I do not yet have – and, wow, do I respect those who have mastered those skills. I might make an entire video about how wicked awesome THEY are.
As cringe-inducing as this video is, though, I am leaving it on YouTube with this attached commentary. It will remind me and all other creators to trust my/your creative instincts, to create for YOURSELF – and trust that a good story well told will always find its audience. Even if that is an audience of one – you.
Now, please enjoy my first three videos which are not *too* bad. I think. 🙂
And then create something you – YOU – love.
Until next time…
March 2, 2023: I just uploaded this video to my YouTube channel (Dr Noir). It is based upon this essay. Whether additional “episodes” follow depends upon how this video is received. Stay tuned. (Update: it has already been banned in Russia.)
[April 27, 2023: I finally deleted this awful video.]
February 24, 2023: The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (“RRHOF”) recently announced its nominees for induction in 2023. To be honest, I have very mixed feelings about the RRHOF, primarily due to its induction criteria, which are vague to the point of absurdity. In fact, the only specific criterion is that 25 years needs to have passed since an artist released her/his/their first album. The RRHOF pointedly downplays quantitative metrics – the essence of debates over induction worthiness for, say, the Baseball Hall of Fame – such as chart positions, number of releases and total sales. A certain subjectivity is inevitable in assessing artistic merit, but denigrating any form of objective criteria is carrying a point to its logical exclusion.
That said…if/when I cast fan ballots for this year’s inductions, four artists are (to me) no-brainers: Joy Division/New Order, Kate Bush, The Spinners and Iron Maiden; MTV aired numerous different Iron Maiden videos during their first 24 hours on the air. With my fifth choice, I opt for the late Warren Zevon. Zevon, a classically-trained pianist who died of mesothelioma at the age of 56 (my current age) in 2003, combined the lyrical sophistication of Bob Dylan, the stripped-down snarl of punk and the cheeky playfulness of Elton John into a series of pop-song screeds, including the underrated “Sentimental Hygiene.” Picture the artistic love child of George Carlin and Billy Joel.
February 18, 2023: As I continue to try to make a living as a capital-W Writer, and having just rewatched Barton Fink with my wife Nell, here are my top five films about writers/writing. I exclude films in which a main character is a reporter (Foreign Correspondent, His Girl Friday, Call Northside 777, The Odd Couple, Fletch) and films in which a writer is a secondary character (Dial M For Murder, Death on the Nile), as well as The Big Clock, even though it is set in a publishing company.
Honorable mention: The World According to Garp
#5. Barton Fink
#4. Ball of Fire
February 15, 2023: A key element of my “personal journey” to film noir fandom was discovering the Fox Charlie Chan films in July 1976, as I detail in Chapter 8 of my Interrogating Memory book. On a lark, as I began to research that point in my life, I collected a wide range of information about these films which I threw them into a factor analyis to create an early version of my Perceived Quality metric. I then wrote a short piece summarizing my findings called “Ranking Every Charlie Chan Film,” which I published here in August 2017. For 12 months it barely registered, garnering only 78 total views. However, something clicked in August 2018, when it received 34 views, followed by 33 the next month. And then it was 46, 55, 53, 107, etc. By now it had caught the attention of the Google algorithm, which placed it relatively high in “Charlie Chan film” searches. From May 2020 to March 2021, during the initial COVID-19 lockdowns, it averaged 225 views per month, or seven per day. This may not seem like much to anyone whose website routinely gets hundreds or even thousands of views daily, but I am immensely proud of how much this essay continues to be viewed, and I am grateful for every single view. In fact, it just crossed the 6,000-view threshold. Nell thinks a YouTube video version is a “no-brainer,” but I would need to figure out how to make the math compelling.
February 13, 2023: Despite continuing to modify my “favorite film” formula, I have yet to update my list of “guilty pleasure” films. These are the 10 films I love the most, excluding Charlie Chan films, with the lowest Perceived Quality (“PQ”) scores, using difference in z-scores (minimum -0.5 PQ, 0.5 personal ranking). I am not surprised six of the 10 were released between 1980 and 1986, nor that I own five on DVD. Differences are in parentheses.
#10. Who’s Minding the Store? (2.36)
#9. Doctor Detroit (2.53)
#8. Legal Eagles (2.56)
#7. Hammett (2.63)
#6. The Cotton Club (2.80)
#5. Times Square (2.85)
#4. One Crazy Summer (2.85)
#3. The Public Eye (3.06)
#2. The Shadow (3.90)
#1. Thank God, It’s Friday (4.18)
February 12, 2023: As Valentine’s Day (my least favorite holiday by far) approaches, I revisit a series of essays I wrote last summer titled “I Never Wrote the Most Important Story I Ever Wrote.” I just edited the first essay, adding a few new details and improving its overall clarity. Thoughts of turning these essays into narrated videos on my Doctor Noir YouTube channel bump up against my desire to protect the identities of people I discuss, even under anonymous initials. Still, they already appear in written form; is narration really that much different?
February 10, 2023: Alas, my Interrogating Memory book is not one of the four finalists for the 2023 Athenaeum of Philadelphia Literary Award. I am still humbled to have been considered for the award, however, especially considering I did not even apply for it. The Librarian found it on Amazon, deemed it worthy of consideration and bought it for their permanent collection. I only learned my book was under consideration through a chance on-line conversation with their Cataloguer. Plus, the Athenaeum recently highlighted Interrogating Memory as one of “your next great read[s].”
February 3, 2023: I am on a YouTube video roll. Here is one I just created to present my top 50 films noir. Note that no universally-agreed-upon definition of film noir exists. For ranking information, please see here.
January 30, 2023: Having devised a (mostly) objective way to rank my favorite films – I updated this essay on guilty pleasure films.
January 29, 2023: With the Philadelphia Eagles heading to the Super Bowl for only the fourth time in their history, I am reminded of the last time the Eagles played in the Super Bowl – and the time before that.
January 27, 2023: This video about my Interrogating Memory book is now the second one I ever posted to YouTube.
January 24, 2023: As a longtime Philadelphia Phillies fan, I am thrilled to learn that All-Star third baseman Scott Rolen – named National League Rookie of the Year with the Phils in 1997 – has been elected to the baseball Hall of Fame! His arrival in 1997 sparked a sense the Phillies were turning a corner, though it still took another 10 years to return to the playoffs. By that point, Rolen had already played in two World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals, winning in 2006 (and losing to my local Boston Red Sox in 2004). Nonetheless, I never stopped rooting for the 10-time Gold Glove winner, and I am happy Rolen will be inducted alongside another spectacular player and person, Fred McGriff.
January 21, 2023: My first-ever YouTube video is now banned in Russia because of copyright infringement on two of the background tracks I use. Feels a bit like a pretext for banning something American, but I am not an expert on international copyight law.
January 20, 2023: Ladies and gentlemen, and children of all ages, I thank you for your patience. Now, without further ado, I present my 100 favorite (probably) films:
[Update]: I just posted this to YouTube – my first-ever video there.
January 19, 2023. Having now ranked my 100 favorite films (probably), I finally updated my 50 favorite films noir (probably). I am also putting the final touches on the video presentation of the former list. Stay tuned…
January 17, 2023. It was 63 years ago today that David Louis “Lou” Berger married Elaine Kohn at the Greenbrier Country Club on Conshohocken State Road, barely a stone’s thrown from the dividing line between West Philadelphia and the upscale “Main Line” suburbs, City Avenue. This joyous occasion ends Chapter 3 of my Interrogating Memory book.
What could possibly go wrong?
January 15, 2023. As I create a PowerPoint presentation of my 100 favorite films, which I will then turn into a YouTube video (take that, cinelitists!), I am extremely encouraged by how much I want to rewatch each of these films. This is face validity – and maybe even construct validity – at its finest. Stay tuned…
January 7, 2023. I just learned my first new word of the year: zwischendeck, which is German for “between decks” (read: steerage). I learned this word perusing the departure-end manifest of the SS State of California, which departed Hamburg, Germany on April 12, 1893; it arrived at Ellis Island 17 days later. On board were my paternal great-grandmother Hinda Zisser (later Ceasar; nee Zinman), her three children, and two other relatives. In the first hardback edition of Interrogating Memory, I mistakenly say the ship which carried them from Denenburg (in what was then Latvia) to – ultimately – Philadelphia was the SS Augusta Victoria. This is further demonstration that the work of interrogating memory never ends.
December 30, 2022. I organized everything new I have learned about my Berger ancestry – specifically their arrival in Philadelphia in 1899 and 1900 – here. Enjoy.
December 25, 2022. I was 18 years old when this was released in late November 1984, and it still blows me away. The collection of talent – Paul Young, George Michael, Sting, Phil Collins, Bono, Kool and the Gang, Bananarama, Paul Weller, Culture Club, Duran Duran, Jody Watley, Spandau Ballet, Status Quo, who-am-I-forgetting, plus Sir Bob Geldof and Sir Midge Ure – floored me. The song still holds up, nearly four decades later. Merry Christmas, everyone, from your favorite Jewish-raised atheist.
December 23, 2022. Updating December 11 update: “Jacob Trimmper” is a tailor named Jacob J. Trumper, Charles Rugowitz’s brother-in-law. Born in Pruzhany (modern-day Belarus) in 1858 (or August 1860), he married Hannah B. “Annie” Rugowitz (1865-1929) in 1882 (per 1900 US Federal Census). He died on October 1, 1915. On June 8, 1900, he, his wife and four sons lived at 922 S. 7th Street in Philadelphia. They had a boarder whose name looks like “Louis Boyer” in the Census record, though he is actually my paternal great-grandfather Louis Berger. Curiously, Louis is listed as single, even though he had been married for about nine years. It is likely his son Morris, my paternal grandfather, was living about four blocks north at 702 Clymer Street, with the woman I hypothsize is his first cousin once removed, Lena Berger.
December 20, 2022. My father, David Louis “Lou” Berger, would have turned 87 years old today. As I explore in some detail in Interrogating Memory, he had his flaws, but in our daughters I see his generosity, kindness and tolerance. He died more than 40 years ago, and I still miss him daily.
December 19, 2022. It has been six years since I launched this website with an essay about identity, duality and narrative. Little has changed since then, other than how much I have learned about all three of those things. And a LOT of data.
December 18, 2022. When a Jewish-raised atheist marries an Episcopalian-raised agnostic, worlds collide. Chanukah Sameach!
December 17, 2022. This very good boy named Luvey would have celebrated his 50th birthday today.
December 16, 2022. Perhaps the greatest Berger family mystery is this: who were David (no occupation), Hyman (salesman) and Max (huckster) Berger? They are listed in the 1909 Philadelphia City Directory at the same address as my great-grandfather Louis Berger and his young family, 2241 Callowhill Street. Presumably, the three men are closely related (three brothers? father and two sons?) to each other, while somehow related to my great-grandfather. While there are innumerable men with these names, I cannot find them in combination anywhere else.
December 15, 2022. A small emendation: while Charles Rugowitz, my great-grand uncle, is the first US arrival (NYC; September 14, 1886) by a definitive family member, Joseph (Shlomo Ahron) Berger was in Philadelphia as of July 1880 – the likely month he married London-born Lena Cohen. I think he is my first cousin, three times removed, but this relationship is not yet proven beyond doubt. He, Lena and three of their sons appear on a list of “Berger death dates” my father helped me compile in the late 70s or so…and Joseph and my great-grandfather Louis are not brothers (different father’s names on their headstones), so first cousins is my next guess.
December 14, 2022. I have learned much more about my Berger family ancestors, which may become an essay, but for now: if I had a 2023 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, I would choose Bobby Abreu, Mark Buehrle, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Andy Pettitte, Scott Rolen, Jimmy Rollins, Gary Sheffield and Billy Wagner.
December 11, 2022. Mystery solved! I found my paternal great-grandfather David Louis Berger in the 1900 U.S. Census (recorded June 8). He is a boarder living at 922 S. 7th Street in Philadelphia. He is listed as single, yet this is address used by his wife Chai Miriam (Ida) on November 14 when she – with daughters Rose, Malke (Mae) and Yente (Anna) – sailed to Philadelphia from Liverpool aboard SS Belgenland. Still to be solved – where is my grandfather Morris, who (may have) arrrived on January 18, also on the Belgenland? He is likely staying with his uncle Charles Rugowitz, but no record in Census?
Update: Charles Rugowitz – recorded as “Zadig Rogowicz” and 25 years old – boarded the British steamer Eros in Hamburg, Germany on August 24, 1886. The ship sailed one day later, arriving in New York City on September 14; it may have stopped in Hull and Liverpool en route. His occupation is “kaufen,” which I believe means “shopkeeper” or “buyer.” With him is 24-year-old Jacob Trimmper, also from Pruzhany (modern-day Belarus). No record of ship named “Eros,” though NYC newspapers clearly report its arrival. No idea who “Jacob Trimmper” is. At any rate, my great-grand-uncle is thus far the first of my Jewish ancestors to immigrate to the United States. Stay tuned…
December 9, 2022. The SS Campanello manifest reveals my great-great-grandmother Chave Koslenko and her two granddaughters were initially denied entry into the United States under the “liable to become a public charge” clause of the Immigration Act of 1882. They were held on Ellis Island until 1:20 pm, April 10, 1912, receiving six meals each (two sets of breakfast/dinner/supper); the deciding official was surnamed Fitzgerald. Presumably Chave’s son Samuel vouched for them via telegram, perhaps wiring money for train tickets, though this is pure speculation.
December 8, 2022. If national Republicans genuinely want to stop Donald Trump from winning the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, they will change how they award delegates in their presidential primaries and caucuses. Rather than awarding all the delegates to a plurality winner, make it proportional above some threshold. This will keep Trump from winning scores of delegates with only 30-35% of the vote.
December 7, 2022. Another reason I need to revise and update Interrogating Memory: I have reason to believe my maternal great-great-grandmother Eva Koslenko, about whom I know almost nothing, arrived in the Uinted States in April 1912.
Update: Eureka!! Chave Koslenko of Shpola (in modern-day Ukraine) left Rotterdam on the SS Campanello on March 23, 1912. Two granddaughters (my first cousins twice removed) acompanied her. They arrived in NYC on April 7 then traveled to Philadelphia to live with her son Samuel – now surnamed Goldstein. She died of pulmonary tuberculosis just four years later, on September 8, 1916. My educated guess is she was 67 years old. I still do not know her surname, but her parents – my great-great-great grandparents are Abraham and Sophie. Wow.
December 6, 2022. Bold prediction as Georgia polls in 30 minutes: CNN and MSNBC devote far more coverage to the Trump Organization being found guilty on 17 counts of tax fraud than on Senator Raphael Warnock’s (D-GA) likely easy victory.
Update: Warnock’s “easy” victory – currently +2.7 points (well within my 2.2-4.2 projected range) – took until after 10:30 pm EST, so my bold prediction was incorrect. 🙂
December 5, 2022. Congratulations to Fred McGriff for his selection for the Baseball Hall of Fame! He received all 16 votes from the Baseball Hall of Fame contemporary era committee. I still do not understand why he never topped 40% of the vote during his prior 15 years of eligibility.
December 4, 2022. I recently watched and enjoyed the 2009 horror-thriller Triangle. It stars Australian-born Melissa George, who carries the film well. I did not realize until I looked up her career, however, that she appears, albeit in small-ish roles, in two of my 40 favorite films: Dark City and Mulholland Drive.