Reason & Doubt

Ephemera (singular: ephemeron) is any transitory written or printed matter not meant to be retained or preserved.

I found my cousin Maureen’s birth announcement in a pile of letters and ephemera kept by my mother (her aunt, Therese) in San Diego, kept intact and surviving the potentially cruel cut of the necessary triages before every family diaspora; from Montréal-Èst to Orange County (1964) to San Diego (1970) to Laos (1972) and back finally to San Diego (1975). The one cent stamp sports King George VI’s portrait and is war issue. These types of stamps used to come in rolls. The card and envelope have weight and gravitas, it feels good to the touch. Read all about it in a new post on

Who took the pans from my bag? Vote today on the usual suspects.

I’m a simple man. I value simple things. Two fried eggs, prepared in butter, a slab of cheddar, dry toast or bread, and a cup of coffee with cream are heaven’s manna.

A fine steel pan is an integral part of this meal from heaven. I worked through much of my undergrad life as a short order cook. I thrived on the grease burning precision only achieved with hot steel over an open flame.

E.Dehillerin has become a point of pilgrimage for me. When in Paris, I plan my trip around when and how I can get there to pick up some pans.

Last week, I flew from Paris (CDG) through Chicago (ORD) to San Francisco (SFO).  The flight out of Paris (AAL 41) was late and I was handed another ticket with a later flight into SFO when I checked in at CDG. I got lucky and got upgraded with a systemwide upgrade. For whatever reason, business class was fairly empty.

We left late from Paris but made up much time. I was the first one off the plane and was greeted with a new ticket for the original flight I had been on. I was thrilled because I didn’t feel like hanging out in Chicago waiting for the later flight. I zipped through . . . Click here for the full article

Good press for Hugo’s Hernani – kind review drives sales


Click here to read the Hernani review! 

Thanks T. M. Lennard for your kind review. To the rest of you facebook miscreants, I don’t care if you loath me or love me, but write something about it on Amazon. The world really does want to know about your experiences suffering through reading about living and working on a Canadian coal-driven bucket full of ammo from Halifax to Liverpool during the Battle of the North Atlantic. Beyond what I know is your special relationship with Thetford Park, it is transcended by your love of opera and how the faithful translation of Verdi’s inspiration for Ernani (Hugo’s Hernani) was used by the British National Opera.

Vote now, and vote often but vote – write that glowing Amazon review and I’ll spiff you with goodwill or a free book, whichever is worth more to you. 



Shannon Liss-Riordan is a working class hero

Disclaimer: I cannot judge if the contract in place between the woman I helped get in touch with Ms. Liss-Riordan and Jan-Pro, a janitorial service franchise company based in Florida (or one of their many agents) was fair, balanced and / or legal. I leave that to the courts to sort through the facts.

When one of the Jan-Pro “franchisees” came in to discuss her case, no one at the Santa Clara University Alexander Center a was equipped to help her – it’s not what we did.

Crunching the numbers, putting together a simple spreadsheet showing hours worked vs. cash earned, I discovered what my client already knew, she was making very little, much less than minimum wage, on some of her janitorial jobs. While we couldn’t help her, I had to do something.

I found Ms. Liss-Riordan and her firm at the time via the internets and packaged the client up for her evaluation. While on a trip to Boston, I made some free time and presented and delivered my client’s dossier (spreadsheets, contracts, memoranda and records meticulously kept by the client) to her firm. I believe my client is one of the lead plaintiffs in the Jan-Pro case mentioned in the article.

There are certain things you do in life that . . . Click here for the full article

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