Confessions of a Santa Claus “Booker”

My first true experience with Santa Claus came when I was working in a now-defunct Philadelphia department store in the advertising department. Each year, Lit Brothers, a wedge-shaped building at the corner of 8th and Market Street, hosted Santa Breakfasts where small children could dine with the magical figure and ask for their heart’s desire, con...Read More


Earrings dangle. Cliff hangers dangle. A sword has been dangling by a thread over Damocles head ever since he pandered to King Dionysius in 4th Century BC – just like politicians these days. Rocky Horror lyrics wail, “I’ve got the feeling someone’s gonna be cutting the thread.” Dangles are a big part of our lives. Dangling teabags come in hundreds ...Read More

Paper Clips and Safety Pins

I am a student of history. I am also a true believer in the words of early twentieth century philosopher, George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” You can imagine that I’ve been studying history hard, for the past few weeks. Among the trivia I’ve found is a little-known act of resistance by the Norweg...Read More

5, 4, 3 Days Left – But – Who’s Counting?

On Sunday, I did my grocery shopping during Meet the Press. I went to a market farther away and took my time driving. I strolled slowly through the produce aisles and thumped melons, tested pears for ripeness, and decided between cut celery or a stalk of celery. I pondered whether uncut celery was correctly called a bunch or a stalk. I read all the...Read More

Is It Yesterday Yet?

  Where did the years go? It feels just like yesterday.Remember sizzling steak, ice cream sundaes, and drippy grilled cheese when everyone thought they were healthy? How about reading the paper filled with more words than ads, and struggling to fold the pages into a manageable size? Think about those glorious days when dessert was an essential...Read More

Living Life To The Fullest Regardless Of “Social Norm”

  Like Forrest Gump said, life is definitely like a box of chocolates. That means, of course that you never know what you are going to get (that is until you bite into enough of them to make that judgment from the outside). But…Forrest Gump lived his life as if it were a never-ending bag of potato chips that he carried with him all the t...Read More

It Sucks To Be Cleveland – by Gary Chalk

I’ve got good news; and bad news. The good news: Cleveland won the NBA championship last month. The bad news: Cleveland hosts the republican national convention starting tonight. Some Cleveland residents are protesting, saying, “What did we screw up to earn this?” With the national media converging on Cleveland, locals are putting...Read More

Carbon Copies

We’ve lost a righteous man. His name was Eli Wiesel. You may know him only as the author of Night, an account of his life in Auschwitz, from the age of 14 ½ to age 16. I personally believe that he may have been a lamed vavnik. Yes, I know that am straying into dangerous territory here, but this is a legend, not religious teaching exactly. &nb...Read More

When Inspired, You Don’t Tire Easily

We recently returned from a trip to the USA during which we hired two separate vehicles. During a five-week period, we traveled over 10,000 kilometers. Initially, we went skiing in Colorado then journeyed to Cheyenne, Wyoming, Mt Rushmore, the Badlands of South Dakota, Devil’s Tower in Wyoming and traversed Montana to Yellowstone National Park. On ...Read More

What If…We Actually DID Something?

A “personal opinion?” You bet. And…one to be proud of!  Garret Mathews lived in Southern West Virginia from 1972 until 1987 where he wrote feature stories and, later, columns for the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. The newspaper’s circulation area includes McDowell County, one of the poorest counties in Appalachia. Before mine mechaniz...Read More

Who Can Top the Body Count?

I have written some version of this blog at least ten times in the last seventeen years. I am able to accurately carbon date the first essay because it was about the Columbine shootings. I was a Coloradan at the time; proud Broncos fan; devotee of the Tattered Cover bookstore, which is the best independent bookseller in the company, bar none. We li...Read More

Enter Helen: the Invention of Helen Gurley Brown and the Rise of the Modern Single Woman

Book by Brook Hauser.  Review and commenting by Lois Rubin Gross. It started with Seventeen, the teenage girl’s bible. Each month, I would wait anxiously for the thick, glossy magazine to arrive on the magazine rack at the corner candy store. Every month I would scout the corner candy store until the thick, glossy magazine arrived on the stand. I e...Read More

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