Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Farewell Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011)

Video portrait by John Feldman of artist Helen Frankenthaler commissioned by Purchase College School of the Arts for the 2008 Nelson A. Rockerfeller awards.

LA Times obit

NY Times critic's notebook: Two Artists Who Embraced Freedom

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Robert Reich: My Political Prediction for 2012: It's Obama-Clinton


My political prediction for 2012 (based on absolutely no inside information): Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden swap places. Biden becomes Secretary of State — a position he’s apparently coveted for years. And Hillary Clinton, Vice President.

So the Democratic ticket for 2012 is Obama-Clinton.



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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2 book reviews: "The Break" and "Underground Time" -- New York Journal of Books

Thanks to a change in the publication date of one of the books I have two reviews published on the same day. Both are novels in translation, one from Italian and the other from French. 

The Break is reminiscent of Italian neo-realist cinema of the late 1940s and is enthusiastically recommended to all readers. Kudos to Howard Curtis for a wonderful translation.” This paperback is printed on high quality paper with a handsome wrap-around cover.



“Because Underground Time’s prose largely lacks the delicious density of the best literary fiction in translation, it appears to target a middlebrow readership. But readers with highbrow tastes may want to make an exception to their usual literary fare on account of its social criticism.”



Read these and my other book reviews on New York Journal of Books.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Meaning for Wife | New York Journal of Books

“Your wife is killed by a cashew (anaphylactic shock), but there isn't time to grieve because your toddler son is always at your heels—wanting to be fed, to be played with, or to sleep next to you all night long. A change of pace seems necessary, so you decide to visit your parents in order to attend your twenty-year high school reunion. What begins as a weekend getaway quickly becomes a theater for dealing with the past—a past that you will have to re-imagine in order to have any hope of a future for you and your son.”--Mark Yakish, A Meaning for Wife

“Toward the end of the novel there is a gutsy shift in narrative tone that lends the ending a sense of closure. In recent years, women writers such as Joan Didion and Meghan O’Rourke have published nonfiction memoir accounts of grief. In his debut novel Mr. Yakich provides the male perspective. Recommended to anyone who has experienced loss.”

Read the rest of my review in New York Journal of Books

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New York Journal of Books: "The Hall of the Singing Caryatids" by Victor Pelevin

“At barely more than 100 small (four and a half by seven inch) pages in Andrew Bromfield’s excellent English translation The Hall of the Singing Caryatidssucceeds both as a novella of ideas and as a science fiction work of fantasy, and is recommended to all readers enamored of thought provoking fiction.”

Read the entire review on New Yorik Journal of Books.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Susan Daitch's novel Paper Conspiracies revisits Dreyfus Affair


New York Jewish fiction writer Susan Daitch's third novel Paper Conspiracies, which was published last week by City Lights Books, takes an indirect approach to late Nineteenth Century France's Dreyfus Affair by way of peripheral minor actors in the scandal and via cinema pioneer Georges Mèliés' contemporaneous dramtized documentary film L'affaire Dreyfus . The novel's six sections alternate between 1990s New York and Paris in the 1890s, 1930s, and 1968.

In my New York Journal of Books review of the novel I enthusiastically recommend the book "to fans of highbrow, erudite historical fiction. Readers who enjoy the novels of Umberto Eco, for example, will probably also enjoy those of Ms. Daitch.” I also draw an analogy between late Nineteenth Century French anti-Semitism and Twentyfirst Century American Islamophobia. 



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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Anna Solomon's debut novel "The Little Bride"



In my New York Journal of Books review I describe the book as  “. . . a plot-driven novel conveyed in crisp, descriptive, and thought-provoking prose via an engagingly intelligent third-person narrator. . . . an auspicious debut” and recommend it to both adult and precocious young adult readers.  via


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Thursday, September 1, 2011

"What They Saved: Pieces of a Jewish Past" published today


In my New York Journal of Books review I quote Ms. Miller, "Every new piece of information keeps me on the road to the ever-expanding possibility of the quest, a quest that in the end will still yield only partial knowledge--and will never give me, return to me, those past lives." Ms. Miller, a retired CUNY Graduate Center English and Comparative Literature professor, is an appealing prose stylist, but because of its focus on the genalogical search process this book will mostly appeal to genealogy buffs in general and Jewish genealogy buffs in particular.

Continue reading on 



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Monday, August 29, 2011

Steve Jobs quote:

"It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough. It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields the results that make our hearts sing."

This quote from Steve Jobs as he introduced the iPad 2 in March captures the essence of Apple’s cross-disciplinary approach to innovation, the same sentiment that made Jobs’s 2005 Stanford graduation address a tour de force of inspiration for the cross-pollination of art and technology (via curiositycounts)

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Davar Torah Shabbat Ra'eh



This morning I delivered a Davar Torah on Parashat Ra'eh, the weekly Torah portion, at Park Slope Jewish Center in Brooklyn. My talk's sources include Deuteronomy 11:26 -12:28, Max Vogelstein's book "Fertile Soil: A Political History of Israel Under the Divided Kingdom," and "A Homily on Political Messianism," a blog post by my American-Israeli cousin Sam Shube. Here is a link to the text of my Davar Torah:

David Cooper, Davar Torah, Shabbat Ra'eh, PSJC 27 Aug 2011 

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Our Aug 2011 Vermont vacation

Highlights from our VT vacation:

Sat 8/6 we drove up to Shoshana's parents and celebrated her mom's birthday that evening (going by the Jewish custom that days begin at sunset).

Sun 8/7 we drove up to Vermont. We stopped in Brattleboro for lunch at the food co-op (where two days later a disgruntled co-op member murdered a manager) and then continued to Burlington. Because we booked our room through Priceline we paid considerably less than the other guests at the South Burlington Holiday Inn but had to accept a room with two double beds one of which served as an extra dresser/closet and left little floor space. We much prefer one king or queen sized bed with more room for floor exercises and will think twice before booking through Priceline again. Monday night we walked a mile and a half into town, dined at A Single Pebble, a high end Chinese restaurant whose menu includes many vegan items, and walked off dinner on the way back to our hotel.

Mon 8/8 we drove to Montpelier, VT's capitol, where just behind the capitol building there is a lovely hiking trail that leads to a stone tower observatory with splendid views of the Green Mountains. After our hiked we browsed and shopped at Montpelier's many quaint little shops and dined at The Skinny Pancake, a crepe restaurant.

Tues 8/9 we drove to Underhill State Park and hiked up the west slope of Mt. Mansfield as far as Cantilever Rock. The trail, parts of which are pure stone, is quite steep and challenging. Shoshana forgot that her hiking boots are a tad too big and require an extra pair of socks, so though I enjoyed the hike a lot, it was painful for her. That evening we dined at Stone Soup, an informal Burlington cafeteria style restaurant with crunchy/healthy/vegetarian offerings.

Weds 8/10 rain was forecast for the afternoon, so we walked the northern part of the Burlington Bike Path in the morning, ate lunch at Ali Baba's, a middle eastern fast food joint, and drove back to the hotel to hang out and sleep through the rain storm. For dinner we dined at Bueno Y Sano, a casual Mexican restaurant with vegetarian (but not vegan) choices--which describes vegetarian restaurant offerings in general in Vermont.

Thurs 8/11 we drove down scenic route seven to Middlebury where we ate lunch at the Storm Cafe beside Otter Creek. In Burlington we had seen posters and brochures for the Middlebury College Art Museum, but when we got there it was closed for floor sanding. We drove back to Burlington, walked the southern end of the Burlington Bike Path, and dined at an Asian restaurant in Williston, a suburb east of Burlington.

Fri 8/12 we checked out of our hotel and started our return drive. We stopped at the Ben and Jerry's factory, did not want to wait for the next tour, did not want to eat ice cream at 10:00 in the morning, but visited the flavor cemetery. We stopped for lunch at Kismet in Montpelier and then got back on the highway. At around 2:00 PM we were driving south on I91 about a mile north of Bellows Falls when a wild turkey flew into our windshield. I pulled the car over onto the shoulder and called Geico whose customer service rep insisted the car be taken on a flat-bed truck to a body shop in White River Junction 40 miles north (the wrong direction from our destination) where the claims adjuster was waiting for us, apologized for his co-worker's mistake, and arranged for Enterprise car-rental to bring us a loaner car. We drove to Greenfield, MA as planned, and visited my high school friend, Richard Witty, with whom we had an early dinner at a homestyle Thai restaurant, recited Shabbat blessings, went for a terrific hike in the woods near his house, and stayed the night.

Sat 8/13 we drove home, stopping in Westchester to walk in Ward Acres and then have lunch with my parents at a diner near their home. We got back to Brooklyn in the late afternoon and had dinner in the neighborhood with our cat sitter returning home just in time for her ride to the airport. Sasson was much calmer than other times we've been away having had a cat-loving human to keep him company.

Sun 8/14 we arranged for a neighbor to look in on Sasson and drove back to my in-laws so that we would be only three hours drive south of White River Junction. We walked around the Mall in Meriden (it was too rainy to walk outdoors) and had Thai food for the second time in as many nights, but it was delicious.

Mon 8/15 we confirmed that the windshield would be fixed by the time we arrived and drove up in a pouring rain. We got our repaired car, returned the rental, and drove as far as Hadley, MA where we stopped for the night at a hotel with a fitness room (again too rainy to walk outdoors) and dined at Whole Foods.

Tues 8/16 we stopped at a local farm stand so we would have what to cook for dinner when we got home.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sex in the park is allowed. But show some consideration. Many...


Full text of the sign in a Copenhagen, Denmark park: "Sex in the park is allowed. But show some consideration. Many children institutions use the park. Therefore please avoid: sex in the playground and visible places between 9 am and 4 pm. Loud sex in hiding between 9 am and 4 pm. Remember to: remove semen from the benches after the act. Leave condoms and used napkins in the bin. The city hall of Copenhagen calls for safe sex. Enjoy!(Denmark)"

Audacia Ray points out: "As compared to NYC, where we have just increased prostitution penalties for transactional sex in a school zone. Enjoy!"


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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Meanwhile, The San Francisco Public Library

This series of illustrations via Rumpus comics is cool and adorable and fascinating. If you're not a librarian and have never used a library nor loved an illustration you can skip this. If you are, or have, or do, go ahead and click:



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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chinua Achebe's poem "Vultures"

“Vultures” by Chinua Achebe
In the greyness
and drizzle of one despondent
dawn unstirred by harbingers
of sunbreak a vulture
perching high on broken
bones of a dead tree
nestled close to his
mate his smooth
bashed-in head, a pebble
on a stem rooted in
a dump of gross
feathers, inclined affectionately
to hers. Yesterday they picked
the eyes of a swollen
corpse in a water-logged
trench and ate the
things in its bowel. Full
gorged they chose their roost
keeping the hollowed remnant
in easy range of cold
telescopic eyes...
indeed how love in other
ways so particular
will pick a corner
in that charnel-house
tidy it and coil up there, perhaps
even fall asleep - her face
turned to the wall!
...Thus the Commandant at Belsen
Camp going home for
the day with fumes of
human roast clinging
rebelliously to his hairy
nostrils will stop
at the wayside sweet-shop
and pick up a chocolate
for his tender offspring
waiting at home for Daddy's
Praise bounteous
providence if you will
that grants even an ogre
a tiny glow-worm
tenderness encapsulated
in icy caverns of a cruel
heart or else despair
for in the very germ
of that kindred love is
lodged the perpetuity
of evil.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Israeli poet Dahlia Ravikovitch's complete poetry now in paperback - New York NY


At the time of her death in 2005, Dahlia Ravikovitch was Israel's second best loved poet after Yehuda Amichai. She was also a commited peace activist, yet her readers included Israelis from all points on the political spectrum.
Two years ago a new translation of her complete poetry was published by New York publisher W.W. Norton, and last week a paperback edition ofHovering at a Low Altitude: The Complete Poetry of Dahlia Ravikovitch was released (perfect for poetry loving commuters). In my New York Journal of Books  review of the book I describe Ms. Ravikovitch's work as "sophisticated, intelligent, conscientious, and empathic," and Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld's translations as  "strong and moving English poems in their own right."
My review includes biographical background with references to her feminism, her political activism, her secularism, her mental health issues, and excerpts from her poems (had space allowed I would have included more). 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

kaffe in katmandu // Fraction Factions

Read the poem on
A poem I wrote two years ago that was just published on kaffe in katmandu, an arts/literature blog. Were I writing this poem now I would substitute the word "climaxing" for "ejaculating" since men without prostate glands do not ejaculate. When I fully recover from my prostate surgery I hope to still be a 40%er.

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Seven Days in Rio | New York Journal of Books


"This ironic and absurdist highbrow little sex novel is a hoot. . . . Mr. Levy's humor is dryer than Monty Python's but no less funny, and he combines high and low culture in a particularly appealing way."



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Monday, June 20, 2011

Self-Confidence, Empathy May Make for Better Sex

Study of young American adults suggests a healthy psychological outlook boosts sexual satisfaction. Empathic people of both genders reach orgasm more frequently, and people with high self-esteem are more likely to enjoy performing oral sex. See also:


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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

An Addiction Expert Faces a Formidable Foe - Prescription Drugs -

It's all in the dopamine.  An interview with the neuroscientist in charge of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, who also happens to be the great-granddaughter of Leon Trotsky.



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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

NY Times Science: From Hitler to Mother Teresa: 6 Degrees of Empathy

Dr. Baron-Cohen, a professor of developmental psychology at the University of Cambridge and director of the university's Autism Research Center, proposes that evil is more scientifically defined as an absence of empathy, exacerbated by negative environmental factors (usually parental, sometimes societal) and a genetic component. When these three exist in tandem they result in what he calls a Zero-Negative personality. Zero-Negative takes at least three forms (and possibly more), borrowing from terms used in psychiatry: Zero Type P (psychopathology), Zero Type B (borderline disorder) and Zero Type N (narcissism).

Whereas psychiatry groups these three loosely under the term personality disorders, Dr. Baron-Cohen proposes that they all share the characteristic of zero degrees of empathy. (His empathy quotient scale is available in the book or online, with an instant numerical score that is translated into degrees of empathy from zero to six, or super empathy.)

Check out this website I found at

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The new martyrs are the poets

Rus Bowden via

"This April, Ayat al-Ghermezi (or Ayat al-Gormezi) was reported to have been raped and killed (http://poetryandpoetsinrag while in the custody of Bahraini forces. Bahrain is blaming the misinformation on Iran, but still and all, we find out that she is to come before a Bahrain military tribunal for reading poetry. This is our first story, and the first of a pair of headliners for the week.

"Our second story is about blogger and poet Amina Abdallah, who has both Syrian and American citizenship. Her blog is called A Gay Girl in Damascus ( She has been abducted by armed men, and the reports or fears are that this is an official Syrian arrest.

"Those two articles are followed by one of a Turkish mayor getting six months in prison for being part of the council that named a park after a poet. That's followed by a story on Chile's communist party looking into fresh allegations that Pablo Neruda was executed by poison for his politics. And it just doesn't seem to stop.

"The new martyrs are the poets. Apparently in some parts of the world, all over the world, there are religious people who think they can earn their halos by killing, harassing, maiming, or otherwise silencing poets. Somehow whatever sin they concoct for poets is much worse than any sin they themselves have committed or are wont to commit. It must make them feel close to God or Allah to kill or harm such a poet, because no remorse whatsoever is shown after their despicable acts. But it is only he who is without sin, who can cast the first stone. That's common sense. Do it otherwise, and it makes no difference who you are or what position you hold, whatever sin you thought was in the poet, yours is much worse.

"This same principal follows when poets are abducted, detained, imprisoned, tortured, or killed for political reasons, whether it be by a political group which feels it ought to be in power, or one that is. If an ideology cannot withstand a poem, such ideology amounts to nothing. If a military power or a government structure is threatened by a poem, there is no power beyond arms, and there is no government beyond threats. A government or political movement that is so threatened by a poem, or even a whole poet, such that the poet is abducted or killed for the sake of a nation, or even threatened with military might, is a tyrannical government, or a movement based on the selfish egos giving it power.

"Therefore, one great measure of a good government and a healthy society is the amount of latitude poets are given, and, on the other hand, how few people are in prisons because of poems they wrote. This follows for religions. The better the religion, the less poets are being condemned, not disagreed with, but condemned."

Monday, June 6, 2011

Quiz: How Green Is Your Life?

Your Life is 96% Green
Your life is totally green, and as far as your environmental beliefs go... your actions do speak louder than your words.
Your lifestyle totally serves as an inspiration to others. Whether you know it or not. So keep it up!

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Friday, June 3, 2011

NY Times: Ex-Mossad Chief Meir Dagan Sounds Alarms on Israel’s Leaders

"It's not the Iranians or the Palestinians who are keeping Dagan awake at night but Israel's leadership," asserted Ari Shavit on the front page of Friday's Haaretz newspaper. "He does not trust the judgment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak... He is afraid that Israel's isolation will cause its leaders to take reckless action against Iran."

Nahum Barnea, a commentator for Yediot Aharonot newspaper, wrote on Friday that Mr. Dagan was not alone. Naming the other retired security chiefs and adding Amos Yadlin, who recently retired as chief of military intelligence, Mr. Barnea said that they shared Mr. Dagan's criticism.


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Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Palestinian call to engage with the Jewish question

via Photo: Future president of Israel Chaim Weizmann and Emir Faisal of Greater Syria, 1918. 

"We could continue to stick with what are considered the foundations of our perceptions of the self or the Jewish other. We could go on and call Zionism and Israel a considerable variety of names. But what we must to do is move on, refresh the concepts of the Palestinian question so that they are capable of conversing with the inextricably intertwined Jewish question, and create new outlooks that will open horizons for reconciliation between the two nations."

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Constitutional Myth #2: The 'Purpose' of the Constitution Is to Limit Congress - Garrett Epps - National - The Atlantic

The error about the purpose of the Constitution explains the curiously two-faced nature of far-right "constitutionalism." On the one hand, they insist that they love the Constitution more than life itself; on the other, they keep trying to sneak amendments into it to strip Congress of power over the budget or allow state legislatures to repeal federal laws. The Constitution they claim to revere actually looks a lot like the Articles of Confederation.
The current war on federal power, like the other attacks on its power throughout history, is really motivated by an entirely realistic fear that those idiots, the people, will enact progressive legislation. Only by importing prohibitions on Congress into the Constitution can that terrible outcome be prevented. 
But the more tightly we bind Congress with imaginary chains, the less we, the people, can create a "respectable nation."

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101 Best Sex Scenes Ever Written: An Erotic Romp Through Literature for Writers and Readers | New York Journal of Books

“Looking for an anthology of erotic texts to accompany masturbation? Look elsewhere.”


"Aspiring fiction writers who would rather not write sex scenes but whose plots or character development require that they do, may find this book a useful guide, especially if they share its author’s taste in literature in general and erotic literature in particular."



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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My "Who Are You on True Blood?" quiz result

You Are Eric
You are cool, calculating, and very hard to read. Power is your only concern.
People find you extremely intimidating but also very fascinating. Others are drawn to your strength.

You see most humans as pawns in your game. The only people you respect are those who have more power than you.
You are aggressive and a go-getter. You're not content to sit around and let things happen. You like to make things happen.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

The Chart That Should Accompany Every Discussion of Deficits - James Fallows - Politics - The Atlantic



Why does this chart matter? Because it makes clear, in that wonderful "worth 1,000 words" way, two realities that are fundamental to sane discussion of public finance, but that most of the public doesn't realize and that the Republican leadership is actively working to obscure. They are:

- The very large, but temporary and self-limiting, expenditures for TARP and other measures proposed by both the Bush and Obama administrations to avoid a second Great Depression, plus Obama stimulus spending. And;

- The very large, but permanent and worsening, budgetary impact of the "Bush tax cuts" -- which when first proposed back in the pre-9/11 era, were supposed to end in 2010 and were in response to what back then seemed to be the "problem" of a burgeoning surplus in federal accounts! Since "extending" those cuts just sounds like business as usual, I think it is hard for most people to envision the profound and growing effect they have. The chart above helps toward that end -- and doesn't even go into how heavily those cuts are skewed to the "haves" of society. Last year Austan Goolsbee had a marvelous chart of his own on that point.

And as a bonus half-point, the chart clarifies that budget problems would be on the path to self-correction, if the Bush cuts had lapsed as originally planned.

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Governors Island 05/29/11 - a set on Flickr

We spent this Sunday afternoon on Governors Island, an oasis from urban stress in the middle of the harbor. This island, whose circumference in a mere two miles, is just west of Brooklyn but politically part of Manhattan. In the 17th Century it was the first home to Dutch settlers who after their first year moved on to lower Manhattan and became the Governor's residence when New Amsterdam became New York under British rule during the colonial period. It was a Coast Guard base up until about a decade ago, and was an army base prior to 1966. This was my second visit to Governors Island; I first visited as a cub scout in 1963.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

U.S. Jews must support Obama's Mideast vision - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

"The large Jewish peace camp in the United States must support the president and reject political activists who have turned Israel's fate into a ball on America's domestic political court."


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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Vaclav and Lena, a novel about Russian-Jewish immigrants in Brooklyn - New York NY

Today New York publisher The Dial Press, a division of Random House, releases Haley Tanner's debut novel Vaclav and Lena, a coming of age tale about Russian-Jewish immigrant children in Brooklyn. In my New York Journal of Books review I describe the book as "a tale of unconditional love; of attachment, separation, and reunion; and of trauma and healing." It's an engaging read that will appeal to teens, their parents, and anyone interested in the immigrant experience. via


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Monday, May 16, 2011

New Scientist: Orgasms unlock altered consciousness


MRI image: this is your (or somebody's) brain having an orgasm.

Further study of the orgasm - and the PreFrontalCortex's role - will offer much needed insight into how we might use thought alone to control other physical sensations, such as pain.via


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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Graphing Religions and Income -


Some of the income differences probably stem from culture. Some faiths place great importance on formal education. But the differences are also self-reinforcing. People who make more money can send their children to better schools, exacerbating the many advantages they have over poorer children.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

NY Times: Peace Corps Volunteers Speak Out on Rape

"My own experience,” she said, “was that the treatment by the Peace Corps was worse than the rape.”

The women ...want Congress to pass legislation requiring, among other things, that the Peace Corps develop “sexual assault response teams” to collect forensic evidence and provide emergency health care and advocacy for victims after attacks.


Read the article on

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mel and Miriam Alexenberg: An oral history of a Jewish-American-Israeli marriage - New York NY

Today is Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day, and I'd like to mark the day by sharing an oral-history from The Jewish-American Marriage Oral History Project of a couple of Jewish New Yorkers and artists who throughout their half century marriage have alternated their residence between Israel and the United States. I interviewed Petach Tikvah, Israel residents Mel and Miriam Alexenberg a year and ten months ago at a restaurant overlooking Rockefeller Center during one of their visits to the city where they met and married.
Read the entire interview on

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Honest To Betsy: Uterine Orgasms - Myth and Mayhem Online and Between the Sheets

This blogger's description of sex post-hysterectomy matches my experience of sex post-prostatectomy. The orgasms are qualitatively different--not better or worse, but certainly different.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

David Albahari's novel Leeches explores antisemitism, mathematics, and Kabbalah - New York NY

In my New York Journal of Books review of Leeches I write: "David Albahari’s challenging yet engaging, cerebral, magical-realist, experimental, post-modernist novel Leeches provides a portrait of life in Belgrade, capital of an ideologically charged and xenophobic Serbia, in the months preceding the NATO bombing campaign. As elsewhere in history, Belgrade’s Jewish community is the proverbial canary in the Serbian coal mine; considering the Serbian government’s behavior toward other former Yugoslav republics and their ethnic groups, this should not be surprising." My review ends with two lengthy excerpts from the novel and challenges the reader to decide for him/herself whether their intellectual content enhances the narrative or is pretentious erudition for its own sake.


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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wetlands and waterways, Milford and Derby, CT Apr 17, 2011 - a set on Flickr

Between visiting Shosh's family in CT before Pesach and 1st seder with my family in NY we spent a couple of nights at Hyatt Place (a 3 star hotel that we got for a 1 star price thanks to Priceline) in Milford, CT with day trips to Derby and West Haven. We took long walks on a rail to trail linear park in Derby and on the boardwalk in West Haven and dined at Bloodroot in Bridgeport, Whole Foods in Milford, and Archie Moore's in Derby. Both seders were lovely; the first was at my sister, sister-in-law, and our twin nieces' home in New Rochelle where we used the Haggadah that Shoshana edited last year, and the second was at our friend's home in Park Slope where we used the Maxwell House Haggadah with added inserts. Both nights I didn't get to bed until nearly 3 AM.

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Human Rights Petition: Call for the Release of Ai WeiWei

On April 3, internationally acclaimed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was detained at the Beijing airport while en route to Hong Kong, and his papers and computers were seized from his studio compound.  

We members of the international arts community express our concern for Ai’s freedom and disappointment in China’s reluctance to live up to its promise to nurture creativity and independent thought, the keys to “soft power” and cultural influence. 

Our institutions have some of the largest online museum communities in the world. We have launched this online petition to our collective millions of Facebook fans and Twitter followers.  By using Ai Weiwei’s favored medium of “social sculpture,” we hope to hasten the release of our visionary friend. 

Richard Armstrong, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation
and Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator, Asian Art
Juan Ignacio Vidarte, Director General, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao,
and Deputy Director and Chief Officer for Global Strategies, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Glenn Lowry, Director, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Sir Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate and Chris Dercon, Director, Tate Modern
Kaywin Feldman, President, Association of Art Museum Directors and Director
and President, Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Yongwoo Lee, President, The Gwangju Biennale Foundation
Michael Govan, Director, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Vishakha Desai, President and Melissa Chiu, Vice President of Global Arts, Asia Society
Jim Cuno, President and Director, Art Institute of Chicago
Julián Zugazagoitia, Director, Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City
Ann Philbin, Director, Hammer Museum, University of California, Los Angeles
Olga Viso, Director, Walker Art Center
Alfred Pacquement, Director, Musée national d'art moderne/Centre de création industrielle, Paris
Arnold Lehman, Director, Brooklyn Museum
Jill Medvedow, Director, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Julia Peyton-Jones, Director and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-director of Exhibitions and Programmes
and Director of International Projects, Serpentine Gallery, London

Poul Erik Tøjner, Director, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark
Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Neal Benezra, Director, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Tony Ellwood, Director, and Suhanya Raffel, Deputy Director, Queensland Art Gallery, Australia




Richard Armstrong  古根汉姆美术馆 馆长, Alexandra Munroe 古根汉姆美术馆 资深策展人
Juan Ignacio Vidarte 古根汉姆美术馆 毕尔巴鄂分馆 馆长 古根汉姆基金会 副会长暨首席国际策略执行官
Glenn Lowry 纽约当代美术馆 馆长
Sir Nicholas Serota 泰德美术馆  馆长, Chris Dercon 泰德当代美术馆 馆长
Kaywin Feldman 美国博物馆协会暨明尼阿波利斯美术馆 总裁
Yongwoo Lee 光州双年展基金会 总裁 
Michael Govan 洛杉矶美术馆 馆长
Vishakha Desai 亚洲协会  总裁, Melissa Chiu 亚洲协会 全球艺术项目 副总裁
Jim Cuno 芝加哥美术馆 馆长暨总裁
Julián Zugazagoitia 纳尔逊·阿特金斯艺术博物馆 馆长
Ann Philbin 加州大学洛杉矶分校 汉默美术馆 馆长
Olga Viso 沃克艺术中心 执行
Alfred Pacquement 国立现代艺术美术馆 / 巴黎工业设计中心 馆长
Arnold Lehman 布鲁克林美术馆 馆长
Jill Medvedow波士顿当代艺术美术馆 馆长
Julia Peyton-Jones伦敦蛇形画廊 执行
Hans Ulrich Obrist 伦敦蛇形画廊 展览部联合总监暨国际展览项目总监

Poul Erik Tøjner丹麦 路易斯安那现代美术馆 馆长
Nathalie Bondil 蒙特利尔美术馆 馆长暨首席策展人
Neal Benezra  旧金山当代美术馆 馆长
Tony Ellwood 澳大利亚昆士兰美术馆 馆长, Suhanya Raffel 澳大利亚昆士兰美术馆 副馆长

The regime in Beijing has proven largely resistant to pressure from foreign governments. But they've made a huge push to raise China's profile in the arts -- the government just finished building the world's largest art museum. Widespread condemnation, led by the arts community, may be our best chance to save his life.

Please sign the petition to free Ai Weiwei as soon as possible.

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Boy donates bar mitzvah money to help 'Liberty' musical make it to Broadway

Joanna Molloy

Boy donates bar mitzvah money to help 'Liberty' musical make it to Broadway

Joanna Molloy

Wednesday, April 6th 2011, 4:00 AM

Jesse Naranjo (c.) stands with his mother Rachel, father Rodrigo, and sister Sophia. He donated all of his bar mitzvah money.
Adams for News
Jesse Naranjo (c.) stands with his mother Rachel, father Rodrigo, and sister Sophia. He donated all of his bar mitzvah money.
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"A lot of people aren't familiar with the story of how the Statue of Liberty came to the U.S., and I learned about it from this musical, not from school," Jesse said.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Leonard Cohen is now an Everyman's Library Pocket Poet - New York NY

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New York publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, is publishing a selection of Leonard Cohen's poems and songs in its Everyman's Library Pocket Poets series, a series that includes some of the best loved English language poets. In my New York Journal of Books review of Leonard Cohen Poems and Songs I describe the small handsomely made volume as a likely gift book.

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