Category Archives: for fun

Final Class Poem

Final Class Poem   The Five Spot by Billy Collins 

In my final class, at least for the next year as I move on to a be a writing fellow at Baruch, I talked with my students about how I hoped that rather than remember any particular facts about research methods – that they had developed a new perspective on how to approach research articles and research presented in the popular press.

On the bus ride to class I’d been reading a recent issue of The Atlantic on The Confidence GapI thought the article quite relevant as 19//20 of the students in my course were women – many of whom were quite nervous about presenting their final projects .  I questioned if they thought a confidence gap existed between genders and if this gap might contribute to differences in pay? Or perhaps the confidence gap was a symptom of other systemic factors at play?

My hope is that after working through the research methods course my students will be equipped to  grapple with, deconstruct and then take a position in relation to the research presented in The Confidence Gap and in other relevant issues and articles.

I concluded the class by reading an excerpt from a poem featured in the same Atlantic issue, The Five Spot by Billy Collins. Ever since Questions about Angels was high school’s required summer reading I’ve had negative associations with Collins, but The Five Spot seemed to speak to an element of the course and hopefully to how students might think about issues in the world as they move on with their lives. The poem summarized my hopes for myself and my students better than I could in clumsy social science terms.  And as in class instead of trying to summarize these thoughts and emotions I’ll let the poet do this work…so direct from my fridge here it is:


The Five Spot by Billy Collins

The Craziest Thing About March Madness

Boomer ball

The craziest thing about March Madness is that the NCAA, TV networks and college coaches make millions, while the players themselves reap non of the profits.

Recently, the National Labor Relations board ruled that football players at Northwestern University may have the right to unionize.

In a related article William C. Rhoden presents a clear argument for why college athletes should be compensated:

“The N.C.A.A. has a wonderful business model, one that any entrepreneur would love to have: a  profitable business in which your employees help generate billions of dollars and basically work for the honor and the glory of the business and little more”.

And Rhoden concludes with these words:

“Expect the N.C.A.A. to fight this with all its resources.  If the decision stands and other players at other universities try to unionize, the N.C.A.A.’s house of cards could collapse. It does not have a winning argument when it insists that it is not a commercial enterprise. Indeed, the organization argues against itself with each day of March Madness.

Face it: The jig is up.”

Boomer Ball $
Boomer Ball $

Winter Pics


It seems like everyone in NYC has some great shots of these past few weeks of winter…

well here are some of mine!

The camera is not great on the Nexus 5 but I managed to get a few good shots of my commute home and then a fun walk in Riverside too.


empire state in blizzard
empire state in a blizzard
Beckham in his underwear in the snow
Beckham’s underwear in the snow


IMG_20140121_141216 IMG_20140121_14120834th street unplowedIMG_20140203_154400IMG_20140203_154029The ParkIMG_20140122_205330 IMG_20140121_180534


IMG_20140203_153307IMG_20140203_154014IMG_20131214_193737the end of the walk

old car on the block

empire state the next morning
empire state the next morning


A Day Late and A Hundred Dollars Short: Photos From A Long Vacation Return

My wife and I were a couple of the travelers who were stranded by the blizzard coming home from holiday last Friday. In the time it took to get home  I read five New Yorkers- cover to cover, and my wife devoured Kevin Barry’s new book City of Bohane.

Here are some scenes  from our return journey (note -we used my Canon Powershot SD1000 from 2004 for all of these photos). It has less megapixels (7.1) than most phones these days – but I think the shots came out okay. Judge for yourself:

Part I – PR

Flying back from one of the little islands – to the considerably larger island of Puerto Rico. Photos from the Cessna:

IMG_1960(If you like piña coladas –  on the plane)

IMG_1962A private island – 5 minutes from San Juan as the plain flies.

Part II – Miami

It was Friday the 4th and we’d the weather was bad but American Airlines (AA) said if we didn’t take our flight the next chance to get home would be Tuesday, four days later! So despite the storm warnings we headed to the airport.

All seemed well, until about an hour from NYC the pilot announced that due to weather we were turning around and would land in Miami. I’ve flown a lot in my life and never has a plane turned around!

I don’t have any photos of the Miami airport – I basically stood in the rebooking line and talked on the phone with AA trying to find a way home. Again I was told the next flight to NYC was Tuesday! Two hours later – as we neared the front of the rebooking line – service to NY had resumed and flights were boarding – but of course they were all booked with standby lists above 200 people long. I never thought I’d say this but  why couldn’t we have just waited on the plane?

One family from PR was heading for a ski trip in Vermont. They opted to rent a car and drive. I wonder where they are now?

To my surprise, even after the booking agent told them there was little chance of getting a flight, many people in front and behind us accepted the Tuesday flight and chose to wait at the airport on standby to see if anything opened up sooner. A few people – like us found alternate routes.

Part III Dallas

So we stayed in the Miami airport all day, my wife neglected to take a photo of me busting out one of our new sleeping mats from my carryon bag and taking a 30 minute nap. Finally, we caught a sunset flight to Dallas:

sunset in Dallas

and arrived at our hotel around 9 pm.  At least there was a Whataburger within walking distance (I’d never been before and it’s a Texas establishment). My review? Whataburger is slightly inferior to In and Out Burger – but it’s a cut above the normal slop served at fast food joints.

I’d also like to note that the people at the DFW Comfort Inn South (there is also a North location – i’m sure they are nice too) were really friendly. In all the flight changes our bags got lost – so we only had the sweatshirts on our backs – no toothpaste, brushes, deodorant. The man at the concierge desk hooked us up with all of that, which I really appreciated and I’m sure the people crammed into those airplane seats next to us the following morning did too.

We caught a Dallas sunrise…at the airport.

Dallas sunrise


Part IV – NY at Last

Finally arriving in NYC around 1pm on Saturday, a day late and a dollar short (more like a hundred dollars: AA paid for nothing as it was weather related).

My wife got some great shots of the city as the plane descended:

statue of libertylower NYCIMG_1983 The Freedom Tower


Part V – Bags

I needed a couple  of days to ruminate and recoup before writing about this epic journey. Coincidentally, my buzzer just rang – it’s American Airlines dropping off our bags.

Coming Home

Still working away at my proposal…

However, I can see the light. I’m looking forward to wrapping this semester up – so I can hang with my siblings, who both currently live abroad. My sister arrives from Denmark today, and my brother from Israel next week.

J & H
J & H

What better way to welcome them back than to share this incredible post my brother wrote about his first few weeks in med school? The post was so good – it earned him an interview with Lonely Planet! So here it is:

Repost from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Medical School for International Health Blog,

What Matters Most

by Jonah Kreniske

      A gentle breeze wafts in from the balcony, sliding through my open door and bringing a welcome chill. I step out and rest my hands on the iron banister. In the distance I can make out the hills of Ramot, barely lit by a low, rust colored moon.  My neighborhood, Gimmel, winds out below me. Undulating Hebrew and Arabic beats from nearby apartment complexes mix with the usual classic rock standards from Coca bar up the street.  If it were daytime, you would hear the Ethiopian children across the street playing in the yard of the New Immigrant Absorption Center. But it is almost one in the morning, and they are sleeping now. I should probably be sleeping too. Instead, I’m standing here, breathing in the city. From my balcony I can see Soroka Hospital. A shining invitation to the unwell of the desert night, it is a slice of sleek modernity in the dusty streets.

      The past month, in that hospital, has been a whirlwind introduction to our new lives as physicians in training. We have met our classmates and together we have absorbed myriad lectures, and trudged through hours of intensive Ulpan. Now, in this rare moment of relative calm, I look across at the maternity clinic, and I wonder if someone is being born behind those walls. It’s comforting to remember that life begins here. On Monday, walking past the ER to my first class, a weeping woman swept past me. Glancing towards the ER doors she had burst out of, I saw another woman writhing on the floor. An ambulance had just arrived. Never have I heard so much pain in the voice of another human being as I heard in the cries of that woman outside the ER, on my way to 8am class.  At Soroka we see what we might push to the back of our minds in another context. We see illness and death, birth and health, side-by side, tipping weights on a human scale.

     “Good medicine is not about killing microbes, it is about keeping human bodies in balance,” one professor reminded us. On the hospital campus, in the tireless work of the physicians and nurses who pace its halls, and in the aspiring faces of my classmates, I see the will to maintain that balance. In the struggle to provide care, I see the physical manifestation of the compassionate instinct that I would like to believe is somewhere in all of us. As I step back into my room for the night, I know another long day of classes awaits us in the mounting heat of the morning, but I also know that this day will be another small drop on the side of the scale that matters most. – Jonah Kreniske, September blogger of the month


97th and Riverside this morning aka my brain

Fridge Poems to Ponder

I’ve been plugging away on my proposal – so most of my writing juice – in fact most of my time is going towards that endeavor.

This means there’s less time for fun things like reading, biking, and city seeing…Which also means less to write about.

Luckily I’m nearly done with this draft!

Until then, my brain feels like this:

97th and Riverside this morning aka my brain

What I do have time for is reading poems,  especially those from the New Yorker which are typically short, thoughtful and great for commutes, trips to the fridge or moments when you just want to ponder.

Here are three of my recent faves:

Another Lethal Party Favor

by Dean Young

Another Lethal Party Favor, by Dean Young
(Click to enlarge)
Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda

by A.E. Stallings

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda by A. E. Stallings






And finally, Death of Argos got taken down, and possibly thrown away, because it was making Sand sad.

I read the Odyssey years ago in high school but this translation tells a piece of the story in a really amazing way:

Death of Argos, Translated by Stephen Mitchel