Jefe's House

The Truth Is In Here

My Dinner With Tina

by on Mar.21, 2021, under Film/TV, NYC, Shaheb Cafe, The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here, Theatre

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Into the Absurd. A Virtually Existential Dinner Conversation.

Why is this man making a hand-rabbit? Scroll down to find out.

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If you missed my interview last night with the masterful Tina Brock of the IRC and would like to hear more about my mis/adventures in India, my work as a Fulbright Scholar and the nonfiction book I’m currently finishing, along with Tesla, ghosts, paan, religion, David Ives, and a few other surprises, you can catch it here on the IRC’s youtube channel:

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Happy MLK Day

by on Jan.16, 2017, under Politics, The Truth Is In Here

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MLK

 

“Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” Vanity asks the question, “Is it popular?” But, conscience asks the question, “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.”

– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

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Philly to Enterprise. Come In, Enterprise.

by on Nov.04, 2015, under The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here

carshare

I’m having gas pains. I know that bitching about a car rental company is a mere #firstworldproblem but on the other hand here I am in the City of Brotherly Love for an extended stay and we’re trying to be green and all by not owning a car.  My wife and I can afford a car; we just don’t want or need to own one, so we use public transportation as much as possible and rent cars as needed.

When we first came to town we discovered a cool little experiment called PhillyCarShare, a local nonprofit with a grass roots, hometown, environmentalist feel. Then it got bought by Enterprise and now all the employees of Enterprise CarShare live in far away states and handle customers from multiple cities across the US, UK and Canada.  Mostly this depersonalized corporatization has been fine but it hasn’t been without its zany frustrations, so much so that this past year we also joined the Avis Budget-owned rival company Zipcar to compare the two. Both have their pros and cons.

Here’s a CarShare con: with Enterprise CarShare you must return the car with a minimum 1/4 tank of gas. They also provide a gas credit card in the car so that you don’t have to pay for it yourself.  They also ask you to book an extra 15 minutes of time in case you do need to get gas.  So far, so good.

But sometimes their card doesn’t work at some gas stations, or sometimes the card isn’t there at all because a previous driver accidentally kept it, and then you must pay for the gas yourself and send Enterprise CarShare a receipt (or leave the car below 1/4 tank and pay a hefty penalty fee).

Except that sometimes you find out that the gas pump doesn’t print receipts. When these pump problems happen I simply pay for $5 or $10 worth of gas with my own credit card, wait for the charge to appear on my statement and send a screen capture of it to Enterprise CarShare so that it can be credited to my account.

Keep in mind this is all a result of CarShare’s credit card not working so it really burns me up when they make it seem like it’s the customer’s fault and chastise them rather than thanking them for taking the time. See this email exchange below from last week between myself and an Enterprise CarShare customer service rep whom I’ll call “Jane.” (continue reading…)

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When We Were Literate

by on Aug.04, 2015, under The Truth Is In Here

Dear sweet jesus god.

“AMAZON PRODUCT REVIEW

5 Stars

Used these on the Appellation Trail for 8 days and these were awesome.”

As someone from Appellatia I was particularly offended.

 

 

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Still’s Still Moving to Me

by on Mar.16, 2015, under The Truth Is In Here

Day 3
3/15/15
The Ides of March

It was many, many years ago that I began my career as a Dramatic Author; and a hard and bitter-fought beginning I can well remember that it was. I was inexperienced, shy, and foolish; without money, without influence. I knew not a single soul connected even in the most distant way with the theatrical world. I knew no one to advise me or give me a hint. For years I danced in impotent frenzy around the high strong walls that guard the city of Dramatic Art. I ran my head against the stones, I tore myself against the spiky gates, I soused myself in the dirty moat, I screamed and cursed, and blubbed. At last, I climbed over and got in… I enumerate the difficulties that beset me only to show to the struggling young besiegers of today how, with the aid of pig-headed obstinacy, sublime conceit, thick skin, and a genius for nagging and boring and worrying human people’s lives out of them, it is possible to force even so strongly guarded a portal as the stage door of the present century.
- Jerome K. Jerome, British satirical playwright, 1888

20150315_11141220150315_111743Today’s a traveling day.  I got up early and wrote for awhile, then spent the remainder of this brisk, sunny morning running 10 miles along Chicago‘s Lake Shore Drive (continue reading…)

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Beth-el Synagogue, Kolkata, built in 1856

by on Jan.31, 2015, under The Truth Is In Here

About half a mile from the Magen David and Neveh Shalome synagogues is Beth-el Synagogue.

Full story here on Kolkata’s handful of remaining Baghdadi Jews. Photos taken January, 2015–>>

(continue reading…)

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To Think That I Saw it on Markenpower Street

by on Jan.20, 2015, under Pophood, The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here

My son’s multiverse of alternate realities crossed into the real world in a remarkable way.

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Parenting: Oh, the places you’ll go.

My 3-and-a-half year old son  is among those many toddlers who live in numerous alternate realities at once.  In a sense, so do I.  I’m, bi-urban, teaching in New York City and in Philadelphia. As a writer I am also often working on multiple projects at once for vastly differing audiences.  When my son’s not at daycare or cooking something up in his kitchen, he works in “my New York” and “my Philadelphia” as he calls them. These are different cities than the ones I know and love.

“Hey Pop. In my New York, red means go and green means stop…Hey Pop, in my New York, I have a baby daughter who just turned 21.”  In his Philadelphia, he teaches college courses in museums and in making drinks.  My wife is a biologist who works in the Philadelphia suburb of Spring House, which must seem to him a distant, fantastical place. One of her coworkers is named Eric.  “Hey Ma, at my Spring House, I also have a friend named Eric but he’s no the same Eric.”

Not surprisingly, he has gravitated toward Dr. Seuss from among the many children’s authors at his fingertips. He’s obsessed with crunk cars and wonders when we’ll be able to all take a ride together in a zumble zay or make quick exits by ejecting ourselves out of a gazoom.  He’s watched the original Cat in the Hat animated 1971 TV special ad nauseaum and loves to sing along to the complicated lyrics of “Calculatus Eliminatus.”  This past Halloween he decided to be The Cat in the Hat and insisted that my wife and I dress as his oversized Things 1 and 2.

A neighbor asked me how I felt about my son’s “telling stories” about his fictional New Yorks, Philadelphias and Spring Houses, suggesting that we were encouraging him to grow up to be a George Costanza; a neurotic, emotionally immature, chronic fibber who has trouble facing real world problems. I countered that my wife and I heartily encourage his colorful imaginativeness.  Rather than scold him or nudge him back to Earth we ask ever more probing questions during one of his increasingly fantastical yarns, seeing just how far will his racing young mind carry him as he speaks extemporaneously and thinks on his feet.

Then again, perhaps we’ve given him a little too much imaginative freedom for his own good. His multiverse reached its zenith recently when it crossed into the real world in a remarkable way that left me flabbergasted.  (continue reading…)

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