A 1969 Penny For Your Thoughts

A 1969 penny is sitting right here in my hand, and I swear, it seems like Lincoln is winking at me and smiling. I move the coin closer to my eyes and I hear something. What, a metallic voice? the coin is talking to me? Well okay, dream or not, I’ll grant the coin or Abe or whatever an interview.

Me: What is going on here? Is there some presence inside your metal?

Coin: Naturally, all coins can speak. it’s just that most humans assume we can’t and so they don’t hear a thing due to their insensitivity to everything that’s around them even though they say, “Money talks.” So I’m glad I’ve found my way to you; makes life more interesting.

Me: I can imagine. Or, I might be imagining you are saying such a thing. Wait, that you are saying anything at all.

Coin: No, this is really me talking. And I have so much to say, it’s been a very long time since anyone has listened to me.

Me: Oh dear. I bet you’ve seen a lot, being “born” in 1969. Did you witness the moon landing of that year?

Coin: Luckily, the person who had me at the time put me on the table near his TV, so I actually got to watch this turning point in history. It was a nice comfortable table, too, and a pretty real shiny penny was lying right beside me, but this bliss didn’t last long. The human was going to spend me at the convenience store after the moon shot show ended, but as she was getting her money out standing in line at the store, she dropped me on the floor and didn’t want to bother hunting for me.

Soon a little boy came along, spotted me, and I tremble with anger to say, he had the nerve to say out loud what would he want with a mere penny and just let me lay there in the dirt and cold with menacing mice in one corner. But at the end of the day, someone else spotted me, lifted me up—a little too quickly, because I felt dizzy–and was glad to see me, as my date had some personal significance to him. it was the year of his high school graduation. That was good news; I would be treated well at least for a while, maybe a long while, before I was handed on to my next owner.

Me: So how did you come to end up with me?

Coin: Some children were at that grad’s home, and they needed pennies to play a game. They then took yours truly and the rest of the coins to a candy store, and then when you showed up there you got me as part of your change.

Me: Well I’ll be! If you don’t want to travel anymore, you can stay with me, and I will put you on a soft cloth in a nice warm place.

Coin: that ‘s something to seriously consider. I’ve always had a sense of adventure, wondering where I would end up next and who I’d be with, but sometimes it has not been pleasant. Maybe it IS time to retire and just stay put. Besides, now I have someone to talk to. It makes um lots of sense. And as they say, I’m a penny for your thoughts.

Me: Indeed you are, and the best one cent deal I’ve ever made.

Coin: But if you could put some pretty pennies, preferably young ones from the 70’s right next to me, that would make my retirement just heavenly.

Me: Sure. That’s a perfect way for me to put in my two cents.

Dislike Dystopian Sci-fi? Then Read On

Five space aliens showed up on my front lawn this very morning. You might think that is too routine a thing to mention, but as they took note of me looking out of my bay window, they bowed and smiled, perhaps to reassure me that they were not of the dystopian sort that I often came across and had to have hauled away. The considerate behavior of these five was a welcome change of pace. They slowly inched nearer, as if taking pains not to startle me. At first I thought they wanted to check me out. But no, it was the window, naturally, because it was made of stained glass depicting impressionistic scenes of mountains and streams. Could it be that they didn’t have windows where they came from?

One of them looked at me as if asking for permission, and started touching the glass, tentatively at first, and then more firmly. I thought I had better go outside and supervise; I did not want broken glass and spurts of fear on their part.

I did not know which planet they were from, much less their language, but they must have hailed from a serene secure society, since they took my presence for granted rather than as a source of concern. I gently motioned for them to stand back from the window and showed them how to just touch and not push on the panes. I then thought how nice it would be to take them inside, so they could see all of my objects and paintings and architectural detail, but they all rushed over to the window to look at the courtyard they had just left, preferring to look out of a window as well as to peer into one.

That seemed to satisfy them, and they each danced a little jig in front of me—a form of thanks?– and they hopped back outside, and they left the premises altogether, and presumably the town, and the planet. What was that all about? Perhaps they had come for the mystery of the boundary between inside and outside. Ha! More likely, they had decided to cross our planet off their list as not containing what they were looking for


For my microblogging, see me at https://twitter.com/chaplainkkaplan

Treats And Poisons in New Orleans

The three ladies who joined me for breakfast at a B and B in New Orleans (in Algiers Point, to be precise) were as cheerful as could be towards me. But the more frolicsome the small talk became, the more I felt as if I were losing mass. I also was losing my appetite as they described foods that seemed to be as fattening as possible and which I was not brought up with. Thus for me, the dishes fell in a spectrum from unappetizing to downright repulsive and nauseating. The women were massive; the one next to me had to be over 300 pounds. I have never felt lighter and more fragile; I wonder if I was going to slide off my chair if she inadvertently rubbed elbows with me. As I was daintily eating my vegetarian breakfast of pancakes, tea, orange juice and cantaloupe slices, they kept talking about all the food they had eaten yesterday, and the food they would be eating today for brunch; some from a cooking class, and the rest at various restaurants like Commander’s Palace, Galatoire’s and The Country Club.

I was intimidated not only by the quantity of food they had been consuming and were about to consume, but by their mention of every kind of food that I cannot fathom even wanting to smell, especially the recipes that compounded more than one form of meat or fish with another in the same dish. For example, the night before, they had as an appetizer Oysters en Brochette, which are fried oysters accompanied by bacon. Then for an entree, Hog’s Head and Trotter Terrine, which includes cheese made from the head and feet. (Um, yum?) Dessert was Bananas Foster. Meanwhile at our breakfast they were consuming several pieces of sausage along with the pancakes. As the meal ended,there was one pancake left, which I offered to my table mate, but she said, “Oh, I could not possibly eat another; I have to watch my figure.”

During the meal, they stopped talking about food long enough to meet my inquiry as to how long they would be staying, which was a few more days. I thought to myself I was doomed to breakfasting every morning in an atmosphere of smiley-face small talk with indigestion as my fate.

At last the encounter was over, and I could walk to the ferry that would go from Algiers Point to the trolleys on the other side near the French Quarter and the Warehouse District. Free to walk in the mild breezes, far from food of any kind and free of those endlessly enthusiastic women. After the five-minute ride, I saw there was a bit of a problem at the trolley stop as I waited on a bench. I saw people giving up and walking away. As I was debating how much longer to wait, I saw other tourists approach. I wished I had decided sooner to give up, as those selfsame three women were part of the prospective trolley riders. (“No way”, you say. “Oh yes,” I say.) Once again I had to engage in insipid chatter and bland smiles as they sat down on a bench. As I stood up and concluded our talk with a warning that the trolley might not come, they nodded at me, giggling at each other about the recent fruits of their shopping expedition, presumably unconcerned with waiting indefinitely.

I swear that every detail of this story is true, except for the precise names of all the dishes they had eaten.

For more offbeat comments, see my micro blog at https://twitter.com/chaplainkkaplan

Wearing Religion On Our Sleeves, Shirts, Shoelaces, Etc.

Seventeen years ago, a reporter from Newsday (a local newspaper based in Long Island, NY) asked me and other clergy, “Is it okay to wear religion on your sleeve?” She meant literally, and included other clothing as well. She shows examples in the article, such as a shirt that pictures a seated cross-legged Buddha with the legend, “Buddha is my om boy” underneath. Another shirt shows a picture of Mary with a halo and the words, “Mary is my homegirl” between her hands which are both making a thumbs up. Another shirt portrays what appears to be an abstract figure with “Proud Muslim” superimposed on it. All of the clergy supported the idea, especially for youth, as a way for them to communicate their religious beliefs and connect with their religion in a positive way.

I gave a positive spin on it too, but addressed two possible issues with it. This is what I said in 2005: “For me, the answer is a simple yes, as long as the religious content does not incite hatred. Perhaps the wearer wishes to integrate religious symbols into everyday public wear as an effort to bring God up close and personal. Since this seems not only harmless but desirable, then why might some people object to religious clothing? Because there is the danger that God is being trivialized. However, I don’t think that is the intent of the wearers.”

Here is what I’d like to add now: An interesting related question is why people want to comment on religion this way. Yes, intimacy is a part of it; after all one’s clothes are next to the skin. It is interesting that some of the wearers such as the ones mentioned, want to feel that a religious figure like the Buddha or Mary can come down to our level and be more relatable. The humor too, is a way to have a more playful relationship with God and less of an intimidating distant one. But I think too, especially the young want to test some boundaries. After all, clothes are public as well as intimate. Another picture shown in the article was of a cap with the word, “Jewcy” written on it. Sure this expresses some pride in being Jewish, but it does um “flirt” with Jewish sexuality. And I remember seeing someone in person who was wearing shoe laces that said, “Jesus saves”. Yes, God may be everywhere and anywhere, but I wonder if my Christian readers find it disrespectful on some level, or demeaning or trivializing regarding such a holy message. What if the shoes become untied and the wearer steps on their laces? How seriously can I take that message?

My point is that the wearers are questing after what their religion means to them. They are probing what needs to be challenged in it to deepen that meaning. They want their religion to be relevant to the times, which are less hierarchical and more informal than in the past. Think about those necklaces with crosses, Jewish stars, and Muslim crescents and stars that have been worn in the past. Those are tame in comparison and pose far less threat to conventional religion beyond hinting to others that they should consider becoming more religious, ideally in the same flavor.

Do you display religion on your person? If so, describe it. If not, why not?

Doggerel About A Cat

As an antidote to the multitudinous cat videos in Cyberland, I proffer this poem, called “A Cat’s Rejection”:

O Siamese cat, I see you stride past, holding a motionless mouse in your mouth

As delicately as a French pastry that must be delivered

Untasted and unbitten to your master.

O haughty miss, you prance for patrons mew for matrons

Failing to bestow any favors on me.

Well, shall I let you be?

No. What then do you have for me?

Ow! Nothing but your freshest scratch

And my permanent discomfiture.

The Book Review I Did Not Do

I was thinking of reviewing The Samurai by Shusaku Endo, but decided that at this time of year, we all want to read something relaxing rather than taxing. It is true that the main character, a low-ranking samurai in the 1600s who knew nothing about Christianity until making a voyage to Mexico, grew to understand that at its essence is God’s caring and Presence at each person’s side. But most of the plot is about how each group in power, including the highest levels of Christian clergy and of Japanese government officials, betrayed and duped lower levels of people in power, including our poor samurai, who in the end was executed by his betrayer.

Despite all that, it was fascinating to see how a non-gentile like me, in the samurai’s case a Buddhist, reacted to such things as seeing an image of Jesus on the Cross, the insides of cathedrals, the behavior of missionaries, and so on during his tour of “Nueva España” (Mexico), Spain, and Rome.

But even centuries and thousands of miles away from the setting of The Samurai when Christmas time comes, I (and plenty of other Jews as well) become more aware of how different the main culture is that surrounds us as an ocean to an island. At bottom, there is always some degree of self-consciousness and anxiety. Some of that is expressed through a humorous mixing of the two cultures, for example by putting in Jewish references in Christmas songs, as in, “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me: Lox, bagels and cream cheese.”

And so both to give everyone a break from heavy-duty wrestling with weighty issues, I offer this whimsical discourse about Santa Claus, a fit activity for a Jew:

* * *

We Jews have it easy when it comes to Christmas. We don’t have to agonize over how to break the news to the kiddies that Santa is just a symbol and not an actual person who despite his bulk slips down chimneys and makes judgments about their behavior before whipping out some gifts. And speaking of gifts, we don’t have to get frazzled and engage in the frenzy and expense of getting them all, and getting them all in time.

…Wait… While I nodded, nearly napping, there came a tapping, gently rapping at my front door. I bustle to the front to shoo them away. Was it going to be a raven? Nope. Hmm. Oh, come on now. A generously endowed man with a Santa suit on and the perfect white beard and all is waving to me through the glass. He calls out that he wants to come in and set me straight on a couple of matters, especially as I am a rabbi. I am alone today, so nothing doing. I tell him I’m sorry and no can do. And it’s unnerving that he knows my career history. I however will listen to him through the door, seeing him behind the glass like we are video-conferencing. He then comments that I just wrote in the preceding paragraph that Santa is just a symbol. I’m like how can he know what I had just written and which I have not yet released on this blog?

He goes on, “I know Jews especially are skeptical about me, but I am asking you to be open-minded.” “Mmkay”, I go. He declares,“I am here, and I am a Santa.”

A Santa?” I say to myself, grasping at that indefinite article for dear life. Good. Now I can say something nice and get him to move on without causing a ruckus or hurting his feelings. “That I get. There are many wonderful Santas doing so many kind things. And you all are so caring, too.”

This particular Santa then says, “And don’t you forget it. And you can set those Christian parents straight who not only don’t believe in Santa-ness but think they have to disabuse their kids of the notion as well. Tell them at least not to reveal their faithlessness to their young, for God’s sake.”

Being a rabbi I don’t know how much influence I’d have, but maybe my being in a minority might shame a few of them here and there. I figure I’d humor him and even give him some gifts to bring to the local food pantry. I tell him this and ask him to wait a minute. But as I hunt up the gifts and return to the door in a few moments to give them to him, I don’t see anyone there, just a red cap, a red suit evenly folded, and a belt with a big buckle all neatly placed on top of each other on my front porch bench.

Dear reader: Can you tell me what happened to him, or who he was, or where he might have gone?

I Dare You To Top This Parking Story

Who says you have to go far to find exotic and inscrutable customs among the locals? I in my own country, near my own state, visiting Saratoga Springs, New York. Yes, that place, the one famous for natural springs, casinos, and horse racing. (I was there for the first, honest.) But I could not fathom the alternate side parking rules. I mean everywhere else I have been, rules like that might indicate, no parking on Side A from 12 noon until 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and no parking on Side B on Thursdays. Yeah, so? On Wednesday, one must move the car to Side B anytime after 4 p.m. the preceding Thursday but before noon on the following Wednesday. On Thursday, one must move the car to the Wednesday side before noon. In other words, there are plenty of hours available to move the car, right?

Well I noticed in Saratoga Springs, several streets had rules that said the alternate side parking had 24 hours on each side. Say what? How could they mean 24 hours? Let’s say I arrive on a Monday and park my car on Side A, which says you can park there from 8:00 a.m. Monday through 8:00 a.m. Tuesday morning and not a minute after that. Are you with me? Bear with me I promise it’s worth it. And Side B says you can park there on Tuesday from 8:00 a.m. Until 8:00 a.m. Wednesday morning. Well wait a minute. That means I must move my car at 7:59 a.m. on Tuesday morning to go from Side A to Side B? I asked a neighbor about this and he says, unless he was messing with me or something, that people moving cars to the other side as late as 8:05 a.m. could get ticketed.

Hmm, what if I suddenly had to go to the bathroom at 7:59 to 8:02 a.m.? What if I felt sick? Or had to answer the phone because I was expecting a call about my dying aunt at any moment? Or I had to be at the Zoom interview of my life right at 8:00 a.m. with people who wanted to turn my book into a film?

But just imagine the daily tumultuous atmosphere around 7:58 in the morning when everyone pours out of their homes to move their cars to the other side, greeting each other with knowing grins, or more often furious scowls, and gossip that can last no more than three minutes prior to the mass side-changing ritual. And who can move their car the fastest while everyone else is trying to do the same thing? All with the police looking on, hands filled with tickets half-filled out just in case of a potential bonanza at this only once-a-day opportunity. Maybe this is a way to get all the neighbors on one’s block to know each other. Or hate each other and keep their distance.

I did not get to witness this daily spectacle, as I searched for a street nearby that always allowed parking on Side B, but always prohibited parking on Side A. After all, I was on vacation, and did not want to wake up at a specific time. I wondered, though, how Side B ever got a shot at street cleaning. If you don’t believe the 24-hour story above, here’s the proof from the Saratoga Springs city site, which has the ominous URL of “ecode360”. I absolutely get lost though from the word “except”; a sentence undoubtedly created by a parking Nazi.

“For any street where parking or standing of vehicles is permitted on both sides of the street, parking or standing shall be prohibited on one side of each individual street from 8:00 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays to 8:00 a.m. the following day, and on the opposite side of each individual street from 8:00 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays to 8:00 a.m. the following day, except that when signs are installed to indicate that parking or standing shall be prohibited on one side of each individual street from 8:00 a.m. on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays to 8:00 a.m. the following day, and on the opposite side of each individual street from 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays to 8:00 a.m. the following day, then parking or standing shall be prohibited as indicated by such signs.”

Still think I am the one who is messing with you? Today’s not April 1 or anything. Go see for yourself if you don’t believe me at: https://ecode360.com/6521610

For more of my writing, see me at https://twitter.com/chaplainkkaplan

Winter Whining

I don’t want to be in a quarantine within a quarantine, the outdoors closed to me as well as my home being closed to others, just because a lower level winter godlet came up with the big bright idea of icing the stubbornly remaining mounds of snow with freezing drizzle. I step out to assess the sidewalk for my daily walk. Mmmkay, some mitzvahteer (good deeder) shoveled it without cutting corners. I could actually see the bare concrete itself as if it were getting ready for a sunbath. I get both feet to agree to make their next moves, congratulating myself for not letting a little chill intimidate me into a retreat. But then, after I reach the corner of the block, I stop short. The #@$!% did not shovel the snow away from the corner curb cut! There is a great hulking heap of it blocking my way! (Yes, they did not cut corners, but they did not shovel them either.) What good is it to have all that concrete screaming to me that it is all cleared of every last snowflake so that my undeserving self might indulge in prancing along it, only to thwart my progress once I reach the first intersection? What, I’m supposed to confine myself to pacing back and forth on one block? Or risk falling on ice- encrusted snow by clambering over a mountain range?

The snow on the curb consists of about 5% of the snow that had covered the rest of the sidewalk, more or less. But that neglected 5% casts a shadow on the remaining 95%, rendering it useless does it not? Now let’s think about that together. If someone can’t walk more than a few steps and a driver takes them 95% of the way and no further, that accomplishes nothing more than not to take the ride at all. Be aware of not finishing what you start. And there, my friends, is my profound moral for the day.

And now for the other matter I must bring up. If you are guilty of this, then I hope you feel thoroughly rebuked! Yes, it takes hours to diligently and thoroughly dig out a parking spot after a snowstorm, and yes, some spots are not fully finished (verging on the problem above). But: when I have left my spot, and someone has taken it ( who knows full well I did all that work on it), and THEN I look for another, and I see a good one but which has a garbage can or chair upon the center of it, I want to call the city. I don’t of course. I must not be thought of as a whiner. I just steam with indignation. And I don’t remove the offending object off to the side because the maniac might damage my car for taking THEIR alleged spot and removing THEIR property.

So I haphazardly park in an inferior spot, hearing lots of crunch crunching as I do so as if the car were being murdered. Then I leave, having to choose between clambering over another mountain range at one curb, or stepping up to my ankle in filthy slush at the other. I make it back inside my home as I whine some more at the irrationality and pettiness of others who let mere frozen water, in all of its manifestations, strip away all sense of community and empathy in a cold unfeeling world.

A Parody of Self-Help Posts

My husband Steve managed to combine a self-help parody with horror. A nice corrective to all the self-help stuff I have imposed on you throughout the years. Have fun and don’t read the story below too close to bedtime:

Tomorrow is a Bad Day

Hello, dear client. I have trouble remembering names so everyone to me is “dear client.” I’m your favorite self-help swami, Steven Jon, the regrettably unavoidable Kaplan. It’s too late to run and too tough to hide. I’m here to get your life back on track so you can go around and around the fateful wheel of your life with increasing confidence. All you need to do is to make a few minor changes to your daily routine. Our mantra is, “Tomorrow is a Bad Day.”

Yes, you heard that right. Since tomorrow is a bad day, especially for accomplishing anything important, we have to do the tough things today. You were planning on watching TV this evening? Forget about it. You’re going to sit down right now and not get up until you’ve finished a full page of that book you keep postponing. I’m going to watch to make sure. I conveniently have a whole dozen grade A jumbo raw eggs in the trunk of my car and your hair looks like a perfect place to make an omelet in case you don’t comply. Look, you paid me for this, right? So I’m not just going to let you get away with whatever you thought you were going to get away with. Tough love is my middle name.

I can read your mind and tell that you’re wondering if this was such a good idea after all. Trust me, it is. This is the best thing that has ever happened to you. As soon as you finish writing that page we’re going to edit it together and see how we can improve it. After that we’re going out to your back yard and we’re going to start a garden. I see you shaking your head, but anyone can do it. When you see something growing a little each day it will give you the extra encouragement you need to continue with your projects. Don’t worry, I have Siberian seeds which grow almost as well in the winter as they do the rest of the year. These plants will hardly care if it’s below freezing, if it’s snowing, if you’re a political prisoner, or anything else. Sure, you might not always be thrilled about having to go outdoors in the cold and dark, but you’ll learn to devote part of each day to something which will be around long after you’re gone.

Take a look at how you’re dressed. I understand that everyone is more sloppy these days with the coronavirus but there’s no excuse for not looking your best at all times. If you care about how you look to others then you’ll have more respect for yourself. Sure, it’s corny. But it works so you had better get into the habit of adding a tie whenever you put on a shirt. Speaking of your shirt, fold back those cuffs they way they do in those 1950s movies. That’s it. You’re a quick learner. You’ll be so surprised when you find yourself automatically listening to whatever I tell you and learning to go through your life in a completely different way.

What is your plan for tomorrow morning? It’s a bad day, remember? To make it less bad we’re going to try something I’m sure you’ve never done: we’re going to list the first five activities today that you want to do tomorrow morning. If you’ve always wanted to do anything with your life, anything at all, then you must confront it directly and not keep postponing it until that imaginary day or decade. Are you thinking about your personal five items? If you write down brushing or flossing your teeth then I’m going to have to use one of my eggs. I want to see five real action items, the kind of stuff you know you ought to do but you never quite get around to it. Try doing the first one now. Excellent! I see that you’ll be preparing the legacy you’re going to leave to this world when you depart. I knew you’d excel at this once we really got underway.

I’m not sure if I mentioned that I’m going to be staying with you overnight for the next month to ensure that you don’t try to evade your responsibilities. Don’t worry, I can fit into your bed one way or another and I’ve brought along my own favorite pillow. Before you go to sleep each night I’m going to take out my recorder and you’re going to spend exactly 2-1/2 minutes telling me what you learned during the day and how you fell short of your objectives. It’s all about the process.

You’re the best client I ever had. No, I don’t say that to everyone. I really mean it in my heart. You’re going to be a whole new you. Tomorrow is a bad day, but today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Flight Destination: Cloud Nine

Here’s an example par excellence of “it’s the journey, not the destination”:  Last Tuesday I read an article in The New York Times called, “Miss the Experience of Traveling? These Flights Go From Point A to Point A.” (September 22, 2020) It describes people who miss traveling and are willing to buy tickets just to fly and take in those cute clouds that look as soft as wool and land right back where they started. Huh? “It’s the journey” you say? In this case, you take “the destination” out of the equation altogether! The article goes on to say that “thousands of people in Brunei, Taiwan, Japan and Australia have started booking flights that start and end in the same place.” The passengers not only like the scenery, they like having a gourmet meal on board, and beforehand, an entertaining event as people board, and unusual decorations in the plane for a given theme such as a Hawaiian resort.

 I laughed out loud when I read that. And the passengers are even willing to put up with masks and physical distancing. After my laughter subsided, I thought this over to the point that I had to analyze such an offbeat article here on my blog. I think people crave the normalcy of flying for those who customarily do that, as well as an escape: the fantasy of a hassle-free check-in, the luxurious welcome, the themed events and decorations, and the scenery of a bird’s eye view. But who am I to laugh? I recently went to the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington, masked and physically separated, because I craved the pleasure of experiencing original art live. I even got to go the gift shop and buy two pairs of socks that show Monet’s Water Lilies and Klimt’s The Kiss, which I have been wearing on cool days.

All this reading fun, itself an escape, was spoiled towards the end with mention of the naysayers: “environmental groups… have taken to social media to express their frustrations” that the airlines are going back to negatively affecting the environment with these “unnecessary trips.” My retort to that is that many flights before the pandemic, with destinations and all– were for pleasure and therefore in a sense unnecessary. Even some business travel is now seen as “unnecessary,” and when the pandemic is over, may decrease from the level it was before.

Setting aside my original derision of these flights of fancy, and the comments from the naysayers, I think what steered me to this topic of traveling for its own sake is the broader one of creative adaptations to hard times. I hear of factories being retooled to produce masks rather than perfume, I note the revival of drive-in movies. The one phenomenon, therefore, that I celebrate during this time of travail, is the broader scope for creativity that it fosters. Instead of being a threat, creative solutions are now a salve to the edgy unnerving atmosphere we find ourselves in.

Meanwhile ready to board? A spokesperson for the Taiwanese airline Starlux is quoted in the Times article as saying that “most of the flights have sold out in ten minutes of being announced.”


For more of Karen’s kibbitzing, see here: https://twitter.com/chaplainkkaplan