I became a vegetarian my sophomore year of college. For my last meal of animal flesh, my roommate and I rode the subway to Coney Island and treated ourselves to Nathan’s hot dogs.

Veganism didn’t exist then (at least by that name) so vegetarianism was the most radical statement you could make with your diet. I was called on it often, especially by my elders, many of whom didn’t go a meal without meat. I gave them a lengthy explanation for my decision, roughly in this order: meat sat in my gut for days and made me feel logy; a…

The Fabulous Wife and I received our second dose of the Pfizer vaccine yesterday. Our side effects have been mild: the injection site aches and our get-up-and-go seems to have got up and went. The Fabulous Wife may be slightly feverish.

Our understanding is that it takes two weeks to build full immunity. That makes May 7 our personal liberation day from COVID-19.

So now we have a new anxiety, admittedly nowhere near as serious as our previous anxiety about getting or spreading the virus: after 15 months of home confinement, how do we re-integrate into society? I’m a hard-core…

The third season of Shtisel, the Israeli television series about a Haredi (ultra-orthodox) Jerusalem family, recently debuted on Netflix. Created by Yehonatan Indursky and Ori Elon, both from orthodox backgrounds, the show has been hailed as a bridge between the country’s estranged secular and religious cultures. But when I watched (and reviewed) the first two seasons a couple of years ago, I saw Shtisel as more than that, a meditation on two paths to salvation: religion and art.

The third season continues the juxtaposition of religion and art. As earlier, art prevails. Nuchem, younger brother of the show’s central character…

Over the last week The Fabulous Wife and I started counting how many Teslas we see during our morning walks. Not long ago, the number would have been zero, perhaps one. Now we routinely spot a dozen or more. There are usually two parked just a block away, and we don’t live in an upscale neighborhood.

Or do we?

Teslas are not cheap. According to Motor Trend, Tesla’s low-end car, the Model 3, starts at over $38,000. I can understand how Teslas might appeal to eco-conscious commuters and tech geeks. …

Earlier today The Fabulous Wife and I received our first COVID-19 vaccination (the Pfizer).

We went to a supersite a five-minute drive from our home. The process rolls smoothly. The hardest part is following the right set of orange cones lining the enormous lot. Your first stop is a windswept post where a lone employee assures you you’ve come to the right place and directs you to a four-lane reception center.

The receptionist types in your appointment number on a mobile device and checks your ID. The Fabulous Wife assumed the receptionists would have scanners, but I insisted we make…

Vaccinations against COVID-19 for Californians between 50 and 64 begin April 1. We can’t wait! Seems like everyone we know has already gotten at least one jab.

We’ve been waiting our turn almost as long as I’ve been mulling two words that have lately become pejoratives: elitism and meritocracy. What’s so bad about these things? Name the activity, and some human beings are better at it than others — an elite. For most endeavors we don’t care. Does it matter who America’s best knitter is? It matters to me, because it happens to be The Fabulous Wife. But to almost…

There may be no sharper observer of American politics than the Irish writer Fintan O’Toole. He’s taken a particular interest in Joe Biden, perhaps due to their shared passion for Seamus Heaney’s poetry. Although I think O’Toole has whiffed occasionally (exaggerating Biden’s identification with John and Robert Kennedy, for instance), in his most recent New York Review of Books piece he summarizes the present moment better than any American I’ve read — and suggests a way Biden can quell the authoritarian hordes (I’m still on the lookout for that kind of thing.)

According to O’Toole, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell…

A favorite consultant from my risk management days recently participated in a streamed presentation on esports (video gaming to those who don’t believe sitting in a chair thumbing a console for hours constitutes a sport). I enjoy reminders that I don’t have to worry about emerging student risks anymore, so I watched.

I haven’t played a video game since Pong and can’t tell an Xbox from a PlayStation. But the kids these days have grown up gaming, and participation has increased further since the pandemic began, with sales booming an estimated 20%. …

The Fabulous Wife is fond of a concept she calls elastic tolerance. In the midst of a prolonged, unpleasant situation, you endure. But once the end of that situation comes in sight, you need superhuman willpower to finish without snapping.

The pandemic hasn’t quite done that to us. The Fabulous Wife is a nester by nature, so staying home all day, interrupted only by brief trips to the office or grocery store a few times a week, suits her fine. And my goals for retirement, the four R’s (running, reading, ruminating, and writing), are solitary, so they have continued unencumbered…

In 1991 I won a literary prize. Materially, the award changed my life for the better; The Fabulous Wife and I used the money for the down payment on our home. But psychologically, the award threw me; it led me to believe I’d make a career out of writing, which didn’t happen. The one consolation was the friendship I forged with fellow prizewinner and Californian Janet Keller. I’d never had a real writer friend before.

Publishers rejected our next novels, so while casting about for projects, Janet and I hit on the idea of co-writing a book about talk radio…

Andy Goldblatt

Former Risk Manager at UC Berkeley, author of four books, ectomorphic introvert.

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