About Μe


On a side excursion to the Taj Mahal on a business trip in the 2000s


Ah, retired at last! Retirement has afforded me more time to spend on strong interests, for example, Classical studies (Greek and Latin); a lifelong passion for music, especially jazz; and more recently, dabbling in philosophy. On this site I will reflect (i.e., blah blah blog) about these interests as well as link to related content I create on YouTube.

Academic Background

Clockwise, from upper left hand corner: After being a very lazy boy in high school, I awakened intellectually (and drank a lot of beer) at the University of Illinois, on the mid-state campus that straddles the twin cities of Champaign-Urbana but is surrounded by corn (today the University calls it Urbana-Champaign). That is my beloved Illini (student) Union at the north end of my beloved Quad.

But I had an itch to experience New York City, so I transferred from the cornfields of Illinois to New York University across the street from Washington Square Park. There I declared myself a Classics major and met Barbara, soon my wife to be.

Having resided long enough in the city now to qualify for its free tuition, I transfer once again to City College of New York in Manhattan’s Upper West Side — CUNY’s venerable Shepard Hall is seen from Hamilton Heights just above Harlem. There I finally get my BA.

Barbara and I then ventured “west of the Hudson” for graduate school at the University of Cincinnati. I spent much of my four years there burrowed in the Classics department stacks. I earned an ABD (All But Dissertation).

I emerged back into the sunlight, and we returned to New York to work and raise a family. Decades later, retired but not quite dead yet, I have kept my brain functioning by taking seminars at the Classics department on the gorgeous campus of Bryn Mawr College (we had moved to Philadelphia as part of a career move).

Work, Part I

The Hudson Wire Company, on the banks of the Hudson River in Barbara’s hometown of Ossining, New York, manufactured small-diameter, silver- and tin-plated, single and stranded copper and copper alloy wires for use as conductors (once insulated) in the aerospace and computer industries, as well as the annealed brass and bronze alloy wires that make up guitar strings.

Syncro wire-drawing machine

I worked alongside my father-in-law testing the material identity, diameter and roundness, tensile strength, and plating porosity of these wires, eventually becoming the plant’s quality control supervisor. My life changed, though, when the engineering department bought the first generation IBM personal computer and I taught myself spaghetti coding in BASIC. I was hooked.

Work, Part II

“Code is poetry.” I feel that way. However, though I learned BASIC, COBOL, C, C++, Java and ABAP over the years, my IT career was mostly managing software development rather than coding myself. I paid my dues with Micro Data Base Systems (long since defunct), worked for ten years with Colgate-Palmolive, where I became an EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) specialist, and spent my last fifteen working years in systems management consulting specializing in SAP. One nice benefit of this career was I actually did get to say hello to some of the world beyond my own country.

Code is poetry (WordPress motto)

The Logic of My Career

Wire, Greek


The three Fates of classical mythology wove the golden (in my case, silver) thread of my life.

Code, Latin

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, … Every coder in the world has seen this dummy text. It was created by an unknown source in the 1500s after the invention of the printing press (yay Gutenberg!), and it turns out it is based on a passage in Cicero’s de Finibus Bonoroum et Malorum (45 BCE). An obvious path from Latin to coding!

I had to learn German too for my doctoral candidacy, and that came in handy with SAP.


Me and music

“First there was a person making up a song, as ritual or warning or memorial. Then there was a person singing an old song that someone had made up. Then there was music in the church and the concert hall and bar and bordello; then the wax cylinder, gramophone, radio, cassette, CD player, downloadable digital file. And then there was the cloud.”

Ben Ratliffe, Introduction to Every Song Ever

I am not a musician, but I come from a musical family and I did have piano and clarinet lessons as a kid. I have been a passionate jazz fan since the end of high school. These days I thrive in a world where virtually all music ever recorded is available to us on demand from the cloud. This opens up myriad new possibilities for listening, as thought-provokingly discussed by Ben Ratliff in his 2016 book Every Song Ever.

One way that I take advantage of this is that I make a lot of playlists. Before she passed away in 2019, I often compiled these to entertain my mother. She was a Northwestern University trained classical pianist, but loved learning from me about jazz and American roots music. My father passed away in 1991, long before the cloud. He was a businessman, but he put himself through college during the Depression playing the trombone in dance bands. We were not a particularly religious family, but I occasionally imagine a conversation with my dad in “heaven” (or in the cloud, if you will) and I somehow came up with the idea of dedicating to and sharing with him a playlist capturing the history of the jazz trombone, which I called ‘Bones for Dick. It was a big hit with my mother (though she admitted she could only take so much jazz trombone!). This was the intro:

Song for My Father

Coping during the Covid-19 pandemic

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