Books about Lincoln offer new perspectives

By Dinah Rokach
Posted on January 31, 2024

The Bibliophile This year marks the 215th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. Scholars continue researching his life, revealing additional insights and forming new interpretations. Lincoln: The Fire of Genius: How Abraham Lincoln’s Commitment to Science and Technology Helped Modernize America, by David J. Kent, 322 pages, Lyons Press hardcover, 2022 Author David J. Kent, a ... READ MORE

Musician-poet finds new career in retirement

By Glenda C. Booth
Posted on January 30, 2024

Some people may get a gold watch or pen when they retire. But Clifford Bernier received harmonicas — not one, but two. When Bernier stepped down after 30 years at the Association for Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, his employer gave him a gold Seydel harmonica and a 16-hole, chromatic Hohner. They knew him well. Bernier has been playing the harmonica since he was 19 years... READ MORE

Streisand writes about acting, music, life

By Hillel Italie
Posted on January 26, 2024

Her book is called My Name is Barbra, and it runs nearly 1,000 pages. You expected less from Barbra Streisand? Streisand spent the past decade working on one of the epic narratives in modern show business — her uncompromising rise from working class Brooklyn in the 1940s and 50s to global fame. During a recent telephone interview, she reflected on her tastes in music, her tastes in... READ MORE

Agatha Christie’s most convincing witness

By Dan Collins
Posted on January 16, 2024

Even if you’re not that familiar with whodunit writer extraordinaire Agatha Christie, chances are you’ve caught a bit of the myriad stage, film or TV productions of her short story and play “The Witness for the Prosecution.” It’s a murder mystery and trial drama which has starred everyone from Marlene Dietrich and Tyrone Power to Edward G. Robinson and Beau... READ MORE

Mixed emotions about work from home

By Bob Levey
Posted on January 08, 2024

He was 30-something — a bit smug, a bit too fond of his own opinions. But I was seated beside him at a fancy dinner, so I was stuck. After the salad, I asked how he had weathered the pandemic. “Perfectly,” he announced. I wasn’t sure that I had heard him correctly. In whose universe was the pandemic perfect? His. “I didn’t have to go into the office once,” he said.... READ MORE

Games, calendars for mental gymnastics

By Dinah Rokach
Posted on January 05, 2024

The Bibliophile When you’re stuck indoors this winter, exercise your mind. Find a new board game to enjoy or hone your skills mastering your favorite game. Seven Games: A Human History, by Oliver Roeder, 306 pages, W.W. Norton & Company paperback, 2023 Read an engaging account of these seven games: checkers, chess, Go, backgammon, poker, Scrabble and bridge. Learn their... READ MORE

Artists spread joy to senior communities

By Margaret Foster
Posted on January 02, 2024

One cold, sunny morning, two dozen residents of an assisted living community in Rockville, Maryland, form a circle with their wheelchairs. A teacher enters the circle, greeting each person with a smile. “I’m Deborah. And we are going to do some dancing together today in our chairs,” she says. As Deborah Riley, a teaching artist from Arts for the Aging, turns on some music, one... READ MORE

Joan Baez shares secrets in documentary

By Jocelyn Noveck
Posted on December 19, 2023

Bob Dylan called it her “heart-stopping soprano,” and it’s true that when Joan Baez unleashed that pure, angelic voice on the protest song “We Shall Overcome,” you could believe we would, indeed, overcome. The celebrated folk singer and activist was singing about civil rights, of course. But what we learn in the thoughtful, thorough and sometimes harrowingly intimate... READ MORE

Illuminating Baltimore’s stained glass

By Ana Preger Hart
Posted on December 18, 2023

When author, anthropologist and human rights activist Linda Rabben moved to northeast Baltimore in 2021, she wanted to get to know her new neighborhood better. On her daily walks, she noticed that many houses had stained glass windows. Rabben, who grew up in Philadelphia and lived for 30 years in Takoma Park, Maryland, became curious. “I really hadn’t paid any attention to them” ... READ MORE

A curmudgeonly defense of using cash

By Bob Levey
Posted on December 15, 2023

Brunch for the two couples was done. It was time to settle the bill. The male of the other couple plopped down a credit card. This male reached for his wallet and produced a wad of cash. I handed it to him. He treated it like a rare species of poisonous mushroom. “What am I going to do with it?” he asked. “Uh, spend it?” I replied. He gave me a look somewhere between... READ MORE