Happy birthday, Sala of Sala’s Gift, Sala of Letters to Sala, and real Sala, my mom.

Dylan meets Bubbe

Sala meets Dylan Alexander Stine, her eighth greatgrandchild

For those who know her as a character in a book or play, my mother is an idea and an inspiration. For my family and me, she’s our real SALA and our beloved mother and grandmother and greatgrandmother.

All those Salas come together in notes from strangers who feel like family. In the photo below, students are holding red book copies of Arlene Hutton’s Beth Lincks play Letters to Sala.  And click here for one cast who sang to Sala for her birthday.  IMG_4071


I received this one today from one of the directors:

“I am a Theatre teacher/director at a small high school in Texas. We have a theatre competition each year and for our competition play this year, we are producing Letters to Sala. I personally fell in love with the story when I read the play. I have also read your book and the NYPL book as well as numerous websites.  My students and I feel like we know you and your family personally from all of the background work.

Cast members holding Arlene Hutton's play, LETTERS TO SALA.

Cast members holding Arlene Hutton’s play, LETTERS TO SALA.

We also feel a responsibility in this show as we know, just like your mother felt about the letters, that we are keeping these people alive when we share their stories on stage. Each of the letter writers (characters) has become a friend to us that we absolutely must share with the audiences so that their stories, their lives, were not in vain. I had to share this with you so that you would know that the family conflict that you went through to get these letters out to the public and get the story told was worth it. Now thousands of people will know about all of these people who existed, and were important human souls.

They were beautiful lights that were darkened, but can now shine again!

I have 2 daughters of my own and understand your story well. My oldest is 15 and is playing Young Sala. I wanted you to know a little about us so that I can share with you that the students asked me if we could contact your mother to tell her Happy Birthday today! They have all watched YouTube videos of you and her and love her like she is their own grandmother. So, please pass that on to her and let her know that her story is a blessing to us and that we will do our best to share her life and her story with as many audiences as we can.”

Turns out, I’m addicted to Chrome. #needintervention

I did have a quick rebound relationship with Firefox.  (Got to change this analogy, it’s kinda creepy, I agree.)

But it turns out that my iPad is more important than I realized.  If I made a piechart of my online usage, i’d now say that iPad/computer is about 50/50.  And I”m hooked on integration with apps like Evernote and Notes.  There, that’s one semi-interesting factoid to come out of this experiment with digital navel-gazing.

I don’t want to split my browser use (remember trying to keep a blackberry AND an iPhone?), and have spent way too much time on this question, so it’s back to Chrome.

Just don’t take me for granted, Google:  I’ll be looking for another tipping point.


But-but-but Firefox is helpless on iPads. What now?


Turns out that Eric Limer and I must have been having the same Chrome moment.  (thanks, Carie, for pointing this out!).  As he put it on Gizmodo just this week, F* it, I'm going back to Firefox.  And that great graphic, see above! But he is … [Continue reading]

Chrome cost me a week of productivity. Firefox, anyone?


Chrome kept crashing.  It has been a few months since the "Snap" message made me smile with indulgent amusement.  I was not amused. I deleted, re-installed:  same thing. So when a message popped up that my flash settings were outmoded, or … [Continue reading]

Dead malls would make great tech incubators.


There have been a spate of articles lately about dead shopping malls.  Here's one from Green Acres. I'm a little too old to have been a teenage mall rat.  For me, the Nanuet Mall will always be the monster that ate the cute little town of Spring … [Continue reading]

Who was your Fletcher? I’m listening to Charlie Parker and thinking about #Whiplash. You must see it.

I bet we have all had a Fletcher, someone who wanted the best from us. Or is it someone who wanted the best and got it in the worst way? Or is it someone who had absolutely no idea what our best was....and was just a sadistic bastard? I have … [Continue reading]

Twitter makes me lazy. #TEDXCUNY


It's so easy to post on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  I mean, they don't make me lazy, really, I do that to myself, but they do enable the soundbite that defeats any attempt at nuance or a complex message. So I'm inspired by today's FIRST … [Continue reading]

Top 10 things to listen while beach walking and you don’t have a great audiobook* This is the summer of Swell.

Saltaire 7.3

I usually listen to audiobooks while walking in solitary happiness on the beaches of Fire Island.  Look -- i took this picture this morning, isn't it beautiful?   So far this summer, I’ve finished Emma, Decode, and The Fault in Our Stars.  (Go … [Continue reading]

On Quality, Quantity, and Cost in #Higher Education

diploma sky

  You expect to pay less today for a computer than you did ten years ago.  But universities are more like media companies than computer manufacturers, so imagine if universities were subject to the same disruptive market forces as, let's say, … [Continue reading]

Speaking of giants: Congrats, Macaulay Class of 2014 graduation!

AK commencement 2014

To the Macaulay Honors College, Class of 2014 -- Do you remember the first time we met, back in 2010? Under a certain giant whale? Right from the start, I knew you were something special. But I’d almost forgotten about that welcome reception at … [Continue reading]