MEET OUR MEMBERS: Howard Barnstone, Woodworker Extraordinaire

HOWARD BARNSTONE

Woodworker Extraordinaire

At five years old, Howard Barnstone was given a toy lathe which he used to make turnings out of balsa wood.  After that, his toys of choice extended to Lincoln Logs, Lego, and “girds and panels” sets.  And so began his lifelong interest in woodworking.  In his high school wood shop course, he made a chess board out of oak and cherry squares and then moved on to creating wooden skateboards—totally ahead of his time.  At U. Mass. Amherst, he enrolled in a woodworking art course in order to finish the wooden clock he had been working on at the end of high school—even the gears were cut out of mahogany.

When he was about 27, Howard took an open night class in woodworking at Brookline High where he was making a cherry coffee table.  He was planning to finish it up during the last class, but he was invited to another event being held on the same evening.   “I was torn about which way to go,” he says.  “I finally decided to go to the event and leave early.  I figured, that way, I could also make the class.”  That ended up being a good decision.  At the event, he met Gayle Ehrlich, his wife (and fellow BOLLI member)—but was also able to finish his project.

Howard chose to follow a path in the business world but says that he can see a connection between business and furniture building and design.  “I used to put together merger and acquisition deals for a financial information company.  Building furniture is similar to complex business deals in that both involve many interlocking pieces that need to not only stand alone but also function within a complicated over-arching concept.”

All along the way, Howard managed to find time for open shop courses at the local high schools.  He built a variety of tables for his family in the process.   Now that his children are grown and he has retired from the business world, Howard says that he is pursuing woodworking and furniture building and design in an even more in-depth way.  “My goal is to refine my abilities and make great furniture for my own pleasure,” he says, “enjoying it for its craft and mastery.”

Howard says he mostly designs and builds tables and cabinets, particularly in the Shaker style which “I like for its clean lines, efficiencies, and practicality.”  He says he also admires the work of both Thomas Moser and Stickley.

Shaker night tables (in progress) and boot benchh

During the spring of 2017, Howard took the three-month full-time intensive furniture course at the North Bennett Street School which he enjoyed immensely.  “We completed two full projects—a Shaker night stand and a cupboard on a stand,” he says.  “We spent extensive time with both hand and machine tools.  We also focused on dove-tail, mortise and tenon, and other aspects of joinery as well as wood choice and properties.”  Since then, he has also completed Peter Thibeault’s course on The Fine Art of Furniture.

At this point, Howard is focused on the next steps in his journey with furniture.  “I look forward to better applying design concepts and principles,” he says, “learning about the evolution of historical furniture design and modern approaches to the manipulation of wood products to achieve certain furniture design aesthetics.”

In terms of future work, Howard says that “Like authors feel they have a certain number of books in them,  I have a certain number of furniture pieces in me–and it is up to me, like the author, to produce, them by putting in the hard work. Time will tell.”

Finally, Howard says that it doesn’t really matter what he is making as long as it is engaging him. “I think of myself as being the furniture version of a gentleman farmer.  I just get extreme joy from the process of working with wood.”

*

BOLLI Member and Furniture Artist Howard Barnstone

Howard says about his BOLLI experience, “I have been taking classes at BOLLI or the past four years and have enjoyed the quality of the teachers, courses, and the camaraderie  of learning together.”

 

 

Is there a BOLLI member you’d like to see profiled in BOLLI Matters? Contact Sue Wurster via email:  susanlwurster@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

DECEMBER BOOK NOOK WITH ABBY PINARD: TWO SHORT NOVELS

These two short novels, both published in 1979 and both written by noted literary figures, blend fiction and memoir in very different ways to equally vivid effect.

 Sleepless Nights

by Elizabeth Hardwick

Having grown up in Kentucky, eighth in a Protestant family of eleven children, Elizabeth Hardwick knew she wanted to be a New York Jewish intellectual. And so she was, except for the Jewish part. Critic, essayist, novelist, co-founder of The New York Review of Books, she lived in New York for most of her life with interludes in Europe and Boston during her long, tumultuous marriage to poet Robert Lowell.

Sleepless Nights, published in 1979 when she was 63, is both a novel and a meditation on memory. Plotless, it is a gorgeous, lyrical collection of fragments, observations, and anecdotes that skips about in time sketching people, places, and dreams. In the ‘40s, “Elizabeth” frequents jazz clubs on West 52nd Street with a gay companion and comes to know Billie Holiday. In the ’50s, she is in starchy Boston, where the most vivid portrait is of Josette, a maid whose French-Canadian forebears came to New England to work in the mills. In Amsterdam, Dr. Z, the “eternal husband,” is devoted to his wife and dotes on both of his mistresses, unwilling to divest himself of any of them.

Husband and marriage do not figure in this slim book. It is not the story of a life but an elusive and haunting mosaic that invites us to explore the art of blending fact and fiction to create a life on the page. Brilliant.

 

So Long, See You Tomorrow

by William Maxwell

What a marvel! I came to this novella, published in 1979, because it has been pronounced a favorite by several respected writers. It tells two stories of devastating losses suffered by two young boys who are briefly companions in rural Illinois in the 1920s. One, the narrator, recounting events fifty or so years later, lost his mother to flu in 1918. The other, Cletus Smith, was the son of a man who murdered his best friend and neighbor and then killed himself.

The narrator’s story is Maxwell’s. In pure, perfect prose and from several perspectives, he merges memory and imagination to recount events as they may have happened: “If any part of the following mixture of truth and fiction strikes the reader as unconvincing, he has my permission to disregard it.” Decades later, the narrator is still haunted by guilt and shame over his failure to have acknowledged Cletus when he passed him in a high school hallway several years after the murder. What might he have said? Could he have offered solace to the childhood friend whose life had been destroyed?

The simplicity of this story belies the meticulous construction and luminous language with which it is told. The world of tenant farmers and Midwestern mores is vividly evoked but it is the despair and bewilderment of two small boys that gives the book its power.

 

BOLLI “MATTERS” feature writer Abby Pinard

Lifelong book nut Abby retired from a forty-year computer software career and ticked an item off her bucket list by going to work in a bookstore.  A native New Yorker, she moved to Boston to be among her people:  family and Red Sox fans.  She is a music lover, crossword puzzler, baseball fan, and political junkie who flunked Halloween costumes but can debug her daughter’s wifi.

ANOTHER CAST HIT!

ANOTHER CAST HIT!

          CAST Takes a Well-Deserved Bow for “More Carrying On”        by our own local playwright and director

The last thing I expected, when coming to BOLLI in the spring of 2015 after 40 years of teaching drama,  was that I would end up  doing more drama–this time, with a group of BOLLI players.  And yet, CAST (Creativity in  Acting, Storytelling, and Theatre) has been, for me, the most satisfying drama experience of all! And why?

Because these players engage in this activity for the pure and simple joy of the experience.   Unlike adolescents, these actors (most of whom took up this interest after arriving at BOLLI) are willing to go “all out” in their playing, without worrying about looking “silly” on stage.   As a result, they are constantly experimenting, exercising their creativity–and as a result, not only do they end up looking terrific on stage, but they have enormous fun in the process as well.  And, as we have all seen over the past nearly four years, this group’s work (and play) just gets better with every performance.

This year’s production of More Carrying On  took the BOLLI audience on a return visit to Carey Village, the upscale senior living facility located on the campus of Carey College in Bucks County, Pennsylvania where these scenes all take place.

All seven members of this years CAST cast (Sandy Clifford, Donna Johns, Eileen Mitchell, Becki Norman, Mark Seliber, Rachel Seliber, and Bette Winer) played multiple roles in this production, all of which they took on with aplomb, creating distinctly individual characters.

On this year’s visit to Carey Village, we met a new resident (Becki Norman) who is thrilled with her freezer and the Village’s bulletin boards; an avid hostess (Elaine Mitchell) bemoaning the failure of her latest event; a father (Mark Seliber) and daughter (Sandy Clifford) share very different feelings about the new piece of “art” he has just hung on his wall; a pair of retired Princeton political science professors (Bette Winer and Mark Seliber) who have become obsessed with creating truly unique culinary creations;  friends (Rachel Seliber and Eileen Mitchell) engaged in their human version of “bird watching;” and, finally, the Village’s own “crazy plant lady” (Donna Johns) talking to her plants.

Thanks to Photo Group members Dennis Greene and Sandy Miller-Jacobs for taking these great shots!   (Let your cursor hover over each image for details.)

In case you missed these CAST productions and would like to read the pieces, both sets of Carey Village scenes have been compiled in a single volume and are now available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback versions.

Kindle Version
Paperback

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living proof that our continued learning and activity at BOLLI can lead us to all sorts of new and exciting ventures!

BOLL Matters editor Sue Wurster

 

Known, in some circles, as Wurster the Wily Word Woman…

CONTINUING CARE COMMUNITY OR WHAT?

Continuing Care Community or What?

by Liz David

Recently, Barry and I received the phone call we had been looking forward to and dreading from a Continuing Care Community in our area.

Our name has been on their list for two years.  The marketing representative told us about a unit that was available that met most of our specifications.  We agreed to meet the next week.

Upon arrival, I asked whether the unit was empty or occupied (with furniture). The only way “suites” become available is when the resident dies. She responded that it was occupied.  It is in the North wing on the first floor with easy access to the main common areas.

Upon entering, we discovered that the daughter of the deceased occupant was there with another person who was sporting a clipboard. I surmised that he and she were deciding what to do with  her mother’s belongings.  The place was cluttered with stuff. There were spots on the carpet, kitchen utensils and dishes on the counters–all signs of a former life,  well lived or not.  Who knows?

She showed us around the “suite.”  If we didn’t linger, it would have taken five minutes.  The space is compact–a master bedroom that would fit a queen bed; another single small bedroom; a small but  efficient kitchen; a living/dining area; two full  baths, a walk-in closet and one other.   The unit doesn’t get the sun, and the patio faced a parking lot.

As we were leaving, I thanked the deceased’s daughter for allowing us to see her mother’s home.  She became animated and made it a point to show us the electric fireplace she had installed for her mother. She switched it on, and we saw the warm glow that emanated from the coils. It is a nice feature. Our marketing person suggested that we install recessed lighting around the living room to brighten things up.

After leaving the unit, we learned that another couple who are ahead of us on the waiting list would be looking at it the next day.  What a relief!  We hope they like it!

It was a stressful, depressing experience!  Believe it or not, we’ve never lived in an apartment; well, maybe once!   Since coming home to our eleven room “castle,” we’ve talked and talked and talked.  By the way, we declined the unit.  It turns out that being in a section where there is sunshine coming in through the windows is a must for us.

Of course, there are other factors involved with such a decision.  We are already giving away “stuff” we’ve accumulated over the years that we don’t need or can bear to part with; all those things that we may use “someday”, especially my clothes and Barry’s files of papers. The local shredder has been working overtime!  And then there are the books, books, books;  Native American artifacts, jewelry, jewelry, jewelry; my grandmother’s and my bone china tea cups, sculptures, art work, etc, etc, and so forth.   Get the picture?

Then there are the holidays. Recently, for Thanksgiving and Hanukah, we hosted our family of nine, sometimes ten, sometimes twelve, occasionally fourteen. After dinner, the kids, as always, went downstairs to the basement playroom while the rest of us schmoozed.  Those precious gatherings will not be possible in the same way in a “suite” of 12/13 hundred square feet.

Barry and I have 83 and 84 years of life experience and are in decent shape for the shape we’re in.  So, when it comes to continuing care–

To be continued.

BOLLI “MATTERS” contributor Liz David

Liz is a familiar face at BOLLI having been an active participant in both courses and committees as well as an SGL and a writer for the blog. 

 

 

REMEMBER YOUR LOCAL BLOGGER…

Just a reminder to ask you to keep responding to the items you read here on BOLLI Matters.   It means a great deal to our bloggers to know that you are reading, but several have indicated that they wish they’d hear more from you in terms of what you’d like to seem them provide.  Want more book, tv, and movie recommendations?  More dessert recipes?  What sort of tech issues do you want to know about?  Are there features you’d like to see us add?

Your participation is deeply appreciated by all of us–so, as they so aptly say, “keep those cards and letters coming!”

STORIES FROM STEVE: BILL RUSSELL

BILL RUSSELL

by Steve Goldfinger

As a medical intern, I helped care for a man who was the professional at a nearby golf course., and when he learned of my passion for the game, he invited me to come and play there. I did.

When you finish your round,”  he said as he escorted me to the first tee, “come to the clubhouse for beer with some friends of mine.”  So, after my usual mediocre round of golf, I trudged up  the hill to the white-framed building where the dining area was empty save for four laughing guys sitting at nearby table: my host and his friends–Bill Russell, K.C. Jones, and Bill Russell’s brother.  With my dropped jaw, I could only mumble  a few words in response to their hearty welcome.

Although not a rabid basketball fan, I did tend to follow the Celtics on a near-daily basis, and I was eager to hear them talk, to glean the kind of inside information I could gloatingly share with friends. And yet, they suddenly centered on me, the doctor.  I was asked about the treatment Russell had been receiving for his ankle sprain.  I was told about the games K.C. missed because of appendicitis when they both played college basketball for USF.  We also joked about golf, how the water holes had overflowed their banks after we were done with them.

It was one of those “experiences of a lifetime.”  And yet, I thought later, we had enjoyed  ourselves at what was really a rather second rate club.  Unfortunately, the Russells and K.C. Jones were unlikely to ever be invited to any of Boston’s elite clubs. That was the way it was in those days.  Color colored a lot of attitudes.  Russell made little effort to disguise his feelings about how shabbily he was treated by Boston fans. Their hero, for sure–that black guy, for certain.  His sometimes unsuppressed insolence didn’t help.

Years later, I found myself sitting first class on a trans-continental flight, thanks to an upgrade. The compartment was almost empty. When I glanced across the aisle, there, believe it or not, was the impossibly long frame and unmistakable face of Bill Russell.  My immediate instinct was to go over and sit next to him, to remind him of the beers and jokes we had shared at that golf course so long ago,  to immediately recapture the kind of kinship one can slide into so easily over drinks at the 19th hole.

But a rush of propriety (or was it reality?) overcame me.  Why do a thing like that?  Would he even remember that remote, trivial, 40 minute episode in his life?  And If by any chance he did, would it trigger a memory of the bitterness that permeated his Boston years?  And who is this asshole, anyway, to  want to strike up a conversation?

I returned to my book.  Best to settle for one experience of a lifetime than to try to create another that could go horribly wrong.

Our “BOLLI Matters” feature writer Steve Goldfinger

Since joining BOLLI two years ago, after a long career in medicine, Steve has been exploring his artistic side.  He has been active in both the Writers Guild and CAST (Creativity in Acting, Storytelling, and Theatre) as well as the Book Group.  

 

 

WHAT’S DENNIS’ STORY? THE STUFF THAT SURVIVED

The Stuff That Survived

 

by Dennis Greene

 I have been acquiring precious, useless stuff for over 60 years, but I am periodically forced to clean house to make room for more. Yet, somehow, the following items have managed to survive each successive purge.

A rubber “Froggy the Gremlin” squeeze toy I had when I was five. Froggy was a leading character on Smilin’ Ed’s Gang, a children’s TV show sponsored by Buster Brown shoes. The show was one of the earliest TV broadcasts, beginning around 1948.  

The King Tut magic trick, a tiny blue mummy in a yellow plastic casket. The mummy usually rested quietly, but, as the Magician, I could make the mummy pop out and refuse to go back in. I can’t disclose the secret.

An olive drab rubber snake bite kit slightly bigger than King Tut, containing a razor, antiseptic, a tourniquet, and an instruction sheet. The container also functioned as the suction cups needed to suck out the viper venom. I carried this kit when hiking and camping in New Mexico in 1958. Happily, I never had to use it. I also managed to keep the ornate 24” leather belt with brass Philmont buckle that held up my Boy Scout shorts that summer.

A small silver bell attached to a rawhide thong. Eileen and I shook a bunch of these bells all throughout our 26-mile hike through a grizzly infested section of Glacier National Park in 1976.

A leather-covered jewelry box containing a solid gold key engraved with the initials D.I.G. The key opened the Partner’s liquor cabinet at Mintz Levin and was presented to me when I became a Partner in the law firm in 1979. It is a relic of another era, as am I.

A square piece of cardboard with the words “Duncan Creek, Yukon Terr,” a small piece of scotch tape that once held several flakes of the gold my girls panned on a trip to the Yukon around 1989. I managed to keep the cardboard but lost the gold.

A bag containing 13 MBTA subway tokens.

Seven two-inch square waxy cardboard “Playroom Portraits” of Howdy Doody, Clarabelle, Dilly Dally, the Inspector, and the Flub-A-Dub. Beginning in 1950, I and several other first graders would arrive at my friend Rosemarie’s house just before 5:30 each weekday to watch The Howdy Doody Show on the only TV in our neighborhood. We were the first TV generation, and we all used Colgate Toothpaste.

A clay pipe heavily used during the period from 1970 through 1974. There are still remnants of some illegal substance in the bowl.

A glossy identification badge with a picture of a scantily clad seductress and an affable looking dragon, indicating my status as a Volunteer at the 2013 Dragon-Con in Atlanta, Ga. Fifty thousand sci-fi and fantasy fans, many wearing elaborate CosPlay costumes, took over the five largest downtown hotels for five days. I was about 45 years older than the average attendee, but I had a blast.

A black case with a “Showcase Live” logo sticker, containing a harmonica engraved with the same logo. Showcase Live is an entertainment venue located at Patriot Place created by Shari Redstone. I represented Shari when the place opened, and the harmonica was among the gift items distributed to guests. I have never been back.

I have no idea why these random items survived while so many others, probably more valuable and meaningful, were discarded.  I do know that each of these items serves as a prompt. I could tell you stories.

Prolific “BOLLI Matters” feature writer Dennis Greene

Whether it’s pop culture, sci fi, memoir, or whatever is on his mind at the moment, Dennis provides us with his own blend of engaging humor–and, clearly, he has more stories to give us!

 

 

 

 

DECEMBER’S CHEF’S CORNER WITH JOHN RUDY: PEAR CREAM TART

PEAR (OR PEACH) CREAM TART

from John Rudy

This recipe (with slight modifications) is from page 188 of the Good Housekeeping Illustrated Book of Desserts, a marvelous book with easy-to-understand instructions and wonderful pictures.  This recipe is for a 10” pie pan.  For a 12” pan, increase everything by 50%.  I feel that the crust is a bit thick, so that can be decreased some, which, of course, makes room for more of the filling.  The 10” pie serves 8.   It is really easy–and fast–to make.

1 tsp                      Cinnamon

½ cup plus 3 Tbs   Sugar

1 cup                     Whipping or Heavy Cream

2 large                   Egg yolks

1¼  cups              All purpose Flour (not sifted)

¼ tsp                     Salt

¾ stick                  Butter (softened)

2  29oz cans      Sliced pears (or peaches).  It really needs a can plus about 2-3 more halves. With peaches, I use 2½ of the small cans.

10” pie pan

Pre-heat the oven to 400°.

  1. In medium bowl, with fork, mix the flour, salt, 3 Tbs sugar and then cut in the butter (I use two knives) until it resembles course crumbs.
  2. Optionally spray the pan with some Pam
  3. By hand, press the flour mixture into the glass pie plate, on the bottom and up the sides.  Bring it to at least ¼” of the top as the pie will get that high.  Take care that the bottom of the sides is not too thick as you won’t have enough flour mixture for the bottom of the pan.
  4. Mix the cinnamon and ½ cup of the sugar (not the last 3 Tbs)
  5. Separately, beat the cream with the egg yolks
  6. If you have pear halves take the drained AND DRIED slices and cover the bottom of the pan.  Sometimes the slices have to be cut to fit properly.  Do it in concentric circles.  Evenly cover them with the cinnamon-sugar combination.  If it is not even, a portion of the sugar will glaze but the rest will need more time!  With sliced peaches it will take two circles.  NOTE: Don’t fill in all the spaces with fruit or the custard will not all fit in.
  7. Bake for 7+ minutes (it might take a few minutes more) until the cinnamon-sugar mixture is caramelized.
  8. Pour the cream mixture over the pears and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes until the top is browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (or mostly so).  A 9” pan takes about 22 mins; a 10” pan about 27 mins.  NOTE: do not overcook
  9. Cool the tart over a wire rack ~2 hours and then refrigerate if not using immediately.  Don’t cover with wrap until it is totally cooled (another 2 hours).
“BOLLI Matters” feature writer John Rudy

John says that it was his mother who inspired his love of cooking and baking at an early age.  (She cooked vegetables in boil-able packages.)

POP CULTURE WITH DENNIS GREENE: THE KOMINSKY METHOD

A Cure for the “End of Golf Season” Blues

By Dennis Greene 

It is that time of year.  The colorful leaves are falling from the trees, the sun is setting early, there is a raw, chilly wind, and the golf course is closing.  I have ceased my exercise routine, begun overeating, rapidly put on 15 pounds, and have a constant desire to nap. Either I am suffering a bout of fall melancholy or a long dormant urge to hibernate is about to erupt.

While recently lounging on my living room couch, trying to decide whether to make a black and white frappe or take a nap, I clicked on Netflix and was confronted with a promo for The Kominsky Method, a new sit-com created by Chuck Lorre.  Now Mr. Lorre’s creations have  been serving as my antidepressant  ever since 1997 when I discovered Dharma and Greg, his fourth TV series. That was followed by Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon, and Mom. I also feel Chuck and I have a special connection through a mutual friend, though that connection is somewhat attenuated. In 1986, during Lorre’s guitar playing and songwriting phase, he wrote Deborah Harry’s hit single “French Kissin” for her Rockbird album. By an unbelievable coincidence, twenty years earlier, when I was a student at Lafayette College and Debbie was at nearby Centenary Junior College, she dated one of my fraternity brothers and we hung out together.  That means there is only one degree of separation between Chuck Lorre and me. He is almost a friend of mine.

The Kominsky Method started streaming on Netflix on Nov. 16. The series co-stars Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin as two aging friends in their “later years,” dealing with the rapidly changing world of Los Angeles while their own respective lives, bodies, and minds are deteriorating.  Douglas plays Sandy Kominsky, a washed-up actor but skilled acting teacher, and Arkin plays Norman Neulander, a successful talent agent and Kominsky’s long-time friend. Surprisingly, Douglas and Arkin had never met or worked together before, but Lorre brought them together, and the two Oscar-winning actors, proven masters of their craft, fit together perfectly. They are a pair of “buddies” to rival Newman and Redford, Lemmon and Matthau or the more recent Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin of Frankie and Grace.

The Kominsky supporting cast is also superb. Nancy Travis, whom I have admired since Three Men and a Baby,  is Douglas’s slightly younger (but, at 57, still “mature” ) love interest; Susan Sullivan, the veteran star of Falcon Crest, plays the ghost of Norman’s deceased wife; Lisa Edelstein, recently a regular on House, plays Norman’s drug addicted daughter; and Ann-Margret is cast as a lonely widow with her eye on Norman.  For me, the high point of the first season was Danny DeVito’s brilliant portrayal of Sandy and Norman’s effervescent urologist.

Many of the subjects dealt with in Kominsky are dark or sad, which is not unexpected in a show about the “twilight years,” but the humor and honesty pervading the writing and the acting enable the viewer to easily get through the tough spots without trivializing the real issues.

I binge watched all eight episodes in one weekend and was again left with a void in my life, but one that was easily filled. There have been several successful Lorre series I had missed completely, so I used the power of Xfinity’s “on demand” function and found all 87 episodes of Cybill,  Lorre’s third series creation which aired during the four years preceding Dharma and Greg. The show starred Cybill Shephard, who I remembered only as the stunning, naked teenager who dived into the swimming pool in The Last Picture Show. In the Cybill series she plays a struggling 40ish actress with two likeable but contrasting ex-husbands, two daughters and an acerbic best friend, played by the brilliant Christine Baranski, who earned an Emmy for her Cybill role. Baranski more recently starred as Diane Lockhart in The Good Wife, and currently appears as Leonard Hofsteder’s mother on the Big Bang Theory.

Last night, as I watched the first two episodes of Cybill, I realized why I so enjoy Chuck Lorre creations. Though he got his start writing for Roseanne, he left quickly, citing “creative differences,” and from then on, all of his characters (except maybe Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men) have been fundamentally nice, decent people. Lorre understands flawed characters involved in complex human interactions and enables us to see the humor in it all.

But most importantly, Lorre “gets” friendship. The relationships portrayed by Douglas and Arkin in Kominsky, Shepherd and Baranski in Cybill, the entire cast of The Big Bang Theory, and Allison Janney,  Anna Faris and the support group on Mom all are uplifting and just make the viewer feel good. This isn’t a brilliant insight on my part. Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld clearly showcased the appeal and entertainment value of friendship in their hugely successful sit-com, and to make sure none of us missed the point, they named it Friends.

Not only does Lorre create wonderful friendships on screen, but he also seems adept at forming them in real life. The number of actors who seem to reappear in his work suggests that  he forms lasting relationships with the talented people he encounters. Actors he met on Roseanne decades ago, like John Galecki, Sara Gilbert and Laurie Metcalf, as well as more recent discoveries like Christine Baranski, appear in his projects today. I suspect Chuck Lorre would be a good guy to hang out with.        

My depression is over, and I’m again ready to face the trials of late middle age. Cheer yourself up and binge watch The Kominsky Method, or watch the series more patiently if you are so inclined, and extend the enjoyment. It’s “Friends” for our generation.

“BOLLI MATTERS” feature writer Dennis Greene

Dennis spent five years as an engineer and then forty as a lawyer–and sixty as a pop culture geek and junkie.  He saw “The Day the Earth Stood Still” in 1951 when he was seven and has been hooked on speculative fiction ever since.  More recently, he’s been exercising his writing muscles–in the Writers Guild and as a member of the “BOLLI Journal” staff.