Many of you have heard the term Phishing. And phishing works like this. You receive an email that looks like it came from a company you trust. Typically, it indicates that there is a problem with your account and asks you to click on a link to resolve it. Sometimes, it indicates that you have a gift waiting for you and asks you to click to receive it. Any time you receive an unsolicited email like this, you should be suspicious. Is it really from a site you can trust? Once you click on one of its links, it is too late. So, Message #1 is Do Not Click.
Kim Komando’s newsletter is free, and I recommend signing up to receive it.
John Rudy, a long time computer expert and guide, provides his helpful hints in this monthly BOLLI Matters feature. In the comment box below, provide questions on this month’s or any other computer/tech topic that you’d like to know more about in future Tech Talk articles.
We discover all sorts of interesting aspects as we get to know our BOLLI colleagues–who knew that John Rudy is not only a knowledgable “techie” but an accomplished “foodie” as well?! We at BOLLI Matters are pleased to introduce our new FOOD FEATURE–
When in Italy for our 20th anniversary (1988) we had Tiramisu, a tasty creamy dessert, made from dozens of different recipes–including Tiramisu ice cream! When we returned, we scoured the Italian cookbooks looking for a Tiramisu recipe but didn’t find anything that sounded right. Then, for our daughter’s Bat Mitzvot, we asked our caterer to make one. It was excellent, exactly what we wanted, but he refused to divulge any recipe details.
After continuing to look, in a casual way, over the years, we started to see tiramisu recipes, but, again, none were really quite right. So, I decided I’d try modifying a recipe I found–I omitted the wine and used sponge cake instead of lady fingers. I contacted a local gourmet shop to find the Mascarpone cheese. They asked if I was making Tiramisu. When I said “yes” and that I wasn’t happy with my recipe, the fellow said that he was teaching an Italian cooking course and would be teaching Tiramisu the following week. What follows is an amalgam of my recipe, his recipe, some things found in cookbooks, and a number of personal changes. There are hundreds of different recipes available. Many use brandy, Marsala wine or Amaretto, none of which taste right to me. Very few use chunks of chocolate.
Tiramisu has a cake portion (I use home-made sponge cake; traditionalists use lady fingers which are dry), a coffee-liquor mix, and a cheese mix. Make Tiramisu at least a day before so that it has time to sit. Remove it from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving.
The following is enough for a Pyrex 8”x8” pan plus a Pyrex 9”x14” pan. I use glass pans. It takes ~2½ hours to make this dessert. (If you want to use only the larger pan, use two-thirds of the following ingredients.)
8 Eggs, separated, at room temperature
2 cups Flour, sifted BEFORE measuring
2 cups Sugar, granulated
2 tsp. Vinegar, white (it causes the sponge cake to rise; but leaves no taste)
Beat egg whites in a large bowl until fluffy; slowly beat in sugar.
Separately, mix yolks and vinegar; beat slowly into whites.
Sift flour, then measure, and sift into batter while slowly beating the egg-sugar mixture.
Pour half of the mixture into the two pans. Do not flour or butter the pans. Pour the other half of the mixture into an11x17x1 cookie sheet, which has been lined with wax paper. This will later be used for the top layer. If you use a smaller pan, it will not cover both surfaces.
Bake at 350° for about 12-15 minutes, until a toothpick poked into the cake’s middle comes out clean. Do not be surprised if the pans take different amounts of time.
Cool the glass pans upside down so that the sponge cake does not shrink.
Soaking the Cake
2 cups Cold Coffee (the stronger the better)
¾ cup Crème de Cocoa (you could use another liquor)
As evenly as possible, pour half (or a bit less) into the two cake pans, onto the sponge cake. This will be the lower half of the cake. Save the remaining liquid.
24 oz Marscapone cheese. (room temp). Can use the microwave to soften but not for more than 15 seconds for an 8 oz container
6 Eggs, separated
8 oz Chocolate, bittersweet, coarsely chopped (Guittard semi- sweet Super Cookie Chips or Nestles Chunks work well).
2/3 cup Sugar, granulated
Beat egg whites until fluffy.
Whisk egg yolks in double boiler with very hot, but not boiling, water. Whisk in the sugar. Cook for a few minutes. Ensure that the yolks do not turn hard by whisking constantly.
Mix in the egg whites and then stir in the softened Marscopone cheese. This will be very tight in the double boiler! You may find it easier to add these ingredients to the larger egg-white bowl for blending, and then return the mixture to the double boiler for about 5 minutes.
I use the extra large chocolate pieces for chocolate chip cookies and might chop some pieces. Fold the chocolate into to the mixture and remove from the heat. Otherwise the chocolate will melt. Or could sprinkle the chocolate after pouring the cheese mixture.
Spread the cheese mixture over the soaked sponge cake.
Finishing it off
1 pint Cream, whipping (beat cold, in cold bowl)
¼ cup Sugar, granulated
1 tsp Cocoa, un-sweetened (can use regular cocoa or flaked chocolate)
Take the waxed paper off the other piece of sponge cake and cut it so that it fits over the cheese mixture in the two pans.
Pour the remaining coffee-liquor mixture over the cakes so that it soaks in.
Whip the cream and sugar and, using a rubber spatula, spread over the two cakes covering any cracks in the sponge cake and also keeping in the moisture. Use a sponge to clean the edges.
Sprinkle the cocoa over the cakes for decoration. This is done most easily by putting the cocoa into a fine-mesh sieve and tapping the sides while moving it over the cake. Use a sponge to wipe the sides of the pans, removing any extra whipped cream and cocoa. Cover carefully with Glad Wrap
Let sit, covered, refrigerated, for at least 24 hours before serving. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving. This dessert can be frozen
It should really be covered, but plastic wrap can damage the top. Sometimes I just put wax paper over it–it is usually eaten before it dries out.
This month, Liz David reflects upon having had to make an important decision…one that many of us have either had to make or may face in the coming years. As always, she shares her experience with warmth and sensitivity.
By Liz David
When I was pregnant with our fourth child, Ted, in 1969, Barry and I
bought a piece of land south of Plymouth in Manomet. It was a ¼ acre lot on a bluff overlooking Cape Cod Bay. We could see, seemingly forever, from the sweep of the Cape at Plymouth to PTown.
We built a Stanmar four-bedroom house with floor to ceiling glass sliders facing the view. It was an easy to maintain, efficient second home. Facing the water, a small grassy area led to a flight of seventy-seven stairs. Standing on the landing looking down and across the view, it felt like we could take flight!
In Manomet, the coastline is rugged–with sand, pebbles, rocks, shells, boulders, forlorn broken lobster traps and buoys. Oh, and don’t forget the seaweed. Ted collected buoys which were hung around the house on the deck.
In 1972, our fifth child was born, and our family was complete: four sons and a daughter–Jon, Larry, Marc, Ted, and Betsy. I told Barry I would not be a weekend wife, and he agreed, arriving in time for dinner most nights, braving the traffic from his office in Waltham.
We did what most families do at the beach. We sunbathed, swam, boated, entertained guests, entertained guests, and entertained guests. We had a permanent guest for about 7 years–my mother, Violet.
As time went by, the children grew up. Imagine that! Barry and I decided to sell the house and look for another in the same general area. We didn’t want to have to deal with the Sagamore Bridge traffic to get to our 2nd home. We thought that maybe, just maybe we would find a home to retire to. After about a year, we found just the place in Ellisville, South of Manomet. Ellisville was originally a Native American settlement used for fishing and farming, and, later, for many years, it was a fishing village with an inlet that provided safe harbor.
I knew when we approached the house and sat in the car at the top of the driveway that this was the place. We could see through the windows of the house that it had an expansive view overlooking a marsh that stretched out to the sea. It was–and, of course, still is–breathtaking. The house became a home in ways that the first house did not, at least in appearance. It was built for permanence. The bedroom was my favorite room. We could see the sunrise and the moonglow from the bed. I told Barry, “this is where I want to die.”
Well, it’s not where I’m going to die because the second home in Ellisville became too much to manage, and we decided to sell rather than move so far away from our family. Ted, who was born in 1969, is now 47 and lives in Lincoln with his precious family–his wife Nandini and daughters Maya, Mira and Lakshmi. That is the best reason for staying put!
I wrote the following poem shortly after the sale.
AFTER THE SALE
With Recognition to Edna St. Vincent Millay
With my eyes closed I see the sea Soft waves undulating toward the shore Sails flapping, ships calmly traveling in the distance
Closer by – the breeze brushes the marsh grass
Soft green in Summer Rust in Autumn Dull gray as Winter sets in
Herons stretch their graceful necks
Egrets step daintily – feeding Swans a swimming – regal, aloof Crows perched in the trees – calling in conversation
And the hummingbirds fluttering in their perennial dance
With my eyes closed let me pretend That the rustle of the leaves in the wind in Sudbury Is the sound of the sea in Ellisville
Liz says…Years ago, when we were in our 40’s, my husband and I bought a sundial with the saying “grow old along with me–the best is yet to be.” I’m not sure whether or not I believed it then, and I’m wondering whether I believe it now. Stay tuned.
One way for us to meet each other is by sharing what’s on our minds with the BOLLI community as a whole. So, here’s the beginning of a BOLLI Matters “What’s On Your Mind?” feature–Sandy Miller-Jacobs recently wrote this piece for Marjorie Roemer’s memoir writing class, “Constructing Our Stories,” in which the prompt was for us to focus on a “refrain” from some point in our younger years. Sandy took a political turn with this one, and we all felt that, with an inauguration coming up, we might all be interested in what’s been on her mind.
“The Times They Are A-Changing”
by Sandy Miller-Jacobs
On January 20, 1960 our grandfatherly US President Eisenhower turned the office over to the young, handsome, and dynamic President John F. Kennedy. It was snowing hard, and, much to my delight, it was a snow day! For the first time, I watched, with my mother, the whole inauguration on TV. Robert Frost read a poem right from the same podium from which Kennedy would take his oath. Kennedy did not wear a coat or hat despite the cold and stood right where Robert Frost had been to deliver his inaugural address. His words struck me. “The torch has been passed to a new generation.” He may have thought he was talking to his generation, but I knew he was talking to MY generation. The Class of ’63 at Valley Stream North High became Kennedy fans, following his every word. Throughout the rest of our high school days, we watched all his press conferences and talked about them for days after. We were sure Khrushchev would not start a nuclear war, and we were right.
We were “the Baby Boomers” and proud of it. Our rock and roll songs were played on the radio. We watched American Bandstand and learned new ways of dancing. Our music became our voice, bonding us to the issues of our day – civil rights and, eventually, anti-war protest. In September of 1963, I began my studies at Queens College of the City University of New York. Paul Simon, who had just graduated in June, performed at our freshman orientation. He sang “He was my brother,” a song he wrote and dedicated to his classmate and friend at QC, Andrew Goodman, who was killed because he wanted Negroes to have the same rights he did – the right to vote, to sit anywhere on a bus or in a restaurant. “The times they were a-changing,” and the older, white Southern generation didn’t like it one bit.
But we loved it. These songs were about the good my generation was bringing to the US and the world. It was about civil rights, the rights of all Americans. Somehow, Dylan’s song that opened his concert at Carnegie Hall in October of 1963 put it all in perspective:
Come mothers and fathers Throughout the land And don’t criticize What you can’t understand Your sons and your daughters Are beyond your command Your old road is rapidly aging Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand ‘Cause the times they are a changing
Yet last month, after so many months of vicious words, of bullying, of misogyny, of fear-mongering against immigrants and Muslims, and veiled anti-Semitism, Donald Trump became the US President-elect. Yes, “The Times They Are A Changing,” but this isn’t the sixties with hopes of peace.
Bob Dylan, our silent winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, why didn’t you have a song for us now? Instead, you left us “Blowing in the Wind.”
MEET MEMBER SANDY MILLER-JACOBS is a relatively new member of the BOLLI community, having joined after her retirement from Fitchburg State University where she taught in the Department of Special Education.
At BOLLI, she has been “reviving” a long interest in photography and has been an active member of the Photo Group.
GETTING BETTER USE OUT OF YOUR PRINTER (and Using Less Paper)
Today, people are concerned about the amount of ink used to print large documents because ink costs more than the printer itself. Here are some tips for saving ink. (Note that not all of these fonts may be available to you.)
Avoid printing in color unless you really need color. See #3 for directions.
2. Only use BOLD when you need it; it uses a lot more ink
When you print a document, you have the option to print it in DRAFT. Depending on the operating system/version and your printer, there are a number of ways to control this. After you click on Print, go to Printer Properties. Then go to Paper Quality and click on Draft. Also click on Black and White, not color.
Not all fonts use the same amount of ink. My favorite font is Arial because it is so clean and easy to read. But Times New Roman uses 27% less ink. Calibri and Century Gothic are also good. Here, in large letters, is a comparison using 24 point type so it is readable:
This article is written in 12 point type (except for the examples above). I use 12 point because I find it to be readable with my 71 year old eyes, but you might consider 14 point when printing for seniors or 10 point where you want to reduce the number of pages. Just going to 11.5 point saves about 5% of your ink.
When you print, look at the default margin you are using. You have considerable flexibility. For example: 1” on all sides gives you a 6.5” x 9” area (58.5 square inches). Using a ½” margin gives you a 7.5” by 10” or 75 square inches or 28% more space per page
On occasion you have a document that goes just over a page. There are also options to “shrink to fit” as well as other approaches.
In Word documents, you have the ability to specify whether you want double space, 1.5 space, or single space between lines. But you can even make it tighter, like .9 space. Going to “paragraph,” you have this option and can alter it either for the whole document or for portions of it.
I have noticed that when people respond to emails, they retain the whole previous string. In most cases, that can/should be deleted. This is particularly important if you only want to print the beginning.
Be careful to print only the pages you want. The other day, I needed to print the confirmation of theatre tickets I had bought. Without thinking, I printed the whole thing; three pages. But I really only needed the beginning. It is a good idea to print only those pages you want. A similar thing happened when I printed a journal paper. The first 4 pages were the bibliography.
Taking just a little more time to select your printer options with a bit more care can save ink (and money!) in the long run.
John, a long time computer expert and guide, provides his helpful hints in this monthly BOLLI Matters feature. In the comment box below, provide questions on this item or any other computer/tech topic that you’d like to know more about in future Tech Talk articles.
He held my hand walking through the parking lot. It’s been awhile since a male over the age of seven has held my hand like that. Arthur is a gentleman, raised in Europe with very traditional values. He is the husband of my best friend Doris.
He is peaceful on this sunny day as we follow his wife to a doctor’s appointment. On this first day of my vacation, I don’t notice much of a change in him since my visit three months ago. That was a very emotional visit, as Doris was having radiation on her nose, and worrying about the impact of her personal health on his care.
Doris and I worked together for over ten years but did not become close friends until they were preparing to leave Massachusetts for a new life in Florida. We bonded over the care of her mother and her transition into an assisted living facility, a mirror of my activities the year before.
Thank you, Jet Blue, for your daily flights from Worcester to Orlando.
The three of us love good food and people watching. We get both as we sample the small restaurants within the Orlando area code. None of us like large, noisy restaurants. He loves shrimp and grits and has a quick nap on the couch when we get home. We eat Cajun, Chinese, pub food at a local brewery, and Cuban sandwiches in the village of Lake Dora.
My days here are peaceful, their lifestyle becomes mine. I am mindful of and thankful for the pace of this household. There is no television during the day. There are no newspapers. We admire the gardens, especially the ones with Birds of Paradise in bloom, begonias the size of dinner plates, and citrus trees that will provide free fruit during their winter months.
Walking the dog after dinner, Arthur will speak Portuguese; sundowning, for him, is using his primary language even when his body is in 21st century America. Arthur followed Doris to America from the Azores when she was 17. He worked in technology until eight years ago, when alcohol and diabetes disabled him. The diagnosis of vascular dementia came three years ago.
He sweeps the driveway during the day and remembers the acorns that he would shovel at their former home in Massachusetts. He may speak of their two sons who still live back here, but it is not a spontaneous conversation. On Sunday afternoon when we watch the Patriots game, Arthur does not mention Billy or Kevin, as that would dull his focus on the mechanics of the game.
If we are traveling late in the day, Arthur has problems with the seat belt in the back seat. Gentleman that he is, he has ushered me into the front seat, next to Doris; perhaps that disconnect results in the frustration with a seat belt that he is not familiar with.
We are running errands in preparation for Hurricane Matthew, the day before my flight home. We have watched the Weather Channel together, and Arthur understands that there is a big storm coming. He segues into Portuguese at lunch time. Doris and I wonder if that is an unconscious fear of the storm or because the barometer is changing rapidly. She will research that after the storm has passed.
Doris and I have an intense conversation that night. She is ready for the storm; their safe room is a walk-in closet with bedding, batteries, food, and water. I ask how she will get him to leave the master bedroom on the other side of the lanai. She says that it will be a simple matter of telling him that she is afraid of the storm. He will he protect her (and the dog) during the night.
A tranquil look appears on her face, “I’ve got my boyfriend back, ” she says, “and he is a good man.”
And so it is.
Lydia’s writing for our blog has been evolving in nature and style since we hit the internet. “Lines from Lydia,” as her column is now called, features her thoughts, memories, experiences, and concerns about everyday life–to which we can all, of course, quite easily relate. Her easy going nature is clearly visible in her work!
Years ago, Tamara Chernow, Eileen Mitchell, and I planned and organized docent-led tours of many different museums located in the area. Lunch was always included, and sometimes buses were provided as well. These outings were very popular for social as well as educational reasons. It was a huge job, and I guess you could say we “wore out.” Eventually, though, it seemed to be something worth bringing back to life. The result? Hidden Gems, the very first “off site” BOLLI course designed to tap into the rich cultural community we enjoy here in the Boston area.
This term, participants in our five-week Hidden Gems course traveled to museums with excellent docents who expanded upon the readings that the group read preceding their visits. But the first meeting of the course took place at 60 Turner Street when Nancy Alimansky provided our introductory lecture. She really set the stage for the course, offering us tips on how to “access” pieces of art. She focused on aspects of contemporary and modern art, providing slides and referring to the greatest of these artists. She even referred to the wonderful photographs hanging in the Blue Room, executed by our own artists and available to us all the time. Nancy clearly knows and loves her subject, making her the perfect example of what makes a good teacher.
After that wonderful opening session, we embarked on our visits to the Addison Gallery at Andover Academy, the Fuller Craft Museum, the Davis Museum on the Wellesley College campus, and Brandeis’ own Rose Gallery. Lenore Goldstein, Anne Walker, Joyce Plotkin, and Diane Winkelman have provided some details about each of our visits to these gems.
AT THE ADDISON GALLERY OF AMERICAN ART
By Lenore Goldstein
The Addison Gallery of American art was created by alumnus Thomas Cochran “to enrich permanently the lives of the students of Phillips Academy.” The Gallery is a teaching resource as well as an art center for the students and faculty of the Academy, for other students, teachers and scholars and for the general public. Its collection of more than 17000 objects of American art dating from the 18th century to the present is one of the most comprehensive in the world.
Our BOLLI class visited two exhibits—“Manzanar: Photographs by Ansel Adams” and “Eye on the Collection: Fall, 2016.” We were led by a terrific docent who gave us insight into many of the pieces in the museum’s collection. But it is the Manzanar exhibit that stays with me.
Manzanar was one of the War Relocation Centers during World War II. The purpose of Adams’s photographs was to provide propaganda showing that the Japanese (who, for the most part, were American citizens) suffered a great injustice but created a vital community within the Relocation Center in the desert. Most of his photographs were of happy, productive families engaging in happy, productive activities. That upset me. I understood Adams’ motive, but I couldn’t put behind me that the Japanese were prisoners who had been kicked out of their homes, lost their jobs, their possessions, their lives. And of course I thought of the Holocaust.
This museum has so much to offer. Opening this week is an exhibit called “The Deception of Perception.” It focuses on distortion and ambiguity in photography. This “Hidden Gem” is well worth a trip to Andover.
THE FULLER CRAFT MUSEUM
By Anne Walker; photos by Hannah Delfiner
Who knew? Wonders abound in the Metrowest, and I barely knew it! For instance, Brockton has one of the very few museums devoted entirely to “work of the hand.”
Fuller Craft Museum was an eye- opening experience. From the ultra-edgy “Steam Punk” installations to an appealing gift shop, it is a marvelous surprise. Gorgeous, satiny finishes on contemporary furniture, sensuous wood-grained bowls and platters, books recycled into expertly detailed hand-cut constructions were a source of unexpected delight as well.
One of the most surprising aspects of the Fuller Craft museum is that it is sited on a beautiful lake with walking trails and an outdoor collection of sculptures which we must see in the spring!
THE DAVIS MUSEUM AT WELLESLEY COLLEGE
by Joyce Plotkin with gallery photos byHannah Delfiner
Our trip to the Davis Museum at Wellesley College was timed beautifully – just after a three-year transformation of the galleries was completed – which enabled the Museum to double the number of art works on display. The Davis, opened in 1993, was designed by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo, winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, and features art objects from antiquity to the modern day.
We started in the basement of the museum and first saw an exhibit titled Partners in Design: Alfred Barr and Philip Johnson. Barr, who taught the first undergraduate art course in modern art at Wellesley College, and Johnson, Museum of Modern Art’s first curator of architecture, together were responsible for bringing modernism to North America in the form of the German Bauhaus movement which concentrated on stripping down objects to their simplest form (with no ornamentation) and focused on rational and functional design. The exhibit contains furniture from both Barr’s and Johnson’s apartments including a cantilevered chair that, when viewed at a particular angle, looks like it is floating on air.
Also on display were examples of kitchen and household objects stemming from the movement that was active in the 1920’s and early 30’s but was ultimately shut down by the Communists. It was interesting to me to see this phase of Philip Johnson’s work, as my husband and I recently saw, in Madrid, the Gate of Europe towers –the first inclined skyscrapers in the world – designed by Johnson and another colleague and completed in 1996. It was described by our tour guide as a building that typified the architecture of the future.
Our second stop was the top floor of the museum which hosted the most recent works of art in a beautifully re-decorated, very inviting, high-ceilinged gallery with natural light pouring in from the skylights above. As we entered the gallery, we were met by a terrific Alexander Calder mobile hanging from the ceiling and wandered through the fifth floor gallery observing a pairing of great paintings by Jackson Pollock and his wife Lee Krasner, interesting representative works by female artists Grandma Moses, Helen Frankenthaler and Louise Nevelson, a boldly colored Andy Warhol sculpture of Brillo and Campbell soup boxes as well as wonderful offerings by Picasso, de Kooning, and many others. Personally, what delighted me beyond the wonderful art was the fact that the Museum featured the works of numerous women. I hope the museum continues and expands the trend of acquiring and displaying works of art by women.
Since we did not have time to see the whole museum during our class time, my husband and I went back to the Davis two days after this visit to see all of the exhibits. We were delighted with the European and American exhibits and definitely recommend the Davis as an interesting destination for other BOLLI members.
THE HIDDEN GEM IN OUR OWN BACK YARD:
THE ROSE GALLERY
by Diane Winkelman
BOLLI’s new “Hidden Gems” class ended with the jewel in our own back yard. We were treated to a curator/docent led tour of the exhibits currently on view at the Rose. Learning about contemporary art with a curator who had recently come from the Museum of Modern Art in New York was extraordinary. Our initial view of the museum was of David Reed’s painting – from afar and then close up. The experiences were dramatically different. We learned about his use of paint to create large dramatic canvases that had never been seen all together in one room until this show at the Rose.
Each gallery had a show by a different artist. Sarah Sze’s: Timekeeper combined sculpture, installation art, and painting to produce a visually fascinating statement about time and perception.
Do go and explore the rest. If you get fatigued in museums, don’t forget to rest in Mark Dion’s room installation ” The Undisciplined Collector” … a permanent room installation that might make you feel right at home.
The BOLLI Journal committee hosted its first lunchtime program on Monday. November 14th—a literary and artistic “salon” in the spirit of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. We drank alcohol-free bubbly and indulged in cheese and crackers, brownies and grapes as we explored the creative process and its place in the BOLLI Program. Steve Goldfinger’s poetry (below left), Barbara Jordan’s photos and paintings (middle with Marjorie Roemer), and Jane Kay’s (right with Margie Arons-Barron) tale of a lovingly remembered childhood icon, a blue glass slipper, delighted the audience. Listening to each of these creative BOLLI members answer questions from Marjorie Roemer, Sue Wurster, and Margie Arons-Barron brought into focus the way in which BOLLI members change and grow as they explore and develop new talents within the BOLLI environment.
Thanks to all who came and participated. We look forward to many more such programs and invite all of our BOLLI members to become involved with the next Journal issue. Please submit your poetry, fiction, non-fiction, photos, and art to the Journal – submissions open from now until June of 2017. In the spirit of sharing, we include the brownie recipe–not from the Toklas’ cookbook and with no hidden ingredients. In fact, the recipe includes no leavening agents at all!
Grease and flour a 9 x 12” pan preheat oven to 350 in saucepan, melt two sticks of butter and one 4 oz package unsweetened chocolate remove from heat beat in two cups of sugar and one teaspoon vanilla beat in four eggs mix in one cup of all-purpose flour fold in one package semi-sweet chocolate bits pour into prepared pan bake until done (about 25 minutes, depending upon your oven) cool on rack and try not to eat them all at one sitting.
Possible variations on this recipe are endless. Any kind of chocolate chips will do. Try adding a fruit cup mix at holiday time. Nuts. Almond flavoring.
Maxine Weintraub, who heads the 2018 BOLLI Journal committee as editor, is no stranger to arts and letters magazines. She is a regular contributor to The Goose River Anthology and has produced two volumes of her short stories.
Every now and then, Abby opts for a “sextet of shorts” instead of her more in-depth “trios” of reviews. Here is her first eclectic batch.
BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK
A brilliant novel about war that takes place far from the field of battle at the annual Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day football game, the culmination of a “victory tour” for a squad of young grunts whose heroic actions in Iraq have made them a marketable commodity to drum up support for the war. Hilariously skewers the culture of instant celebrity, politics, patriotism and power, and poignantly conveys the senselessness of sending young men to war. Five stars. (Ang Lee’s movie version arrives in theaters this week.)
THE WOMAN UPSTAIRS
Nora Eldridge is angry. How angry? “You don’t want to know,” she tells us in the opening line of this searing psychological study. Four years ago, she was finally shedding the Nora who was “the good friend, good daughter, good teacher, doormat….Miss Nobody Nothing…” to become more fully alive, the artist and special person she always knew herself to be. She was brought to this euphoric but precarious state by falling in love with (pushing her way into? getting ensnared by?) a family: a glamorous, recognized artist, her professor husband, and their beautiful eight-year-old son. Could it possibly end well? A novel that grabs you and won’t let go.
THE LAST REPORT ON THE MIRACLES AT LITTLE NO HORSE
In 1912, Agnes DeWitt adopts the cassock and persona of a Catholic priest who drowns en route to his missionary post in remote North Dakota. For almost a century, Agnes binds her breasts and, as Father Damien, lives a “sincere lie,” ministering to the Ojibwe people she comes to see as her own. This novel, written in 2001, is the sixth in the series that began with Love Medicine in 1984 and features many of the same members of the Ojibwe clans in the earlier books as well as Louise Erdrich’s elegant, lyrical prose and mix of realism, fable, and humor. The devotion and passion (both earthly and spiritual) of Agnes/Damien hold it all together, despite some sluggish patches in the Ojibwe stories, and make this an emotionally affecting novel.
ONCE UPON A RIVER
Bonnie Jo Campbell
After she is raped by her uncle and her father is killed, teen-aged Margo Crane takes to the (fictional) Stark River in rural Michigan to look for the mother who abandoned her several years earlier and to find out how to live. Margo is a crack shot, knows every bend in the river, lives off the land and is sometimes treated well and sometimes badly by the men she meets. Beautifully written, especially if you enjoy description of the natural world and wilderness survival tales, which I don’t. I was more interested in Margo than in how to skin a muskrat, but I was interested enough in Margo to enjoy this book more than I expected to.
This critically acclaimed debut novel has no plot to propel it forward, just the ruminations of the solitary and possibly unreliable narrator – a young Nigerian-born psychiatrist – on identity, art, literature, music, death and more as he wanders the streets of Manhattan and has occasional interactions with friends and strangers, most of them immigrants like himself. Beautiful prose, with crystalline descriptions of the city and crisp sketches of people. Surprisingly compelling.
THE RADETZKY MARCH
Written in 1932 by Joseph Roth, the under-appreciated Austrian-Jewish writer who died young of alcoholism in Paris a few years later, The Radetzky March depicts the waning of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the years before World War I. It begins in 1859, at the Battle of Solferino, when a peasant-born lieutenant saves the life of the young Kaiser, Franz Joseph I, and is rewarded with elevation to the nobility. The novel follows successive generations of the now-aristocratic von Trotta family into the bureaucracy and the military and into eventual disillusionment that parallels the collapse of the Empire. Roth’s prose evokes a lost world on every page, not as nostalgic reverie but with a portrayal of the deadly effects of the monarchy on its subjects of all classes and with vivid, detailed descriptions of everything from the landscape to village life to an old man’s cuffs. Brilliant.
Abby is a lifelong book nut who retired from a forty-year computer software career in 2007 and ticked an item off her bucket list by going to work in a bookstore. She is a native New Yorker who moved to Boston recently 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.
At BOLLI, we seem to have a host of members who enjoy good mysteries. So, when I discovered that Marilyn Brooks writes a blog in which she reviews mysteries old and new, I went right for it–and it is, of course, terrific…as is Marilyn herself!
MEET MEMBER MARILYN BROOKS
I’ve always been a reader, starting with Nancy Drew (my favorite, of course) and going on to Cherry Ames and Sue Barton. The last two are nurses, but there were always mysteries in the novels. I think I find mysteries so satisfying because there’s a definite plot to follow, a storyline that has to make sense to be successful. And, of course, there’s always the fun of trying to guess the ending!
I don’t collect in that I don’t buy first editions or valuable books, but I do have a couple of hundred mysteries in my house. Since I started writing my blog more than six years ago, publishers have even been sending me books to review, so I’ve been gratefully adding those to my bookshelves.
My husband Bob and I, both originally from Brooklyn, have been living in Needham for forty-six years. We have two grown sons, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. I was the academic administrator for the Latin American and Latino Program at Brandeis for seventeen years, retiring in 2010.
Our older son Rich, who owns a web site design and social media company in Portland, Maine, kept saying I should start a blog because I read non-stop. I countered by saying that I could not imagine why anyone would care what I thought. He countered by saying that I knew more about mysteries than anyone he knew. Eventually, he convinced me, and I reluctantly started blogging. Turns out I love doing it.
I should add that, after a couple of years of blogging, my husband suggested contacting the author of each book I covered, letting him/her know about the review. I started doing that, and I’ve been amazed by the positive responses I’ve had from authors, ranging from first-time writers to those who’ve been writing for decades. Some have even linked to my blog from their Facebook pages or Twitter accounts. Those letters, plus the excitement of getting new books from various publishers, add to the pleasure I get from writing a weekly blog.
I joined BOLLI in 2010, shortly after I retired from Brandeis. Since then, I’ve taken two courses each semester and have also taken several winter/summer seminars–they’ve all been stimulating and enjoyable; I’ve learned so much on so many topics. The SGLs have been uniformly excellent, and I’m always impressed by the knowledge that my classmates have on a wide variety of subjects.