July 15, 2018


My friend L is embarking on the unenviable task of clearing out her late father's estate and getting his house ready to sell. I remember this unpleasant task well, as my brother and I did it six years ago when our younger brother died unexpectedly.

With Arnie's death, I joined a cohort of friends who have a sibling who died tragically young from a freak boating accident, a drunk driver, a suicide or the Viet Nam war. What strikes me is how raw and exposed our grief is, no matter how much time has passed or how distant or close we were to our brother or sister.

K's older brother died in 1967 in Viet Nam and although we met in our 20s and she is now in her 60s, that horrible occurrence seems to simmer just below the surface, occasionally boiling over when the topic turns to history or politics. 

The weekend when I found out about Arnie plays in a constant loop in my head, like a film that unspools in real time. "I have so many questions, all unanswerable," I say to L when she asks me about Arnie. She, like many of my old friends, remembers him as a 10- or 12-year-old, a kid compared to me, almost twelve years older. Arnie and I didn't grow up together, our paths merely intersected occasionally. But that doesn't make it any easier.

I am currently reading Calypso by David Sedaris. He mentioned his sister Tiffany a lot in his previous books: she took her own life in 2013 leaving five grieving siblings. He addresses family, death and grief in this book with his usual misanthropy and drollery. It is cathartic to read. Sedaris is so erudite and clever that my own conflicted feelings are mirrored back to me brilliantly.

What seems clear is this. The agony of loss never goes away. I remember at Arnie's funeral thinking, "at every future family gathering as I long as I will live, we will acknowledge him." We knew and loved our brother and during my lifetime that fact will be ever-present, a prism through which I will always look at the world.

May 11, 2018

Interview (video)

Hart and Jeff participated in an interview about group home living.

Jeff and Hart talk about voting

When asked if people could make you do things you did not want to do. Hart said, “No, and I’m over my time.”

March 28, 2018

Pre-birthday dinner (photo)

Jeff at Storylab, March 2018

It all started when I was eight. That was the year of mischief.

First thing we did was at Bakers Square in Wilmette. It was boring, the grownups were talking too much. So we left, sneakily. We ran to the highway. We snuck through the park. First thing we did was smash someone’s van. We thought it was funny.

A few weeks later, we decided to go out together again. I said Hey Hart, there are two shiny objects at the school near Central Park. I said, let’s get some rocks and throw them at the window. We broke the window with the rocks. We took the trophies and ran home. We tried to climb through the kitchen window. We stood on the Cozy Coupe and climbed in. We got in but mom heard the noise and got mad. She had to call the fuzz.

The next incident was when me and Hart decided to go out again with no clothes. It was warm out. Mom was sound asleep. Dad was already gone. We didn’t make a sound, we tip toed out. We snuck out to find a new place to live. That didn’t go well. What happened was, we were walking carrying blankets and stuffed animals. We made it to a school. Then someone saw us and said why are you not at home. It is 3 in the morning. He lured us into the school with snacks and gave us some clothes. He asked our names and phone number and called mom. That’s how we got back to the house. Mom was not too happy.

Now I am 24. That was kind of stupid to do all this stuff in the first place, It cost money and caused people worry and caused damage. It was funny at the time, but now I realize it was not too funny. If I still did things like that, I would be in jail.

September 2017, cabaret conference in Paris, CABARET at OCC (photos)

Deborah Goode

Monet's garden, Monmarte

Pernille Jespersen
Performing in Paris
So What!

It Couldn't Please Me More, "The Pineapple Song"
"Sailors, all the time, in, out, in, out!"


June 16, 2017

New friend, Phantom

My new collar, Like it? It matches my fur and my eyes.

First day home. June 8, 2017

I claim this chair as mine!

Phantom is two years old, and was temporarily housed in the cat adoption area of Petsmart. He was offered for adoption by the Anti-Cruelty Society.

December 12, 2016

More Car News

I don't want to go to the auto show this year. I have my own auto show in my bedroom.

_________________________  Jeff