Here's the famous Ruml turkey sandwich, developed over many years. Reading from the bottom: Pepperidge Farm Seeded Rye lightly toasted, gravy, hard-boiled egg slices, emmenthal cheese, turkey white meat, cranberry jelly, ultra-crisp thick bacon, broiled dressing, gravy, toast.
This just in! (May 11)
Finally . . . I've managed to get the blog from last summer's five-week Vespa tour around the Netherlands and Belgium up. Find it here!
Current Projects (May 2019)
I've been distracted lately with the task of putting our house in order. I need to deaccession at least half of the remaining books, the vast majority of the CDs, an even greater proportion of the VHS tapes (and how will I view the remaining ones?), and so on. It's a struggle.
Nonetheless, I've been keeping up in two HILR courses (fiction about terrorism and a terrific music appreciation survey) and not keeping up in the undergraduate course Economic Justice covering Nozick and Rawls; the lectures are uniformly mediocre. Again, the Extension School course I enrolled in was truly abysmal: an instructor who knows how to demonstrate but not how to teach ("See what happens when I push this button! Would you like me to do it again?")
In another week, I hope to return to the major task of learning the latest and greatest web application framework (vue.js) so that I can continue on my quest to write an app which will allow the user to easily create a history timeline (example).
We plan to slow down a bit this summer with only our usual one-week trip to Rome and another multi-week tour around Modena, Parma and the adjoining countryside. We're particulary excited about a planned trip to Poland in August to see Warsaw and Gdansk with the guidance of Tomasz Cienkowski, the delightful Harvard freshman for whom we've been the international host family this year. It turns out that a major Hans Memling alterpiece was captured by a Hanseatic League pirate as it was on its way to Italy and remains today in Gdansk, so seeing that will be a thrill!
I've been a member of the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement since 2009. It's a group of 550 superannuated folks who put on courses (sample catalog) for each other. It's been a tremendous stimulus for me to pursue the intellectual history I was unable to study at Harvard College (they didn't teach it). Of course, if you really want to learn something, teach it!
I'm thinking about my next course which would be Six Things We Know That Ain't So including body/soul dualism and that human beings act rationally (the basis for classical economics).
- 2009: Religious Literacy, a bible survey;
- 2011: Religious Literacy (again);
- 2015: An Intellectual History of Judaism and Christianity;
- 2017: The Bible and Modern Scholarship;
- 2017: The Golden Age of Rock and Roll;
- 2018: The Fruits of Monotheism, with an oh-so-cool falling title!
Undergraduate Courses Online
Ever since the advent of Open Yale Courses it's been painfully clear that Harvard fails in its mission by not recording undergraduate courses for free viewing on the web. So I collaborated with Prof Shaye Cohen, a wonderful teacher, to put his two undergraduate courses online without any Harvard participation beyond permitting the final product to appear on the Harvard iTunesU channel.
- The Hebrew Scriptures in Judaism and Christianity (iTunesU). Over 12,000 viewers have watched all 25 lectures (the equivalent of teaching a course in Sanders Theater for ten years).
- The Hebrew Bible (iTunesU; for laptops).
Summer Vespa Touring
Deb and I have spent the past eight summers touring Europe from the family villa near Lucca on our 300cc Vespa. (scroll down for photo).
Here are the travel blogs we’ve done over the years:
Our food blog is here and an aging collection of favorite recipes is here but here are some specialities of the house:
I'm a hugh fan of olive bread, but nothing I can buy has enough olives (I guess the olives are a lot more expensive than flour). The solution has been to use Jim Lahey's no-knead bread recipe with about 3 cups of chopped olives to make the ideal loaf.
This is the tart we make at the villa during cherry season. Exactly the same recipe as for our classic blueberry tart; the cherries come from the nearby town of Vignola, considered the best source for cherries in Italy.