I read 15 books in the summer quarter, possibly a record (one of them was novella length, and one was a clunker, which kind of even out). …

I came to love Talking Heads tangentially and like many things it involved a girl. A classmate who loved Talking Heads was funny, snarky and post-punk before that was a thing, and only went to hear a particular club band because their repertoire included “Life During Wartime.” …

I hate Labor Day. What should be a three day weekend to celebrate the end of a summer has, since my tween years, been a phase change, a boundary condition, and a time of hesitant reflection. In this year of multiple crises, I hate Labor Day for failing to do what it’s done the past five decades: mark a return to schedules and a semblance of normalcy. Rationalizing why my relationship with the first holiday of the fall suffers from a split personality requires explaining my calendar visualization.

I saw my first academic calendar approaching first grade, the first student in a newly constructed school in growing suburb. The Miracle Mets would win the World Series in that fall of 1969, in an afternoon game that were allowed to watched on a black and white TV classroom. Since that elementary linking of sports and the academic year, I have always visualized the calendar as two rows of six months, with September through February on top and March to August on the bottom. The top row is structured and measured and more dark than light; the bottom is possibility, fun, and powered by live music in an outdoor amphitheater or pouring out of a car window. The fall and winter first half — always the first half of the year, like car models rolling over before the date change — is marked by national scale family celebrations and timed sports. Hockey, basketball and school schedules set the clocks for us, and yet you see progress, a countdown of days til Christmas or Opening Day or the last seconds of the year that was. …


Hal Stern

By day: CIO for R&D at a drug company. Scalable computing, data privacy, performance. Non-day: husband, parent, phan, bass player, ice hockey coach