* I can hear my Uncle Val telling me from beyond the grave — “Keep your bowels open and your mouth shut!” He was a communist. The Fords are genetically attracted to marginal unpopular conspiracy theories because they prove to us that we’re smarter than everyone else.
* When I last traveled (in 2000) to Australia on my family’s dime, I had a more inflated view of myself. At age 34, it was possible to believe I was the great man. At age 48, self-importance is harder to maintain in the face of mounting failures.
* There’s a Jew –former kibbutznik — where I’m going down under, but she’s married to a non-Jew and has kids and I’m told it would be a bit weird to call her up when I arrive and say shalom. Yet, I’m making a list of Jews to call for when the moshiach comes and I want to add her to the list.