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Thank You, Cory Doctorow

The end of the year is always a time of reflection for me, of looking back over the past and thinking about the reasons to be grateful. One of the big things for me, and for my family, this past year was getting to meet Cory Doctorow in person.

I have been a fan of his for a number of years, ever since someone recommended that I read his novel “Little Brother.” I really wish I could remember who that was. After the first book, A Place So Foreign and Eight More, Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Eastern Standard Tribe, Makers and For The Win soon followed. But there was more.

While I still worked at Stardock, Zubaz and I found that we shared the pleasure of reading Cory’s stories. One night, I wrote Cory a note of thanks…and he responded! Almost immediately. I can’t tell you how cool I found that!

I couldn’t wait to tell my kids. One thing led to another and soon we all began to share and enjoy his works. (One day, if I am really lucky, my son will give me back my copy of Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town – at least that is my hope.)

Over the months and years, Cory and I have exchanged emails and I have included my kids in the correspondence. My reasons have been twofold- Cory is exactly the kind of person, with the kind of vision, that I think is important to share with your children; and it makes me seem marginally cooler, you know for a parental type figure, that I know him. Sort of. Which brings me to the next point.

This past September, I received a note that Cory would be speaking in Ann Arbor, as part of the Penny Stamps Lecture Series panel on Futurology. I emailed my daughter and we made plans to go. We both enjoyed the first part of the presentation, which was held in the Michigan Theater, a large space that filled up pretty much completely. But after that, there was a smaller session. We got to sit front row. I was wearing my best “Talk Nerdy to Me” t-shirt, a shirt I bought after reading Cory’s short story, “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth.”

Cory was signing books afterwards. When we came up with our copies of Little Brother (my daughter Lauren) andMakers (that was for me) I introduced myself and Lauren and Cory greeted us both warmly. He spoke with us and was a true gentleman.

As we were leaving, my daughter said to me “That was the coolest thing in my life.” I have to tell you, I walked the rest of the way slightly above the ground.

It is truly wonderful that there are still people so warm and so truly courteous in the world.

Teach Your Children Well

My daughter, Lauren Kuperman, turns 17 this month. She is a senior at Community High in Ann Arbor, applying to colleges and is ready to start taking on both the rights and responsibilities of adulthood. With that in mind, Lauren and I went to the Red Cross this morning to donate blood. Her first time, my 49th since coming to Michigan. Going today was her idea.

As I have mentioned in the past, Lauren attended Sunday School at the Ann Arbor Jewish Cultural School (JCS.) As part of her education and as a requirement to become a Bat Mitzvah, she had to perform at least 30 hours of community service. Like many of the kids at the JCS, she far exceeded that requirement. She has been performing Mitzvot as an integral part of her life, helping with the repair of the world, making the world a little bit better.

I am very proud of her, of what she does and the person that she has become. The kid just rocks.

When Abbie Met Jerry: Jewish Radicalism In the 1960s

The cultural revolution of the 1960s changed America forever. At the forefront of this revolution were two Jewish men, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. Learn how they met and what made two nice Jewish boys the radicals that they became.

View or download the full article in PDF format from:

When Abbie Met Jerry

Jews In Punk Music

This was originally presented on April 17th, 2011, two days after the 10th Anniversary of the death of Jeffry Ross Hyman, better known as lead singer Joey Ramone of The Ramones. Thousands of fans, including me, remember Joey as someone who touched our lives, who made us smile even during difficult times.

Punk rock grew out of the artistic endeavors of a number of Jewish pioneers. Drawing from Alan Ginsburg’s poem Howl and the comedy of Lenny Bruce, evolving into the music of Tuli Kupferberg and the Fugs, to early punk antecedents Lou Reed and The Dictators, Richard Hell and the Voidoids and Ramones created something magical. This traces their journey.

View or download the full article in PDF format from: Jews_In_Punk