Some Thoughts on the Massive Texas Energy Fiasco/Freezeout/Blackout/Lenten Season/Days of Atonement of Cold February 2021

Rosemary on ice, for remembrance

As you may have heard, because apparently the stupidity, ignorance, greed and evil ways of the people in charge of the state of Texas has (not for the first time) become international news, in mid-February large parts of the state were hit with a huge arctic air mass resulting in significant snow, ice, and sub-freezing temperatures for an extended period that nobody, but nobody, was prepared for. Oh, except there was ample advance warning from meteorologists that the Republican ESIIC (Evil, Selfish Ignoramuses in Charge)…


Here are some odd blocks of text that don’t seem to fit anywhere else and I’m tired of dumping everything I think of on Twitter, so I thought, why not waste other people’s time reading it? Seriously, I hope it’s not a total waste of time, or at least your favorite little waste of time. Whatever.

Because I’m an angry young man with something to say.

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Vaccine selfies aren’t any more obnoxious than tweeting about your birthday; no less, but no more. For some people, getting a vaccine is all they have to boast about — not being, you…


Patti with host Michael Young on Kids Are People Too

This blog entry started off as a humble Twitter post linking to the video in question, but I decided it deserved a bit more bandwidth. I’m posting it, by the way, on December 30, Patti Smith’s 74th birthday; I’m not usually one to mark the birthdays of celebrities on social media, but seeing that 2020 is coming at long last to a most welcome end, it might be time to bend my self-imposed rules a bit.

The grainy video of Patti Smith singing You Light Up My Life on Kids Are People Too, a Sunday morning kids’ show that aired…


He wasn’t my first choice for president, but I feel an affinity with Joe Biden because we belong to the same ethnic group. I’m not talking about my being Irish (if you hadn’t guessed, I’m not, though I HAVE been to Dublin, Kilkenny, Galway, and Inishmore). I’m saying we’re both Bereaved-Americans-Who-Have-Rebuilt-Their-Lives. Such experiences affect you on a cellular level, perhaps down to the DNA, so yeah, it’s sort of like a special-interest ethnic group. Me, my wife Laura, Patton Oswalt, Katie Couric, and, of course, Joe Biden are card-carrying members.

Yeah, I know. Again with the death stuff? Really, Wes…


← Singing Lessons

As the nine faithful readers of this blog already know, I’ve long had my issues with the American way of celebrating birthdays. Nevertheless, I’ve persisted. (Birthdays are like genitals: Everybody has them, some people know how to enjoy them, others think they’re a big pain, and still others try to pretend they don’t exist.)

This post is about birthdays on Facebook. If you’re on Facebook and have any friends or relatives, you know the drill. Friends’ and relatives’ birthdays come up, Facebook encourages you to “let them know you’re thinking of them” or “help them have a…


I’m still here, and so is the pandemic. No real news to speak of since my last post except that fateful, sure-to-be-full-of-drama November draws e’er closer, and, even faster approaching, the return of the boys to virtual school after this non-summer bummer of a summer. On Friday I ventured out to a salon for a haircut, and, both of us naturally masked, my stylish stylist Nadine (whom I hadn’t seen since January) and I commisserated over the strange year. …


I feel like I should apologize for being such a downer lately, but sometimes it can’t be helped. Earlier this month my sister-in-law Andrea (the older sister of my late wife Donna) died after a relatively brief but vicious battle with cancer. It was crushing. Andrea was a lovely woman on the verge of retirement, smart, caring and multitalented, who should have had many more years ahead of her to enjoy her life after decades of hard and mostly unrewarding work. …


(Meine Erlebnisse in Weltkrieg 1914/1918)

A memoir by Henry Bernstein

Translated from the German by Ruth Bergida

Introduction by Wes Eichenwald

In one of these piles of rubble I found a blooming violet which traveled to Winsen in my next letter.

— Henry Bernstein

The facts as known are these. In the spring of 1943, Henry Bernstein (1896–1945), a German Jew originally from Winsen, near Hamburg, and before 1940 living in the Düsseldorf area; his wife Martha (Maddi), my grandmother’s sister; and their 14-year-old son Rolf went into hiding in the attic of the home of Benjamin and Rie Blankenstein…


One of the things that’s long frustrated me about the Democrats is that they consistently play by a different set of rules than the Republicans. This has been the case since decades before our current dysfunctional era, but it’s definitely been thrown into high relief under Trump and his minions.

Simply put, the Dems are too nice. They’re afraid to get their hands dirty and turn the tables on the GOP, throwing a little slander and outrageous rumor their way to even the score…just a bit.

If Trump gets off on ranting about fake news, as he clearly does, why…


My great-aunt Maddi Bernstein at home in Hilden, Germany, March 1928.

Note: I wrote this in 1996, but for one reason or another, I haven’t published it until now. I sent copies of it within my family and to other people who were interested in this part of my family’s history, and in 2009 the late German writer and educator Karin Marquardt printed the story, in translation, in her 2009 book Stolpersteine für Rolf und Henry Bernstein (Verlag Stadtarchiv Hilden).

Perhaps writing this in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic has given me a certain urgency and realization that this is a tale that deserves to have some light thrown on…

Wes Eichenwald

Journalist/writer; ex-expat; vaudeville, punk & cabaret aficionado; father of 2; remarried widower. I ask questions, tell stories, rinse & repeat.

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