?

Log in

Previous 10 | Next 10

Mar. 25th, 2016

atom

Superman

Many years ago, there was a teacher named Tim Lynch who was a big Star Trek fan. I got to know him through the Star Trek newsgroups on Usenet, where he would review every episode of each new Star Trek series with respectful and insightful criticism.


I remember the day when he announced in the middle of the show's run that he would not be watching Star Trek: Voyager anymore. He cited a lot of issues with the show, such as how they were supposedly low on resources and yet kept running through shuttlecraft, that made no sense. (From what I understand, one of the show's own writers had his own, similar, objections to the show as they were making it, and so went on to create other shows that acknowledged reality better.)


Now, personally, in retrospect, I think Voyager was a good show, but what you need to understand was that Tim Lynch's words sent shockwaves through the Usenet Star Trek community. The idea that such a dedicated and intelligent fan would make the decision to stop watching Star Trek was unthinkable to many of us. It pointed out to a lot of us how deeply flawed aspects of the franchise had seemed to become by that time.


[Pause]


I have been a fan of Superman since before I can remember. Yes, I'm a fan of many characters and stories from popular culture, but Superman is the first one I remember and the one that has stayed with me for my whole life. Except for a short period of about six years, my whole life I have been an avid collector and reader of Superman comics. I went to the three Christopher Reeve movies when they came out (yes, I said three), and I've always been eager for any new Superman TV show or movie.


Today, the new "Supeman" movie comes out, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It's exactly the sort of movie that should make me want to drop everything and see it the first chance I have. I should be moving heaven and earth to try to see a new Superman movie, in the way I did to see the new Star Wars movie last year.


But I find I have no enthusiasm for it. I was on the edge of my set for the release of Man of Steel, and the film disappointed me. For this new film, I have heard mixed reviews from all quarters. Perhaps I would find it entertaining. At the very least, I'd be delighted to see Wonder Woman up on the big screen. But this Superman, whoever he is, is not *my* Superman, and so I shrug off this opening weekend and wonder if I'll even bother to seek out the movie when it is finally released to DVD and streaming.

Perhaps this is not as significant to the rest of the world as I think it might be; I'm not someone who has been writing about Superman for years for websites, nor am I someone who has even written the character for DC Comics and then pointed out the flaws in the first new film. I'm just a fan, someone who has loved Superman and what he has stood for my entire life. But I'm sad to say that *my* Superman is not the one on the big screen today.


Maybe one day, he will be again. For now, I will let the movie pass me by, and instead continue to enjoy and share the character in the other media in which he is still who he should be.
Tags: ,
atom

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire (1911) - 105th Anniversary

Today is the 105th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.

Wikipedia has a pretty good discussion of it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangle_Shirtwaist_Factory_fire

Cornell University also has a good site devoted to the tragedy: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/trianglefire/
Tags: ,

Mar. 20th, 2016

atom

Michael A. Burstein for Library Trustee

Friends:

I'm delighted to announce that I'm running for re-election to the Board of Library Trustees of the Public Library of Brookline. This would be my fifth term if I am re-elected.

As it turns out, though, I'm facing a contested race this year (yes, again). Two challengers have chosen to run along with the four incumbents (including me) who are running for re-election.

Having been on the Board longer than anyone else running this year, and as I am currently serving as chair of the Board (and have been for almost two years), I have the experience our town needs. You can find out more about my experience and accomplishments on the Burstein for Brookline website.

And, as much as I hate to say this, political campaigns cost money. I am once again actively fundraising. If you are so inclined, please visit the Burstein for Brookline Contributions page to find out how to donate. You can mail us a check or use PayPal. Either way, no donation is too small, and all donations help in getting me re-elected to the Board.

Mar. 3rd, 2016

book-cover

I Remember the Future EBook - 99 cents in March

March is the month in which Apex Publications has put the ebook of my collection I Remember the Future on sale for only 99 cents!

In case you don't have it yet and would like it.

Feb. 25th, 2016

atom

Pangaea II - Almost There!

Folks,

With only about $850 and 2 hours to go, the Pangaea II project needs you! Anyone who buys my second Tukcerization offer will get TWO names for the price of one!

Follow this link to back the project: Pangaea II.

Want to read what I said about this project when the Kickstarter started? See my blog post: Pangaea II - A New Kickstarter.

Feb. 1st, 2016

atom

Louis Cohen (July 1, 1905 - February 1, 1956)

It's hard for me to believe, but 60 years ago today my maternal grandfather Louis Cohen died of multiple myeloma far too young.. (On the Hebrew calendar, Louis died on 19 Shevat 5716, so his yahrzeit was a few days ago.)

Sadly, I never knew him. I'd like to share his story.

Louis Cohen was born in Ukraine. I've seen his birth certificate; it's in Russian.

Louis emigrated to the United States when he was around the age of six or seven years old, with his parents, Jacob Cohen & Yetta Sokolovsky, and his younger sister, Molly Cohen. The family settled in Brownsville, a neighborhood in Brooklyn that was attracting a lot of Jewish immigrants and was considered a nicer place to live than the Lower East Side. Jacob got a job delivering canisters for soda water, and eventually he bought the business. My mom remembered that he made his deliveries driving a green truck.

Although Louis did not know English when he emigrated, he picked it up very quickly. Apparently, as a child he started school in a special class in which the students mostly did arts and crafts. But with his ability to learn English quickly he soon moved into a regular class. He graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School, went on to Pace Institute for two or three years, and became an accountant. He began keeping the books for his father Jacob.

In 1929, his parents bought a house in Flatbush for the whole family, located at 817 East 45th Street between Avenue D and Foster Avenue. On June 1, 1930, Louis married my grandmother Clara Baker in Boston. They were fourth cousins; either their grandfathers or great grandfathers were brothers. After they got married, they moved in with his parents. Furthermore, my Mom's aunt Molly married Irving Bell, a dentist who went to Tufts Dental School, and they also lived in the Jacob Cohen house. Apparently it was not uncommon for a large extended family to stay under one roof for such a long time.

Louis and Clara had two children. My Mom was born in 1936 and my uncle Robert was born a few years after.

Sometime in the 1940s Louis joined the Masons. As he was in his thirties, he was a little too old to be drafted into World War II. In fact, he kept missing the window to be drafted, for which he was very grateful.

Around 1945 Louis joined the law firm of Morrit & Eisenstein and did their accounting and the accounting for their clients. Later on, lawyer Fred Johnson also joined the firm, and the four of them worked very closely together. Mom tells me that Fred Morrit was a State Senator and a songwriter, but I haven't been able to find much information about him, or about Morris Eisenstein.

One thing that makes me proud of my grandfather has to do with his support for my mom. In the 1950s, there was no major emphasis on women's education, but Louis supported Mom's education wholeheartedly. He was very proud of her, and even though he didn't want her to leave home he did support her decision to attend Mount Holyoke college. Mom only spent a year there, though, because soon after she started college Louis died. When that happened, Mom came home and transferred to Barnard so she could live with her family.

Louis died of multiple myeloma at age of 50, knowing that he had helped raise and support two wonderful children. Sadly, both of Louis's parents were still alive when he died. They passed on themselves in the early 1960s, while my mother was in law school.

I remember him.

Jan. 31st, 2016

book-cover

Podcast: Take Me To Your Reader - Featuring Me

Take Me To Your Reader #36: I Remember the Future (Interview With Michael A. Burstein)

So, if you'd like to spend an hour and a half listening to me talk about the KAS Creations Film & Media production of "I Remember the Future" here's your chance! The folks at the podcast were really cool, and I had a blast doing the interview. Here's some of what I talked about, as noted on their website:


• Michael’s history as a writer and a science fiction fan
• The history of the I Remember the Future collection of Michael’s award-nominated fiction (featuring, naturally “I Remember the Future”)
• How to best preserve the legacy of the Big Three (Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein)
• High Energy Physics! (yes, we’re nerds)
• The vagaries of forgetting one’s had a story optioned for a film.

(That last one is actually amusing. I had forgotten that I had licensed the film to KAS Creations until 530nm330hz called me up and asked if I had granted a license to an Australian filmmaker. At first I said no, and then said, "Wait a minute! Yes!" And I'm very glad I did grant the license.)

If you do listen, enjoy.

Jan. 28th, 2016

atom

Challenger Anniversary - 30 Years

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Challenger tragedy, the day when the space shuttle exploded and NASA lost seven astronauts: Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Judith A. Resnik, Ronald E. McNair, Ellison S. Onizuka, Gregory B. Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. Their sacrifice is memorialized at Arlington National Cemetery.

For the people of my generation, the Challenger tragedy was our equivalent of the Kennedy assassination. Because a schoolteacher, McAuliffe, was on board, many schools had chosen to show the launch live to their students over television. The launch took place around 11:30 AM EST, and seventy-three seconds into the flight, the shuttle exploded. People were confused at first, but it soon became clear that NASA was experiencing what they euphemistically refer to as an LOCV: loss of crew and vehicle.

I didn't see the explosion live, but I still remember that day vividly. My own story is as follows. I was in 11th grade at the time at Hunter College High School. One of our school's Chemistry teachers, Francine Salzman, had applied for the Teacher-in-Space program but not been accepted. So we were all keenly aware of the meaning of the launch.

The school's lunch period took place from 11:10 AM to 12 noon, if I remember correctly, and after eating lunch I went to hang out in the school library with friends. I was sitting in the front area of the library when my friend Christina Sormani walked in and asked if I had heard the news about the shuttle. I said no, and she told me that it had blown up during the launch. I protested that she was kidding, and she assured me that she wasn't.

I realized she was serious and I started to cry. I cried so much that Tina thought I personally knew one of the astronauts. I didn't, of course; at the time, like all of us, the only one I could actually name was McAuliffe. But I was crying for them nevertheless, and for the dashed hopes and dreams of an entire human race that yearns to go to the stars. I knew that this would cause a major setback in our space program; and I could only hope that it wouldn't crush it entirely.

That afternoon, when we got home, there was an ironic coda. My father had been applying to the Journalist-in-Space program, and on that very day we received the postcard from NASA indicating that all his applications materials were in. And years later, in 2003, McAuliffe and my father were my own inspirations as I applied unsuccessfully to be an Educator Astronaut.</span>

Jan. 25th, 2016

atom

Pangaea II - A New Kickstarter

Last year, I was part of an anthology called Pangaea edited by Michael Jan Friedman. As I recounted in the blog post Pangaea – The Anthology, Michael had come up with the idea of an alternate Earth in which the supercontinent had never broken apart. He invited a bunch of writers to contribute stories to this new shared world, and we were delighted to do so.

The anthology was so successful that Michael is doing it again. This time, there's a few new voices in the book, and we're working to share our characters with each other as well as the setting. Also, there's some new developments in the world of Pangaea, as can be inferred from the subtitle: "The Rise of Dominjaron." Who or what is Dominjaron? Well, you'll find out in the book...

Personally, I'm planning to continue the adventures of Betsi and Devora from "The World Together" and I'm excited to have them interact with the characters created by my fellow writers. And I'll be writing two new characters, both of whom will be named by people who support the project, as I've offered two new Tuckerizations. Better move fast, though, as the project went live over the weekend and the first of my two Tuckerizations has already been claimed!

The Kickstarter for Pangaea II can be foiund by clicking on the title. You can go there to get a full description of the book and the project, but here's the list of authors who have agreed to take part: Kirsten Beyer. Ilsa J. Bick. Michael A. Burstein. Peter David. Kevin Dilmore. Michael Jan Friedman. Robert Greenberger. Glenn Hauman. Paul Kupperberg. Ron Marz. Kelly Meding. Aaron Rosenberg. Lawrence M. Schoen. Geoffrey Thorne. Marie Vibbert.

Join us as we explore another world, a world that might have been.
atom

Nine Years Ago Today

Nine years ago today was when my mom, Eleanor Mae Cohen Burstein, died. At the time, I posted the following on LiveJournal and received many, many replies:

Eleanor Mae Cohen Burstein (1936-2007)

She was 70 years old when she died, and I had just had a message from her the day before in which she sounded fine.


I don't really have much to say about her passing today. I've thought about discussing her life a little bit; as many of my friends know, Mom attended Mount Holyoke, Barnard, and Columbia Law School, and in her later years worked as an Administrative Law Judge. She died before she got to meet my children, but she did get to enjoy some of her other grandchildren before she passed on. Although today is the anniversary of her passing on the Gregorian calendar, her yahrzeit was a few weeks ago.


At the time she died, Nomi and I had just joined Kadimah-Toras Moshe, and I remember how everyone came together for us, although many in the community barely knew who we were.


Anyway. I just felt compelled to note her passing, and that I miss her still.

Previous 10 | Next 10

atom

August 2016

S M T W T F S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   

Syndicate

RSS Atom
Powered by LiveJournal.com