Laurie Gould: Don


Send me emails when there are new songs or blog posts!


YouTube -- Twitter -- Facebook --


Germs, germs, germs

I’m usually not big on New Year’s resolutions.   I do periodically resolve to change something about my life:  I might vow to eat less refined flour on, say, May 19th; or to do daily Kegel exercises starting on November 12th.   I might find it convenient to abandon those efforts on May 26th and November 19th, respectively.

But this year I decided to make an actual New Year’s Resolution, on actual New Year’s Day:  I vowed to clean my cellphone once a week.  This will be a departure from my previous practice, which involved cleaning my cellphone approximately once a decade or when I got peanut butter on the screen, whichever came first.   

It is amazing, given these previously slovenly cellphone cleaning practices, that I am even still alive.   It turns out that our cellphones are virtual petrie dishes for nasty microbes of all sorts.   Come to find out that the median cellphone harbors more than 17,000 bacterial 165 RNA gene copies, including pathogenic microbes with scary Latin names like Neisseria flavescens.   This is according to a study from the journal Germs, a publication produced by people who are probably not much fun as dinner companions.

There's more to count than just blessings

We are deep into the process of Thanksgiving planning, which is always a pleasure.   It’s my favorite holiday, by a wide margin – there’s simply no greater pleasure than cooking for and eating with people I love.   It’s a day to which I always look forward with great anticipation.

But more than anticipation is required:  the meal does require some forethought.   The first order of business, naturally, is ordering the turkey.   The standard rule of thumb calls for 1 lb., or 16 oz., of turkey per person, or t = 16p.  Of course, the vegans will not be eating the turkey; so t = 16*(p-v).   Then again, the pound-per-person rule is based on a classic, 1950’s-style dinner in which there are three items on the plate (meat, starch and vegetable); if there are a large number of side dishes, which there generally are, then people are likely to eat less of the meat.    One pound of turkey offers about 5 oz. of meat, a ratio of 16:5.   Let’s say we can safely reduce the estimated meat consumption by about half an ounce for each incremental side dish, .5 * (16/5).  So, if d is the total quantity of dishes, then the amount of turkey needed is:

t = (16 – ((d-3)*.5*(16/5)))*(p-v)

Picking up the pencil

This past Wednesday night, my friend Mary Elise invited me to a Shawn Colvin and Mary Chapin Carpenter concert.   I accepted, with great enthusiasm, and it was wonderful; although I have to admit that they are both musicians who I’ve always found to be pleasant but not particularly inspiring.

On Wednesday night, though, I was inspired.  These women are very engaging performers, really good musicians.   They are fully at ease with themselves and their music.  They seem utterly unafraid of so many things:   of showing their affection for each other onstage, of long instrumental bridges, of sentimentality, of letting their songs take up time and space.    Sometimes they even repeat the first verse again at the end of the song. 

Repeating verses:   are you allowed to do that?



Tricky Treats

It's my first Halloween in my new urban neighborhood, and signs of the holiday are everywhere.

Reader Comments

The audience for my blog and my songs is not large; mostly family and friends. Please know that I am grateful for every person who bothers to read or listen.   I am particularly grateful for the folks who take time to leave comments.  My web hosting service does not offer an easy way to acknowledge or respond to these comments.  But please know that I read them all, and many of them make me laugh.   All of them make me smile.

And hey:  this is the Internet, after all; and you never know who might stumble into your site!   A few years back I wrote a blog post about Louisville, Kentucky, a city I find completely charming.   The post ended with some photos of a 250-lb tortoise who was grazing at the edge of a large parking lot, in the middle of a sea of pavement.  I wondered in my blog how this creature, who moved at the speed of....well, a tortoise....could possibly have made it from wherever its home might have been to the edge of this parking lot.

Several months later, I got the answer, when a kind soul named Ben posted this comment:

Operating Instructions

I am a moderately tech-savvy middle-aged person.   I don't write code or anything; but I am pretty good at finding my way around both software and hardware.  I've served as family tech support for many years.   Last month I installed more RAM on my own desktop; I felt quite the badass.

My tech savvy has been tested by several recent acquisitions.   First, I replaced a defunct pair of bluetooth headphones.  My old headphones had only one button, so it was obvious how to turn them on.  This new set has many buttons.

Rhapsody on Hold

A new music video to start the school year!

Featuring Sheree Galpert, and the voices of Holly Kania, Mimi Rutledge, Emily Miller and yours truly.   Steve Ansolabehere served as literary consultant.  Special thanks to Rick Travers, the Boston Public Library, and Nancy Kerrigan.

Make American Great Again

It was not an auspicious way to start a weekend.

I had just finished a tiring week of out-of-town work and I headed to the airport for what was to be an arduous trip home:   first flight from New Orleans to Charlotte, second flight out of Charlotte at 10:30 pm; if all went perfectly I would walk in the door around 1:30 in the morning.   Not the easiest itinerary after a long week; but at least I had the promise of spending the night in my own bed.

But American announced a 10-minute flight delay, then a 40-minute delay, then an hour-long delay, and then a 2-hour delay that would make it impossible the catch the connecting flight.  They issued me the first of what was to be several revised itineraries.  Four hours into my Friday night quality time at the New Orleans airport, American announced that the flight was cancelled altogether and they issued me revised itinerary number three.


Urban Me

Before I moved into the city, I had a garden.   It was not a large garden by suburban standards:  150 sq ft of vegetables, maybe 50 sq ft of herbs, some perennial beds.  I gardened it intensely, obsessively.  I grew all my veggies from seed.  I waged war on the bunnies. I weeded and divided and replanted.  It was beautiful, and I loved it.


Now I live in an apartment on the second floor, and my proprietary outdoor space is limited to a 6’ x 12’ balcony that gets four or five hours a day of very intense sun.    I garden it intensively, obsessively.  I have a line of windowboxes on the railing; no veggies, but pots full of culinary herbs.   It is beautiful, and I love it.

The Things We Bring

Once upon a time, I had a lot of paper clips.  Sooooooo many paper clips!   And staples.

I remember buying these paper clips.  It was in 2000: I was just going into business for myself, and outfitting my home office.  I remember how much fun it was to go to Staples (the store) and to buy things like staples (the product) in vast quantities for what seemed like no money at all.   Such a deal!   And with all those supplies, I definitely had a Real Office, with profession-level paper-securing capacity.

By 2019, though, I have gone mostly paperless; I no longer even own a printer.   My staple-and-paper clip burn rate has declined to near zero.  So when we moved from our 3,100 sq ft home to a 900 sq ft apartment, the paper clips did not make the cut.


RSS feed