Author: Haven Pell

In September 1998, U. S. President Bill Clinton was in a spot of bother thanks to a controversy about his relationship with a White House intern called Monica Lewinsky. He fell back on his legal training and attempted a defense of his veracity by saying, “it depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.” His […]

Some adventures begin earlier than others but 35 million years ago has to be an outlier. That was about the time an exploding meteor smacked into the earth and formed a crater that became the Chesapeake Bay. Water, and its tendency to find the path of least resistance, had a role. Millions of years later, […]

Some use the words “we are not alone” to suggest the existence of extra-terrestrial life. When used in that way, a deep voice and creepy music add to the desired impression. Others use the words to comfort those in distress, but generally they change the subject to “you” instead of “we.” Finally, there are songs, […]

According to Yogi Berra, a malaprop-prone former catcher for the New York Yankees, “it is tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Fortunately, predictions are usually passive. They tell you what might happen if all you did was extrapolate from current trends. The better view, it seems to me, is to ask what you […]

Clearly the title should be Farewell, Mr. Ambassador, but nobody ever called Temple Grassi “Mr. Ambassador.” Had they done so he would have been one among many, but “The Ambassador” made him unique. The inadvertent word choice grew over time to reflect reality. Temple Grassi was a most unusual fellow but now he is gone, […]

Dear Friend, Though I don’t know you and I might even be dead, I consider you a friend simply because you are thinking enough about building a court tennis court to have found your way to this letter. I address it to you not to your project nor to anyone else, because you, the person […]

It is possible some readers will think this an unusual title for a story written by a preppy WASP who has two middle names. It is. It is also a tribute to a wonderful friend and an unusual friendship. According to Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai (I had to Google the quote), “There are three crowns: […]

Followers of this series can be forgiven for thinking that court tennis was exclusively an up-market game played only by cardinals and kings, because their courts, which tended to be in palaces, probably survived disproportionately. More people wrote about them too. This, however, is not entirely the case. There was much gambling on the game, […]

There is good and bad about playing a small game. By now, you have seen much of the good. Players of small games are more enthusiastic and see themselves as integral to its very existence. After years of involvement, you have met many of the players from other countries and perhaps stayed in their houses […]