Category Archives: Daily Life



The movie Maurice had a profound and lasting effect on a 26-year-old closeted  kid named Jeff.

I saw the movie at the Tivoli in Westport, which was at that time one of the rare art-houses in Kansas City.

Of course the Anglophile in me loved the movie.  The musician did too, thanks to yearning and evocative soundtrack by Richard Robbins.

But the closeted young gay man in me wept and wept, then went back to see the movie again two days later.

Here on screen was all the fear and excitement and shame and hope that I could not yet sort out.

Several years later, when I had indeed sorted out much of the baggage, I started pointing others to this same movie.  I’m so glad it’s receiving a 30th-anniversary re-release in cinemas, and I look forward to seeing it again on the big screen.  My 25-year DVD set, with all sort of extras, has certainly helped keep kindled my love for this movie.

I really should write my own words of thanks to James Ivory, no?

The end

The end of another school year is here.

After Commencement Saturday, I spent the afternoon cleaning, mowing, scrubbing the dirt and pollen from the front porch, and generally being spring-clean productive.  Tasks deferred for weeks were on the day’s agenda, and continue to be for a few more days.

Busy semesters come screeching to a sudden halt.  We finish classes, start juries and finals, and then suddenly I’m putting on full regalia for a commencement ceremony.  Hugs, a few tears, scores of smiles, kind words . . . And then silence.

The cycle is ever the same, and ever new.

Meanwhile, in my own little neighborhood, the folks in the house immediately north of me are moving out, and the landlord is moving in. And the house to the south of me sold last week, with the new young couple moving in directly (he’s in the M.D./Ph.D. program at Washington University, so they’ll be here for a while).

Things change at home too.

I’ve finished my ninth year at Webster University.  We’ve added eight new members to the full-time faculty in that time.  This year we programmed and hosted 178 events in total.  We’ve mourned one death and celebrated five retirements over the last nine years.  And we’ve educated hundreds of music majors, and introduced two new degree programs to the mix.

And now summer begins.  I have stacks of books to read.  A bit less travel to do than in some other summers.  Sunny mornings and long evenings to enjoy.  Two shows to in (June and August).  Three days a week at the office, at most.  At least 20 cultural events on my agenda this summer here in the area.

And a cute dog to love on.

Collective noun?

I sat down at lunch on Monday by my colleague Jef Awada.

We joked about a collective noun for a group of Jeffs.

Then I decided to compile a list.


  • a jungle of Jeffs
  • a jiggle
  • a jumble
  • a jetsam
  • a jigger
  • a jurisdiction
  • a jeroboam
  • a jacket
  • a jangle
  • a judgment
  • a jaunt
  • a jonquil
  • a jollity
  • a jewel
  • a job
  • a jacket
  • a jollification
  • a jeopardy
  • a joint
  • a jitter
  • a juxtaposition
  • a jinx
  • a jubilee
  • a journey
  • a jargon
  • a jig
  • a jest
  • a jones
  • a jigsaw
  • a jam
  • a jury

My favorite?  Either a jinx of Jeffs, or a jeroboam of Jeffs.

Comment on your favorite??