Monday, October 16, 2017

The Five Minutes of Krinsky

Books take a long time to read. We are all busy checking our phones and FACEBOOK posts or binge-watching Paw Patrol. Who has time?


32 Hours

15 Hours

My own book, The Five Books of Krinsky (available by clicking this purplish thing) takes 5 hours and 24 minutes according to Kindle. But if you skip over the boring parts you can finish it in an afternoon. (Conversely, you can start a book club/Bible study group to determine how each of the weekly Torah passages touches your own life and spend a year or more.)

At East on Central local writer's event.

To help the time-challenged, I have created The Five Minutes of Krinsky video. I hope you enjoy it.

Monday, October 9, 2017

C-SPAN INTERVIEW with Don's Basement: Day 1 of the The 5 Days of Krinsky™

On Saturday, October 14 from 1 to 4 at the Highland Park Library, local authors will offer their books for sale. While normatively I abjure any form of capitalist commerce, I bought 20 paperback copies of The Five Books of Krinsky. And they are not helping anybody where they are now.

Krinsky in his natural habitat
The Local Author's Book Fair is sponsored by East on Central, a journal of arts and letters. Peggy and I are proud to have been published by this esteemed organization.

In anticipation of this event, I am presenting what I am calling The Five Days of Krinsky™. 

From Monday, October 8 through Friday the 13th, I will post information or pictures about the Local Author

Fair, The Five Books of Krinsky, the beginning of the Torah reading cycle, large inflatable cats, and YHVH(AKA Yahweh, Adonai, El Shaddai, et al.)

The Comic Torah: Created by Aaron Freeman and Sharon Rosenzweig
Provenance unknown

In anticipation of this event, Susan Swain took time out of her interview with John Updike ( alav ha-shalom) to interview me about all things Krinsky and Don's Basement.

Thank you to anyone who is reading this.

(Views, images, and other nonsense are the work of Donsbasement and not the Highland Park Library. East on Central, C-SPAN, or any of the "callers" on the video.)

Monday, October 2, 2017

Not for Gentiles Only™ : The Fall Festivals

Hello again everybody and welcome to another edition of Not for Gentiles Only 

You may think that the Jewish Holidays are over for a while. As you know Yom Kippur ended at Sundown last Saturday, September 30 or the 10th of Tishrei on the Jewish Calendar.

Your Jewish friends have all fasted, atoned for their sins, and had a lox and bagel pizza to break the fast. (If you have sinned against a Jew or a Jew has sinned against you, it is pretty much too late to do anything about it. Try again next year.)  

Beginning on Wednesday night (October 4 or Tishrei 10), Jews will celebrate 4 holidays in 8 days or 9 days. Don’t worry about the extra day unless you live in New York and have kids in public school.

These holidays are: 


This holiday lasts 7 days in Israel and in the Torah. In the diaspora, it lasts anywhere from 8 days to 0 days depending on one's level of observance. 

You may see these types of booths in your neighborhood. This one is in our backyard.

Been very dry in Highland Park

Traditionally observant Jews eat their meals and sleep in the sukkah. You may also observe people waving a piece of fruit and some stalks and branches. 


For a holiday, I'd never heard of until last week it is pretty important. It falls on the final day of Sukkot. 

The Midrash tells us that G‑d told Abraham: “If atonement is not granted to your children on Rosh Hashanah, I will grant it on Yom Kippur; if they do not attain atonement on Yom Kippur, it will be given on Hoshana Rabbah.”  Last stop on the repentance train.

Traditionally Jews stay up all night reading the entire book of Deuteronomy (5th and final book of the Torah aka Old Testament) and After the book of Psalms and listen to  J.J. Cale.


The day after Sukkot. Celebrated the same day as Simchat Torah. Except when it isn't. 


A super popular holiday filled with dancing with the Torah and each other. And drinking. Sometimes excessive drinking. There used to be many articles on the Internet about excessive drinking during Simchat Torah. Either the drinking has been curtailed or the Internet has given up.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

What Happened? Don's Interview with Anderson Cooper

As long-time readers and viewers of Don's Basement will recall, I was unexpectedly let go from my place of employment in May of 2017. There has been widespread interest in What Happened.

There is also some interest in What's Happening!!

And still some interest in Fred Willard as Mike LaFontaine in a Mighty Wind.

I actually thought that I had made a pretty good adjustment. 

Walks in the garden:

Watching the birds:

  Even stopping to smell the flowers:

When I agreed to do the Anderson Cooper interview, I expected "softball" questions, like about my Uncle Harry and 16" Clincher Softballs.

However, Anderson did a skillful job of drawing me out and revealing aspects of myself that I thought I had put behind me.

Here are excerpts from the interview. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

"Mediocre Fred", Smothers Brothers' Cover

Despite what you might think, you are not the only person who reads this blog. That other person made a comment to me along the lines of "oh, another post making fun of Trump."

Close readers of Don's Basement (and someday I would like to meet you) will have observed that 4 of the last 5 posts concerned the president. This time, I have turned my attention to one of my all-time favorite topics.


For this particular bit of nonsense, I covered the Smothers Brothers tune, Mediocre Fred. I recorded the tracks on Garage Band. Unfortunately, the sound quality reflected what I actually sang and played.

Pat Paulsen wrote the song. Paulsen was an integral part of the successful Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. A writer and performer, Paulsen at the urging of the Smothers Brothers ran for president in 1968. (He ran subsequently as well. He passed away in 1997)

"Paulsen ran the supposed campaigns using obvious lies, double talk, and tongue-in-cheek attacks on the major candidates, and he responded to all criticism with his catchphrase "Picky, picky, picky."  Wikipedia.