And Then There Was One

Tom Faigin (Undated)userpic=father-and-sonSunday, I learned that my uncle, Tom Faigin, passed away at 4:30 AM. It wasn’t unexpected; but it is still a loss. As I did with my father when he died, I’d like to share a few remembrances.

When I think about Tom, first and foremost, I think about folk music. He was a musician at heart. He loved music. He taught music. He was at home playing a guitar, banjo, or mandolin. We shared that love (well, not playing, but of music — I can only play the cassette recorder). He introduced me to so many artists (especially when I digitized his record collection). I introduced him to a few. Although I could never play an instrument, I enjoyed listening to him play (and I’ll enjoy the one CD I have of him). We went to McCabes together a few times (I think he was the one that originally introduced me to Shep Cooke). We also had a lot of folk friends in common, for there are a large intersection between the folk communities and the cybersecurity communities.

He was also the political firebrand of the family. By that I mean that we had wonderful political discussion (especially as we were of a similar political bent). He was connected to the older labor-style Judaism that you don’t see these days. A Judaism more of action — and social action — than anything else. This also came through in the folk music.

In his later years, he was part of a musical group called the Geritones. His daughter is working on a documentary of the group. My memory of the Geritones is when they came to play for a membership recruiting day for Temple Beth Torah. They played a variety of old folk, Yiddish, and other Eastern European music.

I remember that he was an uncle my daughter loved as well. She loved to go over and visit, and as she got older and into Yiddish, they had another shared love. I also felt that her love of Yiddish was genetic, coming from my father and his father before him. Luckily, she was able to share her excitement of her trip to Eastern Europe with him. Alas, she wasn’t able to share her pictures after the trip.

His family suffered a loss a few years ago with the passing of his son, my cousin Nick. Nick, too, was an artist, and I think they shared that passion. Their musical tastes were different (and I’m not sure all understood), but art was in the blood.

He is survived by his wife, Ann, and his daughter Cece, and of course all of us cousins. Of the original four brothers (my father, Adrian; Herbert; Ron, and Tom), only my Uncle Ron remains. May he stay strong and healthy.


Father’s Day Report

userpic=father-and-sonLet me tell you about my Father’s Day… but first, a shout out to my father who passed away in 2004. You can read about him here. I’m finding myself more like him as I grow older, and I still miss him.

As for me, the day started with an unusual suprise: Father’s Day presents that I didn’t know about in advance. My daughter replaced my copy of Working by Studs Terkel, which had fallen apart. My wife got me a pair of Koss Stereophones (Tony Bennett Edition), which included a download of Duets II. Alas, the download code wasn’t working, so I’ve sent email to Koss and we’ll see what happens.

After this, we went to the North Hollywood station and got LA Metro Day Pass. Went to Exposition Park, where we went to the California ScienCenter to see the Space Shuttle Endeavor, as well as their other space exhibits (an Apollo capsule (from Apollo-Soyuz), Gemini XI, Mercury-Redstone) and their Ecosystems exhibit (which had a cool section on rotting, and another neat section on Los Angeles).

After that, we took the Expo Line to Western Blvd, where we had a great Salvadoran lunch at Bella Aguillas Cafe. We split their sampler plate, which was more than enough for 3.

We then returned to Exposition Park, where we visited the newly remodeled Natural History Museum. They have totally redone the front of the museum (which used to be the back), and it is beautiful. You can see a graphic here.  We especially enjoyed the new outdoor garden, especially the edible garden… in addition to the old reliable exhibits. It was so nice (and now so easy to get to, with the Expo line), that we rejoined.

We then came home, and are now recuperating from being out and about. So how did you celebrate Fathers Day?

Music: The Best of The Alan Parson Project (The Alan Parsons Project): “Psychobabble”



A Death Close to Home

Saturday, while I was judging the IEEE Ethics competition, I received a very unsettling phone call. My cousin, Nick Faigin had unexpectedly passed away on Friday morning. Nick was 47; 5 years younger than me. You don’t expect younger cousins to go before you.

Now, I didn’t know Nick closely, although we always got along when we saw each other. The age difference was part of it; I tended to associate more with his older sister. I did follow Nick, however. He had a wonderful poetry blog, and was very active in the club and music scene, doing a lot of promotion of bands. I hadn’t realized how much of an impact he had until I was reading all of the wonderful tributes and testimonials that had been posted on his Facebook page.

Being one of the more computer literate of the cousins, I’m the one fretting over the modern worry: how to preserve Nick’s wonderful digital legacy. The two domains he owns do not expire until October; I’ve already contacted the registrar to figure out how to transfer them to my ownership so I can keep them alive. But other areas are harder. What does one do about his Facebook presence? I’m guessing the account will stay there forever, but it would be nice to be able to post a closing message (I guess we could just write something to his wall). What about other places? His gmail account? Other email accounts? This is an area that is far too new and far too sensitive (another good article, another on turning facebook pages into memorials).

In any case, I’ll worry about that latter. For now, Nick, recognize that you touched the lives of a lot of people for good. This is a great legacy to leave behind, my cousin.


Jay Davis: In Memorium

On December 26, 2008, my father-in-law passed away unexpectedly. We just finished working with my mother-in-law to write some “In Memorium” ads that will run in the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily News on the anniversary of his passing. As I do a regular post memorializing my father’s passing (see grandpa_a for that story), I thought it appropriate to share what was written up about Jay. We still miss him.

Jay G. Davis, CPA

Born April 5, 1931 in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada. Died December 26, 2008 in Woodland Hills, CA.

Beloved husband of Helen; brother of Jack Davis and Adrienne Levinter; father of Karen, Sheri, Harriet and Glen; grandfather of Teri, Eric, Erin, Mikayla, Dagny, Jewelia and Jeremy.

Jay graduated from the University of Arizona, Class of 1956. He moved his family to California in 1965, settling in Chatsworth in 1971. He helped found Kim and Lee, the largest Korean-American accounting firm in the US in 1972. Later, he had independent CPA practices in Century City and Woodland Hills, CA.

Jay was always active in civic activities. Among his volunteer efforts were the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council where he was a Member, then Treasurer; and the Rockpointe Homeowners Association, where he served as President. He was an active member of the Jewish War Veterans, the City of Hope, and the California Association of CPAs.

Jay was always somewhere between great and fantastic as he practiced his life-long habit of having a positive mental attitude.

We miss him.


Sometimes, It Just Hits You Later

I was sitting in my office, typing away, when a song from Lost in Boston came on the iPod. Suddenly, I was weepy, for it fit what just happened to my mother-in-law.

Who Gave You Permission? (cut from the musical “Ballroom”)

Who gave you permission?
Who said you could go?
You know if you asked me,
I would have said, “no!”
You always said we would grow old together
You always promised that’s the way it would be.
You never said that one would go first.
How could you do this to me?

Who is there to cook for,
and what’s there to clean?
And how will I fill up
the washing machine?
How do you sleep
with nobody snoring?
Waste a teabag
for one cup of tea?
One loaf of bread
will last me a month.
How could you do this to me?

Who’s going to take out the garbage?
Who’ll correct me when I’m right?
Who’s going to change the fuse?
Zip me up in the back?
Who’s going to kiss me goodnight?

Who said I was ready?
Who said I was strong?
I’d never desert you,
not after so long.
You helped me through the birth of our children.
You did your share of bottles and diapers.
There at my side through mumps and through measles.
You drove the car and paid off the mortgage.
You always made me go to the dentist.
And only you remembered my birthday.

      I came down this morning
and what did I do?
Went straight to the kitchen
and made breakfast for two.
Thirty-eight years, our next anniversary.
Somebody said that it wouldn’t last.
Thirty-eight years, it’s hard to believe
How did the time go so fast?

Who’ll leave the cap off the toothpaste?
Bring me a sweater when I’m cold?
Who’s going to open jars?
Talk to me in the dark?
To whom will I never grow old?

The little adjustments.
How strange it will be?
Just getting accustomed
To not saying “we”.
I’ll have to learn to balance a checkbook,
shovel the snow,
clean out the furnace.
So many things that we didn’t do yet.
We had the tickets for our vacation.
March 28th, we leave for Burmuda.
Your navy blue suit is still at the cleaners.

Whenever there was trouble, you managed to fix it somehow.
And if ever there was a time I needed you.
It’s now.

For my father-in-law, Jay Davis, and his widow, Helen.


Stubborn Until The End

My father-in-law passed away this morning.

Jay was an accountant, just like my parents. He was a workaholic accountant (are there any other kinds?)… so we always expected him to go feet first in the office. Almost happened, except that he had some mild chest pains this morning. He took a shower, and after that didn’t help, took a vicodin and had my mother-in-law drive him to the hospital. He refused to call an ambulance. He passed away on the way to the hospital of a massive heart attack.

When my father died, I wrote a remembrance post. I have different memories of Jay, as we didn’t do that much together.

Of course, I remember Jay at his office, entering data into LaCerte, his accounting program. We would go through random stuff and he would find things we had forgotten. Talk about the family and the grandkids.

I remember him getting take out at El Pollo Loco for family dinners.

I remember him playing with his grandkids, who he adored. It always brought a smile to his face to play with them.

nsshere is sitting behind me as I type this. She asked me to add the time he almost set her bathroom on fire by turning on the heater, or when he had his hearing aid off during her bat mitzvah. In fact, his hearing aid was always conveniently off when he didn’t want to hear something.

I remember his voice, with a hint of a Canadian accent.

I remember his garage, which was as bad a Fibber McGee’s closet.

nsshere remembers his changing his position on Proposition 8, thanks to the sermon given by our rabbi.

He didn’t crack as many jokes as my dad, but he had a weird sense of humor.

I remember that he was usually easy to find: he was at the office.

I will likely have more later, but that’s what comes to mind. Rest easy, Jay. You can relax this tax season.