Welcome to Jerry Shifman's Home Page

I am a retired electrical engineer, living with my wife Reva Basch , two cats and one dog in Portland, Oregon.   The purpose of this web site is to present several heretical essays I have written over the years; "heretical" in the scientific sense, not the religious sense.

For instance, I find sleep -- and especially dreaming sleep -- very, very strange. What an odd behavior pattern! Don't you find sleep puzzling? Have you ever wondered why we dream? I have. It may be far more important than we realize. In fact, dreaming may be the entire point of life. Really.

And here's one that's been with me for decades. What do you make of gravity? Are you able to understand what's going on with gravity? As far as I am concerned, this is the unsolved mystery of our age. Back in the early 70s I started working on a radically different way of seeing the world that provided an intuitive way of understanding the mechanism at work behind gravitation.  This is at a separate website.
In 1981 I had an opportunity to address a conference of Engineering Managers, all of whom worked for companies involved in communications. At that time it was just dawning on me that we were all hurtling headlong into a new era -- and that this was not widely understood. Here is the talk I gave. One explanatory note is needed: Some of the numbers given in the paper for things like rate of data transfer and capacity of an optical disk are now out of date -- but I have left the paper as originally presented. My thesis is that the entire history of life on earth can be viewed as a series of advances in communications.

Enough of that boring academic stuff.  FOOD is where it's at.  I have always enjoyed cooking.  I think my mother probably had something to do with that.  When I was very young and I complained to my mother that I was bored she would often reply, "Come on in the kitchen, honey.  I'll show you how to make chocolate fudge."  Or whatever.

In the early years of my marriage to Reva she did most of the cooking -- I was her sous-chef.  Then there came a time,  ten or fifteen years ago, when I was retired but Reva was still working.  Since I knew how, and had plenty of spare time, I suggested that I take over the main cooking duties.  She didn't need much convincing.  Eventually she retired, too, but somehow I have continued as primary cook.  She documents.  Here is a random sampling of dishes.

When Reva and I lived at The Sea Ranch a new theatrical group was formed -- the Sea Ranch Thespians.  I had done a lot of acting in my college years, so I auditioned for a role in the first production:  Murder at Rutherford House.  This is a broad farce, and I particularly wanted the role of  Ruby Pinkbottom -- the maid.  The script said, "Played by a man in a dress."  I got the  part, and I was just devastating, darling!

Here's Ruby!

This page built and maintained by:
Jerry Shifman (jerry@mcn.org)
Page last updated January 2010