Young Count Leo Tolstoy

For years I’ve been reading Count Nikolai Tolstoy’s “The Tolstoys, twenty-four generations of Russian history, 1353-1983” on and off. Amongst other interesting and surprising things that I’ve learned from the book was what Leo Tolstoy looked like when he was young. I used to think of him as and intense old dude sporting Karl Marx/Saddam in hiding/Fidel Castro hairstyle. It turns out that in his youth he looked more like Matt Damon:

Darren on the Train

Since we are on the subject of lookalikes, a couple of weeks ago I thought that I saw Darren Aronofsky on the train. It was on the BMT Brighton Line which is featured so prominently in Pi, and he got off at 7th avenue, which would make sense as well.

If I were to talk to Darren Aronofsky, I’d try to persuade him to film The Lady Who Sailed The Soul or Scanners Live in Vain. Rachel Weisz could totally be Helen America. That would have been awesome.


I was having dinner with my childhood friend and his girlfriend. The girlfriend, who met me for the first time, told me that I looked a lot like another friend of hers. Once again I was reminded of my many doppelgangers.

Yes, I seem to have a pretty generic look. You know, we all share a common ancestor about a thousand years ago, but some people, like me, probably share one a lot sooner. A bit like all these WWII era inhabitants of a French town visited by a son of a WWI era American soldier in Bill Mauldin‘s famous cartoon:

“This is th’ town my pappy told me about.”

Once, walking around in Brooklyn I’ve noticed a guy who looked a bit familiar, but I could not immediately understand why. I noticed that he was looking at me a little strangely too, as if trying to figure something out. His wife, on the other hand figured it out a in a split second – I could tell by her rounded eyes and pointed finger. If you’d put peyos and kipa on me, you would not be able to tell me and her husband apart. The three of us chatted for a bit about this and went on our separate ways, a little bit shaken by the experience.

Then, one day I thought that Travis Ruse, the very talented subway photographer, finally captured me on cmos. I’ve never met Travis, but I always thought that eventually either I’d spot him on the train or I’d end up in one of his pictures. This picture confused me a great deal. I could not tell if it was me in it or not for 15 minutes or so. Only small details were wrong: I don’t wear t-shirts under dress shirts, my glasses at the time had brown frames and I am slightly fatter. The blue shirt, pants and shoulder bag strap are spot on.

Long after I wrote this one, I ended up at the same company as Travis Ruse.

Here’s a picture of me with Steve Wozniak. There’s some resemblance, wouldn’t you say?