I don’t write this stuff

It’s cold and gray (Now: Cloudy and 18 degrees) and I am in the most delightful mood.  First, Bobbie sent me this and I pass it on to you:

> > The four Goldberg brothers, Lowell, Norman, Hiram, and Max, invented and developed the first automobile air-conditioner. On July 17, 1946, the temperature in Detroit was 97 degrees.
> >
> > The four brothers walked into old man Henry Ford’s office and sweet-talked his secretary into telling him that four gentlemen were there with the most exciting innovation in the auto industry since the electric starter.
> >
> > Henry was curious and invited them into his office. They refused and instead asked that he come out to the parking lot to their car.
> >
> > They persuaded him to get into the car, which was about 130 degrees, turned on the air conditioner, and cooled the car off immediately..
> >
> > The old man got very excited and invited them back to the office, where he offered them $3 million for the patent.
> >
> > The brothers refused, saying they would settle for $2 million, but they wanted the recognition by having a label, ‘The Goldberg Air-Conditioner,’ on the dashboard of each car in which it was installed.
> >
> > Now old man Ford was more than just a little anti-Semitic, and there was no way he was going to put the Goldberg’s name on two million Fords.
> >
> > They haggled back and forth for about two hours and finally agreed on $4 million and that just their first names would be shown.
> >
> > And so to this day, all Ford air conditioners show — Lo, Norm, Hi, and Max –on the controls.
> >
> > I can hear your groans from here. Control yourself!!!
> >
> > I don’t write this stuff.

Next this:

I’m reading Larry Rosenberg’s remarkable book, a thoughtful introduction to meditation practice, and he brings up the topic of Sisyphus.  You all remember Sisyphus, right?  the guy who got the gods so pissed they condemned him to push a boulder up to the top of a hill from which it would roll back down so he’d have to keep doing it for all eternity?  I figure, Larry’s going to spin it.  See, this is already page 75 and I’ve been working with this meditation stuff since the end of 2001.  I know what’s going on.  So, I figure, time to put the book down and do my own spin. I mean, I’m feeling too good not to participate.   Mind you, it’s not that I’m in competition  with the Rosenberg.  It’s a cold, cloudy, ultimately lovely  Saturday afternoon in January and I’m in love with all of it, and I wanna play.

Here’s what I came up with:

What if Sisyphus had actually pleased those gods, and they rewarded him by letting him push a boulder to the top of a high hill so as to experience the outright thrill of letting it roll down at breakneck speed?  For that matter, what if those selfsame gods made sure he had the strength to do so for all eternity.  And, what if his joy at doing so never wore off?  At the risk of sounding like a Rosenberg, what if it became his meditation?

And–here it gets personal–what if Sisyphus was a bicyclist?  And what if, having pleased the gods, they rewarded him by letting him climb hill after hill after hill so that


he could coast down them!

Rosenberg, to be sure, didn’t take this direction.  His attitude was more,

Hey!  When it’s time to push a boulder, push the boulder.  Or maybe it’s  just time to wash the dishes.

In any case, whatever you’re up to, enjoy!

Published in: on January 30, 2010 at 4:01 pm  Comments (2)  

Be careful what you resolve for…

…you just might get it.

Back on New Year’s eve I made a resolution–the first one since high school, probably.  At the time it seemed pretty simple,  inconsequential and, better than those, incontrovertibly good: I resolved to live my life with more intensity. What I didn’t realize was that the universe was listening and, being my friend, decided  there and then to make it  happen.

O boy!

Through such diverse agencies as Facebook, the senior citizens agency Dorot, my first printer in 3 years, this blog and the usual suspects (family, friends, Samaritan Village–my employer–and even meditation) the remarkably calm and easily negotiated life of the 67-year-old Goldberg, the one to which I was far more accustomed than I realized, was suddenly transformed into the wish-granted chaos of the 68-year-old version.

(picture representing both intensity and chaos)

  • Through Facebook I regained contact with several co-workers from my film editing days and spent actual face time with two of them: two wonderful meetings filled with warmth and friendship after 20-25 years of no contact.  One subsequently sent me a script, asking for my comments.  Me?!
  • I also caught up with a buddy from my days as a member of The Open Nose (yes, The Open Nose,) a group with whom I hosted large, loud, smoky, noisy parties and a lunch time disco in 4 of the 5 boroughs back in the mid 1970’s, this after 35 years of no contact.
  • And I remet Sterling, who has since our last real meeting in 1970 has gone through an intense training in past life regression and realized her ability as a clairvoyant and a person of peace.  See


  • Dorot has me tutoring a citizen even more senior than myself in the use of the computer.  See   http://www.dorotusa.org
  • The printer of course has me printing–photos.  This means either framing them or sending them to others which, of course, means trips to the post office…
  • The family has me familing.
  • Work has me running my bony little behind off.  We now are accepting new clients directly from the courts or the street (remember, I work in a residential drug treatment program), so my new task is to be part of the admissions team.  (Good thing I love it, huh?)  I’ve also started a new group for clients about to leave treatment and move back to the world that sent them into treatment in the first place.  That’s http://www.samvill.org
  • I’ve started reading for fun.  David gave me a David Sedaris book for Christmas.  Someone else gave me a David Byrne book.
  • After problems followed by a year of trying to feel comfortable  again in my old zendo (Yes, there’s a posting on that: https://goldberg.wordpress.com/2008/12/18/this-is-a-hard-one) without success, I’ve begun sitting with a group sprung from those folks with whom I attend week-long retreats in the spring and autumn.

What this all adds up to is this: My life is full to overflowing.  Along with my work days, Monday night, Tuesday night, Thursday night and even Friday night are spoken for.  (Friday night is particularly cool though.  That’s “Date Night.”)

And there’s more.  There’s this: After minimal contact since 1985 I had lunch with the creator, proprietor and now former owner of W.M. Tweed’s/All State Cafe and its most durable and endearing regular.  On the basis of another posting (https://goldberg.wordpress.com/2007/10/26/one-more-storied-bar-falls-victim-to-rising-rents) in this very blog, they’ve asked me–ME!–to write a book–A BOOK!–about the bar and its geo-historical setting.  Keep in mind that when I drank at the Allstate, the spot was filled with the literarily talented, most of whom are still alive.  Some of whom actually earned their livings by their writing.  Some of whom were much more connected to things than I was.  Many of whom were much more coherent.  Still, over pastrami, omelets and my objections, they kept affirming that, yes, I and not any of those thems was the one to do this.

(As I said earlier, O boy!)

By the time I got home  I was deep into overwhelm.  I was flattered, sure, but I was also terrified.  At one point in the conversation I felt my hand reaching into my shirt pocket for a cigarette!  I haven’t smoked since 1985!  Part of me felt like the central character in the rewrite of a chapter of Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America, the one which may have been called “1/3, 1/3, 1/3.”   After a cup of tea and a phone call to my wife who was up in Connecticut being a grandmother and maybe a sip of tequila, overwhelm transformed into uncomfortable calm.  Uncomfortable because I’m used to taking things seriously.  Calm because  I was able to remember: no matter  how filled my life may be, it still appears one day at a time.  Some things will just not get done.

Hell, I’m 68.  When my folks  were my age, they’d been dead for 8 years apiece.  I’m already in extra innings.   I first applied this logic back in 1991 when I was 49 and entered social work school.  I remember thinking: if I can get my student loans on long enough terms, I’ll die before they’re all paid off.  I’ll win!!!

And what if I die before finishing the script?  Or before my computer student learns how to copy something from the internet and then fax it to a friend who is computerless?  Before I write the Allstate book or clean the rugs?  As for finishing the two  David books I was given for Christmas–PULEEZE!!!  Someone with a mellifluous voice can always sit beside my ashes and read whatever’s left to me.

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not that I don’t want to do any of these things.  I truly do want to do them–all of them.  That’s why I was putting so much pressure on myself to do them.  What I’ve realized from all this is that my life is and will constantly be filled with things I want to do.  Even the things that might not seem like that much fun, things utterly common, have been reclassified as  ultimately delightful: Giving Fred the cat his medicine, doing laundry, listening to stories I’ve heard before, cardiac stress tests.   I’ve reached that blissful stage at which just being alive is satisfying.  It’s the same stage at which seriosity detracts from both satisfaction and fun.

Does this make sense?

…does this?

A note on blog posting: At this point I tried to add 3 more photographs,  one each from George Carl Kaplan, Goldie Silverman and Joanna Garland, the only 3 folks to respond to my invitation of the last posting.  When I went to “preview,” they were all scrambled.  When I returned to “compose/edit”  so as to try again, they’d disappeared.

Does that make sense?

Published in: on January 19, 2010 at 8:07 am  Comments (8)  

Happy New Year!

Art is everywhere!  Maybe that’s the watchword for 2010.  I don’t know.

Above is a photograph made a few weeks ago.  It’s not so much “a picture of ___” as it is just “a picture.”  Again, I don’t know.  It delighted me when it first appeared.  It still does.  The balance and energy, the shapes, the mystery, the textures of it.

I like that it’s so unlike the photos I’ve been admiring lately, particularly

Judith Raices’ planetarium in snowstorm and

Duncan Campbell’s Stopping by Woods and

even my own Central Park pond in snow.

So here’s the challenge/opportunity: Do  you have a snap for me?  One you’ll let me post to share with others?  If so, email it to me as an attachment and I’ll post it.  Please keep in mind I won’t be able to post all at once, so it may take a while.  If the number is really large, I’ll create an album on Picasaweb and post the link in the next  blog entry.

Published in: on January 1, 2010 at 7:44 pm  Comments (1)