Skinny Wilson Talks about Long Daddy

I ain’t stupid.  I know what’s goin’ on.  Always did.  Back then, around ’73, me I was maybe seventeen.  I didn’t know shit, but I know I loved Long Daddy.  That’s what we called him, Long Daddy.  I don’t know why we called him that.  ‘Prob’bly something I said when I was real little and it stuck.  You know how little kids think they hear something so they say it an’ get it all messed up, then everybody say, “Oh, ain’t that cute,” an’ they keep sayin’ it.  I know he likeded it ‘cause after a while he got other people to call him it, and pretty soon everybody say Long Daddy or maybe just LD.  See, he never had no other street name till I, his son, give him one.  Maybe ‘cause he was real quiet, a stay home and watch TV guy.  He never hung out and never had no real job at a store or nothing.  Just stay in the crib and get high and watch TV.

At night that’s when he went out.  Not to no bars or nothing.  He went out to make his money.  ‘See, Long Daddy was what they called a cat burglar.  Don’t get me wrong, not like he went out and stealed people’s cats, ha ha ha.  After dark he’d find ways to get into people cribs and take off they jewelry or, later on, their new electronical stuff.  You know, like cd players and walkmens and then all that eye-shit.  He never took no computers.  They was too heavy, he said.  If you gonna be a cat, you gotta be light and fast.

Anyhow what I wanna talk to you about was one night how me and him went out together.  It was the first time, see.  Before that he wouldn’t tell me nothing about where he went.  He sure as shit wasn’t about to let me come along.  I used to beg him to let me go with him.  I’d say, “Long Daddy, c’mon, lemme hang with you tonight.”  He’d say, “Hell no, Skinny Wilson.”  He called me that ’cause he thought it was cute or something.  See, my name ain’t Wilson and, truth be told, I wasn’t all that skinny.  Maybe lean or something, but not skinny.  It was cool.  He could call me Skinny Wilson, but I didn’t let nobody else call me it.  Skinny sound like weak or a pushover or something. 

Anyhow I’d keep beggin’ him.  He’d just say, “I’m a man.  You’re a boy.  I’m goin’ out to do my man stuff,” and walk out the door.  If he wasn’t high yet he’d yell back, “Make sure you lock that door, Boy!” 

All that got different back in ’73.  The year before that the Knicks had lost it in the NBA finals, but this year they could do it.  They had Clyde Frazier and Earl the Pearl and a couple of white guys–DeBusschere or something like that and Bill Bradley (the guy who got to be the senator over in New Jersey) and this other guy, Jerry Lucas, who could throw it in from Times fuckin’ Square.  These guys played great team ball—you know what I mean?  So that night my boys come by to watch the game and shit.  Around half time Long Daddy come out of the bedroom.  He got his Knicks shirt on—the real team kind with no sleeves—and his undershorts and his eyes all weird-ass like he been blowing massive reefer, and he tell me to go out and get him some smokes.  He smoked Newports.  Damn that shit was foul.  It was so mentholized it used to burn your throat.  I know.  I used to cop one outta his pack when he was too lit up to notice and always throwed it out after one drag.  I’say to myself, I ain’t never gonna do that again, but you know how it is.  It’s not like you forget.  You just do it again.  Later on, when me an’ him was in it together, makin’ money and all, I actually started buying them things myself.

Now I think I did it to be like him, but back then I didn’t see it like that.   I didn’t see it like nothin’.  I just smoked the shit. 

Anyway, my boys an’ me, we had some 40’s and some smoke an’ we was in the front room watching the game and carrying on, an’ LD, he comes out of the bedroom in his Knicks shirt and skivvies and he got this attitude an’ he shouts at me, “Hey Skinny Wilson, go get me a fuckin’ pack o’ Newports and make sure your dumb ass bring me back all my smokes an’ all my change!”  Then he throw a five spot at me.  It fall on the floor between us.  I bend down to pick it up, you know, I mean, all this in front of my boys.  I feel like shit.  Then Lacy, my number one dog, he start going’ “Hey, Skinny Wilson, hey, Skinny Wilson.”  Pretty soon they all like singin’ it, you know, thinkin’ they so cool.

That’s when I lost it.  Just lost it, an’ I started screamin’.  We had this lamp on the table.  It was about two foot tall and had a frosty white shade on it.  I grabbed the sucker with both hand—it musta weighed about five pounds or something—and started swinging the motherfucker like it was a baseball bat or something.  You shoulda seen them fools run!  It was like one of those movies where the guy gets drunk in the saloon–a cowboy like–and starts shooting off his six shooter and everybody run out the swinging door or jump behind the bar.  Or maybe like nowadays, I guess, when one of them mass murderers go off in a movie or a school or someplace. When it happened I was pissed as hell.  Now I remember their sorry asses and just laugh like hell.

Long Daddy?  That stoned look come off his face and his eyes open wide.  I swear he look at me like he seeing me for the first time ever.  He just stand there while all my boys running down the stairs out onto the street.  His mouth all hangin’ open.  He grab me around the middle and give me the biggest damn’ hug he ever give me.  ‘Think about it, I think it was the only time he ever hug me.  “Boy,” he says to me.  He got a grin an’ a half on his face.  “You an’ me, we goin’ places together.” 

And we did.  We did go some places together.  We even went out of state down to Atlantic City a couple of times.  LD loved to play cards when he had the cash.  Back then I wasn’t old enough to go into the casinos, so I’d stay out on the Boardwalk and hustle weed.  Sometimes things’d get slow on the Boardwalk, so I’d go over onto them streets where the hookers hang out.  Long Daddy tol’ me my mama never come outta the hospital when I was born, but I couldn’t help thinkin’ some night down in AC I was gonna spot her.  She’d look like me or maybe I’d just know.  I’d conversate with her. Then she’d get pissed that I was just talkin’ and keepin’ her off the stroll.  Then she’d finally know it was me.  Now that was stupid!  How she gonna recognize somebody she ain’t never see before?  But, you know, I’d think maybe she used to come around when I was in school and walk past the play yard at recess time to check me out.  Stupid as the day is long!  Anyhow then I’d go back, cross over the Boardwalk to the sand and take off my shoes an’ socks.  If it wasn’t too cold, I’d roll up my pants legs and take a little walk where the water came up to about my ankles.  That’d feel sweet.

Anyway me and him started doin’ cat burglaries together.  Then one night we was walkin’ home feelin’ real good with some good money from Johnny Rocks, the fencey-man, and right outta nowhere he say to me, “You gonna be all right in the joint.”

“What you talkin’ about,” I says to him.  “What joint?’

He says, “C’mon!  Don’t go lame brains on me.  You know the joint–the joint!”

O Jesus, I think.  “You mean like jail,” I say.  He sniggers. 

“Shit, Skinny Wilson.  Jail’s just a minute.  Unless you real fucked up or a punk anybody can do jail.  I’m talkin’ hard time.  You know, upstate.  I done it twice, a two-and-a-half-to-five and then a four-and-a-half-to-nine, all in Sullivan County.  They got some mean motherfuckers up in that spot.  The CO’s beat your ass down in a minute—especially the Black ones—and you ain’t got no table lamp to be swinging at ’em with.”  (He like laughed when he said that part)  “and all them wanbes from like Buffalo and Rochester–they call it ‘Rach-ster’ up there–they think they gonna get a rep takin’ out somebody like me an’ you from The Bronx. 

“But you cool.  You know how to do, and you got the heart.  Put another fifteen pounds on you before you go and get you used to movin’ around with that new weight.  Fifteen pounds gonna make all the difference.”

You see, Long Daddy was always looking out for me in his own way.  I was his only son, so when the lawyer asked me to take the rap for him, what?  I’m gonna say “no.”  He want me to say when I was up in that apartment the night we got busted, like he only came up there to try to just pull me out before I took somethin’.  Of fuckin’ course I said it.  Besides, he already had two strikes on his ass.  If I’d a said LD did it with me, they’d a burned his shit good.  Locked him up till Jesus come back.  They was gonna give me a misdemeanor at Riker’s and some community service if I ratted his ass.  No fuckin’ way I’m gonna give up my old man!

I ain’t no chump.  Bet your ass there was something in it for me.  You know, Long Daddy said how he appreciated it and how he was gonna make sure my commissary was stocked.  And he was gonna come visit me on the regular.  He said they got these busses that split the City maybe six or eight at night and you sleep on them and in the morning you’re upstate for your visit, easy as that.  Mostly it’s the women with they kids on the bus, but there some guys–the ones like us don’t have no cars.  He owed me big time, so I knew he’d come.

The simple straight shit: He never did come up to see me.  Not even once.  Never even wrote me even a fuckin’ postcard.  Commissary?  Shit!  If I wasn’t sellin’ blow up there, I’d a never got my smokes or Snickers or batteries for my little Walkman.  But you can bet your ass nobody at Clinton or Green Haven or even when they maxed me up to Comstock, nobody ever called me Skinny Wilson twice!  Even the ones be ganged up, you know.  At first we had the Black Assassins an’ the Reapers and the Javelins an’ a million more. I sent a bunch of them dudes to the infirmary. Later on when we got Latin Kings and Bloods and Aryan Brotherhood, once or twice I went in there myself, but ain’t nobody ever fucked with me again when l comed out.

Them dudes I sent into the infirmary, one of them come out feet first.  That’s why they maxed me up here to Comstock.  Long Daddy’s got all the time in the world to come visit me now ’cause, you know I ain’t goin’ nowheres.  I’m like fifty-seven now.  If I don’t get iced, I probably got 25 or so left in me, so he got plenty o’ time to get his ass up here.  One way or another I know he gonna show.  I was in this rehab program back in The Bronx one time, an’ I met this dude come from the joint in Newark.  He tol’ me in the Green Haven was where he met his old man for the first fuckin’ time.  Can you believe that?  LD could come up here by the bus or even the damn’ paddy wagon.  Whatever—when he do, I’m gonna hug him just like he hugged me that time.  A man’s only got one daddy, an’ he’s the only one I got.

The End

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Published in: on November 3, 2013 at 1:31 pm  Comments (1)  
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Right Now!

Done:

  • most gift shopping
  • holiday card designed and sent
  • my wish list created and submitted
  • travel plans made

To Do:

  • one last gift to get for family
  • one gift to get for workplace Kris Kringle exchange
  • wrap gifts
  • buy and decorate tree
  • buy and cook pot roast for work party
  • get massage!

Right now:

  • Rough Guide’s music of the Himalayas playing softly enough that the background of traffic moving gently thru the rain outside my window remains audible.
  • Here and there a horn–not angry, just alerting others, “I’m here too.”
  • From the bedroom the occasional voice of Bobbie’s Pathophysiology (articulation–joints) instructor  coming thru her computer.
  • Fred the cat lies on the ottoman.
  • Mrs. Sipowicz the cat lies on the bed.
  • Jasmine tea brews for me.  Regular for Bobbie.

Right now is the moment to allow past and present, Done and To Do.  Just let them be.  Let them float in and out of awareness without getting caught up in them or the feelings associated with them.  I add milk and sweetener to Bobbie’s tea, bring it to her.  She smiles, kisses me, “Did you think you could get away without a kiss?”  Right now is the moment, and it could not be better.

*     *     *     *     *

Whatever your  holiday

whether you celebrate it or observe it or even wait patiently for it to be over

may it be joyful.


Published in: on December 13, 2009 at 1:33 pm  Comments (6)  

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks for Autumn…

…and fish…

…drawing…

…and work…

…and Times Square.

Yes, thanks for family and friends

and bikes and meditation.  Thanks

for music and thanks for motion…

…and motion.

Thanks for the computer…

and the world beneath my window

…and quiet…

…and snow.

Thanks to them…

…thanks to Bobbie…

…and thanks to you!

Published in: on November 25, 2009 at 10:40 pm  Comments (7)  

Magic Eye!

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Gray Sunday morning in our living room:
I’m excited reading The Second Book of the Tao,
Bobbie, laughing, is excited by Eye Magic

(HOLD THE IMAGE CLOSE TO YOUR NOSE.

SLOWLY MOVE IT AWAY…
AND SUDdENLY A HIDDEN 3D ILLUSION
WILL MAGICALLY APPEAR ! )

I put down the book and pick up the magic,
proud that I can let my eyes see the illusion.
I laugh.  She tells me she has to study.
She hopes to pass a quiz.
Encouraging thoughts fill me
As she walks away.
I start to speak but hear myself say,
“It doesn’t matter what I say.”  She stops…
Wiggles her ass at me!
Smiles over her shoulder
and continues toward her books.

Hey!  That’s why I married her!

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Happy Autumn to All!

Published in: on November 15, 2009 at 12:10 pm  Comments (2)  
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Halloween in New York…

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…on the block…

 

 

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…in the elevator…

 

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…on the train…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…in the train…

Published in: on November 1, 2009 at 11:44 pm  Comments (3)  
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Some thoughts on the year past

Don’t get me wrong.  I was born a Jew and I’ll not only die one but it’s a sure thing–Buddhist meditation, love of Jesus, devotion to Krishna, the Tao Te Ching and the wisdom of the Koran notwithstanding–I’ll still spend all the time between those two events being a Jew.  This isn’t about that.  It’s about making use of Rosh Hashonah, the Jewish new year, and it’s companion, Yom Kippur, the day of atonement.  This is the time of year when we traditionally take account of the past year to identify and atone for our sins.  Another way to see this is that this is the time when we clear away the trash of the past, the ego-based guilts and sadnesses of the past twelve months, to clear space for God’s grace in the coming year.

Those of you who’ve been following this blog pretty much know of my bigger blunders, those conflicts ultimately based on my (at the time) sincere belief that I was right and someone else was wrong.  I’ve tried to write about them in ways that indicate that, at least in hindsight, I was no longer being taken in by my own sense of superiority, righteous indignation, hope or fear.  I hope that came through.

There’s been another attempt to escape from egocentricity.  Simply put: a reaching out to make this blog a bit more about us and not about just me.    Frequently I’ve included in my email announcements the hope that you’d contribute comments.  There was a request that you write about your work or submit a six word autobiography or supply a caption for a photo.  Recently I posted Goldie Silverman’s Rosh Hashonah poem, Tashlik 2000.

I found an unexpected ally in in this pursuit, Facebook, using it to reconnect with several of the folks I knew and in some cases undoubtedly offended (or at least irritated) as an angry, moody,  drug-propelled film editor or an equally arrogant student or club bike rider or even family member.   I identified presenting myself as open to take the shit accumulated in the past  as a form of atonement: to be ready for and willing to accept that a significant part of the world wasn’t waiting for me with bouquets of fresh picked chrysanthemums and gracious welcoming smiles.  Each time I sent out one of those Friend requests my mouse finger trembled.  Blissfully, several responded warmly to my befriending requests.  In a few cases there have been actual reunions with the expressed intention of maintaining contact in the future.  In other cases there have been no responses.

All that said, in the Facebook words of Fredric D. Rosenberg, who’s said it so well and will probably not hurt me for quoting him without permission,

This is going to sound strange, but if I hurt you in any way in the last year and have not apologized and made amends before now, I am sorry. I will try to do better in the future. Let the fast begin.

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Published in: on September 27, 2009 at 9:46 pm  Comments (5)  
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Rosh Hashanah

On Sat, Sep 5, 2009 at 4:39 PM, Goldie Silverman  wrote:
Hi, Richard,
I wrote this poem years ago. Happy New Year.

TASHLIK, 2000

(tash-leek, the custom of emptying crumbs from the pockets and throwing them into moving waters on the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, symbolic of tossing away one’s sins.)

“We might return,” they said, “but not to that,
A swollen mass of unfamiliar faces.”
Bet Am, house of the people, a place grown strange to children long departed.
No rows of folding chairs for them,
No unknown pulpit faces, unknown tunes.
Conditions met.
We chose instead to separate ourselves,
To look for God,
If God exists,
Upon a mountain, by a lake, under an open sky.
So came we together from our scattered homes
To welcome year fifty-seven sixty-one.
And even though the rain soaked through our clothes,
And heaven’s gray obscured the mountain top,
We spread the plastic over holy words,
Read psalms and searched the recesses in our hearts.
The stream we found ran foamy brown like laundry after playing in the mud.
We tossed our crumbs and threw away our greed,
Our stubbornness, our arrogance and pride.
Three generations, like Sinai, standing in the rain.
I looked at these, my immortality.
“Let the sun not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.”
We lifted up our eyes and knew the source.


Goldie part lake part screen

Pic by Zoe for NB newsletter

My poem was a riff on Psalm 121, which begins, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,” and includes the lines, “The sun shall not smite thee by day, Nor the moon at night.”  I wrote the poem the year my three children all agreed to come home for Rosh Hashonah, provided they were not forced to go to services at the synagogue they had grown up in, which had changed much from the years they remembered.

There is also a line in Pirke Avot: “Do not separate yourself from the congregation,…”

We compromised that year by attending the evening service, but in the morning we drove up into the mountains for Tashlik, and it poured! My daughter brought a service that we put into plastic bags, and we read it and Psalm 121, my favorite, because I have a view of the Cascades and Mt. Rainier from my house.

Goldie and I met in Morocco in December of 2007.

Published in: on September 7, 2009 at 8:58 pm  Comments (1)  

Life Falls Together…Right Here in New York City

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Let me start with Friday, January 2nd.  Based on this:

Peter Doobinin

dear friend,
there will be a downtown meditation community “new year’s day sitting” on january 1, 2009.  we hope you can join us as we greet the new year.

the sitting will end at 8:30pm, followed by time for fellowship.  refreshments will be served, but if you would like to bring something, food (vegetarian), or beverage (non-alcoholic), please do.

Peter was my first meditation teacher.  I studied with him for two years, taking his introduction to meditation course, the intermediate offering and then taking the introduction again.  After that I did a series of “sandwich retreats,” meetings held in his apartment on a Sundays, Tuesdays and then Thursdays, thus sandwiching meditation and dharma talks (“sermons” to you Christians and Jews out there) with life in the usual world.  Peter is knowledgeable, compassionate and focused to the point of seeming almost abrupt at times.  His job is to transmit the word, not to debate it.  He follows the Insight tradition, not the Zen with which I currently study.

Having had a quiet New Year’s celebration and not having seen Peter in maybe four years, I decide to accept the invitation.  Being a good Jew underneath it all, I of course have to bring a little something either vegetarian or non-alcoholic. Opting for the former, I stop at the Subway on 14th Street about three doors down from the rented room where we are to meet.  I order the Vegetarian Footlong and request it be cut into ten pieces.  The counterman looks at me for a long instant, smiles and says, “Sure.”  Sure he was, doing a magnificent job without the aid of a calculator, ruler or calipers.  I thank him, tip him, exchange best wishes for a great new year, then set off to the meeting.

Ok, soI’m  in the elevator with a coupla other folks heading up to five, when we stop at four and someone known to the others gets on.  Some dialog now:
“How come you’re on four?”
“The men’s room on five isn’t working, so I hadda come down here.”
“Hmm,” thinks I, your writer.  “This is a message I can read.”

So I exit the elevator, find the back-up men’s room, make use of it and arrive upstairs just in time to remove my jacket, sweater, shoes and cap, locate a mat and space on the floor for it, open my seiza bench (my nifty, padded, folding–Christmas-a-few-years-ago gift from stepson David) meditation seat and assume the position.  As Peter begins his presentation, it occurs to me that something is missing from all this.  Yes!  The ten piece, toasted vegetarian footlong is missing.  I don’t recall putting it on the table with the cheeses and crackers and hummus and raw vegetables and bowl of fruit.  I don’t remember leaving it on the table next to the free literature (Peter always has good free literature) where I’d put my outerwear.  It’s definitely not with me here on the seiza bench.

Peter’s words are lost as my mind hurtles backward in pursuit of the toasted vegetarian footlong.  Is it in the back-up men’s room on the floor below?  Back at the Subway?  Meanwhile the chanting is starting.  Wherever it is, I figure.  It’s safe.  So, along with the forty or so other celebrants in the room, I chant.  Then I meditate, then listen to the dharma talk (Insight folks call it the Dhamma Talk,) the questions and comments period, and only then, as we stand and pick up our mats do my thoughts return to the errant sandwich.
Quickly I run down to the back-up men’s room only to find nothing.  Ok, either someone who needed (or wanted) it found and took it, or it’s still back at the restaurant.  Whatever, I return upstairs, speak happily with Peter, have some wonderful cake and leave.

When I arrived at the Subway looking more joyful than sheepish, I am greeted by the counterman, looking more sheepish than joyful.  Arms out and palms up I begin:

“Duh…”
“When I saw you left it behind, I ran outside to look for you, but you were gone.”
“Yeah, I just was about 3 doors down.  You still got it?”

“Naw.  I threw it out.”

“How far out?”

“I really threw it out!  It’s ok.  I’ll make ya another one.  Vegetarian, right?  See, I remember.  What kinda cheese?”

“Swiss.”

“All outta Swiss.  American?”

“Ok, but just cut it in half.  I’m not going back to the party.”

So, laden with seiza bench and footlong vegetarian hero and no hunger whatsoever–I had a BIG piece of cake and, besides, Bobbie fed me well before leaving home–I travel uptown by small “s” subway to my stop at 72nd Street.
Now here’s the part that let’s you know that (ta da) Life Falls Together and not just in Bhutan, but right here in New York City.

It was cold enough when I exited the station that only one man was sitting out on the stone seats in front of the entrance, his bundles in front of and next to him.

“Howya doin’ tonight,” I begin.
“Na mobly tow towa bummle,” it sounded like.  Not much interest in conversation.
“Would you like a sandwich,” I continue.  His eyes brighten, making contact with mine.
“That’s  your sandwich!”
“I thought you’d like it.”
“What’ll you eat?”
“I got stuff at home.”
“You sure?
“Yeah.”  I hand it to him.  He takes it, hefts it.
“You sure?”  I nod.
“Thanks,” he says.
“Happy New Year,” I wish for him out loud.  No response. My moment in his life is over.  Me, I smile.  I’m still smiling.

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Happy New Year!

Published in: on January 4, 2009 at 5:24 pm  Comments (5)  
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…And my secret love’s no secret anymore…

img_24651 “You didn’t tell me about her,” Bobbie said with mimimal intonation, when I described the photo to the left as my subway fantasy.  Of course I didn’t tell her.  I didn’t tell anyone else either.  Hell, I hardly told me.  Talking about fantasies was never pushed during my growing up period, that time of life when lifelong habits are formed.  Keep in mind I’m talking about growing up lower middle class in New England (Hartford, Connecticut) during the 1940’s and ’50’s.  Sure, I once found a book of naughty cartoons entitled Over Sexteen under a stack of blankets in the little nameless room just off the living room.  I still remember it’s definition of a Sweater Girl, a concept that’s long passed from popular culture.  That definition: a woman who pulls your eyes over the wool.  If there was any other sex-oriented material in the apartment, it must have been in the eyes and the sweat of my parents.  Lord knows I looked–how do you think I found Over Sexteen?–thoroughly and without success.  The lesson: fantasies are a private affair, and that’s undoubtedly what made them so delicious.

Today fantasies  have been replaced with acting out.  Men with the outlines of their erections showing grace the billboards above Times Square.  Prostitution services advertise both on television and in the Yellow Pages.  Two of New York’s three daily newspapers keep us abreast of the comings (yes, puns intended) and goings of the actors and politicians who live out their fantasy lives for our amusement and envy.  Sex toys, tools and videos are even  offered in those catalogs which specialize in raised toilet seats for seniors and the otherwise infirm.

Now before this post is mistaken for a rant against the present and nostalgic longing for the good old days, let me assure you that it is neither.  It’s actually no more than me noting one more instance in which I’ve  caught myself carrying Then into my interaction with Now.  When I do this unawares, it creates confusions and frustrations.  When I become aware of it, the opportunity for learning and even growth appears.  I write about it because, being just one of the crowd, this is a habit I share with a great many people.  Maybe even with you, dear reader.

So here’s my question to you:  What are you holding onto?  What beliefs, opinions, verities, prejudices re yourself, others and the world still color the glasses through which you look at it all?  Hit the reddish “comments” word at the end of this and tell me all about it.

Published in: on November 22, 2008 at 9:55 pm  Comments (4)  
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Reaching out!

Sometimes I know why I write what I write.  Sometimes not.  Sometimes the prime influences of the moment are evident.  Right now, for instance:

  • In a few hours Bobbie and I will leave for a two week tour in Egypt.
  • Right now my back still hurts from having done something or other to it last Sunday.
  • My digestive juices are working over some pancakes, coffee and a host of dietary supplements.
  • Right now a whole bunch of my clients have become former clients, leaving treatment for addictions against clinical advice and almost assuredly returning to the lives they left before coming to treatment.
  • Tightly linked to this is the memory of an article by Rabbi Simon Jacobson I read yesterday linking addiction with childhood abuse and it’s profound attack on self-esteem.
  • Tara Brach’s Radical Acceptance and A man of Zen: the recorded sayings of Layman P’ang are also in the mix.

All morning images have rushed through my mind in a carnival of confusion, color and lunacy (Was there really a plastic shopping bag tied around my ankle or did I dream it?  Imagine it?  Plastic bag?  What plastic bag?  Is there more coffee?) Still I know that these influences only influence and do not explain anything, the mind being what it is.  Is being what it is.

Why I write at all is another matter, particularly why blog.  All this started  back in November of 2006.  At first it just seemed like fun and, more than that, a chance to see how much courage lay beneath my surface.  Putting out my words (a mild way of saying thoughts) for others to see, braving whatever comments/criticisms might come back–that was the real challenge.  It was only last night, however, that I finally understood why I write at all.

My writing and, as it turns out, like my meditation and my work and my cycling and traveling and friendships and acquaintances and just about everything else I now fill my self with are all a reaching out, a seeking connection with others.  Like other human beings I am a social animal.  The blog, particularly with it’s opportunity for reader comments, seems an ideal pathway for the mutual exchange of concerns and perceptions.  I particularly want to know what you think and what you think about–not just feedback about what my postings introduce, but where your thoughts go from there.

The better I understand myself, the better I see me as part of an ever-expanding community, a community of not just people, but of all–even emptiness.  Maybe the word totality is better than community, but somehow it lacks the warmth and responsiveness of community.  Undoubtedly the word love comes in here, the love that holds all the rest: the laughter, the suffering, the celebration, the isolation, the ego and the soul.

I’m getting carried away here, but maybe not. Maybe that’s why the picture at the top: to undercut the whole thing with humor; a safeguard against taking myself too seriously and against you taking this too seriously.

What do you think?

Published in: on August 9, 2008 at 11:15 am  Comments (4)  
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The (ooh ooh shudder!) VOID!!!

For as long as I hve been aware of people speaking indulgently about themselves and their penetrating observations on life, the universe and the whole thing (thanks, Douglas Adams) I’ve been hearing about The Void. You know, the feeling of emptiness that’s too emotionally powerful to be called emptiness. The one that finds its way into mysticism, eastern thought and western psycho-products.

(This is starting to sound harsh and skeptical, huh?)

Anyhow, in service to you, my loyal blog recipients, I have just completed deep personal research into my own deep, personal Void and am here with the results:

Quite simply, The Void is just that. That is to say, it is and, since it is, it really isn’t nothing or emptiness. To wit (or lack there of) it isn’t a void. It’s a nifty space/time item filled with, well, voidiness. It can be located with some precision in the area of the solar plexus, and is easily accessible at any moment in which you are not happily or unhappily engaged in living your life.

Others have written much more about The Void. So, if this isn’t enough, please consult them.

Meanwhile, here are some snaps. Each might seem to have it’s head cut off. Think of that as symbolizing the inappropriateness of thought or an expression of voidiness or even the photographer’s failure to compose well.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on June 27, 2008 at 10:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Comedy? Tragedy? Just Another Day?

Take this quiz:

Read the dialog below:

Dell Chat Session Log
Inbox
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Dell Inc.
Wed, Apr 16, 2008 at 7:48 PM
To: richsgold@alumni.brown.edu
Reply | Reply to all | Forward | Print | Delete | Show original
This is an automated email sent from Dell Chat. The following information is a log of your session. Please save the log for your records.
Your session ID for this incident is 18600762.

Time Details
04/16/2008 06:38:44PM Session Started with Agent (Mayank_164048)
04/16/2008 06:38:46PM Agent (Mayank_164048): “Thank you for contacting Dell Technical Support. My name is Mayank and my rep ID number is 164048. How may I assist you today?”
04/16/2008 06:39:14PM Richard Goldberg: “All my wordperfect documents have disappeared.”
04/16/2008 06:39:35PM Agent (Mayank_164048): “May I have your telephone number, along with the area code to update our records?”
04/16/2008 06:40:40PM Richard Goldberg: “Let me give you the background. I was working with a Verizon technician. His servicepoint program runs a tune-up. This tune up would remove wp from my computer. 2128742008 10023”
04/16/2008 06:40:55PM Agent (Mayank_164048): “Thank you for the information.”
04/16/2008 06:41:21PM Agent (Mayank_164048): “Is the Word Perfect missing or the files are missing that open up in Word Perfect?”
04/16/2008 06:41:46PM Richard Goldberg: “As I was saying, in the course of working with him, when one desktop icon was dragged into the recycle bin, all the others attached and were dragged also. When recycle w as opened, it was empt y.”
04/16/2008 06:42:23PM Richard Goldberg: “All the files, all my writing, have disappeared. My poems, my resume, my work stuff, it’s all gone. The program, itself, is there.”
04/16/2008 06:43:28PM Agent (Mayank_164048): “Richard, since it is the files that have been deleted and not the program, the only way we could have recovered it is from recycle bin. Now, there is not way we can get those files back. Unfortunately they have been deleted permanently.”
04/16/2008 06:43:29PM Richard Goldberg: “I am hoping we can go back to an earlier period in time to find and retrieve them.”
04/16/2008 06:44:10PM Agent (Mayank_164048): “You would not be able to retrieve files by restoring system to an earlier time. It is only when a program has been uninstalled accidentally that you want back.”
04/16/2008 06:44:25PM Agent (Mayank_164048): “It would not help in retrieving files back.”
04/16/2008 06:45:03PM Richard Goldberg: “I am sad that there is no help. Good night.”
04/16/2008 06:45:46PM Agent (Mayank_164048): “I can imagine your situation but you can search for some online programs that can help you get those back.”
04/16/2008 06:46:13PM Agent (Mayank_164048): “I am not sure about how to use that but there are some programs that can serve this purpose. Hope it works for you.”
04/16/2008 06:46:13PM Richard Goldberg: “Tell me about this.”
04/16/2008 06:46:33PM Richard Goldberg: “What are they called?”
04/16/2008 06:47:01PM Agent (Mayank_164048): “You may google this online. These are called file recovery softwares.”
04/16/2008 06:47:20PM Agent (Mayank_164048): “http://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en&q=file+recovery+softwares&btnG=Google+Search&meta=”
04/16/2008 06:47:45PM Richard Goldberg: “Thank you. Again, good night.”
04/16/2008 06:47:57PM Agent (Mayank_164048): “You are welcome. Is there anything else regarding your Dell system that you need help with?”
04/16/2008 06:48:27PM Richard Goldberg: “No.”

Now here’s a hint:

Researchers Say Merely Anticipating a Laugh Can

Jump-Start Healthy Changes in the Body

By Kelley Colihan
WebMD Medical News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

April 7, 2008 — OK, take a deep breath. Now put your hand on your belly. Imagine your stomach jiggling, as if you are starting to laugh. You may have just taken a step toward reducing stress hormone levels.

Researchers say merely anticipating a laugh can jump-start healthy changes in the body.

The findings come from a small study, made up of 16 healthy men. The men were divided into two groups. The experimental group was told to anticipate something funny. The other group was used as a comparison.

Researchers then tested the levels of three stress hormones participants had in their blood and compared that to the control group, which did not expect a laugh was on the way.

Researchers found that the group anticipating the laughs had reduced levels of three stress hormones compared to the other group.

Here’s the breakdown from the experimental group.

* Cortisol levels dipped 39%. Cortisol is known as a major stress hormone.
* Adrenaline levels dropped 70%. Adrenaline is also known as epinephrine.
* Dopac levels dropped 38%. Dopac is a chemical related to the “feel-good” chemical known as dopamine.

Persistently elevated stress hormone levels in the blood, as happens under chronic stressful situations, has been linked to a weakened immune system.

“Our findings lead us to believe that by seeking out positive experiences that make us laugh we can do a lot with our physiology to stay well,” says researcher Lee Berk in a news release.

The researchers were following up on a similar study they did two years ago in which they found that anticipating laughter led to an increase in healthful chemicals such as beta-endorphins.

Now cast your vote in the “Leave a comment” box.

Published in: on April 16, 2008 at 8:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Morocco: words and music

Start here. Turn up your speakers and click on this link.

http://www.moroccanmusic.com/html/fesstylefolk.html

It will take you to a tune called “Welcome”–not unlike the name of this blog, but for the exclamation point. It was recorded 10 years ago. I have no way of knowing how old it actually is. It comes from the Jews, a culture which largely left Morocco for Israel in 1948 just as it had left Spain for Morocco perhaps 4 centuries earlier and just as it had left Jerusalem in 136 and Judea in 586 BC. Walking thru the mellahs, the Jewish quarters of Morocco’s old cities you can feel that culture, almost absent but for a few folks, some buildings, some signs and some art. 100_3832.jpg

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Happy New Year is about time. Morocco isn’t.

100_3121.jpg In the medinas, the old cities, the ageless buildings are separated by alleys too narrow for cars or trucks. People live and men sell their wares as did their fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers and on back for as much as 12 centuries. By their sides you often see their sons, youngsters whose sons and grandsons will carry on the family name and the family tradition into whatever future there may be.

100_3136.jpg Buildings constantly require bracing or refurbishing or outright rebuilding, and this is always done in the ageless style of those around it. The only skyscrapers are minerets, the mosque towers 100_3120.jpg from which the call to prayer is sung, both in a style that hasn’t changed in the last 14 centuries.

At the other end of population density is the Sahara. 100_3268.jpg Yes, there are tire tracks in the sand, but they are no match for the wind. Yes, Bedouin nomads man the tourist tent camps, perform their traditional music 100_3242.jpg for visitors and even assist us in climbing the dunes. Still their traditional life remains as it has since before the arrival of history. Their ability to find water by smelling it has not disappeared. Their harmony with the desert remains.

Being a tourist on a two week tour in Morocco you don’t get to know a lot. But you do get to feel a lot. You see people living peacefully in conditions of intense crowdedness and no apparent luxury. You see people whose standard of excellence is drawn from living up to tradition rather than from accumulation. If a driver honks, it’s simply to let you know he’s there. Most often he doesn’t think that that’s all that important. Haggling is not so much a contest as a process of coming to agreement: the buyer finding a price which he’s willing to pay; the seller finding the price he can accept.

Private ownership of guns is illegal in Morocco.

The only people you see drinking alcoholic beverages are tourists.

There is a feeling that knowledge and concern do not spread themselves horizontally as much as run vertically: up to the heavens and down into the earth. There is a feeling of spirituality that permeates everything, even when it does so by it’s startling absence.

When I stepped out of my tent in the Sahara on our final morning there, I heard myself say, “I’m not leaving.” I hope I was right.

Published in: on December 30, 2007 at 6:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Let go!

pict0010-1.jpgme @bullock It took close to 2 hours to get the picture you’re seeing posted in that size to this page.  What’s remarkable is that, during those two hours, while I developed and pushed thru some strong doubts about my ability to use this program and the blog service’s ability to construct a user friendly post-your-picture program, I managed to persevere in the task.  So what does that mean, this thing that I’ve done which all of us do often more than once a day?  I used one part of my mind to overcome another part.  I’ve stepped outside of my frustration and negativity to persist toward my goal.  I stopped believing in my own inability and just let events continue to occur.  Most interesting to me, to do this I also had to stop believing in my ability.  As long as it was about me, it wasn’t about the task at hand.

This is what I now bring to my clients, a stepping back from the demands of the ego, that inner voice that calls out “I can” or “I must” or “I can’t.”  Rather simply being content with tackling whatever comes next.  Even an understanding that, no matter how successful or unsuccessful I might be, at any moment I am doing my best in that moment.  In addictions treatment this attitude is embedded in the Serenity Prayer and the ubiquitious slogan, “One day at a time.”

Two things I’ve noticed of late (although those of you who are forced to deal with me in person may haven not noticed it):

  1. I’ve been applying more and more of what I teach others to myself.  Not that I consistantly succeed in accomplishing what I set out to do.  Still it does happen just often enough to make me continue with it.  Additionally, when it fails, my tendency is to learn from the failure and open  up to new approaches–something else I’ve been teaching others for a while.
  2. Sometimes it seems that what I had in mind wasn’t really what I needed.  What I needed had to fight it’s way through the distractions of struggling for what I wanted for me to recognize and not pursue it but allow it.  Here’s an example: Two nights ago I got caught up in a mini-depression (images of myself living old, crippled, homeless and generally hungry.)  The next day I decided that what was needed was ceaseless, mindless activity to block out the demons.  So I spent the early morning with Bobbie,100_2147.jpg

then met friend Dave pict0015.jpgfor a delightful and leisurely bike exploration of GenX and Jewish Williamsburg and the campus at Pratt.

Then I met friend Gloria cropped-gloria.jpgfor that absolute glory

The Simpsons Movie.pict0052.jpg

Despite my intention to obliterate the depressive moment from consciousness, I found myself–comfortably and safely–discussing it with each of them.  My best self, it turns out, had it’s own hidden agenda.

So the question arises, if things are working so well, how come such a stern self-portrait?

Published in: on August 5, 2007 at 2:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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OK, so it’s getting a little spooky

This is still with the concussion and it’s effect on my brain, mind, feelings and body.  If that sort of stuff scares you or puts you off or makes you want to catch up on A-Rod and the war or that really sad young woman who keeps relapsing, this would be a good time to stop  reading what I’m writing–although maybe not. Those of you who get off on possible religious experiences or simply enjoy watching another human work through the daily mysteries of life (soft smiles, quiet “yeah” sort of thing) as he becomes aware of them, this is for you–or also maybe not.


My first month of dealing with Post Concussive Syndrome–described by my neurosurgeon at NY Presbyterian Hospital as consisting of headaches, lethargy, fatigue, depression, nausea, vomiting, dysequilibrium and imbalance (he forgot forgetfulness)– proved to be an absolutely exceptional month, especially when added to the various body aches and side effects of the Dilantin prescribed because I exhibited seizure symptoms as a result of the crash.

You might think that a month of living with all that crap would enhance the depression symptom and make for 30+ days of misery.  Frankly, you’d be right, were it not for the first fateful intervention: a book.  Having finished reading my first novel in a few decades, The Mombo Kings Play Songs of Love, a space opened for the miracle of grace.  I began re-reading Pema Chodron’s Buddhist fix-it book, The Places That Scare You. If I had a reason for choosing it, it escapes me, but I probably figured out that (big surprize here) I was scared. The skinny on Chodron’s text is simple:

Here’s how to delight in whatever life happens to hand you:  You accept reality and your ability to deal with it.  You realize others are just like you and so don’t judge them.  In the words of the Greek god, Nike, just do it, then notice how you feel about just doing it.

Well, I tried it.  It worked!  None of the symptoms disappeared, but they’d largely lost their sting.  Whatever I was feeling, it was okay.  The pain was still there, but I’d stopped creating any suffering to add to it.

(Fortunately I didn’t have to test it against vomiting and decided that anything I couldn’t remember I could Google.)

So for most of that month of May my symptoms became my teachers.  Whenever one appeared, I saw it as pointing out to me where I needed work.  Each time I noticed I was walking like a drunk or was quietly wishing to vanish from the face of the earth, another part of my cerebral apparatus would pull back and say, “Hmm…interesting.  Depression (or imbalance or lethargy…)  Don’t judge it.  Just observe it.  Watch it.  Don’t be it.”  And sure enough, the feelings didn’t go away, but they didn’t rule.  They became simply symptoms: nausea, sadness, thoughts of hopelessness, powerlessness.  I accepted them as being my “condition of the moment,” but did not get lost in stories of how they came about or what they might mean or indicate for my future.  They were no more than a bit of now.  And now is always temporary.

Meanwhile physical therapy and Tylenol began mitigating the pains and the headaches.  A  few days back at work, feeling busy and needed, led into a wonderful Memorial Day weekend in Connecticut with my sister and brother-in-law, my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law, my stepson and his wife and my step-daughter and her husband and his mother and their twin boys and my great buddy, Lew and his wife, April and my wife’s ex-husband and his current wife.  Together they brought me back into the realm of the belonging and up to a new level of joy.  Even though my brain and body didn’t really seem to be truly mine, they and the world had become friends.

This weekend I felt ready to ride.  I make a phone call.  Two friends agreed to escort me on my first bike ride in a month .  It proved ideal:  I pedal!  I steer!  I brake!  I climbed a hill!  My reflexes were good but my body was slow and, despite the hill, weak, so I respect that.  And the conversation!  I told Dmitri all about what I’ve been telling  you: life becoming somehow…easier…sweeter…more musical.  The same pain, yes, but with far less suffering.  The same number of strangers, but somehow not so strange or potentially hostile.  Dmitri, he comments after some gentling disclaimers, “What you’re talking about sounds like a religious experience.”

O Boy!  No!  Yes…?  It sounded good, but, see,  I don’t attribute this newest me to divine intervention or even the forces described in the Pema Chodron book.  It was a hit on the head and my brain got bloody.  True, observing and accepting myself rather than interpreting and embellishing what I experienced released a significantly different me.  But “religious experience”?  Naw.  Too much goody-goody attached to those words.  The truth be told, moving into closer touch with both the real world and the real me, that didn’t necessarily mean just some ideal kinder and gentler me.  Explosions of sadness and anger and pain later that afternoon and night proved that that real me was still a piece of very real work.

Published in: on June 3, 2007 at 9:15 pm  Comments (2)  
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AN APOLOGY TO ALL WHO ACTUALLY READ THE PREVIOUS POST

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  1. The most remarkable thing about a concussion is that you think you can still think.
  2. You believe that what you’re saying and doing make sense to others as well as to yourself.
  3. You tend to ignore te (there’s one of them) the basic re-occuring malfunctions of your living, such as typing errors and thenn tendency to drag one foot and knowing that your brething is fine but ramaining confinced tht suffocation is just a (missing) breath away.  O, becomming a spokes person for Fox News also fits in here, as does arguing with my good friend, George.
  4. I’ve also learned how many of you all have experienced concussions of your own and how, by sharinfg this with me, you’ve helped to normalize the madness.
  5. 100_18182.jpg
  6. “5” is what I look like now.  (Now, I think I’m smiling in this picture.  At least compared to the other two in the series which I rejected because I wasn’t smiling and didn’t want you to think somehow all this wasn’t cause for amsement if not joy.)

7.  I understood “6” and think that everyone else will too.

8. Finally, I’ve learned that we’re all better off ignoring the blogpost immediately before this one, the one called SOMETIMES IT JUST HITS YOU IN THE HEAD! 

9. Really finally, I want t thank all of you who’ve been in touch, sent music!, and put your positive thoughts and entergies into the world for my benefit.

I’ll see you on the road!

Published in: on May 17, 2007 at 2:16 pm  Comments (1)  
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SOMETIMES IT JUST HITS YOU IN THE HEAD!

Back on Saturday, May 5th, I suffered a concussion (among other things) while riding laps in Central Park. The other things are painful, but not worrisome. Neither is the concussion, but it is interesting, because I’ve lost what I’d come to think of as my secure hold on reality. It’s now been 9 days of concussiveness and all connection to the reality level feels at best tenuous. What’s taken over actually feels not so much good as amusing.  Almost like a Summer Replacement for reality.   First, for instance, I found myself watching Fox News. The lead story tonight was about a truck catching fire on the George Washington Bridge. Nobody hurt, but if commuting is your thing, this kind of stuff can’t be beat.  Certainly more promising than the Fox headlines on the internet: Two Banned Pro-Reform Iranian Papers Publish AgainInformation is temporarily unavailable.javascript:void(0)Carjacker Beats 91-Year-Old Man as Bystanders Look OnInformation is temporarily unavailable.javascript:void(0)7 States Ask MySpace.com For Names of Sex Offendersand compelling for those of us who’ve ridden our bikes across the bridge and like seeing the bike path. On top of that the newscasters were pleasant looking and friendly and seemed like they didn’t want anything to spoil our evenings.Then there was my correspondence with a friend who felt compelled to send me his response to my response to his sending me what I thought was the gentle, respectful brilliance of my response to ” The 7 great lies of religion” woven right into my responses. His are in the swiggly type–the name of which I can’t come up with at this moment–just like yesterday I couldn’t remember how many days are usually in a year

:>>>>>George,

>>>>>Thanks for your communication. I hope you don’t feel I’m suddenly buying >>>>>no one asked you to buy into anything – this is merely sent as an interesting approach to

>>>>>what I consider the fraud ulent practices of organized religion.

>>>>>in to The Seven Great Lies of Organized Religion with the latest blog postings when what I’m

 >>>>>actually focused on are the truths of what are called “pre-religion,” >>>>>those realities of life and the universe which do not depend on any human or cultural

 >>>>>interpretation or implementation  >>>>>in order to be stated they are automatically subject to human or culteural interpretation

>>>>>for their validity. I’d hoped that by showing the similarities among such diverse bodies of thought

>>>>>as Kabbalah, Buddhism and the words of Jesus that I was illustrating that point.

>>>>>As for Lie #1: ‘If you live a moral life, deny yourself pleasure, follow the prescribed rituals and

>>>>>give us enough money, you’ll have a decent shot at being accepted by God,’ I’d hoped that you’d >>>>>recognize that I’ve never bought into this. Yes, it is true that I believe that living a “moral life” is

>>>>>advisable, as it is an ultimately normal life in harmony with the lives of all other living things. My

 >>>>>reference here is to the “morality” of the Tao Te Ching or the “suggestions” of the Buddhist

>>>>>precepts.

>>>>>For me the harmony of all they describe represents the one real source of enduring pleasure–hardly

>>>>>a denial of pleasure. And Jesus said it best, using the words,

.>>>>>….”Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.”

>>>>>appears in the old Testament in several books and writings

>>>>>Following prescribed rules (here I like the 10 Commandments) and giving money to organizations

 >>>>>(e.g., Goddard Riverside Community Center), while they may prove helpful in some cases, aren’t

>>>>>something I’ve advocated for others.

 >>>>>I hope this letter has brought about the clarity which I failed to convey in other writings.

>>>>>No, on the contary it is just as confusing. The idea here is that he finds my writing confusing and I can’t figure out why.   I’m the one with the concussion.  If anyone should be unable to figure it out, it should be me.  Of course I also can’t remember anything about the accident. As far as I’m concerned I was riding laps in Central Park, thinking that I’d have to take it easy at the southern end because it was so crowded. Next thing I knew I was sitting next to Bobbie in the emergency room of NY Presbyterian Hospital not even concerned with how either of us got there. For that matter I still don’t know how we got there, but it seemed then and seems now like the right place.

And it’s not like the rest of my life is busy making sense either. Suddenly I, who have never had children, I am the grandfather of twin boys named Christopher and Benjamin and I’m madly in love with them. This weekend past I rode around Connecticut in search of them in a rented Cadillac which pumped heat into my seat and whose gas tank refused to be entered. Oh, yeah, and when I finally left the hospital they gave me instructions for two medications I didn’t receive as well as detailed instructions for dealing with the surgical wound I never received.And the novel I’m reading, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, centers on a guy with great musical talent and love of life whose own life seems to hinge overwhelmingly on the size of his pina (which is just what you think it is.)So what’s real? What’s not? Does it matter? Who cares? What I care about and want to share with you at this particular moment is that concussions and the thoughts they produce–once you stop worrying about the accuracy of them and about whether you’ll ever have a functional brain again–feel GOOD! It doesn’t matter whether you know how many days there are in an average year or the name of the company that makes the really comfortable women’s bike seats or who you went with to the senior prom or even what you really really like to spread on your toast. It’s just fine to forget these things or to show up at the wrong doctor’s office or to have your home address written down somewhere inside your wallet or that your fingers have a thing about typing L’s and T’s where they don’t belong.Anyhow I’ve now been out of work for more than a week–something else which doesn’t make sense to me–and using the time to sit in hot tubs, read The Mambo Kings… and bitch about not being able to get comfortable enough to sleep. Somewhere in my past there was more to life, but right now this seems sufficient.Write me back something I can try to respond to. It’ll give us both a laugh.

Published in: on May 14, 2007 at 7:29 pm  Comments (3)  
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All in the same city…

highbridge-deli.jpg                   pict0094.jpg           

Highbridge, the Bronx             Ralph’s, Staten Island  

  100_1429.jpg                

Under Brooklyn              

It’s right about here that I began getting crazy.  It seems that I cannot master the process of uploading photos to this page, despite the (blind) luck I’ve had with it before and even the 3 that made it above.  Now, it’s not my place to burden you with a rant against the folks at WordPress who designed this page any more than it is to give you the half-baked poem that I began and abandoned in favor of the photographs or the other rant about not getting comments on my blog entries which I thought to replace with the poem which was ultimately replaced with 3 of the 7 photos I’d hoped to post before knocking off for the night to watch the Simpsons and have a second go-round at last night’s delectable dinner (chicken and yellow peppers stir-fry, multi-colored pasta, guacamole, a spicy red pepper spread and “Oriental” salad with a nifty orange dressing.) {Breathe deeply…deeply}

 100_1588.jpg  OK, so deep breathing works.  I have no other explanation of why this snap, taken on Manhattan’s Madison Avenue not far from the Whitney Museum, would grace us with it’s presence at this time when the (S&^$&*( photograph resisted emblogging for about 45 minutes.  Maybe it’s time to breathe again (Let’s see what happens…)

 100_1368.jpg   And here it is, a little number from noneotherthan Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.  Have I discovered something big here?

(Later, much later:) What I’ve discovered that the machine has a mind of it’s own and a conscience that owes nothing to me. I’ve also been informed that it’s time for dinner.  Remember you can enlarge the snaps by clicking on them.

 Love to all…

Published in: on April 22, 2007 at 8:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Q:What’s a blogroll?

A. 210 on a good night.

B. drunken writers staggering out of bars.

C. a sandwich bread favored by internet posters.

D.  a meaningless name for a list of some interesting links.

                                   *     *     *     *     *  

Yep, the answer is D, and so the time has come to tell you a bit about those links currently on my very own blogroll. 

The first is Freecycle, a Yahoo group which posts things people want for free or are ready to give away for free.  No money involved.  It’s a great aid for house cleaning or packratting.  Your choice.

Next is Hopstep, a way to find your way around NYC and a few other cities by public transportation.  So far they’ve not let me down or gotten me lost.  

The Human Kindness Foundation focuses on bringing meditation, spirituality and hope to those incarcerated in the USA.  I first learned about it from a client at Samaritan Village who loaned me a copy of “We’re All Doing Time,” a collection of writings and drawings compiled by Bo Lozoff, the heart of this organization, and created by an assortment of prisoners across the country.  

Next up is a source for getting song lyrics.  You may already have a favorite of your own.  You may be content to just go “do wop dee bah.”  Whatever…

Maira kalman is a wonderful illustrator, humorist and thought-provoker.  See her work here.

A Meaningful Life is the website of rabbi Simon Jacobson who unites Chassidic Judiasm with the mysticism more commonly found in Kabbalah.  I’ve been attending his wednesday night lectures at the Carlbach schul in Manhattan for a while and find that what he teaches meshes with zen, taoism, the words of Jesus and the deeper truths of probably everything else.

Speaking of deep truths, Post Secret is a scary site, a collection of postcards submitted by the public in which secrets are shared anonymously.  Again it’s a chance for you to contribute or just exercise your power of voyeurism.

Snopes is the voice of internet truth, a place to validate or invalidate the latest fear-based e-chain (“toothpastes imported from South Africa contain dormant insect larvae just waiting to suck out your brain through your gums…”) some good hearted soul has plagued you with.  There are also an assortment of classic urban myths and satires on same (check out the boy born with no body.)

Finally, for now, The Wooster Collective shows a fine sample of urban grafitti.  Take a look. 

If you have any favorites for me, enter them in the comments section.

Thanks.

Happy New Year!

Published in: on January 15, 2007 at 12:35 am  Comments (2)  

Welcome

Why now?

The melodrama: Last thursday I applied for Medicare.  When my parents were my age they’d been dead for 4 years–longer if you believe the Ellis Island shipping logs.  I work in the South Bronx, regularly ride my bicycle in traffic and don’t watch my diet as closely as I once did.  In short: it’s time. The reality: Blogging has become really easy to do.  I’ve got a bunch of poetry and pictures I’d like to share.  There’s a recently renewed interest in a writing exercise which occassionally produces some things worth sharing.  This seemed the best way to share without holding anyone hostage. There’s even opportunity for readers to send me comments, an opportunity to test both my vanity and the thickness of my skin.  More importantly, it’s an opportunity to get the kind of feedback that will help me grow. So, read, look, write back if you’re inclined. Be well. Goldberg ******************************************************************************** Now a bit of explanation:  For my first 23 years I was known as “Dick” to virtually everyone.  Family, friends, friends’ families, teachers, employers and them that knew them all called me “Dick” without any problems on their parts or mine.  Then I moved to New York City (“Wow, just like I pictured it!), where “Dick” referred to either that most masculine of body parts of someone regarded with the utmost disdain.  Not one to set myself  in opposition to the linguistic world, I became Richard. Now somewhere in the middle of this “Richard” era there was a brief period of roughly 25 years when, thanks to the fine folks at the Allstate Cafe, name number 3, “Goldie,” came into being.    Every once in a while one of them turns up–praise be to the preservative aspect of alcohol–so “Goldie” lives.  And, of course family and the crew from Hartford Public High School is still able to call me “Dick” without either of us blushing.  And, of course of course, for the rest it’s “Richard.”  Except for my clients who call me (get this) “Mr. Goldberg.”  All of which is why on this blog I call myself “Goldberg.”  Does that make sense?

Published in: on November 18, 2006 at 3:17 pm  Comments (1)  
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