Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Brad Bliss and The Cast Iron Skillet…by Robert M. Katzman

Monday, September 28, 2015


Two important facts will help my readers better understand this unlikely but classic example of surreal serendipity:


1—I like to cook

2—I have three dogs


Please do not despair for my dogs! While my intention has always been those two passions should never intersect, on this once occasion, they did. My story follows.


For months, I’ve unsuccessfully combed flea markets, Salvation Army stores and especially, garage sales in Northern Illinois, where I have a store, and in South Eastern Wisconsin, where I live, searching for an elusive black, heavy and a marvelous conductor of even heat for cooks, a cast iron skillet.

(Read on …)

Sayonara / Shalom / Goodbye…by Robert M. Katzman

September 12, 2015 (A Jewish New Year Poem)


My Father fought the Japanese


Born before the Navahos were citizens

Born before women could vote

Before Hirohito, Yamamoto and Tojo

Before Meir, Dayan and Herzl

Before Eisenhower, Patton and FDR

Were names on anyone’s lips


Packed into trains of troop ships

Crossing the Pacific Ocean

To avenge Pearl Harbor treachery

To kill people he didn’t know

Bombed sending messages by telegraph

He died with steel shrapnel

Still in his body

Half a century later


(Read on …)

Wisconsin: Driving in the Dark…by Robert M. Katzman 8/27/15

Filed under: Depression and Hope,Love and Romance,My Own Personal Hell,Wisconsin stories — Bob at 11:39 am on Thursday, August 27, 2015


Trapped in my three-hour commute

Wisconsin to Illinois

Illinois to Wisconsin

Over and over and over

Images spill out of my mind

Like coffee sloshing

Over the edge of a cup


Window open, wind racing by

Avoiding the striped road-kill in the North

Muscular trucks belching black smoke

Wreathing me, lulling me

Interstate fossil fuel perfume

I miss my damn exit

Every time

And the yellowed old images

Flicker by…

(Read on …)

Wisconsin: Dancing with Then and Now…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Life & Death,My Own Personal Hell,Philosophy,Wisconsin stories — Bob at 8:33 pm on Wednesday, August 12, 2015

August 12, 2015

Hey, I’m not shy

Just brown-eyed


Racine is a suburb of Detroit

Wall-to-wall used car lots

Ya gotta some kinda problem, Bud?

Transmission shops

Emission shops

Muffler shops

Brake shops

Body shops

Tire shops

Junk cars


Town’s only

Four miles by six miles

Barely enough room for people

But if a car is broken

Ford to Porsche

All of those people

Can probably fix it

(Read on …)

Wisconsin: Three Old Dogs and a Brick Fire Pit…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Existential Pets,Life & Death,Old Fart Wisdom,Wisconsin stories — Bob at 6:00 pm on Saturday, August 8, 2015

August 7, 2015


I built this fire pit out of stone and bricks in my Wisconsin back yard. Not a large yard, but encircled by tall pine trees. If the wind is calm, I can smell the leaking pinesap.


Also, I have three older dogs—my last dogs—a laid back black/tan/white coated Beagle with fragile hips, Betsy; an annoying and irritable miniature black Shih tzu named Chewy because with its hair hanging over its black eyes it resembles a miniature Chewbacca; and Jasmine, a tall skinny mixed breed Labrador-Spaniel, with reddish-brown hair, inquiring wolfish eyes and a desire to be on the same level you are when you are speaking to her. She is the youngest and dominant. Betsy, at fifteen will be the first to go, and Chewy, an inherited creature, daily tests my intent to always be compassionate with animals. They all sleep on our bed, separately.

(Read on …)

A Chicago Jew in Racine, Wisconsin…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Humor,Jewish Themes,Liberation Fantasies,Life & Death,Philosophy,Retail Purgatory,Wisconsin stories — Bob at 8:30 pm on Sunday, July 12, 2015

July 11, 2015  (but revised three weeks later as we began to blend in)


Ain’t nobody like me, up here

Or just barely

I’m a Mediterranean oasis

Wherever I go

A hot-house flower among

All the dour Teutonic people


Young girl cashiers

Mostly blonde

See my silver

Star of David

Dangling from my neck

Glinting in the harsh lights of

Small Wisconsin stores


“Ooooooh, how pretty!”

Some of them exclaim

When first noticing it

Bright against my olive skin

“What is it?”

Some ask


Could be worse

I think to myself

(Read on …)

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