Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Learning To Work With Your Hands…by Robert M. Katzman

by Robert M. Katzman © May 20, 2019

Learning to work with your hands changes your worldview and increases your ability to take care of yourself and be more independent. It also helps make a person more compassionate to other people’s physical limitations, because so many are one injury away from unemployment.

To me, judging another’s worth by what they do for a living is a sin. But then, running a wooden newspaper stand as a teenager to allow me to pay for high school with privileged classmates will create feelings like that in a person. Seven of my 160 classmates ended up working for me, at one time, or another. 

(Read on …)

I Planted Four Trees Today…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Children,Life & Death,Marriage and Family,Trees,Wildflower Diaries: Joy's Garden,Wisconsin stories — Bob at 5:33 pm on Tuesday, May 14, 2019

May 14, 2019

I planted 4 trees today. 

I drove far away to a lovely rural nursery and the prices were tiny compared to near me.

Amber, Lisa and Kaitlan helped me with the transaction and with loading my old van.

The van needed to be jump-started because I haven’t used it all winter.

My driving forever cured the van’s sad battery.

My old body is inconceivably tired.

So tired I can’t tell how tired I am.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how tired am I?

42

(Read on …)

Oslo, Norway, Yom Kippur and the Man of Mystery…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Bewilderment,Friendship & Compassion,Humor,Israel,Jewish Themes,My Own Personal Hell,Travel — Bob at 4:30 pm on Monday, May 6, 2019

Every so often, life throws me a curve. Sometimes so often, it feels like I’ve actually lived my life in orbit, and not on the land. This is a true story set in 1992, when on a trip to Frankfort, Germany to attend the world’s largest book fair, when I owned a world-travel foreign-language bookstore named Grand Tour, my wife Joyce and I decided to take a train north to Norway, from where some of her ancestors came a century before.

By chance, that year Judaism’s lunar calendar placed Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish world, the Day of Atonement, would also be in Norway the same time we were there. Our hopes of finding a synagogue to observe that day, were dim. However, God must have a sense of humor, because this is what happened to us on the special day.

(Read on …)

When Pope John-Paul Came to Chicago While I was Running the Newsstand at Randolph and Michigan…by Robert M. Katzman

About the Randolph and Michigan Newsstand:

Quote from the historic Downtown Chicago newsstand’s last owner, Rick Graff, in a May 25 1987 Chicago Tribune story by Jack Houston : “Graff said he bought the stand three years ago from Robert Katzman, known among street vendors as the ”King of Newsstands.”

Very nice to read that, but the newspaper rackett reality was a lot less regal.

After buying it from the second owner after Al Paccelli, I arrived on a Saturday night with a truck filled with pre-cut wood, a lot of tools, and cans of brown paint. Using a sledge hammer, I destroyed the stainless steel newsstand by pounding on the places where it was welded together. Made a tremendous amount of noise, but at no time did any cop come, by or drive by, and ask me what the hell was I doing with the 100-year old landmark?

No one asked me anything. In 1977 no one lived Downtown and the streets were essentially empty.

(Read on …)

When Ebony Magazine’s John H. Johnson Rejected Me, Gently…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Black/White relationships,Friendship & Compassion,Gritty Katzman Chicago Stories — Bob at 4:13 am on Thursday, April 11, 2019

I met John H Johnson in 1976 when my Gulliver’s Periodicals began expanding the number of titles I carried to include mainstream magazines. When I requested a meeting with him—and I was absolutely nobody—he granted me one in his beautiful Michigan Ave building, in his office.

He graciously heard me out, told me he felt he owed loyalty to the Charles Levy Distributing Company the had first given him his chance to be seen on newsstands decades before. But nevertheless wished me luck in my battle with them on the streets of Chicago.

(Read on …)

Maybe Tomorrow I Can Go Outside…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Children,Depression and Hope,Friendship & Compassion,Liberation Fantasies,Marriage and Family — Bob at 8:44 am on Sunday, March 31, 2019

by Robert M. Katzman © March 31, 2019 

Baby, what’s wrong?
I wanna go out
I know, your coat is on and everything 
But the rain is so cold
So, want some hot cocoa?
No! I wanna go out…
What would you do…outside?
I’d run around
I‘d watch the ants
I‘d try at climb that big tree
One day, when I‘m bigger…
What else?

(Read on …)
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