Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Rose Bliss, Country Charm and a Killer Baby Robin…by Robert M. Katzman

Copyright July 6, 2016

There is a fluidity and capriciousness to time and events.

There is no way to predict what will occur next based on what has happened before. Even a series of good events, one following another, doesn’t mean that kind of luck will continue, or the reverse, either. There is no pattern, no rationalization of balance to why things happen in a person’s life. Why do I write this?

Last September, during a street fair in Racine, Wisconsin, a smallish town of less than 80,000 located next to Lake Michigan, just north of Kenosha, 30 miles south of Milwaukee and about 27 miles north of the Illinois border, my wife Joy and I met a very nice local couple named Brad and Rose Bliss.

In this nine months later follow-up story to what happened in that story, just about every single significant thing changed. No, none of us is or was famous and no one would have read about any of us in some newspaper; but what happened then caused our paths to cross during that street fair, and subsequently made a friendship bloom between two new settlers in Racine and a long established couple.

(Read on …)

Badger State: Getting to Know You…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Snow stories & poems,Travel,Wisconsin stories — Bob at 9:49 am on Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story:  http://www.differentslants.com/?p=355

By Robert M. Katzman

© October 3, 2015


The munching horses have become more familiar

The insanely circuitous route I take home

Each night a bit less incomprehensible

The surly burly guy with steel grey hair

Smiles at me when I buy gas from him

The beautiful deep brown Root River

Less of an impossible barrier every morning

As I learn the handful of roads crossing it


Going south on 32 each morning

I pause at Main Street’s western turn

Greeting the blinding sunrise over Lake Michigan

As if it were a cuddly puppy

Waiting just for me, too

Sometimes a single sailboat passing

Before I turn west towards

The grey concrete interstate

(Read on …)

A Christmas Turkey

Filed under: Travel — Rick at 9:46 am on Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hi!  Remember me?  I used to post here about politics and travel.  Turns out, travelling by sailboat can be quite time consuming.  I have just managed to maintain my other blog, Red Sky at Night, aimed at other sailors, as Crew and I visit 60 to 70 ports each season.

We are now spending our third consecutive winter in Turkey and continue to find it both delightful and surprising.  Western Turkey, where we live, is modern with excellent roads, good telecoms, very good healthcare with universal coverage and the best (and most) produce I have seen anywhere.  But lets talk about Christmas. (Read on …)

Grand Central Station Conversation: A thoughtful 2009 story…by Robert M. Katzman

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story:  http://www.differentslants.com/?p=355

© May 2009 by Robert M. Katzman

This true story was first published between May 21 to September 17, 2009, in 7 parts, posted periodically.  I was advised that  people didn’t want to read long stories, only short pieces of them, as was the internet custom.  So, I went with it.  Now, I no longer believe that.  A good story is a good story and people will stick with it if it honestly captures their minds and hearts.  This one will do that, if you all will give it another chance.  

I wrote it three months before my twenty-year-old Chicago-area collectible store was about to die in the terrible, small business killing Recession.   It is a story about love, loss, tears, identity, witches, cops, coffee, aging, acceptance   and  hope. 

And one truly mysterious and confounding Catholic Priest in a New Jersey airport.

So, find a comfortable chair, and come with me to New York City.  Some very strange things happened there, once upon a time.


Part 1: Ethnic Bait, Offered and Taken

 Twenty-two hours.

I had twenty-two hours to be in New York City, without a hotel room, to attend an annual poster convention and to visit an old pleasure I’d thought was gone forever.

All I took with me was a kind of narrow, over-the-shoulder, sling-like duffel I’d designed to hold jackets, sweaters, gloves and scarves when I went through the periodic agony of America’s airports so my hands remained free.  It was May, but NYC is by the ocean, so the weather could vary significantly in a day.

My silent Korean tailor, Ki Sook, was used to my eccentricities, but never failed to smile when I told her what I wanted her to do for me.  And she always turned over a first-class result about a week later.

I also took another customized travel bag made of durable denim material that was light-weight with not too many pockets, but had a large central space to carry anything from a walking lunch (crusty Italian bread, grapes, cheddar cheese, and a brownie with some personality to it) to convention catalogs. It had good zippers, too.

A good strong zipper can keep things that seem to want to be elsewhere, from going there.  A bad zipper can get you into all kinds of trouble.  I’m talking about travel here, no matter what you may be imagining.

(Read on …)

Tension on the Reservation…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Children,Liberation Fantasies,Life & Death,Native Americans,Travel — Bob at 5:53 am on Saturday, July 20, 2013

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story:  http://www.differentslants.com/?p=355

© July 16, 2013



My son and I

In an ancient Chevy van

Take off to see America’s West

Driving by day

Sleeping in the van at night

Cooking our meals on a three-burner

Coleman stove

A can opener the essential tool

I am thirty-five

My son is six

We are on a Great Adventure

We will be gone for five weeks

(Read on …)

Atonement Among the Christians…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Cops,Depression and Hope,Friendship & Compassion,Jewish Themes,Marriage and Family,Travel — Bob at 12:57 pm on Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story:  http://www.differentslants.com/?p=355

© by Robert M. Katzman  October 1, 2012

Choosing to be in a small town in Central Illinois over praying for forgiveness for my sins in a North Shore Chicago area synagogue on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, is no simple decision.

God… may be watching.

Possibly…not approving.

The risk could be fatal.

But then, who knows?

When a person belongs to a group of people whose numbers worldwide consists of less than 2/10ths of 1% of the entire world’s population of seven billion or so, why worry about God noticing you, no matter what you do?

To give it context, there are twice as many Kurds as there are Jews.  Most people haven’t a clue and think there are 100 million of us roaming around the planet.  An actual number would be closer to fifteen million, or the populations of Arizona and North Carolina put together, not that they’d like that.

A more interesting combination would be Israel and Switzerland put together.  That would make the Swiss cheer, I bet.  Interestingly, on Wikipedia when I looked these numbers up, those two countries were next to each other (Switzerland # 96, Israel # 97).

Yom Kippur follows Rosh Hashanah, which translates to “head of the year’, or the Jewish New Year of 5773. The exact day moves around within September or October every year because of a different calendar.  Jews who don’t ever go to temple otherwise overwhelmingly do go on Yom Kippur because the psychic consequences are impossible to live with.  If there is a God and you don’t go, and he wants you to go, man…you could be in real trouble.  Why live with pressure like that?

Also, there is a part of the text that says on that day, it is determined for the coming year:

”Who will live and who will die; who will prosper and who will suffer; who will find happiness and who will be miserable; and this is my favorite part: “Who will die by fire, by drowning or be torn apart by wild beasts.”

Observant Catholics have to worry about eternal damnation in hell when they eventually die.  Jews have to worry about lions and tigers and bears eating them within the next twelve months!  This explains why Jews invented psychiatry and possibly Valium.  In effect, God wants what he wants and are you in or are you out?

(Read on …)

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