Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

The Great Vladimir Horowitz, a Clueless Paperboy and the Generous Drunk…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Bewilderment,Gritty Katzman Chicago Stories,Humor,Jewish Themes,Love and Romance — Bob at 3:44 pm on Sunday, February 18, 2018

Vladimir Horowitz and the Generous Drunk

(Originally published by Robert M. Katzman © February 22, 2008)

 

Just how common a name is “Bob”?

When Leslie Towne Hope, born in England in 1903, first came to America, became a citizen, decided to enter show business and wanted to be considered by his new countrymen as a “regular guy,” naturally he rechristened himself as: Bob

Years ago, I used to make fun of my own very common first name, also Bob:

“I…am Bob!!”

“Thou shalt have No Other Bobs…before me!”

Well, despite the Biblical sound of my little self-deprecating joke, once upon a time there were two other older Bobs who were very much “before” me. This is their story, and it also involves a world famous concert pianist, even though he didn’t have the good fortune to also be named Bob.

(Read on …)

Paul, Beautiful Sue, Wayne, the Paperboy Failing Algebra & the University of Chicago Lab High School (1966)…Part Two…by Robert M. Katzman

Paul, Beautiful Sue, Wayne, the Paperboy failing Algebra, and the

University of Chicago Lab High School in 1966.

by Robert M. Katzman © January 31, 2018 

Part Two

So Paul and I met twice a week for months in that small room in the library with two wooden chairs and a wooden table. I told him about how the newsstand was progressing and what I was learning, and the difficulties of learning to manage a one-armed, one-legged 69-year-old employee, born in 1896, who as it turned out was the original owner of where my newsstand was now, except his was there in 1916. This became sessions of stories about stories.

I had no identity as a writer, never considered that as any kind of career for myself and wasn’t writing down any of what I told Paul when we met, or his stories either. Like two pre-biblical Israelites carrying on a kind of oral tradition of expecting the next generations to preserve unwritten history. But we were both telling each other stories. I wasn’t expecting anything from him, but I was glad he seemed interested in this kid talking about whatever I was talking about. But when we were telling stories, we weren’t talking about algebra, so that was good.

(Read on …)

Paul, Beautiful Sue, Wayne, the Paperboy Failing Algebra & the University of Chicago Lab High School (1966…Part One…by Robert M. Katzman

Paul, Beautiful Sue, Wayne, the Paperboy Failing Algebra & the

University of Chicago Lab High School (1966)

by Robert M. Katzman © January 30, 2018   Part One 

Classic gritty Chicago tale about a high school math tutor and a student from very different worlds leading to a fifty-year warm friendship, which only death could end.

In September 1964, after failing a pre-freshman admittance required Algebra course during the summer at the University of Chicago Laboratory School High School, or U-High, in Hyde Park, I also subsequently failed my first year taking Freshman Algebra, too.

Somewhere among my less treasured memories is an old shoebox, and within it, besides my four different draft card classifications between 1968 and 1974, is a small rectangular piece of paper with the handwritten letter “F” placed squarely in the center of it. It meant I had to take the detested algebra class for yet a third time.

U-High’s very efficient system for helping students who seemed likely to embarrass and undermine the school’s gleaming reputation in the future assigned me a math tutor who would meet with me in the library in a private room every Tuesday and Thursday. The first week of my second year there as a sophomore in September 1966, I met Paul Moulton. I was sixteen, born in 1950, and he was forty-six, born in 1920.

(Read on …)

Magazine Memories, 2012 Filmed Interview by J.T.Bowers, Skokie, Illinois–Store Closed 4/10/16

Filed under: Bewilderment,Filmed Interviews,Humor,Katzman Biography,Life & Death,My Own Personal Hell,Retail Purgatory — Bob at 7:53 am on Tuesday, November 28, 2017

One of the last back-issue magazine resources in America, this 2012  fourteen minute interview by an incredibly compassionate and talented movie maker, J. T. Bowers, who got it right. Out of two hours of filming, he distilled it down to this short film. But the music…the music is heartbreaking, to me at least. Like filming death in slow motion. Some people can see more than others, and Bowers is gifted that way. I haven’t seen him for years,but maybe he’ll see this and contact me.

(Read on …)

Chicago Man Watches Death of Samurais in Israel (part 7)…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Humor,Israel,Jewish Themes,Love and Romance,My Own Personal Hell,Travel — Bob at 9:20 pm on Thursday, November 9, 2017

Chicago Man Watches Death of Samurais in Israel (part 7)

by Robert M. Katzman © November 8, 2016

 Some real life situations are so convolutedly charming that they defy fictionalization. Happened tonight.

Marooned as I am in The Promised Land with a painful foot problem which has stopped any explorations for now, and may now doom my hoped for two-day trip to Petra in Jordan and a night with the Bedouins, I spent the day in my nice apartment overlooking a valley thinking about ambition, ageing and gradually limited horizons.

Surrendering to pain, reluctantly and spending a day in an ancient Biblically historic land with cool November winds blowing through all the windows, and warm sunlight pouring down on a covered veranda, I had to think about how to spend my day.

(Read on …)

Tel Aviv, Israeli Radio and Unexpected Art (part 5)…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Bewilderment,Humor,Israel,Jewish Themes,Obsession,Travel — Bob at 4:40 am on Saturday, November 4, 2017

Tel Aviv, Israeli Radio and Unexpected Art

(part 5)

by Robert M. Katzman © November 4, 2017

 Driving south from Haifa, Israel, or 20 miles east of that to Tel Aviv on the mid-part of the coast on the Mediterranean Sea, later referred to all whom I asked as, “the Beach” or “the Sea” I had a choice of two ways to go, like long shoestrings hanging over a balcony, because both were parallel and I didn’t know the difference. One was more inland in the skinny country, Highway 6; the other ran along the touristy and industrial west coast, Highway 2. I chose 2.

An unmoving steel highway sizzling in the bright cloudless sun in tiny little chunks, chained together.

Discovered that rush hour in Israel was just like rush hour in Chicago or Los Angeles, except the road was narrower, the cars were tiny and aside from endlessly, robotically doing arithmetic in my head about how far one hundred kilometers really was, in American miles terms, so I had a mental picture of how much gas I had, and at the rate I was moving, would I ever get there?

Then there’s the radio. Israeli radio.

(Read on …)

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