Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Mike Royko: Not Singing the National Anthem…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Bewilderment,Conspiracy Theories,Cops,Gritty Katzman Chicago Stories,Life & Death,Politics — Bob at 8:12 am on Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Copyright September 26, 2017

 

A close friend, Helene Santoro, sent me a long column written by Mike Royko, (1932-1997) a once famous Pulitzer-Prize winning Chicago columnist for the Chicago Daily News (which I sold at my several Bob’s Newsstands from 1965 to 1978) about a cerebral and essentially quietly patriotic person who wouldn’t sing the “Star Spangled Banner” before a football game’s kick-off and who was subsequently arrested for disorderly conduct.

The same situation happened again even though the guy changed his behavior completely and by scene three in Royko’s story, he was completely defeated and blended in with the mass behavior with the mob in the stadium.

He had learned his lesson. Be careful what you believe in. Be careful how you express it. Drunken violence, outrage, condemnation, police arrest, judges and convictions can follow the independent thinker. (Read on …)

Thick Juicy Steak and My Flat Tire…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Cops,Friendship & Compassion,Marriage and Family,Retail Purgatory,Wisconsin stories — Bob at 9:00 am on Friday, August 25, 2017

by Robert M. Katzman © August 25, 2017

 The problem with deciding to never write fiction is that I have to always be aware of when a really good story comes along. Well, here’s one and it involves my old car, two decent tire changers, a generous and pretty tavern operator and this wonderful little Kenosha, Wisconsin restaurant run by two gentle Mexican immigrants who deserve some real success. I want to help them. So read this unexpected chain of events which happened to me–one after the other–in a single intersection at 3200 60th Street on a warm clear day on Wednesday, August 21, 2017.  You may be very surprised.

Early that morning I dropped off my youngest daughter, Sarah Hannah, at the Metra Station at 5400 Sheridan Road because she was going to Downtown Chicago to be interviewed for her first possible intern position while she was a student at Columbia College. Smart, pretty, filled with ambition and almost 21, she was very hopeful.

(Read on …)

Chicago Municipal Tyranny Explained: My Newsstand in 1965…by Robert M. Katzman

Chicago Municipal Tyranny Explained: My Newsstand in 1965 

by Robert M. Katzman ©  August 1, 2017

There was a situation I first encountered when I opened my wooden newsstand August 21,1965 in Hyde Park, 52 years ago: Permission to issue permits to open a newsstand were delegated by the City to the four major newspapers in order to receive a newsstand permit for a particular corner in Chicago. Period.  But the main two asses to kiss were the conservative Chicago Tribune and the Liberal Chicago Sun-Times.

However, there were really only two City newspaper corporations, because the Tribune owned the Chicago American and the Sun-Times owned the Chicago Daily News. Both had to approve of you. Whatever running around by me was necessary, I needed four recognizable signatures on a yellow postcard-sized piece of stiff paper if my teenaged dreams of self-employment were to be realized.

Each newspaper assigned a certain medieval person called a “Division Boss” to decide whether a person was sufficiently worthy to receive their blessings for whatever area was under their control.  Direct contact with the newspapers’ business administration office was impossible.

(Read on …)

Am I My Sister’s Keeper?…by Robert M. Katzman (written in 2004)


Am I My Sister’s Keeper? 

by Robert M. Katzman Copyright 2004

(First, this note. I am my Father’s son. But he was the son of Eastern European immigrants, people who fled from Jewish genocide in the Russian Czar’s Pale. They were terrified defenseless people.  Their son Israel (1912-2000), however, grew up in the dangerous West Side of Chicago’s gangs in the Thirties who fought with the Polish and Irish gangs to hold their turf. Then he spent three and a half years in the Pacific fighting the Japanese with General MacArthur, getting wounded but determined to stay in the fight. He was NOT a terrified Jew. An American who was very different than his parents, and who transferred that sense of justice and defiance to me in his many stories over my younger years. In many ways, I became an extension of him, of what he believed. Of what his sense of justice was. I never dreamed that connection would lead to this story. Welcome to my very strange world, reader.  Believe it.)

 

In the winter of ’79 I received an unusual call from my father, Israel, who was living at that time in Sherman Oaks, California. My home was just south of Chicago.

My Dad was very distressed, I could hear it in his voice, because my older sister, Bonnie, had called him, in tears, he said because some foreign creep was stalking her at the school where she was a teacher. She was five months pregnant at the time with her first child, and the unnerving situation, my father told me, was only adding to her distress.

(Read on …)

Cop Julie and The Lost Jewish Cemetery…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Cops,Humor,Jewish Themes,Love and Romance,Poetry & Prose,Wisconsin stories — Bob at 10:49 pm on Friday, January 20, 2017

So, new guy in a new town

I joined a poet’s group

Nice woman there figures out

That Passover

is possibly my holiday

Clever woman

 

Then she leans over to me

And whispers:

 

“There’s this tiny Jewish cemetery

In a little town near here

And their steel entrance sign

With its big Jewish star

Collapsed on the ground

In the mud

Makes me feel bad

It’s not right

Maybe you can fix it”

 

I backed up from her whisper

A righteous Christian

If ever there was one

Does she think I somehow

Have…magic powers

Able to lift steel girders

With a wink and a prayer??

(Read on …)

Bribing a Chicago Judge with a Sawbuck…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Cops,Gritty Katzman Chicago Stories,Humor,Jewish Themes,My Own Personal Hell,Politics — Bob at 6:37 am on Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Bribing a Chicago Judge with a Sawbuck

By Robert M. Katzman

Copyright © January 2, 2014

 

In the spring of 1965, in Hyde Park, an area seven miles south of Chicago’s central Downtown area and home of the University of Chicago and jazz, my father, Irving, felt it was time to explain corruption in the Chicago Machine and teach me the basics.

I was fifteen, and if you can imagine the setting, we’re in our small apartment sitting on either side of the scarred kitchen table. I was listening and playing with the salt and pepper shakers at the same time. He may as well have been explaining etiquette customs on Mars to me. I had no clue about what he was going to say.

(Read on …)

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