Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

On Emotional Cruelty and Loss at Christmas Time…by Robert M. Katzman

by Robert M. Katzman © Sunday, December 22, 2019

Written in response to Peggy Boyce’s letter of pain on Mike Stickler’s Facebook page: No, Peggy, I don’t know you but I decided to respond. Perhaps it will give you something you want.

I am Jewish, not into ritual, but deeply spiritual, and now old enough to have experienced the loss of so many people that I have forgotten some of their names.

(Read on …)

(1967) Bill & Ellen & Bob & Larry & Hugh & Jan & Brian…by Robert M. Katzman

By Robert M. Katzman  ©  Halloween 2011

What follows is the quintessential Chicago story of hardship and friendship. It all happened on the South Side, and my story covers decades. Why not dive in and get lost for a while? Every so often, as present civilization seems to be crashing down around us, and civility with it, good happens.

Why this is always a surprise mystifies me, but just as there’s more darkness in the Universe than light, perhaps that out-of-whack ratio is mirrored here on Earth with evil overwhelming good.  I don’t want to believe that is true.  I have evidence to the contrary that spontaneous good both exists in the most modest of people, and that it is either an inherited trait, or a mutation.  

Though my story was written on Halloween, it is more goodhearted than all the witches and goblins who surface that day, and is much more of a Thanksgiving Day story, at least to me.  Let me introduce the cast of this absolutely true little drama, which begins in frigid winter, 1967 and ends in sunny June 2011, forty-four years later.

(Read on …)

The Sunday Before Thanksgiving…by Robert M. Katzman

By Robert M. Katzman © Sunday, November 24, 2019

About 35 years ago, when Joy and I were 34, Lisa was 10, David (now Konee) was 7 and Rachel was 5, a tradition was started within our little family. People don’t actually know when traditions start unless they linger through time like this one. This is that story: 

Once upon a time, in 1985 or so, I was on my second marriage with two young children. But when I was much younger and married to another very young and good person, we had a daughter, Lisa. After the 2nd marriage, on Thanksgiving Day, Lisa was home with her Mom and so she couldn’t be with her younger siblings or Joy and me, and it was sad for all of the five of us.

(Read on …)

Coming ‘Round the Bend, Approaching Seventy!…by Robert M. Katzman

By Robert M. Katzman © June 10, 2019

Conceived in mid-July ‘49

Born late in April of ‘50

Been running hard ever since

Trying to catch up

Born into chaos and diamonds

I somehow chose chaos

And the strong

Sometimes brilliant

Individuals dwelling within it

***************

Rearranging my priorities

Disheveled by design

I never let clothes define the man

If people only perceived

My dog-eared cover

Then maybe they missed 

A very good book

*********************

(Read on …)

An Older Man’s Perspective on Yom Kippur: The Jewish Day of Atonement

By Robert M. Katzman © October 10, 2019


I believe that the central and very big idea of Yom Kippur, is essentially to ask for forgiveness as a community, all over the world, not only for one’s self. To atone collectively. 

Asking God to forgive another’s sin’s is an amazing concept if you think about it in reference to when these ideas were assembled–perhaps 3,000 years ago–when it was simply kill or be killed. 

(Read on …)

Three Bad Choices: Max, My Dog, is Gone!…by Robert M. Katzman

Three Bad Choices: Max, My Dog, Is Gone

by Robert M. Katzman © August 5, 2019

This story is part of a larger one, currently being written, and titled: Seeking a Second Sunrise.

This chapter was unplanned, unintended and unwanted. Aside from the introduction, you will soon see why I feel this way, and exactly what happened. There are no heroes in my story. If there were, it wouldn’t be me.

My father, Israel, used to quote his father, Jacob, in Yiddish saying:

“Man plans and God laughs”.

Which is exactly what happened.

(Read on …)
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