Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Bookstore Stories (2) Entrepreneurs are born that way, even after two grim November 17ths…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Gritty Katzman Chicago Stories,My Own Personal Hell,Retail Purgatory — Bob at 12:45 pm on Saturday, November 17, 2018
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November 17th? Here is my definition of being an Entrepreneur: On Nov 17, 1985, seven weeks after my first attempt to go into the back-issue magazine business-then common in the United States, now three decades later, almost extinct–two months after Bob’s Newsstand in Hyde Park closed after 20 years, the space I rented on Lasalle & Kinzie Streets in Downtown Chicago went up in flames, leading to 2 years of unemployment. Thousands of ancient periodicals collected by me over the decades going back to the Thirties, gone forever.

(Read on …)

Atonement…Judaism Distilled…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Bewilderment,Jewish Themes,Life & Death,My Own Personal Hell,Philosophy — Bob at 3:03 pm on Monday, September 17, 2018

Atonement: Judaism Distilled

by Robert M. Katzman © October 1, 2012

 

(Certainly speaking only for myself)

 

Choosing to be in a small town in Central Illinois, over praying for forgiveness for my sins in a Chicago 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 tiny numbers–less than 2/10ths of 1% of Earth’s entire population of seven billion or so, why worry about God noticing you no matter what you do?

(Read on …)

1964: A Runaway’s Renaissance and a Jewish Boy’s Revenge…by Robert M. Katzman

1964: A Runaway’s Renaissance

by Robert M. Katzman © September 9, 2018

Fifty-four years ago on June 8th, 1964 I ran away from a dangerous violently abusive home. I was fourteen and two weeks away from graduating Caldwell grammar school on the South Side, about a dozen miles south of State and Madison, Chicago’s Downtown.

My story is filled with Ghosts, but it is worth writing down, if only to soothe the Ghosts’ anxiety.

After all, aren’t I part of a world-wide Tribe so often called: The People of The Book?

Who am I to resist that Celestial Design?

It is now long past “What will become of this wild child?”

Now near seventy, I must write, “This is what really happened.”

(Read on …)

My War with the Squirrel Gang Continues…by Robert M. Katzman

by Robert M. Katzman © July 22, 2018

So in my ongoing War with the Squirrels up here in the hinterland, or North Woods–or, oh…I don’t know where the hell I am anymore–I decided to take decisive action against the birdseed stealing bastards with grey furry tails.  Problem is, they’re organized.

They have this practiced pose where they sit on their haunches and hold their little grasping clawed paws together, so people will assume they’re eating something they’ve stolen. But really, they have advanced communicative implants in their paws so all squirrels know where either food or danger is at all times. The Twitchy Nose Mafia, everywhere and hidden at the same time.

This is hard for a bird-lover (without a shotgun) to overcome. I know, we have bigger brains, but no claws so we can’t scramble up trees after them, and no wings so we can swoop down on ’em, and so on. But…

(Read on …)

“I’m Fourteen. I Need a Job”…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Friendship & Compassion,Gritty Katzman Chicago Stories,My Own Personal Hell,Old Fart Wisdom — Bob at 6:28 pm on Wednesday, July 18, 2018

By Robert M. Katzman © July 18, 2018

 Summertime. Got a kid sorta looking for a job? Maybe they’ll actually look for one or maybe they’ll not bother.  But what if it were not a choice? Maybe this story will inspire them. Or you:

“I’m Fourteen. I Need a Job”

On June 8th, 1964, I escaped an insane home on the South Side of Chicago where beatings with thick leather belts, belt buckles, rubber hoses and clenched fists were an everyday event. I left running with only the clothes on my back, in freezing rain, two weeks before graduating eighth grade at Caldwell School. Met up at some point with my father who took me to live with him in a one-room studio with a small kitchen and bathroom in Hyde Park, across the street from the Museum of Science and Industry. I was going to need the industry part. He wasn’t working.

(Read on …)

Letter to My Cousin about Our America…by Robert M. Katzman

Letter to my (new) cousin, married to my blood cousin, who is justifably distraught over where our country is torn now, and how his own family suffered so much pain long ago because of their skin color. Funny, never met him, but I feel like I know him, and what is eating at him. I really care:

Bernie, whatever you call yourself, you’re good enough for me. And there are milions and millions and millions of “me” who aren’t ignorant, or hateful or under the illusion that one kind of person is somehow magically more valuable than another kind of person. What you wrote on Facebook is passionate and well-written–not that you need my opinion–I hope you get enough positive reinforcement to dilute the pain I read in your words.

(Read on …)

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