Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Pain Pill…I Tried to be Nice…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Gritty Katzman Chicago Stories,Liberation Fantasies,Life & Death,My Own Personal Hell,Rage! — Bob at 5:31 pm on Monday, August 12, 2019

by Robert M. Katzman © 2004

                        While I was visiting my sister, Bonnie, in 1981 in a hospital where she was recovering from thyroid gland cancer surgery, I happened to pass her endocrinologist in the hall.  We had met before in her room, and he recognized me and greeted me in the distinctively charming way doctors do when they stumble across some one who has some slight imperfection in their appearance.  He said to me:

“Why don’t you fix your face?”

(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 …)

The Rustic Queen on the Carousel…by Robert M. Katzman

by Robert M. Katzman ©️ June 27, 2019

Matt Jerke, the technical assistant on the 2nd floor of the Racine Public Library, has been incredibly helpful in trying to bring me into the 21st Century. I am a work in progress. Very slow progress. Thank you, Matt

(1 of 20)
Some beautiful sunlit morning
While I wait for Cinderella to arrive
My grand-daughter might say to me:
“Grampa, what did you learn in your life?”
And I look through the colors of the glass
Fade backwards thru time
Drifting  
Wondering how to answer someone so young
And pointing to the pretty window
I’d say to her,
“Well sometimes things were wonderful…

(Read on …)

Oslo, Norway, Yom Kippur and the Man of Mystery…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Bewilderment,Friendship & Compassion,Humor,Israel,Jewish Themes,My Own Personal Hell,Travel — Bob at 4:30 pm on Monday, May 6, 2019

Every so often, life throws me a curve. Sometimes so often, it feels like I’ve actually lived my life in orbit, and not on the land. This is a true story set in 1992, when on a trip to Frankfort, Germany to attend the world’s largest book fair, when I owned a world-travel foreign-language bookstore named Grand Tour, my wife Joyce and I decided to take a train north to Norway, from where some of her ancestors came a century before.

By chance, that year Judaism’s lunar calendar placed Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish world, the Day of Atonement, would also be in Norway the same time we were there. Our hopes of finding a Synagogue to observe that day, were dim. However, God must have a sense of humor, because this is what happened to us on the special day.

(Read on …)

When Pope John-Paul Came to Chicago While I was Running the Newsstand at Randolph and Michigan…by Robert M. Katzman

About the Randolph and Michigan Newsstand:

Quote from the historic Downtown Chicago newsstand’s last owner, Rick Graff, in a May 25 1987 Chicago Tribune story by Jack Houston : “Graff said he bought the stand three years ago from Robert Katzman, known among street vendors as the ”King of Newsstands.”

Very nice to read that, but the newspaper rackett reality was a lot less regal.

After buying it from the second owner after Al Paccelli, I arrived on a Saturday night with a truck filled with pre-cut wood, a lot of tools, and cans of brown paint. Using a sledge hammer, I destroyed the stainless steel newsstand by pounding on the places where it was welded together. Made a tremendous amount of noise, but at no time did any cop come, by or drive by, and ask me what the hell was I doing with the 100-year old landmark?

No one asked me anything. In 1977 no one lived Downtown and the streets were essentially empty.

(Read on …)

Someone is Always Deciding What America is “Ready” For…by Robert M. Katzman

by Robert M. Katzman ©March 21, 2019

A nice person I know, Jewish like me, posted a reflection that America may not be ready to elect a gay person to be president. 


The basic idea expressed was that South Bend, Indiana’s Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s time was not “now” no matter how qualified he may be. I am not neutral and admire him, so I wrote this:


(I know others may not agree with me, but speaking up is why people came here in the first place. You are legally entitled NOT to agree with me in America or anyone else, but in a civilized way)

This country wasn’t “ready” for the revolution in 1776, either, and a third of the colonists were against it. Many fled to Canada. I know that long before that date, the Native Americans weren’t ready for the English.

(Read on …)
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