Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

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

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 …)

America, Please, Don’t Do This!…by Robert M. Katzman

America, Please, Don’t Do this!

By Robert M. Katzman © July I, 2018 (Canada Day)

Eyes flicker open in the darkness. I hear the battery wall clock ticking, so I must still be living. Pale morning light is peeking past the loose drawn shades covering some of this small house’s dozen large windows. If this were a fort, no way to defend it. But on a sunny morning, cool wind outside, shades up and windows open a bit on four sides, I don’t need electricity to clear the stale air or illuminate my house.

Wearing my usual long black T-shirt with the screaming American Eagle on it, the one that stops near my knees so I always appear modestly dressed to a morning visitor, expected or not, except for the fact that its only about five ounces of opaque cotton, I decide to do my morning routine, parts of which I’m recording here for future anthropologists. Present day people may be less entranced.
(Read on …)

Wildflower Diary-2..by Robert M. Katzman

Wildflower Diary (2)

by Robert M. Katzman © June 23, 2018

 Short essays, reflections & captured moments about prairies, plants, food and people worth writing about, at various times:

 July 30, 2017

My original essay, posted separately:

Wildflower Diary: Caring For Joy’s Garden”

https://www.differentslants.com/?p=3550

 March 6, 2018

 Ok, this is my grandfather, South Side Jacob the Carpenter’s quick recipe for tiny seasoned red potatoes with cheddar cheese. He was from Byelorussia, born in 1882, so ya gotta take that into consideration. He used unusual tools to achieve his aims.

Here it is:
So, you roast the red potatoes on a metal tray for about 4 minutes in an oven, broiling them at 450. Then take them out, go look in your closet for a steel hammer with good balance to it. Wash off the serious part of the hammer, then beat the hell out of them little potatoes (with the skin still on) until they are totally defeated. Kinda like what happened at the 1968 Democratic Convention. But, I digress.

(Read on …)

Just One Punch, But Mickey Remembered…by Robert M. Katzman

Acts of Friendship: Mickey Remembers

by Robert M. Katzman © May 18, 2018

 I had dinner with a friend in Chicago last night at the kind of a classic guy’s dark wood steakhouse restaurant my Dad and I would go to on a special occasion. Except this was the 18th anniversary of his death in 2000 and in his memory, I had a great dinner with my old friend. He lived far south of Chicago and I live in southern Wisconsin, so this was a good central meeting place.

We talked about many old times, good and bad and the price Time can exact on a person and their relationships. One of the rare things as a person travels through life is to still have a person you can talk to about something that happened 40 years ago or more. That begins to change year by year when a person hits 68, which is what I am now. As my Dad used to say: “The circle gets smaller.”

After a couple of hours it was time to head out to our respective homes because it was a hike to get back, but still, worth sharing company with each other. You get what you give.

(Read on …)

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