Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Movies Worth Seeing…by Robert M. Katzman (Secret Movie Maven!)

by Robert M. Katzman (Secret Movie Maven)©️ Memorial Day, May 2019

I have been obsessed with escaping into movies since I was a child who couldn’t escape a dangerous home. An alternative cinematic Universe seemed a safe harbor, if only for a short time.

Sports were never an alternative. Hit a ball, catch a ball, get crushed while holding a ball, avoid being hit by a speeding ball–what is it with balls and aggression? 

Oh, wait. Not a good question.

While a lot of people revered Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig, I was a long time admirer of Roger Ebert, and even got to know him for a long while. He was the only person in my one year on Amazon who bought my first book.

I’ve made a list of a number of movies, various genres, but all involving human interaction of movies worth seeing more than once or twice. I won’t list the casts or directors because younger people won’t recognize the names, but also because an existing group of famed movie stars appearing together in a film can amount to nothing without a great script and director.

There are a number of Westerns, but they tend to tell detailed moments of intense relationships in isolated areas of America where mutual dependence is essential. The fact they are “Westerns” is not essential to the overall story.

There are qualities of friendship, empathy, grit, courage and determination that sew these varied films into a celluloid quilt, but a person’s perception of pleasure is partly base on what rescued them from pain, I believe. Emotion doesn’t exit in a vacuum.

(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 …)

Incident in Nick’s Diner…by Robert M. Katzman

Incident At Nick’s Diner by Robert M. Katzman © June 2005

After my divorce in 1977, I would pick up my daughter at her mother’s house early everySaturday and bring her home Sunday morning. Sometimes, before I would return her to her mother’s house, she and I would stop off for a quick breakfast at Nick’s Diner, a popular local restaurant.

Nick was a very friendly Greek man from Athens. He would wave and smile at me whenever I would stop by his place.  The food was good, and cheap, and Kate, the waitress, was fast and sweet to my daughter. We liked Nick’s Diner.

One Sunday morning in 1979, when my daughter was four and I was twenty-nine, we were sitting in our usual spot in a booth near the door, when I heard a loud and obnoxious voice from across the diner.

(Read on …)

I Can Be Alone in a City…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Bewilderment,My Own Personal Hell — Bob at 8:30 am on Friday, January 18, 2019

by Robert M. Katzman © January 16, 2019

I can be alone in a city

A noisy busy city filled with people

Waves of people surging like an ocean

(Read on …)

Surviving Cancer, Fifty years Later…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Bewilderment,Depression and Hope,Life & Death,My Own Personal Hell — Bob at 8:40 am on Thursday, December 20, 2018

by Robert M. Katzman © December 20, 2018

Fifty years ago, on December 20th, 1968, early in the morning when I was 18, I had cancer surgery on the left side of my face at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Illinois. I was unaware of what my prospects were and what my surgeon, Dr. Danely Slaughter, had in mind to do. 

I awoke in the Intensive Care Unit, or the ICU, to discover that my head was bandaged like a soccer ball. When Dr. Slaughter came to visit me and explain why they removed my left jaw, he said he was 95% certain that they had caught all the cancer cells. Being me, I asked, very slowly, why not 100%? The doctor gruffly replied, “I think 95% is close enough”.

My father Israel was selling life insurance then, but told me, through his tears, that I would remain uninsurable for five years. To the insurance companies, he said, I was a bad risk, fifty years ago.

Two years later, in April 1970, Dr. Slaughter died of heart disease at the age of 58. I was 20 then, but turned 58 a decade ago. I think about him. Often.

(Read on …)
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