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Court of Appeal

Posted February 23rd, 2011 at 08:37 AM by chas

“It takes a village to raise a child.”
--Hillary Clinton

I spent my elementary school years in Bayside, Queens, in the late Fifties/early Sixties. The attached “garden apartments” meant one family at ground level, and one above it. They formed a semicircular “court,” which was my Old Neighborhood. Across the street was P.S. 205, Alexander Graham Bell School. On the weekends when not attending, we’d play in the schoolyard, or just bat a rubber Pensie Pinky against its stout walls in a pick up handball game. The men had lower middle class jobs like truck driver, taxi driver, or office worker. But we were a tight Jewish community. If Mom and Dad were both out, a neighborhood mom would be in charge. Then you could go looking for her if you needed band aides because you fell off your bike. But if you got into trouble, she’d be looking for you!

Older kids usually had the playground’s official ball field areas, so we played...
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Luther's Daughter

Posted February 21st, 2011 at 09:53 AM by chas

“Or would you like to swing on a star?
Carry moonbeams home in a jar?
And be better off than you are?
And all the monkeys out in the zoo,
(Everyday you’ll meet quite a few)
So you see it’s all up to you;
You could be better than you are--
You could be swinging on a star!”
--Bing Crosby, Swinging On A Star
Reprised by Bruce Willis and Danny Aiello in Hudson Hawk

She was magnificent.

Even in liberal, gentle Beloit College, Wisconsin in 1969, there was a bane of freshmen everywhere—the Eight O’clock Class. Only defenseless freshmen, just out of high school, would have put up with them. Here were teens away from home and independent for the first time in their lives, not getting much sleep anyway, suddenly forced to act civilized at what was for them the crack of dawn, after partying or exploring other things most of the night. I was lucky to take Government 100 from the motherly...
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Cherokee Baptist and the Inland Northwest

Posted February 20th, 2011 at 05:06 PM by chas
Updated February 6th, 2015 at 05:12 PM by chas

“If I say I love you
I want you to know
It’s not just because there’s moonlight, although
Moonlight becomes you so.”
--Bing Crosby, singing ‘Moonlight Becomes You’ in The Road To Morocco

What is love? A personal chemistry so strong it moves you to act beyond your usual cowardice? A common dedication to something higher than just your own needs and desires? My great period of serious girl friends was during college. After Luther’s Daughter chose another man, ending a three year relationship (see the previous chapter ‘Poolside’) my heart felt like a crystal chandelier that had been dropped from the ceiling of Grand Central Station. But there had been previous eventually been indications that she had not been satisfied with me as a marriage prospect during my first serious love, and I could be partially satisfied that I had helped midwife her from a sad fate to a better option, although...
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Secret Spa

Posted February 20th, 2011 at 08:19 AM by chas

“The creative person should have no other biography than his works.”
--B. Traven

“This will be a prophecy for you.”
--Mexican Doctor

Journey destinations say a lot about the traveler who chooses them. Rio Calliente (Warm River) is an inexpensive private spa for us normal folks, located next to a national forest in the Western-Pacific area of Mexico’s central plain which I visited in April of 1998. It is part of the New Age network, rather than the glitzy commercial gambling vacations preferred by many conspicuous consumers. I will note here the portrayal of Las Vegas as the residence of Satan in Stephen King’s apocalyptic science fiction novel The Stand. The extreme opposite is in this quiet place, where the mineral pool and regular swimming pool offer refuges from the pressures of modern life. Health conscious classes on diet and exercise held during the day as well as local excursions to surrounding sites. One can...
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The Lonely Isle

Posted February 17th, 2011 at 08:21 AM by chas

“The only problem I have with the idea of reincarnation, which makes perfect sense to me, is the thought that Somewhere Upstairs I actually VOLUNTEERED for this mess down here.”
--The author

“For it’s over the hills and far away
To Denmark, Portugal, and Spain
King George commands and we obey
Over the hills and far away.”
--Over the Hills and Far Away, Late Eighteenth/Early Nineteenth Century soldier’s song

Did you ever get the feeling that you’ve missed the Orientation to life? I’ve taken most of my trips with my Cousin Jim, who is just a month and a half younger than I am, so I like to say that I’ve known him since he was zero years old. We are shy, scholastic types, like the naïve chaps portrayed in the film Shadowlands, which shows Christian fantasist C. S. Lewis and his brother as unworldly birds who can only survive in the protected precincts of British academia, where the two helpless middle...
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