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All Jews Suffer When Some Do Wrong

June 15, 2018 Leave a comment

I was 16 years old in 1953 when, on June 19, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for espionage against the United States of America. My family name is Rosenberg and my parents, my brothers and I are all Canadian born. We always lived in Toronto, yet we were under threat because of the Rosenberg spies in the USA.

We had nothing to do with it, of course. The only knowledge we had of it was from news out of the USA on our radios, televisions, and in our newspapers. In spite of our lack of any kind of connection to the spies, we received threats in the mail and on the telephone. “When the Rosenbergs die, you die,” was the message.

I remember two plain-clothes policemen being in our home on that day and a few days afterward, just in case somebody actually attempted something. Nobody did, of course, in gentle Canada and “Toronto the Good” as it was called in those days. I guess it was called that was because of our adherence to Sunday closing laws and the absence of alcoholic beverages except for government owned stores and the need to have a permit to purchase beer, wine and liquor.

My father received an envelope in the mail. It contained a newspaper story about the execution across which the sender had scrawled with red crayon, “Jews, the most hated race on earth.” I already knew about that kind of bigotry of course, because of the aggression I’d experienced in school and on the streets.

I find it especially ridiculous because, although I am of Jewish heritage, I don’t believe or practice any religious rituals. I am certain that there is no God and there is was no son of God. There was no meeting between Moses and God, nor does Mohammad or any other holy figure represent God. To have faith is to have a flawed belief system. Far better to have faith in one’s self to achieve or fail on one’s own.

We make our own mistakes and learn our own lessons. I have been against religious teachings since I was a teenager. Without any help from God, I have been successful and enjoyed good fortune all my life. I am 80, I am healthy and active, and have never prayed for anything, yet much good has come to me. I have often put myself in harm’s way in my quest for adventure, and always escaped harm without any God’s help.

I feel guilt when a Bernie Madoff or Michael Cohen type Jew does wrong. It’s a traditional burden that most men of Jewish heritage carry, even though it’s nonsense. Ugly encounters with anti-Semitic elements make it part of Jewish life.

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The People of Your Life Grow Sparse

May 25, 2018 Leave a comment

I’ve decided to write at this moment, while my feelings are in great tumult. Although my life has kept me isolated from my boyhood pals and girls for several decades, I consider them a part of me, as part of the good and bad adventures we sometimes shared, and the stories we shared about them.

The advent of the Internet enabled us to search the world for old acquaintances. I’m in my eighties. I just learned that Bernie died. He was my closest friend from the age of fifteen to thirty. We were even brothers in law in our twenties for many years because we married twin girls. The news of Bernie’s death has shaken me a bit. I’m two months younger than Bernie, and I’m still here.

I read in his obituary details of Bernie’s final years. He suffered. He was supported by friends but cared for by strangers in several homes where they placed him. It breaks my heart to think of him in squalor. He was a fabulous character. He always dressed impeccably in fine garments. He always wore alligator shoes. He was exciting.

I felt the first impact of loss of past friends some years ago. I was told of the death of my long-time steady girlfriend from high school. At the same time I learned that her closest girlfriend, who I had dated once, was also dead. My “steady” had been a music teacher and the other woman had been a doctor. They’ve been dead for many years.

Added to my emotional burden about Bernie was news of another one of the guys. Marty was seen walking with a caregiver because he has dementia. The mutual friend who told me about it said Marty didn’t recognize her.

I have just one brother. There used to be three of us brothers, but our middle brother passed away several years ago.

My one remaining friend is seventy-three, and an active athlete at competitive levels. He participates in vintage formula auto racing, snowboarding, and tennis. I was never an athlete, but I’m able to do heavy work for short durations. I write blogs or stories every day, and usually do some drawings as well.

Why are Howie, Steve, and me  still here, while our flesh and blood and our friends are gone, physically or mentally?

Luck and genes I would guess.

The Death of Seduction

April 17, 2018 Leave a comment

I have always enjoyed seducing women. To me, women are forever fabulous, and provide society with real intelligence. I mean ‘real’ in the sense that men are inevitably plagued by the need to mate while women are concerned with living life in a sensible, satisfying way. Men usually need the lure of a gorgeous car or a lovely sailboat.

I liken it to a bird of which I’ve read. Male birds of most any species earn the right to mate with the female they desire by exhibiting superior traits. It might be the enthralling mating song, or colourful puffed breast feathers or an irresistible dance routine. The male of one bird species lacks all of those desirable traits. He meets his mate because of his really cool place.

To attract a female, the ‘plain’ bird gathers colourful props, like bits of red wool, a yellow piece of a potato chip bag or a green button. This bird accumulates as much colourful stuff as it can, and uses it to decorate a small area amid ground foliage. When females see his cool digs, some find that it turns them on, and they fly in for a bit of lustful romance.

In the case of people, recent events require a re-thinking in the minds of men. Rule number one: no touching. Actually, I feel unsure about how a man should behave while earning acceptance by a woman. As with most people, I didn’t realize that harassment was so prevalent, nor do I understand what the offending men do to offend.

In the past, I have introduced myself by name. I’d try to get a conversation going about something of interest to her. I’d learn of her interests through the small talk, and then develop as much sincere interest in her for the rest of the dialogue. Now I would come to the line over which one must not step. How to get close without offending?

I used to mention her characteristic that I liked the most.

“I like your hair,” I’d say, if she had hair that I liked.

“That shade of lipstick is perfect with your complexion,” if it was true.

“You look like an athlete,” I’d say if I felt that way.

Today I’d have to hesitate. Would I offend with, “Can we meet for lunch?”

A Dearth of Mensch

April 10, 2018 Leave a comment

If you’re a woman of gentle nature and living a wholesome life, you might be seeking a special, exclusive partner. Women who fit that basic description are up against a tough situation. Although women of this type are desirable, and men would love to partner up with such women, it doesn’t happen happily as often as it should.

The main thing that diminishes the number of happy unions between gentle women and men who desire them is the dearth of mensch. The scarcity of good, kind, decent and honourable men is a potential problem for women of that same kind. Many women are not attracted to cowboys, high rollers and tattoos on bodies rippling with muscles.

Most any woman is attractive to a man of some type, but many men are unattractive to women of taste and quality. I don’t mean divas, or wealthy women. I mean good, honest, intelligent women. A man in a flashy car with a tattooed elbow out the window will be compellingly attractive to some women, but a woman with much self-esteem might find that image dated, or even comical.

The situation is such that for some women, a good man is hard to find. For other women, a hard man is good to find.

Responsibilities and Illusions

March 8, 2018 Leave a comment

My father’s eldest brother was, by default, the head of the extended family. He was well worthy of the responsibility. He arrived in Canada with his parents and three of his four siblings. My father, the youngest in the family was born in Canada shortly after their arrival on the shores of North America.

The family was clearly respectful of the eldest son. He worked hard and studied hard and became a corporate lawyer. He had earned a million dollars while he was still young, and was wiped out in the crash of 1929. Undaunted, he continued his work ethic, and climbed back into wealth. Even as a respected lawyer, he carried his lunch to his office to which he walked until he had earned again his respectable fortune.

Many years passed, and he was always looked to as the family patriarch, leading us into respectable lives. As the patriarch, he was our religious leader as well. We did not see him often, but we followed his example all the same. We respected the religion which he advocated, and were satisfied that we were doing right.

There came a summer weekend when I was a young father. My father had bought a lovely lakeside cottage on an island in the Great Lakes for he and my mother as well as I and my brothers and our children to enjoy. I went to the island on a weekend when all the other members of our immediate family were otherwise occupied. I took my son and daughter and one of my nephews for a weekend of swimming, fishing, and sitting around a fire.

There was a phone in the island cottage through underwater lines. It was the 1960s, and there was not yet satellites circling the Earth, and cellphones would not be heard of until several decades later. The phone rang unexpectedly. When I answered, it was my father. He called to tell me that my uncle, my father’s eldest brother and the religious leader and patriarch of the family had suddenly died.

I asked Dad if I should pack up the kids and drive the three hours back home for the funeral and other rituals. To my surprise, he said no. He told me that my uncle had left written instruction in which he stated that he only acted the role of religious example for the family because he felt it was his responsibility. In his true, personal beliefs, he was an atheist, and wanted all of the religious rituals to be disregarded, and to just be simply cremated. Cremation is against our religion, and that was a strong statement of his personal beliefs.

The kids and I were left to enjoy a happy summer weekend. More importantly, my brothers and I, and our children and cousins were free to follow our own personal beliefs. I have always been an atheist, at least since I was about 18. It’s comfortable to be free of the burden of the absurdity of religious rituals.

Faking It

February 25, 2018 Leave a comment

Some people take on the preferences of the person or people they want to attract. This is reckless. If the person you wish to attract is not aligned with your ideas of what life should be like, and how it is enjoyed, it is unwise to fake, or pretend that you fit in with their preferred style and activities.

I know a woman in her fifties who is uncomfortable about her body. She encountered a man she with whom she hoped to spend time. She succeeded in having him invite her for a weekend away in a country setting. She accepted eagerly, although she is not a fan of the great outdoors, and usually avoids situations in forest settings or cottage country.

When they arrived in a remote, secluded area, the gentleman set up his camping equipment beside a gently flowing river. The setting was beautiful, but the beauty of the environment was lost on the woman. She did manage, however, to accept the basics of sleeping in a tent in a sleeping bag. Even watching him cook dinner on an open fire was not too difficult for her to endure. The night passed uneventfully, as the zipped-up sleeping bags kept them isolated from each other.

Morning came warm, dry and sunny. The woman crawled painfully out of her insulating sleeping bag as she noticed the gentleman was already gone from his bag. She heard the fire crackling and smelled bacon frying cheerfully in a pan on the open fire. She emerged from the tent well covered by her loose-fitting garment that hid the shape within that was an embarrassment to her.

She did her best to enjoy the bacon and eggs on her tin plate, and the cream free coffee in the tin mug. Their conversation was cordial as the gentleman was patiently aware of the woman’s misgivings. All went well as the meal was enjoyed as much as possible in the surroundings that were very unfamiliar and awkward to the woman. When the meal was completed and utensils were washed by the host in the adjacent flowing river, the woman was overwhelmed by his next suggestion.

He said he was eager to enjoy the cool, clear water, and with barely a pause he stripped down to be completely naked. He stood in the morning sun by the river’s edge and enjoyed the feeling of unfettered freedom. The woman, although somewhat aghast, couldn’t help but notice that he had a very attractive body for a man in his fifties.

He strode into the river carefully on the slippery stones on the bottom and dove into the current. He emerged with his longish hair slicked back and urged emphatically that she should join him. After some rather insistent urging, she humiliated herself by finally stripping down, doing her best to keep hidden by the surrounding foliage. Ashamed as she was of her drooping breasts, heavy thighs, and sagging backside, she dashed from behind a bush into the water.

Unfamiliar as she was with the country life, she stepped on the slippery rocks in the water and fell heavily on her very white, bulbous backside in the shallows. Her flabby breasts swayed loosely as the gentleman hurried carefully to help her up. The water was cold, and her large nipples grew erect as she moved desperately to deeper water. She sank to her knees and immersed herself up to her neck in the flowing current.

The gentleman chose to overlook the woman’s physical imperfections, and implored her to join him in a swim. She dared not move, and the man indulged himself until he was satisfied with the activity. Standing straight, tall, and unashamed, he strode out of the water and lay back on a folding chair to let the sun warm and dry him.

While he relaxed, eyes closed against the brilliant sunshine, the woman crawled over the rocks and out of the water. She moved swiftly behind the foliage and found a towel in the tent. She dried and dressed herself and joined the gentleman in the warming sun. They spoke little, and she was wishing she knew what he was thinking of her.

The weekend was cut short, as the relationship potential was properly gone. The gentleman went about closing down his campsite and stashing it all in the car trunk. On the drive home the pair was almost silent, with few words exchanged. While she berated herself in her mind for having been so hasty, the gentleman did the same to himself.

When he dropped her at her apartment house, he stepped around the car as she exited it. They shook hands, and he said he’d call her. She knew he never would, and she was glad of that.

Women are not Ornaments

February 6, 2018 Leave a comment

pri_68161917      Many fans of Formula One auto racing are upset that the iconic ‘grid girls’ are to be discontinued. I am pleased that the girls will be gone, because they should not stand in rows, dressed in identical, sexy outfits. I raced sports cars when I was younger, and I always felt that it was not a good idea to have women in the pit areas unless they were part of a team, working with the crew in a real job.

The grid girls are just a distraction for fans of the sport. Race time is a time of intense focus and concentration, and women in the pits for the sake of ornamentation are clearly out of place. When watching a Formula One event, I have always wondered why the pretty ladies demeaned themselves in that way. They are doing nothing other than perhaps holding a sign with a number on it, or some such thing. They are superfluous.

The smiles are pretty, the legs are lovely, but neither has anything to do with the very serious and expensive event that is a Formula One race. The women are obviously instructed to smile prettily and applaud vigorously as the sweating drivers hurry past them to the cool down rooms. I have never seen any driver even notice the girls. They know that the smiles and applause are just set up for the viewing audience, and have no real meaning to the participants in the event.

I am pleased that I will no longer feel sorry for the girls that were positioned on the grid and in the entrance hall to the cool down room. I am sorry that they are losing whatever small pay they received for that humble occupation. The truth is that only women who are either driving the car or working as part of the crew should be in the pits of any motor race. Just the same as men are not a good fit in a crocheting group. Men should be there if they are fans of crocheting and participating in the craft, but not to be stand-by ornaments.

In this modern age, no job need be gender-specific, but being good looking and standing holding a number sign is not a worthy career goal. Ladies are welders and builders and lawyers and doctors as good as any man can be. They are well-advised to build careers rather than be pretty and hold signs. Any job that can be replaced by a post on a base is not a job for an intelligent person, male or female.