The Other Side of the Curtain

Other Side of Curtain

It’s funny how HIPPA goes out the window in rooms where windows don’t open.  In the bed next to mine was a gentleman who didn’t make a peep.  In fact, I forgot that he was there until the social worker came in and started asking him private information quite audibly in anticipation of his discharge.  How did he get to the hospital?  “I took two busses to get here.”  He had no possessions, having lost his car and his house and apparently everything else.  Where was he staying prior to coming to the hospital?  “I slept in the woods — but it’s rough out there”.  Does he have any next of kin?  “No, it’s just me.”  With his 70th birthday upcoming in February, my roommate was understandably bemoaning his fate, but let the social worker know that he now had a girlfriend he was going to be moving in with.  How’s that for putting things in perspective if you’re tempted to think you’re down on your fortune or fate.

Stark Mortality


A long-standing joke:  If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.  I hope to be able to use that line many years down the road, and saying it in jest.  But for now I’m content reading books about mortality, and a new one by Andrew Stark just out from Yale University Press is an amazing read that I highly commend to you.  The hospital staff found it a bit morbid that I was reading about such Stark realities until I convinced them that this is a rather uplifting book.  The author concludes, after a considered and reasoned analysis of the alternatives, that mortality has its virtues.  A sneak preview is available here.

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I’ve Got Rhythm

Composed by George Gershwin in 1930, with lyrics by older brother Ira, this classic was recorded by numerous artists but will always resonate for my generation as I Got Rhythm by The Happenings (from Paterson, NJ) recorded in 1967.

Normally on a Sunday evening at this time of year I’d be watching and listening to artists perform at The Big Joe Jersey Talent Show, as depicted in this masterpiece by Ayelet Goldstein.

Ayelet Picture

But this Sunday I was busy trying to find my own rhythm, and thanks to the caring staff at  Ocean Medical Center did just that through a TEE/Cardioversion procedure.

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Sunrise, Sunset …

As I walked up to the Beach this morning on PPB at 6AM, a handful of people were out already with front row seats to what one referred to as “The Greatest Show on Earth”.  Here are scenes from this morning’s sunrise, a perfect bookend to last night’s sunset, followed by punctuation from Bette.

Sunrise Nice View

Sunrise Colors Horizon

Sunrise People Nicer

Sunrise Back Lit Sand

Sunrise Boat Horizon

Sunrise Longitudinal View Bird

Sunrise with Fence

Sunrise Cyclist

Sunrise Panorama PPB 2

Sunrise - Footsteps Sand



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Why We Love Baseball

It’s the human factors that are most appealing.  The backs stories which are never ending. There was one tonight in Philadelphia, where Chase Utley came back to his old ballpark. Notice the special touches.  Chase acknowledges the standing ovation by pointing his helmet to all sections.  He nods toward the catcher and umpire to let them know that he’s ready to get into the box, but the ovation continues.  The catcher steps out to kick a little dirt across the plate, giving Chase more time to bask in the ovation, and the umpire follows suit.  Finally, with a fist pump, thump to the chest, and thumbs up to the crowd, he’s ready to bat (see here).

Chase fanned in the first, the first of three from Vince Velasquez who struck out the side.  But VV would predictably start to unravel the second and third time through the lineup and by the time Chase came up in the 5th inning he smacked a solo HR off a 96 mile per hour fastball that came in straight as an arrow.  The crowd gave him another standing O that didn’t end until he came out for a curtain call.  As if that weren’t enough, after leading off the top of the 7th with a walk, the Dodgers batted around until Chase came up again to belt a grand slam home run that effectively ended the game with another curtain call.

The Dodger announcers (Vin Scully doesn’t do road games any more) marveled at how Utley rose to the occasion, and pointed out that his first major league hit was a grand slam for the Phillies, which also elicited a curtain call from the fans.  He still runs the bases with the same gallop.

It’s bittersweet that a kid that Chase took under his wing to mentor a couple of years ago, Cody Asche – insisting that his locker be put next to his – was just sent back to the minor leagues last week because he didn’t pan out as a major league hitter.  Just goes to show you how hard it is to succeed in this game, yet alone excel in the way Utley has for so long.  I still have the image of him sitting on a stool in Spring Training just a few years ago fielding ground balls, wondering if he would ever walk normally again yet alone have a night like he did tonight.

Utley on Stool

As tonight’s game ended mercifully with the scoreboard reading Dodgers 15 Phillies 5, Utley sprang out of the dugout to lead the wraparound high five/fist bump walkoffs with the PA system aptly booming “I Don’t Know Why You Say Goodbye I Say Hello”.

Yes, Chase Utley.  As far as Phillies fans are concerned, you will always be The Man.

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Walk (Away) Like An Egyptian

All the old paintings on the tombs
They do the sand dance don’t you know
If they move too quick (oh whey oh)
They’re falling down like a domino

All the bazaar men by the Nile
They got the money on a bet
Gold crocodiles (oh whey oh)
They snap their teeth on your cigarette

Foreign types with the hookah pipes say
Ay oh whey oh, ay oh whey oh
Walk like an Egyptian

Blond waitresses take their trays
They spin around and they cross the floor
They’ve got the moves (oh whey oh)
You drop your drink and they give you more

All the school kids so sick of books
They like the punk and the metal band
When the buzzer rings (oh whey oh)
They’re walking like an Egyptian

All the kids in the marketplace say
Ay oh whey oh, ay oh whey oh
Walk like an Egyptian

Slide your feet up the street bend your back
Shift your arm then you pull it back
Life is hard you know (oh whey oh)
So strike a pose on a Cadillac

If you want to find all the cops
They’re hanging out in the donut shop
They sing and dance (oh whey oh)
Spin the clubs cruise down the block

All the Japanese with their yen
The party boys call the Kremlin
And the Chinese know (oh whey oh)
They walk the line like Egyptian

All the cops in the donut shop say
Ay oh whey oh, ay oh whey oh
Walk like an Egyptian
Walk like an Egyptian

Written by Liam Hillard Sternberg • Copyright © Peermusic Publishing

— But if Mr. Sternberg had witnessed the lack of sportsmanship at the Olympics demonstrated today by Egyptian judo combatant El Shahaby, he might have penned alternate lyrics.

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The Girl From Ipanema

Ah … what memories from the ’60s … The song resurrected for Gisele Bundchen’s catwalk to help open this year’s olympics in Rio.  The story behind the story is in today’s Wall Street Journal.

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Jewish Haikus


On Passover we
Opened the door for Elijah.
Now our dog is gone.

Jewish Buddhism:
If there is no self,
Whose arthritis is this?

Beyond Valium,
Peace is knowing one’s child
Is an internist.

After the warm rain
The sweet smell of camellias.
Did you wipe your feet?

Her lips near my ear,
Aunt Sadie whispers the name
Of her friend’s disease.

Today I am a man
Tomorrow I will return
To the seventh grade.

Testing the warm milk
On her wrist, she sighs softly
But her son is forty.

The sparkling blue sea
Reminds me to wait an hour
After my sandwich.

Jews on safari —
Map, compass, elephant gun,
Hard sucking candies.

The same kimono
The top geishas are wearing:
I got it at Loehmann’s.

Mom, please! There is no
Need to put that dinner roll
In your pocketbook.

Sorry I’m not home
To take your call. At the tone,
Please state your bad news.

Is one Nobel Prize
So much to ask from a child
After all I’ve done?

Today, mild shvitzing.
Tomorrow, so hot you’ll plotz
Five-day forecast: feh

Yenta. Shmeer. Gevalt.
Shlemiel. Shlimazl. Meshuganah
Oy! To be fluent!

Quietly murmured
At Saturday Synagogue services,
Phillies 5, Mets 3.

A lovely nose ring,
Excuse me while I put my
Head in the oven.

Hard to tell under the lights.
White Yarmulke or
Male-pattern baldness.

Be here now.
Be someplace else later.
Is that so complicated?

And More…..
Drink tea and nourish life;
With the first sip, joy;
With the second sip, satisfaction;
With the third sip, peace;
With the fourth, a Danish.

Wherever you go, there you are.
Your luggage is another story.

Accept misfortune as a blessing.
Do not wish for perfect health, or a life without problems.
What would you talk about?

The journey of a thousand miles
Begins with a single Oy.

Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?

The Tao does not speak
The Tao does not blame.
The Tao does not take sides.
The Tao has no expectations.
The Tao demands nothing of others
The Tao is not Jewish.

Breathe in, Breathe out.
Forget this and attaining Enlightenment will
Be the least of your problems.

Deep inside you are ten thousand flowers.
Each flower blossoms ten thousand times.
Each blossom has ten thousand petals.
You might want to see a specialist

Be aware of your body.
Be aware of your perceptions.
Keep in mind that not every physical
Sensation is a symptom of a terminal illness.

The Torah says, Love your neighbor as yourself.
The Buddha says there is no self.
So, maybe we’re off the hook.

(I wish I could give proper attribution as to the source of these haikus, but all I can tell you is that they came my way via Dr. Michael Margareten.)

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