Retirement Bogey

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They work their whole lives, some at jobs they hate. Put the kids through college where they didn’t go. They stay too long at their jobs, because they don’t know how much money they will need. And then they retire to Florida to play golf and eat at early bird special.

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The work took its toll. Bad diets. Stress. Passivity in the face of managerial terror. Ill conceived marriages. A little tax cheating here; a little all cash there. Skiing on the ice. And bad hips.

Death comes quicker than they thought. No one wants their mismatched, cheap clubs, used skis or crutches. That their precious goods would end up  at Goodwill or Faith Farms as estate tax deductions was unexpected, but predictable.

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So, we went to see the Cubbies. An hour and a half to get there. $20 to park. Tickets $150. $40 for two franks, a beer, a pretzel and a bottle of water. Hard to find seats. And, the Cubs played lousy and lost.

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Some fans can get pretty crazy about their team.

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I got to see Ichiro.

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But, the game is boring. Too many pitching changes and guys scratching their balls or spitting. That’s why they have these races and dumb music. It keeps the kids involved. But, I would rather watch on TV where I can lounge around, go to a clean bathroom and eat normal food.

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Now if I were only younger and stronger, I could shoot the game. Now, that would be fun.

 

Norman Frajman, Survivor

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So, Norman isn’t the first survivor I have met or photographed. His willingness to speak about the experience, along with his eloquence, was new. He shares his story tirelessly with groups in the Palm Beach County area in hopes of keeping the memories of the dead alive. Those who hear him  and see his mementos must feel as touched as I did.

How he survived is not so important. Those who lived through the hell of the Holocaust all have a tale. He cannot explain why he survived and others didn’t, except to say it was an act of providence. The violence and hatred he saw is unimaginable. That he and others can live without overbearing pain and paralysis makes him and his fellow survivors super human. That is important.

But, what is more important is that we never forget them and that the carnage will never be repeated.

Stars and Stripes

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So, we are shopping at Bed Bath and Bath and Beyond the Fringe. I have a coupon, which if you don’t, you should not shop without a discount. At the counter, Sharon donned this tiara. The sales woman said no one had bought one. Not surprising, in light of the comedy of the Republican party,  supporting a neo-facist who doesn’t realize who he is, because he isn’t smart enough and neither are his supportes.

Sharon said she hoped for America, so long as trumpolini didn’t survive. A woman standing at the next register, said, “Amen.”

Sara Palin Visage

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Thanks to Fox news for this shot. Even they know what a fool she is and what an idiot she is. Otherwise they would have published an image that made her look less nuts.

Let us not forget that she ran for Vice-President on the Republican ticket with John McCain who, this week, has also distinguished himself, again as Republican scum. It they were elected, McCain would have been outed as the mean spirited fool that he is, forced to resign and she would have gotten the codes.

Palin called my President, a man whom I respect dearly, a “special kind of stupid.” She’s so stupid, she wouldn’t know stupid, even if she paid attention to what she, herself, says which even the most stupid and uneducated know is ridiculous. And, anyone who listens to her or has her support is also stupid as are those who support someone whom she supports, like trumpoli, is also stupid.

But, here is a problem for you to solve. Ever watch “After Midnight?” They take photos and ask the panelists, comedians, to answer questions about the image, sometimes giving choices. Your chance.

Sarah Palin has this look on her face, because:

(1) Donald Trump has his finger up her ass?

(2) Marco Rubio has a finger up her ass?

(3) Ben Carson has a finger up her ass?

(4) She took an AK-47 on a hunting trip and her husband, Todd, asked her what the hell she was doing in the woods of Alaska, hunting moose, with a weapon designed to kill people on the battlefield.

Michael Marden, Survivor

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Michael Marden, 91, survived 9 concentration camps. Freed from Bergen Belsen, he went to Sweden and then the United States. He hold three patents, has grand-children and great grand-children. And he loves his life, except for not being able to have a daily hit of schnapps.

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Grandson Brian is in 11th grade. Has a photo business. Shoots bar mitzvahs, school evens and whatever. And he loves grandpa.

Amy Beede, Dead in Burlington VT

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My heart breaks inside. I shed tears for her. I shed tears for all of them.

I knew her, you could say, as well as you can know anyone you meet on the street, Church Street. Bought her paints and paper for her art. Bought her coffee. May have loaned her a buck or two or three. Never got them back. Didn’t know Amos. Can’t know too much about someone you meet on the street, either.

Beaten to death for not a good reason. And, in a homeless camp where she spent the night, because she missed the bus back to Milton where she had a place to live and family. I hope the killing wasn’t motivated by gender animus, but who knows?

No way to die; especially when you don’t want to and aren’t ready to. So many I knew on the street suffered undignified deaths as they struggled to understand life. She was always looking up, even when she wasn’t.

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Amy tried to help others, despite her own personal problems, as much as she tried to help herself. Knew a ton of people and didn’t like a whole lot of them. A noble person she was. And that isn’t easy when you don’t have comfort zones to hide out in or a complete understanding of whom you are.

Before I left Burlington, we spoke. I suggested that she not come down from Milton every day and that she find things and people up there who would be of interest. “Nope,” she said, “Burlington was where her life was.” And, that is where it ended. Badly.

 

D-Day June 6, 2016

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70th anniversary and they don’t get easier. On Omaha beach, they landed and died. More came, stepping over their bodies. Some of them died, too. Kids who hadn’t lived. Kids with no idea of their mortality. They left mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers.

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How did Irvin die? Don’t know? But I can tell you why. He did it for me and I wasn’t yet born. I love you Irvin.

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Hallowed be the ground at the American Cemetery.

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Some guy I never saw before came to Anshei Shalom to say kaddish for the fallen at the Holocaust Memorial in front of the shul. He served in Germany, sometime. He needed a place to pray.

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May their memories be a blessing.

 

Minyan Image Hung on Wall at Temple Anshei Shalom

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I made this image as a prayer aid, something to take the minyanim to a higher level. My talit, worn at my Bar Mitzvah, given to me by my father. My kappa, swiped from a box somewhere, bearing the name of some people whom I don’t know who gave it to people who attended their wedding. Tefillin from Sholem Lipskar who presides in Bal Harbor, whom I have not seen for years. He thought we were related and deserted me during my assassination. The prayer book is from a Rabbi I knew in MA. It belonged to his grandfather. It is open to the page we all read when we put  on the boxes. Today, they hung it in the little sanctuary at Anshei Sholem where we belong.

I made all the light in the image in a studio. It’s artificial. Only God makes light. He did that first so we could observe the wonder of his creation.

May we all, this shabbos, use that light to see clearly, focused on human rights and justice, loving our families and communities and making the best of our short time hear on earth.