In 1963, when I was a sophomore at Cheltenham House School in suburban Philadelphia, I first listened to Dylan Thomas read this, his most famous poem. My biology teacher had “punished” me by expelling me for a week for egregiously reading in class. For a solid week, I was in bliss at my school’s excellent […]
“If I am not for myself, who is for me?” — Rabbi Hillel AFTER BEFORE
“While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities ‘unwise and untimely.’ Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.”
I am the kind of person who craves catnip given my personal circumstance. Yesterday, when I watched the series from start to conclusion without pause, my objective was distraction to the point where I no longer felt relentless pain–a consequence of surgery for kidney cancer. As with Ralph Fiennes’ ability to transfer pressure and whiplash from the real to the non-existent, the realization of David Hare’s words was entirely successful.
THE DEFENDANT: I understand you don’t want to talk about anything other than the street and I appreciate that. But PennDOT is responsible for major
injury to the elderly and disability community that resides
on Beaver Avenue. This particular issue, namely depriving me of the right to go to synagogue finally got my goat as it were.
The officer was correct in everything he said. You know, this was a planned arrest. There was no danger at all to me or anybody on the highway when I went out into the middle of the road with two police cars. I knew the unmarked police car was an unmarked police car There were several officers and an ambulance over there.
I am not certifiable. Proof that I’m not certifiable is that the police chief and an officer sent me to the hospital to try to certify me. Mt. Nittany Medical Center wouldn’t do it.
THE COURT: Point taken.
I took this photograph less than an hour ago. A homeless man is bundled over a cup of coffee as the wind chill factor is 27 degrees F and scattered flakes of snow are beginning to fall. Four blocks away a brand new multi-story Hyatt has gone up where on premium football weekends a single room costs $450 a night. As the Manhattanization of Downtown State College progresses with abandon, it is no surprise that this month—just in time for Christmas—less than three blocks away one of this community’s homeless shelters shut down. The temperature is dropping rapidly. Will this man be dead by midnight when Santa Claus begins his rounds determining who has been naughty or nice?
Come back soon, hear, I have just begun this screed
Santa: In my Yiddisha stocking, please insert a plane ticket to New Mexico, a reservation for a mobility device when I arrive, one $1,00 ticket and enough moola to make a donation to HIAS, pay off my most demanding creditors before dancing the tango at the inaugural ball for Michelle Lujan Grisham, the wonderful new governor of New Mexico, who will embrace refugees from the horrors of central America as the Statute of Liberty recommends.