I’ve Become a Pen Collecting Junkie

Posted 01 Mar 2013 — by admin
Category Uncategorized

Every day, I amuse myself by scanning the hundreds of categories and sub-categories of sales merchandise on eBay. My amazement never ends with what sellers put up for sale. For fun, I played an Andy Rooney and asked, “Did you ever wonder what items appear in the ‘caskets’ category?” I searched in depth at my own suggestion. Some items were what I expected: For sale were low-priced caskets. So were pictures of funerals from seventy-five years ago. The surprise was a keychain with a trinket attached, in the shape of a half-opened casket, with a person lying in repose. I must admit, if I saw someone take out this ghoulish doohickey from his pocket, my reaction would be a retreat from fright, as if Frankenstein’s monster had me in his sights and stepped toward me.

On another random search, a seller marketed used children’s garments by dropping the hand-me-down handle and selling them as vintage, Korean War era clothing. On the seller’s site, a description of the items was featured as the last of their kind. The seller’s hype was, “It’s a piece of history.” My mind formulated the question: Why then, aren’t they on display in a museum? Bluntly, what I saw was used underwear. I envisioned a store-wide sale to Communist revolutionaries, as the best customer. Then the garments could best be classified under “Molotov cocktail wicks.”

Eventually, a daily eBay routine consisted of browsing one new category, the standard search and seek, and reviewing the ballpoint, rollerball, and fountain pen categories. I never had a serious pen collection. I still don’t, but my interest grew. And if it continued and turned serious, I thought I might revert into a pen-collecting mogul. It would be easy to setup and to maintain a collection. All I need is one large filing cabinet filled with display trays. By comparison, a car collector needs 200,000 square feet of space, for storage and a showroom. Time would tell.

I was given a Cross pen and pencil set as a present from my family when I graduated high school, which I still have. Another set was presented to me when I left my first accounting job. They were identical sets, the only difference being that the accounting firm had my name engraved on it. They were tarnished, sitting in the bottom of a drawer. I cherished them, even though they seemed neglected.

My father had a 1950s white dot Sheaffer snorkel pen which he used for twenty years to sign his name to business documents. He thought he was president of the United States signing a piece of legislation. The pen had a stately appearance. Eventually he handed it to me ceremoniously, as if a scepter. The pen was a family keepsake, and I was anointed to guard and treasure it. At the time, I honestly thought he gave it to me to throw in the trash bin.

Every day, I steadily turned into a fountain pen junkie. I dropped the ‘mogul’ moniker, and chose a more fitting name: the junk pen collector. Cheap pens fit my sobriquet, ‘el cheapo.’ There were thousands for sale in every shape, size, or price. I might or might not buy one, but the fascination was the hunt. It was addicting, and I had to be careful. Once you find a new love, you’re likely to dive in and buy one of each. With discipline I was able to control my buying urge, but I found a special one. It was a captivating Bexley pen with a cappuccino swirl abounding the creamed colored background. I purchased it deciding its beauty belonged in a penholder in my office to show off. It was expensive, but in relative terms, cheaper than buying a painting to hang on the wall. Besides, I have grandchildren armed with magic markers. They could depreciate any painting hanging on a wall, in short order.

I learned the ropes by trial and error. Using the eBay bidding format, I made stupid mistakes, but I did not know how to better negotiate over the internet. I learned that sending an email to the seller, asking for additional information, or following up on what was the stated return policy helped. I shopped pen retailers to comparison shop. Everyone was overpriced. Once, I asked for another picture from another angle or an up-to-date retake. I did have some ammo.

My ideas made better purchases. The best advice came when I was told a story in a continuing ed class. The instructor, a real estate broker, opened a new office and began to shop for furniture. Good used furniture was okay, but antique furniture was more to his liking.

He spotted a classified ad that attracted his attention, a Louis IVth imitation love seat, which he went to inspect. The seller priced the piece of furniture at $950. As it turned out, on inspection, the closer the instructor came to the love seat, the more it looked like a real Louis IVth. He paid the owner a negotiated price and took the prize to his office. An antique dealer subsequently offered him $25,000.

The same can be said of my interest in buying pens. On eBay, I’ve got only a picture and a description of the item as my only ability to move closer and inspect it and determine its value. Early on, I was fleeced by everyone. Now that I’m smarter, I’m searching for the real Louis IVth for everything I consider buying. With no face to face contact, I’ve been unable to convey to the seller a message: his merchandise is junk, it’s not a Louis IVth, and the price is too high. I once sent a seller a terse note about a purchase I made. I felt better for writing a well-crafted note, but I was still was fleeced.

Other pens that caught my fascination were the floaty pens made by a Danish company, Eskesen. These pens have a liquid barrel with objects that move, as the pen is tilted. A pen I own has a Heinz Ketchup bottle. When turned upside down, ketchup flows out of the bottle. It’s a cute addition to my pen collection.

Novelty pens by the thousands make up this eBay group. Varied Disney subjects, animal subjects, and mountain subjects are portrayed in some form of animation. A John Deere tractor plowing a field was a great subject for a floaty. Cities from all over the world have a floaty pen animating their city with a well-known tourist attraction. Floaties are meant as ‘chachkas,’ amusement. There are some serious collectors, but in the minority. The most hush-hush subcategory is the pinup girl who soon poses in her birthday suit with a tilt of the pen. Homer Simpson was not to be left out as another subject of ridicule. He’s wearing a bathing suit in his floaty, which when turned, changes him, to wearing a European thong. The pens are hilarious and fun subjects.

My pen collection is not a train set in the basement. I started it during my recent illness, and have enjoyed adding pieces during my recovery.

Bernie Madoff Was My Health Consultant

Posted 28 Jan 2013 — by admin
Category Uncategorized

In an earlier blog, I wrote about how I worked and played through life with a false belief that my overall health was good. That attitude of overconfidence came crashing down when my cardiologist diagnosed me with heart blockages, and said that I needed to have heart-bypass surgery. The followup to that statement came swiftly, when a vascular surgeon contacted me and said, “I’ll be operating on you Tuesday, 8 a.m.” I didn’t have a chance to reply, as the doctor’s statement was emphatic and left no room to dispute. As it turned out, Dr. T. and his surgical team operated, and successfully completed, the quadruple-bypass surgery. The hurt from the operation didn’t slow my thinking. As I recovered in an ICU unit, I was surrounded by my family who showed great concern, along with encouraging words, that I had to get better to watch the grandchildren grow up.

I knew what my marching orders were. I knew my family was counting on me to make a strong effort to recover. I knew the surgery and the subsequent road to recovery would allow me a return to a happy life, a family life, a life of normalcy, with no chest pains, no shortness of breath, and no heaving as I walked up a flight of stairs. I would have low cholesterol and no other symptoms, no nothing, the same symptoms I had before surgery. I had a serious illness, and I felt lucky to be awake. What I needed was a new definition of what good health meant, a societal norm, and how to measure it. In the heart recovery section of the hospital, I felt better each passing day. My awareness was greater. The TV screen looked clearer. But that definition was too abstract.

Betterment was changed and measured by reading the strength of my blowing into a breathing apparatus. I could record my numbers each day and compare them to readings from earlier days. It was scientific. It was the best I could do to measure my progress. But I wondered how doctors measured betterment. I concluded they measured information with sophisticated instruments, which was more than I could comprehend. At least under my method, I could wrap my arms around my breathing apparatus. It was something.

I wasn’t finished searching for betterment. Blowing higher numbers was good, but not the finish line. My mind compelled me to step up to the plate and seek out how to keep my good news going. In the hospital, I had plenty of time to reflect.

One day, I heard someone enter my room and I turned my head. My visitor was Bernie Madoff. His picture appeared so many times on Internet and TV news, I recognized him immediately, right down to the hair on his nape curling up over the back of the baseball cap he wore. I was startled. Read More

I’m Feeling Fine – Really I Am

Posted 14 Jan 2013 — by admin
Category Uncategorized

It’s simple. When you’ve had severe indigestion or you’ve had an accident more serious than a paper cut, you call a doctor or visit a hospital emergency room. The world has earned a medical degree watching TV to know whether to apply home remedies or call 911. For minor afflictions, there are plenty of products to cure that sore tummy and enough medical supplies to kill all the bacteria and cover the wound with a Band-Aid. The voiceover in medical ads tells the patient to keep using the suggested over-the-counter medication, until a state of unbearable pain is reached. Then, take aggressive action, and seek medical help. You know the drill. There is only one time I know of when a state of pleasure sends us to the emergency room: after using Viagra.

My advice is different. Be on the alert for devious silent killers in the woodwork. Don’t wait for symptoms to surface. Preventative medicine is a must. Get a yearly physical exam. Even if you get a clear bill of health every year, your doctor knows you and your potential health risks. That knowledge is a big plus in preventative health maintenance. I’ve walked out of my internist’s office sixty times in sixty years with the same diagnosis: Leonard you’re in terrific health. See you next year. Nothing seemed out of kilter, and my internist sent me home with the same firm belief, his examination was sanctioned by God and I would live for another year. I was a lucky sort, until this year.

Which brought me closer to my current medical problem. For years, I’d had pain in my calves. My internist referred me to a vascular surgeon, and he diagnosed my pain as a congenital birth defect. He suggested he could surgically rearrange some veins in my legs to increase blood flow to those muscles. More physical strength was the intended outcome.

A revisit to my internist brought a neutral opinion. “Let’s do some more tests. Here’s the name of a cardiologist.” A funny thing happened at the cardiologist’s office. I flunked the stress test, which changed the course of treatment. My cardiologist told me he needed to do a catheterization to determine the arterial heart blockage. “A stent or an angioplasty treatment may be needed.”

I was flabbergasted. How I could be so sick with no symptoms? Let me give you, the reader, a test. What do you call a person who has had Hall of Fame EKGs his entire life, no shortness of breath, no chest pains, a pulse rate of 75, a slightly elevated blood pressure reading of 130/75, and a yearly cholesterol reading below 150? For me, my test concluded I was a candidate for a heart attack. I heard a respected doctor say that if you can stay outside in extreme heat or cold, doing active functions, your heart is in good shape. Imagine that.

The catheterization revealed blockage in four arteries that could not be corrected by stents or angioplasty. Twenty minutes after returning back to my room, a heart surgeon stuck his head in and said, “Hello, I’m Dr. T. and I’ll be performing open heart surgery on you early next week.” I protested. “Dr., I have no symptoms.” He smiled. “That’s what a lot of patients say.”

The second part of the adventure fit the window of the four days between the catheterization procedure and when I arrived at Beaumont Hospital for the open heart operation. My mantra during the timeframe was, “I feel fine.” I repeated it every waking hour for four days. There was no accurate tally the number of times I said it.

I called family and friends and told them what awaited me. Everyone heard the mantra. Out shopping, I ran into friends. When I explained my situation, my story ended with, “I feel fine.” With each repetition, I asked myself, “Why don’t you call the doctor’s office and cancel the operation. Tell them you feel great.”

The day before the operation, I met with the surgeon. He outlined the plan for the following morning. I listened with respect to the doctor. He owned the knowledge to my well being. How could I challenge him? Just because I felt good didn’t mean he would buy my argument. I left the appointment with a new mantra to tell myself: Leonard, you’re not feeling great.

I walked into Beaumont Hospital eager to get started. Get the operation over, so I’d wake up, and know I lived through the ordeal. Intensive care and the cardiac hospital section consisted of eating, taking medication, and watching TV. Visitors included my wife and my children. The surgeon’s order of walking the halls proved a most important directive. Everyone helped me to get out of bed and walk arm-in-arm. I felt better. Not being confined to a bed made my spirits rise and made me feel that I would return to good health. I measured the recovery from when the pain medication, administered during the operation, wore off and the last pain pill I swallowed. Without any pain pills in my future, I was as good as new.

Nostalgia played a part. Every day, I looked at my daily ten plus pills and said, “So you guys know what part of me you’re trying to reach to make me better. Good luck.” The last time I saw such a colorful pharmaceutical arrangement was during my father’s and my father-in-law’s declining years. When they took the bouquet, I mused, “What are the pills supposed to accomplish? I don’t see any improvement. Are they supposed to keep a status quo existence or kill you slowly?” In my case, I did feel improvement each day, stronger, more alert, and grateful to God to regain independence.

I still have more treatment awaiting: cardiovascular rehab. My internist visited me every day while in the hospital. “Leonard, you’re getting better.” When I checked out to return home, he said, “See you at your yearly physical.”

Is this the New Bible?

Posted 26 Jul 2012 — by admin
Category Reviews

“Leonard, are you telling me that some church published another bible, adding to the already crowded shelves of religious books?”

“Yes, I am.”

“You’re telling me with all the biblical revisions and updated versions, another bible preaching good and evil adorns my local bookstore or my library?”

“Yes to another bible, no to bookshelf space. I downloaded the new super duper bible named Bunny Bible (Church of the Animated Bunny) by Terrence747, onto my Kindle from Amazon.com.”

Fear not, fellow Biblicists. The ‘Bunny’ part of the name should quell any thoughts of punishment by fire and brimstone, reducing God’s wrath to a warm and fuzzy feeling. There’s even a priestly picture of Terrence, the spiritual rabbit, on the cover, wearing an Eastern Orthodox mitre and holding a menorah. His floppy ears are visible, not tucked under the mitre. Terrence wants to make a statement that rabbits also are capable of being ordained as priests.

Those of you who know about me, know I’m a biblical kind of guy of the Hebrew Testament variety. I take my religion and bible reading seriously. When I saw the Bunny Bible, with a sacrilegious animal standing in for a priest, a rabbi, and an imam, I was infuriated. Hey, Mister Terrence, you’re making fun of sacred text. I did not back away. I read it to determine the points I would use to skewer it on my website review. After reading it from front to back, I found this bible to be short and to the point, amazing, impressive. The 22 pages were packed with metaphysical thought, creeds, and philosophical comparisons with other religions, told to us by Terrence747. I wasn’t fooled by his name, nor did I care. The text was the oeuvre. Still, I had no reservation calling Terrence747 Bugs Bunny, Roger Rabbit, or Peter Rabbit.

I thought I’d lost it paying money, even a dollar, to purchase this new and improved bible. (By comparison, my Testament has about 2,000 pages to read.) For me, it was a Nancy Pelosi moment. You don’t need to read 2,000 pages to find out what it says. To paraphrase our dear Congresswoman: once God makes it operational, you’ll understand it. How you ask? As a sinner, God puts a stick of dynamite down your pants, waits for penance, and incinerates you if you fail to repent.

But wait. How do we know the Church of the Animated Bunny is the truer church? Unlike others, they don’t claim to be the true religion or church. Therefore, for knowing this fact, they’re a truer church. This was great stuff. Terrence went one step further. He sermonized that we can make society whole by being obedient to God’s first and last commandment, “Thou shalt disobey me.” That commandment was a bell ringer in my head. It was original.

Terrence tells us that karma is now our master. A universal juxtaposition rules all our moral decisions: the Golden Rule of “Do unto others…” or “an eye for an eye….” Imposed is fairness in our relationship with our fellow humans. The karma differs when we exercise our free will. Terrence tells us to shoot for the top, aiming our actions for a position of win-win. We’ll hit the other three on occasions, says our leader. Just work to gain the win-win position in whatever endeavor you try.

I recommend that you not get caught owning this book. Doze off to sleep with the Bunny Bible under your pillow. Hope your grandchildren play the tooth fairy and steal it away from your Kindle, and leave a dollar.

Cannibalism Explained to a Vegan

Posted 17 Jul 2012 — by admin
Category Our Jewish Robot Future

Response to Stephanie Digby. Comment dated Jan. 30, 2012

Dear Stephanie,

I agree with your comment that species, described in my book as vegetarian, ate more than plants. They absorbed insects, bacteria, and fecal material as part of the eating process. It was an impossibility for them to clean away all food impurities. Where I differ is your suggestion that vegans don’t eat impurities. Grains, fruits, and vegetables are not free of insects or bacteria. Vegans may not eat impurities in the same quantities today– because we utilize better methods of cleaning and processing food–but eat them they do. Impurities surround us. To think all food is 100% pure is folly. I eat a biblical diet, but God only knows what I have ingested. The thought of eating insects on a camping trip–such as ticks, which are not biblically permitted–is not to my liking. It’s not intentional. I can’t avoid it, but I do accept it.

I respect the beliefs of vegans. But do not overreach with regards to its purity. Only robots can make that claim.

I would bring to your attention our changing universe and its impact on food sources. Earth has changed; Species of animal and vegetable have changed; Food sources and systems of raising animals or farming for vegetables and fruit have changed; Habitats have changed; Inland waters have changed. For example, bass feed on plants, but they also eat insects and crayfish. (Crayfish are a shellfish and therefore not biblically permitted for consumption.) They compete with other fish for the same food in impure waters filled with waste. Pure streams or bodies of water only appear in advertisements. In conclusion, when hungry, in a limited environment, anybody or anything will eat what is available.

The cannibalism I described in my Garden of Eden book is different. I wrote about my vision of an idealistic human spiritual life. Semi-nomadic existence ruled, and survival for these tribesmen meant life was supported by logic, instinct, and back-breaking work. No schools existed. Children faced the same dangers, as their parents: starvation, disease, and injury or death from warfare. They learned everything needed to survive from their parents: harvesting crops, shepherding, and fighting with weapons. I had an overwhelming respect for them.

In this year’s headlines, horrific acts of cannibalism have savaged several victims. The most notable was a homeless person having his face totally disfigured. I would classify eating the face of another person as an act of violence. But there are other forms of cannibalism. Eating the body of another human, when hungry, is an act of desperation. I think of the Chilean sports team members who survived a plane crash and lived in the Andes for months before being found. We know our ancestors from ten of thousands of years ago feasted on their fathers in an act of triumph or as a way to imbibe knowledge. Can we separate that type of cannibalism from desperation or violence?

Were humans vegetarians in the beginning? Probably not. Gathering food, they feared being the hunted. Gathering plants was easy. So was picking up scraps from a dead animal’s carcass. As individuals, we have a short span of time to satisfy our hunger. Watch out. They are billions of other like individuals.

The Printing Press at Full Speed

Posted 28 Jun 2012 — by admin
Category Uncategorized

I wrote an earlier blog, just before the 2010 elections, about what the inside of a factory, printing money looks like and how it operates. As a service to my readers, I reviewed the earlier blog and realized I left out an important detail. I felt an obligation to bring you up to date.

I said the printing presses were running to print more money to flow into the economy—hoping the investment bankers will use it to buy stocks and keep demand high to sustain higher stock prices. It makes the incumbent look good. What I forgot to mention was the printing press’ speed. It runs at low, medium, and high, never off. Hairdryers by comparison have three speeds and shut off: the motor and the hot air. If the presses shut down, our climbing federal debt would come to a halt. Should a printing press break down as a result of its enslavement, the slave masters have other printing press on standby, ready to be whipped and forced into running at high speed. Slacking off is not permitted.

I learned you can’t repair a printing press. Let me mention the aftermath, the burial. The noise, the groans of pain went silent. It had sounded so human, I began to cry. Especially painful was learning the process of dismantling the corpse. The machine would not be buried intact or cremated, but instead torn apart, limb by limb or piece of steel by piece of steel. When I heard about how they removed the screws, I began to cringe. The eulogy, I’ve learned from rumor, will be delivered by the Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geitner. His remarks will I’m sure cite the machine’s years of faithful duty, many times beyond the call of duty. I’ve also learned the cause of death was the printing press being forced to run at high speed 24/7 since Franklin Roosevelt was president.

Goodbye, brave soul. You saved for too long the asses of enough Treasury Secretaries. Let someone else do it.

The Nissan Leaf Test Drive

Posted 05 Mar 2012 — by admin
Category Uncategorized

Writing could wait. A purposeful trip to spend some quality time with my son’s family, and enjoy warm weather was underway. A treat awaited me. When I arrived at my son’s home in CA, a Nissan LEAF sat in the driveway. Being a lifelong Detroiter, knowing the up-to-date specs on cars was a must. My storehouse of car knowledge would have a new addition. Grandpa’s encyclopedic mind had room. A test drive in the new car would be a given. That way I could tell everyone back home a personal critique about the electric car. What’s giving up one day at the beach compared to driving about town in a state of the art auto in the environmental capital state?

My son encouraged me, at dinner, to drive with him the next day while he went about his business errands. I noticed earlier, the oversized electrical cord attached to the car. I’m not an engineer, but this car would be sucking in some serious wattage overnight, 6-8 hours being the normal charge time. Growing up in the Motor City meant you loved cars, and knew what belonged where. I walked around the car and surveyed the outside panel and trim. I peeked inside the car, and saw the trunk space. I imagined two sacks of groceries would be the limit. As to the spare tire, I didn’t see a compartment or a device to inflate the tire if it went flat. Maybe the tires were solid made from substitute rubber material.

We drove the next morning to school and dropped off the grandchildren. I paid particular attention to the dashboard, the mileage remaining being the key number. If it went to zero, the other transportation arrangement went into effect. Walking long distances on the freeway or strange neighborhoods was not my idea of good exercise or a fun vacation. Filled, the range was about 120 miles. That was deceiving. Turning on the air conditioner or heater lowered the drivable miles by 20 miles. I noticed using the turn signal lost 5 miles, as it blinked. Whatever you did started the ball to run downhill. Listening to the radio was a gas guzzler. If you ran out of electricity, no petrol based gas tank with engine bailed you out of possible trouble.

That console number was all that mattered to me.  My son reassured me that electric stations were being built all about town. My question to my son was, ‘Am I to believe you wait around for 6-8 hours at a station to refill the empty electricity storage tank?’ He replied, ‘stations provided fast charges, about an hour, to get you closer to your main supply.’ I mentioned I thought the system hilarious and convoluted.

Another sticky matter centered on watching the fuel remaining number. Laws are being passed by states to prevent drivers from using cell phones to text or even call, considered distracting and thus dangerous. What the hell do you think you’d do if you were down to your last drop of electricity, concentrate on traffic? Oh, and get your mind back to the main mileage meter. Am I to believe two persons weighing 250 pounds apiece have no impact on remaining mileage? Or what about a 50 pound suitcase in the trunk?

Back home, some friends I consider to be car experts said the payback to break even compared to gas automobiles was measured in years, like five years or longer. Harsh winters are not kind to cars, especially golf carts trying to look like automobiles. I can imagine an electric car driving in a snow storm. The car is lightweight and traction would be difficult. An accident in wintery conditions would be a total wreck for the car, with severe injuries possible. For $40,000, I’d prefer to purchase a standard model and love it. The variables for owning an electric car are many and not disclosed. In cold weathered MI, golf carts are not recommended. To me the car was not safe.

“I suggest you complain to your congressional rep.” I might just tell Washington I test drove an electric car and prefer safe cars.

Wow. I’m in the money!

Posted 31 Jan 2012 — by admin
Category Uncategorized

What would be your reaction, if one day you wake up, and learn that an amount of money beyond your wildest dreams awaits you to spend, as you please? Might you be the type of person that would immediately jump up and down and scream in a state of wild excitement, or are you the type that would keep an outward state of calm while inwardly jumping up and down and screaming in a state of wild excitement? Psychologists call this reaction, hearing about a pot of money soon to land in your lap, by the scientific name of ‘Exuberance, due to luck.’ A scientific label is necessary, otherwise you’d be accused of being a ranting nut job before the world realized your good fortune. Wouldn’t it be better for you to run around in circles and yell, ‘I’ve got a medical condition called, ‘Exuberance, due to luck.’ Today, everything in life is compartmentalized.

Exuberance can’t last forever. You’re still high, just not as high as you were earlier. So your next reaction is the spoken ‘I can’t believe it’ or the lightheadedness before fainting. ‘Exuberance, due to luck, numero deux’ is the official name. Try not to injure yourself.

The next stage unfortunately requires some effort. That’s hard to believe considering the money that awaits you will transfer you into a new work classification, retirement. In such a state of euphoria, pliers will be needed to reshape your over smiling face back to a normal expression. Or consider using a plastic surgeon.

More downside from euphoria surfaces, and a new formula emerges: Euphoria, due to luck, minus Skepticism. Before, dollar signs played a wishful thinking role in your dreams. Now, the news brought a real number into the open. A number in a dream with many zeros and commas changes from an abstract thought to a reality. But will it happen? Clarity arrives and merging the metaphors of hot money and cold cash will have to wait. Skepticism produces the sweat, the dry mouth. Drinking water won’t help. Getting your hands on the money will cure all ailments.

You’ve reached another stage, and matters must move quickly. State the obvious, ‘Where is the money?’ We need to eliminate the element of uncertainty and get to the equation, ‘I’m exuberant, due to luck. Tell me where the money is located.’ This stage in the process is crucial. Otherwise, all would be recreation knowing no sum of money exists at your disposal. Worse yet, if the Grinch takes away your bonanza, handkerchiefs or paper tissues would be the windfall to prevent the oceans of tears from dripping onto clothing. It’s bad enough to have a ‘hit the jackpot’ bonanza ripped away from you. Getting a nasty cold caused by wearing wet clothes is irrational.

Before running to the bank to claim our fortune, we have overlooked a crucial question that needs an answer. Will the money make you happy? When I receive the money, will I return to a high state of euphoria? The pertinent question begs, if the money runs out, will I still be happy? Hopefully, you can say, I spent all the money on gimcracks. It was a hell of a run.

Stay tuned for the next installment: ‘Who are the fortunate recipients and how did they earn the claim to the good fortune?’

Leonard Borman at Book Expo America 2011

Posted 05 May 2011 — by admin
Category events

I’d love to see you stop by and visit the Scarletta Press booth at BEA. I’ll be signing on Thursday, May 26, from 1:30-2:30 PM.

Leonard Borman will be at BEA 2011 from Scarletta Press on Vimeo.

Memorial tribute to a high school chum

Posted 23 Mar 2011 — by admin
Category Uncategorized

Paul Mischakoff 1939-2011

Paul was a great friend and great human being, kind and caring. His outlook on life illuminated everyone who came to know him. I felt it important to compile stories and experiences from his family and myself. If you have any memories to share, please add to the comments.

By Anne Heiles, Paul’s sister:

Paul was born July 2, 1939, in New York City. Both his parents were violinists and violin teachers, and his father, Mischa Mischakoff, was considered perhaps the world’s greatest concertmaster at the time of Paul’s birth. People might be surprised to know Paul was a hyperactive youngster, the type who took apart everything mechanical to figure out its innards. He was ahead of his age group at school, until being hit by an automobile when riding his bike home from school. After being in a coma for three weeks, he pulled through but was slowed down.

He attended Highland Park High School in Michigan after the family moved to Detroit in 1952 for his father to be concertmaster of the Detroit Symphony. He recalled how much he enjoyed being the engineer for the Radio Club, which broadcast from HPHS. Paul later became class treasurer for class reunions of his high school graduating class. After a year at the University of Michigan in electrical engineering, Paul transferred to Hillsdale College, from which he graduated in 1963 with a major in education and minors in physics and psychology. He attended Syracuse University to study math education the following year. Paul then taught math at Hampton Middle School for a year. In 1966 he received his MBA from Wayne State University, his thesis being among the first on computers. He passed the CPA exam the first time he took it.

He also worked for the Water Department for the City of Detroit while studying for an MBA. He spent two years with the Small Business Administration, worked for Sherman, Nathan, Ettinger, and Shewach, and finally became an independent CPA.

He was a Lifetime Member of the Economic Club of Detroit and of the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA) and very much enjoyed conferences, workshops for CPUs, and the conviviality of fellow MACPA members. Just days before his death, the MACPA recognized Paul for his contributions to the organization.  He also was a longtime usher at Temple Israel as part of his membership in its Men’s Club. Chautauqua Institution, with its lake, lectures, Music Festival, and friendships was especially dear to his heart, and he spent summer vacations there at least 50 years!

One memory I will treasure is sitting with Paul at what proved to be his last dinner. He made a characteristic wry joke, a succinct observation that only Paul would have made, despite the obvious discomfort he was experiencing and his awareness that his life was quickly winding down. then we talked about the Chautauqua program, and he told me what weeks he would like most to attend. “Chautuaqua is the constant in my life,” he said.

By Leonard Borman: Read More