Saturday, December 19, 2015


Didn’t Plan to Write
Anything of Value

We just returned from the US National Table tennis Tournament in Las Vegas, and the highlight of the four-day stay, was standing among other like-minded individuals while the next president of the United States, roused his audience. More about the Trump rally later.

This leads me to the conclusions that I don’t think that I will write anything truly creative and world shattering, there’s too much of that in the daily news.

Learned in the December 6th newspaper, that the local Grey Bears senior group will be holding its special after-hours Holiday Thrift Store Sale.  There will be refreshments, music and everything is half off, but only on Thursday, December 3 from 4pm to 7pm.

An advertisement appeared in the same newspaper with the engrossing headline, “Holidays Are About Family.” To show this to be so, there’s a lovely photograph of five, smiling family
members ranging in age from a toddler to two elderly people.

The body copy reads, “Learn how you can give them an unexpected and meaningful gift. Attend our free lunch and learn.”

The free lunch and advice comes from two Bay Area funeral homes.

I find it interesting that the first three letters in the word “funeral” spell “fun.” I first noticed that fifty years ago when I was driving around the city of Detroit one night. Because some light bulbs weren’t working, the sign in front of a funeral home read, “BRADY’S FUN       HOME."         

If you wanted to become really wealthy, you should have moved to ZIP code 94027 years ago. That Atherton, California ZIP has had the most expensive homes for the past three years, and the median price was $10.6 million last summer.

Not to be outdone by too much, a friend put her home on the market a year ago in ZIP 94028, and the winning bid was $500,000 more than the listed price, and offered by several bidders.

When we went away to Las Vegas, we neatly filled out an “Authorization to Hold Mail” card, and checked off Box B which reads “I will pick up all accumulated mail when I return.” That sounds easy enough, and when we returned on December 19th found for pieces of mail in our box, mail that was supposed to be held. We then drove to our nearby Post Office, just five minutes from our home. We were at the end of a long line, as  dozens of others were waiting, not to pick up their mail, but to send holiday gift packages out.

We patiently waited and when we got to the counter, we were given a phone number on a piece of paper and told to call the Scotts Valley Post Office for our mail. It seems that in their infinite wisdom, the USPS decided that it was easier for them to hold all mail in the county at one location. That location is ten miles away from our home, down a congested highway, even more so during the holidays.

We did call Scotts Valley, and they promised to deliver the accumulated mail on Monday. When we turned in the hold card, it would have been nice to learn of their new, convoluted non-delivery plans.

The USPS had a net loss of $5.1 billion for the fiscal year that ended September 30, 2015.

After a closer look at what words have filled this post, I believe that I have followed my intuitive, initial writing projection that was defined in the second paragraph, almost to perfection.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015



When I was growing up, I had a golden-skinned friend who was a “mulatto.” According to the definition in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a “mulatto is the first generation offspring of a black person and a white person.” has a similar definition, “the offspring of one white parent and one black parent.”

Shirley Ann Durham was born in Wichita, Kansas and was of predominantly English ancestry, with some German, Swiss, Scottish, and Welsh ancestry. She was Barak Obama’s mother and was definitely white.

Barack Obama, Sr., the President’s father, was a Kenyan and his family members are of the Luo ethnic group. Barack, Sr. is definitely Black.

If so, then perhaps our Obama is not the first Black President of the United States, but is instead, the first mulatto President. 

Ben Carson could be the first Black President, but I wouldn’t vote for him. I was born in Detroit and went to Central High School, and was wary of people who went to other Detroit Public Schools like Southwestern High School, as Carson did.

Jalen Rose, a former National Basketball Association (NBA) player and current television analyst, also went to Southwestern. I am disappointed that through the years he allegedly never spoke in person with his biological father Jimmy Walker, who was the number one pick in the 1967 NBA Draft. The Detroit Pistons selected Walker, and I found him to be easy to talk with when we played tennis together at the Palmer Park courts. However, he was not easy to score against.

I always liked Southwestern High graduate Barney McCosky, who played for the Detroit Tigers in the 1930s and 1940s, but in keeping with my bias against persons from other Detroit Public Schools, I wouldn’t have voted for Barney for President, if he had decided to run.

I might have voted for Michigan’s Senator Carl Levin, if he would have run, but only because he went to Central High a few years before I did. Imagine that, a Jew seriously running for President. Well Yosel did in 20­­­04, and Bernie’s doing it now, so maybe it isn’t such a far-fetched idea. Will they have to take a litmus test to prove that they really are Jewish? This would be before the “birthers” spread innuendos about each candidate, and demand to see an official birth certificate, written and signed in Hebrew (or Yiddish), by a certified Orthodox Rabbi.

Oy Vey!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Michigan Will Never Leave You
Even When You Leave Michigan

I begin every morning looking through the San Jose Mercury News, the sister paper to the Detroit Free Press, and it seems that Michigan has followed me west to California.

It’s especially true when I find a story or two on my old “home town.” Perhaps it’s because I still have a connection with Southeastern Michigan through family and friends who still live there, either full time or who evacuate during the cold and cruel days of winter.

It also might be because my wife and I have been paying $100 every month to Chesed Shel Emes — Hebrew Memorial — for adjoining plots 12-D-2 and 12-D-4. Since neither of us want to spend the hereafter in a frigid clime, the plots are a safety valve factor since they cost about one-third of what a similar plot costs here where the weather is a bit better. However, it will cost about $2,400 to ship a body back, and we won’t be able to use any of our hundreds of thousands of American Airline Frequent Flyer miles to do so in First Class. We were told that we would be relegated to cargo, with no amenities.

However, that’s another story, and recent stories about Michigan in the San Jose paper, are even more obtuse and diverse.

I’m Not Lion to You
A small, 2-inch story in the sports section told readers that the Silverdome is coming down next year. The Detroit Lions played there until 2002, and the team’s owners believe that the 127-acre site will be attractive to developers.

The Silverdome was the site of the 1982 Super Bowl, and the 2016 Super Bowl will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, the home of the San Francisco 49ers. None of the 49ers, whose team record is at 2-6, or the Lions at 1-7, will be at that game unless they work as vendors or park cars.

I have never been at a football game at the Silverdome nor at Ford Field, but on December 29, 1957, I, and several fraternity brothers, attended the Championship Game between the Lions and the Cleveland Browns at Briggs Stadium, home of the Detroit Tigers. We could only afford seats in the windy, open upper deck, and when the game began, the temperature was hovering at thirty-two degrees. The starting backfield usually consisted of John Henry Johnson, Hopalong Cassady, and Gene Gedman, with Bobby Layne at quarterback. Layne was injured and was replaced by back-up Tobin Rote who tossed four touchdowns passes, and led the Lions to a 59-14 win in front of 55,283 shivering fans. Here’s a pre-instant replay, motion picture look at that game played fifty-eight years ago.

It’s Not Just A Game
Jim Harbaugh, the fired San Francisco 49er coach, was on the October 30th “Stoney and Bill” show on WXYT-FM (97.1), and as Michigan’s leader, was still upset about the last second loss to Michigan State. Although he told his players to move on, he said on air, “There are people who can leave the game, and the game is over, and they don’t think about it. I’m not one of those people.” Keep your khakis well creased, Jim. We may learn even more about the little things that make you and your team unique during this football revival time in Ann Arbor, but only if we read the San Jose newspaper.

“Natives wary of Detroit’s revival”
That Mercury News headline was under a photograph of Tommy Bedway, owner of Ronnie’s Quality Meats in Detroit’s Eastern Market District. Tommy, who is a middle-aged white man, stands next to Luron McCrary, a black man, who is weighing meat. Bedway said that his property’s value has increased 30 percent since he bought it in 2013.

The story tells of how both property values and rents have recently risen in some places, and developers are moving in with money to spend. It was also noted “suburbanites are flocking downtown, and this is boosting business.”

Will this mean that many suburban dwellers will finally venture below Fifteen Mile Road, and visit Greek Town once again? Will they do so without taking a guided tour bus to get there?

It’s amazing what you can learn about Detroit, when you live elsewhere, but don’t know if South Florida’s Sun Sentinel newspapers carry such stories. Doubt if they carried the story about Mike Ilitch’s generous gift of $40 million, to build the new Wayne University Business School on Woodward and Temple that will bear his name.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015



In 1950, the City of Detroit’s population was at its highest, with 1,849,568 people, and 83.68 percent were white.

By 1960, the population had dropped to 1,670,144, and it fell each year until it had plummeted to 713,777 in 2010. That year, the black population represented 82.69 percent of Detroit’s residents.

In the 1950s when I was in high school, inner-city Detroit basketball players reflected the population as a whole, and were mainly white.

Those who lived in Detroit’s Jewish neighborhoods were most likely to attend Detroit Central High, Cass Technical High, or Northwestern High. Each year, Jews moved further north, trying to escape the inevitable, and the upstart pink and blue Mumford High became the public school to attend. This was just before the Jewish exodus to the safety of the near suburbs and beyond.

Among those high school basketball players who happen to be Jewish, were the Four Gees.  Those of you from the Detroit area were sent an email letter with clues, and now we will make it easier for you by telling a story about each of them.

If you have any recollections of your own, send them our way. The winning entry will receive the admiration of all of the other Detroit-area recipients, along with a special prize — two tickets to the next Saturday matinee at either the Dexter or Avalon movie houses.


Ralph Goldstein played for Central High, and was a First Team PSL member. He was captain of the University of Detroit Titans in 1955-56. He died on June 30, 1988 at the age of 53.

Jerry Greenberg played for Central High from 1949-1952, and was a Third Team PSL selection in 1952. He was a member of the Wayne University Tartars (now the Warriors), who won 17 and lost only one game in the 1955-56 season. The team made it to the sweet sixteen before losing to the University of Kentucky.

Fred Goldberg was a varsity basketball and baseball player at Northwestern High, and was awarded a scholarship to Detroit Institute of Technology. He became a coach and an athletic director, and died in Arizona.

Walter Godfrey played basketball and baseball for Cass Tech, and was a Second Team All-State basketball selection in 1952.  He was a starting guard for Michigan State University from 1954-1956. He was also the starting pitcher on the Spartan's Big 10 championship baseball team in 1954.

Find my recent and semi-regular writings here on the new Ho-Ho-Kus Cogitator blog, and there are current essays here, on What I Have to Stay.

You can also find earlier writings here on the original Ho-Ho-Kus Cogitator blog, and other writings here on the Huffington Post.

If you like, add bookmarks for these writings. 

When you want to relax, try the calming exercise movements while learning Yiddish, found in his book The Oy Way — Following the Path of Most Resistance, by going here. Then click on YOU TUBE on the left side, and you will begin to find di zakhtkayt — tranquility.