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environment, philosophy, poem

The Fitness Center was full on December 31. I was glad I came then and not January 1, when the resolution-makers would be working out en masse. I’m not the resolution type. I’d rather not postpone solutions to problems until a New Year shows up on the calendar.

Anyway most resolutions pertain to health, stop smoking drinking eating so much, cut out sweets sat fat junk food, exercise regularly. That’s already part of my everyday life, or, given my family history, I’d probably have had a heart attack or stroke by now. New Years Day can be a time to analyze the past year and decide what changes we ought to make. That’s what resolutions are all about. But shouldn’t that be an on-going mental exercise?

My attitude has a philosophical element: If I’m lucky enough to start out with a more or less healthy body, I’d better take care of it as well as possible, or I don’t deserve to have it. And won’t have it very long. That applies to everything, including man’s relationship to Earth. We’re born on a planet of breathtaking beauty and balance, and if we don’t take care of it, we don’t deserve it. And neither we nor the planet as we know it will last.

My life changed at a New Years Eve party. I met Adolph on New Years Eve in New York City, in 1959. That’s 49 years ago, and that was a resolution, to the question, in my mind at least, of whom I’d marry. Though I had no idea at the time.

It’s nine years since experts were frantic about the Y2K bug. They expected computers worldwide to crash at midnight when 1999 turned into 2000. Most computer didn’t crash, thanks to massive preventive action. I wrote a poem about Y2K, which did crash at midnight. I’ll resurrect it for a moment in honor of the New Year, and in the hope that many more of my poems will become obsolete now that we’ll have a new administration.

I too, you too, we too, they too
Are we bugged by Y2K
That pesky bug that
Pesti-cides can never spray away
Hidden in the Binary
That ordinary minds can't be-
Gin to comprehend
A bug that was created by extraordinary men
Who understood beginnings and ignored the end

Other  brilliant scientists
say they can
Drastically increase
our life span
Elongate our youth
yet can’t shorten our senility
And up to now
our distinctive ability
Has been to wipe out species by the dozens,
Flora, fauna, even our primate cousins

Is expansion a feasible enterprise?
Can we live longer while all else dies?
Can rainforests burn for cattle to graze
And vehicles cruise, turning pure air to haze?
Bye bye biota, adios to frogs
Ta ta to redwoods, man prefers  logs
Bye bye, biota, biota ta ta,
Bye bye, biota ta ta
Bye bye, oh, ta ta
Bye bye, oh, ta ta
Bye bye, biota ta ta

What can I, what can I, what can I say?
They extend the life of fruit flies, and can't get rid of Y2K
Y2K bug, oh buggabuggabuggabugga Boo
We kill our biota, but can't get rid of you

Are we biota, yes yes, we are,
Bye bye, biota, biota ta ta,
Bye bye, oh, ta ta
Bye bye, oh, ta ta
Bye bye, biota
Ta ta


art, drawings, events, family, paintings, sculptures

Gallery Night and Day comes round once each season, and the years go by. And the Milwaukee art scene spreads its venues over time and place, further into the heart of the city, reaching into the outskirts. On Friday, January 16, Gallery Night comes galloping in once again. Crowds will tramp the cold sidewalks, seeking the warmth of art.

We’ll have a Gallery Night Reception at 181 N Broadway. In Rosenblatt Gallery Adolph has added several small sculptures to his mix of Lunch Counter, Balcony, Benjy’s, Pools, Highway, Herald Square.

A sculpture of me by Adolph:

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Schwartz, Shorewood

We awakened to the awful news: the village was losing its center. The heart of Shorewood would stop beating at the end of the day on March 31. No more meeting place, game place, book place. No more Schwartz on Oakland.

Everyone came to Schwartz to mourn; someone even suggested black armbands. Strange, I thought. Despite, Barnes and Noble, online books, two of the bookshops will live on with new owners, yet the Shorewood store, the best and busiest, is closing. Why?

The first clue came from some sad-faced friends as soon as I walked in: the Shorewood building is owned by Roundy’s, who raised the rent so high Schwartz Bookshop has to move out. Why would they do that?

The next swirl of rumor: Roundy’s wants to expand Pick ‘N Save into the bookstore’s space. More eddy and swirl: the present Pick ‘N Save building is old and not up to code. It’s cheaper for Roundy’s to tear down Schwartz and Walgreens and rebuild than it would be to renovate. Is this true? We certainly have the right to know!

Many years ago we lost our only hardware store, now we’re losing our only bookstore, perhaps we’ll lose the most accessible pharmacy. We’ll have a walkable Shorewood with no place to walk to. The Village Board spent a fortune on streetscaping. Giant planters and concrete frames that no one seems to like clog the sidewalks and block car doors. And what truly matters slips away.

Instead of walkable Shorewood we may soon be living in edible Shorewood, a mega grocery, dozens of restaurants and coffee shops, even a tea room. And then there are all the tanning salons, spas, and beauty parlors for those who don’t like their own appearance when they overindulge. And we’ll still have the Shorewood Community Fitness Center.

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