Yom Hashoah: Sachsenhausen Memorial

Updates from the original piece written, September 2012

I’ve wanted to write this. Yet I’ve been reluctant. At the end of the summer, I spent a few weeks in Russia and Germany.

I knew when I was in Berlin, I was going to go to the Jewish Museum. I did some Googling and found out that “model concentration” camp, Sachsenhausen was about an hour from Berlin. When the Nazis built it they claimed it was the architectural model of future camps. In other words, the other ones would be built based on the way this one was constructed.

Tears are literally coming out of my eyes, as I type. For weeks, I debated whether I was going to go. I researched every tour on Google. I emailed all of the tour guides. Finally, I settled on the one I’d take. But for weeks, I was not willing to enter my credit card information to reserve a spot. Eventually, I did.

I arrived in Berlin from St. Petersburg. I spent the first day at the Jewish Museum. I spent hours there. Parts of it were magical. It illustrated all the great things we did and how we really are the chosen people. Then it turned dark. I knew that would happen.

Eventually, I made it over to Checkpoint Charlie and felt the greatest sense of American pride that I’ve felt in many years. That’s for another blog post.

The next morning I woke up and walked to the meeting place near the Brandenburg gate. I was there very early and spent some time at the Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas (Memorial for Murdered Jews of Europe). I walked through it and left some rocks on the stones. They weren’t graves. But there is no solid explanation of why the artist built the memorial the way he did. There are many stories. But one’s imagination runs wild when they walk these grounds. At least mine did. Some say that was the artist’s intent.

I walked over to my tour’s meeting place at Starbucks. The tour guide told me where to purchase my train ticket. I did. It so irked me that I was taking a train to visit a concentration camp. Actually, that’s one of the reasons, it took me so long to reserve a spot on the tour. It would be my first ride on a German train.

As we made our way down the steps to the platform, I was really nervous. Yes, I ride the NYC subway every day. But this was different. Much cleaner. However, it was very different.

We boarded the train. I sat down next to the guide and her dad, who was visiting from Down Under. The group were all English-speaking Americans. People started chatting. Not me. My mind drifted.

Yes, I was an on a very clean, fairly empty, fast moving subway. But in my mind, I was on a jammed packed train loaded with Jews being taken to the camp. That’s all I thought of. I did look up at times and enjoyed the scenery. It was beautiful.

But my mind kept drifting back to the concentration camp train car on display at Yad Vashem. My mind was filled with images of the millions of people taken from their lives, as they knew them.

The train stopped. At first, we were going to walk to the camp. That is the way the Jews and other prisoners were brought to Sachsenhausen. They were marched in from the train.

But we took a bus. I have never been on a bus more crowded than the one we boarded in Orangeburg. The camp was two or three stops away. I couldn’t move while standing on the bus. I could barely breathe. My mind was spinning. We pushed our way off the bus and walked a few blocks.

All of a sudden the giant wall, which was the entrance, hit me in the face. We walked in. The guide pointed toward the bathrooms. We all took a bathroom break and walked around the “welcome center”. That was built when the camp became a tourist attraction. Concentration camps had no welcome centers. No one was welcome there. No one was welcome to be there.

We learned on our tour that the prisoners were only allowed to use the bathroom upon wake up time, right before bed and sometimes during the work breaks. But work breaks rarely occurred. I never thought how lucky I was to be able to walk into a restroom.

We started walking along the main road. We saw the training ground for the SS. Then we saw the Commandants Mess Hall. Prisoners cooked and served their food. We continued our walk.

We arrived at the Registration Field. It was at this site where whatever belongings the people were able to bring were confiscated. It was here where their identities were confiscated. They were given prison camp uniforms. Tall people got small uniforms. Short people got giant-sized ones. Heavy and skinny people received the opposite of their size. This was done to embarrass them.

Their heads were shaved. They received their ID numbers. Each prisoner’s uniform had symbolic color codes according to why they were there. Jews were yellow, communists were red and gays were pink. There were other prisoners, too. But the Jews were the lowest of the low

We then went to the work fields. It was here where the prisoners slaved all day from the wee hours of the morning in the latest hours of the night. We heard stories about the “neutral zones”. Nothing was neutral. They often took a prisoner’s hat and tossed it into this zone. Of course, they weren’t allowed in. But the prisoner was ordered to go. H/she was shot on site if they went in to get their hat or if they refused orders to go in.

We were walking along and just gazing at these giant fields and imagining the terror that occurred.

I felt so embarrassed to be munching on my cheese and tomato sandwich and sipping my bottled water. I ate more food and drunk more water in the span of an hour or two than what the prisoners got in weeks. I took small bites and walked along. We saw the guard towers.

We walked to the Jewish barracks. Most of the barracks were destroyed after the Soviets liberated the camp. When it was decided to memorialize the camp, some were rebuilt out of the scraps of what was left.

I went into two of the barracks. Horrifying. They had two tiny washbasins for dozens of inmates who slept on the most uncomfortable bunk beds. There was no privacy. They had rows of toilets lined up next to the washbasins. People drowned in the basins. Multiple people were forced to bathe at once. These basins could barely fit one person. Yet they made 8 or more squeeze in.

We exited the barracks and entered the prison. Then we went to the kitchen. They had a giant potato basin. Often they put kitchen workers in the basin with ice-cold water to freeze them to death. There was some graffiti painted in the basement. Allegedly, “sympathetic” Nazis let it stay.

A kitchen worker, who was a Jewish prisoner tried to sneak out with the equivalent of a half a stick of margarine. A guard caught him. The poor man was forced to sit in the tub of margarine and eat as much as he could. He was then taken outside. Other prisoners were forced to jump up and down on his stomach. He was then hung to a gallows. They let him off and went through this procedure again. They then hung him up again. The next morning the guards found his corpse hanging from the gallows.

We then saw the memorial the Soviets erected for liberating the camp. We got to think about the liberation for only a moment. We were led to Station Z, the execution site.

I walked along the entrance to the firing squad. Then we entered the “Examination Rooms”. No one performing the examinations were MDs or RNs. Jews and others were examined for gold fillings and other things. Experiments were performed. Then the people were brought to the ovens. At first, the Nazis sold the ashes of those they killed to their families. Eventually, they murdered so many people at once they had no clue whose ashes were whose.

As we walked out of the crematorium I saw a memorial. It was filled with Yahrzeit candles and on the base was the Israeli flag. Our guide informed us that about two weeks before a group of Israelis toured the camp and led a Yizkor service in the crematorium.

We walked out of this awful place and wound up in front of one of the many ash pits. Here is where thousands of Jews, gays, communists and other Nazi prisoners were buried. More ash pits are being discovered.

We went into the pathology lab and saw the examination tables where the so-called “doctors” performed tests on thousands of Jews. Funny considering we were considered the inferior race they did many tests to “learn” how to save people. They saved no one.

We exited the camp and walked back to the train station. Most of us purchased ice cream or a soda. We boarded the train and went back to Berlin. We were lucky we got to go on the train and were free to get off at whatever stop we wanted.

Nothing is sicker than what I saw. I never felt more relieved when I freely walked out. Thousands of people never walked out.

In 2014, I learned that many members of my family living in Kastoria were rounded up and sent to Auschwitz. None came home.

July 2014, I did a tour of Terezin. The horrors were similar to Sachsenhausen’s. We saw artwork produced by children.  It was another gloomy, teary day. The sky was grey that whole day.

May Hashem watch over all of their souls.


Photos were taken in both horror chambers.  They include exam tables, crematoriums, ash pits, Yizkor memorials and barracks




DMEarlier today, I sat on the couch and watched my Depeche Mode 101 DVD. That’s the concert documentary that DM put out in ’89. It features the amazing tunes they played during the Music for the Masses tour.
As I heard Dave Gahan’s voice sing “Master & Servant,” I was blasted back to the day when life was simpler and in some ways more fun. In some ways, it was not. We still have our masters and servants.
Watching Martin L Gore’s solo of “Somebody” brings the same depression I had when he sang that tune, while I was wishing for somebody back in high school. It hasn’t changed.
Depeche Mode is one of the bands that will always remain honest and current. Their songs will always touch one’s heart and soul. Whether, you’re traveling down “Route 66”, worrying about “Blasphemous Rumors”, worried that “Everything Counts “ (I sure do) or “Just Can’t Get Enough”.
I remember listening to their cassettes nonstop and making Depeche Mode mixes for my car. In one of my autos, the tape deck was on its dying days. The only tape it played flawlessly was a Depeche Mode mix. The same thing happened years later in another vehicle’s CD player.
I remember wearing all black. Well, that hasn’t completely changed. I’ve seen them dozens of times. I once waited hours on a line at the now defunct Tower Records to meet them. That was in 2004. They signed one of their new releases.
I got about 90 seconds to talk to Andrew Fletcher, Martin and David. I remember begging Martin to play songs from Speak and Spell (even though) that was really a Vince Clarke, a DM founder who left after their first release. He founded Yaz, ran and has thankfully found a home in Erasure. I discovered Erasure in the health lodge at Ten Mile River Scout Camps. I wasn’t the sick one. I was with one of my campers who needed to be in that awful place. We had some strange nurses.
Anyway, back to my conversations with DM. I continued to beg them to go back to around 1984. They just smiled and said we’ll think about it. I saw them a few days later at the Garden. They didn’t take my requests. But they dazzled us anyway.
While I was sitting outside of Tower Records, I chatted with a cute girl, who was at least 10 years younger than me. She was a 90s DM fan. I am an 80s DM fan. Well, I’m a fan of their music. But I gravitate to their 1980s tunes. This woman did the same for their 1990’s music. She was in love with Martin. She had a tattoo stating that. Her dream was for him to kiss her on it. Never happened. But she got meet him and couldn’t have been happier.
Another thing that flashed into my mind was the great way we dressed back then. I already mentioned all black. But we cropped our hair as close to our heads as we could. I used to bring in pictures of them and O.M.D. to my haircutter. I called him Professor Joe. He tried his best to make me look like them.
Eventually, I made it up to New Paltz. Us New Wavers used to go Berties in Poughkeepsie. We all had to wear bracelets saying we were under 21. But we wore our black outfits and danced all night to Depeche Mode, the Cure, the Smiths, Echo and the Bunnymen, New Order and the other greats from the 80s. I wasn’t a good dancer. That hasn’t changed.
Man I miss those days. If only we could all be “Stripped” down to the bone. In other words, speak just for me and make decisions without your television on.
So, “Now this is Fun”. “It is More than a Party”. As for me, I’m looking for a “Policy of Truth,” while doing my best to remember, “People are People”.
I cannot wait to see them at the Garden at the end of the summer. Funny, I just did the Facebook what 80s alt-pop band wrote the soundtrack of your life. I got Depeche Mode.


Arthur woke up and realized it was Monday. He knew it was time for him to put his brain in the refrigerator for the week. It didn’t matter. He was heading to the train for a job that he loathed. Sadly, everyone in his office was brain dead.
He got in early. Way too early. But it helped him. All the idiots he worked with started to stroll in. It was funny. He worked with such dumb people. Some were nice. Unfortunately, none had any real business experience and they’ve been working in the same poorly managed place most of their lives. Many of them have never been anywhere else. Yet, they think they are such worldly liberated people. Funny. It was too funny.
Arthur worked for a non-profit trade association. It was a miserable place to be. But thanks to the Clinton and Bush administrations, our nation was in an economic downfall. Clinton was a terrible president. But at the end of his term the economy started to drop. Once Bush came in it plummeted and he failed to address it.
Good ‘ole Arthur was used to working in messed up places. But this place took the cake. The immaturity and inexperience of his colleagues overwhelmed him. They were all clueless. If the place were on the market it would have been delisted many moons ago.
Arthur fiddled around on his PC. It took way too long for the computer to boot. His office has the worst network known to man.
Most say the place is 20 years out of date with reality. In Arthur’s mind it is a million years out of date and should have never been founded.
Eventually, Cami walked in. She’s brain dead too. In fact, she’s been brain dead for 2 years longer than Arthur. Of course, their joke is that they know they are brain dead. The rest of their pathetic colleagues, think they are changing the shape of the world. What a hoot.
Cami was a nice person, well dressed, sweet and smart. She’ sort of Angelina Joliesque. Or at the least, she’s loves Angelina. Who doesn’t’? They chat a few times a day, about how dumb the people they work with are.
Arthur, however, is a special case. All the women he falls in love with are mental patients. They are all on meds. But when it comes to meds, it doesn’t mean the standard, Paxil, Zoloft or Lexapro. Those are basically over the counter meds, not any different than Advil. The girls he loved were on hard psychotic drugs. Many spent times in mental institutions. Some of them caused lock downs and had to be put in the solitary confinement rooms.
Why Arthur liked these women, no one could understand. But Arthur was a strange bird. All of these women usually shared the same name, Jennifer. Yup, there is not a Jennifer out there that’s normal in the mind of Arthur or his buddy, Ted. He’s Arthur’s Yoda. But by this time, Arthur was more attuned to the Dark Side.
Arthur’s dream woman is Drew Barrymore. He loved Angelina Jolie too. All he wanted was to find a nice girl and not be brain dead.
Cami was sitting at her desk staring into space. Having spent 4 plus years in this hellhole, she was more like a zombie, than a human being. Arthur walked over to say hi. As usual Cami was depressed. The only thing that kept he going was her dog, a foreign language class and her faith that some day she’d get out. They were lofty dreams. The two of them made fun of the idiots at work and chatted about the latest movie or argued politics for a moment or two.
Cami is a bleeding heart liberal. Arthur is conservative. However, he hates W and is pissed that his beloved GOP was destroyed by the radical religious right. Those brain dead people have no understanding of the U.S. Constitution or anything. Sadly, they controlled too much. Bring back the cool republicans like D’Amato, Rockefeller, Ike, Jefferson and Lincoln. Arthur did love Regan. He helped him and the world in too many ways to list.
Cami and Arthur finished their conversation. Arthur went back to his desk and answered emails sent from the morons he worked with. That was his life. He was busy looking for a new girl. He was hoping to find a normal one.
The next few weeks went on and on. Nothing changed. Arthur was still single and brain dead. He piddled away with the jerks he was stuck with. Cami was still a zombie. She took care of her dog and went home to her husband, Fred. Despite that she’s brain dead. She did fine. You see when you left the office your brain was put back into your head. Weekends were fun. The brain was at full throttle.
One needs to remember only Cami and Arthur had their brains reinserted when they departed the office. The rest of the people were brain dead for life.
Arthur came in one day and looked for Cami. She was not at her desk. He hiked over to her friend, tacey’s desk. She was brain dead, too. Stacye was part of the coven with Arthur and Cami. Nice lady. According to Stacey, Cami was taken away. She was put into a mental institute. Stacey didn’t have many details. But it seemed that Cami zoned out in a restaurant and went batty.
From what Stacey heard, Cami was seated with friends and when the food came out, she started screaming at the hamburger. She was yelling about her love of blood. She then started jumping up and down and then fell into a trance. She was cuffed to a gurney and put into a strait jacket.
Upon arrival to the mental hospital, she was put in solitary confinement in a padded room. She wore a pink and purple Mumu with yellow flowers. Her shoes and socks did not match.
They gave her a sketch pad and crayons. All she drew was blood. She wanted Fred, her husband to bring her dog. He tried, but they made him keep Henrietta in the car. Dogs are not allowed in the facility. Cami and the others might have attacked and ate it. But boy does Cami love Henrietta.
Arthur was sad, but ecstatic. He would visit her. This would be his connection to a new girlfriend. Cami would help him meet new crazies. You see Arthur had come to realize he’d never find a nice normal girl. He was too warped and the crazies suited him just fine.
Stacey and Arthur chatted about poor Cami. They were going to visit her. Stacey emailed, Fred to see if we were allowed to visit. They didn’t know if she was in solitary confinement and was barred from seeing friends and family.
Fred said her situation was very delicate. However, she was allowed visitors. He told Stacey the visitation hours.
Stacey and Arthur hopped on the subway to the mental hospital. They didn’t bring anything. They weren’t sure if they’d be allowed to give her stuff. But they brought their support.
Arthur was very excited. He’d never been to a mental hospital. He thought for sure he’d find the girl of his dreams. He figured he’d use Cami’s situation to help him.
The two strolled into the mental hospital and went through security. An aide walked them up to the recreation room. Cami was sitting on a futon watching TV. She was drugged up and waving her arms. Her eyes were bloodshot. Apparently, she wasn’t sleeping much. She howled at the moon during the evening. At least, she thought was looking at the moon. It was the light in her room. Cami howled at it for hours. Eventually she passes out and curls herself into a ball and falls asleep.
Her friends thought it was weird that she howled at the moon. In her normal life, she claimed to be a vampire. Or at least was obsessed with them.
Prior to beginning their conversation with Cami, Stacey and Arthur were warned not to ask her about the incident that brought her to the hospital. She’d just tell some type of nutty story.
Arthur walked right up to Cami and started talking to her. Stacey flipped open her phone and showed her pictures of her dogs. Cami smiled. Arthur felt sorry for Cami. She’s such a nice, good person and now she’s in the loony bin. Of course, he asked her for a run down of the single women that might fit what he’s looking for in a girlfriend.
Cami smiled at Arthur when he asked about the single women in the nut hospital. He noticed a cute girl, about 35 years old, sitting against the wall and bouncing up and down, while moving her arms as she was doing the butterfly stroke.
“Figures you’d notice, Marni,” exclaimed Cami. Arthur smiled. He asked Cami what her deal was. Cami explained she was just plain nutty. She used to take trains and freak out on them. She often checked herself into the ER after taking a subway ride. Arthur was excited. Then he saw another cutie hopping around the room, while singing Frank Sinatra songs. She did it her way. LOL.
Naturally, he asked about her too. Cami explained the deal with Sarah. She’s been in the ward for about 2 years. Rumor has it she may be discharged within the next 90 days. She was brought here after she was swinging around on the ropes in the gym at the high school she taught in. She was a social studies teacher, not a gym teacher. Apparently, she just waltzed into the gym during a championship basketball game and started climbing the ropes in her gym clothes. Most people thought it was funny and smiled. They were pleased she was wearing the school gym t-shirt and shorts. But the game had to be delayed and the team was just seconds away from being the state champs.
Sarah swung around on the ropes and made monkey faces. She started to sing, R.E.M., the Cure, Duran Duran, Pearl Jam and Pink Floyd songs. The head gym teacher, who was the coach of the basketball team climbed up on the adjoining ropes and talked her down. But before she would climb down, she belted out, “It’s the End of the World as we Know It. “
There were police officers waiting for her when she finally reached the gym floor. After about 15 minutes the teams resumed play and Sarah’s school became the champions. Sadly, Sarah was in an ambulance hand cuffed to a gurney and was unable to sing, “We are the Champions. “ She arrived at the crazy house and was desperate to watch the NY 1 report on her shenanigans.
She was not able to watch TV for a few days. They did some testing on her and was placed in solitary confinement in a lock down room for her first week.
Arthur was intrigued. He and Stacey spent their allowed time with Cami and were escorted out by Jocelyn, the patient care technician. Cami promised to learn more for Arthur and told him to come back in about a week or two.
Arthur spent the next two weeks plugging along at is waste of a job. Boy did he work with the dumbest of the dumb. He taught some of them how to use Google, Excel and other products that have been around for years.
He was trying to hook up with a normal girl. But she never wrote back to him. They had met at a volunteer center. Arthur thought her lack of response was a sign that he needed to stay with the crazies. Of course, during Rosh Hashanah, Arthur decided that they weren’t nuts. They were all just people and needed to be respected.
But how did that fit in with his hatred of his co-workers. He figured those people thought they were so high and mighty and that made them screwed up. He started to believe there are those with a chemical imbalance and the screw ups.
Stacey chatted with Cami’s husband. Nothing new. She still howled at the moon. She still had a thirst for blood. Apparently she grew up with a strange obsession for vampires. They increased her meds and she was doing group and individual therapy sessions.
Arthur planned on spending the weekend in the hospital. He’d visit Cami and try to hook up with Marni or Sarah. He fantasized that Sarah was a cute, sweet, simple girl. However, she would go crazy when they dated and flip out over Rice Krispie treats or trains. Marni would be a wack from the get go. Arthur would be in all his glory.

He waltzed into the psych ward. There was Cami sitting in the recreation room. She had been kept in solitary for the last two days. But she started to behave. She caused a lock down, when she was dancing on a chair and pulling her unwashed hair. She was singing Britney Spears songs. When the staff heard that they ordered a lockdown. Anyone singing Spears’ songs needed to be in the mental hospital. To make it worse Cami chose to sing “Hit me Baby.”
Of course, Cami liked rock and it really showed that she was brain dead when she was singing those songs. They were making her brush her teeth. She had refused to do so for days. She would try and squish food between her teeth and hoped it would stick to her gums.
Arthur ran right up to Cami and said, hi. She smiled back at him. Unfortunately, she was so medicated she wasn’t able to talk that well. So he wrote notes to her on and she wrote back in Crayon. She wasn’t allowed to have a pen or pencil. She’d use it as a weapon.
Naturally, Arthur asked her about Marni and Sarah. However, at this point he wondered how much he could trust her judgment. But he figured what the hell, he probably won’t lose anymore than usual.
Cami said, Marni and Sarah are interesting women. One thinks she’s Dutch even though she’s Israeli, Polish and Greek. Sarah doesn’t know what she thinks she is. She’s just off the wall. Arthur asked Cami how he should approach them to see if they’d be interested in dating him.
Cami said go up to them when they are watching TV and make some comments about the show. The two women will most likely react in some fashion.
They were watching the “Golden Girls.” Arthur was not pleased about that, but he knew he had to get in there. Marni and Sarah started screaming at the TV. As they were ranting, Arthur started telling jokes about the show. They looked at him and smiled. He knew he was in.
Marni jumped on top of him. Sarah got pissed when she saw that and lunged at Marni who was trying to kiss Arthur. Cami was watching. She did not understand what was going on.
But she was dressed interestingly. She changed out of her Mumu and wrapped herself in saran wrap. She made a hat out of Reynolds Wrap. She took vegetables and put them all over her eyes.
Marni and Sarah were now fighting over Arthur. He was lying on the floor. That’s where he landed after the two girls went after each other.
Cami was crying. She was annoyed that the tomatoes that she pasted all over her body was starting to rot. She belted out she was going to plaster zucchini all over herself next. She pulled her unwashed hair. She was trying to cut herself with a plastic knife and fork. She was screaming how she wanted to make the place a bloody mess and suck blood from all the patients.
While this was happening, Arthur was alternating locking lips with Marni and Sarah. He was in heaven. The two girls were aggressively kissing him, while beating each other up.
Cami began biting patients. As she was biting people, Arthur snuck off to the room where they do shock treatment with Marni and Sarah. The two girls jumped onto the shock treatment beds and demanded Arthur to shock them.
He obliged. The girl’s eyes glistened and Arthur smiled as they begged for more. Meanwhile, Cami was trying to bite the religious freak. This girl spoke only in prayer. She started quoting verses from many religions, even the ancient Greeks. Cami yelled at her for idol worship. She bit her harder.
The other two finished their shock treatment and were jumped up and down. Arthur thought it would calm them down or turn them into zombies. However, Marni and Sarah turned into crazier girls. Arthur was thrilled.
Fred came to visit Cami. Of course, she was placed in solitary confinement and was in a strait jacket. She was escorted to the bathroom and was fed by a patient care technician. They made her wear real clothes. Her Mumu and outfits made out of fruit and veggies no longer cut it.
Fred brought her flowers and candy. The PCT had to trim the flowers. They let her smell them and placed them in a plastic vase. Glass wasn’t allowed in her room. In fact, she wasn’t allowed to touch anything with glass. They knew she’d bash it on someone to get blood.
The psychiatrist sat down with Fred and said she’d be in for a while. In about 4 weeks they may let her out of lockdown. It was dependent upon how well she adjusted to her new meds.
On the other hand, Marni was doing well. Sarah was still batty.
Weeks went on. Arthur was getting closer to Marni. Sarah was still in the picture, but she was having trouble. She thought she was a dog. She was put into special therapy sessions.
Cami was doing real well. She adjusted to her meds. She was still into blood. But she controlled herself better. Fred bought her a brand new pair of jeans and a sweater from Lacoste. She happily wore her new clothes. She ditched the Mumu and saran wrap. She even stopped playing dress up with fruit. Her shrink, Dr. Nimin was pleased.
Cami was even allowed to sit outside in the recreation area and pet Henrietta and feed her. She didn’t even try to eat her dog. She cuddled up with her and smiled.
Cami thinks she discovered, since she was out of that hellhole that employed her, that she had a brain. She was getting disability pay. Of course, she thought they all should be getting paid in that manner. The place she and Arthur worked in was such a joke.
Dr. Nimin realized that she would never be stable enough to return. He did do his research on that place and realized that Cami may have been right, about being brain dead.
Cami was being kind to her fellow patients. She even sat with the religious freak and prayed. No one ever figured out what religion they were following. But it kept them calm. So no one tried to stop them.
Arthur and Marni were seeing each other regularly. He was allowed to sit with her in the recreation area. He brought her candy and flowers. He dreamed of sharing a bottle of wine with her. Of course he knew that was off limits. Therefore, they drunk 7-Up.
Dr. Nimin and Fred met to discuss Cami’s progress. The good doctor asked Fred how he felt about her working for him. Fred was flabbergasted. Dr. Nimin said she was doing so well and was fearful if she went back to her job she’d flip out and be institutionalized for life.
The deal was she would help by befriending new clients and show them around. She could talk to them from a client’s point of view. At the same time she would be under constant evaluation. Pay was minimal. However, she got free room and board. Best of all meds were free.
They had a special cabin for her and Fred to live in the campus of the mental institute. Fred would go about his regular job and instead of going home to the apartment he and Cami rented, he’d come home to her on the grounds of the hospital.
Fred agreed. He wanted to be back with his wife. Maybe one day they would have children. Dr. Nimin showed Cami and Fred their new cabin. They both smiled.
As for Arthur and Marni, well was another story. They were doing well. Marni’s parents loved him and hoped she’d get out and they could wed. Sarah was still acting like a dog and the religious freak was holding weekly prayer sessions for all.


October 3, 2004

So there I was on the sunny weekend morning racing through Wolfe’s Pond Park on my inline skates. Something I do every weekend. Upon stopping at the step leading down to the beach, I noticed I was being videotaped. Not intentionally a woman was just scanning her camcorder around the whole park.

I stopped at my favorite bench and began to wonder how many people have caught be on video or clicked pictures of me. Whether I’m on my skates at the park. Or when I’m just strolling down Astor Place or elsewhere.

Obviously, I’m not the only one this has happened too and I’m sure I have clicked pictures of plenty of people I’ve never met and probably never will-be at Disney World, on a snorkeling trip or wherever.

Most of the time, I like to take pictures of scenery be it the trees, waves, crystal clear blue water or historic buildings, etc. I prefer my shots with no one it. Of course, when with family I take plenty of shots and can be a picture hog.

But I often wonder when people aimlessly scan their cameras be it video or DSLR do they care if they are taking pix of people they nothing about? What will they think ten years from now when they rummage through their photo albums and show them to friends. Are they ever asked did they know that nut job on his skates with his Depeche Mode t-shirt? Or do they just not care? Not sure if I do or should.

But years from now do you think they’d recognize the person they shot if they were on the same line as them in McDonald’s or squished in the same crowded subway car? No.

But what if they did? Do you ever see people who stare at you strangely? Sort of like they are trying to place your face. Or those who say hey did I know you from somewhere. Maybe that person clicked your pix years ago and was rummaging through their photo album. And by some coincidence you just happened to be on the same line in Banana Republic with that individual.

‘Ya never know.

Using Facebook to promote good

Over the last year or so, Facebook has been overwhelmed with political rants. There are other rants. Those might include comments about athletes, musicians, celebrities, vacation spots, etc. But somehow they get tied into politics.

I have tons of friends on Facebook who do nothing but blast our political landscape. Both sides. Only once, many years ago, did I ever post anything political. I made a positive comment about a former president. An old friend, a few years younger than myself, whom I met in Boy Scout camp, commented negatively. He “unfriended” me. Shortly after that, we bumped into each other. He said, I thought about your post and you’re right. He was a good president. He said he would friend me again. Once again, we became friends.

I have friends who seem to do nothing but sit on their mobile devices and post their rants. My question to them, “How many of you are actually doing something to change the situation? Or is Facebook your soapbox?” Wouldn’t you rather work to make changes in people’s lives? Or are you content with ranting? They seem to enjoy getting enamored to or enraged by fake news. Some spend all day posting this.

My wall is filled with my photography, pro-NY Yankees posts (Yes, that has been attacked by fans from Boston and Flushing), some cartoons and music. However, a key part of my Facebook life is promoting the organizations I volunteer with, which include ELEM-Youth in Distress in Israel, my religious institution and Sscouting stuff.

All of these groups are making a difference in the lives of kids, the elderly, our environment, etc. I manage several pages. We get tons of comments, shares and even a donation or two.

Posting photos of communities we’ve helped and invites to fundraising events jump-starts the conversation and pushes others to help. It gives me a feeling of pride knowing we use social media productively.

Dead Fish

When you hear the words “dead fish”, you are likely thinking about that goldfish you need to flush down the toilet. Maybe you were thinking of the latest toxic spill off the coast of Alaska.

I bet you weren’t thinking of the world-renowned sport of dead fish fighting. I used to be an active player in this game. Were you?

Let me tell you about it. Years ago in camp we would go on Delaware canoe trips. I loved them. About half way into the trip, our leader, Rodney (not his real name, but his alter ego) would start attacking us with dead fish. You see, from the start of the trip he’d be loading his vessel with dead fish.

Just at the right time he would unleash his arsenal. He would start attacking his fellow canoeists. Rodney would paddle up to his victim and when their eyes would go astray, he’d smack them over the head with several dead fish. Then he’d paddle away.

One trip Bergy and I were doing real well. We were paddling hard and making great time. The next thing I remember was getting smacked in the head with multiple dead fish. Bergy was also attacked. We tried to clean ourselves up. But alas, we could not. Our only choice was to jump out of our canoe and take a swim in the Delaware.

Once we got back into our canoe, Rodney attacked again. These days, I think about dead fish fights way too often. I’m so up for one. Are you?

Last spring, I had numerous lunches and dinners with a wonderful family, whose male children were planning to go to summer camp. I gave explained the glory of a dead fish fight. I mean you should forget about color wars, hurdles, softball and cookouts. Real men have dead fish fights. They promised they would engage in one.

I anxiously awaited their return from camp. I finally saw them. They told me about all the fun they had in camp. They reported during their rafting trip, all they did was paddle and go for a swim. They left the dead fish in the water.

Oh well.

Do we live for likes?

I reluctantly joined Facebook in 2008. I resisted for quite a while.  Then I got an invite email saying two of your friends are on Facebook.  The two were paired together. One was a very pretty ex-coworker, who looked like she was ready for the beach-bleached blonde hair, low cut shirt and shorts. The other was a Chasidic rabbi, dressed in the traditional wear-black hat, white shirt, long black coat and beard. Seeing the two of them together prompted me to join.

I remember my early days. I got annoyed when people would write, “I just sipped a diet Coke” or “I’m doing laundry.” Who cares?  I wrote about my dismay. Within minutes, dozens of friends wrote on my wall that they were doing laundry or having a Coke.


Posts from friends include political rants, photos of their dogs, children, deceased relatives, vacations, cars and more. Much more.

I have friends who’ve posted throwbacks from way before Facebook burst onto the scene and way before people were regularly online.  Some complained they were devastated because no one commented or liked their photos or statements.

I post plenty of photos. I want to get exposure for them. Some have been taken at events of groups I belong to. Most were shot in parks and on the street.  I get some likes, reactions and comments.  Do I care? Not really.

Some of my friends who received no likes or were not satisfied with the comments picked up the phone to tell me about their disappointment. I tried to console them. But it was to no avail.  They said they were either going to pull their photos. Or never post pictures again. My response was no one would care.  They didn’t get it.

I know certain posts will get over 100 likes within seconds. Days, even weeks later, these folks will still be reeling in the likes.  The “hot properties” are often reluctant to have their photos taken. They know they will wind up on someone’s wall and the post will be shared.  At times, I’ve posted photos featuring two or three of the most liked people in one shot.

But most of my photos get zero likes or comments.  I post because I like the work I produced.  Someone told me to take pride in my work.  I try.

I’ve never been upset or counted likes. I will admit at some events, I may take more photos of the top likable folks. That is done to promote the event and inspire more people to show their own work.

Well, if you like my thoughts great. No worries if you don’t.