Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Stanley Cup Finals

Hockey News: Well, we now know who'll play in the finals for the Stanley Cup -- Florida Panthers against Las Vegas Golden Knights. Vegas is given a slight edge but neither team has ever won the Stanley Cup before. First game of the series is Saturday night (8pm).

I'm rooting for the Panthers for an emotional reason. You always like the team that beat the team that beat your team. The Devils were eliminated in the playoffs by the Hurricanes so it was nice to see the Canes later get trounced by the Cats. Plus the biggest surprise of the year was Florida's defeat of Boston in the first round. The Bruins had set records in the regular season so nobody saw their defeat coming. 

Some friends have noticed my hair lately. It's part of my plan to become a pro hockey player. Players call long hair "flow" (as in, "Nice flow!"). I figure once I get flow, I'll learn how to skate and the rest will be easy.

Go Cats!

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Turning A Corner

As you know my eye situation is dire. It's not going to get better; we're fighting to keep it from getting worse. But there is some good news.

My closest friends have been listening to me privately whine in despair. I've been naturally depressed given the cold water this unexpected predicament splashes on my future. Lately though, for the first time, I had two good dreams. 

Two nights ago I dreamt I was with my beloved mother. (She died in 1991.) We couldn't talk but she was there. I felt her palpable presence and could even hug her. That felt really good. 

Then last night I dreamt I had a chance meeting with a famous comedian right outside his TV studio. We intuitively clicked, went inside and did an unplanned, funny comedy skit. It brought down the house with laughter. The dream made me happy I can still entertain people, even if only in my dreams.

Do you ever dream about seeing deceased family members?

Thursday, May 25, 2023

The Rodeo

My current illness is like riding a bronco. I'm dealing with a powerful, feral beast. Some days I hang on and others I get bucked into dirt of despair.

This morning I saw a neuro-ophthalmologist, my fifth eye doctor. Last night I felt a little nervous so I reflexively joked, "Well, what's the worst that can happen?!"

Wrong question. I'm now scheduled for a MRI to check for brain tumors. 

The bronco wins again.

Saturday, May 13, 2023


 Hi friends,

It's been a roller-coaster of emotion for me this week. After spending years planning fun retirement full of adventure and joy I find myself facing crushing disappointment. I'm struggling to re-gain my emotional balance and figure out how I can salvage a dire situation.

I began having eye problems in February around Valentine's Day. I thought they were temporary and would get better. They didn't. I spoke to friend who's an optometrist and she assured me it was a condition that isn't serious (cataracts) for which there's an easy remedy (cataract-surgery which replaces your eye's lens with a new plastic one). She referred me to an ophthalmologist who, Wednesday morning, delivered devastating news -- I don't have cataracts; instead, I have a horrible disease that usually leads to total blindness. Called "neo-vascular glaucoma" the disease causes the eye to create visual obstructions that can't be fixed and raise the eye's pressure to dangerous levels. (I didn't know our eyes have pressure but they do.) When I went in and was being tested, the doctor was greatly alarmed: normal eye pressure is 10-20 mmHg; mine was over 60. After checking the pressure three times he gave me medication and made me wait an hour to see if it helped. He was getting ready to conduct emergency eye surgery if it didn't.

Fortunately the medication worked and my eye pressure lowered. Bad news is damage to my left eye (which I thought was a cataract that could be fixed) is irreversible. That eye is now gone; its vision is permanently destroyed. We fighting to save the right eye from being lost the same way.

I believe and hope we'll win this battle. If so, I'll be able to salvage some of my future plans. I can't imagine life being totally blind. I can live with one eye; I can't conceive of living with no eyes. Vision is essential to almost everything we do and necessary for most activities and pleasures.

I want to ride my motorcycles, walk in nature, take photographs and appreciate fine art. I want to read great books and think about ideas. I want to be free and mobile, able to visit friends and travel. At bare minimum I want to look into people's faces and see if they're smiling or frowning. I don't want to be pitied or ignored.

If you have empathy and want to offer support, now is the time. I'm in the battle of my life. I've never felt as threatened and sad.

Monday, May 8, 2023


Throughout my life art has been a salve, medicine for soothing harsh reality. I turn to art in bad times, like when health suddenly dives off a high cliff. As one waits to hit water, wondering if it'll be deep and free of rocks, art calms down flailing emotion. Or, if that isn't possible, at least it gives context for acceptance.

My current visual incapacity renders painting, sculpture and film unhelpful, indistinct blurs. I had two foreign movies lined up but couldn't read their subtitles and don't speak French so they were a bust.

Fortunately music has no visual component. Music can portray wide range of emotion. And skilled performance can elevate a listener's mood. I'm searching my catalog of vinyl for some solace. One song in particular speaks to me right now.

The Allman Brothers Band, at their artistic peak, was popular and accomplished. The band broke through with "At Filmore East," a concert recorded live in New York (1971). The album is considered one of the finest live records of all time. Sadly Duane Allman died later that year in a motorcycle accident and bassist Berry Oakley died the following year in another motorcycle accident. Their performances are now irreplaceable.

During the concert the band does a 23-minute version of "Whipping Post," a classic song with amazing stretches of instrumental play. The band explores exotic places in the sonic realm; you never expect them to travel there. Riffs, as wild as jazz flights, are tight: the whole band plays together, making sharp, cohesive turns. As you listen, you lose yourself in the surreal excursions. Guitar and drums magically conjure up imaginative land where hearts can grow.

On "Whipping Post" Duane sings plaintively with palpable feeling. The song resonates with me right now, voicing my anguish.

Sometimes I feel

Sometimes I feel

Like I've been tied to the whippin' post

Tied to the whippin' post

Good Lord, I feel like I'm dyin'

Thursday, May 4, 2023


Sage minds of the past figured out something fundamental we often lose sight of in our world of modern distractions.
Two centuries ago Emily Dickinson advised: "Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough." A hundred years earlier Jonathan Swift wrote: "May you live every day of your life."
Today is an opportunity, a gift. Treat it with mindfulness and gratitude.

There's an instructive story behind this picture. I took it at the site of the former World's Fair in Queens, NY a few years ago. I was using one of my vintage cameras for the first time. Looking for the best angle I walked around and around the Unisphere, staring at it from every perspective. Intently focused on that singular task I failed to see a crack in the pavement that caught my foot. I tumbled hard and tore skin off my left knee and hands. The camera flew 10 feet away. The place was empty so there was nobody around to help me. I just laid on the cold ground for a while, bleeding and trying to manage considerable pain.
The morale of the story is -- take a wide view of your life. Don't focus too intensely on one thing and miss other stuff around you.