Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Taking The Week Off...

Sonovista, my friends... its been a tumultuous 2 weeks... as "the Dude" would say, "lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta whathaveyous"... a huge 'thank you' to everyone who has written or called with messages of condolence... this little community of ours, based around a goofy podcast, is filled with love, and for that i am eternally grateful... my original plan was to do a show today (#20), but i stumbled and sean was back at the dentist and parviz's wife called and asked if she could take another shot at poisoning him... so i figured, we could take a 'buy' this week... plus, since we stopped doing our weekly interviews with Jason Nathanson, he's put an entire continent between himself and the Schnauzer studios... maybe it wasn't Oprah who was f'ckin up Jason's car-ma... maybe we have met the enemy and he is us?!?!?!


In any event, look for the return of Schnauzer Logic next wednesday with our exciting Show #20! Lots of surprises... lots of fun... a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer in your pants... my mom would be so proud!

namaste... robin

Friday, June 16, 2006

California... coming home...

Sonovista, my friends... i'm back home in northern california... i arrived late last night (thursday) after an a totally fucked-up day of travel... what should have been a 6 1/2 hour flight, coast to coast, turned into 14 hour sojorun with the US Airways shuttle from LaGuardia to Philidelphia taking off an hour late, which caused me to miss my connecting flight, which resulted in me being put on an even later flight, which resulted in me getting a broken seat, which resulted in more delays, which resulted in me getting my bags at SFO at around 8pm pacific time (14 hours after i got into a cab in NYC)... oh, and although the people on US Air were very nice, the airline is SHIT... everything is broken and torn and dirty and stained and for this i was granted the privilege of paying almost $500 one way... but god bless sheri, who picked me up and took me out for a nice dinner and strong bloody mary...

And now i'm home and dealing with the moment-by-moment reality of being alone... you know, after my dad passed away about 7 years ago, i started to call my mom every day... short calls, 5-10 minutes, just to touch base... talk about politics or popular culture... it wasn't because she was lonely, but because she was alone... and i told myself i was doing it for her... but what i didn't realize is that the tether connects at both ends, and now i have no one to call when i land after a long flight or get a good report from my kidney or brain doc or score some minor cosmic win... and i keep running into this just days after her passing... i think the buddhist philosophy i've studied and integrated into how i live my life will be helpful in getting through... just pay attention to the thoughts and feelings and see how they're connected...

in any event, a heartfelt 'thank you' to everyone who has written or called with their words and thoughts of condolence... it means a great deal... the memorial service was this past wednesday in NYC and it was very nice and warm and comforting to see how many people loved my mom... my uncle (the rabbi) strong-armed Smileme into saying a few words, so i put together something for her friends and family... its posted below...

and now we move forward... next week, if the good lord's willing, the creek don't rise, and there ain't no meltdown, we'll do our 20th episode of Schnauzer Logic... i need to collect the gang, but it should be a great show with lots of guests and comedy... and then the week after that we'll do show 21... and 22... and 23... week by week, one step, one bad joke, one plumbing update at a time...

see you all there

namaste... robin

Mom - Riverside Memorial Chapel - NYC, NY - Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - 11:30am

Good Morning… Thank you all for coming… It’s wonderful to see you all here this morning… I think it would have surprised my mom, though… we all knew how special and wonderful she was, but I’m not sure she always knew.

When I spoke with my uncle yesterday, he asked me if I wanted to speak at the memorial service this morning, and I said I didn’t know… and I said I didn’t know, not because I didn’t think I’d be able to find something to say, but because I was afraid that once I started talking, there’d be no way to stop… My mom was an amazing person… if you met her, even once, you’d never forget her… she was strong and smart and funny and opinionated… she was dedicated to her family and her friends and devoted to her grandson, Jason… and she was passionate about children and education and teaching… I think if the arthritis she suffered with and fought against for over 40 years hadn’t sapped her strength and broken her body, she would have been in classroom, even last week, passing on her knowledge and wisdom in her own unique way… There was nobody like Mrs. Goldstein… Old School, as the kids say today… my mom was old school before it was cool to be old school and she didn’t care about being cool… she was a complete human being, contradictions stacked on top of each other… I’ll give you an example… my mom didn’t like gadgets and wasn’t a big fan of technology… she didn’t have a TiVo… she allowed me to get her, only after a battle royale, a simple cell phone which she kept turned off (“its only for emergencies”), and though we’ve made considerable strides in the last 200 years in heating water, my mom insisted on making coffee by boiling water in a little pan on the stove… and she had an iPod… which she used to listen to books on tape… which she agreed to let me get for her only after I assured here they didn’t cost very much…

As I said, it wasn’t that I was afraid I would have nothing to say, but that one story would lead into the next and the next and the next… which would be fine with mom… she was first, and foremost, a story teller… in the past few days as I’ve met some of mom’s friends down in florida, they’ve all told me how ‘funny’ mom was… and she was funny, and she knew it… but she didn’t tell jokes… she told stories, in the grandest tradition… she was a natural performer with perfect timing… the few times I had her on my radio show she literally stole the show… she could have been a star in the modern world of punditry… she had an opinion about everything and wasn’t afraid or ashamed to let you know it… some of our biggest fights in recent years were over whether the latest season of Monk or Law and Order were as good as past seasons… and if she thought they stunk, she said so… and truth be told, she was usually right…

No, the challenge of speaking this morning is going through my countless memories and seeing what I can find to say about my mom that won’t end in tears now that she’s gone… I’ll tell you what I mean… I flew into LaGuardia yesterday afternoon, from florida, and as I got into the terminal I pulled out my cell phone to call her to let her know I was okay, and realized there was no one to call… when I was younger we used to fight about it all the time… “mom… I’m 20 – or 30 – or 40 –or almost 50… I’m O.K...” and she would say “I’m your mother… I worry”

So I looked for something to say about my mom that wouldn’t immediately start the flow of tears, and one thing came to mind… Pizza… My mom introduced me to pizza… I think she told me it was my first solid food… and some of my very earliest memories are of walking with her pushing my sister Lisa in her stroller, down the street, past the Bohacks, to the Newkirk Plaza, where we’d get a slice of pizza… just cheese and those hot red pepper flakes she liked so much…. i must have been 5 or 6, but I can still remember the sights and the smells and the taste… a little sweet… a little salty… chewy and crispy at the same time… when I think of meals with my mom, I think of pizza… now don’t get me wrong… she was an excellent cook… nothing haute cuisine, but good nutritious meals… veal and beef and chicken and turkey and fish…. The fact that I’m a vegetarian is no reflection on my mom’s pot roast or matzo ball soup… but she loved pizza and so did i… when I got a little older and started elementary school, the biggest treat would be to meet her for lunch at the little pizza parlor around the corner, next to the Leader Lanes on Coney Island Avenue… I still search for the taste of that memory… and when we moved to Central Valley, one of the first things we did was search out the local pizza place… in fact, I can tell you the location of the nearest pizza shop for every place I’ve every lived… and when I worked for Sony and spent all that time in Japan, I even kept the number of a Japanese pizzeria in my wallet… they were the only ones who would deliver, on a little motor scooter, and the hotel thought it was unseemly that I would order pizza on a motorbike, delivered to their fine establishment, so they would make me wait outside, in the parking lot, for the delivery, which I would accept in my broken Japanese, and scurry back to the room to taste a bit of home… and whenever and wherever I had some pizza, I would call mom and she would ask, “what did you have for lunch, or dinner” and I would say “Pizza”, and she would say, “Go On… make me jealous”… so I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the first food I had after my brain surgery, more than 20 years ago, was pizza… or that I’ve broken almost every yom kippur fast with pizza… or that lisa and I shared a pie in florida right after seeing her, the night before she died… or that I had a slice for dinner last night… you see, even though I grew up in a jewish home, my comfort food is a little bread, a little cheese, a little tomato, a little oregano, and a little olive oil… hot and fragrant… crispy and chewy… a little salty and a little sweet… my mom bought me a slice…

So the next time you bite into a slice of pizza, think of my mom and say, “Edna… I’m having some pizza” and you’ll be able to hear her say, “Go On… Make Me Jealous”

Thank you again for coming today… it means a lot to my family and to my mom.

Monday, June 12, 2006

No Schnauzer Logic This Week - My Mom, Edna Goldstein, Has Passed Away...

Sonovista, my friends... just a short note to let you all know there won't be an episode of Schnauzer Logic this week... my mom, Edna Goldstein, died this morning, just 2 weeks shy of her 80th birthday, from lung cancer... mom stopped smoking, cold turkey, 35 years ago, on the back steps of the Monroe Temple of Liberal Judaism, as we were leaving a meeting with the rabbi about my pending bar mitzvah... as we were walking out the door someone told her about a mutual friend who had just been diagnosed with the deadly disease and my mom took the cigarette out of her hand, and the pack out of her bag, and threw them in the temple dumpster and that was that... so if you smoke, please stop... no good can come of it... death from lung cancer is a hideous thing to see... it shakes your belief in any kind of higher power to think that a disease with the power to inflict such devastating pain and destruction on a human being could come from a merciful creator... and yet, my mom lived to be almost 80... so who can know how many ways i wouldn't have been able to disappoint her had she continued to smoke over the past 35 years... and truth be told, if you're almost 80 and you can still give your adult child grief on your own death bed, you've probably had a pretty full life... but there are such better ways to shuffle off this mortal coil (something involving a donkey, a ballerina and a giant sling-shot, for example)... and the sooner you quit, the more days you tack on to the other end, and maybe, just maybe, the donkey (or the ballerina) will get you before respiratory failure does... in any event, if you smoke, please stop.

Here is a photograph of my mom taken earlier this year... that's my mom on the right, and her aide, pauline, on the left... i got to know pauline over the past few days and she is everything you could want a caretaker (or just a good friend) to be... kind, funny, intelligent, invested, she was a perfect sparing partner for my mom up until the end (and no, she did not go gentle into that good night... and she most definitely did rage, rage against the dying of the light). Thank you, pauline.

Mom and Pauline in Florida

My mom and I had a complex relationship... the gifts many, the challenges plentiful... but through my relationship with my mom i learned that its possible to hold and acknowledge the genuine hurt that someone may cause you with the unconditional love you can feel for them at the same time... both are real and denying either one diminishes who you are... forgiveness is not a prerequisite to love. I may talk more about this at some point, but suffice it to say, nothing can change how much i miss her (already).

And so, tomorrow (tuesday) i fly from south florida to NYC for her funeral on wednesday and subsequent burial next to my dad out on long island... and, at some point, i'll head back to california and regain my bearings and start all over again... a little sadder knowing she may be out there... i just can't call her to tell her what a great show we just did...

so until we meet again...
show up
pay attention
tell the truth
and don't be attached to the outcome
(and if you smoke, please stop)


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Schnauzer Logic Podcast Episode 19 is Online!!!

Sonovista, my friends!... Did you ever have one of those weeks? Well, today was one of those weeks... two potential guests bagged out, Sean called to say he was having emergency dental work, and Parviz's wife tried to kill him with a turkey... Much Love!... And given all that's been going on in my life, I thought about postponing the show... but then everything would be out of whack and who knows what horrible effect that would have on the universe?!?... Pretzels with cheese inside? Pizza crusts with cheese inside? Irish Wolf Hounds with cheese inside? AAARRRGGGHHH!!!!!!!

So I asked our traveling friend, Jason Nathanson if he wanted to sit in for a shortened show, and voila! All is right with the world and the universe maintains its cheesey goodness!

This week's show is only one-hour... we talk a bit with Jason about his time at KSCO, KGO and KFI, the politics of modern-day commercial/political talk-radio, and do you have to agree with the host in order to be a producer? We also learn that the first rule of computer repair has an almost universal application, to wit: step 1: make sure the computer is plugged in (for a VW van, step 1 is a bit different, but you feel no less foolish when you skip it!)... We also play the Spanish entry in the 2006 Eurovision song contest, and the #1 winning entry from Finland... And we check-in with Bryan Cox and Episode 9 of his award-winning series Real Stories of the Highway Comics... (and if a full hour with Jason isn't enough for you gluttonous bastards, you can hear this week's installment of his intervew on KSCO ::here:: )

Next week is Show 20, and we're hoping everything will be back to normbal... but until then:

Show Up
Pay Attention
Tell The Truth
And Don't Be Attached To The Outcome.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Schnauzer Logic - Episode 18 Show is Online!!!

sonovista, my friends... again i have no time (right now), but this was such a great show i wanted to post some quick show notes:

1. Steve Golson talks about the history of Ms. PacMan (he was one of the guys who wrote it and got sued and then hired by Atari... a classic 80's hacker-turned-hero story)... He then talks about his wife Terry Golson's newest cookbook, The Farmstead Egg Cookbook, and about their 24/7 Hencam.

2. Jason Nathanson tells us how he tracked and killed Oprah using only a large cheese pizza... check out his blog for lots more information, and listen to this week's KSCO interview (maybe someday he'll plug our show and blog since we give him so much ink!)

Oprah and Jason in Arizona after stalking her for 200 miles

3. All this week's tunes come from the 2006 Eurovision song contest, including the Iranian entry (hint: there -was- no Iranian entry)

4. We REALLY REALLY need your advice to 2006 graduates for next-week's Commencement Address... thanks for those who have already sent yours in... to the other 700 of you, hey! you have the rest of the summer to smoke dope...Cool

more later (maybe)

show up, pay attention, tell the truth, and don't be attached to the outcome

namaste... robin