Mik Horowitz: This is Your Life!!

The year was 1950.

The place was Brooklyn, New York.

There, on January 18th, around the day when Edgar Poe (or Edgar Allen Poe) was born, another poet was born, though in a different time, but he would make his own mark, all in his own way. That was when the poet I consider “The Godfather of the Hudson Valley Poetry Scene” was born, that person’s name is Mikhail Horowitz.

Known primarily as a prose poet, he’s been a modern day Jack of all trades, dabbling in performance and collages, all of which are handmade. His greatest work was his poetry book Big League Poets, in which he combined his two loves, poetry and baseball, and grafted Major Leaguers heads onto baseball’s bodies. (Satire or not, I think it makes a statement that one need not be great to be successful.)

He also performs with his partner, Gilles Malkine, and does insightfully poignant, factiously funny and watered down classics in such places as the Woodstock Library, Rosendale Cafe, Union Arts in New Paltz and many other places lucky enough to get them, since they’re worth every penny (all 3 cents, lol.) In all seriousness, they are fantastic performers in by themselves or as a duo.

On a personal note, my friendship with Mik goes back several years, all the way back to my college years. Mik was (and still is) a well respected author and poet and he knew a lot of people in the community, especially my late mentor, Larry. He introduced us and he was one of many artists I got to know due to Larry’s influence. At the time, I felt so unworthy, Mik is a respected poet around here, I thought, I’m just a new kid on the block, a feeling that was amplified by Larry’s passing.

After I moved, I still felt that way about my skills as a poet, choosing to look at him as more of a celebrity than I was. Behind all that, however, was a very funny and appreciative person, whom really looked at me as an equal; a friend and it’s something that I don’t take for granted.

And it’s been that way ever since…both with him and his significant other, the fabulous Carol Zaloom, who looks at me as a adoptive son.

So, I realize that I’m kvelling when it comes to Mik, but all that is all genuine admiration and respect for someone I admire as a person and a poet. So, if he gets a chance to read this, I just want to wish Mik a very Happy Birthday, and thank you for being the person you are, helping us laugh and helping me…

Shine On!! Party like a Poet, my friend!!

Poetry Packed Out: The Ugliness Beneath the Beauty

I was inspired to do this diamanté due to something I’ve been watching on YouTube recently, it’s not something for the faint of heart, but rather something I feel should be acknowledged: the crimes of Willowbrook.

To set the scene, long time readers (which include you, dear reader) know about my autism but also should be aware of my battle to advocate for myself as well as for others like myself. I just feel as if it’s the right thing to do.

More like the most merciful thing to do, especially in the light of what conditions were like in earlier years, one where filth, disease and despair were the norm. One such place was inside Willowbrook State School in New York, during its run, the aforementioned adjectives were more prevalent than it could ever have been. Documentaries enough are alone to vouch for that, which you can see on YouTube if you, my readers, are curious. Suffice it to say that they are intense, which is why this recent diamanté was formed, if for no other reason to illustrate this point.

So without further ado, I present for your reading the following diamanté:

Willowbrook

Willowbrook

Cries, wails

Decaying, robbing, demeaning

Those who can’t defend themselves, yet others

Uplift, delight, inspire

Cheers, spirits

Hope.

It is my hope that we can not look at people differently or be condescending to them, but rather, support them and nurture their dreams and lives, so we can all…

Shine On!!!

#Throwback Thursday: Standing Up is (Still) Hard to Do!!

Recently, I had to make a tough decision since my last roommate was moving to another apartment. I was worried that I had played a part even as his Mom told me that it wasn’t the case, but I felt, then as now, that it was the best decision to be made for both of us.

The aftermath, though, made it hard for me to decide who would be my next roommate. The pressure of the two people that were chosen made it harder still, especially because both people had good things going for them. For me, it felt like being on Deal or No Deal, the pressure was that intense.

Long story short, this decision made me realize what was important to me, qualities that I have that I need to sees in others. It made me feel like a leader, which as I mentioned in an earlier post, isn’t something I’m used to being called.

More importantly, it made me stand up for myself, something that I feel like I need to do a lot more of. I was becoming another George McFly from Back to the Future and this ordeal was talking to me, forcing me not to be a doormat. It’s been hard to do but I realize now how important standing up for oneself:

  1. Realize Your Limits: Realize that you’re only human and that you can’t please everyone. Focus on your strengths and don’t dwell on your weaknesses.
  2. Take Time For You: Breathe, recharge your batteries (however you choose to do so) and be creative.
  3. Be (or Re-Discover) Yourself: Don’t be afraid to blaze a trail of your own and learn new things. The best people know how to change things to their advantage. This can also be a way for you to rediscover values you may forget in the moment.
  4. Celebrate Your Victories: When you stand up for yourself, especially if you’re used to be a doormat, you’ll feel a change inside yourself. Celebrate the changes, no matter how small.
  5. Build Up: When you become stronger, one day at a time, one victory at a time, you’ll find yourself stronger over time and that will build up your confidence.

I can’t say that this change will be easy to deal with, in fact this is could be harder than you’ve ever dealt with. But standing up will indeed be the most fulfilling thing you ever do in your life and you’ll become stronger and be able to push forward to your brighter future, one where we can all….

Shine On!!!

Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time: The Aftermath

Wow!!! Now that’s how a game is supposed to go!!

(Warning: Spoilers ahead, don’t read until youve seen the Tournament in question or read the news about the Tournament, be forewarned!!)

I watched the Jeopardy! Special: Greatest of All Time and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, mostly because of the enormity of the event, which may not seem so much but considering that we had three Jeopardy! Legends all on one stage, one that they made famous; one where many have tried to be champions and failed, and one where records, their records (which I covered in an earlier post) were on the line and you see how much was on the line for all three.

I was live texting with my brother who was watching it in his home and he was a fan of King James, since he “was the only one I’ve seen play.” I’ve been so lucky to see all three play in separate times in Jeopardy!‘s phenomenal run.

As I was watching the Tournament, there were three keywords that stuck with me:

Skill: This may seem like it should be a no-brainer, but considering the level of talent that was on that stage (Alex very much included, of course), it can’t be overstated that skill is a must. When James lost a question, Ken knew enough to capitalize on that mistake and vise-Versa with James and Brad.

Caliber: I already stressed this in an earlier blog post, but your game is only as good as your opponents. In this case, Brad was outclassed in times where he could’ve shined if not for his opponents. Both of these words lead to my last word…

Masterclass: This Tournament was a masterclass, three legends in the game show genre, all battling to be known as the best (or Greatest of All Time!) This wasn’t just an event, this could be considered a celebration of what the game show genre is all about, deep in its soul.

So, allow me to say thank you to all of the Jeopardy! Staff, Harry Friedman, Alex Trebek, to everyone involved with Jeopardy! and all game shows for all they have done. Thank you, James Holzhauer, Brad Rutter and Congratulations to the Greatest of All Time, Ken Jennings!! Thank you for showing us what we can do when we can be given the chance to…..

Shine On!!!!

Poetry Packed Out: A Stumbling Acrostic

I’m very happy that I’m over something that I’ve described in the SuperBlog many times over, I’ve let other things get me down, financially and otherwise. Granted, I know that those problems will still be there, but I’m trying to be creative about it, making the best of these “ugly cards”, as Card Sharks fans know all too well.

Those problems caused me to have something that I’ve dealt with in my writing life, as I’m sure it affects every writer; every poet; every playwright and anyone who is a creative person such as myself.

That problem is known as writers block, which any writer can be affected at any time, any point in their lives. How one gets around it and pushes past it depends on the writer themselves, but for me, I just had to ride out my financial storm and try to think of how I could change these cards to help me instead of hampering me, hence where this acrostic came about, which I present to you all, dear readers:

Block

Blasted light can’t; doesn’t want to spark in barren wasteland

Life keeps getting in the way like traffic before the holidays

Overwhelming even the best. Struggles jam inside my brain, needing release

Crying in corner seems the only, best option to pick up pen again

Kindness, understanding remedy it, just as spark ignites.

It was timely because I went to a poetry reading Brain Storms recently in Kingston, it was a marathon reading, going from 2pm to 8pm, but it was the talent that made it phenomenal, Mik Horowitz, Giles Malkine, Philip Levine, Teresa Costa and so many others. Being there was just the thing I needed to nurture my love and passion for poetry and writing; I’d suggest that young poets go to poetry readings as often as you can and read any poetry book you can get. Only then can you be a better poet and artist and help others find their voice and, as always…

Shine On!!

#Throwback Thursday: This helps me during dark days..

That’s the answer….but the reason for that may surprise you…

My childhood was one where love, support and compassion were second to none; yet my teenage years were (as is mostly the case with Spectrumites) full of mixed signals, disappointments, lonely nights and responsibilities took center stage, even as my family and friends have been, then as they still are to this day, my biggest fans.

Even with all the odds against me, people looked at me as an inspiration because I was so positive. I guess I still am, even now, I’ve been told by a great friend that I’m the strongest person that he knows, an opinion that I value so much. Well, now, I’ve decided to let the cat out of my bag and let you all know what makes me so positive.

It’s my feeling, the faith I hold on to that helps me believe; know that beter days are coming. It may not be so easy to wait and it does require some work on my part, but the results are worth it. Without that light, that faith, the belief that things will work out in the end, I can honestly say that my path would be so different than what it is now. Now that Autism Awareness (and Acceptance) Month is over, hearing people call me an inspiration means a lot to me and helps me to know that I’m making a difference. All I can say is that the storm might seem hard to deal with now, but know that you’re not alone in your storm, faith is what keeps us going, one storm at a time, one month at a time, one day at a time.

Shine on!!

 

For Parents of Spectrumites: We’re Here, Please Let Us In!

I know I usually give blog posts to empower other Spectrumites to know that they’re not alone (and I still will) but something happened at my job that I wanted to address.

But first, I want to ask a question to you, my readers: Have you ever felt that you want to tell people what you have, but didn’t know how to bring it up without assuming anything?

The reason I ask is due to something that recently happened at my job, I was cleaning the bathrooms, something I’ve been praised for due to my attention to detail in that task. Well, I was mopping the floors at the time when a young man came inside with headphones on, take some paper towels and go back out. I then heard him blow his nose with his mother in tow, as I darted my head out to see them both in the background.  I thought he was a Spectrumite and I’m usually right about these kind of things.

Anyway, after I was finished with the bathrooms, I wanted to ask them some questions to confirm my hunch and (if they wanted me to) open up about my autism, I tried to track them down every aisle I could. but they left shortly thereafter.  

Sadly, I later found out that my hunch was correct and honestly, I’m kicking myself that I didn’t speak up when I knew I should’ve.

I wanted to let them know that there is hope, that whatever difficulties they are going through will be worth it in the long run. I wanted to give them resources they could use and I wanted to be supportive of them.

Why? Well, because we should be models of our community, we have a huge role to play in our communities. We should always strive to make the world a better place, to show others, Spectrumites and families alike, that we can be better; do better and work together to be supportive of each other. I’m lucky to have lived in a community that supports me and tries to understand me but I also know that there are so many less lucky than I was.

So to Spectrumites and their families, just know that we’re here for you, we want to help and be helped, to be understood and to understand, to be respected as we give respect to others. So, please search for us, we’re not hard to find, only together can we become better people and help the world, our world, really…

Shine On!! And know that I’m here!!

King of the Jeopardy! Farm, Who is the GOAT?

As a game show fan, I’m excited and intrigued by tonight’s Jeopardy! Special: The Greatest of All Time!

To say that this is a test for all three contestants would indeed be an understatement, to say the least. That’d be the case in a normal Jeopardy! contest, but considering who is in the Special contest makes it all the most testing, as the Jeopardy! Hall of Fame testifies to (The link is here: https://www.jeopardy.com/contestant-zone/hall-of-fame)

Let’s look at the three legendary players set to play in a possible best-of-seven series tonight:

Brad Rutter: The person that has won more on game shows that any other person, ever (which says a lot about Brad!) Brad has also never lost on Jeopardy! (at least against a human opponent, which is important to note.) He is also the winner of the Jeopardy! All Star Tournament as the Captain for his team and he won the 2001 Tournament of Champions, The Million Dollar Masters, and the 2005 Ultimate Tournament of Champions. He’s won other tournaments aside of these, but I note these because it shows how cool he needs to be under pressure, as he needs to be tonight, especially against..

Ken Jennings: Seventy-four games, all totally $2.4 Million, placed second place in the aforementioned Tournaments and only trails Brad in the standings, but the endurance of his records shows that he can go the distance if need be. Ken and Brad also know each other (very well), so they may know how the other will operate. He lost to Watson, the IBM computer, but beat Brad so a friendly rivalry can be seen, leaving the way open for…

James Holzhauer: I’ve made a case in an earlier post where I was amazed at his gameplay, as was most of the world, possibly. $2.4 Million in only 33 games and winning the 2019 Tournament of Champions is nothing to sneeze at, but the aforementioned gameplay could make him a dark horse in this battle of Game Show Legends, so he could play spoiler, if he wants to.

Three Jeopardy! legends, hopefully coming down to the wire, as it should be!

Let the Games Begin and let us all bask in this event and as always….

 

Shine On!!!

 

#Throwback Thursday: A Gift too precious not to give or receive (again)

Ok, here goes, time for me to make a confession..

I’ve recently discovered more about myself, most notably is the fact that I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, that is to say, that I’m very emotional and have a hard time showing a poker face when my feelings are hurt. I’m trying to work on that, but changing who I am is a lot easier said than done, moreso for Spectrumites who are learning about themselves and the world in which we all share. My local parish priest punctuated that during his homily two weeks ago: “God always forgives, humans sometimes forgive, but nature never forgives.” I felt them to be very wise words; they struck a chord with me, as I often do things wrong sometimes without me knowing about it.

Believe me, I’ve been there many times before, all depending on the event, the crowd as well as my mood at the time. One of these happened at the ARC of Ulster Greene’s Humanitarian Dinner last year where I was one of the people honored. It was very humbling  and heartwarming for me to have people congratulate me on my hard work and look at me as a role model for them and others.

On the other hand, there are times where it feels like I’m the center of attention, even when I don’t really mean to be. There was a social event where it seemed where I was a celebrity and when I arrived, all the people swarmed in around me. Even though I was a regular person at the social event, the fact that I could drive myself, that I had a college degree and an outside job made me a hero in their eyes, which at times can get to be too   overwhelming, over stimulating and pressuring for me to handle. Even with staff present, it felt that it wasn’t enough for me, like I was the leader and I felt like being asked to multitask when you’re used to talking to people one-on-one.

Recently, I’ve felt a need to attempt to forgive those who have wronged me not because I need to, but rather because I want to; in order to be the better person if I’ve been wrong. I’ve been told by a friend and co-worker that I’m the strongest person he knows; it’s only now that I’m beginning to see how right he is, how strong I can be, even in times when I wish to be stronger still. The only thing I can do is to breathe and ask people I’ve wronged to forgive me, I was naïve, stupid and confident to the point of arrogance in my youth, but I’ve grown a lot since then, especially in the last 5 years.

So, if I’ve ever hurt you, intentionally or not, I hope you see that I was wrong, that maybe we were both arrogant and stupid as much as the other was. So I give you all a gift, one that you can both give and receive all in your own way, the gift to be able to forgive yourselves and each other, because without kindness, understanding and yes forgiveness, we might not see the better world we want for ourselves and society as a whole. I can only hope that you accept it, so we can all find a way to….

Shine On!!!

Preview of Coming Attractions!!!

Happy New Year to all of my readers, whereever you are!!!

I just want to say thank you so much for the progress I’ve made on the Super-Blog this past year, but I also want to say that, if last year was a good year, this year will be moreso, primarily due to new things I plan to do on the Super-Blog over this New Year!!!

First off, Letters For Lent and The Advent Hope will be continuing this year, since it was a joy to do on my end.

Next, Poetry Packed Out will be going on as well, possibly weekly but certainly monthly at the most. It’s something that I really enjoy doing, showing off my work like a proud parent for you all to read. It’s my hope that you all enjoy it.

Now, for something new on the Super-Blog: you may have noticed that I did my Predictions for Wrestlemania this past year. I want to do that again, but do that for all of the 2020 WWE Pay Per Views, starting with this month’s classic: WWE’s Royal Rumble. What it’ll be is a prediction card like I did last time, but I’ll publish it on either a Friday or Saturday evening at the latest. I’m still working on a title for this new project, so I’m open to any ideas.

As always, I’ll give my take on life events, doing my part to empower fellow Spectrumites who may seem down on their lives, hoping to do my part to help others and let them all know that they aren’t alone so they can…

Shine On!!