My reality took a major hit when I learned of a book that reveals the famous battle at the Alamo in Texas was not what Walt Disney had broadcasted on TV, but was a nefarious cover up of an expansion of slavery in the Lone Star State.
Santa Anna’s Mexican troops were trying to stamp out slavery in its territory and the 180 persons fighting at the old Spanish mission in San Antonio were trying to not only retain slavery, but make it grow for the production of cotton.
I complained to USAA, the American veterans car insurance company, when I learned that it was advertising on the Tucker Carlson show. As a subscriber of USAA of more than 50 years, I threatened to seek insurance elsewhere after the Fox News host called the joint chief of staff general “stupid” and followed that up by describing him as a “pig.”
“I do think it is important for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and well-read,” he told the House Armed Services Committee. “I want to understand white rage . . . and I’m white. . . I want to understand it. So what is it that caused thousands of people to assault this (the Capital) and try to overturn the Constitution?”
I salute this military leader, a four star general who is also “airborne infantry,” and can not for the life of me understand how someone who never put on a uniform or faced a single day in combat could say such drivel about such a soldier.
Nor can I understand how USAA could continue spending advertising dollars at the Fox program. I know they want to reach veterans and our families, but the money is also propping up a mouthpiece for white supremacy and anti-democratic conspiracy theories.
Synchronicity is a term I have come to cherish since being introduced to it by my favorite psychologist, Carl Jung. It refers to deeply meaningful coincidences that mysteriously occur in one’s life. Jung proved by the law of probability that they were not mere coincidences but insights into our rich and worthwhile lives.
Walter Mondale, the Minnesota resident and former candidate for president of the United States, was a staunch advocate for providing legal services to poor people charged with crimes and I firmly believe that his legacy will live on.
I have protested more in the past several months than I had ever exercised that American Constitutional-right in my entire life and feel really good about my actions!
I protested the attempted curtailment of postal services at the Conshohocken Post Office and knelt for eight minutes and 46 seconds at the Montgomery County Courthouse in protest of the police killing of George Floyd.
First Lieutenant Victor Lee Ellinger was no loser, Mr. Trump.
He was shot and killed by an enemy sniper during the Vietnam War and I forced marched my platoon to come to his aid only to find out we got to him too late to help.
He was no “sucker,” having enlisted the same year that you miraculously developed bone spurs on one of your feet, getting your fifth deferment to keep you out of the military and any chance of being in harm’s way. It was the same year I was drafted and later commissioned to lead a bunch of other young men into battle.
As a veteran of several military bases, I would vote to change the names of all the facilities named for generals who fought for the Confederate army during our nation’s Civil War.
I offer such action with a heavy heart because of the link I still have with the facilities that helped to create the soldier I had become and the lessons learned in the US Army. Continue reading →
While I am still able to recall in some details highlights of my early life before true adulthood I decided to write them down for future generations and others who may want to commiserate with my adventures and misadventures. Continue reading →
I just pledged a small amount of money to help a journalist laid off from his or her job because of the Coronavirus. The group offering this service is called Microloans for Journalists and can be reached at the website of firstname.lastname@example.org. Continue reading →
I once worked in Pennsylvania State Government, meeting and writing a speech for the governor and broadcasting a news story about a new group of buses being introduced to the Keystone State. Continue reading →
I was kicked out of a courtroom when I raised my voice to a judge who seemed to be favoring an assistant district attorney who wanted my client removed from hospice because he hadn’t died soon enough after I got him out of jail. Continue reading →
It’s been 10 years since I wrote my first post for this Contoveros Blog and looking back I feel a little like Ken Burns, the producer of PBS specials on such things as war, music and other all-American things. Continue reading →
God works in mysterious ways.
Put another way, the Universe will conspire to bring about what you really want and need in life, even though you may not know it when the Divine Intervention takes place.
Or even like it. The intervention that is. And on first blush, it may even seem bad but you realize on reflection it had to have happened for you to progress in life. Continue reading →
I would not have gone to college had it not been for the GI Bill which is marking its 75th anniversary on June 22, 2019.
My father, who was born on a small Greek Island, never went beyond sixth grade. My mother, daughter of Hungarian refugees, was the first in her family to graduate from a high school in New Jersey.
And I had barely made it through Dobbin’s Tech, a trade school, having transferred from a Catholic high school after I got caught playing hooky and ordered to go to summer school for religion. No one – including myself — saw college in my lifetime. Continue reading →
That’s the jury instruction I’d request a judge to provide when a witness at a trial said one thing one time and another thing at another time. Also, when one or more witnesses said something different than what the first witness had sworn to tell the truth about while sitting on the witness stand. Continue reading →
I will never forget my old wooden desk in grade school and the drills we held in order to protect us from a nuclear blast. The nuns from St. Ludwig’s Catholic School ordered us to get out of our seats and to curl up beneath the desks where we practiced the silence of Benedictine monks. Someone had pulled down the shades over the wide windows of the second-floor room and we sat for long minutes that felt like hours. Continue reading →
The first car I ever owned was my all-time favorite one.
It was “surf green” Chevrolet Bel Air made in the year 1957. I paid a whopping $300 for it when my barber offered it to me in 1967. I was working as a printer and had saved up enough money to pay him cash. Continue reading →
While editorials from dozens of newspapers throughout the country are expected to be offered about the attacks on the First Amendment on August 16, I figured I’d get my two-cents worth in as a former news reporter. Continue reading →
Joy filled my soul as I read that the 12 boys trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand were thinking of entering a monastery in honor of the former Navy Seal that gave his life in an effort to save them. Continue reading →
“Here lies Ben Franklin — a printer” is the message gracefully displayed at the gravesite of my favorite Founding Father in the City of Philadelphia. He was ambassador to both England and France as well as a signer of the Declaration of Independence and contributor to the US Constitution. He was also an inventor, a philosopher and creator of the first library, the first zoo and the first fire company in the New World. Continue reading →
Padre Pio has a close connection with Philadelphia because of a woman called in a prayer to bring her sick child to see him in 1968 and the blessing he granted that led to her miracle cure just a few weeks before he died. Continue reading →
Songs have a way of taking me back to a time of my life that provided milestones for the path leading me to where I am today.
We all have them, those cherished ones that we hold dear. Some of which may cause a tear to flow, a shit-eaten’ grin to form. I recently thought of five of ‘em and simply wanted to share them with “old folks at home” who might also remember them. Continue reading →
The best example of PTSD ever portrayed in a movie was offered by John Goodman in “The Big Lebowski” when the character, a Vietnam veteran, pulls a gun on a fellow bowler and threatens to shoot him for crossing a line and attempting to enter a score in a book. Continue reading →
She stared at me as I walked from the courtroom and I felt her hate bore into me. Her whole posture seemed to drip with contempt and what I could only feel at that moment was a curse from her whole being. Continue reading →
That was the title of my first job when I was 15 years old. Somebody from the old neighborhood got me hired in downtown Philadelphia and I took the bus to get to work on weekends and after school days.
I remember . . . cutting the back of my hand while running beneath the boardwalk in Atlantic City. It is the earliest memory I can recall. I couldn’t have been any more than three or four and cannot for the life of me remember anything else I had done at that moment in time. Continue reading →
My mother hit me upside the head when she caught me drinking beer in the Big Moose bar up the street from where we lived.
I was 16 years old at the time and sipping a Ballantine beer with a friend from Dobbins Technical High School. Someone must have ratted me out as my good friend Joe Walsh and I — both young white guys — drank in the African American bar in a section of Philadelphia called Brewerytown. Continue reading →
Laughter. It’s good to hear in most of life situations. It can be contagious and cause people to drop their serious attitudes and see a more lighter side of things.
You need it. particularly when times get tough. And if you hang out with the type of people who laugh a lot, you might even hear some gallows humor. You’ll find it among soldiers, cops and nurses as well as ditch diggers, new priests and first-aid workers. Continue reading →
I took a leave of absence from my work as a newspaper reporter to serve as a union organizer for The Newspaper Guild years ago. I had helped to negotiate several contracts at the Pottstown Mercury, and only took the job when I was overlooked for being made a copy-editor at the paper. Continue reading →
John Facenda was Philadelphia’s favorite newscaster when I was growing up. He was suave and debonair, kind of like a Cary Grant with a voice that captured your immediate attention whether it be about shenanigans going on in city government or sports actions through NFL replays. Continue reading →
“Wicked cool” is what I thought I’d be when I was 17 and was about to attend a Greek Orthodox wedding for one of my cousins in Queens, NY. I refused to wear a tie to go along with my suit. Instead, I put on “love beads.” You know, the ones that hippies were wearing in 1960s. I was a hippie wannabe. I wanted to protest the institutional requirement to look one way when I wanted to express myself another way. That is, to be in love with everyone and to share that love with all for whom I was going to come into contact with. Continue reading →
I wanted the driver who cut me off to crash and burn.
For a brief moment, I thought of praying that he would immediately die for cutting in front of me as I was doing 60-miles-an-hour on the expressway behind a car just five lengths in front of me. I beeped my horn and flashed my high beams at the driver. I relished in the hatred I felt burning inside of me. I loathed him from the bottom of my heart and wanted a bloody accident to befall ‘em. Continue reading →
A fellow I worked with got a luke-warm endorsement for a man running to be the next district attorney of Philadelphia and I believe it will go a long way in ensuring justice is served in my old home town. Continue reading →
I heard the word “Satsang” yesterday and it reminded me of a journey I started a half a lifetime ago when I had hit rock bottom and sought answers to the meaning of life.
Satsang is a Sanskrit word that means “gathering together for the truth” or, more simply, “being with the truth.” According to sources from India, Truth is what is real, what truly exists. Continue reading →
To me, it’s a big deal for it is something I haven’t done in quite a while. You see, I got prostrate problems. I got diagnosed with it while at the VA hospital and I take medication every night, but no matter what I do, I still have to get up in the idle of the ight and take a pee. Continue reading →
My criminal law professor just died and I cried like a baby this past week. I couldn’t help but look at the photograph taken of him presenting me with a trial advocacy award upon graduation in 1988. The framed picture rests on the mantel of an old wood—burning stove in my dining room. It is one of my prized possessions. Continue reading →
Someone from 100 different countries has viewed this site and my flag counter can attest to number of nations represented here.
I started to write a Blog some seven years ago and hooked up with a link that not only counted the number of persons viewing Contoveros, but determined which country that person was from. I placed the flag counter at the top of my Blog so that anyone — including myself — could readily see it on linking into Contoveros.It’s at my home site. (See Flag Counter for the latest count up to this minute. Trinidad is the latest country added to my list!)Continue reading →
I had tried sitting mediation alone and with others, but was successful only once, and I really don’t know what I was doing. I was following a guru – a 15-year-old teacher from India — before I had turned 30 and I mingled with aspirants in an ashram in Philadelphia. I never touched Nirvana or reached the level that others seemed to rise to. Continue reading →
My greatest concern when I placed the political signs on my lawn was whether they would offend someone in my neighborhood. I live in a working class section of Pennsylvania, some 15 miles outside of Philadelphia. It was dependent on steel and manufacturing for many years but eventually saw a decline as jobs left the little borough of Conshohocken for elsewhere. Continue reading →
“I didn’t mean to hurt you. I just thought you needed to know, that’s all.”
Peaches said nothing as we sat on the floor of her vestibule. I saw her eyes water up a little and I wanted to cry myself.
“I still love her” I continued without looking at the young girl I had shared such an intimate moment with at the young age of 19.
“I guess I never stopped loving her, if you want to know the truth.”
“You were her best friend in high school and you knew her as much as anybody did” I said, asserting a belief that neither one of us could deny. “I would break up with her, but we’d always got back together every time. You knew that when we first dated.”
“I should have been honest with you. But I liked you, I still like you. And wouldn’t hurt you for anything. But I don’t love you. I love Peggy, and I guess I always will.” Continue reading →
“You can’t replace Trouble, no matter what you say,” I said to Wendy. “He was my favorite cat, the only one that could not only catch those dirty squirrels, but also behead them and leave their carcasses behind, sans their squirrely little heads. There’ll never be another one like him.”
‘No, I’m not trying to replace Trouble,” my wife answered me. “It’s just that our son Nicholas could use another pet, and the one we found at the Kitty Cottage is so adorable, I thought that any pet lover would welcome her into their home. Give her a chance. I know you’ll warm up to her and treat her as a member of the family in no time.”
Sundance the cat looks out for me and for you
Sundance is now this cat-lovers’ most lovable feline ever!
“Don’t do it Michael,” my ex-wife told me when I began planning for a debate between the candidates running for lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania in 1978. I didn’t listen to her and I spent too much time and money in an effort that failed miserably and kept my dreams of entering politics a nightmare that I never again wanted to materialize. Continue reading →
I typed this over and over again, hoping that I’d learn the fine skill of typing as I sat in a class with all girls. Young women, I should say. I was the only male in the Delaware County Community College course of study and I never once felt out of place or unusual.
I wanted to be a journalist, you see. So, I figured I had to learn the fine art of typing in order to file my stories. Continue reading →
My second wife stopped breathing shortly after they placed her in the emergency vehicle en route to a hospital some eight years ago. The day was six-months to date of her first bout with an emergency wagon when she fell in our Conshohocken, PA, home suffering a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
She remained in a coma for more than five days then. This time, however, they were more certain that she would not recover from her latest, unplanned date with Miss Fate. A nurse or a social worker at the Hospital suggested I contact a priest to say the last rites for Wendy. Continue reading →
I see my life through the eyes of a kid who grew up in Brewerytown, swashbuckling my way through fights on the streets and later the jungles of Vietnam before finding my true calling as a spiritual clarion who wants all North Philadelphia children to return to their God-given Nature of Love. Continue reading →
I never wanted a cigarette as bad as I did when I got thrown into a “lockup” after getting kicked out of the courtroom by a judge whose ire I had raised by raising my own voice at him. Continue reading →
My all-time favorite Philadelphia Judge was James Lineberger, a no-nonsense jurist who’d scare the hell out of many a defendant I’d bring to the bar of the court, and one time caused one of my clients to pass out when he sentenced him for a heinous crime a jury found him guilty of committing.
Judge Lineberger could also be as warm and fuzzy as a teddy bear who would leave the bench at the top of the courtroom and float down to the metal bar when spotting a Korean woman. He could serenade in her native tongue while gazing out from his big lovable and loving eyes. Continue reading →
That’s one of the prayers I would recite as an altar boy at St. Ludwig’s Roman Catholic Church and I’ll never forget it ‘til the day I die. Don’t ask me what it means. I never figured it out, but I loved to say it! Continue reading →
Collegeville may or may not have been named after a religious school called “Ursinus” in the central part of Montgomery County. . . Or some long ago seminary school. I really don’t know, but I rode through it when traveling to one of the last outdoor movie theatres, the one located in Limerick, Pa, a drive-in movie just outside of Pottstown. Continue reading →
If I had a magic wand I would wave it and remove all of the hate in our land. It would take away the hurt all felt throughout the ages of man from the beginning of time when Cain killed his brother and when a stupid Esau sold his birthrate to his brother Jacob for a lousy bowl of soup. Continue reading →
The shaman applied pressure with his fingers and thumbs to the side, back and front of my skull. He told me to let him know if he caused me any pain.
I felt some discomfort, but it wasn’t intolerable and so I said nothing and let him continue the process as I sat in a chair in front of more than a hundred people attending the symposium on “What is Healing? – Archaic Traditions Meet Ways of Experiencing Modern Consciousness Exploration and Psychotherapy.” He was the principal speaker, having taught the participants to dance and sing in two large circles in the room where we had met. Continue reading →
A few weeks ago, I envisioned what the coming year would be like in a “Vision Board.” I got together with a small group and pasted magazine pictures and bold 48-point type letters to a cardboard placard showing what we would like to see enfold in 2016.
I placed the Vietnam War book at the top, adding lots of spiritual and meditative symbols along side of it. On the bottom line I pasted “Love to Travel” and displayed two large pictures of my son and I on a cruise to Alaska some two years ago.
Little did I know then that writing about the war would take a backseat while my traveling plans would enlarge and grow immensely! Continue reading →
“Think before You Speak”reads the sign that my new best friend gave me for Christmas. She thought of me when seeing it, she said. She knew how many problems I have had with boundaries. Or, rather, lack of boundaries. Continue reading →
I don’t feel my age. I know I’m getting older and will soon meet my Maker. But I just can’t see myself as a senior citizen, let alone someone who will one day praise the glory of Medicare and the free rides on public transportation in Philadelphia.
To tell you the truth, I feel like I’m seventeen years old again. My body would disagree, but my heart and my mind often see things from that period of time . . . It was a time when I had just graduated high school and the world was my oyster, so to speak. Continue reading →
Mental illness scares the shit out of me. The very term conjures up images of some crazed guy with wild, straggly hair and a demon-like smile of malevolence. Steven King kind of comes to mind when I think of someone who might be a little touched in the head. A Stephen King character, that is. Not Stephen King. Continue reading →
Reflections opened a new world of understanding today. Years after a traumatic event, I can look back and see things in a totally different and healing fashion.
I couldn’t do it when the shit was happening. It hurt too much.
Even five or ten years after the trauma, I’d get sweaty palms and a sped up heartbeat when thinking about the worst day of my life. I couldn’t dwell for too long without having to relive the God-awful experience. Continue reading →
I fall to my knees everyday and give thanks for at least three things that I am totally grateful for. I usually include my son and at least one of our cats, but also acknowledge the advent of a new day as well as a nice new warm bed and the person who invented the heater to keep all of us warm. The cats included! Continue reading →
No matter where I go, Philadelphia will always go with me. I’ve taken the old neighborhood to combat in Vietnam as well as to the wailing wall in Jerusalem. I let it shine in the courthouses of Philadelphia and the one and only house of pleasure I visited in Panama.
Yeah, I’m from Brewerytown, an old German-based section of Philadelphia that families of beer-makers settled in a small enclave of the City of Brotherly Love. Brewerytown is near the Philadelphia Zoo on Girard Avenue and not too far from the Eastern State Penitentiary where Al Capone once lived in a section called Fairmount. Continue reading →
I remembered what love once meant to me and I thought I’d share it with those of us who might have forgotten it.
I’m talking about the love that hits you upside the head when you’re not looking; the type that won’t let you think of anyone else besides him or her; the love that you wish your lover would feel but you’re too afraid to hope for a schmuck like yourself. Continue reading →
I believe that all of us are placed on this earth for a purpose, and the aim for us in life is to find out what that purpose is!
We don’t usually seek the answer right away. Most put it off until some calamity forces us to find answers to life’s most important questions. Why am I here? Why am I in this body? Who am I, really? Continue reading →
“Unclean” is what my second wife said about an aspect of my spiritual journey that I shared with her. I must have scared the hell out of her because she looked shocked and confused. I didn’t mean to hurt her or make her upset.
But the words she used went straight to my head before I dealt with it in my heart. Continue reading →
On this Labor Day weekend, I’d like to offer the song “Joe Hill” to all my union-supporting friends, and share the story of the man who helped me as a union organizer in what seem another lifetime ago.Continue reading →
Kids I grew up with in the tough section of North Philadelphia said that I had “a lot of heart.” I cherish that statement more than any I later heard as a teenager, a young adult or even someone in his middle ages looking back on what made him the most proud in his short lifetime. You’d have a “lot of heart” if you didn’t care for the consequences when sticking up for a black kid when a white “friend” called him the “N” word and then classified you as a “N-gger lover” for coming to his defense.
Summer always served as a “new beginning” for me when I was in the army. I got drafted on the Third of June and did my Basic Training in the hot, dry air of Fort Bragg, North Carolina. I can’t tell you how many push-ups I did during the two-month training session as the meanest drill sergeant I ever seen brought fire to my poor soul by running me everywhere and cussing me out to force me into fighting shape. Continue reading →
Much of what I know about war was what I learned while playing as a kid. You know, using a stick or a broken branch from a tree, I’d pretend it was a rifle to shoot the bad guys who were out to get me and the rest of the good guys in my old neighborhood. Continue reading →
All of my legal career involved defending someone charged with crimes or offenses against the law. I worked 20 years as a lawyer, trying more than a hundred jury trials, winning more than half of them.
But to be honest, my first taste of arguing the law came not as a defense lawyer, but as a prosecutor, one appointed by some colonel to bring charges against a buck private who broke a law and faced a summary offense for some minor infraction.
I met Abraham up close and personal yesterday and I learned the universe had called me to study the Law of Attraction as voiced by Esther Hicks, the one who channeled for the spirits guiding us back to the Source within. Continue reading →
I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I know that it’s my fault. I walked out on you believing I could get along without you, without your guidance without your help. Without your love . . . Continue reading →
A Viet Cong sniper was trying to kill me. Some motherfucker hiding in the trees, the bushes, the triple-canopy jungle had just shot at my platoon. I thought he was shooting randomly, despite the debris from the ground, grassland and other tiny bits of rock that struck me from a bullet’s ricochets.
No. he was aiming at no one but me! It’s taken me more than forty years to figure that out. Continue reading →
The guru then made the following announcement, quoting the feminine deity: Moor Jani:
We all have the capacity to heal ourselves as well as facilitate the healing of others. When we get in touch with that infinite place within us where we are Whole, then illness can’t remain in the body. And because we’re all connected, there’s no reason why one person’s state of wellness can’t touch others. Elevating them and triggering their recovery. And when we heal others, we also heal ourselves and our planet.
That’s the key to a happy life, you know. Learning to serve others selflessly with no expectation of a reward other than the knowledge you are doing unto others something you’d want them to do . . . unto everyone else.
I expected to try to get through the day today without my morning cup of meditation-offering from Deepak & Oprah. I figured the 21-day journey had ended yesterday, August 31st. Yet today, the American holiday called “Labor Day,” they gave us a gift — an extra day. And boy, did I need it. Continue reading →
You may also have experienced this kind of hope, (See https://contoveros.wordpress.com/?p=12505&preview=true) but not thought of it in those terms. Think of a time when you felt sure you were going to attain a lofty goal, even though the path to the goal was not apparent. That is the hope that comes from your being. Describe this feeling of certainty in your journal. – Deepak Chopra 21-Day Meditation Experience (Feeling Hope)
I was a buck private in training as a soldier in Fort Dix, NJ, when I had a vision or what Zen Buddhists call a “satori” or moment of clarity of what I needed to do with my life.
We introduced a new understanding of hope today. We want to build a sense of hope that is a force of change that comes from a feeling of certainty and well-being within, rather than an anxious kind of hope that vaguely wishes for things to turn out well. Write about an experience you may have had with this stronger kind of hope.– Deepak Chopra (Day 6 — Feeling Hope)
I don’t think you can have a future or any type of “end product” without hope. I see hope more as a process, a living force that flows from day-to-day, hour by hour, and minute by minute. We hope for something that will come into existence in some future time. Yet the feeling we get through the act of hope occurs in the present.
Despite always having a smile on my lips and a laugh at my tongue, I found it hard to think of anything to write about for the latest meditation round for Oprah and Deepak. That is, until I picked up my son at work this evening and we joked and laughed until I almost did you know what in my pants. It hurt so much that I started crying, that’s how good it was and how great it felt to just let it all come out in front of one of his 22-year-old buddies and our 25-year-old female traveling companion.