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
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
He doesn’t play with me like he used too. I’d be the first thing he’d grab and put on his head when he went outside and pretend he was Davy Crockett. A coonskin hat was meant for little boys and those wanting to be “king of the wild frontier.” But he has seen me less and less since that white plastic ball entered his life and got him swinging at it. Continue reading
Writing has opened me to a world above and beyond my five senses and I feel like an HG Wells whenever I revisit the past and recall what life was like when I was fortunate enough to stop the world for a few brief moments and write about something. 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
My mind’s a blank.
I can’t think of anything to write about. I feel lost, adrift, less than human.
That is what happens when you make writing your life’s love. You want to write all of the time and never be too far away from what writing can do for you. Can do to you! 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 could die really cool when I was a kid.
I’d pretend that I was a soldier on a mission with a rifle in my hands as I made my way through enemy territory. I’d carry a tree limb most of the time and walk through pathways in a jungle we called Fairmount Park. Continue reading
Chocolate was my favorite flavor Tootsie Roll Pop. Cherry was my second. I don’t remember the first time I licked one. I must have gotten the candy at age five or six years old. Continue reading
My Uncle Mike was a grizzly white haired Greek who spoke little to no English when my father invited him to stay in our house in North Philadelphia. I don’t know if he really was a blood relative, but he was one of the meanest mother-humpers I had ever come into contact with as a child. Continue reading
When the Good Lord created the universe He created order out of chaos. He instilled Free Will in earthlings, something he withheld from the angels of whom He created first. Continue reading
I wanted to shoot the political sign I saw outside of Philadelphia the other day but ended up feeling sorry for all of us who react violently against the person we demonize on the other side of the aisle. Continue reading
If I had my druthers, I think I would have made cats and dogs more like people and make people more like the other animals.
Yes, as God, I would have changed the book of Genesis and created the dog first and then taking a rib from the first one, I would have created his loving mate and good friend, the cat. Continue reading
You’ll never find me here. I learned years ago that I could hide away from you whenever I feel you’re looking too closely at me or expecting me to act a certain way that I really don’t want to act, to speak, or to even think. Continue reading
Can someone become the “muse” of another?
Could my reckless and often unabashed “agitation” be the instigation for another person to find the voice she needed to speak directly from her soul?
I like to think so. I believe I might have sparked a keg of memories that were waiting for the right moment and touch to manifest and explode for the world to finally see. Continue reading
It was Saturday morning, May the 19th of 2012. I awoke that early morning feeling well rested. Since the beginning of the new year I had started working Monday thru Thursday, having Fridays off. In the past, when working a full week my Saturdays were spent sleeping in and catching up on the many hours of sleep lost during the week. Continue reading
“My grandfather lied to my grandmother. I guess it runs in the family.*
But I never got married while I still had a family. That’s what I’m talking about. He lied about being married at the time he married the only grandmother I ever knew Continue reading
“The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.”
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
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
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
I would love to write a book about how people came to the current journey they’re on.
You see, I have this tendency of going up to people and asking them how they came to be where they are; that is, spiritually, if you know what I mean. Continue reading
When was the last time you read a book where you had to stop to digest what you just took in because you wanted to savor what you felt?
And then while resonating with it, you get a warm glow about yourself; you feel lighter, more connected with the world and so happy that another person can put into words what you know is so true? Continue reading
You ever meet someone who tells you what you and he or she had done so many years earlier when you hung out that time, but you don’t remember? This happened to me recently at a neighborhood reunion.
Try as I might, I couldn’t remember what the hell they were talking about. Worse yet, I couldn’t place them in my memory back or through the retrieval process. Who is this person, I asked myself while smiling and laughing hard at the retelling of a story they seem to have gotten so much out of. 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 am to be executed tomorrow and tonight I’ve been offered the chance of a lifetime. I can eat anything my heart desires! Continue reading
Who am I? What do I believe? And, can I name a few of my beliefs?
Let me name a few things I believe about myself. They’re in no particular order. 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
“I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, and more desolation. Some of these young men think that war is all glory but let me say . . . war is all hell.”
American Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman
When I write, I try to tap into the child within. I try to “feel” something that I can share with another, be it humorous, educational or shocking. I have stories to tell from my past that brought me to this point, and I think they may help another to feel what I feel and to take action even if that action is simply to refrain from acting or even thinking.
Ever wonder what goes into the marketing of a book before it ever hits the book stores or gets on Amazon.com? Well, I never knew until I saw it up close and personal.
I thought you might enjoy some of the steps taken for my second book, “Ithaca Insights,” to be published through CreateSpace. Enjoy! (Note to sharp-eyed readers. I changed the title mid-way through this odyssey.) Continue reading
The person who had the biggest impact on my life was my second wife. She had a 157 IQ, but never once acted as if she was better than me. She easily got angry at injustices, and would on occasion lash out against the hypocrisy of politicians, while helping the underprivileged and the rights of women in a male-dominated society. 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.
There is no separation except in our own minds.
Goodbye. I’m leaving you after this. I felt I needed to write this, because I really don’t know what tomorrow will bring, or the day after . . . All of it is a mystery to me. And, I’m afraid. Continue reading
Kabbalah’s Definition of “Israel”
(From an excerpt of new book, St. Francis of Assisi, A Novel Awakening to Lady Poverty)
Writing as Francesco di Bernadone
What did I learn about Francis of Assisi while researching the facts about his life?
He wanted to grow up to be a crusader and fight in the Crusades which had gone on for some one hundred years when he was born in 2081 or 2082.
Francis fought in a battle between the city-state of Assisi and its neighboring town of Perugia, which sided with the nobility and wanted to continue with the feudal system. Continue reading
Simply knowing that I wrote a book is one helluva experience.
Seeing it on amazon.com is breath-taking! Continue reading
I am about to be an author!
Well, a “published” author, that is . . .
I just learned that my book about Francis of Assisi, a historic novel, will be available at Amazon sometime in the next two months, September and October (2014). Writing it was a true labor of love. I mixed in Catholicism with Sufism and lots of Buddhism. I also introduced Francis, aka Giovanni di Bernadone, his real name by the way, to the Wisdom of Kabbalah and a belief in what I call “angel therapy.” Continue reading
Today’s meditation showed us that we all have a profound and innate wisdom. How have you experienced this in your life? Write about a time that you spontaneously said the right thing at the right time to someone. What did that communication feel like for you? — Deepak & Oprah 21-day Meditation Experience.
As I struggle to come up with a satisfactory answer for this question, let me focus instead on what Deepak had quoted William Blake as saying in reference to wisdom. Wisdom is “organized innocence.” What a concept! In order to have or to cultivate wisdom, I know that I must be in awe of something; I must see that thing with wonder, with the eyes of an innocent child. Continue reading
I am hot. I feel like I have a fever . . . A fever that pulses through me the past several weeks. It seems this fever entered my blood stream just about the same time as I started doing twice a day meditation with Deepak and Oprah for a 21-day Meditation Experience. Writing in the journal has added to the mix. Continue reading
(Question 2 on Hope)
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.
I needed and wanted to write a book. Continue reading
(Part 1 of 2)
Recall a time when you felt calm and peaceful, even though the circumstances were not peaceful. Write down a description of that event, and describe how you were able to be calm in that situation. What was the source of this peacefulness if it didn’t come from outside? — Deepak Chopra 21-Day Meditation Experience (Day 3 — “Feeling Peace”)
I had led my platoon in Vietnam for several months. We had encountered several fire-fights, but no one was killed or injured, thank God. But, you never knew what the next day would bring and so we were on edge, on the ready so to speak for anything that might have endangered us. Continue reading
Just finished 73,000 words about Francesco, the young man from Assisi who overcame post traumatic stress from battles as well as a year-long imprisonment before being ransomed by his rich mercantile father. Continue reading
- the lovely garden beside a Thai Buddhist Temple
- the freshness of post-meditation
- the purity of post-meditation
- the high of talking dharma with a new friend Luke
- surrounded by Bonsai trees Continue reading
Why write of an experience, when you can experience it?
There’ll be time enough for writing when the chapter ends and a new one begins at the stroke of the pen.
Live now. Live in the present.
Love now. Love in the presence . . .
Write with the love you become tomorrow.
The thought of going to prison never bothered me. I’d survive and flourish behind bars where I’d have more than enough time to reflect and write which I have found is my true love in life.
No, I could kill without worrying about the consequences. It would be my first offense. I am certified as a Vietnam veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and I don’t see any judge or jury putting me to death for the crime.
All of this went through my mind when I was waiting at the train platform and a rather tall, white guy walked in front of me. I was standing near the tracks. I was close enough and in line with others stranding on either side of me that I never thought someone could make their way between me and the tracks. But the man did. He walked around me. He stood directly in front of me. No one else stood that close. I recall thinking how totally inappropriate and rude his actions were.
That’s when I planned to kill him. Continue reading
Dealing with the Vietnam War becomes a little easier each time I write about it. I “desensitize” myself. I now see my actions as separate from the emotions I felt while a young soldier, as well as the feelings of guilt many veterans like me, imposed on ourselves while readjusting to civilian life. It’s helpful when a high school student asks questions and you try to be honest and direct. Continue reading
I knew a boy
Who went to war
And left his home
I knew him well,
That boy was me
And now I cannot
— A Vietnam veteran’s tweak of a World War II sailor’s song about war
(Photo of this young World War I “Doughboy” courtesy of greatwar.nl/oldsoldiers/lloydcleme… )
I’ve taken compassion on the road. Literally!
I send affection to motorists cut off by a speeding car that winds in and out of lanes. I feel for the driver who was never told by the operator of a car in front that that operator was going to turn, despite what appears to be working lights that turn on and off when you press the turn signal lever up or down. Continue reading
I am complete.
I am finished.
I’ve done what I have done and everyone can be satisfied with my efforts, including — and most importantly — me. Continue reading
While Neil Armstrong was taking a giant leap for all mankind, I had taken a small step toward adulthood one month after the moon landing, and I had no one to thank for it except my brother, who encouraged me to aim for the stars in becoming an officer and a gentleman in the Army of the United States of America. Continue reading
A tattoo can readily identify someone, and sometimes one can become the key to the guilt or innocence of a man facing the wrath of a woman he may have wronged. Continue reading
One of the most wonderful moments of my life occurred without my knowing it. Had I the presence of mind to be more present for things that mattered, I might not have missed it. Recalling what this once-in-a-lifetime occurrence must have been like, however, is the second-best way I know of memorializing it. Continue reading
I didn’t want to go back to Omega Institute this year. Each time I travelled to this land of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle, I’d get high from the holistic experience. But then I’d change into an Ichabod Crane feeling chased by the Headless Horseman who’d tell true life stories that caused so much pain I couldn’t hold it inside. Continue reading
A black and blue mark developed on my chest and I didn’t notice it until a fellow swimmer pointed it out while I was in a pool at the gym. The mark is a full inch in diameter and I would gladly take on a half-dozen more for the immense benefit the initial bruising provided me.
Acupuncture eased and minimized my acute pain from a nagging groin pull. Continue reading
There is a tradition in Eastern philosophies where you’re taught to view each person and other sentient being as if he, she – or it – is your mother. I never knew how nurturing this could be until I allowed the child in me to reciprocate and bask in the most secure and loving place. Continue reading
Creativity exists in all of us. But, only those that nurture it can fully appreciate its magical transformation.
I liken it to a mineral or rock that resides within, undisturbed by the daily thoughts and busy lives of quiet desperation. It can be uncovered only when one stills the mind and releases preconceived notions of what creation is all about. Continue reading
Do yourself a favor. Keep an eye out for a vet.
Actively seek out someone in your church, synagogue or temple and befriend him so that what happened in Philadelphia last week never happens again. Continue reading
It’s time for my disappearing act to begin. I close my eyes, wave an imaginary magic wand, and slowly begin to vanish from existence here. All thoughts and fears come to an end as I find protection beneath a cloak of invisibility, safe from the savages outside and the demons within. Continue reading
I was seething when I saw my former US senator decry Blacks receiving food stamps from the government. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania told an Iowa audience this week that he would tackle this “race problem” if elected president, thus echoing the sentiments of his old congressional colleague, Newt Gingrich, who suggested poor students in city schools clean the bathrooms for their more affluent ones, rather than grow up to be pimps or prostitutes. Continue reading
Ever wonder what life was like for ancestors living fifty, a hundred or even 200 years ago? How would you like to read a journal of some great, great, great-aunt forced to raise a family alone after her soldier husband had been killed in the Civil War? Like to see your great-grandfather dressed in Irish kilts speaking to you from the old country, or view a relative wearing a straw hat toasting you from America’s Roaring 20s? Continue reading
How’d you like to go back in time and correct mistakes made in the past? No, you couldn’t go back to the moment before you were conceived, or any other time in your far distant past. Go back to more recent moments – say in the past year or two — when you believed you knew so much about life and how to live it without doing harm to others. Continue reading
Anger. It hits like a poison arrow causing me to drop what I’m doing and focus on the pain it inflicts. Continue reading
I can think of no worse place to be than in a church, a temple or a synagogue when an unbidden and involuntary giggle would invade my psyche and take control of me. A “giggle,” is too mild a word: uncontrollable laughter would rise to the level of guffaws and downright knee-slappers’ right at the most somber parts of a religious service. Continue reading
I got high again. I didn’t know how much I needed a “fix” until my head slumped on my chest and I “awoke” to a restful, calm and peaceful world I had been away from for what seems a lifetime. I felt refreshed, clean and somehow right despite what others might say. Continue reading
Why do I write? The answer is: because I have to. I need the therapy looking deep inside provides me. I’m not talking about surface writing. You know, the kind a reporter might type when covering some disaster, a meeting, or a political event that might include both. I write only after communing with some sort of truth that bubbles up from within. Continue reading
Thank God for Buddhism. What’s that you say? I can’t have one in, and of, the other?
Are you telling this red-blooded American veteran that I cannot follow the teachings of the Buddha and still believe in the God of Abraham? Continue reading
I’m a union man. Even though I held but one adult job as a dues-paying member, I will always be a union man. Why? Because I believe it’s the truly right path for the working man to walk. Continue reading
(From Part I, These are true signs of our Times/)
The greatest protest of our generation is seeking change in all shapes and sizes. You can see it in the signs the demonstrators carry, writing the letters out really big with magic markers so that passersby need not squint to get the messages.
There is not just one message, but many, which all have one thing in common: a belief that our world can do better for all and not just the few Continue reading
Ah bliss! It’s so wonderful to welcome your visit. You return when I least expect you, embracing me and bringing peace and calm just when I still myself and end needless thoughts.
Are any thoughts actually needed when I go within? I need but seek a quiet moment with no thought save the intent to be free of the past and the future, Continue reading
Tone it down America. You are cutting off your nose to despite your face. The face of the body politic, that is, and we are creating needless hurt for the countrymen we’d like to lead to our mutual goal: the pursuit of happiness. Continue reading
Jobs have a way of defining us. We become “the job” or rather grow into what we perceive to be the “ideal performer” of that job. Whether we like it or. The job. Or ourselves. Continue reading
“Make yourself a Rav, and buy for yourself a friend.”
— Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Perachya Continue reading