Google Business Site

https://business.google.com/site/l/00340193233801018574

Above is the link to my Google Business site. I’d like to know what you think, thanks.

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Resolutions for My Birthday

ON August 1 is my 62nd birthday-yes, I’ve made it THIS far, thanks be to God. I now perform my ritual of my birthday resolutions, compatible to my resolutions for New Year’s, Pesach, and Rosh haShona.

I will continue to practice self-love, self-esteem, and self-respect, thinking positively about my life and what I can do as a person.

I will continue to be faithful to Jewish tradition, history, religion, culture, etc.

I will continue to practice all forms of cultural and educational pursuits, such as libraries, galleries, lectures, classes, lectures, etc.

I will continue to practice prayer and meditation for spiritual and mental health.

I will continue to develop the art and business of writing and other artistic endeavors.

My Upcoming Events

This is a reminder that I’ll host an author’s night at A Novel Idea On Passyunk, 1726 E. Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia, at 6:00 PM, on Tuesday, August 6, 2019. There I’ll have my books for sale, read my poetry, and talk about my life. https://anovelideaphilly.com/

I’ll also have an event at Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar, 1200 East Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia, at 6:00 PM, on Monday, August 26, 2019. Also there I’ll have my books for sale, read my poetry, and talk about my life. https://www.thehappybirthdaybar.com/. I hope you see you and both places.

The Mason Missile, July 22, 2019

Greetings!

Since this publication takes a good deal of work and time, I welcome any donations, and I am willing to discuss ad space. For $10.00 I will be happy to advertise your business on the Missile. Please contact me and we’ll talk about it.

Reminder-I will hold an author’s event at the new independent bookstore, A Novel Idea on Passyunk, 1726 E. Passyunk Avenue, on Tuesday, August 6, 2019. I hope to see your face in the place. (https://anovelideaphilly.com/)

Late in June I underwent a colonoscopy at Hahnemann Hospital. Two of the polyps they scraped out of me were called a “hyperplastic polyp,” a benign polyp that is not cancerous. The third polyp, however, was a “tubular adenoma,” a pre-cancerous polyp which is not cancer, but it places me at risk for developing these kinds of polyps in the future. I know the prepping for the procedure is a pain in the ass (sorry about the pun), but it was worth it, so I don’t develop colorectal cancer. I beseech all of you out there to go get your colonoscopies, you’ll be glad you did.

This leads me to the upcoming closing of Hahnemann Hospital early in September 6-a hospital geared closely to serving the medical needs of homeless, working-class, and low-income people, and people with no health insurance-no small thing. Such people will lose a valuable health asset, and 2500 employees there- doctors, nurses, medical technicians, custodial workers, and food service workers-will lose their jobs. Happily, people in the community, and some elected officials, are rising up against this. Health care is a right and a necessity, not a luxury.

The company owning Hahnemann, American Academic Health System-owned by Joel Friedman-are said to plan on turning the hospital into luxury condominiums; Hahnemann is on North Broad Street in Philadelphia, where, as part of the development of that area,  other historic buildings are being refurbished into high-end dwellings-the Divine Lorraine Hotel, and the old Inquirer building. Here is the “free market’ at work; public policy is geared towards satisfying the profit margins of real-estate developers (like the current inmate in the White House) and investors, almost entirely in the Center City area, while the needs of residents-hospitals, schools, fire and police services-are neglected because they’re not making a billionaire richer. The idea that you have to make someone else richer-someone who already has billions in their offshore accounts-to bring about needed services has to end. Again I call for a national health insurance program for all Americans-Medicare for All.    

Late in June, there was a fire at the refinery in South Philadelphia, along West Passyunk Avenue, owned by the firm Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES). I, along with other residents nearby, got the call to shey in our houses until the fire was contained sufficiently. The refinery, in its producing of gasoline, used hydrogen fluoride, which has been a danger to workers and people in the surrounding neighborhoods. The facility-a merger of the Point Breeze and Girard Point refineries-is at the point where the Schuykill and Delaware rivers meet, and is on top of an aquifer, defined by Merriam-Webster as “a water-bearing stratum of permeable rock, sand, or gravel.”  Thus, three sources of water in the region could have been contaminated, along with the air. Now, the refinery is closed, and 1,100 workers are out of work, due to the short-sightedness of the company, not upgrading or updating the infrastructure of the facility, simply taking the money out for their own fun and not reinvesting in the facility or its workers, their most important asset.

I heard the old story from the seventies, from the Ford administration to today-“Government regulation is hurting economic growth and preventing job creation! We must allow the corporations and their brilliant genius leaders to do whatever the hell they want, and we shall all prosper!” Both parties have played this tune for over forty years, and it’s incidents like this that remind us that regulation of corporations-be they energy companies, banks, or HMOs, what have you- is necessary, that we can’t count on them utilizing the “market” for their riches and thus we all will thrive.

Gouging for short-term quarterly profits, instead of upgrading equipment and infrastructure, has been the practice of our capitalist class, and eventually the downfall of the American economy. The needs of the community-for hospital care, safe working conditions, and a livable environment-and cast aside for the sake of profit margins for the already-billionaire class, and working and low-income people have no say in any of this. Plus, the plutocratic class’ handmaids in politics and the media tell us to not be so damned indignant over it all, as if fighting for our rights-and our well-being-is a crime; and sometimes it is. The solution is to get organized, educated, and informed about these situations and what we can do for our well-being as a community, and to get out OUR vote for OUR candidates and OUR needs.

Bye!

Philly For Change, July 3, 2019

I hope you can join me for the next meeting at Philly for Change, at Tattooed Mom, 5th and South streets in Philadelphia, tomorrow, Wednesday, July 3, 2019. Speaking there will be Rochelle Bilal, candidate for Sheriff; Tracey Gordon, candidate for Register of Wills; and Dave Scholnick, speaking on on gun violence. We will also discuss the refinery fire in South Philadelphia, and the 2020 election. See you there!

Parshat Shelah-Lecha

We have recently studied the Torah portion Shelah-Lecha, Numbers 13:1-15-41. God tells Moses to send a team of spies to scout out the Land that was promised to the Israelites; these are to be leading men from each of the twelve tribes, men of respect in their communities, hat the people look up to.  Moses gives them their orders to scout the land: “What kind of country is this? Are the inhabitants strong or weak?  Are the cities open or fortified? Is the soil rich or poor?” Moses also asks for samples of the fruit of the land.

For forty days, the spies examine the land, picking up a huge cluster of grapes that they have to carry on a wooden beam. They return from their mission and tell Moses, “It is indeed an abundant land, but the cities are fortified,” and they speak of the various nationalities occupying the land. They continue, “We can’t attack these people, they’re stronger than we are,” and they claim to see the Nephilim, a race of beings mentioned in the sixth book of Genesis, “divine beings (who) cohabited with the daughters of men (Genesis 6:4).” The spies concluded, “(W)e looked like grasshoppers to ourselves, and so we must have looked to them.”

Two of the spies, Joshua of the tribe of Ephraim and Caleb of the tribe of Judah, insist that, if they maintain their faith in God, the Israelites definitely can take on and beat the inhabitants, and bring them to the abundant land; but the Israelites, listening to their leaders, the men they trust, fall into a panic, crying, “If only we died in Egypt! Let’s go back to Egypt!”

Moses pleads with God to tur His wrath away from the people, who lost faith in Him and in themselves. God agrees, but as punishment, the Israelites would remain in exile for another forty years, until the generation that experienced slavery-and the slave mentality it engendered-dies; the exceptions would be Caleb and Joshua, the two spies who have faith they could take the land.

The next day, the Israelites prepare for battle against the inhabitants of the land, and Moses warns them not to; “The Lord is not in your midst…the Lord would not be with you.” The Israelites engage in battle and the inhabitants defeat them.

The spies are leaders of their tribes, men the community trusts and listens to; they come back and tell the people, “We’re inferior to the people we’re up against, we’re little crawling insects compared to them.” THIS is what the leaders of the community tell them; but two of the leaders, Caleb and Joshua, say, “Yes, we CAN beat them and take the land!”  How many times have kids been told by adults they respect, parents, teachers, what have you, that you’re incapable of anything, you’re no good, you’re stupid, you’re useless? How many adults have told kids this stuff?

The Israelites go into a panic and scream to go back to Egypt, the land of their slavery and oppression; it’s no different from a battered spouse staying with their abuser, since they’re not confident in themselves in being out into the world away from their abuser. For their lack of faith in God and in themselves, the Israelites could not, would not enter the land of milk and honey that God promised their ancestors, the realm of prosperity and well-being. Ow often has our self-confidence prevented us from fulfilling our goals and dreams?

When the Israelites go into battle-after saying they could not take on the inhabitants and wanting to go back into Egypt-they are defeated; they went in, knowing they would be beaten, they only go through the motions; this has happened many times, when you know a project you’re compelled to do is going to fail.

The Haftorah portion is in Joshua, the second chapter; Joshua orders a team of spies to surveil the city of Jericho. The spies hide out in the home of the harlot Rahab, which is right on the city gates. Rahab tells the spies that the people of the city of terrified of the Israelites and for all that God has done for them-all the victories God has brought about for them. The spies tell Rahab to bring her whole family together into the house, and run a red cord on the window, as a sign of their safety-as long as she keeps their mission a secret.

A harlot, a woman supposedly looked down upon, is the hero of this story, protecting the Israelite spies and telling them of their power over their enemies. The cliché, “I didn’t know my own strength” comes to mind. Do we really know how powerful and strong we truly are?  How could we ever know? This portion deals with issues of self-image and self-esteem, which I have been working on all my life and that is why this is my favorite.