Harry Wolf

She was an amazing catch and Harry knew it. She loved him unconditionally from day one.

harry-debby-andy-wolf.jpgIra Ludwin called me tonight. I haven’t spoken to him in a while. Our mutual friend Harry Wolf was killed in a car crash. I hadn’t spoken to Harry in a while either.

Harry and I, to use the term currently in vogue, palled around in the 70s. We were friends through ham radio. I knew Harry when he met, moved in with, then married Debby. They were married 32 years. They had a son and daughter–both in their twenties now.

Harry was an off-center kind of guy. Bald early, Harry wore glasses and was never confused with an athlete. He was a smart guy who knew a lot about a lot of different things. He ran a self-financed talk show on a little station in Jersey. I understand he was teaching recently–at Temple, his alma mater.

His relationship with Debby was the best part of the story. She was an amazing catch and Harry knew it. She loved him unconditionally from day one. It is difficult to conceive a more nurturing relationship.

Tonight on the phone Debby reminded me of July 4, 1976. I was living in the Philly area. Harry and Debby, along with a few other friends went to Washington, DC for the Bicentennial fireworks.

We sat on a small hill overlooking the Mall. Our section applauded loudly when, from our vantage point, it looked like a shell would hit a plane. I know that sounds awful today, but we knew it was just an optical illusion. It was a good natured example of homogeneous crowd personality. It was a memorable day all around.

What do you say at a time like this?

This is the part of life they never explain when you’re growing up.

Getting In The Rhythm

The atmosphere has lots of patterns, large and small, important and unimportant, constantly interacting. Getting in the rhythm means getting with that flow, which you often feel more than understand.

I have worked 5 of the last 21 calendar days. I need to get back in the rhythm.

It sounds so trite, and yet it’s true.

Haven’t you heard about football players coming off their bye week, or other athletes who need to reestablish their rhythm?

I’m no athlete – obvi. However, I do work with the weather which is incredibly rhythmic.

“Weather patterns are changing.” You’ve heard those words before.

It’s not that they sometimes change. They’re always evolving to something they aren’t. Luckily, there is fluidity to the motion of the atmosphere.

If the pattern was a simple sine wave, getting back in sync would be easy. The atmosphere has lots of patterns, large and small, important and unimportant, constantly interacting. Getting in the rhythm means getting with that flow, which you often feel more than understand.

Today, I’ll look at my maps and understand them, but it will probably take a little time before I see them and am viscerally able to “go with the flow.”

Luckily the patterns aren’t too complicated right now… and for us, virtually snow free.

A Wonderful Day

This is about yesterday, Saturday. We didn’t do anything special, but it was a great day.

Helaine and Steffie want me to update the look of my eyeglasses. I haven’t had my eyes checked in a while, so I made an appointment for this coming Friday. Uh oh – that didn’t fit in with Steffie’s schedule.

We went to the optical center yesterday to pick out frames. I’ll go back Friday to get my eyes checked. I suspect that’s not the usual order of things.

Currently, my glasses are oval shaped. The new glasses are rectangular. I worry about making a Kerri Russell fashion faux pas.

“I used to like Geoff…. but something’s changed. I just can’t put my finger on it.”

Helaine says it’s good for me that the girl who waited on us had no idea who I was. She thinks I need more humility. Humility is so overrated.

It was great spending time with Steffie. I’m sure she’ll cringe when she reads this, but there’s a whole lot of maturity and understanding that wasn’t there a year or two ago. She’s funny and intelligent. She’s fun to be with.

Don’t ask why, but along the way I developed this desire to go go-cart riding. We headed to “The Game” in North Haven.

Before we had a chance to cart, we headed to the batting cage.

I’ve never been an athlete and yesterday was no exception. However, I didn’t make a fool of myself. Steffie and Helaine did the batting cage too and were great.

Truth is, hitting the ball with the bat wasn’t important. We just had a good time kibitzing and laughing and being a family.

Go-carts was a bad idea. I drive a car that can do 150 mph. Maybe a go-cart isn’t the same thrill it used to be.

This is the same problem the Harlen Globetrotters have. They were great… until NBA players started showboating. Now, what’s the big deal?

We scoured Route 5 looking for a diner… and found one. Every diner I know of is owned and run by Greeks. They really have it down to a science.

What is it about us and diners? Are we the anti-gourmand family? The food was great, especially my chicken pot pie with homemade crust.

When you add it all up it, nothing we did was so special. On the other hand, it was totally amazing.

You understand, right?

Treadmill Time

Along with dieting, I had promised Helaine that I’d spend time exercising. Exercise is something I have successfully avoided my entire life.

I am not an athlete. When I was a kid, and sides were being chosen for punchball (In Flushing, a hugely popular baseball derivative played with a hollow pink rubber ball), everyone hoped for an odd number of kids so I wouldn’t have to play. Even I knew my limitations.

The older I got, the more sedentary I became. That’s probably true of most adults. I know I should exercise, but… well, if it was fun, everyone would do it – me included. Plus, there are other more important things to do.

OK – I pretty much felt anything was more important. Look, it’s a new Ron Popeil infomercial.

But, as I said, I promised. So, over the past few weeks I have been hitting the treadmill. I had written here on the blog that when I finished, rather than feeling better, I felt like I was going to die. I got an email from my physician, Steve. He had read the blog and told me how wrong I was.

Sometimes I hate the truth.

OK – I hear you all. I’m trying. Honest I am. At least 3-4 times a week I’m moving my legs, sweating like a pig, feeling like George Jetson over the closing credits.

I haven’t increased the time I spend on the treadmill, but I have increased the time I spend sprinting. A few days ago, while going for coffee, I picked up the sidewalk pace and was surprised to not be winded. In fact I am sure I have more stamina when jogging on the treadmill than I did when I started.

Is this life extension? Who knows. There are statistics that say it should be, but individuals don’t live statistical averages. Our lives are comprised of what scientists call anecdotal incidents, each of which could easily diverge from the average.

What I’m saying is, if I keel over from all this exercising I’ll really be upset.

Blogger’s note: I am now down to 174 pounds. I have passed my weightloss goal, but will continue at least until our July vacation.


Last night, in a pretty awful game, I watched the UCONN men’s basketball team disassemble Georgia Tech. Now they’re national champions.

Tonight the UCONN women held on to beat Tennessee. This was much more of a game – really a dream game pitting two teams which are perennial rivals. National champion number 2.

Geno Auriemma, UCONN’s coach and Pat Summit, coach at Tennessee, couldn’t be more different. She scares me. He seems warm and fuzzy – though I am sure I don’t want to be on Geno’s bad side.

Last season I went and watched a UCONN women’s game at Gampel Pavilion on the Storrs campus. As soon as I saw Geno, only one thing went through my mind – wow, what a suit. He was wearing the best looking, best fitting suit I had ever seen. Call me crazy, but it was that obvious that this was quality goods.

Nationwide, women’s basketball is far behind men’s in terms of popularity. Not here in Connecticut. As good as the men are, I wonder if the women aren’t more popular?

To me, the women’s game is something I can more relate to (though my relating to any athlete or athletic accomplishment is laughable at best). They are more finesse and less power. The game is lower scoring but just as intense as the men’s.

Both teams will be decimated as players graduate, or drafted as underclassmen into the NBA. It will be interesting to see how the two coaches and two programs rebuild. Or, will we ever dominate these two sports again?

Blame The Lawyers?

Since returning from Chicago, I’ve been catching up on the news. One of the recurring themes today is the question of whether Martha Stewart’s attorneys failed her?

There is an implication that good lawyering should achieve the desired result, no matter what the cause of action. We, unfortunately, live in a society that believes the goal of a well presented defense is to allow someone to be unaccountable for their actions. If that’s the criteria by which the Stewart verdict is being judged, the critics are right.

But, isn’t the whole idea of competent counsel, a fair and just result?

It is in the selfish interest of the accused (if guilty) to get an unfair and unjust adjudication. Hey – if it were me, that’s what I’d want. That’s not what’s in the best interest of our society – and our court system is supposed to be operating in the best interests of society.

Maybe it’s time we reassess exactly what it is lawyers do. Is a lawyer who can get a guilty client ‘off’ any different than a trainer who supplies an athlete with steroids that can’t be detected?

In a fair and just society, the question shouldn’t be about what Martha Stewart’s attorneys did, but what Martha did herself.