Tire Swing, School Yard

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

Once upon a time when Gramps was big and I was littler than Akiva (as the story would begin, as told to my children), Cate & Dan & I went to a playground somewhere near our old house in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. Ari and Mom were probably there, too. Which is to say, I am certain Mom walked us there & she wouldn’t have gone without Ari, tho I certainly don’t remember Ari being there at all. What I do remember is the tire swing.





I remember Cate & Dan were playing on the tire swing. They were swinging wildly back & forth, laughing loudly. I remember I wanted to play, too, but they wouldn’t let me. Or perhaps I tried but they immediately swung too wildly before I got a grip, and I cried to be let off. Or maybe I cried for them to stop so that I could get a grip on the chains, and they told me to get off. Or maybe Mom took me off, but either way, I wasn’t on the tire swing. I wanted to be on the tire swing, but I had to wait until they were done.





After what seemed like an interminable amount of time but was likely only eleven hours hours or perhaps ten minutes, Cate and Dan jumped off the tire swing and ran away. I didn’t like the fact that they ran away from me any more than the fact that they played on the tire swing without me. Mom said it was my turn, so I had to get on.





The problem with swinging on a tire swing alone when one is three or four years old is that it is nearly impossible.1 Whereas Cate & Dan had each other to pump with, I had no one. I knew how to pump a swing standing up, so I tried to pump the tire swing. As I pumped I must have leaned slightly to one side, because the tire swing began to spin. I didn’t want it to spin. I crouched toward the center to get a better grip on the chains, and the tire swing began to spin faster! I leaned in further so as to keep from flying off. The swing spun faster and faster! The world was a blur! I could not stop it! I started to scream. Mom must have thought I was screaming in delight, as she did nothing to save me. I started to cry, and the swing kept swinging, faster, faster! It was horrible! I wanted to stop! No one was helping me!





After far too long, the swing stopped spinning. Maybe Mom had stopped it.


“Are you done?” Mom asked.

I was crying too hard to answer her, so I walked away a little bit and collapsed on the ground.2





    1. The average age to overcome the impossibility of swinging one’s self on a tire swing is five.
    2.  If I was annoyed at Mom for not saving me immediately, I had the right to be so, at least for 10 minutes. Akiva, on the other hand, has the right to be annoyed at me between the ages of puberty until his mid-thirties for letting him wear knee-socks, shorts, & loafers on the playground at age five.

Tarot of the Absurd for sale on AMAZON!

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

The Tarot of the Absurd is now for sale on Amazon!

(Tho why anyone would buy it there instead of here is beyond me.)


It is pretty straight-forward to list a product on Amazon,

if they already carry it.

If they don’t carry it, it’s another story.

I couldn’t figure how to list the deck properly,

so I put it in the “everything else” category,

which, it turns out, is against Amazon policy.

I needed assistance.


I invited over a babysitter, then dialed.

HOLD (10 minutes.)

He answered.

I told my story.

He said:

I couldn’t change the category; I’d have to make a new listing.

It is against Amazon policy to list in the “everything else” category.

I’d have to put it in “children’s toys & games.”

I said:

It’s not a children’s toy: it’s targeted to neither boys nor girls nor unisex children!

He said:

Call the feeds department and wait on hold.

HOLD (infinite)


INTERLUDE while on hold:

After 35 minutes of hold time,

I called Amazon on another line with another phone,

waited on hold, then spoke to a representative.

She said:

Hold times are very long.

Then we were disconnected.

I called back, was put on hold,

then got the same representative.

I told her the issue & my current hold time with the feeds department.

We were disconnected.

Five minutes later, she called me back through the original phone

(somehow, you see, because I was still on hold, over 40 minutes now) & said:

The feeds department would be of no use to you.

They will not be able to change the category

unless you update your Amazon seller account

to a PRIME seller account at $39.99 per month.

Would you like to update your account now?

I said:

I will not even sell forty bucks of stuff per month!

I have ONE item.

She said:

She said, well, too bad.


She said:

Do you want to talk to the feeds department anyhow?

They won’t do anything for you.

I said:

I’ve been on hold over 40 minutes! OF COURSE I want to talk to them!

She said:

Okay, I’ll contact you with the feeds department.


During the intervening NEXT 15 minutes of hold,

I decide to fill in a review of Amazon

about how my interaction went

and whether I’d tell others to sell on Amazon based on my experience.


You can imagine I did not write a glowing review.


Eventually, the feeds department answered.

I asked:

Why are the hold times are so long?

They said:

There are a lot of people calling the feeds department.

I asked:

But what IS the feeds department?

They said:

We control the spreadsheets.

I decided it was not important that I understand. I said:

Okay, I need my item in the proper category.

After which there was a lot of discussion, which boiled down to this:

There are some categories that are off-limits

to people who do not pay the $39.99 monthly prime seller fee,

and would you like to upgrade your account now?

I said:

Look. I’m not even going to sell $40 of stuff each month.

It is against Amazon policy to have my item listed as it is listed now,

it is not a toy or game aimed at boys and girls,

and I have one item.

They said:

Too bad for you!




I think at this point someone noticed the

less-than-glowing review I just sent in.

After ten minutes of chatter they let me know:

they were doing me a huge favor

by changing the feed so my item would be in the correct category

which is really off limits to me unless I pay for it

but they are doing me a special favor

and they certainly won’t do it again (they informed me)

so please wait on hold for two minutes

which really turned out to be fifteen

but at the end of that fifteen minutes the category was changed

corrected I think

as it stands now

it should be right.


One hour twenty minutes on the phone,

most of it on hold. Just to change the category.

Maybe someday I’ll sell a deck on Amazon!!!


Anyone out there who has purchased a deck,

I would be most grateful

if you would be willing to write a nice review on Amazon.

You do not have to say much: just a few words of what you like.

I’ll post on my blog when I sell my first deck there.

Please do not hold your breath…


Death — Vertigo Tarot

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Godfather Death


Having come to a temporary halt on this blog, I’ve seriously been trying to work on the book for this deck. I’m taking all the entries and putting them in order to see what I have. What I have, it seems, is sort-of like a scrap-book. It’s interesting and eclectic. Sometimes, I spend a lot of time writing and I’m sure, in the end, what I have written won’t make it into the book. Research for a folk-tale for arcana #13 is one example. I wanted to find a folk-tale about a man who had tricked Death. The following story is such a tale. I like how the boy in the story is the 13th child and how the man turns down god as a godfather. I like how easy it was for him to trick Death— once. But of course, in the end, Death always has the upper hand. Anyhow. I don’t think I’ll put it into the book, so I hope someone here reads it and finds it amusing. It took a lot of time to pare down the story into something fun and brief. It is called—


Godfather Death*


Once upon a time there was a poor old man who had twelve children. When a thirteenth was born he did not know where to turn for help. He ran out into the highway to ask the first person whom he met to be the godfather.


First God came walking down the road. He said to the man, “I pity you. I will hold your child at his baptism, and care for him, and make him happy on earth.”

“I do not wish to have you for a godfather,” said the man. “You give to the rich, and let the poor starve.”

The man went on his way.


Next the devil came down the road. “If you will take me as your child’s godfather,” said the devil, “I will give him an abundance of gold and all the joys of the world.”

“I do not wish to have you for a godfather,” said the man. You deceive mankind and lead them astray.”

He went on his way.


At last came Death, walking on withered legs. “Take me as your child’s godfather,” he said, “for I make everyone equal, without distinction. He who has me for a friend cannot fail.”

The man said, “Next Sunday is the baptism. Be there on time.”

Death appeared as he had promised and held the child at baptism.


When the boy grew to a young man, Death took his godchild into the woods and said to him, “Now you are to become a doctor. Pay attention when you are called to a sick person. If I am standing at his head, let him smell from this flask, then anoint his feet with its contents, and he will regain his health. But if I am standing at his feet, I will soon take him. Do not attempt to begin a cure.” With that Death gave him the flask, and the young man became a renowned doctor.


Once, he was summoned to the king, who was suffering from a serious illness. When the doctor approached, he saw Death standing at the king’s feet. His flask would be of no use. But it occurred to him that he might deceive Death. He took hold of the king and turned him around, so that Death was now standing at his head. It succeeded, and the king regained his health.


After the doctor returned home, Death came to him with a grim face. “If you ever again attempt to deceive me, I shall wring your neck,” said Death


Soon, the king’s beautiful daughter took ill. No one on earth could help her. The king wept day and night, until finally he proclaimed that whoever could cure her could have her as a reward. The doctor came and saw Death standing at her feet. Astonished at her beauty, he forgot the warning, turned her around, let her smell from the healing flask, and anointed the soles of her feet with its contents.


He had scarcely returned home when Death seized him and carried him to an underground cavern. There, the physician saw thousands and thousands of candles burning in endless rows, some large, others medium-sized, others small. Every instant some died out and others were lit. Little flames jumped about in constant change.

“These are the life-lights of mankind,” said Death, then pointed to a little stump that was just threatening to go out. “There is yours!”

“Oh, dear godfather,” said the horrified physician, “light a new one for me that I may enjoy my life and become king and the husband of the beautiful princess.”

“I cannot,” answered Death, “for one must go out before a new one is lighted.”


The physician immediately fell into hands of Death.


*Re-told from Children’s and Household Tales— Grimms’ Fairy Tales, Berlin, 1812 & 1857, Tale no. 44. The Grimms’ source: Marie Elisabeth Wild (1794-1867). Variations of the tale are found dating back to 1553.


On how Writer’s Block Never Occurs when One Does Not Have Time to Write

Monday, May 20th, 2013

 (I admit, this blog has been slow of late.)


In my ignorance, I used to think my mom-friends had tons of time on their hands because they did not spend eight hours a day at a job that contributed to the GNP. I used to think things like, “She just has one kid; how much work can it be?” Of course, on some level, I must have known: I put off having children until I was 38 mostly due to time constraints.


Since my last post, nearly two months ago now, I’ve spent a lot of time organizing poetry and reading years and reams of words. I learned how to make a table of contents and to use section breaks in a document, to make left & right pages, and the use of having at least a dozen styles. Then I realized I ought to spend some time organizing my blog entries and seeing what I have got for a book for tarot— as that is really the point of this whole exercise. I seem to have hit a wall in terms of writing, but everything else is just procrastination.


In working on the book, I have to ask myself: What is the purpose of this book? What makes it different from every other companion book out there? I answer: The purpose of this book is to give myself an outlet for my writing. The purpose of this book is to explain my worldview through the framework of the tarot deck. The purpose of this book is to immerse the reader in myth and adventure, evoke laughter, provoke self-examination, and provide yet another way to view the cards. The difference is my insight, my brilliance, my refusal to conform.


I started doing everything in order. The Lovers was the first card for which I had not done an entry. Slightly ironic, I suppose, considering the previous (almost-finished-but-possibly-never-to-be-done) project. Who are The Lovers?


…To Be Continued…

(I promise)


Friday, February 8th, 2013

tarot collection

My mother has a highly accurate ability to manifest objects for loved ones.* Often times she does not have to leave the house; she merely has to go to the attic or somesuch location. Otherwise, the objects invariably turn up at garage and estate sales. Generally, a simple object will show up within a year of a serious request. More complex manifestations may take longer, tho I have never known her to fail, except in the case of a butterdish, but that is because she can’t believe I seriously want a butterdish and therefore refuses to manifest it.


One time, she manifested a pot top for a woman clear across the country. She had never seen the exact top to that exact pot before, but within a few months of declaring she would find it, she did. Unfortunately, the top was too small. Fortunately, the woman had another pot that needed that exact top and furthermore, my mother found the correct top shortly thereafter. She has not seen a similar pot top since.


She purchased the glass shelves in this picture for a total of $1.oo without knowing what she would do with them. She bragged about the shelves heartily, so I offered to take them off her hands. They sat in my basement for a year until I realized where they needed to be: housing my tarot deck collection to keep it out of reach of destructive little hands and mouths.


My partner has little patience for manifestation, and some things must simply be purchased new, so we went to the hardware store & bought six black metal brackets for four or five dollars each and a tube of clear silicone and installed the shelves in the living room above the couch. I spread a thin layer of silicone on top of the brackets and let it dry before putting on the glass. It makes a wonderful rubbery barrier. I then put silicone on the bottoms of all the bookends. Delightful stuff. I am very happy with the new setup.


*I believe she can manifest knitting machines and sewing machines and fix them to perfect working condition for anyone.