Saturday, June 23, 2012

Give Me a Brake — Part Two

It’s been more than seven weeks since Part One was published on this blog regarding the trails and tribulations of The Oy Way, whose web site can be found here. When you grow older, you will find that time goes by far too quickly, in case you haven’t already noticed.

Ewe Tube, Oar Knot

The secret is to keep growing older without growing old, and to do so, sometimes you have to reluctantly adapt to the far-too-rapid societal changes including the electronic world of You Tube.

At times, You Tube and “went viral” have to be linked together in order to achieve dubious success for an honest effort. Although The Oy Way is selling at a steady but slow pace, when I was in Los Angeles earlier this month, I hired Gordon Eick, a noted filmmaker, to capture the essence of eight Oy Way exercise movements. The video is now being edited and will eventually appear on You Tube.

There was little joy found in demonstrating these movements (shown above on the book’s cover), while clothed in a flowing, flannel-like shirt with a yarmulke sitting upon my head in 90-degree weather in Griffith Park. It was especially frustrating to do so as people walked by talking loudly, screaming children abounded, dogs barked, and helicopters noisily hovered above. It meant numerous reshoots, halting the shoot in progress, and mopping my brow as I continually shvitzed. We reshot most of it in a more tranquil, far cooler setting in the Japanese Garden in San Jose a few weeks later.

Review What Was Said

The book just received a short, but glowing, paragraph in The Midwest Book Review, that read, “Sure, the English language is fine, but there's always room for a bit of extra flavor to it. "The Oy Way: Following the Path of Most Resistance" is a humorous delve into the Yiddish language as author Harvey Gotliffe writes how to use the language's unique expressions to spice up one's languages, with a touch of meditative exercise in the process. "The Oy Way" is a unique addition to any language or humor collection, much recommended.”

Order, Order in the Court!

My cousin Ron, a documentary filmmaker who used to work with Bill Moyers, lives in a grand old building with a courtyard in New York. Ron bought three copies of The Oy Way as gifts, giving one copy to Margie King Barab, who you probably remember as the fourth and final wife of Alexander King. He is the author of several books on my shelf including his 1963, well titled, “is there life after birth?” Recently, four of my college friends passed on, and we will discuss this pertinent question in a later issue.

Margie, in turn, ordered seven books for friends, and wanted one autographed specifically for Bel Kaufman, and I did so in Yiddish. Bel has three impressive items on her resume that few others possess. On May 10, 2012, she turned 101. In 1965, she wrote the bestseller Up the Down Staircase, and she is the granddaughter of the legendary Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem. It’s an honor to think that somehow The Oy Way and I are now connected to Sholem Aleichem, albeit in a very indirect way.

Where Have You Gone?

We are in a sad way with the possible demise of the bookstore, especially the independent bookstore. The nearby Capitola Book CafĂ© is fighting for survival and on June 22 held an author’s get together, where fourteen of us did a “reading.” The night before, best-selling author Cheryl Strayed appeared and there were more than three hundred people attentively listening to her reading from her new book Wild.

Perhaps there is some hope for the survival of independent bookstores as described in the Huffington Post piece published here, on "Celebrating Independents Day.” However, to make this a reality, addicted Amazon online book buyers will have to extricate themselves from in front of their computers when they seek new reading challenges. They might find a brave, new, stimulating world in the aisles of their neighborhood bookstore.

Happy Birthday Two Awl of Ewe

When you write, edit and publish your own blog, you can include whatever flotsam and jetsam you desire. So we wish the following relatives and friends a HAPPY BIRTHDAY, which is really the anniversary of your births which fall between June 25 and July 18, and between 1924 and 1953. Happy day to Rochelle, Amy, Carmen and Hilda (same day, different years), the same connection for Robert Dale and Martha, also for Cindy and Dranreb, and finally happy birthday to Patricia.