It must be love – By Rosemary Bach-Holzer
Offbeat Writings / July 11, 2010

She is such a vixen. Who is? My car! Is that why ex-husband says she reminds him of me? Hmm… must remember to ask next time I see him. Anyway, back to this particular vixen in question. She’s a real pedantic always-has-to-be-something-wrong-with-her automobile. Take this morning for example. She was low on petrol… all right! She was running on fumes but still that is no excuse as to what happened, to what she did. Having noticed the petrol tank was approaching the dangerously empty stage I turned off at the next available petrol station. I pulled up in front of a pump, jumped out the car… ha ha – in my dreams! I heaved my always-has-to-be-something-wrong-with-it body out of the car, grabbed the pump, replaced it and promptly slid back into the car exhibiting a bright shade of red that covered my entire face. They could make those hoses longer that might be a step in the right direction, you know. Never mind about the cocky comments coming from all directions such as, “Here, love! Those pumps are made of rubber not blimin’ elastic!” Hadn’t quite judged the distance accurately that was all but did she have to make such…

In the eye of the beholder – By Rosemary Bach-Holzer
Offbeat Writings / December 27, 2009

Remember those prints called “Magic Eye” that were so hip and of the moment a few years back? They looked like leftover wallpaper from the early seventies except they hid a treasure chest full of three-dimensional (3D) surprises and the key in which to unlock them was held in your very own hands. Or, should I say eyes? The trick was to stare at them until your eyes became so tired they would cross and only then the picture hidden amongst the psychedelically painted lines and waves would become visible. The facial expressions pulled in order to unmask these artistic delights – in addition to the stupid grin of expectant pleasure at what was unveiling before your very eyes emulating in a cross between Marty Feldman and a halfwit – was something best done in the privacy of your own home. It wasn’t possible to step outside without stumbling upon a vendor flogging them on the pavement. How street traders managed to retire to sunnier climes on the proceeds of these sales still leaves me totally mystified. I was searching for inspiration for my column… anything… even just a hint of something. No such luck. I sat and stared and…

Parlez-vous Deutsch? – By Rosemary Bach-Holzer
Offbeat Writings / December 6, 2009

As a language, German doesn’t do it for me. I think it’s both ugly and guttural. I didn’t speak German as a child despite growing up in a household consisting of one parent originating from north London and the other, Berlin. I might look upon it more favourably if I could speak it. I’m just miffed because I can’t. My vocal dexterity is fair to some my written German is non-existent I can write my name and that’s your lot. Although, funnily enough, I find songs sung in German aren’t half as assaulting on the ears… now if I could just get German-speaking people to go around singing all the time. Would make for some interesting moments at the petrol station, supermarket and bank. Asking to deposit £100.00 in a verse from Like a Virgin. Now French. French is a pretty language. While holidaying or living in France, you can get away with pointing and arms gesticulating only up to a point. You can do the honking goose thing only so far. Sooner or later you are going to have to speak their language. The French are known for being unforgiving if you don’t speak French. Doesn’t matter if they…

Damon Hill, Doctor Kildare and me… still? – By Rosemary Bach-Holzer
Offbeat Writings / November 22, 2009

Part One I’m supposed to enlighten you with an update? My fault, I suppose, for leaving my previous account on a real cliffhanger. What do you mean, not that you noticed! Hmm… I’m no longer in hospital. I made my escape, that is, I discharged myself after one night. Not on my list of my most favourite places in the world especially when having to share a room with the woodwind section of not the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Did I ever get back to sleep? Yes, thank you, absolutely, but only with the aid of a sleeping tablet strong enough to knock out two fully-grown elephants and then I was awoken by a nurse three hours later. “Mrs Bach-Holzer? Mrs Bach-Holzer, wake up, please.” “Hmm…?” “Mrs Bach-Holzer, please wake up!” “Wassup?” “Ah, good. We must ensure you get some sleep.” “Eh?” Did they find out what was wrong with me? I mean, besides everything else. No. Well, yes and no and thereupon I discharged myself. The meals weren’t too bad even if they did feed me meat. They had been notified that animal wasn’t to be found on my personal menu at home, although, messing up my food wasn’t a…

Technology? Don’t get me started! – By Rosemary Bach-Holzer
Offbeat Writings / September 27, 2009

The other day I was sitting next to Bob (ex-husband) going through some photographs (cats and I are temporarily staying with him) he had up on his computer. These digital cameras have a lot to answer for. They have people taking an abundance of photographs most of which, if we’re honest, are pretty useless. We scrolled through picture after picture showing the artistic delights of having on film Shingy’s tail, Shingy eating and my Prada handbag. They weren’t all a loss then. There was one of Ninja, his mum, fast asleep. One of her waking up followed by another of her even more awake and finally, a shot of her yawning that accounted for the close-up of her tonsils. If I flicked through them at a great speed it looked like I was watching her on video. Yes, video. Ninja and I are of the videotape age we do not care for DVDs. Always not working, slow, not an improvement, they’re about as competent as digital cameras. Anyway, I was sitting there falling asleep when a shot of my Prada handbag in profile scrolled on to the screen preventing me from going into a coma when suddenly, Shingy appeared at…

Confessions of a New York City Street Peddler (Part 3 of 3) – By Dr. Howard Karlitz
Offbeat Writings / August 16, 2009

This is the final part of a three part series. To start from the beginning, here is part one and part two Epilogue: A Play in Three Acts Act I: It’s a week after David quit for good. He’s on the corner Fifth Avenue and 42nd street talking to a hot dog guy about then Mayor Koch backing down on his attempt to eliminate food vendors. “Too much Greek clout,” the vendor says, “especially with Dukakis on the way up.” Suddenly a police van pulls up and three cops jump out and arrest a peddler for selling her photo¬graphs of New York in front of the library. She’s cuffed, miranderized, and led into the back of the truck. Meanwhile, across the street, a three card monte game goes on undisturbed, with a large group of French tourists being bilked out of hundreds of dollars as pickpockets work the periphery of the crowd. Next to them some dope dealer is selling crack, another quaaludes, another loose joints. It’s not the cops’ fault. Evidently they’re being told what to concentrate on. It’s the city’s doing, the result of the “crackdown of the month club.” It’s all part of what they consider to…

Confessions of a New York City Street Peddler (Part 2 of 3) – By Dr. Howard Karlitz
Offbeat Writings / August 9, 2009

This is part 2 of the 3 part series. Part one can be found here But it would be impossible to close this chapter of the story without some pain. There were two periods during that summer when David thought they had him. The first was during the Democratic National Convention, which happened to take place in New York that year. Word came thundering down from the mayor’s office to sweep the midtown streets clean of vermin, especially around the museum where each conventioneer’s agenda would include a trip to the Picasso exhibit. He particularly didn’t want them in contact with vendors. Little did he realize, however, that out-of-towners love peddlers, and consider them to be just one more vibrant element in the city’s personality. The peddler detail sought to temporarily suspend peddling operations and warned every street vendor in the strongest terms not to work midtown that week. The other T-shirt people stopped immediately, but David was getting greedy, and the next day opened up, business as usual. He was hit four, five, six times a day. Gus told him he was making “enemies on the force,” the ultimate threat. Sergeant Laverty, head of the detail, cornered him in…

Confessions of a New York City Street Peddler (Part 1 of 3) – By Dr. Howard Karlitz
Offbeat Writings / July 19, 2009

This is Part 1 of a 3 part posting which will be published over the next few weeks It’s February, 1980, and David Gordon is standing in front of a class of delinquent kids in a South Brooklyn juvenile detention center trying to teach reading. While patiently guiding them through a short story called “Young Pablo Picasso,” his eye is caught by a reproduction of the artist’s flamboyant signature emblazoned across the top of the page. He puts the book down and stares at the lettering, then happens to notice a small blurb in a newspaper lying next to it on his desk announc¬ing an exhibition of Picasso’s work, a major retrospective, scheduled to soon take place at the Museum of Modern Art. It was strange, the signature and show coming together like that. His mind wanders. An idea is taking form. Suddenly it comes to him. Just in time too, because the kids are going bananas and a piece of chalk whizzes past his ear, powder shat¬tering against the green board behind him. That evening, in the safety of his modest suburban home, he announced his plan to his wife. “Jill,” he boasts, “this is it, the big one!…

Damon Hill, Doctor Kildare and me – By Rosemary Bach-Holzer
Offbeat Writings / July 5, 2009

This morning, due to lack of energy and a complete disregard for the creative process (I’m currently up a gum tree with my gumshoe) I sat down (well, laid down) to watch some old videos. I’m not a fan of DVDs – so shoot me – neither is Ninja, my cat. She can’t eject them from the machine with the same infinite ease she can a video. So, there was I, watching The Diverse Works of Shakespeare and Science Special: The Physics of Ultrasound as one does… what do you mean, absolutely! All right, in between episodes from The Love Boat and House Doctor, an orchestra began to play and lovely though it was it brought back some scary memories of eighteen months ago… Going to sleep while in the background the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is softly playing is a pleasant enough way of entering the land of nod, except, despite what sounded like the woodwind section gearing up for its climax it was far from pleasing and it woke me up with a start. I nearly passed out all over again and thinking about it… I wish I had. Where was I? Not in the circle at the Royal…

Your Diner – Grant J. Bergland
Offbeat Writings / June 7, 2009

You know the place. It is a vintage diner with stainless steel on the walls, bright red vinyl booths, and a percolating jukebox. Or it has cracked leather seats, patched with spiderwebs of duct tape and laminated menus with prices whited out and redrawn with unsteady lines. It is in a bustling city with people marching outside like frenzied ants. It is alone by the side of the road as if the highway gave birth to it. It is a diner in the east that serves scrapple, or in the west with a breakfast burrito, in New England with fried clams any time of day, or in the south with grits and gravy. Wherever it is, every diner has a counter. That’s what makes it a diner and not a restaurant. You can sit alone there. Diners are made for eating by yourself, they serve you with no questions asked- there’s no “are you waiting for someone?” or “let me get this extra place setting out of the way.” Nope. Without a word the waitress turns over your coffee cup and fills it. You remember how you read somewhere that the oldest diners were born outside of twenty-four hour factories…