Amy Poehler Graduation Speech

Probably the best graduation/commencement speech I’ve ever heard.

It is worth your leisurely 18 minutes, (and very stangely, an unsuspecting audience parent is caught wiping goop from eye and eating it! You will see this about 7 minutes in).  Otherwise, very enjoyable, funny, thoughtful piece. I graduated in ’94 and my commencement speaker was Al Gore. Yes, much sleepiness on that hot afternoon as he didn’t go until the bitter end and then he kept going until the bitter end.

To the actors/improvisers in my readership, you will appreciate the lessons she takes from her Chicago improv education.

By the way, for the 100th post on this blog, Zamboni needs a question- have one for him?


Emerson is Huge: Zamboni’s Book Club #1

Today I inaugurate some reading tips from me, Zambonesman.  Since Oprah retire, now we begin Zamboni’s Book Club. What is good about my reading tips is you don’t have to actually read the book of which i speak. Simply by reading my comments, you will know enough to talk about the book smartfully at a brunch or bar mitzvah, and this is more important than reading whole book. And time saving for sure! Like we say in Estonia, “why cook over horse dung fire if you have microwave”.

I have discovered there is more to this American place you call New England, than oxford shirts, clam chowder, and cool beach names like Squibnocket and Annisquamsett. Namely I have been reading Ralph Waldo Emerson.

"Our fear of death is like our fear that Summer will be short, but when we have had our swing of pleasure, our fill of fruit, and our swelter of heat, we say we have had our day; and rest of brain and affection please."

This guy is great. He write essays like “Self Reliance”, “Nature”, “Circles” and even his journal entries like arrow shoot to core of truth. Listen to him: From “Self-reliance”

“Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist…Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind…A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition as if every thing were titular and ephemeral but he…Your goodness must have some edge to it-else it is none.

And this from a journal:

“I am never beaten until I know I am beaten… I am in debt. cannot yet make my ends meet…seem to fail in my friends and clients, too. That is to say, in all the encounters that have yet chanced, I have not been weaponed for that particular occasion, and have been historically beaten; and yet I know all the time that I have never been beaten; have never yet fought, shall certainly fight when my hour comes, and shall beat.” -August 1851

This Emerson writing is with such strange energy and heat, no wonder it was not taught to me in Estonian school; all the time it is urging you being true to your own mind, that this is the primal energy that must drive the world. Plus I did not even know “whoso” is a word in your English! Neat.

Emerson tried to be a preacher, but his mind was too big for the walls of the church, and his fire for knowing and feeling god inside his soul transcended the rules and rigamarole of the olde school church routines. Thus he come to be known as “transcendentalist” with his cronies like Thoreau.

Since knowledge is medicine, I would prescribe Emerson for those times you feel like you are fading into life a little too grey. The times when you just aren’t sure where you end and others begin.

So now you are knowing some Emerson, or perhaps you already did- but if not, you have something to speak of over lunch.

Fast and Easy- just like Zamboni's Book Club!

Zamboni Reflects on Juneteenth

Today I Zamboni,  worked my miracles of question answering at the Berkeley Juneteenth festival and I have to say that even Zamboni did not know what Juneteenth was till he look it up on my  ancient apple that look like Wall-E. This from the Berkeley Juneteenth site:

The Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln on January 1, 1863, freed slaves from southern states in rebellion against the United States during the Civil War. News of the signing did not reach Galveston, Texas until June 19, 1865.

So when these people hear the news they party and dance in the streets, thus the yearly celebration of freedom. Can you believe? Of course it wasn’t so simple- news had traveled to many places but things just simply didn’t change until armies came and forcefully enforced these proclamations in the very most backward pockets.

Zamboni thinks that perhaps change only comes when we are forced to it? What if your freedom depended on someone’s decision, signing a paper, and if you happened to miss the memo, you never would be free at all?

Freedom is a word we hear all the time- but what does this mean? Can someone grant it? Have you ever felt it?

See the old man in the rock? I spoke to him

When do you feel most free?

Can Women Pee Standing Up?

This question comes to Zambones from Howard in “Tuscaloosa,” somewhere.

Howard, Zambones has seen this feat, and I can assure you it take me many months to recover. So yes, it can be done, but should it? No.

Gender equality shouldn’t mean that we the sexes are the same, rather that we have equal rights and powers.

I was going to marry this sheperdess named Phillipaskova, she was very dear to me. Getting home late one night from mushroom foraging I come upon her doing this act like a football player in the backyard. Ripping open big stream with one leg propped on  rusty tractor. Like Flock of Seagulls, I ran, believe me I ran so very far away.

Yes, women can rise and hold door open for you. A man can join a book club, read Jane Austen and drink white wine in discussion, but these things should not be. Let us celebrate and tolerate all types of diversity- and this is part of it.

I wish you prosperousness and that you not see what I saw-

Thank you writing to Zambones!

A Sentence About Why I am Also the Zambonesman:

Life is good, It was three years ago and I am walking down my street asking myself all the same questions that I had been asking myself for years and started wondering  why is it we think tomorrow we will know any more answers than today and like Narcissus I am looking at my own reflection saying wow who is that hot guy and what is he ever going to be and become in life because I am maybe like you I am doing and doing and doing day in and year out and at that moment walking down street it was about 10pm and I am wondering all this like why are some people hard wired for optimism and some not, why do some people always seem like they are stumbling out of a disaster zone and others seem like they just got to the party and are standing in the best place to be because wherever they are standing is the best place to be, and isn’t it funny that we are sometimes both of these in one day, and at that moment a voice comes to me in the head and it is a quiet voice but nonetheless he has a rather silly accent and he begins to tell me his story of crashing his plane into the water, and a deal with the devil that left him with the knowledge and ability to travel in time and talk and meet and question all the great sages from Socrates to Sinatra and though his name was something vaguely Euro that I couldn’t pronounce he went on to be Great Zamboni and when I become the great zamboni I know all and nothing is puzzling and I know exactly  where I stand just like the Little Prince who crashed to Earth, but even he needs to get back to his rose so that’s what I get from Zambonesman, a guy who’s always got my back and is willing to help me cultivate my garden, so go cultivate your garden because people are great, they really are awful swell but they’ll all leave you in the end so we all keep a Zamboni in our back pocket, what’s yours?

What Time is it in Zamboniland?

This interesting  question again comes from youth in audience in Berkeley Ca. Here is answer

Looking at my Gucci here in Zamboniland,  it’s about that time to eat garlic, pet my goat, watch the light change, make toast, make a five year plan, watch Zoolander again in English not dubbed in Estonian so to be bettering  improve my lingual skills,  call my mom, wave to my neighbor, forage in  the forests around my home for naturally occurring wisdom-inducing roots and herbs, plan my 3 mindblowing appearances in San Francisco on July, 1,2,3, make some popcorn, see again Tree of Life this very inscrutable but beautiful hence Zambonian  film by Terence Malick, take a nap with Socrates my Chamelion, wake up 5 minutes later and dive into the ice cold fjord outside my backdoor, read some James Cain, eat some sugar cane, have dinner with Michael Caine, and before going out to Estonian nightclub, listen to Big Daddy Kane and have 2 minute phone three way with Obama and Dalai Llama.

Sort of  quiet day.

How bout you?

“What is One Thing I Should Do Before I Die”

This question comes to Zamboni from “teen in Berkeley, Ca” and I do my best now to answer.

Dear teen friend, it is fortunate for you to have asked the one they call Zamboni this question. As you can imagine this question has puzzled great sages and thinkers for many long years and even centuries. An old Jewish saying goes that a man should do three things in his life:

-plant a tree

-write a book

-have a son

This has nice ring to it but what if you are a woman, and what about having a daughter? And who writes or even reads books? So we must go further than this.

Socrates would say “know thyself”, search out the truth, ask questions and do not be fooled into thinking that the shadows of the things are the things themselves.

The Epicureans and Hedonists might say “eat, drink, be merry, for tomorrow you die”

Buddha’s two cents would be, “all pleasures are fleeting, seek emptiness, peace, not pleasures and posessions.”

George Kaufman reminded us, “you can’t take it with you”.

Fred McMurray in Double Indemnity film noir says, “you bet I’ll get outta here baby, i’ll get outta here but quik.”

But as with many things, Zamboni knowing true answer.

Fall In Love.

A badger can make a damn. A spider can build a web. A whale can sing. A chimpanzee can hammer a nail. A computer knows more things than you and almost more than I.

Only a human can fall in love.

So fall in love with something: a sailboat, a movie, a girl, a boy,  a restaurant, college, something. Yes you will feel pain that the badger, the whale, and the spider do not. You will become tougher. To heal the hurt try poetry, music, and if that fails, ice cream. Just fall in love, and you’ll be okay.

Zamboni has been in love, trust me. Like we say in Estonia, “Love is like a hive of bees crashing your face- lots of sting, lots of honey”. It sounds not quite so violent in my language but there you are.

Thank you for asking, my young friend, and be well!!




(PS: No sex till you’re 18!, then always safe, don’t drink anything that label says “flammable” and tell your parents what u doing.)

“Zamboni, what actually does happen in Vegas?”

This question comes to me from Howard, who is perplexed by these “what happens in Vegas” advertisements.

at Mix Lounge, in the bay of Mandalay, everyone mixes, heirarchies get all mixed up.

Well my friend, Zamboni has spoken about the Las Vegas of Death afterworld, but not yet about the real one. In this Las Vegas, as you see above, you make a new best friend that you have never met before and will never, perhaps, ever see again. You meet this new best friend at bar and he is a banker and he is there for convention but none of this matters and after 4 pomegranate mojitos 6o floors above the desert you are now best friends. You then have a fifth with his boss who evidently has his own plane but at this moment is just another drunken idiot like you trying to charm married woman from Fresno. Everyone is equal.

What can this teach us about life back in the reality of our real homes? Perhaps that though we see ourselves as islands, as people that only a small group of folks appreciate and understand, that in fact we are mistaken. Perhaps there are really hundreds, thousands of people that we could see eye to eye with, but we just don’t see them. Of course there are. Are you really that different from anyone?

In Las Vegas, everyone is equal in the pursuit of pleasure. Hedonism? Yes, but equality nonetheless.

So I urge you, general public of readers of me Zamboni, it is not that you need to go to Las Vegas -though everyone should- but that more importantly, learn this, that in the words of mystic sixties rock n’ roll Jefferson Airplane:

“No man is as island, he’s a peninsula”

Zambones has spoken.


A Sentence about Your Daughter’s First Dance

You realize you don’t know much because you just called at 9 pm to say goodnight and your ex tells you, “she’s at a dance” and you say “what” because that doesn’t sound right, she’s in the 8th grade, but she says it again, and that she wore that new black dress that her grandma got her and you realize you haven’t even seen that dress what does it look like and you wonder when she stopped being at home at 9pm and more than this you wonder aloud oh god I hope she isn’t getting groped beneath the bleachers and she laughs your ex she laughs  and says of course not, she’s too young  and you don’t say aloud that when you were her age and younger that’s all you wanted to do thinking please god let me cop a feel soon please but all you say to your ex is you’re gonna give her that talk right because you really haven’t yet well you did one cold night on the way to the frozen yogurt store but it was pretty silent on her part and you just kind of said a bunch of things at her but now you’re thinking is she dancing or is she one of the gigling ones  off to the side, has a boy asked her and she blushed so red like she does or is she just running around outside being a kid and you try not to worry that she has never spoken to you or her mom about a boy or a crush ever,  while you know very well  her phone is always busy humming and glowing and flashing and it isn’t like when we were kids when if a boy called the house phone which would actually ring a dad could pick up and be like, WHO’S THIS, no- today there aint much room to intervene but then you decide to stop worrying and you think about being in the 6th grade at someone’s party and September by Earth Wind and Fire is playing and even then your reptilian little 6th grade mind knew it was a special moment you would probably remember when you were ancient which you are now and I guess that brain wasn’t so reptilian then, and you hope your daughter, my daughter, you hope she’s having a moment like that, like maybe she’s dancing with someone she likes, does she like anyone, should she- you know she does and you hope not under the bleachers god not under the bleachers or under that dress and you hope this isn’t the end of her wanting to say goodnight or be tucked in and she could have at least texted me but you know it’s all gonna turn out right because it has to and you realize you don’t really know that much but probably nobody knows much more and you wanna call and see she got home safe but you know it’s probably too late and if anything did happen would she tell you and you just don’t know, you sure as hell you don’t know a thing.


(Zamboni returning soon.)