Zamboni can you recomend a movie? (Bernie)

This question comes from Fred in the Palmetto state, South Carolina.

Fred I just saw Bernie last night starring Jack Black. It is about a true story of a guy named Bernie who lived in a small town, Carthage, Texas. Bernie is loved by all. He is a funeral director,    and one who sings like an angel at the service and made the dead look so good that the living look forward to his makeup job on them.

Bernie loves the older ladies especially and they love him. Bernie did kind things to everyone, from little league teams to bringing widows gift baskets long after he’d buried their husbands. Bernie even befriends the meanest, evilest widow in town through his relentless kindness.. (played by an old disciple of Zamboni, Shirley McClaine, who’s looking very sphinxlike!) People are amazed that she warms to him, and she does, she smiles for the first time. Then things start to get weird for Bernie. And you.

Bernie is like many men I know today. Like me. We have become creatures obsessed with being nice and liked by everyone. We have become so enamored of friending the world that when we do have to stand up and flip the bird to something- we don’t. Or we do in such a scary way, we hardly know its happening.

I had a step-grandfather in Estonia who used to call these sorts of men,  frakakta shultees, which being pidgeon yiddish and estonian and esperanto is very hard to translate but means somthing akin to “men without penis and balls the size of peppercorns”…

And Fred, don’t tell the Devil I am asking, but what is a “palmetto”? Is that like a dwarf palm tree?

Just Chillin’

“Dear Zamboni Who is the Most ‘Chill’ person you know?”

This question comes from J.G. Frumentoom, who lives on an organic Quinwah farm in Nebraska, and due to the winter months now seems to have too much time to ponder things.

Dear Frumentoom, before I give you your answer, for those in my audience unfamiliar with the slang I will annotate and explicate what this meaning of “chill” is for those who can’t tell a “crunk” from a “skunk”.

To be chill is to be very relaxed and just content with not doing anything special, but only  just “chillin” the way an ice cube might or a baby Polar bear just “chillin'” on an ice floe.

This, though easy to answer -as is everything for I who am Zamboni- is an interesting question. Mahatma Ghandi, believe it or not, was very chill. Even when being forcibly removed and detained he was never flappable and never became aggravated. The Buddha, who I knew personally, was indeed very chill But I have to say not as fun to hang out with as Ghandi. Ghandi at least appreciated off-color jokes while the Buddha never laughed at them and often didn’t even seem to hear me when I told one- even my best one about two Catholic girls, a giraffe and a vampire- but I am splitting hairs here.

The most chill person is not a person at all. The Most Chill award goes to the Earth itself- our planet,  who though not personish, is a being and an animated spirit nonetheless.

Think about it. For four billion odd years, the world has been chillin’ like a goddamn villain! I mean chillin’ hard, very, very hard. Through plagues, ice ages, popes, amoebas crawling out of the water to become squirrels, wooly mammoths, cavemen, and all the rest, the earth has basically just been sitting here, kickin’ it.

It doesn’t complain, kvetch, bemoan its outcast state or wish it was somewhere else.

It doesn’t get pissed off when it can’t find its keys or give a waiter a snarky expression after waiting like 15 minutes for him to bring the damn dessert menu. The earth is really the most kickback dude you can imagine, perhaps too kickback, but there you go. It just abides.

Chill to the core, so far... but remember what the Mayan's say which Zamboni believe. It does help to have a "solid inner core", trust me I should know.

Perhaps there is a lesson here that Frumentoom steers us to. Though to be chill is certainly a virtue, there is a time for everything under the sun, including being the opposite of chill. What is the opposite of chill?

What do I look like, a  dictionary?

Soory, i’ll chill out, brah

What Does Zamboni think about While Peeing?

This nosy yet intriguing question comes from Fortuitous Kronkite, a sheepherder from Duluth whose name is somewhat far to fetch.

Here is an exact inner monologue I experienced during a pee last night in a quiet alley outside of an eating establishment in Minsk:

It’s colder than a tit of a witch out here. Ack.. I wish the line for inside had not been so long..  Did I get my 1040 from Langley?

I can live without that Jeep, that ICW watch, those Gucci loafers with the little bamboo clasp, without ever visiting Japan or that little  quaint town somewhere in Michigan with the  sunsets and the cute little independent bookstore. I can live without ever knowing what  a Kardashian may be, or where Wall Drug is or what the hell the Winchester Mystery house is.

What is that crawling over my shoe? And what is a Chai Tea- is it tea or Chai? What’s a Channing Tatum?

And what about love- can I live without that?

Ahck! I’ve dribbled on my pants again… 

This can help you with stage fright...

I hope this was elucidating to you my friend. They say the Roman orator Esplennius would create whole orations in his mind while he drained his lizard. Anytime we let anything go, it can be good.


Dear Zamboni-

I think I met the love of my life- the problem is she’s half my age. Plus she lives three thousand miles away. It’s electric when we are together, it’s like I think I’m over it but then it’s this crazy gravitational pull when I see her again and I feel like i’m falling, and I want both to let myself fall but also to stop myself. The sound of her voice, everything- Zamboni, oy- Am I crazy- What should I do?

-Harry Fonda

Dear Harry – did I miss something- you have no problem! You met a girl that makes you crazy- think you’re the first? So she’s half your age- you think the gods do things for no reason?

Here’s my advice: don’t give her up. I don’t mean you two have to nuptualize things- just don’t give her up. Once Zamboni fell in love with my office intern -she was 22 I was 42- did it work out? No, of course not, she Twittered and I still write with a quill and milk my goat every morning- but I tell you one thing- not a week goes by I don’t see her face in my dreams, and that my friend is everything.

Like Boogy said, “you don’t have good dreams Bagel, you got nightmares.”

Kiss her face when you can, and when you can’t…well, read a good book.

Trust in Zamboni!

Impress Yourself (moonshine revelation 10#)

Chief say RELAX!

This utterance by the spirit of the great Pontiac was the shortest- just two uttered words, and it was the 10th nugget of wisdom spoked to me after I  unearthed the rusted old sedan. Instantly I  had a memory excavating what the  spirit is talking about.

I was busy tearing down the Berlin Wall in the heady days of 1989, and the way my compatriots and I were going about this was doing wallrides on this vestige of totalitarianism with our skateboards. (Though I am over a century of years old, in the early 80’s I was given an  overdose of Jolt Cola and Sun-In hair lightener and Xtacy, mixed together by my nemesis Dracassan and given to me in a champagne glass at a new wave nightklub, with a k). The result of this was not as intended, instead of dying I became renewed in youth and took up skateboarding, the world’s greatest non-sport. I began to skate & destroy, which means to create- as the Hindus teach us- these are but two sides of the same coin.)

So anyway, a bunch of us eastern european bros were eating Perogi, smoking cigarettes we picked up off the ground and trying to outdo each other with our moves of skating. Each of us self consciously trying to do the coolest trick that would knock another piece out of the wall.

Just at that moment, one lanky young man in a tattered old Santa Cruz T-Shirt, climbed to the top of the wall, several yards away from all of us,  edged the tail of his board on the ledge, muttered simply “impress yourself” then rode straight down the graffitioed face of it.

Of course he slammed hard to the ground and his elbow exploded in blood, but he persisted to try this trick on his own, (even after most of the guys had adjourned to the cheap beer spot) simply reveling in the private joys of trying something over and over that he wanted to impress himself with.

So herein lies the thing: impress yourself, first and foremost. Who is cooler and worth impressing more than you?

The Kid Is Alright

Moonshine Revelations

 While navigating Hopper Creek in the   backwoods of Yountville, grappling over mosses, rocks and entwining  ivies and vines, I came upon something shiny buried in the mud. Thinking it was a bit of brown glass from an old Shlitz bottle, I almost passed it by, but something made me bend down to it, as it caught a small ray of sunlight in a comely golden fashion. Trying to pull it up, I soon unearthed the placid face of a straining Indian- then a rusted out and mildewed Pontiac sedan that had obviously been used to run moonshine from the hills to the city during prohibition. I knew this because inside the decaying chassis, still clutched by the skeletal hand of the speeding hooch runner was a large glass jug crudely marked with the name “Hattie’s Old Crow Hooch”. After several minutes of detatching the jug from the bony hand and from a clutser of shimmering purple mushrooms that were growing both around and inside the lip of the jug, I immediately drank half its contents without any thought. From here my memory gets very cloudy, but of one thing I am clear. The Indian spoke to me, revealing exactly 29 and a half aphorisms, in a creaky voice somewhere between Tommy lee Jones and and the old heater that was in my college dorm room. I can also say that these seem all true, though some are strangely syntaxed. Thanks to the Great Spirits, and I will be sharing them with you soon.
The hooch tasted of liquified Ben-Gay and old Gefilte Fish. Fernet basically. Perhaps you will doubt that the Indian spoke to me, but truth is truth, no? (As for the last half of the Hooch, I gave to Thomas Keller who who put on digestif menu of French Laundry, 500.00$ for a thimblefull)- Zamboni

Stay hungry, stay foolish, i think

Zamboni has never been too big on technologicalness. I still do not have cell phone and up until starting this blog a year ago in the past I sent messages to friends via two small but reliable hermit crabs named Sonny and Crockett.

When Steve Jobs died I did not pay much particular mind to it. A friend of mine, however, from Croatia, told to me that Steve Jobs was this great man and visionary. To me he was just another business guy acquiring millions of clams by making gadgets in China to sell to people. And this he did, but I do some research and I like very much this speech I see him give.

And just like Zamboni, he is college dropout! (Actually Zamboni was asked to leave Franconia College due to jumping onto football field to tackle rival team’s running back before he make touchdown, the olde “12th man” play.)

But this advice even great zamboni can use.


Camp Cazadero

“Encourage my soul, and let us journey on…though the night is dark, and I am far from home…” gospel tune

Man oh Manishevitz you  couldn’t hope for a better week of summer than  the one I just spent at Cazadero Performing Arts Family Camp. I went to camp with my two kids and my mom.

For one week my eyes didn’t look at a screen of any kind -TV, cell, computer-, I didn’t handle any money (except at Raymond’s Bakery across the street, man those Brownies) and nobody talked much about work. In fact, you didn’t know who anyone was- or rather you learned about who they were, just not what they did to make the rent. You talked about your classes, how Ukulele was going, or songwriting, maybe Joel Ben Izzy’s story at the campfire last night. (

I could be playing ping pong with a stockbroker, a brain surgeon, or someone still following whoever followed the Grateful Dead- everyone was equal in dusty jeans and unshowered hair.

An average day, I wake up, maybe do Yoga, maybe snooze until the wake-up band comes strollin along the tent cabins about 8:30 or so. The giant redwoods greet me, I stumble to the dining hall and have coffee. (Yes, for a week, no cooking or cleaning.)

First period I taught Playwrighting to a group that ranged in age from 9 to 71. The kids wrote about cowboys and aliens, the older folks learned conflict through scenes of parents and Children.

Second period I took East Coast Swing dancing, and man this year I really got it. For someone who twists in knots whenever I hear the word “choreography” I was out there and freed to just learn the moves and do them in any order I wanted. I Go You Go, inside turn, outside turn to dip, oh man I cant wait to get out on the floor, especially since last year I was still counting steps under my breath. It’s a great coach that gives you not just skills, but the confidence to use them for yourself. And Mark (also the Baker at Raymond’s) made it all so simple: “Ladies you have to let the man lead, lead and follow- so important- that way anything goes wrong it’s his fault… just grant him that illusion of control okay?”

Then lunch, quiet time, go read in the tent, nap.

Then Free time, slip down to the swimmin’ hole in Austin Creek and hope the Crawdads just skip over your feet and don’t snatch your toes. Watch the Boy laboriously get up nerve to climb the rock and jump in or see the Girl struggle with an old rope swing.

Third period I turned back into Mr. Hyde- yelling directions at my 19 beginners doing a 40 minute version of 12th Night. But in the end they had fun and damn it they did Shakespeare. Some of them even understood of what they spoke.

Fourth and final period, singing Gospel with Chelle. ( Oh man. This woman is just the real thing, feelin it so deep but making it so fun and easy- this woman is reason alone to check this camp out. Queen of New Orleans. We sang, we rocked, all of us. The majority being secular Jews from Berkeley but it didn’t matter, we had that room rockin.

Then you play some competitive or not ping pong, I found a guy who could throw a football a mile, ran me ragged, maybe you actually see your kids for a second- though this summer the Girl, now 13, spent a lot of time wearing some lanky blond boy’s sweatshirt and walking past me speedily.

What did I learn at Camp Caz?  (which by the way is the birthplace of Zamboni)

-Being around a lot of strangers can be wonderful, if you aint workin’

-the smaller the kid, the more they seem to love Great Zamboni (which is how I am greeted there several times daily by each small one)

-being inspired and creative is tiring in the best sort of way

-though I feel like a different person in that one week out of the year, that really may be who i’m supposed to be. It’s like me, just more.

-all you can eat food never gets old

-drink a lot of water

-in the real world we’ve got a major shortage of mojo

Thank you Joelle, (camp director)  thank you Redwoods, thank you stars and fires at night, smores and people, most of all, people. And thanks mom, you stole the spotlight with your stories, but i’m still so glad you came.


Naked Crayon Speaks

From the beginning, I, GreatZamboni have said that my real magic is not just to shower brilliance on the earth like rain in Portland. Zamboni is at his best when YOU bring forth the genius in you.

Zamboni may not be like Houdini with chains and boxes and great escapes, but he does have ability to bring good wisdom from his flock. The following is answer to Jordan’s “thorny question” from reader on East Coast whose handle is “naked crayon”. I hope you are enjoying….

Ok, so while I am not an all knowing sage, I do have some experience with this topic. I am afterall the queen of reinvention. In my short 43 years, I have studied and or worked at being: a dancer, an actress/waitress, singer, travel agent, advertising , marine biology, psychology, reiki, nursing, law , paralegal, public relations and artist. people think I’m crazy or a “lost soul” I say they are wrong.My entire philosophy is based on the theory of reinvention. Said very simply- as far as we know this life may be it for us. Why would we NOT experience as much of it as we can? I’ll tell you why. Becuase Man has created a ton of crazy ass rules. For example: cars should be one color, people should be married before having children, only men and women can be married, we should work for five days and take two off and yes, we should decide what we want to be when we grow up and then BE IT until death do you part. Nonsense!

But please know this young paduan. Choosing the road less traveled is not without sacrafice. My resume will always be scattered, I do not have a two car garage, or a fat 401k and I have not taken my children on the 5k plus trek to Disneyland that is a status mandate for East Coast families. We all make choices and much like High School most people follow the status quo and when they do, they are rewarded with things and feeling like they belong. I never belong but I am rewarded by knowing that I follow my heart and my life map is much richer than my neighbors. (Even though she never has to trudge her groceries through the snow, like I do, because she pullls into her fancy garage)

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I believe that one day because I have experieced so much my life will all make sense to the outside world and my light will shine brighter than most. So yes, follow your passion, and your heart and lead an authentic life. Just have a really good plan, so that your kids don’t starve in the mean time.

To this I add only  Dicky Fox:


Thorny Question

Dear Great Zamboni- I find myself very often fantasizing about doing jobs that are very different from my own. I am not young, I do not have “my whole life before me” but being in my early 40’s, gods willing, I have some life before me, and I can’t help feeling that if I don’t change my course in life I will wake up tomorrow and I will be 65 saying, “what happened?” For the past 14 years I’ve been a  teacher, and though I get much enjoyment and my daily bread from this noble calling, lately I have been seeing myself doing other things- being a football coach, working in the business world, etc. What do you think about someone like me making a radical shift this late in life, maybe to a field that I have little or no experience in? Is passion to learn something new enough to carry one into a new livelyhood?Thank you for considering this Great Z man. -JW

Zamboni will take time to contemplate this question, which is obviously coming from the human vessel which carries Zamboni into these times. Since this is a thorny one (this “JW” is the human body which the  great spirits have chosen for Zamboni to use for  spreading my wonder and wisdom slowly over the Globe like Sherwin-Williams paint) I must ruminate on this over night and consult my own great sages like the one below.