Thorny Question:

“If a fourteen year old suddenly finds out his dad was previously married and lied about it, how should one proceed?”

This one comes to Zamboni from a young reader named, “O”.

Young reader, be kind. The cardinal rule of parenting is “do no harm”. What information your dad guy did not give you, well this did not hurt you right? To stories like this (which happened long ago in a world in which you did not exist!) there is always more muffins than the ones you see…

Look at it this way, my adoptive cheesfarming parents, after making me milk goat from dawn until noon, used to  make me -after a lunch of breadcrumb- do a thing called “gassers“. They had a hairbrain idea to turn me, just me (yes, my eleven adopted siblings all got to go down to the mudhole after lunch and swim) into an Olympic fencer of great strength. So, they would make me run all the way up Smolenka Hill (covered with thorny Carpberries in Summer!) and run down and repeat 25 times without stopping. My point is, there is cruelty, and then there is cruelty.

What makes Humans so beautiful is not beauty. It is frailty, mistakes, misteps, mishaps, omissions, forgetfullness, and ultimately, the mighty heroism of simply getting up in the morning and trying to do the right thing.

Zamboni has a good friend, “C” who recently lost her father. She is a young woman and she really loved this guy. He is gone and will not come back. She very strong, but this doesn’t change the loss.

So your dad disappoints you- suck it up and move on. In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter. I’m sure he has complaints about you, so spend less time wanting your parents to be perfect, and like Voltaire said, “cultivate your own garden.”

You don’t like the advice Zamboni give? So run a gasser, you’ll feel better. (And by the way, I did make Estonian Olympic team, 1936! Thanks mom and dad)

The root of your problem my friend is this very scary realization: your dad is a person, and had a life before you. I, know, strange.

Does retirement cause death?

Dear Great Zamboni-

Is the fact that people who retire are more likely to meet their death in the ensuing years influenced by whether or not they find something to do after retirement?  -SK Dance

You know- this is interesting question. What happens after we get done working and we can “rest” or “retire”? My maternal grandmother, Smolenka Slipuvitz, was a famous cheesemaker and Estonian Olympic fencing coach. Cheese was her vocation, fencing was her passion. Her curd straining and sheep- milking allowed precious little time for her fencing, nonetheless the bills had to be paid. When she retired from cheese, she devoted herself to her students of the saber and the foil, yet her age made movement difficult. Nevertheless, this retirement activity kept her alive with passion until the age of 102.

My step-father-mentor, The Baron von Sthunderstucke, died almost immediately after retiring from the military. He tried golf and stamp collecting but nothing caught traction of him.

So the answer to your question is yes- but more than this, we don’t just start aging or dying on the first day of retirement. We are busy dying and aging every day. I am dying now so are you. If the clock is moving, we are dying. Like the old peasants used to say while they drank hickory wine under the Walnut tree, “new day, some old smell.” Right?

Prepare to die!

Stump Zamboni, attempt #2

From Anna, in Berkeley:

“Please pass this message on to the Devil:

Devil, ask Zamboni:
                            “If hell really is in hell, what does “hell on earth” mean?” 

This is from Anna’s  attempt to help the DEVIL stump me. Do not get your panties in a twist Devil becasue I can answer this quixotic query quite clearly.

“Hell on earth” is and can be many things. It is the DMV when you arrive and take the number 87, then lookup at the monitor and it says “now serving 2”.  It is waiting in line at a cafe with a 3:30 pm coffee jones and the person in front of you orders a decaf soy latte with a shot of vanilla. It is L.A..       It is Christmas music on November 28th. It is hearing the words, “it’s not you…” It is a call from the hospital  when you have children. It is the word “cancer”. It is realizing that “a la carte” means your steak is 28 dollars and comes with nothing but a plate, and the creamed spinach and fries are 8$ extra- each. It is the phrase “I’m just saying..” it is all these things and more, but most of all, hell on earth is getting everything you want. 

king of fools
king of fools

Not expecting me to get that one eh, Satan! Ha!

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

“where-what-when does/did the word ‘question’ derive from?”

Thank you Kirk from Hollywoodland and here is your answer from the depths of an Estonian tornado that I call myself, zamboni:

This comes to me by the pool of Bellagio (zamboni not stays there, too $$$,  but my 3rd cousin Grimlanski is jacuzzi cleaner there so he sneak me in) .

The end of a question is not the answer, anymore than the summit of the mountain is the end of the climb. It is a “quest”, a journey.

Zamb?oni is himself more a question than an answer; this is one of the things that make me magnet to fine womens and keeping me youthful, this in addition to repeated injections of African Ginger.  Mostly every time, I am able to supply an answer that is not only mind-bogglingly obtuse and circuitous, but also 100% correct- Hee! Remember, even a broken clock is flat wrong pretty much all day long-but what is time?

Zamboni (and yes my Kirk friend I getting to answer, don’t sleep!) is also broken. Being raised by poor cheese farmers  who fed me on a diet of grubs and pig hair sandwiches goes far to damage a mind, yet here is my point. A question is something broken and incomplete (notice the little break in this hooky thing- ?) and when you find an answer you are healing this break.

The Jewish peoples see life as a mending. We come into this life and see things out of wack, and our task “tikkun olam” is to heal broken things.

But see, an “!” is also broken. That is enthusiasm. What I am saying here is that beauty and excitemnt, life actually is about the broken, the incomplete, the imperfect. Think about it. I see of litter of 11 puppies, but the one I am drawn to is the spotted little runt with one ear and a funny squeak, awwwwwwww (:

And the word “question”?  Well it was the year 1241 when I said to my homie Zarathustra over a cup of Bubonic Plague Vaccine I developed to save our villages, “hey Zarathustra, where do you think the world ends? That would be really fun to bungee jump off.”

And he replies to me, “I don’t know Z-man, I guess that quest’s on you.”

He was fun to hang out with mostly, but when he got really drunk on fermented wheat sludge he'd start yelling at me that he was the original "Z-man" etc..

“What’s a ‘question'” I ask.

He say, “Huh?, no I said that quest is on you to do. Good luck, and this time remember to tie one end to something before you jump.”

And it was that moment that it dawned on me, a question is a search, and it should always have an element of fun in it or it is not a real one. It is desire and when you stop having them my friend, you better get some viagra for the soul.

So, long story short, I invented the word question, and there it is. It’s funny, great zamboni only exists when he has a question.  So feed me Seymour!

“Dear Zamboni, what is a ‘teebow?'”

This question came to me from a small gnome named Troilus. I met her long ago squatting in an abandoned oil tanker outside of Marrakesh and she send me this question via carrier pigeon as she is without any devices except a Soviet era  Hamm Radio in which a mole is nesting.

She say she was hearing this name, “Tim Tebow” very oft on her frequencies and she wishes me, great zamboni to explain this to her. “Is this a new President of United States, or new Pope, or big hurricane like Katrina?” she ask me in her note.  I will also explain this to you my readers, as my research shows that most of you are so highly decorted with sophistic degrees and NPR as to maybe know very little about Football and this pop phenomenon of Tim Tebow.

I myself follow the Estonian fencing team, Professional Skeet Shooting, amateur bass Fishing, and american Football since in my youth I played alonside the great Pudge Heffilfinger,- so I had to do very little thought and research into this, as usual.  “What is a Tebow?”…

Tim Tebow is a great quarterback who people love to hate. The hate and laughter he gets are for these reasons: He throws funny. He believes in God and himself very much. Despite imperfect statistics, he usually wins.

This last season he sits on bench for first five games because his coaches don’t like him. His team loses again and again… the fans keep chanting, “tebow! tebow!” Finally they put him in and win seven straight games. Now maybe they go to Superbowl. The wins are not pretty and much of the time Tebow is running like big jackal holding a sick baby down the field or they are losing the game until the last few seconds- but like the old Bulgarian pole vaulter Shminsky Shminsky used to tell me, “I can win with a broken foot if the other guy has a broken leg.” Ya!

That’s it. Now, in the larger sense, a Tebow, as the question asks, is someone that shouldn’t be as good as they are, and  makes people mad for it. George Bush was Tebow. On paper he should have been a train wreck, but he believed in his destiny so we had decade of “War on Terror,” and “No child left a dime”. Oy.

Henry Thoreau was Tebow. “Hey look at that freak in the cabin, ha ha!” Everyone else wanted to sit on couches. He gave us Walden.

Steve Jobs, definitely a Tebow. College dropout. Believer, patient. Made that weird “next” computer no one bought. Margaret Thatcher was Tebow too. See the movie.

As the picture below shows, Tebow is okay with being a fool in others’ eyes. (Rookie hazing led to this coiff, though I sported this look all through college and the chicks love!)  Like it or not, he answers to higher power, and seems to attribute both the good and bad to it, or to “Him”. The irony in all this is that now people look at Tebow himself like a god, in joking they say “Praise Tebow” or “Tebow for president.” So this is really what a Tebow is: our need for a hero, our need to believe in something. It is also lots of hard work, never being comfortable.Tebow is bigger than Tebow, and he believes in something Big. He believes there is a reason for Tebow.

Zamboni dropping back…. “Go deep, go deep!”

What is reason for you?

"i'm goin' monk..." Hansel

Total Polenta Heaven

Many readers have asked me, “great zamboni, is there anything greater than love?” or “great zamboni, what is better than sex?” or some form of this question whatsoever. This is a difficult one, even for someone so fatuous and sagacious as the one I am, great zamboni. Though of course sex and love are two very different things, the way that a bloodthirsty jaguar and a cuddly little kitten named jinx are two different balls of wax, I can say with certainty that there is something better than both combined. This dish.

I have this today in the fog of napa valley, as great zamboni is consultant wine taster for many blenders of the grape. It was so good I ordered a second for dessert, and then a third to rub all over my ears. I hope you find your way to Hopper Creek and enjoy for yourself.

Call in the Cavalry: Why you have Friends back you up

Sometimes you are running and running and you get backed up into a corner, maybe you get pressed into a box that doesn’t fit you anymore. Ever happen to you? You go left, then more left and you have nowhere to go so you cut back right, then farther right. And just when it’s for sure that you’ve got nowhere to go but  knocked-flat on the ground, splat- what do you do that saves you? You depend on your friends for help.

You lateral. And they lateral if they have to. And guess what, after a while, after you get saved, sure enough some day you’re the one that is there for back up- you get to save the day too. This is just the way it works. No one is alone.

Cool. We all need backup.


Yes it looks pretty damn silly, and you feel weird depending on people some times- is it weak to pass the buck 15 times? I don’t know, but if it ends in a win, does it matter?

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.


Mind Bending Duck: Oregon Vs. Stanford 2011

Watch it once first. Then read the following.

In  normal life after a touchdown, a kicker comes onto the field and kicks an “extra point” just a little old “1” to add to the 6 points of a “touchdown”. It’s just what teams have done, for decades. It’s “what you do”. Like brushing your teeth before bed. Like salting the pasta water.

Normal. Houses that had “A” shapes were once normal. Then Buckminster Fuller made a geodesic dome. Frank Lloyd Wright made a house like a rock fallen over a creek.  The first viewers of said creations must have dropped their jaws, wrinkled their brows: “what am I looking at?”

That is what I did tonight when I saw this play. You see, every once in a while, a team does a perfectly legal gamble for a Two Point Conversion. Instead of kicking just the solo point, they do a little pass or run back into the end-zone and get 2 points.                                                                                       Then there’s this.

This bizzarre set up that looks like two different plays set at once and a snap that moved sideways. Looks like it was directed by Anne Bogart or drawn up by a grad student at Cooper Union.       Way left you have nice little triangle, three men.  A man hiking the ball,  behind him looks like a quarterback waiting. Normal except for their strange isolation.  On the right the normal looking scrum of players. “Hike!” The ball skews out not behind to the dummy quarterback but sideways into the big scrum, to the real passer.

Defense is defenseless. #17 in red runs one way, then the other, lost, because the other two points in our little triangle have run streaming into the end zone’s corner… While he is busy being lost, the Oregon Duck who hiked the ball  just steps into the endzone, receiving pass from the guy who was set up way over yonder and caught that sidelong nap.

I could watch it a hundred times and never tire of the legerdemain, the unexpectedness, the architecture of it.  The acting it took. The conviction of the two red herrings fleeing into the corner to make the guys in red into Keystone Cops, confused, too late. They are the magician’s waving hand and the “Abracadabra” that distract you from seeing him…what? Where’s he get that rabbit? Alas, my team has lost, but we may have learned something.

And like a true piece of art even truer than a painting or sculpture, it can never be used exactly like that again.

It would be expected.