Mayhem in Minnesota

We pay the police to be our guardians.

People of color like George Floyd should never have had their lives cut short by the police they depend on to protect them.

Shame, shame, shame on the police…It can and must be stopped.

Steps are now being taken to correct the many wrongs.

We are watching.


(April 16, 2021)


I was lucky. 

Many people had a bad reaction when they received the Pfizer vaccine for Covid-19. 

Perhaps it is because of the immunity I had built up over the years.

On March 2, 2021, I had the first dose, and on April 6, 2021, I had the second dose.

The pandemic is still raging, claiming many victims. The death rate is being lowered daily.

I don’t wish to be complacent but I think we are winning the battle.

I hope so.

(April 23, 2021)


I must be one of the few people who does not have a computer.

So, what do I look at? What do I do with my hands that are empty? I read. I watch TV. I walk. A guy (or woman) without a computer is an anachronism, a misfit.

I had a computer once, one of the few people who did.

I knew how to use it. I don’t remember what I used it for. I still have it.

I took it out recently to play with it. It doesn’t work. If I recharged the battery, it would.

I have no intention to do so.

Dead it is and dead it will stay.

Thoughts crossed my mind about buying a computer but that’s as far as I got.

Another factor that I think about is my eyesight. It’s not as good as it used to be. I cannot read for too long. My eyes tear. So – I will do nothing.

I’m getting along fine. I’ll follow the advice of my esteemed doctor.

“Morrie, I don’t know what you are doing, but keep doing it.”

Makes sense to me.

(April 15, 2021)

Writing Through the Vaccination

Danny came to my desk with a motion of his hand directing me to write. I don’t feel like writing. I’m still feeling queasy from the Pfizer vaccination shot I had yesterday.

Danny said not to worry.

“I had a reaction from the shot.” 

I think he is right. This morning I do feel better and as is evidenced I am writing.

(April 7, 2021)

Betsy Doll

I am sitting at my swivel desk chair thinking of you, of the 80 years of life we had together. The world we explored.

We had a most enviable marriage. 

We had many a difference of opinion, each trying to convince the other of their viewpoint. I have a strong ego.

In retrospect, I now concede you were always right.

Old age and acquiring wisdom.

At the age of 107 I know I won’t be around much longer.

Thanks for making my life pleasant.


(April 13, 2021)

Gastronomical Revelation

I asked the gas station guy who was filling up my tank (it only held 10 gallons) how the roads to Long Beach were. 

“Terrible,” he said. The 15 miles I had driven that morning took me over an hour. There were no freeways. Many streets were full of potholes. I made a decision, with only about seven miles to Long Beach. I’ll keep driving.

Finally, I had a pleasant experience (and an eye opener.)

I saw a guy on a corner selling food. I stopped to see what he had on a makeshift griddle.

I didn’t recognize them. They were 20 cents each. Tacos and burritos.

“Buddy, try one. If you don’t like them, I’ll give you your money back.”

I hadn’t eaten since I left L.A.

“Good deal,” I said. “I’ll have one of each.”

I couldn’t believe how good it was. It was filled with ground meat that looked like hamburger.

“It’s beef hamburger,” he said when he saw me staring at it. He had only two burritos left on the grill. They were stuffed with chopped vegetables. They looked good. I bought both of them (smart move) and paid him, hopped into my “limousine” and soon was back on the road to Long Beach.

It’s now 90 years later and I have eaten thousands of tacos and burritos. I still love them….

(April 9, 2021)

Meeting Paul Levy

I had a pleasant lunch yesterday at the Farmers Market (on Fairfax) with Paul Levy, the son of Ruby Levy, one of my dearest friends.

As we had never met, the worry we had is how would we recognize one another.

It proved to be no problem. With Danny pushing me in a wheelchair, I held my book “Keep Breathing” easily visible in my lap. 

Out of the crowd appeared a handsome young man (Paul Levy).

“Morrie Markoff,” he said to me.

“Yes,” I answered.

“I am Paul Levy. We have done a lot of correspondence by computer, finally were are meeting,” and we shook hands vigorously.

At my request, he told me a lot about himself and his family. We talked about his and my parents and our lives in East Harlem. We spent over an hour exchanging information. We parted with the desire to keep in touch. Hopefully we will.

Danny again received a “check shock” when he insisted on paying for the cup of coffee he ordered – $3.50.

Oh, well, as my friend Ruby would have said to Danny…

“That’s the way it is.”

(April 16, 2021)

Scammer Bernard Madoff

Bernard Madoff died in prison [on April 14, 2021].

He ran the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

An unbelievable story of greed. 

I was a Madoff investor, in fact one of the few who not only did not lose money, but made a huge return (21%) on my investment.

It happened in the 1950s. Although hazy in my mind, I will relate what I remember.

I was living in the Avenel Housing project: 10 units on two levels of five units each. It was built by well-known architect Gregory Ain.

One day Clarence Gerber, the younger brother of close friend Serrill Gerber who lived in the lower level of the “Project,” paid me a visit. 

I welcomed him in and we talked.

“Morrie, how would you like to join our investment group I am head of called ‘Gerber Investment.’ We invest in a fund run by a Wall Street financial wizard called Bernie Madoff. I have a large sum of money invested in the Madoff fund. Crazy as it seems, it has been paying me consistently a return of 22%. Many of our friends have invested in it. How about it?”

“Clarence, thanks. I know all about the fund and the investment groups and the money they are earning. I’ve been giving it a lot of thought for the past few years. I know your fund has been earning huge returns on your investments. The money I have in my CD (certificate of deposit) is yielding a return of 6%, low compared to what your fund is earning. Thanks Clarence. I’ll think about it.”

I gamble when I am almost sure of the outcome. I was troubled. 

Many of my close friends were doubling their investments every quarter. My savings at an insured bank was earning .05%.

The next time Clarence called me I said O.K.

“I will take out of the bank a sum of $10,000 and invest it with the Clarence Gerber fund.”

Every quarter was bringing “wild returns,” better than 80%. …I withdrew my interest and re-invested the principal.

Some of my friends had built their stake to over a million dollars. At home, they were living the good life, eating at the most expensive, prestigious restaurants, buying expensive homes and driving “Audies.”

Then, suddenly, it all imploded. Madoff confessed to his son his “phony huge profits” were nothing but a Ponzi scheme. 

It all blew up, it was a fake. 

He pleaded guilty, was sentenced to prison and died in prison.

(April 15, 2021)

Easter Day

With Danny driving me, we went for a visit to the Santa Monica Markoff’s.

Steve was dressed as an Easter rabbit (hare raising) for a late lunch.

I was seated next to Joanna, a Kaiser psychiatrist. After a most satisfying lunch, she plied me with questions about my youth.

The early days I lived on 101st Street in East Harlem. I enjoyed talking to her.

Danny and I had roast beef and a few side vegetables, carrots and peas.

After about a three hour stay we left. 

As soon as I got into my apartment, I headed for my comfortable couch and “flopped” on it.

End of journey.

Now I understand why Steve was dressed as an “Easter Bunny.”

Today is “Easter Day.”

(April 3, 2021)

On Writing and Redundancy

One of my concerns as a writer is that I am duplicating myself.

After I have written something, I get a feeling that I have written about it before. 

I’ll try not to.

I’m sure every first time writer berates himself because of the stuff he left out in their book. 

I am no different.

* * *

To frustrate the “Grim Reaper” who is still reaping, I just had an immunity shot.

Who’s winning this epidemic? I remember Abbott of Abbott & Costello (of the prize-winning comedy show) and his “Who’s on First” routine.

That and Everyone’s Got Talent were a few of my favorite shows. Betty and I laughed ourselves “sick.”

These are not funny days. 

Everyone I know asks the same question: When will it end?

An unanswerable question. 

All we can do is stay the course and hopefully ride it out.

Everything has a beginning and end.

This epidemic is no exception.

(April 7, 2021)