My alarm goes off at 6:00 just as the early morning sun floods my bedroom. I check the surface of the Hudson River below my window, and I’m happy to see only a few wind-created ripples. The forest of trees at the bottom of my building is also still.

No wind this morning means it will be a biking day. I open my weather app and check the temperature. It’s 45° now and it will take several hours to reach 50°. …


As far back as I can remember, I loved the ocean. I grew up in Brooklyn and spent as much time as I could swimming in salt water. As I grew older, I realized that the ocean which bordered my hometown was not the best location in which to scuba dive. The water was murky and often polluted with untreated sewage.

Fortunately, my aunt and uncle owned a beach house on Reynolds Channel, a strait in Nassau County, New York. One summer morning I visited them, put on my scuba gear, and for the first time waded into the water…


I wanted a dog. I’d been living by myself in an apartment in New Jersey for two years and getting increasingly lonely. My nightly dinners and weekends together with my girlfriend were just not enough to assuage my loneliness. I thought my goldfish would fill the void, but they didn’t, and then they died. I was sure that having a dog would work, but there was a problem.

My apartment complex allows only cats or service dogs. You have to prove to the Co-Op Board that for mental health reasons you need a service dog. But I didn't qualify. …


In 1957 I began studying physics in my freshman year at Columbia University. This inspired my best friend, the editor of the college literary magazine, to write a short story about a first-year physics student (me) who planned as an extra credit activity to assemble an infinite group of monkeys, each with a typewriter. He wanted to test the idea that given enough time, the monkeys would produce all of Shakespeare. When he told his physics professor about this project, the professor pointed out that he would need an infinite space to house them. “Imagine all the bananas you would…


How a New Generation of Eco-Warriors is Saving the Planet from the Onslaught of Plastics

Fifty years ago, I was an earth science teacher in the town of Larchmont, NY. My students found the course material boring. Is this rock sedimentary or igneous? At that time, the concept of recycling was relatively new. To get them more involved in what I perceived as a key issue impacting the earth’s future, I came up with a special class project. For ten weeks, each student would weigh all the groceries that came into their homes then weigh the trash that it produced…


I lived a good portion of my adult life in Larchmont, a small waterfront community about 20 miles from New York City. The town is nestled against Long Island Sound and most of the land is at sea level. My house was on a small hill, about 30 feet above sea level. Whenever it rained and the tide was high, the small turnabout at the end of the street would flood to a depth of four or five feet. It would take days for the sewage-infested salt water to recede. Some of the residents at the end of the block…


“I dreamed I was a butterfly looking down on me sleeping. When I awoke, I did not know whether I was a man who had dreamed he was a butterfly or whether I was now a butterfly now dreaming he was a man.” The Taoist sage Zhuangzi, circa 400BC

Last evening, I leaned out my 17th floor balcony to take a photo of Manhattan in the clear evening air. To my right, I could see the New York Skyline. The Empire State building was illuminated by red, white and blue lights. The Freedom Tower at the tip of Manhattan shimmered…


“Rage, rage against the dying of the light”

March 5th 2030

The elevator doors opened, and I stepped out and rushed to our mail room. “Here, Mike,” our mail carrier said as he handed me a manila envelope with a government seal on the upper left corner. I thanked him and walked back to the elevator. On the ride up to my apartment, I remembered that the following day was my 90th birthday.

I opened the envelope and as I had hoped, it was the application that I had been expecting. It was from the U.S. Department of Life Extension…


It was a late afternoon in September. I was having a drink in a downtown Vancouver bar near the wharf with my friend Frank, a brown 400-pound Giant Pacific Octopus from the Gulf Islands, off the town of Victoria. We had been getting together for a drink every month for the past year.

I set up my computer and started Google Translate for our conversation. (Did you know that Google offered interspecies translating for $14.50 a month?) …


In 2017, a family member named Adelle told me about a personal experience that I was going to hear many times over the next few years.

The previous year she had fallen while painting a mural high up on a pool house wall. She landed head-first on the concrete slab surrounding the pool. Her head was bleeding, and she was unconscious. Her husband called 911 and the paramedic who checked her pulse said that her heart had stopped beating.

“Mike,” she said, “I was floating inside a tunnel whose walls were made of clouds. It was so peaceful. I sensed…

Michael Franzblau PhD

Michael Franzblau is a NJ-based writer and educator with a PhD in Physics. Two of his books, Teach and be Rich and Tuition Without Tears can be found on Amazon.

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