Broken Sidewalks, a Faded Past… and the Tango

Reading Time: 7 minutes How do you get to Buenos Aires? Well, if you take the route I did, you start in Oakland, drive to San Francisco Airport, fly to Puerto Rico, return to California, fly to Maui and then back to California, fly to Rio de Janeiro, and then catch a flight to Buenos Aires.  Let me explain.  […]

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Spare Change?

Reading Time: 7 minutes A year or so ago I had a strange dream. Of course, most dreams are strange. But this one was both beautiful and, perhaps, telling: A young man is standing with a young woman on the deck of a ship. They are looking at the vast night sky above them. He says to her, “When […]

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Can I Have a Puff?

Reading Time: 10 minutes I started smoking when I was about six years old.  My grandfather, Sam Adler, would frequently come to visit us on weekends from his brownstone home on Pitkin Avenue in Brooklyn. He’d sit comfortably in a chair as he assumed the coveted role of unpaid babysitter.  Grandpa was, perhaps, the best babysitter in the world. […]

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Take These Two Tablets…

Reading Time: 8 minutes I can’t be sure exactly when my interest in cartoons and the comic strips began, but I know that as a young boy growing up on Long Island, we’d get Newsday every day and I’d always read the comics page. It was the 1950s, and there certainly wasn’t anything else worth reading in the paper—for a kid, […]

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The Girl from Rosarito

Reading Time: 7 minutes “Where is my wife, and what have you done with her?” That was my immediate reply to the email I’d just gotten from Mexico. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I could see this would end badly. Someone had obviously abducted my wife and was now impersonating her. The response came quickly. “She’s very pretty, and […]

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¡Olé!

Reading Time: 5 minutes After some thought, I decided I need to insert a small disclaimer about the bullfight. But what to say? I’m not a spokesman for anything. This is a memoir story. If you know me, you are aware that I care for and respect virtually all living things, including spiders, snakes, and scorpions. (I’m not particularly […]

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Wedding Band Leader: Part Two

Reading Time: 6 minutes From the late 1980s through the middle of the Great Recession—a period of approximately 20 years—I was active as a professional bandleader. One simple definition of “professional” means you get paid. Period. But in many ways, I’d been a professional bandleader since my teenage years, when our going rate was $15 each. Once I started […]

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The Duke and I

Reading Time: 5 minutes “Listen up, you guys. Maynard’s in town.” It was 1963 and the three of us, each 16 years old—well, one of us was only 15—were sitting in Mr. Masciarelli’s tiny office off the band room at Wantagh High School. We would often go there instead of study hall. Some of us called him Mr. Masciarelli. The rest just […]

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I Shall Return as a Dog

Reading Time: 7 minutes No one who knows me well would ever think of me as a dog person. Yet… My first dog-recollection is from early childhood. I was just a toddler, but recall that my mother had a black cocker spaniel. The only thing that I remember about this dog is that Mom would feed it scrambled eggs. […]

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La Quinceañera and the Gringos

Reading Time: 7 minutes Although I lived, worked, and attended college in California for seven years in the 1970s, I’d never had an opportunity to visit Mexico. It wasn’t until 1983 when I returned to California with Sharon that a trip to Mexico became viable.  For some stupid reason we chose to go to Cabo San Lucas. It wasn’t the […]

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