My Non-Drinking Life

Reading Time: 6 minutes As an alcoholic, I was a complete failure. I still remember the first time I got drunk. I was about seven or eight, and was with my parents and sister at the home of Aunt Gladys (my mother’s sister), her husband, Uncle Irv, and my cousins, Gil and Howard.  It was the Passover holiday, and […]

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The Five Keys to Happiness

Reading Time: 6 minutes Many people who lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and read the San Francisco Chronicle  in the 1970s and beyond probably remember a column called The Grab Bag. It was created by L.M. Boyd, and at one point appeared in nearly 400 newspapers.  I certainly read it (along with the comics). The column was a fast […]

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A Jazz Musician by Any Other Name

Reading Time: 7 minutes Being a musician (or any type of artist, I suppose) adds a special burden to one’s life. It certainly has to mine.  An example of this dilemma was well-illustrated in an old Cathy cartoon I once read. As I remember it (I’m paraphrasing), she is interviewing a client, who says, “I’m not really a client—I’m […]

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A Day at the Office – Part 1

Reading Time: 6 minutes The Berkeley Repertory Theatre went through a period in the late eighties and early nineties where, if one or more of the actors onstage did not  appear nude, something must have gone wrong.  My wife Sharon and I were season subscribers, and I often wondered what these actors were like in real life. I didn’t have long […]

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A Walk Through the Talmud

Reading Time: 7 minutes Whether you’re watching Game of Thrones, Star Wars, or Dumbo; or reading Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, or the Talmud, there’s one thing you need to do if you’re going enjoy or benefit from any of these: you must suspend your disbelief.  The term suspension of disbelief  is defined as: A willingness to suspend […]

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A Visitation

Reading Time: 5 minutes It has taken me over 50 years to become comfortable telling this story. It was just too personal, exposing feelings I could not easily share. But after everything I experienced during my walk across America—the extreme heat and cold, the constant pain, the endless challenges and the ever-present risks—I began to look at life differently. […]

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Ibsen

Reading Time: 8 minutes Ibsen came into my life—and changed it—one evening in the late 1980s. I don’t recall whether the night was dark and stormy, but it might have been.  Sharon and I, season subscribers to the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, had just returned to our home in the Oakland Hills following a performance of Hedda Gabler  by Henrik Ibsen.  […]

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Wedding Bandleader – Part Three

Reading Time: 6 minutes There’s a place in heaven for wedding musicians. You just have to go through the kitchen to get there. An old saying. (I may have made it up.) Laura and Larry. Larry and Laura. Easy names for me to remember. They were the wedding couple du jour. It looked like it would be an easy gig, and […]

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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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