Walter Mitty at the Plate

Game tied, bottom of the ninth. Two runners on base, and any one of us scoring now means we win the whole enchilada. The pennant hangs in the balance. But I can’t afford to even begin to think of that right now. The pitcher has been throwing hard and well and I’ve let a few […]

TrumpWeek: It Was What it Was

I Do This So You Don’t Have To… But it was Quite a Week: Trump recommends an oleander concoction promoted by Ben Carson and the MyPillow guy/Trump donor to fight Covid; so many actual doctors point out that it’s poisonous that Carson has to backtrack and say its use would be “premature.” Trump ordered to […]

The Pro-Abortion President

Donald Trump is in the White House because of abortion. Not solely that issue, of course, but it was his craven, calculated, and hypocritical embrace of the “pro-life” label just when he decided to run for office that pushed him over the edge with the many millions of evangelical Christians, Catholics, and other Americans for […]

Triple Endemic Troubles – and Hope?

A tiny bacteria or even tinier virus gets into a flea, who jumps onto a rat, who sneaks onto a boat and then off into a new city, and changes the course of human history by spreading an infection that kills almost half of all the people alive. That’s just one type of plague, and […]

Carving the Coast

Being a very fortunate guy, I’ve lived within sight of the California Coast my entire life. I’ve also been a reader and collector of books about and/or set in this fabled zone, and one of the greatest of all of them is being rereleased in a beautiful new paperback edition, after selling out in hardcover […]

Riding the Coast

Way back in high school I somehow got the wild idea to ride a bicycle down the entire West Coast, from the Canadian to Mexican borders. Well why not? Summer was coming, I was all of 17 years old, born and raised on the Orange County Coast, with a yearning to see broader vistas. I […]

The “Right to Die”

Just last year I attended a dramatic reading of ancient texts about mortality. What fun, right? But it drew a full house of over 1,000 people to San Francisco’s ornate Castro Theatre. It also left many of us in the audience on the brink of tears. I watched with a sense of wonder both at […]

Reggae On The River: The Magical Years

The fabled Reggae on the River festival has been through more trials and tribulations than your average 30-something native Californian, with a real rough patch in recent years due to disorganization, in-fighting, and financial struggles. The result has been an extended identity crisis. But considering some near-death experiences over the past decade or so, the […]

A Personal Tribute to Jazz Master Randy Weston

Way back in the early 1970s I stumbled upon a then-new record titled “Blue Moses” by pianist Randy Weston. It had a very colorful, almost psychedelic cover and a roster of top jazz stars like Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Hubert Laws on flute, drummer Billy Cobham, Miles Davis’s bassist Ron Carter. and more, and looked […]

Get Up, Stand Up (And… Dance)

Standing on stage in front of thousands of people can be a kind of out-of-body experience, especially if one is essentially shy in public. But on the big stage at the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, it mostly feels easy — the crowd is so positively happy and supportive that it can feel like one […]

SNWMF 2018: A Quarter Century of Music

This year marks the 25th annual version of the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, and its 13th year in Boonville. Begun in 1994 in the foothills of the mountain range it’s named for, the organizers felt compelled by lack of local support and a predatory criminal element to move to another site in the mountains […]

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