UPS Fiasco (January 27, 1999)

Internet shopping — I confess. I did it. Sort of. My old Mac Plus is still a good typewriter, but it’s not internet-capable. (In fact, until today, the spell-checker on this thing didn’t know the word “internet.”) So when I encountered two old friends who are now techno-geeks and won’t communicate except by online means, […]

Housesitting in the U.S.A. (June 28, 2000)

There was a quote in the AVA recently about suburbs being breeding grounds for boredom and apathy, among other social ills. We might add to the list suspicion, isolation, and despair. I’m in the second week of my second housesitting situation, and I count myself fortunate to have it. There are still people out there […]

Those Damn Californians (Sep. 4, 1996)

I’m sick of all this Baby Boomer crap, the endless articles and quotes from the likes of Christopher Hitchens telling me, who just turned 50, who I am, what I do, and what I’m like. It may be perfectly true that many, maybe even the majority of my contemporaries were phony Peace and Love hippies […]

I Am Cuba (October 23, 1996)

Port Townsend, Washington, 10/17/96 — If there really is a culture war raging in the US — right vs. left, hippies vs. rednecks, New Age vs. Old Country, etc., this little town of 7,000 people is a prime example. In the upcoming County Commissioners’ election, good ol’ boy property-rights factions are pitted against younger, seemingly […]

More Mediocrity & Music (July 16, 1997)

For one reason or another, I’m on a mission to document the trials and tribulations, the travails, of an adult musician (me) in his (my) efforts to work, even exist, in a small town whose core values are largely false and hypocritical. This entails various logistic as well as psychological difficulties. Right now, I’m exploring […]

Scandal (December 4, 1996)

Port Townsend, Washington, November 13, 1996 — A couple of years back, I worked as a delivery driver for a local pizza joint. During slow periods I had no choice but hang around the restaurant waiting, usually outside, but inside when the weather was cold. One of the owners, or “bosses” of the place was […]

Paradigm Lost (July 6, 2005)

Here is my all-time favorite cartoon: a man is hanging from his pickax, which is hooked, barely, over the top edge of an impossible precipice. A second man hangs on to his ankle. There is no visible bottom, the fall, obviously fatal. The man holding on with the pickax is saying to the man hanging […]


In my father’s day, people who did specialized, skilled things were called engineers. He was an electronics engineer. He maintained the radar apparatus at Chincoteague Island, watching for German U-boats. Later he designed circuitry for guided missiles. He taught a night class for beginning engineers. His tendency was to call skilled people engineers of one […]

The Two-Headed Right

I was going to say “extreme” right but that would have implied nazi salutes and torch marches. This is the mainstream right, which isn’t that far from extreme any more. It was interesting to read about Marilyn Davin’s visit to Jerry Philbrick, and to note that politics were not really discussed. Philbrick came off as […]

Shooting the TV

Elvis Presley shot the TV when Robert Goulet’s face came onscreen. That’s how I feel when I see Trump’s phony-baloney face makeup, fake tan and hairdo. Luckily I don’t have a gun. Trump seems to be sticking with places like West Virginia and Mississippi, where inexplicably there are still people who believe his bullshit.  Now […]

Chicken, Steak & Hut Dawgs

This is the story of Shirley and Spike, as much as I know and can recall. A very odd couple from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It was 1967 or so and my band was playing at at the Blue Moon, a Mafia-run club in Lowell, Mass. We had long hair but were far from being hippies. […]

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