The Big Red Truck

The Big Red pickup truck. Bright red with huge wheels that lift it high off the road. Guy moves in next door with this monster, parks it on the street with a “club” on the steering wheel to prevent theft. Someone tries to steal it anyway, here in the land of the big macho truck. […]

Living On The Cheap

To begin with, I’ve been in a Walmart a total of three times, emergency only. The Waltons don’t need what little money I have. Here in the flyover zone we are awash in big box stores. They’re all here, in profusion. My big box of choice is Costco, it’s nearby and has agreeably low prices […]

Hey Einstein!

Twice in my life I have been told “You look like Einstein.” This occurs only when my hair and mustache grow out too long. Both times I have resisted or forgotten to reply, “Thanks, I feel smart.”

A Nation Of Speedfreaks

Do you shudder at the sight of low-life trailer-trash crankheads driving around in their beat-up Camaros? Do you nod solemnly when one of the big tv news actors presents a piece on how methamphetamine is now the Number One Drug Scourge of the United States? Are you shocked at video footage of police and firefighting […]


Boston, 1967 — My band called The Ones was playing a regular gig at the Brown Derby, five nights a week or something like that. We had been reviewed in a new trade paper called Crawdaddy by Jon Landau, who after such humble beginnings later became Bruce Springsteen’s manager and head of the nominating committee […]

My Father’s One-Liners

Several things my father said repeatedly occur to me. The first piece of useful information I recall him passing along, was “Hold your sleeves” when putting on a second or third layer of clothing.  I got this one right away, with good results. He taught me to cook at a young age, a very useful […]

Our Boy Bob

Lots of Manson publicity since he died, and it’s notable how many people had some sort of connection to Charlie. Musician friend of mine showed me a pair of moccasins Manson gave him, when his band was living at a place adjacent to the Spahn “movie” ranch where the Manson “family” was based. I was in […]

Flashbacks: A Memoir By Jim Gibbons

My old friend Gibbons sent me a copy to review for – what else? – the AVA. Jim and I are AVA old-timers, and my first exposure to the paper was in 1988 at his house in Willits. My first letter-to-the-editor was written there, on another new discovery, the Mac Plus, a primitive early computer […]

Hotel Worthy

Within a month of my 18th birthday, the draft notice arrived in the mail. It was 1964 and I knew nothing of Vietnam, but had no intention of going into the army. Besides not being soldier material, I had other plans. The end result of ongoing family matters was repossession of the house I’d lived […]

Mafia & Trump

Sammy “the Bull” Gravano has been released from prison. He’s the one who turned snitch and brought down John Gotti, then head of the Gambino “crime family.” Gotti was part of the conspiracy to kill Paul Castellano, who was shot dead outside a steak house in New York. I had recently read “Underboss,” about Gravano’s […]


Funny how things will stick in one’s memory. The bit on Sacco and Vanzetti in a recent AVA column reminded me of other infamous duos from the dark distant past that have stayed with me since I was a kid. The Everly Brothers. Louis Prima and Keely Smith. Great stuff. Even Sonny and Cher, not […]