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He Was a Friend of Mine: Jack Slater

He Was a Friend of Mine: Jack Slater
“Friend” is a word I value. I don’t use it lightly. As in “Facebook friend”. The word has more respect about it than that. At its core, it resonates with words like trust, loyalty and longevity. Because it also has substance about it, something Facebook and merely “acquaintance” simply don’t have. And there is a beautiful song about friendship that I love. it’s called “He Was a Friend of Mine”. My favorite version was sung by Dave Van Ronk, the salty, crusty folksinger with the raspy voice who was sort of the Mayor of Greenwich Village...
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The “R” word

The “R” word
5/13/14 It used to be the “C” word. C-c-c-ommitment. Normally a young man’s word. Why ever get married, settle down, have a family, limit your (sexual) options? What about freedom? Opportunity? Spontaneity? Improvisation? Living in the moment? Be here now? What about the 60s? Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll? I’ll tell you “what”. Life is what. It has a way of catching up with even the best (free-est) of us? Leaving us older, lonelier, less and less healthy and attractive with each passing year. Maybe even sadder, wiser, but more isolated… eventually, if we...
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ripples in the pond

ripples in the pond
may 17, 2013 beware. this is a story of curmudgeonliness turning into beatitude. let’s start with the first. it’s the merry month of may. time for college graduations. i never go. never went to my own, never will. you know the routine: 1969… the me generation, protest, stick it to the man. my parents made me go to the college i never wanted to go to, just to save the dough. i certainly wasn’t gonna go to make them happy. i was socially inept, volcanic, and generally, i had a hard time making it out of adolescence. i didn’t need a diploma, recognition from an institution i didn’t respect. i...
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R.I.P, Clay the Dog, 1998 – 2013

R.I.P, Clay the Dog, 1998 – 2013
 It ended the same way it began. On a hard, linoleum-covered wooden floor. Me lying next to Clay, the Dog. Comforting him at the very beginning. And comforting him again at the very end. Clay, my homeboy companion. My escape artiste extraordinaire. Clay, the canine outlaw of Echo Park. The cat killer and coyote enforcer. The sweetheart and heartbeat of Elysian Heights. Clay, the Dog, who is no more. I remember the first night on my brown-diamonded, linoleum kitchen floor, high above the lowlands of trendy Echo Park, that locals used to call “Red Hill” (for its Commie-leaning, rabble-rousing...
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act three?

act three?
“act 3”, you know, of a play? it follows its 2 predecessors: act one, which brilliantly sets up what’s at stake for the protagonist. followed by act two, in which the play develops with tension & suspense as it builds in “rising” action, when finally, you have, “act 3”, the climax and resolution of the play. if it’s a good/happy ending, the play is called a comedy; if it’s a not so good, bummer of an ending, the play is called a tragedy. in either case, act 3, the “falling” action and… the end of the play. now being a college theater professor for the last 26 years, i...
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