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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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Eduardo Galeano, Latin America’s Leftist Literary Giant and Poet Laureate

Eduardo Galeano, Latin America’s Leftist Literary Giant and Poet Laureate
The great, subversive, political, and poetic Uruguayan writer, Eduardo Galeano died on April 13, 2015, after losing his second bout with lung cancer. Galeano was one of my favorite writers. He was little known in America (of course he would poignantly call us, the rapacious and hegemonic “the United States of America,” in contrast with his own, much-maligned and violently-exploited “LatinAmerica,” but that made sense since he always compared the European rape and conquest of the New World in the 15th-18th centuries to the USA’s current exploitation and subjugation of Latin America in...
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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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The Godfather’s Last Appearance at the Apollo

The Godfather’s Last Appearance at the Apollo
I remember coming into “the City” from white bread, Long Island back in Eisenhower’s immaculate, buttoned-down 50s. Just as we’d cross over the Williamsburg Bridge onto Delancey Street approaching the Bowery, my father would say, “Roll up the windows and lock the doors.” This was always a little bit scary but odd to me, as we’d drive by all the homeless “bums” who surrounded our Chevy Impalla station wagon at the stop lights, each attempting to wash our windshields for any spare change we could offer. We’d offer none, for we were buttoned-down and rolled up tight. The other thing...
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