Odds & Ends

Song of the Season: Father Christmas

by M.C. Antil on December 18, 2016

Today’s Song of the Season may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I promise you there is not a person reading this now who would not benefit from a deeper appreciation of it — especially at this joyful but reflective time of year. Ray Davies was not rock’s greatest composer, but what he remains […]

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Song of the Season: Christmas Must Be Tonight

by M.C. Antil on December 16, 2016

Before it was called roots music or Americana, there was the Band, four Canadians and a laid back mandolin-playing drummer from Arkansas whose music was a throwback to a time when, as an experiment in not just democracy, but self-destiny, America was still untamed and, in a very real way, still unrealized. And I’ve long contended that, […]

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Alan Thicke: From Moment to Memory

by M.C. Antil on December 14, 2016

I was standing outside of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, near one of the quasi-upscale restaurants that lie just east of the place. A group of people, some from the restaurants, some from the Staples Center, were waiting at the taxi stand for a cab. That’s when I saw him. I’d been told more times […]

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Song of the Season: Baby It’s Cold Outside

by M.C. Antil on December 14, 2016

Frank Loesser’s particular genius was that he could put conversational English to music, whether it was the everyday English of colorful, street-educated hustler types (Guys and Dolls) or the English of ambitious and manipulative three piece suit types (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying). For today’s song of the season, I bring you […]

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Amid Sox Buzz, a Slumbering Giant Stirs

by M.C. Antil on December 9, 2016

At MLB’s annual Winter Meetings this year, which recently concluded in the nation’s capital, it was the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox that made all the headlines. But as far as I was concerned, it was baseball’s perennial 800-lb. gorilla, the New York Yankees, that made the most news — even if it wasn’t reported […]

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Sharon Jones and Me

by M.C. Antil on November 21, 2016

Three years ago this very week I got the news no one ever wants to receive. I had somehow managed to contract full-blown cancer. Stage IV squamous cell carcinoma, to be exact, in the form of a tiny, almost microscopic tumor at the base of my tongue. So the first week of December, two weeks […]

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Ali and Me: A Moment Frozen in Time

by M.C. Antil on June 15, 2016

Susan Swain is one of those fiercely intelligent and incredibly wise people with whom, every so often in life, you’re blessed to cross paths. (And if you’re thinking intelligent and wise are redundant there, you may just be one for whom store-bought knowledge and hard-fought wisdom are destined to run on parallel tracks.) Whatever, the simple fact is […]

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A Gold Star Memory

by M.C. Antil on November 11, 2015

I was just 14 years old. It was August 1969, and I was working at one of the first jobs I would ever have, as a busboy at Norm’s Restaurant during the ten-day run of the New York State Fair. Norm’s was not one of those tiny food booths that popped up like mushrooms during Fair […]

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In Praise of Moose and Squirrel

by M.C. Antil on October 7, 2015

The generation before us had the Loony Tunes, the one behind us, The Simpsons; two thick-beneath-the-surface icebergs of pop culture brilliance that taught kids to laugh at the very world that threatened to destroy them; a patchwork quilt of warring cultures, isms and ideologies whose dead-serious leaders often looked, talked and acted, well…cartoonish. Any while my generation didn’t have a […]

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Tom Friedman is right. The world is flat. We have slowly but surely homogenized just about everything consumable to the point that there is, sadly, little left in the way of local or regional flavor. Corporate radio, food chains and the interstate highway system have pretty much seen to that. Yet, even as I was […]

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