Santa’s Inbox

November 14, 2018

Every year around this time, the holiday season begins in earnest for me. Because this time each year, my little Santa business kicks into gear. While the phone calls from Santa to kids around the country are often reward in and of themselves, a few residual benefits also reveal themselves over the course of the […]

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Walter Becker: An Appreciation

September 20, 2017

Author’s note: This is a rather long-winded tribute to a recently-fallen idol. So consider this brief caveat, if you will, my geek alert. If you’re a Steely Dan nut, as I; indeed, read on. You may actually enjoy the ride. But if you’ve never been baptised in the cool, healing waters of Walter Becker and […]

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A Don Williams Sampler

September 9, 2017

In the 1970’s, the traditional rhinestone country music the world had come to know and love for decades – a honky tonk/my-girl-left-me-and-stole-my-truck brand of popular music that relied as much on raw emotions and cheatin’ hearts as it did on rhyme, rhythm and twang – had become all but passé. What began replacing it was […]

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Jerry Lewis, an Appreciation

August 23, 2017

I was maybe 9 or 10 years old. My father was in the other room watching TV and called out excitedly, “Quick. Come in here. I want you to see something.” Just as I walked into the TV room, onscreen, comedian Jerry Lewis was likewise walking into a room. It looked like maybe an executive […]

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An Open Letter to Chicago White Sox GM, Rick Hahn

January 27, 2017

Dear Rick: Understand, in many ways I’m just another bozo with a keyboard and an internet connection. But in so many other ways, I’m anything but your average, garden-variety sports fan. In fact, to the contrary, I’m not a sports fan at all. I’m a baseball fan. I don’t just live and breath the game. […]

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Uncle Phil and My Greatest Gift Ever

January 7, 2017

The Syracuse of my youth had something for everyone, especially when it came to music. For whatever reason, even though the city was only about the fourth or fifth largest in the state, it produced a disproportionate number of musicians, many of whom would become working professionals, and a few of whom would go on […]

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A Bad Year for Rock and Roll

January 2, 2017

A few years ago, I posted a piece on a Chuck Prophet tune called Summertime Thing that I’d heard one Memorial Day and fallen in love with. And like so many of my silly little essays, I just posted it on my site not knowing what impact, if any, it might have had on anyone who […]

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A Different New Year Song for a Different Sort of New Year

December 31, 2016

One of the most poetic things about Auld Lang Syne is its delicate blend of hope and melancholy. For all the song’s hope for the year ahead, is a very real sense of mourning for the one about to fade to memory. And, not to go all numbers geek here, but I’d say the song is something like 60% […]

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Song of the Season: If We Make it Through December

December 25, 2016

By Christmas 1979, America was not just staggering, it was reeling. The Iran hostage crisis. The skyrocketing price of oil, the rationing, the crushing demand, and the endless lines at the gas pump. And, perhaps worst of all, the offshoring of hundreds of thousands of American jobs and the closing of countless American factories. Former California […]

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Song of the Season: Peace Piece

December 24, 2016

Eventually pianist Bill Evans would become a jazz legend. In time, he would emerge as one of the pioneers of cerebral, contemplative form of the genre called modal jazz, one based less on chord progressions than a handful of atmospheric tones. And just a year later he would serve as the backbone of the most influential jazz […]

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