a fishing expedition with a nasty dude in camelot

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BEING A CREATURE OF HABIT (well, sort of) (um, not that often, re­ally, but oc­ca­sion­ally), I turn first to tried and true Merriam-Webster when looking up de­f­i­n­i­tions for new (and some­times old) words and phrases. It’s still one of the best on­line dic­tio­nary re­sources, even if I do find more ap­pro­priate de­f­i­n­i­tions for my needs in other dic­tio­naries. READ MORE

mystical liberal loves long walks in the city in the rain

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A LOT IS ASKED OF MYSTICAL LIBERALS! The latest is my cat now wakes me up at four o’­clock. In the morning. She does this after failing to rouse Berni. El gato loco has fi­nally re­al­ized that nothing rouses Princess Berni when she’s asleep (ex­cept the oc­ca­sional pea that I place be­neath her side of our double-thick futon).  READ MORE

to be a better musician in a better position

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DOUG WAS A CELLIST with the Seattle Sym­phony. He was a good if undis­tin­guished player, so he sat in the back of the cello sec­tion. It wasn’t the best sit­u­a­tion, and he dreamed of better things—to be a better mu­si­cian in a better po­si­tion! But no matter how much or how often or how hard he prac­ticed, he couldn’t seem to get any better! READ MORE

jaco and the gorram frakking parrot (or, do men ever listen to women?)

Dog Parrot

BACK IN THE ’80s, Be­lane and I were living in St He­lena in Northern Cal­i­for­nia’s gor­geous Napa Valley. Aside from selling records through the mail with ads in Gold­mine mag­a­zine, I made a few extra bucks by doing hand­i­work for neigh­bors. I could fix a lot of things, mostly minor re­pairs. But I was al­ways avail­able and didn’t charge much so I got a few gigs. READ MORE

why you should always tell the truth

Scotland Turnberry

AFTER LANDING A HUGE CONTRACT, John’s com­pany gave him a four-day/three-night weekend for two at a fa­mous golf re­sort in Scot­land. As he was single, he in­vited me along, de­spite my having nei­ther knowl­edge of, or love for, the game of golf. John knew this as I was forth­right about these things and I al­ways tell the truth!

Of course I ac­cepted but I had to get the go-ahead from my significant-other E. READ MORE

not your typical african grey parrot

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I MET THE GIRL OF MY DREAMS in the last month of the last year of the last cen­tury. I was 47 and Berni was, well, let’s say younger. People who know us now think we’re a per­fect match, a ‘nat­ural’ couple. But it wasn’t al­ways so—especially not in the be­gin­ning, when I was gaga over her but she was con­sid­er­ably less than gaga over me. READ MORE

just how does lsd affect your consciousness?

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JUST HOW DOES LSD af­fect human con­scious­ness? This ques­tion has puz­zled users and in­ves­ti­ga­tors for more than sev­enty years. Per­son­ally, I have been more amazed and filled with joy wonder awe at the Universe/Void/God than puz­zled by the how of these things. And that seems to be a defining dif­fer­ence be­tween the ex­pe­ri­enced and the non-experienced in the world of LSD and any and all things psy­che­delic. READ MORE

how I almost made it with nicole kidman

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FELLOW ROCK & ROLL FAN Steve Adams posted an image on my Face­book page of an Aus­tralian predator. It brought back mem­o­ries that I had long sup­pressed of an event that in­volves three in­hab­i­tants of Aus­tralia: the Mamu, an an­cient spooky thing from the deserts of Down Under; the drop bear, a leg­en­darily fe­ro­cious critter that preys on un­wit­ting tourists; and the ex­tra­or­di­narily lovely ac­tress Nicole Kidman. READ MORE

a few words on performing Beethoven’s 9th symphony

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THE BOSTON SYMPHONY was per­forming Beethoven’s 9th Sym­phony each Sunday during the month of De­cember. Now bass players hate “the Ninth,” as there is a long seg­ment in the middle where they don’t have a thing to do—page after page and not a single note! It makes them look and feel dumb sit­ting there like that.

So rather than sit on their stools idle for twenty min­utes, the con­ductor had de­cided that during this per­for­mance, after the bass players had played their parts in the opening, they were to qui­etly lay down their in­stru­ments and leave the stage. READ MORE