Thanks

For some reason, I need to approach this in the most evenhanded, down-to-earth manner. So let me lead by saying, in a spirit of full disclosure, that my back and thighs are aching…and that this is often a fact of aging neuromuscular life. Okay? So having deflated any hints of Pollyanna, let me say this. Let us give thanks. Yes, it is our Thanksgiving, national gratitude day. Which came about…forget apocrypha involving pilgrims and Indians…through the tireless work of one woman. Born in the Read more [...]

Bins

There always seems to be a scary thing in my life, and these days one can count on driving. But one can't count on driving. That is why it's scary. I know that I avoid driving, and that only compounds the fear level. Daily exposure is part of the solution. So yesterday, Sunday morning, I took advantage of the quietude to drive myself over to Noe Valley and…well, drive myself back. I didn't stop. This saved on parking. Not that there's any money involved in parking on 24th St. No, it saved on Read more [...]

Mensch

'Sir, can I talk to you?' The raggedy man on the subway platform is just about to show me his arm. The latter is bandaged and doubtless contains a tale of woe. But as I am becoming city-hardened and always feel particularly vulnerable in my sedentary battery-powered state…I feel cynical and not inclined to respond. Within me two truths are clashing. One is that if you have trouble with your arm, or trouble keeping needles out of your arm, San Francisco's network of social services…however Read more [...]

Art

There is no more unreliable narrator than the one within, I always say. The latest petty concern digging at my mind has to do with my renewed struggles with writing a memoir. And when I say ‘petty' I am referring to scale. It is not though I haven't done this before. Or maybe it is. I do not find it easy to reveal myself. So regardless of the writing challenges, the self-revelation challenges are even greater. Lighten up, I say. Actually, I only say this in retrospect. In bitter truth, things Read more [...]

Fond Memories

There is no better way to shake up the status quo, get yourself out of any sort of rut and generally reconfigure everything…than to make an excessively brief trip to London. Yes, 10 days there. Many more days anticipating and recovering. Such that your wah, or whatever it is, becomes so totally out of kilter that it stays that way. How else to explain the sudden and total collapse of the electronic house of cards in which we live? For reasons that are unclear, the people who installed our sound Read more [...]

Aloft

It is in the air, literally. But it's also on the ground, as fine as talcum powder, the ashes. And they are not metaphorical. California has had, or is having, scorched earth. The pictures of suburban ruin from the wine areas north of San Francisco shock with the suddenness of their deathly transformation. And what is left feels ominous somehow. The powdery residue of the 3000°F fires that baked and vaporized households and lives is both a shock and toxic. Put modernity into a retort, and this Read more [...]