July 10, 2002

Some people find it odd that I’m a fan of the movie Blow, a flick about the ins and outs of the cocaine trade. Those same folks may find it strange that I’m likewise a fan of the book by the same title and enjoyed plowing through its pages. It was easy plowing. Author Bruce Porter is a masterful storyteller. The tome on which the Johnny Depp movie is based is decidedly more complicated than the film, as its principal… Read more

July 4, 2002

The late 1960s and ’70s were a time of fear. Paul Ehrlich told us the world would run out of food and natural resources due to overpopulation. Popular movies like Soylent Green and long lines at the gas pump only seemed to confirm the grim forecasts of his 1968 jeremiad, The Population Bomb. Environmentalists felt the chills of an oncoming ice age and magazines as well regarded as Science gave credence to the notion that “a full-blown 100,000-year ice age”… Read more

November 4, 1999

It’s always nice when a man gets a second lease on life. Ex-cons are happy about it. Middle-aged divorcees are too. I would expect it’s the same for songwriters and musicians. That’s where Tonio K. comes in. I first ran across Tonio K.’s music when I was sorting through a pile of LPs and CDs at a rummage sale around 1992. There, among all the scratched vinyl and broken jewel cases, I found a disc titled, “Notes from the lost… Read more

October 20, 1999

One of the most memorable numbers in the musical, Fiddler on the Roof, is Tevye’s what-if song, “If I Were a Rich Man.” There in his ramshackle barn the poor, Jewish dairyman living in czarist Russia daydreams about being wealthy. Most of us probably do it. If I had a million bucks, what would I do? A billion? Some of us feel ashamed if we dream about being wealthy. It’s greedy, after all, isn’t it? Grasping, crass and base. Such… Read more

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