Category Archives: History of the World, Part One

Getting your hair cut in Baytown, Texas

Fifty years ago, getting a haircut was a whole different experience than it is today.  Nobody was handing you a beer while you waited.  Then again, I was ten years old so maybe that wouldn’t have been the best idea. In Baytown, every male pretty much had one of two haircuts: either the Flat Top …

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Mortality & The Melingers

If all goes according to plan, I will turn sixty this year.  So I’m just now gaining a bit of perspective on this whole life/death thing.  The presence of death becomes less theoretical as you begin to notice the people around you dropping like flies.  One minute they’re there, and then…poof.  No more! I don’t feel …

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A Brief Mutual Stretcher History of my Brother and my Father

One of the more wonderful aspects of having lived through the 1960’s and 1970’s, if you were one of those fortunate enough to survive, is the ability to look back with some degree of perspective at a period that combined innocence and debauchery in equal parts.  Consequently, our skill at rationalizing bad behavior for (perceived) positive results was unparalleled. Of …

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My Life with Steve

I spent a fair chunk of the 1980’s living in Eugene, Oregon.  It was a wonderful time of cooperative living, incessant rain, and eight dark years of  Ronald Reagan as President.  OK, maybe there were some issues, but by and large it was quite magical, as long as you never read a newspaper or watched the TV …

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OK, so maybe I’m not always the World’s Best Dad.

I try, OK?  And mostly succeed.  But every now and then, I remember something that gives me a pang of guilt.  A time when I could have been better, but just didn’t wannu. Here’s an example: when our daughters were around eleven years old, we found ourselves going to a lot of Bar & Bat …

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The Death of Poker Night

Around 1975 or so, I lived at the Ark.  Not the ‘two by two’ kind, but the housing cooperative of a hundred residents that was at 2000 Pearl here in Austin.  The building is still there, and it’s still a housing co-op, but it’s no longer called the Ark.  I hope to high heaven that none …

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Thank You, Robert Fripp

Musical paths are meandering.  The point is never the arrival, always the journey.  And every musician can point to at least one event, and frequently several events, that spurred that journey onward. My first big push came from Robert Fripp.  Or more accurately, his band King Crimson–whose first album I bought just because the cover looked interesting. …

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Everything I know about morality came from Shelley Berman.

When I was ten years old, I chanced upon this book in the bottom drawer of the vanity in my big sister’s room.  The room itself had been unoccupied for four years, since she had left home to attend college at UT.  So how this book ended up there is anyone’s guess.  But there it …

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You Lied to Me!

Up until the age of seven, I believed pretty much anything that I read in a magazine, or was told by an older person.  I don’t know how I stayed so gullible for so long, but I did.  I was just a trusting, sweet, innocent kid.  Nothing like the cynical, shuddering wreck of a human …

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Young People Making Good

In the last few weeks, I have been seeing news of some of my former students actually making it in the music industry.  What are the odds? Not great, but they are doing it.  And it gives me great pleasure to ‘toot their horns’ for them.  Not because I feel like I’m responsible for their …

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