Tag Archives: print articles and columns

Ahmad Jamal At The Pershing: Perfection in 1959

On the night of January 16, 1958, at the Pershing Lounge in Chicago, Ahmad Jamal sat down to play piano. He was joined, as he had been on many nights previous, by Israel Crosby on bass and Vernell Fournier on drums. The three were artists in residence at the Pershing, and had been playing together for months. Continue reading

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Haul Seining in the Hamptons and the Coffee Real Men Drank

It was cold on the beach. 5 AM or so, waiting to set nets, fishing with the Havens crew in Amagansett. I was almost 15 and had left the boarding school I attended in ninth grade a bit before the end of the school year.

I moved to my parents’ summer house in East Hampton where Doug Kuntz, an on-again off-again boyfriend of my older sister and in need of a place to live, was installed to keep an eye on me. He was my ticket to fishing with the Havens family, haul seiners for generations. Continue reading

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Food Pairings: Skip Wine, Try Music

When someone takes the time to pair wines with breakfast cereals, as Gary Vaynerchuk did last year (if you’re wondering what to pair with Cap’n Crunch, it’s the 2007 Von Kesselstatt Spatlese Scharzhofberger Riesling), I think it’s time to admit that the obsession with pairing has gotten a bit out of hand.

Don’t get me wrong: I certainly like food, and I’ve been known to enjoy an occasional glass of wine with a meal, but the obsession some people have with claiming that the notes of fruit from the wind passing over the pear tree in the field adjoining the grape arbors sets of some part of the steak sauce is lost on me. CU349CP3GUUG Continue reading

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Moving, Modern Primitives and Getting Dumped for a Hippie

The topic of moving came up at my house recently. Nothing definite, just a preliminary chat between spouses, but it’s a worrisome thought all the same. Years ago, before I was married, well before I had children, moving was a fairly common occurrence for me.

One year I moved to Washington DC and lasted almost nine months before packing up and moving back to New York. Not much time, I’ll admit, but longer than I had been able to stay in Houston the year before. Of course in my defense, I might have lasted in Texas a bit longer had I not come home from work one day to discover a mysterious set of tire tracks leading to my front door, and approximately one half of the objects that had been in the house that morning missing. Continue reading

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Old Florida Survives and Thrives in Palm Beach Gardens

The two kayaks push off from the small sand beach and paddle quietly through the narrow opening in the line of dense mangroves along the shore, heading into the estuary. It’s high tide; though the small boats draw only inches, parts of this body of water, rich with aquatic life, are not navigable when the tide is out. A light breeze carries across the water and a mullet flashes silver as it jumps into the morning sunlight, just feet from the lead boat. An osprey, reminded by the splash that it’s time to hunt, lifts itself into air thick with the smell of the sea and joins the brown pelicans and belted kingfishers already above the water looking for meals. The kayaks continue on through nature unconcerned with their presence; a confidence born from generations of life undisturbed by the hallmarks of human progress. This is old Florida. Continue reading

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Xerox PARC, the Carterfone, and Hidden Hands in My Youth

I’ll admit to this: in my youth, I may have had a tendency towards narcissism. Maybe not in the super-human supply found in certain actors or politicians, and less in the self-admiration “my goodness, but don’t I look fantastic, and aren’t I brilliant” sense than in the self-centered “I operate in a sphere that only I affect” sense, but one could still argue that I had a slightly skewed sense of my own place in the world.

Let me be clear: I never, not since I was 9 at any rate, believed that actions didn’t have consequences. Instead, I enjoyed the illusion that I was the captain of my own ship, that good and bad times were both results of my actions, and mine alone. That’s changed with time. I still firmly believe in the importance of taking personal responsibility for one’s own life (you plant an orange seed, don’t expect an apple tree), but I’m also aware that there are factors beyond my control that do have an influence on me. Continue reading

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Music and Other Things Best Not Forgotten

It’s human nature to remember the positives from past experiences while conveniently forgetting the negatives. I’m not talking about aspects of experiences that were generally unpleasant: it’s doubtful that a nice receptionist is going to be foremost in your mind after getting a root canal that required 20 ampoules of Novocain to keep your yelling down to a level that wouldn’t empty the waiting room.

But it’s different when an experience was generally positive. In those cases, people tend to view the past through somewhat rose-tinted glasses. If you think about it though, there are probably excellent reasons your broke up with your exes, your first car likely broke down a lot more than you recall, and Wallabees weren’t the most stylish footwear on the market. So in general, it’s not a bad idea to enjoy the memories but leave the past behind. Continue reading

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