Archive for July, 2009

My Childhood Trinity, Part One

Throughout my childhood in a small town outside Chicago, I idolized just three larger-than-life figures:  Abraham Lincoln, Elvis Presley and Leadbelly, aka “Huddie Ledbetter”.  Everything and everyone else in popular culture washed over me.  I worshipped each god in this trinity, so to speak, in equal strength and measure. Elvis was the problematic idol—he had [...]

Bringing It All Back Home

Once introduced, Americans invariably inquire what business you’re in. While foreigners find the question a bit crass, it’s second nature to us.  The question reflects our work ethic on the one hand, and our democracy on the other: it’s not who you are but what you do that defines you.  We mean business. When you’re [...]

Heavyweight Champion

After having the umpteenth business dinner with colleagues, associates, customers or lavish meals with friends, neighbors, family and the dogs, I recalled the story that every child has heard about royalty using feathers to induce vomiting.  I think it might’ve been featured in “Ripley’s”.  (It’s hard to forget the feather.)  The point was that they [...]

Garden Cosmology

My thoughts grow in the garden. Every time I garden, it is as if I have been transplanted to a different psychic realm. Here my thoughts take a cosmic turn. Big Questions seem to flourish among the tomatoes, zucchini and corn. The static of the day’s practical concerns is replaced by tangible forms of Life, [...]

Mayonnaise Tax

“You seem to think because you got chicken to go you’re in luck”                                           -Gordon Lightfoot, ‘Seven Island Suite’                                           I’ll never forget Mike Bloomfield’s memoir (‘Me And Big Joe’) about travelling and performing through Arkansas and Missouri on a tour with Big Joe Williams, the legendary bluesman and composer of ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’.  [...]

Salute The Sunflower

On the upcoming 4th of July we celebrate our country’s independence. The annual commemoration comes loaded with spirited symbolism: fireworks, the Stars and Stripes, the rousing National Anthem, marching bands, bandstands draped with tri-colored bunting, citizens attired in colonial dress. The country’s majestic National Bird, the Bald Eagle, perches on signs and banners. This is [...]