Operation Sheltering Sky

Rajasthan is desert country, 70% of the state---India's largest---an arid mix of scrub and sand. We trekked by camel into the Thar Desert about 50 km outside Jaisalmer. Abdullah led our beasts on foot, their names Simon, Paulos, and---inexplicably---Johnny No. 1. Toward sunset we reached the Sam Dunes. The wind died down and we made … Continue reading Operation Sheltering Sky

Freddy!

I’m ready for this. I’m hanging on the edge of my seat. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mP0VHJYFOAU       ##

Peace Corps, the Musical

Five years ago, I flirted with writing a musical based on ‘the generic Peace Corps experience.’ I tabled the idea quickly. The unique nature of volunteer service set abundant hurdles. Peace Corps Africa and Peace Corps Latin America are different beasts. The organization’s six decades presented another problem. We’d moved from the era of ‘Drop … Continue reading Peace Corps, the Musical

Lord Ganesh

Last week I wrote up the drums. The drums have been overtaken by Lord Ganesha himself. Today, his birthday, idols in his likeness march home through the streets. Ganesh was getting ready for months, built from the inside out by laborers and artisans, men who craft and carve by eye, trained through the bloodlines, directing … Continue reading Lord Ganesh

The Elephants’ Thunder

Every night I hear the drums. Out there, on the fairgrounds in the dark, the big drums throb and the high snares crackle. Two weeks from now Ganesh will march the streets, Gunpatti’s thunderous procession to the sea shaking the city’s windows and doors. Hordes will carry idols of the elephant deity in waves across … Continue reading The Elephants’ Thunder

Another One Bites the Dust

All in one Mumbai day we enjoyed these musical interludes. At Malabar Hill we toured the Hanging Garden (The Cure, Pornography, 1982). It doesn’t hang so much as stand upon a series of reservoirs that hold—depending on who you ask—30 or 90 or 300 million gallons of water. The garden’s benches and clocks and topiary fill the paths, … Continue reading Another One Bites the Dust

A List of People Who Also Should Be Armed

Amid all the fury and debate over whether or not to arm high school teachers in order to prevent the next deadly shooting spree, several relevant employment categories are being overlooked. A review of other recent abuses of heavy firepower in public places suggests the United States can only protect itself from itself by requiring itchy … Continue reading A List of People Who Also Should Be Armed

The NRA’s Chosen People

As I watched Charlton Heston lead the chosen people out of Egypt last night I wondered: in a remake of The Ten Commandments, would Ted Nugent play Moses? Nugent, whose awful music from the 1970s apparently qualifies him to talk down to us about such weighty matters as constitutional law, seems to be the NRA’s … Continue reading The NRA’s Chosen People

1989

I always consider it my strange good fortune to have a past life that includes making music in Joe Frawley's basement. https://twitter.com/joefrawley/status/966849935193837569 Yes, in high school I'd haul my black Pearl drum kit to his house and set it up with Dan Cote for some three-man rock. Joe sang and played the bass & keyboard, … Continue reading 1989

May the Bird of Paradise Rest in Your Armpit

The man with the 70's hangover---big stache, wide lapels, swooping toupee---assigned to teach my fifth grade class regularly heaped this wish upon us: 'May the bird of paradise rest in your armpit.' What this meant, and why it should happen to us, was never made clear. It was only, mysteriously, repeated. This was a 1982-83, … Continue reading May the Bird of Paradise Rest in Your Armpit