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The Old Weird Ireland and The Young Weird California: Van Morrison As Channeled By Greil Marcus

One foggy afternoon long ago, I was taking a solo hike on the Marin ocean cliffs. The fog was so thick one could only see a few feet ahead. Sound…

Mugged: Toward Maturity

It was one of my first visits to Northern California. Still in high school, I had wandered up thru Marin, Mendocino and Humboldt counties; I'd seen redwoods and the amazing…

‘Orange Sunshine’: The World’s Biggest LSD Conglomerate, from Kabul to…Cloverdale?

“Don't take the brown acid” was the famous warn­ing issued about a bad batch of LSD from the stage at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. But meanwhile, some shadowy but…

Perils In Plastics?

Poor Marge Simpson. In a recent episode of “The Simpsons,” the insecure cartoon housewife made the mistake of using nonstick cookware and offering plas­tic cups with No. 7 stamped on…

A True Non-Shaggy Dog Story: Confessions of a Medical Canine

By Buddy, as told by Steve Heilig. Yes, I am a dog — a purebred one, if you must know. That's actually a handicap. I am here to confess that…

I Punched Out The Rat Pack

It was the first 'oil crisis' and I was in high school and had my first VW bug. To control demand for gas, the policy was that you could only…

Searching For Hope In Haiti

As if Haitians have not suffered enough already, living in what is often identified as “the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere,” now the earth itself betrays them. The amount…

Civil Rights & Wrongs In ‘The Golden State’

The legendary American abolitionist Frederick Douglass observed in the 1800s that "Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will." And thus the long legacy of conflict…

Fela’s 15 More Minutes Of Fame

Perhaps the most popular play “on Broadway” in New York City is “Fela!” — the story of the most famous musical, and probably political, figure to ever emerge from West…

Monk, For The Record

In Michael Ondaatje's wonderful novel “Divisadero” — a most memorable part of which is set in Sonoma County — the jazz of Thelonious Monk is likened to “imprisoned birdsongs.” Leave…

The “Jangled Connections” of the Brain: Sherwin Nuland On Neuroscience

New books on “the brain” are being published every week, it seems, with many of them purporting to explain virtually everything about human behavior, follies, and the future. But increasingly,…