My personal favorites
Dogs and cats, puppies and kittens:
I have a particular affinity for Scottie dogs and Yorkshire terriers and Siamese kitties. I have a Scottie and a meezer
Update; 2005, I have a French Bulldog and a meezer
Update; 2007, I have a Boston Terrier named Angel
America at its best: No matter where I go in the world, I'm always glad to get home. People in small American towns are the friendliest types. I like folks that respect each others' privacy, and watch each others' back. Most ordinary citizens in our country are heroes and heroines given the right circumstances, and are good to have around in emergencies; tough times seem to really bring out the best in us. (written in 2002)
A well-maintained Steinway D: In tune. And a few hundred people to listen to me while I play it!
Benny Green: playing just about anything on the piano. A genuine grand master!
Robin Williams: his recent HBO special was a milestone in the art of comedy ... he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for making us all laugh so hard.
All of our comedians (the totally committed, true artists working in the comedic form): anyone who helps us to find humor in our world (never at another's expense) and makes us feel good about life.
Groucho and Chico doing 'the party of the first part' has probably done more good for the world's ills than any hundred politicians.
And 'Saps at Sea' by Laurel and Hardy is one of the funniest feature-length films ever made.
John Coltrane playing 'Too Young to go Steady', or Miles Davis playing 'It Never Entered my Mind'.
Organic fruits and vegetables; Japanese sushi; good Italian cooking; white chocolate.
Playing the piano for myself - and a few neighbors, at work in their yards - in the afternoon, with the reliable and attentive feline and canine audience that always seems to hang on every note.
Not having to ever play another nightclub again, ever.
Getting older. More freedom, less time for the unimportant trivialities, and getting senior discounts!
Tchaikovsky and Rimski-Korsakoff being interpreted by Lenny Bernstein!
Kurt Vonnegut, writing about anything.
The HBO series 'Six Feet Under' (especially Claire).
John Lennon singing 'Mother'.
Bill Murray. Beautiful.
Bill Maher. HBO suits him well.
Mel Brooks, George Carlin, Patricia Ruthelage, Jane Curtain, Lenny Bruce, Jonathan Winters, Victor Borge, Audrey Meadows, Jackie Gleason... anyone that makes me laugh out loud. Yes, even Mike Meyers as Austin Powers, even Jim Carey as 'Ace Ventura' and 'The Riddler'
Isaac Asimov, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Larry Niven, great science fiction writers all.
Stephen King, his wonderful bump-in-the-night stories, lots of in-the-airport diversion. Thanks to him for making O'Hare and LAX a bit more bearable.
The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, The Who, John Lennon, and Joni Mitchell. The songs that my generation sang growing up.
Stevie Wonder, still wonderful.
The paintings of Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Agnes Martin, Helen Frankenthaler, Salvador Dali, Roberto Matta, Francis Bacon, Chuck Close, Franta, Mark Rothko, Elaine Arc, and my neighbor and friend, Richard Mayhew.
Watching people help each other... and getting a chance to lend someone a hand when they need it. That warm feeling of knowing that you made a little bit of difference (for the better) in someone's life. That's a definite favorite thing for me.
Glenn Gould playing Bach.
Some personal favorite jazz albums:
Kind of Blue, Miles Davis
A Love Supreme, John Coltrane
Saxophone Colossus, Sonny Rollins
Filles de Killimanjaro, Miles Davis
It's Monk's Time, Thelonious Monk
East Broadway Rundown, Sonny Rollins
Crescent, John Coltrane
Body and Soul, Erroll Garner
Rip, Rig, and Panic, Rahsaan Roland Kirk
Study in Brown, Clifford Brown
Some favorite artists:
I really don't, as Kurt Vonnegut would have said, write good. But sometimes I write right. These are some things that I think I wrote right.
My view; good music should change your life upon hearing it
Puppy Days; the colors are getting vibrant... I'm in a cartoon and I like it
People ask me; not stupid questions... just uninformed ones. And about that word 'gig' ( and I use the word 'word' loosely)
Stream of Consciousness #01; why didn't I think of this sooner?
Where's my sun? Where's my health food? ...how many ways can you prepare dirt and rocks...
Our attention; We take on the power and the tone of the things that we try desperately to avoid
Mel Brooks has a nice face; if you ever thought that you'd seen him somewhere...
Intimacy; there's different kinds; maybe the most salient feature of this age is the lack of it. We are measured not by our capacity to fill the world with love but by our ability to fill the bank with money...
Truth and Lies; I had written this piece, and then removed it from this site, only to find it posted on someone else's site! So I brought it back home
Watson; dog, familiar, ally, survivor, super-hero, teacher, sentient being, courageous spirit. To me he's all that and more
A Little Dog; There is no value in anything if there is no love. The grieving, the epiphany, and the beginning of inspiration. My friend is dead, and I'm not the same. I'm in pain, but I'm better for knowing him
Music for powerful times; for our lives, unto our deaths, this is OUR MUSIC. We give it freely to the world to promote and foster harmony and freedom and peace
Beginnings; there can be no happiness without freedom, a poem
Jazz and codes of conduct; we play this Music in the shadow of giants. Don't ever forget it
Playing for all the right reasons; Some critics still say Dexter played too many clichés and that his time was bad. Well, I was there, critics. Dexter made us ALL swoon
About challenges, gifts; existentialists, take note. When we question ourselves we break the trance of the true reality, the one that goes on when we sleep, when we eat, when we simply do anything at all without trying
About performing; since grand pianos always 'open to the right', your right side is the side that audiences will always see. So this is the side of your face that will break out before a concert. This has no bearing on pianos, but seems to be a universal law, like gravity