Story time

The history of grassroots activism abounds with classic stories of struggle against all odds, and tales worthy of telling around a campfire. History is the important element.

My own campfire tales were told around a flickering TV monitor last night. Owing to my impending retirement, I felt free to invite myself to be the guest on the monthly TV program that I produce and host.

Elliot Margolies’ interview was a marvel.

My goal for this blog is to tell more of these stories. Old and new.

Improv memories on the passing of a friend

paul steffy michael michele

I lost a dear friend recently. A friend of nearly 30 years. He was by trade and by nature a jazz musician. So I thought I would improv some memories of Michael Allan Slaughter.

As a professional jazz musician, Michael was of course licensed to invoke the word cat, as in cool cat. Most who are thus privileged do not use the term anymore, I believe. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think it has become … mossy. I think I would inwardly cringe if I heard it in conversation. But Michael employed the word frequently, easily. And it never sounded one bit mossy to me coming from him. I never understood that. Continue reading “Improv memories on the passing of a friend”

My First Thoughtcrime

mccarthy office

The first time I was hauled into a police station for thoughtcrime was in 1968. I was 16 years old.

I volunteered for the Eugene McCarthy for President campaign that year. In an unlikely turn of events for the suburban New Jersey town where I lived, a McCarthy campaign office had opened in a former pet shop (“former” being just the week before). I happened across it on the way home from school and dropped in. Continue reading “My First Thoughtcrime”