Greetings to all! Although this set of notes is being written in mid-January, publication will occur in March/April. By that time, I suspect very few of us will consider 2018 a “new year” so I will dispense with any associated salutations and proceed to the business at hand.
We will begin with the small world department. For reasons that need not need be gone into deeply into other than they involved a house, a hurricane and an insurance company, I had occasion to need an attorney in the USVI. I made inquiries and was repeatedly told that one Frank Jackson was the attorney to consult and that he had gone to Yale. The name was more than familiar and I soon found myself on the phone with our classmate, one of the legends of Westfield High, a rival town to ours in Northern New Jersey, and now a legend of the bar on St. Thomas. Frank couldn’t have been nicer. He even told me I didn’t need his services. While I think he was kindly telling me my case wasn’t big enough, I was still delighted to find him. We briefly discussed his practice and his life and then the hundreds of clients beeping on his cell phone caused the conversation to end. But, Frank, if my house ever gets repaired and I get back down to STJ, the conch fritters are on me.
We now proceed to the news of the day. Gilbert Casellas writes:
“In June of 2016, after 20 years serving as a trustee, I was named Trustee Emeritus of the University of Pennsylvania, my law school alma mater. This past November I was given Penn’s Alumni Award of Merit. I continue to travel extensively and challenge Father Time, having trekked the Camino to Santiago de Compostela in Spain as well as the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The knees and joints ain’t what they used to be!”
No kidding about those knees. I’m still recovering from hiking in the Galapagos and that was a year ago. Bob Martin, who recommended the trip to me and Jessica, is, as I write in Antarctica with his wife Cindy and instagramming like crazy. Jessica and I had done the Antarctica trip in 2016 and loved it and the Martins seem to be having a similarly grand experience. I’m just waiting to see a post of them in the Polar Plunge. Talk about a shock to the system!
David Mielke may not be exercising but he is certainly using his mind and dedicating it to dealing with immense drug crisis that confronts so many in our nation. He writes:
“I was the guest this past October on a podcast sponsored by Mad In America, a non-profit organization whose mission is “to serve as a catalyst for rethinking psychiatric care”, believing that “the current drug-based paradigm of care has failed our society.
I teach a Psychology elective at Culver City High School (California) and have become increasingly concerned about how many of my kids come to class with psychiatric diagnoses and taking powerful psychiatric drugs. My conversation with James Moore explores some of the issues that arise when teaching a class that questions the validity of these diagnoses as well as assessing the safety and effectiveness of prescribing these drugs to kids—– when so many of my students are taking those drugs. Earlier this year I was the guest on the Peter Breggin Hour addressing some of these same issues. I don’t know if our policy includes providing links, but here it is: goo.gl/38RVgw.”
David, I don’t know what the policy is either but I’m happy to provide websites and let the individual members of the class decide.
And from the indefatigable Gary Lucas:
“I have a new album ‘The World of Captain Beefheart’ featuring myself with soul singer Nona Hendryx on vocals out on Knitting Factory Records, It came out mid-November last year and is getting all sorts of spectacular reviews http://garylucas.com/www/twocb/twocb.shtml. Anyway, my old Yale friends Steve Hendel ‘73 and Bob Rubin were instrumental in helping me realize the release of this album, and if it’s possible to give the album a shout-out in your column it would be a beautiful thing.”
(NB: I just did)
Gary goes on to tell the story of the first time he, Steve and Bob saw Beefheart’s first NYC show in January 1971 which is really too long to include but which he promises to tell at our 45th. The key point, however (and with only minor editing), is the following
“That night … I was so impressed by all the energy and creativity pouring off the stage, I made a vow to myself that night that if I ever did anything in music I would play with this guy—and I am a very strong willed person. When I got back to Yale I talked him up to everyone, and he came up 6 months later to play at Woolsey Hall, which is how I got to meet him and bond with him—and eventually propose joining his Magic Band. Which I eventually did, beginning in 1980 when I was 28, appearing on his Virgin/Atlantic album “Doc at the Radar Station” as a featured guitar soloist. and two years later on his final album “Ice Cream for Crow” on Virgin/ Epic, as a full band member—which put me on the map as a guitarist, with write-ups in Rolling Stone and Esquire singling out my playing. Anyway Steve Hendel owns the Knitting Factory club and record label who put our new album out, and Bob Rubin acted as executive producer. Talk about 3 amigos! And thanks to guys like Steve and Bob and others I continue on following my heart and artistic destiny.”
Now that, my friends, is a lucky man and his message an apt way to end this column.