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As Long as I Have my Cokes and Smokes

“As long as I have my Cokes and smokes.” This is what this woman said to me on the Number Nine bus in Hamamatsu, Japan back in the fall of 1989. I had been living and teaching English in Japan just a little over four months and I was on my way downtown when she […]

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Ten Years After

It was 10 years ago this month that Sparksjam was born. On that hot, humid August Saturday afternoon 10 years ago, I met a former colleague at the Mountain View Net Café in Western Seoul who showed me how to sign up for a Hotmail account. An hour later, I was officially online. I remember […]

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Panama Daze

I have to confess that I wasn’t too crazy the day I found out that I had orders to Panama. Three months after being in the U.S. Air Force—having gotten through basic training and halfway through technical training—I was going to find out where I was going to be stationed. However, on that cool Denver […]

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Remembering Bobby Kennedy

Forty years ago today Bobby Kennedy died after being gunned down in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles moments after he had won the Californian Democratic primary.    And with his death another dream had died.    I was only ten years old in 1968, but I knew what was going on […]

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You know you’re getting old…

when you are sitting in a bar one night, and after you have requested the DJ to play “Who Are You” you overhear two people talking about it down the bar from where you are sitting once the song starts playing. “Hey, I know that song.” “Yeah, I love it so much. Who’s it by?” […]

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Plinking — Part 2

The best spot for “plinking” or our “kill zone” as Chris liked to call it, was from the second story of an abandoned cement mill pump house located along the Vermillion River. I had lived in Oglesby for a number of years and spent a couple of summers fishing the Vermillion and even swimming in […]

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Plinking — Part 1

Chris called it plinking. That’s what he called heading down to the Little Vermillion near Oglesby, Illinois with our .22’s to blast alligator gar that surfaced for a gulp of fresh air. I am not sure if it was Chris who came up with this idea, or if it was cooked up by one of […]

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Jeffrey at 50 — Food for Thought, Part 2

When I told my Mom that I was putting together “Top 50 Lists” of some of my favorite things in life like music, books, and movies and how they defined who I am, she thought that was a cool idea and suggested that I also include one about food. Okay Mom. This List is for […]

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Jeffrey at 50 — Food for Thought, Part 1

Today, when I was talking to my Mom on the telephone, I told her about these Top 50 Lists I have been putting together about the things in life that mean the most to me and also those which have come to define me. “That’s so cool,” my Mom said. “Yeah, I think so, too.” […]

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From the Mojave Desert to Huntington Beach — Part 2

There weren’t too many people on the beach that night and those who were didn’t pay much attention to us. We were kind of off by ourselves on the beach, away from other people doing the same thing as us. Then Keith showed up. We were just drinking and talking and enjoying the cool night […]

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