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Sam Barry's Blog

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Aug.19.2009
I mentioned here recently that I belong to an organization called the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica, or SPAH, which I think is an unfortunate acronym because it sounds like the name of an alien life form from a Star Trek movie, or the sound someone might make after...
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Aug.17.2009
West Midlands, UK—An English elephant named Five has learned to play the harmonica, according to the Telegraph. World-class harmonica player Tom Ball picked up the story and spread the word among members of the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica, or SPAH, a group to which...
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Aug.14.2009
Sure, I notice women's bodies—but today was different. The first shapely female posterior I saw was at San Francisco’s West Portal MUNI platforms as I was running for a train. That woman disappeared into a crowd, but the moment I sat down another lovely tookus presented itself, right at eye level....
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Aug.12.2009
People often bemoan the state of television today. There are hundreds of channels on our televisions and nothing to watch. Walter Cronkite has left the studio and he has been replaced by advertisements for ExtenZe, the pill that increases “that certain part of the male anatomy.” But is that a bad...
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Aug.10.2009
This past week I had the honor of doing media interviews for my new book, How to Play the Harmonica: and Other Life Lessons (On sale now! Buy one for your father! Your mother! Your children! Your lover! Random people you meet on the street!), with Liz St. John of KCBS radio in San Francisco and...
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Aug.09.2009
My piano student Matthew Heiden is headed for college this fall. Matthew has everything going for him: he’s young, healthy, intelligent, handsome, and a really nice guy. But as I talked to Matthew about the next stage of his life, I was reminded how scary the transition from childhood to adulthood...
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Aug.07.2009
My colleague at HarperOne, Roger Freet, has an amazing tree house in his yard. It started out being a small matter—a project to work on with his son and his dad—three generations of Freet men, working in the yard, building something. But then, gradually, it got out of hand. Ambition kicked in. The...
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Aug.05.2009
Today we are going to talk about an issue of concern to many American parents: virtual children. It’s hard enough raising brick and mortar children in these troubled times, what with the proliferation of drug abuse, rampant sexuality, and the skyrocketing cost of higher education. The challenges...
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Aug.03.2009
Sun Valley, Idaho—The Wiffle Ball world was forever changed by a game this past Saturday in Sun Valley, Idaho. The game was held in conjunction with a Rock Bottom Remainders concert at a fund raiser for the Ketchum, Idaho YMCA. Some of the greatest players in the game assembled in the backyard of a...
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Aug.01.2009
Normally I maintain strict control over the content of The Daily Sam, because, well, I have standards. However, today is the on-sale date for my new book, and I thought it would be ethical to have someone else write the review. Samantha Dreadnought is one of the most renowned—and feared—book...
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Jul.29.2009
Today our subject is armrest etiquette on airplanes. If you are on the aisle you can lean on the armrest closest to the aisle and flirt with attractive people. If you are on the seat near the window you can watch for gremlins on the plane wing. But if you see one during the course of the flight do...
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Jul.27.2009
The blues. Everyone gets ‘em. They are much worse than the pinks, much more common then the violets, and much more serious than the greens. Law enforcement officers get the blues, and so do Harvard professors (just to pick two random groups). Poor people get the blues; rich people get ‘em; and...
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Jul.24.2009
Here in America, it isn’t only the young people who attend Harvard who do well—those who go to Yale and Stanford do pretty good, too. Me, I went to public school. That’s why I write in this Brooklyn accent. I am a proud graduate of the State University of New York at Purchase, though admittedly...
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Jul.22.2009
Washington — The Senate blocked the latest attempt by gun advocates to expand the rights of gun owners today, narrowly voting down a provision that would have allowed gun owners with valid permits from one state to carry concealed weapons in other states, according to a story in the New York Times...
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Jul.20.2009
Chores. The word strikes fear into the hearts of eleven-year-olds everywhere. Few of us are as clever as Tom Sawyer, who persuaded the other kids in the neighborhood to paint his fence for him by cleverly brandishing an automatic weapon. But the rest of us must do our own laundry, vacuum the rug,...
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