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I suddenly started to worry that the only threat hippies might pose to the dominant culture nowadays was the personal-injury lawsuits they were likely to file from accidental falls due to uneven pavement. “I’m gathering my wa,” he said, his eyes closed like he was Charlie Parker listening to the bebop rhythms of the universe, his mind awash in Gravy.

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Indeed, in the guise of saving future generations from excessive federal debt, themes of national decay, egotistical greed and irresponsibility pervade the Ryan plan.

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Here's another reason why baby boomers are still running various sectors of society: They need less sleep. According to a new study published, fittingly, in the journal Sleep, people in their 60s don't need to snooze for quite as long as their younger counterparts. This may partly explain why Jay Leno is still on the air.

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My late friend Ron Silver, the actor and political activist, once asked me a question that I have continued to think about ever since. On the afternoon of his last New Year's Eve, when he surprised me by coming to California, he wanted to know if I had found any great "big history" books.I have been thinking about my late friend Ron Silver's last words to me for months: "Find someone to start a big history Web site," he urged.

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