The Thing From Bloggy Swamp

"Music is real--the rest is scenery." Fats Waller

Con Chapman

Con Chapman
Boston, Massachusetts, US of A
September 28
. . . is the author of over fifty books--some with paper!--available on and elsewhere.

OCTOBER 20, 2014 4:11PM

Monkeying Around With My Money

Scientists are studying monkeys for clues on human financial behavior.

The Boston Globe

It was time, I figured, to bite the banana.  My brokerage statement from Simian Financial Advisors had been lying on my desk for a week, staring at me in silent reproach.  At some point I’d hav… Read full post »

NEW YORK.  The runaway success of Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” has, according to The New York Times Book Review, spawned a mini-industry of spin-off titles including the forthcoming “Eat, Pray, Whine” by her former husband and “Eat, Pray, Floss”… Read full post »

OCTOBER 19, 2014 12:07PM

With Robert Frost, at Wal-Mart

Derry, New Hampshire town officials are considering zoning changes that would permit strip malls, fast-food outlets and big-box stores to be built a short distance from Robert Frost’s farm.

The Boston Globe

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OCTOBER 18, 2014 12:42PM

A Day in the Life of a Vatican Sales Rep

For the first time in half a century, Vatican administrative staff will be required to clock in for work as part of a clampdown on slackers.

Bloomberg News

“Have you considered our get-out-of-Purgatory free extended warranty coverage?”

It was three o’clock, and I had to admit… Read full post »

OCTOBER 17, 2014 1:58PM

Among Dead Alewives

We walked among dead alewives
on the beach, you and me.
I think we both knew then
it wasn’t meant to be.

In Chicago, where the prairie ends
at water’s edge, the sawbellies
swim until the water runs out.
“They call them mooneyes, too,” you said.

On the shore of… Read full post »

NEEDHAM, Massachusetts.  Bob Brenson has been a high school guidance counselor for nearly twenty years, but a comment by a member of last spring’s graduating class made him rethink his approach.

“You kids can do anything you set your minds to.  Assuming you have mind
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BOSTON.  As the plenary session of the American Association of Librarians annual convention wound down here yesterday afternoon, the long faces some attendees wore were not the result of dog-eared pages or overdue books.

Convention and Exhibition Center


“What hap… Read full post »

LAKE FOREST, Il.  Chuck Schwermer is a 52-year old unmarried video game aficionado who writes code for Aviatrix Technology, a leading maker of air traffic control software.  “It’s not a job that exercises the full range of my intelligence,” he says, “but it sustains… Read full post »

STOCKHOLM, Sweden.  Three American housewives will share this year’s Nobel Prize in Home Economics in recognition of innovations they contributed to traditional recipes.

Hageboom:  “I wish Darrell would get that dang vibrator fixed!”


Pamela Hageboom of St. Cl… Read full post »

OCTOBER 13, 2014 9:10PM

The Woman Who Sang Sinatra

We had just the one date
but it was a doozy,
me and the brown-eyed woman named Julie.
She was fun, she was late,
but she wasn’t a floozy,
and I want you to know that I loved her truly.

I got in her car
and we hadn’t gone far
when she punched her tape deck… Read full post »

OCTOBER 13, 2014 6:14PM

Probably for the Best

When I heard the news it came as a sting, but a muted one; like realizing there was a mosquito on your arm only by the slight irritation the bite such a pest is capable of.

That anticlimactic feeling was caused by the fact that we had all known Rob and… Read full post »

OCTOBER 12, 2014 4:46PM

Walk for Man Boobs Draws Cheers, Jeers

WAYLAND, Mass. Brisk fall weather and brilliant foliage are the signs of autumn in the Northeast, and with them plans for the numerous walk-a-thons, 6 kilometer races and other charitable fund-raising events that crowd the region’s roads once summer is over.

Man boobs: Occupational hazRead full post »

"Jane Austen! I love Jane Austen!”

B.B. King, quoted by Claire Harman in “Jane’s Fame.”

When I first met Jane Austen in 1972, in a classroom in Chicago discussing “Pride and Prejudice,” I have to… Read full post »

OCTOBER 11, 2014 10:13AM

Let Us Now Praise Hampton Hawes

He was a mess of contradictions; the son of a Presbyterian minister, he was a heroin addict most of his life, so strung out at one point that given his choice of prostitutes in an Asian whorehouse, he chose the cleaning woman whose arms “looked like the Penn Central switchyards” because… Read full post »

POINT BARROW, Alaska.  The effects of global warming are nowhere more evident than at the earth’s poles, a phenomenon that attracts climatologists from around the world to this, the northernmost point in the United States where espresso drinks are available.  “I’m willing… Read full post »

CLEVELAND, Ohio.  Tomorrow night singer Marci Edelman is booked for a three-hour gig (with two fifteen-minute breaks) at the Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport lounge.  “I’ve been working like a beaver on my set list,” she says breathlessly as her backup band tunes up. … Read full post »

MANCHESTER, N.H. Todd “Buzz” Albrecht of the Manchester Boulders is sitting in front of his locker at Deshaies Hardware Stadium here after a grueling two-hour practice, sweating and spent.  “I usually get an endorphin high after a good workout,” he says, “but this&n… Read full post »

The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded the other day, and for the 43rd consecutive year since I first took a course in the subject, I didn’t win.  Excuse me if sound a tad bitter this morning.

Nobel Prize:  Why can’t I have one?


This year’s winners were Isam… Read full post »

It wasn’t that long ago–in geological terms–that I came to a fork in the road in my career path. I’d graduated from college with a degree in philosophy, but faced an uncertain future. All the graduate students in philosophy that I encountered didn’t seem to do much of… Read full post »

WASHINGTON, D.C.  Gaffe-prone Vice President Joseph Biden today said residents of Delaware deserve their own state, touching off a controversy that overshadowed remarks he made last week that offended the rulers of Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.

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OCTOBER 7, 2014 8:23AM

The Master of the Air

He was, the local newspaper said, a man of vision.
It was he who had seen, back when no one else did,
that even a small town could have its own TV and
radio stations.  He’d been around—Kansas City,
St. Louis.  He knew how to do it, and he got it… Read full post »

OCTOBER 6, 2014 8:56PM

It's Academic!

The world of academia can be a hostile and forbidding place, with English professors telling you to use “an” before “hostile” as soon as you get the bloody words out of your mouth. Here are some of the issues that have been troubling our correspondents lately.

Student c
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