The Thing From Bloggy Swamp

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

EAST BOSTON, Mass. Sol “Nosey” Niman has been playing the horses at this second-tier track in a working-class neighborhood of Boston for over half a century, and he says he’s never seen the place in worse shape. “All the old guys are buying the farm,” he says, shaking hi… Read full post »

The year was 1962. The place–a small town in Missouri so insignificant it billed itself as The Gateway to the Ozarks. Not the Ozark Mountains themselves, you understand, but if you wanted to get to them you had to go through us. Unless you were coming from the south, the east… Read full post »

It’s hot, I know,
and there are places you’d rather be;
the beach for one, same with me,
and with you I would go.

But we are stuck here, my dear;
me in the front and you in the back row
while before us drones the regional manager,
about moving product.

I see you check your… Read full post »

JULY 11, 2014 10:11AM

Don't Call Me Bambi

A deer crashed into a liquor store in Weymouth, Mass., breaking a $205 limited edition bottle of beer, cocktail glasses and high-end liquors, causing damage estimated at $3,000 before sprinting out the front door.

               TheRead full post »

WALTHAM, Mass. This suburb of Boston is regularly included by mistake in lists of America’s wealthiest towns because it is the business address of many tech millionaires, but Norbert Winslow hopes to put it on the map for a different reason.

Touchy-feely “entrepreneurial” exRead full post »

One afternoon, while heading home
Upon a hot commuter train,
I fell asleep, and dreamed this poem,
As summer’s light began to wane.

I saw a scene of baseball’s past
When stadiums were built to last
With brick-and-ivy outfield walls
Bombarded hard by sluggers’ balls.

And every man,… Read full post »

Wednesdays are when I usually take a day off from cardio and work with weights.  You need to vary your routine if you want to get the most out of your workouts.  I know, I read it on the internet, so it must be true.

After I showered and dressed, I… Read full post »

The Boston Red Sox have three psychologists on their staff.

Read full post »

Thanks to a recent devaluation in the flemux, the national currency of Freedonia, there has never been a better time to visit the country known as “The Gateway to Several Other Countries.”  But most of us have been left ignorant of the native tongue of Freedonia becaus… Read full post »

He can blow up a mess,” that’s what they said
about Chu Berry, who was christened Leon.
How he got his name is perhaps an embarrassment,
then and now. Called to audition in Columbus,
Ohio, he was in the middle of a fraternity initiation and
when he arrived from Charleston, West Virginia,
he sti… Read full post »

SOMERVILLE, Mass.  When this suburb of Boston decided to become a “sister city” with Pamplona, Spain a decade ago, few realized what it would mean for the many cat-owners who live here.

El gato de Somervilla


“We have cats the way some cities have cockroaches,&rdq… Read full post »

JULY 7, 2014 8:24AM

How to Shampoo in French

Forget Jacques Derrida, and Jerry Lewis.  It’s time to turn our attention to the principal remaining obstacle to Franco-American understanding:  French shampoo labels.

You know what I’m talking about.  You’re in the shower at a beach house, someone is knocking… Read full post »

JULY 6, 2014 11:09AM

The Pine-Woods Golf & Poetry Club

For most of the 20th century, the poetry world resembled a country club.

The New York Times Book Review

It was a Sunday afternoon, and I just wanted to get out of the damn house. I decided to head over to the club, see if I could squeeze in a round… Read full post »

JULY 5, 2014 1:14PM

Crazy Like a Cat

Pets have mental health problems too.

Headline, The Boston Globe

It’s Saturday, so I’m taking a nap when a ten pound weight covered with cat fur lands on my chest.

“Hey.” It’s Rocco, cat-of-few-words.

“We need to talk.”

“I wish you… Read full post »

JULY 5, 2014 9:42AM

That's Why the Lady is a Slut

She’s never too bloated to eat a Slim Jim.
She never showers before taking a swim.
She belches loudly at the Pizza Hut–
That’s why the lady is a slut.

She’s not the type to play bridge at her club.
Doesn’t like salads, preferring a sub.
If she were a dog you’d c… Read full post »

JULY 4, 2014 3:48PM

Jay McShann at Brandeis

I asked my girlfriend if I could borrow her car.
“Why?” she asked.
“Jay McShann—The Last of the Blue Devils”–
is in town tonight.”
There was more hesitation than usual in her voice:
“I don’t want you taking my car into Boston.”
“It’s n… Read full post »

JULY 4, 2014 10:46AM

Save the Papers!

It’s the Fourth of July, time for me to check on the kids to see how they’re doing with their summer reading lists. Things haven’t changed much in our little town since I was a boy; every spring when school gets out a prim, lavender-scented woman at our local library draws… Read full post »

JULY 3, 2014 6:46PM

Sincere Bullshit

                     An old friend is in touch.
                     His mind is full of clichéRead full post »

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo.  Jim Hutchinson would prefer it if you set your cell phone on vibrate and kept your handheld device on mute.  He doesn’t like car horns, and when he goes to work every morning in Kansas City, he takes the stairs rather than hear the bell tones that signal… Read full post »

SOMERVILLE, Mass.  By day, Toby Shasniff is an installer for Fallmere Appliances, a retailer with a large share of the local market for those who find big-box stores in the suburbs hard to reach or intimidating.  “It’s a pretty menial job, but I take pride in it,” he says… Read full post »

JULY 2, 2014 6:53PM

Me & Mies

When I was a lad I labored under the delusion that less was less and more was more–what a tautological idiot I was! I was awakened from my dogmatic slumber (hat tip to David Hume!) by Mies van der Rohe, the guy who pulled my coat tail and let me know… Read full post »

BOSTON.  A symposium of labor economists warned yesterday that the current unemployment rate of 6.3% is understated and would be considered a national crisis if the number of “discouraged writers” were included.

“What we are seeing is a lost generation of freelancers,” sa… Read full post »

We were sitting outside, enjoying the first clear night following several days of rain, when my wife told me that our eldest son was going to Martha’s Vineyard with friends for the Fourth.

“You’ll talk to him, right?” she asked nervously.

“Absolutely,” I sa… Read full post »

JULY 1, 2014 10:09PM


Tim was the dean who Marci worked for, and Vicki was his wife. Marci loved them both; she considered them the model of what she wanted to be when she grew up, although she didn't put it that way. I did, which didn't endear me to Marci.


They had an… Read full post »