The Thing From Bloggy Swamp

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

FALL RIVER, Mass.  Tony Amico and Greg Brown are two “finish” carpenters who spend their days installing cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms.  “It’s not Finnish like Teemu Selanne,” Amico says, referring to the former high-scoring NHL winger from Finland.&n… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 9, 2014 9:04PM

Me and My BFFs on Ta'u, Samoa

My mom made it clear that she wanted me to finish high school and go on to college and be a cultural anthropologist.

Pop singer JoJo, who had a platinum album at age 13

“You guys are soooo SPECIAL 2 me!”

Y’know, when I look back at the fork in the… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 8, 2014 9:04PM

The Laziest Bee in the Hive

But the life of a bee is better than you’d guess. Despite the name, worker bees spend two-thirds of their time doing nothing.

Honey Trap, Temma Ehrenfeld, The Weekly Standard

“Move over, would ya–I was goofin’ off here first.”

I’ve been a worker bee for now,… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 8, 2014 8:40AM

Sunday Afternoon at the Skate Park

Sunday afternoon.  I close The Complete Plays of Christopher Marlowe–yes, the guy who said “All they that love not tobacco and boys are fools“–and try to decide what to do with the rest of the afternoon.  My choices: watch affluent young men wearing helmets knock the… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 7, 2014 9:49PM

That's His Boy

We had finished up at the Bagby place and I thought we were through for the day but Ronnie and Jim said no, we had one more job to do.

“It’s almost dark,” I said. I didn’t know if you could rig up a light on the truck and bale hay… Read full post »

CINCINNATI, Ohio. With Labor Day in the rear view mirror political candidates have hit the home stretch to the 2014 mid-term elections, but one unknown here says public disgust over the mess in Washington gives him room to run for daylight.

“So many Democrats are corrupt,” says Giovanni &… Read full post »

NEWPORT, Wales. Mired in the worst depression since the 1930s, leaders of the 17 countries that make up the so-called “Eurozone” will hold a festive gala tonight that includes a “dream date” with German chancellor Angela Merkel as one of the items up for bid at a “silen… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 5, 2014 2:56PM

Mimi Really Cares!

          Whenever I watch TV and see those poor, starving kids all over the world, I can’t help but cry.  I mean I’d love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff!

       Read full post »

The surviving Greek magical papyri, a collection of spells and rituals that were suppressed by the early Christians, include two that relate to acquiring an assistant.

          The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, Hans Dieter Betz, ed.

I was ex… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 4, 2014 4:57PM

Poetry on a Split Shift

The task of being a poet is not completed at a fixed schedule.  No one is a poet from eight to twelve and from two to six.

Jorge Luis Borges, lecture on Blindness, 1977

I should have known that my career as a singing waiter was doomed to failure.  I had… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 3, 2014 7:56AM

Pahk Your Kahma in Hahvahd Yahd

Yoga instructions have been added to parking citations in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to “debunk the idea that all parking tickets are a hostile action.”

                       Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 2, 2014 4:08PM

Nail Polish Strips: Best Invention EVER!

Best invention EVER: Nail Polish Strips by Sally Hansen.

                                         Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 2, 2014 9:09AM

Post-Labor Day Email-Inbox Clean-up

SEPTEMBER 2, 2014 8:58AM

The Allegorical Cocktail Party

I'd fallen  asleep Saturday afternoon reading John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress,” the undisputed heavyweight of allegories.  Bunyan is, to my knowledge, the only author in the canon who’s taken a position against napping; it’s right there in Book I:… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 1, 2014 5:00PM

The Last Beach Heather

At the end of each summer they would cross
Uncle Tim’s Bridge in Wellfleet and clip some
beach heather—sea lavender, some people
call it. Soft, pink-purple flowers, that
she would dry upside down and then put
in a pitcher or a vase, to give some color
to the apartment over a grey Boston
winter,… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 1, 2014 10:17AM

At the Painful Memory Erasure Lab

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology replaced negative memories of electric shocks in mice with the pleasurable one of mingling with mice of the opposite sex.

The Boston Globe

After working as an experimental subject for six months–half my lifespan–I was ready to… Read full post »

AUGUST 31, 2014 5:06PM

9 Months on the Picket Line

It has been more nearly four decades since I returned to work from a noon union meeting to find myself, along with about twenty others, locked out of the printing plant where we worked. Thus began a labor dispute that began in confusion, descended into torpor and ended in disarray.

The… Read full post »

OXFORD, Miss. This college town of approximately 19,000 was once home to William Faulkner, one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century, but before he became famous, Faulkner was postmaster at the University of Mississippi Substation Post Office here, a fact that endears him to postal employees… Read full post »

AUGUST 30, 2014 12:21PM

Ask Mr. Furniture

Refinishing furniture can be a fun–and profitable!–hobby for those who have a creative side and enjoy inhaling toxic fumes. Mr. Furniture answers your questions and helps you turn “gunk” to “glow” and “crap” to “crapola.”

Dear Mr. F… Read full post »

AUGUST 29, 2014 7:56AM

Let's Put on a Show!

Like every red-blooded American boy of a certain age–gay or straight–the first time I saw Judy Garland I fell deeply and tragically in love.  Those big cocker spaniel eyes; the quivering lip when faced with perplexity; the slightly pudgy midsection; the permanent wave that anticipate… Read full post »

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. First it was Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, an inexpensive lager favored by poor rustic whites and immortalized in the country song “Red Neck, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer,” then adopted by hipsters. Then it was the music of Johnny Cash, whose rural noir look and tough… Read full post »

GLYPH, Garamond.  Internecine fighting in this war-torn region abated yesterday as Sans-Serif fighters from the province of Calibri took control of the capital of Garamond, previously held by Serif loyalists.

“Gimme a V!”

“We have been welcomed as liberators,” said… Read full post »

French poet Arthur Rimbaud wrote most of his well-known works as a teenager, then abandoned poetry for a mercantile career.

                             &nbsRead full post »

AUGUST 27, 2014 8:25PM

The Ferris Wheel

“There's nothing lonelier than a ferris wheel at night from a ways off,” he said.“You aren't at the fair, and you want to be.You hear the girls screaming from the rides, and you figure everybody's havin' a good time, and you're not.You want to get goin' before the carnival closes fo… Read full post »

WASHINGTON, D.C.  The U.S. Veterinarian General, the nation’s highest-ranking physician for animals, expressed concern today that sexually-frustrated poodles are putting the nation’s couches and reclining chairs at risk with aggressive humping that he said “destroys the very fa… Read full post »