The Thing From Bloggy Swamp

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

Read full post »

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
Read full post »

FOXBORO, Mass. New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick, known for his obsessive preparation for games, could be excused if he looked a little bit tired following his team’s 43-17 drubbing of the Cincinnati Bengals last night.

“We had a tough week,” Belichick… Read full post »

BOSTON, Mass. In pre-dawn raids designed to catch grocery stores by surprise, the Massachusetts National Guard seized retail stocks of Kool-Aid, the flavored drink mix, hoping to avert mass suicides if the New England Patriots lose to the Cincinnati Bengals tonight.

Briefing at 0800 hours

&ld… Read full post »

WELLESLEY FALLS, Mass. In this affluent suburb of Boston, churchgoers at the Wellesley Falls Presbyterian Church tend to look like they stepped out of the pages of a Brooks Brothers catalog, or perhaps the shop window of the Talbots store down the street.

No shoes, no shirt, no Sunday service.Read full post »

Then he would on occasion give Marguerite Flynn, his secretary, a note for her to type. And she would be the only person who could possibly decipher his handwriting.

Hale Anderson, Jr., colleague of Wallace Stevens at The Hartford Accident and IndemnityRead full post »

OCTOBER 3, 2014 10:51PM

The People Who Won't Get Back to Me

Literary agents, also editors,
But most assuredly not my creditors,
Someday they won’t mean jack to me—
The people who won’t get back to me.

Old girlfriends I find on the web—
One’s named Robin, the other’s a Deb.
I wonder whatever attracted me—
To the wome… Read full post »

The tale of the quest, in which a hero travels great distances and overcomes many obstacles, is common to the literature of every nation; Homer’s Odyssey, King Arthur and the Holy Grail, Jason and the Argonauts, Hootie and the Blowfish–wait, they belong further down in this article.

%IMAGRead full post »

OCTOBER 1, 2014 9:36PM

My Yoko Ono

Physicists currently believe that all rock bands–nay, all human groups composed of four men–can be broken down into elemental particles first identified by study of The Beatles through an electron microscope.

There is the Cute One–Ringo. The Dreamy One–Paul. The Actu… Read full post »

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  Breaking a drought that began before many of them were born, the Kansas City Royals made it to baseball’s post-season last night for the first time in 26 years, touching off a locker room celebration by players who sprayed each other not with expensive champagne… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 8:52PM

Quitting Smack

It was the early 70’s. The Vietnam War was just coming off its peak, and the traffic of young men back and forth between America and Southeast Asia brought new, cheap and exotic goods back to the states for consumption by those deferred, rejected or too young to fight. The products… Read full post »

SOMERVILLE, Mass.  This densely-populated near suburb of Boston is known as the Rebuilt Engine Capital of the World, in much the same way that Rome is the City of Fountains and Paris is the City of Lights.  Still, the glamour that comes with that renown is meaningless to the young boys… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 8:27PM

Of Poems About Figs and Farts

When Prince Rainier III asked an expert whether there was a literature of Monegasque, the native language of Monaco, her research produced a suggestive ode to a fig and a poem about a fart.

The Wall Street Journal

“You couldn’t have stifled it until the photo shoot was over?”Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 8:22AM

Releasing Your Inner Bigfoot

“A”                                “B”

Dorothy Parker once observed that Katherine Hepburn’s emo… Read full post »

Darling, believe me, we’re all getting sick
of reading about your boyfriend’s dick.
I’m sure the thing can spring to glory
but must you include it in every story?

If your intent is to shock and awe
by revealing the thing that he likes to paw,
frankly, my dear, I find it a bore.
I&… Read full post »

Saturday morning: my usual routine–swim, town dump, dry cleaner, coffee–is brightened today by festivities on the lovely greensward that graces the center of our town, like so many others in New England. I don’t mean our greensward travels around to other towns, they have their own;… Read full post »