The Thing From Bloggy Swamp

"Music is real--the rest is scenery." Fats Waller
JUNE 8, 2014 10:35AM

Hip Hop Lit: New and Noteworthy

Rapper Curtis Jackson, a/k/a “50 Cent,” will collaborate with a team of writers on a series of novels about life as a youth on the streets.


The Rapper in the Rye (Paperback)
by 50 Cent and J.D. Salinger
(63 customer reviews)

List price: $12.95
Price: $10.75
You Save: $2.20 (… Read full post »

JUNE 7, 2014 9:15AM

A Puppet of the Mob

          A Cleveland TV station is covering the corruption trial of an Italian-American politician using puppets due to restrictions on cameras in the courtroom.… Read full post »
A Russian bomb squad was summoned to defuse a package containing a vibrator that had been turned on by accident.

The Telegraph

Ready to roll!

Another day, another round of potentially deadly sex toys to defuse for me–Fedor Sergeyevich Mikhailovich–and my trusty sidekick Lev Vladim… Read full post »

NATICK, Mass. St. Rocco’s Parish here is a survivor in an area of the state where Catholic churches have been closing or consolidating, and it is attention to “congregant service” that makes the difference, says its pastor, Father Greg Zwibeck. “We try to have something for… Read full post »

JUNE 5, 2014 8:08PM

The Human Car Wash of Self-Esteem

It was one of those dinner parties where everyone had had a little too much to drink, and the conversation around the table had grown more . . . shall we say, spirited. Changes were being rung on the usual male-female antinomies–shopping, burping, etc.–when one of the wives went a little… Read full post »

MAYNARD, Mass. It’s Wednesday night at the Sitting Duck Pub, a biker bar in this Massachusetts town of 10,000. A reporter asks Darlene Rivers, a thirty-something woman in a tube top, whether anyone is sitting on the empty bar stool next to her. “Not right now,” she says after blowin… Read full post »

JUNE 4, 2014 10:14AM

Sidney Bechet's Lost Ballet

In the annals of jazz there is no more strongly polarized musician than Sidney Bechet. A Creole–that is, a descendant of mixed European and African heritage–he came from a class that considered itself superior to pure descendants of African slaves, and yet despite his superior education a… Read full post »

JUNE 4, 2014 7:53AM

She's Plucked Her Eyebrows

When I was a lad of twenty or so
Hanging around the house, detached,
My mother would ask me why I didn’t go
Out with nice girls in town, unattached.

“Like who?” I asked with a skeptical note
and a voice that resembled a bark;
“Someone you know,” she said and I quote:
&… Read full post »

CHICAGO. It was, Alicia Fahrquahr now admits, a cringe-inducing moment. “I picked up a ‘Daddy’s Little Lawyer’ onesie for Mikey without even thinking about it,” she says with a look of embarrassment on her face as she cradles her six-month old son in her arms. “Whe… Read full post »

JAFFREY, New Hampshire. Beverly Huber thought she was ready for a spring climb up New Hampshire’s Mt. Monadnock by the White Dot trail, the steepest ascent to the summit, after a year spent hiking and training on easier peaks. “I guess there’s nothing like the real thing,” she… Read full post »

JUNE 3, 2014 8:11AM

Teen Talk

The teenage years are the most trying and troubling time of our lives, but remember–they’re only temporary! The Teen Talk lady talks to teens about their problems, without tattling.

Dear Teen Talk Lady:

I am seventeen and want to get a snake for a pet. My mom says no, even… Read full post »

WELLESLEY HILLS, Mass. In this affluent suburb of Boston where the median home price hovers around $1,000,000,”keeping up with the Joneses” can be a difficult task.

“You have the traditionalists, who sail and ski and play golf and tennis,” says Marci Upham, president o… Read full post »

NEWARK, Delaware. When Mahlon Grenier got the call telling him he was the winner of the American Philosophical Society’s undergraduate essay prize, he says he was as surprised as the next fellow. “In my apartment the next fellow is my roommate, so I didn’t think it was that big a de… Read full post »

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. Spring is the season that inspires poets and causes young men’s thoughts to turn to love, but in New England it is part rumor and part myth. “There is no spring here,” a British soldier wrote to his young wife during the Revolutionary War, “only a second wint… Read full post »

Friday morning. I’m standing at the elevator bank with other similarly-situated sweaty professionals, looking forward to June. It’s my sense that people start to get grumpier in the summer than is justified because every day you realize that someone you know is on vacation, relieved for t… Read full post »

MAY 31, 2014 10:03AM

Women's Shoes of Springs Past

Who can forget the shoes of springs past—
when girls took off galoshes and rubbers at last?
I was fond of the T-strap,
which came with the spring sap.
‘Twas worn by renewed girls both slow and quite fast,
and by quite a few the poet was sassed.

I also recall shoes called Mary Janes
worn… Read full post »

MAY 30, 2014 10:17PM

The Lost Place

When Sidney Bechet got to thinking about Manuel
Perez, he said first that he was a much
better cornet player than Buddy Bolden;
not as good a showman, but sincere.


He stuck to his instrument while Buddy
did things that got him noticed,
stomping his foot, waving his hand.
Manuel didn’t make a… Read full post »

SOMERVILLE, Mass. Maggie Turbek had a moderately successful career in the historically unremunerative field of literature, with freelance magazine assignments that paid in the low four-figures, a ten-year run as an editor in New York and a first novel that sold nearly twenty thousand copies. “T… Read full post »

MAY 30, 2014 8:24AM

The Last Game

Don’t come ’round here looking for the fresh, clean, family-friendly content this site is known for this afternoon. I’m taking off at 3:30 to watch my kid pitch what may be the final start of his high school career. He will take the mound today with a 3-0 record and three… Read full post »

MAY 29, 2014 9:45PM

Hugh Hefner, Lonely Guy

Two of Hugh Hefner’s three girlfriends are moving out of the mansion.


Playboy Mansion

I’ve come to the Playboy Mansion on a mission of mercy. Hugh Hefner, my good buddy, has just lost two… Read full post »

MAY 29, 2014 1:50PM

Her Stars

Doretta taught eighth-grade English, and lived alone, a block
from the school. She was “Miss” Hay to everyone, and
even though the boys never thought twice about it, the
girls in her classes knew that meant she was an Old Maid,
a figure on a card in a game that you didn’t want to end… Read full post »

MAY 29, 2014 7:45AM

Diary of a Stone Age Party Girl

It came with a bang, apparently out of nowhere . . . the world’s first and longest-lived art movement. One of the most spectacular developments in the human story unfolded during the Upper Paleolithic, the Stone Age span extending from about 30,000 to 10,000 years ago. After two or more… Read full post »
MAY 28, 2014 5:13PM

My Dad's in Women's Clothes

When a boy considers his dad, and compares him to the fathers of other boys, an element of emulation unavoidably creeps into his thinking. A song by The Smothers Brothers, who had the same father, expresses this sentiment nicely.

“My old man’s a sailor–what do you think about that!… Read full post »

NORMAL, Illinois. Mary Louise van de Kamp and Letitia Ethridge would, at first glance, seem to have little in common. The van de Kamps are soybean farmers in downstate Illinois while the Ethridges live in tony Evanston, north of Chicago, where both husband and wife were white-collar professionals bef… Read full post »

MAY 27, 2014 11:32AM

The Living Lay it to Heart

In that spring there were three of them—
young men, foolish as they all are.

Two went the common way,
drunk in the front seat of a car. The only

consolation to any of us was that
they hadn’t killed anybody else,


just hit a tree or run off the road,
coming to a… Read full post »