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.


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 »

CLAYTON, Mo. Leroy “Kingsnake” Newbill has been playing the blues on harmonica for close to four decades now, but he says his act has changed remarkably in the past few years.

“Used to be I had to play loud to be heard over all the noise in bars,” he says… Read full post »

BOSTON. This city, often referred to as the “Athens of America,” sometimes by non-residents, is famous for many things; the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell, the first use of ether to remove a tooth, the first three-point basket in NBA history by Chris Ford.

Read full post »

SKOKIE, Illinois.  Madeline Grebs is a long-time records manager at Modern Moosehead Indemnity, an insurance company in this suburb of Chicago.  “Don’t call me a file clerk” she says to this reporter, and it is plain that she takes pride in her work.  “There are… Read full post »

JUNE 29, 2014 9:04PM

Basie in the Airfield

I saw Bill Basie in a moribund airfield
near Worcester, Mass. He was 70
then. I’d seen him in his younger
days on film, a frenetic pianist,
all the energy of youth, your eyes
could hardly keep up with his hands.


A half century on the road had slowed him
down, you thought at first, but af… Read full post »

JUNE 29, 2014 2:58PM

Diary of a Restaurant Hostess

Dear Diary–

What a night! Sometimes when I think I’ve seen it all, I’m shocked at the depths that diners at classy restaurants like mine, Chez (which for some reason is pronounced “shay”) Ignacio, will stoop to.

Tonight, it was the old “the-rest-of-our-party-isn&r… Read full post »

Is Rumer, the Anglo-Pakistani chanteuse with a retro-pop heart, the new Karen Carpenter?Read full post »

JUNE 28, 2014 3:55PM

A Reverence for Dexter Gordon

Dexter Gordon was one of the coolest cats ever to blow a tenor sax, which may explain why he was given multiple lives in jazz rather than just one.

Dexter Gordon

He was born in 1923 when jazz was still young, and by the age of seventeen was playing with Lionel… Read full post »

JUNE 28, 2014 10:03AM

As the Bat Cave Turns

A study has determined that in bat species noted for female monogamy male bats have small testes and big brains, while in species noted for female promiscuity males have testicles five times as big, but smaller brains.… Read full post »

WESTLAND, Mass.  Emil Scalzo is supposed to be somewhere else right now, and his frustration shows in the exasperated look on his face.  “I don’t know why it is,” he says almost bitterly to this reporter.  “Every year I tell people to get it together, and every… Read full post »

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. Bobby Florin will be released from St. Zepherin’s Hospital here tomorrow, but for a long time it was unclear whether he’d reach his seventh birthday. “He was born a month premature,” says his father, Nestor Florin. “We had just about given up on him,… Read full post »

JUNE 26, 2014 8:31AM

Summer Camp for Writers

The envelope was slim, as they all seem to be these days, and so I opened it up expecting the usual brush-off:  “Dear Poet/Playwright/Writer: Thank you very much for submitting your work to the Alice Wambsley 2014 Villanelle Competition.  We received over 2,348,092 entries for the fir… Read full post »