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.


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 »

Minimalist/realist short-story writer Raymond Carver was fired from his job as an editor of science textbooks because of his inappropriate writing style.


Photosynthesis is an important process. I mean it’s extremely important. It’s the source of food for almost all org… Read full post »

Mariah Carey’s new CD is titled “Me. I am Mariah. The Elusive Chanteuse.”

“Seriously–they’re in different Zip Codes.”

I have come to the woods of Manhattan in search of that most elusive of creatures, one whom I glimpsed once only briefly on TV, her fam… Read full post »

MAY 26, 2014 11:32AM

Stump the Nuns

IRONDALE, Alabama. An edgy, innovative game show–”Stump the Nuns!”–has turned into a ratings sensation for the Eternal Word Television Network, the nation’s leading provider of televised Catholic content.

“What is the Communion of Saints?”

“It&rs… Read full post »

MAY 25, 2014 10:32AM

Your Guide to the World Cup

It’s World Cup time, and all across America, various Americans are showing their support for their favorite “football” team by wearing NFL-licensed gear to NASCAR races.

It seems like only yesterday that whoever won the World Cup the last time around was celebrating. The 201… Read full post »

As the crew of the cruise boat made ready to sail,
I took my place behind Art Blakey
determined, like the tree in the
spiritual that’s planted by the
water, not to be moved.


As he settled into his kit, I looked at his
graying hair and thought of the
greats who’d played with him;
Clifford… Read full post »

MAY 24, 2014 5:20PM

You Oughta Be in Novels

According to the Boston Sunday Globe, a growing number of musicians are looking to fans to help fund their albums and tours. A few sample items from one rocker’s menu: for a $200 contribution you get free admission to a year’s worth of shows; for $5,000, you get a personal concert… Read full post »

MAY 24, 2014 9:09AM

Our Merchant-Ivory Weekend

As I wake up and recollect what day it is–Saturday–I breathe a sigh of relief. No rush to the train, no crowded streets to navigate, no tedious job to go to. But then I remember what tonight will bring; dinner with our socially superior friends–the Cabots.

“I do soRead full post »

MAY 23, 2014 1:41PM

Cleanhead's Back in Town

It has been a quarter of a century since Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson died at the age of seventy, and his current obscurity is largely attributable to his versatility; his entry in the All Music Guide to Jazz lists six different styles–bop, R&B and jump blues chief among them–… Read full post »

ORLEANS, Mass. Most people who pass through this town on Cape Cod this summer on vacation won’t notice the Abbey of St. Rocco in the Fields, and its residents like it that way. “Men come here to withdraw from the world,” says Abbot Matthew of the Order of St.… Read full post »

Memorial Day weekend marks the traditional start of summer, and with it beach reading. An unexpected by-product of summer’s lower intellectual standards is that one’s literary risk-reward ratio expands exponentially, the way pole vaulting records were shattered by quantum leaps when athle… Read full post »

Two years after it withdrew its troops, the U.S. is again helping Iraq’s fledging government in an all-out battle against insurgents.

ABC News

Day one of my “embed” assignment to Iraq. For security reasons I cannot say exactly where I am, but I know that the enemy has been here befor… Read full post »