The Thing From Bloggy Swamp

"Music is real--the rest is scenery." Fats Waller
An article on Monday about the political significance of Senator Rand Paul’s spending the day at the Kentucky Derby with his guest, Rupert Murdoch, described incorrectly the jacket Mr. Paul wore. It was herringbone, not houndstooth.

The New York Times

ties

An editorial decrying the decline o… Read full post »

AUGUST 1, 2014 8:24AM

Fine As Phineas--Newborn

The unappreciated genius is a stock figure in the literature of jazz, the art form that seems to require long-distance perspective–say, from Europe, or Japan–in order to receive the cultural approval it deserves.  Sometimes beauty, like a prophet, goes without honor in its own countr… Read full post »

The National Labor Relations Board ruled that a small group of cosmetics and fragrance workers at a Macy’s store in Saugus, Mass. can be organized separately from other employees.

The Wall Street Journal

cosmetics

It’s never been easy bein’ a labor organizer, but right now it’s n… Read full post »

There was, in the town where I grew up,
A house with a tombstone laid out front.
It was flat, not upright, and on it was sprawled
A forlorn girl, sculpted from stone.

We used to wonder as we passed
Whether underneath there lay a corpse.
We’d joke in nervous… Read full post »

JULY 31, 2014 8:00AM

Boring Our Children to Safety

They’re at it again,” my wife said with concern.

I looked up and saw flames rising from a pile of dead branches off in the  distance. Another night, another bonfire in the woods beyond the stone wall that  separates our property from conservation land.

“They’… Read full post »

JULY 30, 2014 7:06PM

Norm Bladdon, Private G.I.

I screwed the top back on the bottle of J.T.S. Brown bourbon I kept in my desk drawer at Mass. Gastrointestinal Hospital, or “Mass Gas” as it is more commonly known, and stared out the window at the thin sliver of the Charles River I could see from my decidedly unprestigious… Read full post »

The kids are getting older–they’re in high school now–and with summer jobs and college campus visits, every year it’s harder to squeeze in the special family time of aggravation and bickering we used to experience during summer vacations.

“We need to get away a… Read full post »

It isn’t every day I get to have lunch with a Nobel Prize-winning author. More frequently than I see Haley’s Comet, which last came through my neighborhood in 1986, and isn’t expected back for another 50 years, but still, it’s a big deal.


Haley’s Comet: “Sto
Read full post »

JULY 29, 2014 7:57AM

A Session With My Poetry Coach

It was the form letter that sent me over the edge.  “Thank you for submitting your poem to plangent voices,” it began.  “Please excuse the form letter, but due to the volume of god-awful submissions that we receive, we do not have the time to crush the spirit of&… Read full post »

JULY 28, 2014 11:48AM

Let Slip the Cats of War!

My cats are big Shakespeare fans; in the case of Rocco, who’s been letting himself go a bit, a huge fan of the Bard–fifteen pounds at his last checkup.  We have assembled on the patio for a reading from Julius Caesar.  Titus Andronicus was checked out of our local library, and… Read full post »

JULY 27, 2014 10:46AM

Me and Dionysus

The wife is out of town this weekend, an opportunity for me to catch up with an old friend whose idea of a good time is, to put it mildly, not shared by the distaff half of my joint tax return. He goes by a lot of names; the ancient Egyptians… Read full post »

JULY 26, 2014 3:51PM

Debbie and Johnny (lyrics)

Debbie Carneseca had the biggest tits in school
but if you was to touch them that would mark you for a fool.
‘Cause Debbie Carneseca was alleged to be the daughter
of Johnnie Carneseca who believed he was her father.

Now Debbie and her daddy lived just southwest of town
Her hair is dark… Read full post »

JULY 26, 2014 3:49PM

Debbie and Johnny (Audio)

It’s Saturday morning, which means the tension is starting to build for our weekly out-of-home social interaction. Regardless of whether we get together with people in a higher income bracket or a lower, my wife faults me for doing, saying, wearing, implying or inferring something I shouldn&rsq… Read full post »

JULY 25, 2014 6:56PM

Me and the Portable William Blake

It had been an impulse buy, as so many of my books are when they’re purchased on a Saturday after I’ve had a few glasses of wine and we’re wandering around a bookstore. But it was an acquisition I’d been planning for a long time; I have a home William… Read full post »

It’s time to bring more non-Jews into the faith.

Arnold M. Eisen, Wanted: Converts to Judaism, Wall Street Journal

FULTON, Ohio. It’s the opening night at the Fulton County Fair in this tiny town in northwest… Read full post »

STAFFORD SPRINGS, Connecticut. Tori Carrington is a mother of three with a black labrador retriever named “Boots” and a pick-up and drop-off schedule that reads like a cab dispatcher’s log. “I’ve got so much stuff to haul around town, there’s no way I cou… Read full post »

You said you was goin’ outside for a smoke.
A half hour later I called up your folks.
They said you weren’t there and just laughed at your joke.
And you weren’t in bed when I next awoke.

I got in the car to drive around town.
I’d find you if I had to… Read full post »

JULY 23, 2014 8:16PM

Flip Phillips

By some verbal turn of a publicist
worthy of an Ellis Island clerk,
Joseph Edward Filipelli became Flip Phillips.
As coincidence would have it, I heard him
on a boat going out of Boston Harbor.
Sixty-five years old, blowing as cool as the
seabreeze off the Atlantic.

flip1

You were so good for an Italian… Read full post »

JULY 23, 2014 7:25PM

Walking My Lobster Back Home

On learning that the poet Gerard de Nerval had a pet lobster he walked on a leash.

Gee but it’s great after being out late–
Walking my lobster back home.
There’s little risk that she’ll turn into bisque,
Walking my lobster back home.

She grows quite bored of the maddening horde,
S… Read full post »

JULY 23, 2014 3:32PM

The Poetry Fixer

          A self-published poet who focused on homelessness in her work has resigned after only a week on the job as North Carolina’s poet laureate following criticism of the governor’s appointment process.

     &nRead full post »

JULY 22, 2014 9:58PM

I Fall in Love Too Fast

That’s my problem, he thought to himself as he turned off the music to his headphones. He had been listening to Chet Baker and in a moment his state of mind had turned from mellow moodiness to irritation. The romantic background that the sounds had provided on his morning walk to… Read full post »

JULY 22, 2014 8:39AM

To the Veterans of Boston Disco

The Donna Summer Memorial Roller Disco Tribute Party drew a far more diverse crowd than just veterans of the disco era.

                              &nRead full post »

JULY 21, 2014 8:40PM

The Baddest Cat on the Team

A star high school quarterback was persuaded to play football at Rice University by a handwritten letter its offensive coordinator wrote to his cat.

Sports Illustrated

Rocco
“With these feet, I’m gonna need high-tops, like Johnny Unitas.”

Ho-hum. Another day, another Division I off… Read full post »

JULY 21, 2014 7:43PM

Bats at Twilight

The bats are out tonight,
I said. She looked up and there
they were, silhouetted against the dying light
to the west. Over our shoulders
to the east it was dark, but from where

bats2

we sat, we had an intimate view of the two,
engaged in some sort of courtship ritual
I surmised after a while;… Read full post »