The Thing From Bloggy Swamp

"Music is real--the rest is scenery." Fats Waller
DECEMBER 24, 2014 8:07AM

The Most Wonderfullest Christmas Ever

I was a young man on the verge of getting old (at least in my mind) back then, in the mid-eighties. It was Christmas time, which made the passing of youth that much more painful; I remembered the Christmas when I got both a basketball and a bb gun, and… Read full post »

BOSTON. On a Tuesday evening at Symphony Hall, the last few strains of a delicate piece by Debussy performed by the Guarneri String Quartet have left the audience in a blissful state of calm, which is broken only after an extended period of silence by appreciative applause.

“That was so–… Read full post »

BROOKLYN, New York. Carmen Scarpino, an innovative smart aleck who is credited with many of America’s most treasured comebacks, one-liners and wise cracks, died of lung cancer at the Sons of Italy Convalescent Home here yesterday. He was 84.

Scarpino came of age as World War II came to an end,… Read full post »

RAMINGHAM, Mass.  It’s the Saturday before Christmas vacation and Lieutenant Jim Hampy of the Massachusetts State DMVD is on patrol in the Metrowest area of Boston, on the lookout for students home from college with too much time on their hands and beer in their bellies.  &l… Read full post »

DECEMBER 21, 2014 8:10PM

The Object of Her Affectation

There once was a girl, and I briefly dated her,
who treated each moment as if it were the-atre.
Ordinary reality was much too quotidian
Whether you were together ante or post meridian.

Each time we’d sit at noon a-munchin’
We didn’t eat lunch–we’d had a luncheon.
I al… Read full post »

This is a story of a teenaged boy whom I will call Ignacio.  He was brought to America from a village in South America to live in a small town for a year as a foreign exchange student.

He lived with the Cash family.  Mr. Cash owned a feed and grain… Read full post »

The holidays are a stressful time of the year, straining both long-term relationships and brief flings that begin as drunken come-ons at office parties. How does one cope with competing and often conflicting demands of “significant others” that clash with family obligations, year-end busi… Read full post »

BOSTON. Niles Oberg hates Christmas music and doesn’t consider himself a religious man. “The only time I see the inside of a church is when a friend gets married,” he says. “And even then my flesh starts to creep when I think of all my one-night stands.”

&ldquoRead full post »

HOLLYWOOD.  Studio executives at Sony Pictures yesterday gave the green light to “Glorious Sun of Mankind Kim Jong-un Adventure,” an action-comedy-drama-romance-documentary starring Kim Jong-un, supreme leader of North Korea, and co-starring Kim Jong-un.

“What can I say?Read full post »

As a budding but unsuccessful writer of long standing, I turn to Writer’s Digest for the pro-tips that I hope will transform me from a perennially-rejected shlub to a guy who has to fight off literary chicks with a stick. It is there you’ll find helpful articles such as “5… Read full post »

WASHINGTON.  Former Vice President Dick Cheney took on a new adversary yesterday, calling on Pope Francis I to release documents to support his contention that the Spanish Inquisition produced valuable information through torture.

Cheney:  “I may be irritating–but I&rsquoRead full post »

XIANGGANG, China.  Emily Costbinder doesn’t look like a crusader with her Patagonia fleece pullover, khakis and sensible shoes, but the slight Bryn Mawr student is taking a grave personal risk as she pulls out her cellphone once inside the Xianggang Xingxing Special Products fact… Read full post »

DECEMBER 15, 2014 8:35AM

I Was a Vampire for the Chicago Bears

The literature of nausea has come to professional football: the “I Was a Vampire for the Chicago Bears” school for one crowd, and “I Was a Rich Owner’s Plaything” for the other.

               &nbsRead full post »

Portable crappers, and phat gangsta rappers,
Overdressed lawyers, who think that they’re dapper,
Blonde second wives who are festooned with bling–
These are a few of my least favorite things.

New SUVs that my teenage son crashes,
Posh window treatments with jabots and sashes,
Pant legs… Read full post »

DECEMBER 13, 2014 4:44PM

Ah Cahn't Talk Wiff Mah Mouf Full

The dental hygienist rides the train
Into town and then out again.
Her job, in part, is to inflict pain
On those who dental flossing feign.

(Her scrubs this day are the color teal
Perhaps the better to make folks feel
That everything’s ducky, there’s no need to squeal,
Their teeth will… Read full post »

DECEMBER 13, 2014 1:08PM

Don't Touch My Notary!

Thousands lined the avenues of Paris to protest reforms designed to energize the French economy by opening up regulated professions with high barriers to entry.  “Don’t touch my notary!” read one banner.

 The Wall Street Journal

And so after many years I have returned… Read full post »

CHICAGO.  For Joe Klesjko, a trader at Wolf/Ram Associates, December is a hectic time of year, and not because of Christmas shopping.  “Our customers would trade 365 days a year if they could,” he says of a client base that hedges their exposure in world tungsten markets by buyi… Read full post »

BOSTON. This city’s adult entertainment district is a place where the sexual impulse in all its variety seeks and finds satisfaction, but even long-time denizens of the “Combat Zone” as it is known say they’re disgusted by a manifestation of the male libido they’ve seen… Read full post »

It’s Thursday night, time for my wife to make time for “Grey’s Anatomy,” since neither one of us can figure out how to tape the damn show. “I’ll take care of the kids,” I said, kissing her on the forehead the way I did to Pam McAfree after the Homecoming… Read full post »

DECEMBER 10, 2014 1:21PM

Me and My Talking Raven

Where some of the Neighbourhood were quarrelling, a Raven from the Top of a Tree very articulately and unaccountably cry’d out, Read the Third of Colossians and the Fifteenth!”

The Wonders of the Invisible World: Being an Account of the Tryals of Several Witches Lately Executed in New-EngRead full post »

DECEMBER 9, 2014 4:02PM

At the Repo Man's Christmas Ball

It was the depths of a recession,
And real estate prices had fallen.
Some contractors were overextended
And their creditors were callin’.

Me?  I was just doing my job
Arranging for repossessions
Of cranes and ‘dozers and backhoes and such
By gun-for-hire Hessians.

One… Read full post »

WESTLAND, Mass. In this exurban town fifteen miles west of Boston, starter homes begin at $1.3 million and there are few two-income households, leaving many stay-at-home moms with time and money to go overboard on holiday decorating. “It goes beyond creating a festive mood,” says Marci… Read full post »

DECEMBER 8, 2014 11:04AM

Sorghum in the Course of Human History

Many historians have taken the Tolstoyan line, that the story of humanity isn’t the story of great people and shining deeds.  The real story, on this view, is about economic forces, technological advances, changes in the price of sorghum.

He Stands Alone, The Wall Street Journal

&ldqRead full post »

BROOKLINE, Mass.  On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, Emily Greenberg gathered with her family here for a traditional dinner that included dates, black-eyed beans, leeks and spinach, all foods that are mentioned in the Talmud.

But there were some new dishe… Read full post »

DECEMBER 7, 2014 11:55AM

Me and Barney the Purple Dinosaur

The weekend is my time to give back to my community and my favorite institution within it–our local public library. I remember when I was young how much I loved Story Hour on Saturday morning. Kids from all over town would assemble in the library basement to hear a story read… Read full post »