The Thing From Bloggy Swamp

"Music is real--the rest is scenery." Fats Waller

GUM CREEK, Mo.  Clell Fulsom, a crawdaddy fisherman and long-time postmaster of this town of 230, is mildly surprised when this reporter tells him it would be considered "tacky" in other parts of America to park a dilapidated truck in one's front yard for parts, as he has done.


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MAY 8, 2011 5:18PM

Real Good for Free

It had been one of those Boston Aprils when it never seemed to stop raining.  You wanted spring to begin, Mark thought to himself.  You wanted to see the girls take off their winter hats and coats and scarves and walk the street in lighter colors, not the dark shades

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MAY 7, 2011 12:59PM

Me and the Other Blue Nuns

It's Saturday, which means a day of preparation for a gig tonight with my band, The Blue Nuns, the only (I'm pretty sure) Chicago-style blues band in America that dresses in the habits of the Sisters of the Precious Blood, the religious order that ran my grade school.

"You have

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According to Henry David Thoreau, most men (by which he meant women, too) lead lives of quiet desperation.  Why, then, does quiet desperation do so poorly at the box office?

       West of Boston

After all, people go to baseball movies because they like base

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Editor’s Pick
MAY 6, 2011 9:02AM

Laptop Shows bin Laden Frustrated by On-Line Shopping

Navy Seals carried off five computers, ten hard drives and more than 100 storage devices such as flash drives from their raid on Osama bin Laden's compound.

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Editor’s Pick
MAY 4, 2011 9:34PM

Writers Fight Floods With Unsold Manuscripts

FLORISSANT, Mo.  When Armand St. Stephen, a recent graduate of Tulane University, heard that the upper Midwest had been inundated with unprecedented spring rains, the New Orleans native who survived Hurricane Katrina decided to do something about it.  "It's not enough t

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Editor’s Pick
MAY 3, 2011 3:49PM

More Yuppies Turn to Personality-Removal Surgery

BOSTON.  A year ago, Emily Nednick was a rising star at the law firm where she worked, churning out billable hours and working on sensitive assignments for established clients.  Then, a casual comment caused it all to come crashing down around her.

"Why didn't I stick to the weather

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Sometimes as I sit at my desk at night, my hands pressed to my temples, trying to come up with a poem that will be rejected by both The New Yorker and My Little Messenger, I recall an offhand remark by W.H. Auden that I read many years ago.  Where,

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MAY 2, 2011 3:54PM

The Girls of Spring

The girls of spring, they’ll stop your heart

When they forsake cosmetic art

They practiced back when skies were grey

and clouds obscured the light of day.



The girls of spring, first pale and wan,

Begin to get some color on.

It rises like the sap to cheeks… Read full post »

WASHINGTON, D.C.  The American Civil Liberties Union has prevailed over a crowded field of competitors to win the right to represent Osama bin Laden, the world's most wanted terrorist, in criminal trials and possible civil rights claims against the United States.

"Fifteen cents

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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas.  Just as his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination begins to gain traction, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is facing criticism from animal rights groups and death penalty opponents over his practice of cooking squirrels in a popcorn popper while a col… Read full post »

APRIL 30, 2011 3:40PM

The Perfumed Kitten

The cat had come to the house on a cold October night.  Mom went to the front door when we opened the drapes and saw her, an orange tabby, meowing as if she already belonged us.   I don’t know what possessed Mom to take the cat in.  We already had

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 I am sure, if we are really nice and stay quiet, everything will be alright and the president will become more centrist and that all his tough talk is just words.  I mean, he really loves us and when he beats us, he doesn't mean it.

email from Daniel Loeb, ObamaRead full post »

APRIL 28, 2011 5:28PM

The Poet's Embezzlement


                               Every poet cheats his boss. 

             &n… Read full post »

APRIL 27, 2011 8:09AM

Biz One-Upmanship 101

Stephen Potter, a British humorist who has undeservedly faded into obscurity, is the father of "one-upmanship," a strategem for besting an opponent--somewhat unfairly--without actually cheating. 

One accomplishes this by throwing an opponent off his game without violating any

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Editor’s Pick
APRIL 25, 2011 8:46AM

Trump: Obama Failed Ivy League Swim Tests

NEW YORK.  Encouraged by polls showing him leading a crowded pack of Republican presidential contenders, businessman Donald Trump turned up the heat on the incumbent yesterday, saying there is no evidence Obama passed swim tests at the two Ivy League institutions he attended.


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APRIL 24, 2011 4:24PM

Your Love Ob/Gyn

A few years back I celebrated the 50th anniversary of my rhythm 'n blues addiction.  The starting point was my purchase of a Ray Charles album in 1959.  At the time, "LP's" as they were known to hip DJ's, cost $3.98--not including tax.  I accumulated this enormous stash of c

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APRIL 23, 2011 1:34PM

One for the Ages

It was 1984, that foreboding year, I now
  recall.  You were in the hospital,
  your cat having snagged your nail.
It appeared you might lose your finger. 
I was there with you, even though we weren’t


  boyfriend/girlfriend anymore.
You had a TV in yoRead full post »

APRIL 23, 2011 10:40AM

Magnets and You--or Me

“He who controls magnetism, controls the world” said Diet Smith, a character in the Dick Tracy comic strip when I was a boy.  Smith was the inventor of Dick’s two-way wrist radio, a precursor to cell phones and those groovy new Blue Tooth sunglasses that have a phone in the

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK.  Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra, a popular singer whose voice transcended categorization, died for a second time here last night.  He was 95.

Sinatra began his career during the "swing" era, performing with the Harry James and Tommy Dorsey big bands.  He bec… Read full post »

CHICAGO.  As a security guard tightens the lock around the chain-link gates of Snyder's Novelties here on the city's South Side, a grown man standing nearby begins to weep.  "It was the best job I ever had," says Willie Newbill, who moved to the Windy City from Mississippi i

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Have you ever wondered how the rich get richer while you fall further behind on your credit cards and the German shepherd you bought to keep the repo men away from your jet ski eventually leaves you for the woman down at the other end of the trailer park who

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APRIL 20, 2011 8:22AM

Sapphic Blues: The Boy in the Boat

     Here's evidence that there's no aspect of eros that the blues hasn't covered.  Vocal by George Hannah, piano by Meade Lux Lewis.

Now, did you ever hear the story 'bout that boy in the boat,
Don't wear no shoes… Read full post »

APRIL 19, 2011 10:16PM

Walt Whitman, Census Taker

(on reading Whitman’s Election Day, November, 1884
after filling out the 2010 census form)

If I should need to name, O Census Bureau, your power-

         fulest question of them all,

‘Twould be “How many rooms do you have in this house,


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Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who grew up in poverty on Chicago’s South Side, signed a contract to write an autobiography for a $1.35 million advance.  He stumbled in office initially, failing to win approval of legalized gambling, spending $27,000 in taxpayers’ money toRead full post »