Blog Archives

The Summer We Cornered the Hog Lard Market

July 16, 2015
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The Summer We Cornered the Hog Lard Market

The year was 1962. The place–a small town in Missouri so insignificant it billed itself as The Gateway to the Ozarks. Not the Ozark Mountains themselves, you understand, but if you wanted to get to…

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Panhandler Changes With Times to Cadge Nickels and Dimes

July 15, 2015
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BOSTON.  For many years Marty “Slats” Carbone ruled as King of Church Green, an intersection where three streets converge near South Station in Boston.  “I had a good life,” he says.  “I was the ruler…

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The Man Who Turned Into Bo Diddley

July 14, 2015
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The Man Who Turned Into Bo Diddley

I’ve been channeling Ellas McDaniel–better known by his stage name, Bo Diddley–for so long that I didn’t realize I’d been transformed into him until I arrived at the coffee shop across from my train station…

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Why Do I Love Him So? He’s a Logical Positivist!

July 13, 2015
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Why Do I Love Him So? He’s a Logical Positivist!

A. J. Ayer, founder of the Logical Positivist school of philosophy, had so many love affairs “you quickly lose count.”                    amazon.com.uk review of A.J. Ayer: A Life, by Ben Rogers “But you told me…

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At the Pine-Woods Golf and Poetry Club

July 12, 2015
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At the Pine-Woods Golf and 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.…

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Your Anatomical Gift Advisor

July 11, 2015
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Your Anatomical Gift Advisor

Since the promulgation of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, the practice of giving–and receiving–bodily organs as gifts has exploded. I don’t mean the organs have exploded, because most of them have not, thanks to rigorous…

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The Quest for the Next Great American Novelist

July 10, 2015
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The Quest for the Next Great American Novelist

It was a steamy summer three decades ago. I was working for the federal government at a scandal-plagued agency alongside a veteran bureaucrat named Fred. Fred wasn’t going any higher on the org chart, but…

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F**kin’ Nature Poets Put the Curse Into Verse

July 9, 2015
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F**kin’ Nature Poets Put the Curse Into Verse

MAYNARD, Mass.  Anthony “Big Tony” Scalzi, a rough-looking man who wears a sleeveless denim jacket and rides a motorcycle, doesn’t fit the stereotypical image of a poet, but that’s okay with him.  “Frankly, I couldn’t give…

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Dollars From Diners May Save Greek Economy

July 8, 2015
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Dollars From Diners May Save Greek Economy

WATERTOWN, Mass.  Spiro “Patsy” Theokratis has been the owner-operator of a railroad car diner in this near suburb of Boston for over forty years, but he can still remember the first dollar he made the day he opened…

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Me and Chief Unable-to-Fornicate

July 7, 2015
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Me and Chief Unable-to-Fornicate

An Indian chief on the Northwest Coast was named  Unable-to-Fornicate. Private correspondence of H.L. Davis to H.L. Mencken, cited in The  American Language, 1937 edition. “Maybe  if we put on some Marvin Gaye . .…

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How to Write and Share Humor
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