Not everything means what it seems to mean.
In the post-industrial New England town where I live, the library is a big granite structure built to impress in the 19th century.
Over the front door are chiseled the words, "THE PEOPLE'S UNIVERSITY."
Local politicians and civic pride hobbyists assure us it means a man or woman can use the books ...Read more
Ever since Geoff Diehl slouched north from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to Massachusetts, he's been the failed politician's favorite candidate.
He was born in Bethlehem, no doubt under the light of a single star, but he trekked up to Massachusetts, where he found there was plenty of room at the inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, a town of dazzling ...Read more
Aw, what a picture.
There was this cowboy, all hat and spurs and chaps (woah there, Village People!)
Well sir, that cowboy was a-leanin' out of his saddle like a cottonwood tree leans when there's a Blue Norther a-blowing across the dad-gum plains.
And he was a-swingin' his rope at a couple of muley Haitians who had broken away from the herd ...Read more
When Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Cinderella-ed her way into the Met Gala in a form-fitting white dress with "Tax the Rich" splayed out across what polite people would call "the back," it was a 1960s moment, maybe even a 1930s moment, when stars embraced activism and activists became stars.
Mother Courage, but with a foot that needs a glass ...Read more
Because I was working in a newsroom on the day and because I'm a newspaper columnist, it's expected that I can (and will) produce a Sept. 11 column.
And why not? I'm 64. I was no kid on that day.
And why not? I won an Associated Press award for writing about Sept. 11. I know what happened, right?
I wish I'd never won the damn award. It's on...Read more
Losing a war is nothing like leaving a nice restaurant after a good dinner.
When you leave the nice restaurant, you give the parking attendant your ticket, and he fetches your Mercedes. If you're a nice person, you throw him $5.
Losing a war means you leave on the run, on the last plane out, while explosions rock the ground below. Your ...Read more
I find America's lipstick prints everywhere, bright red bows of kisses on every culture.
Charlie Watts, longtime drummer for British band the Rolling Stones, died this week, leaving millions of men with tears soaking into their gray Fu Manchu mustaches, sometimes falling on the $500 wingtip shoes they wear when they go to their law firm; the ...Read more
Twenty years ago, they couldn't get enough of you, back when the 9/11 smoke was still in people's eyes, and the country was flag crazy.
Heroes. Thank you for your service.
You came home from Afghanistan. Maybe you went back again. The military is revered in America, but it's not that popular, so those who do join have to keep ...Read more
You can't flip over a Bible these days without running into some bonehead who wants to tell you that America needs to return to "traditional values," particularly in the public schools where, the guy tells you, all we need is some "patriotic" history, a little de-emphasis on slavery, the Pledge of Allegiance and some Jesus, and we'll stop ...Read more
His name was Leonard Kaplan, and he died a week ago at the age of 91 in Alpharetta, Georgia, far from the place where he was famous as "Low Price Lenny." That place is the Massachusetts former mill town where I live.
He owned stores that sold army surplus of the odd-smelling, fold-up cot variety, as well as sporting goods and trophies.
He ...Read more
A note I made for this column:
Sitting in a bar. Watching television news. Guy next to me, guy with plaster dust on his boots, sees something about former President Jimmy Carter's habit of helping build houses for the poor.
"You know why Carter did that?" the guy says to me.
I brace myself. I brace myself when anyone says anything even ...Read more
I am an American male. I gauge my general health with these five simple comparisons.
No. 1: My buddy Stan. He's dead.
No. 2: Anyone I've seen recently who was using an oxygen tank.
No. 3: Three guys I know who are drinking themselves to death.
No. 4: That guy I saw in Walmart last week who musta weighed 400 pounds.
No. 5: Anyone I ever knew...Read more