From the Left



Nothing Much That's Good for You

From the Left / Marc Munroe Dion /

You could say he fell in the middle of the store because the store is so small that nearly every part of it is in the middle.

But the store is not in the middle of the block. It's on a corner. Where else would you open what has always and forever been called a "corner store"?

And the windows are covered with paper ads for off-brand ...Read more

Drag Queen Story Time ... Expanded

From the Left / Marc Munroe Dion /

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

Geoff No Diehl

From the Left / Marc Munroe Dion /

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

Whoopee Ti-Yi-Yo, Git Along, You Little Haitians!

From the Left / Marc Munroe Dion /

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

Tax the Rich

From the Left / Marc Munroe Dion /

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

Unworthy of 9/11

From the Left / Marc Munroe Dion /

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

Afghanistan and Valet Parking

From the Left / Marc Munroe Dion /

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

America Kissed Charlie Watts

From the Left / Marc Munroe Dion /

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

Hey, You! Hero! Did You Lose the War?

From the Left / Marc Munroe Dion /

Yeah, you.

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

The Pledge of Allegiance Doesn't Always Work

From the Left / Marc Munroe Dion /

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

So Long, Low Price

From the Left / Marc Munroe Dion /

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

You, Carter! You're Hired!

From the Left / Marc Munroe Dion /

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



John Branch Bob Gorrell Lisa Benson Jack Ohman Gary McCoy Steve Sack