I sat on my living room couch today and told myself jokes. I'm semiretired, and I have time to tell myself jokes. Eventually, my wife came home, and I had to stop telling jokes and talk to her. That is love as it is lived. If she hadn't come home, I might still be there, sweating in the June heat, telling myself jokes.
What this little ...Read more
"Ordinarily, the death of a cat means little to most men, a lot to fewer men, but to me, and that cat, it was exactly and no lie and sincerely like the death of my little brother." -- Jack Kerouac.
Two friends, husband and wife, owned five cats. One of the cats died this week. His name was Fezzik, named after a character in "The Princess ...Read more
"Go down, Moses," are the words of the old spiritual, a song linking the American captivity of Africans to the captivity of Jews in Egypt.
Many centuries after the Jews left Egypt running, Moishe, and all the Jews who could be swept up in the swastika net, went down to Hitler's death camps. With them went an assortment of socialists, communists...Read more
When I was 14, my father, who'd pretty clearly had a few drinks, came home and told me he had great good news.
"I got you a job," he said.
It was a dishwashing job. It paid $1.25 an hour and was in the restaurant attached to the bar where he'd been drinking.
And, 50 years of jobs right in a line, and I'm working right now, writing this column...Read more
"You know why COVID is killing everybody in India?" the guy said to me, taking his attention off the ballgame for a minute, turning toward me on his bar stool.
I don't like baseball, so I was willing to talk.
"Why?" I said.
"Because all the Indian doctors are over here," he said.
On the screen, a player who grew up shoeless in the Dominican ...Read more
I know how to make coffee by putting coffee beans in a white gym sock, beating the sock with a hammer, and then boiling the sock full of crushed beans in a pot of water.
We do not do this because we are middle-class people. We own a Keurig coffee maker. We can't imagine living without a Keurig any more than we can imagine living without a ...Read more
George Floyd was a felonious black junkie with a white girlfriend. He was mountainous to see, and criminally inclined. He was the thick-lipped nightmare that drags your wife into the stairwell of the parking garage when she leaves work late. Shaved head, blocky through the shoulders, high and mumbling in some inner city dialect you don't hear ...Read more
In the days when I used to drink in bars, there was always the consolation of my reflection in the mirror behind the bar. I enjoyed watching myself get better-looking as my tab got bigger.
Sadly, I'm not the saloon customer I used to be, and so I spend a lot more time in my living room, watching a cat sleep and waiting for my wife to get home...Read more
I am part of a small chain of three men, all of us riding out the pandemic, none of us particularly young. One of us is fully retired from the food service industry. I am retired from the newspaper business, but still do a radio show and write this column. The other still works full time in management at a plant that makes, of all things, ...Read more
While we watch, frozen in ice cubes of ideology, the trial of ex-police office Derek Chauvin proceeds. Chauvin knelt on the neck of George Floyd until Floyd was dead. The prosecution wants to convince you it was murder. The defense wants you to believe Floyd dropped dead while being strangled. This theory gives a whole new meaning to the ...Read more
Ever see a movie called "Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs"?
I didn't think so. Made in 1943, it's never shown on television and was never released on video.
It's a wildly racist cartoon, a clumsy spoof on Snow White. There's a fat "mammy" in it. All the characters are Black, and their huge lips speak solely in the exaggerated "darky" dialect so...Read more
No one hates the idea of a $15 an hour minimum wage more than the person making $15 an hour now.
You don't like to think of yourself as being on the bottom, and the only way to be sure you're not is if you can see other people doing worse than you are. If you make $15 an hour, nothing makes you feel better than the $10-an-hour janitor who ...Read more