I live in New England, and there was a snowstorm this week. We got 18 inches of snow, and most of us hope that's it for the year. During the storm before that, we got 17 inches, and the people on my street didn't think the city did a very good job of plowing. It seemed like it took them an awfully long time to get the street down to bare ...Read more
Here's a little story from the 1960s.
My parents were ordinary working people. They went to Mass every week. They voted in every election. My father was a World War II combat veteran. My mother had worked in a defense plant, making rubber seals for gas masks on the second shift. Neither one was a college graduate. My father was the child of ...Read more
"Oh, say can you see the holster on me?
I have fed it my vote and the lives of my children."
Too dark. An anthem's got to be, well, not peppy, but you should never use words like "entrails."
In a nation that's abandoned nearly every one of its original promises, there remains the gun, the flag, the anthem, hatred of black people, worship of ...Read more
The worse the country gets, the better I dress.
I grew up in a series of working-class communities from Massachusetts to Missouri, places not carefully chosen by my parents, who moved wherever and whenever my father's job required. The towns were pretty much all the same, although the availability of fresh fish varied greatly from place to ...Read more
In the first place, anti-pedophile laws don't work.
Pedophiles want to have sexual contact with children, and no law makes them stop. Arrest them, jail them, makes no difference. They get out of jail eventually and, when they do, they usually go looking for a kid.
We make them register, but registering pedophiles doesn't work. They molest ...Read more
America still has the Army.
Oh, yeah. We can't stop our people, many of them veterans, from shooting poison into their veins. We can't promise the returning vet a union job that pays a living wage. We can't stop the rich from eating us. We still defend slavery, some of us. We argue that groping women is natural. We've got religious kook-a-...Read more
They found her near the river, on the weedy bank. The river is paved over for most of its length, but it rises in a couple spots, and one of them is near the interstate, in back of a now-abandoned Sam's Club. The river powered the first cotton mills in the city where I live, but electricity came along, and they gave the river a layoff notice, ...Read more
I am a REAL American.
Whew! Glad we got that out of the way. For a minute there, I thought I might be considered disloyal. You can't go to jail for that yet, but you will.
And why am I busting with American-ness?
My mother's family, the Munroes, were brought to America in the 1600s, before it was America, back when the English ...Read more
I'm 6 feet tall, or I was.
Two years ago, when I was 58, I switched doctors. The new doctor weighed me and checked my height. I asked her how tall I was, and she said I was 5 foot 11 and enough change left over to buy a bag of potato chips from the office vending machine. I was unprepared. I'd been 6 feet tall since I was 16, and I liked saying...Read more
I believe the newspaper columnist's job is to take a step to the side, to take a look at things from an angle, to maybe even sneak around behind an issue and get a look at it from the back.
In that spirit, what if the election of Pres. Donald Trump is the best thing that ever happened to America?
Think about it.
Our nation moved steadily ...Read more
I start the column and I date it "2018," here in the small spare bedroom of a second-floor apartment in a 125-year-old house.
There's a snowstorm trembling in the air tonight. It hasn't started yet, and isn't supposed to start until about 4 a.m. It's 8 p.m. now, but you can taste the snow in the air. You smell rain coming, but you taste snow, ...Read more
I get some of my best ideas drinking coffee. I get good ideas drinking whiskey, too, but I forget them before I can write them down.
I was drinking coffee in the office yesterday morning, instant coffee in a cup with a Christmas tree and the "Peanuts" character Snoopy on the side, when I came up with the best idea I've had since I decided to ...Read more
People think of newspaper reporters as forever unraveling the twisted threads of political corruption or, depending on your political orientation, they think of us as concealing political corruption in return for pats on the head from America-hating Muslim-coddling socialists.
As a reporter on a midsized daily newspaper that prints arrests and ...Read more