I think I may have mowed my lawn for the last time this year. It was hot and very dry this summer, so I didn't have to mow it too many times, and now fall is closing in day by day.
My idea of lawn maintenance is to mow the thing whenever it gets ankle-deep.
I don't have a big yard because I live in a city, and I own a 100-year-old three-decker...Read more
Ya let me down, Mike. Ya let me down bad.
I'm not a fussy guy. Third-rate is good enough for me. When my car gets dented or scraped, I don't get it fixed. I like canned spaghetti. When I buy beer, I make my purchasing decision based solely on price.
So, why would anyone be surprised that I don't care about pillows?
I like hotel pillows. I ...Read more
Thirty years ago, I interviewed a former factory owner who was pushing 80. I was working for a midsize daily newspaper and the story was that, every few years, he'd give a party for his former employees. He rented a function room at a local restaurant, paid for a buffet and mingled with his former workers, reminiscing about the days before the ...Read more
Like the numerous old, scared white men currently disrupting America's ongoing lurch toward equality, I was frightened.
My wife, Deborah, who is to me what the Goddess of Mercy is to several religions, talked to one of her friends on the phone. As a result, Deborah downloaded an app that tells you if the food you eat and the personal hygiene ...Read more
As backdrop to this column, remember that, as of 2018, around 7% of Americans were military veterans, and that percentage includes a fair amount of the unwilling who got shipped to Vietnam like sides of beef.
However much we say we "support our troops," however many memorials to dead soldiers we build, however many times we post on Facebook ...Read more
About 20 years ago, I was covering the governing body of a local suburb.
One cool evening in early fall, when the wind was sighing softly in the trees outside town hall, the five members of that board voted 4-1 in favor of establishing a needle exchange facility in town.
In describing the town, I probably don't need to say anything more than ...Read more
As a resident of the urban Northeast, I'm in a very, very good position to write about search warrants, restraining orders and how to get on disability by faking a mental disorder called "agoraphobia."
To begin with, law enforcement has to ask a judge for a search warrant order, and they have to show the judge that they have good reason to ...Read more
In Kansas, where the corn is as high as a state rep's teenage girlfriend, voters stampeded the polls to protect abortion rights.
They won, too, about 60-40. As reporter who has covered even the dingiest of suburban elections can tell you, 60-40 is a murder. Also, the losing percentage corresponds almost exactly to the percentage of rabid, ...Read more
When an elderly woman she knew buried her husband cheap, without even a Catholic Mass, an old aunt of mine said, "She buried that man like he was a dog."
The man remains buried. Not a "woof" out of him.
Where I live, in Massachusetts, what we used to call a "police dog" was recently killed in the line of duty. We don't call them "police dogs" ...Read more
Here's how I explain global warming.
If you don't believe that pumping millions of tons of chemicals and smoke and garbage into the air, the earth and the sea has any effect on the world, think about your trash.
Let's say you decide to quit putting your garbage in plastic bags, putting the bags in a plastic bin and then wheeling the bin out to...Read more
"World without end. Amen."
So goes a part of the old prayer, though our part of the world, our green and blue globe, may indeed end, and that end will be made by people in a factory.
Of course, that's only true if you think our globe is the world, and it's not.
The world is forever, going on and on and on, outrunning scientists and astronauts...Read more
About 40 years ago, in my mid-20s, I was in a bar in Missouri.
It was not a nice bar. It was not in a nice neighborhood. Many of the people who went there were not nice people, and they did un-nice things to each other out in the gravel parking lot, things that were violent or sexual or both.
You sat at the bar or at a table or in one of the ...Read more
If my father hadn't died in 1987, he'd be 103.
He grew up in a French Canadian immigrant neighborhood in a Northeastern mill town where the houses were made out of wood, the mills were made out of granite and the neighborhoods were full of people who lived on nickels. The neighborhoods were dominated by huge, ornate Catholic churches. The ...Read more