Not far from where I live, there's a Renaissance fair. In the advertisements for the event, "fair" is spelled "faire," so you know you're getting the real thing. Many of the vendors at the faire refer to their business as a "shoppe," rather than a "shop," so you can be really sure what you're getting.
Anyway, should you decide to goe to the ...Read more
I live in Fall River, Massachusetts, a city of 88,000 people invariably described in newspaper stories as either "a gritty former mill town" or "a town at the epicenter of the opioid crisis." In a needle-sharp bit of irony, a company is trying build a new opioid treatment center on the site of an abandoned mill that burned down a couple of years...Read more
There's a warehouse close to my house, and they're hiring.
They're always hiring up there. The jobs pay minimum wage, half of them are part time, and they monitor you electronically to make sure you're working. A guy who got a management job in that warehouse told me that an hour of his two-hour "orientation session" was devoted to a crudely ...Read more
I like animal crackers, and every now and then I'll buy a box. They're vaguely comforting because they taste like my childhood, which is to say sweet and with just a touch of vanilla. I buy them in the food aisle of my local drug store in what I call the "Grandma Candy Aisle." That aisle is where they keep the little bags of sour balls and ...Read more
On a bookshelf in my home office, in the room where I am writing now, there is a set of rosary beads. They belonged to my father's mother, and to other family members before her. Family legend has it that, before my family came to Canada, they belonged to a Dion who was laid out for burial, with the rosary in his hands, back in France. One of ...Read more
North Korea got to keep its nuclear missiles. American got 55 boxes of bones.
Apparently, North Korea has figured out who we are now.
We are an America content with symbols and flags and fireworks and the anthem. We're a big, squalling, narcotized baby, and North Korea tossed us a ring of keys to make us stop crying about a mini ...Read more
Let me tell you about my life as an American outlaw. A bandito. A scofflaw. The Hells Angels cut down an alley when they see me coming.
A couple years ago, my driver's license expired. I didn't even notice. You think I'm the kind of guy who knows when his driver's license is up for renewal? Ask the Hells Angels if I'm that kind of guy.
I drove...Read more
As recreational marijuana becomes legal here and there throughout the country, I feel like I'm losing what people saw as one of my good character traits.
Despite the fact that I was in high school and college during the 1970s and 1980s, I don't smoke marijuana.
Oh, I tried it, but it makes me vaguely nauseated, and it makes me very tired, so ...Read more
A couple years ago, in one of America's few remaining department stores, I fell in love with a sport coat. I like sport coats. I'm a reporter who smokes a pipe, so I need lots of pockets.
The coat was made by Ralph Lauren, a brown, black and subdued yellow check. It was made of mohair and wool.
It was also $270, on sale.
Again, I'm a reporter...Read more
Somebody once told me olive oil was a good thing to put in your body, so for six months, I got up in the morning, poured myself a shot glass full of olive oil, and banged it back like a shot of whiskey. Then, I made coffee.
I proudly told the woman who gave me the olive oil tip what I was doing.
"My God!" she said. "You're drinking it?"
"You ...Read more
"If beans is what we got, beans is what we eat."
That's something my mother used to say. The saying and the attitude come from the Great Depression, a 1930s patriotic event during which her family almost starved to death.
My wife made chili this week -- with beans.
The chili we eat isn't really Mexican. It's Mexican like you're Mexican if ...Read more
The real aristocrats of the working class aren't bartenders, they're cops -- and firefighters. If the place where you live is poor enough, they're $30,000 a year clerks in city hall -- and high school janitors.
A recent Supreme Court decision is going to make it hard for those workers to exercise power through their unions.
As the rest of ...Read more
Despite what my left-leaning friends say, there is a big difference between President Donald J. Trump and Adolf Hitler.
Hitler was a hero.
He volunteered for military service in World War I, served on the front lines, was wounded in the leg, gassed, awarded several decorations and promoted.
Hitler ran messages through a storm of lead. Trump ...Read more