Con Chapman's Blog (2,097)

For Young Cowboy Poets, Hot Practices Only Get Verse

AMARILLO, Texas. Joe Don Mergen has just one week of freedom left before he begins the school year as a sophomore at Darrell Royal High School here, but he says he’s looking forward to Labor Day even though it will mean a return to school books and an end to summer fun.

“It’ll mean the end of two-a-day practices, and I’m all for that,” he says.

Joe Don was a highly-touted halfback at Tommy Nobis Junior High School when a crushing tackle in the last seconds of…


Added by Con Chapman on August 26, 2017 at 9:30am — No Comments

Scooter & Skipper at the Jr. Algonquin Club

It’s getting close to Labor Day, time for me to check on the kids to see how they’re doing with their summer reading lists. Things haven’t changed much in our little town since I was a boy; every spring when school gets out a prim, lavender-scented woman at our local library draws up a list of ten categories, and parents agree that each boy and girl who reads a book in all of them by Labor Day gets a reward.

Summer reading fun!


There’s fiction,…


Added by Con Chapman on August 23, 2017 at 6:27am — 1 Comment

Summer Fun Series Sours Due to Debbie Downer Divas

BOSTON.  When Axionix Properties bought the office building known as One Hancock Place here last year, they planned a roof-to-basement upgrade that would ensure the address retained its first-class rating for years to come.  “We owed it to the tenants, but more importantly to ourselves,” says Regional Vice President Rick Smasto.  “If we want to continue to charge sky-high rents we’ve got to deliver a lot of cheap intangibles in addition to basics like heat and air conditioning.”…


Added by Con Chapman on August 22, 2017 at 4:41am — No Comments

Summer's End Finds Grade School Cougars on the Prowl

NATICK, Mass. Emily Adams is a twelve-year-old who will be entering sixth grade at Mosi Tatupu Middle School in this western suburb of Boston next month, and today finds her with her mother shopping for back-to-school needs.

“Let’s see–Artgum eraser, backpack, boyfriend . . .”


But Emily’s eyes aren’t on her new pencil box and three-ring binder as she waits for the cashier to ring up her purchases. Instead, she’s looking at rising fourth-grader…


Added by Con Chapman on August 21, 2017 at 4:29am — No Comments

Sunrise Service Among the Don King Worshippers

A South Seas island tribe worships boxing promoter Don King. 

                                             New York Times

Praise the Lord!

I have come to Vanuatu as so many pilgrims have before me, seeking religious freedom.  The freedom to worship as one chooses is a basic human right, and yet people of my faith–the Church of Don King–are persecuted wherever we go.

Just as the Puritans were driven out of England, just as…


Added by Con Chapman on August 20, 2017 at 3:14am — No Comments

Cedar Walton: Hard Bopper With a Soft Side

Labels in jazz are often flags of convenience that mask the identities of musicians whose talents are more varied than a single ensign would suggest.  One such mismatch is “hard bop,” coined by jazz critic and pianist John Mehegan of the New York Herald Tribune to describe music that developed on the East Coast in the late 1950’s as a reaction to the “cool” jazz of the West Coast.  The earliest and longest-running school for the…


Added by Con Chapman on August 19, 2017 at 9:00am — 1 Comment

One Dirty Old Man's Bucket List is Only Skin Deep

BRYN MAWR, Pa.  Doug Dickerman was a man who, until six months ago, seemed to have it all.  A good job, two high-achieving kids in college, and a wife–Meg–who tolerated his tendency to defer life’s pleasures.  “He’d never completely unplug on vacation,” she says, growing wistful.  “I had to make him put his cell phone on vibrate when he came to bed.”…


Added by Con Chapman on August 18, 2017 at 4:52am — No Comments

One Prospect is Hot Because He's So Cold

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.  Lyle Carroll is the starting left fielder for the Cape Girardeau River Rats, a AA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, but opponents’ scouting reports paint a pessimistic picture of his chances of reaching the big leagues.  “Can’t hit curve ball,” says one in the telegraphic style favored by monosyllabic baseball lifers.  “Weak arm–we can run on him,” says another.…


Added by Con Chapman on August 17, 2017 at 4:30am — No Comments

Pscooter & Pskipper Get Psychedelic in Pseattle

The kids are getting older–they’re in high school now–and with summer jobs and college campus visits, every year it’s harder to squeeze in the special family time of aggravation and bickering we used to experience during summer vacations.

“We need to get away and just do it,” my wife said. “Someplace far, like the west coast.”…


Added by Con Chapman on August 16, 2017 at 4:36am — 2 Comments

A Day at the Fair

The bus came by to pick the residents up early, around seven, so they could make the half hour drive to the State Fair and get them down to the carnival before it got too hot. They would all want to go down to the midway, where the calliope music and the rides got them excited; they were all just children, Sue Ellen thought, and she wanted them to get their fill of it before the sun was too high in the sky.…


Added by Con Chapman on August 15, 2017 at 6:59am — 6 Comments

Philosophers Debate Midget Wrestling, Pole-Dancing at Annual Confab

ST. LOUIS, Mo.  As the American Philosophical Association’s annual convention wound down after yesterday’s plenary session, professors from around the country took time off from the presentation of academic papers to focus their analytical skills on less weighty matters.…


Added by Con Chapman on August 14, 2017 at 4:30am — No Comments

The Surrealist Corrections Department

CORRECTION:  In the Leisure and Arts story, “Fantastical Images of Dance–a Surrealist’s Work Goes on View After 50 Years,” Brett Littman said that he had seen a costume drawing of a squid atop a pile of other drawings at Dorothea Tanning’s archive.  Mr. Littman did not see a costume drawing featuring a squid at her archive. 

The Wall Street Journal…


Added by Con Chapman on August 13, 2017 at 7:37am — 1 Comment

Paint TV Gains Audience Share from Golf Channel

HOLLYWOOD, Florida.  It’s lunch time at the Ugly Crab Bar across the street from the newest jai-alia fronton in the state, and the regulars are casting their votes as to which channel to watch on the single big-screen TV overhead.

“I’m sick of the liberals on ESPN,” barks Duane “Mudflap” McClary, a sheet-rock installer.

“You guys want to watch some golf?” asks bartender Mike Segalio, the son-in-law of the establishment’s owner, who is subbing while his father-in-law keeps a…


Added by Con Chapman on August 12, 2017 at 6:48am — 3 Comments

007 Jr.

The British government is recruiting teenage apprentice spies in a bid to deepen the talent pool of its intelligence services.

Associated Press

We were the first class of Junior Intelligence Officers in the history of MI6, and I dare say it would be a long time before we were surpassed. There was Patrick O’Connor-ffrench—the superfluous “f” was quite a hit with the girls; Basil “Biffy” Dunderdale, who struggled constantly with the…


Added by Con Chapman on August 11, 2017 at 4:32am — 2 Comments

Writing My Obituary

It came on all of a sudden, like a summer thunderstorm.  We had been talking at dinner about friends and family, and family of friends, who had passed on recently, and my wife became teary-eyed.

“You just never know when you’re going to lose someone,” she said as her face clouded over with foreboding.  “If you died . . .”

“You mean when I die . . .”

“I was going to say, if you died soon . . . I wouldn’t know what to put in your obituary.  You’ve done so many . .…


Added by Con Chapman on August 10, 2017 at 4:34am — 3 Comments

Wanted: America's Next Prison Rodeo Queen

In uncertain economic times such as these, experts say job-hunters must be nimble and quick to leap at employment opportunities that may disappear in the blink of an eye. Sort of like Jack, the guy who jumped over the candle stick. Just try and find a high-paying job with health insurance jumping over candlesticks these days–they’ve all been outsourced to India, where candles are still plentiful.

If you’re not paying attention, a job opening can slam shut before you’ve read Ziggy,…


Added by Con Chapman on August 8, 2017 at 4:34am — 4 Comments

At the Pine-Woods Golf and Poetry Club

For most of the 20th century, the poetry world resembled a country club.

                                     The New York Times Book Review

It was a Sunday afternoon, and I just wanted to get out of the damn house. I decided to head over to the club, see if I could squeeze in a round before dinner. I threw the old sticks in the trunk and, as I drove into the parking lot at Pine-Woods, saw Lowell, Berryman and Roethke heading down to the starter’s hut. Lowell…


Added by Con Chapman on August 6, 2017 at 7:00am — No Comments

Tractor Pulls Gain New Fans on Urban Streets

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.  First it was Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, an inexpensive lager favored by poor rustic whites and immortalized in the country song “Red Neck, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer,” then adopted by hipsters.  Then it was the music of Johnny Cash, whose rural noir look and tough guy attitude caught on with a generation of urban twenty-somethings more familiar with country clubs than country music.…


Added by Con Chapman on August 5, 2017 at 5:00am — No Comments

Bud Zaremba, Knuckle Ball Pitcher and Joker, Dead at 86

KEOKUK, Iowa.   Elwood “Bud” Zaremba, pioneering knuckle-ball pitcher, died in his sleep in a nursing home here Sunday night after a brief illness.…


Added by Con Chapman on August 4, 2017 at 4:26am — No Comments

Scooter & Skipper Make a Bra

Middle of the summer and my kids–Scooter, the younger, and Skipper–are starting to get bored with their usual routine.  Too much “screen time”–TV, video games, computers–and their eyes have taken on the dull glaze of the Children of the Damned.  It’s getting too hot to play baseball for very long, however, so they’re spending more time indoors, thanks to our family dermatologist whose diatribes against the sun have turned more children into Goths than a thousand indie bands.…

Image result for children of the damned


Added by Con Chapman on August 3, 2017 at 5:02am — 5 Comments


100 Minutes

Posted by J.P. Hart on May 26, 2019 at 11:30pm 1 Comment

Jack Fruit Breakthrough

Posted by Robert B. James on May 26, 2019 at 4:40pm 1 Comment

Where To Now?

Posted by Robert B. James on May 25, 2019 at 2:19pm 10 Comments

Thanks, Lorianne

Posted by nerd cred on May 25, 2019 at 12:13pm 2 Comments

Twenty-Three Minutes

Posted by J.P. Hart on May 25, 2019 at 3:57am 12 Comments

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