Con Chapman's Blog (1,915)

Gitmo Inmate: TED Talks Couldn't Break My Spirit

OMDURMAN, Sudan.  Ibrahim al-Wala is enjoying his first days of freedom in this sun-splashed city of nearly three million in Khartoum after his release from the U.S. detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but like many former detainees of that oft-criticized facility he hopes to get back to work soon.  “I’d like to go into something with a future,” he says thoughtfully as he…


Added by Con Chapman on February 22, 2017 at 6:30am — 3 Comments

Rivalry Isn't Friendly for Clip, Staple Makers

BOSTON.  As conventioneers emerged from the Bayside Hotel here yesterday morning after weekend-long trade association gatherings, there was more than the usual jostling for cabs at curbside caused by an urge to return home.  “It was like a rugby scrum,” said long-time doorman Al DiBennideto.  “Usually we only see that kind of infighting when the American Library Association is in town and a scuffle breaks out between the Dewey Decimal gang and the Library of Congress thugs.”…


Added by Con Chapman on February 21, 2017 at 5:59am — No Comments

The True Meaning of Presidents Day: Great Deals on New Cars

When I was a boy my mother instilled in me a love of American history.  George Washington was the Father of Our Country, she told me.  Abraham Lincoln was the Great Emancipator.  Ulysses S. Grant could Drink his Entire Cabinet Under the Table, she said, not stinting on the capital letters.  These were the men who made our country great.…


Added by Con Chapman on February 20, 2017 at 5:40am — 6 Comments

Fighting Low Ratings, NPR Adopts NBA 24-Second Clock

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts.   Bob Zukoff, producer of the weekly radio show “The Creative Mind”, fidgets nervously as Amy Weber, a hammer dulcimer player and poetess who is one of tonight’s guests, strolls into the studios of WGBH, the local National Public Radio outlet.  “Looks like trouble,” he says.…


Added by Con Chapman on February 17, 2017 at 5:51am — 5 Comments

The Hip Hop League of Nations

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin popped up on a music TV show surrounded by rappers. 

                                         The Boston Herald…


Added by Con Chapman on February 16, 2017 at 5:00am — 1 Comment

Trump Trims Travel Ban, Bars Canada Goose Patrol Coats From U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C.  Taking the advice of calmer heads in his inner circle, President Donald Trump today cut back his much-maligned ban on travel from predominantly-Muslim countries in favor of a narrower restriction on the importation of “Canada Goose Arctic Program” coats, which sell at prices in excess of $1,000 on the strength of a stitched-on quasi-official-looking patch on one sleeve.…



Added by Con Chapman on February 15, 2017 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Mission of Mercy Brings Much-Needed Letters to Vowel-Starved Kyrgyzstan

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan.  As a C-40A  military transport plane touched down on the runway at Bishkek International Airport here today, tears streamed down Askr Bakyv’s weather-beaten cheeks.  “Me–I am too old for help now,” he says.  “But perhaps it is not too late for them,” he continues as he takes in his son and two daughters with a wave of his hand.  “They are the future.”…


Added by Con Chapman on February 15, 2017 at 6:12am — 7 Comments

Several Ways of Choosing a Wife

Here’s a helpful suggestion for choosing a wife:

Don’t pick from the bin that says “Tragic view of life.”

Sure, she’ll share your love of Friedrich Nietzsche,

But I find that kind to be overly prietzsche.

While you wile away hours talking Schopenhauer

You could be outside fertilizing the flowers.

If I had to choose between that and Paul Ricoeur

I’d rather get fresh air spreading manure.

On the other hand, if…


Added by Con Chapman on February 14, 2017 at 5:36am — 4 Comments

Valentine for a Homely Couple

Carl’s wife sits shotgun in his truck

Her doughy face baked whitish red.

He gets out and climbs the semi–

Smiling, he asks “How’s it going?”

We just grunt and nod our heads

at the auger hole, and how it’s stuck.

“Better you than me, boys,” he says.

“I’m enjoying Sunday off.

Got a beer and my old lady.

It ain’t much, but it’s enough.”

Bill and me look at each other;

He’s the type to make a crack.

Me–I just want to…


Added by Con Chapman on February 13, 2017 at 6:14pm — No Comments

PBS Prepares for GOP Rule With Social Darwinist Makeover

WASHINGTON, D.C.   As President Donald Trump forges ahead with efforts to “drain the swamp” of a federal government overwhelmingly populated by left-leaning bureaucrats, executives of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting huddled last night with their counterparts at the Children’s Television Workshop to face the grim prospect that the White House and  both houses of Congress will be in Republican hands for at least the next two years.…


Added by Con Chapman on February 13, 2017 at 5:51am — 1 Comment

You Can Leave Your Glasses On

Ennui–I feel nothing but ennui as Saturday night approaches.

I am enervated, the product of over-stimulation.  Every weekend my friend  Emil leads me on a tour of Boston’s fleshpots, where we sample the courtesans,  the ladies of the night, the demi-mondaines who are so readily  available in this city that the rest of American thinks of as “uptight.”  Pah–I  wish!

What do they know, the ignorant boobs.  Anyone who possessed even a  halting familiarity…


Added by Con Chapman on February 12, 2017 at 7:33am — 5 Comments

"F**kin' Nature" Poets Put the Curse Into Verse

MAYNARD, Mass.  Anthony “Big Tony” Scalzi, a rough-looking man who wears a sleeveless denim jacket and rides a motorcycle, doesn’t fit the stereotypical image of a poet, but that’s okay with him.  “Frankly, I couldn’t give a [solid human excretion] what you think,” he says to this reporter, who has cornered him just before he goes on stage at the Cock ‘n Bull bar for a “slam” with other like-minded members of a new literary movement that has come to be known as the “F**kin’ Nature…


Added by Con Chapman on February 11, 2017 at 7:09am — 7 Comments

Hands Off My Notary!

Thousands lined the avenues of Paris to protest reforms designed to energize the French economy by opening up regulated professions with high barriers to entry.  “Don’t touch my notary!” read one banner.

 The Wall Street Journal

And so after many years I have returned to Paris from the south of France, where I was banished after I was caught taking an acknowledgment over the telephone.  Of course I knew it was…


Added by Con Chapman on February 10, 2017 at 5:41am — 2 Comments

A Night Ride With the Girl Scout Legbreakers

 Girl Scouts in Akron, Ohio are taking vigorous steps to collect debts owed by adults who fail to pay for cookies.

                                                                   Associated Press

It’s two o’clock in the morning, and I’m lying in bed, wide awake, drenched in sweat. I know what I need–a Thin Mint cookie–but I don’t know where I’m gonna find one.…


Added by Con Chapman on February 9, 2017 at 5:41am — No Comments

Boston, City of Champions: How We Do It

Four major sports.  Seventeen years.  Ten championships.  Face it; after the Patriots won the Super Bowl Sunday night, Boston is Title Town USA.  It’s never been done before, not even in New York, where they have two of every pro sports team to our one.

How do we do it, you may ask if you’re sitting in some loser burg like New York or Los Angeles or Miami, all of which dwarf Boston in size, but which produce championships about as often a Halley’s Comet…


Added by Con Chapman on February 8, 2017 at 6:00am — 19 Comments

For Some Sports Fans, Morning After is No Time to Do Their Job

WESTLAND, Mass.  On the Monday morning after the New England Patriots won their fifth Super Bowl, loyal fan Chuck Kehoe was not quite ready to return to work.


“The game didn’t end until 10:30,” Kehoe explains.  “That didn’t leave me much time.  Like Coach Belichick says, ‘Do your job.  My job–and I take it very seriously–was to…


Added by Con Chapman on February 7, 2017 at 5:30am — 2 Comments

At the Vegetarian Drama Festival

[H]e hoped that soon—given the opportunities for production—there might arise a school of vegetarian dramatists.

Graham Greene, The Comedians


Another day, I thought as I opened the self-addressed stamped envelope, another rejection.

Who was it this time? I wondered.  The Tri-Valley Thespians, with their call for ten-minute plays on the theme of “Burying the Dead…


Added by Con Chapman on February 6, 2017 at 5:45am — 3 Comments

The Lonely Life of an Intellectual Cheerleader

One of the cheerleaders for the New England Patriots is a Yale graduate who works as a researcher in molecular biophysics and biochemistry at MIT and Harvard.

          The Boston Globe


Dear Diary–

How are you?  I mean since I wrote in you yesterday, there was nothing but a blank page when I opened you up and turned to where I left off.  LOL–just kidding, hope you…


Added by Con Chapman on February 5, 2017 at 8:22am — 6 Comments

Pro-Concussion Group Slowly Articulates Its Message

HOUSTON.  As media representatives assemble here for the Super Bowl, a large assortment of causes compete for attention in the reflected glow of the biggest sports event of the year.  “We usually get a lot of women’s groups and other whiners,” says NFL publicist Dwight Casey.  “My job is to keep ’em from spoiling a great day of organized violence made possible by commercials with funny animals.”

“Four downs, ten yards for a first down–we don’t need big…


Added by Con Chapman on February 4, 2017 at 9:12am — 2 Comments

Citing Health Risks, Social Media Crack Down on "Blog Whores"

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana.  It’s 10:30 p.m., and Linda Scribner has just finished “Love’s Tender Thrall,” a romantic novel of the type referred to in the trade as a “bodice ripper.”  “Well,” she says with a satisfied tone in her voice, “time to go to work.”…


Added by Con Chapman on February 3, 2017 at 5:44am — 7 Comments

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