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Men’s v. Mens v. Men: A Three-Headed Signage Nightmare


When I go to a public restroom, I like it to be the Men’s room. I am comfortable in the Men’s room, as it’s clearly mine (I am a man, after all), and I am assured of finding things I need there, such as urinals.

I am slightly less comfortable in a Men room. This is room looks no different inside than the Men’s room, but I seem to have no ownership of it. Where is my apostrophe? Where’s my letter S? Guys like me possess this room; don’t go taking that away from us behind our backs.

And then there’s the Mens room. This sign reminds me of my son when he was a young lad on the back of my bike, pondered big questions such as, “Dad, why don’t womens weed whack?”

Apparenly, because they're spending time learning grammar.

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Easy Global Warming Fix: Plug The Volcanos


You’re always hearing about climate scientists taking measurements of polar ice caps and the Greenland ice sheet and so forth, then wringing their hands and forecasting the end of the world in our lifetimes, blaming, of all things, we humans for global warming. I have personally swallowed that bait whole, and I can tell you now that I’ve got a wicked case of indigestion.

It occurred to me late last night, after having had a pretty strong drink, that scientists have laid blame on the wrong culprit. My question is this: have these Nobel Prize winners ever been to Hawaii?

Native Hawaiians have known for ages the power that the mighty volcano has to produce a great deal of heat. After all, we’re talking about temperatures that melt rock.

My idea is simple: put big cork-like stoppers into the tops of the world’s most active volcanos, and you’ll finally get some purchase on the problem.

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Lava: it’s hot as hell and is oozing out of the earth right now, heating up the air and changing climates right under our noses. Deal with it now and maybe we can save our way of life.

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"The Midwinter Vacationer": A Fairy Tale


The vacationer awakens to a quiet blanket of white. “Ah, winter!” Three or four inches powder every surface, brightening moods across the city. The air temperature is something like 31 degrees Fahrenheit – perfectly tolerable – and there’s no wind.

Turning to his mobile device, he finds that his calendar is calling for – a vacation! (What?) To a far-flung Polynesian Island? Can it really be?

Yes, it’s true. And he doesn’t even need a passport to visit this place a quarter of the way around the world.

He wakes the kids. Such darlings! They stretch and rise happily, knowing there will be baked apples with freshly ground cinnamon for breakfast, accompanied by peeled clementines and steaming bowls of stewed prunes in oatmeal, eaten lustily with the far off sounds of the bearded and heavily tattooed cook, a lodger, gently strumming his guitar.

And then off to Logan International Airport, which may be the easiest airport to get to and navigate in the whole world (bring on the Olympics!).

He boards his plane and flies off, enjoying a great expanse of legroom and a serving of barely-cooked beef tenderloin, with salted potatoes and as many of those little bottles of burgundy as he wishes to drink. Now he remembers why he's always loved air travel!

From there, it’s all gravy: white sand, green sand, golden sand, and black sand. Snorkeling with the turtles. Lava flows. Leis. Mai Tais served at any time, day or night. As a nine year old boy might ask: "Why the f*$# don’t we move here, Dad?"



Dad can't hear because he's outside on the roof, raking off the snow.

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The Season Of My Disgruntlement


This is the fifty-first winter of my young life, and I have to say it’s one of my least favorite of the bunch.

The season began in classic fashion, with warm rains instead of a white Christmas. Soon thereafter was a trip to the slopes with the kids to ski on sheets of ice interspersed with clumps of grass. Then came a plague of snow, the remnants of which were formed into mountains by shovel and plow and are currently holding thousands of cars across the city hostage in frozen crusts. Now, we have bitter cold, such that many fewer molecules are able to quiver back and forth a time when what New England needs more than anything are quivering molecules.

The only constant throughout all of this this has been illness, starting with run-of-the-mill colds, followed by far more unpleasant stomach bugs. As we approach winter vacation, during which we intend to seek temporary warmth in another part of the country, I spend my days devising ways of keeping the germs from being exchanged from human to human, going so far as to post “House Rules” on every floor on our humble abode:

  • No more sticking your face under the faucet to rinse after teeth brushing
  • To each his own (hand towel)
  • No leaving the house for school or work without hazmat suits fully donned

Here is where some commenter (I have lots!) contends that what we’re seeing is “global cooling.”

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