As every kid in America used to know, it was on Oct. 12, 1492 that Columbus discovered America. Most kids also learned the little poem that began, “In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” I learned it in kindergarten at Miss Hope’s progressive Studio School on Montrose Avenue.

Do schools still teach that poem to kids? That’s a rhetorical question. As my education continued at the Greenwood School, I learned more details about Columbus’s heroic voyages. Continue reading ‘Happy traditional Columbus Day!’


Anyone at Town Meeting on that night last May could see that it was going to be close. Personally, I thought the plastic bag ban was going to fail narrowly if put to a YES/NO vote.

But before it came to that, a third option miraculously surfaced! “Let’s refer it back to the selectmen for more study!” As soon as I heard those words, I knew it was over. Some form of plastic bag ban was all but inevitable.

Any committee the selectmen appointed to study banning plastic bags was never going to recommend not banning them. So now we have what will be sold at the upcoming November 6 Town Meeting as the “new and improved” plastic bag ban.

And you thought the silliest thing on the Regular Town Meeting warrant was renaming the Board of Selectmen.
Continue reading ‘A ban for all seasons’

In the run-up to the Nov. 8, 2016 election that legalized pot in Massachusetts, how many times did you hear that legalizing recreational marijuana would never lead to increased pot use among youth?

I heard it dozens of times, in paid advertisements, in op-ed pieces and on social media. The level of denial that legalization would lead to more marijuana use by kids was wider and deeper than any river in Egypt.

“That’s a lie!” they’d scream.

“There’s no proof of that,” they’d howl.
Continue reading ‘Dear Wakefield High’

Name shaming


Wakefield’s inexorable slide from a proud, blue collar, working class town to the precious PC world inhabited by communities like Cambridge, Concord and Lexington accelerated just a bit this month when the Board of Selectmen decided that it would, after all, like to change its name to one that does not have the word “men” in it.

They say it’s a move toward “gender neutrality,” and that may be the intent locally. But what’s brought us to this day is rooted in a place much darker than that.
Continue reading ‘Name shaming’

No win zone


Sometimes, the people in charge of things just can’t win, especially in the age of social media, where everybody’s a pundit.

Recently, town officials announced several more initiatives to try to revitalize the downtown. Of course, it’s never enough. Or is it too much? Either way, the town is sure to get slammed for doing it. Or not doing it. It’s the classic case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Let’s take a look at some of the more common complaints and the responses.
Continue reading ‘No win zone’

My horoscope for Saturday, Aug. 19 said that I would be faced with a difficult choice. As always, it was correct, which is why I base all major decisions on the stars.

Everything good always happens on the same day. My dilemma on Saturday was whether to grab my Louisville Slugger and my mask and head into Boston to fight the fantasy fascists or go to Festival Italia in Wakefield.

I decided that the food would probably be better at Festival Italia. Since my anti-fascist brothers and sisters outnumbered the Free Speech demonstrators by roughly 30,000 – 40, I figured they probably wouldn’t need my muscle in Boston.
Continue reading ‘Food for thought’


It should come as no surprise that as playwright Israel Horovitz has grown older, the 1956 Wakefield High School graduate’s plays have explored themes of aging. The title of last year’s “Man in Snow” referred in one sense to the whitening hair that comes with age.

In “Out of the Mouths of Babes,” Horovitz’s current offering at Gloucester Stage, he returns to his beloved Paris where four women have arrived for the funeral of the 100-year-old man who loved all of them – at times separately and at times simultaneously – along with a host of other conquests along the way.

These “babes” out of whose mouths Horovitz’s words come were all one-time students of the professor/writer who became lovers and/or wives of the “rock star” university teacher. They arrive in succession at the Paris apartment that they each at various times shared with of the recently deceased centenarian.
Continue reading ‘Israel Horovitz’s latest play is a witty comedy’



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