Archive for the ‘Columns & Essays’ Category

I try to make it to the Topsfield Fair once every 20 years. So, I checked my internal calendar and it turns out this was the year! Despite my infrequent visits, I like the idea of country fairs. They are authentic relics of traditional America. You can go there and get a taste of what […]


By MARK SARDELLA GLOUCESTER – “Bringing history to life” is about as cliched as it gets, but it happens to be an apt description for what Gloucester Stage’s current production, The Agitators, succeeds in doing. Mat Smart’s play takes us into the 19th century world of icons of equal rights Frederick Douglass and Susan B. […]


QUESTION: During the campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in Massachusetts, how many times were we assured that legalization would never lead to increased use by teens? ANSWER: About the same number of times we were told that legalizing weed would not result in more highway deaths in Massachusetts. Go explain how that works to the […]


Lake Quannapowitt is Wakefield’s jewel – an emerald, judging by the color. It’s August, and like the swallows returning to Capistrano, blue-green algae, aka cyanobacteria, has returned Lake Quannapowitt to the color of pea soup. Last week, the town issued a public health warning.


Street view

24Aug18

Monday was like Christmas in August for me. Did the town rescind the plastic bag ban? Did the Town Council go back to being the Board of Selectmen? Sadly, the answer to both of those questions is “no.” But something almost as good happened. The 2018 edition of my favorite book was released. I’m not […]


I’m starting a petition to ban petitions. Actually, I would never do that. First of all, I’m much too lazy and second, it would involve talking to people, which I try to avoid whenever possible. Saying that I want to start a petition against petitions is an attempt at irony. Not intended to be ironic […]


Kiosk chaos

19Jul18

This whole business of letting a group of citizens work their butts off for months or years on some worthy project only to have others swoop in at the eleventh hour and scuttle all that effort is getting a little old. We saw it with the Public Safety Building. And now we’re seeing it with […]