Back Off in #Haiku. 4/20-4/26/15


Backtalk: 4/20/2015. Monday.

Attorney Gen’ral.
Always runs to Washington.
Enough with the gays.

Sarcastic teachers.
No need for that kinda shit.
Children are fragile.

Fast food jobs should suck.
They’re supposed to crush kid’s souls.
Not feed families.

He’s hiding something.
I mean if he’s innocent.
Not just a body.

Saturday Night Live.
Back in the Jane Curtin days.
I liked The Coneheads.

Proofreading is good.
Take Questions six and seven.
Should go after five.

Sound Off. Monday.

Self-checkouts preferred.
Robots never screw things up.
Also they’re nicer.

Blaming the parents.
Worst role models in decades.
Future is ruined.

Please move railroad ties.
The city owns a few trucks.
An unpleasant view.

Parents should wake up.
Board only wants more money.
Time to get involved.

Drugstores are private.
Can choose not to sell cancer.
Bad for their image.

Methadone helps ween.
Cities try to help people.
Addictions cost lives.

Potheads will be dicks.
But others will benefit.
Compassion needed.

Backtalk: 4/21/2015. Tuesday.

63 buildings?
Number of fires in Lowell?
Show me the ashes.

City scamming us.
Property overvalued.
Storefronts go empty.

Unions want a cut.
Your fifteen goes down to nine.
They’re evil like that.

Bike lanes all empty.
No one is riding in them.
We could fit more cars.

Stop feeding homeless.
That’s the only way they’ll leave.
Same deal with cancer.

Streets need more paving.
All my taxes should go there.
Leave your damn office.

Sound Off. Tuesday.

Female President?
Gender not a quality.
White guys can do this.

President is weak.
Will trade bomber boy for scum.
Liberal bullshit.

Can’t stand the Clinton’s.
Carpetbagging homewreckers.
Please find the sunset.

Yay Market Basket.
I have a giraffe button.
Wearing it with pride.

Couches ev’rywhere.
Haverhill streets lined with old junk.
The future is bleak.

Voting for gender.
Won’t even give us a chance.
We might have a plan.

Sound Off. Wednesday.

Biblical marriage.
Included polygamy.
In a sexist way.

Make immigrants work.
I work hard and pay taxes.
Country is in debt.

Toters save money?
Can you give us a time line?
Bullshit smells from far.

Time for spring cleaning.
Snowbank treasures visible.
A mayor’s duty.

Bomber boy lives large.
Free medical and housing.
I’m kind of jealous.

Backtalk. Thursday.

Abortions are fine.
Just don’t make me pay for it.
Where I draw the line.

Bring back Pooch Cafe.
Stop screwing with the funnies.
Unicorns can die.

Hate that unicorn.
You’d better bring back Baldo.
Don’t cave to whiners.

For Better or Worse.
Waited twenty years for that.
Some changes are good.

Red lights out of sync.
Commute made painfully long.
Horrible commute.

One button ends life.
Civilization all gone.
Technology’s fault.

Across the river.
Where the drive-in used to be.
Put the high school there.

Backtalk. 4/24/15. Friday.

Show us all the costs.
No selective disclosure.
Put it to a vote.

Help our own homeless.
We give too much foreign aid.
Our people need help.

Clean up the wetlands.
Litter makes Dracut look bad.
Makes me unhappy.

Comey is stupid.
Blamed Poland for Holocaust.
Just like Obama.

Sound Off. Saturday.

Winter trash in yards.
Take pride in your property.
Or just use inmates.

Obama hates vets.
Proven during the shutdown.
Only likes immigrants.

Experts on traffic.
Takes skill to make it this bad.
Haverhill tops them all.

Cruiser by red light.
Near Washington and Main Street.
They’ll bring in millions.

Students might be spies.
An education is one thing.
Don’t study too hard.

Bomber boy’s picture.
Will you please stop running that?
Image unwanted.

Bomber boy should die.
Simply based on finances.
Not enough prisons.

Backtalk. Saturday. 4/25/15

Little man carries.
Back breaking load increases.
Trash fee is too much.

Fewer polling spots.
Saves town three thousand dollars.
Costs us more in gas.

Don’t bitch about trash.
Grab a bag and pick some up.
Lead by example.

Arena Home Show.
Made me feel a bit cranky.
Long waits for nothing.



The Art of History, the History of Art: Visiting the Whistler House


Since I am suffering a bout of the creativity swine flu, here’s a repost of one of my favorite Lowell blogs.

Originally posted on Learning Lowell:

James M Whistler Statue in Lowell MA James McNeil Whistler denied he was from Lowell later in his life. Maybe he just didn’t like the snow.

We got an email recently from one of our favorite active Lowellians, Jack Moynihan, wondering: had we ever written about the Whistler House Museum? With the exception of an early post about a Parker Lecture, somehow no, we haven’t!

So, thanks to Jack, we paid a special visit to the Whistler House with our blogging goggles on. It was an especially good refresher for me, because I haven’t visited since I started working for the National Park, and visitors often want to know what you can see at the Whistler House. Short answer: art with a local connection. The collection focuses on art representational art, and it is strongest in the 1800s and early 1900s. Almost the entire collection has a Lowell or New England connection: the art could be…

View original 946 more words

Back Off in #Haiku. 4/13-4/18/15


[Please note: I haven’t explained the gimmick in a while for new readers. Here ya go: two newspapers along the Mass/NH border run columns consisting of transcribed calls from somewhat anonymous readers (The Lowell Sun actually publishes the voicemails on Soundcloud so you might be able to recognize somebody, or maybe it’s an impression). Anyway, I take the published versions of those calls and translate them into haiku. Sometimes they’re actually passable as real haiku. Sometimes. Enjoy.]

Backtalk: 4/13/2015

Money saved in life.
Death penalty appeals cost.
Throw away the key.

Tax cheat Al Sharpton.
Asking for even more laws.
Breaks the ones we have.

Kill the little prick.
Guilty on all thirty counts.
Only thing to do.

Elect new people.
I don’t like these ones at all.
People should step up.

Sound Off. Monday.

Hissing ain’t Christian.
It’s hateful and immature.
President was right.

Criticize Muslims.
They’re the one killing people.
President was wrong.

Prisoner got fat.
Gained almost two hundred pounds.
Give him just one meal.

Didn’t like the play.
Too raunchy for my liking.
Waste of my taxes.

Vegans like fake meat.
Why not just eat the real thing?
Seems crazy to me.

Let’s support progress.
I want pipelines and rail yards.
NIMBY’s can suck it.

Sound Off. Tuesday.

Lots of bad drivers.
Makes it hard to walk downtown.
Mostly young hoodlums.

Rich are taxed enough.
Much higher rate than us schmucks.
I wouldn’t want that.

Turn signals are nice.
People should learn to use them.
Offer some classes.

Bright yellow trash bags.
Sign of streets getting cleaner.
Pete Boisselle did that.

Sound Off. Wednesday.

Bomber has his youth.
Many years will come his way.
That’s too expensive.

Jobs done away with.
Self-service check out counters.
Please stop using them.

Like taste but not killing things.
Why they substitute.

Haverhill Clean Up Day.
Just need one hundred people.
River Park cleans quickly.

Plaistow filled with trash.
Used to be a pretty town.
Trucks, trash, and traffic.

In front of your house.
Will take you just ten minutes.
Earth begins at home.

The rich have too much.
Doesn’t matter what they pay.
Money is power.

Backtalk: 4/15/2015

Drivers are stupid.
Wiper law over their heads.
Make the cars smarter.

Tewksbury potholes.
Fill them or make obvious.
Fragile vehicles.

Horse lady step down.
No one buys your snow excuse.
Inhumane disgrace.

I fed my horses.
All through the record winter.
Select to step down.

She has other faults.
Way more than just horse neglect.
Let’s pile it all on.

Schools heat isn’t on.
Kids wearing jackets to class.
Cut costs somewhere else.

Sound Off. Thursday.

We bought Hill a van.
She’s worth a hundred million.
Strikes me as bullshit.

Big money backs Hill.
She won’t get big money out.
No one’s buying it.

Cut wasteful spending.
Don’t tax the rich any more.
Numbers have spoken.

Rich guys all left France.
Got tired of that high tax rate.
Now that country sucks.

Rich folks can just move.
Live anywhere that they please.
Leave taxes behind.

SSI’s a scam.
Just another Ponzi scheme.
Jail the government.

Backtalk: 4/16/2015. Thursday.

Hated her husband.
Don’t want her taking the job.
No more dynasties.

Horse lady helped out.
But she needs to just move on.
No excuse for that.

Meter enforcement.
Now includes eves and weekends.
Questionable call.

Comic strip got dropped.
How are these decisions made?
Nobody asked me.

Backtalk: 4/17/2015

Headlights and wipers.
There’s good reason for that law:
Only assholes don’t.

Hill attacks high pay.
Makes bank from public speaking.
More hypocrisy.

Handicap crackdown.
Burlington enforcing laws.
Tewksbury should too.

No competition.
Comcast has monopoly.
Choices would be nice.

Sound Off. Saturday.

Time to get a grip.
Clinton won’t take guns away.
Time for female Prez.

Drugstore won’t sell smokes.
Yet the town hands out hard drugs.
Absolute madness.

This is pure evil.
I need my damn cigarettes.
The Bible warned us.

Cars move with lights off.
Another law unenforced.
Dangerous assholes.

Granite State dieing.
Services cut while costs rise.
Burden to business.

SSI’s legit.
Not a scam since we all know.
Honesty is key.

Fat will not be cut.
An empty campaign promise.
No one thinks they’re fat.

Killer was stupid.
God made him a good player.
Greatness thrown away.

Backtalk: 4/18/2015. Saturday.

Wannabe martyr.
Bomber boy expected death.
Desires unfulfilled.

License plate stolen.
Has sentimental value.
No rest for “WICKENS.”
[Seriously, if you see it on your kid’s wall return it to the poor guy. 361 Littleton Road, Chelmsford].

All they do is lie.
Can’t trust them on anything.
Wake up ‘merica.

Back Off in #Haiku. 4/6-4/11/2015


Sound Off Monday 4/6/15

More black officers.
That should solve shooting problems.
Money’s no excuse.

Education helps.
Go to best place that takes you.
Some schools are better.

Fast food wages up.
Lock down social service costs.
Or it’s all for naught.

It’s not ’cause they’re gay.
No straight boys camp with my daughters.
I don’t want gay scouts.

Backtalk: 4/6/2015. Monday.

Plowmen and firemen.
No overtime for the brave?
Screw the metermaids.

Can’t get overtime.
Not if sick the day before.
That’s how it should be.

Hardly any gays.
Why do they dictate the laws?
Shouldn’t be that way.

Backtalk: 4/7/2015. Tuesday.

Just two candidates.
It ain’t about who’s behind them.
Just names on ballots.

National Grid rates.
How much is due to reports?
Nobody reads them.

Missing Mark Trail strip.
Replaced by a unicorn.
Don’t want to read that.

Big laws are useless.
Enforced laws are what’s needed.
Lefties don’t want that.

40 hour work week.
That’s what we have in real life.
No more overtime.

Sound Off. Wednesday. 4/8/15.

He’s was an adult.
He knew his actions were wrong.
Kids grow up so fast.

It’s just common sense.
I won’t just say the answer.
Clues left ungiven.

Drugs ruin baseball.
Also it moves too damn slow.
Fields all too diff’rent.

Turn your high beams off.
I can hardly see as is.
‘specially at night.

New headlights law sucks.
One more excuse to fine us.
Unjustified scam.

Backtalk: 4/8/2015. Wednesday.

Stop flaunting gayness.
We shouldn’t have these issues.
I don’t want to know.

Restraining order.
Police tell me to get one.
Doesn’t really help.

Obama should leave.
Faith in politics restored.
Cynicism’s root.

Backtalk: 4/9/2015. Thursday.

Mark Trail has returned.
It was a very long week.
I really missed him.

Clark Road needs paving.
Been that way for many years.
It’s like a washboard.

Isolate his ass.
Never see his family.
Make it a long life.

The Sun hates Easter.
Political correctness.
Subscribers betrayed.

Sound Off. 4/10/15. Friday.

Potholes full lane wide.
Highway entry kills all cars.
Winter’s damage done.

“I don’t use the cops.”
You’re clueless and full of shit.
Luck falls unnoticed.

Principals won’t stay.
Board difficult to deal with.
High school ugliness.

Bomber was 19.
Talk of youth seems relevant.
Only play they have.

Let’s make snake noises.
Whenever the Prez talks faith.
Christian thing to do.

Backtalk: 4/10/2015. Friday.

Death to the bomber.
Not paying for his defense.
Nor should our children.

Busses back downtown.
Increase business potential.
Way more coffeeshops.

Should have fed horses.
Only takes a few minutes.
Step down from office.

Backtalk: Saturday. 4/11/2015

Wants of the union.
Teachers silence says something.
Make it all public.

Hostage swapping.
Prez trades bomber later on.
Don’t trust government.

Bomber gets three meals.
Should have gotten one bullet.
Those are much cheaper.

Snowing in April.
Global warming is a scam.
All the proof I need.

Didn’t feed horses.
Said neighbor’s out to get her.
Neglect is neglect.

Nothing but babysitting.
Children are stupid.

Mark Trail back in print.
Thank-you for bringing him back.
Missed more than fam’ly.

Chelmsford is D.C.
Corruption on ev’ry street.
Barndoors are open.

No apologies.
Those mean nothing anymore.
Do your damn job right.

Sound Off. Saturday, 4/11/15.

Smart kids to good schools.
All kids should try good schools.
Helping their future.

Tax the One Percent.
Or nothing will trickle down.
This worked in Europe.

Ev’ry street a dragway.
Dangerous to get my mail.
Awareness required.

Don’t blame the mayor.
None of the council give a shit.
Haverhill falling down.

Unions back campaigns.
But companies can’t do that?
Totally unfair.


Back Off in #Haiku. 3/30-4/4/15


Sound Off. Monday.

Police families.
Receiving special treatment.
Strikes me as unfair.

Do your damn homework.
Obama’s the extremist.
Not Senator Cruz.

Age is not wisdom.
Seniors have their own concerns.
Might not be what’s best.

Let us vote again.
We’ll reject casino twice.
Will that settle it?

Two million dollars.
For just two years of your life?
Better than service.

Science in bagging.
Distribute heavy items.
Eggs and bread on top.

Backtalk: 3/30/2015

Billerica High School.
Convert to senior housing.
Kids should move out soon.

We’re all immigrants.
Ruining the neighborhoods.
Only tribes are true.

I want to pay less.
This will mean less services.
Not seen anyway.

Sound Off. Tuesday.

Rockingham race track.
Most valuable land in state.
More strip malls soon here.

Out to destroy us?
Prez can’t seem to do that right.
Keeps improving things.

Ted Cruz resume.
Looks impressive to most folks.
And he’s a Cuban.

Cruz has supporters.
People who applaud in crowds.
Peer pressure voters.

Backtalk: 4/1/2015. Wednesday.

Eastern Orthodox.
Consideration needed.
Teach educators.

Way too powerful.
One union for schools statewide.
Could shut us all down.

Greek Independence.
Good coverage by the Sun staff.

Backtalk: 4/2/2015. Thursday.

24 hour shifts.
Creates too much overtime.
Limit it to ten.

Lowell High Theater.
Beauty and the Beast was nice.
Good work all around.

No level budget.
Not really in that guy’s hands.
Dreams fall to nothing.

Sound Off. Thursday.

No laws in Haverhill.
People can park wherever.
I hate all of you.

Credit where it’s due.
Bush fought AIDS in Africa.
Now give Prez credit.

He’s an extremist.
He’s a commie terrorist.
Real bad President.

That was Bush’s team.
Guys that took out bin Laden.
No credit for Prez.

Backtalk: 4/3/2015. Friday.

Friday’s not that good.
Kindergarten sign up day?
Cath’lics are busy.

Overtime comes late.
It means “over 40 hours.”
Straight time under that.

Part time firefighters.
Use them to skip overtime.
Works for school teachers.

We’re not that corrupt.
Plenty of countries are worse.
We’re getting there though.

Teamsters losing strength.
Thinking of quitting my job.
Just to leave union.

Sound Off Friday.

Traffic in Groveland.
People speeding by the church.
Years pass by quickly.

Can’t pick relatives.
No choice in your upbringing.
President knows this.

Commie President?
It all makes perfect sense now.
If you’re paranoid.

College is pricey.
Pick one in your price bracket.
They’d love to have you.

Backtalk: 4/4/2015. Saturday.

Three sick days a year.
That’s all anybody needs.
Firemen are crooked.

Mark Trail comic strip.
Abandoned mid storyline.
Now we’ll never know.

Proper behavior.
Nothing more than a handshake.
Biden should know this.

Good Samaritans?
What if there’s a DNR?
Don’t want to get sued.

Sound Off Saturday.

Dog poop everywhere.
Lazy owners leave messes.
Hunt those bastards down.

Have no sympathy.
Pay your tolls and added fines.
Or just swim to work.

They’re not tolerant.
Tolerate intolerance?
Can’t tolerate that.

Patriotic kids.
Standing up against PC.
’bout time someone did.

Easter was explained.
It’s virtues discussed in full.
Glad that got printed.

Speak English or leave.
That’s how it is everywhere.
I need curtain rods.

Population growing.
Yet schools are shutting down.
Classes too crowded.

Back Off in #Haiku. March 23-28. 2015


Backtalk: 3/23/2015

Cops are always right.
Don’t break the law and you’re fine.
Media is wrong.

Defamation suit.
Three million bucks for his rep?
Not worth close to that.

One more business closed.
Hoping they’ll reopen soon.
Give them ink and love.

Didn’t call Netty.
Called Super Bowl champions.
Netty’s win mattered.

Billerica wants trade.
Making a call to Groton.
Switching idiots.

Dam Albuquerque.
Google in on what they have.
Pillows and plywood.

Sound Off. Monday.

We’re not all stupid.
Watching old cop shows makes me smart.
Wiki the Flynn Effect.

Take care of your own.
Can’t say I love our allies.
Enough with Israel.

Schools without teachers.
State of the art won’t mean much.
Improve the contracts.

We sign that man’s check.
Tell The Prez he works for us.
Not Iranians.

Backtalk: 3/24/2015

Billerica High School.
Cider Mill site might be good.
No need to rush it.

Defamation suit.
“Magnificent Ambersons.”
Flick with nice ending.

Open space is gone.
Replaced by ugly building.
Shenanigans etched.

Sound Off. Tuesday.

Need tank for commute.
Potholes outnumber drivers.
Winter has moved on.

Retire Congressmen.
Twelve years decent reign.
Move on with your life.

Lower their pensions.
Cut their benefits in half.
House has it too good.

Ban all lobbying.
Corruption is not legal.
They need to go now.

Campaign donations.
Limit five hundred dollars.
Includes companies.

Unions are a scam.
Part of Lib’ral Agenda.
Don’t care ’bout workers.

Lib’ral Zuckerberg.
Demanding more immigrants.
Gets them from The Prez.

Zuck drives down wages.
Prez sends kids to Ferguson.
Unions in lockstep.

Keep teaching cursive.
Needed in the job market.
Contracts will be signed.

Smart folks join unions.
No reason for them not to.
Incompetents weeded.

Backtalk: 3/25/2015

Conservative map:
Kenya is in Hawaii.
Canada’s a state.

JFK Plaza.
Was once Little Canada.
A statue would be nice.

Selectman Dixon.
Fairly quiet on issues.
Trying to save job.

I don’t like Ted Cruz.
Probably won’t vote for him.
Just isn’t for me.

Sound Off. Wednesday.

Fill potholes with sand.
Salt-free in a burlap bag.
Inmates can do it.

Cops can fill potholes.
Driving around anyway.
Sounds like common sense.

Common enemies.
What unites us with Israel.
Love and support them.

Use death penalty.
It’s not for ev’rybody.
Just for real bad guys.

Leave Ted Cruz alone.
Racial tension not his fault.
Obama to blame.

Ban leadership PAC’s.
Especially Hillary’s.
Save America.

Congress moves slowly.
They protect their interests.
Benefits enjoyed.

One way trip to Mars.
Bunch of rock heads jumped on board.
They probably read.

Backtalk: 3/26/2015

Ethics Commission.
They said Phil did nothing wrong.
Move on with your lives.

New senior center.
Lights are on all day and night.
Hope it opens soon.

High wind knock barrels.
Trash flies in all directions.
Await the morning.

Construction season.
Butler School project starts soon?
Waiting anxiously.

Sound Off. Thursday.

Won’t come to senses.
President incapable.
Kerry even worse.

Does more harm than good.
Cruz might love America.
Hugs puppy to death.

The Prez gets a ‘C.’
Cruz and Putin both flunk out.
Enough black-and-white.

Letter unnoticed.
Big uproar over Iran’s.
Prez got same letter.

Rates remain higher.
We were told it was just winter.
Winter came and went.

Addictions are bad.
People shouldn’t pick them up.
Lives become ruined.

Backtalk: 3/27/2015

UML hockey.
Screwed by NC double A.
Midwest unneeded.

Obama spending.
Debt increased to eighteen tril.
Your winter comes soon.

Unions brought in late.
Deval’s way to screw Baker.
Financial burden.

Hillary’s email.
Really truly bothers me.
Was her biggest fan.

Sound Off. Friday.

Prez doesn’t read this.
You complaints won’t reach target.
Visit The White House

Heat down in winter.
AC lower in summer.
Find middle ground.

Ted Cruz will save us.
Obama’s the extremist.
No harm from shut down.

Life is challenging.
There are no simple answers.
Lobbying is speech.

Term limits won’t help.
Experience should be valued.
House full of rookies.

Backtalk: 3/28/2015

Keep it where it is.
Lowell High belongs downtown.
Nothing is broken.

Not much media.
But The Sun covered our vets.
Thank-you for coming.

Execute Bergdahl.
We would have in the old days.
Punish deserters.

Five entire decades.
George’s Delicatessen.
Quality endures.

This guy HATES the Back Page


Boston Globe

What recourse does a musician have if he feels he’s been mistreated by a club owner? Social media, of course. Singer-songwriter Matt Stubbs was so upset about the treatment of his band at The Backpage in Lowell the other night that he vented on Facebook, calling owner Bob Ramirez’s behavior rude, insulting, and condescending. “In 17 years of performing music I have never had to stop a gig half way thru the night,” wrote the roots rocker, who also plays guitar in the Charlie Musselwhite Band. “The treatment my band received from the owner of the Backpage last night finally forced me to do so.” The lengthy post was “liked” by over 225 people and shared over 150 times. Stubbs was particularly angry about Ramirez’s alleged demand that the band play a two-hour and 15-minute set — without a break. Ramirez didn’t respond to a phone call or e-mail Monday. “Some words were exchanged and I decided that out of respect for myself and the guys in my band I was done,” Stubbs wrote. “I paid my band out of pocket costing me hundreds of dollars and a wasted night for all of us.” Reached on the phone Monday, Stubbs said he posted on Facebook because he wasn’t allowed to tell the crowd why he stopped playing. “Nobody knew why it ended. I went to make an announcement, but [Ramirez] unplugged the mike and turned the house music up to 10 so no one could hear.”

Ahhh…the ole’ talent vs. club owner fued…a story as old as time itself. It’s hard to take sides in these matters, but thanks to Facebook and the Boston Globe, that’s exactly what we’re asked to do.
On one side, you’ve got the undoubtedly thin skinned guitarist who’s being a total baby about his contractual break time. How do I know he’s being a baby?…because he’s a professional musician. The whole point of all those hours of practice is to become rich and famous. And when that doesn’t work out, you’re still afforded the opportunity to spend weekends in small clubs, earning some pocket change, drinking for free, and melting faces of dudes that are high on Flomax.


make animated gifs like this at MakeAGif

No bosses.

The other big tell here would be the 1,000 word facebook post. Like come’on bro, this isn’t the New York Times OpEd. It’s facebook…give us a paragraph at most about how much the BackPage sucks and add a picture that captures the essence so I don’t actually have to read your nonsense. Also not helping his case are: Continue reading