133 posts
Recovering journalist. Also, a bunny. [email protected]

Craft Your Own CrassTales – The Ballad of Chippy

chippyI used to love Choose Your Own Adventure and Which Way books. The books all started the same. Then you’d be able to pick what the lead character did, and flip the appropriate page in the book, and carry on the story from there.

This is a variation on that. I start the story. Then you take over and finish the story in the comments. This is a great way to capitalize on my insanity and laziness.

Thanks to Ms_Print for inspiring this week’s story.

The Ballad of Chippy Continue reading

Accordions Are Not Cool

accordian_girlMy mother is cleaning out the attic, and dredging up memories that best lie undisturbed until that hoarder’s delight is at long last razed.

“Guess what I found,” she called and crowed to me.


“Your accordion!”

Yes. My goddamn accordion,

I’d long dreamed, as a girl, of playing the piano. I’d seen the old black-and-white movies, where a glamorous blonde in an evening gown shimmies to a grand piano, sweeps the audience with a bold, saucy blue set of eyes, and preforms something beautiful by Mozart with her gorgeous long fingers. Instead, when it came to time to torture her children with musical instruments, I was assigned the accordion. Continue reading

Signing Off

CARRADIOI was 16 when I first walked into a newsroom.

It was WCCM in Lawrence, Massachusetts (city motto:  Arson Capital of the Nation!). I was a high-school senior in the town next door. My school had an internship program where I could get out of the hellish school day on a half-day and intern in what would allegedly be my chosen career. I wanted to be a writer, but the local paper didn’t take high school interns.   Continue reading

Allan J. Eastman, Aged 19

VietnamMarch 29th is Vietnam Veterans Day.  It marks the day the last American combat troops were finally withdrawn from Vietnam, forty years ago.

Well, not all of them. 1600 troops are still officially missing in Vietnam.

I grew up with Vietnam hanging over my family. My grandmother was a Gold Star Mother, which is what the government calls you when you’ve lost a child in war. She never rode in the Veterans Day parades on that sad float with all the other mothers in Belmont, Massachusetts (not Mitt Romney’s side of town) who had lost their sons. But Uncle Allan’s name is etched in granite in the town square.  Continue reading

The Day Broadcast News Was Born


Broadcasting is celebrating a birthday this month.

On March 13, 1938, the modern newscast was born.

On that day, just over 75 years ago, CBS Radio aired not just a broadcast, but a broadcast that linked live reports from across Europe as Hitler moved to annex Austria. That had never been done before. Now, it’s the very heart of broadcast news: this is what is happening right now.  Continue reading

The Subway Is My Ice Castle

wallofskatesI clamp on my purple headphones, crank up the iPod, and in my mind’s eye, and I envision a woman, a girl really, skating in perfect accompaniment to whatever song pops up. Classical. The Stones. Springsteen. Gaga. She can skate to anything. She can do beautiful layback spins, and spirals, and double and triple spins, all perfectly.

As I’ve told you before, I’m not known for my grace. By the time I was a freshman in high school, I had, between my two ankles, broken them 10 times. So when I told my mother I would like to join my high school’s figure skating team, she was appalled. Continue reading

Learning to Cover a Tragedy


Every December 3rd, around 6:13pm, I stop for a minute and remember the Worcester 6.

On December 3rd, 1999, two homeless people named Thomas Levesque and Julie Ann Barnes were living inside the Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse. The building was abandoned. It was a relic of another age, six stories tall, so close to the elevated Interstate 290 that, if you wanted to, you could reach from the side of the highway and almost touch the façade of the building. Continue reading

Whatcha Reading?

Let’s get this straight: This is not book club.

This is a book…discussion. I thought it would be fun to talk about what we’re all reading, so we can all open ourselves to new avenues of words.

I’ve always loved to read. I cannot remember not having a book in my hands.

My grandmother — Gam — had a stack of books by her bedside, bookcases filled to overflowing throughout her apartment, and boxes to catch the overflow.  She leaned towards authors like Belva Plain and Nora Roberts. But what I liked, as a little girl, where the two decades worth of Readers’ Digests stacked on the bookcase in the back hall.  “These are easy to read,” Gam told me, putting on her reading glasses, opening the old magazines, and pointing with her pink fingernails, always freshly polished.  “At the end of the stories, there are always these little jokes.” Continue reading