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Over Easy

Dan Mackie: Running After 60, Very Slowly

A few weeks ago, my daughter challenged me to join her in a 5K charity run in April. After consulting my fears of mortality, I said yes. This column is not written in anticipation of success, since I could turn up lame any day. I would not even mention the effort publicly, because of the real and present risk of failure, but finally I thought: life is all about the journey, even if people look at your crimson face with concern as you puff by

Dan Mackie: We’ve Lost Our Minds in Winter

I’m not what you would call a “winter person,” in that I don’t do many skateboard tricks in the half-pipe, rarely zoom down the luge track at 90 miles an hour, and my wife and I stopped ice dancing after losing faith in the judges. I’m more of an “I don’t mind winter’’ person, since the cold doesn’t bother me much, and my two-mile drive to the office doesn’t require nerves of steel. I don’t love snow shoveling, or walking on icy sidewalks that threaten

Dan Mackie: The World According to the VPR Radio Commentaries

Over the holidays we traveled to Hawaii, which was awfully nice, but I’ve been spoiled by the commentaries on Vermont Public Radio. After listening to their reports about Vermont, almost everything on this planet kind of pales in comparison. The radio commentaries are nuanced. Some profess to love Vermont best in summer. Others love Vermont most in winter. Many would choose fall, when Mother Nature seems to paint Vermont with its softest brushes, producing hues that are a little brighter, a little warmer, than those

Dan Mackie: So Much on Our Minds

On one of those pretty days when autumn simply glows, I saw a woman in her yard with a rake in one hand and a cell phone in the other. She was engaged in an energetic conversation, all the while trying to corral runaway leaves, one handed. Based on her body language and volume, she seemed to be telling someone off, or scolding her husband, or foretelling the disaster of the Affordable Care Act. I couldn’t make out the words, but it was clear there

Dan Mackie: The Red Sox and Me

We won! As downtrodden Yankees fans are well aware, the Boston Red are the champions of professional baseball on Earth and all other known planets, although the claim might be disputed by outlier nations such as Cuba, North Korea and possibly, France, where they have their own ideas about everything. I say “we’’ won with a tiny bit of trepidation, because some people might claim that technically I am not a member of the Boston Red Sox Baseball Club. This is, of course, technically true.

Dan Mackie: The City of Fountains Rises Again

I noted recently that Lebanon is looking for design ideas for a new fountain project. The right one could help restore its onetime status as the “City of Fountains.” Now you might say “city of WHAT?” — if you hadn’t heard of the aqueous claim to fame of Lebanon, which admittedly lags behind Paris, City of Light, in name recognition. A job well done by the Paris Promotions Board, one supposes, in avoiding obscurity for that burg, which is just outside of Neuilly-sur-Seine. In France,

Dan Mackie: iPhone Market Matures

Although people no longer treat the announcement of new iPhones as earth shattering, it’s still pretty big news. As in, all things shall be born anew! Technology hysteria has replaced the religious revivals that once swept across the land. No more waiting for the End of Days, just the end of cell phone contracts. What’s being drowned out in this latest Geek Awakening is the fact that Apple, in an effort to expand the iPhone market, will soon be turning to an overlooked demographic: the

Dan Mackie: When Supermarket Self-Service Goes Bad

As if there weren’t enough to be worried about, now there’s a new malady: Supermarket Self-Service Performance Anxiety. The onset was like this: On Tuesday night, my wife asked me what I wanted for dinner. “Let’s get a little steak,’’ I suggested, surprising myself that the default answer — “I dunno’’ — didn’t roll out of my mouth. Although consumption of red meat gives me bad dreams involving clowns and cardiologists, I occasionally like some steak. We buy a small one and share it, and

Dan Mackie: Newspapers for Sale!

The recent news that the Boston Globe and Washington Post sold for a billionaire’s chump change got me thinking. If those icons of mighty American cities sold for so little, I might be able to sell my 2000 Toyota Corolla and raise enough dough to buy something a little more down-market, such as the fabulously named Walla Walla Union-Bulletin.  Not that I’d ever want to answer the phone there, since I am of the age that once I say walla walla, my brain skips along right

Dan Mackie: It’s a Shame, Really

I grew up in the Golden Age of Shame, when disgrace was every child’s birthright. We were shamed by teachers, coaches, priests, parents, traffic cops, store clerks, old ladies on buses, even neighborhood dogs with their sad eyes. It was shameful to have poor penmanship, a dirty face, or to leave your fly unzipped. It was shameful to forget chores, or be inconsiderate, which left a lot of territory to explore, the Louisiana Purchase of shame. It was also the Golden Age of Guilt. I