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Over Easy

Dan Mackie: Zombie ‘Car Talk’

The Car Talk radio guys make me laugh, but not as much as they make themselves guffaw, tee-hee, chortle, snort and wheeze with delight. I often listen to them as I head to the dump on Saturday, or during a Sunday drive. They are unique — the only radio hosts who provide their own laugh track. But lately I have a wistful feeling as I listen, since it’s finally hit me that Tom and Ray have actually retired from the show. Without much explanation, other

Dan Mackie: There’s Still More to Say About Jeter, A Lot More

Red Sox fans were left unsettled last weekend by the lavish retirement ceremony for Derek Jeter at Fenway Park, where he was feted as if he’d played for the Red Sox for 20 seasons, rather than the New York Yankees. But Jeter was something special, with commentators treating his finale as a transcendent moment, as if he’d descended to Earth not just to play baseball, but to achieve some higher goal, such as helping America’s orphans, or building a casino. Broadcasters liked to say that

Dan Mackie: Time for a Smarter Watch

Apple’s new smart watch was announced this week, and because it’s Apple, it will be insanely great, for starters, and do about a million things beyond the pedestrian task of telling time. Insanely great, for anyone who hasn’t been paying attention to tech since the launch of the Princess phone, is at the core of what the late Steve Jobs wanted every Apple product to be. That was a high standard, intimidating really, since for most people “pretty good,” “not bad” ­— or “better than

Dan Mackie: We Cut Our Cable, and Survived

About two years ago, we cut the cord. I don’t remember what made me it do — I have canceled cable TV in moments of cheapness or distress about lousy shows before — but this time it stuck. It may simply be that as you grow older, you see that life’s too short to spend any of it watching American Ninja Warrior. We are not the only cord cutters. An April 2013 story in The New York Times said that 4.7 million Americans were expected

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,