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Dan Mackie: Never Be Bored Again!

I recently heard a girl tell her mother, in the sing-song manner of childhood, “I’m bored.’’ The actual sound was more like, “I’m baw-oared.” Her manner suggested exasperation. Sometimes kids seem to assume that unattended boredom can be dangerous to your health, like suspicious spots on your skin, or rickets. I’m sure I said the same thing many years ago, but it wasn’t something I said often. I made peace with boredom early, accepted it as part of the human condition. Animals, too. If dogs

Dan Mackie: A Long Walk for Firecrackers

Looking back on it now, I am amazed at the audacity of our summer quest. We walked for hours to find a criminal enterprise in a shadowy part of town with which we were only vaguely familiar. We had no guides, no maps, only a notion that we should head west until we found it. The mission was part Lewis and Clark, part Three Stooges. Our grail: fireworks, the small firecrackers we called salutes, the larger ones that could rip open soup cans, and according

Dan Mackie: Luaus in Vermont; We Could Step Up Our Game In the Tourism Chase

By Dan Mackie Valley News Staff Writer Whenever I travel, I keep the Upper Valley in my heart, and my recent trip to Hawaii was no exception. We were there for my son’s law school graduation, but I was ever alert for ways to improve local tourism. Packs of bus-weary seniors staring into Quechee Gorge is all well and good, and the homecoming march of Dartmouth alums helps our business outlook. They need rooms, and meals, and maple sugar candies, and so forth. But in

Magazines for the Dan Mackie Demographic Could Be Wonderful — for Me

I recently saw a notice for a new magazine, Simply Glute n-Free, which initially didn’t interest me since I am very accepting of gluten, though I often forget exactly what it is. I’m on the sidelines in the food sensitivities epidemic, with a high tolerance for all foods, particularly sweet or tasty ones. Beans can make things interesting, but what is life without a certain je ne sais ... excusez-moi. But back to gluten, which I just learned from 30 seconds of actual research is

Mackie: A Boy’s Life in Scouting, With One More Good Deed to Do

I don’t have anything against gay people, except those who are Yankees fans. Their baseball orientation is anathema to me. All kidding aside, I was pleased recently to read in our own Valley News that a Norwich Boy Scout troop has declared itself “open and inclusive” and held a pancake breakfast to raise money for a national organization that gives suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. Dare I say I felt proud of them? And hopeful that the national Scouts organization

Mackie: Casino Gambling in New Hampshire? You Bet Your Life

The fact that New Hampshire is cozying up to casino gambling seems peculiar to me, but what do I know? I’ve been waiting for decades for the Prize Patrol to ring the doorbell and make me a millionaire. In a way, the Granite State wants its own Prize Patrol to appear, because Lord knows we don’t want to pony up for state trooper pay or more tar for the highways. (Speaking only for myself, I am OK with paying for bridge repairs, because any Tea

Mackie: Resolved; Downton College

I was disappointed to see that our Vermont Town Meetings sidestepped one of the major issues of the day, namely, the conclusion of the third season of Downton Abbey. Downton Abbey, in case you were too busy watching the Let’s Laugh at Rednecks channel to check it out, is a hit PBS series about an aristocratic family and its servants. Why this show fascinates me so I am not sure, since our household staff in West Lebanon has grown woefully thin, and even a Romney

Mackie: You Can Be Happier As You Grow Older ... Or Not

I’ve read comments by two people recently, one a New Hampshire writer, the other an actress and celebrity, that claimed they were happier after 60. That sounded swell to me, since government documents allege I have been 60 since late December. My wife asks me if I feel 60 and I tell her, “Only after 9 at night.” As early as that, the Sandman sprinkles magic dust and makes me yawn like a toddler on his third picture book. Sometimes he is less subtle. He

Mackie: Ask a Mayan: Ancient Wisdom That You Can Use Today

It wasn’t the end of the world, but the predictions of doom based on the Mayan calendar have rekindled interest in the once-great South American civilization. As far as we know, the Mayan empire didn’t technically reach the Upper Valley, but even here people were wondering if they could take Earth’s final hours as sick time, or if there were any point in buying lottery tickets if the annuity would never pay out. But 2013 came right on schedule, so we have to make the

Mackie: Click Here and Make Me Popular

There it was, staring me in the face: I was no longer popular. The evidence was incontrovertible — I was an Internet has-been who had only the briefest moment in the sun. I refer to the Valley News website, which, to my consternation and shame, declares that certain articles are “popular,” ranking them from one to 10, the point after which the writers presumably must stand in the awkward corner at the junior high dance with those who are never asked to do the two-step.