Over Easy

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

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