Roundup of April/May 2023 Posts

April was a slow month because we were away for two weeks and May was just plain busy, so I combined the two months into a single roundup of April/May 2023 posts.

Some of the posts I did publish stirred up a few feathers, though.

Mental Illness on the Streets

I got trolled online for “Homeless and Mentally Ill in Boston.” Universal Hub, a community news and information site for the Boston area, picked it up and a few readers scolded me for being frightened when I was approached by a large, loud, and mentally ill man while leading a tour for schoolchildren. Several of them pointed out that I should not have been frightened because everything turned out alright.

Asiana Plane, open exit door, emergency exitWell, if we knew in advance what things would turn out alright, very little would scare us. Viewing the photos of people on an Asiana Airlines flight where a passenger opened a door when the plane was at 700 feet, they seemed pretty terrified. Now, the plane landed safely and everything turned out okay, so I guess they shouldn’t have been frightened, right?

Another person chided me for not knowing much about mental illness. We emptied our mental hospitals in the sixties, dumping sick people out and leaving them to cope with their demons without much help. We did this in the name of humane behavior and cost cutting. That means city dwellers can run into people with mental illness anywhere and at any time. Should everyone who walks the streets of American’s cities be a trained mental health worker? If so, who will do the training? If not, how are we supposed to know when someone is a danger to him/herself or others?

AR-15 Rifles and the Barbieverse

“AR-15 Rifles and the Barbieverse” drew the ire of a regular reader who took umbrage at the way I made fun of people who personalize and decorate their military-grade weapons. He accused me of (1) saying that the U.S. Army should disarm Americans—which I said nowhere in the post. And stated (2) that ”It does your side no good to be so contemptuous – “Barbieverse” – of people who can drill holes in few-inch-wide groups from 500 yards.”

I guess that means I’m supposed to be afraid of being murdered by someone who thinks his gun gives him the right to kill someone who says something he doesn’t like. To me, that says more about the AR-15 owners’ urge to use their weapons than it does about me making fun of them. My reader is right, though. I shouldn’t goad them because these are crazy times in gun-crazy America.

And (3) More people are murdered by people using hammers in this country than “eeeeeevil assault rifles.”  This is so ludicrous it doesn’t bear comment. America’s schools don’t conduct Active Hammer drills.

Comments and Death Threats

I love getting comments on my posts, though, whether on the blog or in Facebook or Twitter. Of course, I haven’t gotten any death threats (yet) so I guess that makes a difference. Anyone who is anyone in the United States these days, particularly if female, will attract the rage of inarticulate misogynist men for whom threats of violence are the only response they can summon.

No, I far prefer the notes I receive regularly about readers’ personal experiences with the subject of a post. The top of the list, hands down, comes from 2018 and concerns a now-defunct chain of fast-casual restaurants called the Pewter Pot. The comments come in regularly and are all positive. People loved eating there, working there, and just hanging out in their local Pewter Pot. They (and I) miss the flame-grilled burgers, the huge muffins, and the crocks of clam chowder with a big pat of butter melting on top. Although the Pewter Pot chain has been out of business since 1973, those comments still come in.

Pewter Pot, Muffin House, Menu, 24 Baked Varieties

Quizzes Fizzle

And finally, my quizzes. The first one, “The Boston Quiz: Here or Europe,” proved popular and drove pageviews for The Next Phase Blog sky high. I was pumped! It took me a long time to master the software and put that quiz together. I loved that people loved it.

Boston Public Library, Louis St. Gaudens, Memorial Lion, Copley Square, BostonMy second quiz, “The Boston Lion Hunt,” did less well. Much less. But I remained confident. Surely that was an anomaly. I tried again with “My European Animal Quiz.” That one also flopped.

Now, I’m in a quandary. Should I do any more quizzes? The results say no. What do you say? (Enter comments below, please.)

Roundup of April/May 2023 Posts

If you missed any of the above articles or other April/May 2023 posts, here’s the roundup by category.

Boston and History

Business and Technology


Lifestyle and Culture



Summertime is Here

Topsfield Fair, State Fair, summertime, Ferris wheelI wrote this on Memorial Day, which means we are now officially in summertime. Summers are short in New England and we try to make the best of them. Into three ephemeral months we cram craft fairs, cookouts, sports, sailing, lobster rolls, state fairs, vacations, staycations, gardening, picnics, hot dogs, outdoor concerts, and a host of other activities.

But I always have something to write about. All I need is time.