This week we answer the question, can a stoner dude successfully complete a transaction at the supermarket? (Answer: not really.)

I bought some groceries and the clerk was a real-life Jeff Spicoli. At one point, as he was pressing buttons to accept my debit card and giving me my receipt, he said to the guy in line behind me that was buying some food product he was familiar with (and I swear to you he said these very words): “whoa, dude, that stuff is rad!” It was like he was from California stoner/skater central casting.

He forgot to give me the cash I had asked for so he had to open his money drawer again, which is always a hassle. They have to call over someone at a higher pay-grade and they have to open the drawer with a special code and a key and I think a fingerprint or retina scan.

We had a Nor’Easter yesterday, which dumped approximately 4000 wet leaves on my front stairs. Been here 25 years and I’ve never seen anything like it. I think it’s because we had a late foliage here and the trees were still filled with mostly green leaves. Swept them off the stairs and put them into a trash bag. I’m throwing the broom away too because there’s no way I’m using it inside again.

But the leaves on the ground actually looked right, and felt right. The trees are getting bare and there’s a nip in the air (I swear I didn’t mean for that to rhyme). Turned on the heat for the first time this season, and that remains one of the more pleasant household aromas.

It’s fall.

Right here, right now

An old MacBook. A full cup of vanilla chai. A Westclox travel alarm clock I use as my desk clock. A coffee table because I don’t have a desk. Four remote controls because everything has to be more complex now. A copy of Boston magazine. A box of tissues (Scotties) and a pack of gum (Extra cinnamon). A Uni-Ball Jetstream pen and three Field Notes. Columbo on my TV. Books by E.B. White, Peg Bracken, and Walter Mosley. Thoughts on what to have for dinner tonight, what I need from the supermarket, and a crisp October wind coming in through an open door.

A new post about the new Post

We’ve redesigned the Saturday Evening Post site. Take a look.

Not only are the images bigger and sharper, if you’re a subscriber, you can read almost every single issue of the magazine going back to 1821! That’s pretty damn incredible. It’s only $15.00 a year to subscribe, and you get both the print and digital editions. You also get membership in the Saturday Evening Post Society and discounts at places like Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Liberty Mutual Insurance, 1-800-Flowers, Harry and David, and more.

Have a great weekend.

22 Years!

This month marks the 22nd year of this site. Every year at this time I like to give a quick rundown of what this site is all about for first-time visitors.

I’m a writer. I do a weekly column for The Saturday Evening Post and freelance for various other sites. I created the pop culture site Professor Barnhardt’s Journal and in 2003 I published Book, with Words and Pages, a collection of essays and short humor pieces.

I also publish The Letter, a quarterly, handwritten (sometimes typed) missive that I snail mail out to people who would like to get a letter (remember those?) again. Here’s how you can subscribe and what you’ll find in each letter. It’s only $12 a year!

I’ll take tea over coffee, dogs over cats, and cold weather over warm. My favorite TV shows are The Dick Van Dyke Show and Mad Men, I need to lose a few pounds, I’ve never sent a text, and when I was around 10 I accidentally punched a nun. (It’s a long story.)

Oh, did I mention I’m available for work? I’m available for work.

And now, a flashback to the mid-90’s: NBC News talking about this new thing called “the internet.” Katie Couric understood before anyone what was going to happen to us.

Tornado Warning

It’s raining…it’s pouring
my love life is boring
me to tears…

If you know that lyric then you’re old. I know it, and I’m old.

But yeah, it’s pouring right now. Tornado warning for my area. The helpful meteorologist on TV just said the possibly of a tornado is still low, but just in case, this is where you should hide. Go to the lowest point in your home! Stay away from windows and doors! I’m sitting in the lowest point of my home – my living room – so if a tornado hits I’m picturing a Wizard of Oz scenario. Flying monkeys and red shoes.

Lots of rain right now. Lots and lots and lots of rain. And a second ago a smash of thunder that could wake the dead.

Twelve Bucks!

Subscribers to The Letter know that I took a break from writing them. But I’m working on the next one as we speak (or as I type and you read) and I wanted to take this opportunity to let readers of the site who might not know what The Letter is know what The Letter is. (Sorry for that cumbersome sentence.)

What is it? You can read all about it here. It’s a handwritten or typed letter, with essays and observations and doodles and even recipes, that I snail mail quarterly. With everything we do via screens these days, wouldn’t it be great to actually get letters in the mail again? You get a whole year of issues for only – are you ready? – twelve bucks!

That’s less than two fancy coffee drinks at Starbucks! That’s less than the cost of one movie ticket! That’s probably less than your high blood pressure medication! OK, that last one is important. But still, The Letter is only twelve bucks! For a whole year!

The next one is going out in two weeks, so if you click the Donate button on the right you can start your subscription right away. By the way, if you don’t want The Letter but still want to donate a buck or two to keep this site and Professor Barnhardt’s Journal going, that would be appreciated too. Every dollar helps.

Any questions, leave a comment below or send me an e-mail. And thanks!