Showing posts from 2015

The College Checklist: September 23, 2014

The College Checklist September 23, 2014   At this time of the year, many high school seniors are narrowing down their college choices in order to figure out where they want to spend four, five or six years of their lives.   Some are able to narrow their choices with ease, especially those with parents who tell them, “You don’t have a choice. You need to apply to my alma mater because I was a big deal there.   Also, stop kicking the dog.”  Others, however, don’t know how to choose from the seemingly limitless options of higher education.   That’s why I thought I would step in with a checklist that can help -- that is, will help -- a student narrow a list of 5,000 into a list of 5 in no time: Location: Does it matter to you where the school is located?   Would it be cool if, for example, you take classes from the laptop in your kitchen?   If so, apply to an online college.   If not, apply somewhere a little bit farther, like the college down the street or a college in

Shopping Undercover: August 23, 2011

Shopping Undercover August 23, 2011 I often see "help wanted" signs -- and get a lot of spam e-mail -- about "secret shoppers."  Clearly this is the perfect job for people who love to shop and who love to keep secrets, and an even better job for those who love to maintain secret identities, like the shopping version of a spy.  Secret shoppers are also sometimes known as "mystery shoppers," a job that I'd like to hold for one day just so I can add it to the top of my resume.  Companies use secret shoppers to determine how certain stores treat their customers because a person wearing a name tag with "Store Evaluator" on it would probably get treated better than everyone else -- and that is not at all accurate.  Trust me: I wear that name tag every time I go shopping and the attention I get is extraordinary... I can only speculate about the life of a secret shopper since I have never been one and since I have no interest in actually researching

Going Postal: February 7, 2012

Going Postal February 7, 2012 I once heard a rumor that the post office was a boring place.  That rumor actually came from me: I spread it every time I walk into a post office, and I confirmed that rumor yesterday when I had to mail twenty newspaper articles.  The post office has become a place that I dread visiting, right up there with the DMV and the houses of strangers who give out candy to children (which might also be the DMV).  Of course, the post office should be harmless enough: you go in, you drop something off and you get out of there before even MIA has the chance to give you the finger.  But it just doesn't work that way... Time seems to stop at the post office.  In every post office I have ever visited, no one ever seems to be in a hurry to help, and even the customers seem to move in slow motion.  Typically I have to check my cell phone multiple times while in line to make sure time did not stop.  The possibility of time stopping would also justify why many senior cit

Caution -- Wet Floor: April 5, 2011

Caution: Wet Floor April 5, 2011 I really enjoy good road signs.  While I am driving, they help me to realize the spots where a duck might be crossing or a rock might be falling, and they help me to know where  a school might be nearby.  Clearly these are phenomena I would not be able to figure out on my own.  However, I think it's time for me to reveal that my all-time favorite sign -- at least for a week -- isn't one that I see on roads.  It's a universal classic and a savior to many: the "Caution: Wet Floor" sign... "Wet floor" signs stop many people from slipping on wet floors.  There have been times when I am walking and suddenly come across a puddle of water, and I think to myself, "This looks like water.  I should probably watch out," and then I see the sign next to it that proves I am correct: the floor is indeed wet.  I then think, "Thank you, sign, for stopping me from stepping into water.  There is a good chance I would have sli

Free Smiles: March 27, 2001

Free Smiles: March 27, 2001 Not even a full week after writing last week's column, I received a sign.  Not a useful one, like a stop sign or deer-crossing sign, but a figurative sign that hit me like a rock with a brick attached to it.  If more rocks had bricks attached to them, I really think Humpty Dumpty's situation wouldn't be nearly as ear-catching.  But aside from that, I also think that gummy bears aren't treated nearly as well as actual bears, so let's instead skip to something else and save the gripes for another time... The sign to which I was actually planning to refer, before I interrupted myself, is the one on any McDonald's menu that reads "Smiles are free."  This is the most prevalent phrase in the place, unless you happen to go to a McDonald's where dangerous snakes are lurking, in which case "Caution: dangerous snakes" is a bit more prevalent.  So the other day I decided to ask for three free smiles in addition to my

Catching up is like catching a cold

"Progressive Revelations" has existed as a column for nearly 18 years, which means there is a lot of catching up to do when it comes to transferring columns from one web format to another. I will periodically move columns from its former website location to this blog location, and when I do, I am going to make, like, a really big deal out of it, and it's going to be awesome.  Or something like that.

Progressive Revelations: A look back and a look ahead

I started writing "Progressive Revelations" at the start of 1998.  In terms of, like, the history of the world, that was yesterday.  But more realistically, that was a pretty long time ago.  I was a sophomore at Boston College then and my new editor position allowed me to essentially assign myself a humor column. So that's what I did. After the column ended in May of 2000, otherwise known as my graduation (seriously, that's how people refer to that time period), I re-started it at the start of 2001 in online form.  Although 2001 is not quite as long ago as, say, 1998, that was also a pretty long time ago.  So long ago, in fact, that I was one of the first humor columnists on this so-called Internet, when  blogs were virtually non-existent, albeit not actually non-existent. now sits as one of the longest-running humor column websites on the Internet. I never fully embraced the idea of blogs.  I was a columnist, not a blogger.  I create


If you read the title of this post to the tune of David Bowie's "Changes," you read it incorrectly.  I was hoping your choice of mental background music was either "the Cha-Cha Slide" or, better yet, silence. That said, there are some changes in progress with  After more than 14 years with the website, I realize I must change with the times and use more of a blogging platform so that I can post and edit more efficiently.  Within a day or two (hopefully sooner!), the site should forward people to this blog address.  I will write more once that change occurs. Thank you!