Kurt Fusaris gestures ...Mouseover photo to see Kurt Fusaris
in action ...

In this winter of political discontent, spend an hour with Kurt Fusaris at Starbucks in the Center.

Amid the fresh-roast aroma of Ethiopian coffee and the tapping of 100 laptops, the 37-year-old Arlington resident serves up his own guacamole with earnest amusement. To have a taste, you must be willing to suspend some disbelief.

Fusaris writes a blog called "The Arlington Avocado." Some of its columns are "real"; some are not.

The blog's goal: To describe, its author says, the absurdities of life in Arlington, "but to do that lovingly."

"Lovingly" includes spiced with the unexpected, as Arlington is the place where he has found a greater sense of community after moving here from Somerville in 2007.

A speech therapist in Framingham, the Connecticut native provided the story behind his blog. The Avocado grew, so to speak, out of the site he used for his campaign for School committee, a race he lost in the spring of 2010. (He didn't come in last.)

Tiring of straight information, he wanted to stay connected by expressing satirical opinions about town issues, and thus was the Avocado born.

The site's name is a play on The Advocate, the name of the weekly newspaper. He may not have realized another intriguing association:

Don't tell Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, but the word "avocado" comes from the Spanish aguacate, which comes from a native word for testicle. The Aztecs called avocados "the fertility fruit."

Before settling on the blog's title, Fusaris provided a post to the Arlington email list on Nov. 10, 2010, that gives you the flavor. With the subject line of "Weekly Pineapple," he wrote:

"Uncle Sam Wilson Statue Takes Out Papers

"Arlington, MA - Though it may be a bit early yet, yesterday it was learned that the statue of 'Uncle Sam' Wilson in Arlington Center has taken out papers to run for the School Committee. The statue, in an emailed statement said, 'I have not totally committed to running, but I want to see how the field shapes up in this coming election cycle.' He added, 'for example, if the Jason Russell House decides to run, I might bow out and endorse it instead....'

"... In other news, the pineapple atop the Arlington Town Hall is reportedly considering a run for the Board of Selectmen."

The pineapple -- a widely known symbol for welcome -- atop Town Hall? Yes, that's true, and that's all that's true here.

The post drew some positive reviews, and Fusaris went on to plant an avocado.

Early on, the WordPress effort was linked at the Our Blogs section of WickedLocal, The Advocate's website, but the editor at the time and her boss were squeamish about a column of opinion that veers into fake news. "She thought readers would be confused," he said.

[Hello, readers out there: Are you confused?]

So last year, Kurt's blog and WickedLocal parted ways. It was not like a divorce; in the current tech environment, it's merely an "unlink."

For those concerned about telling the difference real opinions and fake news, here is the briefest guide imagineable. Those who don't care about such distinctions can just roll with the droll humor.

FAKE: "Arlington Schools Accidentally Uncover Surplus." You knew, right?

REAL: The blog correctly predicted many of the results of the 2011 Town Election (see "The Avocado Called It (April 3, 2011)" under http://arlingtonavocado.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/avocados-number/).

FAKE: "Local Politician Discovered Off-Leash; Supporter Fined." This one had you guessing.

Fusaris's column ideas -- 20 percent come from others, he says -- tend toward the political and perhaps theatrical. That stems from his activities as an undergrad, at Quinnipiac University, where he was involved in politics and drama.

He is a member of the Arlington Cultural Council. Vowing not to run for town office again, he volunteered this comment about U.S. politics: "Obama will win. You can quote me."

This opinion is real. Whether the news may be fake is a matter for history to decide.


This story was published Monday, Jan. 9, 2011.