Sunday, April 22, 2018
This Dann Vazquez portrait of Northampton was symbolically true yesterday.
That's because yesterday was the psychedelically themed Extravaganza which is put on each year by the UMass Cannabis Coalition as a celebration of the virtues of marijuana in particular and high culture in general. I took the bus there, and soon encountered a terrible traffic jam at the Calvin Coolidge Bridge coming into Hamp from Amherst.
The traffic was crawling along so slowly, that I and a bunch of other people on the bus decided to just get off the bus and walk across the bridge. While on one side of me as I crossed was the impenetrable traffic jam, as long as I just kept gazing in the opposite direction, then I saw only transcendent beauty.
At last we arrived at our destination, where the traffic jam continued on the street leading into the fair grounds itself.
There was security at the gate, but it wasn't particularly intrusive, in fact, they practically just waved me through. But maybe that was because I purposely did not bring a knapsack and probably looked like some harmless old coot. One of the few advantages I find with advancing years is that I'm often mistaken as much more respectable and much less subversive than I really am. Once inside, old glory greeted the revelers.
The place was really crowded.
When I was younger I used to love crowds, going to concerts running all around shouting "Yahoo!" I no longer do the substances that used to encourage the yahooing, and find that I now appreciate mankind more in the abstract than when they are swarming all around me.
The star of the event was there, actual marijuana plants that you could buy. While purchasing marijuana in a store is not possible until July 1st, it is already legal to grow your own.
I got there just in time for the Terry Franklin & Dick Evans Show.
Conspicuous in their absence were any local politicians, including sorta-Senator Stan Rosenberg and State Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose, both of whom face potentially tough re-election races this year and could've used the goodwill their attendance would have generated.
What I also didn't hear, in the ninety minutes or so I was there, was any live music being played. Later I heard that a few bands got stuck on the highway and missed their own gig. In compensation, here's something from the golden age of psychedelia.
My verdict: A good time was had by all
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Doyle Twig Paintings on the wall.
A noble cause.
For one fleeting day, the temperature around here was almost spring-like.
It's time to plan a trip to a sugar-shack.
The geese were honking their love for academia.
Momma and Poppa Duck were out with the ducklings by the campus pond.
Then, of course, it had to go and snow for the fourth time this April.
Hopefully the weather will improve for the Extravaganja this Saturday. With legalization beginning on July 1st, this may be the last one. Here's a cool song from yesteryear.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
I'm dismayed, if not particularly surprised, by the irresponsible actions of the Springfield City Council in trying to prevent law enforcement from attempting to remove a person who is in the country illegally and currently attempting to escape justice by seeking refuge in a local church. A group of foolhardy councilors will try to bring a resolution next week before the council in an attempt to offer the fugitive that body's official support.
What are the esteemed councilors thinking? Do they think the immigration laws should not be enforced? Do they think that people should be allowed to sneak into the country without any consequences? Do they feel that new comers should not be medically examined to see if they are carrying infectious diseases? Do they feel they should not have their background checked to see if they have a criminal record, such as a history of violence or pedophilia? Do the esteemed councilors feel they should not be checked to see if they have ties to criminal gangs or terrorist groups? Because these are the very checks that do not occur whenever people sneak into the country illegally. When someone like the criminal alien hiding in the Springfield church are supported in their efforts, and by public officials no less, it only encourages others to try to sneak in as well.
It is also an insult to every American immigrant who entered this country through legal channels, and who went through the long and demanding process to legally obtain citizenship, for the councilors to suggest, as they do by their actions, that the standard should be simply that if you can get here than you can stay here. I'm especially disappointed in Councilors Tim Ryan and Mike Fenton, who once had reputations for having some commonsense, an appraisal that must now be downgraded in light of their participation in this current foolishness.
It snowed on Monday.
Then it snowed again on Friday.
WILL WINTER EVER END?
This week the UMass Library had their Edible Book Festival. I think the Forbes in Northampton has had similar events.
Here's a tasty biography of Vincent Van Gogh.
Of course Springfield's Dr. Seuss had to be included, although The Lorax was not one of his better books.
Let's end with something a little thermonuclear. Observe former Pine Pointer Karl Mayfield at around 1:25.
Sunday, April 1, 2018
Greetings and Salutations upon the Feast of Fools.
I can't recall Easter and April Fools falling on the same day before. This was created by Massachusetts painter Norman Rockwell in 1959.
Poor Sorta-Senator Stanley Rosenberg of Northampton continues to hit new lows in the aftermath of his husband's scandalous behavior.
Here's an old, poor quality pic I came across recently of the house that once stood next door to the old Pine Point Library on Boston Road. I took the picture in 1969.
Here's the house as it was thirty years earlier, in 1939.
UMass ducks have so lost their fear of humans, due to all the students walking around, that they were just casually sitting by the entrance way to the UMass Library the other day.
A walk to lunch at UMass.
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Following the non-event, I emerged out my back door to be greeted by some Pedal People fowl.
They've come back almost every morning since. What do they want?
Look what else showed up at my house....
The gun-grabers were on parade in Amherst Saturday.
The Democrats should be careful, lest they be found guilty of forgetting the lessons of the Gingrich Revolution of 1994. In that year, after the Clinton Administration backed a big push for gun control, alarmed gun owners and their supporters marched to the polls like an army, causing the Democrats to lose control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. Now the Democrats are tempting history to repeat itself by awakening the sleeping giant of the 2nd Amendment electorate with their overblown protests.
This is Peace Week at UMass.
The Minuteman gets psychedelic.
This weekend in Amherst there was the JAMHERST music series featuring local bands. Here's a poster for it that I came across on a wall in Northampton:
Dinosaur Jr. played Greenfield last week.
Saturday, March 17, 2018
On the day when I was born, my daddy sat down and cried. I had the mark just as plain as day, it could not be denied.
I saw this in Hamp City Hall yesterday. A hundred years ago the Irish dominated virtually every City Hall in Massachusetts and still have a strong presence to this day. And we ain't all crooks, neither.
On a more serious note, these brave students of John F. Kennedy Middle School in Northampton were protesting this week in favor of 2nd Amendment rights, a refreshing contrast to the Orwellian so-called "walkouts" recently organized by liberal school administrators. It took no courage for students to please their teachers by allowing themselves to be stooges for ineffective gun control policies. These pro-gun kids are the real rebels.
Be sure to visit Tim's, the new bookstore on King Street in Northampton.
Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts - 1977-05-07
Jeff Ziff took a great pic this week of Miller's River along the Mohawk Trail.
Monday, March 12, 2018
What on Earth has Al Giordano gotten himself into? It seems the former WNNZ radio star and Valley Advocate reporter is being accused of sexual harassment by a dozen or more women. You can read all about it here.
Oddly, Al himself has made no public remarks in response to the accusations, which is directly contrary to what is generally recommended in a public scandal, which is to get out in front of it with a statement as quickly as possible. Is he being forced into silence by legal concerns? The scandal has not only silenced the usually irrepressible Giordano, but appears to have shut down the journalism school he has run for many years. Their fundraising effort for next semester was suddenly cancelled shortly after it started, despite having gotten off to a promising start.
The scandal strikes following a puzzling period in which Al had been strangely cutting ties to old friends over seemingly minor political differences. It was behavior that doesn't sound at all like the broad minded attitude for which Al was once noted, especially in his Valley radio days when he loved mixing it up with critics and debating the issues. For example, former Springfield City Councilor Mitch Ogulewicz has said this about his sudden severing of ties:
After 35 years of associating with Al, he defriended me on facebook, because I said I wouldn't vote for Hillary. As he exited from our friendship, he went on a vulgar tirade, calling me every name in the book. Oh well.
Longtime Agawam activist Owen Broadhurst offered this testimonial:
I loved him, admired him, bestowed upon him (in my naive youth) a form of hero worship that I *know* he did not request - but I'm still deeply wounded, offended, and feel betrayed in what he turned out to be. When his journalistic career began, I was all of 18. Back then, I haunted storefronts on what I knew the weekly delivery date just to get a Springfield Advocate as soon as I could. Because *he* was in it. And it was a must read. It is a shame. Back then: Kraft, Giordano, Turner and Vannah all accommodated those of us who fought the Berkshire Power fight in Agawam beautifully. They reported on Michael Armitage, the Springfield establishment, Albano, Tennessee Gas and Dennis the Menace Murphy. It was beautiful. While it is admittedly peevish of me to think this way, I focus on Al because I really feel it as a betrayal.
Giordano has faced health issues, having successfully battled cancer in 2016, and some have speculated that the combined stress of the cancer scare and the rise of Donald Trump may have caused the left-leaning reporter to become unhinged. So is this #metoo moment the end of the fabled career of Al Giordano? Probably not. What are the accusations against him, really? That he was sometimes a boozy boor at the after class beer bashes? That he asked women to do clerical work without paying them? People, these are not Harvey Weinstein level offenses. He should mutter something resembling an apology, permanently drop the subject, and just go back to giving political commentary as usual. Indeed, others have made successful comebacks from far worse.
Kinda hard to read the clock while waiting at the bus stop for the dawn express into Amherst.
Somebody brightened up Greg Stone's dismal Hope statue on the courthouse lawn.
Some people don't mind if their preferred presidential candidate is no longer alive.
Hometown boys Dinosaur Jr. playing the Amherst Common last fall.