I was in Westfield last week and stumbled upon this evidence of the Irish troubles as manifested here in the United States.
Here are some interesting facts about Irish-Americans from the 2000 United States Census.
10.8% of the total US population claim Irish ancestry - the equivalent of 7 times the population of Ireland itself.
Irish-born people in the US numbered 156,000.
Irish-Americans were the largest ancestral group in Washington DC, Delaware, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Here is the site of the former Fire and Water Cafe in Northampton.
I used to have a lot of fun at that place in the 1990's. They had the best amateur poetry readings in the Valley. I never read any poems there, but always enjoyed listening to those who did. It was a terrible cultural loss when that joint closed, but who ever made money off of poetry?
Northampton's Packards now has a political message on its front.
Of course the main reason to visit Packards is not for its politics but for its museum of Northampton business history.
More than a year ago I was complaining about how difficult it was to find and use a payphone at UMass one day when I was a call-in guest on the Bax and O'Brien Show. At the time I wrote about how hard it has become to find a payphone, which were once everywhere on campus. I ran this picture showing the few phones there were remaining by the Campus Center poolhall, where when I was student you sometimes had to wait in line to use the phones!
The other day I noticed the few remaining phones have been completely removed and the wall painted.
Hey, in this day and age when everyone has a cell phone, what good are payphones? Of course I personally don't have a cell phone anymore, having traded my $300 dollar one for about thirty bucks worth of crack when I was selling everything I had for dope near the end of my downward spiral . I guess on a certain level I was resigned to dying, although I don't recall ever consciously thinking that.
Anyway, the payphone has not yet completely vanished from the campus. These few remain, but for how long?
Here's the latest on my brother:
John is going back to the hospital today. When we arrived at the Infusion Center, they were concerned about his mouth sores, his rash, and his temperature. So it is not his choice, but he is going to be readmitted. The hosptial staff will be able to watch things better and can take some of the decision-making load off of us, so that will be a relief actually.
A stem cell transplant is not for sissies! He has had some blood samples and cultures taken to see if they can find the problem causing the fever, and they think the rash could possibly be shingles.
John had to get fluids, potassium, and platelets today. He is feeling really rough, of course, but still trying hard to stay awake, and eat and drink adequately. The mouth sores are horrible and he has a red, raw rash on back, chest, neck, and head. The poor guy looks like a train wreck! As bad as it seems, the doctors and nurses continue to tell him he is remarkable and doing better than most.
Just a couple more days and we are expecting to be over the worst. We trust in our faith - that the Lord will bring us through this and we will see victory over this cruel disease soon.
He is still trying to joke, smile, and stay awake, but he is in basically just in misery. Please keep him in your prayers as I know you have been.
At Amherst College these odd signs have appeared with no explanation.
They show people's faces with cryptic writing, but what does it mean?
Wise readers, do you have the answer?
Speaking of Amherst College, yesterday I received this photo from an Amherst College student boasting that this was an example of how the boys of Amherst are completely unfazed by the trials and tribulations of our brutal New England winters.
Hey, now that you've sent me a picture, would you mind sending your phone number?
In closing, let's rock!