The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Saturday, February 9, 2008


A few Hamp ones.

New England is the land of bricks, at least as far as architecture is concerned. It gives our cities and towns an old and dignified look, but perhaps too much so. That's why I like how this brick building in downtown Northampton shows up its stodgy neighbors by being painted a bright baby blue!

Across the street is the yellow brick building known as The Masonic.

It was here that Calvin Coolidge had his law office, as explained on this historical plaque outside the building. (click photo to enlarge)

Nearly across from The Masonic is Kathy's Diner, where the 1950's never ended.

In the window of Hamp's Collectables Gallery I was amazed to see a genuine Spiro Agnew wastebasket! For you youngsters, Spiro Agnew was Richard Nixon's Vice President.

This is a true 1960's artifact, my brother and I had one in our bedroom when I was in grammar school. Agnew is portrayed as playing tennis because he was notorious for hitting people with his wild shots. He is holding a hard hat because he fashioned himself as a working class conservative.

He was also a crook, who ultimately had to resign from office when he was caught accepting bribes. Historians still debate whether Nixon's Watergate scandal was just politics or whether it has been dwarfed into insignificance by the crimes of later presidents. But no one ever doubts that Agnew was a common criminal.

If you enlarge the photo by clicking on it, you will notice stickers are stuck on the Agnew wastebasket. These were obtained in bubble gum packages, and spoofed commercial products. The one most visible is "Minute Lice" for Minute Rice. Such corny stickers were smeared all over the lunch boxes to be found in The World Famous Thomas M. Balliet Elementary School.

To me that trash can is a real piece of nostalgia that I would gladly buy. But I didn't torture myself by going in to ask the price, since as a welfare recepient I know I could never afford it.

UMass Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life Michael Gargano has left for Louisiana State University. This graffiti on the side of the Fines Arts Center yesterday implies that the students are dancing in celebration.

I'm not sure that's true. While he drew the displeasure of campus radicals who found him too conservative, I'm pretty sure those radicals would have found anyone in that position unacceptable. What is the point of being rebelious if you have no one to be rebelious against? My impression is that most students thought he was okay, although this UMass Collegian poll suggests otherwise.

He will be missed. 23%
It's probably for the better. 51%
Vice Chancellor for what now? 26%

What a surprise to find this video on YouTube that has me in it which I never knew even existed. It is from a performance last summer in Northampton of The Johnny Philko Band. That's me in the green baseball cap on the left. Valley music videographer Jeff Ziff also makes a cameo appearance. The guy who keeps throwing away beer cups is Pine Pointer and Commerce grad Gary Caputo.

When in England at a fairly large conference, retired General Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building by George Bush.

He answered by saying, "Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return."

It became very quiet in the room.

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