Last night the temperture in Northampton fell to eight below! Yikes, it sure was a chilly stroll down the snowy path to the bus stop this morning.
Last night a friend and I stopped into Just Because, the sexy novelty shop that is going out of business so that its owner can relocate to the tropics. It is weather like today that I'm sure reinforces his decision.
And he really is headed to the islands, in fact according to the store clerk he plans to open a similar store to the one he's closing in Northampton in the Bahamas. There's a big closing sale underway, but as you can see there are many items still available.
A manniquin in a Panama hat stares at the customers from a hole in the wall, ignoring a nearby stuffed Cape Cod seagull.
There is a flesh and blood bird in the joint, a grey parrot named Harley. The clerk warned that Harley might be frightened by the flash of my camera, but the bird was far too cool for that.
Sitting on the floor was a painting by Gregory Stone, one of Northampton's most famous artists.
Much of his work is set in our Valley, such as this portrait of a homeless person relaxing in Springfield's Court Square.
In his youth Stone possessed amazing physical beauty. I remember how when he used to walk shirtless around downtown Hamp on hot summer nights, both straight gals and gay guys were hypnotized.
So after all these years Just Because is closing its doors. My friend and I didn't buy anything last night, the sex toy section apparently having been cleared out in the sale.
Farewell, Just Because, and I hope something just as cool takes your place.
Speaking of artists I went to my nephew Brett's birthday party yesterday. He's fourteen. This is him posing with a great self-portrait he painted.
My mother wanted to be a painter, before she gave up her dreams to marry a crazy Irishman. It's good to see her talent resurfacing in the new generation.
The heirs of Springfield's Dr. Seuss have been criticized in the past for selling the good Doctor's legacy for a quick buck. However, even they have hit a new low in their efforts to revise the books to appeal to a more mature audience.