Monday, March 31, 2008

Bye March

Good riddance.

Just a few quickies folks, as I was really busy today running around making preparations for the next phase of my psychotherapy, my new teeth and a medical procedure where they're gonna stick some probe up my rear end looking for cancerous polyps or something. You might think that given my sexuality I might be indifferent, or even enjoy such a procedure, but the fact is I don't want anything shoved up there if I ain't getting kissed!

Anyway, the bravest group on campus was in the UMass Campus Center today promoting their speech tomorrow night by conservative scholar Dinesh D'Souza.

The speech is free and open to the general public. For further details, click poster below to enlarge.

This fence has gone up around Northampton's First Church while they are repairing the roof.

The paper said the roof consists of old Vermont slate that will be very expensive to replace. That's the thing about preserving old buildings, it is very costly to restore yesterday's buildings at today's prices!

I like the flaming paint job on the this car parked in Hamp today.

If the car looks wet it's because it was snowing quite fiercely earlier. At the time I made the following video I was in the Haymarket Cafe and noticed an intense squall passing by. I hope this is the last snow we'll see until next winter, but in New England you never can tell.

After a relaxing bath Monica Lewinsky was looking at
herself nude in a mirror. Her frustration over her lack of ability to lose
weight was depressing her. In an act of desperation, she decided to call on God
for help.

"God, if you take away my love handles, I'll devote
my life to you," she prayed.

And just like that... Her ears fell off.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Too Far

Over the line.

People send me stuff everyday and I really appreciate it. However, some things are just wrong. Take for example this graphic which several people sent me last week.
Why Obama Will Lose the Black Vote:

Hey, stop laughing! While that picture does have a humorous shock value due to being outrageously politically incorrect, stop and think for a moment of what's really going on here. This is not the first "humorous" graphic sent to me about Obama this year that related to race. In fact it is just one of many, all of which I have deleted as unfit for use, even if some of them did have a little chuckle value. I delete them because they rely upon harmful racial stereotypes to get their laughs, stereotypes which they also reinforce. You can't laugh at that picture unless you are aware of the stereotype that blacks are lazy and don't want to work.

What is also sad is that this sort of dirty and racist campaigning takes place beneath the radar. To my knowledge, no mainstream media has reported on the number of racist attacks on Obama that are flooding cyberspace. It is a hidden campaign, conducted by emails that arrive silently in cyber mailboxes, where they are read and deleted - or passed on. Some recipients are offended. Others consider it nothing but humor and laugh it off. Still others take to it to heart and believe it, perhaps many more than you would think.

I have no intention of voting for Barack Obama for president, because I think he is wrong on the issues. That is where this campaign should be waged, in the realm of ideas. But if it is waged on the level of a racist smear campaign then the opponents of Obama will lose - and they will deserve to.

Many things people send me I really like. Here's an example:

President Bush did make a bad mistake in the war on terrorism. But the mistake was not his decision to go to war in Iraq. Bush's mistake came in his belief that this country is the same one his father fought for in WWII. It is not.

Back then, America had just come out of a vicious depression. The country was steeled by the hardship of that depression, but they still believed fervently in this country. Therefore, when the war broke out the people came together, rallied behind and stuck with their leaders, whether they had voted for them or not or whether the war was going badly or not.

And war was just as distasteful and the anguish just as great then as it is today. Often there were more casualties in one day in WWII than we have had in the entire Iraq war. But that did not matter. Americans put aside their differences in WWII and worked together to win that war.

Everyone from every strata of society, from young to old, pitched in. Small children pulled little wagons around to gather scrap metal for the war effort. Grade school students saved their pennies to buy stamps for war bonds to help the effort.

Men who were too old or medically 4F lied about their age or condition trying their best to join the military. Women doubled their work to keep things going at home. Harsh rationing of everything from gasoline to soap, to butter was imposed, yet there was very little complaining.

You never heard prominent people on the radio belittling the President. Interestingly enough in those days there were no fat cat actors and entertainers who ran off to visit and fawn over dictators of hostile countries and complain to them about our President. Instead, they made upbeat films and entertained our troops to help the troops' morale. And a bunch even enlisted.

And imagine this: Teachers in schools actually started the day off with a Pledge of Allegiance, and with prayers for our country and our troops! Back then, no newspaper would have dared point out certain weak spots in our cities where bombs could be set off to cause the maximum damage. No newspaper would have dared complain about what we were doing to catch spies.

No, President Bush did not make a mistake in his handling of terrorism. He made the mistake of believing that we still had the courage and fortitude of our fathers. He believed that this was still the country that our fathers fought so bravely to preserve.

It is not the same country. We did unite for a short while after 9/11, but our attitude changed when we found out that defending our country would require some sacrifices.

We are in great danger. The terrorists are fanatic Muslims. They believe that it is okay, even their duty, to kill anyone who will not convert to Islam. It has been estimated that about one third, or over three hundred million Muslims are sympathetic to the terrorists' cause. Hitler and Tojo combined did not have nearly that many potential recruits.

So we either win it - or lose it - and you ain't gonna like losing.

America is not at war.
The military is at war.
America is at the mall.

I haven't lived in Amherst since October, so I will not be participating in the town election on Tuesday. However, if I were voting these are the two candidates I would choose for the Select Board.

So do like they do in Springfield, and vote early and often!

Speaking of Amherst, just the other day I noticed how my Irish skin, as it does every winter, has turned a pale white. However, a little time with my friends hanging out at some of the fun-filled hideaways around Amherst's Puffer's Pond should cure that.

Friday, March 28, 2008

New on the Net

From some unexpected sources.

Who the hell is CityNotes? Some great new videos about Springfield have been surfacing over the past week from this mysterious person, such as this anti-subsidized housing one.

Nothing on the person's YouTube homepage tells anything about who is behind this. However if you listen to the first video, someone identifies themselves as Richard Carpenter, a Forest Park resident. It's a little weird, but I welcome it as an example of something I've advocated for a long time - the use of internet video technology for Valley politics.

What was also weird is that I found out about the video from former Springfield City Councilor Brian Santaniello, although "CityNotes" posting on Masslive and Bill Dusty had made reference to it earlier. Santaniello is a former 24 year Springfield City Councilor who now has a new website called The Dread Report.

Brian Santaniello, Francis Keough and Mitch Ogulewicz.

As a politician on the internet, Santaniello is in thin company. The first website by a local political figure was Charlie Ryan in his mayoral campaign against Mike Albano in 1995. However, cyberspace was so sparsely populated in those days that the site was more of a novelty than an actual political tool. The first elected official with a real website was City Councilor (now State Rep) Angelo Puppolo. His site was more of a cyber-billboard than something you could interact with and was rarely updated, but it was still a heck of a lot more than any of his fellow elected officials were willing to do.

My website The Baystate Objectivist when it came online in 1998 was not just our Valley's first blog, it was also our Valley's first political blog. In politics I had the cyberfield all to myself for an incredible seven years, until Heather Brandon appeared on the scene with political coverage on Urban Compass. Now most everyone who runs for office locally has at least a webpage, and last year's Springfield municipal election saw a little video activity by candidates such as Karen Powell and John Lysak.

Still, the potential of the internet to revolutionize local politics has been way underutilized. At first glance, Brian Santaniello seems like an unlikely contributor to that revolution. During his nearly quarter century on the Council, he was known as a cautious insider, rarely rocking the boat and anxious to be popular. It seemed to work, he was re-elected 12 times and usually finished near the top of the field. If he rarely distinguished himself, he rarely offended anyone either.

Originally elected as a Democrat, he joined a small band of local pols who switched to the Republican Party during the era when the governor's office was controlled by the GOP. When patronage jobs proved non-forthcoming most of them, including Santaniello, switched back. He was a loyal supporter of Mike Albano, and was rewarded in 2001 by being given the job of Election Commissioner, in those days a well-paid do-nothing patronage position where all the actual work was done for you by the staff. The appointment was controversial because Santaniello's resignation from the Council set in motion a series of political dominoes bringing defeated candidates into office. As I wrote about it at the time:

And what on Earth is Springport? It's the new nickname for Springfield, modeled on that perfect specimen of ineptitude, Massport, the state agency that is notorious as a haven for failed politicians. Springfield, I mean Springport, is just such a safe harbor for those rejected at the ballot box, as amply illustrated by the recent game of political musical chairs at City Hall. I'm talking of course about the mysterious pseudo-retirement of popular Election Commissioner Jim "Deezer" Sullivan. I say pseudo-retirement because he isn't really gone; he's at home with a "bad back" collecting a full salary. Meanwhile, City Councilor Brian Santaniello has been hired for a year to fill the position, although Deezer hasn't said how long he will be gone. How nice for the taxpayers to be paying the salary of two people for the work of one.

Something about the whole setup doesn't smell right, in fact it stinks like a ruthless political power play designed to bring two of Mayor Albano's staunchest allies, Jose Tosado and Robert McCollum, into office despite their defeat at the ballot box. Why it's just like at Massport, where politicians the voters decline to elect miraculously reappear on the public payroll. Tosado, in a surreal statement, exclaimed in the paper about what a breakthrough it was to be the first Hispanic elected to the Council. Well it will be historic if and when that ever happens, but it hasn't yet. The voters had a chance to elect Tosado eight weeks ago and they chose not to. McCollum used to sit on the School Committee, until the voters made a decision to remove him. Both are only in office now because they're the beneficiaries of a shady political game. But then why should we be surprised? That's just business as usual at Massport, I meant Springfield, no . . . Springport!

During his Republican phase, I was once seated next to Santaniello at a fundraiser. Asking my age, he amazed me by being able, off the top of his head, to calculate my pension if I could get a job with city or state. He seemed really into pensions, and ended up getting one of his own, rumored to be about 30 grand a year, when he took early retirement after Mayor-elect Charlie Ryan made it clear he'd be shown the door.

But now Santaniello has resurfaced in cyberspace. His website is not really political, it is more of an advertising vehicle with all kinds of stuff designed to hit to all fields. Bill Dusty says Santaniello claims to have gotten eight thousand hits in his first two days, which is highly unlikely, and Santaniello told BusinessWest that he was getting two million hits a day, which is even more absurd. But nevermind, Santaniello is on to something.

Stripped of its pretensions, what Santaniello is creating is a cybermall, where people everywhere, but Valley people in particular, can comparison shop online. It's a bit ahead of its time, but its time is coming and Santaniello may cash in nicely in the long run by getting his foot in the door first.

But what will he write about? The first examples are not promising. For example, his endorsement of William Fitchett for Police Commissioner is pretty heavy-handed:

He strode to the microphone with a room packed with his supporters with a calmness and coolness never displayed at City Hall. Thousands watched on their televisions at home as the Acting Police Commissioner of the third largest city in New England began to lay out in great detail why he should be named permanent commissioner. Fitchet has been in this position before. Just a short time ago he was passed over for the position by an outsider from the East who who was about as dedicated to this city as some of Fitchet's critics. Make no mistake about it. Fitchet was going to make it perfectly clear he was the most qualified to lead this department forward.

Gee, did he have a halo on his head as well? Reportedly Santaniello is showing up places to gather stories and hints he may even hire writers. His website definitely has potential, but far more interesting than any news he might gather is if he would come out and get autobiographical. What did he see around City Hall during all those years? Now that's a story to draw an audience! The question is whether Santaniello is brave enough, or honest enough to tell it.

This morning I saw this poster on the bus stop advertising an appearance by a band called Mail Myself to Thoreau. Now there's a name to pique the interest of the literary minded.

Finally, here's a video about space and sex.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sleep Out

Forgotten times.

My family has deep roots in the Pine Point section of Springfield, where my great-grandfather built a house on Hood Street with his own two hands. It is still standing today.

However, before my parents returned to raise their family in the Pine Point neighborhood where they were both raised, they bounced around a bit. When my father got out of the service, we lived for a time in the old Irish section of Springfield called Hungry Hill in a house on Littleton Street. The house had a big multi-car garage behind it, one that looks almost identical to this one on the street where I now live in Northampton.

Instead of brown, the garage on Littleton Street was painted green, but other than that my neighbor's garage is identical. The house and garage in Springfield belonged to my Uncle Steve, who rented it to us. Since we had only one car, my Uncle used the others to store various cars he was working on. My Uncle was a car nut, and every car he had was a showpiece of some sort.

My main memory of the garage however involves a time when I was around four years old and announced to my mother that I wanted to sleep in the garage that night. I'm not sure why, I guess it just struck me as adventurous. All my life I would do things for no better reason.

My mother thought it was a ridiculous idea, which it was, but she humored me since she believed I would never actually go through with it. Yet, when it became time for bed I gathered my blankets, put them in my wagon which was stored in the garage, and climbed in to go to sleep. My parents chuckled to themselves, thinking I must soon come rushing back into the house, terrified by the dark and the night sounds. However, a half hour passed and I did not return. My parents started to become concerned until my Mom made my Dad go out and check on me.

My father found me peacefully sound asleep. When he went back and told my mother this, she none the less made him return and carry me still sleeping back into the house, where he put me in my bed without waking me. In the morning I woke up and was mad to see what my parents had done!

I had forgotten all about that little story until I saw that garage last week when I moved into my new sober house. It's funny how memory works, with thoughts lying dormant and seemingly beyond recall until something you see, or hear or smell, or something someone says suddenly triggers the memory back to life. That particular memory strikes me as funny and sweet, therefore I am writing it down, before it gets lost again.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Rock Mayhem

At the Springfield Civic Center.

Before it got eclipsed into irrelevance by larger halls, The Springfield Civic Center was the premiere rock venue in Springfield. This is what it looked like before it was renovated into what is now called The MassMutual Center.

Rock concerts in the Valley did not originate at the Springfield Civic Center, with famous concerts by the likes of The Doors and Janis Joplin performed at such venues as the Springfield Auditorium (now called Symphony Hall) and the long since vanished Capital Theater years before the Center was even built. But in its prime, the Civic Center brought the biggest acts on the touring circuit to the Pioneer Valley.

The most notorious concerts ever held at the Civic Center were performed by the Grateful Dead, until one concert produced a fatality that got the Dead thrown out of Springfield for good. As I've written about it before:

The Dead have a storied history in Springfield. They were the first rock band to play the Civic Center when it opened (alas I did not attend) and caused a riot when they refused to come on stage until the seats on the floor were removed (can't cramp the noodle dancers ya know). This took some time and the crowd waiting outside got restless until the next thing you know some windows got broken and a few people got hurt. Despite this bad omen the Dead continued to play the Springfield Civic Center yearly until 1985, when a person alleged to be freaking out on acid hurled himself off the old Forbes & Wallace parking garage and landed with a bloody splat on Boland Way. The Dead were then permanently banned from Springfield, the only band I believe to have earned that distinction.

Although it was less serious than the Dead fatality, a violent incident involving Sebastian Bach of the group Skid Row also put the Springfield Civic Center in the national spotlight. An internet account describes the incident as follows.

Bach was arrested and tried on charges of mayhem, two counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and two counts of assault and battery following this incident at a concert in Springfield, Massachusetts, where Skid Row was opening for Aerosmith on December 27, 1989. In this case, Bach also faced $10,000 bail, which he posted at the time of his arrest. He later received three years probation.

Bach was accused of attacking concertgoers by tossing a bottle from the stage and then leaping into the crowd. One person was kicked in the head, and another, a 17-year-old female, was hit in the face, breaking her nose and skull. Bach returned to the stage to finish the gig after the scuffle, in which he said was antagonized by some of the concertgoers in attendance, one of whom had hit him with a bottle, which is why Bach said he threw it back into the crowd.

A person with a video camera captured all of the violence for posterity - and a jury! Bach ultimately got off with probation.

An Irishman, a Mexican and a blonde guy were doing construction work on scaffolding on the 20th floor of a building.

They were eating lunch and the Irishman said, "Corned beef and cabbage! If I get corned beef and cabbage one more time for lunch, I'm going to jump off this building."

The Mexican opened his lunch box and exclaimed, "Burritos again! If I get burritos one more time I'm going to jump off, too."

The blonde opened his lunch and said, "Bologna again! If I get a bologna sandwich one more time, I'm jumping too."

The next day, the Irish man opened his lunch box, saw corned beef and cabbage, and jumped to his death.

The Mexican opened his lunch, saw a burrito, and jumped, too.

The blonde guy opened his lunch, saw the bologna and jumped to his death as well.

At the funeral, the Irishman's wife was weeping. She said, "If I'd known how really tired he was of corned beef and cabbage, I never would have given it to him again!"

The Mexican's wife also wept and said, "I could have given him tacos or enchiladas! I didn't realize he hated burritos so much."

Everyone turned and stared at the blonde's wife. The blonde's wife said,

"Don't look at me, he makes his own lunch!"

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bridge Street Cemetery

A first visit.

It was cold this morning, but that did not deter me from seeking out the entrance to the Bridge Street Cemetery in Northampton. I said seeking because it isn't at all clear how to get into it from the road. You have to follow alongside the cemetery fence through this thickly settled neighborhood.

On the way I spotted this pheasant stenciled on a mailbox.

At the end of the street you finally reach the entranceway. Careful, or you might drive right past it.

The cemetery is under the care of the City of Northampton, which just as you go in lists all the rules it wants you to follow. Click the photo if you want to read them.

I realized that the cemetery is actually considerably larger than it appears from the outside, with long roads and paths.

Some people think cemeteries are creepy. I know what they mean, I've had a few spooky moments in them myself. But I'm a historian, however amateurishly, and therefore my curiosity about the past has always overcome any trepidations I might have about the restlessness of the dearly departed. For a lot people from the past, their tombstone is the only permanent record they leave behind. It is the only thing remaining when the records are buried in dust or lost altogether. Their stone stands in the world when they no longer do, and hint of what used to be and how it was. I'm intrigued by the mysteries they pose.

Most gravestones reflect primarily a family's grief, but not always. This stone was erected by the whole City of Northampton, to honor those who died in the Civil War.

In front of the Civil War memorial are two small pedestals with real cannon balls on them. Here's one.

Some people make monuments to themselves, especially rich people, who may not be able to take it with them, but they can use their gravestone to tell you they once had it! As if that makes them any less dead than the pauper in the unmarked grave a few rows over.

At least some of the larger ones are artistic, such as the beautiful white cross on this grave.

I had barely explored the area around the entrance when my fingers got cold. It occurred to me that exploring this cemetery was a bigger adventure than I'd thought and perhaps better explored in warmer weather.

So be it. I'll wait a few months, when the sun is high, and then I'll wander all these graveyard lanes and byways, compelling Bridge Street Cemetery to unveil its secrets.

I've never liked the way the Springfield Newspapers have those little news capsules at the bottom of their front page, but I could never put my finger on exactly what it was I didn't like about it. Jeff Jarvis finally did it for me in his critique of a similar move by The New York Times.

I won’t mince words: I hate the new and expanded news summary The New York Times introduced today on pages 2 and 3. It’s inefficient, wasteful, and ultimately insulting.

It’s not hard to see where this comes from. I’ve sat in no end of whither-newspaper meetings in companies and conferences in which the alleged shortened attention span of the American public is lamented. This is the most common cure. I’m sure the updated rationale includes blaming the internet: People read short things on the screen so they must want it in print.

But this is nothing new. In 1976, I was assigned — kicking and screaming — to be one of two editors to create the same news summary on the back page of the first section of the Chicago Tribune. Daily Briefing, it was called. Editors have tried putting them on the front page, on page 2, on the back page, everywhere. Never works. The Tribune’s feature died (after I quit in frustration and went to the San Francisco Examiner).

The problem with The Times’ latest effort is first that it’s inefficient and inappropriate to the form. They forget one of the still-great advantages of the interface of the paper: As I browse, I see every story and I get to decide then and there how deep to dive in: the headline or caption may tell me enough, the lede may, the first five grafs may. The beauty is that it’s all right there. If instead, I see a story of interest on The Times’ new page 2, I have to go shuffling through the paper to find it and keep reading.

The second problem, I think, is that it’s wasteful. As newspapers lose space and staff, I think they should be using both precious assets to go deeper, not shallower.

Third, I do not think it’s true that our attention spans have shorted. Our choices have increased. And that means that our selectivity is greater. So we may give shorter attention to the stories newspapers fed us when they controlled our media choice. Now they don’t and we read what we want to. Indeed, we can dig deeper into a topic of interest and follow it longer. In that sense, our attention spans are longer when and where it matters to us.

Are you listening, Springfield Newspapers?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Political People

Caught in the arena.

Continuing to rummange throught the vaults, here is a small sampling of people in politics I've photographed. I guess the highest ranking politician I ever photographed was then President Bill Clinton when he spoke in front of Springfield City Hall in November of 1996. Although the local media exaggerated the turnout, there was indeed a good crowd on a cold night. Thanks to the Walsh family I got right up front, close enough that if I wanted I could've bounced the rubber ball in my pocket off the presidential seal. I doubt the secret service would have liked that though, and I wisely took this photo instead.

Dropping considerably in both stature and size, here is a picture I took of little Dennis Kucinich, the perennial peace candidate for president who appeared at UMass in 2004. I got too close to the Congressman and my flash startled him, resulting in this unflattering shot.

I took this picture in 1994 when Mitt Romney was running for the U.S. Senate against Teddy Kennedy.

Here I am with former Lt. Governor Kerry Healey at the Calvin Coolidge Banquet in Agawam in 2005.

Former UMass President Billy Bulger was a fountain of Irish charm when I took this picture of him in Chicopee in 2001. However charming he may be, nothing can forgive the terrible crimes he and his brother Whitey committed against the citizens of Massachusetts.

Sheriff Michael Ashe and Congressman Richard Neal at Charlie Ryan's 2004 inaugural.

The late poltician and educator Leonard Collamore (left) at the same inauguration.

Also present that day was retired Bishop Joseph Maguire and WHYN radio personality Charlie Spencer.

Insurance guru, now School Committeeman Chris Collins (right) poses for me in the Mayor's office while Charlie Ryan and Wayman Lee chat in the background.

Chris' brother school union leader Timothy sits in the hallway of City Hall in this photo taken the morning after the murder of Ryan's aide Steven Pegram. Everything at City Hall was cancelled in the wake of the tragedy, but Collins, unaware of the murder, had unwittingly emailed teachers the night before urging them to come to City Hall for a meeting. He was waiting in case anyone showed up because they didn't hear that everything was cancelled.

Here's Peter Sygnatore and Michelle Webber. Sygnatore is one of the most praised Commissioners in the city, but Webber, Ryan's Chief of Staff, was ousted soon after this photo was taken because of never proven allegations of racial insensitivity.

That Sygnatore really gets around! Here he is partying at the Aquarius with reformer Karen Powell.

One day I was walking down Main Street in Springfield and came upon power-player Tony Ravosa, all done up in his military regalia, talking with his mailman.

For years Ravosa used to sit in his office on Court Square, whose front window was reflective so that he could look out but passeryby could see only themselves. None the less the homeless called him "the man behind the mirror." Here is Ravosa's white car parked in front of his office.

Well there's plenty more pictures where those came from, and as I sort through them I promise I will show you all the good ones.

This looks like a fun store to visit in downtown Amherst.

A cigar sign in the window of this antique shop in Northampton reminds me of an album cover by the Jefferson Airplane.

It was made to look like a cigar box. The album was called Long John Silver.

In it was a photograph of Jefferson Airplane cigars. No one believed that the cigars, if real, had tobacco in them.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Radio Friends

Some old pics.

This morning I was in Amherst and I took a little walk around the beautifully tranquil campus of Amherst College. That tranquility won't last - Spring Break ends today and it's classes as usual tomorrow.

I went over by the majestic statue of poet Robert Frost. It was erected at a spot where he himself, a teacher at Amherst for many years, was known to sit in quiet contemplation.

What a peaceful place to spend a few moments on Easter morn. Continuing my walk, I came upon this bumper sticker.

At long last my cold is completely gone! No more coughing and sneezing!

Unfortunately, I'm not quite as happy as I appear to be in this photo taken of me by my mother when I was two years old. Dig the dirty blond hair!

It eventually became dark brown, as it is in this photo of me and my mother in 2002 during her last summer alive.

Now it is growing lighter again, but the shift is to grey, not blonde.

If you wonder why I'm putting up all these old pictures, it is because I've sifting through some more of my archives, and came across some good ones. I'll show you them over the coming days, trying to at least vaguely organize them by theme. These pictures are taken at radio stations I've been involved with over the years.

The longest association I ever had with any radio station was WAIC in Springfield. Here is Tony Gill (right) of The Tony Gill Show relaxing with prominent local attorney Marshall Moriarty in the WAIC studios.

Marshall Moriarty is a prominent Republican activist, and was heavily involved with the unsuccessful 2001 City Council campaign of Charles Rucks.

A frequent guest at WAIC was former Springfield Mayor Charles V. Ryan.

Right-wing activist Mike Franco is shown here all decked out in red, white and blue.

Here's a motley crew: Franco, former City Limits publisher Jordan Williams, local historian Greg Metzadakis and me in 2004.

I also spent a lot of time at WHYN in downtown Springfield. Here a repairman cools his heels in the lobby in the year 2000.

One day when I was guest hosting The Reporter's Roundtable in 1998 I had as my guests super-activists Bob and Karen Powell. The table full of coffee cups was common, as the world of radio is full of caffeine junkies.

Also a guest that morning in '98 was Maureen Turner of the Valley Advocate, shown here perusing one of the last print issues of The Baystate Objectivist.

In 2003 former Springfield City Councilor Mitch Ogulewicz had a gig at WARE, where I used to visit him from time to time.

Oh well, that's all for now. Conspicuous in their absense are any photos from the Dan Yorke era. I have some somewhere, and when I come upon them be assured you will see every one.

Easter is a time of rebirth, and this Easter certainly is. I'm reborn in a sense, now free of all my crippling addictions. My brother John was also liberated this year from the terrible cancer that threatened to take his life. Here's a recent picture of him and his wife Connie, and you can see he finally has hair! Thanks again to all who helped in deed and prayer, words cannot describe my family's gratitude!