Gosh, I've been so busy lately I haven't had as much time to devote to the noble task of blogging. What's keeping me so occupied is the activities they've got me doing in anticipation of making the transition from welfare to work. Basically I've been a burden on the taxpayers ever since I went into rehab almost a year ago. People tell me that's okay, because for decades I worked to pay for other people to collect welfare, and now I'm only getting my money back.
Well, maybe. My rehab costs about 900 bucks a day and I was there for eight weeks. You do the math, and you can see that I've certainly gotten a refund on past tax payments. In fact, I estimate the government has spent about $75,000 dollars in the past year keeping me sober and alive.
Saving Tommy Devine - Your tax dollars at work!
Anyway, I hope to be self-supporting soon, but that requires doing things and spending time that used to be spent with you, precious readers. But don't worry, I'll still be posting regularly, and taking pictures, like this one I took this morning of a spiderweb near my house, glowing in the dawn sunlight.
Or this picture of a farmer's tractor transporting gourds in Amherst.
Or of Zonker in the high grass.
Last night I was in downtown Northampton and stumbled upon this meeting of Design Northampton.
I'm not really familiar with what this group is up to, but their website explains their mission this way:
Design Northampton Week (DNW) is an opportunity for everyone in Northampton who cares about the City's future to come together and work toward a common vision. Graduate students from Notre Dame University, under the guidance of Professor Philip Bess, will work with us to deepen our understanding of design and planning issues and develop creative solutions to some of the most important long-term planning issues that we face. Design Northampton Week will run from Sunday, September 7 (opening presentation at 7 PM at the new Senior Center on Conz Street) through Saturday, September 13 (closing session at 4 PM at the Senior Center). Between those dates, there will be continuous opportunities for citizens to interact with each other and the design team to create this vision at the new A.P.E. Gallery Space on Main Street. Everyone is invited.
The problem with such endeavors, however well meaning, is that when the "common vision" clashes with economic realities the vision usually fails. It is always in the business board room, not the public meeting, where the real economic development decisions get made. Still, let's see what they come up with before passing judgement.
Outside I ran into three of my buds - Michael, Shane and Victor.
Inside I didn't see anybody I knew.
People keep asking me what I think of John McCain's pick for vice-president, Sarah Palin. Well from all indications she is a member of the Christian Right, a group I usually can't stand. It was Ronald Reagan who brought the Christian Right into the Republican Party, and while it may have been a successful alliance from a political standpoint, in the long run it is a disaster for the Republicans, undermining whatever intellectual pretences they may have of being the party of ideas.
The alliance Reagan forged with the Christian Right was deeply cynical, because Reagan himself was not religious in his private life. However, Reagan figured it would lock up the South for the GOP for a generation if he brought the fundamentalists into the party and it worked. McCain's pandering to this segment of the electorate is also cynical, because it was the religious conservatives in South Carolina who dashed his hopes of winning the nomination eight years ago. Surely he has no love for them.
Yet, politically it appears to be a brilliant move. The polls show McCain surging ahead as the Democrats, who just a few months ago thought their victory was a certainty, now find it all slipping away. Personally I'm not crazy about either of the candidates. The nominating process itself is designed to prevent any true agent of change from emerging. People such as Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich, the only two true change agents to run this year, really have no chance of being nominated, since the process pushes everyone toward the center until in the end you get two candidates who are different from each other only marginally. Yes a McCain presidency would tilt a little to the right, and an Obama presidency a little leftward, but no matter who wins anyone who thinks that real change is gonna happen is kidding themselves.
That can make it hard to decide who to vote for. Here's something to help you heterosexual males make up your mind.
If you vote for Obama....
You get this.....
But if you vote for McCain....
You get this....
Lastly, here's a song about boys and their shoes.