The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


A busy morning.

When people think of life on government programs they assume you are lying around watching soap operas or something. Far from it, being poor is practically a full time job! You are always running around trying to get things together.

For example, to take advantage of a wonderful housing opportunity, I had to go fill out some forms at the housing office in Northampton. However I didn't know where it was. My friend Josh told me it was behind the restaurant Sylvester's on Pleasant Street. So that's where I headed. Passing through downtown I saw this unusually well done hand-drawn sign.

I also passed this old sign painted on the wall of this coffeeshop. Sadly, it has been damaged by modern vandals.

What the hell is Uneeda? It is the original name of the Nabisco Company, which on its website gives the following account of its early history:

The Uneeda Biscuit boy is the story of early American advertising boiled down to a single parable that just happens to be real history. In the early 1890s there were hundreds of hometown bakers putting out generic crackers in barrels with plain cookies in square shipping boxes. Mothers would say, "George, here' s a paper bag. Go down to the store and fill this with crackers." Uneeda was one of the first mass marketed products outside of its region, due to the "sanitary packaging" it promoted as being a step above the cracker barrel in terms of health and convenience. National Biscuit Co. launch the first prepackaged biscuit, Uneeda, with the slogan "Lest you forget, we say it yet, Uneeda Biscuit." Eventually, the company launches the first million-dollar advertising campaign for Uneeda.

Northampton historians should make an effort to preserve this valuable wallpainting.

Finally I arrived at Sylvester's.

Going behind it I encountered this courtyard with a beautiful fountain.

Sure enough, there was the housing office.

However, when I went to the door I discovered that it is closed all day Wednesday. Sheesh, all that for nothing!

Oh well, never one to let a trip be wasted, I headed up the hill to the Forbes Library, where I heard that there was a display based on Northampton's political history. On my way I passed this car - or was it a ghostride? - headed in the same direction.

When I got to the library, I looked all around the first and second floor but couldn't find the political display. Finally I asked a librarian and she told me it was down in the basement. I had never realized that there was a basement open to the public, but the librarian pointed me to this doorway by the public payphone leading to a stairway.

Once downstairs, I discovered this very informative display based on Northampton's political heritage, starting in the 1800's. (click photos to enlarge)

One whole section is devoted to the most famous politician in Northampton's history, Calvin Coolidge.

This section shows the modern history of Northampton politics.

Conspicuous in its absence was any mention of the City Council campaign of Paolo Mastrangelo. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that he lost. Yet sometimes losing campaigns can be very influential, spreading ideas and policies that are later adopted by the winners.

One person whom I noticed in the display that I knew personally was the late historian Richard Garvey (center) who was a Forbes Library trustee, which is an elected position. Garvey was also a prominent figure at the Springfield Newspapers.

I suggest you stop by and see this informative retrospective, which does much to bring to life the rich political history of Northampton.

When I got back to Amherst and went to the UMass library, I encountered this person claiming that Satan is taking over and the end is near!

Well the end will have to wait, as I simply have too much to do!

This is Emily from the Amherst Survival Center. She acted in the movie being made in Northampton. Mel Gibson kissed her!

Just kidding! Actually she was an extra playing an anti-war protester, something she does in real life. The grisly photo she's holding is the one she waved in the film. Far from kissing Gibson, she was told never to even look at him! She got paid $130 bucks to wave her picture and shout "No More War!" as Gibson went by. The actors had to appear on the set at 4:30 in the morning but were given a first class breakfast. To do her little ten second scene she had to wait around until nearly noon. Yet she described the whole experience as great fun and easy money.

This afternoon I had to go to the UMass Collegian office to meet a photographer in order to take pictures for the feature they're running on me tomorrow.

The photographer, Ryan Fung, was pretty creative. We went out by the Minuteman statue and he shot me from a variety angles and poses, including some with him lying on the ground and shooting up at me.

I'll link to it tomorrow so you can all see how the pictures and article came out.


Mary E.Carey said...

Very fun post! I hope your wonderful housing opportunity is in Amherst.

Andrea Murray said...

What an... interesting... dance.

Just wanted to let you know I'm running my profile on you in Friday's edition! So pick some up and it'll be online at

Anonymous said...

being poor is a full time job if you are an idiot and a loser

Forbes said...

Thanks for the shout out on your blog about the Northampton elections exhibit! Your photos were great! If Paolo sends me stuff, I am happy to add it in!