For you political junkies, here's a graphic showing how each county in the nation voted in the 2008 Presidential election. Notice how in New England only one county up in Maine voted for McCain. The Republican Party is indeed all but dead in our region of the country.
Here's a great poem by the recently departed Massachusetts writer John Updike about getting too old to die young.
Were I to die, no one would say,
‘Oh, what a shame! So young, so full
Of promise - depths unplumbable!
Instead, a shrug and tearless eyes
Will greet my overdue demise;
The wide response will be, I know,
‘I thought he died a while ago.’
For life’s a shabby subterfuge,
And death is real, and dark, and huge.
The shock of it will register
Nowhere but where it will occur.
(From Endpoint, a new collection of Updike poems to be published by Knopf in September ‘09)
People in Northampton are concerned because the gay store is for sale. Shops of that type don't always find a buyer.
Then again, if a store like that can't prosper in Northampton, where can it?
I went over to the farm at Hampshire College to check out the animals. However when I got there not a creature was to be found anywhere with not even any footprints in the snow. Wonder where they went to?
I decided to walk a little ways up to the Hampshire College sugar shack, perhaps to purchase some of their delicious Pioneer Valley maple syrup. But alas, they were closed.
Some days you just can't win for trying.
I've said before that I think alcohol should be illegal, but even I can't abide this silly political correctness controversy playing out in England. According to the BBC:
Drunken sailors" have been removed from the lyrics of a nursery rhyme in a government-funded books project.
But the Bookstart charity says the re-writing of What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor? has "absolutely nothing to do with political correctness".
The charity says that the shift from drunken sailor to "grumpy pirate" was to make the rhyme fit a pirate theme, rather than censorship.
"Put him in the brig until he's sober," has also been lost in the new version....
The original includes such suggestions as: "Shave his belly with a rusty razor", "Stick him in a bag and beat him senseless" and "Put him in the hold with the captain's daughter." The captain's daughter was a euphemism for a lashing from a cat o' nine tails.
This is the latest in a series of disputes over nursery rhymes. There were complaints in 2006 about pre-school children attending two nurseries in Oxfordshire being taught "Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep".
Last year, a story based on the Three Little Pigs fairy tale was turned down by a government agency's awards panel as the subject matter could offend Muslims. A digital book, re-telling the classic story, was rejected by judges who warned that "the use of pigs raises cultural issues".
However, a study in 2004 showed that nursery rhymes exposed children to far more violent incidents than an average evening watching television - including Humpty Dumpty's serious head injury.
That reminds me of the reformer who wrote in the paper that politicians were "spending money like a drunken sailor." A Navy vet wrote in and complained that as a former drunken sailor he resented being compared to a politician.
I like this picture someone sent me of Stephen Geoffreys:
Northampton's favorite magazine:
More Endless Winter
You know we've had enough of winter when you see this:
It snowed again today, not much but enough to dust the frog statue over the container in front of Hamp's First Church where you give money to the poor.
I was surprised to hear an advocate for the poor criticize that statue because the frog seems to be happily relaxing, giving the impression that the poor are just lazily waiting for a handout.
Today in Amherst I ran into Local Buzzer Greg Saulmon.
He was at UMass to cover the rally on behalf of Jason Vassell, who was arrested a year ago over a fight that some say had racist overtones. I don't really know what to make of the case. While Vassell hardly seems the purely innocent victim his defenders claim he is, there also seem to be legitiment questions about how he's being prosecuted. To check out Greg's coverage click here.
I like this hot clip of Marines doing the Cha Cha Slide in Iraq.