Here is some more of my past correspondence. These e-mails are related to people who are well known for one reason or another.
Ken Babbs is the former sidekick of author Ken Kesey and co-founder of the Merry Pranksters. I wrote a review of one of the CD's he and the Pranksters made and suggested that he should write his autobiography. This was his reply:
From : capn skyp firstname.lastname@example.org
To : "Tom Devine" email@example.com
Subject : Re: Forta July 03
Date : Fri, 05 Sept 2003 11:05:34 -0700
Hey Tom, thanks for the review. The bit about Feg Shui being like a Zappa thing was right on. I guess I'll always be known as a prankster; like kesey says, "Yah never quits dah mob," but the Forta July CD is a skypilot collaboration which is why it is all new material, done on the spot, with some tweaking on the computer. The signature piece for me is Figaro de la Goof, performed spontaneously in the spirit of Neal Cassady, dubbed The Holy Goof by his buddy, Jack Kerouac. Yeah, the skypilots are a move forward from pranksterdom which took a major hit when kesey died. skypilotclub allows us to explore new realms, go where sluggards fear to fly.
Thanks for the bouquet on my trombone playing.
Zane's site has all the news about the upcoming Kesey symposium in November, plus two books coming out at the same time: kesey's jail journal and spit7, which is all about kesey.
hoisted aloft on a blimp
and play across country
from a platform dangling below
spending so much time
living my autobiography
I'm lacking the time to write one
but occasionally a noodle or two
appears on the website
slurped with pungent sauce.
In 2003 I wrote an article wondering what happened to Stephen Geoffrey's the once very popular 80's star who had disappeared into gay pornography. I received this mystery letter claiming to be from someone within the porn industry who refused to use their real name.
I had the pleasure of directing Stephen Geoffreys in a few videos, the best of which, I think, was LEATHER INTRUSION CASE 2: THE SPIDER'S KISS. He did a scene with Drew Andrews.
Stephen was great to work with. Always enthusiastic and eager to do what was required of him. His acting in porn left something to be desired, though. I thought he was wonderful in FRIGHT NIGHT, FRATERNITY VACATION and his other movies, but check out his acting in my video LEATHER AFTER MIDNIGHT. Hmmmm. Maybe by then he'd stopped caring about that part of his career.
He was having money problems, combined with drug problems. That is why he went into porn when the mainstream film world stopped calling him. His hair was thinning, to the point where he started wearing a hairpiece (sometimes he wore a cap just to take a break). We had a sit-down talk one day, and he told me about how he'd like to get back into doing movies, but he thought his porn career would prevent that. I told him that his main fan base were the horror fans, and that they wouldn't care if he was gay or did porn. They just wanted to see him as Evil Ed again, or in 976-EVIL III. He told me that he'd recently gone to a horror movie convention and was thrilled by the attention he got there. No one brought up "Sam Ritter". He seemed uplifted by our talk, and I hoped it might stir him to get back into the swing of it, but soon after, I heard he'd moved to San Francisco to avoid some people he owed money to.
But the gay porn thing was not something he was really ashamed of. Not too long after that, I helped the editor-in-chief of "Scarlet Street" magazine find Stephen for an interview, and in the magazine, he freely admitted to doing gay porn.
So, Stephen, if you're out there reading this, get in touch with me, okay?
Jett Blakk Katt
In recent years Ralph Slate has become a major and sometimes controversial figure in local historical circles. However in 2003 he was just an amateur historian who collected pictures of Springfield, and who wrote to tell me he had discovered that a photo I had run of Charlie Ryan and his supporters marching through Mason Square inadvertently solved a historical mystery.
From : "Ralph Slate" firstname.lastname@example.org
To : email@example.com
Subject : Charlie Ryan Photo
Date : Wed, 27 Aug 2003 10:19:02 -0400 (EDT)
Hi Tom --
I was browsing your excellent website, as I often do, and came across the photos of Charlie Ryan campaigning. One of the photos looked really familiar to me -- the one entitled "ryanmutual.jpg".
I am an amateur historian, Springfield resident, and I like to collect photos of Springfield houses. I buy them at antique shows or on eBay, and I like to try and send a copy to the owner when I can identify it. The abovementioned photo looks exactly like one of the houses I have been trying to identify. You can see it here on the right:
I'm guessing that the photo is from State St., approaching Mass Mutual, can you confirm this? I have a whole slew of photos from the same photo album, I bet I can pin them all down with this coincidental tip.
For a few years I did radio with Tony Gill at WAIC in Springfield. He sent me the following account of the political scene in Springfield. Of course he was just joking - or was he?
From : "Anthony Gillylan" firstname.lastname@example.org
To : email@example.com
Date : Mon, 19 May 2003 05:57:07
Love your commentary online! I think Dave Starr was laughing precisely because he knows the city is as corrupt and incompetent as anything he's ever published. Seuss's statue would become a huge FBI surveillance target, rightfully investigated by the Feds should Springfield take over Libraries and Museums. The Cat in the Hat would find himself handcuffed the next morning, charged with masturbating in front of the little children who sought out Seuss's books to learn basic reading skills. Then the disgraced Cat in the Hat would escort Mayor Albano to Seuss's (re-built and re-imagined) House on Mulberry Street, which he was able to purchase in a sweetheart no-interest no-pay loan arranged in a City Hall back-room deal, thanks to Artichoke Ardolino.
Of course, Gerry Philips is there waiting for the both of them. You know where this is going. Cries and Whispers: Mikey and Gerry are spotted together at local Cat House!
Karen Powell and her husband Bob are two of Springfield's most notorious activists. They were especially active during the Albano's era's baseball stadium scheme, which was backed by the Springfield Newspapers. That sometimes caused the Powell's to receive negative press, but when the paper made fun of Karen's brand new lower back tatoo, she could barely contain her anger and contempt.
From : Karen Powell firstname.lastname@example.org
To : "Tom Devine" email@example.com
Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2001 01:38:33 -0400
About Mayor Mike's Daily Paper, I am still trying to figure out when I pulled my pants down. About the only thing they got right is that I did get a tatoo of a butterfly. It is on my lower back so sometimes I have to pull the waist on my jeans a little but I haven't shown anything that I would be arrested for showing in public.
I will be the first to admit that I am somewhat unconventional and I was really excited that I finally did go and have my tatoo. I told Bob that I had to do something to make me feel more like my old self because my basic personality is to buck the rules and I have been very establishment lately. I am certainly not going change my personality to suit a bunch of stuffed shirts who are just looking for something to pick apart about people.
For some reason when it comes to that "so called paper, " I don't see or hear the same things they do even when we are at the same place. They wrote about one meeting I went to during the stadium fiasco and I don't know which one of us was really there since I heard the opposite of what they reported. During the Needle Exchange, they wrote an editorial criticizing Sue and me for saying something at a meeting that we didn't say. We were not even at the meeting.
I think McDermott gets a little upset when things are not going his way so he shows just how petty and unprofessional he is. Maybe I should get Caron's name tatooed on my butt and as McDermott suggested, turn the other cheek. :)
The day I let that moron McDermott intimidate me is the day you will see pigs fly. I am also not going to change the way I act or think. I have always done what I feel comfortable doing and am not going to act like something I am not to make some "hot shots" happy.
The only time I get hurt is when someone that matters to me says something that hurts my feelings. When it is someone that doesn't mean anything to me, they don't have the power to hurt me. I may get angry initially but even that doesn't last. I could see McDermott's fingerprints all over that piece of trash and I have no doubt that he will do it again. Thankfully, he is one of those people that I don't care what his opinion of me is.
I did send Mr. Newhouse a fax concerning McDermott's unprofessional comments to Paul Caron when Paul announced his candidacy. I presume that may have touched a nerve. I also faxed Mr. Newhouse a copy of the piece they did in the Spfld tabloid with a few personal comments.
I always remember when Bob and I were getting married. My mother sat Bob down and gave him a pep talk because he would need it being married to me. She told him not to even try winning an argument because it wasn't possible with someone as stubborn as her daughter. She also told him he would have his hands full. My Mom knew me well. :)
In the year 2000 Pine Point's Twig Painter Richard Doyle announced that he was running for president. He wasn't on the ballot in any state, and spent no money on his campaign, but that didn't stop him from getting widespread local publicity that included a column by Tom Shea in the Springfield newspapers. I also wrote something, and Doyle sent me this letter of gratitude.
July 20, 2000
Thank you for your coverage of my campaign to become the first person to be elected to the Presidency of the United States without ever appearing on the ballot of a single state. I remain confident that a groundswell of write-in voters will make me the first President elected to the presidency from Western Massachusetts since former Northampton Mayor Calvin Coolidge. However, I intend to be much more dynamic than so-called "Silent Cal" about whom one wit is said to have exclaimed after he died, "How can they tell?"
One of the keys to my massive charisma is that I always accentuate the positive. As a local educator and businessman, I am dismayed by all the pessimism I encounter among the public these days. How quickly we forget how fleeting life's problems are, and how often they are resolved for the better. For example, let me recount for you a recent crisis I experienced with my most recent (female) lover.
I wished to purchase a birthday present for my girlfriend, but as we had not been together for very long, after careful consideration I decided to purchase her a pair of gloves - romantic, but not too personal. Accompanied by my sweetheart's younger sister, we went to Walmart and I purchased a lovely pair of white gloves. Her sister also purchased a joke gift to give to my girlfriend, a sexy pair of panties. We both had our purchases gift wrapped at the store, but somehow during the wrapping the clerk got the gifts mixed up, so that I walked off with the package containing the panties while the sister went home with the gloves. Since I had no way of knowing about this mix-up, I mailed the package to my lover accompanied with the following note:
"Darling . . . I chose these because I noticed that you are not in the habit of wearing any when we go out. If it had not been for your sister, I would have gotten you the long ones with buttons, but she wears short ones that are easy to remove. These are a delicate shade, but the lady I bought them from showed me the pair she had been wearing for the past three weeks, and they were hardly soiled. I had her try yours on for me and she looked really smart. I wish I was there to put them on you for the first time, as no doubt other hands will come in contact with them before I have a chance to see you again. Just think how many times I will kiss them during the coming year! I hope you will wear them for me Friday night."
Imagine my surprise when I visited on her birthday and she hauled off and slapped me in the face! Fortunately, after much explaining, we reconciled to much laughter. So Tom let your readers remember that life is short and to face piles of trials with smiles.
Professor Richard "The Twig Painter" Doyle
American International College
We’re only in the early stages of the liberal suicide march, but there already have been three phases.
First, there was the stimulus package. You would have thought that a stimulus package would be designed to fight unemployment and stimulate the economy during a recession. But congressional Democrats used it as a pretext to pay for $787 billion worth of pet programs with borrowed money. Only 11 percent of the money will be spent by the end of the fiscal year — a triumph of ideology over pragmatism.
Then there is the budget. Instead of allaying moderate anxieties about the deficits, the budget is expected to increase the government debt by $11 trillion between 2009 and 2019.
Finally, there is health care. Every cliche Ann Coulter throws at the Democrats is gloriously fulfilled by the Democratic health care bills. The bills do almost nothing to control health care inflation. They are modeled on the Massachusetts health reform law that is currently coming apart at the seams precisely because it doesn’t control costs.
David Brooks in today's New York Times.
Every morning you can see the Northampton merchants sweeping the sidewalk in front of their stores. But today the sidewalk has tents set up for a big outdoor sale.
At Faces they have to mop their new rubber turquoise entranceway, rather than sweep it.
But such concerns of the day are of little interest to First Church, which views downtown from the perspective of centuries.
I saw a friend of mine going into the side door, and asked him if I could go inside. He said yes and I got to see the very nice lounge area in back.
From the outside this section of the ancient building looks quite drab.
But from the inside you can see the room exploding with colors from the stained glass windows.
Hopefully I'll have the chance to explore more of the inside someday.