Once again I forgot about the bus schedule changes on account of the students on break, so I had some time to wander a bit around downtown. That's why I always carry a camera with me, you can always see things to photograph when you put your mind in the right place.
The gay pride flag outside the Unitarian Church.
Bumperstickers are big sellers around here. Every car has got at least one.
Paintings in a window of Northampton's most favorite subject - itself.
A mysterious gold painted brick on a wall.
The Northampton parking garage was built in 1989.
I remember what that space was like before the garage. It was a big gravelly, cracked asphalt parking lot that had a little white wooden shack in the middle of it that served as the Peter Pan bus stop.
My main memory of the Blizzard of '78 involves that shack. Despite the terrible weather, I was determined to go to Springfield that day for a big fun party. I waited and waited inside the shack with a few other people for the bus to come until finally we were told the bus was cancelled.
I was really bummed, as were my friends in Springfield, because I was bringing some of the party supplies in my knapsack, in particular some blotter acid with Mr. Natural on it (a legendary brand) and a brick of hashish so fine it would crumble at the first lick of the flame.
But I had no choice but to go back to the apartment I was renting on Dryads Green, stopping at the King Street Packy before they too closed for the storm. Thus armed against whatever unpleasant realities might arise in the midst of the worst storm of the century, I really don't remember what happened next. But I feel I can reasonably guess that I faced the furies of nature with better humor than most.
One of the coolest things in Hamp is the Drive By Poets, who distribute their poetry out of boxes like newspapers.
Here is their latest by Denise Fontaine-Pincince:
For Using the Word "Miracle" In Telling
Her Seven-Year-Old Son How A Single,
Pink Impatien Had Just Bloomed Out of
the Crack Where My Sidewalk and
Foundation Meet, A Few Feet Away From
the Window Box where I'd Planted Last
I'm not sorry.
Northampton, ya gotta love it, where even the graffiti is uplifting.
The first major poll to look at the Republican field for 2012 has our own former Governor Mitt Romney leading the field. According to Public Policy Polling:
Mitt Romney and Scott Brown
Our first national look at who Republicans would prefer as their 2012 Presidential nominee confirms the wide open nature of the field. The leading candidates are all within the margin of error of each other, with Mitt Romney leading at 28% followed by Mike Huckabee at 24% and Sarah Palin at 23%. Ron Paul pulls 11%, 9% say they're undecided, and 6% say their preference would be someone else.
Romney's lead speaks to the fact that moderates could actually pick the GOP nominee in 2012. That's because there's gridlock among conservatives about who their preferred candidate is. Huckabee leads with 28% to 27% for Palin and 25% for Romney. But the former Massachusetts Governor has a large advantage with moderates, getting 35% to 17% for Palin and 16% for Huckabee. That significant edge with them gives him the overall lead.
I like Romney, but he's a little too establishment for me and showed poor judgement in his failed Massachusetts healthcare plan. Huckabee is too religious, and Palin needs to find her true calling as a talk show host. Ron Paul is simply too old. So as far as I'm concerned, no major player now on the field strikes me as a suitable challenger for Obama. I strongly suspect that the actual GOP nominee in 2012 will be someone whose name we are not even considering today.
The Music Section
Surrealistic imagary of a concert in the basement of Thornes in downtown Northampton.
Valley rockstars Thurston Moore of Northampton and J. Mascis of Amherst teamed up to form an avant-garde punk band called Demolished Thoughts which performed the other day at the trendsetting SXSW conference in Austin. A video has surfaced of the madness: