The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Slab City

The Last Free Place

Former Pine Pointer Jordan Williams has spent the last several years working for Bechtel on the left coast, but recently quit and has been enjoying a leisurely cross country adventure. Among his stops was California's legendary Slab City, the anything goes modern frontier town that describes itself as the last totally free place in America. Jordan files this report:


By Jordan Williams
Photos by Christie Smith and Jordan Williams

After resigning from Bechtel, I sure am having a fun and interesting time! One of the things I decided I would do was head for "Slab City" to see what the heck that deal was all about. Besides it was on the way to Vegas anyway. Sort of.

Niland, California is a tiny town on the east side of the Salton Sea and consists of a gas station, a couple convenience type stores, a coffee shop, a flea market, a trailer park and a few houses. It's also the gateway to Slab City which lies about 3 miles west via Main Street. Knowing that the Slabs are off the grid it seemed ironic to pass a big power plant on my left.

Another mile up brings you to Salvation Mountain and I had to stop and talk to its founder, Leonard. Suffice to say that Leonard (about 80 years old?) was very gracious and gave me the grand tour of either his:

1. Immense art project or
2. His amazing tribute to his faith in Jesus.

Leonard talks the talk of "salvation" but I suspect it's more art than faith. I heard that some of the Biblical quotes on the art are actually wrong. Regardless, through the force of his truly contagious personality, he's gotten donations of paint in the hundreds of thousands of gallons and created this colorful colossus. I applaud his friendly and ambitious spirit. I got him to pose for a picture with me.



Leonard: "C'mon in friend, let me give you a tour" and "Take a hike up the yellow brick road and I'll meet you on the other side". Much of what appears to be "mountain" is actually thousands of painted hay bales. Leonard lives in a tiny, raggedy camper colorfully festooned with "Repent!" and religious quotes at the entrance to his mountain. According to two friend's of Leonard's, Sean Penn asked Leonard if he could include him in his film "Into The Wild" and they told me that Leonard said, "Sure, but only one try, I ain't got no patience for doing things over". Penn took his one shot and Leonard is in the movie. I don't remember the movie that well, but I heartily recommend the book which talks about Slab City. Somehow I ended up with a CD, a puzzle and several postcards of Salvation Mountain. And I donated $5 for more paint.

Driving just past Leonard's tribute to God, or whatever it is, is a kiosk and sign welcoming you to: "Slab City: The Last Free Place". I'd decided ahead of time that I would do a drive-thru and spend the night there if I liked it, leaving sometime the next day. Or, if I didn't, I'd just drive in and out and start towards Vegas. I ended up spending three days.

My initial impression was that of poverty and a kind of spread out, ramshackle, chaos. The "slabs" themselves are concrete pads averaging maybe a 1/4 acre each which were left over when the military left this "base" after WWII. Somehow the area has been in a legal limbo between the military, state and federal govt's since then and nobody seems to wants to claim jurisdiction. There's no running water or electricity at the slabs. The consensus was that the population when I was there was between 2,000 and 3,000 people, but it fluctuates year to year and season to season.

The pads are more prestigious to live on, but most people just have their trailers, RV's and tents on hard-pack dirt. Many of the trailers look like they've been there for 30 or 40 years and are pretty broken down. But as I drove through I could see that for every trashed out neglected "property", there was another where the residents obviously took great pride in their yard and home and created beautiful spaces.



The first person I talked to at the Slabs went by the nickname "Heijer" (above). He, like most everyone I met, was very friendly and open. He was about 40 and had a bus and a trailer on a slab (which he had to fight for) and a car that didn't run. He had quite a story about how he went from successful building contractor in Montana to living at Slab City. It involved a terrible tragedy which I don't feel at liberty to repeat in detail. Suffice to say, it involved the death of somebody famous in military circles, a long legal process and, ultimately, complete exoneration -- yet the loss of everything he found dear in the process.

Heijer was a "true Slabber" in that he spent all year there. Not many can survive the brutal summer heat (120F+) without AC and the summer population drops to less than 100 survivalists. "The secret was to keep yourself completely covered up." Heijer also told me that after discovering the Slabs he sold his $25K SUV and donated the proceeds to charity. He'd been experimenting since then with living completely cashless and had done so for the past year. Since there's no rent at SC, the only necessary expense is food and Heijer was vague on how he got food for nothing.

I offered him some fruit which he eagerly accepted - hey, maybe that's how! We talked for a couple hours - and I discovered that he's a really smart guy. I also subsequently learned, from others, that he plays five different musical instruments and was the Slabs computer guru. He pointed to a couple of trailers arranged together in an L-shape within which a physicist was conducting laser experiments. My final conversation with Heijer had him suggesting that, for about $2000 in equipment, he could deploy a Slab City-wide intranet (not internet - satellite and bandwidth issues) and that he could handle all the programming and maintenance. There was a hint that I should really consider providing the $2000 dollars!



As the light faded away Heijer suggested that I might want to check out "The Stage" (above) for Friday night music and dancing. I followed the music and was treated to a real stage with five Slab musicians. There were about 50 people listening and dancing. I observed for a while and then made my way over to the barrel fire stage-left. There were about a dozen people hanging out at that one warming at the fire, some smoking pot.

I took over one of the plastic chairs and started talking with a guy named Kevin. He'd been in finance, made enough money and just decided to drop out of regular society. He'd only been there a couple of months - and he said he was having the time of his life: "Great people, quite a few single women, hanging out, no work. Nice!"

He took over a Quonset hut near Salvation Mountain that "Pixie" (above) had decided was too dark. Pixie (40ish and truly looks like a little Pixie) was dancing non-stop around the barrel fire. The music was fair - a couple of really good musicians and a couple of lousy ones. The guy on the harmonica was particularly inept - but somehow it all contributed to a mellow vibe that seemed just right.

I talked with Kathy who pointed that she lived "over there" - and that a bunch of single women lived "over there". Hmm....this place was sounding better all the time. Here is a romantic message on the community bulletin board.



Steve, a large inebriated guy in a Pittsburgh Steeler's jersey, asked me if I'd seen a prescription bottle under my chair when I sat down. I hadn't but somehow got involved in a investigation into who could've taken it. I later learned that it was filled with marijuana and he'd probably given it to two 20-something girls for safekeeping and they'd absconded with it.

The music lasted from about 8 p.m. till midnight and as the music ended and the Slabbers drifted towards their buses, shacks, tents and trailers, I went to my car and drove to a spot to sleep. It was a beautiful clear night. My Accord isn't exactly made for sleeping and I slept fitfully. The next morning I went to check out the burbling hot spring that Kevin told me about. I went twice. It's about 110F which was great, and "clothing optional". It's mostly used in the morning and at sundown to get clean, wash your hair, brush your teeth or just relax. It looked a little muddy but I felt clean and refreshed when I got out. Maybe 1/2 mile down the road is "The Shower" - I was told it was clean cool water cascading over a hillside and you just stand under the waterfall. I never made it there though.

Okay, a few words about the scale and layout of Slab City. I'd guess that one square mile encompasses 80% of the "homes". Beyond that it gets really sparse for another couple miles in a roughly southeasterly direction. There are two open-air restaurants/hangouts: The Oasis and Karma Kitchen. There's a nice pre-fab Chapel, a library (with thousands of books) and two music stages: "The Stage" and "The Range". If you want to use the internet there's a coffee shop in Niland that leaves their Wi-Fi on 24/7 so you can just surf in your car if they're closed. Two people thought there was a place in The Slabs that you could also get Wi-Fi, but that wasn't completely clear. Some people refer to different neighborhoods in the Slabs. One that's clearly marked with a sign is "Loner's - Low on Wheels" which is for single RV'ers (not couples). If you pair up you have to leave Loner's.



I went to breakfast Saturday morning at the Oasis ($4 for non-members, $3 for members - membership is $20/yr) and I ended up in a small-stakes poker game ($10 buy-in, I won $5). Karma Kitchen has free meals on Friday night and the woman who seemed to run it, "Angel", informed me that anyone who's hungry can probably get a meal there most other times (they get donations from a supermarket and restaurant and I think they are applying for a grant).

Everybody I met there was very friendly seemed to have an interesting story. Kevin made a lot of money in finance and just decided to drop out. Ross was a Canadian Buddhist, and an investor in energy stocks, who wrote children's books and was spending winters at SC and summers on Vancouver Island. Kay-Kay was a Katrina victim from New Orleans whose husbands (sic) had been shot to death.



Pixie (above) had been coming here since she was five with her parents and now she her son couldn't afford, or didn't want, to live anywhere else. Susanna (from LA, gorgeous) and her Norwegian partner, Lars lived in a converted school bus. I'd originally thought that Lars, in pigtails, was insane or brain-dead when I met him Sat nite, but his detailed explanation to me of why converted schoolbuses were superior to RV's or trailers put that to rest.

I'd considered leaving on Saturday afternoon, but I felt compelled to stay, especially after several people told me it was absurd to leave without going to the bigger dance and hearing the music at "The Range" that night. So I stayed and I'm glad I did.

There were a lot more people at The Range - maybe a couple hundred, though not at one time. There was seating for everyone on comfortable chairs that seemed to have been cannibalized from vans and theaters. Bonfires to the right and left. A stand selling beer, hot dogs and hamburgers. I danced a lot with Kay-Kay, though she was pretty drunk. The quality of the music was similar, mostly it was the same musicians. An unusual coincidence enabled me to put two people together that desperately needed to talk to each other but didn't know each other's name - and got treated like a hero for my efforts.

It was a fun evening, the highlight of which might have been a long conversation with Ross. No vices, and an acute observer of life at the Slabs, he suggested that I be very, very careful about the assumptions I made after only a couple of days here. "There's a lot going on here, that you don't see". He also noted that while SC might be good for some people here, there's also a sadness and poverty here. We talked about the role of Buddhism in his life and how he managed to do so well in the stock market. A very modest and really smart guy, and one that I suspect I'll read in the news someday - having done something remarkable.

I slept in the car again that night and slept much better and arose naturally just after dawn. I wondered if living outdoors for a while would correct my circadian issues.

There are Vietnam vets, bikers, down and outers, people of the lam from ex-spouses - or the law. People living on nothing and people living in $300K motorhomes. There are people that love to socialize and people that keep completely to themselves (easy to do here). They refer to "The Outlaw Code" to settle disputes which from what I could tell boils down to "Don't be an asshole."

The cops completely ignore Slab City, but if you are the victim of a violent crime you'd be expected to call the police - and they'd come. Having said that, there didn't seem to be much crime or fear of crime there. As far as claiming a spot, I gather it can be very easy or very complicated depending on whether you are perceived as encroaching on someone else's "property" or merely claiming a plot that nobody cares about. Kevin said I could have his old spot if I wanted. There's a rumor that there are a bunch of hazardous materials buried at, or near, the Slabsbut no one seemed very sure about that.

Before I say this next bit, I want to qualify that the following impressions only reflects the people I saw and interacted with - which is a small minority of people living at the Slabs. That said, there's a lot of pot smoking at the Slabs and Pixie told me that a bunch of them have gotten medical marijuana cards from the state "it costs about $130 bucks to get one". At the Oasis club and both music venues I was offered a pipe or a joint many times. Drinks too. I was also told by someone that people with alcohol problems that come to the Slabs can go downhill pretty quickly. There was some talk about one "neighborhood" that might have a "meth problem", but that was disputed.

I'm told that you can pick up an older but livable RV or trailer in nearby towns for a couple thousand dollars and just move it up to SC and call it "home". There are also a few uninhabited trailers that one entrepreneur suggested could be mine if I wanted, he'd give me a good price! Some of the other poker players rolled their eyes at his cheeky attempt. One thing I could tell was that many things had two prices: the tourist price (me) and the Slabber price.



Solar is big at SC and I was told that someone living on site could set you up for about $1000. That would supply enough juice for most normal needs (but not air conditioning). Twice I listened in on very technical engineering debates on optimal solar set-ups.

You can get plenty of water in town and I saw a sign for bottled water at $.20/gal. The food in Niland is convenience store priced, but the town of Brawley, about 15 miles down the road had supermarkets. I think someone like me could live pretty comfortably at the slabs for about $10/day (after the initial trailer/solar expense).

I got a traffic ticket in Niland. The ticket was legally correct. I'd stopped in town and got something from my trunk, got back in the car, and put it into drive before turning down onto a lonely gravel road, but before buckling my seat belt. Lights, sirens, $130 ticket. I must have been watched very closely.

In summation, I'd say that my long weekend at Slab City was one of the most remarkable of my life. I had so many great conversations with people that are experimenting with life. Part of the purpose of this journey is a re-evaluation of the relationship between money, work and happiness in my life. In ways that I haven't fully assimilated, I feel that Slab City was an important marker in that process.

Some of you have probably surmised that I'm not very keen of the traditional "American Dream" that corporate America is selling. I don't think it's particularly good for the health and welfare of individuals -- or for our planet.

Ride the Clouds
I'm pretty sure I'll be back at Slab City again - maybe next winter, maybe later and probably for a lot longer. As Ross points out though, I really should figure out what I want to get out of it.

I'll be back in Massachusetts around June, see ya then!

Jordan.

Photorama

View out my bedroom window.



Winter wonderland along the woodland way.



One-eyed snowman in Amherst's Kendrick Park.



Amherst Chinese through the window of Mango-Mango.



Phish-head parked on King Street in Northampton.



Get over it.



Patrick Brough caught Masslive.com staffers Jeff Hobbs, Kristen Beam and Matt Larson at the Apollo Grill in Easthampton on Friday.



Downtown Springfield by S.P. Sullivan.



Downtown Ware by Tony Mateus.



The Music Section

Sometimes I feel like I'm almost gone.



But I'm not giving in an inch to fear.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Deval's Comeback

New Governor's Race Poll



The latest poll in the Massachusetts Governor's race has some interesting results. While the primary is not until Septemeber and the real voting is in November, at this early stage it appears that the previously assumed doomed Deval Patrick is making a comeback. He definitely does not appear to be threatened in the Democrat primary by leftist activist Grace Ross:

Patrick - 59%
Ross - 15%
Undecided - 26%

On the Republican side, former Weld Administration official Charlie Baker has a commanding lead over fiscal conservative Christie Mihos; but with his total still below 50%, Baker can't be said to have the nomination in the bag just yet.

Baker - 47%
Mihos - 17%
Undecided - 36%

Christy Mihos in East Longmeadow recently. (W.Dusty photo)
However, if the current front runners, plus third party candidate Tim Cahill and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are polled in a four way match-up, these are the results:

Patrick - 33%
Baker - 25%
Cahill - 23%
Stein - 3%
Undecided - 16%

No surprise that fringe candidate Stein appears out of it, but the apparent strength of Deval Patrick is surprising and leaves Republicans feeling desperate to try to find a way to get Cahill out of the race. To see the full poll results click here.

Dumb All Over

Being from Springfield, when it comes to useless politicians I've seen it all, but this is one of the dumbest fucking political exchanges I've ever heard. Don't increase the fine - LEGALIZE IT! Northampton, how dare you elect clueless assholes like this:



Lost World



The blogger known as Rambling Van Dog has an amazing photo essay of Holyoke City Hall on his website, featuring never before seen pictures of parts of the 1875 structure that have been abandoned in modern times. Take a trip through the time tunnel by clicking here.

Three Pics

The Amherst Survival Center.



The Northampton version.



Out the back window of the Haymarket Cafe yesterday.



The Music Section

Jerry Garcia's pal David Bromberg in Northampton Wednesday night.



Trevor Hall in Boston last weekend.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Judgement Day

Horowitz Appraises UMass



It was another lively night at UMass yesterday as conservative writer and free speech crusader David Horowitz spoke at UMass as a guest of the campus Republican Club. As usual at Republican events, Horowitz's talk was punctuated by frequent outbursts from left-wing protesters and displays of radical political signage, an example of which can be seen below.



Now 71, in his youth Horowitz was a prominent leftist activist who worked extensively as a supporter and fundraiser for the Black Panther Party. In the 1970's however he began drifting further to the right, until by 1985 he had openly broken with the Left and became a major spokesman for right-wing causes. He especially focused on criticizing what he regarded as the takeover of American academia by leftists. He also became a well-known spokesman on issues of foreign policy as a militant defender of the state of Israel. It was his role as an advocate for Israel that perhaps inspired some protesters to hold up a Palestinian flag throughout his speech, despite the fact that Horowitz's talk was not intended to be about Middle-east policy and was actually entitled "Political Correctness".



One might have expected a general discussion of the concept of political correctness, but instead Horowitz zeroed in on specific examples of how it manifests itself at the University of Massachusetts. Horowitz explained that he had spent the day exploring the campus and visiting various departments. He openly mocked the "people not profits" motto of the student run People's Market, asking how you can expect anyone to work if nobody makes any money. Horowitz also stopped by the UMass Women's Studies department and read in a derisive tone from a pamphlet he picked up there entitled, "What You Can Do With a Degree in Woman's Studies." He described a degree in woman's studies as "worthless" in the real world.

Horowitz revealed that he had asked his student hosts whom they considered to be the most conservative professor on campus, and then arranged to sit in on an hour and a half class taught by that instructor. Initially Horowitz did not say who that professor was, but later let it be known that it was Sheldon Goldman of the Political Science Department. Horowitz was not impressed, accusing Goldman of presenting only one side of the issues discussed in his class and declared that if Goldman is the best example then "there are no conservative professors on this campus." He described that as typical at American universities, calling the removal of conservatives from college faculties "the most successful political purge in modern history."

However, Horowitz's judgement of UMass was not completely negative. He praised the University's Business, Science and Engineering departments because "they are rooted in the real world." But he declared that anyone who is taking Liberal Arts courses at UMass "is paying $17,000 dollars a year for a bad education."

Not surprisingly the leftists present, who made up almost half the audience, were not taking any of this very well, and catcalls, insults and obsenities were hurled at Horowitz throughout his speech, especially during the question and answer period at the end. While there were a couple of serious questions, most were merely rants designed to be inflamatory and insulting.



David Horowitz is a longtime veteran of speaking to hostile campus audiences and was completely unflappable under attack. When one student, with a Palestinian flag wrapped around his shoulders, shouted at Horowitz "You Pig!" and then ran out the door, Horowitz made the audience laugh by dryly suggesting "Get that guy to a psychiatrist." When another person repeatedly screamed "Fuck You!" at Horowitz and then also left the room before Horowitz could respond, Horowitz stated to audience applause, "I excuse that man's arrogance because I was once young and arrogant too, but I cannot excuse his ignorance."

Only once did Horowitz appear to be moved by the protesters. Referring to the heavy security at the event Horowitz asked, in a tone not of anger but of sorrow, "How has it come to the point that there needs to be police officers in the room for me to be able to express non-leftist opinions on this campus?"

Good question.

Heavy Snowfall

Wow, it snowed so hard last night you could hardly read the street signs this morning.



The weight of the snow made the weaker trees along the woodland way bow down.



Some branches broke off and fell across the trail.



I'm glad I wasn't passing by when this mutha came crashing down.



Arriving at the end of the way safe and sound in downtown Northampton, where the snow was piled high in the streets.



I ran into my WHMP friend Kelsey Flynn.



Is there any weather so bad that Hampers won't ride their bikes?


No there is not.


The Music Section

A drummer and his dog in downtown Amherst yesterday.



Metallica at their absolute fuckin peak.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ron Paul Wins Big

But What Does Poll Mean?



In a stunning upset, libertarian Republican Congressman Ron Paul won the straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this weekend, defeating previous three time winner former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. As the establishment favorite, Romney's defeat left observers wondering about the significance of the results, as reported in the Christian Science Monitor:

Despite Paul's significant victory, boos rang out from the convention hall when the poll results were announced. And many in the blogosphere quickly discounted the results.

"We can thank Ron Paul for showing just how worthless straw polls are," wrote RedState blogger Erick Erickson.

"There’s never been a poll Ron Paul couldn’t win, unless you count a presidential primary race," adds the guys over at Little Green Footballs.

Hang on, writes the National Review's Robert Costa. Paul knew what he was doing. There may have been some boos, but Paul was by far one of the more popular speakers at CPAC this year," Costa writes. "While Paul mingled with his acolytes, the big guns — Pawlenty, Romney — were often shrouded by aides or mingling backstage," he adds. "Believe me: CPAC folks noticed. And now, thanks to the straw poll, for a moment, Paul’s opening line from his address is true: His 'revolution is alive and well,' at least this weekend."

In case you thought that today's event meant that Paul had actually won the presidency, FOX News offered this helpful reminder: "The straw poll is not binding."


So what do I think? Here are the official straw poll results and my take on each contender:



Texas Rep. Ron Paul - 31 percent
Now 74 years old, Ron Paul is not going to run for president in 2012. However, his victory over more credible contenders is a powerful ideological statement that the Republican Party ignores at its peril. It is time for the libertarian wing of the party to take over from the Bush social conservatives.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- 22 percent
If John McCain had the sense to make Romney his running mate in 2008, he'd be president now. Today Romney is clearly the current front-runner for 2012, but he still carries the baggage of his authorship of the failed Massachusetts universal health law and his unattractive socially conservative Mormon background. Still, if he moves in a more libertarian direction, Romney may yet redeem himself.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin -- 7 percent
A fascinating media personality, but not a credible presidential candidate.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty - 6 percent
He's actually running for Vice-President, and would be a good pick.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich - 4 percent
The leader of the revolution of '94 is getting too old.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee -- 4 percent
Wears his religion on his sleeve too much to be electable.

Indiana Rep. Mike Pence - 5 percent
Mike who? First he needs to get known outside of Indiana.

South Dakota Sen. John Thune -- 2 percent
Talented enough that with the right moves he could break into the big time. Definitely prime veep material.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels -- 2 percent
Another unknown dude from Indiana.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum -- 2 percent
Despicable gay-basher is completely unacceptable.

Mississippi Gov. Hailey Barbour - 1 percent
Likeable and smart but no one from Mississippi is electable to the presidency.

Other - 5 percent
Sometimes the "other" category can produce some real surprises.

Undecided - 6 percent
Considering that 2012 is two long years away, those who marked their ballot undecided were probably the most sensible folks in the room.

Meanwhile, Springfield political rising star Joe Flebotte was at CPAC and took this picture of Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown.



He also took this pic of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.



Two Pics

View out the bus window crossing the Calvin Coolidge bridge this morning.



Wise words in a Hamp window.



The Music Section

No one would be surprised if I said that my favorite Pine Point guitarist is Karl Mayfield of Martian Highway legend, and of course I have a fondness for Destiny's Defeat, the first true Pine Point rock band. But no musician from Springfield's Pine Point section has had greater commerical success than Tony MacAlpine. I remember him best as a piano player and violinist. But it was as a fiery fingered guitarist that MacAlpine rose to the status of an internationally acclaimed musician, with an especially strong following in Europe and Japan.

This is a picture of MacAlpine (center) at my house in 1985, getting friendly with my genuine human skull Elvira.



Here's the Pride of Pine Point in action:



Easthampton guitar wizard and Valley Advocate dude Tom Sturm is in Miami, where apparently the manniquins are extra large.



Inevitably more video has surfaced from the concert Friday at UMass featuring Bob Weir and Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead. This sorta captures what it was like near the front of the stage.



One must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Keep On Shruggin'

From the Ayn Rand Institute:



Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” sold more than 500,000 copies in 2009, more than double the previous record set in 2008, reports Penguin USA, publisher of the four American editions. For the first time, combined annual sales of Ayn Rand’s four novels totaled more than 1,000,000 copies.

“The explosion in sales of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ more than a half century after its initial publication is truly remarkable,” said Dr. Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Institute. “Annual sales of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ have been increasing for decades to a level never seen in Ayn Rand’s lifetime.

“People are discovering the prescience of Ayn Rand’s writing. They’re seeing the policies of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ villains Wesley Mouch and Cuffy Meigs acted out by our government officials today. They’re looking for answers on how to stop government intrusion in our lives. ‘Atlas Shrugged’ provides those answers, and many more.”

First published in 1957, “Atlas Shrugged” continues to draw media attention, including a recent episode of “Stossel” on Fox Business Network dedicated to the novel. More than 7,000,000 copies of “Atlas Shrugged” have been sold since it was first published.


Hamp Shots

This morning I took a shortcut through Thornes.



But it was too early and everything was closed.



So I went across the street to the Haymarket, sipping coffee downstairs at the table by the statue of the saint.



An icicle hanging from a tree by my house.



Dead flowers on Main Street.



But Spring has already arrived in the window of Faces.



I like this picture being used to promote the Pink Floyd Experience show tomorrow at the Calvin.



Through the looking glass with the Doug Hewitt Band in Holyoke.



Portrait of Timothy Leary
by Grace Slick