Sunday, September 25, 2011


An angry troll along the Norwottock Trail. I'm over my own angry rant about the election results in Springfield. Hey, the people have spoken - God damn them.

Looks like the Jolly Green Giant has been by.

Feminists too pass this way.

Along the Hadley part of the trail I came upon this group of turkeys crossing a farmer's field.

What is a group of turkeys called? According to - A group of turkeys is called a rafter, although a gang is also an acceptable name. They have also alternately been called a gobble, although this definition is colloquial and does not appear in dictionaries.

But my real wildlife thrill this week came while I was traversing the woodland way into downtown Northampton one morning. I whipped out my camera as fast as I could as soon as I spotted this deer staring at me from the clearing!

I quickly turned on my telescopic lens to get a closer shot, but then imagine my amazement as yet another deer entered the viewfinder!

Then both of them melted away back into the woods. How lucky I am to live in such close communion with nature! Emerging from the woodlands onto King Street and then down to Main, I encountered Bill Dwight (right) setting up a table for his City Council campaign. He served on the Council years ago and is trying to get back on.

One of the reasons Dwight may have decided to make a political comeback is because his long running gig working at Northampton's Pleasant Street Video ended over the summer when the joint went out of business. Here's a funny video someone made to mourn its passing.

There is a theory that if anybody ever discovers exactly what the universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory that states that this has already happened. - Paul Kantner

Monday, September 19, 2011

Primary Wrap-up

Springfield's Tragic Loss

Pepe and friends last night by Don Treeger.

It's a sad day in Springfield as the best chance the city had for meaningful reform slipped away with the defeat of Antonette Pepe for Mayor in yesterday's primary. That leaves the contest in November between incumbent Dom Sarno and Albano era stooge Jose Tosado. Sarno whomped Tosado by a landslide margin, leaving it highly unlikely that Sarno will be beaten in November unless he really messes up big time in the coming weeks. While Sarno has been a competent mayor, he is not the person who will shake things up the way they need to be shaken up to give the city some forward momentum. That person was Antonette Pepe, and her elimination in the primary is a tragic loss for the entire region.

Meanwhile, the at-large City Council results did little to dispel Springfield's reputation as having the dumbest electorate in the Valley. The pitiful results were as follows:

Thomas Ashe: 6,885 - That a flunkie for convicted felon Frankie Keough (Keough once described Ashe as his political heir) could finish in first place is so pathetic one is tempted to simply give up in despair on Springfield.

Tim Rooke: 5,955 - Rooke is the only councilor who consistently appears to take the public good into consideration. His second place finish partially redeems the shameful Ashe results.

Kateri Walsh: 5,642 - Everybody likes Kateri, including me, but she is an old guard councilor not noted for any reform tendencies.

Bud Williams: 5,117 - He did nothing when he was on the Council before, why do voters want to send him back?

Jimmy Ferrera: 5,087 - It's been a mystery why Ferrara was ever elected in the first place and that he gets re-elected is simply baffling. May he finally be shown the door.

Justin Hurst: 4,245 - Another wanna-be from one of Springfield's establishment families. Beyond the family connections, he hasn't given anyone a reason to vote for him.

Amaad Rivera: 3,179 - This crusading leftist really wishes he was a congressman. Voters should give him the free time to challenge Richie Neal in the Democrat primary of 2012.

Miguel Soto: 2,398 - An ethnic candidate crippled by the low Hispanic turnout.

Charles Rucks: 2,327 - Probably the best challenger on the field, but somehow he never gets the attention he deserves. Hopefully the voters will wake up by November.

Joseph Fountain: 2,111 - The comeback attempt by this eccentric figure from the Albano era continues, but just barely.

Bruce Adams: 2,036 - He got eliminated because he didn't get it - even in Springfield you're supposed to be accused of stealing after the election, not before.

John Stevens: 1,557 and David Ciampi: 1,374 - Of course two Republicans occupied the bottom spots - after all, the Democrats have done such a wonderful job for Springfield.

Write-ins: 149 - I'd love to know whose names were being written on the ballots. How much you wanna bet most of the names being written in were far superior to any of the actual candidates?

A display of football memorabilia at the UMass library shows this image from the cover of a 1961 game program. It portrays a typical college student attending a game with two bratty kids in tow. Those were the days when everybody got married right out of high school and most of the students had at least two kids by graduation. Today college students who are raising children are a rarity.

The annual marijuana legalization rally in Boston, one of the largest in the country, was held last weekend and among the speakers was Amherst's Terry Franklin. Here's his two minute speech.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Never Forget

Northampton - What a concept!

It starts getting chilly early here in New England.

The haunted, frightened trees in the window of Silverscape.

In the window of Valley Antiques a treasured memento of the past boys of summer.

Through the window of the APE Gallery.

Last Sunday was the tenth anniversary of the event universally known simply as 9/11. Here Selectboard Chairperson Stephanie O'Keefe addresses the Amherst Police and Fire Departments.

Big Y let the town borrow their gigantic flag, the largest ever to fly on the Amherst Common.

Naturally Larry Kelley was there blogging it all for posterity.

But it wouldn't be Amherst without a little protest demonstration on the side.

At UMass they had this huge flag display outside the campus center.

There are a couple of important local primaries this Tuesday. I don't live in Springfield anymore, but if I did I'd vote for the most honest woman in Valley politics, Antonette Pepe for Mayor. For At-large City Council I would vote for Timothy Rooke, Kateri Walsh, John Stevens, Charles Rucks and David Ciampi.

Of course this being Springfield, be sure to vote early and often!

If I lived in Holyoke, for mayor I would vote for Alex Morse, one of the most promising fresh faces to appear in Valley politics for a long time.

Some hot pickin' a few nights ago in an Easthampton record store.

Beatle bag at Raos in Amherst.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


They're Back!

Sleepy ol' Amherst was jolted out of its summer doldrums this week as you know who came roaring into town.

2015? Is that a date from a science fiction novel or am I just getting old?

They were swarming all over the Campus Center.

And running through the streets.

Organizing their clubs.

And doing their politics. At least the Democrats were, the campus Republicans were nowhere in sight.

Students we love you - as long as you brought your credit cards!

Meanwhile City Hall pranksters decorated the car of retiring Northampton Mayor M. Clare Higgins on her last day with parking tickets, a no parking barrier and a pedestrian beneath her wheels, as documented by Dave Narkewicz.

Yesterday was Hamp's annual chalk drawing contest. In the morning on my way to the bus stop I saw this artist starting to map out his picture.

When I arrived back downtown after work I saw that his drawing was done.

The winner of the $250 Grand Prize was this portrait of an owl drawn in front of the Academy of Music.

This was my personal favorite.

An Irish band was playing last night in the Woodstar Cafe in Hamp.

Hot upcoming Northampton show.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Saratoga Springs

Uh oh, the Massachusetts legislature is back in session, which means the casino lobby has got the promo thing going full blast.

I just got back from Saratoga Springs where I was attending the horse races.

Private sector controlled gambling = good. Public sector controlled gambling = bad.

On the way we stopped in Albany. Going places with me means you have to check out the government buildings. All Power to the People!

This is the legendary horse trainer Nick Zito being interviewed by the media.

Here's a video I made of Sam the Bugler who performs before each race.

Retiring Northampton Mayor Mary Claire Higgins at her last City Council meeting in this photo by cable videographer Dann Vazquez.

Artist John Sendelbach captured this view from Shelburne Falls last week. Notice how close the Bridge of Flowers is to being washed away!

East Longmeadow's Lazer 99 has a cool car.