Sunday, October 30, 2011

Snow on the Pumpkin

Some hungry squirrels attacked my neighbor's pumpkins.

Maybe they should have had a scarecrow to keep them away.

The Northampton Stop&Shop sells pre-painted pumpkins, but that feels like a form of creative laziness.

Happy Halloween, I guess.

The Pioneer Valley is known worldwide as one of America's most beautiful places. Unfortunately it comes with a few downsides, such as utterly corrupt politics and winters that come too early and springs that arrive too late. Here is the weather as I left UMass last night.

Of course it's nothing to the Old Chapel, which has seen the snowfalls of three centuries.

By morning the snow had stopped and this was how things looked by the babbling brook near my house.

Here's a little video I made while attempting to traverse the woodland way into downtown Northampton.

Finally I arrived downtown, where a bouquet of fallen branches surrounded a snow-faced Calvin Coolidge.

The buses were running as usual and so I soon arrived in Amherst, where the snowstorm perhaps caused this witch to crash into a UMass frathouse.

A menacing mouth greeted the customers of The Black Sheep, or would have if it was open.

A power outage meant that everything was closed, except of course for the store that never closes for any reason whatsoever.

No power meant the cash register didn't work, but if you could pay in cash with exact change it was business as usual.

In a world in which there is so little you can depend on, it is nice to know that on every single day since 1914 you can always count on Hastings.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I was surprised to see my lifetime motto on display this week in the UMass Campus Center concourse.

In the window of Feeding Tube Records in Northampton.

An advertisement tries in vain to be as cool as a real Northamptonite.

There was a book sale on the lawn of the Unitarian church this morning.

Northampton's version of Occupy Wall Street has dwindled down to one single overnight camper.

An attempt to hold an Occupy Springfield protest fizzled out when more cops showed up then protesters, as seen in this Mark M. Murray photo.

Despite our Valley's lefty reputation the Occupy Wall Street movement doesn't seem to be catching on around here, but maybe that's because the real firebrands are going to the big protests down in nearby New York City.

Speaking of New York, here is former Northamptoner Paolo Mastrangelo leaving Massachusetts in the rear view mirror as he heads to New York City where he moved a few years back.

When Paolo was living in Northampton he always had some kind of journalistic type activism underway and has continued to do so in the Big Apple, where he has been all over the New York media these last few weeks as one of the most prominent chroniclers of the Wall Street protests. To follow Paolo's further adventures click here.

Meanwhile the libertarians at UMass have been covering the campus with recruitment posters.

I managed to stop by briefly during my lunch break at the marijuana conference at UMass this week.

It was well attended. Here keynote speaker Allen St. Pierre of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) addresses the crowd.

Trevor wrote a new song about Springfield's Dr. Seuss.

Some drummers playing in downtown Amherst this afternoon.

UMass horserides.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


The winds of change were blowing through Northampton's Pulaski Park with a copycat Wall Street style occupation underway.

Not a lot of people involved.

But a lot of signs were participating.

Most of the signs had dull slogans on them, but a few like this one showed a sense of humor.

The protests in Boston had a contingent from Springfield, as seen in this photo by Michaelann Bewsee

In downtown Amherst there were cries of treason.

UMass students were focusing on fixing the bottle bill.

Big pot pow-wow at UMass this week - the general public is invited.

When: Wednesday, October 19, 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Location: Student Union Ballroom
Hosted by: Cannabis Reform Coalition

It's time to talk about the elephant in the room, folks. Cannabis is making headlines in pop culture, medicine, politics, you name it. So how is it that something so present can still be so misconstrued? Well, we're working to solve that. Whether you're a cannabis connoisseur or just curious what all the hype is about, this is your event.

The UMass CRC Cannabis Colloquium will be an event centered on education about the drug and discussion of relevant topics. Members of the UMass CRC as well as student groups from the Amherst area and beyond will have tables to present information and answer questions on such topics as the Mexican drug cartels, hemp, and knowing your rights. In addition, we will provide speakers from organizations in the cannabis industry, including:

1:00: Terry Franklin Executive Director of The Freedom Bus Caravan.
1:30: Erik Wunderlich of Mass Patients (MPAA).
1:45: Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition(LEAP.)
2:25: Richard Cusick of High Times Magazine.
3:00: Allen St. Pierre of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

This morning while waiting for the bus I saw a kid doing yo-yo tricks in the lobby of the Academy of Music. I made this video holding the camera wrong so it came out sideways.

I got off the bus in Amherst by the Robert Frost library at Amherst College.

I noticed that they were having the ceremony for the induction of Carolyn Martin, the new college president and the first female one.

In honor of the occasion, in the Frost Library some Tibetan monks were making a psychedelic mandala using only finely colored sand, as seen in this video I made.

It rained a lot this week, as you can see from this picture I took out the back door of the Haymarket Cafe.

But that didn't stop Jordan Williams (below) and myself from doing some hiking around the Holyoke reservoir.

It was mostly just misting out, and eventually stopped completely.

The last rays of light at sunset made a rainbow fragment.

A sign of good luck, and better days.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


My lost brother John was in town visiting his big Irish family this week, a family he hadn't even met five years ago. Here is just a portion of the motley crew - my brother Dick, my sister Donna, John and the family troublemaker at Amherst College.

John arrives just in time for the local pumpkin explosion!

Deadhead selling gourds in the UMass Campus Center.

This UMass student has attracted attention with her militant non-conformity.

Heather selling her wares in downtown Northampton this morning.

Nearby David Narkiewicz was campaigning for Mayor of Northampton.

Here is the first 2012 anti-Obama sticker I've seen in Hamp.

In Easthampton last night Amherst Senator Stan Rosenberg joined Amherst Representative Ellen Story to listen with other Democrats to U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren (center). Warren is off to a strong start, but I predict she's another Martha Coakley - the more voters get to know her, the less they will like her.

Dust Witch in Easthampton last weekend.

In an Amherst window.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rand's Revenge

The Libertarians have been very active on the UMass campus this semester.

So have the campus Democrats. But seemingly missing in action are the campus Republicans. They were extremely active during the years when activists like Ben Duffy and Ed Cutting were on campus, but since they graduated the energy of the UMass Republican Club has gradually dissipated until now the Democrats have regained the hammerlock hold on campus they've maintained since the 1960's. A pleasant surprise however has been the rise of Objectivism on campus, with these Ayn Rand distribution stands springing up not just at UMass but on college campuses all over the Valley. Here's one at the Robert Frost Library at Amherst College.

The print publication that preceded this website was called The Baystate Objectivist, and Objectivism was so unknown at that time that most people thought I was trying to make some kind of statement on journalistic objectivity. Now Ayn Rand's ideas are everywhere and at the center of all major policy debates; sweet revenge for the many years she was ignored.

If only Rand's ideas had caught on sooner, many of our Valley's cities and towns would have been spared the devastating government interventions into the economy known as "Urban Renewal." This video tells about the tragic consequences of an urban renewal project in New York City, but a similar tragedy unfolded locally in Springfield's North End around the same time.

Time changes everything, like this mighty boulder totally transformed by ages of water swirling around it while sitting in the Westfield River, and now on display as an ornament in front of Westfield City Hall.

This antique car was parked in front of the UMass Student Union the other day. My Uncle Steve had a car just like this, only it was green.

Elsewhere on campus Hollywood Director Michael Haley, UMass class of 1965 and the man behind such films as "Primary Colors" and "Groundhog Day" gave a speech. Afterwards there was a long line of students asking him to sign their DVD's.

UMass had a big outdoor poster sale this week.

A new clothing store has opened in downtown Northampton.

There are those among us still seeking their way.

Someone stated their humble opinion of Northampton's law enforcement personnel.

Valley favorites the Alchemystics in Greenfield last week.

Pittsfield Pumpkin Patch by Andrea Nuciforo Jr.