Sunday, November 27, 2011

Strictly Commercial

Most of this year's pumpkin harvest has gone rotten by now, although this one outside Carmelina's on Route Nine is still doing fine.

An old tractor at Wanczyk's Farm.

How long ago did Stan's close?

Long enough so that the paper was called The Union-News.

Yes in Northampton is a cool store.

Northampton Wools is in a new and bigger location. I'm told the knitting scene is exploding in popularity these days.

View out the window of Bruegger's in Amherst.

The Amherst Starbuck's is closed temporarily.

The Corporate Flag of America at UMass.

Good advice on the Norwottock trestle.

Thanksgiving Sunset

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Hello Holyoke, ain't seen ya in a while.

At the Springfield bus terminal I was surprised to see that there are no more free papers available. It's buy the Springfield Republican or nothing.

I'm not sure that Peter Picknelly would have approved, but of course now ol' man Picknelly can only be found on a psychedelic sneaker in the bus station lobby.

I stopped by St. Michael's to visit family and friends.

Welcome to beautiful downtown Pine Point!

I wish I could have back all the money I spent at Kappy's.

The former Pine Point Cafe.

Out the window of Doyle the Twig Painter.

Doyle and some fun loving Pine Pointers in 1993.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Veteran's Weekend

Here are some vets setting up chairs for a ceremony in Northampton's Pulaski Park in their honor.

The rising sun comes shining through the front windows of the Haymarket Cafe this morning.

At noon it was so nice that I was sitting outside at Raos in Amherst without even a coat on.

There are three main coffee houses in downtown Amherst. Amherst Coffee is where the power players gather to cut their deals. Raos is for academics, with everyone sitting and staring at computers. The Loose Goose is for the farmers and other year round residents.

You might think I spend all my free time in coffee houses. Well hey, it beats my Pine Point Cafe years, but the truth is I do go to other places as well. Like hamburg joints, such as this wonderful new one that opened in Amherst recently.

The burgers are great and the prices are low, so who could ask for more? It's located in the old Newbury Comix, now unrecognizably transformed into a kitchen, although the beautiful old hardwood floor remains.

A psychedelic truck at the Amherst Survival Center.

A colorful new mural in the UMass Student Union features the names of Valley towns.

Anti-Bush art in the UMass Student Union Art Gallery.

In a Men's Room in Herter Hall.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Election 2011

Whew, glad that's over!

In the aftermath of the storm at Amherst College a snowbeing appeared wearing a skirt of marijuana leaves.

Hey, Northampton has a new mayor, but I didn't vote for him.

Instead I voted for this guy, but without much enthusiasm.

Actually my emotional range regarding the candidates running in the Valley this year stretched from a yawn to a wretch, so I didn't make any public endorsements. Besides, I probably drive away as many votes from the candidates I endorse as I attract. You needed a microscope to find a difference in the issues separating the Northampton candidates. The only reason I chose Bardsley over Narkewicz was that I didn't like the way incumbent Mayor M. Clare Higgins stepped down early to allow her chosen heir Narkewicz to run as an incumbent. It reminded me too much of Springfield, where for decades mayors were "anointed" and I hate to see Northampton adopting any of Springfield's bad habits. That said, Narkewicz is a good man and will probably make a fine mayor. I saw him this morning standing by Smith College when a passerby asked him about his tie.

In Springfield, incumbent Dominic Sarno whomped mayoral wannabe Jose Tosado. Nothing to cheer about really, the only true change agent in the race, Antonette Pepe was eliminated in the primary. (Rumors are rampant that Pepe intends to step down after her current term.) One thing to take solace in is that the gang behind Sarno is slightly less sleazy than the gang behind Tosado. Here's a capsule review of the Springfield City Council races:


The Winners

Tom ASHE - Oh for shame that this sleazy, two bit hustler was re-elected, let alone came in first.
Tim ROOKE - The best person on the Council is recognized at last.
Kateri WALSH - Everybody loves Kateri, even if she doesn't really do anything.
James FERRERA - I give up.
Bud L. WILLIAMS - Bud's a likeable guy and I'm sure he'll be as useless as ever.

The Losers

Justin HURST - In the end Mommy and Daddy didn't have enough pull.
Amaad RIVERA - There must be a socialist people's state somewhere he can win in.
Charles RUCKS - He seems always destined to be the best candidate no one will vote for.
Joseph FOUNTAIN - He made it through the election without humiliating himself, which is a first for Joe.
Miguel SOTO - He never realized you're supposed to at least pretend to care about non-Hispanics.


Rarely has a candidate worked harder to give voters a reason not to vote for him than John Lysak. First there was his ugly divorce and the accusation from his ex-wife that he put his new girlfriend on the city payroll. Then he was accused of campaign finance violations. Finally Lysak was discovered to have been a regular swimmer in the notorious pool owned by jailbird ex-rep Christopher Asselin, which during Asselin's criminal trial had become a hated symbol of arrogant corruption. Fortunately for Lysak he had one ace up his sleeve - his opponent Orlando Ramos, who was widely known to be a stooge for the Rivera Gang operating out of the city's North End. It was one of those classic Springfield races where any way it turned out the public lost.

Happier mayoral outcomes were found elsewhere in the Valley. Alex Morse is the best thing to happen to Holyoke in a generation, while Greg Neffinger won a much deserved victory in West Springfield. But that's pretty much the only bright spots. Oh well, let's hope for the best, but I've learned that in politics if you expect nothing you will never be disappointed.

In the better world of music, a big Grateful Dead tribute show taking place in Hamp this weekend.

Bob Weir and Phil Lesh of the real Grateful Dead were at UMass this week. Here the t-shirts are prepared for consumption by the rabid fans.

Can this old man really be Bobby Weird the Kozmik Kid?

It's probably best that Jerry Garcia died young, or he'd probably be playing in a wheelchair by now.

But he'd be rockin' the wheelchair.