Friday, August 31, 2012

Old Souls

Recently I visited the Old Hadley Cemetery, one of the oldest surviving graveyards in Western Mass.

Passing through its entrance gate is like walking into another century.

Along with the old tombstones can be found ancient trees.

This tomb dates back to 1859.

The oldest tombstones are in such a state of decomposition that new stones have been placed beside them showing what they originally looked like and what was written on them.

Next time you feel like doing a little time traveling stop in to the Old Hadley Cemetery for some enlightening perusing among some of our Valley's oldest graves.

Returning to modernity, yesterday I went to the Holyoke Mall.

I went to the Apple Computer store on the third floor.

Then last night I went to the free John Eddie concert in Stearns Square, which featured women from the audience dancing onstage as captured by this video.

Adolpho's Restaurant Entranceway Portrait

Saturday, August 25, 2012

On the Mighty Connecticut

This week I had a fun boat ride on the Connecticut River.

Years ago I used to go on the river a lot in my boat. The name of my boat was "Deeper." They were fishing trips mostly, if fishing trips are defined as ending up drunk, stoned and naked without necessarily catching any fish. But that's all in the past now, today I'm just glad to still be around to watch all the beauty go by.

At one point we explored the famous Northampton Oxbow. Here is a pretty intense water skiing ramp.

The Northampton Oxbow as it appeared in 1836.

Here is a video I made as we passed beneath the Calvin Coolidge Bridge.

When we got back we saw a boat that had caught fire that morning. It was a total loss.

Brains for breakfast in the window of Faces back in Northampton.

A farmer and cow seek refuge from the rain in front of the UMass Student Union.

Here is my niece Emily on the Amherst Common with the latest little lassie to join the Devine clan. That's my lost brother in the background.

Joe Carvalho and the Watershops at Sam's Pizza last night.

Friday, August 17, 2012

On the Way

I hate to admit it, but ever since a section of trails in Springfield's Forest Park was named after my mother in 2007 I have never actually returned to that area of the park since the dedication ceremony, which featured politicians, ecologists, educators and crazy Irish people of all types.

So yesterday I made a long overdue visit. Rather than pay the park entrance fee, we went around to a little known back entrance by Magnolia and Washington.

I've been outta Springfield for a long time now, but I still know that city's hidden byways.

Indeed deep in the backwoods paths of Forest Park you would never guess that you were in a city of over 150,000 people.

We headed over to where my mother used to work, at the ECOS Center which operates out of the old skatehouse by Porter Lake.

The part of the park dedicated to my mother is across from the skatehouse. I was surprised by how overgrown the pathway had become in the five years since the dedication.

Here is a video of that 2007 dedication.

Despite the overgrowth, the dedication sign is still standing.

When my mother was dying, she was aware that an attempt would be made to honor her in some way at Forest Park, where she was one of the early pioneers of the ecology movement in the Pioneer Valley. She never would have imagined that a whole section of the park would be named after her, and would have been embarrassed by it. What was mentioned to her however was the prospect that the city might erect a bench honoring her by the duck pond, a spot in the park that she loved. But she scoffed at that idea, saying of her bench that "probably the bums would use it to sleep on."

About a year before The Devine Way was dedicated a bench was indeed put up in the spot she liked. We went there too yesterday, and sure enough there was a bum sleeping on the bench.

A band at the Amherst Farmer's Market Wednesday.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Springfield Rockout

The old Mutual Ford in ol' Pine Point is falling into ruins.

It does however have some cool and sophisticated graffiti on it.

Here is what it is like to ride the State-Boston Road bus into the Peter Pan bus terminal.

Night falls upon the big city.

This bar went out of business a while ago.

Now it is reborn as a youth boxing center.

We went to Theodores and sat by this portrait of Calvin Coolidge, the only resident of Western Massachusetts to rise to the Presidency of the United States.

Among the celebrities present was local pet food and soda baron Dave Ratner.

The crowd for the Stearns Square concert was good, but a little smaller than what I've seen in the past.

The band playing was the Smithereens. Check 'em out.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fun Raiser

This week a friend of mine who is supporting Linda Stec DiSanti for Hampden County Clerk of Courts gave me a free ticket to her fundraiser at the American Legion Post in Chicopee.

Of course I'll go anywhere that free food is available, and when I arrived the place was packed!

Among the political celebrities in attendance was Hizzoner himself, Chicopee Mayor Michael Bissonette.

Another celebrity in attendance was Springfield School Committee member Antonette Pepe. I was pleased to be told by Pepe that rumors that she may not run for re-election to another term are apparently unfounded. That is good news, especially with a new Springfield school superintendent on the scene.

The only media dude I saw in the place besides myself was David Miles, longtime photographer for Turley Publications in Palmer. I asked him why he was wearing a Republican elephant hat at a Democrat event but he insisted it was actually a Dr. Seuss hat reflecting no particular party denomination.

The charming contender herself.

DiSanti's major competitor for the post, currently held by Brian Lees, is Springfield's Thomas Ashe, a shady character who originally appeared on the political scene as the chosen heir of multiple felon Frankie Keough. Some say there's been a rupture in the relationship between the sleazemaster and his protege, but I'm not buying it. Ashe has never formally denounced his mentor nor publicly apologized for his long association with Keough. Also it would be just like the Machiavellian Keough to orchestrate a fake rift to give Ashe the political cover he needs to rise. In any case, a vote for Ashe is just too much of a risk. Two minor candidates John DaCruz and Laura Gentile are also running in the September 6 primary.

Meanwhile, kid-art is on display all over downtown Amherst this month.

Northampton is a good place to buy a bra.

Northampton dance party last week.

Moonrise over the Calvin Coolidge Bridge.