Sunday, December 30, 2012

Old and New

Passing the Bridge Street Cemetery yesterday it was snowing like mad.

I hurried along the woodland way to the cozy comfort of my home.

This morning President Coolidge looked a little silly in his fluffy snow hat.

Today I went to my Uncle Wally's 85th birthday party.

He's the last of the infamous Devine brothers from the old Hood Street gang.

Though the youngest, my father was the first of the three brothers to die, probably because he smoked and drank more than they did. He also laughed more. Here's my father in ol' Pine Point with my sainted grandmother. Note my banana bike parked in the background.

Uncle Wally's generation is almost gone. Gulp, that means my generation is next. Fortunately a new crop of mischievous Devine's are coming along right behind me.

As it was in the dawning - as it always will be.

Happy New Year Everybody!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Better Things

A snowman in Amherst. Oops! I forgot this is Amherst so we have to call it a snow-person.

A snow-person with a pine wig in front of the Bangs Center last night.

Nothing like a little food coloring to bring out the facial features.

Nothin' left to do but smile, smile, smile.

The "Fiscal Cliff” put in a much clearer perspective.

* U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
* Fed budget: $3,820,000,000,000
* New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
* National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
* Recent budget cuts: $ 38,500,000,000

Let's now remove 8 zeros and pretend it's a household budget:

* Annual family income: $21,700
* Money the family spent: $38,200
* New debt on the credit card: $16,500
* Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
* Total budget cuts so far: $38.50

Here's another way to look at the Debt Ceiling:

Let's say you come home from work and find there has been a sewer backup in your neighborhood and your home has sewage all the way up to your ceilings.

What do you think you should do - raise the ceilings, or remove the shit?

Ruth lives in the Pedal People commune by my house and so has to go out in all kinds of weather to fulfill their city contract gathering the trash in Northampton without using one drop of oil.

Yesterday's gone.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Downtown Northampton this morning.

Snowplowing First Church.

I'm sorry, but this is dumbing it down too much.

"Christmas is a time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell the government what they want and their kids pay for it." -- Richard Lamm, former Governor of Colorado.

I wanted a boy band for Christmas.

recommended by Paolo

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


A snowy stone bench in Hadley.

The view from that bench.

On the Nortwottock trestle across the mighty Connecticut.

Apparently the international superstar Miss B. was in Hamp for the holidays.

Hope you had a Merry Christmas. Many people are unaware that they had an invisible Christmas guest this year - The Taxman. Government greed was especially expensive for those who like to booze it up:

With Christmas parties, eggnog and relatives abound, holiday revelers enjoy an estimated $992 million in alcoholic beverages to celebrate the season. Savor the taste of your next mug of eggnog, because 56.31 percent of the price is taxes. Government guzzles 44.33 percent of your seasonal beer and drives up the price of your glass of wine at Christmas dinner by 32.77 percent. Sipping a soft drink won’t let you escape frosty government fees—27.98 percent, or $61 million in taxes, is attached to the cost of soda.

For more on government holiday humbug click here.

John F. Kennedy Jr. and Ted Kennedy Jr. in 1972.

Massachusetts' Democrats are dismayed by the announcement that Ted Kennedy Jr. will NOT be a candidate for U.S. Senate when John Kerry's seat becomes vacant this spring. I'm not surprised, Ted Jr. never showed any interest in a political career in the past and has built a life in Connecticut in the private sector. That he might move to Massachusetts and run was more a desperate daydream of Democrats trembling before the prospect of the return of Scott Brown than anything that was ever likely to happen.

Read more here.

JFK in hipster mode in 1957.

It feels like deja-vu all over again with this year's Valley Advocate Halos and Horns Awards going to villains like Michael J. Albano, Richie Neal and the Springfield Newspapers. Of course I've been absorbed for many months now in reconstructing the entire political history of Western Mass going back to 1973 (now working on 2002) and so it is with decidedly mixed emotions that the Advocate's list reminds me that the more things change the more they stay the same.

Read the list here.

I've never heard the argument in favor of fitness made so succinctly.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Holly Daze

View out the window of Hadley on the dawn express into Amherst this morning.

The Black Sheep in Amherst.

Somebody at the Black Sheep was busy with scissors.

My neighbor's Christmas lights through my window.

What's Become of the Baby(this cold December morn)? is the only Christmas carol ever written by the Grateful Dead. It is so psychedelic and spacey that it is hardly something the family would sing holding hands around the holiday tree, unless of course someone slipped some Owsley Blue Cheer LSD-25 into the Christmas punch.

Waves of violet go crashing and laughing
Rainbow winged singing birds fly round the sun
Sunbells rain down in a liquid profusion
Mermaids on porpoises draw up the dawn

What's become of the baby
This cold December morning?

frozen in their flight
drifting to the earth
remnants of forgotten dreaming
answer comes there none
Go to sleep you child
Dream of never ending always

Panes of crystal
Eyes sparkle like waterfalls
lighting the polished ice caverns of Khan
But where in the looking-glass fields of illusion
wandered the child who was perfect as dawn?

What's become of the Baby
this cold December morning?

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The End

Here is the planned itinerary for the End of the World later today.

Schedule of the End of the World:

06:30 – Beginning of the End
07:00 – Meteor Shower
08:30 – Arrival of the First Tsumani
10:00 – Welcome UFOs!
10:30 - Flashmob Dance of UFOs, Gangnam Style
11:36 – Destruction Begins (Subtitled)
12:00 - Eclipse and Alignment of Planets in the Solar System
12:00-14:00 - LUNCH
14:15 – Inversion of the Magnetic Poles
15:00 – Super Global Warming (with Sound and Light Show)
16:30 – Annihilation of Earthlings Commences
17:00 – Paul McCartney In Concert
18:00 – Revelation of Alien Residents on Earth
19:00 – HAPPY HOUR
20:00 – Reopening of the Tunnel between Taj Mahal and Machu Picchu
22:00 – Draw Cards for Secret Santa
23:00 – Champagne Toast
23:30 – End of the End of the World

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Shit to a Tree

Finally a day without snow or ice or rain as the rising sun comes shining through the front window of the Haymarket Cafe in Northampton this morning.

Hey baby, check out the coming attractions!

This is a picture of Seattle the day after they legalized Marijuana.

As politicians in Washington continue to talk as if raising taxes were an absolute necessity, little is said about cutting government waste first to see if tax increases are in any way justified in the first place. Now the release of The Waste Book shows there is plenty to cut:

Many pundits and politicians are arguing that tax increases are needed to enable the government to fund its necessary and proper functions. In October Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) released a 202-page report entitled The Waste Book 2012 that offers a good response to that. Waste Book 2012 details more than $18 billion of utterly unjustifiable taxpayer-funded projects. The 100 outrages revealed in The Waste Book 2012 include:

Between $1 billion and $50 billion wasted annually due to inefficient purchasing policies by federal agencies, according to an analysis by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
$38.8 million in subsidies for a train mostly used by cruise ship tourists in Alaska.
$27 million for classes to teach Moroccans (in Morocco) how to make pottery.
$5.5 million for a State Department program to send professional athletes on diplomatic trips around the world.
$1.3 million to Pepsico -- the world's largest snack food maker -- to help it build a yogurt factory in New York.
$1.6 million for NASA to develop video games and a commercial-free online rock radio station.
$520,000 for the rehabilitation of an unused covered bridge in Ohio.
$505,000 for a pet shampoo and toothpaste company in Nebraska.
$300,000 to promote sales of U.S. caviar.

And that's just a small example of the absurdities and outrages Coburn reveals. Page after page, the waste, the injustice goes on and on.

You can read The Waste Book for free online here.

A new poll suggests that soon to be ex-Senator Scott Brown would be the instant front runner in a special election to replace Sen. John F. Kerry:

The Massachusetts Republican would be in a strong position to win a special election to fill the seat of Sen. John Kerry if the latter is appointed secretary of state, according to a WBUR/MassInc. poll released Thursday.

Forty-seven percent of registered voters would vote for Brown compared with 39 percent who would vote for a generic Democrat. Against many of the most talked-about Democratic candidates, Brown holds big leads. He tops Rep. Michael Capuano, 47 percent to 28 percent; has a 48 percent to 30 percent lead over Rep. Ed Markey; and holds a whopping 51 percent to 24 percent lead over Rep. Stephen Lynch. And his lead over former Rep. Marty Meehan is 49 percent to 30 percent.

Read more here.

In spite of your screams the human dream doesn't mean shit to a tree.

Here is a video I made in 2006 about my favorite tree.