Thursday, January 31, 2013


Um, is it time yet for the Town of Amherst to take down their Christmas decorations?

Beautiful downtown Amherst last night.

Hey! Let's hit the Amherst White Hut for some burgers and fries!

This is Bruegger's bagel shop but it used to be called The Classe Cafe.

The name was more an expression of the owner's sense of humor than an accurate description of the joint, which was essentially a low cost diner with a hippy vibe. But their frothy shakes and greasy burgers were to die for.

Having been confirmed as Secretary of State, soon to be former Senator John F. Kerry made a farewell tour of the state today, starting this morning in Western Mass, a place where frankly he wasn't seen very much over the years. Oh well, nice of him to finally stop by on his way out. Here he is posing with a group of local pols. How many can you identify?

Also attending was Springfield City Councilor Mike Fenton, Hampden County DA Mark Mastroianni, Springfield Councilor Kateri Walsh and former Kerry aide Jim Shear.

Here's an interesting article called "Ten People You Probably Didn't Know Were Addicts." One of them was William F. Buckley.

The much-revered (and reviled) conservative thinker William F. Buckley was an ardent advocate of drug legalization. According to his son Christopher, he was also a pretty ardent user. In his book "Losing Mum and Pup," Buckley fils writes that his father developed a habit of downing sleeping pills, booze and Ritalin later in life in an attempt to moderate his alertness and his sleep. "Pup’s self-medicating was, I’d venture, a chemical extension of the control he asserted over every other aspect of his life," the younger Buckley wrote. His dad died of a heart attack at 82.

Read about the nine others here.

The weather around here sucks today. February, usually our coldest month, starts tomorrow. I wish I could go south for a month.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


There is a big poster sale underway in the Cape Cod lounge at UMass.

The student run convenience store promotes people over profits.

Of course the best way to ensure that people have enough to eat is to make it profitable to grow and sell food. In the early 20th century Ukraine was known as "The Bread Basket of Europe" for it's bountiful harvests. Then the Soviets came in and reorganized their agriculture along socialist principles, and the result was one of the most terrible famines in history. Capitalism is simply a system in which productive activity is organized so that people compete to determine who can give the people whatever they want at the highest quality and at the lowest prices. Whoever can meet the people's needs best is rewarded with money, while those who fail to serve their fellow man adequately are rejected by customers and thereby bankrupted. It is not a perfect system, it is merely superior to all others.

Of course I'll bet the students who work at People's Market learn valuable business lessons from doing so whether they're aware of it or not. In any case, it's a pretty cool place. I feel a bit of nostalgia for the joint, since it's one of the few businesses on campus still around from when I attended UMass back in the years that university historians now refer to as "The Stoned Age."

The UMass Bike Co-Op is disillusioned.

The UMass rugby team is getting kinda kinky.

Sometimes life seems so crazy I just wanna smash an ice cream cone into my head.

don't forget to tie your shoes

Hallucinogenic mushrooms cause Hampshire student to get naked in Amherst

AMHERST - Police were called to an Orchard Valley home early Tuesday morning after a college-age man wearing only a pair of socks was observed sitting on top of a picnic table on the outdoor deck.

Officers responded at 2:40 a.m. where they found the naked man who couldn't answer questions about who he was or where he was. The man was covered with a blanket before being placed on a stretcher and then into an Amherst Fire Department ambulance. He was brought to Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton for evaluation.

Four hours later police and hospital officials determined the man is a 20-year-old student at Hampshire College and that his odd behavior was the result of consuming psilocybin mushrooms.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


There was a light snowfall overnight, as I could see this morning on the woodland way into downtown Northampton.

It was 50 years ago today that Amherst College Professor Robert Frost died in a Boston hospital. Here's one of his poems, maybe ya heard it before.

JFK and Professor Frost

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

At the end of the woodland way there is a fork in the path.

One way leads directly to the heart of downtown via the King Street commercial district. The other meanders down sleepy State Street towards Pulaski Park. Which way do you think I chose?

Most psychiatrists I've known were crazier than their patients. One however did say something interesting to me once. He suggested that the same impulse that makes me prone to be a drug addict is part of the same source of what makes me appreciate poetry. There might be something to that. The world is a play on opposites, and everything cuts both ways.

Thank God Al Giordano is writing his memoirs. Al is probably best known in the Valley for the role he played as the star investigative reporter for the Valley Advocate in the 80's and 90's, but he actually played a lot of important roles, political and otherwise, throughout our Valley and beyond. An excerpt from his memoirs has been released, inspired by the recent nomination and confirmation of Massachusetts Senator John Kerry to become Secretary of State. This excerpt covers the earliest period of Kerry's career, in which Giordano was an important player. Some of this material was released by me a dozen years ago in The Ogulewicz Chronicles and more is forthcoming in The Diary of J. Wesley Miller, but this is the perspective straight from the horse's mouth - and a horse that has plenty to say:

One of the more interesting characters I met during those months was Springfield attorney and businessman Anthony Ravosa, a conservative political gadfly known for, among other antics, flying a small airplane with a pro-war banner over the University of Massachusetts graduation ceremony during the height of the campus’s anti–Vietnam War protests. With Ravosa I played up Kerry’s decorated service in Vietnam and talked a lot about Italian food – he came on board. Ravosa’s office was in a former movie theater on Court Square, across the street from the Springfield Civic Center, where the May convention would be held. At the convention, the theater’s marquee greeted delegates: “The Ravosa Family Welcomes First Lieutenant John Kerry to Springfield.” Ravosa and I made strange bedfellows – he was a conservative, and I was an organizer who had been arrested 21 times for civil disobedience at nuclear facilities – and our alliance raised plenty of eyebrows. But that’s exactly what organizing is meant to accomplish: bringing together people who might otherwise hate each other for their differences to work for a common cause. A decade later, when I had cut my teeth as a cub reporter for Springfield’s Valley Advocate, Ravosa would become one of my fiercest allies in bringing down corrupt district attorney Matty Ryan.

Many of the friends and contacts I’d made working for Kerry would also be helpful in later years in my organizing work and, even later, journalism. Vietnam veteran Mitch Ogulewicz would become Springfield city councilor. The Berkshires environmental activist Chris Hodgkins would become a state legislator and then congressional candidate. Worcester attorney Macey Goldman had grown up knowing Abbie Hoffman, and I would see him years later at Abbie’s funeral at Temple Emmanuel. The state representative from Greenfield, Bill Benson, and his wife, Karen, provided me with a room to live in, and Benson had long let me use his State House office and phone to do anti-nuclear organizing. Not knowing that there was a law that forbade use of state offices for electoral campaigning, I’d go to Benson’s office on Beacon Hill to make delegate calls, until one day an aide to a Republican legislator explained that I couldn’t. During a campaign event, Senator Sam Rotondi, one of Kerry’s rivals, threatened me, saying that I’d broken the law by making those calls and vowing that I would be prosecuted, something that never happened. All in all, I was being baptized by fire into the hardball world of Massachusetts politics, a vipers’ nest of seething rivalries and personal grudges.

Read more here.

Paolo took this picture last night in New York City.

John Lennon loved New York.

Monday, January 28, 2013


A new week has begun.

no hot cup lids

fiscal cliff ha!

Weird van on King Street.

Westfield Rep. Don Humason (center) on "The State We're In" with host Jim Madigan (right). The other guest was Senator Jim Welch from Springfield.

Weatherman Nick Morganelli skating in Westfield.

48 seconds of winter in New York.

photo by Paolo Mastrangelo

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Wolf Moon

Starbucks gave me a free coffee this morning. This is the view out their entrance.

Some celebrities came by the Amherst Survival Center. Legendary Amherst Bulletin reporter Phyllis Lehrer recalled how as a young reporter in the 1970's she was assigned to write an article on the then just opened Amherst Survival Center.

My Springfield homie Kevin Noonan.

Where a bird fluttered it's wings in the snow this morning by Jim Neill.

Moon over Hadley last night by Greg Saulmon.

These guys take this song out a whole new door.