The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So who is this Al Giordano fellow? Where can I get his book?

The Torch