The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Monday, August 21, 2017


I'm old enough to have seen a number of eclipses of the sun and moon, so I wasn't really all that excited about the one this afternoon. However, as a sometimes citizen journalist who sometimes attends things of public interest, and this being sorta the kind of thing I sometimes cover, I decided to attend the public eclipse watching party at the mystical sunwheel at UMass. I began my journey by passing through the Southwest tunnel.

I took the path past the ancient willow, one of the few trees still standing from the days when the Southwest dorm complex was just a farmer's field.

The lighting was similar to dusk or a rainy day, although the sky was mostly clear and it was only 2:15pm.

Passing the UMass stadium, I was surprised to realize this was the first time I had set foot on those stadium grounds since I saw the Grateful Dead there in -gulp!- 1979.

What would that years ago me have thought, if through some transcendent tear in the time/space continuum during Jerry's guitar solo, I had looked decades into the future to see me walking by today? Would I be pleased or disappointed to observe that I never quite escaped the UMass orbit? Probably I would just be glad to see I was still alive at all in the distant 2017, as even back then I was already exhibiting behavior that was inspiring doubt about my longevity.

Young Tom: "Good to see you!"

Old Tom: "Good to be seen."

Soon I found myself approaching the observation site of the cosmic event. There was quite a big crowd.

The local media was there as well.

The crowd mingled among the ancient stones. I've been told that local pagans perform moonlight rituals at this site.

Lots of people had homemade viewing devices, like this one my friend made that forms an E for eclipse!

The event was put on by the UMass Astronomy Department and their student association, which provided telescopes with special filters for magnified viewing.

Elsewhere, Congressman Jim McGovern watching the eclipse.

Congressman Richard Neal and Beth Ward.


photo courtesy of mark davis and mitch ogulewicz

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Truckin' down the avenue in downtown Hamp, window shopping at Faces....

....I came upon this sign:

It was in front of the building beside First Church.

I walk past that building every day and have sometimes wondered what the upper floors were like. Hey, here was a chance to find out, so I headed up the carpeted staircase.

It led to a huge apartment that actually covers two floors, large spacious rooms with nothing in them that was not very photogenic so I didn't take a picture of any of them. However, there is a staircase leading to the roof, where I found myself on a patio and virtually face to face with the historic First Church clock!

A dizzying look down at the seething metropolis below:

A look across the street and at the Holyoke mountain range beyond, what the Valley Indians originally called "The Seven Sisters."

I didn't bother asking what they were asking for the joint, because I knew it was a rent I could never afford. I guess I'll just sit in the Dr. Seuss chair out in Pedal People Land with the chickens and the ducks and the woodland way and all the wild things. We don't have roof parties, but we do have fun.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

summer series

Last night I checked out the Northampton Summer Concert Series at Pulaski Park and took this video of a song by the band Rebelle, at least until the battery on my camera ran out.

I hate when that happens. Mary Hurley and Linda Melconian at The Fort. Photo by Keith Sikes.

Jim Sampson, owner of Music World, which he has operated for 52 years in Pine Point, shown in front of a thirty year old ad for his former student Tony McAlpine. During the late 1950's, Sampson was a major figure in the early years of the Pioneer Valley rock n' roll scene.

Here's a sign that has appeared in the restrooms of the Haymarket Cafe:

I guess it's just a sign of the times, and not a good one.