The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


A friend and I checked out that new place everyone's talking about, The Iconica Social Club, located in the heart of downtown Hamp. It doesn't seem to be an actual social club, except to the extent that one can of course socialize there, but anyone is welcome right off the street without having to join or do anything club-like. It is essentially a bohemian style coffee shop. What's neat is that they brew the coffee cup by cup as you watch, guaranteeing the freshest and finest quality drink.

Your coffee is also served on a tray in a beaker such as you last saw in science class. It's a gimmick, but a cool one and the rubber stopper actually keeps your coffee piping hot while you drink the portion you have poured into your small glass cup.

You pay a little more to get a coffee that has been personally brewed on the spot just for you, but not much more, as mine cost only three dollars. Of course, their cross the alley competitor, the iconic in its own right Haymarket, charges only $1.90 for a small, conventionally brewed coffee.

Hopefully, there is sufficient business for both establishments to thrive. The Iconica has a very interesting interior, with all kinds of real antiques everywhere you look.

They've created a little park for those who prefer to drink their coffee outdoors.

However, I preferred the chilltown upstairs loft. I always was a two-fisted drinker!

Check out Iconica, it's a trip.

All good squirrels are presently gathering nuts for the winter, but some kind person made their task easier by leaving some peanuts (gourmet dining in the squirrel world) in the nook of this tree by the old courthouse.

Finally, here's Springfield homeboy Dr. Timothy Leary gazing upon the Northampton street scene.

Saturday, September 16, 2017


I was walking through downtown Hamp on my way to the bus stop when I saw some plastic flying saucers in the window of Retro-Genie, the antique shop under what used to be called Augie's.

I call them flying saucers because the word "Frisbee" is actually a copyrighted term referring to a particular brand of aerodynamically engineered plastic discs. Retro-Genie being an antique place, that's what their flyers were, such as this gem from the long lost and lamented Steiger's Department Store.

Here's the Steiger's that used to be at Springfield's Eastfield Mall, shown here as it was around 1970.

There was also this saucer from Friendly's. A copyright notice on it reveals it to have been a promotional item from 1983.

Friendly's in prior decades.

Walking around campus I came upon this clever poster by the UMass History Club.

The other John Quincy Adams.

Finally, this visitor to the Hotel Northampton appears unclear on the concept.

Oh wait, one more thing - this local history meme floating around the internet suffers from a typo.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Common Account

Here's a picture taken by someone of Northampton Mayor David Narkiewicz at this year's County Fair posing with J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr:

The Mayor himself took this picture from a window in City Hall this week as a double rainbow appeared over the Valley in the wake of a violent cloudburst.

I saw the same rainbows while crossing the Calvin Coolidge Bridge on a bus, but the speed of the bus prevented me from getting my camera out in time. A shame, because the view from the bridge of the Connecticut River is one of the most spectacular vistas in the Valley and to get a shot that included two rainbows hovering over it would have been an exquisite, perhaps once in a lifetime photographic achievement. Oh well, sometimes you score, sometimes you don't.

The rainbows had a very short lifespan, shimmering over the Valley for only a couple of minutes at most, but creating an almost transcendentally beautiful visual ending to the last weekend of summer. And don't tell me that technically summer isn't over. Around here, when the students come back in the fall, that is considered by everyone in the northern Valley to be the true end of summer.

I ran into Mayor Narkiewicz myself in the Haymarket the other day.

Speaking of the Haymarket, it's doing an interesting experiment these days called The Common Account. It is explained as follows on the Haymarket website.

Early in the spring of 2017 we created what we call the Common Account. We wanted to try to address some of the issues in our town around homelessness, hunger and panhandling. There are many points of view on this subject, and even individually one’s own vantage point changes. We wanted to address this in our own way, as members of our community, and as a small business that is partly sustained from selling food. The Common Account funds our sliding scale menu for those who cannot afford the full price. People donate to the fund increasing its balance while others who are in need draw down from the account.

In other words, it is a way to allow the homeless and poverty stricken to come in off the streets for an occasional cheap meal in a first class restaurant, courtesy of the generous donations of the customers who come into the Haymarket every day. Alas, the month of July was a financial bust, with only enough donated to cover a little more than half the cost of the semi-free meals.

However, the figures for August are out, and believe it or not all the food costs were covered and then some!

Wow, doing good while still making a profit. Who'd a thunk?

I will leave you with this charming portrait of the Attorney General of Massachusetts.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017


This weekend I went with some friends to the big horse races in Saratoga, New York. It's a very high-class scene for three poor boys from Springfield, but that's part of the fun, mingling with all the beautiful people.

On our way to the tracks, we paused in Albany to check out the state capital grounds.

Of course a sign such as this serves only as a dare to me.

There is this weird theater in Albany that is simply called "The Egg." I wish I could have gone inside and checked it out. I mean, how safe can it be with no windows?

Lots of betting going on, as seen in this picture by Cray Soda heir Jeff Ziff, but no betting for me, as I know all too well from hard experience about fools and their money.

The paparazzi were everywhere, but I was successfully able to avoid them.

After the races, we went to downtown Saratoga where the people were literally dancing in the streets.

Closer to home, these signs have appeared all over the UMass campus. Thank goodness there is no place at UMass for expressions of hatred towards President Trump and his policies!

That is what those signs mean, don't they?