Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Littleton Street

I'm best known in the Valley as being a guy from Pine Point, but not too many know that when I was a little kid I lived in Hungry Hill at 151 Littleton Street.

Both my parents grew up in the Point, but when my father got out of the service, they couldn't afford a house in their old neighborhood. Therefore, we lived on the Hill until they could afford to return to their beloved Pine Point.

My main memory of that period is how when I was in kindergarten at Liberty School, I once got my parents to agree to let me sleep in the big, old garage behind the house in a wagon (blue, not red) with some blankets and pillows. My parents were just humoring me, thinking that when I was alone in the dark I would quickly decide to come inside to the safety of my own bed.

They were wrong.

When my parents decided they were going to bed (and both were real night owls), my father had to come out and carry me back inside. I remember how I was so disappointed to wake up and discover that somehow I had ended up back in my own bed. Anyway, here's a video I made on a visit to my kiddie stomping grounds last week.

The plans for the Extravaganja 2019 are up, which you can check out here. One of the bands featured is Shobazoba, a band that was involved in a controversy some years back for being cancelled by Hampshire College for being too white! Here's a video of their music:

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Wonking With Neal

Western Mass Congressman Richard Neal was at UMass yesterday afternoon as seen below in this photo taken at the event by Judith Gibson-Okunieff.

Of course I attended, and when I arrived at the Old Chapel where the event was held, there were protesters by the door.

The socialist flavor of the moment.

Suddenly Neal himself appeared in our midst, waving a greeting.

One of the woman protesters shouted at Neal, "Why are you the only member of the Massachusetts delegation that hasn't endorsed the Green New Deal?" Neal then stopped to directly confront her.

First he asked her who she was, to which she replied, "I'm from Easthampton, I'm one of your constituents," and then she added, "When are you going to hold a town meeting so we can tell you why we want the Green New Deal?"

Neal responded firmly, "I already agree with a lot of its aspirations, but sorry, I can't support anything until I can find the money to pay for it."

The Congressman then entered the Chapel, as the woman turned to the other protesters and asked, "What do we say when told we can't afford it?" The tone of her voice suggested she had never thought of the fiscal side of the Green New Deal before.

The Old Chapel, which holds around a 120 people, was over 90% full, but not nearly the crowd of students that showed up at Amherst College last month for former Republican Governor John Kasich.

As it turned out, the doorway confrontation with the protesters was about as lively as the event got, with Neal's talk being heavy on insider insights into pending legislation before Neal's Ways and Means Committee. I found most of these topics interesting, but I suspect a lot of Neal's talk about pension reform, infrastructure negotiations and changes in tax law pretty much went over the heads of most of the people present.

The average person doesn't usually follow these fiscal issues to the degree of depth to be able to fully appreciate what Neal was talking about. In fact, the moderator, Professor Lee Badgett of the Department of Economics, repeatedly requested Neal to provide background information, such as the meaning of something he kept referring to as SALT, which Neal then explained as being an acronym for state and local taxes.

You can read more about the whole policy wonk fest here.

Meanwhile, here are some highlights from Bob Weir's latest solo band as they performed in Northampton last month.

Thursday, March 7, 2019


What on Earth?

What is this logo for the racist, cop-hating group Black Lives Matter doing on a banner hanging in the middle of Amherst?

If there are haters in Amherst who subscribe to the twisted views of Black Lives Matter, then that is their prerogative, but the group's message of deceit, division and hatred should not be imposed on the entire citizenry by this banner. Whoever is responsible for choosing which banners get to be strung across the road should be replaced by someone with better judgement and a formal apology issued to the entire community.

Meanwhile, down the road at UMass the new addition to the Isenberg School of Management opened in January, but somebody didn't order enough letters.

Then just recently a crane was parked outside.


It's been pretty snowy lately.

Makes it hard to get the paper.

This is my favorite Northampton snow video.