Friday, April 9, 2021
Congrats to these Massachusetts state legislators for having the wisdom to vote against the terrible new "climate change" bill.
With all the pot shops opening lately, this t-shirt is no lie.
Truckin' through downtown early one morning....
Here's a blast from the past from the old South End. This joint was run by relatives of the former Mayor of Springfield.
Too bad I was too young to see this.
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
View up the street from my backyard after the snowstorm last week.
Meanwhile, Smith College can't stay out of the news, in a bad way, ever since an investigation into an alleged racist incident at the college showed the charges to have been bogus. Jumping into the fray is Tucker Carlson, arguably the most influential right of center commentator in America now that the legendary Rush Limbaugh has died.
Carlson approached the issue from a class perspective, comparing the upscale Northampton with its decidedly more working class neighbor Springfield. Tucker's tale of two cities portrayal of Springfield is not a flattering one:
"Springfield, Massachusetts is one of the toughest cities in the United States, but it was not always that way. Basketball was invented in a gym in Springfield in 1891. The first gasoline-powered engine was built there, as were Indian Motorcycles.
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Footsteps and tire tracks upon the woodland way into downtown Northampton.
I'm cool with this sign.
I like this one even better.
But if you put up one of these, I will make a purposeful effort to avoid giving you any business.
And I'm far from the only one boycotting places that show support for the racist, cop-attacking, Marxist hate-group Black Lives Matter. Me and many like me don't want to give money to haters.
And in the latest manifestation of leftist inspired racism in our Valley, check out this chilling video by a former employee of Smith College.
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
According to these Dann Vazquez photos, fluffy white hats are in style this season in Northampton, at least among the statuary.
I'm sorry to hear about the passing of Brian Turner, a Smith College professor, historian and cartoonist originally from the 16 Acres section of Springfield.
To view a cartoon about the time he ran for class president at Duggan Jr. High School click here.
Brian was also a fan of The Diary of J. Wesley Miller and we sometimes exchanged correspondence over it. At one point he told me about a Springfield historical project he was starting with Marsha Montori about an eccentric local writer who was also a teacher at Duggan Jr High in the 1960's:
The genesis of our research/writing project was the Classical High School Class of 1967 reunion in October 2011. I met Marsha, my writing partner, for the first time since 1971 and immediately fell to talking with her about our favorite teacher at Duggan, circa 1961 -- Harriette Michaels. Marsha had stayed in touch with Harriette and worked with her on her memoirs of her life and marriage and her teaching and social work, based on interviews and also "I Remember Herbie" columns that ran for years in the Springfield Journal. Marsha sent me the files, and I read them with great interest, finding myself especially drawn to the descriptions of growing up Jewish in Norfolk, Virginia, her life-long love for her husband Herb, also a teacher, their ecstatic arrival in Springfield circa 1952, and her hair-raising work with the Chapter One/Title One program to recruit poor children into a federally funded school program. She had to go into the homes of some of Springfield's most dysfunctional families, and her tales are pretty amazing.
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
I am sorry to hear that one of downtown Northampton's most colorful street musicians, "Motown Bennie the Bucket Man" has died after a long illness. In 2011, Bucket Man, whose real name was Bennie Johnson, was featured on the cover of the Valley Advocate.
In his prime, Bennie was the best known busker (musical panhandler) in the upper Valley. Unlike some in his profession, Bennie actually had talent, and his soulful singing and sunny demeanor made him one of the few Hamp panhandlers the business community actually approved of.
Although he played for coins from passerby, Bennie was really more about giving than taking. He was a real angel of the street scene, always keeping an eye on people and seeing if he could help them. Bennie was a very astute observer of people, and could tell things about them from a quick observation. The first time I spoke to Bennie was when I was straight off the bus from the institution and just wandering down Main Street. "Whatta you outta," he yelled to me as I passed him, "the jail or the nuthouse?" He laughed when I answered, "Both!"
You could also find Bennie at political events, if the cause was in some way related to the needs of the street folk. Here he is addressing the Northampton City Council decked out in his gold spangled Elvis in Vegas cape.
Wednesday, January 6, 2021
Due to the senseless lockdown rules, businesses have been closing in downtown Northampton at an alarming pace.
Yet, there are still many places in the Northampton/Amherst area that remain open and well worth checking out. Dig this antique record player on display in the Miss Florence Diner.
The view out the window of the Subway in Amherst.
I had a cup of chicken soup at The Blue Wall at UMass.
While there, I read the latest issue of Prime Magazine.
The lady on the cover looked awfully familiar. Oh yeah, it's Kathy Pellegrino! The article focuses on her career as a writer of murder mysteries, for which she has won awards.
However, one thing the article somehow failed to mention was that Pellegrino also comes from a deeply connected Springfield political family and was herself a scandalous figure back during the Albano years. In 2001, Pellegrino, who held an appointed position in city government, was accused of collecting two salaries at once in a financial scandal that inspired this biting Bob Rich cartoon in the Springfield Republican.
I wish Pellegrino well in her literary endeavors, and it brings me no pleasure to revisit her scandalous past, but as a detective in a murder mystery might say, "Facts are stubborn things." If you've forgotten the sordid details, refresh your memory with this article Springfield and the Culture of Greed.
Smoke with me baby.