Saturday, August 28, 2010

Coen Vs. Franco

Over Beck Rally.

Springfield rates almost right smack in the middle of the 200 largest broadcasting markets in the USA. As a result, whenever someone of real talent appears in our Valley TV media they often quickly disappear to somewhere else, usually the Boston area. However one first rate talent who has stuck around is WGGB-TV's Scott Coen. How long? Here's a video that has surfaced of Coen doing a West Springfield armwrestling story he reported in 1993.

This is Coen as he looks today.

Coen in a playful mood.

Over the years Coen has evolved into a real multi-media artist, doing not just his TV gig but also doing sports updates on WHMP and ESPN. He has his own Masslive column My Wide World which is more or less about everything and anything Coen wants it to be about. Sometimes he strays into politics, such as these recent comments on today's conservative rally organized by TV host Glenn Beck.

I wasn't going to weigh in on Glenn Beck's 'Restoring Honor' rally, because for me, it was a no-win situation. But then, I changed my mind. I don't care for Glenn Beck very much. Actually I think he's an idiot, a race baiter, and represents everything that's gone wrong with the Fourth Estate. I feel the same way about the talking heads on both sides of the aisle. I just find Beck to be completely objectionable --- the others only sometimes.

Coen's putdown of Glenn Beck drew the ire of Governor's Council candidate Mike Franco. That's Franco on the right with Springfield City Councilor John Lysak.

Franco put out a press release blasting Coen for his remarks:

Bizarre... Notice how liberal neophytes who have isolated themselves for years in their insular universe immediately stoop to name calling and nasty rhetoric. There is no time for concerned Americans to wait for them to understand the truth about the course of our government. We will act now, and we will not relent or shirk our duty.

Wow, pretty strong words on both sides! Hey maybe they ought to have a charity arm-wrestling event or something to settle their beef!

Meanwhile, someone in Northampton appears to be disillusioned with our Governor.

North Valley congressional candidate Michael Engels openly declares himself a "democratic socialist" but at least he has a sense of humor, as evidenced by this anti-Olver graphic on his website.

The other candidate in the three-way race is local tea party hero Bill Gunn.

State Rep. candidate Dan Melick at UMass recently.

Sorry I haven't been posting more, I've been real busy with stuff that will be cool to announce publicly real soon. However, it hasn't been all work, I found time to go floating around...


In Southwick, where the dinosaurs roam.

I also went down to Bike Nite in Springfield on Thursday to see what's left of the 80's band Skid Row.

In Springfield they love hard rock, but Northampton likes to explore the bizarre.

Friday, August 20, 2010

FAT Gets Phat

The view through the windsheild coming into downtown Springfield last night.

We parked by the abandoned railroad station. They keep saying they're going to do something with the old relic, but after all these years of false promises I'll believe it when I see it.

The occasion was the performance at Stearns Square of FAT, the legendary Springfield band that ruled the local music scene in the 70's, faded in the 80's, disappeared for the 90's and in the past few years has come roaring back with some highly acclaimed reunion shows.

The Stearns concert series has become known as "bike night" because of all the motorcyclists from all over the Valley who flock to the shows. Here's a vintage Harley I spotted - now that's a bike!

Northampton was the weekend biker haven for a long time. It used to be quite a sight to see the hilltown chapter of Dykes on Bikes come roaring down Route Nine in flying V formation into downtown Hamp every Saturday. Now the whole biker scene has switched to Springfield, and I'm not sure why.

Before the show we went into this bar that's famous for it's rooftop party scene.

A son of Springfield amidst the skyscrapers.

A view from the roof.

Looking down on the stage area.

As for the show itself, it was really cool. Peter Newland still knows how to energize a crowd.

And ol' Jimmy K ain't lost a thing - and here's the video to prove it.

In fact, if I closed my eyes for a minute I could almost believe it was 1977 at the Springfield Technical Community College Spring Fling.

Food Not Bombs giving it away in downtown Northampton.

A wise subject for contemplation this weekend.

Scenes from a living room in Easthampton.

Photo of sunset at Puffers Pond by Mary Carey.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ultimate Sacrifice

One of the reasons I have never run for public office (besides having little chance of winning because I'm too conservative for most liberals and too liberal for most conservatives) is because I don't want to have to walk around all the time dressed like a lawyer.

How come you can't wear a t-shirt and jeans in the state legislature?

Dan Melick is running for State Representative in an attempt to unseat incumbent Ellen Story of Amherst. However, to have a serious chance to do so he had to make the ultimate fashion sacrifice by making his counterculture persona more mainstream. Here is Melick as he appeared in his last joyous moments of freakdom.

Here he is afterwards.

His braids however did not go to waste - they were donated to a charity called Wigs for Kids.

The candidate as he looks today, with an appearance even Rush Limbaugh could approve of.

Does Melick have a chance, even with his new cleancut image? Melick is running as an independent and there is also a Republican in the race, Amherst lawyer Dan Sandell. Incumbent Story is a Democrat. A lot will depend on how much the national "Throw the Bums Out" mood manifests itself in Amherst. Voters may be in an anti-incumbent mood, but it is hard to see the Amherst electorate voting for a Republican. However since Melick is a libertarian drug war critic who is otherwise pretty much a traditional liberal, they might find in Melick a suitable candidate to express their anti-establishment sentiments. If Melick gets enough such protest votes then who knows?

Despite the conventional wisdom that Ellen Story is unbeatable, Melick may win, ahem, by a hair!

In other political news, Tom Wesley, who is running to retire entrenched South Valley congressman Richard Neal, has some interesting new lawn signs dotting the region which focus more attention on Neal than himself!

Meanwhile Victor Davila took this picture yesterday of Neal's other challenger, Dr. Jay Fleitman, being interviewed at the Western Mass Republican picnic in West Springfield.

Things were lively in Northampton last night. Here a fiddler plays for change.

An acrobat twirls for the crowd.

Among those in the audience was Valley Advocate writer Tom Sturm, pushing a carriage containing... .

His brand new baby boy!

Greg Saulmon of Republican/Masslive took this picture of Andrew VanWyngarden and Matthew Asti of the band MGMT performing at Mountain Park the other night.

To see all of Saulmon's shots click here.

MGMT is the first band to do anything really original with psychedelia since Jerry Garcia died, and their appearance in Holyoke is being praised as the primo concert event of the summer season. Here's some snippits of it that have surfaced on YouTube.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Haymarket Christ

Just a hot and lazy Sunday at dusk and I'm shuffling down Main Street towards the Haymarket Cafe. Nobody's playing any music outside, although musical instruments sit by a bench.

The musicians and fans ignore the instruments and the bench and sit on the sidewalk instead.

Sadie the Wonder Dog loves to lounge with the Haymarket humans.

Nothing much happening, so I guess I'll go inside.

Nothing much happening in here either, with nobody downstairs but a waitress and a computer geek.

Guess I'll just take a seat over here in the corner by the Christ and monk.

Jesus is missing an arm.

The monk looks up at Christ with such adoration.

But if you look closely, their eyes do not meet. Christ is looking right past him.

There is probably some sorta profound allegory of life to be drawn from that, if you think about it long enough and if you look at it right.

But I think I'll just finish my coffee and head home.

Tony Mateus captured this embarrassing mistake in Sturbridge this weekend.

Just goes to show ya you can lead, but that don't mean anybody's gonna follow.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Point Update

On my way to Springfield to visit friends in ol' Pine Point the other day I ran into local photographer and former Pointer Fred Krug on the bus.

Next to the shuttered Friendly's on Berkshire is the Vietnamese Buddhist Association. It used to be a bank.

Across the street the former Mutual Ford is reverting to a weed-filled lot.

At least Napoli's is still in business.

When Napoli's opened back in the 60's the owner prayed to Jesus that if his shop was successful he would build a shrine. The business thrived and he erected this statue in the restaurant parking lot.

Pine Point businessman Tommy McCarthy is running against entrenched incumbent Gale Candaras.

Old glory on Coleman Street.

Stop snitchin'.

This stone structure at the Holyoke Reservoir was erected in 1887.

This Holyoke bar used to be owned by Mike Sullivan before he was elected mayor.

I'm sure there were many occasions at City Hall when he wished he was still a bar owner.

A face on the door of an Amherst partyhouse.

Bumpersticker on a car parked in Amherst.

Amherst writer Augusten Burroughs has a flickr account. It includes pictures from the serious to the whimsical, such as this posed shot meant to be him lying dead at the bottom of the stairs in his Amherst home.

There are a number of shots from Burrough's Amherst childhood as well as some arty pics of Amherst today. To check it all out click here.

Cool video from Northampton band Spouse.