Monday, July 30, 2018

Media Maven

I'm sorry to hear of the passing of former Western New England College Professor John Andrulus, who fought harder than anyone to keep the Republican Party alive in Northampton. Here he is campaigning in 2012.

Speaking of political people, at the Haymarket recently I ran into Hamp media maven David Pakman.

Actually, Pakman has been working mostly out of Boston these days, but he used to be everywhere in the local media scene back in the day, such as this picture I took back in 2009 of him interviewing then City Councilor (now Mayor) David Narkewicz.

Here he is with former (thank God) Governor Deval Patrick at Smith:

Here he is with former (thank God) Congressman Barney Frank at UMass:

Of course even media mavens have to clean the snow off their car.

As you might expect coming out of Northampton, David is pretty liberal, however, he wisely rejects the lurch toward the far left by Democrats in recent months:

I ran into another media dude the other day, Greg Saulmon of the Springfield Newspapers, and took this slightly blurry pic:

Saulmon was in a non-journalistic role that night - performing with his band King Radio as part of the summer concert series. Because I arrived at Pulaski Park shortly after the concert ended, I couldn't make a video of King Radio's performance, but here's a video I found from a show last winter:

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


Morning light in the Haymarket.

I see that Monte Belmonte and crew are having their annual fundraising campout for Cancer Connections on the Northampton Couthouse lawn:

Here's Monte himself. I asked him about the scout get-up and he replied, "I'm a Flamingo Scout."

I chose not to inquire further. Both my parents died of cancer, so it's a cause close to my heart. Give a little something if you can.

Pine Point compare and contrast: 1939 versus 2009:

Another blast from the Pine Point past, sometime in the 70's:

Of course, that is also the site of the original Friendly's as seen here in 1939:

As long as we're doing Springfield stuff, here's a silent Dann Vazquez video from 2007 showing the Springfield Library and environs.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

My Generation

Marijuana officially became a fully legal product for purchase by adults on July 1st, a year and a half after voters passed a referendum legalizing it. The only problem was that on July 1st there wasn't a single place in Massachusetts where you could buy it, since no actual licenses to sell pot have been granted to any outlet anywhere in the state.

Let's face it, legal marijuana in Massachusetts has been a contemptible farce.

There was never any excuse for the long delay in setting up the infrastructure to sell marijuana legally. I still don't know why the state simply didn't hand the project over to the industry that has been successfully and safely selling intoxicants for hundreds of years - liquor stores. Why didn't the legislature just set a date when every licensed liquor store could start selling weed along with the intoxicants they already sell - buds with your Budweiser, so to speak?

But alas, they had to go and create a whole new system of tightly regulated specialty stores, resulting in a crony capitalist nightmare of heavily regulated, often politically privileged sellers, protected from competition by strict zoning rules and artificial caps on the number of competitors.

All of which was a complete waste of time. Since other states have already legalized pot, we needed only to copy whatever they did, with perhaps a few minor alterations due to any circumstances unique to this state. However, the legislators had to go out and try to re-invent the wheel, and when they had finished, the wheel was square and there was no marijuana to buy. But the powers that be now promise they will get their act together and marijuana maybe might be available by the end of July, or sometime in August, or surely by early September....

Whatever happens, we've been pretty much assured that the price will be expensive. That has certainly been true with the medical marijuana market, which sells at prices well above what the black market charges. For example, right now I could make a phone call and get an ounce of primo-kush for $200. At the medical marijuana store, the price is $350 per ounce. Do you think the black market is going to disappear with that kinda price discrepancy?

Recreational marijuana is expected to be even more expensive than medical marijuana. One of the often stated goals of legalization was to get the mob and other undesirables out of the marijuana business, but thanks to greedhead politicians, we now have the worst of both worlds - an overpriced, politically corrupt legal industry while the old, criminal underground market continues to thrive.

When I was a kid toking my first tokes with my delinquent buddies, we all assumed it was a certainty that when we got older and our generation was in charge of things, that we would absolutely legalize marijuana. I guess most members of the government these days are within ten years or so of my age, so I suppose my generation actually has taken over. Frankly, I sorta hoped that the sight would be more impressive.

For decades my generation dragged our feet and did little or nothing to legalize weed in Massachusetts, with the exception of brave crusaders like Terry Franklin, Aaron Wilson and Dick Evans. Now at last legalization has finally happened, better late than never, and it is a beautiful thing that people will no longer go to jail anymore for smoking marijuana.

But aside from that, the legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts has been a huge disappointment.

At least to humans. The UMass ducks don't care.

Dinosauric dimensions in Greenfield.

photo by mary serreze

Tuesday, July 3, 2018


Supposed to be a hot holiday, so if you haven't been to Herrell's in a while, might be a good place to stop.

Fortunately, the heatwave is supposed to end Friday with a mighty rainstorm. Here's a rainstorm I videoed from a bus stop last week.

Happy Independence Day Everybody!