27 degrees and sunny in the morning.
As of today, America has had the longest continuous period of economic expansion in history, 107 months reaching back to 1991. Housing sales in the valley are up 7.7% over last year. Today is Primary Day in New Hampshire, with McCain predicted to trounce Bush while Gore should edge out Bradley. WFCR says the Catholic Diocese of Vermont is busing people to Massachusetts to demonstrate against gay marriage. Howard I. Kalodner was the Dean of WNEC Law School in 1981. Mother lived at 356 Belmont Avenue in Springfield in 1926.
I received in the mail today a catalog from Bauman Rare Books. I called Tom Devine and his sister Deb answered, saying he had gone to the Pine Point Library. My, he goes to the library a lot! I saw him recently walking down Boston Road, either on his way to the library or maybe he was going to visit the Twig Painter. I left word with Deb about the prices being asked by Bauman for Ayn Rand books.
Today I dined on a cheese sandwich, hotdogs and veggies. Completed reading Damn the Torpedoes, a good book on what goes on in the military. When I went out for the mail I found a bag from Mrs. Staniski containing Harvard material from Ann and a tin of homemade cookies, popcorn and peanuts. In return I will inscribe one of my books to her.
I called Moriarty at Elms, who said he's preparing for classes. I quickly told him to get a Bauman catalog to see the Bartlett books in it. He thanked me politely. Next I called Riverdale Gardens and asked Debra Kratouil how Aunt Maria is. She replied, "She's doing okay." I asked if Aunt Maria has been discharged and she replied, "I can't tell you that over the phone because of patient privacy." I was then urged to call later when Ann Smidt would be in. So later I called back and the receptionist Mary got me Ms. Smidt, who told me, "I was told not to let out any information regarding her status. This was her request!" Then she banged down the phone in my ear.
This evening on TV22, Jerry Gretzinger said Six Flags will open May 6th (let's see if they send me any advertising). Six Flags has a new 208 foot rollercoaster that will have a speed of 70mph and dip into an underground tunnel. There was also a story about new signs on the expressway pointing to City Stage, Symphony Hall, the Quadrangle and the Civic Center. Eamon called and expressed concern that his interaction with Davis has been all telephonic. In the past when he has contacted the Inspector General he has gotten a letter with a consent form to sign.
Kelly had her green backyard Christmas lights on this evening.
Today was a lovely day, 25 degrees at 10:30am. Gas is $1.35 at Breckwood Shell.
The Fed has raised the prime from 5.5% to 5.75%. Senator McCain was on the Leher News Hour and said that young people 18-26 are cynical, alienated and they don't vote. Also in the news, Boston's Big Dig was estimated to cost $5.8 billion in 1991, but the price is now $12.2 billion. Maureen Turner has a fine essay in the Valley Advocate with a picture of Charlie Ryan. There was a commercial on WFCR for Dr. Joseph Brown's Obsessive-Compulsive Treatment Center in Stafford Springs. Aunt Maria should have consulted with him years ago. In Northampton the gay/lesbian bar The Grotto wanted to have nude dancing but were turned down.
F.M. Wilson lived on a dairy farm in Vermont in 1935. Mother had a miserable wage during the Depression, but I found a receipt today showing she still gave a contribution to the Springfield Hospital Campaign fund in 1931. Doubtless Monarch twisted the arms of their employees, but my parents were always generous to charities. Remember George Gopen the lawyer who did an article on college English to which I replied? I looked him up in MLA and he has disappeared. Remember when I was out to Palmer there was an old Western Auto store that I parked in front of and chatted with the manager? Well, a story in the January 23rd paper shows Joseph Adamski going out of business after almost 60 years.
The mail brought a Walmart credit card application with an invitation to the Grand Opening of their new store in South Hadley. I also got a thank you note from St. Mary's of Turners Falls for my "wonderful remembrance of Robert B. McCreech." It was thoughtful of them to write. A polite Kevin Devine called looking for Storrowtown from the number 782-3882. Carol stopped by in her mother's chocolate brown Voyager and I gave her some things for Mrs. Staniski. Carol told me that she hasn't had a cold in four years. She is a friendly soul who was brought up by good people.
I spent part of the day reading newspapers and I am up to about page 250 in Foxx and Kloppenberg's A Companion to American Thought (1995), which, as such reference books go, is quite well done. Virtually no typos, but little attention is paid to the thoughts of freaks. I also read John Marks newsletter from Ann and The Baystate Objectivist's Heroes and Villains of 1999. Went out at 9am and dropped off a bag of reading material with the Cohn's maid. I also dropped off stuff at Eamon's, who was not home and has a very mediocre Valentine Day flag up. There was a long line at Fleet Bank, where I cashed a check with Susette Goncalves, who told me her sister works at the Ring Nursing Home. I was in full uniform, including my chain locked collar and Queerboy Sissypansy dog tag attached to it. I looked quite freaky today, have to keep working at it.
Next I headed out to the Whately Antique Book Shop in Hatfield, where Eugene Povirk was in charge. He told me about how six years ago historian Henry S. Commanger was taken to a nursing home and Amherst College, which had provided him his house, asked his wife to leave so they could let some other faculty member have the house. He had about 5,000 books which his wife offered to Amherst College, but they didn't even come to look at them. Povirk and his partner Barbara E. Smith bought the books and he told me there were many valuable volumes in it, including an annotated copy of Profiles in Courage. Left Hatfield at 12:12pm, dined at the Buffet in West Springfield and was home at 2:11pm. On the way back I stopped by briefly at the AIC library and saw that the Chronicle has not published my letter.
27 degrees and overcast at 8:40am.
Have to leave things as they are, live with it.
I never empty the trash without scraping the mud off my boots into it. Had two eggs and toast for breakfast and dined on Stouffer's Lasagna tonight. Bridgeport National Bindery is on Silver Street in Agawam. Mr. Arthur H. Dakin lived in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1932.
I'm reading a catalog from the super expensive furniture dealer that moved into where Hayden-Wayside was. I put a pile of mail in the mailbox and then drove over to Indian Orchard. I had trouble with my garage door, but I cleaned the track and had no more trouble. First, I went to Pride for copies and then to Angelo's for salad. In the Orchard there were a lot of For Rent signs along Main Street. When I got to Tassinari Book Bindery, it was all closed up. I went into the K & D Deli and the lady said the bindery is closed today. The people shopping in there openly stared at my collar, jacket and the rest of my costume.
I proceeded down to the Quadrangle and bought a blue ticket to see the exhibit on Tibet. I found E. Bader and two others in attendance. Heather Haskell was talking about the exhibit and a very polite Chinese lady asked me to take off my chain so it wouldn't distract anyone with its tinkling sound. Naturally I complied. The Tibet exhibit was absolutely wonderful. Then to the Smith where they had a beautiful blue-green Buddha. In the library I saw they have my new book in Rice Hall. They also still have my book on the history of Buckingham Junior High School.
My phone identifier showed a James G. of 84 White Birch Drive called while I was out. The news showed the closing arguments being given in the Northgate Plaza case. Valliere gave the Northgate position, while the City Solicitor tried to hog the camera all he could. This afternoon I found a small puddle of oil around the base of the oil burner, which looks as good as new although it is now 45 years old. I called Punderson and got Trish, who said someone will come by as soon as possible.
The repairman arrived at 7:25pm and left the truck running because he was afraid it might not start, even though it was a Punderson truck! He told me the problem was a little nut that was not tightened as much as it should have been and said it was the fault of the person who was here last time and therefore there was no charge. The repairman was a light skinned black man who looked like he would have been a good football player in his day. He cleaned up diligently and left about 7:45pm.
Eamon called and said his sister was in the house when I came yesterday, she does some chores for him. And in keeping with my ongoing research on nobody getting anything right, yesterday Eamon called Randall's in the afternoon and a young fellow took his order for carrot muffins. This morning he called to find out if they were ready and they said they didn't have them. The lady said the order got garbled and apologized. Eamon told me he chatted with her for a bit and she told him that the Ludlow schools are awful. Eamon and I used to talk regularly for an hour or more, but now our typical call is about fifteen minutes.
28 degrees and sunny at 10:32am.
On the ABC News Peter Jennings discussed whether the descendants of American slaves should be given reparations. Yes, but the restitution should be given from the endowments of Southern institutions. Hillary Clinton announced that she is running for the U.S. Senate from New York. Senator Kennedy has checked into the hospital for what sounds like the flu. Heard on WFCR that a UMass gallery has an exhibit of rare Tibetan photographs. Is there a Tibetan PR campaign to develop friends in America in case they need the Marines to turn back a Chinese invasion? There was also a new ad for Hampden Savings Bank on WFCR this morning.
We have a foot of snow around here and it looks like winter. Did a bit of housecleaning. My cold is almost gone, I've had it for over a month. Drove over to the McDonald's on Allen for hotcakes. They are expanding the side walls so the place is something of a mess right now. I mailed James Sappenfield and the Extension application at Breckwood after making copies at Pride. At the Goodwill Patty greeted me enthusiastically, noting that she hasn't seen me lately. They were selling their hardbound books for half price so I got several books very reasonably.
Called Westfield Bank and Erica said their best interest is 6.10%. I called Duggan Jr. High and asked to speak to the librarian. I got Ellen Hayes who said she was not the librarian but was in charge. I told her I just got a book at the Goodwill, A Short History of Espionage (1963) and their property marks are on it and no discard marks, with a card in the pocket indicating it was last signed out Novemeber 3, 1967 to M. Wallace in Rm 213. She snapped back, "I have a class, could you call back later?" I replied that I am a lawyer who charges $200 per hour and that I was merely calling to inform her that when you discard books you should mark them as discarded. Again she snapped, "I am not the librarian!" to which I suggested, "Well, then tell the librarian." "Certainly, good bye!" said she, no thank you, and then banged down the phone in my ear!
So I called Duggan again and Carrie connected me to Mrs. Clement and I told her of my conversation with Ellen Hayes. Mrs. Clement explained that sometimes they put books on a table in the hall to give away. I informed her that without a discard stamp I had a responsibility to check to be sure it was not stolen. She was very supportive and even told me that her maiden name was Miller. She apologized and said she would send me a thank you note for my trouble. Nader called and said he's back from Florida where he just bought a cheap condo 15 minutes from the beach. He said he used Eamon and me as references. I told him I have a cold and the house is a mess, but I will come by before he leaves and give him a book.
Eamon called and he's delighted by Larry McDermott's editorial about all the letters to the editor they got last year, followed by a listing of all the people that sent letters. The editorial sneers at people who send anonymous or fictitious letters and described three, all of which had been sent by Eamon! McDermott didn't realize they were all from the same person because Eamon used a different typewriter with different fonts for each one. One complained about the quality of the free chocolate bar the paper passed out for promotional purposes, in another he called McDermott and David Starr carpetbaggers and in a third he called Larry a lightweight. Eamon laughed as he recalled how he and Jack O'Neil once sent four fake letters opposing the proposed new high school on the site of Kavanaugh Furniture and the paper printed all four!
22 degrees and sunny.
Religion is the millstone around the neck of ethics. People clearly see that religion is a lot of nonsense and it makes them think ethics is also.
WFCR Morning Edition is starting a three part series on compulsive gambling. TV40 had a story with Malcolm R. George, formerly of Ludlow Savings, presenting a check for $500 to the John DiNapoli Gold Badge Club. So where is George now? Dined this evening on Banquet Turkey Dinner and tossed salad.
I drove out to Tassinari's in Ludlow this afternoon, second place on the left, a big industrial building that must have been let go for a song by somebody moving out. A couple of cars in the parking lot and a white bindery delivery truck with snow all around it and none underneath. I left Leslie's Spanish-American War atlas-sized book to be rebound in black buckram and Three Trials (1818) to be rebound in standard brown buckram for $35, too much, but he appears to do good work. I also left James D. Haig's Kings Inn Library to be done in Kelly green buckram for $25.
Tassinari has a very large work area with a lot of machinery and at least one other worker. There is a large rack with many rolls of cloth at the very back. Across the front of the building are offices, including Tassinari's corner office with an ornate desk with an incredible mess atop it. Indeed, the entire bindery is messy. The office has a picture of the Pope being presented with a book bound in white leather by a priest. I commented on it and Tassinari said the Pope has a number of samples of his binding that Polish priests have had him do. I told him I'm a little hard of hearing so he spoke louder. There was a bookcase of leather bound Works of Spencer which he said had previously belonged to the President of the University of Hartford. A very nice fellow but his prices are high.
Went by Cat's Paw on the way home and they had a sign in the window, "On Vacation - Be Back Late February." On the corner of Boston Road and Parker, where Circuit City and Auto Zone are now located, there used to be an Edwards. With Walgreens going in across the way where Pier One was and the theater and other new tenants at Eastfield, you could say the mall area is experiencing a renaissance.
Frederick Whitney called while I was out but I did not call him back. Kevin Devine called and I said, "You've called here before, get the number right!" He said, "I'm sorry." Laura called from Colby College looking for money. I could've told her no and hung up, but naturally I gave her an earful. I told her how I offered land once to Colby and they said no so I told them no more gifts from me. She asked if I wanted her to remove my name from their calling list but I said, "Oh no, let them call every year." Laura said she doesn't know what her major will be.
The mail brought a pretty thank you card from Mrs. Staniski for the book I gave her. Enclosed was a picture of Ann and her and two tall grandsons. Also received a note from John Rixon. Reading Herb Goldberg's The Hazards of Being Male. I like it. Also reading Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and it's Quarrels With Science. It rips apart literary studies as bullshit on precisely the same theory I have held, that literature majors are trained in nonsense and judged by their ability to produce nonsense. It rates history highest among the non-sciences, slyly adding as long as the historians are content to gather facts and not fool around with interpretation. My position exactly.
Sun glowing through, 25 degrees at 7:15am.
The Sunday paper has an article about people wanting to change the names of Amherst and Turners Falls because they are named after Indian killers. Kelly had her green backyard lights on last night.
A note to Richard Garvey was in one of the books I got at the Goodwill the other day. This suggests that Garvey has given books to the Goodwill, maybe when he cleaned out his office at the newspaper. I'll have to keep my eye open for more. Eamon called and we discussed what mischief we might do to McDermott. Eamon also recalled Bruce Sheffield, who lived on Ardmore Street. He was a salesman of men's clothes at Paramount Clothes for years and later worked for John P. Lynch at the Registrar of Deeds. Paramount Clothes was owned by a Jew named Hugo Roth.
From home I went directly to the Woronoco branch in Big Y, where Magda helped me again. Ms. Cyr was also there. I took out two checks, one for A.G. Edwards to buy some G.E. stock and one for Jordan Luttrell. Then downtown where I parked in the first place right in front of the Church on Salem, which was very messy from not having been plowed. At the SIS center I found the Wall Street Journal in the trash can but with coffee all over the bottom so I left it there. At A.G. Edwards I bought ten shares of General Electric.
Then into Subway, where Shkena is on vacation so a young fellow waited on me. The price of their deli-baloney grinders have gone up from 99 cents to $1.29. Came through Westfield Savings and the place was empty of customers except for me. At Antiques on Boland Way a lot of their stuff is reproductions, probably from estate liquidations. Miller Framing has J. Gnatek art priced at $50 and higher. I walked down to the newspaper to get a copy of Sunday's paper for McDermott's column. They had none behind the counter, so they called upstairs to circulation and a lady brought one down.
From there I went to the Chamber Channels After Five at the Museum of Fine Arts. It was a big disappointment. I arrived about 5:15pm in my full orange uniform with boots, chain and collar and scalped head. I had my raspberry glasses on and a copy of my new book to show to people. A black man came up and told me he loved my outfit, so I gave him my card. A Chamber of Commerce secretary collected tickets in the middle of the MFA lobby. At a side table was some MFA literature.
In the past these Chamber of Commerce events have had various kinds of good, such as meatballs, veggies and fruit platters, hotdogs and chicken wings. This time there was essentially no food, just a cash bar at the far end. It was a real let down, but perhaps the perspective of the MFA is that you got into the museum for free, so what else do you expect? Several businesses had tables set up, and I flattered Longmeadow Florists by telling them that now that Hall Galleries is gone it's nice that there is still a place to get nice things. The PVTA was passing out 25th Anniversary chocolate coins. Wolf & Company had freebies but I didn't take any.
I'd say there was about 200 people there, but I saw very few going upstairs to see the wonderful Tibetan exhibit. Petluck and his female companion was there, but he said all the noise overwhelms his hearing aid, so I just shouted that I'll see him at the Friendly's annual stockholder's meeting. I chatted with R. Denver and showed him my book. I also talked with Marlene M. Ryan, who used to be a legal assistant but is now in accounting. I approached Alan R. Goodhind, who asked if I ride a motorcycle. I hadn't realized he was involved with Mass Mutual, so I promised to send him information about Father. I left the MFA about 6:15pm and didn't take note of the time that I got back. Former State Rep. Fred Whitney had called while I was out.
Sunny and 47 degrees at 2:15am.
Dined on chicken, salad, fruit and bread. Did some housekeeping in the morning. WFCR says the University of Vermont is being sued over an athletic hazing incident. Also, Burlington's City Council has rejected a Shaw's chain supermarket. The TV40 evening news mentioned a December "water cooler poisoning incident at WNEC" which police are investigating but not close to solving. Whatever happened has been pretty well hushed up.
I am mostly over my cold after almost two months. Called Lowe's and their ribbon cutting is tomorrow at 8am. Mother used to have a two wicker chairs from Adaskin's in her bedroom on Crest Street. She brought them to Birchland, but used only one and it wore out long ago. The twin to it now sits in the basement, like new because we never used it. There is a box of papers sitting on the seat.
Made copies at Pride and then mailed letters to Goodhind, Connie Wilson, Marleen at Morrissey, check to Luttrell, all with my Wear Orange stamp. I wrote to Garrett today but didn't mail it. Pride had the new Valley Advocate, but when I got to Louis & Clark they had none. Got veggies at Angelo's, after which I swung by the O'Sullivan place and got a bag of reading material from little Eamon himself. Eamon has told me in the past that as a baby he was in the Isolation Hospital for a month with scarlet fever. They were afraid he would die, but it only stunted his growth. His older brother Gerald died of it at the age of five.
As we chatted, Eamon wondered whether the MFA has a sprinkler system, as fires go through open spaces in a flash. This started us talking about the old Colony Club fire. Eamon recalled how at the time he was a rental agent for Union Court Apartments, where Bill Putnam's mother moved from Longhill Street to an apartment on the top floor, Maple Street side. The fire started around 8 or 9pm and roared right through the Colony Club.
From there I went to Savers, where I bought three books, Padiman's Ex Libris (very good) Hefley's Textbooks on Trial and Turner's book on Northern Ireland. Then to Stop&Shop for roasted chicken. Stopped on the way back at Forest Park Antiques but nothing good. Fancy That has been cleared out for inventory. The mail brought a copy of Investor's Business Daily that was addressed to Carol Dine, 22 Jeffrey Road. Still no thank you note from the lady at Duggan.
Fred Whitney called while I was out. Unknown called late at night, but hung up before I could answer.
At 2:49am I sang Happy Birthday over three octaves to Eamon's answering machine. Peanuts creator Charles Schultz has died of colon cancer. Today I dined on salad and a chicken pot pie.
I went this morning to the not-so Grand Opening of Lowe's Hardware. There were around 70 people present. It was chilly, although 28 degrees isn't all that chilly. Many sat in their cars until it was time to go in. The mayor didn't show up and there was no actual ribbon to be cut. There were a few balloons inside the door and everybody got a free yardstick. It's an immense store with lower prices than Home Depot. It will certainly kill the neighborhood hardware stores just as the Eastfield Mall killed downtown.
Lowe's has office furniture and appliances which Home Depot does not carry. They had good buys on steel doors and sinks, faucets and stained glass rooster lamps like Eamon's. Some employees looked at me suspiciously, perhaps because I was wearing my all white plastic Dupont coverall with purple pants, biker jacket and collar. There were anti-shoplifting posters around about a "War on Shrink." From there I went to the Allen Street McDonald's and had hotcakes without sausage and read today's paper.
Thence to services at Trinity Church, which was well filled. The Goads are doing a good job of rebuilding the church. I notice that they always print his sermons, but I have never seen any of hers printed. I had no problem hearing. Nobody said anything about my outfit and everybody was friendly, purple pants and all. Many young people in the congregation were casually dressed.
When I got home I called Lowe's and spoke to Brian the night manager. I told him I had applied for a job with them, but never heard anything back. I said, "You have a war on shrinkage in progress, but you might also have a war with a disgruntled person you said you would get back to but did not!" Then I hung up in his ear!
Still reading in my book of American ideas. The Blair Witch Project is up for a Golden Raspberry Award because it was "overly hyped." I agree. On TV57 someone said, "Great souls have small use for small morals." Jim Lindblad of 1069 Parker Street advertises with the motto, "Is Money Low? Book a Show!"
Dirt Rag Magazine came in the mail with the cover ripped savagely, a third of it gone completely. Also received a Grassroots Lawn Care flyer. At 12:15pm the phone rang and it was Storrowtown Village, with a very cooperative lady named Irene wanting to make reservations for 65 people for an event following a wedding. I told her she had the wrong number and she told me that Betty at Storrowtown had told her she would connect her to somebody who could help and "she just clicked it over to your phone."
So we parted and I dialed Storrowtown and got Betty and told her what happened. She replied, "I'm going to transfer you to our boss who is the Director of Storrowtown Village." I got Denis Picard and we had a pleasant chat. I made it clear that I have to put up with wrong numbers from Storrowtown all the time, but this was the first time I ever got a wrong number from Storrowtown itself! At the end I told him that their mistake is okay this time, but if it happens again I will charge them with harassment. A very professional call.
Eamon called and had a lot to say. Charlie and Joan Ryan sent him a birthday card. Eamon is annoyed by all the church related solicitations he gets because his mother often gave to religious organizations. He says he throws them in the trash unopened. Eamon also told me about his neighbor who works for the city and leaves at 7am, comes home a few hours later and doesn't leave until he goes back to work to check out at three o'clock. Eamon then recalled how he sent letters to Sen. Jesse Helms, who was blocking Bill Weld's ambassadorial appointment, telling Helms that Weld is a phony. Eamon sent a few letters to Paul Cellucci on various topics, but none were ever answered.
Eamon then told me about a pastor at Sacred Heart named Edward M. Kennedy, whose dad was rich from railroad money and people complained because Rev. Kennedy owned land on Lake Congamond in Southwick and had valuable Waterford collectibles. The church forced him to sell the land and collectibles because it looked bad to have a rich priest. Eamon said he keeps hearing that a group of gay priests meet weekly at The Fort downtown on Friday afternoons around 2pm.
Next Eamon complained about the article in the paper saying that Chief Meara is hiring seven public information officers. Eamon believes she should handle the info herself. His friend Dept. Spellacy is retiring at the end of March and he doesn't want a party or a plaque. "They can put the plaque where the monkey put the plum!" he told Eamon. Spellacy's friend Fitchett is putting on a private party to honor Spellacy on May 27th, to which Eamon has been invited to sit at the head table. Spellacy is still mad about how he topped the written exams but was denied the job of Chief by the Assessment Evaluation people who are unacquainted with real life police work. Spellacy claims they wanted a woman police chief and nobody else had a chance.
We talked a bit about a 60 Minutes story that said 40% of cops beat their wives. Eamon asked Spellacy about that once but he told Eamon, "There's some abusers but I won't get into details." Eamon recalled how in 1960 he urged Chief Raymond Gallagher to give new hires a psychological exam. Gallagher told Eamon he did not approve of requiring it. I told Eamon about my neighbor Edward R. Gallagher at 1480 Wilbraham Road. Eamon claimed that Mike Albano once told him, "The Springfield police take care of their own when it comes to domestic violence."