Sunny all morning, 32 degrees at 12:15pm.
Didn't open any sherry last night, but had several cups of eggnog plus some cashews and chips. I also changed the calendars and did a bit of picking up.
Former televangelist Jim Baker is 63 today. Kenneth J. Vacovec is President of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, "Lawyers Keeping the Promise of Justice." Expo head G. Wayne McCary has been inducted into the International Association of Fairs and Expositions Hall of Fame. Friendly's has been named 58th out of the top 500 franchises by Entrepreneur Magazine. Friendly's has 161 franchises and 393 company owned stores. They are also in the top half of the 100 fastest growing franchise organizations. I'm currently reading Gill Hale on Feng Shui, which talks a lot about gardens.
I called Ruth Johnson yesterday to wish her a Happy New Year. She said she was about to watch the parade after she clears off the table, no doubt said as a hint not to talk too long. I thanked her for her interest in Aunt Maria and she said my cousin Shirley "takes good care of her." That inspired me to call Western Mass Hospital. I got the nurse Teresa who told me that Aunt Maria is "okay, I'm getting her up right now." I said tell her that her nephew called and that I wish her a Happy New Year.
Also yesterday I watched the 113th Rose Bowl Parade featuring Grand Marshall Regis Philbin. It was hosted on NBC by Nancy O'Dell and weatherman Al Roker. My favorite float was the Burbank Jitterbugs with humorously personified insects, a wide variety of flowers and red and white spotted mushrooms. I also liked the Coast Guard float featuring a family of rabbits that they said reflects the "optimism, fun and imagination of America's indomitable spirit." The Goodyear blimp flew by with a digital sign on the bottom of it offering holiday greetings. There was a giant drum in the parade called The Big Boom and Ivory Soap had a float of a baby in a bathtub. The Dr. Pepper float featured the Rockin Rollers and another featured 46 different kinds of roses. It was a nice parade but I think shorter than last year and with fewer floats. As the parade becomes more slick and professional it is also becoming less interesting.
The Rooke brothers Greg and Chris do our neighborhood paper route. Today I went to Fancy That on Sumner Avenue and bought an antique green glass lamp for $300. The guy working there told me they do a lot of their business on the internet these days. He also told me that the antique shop on Boland Way may be closing soon. I received an invitation in the mail to the inauguration of Mayor Albano but don't intend to go. I also received a CD of patriotic music from Paul Caron for my contribution to his failed mayoral campaign. I called Karen Powell at her cell phone number. She sounded down, and reported that she had received nothing from Caron since the election.
Eamon called and said that Jim Landers is afraid he'll lose his job at STCC. Eamon said that toward the end of its days in use as a jail, York Street had constant problems with its boilers. Eamon also recalled how Tommy O'Connor had a printing press at one time and used to do printing for his own campaigns and others. Eamon says its insane that Springfield had 358 student suspensions last year, while the massive Boston School System had only 180. He claims that's proof that the Springfield School System is out of control. Eamon said it is sad how the few informed voters in Springfield are far outnumbered by an ignorant, misinformed majority.
Eamon said he's heard that there are problems at the Police Department with cops taking drugs from the evidence room. He said District Attorney Bennett has been informed but is trying to cover it up. Eamon said Springfield needs someone like Holyoke Police Chief Anthony Scott to come in and clean up the department. Finally Eamon said the FBI told him that it won't be long before the indictments come down, but that it has been delayed because Congressman Richard Neal contacted the Justice Department and asked that the unveiling of the indictments be put off until after the holidays out of consideration for the families of the accused.
Sunny and 26 degrees at 7am. Gas is $1.06 at Breckwood.
Osama bin Laden has released a New Year's message saying, "God willing, the end of America is near." A major earthquake has hit northern Afghanistan and adjacent Pakistan. God is Great, Praise be to Allah! Former President Clinton's dog Buddy was run over by a car. Why didn't Clinton have it on a leash? The Methodist Church has suffered financially in the post 9/11 recession. WFCR is celebrating Mozart's birthday all month. Springfield is 18th in AIDS cases in the nation. Meanwhile, Massachusetts has made cuts in AIDS funding. Melinda Phelps is leaving the Police Commission. The news says there will be more renovations at the City Library. I wish they would put a balcony up in Wellman Hall.
Dympna Minnock is Director of Development for the Irish American Partnership in Boston. Verizon worker Laurie Bertera of Agawam has a letter in the paper praising her co-worker Jason Corey for administering first aid to Medal of Honor winning Officer Carlo P. D'Amato when he was injured last year. Corey's role was completely omitted from Larry McDermott's article about the incident. M.P. Chevrette of South Hadley also has a letter urging people to continue to donate blood in the wake of 9/11.
The former SIS turned First Mass has been renamed again to Bank North because First Mass didn't catch on. The local Salvation Army kettle drive was down this year to $55,000 in donations from $61,000 last year. The news says there are concerns that kids on welfare aren't getting enough care for their teeth. I say why don't the parents teach their kids to brush their teeth? I recall that at Homer Street School we were taught proper teeth brushing with demonstrations. My my, it's another picture of Frances M. Gagnon in the paper today. Fancy that! This time it's because she has an antique Santa image that is identical to the one used by the U.S. Post Office for their annual Christmas stamp.
Kelly has her Christmas lights still up. I dropped off some magazines at the Cohn's and left the Boston Herald at the Penniman's. I handed the magazines to Mrs. Cohn, who has lost her former cheerfulness. I noticed they now have a little flag of Israel propped up in the back window of their car like so many others have with American flags. Went down to the Quadrangle and got some free books, including Public Enemies by John Walsh and Son of a Grifter by Kent Walker. As I left I saw Guy McLain, who cheerfully greeted me. He didn't mention the porno poems I sent him. For lunch I went to Donovan's Pub in the Eastfield Mall for fish and chips. I got a big pile of fries, a really good filet of fish and some fresh but unexciting cole slaw. I also had water with a slice of lemon and a side order of onion rings. I ended up bringing most of the fries and onion rings home. On my way out of the mall I was given a freebie in the form of a plastic food container manufactured in Leominster, Massachusetts. As I drove off the parking lot was about full.
They say you can't kill music and you can't kill art, but Springfield has done a pretty good job. Eamon called and said he has two teddy bears sitting at opposite ends of his porch. Eamon claims that Springfield compares very poorly with Northampton, which is recognized as the number one small arts town in America. Northampton has more gourmet restaurants, art galleries, bookstores, fashion boutiques, museums and theaters than most cities many times its size. Eamon says that Springfield's city planners are just "spinning their wheels" as long as Springfield has third rate schools, high crime and a poor quality of life environment. Eamon said his cousin former Election Commissioner James "Deezer" Sullivan has hired former Mayor Ted Dimauro to sue the city regarding his discharge. I always found Deezer to be a friendly, efficient, totally satisfactory individual.
Eamon says that most people don't realize that Councilor Brian Santaniello and Mayor Albano are cousins. Eamon told me that he received a lovely thank you note for the money he sent to the family of murdered teacher Theodore Brown from Mrs. Joyce P. Brown of Russell Street. Eamon said that Jim Landers has a friend who is a retired Water Department employee who worked for the city for 30 years. He was passed over for a final promotion by Mayor Albano in favor of a political hack. Lander's friend knew every water valve in the city, so as revenge he destroyed a lot of important plans and records, took some expensive department tools and may have been responsible for the recent water main breaks at the New North School and on Main Street.
Overcast, 34 degrees at 9am.
I woke up in the middle of the night.
In Florida a 15 year old boy Chris Bishop flew a plane into a law office on the the 28th floor in an act meant to copy 9/11. The boy left a note expressing support for Osama bin Laden and once again there has been an incident where Bush and the Republicans were caught unprepared. WSPR said that magazines are having a hard time just like newspapers with advertising and subscriptions down. I have noticed that Redbook and and Better Homes and Gardens have shrunken. Barry Kreiger was on TV22 tonight reciting their new motto, "We Won't Waste Your Time." Or is Kreiger on TV40? Frankly I can't keep track of who's on what station, they are both so alike. There was an ad in the paper today from the firm of Cooley Shrair congratulating Atty. Mark D. Mason for being selected as one of the Ten Lawyers of the Year 2001 by the Massachusetts Lawyer's Weekly. Atty. Mason is listed as a co-founder and past president of the Gay & Lesbian Civic Association of Greater Springfield.
Sue Lavoie is the Vice President of the Eastern States Exposition. Neighbors Irving and Lenore Cohn has a new American flag flying from the pole in their front yard to go with the new Israeli flag on their car. Dropped off something for President Caprio with the black lady receptionist at WNEC then over to Louis & Clark to put out mail with Cindy. Louis & Clark has a new articulate black pharmacist with braided hair. They have a giant teddy bear for sale for $69. I think Eamon's panda is larger, but the one at Louis & Clark is still bigger than the one at Filene's. Next I drove down Breckwood to Boston Road and up to Bickford's for breakfast. The place was packed.
From there I headed over to Stop & Shop where I saw Lamnoureax but managed to avoid running into him and having to snub him. I bought only the specials and then headed downtown. The Hall of Fame looks finished from the outside and Peter Picknelly's new hotel is well along and the roof is going up. I parked in front of the old York Street Jail, which is looking really rundown, and took some pictures. Pepper's Bar and Grill is the name of the place with the round red awning on State as you go into the city. I arrived at the Quadrangle at 10:50 and I saw there is a hole in the middle of the grass where they are no doubt laying the foundation for the Seuss statues. In the library only a few books were placed out in the giveaway section. On the way back passing through Mason Square via Hancock, the Dunbar Community Center additon looks ultr-modern and the A.I.C. library was closed today.
When I got home the phone rang and when I picked it up there was no voice. So I reversed the call and I got a recorded message for Sprint. I left them a message, "Reaching to answer the phone, which was voiceless, I strained my back and I'm going to see about suing you." I then called Western Mass Hospital to ask about Aunt Maria and I got Mary Jo and inquired about how Mrs. Giroux is doing. She replied, "Your Aunt is doing just fine, and if you want to know more you'll have to ask her nearest relative." I replied, "I am the nearest relative!" However I let it go and wished Mary Jo a Happy New Year.
The mail came at five to noon and it included a brochure for the Springfield Newspapers that was an obvious play on post 9/11 insecurity. It was red, white and blue and said, "You'll feel better knowing the whole story." So I called editor McDermott and left a message on his answering machine. I said sorry Larry, but your readers would not feel better if they knew the whole story about what a bunch of crooks and imbeciles are running this city. I told him when I want the whole story I read the Valley Advocate and if McDermott really wants to know the whole story he should listen to Eamon O'Sullivan. I said Eamon is a lot smarter than you'll ever be, then I wished him a Happy New Year and hung up.
Eamon called to say that Jim Landers told him that Russ Denver is collecting 500 essays from people on why they love Springfield. I said of course I must contribute. Eamon said he spoke with Nader the Hatter this morning. Nader said it has been so chilly down there that he hasn't been able to go swimming and that he and Dorothee are going to an art show in Miami. Eamon said he is writing a letter to the Pulitzer Prize Committee urging them to give no awards to the Springfield Newspapers.
Overcast, an inch of snow on the ground. 36 degrees at 4pm.
Sen. Strom Thurmond turned 99 today. Chris Bishop, the kid that flew a plane into a building in Tampa, is being called "a loner" and "a troubled youth." H. Rap Brown, who once said, "Violence is necessary. Violence is as American as apple pie," is going on trial for a violent incident he was involved with in March 2000. The Supreme Court is taking up a case out of Lake Tahoe raising the question: Is regulation of property a taking without compensation? WFCR was interviewing Chuck Zerby, the author of The Devil's Details: A History of Footnotes (Invisible Cities Press). He seemed to think that footnotes began with the invention of printing but hasn't he ever heard of medieval glossatation? There were classical glossators as well. Crossing Over with John Edward, the talk to the dead show that comes on just before TV22 News at Five is such nonsense. It is amazing how easy it is to fool people.
Silly the Clown performed at this year's Festival of Trees put on by the Atheneum Society of Wilbraham. Springfield College is having a Summer Camp Job Fair on February 27 in Moses Hall. C&S Wholesale Grocers in Westfield is hiring warehouse selectors. The revamped train station Worcester opened in 1999 hoping to fill it with restaurants and shops and serve as a transportation center is apparently a flop. How does that reflect on the chances for Union Station in Springfield, which is not as nice as the one in Worcester? Even when identical projects fail elsewhere, Springfield still rushes blindly forward with a copycat version.
Mrs. Staniski and Ann went to NYC last weekend. I submitted my recommendation to the Pioneer Valley Girl Scouts that they give their 2002 Woman of Distinction Award to Maureen Turner. I wrote in part: "Maureen Turner has the guts and persistence to produce hard hitting investigatory journalism. She is a real lady but gets tough when it comes to exposing the messes throughout the valley. Her mother was a teacher in New York City and her father was an NYC cop. She's Irish-Catholic but went to the Quaker school Haverford and has a masters in journalism from North Carolina. Recently married, she now is an editor/reporter for the Valley Advocate where she is one of our valley's most precious female assets, who has the guts to tell things as they are rather than just going along to get along."
Eamon called and said that girls nowadays offer to give a blow job but resist real sex. He says the city's population has fallen from 180,000 to 150,000 since the 1960's because of primarily white families fleeing to the suburbs as the city has declined. Eamon says that there are too many details missing from Officer Carlo D'Amato's story of what happened the night he was attacked and that Larry McDermott needs to do a follow-up article. Eamon recalled how back when David Manning was Sheriff the jail had land in Agawam and they took truckloads of prisoners over there every day to work. John G. Curley succeeded him as Sheriff and made a garden behind the jail where the gym is now situated.
Judy Matt has announced that over 50,000 cars drove through Bright Nights at Forest Park this holiday season. The Mayor's inauguration was today. The news said over 2000 students were bused in from the public schools to watch. Albano looked tired and spoke as if he knows a storm is coming. I've been working on my essay for the Why I Love Springfield collection but can't find out where to send it. I called Margie at the Spirit of Springfield but she said try the Chamber Commerce but they also said no. Eamon said he thinks he read about it in The Reminder about a month ago. I won't complete it until I find where to send it but here's a sample of what I've written thus far:
New York Times architecture critic Paul Goldberger, my kind of Jew, has written that Springfield's new architecture of steel beams, cement pillars and glass boxes is "banal in the extreme." The credit goes to the our Democrat Party controlled city government composed of a City Council that seldom changes with 37 municipal departments, all with highly paid administrators. In just the last year our mayor was cited by the local judiciary for his circumspection in the Northgate Plaza matter, and presently the FBI and State Attorney General are preparing other citations for him and his associates. Our local Newhouse owned newspaper, with their flunky WASP editor out of an Arkansas cow college, can always be counted on to lend proactive support to the status-quo while the Spirit of Springfield spreads good feelings throughout the town.