February 2005

February 1, 2005

19 degrees first thing, a sunny, lovely winter day.

This is National Bubblewrap Day. It is also Black History Month. The whites get the other eleven months and after all, February is the shortest month.

Named after a colonial governor, Dummer Academy is planning to change its name. Peter Jennings signed off from Iraq saying, "The war is far from over."

Longmeadow schools are using dress codes to forbid girls showing bare midriffs and boys showing their underwear.

In the mail today I got a tube that looked like a pipe bomb but it was an umbrella, my "free gift" from the Western Mass Regional Library System.

Control Board on TV scolded the City Council for voting 5-4 against the changes to save money on insurance. Kateri Walsh called it a "philosophical vote."

Headed downtown and parked on Eliot St. by the rectory and walked down the hill to the School Department. Left some stuff with Burke's secretary and gave Pat Walsh my items for the School Committee. Then down to Court Square where the first thing I noticed was that the water fountain had been vandalized. It is a big tall cast iron replica of a Bartholdi-type fountain, looks like some football player pushed against the section above the basin that catches the water and bent it by five or six degrees.

Then I went to City Hall and left a Springfield postcard for all department heads except for Pat Markey, with whom I have had difficulties in the past. Left one for all the staffers in Ryan's outer office and one for Bruce Fitzgerald. Barbara Garvey came in and I personally handed her a postcard. I gave City Clerk Metzger five extra cards. Out of City Hall I finally made my way to the Civic Center offices. I gave a postcard to Hurwitz's secretary and she gave me a glitzy Civic Center brochure. She was very friendly. Back to the car at 11:37 and decided not to stop at the Quadrangle.

Assistant to the Superintendent Dr. Mary E. Beach has an article in the Afro-Am Point of View newspaper regretting the use of "educationalese." That word is not in the dictionary, it is an impropriety concocted by some dumb educationist. Education degrees are the scum of the university. They don't know their own jargon, yet they make resolutions about and write essays about the jargon they don't even know. Dr. Beach should evaluate her own accountability and ask if it might be "soft discrimination" that got her where she is.

Chief Executive Officer John L. Doleva says the Basketball Hall of Fame had a operating loss of about $750,000 in 2004. Projections of up to 400,000 visitors have not been met, only 242,000 showed up. Three workers laid off.

The funeral for former Republican (Union-News) editor Carroll Robbins covered in the paper. D.A. Bennett, McDermott, Brian Long and Wayne Phaneuf reported to be in attendance. Councilor Vincent DiMonaco once told Eamon about having lunch with Robbins and David Starr at which Starr told them he didn't think Eamon was "good for Springfield." Eamon then offered to take all of them out for lunch to talk about it but Starr said he wasn't interested. Thus arose the enmity between Starr and Eamon.

February 3, 2005

A bright sunny, shadow-casting day. North Wilbraham Mobil is $1.95 per gallon.

Mrs. Staniski gave me a little bag of Goldfish Graham Snacks. Father loved graham crackers. Irving Cohn says his wife is getting worse but is in good humor. Ray Herschel says he went to UMass "and I teach there too."

I'm considering investing in nanotechnology, IBM is deeply into it and also Lucent which has the Bell Laboratories and lots of patents. As for my Mutual Fund, turns out I have to pay tax on the gains reported so it looks like I have more taxes to pay! Went at 3:30 to the Pine Point Library for additional tax forms, I saw Karen Powell working there but didn't have time to talk.

Went to the Wilbraham Town Offices and left Tonya some stuff in her department, left something for Beall on her desk and Pearsall met me at the counter and suggested I might end up in jail, perhaps Guantanamo.

Stopped into Kentucky Fried Chicken but their chicken is outrageously priced so I went to Stop & Shop and bought some dented cans of fruit and a nice package of chicken leg quarters on special for $1.99 per pound. In the produce aisle I ran into Mrs. Charles Ryan who was looking for a certain kind of grape. She said she wishes that Eamon wouldn't criticize her husband so much.

WFCR was talking about the making of the Quabbin Reservoir this morning with interviews with old-timers. Came across as something forced on us by Boston. There were local protests at the time, but Rev. Roland Sawyer told them that most wouldn't have to move, but that wasn't so. It was also done during the Depression when housing values were low so people weren't paid much for their property. Boston bastards.

Jim Polito on TV40 reported on a new study by the Brookings Institute which says there are "too many convention centers and not enough business," suggesting that the Springfield Civic Center renovation may be "a day late and a dollar short." Manager S. Hurwitz was interviewed and said we will succeed because of "our many entertainment and amusement spots and our many hotel rooms."

Marlene Znoy called, that means Povirk is hoping to get some money out of me for his winter sale, but I already have a house full of books.

Joseph Carvalho was appointed by Governor Romney to the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities.

Landers and I chatted a bit, he says the Athens Restaurant across from the Hippodrome that has been there for years will close this summer. Owner says they used to have a good business 6-9 mornings but so much has closed up downtown he doesn't even have that anymore.

Eamon called at 9:51. He said that he heard that Russell's Restaurant on Boston Road is closing. That has been a popular middle-class and elderly eating place for decades. Tommy Devine went over there a lot. Eamon is also disgusted that the Police Commission didn't come down harder on the officers who pulled the school official having a diabetic attack out of the window of his car rather than opening the door. Added that Antonette told him that the city will not be going into receivership. Finally Eamon told me he doesn't think I'm "appreciated." He says I'm "tinkering around the edges" and nobody cares. Probably true.

February 4, 2005

Overcast, 34 degrees on the breezeway, three inches of snow.

"Work is more fun than fun." - Noel Coward

Michael Meeropol of WNEC has an article in the paper calling the Bush Administration's Social Security reform plan "a scam."

When I arrived as a student at Harvard I found that there was another J. Wesley Miller enrolled there, a graduate of the Coast Guard Academy. We formed the two members of the J. Wesley Miller Club. I have a coded series of forms of my name which I use for different purposes and mailing lists: John Wesley Miller III (formal) J. Wesley Miller (regular) Jack Miller (informal) Jake Miller (porn mail) Joseph Miller (Catholic) and Jacob Miller (Jewish). Adele J. Conachie at Buckingham could scream a troublemaking kid into submission in five seconds with no touching. Dr. Walter H. English was my 8th grade English teacher at Buckingham. He was wonderful, everybody loved him and in later years he became Professor of Humanics (a balderdash term) at Springfield College. He was a fine, polished black gentleman with a sense of humor and broad interests.

I contrast him with Randolph Bromery, the black geologist we are supposed to revere. I don't like the way he treated the Rev. Ken Childs at Springfield College. Childs was the campus pastor and contributed to intellectual ferment. Bromery didn't like that and fired him. While moving out of his office Childs had a heart attack and died. Bromery had a bad attitude just like David Starr, and for that I shall always disesteem him.

The street upon which I live is an avenue of custom built small homes. The typical house has 5-7 rooms, a fireplace, one or two garages, lots of trees, manageable rather than large lots. My diary is in part a history of Birchland Avenue and its people.

I found a little bag of what looked like seeds, stems and colored pills in the snow by United Bank in 16 Acres. Parking lot was full, there is commerce, it just doesn't go downtown anymore. I always look into trash cans. Once a local property appraiser had all his papers out on the curb. I found in the pile a rare fat booklet issued by the Homebuilders Association giving a picture and floor plan of all the different housing developments that went up here in Sixteen Acres. On another occasion I found the papers of the head of the Technical High School Physics Department out on the curb.

Went over to Russell's Restaurant to get one of their menus, recall I had no luck getting a menu out of them several years back when Devine was living near there on Breckwood and used to go there a lot. I stopped by at 3:24 and a cultivated black man came to the door and said they were closed, only open now from 6-3, no evenings. But I did manage to get a Wilbraham Middle School Tsunami Relief Tag Sale poster, which is remarkable because it is an example of reverse flow postering. Ordinarily people in the city poster in the suburbs, but this is a rare instance of the suburbs postering in the city.

Nicholas A. Fyntrilakis has resigned from the School Committee due to conflicts of interest from his job at Mass Mutual. Antonette Pepe told Eamon that she suspects Pat Walsh intercepts her School Committee mail.

Intrigued by rumors about Advanced Energy Group Inc. which is supposedly doing a lot of wiring for the School Department. They are presently at 32 Hampden and School Committee member Thomas Ashe, who left a job as Director of Education at the Hall of Fame now works for them. Indeed when I called this morning pretending to be a wrong number Ashe answered the phone. Eamon heard something about Bill Fitzgerald, and Bill Murphy and perhaps even Burke's wife may be tied in. The 32 Hampden office was just set up in the last two months and is run by James M. Quinn. There is also an Universal Electric with interlocking directorates and James Quinn is the owner of both. Wonder if they have done electrical work for Albano and ex-rep Dennis Murphy, both of whom have new homes which would have needed electrical work. Quinn a supporter of both Mike Albano and Linda Melconian. Looking for rigged bids and kick-backs.

Gerald A. Phillips is volunteering in the kitchen at the Warming Place homeless shelter in the basement of 33 Chestnut Street.

February 5, 2005

"I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." - Albert Einstein.

Few people understand that a complaint is a gift.

Remember the good die young, and too many of them in Iraq, Vietnam and other foolishness.

The Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation gave a million to the Red Cross for tsunami disaster relief.

The only flaw I have ever spotted in President Caprio of Western New England College is that he is a Columbia trained language professor who doesn't belong to the Modern Language Association.

The mail today brought a nice letter from Mayor Ryan:

Dear J. Wesley,

I've received your latest missive and the postcards you enclosed. Without a doubt, yours are the most colorful and informative letters I receive.

Thanks for the postcards, the compliments and for your expressions of support for what the Control Board is doing.


Charles V. Ryan

If it's true that Messrs. Gotterer and Kingston have at various points over the years been on the Mass Mutual payroll involved in doling out unreported illegal cash contributions to federal, state and local candidates and officials - how can I get in on the money?

I keep a record of everything I do, everywhere I go, and my observations on the changes. I have watched our libraries and museums especially carefully over the years. Also I live in 16 Acres and have grown up here and seen it change and recorded the changes. I have the Grand Opening sign for the Burger King that closed five years ago!

In my youth the arguably most distinguished surgeon in the city was one Stanley S. Stusick, a gentleman of Polish Catholic heritage who was known for his goodness. He attended Mother several times and she preferred the Ludlow hospital where his portrait eventually hung in the front lobby.

A pianist himself, Dr. Stusick married Alice Mikus of Chicopee, who had been a child prodigy and was Harpist in the Springfield and Hartford Symphonies. She had a sister Irene Mikus who graduated from the Elms and was best known for her promotion of bell ringing. And there was a brother, Karl Mikus, a graduate of Bay Path, known as "The Piano Man" who often performed with Irene. Once Irene performed in an assembly at Buckingham Junior High when I was there, playing, among other novelties, "The Flight of the Bumblebee" on the violin while holding it behind her back!

February 6, 2005

33 degrees, sunny, mild, clear blue sky.

All history is a series of anecdotes.

In Google We Trust.

Patriots won the Superbowl.

TV40 says fewer fans are showing up at Falcons hockey games this year.

Kids snowboarding on the gentle hill between Moss Road and the school. When I was a kid we sledded on the hill by the House of Good Shepard behind Mass Mutual.

Arrived at the Quadrangle at 11:23 and into the library. I looked at the freebie counter and they were tossing lots of Rolling Stone magazines and the Canadian newsmagazine Maclean's. Got the Rolling Stone on Allen Ginsberg and the Maclean's on the fate of the Dionne Quintuplets. Later to McDonald's and dined on a fish sandwich and a 99 cent salad which had five tomatoes in it!

My grandfather J. Wesley Miller, a Methodist minister, journalist and Democrat in the Vermont Legislature, kept a diary called All My Days for Jesus throughout his life until the eve of his death. My father was a Life Underwriter, with a serious hearing impairment, who left behind a history of the Monarch Life Insurance Credit Union. In my youth I wrote a history of Buckingham Junior High School, the history of music at Classical and a history of the Springfield Symphony. I have always been a facts orientated rather than an imaginative person. Mark Benbow, the finest English professor I ever had, told me that I am "simple and literal minded" to which I replied, "Yer damn tootin!"

We have Newhouse owned newspapers but our local alternative newspaper is the Valley Advocate, run by Tom Vannah, a Bates grad and Maureen Turner, a Haverford grad with a journalism degree from North Carolina. The clowns on the Newhouse paper don't have degrees like that. The staff of the Advocate and I are friends.

Springfield was once a great city. Today it is in the hands of a Commonwealth appointed Control Board which is trying to avoid putting the city into receivership. There is nothing left. Our City Council is the same old grandstanding stupid people who are really worse than a chamber of Student Government representatives. At least the FBI is trying to clean up our town.

February 8, 2005

32 degrees at 7:30, sunny. Gas at Watershops Pond is $1.89.

Everywhere people are coming up with bright ideas that aren't so bright.

Affordable Auto Glass has a commercial in which the manager says, "We do a lot of repeat business." Is he saying that a lot of people smash up their car more than once?

Went downtown and at the Peter Pan bus terminal they have a heated pond with goldfish in it along with the Statue of Liberty but not all the planting they formerly had. In the glass interior wall of the waiting room is a display of photos of Peter Picknelly and family at all stages. A photo with Mayor Albano and Police Chief Meara, Picknelly with mother, one with dad. Not heavy on bus pictures but family and social pictures.

There were three ARISE people standing in front of the Federal Building. One had a homeless sign, another held an anti-war sign and a couple of signs were stuck in the snow. I asked the mature lady at the desk of the downtown information desk if St. Francis is open again. She said she didn't know where it was. I said it's a thousand feet thataway! "We can't know everything," said she. Seems like everybody with a city service job is stupid and wants a raise. Walked over to St. Francis and the cross on the front is gone but it looks fixed up. Chapel was closed, but three Masses were posted for Ash Wednesday, Bishop officiating at noon.

In Tower Square I saw a man with a white t-shirt that said, "Geriatric Authority of Holyoke Gives Terrible Care."

Walked into Miller Picture Framing. Their left front window was smashed last night but they said nothing was stolen. Three of them working, dad Paul Hutchinson and sons Robert and James. Robert is married and the very personable James is gay. Wives sour and stifle men so gays are generally more youthful and friendly in attitude. Old man Hutchinson used to work for Mrs. Miller, then bought the business. It was located on Worthington, then Chestnut, then on Main Street near Johnson's Bookstore, now for many years on Bridge. I gave Jim three postcards and we talked about how dead downtown has become.

I stopped in for a moment at Athen's Restaurant which Jim Landers said is closing. Used to do a good breakfast trade but now a greasy-walled room with a row of 50's style booths. Sidewalks covered with grime and litter and lottery tickets. Back to the car at 11:40. Home at 12:01.

Drove out again at 2:12 to Boston Road Pizza Uno to use a five dollar coupon expiring in a few days. Had beer, steak with rice and a side salad. The waitress remembered me from the time when Nader and Eamon and I dined there in the same booth. I gave her a five dollar tip and she gave me a survey to fill out for a $6 coupon, but it had to be done online. I stopped at the 16 Acres Library and when I went to sign for the use of the computer the male librarian (who has two hearing aides) said to me, "That's not necessary, you are very well known, Attorney Miller."

February 10, 2005

38 degrees, cloudy, snow expected tonight.

Don't be good. Be great.

Steve Chapman has a column in the paper on Ayn Rand in which he describes her as "celebrating sexual enjoyment as an end in itself."

Cal's Variety is for sale, the business, not the building. The rent is $600 a month and the take is $197,635 a year in lottery tickets of which they only get a small percentage. Electricity is $243 per month. Another $500 a month in various bills. It was originally selling for $64,000 but they lowered their price to $57,000.

The WNEC archivist is Evelyn Salz, UMass grad, married to Professor Henry Salz of STCC. They live in Longmeadow and have a daughter named Heidi.

Watercooler on 57 had a discussion of Social Security featuring Michael Meeropol of WNEC, John Rogers of AIC and Jack Sedgewick of UMass. Meeropol said the Bush plan "takes the security out of Social Security."

More developments regarding Tom Ashe and the companies Advanced Energy and Universal Electric. Eamon went down in person to 32 Hampden in the Whitcomb Building where they've only been located for a few months. Ashe was there in the back office and Eamon confronted him with what he knew. Ashe said to Eamon, "I don't know what you're doing down here or what you were told, but we don't have any contracts with the city or School Department. That's a damn lie!" So Eamon left.

But later that day in the bread aisle of Stop & Shop Eamon ran into Eddie Keating, son of the longtime chairman of the Police Commission who was originally appointed by Billy Sullivan. Eamon mentioned Universal Electric and Eddie replied, "Universal Electric? That's John and Mike Quinn's company. When I had a job at MCDI Mike Quinn used to spend a lot of time there doing electrical work." He said the Quinns hang around at the Blarney Stone, the narrow bar next to Kakley Florist on the corner of Carew and Newbury, which Eamon said used to be owned by Joe Berte and "Telephone Tom" Russell, who used to work for the phone company and if you needed telephone work, he could get all the pieces for free. The Quinns were raised on Phoenix Terrace and Mike Quinn went to Cathedral with Sheriff Ashe's son-in-law. Both of them now have expensive homes in Wilbraham. The Quinns also did a lot of the sign work for Ashe's School Committee campaign. Eamon says he's afraid that Tom Ashe is just like Phillips, Keough and Albano, a product of the corrupt Springfield system. Eamon closed by saying that Antonette Pepe of the School Committee is the only elected public official who has the interests of the taxpayers at heart and isn't a self-serving career politician.

February 12, 2005

32 degrees, high cloudiness with sunlight glowing through.

Arthur Miller died at 89.

Got a bill for $220 from the Bar Overseers and will pay that Monday. Got a paper and Billy's eight inch sub at Sunoco Minimart. It was several pieces of meat and a piece of hot pepper, no tomato nor lettuce nor onion but a silver-colored squeeze container of Italian dressing. There is a lot of waste with these subs, I've seen a whole pile of them in the trash can.

Cheryl Rivera's law partner is Laura Marino.

Eamon is very fond of haunted house stories and used to go around to ladies clubs delivering talks about them. Eamon has bought a new telephone answering machine for his messages and I called and it is operating.

The February 10th School Committee meeting was "a real doozer" according to Eamon, although not covered by either TV station or adequately by the paper. Marjorie Hurst and Ken Shea were absent due to illness. Eamon says what made it "unbelievable" was a shouting match when Antonette Pepe complained of staffers getting duplicate vacation time and unearned days off. Superintendent Burke and Tom Ashe were furious and said it was a personnel matter that belonged in closed session. Pepe "shouted her lungs off" that since it was general and not specific to individuals it was not closed session material. City Solicitor Fat Ass Fenton was there but useless. Mayor Ryan said, "You have a good question there" and let Pepe continue. Reporters have marching orders not to give Pepe any name recognition so all the article in the Republican talks about is welcoming new member Michael P. Rogers.

However, Natalia E. Arbulu, who did the story on the meeting and mentioned not a word about Pepe, has called her to sit down for an interview. See what happens. Maybe an article, or maybe just looking for gossip for the newspaper editors. Arbulu has done this to Pepe two or three times before, and Mary Ellen O'Shea used to do it as well, conduct an interview but no story comes out of it, just gathering information for use by the insiders.

As feared Pepe didn't get my mailing in her box at City Hall so I drove over to her house at 108 Kerry Drive, where she's lived for about five years, a corner ranch with garage and enclosed breezeway. A red truck in the driveway but nobody answered. I placed my envelope of stuff under the windshield wiper of the truck.

Today was Eamon's birthday. I got a rock concert on 57 with a noisy audience. I dialed Eamon's number, let him hear the crowd which I said had gathered for his birthday celebration, hit the gong, played Happy Birthday on my xylophone, hit the gong again, gave him another good earful of the crowd and hung up.

February 14, 2005

Valentine's Day. 34 degrees at 8am. Sunny and blue sky with an occasional puffy white cloud. Gas $1.83 at Pride in the Acres.

Listening to Classical Music is the most civilized way of getting high.

No word from Art Gingras for some time. Although retired he is still teaching Thursday evenings at AIC.

Went to an Open House at 245 Senator Street in the Acres. Built in 1990 the house has been fixed up cosmetically but the front steps are cracked and there is a deck that needs replacing. Inside things look beat-up despite having new wallpaper. It is stupid to have the living room on the second floor and the bedrooms on the first level with the garage. An unconventional house which arguably doesn't really work.

Nader the Hatter called. Told me that Eamon once told him that he has money salted away in Ireland. Nader said that with all the orange in the Gates art installation in NYC that I should be in it wearing my jumpsuit!

Had an interesting conversation with Evelyn Salz, Western New England College archivist. She said their operation is tiny and she only works ten hours a week, basically just keeping the college's records. She has a masters in English from UMass. She said they have no collections from the community, just stuff relating to WNEC. All they have by founder Beaumont A. Herman is his book. Why don't they have ten feet of his papers? She replied, "Because we haven't asked for them." They have no collection of faculty papers. Do they have a file of everybody who ever taught there? No, she said, although the Dean might.

Over the years I have corrected School Department English on many occasions. Negroni thanked me in writing, Stoddard thanked me in writing. I'd like to determine whether my mailing to Pepe was stolen or diverted and by whom, the obvious possibilities being Superintendent Burke and or Pat Walsh. Burke has failed to answer communications from me in the past. He should explain why he doesn't answer his mail.

Antonette Pepe is an old friend of Eamon's. She came out of the South End, used to visit Eamon in his little office in the Enterprise Building on Worthington Street. Her husband played football with Landers at Trade School. Pepe told Eamon that Mr. Gary Sheehan, the Business Administrator for the School Department tells the School Committee members that some information is not for them to see. She said there was a "big brawl" at Commerce two weeks ago but it didn't get in the paper.

Letter to International Leatherman Magazine - February 15, 2005


Calls for improved discipline in the schools have led inevitably to the widespread discussion of the adoption of school uniforms for youngsters. I write as one proud of my life in leather to endorse the conventional biker jacket as the ideal school uniform.

The biker jacket is just as classic a garment as the Harris tweed, and it is popular with a diverse spectrum of users which extends well beyond the biking community. It has many special advantages over virtually all other garments. It is, after all, unisex, equally popular with both men and women. Doubtless the simple fact that a properly fitted (snapped, zipped, and buckled up) biker jacket feels good has a lot to do with it.

It's an all-weather garment that can be worn constantly wherever one goes. It is heavy-duty, even tough, and can last for many years if properly maintained, but it is also slick and tidy, often informal but capable of being dressy - even formal with lapels and epaulets. The various fastened pockets make it immensely practical: lunch money can go here, pen/pencil and calculator there, homework papers and a sandwich in the inside pocket or even just held inside the jacket by the fastened belt.

I've never heard of anybody who once they tried one on didn't fall in love with their leather jacket, and it is unlikely that there will be student opposition to the mandating of this garment. What better discipline than that which is accepted and even adored? Any mother will love it because it is black and easy to clean; and black is a favorite color with many minority types as well.

Finally, with its epaulets, patch pockets and metallic snaps as well as its fitted form, the standard biker jacket is indeed more of a uniform than any other garment. To be properly suited up is to be ready to do one's darnedest in pursuing excellence in the face of any challenge, be it ten lines of Latin or ten laps around the playground, because, finally, a biker jacket is a state of the union of spirit, mind and body which is the contact sport of life, demonstrating that the wearer is ready to do whatever it takes.

J. Wesley Miller, Esq.
Springfield, Ma.

February 16, 2005

41 degrees at eleven, bright sun.

The original manuscript of the book On the Road by Jack Kerouac, which has sold over two million copies, is now touring museums all over the country.

Donald D'Amato is hard to get on the phone.

I got a Kennedy 50 cent piece in my change at Price-Rite on Boston Road.

Development of my gift of four acres of land on the Chicopee River to Wilbraham has moved forward slowly. The road is finished but they want to plant some trees and put up a sign. It will be called Blanche and John's Fernbank, after my parents.

Library called and said the Hooker volumes have arrived. So I finished reading my mail and went down to Pine Point. The brightly dressed lesbian librarian told me that my card is no longer valid. Then she tried again and said okay. Karen Powell was there and we exchanged greetings. No freebie books or magazines. Light on in Doyle's.

Used to be 1100 professors at UMass, now down to a paltry 865. So much government scholarship money makes it easy for colleges to raise prices because there is no immediate pain to students who can get all the loans they want.

Watercooler on 57 discussed "Peace in the Middle East." Host Susan Kaplan was dressed all in black with two guests: David Mednicoff, professor of Legal Studies at UMass; and Gary Lefort, professor of International Business at AIC.

Springfield now has thirteen FBI special agents working here, plus two secretaries helping out, which is more than in Boston. Father Shanley, the Boston pedophile priest, was sentenced to 10-15 years plus probation. Prosecutors wanted two consecutive life sentences.

Bob Markel, former Mayor of Springfield (1992-1996) was arrested over the weekend for drunken driving and released on bail. He was celebrating his selection as Ipswitch Town Manager.

Eamon called and said Deezer heard from City Clerk Metzger that Bruce Fitzgerald found Ryan's new aide Steve Pegram, age 32, dead on Dunmoreland Street. He had only recently been hired by Ryan, although Ryan had known him for a long time. Pegram was in charge of the Youth Division and a former football player at Central High. Also worked for Neal for awhile.

February 18, 2005

35 degrees with high cloudiness. Mobil is $1.85.

Margaret Truman is 81 today.

Meeropol to address the Sixteen Acres Civic Association on Social Security.

I am to be entombed in a vault on the second floor of the Hillcrest Park Cemetery Mauseleum. Here is a postcard of it:

Springfield Lincoln-Mercury sent me a notice, "Our records indicate your 1999 Ford Taurus S.E. is now due for its 5000 mile maintenance visit."

Home and Garden has a feature on Thomas D. Osborn the flooring craftsman. His wife is Francis G. Welson, a very high-toned woman who was Placement Director at WNEC Law when I was there. She is impeccable and he is tubby and bearded and slovenly. But he is an artist of quality.

Visited Jack Hess and it appears that he is building a collection of images which he puts into a homemade postcard format in an album he probably intends to give to the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum. Hess is making two cupolas for the guy across the street who is doing body work on his truck.

Paid half price for two three pound heart-shaped boxes of leftover Valentine's Day chocolates at Louis & Clark.

11:43 arrived at Ruby Tuesday's and was waited on by Lisa who says she is 31 and started working at Friendlys at age fifteen. She said they work their employees to death and she likes Ruby Tuesday's a lot better. In Doonesbury Zonker got a job at McFriendlys. At the salad bar I found a plate with a crack in it and told Lisa such plates should be retired from service. She agreed.

Mayor Ryan wants to slim down Springfield's absurd 37 municipal departments to eleven. Helen Caulton would be put in charge of libraries, health, elderly and vets! I called Phil Puccia and told him that Caulton has the responsibilities of a polymath but not the academic background of one. Caulton is unqualified to be in charge of four departments and her Cambridge College certificate is the height of absurdity.

My experience with Fran Gagnon and others (Mim Herwig, Mrs. Willard Hurst) has been that local historical bigshots use involvement with local history as a vehicle for self-promotion and are uninterested in outsiders nuzzling in on their preserve.

The shouting match between Burke, Ashe and Pepe at the School Committee meeting last week, which the rest of the media refused to cover, was written up in The Reminder in a piece by Sarah M. Corigliano. Well done.

Eamon called and said the murdered aide Pegram had a serious drinking problem and his body was found hog-tied and "totally naked." Cops are checking pawn shops for clues because Pegram's jewelry is missing.

Registrar of Deeds Donald Ashe will have his St. Patrick's Day Party at the John Boyle O'Reilly Club on March 9th. $20 per person. Eamon says that Donald Ashe belongs in prison for his real estate swindles with Ox McCarthy.

February 20, 2005

Sunny, clear sky, only 22 degrees on the breezeway this morning.

Malcolm X was assassinated 40 years ago today.

"The best hope for peace is the expansion of freedom." - G.W. Bush.

I often work in the middle of the night.

At the Boston Road Big Y they have an immense inflatable pink rabbit with a wagon of Easter eggs in front of him. Planning on going back and taking a picture.

Somebody has proposed that Election Days be declared holidays and I think that's a good idea.

Six thousand people in Connecticut had their credit card information stolen. And Congress has acted swiftly to make class action suits more difficult. It would be nice, really nice if these congressmen could be sued in every court in the nation.

The Giroux home on 360 Pine Street in Feeding Hills was a tiny, poor house. I was there once, it had a dirt basement. Eventually Maria fixed it up and sold it.

D'Amato answering machine says "no one here to answer your call now." So I left the statement, "Your phraseology is condescending. The situation is rather that there is no one there to "get the message." At 3:05 today someone with a firm, businesslike, authoritative young male voice said this call "requires your immediate attention." Then requests that you push one of the buttons on your touchtone phone. I have a rotary phone.

Arrived at Stanton's Auction in Hampden at 1:40. A rather blah lot of stuff with a couple of obnoxious cobalt porcelain palace urns and a lot of antique but awkward stuff. Lots of paintings nobody would even hang in a funeral parlor. Bought a Hampden Ale figure of a man playing an accordion standing atop a keg of beer. Rare, never seen one before. Chatted a bit with Pete Imler.

Alan Dershowitz was on Nightline saying that college presidents are too intellectually timid and should be more thought provoking. I am sending WNEC President Caprio and Kalodner at the law school tombstone postcards inscribed, "What would Dershowitz say about your institution?"

February 21, 2005

Springfield was a postcard publishing center around 1900.

Linda K. Fuller of Wilbraham has completed a book on national holidays throughout the world.

There are all kinds of writing. Some for fine scholarly publications, some for casual but correct writing, some for casual but correct conversation (which is different from writing) and so on down to bad English. Some things you can do in one sort of writing that you can't do in another.

Barbara Garvey re-elected as chair of the Board of Library Commissioners, Vera O'Connor, secretary and Rudy Ruggeri as vice-chair.

G.M. Dobbs has an article in The Reminder questioning the handicapped accessibility at the Quadrangle. Dobbs' accompanying photo of the Quad reminds me of the 2002 dedication of the Seuss sculptures, the most glorious happening that has happened to Springfield in many years. Springfield is pretty much a dead city (even the Basketball Hall of Fame has a leaky roof) but the Seuss sculptures are something very special.

The boss of our local Newhouse owned newspaper David Starr deserves the credit for bringing it all about. I have criticized Starr in the past on numerous occasions and shall continue to do so, but in this case I must give credit where credit is due. I gave $500 towards the sculptures, but in my view the fundraising campaign was a flop because not enough bigshots were on the list of donors, although many of them were still invited to a fancy dinner.

The dedication was really a two day event, with the formal ceremonies the first day and then a come down and see it celebration on the next day. I attended with Mrs. John Staniski and Dr. John Rixon.

February 22, 2005

30 degrees, overcast.

Today is really George Washington's birthday.

In the heat of the battle the soldier must focus on destroying the enemy.

Top Social Security benefit is $20,000, bottom is $4,000. Mine is $5,400.

Letters mailed at 10:14 to the Smithsonian, Phaneuf, Morgan Stanley, Gormally at BusinessWest, Drysdale and Steve Clay.

Senator Stephen Buoniconti of West Springfield has been made chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Service. Seen as a boost to public employee unions.

It was the political ineptitude of E.P. Boland that led to Springfield losing the Springfield Armory. The Boston Globe once called Boland "a cipher."

Cecilia Gross was interviewed by Karen Brown this morning. She works at STCC and since the 1980's has been developing Springfield's Black American Heritage Trail. Said William Pynchon's house was where Tilly's is now and Peter Swinick, an indentured servant, was Springfield's first black resident. He had a family pew in First Church. The first black church was where the Civic Center is now, and Gross wants to put a tablet there. Never heard of her before.

News at noon on 22 said Mayor Ryan said Keough's homeless shelter better get some new directors if he's going to fund it. Mary Rose Coughlan is Chair of the Board so I called her and left a message that she should resign and be replaced by such neglected talent as Michaelann Bewsee, Yusuf Mohammad or Talbert Swan.

I called the Mayor's Office and spoke to Barbara Garvey. She said the Library and Museums had agreed to keep the boundary open between St. Michael's Cathedral and the Quadrangle, but they committed a "betrayal of their agreement" by putting up a fence. I told her that "fighting David Starr is worse than City Hall" and she burst into laughter and wished me good afternoon.

Went to the Acres Library and returned my books to the librarian that always wears immense rhinestone earrings. I gave her a postcard of the library and she beamed brightly. Then read today's paper, which reported that Marcia Baribeau's mother died. Marcia was a loud little girl at Homer Street School and once invited our class to a birthday party at her place, an old house set back from Benton Street.

Karen Powell was working at the 16 Acres branch today. I gave her an envelope of stuff, and she told me how she hates Michelle Webber who runs the Mayor's Office. Michelle is the polished type where Karen is a down in the trenches activist. Powell praised Ryan as "a fine, mellow gentleman who is doing the best he can in an impossible situation."

February 25, 2005

Sunny, high stratus clouds, 25 degrees this morning. Shell (Breckwood) $1.89.

Bush lied, thousands died.

Oil tank is just above three-eighths full.

I think there must be things about my childhood that explain my biting my fingernails. Really doesn't matter, like Popeye I am what I am.

Dave Madsen on the news tonight described convention centers as "money pits." Gerry Phillips trial is supposed to end today.

Povirk sent me a 1937 Spanish Civil War postcard with the note, "Dear J. Wesley, Thanks for the order and the new cards. My favorites are of you in the orange jumpsuit and the celestial harpists. My best, Eugene."

Jack Hess called and said he just bought The History of Classical High but it has crummy pictures. I told him about William C. Hill's Telling Tales Out of School, which he had never heard of. Said a 90 year old lady who worked at Highland for 40 years had Willimantic Beer memorabilia for sale, a thousand dollars for the whole lot, price negotiable. Hess checked it out and said it was only worth $200. No sale.

Photographed the dinky little addition going onto the back of the D'Amore Library at WNEC. Is this an addition or an outhouse?

Parked on Chestnut Street in front of the old YMCA because very crowded down at the Quadrangle today, the last day of school vacation and a Science Workshop on bugs attracting a lot of kids. Aristocratic volunteers included Mrs. Wheeler in black slacks and athletic shoes. Looking up to the ceiling I noticed that the globes of the light fixtures are full of dirt.

Later at the Connecticut Valley History Museum my friend Bob Moore said he graduated from Cathedral in 1960 but that yearbook has been stolen from the museum's shelf. A new feature is a computer where you can type what you think of the Quad and get a free gift. I wrote the suggestion that they get rid of David Starr, Gagnon and Wallace. Free gift turned out to be an entry in a monthly raffle. Finally in the Smith museum there was no piano on the second floor and no Samurai swords on the inside wall. I asked Dibble the guard guy where the swords are and he said, "They're in storage." Place looks really thinned out.

February 27, 2005

32 degrees and four inches of snow in the morning. UMass closed, Hampshire open at ten.

Nice guys furnish laughs.

Today is Chopin's birthday.

Lisa Cignoli did a story on Real to Reel about the Globetrotters.

At Stop & Shop I bought day old pastry and 99 cent grapes and two dented cans of fruit at 80 cents each. At 3:55 a cute little red-headed boy with a blue pail full of papers came along and gave me The Reminder.

My neighbor Mrs. Gilbert Vickers drove by and stopped and rolled down her window to say good-bye. I said she has a wonderful smile and she said her smile is all that's left! She is selling her house and moving nearby to the Reeds Landing retirement community.

Someone called and asked if I was open for dinner. I replied, "No, not really." "Is this Storrowtown? "No." Sorry about that," said he. Another wrong number from the Steve Brewer Company looking for Paul Caron.

I am a liberal Republican, a real fiscal conservative, and my listing in Who's Who continues to list my activism awards from The Baystate Objectivist in 1993, 1994 and 1995 where I am described as "almost always right."

Only partial convictions in the Phillips trial. Phillips father was Cornelius Phillips, who served under Governor Furcolo and was involved in the Chicopee National Bank fraud case.

Eamon says that Edward Pedrick of East Springfield had a lot of fireworks stored in his garage and almost blew up the neighborhood, but the fact that they were such powerful explosives never got into the papers. Similarly, it looks like aide Steve Pegram's use of cocaine may not get in the papers. Phil Puccia called Eamon and talked for 25 minutes. He said the city won't go into receivership but the Control Board has practically all the powers of a receiver and will be around for a long time.

February 28, 2005

"History is bunk." - Henry Ford.

I have eleven ancestors who fought in the American Revolution.

When the priest gives you the sacrament, where is the last place he had his hands?

I come across as a Teddy bear until somebody irritates me. I don't pick fights, I just let people be themselves. Some people find me "disagreeable" when I complain. My answer to that is, "You're getting paid for dealing with me, I'm not getting paid to deal with you, and you are wasting my time."

My dear friend E. Povirk up in Whately is the pre-eminent dealer in radical materials and has told me how interest in "street literature" has heated up in the past few years.

My New England poster collection (as opposed to my Vermont and Wisconsin collections) technically go back to 1970 when I started collecting in Springfield and Amherst when I was home from college on holidays. I have the poster for the rally for which Abbie Hoffman and Amy Carter were busted, copious coverage of their trial in Northampton, stuff on the Clamshell Alliance and all the other local radical movements that have come along.

I cut the University of Vermont out of my will because they advertised they would pay an income for life to anyone who would give them property worth $5,000 or more, but when I offered them the old family farm of 100 acres they admitted it was property but, well, they didn't want it. I then declared that Vermont was out of my will and my Mary Waller collections wouldn't be going there either! As a donor I expect my ass to be licked.

Don't send my boy to Harvard, a dying mother said.
Don't send my boy to Eli Yale, I'd rather he be dead.
Oh send my boy to Old Vermont!
'Tis better than Cornell.
Rather than to Princeton, I'd want my boy in Hell!


March 2005

March 2, 2005

31 degrees the first thing. Just the finest dusting of snow last night. 61 inches of snow so far this year.

A diary can be a compensation for loss. My diary is a work of art.

People don't appreciate things they don't have to pay for.

University of Wisconsin disappointments: no book, no microfilm, no PHD.

High Hippie is a distinct aesthetic period.

Sun Tzu: When an enemy asks for a truce he is plotting.

At age 63 the highest and best use of my time is being creative.

You don't have to sit on the stove to get a whiff of what's cooking.

Titus Andronicus is a hero whom I admire.

"The smallest change can make the biggest difference in your life." - Sen. Joe Lieberman.

I support elimination of the Death Penalty because I think life in prison is a punishment worse than death.

Seems like everybody today has a cellphone in his hand.

Mother took black cats very seriously.

Letters from Kitchen Sink saying they haven't seen Denis, don't know where he is.

Sporty Pontiac Grenada parked at Keough's, registration 326YBA.

Last night there was a rally at Central High for teachers and parents to speak out against the Control Board. Mayor Ryan came, but the other members of the Control Board did not, so they had cardboard dolls with scarfs and caps sitting in for the Control Board members. Tim Collins, the union guy, wore a left ear diamond earring.

March 4, 2005

23 degrees, sunny, stratus clouds. Shell 1.95 per gallon.

Cashed a bunch of dividend checks today and invested it in bonds.

Received a call from Debbie at Keystone Woods asking me if I'd like to attend their seminar at Western New England College. I said that I would like to attend some of their events, but that I got a letter years ago from WNEC President Beverly Miller saying that if I set foot on the WNEC campus I'll be "subject to arrest." I said that my legal position on the Keystone Woods invitation is that it is a contract for hire which would constitute a waiver which would entitle me to come, but maybe not, and if I were forcibly removed I might be disruptive. Why risk it?

Bought a paper and got a red coin at Big Y, my second this week. Maybe loosening up on coins because it is the dead of winter. They are very manipulative. Passed Marion Ruggles from Monarch who nodded and said hi but didn't stop to talk. I was in my motorcycle jacked with political buttons and an older man with a cane stopped me on the way out and started talking about the Iraq war. He was very supportive of Bush and argued that the lost lives were justified because it might ward off World War III. The man's name was Tom Walling, a retired electrician who grew up in Springfield, now lives in Wilbraham.

Mayor Ryan announced that he is running for re-election today. Ex MCDI workers Frank Depergola and Armando Botta arrested on loan sharking charges. Botta now works at Commerce and Depergola has a restaurant he keeps in his wife's name.

Late in the day I drove out to Friendlys in the Acres, where I saw dirt behind the pedestal of their clock. The store manager, a chunky, shortish fellow named Raymond, was curt when I told him. I got a soft-serve in a sugar cone to go, and arrived back home at 4:28.

March 6, 2005

Sunny, no mail, 37 degrees, some clouds at 2 pm. Shell on Boston Road $1.93.

A man marries a cook and a woman marries a janitor.

Traffic on Boston Road this morning was bumper to bumper both ways. Arrived at Wilbraham Post Office at 11:03 and coming out the door was the patriot with the cane Mr. Walling and we exchanged greetings, he smiling brightly.

Bananas at Big Y are now 79 cents a pound. They have a sign up saying there was too much rain in January and it affected the banana supply so try one of their overpriced cantalopes. You have to keep your eye on Big Y, they'll give you a deal with one hand and rob you with the other. As I was checking out the bagger said of my jacket, "I like your buttons." My radical buttons get read and there are people who take the time to comment on them. By the way, took this picture at the Boston Road Big Y of a giant pink bunny.

Manny's Appliances commercial says, "The more you buy the more you save." So if you spend every last dime you've got and max out your credit cards, you'll be rolling in dough!

This evening Dave Madsen of TV40 announced that he is having a prostrate operation and will be off the air until April 4th. They showed brief clips of John Kerry and Colin Powell urging us to get tested.

Agawam Mayor Richard Cohen was on TV saying he chose policies "not on doing what we personally think but what is professionally best."

ARISE is promoting a talk by UMass Professor Ervin Staub on the psychology of peace and the prevention of violence.

Alfonso R. Carrano gets four months in prison for stealing ten grand from the school soda machines in Springfield. There was a break-in at the City Library main branch last night.

Story in the paper about people with connections "leap-frogging" over others for subsidized housing by falsifying dates on housing applications. Suggests that Paul F. Bailey of the housing authority got an apartment for a Gretchen Ortiz just weeks after she applied with help from Gerry Phillips.

March 8, 2005

27 degrees at 7 am. Three to five inches of snow expected this afternoon, six to ten by the end of tonight. It is really snowing and blowing out there!

Cumberland Farms across from the old Angelo's on Boston Road wants $1.97 per gallon.

Robert Vogel on the evening news says laughing is good for the heart. It leads to a 22% expansion of the arteries and allows more blood to flow.

WFCR claims in their fund drive that their paint is peeling and they have a leaky roof.

Sunday paper had Fran Gagnon with her family memorabilia on the front page.

Jack Hess is interested that I have pictures of those two old trees, the one on the corner of Homer Street, the other one across the street from the Norton house. Hess wants my pictures of the old trees so he can put them on his improvised postcards.

There is Hillcrest Cemetery and on the Boston Road side there is the little Maplewood Cemetery. I called Hillcrest and the lady said there was a fire at some point and a lot of their records were lost. By the drive into Maplewood there are two immense old trees with a notice on them and sad to say it looks like those trees are doomed to come down.

Called Kevin Shea at 737-4928 but he's not in this afternoon. Shea said he would get back to me but didn't.

Gary J. Plant called and we had a good little chat. Told him I am giving Elms some of the bellringer stuff to which he said, "That's good." I suggested he should watch his back because of liars and he thanked me.

I called Springfield Symphony and Susan gave me the voicemail for Michael Jones so I left word that I am waiting to hear from him regarding the letter and materials I sent. Called Edmond's Opticians regarding their $50 off coupon and asked if I could have fifty bucks off the glasses I bought last summer. They said no, so I told them I will demand $75 off the next time I buy glasses there.

I called Stop & Shop and complained that when they put stuff on the dented can rack it is often from merchandise on sale that week and they put a higher or same price on the dented can than the undented can on sale. Spoke to Linda the General Merchandise Manager and she wasn't much help. She offered excuses and said I should come in and speak with the manager Bill Corrigan on Monday.

Caught the Big Y trying to overcharge me on OJ this morning. I noticed that the Big Y cash register receipt doesn't show the history of the transaction, only as it is tidied up at the end. People without much math ability get cheated by grocery stores in a million ways. I wish we still had a Big Y in 16 Acres, I burn a lot of gas just riding around to grocery stores!

There was a Control Board speak-out but only Mayor Ryan and LeBovidge were present. Even Rooke wasn't there. About 30 people spoke and they all spoke well. Various excuses were offered for why the other Control Board members weren't present but after the speak-out ended all of them met together in Ryan's office. If they could make that meeting why couldn't they come to the speakout?

I have a bright idea: Give Phillips a light sentence and the others harsher sentences so they become jealous and willing to talk.

March 10, 2005

As of 7:30am the trash has been picked up, the street is plowed, Colleen's drive is opened up and Jack Frost is on the bathroom window. As wintry as anytime it has been all season.

Better than milk for building strong bones rely on spinach and kale.

Grandfather J. Wesley Miller died this day in 1934.

In Boston they have remedied some of the wall leaks in the Big Dig tunnel but there are also leaks in the roof joints.

WGGB's Mark Hyman says Sen. Robert Byrd was a KKK recruiter and would have made a good Civil War president!

Teller at United Bank is James Talbot who used to work at UPS before new management came in. Likes being a teller better.

Television commercials are mostly automobiles, furniture, mattresses, pills and lawyers, in that order. Jack O'Neil seems to have disappeared. He has been the spokesman for Kavanaugh Furniture for some time now and also got that big job at STCC. Jack Nelen the Kavanaugh owner has been doing the commercials lately and they are rather silly.

57 aired "Islam: Empire of Faith" for their fund drive. Main beggar was Walter Carroll the music host of WFCR. Tom Burton was telling about the Hampden Bank $20 challenge, where the bank gives twenty dollars for every pledge. Islamic Society of Western Mass were taking phone calls and some were giggling a bit to see themselves on TV.

Mt. Holyoke no longer requires the SAT and urges students to work on special projects (extra-curricular activities) rather than wasting their time studying for the SAT. Yet about half of Mt. Holyoke applicants submit their SAT scores.

Made color copies of Fran Gagnon's newspaper picture, since her picture is everywhere else why not here? It is on the breezeway for now in a leftover frame from the Stusick estate.

Mitt Romney is coming to Springfield on a statewide transportation tour and he will be at the Sullivan Riverfront Visitor Information Center. It is very unusual for them to announce in advance a visit by the Governor, who generally only appears before pre-screened audiences.

City Council passed a resolution against another tent city. Ms. Bewsee was briefly on TV saying that you can't outlaw poverty.

Eamon and I were chatting about how the Springfield Newspapers in the last few months have shifted away from being Starr's empire to become a better paper. To test this Eamon has sent a Letter to the Editor. The paper has changed without saying that anything is different and you would never know if you hadn't seen what used to go on.

Turns out that former Mayor Robert T. Markel's arrest last month for drunk driving was his second offense and now he could face jail time if convicted. Good going Bob, another example of how AIC has a faculty of crooks.

May 12, 2005

21 degrees first thing this morning. Saw a bright red cardinal on the back fence.

The wristwatch that I picked up in a parking lot shortly after Mother died still chimes twenty times at 1:40 each night.

This morning I added lima beans to a can of Cambell's Chunky Savory Chicken with White and Wild Rice and spooned the whole mess over chow mein noodles and it was quite successful.

Tom Cocchi of the Springfield 16 Acres Lion's Club is the cousin of the Mr. Cocchi who was a teacher at Homer Street. When I was a kid the schools were excellent and we had no assistants for the teachers. Today the School Department has over 4,000 employees, 2200 teachers, about 600 aides and the kids aren't learning anything.

Susan Kaplan has a splendid personality for radio and TV and was drumming up donations for WFCR today: "Love, cherish, listen to and learn, WFCR is promoting sanity in an insane time." For $120 they offer a super special water bottle and a certificate for a Golden Nozzle automated car wash. At 4:45pm I called WFCR and asked the diameter of the planets they are giving away for a $365 donation and the girl checked and said two inches. The planet I got from WGBY-57 for a smaller donation was a three inch planet.

Mrs. Irving Cohn (Lenore) died. Bredette called me and said it's a shame but under the circumstances it was really God's blessing. Mr. Cohn came on and he said pretty much the same thing. I then called Penniman, Cressotti, Terry Deriso, Henry Barton and the Allards with the sad news.

Another murder in the city at 2am this morning, sixth murder in three months. Chester Ardolino has resigned from the police force. Word has it that Larry McDermott has moved to Stafford Springs, Ct. Editor McDermott is a graduate of Arkansas State University.

Maureen Turner in this week's Valley Advocate describes Gerry Phillips, James Asselin, James Krzystofik, Michael Hutchison, and the Ardolino brothers as "bad eggs" who should get what is coming to them: "One by one Springfield's rotten eggs are cracking."

March 14, 2005

Overcast and 31 degrees first thing. Sun started coming out at ten. Gas is at $1.93 at Pride.

Northampton is upping their parking fee to 50 cents per hour.

This is Spring Break Week at UMass, today's parents breed their kids to sports so by the time they get to college they have no interest in academia. Like Brian Lapis the weatherman, Steve Lapis of UMass is a loudmouth only worse. Brian is articulate but conceited, sometimes unprofessional, while Steve Lapis the UMass basketball coach is a loudmouthed jock of the worst sort. His contract was not renewed because although the team improved it didn't make the post-season.

The Republican has printed Eamon's letter to the editor!!! I called and told him that his letter (for term limits) is excellent but Eamon said that McDermott naturally wants to print letters by as many people as possible to put in his annual list of contributors.

Called Brian Lees and told him I was sending him eight recent postcards and I remarked that his Xmas card came to me addressed to Jack not J. Wesley so I knew it was off his Golden Gathering list. The Senator told me that he noticed Eamon's letter and said that the paper is trying to live down years of bad journalism.

Headed downtown at 1:15 and saw that an exact replica of the original Alexander House fence is now in place. Into the library where finally the busted shade over the circulation desk has been replaced. The library is having a walk-a-thon April 10 to buy new books - there are always more suckers! Picked up a poster for the March 20 ARISE rally from the information table.

Had my stuff in a grocery bag and asked the fellow at the information desk if I might leave my bag there while I went to the toilet and he said sure. Five minutes later when I returned a sourpuss librarian was dumping the contents of my bag onto the counter. When I asked what she was doing the librarian said she thought it was a bag of books being returned, so I told her that in that case she should not have been dumping it but taking things out with loving care. She went over to the phone and called security. Officers came along very promptly but then just stood there. "Did you want to say anything to me?" I asked. When they remained silent I said, "Good afternoon," and departed. My leather troublemaker outfit always makes a special impression.

Ides of March 2005

Sunny and clear, 30 degrees at 7am. We are having springlike days that are raw because windy. Down at Breckwood Minimart I bought $1.95 gas.

Went to the Shiva service for Lenore Cohn. Arrived at Sinai Temple at 9:46. Met Bredine Pennington on the way in and Terri Deriso Barton came over and said Hi. She now has some white hair and is not hiding it. Mr. Cohn looks rather worn and tired and was using his walker. He's going to need special care. The Rabbi delivered a lovely eulogy discussing the vitality and energy with which Mrs. Cohn pursued so many activities. A chubby woman whose name I missed delivered a talk of often humorous anecdotes. Out in the hallway they had a display of family pictures and several civic citations Mrs. Cohn had received over the years.

Mrs. Caputo and her husband was there, he was a city electrician and she worked at Steigers. She has always been very friendly. I didn't see Starr, Hurwitz, Cresotti or Penniman. The place was packed. I signed in the book "a precious community asset, a precious neighbor, a precious friend." On the way out I ran into the Rabbi, a very personable, professional young fellow, and congratulated him on his eulogy. All aspects of the memorial were very tasteful. Back to the car at 10:46.

Then down to ARISE on Rifle Street. Bustling activity by a dozen or more people, a homey mess. The office consists of an immense room with a copier along one wall, tables, people doing things, a bin of toys and children to play with them. Michaelann B. came out from her office in the back dressed in black farmer's overalls. She has been in the news asking people to donate tents, not because of another Tent City but because they've been seeing up to ninety more homeless people than last year and they "have to attend to people's needs."

Then I stopped at the new Chinese market on Boston Road where Angelo's used to be. It was sort of sad. Meticulously kept up, everything clean and tidy, but no visible business and the prices as low as can be. Maybe they sell to Chinese restaurants, I hope so, but Angelo's got the Catholic trade.

Then I went to the Cohn's house at 75 Birchland and the house was full of people, with candies, cookies, soft drinks but no liquor. People sitting around having a good time remembering Mrs. Cohn. Mr. Cohn was in the living room and seemed genuinely glad I came. I warned him that I am controversial and might at some point become an embarrassment to him.

March 16, 2005

Mild day but breezy, 36 degrees. Shell at the X is $2.01.

TV40 said Chicopee Savings was credited with giving money to West Springfield for "renovations to the historical Day House." Should be "historic."

Went to Wendy's on Allen Street and had a small 99 cent bowl of chili. It was really good, I should go there more often.

Thomas H. Trimarco is leaving the Control Board to take a high fiscal position in the Romney Administration.

What is the bad blood between ARISE's people and the Rivera organization?

Antonette Pepe told Eamon that his political answering machine messages are correct but often redundant. Eamon replied that ofcourse he's redundant, he's been talking about the city for decades and the same problems have persisted and never been cleared up.

Columnist Tom Shea is a fine fellow but his wife is a new generation self-promoter.

In my opinion, anything in the newspaper about the Quadrangle is likely to be biased. When the Director of the Boston Public Library published my essay critical of book book discarding at the Quad (Fran Gagnon had her picture in the paper helping out) the newspaper made nothing of it but I got congratulations from a number of scholars and Director Curly published it in his book. The venerable Bill Putnam complained years ago about all the stuff that was sold from the museums.

David Starr is on way too many boards. Money and publicity are what he brings to the table, so who will cross him? I have and I shall. To me Joe Carvalho appears a three-faced gladhanding puppet of Starr. He was a once fine fellow who went along to get along and he has been rewarded. I don't trust David Starr, I don't trust Joe Carvalho and Fran Gagnon is not my idea of a polymath.

Monday Raymond Berry's office records were seized. Eamon had always questioned Charlie Ryan's support of Berry, but there was a desire on Ryan's part to score points with minorities. Eamon said that Ray Berry and the late Steve Pegram were co-workers on the 2003 Ryan campaign. Suggested that Karen Powell might have more information about their relationship.

Eamon went on to say that R. Bruce Fitzgerald, the Mayor's Chief of Staff, has no special education. Had a job at AT&T where he "never did any work and was a half-assed supervisor of phone installers." Made a name for himself as a singer for The Dustmen. Fitzgerald is married to Judy Mastrioni, sister of Jack Mastrioni the highly regarded auto repairman. Judy is on the board of the Hungry Hill Development Corporation. Bruce left Verizon to go into the home renovating business and got renovation contracts from the Hungry Hill Development Corporation, which is located opposite the Liberty Branch Library.

Richard E. Neal and Socco Catjakis were both aides to Mayor Billy Sullivan. Mayor Sullivan appointed Ray Asselin to the Springfield Housing Authority. Nick Fyntrilakis and Dennis Murphy were aides to Catjakis. Murphy is rumored to have had a romantic relationship with former Rep. Valerie Barsom lasting ten years. Both are tied in with a controversial trucking company collecting money from the Big Dig. There are now 14 FBI agents assigned to Springfield. District Attorney Bennett has little interest in white collar crime, never investigates anything.

To the Congressman - March 17, 2005

My Dear Congressman Richard E. Neal,

I heard your comments on "All Things Considered" on WFCR today regarding power sharing in Ireland which suggested to me a couple of questions:

How are Protestants and Catholics doing at power sharing in Springfield?

How many of your close political friends have been indicted or are under investigation and probably will be indicted?

My grandfather, a Methodist Minister, was a 4 term Democrat in the Vermont legislature who campaigned all over the State of Vermont for Al Smith. Like Wayne Budd, I call myself a liberal Republican (liberal on social issues, conservative on fiscal issues) because I see the local Democratic machine as so crooked I don't care to be associated with it.

Good luck, but you're being watched,

J. Wesley Miller, Esq.

March 18, 2005

31 degrees this morning, the snow is into advanced melting.

Orr Cadillac has finally got a motto: Score with Orr! Silver and grey cars seem the most popular on the roads these days.

Drove up to the chapel in Springfield Cemetery and got a picture of the spire on the tower. I see where I can get a good pre-foliage shot of the building but more snow has got to melt first.

Checked the phonebook and saw that a Glennon is listed in Florence but no street address.

Big crowd at Donovan's Irish Pub at Eastfield Mall last night.

Bulger of UMass is trying to get his pension increased.

Out at 9:48 and saw that the snowman in front of Church of the Acres is still standing, as is the one in front of 60 Catalpa. Arrived at the McDonald's at 717 Page Boulevard and they couldn't give me the pancakes that I'm supposed to get with my breakfast platter and I had surrendered the coupon with the picture on it to get it. Spent half an hour on this complaint before I spoke to Mike the manager who said he'll mail me a coupon for a free breakfast.

This year is the 50th Home and Garden Show at the Eastern States Exposition grounds. I recall as a kid being taken by parents and what impressed me was the spring flowers displayed with pools of water, birdbaths and daffodils and tulips in full bloom.

I found a whole pile of around 40 Reminders in a trash can on Main Street right next to a Reminder Box. They don't recycle their papers. Was downtown today to drop off some stuff at the Mayor's office which I left with Michelle Webber. Then noticed that there was an anti-war demonstration in front of the Federal Building. There were around thirty people including six Northampton ladies wearing peacekeeper vests. Michaelann Bewsee was there with a sign "Honk for Peace." Francis Crowe had one reading, "Don't Enlist."

A woman told me they come here to protest every week from noon until whenever. Bewsee gave me her Honk for Peace sign and I attempted to do a sociological study of who was honking. It seemed to be mostly young kids and minorities. I gave up at 3:45 and came through Tower Square where I saw that the 60 Minute Photo Shop that did Ebay material as well is closed up. Went to the Men's Room where the sink was not working so I washed my hands at the water fountain. Back to the car at 4:01. Home at 4:22.

March 20, 2005

Today is Palm Sunday, sunny and clear, 34 degrees first thing. Gulf - $1.91

WFCR playing Vivaldi, it is the first day of Spring.

Down the street 225 Birchland (Vickers) is for sale by Speed & Hedgeman of West Springfield. Price: $174,500

Forgot to note that the other day I went downtown and left envelopes for W. Phaneuf and L. McDermott with the receptionist at the paper. Picked up a copy of El Pueblo Latino off a ledge in the Republican lobby area. Then stopped at St. Michael's to catch the second half of the St. Patrick's Day Mass, and at the end the late Peter Picknelly was specially blessed, from which I conclude Picknelly's will bestowed special kindnesses on the Diocese. On the way home I stopped at a tag sale and bought a mint and complete set of the 1998 game Wilbrahamonopoly which has a wonderful aerial view of the town on the cover and board.

Eamon told me that he joined the Naval Reserve in 1953 and was in until 1961. He says Ryan should hire Michaelann to solve the city's homeless problem. Eamon also told me that he ran into Sandra Russell Jacques and she said Russell's Restaurant on Boston Road has been sold to the Cumberland Farms next door and they sold 60 Minutes Photo, which the family also owns.

Today I stopped into An Dong Seafood Market where Sims Drugs used to be. It is Thai, no cooked fish and lots of Oriental can goods. More expensive than Apple Blossom, which asked $1.99 for ginseng root in a bottle but this new place wants $2.39.

Then I went to the Boston Road McDonald's and got a dollar off a steak bagel sandwich with a coupon. An old man came up to me commenting on my buttons, said his name was Gene Korell, a Springfield College grad, retired Air Force Major, his brother is a grad from Amherst College. He taught TV repair at Putnam High and thinks a new building is "baloney" because they just put a new 27 million addition on Putnam a few years ago, after which no one could find the source documents justifying the cost. Says all the school needs is some roof repairs.

March 22, 2005

Overcast, 40 degrees. Violinist Joseph Silverstein is 73.

The higher you go in education the greater the mutuality of evaluation: Teachers evaluate students but students evaluate teachers.

There is talk of licensing cats, there are 500,000 of them in the state, and it would cut back on strays. I'm surprised no one has suggested they lock gas masks on our heads with a meter and charge us for the air we breathe.

Governor Rowland of Connecticut was sentenced Friday to one year and a day. Somebody on the news said the growth of the deficit is more of a threat to America than the terrorists.

Switch box by Peter Pan terminal is covered with stickers and territorial graffiti. Cal's Variety was broken into last night. Channel 40's Scott Cohen said the Springfield Falcons "haven't scored many goals this season."

Finished my Federal income tax today, so that leaves the state taxes next. I briefly went into the 16 Acres Branch Library for a booklet of Mass tax forms. Got a Welsh Triple Harp poster off the bulletin board. Years ago I said in the Wisconsin Library Bulletin that every library should have a bulletin board for street literature. However for years the Springfield City Library was too snooty to post such things although the Jones Library in Amherst had an immense board. They eventually did set up a table they call their Community Information Center.

Poked my head into Dream Studios and left $2 to mail me posters and literature. I wonder what happened to the large oil paintings of William C. Hill and Clarence Chatto that hung over the side doors at the front of the assembly hall in the old Classical High?

Called the Christian Children's Fund at 1-800-396-4477 but the moment I suggested they should dispense condoms they hung up. Then I called to check on Irving Cohn, asked how he's been doing since Lenore died and he said, "I don't really know whether I'm coming or going." I said when he's ready for me to come take him for a ride let me know, but he sounds like he's getting ready to check out. Everything he could have ever wanted out of life he has had.

March 24, 2005

41 degrees at 10:45, no sun at noon. Trash was picked up at 7:20 as Babacus drove by and waved.

Called Stanton right after nine and for good or ill I got the chair for $1100 and the painting for $350. I love both. Painting is a remarkable 1860 gothic set deep in the woods by a babbling brook. The chair has overall Jacobean lines and twisted poles with carved figures on it. A head of the table or side of the fireplace chair.

Paul at the Wilbraham Post Office is the politest, smilingest, most obliging postal clerk in the valley.

Russell's Restaurant has on their signboard, "Please join us for our last Easter."

At Price Rite they had a checker at the door looking at receipts and circling the dates on them. So looks like somebody filled a carriage with stuff and had an old receipt as proof of purchase!

Went to the Pizza Uno across from Eastfield Mall, very few other customers there and I had the Shrimp and Sirloin dinner. Six shrimp on a bamboo stick, rice pilaf, side salad and bottle of Heineken for $15.68. Too expensive and I won't be having more soon.

Raymond Berry has been fired from his $73,000 management job at the Springfield Housing Authority. He was on Ryan's transition team.

Eamon used to work 6:30 to 2 at the Springfield Newspapers and then went to the American Bosch in the tool crib. He says having many jobs is the best way to learn about the world, not in a book. Said that A. Pepe told him that Chief Meara hired six people at $35 per hour to watch the Police Department cellblocks.

Jack O'Neil, who used to do ads for Kavanaugh Furniture is now the voice of Lazy Boy in West Springfield. A new Quadrangle commercial aimed at kids contains the phrase, "Your four-season pass will build memories that last." That was certainly true with me, but unfortunately for them I remembered too much.

March 25, 2005

35 degrees first thing this morning.

Went to Allen Street McDonald's and bought two $5 coupon books to send to Maureen and bought two yogart and fruit parfaits with a coupon. No business next door at Wendy's.

Someone called and I picked up and said, "Good afternoon," followed by silence and a quick hang-up. So I reversed the call and got Western Mass Gastroentology. I told Debi the Office Manager that it is discourteous to call and hang-up in somebody's ear when you realize you've reached the wrong party. She said she agrees and will alert her staff.

Bacon-Wilson has a commercial with a very bass-baritone overvoice speaking about "Estate Planning Specialists" with images related to wills and trusts and so on and then a shot of Hyman Darling at his desk.

Travis Ford is the new basketball coach at UMass and he looks more appropriate than the loud jock Lapis. Too bad we can't just dump sports. Someday professors will be eliminated altogether and and it will be just the student and their computer for learning.

10:58 Eamon called and said that somebody named "Monkees" on Masslive posted, "Mayor Ryan rushed to the hospital with chest pains," but it turned out not to be so. A very, very dirty trick. Eamon says there are proposals to take some land that is adjacent to, but not part of, Van Horn Park and make it into a cemetery for Latinos. Also perhaps a black cemetery in Blunt Park. I pointed out that there is a Pauper's Field in there already behind the site of the former Old Men's Home on State Street.

Evening news said ARISE had a pro-homeless demonstration on State Street this afternoon. Why didn't I receive any notification from them?

March 26, 2005

Sunny and 35 degrees first thing, Breckwood Sunoco is $2.01.

The average American has six credit cards.

Boston Herald reports that circulation is flat and advertising is down.

Attorney John T. Quirk has died at the age of 91. He was City Solicitor under Ryan back in the 60's. Quirk was a member of the Tuesday Morning Music Club and gave me what was left of his H. Howard Lynch estate file.

The Russells are Methodists. Besides their restaurant and the photo shop the Russell family was involved with the Thirty Something bar before the Russell son who ran it was killed in a snowmobiling accident.

Went to the Dunkin Donuts in Six Corners. I bought two donuts for 72 cents each and there was a long line of minority customers in front of me. No tables and chairs. 35 Ashley Street is one of the cutest little old houses around and it has been all fixed up. Corner of Cedar and Pine the sturdy old Springfield Cemetery fence has been damaged. In the cemetery itself, police cruiser No. 49 was parked with two officers reading the paper inside. Eamon says cops often hide behind the liquor store on Liberty across from TV40. Going home I noticed that at Mary Lynch School on North Branch Parkway the big sloping side lawn is mostly melted but there is still a small area where kids might continue to slide.

Eamon talked with Jim Johnson in Boston, Director of the Bureau of Accounts. He said Springfield was the subject of specific financial relief legislation in 1983, 1986 and 1989. Johnson didn't know that the Convention Center was built under Charlie Ryan. That is how so much of politics works, something stupid is done but by the time anyone realizes their mistake everybody has moved on and forgotten who was responsible. They tolerate mediocrity from the top down and tolerate political hacks from the bottom up.

March 27, 2005

Easter Sunday, sunny and clear at the start, clouding over at noon.

Russell's Restaurant signboard says, "He is Risen."

Cooking up the rest of the corned beef and cabbage, called and left a Happy Easter message on Eamon's tape. Called Colleen M. and she picked up with a cheerful "Happy Easter!" We had a brief, friendly chat, she told me she saw Eamon's letter in the paper the other day and said it was "excellent." Eamon himself called and said for Easter dinner he is having cabbage, turnip and kielbasa. He also told me that Antonette Pepe has canceled her subscription to the paper.

The freebie rack no longer exists in the AIC library. For about 15 years there was a rack in the back of the Periodicals Room where they had lots of stuff for the taking. Now it is gone.

Attorney Michael T. Hassett, P.C. has the motto, "Lawyers Who Know What They're Doing." He is or was the Wilbraham Town Attorney.

Went down the South End to the Rep. Scibelli monument and photographed it. Plaque reads: Anthony M. Scibelli (1911 - 1998) Dedicated 14 September 1999.

Mayor Ryan has appointed Keshawn E. Dodds to replace his murdered aide Steve Pegram. Dodds was a teacher at Washington School.

Tommy Trimarco says he has served on the Control Board for nine months and wants some compensation, which I think is fair enough but it is tantamount to saying that the city is in lots of trouble.

Former Mayor Bob Markel got off with a license suspension on his drunk driving charge. When arrested Markel said he had never been arrested before, but an earlier drunk driving charge was later discovered.

Is it music if nobody hears it? Is it a traffic violation if nobody sees it?

March 30, 2005

42 degrees this morning, raining until around ten.

The British Royal Family is a disgrace because rather than just be content to play their roles they actually think they're somebody.

At noon I raked out the back of the house. In the old days we took our lawn mower to Chain Saws of New England at 59 Allen Street for servicing but they are out of business. Now I go to Acres Power Equipment, recommended to me by Hess.

Attorney Johnny Cochran from the OJ trial died today at 67. Burger King now has a king to promote their "Eggnormous Sandwich." Mr. John Staniski died this day in 1992. Colleen told me she isn't a member of the Rotary anymore.

Saw my neighbor Cressotti and we discussed the Cohn's. He sputtered that he's had some problems with them living next door to him for fifty years. He said that when Lenore Cohn felt strongly about something she could really put it to you.

At the Sunoco opposite WNEC I gave the oriental clerk Winnie five dollars and then couldn't get the pump to go. I went back in and she said try another pump but they were all busy so I just asked for my five bucks back. However, she said I had pumped 4 cents worth of gas trying to get it to work so she couldn't return to me my whole five dollars. I made a fuss but finally just took my $4.96 and left and bought gas on Sumner Avenue later at $2.15 per gallon.

Francis G. Keough is married to the sister of Tim Daggett the Olympic star. At 10am there was a city car (M67255) parked in front of Keough's house on Sumner Avenue on the corner of Vail. For years Jack Nelen of Kavanaugh Furniture lived on Vail. Soon Keough came along in a black SUV and the guy got out of the city car and got into Keough's car and they drove away together.

Jim Polito of TV40 says Anthony Ardolino threatened him downtown at Gus & Paul's over Polito's unflattering coverage. City Councilor Dan Kelly was present and saw it all but did nothing. Polito filed a criminal complaint against Ardolino.

Meanwhile disgraced cop Chester Ardolino, brother of Anthony, was sentenced to six months of home detention for a 1999 real estate scam. Prosecutor William Welch accused former Mayor Albano of "protecting" Ardolino's wife Amal's job in the Facilities Management Department even as others were being laid off. Partner in crime Michael Hutchison, a compulsive gambler, also sentenced. "This offers you a slice of life of what City Hall was like during the Administration of Michael Albano," Welch told Judge Michael Ponsor. The Ardolino's father was a bookmaker who operated out of Donnie's Cafe on Chestnut Street for years.