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.

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