November 2004

November 2, 2004

55 degrees, clear blue sky with puffy clouds. Red clover and black-eyed susans blooming here and there. There are always late bloomers.

Sean Glennon is a Northampton freelance journalist who has written a book about the New England Patriots and was on WFCR at 8:35. He grew up in Central Massachusetts and will be giving a reading at Edwards Bookstore downtown on November 18th. Attorney Eugene B. Berman graduated from Boston University School of Law. Attorney Kerry David Strayer graduated from New England School of Law.

Today was Election Day and a complicated day. No doubt Bush is dirty and devious and may win. First thing I drove out to get milk and Dunkin Donuts and then I came back and called Irving Cohn and told him I have green tea and donuts for him. He said Bredette is bringing him to vote (dislikes Bush) and then they'll stop by and visit me. I said walk right in the back door. He said Mrs. Cohn is not well and the effort is to keep her comfortable.

I raked up one tarp of leaves and hauled them out to the front corner tree belt. Mother raked up every single leaf but I am pragmatic, get them off the lawn but not everything. I got the paper at Sunoco today, no more business for Lewis & Clark until they start carrying the Valley Advocate again. Then out to East Longmeadow for the opening of the People's Savings Bank there. It has a nice corner location. I entered their drawing but there were no "free gifts for just coming by" as advertised so I left. Had lunch at Panera Bread on North Main and had pineapple upside down cake and cherry strudel. They were really good, but the place is poorly heated and chilly.

Controversy in the Republican over whether clergy abuse reporter William Zajac violated newspaper policy by working on a book about the scandal without informing the paper. Also activist Warren E. Mason may have misrepresented himself as a Republican reporter.

Mayor Ryan was on TV presenting a citation from the Governor to a lady who is Springfield's longest serving poll worker. Brian Lees has a please vote sign in the window of the Acres Mobil. Gas 1.99 per gallon.

Eamon called and said there were a lot of people at the polls. I went and voted at Glickman Elementary School at 11:14 and was number 271. I voted for Senator Kerry of course, Eamon for congress and myself for county sheriff. Marked ballots with black wax pencils rather than black magic markers as formerly, voting machines are beginning to look a bit beat up. Donuts were in sight but only for the workers. In the Glickman lobby they have new ornamental benches but no information racks whatever - nothing for me to take, read and complain about! In the past when I have worked as a poll warden I have brought home bad English posted by Principals on school bulletin boards. Typical, don't solve the problem, relocate the problem to where it cannot be seen.

November 5, 2004

Red sky this morning, 41 degrees.

Saw a bumpersticker: What would Scooby do? Historic Deerfield is having a symposium on Native Americans this weekend.

New Mexico and Iowa are still too close to call. The front cover of the Valley Advocate is simply the word ARRGH!!! in maybe sixty-four point type.

We are pretty mad about the election. Jim Landers says snipers could get JFK and Bobby Kennedy, why not George? Talk of people moving to Canada to avoid our lousy government. Bush is coming across as a jock jackass more than ever since he won. Protestants and Catholics of the most bigoted sort teamed up to bring it about. Republican gains in congress give them more control than at anytime since Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover. European nations are being conciliatory towards Bush but Arab analysts are saying Bush's re-election means more insecurity in the region. Bans on gay marriage passed wherever they were on the ballot, lots of homophobia still around.

There was a Kerry/Edwards sign on Bradley Road but it's gone today. Nobody wants to admit they supported a loser. Inside the abandoned Acres Big Y the lights were on and outside there was a grey pickup with stacks of disassembled shelves in the back. Out to Price-Rite and spent about $16 for two bags of oranges, two bags of apples, two jumbo avocados at 99 cents each, five Bartlett pears, 6 bananas, a bag of onions and three cantaloupes. Then down to Belle-Rita's at 112 Manchester, then around the block, where coming out of Dwight Road a branch fell about 50 feet away from my car! It was a windy day.

At night I watched the 57 Auction which has improved gradually over the years. This year Jack Briggs and Sally Fuller were completely gone. No Roy Scott. Peotter introduced things, standing in where Scott, Briggs and Fuller have in the past. After a while Darryn Winkel came on, but the biggest pompous asses are all gone. Gloria Russell of the newspapers has always been fairly good, you can't fault her. Susan Tilton Pecora is absolutely fabulous, she is concise, descriptive and does it with humor. Keith Sikes the photo man let us know that he photographed all the gallery merchandise, over 200 items. He said that J.H. Miller is his "framer of choice." Overall the whole auction has been cleaned up and professionalized with pompous asses Briggs, Fuller and Scott gone. The only thing I bought was "Flower Power" by Mary Romeo Ballard of Longmeadow for $45.

November 7, 2004

A lovely, mild day. 43 degrees at 7am.

The Straight Dope section of the Valley Advocate has an interview with Tom Devine on the election. He says, "I trust technology to fix things more than politics. Most of the time politics is a farce that will only break your heart." Haven't heard much about Devine in a while and not sure what he's doing or where he is.

Parked behind Channel 57 and went inside to drop off some stuff at 10:56. Walked down to Friends the raunchy gay bar and it has been slicked up and renamed Shakago Martini and Piano Bar with the Shakago Lounge upstairs. Then up to Mason Square where the large Dollar Dreams store is having automated metal shutters installed on all the windows, the type you roll down over the windows at night. Proof positive that the place is in a bad neighborhood. Dollar Dreams has everything for a dollar or less. Then I took attendance at Wesley Church and they had a good crowd of 36 cars in the lot around 11:30. Coming into the Acres I saw Wayne Phaneuf in his funny little jeep-like vehicle scooting around the corner at Venture.

Today was the opening reception for the Keystone Woods retirement community at 936 Grayson Drive. Only politicians in attendance were Councilors Jose Tosado and Bill Foley. They had signage along Bradley Road and a cop at the entrance to Grayson. Inside they had tents set up over round tables. In back they had a woodwind trio of two flutes and a clarinet, an older man and two youngish women. In the center was a bar where many men were taking bottles of various special beers they had. I had a third of a goblet of red wine. There was a larger round veggie table with grapes, cheese cubes, broccoli, cauliflower, small carrots and green dip (stayed away from that.) I spoke briefly with a dame with a badge that said Vice President of Community Outreach. I said, "So, are you building this out of the finest fireproof materials?" To which she smiled and said, "We're observing all the fire codes of the State of Connecticut." I said, "But madam, this is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts." She looked embarrassed and corrected herself.

I left at 2:32 and when back in the neighborhood I saw Colleen outdoors and told her about the opening. She said she didn't go because her mother wasn't feeling well. She mentioned running into Marion Ruggles yesterday and said she asked about Ben Jones. Next I introduced myself to the new residents at 101 Birchland Avenue, Donna and Joe Lewinski. I mentioned to them the unconfirmed rumors of their basement once being filled with water.

Finally I visited my neighbor Mr. Lucius. His wife is not well. Told about how his Dad came down from Canada and had a good job at Chapman Valve, but all those jobs are gone. He said when he was a kid Springfield had fine schools and libraries and told how he used to walk down Eastern Avenue to Winchester Square and play checkers with the old men. All that is also gone.

November 10, 2004

31 degrees at 7:45 and sunny.

2008 first baby boomers will draw Social Security.

Leaks in the Big Dig are in the news, price of the Big Dig has risen from 2.5 billion to 16 billion.

I feel far too much medicine is being advertised on TV. Pills have replaced beer commercials and both are drugs.

The Republican has a new slick TV commercial showing young people speaking vivaciously about how the paper is their guide to life around here. An attempt to attract readers in their twenties. New commercial for the 82nd anniversary of Yale-Genton, "Because what you wear matters." Susan Strempek Shea is featured in the latest Springfield Symphony Orchestra newspaper ad. Watercooler this evening featured Rick Hurst, Paul Robbins and Collins of Greenfield discussing the homeless crisis.

I called Mary Romeo Ballard and told her I got "Flower Power" at the 57 Auction and how much I appreciate it. She said she was disappointed it fetched so little. She said the painting was inspired by some flowers she bought for an old man who has since died.

Called the Mayor's Office and got Tahon who said he's never seen the Orr etching of City Hall and wondered if I wanted to donate it. Said he would get me Barb Garvey ("she loves you") but she was in a meeting. Also called the Civic Center but they said S. Hurwitz is "out of the office until Monday."

Efrem Gordon was designated a "superlawyer" by Boston Magazine. It's a glitzy magazine out to get a toehold in the lawyer vanity market. Effie is there, but a lot of lawyers I've never heard of are too and Springfield's top lawyers are not all represented. I called Gordon and he was very diplomatic and friendly. He said Boston Magazine called and asked if he wanted to buy some advertising (!) which he declined.

Eamon is upset about the black school principal the cops beat up, poor man had a diabetic attack and the cops accused him of being high on drugs. Yusef Muhammad is all over the press about it.

November 11, 2004

Armistice Day, 37 degrees. Gas at Pride down to $1.97.

WFCR fund drive slogan: "Connectivity Costs Money!" Yassir Arafat has died at 75. His slogan was, "Revolution Until Victory!"

Mitt Romney is insisting he will serve out his full term as governor.

I have always collected cartoons of hippies.

Mother was too polite, too much like a Methodist Sunday school teacher.

Eamon and Landers went up to the Vet's Hospital in Holyoke for their flu shots. Eamon says he gave several hundred dollars to the John Kerry for President campaign. He thinks Sean Curran will make a fine replacement for the disgraced Chris Asselin.

Flurries in progress when I went to the Forest Park Market on Belmont. It is a nice market, although its prices are mostly the same as the other markets. Still, it is a blessing to have it there. A guy from The Republican was there with a notebook open with conspicuous $10 gift certificates visible - if you signed up for 13 weeks you got a certificate to use at Forest Park Market.

Sorry to hear that the Cock o' the Walk on Bliss Road in Longmeadow is closing. They always had some really exclusive stuff.

Nothing about it in the paper but TV40 said the FBI is looking into legislation Chris Asselin pushed through for the benefit of the Indian Orchard Development Corporation. Gary Plant called at 11:47 and said he is selling a Stusick harp (the one Mary-Alice played) for $2,500. I said I was not really interested, and then mentioned the Indian Orchard Development Corporation. Gary said that it is run by "a shyster" named Michael Bruce who calls himself the Chief Operating Officer. Plant also told me that his apartment building in Indian Orchard was broken into. Told me to "watch out, there are a lot of break-ins."

November 14, 2004

38 degrees at 6 this morning. We got three inches of snow. Wanted to go to the Shop til You Drop Extravaganza at the John Boyle O'Reilly Club on Progress Avenue today but the weather made it unwise.

I cooked up a pumpkin pie this morning.

Frankfurters and hamburgers both originated in Germany.

Tower Square (Baystate West) has tightened their security measures, according to the paper.

There is a display at the Storrs Library in Longmeadow of Springfield postcards belonging to Betsy Huber Port. The mansion of Everett Hosmer Barney, known as Pecousic Villa, was destroyed in 1959 by the construction of Interstate 91.

Read the Community Bulletin Board at Lewis & Clark, but still refusing to trade there until the Valley Advocate returns.

The new Stop & Shop is in a bad location, bounded by the road down from Staples and Toys R Us and behind McDonald's. The road was so packed today that you couldn't get in or out of the Stop & Shop lot. So I parked in the only half-filled Toys R Us lot and climbed down the embankment, encouraged by the footprints in the snow from those who had done the same earlier. Not so easy coming back the same way with three bags of groceries. I told the kid in Stop & Shop to put the two cantaloupes I bought in double bags but he didn't and the bag split and the fruit fell out into the snow.

Father Scahill was in the news accepting an award from the Voice of the Faithful group for speaking out against clergy abuse. I admire him because instead of backing off he held firm. Anti-war activist Sister Jane Morissey was on Reel to Reel discussing the criteria for a "just war" under Catholic Doctrine. Landers talked about wishing someone would do to Bush what they did to the Kennedys but Cheney is the one we should be praying for.

November 16, 2004

WFCR got a challenge grant from Bill Cosby that if they could raise $20,000 today Cosby will give $5,000. Successfully raised $22,000 so Cosby donated the five grand.

I had two containers sitting atop my Harvard Alumni Directory on the breezeway, one filled with squash seeds and one filled with melon seeds, thinking to plant them next spring, but today I find that some critter has carried them all away without making the slightest mess around the containers!

Article on 1960's architecture in the New York Times by Fred A. Bernstein says, "In a society otherwise enamored of the styles of the 60's, the architecture of that era has long been unloved." I am passing it on to Eamon who will love it.

Hess says that Wayne Phaneuf lives in Hampden. Landers is asking around for a job for his son Sean. Has asked Tony Cignoli, whom he knows from the Caron for Mayor campaign.

Yesterday was the Grand Opening of the Apple Tree Market at 436 Boston Road, the old Angelo's. I stopped by late in the day, they had balloons and other decorations up outside. Inside they had a full vegetable stand with a long fish case in the back with mountains of fish in ice. I bought a box of tangerines.

Called Mrs. Lammers about postcards and she said she saw me from a distance at the Keystone Woods opening the other day. Said she spotted me because of hearing my voice, which she described as "distinctive, it would be good in a courtroom."

Stuart Hurwitz called and we had a good chat about my Orr etching of the Municipal Group. He says he is looking for stuff to decorate the Civic Center with. Michael Jonnes from the Springfield Symphony Orchestra called and said they do not have a picture of the Janser orchestra or the Orr etching. "Our archives have been donated to the Connecticut Valley Historical Society." I was amused by the extent to which he distanced himself, "We don't use Symphony Hall that much. Symphony Hall is not ours. We don't have much presence there except on performance days." Well now, does that mean we should unname it Symphony Hall and return to calling it the Springfield Auditorium?

Went to the open house at the Mason-Wright Retirement Community at 74 Walnut Street at 4:06. Plenty of parking. About 15 mostly white people came to look it over. The place was clean and impeccably maintained. Three elderly black ladies served apple and pumpkin pies and leaf shaped cookies. Over the first floor living room fireplace is a dark oil painting of Primus Mason. It's a really nice facility.

Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan says there is no end in sight for Springfield's four year public corruption probe and indictments involving new figures are likely in the coming months. Anthony M. Ardolino and Athan 'Soco' Catjakis are among the names being mentioned as possibly in danger.

November 18, 2004

42 degrees, sunny and mild.

2,900 gay marriages in Massachusetts in the year since they were allowed.

In West Hatfield a former church is now the Holy Smokes rib restaurant.

K-Mart is taking over Sears. Sears stores are boring but K-Mart's are too. I own stock in both losers, but a minus times a minus equals a plus!

When Mother was alive I drank milk and soda pop. I have now pretty much eliminated both and switched to fruit juices. Dollar and a half Big Y apple cider is good along with cranberry, tomato and prune juice.

Watercooler had as guests Atty. Hurst, consultant Robbins and Greenfield Recorder columnist Chris Collins on again talking about police brutality. These guys are becoming regulars. Hurst may have been more candid about brutality in Springfield than they wanted.

Hess called and said he has some stereo images of Springfield I can have for $7 each. Complained that Francis Gagnon "thinks she knows everything." Newspaper columnist Tom Shea called and in his special high pitched voice asked for Paul Caron. I told him he had the wrong number and he apologized. I explained it is a common error since Caron's number is 782-4118 and mine is 782-4188.

I called Phaneuf at the paper and got his secretary. Asked if they have a copy of the Orr etching and she said she will ask him when he gets back. Of course she won't.

Went to the "Soup to Nuts" free promotional lunch at Reed's Landing at 807 Wilbraham Road. Arrived at 10:58, and at the door they had a registration book and I signed it. Held in the Longfellow Room where Red Holmes was playing piano. Everything looked lovely and there were four kettles of soup to choose from. I chose the Italian sausage tortellini and took a seat at a table with two old ladies.

I was in my uniform, biker jacket with black t-shirt with radical buttons all over the jacket and the big sunburst ARISE button on the band of my hat. One of the old ladies asked me, "Do you belong to ARISE?" I said yes and she said that ex-editor Carroll Robbins, who lives at Reed's Landing, mentioned ARISE yesterday. She said old man Robbins has heart trouble. It turns out that the woman was local author Bernice Becker, who wrote Feel Good Stories. She said she has just written another book and would like to come to ARISE and give a talk about it. I gave her the number of Michaelann Bewsee. Then Bernice Becker got up to leave and so did I, thanking the remaining lady for her fellowship. Back in the car at 11:59.

Got the following note from Eamon on the election:

George W. Bush, the most arrogant, mediocre president ever to serve, got re-elected by dividing the country along the fault-lines of fear, intolerance and ignorance. Be careful of people who wear their religion on their sleeve under the guise of democracy and liberty. I'm afraid that four more years of the same kind of failed plans, policies and programs will bring about disastrous results in Iraq, the economy, our failing educational system and a more polluted environment. The dumbed down misinformed American Booberie is truly a nation of sheep. It would be just as good and far cheaper to choose the president by throwing dice.

November 20, 2004

50 degrees at 11:28, mild but overcast.

A student at UMass has created a UMass riot video game, students vs. cops, that has become very popular up there. UMass PR guy said it was "indicative of the culture in which we live."

Roy Scott was on WFCR soliciting for their fund drive this morning. Joe Sibilia, who has sort of disappeared from the local scene, reappeared on WFCR today talking about his poetry. Latest Springfield Symphony Orchestra ad features photographer Keith Sikes, who is also the marketing director for Turley Publications.

According to the news ARISE put on a demonstration in front of the Police Department in support of the school principal mugged by police while having a diabetic attack. City Clerk Metzger was on TV speaking at a taxation conference at WNEC.

Called Trudy at the Hofbrauhaus and asked if they serve pork shank. She said yes and it is $19.95. Called the Diocese and the receptionist said that St. Francis downtown is not open yet. Called ARISE and spoke to Keith who said Michaelann wasn't in yet, maybe not until ten or eleven.

When I left today just ahead of me was Socrates Babacus in the black Chevy he has driven for years. Arrived at the Quadrangle at 1:58. Connecticut Valley Historical guy Robert W. Moore greeted me as I got out of the car but I didn't go to his museum. Just checked out the freebies in the library and read the paper. Went to the Big Y and bought two hams for the price of one and some egg nog. Got a Valley Advocate at the video store. They have a funny photo by Bill Dwight showing a Kerry sign stuffed in the trash next to a paper dispenser displaying their ARRGH!!! election cover.

Went to Dunkin Donuts and got a bottle of milk and a cinnamon stick. When I was a child whenever Mother made a pie she would take the extra crust dough and flatten it out and put a mixture of sugar and cinnamon on it and put it in the oven. They were delicious, so I wanted to try the Dunkin Donuts version. It was okay, but nothing like Mother's. As I was leaving my neighbor Mr. Allard was coming in and he gave me a jovial hello and I wished him a Happy Thanksgiving.

Letter to the Bishop - November 21, 2004

My Dear Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell,

Congratulations on your planned re-opening of the St. Francis Chapel downtown. I was there for the closing, and for a number of years I attended the First Friday events where I always sat in the back pew for the Mass and then trotted downstairs to listen to the Bishop giving his annual talk. I used to joke that I was giving the Catholics one crack a year at me! I hope you will continue the tradition, though without receiving a flu shot this year I may be staying home.

When I was a little boy in the 1940's, 254-6 Bridge Street was the site of the Mohegan Market where we sometimes shopped. In where the Civic Center is located was then Victoria Square with a triangle of parking spaces. Earlier than that, your property was the home of Trinity Methodist Church, which relocated to Sumner Avenue.

Congratulations on re-opening your center. Activity is better than no activity.

You are a busy man and you don't have to reply.


J. Wesley Miller, Esq.

November 23, 2004

Heavily overcast all day, 47 degrees. Mobil in the Acres still $1.97.

Dan Rather has announced that March 9, 2005 will be his last day as CBS News anchor, his 24th anniversary with them. He was dumped because he relied on forged documents in reporting on Bush's military record.

Springfield native and personal computer pioneer Alan C. Kay was honored with the 2004 Kyoto Prize for lifetime achievement. Born in Springfield in 1940 and a descendant of the founders of Johnson's Bookstore, he now lives in Los Angeles.

The picture framer John H. Miller is no relative of mine.

The most observed bulletin board in Wilbraham is at the post office.

Cooking up a Mrs. Smith's frozen blueberry pie. The Subway salad is definitely better than the one they sell at Big Y.

Watercooler on 57 was on the topic of "Moral Values, Religion and Politics" and the guests were the Rev. Talbert Swan and the Rev. Andrea Vasea, one of the Mt. Holyoke chaplains. I like her. A mob was at City Hall to see the Red Sox World Series trophy. I've never even been to a game!

I called the Chamber of Commerce and spoke with Jeff Ciuffreda who said he has been with the Chamber for 17 years. Said he doesn't know if they have the Orr etching but will look into it. I also called Mrs. Staniski and she sounded pretty bad while saying she is feeling a lot better. Carol hasn't been over (for shame!) but Ann came down from Harvard last weekend and will be coming to take her to Carol's for Thanksgiving dinner.

Michaelann Bewsee called to thank me for my latest financial donation. She invited me to sit on the ARISE board but I said that even though I support her vision without qualification I don't want a seat at the table, to just think of me as an enthusiastic supporter. I called her a "heroic, tough little lady" and she giggled.

To my surprise Wayne Phaneuf's secretary Mary Ann called and said the paper does have a copy of the Orr etching of City Hall. Now that I think of it, I wonder if I have seen it in David Starr's office on the west wall as you go in.

Two stories of grey steel up on the Mass Mutual back lot, a hodgepodge of pre-fab industrial warehouse buildings has sprung up where there was once high grass. Buildings are a part of the Mass Mutual 40 million dollar expansion and renovation project.

Nothing from Schimke, no thank you note from Foster Memorial. People are so very discourteous these days. Will I have to sharpen my axe and go after them like a bill collector?

On Parker Street around Five Town Mall I came across a wonderful PETA poster saying, "Holidays are Murder on Turkeys." I drove over to see Jack Hess with my photos of Wesley Church from Leslie Johnson. One issue is whether Milton Bradley the game manufacturer was on the church board, since he paid for the church to have the fanciest decorations. Hess says he has a picture of Bradley's house on State Street. He added that the clock atop the old Masonic Temple on the corner of State and Main recently lost a pin and one of the arms fell on the roof and the other fell into the street and it has not been recovered. He also told me that his grandfather was an engineer at Westinghouse.

22News at Noon reports that Springfield is the 18th most dangerous city in the country. An Eamon-type statistic. I am sending Eamon a 1911 postcard showing two men in suits. Says one man, "You seem to be unable to do anything right." Replies the other, "I can't help it, I have always had political jobs." Just the thing for Eamon. He told me that Antonette Pepe told him she bought a turkey at Price-Rite for 19 cents per pound.

Went to Stop & Shop at 9:30 and bought a turkey breast for Thanksgiving. I prefer dark to white meat which is dry and boring. When I got home the trash container at Cressotti's was lying in the street with the wheel off! I photographed it and rang their bell. Mrs. Cressotti was making a pie and he was sitting in a rocker. They told me the wheel has come off once before. I hauled it out of the street for them and told them I had taken pictures just in case they needed evidence in a complaint against the city.

November 25, 2004

Thanksgiving Day. 48 degrees at 7am.

Called Eamon and left holiday greetings on his tape.

Called Irving Cohn and no one answered.

Went out early and bought a paper then drove downtown. Driving through Mason Square I noticed that Rev. Yusef Muhammad's front window is busted and held together with black duct tape. I parked in front of the Campanile. Downtown was deserted except for a huddled group of homeless men in Court Square. Looked through the litter barrels but found nothing good except a Criminal Court docket of 30 pages. All the lights inside of Symphony Hall were on, why didn't somebody turn them off? Sullivan Information Center was closed.

Once back home I took my stuffed animals Sweet Pea (a rabbit) and Honey Pot (a teddy bear) and tucked them into my bed and let them watch the Macy's parade while I heated the turkey breast. Also cooked some frozen squash and turnip. Then I took Sweat Pea and Honey Pot out of my bed and seated them at the kitchen table. I served Sweet Pea some carrots and Honey Pot some cranberry sauce, but I served no pie for dessert because I already had pie earlier in the week.

November 27, 2004

39 degrees and sunny at 7.

Most Excellent Comics and Collectibles has gone out of business.

Verizon bill came and long distant calls are no longer itemized. I don't like that.

One P.J. Moynihan has done a film "Fight Town" about the role of athletics in the development of Holyoke. Showing at the Wistariahurst.

The black family in the brick house on the corner of Ballard has some Xmas wreaths up. Mudry has two tall lighted trees and two lighted reindeer. The Mudry's are very tidy, very fine neighbors.

Jim Landers is trying to clean up his house, his son is home from the West coast.

I went to Price-Rite and bought apples, oranges and onions at prices lower than the other places. We are lucky to have Price-Rite. Went to the Wilbraham Friendlys and found the lot well-filled. They now have a small ice cream counter with stools just inside the door. No dirt around that I could catch. I had a coupon for French Toast and was wise enough to take the eggs and sausage option for two dollars extra to go with it. Service was slow because it was busy and the girl forgot to bring me my water with lemon.

Went to the Cock o' the Walk at the Longmeadow Shops and bought a tiny Noah's Ark mobile. Left my name requesting to buy the Godiva banner over the chocolate display before they go out of business. Also picked up a lot posters, proving that everyone posts in Longmeadow but often don't bother in Springfield. Got posters for Trinity Boar's festival, the Temple Beth El, Hall of Fame Special Olympics, Workout Plus at Five Town Plaza, Community Music School Concert and the Hippodrome. Never saw a Hippodrome poster before.

Eamon called and expressed wonder over why Albano ever appointed Charlie Ryan's son James to the Park Commission. Said Tom Ashe of the School Committee is a nitwit, he once spoke with Ashe and could get nothing intelligent out of him. Eamon complained that the lower class Irish are "pumping up Ashe" to run for mayor next year. Eamon likes my use of "Felicitations" to end letters and says he's going to start using it himself.

Eamon noted that Reel to Reel had a segment on lawyers that had Daniel Keyes on it saying, "We conducted our careers in a creditable and honorable manner." Eamon says Keyes has only two fingers on one hand which he always keeps in his pocket. Eamon called Keyes "the biggest fucking blowhard in Hungry Hill." Said Keyes and Eddie Boland made their first $500,000 on the Milner Hotel building. Says he believes Keyes and Boland provided the land for the Federal Building and got the building located there just so they could sell the land. He bets the new Federal Building will eventually be named after Richard Neal.

Eamon also recalled how he once wrote to Billy Bulger and Bulger called him and said "you are very observant and perceptive." Someone attacked Eamon on the Masslive Springfield Forum but he said he replied eloquently to it. According to Eamon corruption in Springfield began to get out of control under his relative Mayor Billy Sullivan. Soco Catjakis is rumored to have lost his vision in one eye. Eamon didn't see Maureen Turner's editorial on Dan Kelly's conflicts of interest so I read it to him. Eamon noted that Councilor Kelly always poses for pictures with his family. Corruption is a family value among our politicians.

November 29, 2004

Raining so heavily when I got to Eastfield Mall today at 4:01 that I didn't go in and went back home.

The entrance fee to the Bill Clinton Presidential Library is seven dollars. Ex-Rep. Shirley Chisholm is 80 today.

In my experience in attending advertised liquidation sales is that they are generally the most strict about wanting every penny they can get out of their stuff once you actually get there.

State Street is badly worn and bumpy and needs repaving. Thomas McColgan is in charge of selling the York Street Jail.

Called Larry McDermott at the Republican and complained that their weekend guide is incomplete and unsystematic. Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman is now on Springfield College radio WSCB.

Mayor Ryan had a $100 a person fundraiser at Monarch Place, but he hasn't formally announced that he is running for another term. Atty. Eugene Berman is having a seminar on Collection Law which I should attend just to see him perform.

James W. Asselin and James F. Kryzstofik, convicted of swindling tax money for vacations and bogus consulting fees, have been stripped of their government pensions. Good.

Nader the Hatter, up from Florida, arrived at my house at 10:15. Eamon arrived at eleven in jeans and a nice sportscoat. We talked until 11:40 and then went to Pizza Uno on Boston Road. A homeless man was out front with a frizzy beard and a shopping cart full of cans.

We sat on the porch and got a basket of peanuts. All three of us got 12 oz. steaks, with Nader's rare and smothered with onions. Eamon and I had the rice pilaf. Nader admired my radical jacket buttons and I told him "I dress to depress." He liked that.

Eamon was showing off a $1200 star sapphire ring he just got. Said there's been a lot of trouble at Commerce High that has not been reported in the paper. He complained that Charlie Ryan had dismissed our Commerce friend Art Gingras as "that guy up in Westfield." Eamon left early because he was expecting an important shipment. After he left Nader joked, "What did you do to get him to come? Threaten to stop bringing him bundles of info?" Nader than left for the Indian Orchard Post Office to mail some hat stuff to his understudy. I was home at 1:21.

I have obtained at auction one of the fifty Louis Orr etchings of the Municipal Group (1920) which the Forbes Library of Northampton didn't want. I can recall it hanging on the wall towards the back of the building. It is framed and matted and signed, "This print pulled by the artist for the Forbes Library." How foolish of them to want to get rid of such a treasure, but perhaps they considered it deferring to Springfield as the cultural and political center of the valley to have it hanging in their library.

The etching is the quintessential piece of Springfield civic art, but I know of no copies where the public may see them. It is an elite, status-symbol piece once shown by several generations of institutions and businesses which have since passed from the scene. Their copies of the etching have been taken down and forgotten, some stored, others carried away to where? With the centennial of the Municipal Group approaching this image deserves a revival. It belongs in the Congressman's Washington or Springfield office and the Mayor's office or waiting room should also have one. Perhaps Alan LeBovidge would like one to take back to Boston as a souvenir.

I am attempting to make a census and inventory of what has become of the these fifty etchings. My copy is for sale, but it is not for sale cheap. For rediscovering this masterpiece I should be the subject of an immense feature story in the Republican (after all Raipher Pellegrino got a three part series.) Special discounts for friends, my enemies must repay old debts first!

Sweet Pea and Honey Pot with the Orr etching.


December 2004

December 2, 2004

45 degrees in the morning. No snow.

Senator Joe Biden says that we will still have significant troop levels in Iraq in 2010.

Christmas lights on Boston Road turned on from St. Michael's to the underpass in North Wilbraham.

Pioneer Valley Casket of Whately is running ads saying that through December 24 they will donate 10% of all casket sales to your favorite charity. I called and asked who gets the tax deduction for the gift. After some sputtering the guy said, "We do!"

Other day downtown I saw Andrew Posey, the black man who always dresses in color coordinated clothes from head to toe. This time it was cobalt blue. He was in the food court in Tower Square.

Gave Jack Hess some postcards today, he likes the Wesley Church pictures. Complains he doesn't hear from Donald Schimke anymore. Hess says his house is now assessed at $279,000 and his taxes went up $750. Gave me a picture of the watercourse under the Springfield Armory's Water Shops. We looked at a group picture that is supposed to have Milton Bradley in it and we were pretty much certain Bradley is on the left-hand side in the back row.

Watercooler this evening discussed crime and credit card debt with (surprise) Paul Robbins, Rick Hurst and Chris Collins, three hacks that have become regulars of Susan Kaplan.

Odd little ad on the obituary page in the Republican showing a postage stamp size picture of Peter Picknelly and reading, "Happy Birthday - I will love and miss you every day of my life - Your Little Beauty."

December 4, 2004

34 degrees at 7am. Unleaded at Stop & Shop is $1.79.

Discount Liquors in the Acres is still closed.

School Committee is livid with Ryan for skipping Thursday's meeting to hold his fundraiser.

The IRS is giving me a hard time over the land I donated to Wilbraham. It is worth $55,000 and a third of that land is being reshaped into a straightened and widened Maynard Road with lowered grade, and the remaining two-thirds (some of which is wetlands and within 100 feet of the Chicopee River and unbuildable by law) is being left as a wildlife refuge in memory of my parents Blanche and John Miller. I feel I should get a substantial deduction for my gift but if I really owe them something then I'll pay.

Eamon called and said that lawyer Anthony (Bumpy) Scibelli is very close to Charlie Kingston, who has been quietly involved with school busing contracts. Also said that Samuel Bowles had a bowl of oatmeal every morning in the Bowles Lunch. Eamon said his mother had an 8th grade education in Ireland and could do geometry and had beautiful handwriting. His father had only a 5th grade education but was fully literate. People are wrong when they say that more money is the solution to the problems of education.

December 6, 2004

34 degrees. Snowing at noon.

Needle exchange being debated by the City Council but no recommendation yet. They said Springfield has 905 AIDS cases, over 400 infected by needles. There is a rumor that Michaelann Bewsee is living in the ARISE headquarters. If so and discovered they may lose their tax exempt status because occupancy by a tenant is not a tax exempt use.

Water Meter Man, a short, chubby Latino who said his name is Gil changed the meter and left at 1:54. He had to move some tins with brass collectibles in them and left a bit of water, a trace of dirt and one greasy smudge on the stairs. We were very polite to each other. After Gil got through he had a clipboard and asked me to sign right here. I asked if I was getting a copy and he said no so I signed under protest, writing right on the form that I am entitled to a copy of it.

Then the mailman rang the bell and had two shipments of books from Povirk and a $400 check from Microsoft which I will put into bonds. Also a letter from Western Mass Regional Library System who want more money but I haven't gotten the free gift I was promised for my last contribution.

I am a solitary scholar and I like it.

December 8, 2004

38 degrees, heavily overcast and raining.

This is the anniversary of when John Lennon was shot.

Connecticut will probably execute Michael Ross next month, the first execution in the state since 1960, for the raping and strangling of eight young women. He wants to die, so make him live!

Saw the ending of the Peanuts Christmas special ending with singing "Hark the Angels." Mother always watched the Peanuts xmas shows, and that memory inspired me to buy Mrs. Staniski today an immense Peanuts birthday card for $3.99.

Christmas lights decorating the window of Doyle the Twig Painter.

I am sending former neighbor Corliss Welch the photo of Bloomer and the backyard Maple tree he cut down on April 29, 1984. Wrote to her of local politics, changes on Birchland Avenue and ended the letter with, "The Corliss I knew had a wonderful, youthful, enthusiastic personality. You would come bouncing over and we'd have a good chat. Time effaces as much of that as we let it, but remember that there was a wonderful Corliss once and be as wonderful as you can still be."

I called and spoke with Doris Anderson of The Church in the Acres. She remembered Mikus being the organist there. Anderson is an elderly lady and when I mentioned being an English teacher she said, "The people on TV must drive you bananas!" I said they sure do, and told her I write down all their errors.

According to the new assessments my house is worth $115,600. Looked up some others and Eamon's is worth $94,600, the Powells $124,000 and Fran Gagnon $199,500.

Went to the Big Y and as I was leaving a guy from the Republican was setting up a subscription stand by the door. They were also advertising products with their logo on it. Feverish emphasis on merchandising as their circulation continues to decline.

Kevin McCaskill, the articulate black gentleman who is the principal of Putnam, was on Channel 22 showing us leaks in the school roof. They want to build a whole new school even though it was redone just a few years ago. He said, "It is cheaper to rebuild than to repair." Isn't that what they always say?

Dan Kelly is representing all the crooks, but is that a conflict with his relationship with the City Council? The trial of the Ardolino brother who's a cop and that hack Hutchison has uncovered that the negotiations for the bogus real estate deals were carried out in the mayor's office.

December 10, 2005

43 degrees, heavily overcast.

Mail was extremely late today, got an A.G. Edwards check for $2068.18 and an IBM for $57.60.

I heard that Elms has only 500 students.

Ann Staniski came over with a piece of wonderful birthday cake, white with pink frosting, that tasted like Mother's used to. Ann said she can keep her job at Harvard "as long as I can hobble in from the parking garage."

I stopped in to see Mike Curran at A-1 Antiques, which is about all that's left of the former Antique Row at Sumner and White. Mike said business is "very slow." Bought some art postcards for thirty bucks.

McNamara's Liquor Store isn't open much anymore.

Mastriani, the highly regarded auto dealer and repairman who owns A-1 Auto Service has moved his entire operation to Palmer and sold the lot for $150,000 to a Russian mechanic. Mastriani complained that all the vandalism was his reason for leaving. He put up cameras but the police never paid attention to his films and never got back to him. Trouble has been going on for several years, but he never got adequate service from the police.

Old friend John Rixon called and said he recently injured his hand. Andy is in Memphis teaching and Greg is in Seattle. I don't feel bad that I don't have a family, the world is a mess and the future looks bleak.

December 13, 2004

40 degrees. Mobil 1.89.

Q: Why did the turtle cross the road?
A: To get to the Shell station.

Electoral College voted and Bush is re-elected president. Complaints in the press that the national debt is getting too big.

Second Look did a show on the history of the Memorial Bridge featuring Fran Gagnon and she performed very well and looked very professional.

WFCR did a profile on Michaelann Bewsee. She is 57 and makes approximately $12,000 per year. Twenty years ago she was broke, divorced with two children and on welfare. Her first job as an activist was cooking for the Black Panthers. For a while she lived off the land in Maine. She claimed she is presently living in a home that has been abandoned by the owner and she expects to be evicted in due course. (Rumor is she is already homeless.) Her issues are homelessness, needle exchange, ward representation and against police brutality. Says her term as President of ARISE will be ending soon.

First Pioneer Credit Union is opening a new corporate headquarters on Boston Road in Wilbraham. It used to be a credit union for Monsanto employees. I drove past and saw a Grand Opening sign so I stopped in and saw a man in a tan overcoat standing in the middle of the room talking to the tellers but no other customers.

I turned down a hallway and an executive called to me and we introduced ourselves. He was James P. Nagle, the credit union president, and I asked him for his card. He asked what I wanted and I said I had come to the Grand Opening and asked where are the coffee and donuts? He said he didn't have any just then, but food would be coming later in the day. He said they had already had two Grand Openings, one for members and one for "invited guests."

I had to ask again for his card and so we walked to his office where he retrieved a card from a holder on his desk and gave it to me. I asked for a tour of the premises but received only a vague reply. I asked about their CD rates and for a safety deposit box menu and a young fellow in the office was told to get that info for me. I said they should have had literature with all that information easily at hand. So I waited and waited and finally told them that their Grand Opening was not grand and that since they were unable to respond to customer requests I gave them my card and told them to send it to me by snail mail. Then out of there at 10:33.

Because of the time I wasted I was unable to attend the ARISE rally against police brutality at City Hall, a shame because I was fully attired in my troublemaker outfit. Instead I went over to the Longmeadow Shops where the Cock o' the Walk is closing after 45 years. They sold me their Godiva Chocolates banner for $25.

December 15, 2004

36 degrees first thing, sunny all morning.

ABC News says Google will scan 15 million books creating "an entire library on your desk top." This has the potential to be a major development that upsets all sorts of apple carts.

Gary J. Plant made the Dean's List at WNEC in 1969.

Called Punderson and got Jan who said their current price for heating oil is $1.89 per gallon. Called the Rotary Club at 95 State Street and got Jean the secretary there. She said they presently meet at the Basketball Hall of Fame. Paul Jennings is their membership chairman.

Got a wrong number from someone on Woodland Road, according to my identifier. Woman: "Is this Salvatore's Restaurant?" I replied no. "Okay, thank you," but it wasn't ok and she didn't apologize. I looked it up and the number for Salvatore's is 782-9968. Interesting point is the address was Woodland Road and that is the same street off Parker and Cooley from which I got the crank blow job call a few weeks back, number 78.

Watercooler is being plugged regularly on WFCR. Last night they had something decent for a change. Host Kaplin was in her olive top and the guests were Jay Demarath of UMass, Kemil Ali of Westfield State and Russ Peotter of 57 discussing religious fundamentalism. Demarath is a smiling bald old man who said that fundamentalism is a form of Protestantism that originated in the Southwest in the 1900-1920 period. Demarath also said the Koran is short enough to be memorized while the Bible is too long. At the end Peotter said, "The time went by so quickly," and it did.

In the Republican today a lot of advertising space devoted to products with their logo on it. Over the years the paper has supported all sorts of economic development projects that didn't develop. They like pie-in-the-sky development dreams rather than hard news because it sells papers. Sports also gets everyone's attention and sells more papers than news.

Kline's All Sports are closing their chain of eleven stores, including one in Pittsfield and one at Holyoke Ingleside. I remember there used to be a big sporting goods store at the Eastfield Mall years ago but it closed. Sporting goods must be a difficult business.

Today I found a note from neighbor Colleen Moynihan poking out of the newspaper box so I called and we discussed some things. Says she wants to reorganize the 16 Acres Civic Association and increase its openness and if she succeeds more power to her. We agree that we don't think much of Clodo Concepcion.

When I got off the phone with Colleen I called Concepcion of 121 Mallowhill Road and he, macho he, said he never got the postcards I sent him and that sometimes things get lost in the mail. "Next time, maybe," he said. So he is a macho, bullshit liar as I have always known. J. Masse has always been loyal to him but fortunately Colleen sees right through him.

A poem for Hess:

Jovial cupola-builder J. Yeager Hess
To impeccable grammar he don't like to confess.
But with a saw and hammer
He's a cut-up and a slammer
And he always picks up his mess.

December 17, 2004

Sunny and 24 degrees at 8:45. Gas at 16 Acres is now $1.77.

This date in 1777 France recognized the United States.

Went to the Big Y at 11:24, they were giving samples of cheese and crackers and I bought turkey legs, deeply discounted Friendlys ice cream and OJ. Over to Hess and gave him photos of St. Lukes. I found some Iron Horse posters of various shades on telephone poles in 16 Acres. I believe those are the first Northampton posters to appear in the Acres. Then went to the Acres library to make copies of the New York Times article on Google's online library plans but the male librarian there, although very friendly, didn't know how to fix their ill-functioning photocopy machine. He apologized for "our impoverished library system."

Called Irving Cohen who said we should have lunch sometime. He said his wife Lenore "is very sick and declining rapidly." I told him that sometimes death is God's greatest blessing.

Eamon told me that Donald Trump is getting married again. He says he can't stand Trump and neither can I. Eamon is a graduate of the Air Defense War College in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Western New England College, the Valley Press Club and the Republican will host the second annual Communications Conference January 12. Speakers will include John Baibaik of Clear Channel Communications, G. Michael Dobbs of The Reminder, Latoya Foster of 22News, Peter Goonan of The Republican and Jim Polito of abc40.

Karen Powell and Belle Rita Novak were both on WFCR this morning and both did well. Belle Rita Novak moved to Springfield twelve years ago and started the farmer's market at the X seven years ago. She also talked about her war against graffiti. Powell said fighting the casino and making the libraries part of city government were her major causes. She also complained of the unfairness of how some businesses in Springfield get special tax breaks that others do not.

At 4:50 today they interrupted Judge Judy to inform us that the old American Bosch was on fire. By supper it was a four alarm fire and still out of control at 11:00. Eventually put out in the middle of the night. Bosch plant closed in 1988.

I called Channel 57 and got voicemail so I left word that I think Susan Kaplan hasn't been doing her job. She has the same old people on Watercooler week after week. I said why not have Eamon, or Vannah, or Turner, or Devine on or even me? She only asks approved establishment types to be guests. I intend to write a blistering memo about Kaplan and mail it to her boss.

December 19, 2004

27 degrees in the breezeway.

Just one piece of mail today, The Reader's Digest. My family has had a subscription since 1949.

Western New England College is advertising itself on Fox 61.

The Springfield Photographic Society Society was founded in 1936, and now hold their meetings in East Longmeadow.

Ex-rep Fred Whitney has braced up his front entrance that was damaged in a car accident. An out of control car careened off the street into his house. Springfield College had a police car parked in front of the Linkletter Nanatorium. At 175 Poplar Street, Feeding Hills the entire Giroux manufacturing complex has been demolished.

Stopped at the Walgreens at 1440 Boston Road and bought a card featuring an Xmas tree for Eamon for $1.99 plus ten cents tax. The clerk asked, "Do you want a bag for this?" and I replied, "Yes, you should always bag cards so they don't get soiled." He looked mad and put it in the smallest bag he could find.

Went to the Council of Churches Christmas party. Parked in front of the Carpenter's Union at 144 Oakland and went in St Barnabus at 2:05, where I was greeted by the Rev. Karen Rucks, who says she's the sister of Charles Rucks who ran unsuccessfully for City Council. I was dressed full queer (collar, boots, jacket) and I had a supply of John Wesley postcards which I gave to everybody I saw. Rucks said they have done these parties three times before. It was a lovely event with good food served by a black fellow in a chef's hat. Hot meatballs in gravy, cheese, cold cuts and much more. It was primarily a black event, although Police Chief Paula Meara arrived accompanied by a slight little lady with red-brown hair who took pictures of nearly everyone, including me.

The Finance Control Board approved changing all eligible city retirees to Medicare, thereby saving millions. The City Council opposed it in a merely symbolic vote meant to show their distaste for the Control Board and to pander to seniors.

Both ex-cop Chester J. Ardolino and Michael J. Hutchison were found guilty on all charges in their real estate fraud case. Ardolino was police liaison to ex-Mayor Albano. Brother Anthony had hidden ownership in the Civic Pub and The Pour House. Other partners were Chester, former City Councilor Tony Ravosa, Matthew Campagnari and Mark Pandolfi. Hutchison had a job at the Hampden County Employment and Training Consortium, where James Asselin and Jimmy Krzystofik worked. Anthony Ardolino's best friend, City Councilor Dan Kelly, was Hutchison's attorney.

December 21, 2004

30 degrees at 5am, four inches of snow. Went out about 12:45 and shoveled off the driveway, light and fluffy.

Most heart attacks occur about 10am.

Book title: Every Man I Love is Either Married, Gay or Dead.

On the subject of Democrats working with Republicans, Rep. Barney Frank says, "The days of Silvio Conte and Jacob Javits are gone."

TV40 online poll about whether we should pull out of Iraq: 60% yes, 40% no.

Made a casserole out of a third of a pound of hamburger, a green pepper, a red pepper, a yellow pepper, three onions, a can of tomatoes and two cans of spaghetti.

One of the Springfield kids Bill Cosby is helping through college is named Wesley White.

Called the Tuesday Morning Music Club and got Vice-President Sylvia Starkie. Gloria Barnes of Westfield is the president. Starkie volunteered that her husband James directed the band at Minnechaug High and founded the Hampden County Symphony of Wilbraham. That was forty years ago, then when he retired the Principal or Superintendent decided they didn't want the orchestra there anymore. It then became the nucleus of the Holyoke Civic Orchestra.

Called Attorney Ken Shea and got Luanda and she said, after a pause, that he "stepped out for a moment" and would call back. Never did.

Went to the Sixteen Acres Civic Association meeting but was turned away. I will write a full report when I get a chance.

Eamon called and said he and Landers had lunch at the Copper Line Restaurant in Chicopee. Eamon ordered a chicken pie and got a puddle of gravy and not much else. Landers got a burger and fries and afterward left for LL Bean in Lebanon, New Hampshire to get gifts for his wife and son Sean.

Hess called and grumbled about Fran Gagnon appearing all over the media as an expert on American Bosch. I asked if he had ever seen her Commerce High School yearbook picture and he said no. Told him I would send him a copy.

Judge and former mayor Mary Hurley Marks is divorced from her husband who works for Freedman's Scrap Metal.

December 23, 2004

20 degrees at 7:30 and sunny. Gas at Liberty is $1.72.

"Great literature is the product of the reaction of intelligence against the prevailing stupidities of the population." - E.T. O'Sullivan

There are 47,837 lawyers in Massachusetts.

3,800 fewer people in Massachusetts than last year, the only state to show decline. Governor Rowland of Connecticut has pleaded guilty and may go to jail. Sentencing March 11th.

Jane Yolen turns 65 in February and said on WFCR that the Michelson Gallery in Northampton is honoring her with an exhibition of art from her books through the end of January. She lives in Hatfield and has done 250 books. She complained of the "dumbing down of children's books" and how publishers prefer kid's books written by celebrities over well-written books. Said, "The thing that makes me happiest is sitting and writing."

The person who delivers my Reminder is Andrew M. Parent of Lumae Street. I got a complete copy of yesterday's paper out of the trash can in front of the fitness place, Females in Training.

Got a Christmas beg letter from ARISE.

Got up at 6:45 to get out early to get my flu shot at the clinic they set up at the Eastfield Mall food court. On the way there I bought a paper and picked up a handful of Valley Advocates. In the Republican there was a retirement photo of Talmadge Principal John M. Fitzgerald on the front of the B section. As I waited for my shot I saw Wayne Phaneuf walk past and I offered him an Advocate but he declined. Also saw Brian McCook who said he is enjoying retirement.

There were four inoculation stations and I was number 32. I got my shot, paid the $20 and walked around the mall a bit. Sears Roebuck's Christmas decorations are just blah. Bought a McDonald's breakfast sandwich with a coupon and left.

Eamon sent a Christmas card to John Silber in Boston with a note about what a mess the world is in and Silber sent a note back quoting Juvenal and recommending Tom Wolfe's Hooking Up as providing an excellent look at how bad things are. I told Eamon about what happened at the Civic Association meeting. He says I should pay the $10 to join so that I can get the names of all the directors and send them all letters of complaint about how I was treated. Meanwhile I am waiting for a call of apology from Colleen.

December 25, 2004

Christmas Day, sunny, 26 degrees at 9:15am.

The Pope is 84 and suffering from Parkinson's.

Hess called and said he got the yearbook picture I sent of Gagnon.

Business Plus profile in the Republican is of Jeffrey Cohen of Jeff's Picture Framing in Springfield.

Eamon called and said he heard that the circulation of the Valley Advocate is down 30%. He also said that officers have told him how years ago certain cops used to grab minorities off the street as if to arrest them and then take them to a dimly lighted room in Union Station called "The Blue Room" where they would be beaten and robbed by the police. More recently Maurice Kearney was a cop who Eamon says used to "beat the shit out of Blacks and Hispanics" to the extent that he was kicked off the police force. However, just a few months later he was back on the force. Eamon thinks it was due to help from Saco Catjakis. This was during the Albano Administration.

I spent the afternoon reviewing photos from the last several years and selecting stuff for several upcoming projects. For Christmas dinner I dined on a Hungry Man turkey dinner with my stuffed animals Sweet Pea and Honey Pie in attendance. I sang "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" for them as I waited for the TV dinner to cook.

December 27, 2004

Overcast to start, 25 degrees. There is an extremely fine snow starting to fall, you can barely see it, you can't catch it, but it is beginning to accumulate in crevices around.

Enormous 9.0 earthquake in the Indian Ocean has caused a huge tsunami resulting in thousands of deaths.

On January 15, 1777 Vermont declared itself an independent republic, and now some descendant of the original settlers wants January 15 declared a state holiday. Good idea.

Never knew before that the first name of Wimpy in Popeye is J. Wellington.

Among the things placed in the grave of Leonard Bernstein was a copy of "Alice in Wonderland."

Bought gas at Pride for $1.82 per gallon and while there I saw a police cruiser (Number 16) with a black officer chatting with a leather clad girl leaning in the cruiser window.

Eamon's brother Robert (nephew Patrick's father) owns a cottage in Dennis, Mass. Bacon & Wilson's Managing Partner is Steve Krevalin and his secretary is Kim.

The Republican is now having bigshots write about their own activities rather than have reporters do the writing. Carvalho did an article about what will be happening at the Quad during school vacation week and today we have Orchestra Executive Director Michael Jones giving a rundown on various activities of the Orchestra Association.

Eamon says he went down to the 24 Hour Store on Liberty Street that he describes as being "robbed every other day." The guy who works there is a former marine who said a guy with a foot long knife robbed the place the night before last. Told Eamon he wishes he could have a trap door in the floor in front of the register. His boss told him to just give the robbers all the money in the register.

December 29, 2004

16 degrees on the breezeway at 7am. No snow overnight.

I was surprised to find on my latest Big Y cash register receipt that I am supporting Putnam Vocational High School. I have been asked a number of times to sign up for the Education Express program and I have always declined. So it looks like somebody signed me up, and for a school I would never sign up for! At 1:04 I called and got the manager Eric who said a cashier "must have made a mistake" because they don't sign up people that don't want to be signed up.

Called the Chamber of Commerce this afternoon and Denver's secretary Lynn said that Ciuffreda is on vacation this week.

My old neighbor Corliss Welch called (lived where Josephczyk does now) sounding much better than she did formerly. Said she is still depressed about her mother's bad health. Job okay but explained, "I couldn't figure out why I couldn't get a good job teaching in Springfield, I had such great credentials," she said. "Then I figured out that you had to know somebody, and I never got to know anybody." Went on to say, "I taught nursing at Putnam, and I never saw such dumb students in my life, such vandals, such slobs."

Called Karen Powell at 11:15 and she was flattered when I said I liked her on the radio. She said she likes her library job and told me that she is no longer on the board of the 16 Acres Civic Association. Told me that Carol Caulton used to be an active member but doesn't come very often anymore. I said that Clodo Concepcion is a liar, condescending, conceited and argumentative and she agreed with me.

The paper says the dome on the Basketball Hall of Fame leaks. Eamon said, "I laughed my ass off," when he read it. Eamon had an appointment today with Dr. Cuadra in the building across from the Republican. Had a 10:30 appointment but didn't get in to see the doctor until 11:30. Cuadra asked about me and seemed pleased to hear I still collect rare books. Also said his wife is "very concerned about what the U.S. is doing internationally." Doctor says Eamon is fine, next appointment in six months. Eamon told me he used to pay $65 per visit, but now he says he pays nothing. "Let the people with deep pockets on Birchland Avenue pay," he said.

December 31, 2004

Overcast at 8:55, 32 degrees.

2005 will be the World Year in Physics.

Ours is a youth orientated culture whereas other cultures value and venerate the aged.

Life can be a broad canvas on which to paint, and if you do your painting right you can put on dabs at various times and decide which dabs to include and which to omit and fill out the details according to the circumstances.

Listening to Mozart on WFCR prompts me to say that probably the most joyful thing I ever did was playing in the Junior Symphony. When you are playing with a symphony the music truly surrounds you as you are caught up in it, enveloped in it and become one with it in a wonderful uplifting feeling like no other.

Running through my head is a verse Mother sang - Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy - and I can't remember no more.

1040 tax form came in the mail along with the Mass Income Tax form.

Drove to the Fleet Bank and deposited $1,300 to have coverage for my gift to the Miller Church in Bethel. Teller at Fleet is a new girl, Rachel Vadnais (her grandfather was the builder) and she said her uncle also had something to do with the business.

Eamon said that Springfield Technical Community College killed the Andover Institute because people could get their associates degree cheaper at STCC. He said there was also a Gaugh School of Business in downtown Springfield for fifty years and Eamon knew the woman who ran it. Eamon has known everybody.

Just before midnight I brought Sweet Pea and Honey Pot and their pillow out and positioned them on the dining room table and had a shot of cognac with both televisions on, and it seemed to me that TV40 was a fraction of a second ahead of TV22 in declaring the New Year begun.


January 2005

January 1, 2005

40 degrees at 8:30. A lovely day, gas opposite St. Michael's (Racing Mart) $1.79.

"The used key is always bright." - Benjamin Franklin.

My Grandfather J. Wesley the First said, "The Lord must have loved poor people because he made so many of them."

The key to teaching is communicating and it's not what you say but what they hear.

Hung up my calendar for 2005. Put away Xmas cards. Alas for the first time forgot to watch the Rose Parade. News shot of men cleaning up litter in Times Square showed them in orange jumpsuits.

Eamon called and Spelios in the obituaries was an old friend of his, a "nice guy" from a distinguished medical family. James' son Sean Landers is reported to be sleeping a lot of the time. Has maybe $40,000 in student loans and trying to decide what to do next although his job in California is good for a few more months. He and his two buddies have rented a house for about two thousand a month. Tuition at Emerson was $29,000 a year and he had a five thousand dollar scholarship.

Weatherman John Quill's daughter Marilyn was in Irene Mikus' youth bell ringer group that appeared on The Ted Mack Show on September 29, 1957.

Here's the wind-up of the mess over the 16 Acres Association meeting of December 21, 2004. My neighbor Colleen Moynihan sent an invitation to every house on Birchland Avenue. I was led to believe that I was going to a meeting about getting money for the Greenleaf Community Center. On Monday, December 20, I had a friendly chat with Colleen and told her that if the weather was nice I would come. She said she hoped people wouldn't be intimidated by me.

The weather was okay so I went to the Civic Association meeting. There were exactly 30 cars in the parking lot. Inside people were mulling around. The Allard's stared at me, Councilor Tosado was there and Boyle said hi. Then Mrs. Jean Masse came up to me with a roll of tickets in her hand and said firmly and confidently, "I'm sorry, but this is for members only and you're not a member." When I protested she said, "We have rules and they can't be broken."

I asked if she had gotten some postcards from me and she admitted she did. I told her I had never received a thank you and added that I also sent some to Clodo Concepcion and he denied receiving them which I think is a lie. She expressed doubt that Clodo would lie and said again that she was sorry but this is a meeting for members only. I told her that Colleen's invitation said "you do not have to be a member to attend meetings" but Masse replied that Colleen has only been a member for a month and doesn't know the rules. As I left I told Masse to tell her priest she's sorry because she won't get forgiveness from me and she became angry at my referring to her priest and said she had done nothing wrong.

On the contrary, error number one was made by Colleen in inviting non-members to the event. Error number two was turning me away at Christmas time. Error number three is they should have backed up Colleen, their member who was only trying to help out. Error number four is that they won't apologize.

Next morning I called both Concepcion and Masse. I mentioned to Clodo that I thought he was lying about not getting the postcards. Clodo insisted that he didn't tell me any such thing and now says he did get them and passed them on to the board members. He said America owes what it is today to foreigners like himself and shouted that I have insulted him by accusing him of lying. Finally I told him I wished him a miserable Christmas and an even worse New Year and I hung up in his ear.

Mrs. Jean Masse was more pleasant and polite to talk with, whereas Concepcion had lied when he said he didn't get the cards and then lied again when he said he didn't lie about the cards. Masse said that what Colleen did by inviting me was wrong, and that she "should have called Concepcion or Greenberg before she took it upon herself" to invite anyone. As for not thanking me for the postcards she said that her husband died a year ago and she has been distracted.

She then went on to talk about her late husband at length and about how at the end of her husband's life his last words to her were, "Don't forget, you're my girl," and how she had replied, "Don't forget, you're my boy," and she broke down in tears while telling me this story. Naturally I told her that I would drop my complaint, but in truth I would still like an apology for what happened, and of course I won't get one, because everybody has an excuse for not treating J. Wesley Miller properly.

January 3, 2005

43 degrees in the breezeway, sun fighting to get through the clouds.

Shirley Chisholm (of whom I have lovely posters) died at 80 in Florida over the weekend.

New Hampshire has just voted to open birth records of adoptees, the fourth state in the nation to do so. That was always an issue regarding my Grandmother Blanche Simpson Gleason, although we were given to understand they opened a sealed envelope and found nothing of use. They say this is coming to be viewed as a civil right of adoptees, the right to know their real parent's history.

When I was very little one of the great unexplored places was Father's two drawer oak filing cabinet at the foot of the stairs in the basement of Crest Street. It had papers from the art and actuarial courses Father had taken. One day I found some condoms in the cabinet and emerged with them asking Mother, "What are these?" She didn't say, but was obviously alarmed I had found them. Probably didn't know herself where Father kept them.

Eamon called and said he went out shopping early and chatted with Cornelius Sweeney about how the city has gone to hell. He and I talked about the use of "educationese" which he said isn't even a real word. Eamon said the educationist dunces have created an improper word of their own. Later I called Merriam-Webster downtown and got lexicographer Jim Lowe. He said they have no reference to the word educationese, so Eamon has the dictionary itself behind him. Then I called the Superintendent of Schools and instead of Rosemary Shea I got Judy who took my message.

Springfield Police Officers Raymond Gonzales and Theodore Truoiolo are the new community policing officers in the South End. Judy Matt of the Spirit of Springfield and TV-radio personality Susan Kaplan were in the Local Spotlight section of the paper recently.

Drove down to the Acres and got a paper and then over to McDonald's on Allen and bought a deluxe salad which had no tomatoes in it and not much chicken. I told the black girl running the place, "Hey, I can buy lettuce all by itself in the grocery store." She said that those kinds of salads come without tomatoes. So I asked, "Why is there a tomato in the picture on the coupon and about seven pieces of meat?" So she took my bowl and in due course came back with four little tomatoes in there and three more pieces of meat.

I went over to Blake's School Uniform store which is out in back of Pride with the cobbler's shop and a weight reduction office and a tattoo parlor where the hardware store had been. Blake's is presided over by an old lady who says she's a Protestant. Ho-hum.

When I got back I called Colleen and when she didn't answer I left her a message saying that the 16 Acres Association fiasco was no longer on my radar screen and that I have better things to do than muck around with that organization. I realize I probably hurt her feelings over this incident as she didn't return my New Year's message or send me a card.

January 5, 2005

40 degrees at 8:30 am, snow this morning was extremely fine.

Mozart concerto today on WFCR is nice because I like Mozart better than Beethoven. I'm certain that those oranges from Price-Rite which have dirt washed into their skins were in the hurricane.

Harriette N. Michaels had a guest column about 16 Acres in the paper recently. Jimmy Blunt has died. He founded the Springfield Playhouse and was a friend of my parents.

Thinking of releasing a series of postcards celebrating Springfield fiascoes like the Church of the Unity being turned into a parking lot, the fire at Watershops, the Boland statue, etc.

A Granby man, Robert S. Levine, was awarded ten grand by the city of Holyoke for violating his rights when he was arrested for yelling obscenities at the Canadian flag during the 2003 St. Patrick's Day parade. Good for him.

Eamon spends a lot of time on his computer and not on the phone as much as formerly. Jack Hess is always on the internet looking for stuff. I told Hess about the Acres Civic Association incident and he said "the least they could have done was invite you to stay since you were already there."

Detective Vitkus called at 1:53 from Northampton about my letter critical of their schools. He was very careful about identifying that he was speaking with the proper Attorney Miller and said "the school administration was concerned" about my letter and referred it to him. He proposed I tell him why I sent it and I told him we are bringing up a generation of kids pointed towards a military orientation rather than social services. He said "obviously you are not a danger to the schools so my job is done" and we said good-byes. I intend to send the same letter to the Springfield School Committee.

January 6, 2005

34 degrees, lightly snowing when I got up.

Relentless march of the microchips, soon my library of beautiful books is going to be swallowed up by Google.

Watercooler last night was about the death penalty and had Attorney David Hoose, Professor Austin Sarat of Amherst and Federal Prosecutor Kevin O'Reagan.

John Rixon sent me a clipping of a devastating column about Springfield that appeared in the Hartford Courant by Lawrence D. Cohen in which he describes Springfield as "a factory town with no factories, little future and no reason for being."

Eamon called and said Fred Whitney was on TV and that "he looks awful." Also some AIC gossip: The Tony Gill radio show has been having Marshall Moriarty and Tom Devine (Tom was close to Marshall) as regulars and Antonette Pepe has been on a few times as an additional guest. Now a warning has come down from the AIC President's Office that the station is doing too much on local politics and Courniotes wants the station to deal more with campus matters. Future of the show now in question. Eamon also praised N. Fyntrilakis for backing up Pepe on the school board recently. City Councilor Rosemarie Mazza-Moriarty says Mayor Ryan stole some of her ideas for his State of the City speech delivered recently on WGBY-TV.

This morning I heard a bang on the backdoor and hoped it was a delivery. Turned out to be two plainclothes Springfield policemen, a young, friendly guy clasping papers he wouldn't let me look at and a big, tall guy who said next to nothing. They said they were interested in my letter to Northampton.

I told them that a detective had called yesterday and they had me repeat his name several times. I asked them to come in and they were careful about cleaning off their feet and brought in no snow. I invited them to sit in chairs but they preferred to stand. Officer badge #236 was the young, friendly one and Officer #311 was the quiet one. I asked them the time and was told 10:45.

They said they had been sent by Northampton, so I told them about how the detective who called yesterday said there was no problem. They asked how I got the name of the woman at the school and I told them she had been on TV in the last month talking about school uniforms, a topic that interests me. I told them that along with her letter I had sent similar ones to Longmeadow and Central High in Springfield. I asked if they had read the letter, and they said yes, but asked at least two imprecise questions suggesting they had only glanced at it.

They asked how long I have lived here and I said all my life, except for a few years teaching in Wisconsin. They also asked if I had a valid driver's license and I told them yes and that I owe no parking tickets. Just before they left I thought they stared at (well, there are so many things to stare at) my large, framed copy of the U.S. Constitution, but instead they were noticing my joke anarchist's bomb prop. Finally the big guy said he was confused by my letter and didn't know how to take it.

I asked them whether it isn't a teacher's first responsibility to make students think and they nodded. I said our militaristic culture is shaping youths to militarism rather than more humane paths and if anyone is offended by my saying that they are too sensitive. As they headed out the door they pointedly asked if I have "any intention of doing harm to anyone" and I replied, "But of course not, not at all."

January 8, 2005

37 degrees, gas in the Acres $1.79.

Cooked up a blueberry pie.

Got a Big Y silver coin just for buying a newspaper. Mary Worthy is the principal of William N. Deberry School on Union Street.

The rabbit in the comic strip Marvin is named Floppet. Never knew that.

Went to the Eastfield Mall and got two burger sandwiches for the price of one. Littman Jewelers is closed. Sat watching people, picking out whom I would want for a wife or a son.

Landers didn't get the airport job but is invited to take another exam this coming Friday. He could get $40 per hour. Meantime STCC has upped his time from 15 to 30 hours per week but the pay is low, just $10 an hour.

Called up Alvin Paige and had a brief conversation. He really lit up when I said his name is in my diary and was amazed when I read the entry to him. I am sending him some stuff.

Called the McKnight Neighborhood Council and got Katheryn A. Wright. She said the group meets monthly and I'm invited but I said I don't want to meddle, only add my moral support. They are working on a lawsuit over the Mason Square Library, and while they can't sue the Urban League they can sue the Library and Museum Association. That is good.

G. Michael Dobbs used almost his whole column in The Reminder thanking Tom Devine for naming him one of his local heroes. But Dobbs defended the Buendo brothers from Devine's charge that the paper used to be "an ad-rag."

Eamon called and said that the city department heads should take paycuts before they fire the little guys. Eamon thinks there are several possible candidates who may run against Ryan this year - Foley, Sarno and Tom Ashe, whom he described as "a real jackass." Said Tim Rooke may also enter the race if the right opportunity arose.

Finally, just for the fun of it I called former State Senator Linda Melconian. She answered and asked who was calling. When I identified myself she immediately hung-up in my ear!

January 10, 2005

30 degrees, overcast, icicles hanging from the clothesline and all over everything.

Called Terry Scott Nagle's office at 95 State Street.

I called TV40 and got Dominic. I told him about a grammar error they made last night and he said he'll "pass it on."

Sent Caprio of WNEC a postcard of the Municipal Group by Orr. Phil Puccia was an official of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in the 1990's when a female executive said he sexually and racially discriminated against her. A judge dismissed the claims against Puccia. Jose Tosado is complaining that all the members of the Control Board are white men.

Author Dan Golden, once of The Springfield Daily News, got a Pulitzer for his work in the Wall Street Journal. A native of Amherst.

No mention of tonight's library meeting in the paper. Called the Mayor's Office and a female aide answered and I asked if the meeting was still on and she didn't know. I asked if Barbara Garvey was there but she wasn't.

Went to United and withdrew $450 and then over to Fleet and deposited it, where a tan Taurus 2102CT almost ran over me in the middle of Wilbraham Road. Got a wonderful missing cat poster that was on the front of the still abandoned liquor store in the Acres. Peering into the window there are still some bottles on the shelves and some Halloween candy.

Went over to the Pine Point Library and got a flyer for the library meeting tonight and was surprised to find my old friend Karen Powell working as a clerk on the circulation desk. Nobody can say that Karen is unwilling to work and to do what work is available. Her hair is now a deep red-brown, same shade as Carol Leary's. We chatted. She doesn't see much of Maureen Turner, but Maureen is still married and happily and the baby is named Seamus, an Irish male name. Not much in the freebie rack at Pine Point except for one beautiful mint book Edward Hopper's New England (1993). Beautiful pictures, why would they dump that?

I finally decided it wasn't worth the bother to go to the forum on the libraries. On the news tonight 40 had no story on the library thing, but 22's Lori Lipkin was there, and aside from the Chair Barbara Garvey I didn't see anyone else in their coverage that I knew. I didn't see Karen Powell, who said she was going to be there, or any of the other library activists. I'd say the meeting was a dud. Liz Stevens of Mason Square, a fiftyish slender white woman was on camera saying that she wanted a library back in the Square. Anne Richmond, a young mother type, also spoke.

Letter to Pearsall - January 11, 2005

My dear John M. Pearsall, Town of Wilbraham.

The promptitude with which the town went ahead with implementing our joint vision of what should be done with the land I donated in my parent's honor argues that you wanted to get the job done, and I am pleased to have helped with part of it. I have taken lots of progress photos, as this is going to be one of Wilbraham's best documented projects.

I wish now to look forward to the as yet unscheduled dedication. I mentioned wanting to deliver a speech, but I have decided that it would be more tasteful for a variety of reasons for me to simply prepare a suggested reading list to be inserted with the dedication booklet. That means I will not be imposing upon a captive audience what some might fear would be political views. My comments will be limited to a brief observation that it is wonderful what private philanthropy and tax dollars can accomplish when working together. It remains extremely important to me that the Governor or Senate or House or whatever provide me with some sort of citation.

You will recall that whenever we have met I have been wearing a motorcycle jacket and have had my stuffed animals Sweet Pea and Honey Pot with me. Such will probably be the case at the dedication. Also, I am diabetic and have to relieve myself with some regularity so I hope nobody will mind if I have to go for a walk into the woods at some point.

Tra la,

J. Wesley Miller III, Esq.

January 12, 2005

35 degrees at 8. Overcast with streaks of faintly hinting light.

Smith & Wesson has refinanced and the stock soared to $1.87.

In Doonesbury Duke came the closest he's ever come to telling Honey he loves her.

Radio: "Hard for people with diabetes to lose weight." Is that me?

A woman on TV said, "The Administration owes an apology to the American people." Oh? What about an apology to the Iraqi people?

Watercooler was discussing aiding the Tsunami victims. Kaplan's hair seemed poorly combed and parted. Guests were Karen Rucks of the Council of Churches, Prof. Kavita Khari of Mount Holyoke and Rich Lee of the Red Cross. They did well but all they did was rehash what we already know and nothing controversial. Channel 22 said that the library forum the other night had about twenty present but the newspaper said "over fifty."

Bad weather forecast is bad news for the Basketball Hall of Fame event tonight (Chamber of Commerce After Five) and I'm glad I didn't sign up for Berman's seminar which will be difficult to get to tomorrow.

Young woman at Stop & Shop giggled and said, "I like your buttons."

Eamon and I had a good chat about The Andover Institute at 145 State Street which he once headed. Eamon's office was at the back of the first floor. I asked where their academic transcripts are and he said "that's a good question." The school was owned by two Dartmouth grads, Charles and Johm LePonis of Andover, Mass. Tuition was about $1200 per year and Silvio Conte got approval for guys to spend their G.I. benefits there. Eamon is a very highly decorated Navy vet with degrees from Amherst, Columbia and Harvard Business. People don't like him because he knows what he's talking about.

Mountain of new indictments against the Asselin family, 22 added to the 100 they already had.

June M. Whitney wrote a letter to the editor praising Mayor Ryan and blasting Mayor Albano for leaving Springfield to live in the suburbs. The Valley Advocate did the same for their "Halo and Horns" edition praising Ryan for "ending the sleazy, shady atmosphere of the Albano Administration" and describing Albano as "gone but not forgiven."

Well deserved haloes to G. Michael Dobbs and Michaelann Bewsee. They also gave horns to the Springfield Library & Museums Association with a very unflattering picture of Joe Carvalho. I say thank you, Mayor Ryan, for your service as mayor, marked with sensitivity, moderation, wisdom and determination. Thank you, Control Board, for even democracy is a fragile, imperfect system and you are providing long needed checks and balances on runaway abuses that have gone on for too long.

I believe that this year's Pynchon Award winners should be Mayor Charlie Ryan, Eamon T. O'Sullivan, the finest gentleman and patriot I know, Michaelann Bewsee, Karen Powell, and Belle-Rita Novak. Also since David Starr already got a Pynchon, Tom Vannah of the Advocate deserves one too. Maureen Turner is young yet, but for the record (and I'm an English teacher) she's the best writer in the valley.

January 13, 2005

37 degrees. Gas in the Acres is $1.79. It seems when the weather forecast is so-so it gets worse, and when it is good it is unfulfilled.

Paganini could play twelve notes per second.

"Intelligent Design" is the currently popular euphemism for watered down Divine Providence.

Stop & Shop no longer has the square cornered meat and veggie bags that I have for so long slid books into.

"You are watching TV40, the best in local news." Shucks, I want the worst in local news. Bad news is good news. Good news is drivel.

Very much surprised to find in the mail a nice note from Roy Scott thanking me for the postcard and saying that David Starr and the Mayor's Office have the etchings. I thought that I had seen it in Starr's office.

11:07 went to Copycat for copies and I recognized an old childhood acquaintance, Linda Keating. She said she is now married to Frederick W. Fuller of the Holyoke Card and Paper Company 499 Main Street, Wilbraham. Then into Wilbraham Town Hall and left stuff for Beall.

Antonio C. Mancusco died. He was always puttering around his place and always asking, "Whadda ya think?" about political developments. He had a very well-stocked Italian garden in the backyard. Worked at the Willow Cafe for forty years. Friendly, inquisitive, always active, always useful. I went to the wake and his wife, who has arthritis bad, was seated in the front row. Tony's sister-in-law offered to introduce me but I declined.

There was a killing last night at the corner of Dwight and Taylor with the weapon found up the street at Morgan Square Apartments.

FBI raids at the Offices of Facilities and Management which also handles some purchasing. Investigation into misappropriation of funds and the use of employees for non-city projects. Suspects are John R. Mastrangelo and Joseph McDowell.

January 15, 2005

Pouring at 7:15am. Snow is melted halfway across the back lawn. Cumberland opposite Liberty Church is $1.73.

European space probe will land on Saturn's largest moon Titan today.

Commercials are designed to make husbands and wives fight over whether to engage in large expenditures. Nobody would buy this stuff unless hooked by an ad, and an advertisement that foments an interpersonal fight is sure to end up in a sale: Buy me the slicer and dicer with the free gift or I won't have sex with you until you do.

Eamon gave a donation to the Bosler Humane Society in honor of his dog Fitzy. He is preoccupied these days with buying watches and rings and constructing very ornate jewelry pieces. Eamon has no pencils on his desk but he has dozens of pens. I never mark in a book with a pen, especially a text.

On TV40 at 5:07 teacher's union head Collins with the Santa Claus beard said regarding Romney, "these high idears he's proposing." Ideas not idears.

Jack Hess says the Van Norman archives went into the trash. Also said that Carvalho did kick Gagnon out of his office once.

Went to the downtown Post Office at 9:35 and at several points the flood drains on Main Street were seriously overflowing. Parking lot in old Court Square Theater was full so I drove up to the Quadrangle. Inside the library the clock in the Rotunda is a couple of hours off so they have an electric clock behind the circulation desk. I asked for a copy of the latest Library and Museums Association Annual Report and Mary Ellen came down with the 2003 Report. Mary Ellen said they did not publish a 2004 Annual Report!

While I was looking the report over along came Frank Keough in workman's boots with a lace untied and jeans and an old newspaper with a banner story and pictures of the Asselins. He photocopied that story and left, but then came right back because he had forgotten his glasses. Either Keough is absent-minded or he was distraught about something, perhaps related to the investigations. It was 10:55.

January 17, 2005

Martin Luther King Day. 26 degrees and overcast first thing. Light snow last night, saw Colleen shoveling in front of her garage door.

The key to success is being stubborn.

Tunes are easier to remember than words. Hear a tune once and you remember it.

Lots of dirty coins around, more by far than in former years. Related to burning drugs?

Radio says, "Libraries change when their communities change." Bullshit.

United Bank has revived their commercial with testimonials from the same old people: Richard Southworth, Lynn Anderson, Paul Lessard and Joan Fuller. Tom Shea's MLK Day column is about Stacy Jackson, a 1999 Sci-Tech graduate who is speaking about education at the Eastfield Mall MLK Day celebration.

We see people passing out tracks but non-Christian literature is the rarest of all street literature. Hillel at UMass used to put up lots of Jewish posters but I haven't seen many lately.

Out at 1:37 and over to Lewis & Clark, which was something of a mess taking down the last XMass displays and putting up Valentine stuff. I spent part of the afternoon walking around Walmart on Boston Road. The merchandise is depressing, too much plastic. At least street clothing is cheap and I bought hoodies and jeans.

I went to True Self Tattoo Parlor in the Acres, located next to Ace Shoe Repair, and it is very elegant. four tattooists with a complete facility for such services. The Cornerstone Christian Store in the Acres has a sign saying they are having a ten year anniversary sale.

Down to the Pine Point Library and had trouble parking, only to find a closed sign in the window. But 16 cars in the parking lot! What were they doing in there?

Senator Kennedy says Bush "tries to make a crisis out of his pet political issues."

Received an invitation today to a $50 pizza party fundraiser for North End Rep. Cheryl Rivera.

Jack Fitzgerald, principal of Talmadge Elementary School and brother of R. Bruce, is retiring. Eamon says there are suspicions of staff allowing cheating on standardized tests at Talmadge. Eamon also says the most dangerous schools in Springfield are Commerce, Sci-Tech, and Putnam, in that order.

January 19, 2005

19 degrees at 10:40, sunny but very cold day, unusual sunset.

Dolly Parton is 59.

Condoleeza Rice is condescending and I have never been able to stand her. Colin Powell is a great man but Condi is a snob.

Not a peep from Hurwitz over at the Civic Center although I sent him several postcards.

Watercooler had a discussion of how we felt after 9-11. Guests were Dr. Daniel Abrahamson of South Windsor, Prof. Ted Belsky of AIC, and Rev. Anrea Ayvazian of Mount Holyoke. Host Susan Kaplan wore a brown top with ivory turtleneck.

Bill Cosby has a residence in Shelburne, Mass and his attorney is Walter Phillips. Cosby's basketball affiliation was with the Chicago Bulls. He has investments in steak houses and his people were here for three or four days considering putting one up at the Hall of Fame but decided no.

Got through to James Mooney at Springfield Cemetery. He was friendly and jovial and thanked me for the postcards. He said Donald D'Amato had nothing to do with the monument to the Springfield resident who was lost on the Titanic that has the wrong John Milton quote on it. Quote is really by Edmond Waller. He said the tablet was given by Paul Thaneus through the Titanic Historical Society. I said I'd contact them.

Finally I got Kurmada at the Titanic Historical Society. He said the error on the Milton quote was "an honest mistake." One of their members "was looking at the quote but his eye fell on the name on the passage below it." Promised that "someday we'll correct it."

They're letting Wayne Phaneuf be a bit more visible in the paper. He was shown accepting a check for a newspaper backed charity in a Dave Roback photo.

Pynchon Medals are selected by a committee of ten, with David Starr, Gagnon and Wheeler dominating the committee which has four who don't even live in Springfield, like Lyman Wood of Hampden. Milton Frohmer of Highland Novelty Company says Starr has exclusive parties for the committee and that they are a tight-knit little group.

Media describing Monsanto as a poster child for land pollution and it makes you wonder if all the cancer around here is the result of their plant in Indian Orchard.

January 20, 2005

A beautiful day, 24 degrees at eleven.

Somebody on the radio said that 1965 was "the high water mark of American liberalism."

Watched the Bush Inauguration on TV40. Demonstrators were excluded from Freedom Plaza and there was much commentary on the hypocrisy of the government's treatment of demonstrators on the day Bush is blabbing about freedom. A mother who lost her son in Iraq said, "The war is a disaster and it is based on lies." That is all I'm writing about the Inauguration. That mother was wonderful and she said it all.

Later Roy Scott was on with his cooking show with some nice Indian food and recommended Newcastle Brown Ale for its sweetness. However Scott rubbed his nose with his bare hand over a bowl of food and then patted some dough.

I remember my Mother said when she was young and working at Monarch Life for about $14 a week she saw some shoes she liked in the window of Wilson's Shoes downtown. She went in and said she wanted the shoes and the owner said to pay for them in advance and come back next week after he changed the window and pick them up. So she paid and came back a week later and the man said he never made any deal with her, and when she protested he said get out or I'll call the cops. I looked in the 1933 city directory which lists a Wilson's Shoes at 1550 Main Street but no name for the proprietor who stole my mother's shoes!

Durham Caldwell received a lifetime achievement award at the 2nd Annual Communications Conference at Western New England College. Caldwell lives secluded and aloof over on Ashland with his bluestocking wife and dog. I say hi when I see them but they are not particularly friendly.

A summary of Peter Picknelly's will is in the paper, but he left most of it in trusts with only four million exposed to public view.

The Control Board is hiring consultants for the schools and you must apply by February 15th. But they did not advertise for library consultants and appear to have hired the bottom of the barrel. The Republican is attacking Timothy J. Rooke for being critical of raises given out by the Control Board. Says in an editorial, "The only thing Rooke has ever run in his life is his mouth and he isn't too good at that." Wow.

Frank Keough was indicted for extortion and had to appear for arraignment. Involved with someone the Asselins were also involved with. If they ever get to Albano it will be because someone like Keough talks. With a former conviction Keough could get locked up for a while. Sometimes he is called "Plugs" because he had his bald spot treated with hair plugs.

January 22, 2005

14 degrees at 1am, began snowing at 2:42pm.

Steve Cirillo hosting the music on WFCR this morning.

Stein Jewelry has been advertising for weeks their going out of business sale. Doors close January 29th.

Got the paper, then over to 16 Acres Library, where Karen Powell was clerking with a slender blonde woman with an extremely close butch haircut. Came home early due to snow, very nice and fluffy. I have a house full of food and no reason to go anyplace in this weather. For supper I had a can of diced tomatoes mixed with Chef Boyardee spaghetti and meat balls.

Wrote the following letter today:

Dear Customer Relations Department
Campbell Soup Company

I bought some Chicken with Rice soup and the pull-tab broke off and did not pull the lid off. So I tried a can opener and the rim was too small for the can opener to work. Some pull-tab cans are made so you can use a can opener if the pull-tab doesn't work. You should use that kind of can.

Yours truly,
Jack Miller

Sixteen Acres President Clodo Concepcion announced that $200,000 is available to renovate the Greenleaf Community Center.

Linda Melconian is teaching at AIC and Mount Holyoke College. Appears to have no interest in returning to politics.

Eamon says for a cold use Alka-Seltzer Plus and it will go away. He says that there are too many teaching slots in the Springfield schools for which there are no qualified teachers, with social studies teachers teaching math. Antonette Pepe told Eamon he should select heroes and villains every year like the Valley Advocate and Tom Devine do. I told Eamon about seeing Karen at the library and Eamon says it is a disgrace that the job Ryan gave Powell was as a librarian in 16 Acres. He complained that "to give her a job further from City Hall they would have had to assign her to the Wilbraham library."

Suspicious names on Keough's Friends of the Homeless board: Atty. Robert M. Santaniello and Jennifer E. Murphy. Board was useless in overseeing Keough's shelter. Details are now surfacing about Keough's extortion case, which involves Frank Ware of the Ware Group, who worked on Keough's house in Rhode Island and shelter renovations. Also involved is Daniel McNamee of Chicopee from the Springfield Housing Authority, which is the Keough-Asselin connection.

January 25, 2005

11 degrees on the breezeway. High cloudiness, Mobil is $1.85 per gallon.

Smith & Wesson stock at $1.95.

UMass is adding six new online courses. They have 45 of them, the largest such program in New England.

When my hearing deficiency first developed I heard chords sounding in my ears. Now I have the chords but also an incessant hum like an electric generating plant. So much for my current hearing.

Jim Landers is sick with the flu. Took his snowplow to be fixed, cost him $350 but still doesn't work. Jewish lawyer next door did his sidewalk for him. Landers is mad at Charlie Ryan for the way he handled the estate of his paternal aunt. Says Ryan can't find the records from the case.

Paper says big books this year will be 1776 by David McCullough and the new Harry Potter book.

Johnny Carson, aged 79, has died of emphyzema. Retired in 1992. Also local journalist Carroll Robbins is dead at 83. Eamon called and noted the demise of Robbins and said "he allowed all the corruption to grow for forty years" without attempting to expose it. Eamon says all the top shelf people who used to work for the paper left many years ago.

Eamon told me he dined at the Bridge Cafe in Chicopee a couple times and the food isn't bad but then he saw the guy from the kitchen come out and he was a filthy bum. Pepe also complained of seeing the same guy out back smoking and neither of them will ever go there again.

There used to be an intelligent nut, an imposing, big man named Walter Leary who used to mark all the errors in the paper and present the corrected papers to Sidney Cook. He was close to Brian King and Sherman Bowles protected him.

Chatted with Michaelann Bewsee just before noon. Said that she doesn't support the Nation of Islam's antisemitism, just their right to distribute their paper in Mason Square. Thanked me for my mailings and said she'll put me on her "hot list" which may or may not be a blessing. Says she'd be honored if I put her picture on a postcard.

Derby wearing union leader Timothy Collins says the control Board will destroy the Springfield schools.

Managers J. Mastrangelo and J. McDowell placed on unpaid leave by Mayor Ryan following the FBI raid on the Facilities Management Department.

Keough has been suspended from the shelter without pay. Councilor Dom Sarno seen commenting on TV, I'd say his hair's colored darker than it used to be.

Kathleen B. Pellegrino has lost her lawsuit over the matter where she took early retirement but never left the job. Judge declared it double-dipping and a violation of state retirement law. She is an arrogant, proud person.

January 29, 2005

24 degrees at 7am. Overcast and lightly snowing. Very cold last night.

Boston has a record snowfall so far this year of 43.1 inches. "Big Bubble, No Trouble" is a bit of weather wisdom - big high pressure system over us so no more snow for a few days. Tom Bevacqua is the best local weatherman - jovial and a real professional in everything he does.

"Evil is real, and it must be confronted." - Dick Cheney

Heard on the radio that Vermont has the highest per capita deaths in Iraq.

For Mozart's birthday on WFCR they are playing Eine Kleine Nachtmusik which is one of my favorites. Radio reports that Baystate Medical Center has been suing people, 300 taken to court, liens against the homes of 46. They have also forgiven a lot of debts and will only pursue amounts over $10,000.

On Watercooler Kaplan was dressed in conservative grey and two Jewish professors were discussing their perspective on Aushwitz - Irving Stahl of UMass and Prof. K. VonKlempener from Smith.

In Pittsfield Meagan Wilden has been chosen their first Director of Cultural Affairs. Bullshit feature on TV on the artistic renaissance in Turner's Falls. Let's face it, there are too many poor artists for them all to make a go of it in some abandoned factory like the old Strathmore Mill.

Went to Stop & Shop and got avocados off the markdown rack. At the door a young woman was having people fill out postcards to send to state reps and senators supporting gay marriage. Naturally I signed, and I was in my full troublemaker uniform with ARISE button hat.

Retired postal worker Peter Michael Veale, of 49 Birchland Avenue, has died. I went to the wake and signed the book, "We shall always miss our good neighbor and friend."

Eamon called and talked about how years ago they got their groceries from the Fulton Market on the corner of Carew and Newberry owned by Louie Zion. Ran the place for forty years. Eamon's mother would call in her order on Friday and Saturday morning it would be delivered. Zion was understanding and you could run a tab. Later there was Maxie down at the corner of Carew and Liberty.

Yesterday Eamon was over to Cal's Variety and they got a letter from Jay Jachyn of Code Enforcement telling them to take down all their cigarette signs (nineteen of them) all over the outside of the place, building and fence. Patrick Moore and his wife smoke endlessly. Told they'd be fined by the day if they didn't remove them so the next day all the signs were gone.

Eamon has exactly $48,000 in his checking account. I said take me out to lunch and he said sure - to McDonald's.