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.

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