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.

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