September 2004

September 3, 2004

65 degrees at 8am, Citgo in Acres is $1.87.

Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.

American Political Science Association is talking about "permanent war."

From 1763 to 1878 Wilbraham and Hampden were one town until Hampden broke away.

Peter Pan official says they expect to carry 100,000 passengers this Labor Day weekend.

I have been buying grapes on sale and I had a triplet red grape this morning, three grapes in one skin. Plant 'em high, they won't die; plant 'em low, they won't grow.

When I write something I think about roughly what I want to say, and if there are some special ideas or phrases I put them on paper. But I feel the best thing to getting a writing project underway is simply to start writing and the project sort of organizes itself. If you write a concise, comprehensive introduction then where to go from there should be self-evident. But of course first you have to know what you want to do and say. The problem many students have is they gotta write a thousand words and they don't have the foggiest idea of what to say.

Today I laced on my boots and cleaned out the eaves troughs all around the house. My father never even had a pair of boots, although Uncle Fred Olmstead wore them all the time. There were a few maple seedlings growing in the eaves in front of the house. I was worried about getting up on the ladder because of my weak right knee, but it seems to have improved somewhat.

Red flag up on Colleen's mailbox when I drove out first thing to get a morning paper. Went to McDonald's to try their new chicken strips, one order get one free with a coupon. Everyone is now peddling chicken breasts with goo to dip them in. I took honey mustard goo only to find it contained no honey but tasted good.

Former City Councilor and mayoral aspirant Peter Jurzynski has completed his eleventh swim across the English Channel.

Charlie Ryan is MAD because a report filed by the Control Board to Eric Kriss, Therese Murray and John Rogers in Boston gave a very negative appraisal of Springfield and had little input from Mayor Ryan or Council President Dom Sarno. Chairman Alan LeBovidge said "conditions are significantly worse than previously known by city officials." Described critical financial transactions being done manually, vital property tax info being on index cards and some ledgers being balanced by hand. In other words, an open invitation to corruption.

Speaking to a packed Aldermanic Chamber Ryan said, "We should have a harbor master put a ship in the middle of the Connecticut River and throw tea in it." He got a standing ovation. Today was also the annual Public Schools Convocation for teachers and Joe Burke spoke on TV about a "group of individuals down in Boston" pushing their "ideological point of view." In sum, polarization and conflict ahead on all fronts.

September 6, 2004

Labor Day, and a lovely, mild day.

Bush said on TV that terrorism "will not happen on my watch." Buddy, it already happened on your watch.

The family and friends of Wesley Perznowski, who died in 1998, have put a large memorium ad in the paper. Western New England College has an ad in The Republican saying "Insure Your Future." It should be "ENSURE." WNEC workers Steve Roulier of Media Relations and Barbara Campanella of Marketing are also appearing in an ad to promote advertising in The Republican.

Peter Picknelly is worth about $200 million. Former Bishop McGuire is 85. He served as bishop from 1977-1992. And what will happen to the Mason Square library?

I called Karen Powell and asked if she's seen the Mass Mutual Report on Springfield and whether she wants to borrow mine. She said no, she hasn't read it but a girlfriend in City Hall told her all about it and so no need to read it.

Johnson's Bookstore has been replaced (and even outdone) by the Whately Antiquarian Bookstore. I long ago predicted that the fate of Johnson's would be the fate of the city. Now look at Springfield just five years after Johnson's closed.

Mob businesses do not buy wholesale liquor. They buy from retailers so it is hard for the IRS to trace and they have five or six checkbooks.

Former Mayor Mike Albano is wasting no time moving out of Springfield, having purchased land on Abby Lane in East Longmeadow to build a new home. He's putting his house at 36 Florentine Gardens in Forest Park up for sale immediately.

Maureen Turner has an editorial in the Valley Advocate about the fees The Republican wants to collect for other papers to be distributed on their stands. At Stop & Shop they have a two yard long white two level cart which say The Republican on it but has room for maybe a dozen papers. An obvious ploy to try and stifle their competition.

Even better, Turner wrote a piece slamming Fran Gagnon as "a queen bee of certain Springfield social circles" whose tenure with the Historical Commission "has been described as inconsistent in its rulings" that were "more personality clashes or power struggles than legitimate disagreements over historic preservation." However, Steve Jablonski wrote a letter to the paper praising her.

Councilor Rose Marie Mazza-Moriarty is running for State Representative in the 9th Hampden District and has produced a slick newsletter that promotes her relation to the late State Rep. James L. Grimaldi (but not to Mike Albano) and features endorsements by colleague Jose Tosado and activist Gil Perron of East Springfield. She is spending serious money. I called Sean Curran and told him about it and he thanked me.

TV40 has been doing a series on all the candidates for Governor's Council and last night they did Tim Rooke. Today I called and got his answering machine which was speaking in the voice of a little kid. Not hiding behind anonymity I said my name is J. Wesley Miller and told him that the first time I ever saw him was on the Dan Yorke Show when he was an aide to Richie Neal and Rooke was so surly I was aghast. Rooke has been politer in recent years but he has failed to do his job as City Councilor and does not deserve to be on the Governor's Council. I added that the reason he has his kid on the answering machine is to show his family values yet he has never denounced the Catholic Church as an ongoing criminal conspiracy. That should take care of Rooke.

Charlie Ryan has been on public access Channel 17 all the time complaining about his abuse by Boston. Apparently Eric Kriss demanded that Ryan curtail union rights and he refused, causing Kriss to threaten, "I can put you in receivership in about ten minutes." Now Ryan and Kriss are no longer on speaking terms. Eamon and I agree that Ryan is probably right that Springfield has been receiving too little state aid over the years. Boston and even Cambridge get a lot more than we do. And all this time what were our legislators doing? What were our City Councilors doing? Getting grants for failures like the Basketball Hall of Fame and Civic Center.

September 7, 2004

Today is the first day of school in Springfield.

Most of the "card" shops sell baseball and comix items but no actual postcards and have no postcard sleeves. I called Coin Exchange but they have no postcard sleeves either although occasionally they have old postcards for sale.

Colleen M. has a big pile of pebbles in the middle of her front lawn, making a drive-off area on the side of her driveway. She is a workhorse perhaps more than Mother was. Colleen had sweat on her brow and seemed to be enjoying what she was doing. She is a remarkable woman. Irving Cohn was in his driveway with the young guy next door. Cohn told me he is just beginning to understand James Joyce's Ulysses. He said he has read it fifteen times and the words on the page have nothing to do with the meaning. Mrs. Cohn has been rehabilitated to where she can walk a bit but not well and she may have to go to the Jewish nursing home.

Went to Louis & Clark and mailed stuff to Polito, Vannah and LeBovidge. Agawam United Methodist Church has new white vinyl siding with white aluminum trim. I'd say the job was just finished. New parking lines painted in the parking lot. Sign has pretty flowers around it. The place looks good.

I went to Frank Pugliano's Olive Oil's in Feeding Hills. It is next to a pizza place in a strip mall that fronts a housing development. It is a tony Italian place. Not a lot of accessories but doing the best they can for atmosphere. A bar with a skylight and two dining rooms that seat around 35. I ordered a Reuben sandwich and was pleasantly surprised. A large sandwich with a little side dish of cole slaw and potato strips all odd sizes and shapes, nicely browned. For $5.50 it was super. I recalled that Pam Jendrysik worked as a waitress there, but when I asked I was told, "She no longer works here," almost in a tone of disgust or at least indifference and disappointment. Out at 12:27. On the way home bus 1093 was puffing great plumes of black exhaust.

When I got home I called Edith Michaud to tell her I had been by the Agawam Methodist Church and told her it looks really nice. She said the windows needed replacement and the leaks in the roof were also fixed. Edith said she had a knee replacement recently and will probably have the other one done eventually. Says she isn't wealthy, only has her Social Security. She retired in 1973 from working for Efrem Gordon's father, who she thinks was "more settled" than Efrem. She recalled how the old man took in young law students and helped them prepare for the bar exams. We concluded with my saying how nice the church looks, thanking her for all she has done by way of good works in many places and hoping she has good luck with her new knee.

AIC President Courniotes now has a white Orr Cadillac DeVille, plate 48D M34.

The Republican called sometime mid-day, I saw the call on my machine when I got home but didn't return it. Probably trying to drum up sales, not likely a request to do a story on me. Mail brought another jumbo postcard from Mazza-Moriarty, this time as a report card giving herself a whole slew of A-plus grades and an F for Chris Asselin. Across the street at 1500 Wilbraham Road, where there used to be a Ryan sign, they now have an Asselin sign, the only one around.

Debate on TV by Governor's Council candidates at WNEC's Sleith Hall. Rooke said there are too many lawyers among the contenders and he offers a businessman's perspective. Actually there are too many Irishmen and we need change.

September 8, 2004

I value truth, circumspection, objectivity, moderation and fairness.

My favorite American poet is Longfellow, who nobody teaches anymore. This day in 1504 the statue David was unveiled. They are having a birthday party for him.

William F. Buckley says he writes 1500 words per day. Thoughtful words no doubt, not like my garbage.

On TV22 they had a story about congestion on Sumner Avenue during rush hour and interviewed Belle-Rita Novak without identifying her.

Thomas R. Burton, president of Hampden Bank, kicked off the United Way campaign by saying, "Don't be a philanthropic girly-man."

Someone from The Republican called and said, "I see you stopped getting the paper." I replied, "Well, you never do a story on me, so why should I get your paper?" That got rid of her pronto.

The morning paper is full of Bill Cosby's speech in Springfield last night on personal responsibility, but no mention of Antonette Pepe, who did all the work to get him here and no mention of Eamon who told her how to get in touch with him. Larry McDermott was in the paper writing about "a seat at the table" for Bill Cosby, who wonderfully came to Springfield to praise Holyoke Police Chief Anthony Scott and dump on our Police Chief Paula Meara and District Attorney Bill Bennett. Meara is a product of female affirmative action. I took Chief Scott's picture a couple of years back at Sheriff Ashe's clambake.

Cosby has it just right, his comments are to be welcomed with gratitude. But Cosby hasn't said anything that Eamon T. O'Sullivan, with real documentation, hasn't been saying for over a decade. Eamon said it first and for having the guts and the character to speak up Eamon has been censored. The real point is that Arkansas carpetbagger McDermott and New Yorker David Starr only like those seated at the table who support their views. That is not democracy. There is no policy setting table in Springfield where all views are welcome.

Mayor Ryan is on vacation, but there was a major meeting between the Control Board and the School Committee where the Control Board justified their financial numbers. Eamon says I should go to New York City and visit Strand Books which has twelve stories of books. Recalled that James Grimaldi was an alderman before he was a state rep. and had an oil company on Columbus Avenue. Also said James R. Landers is backing Sean Curran.

Went to the 16 Acres library and got a copy of The Mayflower Madam book on the discard rack. Asked the reference librarian for a list of Quadrangle staff telephone numbers. He found two lists and I asked if I could photocopy them. He said the copier was out of order and when I asked when it might be fixed he said, "Maybe two days but more like two months."

PHD program drop-outs are supposed to hang their heads in shame and slink off into the underbrush. Some become bums, a few commit suicide. It's surprising that more haven't murdered their major professors, but most grad students are ladies and gentlemen and live with their decisions. For me, on that sunny August 1978 morning when I was supposed to take my prelims, I boarded a bus for home in Massachusetts and a week later I was enrolled in law school. Dropping out of the University of Wisconsin was the smartest thing I ever did.

September 10, 2004

Overcast and 70 degrees at 7am. Wonderful early fall afternoon, although technically still summer. I have seen three grasshoppers in the last couple of days so there must be still quite a few around.

Mother loved Boston Fruit Slices. The Kimball Hotel on the corner of Chestnut and Bridge Street opened on Saint Patrick's Day, March 17, 1911. Attendance at Tanglewood was down 11% this year.

Weatherman Brian Lapis has become more serious and professional than he once was. The hurricane of 1955, named Dianne, made a mess of my parent's property in Wilbraham.

At Big Y there is a new Express Rewards brochure and no doubt about it, you get less. A year ago a silver coin and 24 cents got you a slice of pizza. Now it's a silver coin and 54 cents. The coins have become the equivalent of coupons to sell merchandise, not to reward people with free stuff.

Coming into the city there is a big billboard with Joe Carvalho of the Quad gaping at us over the words, "Inspire Your Community." It's an ad for Westfield State College, Carvalho's alma mata.

This is basketball weekend, the enshrinement ceremony is $400 a ticket. Six Flags has a full page ad for "Out in the Park" a day of fun for gays for $35. Can't help but recall that several years ago I was kicked out of that park for dressing gay.

Rep. Neal's office has announced that the groundbreaking for the new $55 million dollar courthouse is September 28th. Maybe 30 people doing a standout in 16 Acres center for Chris Asselin.

Springfield Newspapers editor Richard Garvey has died at 81, a journalist for 57 years but also a windbag of inestimable proportions. Hess called and asked if I saw about Garvey, Hess thinks he was a good teller of stories as a speaker but agreed that he used to attack Protestants. Said that Garvey's second wife was a nurse to the children of Calvin Coolidge. I called Larry McDermott and left a message telling him my low opinion of Garvey and about the bad English in Councilor Mazza-Moriarty's mailings. She is an embarrassment to the English Department of Elms.

Jim Polito on TV40 says that the new crime boss of Springfield is Anthony Arilotta, who is tied to the disappearance of underworld figure Gary Westerman. Tony is 35. Eamon suspects that R. Mazza-Moriarty is a mafia princess. He didn't like her mother and feels the apple didn't fall far from the tree.

Found a poster requesting information on the Daniel Croteau case on a telephone pole opposite 1663 Wilbraham Road. It shows a picture of Danny and reads, "Did you see me between 4pm and midnight April 14, 1972?" followed by a number to call.

September 12, 2004

There is still a Jim Dandy chicken place on State Street in Springfield in the Black neighborhood.

Bo Diddly and Johnny Winter are appearing at Six Flags.

Howard Ziff of the UMass journalism department has a letter in the paper praising Dick Garvey.

I arrived at the Agawam United Methodist Church on Mill Street in Feeding Hills at 8:58 and there was absolutely no one there so I drove toward Stop & Shop and found a Getty station selling gas for $1.73.

I returned to the Agawam Methodist Church at 9:22 and there were twelve vehicles in the lot. Edith Michaud greeted me graciously and I walked around a bit. I looked at the new heaters in the church wall. The inside courtyard is all picked up but not as ornate as it was. The organ is electronic and the aisle carpeting is red. PA system works satisfactorily.

The opening prayer rambled on and the sermon was delivered by a chubby lady with white socks who reminded me of Peppermint Patty. She alluded to Wanda Siemiatowski in her talk. She said "We have Maria Giroux to thank" for the renovations. She also said we need to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the Halls of Government.

I had thought my cousin Shirley Whittier Huang might come down for the church dedication but she did not. There were only 24 people present, yet another endangered Methodist congregation. Afterward they invited me to stay for coffee but I scooted out. They urged me to come again but I said I wouldn't. Out at 10:54.

Went to the Mattoon Street Art Festival and parked on Spring Street opposite the Federal Land Bank parking garage, which still has a bit of brownstone from the church it replaced on the back wall. I switched from the sport coat I'd worn at church to a uniformed queer with laced boots, tucked in pants, doggie collar, biker jacket and buttons. The craft fair was better filled than it has been in past years. I bought a lovely wooden vase stained green by Ron Pessilano of Brimfield. I also bought a print of fiddleheads from Nancy Bryant of Monson. Bryant didn't charge me sales tax but Pessilano did. There was music by the Down Memory Lane Barbershop Quartet.

Next I paid $5 to go on the Downtown Living Home Tour through Chestnut and Mattoon Streets. Andy Scibelli was there and Jonathan Rice. First stop was Classical Condominiums, which is still a nice place impeccably maintained. I asked several people what their biggest complaint about the place is. Guy at the front door said security. Lady on the 4th floor said the old building needs repairs. Somebody else said dust, and two people said no problem. Guy with the biggest apartment said his condo fee is $280 a month.

From Classical we went over to Eliot, down Mattoon and over to the Kimball. In the Kimball I found paint peeling from the ceiling in the front grand lounge area. A woman who works there said she was responsible for getting the tacky awnings taken down but she can't get the city to fix the sidewalk. I decided to skip the two apartments at Armoury Commons. Apremont Triangle needs mowing.

September 14, 2004

Washington's support for Israel and the war on terror launched in the aftermath of the World Trade Center's collapse have only fueled Arab anger and violence.

Convenience store on the corner of Newbury and Carew that used to be so busy and always had cars parked in front while people ran in is closed. Can't remember what its name was. Hurst & Hurst now have offices opposite Raymour & Flanagan and Price-Rite.

WFCR isn't like other businesses, they don't have stockholders or investors but of course they use the euphemism "investments" for donations.

Visited Mother's best friend Mrs. Staniski. A Noonan Oil Truck #488 was there and the hatchway was open. She looks and sounds much better and gave me a wonderful National Geographic on global warming.

The name of Eamon's dog is Fitzy. Eamon is mad to discover that because his neighborhood supported Righty Keough (Frankie's cousin) when redistricting came around Rep. Asselin arranged to have the neighborhood removed from his district so today Eamon couldn't vote for Sean Curran against Asselin. He blames Petrolati and Finneran.

I headed to the polls at Glenwood Elementary School at 9:55 this morning and met the Durham Caldwells walking back from voting. There were two old ladies and a cop working, no refreshments. I wrote in Eamon's name against the unopposed Neal, and my own name against the unopposed Sheriff Ashe. Before leaving the polls I tried to take some school literature from the shelves in the hallway but a secretary came sputtering out and tried to stop me. I demanded to see the principal Ms. Sullivan and she went into a back room, then came out and said, "Take whatever you want."

I caught the election results on TV22 at ten o'clock tonight. To everyone's surprise Sean Curran won as Mazza-Moriarty (the teacher with terrible English) got walloped and Asselin only got around 500 votes. Both Charlie Ryan and Bruce Fitzgerald showed up at Curran's victory party. I had voted for my friend Issac Ben-Ezra for Governor's Council, but I really preferred Peter Vickery who happily edged out Tim Rooke. So I must say I am delighted with the primary election results.

I personally feel that Jesus Christ can be considered a great prophet (a socially conscious, sadomasochistic queer Jewish youth) with great teachings, but those who want to believe the mystical aspects of him do so at their own risk.

September 16, 2004

Sun came out at 11:05. B.B. King is 79 today.

There will always be a controversy about everything.

Fleet Bank in Wilbraham has a dish of varied candies and a lady with a clipboard greeting people as they come in. Springfield Symphony Orchestra has commercials on WFCR promoting their opening concert to feature the William Tell Overture and Brahms Violin Concerto No. 1.

Just outside the side entrance to the Quadrangle museums ticket office there is a cold drinks machine that has soda for a dollar a can, but Poland Springs bottled water is a buck and a quarter! Called Christopher Linquest, the librarian at the Westfield Atheneum and criticized the selling of all those books without stamping them discarded. Not proper procedure!

Went to Edmund's Opticians on Cooley Street run by Edmund Hasenjager and selected a pair of frames for my new glasses. Edmund's father was tall and thin but their mother was stocky. Edmund's brother Ted, who also works at the store, has a serious weight control problem. Edmund says they do a good business at 5 Town Plaza but the rent is high. He promised to do my glasses for $300.

Arrived at my dentist Dr. Edward J. Walsh, also located at 5 Town Plaza, at 12:32. He was wearing a blue shirt and just getting back from lunch. First I went to the teeth cleaning girl and she said she noticed that I hadn't had an X-ray in a year and a half. I asked what an X-ray would cost and she said $44. I said well my appointment was for cleaning so I'll settle for that today. At the end the dentist came in. Dr. Walsh said I have an infection in an old filling and one or two teeth will have to be removed, adding, "Your health is at risk." I said it's not really a problem, no pain or other irritation so out of the dentist's at 1:22.

I called Larry McDermott and told him that his paper's claim that 200 people attended Dick Garvey's funeral is contradicted by the picture they ran of the people sitting in the pews showing only about 60.

I've read Joseph P. Burke's job application and was not impressed. We should have hired that black guy with a doctorate in education from Columbia, but he made the mistake of candidly telling Springfield what was wrong with its schools. Superintendent Burke has not been subjected to the torrent of criticism Peter Negroni was. Negroni once told us he was working on a book but we never saw it.

Eamon hits to all fields in his most recent telephone message recording:

Outsiders visiting Springfield for the first time won't be impressed with the dull in the extreme downtown, badly designed misplaced white elephant buildings, few retail stores, no movie theater, tacky bars and strip joints, and third rate restaurants with no real entertainment. In the neighborhoods they'll find potholed, trash ridden streets and a large dumbed down unstable population prone to violence and undermining a last place ranked school system.

September 18, 2004

64 degrees, rain this afternoon. Gas at Six Corners is $1.85.

I hope that hurricane Jean hits Florida as the judgment of an angry God against Florida for the election of Bush and against America for destroying Iraq. A car bomb a day should scare the U.S. away. Today is the first day of the Eastern States Exposition, the ninth largest fair in the United States.

Mixing up a batch of succotash. Mother used corn and shell beans. I had three ears of corn, a can of lima beans, a can of pink beans and two boiled onions. Added pepper but not the salt and margarine Mother always did.

Jason Russell of ABC40 also does the weather for News 10 in Albany. Karen Powell's husband Bob has his auto repair shop at 29 Fisher Avenue in East Longmeadow. Former Longmeadow resident Bradford Cohen got fired by Donald Trump on "The Apprentice." Jack Hess is having his house painted by AA Painting for $3500.

Eastern Avenue School has a nice Victorian stack but it lacks the cornices which were removed about the same time as those on Homer Street were removed. Homer Street School had a variety of good art in it. There were a couple of pieces of hanging statuary, one of which was Della Robbia's "Una Formella della Cantoria."

Arrived at the Quadrangle at 1:37. Into the Connecticut Valley History Museum and saw Ms. Hubertson, who is decidedly plumper than ever but still looks good. She was meeting with Davis Johnson and we talked about the bookstore. Then into the Museum of Fine Arts where a jovial black man was on duty. There is a large image of a compass in the middle of the court marquetry floor, but it is related only to the four walls of the court and not to magnetic north so it is rather silly. A compass that you can't use to tell direction! On Christmas when I was a little kid Father gave me a U.S. Air Force compass with a pop-up lid and a ruby in the middle of the needle. It was a real treasure to me, which pleased Father who always hoped I would become more masculine than I ever did. Then finally to the City Library where there were a lot of science fiction books being discarded along with piles of Congressional Quarterly.

Businesses are closing on Columbus Avenue because of the length of time the ramp and highway construction has dragged on. They're killing the businesses to keep the unions working.

Bruce Fitzgerald appears to be growing a beard in the picture in the paper of Charlie Ryan's birthday party. Eamon talked to Jim Johnson of the State Department of Revenue, who was unaware of Ryan's frequent appearances on the local cable access channel talking against them. Johnson is coming for a meeting with Ryan on Wednesday.

Alfonso Carrano, 32, has been indicted for stealing school vending machine revenue. He formerly worked for Frank Keough. Appointed manager of the school lunch program by Albano in 1998 at $36,000 per year. His mother-in-law is Luisa Cardaropoli, who was earlier indicted as a no show worker at MCDI. She is a relative of the late Al Bruno.

September 20, 2004

55 degrees, just beautiful out, a very few puffy clouds. The carillon was playing in Hilcrest Cemetery when I drove through.

Dan Rather and CBS are apologizing for basing an expose of Bush's military record on phony documents. This is extremely bad because it will lead to charges that the liberal media can't be trusted and voters will have sympathy for Bush. Rather should step down as news anchor, he has been around too long and he has not made the cut as a Walter Cronkite.

101 Birchland Avenue is for sale for $135,000. Heard there may be moisture problems in the basement. The Salty Dog Saloon downtown is having their Bike Appreciation day on October 2nd.

Former Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn was conducting a Catholic voter registration drive after Mass today. I decided to go and parked next to St. Michael's rectory rather than in the lot. Lots of cars down the other end of the street parked around the Latino Baptist Church. Mass was in the Marshall annex, with around 100 people present. I noticed Fran Gagnon and her husband sitting in the back. When the collection plate went by I put nothing in.

Ray Flynn sat in the first row in front of the hymnals. Mums of various colors were on either side of the altar. The church program made note of the death of Richard Garvey. The sermon was about developing one's spiritual life with the same fire in the belly that we devote to other things.

Following Mass everyone was invited to the Parish Hall to meet Mayor Flynn, have coffee and register to vote. Flynn, who was also Ambassador to the Vatican under Clinton, met well wishers and passed out the political leaflet "The Challenge of Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility" which urged voters to consider a candidate's stands on abortion, the death penalty and stem cell research, all of which the church opposes.

The time/temperature digital clock atop The Republican building is three minutes slow. When I got home I called Larry McDermott and told him that his paper is behind the times! That little greasy luncheonette on the corner of State and Main I used to go into for breakfast when I visited Effie Gordon has a sign on it that says it will become Crown Fried Chicken and Pizza also serving breakfast and grinders.

Jim Landers says that the woods around the Atwood neighborhood make for a lot of break-ins. Robbers sneak into the woods and lurk there until the opportunity is right to break-in. Some of the streets in Atwood are very secluded.

Eamon says he is setting up a meeting between Michael G. O'Reilly, Supervising Agent of the Springfield FBI office, with people in the School Department to talk about corruption in the schools. He says Mayor Ryan showed up at a celebration for the San Salvadorians in chino pants and jacketless (not even his blue blazer). Eamon said he anonymously sent Ryan some clothing catalogs, and claimed that Ryan's wool coat is so old the lapels are curling. Eamon said he brought some more info to Phil Puccia's office and added that Antonette Pepe is in pain after the doctor stuck a needle in her eye. J. Burke has suspended Chris Asselin's wife for being indicted, but she is appealing.

Richard C. Berte, former Wilbraham basketball star and henchman for reputed mob boss Anthony J. Delevo of Westfield, has pleaded guilty to masterminding a phony drug raid on an Amherst ecstasy dealer in 1998.

September 22, 2004

Autumnal Equinox at 12:30am.

As a diarist I have written down many small details over the years. I remember some, but I write things down so I can forget them.

I recall that an endorsement letter from Joe Carvalho of the Quad was the only item in the middle of the front door of Albano's campaign headquarters on Main Street the first time Albano ran. The Quadrangle is in such a mess that nobody in their right mind can trust them. There needs to be a comprehensive audit of all the grant monies received from all sources to the Library and Museums Association. Pat Markey is an old Quad insider. Barbara Garvey is an old political hand who was fired from a big job at Westfield State and Charlie Ryan her lawyer was unable to obtain relief. Carvalho is in my view a two-faced, glad handing tool of David Starr who promotes his people and puts down all opposition. I should have a Pynchon Medal for my efforts to save the library's collections.

Peter R. Johnson has stepped down from the South Hadley Conservation Commission. Bought cider at Big Y, where the deli counter was distributing cheese cubes on a toothpick. Jim Landers wants me to contribute to the Performing Arts High School in Hadley, so I'll send them a hundred bucks and mention Lander's name.

Upper Sumner Avenue Friendlys is closing. At the old Friendlys on the corner of Berkshire and Bay there is a Grand Opening sign for the Wong Wok, a few cars were in the lot so they must be open.

Mayor Ryan is criticizing the Control Board for not making more use of the Mass Mutual Report. He is also telling the Bright Nights holiday display to pay up their overdue bills and also targeting the abuse of sick leave by many departments.

Out at 9:34 and dropped off some stuff for Puccia at the State Office Building with Daryn Springarn, who said he'll be sure Puccia gets it. Stopped at Gifford's Locksmith and an old man named Ed Delphia was there. He said they started in business in 1868.

Then I visited Easthampton for the first time in ages. I can see why people like it, a small town atmosphere combined with Northampton hipness. No parking meters. Had breakfast at the Cottage Street Cafe, now under new management, and walked around collecting posters.

I drove over to the Valley Advocate at 116 Pleasant Street, Suite 3350 to drop off some things for editor Tom Vannah. The receptionist Dianne Dragon was very friendly, and said Vannah doesn't usually get in until after ten. There is a good bulletin board in the Advocate building but no elevator. I asked the receptionist if Sean Glennon is still working there but she wouldn't say, then a big guy walking by said in no uncertain terms that "Glennon doesn't work here anymore." Wanted to ask if he was still married to Maureen Turner but didn't. Then I headed home, stopping at Fleet to withdraw $100 and where they had root beer lollipops in the candy dish.

September 23, 2004

79 degrees at 12:51pm, a beautiful day. Wilbraham Citgo $1.87 per gallon.

"Status quo" is Latin for "the mess we're in."

My audience is any educated reader.

John Kerry: "I fought in a war and we were not told the truth."

Wonder Bread of Hostess and Twinkie fame is in Chapter 11. My parents never bought Wonder Bread; it was too expensive even if it did build strong bodies eight ways. We only bought Twinkies when discounted.

The State Legislature over-rode 299 out of 300 budgetary vetoes by Governor Romney. Mayor Ryan addressed the 16 Acres Civic Association the other night. The Springfield Control Board consists of Chairman Alan LeBovidge, Jake Jacobson, a turnaround specialist, former deputy state treasurer Thomas H. Trimarco, Mayor Ryan and City Council President Dom Sarno. LeBovidge works for Romney and is serving on the Control Board free of charge. Four new members have been nominated for the Springfield Historical Commission: Robert S. McCarroll, Ralph Slate, Maria Acuna and Joseph Divenuto.

Charlie Ryan says an elderly couple who wishes to remain anonymous has given the city a check for a thousand dollars to help with the fiscal crisis. I seldom give people money because they spend it so foolishly. Springfield has spent so foolishly that I would never give it a dime, although I always pay my taxes six months early.

A judge once dismissed me from jury duty because I complained I could not hear and he said he didn't want me to be embarrassed. I replied, "Your Honor, I am seldom embarrassed, but I frequently embarrass others."

I looked up Charles Kingston in the 1970 City Directory and he is listed as an adjuster for Allstate Insurance. In the 1986 directory he is listed as self-employed working out of 95 State Street. His father State Rep. William Kingston served on the Mass Banking and Insurance Commission.

M. Bewsee and Tory Field of ARISE are in trouble for running an unauthorized needle exchange program out of their Rifle Street headquarters.

This evening on TV40 Beth Ward said good-bye, she is starting a public relations business with her husband Mark. She's been with Channel 40 for eight years. Listing of shows at First Church's "Music at First" is out and I called to find out about the organ playing. The lady said I would have to ask organist Paige. I told her the last time I sent him a letter he got mad and didn't answer. She replied, "as one that's leaving the church I'm not surprised." Interesting.

There has been a change at the Springfield Newspapers. Larry McDermott has taken over and is improving things without admitting how dreadful they were under the iron thumb of David Starr. He has not taken responsibility for his own go-along to get-along yes-man behavior during the Starr regime. The appropriate response to the "new" Springfield Newspapers under McDermott is, "Where have you been?"

Driving down Boston Road I saw that the Scantic Valley Y was open and offering tours, so I pulled into their freshly paved parking lot. Free apples in a basket inside the door. An exercise room with maybe 100 machines in it, pool is unfinished. Out at 2:15.

Visited Irving Cohn and gave him Terry Eagleton's book on James Joyce to help give him the conceptual framework for reading Ulysses.

All the wrong people have received Pynchon Medals, such as windbag Garvey, arrogant Starr, pliable Gagnon, etc.

The Springfield Civic Center has never been profitable, and the thrust for its expansion has come from the hotel interests. So sell the Civic Center to them and let them pay operating costs. Symphony Hall should never been given that name. It should return to its original name of Municipal Auditorium since it serves, now as always, many non-symphonic functions.

Springfield is roughly $22 million in the hole. We should bill the Democratic City Committee for $22 million since we got in the hole under Democrat Party leadership. The Mass Mutual Report lists 195 ways to improve how the city operates. Some years ago former Mayor Albano put together a "Renaissance Group" of which I was made a member (definitely not to the delight of all, especially Peter Picknelly) to come up with ideas for reviving Springfield. I prepared a 123 page report of how to do things better in Springfield. Attorney Eugene Berman was the Renaissance Group secretary and may still have a copy. He was just the person to collect information about a morally and financially bankrupt city since he is a bankruptcy counsel.

September 25, 2004

Lovely, sunny, mild, color is early this year. Cumberland Farms opposite Liberty Church is $1.77 per gallon.

Lawyers are seekers after truth.

I plan to see the film Motorcycle Diaries, an account of Che Guevara's ride across South America with a friend who radicalized him. The have-nots see what the haves have, they want theirs and it radicalizes them, as it should.

Did the dishes, going to paint the hatchway lid tomorrow. Deezer Sullivan's house is rumored to be so packed with stuff that you almost have to tunnel your way through it. Jim Landers makes lots of apple pies this time of year. His son Sean is thinking of coming home from California, he finds the people out there too phony.

Quick Stop Variety is the name of the convenience store at the corner of Carew and Newbury that closed. A truck with a big plastic tank on the back was re-filling with water from a fire plug in front of the old A&P on Boston Road, now Hampden Dodge. Lions Club having their fall festival on the triangle in front of Foster Memorial.

Joe Carvalho was elected to a three year term with the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. He also serves on the board of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce. Karen Powell has a job in the office at Talmadge School, where Bruce Fitzgerald's brother is principal. Hired about a month ago, she works three days a week but complains they give her "nothing to do." Eamon says the Ryan Administration is "loaded with lesbians" planted by Cheryl Rivera, with suspicions focused on Mary T. and Mary Elizabeth Beach. In the gay community we have a saying, "We can tell our own."

A. Pepe and her husband have gone to their hideaway in Vermont for the weekend. The School Committee Executive session was very heated the other night, Mayor Ryan said he never wants to go to another one again. Beth Ward of TV40 was supposedly forming a consulting firm with her husband, but suddenly she is being hired by the School Department as a Communications Consultant for $40,000. Pepe asked why the job wasn't advertised and Burke replied that she was being hired with "private funds."

I was brought up in the Wesley Methodist Church in Springfield, a magnificent Queen Anne style Akron Methodist Church on State Street financed by Milton Bradley the lithographer, dealer in school supplies and manufacturer of children's games. Our minister always wore a Masonic button on his lapel and each year we had a Masonic Sunday at which all the Masons wore their aprons and sat together and the sermon had a Masonic theme. My father worked for the Masonic-founded Monarch Life Insurance Company.

We had a distinguished, polished African-American City Councilor Paul Mason and I proposed we get his son to join. "Would you want your sister to dance with one?" snarled our advisor who was in the roofing business. I have always regretted that I didn't have the wits to say "I dance with them all the time and sometimes I even sleep with them," but I was young.

After I went away to college increasing numbers of black people started attending Wesley and the white people deserted. Then a fire broke out in the organ and smoked the place up, and the new congregation opted to build an ugly modernistic building to replace it. I took over 150 photos of the demolition of Wesley Church and of the darkened inside. I was even there when an immense tractor trailer backed in and loaded on the ornamental glass windows and golden oak pews to be carried away, they said, to Seattle for installation in a pizza parlor.

September 26, 2004

I am a gypsy scholar and everything I do is unconventional.

The seven deadly sins are Pride, Ire, Avarice, Gluttony, Sloth and Lechery. I may not be as bad as some people think I am, but then again I may be worse.

I call myself a conservative but most people think of me as a radical. The Free Speech Movement at Berkeley was not a call for radical restructuring but for the implementation of our nation's founding principles, so the Free Speech people were strict constructionists promoting Jeffersonian democracy.

I am considering putting money in a Testamentary Residuary Fund which would be directed by my will to be used for flowers at the Hillcrest Cemetery Mauseleum where I will be interred and for an annual block party at the Blanche and John's Fernbank I am donating to Wilbraham.

Mary Alice Stusick erected a short, squatty Polish obelisk out in Indian Orchard in honor of her father the beloved physician. She died of cancer a year ago and I bought the Stusick family memorabilia and published postcards in their memory. Mark Mason of Cooley, Shrair, P.C. in Springfield has been elected Vice-president of the Massachusetts Bar Association. Bob Collamore, son of Leonard, is running for State Representative again.

The Route Nine Collective at 68 Russell Street, Hadley is seeking housemates. They describe themselves as "community and coalition builders, educators, organizers, housing rights advocates, farmers, health care workers, students, musicians, dissenters, artists, culinary experimenters, amateur accordion players and whistlers." $500 per month.

Attendance at the Quadrangle museums is up 16%. The new $1.9 million mausoleum at St. Michael's Cemetery will be officially open this week. Amherst punk band Ampere Wasteland is playing the Flywheel in Easthampton.

Went to Amherst where the parking lot at Atkin's Farm was filled, with many also parking in the road on both sides. Saw signs for Jeanne Traester for State Rep. along the way. I got a parking spot by the town common and gathered about 25 posters in downtown Amherst. The Amherst Art Show was in progress with People's Bank blue canopies over each booth, but I didn't mess with the artists. I drove up to the University but the parking at Haigis Mall was all full so I went to South Hadley and bought a few things at Odyssey Bookshop, then headed home.

Mayor Ryan is insisting that Peter L. Picknelly pay the $700,000 interest on back taxes owed on the Court Square building on Elm Street he purchased in 2000 to turn into a hotel. Picknelly says he does not intend to move forward on the project unless the debt is forgiven.

Caffeine's downtown is being sold, according to lawyer Frank A. Caruso. Special tax breaks for politically connected businesses granted by Albano era hacks Matthew E. Donnellan and Donna Williams may have been illegal. Selective tax breaks are fraught with potential for abuse, and among the recipients were James M. Santaniello of the Mardi Gras and Felix Tranghese of Mulino's Restaurant.

Ten people have been indicted for land-flipping real estate scams including Albert V. Innarelli of Agawam, Michael Bergdoll of Wilbraham, and Pasquale A. Romeo of Springfield. Real estate brokers bought cheap and sold high, often on the same day. Victims were often people in the poorest neighborhoods.

September 28, 2004

66 degrees, deeply overcast in the morning, then rained all day. Gas is 1.91 at Pride.

I am well aware of how fragile my diaries are.

The first Tonight Show host was Steve Allen, then Jack Parr, then Johnny Carson and presently Jay Leno. WFSB has just broken ground in downtown Hartford for a new broadcast tower which is slated to be completed by their 50th anniversary in 2007. Immaculate Conception Church in Holyoke needs $3 million in repairs.

Called the Mayor's Office and got his aide Claudio and told him to congratulate Ryan for me for standing up to Peter Picknelly and urged him to protest the sweetheart job for Beth Ward. Also called the School Department and complained to Tina about the Ward deal. Restaurant owner John Bonavita was on TV22 speaking in favor of the city helping Picknelly out on his Court Square building taxes. Picknelly himself came on saying that what Ryan is doing is "just unfair" and that he is "deeply hurt." Downtown is largely dead, the entertainment district is sleazy, bottom line: The Court Square building tax break was a sweetheart deal handed to Picknelly by Albano.

At Commerce teachers Tsai and Rice are looking into how student activity funds are being spent. Eamon has been playing "Bring in the Clowns" as the intro to the political message on his answering machine. Eamon told me that he told Jim Landers four years ago that he bet Bishop Dupre was involved in the church sex scandal and now he has been indicted, although District Attorney Bennett says he can't try the case because the statute of limitations has run out. Eamon described Bennett as being "AWOL on political corruption and white collar crime."

Eamon said that Tommy O'Connor spent $75,000 to get elected mayor. Paul Caron spent $150,000 in his mayoral bid, which is about average. But Mike Albano claims he spent $600,000 to defeat Caron, a suspiciously high figure. Eamon wonders whether Albano was using his campaign to launder dirty money. He bases that speculation on a conversation he had with Ed Murphy, brother of CPA Dan Murphy. Eamon stopped by Russell's on Boston Road and the lady who runs it told him that "business is awful."

September 30, 2004

63 degrees, raining this morning. Boy, did September fly by!

Jim Lehrer was the moderator of the Presidential Debate last night. Kerry did good and Bush didn't make an ass of himself so the media is saying it was a tie.

I bought a can of Libby's Luncheon Meat and the can was terribly hard to open. I like the product itself although it is rather fatty. I always scrape some of the fat off before eating. The product is okay but the cans are a problem.

Christine Robinson of South Hadley is the Happy Face Painter for children's parties. Suzanne Strempek Shea will be speaking at the Westfield Athenaeum about her book Shelf Life. Women in Black is a group of women who gather in downtown Amherst every Friday all dressed in black and carrying anti-war signs.

Big Y now urges you to enroll in their supplies for schools program. You accumulate points by saving the register tapes and the school of your choice gets supplies from Big Y. What are the tax consequences of this? Do I get to deduct the value of the gift or does Big Y? I have not enrolled.

Hampden County has the highest percentage of Hispanics in Massachusetts, even more than Boston. The Springfield Newspapers have a daily circulation of around 95,000 and 140,000 on Sundays.

Mory's Pub over in the 1060 Wilbraham Road strip mall is all boarded up with an eviction notice dated September 2nd. All that's left is the barber shop, the salon Beauty and the Beach and the Greek restaurant Mylanos III. Frank's Nurseries are liquidating. I liked the one they had on Boston Road where the Salvation Army is now.

Drove through St. Michael's Cemetery past the mausoleum dedication. There were maybe 50 cars parked around but the ceremony was inside. I didn't go in. I stopped at Harris Plaza and got donuts at Freihofer's.

Mayor Ryan has announced that Blue Cross is costing the city too much money and are switching to Cigna. I smell a connection to Mass Mutual. James Santaniello of Longmeadow, owner of the Mardi Gras strip club in Springfield, has paid $402,910 in back taxes never collected by Albano.

The new courthouse in Springfield is supposedly needed because a study conducted after the Oklahoma City bombing determined that the Springfield courthouse is vulnerable to attack. But I find it interesting that a name was never put on the current Springfield courthouse. Could it be that they built the current one so that Congressman Boland and friends could make some money short term with a view to another courthouse in the near future?


October 2004

October 3, 2004

55 degrees, sun and clouds. Gas at Pride at 1225 Parker Street is $1.87.

Our politicians are overconfident.

I saw a white truck with "Bush is a War Criminal" painted in big black letters on it. Paul Swenxon is heading a staff of five Gov. Romney is sending to open a Massachusetts trade office in Shanghai. Good for Romney on that one. Watershops Pond is positively green. A fire at Laughing Brook completely destroyed a building but the Thornton Burgess house was not harmed. Hampden County D.A. William Bennett is the latest to sell their home in Springfield and move to Longmeadow. Wayne A. Budd says he will not run for U.S. Senate if John Kerry wins the presidency.

Got my first Iowa and Florida quarters today. Dean Florian, President of the Insurance Center of New England is quoted in BusinessWest, "When you take the best possible care of your customers, you take the best possible care of your business."

Pomeroy Commons is the name of a wonderful building directly across from Valero in Amherst. It is a pillared two level reproduction of a 19th century roadhouse/inn.

Boston Road Bernie's is now open, man said they opened September 22nd. People's Savings Bank branches are always in good neighborhoods, never where the troublesome clients live. Fettes Liquor Store across from the old Westinghouse is all boarded up. Big brown house on the corner of Mass. Avenue being demolished.

Donald A. MacIntosh, a bagpipe player from East Longmeadow, has died at 84. On October 3, 1979 a tornado destroyed many planes at the New England Air Museum down near Bradley airport.

Went downtown at 11:42 and saw Ed Lonergan with a backback walking down State Street toward the library where I suppose he was working today. Business Improvement District worker in uniform sweeping sidewalk at corner of Taylor and Main. Three cars parked in the Sullivan Visitor Info Center and a white Appleton Security car driving around.

Charges dropped against Michaelann Bewsee and Tory Field of ARISE for running an illegal needle exchange program provided they discontinue it. Wilfred Valliere of Springfield has a letter in the paper highly critical of Peter Picknelly for the "sweetheart deals" he's gotten from the city over the years.

Delivered to Rosemary Shea in the Superintendent's office a copy of the letter I sent to Mayor Ryan critical of Beth Ward. When she left TV40 she said she was leaving to form a public relations company with her husband and now she's been hired as a communications consultant in our already top-heavy education bureaucracy despite a hiring freeze that's supposed to be in effect. Also Antonette Pepe says Joe Burke didn't tell the school board about it when they were in executive session. Tom Ashe became so angry at Pepe at the meeting that curse words were used. Eventually Mayor Ryan walked out in disgust and the meeting ended.

Talked to Nader the Hatter who says he calls Eamon but Eamon doesn't call him back. I said I'm going to try to get us all together for lunch next month when Nader comes up from Florida. Eamon says a Homer Street School teacher rented out two 9 X 15 feet storage bins and filled them with stolen books, paper, electronic equipment and computers. He says this is only the tip of the iceberg, no one knows how much is going out the back door by teachers, principals, students and custodians.

Today is my 63rd birthday. When I was downtown I bought myself some postcards as a present.

October 6, 2004

Misty morning at 7:42. Gas $1.97 at Breckwood Shell.

"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." - Dr. Steve Sobel.

Peter Picknelly of Peter Pan bus company has died of an apparent heart attack while on vacation in Europe. Will have more to say later.

John Kerry says Bush has a secret troop call-up plan for after the election. Boston University students are founding a porn magazine with real student flesh called OINK. Harvard students have lately established an artistic porn mag called H-Bomb.

Mary Ellen Scott is the President of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield.

A memorial gathering is being held at the courthouse to honor former Mayor and Judge Frank H. Freedman who died in August. Chuck Heimann was my newspaper carrier for a number of years before I canceled and it is nice to see he has been named Carrier of the Month. There was a Dad and his kid delivering Reminders from a cart. When they got to my house there were no papers left but I said not to worry, I'll pick one up someplace. I told them I had a Shopping News route when I was a kid.

The State Treasurer's Abandoned Property List appeared in the paper and I noticed my name. So I called and spoke to someone named Emily and it turns out I have $550 coming from an old account. She will send forms.

New season of Watercooler begins tonight with regulars Fred Hurst, Paul Robbins and Chris Collins. Roy Scott and a wine expert are on tomorrow. Pellegrini & Seeley have a TV commercial showing a white colonial house in the middle of the screen and an ambulance comes screaming by. Then about 30 lawyers come chasing after it, men and women, all in business suits, some with briefcases. A voice asks, "Looking for a lawyer that doesn't run with the pack?" The Valley Advocate also has a new ad on TV40 about "the news no one else will print plus the most comprehensive listings of concerts, restaurants, movies and more." Attorney Patricia A. Barbalunga has an ad in the paper today.

The new Bishop will re-open the St. Francis Chapel downtown next month, and upstairs they'll have Catholic Charities and Latino ministries. I hope they bring back the first of the year talk by the Bishop in the basement.

Called Stanton Auction and was amazed to learn I got just what I wanted, the huge cloisonne urn. I think it was used as an umbrella stand in some office. I told them I would use it as a cremation urn for myself and my ego. Also bought some Teddy Roosevelt postcards for $80.

Eamon and Jim Landers were here. Landers gave me three ripening tomatoes. Walked them around here, to Nichol's place and then to see Colleen. Landers is a chain smoker and lit up whenever we were outside. When they left I gave both of them a bottle of Bristol Creme.

Went downtown to the Community Foundation Investment Forum in Tower Square. They handle some of my charitable donations. On the way there I noticed that the brown house at the corner of Mass. Ave and Wilbraham Road is all torn down. Jack Hess said it belonged to AIC and most of those two family houses along Wilbraham Road were built to house workers for the Van Norman factory. The antique shop on Boland Way, previously a liquor store, is now an empty space.

Went up to the 23rd floor sporting my scalped 16 Acres Barbershop haircut, black jeans, purple shirt, lumberjack boots, black fleece, locked dog collar and biker jacket with buttons. No difficulty with anyone. When I first arrived I presented myself to Jessica the receptionist and was seated next to a distinguished woman in brown. She turned out to be Eleanor B. Rothman, Director of Smith's Comstock program. It turns out that lots of key people in the foundation are Smithies. Only 32 guests besides myself, no blacks. Food was appropriate, assorted drinks, mini-muffins and generously proportioned danish. Not many people eating but I did because I go to these things partly for the free meal. They passed out a program that had numerous errors involving hyphens and apostrophes. Speakers Michael J. Riley and Kent W. Faerber have fine public speaking skills and I had no trouble hearing them. However Tim Dempsey and Ralph Tate were barely audible.

October 10, 2004

Life is just a bowl of research opportunities.

Last night was the Vice-Presidential debate. I think Dick Cheney is a liar and a very dangerous man. John Edwards is articulate, youthful, intelligent and foreward thinking. Considering local politicians, Sen. Brian Lees does a fine job, ex-Rep Iris Holland did good work, and Mitt Romney is doing a great job. Three fine Republicans.

President Caprio of WNEC and I have been polite to each other, I gave him one of Beaumont Herman's books. I think he is doing a splendid job, indeed I feel Kalodner was a fine Dean and Donald Dunn at the library was super. A certain professor of law and education who bragged endlessly about all the advice he had given Kalodner was not.

M. Bewsee was on WFCR this morning talking about affordable housing. Article in the paper about Elaine Lavoie, one of my oldest tagsale friends. She wants to come to the Fernbank dedication in Wilbraham and is on the list. Good Polish person.

The worse the City Library gets the less reason I have to go there, even to snoop. Last week they were throwing away some old New Yorkers, which I took and later split between Mrs. Staniski, the 92 year old best friend of my late Mother, and the similarly aged Mr. Cohn down the street.

David Starr has not been good for Springfield. Old Bill Putnam once editorialized that if they sold any more out of the George Smith Museum at the Quadrangle there would be nothing left to see. What happened to that money?

I went to the 16 Acres Library for the dedication of a bench in honor of Constance Bynum. It is a lovely all metal long bench that has a plaque on it reading, "Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often." The librarians had arranged a number of chairs in a circle and invited people to sit, but I stood at the back because I wanted to be at the edge of things.

There were 38 people present, 27 were women and one was black. Councilor J. Tosado was there, and Mrs. Durham Caldwell in sandals with navy blue socks. Helen Boyle of the Library Committee was there. I spoke to her and noted that it's too bad the wooden benches at the Quadrangle are not as nice as the one being dedicated to Connie. To get rid of me she invited me to step into the Community Room for refreshments. All they had was a gallon of cider and a single box of Dunkin Donut's Muchkins. I ate nothing and departed to Hillcrest Cemetery, where I took some sunny fall foliage photos.

Announcement of Beth Ward's hiring by the School Department is in the paper. Antonette Pepe and Tim Collins of the teacher's union are objecting. Fyntrilakis supports Ward's hiring, and despite anyone's objections she is starting the job next week. Too many of our ex-TV personalities end up with wimpy PR jobs, the really good ones though migrate to Hartford, Albany or New York.

On TV they had a tacky program called "A Second Look: The Fabulous Fifties" with host Lynn Roginski. Lots of vintage home movies, way too much rock n' roll, dancing, dating and kid stuff. Ruth Loving talked about being a waitress at Forbes & Wallace for ten years. Mike Wallace showed off his vintage cars. Peter Picknelly posed with a bus and Kitty Broman spoke. Fran Gagnon was shown posing with a one-story slab house and describing it as characteristic of 16 Acres. Gagnon included her High School picture noting that she majored in bookkeeping and had a "personality full of rascality." Said she dipped a skirt in sugar water once to make it stay fluffed out and it melted all over her. Mentioned the opening of the Springfield Plaza and described the 50's in general as a "wonderful, euphoric state of mind."

Former State Rep. Soco Catjakis had his home raided by the FBI yesterday. Catjakis was on the Board of Directors of the scandal plagued Springfield Housing Authority. Albano gave Catjakis about $130,000 in no-bid consulting contracts. Neither 22 nor 40 were on hand for the raid.

Crooked accountant and AIC professor Salvatore Anzalotti Jr. is selling his black Mercedes S430 for $39,500. The big article recently about hundreds of illegal tax breaks being given to politically connected people in Springfield (like James M. Santaniello, Joseph Pellegrino, Felix Tranghese and Thomas Valentine) mentions nothing about Mass Mutual, which over the years has received the biggest tax breaks of all. Charlie Ryan has been a legal counsel to them and it is highly likely that Ryan put together aspects of these special arrangements involving Mass Mutual. If so, the Control Board and public deserve to know this. I am a Ryan supporter but I certainly hope the FBI has debriefed him about his doubtless extensive knowledge of local crooks and shady types. Compared to them, a bunch of pot smoking hippies are rather pristine and refreshing.

Regarding the recent death of Peter Picknelly, I sent a letter to him on September 29th, less than a week before his death, with postal receipt so I know he got it. Maybe they faxed it to him on vacation and he died reading it:

My Dear Peter Picknelly:

All the publicity you've been getting lately is a reminder that we should straighten out our relationship. You think of yourself as a philanthropist. I too am extremely talented and practically everything I do is a gift to somebody. I believe it was I who told you that you were in Forbes Magazine, for which I expected nothing but a thank you note.

Today it is impossible to deny that from the Roman clergy on down Springfield is one of the dirtiest little cities in America. Of course I opposed the casino. But out of a sense of fair-mindedness when Carlo Marchetti gave me an anti-casino button I brought it up to your secretary's desk and left it there. Is that the reason you don't like me? Your security people have harassed me ever since.

At the time of the casino matter I once asked one of your employees what he thought of you and he replied, "If you ask him a question you'll get a straight answer." Yet you never told me not to come to your office before you started chasing me away. You should not assume that you are not suspected of various things which cannot be proved. Why haven't you opened the observation deck at the top of Monarch Tower? Are you afraid people will see you chasing your secretary around the desk? The day Mike Albano announced his candidacy for mayor in the City Council Chamber, you were seen peeking in from the Council office door. By what right were you in there?

I have as a kindness passed various bits of information to you, and always kept a record just as you had a record of Fred Whitney's use of your buses. My appraisal of you is that you have tried to do some good while also benefiting yourself, but don't frown on me, I haven't done anything to hurt you. To the extent that you and your buddies are up to things you shouldn't be, I hope you get caught red-handed, and take your fusty old building and chuck it.

Best to you,

J. Wesley Miller.

How Peter Picknelly would have responded to this letter is something that death has robbed me of ever knowing.

October 12, 2004

Sunny and 53 degrees. Gas $1.93 at Pride and Mobil in the Acres.

Guys are not re-enlisting in the National Guard here in Massachusetts because they figure a ticket to Iraq is inevitable if they do. I think Osama bin Ladin is probably dead; he had medical problems.

Political correspondent David Broder will be speaking Nov. 16 as part of the Springfield Public Forum. Joe Napolitan will be addressing the Valley Press Club at the Fort Restaurant next month. He was on the campaign staffs of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Hubert Humphrey. Susan Strempek Shea has started selling her own jewelry, she is quite a self-promoter.

Paul Murray called and thanked me for the Indian Motocycle catalog. I told him about the weeding of the City Library and about the Westfield bookspill at Pioneer Auction. Murray says the book fair has been canceled for this fall. Only about 20 dealers were interested even though they had everything all lined up at STCC. Not enough trade, so we'll see no more book fairs in Springfield.

Landers is off to New Hampshire and he called Eamon to ask him to put out his trash because his wife doesn't get up early enough to put the trash out. Eamon agreed but was taken aback, he wouldn't think of asking anyone to put his trash out. Eamon says Mass Mutual was giving cash to politicians under the table going back to at least Charlie Ryan's first time as mayor back in the 60's. Eamon says he saw old man Ravosa on TV talking about Picknelly and he "doesn't look well."

Drove downtown at 9:25. There is now a Valero sign over the block along J.J. Liquors on State Street. At Mason Square about twenty youthful workers in orange tops were cleaning up the weeds growing out of the cracks along the center strip. Not by pulling the weeds out but by cutting them off with icescrapers! No extraction. There's also a large weed growing of the old Winchester Square firehouse chimney!

Byron's old funeral home lot (the Mcknight mansion) is grown up to weeds and looks awful. Left stuff for Mayor Ryan in his outer office and then left material for the City Council in their office. Grabbed two interesting posters in City Hall, one for an upcoming ARISE rally and another for the Farmer's Market at the X. Came through Tower Square and visited the new offices of Junior Achievement on the mezzanine. Commented on their painting of Horace Moses under glass (just a print deVillier said) and I told of the painting at Trinity which he didn't know about. Dropped off some stuff for Russell Denver and then back to the car at 11:06.

I was typing my diary at 3:20 when my neighbor Colleen Meade Moynihan came by with a lovely bouquet of orange lilies which I placed in a cut glass pitcher. We sat in the breezeway and talked a bit, she said she is not related to the Moynihan Jewelers of Ingleside, the one's who got the big SBA loan. She told me that Barry Gotterer is a "street smart opportunist" who worked as a writer for Sports Illustrated before being hired by Mass Mutual as a lobbyist. That's probably his link to Charlie Kingston, who was a basketball player and all around jock.

I showed her the mountain of Stusick family archives I've been working on spread all over the dining room table. Colleen thinks the collection is especially interesting because it's Polish and because it develops a series of inter-familial relations. We ate some fancy cookies and eclairs and then we had some sherry. When leaving Colleen insisted on hugging me on her way out the door as she always does.

October 13, 2004

53 degrees, maple tree looking wonderful but leaves are not falling.

I see that Holyoke's First Baptist Church, a little brick building on Route 5, has a banner up that they are celebrating their 200th birthday this year.

Jacques deVillier called and wanted to know how to see the painting at Trinity Church. I said go there anytime there's a tag sale. He also said he picked up a copy of Moses' book "Achievement is My Goal" on the internet for $15.

Lewis & Clark is no longer carrying the Valley Advocate and when I asked Tom the manager why he said they "make a mess" and besides their shelving now "belongs to" the Springfield Newspapers. Got my Advocate at the Pride station and thanked them for carrying it.

Today I attended the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts 2004 Annual Meeting and Luncheon. On the way there I stopped at the FBI office at 155 Brookdale to drop off some info. I noticed that there were a lot more cars in the parking lot than the last two times I dropped stuff off there. A toughguy in his thirties was coming out the door when I arrived and I handed my papers over to a blonde woman, said best wishes and departed. Passing the newspaper building I saw Wayne Phaneuf and three women standing outside.

Got on the interstate from the Liberty Heights ramp and arrived at the Log Cabin at 11:36. So as not to be too early I read the paper in the car before going in. I was attired in black sneakers, black jeans, black fleece, motorcycle jacket with buttons but no boots, hat or doggie collar. As I went in there was a band playing right by the door supplied by the Berkshire Hills Music Academy. There was a table set up by Fleet Bank that had a pile of cute little silver binoculars on them. Were they freebies or door prizes? I permitted my larcenous nature to prevail and just took one. As a Fleet Bank stockholder I guess I was as deserving of them as anyone.

I was seated at table 32 facing the stage and Roy Scott of 57 came along and though we knew each other from way back in the days of Heritage Bank, this was the first time we had a substantial conversation. He mentioned that he had recently returned from Madison, Wisconsin so I told him about the famous poster collection I assembled there. At table 17 Bill Putnam was seated with a shrunken looking Kitty Broman. Joining them shortly was David Starr and Carol A. Leary, whose hair seems a tad darker than formerly. Roy Scott was seated with Russ Peotter. Rev. Talbert Swan came by and I congratulated him on his book.

Seating themselves at my table were three Western New England College people, Beverly Dwight of Alumni relations, Assistant Dean Keith McKittrick and David M. Sterling, Director of Advancement, who wore a big gold WNEC button on his tan suit. I can only wonder what they thought about sitting next to a bum in a motorcycle jacket festooned with radical buttons! Actually McKittrick knew who I was and said he had heard from Donald Dunn that I have a rare law book collection worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. I told them about the No Trespassing letter I received from former WNEC President Beverly Miller, assuring them there was no relation, of course.

We were served angel hair pasta with two rare slices of roast beef, a medley of broccoli carrots and cauliflower, and a fruit cup. I emptied mine and then drank the liquid out of the bottom, so much for table manners. We had forest green fabric napkins. For dessert we had cheesecake with strawberry topping.

At one o' clock the program commenced. Outgoing chair Robert S. Carroll was honored and Kent W. Faerber gave the annual report. Fleet Bank was honored for giving $700,000. I thought the program was of just the right length and was back in the car at 1:41.

Watercooler came on at 7:30pm with guests Chris Collins of WHMP and Paul Robbins, both of whom have been on too often. There was also a woman guest whose name I didn't get because Belle-Rita Novak called while she was being introduced. Belle-Rita said she is coming down to First Church for the concert Sunday and we'll see about going out to eat "maybe." She has been doing a lot of work clearing out her mother's house in Longmeadow. On TV at 8 Superintendent Joseph Burke was reciting a litany of problems in the school department which only repeated what Eamon has been saying for years. Burke is posing as a leader when in fact he has failed to lead and is an old buddy of Peter Negroni. Burke's job application letter was all about a "culture of learning" but now he wants to focus on character development. What would show character is if he had the guts to tell the world as Ryan and Markel and Eamon have that David Starr and his paper have been bad for Springfield.

October 14, 2004

My Dear Roy Scott,

Many years ago the Valley Advocate said you are "a good egg" and that was a good assessment. In a world generously populated with dunces, clowns and pompous jackasses, you are a cordial, jolly, affable soul and when you slip are willing to laugh at yourself.

I am one of those who are critical of various things and even on some blacklists (David Starr's I imagine) and because we are people of more intelligence and stature than the people who have gone along to get along, we decline to measure things like the bigshots: What's in it fer me?

Enclosed is a pile of my stuff. I enclose two of my articles critical of the Quadrangle while on Starr's watch. I have written half a dozen critical articles on the Quadrangle, I just don't get puffed up in the media the way Francis Gagnon does.

Lately I have invested a substantial sum in obtaining the family memorabilia of Dr. Stanley and Alice Mikus Stusick after the last of them, Mary Alice, died off last fall. The Stusicks had many wonderful talents but were best known in one branch for being a harp trio while the aunt Irene Mikus ran the local (nationally noted) Bellringer group.

If you'd like to see more of my stuff sometime, you are hereby issued a standing invitation which means that it won't be repeated and it is for no specific date. I suspend entertaining with the first snowfall or Thanksgiving and I don't resume until 16 April. If you ever decide to come let me know and you will bring a pie and I will pour Bristol Creme.

Best wishes,

J. Wesley Miller

October 17, 2004

Heavily overcast, full color and leaves are falling.

The New York Times and the Boston Globe have endorsed John Kerry for President. Republican George Vasquez is running for State Representative against Cheryl Rivera.

Came across a postcard of the wax museum in Montreal which reminded me that when I was a kid my parents took me to Montreal on a bus tour that took us into Notre Dame and around the hill and one of the places we stopped was the wax museum.

Big demonstration against the Control Board and cutting salaries last night outside City Hall. I didn't go.

Eamon called complaining that Mayor Ryan has failed to remove a single department head for lack of progress or non-performance, even though he made a big deal of the Mass Mutual study which laid open all sorts of things that need fixing. Eamon told me that he tried to open up a line of communication with Peter Pickelly by sending him a couple of letters praising him as a man of vision, but never received a reply. Eamon then recalled how City Councilor Vinnie Dimonaco once spent half an hour listening to Superintendent Negroni and then interrupted him by shouting, "Dr. Negroni, you're full of shit!"

Where Angelo's used to be in Pine Point are signs up for an Apple Tree Market. Looks Oriental. Drove through St. Michael's and past Peter Picknelly's grave and there is a large floral wreath on the cross. The ground on the right of the cross is disturbed so that is where he must be buried.

Into the Connecticut Valley History Museum where Robert W. Moore told me that he used to be some kind of building operations manager at Monarch Place. Says he graduated from Cathedral in 1962 and worked for Monarch for 25 years. I also delivered some post-1950 Giroux stuff to Margaret Humbertson. I asked Humbertson to pull the clipping file on Fran Gagnon but not much in it. I told her I was thinking of doing a bibliography of Gagnon pictures in print. In the old days the papers were clipped daily, but I guess that's no longer the case because recent Gagnon articles were missing. Stopped at the City Library but just fiction on the discard shelf.

Then I went to see Leonard Solomon at the "Music at First" concert at First Church with Belle Rita Novak. I parked in front of Symphony Hall and Belle Rita came along and we sat on the left-hand side of the central aisle. The music was super as expected. Afterward Belle-Rita didn't want to go to dinner because she is on a Weight Watcher's program. She said it has been quite a chore cleaning out her mother's house but she wants to put it up for sale. Said her mother saved everything, even plastic lids (just like my mother) and the cellar was packed with junk. She said she just threw it all away.

Today at the Stop & Shop gas station the price is presently $1.94 per gallon. Inside the store I tried to get a flu shot but it was mobbed. I asked the drug store guy, "I'm 63, can I get a free shot?" He replied, "Not if you tell the truth about your age." I gave up and selected two bundles of leaf bags at $2.39 each and then was charged $2.69. I screamed and they gave me $3 to leave. There ought to be life after death so they can send everybody to hell.

October 20, 2004

Sun out at ten. Amy Carter is 37.

Fidel Castro has outlasted nine U.S. presidents. Strathmore Mill in Montague is for sale. Last night the longest baseball game in history won by the Red Sox, five hours and 49 minutes.

A Second Look hosted by Lynn Roginski tonight was about "Polish Life in Our Valley." Dull Watercooler had Chris Collins, Fred Hurst and Meagan Wilden talking about flu vaccine.

Still no Advocates at Lewis & Clark. At Big Y exchanged felicitations with good old Mr. McDonald, formerly of the Telephone Worker's Credit Union. Went to have my car serviced at Lincoln-Mercury, adjusting the coolant system, new wiper blades and air filter, all for $70. While I waited there was no morning paper and no one turned on the TV. However a big pile of Pennysavers had arrived in a plastic bag and I read one of them. Next I went downtown where I left off some stuff for Phil Puccia at the Little State House. On my way home I noticed that the Citgo at 1280 Parker Street was boarded up and so I pulled in. Big sign on the db mart convenience store said, "Store Closed." I went next door to the Land, Sea and Air Hobbies and the jovial manager said it was boarded up last Tuesday but there had been rumblings of it closing for some time.

Colleen says she's not getting a flu shot this year, Jack Hess says he's never had one. A.L. Cignoli called here looking for Paul Caron, very polite and apologetic about dialing the wrong number.

Eamon forgot to bring out Lander's trash for him the other morning. The cinema at Liberty Mall (Springfield Plaza) has little business, Eamon says there are rumors it will close just like the one opposite Duggan on Wilbraham Road. It seem the Eastfield Mall Cinema is doing okay. Eamon said that Councilor Kateri Walsh had a minor accident and so couldn't show up to support Bud Williams to pass needle exchange. Eamon says there's no question that Charlie Ryan wanted to be mayor for the second time but it's quite apparent that he has no strategy for solving the city's financial problems. Ryan says he's having a great time and if that's true then he doesn't know what the hell is going on.

Nader the Hatter called and said his brother's girlfriend has two kids in Commerce and the younger is in the International Baccalaureate Program. She complains that nobody can read and they're giving her nothing to do, no challenge. She was teamed with a boy to do a project and she did all the work, he did nothing, but he got an A the same as her because they were teamed. She said the advanced classes are filled with kids who flunked the courses the year before!

October 22, 2004

48 degrees, beautiful day. Leaves are coming down, they drip and trickle but do not pour.

Went to Whately and arrived at 10:48. The Antiquarian Book Center is now somewhat gussied up. The toilet works again, the entranceway is empty of books and they have a table inviting people to take from a bag of nice juicy apples. Down cellar is a new section of hand made wooden shelving. Eugene and Barbara were both there but she got away before I could get them both in a picture. Took two shots of Eugene behind the counter before I left after buying a book on John Boyle O'Reilly for $30 for Eamon. Brought it over to his house but he wasn't home so I left it by the door.

Later on the phone Eamon said he was home but I didn't knock loud enough. Eamon had to pick up Jim Landers at STCC because Landers' car is being checked out by Teta's Garage, where they do Rolls Royces, Jaguar's, everything. Landers told Eamon that the Dean at STCC, William Mansi, is a real jerk who used to be a football player at AIC and a pet of former STCC President Garvey. Eamon also joked that he'd like to print a postcard promoting Bondi's Island sewage plant as a tourist attraction.

Called Leonard Collamore today, who was a former politician and the acting president of STCC for a while. His wife answered and said he was at STCC teaching. I identified myself and asked if he was still collecting material related to Christopher Columbus. "Not really," she said, but when I said I have some items he may be interested in she became eager to take my name and number. She said she'd have him call me back but he did not. I've always suspected that when he said years ago that he had such a collection it was just to get Italian votes because nothing has ever been heard of it since.

Stopped by the 57 Auction Reception this afternoon dressed in my full troublemaker uniform. Arrived at 4:40 and no more than 75 people were there, no blacks. I had the Peggy Starr watercolor with me in hopes of getting her to pose for a photograph with her pastel. They had a wine and cheese table right there in the lobby and I had several hunks of cheese and a short plastic glass of champagne.

Roy Scott in a herringbone suit appeared and we had a friendly conversation. I mentioned I had brought a picture by Peggy Starr to photograph her with it and he said her and David would certainly be there. I gave Scott my Leatherman card and he laughed. So I walked around and one person asked, "Are you an artist?" Another asked, "Did you bring your bike, sir?" One man inquired, "Who has the key to unlock your dog collar?"

Finally I saw David and Peggy Starr enter the room surrounded by admirers and escorted by Roy Scott. I went over and bowed politely to Mrs. Starr and said I was J. Wesley Miller who had purchased one of her watercolors and wondered if I might photograph her with it. David Starr, whose back had been turned in conversation, spun around with a goblet of red wine in his hand and snapped, "I prefer not." I said sorry, I don't want to cause any difficulty and he curtly replied, "Thank you." I offered my hand but he refused to shake it. I had tried to be nice but was rebuffed and therefore waved good bye to Roy Scott and left.

When I got home I was amused to see in the paper a notice that the Armory-Quadrangle Civic Association will hold a tour of Springfield Cemetery on Halloween by Linda Levister showing the gravesites of some of Springfield's "scariest individuals." But David Starr isn't dead yet!

October 24, 2004

49 degrees and overcast at 8:55am. Farmer's Almanac says this will be a more wintry season than usual, but the stripes on the Woolly Caterpillar predicts the opposite.

Dined on a can of Progresso Corn Chowder, very nice. Victoria Rozkuszka of Indian Orchard has died at age 90.

Ann Staniski sent me a nice note describing the rededication of the Widener Library at Harvard. Says I should have been there.

Eamon says Springfield has become so bland it should be called Tapioca City. Watercooler again featured chubby Chris Collins and Paul Robbins. They have become tiresome.

Belle-Rita Novak called and said she can't make the First Church benefit concert because she is working at a synagogue tag sale that day. Told me she never shops at Walmart because, "Walmart is in the business of putting people out of business." Also said she is loyal to neighborhood stores and never shops at big grocery outlets like Big Y or Stop & Shop. I told her I would take her out to eat for her birthday when she is no longer so busy with her mother's house.

Went to the ARISE headquarters on Rifle Street where a black fellow told me Michaelann was washing up but would be available shortly. When Bewsee came out I congratulated her on all the publicity she's been getting lately and called her "one tough little lady." We headed down to South Church for the fundraising bazaar in the community hall. When we got there they were still setting up, including hanging the ARISE banner up front with a red sunrise in a field of yellow. I bought seven buttons at $2 each, mostly anti-Bush, and two ARISE t-shirts for $17. When I left I saw that an Open Pantry food van was parked nearby and people were lined up for helpings.

Headed up towards Amherst where I saw some wonderful fall foliage in South Hadley. There was a tool sale of some kind on the Amherst green. Parked in the Haigis Mall circle at UMass for free. They lock doors now that were not formerly, but I still got into Herter Hall, Bartlett Hall and the Student Union where I gathered posters off the bulletin boards. There is now a little garden by the Fine Arts Center, a gift of the class of 1954. The library has some kind of construction work going on outside. Then I went to downtown Amherst and pulled down a few posters around there.

In all I got about 25 good posters from my trip to UMass and downtown Amherst. Best one was a poster reading, "WARNING: Bad Dope! Don't buy dope on Cabot Street in Holyoke. It's Lethal. Five people in their twenties have ODed from it this week." Also got one promoting a "Drummers Against Bush" rally on the Amherst Common. A showing of Michael Moore's Farenheit 911 is being put on this week by a group called "Take Back UMass."

October 27, 2004

49 degrees at 7am. North Wilbraham gas is $2.09.

Bill Clinton appeared in public in Philadelphia for the first time since his heart surgery to stump for Kerry.

The city cut down a tree on my street and I counted the rings. There were about 75 meaning the tree was born around 1930. Took some pictures of the woods behind the old Nichol's place, which I expect will be bulldozed next year to build a new house.

Hess called and said he has made 25 cupolas so far this year, a little behind this time last year but still good business. Administration building at AIC is Adams Hall, formerly Adams Library.

Watercooler had only two guests discussing the Electoral College with Kaplan; "media consultant" Paul Robbins and Professor Jerry Mileur, a friendly, white-haired man. Sy Becker did a story on TV about the violence after hours in Springfield when the bars close in "this so-called entertainment district." Are you manifesting a bad attitude Sy? What would Davey Starr say?

Dined at the new Quiznos on Boston Road using a coupon. Had a small sub stuffed with thick pieces of chicken and beef. Place is new but could easily deteriorate into a dump.

Big fire on the same same side as the church on Dresden Street this morning, cop-cared off on the Wilbraham Road end. Went to Fleet Bank and the greeter told me she has been working at the bank for thirteen years. She said she has "learned a lot of things about people from watching them in the bank." I told her that she must have noticed then that I always take something from the free candy bowl! Then off to the Stanton Auction where my Lake George painting brought $1900. Robillard was there and paid $2500 for an antique toy airplane. Also spotted Wayne Phaneuf from the paper sitting six rows back. I've seen him there before, but today we didn't say anything to each other.

Eamon called and remembered the day when he was running the Charlie Ryan campaign headquarters on Sumner Avenue in 1995 and two guys from Boston came in representing former Mayor Kevin White and asked to see Ryan so they could deliver a large brown envelope. Eamon said that Ryan wasn't there but they could leave the envelope with him. "No, no, no!" they said, "We can only deliver this to Atty. Ryan personally." Eamon said he would have loved to know what was in that envelope, perhaps money from the Boston Irish Mafia.

Mary A. Kingston, widow of former State Representative William J. Kingston and mother of Charlie Kingston, has died at the age of 90. Her maiden name was Tranghese, same as the mobster Felix Tranghese and I wonder if there's any connection. When Charlie Kingston was convicted on tax charges he avoided federal prison by saying he had cancer, but he's been plenty healthy ever since then.

C. Kingston was the campaign manager for Ted Dimauro and the last Albano mayoral campaign. Back in the 1970's when Dimauro ran for mayor Eamon did a lot of research for the campaign and at one point Eamon was chatting with Dimauro and Dimauro started praising Kingston for all the research he was doing for him. It turned out that Kingston was taking Eamon's work and passing it off to Dimauro as his own! Eamon said that Dimauro told him that later on he caught Kingston taking money that was given him for the campaign and putting it in his own pocket! Yet that did not stop Mayor Dimauro from giving Kingston a job collecting outstanding taxes for a commission. No matter what he did nobody could touch Charlie Kingston, he had something on everybody.

October 30, 2004

45 degrees, clear blue sky, full color, chilly. Gas at the Peter Pan station downtown is $2.06.

The Red Sox won the World Series (I watched it) for the first time since 1918. Eugene Povirk told me that he was "infused with the wine of the sweet, most unlikely of scenarios, the Red Sox victory."

Average American male is now five feet, nine inches tall, average female five feet, four inches and they weigh 25% more than 40 years ago.

Mrs. Penniman told me today that 101 Birchland has been sold. I noticed the other day that Franconia Golf Course has those new all metal benches like the Acres Library. Bob Powell had another yellow insert for his auto repair service in the paper this week. I tried to call Gormally at BusinessWest but got the runaround.

New rates starting at the Quadrangle: $10 for adults, $7 for seniors. Eamon says that Mayor Ryan embarrassed himself the other night on TV by being critical of Secretary of Finance Kriss and Commissioner of Revenue LeBovidge. Eamon called it "an amateurish, unprofessional diatribe." He also says Ryan should upgrade his wardrobe.

Henry Courniotes is finally stepping down as President of A.I.C. after 35 years. TV showed him sitting at a long table with a microphone in front of him and flags on either side, looking like the emperor of a banana republic. I must write to him.

Memorial Bridge is festooned with flags, two on each flag pole. Arrived at the Eastern States Exposition Antiques and Collectibles Show In West Springfield at 9:38. Parking was five dollars and admission was six dollars for a total of eleven dollars - too high. I was wearing boots with pants tucked in, jacket with my radical buttons, locked doggie collar plus my biker cap with ARISE button in the middle of it. Overall fewer freebies, no popcorn, no lobster bisque. Fewer booths, this antiques show is slowly dying.

Jack Hess was there looking at postcards. Brian of New England Archives was there, but I didn't complain about the last microfilm job they did and just gave him some postcards. Marcus had calendars but no other freebies, Hitchcock Press also had calendars while Hadley passed out lovely Boston Garden cards. Insurance Center of New England had a big exhibit. I won a five dollar Holyoke Mall gift certificate for spinning a wheel. G. Michael Dobbs was there and appears to have put on weight. Nobody at the Turley Publications table so I slid one of my cards under one of their publications to be found when they return. Ran into a lot of old acquaintances, one guy introduced himself and said he has my picture from the Valley Advocate hanging up.

First I bought some postcard sleeves; I got 4700 of them for forty dollars. Then I paid five dollars for a five-sided Chinese coin from the Tang Dynasty. Finally I saw D. Schimke. He had for sale a print he had acquired at auction of the Lewis Orr etching "Springfield Municipal Group" for $400. I immediately said, "Sold!" It used to hang in the Forbes Library in Northampton, I remember seeing it years ago among a row of prints in the stacks. On the back it has a Forbes Library sticker saying it was a gift of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce and one of fifty. Inscribed in the lower left: "This proof pulled by the artist for the Forbes Library."

This is for me an incredible acquisition. The image is the highest realization in 20th century art of Springfield's turn of the century civic aspirations as realized in the completion of the Municipal Group. It is a real status symbol appropriate for governmental, corporate and otherwise big-shot offices. Just in front of me was young Picknelly, but he didn't look like he knew what he was doing. He should have bought the the Orr etching, I'll bet his family never owned one. I left soon after, and on my way back I stopped at Olive Oil's and had a Reuben sandwich. Cost eight bucks and I gave the waitress a two dollar tip.

No one at the antiques show made any negative comments or complaints about my garb, although a uniformed officer scrutinized and then followed me for a while, but did nothing. A lot of young people seem to think I look cool. The old folks are at worst amused, with one man in a business suit looking like he wished he dared.

To AIC President Henry Courniotes
Dated October 31, 2004.

My Dear Harry,

You have been badly embarrassed by Salvatore Anzalotti (with whom my father studied at WNEC while doing a Real Estate certificate) and frankly there are tales about matters not brought before the court: people who got credit for continuing education accounting courses they never attended, close friendship with Morris Kirby who did time for tax problems, and more. Bush says you support a terrorist and you're a terrorist. You're buddies with felon Anzalotti: What does that make you?

AIC did Springfield a great disservice by not promoting the merger of the several sixth rate local colleges into a University of Springfield. In fifty years STCC will be the great school in this city while AIC will probably be the first to fail because it has much but nothing special. Johnson's Bookstore failed while bookstores in Northampton thrive because we do not have the faculties and students who are learned enough about books to sustain them.

Yours truly,

J. Wesley Miller.