35 degrees on the breezeway at 7am. Snow flurries at noon. Gas at the Acres is $1.63 at Pride. April is National Poetry Month.
My cold is going away and the battle for Baghdad is continuing. THE WAR - live and in color - it seems obscene really. I am currently reading the book I got up at Odyssey "Why Do People Hate America?" by Sardar and Davis. It is a splendid, tightly organized book and I agree pretty much with what it says. I have always said that we lack respect for other cultures. America is a smartass with a swelled head trying to push its weight around worldwide.
Here's a great paragraph from Alan Bisbort's column in the Valley Advocate:
Many millions of us would like the New York Times and other news venues to stop using headlines that collectively indict all Americans, such as "U.S. Mocks French and Germans." That headline would more appropriately be worded, "Unelected Immature Leader and his Circle of Jerks Alienate Longtime Friends and Allies."
Lewis J. Lamont was the President of People's Savings Bank in Holyoke in 1964. Edward G. Shea was Clerk of the Superior Court at 37 Elm Street in Springfield in 1970. Christina F. Kenyon received a Certificate of Recognition from Bridge Academy in Springfield in 1998. TV40 had an internet poll asking if race should be a factor in college admissions. 7% said yes and 93% said no. Amherst has rejected a mayoral form of government by only 14 votes - 2413 to 2399. The Massachusetts "Do Not Call" list for telemarketers is now in effect. Of course I am on it.
Visited some print shops today to get estimates for my booklet about the history of the fernbank I donated to Wilbraham. Copycat has a new manager named Steve who lacks the seriousness of his predecessor. Then I went and saw Mark at Print 2000 who says he now has three people working for him, although the place didn't look very busy. Afterwards I went to Arnold's Thrift Bakery for some rye bread and a lemon meringue pie. Also paused at the Pine Point Library where I got an Atlantic Monthly they were throwing away.
Then I headed downtown and saw on the way that where Bess Eaton used to be across from Mass Mutual a sign proclaims that a Dunkin Donuts will move in. Arriving downtown I walked through the Peter Pan bus station, which has become a real magnet for low-lifes. A fried chicken place is going in across from the purple themed Luva. I found no posters on Main Street but didn't check down Harrison.
Stopped at Sir Speedy at 1441 Main Street and chatted with Tricia and her boss Michael S. Connors, a friendly fellow who said he bought the business four years ago. Before then he worked for owners Ann Lowell Laporte and then Peter Swiderski for eight years. He said he would prepare an estimate and call me.
Next I went into Tower Square where Gus & Paul wanted $2 for a creme puff. Then into Edward's Books where I bought a copy of the new book by the Rev. Talbert W. Swan about the murder of Springfield teacher Theodore Brown. The clerk informed me that they had an autographing party for Swan but the weather was terrible and nobody came.
When I got home Eamon called and I asked him if he wanted to read the book by Reverend Swan when I was done with it. He said he dislikes Swan, who he accused of abandoning his radical past and sucking up to the establishment for public contracts. He thinks Swan is exploiting Rev. Brown's death to enhance his own fame. He said he sent Brown's widow a check for $100 after the murder. Eamon is a generous man who quietly gives to everyone.
Eamon also reflected on his drinking days and how he used to drink heavily in his youth but had to cut back as he got older. Now only has one can of beer at night to help him get to sleep. He said he used to spend a lot of time at Jerry Sarno's Hob Nob on Chestnut Street. He said that the Napolitan's and Matty Ryan were occasional customers.
More indictments have come down in the Massachusetts Career Development Institute scandal. Springfield School Department employee Luisa Cardaropoli, payroll administrator Jamie Dwyer and retired MCDI employee Guiseppi Polimeni were arrested on an array of corruption charges. From the newspaper article by Stephanie Barry and Jack Flynn:
City officials doled out no show jobs - including one for sex and one to an accused mob loan shark - in a patronage scheme that turned a muffin bakery into a "breadbasket" of corruption, federal prosecutors said yesterday....According to a 13 count indictment unsealed yesterday, former Police Commissioner Gerald A. Phillips, 48, and another top administrator at MCDI put at least three people on the payroll who rarely if ever came to work but received weekly salaries and benefits.
According to Eamon Cardaropoli is related to mob boss Al Bruno, a fact the paper did not mention. Richard Lavigne registered as a sex offender with the Chicopee Police today. TV40 gave Lavigne's address as 86 Haven Avenue and his age as 61. WFCR reports that SNAP (Survivor's Network of those Abused by Priests) founded in 1989, is establishing a Springfield chapter.
Guy McClain was on TV about the Quad receiving money from Smith & Wesson to preserve their historic archives. I think the sculpture of Dr. Seuss' Horton the Elephant at the Quadrangle should be painted white!
42 degrees at 6am. Overcast. Gas is $1.64 at Mobil in the Acres.
NBC is remembering their reporter David Bloom (1963-2003) who died in Iraq. 89 Americans have been killed so far.
E.E. Hill was a wholesale dealer in choice cigars and confectionery in Springfield in 1886. J.C. Ramsey was the Regional Land Manager for Sun Oil Company in Framingham, Massachusetts in 1969. Allen G. Zippin is the Chairman of the Melha Shrine Circus held at the Eastern States Colosseum in West Springfield.
By gradually sifting through and throwing things out it is now possible to walk around in the attic, which it wasn't when Mother was alive. While cleaning I came across a recipe for brownies from Louise Benton Grady, who was a friend of Mother's from Monarch. Heading out today I saw Lucius getting into his red Cadillac with the license plate Purple Heart 2188. I sent out the mail at the shiny new blue mailboxes outside Walgreen's.
Went to the tag sale at St. Luke's Episcopal Church on St. James Avenue. In the parking lot I ran into Melinda McIntosh sitting in her car and we chatted a bit. She told me that microfilm is supposed to last 100 years but she wasn't sure how long computer disks last. I suggested to her that for the cost of the Iraq War we could microfilm the entire Library of Congress and she replied, "And then some!"
The sale wasn't as good as last year, there was no clothing or hardbound books to speak of. I ended up buying a Chicago World's Fair spoon and a postcard of some Springfield firefighters. Afterwards I went to Food Mart for the last time and bought some Oscar Meyer cold cuts and Franco-American spaghetti. The store closes April 7th and will reopen as a Big Y on April 8th.
Someone named Bianca called and wanted to sell me a subscription to Meetings and Conventions magazine but I wasn't interested. Nick Morganelli who was a good weatherman around here is now on TV30. All our good people wind up in Hartford! TV40 poll says that Governor Romney has a 61% approval rating and a 39% disapproval rate. The Valley Advocate is reporting that Mitch Ogulewicz may run for mayor!
Eamon called and said that Eileen Curran is the news anchor at WBZ in Boston. She used to co-host the Holyoke St. Patrick's Day Parade with Jack O'Neil. He mentioned Valerie Barsom and noted that despite being a Republican Barsom had a close relationship with Albano, Neal, Phillips and of course Dennis Murphy. Eamon said Mayor Albano surrounds himself with "convicted felons, gangsters and thieves." He said "corruption is pervasive in Springfield" and named Ardolino, Pellegrino, Asselin, Keough, Kingston and Phillips as the worst offenders.
We also talked about Tom Devine and how he used to have the both of us as his guests on the Dan Yorke TV Show years ago. Eamon complained about how Devine said he would get Eamon a videotape of the show he appeared on but never did. I recounted how Tom once borrowed some of my postcards to scan for his website and he was tardy returning them. Tom was always wanting information or other help with his writing and media stuff but could be ungrateful once he got what he wanted.
There was an announcement in the paper yesterday saying:
The entire Monday daily paper, formerly the Union-News, will be printed on our new state of the art color press under the name The Republican, the original name of the paper dating back to 1824.
I must admit the newspaper looks quite impressive. Today I called Larry McDermott and left a message telling him that the paper looks pretty with all the new color pictures, but that superficial improvement will not restore the paper's reputation once all the indictments come down and it becomes obvious to all that the paper has been on the wrong side of history by backing and protecting the bad people responsible for the fall of Springfield.
38 degrees at 5am. Light snow overnight.
Betty Ford is 85. Jerry Ford always seemed like a nice guy but she always seemed like a bit of a phony. U.S. victorious in Baghdad, images on TV show our troops as liberators being cheered by Iraqi people. Tom Brokow asked, "Where are those weapons of mass destruction?"
Charles H. Allen, wholesale dealer in beef, pork, lard, hams and tripe was located at 33 Hampden Street in Springfield in 1884. Charles Hall, importer and dealer in crockery, china, glass, house furnishings and kerosine fixtures was located in the Union Block on Main Street in 1886. The Mountain View Grand Resort is in Whitfield, New Hampshire. The Hampden Old Home Day Clam Bake, held since 1915, will be held this year at Ferriter's Farm on South Road in Hampden in June. Music will be provided by The New Goshen Rollers.
The paper says the Tuesday Morning Music Club will be presenting a concert and luncheon on April 15th featuring Charles Page, Eileen Reily and Thomas Slovak at the Esther Griswold Theater at American International College. 25 year old Kateri DeMartino, a 1995 graduate of Minnechaug Regional High School in Wilbraham, is among ten finalists vying to appear as a co-host on the popular morning show "Live with Regis and Kelly." Yesterday Ray Hershel did a news story on TV40 about a controversy in Amherst where people are objecting to the display of flags on street light poles on days that are not holidays like Patriot's Day. Resident Larry Kelley was shown saying that if posters can be put all over the light poles every day then flags should be allowed as well.
Diane Dubrevil is Director of Patient and Guest Relations at Baystate Health. My Mother died of medical malpractice. They took an x-ray of the wrong part of her body and therefore failed to catch her colon cancer. Had they caught it early it might have been cured, but instead they sent her home with pain medication saying nothing was wrong with her.
I stuck a yardstick into the snow this morning and found 1.75 inches in the driveway. Went over to the Five Town Mall and the workmen were using a crane to put a Big Y sign on the front of the old Food Mart. Coming home I had to pull over for two State Police cars headed toward Wilbraham. From an article in the paper by Bea O'Quinn Dewberry:
Mark O. Mason, of Springfield, established a memorial on behalf of a loved one who recently died, collecting donations for a special garden at Forest Park. Mason, a lawyer and partner with the firm of Cooley Shrair, said he knew immediately after the death last month of his life partner, Richard L. Carlson, that the best use for any financial gifts would be to establish a memorial at Forest Park. Carlson, 45, had visited the park daily, where he loved to walk his four dogs.
Mayor Albano says he will shut off a third of the city's street lights to save a half million dollars. Penny wise and pound foolish. Eamon called and was wondering why it was A.G. Tom Reilly who removed the mob poker machines from the local bars, while "D.A. Wimpy Bennett" and Police Chief Meara never did anything. They are supposed to be on the lookout for corruption too but they leave it to the Feds and Boston while they both look the other way. Of course in fairness to Bennett and Meara they have their hands full with fighting the war on drugs which sucks up a lot of the resources that should go to other things. Eamon also said he doesn't think that the new Basketball Hall of Fame will be able to compete with the $750 million Adrian's Landing Riverfront Development in Hartford.
Tonight I attended the Annual Meeting of The Friends of The Libraries at the Napolitan home at 276 Longhill Street. The house is a Queen Anne style painted grey with white trim and towers on either side of a square front porch. When I got there only four cars were parked out front. Over the doorbell was a sign "Please Knock" so I did.
Mrs. Napolitan herself opened the door, using a cane to walk and looking somewhat shrunken from the last time I saw her. I was very graciously shown in and joined the only eight people who were present besides me. The house has an immense front hallway with a staircase to the left, and a large oil painting of the ocean on the right. Not a particularly large kitchen. In the round tower part was a baby grand piano and bookcases with rare books in them. There was an Atmos clock atop the bookcase that doesn't work and is plainer than mine. We sat in the livingroom where there was a round table with candied almonds, fancy cookies and coffee.
Mrs. Napolitan asked me which library I usually use and I replied that I have a 15,000 volume collection in my home so I usually use my own. Someone else asked me what I think should be done about re-opening the libraries that have been closed and I told them we should unite in our support of the efforts of Attorney Charles V. Ryan to take control of the libraries away from the Springfield Library and Museums Association. I passed out to everyone one of my postcards of the 16 Acres Library with Eamon O'Sullivan's number for his answering machine editorials written on the back. Mrs. Napolitan read hers using an elegant black handled magnifying glass. I told them I would be glad to come at any time and give them a lecture on hippie posters.
After much idle talk the meeting ended and I stood around chatting with the old spinsters while munching on candied almonds. When I left I thanked Mrs. Napolitan for her hospitality and praised her beautiful home. She replied that she and her husband Joe would hate to ever leave it. I informed her that my Mother had died in the livingroom of her house and that she should do the same in hers. Mrs. Napolitan seemed at a loss for words for several moments, and then she wished me good night.
55 degrees downtown at 2:37pm. A lovely, sunny day.
Thomas L. Hinckley, weather technician at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee says the 2.2 inches of snow that fell Monday night was the second most for that date ever recorded. 102 killed in Iraq. Bush will be re-elected in 2004 because the war party always triumphs.
Gilbert H. Tatro, formerly of Agawam, has died in Florida at age 76. He was the brother of Paul A. Tatro, my 7th grade homeroom teacher at Buckingham (room 203) with Myra Cohn, Charles Berg, Teresa DeRiso, Richard Dean, Billy White, Archie Strong, Mike Spencer and all the gang. Tatro was a science teacher who also ran the Audio-Visual Aides Club that ran the projectors for the teachers. I belonged to the club throughout my years at Buckingham Junior High.
Jim from Sears came to fix the stove today. He was a friendly fellow of 40 who lives in Belchertown and said that he used to work for Whirlpool but lost all his seniority when Whirlpool merged with Sears in 2001. I said that sounded unfair but he was circumspect. Jim adjusted the flame which was too high and will send me new knobs to replace the ones that don't match.
Once he left I headed downtown and parked on Salem and walked down the hill. Lots of old people downtown today enjoying their first spring outing. I went into City Hall and saw a sign on the Assessor's Office saying that due to budget cuts they are only open from 9 to noon. I walked into the Election Office where Commissioner Brian Santaniello greeted me with a smile exclaiming, "Attorney Miller, how may I help you today?"
I told him that I had read that former City Councilor Mitch Ogulewicz may run for mayor and Santaniello confirmed that Mitch had indeed pulled nomination papers. He also said that a reporter from the newspaper had just been in asking questions about Ogulewicz. Santaniello showed me the information he had provided the reporter - a document showing that Mitchell J. Ogulewicz Jr. and his wife Cynthia live at 136 Bartels and owed $3,261.92 in taxes last year which was paid in full and on time. Santaniello says the newspaper seems to be investigating the tax status of all the possible 2003 mayoral contenders.
As I left City Hall a couple of Italian guys I passed in the hallway stared at the collar and padlock around my neck. Then I drove out to Feeding Hills to spy on Aunt Maria's old place but found nothing changed. Next door there was a tan car in the garage and a red van in the lot. Then I went to Kohl's and the parking lot was jammed. Kohl's is a nice, colorful and vibrant store, not dull like Sears. When I left I noticed I was parked next to a New York Chevy Suburban wagon with the license plate GIDDYUP!
Eamon called and said corruption is a form of taxation and complained about all the six-figure executive salaries at City Hall. He said several of them actually get salaries of $99,777 so that the ratio of pay scales above a hundred thousand does not attract attention. The triple sevens are designed for good luck - most crooks are superstitious. Eamon complained again about how corruption runs rampant while D.A. Bennett and Chief Meara pretend to know nothing. He also recalled how Bennett used to defend mobsters when he was in private practice, so many of the local wise guys are his friends.
Brian Lees was on the news demanding that the anti-war protesters at Westover be forced to pay the cost of their own arrest. Among those arrested was Michaelann Bewsee, who God bless her replied that she already paid the costs for her arrest through her taxes! I am very disappointed in Senator Lees on that one. Why aren't crooked politicians forced to pay the costs for all the financial problems they cause?
Raining, 36 degrees this morning. Gas is $1.63 at the Breckwood Sunoco.
Steve Beshara is the manager of the Copy Cat Print Shop at 479 Breckwood Boulevard in Springfield. Peter Miller is the Chairman of the Greenfield Historical Commission. I tried to contact him years ago but he did not respond. At the intersection of Main and Boland Way there is a big pothole in the middle of the street. Gary Shepard of the PVTA was on TV with his hair now solid white and talked about the $115 million Union Station project which he insists will begin construction by 2005. I'll believe it when I see it.
The Mason Square Library, despite being modernized just a short while back when Reggie Wilson was running it, has been sold to the Urban League with no public input. Lately it has been open only one day per week. The paper says "Urban League President Henry M. Thomas said "private benefactors" provided the funding." And who might that be? The paper also reported that, "The library's collection will be reduced, however, from 20,000 volumes to a rotating collection of between 3,000 and 5,000, and the Urban League will consume a significant amount of library space." What an outrage and a tragic loss!
Since Santaniello gave me Ogulewicz's address yesterday I decided to check out his house. As I drove there in front of me was a tan Lincoln with a Mass license plate that read LAW. Who could that be? Mitch lives on Bartels, the last house on the left. A light chocolate brown house with sliding doors, a stockade fenced backyard with a pool and a two car garage facing the street. A nice house that is similar to mine in some ways.
When I got back home Eamon called and we chatted about Ogulewicz for a bit. He said Mitch works at a bank in Connecticut but he hasn't been able to discover which one. Eamon said that if Mitch runs for mayor he will be fiercely attacked by the Neal camp and recalled how years ago Kevin Kennedy went around telling everybody that anyone who helped Mitch revive his political career would be "made to join him in the wilderness." He also recalled how when Larry McDermott was new to the area he "scored brownie points with Neal" by attacking Mitch's parents in Cries and Whispers over some business matter. Eamon said Mitch's parents live on West Canton Circle and he described Mitch's mother Edna as "politically astute."
After hanging up with Eamon I called Karen Powell and discussed the mayoral race with her. She says she likes Mitch Ogulewicz because she knows he has the guts to fire whomever needs firing. She also told me that she was surprised to receive a phone call from Linda Melconian, who told her that Mitch is "a far-out liberal" and that the Powell's should support "a common-sense moderate" like herself. Karen admitted that she is considering supporting Melconian but she said everyone tells her that Linda sold-out the public to the insurance companies in her handling of the car insurance reform bill. Karen says she would prefer that Councilor Timothy Ryan runs but she doesn't think he will.
A notice in the paper says "mechanical problems with the distribution and packaging equipment of our new press" resulted in the paper being late yesterday. The new press has inspired me to write a letter to columnist Dear Abby:
My dear Abby,
With a red dress and all that lipstick and mascara you are no fit model of female excellence in modesty, taste and decorum. Thank the new press at the Springfield Newspapers for revealing your true colors.
Yours very truly,
J. Wesley Miller
Clear sky, 41 degrees. Crocuses coming into bloom.
NBC today recited Shelly's Ozymandias as a statement on the situation in Iraq. The mapping of the genetic code is now complete. Perhaps somebody could trace the advancement of my senility by comparing my rate of typos in this diary from one year to the next, but part of it is that I type at such a furious rate!
I went to the antique fair at the Eastern States Exposition grounds in West Springfield today. First I stopped at the Breckwood Shops to pick up a newspaper. Robert S. Duffy Landscaping of Woodland Road in Springfield was sweeping up the parking lot and sidewalks. When I got to the antique show it was smaller than ever but I recognized many of the dealers, including my English friends from Chimney Corner in Newburyport, Massachusetts. They told me they no longer sell very much at this event, complaining that "the customers here aren't interested if it costs more than twenty-five cents!"
Vince Robillard was there and he asked me about selling my original Beatles Yellow Submarine poster, as he knows a wealthy collector who would be interested. I told him that I was considering leaving it to the Quadrangle and he scoffed, "They'll sell it right out the back door!" Robillard said he will be at Brimfield this year even though last year he got ripped off for $1000 worth of silver by a man with a bad credit card.
I examined the wares of John and Grace O'Gara from Worcester but bought nothing. There was a new dealer called Authentic Asian Antiques of Bayside that had about six George Walter Vincent Smith type blue cloisonne pieces but I was suspicious. I asked how I could know if they are genuine antiques but their English comprehension was bad. From Russell's of Milo, Maine I bought a few legal postcards and I bought $140 worth of Canadian postcards from Schimke who seemed overjoyed with my business.
Returning to Springfield I headed over to the new Big Y in where Food Mart used to be at the Five Town Mall. There are a few changes but it is largely the same. The former carriage bay area has been made into a little cafeteria where they were passing out free slices of pizza. I stopped briefly at Ace Hardware and then headed over to Mrs. Staniski's who I gave a razzleberry pie and some magazines. Finally I stopped at the Pine Point Library which had lots of cars in the lot but nothing I wanted inside.
Driving down Birchland Avenue I noticed that Mr. Cohn was out so I stopped to chat. Lenore Cohn came out and introduced me to her two cute little great-granddaughters Miriam and Natalie from California. When I arrived home I read the newspaper. There was supposed to be a special section in the paper today on the newspaper's new MAN Roland Regioman press. A promotional item earlier in the week said the special report would "go behind the scenes to take a detailed look at the new, high speed offset color printing press." Yet after reading the paper front page to back I could find no such thing.
I decided to call Larry McDermott about it and got his new hip and friendly voicemail message that has finally replaced his previous pompous one. After asking about the article and telling him to call me back (knowing that he won't) I then called Customer Service and got Isabel, who sounded black. I asked her what happened to the New Press Special Section they had promoted earlier in the week as coming out today. She said she didn't know. I asked what she thought when she didn't see it in the paper this morning and she replied, "I don't get the paper, sir." When I expressed amazement that she doesn't even read the paper she works for she said, "I just work in the subscription department." I wished her a good day and hung up.
Eamon called and said that Springfield has the ideal environment for corruption with a dishonest mayor, police chief, city solicitor and district attorney who have either looked the other way or participated in the scams themselves. He says the revelations about Phillips and MCDI are "just the tip of the iceberg" and Eamon is glad the FBI is finally doing something about it. Eamon went on to complain about Mayor Albano's "financial and personnel mismanagement" and recalled how the first time he heard Albano speak at a City Council meeting around 1992 he immediately recognized "a slick talking con-man with only a superficial understanding of municipal finances."
72 degrees at 3:05pm at Monarch Place. Tax Day.
The veterans coming back from Iraq will want good jobs. Where will they find them?
Today on my way to the Westfield Bank 150th Anniversary Celebration (one of several to be held at various branches in the coming weeks) I kept being delayed by construction. I tried to scoot down Main but found traffic jammed at Chestnut so I headed down Dwight but there was a detour just before the ramp onto I-91 that sent me back to Chestnut then down to Carew and across the bridge. I finally arrived in Westfield after nearly an hour drive.
The bank is two stories and looks like it was constructed in the 1960's with a large parking lot in back. As I entered by the back door a cop stopped me and told me that the bank was closed. I firmly informed him that I may be dressed in leather but I am a bank stockholder of longstanding so he stepped aside to let me enter. Inside there were maybe a hundred people, every one of them white, dressed in business suits.
There was a large birthday cake with white frosting and turquoise trim waiting to be cut. Waiters and waitresses were walking around with small treats on toothpicks. They had soft drinks and bowls of high quality nuts here and there but no spoons. I turned to one of the waiters and asked, "If you saw a character like me stick my hand into that bowl, would you want any of the nuts?" He replied, "I get the point" and soon returned with plastic spoons. They also served cheese and veggies. I saw no one I knew and was getting odd stares so I ate their food and left before the cake cutting ceremony.
Back in Springfield I stopped at Copy Cat to talk to Steve and Jeff about printing my Fernbank booklet. I asked what happened to the old manager Rick (whom I suspect was gay) and Steve said he has been transferred to their store in South Hadley, which I'll bet is a better place to work than the Breckwood Shops. I said I would bring by the material needed for printing the booklet soon.
Russ Whitney is running ads on TV22 for a seminar at Monarch Place on how to get rich quick in real estate. Fools and their money. I was surprised to receive an invitation in the mail from Mass Mutual to a seminar on "Investment Strategies for the 21st Century." It arrived on the 13th and the seminar was today, the 15th, way too short notice for me to attend. Therefore this morning I called the number on the invitation and a young woman named Judy Quist answered, "Good afternoon, Judy Luddy's office." I asked her the time and she said 11:17 so I said, "Then it isn't afternoon, is it?"
She apologized for her error and then I asked her what the Mass Mutual seminar scheduled for today is about. She replied "long term investment information." I told her that my invitation to the seminar had arrived with too short a time to respond, advising her that I am a busy and important person prominently listed in Who's Who and my calendar of activities is made out a couple of weeks in advance. She apologized so I told her that my Father was Chief Life Underwriter for Monarch where he worked for 42 years and my family has never had any contact with Mass Mutual. Therefore I asked how did they get my name? She didn't know but promised to find out and send me a letter of apology explaining everything. We shall see.
Eamon never tires of reminding listeners to his answering machine that Paul Goldberg, Pulitzer Prize winning architectural critic for the New York Times called downtown Springfield's redevelopment "banal in the extreme" and Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter said it made no economic sense. That's because government economic planners know nothing about business and are interested only in projects that they and their political patrons can cash in on. Whether it actually helps the economy or not is beside the point.
Eamon called today and said Mayor Albano's critics don't realize that he merely expanded upon a corrupt system that already existed when he was elected. The problems go a lot deeper than just Mike Albano and they won't be solved simply by Albano leaving office. In the news today Ray Asselin has been forced to retire from the Springfield Housing Authority and Soco Catjakis is quoted as saying, "It's a sad day for the SHA." Soco was described in the paper as "a longtime friend of Asselin who has served on the board for three decades." I'm sure he is sad, but only because he'll probably be the next to go down!
Eamon reported that he hears rumors that the Feds are investigating voting fraud in Springfield. He says he hasn't been able to get all the details, but it has something to do with Catjakis and absentee ballots coming out of the housing projects run by Ray Asselin. Eamon wondered whether "all the clowns we've had in office over the years were really elected!" He said election fraud would explain why good people who run for office never win while "incompetents and thieves are elected and re-elected repeatedly."
Sunny, 61 degrees at 8 this morning. Gas $1.57 at Pride.
Joanne McMullen, Environmental Science coordinator for Smith College says Smith is having a "communicate without using paper day" as an ecological gesture. Sam Hamill of Poets Against the War, an ex-Marine, is speaking in South Hadley tonight. Nuclear Crayon Tattoos and Piercings are at 648 Page Boulevard in Springfield.
Dottie Maiwald is a realtor for Caldwell Banker in Longmeadow. Father always put his keys on top of the refrigerator right inside the back door. There was a rubber soap dish for them so they wouldn't mar the refrigerator. The Republican was delayed again by the malfunctioning of their new press.
While raking the bushes out front today I came upon a school kid's note: Thanks for the hat! I love it! Always, Bye to my darling, Dan Allard. At least the kid knew enough to say thanks! Later I went out to mail letters to Charlie Ryan, Governor Romney, Brian Lees and Peggy Starr at Lewis & Clark. Then I headed downtown to drop off some material for Agent Hedges at the FBI. There is a sign reading "God Sustains Us All" hanging in front of St. Michael's Rectory. When I got to the FBI I rang the bell, heard a buzzer and then went inside where there was a young lady sitting behind a heavy plate glass window. I asked if Agent Hedges worked there and she nodded yes so I slid the envelope under the glass to her.
From there I headed over to the Basketball Hall of Fame for the annual meeting of the Western Massachusetts Telephone Worker's Credit Union. There were some kids racing a battery operated remote control car in the empty part of the parking lot and an Elegant Affairs van was parked out front. There were also a lot of kids running around from Sci-Tech High on a field trip.
I went in through the north doors where various bank ladies gave me a name tag and a ballot to vote for board of director candidates Kathy Collins, Donald W. Lynch and John R. Reigner. For food they had cupcakes and brownies, strawberries and melon, plus vanilla ice cream with various sauces. The meeting hall was pretty much but not completely filled. Dick Warburg urged us to "reflect in our own way on the safe return of our soldiers in Iraq." President Paul C. McDonald, who is retiring after 30 years, received a citation from Governor Romney. McDonald noted that this is the credit union's 80th anniversary. Then finding the proceedings dull I placed my ballot in the box and quietly left.
On my way home I drove by the Ogulewicz house via Forest Hills and left some papers for Mitch in the breezeway door. Then I stopped at the Sixteen Acres Big Y which had 50% off signs in the window because it was their last day open. Actually it seemed to me their prices were only about 30% off. I bought eight Weight Watchers and Healthy Choice frozen dinners. As I left I stole a final souvenir of the 16 Acres Big Y - the sign on their bulletin board reading "Welcome to Sixteen Acres." Before going to my car I stuck my head in Alibi's 16 Acres Lounge next to the Big Y where about a half dozen middle-aged men were drinking at the bar.
The Easter dinner for the poor will be served at Putnam High this year because of the renovations under way at the Civic Center. Former State Rep. Cele F. Hahn and her husband Curt Hahn have retired to San Miguel de Allende, a somewhat affluent retirement community in central Mexico that Hahn describes in the paper as "the Berkshires of Mexico." The Reminder has a front page story about the selling of the Mason Square Library.
I received a thank you note today from Matthew L. Burt of the Evangelical Covenant Church on Plumtree Road for the postcards I sent. He called me "an intriguing person and intriguing people don't come my way very often." I also got this note in the mail today from Mrs. Napolitan:
Dear Atty. Miller - Thank you for your visit and postcards. I am sorry I didn't write sooner but I have been on a trip to Seville, Paris and London (Joe attended a conference and I was able to go with him). Thank you for your suggestions at the Friends of the Library meeting. We are grateful for them, but at this stage conditions at the libraries are so unsettling we may be disbanding.
Very truly yours, Mary Napolitan.
I responded with my own handwritten note:
My Dear Mrs. Napolitan - Thank you for the good time at your place the other night. We have, in addition to a love of books (of which I see you have many) several things in common. My house, like yours, is grey with white trim. You have a $500 Simpson planet and I have a $350 one, plus we both have Atmos Clocks which are not working. Mine has a Chinese design all over the case. Do you know about the Atmos Clock Museum? Did you know that the first Liberty Heights Library was in the basement of the Liberty Methodist Church? This city has gone to hell thanks to the crooked politicians in power, as well as people like Joe Carvalho and David Starr. At this point we should rename the Friends of the Libraries to "Friends of Which Library and For How Long?"
Best to you, J. Wesley Miller.
Overcast in the morning, 43 degrees at 7:30am. Daffodils in full bloom, little blue flowers too.
The true university these days is a collection of books. - Carlyle
Good Friday. This should be renamed Sadomasochism Day because it celebrates the greatest event of sadomasochism in Western History, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Similarly, Easter Sunday is associated with colorful eggs and yellow chickens and cute rabbits celebrating the Greatest Fairy Tale Ever Told - the resurrection of Christ.
Horace E. Allen, William W. Yerrall, Julius H. Appleton, Samuel E. Thompson and Robert E. Kubicek had their law offices in the Third National Bank Building in Springfield in 1966. Malpractice insurance for Massachusetts doctors is going up 20%. Governor Romney wants to cut unemployment benefits from 30 to 26 weeks. From today's paper: "With membership dwindling amid a priest sex abuse scandal, the Catholic Church is reaching out to Hispanics to fill the pews. Locally, a growing Pentecostal Movement is gathering members."
The 16 Acres Big Y is already boarded up, just like the long gone Burger King. I often see postal trucks hiding behind the 16 Acres Library or parked at the Dunkin Donuts across from the Breckwood Shops. This afternoon I headed down and parked on Union Street to get the property appraisal for the Giroux estate from Smith & Reynolds on Maple Street. Old Mr. Reynolds opened the door and showed me in, where I wrote them a check for $175. From the report:
At your request I have viewed the property at 175 Poplar Street in the Feeding Hills section of Agawam and have prepared a limited, restricted use appraisal report. The purpose of the appraisal was to estimate the market value of the subject property as of April 15, 2003, the date of my physical inspection of the property. Based on my analysis, it is my opinion that the marked value of the subject property is ONE HUNDRED TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS. - Jeffrey T. Reynolds Jr.
Next I stopped at the Credit Union on Main and was waited on by Nancy Litz. They had an Easter Bunny that kids could have their picture taken with, and a two year old black boy was being photographed when I went by. A nice service for members. Then I drove out to Fernbank, the land I donated to Wilbraham and took photos of the hill where a dingle needs a lot of fill. A big dog was running around the lot.
On my way through Mason Square I looked at the Anderson-Little brick building on State Street that had earlier been a Studebaker dealer and once had ARISE in the back and a Salvation Army or Goodwill Store in there maybe twenty years ago. Now in the big bay window part in front there is a Subway and in the back there is a Family Dollar. Across from the Alden Street Baptist Church is a Kentucky Fried Chicken. That part of Mason Square is looking better than it has in years. I took pictures of Homer Street School and driving around I discovered what is doubtless one of the shortest and least known streets in the city - Annawon off Wellington.
When I got home Eamon called and said that instead of announcing that he won't seek re-election Mayor Albano should resign immediately for "the irreparable harm caused by all his crony hack appointees." Eamon says he hears rumors everywhere that Mike Albano is no longer living with his wife on Florentine Gardens and is now living at the Sheraton. Eamon is contacting his sources for confirmation but says it's hard to get detailed info on Albano's personal life because of the blind loyalty of the people closest to him.
Once Eamon hung up I called Larry McDermott and left on his answering machine a quote from the Hooker History (pg. 52) about his newspaper's founder Samuel Bowles. "The standard of conduct which he demanded was the highest; if a public official had a weakness it was The Republican's duty to pillory him, but if a sinner had a single redeeming trait or quality Samuel Bowles was ready to praise." I suggested to McDermott that this is the legacy that he should aspire to.
Lovely Easter Sunday.
Robert E. Pierce lived on Gaylord Street in South Hadley in 1966. Joe Collins is a teacher at Springfield Academy. Six Flags is open, Easter weekend being its traditional opening time; goes to regular hours May 23 and the water-park opens May 24th.
Drove down to Lewis & Clark and bought the paper, a sign on the door said it would only be open until 2pm because of the holiday. Cindy was on duty. She has been there longer now than anyone else and she still has her looks. Angelo's had a wide assortment of Easter flowers for sale. Then I drove to the Wesley Church on State where I found a full house of 59 cars in the parking lot.
Behind the Mason Square Library next door were six Kelly Storage Containers, four long two short. I wonder what's in them or will be? The Urban League is presently in the old Stop&Shop building. I drove past Fran Gagnon's house at 1120 Worthington and photographed it. There was a black Ford in the driveway plate 614FRJ.
Then I stopped to pay a visit to Mary Alice Stusick-Plant. I parked outside their fence and noticed there is a bus stop in front of the house. I rang the bell and her husband Gary Plant answered the door and showed me in. The place is an incredible mess, it makes Aunt Maria's place look tidy. The Lady Stusick herself acted playfully surprised when she saw me but said she was pleased I had come for an Easter visit. She said she wished I had called in advance so she could have picked the place up but that would have been impossible.
Yet it is still a really nice house. There is a little conservatory with a cluttered oaken desk in it that serves as Gary's office. In the hallway hangs a beautiful chandelier with the dining area beyond. The kitchen is to the left and an immense cathedral living room with a grand piano and seven or eight harps. She said she has a practice room in the basement.
Mary Alice has a cute little dog she was cuddling most of the time. She told me she had played the harp and organ for an hour at South Church this morning. I told her I would have come if I'd known. She repeated several times that she can still play music. Mary Alice has aged dramatically since the last time I saw her and I felt sorry for how sad her life has become. As I left I realized for the first time that both she and Gary were barefoot.
Once I got back I spent the day doing housekeeping. My attic is passable but requires unending work. The basement is spotless and dry. I also swept out the garage. Next I did a load of wash and put it through the cycle twice. Finally I called Eamon and wished him a Happy Easter. He says he doesn't think the FBI corruption crackdown will do much good in the long run without term limits and a responsible press.
After hanging up with Eamon I dined on an Easter dinner consisting of a frozen Healthy Choice Country Breaded Chicken Dinner. The portion sizes were much smaller than they appeared on the box. Joining me at the table as my special guests were Sweet Pea the Bunny and Honey Pot the Bear.
51 degrees at 7:45.
Attorney Harold F. Brenault had his office in the Hadley Falls Trust Building in Holyoke in 1975. Penney Paige is the public relations person for Wilbraham Monson Academy. Springfield school kids are on vacation this week.
Today I drove past Adams Playground which looks real nice and ready for spring. On Boston Road I bought some leftover Easter candy at CVS. Over at the former 16 Acres Big Y someone was painting the plywood over the windows white. I drove over to the new Big Y at the Five Town Mall and noticed they have a Kosher food section where Food Mart used to have their natural foods. The tall thin guy at UPS told me that a Burlington Coat Factory outlet is moving in where Spag's used to be.
The mail today brought advertising for a reading skills program for grades 1-12 out of UMass. I called the number listed and got Riba Taylor, an enthusiastic sort who listened politely as I told her that I am a liberal Republican and I wanted to tell her I think their advertising is a waste of taxpayer's money. She curtly replied, "Thank you very much, bye bye!" and hung up. That was at 2:58 and precisely two minutes later the phone rang and it was her again: "This is Riba Taylor. I realized I shouldn't have let you upset me but we are not wasting taxpayer's money. We are a private school working under contract with UMass," then she hung up again!
I spoke to Mrs. Staniski on the phone, who told me "it is a miracle that I am still alive today." She said her health is fading and she sent out no Easter cards this year. She also said she hasn't been to a single meeting of the Tuesday Morning Music Club all year explaining, "I just don't feel up to going." She recalled that The Rev. Robert Holcomb used to attend Odd Fellows meetings with her husband John Staniski. She said that when Peter Heinrichs came to South Church he declared that he would visit every member but it took him thirteen years to visit her. She said Heindrichs had "driven people away with his ideas of changing everything."
Then I called Novak Associates and Novak's secretary Ms. Foley told me that Mr. Novak is on vacation this week but his right hand man Paul Ginsberg was there. He was very polite and told me he has a son that majored in English at Wesleyan and another studying law at Georgetown. When he saw my address he wondered if I knew Irving Cohn. He said he went to school with Zachary Cohn so I told him about the death of Myra. He also said he lives on the same street as Efrem Gordon. Ginsberg promised me that Mr. Novak will send me a letter when he gets back.
On TV tonight weatherman Tom Bevacqua said he remembered how when he was in college at North Dakota University they had gas price wars where all you paid was 25 cents a gallon plus tax. This is TV Turn Off Week. We should have a Computer Turn Off Week as well! Electronic media are boring and a great deal is lost in a computer terminal. The special insert on the Republican's new press finally came out today.
Rumors are rampant that Springfield is considering a trash disposal fee. Over a hundred communities in Massachusetts already have them. I need to start getting rid of everything that won't sell at a tag sale before such fees are imposed. The State Department of Revenue has released its preliminary findings and recommendations regarding Springfield's finances. They say that Albano's employee lay-offs were justified and criticized the city for being "unprepared for any fiscal crisis because of an absence of sound fiscal policies."
Last night I had a strange dream in which Seuss Park at the Quadrangle became a proving ground for men. There was a bunch of us boys and those who wore sandals instead of boots were dismissed at once to become cannon fodder for the war machine. But the boys wearing boots such as myself or high-cut sneakers were encouraged to climb all over the statues. I climbed on top of Yertle the Turtle and then said they should grease it to make it more of a challenge. Then I took a spray can of pink paint and painted Horton the elephant. For this I was proclaimed to be a leader of men.
My affinity for leather goes way back. At Buckingham I envied the tough students for their black leather jackets and high-cut boots with the jack-knife pouch. But Mother always said that I was a good boy and shouldn't wear anything like that or associate with those boys beyond being polite.
45 degrees at 10:05am. Gas down to $1.57 at both stations on the corner of Alden and Wilbraham Road. St. George's Day.
The joy of science is the work itself and the ultimate reward is the betterment of mankind.
Earth Day was founded by one of my favorite Senators, that good soul Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. I remember the first Earth Day in Madison. They had information along State in front of Brown's Bookstore.
Resnic, Beauregard, Resnic and Waite had their law offices on High Street in Holyoke in 1973. Herve J. Giard had his law office at 430 Main Street in Palmer in 1973. Atty. Alan Goodman has a new ad on TV saying "Call the very best!" Russell F. Denver is President of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield. The Republican was late again because of the new press. The photo accompanying Tom Shea's column was a total blur.
A flyer from Linda Melconian telling about all the good things she's doing in the statehouse came in the mail today. Supposedly to keep the public informed but really little more than a campaign brochure. Congressman Neal mails out the same sort of things from time to time.
Went to the Eastfield Mall for a haircut, then bought a blueberry scented canning jar candle and a piece of pizza. The 16 Acres Library was closed so I went to the Pine Point Library and played on their computers. The machines in the Pine Point branch are slow and temperamental compared to 16 Acres.
Went to this year's Marketplace 2003 in West Springfield. I wore my basic uniform of orange jumpsuit, orange kerchief on my head, doggie collar with Masterlock right in front, the jumpsuit tucked into engineer's boots, my motorcycle jacket open in front and a Valeo weight lifting belt. I parked in a space just steps away from the entrance at door #7.
As I walked in Burton from Hampden Bank looked right at me but pretended not to see me. His bank was passing out maroon and white pens. There were about twenty merchants there in all. They were passing out candy and apples but no popcorn. I went to the Men's Room at one point and Jim Shriver of the Chamber of Commerce was in there and left without washing his hands!
The Springfield Republican had chocolate covered strawberries and free newspapers offered out of the trunk of a snazzy red sports car. The Reminder booth was manned by G. Michael Dobbs and we discussed the Quadrangle. Dobbs said he worked at the Wistariahurst in Holyoke years ago and fought to prevent them from selling off some of their collection. He agreed with me that it was wrong for the Quad to have sold off so many of their treasures.
I also chatted with Linda the Special Gifts Coordinator for WGBY-TV and she agreed with me that Peggy Starr is a first rate watercolor painter. The Sheraton had a booth run by a pleasant black fellow and I gave him some postcards to deliver to Peter Picknelly. Overall the event did not have as many special freebies as in the past and had fewer booths.
Springfield's highest honor The Pynchon Award has been granted for 2003 to the undeserving R. Lyman Woods of the Springfield Library and Museums Association. Teofilo Alvarado was also given one for being the "creator of Springfield's first Crime Watch community." But that's not true, Douglas Ariel formed one in Pine Point in the early 1970's. School volunteer Carol W. Kinsley also won. Meanwhile Springfield's true heroes wait in vain to be acknowledged.
TV40 reported tonight that the IRS confiscated the records of Tilly's going back to 1999. Records of The Pour House also seized and the homes raided of Matt Campagnari (who owns Tilly's) and Pour House owners Chet Ardolino the cop and his brother Anthony. Jim Polito reporting. Didn't the Valley Press Club have one of their roasts at the Pour House recently?
Eamon called and made fun of "Pasta Sauce Mayor Mike" and said Albano's motto is "Make it on the City Payroll!" He also denounced the city's "monkey doodle bookkeeping." Albano has arranged for Gerald Phillips to have a big job up in Holyoke, but Holyoke's Mayor isn't too happy about it. Albano is insisting that because Phillips hasn't been found guilty of anything he shouldn't be denied employment unless convicted. Eamon's spies reported to him that Albano and Phillips were seen out partying last night at the bar of The Student Prince.
Breezy, overcast and raw. 43 degrees at 8am. Gas is $1.57 at the Pond.
Looters and arsonists have ransacked and gutted Iraq's National Library.
The Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame has 75,000 square feel of exhibits and interactive displays. The spire outside the building is 15 stories high. No smoking is allowed in the Hall of Fame facility. There was an anti-war rally in Northampton yesterday in front of City Hall demanding "Feed the People - Not the Pentagon!"
By 83 votes Palmer is keeping its Town Meeting form of government. Home sales in Mass have fallen by 9% in the last month but prices are up 14% with the average price $345,000! Peter Picknelly has bought the Delaney House for six million dollars including the liquor license. Picknelly has announced that the Tinkerbell, his Connecticut River tour boat has been discontinued due to declining ridership. It had 10,000 customers when it started in 1997 but only 4,000 last year.
UNICARE downtown in the Sovereign Bank building by City Hall is closing and over 300 workers will lose their jobs. Russ Denver was on TV saying it's bad for downtown but they will try to get a new tenant. Allan W. Blair, President of the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts said the closure "isn't totally a surprise but it's always a disappointment when it becomes final."
Tenured A.I.C. faculty member Salvatore Anzalotti Jr. has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the college while awaiting trial for helping former city officials scam more than $400,000 from a taxpayer financed loan program. Anzalotti's longtime friend and fellow A.I.C. professor Bonnie L. Orcutt was the fund's bookkeeper but was not indicted.
Went out today and left a thousand dollar check with Jeff at Copy Cat for the Fernbank booklet. I stopped at the Big Y on Cooley to return a defective leaf bag. Big Y leaf bags are not as good as the ones sold at Stop&Shop. I hinted that they should give me a whole package of bags for free but they gave me just one.
Then I went downtown for lunch to Hooters at 60 Congress Street which is where Spaghetti Warehouse used to be. The waitresses wear tight fitting white t-shirts and equally tight fitting orange shorts. The girls are chummy and greet you when you come in. I asked if Andrea Waller still worked there but was told she moved to Chicago. I ordered the basic burger well-done with extra onion. It was huge on a seeded bun and I also got coleslaw and baked beans. I added a pint of Budweiser in a glass and had to ask for a straw. I told my waitress Kelly that their restaurant is not boring like Friendly's and I asked if they ever have bands. She said they do not but that the place "really swings" on Friday and Saturday night. All the waitresses were white although she said they have hired blacks from time to time. Over all there was nothing particularly impressive about the place and I won't be going again.
Went to Attorney Gordon's office and parked on Union by the backyard of the brick house on the corner. At the office I was greeted by receptionist Lynn Cullivan. Efrem arrived a few minutes later and we discussed witnesses and medical records. He also told me that he has given a new car to his son the editor in New York City. When I used the word "coreligionist" to describe Bonnie Hopkins' relationship with Huang, Efrem paused in amazement, saying his father used to use that word but he hasn't heard it in years.
Efrem Gordon likes to let his clients do a lot of the work, which saves him a lot of trouble and places the client in a weak position to complain. Efrem says it will be harder in the future to get medical records to use in lawsuits because of new medical privacy requirements. When I left I told Efrem that he is a great lawyer and a true gentleman. Secretary Loris White smiled with agreement but Efrem himself is immune to complements.
Steady rain this morning. 54 degrees at 9:20am. One red tulip in full bloom.
The population of Earth is six billion. Question: If a country has a tyrant for a ruler, is it okay for us to go in and remove them? Answer: Define tyrant!
There was a story on WFCR about how juvenile offenders in Pittsfield are being made to perform Shakespeare. Another news report said that Dubuque, Iowa "is redefining itself as a convention center." Isn't everybody? They will probably fail just like the Springfield Civic Center. Pratt & Whitney is laying off 170 in Hartford and Middletown. UMass is considering changing their Minuteman icon to a wolf, as some are saying that a Minuteman carrying a gun is a terrorist image of the white oppression of Indians.
Antiques Roadshow featured a bronze horse much like the one Efrem Gordon has which they estimated as worth $25,000. The morning paper has started a ten part series on valley artisans and the first has an immense color picture of Josh Simpson of Shelburne Falls and his planets. Channel 24 suddenly went off the air at 7pm as if the plug was pulled, but came back on without explanation at 7:50pm. A black family has moved into 1430 Wilbraham Road. Saw a CJ's tow truck pulling a green Springfield dump truck through the intersection of Roosevelt and Bay by Central High School.
Northampton Cooperative Bank was on King Street in 1973. Paul F. Ginsberg is the Agency Director of Financial Operations at Novak Charter Oak Financial Group at 1500 Main Street in Springfield. First Place Realty at 474 Page Boulevard has a time and temperature clock: 64 degrees at 11:58am. Went to the Burger King by the old Westinghouse and got a Whopper for free for buying a medium drink and fries. Dropped off some papers at Eamon's. His garage door was open but Eamon himself was gone so I left my bag for him on the back lawn chair. Lots of cars parked around Liberty Church. The time temperature clock at the Republican still has the name Union-News on it. The Methodist church in Chicopee has a clock in the peak that always says 8:20. A church that can't tell you what time it is can't tell you how to get into heaven.
Next I headed to the Basketball Hall of Fame on West Columbus Avenue for a seminar on "Protecting, Marketing and Valuing Your Intellectual Property." It was a really top-notch treatment of intellectual property issues. When I arrived a silver BMW X5 pulled into the space next to me. An older man I recognized as Arthur F. Dionne of McCormick, Paulding & Huber got out and threw a large cigar butt on the ground. I popped out of my car and shouted, "Shame on you for littering!" He looked furious and stomped on the cigar while yelling angrily, "That satisfy you? It's biodegradable!" I shouted back at him, "Let that be a lesson, you never know when you'll be seen!" He gave me a dirty look and stormed off towards the Hall. I wrote down his license number: 710 DCJ.
Inside the event the sound was excellent and the food consisted of muffins, bagels plus coffee and an assortment of Very Fine juices. I had an onion bagel with creme cheese. There were no blacks present and only about 20% women. There were some young people in suits and I was wearing a black motorcycle jacket with an orange kerchief on my head.
Author and columnist John Duffy was the first to talk and he was a weak speaker. Atty. J. Kevin Grogan spoke very well and William T. Reichelt of Themistos and Dane was best of all. I didn't stay for the question and answer period but did fill out their evaluation form and marked excellent in all categories. Driving back along Maple I was pulled over by police officer Frank Poulin who said I should have stopped for the light at Dwight but was friendly about it and let me go with just a warning.
Went to the Wilbraham Post Office and took pictures of the front of the building. I went inside and mailed letters to Larry McDermott, Brian Lees, Charlie Ryan and Governor Romney. Coming back there was a Chevy Metro LSI in front of me with the license plate BE CALM. The time to shop at Price-Rite on Boston Road is early mid-morning when there are not many customers and a fast check-out. Arnold Avenue is riddled with potholes although new houses are going up opposite the school bus parking lot where woods used to be. Drove down Rosewell Avenue for a change and it too was riddled with potholes.
On Birchland I saw that Lucius was out so I asked about his wife. He said she is in a nursing home and is never expected to leave. He expressed surprise over how long it has taken to sell the Homan's house across from the Cohn's. Lucius said he saw a red fox trotting across Turner's front yard the other day. Leaving Lucius I decided to stop and visit Irving Cohn, who saw me coming and opened the door as I approached. There was a lovely cut glass vase on the kitchen table which he said was a valuable antique that had once belonged to his parents. We chatted and he thanked me for visiting because with so many of friends dead and his family so busy he gets lonely sometimes.
The YMCA is having a telethon to raise money for their new branch in Wilbraham, but of course no mention is made of the nice Horace Moses built branch they abandoned in West Springfield. Linda Melconian has placed one of her aides on unpaid suspension for being tied to the MCDI scandal. Mrs. Napolitan said in the note she sent me recently that the Friends of the Library group is dying. Of course she is helping it along by being so stuffy and old fashioned that no young people want to join. Whatever happened to the Springfield Women's Club?
Eamon is wondering whether to start a weblog. I told him that my diary is like a weblog from before the internet was invented. Tom Devine pioneered the weblog locally but he writes mostly about politics and my diary has a much wider range and predates his weblog by decades. Eamon asked me whether I ever see Tom and I said Devine and I have had no direct contact for years.
Eamon says he keeps hearing rumors about the South End bar and restaurant Angelina's, where a lot of the Albano boys hang out and hold their fundraisers. He said they got a government grant to upgrade their facade and basically just pocketed the money without doing anything. Eamon says he's heard there was a big cocaine scene in the back where Gerry Phillips used to hold court.
The latest Valley Advocate has a big picture of Mayor Albano on the cover and RESIGN written in big letters. Inside is an article blasting Albano by Maureen Turner and an editorial by Tom Vannah demanding Mayor Albano's immediate resignation for the incompetence and fiscal malfeasance that has driven Springfield into debt and scandal.