July 2001

July 1, 2001

Misty, 76 degrees at 6:58am. Gas is $1.72 at the Pride by the Wilbraham Civil War monument.

Steve Cirillo read the weather today on WFCR. It is very sticky and I'm sitting here stark naked except for my sandals. Today is the 80th birthday of the Chinese Communist Party. David Trimble has resigned in Ireland, but says he may take the job back later. One attitude is you resigned, so we don't want you back! Chestnut Knoll at Glenmeadow is located on Tabor Crossing in Longmeadow. Lyn Doran works for Van Cort Instruments in South Deerfield. Attorney Frank Saia has a new commercial listing legal problems and after each one asks, "Who ya gonna call?"

The fact that it is taking Hein so long to decide what my royalties are on Coke in Verse means something fishy is going on. Wrote letters to Elizabeth Dow, the Public Archives of Canada, the Methodist Archives and the Pulitzer people about Doris Kearns Goodwin. Listened to the 1639th consecutive broadcast of The Hour of Power by Crystal Cathedral Ministries. They are asking people to send $150 to cover their summer broadcasting costs. Had toasted cheese sandwiches for lunch and for supper had a Healthy Choice Grilled Chicken Dinner which was okay. Eamon O'Sullivan is out of town, but he left a phone editorial about "rats in broad daylight" all over downtown.

The news showed Pioneer Valley Project people gathering signatures for the referendum to increase library hours. I'd like to help them out. Sheila McElwaine lives at 59 Meridith Street and is listed in the 1986 City Directory as a social worker. I called her today at 4:45pm and she was friendly enough. I told her she should have sent a response to all the material I sent her, to which she replied that she was "so busy with all my struggles" that she never found time to read any of it. So much for sending her anything again! She also said she has been spending a lot of time up in Stratton, Vermont where her husband grew up. Suddenly there was a clap of thunder and it started pouring out at 4:53pm so I wished her good luck and hung up.

This morning I gathered my postcards together and headed out to the Wilbraham Atheneum Society, but they were closed and there was no sign saying when they would be open. I walked around their nicely kept grounds and copied down the Preservation Grant sign out front. In all I wasted two hours of my day gathering the postcards and driving out there for nothing, spending at least a dollar on gas. On the way there I noticed there were five kids on skateboards playing in the curved driveway around the Fleet Bank in the Acres. A man on crutches was weeding his flower bed at the brown house at the southeast corner of Springfield Street and Stony Hill Road. In Wilbraham I saw posted that the next meeting of Toastmasters is at the 16 Acres Library. Frequently groups that meet in Springfield advertise only out of town because they don't want people from Springfield to attend.

There has been some tension in the Picknelly family over the years between the business side of their empire and the real estate side. Why doesn't Picknelly let people go up to the top of Monarch Place and admire the view? In the 1980's when they renovated the Fuller Block, they discovered that the ornamental iron work was removed in the 1950's so they made replacements out of wood. Now the woodwork is falling off. In the 1960's, we had so-called urban renewal that wiped out the North End and many nice, old buildings. Boston, New York and even Albany and Hartford are destination go-to cities, but Springfield is all torn down and worn out. The closest we have to a destination city in the valley is Northampton. The focus should be on the neighborhoods, not downtown. But the only thing they care about is Picknelly's neighborhood around Monarch Place. I've seen them try to revitalize Springfield four or five times in my lifetime, but no matter what they are not going to bring the city back.

July 2, 2001

Wonderfully cooler air, 67 degrees at 8am.

Ames department stores, the successor to Kings, is experiencing financial difficulties. The CEO of Bloomfield, Connecticut has been indicted for embezzling from the Bloomfield Housing Authority. Barbara M. Adams is Governor of the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Maine. Langdell Library at Harvard Law has acquired about a thousand early law texts worth several million dollars. Agnes Bundy Scanlon is the Chief Privacy Officer for FleetBoston Financial. Carol M. Albano is Chairperson of the Wilbraham Historical Commission. A Wilbraham Atheneum Society Open House will be held July 8th at the Old Meeting House. Available for purchase will be reprints of the Peck, Stebbins and Merrick town histories and the Knox Trail plates. There will also be a display of items depicting life in Wilbraham in the 1890's.

Ellen Chang used bad grammar on the TV22 news last night. The July/August edition of the AAA Times has a picture of the Samuel Chapin statue on the front and on page 3 under "Club Notes" it says, "Please accept our apologies for inadvertently omitting the following valued member, J. Wesley Miller III, who joined AAA in 1946, from our listing." The mail brought checks from Edwards and Hein but no Litton payment yet. People are complaining that Phantom Fireworks of Hinsdale, New Hampshire has been sending advertisements urging you to mail order fireworks, even though fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts. I didn't get one. Today I went out to pick up a paper cup off the lawn and saw a silver grey Mitsubishi parked by our bridal wreath. There was a green workman's truck over to Mudry's. A van pulled up with a fat man delivering The Reminder with a little boy helping him. They smiled and said hi.

Today I went to the unveiling of the new master plan for Springfield. I parked on Eliot Street, where I saw a mailman trample on a person's lawn. I called out to him but he ignored me, so I took down the number of his truck. On my way downtown I noticed that the large ornamental brickwork planter that curls out in front of the Federal Building is cracking. I peeked into Antiques on Boland Way and then went over to the event at Tower Square Park where Steiger's used to be. I was in my orange jump suit and biker jacket. Mary Lynn asked why I was there and I showed her my invitation so she reluctantly let me enter. There was a large tent set up with a podium in front and about 80 or 90 people there.

I was surprised that there were so few dignitaries present, no Neal, none of the Picknelly's, no Starr, no Carvalho, no Gagnon, no Hurwitz, no Denver, no Gary Shepard, no one from the Renaissance Group, but of course they all know these events are a waste of time. Superintendent Burke said I "look as sharp as ever" in my impeccably executed ridiculous costume. Then they started with Steven D. Cecil of Boston's Cecil Group introducing the white haired Tom Haberlin of Community Development. Next Mayor Albano spoke, saying that unlike past master plans this one "will not sit on the shelf gathering dust" and that "the next five years will be an exciting time for our city." He spoke about Springfield being "the crossroads of New England" and similar blather about being "the hub of the region." He said Springfield needs to think of itself as "a winner city!"

Finally Linda Petrella, a nice woman who is Director of Planning, thanked us all for coming and invited us to stay for lunch. It was very good and put on by Elegant Affair, the catering arm of Tilly's whom Karen Powell once told me caters all of Albano's events. They had a large bowl of macaroni salad with a nice spicy flavor, potato chips, cookies, brownies, diet coke and bottled water. I saw Judy Matt chatting with Brenda Garton and Allan Blair. I told them business is fine throughout the valley, it is only lousy in Springfield. The crowd dissipated rather quickly, with Mayor Albano among the first to leave. As I was departing I saw one of those fake trolleys go by completely empty.

On my way home I swung by the Powell's to leave off some publications. Once I got back I watched the news on TV40 and they had a story on "the new master plan for the downtown area." I recall that originally they were going to have the new master plan include the neighborhoods as well as downtown, but apparently the neighborhoods fell through the cracks. I appeared in the TV coverage twice, once in a shot of the audience and again when R. Hershel was interviewing Albano I was seen in the background taking a picture of them. Albano was telling Herschel that the new plan "is vital for the economic development of the entire region." I wonder how prominently the new master plan will figure in Albano's re-election campaign?

After the news, I saw on my phone ID the number 478-0484 so I called and got a recording of Bill Kelly saying, "If you are calling about one of our dinner seminars at the Storrowtown Tavern please leave your name, phone and the number of people in your party." I left a message saying never to call me again. Joseph Accardi also called but when I called back the line was busy. Lowes Home Improvement was listed on my caller ID as having called so I called back and told the manager Wayne to stop bothering me. He replied, "I'm sorry about that." Next I called down to Rice Hall at the Quad, which was a lot easier to reach than it used to be, and the girl looked up for me how to contact Doris Kearns Goodwin. She gave me the address of her agent in Wyoming.

I then called Kathy in Consumer Affairs at the U.S. Postal Service and she connected me with Mike Giza, Station Manager for Springfield. I told him that when I was leaving a mayoral event today I got back to my car at 90 Eliot Street and saw a uniformed mailman walk straight across the nice but tender lawn at 88 Eliot. I explained how I shouted, "Should you be walking across that grass?" but he ignored me. I gave Giza the number of the mail truck as 1256149. Furthermore, I said that mailmen are role models who should not be walking on resident's lawns, especially in a borderline neighborhood already in decline. Giza responded, "I appreciate your input and respect for the neighborhoods is one of our top priorities." I wished him a Happy 4th and he thanked me again for calling and that was that.

July 4, 2001

Beautiful day, 73 degrees at 4:30pm. A quiet holiday.

There is no such thing as a generalization that applies universally. Modern American literature is a bunch of shit.

Slobodan Milosovic of Yugoslavia was arraigned this morning for crimes against humanity. Sandra Day O'Connor delivered a speech celebrating her 20 years with the Supreme Court. She said she finds "serious questions of whether capital punishment is fairly administered." Good for her. Peter Jennings on ABC News said that skateboarding is now more popular than baseball with kids under 18. The Lehrer Report was about the popular dance group Circue du Soleil. I doubt Springfield has a facility that could handle them or an audience willing to pay $100 a ticket.

T.D.S. Bassett is the author of Outsiders Inside Vermont. Rhona Swartz was the secretary to Dr. Howard B. Gotlieb of Boston University in 1982. New London, Connecticut has rejected a casino proposal. Dean of Faculty Donal B. O'Shea has been tapped to lead the inquiry into allegations that Mt. Holyoke College history professor Joseph J. Ellis fabricated his military service in Vietnam. There will be a Jerry Garcia Art Show in Springfield at the Sheraton July 7 and 8th. I found a good sample of Father's signature in my files today.

Last night after Antique Road Show they had a program entitled Bargain Hunt where they give two teams $1200 to spend at a flea market, then they auction the stuff off and see who makes the most money. I called Edwards Books downtown and Patricia told me that they only do internet book searches if you pay a premium. I then called Aunt Maria and Bonnie answered. She said Shirley Huang went to Vermont for her class reunion. I wished her and Maria a Happy 4th. George Gouzounis called at 12:32 about my A.G. Edwards moneymarket account. He lives at 1942 Parker Street on the other side of the road from Hastings and Santaniello, in a ranch house over the bank from the road. The William S. Hein Company yesterday sent me a check for $116.58 in royalties for the sale of 22 copies of my book Reports of Sir Edward Coke in Verse.

Had Kraft Macaroni and Cheese today and it didn't taste right. Picked a large strainer of black raspberries this morning and put them in the refrigerator. Went to Louis & Clark for the paper and then over to CopyCat, where I wished them a Merry Fourth. Then I went to Angelo's on Boston Road where the Cumberland Farms across the street is selling gas for $1.63 per gallon. Bought corn, potatoes and kiwi fruit at Angelo's and listened to a Tchaikovsky violin concert on the way to Food Mart. It was packed with holiday shoppers. I bought some cheese at the deli and two bags of frozen peas. While pulling some street literature off the bulletin board, I heard somebody say hi and it was my neighbor Kelly with her new baby. I remarked to the tiny tot in the carriage, "A Happy 4th of July to you, sir!" She said he does a lot of sleeping. A baby, no home is complete without one.

I may not live long enough to do this, but someone should check the bankruptcy of Monarch Capital records with the bankruptcy court archives and look at the proof of claims forms to see how much stock the Picknelly family owned. I have the feeling that Peter Picknelly may have egged on Gordon Oakes to make the irresponsible decisions that let to Monarch's collapse and the loss of my family fortune. It is interesting that later Gordon Oakes was hired to run Picknelly's insurance company. The Fall of Monarch was instrumental to the Fall of Springfield and I have always suspected that Peter Picknelly was partly behind it all. I got a surprise phone call tonight from Eamon, who is still staying with his friend in East Otis. He said he had to tell me what one of his spies told him about Ann Henry of Commerce. She apparently has sent Superintendent Burke a list of people she is accusing of conspiring to undermine her, and included on that list were the names Eamon T. O'Sullivan and J. Wesley Miller. Eamon laughed and laughed, very much delighted to be on her enemies list.

July 5, 2001

Lovely day. Gas is $1.58 at Carew/Liberty Cumberland Farms.

You can identify plainclothes cops because they are usually middle-aged people who sit in one place and don't move, look too hip and follow you with their eyes.

Pynchon Street Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in 1844. Rosemary Shea is the Executive Secretary to the School Committee. Ring Nursing Home founder Morrill Stone Ring and his wife Lauren have been in business for 49 years. George Matthew of Vermont will be performing at the Carillon Pops performance of July 19th. TV40 had the Springfield fireworks on with Beth Carroll. A ride on the Peter Pan Riverbus costs $9.95 for adults. Hartford is starting its Adriaen's Landing project on the Connecticut River. That means that after Springfield upgrades its dinky Civic Center, Hartford will quickly surpass us once again with a far bigger and better project.

On TV57 a roundtable discussion of TV anchors had Dan Rather, now 69 and wearing fat suspenders, complaining about the decline of the suppertime news shows and the loss of audience to the internet. There is a letter in the Valley Advocate from Ron Haislip blasting Albano and the Liquor Commission for lifting restrictions on the X Pub Bar and Grill. He writes that it is obvious that Mayor Albano "and his appointees must have hidden agendas that don't include improving the quality of our lives." I called the Advocate without giving my name and was told that Mo Turner and her spouse are on vacation.

On December 21, 1988 the Springfield Planning Board unanimously approved a development plan for the old Broska Farm. Jane Frates was a leader of the fight to save the farm for a park. Matthew E. Donellan was Chairman of the Planning Board and Walter F. Malcolm was a member. Bob Straw was vice-president of the 16 Acres Civic Association in 1988. Sheila McElwaine has not sent me any copies of the library hours referendum petition so I could help gather signatures. I will have to ask Cindy Sommer.

It was pretty quiet last night around Birchland Avenue, although I heard some fireworks go off near the area of Ballard and Jeffrey. Out at 9am and bought four donuts at Arnold's and salad and tomatoes at Angelo's. I saw a street sweeper on Silas Street when I dropped off some things at Mrs. Staniski's. I also saw a van with Tru-Green and Chem-Lawn painted on it, have they merged? Next I drove over to drop off reading material for Eamon, who is back in town. Eamon now has sod all over, the old plantings are gone and the new ones are nice. The lovely hedge he had in the back is gone, but now he can reach the grapes over the fence.

Eamon says Superintendent Burke's doctorate in education is from the glorified online correspondence school Nova University, where he says "the only admission requirement is a checkbook." He said he is frustrated by the way he hasn't been able to get the news media "to smoke this faker out." According to Eamon the School Committee members most involved in choosing Burke were Kenneth Shea, Nick Fyntrilakis and Jose Tosado. Eamon said educator Arthur Gingras told him that tardiness and absenteeism are major problems at Commerce. He said the way the students misbehave in the halls and cafeteria is unbelievable. Gingras admits that some of his fellow teachers are badly incompetent but removing them is impossible.

Eamon says he can't believe the city wasted $250,000 on a new masterplan, when most of the ideas in it date back to the Anderson, Notter & Finegold master plan of 1978. He called the new Cecil Group plan "just old wine in new bottles." When I left Eamon lent me some material about Burke, Commerce and a report on the State Department of Education's over reliance on politically connected consultants.

From Eamon's I dropped off some things for Serantidis by Shriner's Hospital, the other name on the door is K. Bluestein. From there I headed over to the Carillon Pop 2001 Concert at Trinity Methodist Church featuring guest carilloneur Daniel K. Kehoe from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. There were about 40 people there for a really fine concert that included a very complex and snazzy Battle Hymn of the Republic. On the way back I got two posters around the Alden Street Baptist Church. When I got home I had a Mystic House Special Pizza and it's the best grocery pizza I've had.

July 8, 2001

A wonderful, mild day. 74 degrees at 3pm.

You have to collect information before you can decide what to do with it.

President Bush is celebrating his 55th birthday in Kennebunkport, Maine. Steve Crillo said Nancy Reagan is 80. TV22 says Nancy is 78, so she is 78 on TV22 and 80 on NPR! TV40 offers coverage you can count on in comparison to TV22 that cancelled their news to continue covering tennis matches. There is a great article in the current Atlantic by Brian R. Meyers entitled The Reader's Manifesto. Henry Lennert is retiring from the Polish National Credit Union. Looks like the Westfield Bank will be selling stock, so when will Hampden follow suit?

My correspondence is all caught up and I am forging ahead with my reading. My crop of black raspberries this year is wonderful. The mail brought me my Litton stock check for $1920. Jennifer Murphy was on the news serving as a spokesperson for the Mayor's Office, announcing the hiring of eight firefighters who had been fired from Pittsfield because of their budget crisis. It is depressing, really, that we have no Burger King now, either in the Acres or Boston Road. Not a word from Nader the Hatter in some time.

The shank of my right leg is often itchy. I saw Kelly out mowing the lawn this morning. Kelly is subscribed to American Baby under the name Kelly Simpson. Drove out this morning and went to the Big Y for a two hams for the price of one sale. Toilet paper has gone up from 50 cents a roll to 65 cents! Then I drove downtown and parked on Dwight to attend the Jerry Garcia: A Visual Journey show on the 2nd floor of the Sheraton. It was presented by Image Makers Art and Rock 102. There was a motorcycle on display on the first floor. The show had Grateful Dead music playing in the background and the pictures themselves were sort of crazy with nice colors and an embossed seal of authenticity. It included watercolors, lithographs, etchings and silkscreens created by Jerry Garcia from 1985 to 1995. There were maybe a dozen people there including Tom Devine, who was taking pictures accompanied by his sister and a friend. We did not speak. It was a unique event, but the prices were high.

I called Trinity Church today and expressed to Lorie my appreciation of the carillon concert. I asked about Margaret Goad and was told she is now a pastor in Westfield replacing Skip Danforth. A loss for Trinity, a good deal for Westfield. Then I called Hillcrest and spoke to Lenny Bergeron about making postcards. He doesn't think there has ever been a postcard made of the mausoleum. I told him of my plans to make a card of the tower and another of the stained glass window in the mausoleum. Next I called Mrs. Joyal who said she hasn't spoken with Mrs. Napolitan about having me give my High Hippie presentation to their group. I told her that if they'll provide the food, I'll supply the books and prints for them to look at. Mrs. Joyal said she'll bring up my offer at their board meeting this fall, which is just a stalling tactic I'm sure. Finally, my caller ID showed that a Eric Stroshine was calling and asked, "How late are you open on Saturdays?" I replied, "We are not open on Saturdays," and hung up.

Later I called Don Skelton, who was friendly enough and told me that he and Bill Giles served on the Baybank Valley board and that's how he came to know Gordon Oakes. He said G. Oakes got to be friends with Peter Picknelly when Oakes was the President of Baybank. Skelton doesn't think that Picknelly was a mentor to Oakes and doesn't know how much stock Picknelly had in Monarch, if any. He recalled my being hired by Jones to inventory the company's archives, and told me to call him if I have anymore questions about Monarch history. Eamon called and said he is reading Losing Our Language: How Multicultural Classroom Instruction is Undermining Our Children's Ability to Read, Write and Reason. Eamon wonders what is wrong with Springfield's "so-called health department" that they have let the rat infestation problem downtown get so far out of hand.

July 10, 2001

Overcast and 70 degrees at 6:47am.

Sensuality is reality.

Sitting here naked and writing. The Chicopee River is 17 miles long. Dr. Carl E. Reiner is an ear, nose and throat specialist at Baystate Medical Center. The New England Medical Journal is in Waltham, Massachusetts. Hampden Savings Bank was founded in 1852 and Robert A. Massey is their current vice-president. Thomas V. Foley of West Springfield and Stuart F. Young of Longmeadow are trustees. Today I found a cockroach in the kitchen sink so I put Draino down all the drains.

The Pioneer Valley Project has their office at 235 Eastern Avenue. Atty. Cheryl Dunn, Donald Dunn's wife, and Hyman G. Darling both work for Bacon & Wilson, a downtown Springfield law firm. Cynthia MacGregor has written a book Mommy, I'm Bored: 127 Fun Filled and Educational Games for Your Child. Chelsea Sobel on TV22 displayed fine grammar on the news last night, she has excellent television English. Boxing matches at the Hippodrome tonight, $20 for general admission, $75 for a ringside seat. The 1910 Spaulding Chapel in Chicopee's Fairview Cemetery has 16 Tiffany windows which will be replaced at $1200 a piece.

Today I put on my "thinking cap" in the form of my bondage hood and head harness. I find it greatly increases my ability to come up with material. Went out at 10am and got my Fleet check from the Acre's Manager Nadolski. Then swung by an Open House at 69 Penacook by Van Horn Park, a large two family and slightly tacky. Then to Elms where I dropped off some stuff for Moriarty by sliding it under his door. Next I went over to the West Springfield Hampden Savings Bank on Westfield Street where Manager Sarah Mancinelli gave me their new Statement of Conditions. There is a lot bullshit by CEO Tom Burton about their commitment to customer service, blah, blah, blah. Then to the Hometown Buffet on Riverdale for liver and onions. Their salad bar is diminishing, they no longer have cottage cheese or olives. It was still a good deal for $6.81 total. On my way home I stopped at the 16 Acres Garden Center to ask questions about lilacs, but they didn't seem to know much about them.

Antique Roadshow last night had a guy on who collected music posters from the 1960's. The appraiser was Gary Sohmers of Wex Rex Collectibles in Framingham. He told the guy his Rolling Stones poster was worth $4,000, a Grateful Dead poster was worth $300 and a psychedelic poster was worth $400. They also had postcards of rock stars that were worth $15 each. He appraised the entire collection at $15,000. I'd like to catch a rerun of that show. The mail didn't come until late in the afternoon. Cynthia Sommer sent me a petition to circulate for more library hours saying, "Thank you for helping the citizens of Springfield, especially the children, obtain the level of service they need." I wonder why the Powells didn't send me petitions to circulate, knowing my interest in the libraries? Once again Sheila McElwaine never got back to me.

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Albano's fundraiser circular shows a picture of him being sworn into his first term by Judge Cooley, with his hand on a thin horizontal book which couldn't possibly have been a Bible. The Albano Committee is currently headquartered at 95 State Street, Suite 1028. Eamon called but there was a lot of static on my line. He said Nader the Hatter is expected back in town on the 24th. John Y. Hess, Chairman of the East Longmeadow Historical Commission, has an angry letter in The Reminder denouncing plans for the Springfield Day Nursery to demolish the Norcross House, the summer home of J. Franklin Norcross, who established several quarries of East Longmeadow's famous brownstone.

July 11, 2001

Overcast, mild, 70 degrees at 6:45am.

Gardner J. LePoer is the Executive Director of The Printing Museum in North Andover. Attempts are being made to remove water chestnuts that are clogging the Oxbow in Northampton. Winnebago motor homes may be purchased at the Diamond RV Center in Hatfield. In 1986 Springfield Community Development Commissioner James O'Connell published The Inside Guide to Springfield and the Pioneer Valley as part of the 350th birthday celebration of Springfield. The cover was designed by Larry Slezak, art professor at Springfield Technical Community College. Carlo Marchetti was Executive Director of Springfield Central in 1986 and Richard E. Neal was Mayor.

Today I left at 11:20 and drove all the way to Mason Square without hitting a single red light, something that doesn't happen very often. Someone was trimming Billy Beldon's hedge. I parked on Salem and walked down to the free City Block concert held in the area between Sovereign Bank and Tilly's. There were City Block concert posters sticking out of the flower planters and pretty flowers in front of Monarch Palace. I noticed that the windows of the old Johnson's Bookstore are papered over, but you can still see "Johnson's Since 1893" written in gold at the bottom of the right window. The band was The Fiddlesticks, consisting of Zoe Darrow, a young woman who plays country fiddle very well, and two young fellows, one on keyboards and the other on an assortment of guitars. Irish and Scottish music is their specialty and they started fifteen minutes early at 11:45. There was no singing, the entire concert was instrumental.

There were lots of white and green patio chairs set up and a nice breeze. TV40 was there as well as Chelsea Sobel from TV22. Union-News critic Clifton Noble was there with his ponytail and shorts, but no Albano, no Matt, no Burke. City Councilor Dominic Sarno was present and said hello to me. I saw no vendor carts other than the hot dog stand on the corner of Main by the Bank of Boston building, which still charges a dollar for a hot dog. Tilly's still had signs up from their June 29th Grand Re-opening, so I went inside and saw that they have new paneling and a collection of old beer cans behind plexiglass. There are a few framed photos of downtown. They have a central bar, KENO games and free lightly buttered popcorn. Outside they had three umbrellas with Coors and Bud Lite logos on them and about twelve tables set up. Their special of the day was a cheeseburger and soda for five bucks. I took a new Valley Advocate from a pile just inside the door.

It remained beautiful, cool and shady until around 12:45 when the sun began to creep around the building and I found myself sitting in the hot sun. At one point chubby Mr. Turin spoke wearing a peacock feathered tie and yellow shirt, thanking us for coming and describing the concert series as offering "top flight entertainment with Parisian seating." In all I would say about 120 people were in attendance and the whole event was entirely satisfactory. As the crowd departed I saw Turin heading toward Tilly's so I told him I thought the event was splendid and he looked pleased.

Outside Tilly's I saw two guys sitting under the umbrellas eating beautiful looking grinders. I asked them where they got them and they said at Milano's on Main Street on the right hand side about a block beyond the Red Rose. As I was walking down Main Street, I passed Carlo Marchetti, who once hissed at me in my biker jacket years ago when he saw me by Johnson's Bookstore. He was wearing a white shirt as always and simply stared at me so I stared right back. He hasn't been heard of much during the Albano years, but in his Springfield Central days he was very prominent. I heard that he was a backroom participant in putting together the new master plan.

When I got to Milano's I bought a sub, then returned to the scene of the concert where they were dismantling the equipment. I sat down, opened my grinder and wow, it was stuffed with ham and cheese, lettuce and tomato. It had enough stuffing to fill three Subway grinders. I am glad to discover this new place, a perfect example of the hard working little shop giving better value than the national chain. When I got back to Salem I saw that a silver Toyota had pulled right up to my rear bumper, license plate 3952KH. I saw one of those fake antique trolly buses go by. It was completely empty.

Mail came on time, included a box from Hein with a copy of their reprint of my copy of The Trial of Queen Caroline. Eamon called but we couldn't talk long because there was so much static on the line. Eamon said he drove past the Hippodrome/Paramount last night and there was a long line standing on the sidewalk waiting to get in to see boxing. After he hung up I called Verizon and they said they would send someone to see what is wrong with my phone. A half hour later, Jim Stoddard the telephone man came. He said he is originally from Sturbridge and used to be a history teacher. He claimed that working for the phone company pays more and is less stressful. Jim diagnosed the problem as branches leaning against the wire, so he trimmed them and took the branches away in his truck. Now my phone works fine.

The Valley Advocate has a short piece piece by Maureen Turner about fears in some quarters that Mayor Albano will be indicted before the election, possibly resulting in someone not loyal to the local political machine being elected. To avoid that, some are speculating that a candidate will enter the race that can be trusted in case Albano goes down, perhaps someone from the Neal camp like Tim Rooke or even Melinda Phelps. We shall see.

July 13, 2001

Lovely day, sunny and 67 degrees at 6:45am.

Milton Berle is 93 today. Bill Cosby is 64. China will host the 2008 Summer Olympics. Meagan O'Malley is the assistant to Barbara Lucia at the Bank of Western Mass. The grad students at UMass are trying to organize a union. Trinity Lutheran Church is being spruced up with work on the doors and the cement in front. The 104th Italian festival starts in the South End tonight. Mother took Synthroid for years, and the news said it's the third most prescribed drug in America. Now it is being phased out over concerns it is not safe.

I called and spoke with Rosanna at the Hampden District Medical Society and she said Dr. William Byrnes has retired and she can't divulge his address. Called the lady artist D.P. Larson, who lives at 212 Birchland, and she said she goes to Foster Memorial and would like to come visit on July 20th. She said she used to go horseback riding in the Acres by where United Bank is now. She said the 16 Acres Inn was closed at the time she remembers it, but she heard that it had a reputation for being "a red light district" and "very disreputable." That's more than what others have told me, so I'm slowly acquiring some information and will ask her for more when she comes.

30,000 Indian Motocycles were shipped to England and Australia during World War II. Indian is a racist name for a motorcycle. Shouldn't it be Native American Motorcycle? In 1983 Stage West's resident artist Jeff Struckman drew art on the hallway walls of 43 Chestnut Street. Mr. J.W. Simpkin was the Director of Personnel at Smith College in Northampton in 1983. I renewed my real estate license for the last time in 1985. TV22 calls itself the "only station that gives you breaking news first" but they rarely have live coverage.

For supper tonight I had a Swanson Boneless White Meat Chicken Dinner. For lunch I had Campbell's Mushroom Soup and two grilled cheese sandwiches. Eamon called and said his neighbor Moore is having a tag sale Saturday. Moore and some friends got together Friday and played musical instruments while Eamon sang. Moore also collect Civil War antiques and recently went down to Gettysburg. At one point in our conversation, Eamon recalled how he went on a field trip to Barney's Mansion in Forest Park when he was a student at Glenwood Elementary. Eamon said that his friend Charlie Triber, injured in a car crash, is now well enough to put vinyl siding on his house, but joked that he is afraid Francis Gagnon will come by and make trouble for him. He told Eamon he hates her and considers her a fraud. Eamon has a new phone editorial attacking teacher's unions for standing in the way of educational reform. He said he received 45 calls in the first two hours after he put it up.

The State Senate has overridden Governor Swift's veto of the money for remodeling the Civic Center, prompting Hurwitz to tell the media he's holding a party. Remodeling won't change the fact that Boston's Civic Center is number one, Hartford's is number two, the Mullens Center is number three and Springfield is number four. Drew Bailey on TV22 said the newly refurbished Civic Center would "steal business away from other northeastern Civic Centers" and allow the Springfield Civic Center "to recapture its old glory." Ms. Bailey is too young to realize that the Civic Center was, to quote Eamon, "a deficit-ridden white elephant from the day it was built." It never had any glory days to recapture, and with Adrien's Landing in Hartford and Civic Centers in Amherst, Boston, Providence and Albany, there will be too much competition for the Springfield Civic Center to have any hope of succeeding.

July 15, 2001

Beautiful morning, 65 degrees at 7am. Pink and red gerania in bloom. I saw a Monarch butterfly fluttering around the backyard.

Colby College is in Waterville, Maine. Donna M. McCabe is President of the Worcester County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Orchard Children's Corner is located in the Orchard Center Plaza and the Montessori Children's Corner is on Rte. 83 in East Longmeadow. The Caribbean American African Athletic Social Club will hold their annual carnival at Blunt Park in August. John L. Noonan lives at 192 Birchland. Mayor Albano is quoted in the Union-News as saying, "I'm a liberal, I believe in government."

A police cruiser is often parked in the driveway of 403 Sunrise Terrace. Sundays are a good day to shop at Angelo's because they always put out a good spread of produce to sell to those getting out of Mass at Our Lady of Sacred Heart across the street. Dined on Healthy Choice Mandarin Chicken Medley tonight. I called Eugene Povirk at Southpaw and he said he has some books to recommend for my radical poetry collection. Fran Gagnon has an article in the Springfield Journal on James August Rumrill, who endowed the musical collection at the Quad and whose picture hangs in Wellman Hall. The Springfield Journal has changed its motto from "That Nice Little Paper" to "Preserving Culture, Building Our Future."

Last evening there was a commercial where a woman says, "My mother was injured in a nursing home accident," followed by a voice asking, "Who ya gonna call?" The answer: "Call Frank Saia." The Starr Gallery of Watercolors in the Museum of Fine Arts at the Quadrangle was dedicated in 1999. David Starr has been on the Quad board of trustees for decades and his wife Peggy is a longtime watercolorist who has been chairwoman of the Arts Collection Committee since 1996. David Starr began his newspaper career in 1939 as a copy boy at the Long Island Press. He arrived in Springfield in 1977 and became active in economic revitalization and cultural efforts in the city. Among those attending the dedication was Dr. Paul Friedmann of Longmeadow, Helen Fuller of Wilbraham, Judge Eileen Griffin and Francis and Victor Gagnon of Springfield.

This morning a little girl called from the residence of Angela L. Sowa asking, "Is Anthony there?" Joe Iozzo of the phone company came by to check if my phone is still okay. He said he went to school for economics but couldn't find work in the field so he went with the phone company. I made it clear that Jim Stoddard had given me excellent service, but there was still a little static on the line. Iozzo went outside and climbed the pole and the problem was with a wire in the box. While he was working the Ciantras came by on their morning walk. Before he left Iozzo had me try the phone and it was crystal clear.

Once he left I tried to go out myself, but the electric door on the garage wouldn't work because the battery was dead. I opened it by hand and then drove out to Walgreens to buy batteries. From there I headed over to the tag sale next to Cal's Variety behind Eamon's. Verdi's Falstaff was on the radio on the drive over. Moore's large garage is impeccably tidy with every tool in its place and not a speck of dirt, sort of like Uncle Manuel's machine shop. The tag sale was somewhat remarkable, no junk, all stuff you could see someone might want to buy. I bought several counterculture items, then I went over to Eamon's to drop off some documents.

Eamon recalled how he used to go to boxing matches at the Valley Arena years ago. He said there was lots of smoking and drinking going on in "a very unwholesome environment." Eamon also recalled how Eddie Boland used to live at the Stonehaven before he got married. They had a nice swimming pool. He remembered how Albert Steiger used to go to the YMCA nearby. Steiger once told Eamon that when they were struggling financially the city never offered them any assistance, while money was handed out to the politically connected. Eamon always praises James Grimaldi for having been the only public official to correctly predict that the Springfield Civic Center would be a failure. Eamon then recalled that Matty Ryan won his first D.A. race against six contenders with the help of Joe Napolitan and with Tommy O'Connor's brother as his campaign manager.

After Eamon's, I stopped at the Liberty Street Burger King for croissants, then stopped by Stop&Shop for the specials. Some things were cheaper than at the Boston Road Stop&Shop. I got a dozen jelly donuts for 99 cents and a container of bing cherries for 59 cents. Milk has jumped another dime to $1.79. On the way back I stopped at Mrs. Staniski's, who was just sitting down to eat a pork chop. I left her some reading material and left promptly, saying I didn't want her lunch to get cold. Back on Boston Road I saw Tom Devine sitting and talking with Doyle the Twig Painter. As always, Doyle was sitting with his back to the street, umbrella overhead, his paints to his right.

July 16, 2001

Sunny, clear, lovely. 71 degrees at 1:55pm. Gas is $1.51 at Breckwood.

Your Home is Your Castle.

Hope Alswang is President of the Shelburne Museum in Vermont. Atty. Charlie A. Maglieri is in the Enfield/Windsor directory. The Leavitt Corporation in Everett, Massachusetts makes River Queen brand peanuts. The Indian Motocycle Museum is at 33 Hendee Street in Springfield. Jimmy Gibson, a work friend of Father's, has died at age 78. He was vice-president for premiums and commissions at Monarch Insurance and was a member of the first graduating class of Western New England College in 1952.

I called Hurwitz at the Civic Center today and congratulated him on getting money for the renovations. I told him I was disappointed that it wouldn't have a larger seating capacity and predicted it will still be hard to compete with the Mullins Center in Amherst. Hurwitz politely said he doesn't always agree with me and then very articulately set forth his views. He said that the only way to get more seats would be to build it higher which would be too expensive. He claimed that adding two or three thousand more seats wouldn't make that much of a difference competitively. He said that the Meadows has over 25,000 seats and there is no way they can compete with that for the biggest acts. He said, "Springfield is not top tier, we're second tier," but things are better than in the past when "Springfield and Holyoke were not talking to each other and Northampton wasn't talking to anybody." Now they are working more regionally.

Hurwitz insisted that while "we'll never be a top convention city like Boston or Chicago" the Civic Center still helps the city with the spin-off from events like the Falcons hockey games. I mentioned how some critics have suggested that it is a conflict of interest for Peter Picknelly of Peter Pan buses to be on the convention board, but Hurwitz said "Peter Picknelly has a lot less influence in Boston than he does around here" and described Picknelly as "just one member on a pretty large board." That ended our conversation and we wished each other a good day. I then called Rev. M. Goad and congratulated her on her new pastorate and said she did a wonderful job at Trinity. She hung up in my ear.

Headed downtown today and parked on Eliot in front of number 96, one of those houses with a tall system of ornamental wooden and iron porches, ivory with green trim, where a distinguished looking man with a moustache was watering with an avocado colored watering can the short hedge that runs along the sidewalk. An oval plaque says the house was built in 1870. A sign on the long Victorian structure across the street says it was erected in 1887. That means that for 17 years the people in the 1870 structure could sit on their ornate porch and have a view of the front lawn of the Springfield Armory. At 44 Mattoon they are now restoring the cement foundation of the steps and bannisters. They have finished the stone work on numbers 27 and 29.

The Johnson's Bookstore building has a sign in the window saying that it is FOR SALE by CB Richard Ellis. It also lists the names John Williamson and John Reed. The entryway tile still says Johnson's Bookstore. The entranceway to the Westfield Savings building is a mess, it looks awful for a Main Street building. A white Indian Motocycle van from Riverside, California was parked in front of Sovereign Bank with the years 1901-1953 painted on it. There was a woman on Court Square tossing bread to the pigeons. I found some legal papers dumped in a Court Square trash can, there was a lot of litter around and the trash can was overflowing.

The Carmela Flower Shop at 770 had a sign in the window listing their hours. I was surprised to find a nice, navy blue milk crate sitting on Main Street and I took it. It was from the Marcus Dairy in Danbury. A Chinese operated clothing store next to Tony's Barber Shop had a Black Family Day poster in the window and they graciously gave it to me. The Scibelli statue area was a mess after the Italian festival and a city crew was busy cleaning it up. There was a bocce poster in the window of Danielle's Mom & Rico's at 899 Main. At La Fiorintino I bought two fancy pastries for $1.25 each and I ate them in the coffee shop. There were men standing around talking about golf. The restrooms were immaculate, equal to Mother's standards, but that's the way their establishment is. On my way out I told the guy at the counter, "You've got a clean place here."

On my way back a fake trolly went by Dwight and State with no riders on it. I stopped and got two posters by the old Friendly's on State Street. After parking on Mass Avenue I walked to the AIC Shea Library to look at their Cambridge Bibliography. I wanted to see what it said about my new rare book, J.A. Purves The Law and Lawyers Laid Open (1737). I found half the shelves bare so I asked Young the new reference librarian with a degree from Rhode Island to help me. She pecked around on the computer, but just couldn't find the volumes anywhere. We went to the office of the head librarian and she went in and closed the door.

After about ten minutes the head librarian came out and said he doesn't know where the books are or what their status is. He explained they have a "space problem" and that even their own English Department members don't use them. He said they have to be "pragmatic and change with the times" and claimed that the kinds of assignments students do these days don't require them. He flattered me by calling me "scholarly" but said I am the only one who ever uses those books. I told him that I have regarded A.I.C. to have the best core collection in the humanities in town and that with the removal of these volumes I consider it the end of the Shea Library as a major scholarly resource. He suggested I see if I can find the volumes thru the interlibrary loan system. As I left I told them to tell Henry Barton that their school library now looks silly without those books.

July 17, 2001

Heavily overcast, 72 degrees at 6:30am.

The Catholics have a plan for surpassing Protestantism - Outfuckus!

The cornerstone of American Democracy has been and always will be an educated electorate. In the morning news Bush wants to overhaul the immigration system and give amnesty to three million Mexicans living here illegally. This I oppose because it rewards dishonesty and punishes the people who were too good to sneak in. Timothy McVeigh is laughing in Hell because ABC News this evening began with Peter Jennings announcing that the FBI has lost dozens of computers with classified information on them. Timothy was a great warrior and patriot who gave his life to expose the FBI as a shabbily run organization and this is simply more evidence that he was right. Katherine Graham has died in Utah. She once said, "The best service a newspaper can do a president is to be his adversary."

WFCR is playing Handel violin sonatas these days. They also had the Iceland Symphony playing the 2nd Suite of The Tempest by Sibelius, there's something you don't always hear. The Pequot Indians have withdrawn their proposal for a $500 million oceanside casino in New London because the Town Council voted against it. Diane M. Way is Director of Sales and Marketing for Shelburne Bay Senior Living Community in Vermont. Adriano Teves is incarcerated at the Bristol County Jail and House of Correction in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Watt & Sylvia have their law offices in New Bedford. Tommie P. Taylor is Elder and Chaplain at Grace Gospel Church in Swansea, Massachusetts. Gerard Martel is the Senior Pastor. Friendly's stock fell to 2.37.

Had raspberries for breakfast. Passing through the Quadrangle on my way back to the car the other day, I saw that they have finished the narrow stone walk from the Quad to the back of the Episcopal parking lot. In the library I took a Summer 1957 edition of Public Opinion Quarterly that they were discarding. I'm currently reading Jim Goad's The Redneck Manifesto: How Hillbillies, Hicks, and White Trash Became America's Scapegoats (1997). It is a remarkable book, well written and correct in many of its cynical observations. United Parcel packages are almost always in a plastic bag, even when sunny. Federal Express packages are never in a plastic bag, even when raining.

I called Eamon and he said he had just spoken with Nader the Hatter who said he is selling one of the condos he owns for $30,000. He told Eamon that three major collectors dominate the antique hat field. Eamon said that Hurwitz from the Civic Center once complemented Eamon's nephew the Springfield Park Commissioner by calling him "a really nice guy." Eamon feels that Hurwitz makes too many decisions based upon the dubious findings of politically connected consultants. Eamon's latest phone editorial congratulates the new Chief of Police in Holyoke for his "outstanding leadership" in cleaning up the streets. He contrasts Chief Scott with "Mayor Albano's figurehead ladies auxiliary Police Chief Paula Meara, who has lacked the courage and leadership to take back Springfield's streets." By praising Scott, a black, Eamon proves that he is not always negative and not a racist.

July 19, 2001

Overcast, 68 degrees at 7am. Raspberries take longer to ripen than blackberries.

Nelson Mandela is 83 today. Former State Rep. Iris Holland has died, she was the Massachusetts State Representative of the 2nd Hampden District for 19 years from 1972-1991. Services are at Ascher Chapel on Sunday. Mr. Richard Kilpatrick, owner of Killas African Latino Barber on Main Street in Springfield, subscribes to Flying Magazine. TV22's Backyard Barbeque tonight was at the home of someone named Denis and City Councilor Dominic Sarno was there as a guest. The had a fish pond, smaller than Kelly's, from which they said a crane ate ten goldfish last year. TV22 had a notice about the free movies at Nathan Bill Park, but nothing about the music at Trinity. The morning TV news often just repeats what we heard the night before. Mother was fond of the old puppet show Kukla, Fran and Ollie.

The less I go out, the less I spend. The more I stay home the more I save. Mowed the lawn except for the side. Nothing beats exercise, sitting down causes problems. Unknown called at 8:50 am. Who are these early morning unknown calls with no voice? Nader the Hatter called and said he will be back in town next week and thinks he will be staying with his brother whose wife died recently. He says he likes living in Florida where today it was 90 degrees. When I told him I had a TV dinner for supper he said he dislikes frozen foods. I called D.P. Larson to see if she wanted to stop by but she said her lawn mowing person is coming. She said she used to mow her own lawn but steel joints implanted in her hips and knees now prevent it. Finally, I called Esther Godek of 16 Greenleaf in Chicopee and she said, "I'm sorry, I don't want to talk to you." So I assume that cancels any obligation I have to follow up with her!

There was a yellow kayak on the old blue car down to the Bradley's. Is the son or former wife visiting? I noticed a DeWolfe for sale sign in front of Camp Wilder in the Acres so I called and got Cynthia Lyons who said they are asking $1.2 million and are "looking for developers." I wonder what the status is of plans by the city to buy it that were in the paper recently? I went downtown to the Bank of Western Mass to meet with Barbara G. Lucia about opening a new CD. Eamon told me once that he lost $4,000 with Lucia after she talked him into buying some hi-tech stocks that later crashed. Then I parked in front of the old Kane's Furniture, where there is an island of free two hour parking. I went to Milano's and got a slice of sausage and pepperoni pizza. I then walked over to the back of Sovereign Bank, where two white guitarists and a black drummer where playing loud rock music. Mr. Turin was talking with a woman in a white blouse most of the time I was there. There were about a hundred people present and both the music and the pizza was good.

Somebody was feeding bread to the pigeons, which also no doubt serves as food for rats. As I left I found a copy of today's Union-News in a trash can at the corner of Main and State. I also got the new Valley Advocate. From there I went to the wake of Monarch executive James S. Gibson. I wore my hood and black jeans. Bruce Brown and Bagwell were there and we chatted. I asked if there were any Fire and Marine people there and they pointed to four old ladies in the second row. I signed the book on behalf of Father and beat it. When I got home I saw that the mail today brought me some info on my approaching eligibility for Social Security.

The Police Union in Holyoke is mad because they were not consulted as required by contract on the hiring of the new Police Chief. Chief Scott said, "As long as I am here there is going to be a lot of pressure on the criminal element and the judges." There is a letter in the paper today by a "Steve Lindsey" that attacks downtown in a way that makes me suspect it was sent by Eamon using a fake name. There was a boxing match downtown recently. Picknelly is encouraging anything people can make bets on and that is perhaps the bottom line problem with Picknelly. Albano's Chief of Staff Anthony M. Ardolino of 253 State Street is pleading innocent to operating under the influence. He drives a 1992 black Pontiac Bonneville. Mayor Albano released a statement calling the incident "unfortunate" and making no further comment. Ardolino's lawyer Peter M. Murphy said he is confident the facts will show that Ardolino was not intoxicated.

July 21, 2001

Lovely day, 68 degrees at 9:30am.

The Leaflet is the journal of The New England Association of Teachers of English. Uncle Ralph Porter was a teacher in some youth correctional facility down in Middletown. Jamie Byng is the aristocratic young publisher of Canongate books. Ambrose Burnside was the most inept general in U.S. history. Did a load of wash and dishes, cleaned house, dined on tossed salad and hotdogs at lunch, a can of ravioli for supper. Kelly has put out a sofa and some cat toys free for the taking. Mrs. Bradley was out mowing the lawn (the old Mrs. Bradley used to mow the lawn too).

The mail was unexciting today, with an appeal from WGBY-TV saying they need about $400,000 by August 31st. Sounds like they're in trouble! I also received the BusinessWest Business Guide. A fire maxim on TV40 - Big fires start small! Chelsea Sobel on TV22 was telling about a ban on smoking outdoors in Braintree. They showed interviews with the locals, most of whom don't think outdoor smoking should be regulated. TV40 was broadcasting from Long Hollow Bison Farm on Route 9 in Hadley, which is having a musical festival featuring the band NRBQ. Which local TV station has the news? Which station is working for me? Which station has breaking news first?

School Superintendent Joe Burke was interviewed by Karen Brown this morning on WFCR. Burke said that 40% of the students in Springfield are Hispanic and they have the lowest test scores and the highest drop-out rates. Teachers need retraining and he said about a third of all students drop-out before graduation. Burke admitted that the first four principals he's hired are all white, but said "the workforce available is primarily white-anglo." Half the high school students failed the MCAS tests but Burke does not want to exempt anyone from the requirement. He said taxpayers have a right to be assured that graduates have met certain standards.

My neighbor Dorothy Parker Larson came over today. She told me she grew up in St. James Methodist Church, which she recalled "had a beautiful stained glass window of Jesus as Shepard. Rev. Leach was the minister. Just before moving to Birchland Avenue she lived at 11 Ashbrook. She also lived on Silver Street near Atwater Park and attended Buckingham. Her late husband, with whom she had a daughter who died, worked as an assistant to the General Manager at Springfield Gas Light. She told me she has no living relatives or heirs. Her father was a plumber. When she went to the High School of Commerce she lived right across the street from the Swedish Methodist Church on Bay Street. Her house at 212 Birchland was built in 1955 by Joe Prugh. Before she bought it the house belonged to William Asp, a plant supervisor at Savage Arms in Westfield. She thinks he is still alive but in a nursing home. She repeated that the 16 Acres Inn "did not have a good reputation" and was considered "a red light district where you could go and sow a few wild oats."

Her passion is for painting, but I have seen her work and it is amateurish. Larson told me that she had a minor incident of vandalism recently, where someone stole some tomatoes from a garden down the street and threw them at her house. She said she thinks the 16 Acres community police officers are wonderful. At one point we looked through the 1920 City Directory. She said that lawyer Jim Buckley was a Faith Church Sunday School teacher who was so popular that the kids never missed his classes. She hadn't heard of John R. Auchter. She used to work for J. Resler Schultz, the Development Director at WNEC who lived in Longmeadow. He helped to raise the money for the first six buildings on campus. I told her I'd never heard that name before. She said she can't believe that WNEC kept Beverly Miller as president as long as they did and said she "heard a lot of funny stories about her." She thinks President Caprio is a fine man.

July 22, 2001

Lovely, 73 degrees at 8am. Today I saw a black swallowtail (yellow rather than orange) flitting across the street.

The Committee for a New England Bibliography was in Burlington, Vermont in 1980. Chester H. Liebs was the Director of the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Vermont in 1980. Harvard Business School Professor Michael E. Porter has pulled out of discussions with the government of Thailand on conducting a survey on the country's competitiveness following press reports that his fee would be $1 million. NBC News says that blacks are 60% more likely than whites to get prostate cancer. Patrick J. Sullivan, nephew of Eamon, is Superintendent of the Parks and Recreation Department. The Vinick Locker Room at the Basketball Hall of Fame is named after the deceased son of James Vinick of WGGB-TV-ABC television.

After the news I watched Fear Factor, the first time I've seen it. Just the thing to relieve the boredom of everyday life. A nice young woman dropped out because she wouldn't eat a worm. Bob of Bob's Discount Furniture is often telling us in TV commercials what bargains he has and claiming the moral and economic high ground. Yet, he offers "the cushy finance rate of 9.99%" while others offer no interest at all for the first year. Omiskanoagwiak is the name of the Indian monument in Forest Park.

Today I dined on a double cheeseburger and fries at the Burger King by Westinghouse. Then I went to ex-rep Iris Holland's funeral. I wasn't sure where the Ascher Memorial Chapel was so I pulled over on Ft. Pleasant to ask a woman sweeping up trimmings from edging her lawn. I was surprised to realize it was Senator Linda Melconian! She smiled and said it's the building on the other side of the church. The funeral parlor is in a former house with a swishy eternity mural lighted to look like stained glass. Holland was in an unopened coffin of wood, probably mahogany. Three banks of folding chairs with Hampden printed on the back were set up in a room that could hold over 200. I counted 150 people present, with Holland's family occupying the first three rows. Everyone in attendance was white except for one black woman.

I signed my full name in the guest book including the III. Bob Magovern, the respectable Republican and perennial candidate for Agawam offices was there and said hello to me. Arthur Zalkan was also there and greeted me as I was leaving. I was in partial uniform, collar, shaved head, biker jacket and dog collar with padlock. Durham Caldwell and his wife were there, but pretended not to notice me so I boldly walked up to them and said, "I suppose we ought to say hi," and he smiled and said hello. Linda Melconian arrived just a minute before it started and sat up front. Congressman Neal was also present but did not speak. I recognized no other politicians, no Albano nor any of the City Councilors.

The ceremony began with the Rabbi reading the 21st Psalm and then he spoke. He said that Holland "lived by her word and truly cared for her family of constituents." He described her as coming from "a family of givers" despite the fact that her father old man Kaufman arrived in America with only $7.50 in his pocket. Once when she was encouraged to accept a higher position in government Iris Holland replied, "I came here to do a job, not get a job." He added that she ran her real estate business with "optimism, industry and love." She had been an invalid for the last years of her life and the Rabbi said "she retained her dignity in the face of indignity" and always greeted visitors with a smile. Rep. Mary Rogeness also spoke and wasn't as long-winded as the Rabbi. Rogeness said that Holland "always responded to every call and letter." At the end her son Donald said he would be entertaining anyone who wanted to come to his home in Longmeadow. When we left there were people talking on the lawn outside, including Richie Neal. There were police cars leading the funeral entourage. On my way home I stopped at an Open House at 101 Regal off Plumtree. It has a steep yard and the house itself shows signs of hard use with some cosmetic restoration.

Eamon called and for some reason seems extremely pleased with the book on poison I lent him. He said he has sent a congratulatory letter to Chief Anthony Scott for the job he is doing in Holyoke. Eamon is also disgusted with the need for roof repairs on Sci-Tech High in the old Monarch building at 1250 State Street because the roof was not inspected when the building was bought. Eamon says his spy Audrey, a school volunteer, told him about a problem with the widespread loss of textbooks in the Springfield schools. The students don't respect the textbooks and they are often damaged or simply lost. But how can you ask a kid whose parents are on welfare to pay for a $60 biology book?

July 24, 2001

87 degrees at 2pm. Gas is $1.48 at Pride. Today was 95 degrees but the hottest on record is 97 in 1987.

The last time I was downtown someone mistook me for a homeless person.

President Bush visited the Pope, who told him he doesn't want embryos used for scientific research. The use of children as soldiers is a worldwide problem. No kid brought up as a soldier is going to want to forsake fighting for booklearning. The YMCA of Greater Springfield is on Chestnut Street and Kathleen Treglia is Executive Director. TV22 really messed up the stock market numbers tonight, as they often do.

Blackberries are really coming in now. Crickets were singing sweetly this evening. Dined light today on a Green Giant Green Bean Casserole, which I don't particularly like but I got it on sale. WFCR today played Mozart's violin Concerto No. 5, the "Judicial." Someone took the cat toys Kelly put out on the curb but not the maroon sofa. I hope that having a kid doesn't cause Kelly to move. Bringing out the dumpster I encountered Brian Simpson getting out of his car. I asked if we are going to see Colleen this year and he said yes. He introduced me to his two little daughters and I said, "How do you do ladies? Glad to meet you." Went to the Acres Big Y for milk and some canned hams on special. I got a really nice Greek Cultural Center Cat Show poster that was hanging by the store's office.

The Armory Street and East Springfield fire stations have been decommissioned and will be replaced by the Raymond M. Sullivan Public Safety building named after Eamon's late brother. Located next to Van Sickle School, it is a lovely building with a lantern on it. The Armory Street building is to be demolished with the tower saved as a memorial. However, the Albano Administration has itchy development fingers and I bet they eventually tear it all down. Jeff Keck, Operations Manager of the Springfield Business Improvement District, was on TV tonight blabbing about downtown. Eamon gave me a copy of the Cecil Group Master Plan for Springfield which at 127 pages comes out to $1,968.50 per page. Unfortunately, it contains no new proposals, although it does have pretty pictures and a good summary of the way things are today.

This morning Unknown called and it rang ten times. Eamon called and said Springfield will be selling $60 million worth of bonds rated Baa3. He is still working on a reply to the insulting letter he received last month from Larry McDermott in which McDermott said, "I'm not sure you would be satisfied with anyone other than yourself in the superintendent's job." We talked about the death of Iris Holland and Eamon recalled how he helped Holland with her first campaign and was once a guest in her living room. He said he went door to door with her in the South End and introduced her to all the Italian voters he knew through singing with the Ravosa Band and others over the years. He told her, "You will never win unless you go door to door." Eamon said the official dedication of the Sullivan Public Safety building will be on the 31st, although it is already in use. He was offered a personal tour but declined. Eamon said that the best fire chief Springfield ever had was someone named Edward Boyle, "a real man's man" but he never got his name on anything.

My caller ID showed that Irene Pelland called and asked, "Is this Storrowtown?" She apologized when I told her she had the wrong number. I called former State Representative Frederick Whitney and he somewhat gruffly told me he was feeding his invalid wife and would call me back later. When he called back an hour later he was much friendlier and said his whole day was mixed up with caring for his wife and running errands. He said his wife is not doing well but her condition is not life threatening. When he mentioned that he still sees Tom Devine from time to time, I told him how Devine told me not to call him anymore, which is fine with me because he was always pestering me for historical and political information. Whitney said he still calls Eamon's phone editorials regularly. He also said the Valley Advocate is doing a wonderful job attacking the Albano Administration. He said he used to go to the old ARISE office sometimes, but has never been to the new one.

I told Whitney about the funeral of Iris K. Holland, and when I said that "Iris was a lady, but her husband Gilbert was no gentleman," he replied, "I can agree with that." Whitney described Iris as "competent and respectable" but not an original thinker. He said that news accounts describing her as as the first woman elected to the legislature from Western Mass are wrong, that a woman from Ward 4 was elected in the 1930's to one term. Whitney claimed that he could take some of the credit for first getting Holland elected in 1972. She was registered as a Democrat at the time because she had crossed over the year before to vote for a friend in the Democratic primary and forgot to switch back. When she turned in her nomination papers filled with all Republican signatures Clerk Metzger told her she couldn't be placed on the ballot because technically she wasn't a Republican. Whitney said that he and Kay Benson of Mountain View Street devised a successful sticker campaign where they focused on woman voters in Longmeadow and urged them to bring along their husbands. Holland lost in the Springfield precincts but carried Longmeadow by a large enough margin to win. Benson was described by Whitney as "a most honorable and decent woman" and claimed they were both equally responsible for Holland's winning campaign.

July 26, 2001

62 degrees and high mist at 7am. Rained most of the morning.

The U.S. has now turned down five international agreements that everyone else has signed. Amnesty International has criticized the U.S.A. for the high proportion of minorities incarcerated by the War on Drugs. Someday we'll get smacked and it will be because we deserve it. The Big Dig expenses are up to $14 billion. The media is calling today's kids Generation D, the digital generation. Vitamin E users are less likely to have prostate trouble. 550 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer everyday and 86 die. My great-grandfather George Manuel Miller (1843-1917) died just four days short of his 74th birthday. Of what?

Only 1,500 of the 3,000 Cat in the Hat license plates have been sold at $70 apiece. Had another Mystic Pizza, they have lots of toppings and a nice crust. The mail brought parcels from Eugene Povirk and from Hamilton. The University of Vermont also sent me a picture of Thomas Day Seymour Bassett (1913-2001). On the TV22 news it was reported that Friendly's second quarter earnings showed improvement. Mayor Albano was on and said his "main priority is public safety because it promotes economic development." He said he's hired 150 cops, but there are still 29,000 warrants outstanding in the city. Public safety might be better served by an aggressive Police Chief like in Holyoke instead of a do-nothing Chief like Paula Meara. The Democrats always want to hire more people and spend more money, but they never address the underlying problem.

The bulk trash pick up carried away Kelly's maroon sofa. I went to Louis&Clark to make some copies and ran into Mrs. Penniman. She cheerfully thanked me for the postcards and Boston Heralds I dropped off. Then I drove over to the Burger King by the old Westinghouse and dined using free coupons. On Page Boulevard I was passed by a grey stretch limo with license plate Bus 90. Who might that be? A Picknelly? Next I swung by Mrs. Staniski's and gave her a postcard of the Rev. J. Wesley Miller (1869-1934) who was a Democrat in the Vermont legislature. She offered me cookies from her freezer but I declined. I went to buy bananas from Angelo's and nothing else. Gas was $1.46 per gallon across the street.

From there I drove to United Cooperative Bank in the Acres, whose sign said 67 degrees at 2:15pm. Then to Mailboxes to make copies, color ones for 79 cents and black and white for 20 cents each, which is fair enough. Then I came through Food Mart where milk is $1.69 and bought some macaroni salad and a ham grinder. The sub was very good, stuffed with ham and cheese. Certainly a better deal than Subway, which put as little in their grinders as possible, yet not as tasty as Milano's, which adds special seasonings. Ate it for supper and was reminded why people eat their big meal at noon so they don't have to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Author Benson Bobrick was on the Lehrer Report talking about his book Wide as the Waters: The Story of the English Bible and the Revolution It Inspired. Puffed up as some sort of new translation of the Bible, it was actually the same old stuff about the church having "interposed itself between the Bible and the reader."

When I got back I called Jan Davis in staffing at East Longmeadow High, who said she will send me an informational packet on substitute teaching. The ad said you didn't have to have a college degree. Why don't they try to get qualified people? Eamon called at 3:47 and we talked until 4:12. He recalled how former Congressman Boland resisted efforts to name the Federal Building on Main Street after him. Eamon feels Armory Street School shouldn't have been named after Boland either. Eamon said he called the newspaper the other day to tell them about the city's low rating on the latest bond sale, but the person he talked to didn't seem to understand what a bond rating means. Today there's a small article in the paper about East Longmeadow having an AAA rating, but nothing about Springfield having a Baa3 near junk bond rating.

July 27, 2001

Beautiful day, 66 degrees at 8:30am. Gas is $1.45 per gallon at Pride.

God is absurd, as well as boring.

WFCR said today that 79% of the Egyptian people consider the Israeli-Palestinian issue to be their number one concern. This is the 40th anniversary of the founding of WFCR by Gilbert Mottla and Horace Hewlett. Steven H. Miller is the Executive Director of the Bennington Museum in Vermont. Gainor B. Davis is Director and CEO of the Vermont Historical Society Museum. Lympus is the teensie village Mother came from within Bethel, Vermont. It is projects like the Big Dig and Springfield Civic Center that makes the Massachusetts economy worse than it has to be.

Cooking a ham over the weekend. Unknown rang 15 times. Nader the Hatter is in town and is selling off the remnants of his family's hat business that he has stored in Indian Orchard. I have been passing out my new postcards of Grandfather Miller. Somebody should made a postcard of John Boyle O'Reilly. I have 1,500 Springfield postcards, the 2nd best collection in existence. In the Valley Advocate this week is Summerfest Northampton with the Advocate 2001 Yearbook inside, a glitzy tabloid of valley restaurants. Newsman Sy Becker was on TV running a list of the worst movies of all time. My personal choice came in #2 with The Blair Witch Project, but Sy gave #1 to a film I've never seen or ever thought of going to - Battlefield Earth. When I left today somebody was driving down the street chucking Republican Extras in lilac bags out the window to fall where they may, not hanging them on mailbox hooks or even landing on the lawns.

Went to the Goodwill the other day, they have made more space for housewares but their book department is down to nothing. Today I decided to go downtown to the Puerto Rican Festival because it was so mild out. On the way there I stopped by the new Tourist Information Center but it was closed. Architecturally it reminds me of a White Hut burger joint. The Festival was held at Court Square, and I would say it was better organized with more booths than the events put on by Judy Matt. Certainly it was better attended than the Taste of Springfield or the Italian Festival. I picked up a lot of street literature, you can tell an event is well managed if it attracts a lot of different information dispensers. The Pioneer Valley Project was there campaigning for a more library hours referendum. I saw Bob Powell so I asked about the t-shirts they were selling and he said they were $15. I gave him a twenty and said keep the change. I got a nice raspberry colored shirt that says MORE LIBRARY HOURS.

There was a Budweiser booth and lots of food booths and souvenir vendors. I watched three little boys playing with balloons, another kid had a red airplane on a stick. One child had a blue fish and one had a clear plastic butterfly with a paisley design. A kid had a ball made of multicolored segments which collapsed into a star when it hit the ground, but turned back into a ball when you tossed it in the air. It was far superior to the red airplane or the blue fish. There were people carrying Puerto Rican flags and lots of cars had Puerto Rican stickers on them. One booth was selling Pina Coladas sold in real hollowed out pineapples with a cherry on top.

In front of City Hall was a small carnival of rides and games. Baystate Medical had a booth, as did the law firm of Roden & Casavant, which has offices at 115 State Street. The Farm Worker's Council had a table, and people were dancing to music in front of the Civic Center. There was a good crowd of about 800 people while I was there. It was mostly Hispanic, but with some blacks and very few whites. One jet black man was wearing a t-shirt that said "100% Puerto Rican." The event appeared to be a great success.

I started walking down Main towards the Arch and counted only 11 people at the tables outside Gus & Paul's. Over by the former Pizzario Uno a band was playing and there were about 75 people sitting outside. I looked into the gay bar Friends, but there were only a dozen customers, two women kissing at a table and the rest were men. The outside of The Pub has been completely jazzed up with a decorative wood facade. Around back the old Pub electric sign was unlighted. Inside it remains unchanged, the mine shaft was closed. David's has been renamed Club Taboo, but was closed when I went by at 8:40pm. Looking through the door window I could see that it is still the most modern and sophisticated of Springfield's gay bars.

Along Worthington Arte Pasta seems to be doing well, the Pour House was only half full. Auntie Em's had a band setting up but only ten customers. I went to the Judge's Chambers, but there was only one customer at the bar and the bartender. I commented on the lack of customers and the bartender said, "Later the place will be packed, you'll see." The television had a bust of Michelangelo's David sitting on top of it. I left and went home, having seen no one all evening whom I knew or wanted to know.

July 28, 2001

Beautiful, mild day. 63 degrees at 7:30am.

Law school maxim: Don't just sit there, do something!

Boredom often motivates people to act. Teaching is babysitting. Babysitting is entertainment, so teachers are entertainers. The reason most teachers fail is because they fail to entertain. When books were all there was, teachers could be stuffy. No more. First came the radio and movies, which exposed students to wider speakers and personalities to challenge academic orthodoxy. Then came television and the lid was off and entertainment was it. Public television has maintained a level of professionalism in their shows, but even they have a sentimental construction not fully objective in tone and import. With the internet, indeed all coherence is gone and teachers will soon be obsolete as they shrink into the role of a narrative overvoice.

I went to Northampton today and I am glad I did because it brought me back to life after Friday night in downtown Springfield, which was depressing in a variety of ways. I decided to drive up in part because I was enticed by this week's Valley Advocate to check out their Summerfest, which is an event I have never attended before. It was a wonderful morning and event in every way. The parking is cheaper in Northampton than in Springfield, which has nothing, whereas Northampton has everything and the parking is very convenient. Arriving at 9:30am I fed six quarters into the machine and got a ticket good for ten hours of parking.

I was in the most remote lot, the one by the railroad station, so I walked around the station which is fully restored and has a Spaghetti Freddy franchise. I went over to the little Chamber of Commerce building, a cute structure and somewhat crowded inside. A young woman offered to assist me, but I thanked her saying I'd help myself to the brochures. I did ask her for directions to the shop Primitive Leather and she pointed the way. On my way there, I discovered a wonderful bookstore, Half Moon Books, so I poked around in there. I bought Jameson's Legends of the Madonna (1890) for $30 and I noticed when I got home it had an oval Boston Atheneum stamp on the title page. Is it a stolen book? Next I headed to the leather shop where the proprietor H. Smith greeted me jovially. It is a small shop with a rack of Leatherman Magazines. They had leather jock straps, which I've never seen before, as well as hoods, harnesses, whips and gags such as they sell down in Enfield.

Then I went through the town, swiping posters all the way. A few weeks ago I found event posters taped on the metal ends of bookshelves at the A.I.C. Shea Library. Never before had I seen posters posted on library bookcases, but they are as good a "pole" as any. Today I discovered another emerging postering place. There are now a number of free periodicals which are distributed through metal or plastic newspaper boxes, with a copy of the latest issue displayed through a windowed door on the front. If you want a copy, you open the door and there is a pile of the publication inside. The copy displayed in the window is held firmly in place by a lateral support at its back. Posterers are now taking their poster or handbill and displaying it in the window instead of the publication! I found this in several places with different posters and publications in Northampton today.

What a beautiful event Summerfest is! There were lots of nice merchandise laid out on the sidewalk with lots of people eating outside. In front of Smith Charities there was a very good spread of ephemera and antiques. Then I went into Silverscape jewelry, where a memorial picture of the founder was hanging in the entryway. It is a magnificent former art deco bank with a steel vault. Then I walked across the street to the Hotel Northampton where there was some kind of convention underway and people drinking cocktails. There was a couple kissing on the front porch. Up by the old courthouse the Valley Advocate had a booth set up, manned by two kids I didn't know named Tom and Dan. I thanked them for all their new coverage of the problems in Springfield and they replied that they would write more about Springfield, but they have to cover other towns as well. I asked how they like their new owners and they said they don't hear much from them. I asked about Maureen Turner and they said she got married last month, but when I pressed them for more info they changed the subject.

Next door in the ally beside the courthouse was a wonderful Farmer's Market that I recall Belle-Rita Novack once told me about. When I got to Thornes Market there were so many people inside you had to walk sideways to let people get by. A pub on Pleasant Street is called Ye Ol Watering Hole and it advertises a beer can museum. Is that where Tilly's got the idea? Also on Pleasant Street is the Western Mass Legal Services. In front of the courthouse Frances Crowe was leading a group of protestors against the economic sanctions on Iraq. There were a few political tables, including a population control group from Maple Street in Springfield. How come they weren't at the Puerto Rican festival? There was also a table of petitions to save Old Main at Northampton State Hospital. Both Grandfather and Grandmother Miller were once attendants there. In those days it was thought that beautiful scenery could cure insanity and the area surrounding the hospital is indeed beautiful.

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is running a development office out of a storefront along Main Street. I went in and spoke with Nick Clark, an alumnus of Harvard and Delaware, and we had a nice conversation. I don't know Eric Carle's work very well, but he is the clown who did the drawings for the The Magic Flute that I thought were a mess. I heard David Starr had something to do with him getting the commission for that. I went to the Raven Bookstore where the lady at the counter told me she did the design for the store's bookmarks and also for the Book Mill in Montague. I asked her if I could have the Book Mill poster sort of falling down in their window but she said no. There were children's games underway next to the Academy of Music and a sign pointed to a booksale in the basement of the Unitarian Church. I didn't go inside although I've been there before. I saw a Kiwanis meeting bell I would have bought but the guy running the booth was nowhere to be found. If you have a booth you should be tending it.

The cost of printing my new Grandfather Miller postcard was $77. Hungry Hill Magazine Editor Frank Faulkner is teaching a course on the Irish Diaspora at American International College. Al Smith called today for TV57 begging for money but I told him I have already given $250 this year. Eamon called and I told him of my Northampton adventure and he recalled how he and John Connolly used to drink a lot at Fitzwilly's years ago. Eamon also complained that Stuart J. Hurwitz is a public employee managing the Civic Center, yet also has business interests downtown, which raises issues of conflict of interest.

July 31, 2001

Beautiful out, sunny and 73 degrees at 11am.

I got the idea of keeping this diary from the example of my Grandfather Miller. Holyoke carpenter Gerald E. Gula has died at age 96. There are 68,000 Americans over 100 years old, in 1990 there were only 43,000. Canada has approved marijuana for medical use. Waterbury Mayor Giordano is in a lot of trouble for having sex with a minor. TV40 anchor Beth Carroll is back from a two week honeymoon with her husband Chuck. The news had a commercial for the Barney Carriage House but the background music was too loud. They also showed the skateboard park opening at Greenleaf in the Acres and it looks good. The street opposite the 16 Acres Garden Center has been cleared of all the oak trees, clearing the land for building lots.

Went to bed around 3:30am. The lights were on late over at Kelly's. I picked a quart of blackberries this morning. WFCR played Bach's Wedding Cantata which they described as "the coming of spring upon winter." I laundered the bedspread covering the piano, which has been gathering dust for years. It is raspberry and used to be on my parent's bed, it cleaned up decently. Went to Angelo's Fruit Mart where I bought two large melons and then next door to Arnold's where I bought three lovely donuts. At Angelo's a young woman admired my doggie collar saying, "I love it, it's way cool!" There were a lot of city cars parked by Our Lady of Sacred Heart for a funeral. I found out later the funeral was for Daniel P. O'Sullivan, no relative of Eamon's.

Then I drove to Food Mart where the car in front of me had a "What Would Jesus Do?" and a Bangor Seminary sticker. I bought some blueberries at Food Mart, they are on special this week. Yesterday I tried to call the City Collector's Office at the number on my tax bill but no one answered. so I drove downtown today and parked on Eliot. I walked down to City Hall and paid my taxes for the first and second quarter. Then I left off some material for Mayor Albano with his aide Candice Lopes. I also stopped by the City Treasurer's Office for a prospectus on the latest bond offering. As I was leaving William Foley passed me in the hall and said hello. Outside, I looked behind the Sovereign Bank but there was no concert, just eight people sitting on the benches eating or reading and about a half dozen people walking by. So this then is the population of the area when no music is playing. On my way home, I swung over to the X Farmer's Market and gave Belle-Rita Novak some reading material. Roy Scott was there and greeted me, he always has such a bright smile.

Nader the Hatter came over today and I gave him some blackberries. Nader looks good, and said he had to leave his car in Florida because flying was a lot faster and cheaper than driving. He intends to stay in the area until the beginning of September. Nader wants to sell the memorabilia from his family's historic hat business so that he can close down the space in Indian Orchard that costs him $300 per month. He vowed he will never return to the hatting business. He asked if I knew any good dealers so I gave him info on Povirk, Whatley/Smith and Oinonen Book Auctions in Sunderland. Nader told me that it seems like "everybody in Florida is Jewish." I asked him if he'd seen the article in the paper about Israel today but he said his sister doesn't get the Union-News. Nader said that the return of Sharon in Israel guarantees that there will be no peace with the Palestinians.

I was surprised to see in the paper that a riot occurred at the Puerto Rican Festival after I left. Officer William Noonan was on TV complaining that they had to devote so much manpower to the festival that coverage was spread too thin over the rest of the city. Apparently there was a lot of drinking and drug taking and there were disturbances around the trolly barn replica across from the bus station. The drunk driving trial of Mayor Albano's Chief of Staff Anthony Ardolino was today. He was acquitted of the drunken driving charge, his lawyer convinced the court that there was no evidence of him actually being intoxicated.

Eamon called and said he went to Stop&Shop today for some hot Italian sausages which he had with a can of Budweiser. He said while in the supermarket he ran into Michael Carney, who he hasn't seen for years. Born in the Blaskett Islands, he taught courses in Gaelic and helped Irish immigrants get their citizenship. Carney said he was downtown during the Puerto Rican Festival and "the rioting was a lot worse than what's being reported in the Union-News." He said fights were breaking out all over the place. I told him I left around 9pm so I missed all the excitement. Eamon said there are rumors circulating that Chief Paula Meara is a lesbian. He also accused city Health Commissioner Helen R. Caulton of being a token affirmative action hire.

There was a letter in the paper yesterday that was critical of the Springfield School System and Eamon said he's "amazed it got printed." Art Gingras is on vacation in Maine. Eamon says he knows one of the people Joe Burke is appointing to his top staff, she is the daughter of Dr. Charles Gadaire, a science professor at AIC whom Eamon said was humorous and entertaining. He said every time someone tries to implement higher standards for the teachers and students the teacher's union are adamantly opposed because they do not want to be held accountable for their inferior educational product. In his latest phone editorial, Eamon claims that Springfield's underlying problem is that it is "a welfare subsidized city wallowing in government funny money with profiting mediocrities in overpriced jobs" with no supervision or accountability. He said the Title One, bilingual education and special education programs in our schools are not cost effective, "spending a fortune with only minimal results." He claims the taxpayers are being "short changed and ripped off."