Friday, October 30, 2009

Who's The Man?

I'm a little bit behind with the news about Governor Patrick visiting Jackson Street School, but I just go this picture last night. Sure does look like everyone's having a good time. My younger son is the one just to the right of the governor, the one with the devilish smile.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Election Musings

I listened to the Bill Dwight show this morning and he did a good job of summing up what this whole election season has been about. "This whole election is about hurt feelings," he said. And he's right. We've heard a lot about the need for "change" and "transparency" and "openness," but I think what that really boils down to is that a lot of people are hurt because Mayor Higgins doesn't agree with them. So they've flocked to a candidate who promises to listen and to study issues carefully and to gather people together to examine things. What I don't see in that sentiment, however, is a plan for getting things done. Let's face it, whoever the next mayor is, there will still be potholes on the streets, solid waste to deal with, a difficult economy, eye-popping class sizes, and the specter of even deeper state budget cuts. And you can be damn sure that the next mayor will raise property taxes as much as he or she is allowed to by law. In other words, there's a lot that needs to be done, and I just don't think that Michael Bardsley has presented a coherent plan for how he's going to get things done. Take the landfill, for example. I've heard the question posed to him at least 3 times: what will he do with the landfill? His response, let's see how we can reduce waste and then see what happens. I don't want the landfill to expand, but in the light of no viable alternatives, what are our options? I don't think waiting and hoping is the way to go.

And let me also say that I find it ironic that the candidate who's promising transparency and openness crows on his website about how a "majority" of Northampton voters "sent a strong message for change in city government" when they made him top vote getter in the primary. About 20% of registered voters participated in the primary. Bardsley did get the most votes, but he got roughly the same amount of votes that Gene Tacy got in the 2007 election. Using Bardsley's logic, Tacy should be the mayor right now. Yes, this could be politics as usual, but this is the guy who's supposed to be above all that.

I'm glad the election is in a only a few days because all of the electioneering going on around town has just about worn me down. I'll be drawing the line for Clare Higgins.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Changing Priorities

I suppose it's something not exclusive to Northampton and environs, but ever since I've moved here, I've noticed the creative use of slightly modified road signs to promote various agendas. There's the one on the bike path in Florence, that I always kick myself for not having a camera on me when I run by, that has "Developing" spray painted on it, so that now it says "Stop Developing." Don't really know what that means, but whatever. For the longest time there was the Do Not Pass sign on Prospect Street in front of Childs Park that someone had modified to read "Do Ass." Heh.

Then there's this sign at the intersection of Summer and Prospect Streets. I finally managed to stop and take a picture of it.

What's interesting about this sign is that someone put the bumper sticker over a spray painted modification that someone else had already made; if you look closely, you can see the faded "War" there, so it once said Stop War. Certainly a noble sentiment. But what the heck, Stop Listening to Awful Music is important, too.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Greatest Halloween Costume

If someone shows up at my door wearing this, I'll give them all the candy I have.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


The English language has over a million words in it, and new words are being added all the time. English has more words in it than the total number of words in French and German combined. I like the fact that While the sheer volume of words might make it difficult for those studying for spelling bees or the SATs, it also means that you can usually find the right word to precisely define something. Or, alternatively, something happens that causes you realize immediately what a word really means. Today someone snarled at me, the first time I think that's happened, and I instantly said to myself, "Now THAT'S a snarl."

I was running towards Northampton on the bike path when I crossed Hatfield Street. As I approached the intersection, I looked right and saw no cars coming. I looked left and noticed a light-colored Subaru Forester heading in my direction, but the car was far enough away that I could safely enter the crosswalk. Yes, I knew the car would have to slow down a bit, but it wouldn't be a big deal. I mean, that's what crosswalks are for, right? So I held up my hand in appreciation/acknowledgment and headed across the street.

Then I noticed that the Forester wasn't slowing down. I looked up at the driver and saw his angry face and his middle finger. I've recreated the scene below.

I should note that the driver of the Forester was not wearing a tie. Nor was he as good-looking as I am. And I don't think that I quite captured the essence of his snarl. But when I looked up and saw that, all I could do was laugh; obviously, this guy has some issues. Anyone ever hear of the word rageholic?

Friday, October 2, 2009

My Son Could Be A Genius But He Watches Too Much Television

My wife was driving our two sons home from school the other day when she heard our younger son explaining his work or art to his brother. "That's Lenny," he said. "And that's Carl." My wife didn't know what the heck he was talking about until they all got home and she saw the work of art our younger son did during "free draw" time in first grade art class.

The Simpsons is one of my favorite television shows (hey--a blogger likes the Simpsons? Go figure, right?). Lenny and Carl are minor characters on the show, and they spend a lot of their time at Moe's tavern, which, if you can't really see, is what my son chose to draw. The tavern is surrounded by some other Simpsons' characters, including Homer:

Don't see it? As any artist will tell you, it's the details that count. Just compare it to a picture of the real Homer:

I'm just surprised that he didn't do a picture of Masterpiece Theater, since that show's always on at our house. But Maybe next time.