Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Crime Wave! Amherst Police Blotter (with and without comment)


* 6:17 p.m. - A downtown resident told police that her neighbor has been placing caution tape and stakes around her vehicle and notes on the vehicle in an effort to prevent her from parking on grass outside her home. The neighbor said he was concerned the woman's vehicle is damaging the beauty of the neighborhood. Police warned the neighbor to call parking enforcement officials if the woman is parking her vehicle illegally.


* 6:38 p.m. - A UMass student who stole a pregnancy test kit from the CVS Pharmacy on North Pleasant Street was issued a trespass order by store management and advised to use services available to her at the UMass Infirmary. (Her boyfriend should have stolen some condoms.)

* 6:54 p.m. - A bicyclist who may have been struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Amity Street and Sunset Avenue flipped over the handlebars and landed on the ground, police said. (May have been? Was he a mime?)



* 3:57 a.m. - A homeless man sleeping inside an ATM on Amity Street was sent on his way. (He has no way to be sent on. Can we just be honest and say kicked out?)

* 1:31 p.m. - A baby was reported left alone in a vehicle parked in the Amity Street parking lot. When police got there, both parents came back to car and told police they were watching the baby from the area of the Amherst Cinema. (They were taking turns running in and out of the theatre.)


* 10:07 p.m. - A skunk which got its head stuck in a bottle was heard wandering around a Fearing Street yard. (Honey, does that sound like a skunk with its head stuck in a bottle to you?)


* 6:46 p.m. - A man crawling across North Pleasant Street was warned about his behavior. (But then they realized it was actually a very large escaped baby!)



* 5:02 a.m. - Police kept the peace at a South Amherst home where a man was being loud and refused to quiet down. The man was fine after his wife convinced him to resume taking his medication.


* 8:16 a.m. - A squirrel was found inside a janitor's closet at the pre-school on Spring Street. The squirrel seemingly fled, but the animal got back inside the building at 11:37 a.m. (That looks like fleeing Dave, but things aren't always what they seem.)



* 9:24 a.m. - A homeless man located with his belongings in a South Prospect Street yard was sent on his way. The man told police he had slept in a box overnight. (But the box was gone when he woke up. Even the homeless are facing foreclosure on their boxes.)

* 10:46 a.m. - A woman kicked a vehicle passing the corner of College Street and Boltwood Avenue when it didn't stop for a pedestrian. (Damn right!)


* 12:17 a.m. - A man suffered a cut to his ear, but refused treatment, after being struck with a bottle while walking on Phillips Street. (He initially agreed to treatment for the cut to his ear but, after being struck with the bottle, refused it. Mind your commas.)


* 10:54 p.m. and 11:50 p.m. - Police cleared out a party with 75 people at a Northampton Road location and a party with 10 people at a South East Street home. (Well, now we know where the better parties are likely to be.)



* 7:23 p.m. - A man sitting in a lawn chair at the Kellogg Avenue entrance to the parking garage trying to charge people $5 to park there was warned to stop the activity. The man had not collected any money. (Freelance toll collection is frowned upon.)


* 5:32 p.m. - A moose successfully crossed Route 116 near the Sunderland town line. At 6:50 a.m. the following day, a moose was seen near the Department of Public Works barn on South Pleasant Street. (Same moose? Must have taken a bus.)



* 1:55 a.m. - A Sunset Avenue man told police his novelty hat was stolen during a fight in which he was assaulted.
Thanks to the Amherst Bulletin.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Northampton State Hospital Photo Galleries

I found the postcard above at the monthly stamp and postcard show at the WWII Club on Conz St. when I went to vote a couple Tuesdays ago. Then I came upon a fantastic website with several photo galleries of the old Northampton Lunatic Asylum here. Sample image of the estate's morgue below.

"The morgue lies in the back of the central administration part of the hospital, and is oddly located underneath the cafeteria if my perception was correct.

The hospital did have a burial ground, and was used from 1856 until 1920. After 1920, patients without families would be used as medical school cadavers. At least 181 people are still resting here, and since there are no grave markers, the grave site was actually rediscovered by archeologists after it closed shortly after a similar burial site was recognized at Danvers State Aylum."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Recent Odds and Sods

Mural detail from wall of Food For Thought Books in Amherst.
Same mural, different detail
Budget cuts have resulted in some DIY style funerals.
Local band World's Greatest Dad execute an extremely clever promotional stunt with a clear sticker placed across the masthead of the display copy of the Valley Advocate, conveniently their Big Music Issue. WGD opens for Mumiy Troll, "the Rolling Stones of Russia" at Pearl Street in October.
Found art, Hallway, 245 Main Street
Jordan brightens up Jakes.
Louie Falcetti's button hits a little too close to home.
ADK at Lookstock, man.
The Unusual Suspects.
Brendan and Tim execute the exploding knucks at Mountain Park in August. We'll miss you Timmy.
The GDP is fine in Norhampton. Gross Domestic Poetry anyway.
North End, Boston, Festival of St. So and So.
North End, Boston. Festival of Saint Whats-his-name.

North End, Boston. Saturday Night Fever.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Speech to the Garden Club of America

A Speech to the Garden Club of America by Wendell Berry

(With thanks to Wes Jackson and in memory of Sir Albert Howard and Stan Rowe.)

Thank you. I’m glad to know we’re friends, of course;
There are so many outcomes that are worse.
But I must add I’m sorry for getting here
By a sustained explosion through the air,
Burning the world in fact to rise much higher
Than we should go. The world may end in fire
As prophesied—our world! We speak of it
As “fuel” while we burn it in our fit
Of temporary progress, digging up
An antique dark-held luster to corrupt
The present light with smokes and smudges, poison
To outlast time and shatter comprehension.
Burning the world to live in it is wrong,
As wrong as to make war to get along
And be at peace, to falsify the land
By sciences of greed, or by demand
For food that’s fast or cheap to falsify
The body’s health and pleasure—don’t ask why.
But why not play it cool? Why not survive
By Nature’s laws that still keep us alive?
Let us enlighten, then, our earthly burdens
By going back to school, this time in gardens
That burn no hotter than the summer day.
By birth and growth, ripeness, death and decay,
By goods that bind us to all living things,
Life of our life, the garden lives and sings.
The Wheel of Life, delight, the fact of wonder,
Contemporary light, work, sweat, and hunger
Bring food to table, food to cellar shelves.
A creature of the surface, like ourselves,
The garden lives by the immortal Wheel
That turns in place, year after year, to heal
It whole. Unlike our economic pyre
That draws from ancient rock a fossil fire,
An anti-life of radiance and fume
That burns as power and remains as doom,
The garden delves no deeper than its roots
And lifts no higher than its leaves and fruits.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hungry Ghost Sixth Annual Wonder Not! Bread Festival and Parade

It's a gorgeous day in Northampton. Every year The Hungry Ghost bakery has a harvest festival on their lawn, commencing with a parade around the block. Your roving Nohodome reporter was there.
The baker feeds the hungry ghost.
Jonathan Stevens, owner of the Hungry Ghost, led the band, sheet music clipped to sax. Jonathan also plays guitar and shares a love of the UK singer/songwriter Roy Harper with me.
No time to loaf! Let's get this party started.Valley citizenry.
Ghost and bread become one.
I believe this is the moon.Here comes the sun, doo doo doo doo doo.
And I say, it's all right. Sunning outside La Veracruzana......where I ran into Karen Andrade and her son.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bugs, Breakfast, Beefheart

Dave and I discovered this guy (or gal....or both) on the wall of the laundry room this morning on the way to Jake's for our weekly Saturday breakfast. We're like two old men. I read my Gazette. He reads his Post. We quip and chuckle. I imagine if this keeps up we will be the two old men at breakfast in 20 years or so. When I saw the bug, I got that light quivery feeling, like my veins are shaking. Just stay in the basement whateveripede.
Dan Manson and Steve Vogel conceive the windows and many of the displays at Faces on Main Street. These Musca domestica mannequins are reminiscent of the madness on display at Dan's annual Pumpkin Party which is not a public event but feels like it. I used to program the music at Faces. I think now it's a collaboration of all the employees. I think they got rid of me because of my assertion that Captain Beefheart suited the 15-25 female demo. I stand by my belief.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rescued from the Archives of Oblivion: Anthony More "Judy Get Down"

I was writing a radio commercial to run on WRSI-The River for the Richard Thompson, Loudon Wainwright "Loud and Rich" concert at the Calvin on 10/6 and used "That's My Daughter" as one of the Loudon songs, which is actually a Peter Blegvad song and was also in the movie Knocked Up. Blegvad is a deft and literate lyricist whose lyrics frequently feature word games, literary references and complex and extended rhyme schemes. He was in The Golden Palominos on some of their best albums. The Palominos were a collaborative of sorts, congregated by drummer Anton Feir, and included Jack Bruce, Michael Stipe, Matthew Sweet, Syd Straw, John Lydon, and so many more. GREAT albums. Before that, Blegvad was also in the avant-pop bands Slapp Happy and Henry Cow and showed up in the Recommended Records stable frequently. His 80's solo albums were often collaborations with Andy Partridge of XTC and contain some great songs. I used to play "Lonely Too" on my radio show Terpsichorean Cacophony on WMUA at UMass in the mid-80s. Blegvad is also a cartoonist. From 1992 to 1999, The Independent ran Blegvad's strangely surreal, comic strip, Leviathan, which blended some of the most interesting elements of Krazy Kat with a coming-of-age-esque story akin to Calvin and Hobbes.

Now, to diverge (almost) entirely from Peter and get to the song that inspired this post, here's a YouTube post of Anthony More's "Judy Get Down." Anthony was in Slapp Happy with Peter. My old pal Jay McCoy (who ran Grape Street Records in the Stop & Shop plaza in Hadley) turned me onto this song when I was still in high school. It's a pip.

Oh why not. Here's Loudon doing "That's My Daughter." A classic already.

Finally, here's a link to a baffling website called Amateur that Peter Blegvad is somehow involved with. For a quarter of a century, the folks at Amateur have been quietly engaged in the exploration and mapping of a territory which can be described both by what it is not: ("not science, not philosophy, not art, not literature") - and by what it is: (here the word 'weird' comes to mind, and 'preposterous'). Take, for instance, Amateur's obsession with 'numinous objects.' These, the website helpfully explains, are objects 'charged' with sufficient 'immanence' to "rip a rent in the fabric of normal awareness." The Amateur website catalogues and grades the numinosity of hundreds of objects, ranging from "a yolk of leather in a tobacco egg" to, in fact, a common doorbell.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Up on the Roof. Down on the Couch.

Okay, I've taken enough heat for leaving up the roof photos and not posting since 8/18 to break my blogfast. What was the catalyst for the hiatus? I can't say for sure but I have a theory. I've been watching too much television. I have never been much of a TV watcher. Sure, as a kid I was loyal to sundry Partridges, Bradys, and Kotters, but I've never just "watched TV;" flipped it on, disengaged my muscles, unsnapped my pants. I can name almost all the shows that I collectively gave over several hundred hours of my life to without any trouble. Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Nanny and the Professor, 6M Dollar Man, Little House OTP, Buffy, The Wire, Daily Show, Homicide, Oz, Beavis and Butthead, Seinfeld, Simpsons, MTV's 120 Minutes, Mad About You, some Sopranos and Sex and the City, and now Lost, Dexter, Mad Men, and Nurse Jackie. That's pretty much it. But only recently have I watched shows all at once, in season-loads, sometimes five epsiodes in one sitting. The characters populate my brain much more insidiously without a week between episodes to clear the palate. I feel a sense of gluttony when a cliffhanger is unhung in a matter of seconds.

Then again I'm in awe of the quality of these shows and their ability to maintain the intensity and writing of a too-notch film over a few years time (90 episodes in the case of Lost.) It's a new art-form in storytelling, or at least a dramatic improvement in the history of the serial. The themes are more complex and the gradual relaxing of censorship has brought a level of reality to TV that was unthinkable in the past. If a Hill Street Blues fan was teleported from the past and shown an episode of The Wire, he'd be carted off on a gurney in shock. And how about the references to 14" strap-on dildos that have popped up recently on both Weeds and Dexter? Laura Petrie didn't even share her bed with Rob.

So these TV shows have been taking up a lot of what was my blogging time. My now not so new girlfriend also bears some of the blame for luring me from my Mac. The life to writing-about-life ratio tilted in season three of Life in the Nohodome. I guess I could have done some summer re-runs. I did actually record my post about graveyards from earlier this year to air on a new show on WHMP-AM sometime soon.