Thursday, September 06, 2012

Best of the Amherst Police Report -- August 23, 2012

August 17 - 2012

11:57 AM -- A woman told police she was at the Jones Library when a child screamed in her ear which may have caused permanent damage to  her hearing. Police advised her to pursue a complaint in civil court.

5:38 AM -- A house sitter on Shutesbury Road reported hearing  strange noises inside the home.   Officers suspected that it cam from creaking floorboards.

Emily has been away for more than a year!  From time to time she is a character named Brenda in someone else's blog.  Otherwise she is still alive and around Amherst. On Friday afternoons she still reads aloud -- to anyone who will listen -- her personal favorites from the Amherst Police Report.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

This Poet's Not Dead.....

""You sold me a dead poet!"
"I did not."
"Yes, you did."
"What evidence have you that I sold you a dead poet?"
This poet has not published in the past nine months!"
"That's not evidence, sir!"
"You have sold me a dead POET, I tell you!!"

"Calm yourself, sir. This shop sells pets."

"Yes, I know. You also sold me a dead parrot. *

Emily, is honored to be a dead poet, but is not quite dead yet. 

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Bicyclists: Wee Warning Wanted

As this lovely lady explained to me, the whooshing by of bikes can be disconcerting and unbalancing because it happens so silently and swiftly.

So, bicyclers, a quick call to say "Passing on the left", or a jingle of the bell, whatever, will make this walker feel a bit more confident on the Norwottuck Rail Trail.

Wee Wooly Sheep

Wee woolly sheep  (baaa baaaaa baaaaa) who like to bleat,

Send our wishes, despite all the heat.

With all our love, we'd like to say, 

Happy Mirthday! 

-- a  poem written by an obsessed person dressed as a sheep for a July birthday party on a porch in Amherst, MA. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Berte nee Froukje de Tocqueville de Jeu

Alexis de Tocqueville wandered the land,
America the vast, a country unplanned,
By train and by boat, he travelled afar,
He had but a horse, no motor, no car.

Prisons his subject, but finding not much,
He talked to the English, the French, and the Dutch,
At heart it was people he chose to pursue,
Americans becoming - red, white, and blue.

He penned a new story, his classic tract:
Democracy in America, part fiction, part fact,
Chronicle classic of farm and town hall,
Eight score and some, the work has stood tall.

But eons have passed since Tocequeville's great tome.
Another observer has called these States home.
Who is this person, this master of clue?
Tis Berte nee Froukje, de Tocqueville de Jeu.

With camera in hand, and notebook in tow
Hither and thither she'd travel and go,
Wim her companion, but Berte in charge,
Traversing a country small place and large.

Brimfield's antiques to Maine's rocky coast,
Nevada's casinos, Utah's rock red ghosts.
Navajo country, the nation's Great Parks,
She read in the morning, watched movies at dark.

Bike shops in Boston, Jamaica Plain art,
Tanglewood music, New York's Central Park.
American politics, from Town Meeting to Prez,
'Twas Obama's great loss, not to see her son wed!

She climbed great Mt Orient, always up for a walk,
On return to the Netherlands, she'll give quite a talk,
Humbly omitting her personal feats,
Like fixing Joe's cricks, and Gina's cold feet.

The finale will find her a fan of James Rose,
American rebel whose art we suppose
Differs from most, and thus has a touch
Of questioning, arguing, adventuring Dutch.

To Netherlands she'll fly, New Yorker in tow,
Leaving us wanting, sad you must know.
"Tell us a tale Ms. de Jeu!" they will say!
"What did you do? Where did you stay?"

And thus this reply we posit you'll give,
Of Amherst and environs, where Americans live:
"I saw a strange country that Tocqueville once knew,
But found something else. Oh how time flew!"

With great affection,

The Emily's of Amherst



Saturday, May 15, 2010

Clothesline Nation Update

In Emily's day we hardly worried so much about unmentionables. Of course we didn't have tiger print briefs back then! Here you see the Oz- like threats of lines and tigerprints and bras -- oh my!

Emily still believes clotheslines are patriotic, even poetic, and notes that clotheslines may even lead to economic benefits via undie one-upsmanship, which if satisfied with American made underwear could become that special stimulus our economy needs:

The Colbert Report
The Enemy Within - Backyard Clothesline
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

Friday, February 19, 2010

Camels Made of Snow

Camels in the sand,
Camels made of snow,
Chest-bared rider's saber
Raised to show
Spring's around the corner,
Thank god it snowed.

Model credits: Laurence of Snowrabia, one of Emily's delightful neighbors, on North Prospect Street.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Moose in Meadow Meets Indian Pipe

Sept 19, 2009
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.
- - Amherst Bulletin Police Report

Moose roamed Amherst College near marker twenty seven,
Indian Pipe rose weakly, date seven/eleven.
Beast showed self so briefly twenty September morn,
Morbid flow'r likewise, pale and forlorn.

Photo Credit : Nels Gunnarsen, visiting Amherst College Class of '78 alumni, now of New Braunfels, TX, for astute non-violent capture of "The Moose".

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Movie Review: The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World(2008)

In the end, a banquet restaurant is a banquet restaurant, whether it's in your little working class hometown town here in the USA or West Lake Restaurant, in Changsa, China. Sure the food is different, but much is the same: the huge quantities of food, the hordes of staff, the maze of noisy function rooms, the endless parade of parties of twenty, fifty, three hundred celebrating family events, the loud, corny DJ/MC conducting the rituals of the particular celebration, the backroom kitchens, the backroom management, the sales pitches to prospective clients -- very familiar if you ever had the joy of working weddings, birthdays, funeral banquets from the inside.

TBCRITW maintains a sense of detachment, and thus comes off as a documentary of operations at the most factual level. Add the personal story of the owner, a sharp, pragmatic, tough woman who tolerates no nonsense, and it is a decent portrait of a mammoth, family owned and grown "hospitality" business -- for better and for worse.

I felt sorry for the workers who seemed stuck, having hit an aspirational ceiling too young in a low-paying, mass production facility. I'd love to see the same story, perhaps the "real" story, inside this restaurant, from the folks who do the most basic functions of cooking and serving. That would be the really interesting, forbidden counterpoint to this story.

My rating: Three and a half little chef hats (out of five).
More information at IMDB: The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Some Kind of Poetry Found

Best of the Police Report, Downtown Edition, May 15:
April 20 - 9:57PM A bartender at a downtown bar told police a man left a suicide note on the bar and then left. Police were unable to locate the customer, but examined the note and determined it was some form of poetry.
April 24 - 1:06AM A man carrying a woman outside the downtown bars dropped her to the ground when police got there. She got up and left the area.

Happy Two Hundred Fiftieth , Amherst!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Movie Review: The Counterfeiters (2007)

The Counterfeiters is the true story of a still-living German artist who "makes money by making money" rather than making money from art. From a post-war Monte Carlo casino, the Bogart-esque Solly recalls in sepia flashbacks his arrest in pre-war Berlin by the local anti-fraud police captain. Caught up in the sweep of Jews into Auschwitz he survives five years by sketching portraits and murals for his captors.

Fate plucks him from his painting and drops him along with others into S.hausen, a specialty technical research camp where he re-encounters his old nemesis, now a military man on the rise in the new Nazi regime. The Jews in his specialty unit are charged with counterfeiting pound notes intended to destabilize the British economy and win the war for the Nazis. Unpredictable sadism, moral ambivalence, self-contradiction, and acceptance of specialty squad luxuries within a death camp combine to create a grim all-enveloping tension relieved only by unsentimental kindnesses, flickers of conscience, and gallows humor.

This is a movie whose darkness glows with body heat and soul. Its eclectic sound track includes "nigger music" and silence; its camera shots include fast, shaky zooms, selectively collaged glances, a microsecond of the moon seen through an overhead cage in a prisoner 'recreation' area. 'No rules' editing produces surprising moments, and cinematic discipline results in not even a single gratuitous shot. Every scintilla contributes to telling the story.

The Counterfeiters is a masterpiece, especially attentive to the details of storytelling, and touching so deeply that it will be an exceptionally powerful experience for different people for entirely different reasons. Imagine Cool Hand Luke meets Bridge on the River Kwai in Nazi Germany, yet one of the best Holocaust movies made. It is no wonder The Counterfeiters won an Academy Award. For cinematography, editing, sound, writing, acting, music, it is a ten. It will keep you on the edge of your seat, and it will stay with you for a long time.

Ten real ( not counterfeit) gold stars.

The Counterfeiters (2007) at IMDB

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Movie Review: Gomorra (2008)

So many excellent portraits exist of cold-blooded, reptilian killers, and organized crime that any pretender to this crowded genre faces a tough job dancing with the stars. Gomorra, in its Neapolitan detail, succeeds.

The five main characters involved with the Camorra of Naples, have all been young at one time, passionate about something, full of dreams of some sort. And at a point they are seduced by the devil's cash, thrills, power, or approval, and take that first small decision that becomes the inescapable trajectory of one's life. The movie rolls along in Neapolitan dialect, not even vaguely understandable as Italian, in gritty, smelly streets, alleys, sweatshops, dumps, parking garages, and bars. Believable, dark-humored characters make understandable though fatal decisions and become the same doomed souls you know from Fargo, from In Cold Blood, from Goodfellas, and from The Sopranos. They are poor, often pathetic, and all trapped.

Reviewers at IMDB who have read the Robert Saviano book seem to find the movie disappointing. However, not having read the book I feel Gomorra, standing on its own as a movie, adds yet another nuance to the copious canon of organized crime movies -- a slice of Italian life that is unsentimental, gritty, and grim -- very well done. I give Gomorra 8 out of 10 stars.

Gomorra at IMDB

Movie Review: Todos Estamos Invitados

Todos Estamos Invitados is a cheesy attempt at a thriller, with hackneyed plot, characters, and storyline. Whether its Basque bad guys speaking Spanish with a gratuitous bit of Basque thrown in, or the stressed out lovers falling in the sand on the beach in San Sebastian, its pretty fake. It fails to connect with any universals that touch people who live with terrorism and nationalist sentiments. Shots of the Basque sociedades (communal kitchen/social eating clubs) and food are hunger-inducing, even if
ham-handed, but that's about all that seemed genuine in this movie. From whatever point of view whether ETA, anti-ETA, or simple moviegoer trying to appreciate a particular story that touches a human universal, this movie is a failure.

My rating: One txikitxa sessena (little bull) out of a possible ten. IMDB is kinder, but not much.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Movie Review: Lady Kul el-Arab

A beautiful, dream-filled 17 year old defies her conservative Druze community and enters a beauty contest where she sees a chance to become an international professional model. The Druze community see carnal shame. Her immediate family objects, but they decide to support the young lady once her decision is made. The fireworks begin when an uncle and accomplices are arrested for plotting her murder, her father robs a gas station to pay for his daughter's pageant trip to India, and she and her family are called before the tribal council.

The real issue of this movie is the individual versus the tribe. Because this occurs in the context of a beauty contest, feminist side arguments tend to obscure the core tribal issue, which would be the same, for example, for a gay man deciding to live an openly gay life in an anti-gay tribal community. In the end, the young girl relents and obeys the tribal dictates, choosing the security of tribal membership over ostracism via an irreversible leap of faith into an alternate world of individual achievement.

This was not the story the director -- herself a beautiful young woman -- started out to make, but it is the story that happened. Thus it is full of oddities, ambiguities, and strange twists. Despite a temptation to dismiss the movie as the story of a silly girl, it worth seeing as great food for argument, and for images we don't often see of the Israeli-Arab world.

The director, Ibtisam Mara'ana, was present for an extended discussion on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at Isenberg 137, UMass.

(Israel, 2008, 56 min, in Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Poetry Joke

A UMass professor and his wife were on their way to a famous garden in rural Japan when they met two Hungarians travelling on the same bus:

"What brings you to Japan from Hungary?" asked the professor. "We are selling Hungarian poetry to the Japanese." So, a discussion on the Japanese appreciation for beauty in words, gardens, and art ensued.

When they arrived at their destination, the travellers said their farewells, and the wife skeptical but fascinated by the market for good Hungarian poems, said, "Good luck selling your poetry! "

The Hungarian turned to her and said, "Poultry, m'aam, poultry. "

Movie Review: Bella Martha

Well-acted story of a little girl, her nutty nice aunt "The Chef", and the aftermath of a tragic event. The never-quite-right stereotypes of cold Germanesque perfection and Italian romanticism clash as chefs in the kitchen, while sharing the screen with a befuddled psychiatrist and a very pleasant neighbor architect with clear romantic possibilities for Martha. The happy ending renders this a feel good movie that is familiar but not entirely predictable. Great performances by the young Lina, and lovely Italian songs from throaty Paolo Conte, among others.

Part of an ongoing series of German movies, alternating Thursdays, at Amherst College.

The IMDB scoop: Bella Martha (2001)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Real Jobs for PhD's

Graduating PhD's! Don't let all the talk about a recession get you down. This is a real job:
The Hawaii-based poultryOne Media Group is a specialty media group focused on the fascinating hobby of raising poultry. poultryOne is currently searching for a freelance writer to provide web content. poultryOne needs unique articles about raising the following species: geese, ducks and quail.

Resist any urge to philosophize about chickens and eggs and you will do just fine. Good luck!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Pumpkins for Obama

At the top of Amity Street, the President's Pumpkin Patch at the Pitkin House:

Election Day was subdued downtown, quiet, except that you noticed packs of students arriving in droves by PVTA and foot, throughout the day. Off the bus, and in groups, they strode to the polls at Boltwood. registered 3000 this year, many first time voters, and they came out this day.

The networks called the election at 11PM. Fireworks sounded, and then roars like one hears when a football game is in town. It went on for four hours. Earlier, as the last hour of voting continued, throngs of young people lined up at Starbucks and Ben & Jerry’s, a warm fall night, sitting around, talking, with coffees and ice creams in hand, having voted. What a day!

I am thrilled to be old enough to remember how far we have come, yet young enough to be part of where are going.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Red Indian Pipe Society

Red Indian Pipe appeared on the Robert Frost Trail, halfway between Amethyst Brook and Mt. Orient last Sunday. The Emily Dickinson Museum reminds readers:
The Indian Pipe Society ($1,000)

Emily Dickinson called the Indian Pipe “the preferred flower of life.” The painting of Indian Pipes given to her by Mabel Loomis Todd adorns the first edition of her Poems First Series. The Indian Pipe Society ... recognizes individuals and couples who contribute $1,000 or more each fiscal year to the Museum’s operating budget.

Perhaps I should modify my poem:

White (or red) as an Indian Pipe
Red as a Cardinal Flower
Fabulous as a Moon at Noon
February Hour

Monday, March 31, 2008


Citron Citroen of bumblebee'd coat,
Melted at last from winter's white choke,
Buzzes toward summer whose mosquitos and gnats,
Invite citroenella, thwick, thwick, thwick, thwack.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Brutal as a Bumblebee

Camille Paglia on Emily:
The brutality of this belle of Amherst would stop a truck.
-- in Sexual Personae , "Amherst's Madame de Sade", p 623-673.

Just as the beautiful brutality of Canadian snow stops a citron Citroen:

On ice till springtime.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

First Bicyclist, Sir!

Cute as a button then, cute as a button now, and ready to be president, tricycling Barack! Back in Iowa, voters have been flocking not only to caucuses but to comedy. In Caucus! The Musical, the Wise family chooses who wins and who loses among politicians who will do anything to get their votes. And to the north in New Hampshire, our neighbors are rolling in the excess with their own musical extravaganza The Primary Primary. What fun!

I do believe that Amherst must have within its serious soul some closet comics of a political bent, capable of composing and producing a musical: "Meeting Town Meeting" I, for one, would be thrilled to support the troupes!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Mourning the M-bag

Just before Christmas I went to the post office to ship 40 pounds of books to Spain. The books were obscure English language books on linguistic history. On calculating postage I was informed by an apologetic postal employee that my preferred shipping method, cheap, take as long as you like, slow boat, surface mail (the M-bag) no longer existed.

The M-bag died on May 14, 2007, and with it the incalculable value of the paper diplomacy of ideas, stories, poems, and literacy programs. Myriad scholars, book dissemination non-profits, and generous individuals who believe in the value of ideas, of sharing books, and of literacy, have been struck hard by this passing. In lieu of a dollar a pound by slow boat, offered is four dollars a pound by air.

The United States Postal Service, by offering universal service to all of the Union, with special rates for dissemination of ideas in the form of media, print and library materials has a distinct role in American civic life. This historic civic role is what distinguishes it from a fully private corporation whose sole civic mission is to operate ethically and profitably enough to pay taxes.

So readers you have a choice. Accept this passing and read 101 Uses for a Dead M-bag, or sign an online petition to request the return of the M-bag, and affordable surface shipping of books around the world. Think of it as homeland security.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

First Ladies, Sir!

If I were truly a follower of Emily's List I would be writing poems to spur Hilary onward to the presidency. Instead I am loving Barack Obama and John Edwards. I have an irrational desire to see children in the White House: Jack, Emma, and Obama's little girls sliding and running, giggling and cavorting through the various wings. Of course Bill as First Lady tempts me but I am having a running bout of Hilary-As-President Fatigue Syndrome.

I have been reading The Book of the City of Ladies by Christine de Pisan (1364-1430) . Christine rebutted 14th c. literary misogyny with wonderful stories, lively details of thousands of years of women who ruled fierce tribes, incipient nations, nation-states; women who fought wars, commanded troops, fed poison to their enemies. I seem to remember Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, and more recently Victoria, Indira Ghandi, Mrs. Thatcher, Mrs. Merkel. That's the incomplete list. I fail to feel the novelty of Hilary's run. Alas....

In other news, a lovely woman who interviewed Hilary during the 1992 campaign, Nardi Reeder Campion, died November 29th, at the age of 90, shortly after talking with her editors about her next book. She was a 1938 graduate of Wellesley College, Hilary's alma mater. She lived in Amherst for several years starting in 1970, worked at the Emily Dickinson House, wrote the book that became the Tyrone Power movie, The Long Gray Line(1955). Kudos for a life well lived.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Another Movie Moment II

Offside (Iran, 2006), 93 minutes, was the feature film at the Asian Arts and Culture Series , Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2007 , 7PM at UMass, Isenberg 137. It was preceded by some delightful amateur videos.

Emily's review:

Random girls dress like boys to sneak into the Iran-Bahrain soccer playoffs at the big stadium in Tehran. They get caught. They talk in the prisoner pen. The men talk. Lots of talking heads. The big excitement is not the soccer game but a trip to the bathroom. Talking heads, scenes of Iran, no music. Nothing much happens. I missed the end, and thus leave it as a surprise for you.

Potentially interesting premise, with under-developed characters, stiff acting. You see & hear men, men, men: stupid men, protective men, possessive men, craven men, cowed men, howling men, discouraged men, bossy men, with cameos by a handicapped old man and a young boy. The dialog is mostly back-forth argument for why men are protecting their daughters, sisters, mothers, spouses from other men. Talk about twisted self-loathing! The girls inexplicably yearn for all the hooplah surrounding soccer and soccer-crazed men. Hard to believe.

Good idea, and a chuckle or two, but not quite there. I do suggest, however, reading some alternate views and the backstory to balance my rather harsh comments. That said, I give this movie: 2 1/2 soccer balls.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Another Movie Moment

Tomorrow night at UMass, Isenberg 137, courtesy of the Asian Arts & Culture series :: Little Red Flowers.

Emily's Review : Do you remember those scary days when you were five years old and monsters lurked in the dark, when the great unknown of kindergarten loomed bigger than life itself, and a little gold star was your most coveted desire? Watch an impish little fellow navigate these perilous waters as you once did.

Charming, well done, this production joins noodles, silk, and Marco Polo in a long line of Italian-Chinese adventures . Five little red flowers. *****
Available on DVD from Amazon in the UK, perhaps sometime soon in the USA.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Emily's Movie Moment

According to the NY Times I should be attending local book events, but I am spending all my time at local movie events. This week I saw three of a little-publicized DEFA Jurek Becker Film series, all introduced by Christina Becker. All have been wonderful,thought-provoking, and well worth watching.

The fourth and most important film, "Jacob the Liar"
will be shown Sunday, November 18th at 2PM at the Amherst Cinema. Christina Becker will be introducing her late husband's work. The combination of director Frank Beyer and Jurek Becker is powerful. Christina's commentary makes it all the more touching as one understands the artists whose talents have given birth to these works.

In other news:

In the NY Times online, what's playing at the Amherst Cinema appears alongside movie reviews. Titles link corresponding reviews. Scroll down for an incomplete list of other local theaters.

I have bought five DVD copies of Man With A Plan from Vermont Public Television in honor of the late Fred Tuttle and "little guy" candidates everywhere. Please let me know if you'd like to borrow one for a bit.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Like An Old Bicycle Gathering Moss

Like this old Montreal classic I have been vegetating. I have returned to lovely New England, and am shaking off my foliage.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Candian Vacation

I have been in Canada, and thus the bloggerly absence. I will return soon to lovely New England, and to the Northampton-New York axis which could be improved only by being Canadian.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Clothesline Nation

Tis a simple thread forbidden it seems,
In agreements protecting American dreams.
How dare the contrarian try to dry clothes,
On a line in his yard, near a neighbor's nose?

Does the bra offend? Or the working man's shirt?
The flapping sheet, or the scanty skirt?
"Haven't you a dryer?," some neighbors cry,
"You agreed that your undies would NOT touch our eyes!"

" I answer, dear friend, citing one greater Trust,
To tame mine, and my country's great lust.
For Victory Gardens won one Great War,
Victory Clotheslines may settle the present day's score."

What could say more in our time of surge
In our hour of oil, in our Month of Dirge?
Than a simple thread, strung from every tree
Eschewing rich oil, ever so free.

To Osama Bin Laden I wave my pants.
I wave my bra at all pious rants.
Free-waving clothes on a sunny day,

Bespeak independence, the old-fashioned way.

The modest clotheslines, a simple thread,
Saves the planet, raises neighborly dread --
Until we join hands, agree and stand tall,
With clothesline'd fencepost, balcony, and wall.

My neighbor's new clothesline on North Prospect Street has raised Amherst's Clothesline Quotient to new heights. Vermont has challenged the legality of association bans on clotheslines -- great idea!

Clotheslines -- great for political action, comic commentary, or just drying clothes.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Taioba Times

Tobacco this is not. Taioba (tie-OH-bah) is an edible Brazilian vegetable that looks like a houseplant with large elephant ear leaves. This plant is one of the 2007 crop at the UMass Agricultural Extension Farm on River Road in South Deerfield.

My cooking instructions: treat it exactly as you would spinach. Sautee with onions and garlic, use it in an omelet, mix it into a lasagna. I describe its taste as "buttery spinach. " If you are near Wilson Farms, Lexington, MA this coming Saturday, you can try it. On second thought, stop by the farm in South Deerfield and see if there are any samples!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Emily Sleuths: Case of the UK Scam Letter

This picturesque pond scum is my entree to a story about scam letters.

Recently I received an envelope with a UK postmark, on lawyerly letterhead from Humprhey's and Company attorneys, in all their lawyerly regalia. It told a convoluted story of client, and his family killed in a fiery crash with no heirs. Because my name was like the client's name I might be heir to the unclaimed estate: $4.9 Million UK pounds! Oh my! I could respond by phone, or by email to:

This is an old scam in new scamshell. I detest scammers -- it is disgusting to prey on the gullible, disabled, desperate, and uninformed. I sent the UK envelope and letter along with a handwritten note expressing my distaste for scammers to the Springfield office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, Consumer Fraud Division.

On a lark, I wrote to "Barrister David Campbell":
From: "Emily Dickinson"
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2007 12:37:19 -0400

Dear Barrister David Campbell,

I have received your email about the sad deaths and estate of your client.

The letter, in its entirety, including envelope, and poorly composed offer, has been forwarded to the Attorney General, Consumer Fraud Division, State of Massachusetts.

I guess you will have to think quick, and stop mailing to our state, since our top police folks are now watching you.


THE RESPONSE ( 12 hours later)

Dear emily,

Well too bad as what i sent to you is only a proposal . There is not fraud determined here and i guess you and your attorney knows that. You can only ignore not take part and thats it . I don't know why all this insult is coming up.

Well you take care and remain poor.
Happily, Barrister Campbell!!!! I never expected such a quick and comic response. Further, I hope exposing this ruffian to bloggerly sunlight will cause his tired old scam to comletely fade away, in Massachusetts at least.

I did not photograph the original -- my apologies. If a reader has received a similar letter or if I retrieve a copy from the AG, I will gladly post it here.

Be safe and be skeptical.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tobacco Times

Pretty as a petticoat, a tobacco blossom:

On the way to the drying barns:

I often wonder about orientation of the barns. Were they oriented to the sun, by having the slatted side facing south ? Or did some farmers bet on the slatted side facing west to catch prevailing breezes?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Still Life with Mashishi and Cucumber

The Amherst farmer's market brought these lovely lemon cucumbers to town Saturday, while my favorite agricultural marketing students from the University of Massachusetts came home with these little green exoticss, Brazilian "mashishi" cukes harvested from their experimental farm in South Deerfield.

Tomorrow, I shall chop the little darlings in half and compare. The Brazilian cukes, properly spelled maxixe, are part of an effort to develop markets for specialty Brazilian vegetables.


Variety is the spice of life... the yellows are sweet, the maxixi are tangy... sliced thin, with an accent of bite-sized tomato, paper thin red onion..... what a summer treat!

In another part of Amherst, a tractor brings in the marshmallow harvest.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Republican of a Different Kind

Green petticoats hanging in slatted doors,
Awaiting a promised prom,
Hubbard and butternut bursting forth,
Cabbage in big-leaved prime.

The valley this day was a romance,
An idyll of bountiful earth,
Till a barnside in hard-working Hatfield,
Offered a counter to birth.

Under the sign, near Lincoln's name is Its worthwhile to stop a moment and think of these and others who suffer in war.

UPDATE: According to a neighbor's post at flickr, this sign is in Whately.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

No Crime Intended

An exceedingly rare "elephant portfolio" of John James Audubon's life-size birds is missing from its custom-made display case in the Special Collections room at the Amherst College Robert Frost Library. Librarians report that within a few weeks it will be no longer be missing.

Farther down the Norwottuck Trail, a snowy egret has been sharing perches with three great blue herons. Meanwhile three wild turkeys lurking one morning in the meadow of the Brickyard Conservation Area ducked and covered before they could be properly seen.

I often think how Audubon would have loved a simple point-and-shoot camera.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Pittsfield Police Report

Last week two bulls loose in Sunderland's Squire Village, and now this. A thousand pound cow in a Pittsfield pool. If loose lips sink ships, what do loose cows do?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Best of the Police Report - July 27

One bear , two bulls, and five raccoons were chased, reported or removed by the police this week:

* One black bear was reported on Farm Lane and another(?) bear was seen in the woods behind the Friendly's restaurant on Route 9 -- July 19 at 6:55PM, and July 20 at 11:43AM.

* Two bulls that got loose into Squire Village (Sunderland) were located and chased back onto Silver Lane, where their owner was contacted to put them back in a pen -- July 21 at 2:30AM.

*Five raccoons stuck inside a dumpster at a South Pleasant Street location were removed by police -- July 16 at 8:00AM

Meanwhile a quieter suspect, this lovely chanterelle, was developing on the Norwottuck Trail between Station Road and Warren Wright Road. Myco-friends, tell me true, is this a chanterelle or do I deceive myself?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Ode to Emily Dickinson

I blush to see a lovely, modest poet honor me! My deepest thanks for this particularly lovely poem which captures my little room perfectly.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Let Them Ride Bikes....

The Norwottuck Trail is getting mighty bumpy lately, but it's always ten degrees cooler than anywhere else on a hot summer's day. Its also a spectacular alternative to that confined vein of transport ugliness that runs through Belchertown, Amherst, Hadley, and over the mighty Connecticut.

Norwottuck draws families, novice and experienced bicyclists, walkers, runners, and skaters who come and go from myriad exits at eateries, grocery stores, malls, housing developments, bird blinds, and hiking trails along its nine or so miles.This week it drew a scholar of bicycle trails, Anne Lusk. Anne's idea in a nutshell: destination is destiny. People like to go places. So, our lil' ol' trail is part of a three year study that follows on Anne's monumental, 565 page doctoral dissertation from U. Michigan.

Meanwhile in that great destination Paris, France they are duplicating the public bicycle success of Lyon, and getting Americans off their arses.

Tell 'em, Anne!

Red-Tailed Hawk

A hawk stood on a green:
She did not know I saw
She bit a squirrel just in halves
And ate the fellow raw....

as the old poem goes. Then with great drama this striking red-tailed hawk, gripping the bloody-red gray-furred body in talons, joined her sizable "little one" in a nearby tree. Two aggressive, squawking blue jays harassed the young bird who shrugged off their diving swipes. I received an impression of giant gentle-ness.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The No Shusshing Zone

Unlike librarians, this turtle is easily shussh-able. He was walking across the bicycle path at a snail's pace when he curled into his shell. In honor of my friends, the hip, new generation of librarians, I cataloged him.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Requiem & Resurrection: A Lily's Story

We late mourned a lily ravaged by deer,
Who ne'er perchance knew that neighbors were near.
Her beauty and fullness we'll never know.
Yet Mother had others who lived and did show.

Persistence pays when luck meets its mate,
In flowers, in life, we meet and face Fate.
The beavers are gone, and the herons are too.
But frogs keep on croaking as berries turn blue.

UPDATE: Good news... A great blue heron and a white heron-ish bird are said to be about. A belted kingfisher has thrice appeared before my novice eyes --- but said sighting is affirmed by a expert-ish photographer with a huge-lens camera. Above, could be a Canada Lily not a Turk's Cap -- if anyone knows, please comment.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

My Cups Runneth Over...

Someone is gracing Amherst with sculptures made from recycled cups. These beer cup flowers may be a memorial, sprouted where fraternity houses once stood on North Pleasant Street, right side, north if facing UMass. "Robotic Recycle Man" twists about in the garden between Rao's and the Bangs community center.

Whoever you are, one or many, we love and appreciate your work.

UPDATE: A barista at Rao's says Robot Twisty may be the work of a woman named "Smiles". For unknown reasons, by Sunday July 8, Robot Twisty was gone.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Lily Missing from Bicycle Trail

This suspected Turk's Cap Lily was seen on the Norwottuck Bicycle Trail, Monday evening at 7:30 PM. When the photographer returned Wednesday morning at 8:30AM, the lily was gone. Deer are suspected.
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