Sunday, December 17, 2006

That which you give....

"Short shadow'd solstice,
Warm winter day,
A rose that you gave,
Amidst low salmon rays.

Three score one hundred,
The sweetest sixteen,
You marked with these roses,
Faint mem'ry redeemed.

A rose in a foyer,
A maiden at three,
That which you give,
Gives tribute to thee."

Thank you, dear admirer for the one hundred seventy six roses which you gave to the many visitors who had so kindly came to my and my brother's house on December 1oth, 2006 for music, cake, and cider on my 176th birthday.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Best of the Police Report - Dec 1

* Between Nov. 28 and Dec. 5, police issued 346 warnings to vehicles parked on Amherst streets in violation of the winter parking ban.

* Nov. 29, 2:00 p.m. - An employee at the Super Stop & Shop at Campus Plaza reported that a person may have stolen steaks from the store after the person was seen pulling steaks from his pants and getting into a car

* Nov. 28, 9:42 a.m. - A man was ordered to stay away from a Taylor Street home after he allegedly got onto the porch and unscrewed a light bulb that he claimed was keeping him up at night.

Has winter arrived yet?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Canadian Crime: Snakes

A Canadian cobra is playing hide and seek in one half of a Toronto duplex..

"The bizarre tale began on Tuesday, Sept. 26, when a tenant saw the snake in the kitchen. Belanger arrived to see it coiled behind the fridge. Belanger backed out of the kitchen and called Animal Services, but by the time they arrived, the snake was gone."

By the time they arrived the snake was gone... does this sound familiar? Makes you appreciate our cute, native, salamanders, shown here cavorting on the M&M trail.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Best of the Police Report - Nov 24

* Sunday, Nov 12, 8:33 p.m. - Police took a report that a squirrel bit a patron at the VFW on Main Street. The dead squirrel was taken to a veterinarian to check for illness and the patron who was hit [sic] went to a doctor's office.

* 5:34 p.m. - Police received a report from Cherry Lane residents that a suspicious book with threatening writing was left in their mailbox. Police are determining whether threats were actually made.

Tuesday, Nov. 7, * 2:01 p.m. - Damage to pheasant nets at a Bridge Street home may have been related to a fight between two youths that occurred a few days earlier. Police are investigating.

*Sunday, Nov. 5, 12:50 a.m. - A woman reported a man was in her driveway. Police responded and found a brown and tan dog near the garbage.* 12:02 p.m. - A possibly rabid dog was located at Southpoint Apartments. Police determined the dog, named Dusty, was friendly and not rabid.

*Saturday, Nov. 4, 3:48 p.m. - A white horse that got loose on Shutesbury Road was retrieved by its owner.

* Friday, Nov. 3, 9:17 p.m. - A person throwing firecrackers into Main Street was gone when police got there.

* Thursday, Nov. 1, 7:32 p.m. - A large bag of leaves seen on the Route 116 bypass was moved to the side of the road.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Best of the Police Report - Nov 17

Best not boast of the best this week:

Sat. Oct 21, 7:38 p.m. - Police responded to a disturbance on Pulpit Hill Road in which one man accused the other of urinating on his vehicle and the other complained that he had a beer thrown at him.

Even the police were bored....

2:10 a.m., 2:37 a.m. and 3:07 a.m. - License plate lights were out on three vehicles stopped on Main Street and North Pleasant Street and the drivers were issued warnings for the offenses.

St. Brigid's Holiday Fair was very nice. The END....

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Spaceship Art

In a tunnel on the Norwottuck trail, near Amherst College:

The Future of Journalism

Heather & Jill, journalism students at UMass, were outside the Bangs Center early on Election Day, interviewing exiting voters. See the mike?

They were great. They asked quick short questions, and sent me on my way. I think they would be a great correspondents for "The Daily Show".

If I were the prof, I'd give those girls an "A"!

Best of the Police Report - Nov 3


" Seven youths wearing only shorts who were reported running in and out of traffic on Bay Road near the reservoir October 25 at 3:45 PM were not located by police."


Sept 30, 10:55AM: " A blueberry net valued at $20 was reported stolen from a Chesterfield Drive Resident."

October 1, 6:59PM: " Two men who place a net across the Fort River near South East Street checked out OK when police determined they had permission to be there to trap eels."

Net net....this sign at the corner of Cowls Lane and North Prospect Street is my first entry in a proposed new crime feature,"The Police Un Report", reporting what the police report does not.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Best of the Police Report - Oct 27

The Hadley police have been as busy as this North Hadley end-of- the-summer bee:

" A black bear moving from yard to yard on Chmura Road Sunday [Oct 22] at 6:12 PM was not located by police."


"Men who appeared to be covered in blood behind Peter's Drive-In on Route 9, Octber 19 were determined to be people who had been involved in a ketchup fight."

The Sunderland police wish they had so much excitement:

"Police took a report of damage to the grass in front of Dimo's restaurant, on North Main Street, October 21 at 6:36 PM."

Lawn lashing was likely unrelated to this high drama:

"Two men were found arguing over dirty underwear left outside one othe men's apartments at Squire Village, October 20 at 7:55PM. Police calmed them down."

Nothing very interesting happened in Amherst...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Spirals in the Woods

Andy Goldsworthy, we are trying, or maybe not. There's a neat spiral in the woods, near Amhthyst Brook, and an altar at the end:

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Best of the Police Report - Oct 20

This week's police report had two unusually long bits, one a snippet of unrequited romance, and the other a thought-provoking snippet of regret:

Sept. 23: 12:46PM: " An Amherst woman reported to police than on two separate occasions three weeks apart, first at a Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Hadley, and later at an Amherst CVS Pharmacy, a man has slipped a note into her bag and walked away. The note states that he is a gentleman and finds the woman pleasant and attractive."

On a more sober note:

Sept 22: 3:37PM: " About 100 college students riding bicycles intentionally blocked traffic and wore signs on their backs to taunt drivers on West Street near Hampshire College. The group was protesting the death of Meg Sanders who died a year ago while riding her bicycle in Northampton. They were warned to stay out of the road."

With all the hoo-hah about terrorists and homeland security, I seem to know more people (bicyclists) killed by trucks this year than by terrorists. If we declare trucks to be "terrorists", can we get some DHS money diverted to the real homeland , where public health education on sharing streets can make a real security difference?

PS : Try this Canadian no-brainer practice. Raise your arm and point when you enter crosswalks. Trust me it stops the cars cold, and the drivers appreciate it.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Best of the Police Report - Oct 13

I am 175 years old myself, so imagine my surprise on reading this first item:

"An 180-year-old Hatfield man was placed into protective custody after he was found lying on the ground on Route 9 Oct. 7 at 9:52 p.m., police said. " [Hadley]

September 18-
2:40 p.m. - A loose cow on South East Street was returned to its pen before police got there.

3:57 p.m. - An injured squirrel was reported on Harlow Drive.

September 20-
3:03 p.m. - Police were not able to locate a loose dog that was on Pine Street for several hours.[Amherst]

Vegetable from another planet

At the Amherst Farmer's Market Saturday morning, the people from

told me this fantastic green thing was an Italian Heirloom cauliflower called Romanesque. I believe, however, it may be an extra-planetary invasive. I base this on recent evidence that we are being visited by extra-planetaries, as shown in previous posts on UFO's , a rock from another planet, and a Lamborghini. This so-called vegetable has also appeared in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where an artist found it. He believes it is wholesome, natural and organic.

I really don't know. Whatever. It is fractaliciously fantastic in the 3rd dimension, and I think it is far too beautiful to eat. Stand aside red cabbage. Welcome interplanetary immigrants, along with your vegetables. !

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Best of the Police Report Oct 6

This week's themes were religious affairs and decorating new apartments. For you to ponder:

Saturday, Sept. 9, 3:32 PM: "The members of a loud band playing on the sidewalk in front of St. Brigid's Church were told to stop playing until Mass was over at 5PM."

Saturdy, Sept. 9, 9:53 PM : "A verbal warning was issued by police to people at the Jewish Community Center playing loud music at a bar mitzvah."

Sunday, Sept. 10, 1:21AM: "Police issue a citation to the driver of a vehicle stopped on Triangle Stree that had an orange construction barrel inside it."

Tuesday, Sept. 12, 12:43AM: "Two people walking with traffic cones on North Pleasant Street near Ren's Mobil were advised to return them to a construction area outside the downtown bars."

Tuesday, Sept. 12 10:22AM: " A Main Street woman called with a complaint about a dead and gutted squirrel that was left on her doorstep, which may have been retaliation for noise complaints she had made against her neighbors."

Or maybe it was a friendly cat!

Space Ship Lands ....

This did look like a space ship parked in front of Brueggers this morning. When I stopped to inquire I discovered it was a Lamborghini whose very kind driver was visiting a local Lamborghini client.

My only other picture of a Lamborghini is a tractor I saw parked by a vineyard along the Camino de Santiago back in 2000.

Tractors were Lamborghini's original product line.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Best of the Police Report Sept 1- 21

This week's report had an animal orientation with a rural flavor that included six hay bales and a mattress lost on local roads:

Sept 21, ---- : "Cows loose in the middle of South Maple Street at 12:58AM were not located by police. At 1:40AM, police found the owner attempting to corral them." [Hadley]

Sept 21, 2:09PM: "A fox missing much of its fur was seen in a field near Middle Street " [Hadley]

Sept 5 2:10PM: " Police took a report of a terrier type dog wandering in the area of Puffton Village wearing a sweater."

Sept 1, 7:09AM: " A woman was seen sleeping on top of a bicycle on Belchertown Road. Police found the woman , who was just trying to locate a piece of the bicycle that had fallen from her bicycle."

Sept 5 , ---- : " Ongoing problems were reported by a Mill Valley resident who said neighbors might be stealing items, including shoes."

If the date selection and sequences seem odd to you, they are.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Rock God From Planet Z

This un-retouched photo was taken by an amateur photographer yesterday just past the beaver dams on the Amherst Belchertown side of the Norwottuck bicycle path. Can this be real? Is this an invasion? Do you see how the green things appear to be landing? I don't think they are here for the foliage! There's more.....

Three miles away I found the rock pictured below. It is so unusual to my New England trained eye that I am convinced it is from another planet. My geologist friends [who have not actually seen the rock] laugh at me, and say it is simply a glacial erratic. That could explain how it got to the bicycle path, but what about those pockets? My geologic imagination sees them as trapped gas bubbles in cooling molten material from a thousand million years ago when volcanos were sending lava all over Amherst, Pelham, and Hadley. After that a broken piece of lava was smoothed down to its current size by waves on the beach of Lake Hitchcock. Finally, a glacier delivered it to the bicycle path, like all the other rocks around here.

However, given evidence of swamp hovering UFO's , I prefer the more reasonable proposition that green spheroid seekers from Planet Z, have ventured across nebulae, galaxies, and time warps in search of a great god, prophesied in their planetary lore. Now they have found their beloved lost god who wandered off Planet Z eons ago, behind the Hampshire Mall ... IN OUR BACKYARD!

Geologists, you are accustomed to outrageous propositions! Please weigh in....

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Blue Heron in Hadley?

No its not a turkey! Unless they are reproducing madly, this blue heron has wandered into Hadley from the swamp on the Amherst Belchertown side of the Norwottuck bicycle path. I found him flying and walking along a water-filled ditch between the corn and the bicycle path behind the Hampshire Mall near Target, near where Walmart wants to build a megastore.

Shouldn't the local Walmart and Target be encouraging more customers like this by emulating the Chicago Walmart branch which is greening their 67,000 square foot roof,
creating more habitat?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Immigrant Nation - Massachusetts Style

A moment of anti-immigrant Massachusetts shame that happened almost a hundred years before Sacco and Vanzetti has been ressurected. The 1st Annual Western Mass CeltFest, taking place at Look Park this Saturday (the 23rd) is "inspired by the execution of two Irish immigrants in Northampton 200 years ago. James Halligan and Dominic Daley.... [who ] were convicted and executed in 1806 for the murder of Marcus Lyons of Wilbraham....[and] were eventually exonerated by Governor Michael Dukakis [a Greek] on St. Patrick's Day in 1984." The event hopes to increase community awareness of how prejudice, bigotry and racial animosity can influence thought, social behavior and government action.

In God we trust, but sometimes you need a really great lawyer, and even at that, you are not going to get that fair trial, eh? Could someone at least get the Irish Sacco & Vanzetties their post-humous recognition on Wikipedia???

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Best of the Police Report August 29 - 30

Interspersed with numerous incidents of minors in possession of alcohol, violations of the town keg, open container and noise bylaws, [welcome back minors!] were these equally minor, and not terribly interesting incidents:

August 29... 5:11AM ...Bushes, a car, and the front porch were all found covered with toilet paper at a Northampton Road location.

August 30... 10:48AM ...Two men crawling through the window of a South Prospect Street home checked out OK.

August 30... 1:57PM ...A Jeffrey Lane resident was notified that her dogs were again loose and chasing cows.

Far more interesting were the Fire Department's calls to duty for dozens of incidents of smoke alarms triggered by paint, steam, and bad cooking, including two incidents of burnt popcorn.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Pipczynski Szawjkowski Wojtowicz Szafir Wysinski & Howe

Dominating the obituaries in the Amherst Bulletin this week were these honorable nonagenerians of the Polish community:

Cecylia Pipczynski Szawjkowski, 99
Born in Hadley, daughter of Andrzej and Zofia Soldanski Pipcsynski...moved back to Poland when she was three...oldest resident in town of Hadley....holder of a Gold Cane from the town...survived two husbands, Walter Szwajkowski and Jozef Budka...survived by 17 grandchildren, 37 great-grandchildren, and 11 great-great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews, daughter Veronica Kozalkowski of Hadley,two sons Piotr and Josef Szwajkowski both of Poland.

Edward M. Wojtowicz, 90
Born in 1915, son of Teofil and Mary Ziobro Wojtowicz....lifelong resident of Amherst... well known contractor and home builder with brothers, Stanley and Ted...served in the US Navy from 1936 to 1939, and 1943 to 1945 in the Pacific...famous for his tomatoes, strawberries, and raspberries which he sold from a roadside stand..loved fly fishing...met Ted Williams...maintained a tree farm in Leverett...was always seen around town driving his red pickup truck...and is survived by Louise, his wife of 63 years.

Statia Szafir Wysinski, 90
Born in Hadley, 1916 ....daughter of Stanly and Anna Antosz Szafir... moved to Northampton upon marriage to Joseph Wysinski a fireman for the city...worked in the cafeteria of the Northampton school system...lifelong communicant of St. John Cantilus Church in Northampton...survived by daughter Nancy Wysinski,and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and cousins.

Scrabble enthusiasts, weep. The Polish have us beat in consonants...and in potatoes, polka, and passing on. Way to go, wonderful lives, great stories -- and thanks for leaving us the "Q".

Polish Potatoes of the Pioneer Valley

The Pioneer Valley is full of Polish people. You've seen their names: Kuzmeskus school busses, Kozikowski and Szawlowski on potato trucks. If you have more pictures of Polish-ness in the Pioneer Valley, I would love to hear from you!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Best of the Amherst Police Report -- August 18 - 23

Interspersed with numerous reports of noisy students, sick raccoons, loose dogs, dogs locked in cars, and suspicious activity found to be gone when police got there, were these, as compiled by Scott Merzbach in the Amherst Bulletin of September 15, 2006:

August 18. 4:12PM ... A man jogging on Bridge Street told police he was nipped on his shorts by two loose poodles.

August 18. 9:25PM... Police got a report of a man lying in a parking space on North Pleasant Street and giving women a hard time while they tried to park their car there.

August 19. 2:09AM... A man attempting to hitchhike while standing in the middle of College street was moved to the sidewalk.

August 20. 10:20PM... A man who claimed he was hit in the face with a gun and robbed of his wallet and had to get away by swimming across Puffer's Pond was found stuck in the weeds and mud at the edge of the pond.

August 22. 8:03PM... Police took a report of people throwing batons that were on fire on the Town Common. Police determined they were professional flame jugglers.

August 23. 12:29PM... People opening boxes of honey at the Fiber Art Center found one with a ticking sound inside it. Police determined it was a defective music box shipped with the honey.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Canadian Crime: SUV Kidnapping: :

The second installment in the series. ...Just when you thought it was safe to drive in Canada: this one.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Canadian Crime: Boatjacking Bears

The terrorist threat is clear: Canadian bears have graduated from gateway misdemeanors like garbage picking to perfectly felonious assault: boatjacking:

Marty Descoteaux sees the beasts often near the city of Elliot Lake, about 150 kilometres west of Sudbury. So he wasn't surprised last month to spot one swimming near his boat on Esten Lake, just outside the city.

When Descoteaux reached rocks he looked back and was shocked to see his 5-metre aluminum boat speed past. While the bear was exploring the boat, it had hit the throttle.

The pilotless craft ran in circles for a half-hour until it ran out of gas. Descoteaux, 35, swam out 21/2 kilometres to recover the boat and had to use its electric trolling motor to slowly glide back to shore.

-Toronto Star Aug 2, 2006

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Better Know a Zip Code ????

What are the chances Stephen Colbert will create a new feature called "Better Know a Zip Code", and interview me for 01002?

With more than 43,000 zip codes.... well, do the math... this fellow has memorized 30,000 of these zip codes!

Help, dear readers?????

Andrew Honors Emily

Andrew Sullivan, normally a political blogger, digressed to spring time, and chose my words to caption his lovely blossoms. Thank you, Andrew!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Brokeback Mountain Sheep

These sheep are from Amherst. They and the sheepdogs were the stars of the Sheep Dog Trials held here last year in October. But whose sheep starred in Brokeback Mountain?

I searched the credits, and found not a single mention of those sheep who, I have to say, made the movie. They deserved an Oscar, or at least some credit.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Bagpipe Who Didn't Say No

Emily recommends The Bagpipe Who Didn't Say No. Other very sweet Shel Silverstein poems, sure to please the young at heart, are available on this poetry afficianados site.