a new feature showcasing transcripts of real-life conversations of pcj staff members, reader and staff observations and area news and views.
(remote control device affixed to telephone pole, canal rd., south hadley)
from transcript #17 july 27, 2011:
"...it's fun to be busy but some days i'm not. some days, usually my days off, i don't do much. and i don't speak to anyone. not even a grocery clerk. or a neighbor or a postman. nobody. a day without speaking. it's not purposeful. like by some zen design, or way of thinking, or anything. it just happens that way."
-- pcj staffer
if you would like to contribute to our beliefs and observations column, send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I remember that being a significant paradigm shift in my life. I was 22 with my whole life ahead of me. So were most of the dead soldiers at that cemetery. Never forgot that. People take our freedom for granted.
Below, photo featuring recipient of the, "I Worked Christmas for the Upteenth Year and no Matter How Slow it Was We Still Didn't Make Deadline Award" for 1996.
Award winner showing the killed page that resulted in blowing lockup on the slowest news day of the year.
"I'm proud to take home this award," said '96 award winner R. Genest. "It makes me feel a little bit closer to being human."
Officials were reluctant to comment on the killed page but released a statement that said, in part, "Sometimes a comma changes the meaning. It's very possible there was liable exposed. Bob might have done the right thing. Time will tell. "
Now that I'm spending time around downtown Springfield I thought I'd go over to the Center Square Mall on Main street and try out some new kicks at the Foot Locker. Check out the new Air Jordans, maybe.
Pretty cool place, I recall. This photo from the Foot Locker at the Center Square Mall, 1986. I hope it's still there!
Here is a rare photo of a salesman in the back room. Hey, he's the official! I wonder if he still works there? We'll see!
SAN FRANCISCO -- In the early morning, before a long day as a senior accountant, Jay likes to stop at the warm-up court near the fields along Marina Blvd. to do some pull-ups.
Before any exercise it's important to stretch first. Everyone knows that.
It's also important to know when to breathe.
Is this 50? Smooth. Nice shoes, by the way.
Location of the warm-up court as captured by Google Earth.
We chatted with Jay via email:
PCJ: Why do you do pull-ups?
Jay: Doing pull-ups ensures that my back is strong and I've been doing them for about 23 years. I stopped for about a year and had a coupla bad back strains from golf (upper and lower). Better to keep doing them.
Around the Mountain Park access road in Holyoke, Mass., and behind the Castle Hill apartments (formerly the site of the Kenilworth castle), I discovered a road along a stream.
The road seemed wide enough for pedestrians, or maybe a horse and buggy, but it didn't seem suited for cars. In some places, the metal pipe barrier was still intact.
The road ended around 1/2 mile, blocked by a culvert built in the 60s to carry water under Interstate 91. The highway was built in the 50s, I think. I could have crawled under on the ledge right under the highway. But I thought better of it and turned back.
What a lovely walk this must have been. From rt. 5, folks could take a leisurely stroll through the woods directly up to the park.
The rushing stream originates at Whiting reservoir and flows into the Connecticut river.
Here's a link to the location. The road is unmarked but is easy to find directly behind the office for the apartments. The land is private property but I don't think visitors will draw too much attention.:
NOTEBOOK: If you're a photography intern, always be respectful of everyone. Everyone in the office has something to teach you. Even the guy dumping the waste bins... get to know him.
First priority: learn everyone's names. That will make it easy to approach folks with questions. It's better to say, "Betsy, can you remind me what the shortcut is to get the toolbar on the right side of the image?" Take the time to figure out how to remember that her name is "Betsy".
Another priority is keeping your opinion to yourself. Also, if others are swearing in the office, never join in. Nod or smile when it is appropriate. But try not to swear. Also, if you are able to keep your shirt tucked in, you should do so. If you practice these few simple things you will stand a better chance to survive subsequent programs that have other challenges. Good luck.
The International Brotherhood of Turkeys local 223 flocked to their annual meeting today near the Enfield lookout at the Quabbin Reservoir. The agenda was simple. Review casualty numbers generated from the fall hunting season and brainstorm tactics to outsmart hunters in the spring.
(A cold but bright and clear day greeted Pioneer Valley turkeys as they gathered for their annual state-of-the-turkey-union meeting at the Quabbin Reservoir.)
Spokesman, Jake Turkey, a veteran of 4 hunting seasons, says the meetings are simple and to the point. "We're really just looking for ways to outsmart the orangemen, (turkey talk for hunters)." Although Turkey would not reveal actual numbers, he said turkey casualties from hunters have gone down in recent seasons. "We're seeing numbers become increasingly lower," Turkey said. "Although our brains are really small, our members are becoming a bit smarter," he said.
Another reason for the lower numbers may be cheaper turkey calls that are made in China. "The 'made in China' turkey calls have a distinct sound that most of us pick up right away. You humans might say it's like trying to attract a female by using a recording of Don Rickles and Paul Lynde singing Simon and Garfunkle Christmas songs. It just doesn't work," Turkey said.
(Hen thinks twice about crossing)
While casualties from hunters are down, more turkeys are being hit by cars. "People don't know how to drive. Especially in winter. Humans have these big 4-wheel-drive cars and they just run us right down. It's pathetic," said Turkey.
(Hens cross busy intersection around Quabbin)
Just like humans, turkeys have to get from point A to point B. Crosswalks might help with the traffic issue but Turkey said crosswalks are not a cure for common sense. "We have to look both ways before crossing. That might keep the traffic fatalities down," he said.
The last remaining structure from the original Mountain Park in Holyoke, Mass. collapsed recently. The pavilion was originally built over the foundation of the Stardust ballroom and Tap Room that was leveled by a gas explosion in the early 70s. New owner Eric Suher recently moved the pavilion to make room for a stage area for his new concert venue.
I discovered this today as I snowshoed around the parameter of the park. I couldn't help but wonder if the movement of the pavilion compromised its structural integrity. It is unknown if anyone was injured in the collapse.
I'm fairly certain I've heard of winter golf. But I'm not sure what the rules are. Maybe it doesn't really exist. But I still walk my local course and go over my game. After all, golf is a cerebral sport. Got to keep a leg up on the hacker competition.
Red marker. 100 yards to the pin. I pull out my 9 iron and choke up, since it's a bit downhill. I close my eyes and see green. But reality is a different story.
Nice view of Mt. Tom., but I can't let the scenery distract me. I have a hybrid 2 iron I've been dying to use. Ball is sitting up. This is my chance.
60 degree wedge from here, but I have to be careful. A deep sand trap just to the right.
Uphill lie and 180 to the pin. What would Jack do here? Lay up and chip? I'll go for it.
Cart path. I'll walk.
I'm pretty sure I skulled it into the woods. But not out of bounds, hopefully. Nobody is behind me so I'll take my time and look for my ball.
Dog leg to the right but I'll take my chances with a 4 iron over the trees. Again, uphill, but I think I can make it over as the leaves are mostly gone.
Well, I shot an 84. Pretty respectable given the conditions.
Paramount aka Hippodrome nee Paramount
Having recently joined the Quaboag Hills Photography Club I was privy to a
photowalk they arranged at the old Paramount Theater, or Hippodrome as it
4 years ago
Off The Shelf: The Finest Hours by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman
From Booklist: In a 1952 nor’easter, the distress of two ships off Cape Cod initiated a dramatic Coast Guard operation recounted here by coauthors Tougias and Sherman. Both vessels were World War II surplus, cheaply built, unwisely kept in service, and broken in two by the storm. All four halves floated, for the moment, and the authors’ narrative accordingly tracks four separate search-and-rescue efforts that form the complete story. The most prominent, in the press at the time and in official honors conferred afterward, concerned one motorized lifeboat, a puny 36 feet long and manned by four men, dispatched to do battle with the maelstrom’s towering waves. This is the seascape of The Perfect Storm, and the authors do justice to the peril in a tight account of the action. Plotting the course of CG36500, the utilitarian name of the lifeboat captained by Bernie Webber (interviewed for this book), Tougias and Sherman reach their peak of tension in the sink-or-swim moments when mariners abandoned ship and chanced their lives on their rescuers’ skill and bravery. An excellent entry in the disaster-at-sea genre. --Gilbert Taylor
Our focus is on Western Massachusetts. Our postings are mostly of common images that folks might come across in their everyday journeys. Wall graffiti, lampposts, ticket booths, street scenes, wildlife, forests and discarded objects are regular themes.
We started blogging with a focus on the history of our families and how the places they have lived evolved over time. We are most interested in how the past and present collide and launching the reader into a place where memories of prior experiences and places mingle with their everyday lives.
-- Bob Genest