Art & Videos

“It is nearly always the most improbable things that really come to pass.”

—E. T. A. Hoffmann, German writer, born January 24, 1862

odeMestylistI suggest a visit to Kris Badertscher’s brand new site Art & Videos. It looks great and has a lot of her fine work to look at. If you haven’t encountered Kris’s work before, you’ve got a treat coming. (BTW, A & V is a Squarespace 6 site. I’ve been doing some sites in SS6 recently and it makes a spiffy looking site.)

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Trains, Please

“I ain’t what I used to be, but who the hell is?”

—Dizzy Dean, American athlete, born January 16, 1910

DizzyDeanGoudeycardHall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean was the last National League pitcher to win 30 games in one season (went 30–7 with a 2.66 ERA with Saint Louis in 1934); he also said: “Son, what kind of a pitch would you like to miss?” That scores well on the ever-popular badass scale.

We like the idea of better rail connection between Springfield and Boston, but the important thing for us is that “Amtrak’s high-speed rail service [in the Pioneer Valley] will begin in early 2015.” Practical commuter rail in the Valley will be, like the article says, “a significant economic boon to Northampton, Holyoke, and Greenfield.” Can’t wait.

I love Charles Perrault’s elegant Last Word characterization of the downtrodden youngest son of three, who thwarts the witch (or whatever the local threat is) and gets the girl in folktales from India to Norway.

Today and Tomorrow in #westernma

7:45AM Holyoke Women Business Owners Alliance Breakfast Meeting
12:00PM Springfield Exchange Club of Springfield
12:00-1:00PM Northampton Pioneer Valley Wellness Alliance
5:00PM Springfield The Business Network at Max’s in Springfield
8:00PM Northampton Northampton Webdive – After Dark


I Hear That Train a Comin’

Edward Lamson Henry - The 945 Accommodation“Meantime, $73 million worth of work on the Knowledge Corridor is much further along and officials now estimate that Amtrak’s high-speed rail service will begin in early 2015, ushering in the return of passenger trains through Greenfield, Northampton and Holyoke for the first time since the late 1980s.

“Those plans call for a shift in the Amtrak Vermonter’s alignment, which today takes it through Amherst and Palmer before getting to Springfield, to a more direct southern route.

“While infrastructure work takes place this year, Brennan said discussions are taking place to increase the number of planned daily runs. Increasing the number of daily shuttles will provide a significant economic boon to Northampton, Holyoke and Greenfield, the mayors of those communities said in a joint letter to state transportation officials earlier this year.”

Talk of high-speed rail between Springfield and Boston heats up.

The Last Word

“The poor child was the drudge of the household, and was always in the wrong. He was, however, the most bright and discreet of all the brothers; and if he spoke little, he heard and thought the more.”

—Charles Perrault, French author, born January 12, 1628

Hilltown Families at TEDx Shelburne Falls 2013

“The genius of you Americans is that you never make clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make the rest of us wonder at the possibility that we might be missing something.”

—Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egyptian leader, born January 15, 1918

Nasser portrait2I love this quote from Gamal Abdel Nasser. He was a major figure in the history of the modern Middle East post-WW2. It’s nice that his given name, Gamal, means “beauty,” too.

Demographic change again. What am I, a broken record? This excellent piece points out that the dynamics are complex and not necessarily as uniformly dire as linear extrapolations of the trends may make them seem. The impact of age on social arrangements will change as people live longer and stay healthy and are able to and desire to continue working.


Go watch Sienna Wildfield’s TEDx Shelburne Falls 2013 talk. It’s really good.You should be supporting Hilltown Families, too: it’s a precious resource for the whole Western Massachusetts region that only exists because of love, dedication, and hard work. (It’s also a powerful and very economical way to reach tens of thousands of Western Mass people in prime demographics for the marketers among us.)

The Last Word today goes to Saint Mary MacKillop , who was canonized in 2010. Don’t hold her connection with ex-pope Benedict against her. And what she says is very true.

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Nine: Kill Them Without Mercy. Ten: Smile for the Cameras

“The clock talked loud. I threw it away, it scared me what it talked.”

—Tillie Olsen, American novelist, born January 14, 1913

Stinging nettlesWhy is World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen so hard to beat? Above all he’s nettlesome. The ten qualities of the article describes are all well worth cultivating. You too, can be nettlesome — or at least make yourself thoroughly hard to play against.

(By the way, nettles are very good to eat when they’re young and tender. Full of vitamins, too. They make a really good soup in the early spring.)

When I’m not being nettlesome, I very much agree with Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Last Word. Kindness is the finest thing in the world.

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You Call this Cold?

“Darn the wheel of the world! Why must it continually turn over? Where is the reverse gear?”

—Jack London, American novelist, born January 12, 1876

300px-Sargent - Lord RibblesdaleThe Apollo Grill provided Don’t Eat Lunch Alone with a commodious and friendly home for its entire life in Easthampton. InCommN is currently taking a break from the lunch networking racket; but we wish the Douglasses the best of luck with their new venture, and look forward to visiting their new restaurant, Galaxy. Easthampton continues to grow and get better.

Jack London’s “To Build A Fire” puts this frigid winter we’re enduring into perspective. “The trouble with him was that he was without imagination. He was quick and alert in the things of life, but only in the things and not in the significances.” I’ve never really read London; going to have to give him a try.

John Singer Sargent was one of the greatest portrait painters of all time. He the invaluable talent of endowing his subject with superhuman glamor. Nobody can be that beautiful, woman or man, but the subjects of his portraits are, at least on the evidence of the very expensive canvases he produced for them. Sargent, as his last word suggests, was at best cynical about his trade.

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“It would be wonderful if I could see the end of civilization during my lifetime.”

—Hayao Miyazaki, Japanese director, born January 5, 1941

Porco Rosso Movie PosterIf you don’t have children you may not be familiar with Miyazaki’s work. He has now retired from active film production but leaves a long list of masterpieces, including My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and my favorite, Porco Rosso. Do yourself a favor and watch them in Japanese with subtitles. Avoid the dubbed versions with the egregious Fanning sisters. I think Disney employs them to train adults to loathe the sound of small children’s voices.

When I was a boy, my bicycle was magic to me because it extended my range of exploration by an order of magnitude. I never knew that that my trusty Schwinn shouldn’t actually be able to, y’know, stay upright.

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