The Planet loves feedback, especially from people who, for whatever reason, dislike what we do, an occupational hazard of truth telling. We enjoy responses along the lines of “your blog sucks,” since it reveals the limited intellectual capacity of those who assert such claims. “That sucks” is the equivalent of the old polemic we four-year-olds used to fling in the sandbox: “You’re stupid” or “Baby!”

Right, the blog sucks. That’s why they keep reading it and can recite content from memory as good as Richard Burton doing Shakespeare! This fits in with the category of “I don’t read your stuff, but” or “I don’t listen to your radio show, but” and then they tell me everything we covered.

We in fact found out that the Pittsfield Colonials had named Jamie Keefe as the new field manager to succeed Brian Daubach on Friday. We agreed to embargo the news until Wednesday. When The Planet gives our word, we honor it.

We can now let you in on a little media experiment conducted by The Planet. We waited on the news to see if the Berkshire Eagle would post anything. They did. It amounted to this: The Planet  forced the Boring Broadsheet to post it sooner — even though we had it first — since, according to one of our newsroom friends, the front office has issued a memo about the embarrassment of having been scooped by The Planet so many times. The memo wasn’t issued in writing for fear we would get a copy (a reasonable precaution, since we WOULD have easily gotten one from one of our newsroom colleagues and spies.

Mission: Accomplished

Thus, one of the major goals of this website has been achieved: forcing the Eagle into more responsiveness online. Our source, from the news gathering part of the operation, laughingly told us that The Planet has been a topic at several meetings at the Boring Broadsheet. Monitoring this site for news and views is now, apparently, part of the daily editorial harvesting. Another win for The Little Guy!


The Politics of Snow

THE DOPPLER EFFECT: My, but doesn't it look pretty?

The Planet has had great fun ribbing Pittsfield city councilors John “Kringle” Krol and Peter “Snow” White about their dire warnings on Facebook anytime the city declares a “snow emergency.” Both of my downy friends have turned frosty, not taking the needles well. Of course, a primo needler recognizes that as weakness and defensiveness, and often can’t resist the temptation of piling it on even more. If others enjoy it, and they have, what’s the harm?

Their council colleague Peter Marchetti posted today on Snow White’s Facebook page, basically asking what’s wrong with informing people of impending snow? It’s a fair question, and the answer, of course, is “nothing.” In fact, you could make the case for such a warning being the responsible act of a concerned representative. The Planet, however, will not make that case as it involved my thin-skinned right honorable good friends, Krol and White. There’s three overriding reasons why:

Three Reasons for the Flurry on Snow


(*) First, the politicization of weather makes mockery of reasonable precaution. We have fast turned into weather wimps, largely because of 24/7 availability of weather. Three snowflakes hovering over Lake Michigan can induce portents of doom on the shores of Lake Onota. Okay, The Planet recognizes the reality that people can’t handle weather like adults any longer. The city thus issues “snow emergencies.” Citizens know the drill by now. They have been informed of snow, the city has told them of a state of emergency, and they should be and usually are smart enough to need the advice. They don’t need politicians making hay on Facebook.

(*) The Planet contends the Facebook postings of Krol and White, therefore, being redundant, must be done for some other reason. Having eliminated less reasonable alternatives, we arrived at the answer: stinking politics. This is an election year. My two snowy friends are campaigning every time they interrupt regular Facebook programming with their silly announcements. The postings are replete with a pretty mug shot and the name. The snow warnings are a cheap way of “knocking on doors” and leaving a “placard.” Both fellows are mad that I’ve pointed out their true motives. Ain’t politics heck?!


(*) Even if we buy the civic necessity of Krol and White using Facebook to warn constituents, The Planet won’t accept the time, attention, and energy they spend on snow warnings. The reason is that they, along with other council members, have let slide too many important things. It’s easy to post a “snow alert.” It’s difficult to solve the decade-old Pittsfield problem of economic development. Only if Krol and White attended the CEDS meeting Tuesday at the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission will we cut them slack for their snow globes on Facebook. We ask Krol and White directly: Did you attend this meeting? Please let us know. By now, The Planet should have educated both of you on the CEDS process (you showed no evidence of having been aware of it before), how it has been the smoking gun in the city’s economic failure, and how it can be a key to addressing this problem. Have you been attending? Has any other member of the city council attended? Please, our readers want to know.


For these reasons and a few others we won’t bother you with, we will continue to ride John Kringle Krol and Peter Snow White for the white stuff. Tell us we’re wrong. Better yet, we will waive our usual appearance fee and appear on Krol’s “Good Morning, Pittsfield,” and have him tell us we’re wrong. We’ll invite councilor Melissa Mazzeo to make a guest appearance. She can tape our mouth shut with duct tape and let Krol at me (I don’t trust any of the other councilors with duct tape, which is another matter entirely).


Odes from the Spur of Crystal Flakes … or …


Oh yeah, finally on the topic of snow, we share a couple of ditties The Planet wrote for Facebook specifically in honor of my two right honorable good friends:

FLAKE & BAKE by Dan Valenti

Oh, if my love was an earthly flake
as cold as it is White
I would inside an sauna bake
and leave Krol to put up the fight.

And then there’s this piece:

ODE TO WINTER by Dan Valenti

The next great storm soon begins anew.
The magic White returns.
The snow with its flakes renew
Our winter cares outworn
Heaven smiles. Krol and White scream
Like wrecks of a dissolving dream


Save the Date: Jan. 15 for Education

This will be of interest to those who care about education. From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Jan, 15, at Monument Mountain High School in Great Barrington, students in the Independent Project Pilot Program will present their final projects. The event, which will take place in the Monument auditorium, will include student-produced music, acting, literature, philosophy, food, and lectures. The Planet hopes to make it. Maybe we’ll see you there?




  1. just saying
    January 12, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    I have lived in Berkshire County for 34 years, (Windsor, Pittsfield, and Lanesborough). If you need to rely on facebook to tell you when a snow storm is approaching, perhaps you should move far south of here. (If you have a facebook page, perhapas you should try reading a book, or some other activity that doesn’t reduce your brain capacity).
    These are elected officials! What the fuck are they doing playing highschool on a social networking site??!! Have you fools not noticed that Pittsfield is in a state of decline? Most of the business that was publicly funded is going/has gone under.
    A little less facebook and a little more attention to reality would be a nice start.

    • old man winter
      January 13, 2011 at 9:49 am #

      What do you rely on for weather information, old man? Do your corns start aching?

      The civilized world tends to use technology for information, including social networks.

      Facebook not for politics? Tell it to this guy –

      Welcome to 2010.

      • danvalenti
        January 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

        Corns aching. That’s good!

      • jkiust saying
        January 14, 2011 at 9:38 am #

        @ old man winter

        I will be turning 35 in a few weeks. Not all of us are so taken with all electronic crap.
        How old are you there old mister know it all???

      • just saying
        January 14, 2011 at 9:58 am #

        @ old man

        I’m 34 years old, how old are you?
        Ask BO about facebook? How about asking him about the disaster of his first two years?
        Also FYI it is 2011, 2010 was last year. Now go play on your facebook page.

        • danvalenti
          January 14, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

          It’s refreshing to encounter a 30-something who sees through the ruse that riddles much of technology.

  2. GMP
    January 13, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    Let’s be clear –

    Good Morning Pittsfield radio & TV show, hosted by John Krol

    Mon-Fri, 7:30-8:30 am

    radio: 89.7 FM
    TV: channel 17 (public access)

    Is that right?

  3. Wally
    January 13, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    @JS you got that right, this facebook “emergency” posting by councilors is waht valenti claims a political ad for this years campain.

  4. Angela
    January 13, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    I say we hold a poll for Sexiest Journalist in the Berkshires.

    The nominees, please:

    1.) Alan (“Did You Know I Had a Dog Named Murray?” ) Chartock

    2.) Tim (“I Can’t Believe I Left Hearst Newspapers for These Creeps”) Farkus

    3.) Dan (“The One-Man-Mob-Scene”) Valenti

    Dan, you sexy beast, you’ve got my vote. Shake it, baby! Shake it!

    • old man winter
      January 13, 2011 at 11:18 am #

      I just threw up a little bit in my mouth…

  5. old man winter
    January 13, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    On an unrelated note, it’s too bad Mike Ward won’t be running for Pittsfield’s spot as Ward 4 city councilor.

    Now I’ll have to come up with a $500 check to give to the candidate that runs against Terry Kinnas….

    • danvalenti
      January 13, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

      Don’t tell anyone, but it might be Mark Miller.

  6. Joe Pinhead
    January 13, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    Looks like Mike is taking his orbit award and hitting the road. I mean really what can you do to follow up an orbit? Unlike Brett Farve it looks like Mr Ward knows to get out when your on top.

  7. Dee
    January 13, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

    Re: Winter storms.
    500,000 budget, 46,000 left BEFORE the lastest storm.
    Exactly what has Mr. Barrett spent 450,000 on in roughly four weeks of winter with eight weeks *at least* left to go?
    Isn’t anyone watching the store?
    Has he been given carte blanche to spend however much he wants on whatever he wants?
    Where are the watch-dogs?
    Where is the accountability?
    And more importantly, why isn’t anyone asking these questions and demanding answers.
    Who cares if it’s bare roads in 12 hours if it bankrupts the city. That is awful short-sighted and when He leaves, it will be the residents of Pittsfield paying for Barrett’s folly.

  8. Bruce
    January 15, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    Great reading you Dan, keep up the good work. Are the Planet’s postings really a topic at Berkshire b’Eagle meetings? I understand “short-stop scoops” in your major field with the baseball, but so much City news? Cronies & spies in the newsroom- oh my! Seems that quid-pro-quo professional courtesy might be the reason for the occasional delay. It also seems to me from the subtext that many small-town friends don’t want to “read all about it” on your site first. Idea: do you remember the Sunday Sampler and Ken Keehnle’s, “What Ken Thinks” , back in the ’70’s & early ’80’s? Maybe “they” should just give the whole city a break and create a daily sampler page of “What The Planet Thinks” and, instead of the politics of scoopery etiquette, you might provide a quick summary for general consumption so their “newshounds” could get back to sniffing out news- and maybe even trying to out-sniff you. This might even create a desireable friendly competition between the b’Eagle and you, perhaps. Imagine! I suspect a next move for you might be national politics & syndication; with a plethora of cronies & spies developed at the CIA, NSA, Fed and FBI, you my friend, a not-so-mild-mannered reporter at the daily Planet V, might save America from its own Imperialist fall because you’re a stand-up kinda guy. Not only a breath of fresh air, you are an inspiration professor!

    Sooner or later the notion of “can’t beat ‘im- join ‘im” should occur to the management. If a new sampler page of “what Dan thinks” does come to pass, it’s only a good and timely idea which flies, so please don’t “blame” me Dan, neither ye cronies nor spies.

    Again, keep up the good work; great stuff.
    Happy News Year! As ever, BWR

    • danvalenti
      January 15, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

      Many thanks. That I have friends in the newsroom is not a scoop! Any true news hound hates what Media News has done to a once-great paper. That includes several who are there now, that I number among friends. The Planet has forced them to be more responsive in a couple of ways. They get online stuff up faster than they used to, though the website is still lousy. As of yet, the haven’t approached me on a deal. They’re not going to beat me, and I doubt they want to join me, though it would save their plummeting circulation. They’d have to meet my terms.
      The Planet hopes 2011 is full of greatness for you and yours, with love and goodness.