In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, and to move briefly away from the flotsam and jetsam of local perfidy, hostile takeovers, and the thumb-pumpkins of politics, The Planet asked our food consultant, Chef Pierre Francois De la Soda, to submit an appropriate recipe.

The recipe is real (no joke), and tonight, in the Planet’s test kitchens, we will put it to use. In other words, those who give the corned beef and Irish coffee a whirl do so at their own risk (well worth it, in our estimation!).

Chef De la Soda writes:

Hi Dan,

As The Planet’s food consultant, I wanted to submit a recipe for traditional Irish corned beef, as well as a recipe for Irish whiskey and café. We do it to honor Saint Patrick’s Day it for your readers and followers. My recipe is not too complicated. Even for those non-culinary kitchen meteorites that have trouble making something more complicated than burger on the 4th of July

(some 109 days away) will be able to impress their family and friends with these recommendations.

Traditional Irish Corned Beef


— 8 to 10 whole red potatoes

— 1 corned beef brisket (4 to 5 pounds)

— 2 tablespoons brown sugar

— 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

— 6 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-1/2-inch lengths

— 6 celery stalks, cut into 1-1/2-inch lengths

— 1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges

— 1 small cabbage cut into 8 wedges

— 1 teaspoon salt

— 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

— 1 bottle (12 ounces) Irish beer, Smithwick’s recommended

— Additional whole-grain mustard (optional)


1. Place corned beef in large pot or Dutch oven and cover with water. Add the spice packet that came with the corned beef. Cover pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer approximately 50 minutes per pound or until tender.

2. Add whole potatoes and carrots, and cook until the vegetables are almost tender. Add cabbage and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove meat and let rest 15 minutes.

3. Place vegetables in a bowl and cover. Add as much broth (cooking liquid reserved in the Dutch oven or large pot) as you want. Slice meat across the grain. Serve.

Irish Coffee ( 1 serving )

— 1 teaspoon instant coffee

— 1 teaspoon sugar

— 1 jigger Irish whiskey

— 1 cup of boiling water

— Whipped cream

Mix coffee, sugar and whiskey. Add boiling water until almost full. Spoon whipped cream on top.  Wait 5 minutes before drinking, ah just kidding Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!

The Planet thanks our garcon of gastronomics for this culinary interlude.

One Time to Lay Off Deval … Kinda

Governor Deval Patrick returns to Massachusetts tonight following the completion of his 10-day trade mission to Israel and Great Britain. Patrick’s been in for a bunch of criticism on three fronts:

· The deal was a junket

· He didn’t close any business agreements during the jaunt

· While he was away, Fidelity Investments announced the remaining of its 1,200 workers would be bolting its long-time Marlboro campus for either Smithfield, R.I., or Merrimack, N.H.

PATRICK: Lay off da guv; his trade mission made sense.

The flack is undeserved. First, even Ricky Roma couldn’t have closed a deal in the mere 10 days of the trip. Patrick did sign a memorandum of agreement with Israel for collaboration on R&D for the Commonwealths life sciences and environmental programs. Not sexy, but it’s something. Thing is, if the governor DOESN’T go out and try to sell Massachusetts, critics will get on him for that.

Second, let’s be rational about the Fidelity move. Patrick’s physical presence had no effect on the strategic decision. Fidelity made that long ago. If did, though, affect the announcement of the move. Patrick couldn’t have prevented the decision to move from the governor’s mansion anymore than he could from a hotel in Jerusalem.

A Move Long in the Making

Corporate hegiras of this sort do not occur in a vacuum nor do they develop overnight. The evidence strongly suggests Fidelity has had the move in place and in plans for a while. The company had previously shed 2,600 jobs in Marlboro since 2007. Clearly, the Amazing Shrinking Fidelity Campus there had to have attracted some attention from the statehouse, where some senators are in a snit over the move and want hearings. Where was the alarm back in 2007, when the job cuts began. What politician tried to find out why? Now that the horse has left the barn, the pols want in to make it look like “they’re doing something.”

Attention: To any state official who wants to waste taxpayer money this way — Fidelity works in the dreaded private sector. Companies can leave or not leave whenever they wish. However, the timing of the announcement, while Patrick was overseas downing Tanner’s Jack and mitzvahs, indicates Fidelity wanted to frost the governor.

Analysts blame Massachusetts’ hostile climate for business as the chief culprit. Fidelity, frustrated with playing the role of salmon swimming uphill, wants to move downstream. Smithfield or Merrimack will win (maybe both if the company bi-locates), and once more the state will lose big.

The local “angle” of this loss of enterprise, of course, is that Pittsfield (and the economic driver for Berkshire County) can afford nothing less than absolute intelligence and supreme ability and execution in its economic planning. Being located in Massachusetts is enough of a handicap, and anything less that perfection in local economic planning will ensure continued stagnation and deceleration.

PCBs, Hill 78, & Unfunded Liabilities: Councilors Weigh in Tomorrow

Those of you eagerly expecting to read the positions and views of city councilors on the three crucial questions that face Pittsfield, be of good cheer — The Planet will run the responses tomorrow.

UNCLE GERRY LEE: "What? Share my views with The People? Nah, I spit on The People!"

FINAL TALLY: We have heard from six councilors, and you will learn much from their answers. The six took the time to address the three questions for the most part with originality and not with boilerplate. They took the queries seriously, and The Planet appreciates that much.

The questions solicited councilors’ views on dealing with PCBs and industrial toxins, Hill 78, and dealing with unfunded liabilities. The unholy trio could (and should) become the top three issues of Campaign ’11. We polled all 11 councilors. Six answered, five ignored.

Responding to The Planet, and therefore to We the People, in whose name we acted, were:

· Kevin Sherman

· Melissa Mazzeo

· Peter White

· Mike Ward

· John Krol

· Joe Nichols

Failing to answer the bell, and thus displaying their arrogance and contempt not of The Planet but of you, my dear readers, were:

· Christine Yon

· Paul Capitanio

· Jonathan Lothrop

· Peter Marchetti

· Gerry Lee

Only the Ignorant Ignore, eh, Mssrs. Lee and Lothrop?

Based on past history, The Planet “knew” (though you never know) that Lee and Lothrop would ignore our requests. They have been consistent in that one respect. They hide. They, of course, are the first to complain and badmouth The Planet (behind his back) for not including their ideas and views in our reports, analyses, and commentaries! Go figure. We held 40-60 odds for Marchetti and evens for Yon and Capitanio, each of whom at least engages in conversation with us times.

No councilor can say they didn’t know about the questions, not with the viral nature of communication in the age of social media.

The Planet thus scored a majority, 6-5, and we will clean up the views for format, style, etc. (the ideas and words we shall leave intact, for they are sacred). These positions can serve as a benchmark to measure the progress of thinking on these issues as the campaign season unravels (as surely it will this year). Ward and Lee are lame ducks. The others will be pressed on these issues and others as we move through the season.




  1. Dusty
    March 17, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    I would have bet my house that the ones who did not reply would not reply. None of them are councilors for the right reasons and I hope they all decide not to run in November and then leave town as well as an added gift to the taxpayers.

  2. SALTY
    March 17, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    This is too funny, we had an office pool (i’m serious) on who (which councilors) would reply and who wouldn’t. Uncle Gerry and J-Low topped everyone’s charts/ Of the five who were in it, one (me, not one of them) had the 6-5 score exactly. yon threw the most off. we thought she’s reply to the Planet. I personally thank those who answered dan’s questions, even before I read the answers, becauswe i think that’s all we want. To know where they stand. the 5 who stiffed this will not be back in any capacity, we think.

  3. Craig Swinson
    March 17, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    When your state is struggling with funding problems, if you can’t go out and secure real deals, DO NOT GO!
    It was a waste of money during a time when we have none to waste. He has had YEARS to develop deals and all he has done is made MA one of the worst states to try and do business in.
    The point you really miss is that Patrick has been in office while Fidelity has been making these moves, and has done NOTHING at home to stem the flow. He was in office in 2007, when Fidelity made its first move and did what? Nothing except go on a trip out of the country to try and drum up deals and of course make MA a horrible place to do business in.
    His “physical” presence hasn’t done much to lure companies to MA since 2007, so maybe in a way your right…Do Nothing Deval is just living up to the status quo.

  4. Rivetor
    March 17, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    @craig. true, deval was in office from the first fidelity downsizing, but if you read dan’s analysis carefuilly, he makes that very point! I disagree with him (dan) that the governor shouldn’t be criticized, but agree with the over all point made here on the planet that where were these politicians in 2007, 2008 2009 2010?

    • Craig Swinson
      March 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

      Yes I saw the fact that Dan said deval was in office in 2007, which again begs the question , as we both seem to agree, wtf has he been doing all this time?!?
      I’m blaming deval for making MA one of the worst states to do business in and then taking a “vacation” as part of his lead up to being secretary of state or head of the DoJ

      • danvalenti
        March 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

        No argument on how business unfriendly Massachusetts is. We agree on that. Patrick deserves his lumps for that. I thought the criticism over his a trip was more of a symbolic venting over that point rather than a specific criticism of the facts of this particular junket.

  5. Ruby
    March 17, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

    It is unfortunate that they missed the point. The questions are not about whether they like The Planet or not, the questions are about the issues which will be asked during this campaign,

  6. GMHeller
    March 17, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    Mr. Valenti,
    You really ought to post the photographs of the city councilors who will not respond.
    Reading about these lame-brains is one thing; seeing exactly who they are is another.
    If I see any these jokers in a local grocery, you better believe I’m going to get in their faces, but how does one do that without knowing what they look like?
    Should Ye Olde Planet end up running said photos, recommend strongly to everyone, get the hell in these people’s faces and let them know exactly how you view their indifference.
    It does one good — it’s legal — and it sure as hell will scare these local do-nothings as they find more and more people confronting them in the street.

  7. Fan Dan Go
    March 17, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    Yes, the five cowards who did not reply sholdbe and will be sent to the showers if any is foolish enough to try re-election. thank betsy that Uncle G Lee is gone, he’s bled the taxpayers long enough now he can drink to oblivion at the Amer Legion bar on Wendell Ave. Lowthrup is another deadbeat, Notice that both are public sector leeches making theur living off taxpayers. Yon too, worked for yrs in the school department. what’s marhetti’s excuse? he’s chicken. He does’t have the maturity to be mayor. He lacks a center, like there’s nothing inside. No core. Scary in a way but sad. He alwyas looks like a lost little boy.

  8. Jonathan Melle
    March 17, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    I don’t think anyone can really solve PITTSfield’s political problems. The state government is going to cut local aid again this year. PITTSfield gets poorer while the Pols raise taxes and fees! They are all full of b.s.

  9. toto
    March 18, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    Speaking of liabilities, went to the hear Irish Idol’ last night. He can sing, but not quite the caliber they make him out to be. I thought some of the other talent on the dais was better.

  10. arpaint
    March 18, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    Don’t feel bad Dan the councilors who failed to answer you never answered my E Mail either except for Jonathan and then only once in the past few years. The best ones for answering are Melissa, Mike Ward and Joe Nichols.

  11. SALTY
    March 18, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    Lothrup is terrible at constituent service. Used to be ward 7 had the worst when that idiot maffuccio was there. Now its 5. We are praying for an intelligent, energetic, person who CARES about us to be next in 5. Also heard some interesting rumors about marchetti and gerry doryle … all over the building.

    • dusty
      March 18, 2011 at 10:05 am #

      anything can happen after a few brewskis