(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, APRIL 19, 2011) — Four things out of the gate.

Baseball, God, and Other Non-Sequiturs

(1) Tomorrow night, The Planet hosts and produces “Baseball, God, and Other Non-Sequiturs,” a celebration of these two metaphysical topics as part of the city of Pittsfield’s observance of National Poetry Month. City cultural affairs commissioner Megan Whilden gave The Planet carte blanche in dreaming up a suitable event, and we believe this is it.

The fun begins at 6 p.m. at Chapters Bookstore. Meet and greet, 6-6:30 p.m. Program 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Free food, beverages, and wine. FREE admission. The lineup includes Mayor Jimmy Ruberto reading “Casey at the Bat, readings by the Pittsfield Colonials baseball team execs, talk mistress and owner of Beads, Bisque, & Beyond Donna Todd Rivers, and writers Laura Gross and Paul Milenski. Join us for free fun.

Server Down on the Grassy Knoll

(2) The Planet was inaccessible this morning via the web because of a server being down in Colorado. ‘Twas nothing more than that. It’s a long technical discussion that we won’t trouble you with, but the point is we are back up and on, throwing high heat. Conspiracy theorists fanned wildfire flames about how “They” took the site down. Didn’t happen. It was benign. The only ones on the Grassy Knoll are Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Hitler, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Jonathan Lothrop.

Lunch at Blantyre

(3) The Planet had lunch at Blantyre today. Even though it’s not true, we’ll say The Committee the trouble of posting this later tonight.

Why Do Taxpayers Have to be a Bus Company?

(4) To reign in bus and transportation costs, the School Committee should provide only the MINIMUM bussing of students required by state law and not a mile more. Taxpayers pay about $9,000 each year per pupil to send the little darlings to public school. Why should we also have the responsibility of getting the darlings there? That’s the parents’ job and should be one of the considerations that goes into the hopper before a man and woman decide they are going to the sack for a little of the old in-out, in-out.


Part Two of The Granger Memo

Yesterday, we presented the first part of a memo sent by PPD Capt. David Granger to his officers regarding speaking to the evil Dan Valenti. The Planet had not solicited the memo from the PPD. It came to us. Instead of getting officers to dummy up, it has encouraged more to speak out. Captain Granger boomeranged the document.

Our call to police chief Michael Wynn yesterday regarding this posting has not been returned. We told the chief The Planet is publishing what it believes to be factual, credible information. We are publishing the Granger Memo because we believe he sent it to the force, because it pertains to the behavior of public employees not private ones, and because we believe we have an authentic copy. We state again, if the PPD, the DA, city hall, or anyone else is aware of factual misinformation on the Planet, we will be more than happy to take their corrections.

Planet’s Purpose: The Truth, not Malice

We can say that we respectfully disagree with Capt. Granger’s assessment of our humble website as “malicious and self-serving.” Au Contraire. The purpose of our site is not to do harm but to help share truth. We would hope the captain shares that same purpose, though we would not speak for him. Moreover, The Planet are not “self” serving but “people” serving. We are every bit the public servant that we hope Capt. Granger is. With that, we share part two:


You see each officer here has relatives and friends. Mothers, fathers, wives, children (many of which are old enough to read the blogs and papers), brothers, sisters and extended families.  Often times these untruths, half truths, distorted facts, lies and personal vendettas cause far greater harm and distress to the families of the officer than they do the officer.

Most veteran officers are numb to this because the department, like every other business, has problems from time to time and unfortunately when a police officer makes a mistake he or she ends up on the front of the paper, which is not typically what happens in other businesses.  The higher standard in which society holds police officers can have a punishing affect on the families who see their son, daughter, mother, brother, father or sister in a different light.

The spreading of lies, half truths, distorted facts and the personal vendetta against certain members of the department serves only to further punish the families of police officers.  Police officers deal with conflict daily their families typically don’t.

These problems that arise from time to time get all the attention and all the press.  While the thousand upon thousands of cases that are successfully investigated and the thousands of positive interactions with the public go mostly un-noticed and unappreciated, particularly by a person or persons that would engage in unauthorized release of information that contain distorted facts, half truths, lies and personal vendettas against members of the department.

You have to ask yourself what type of person would do this?  Typically someone that engages in this type of behavior is a coward and gutless.  I would submit, just my personal opinion here, that this individual suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. (think excessive admiration of oneself at the expense of all others)

Typically someone with NPD has a grandiose sense of self-importance, exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements, requires excessive admiration, is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others, I could go on and on, but I digress.

Suffice to say that the individual(s) has some problems and personal issues in his/her life and when the camouflage is pulled away more than likely would reveal a train wreck of a life.

Over the history of the Pittsfield Police Department there have been numerous problems and scandals in each decade.   This is no different than the numerous scandals and problems that have occurred with politicians, other city agencies, non-for- profits, and private businesses. It happens everywhere it just doesn’t get reported everywhere.

Through it all the women and men of the Pittsfield Police Department have come to work, done their job, and done it exceedingly well the majority of the time.  When I choose to retire it will have been an honor to have worked and lived my professional life with the majority of the men and women of the Pittsfield Police.  I am proud of what my fellow officers have done and they have my unending admiration for what they put up with and go through on a daily basis.

We disagree with the captain. While it is possible that whistleblowers can act because of maladaption and maladjustment (narcissism, as he mentions in his instant personality diagnosis worthy of Siggy Freud)), The Planet submits that in the case of SteroidsGate, it is far more likely that sources are speaking up because they have honesty, integrity, and courage.


T-Shirts! Getcha ‘Phony bastard’ T-Shirts!

Ever on the look for ways to help the city of Pittsfield make extra money, The Planet presents our surefire plan to generate a cash cow from of a field of insults. We’re looking to go into the T-Shirt business. Here’s the scheme: We buy a bunch of T-shirts bulk from a jobber for, say $5 apiece, silkscreen the magic words, them sell them for $20. A killing.

The magic words are “Phony Bastard,” a phrase that has become a catch phrase not just for my Right Honorable Good Friends on the city council but also for anyone deemed to be less than sincere. Now having heard from Ward 4 councilor Mike Ward that he is not a phony bastard, something we never doubted, not even when he voted for then against the mosquito program that could cost the city $650,000 for a can of Raid, we got the inspiration.

A Variety of Two from Which to Choose

Our T-Shirts will come in various sizes and colors, of course, but in just two styles. Each features the “Benigno Numine” motto of the city (“For the good of all”). One will read, “I am a Phony Bastard.” The other reads, “I am NOT a phony bastard.” They will sell like cold cupcakes at a July picnic.

If the city wants to do, they need but call. Be forewarned, though, that The Planet has protected the idea with a copyright. Can’t steal our brilliance. If the city doesn’t want the idea, perhaps an entrepreneurial silkscreen company wants to make a fortune this summer.




  1. dave & gayle
    April 19, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    Police, fire, & city employees are paid with public money,therefore they are under public scrutiny. their paychecks should be an obvious show of appreciation. The public as their employers have a right to know what’s going on behind the closed doors that they pay for. Police, fire, emt’s,&public employees have been held in high regards, especially since 9-11.We know that the majority of our public servants are above reproach,but alas the unions do protect the misfits at our expense. Why are people who ask questions about certain issues vilified by the press, the pols, & the GOB’s!

  2. DJ
    April 19, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    Maybe take the time to investigate Cultural Pittsfield and the grant appropriations and re-directions.

  3. Dusty
    April 19, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    Well, the first one is going to be a very valuable collectors item and I would like to purchase it for Mayor Ruberto as his leaving office present. He can keep his chin high and wear it with pride because no one in the city deserves it more than he.

  4. scott
    April 19, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    The officer breaking the law is the one responsible for the harm to his family and personal life and have you read the eagle lately? I think they do a pretty good job of printing people’s life story when they get caught doing naughty things unless of course they are some how connected. Mr. Granger are you familiar with the phrase delusions of grandeur? ha, ha, ha EXPLICIT COMMENT REDACTED!

  5. scott
    April 19, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    One thing I learned doing home renovation jobs is you can do the best job in the world but if you leave even minimal amounts of dust or debris behind thats what the customer remembers you know what I mean?

  6. Cindy Berkman
    April 19, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    After reading part 2 of Sigmund Granger’s letter, let’s take a further look at Narcissistic Personalty Disorder (NPD): Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition in which people have an inflated sense of self-importance and an extreme preoccupation with themselves. Would a forty something year old cop taking steriods fit this bill? How about: react to criticism with rage, shame, or humiliation. Would sending a threatening email to fellow co-workers or subordinates fall into the NPD category? And again, not to rub Officer Kirchner’s face in the mud, but how about: need constant attention and admiration, take advantage of other people to achieve his or her own goals. Again a forty something cop purchasing illegal drugs/steriods with no regard to his fellow co-workers feelings? I think Sigmund Granger should take a look in the mirror?

    • scott
      April 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm #


    • GMHeller
      April 19, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

      Why all this talk about Narcissistic Personalty Disorder?
      This is not a discussion about Alan Chartock. We are not talking here about the little fellow’s need for continual on-air self-aggrandizement at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, nor about Mr. Chartock’s need for attention and his repeatedly seeking on-air credit as “executive producer” for every show that ever came forth from WAMC’s studios.
      Rather, this is a serious discussion about real problems of credibility and steroids use within Pittsfield’s Police Department and the utter failure of both the police chief and the Mayor to come to grips with what is a real crisis of public confidence in the largest police force in Berkshire County.
      Now please, if you people really need to waste more time discussing Alan Chartock’s personality peccadilloes, please do it on Topix or ask Dan Valenti to write a dedicated column on th e matter.

  7. rick
    April 19, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    dan, how about a bumper sticker….phony bastards…or out the phony bastards at the polls. i will buy 2 t shirts…lol

    • danvalenti
      April 19, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

      The marketing possibilities are endless: Love it: Phony Bastard bumper stickers!!

  8. Randy
    April 19, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

    Anyone who takes anabolic steroids for non-medial reasons definitely falls into the NPD category!
    And has anyone noticed how muscular and aggressive Dan Valenti looks in the photos on this blog? I am beginning to wonder…
    Just kidding of course!

    • danvalenti
      April 19, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

      Don’t with lots of pushups, heavy bag, and smoothies from the Vita-Mix, the way Mother Nature intended!

  9. Joe Pinhead
    April 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    Isn’t it interesting that the Cap’n can develop a profile of an individual that would make any NCIS writer proud in a few short days yet can’t notice any behavioral or physical changes in an individual he works with on a routine basis who is using steroids for how long? Makes one wonder doesn’t it?

    • danvalenti
      April 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

      You mean Cap’n Crunch?

      • Joe Pinhead
        April 19, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

        LOL Could be he’s fortified as well

  10. Jonathan Melle
    April 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    It seems to me that many politicians are narcissistic. Jimmy Ruberto is “so great”. NOT!

  11. Dusty
    April 20, 2011 at 1:22 am #

    Perhaps we could have the Phony Bastards float in the parade, adorned with the mayor and council in their dunce caps for extra effect.

    Oh, and can I be the one who announces them as they pass the viewers stand? Please. please?

    • danvalenti
      April 20, 2011 at 7:39 am #

      A “Phony Bastards” float, or maybe even the theme for the entire parade!~

      • Dusty
        April 20, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

        Absolutely! Do we need to run this by Marchetti or can we just show up with our entry? The prop possibilities for this float are endless. We could have a bar up front….an Adonis character passing out pills and an aging heavy set woman sitting at an office desk gleaming over her just increased paycheck. OMG….we made need two floats to get tall these Phony Bastards represented.

        • danvalenti
          April 20, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

          Now you’re cooking! That would ROCK.

  12. rick
    April 20, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    the theme ” phony bastards on parade”