Article

PLANET NEEDS WRITERS (DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?) … MORE ON FIRE DEPARTMENT’s ’911 TRIBUTE’ a.k.a., RAUCOUS BOOZE CRUISE (“SHOW US YOUR TITS”) … NEW BCC PRESIDENT, ELLEN KENNEDY, PLANET FETED AT RECOGNITION DINNER … STOCKBRIDGE MEMORIAL DAY PARADE: WHAT A HOME TOWN PARADE SHOULD BE

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, MAY 29, 2012) — THE PLANET, in its search for stringers, stingers, and strongers to cover arts and baseball this summer, has turned up one writer. We would like more. If you would like to cover topics in these two areas, if you know something about that which you propose to cover, and you have writing ability, we would be interested.

Have You Got ‘The Beat’?

Oh, and you must also be willing to “level in print,” which is a way of invoking unflinching honesty. Whether a performance lifts one up to the angels or stinks out the joint, you must be have the critical faculties to know the difference and to say so directly.

* Arts coverage include theater, dance, fine art (painting and sculpture), music, and the like. Venues will be all the major theaters and performance outlets.

* Baseball coverage will be the beat writer covering the Pittsfield Suns in their inaugural season at Beloved Wahconah Park. This is the Suns debut in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. The franchise is run by the respected Goldklang Group, which also runs the short season Single A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, the Lowell Spinners.

Writers receive media passes for free admission to all events, a byline in THE PLANET, and a small honorarium.

Writers can apply by e-mail @ danvalenti@verizon.net or snail mail to Dan Valenti, Europolis Management, PO Box 1268, Stockbridge, MA 01262. Send a cover letter and your C.V.

————————————————

MEMORIAL TRIBUTE OR BOOZE CRUISE?

The pre-Memorial day trip by 25 Pittsfield fire fighters was characterized by Fire fighters union president Tim Bartini and Lt. Dan Amuso as a trip to the 911 memorial, to pay homage fallen brethren. To hear their version, the troops had figurative milk and cookies on the way down, behaved like altar boys in the solemnity of the World Trade Center, and on the way back they prayed the Rosary.

Or …

We heard from another source, which makes two now, one who was on the bus and upset by what he saw. He tells “some” us the firemen ventured down to the site of the former WTC  to pay respects and also to hit the bars down in that area.

Bartini says there was one case of beer going down. We have two sources who say there were at least six. Amuso admits to the men having a beer or two. Our sources say counting the beers going down, the pounding away at the pubs, and the well-fueled drinking going back, many on the bus “were bombed.” The behavior of the men on the way back was described as raucous, raunchy, loud, and disgusting. There were allegedly cries of “Let’s see your tits,” directed at NYC women pedestrians.

Not everyone aboard was amused.

Is This How the City of Pittsfield Should be Represented?

THE PLANET has no objection to guys having fun, for we have had our share. But these men were traveling as members of the department, in their dress uniforms, if Bartini and Amuso can be believed, representing the city of Pittsfield. These guys were calling cards for every person who lives in Pittsfield. How many citizens would be happy with, “Let’s see your tits?”

We aren’t endorsing either version of the bus trip. We shall leave that up to our wise readers, who knowthe behavior of “bands of brothers” when they are on their own, drinking, and sans women.

Their behavior calls to mind the “boy’s club” fraternity atmosphere engaged in by the Secret Service patrons of prostitutes. The scandal that erupted in Cartegena, upon further investigation, seems typical of a “boys will be boys” culture and mentality when you let guys on the loose, on the road. No wives or girlfriends were invited on the firemen’s booze bus to NYC.

THE PLANET has no problem with “boys being boys,” but when the men are on “on duty,” as public servants, that’s where we draw the line. Did Bartini and Amuso level with us? We could  dig that, but when they give us jive talk, they aren’t doing it to THE PLANET. They’re doing it to the thousands of readers we represent, playing them for fools by trying to smoke their fun in the somber cloak of 911 stretches credulity beyond its limits.

As even non-firemen know, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

————————————————————-

PLANET, NEW BCC PRESIDENT, ELLEN KENNEDY, FETED AT RECOGNITION DINNER

On Thursday, May 24, THE PROFESSOR and MRS. PLANET found ourselves at Wahconah Country Club for the annual Berkshire Community College employee recognition dinner. We were one of the honorees, being cited for our 20 years as a member of the English Department faculty. Our table included MRS. PLANET, Jackie Koldys, Barkat CurtainChristina Barrett, and others.

The crowd feted outgoing BCC President Paul Raverta and welcomed presumptive President Ellen Kennedy, who made a gracious speech to open the evening. THE PLANET will not forget that in our invitation letter inviting us to be honored, a form letter with a specific fields for name and years of service filled in, Ellen Kennedy included a warm, personal note.

Kennedy has been part of the BCC community for four years. She has become well known and well respected in the college community. After seeing her warmth, her charm, and her sincerity on display at the dinner, we have no doubt she shall be well loved as well. We commend the Board of Trustees for their exemplary actions in selecting the next president of one of the county’s most vital institutions.

For our legion of critics, detractors, and sour pusses, you will be pleased to note that Dan Valenti came in for a good roasting in a power point presentation. They nailed us pretty good, and we loved every minute of it.

Such Fondness in Our Hearts for BCC

This writer has been associated with BCC for every decade of its existence. We took our first two college classes there in Fall 1969, a course in Western Civ from Bob Morrell and a math course taught by Art Phinney, where we  We built an academic record at BCC, and transferred to Union College in Schenectady, where we won high honors. From there, graduate school, culminating in a Master of Arts degree in journalism from the finest J School in the county, the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. 

After a five year career as a newspaperman and a stint in the English Department at Le Moyne College, we returned to the Berkshires in 1980. In 1981, we taught our first course at BCC. Our present affiliation, going back two decades, has brought with it the ebb and flow of a multitude of faces — learners with various degrees of motivation, ability, and work ethic. Each of them has taught “The Professor” so much more than he taught them.

Next week, with the Summer 2012 semester, we begin our 21st year. It has been a labor of love. We thank our beloved BCC for providing the opportunity.

Godspeed, Ellen Kennedy.

—————————————————————

THERE ARE PARADES AND THERE ARE PARADES

We enjoyed immensely one of the year’s great, sweet, unpretentious treats: the Stockbridge Memorial Day Parade. Not this is what a hometown parade should be: Simple, eye-to-eye, breathable, and full of more warmth, good will, charm, and innocence than a Norman Rockwell painting.

With MRS. PLANET and our weekend guest Lisa,  we ventured downtown. There was a young boy selling lemonade and popcorn from a sidewalk stand, doing great business because few could resist the cuteness. If this was in Pittsfield, the kid would have been busted, cuffed, and carted off for vending without a license.

Friends, Foods, and Festivity

Downtown, about 10 minutes before showtime, we ran into many dear friends, including Nancy Fitzpatrick, David Scribner (on assignment for the Berkshire Record), Tom Stokes, Lilian Bender, and the redoubtable Mary Flynn, at 94, still the heart and soul of the town.

The parade took less than 10 minutes, including the pause at the Civil War Monument on Pine Street and Prospect Hill Road. Retired judge Jim McElroy, a deacon at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Stockbridge, read the invocation, followed by a soul stirring rendition of Taps.

The parade finished at the Clock Tower, in front of the old town hall, where Stockbridge fed all who wanted to eat.

How unlike Pittsfield, with its pretension, its bombast, and its tackiness of the Fourth of July Parade. How it’s possible to spend $85,000 to $90,000 on a cheesy tedium, an impersonal conga line of excess, we don’t know, but we can ask the parade organizers. What a waste of $90,000. When the Boring Broadsheet reported how the fund-raising for the parade this year is down, we took that as a good news story.

We hope that Peter Marchetti will do as he had said after he lost for mayor. We hope he has pulled out of the Parade Committee for 2012. Last year, the Fourth Parade was an embarrassment to the city. It went on forever, and the lowlifes were in full attendance. You could tell by the mountains of trash they left in their wake.

The way to save the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade is to:

* Fire the entire committee

* Hold reapplications for volunteer.

* Select a staff that knows what it’s doing and that realizes that a “hometown” Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade will have no paid talent, no Macy’s hot air balloons, but every bit of the home town warmth and talent we saw today in Stockbridge.

* Simplify, simplify, simplify.

THE PLANET recommends the Parade Committee scrap all plan,  adopt a budget of $5,000, recruit all homegrown and volunteers marchers and end the parade at Beloved Wahconah Park, where people can get free eats. Make it Community Event rather than the production of a closed-group of “volunteers” who have scorn for new ideas and who are too stupid to see the appeal of a classic, small, unpretentious, and truly Hometown parade.

——————————————————-

LET IT NEVER BE SAID THAT OUR ROOMS ARE GLOOMY AND NARROW IS OUR BED. SAY, RATHER, THAT WE OPEN TO THE THE LIGHT, AND TO SLEEP, WE REST UPON NIGHT.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

28 Responses to “PLANET NEEDS WRITERS (DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?) … MORE ON FIRE DEPARTMENT’s ’911 TRIBUTE’ a.k.a., RAUCOUS BOOZE CRUISE (“SHOW US YOUR TITS”) … NEW BCC PRESIDENT, ELLEN KENNEDY, PLANET FETED AT RECOGNITION DINNER … STOCKBRIDGE MEMORIAL DAY PARADE: WHAT A HOME TOWN PARADE SHOULD BE”

  1. Bull Durham
    May 29, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    You’re right, Dan. Ellen is an excellent choice as BCC president. A wonderful person who will continue to do a great job leading the college.

    • danvalenti
      May 29, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

      From a purely subjective point of view, what I liked most about Ellen Kennedy was her warm smile and kind eyes. She cares. This will prove to be a great move for BCC.

  2. GMHeller
    May 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    Mr. Valenti,
    Seems not much has changed.
    Same kind of thing happened decades ago when Jack Welch was an up-and-coming manager running GE’s Pittsfield operations and a bunch of Pittsfield’s ‘best and brightest’ were sent by management to attend a far-away convention of GE employees from around the world.
    True to form, Pittsfield’s delegation proved themselves to be the boors and buffoons we see Pittsfield dudes to be today.
    The crew in Welch’s time got roaring drunk and amongst other things trashed their hotel rooms and other assorted damage and causing no small amount of embarrassment to Welch and others in GE management.
    No doubt it helped to facilitate the firm’s later decisions to close down the Pittsfield operations.

  3. danvalenti
    May 29, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    We ourselves witnessed such behavior from GE executives back in the day, when we found ourselves as a writer at times on the road with various high-ranking execs. We could entertain a stag banquet with stories of drunkenness, excess, womanizing, food fights, and all manner of crud. We got caught once, without transportation back to our hotel, “out on the town” in Toronto. Got back to the hotel room at 4:30 a.m., having to be at the airport for our flight out the next morning. Since that learning experience in the early 80s, whenever we went on the road for hire, we had our own wheels and enjoyed a lot of room service, alone.

    • Bull Durham
      May 29, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

      I also vividly recall a certain GE exec charging 100 bottles of Dom to the GE account at a pricey hotel in NY, and the financial hammer came down not long after.

  4. Scott
    May 29, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    Leave the fire men alone they provide a service that put’s the public’s safety ahead of their own and they should be celebrated every year with a spaghetti dinner.

    • danvalenti
      May 29, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

      SCOTT
      Agreed. The majority of that department does just what you say. No one, and certainly not THE PLANET, disputes that. The department, though, is not above scrutiny of We The People.

      • Scott
        May 29, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

        That was my attempt at satire I’m sure William Burroughs is rolling over in his grave.

        • GEE Whiz
          May 29, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

          Scott
          good one! DV Great one. Thanks for keeping “them” honest.

  5. joetaxpayer
    May 29, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    Not sure if I agree 100% with your parade assement.But. would like to see them cut back on the length of the parade.Kinda a fan of the big ballons and think that is more than enough hot air, so NO Politicians should be allowed to march.

    • Scott
      May 29, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

      I Like the music the school bands other marching bands and the guys that set up in trailers.

  6. Dave Bertolozzi
    May 29, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    Whatever they cut back on will create a problem with some people. You like the balloons(which by the way Pete Marchetti once said is one of the bigger expenditures) I like the bands and floats, someone else likes the old fire trucks. Sort of like government, keeps getting bigger and once it does it is impossible to contain. This is also the problem with the school department. Every program that comes before them is the best thing since sliced bread, usually funded initially by grants and when the grants run out it can’t be cut because its “for the children”

  7. Dave Bertolozzi
    May 29, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    Whatever they cut back on will create a problem with some people. You like the balloons(which by the way Pete Marchetti once said is one of the bigger expenditures) I like the bands and floats, someone else likes the old fire trucks. Sort of like government, keeps getting bigger and once it does it is impossible to contain. This is also the problem with the school department. Every program that comes before them is the best thing since sliced bread, usually funded initially by grants and when the grants run out it can’t be cut because its “for the children”

    • GEE Whiz
      May 29, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

      Yes, good one Dave and once its for “the children” all restraints are off and they go crazy with our money. Watch and see this time around. I doubt Mayor Bianchi will stand up to the school department, which is a shame because most people would agree with him (tho lot the loudmouths who control the unions and the admin).

      • danvalenti
        May 29, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

        GW
        “The children” will cause fits of panic and induce fear in the legs of most of the city council and school committee. Nonetheless, it’s up to Mayor Bianchi to start shaking the windows and rattling the walls at Mercer.

        • joetaxpayer
          May 30, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

          Oh yes the children.Enrollement is down,we must have full-day Kindergarden, children will not succeed without it.Need more students, full day pre-K.Still need more students lets try to pass a law requiring students to stay in school until they are 18.Wow they have great lobbists those teachers.

      • dusty
        May 30, 2012 at 1:40 am #

        Seriously. If this school committee really wanted to do something for the children they would step down from their exalted positions. They cannot, in their hearts, believe for one minute that their main concern is “the children”. Their main function seems to be to steal money that was taxed for educating the children and how in the hell do you live with yourself when you do that?

        Terry Kinnas is an exception.

  8. joetaxpayer
    May 29, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    Fatmans show grounded before take-off.WTBR pulled the plug,his fate might be in School Commitee’s hands.Not a fan of a show that has no callers,but still think he and the people deserve a forum.

    • danvalenti
      May 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

      Why was the show grounded, before the first broadcast?

  9. ambrose
    May 29, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    Unfortunately the Planet has let the cat out of the bag. Next Decoration Day there will be 50,000 people in Stockbridge to watch the perfect parade.

  10. articlespinnerALAN
    May 29, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    Hi Planetvalenti,
    Thanks, on a related note, If your property ended up to begin on fire presently who would put out that fire? For a vast majority of The united states the people today who will set out that fire will be volunteers. The guys and women responding will be the comparable people young and old who are also you plumbers and financial institution tellers. In accordance to the Nationwide Volunteer Fire Council (www.nfvc.org) in the United States there are just over thirty,000 fire departments. Only two,000 of these departments have a 100% total time compensated employees. The remaining 28,000 fill their ranks with citizens donating their time. Sadly i must say the range of folk ready and/or in a position to be a part of the native fire department is diminishing. In 1984 there had been very nearly 900,000 people today in the volunteer fire support. Now a days that number is dipping under 800,000 men and women. Yet suburban communities (who normally can not afford whole time fire security) keep on to increase.
    Cheerio

    • danvalenti
      May 29, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

      ALAN
      Thanks for sharing this stat. That’s interesting. Of the 30,000 FDs in the U.S. 28,000 are volunteer units. Pittsfield, of course, is one of the 7% and not the 93%. Somehow, a volunteer unit can’t work in the city.

    • Scott
      May 30, 2012 at 4:14 am #

      I was going to leave it alone but you brought it up volunteers are the worst! Thank you for your service I never met someone who volunteered their time but expected, demanded so much praise you guys deserve two spaghetti dinners!

  11. danvalenti
    May 29, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    AMBY
    Oops! Now we dun did it!

  12. Outfox
    May 29, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    Think I saw every fire truck in the Northeast corridor at last year’s parade.. I had guests from out of town and we all thought this parade was supposed to be something special. We wuz wrong!

  13. Giacometti
    May 29, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    The July 4th parade in the mid 1980′s had a group of fine artists who created large beautiful floats, built at very low cost with themes like ” Babes in Toyland ” ….” Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs “.Captain America ” and ” Moby Dick “…using paper mache they built castles…the seven Dwarfs…a fifteen foot Captain America running out of an over sized comic book
    and a 40 foot long white whale erected over a tractor trailer truck followed by a ten foot long row boat built on a riding lawn mower with Captain Ahab at the helm…it was Pittsfield’s fine
    artists working long hours to bring a smile to kids and parents alike….at first they called themselves on their float entry form…
    ” the Wahconah Street River Rats ” and were never awarded any prize until they renamed themselves…” The Concerned Parade Lovers of Pittsfield ” and then saw prizes rolling their way….they were festive years for the home grown talents of a group of Pittsfield’s finest fine artists who brought many years of grand floats to the 4th of July Parade that has never been duplicated since and probably never will. As years went by the Concerned Parade Lovers moved on to undergraduate and graduate schools around the country…but were never forgotten
    Perhaps there is a new breed of ” Concerned Parade Lovers ” in Pittsfield who want to give back to their community the fruits of their artistic talent.

    concerning the parade on the 4th

  14. John Kroll
    May 30, 2012 at 4:54 am #

    Sturge and Krol were on for two hours yesterday on WTBR. Sturge got cancelled because a lot of people contacted the principal to complain about his being on and the principal, to the best of my knowledge, pulled the plug.Good move Principal Vosburgh (sp.?) Way to stand up for the kids and listen to the people who pay for the schools to exist.The two talk jockeys seemed upset over the decision and were on for two hours instead of the usual one, maybe in protest.

  15. K-Man
    May 30, 2012 at 5:59 am #

    4th of July parade, Giocametti rightly says, had a great run in the 80s, all home grown, great artists, beautiful floats, half as long twice as much fun. Today the parade is overrated, bloated, using uncreative imported talent, ringers who don’t even know where they are or what city. I had a view of some of the idiots Peter Marchetti surounded himself with. Wow! No wonder why he lost. There was this one woman on parade committee, Colleen. You heard the saying ‘not the sharpest knife in the drawer’?