POETRY MONDAY TAKES US ALL THE WAY, WITHOUT DR. RUTH … QUICK HITS AND HOT LICKS LOOK AT ZONING, ADULT CENTER LEASE, A BIANCHI-MARCHETTI THAW, CHICKENS, & MORE … plus … SIR TIBERIUS PRESENTS HIS LATEST MASTERPIECE
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, JULY 2, 2012) — On poetry Tuesday, the day before the Fourth of July and the annual $85,000 exercise in excess known as the Pittsfield Ringer’s Parade, THE PLANET presents this verse, which we find perfect for the day’s heat and the evening’s recline:
SONG OF SOLOMON (7: 1-8)
How graceful are your feet in sandals, O queenly maiden.
Your rounded thighs are like jewels, the work of a master hand.
Your navel is a rounded bowl that never lacks mixed wine.
Your belly is a heap of what encircled iwth lillies.
Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle.
Your neck is like an ivory tower.
Your eyes are like pools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim.
Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon, overlooking Damascus.
Your head crowns you like Carmel and your locks are flowing like purple.
A king is held captive in the tresses.
How fair and pleasant you are, O loved one, delectable maiden!
You are stately as a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters.
I say I will climb the palm tree and lay hold of its branches.
Yes, the Bible does has some interesting passages. You don’t need Dr. Ruth to explain these words. May love come to all.
QUICK HITS AND HOT LICKS
ZONING IN — Isn’t it interesting that when Dollar General wanted to locate in a Pittsfield neighborhood zoned “residential,” it had to apply for a reclassification of that neighborhood into “industrial.” Fortunately, our Right Honorable Good Friends on the city council defeated the rezoning request, 7 (Yon, Connell, Krol, Clairmont, Lothrop, Mazzeo, and Morandi) to 4 (Simonelli, Cotton, Sherman, and Capitanio). When Spectrum Health Systems wanted to locate a methadone clinic in Pittsfield, however, the city had no say. Spectrum, set up as a non-profit educational service, did not have to conform to local rule. A Dollar General would have brought jobs, development, and tax revenue. A methadone clinic will bring drug users. Something seems out-of-kilter.
LEARNING ABOUT DOLLARS — When the city decided to pull the Adult Learning Center out of its long-standing address on Lyman Street in a building owned by Phil Massery, it did so to save some bucks. Massery charged the city $52,800 a year. The five-year lease at 141 North Street, just across the street from THE PLANET’s home of 25 years in the Shipton Building, will cost $45,800 a year — $7,000 a year and a savings of $35,000 over the term of the lease. Not so fast. As reported in The Pittsfield Gazette, councilors who voted for the switch noted “the pact would save the city $21,000 per year when the rent increases hit for the Lyman Street [location].” Woah. If those figures are accurate, that amounts to $105,000 a year in savings. The council approved the move, 7-4. No brainer, with such a steep increase in rent. Opponents argued that prime downtown real estate should be reserved for retail and not for more social services. They got a point, but that was an argument that was needed years ago, before the horses left the barn and downtown Pittsfield got Ad-Lib, the bus station, Juvenile Courts, and other social-service “black holes.”
DOLLARS II IN A SCHOOL SYSTEM NEAR YOU — The Pittsfield School Department came down and Mayor Bianchi went up. The resulting compromise on the budget will still cost taxpayers $300,000 more than Bianchi initially proposed. It’s what we call a Pyrrhic Victory, or a “win” that’s offset by staggering losses. Naturally, the school department portrayed it as a budget “cut,” when they actually got an increase. Speaking of $300,000, that appears to be what it’s going to cost taxpayers to provide laptops for Advanced Placement students. In pushing for the program, backers couldn’t provide school committee member Terry Kinnas‘ request for data that suggested that these devices help students. In fact, there’s credible evidence (studies at Stanford and MIT, for instance) that they actually harm a student’s ability to focus. It’s also not clear how, when, or where the school committee voted to appropriate the money. As Kinnas is fond of saying, “This could get interesting.” Taxpayers, assume the position.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK — “When you’re an interim, the idea is to keep the momentum up” — Gordon Noseworthy, selected by the School Committee as interim superintendent of schools. THE STOOLEY sent us this rejoinder: “In this case, when you’re an interim, the idea is to start some momentum, cuz there ain’t much there.”
KUMBAYA, DAN AND PETE? — At the June 12 council meeting, there was an interesting moment when Peter Marchetti, coordinator of the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade, presented Mayor Dan Bianchi with a copy of the official parade poster. Bianchi returned the nod by appointing Marchetti to the Conservation Commission. The warms and the fuzzies made a brief appearance, followed soon after adjournment by a rapidly moving cold front that came in from the north. A poster for a commission seat, like Jimmy Piersall for Vic Wertz and Gary Geiger: There had to be a 100 votes in there somewhere.
PLAYING CHICKEN — The city has new laws on neighborhood chickens — uh, the clucking kind. The measures include:
* Egg production must be limited to non-commercial use only and cannot be used to throw at any local elected or appointed officials. Throwing them at bloggers and reporters, however, is permitted.
* No roosters or crowing chickens are allowed. There is enough domestic violence occurring in the city as it is, the law noted.
* Coops must provide three square feet per animal and six square feet per transient, drug user, vagrant, welfare recipient, and “Oh my, THAT is OUR future??”
The rooster crowed, and he determined he was the cause of the sun rising.
LOTS OF ‘STUFF’ PACKED IN THAT PAGE — Per column inch, the most informative, useful page on state government in Berkshire County has to be the “Beacon Hill Roll Call” published each week by Jonathan Levine in the Gazette. The page includes not only photos and contact information of the three local reps and state senator, it provides how they voted on recent legislation, including a summation of the bills. There are also news items pertaining to the State House. That alone is worth the price of the paper.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?”
By Sir Tiberius Fruitjuice
By Royal Commission from King PLANET VALENTI
I looked up from my writing,
And gave a start to see,
As if by rapt indicting,
the court’s full gaze on me.
Its moistly, misty head
Was spectral in its air,
And I involuntarily said,
“What are you doing here?”
“Oh, I’ve been scanning print and hole
and photons hereabout
For the body of one with a radiant soul
to put his life-light out.
“Did you not hear his frenzied tattle?
It was information for our sons,
But it slain in brutish battle
Though we admit, he has injured none.
And now I am curious to look
Into the fervent mind
Of one who wants to write a book
In a world of such a kind.”
Her musing did enlighten me,
And I edged to engage her view,
For I felt assured she thought me
One who should drown her, too.
Well done, Sir Tiberius, well done.
GOTTA GO NOW. MAYBE MORE LATER. KEEP CHECKING IN. LOTS TO DO AS WE PREPARE FOR THE REST OF THE SECOND, THE THIRD, AND THE FOURTH, WHEN WE SHALL BE ON OUR ANNUAL SUMMER SIESTA. KEEP COOL.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
“LOVE TO ALL.”