Article

WORDS MATTER, AS ONE WHO HAS PAID THE PRICE CAN TELL YOU … IT’S NOT ‘TORTURE,’ IT’s THE USE OF ‘ENHANCED INTERROGATION TECHNIQIUES … TRASH-O-RAMA TO HIT NORTH STREET TOMORROW, BUT PLANET’s ‘RICK’ HAS A BETTER IDEA … plus … SUNS SPLIT

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, JULY 3, 2012) — Words matter.

Last night at the college, my ENG 102 advanced composition class spent time on this theme, which we call “The Politics of Language, after our textbook chapter and echoing George Orwell famous essay, “Politics and the English Language,” which the class read. “Politics” used in this sense applies to any use of language that’s meant to hide the truth, a euphemism, for example. Orwell has a great line in the closing of his essay, saying “political language” is designed to make lies seem true, to make murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.

Language not only shapes how we experience the world, it determines why we do in the manner that we do. Take this simple example. The English language has different words for “green” and “blue.” The majority of the world’s language, however, do not. The Korean word “pureuda,” for instance, covers both colors. The Vietnamese language has only one word to describe the color of grass and the sky on a sunny day (for a fascinating discussion of the linguistics of color, where we got this information, visit the website maccman, 6/16/12 posting). The fact that we have two different words has an interesting effect on the reality of our experience of those two colors. Speakers of English have much more of a perceived difference between green and blue than those who use the same word.

Words matter.

The words you use to frame an issue, to argue a point, or to comment on just about anything, you change the “reality” of the situation. That’s why when a strongman of the ruling junta, a dictator, or some other Schicklegruber-type ascends to power, the first thing they do is clamp down on press freedom and freedom of speech.

It’s also why the erosion of freedom, whenever and wherever it occurs, is such a serious matter.

‘Light’ is Not ‘Lite,’ and Vice Versa

Words themselves tell stories. Therapist Tom Moore makes the point with the word “light.” Noting how the word has been smoothed out into its dumbed-down phonetic version of “lite” robs the word of its story. The English pronunciation doesn’t pronounce the “gh” and lengthens the vowel sound (which must drive those who are trying to learn English as a second language batty), but retaining the “gh” goes back to the Greek word “leukos,” related to the Greek word “leukaemia,” which refers to the light color of white blood cells. Taking out the “gh” strips the word of its history.

A man who know the power of words better than most is Jang Jin-sung. Here’s his story, from the AP’s Sylvia Hui. We first heard of Jang a couple years ago, as part of our extensive readings about the politics and economics (and the military situation) on the divided peninsula. Here’s Hui’s story:

DEAR LEADER: YOU WEREN’T SO GREAT AFTER ALL, ONLY NOW I CAN SAY IT

By SYLVIA HUI

LONDON – He says he was one of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s favourite propaganda artists, singing the praises of the Dear Leader in dozens of poems. But these days Jang Jin-sung says he prefers to tell the truth about North Korea.

The former state poet, who defected to South Korea in 2004, now writes to tell the world about what he calls the brutality of everyday life in the North.

“North Korea has nuclear programs, but South Korea has the media,” said Jang, who is in London for a global poetry festival involving poets from countries competing in the July 27 to Aug. 12 London Olympics. “Truth is the strongest weapon.”

Jang’s poems now tell of public executions, hunger and desperate lives. He said that the piece he chose to submit to London’s Poetry Parnassus festival, “I Sell My Daughter for 100 Won,” is based on one of his worst memories in North Korea – recollections of a mother trying to sell her daughter in the market place.

“The life of a North Korean is not about living, but about how to sustain life,” he said through an interpreter. Jang, dressed in a loose white shirt and cream trousers, spoke quietly but accompanied most sentences with emphatic hand gestures.

Jang Jin-sung is not his real name, according to South Korean news reports.

The U.S. State Department says that North Korea “maintains a record of consistent, severe human rights violations,” and the United Nations said in a recent update on the North’s humanitarian situation that the food supply remains tenuous for two-thirds of the population.

Pyongyang denies abusing its citizens.

As one of Kim’s top state poets, Jang, 40, said he was responsible for glorifying the leader in the poetry he published in the official Workers’ Party newspaper. Poets had a special role among Kim’s many propaganda artists, Jang said.

“Because of the paper shortage in North Korea, poems were the most efficient, economical way to spread propaganda,” he said.

Jang said he led a privileged life in Pyongyang and once dined with Kim, when he found out that the leader was much shorter than he was led to believe because Kim didn’t wear his normal high-heeled shoes indoors.

He also recalled being instructed to avoid looking into the leader’s eyes and instead to stare at his second shirt button. After more contact with Kim, Jang said he soon stopped believing that he was “this godlike leader of this wonderful country.”

Jang said his doubts solidified when, working in the propaganda ministry, he got hold of and read South Korean books. In 2004 he crossed the river to China, where he was wanted by Kim’s men, but agents from South Korea found him first. He then worked for the South’s intelligence agency for seven years before setting up his own online newspaper about North Korean issues earlier this year.

Jang said he believes the current regime in the North is bound to break down – not least because of the instability brought about by Kim’s death in December.

He said the son and young successor, Kim Jong Un, lacks the power and experience of his father and is surrounded by his father’s men. He did not elaborate on what serves as the basis for his beliefs on the current political situation in the North.

“It’s all about rivalries between the generations,” he said. “They don’t have the experience to deal with a situation like this, with so much power struggle. For Kim Jong Un to sustain himself he’s got to have a strong rule, controlling his people through fear of punishment or fear of reprisal.”

Jang is appearing at the Parnassus festival — a gathering of poets that organizers claim is the largestpoetry festival ever staged in the United Kingdom.

Other participants included Afghanistan’s Reza Mohammadi, Kay Ryan from the United States and Karlo Mila from New Zealand.

—– 00 —–

As Language Goes, Thought Goes, and the Reverse is True

Moore tells a great story from the 9th century Persian poet, Rumi:

Rumi tells of a dervish walking past a deep well. He hears a voice:

“Help. I’m a writer and I’m stuck down here.”

The dervish says, “I’ll go find out where a ladder’s at.”

“Your grammar’s atrocious,” the writer shouts up.

“Well, then, you’ll have to wait there until my grammar improves,” the dervish says, and walks on.

I feel like the writer in the well waiting for grammar to improve. And not just grammar. I understand the Sufi complaint about being too fussy about rules of speech. I’m waiting, too, for a love of language to return, an appreciation for the words we use and for style and grace in expression. Like the writer in the well, I could be in for a long wait.

World leaders often use diplomatic language that hides the real meaning of the words, creating euphemisms that are outright dangerous. Describing slaughtered and maimed civilians as “collateral damage” is the classic example for our times, and it’s cynical in the extreme. “Enhanced interrogation techniques” for ‘torture’ seems part of the cruelty.

The bland and bloated language of politics blocks the opportunity for leaders to truly inspire and educate. Imagine hearing instead a thoughtful, measured analysis of the world situation from a leader, accompanied by intelligent, subtle solutions to problems. Instead, we get the tired and unimaginative language of war and militancy. Wars begin with words, so we should be careful how we speak, especially to nations where there is tension. Our words can heal the situation before the military takes up its weapons.

We could all have a rule that we won’t use words that come to us unconsciously and out of habit or that are in the common parlance of public discourse. Fresh words could help us arrive at fresh ideas, for there is an intimate connection between thought and word. Careful use of words requires careful thinking.

Sometimes I wonder if the language of progressive movements gets in the way of the message. I, for one, always stumble at the word ‘sustainability’. When I think about it, I know what it means, but it doesn’t feel like a friendly word. I’d rather talk about not being wasteful, or about using resources carefully and wisely. ‘Environmentalism’ isn’t such a friendly word either. Maybe we need a new, simple word or phrase – ‘care for the world’.

—– 00 —–

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PARADE, TRASH GO TOGETHER LIKE DAMES AND CASH

Tomorrow, the annual trashing of North Street, otherwise known as the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade, occurs on schedule. Like the annual return of the swallows to Capistrano, the parade descends upon Pittsfield for a couple hours, taking flight. Like the swallows, the parade leaves plenty of waste in its wake.

The problem seems to be a combination of not enough receptacles and the increasing slovenliness of some in the general public.

If You Can’t Lift the Face, Lower the Body

Each year, the litter problem gets a little bit more of out of control, trash by a thousand candy wrappers. Since the rapid decay of people’s behavior in “polite society” shows no signs of getting better (in case you haven’t noticed, men and women don’t dress up anymore when they go “upstreet”),  we would advise the parade committee to stock up on extra trash barrels. That won’t stop some litterbugs from their excretions, but it surely will help. If you can’t lower the river, you raise the bridge. Or as Phyllis Diller once said: “I’m so ugly the doctor said I didn’t qualify for a face lift, so I had him lower my body.”

How much does post-parade trash removal cost the taxpayers? How much in overtime does it cost the city to prepare, hold, take down, and clean up after this $90,000 pandemonia?

At $45,000 an Hour, It Better be Good

Parade organizers never believe it when THE PLANET tells them that we respect and honor their efforts. We do. They put in countless hours to bring the community two festivaled ones, if we may coin a word. We also extend unqualified support for our Right Honorable Good Friend, Peter Marchetti, a parade lover who puts everything he’s got into the often thankless job.

Our objection isn’t to anyone’s dedication or work ethos but  to the growing gap between the intent of the $90,000 Fourth of July Parade and its execution, between the idea and the reality. That, the poet T.S. Eliot wrote, is where the shadow falls, and it has fallen on the Pittsfield parade. Pittsfield’s parade isn’t home-timey. It’s commercial and slick. There’s not enough Huck Finn and the Founding Fathers but too much Lady Gaga.

Rick, A correspondent to THE PLANET, got at this beautifully, when he wrote:

every 4th of july i think back to the 60s and early 70s parades, and the fun after with wahconah park buzzing with the fireman’s muster, and later that evening the battle of the marching bands and to top it off a fire works display that got better year after year.those days are gone i guess but maybe if we try to bring that format back for one year it could be a hit…. it was a day of family, and friends both new and old. just the marching bands exhibition was worth waiting for, and the price of admission could help pay for the bands… have a nice 4th everyone…

Why not? Why couldn’t this far more home-town and far less glitzy format be reintroduced. The Fourth celebration in Pittsfield would move from a two-hour “in-and-out” to an all-day community celebration.

A Long, Proud Tradition 

The parade committee website notes that the Pittsfield Fourth parade “dates back to 1824, when the procession consisted of Revolutionary War veterans and politicians riding in horse-drawn carriages.”

Over the year, of course, the parade grew, and the city got it just right in post-war years from 1946 to the late 1970s, the era mentioned by Rick. Back then, Pittsfield was a growing town, pushing 60,000, with a thriving economy, and populated overwhelmingly by the solid middle class. The Fourth parade during those years was created of, by, and for Pittsfield residents, using Pittsfield talent, and drawing upon Pittsfield spirit. The floats were homemade. The talent came from the area and marched for free.

Today, the parade has become homogenized, generic, imported celebration that must bring in acts and pay costly appearance fees for bands, talent, and balloons. These are the sorts of gimmicks any community can have, but does a Rent-All approach convey to proper spirit of the Fourth?

THE PLANET doesn’t think so. Neither does the parade committee, if it wishes to be honest. On it’s website, it says, “Today’s modern parade has floats, balloons, and marching bands but still retains the small-town, patriotic flavor of its roots.” That’s just the point. It doesn’t retain the “small-town flavor.” Having to tell us it does reminds us of when a politician says in response to a question we ask: “I’m glad you asked that question.” No. When they say that, they don’t like that you asked that question. Again, we acknowledge the fine job of community service done by hard workers, but their efforts are largely misplaced.

THE PLANET would submit that for 1/10th the budget, Pittsfield could have a fantastic, appropriately sized parade, call it a “Rick Parade” in honor of our commentator. It would rely entirely upon local talent, all of it volunteered. It would be better policed, created one-tenth the trash, provide one-tenth the headaches, and deliver 10 times the fun.

For those keeping score at home, the parade begins at 10 a.m., rain or shine. It begins at South and West Housatonic streets (where you’ll remember that the Marchetti for Mayor people got so upset with Dan Bianchi‘s campaign for putting up a big sign) and ends at Beloved Wahconah Park.

After the parade, the best part comes. Hats off the the Pittsfield Suns for opening up BWP and putting on a free afternoon of fun. There will be face painting, a play land with bouncy houses and spin art, live music, and a baseball clinic. At 7 p.m., the Suns play ball. After the game, there will be fireworks. Baseball and the Fourth — now you’re talking.

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SUNS SPILT AT BWP

By GREG GILMORE, Pittsfield Suns Communications

Special to PLANET VALENTI Sports

Pittsfield, MA – The Pittsfield Suns were able to split a double header on Monday afternoon with the leaders of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League in the North Shore Navigators.  The Navigators took game one by a score of 6-4 and the Suns took game two by a score of 5-1

In game one, the Navigators were able to jump out to an early lead when they took advantage of a few Pittsfield errors in the bottom half of the third inning.  The Navigators scored five runs in the inning, all of which were unearned.  After Sun’s Starter Tom Darby (Eastern Connecticut) retired the first two batters of the inning, Tim Hendricks (Benedictine) and Ryan Muno (San Diego St.) singled.  After a walk to Jake Mcquiggan (Harvard) the Navigators got the first run across of the inning when Jake Serino (UMass) reached on an error.  Aaron Silbar (Columbia) and Rob Krentzman (Bucknell) then broke the game open as they followed with back-to-back singles.

The Suns attempted to chip away as they scored one in the fourth off a Travis Smith (Assumption) double and two more in the sixth.  In the sixth the Suns were looking to tie or take the lead, but the Navigators’ Ryan Grant (Wheaton) was able to escape a bases-loaded jam thanks to a double play to end the inning.

Tom Darby got the loss for the Suns as he allowed one earned run over four innings of work while striking out two.  Matt Coleman (St. Rose) had a strong first outing for the Suns as he recorded two shutout innings in relief. Corey Stump (Florida) earned the win for the Navigators as he allowed only one earned run over five innings of work while striking out two.  Grant got the save for the Navigators as he pitched the final two innings.

The Suns took control of game two from the start behind a strong pitching performance from Dan Bradley (Assumption).  Bradley went the distance for the Suns while allowing only one run on two hits while striking out three.

The Suns got on the board in the first inning when Anthony Carona (CW Post), Ryan Dietrich (UPenn), and Brendon Slattery (Manhattan) hit back to back singles.  After Slattery drove in Carona for the game’s first run, Jimmy Ricoy (UMass-Lowell) scored Slattery with a ground out to short.

The Suns tacked on two more in the third inning thanks to timely hitting by Ricoy and Zach Theulen (Bridgeport).  With two outs Slattery earned a walk and Ricoy and Theulen followed up with singles.  After Slattery scored on Theulen’s single Ricoy was able to advance all the way home on two fielding errors by the Navigators.

Keenan Kish (Florida) got the loss for the Navigators as he allowed four earned runs over three and one third of an inning.

The Navigators are still on the top of the FCBL as they now have a 14-5 record.  The Suns are currently in fifth place and have a 10-12 record.  The Suns play next on July 4th when they host the Seacoast Mavericks.  First pitch is scheduled for 7:00.

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THE PLANET HAS A BELOVED FRIEND, A YOUNG OLD MAN, WITH HAIR OF SILVER WHITE, AND LIPS WHERE HEAVENLY SMILES DO HANG AND BLEND: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE T O ALL.

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37 Responses to “WORDS MATTER, AS ONE WHO HAS PAID THE PRICE CAN TELL YOU … IT’S NOT ‘TORTURE,’ IT’s THE USE OF ‘ENHANCED INTERROGATION TECHNIQIUES … TRASH-O-RAMA TO HIT NORTH STREET TOMORROW, BUT PLANET’s ‘RICK’ HAS A BETTER IDEA … plus … SUNS SPLIT”

  1. Ed Shepardson
    July 3, 2012 at 7:09 am #

    Dan,

    Your June 29th headline, “WE ARE A NATION OF LAWS” bothered me. This IS the law.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    And as much as I detest anonymous postings, I would have to consider that a blog is simply a peaceful assembly of the digital age. And last I knew, marchers and protesters are not required to wear name tags.

  2. Shakes His Head
    July 3, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    The Pittsfield parade is a catastrophe and not professionally organized or operated. There are countless examples of how to develop a successful, growing parade, and this is not one of them. I was surprised that performace as parade chair was not a campaign issue, because I think the ineptitude of funding and development is glaring and indicative of potential performance as Pittsfield CEO.

    Maybe the 370 people in Pittsfield that the arts support with full-time equivalent jobs, and who’s average salary according to the recent study was less than $24,000 a year, cannot support boondoggles like the Independence Day Parade.

    • Chet Hunter
      July 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

      SHH. Perhaps you should offer to chair next years parade ? I’m not on the committee but I’m sure it’s tons of hours. I think you should do it.

      • Shakes His Head
        July 4, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

        Mr. Hunter, if I run for public office, I will stand front and center of my public and Professional service.

  3. tito
    July 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    Speaking of the Arts, what percentage of our population other than the non profits and tax incentive supported businesses,and employed professional actors, actually benefit from this monstrosity? Let’s pray for our police force this Holiday week, they’re out there,

  4. Gene
    July 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    The “arts economy is Ok to support the regular thriving economy but only if there is one. In Pittsifled there is no thriving economy. Mostly the arts create those $21,000 a year jobs which people can’t live on. I share tito’s prayer for our police this weekend. I too also want the parade to get back to its roots.

    • danvalenti
      July 3, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

      GENE
      Well put. An arts economy only works well for We The People when it is ancillary and not primary.

  5. Scott
    July 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    Dan, these are important issues you bring up today it’s all right up my ally. I heard of a book out there about a man who escaped North Korea. He was born there and never knew anything else and an outsider who has seen other parts of the world talked about freedom and the rest of the world, the choice to eat what you want for dinner drove him to escape even though he’d be killed if caught.
    When you watch the evening news it’s all about public relations whether it’s a church, the gov’t or a corporation. These practices have been in existence for a very long time. When you finally unplug you begin to see things for what they are. (Lies) The more we move towards sustainable agriculture and small community farms the closer we come to taking back our freedom. The words sustainable and environmental only cause panic in the minds of greedy corporations and gov’t hell bent at making the most money with the least amount of cost.

    “God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.
    The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is
    wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts
    they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions,
    it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. …
    And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not
    warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of
    resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as
    to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost
    in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from
    time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
    It is its natural manure.”

    I’d also like to leave this for those interested.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays

    • danvalenti
      July 3, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

      SCOTT
      Is the book ESCAPE FROM CAMP 14 by Blaine Harden? It’s the story of Shin Dong-hyuk and his like inside of one North Korea’s notorious labor camps. I read it a few weeks ago. Every person who loves freedom and hates tyranny should read the book.

      • Scott
        July 3, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

        that’s it.

  6. tito
    July 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    The best thing that ever happened in Pittsfield is Angelina’s Subs, when my brother was in the service, and Viet Nam, he would always mention good ol Angelina’s and how he wish he could have a grinder.

    • Scott
      July 5, 2012 at 5:45 am #

      I don’t really like Angelina’s but somehow I think if I was thrown into a jungle with people jumping out of the grass and trying to kill me I may long for an original with oil and vinegar.

      • danvalenti
        July 5, 2012 at 7:01 am #

        SCOTT
        Yes, when you’re in the deep muddy, even an Angelina’s looks like dinner at the Ritz.

  7. CONCERNED
    July 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    Time to start looking into who this Judge Vega is, where she came from etc. I never heard of her. Everyone know anything about here. Is she a visiting Judge or is she assigned to Berkshire courts???????????????????

  8. tito
    July 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    You can look up her bio, just type in her name. She is a smart cookie.

    • Chet Hunter
      July 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

      Nice reply Tito

      • Scott
        July 3, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

        And smart “nice” people never infringe on the rights of others….

  9. Richard
    July 3, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    Not so smart look at the decision she made that isent what a good judge would do.

    • joetaxpayer
      July 4, 2012 at 3:56 am #

      Not sure if she is smart or just well connected.Believe she was appointed to be a judge at the ripe age of 39.She seems to know how the game is played.Happy 4th Judge Vega,maybe you should read a certain document on this day.

  10. BML
    July 3, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    Dan,

    This post reminds me of when I was an undergraduate majoring in philosophy. We discussed the “linguistic turn” that enabled Russell, et. al. to begin to talk about metaphysics again. The end result was a series of thinkers who felt that language constituted reality. I think Saussure took it so far as to say that the word chair and the concept of a chair could not exist independently of one another.

    To restate your most certainly correct proposition: words matter. But, to be a doubting Thomas perhaps, why do they matter? I don’t think it’s so much that words shape reality but accepted words bring a degree of clarity to an issue a human being is facing. Rorty, echoing Dewey and his American pragmatist lineage, felt that words responded to some need; they mirrored nature. As much as words shape and stretch reality to fit what the speaker wants, they are being shaped by that reality as well. I think if you trace it back far enough, you’ll find that words developed to face some real need that was external to the speaker, and thus had a real cash value to them. Since we’ve fallen back on an established lexicon, these words have the weight of years of authority and can properly shape reality for people yet to be perceiving a certain state of existence. In short, I think, words matter because they’re useful at doing what we want them to do. Thus, words mattering because they can shape reality for those yet to perceive a certain state of affairs is only derivative of why they really matter.

    I think Justice Holmes said it best in Towne v. Eisner when he said “a word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used,” 245 U.S. 418 (1918). Implicit in Holmes’ statement is not just the importance of words per se, but the intention of the speaker and the nature of words as things responding to the “felt necessities of our time” Holmes, The Common Law. I think that’s why he was so insistent on allowing ideas to fight it out in the marketplace for ideas.

    If you start to look at words as capturing both meaning and intention, then that intention starts to matter a whole heck of a lot to understanding why the word is used and why it matters. For instance, if you take a hypothetical blogger who posts news on a website – he’s posting nothing but words. But, he means for those words to convey information about the world that he feels, and perhaps society does as well, is useful and can provide a social benefit. I think if we look at words that way we can start to see some of the contours of common law doctrines such as libel, slander, and prior restraint (or the freedom from) as they’ve evolved over time.

    But, I’m rambling and I apologize for that. This disjointed post is the hurried work of an overtired reader. I just wanted to offer my thoughts on some of the peripheries of your post.

    Best,

    BML

  11. Scott
    July 4, 2012 at 5:45 am #

    Talk about propaganda did you all watch the anti firework video in the eagle? Who lights fireworks meant for a tube in their hand and who the heck would ever leave their face over a repeating firework? Yes fireworks are dangerous and people get hurt be careful out there today all!

    We had a big party on Sat in Lanesborough at the in laws and lit off a bunch of stuff, had a blast, no one was hurt. If you have some big stuff it might not be a bad idea to silicone or screw down the bases so they can’t tip over on you. Put children at a safe distance they shoot up into the air so the crowd doesn’t need to be right on top of them.

    • Jim Gleason
      July 4, 2012 at 9:42 am #

      Just too many tight asses around here. I was listening to a radio show on BRK the other day and the husband and wife team made it sound like only drunks and lowlifes light fireworks and they were all going to die doing so.They kept stressing that “they’re illegal” and RTon Lee told people to call the Police if you didn’t like the sound of the fireworks. The Police have a lot more important things to do on the 4th than respond to old farts calling them to complain about noise. Enjoy them, don’t stress over nothing.

      • Jim Gleason
        July 4, 2012 at 9:43 am #

        Sorry, Ron Lee.

      • chuck garivaltis
        July 4, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

        JImmy’s right on target here. Once a year a few firecrackers go off to celebrate the 4th. Meaning the celebration is for America and being American. 2nd president John Adams was hoping we would make noise on the 4th, or 3rd for that matter. It’s over now. I may not be as descriptive as Jimmy in his 1st sentence but loosen up. It’s over soon enough.

  12. tito
    July 4, 2012 at 7:28 am #

    The parade sux, I’m outta here.q

  13. Ron Kitterman
    July 4, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    If a 100,000 people watched the parade are they counting tv land viewers also ? With a population of 44,000, every man, woman and child would have to attend, and then bring a friend. At Tanglewood James Taylor draws a crowd of about 20,000 so that would mean 5 times as many people would be visiting our fair city than that, we might rethink the numbers here and I’m a parade fan myself ( pround bugler with the Imperials Jr Drum and Bugle Corp. There seemed to be more participants than spectators, which is fine just not the need for as much $$.

    • gEE Whiz
      July 4, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

      If the parade draws 15,000, that’s inflating the count.

  14. Alice
    July 4, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    I too was at the parade. True not as good as others, but without enough funds the commiitte does what it can. Donate or volunteer to this wonderful cause. Would love to see the Drum and Bugle competitions return. I believe it was tried once in recent years. I don’t know why it didn’t catch on. Again I’m sure it had to do with finances. And the carnival, what fun we had. Wonderful memories.

    • Alice
      July 5, 2012 at 6:50 am #

      Oh my “Committee”

  15. tito
    July 4, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    Sad to see Andy Griffith died, lot of memories, he was almost as cool as Chuck Garivaltis!

    • chuck garivaltis
      July 4, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

      Thanks, Tito. In my day it was cooler to be called hot, but that day is long gone. So I’ll take the cool, I think nowdays it’s a compliment, and thank you for it.

    • Jim Gleason
      July 5, 2012 at 6:59 am #

      I agree on Andy Griffith. I lost my two childhood hero’s exactly one year apart, my Dad last July 3rd and Andy this year on the 3rd.Andy was cool, and I agree totally on Chuck too.

  16. tito
    July 4, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    Chuck, you have always conducted yourself as a gentleman, you are what Pittsfield should be all about, happy fourth!

  17. Elizabeth
    July 5, 2012 at 4:37 am #

    Hey dan, I’m new to this blog, thanks to the eagle (which I despise, but read for practical things like weather and obits!) Anyway, reading your comments about all the garbage strewn about the streets and sidewalks after the parade, I was thinking…there’s as much “human debris” these days at these “festivities” as candy wrappers. I hate what Pittsfield is becoming. Sad is not even the word.
    Thanks for a cool site! If you post obituaries, I won’t even need to log into the eagle. :)

    • danvalenti
      July 5, 2012 at 5:45 am #

      ELIZABETH
      Welcome aboard THE PLANET. Great comment on what’s becoming of Pittsfield.

    • Scott
      July 5, 2012 at 8:30 am #

      The article they published yesterday about first amendment rights is good.