‘HOT ENOUGH FOR YOU’? TRY NEEDLES, CALIF. AND THEN ASK ME … plus QUICK HITS & HOT LICKS LOOKS AT BELVEDERE RULING IN LENOX, ANOTHER SUIT WITH ‘VISION,’ AND MAYOR TRANSPARENCY, CRIME DOG
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, JULY 18, 2013) — “Hot enough for you?”
Sure, the question is asked as an innocent and innocuous ice breaker, pun intended, but it begs an entry in Mad Magazine‘s feature that gives smart-aleck answers to stupid questions. THE PLANET‘s answer is, “No, actually. I just got back from Needles, Calif., in Death Valley, there on a day when the temperature hit 129oF.” By the way, 1340F set decades ago in nearby Furnace Creek is the highest recorded temperature ever on the face of the earth since instrumentation allowed definitiveness.
Follow up Question: “What was THE PLANET doing in Needles?”
Followup’s Answer: I’d make like any self-direspecting Pittsfield politician (including Mayor Dan Transparency) and say: ‘None of your GD business.’”
Yesterday, on a day of out-and-abouts, we happened to find ourselves in Stop and Shop supermarket on Dan Fox Drive. You remember Dan Fox Drive. That was PEDA before PEDA became PEDA on land the city “fathers” and Suits told We The People would become Pittsfield’s answer to Silicon Valley and the Route 128 Tech Corridor. THE PLANET ran a DNA test, by the way, and it turns out they weren’t our “fathers” at all. We The People have morphed from owners of the government to orphan bastards. Proof of this comes each election year, when, bereft of genuine choice, the People let the Special Interests re-elect or elect the same gang of idiots, the ones swimming in the same severely limited political gene pool. We shall identify the GOBs and GOB wannabes from the list of this year’s candidates as soon as it’s finalized in mid-August.
Anyway, in Stop and Shop’s frozen food section, we experienced an almost Arctic chill. We made for Fess Parka, looking for coonskin. As we made our way to the front of the store to the cashier, we found pleasantly adjusted air conditioning. In the entrance/exit foyer, with the automatic Star Trek doors opening to the outside countless times of day, the heat seeped inside. There, we found it warm. Stepping outside, we entered a thermal stove set on low, not quite 100oF. Inside the car, a roaring blast furnace came to life. Had to be at least 129oF, what with the greenhouse effect and all, like we had never left Needles at all.
Driving back home, we enjoyed the car’s AC banishing the heat from the vehicle and treating the air with cold, like a stepmother’s kiss, before we drove resting on a bed of bracing “fresh” air. Naturally, we kept the windows sealed shut. We noticed all the tiny and huge cars passing us by in the opposite direction on Route 7 — same thing, each driver and passengers sealed in their nippy oasis bubbles amid the outside heat.
THE PLANET does 50 mph, the car driving by opposite us driving 50. The passing of the two equals 100 mph. At that speed, and even at far less, we aren’t to each other human beings anymore. We all become blurs, “iron men” and “iron women.” We have put on our vehicles like suits of armor, driving at evermore furious speeds. When we stop, we get out the smart phone, read e-mail, send texts, and otherwise “stay in touch” in more sealed, air-conditioned spaces, occupying ourselves nonsense that matters about as much as eel squat. Even when we “stop,” we hardly slow down.
We offer this meditation on temperature, pace, and place not in the vain hope it will change anything. THE PLANET has the much more modest aspiration that you will at least examine all of your hurrying and every second after you enter a climate controlled bubble that keeps you from looking other humans in the eyes.
QUICK HITS & HOT LICKS
Belvedere Case Dismissed — THE PLANET is heartened by the ruling of Suffolk County Superior
Court Judge Heidi Brieger in dismissing the lawsuit brought against the town of Lenox by the group Citizens Advocacy for All. The special interest group claimed the town had violated the Scenic Mountain Act. That act requires the town to get sign-off from the conservation commission. It didn’t, and it erred, but the town received post-approval. Brieger said that satisfied the law. Architect Michael Fieldman designed and paid for the Kennedy Park Belvedere as a memorial to his deceased son, Dr. Jordan Fieldman. Doctor Fieldman practiced at BMC and died after losing his battle with cancer. The Belvedere design actually enhances the beauty of the park and the overlook where it rests. Its clean, white, geometric marble invites people to sit and enjoy nature.
He’s Got ‘Vision’ — He’s been on the job less than a month, but Lee School Department’s interim superintendent Al Skrocki has, according to one fawning press account, “started to create a vision for the district’s future.” God help Lee taxpayers: Another Suit with a “vision.” Vision’s a good thing when it keeps you on the road at night in the fog. When Suits (politicians, public officials, and officious windbags of all types) start to talk about “vision,” however, head for the hills. It means they want to spend your money without being held accountable. The best antidote to this kind of vision is the forefinger and middle finger in a horizontal Churchill “V” for victory sign, delivered Moe Howard style, into the peepers. If that doesn’t work, try the middle finger in a one-finger peace salute.
Dan Bianchi, Crime Dog — When Dan Bianchi ran for mayor in 2011, he said he would get tough on crime. The only thing he got tough on were taxpayers’ aching backs. He and Sheriff Tom Bowler were in each other’s pockets during the campaign, Bianchi doing “a Bowler” for the campaigning sheriff and Bowler doing “a Bianchi” for the campaigning mayor. In Bianchi’s two years, drug use, gang violence, and practically every other metric for measuring crime are up, up, and up. In a typical week, you can’t keep up with the cases that clog the courts. Example of the “New Citizens” who live in the city — Ryan Yon, 25, admitted to armed robbery with a BB gun, having been accused of entering Angelina’s Sub Shop on Wahconah Street on Nov. 1, 2011, pointing the gun at an employee, demanding money, and making off with $550. Yon’s co-mastermind, Matt Demastrie, 27, pleaded guilty to a similar charge last week. He’s doing three to five years in prison. At three years, that works out to about 50 cents a day. At six years, it’s a quarter a day. It gets better. On
Wednesday, so writes our good friend Andrew Amelinckx in the Boring Broadsheet, “Yon also admitted stealing $38,000 from 28-year-old Scott Van Zandt[,] who had himself stolen money — a total of $75,000 — from a relative.” With relatives like that … Another headline the same day that the BB ran the Yon story, we read: “Second man to spend 5 years in prison for robbing Pittsfield tobacco shop.” THE PLANET breathlessly awaits Mayor Bianchi’s discussion of crime when he “campaigns” for re-election against nobody. He will share his “vision,” we’re sure, 20-100 all the way.
“I too will something make / And joy in the making; / Although tomorrow it seem / Like the empty words of a dream / Remembered upon waking.” — Robert Bridges, last stanza, “I Love All Beauteous Things” (1890)
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.