CONCERT OF THE YEAR! TONIGHT, 8pm, BCC Theater. “BEATLESQUE with Special Guest Steve Holley.” A stunning full evening of BEATLES’ music, performed live note-for-note by the country’s pre-eminent Fab Four tribute band. BEATLESQE is led by Mick Valenti, formerly of QUARRY, QUICK FOX, and Woodstock fame. Steve Holley was Paul McCartney’s drummer in WINGS. He is now on a world tour with Ian Hunter (Mott the Hoople).


(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THE WEEKEND EDITION JULY 21-3, 2017) — She was, we are told, an “aspiring model.” Why is it we never here, “She was an aspiring Rhodes Scholar” or “She was an aspiring molecular biologist?”

In truth, she looked like just another 19-year-old girl who wanted to achieve a social register by showing off her body. That’s the easy way in a time of twits and twitter. When you are 19, you don’t know what you don’t know. If you are a young girl not yet a woman, leaving one and not quite arrived at the other, you think playing the sex card is the ticket. This was the path chosen by Fredanzia Thompson of Navasota, TX, and she paid the price.

Thompson had good-looks. They were not, however, of the supermodel class. She was like that kid flash on the street corner basketball court, who eschews studies dreaming of the NBA and $20 million a year. Everything is hard to tell at 19, when the world opens before a young person full of infinite possibility.

Thompson decided her way up and out would be through the body. For an “aspiring model,” that means  fronting the camera. When scouting locations for photo shoots, photographers try to get something out of the ordinary. THE PLANET gets that. Dangerous and life threatening is certainly out of the ordinary, but is it advisable? Thompson found the answer recently when she posed on a set of railroad tracks.

They were not the tracks of a long-dead rail line, the kind where weeds grow and where forward looking citizens erect bike-and-hike paths and trails. Rather they were the heavily used lines of the Union Pacific-Texas. Rails gleaming with use, where trains run. Frequently. Big trains. The ones that can’t stop without a couple miles lead. Sure enough, train and girl proved the law of physics that two objects cannot occupy the same place at the same time.

She died.

We are supposed to feel … what, exactly? Sorrow? Well, we are with Fr. Dunne, John that is, when he wrote that every death diminishes everyone else among the living. “Never send for whom the bell tolls,” as we recall. Sure, we are with that. Tragedy? Should we call this tragic? We suppose. This death was so unnecessary. And yet …

Actions have consequences. Effect follows from cause. Thompson did not die so much from being hit by a train than being caught in the act of invulnerability, a pose not unusual for 19 year olds. Her family grieves, and we stand respectfully, silently in their loss.

Nonetheless, at that age, a person needs to know better. THE PLANET preaches this to every young person playing with guns, injecting needles into their arms, playing “chicken” with their most precious gift. They need to make better choices or accept the consequences. We cannot mourn the unwanton workings of peril.


“Let me ask you a question.”Tony Soprano



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  1. Pat
    July 21, 2017 at 10:59 am #

    So sad. She was pregnant also so two lives were lost.

  2. Jonathan Melle
    July 21, 2017 at 11:45 am #

    I am a strong believer in mental health care. Life in unfair! We find healthy ways to cope.

  3. Paul
    July 21, 2017 at 4:12 pm #

    “Stupid is as stupid does.”— Forest Gump

  4. Italia
    July 21, 2017 at 7:53 pm #

    Does anyone know why State Senator Adam Hinds will not have his telephone number not be allowed to be published in the Pittsfield. Gazette? Tricia Farley Bouvier and Paul Mark numbers are published there.

    • 12 Gauge
      July 21, 2017 at 9:42 pm #

      He’s special.

  5. Jonathan Melle
    July 22, 2017 at 8:23 pm #

    In 2014, former North Adams Mayor John Barrett III endorsed Republican candidate for Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker over Berkshire County native Martha Coakley.

    Governor Charlie Baker has done nothing but disservices to Western Massachusetts. He can’t even balance the state government budget! The state’s bond rating has been downgraded. Massachusetts is the #1 per capita debtor state in the nation. Over 20 years ago, Baker oversaw billions of dollars in cost overruns in the “Big Dig” project.

    Now, John Barrett III is running as a Democrat candidate for Northern Berkshire State Representative! If he wins the special election, Barrett will be a “yes man” rubber stamp for the failed Baker administration!

    – Jonathan Melle

    • Pat
      July 23, 2017 at 7:19 am #

      I thought Governor Patrick was a terrible Governor for Mass. Governor Baker is more like an Independent than a conservative. That’s okay with me although I haven’t liked all of his decisions. Baker is supposedly the most popular governor in the country right now.

    • Jayden K. Smith
      July 23, 2017 at 10:55 am #

      Not one cent in Massachusetts is spent without the consent of the Democrat speaker of the house. If anyone thinks the Berkshires is getting shortchanged stop voting for rubber stamp Democrats who do what the speaker tells them to do.

  6. C. Trzcinka
    July 23, 2017 at 8:25 am #

    This is tragic. She bore the full consequences of her decision however foolish.

    My friend’s son died last year at 17 from a pill overdose. He thought he knew everything about drugs, and while he certainly knew more than me, he didn’t know enough to take pills and stay alive. We all miss him and wish he hadn’t made the choices he made. But he did and is dead.

    We need to keep reminding the young that there are risks they don’t understand and we need to be thankful that we survived the risks we took.

    • danvalenti
      July 23, 2017 at 3:23 pm #

      We can all profit from the wisdom of this post. Thanks, CT.

  7. dusty
    July 23, 2017 at 12:42 pm #

    …….and if you chose to vote for Trump, and he takes away your health care, or sends your child off to a senseless war, or makes a mockery of the office of President, it’s on you bub. It is on you.

    • 12 Gauge
      July 23, 2017 at 5:57 pm #

      0bama = all of the above