(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THE WEEKEND EDITION FEB. 2-4, 2018) — For The Weekend Edition, we get away from Pittsfield’s politics, the kind on full display at a revelatory meeting of the city council’s finance committee over what may well be the last straw that sinks the city into a morass of debt and financial failure. We speak of the city’s ineptitude — Tyer, Kerwood, and a boatload of consultants who have already skunked $6 million out of taxpayers. The committee came up big, voting 3-2 to send a recommendation to reject the administration’s plan on water upgrades that will raise water and sewer fees 400%.

Fear not. THE PLANET will rain fire next week. For now, it shall be the frivolity of utter insignificance.

Speaking of spawtz …

This Sunday, THE PLANET gets to enjoy the pleasure of playing on the house’s money. We refer to Super Bowl LII. That’s 52 in Roman numerals for all those who don’t speak Roman. The Big Game, also known as the New England Patriots Invitational for the team’s absolute dominance going on two decades, brings with it the ultimate no-lose proposition. We would like the Patriots to win again, of course, but we shall also be happy should the Philadelphia Eagles pull off the upset, for two reasons:

(1) The Eagles have been “our team” going back to the days of Sonny Jurgenson, Norm Snead, Pete Retzlaff, and Tommy McDonald.

(2) They are the favorite team of our best friend in the world, retired editor of The Syracuse Post-Standard Gary Van Dusen.

As for (1) it’s odd how that came about. In 1961, my brother bought a football magazine with Jimmy Brown on the cover. Pete was a huge Browns fan, and his hero was, of course, the bruising Brown, #44 out of storied Syracuse. The Boston Patriots of the old NFL were one year young and along with its league still trying to prove itself a legitimate competitor with the NFL. Most fans around here, therefore, were New York Giants fans, since we got the Giants games every Sunday on WTEN-10 out of Albany. The magazine cover photo showed great Brown lugging the ball surrounded by a rock pile of friendly white jerseys and a bunch of Philadelphia Eagles in their Kelly green. I loved the Eagles helmets, with the silver wings lacing the sides. It became enough to win me over, but we also loved the Browns because of Jimmy Brown and the Syracuse connection. Incidentally, we still have that magazine.

One of our great moments as a young fan came in the 1964 NFL title game, when Blanton Collier‘s Cleveland Browns shut out Don Shula‘s Baltimore Colts, 27-0, a game we watched on TV to the play-by-play of a man who later became a dear friend and long-time business partner, the late, great broadcaster Ken Coleman. To add to this fan’s confusion, the Tittle-Shofner-Morrison-Roubestelli-Patton-Huff Giants also became a fave because we saw them on TV so much. We still feel the sting of the 1963 title game, when the Giants lost to the Bears.

THE PLANET was, you might say, a football itinerant. That all changed later with the New England Patriots, and not the presen bandwagon franchise that seemingly gets to the Super Bowl every year. We’re talking the Patriots of Gino Capelletti and Babe Parilli, Jim Plunkett and Randy Vataha, Steve Grogan and Russ Francis — a team that wavered from respectable to putrid — 1-15 putrid (1991). That was, of course, in the BRK era: Before Robert Kraft.

Regarding (2) Gary and THE PLANET have long been sending weekly e-mails with our predictions for the 18 weeks the NFL is in season. We each prognosticate the scores for the Patriots and Eagles games. All along, we’ve been saying Super Bowl LII would feature our teams, and we were right. The Eagles have never won a Super Bowl, going 0-2, the last loss being in 2005 as another Syracuse product, Donovan McNabb, led Philly in a fatal confrontation with … the Patriots.

With that win, the Patriots became the first team in league history to win the Super Bowl three in four years. Amazingly, in one of the greatest sports achievements of all time, they are in a position of doing that again on Sunday, 13 years later. The previous two Patriot wins in the Super Bowl came in games that featured the impossible: Malcolm Butler‘s game saving interception of the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson from the 1 yard line (you don’t hand the ball off to Lynch??!!!) in SB XLIX and last year’s comeback from a 28-3 deficit with two minutes left in the third quater to stun the Falcons in overtime (the Super Bowl’s first ever to need an extra frame).

Super Bowl LII, the Patriots record 10th appearance in the game, one might follow the script and it might not. With five Super Bowl victories in the bank, Patriots fans can relax this Sunday, win or lose. The wise guys in Vegas expect a definitive win. The press, too, as in this sampling from Reuters: “In a league that does not want dynasties, the New England Evil Empire [has become] a championship machine that operates with ultimate efficiency.”

Patriot Nation loves being the Evil Empire, the greatest dynasty (ESPN, NFL Network, Sports Illustrated, etc.) of all time. However, if the Iggles can win, we shall still celebrate, and just as hard, for our NFC team, for the cool helmets, and most of all, for Gary Van Dusen.

We have a case of Dom 1982 chillin’, and we and friends will enjoy every last drop.

Love live the Patriots. Long live the Eagles.

To make this weekend interesting, send in your predicted score to THE PLANET. We’ll send a great gift to the person who gets it the closest.

Have a great weekend, everybody.


“Tonight, we are all Patriots” — Robert Kraft.



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  1. Spider
    February 4, 2018 at 8:55 am #

    Great letter by David Potts in today’s BB about proposed toters. Expresses my feelings exactly!

    • Spagirl
      February 4, 2018 at 10:00 am #

      I agree with both of you. Don’t punish the whole City for the few. Go after them. Enforce.

  2. Madame Du Barry
    February 4, 2018 at 9:04 am #

    Wow, that brings back memories,Dave was the one that led the anti-civic Authority charge. Good article.

  3. Spagirl
    February 4, 2018 at 10:03 am #

    There is also a good editorial on the Adams Traffic Stop becoming a teachable moment. I agree wholeheartedly.

    • Halo
      February 4, 2018 at 8:21 pm #

      Eagles 29 Pâtés 25. Eale fan since 58

  4. The school committee
    February 4, 2018 at 10:30 am #

    Bill Cameron will be able to bring sanity to the school systems budgets,get rid of community school coordinators.They are suppose to work in the summer time 40 hours a week and the guy at Crosby never works.Hes working the country club and behnke and mccandless let him double dip,scandalous

    • dusty
      February 4, 2018 at 12:05 pm #

      Seriously? Cameron will help the situation?

  5. Madame Du Barry
    February 4, 2018 at 10:51 am #

    Cameron needs to speak in language that can be understood by the 20000 or so non -voters.

  6. Bill Q
    February 4, 2018 at 10:55 am #

    We have bigger fish to fry,the water problem upgrades is going to doom this City, pease watch the Finance Committteee Meeting to-nIght at eight after the Patriots kick the Eagles ass. Many homeowners might be watching next years Super Bowl from another town.

  7. May Hemm
    February 4, 2018 at 11:02 am #

    Shakes should go on the News Hour because he -she knows it all, is much smarter than most and is critical of the man who invented water,ha. I don’t like his approach either, but to say he doesn’t know what he’s talking about is absurd,Shakes. Why don’t you go on His Show, ha? But like the host says, bring a diaper because he doesn’t want you to soil the studio. I think that is Funny!

  8. Mr. Fritz
    February 4, 2018 at 11:15 am #

    It would appear that Gaetani is still posting, under various names.
    Go Eagles – Philly Philly!

  9. AlaskanBushClowns
    February 4, 2018 at 11:23 am #

    Seems shakes is,also. But this water expert is the real deal, read his resume.

  10. Sonny
    February 4, 2018 at 11:23 am #

    My suggestion to a few city councilors (not the ones at the mayors SB party today) is to have a logical talk with Mr Gaetani. Is he able to come up with a written proposal to present to the EPA that would bring the Pittsfield plant to their standards. If he is willing what would the harm be. So Mr Simonell-Morandi-Connell or Mrs Mazzeo is this possible. I think he could save the city substantial money with a good retro fit proposal.

    • Spagirl
      February 4, 2018 at 12:40 pm #

      Put the egos aside for once. This City is in trouble.

  11. AlaskanBushClowns
    February 4, 2018 at 11:30 am #

    I wanted to correct that the finance committee is on at 2 today also. I am not a great fan of G but respect him. Shakes, you’re just obnoxious, we have a problem here and you don’t have any say in what to do, you are not an engineer or a water expert like G

    • Shakes His Head
      February 4, 2018 at 9:38 pm #

      Actually I do have an engineering degree from an ABET accredited university.

      The messenger from AECOM was probably terrible at presenting. Most engineers are.

      Admittedly I haven’t watched G’s show in over a year, but the ones I saw were self promotion with very little organized information.

      G has no actual product or information that could help, yes the city listened and rejected his fraud. Maybe he is the best guy ever, but not from what Ive seen.

      • Dustin
        February 5, 2018 at 9:40 am #

        you dont you disgrace

  12. 12 Gauge
    February 4, 2018 at 12:24 pm #

    Shakes. Put up or shut up. Go on his show if you have any balls.

  13. mi
    February 4, 2018 at 12:25 pm #

    I gotta give Gaetani a nod, had him for a teacher back in the 70’s was one of my favorites, along with Mr. Tesonero and Frazier. And my favorite prof was in Valenti’s class at B C C, he really had a great class also.

  14. 12 Gauge
    February 4, 2018 at 12:29 pm #

    Watch Snidely Whiplash from Tighe & Bond try to sell his snake oil to the finance committee.

  15. Halo
    February 4, 2018 at 12:38 pm #

    trump and Ryan gave Koch brothers 383 million upfront, someone on CNN being interviewcfrom Lancaster Pa. got a dollar fifty a week.Nice.

    • Kleptocrat
      February 4, 2018 at 12:53 pm #

      Must be Russians involved.

  16. Halo
    February 4, 2018 at 1:41 pm #

    Trumps looking to get billions from Russian investors at the polar ice cap route that will block off china,big big money in the shipping biz out there.

  17. 12 Gauge
    February 4, 2018 at 2:05 pm #

    Want to buy a tin foil hat Halo?

    • The Secret Tapes From Baltimore
      February 4, 2018 at 2:06 pm #

      You have to confer with TSC.

  18. Halo
    February 4, 2018 at 2:58 pm #

    No, I heard the descendants of Leif Ericksons are going to be Involved, it’ll be bigger than the discovery of Newfoundland

  19. Trisha Trasha
    February 4, 2018 at 3:08 pm #

    Well,the water project Facility went from 40mil to 70mil, and if we wait,probably one hundred. So, are we waiting to put in a new facility or build on the old one? Geezum, this sounds familiar? Why is Persip trying to make the previous CC look bad because they might have errantly forgot this project was coming up?Collingwood who Gaetani said was Inept all along, was the one who dropped the ball.

  20. Cos
    February 4, 2018 at 3:59 pm #

    How can you pick against the Patriots?Even if the Patriots lose, you look smart doing it. To much Brady Belechick
    Gronk. Gronk runs wild,Again. Pats In a Breeze!

  21. Shelly Liver
    February 4, 2018 at 4:05 pm #

    Philly avoids the Flu but ends up with Gronkitus,Pats Big!

    • Beserksire
      February 7, 2018 at 6:42 am #

      Planet is awesome!

  22. AlaskanBushClowns
    February 4, 2018 at 4:09 pm #

    Super Bowl pre game is great, got it on channell 18 and this Gatiani is kicking butt. Pats shhould follow his lead. Pats in a laugher!!!!!

  23. AlaskanBushClowns
    February 4, 2018 at 4:21 pm #

    I thought I saw Whitey Bulger standing next to Brady?

  24. H
    February 4, 2018 at 4:23 pm #

    Way to much Gronk, way! And no one stops THE GRONK!

  25. Trisha Trasha
    February 4, 2018 at 4:31 pm #

    Who does this Water Wizard like, he’s been pretty good with his predictions the last couple years.

  26. amandaWell
    February 4, 2018 at 4:31 pm #

    Philly sux.

    • Gary Wood
      February 4, 2018 at 6:47 pm #

      Patriots swallow.

  27. Babylon Berlin
    February 4, 2018 at 6:37 pm #

    Movie Must See…. The Shape of Water.