Wednesday, January 25, 2012

great journalism, VII

This is the earliest thing of mine that I recall being published, except a letter to the editor of the now-defunct Amherst Times, which I'm pretty sure I've lost. The Phoenix Press had published a short piece in which one Robert Croke defended nuclear power. Well, that didn't exactly hit my sweet spot, so I penned this treatise -- it was much longer than what Croke wrote -- to put him in his place and, by golly, set the record straight once and for all. I don't remember anyone from the Holyoke (Massachusetts) Community College student newspaper contacting me before publishing this. There were a good number of conservative students at the school back then, and I assume that the political demographic of the student body must have been reflected in the Phoenix Press's editorial board. At least one of the editors must have been less-than-utterly welcoming of the trashing of nuclear power and the nuclear-power industry; one of them would therefore call me on my facts with the goal of quashing the article. That radical can't get his facts straight, so there's no use running this. But nope, without even consulting me, they published the whole dang thing. Where did I get my facts? I don't remember, which is understandable, seeing as how it was 32 years go. However, back then I knew many members of the Clamshell Alliance, and I had read Barry Commoner's ``The Poverty of Power,'' so I can say that I have a vague memory of being well-versed in this stuff. Still I do question some of my assertions. I mean, is the area ``immediately surrounding'' the ``temporary waste storage facility'' in Hanford, Washington really uninhabitable for 250,000 years? How come I haven't heard anything about it since? Must be the liberal media.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Juvenilia, part three, in which Mark Twains' publisher and I are of the same mind

When I spoke the argument presented in this paper during a meeting of poet Donald Junkins' American Realism course, in the fall of 1983 at UMass, he said he respected my opinion, and that he didn't agree with it. I could not have cared less if he only respected my opinion. The only thing that mattered was that I was right and he was wrong to disagree with me. The ``Raftsmen Passage'' was so delightful that it should have been included in ``The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,'' Junkins said. Or words to that effect. Of course now, having matured, I respect his disagreement, but I still think my 22-year-old self was right.
That was a great class. We read Henry James, ``The Ambassadors;'' Sarah Orne Jewett, ``The Country Of The Pointed Furs;'' stories by Ambrose Bierce; William Dean Howells, ``The Rise Of Silas Lapham;'' Theodore Dreiser, ``An American Tragedy;'' and Stephen Crane, ``The Red Badge Of Courage.'' There might have been other works on the syllabus, but I don't remember.
As of today, Junkins, who lives in Deerfield, is still listed in Superpages.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Great journalism, VI

The good old days, sort of. Amherst and Hadley, Massachusetts when there were still James McManus, Gas Lite I and Classe Cafe, and the state unemployment rate was below 5 percent. Of course we could have been talking about a ton of shit jobs. At any rate it was the 80s, so something had to have been going wrong. From the Amherst Bulletin, Aug. 19, 1987

Great journalism V, or I met somebody who knew Ed Meese

``In the end, I'm not sure if he did anything illegal. I'm not sure if I'm a pro-Meese man now. But working in the press office, you get a defensive attitude.''
Story about Anthony Forte, press intern at the Justice Department during the Golden Years. The Amherst Bulletin, Sept. 21, 1988 Of course you know that when I say Great Journalism, I'm displaying an ability to laugh at myself. It's not great journalism. Heck, half the time it wasn't even fun.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Great journalism, IV

``Their drumming was drowned out by loud rock 'n' roll music blasting from what Singingtree discovered to be a loudspeaker mounted in a tree in the Smead's yard, pointed at the teepee, Singingtree said.''
This from another clip having to do with the 1996 Sally Singingtree teepee flap in Amherst, Massachusetts. I wish I had stumbled across my story in which Fred Smead, the disgruntled neighbor, went on the record -- but only after moving to Hadley. Still looking for it -- in my spare time.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Great journalism, III

The drums were loud, I understand. If I had really been doing my job, I would have driven to her house some evening to find out how loud. Just to get a feel for the situation. Eventually, the next-door neighbor whom this bothered so much moved away. Before then he wouldn't speak with me, but after he had relocated to Hadley he gave me an interview. I haven't been able to find that clip.

I doubt if her name was really Singingtree. If her teepee had caught fire, which was the great concern, she would have been singing a different tune. Wah-waah...

They weren't worried about a fire. The situation was just too weird (and loud) for them.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

yet more great journalism

At the time, my editor thought the woman with a garage full of plastics, waiting for the Great Recycling Bin, was wrong. As it turned out, the eccentric was right. Amherst Bulletin, Aug. 2, 1989

Juvenilia, part two

Written for The Literature and Society class at UMass/Amherst, fall of 1983. The course was taught by John Nelson.

Juvenilia, part one

In which I, at age 20, attempt some remarks about ``A Farewell To Arms'' for a writing course at Holyoke Community College. The class was taught by Annabelle (sp?) Murphy, who was married to an editor at the now-defunct Holyoke (Massachusetts) Transcript-Telegram. I was impressed by this book and went on to read a great deal more Hemingway.

Great Journalism, part one

For the Amherst Bulletin

Up in Vermont

The inscription on the back of this reads ``Edwin B. and Emma (Alizabeth Graves) Moody with sons Clarence, Edwin and Lewis in front of the Moody farm outside Waterbury Center on the Stowe Road.'' Lewis Nathaniel Moody was the father of my grandfather, Paul Amos Moody. Taken around 1890, guessing from Lewis' apparent age of 20. The father's side of Emma's family had considerable numbers in Hatfield and Greenfield, Mass. and gradually moved north. Emma was from Duxbury, Vt.

Todd Rundgren's people were kind enough to send me this after I had sent Todd a fan letter, circa 1974. It's autographed. I was thrilled.