A blog about movies and the Sturbridge area, including The Brookfields, Brimfield, Charlton, Holland, Wales, and Spencer as well as adjacent towns.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Old Sturbridge Village-Not much time in 2011

It's not been an easy year at the village. The same storms that afflicted us, afflicted them. Posted on Facebook was the message below:

Getting ready for New Year's Eve...Eager to say good-bye to 2011 with its tornadoes, hurricanes, snowstorms and power outages. We need your help to end this year in the black...OSV trustees will match all new and increased donations, so your gift will be doubled: $1 becomes $2; each $5 becomes $10, etc. It will help us feed our little animals - and so much more! Can you help by donating here? http://www.osv.org/orders/giftform.php

Thank you!

Those beautiful Devon cows were one of the first breeds to come to New England. They are part of your heritage.

Monday, December 26, 2011

My Sturbridge Times Magazine review of the Cafe at Five Loaves Bakery-It's a jewel in Spencer!

So on a rather decrepit side street in an old Central Massachusetts factory town, there is a bistro that bids fair to be one of the finest regional restaurants. Who'd a thunk it. Could Spencer with Mexicali, Grill, The Red Maple inn, Alron, Two classic diners and a few others become the gustatory capital of New England? Okay, that's a stretch. My review is below.

Review of the Café at Five Loaves Bakery

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Defeat your inner slug and become more productive, my review of Willpower

Most everyone has heard of Oscar Wilde's words, "The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it." Moi, I am only too much a slave to the temptation to not do something I should, and do something I should not. Two men, John Tierney, who writes on scientific subjects for the New York Times, and Roy F. Baumeister who heads the social psychology program at Florida State University, want to help you. They have written about the science behind willpower and have hints and strategies that may not turn us into superstars, but might help to make us less un-productive.

My review is below:


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sturbridge Times Magazine is out, Shameless Self Promotion-December edition

Ah, beautiful, tropical December in New England. So far, so good. Okay, so sunbathing is not happening, but it has not been unpleasant. Let's hope winter ended with that not yet forgotten snowstorm.

With the lovely weather, the Sturbridge Times Magazine is out and I have some pieces to shamelessly self-promote.

On Page 10 is my review of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Jobs would never have been able to say, "No more Mr. Nice Guy," but there was more to his personality than his jerkness. Isaacson's bio is fair and though somewhat favorable, does make plain the man's faults.

Sometimes you stumble upon something that is wonderful, but completely unexpected. The Cafe at Five Loaves Bakery in Spencer is one of those. Read my review on Page 15.

My column is on Page 20. Some of you are under the impression that what we suffered in our week long loss of power was just a weather event. Hah, it was the First Annual Sturbridge and Environs Test of Post-Apocalyptic fitness. We flunked.

There are many other writers with articles in the Sturbridge Magazine, so look for it on a newstand. If you don't find one, you can download a pdf at http://sturbridgetimes.com.

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's this Sunday, White Christmas in West Brookfield

Okay, maybe it won't be too white. After the October storm, I'm okay with that. Heck, 48 degrees and sunny won't be a problem.

It'll still be fun. Here is the committee's press release:




WEST BROOKFIELD, MA…The historic, picturesque town of West Brookfield will be celebrating the 19th Annual White Christmas festival beginning at noon. The day will include open houses at shops and businesses, craft shows, horse-drawn wagon rides, a tree lighting ceremony and a holiday music concert.

In and around the town will be open houses of shops and businesses designated with white flags. Many of these businesses will offer free raffles. Ye Olde Tavern and Quaboag Rehabilitation and Skilled Care Center will each be hosting a craft show featuring many local artisans. The West Brookfield Elementary School will host the Elves “R” Us Gift Sale from 12 to 4 p.m. The Boy Scouts will be selling warm refreshments.

The churches in town will also be participating in the event. The Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church will be serving soup and sandwiches from Noon to 5:00 p.m. as well as singing Christmas carols. The First Congregational Church will offer a country store, silent auction and a luncheon beginning at Noon. “Carols and Cocoa” will also be offered from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. The George Whitefield United Methodist Church will be sponsoring a craft corner along with donuts and cider from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Be sure to stop by the West Brookfield Fire Department to enjoy homemade chili and chowder at their open house from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. Activities at the Senior Center will include a Chinese auction, a sing-a-long with the Silvertones (1:30 till 3 p.m.), a bake sale and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, all beginning at 12:00 and ending at 3:00 p.m. The Merriam-Gilbert Library will display a “Mitten and Hat Tree” where donations of new children’s hats, scarves, socks, gloves, and mittens will be accepted to benefit Socks for Siberia.

Don’t miss the free horse-drawn wagon rides circling the common from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. and afterwards enjoy some delicious warm cider by the campfire provided by the Pack 118 Cub Scouts. While enjoying the events on the common, be sure to try the roasted chestnuts. Also, take time to greet Father Christmas and Frosty the Snowman as they stroll around town.

The final events of the day will include the lighting of 2,000 white lights hung on the town common’s 70 foot high spruce tree at 5:45 p.m. The tree will be surrounded by 50 luminarias and a caroling sing-along will be enjoyed. A special concert featuring the Quaboag Choral Society directed by Eric Von Bleicken will be held in the Great Hall on the 2nd floor of the Town Hall at 6:15 p.m. Donations of non-perishable food items will be accepted to benefit a local food pantry.

The booklet of program events, including the location of open houses, will be available at local businesses. Support for this community event comes from area merchants advertising in the booklet, as well as individual donations made to the “Adopt-a-Light” campaign. The 19th Annual White Christmas festival is an event that the community is especially proud of and will surely warm your hearts. For additional information, please call Madeline Arn, Chairperson, at 508-867-4201 or Kathy Collings at 508-867-7165.

CALENDAR – Sunday, December 4, 2011, 12-8:00 p.m. – White Christmas, West Brookfield, MA

Monday, November 28, 2011

You missed it this time, but next year you should take in the North Quabbin Garlic & Arts Festival

I don't know if it still happens, but when I was starting my so called professional life in the big city, a small detachment of youngish folks would come into the office bearing some merchandise (usually leather goods, if I remember correctly) and tell us that their boss wanted to help us out by giving us a good deal or some such palaver. One Friday afternoon, it was always Friday afternoon, such a crew came into our offices bearing copies of paintings that you have probably seen prints of, but might not know the names or titles, though the term impressionist could cross your mind. No one bit and they headed toward the elevator to leave as I was going in the same direction to get to our other floor. I was cornered as the leader of the pack began a strong sales pitch on his one victim.

Now, I am ashamed to say, as a young man, I was a rude and obstreperous fellow. In one area of my life, however, I have always tried to be unfailingly polite. Telemarketers, salespeople and the like I have always done my best to indulge. Call me up at dinnertime and offer me a mortgage and I will apologize that mine is paid off and wish you every success. I know such people are not earning big bucks and for some reason unknown to myself, feel compassion for them.

Trapped as I was, I wanted to escape with manners intact. So when the pitch got to the point where I was actually asked if I wanted to buy, it would be important to not hurt their feelings while ending the sales pitch. My response, "Nah, I hate art."

Their first reaction was a look of shock. I am certain no one ever had said that to them before. We are a nation of philistines, but it is criminal to admit it. As I kept a wide grin on my face, they quickly realized I was having them on and each actually let out a small guffaw and I was able to exit the elevator on good terms.

In truth, I don't hate art, but I am no savant. I do enjoy visual spectacle to the best of my ability. If you asked me to choose between Picasso and a dish made with a plethora of garlic, well, I know what I would choose.

Fortunately, every fall here in Nova Anglia, we don't have to choose.

NQ Garlic and Arts

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I know there something missing this morning. Oh yeah, The Amherst Farmers Market!

Above: A warm summer day at the market

For about a month and a half now, I've been getting up on Saturday mornings to travel up to Amherst Farmers' Market to sell honey and eggs and anything else the garden had produced. I've been doing this for about 20 years now and can't stop. I yield to no one in my dislike of early rising, but the Amherst market is worth it.

I wouldn't be so upset if today's weather were a howling snow storm (but we never have one of those this time of year). Unfortunately, today will be beautiful and warm, perfectly Indian Summerish. Ah but last Saturday was the last week.

The Amherst FM is like a festival. Okay, you may not be able to get everything there, but there is a lot. Vegetables are in colorful profusion, but there are crafts (see video below) as well. There is my breakfast, a jalapeño ciabatta (don't laugh) and then a pesto roll from the two bakeries selling.

Where there is also a hole in my day is across the street. Once set up, I go over to Amherst Coffee and get a large extra caffeine to go. Now the coffee we have during the week is not terrible, but it is not in Amherst Coffee's league. Man does not live by bread alone, because there is coffee.

Market Manager, Sarah Berquist, has been there a few hours already before I get there. We have had many good managers since I've been going there and she is in that Stalwart mode, unfailingly so.

Fortunately, winter will not last forever. Already, I've received some seed catalogues. Time to start planning.

Not only does everyone at the market love Justamere Tree Farm. They were featured in Martha Stewart Living Magazine.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Are some Sturbridge based filmmakers going off the deep end? Maybe

The team making Dudleytown Curse – the 49th Key are traversing ground that few dare to tread. Who knows, maybe they will solve a mystery, or all this paranormal stuff is the work of overheated minds? Then again, they may be playing with a fire that will char them body and soul. In that case, the least we can do is give them one heckuva wake. Their press release is below.

Red Barn’s Dudleytown- “Scariest Horror Film on Earth”–Interviews Paranormal Investiagtor

Red Barn Media completed interview with paranormal investigator/author Thomas D’Agostino for indie feature horror film “Dudleytown Curse – the 49th Key” - about the cursed village of Dudleytown, Connecticut – Watch the Video!


PRLog (Press Release) - Nov 15, 2011 -
Red Barn Media, a Massachusetts production group, announced today it has completed an on camera interview with paranormal investigator and author Thomas D’Agostino in connection with its indie feature horror film called “Dudleytown Curse – the 49th Key” - about the infamous and cursed village of Dudleytown, Connecticut – a place Dan Aykroyd reportedly called the “scariest place on Earth”.. The indie horror film, based on a story which Red Barn Media calls the "utterly terrifying incidents" at Dudleytown, Connecticut, began shooting in November, 2011.

Thomas D’Agostino has written nine books on the subject of the paranormal in New England, and has also written about the history and legend of Dudleytown. A Spokesperson for Red Barn said: “We are so pleased to have the opportunity to interview Thomas D’Agostino who has been investigating the paranormal in New England for over thirty years and has written extensively about the subject”! Red Barn Media has released online a snippet of the interview with D’Agostino in a video on YouTube called: “Dudleytown Woods – Actual Footage – Paranormal Activity Caught on Tape?” In the video, the paranormal investigator, Thomas D’Agostino, appears in the interview as crew members from the Red Barn team film actual footage of Dudleytown Woods from a public road. A Voiceover in the Video asks the viewers to judge for themselves as to whether any paranormal activity is caught on the actual footage from Dudleytown. Supernatural or not? Red Barn asks to let the viewers decide for themselves. The paranormal investigator talks about the reports of negative energy associated with Dudleytown and theories that it could be a vortex or thin region which allows entities to pass more freely between this world and something else. The Video on YouTube which includes the interview and asks whether the viewer can see any paranormal activity near a blue light which appears in the video can be viewed on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qTOQz31wtM

The Legend of the Dudleytown Curse says that Dudleytown is damned, the legacy of a “Curse” placed on the Dudley family by King Henry VIII and his demonic minions nearly five hundred years ago in England. The sons of the cursed family are said to have fled England and settled in Dudleytown, Connecticut where the “Curse” is said to have followed them.

For further information regarding Dudleytown Curse – the 49th key, visit www.dudleytowncurse.com. The Indie Film also has a Facebook Group at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/124889004194600/#!/groups

Please contact Doug Kirkpatrick at production@dudleytowncurse.com or (310) 804-8450.

# # #

Red Barn Media, a Massachusetts production group, has performed many years of exhaustive research, investigation, overcome many obstacles. It is shooting its indie feature film - “Dudleytown Curse – the 49th Key” - about Dudleytown, Connecticut.

--- end ---

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sturbridge Times Magazine is out, Shameless Self Promotion-November edition

So November came in with a catastrophic freak snowstorm. If we have an asteroid hit in December, who is going to be surprised?

Better news, the Sturbridge Times Magazine is out and I have some pieces to shamelessly self-promote.

On Page 10 is my review of Willpower, Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Tierney and Baumeister. This is not a self-help tome, but there are some good insights.

I was at the first North Quabbin Garlic & Arts Festival and several others. It is a great early fall take in up in Orange, and is covered on Page 16.

My column is on Page 20. I am no fan of Scott Brown, but Liz Warren is not quite ready for prime time.

There are many other writers with articles in the Sturbridge Magazine, so look for it on a newstand. If you don't find one, you can download a pdf at http://sturbridgetimes.com.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Sturbridge Harvest Festival is back, new and improved is not just a slogan

The Harvest Festival is almost here. Some new stuff planned this year. Read about it below.

Harvest Festival 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sturbridge Times Magazine is out, Shameless Self Promotion-October edition

October, at least the mosquitos should die. The new issue of the Sturbridge Times Magazine is out.

The Harvest Festival is back and, though old and great is also new and improved. Read about it on Page 14.

Everyone living today is a tad too young to remember the Revolutinary War. No matter, Old Sturbridge Village gave us a reprise with Redcoats & Rebels, held in August. It was a re-enactment of part of the war, complete with battle and encampment. Read about it on Page 16.

My column on Page 20 is an open letter to the president calling for change. It is not the president of Los Estados Unidos.

On Page 21 is your ballot to vote for best of in the region. Finally, something worth voting for.

There are many other writers with articles in the Sturbridge Magazine, so look for it on a newstand. If you don't find one, you can download a pdf at http://sturbridgetimes.com/

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My life in music

My Life in Music

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Sturbridge region could use a film bureau!

From the Brookfields to the Connecticut border, we have everything moviemakers could want in a location. Why isn't it happening?

The Sturbridge region needs a film bureau!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mega Auction in Brimfield to bring Indy film to our region!

Financing independent film is no piece of cake. The film trying to be born is going to hold an antique auction in Brimfield, Massachusetts. Brimfield is famous for its summer antique shows so its a natural. Below is the skinny.

Mega Auction to Benefit Indie Film- Dudleytown Curse- the 49th Key - Donate an Item! Come Bid!

The Indie Film “Dudleytown Curse – the 49th Key”” Shooting this Fall in MA and CT is to Benefit from a Mega Auction in Brimfield, MA – so Help Spread the Word, Come and Bid on Cool Items, and Donate Items for the Auction or Make a Cash Contribution to IndieGoGo Now! Click Here for More Auction Info on AuctioZip.com!
Here is the Info:

Field Auction - Saturday, October 8, 2011
11:30 a.m.
Preview Starts at 9:00 a.m.
15 Sturbridge Road (Route 20)
Brimfield, MA 01010

Rain Date: Sunday, October 9, 2011
11:30 a.m.

Contents of 18 Wheel Trailer chock Full of Cool Stuff will be Auctioned Off Piece by Piece (Antiques, Furniture, Smalls, All Kinds of Items)

Plus All Kinds of Other Antiques and Vintage Items
Part of Auction Proceeds Will Benefit the Following:

1) Independent Film Shooting this Fall in Brimfield and Sturbridge Called "Dudleytown Curse- the 49th Key"; and
2) Certain Items Will be Sold and the Proceeds Donated to the Harding Fund to Help the Brimfield Tornado Victims!

If interested in donating an Item to Benefit Either the Independent Film or the Tornado Victims, Please Call Doug at (310) 804-8450 or e-mail production@dudleytowncurse.com.
If Interested in Contributing a Monetary Donation to the Independent Film Online Visit IndieGoGo By Clicking Here: Contact Us at: production@dudleytowncurse.com or by Clicking Here if interested in the independent film!

Bring your own Fold Up Chair!

Casting and Crew Positions Still in Process – Send Headshot and Resume to; production@dudleytowncurse.com

Visit Dudleytown on facebook here.

Dudleytown Curse - the 49th Key from Dudleytown Curse on Vimeo.

See previous posting at Examiner.

Original posting at OurFilmSpace.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

From the Sturbridge Times Magazine, August 2011-We Need a Film Bureau!

The Sturbridge region needs a film bureau!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Flapjack Willy's is the place for breakfast and lunch in North Brookfield

Review of Flapjack Willy's

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sturbridge Times Magazine is out, Shameless Self Promotion-September edition

September, what will the weather throw at us this month? Can't wait to see. At least the new issue of the Sturbridge Times Magazine is out.

The horse is gone as a force in history and so is much romance. Barring the complete collapse of Industrial Civilization, the mounted warrior will never again come out of nowhere to conquer and pillage. On Page 9 I couple that with a review of Empire of the Summer Moon.

Everyone living today is a tad too young to remember the Revolutinary War. No matter, Old Sturbridge Village gave us a reprise with Redcoats & Rebels, held in August. It was a re-enactment of part of the war, complete with battle and encampment. Read about it on Page 16.

My column on Page 20 is about the unending crisis afflicting the financial markets and our nation. Disclaimer; I am not responsible for anyone who invests on anything I write about.

There are many other writers with articles in the Sturbridge Magazine, so look for it on a newstand. If you don't find one, you can download a pdf at http://sturbridgetimes.com/

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mexicali dials it up!

I reviewed the Mexicali Grill in Spencer for the Sturbridge Times Magazine June 2011 issue. The link is here. The food is tasty, but the general temperature is moderate. Some like it hot, c'est moi. In doing the review, I asked the managers about that. They said they could ramp it up to order.

The fam went there this week and as a hotness lover, I asked them to dial it up on my Cali Burrito order. This was a test of the emergency heat capability. They probably thought they were increasing the temp as far as a gringo could stand it and it was much warmer. The waiter made it a point of asking if I was satisfied. When I told him, it was good, but could be higher heat, he did not hesitate in bringing out a tasty habanero sauce. He then came back with more after I had put the whole dish on the burrito.

The Mexicali is a fine establishment. They are accommodating to the diner. However, taste in heat varies such that you have to speak up to the level of torridness you desire. It is worth it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Au revoir - Death of the Casino

Update-Masslive has an article about Ware going after Fred. I am no lawyer, but I would love to see Fred engage a contingency fee attorney with the instincts of a shark. The destruction of his theater smacked of eminent domain without taking title. I hope he has a cause of action. The town probably did consult a lawyer beforehand so I'm just engaging in wishful thinking.

Actually, though Fred might be morally justified in going after the town, he would not be punishing those who destroyed the Casino, but the average Ware resident. None of the town officers stands at risk for any action they took in office." Again, these are the words of a non-attorney.

The Casino has been torn down for a while now

. The Town of Ware has a hole in it. I am not talking about the vacant lot. I’m talking about its soul.

Okay, maybe towns don’t have souls. Maybe the community that some people think exists is merely an agglomeration of individuals. Still, it is sad to think that there is no real social glue.

I do not want to assess blame. People work to their level and sometimes something happens and sometimes it doesn’t. That said, there are some reflections that will be noted below.

First up is Fred McLennan. Fred is the favorite whipping boy. Yes, he did not deliver, but he was the only one to step up to the plate. He flew on no budget so what little he accomplished was something. The arguments the town had against him were valid enough, but no one tried to engage him on terms other than adversarial.

At the demolition, I heard some fellow sneer, “I hear he didn’t even pay the dollar.” Yeah, a lot of people repeated that. It was usually said with an air of triumph.
“I’m so smart compared to that idiot, Fred.” Brilliant. Anyone who slagged Fred needs to tell us what they did for the theater. Health advisory, do not hold your breath.

Next is Mary T. I had only one conversation with her. I would say everything she said was correct. Fred did drop many balls. In the weasel words of Winston Churchill, everything Mary said was “true, but not exhaustive.”

Mary T is a bureaucrat. One would guess there is nothing in her job description about having “vision.” She does not have to think of the families who in the future might have had the joy of taking in a movie together. Legally, she can’t be faulted. You got what you paid for, Ware. If only there had been a little enterprise, some creativity (I hate that word). There probably was no one out there to replace Fred, but no one looked.

I want to compliment Pauline and Julie and anyone who might have helped them. You love your town far more than it deserves. I want to also tip the hat to everyone who joined the facebook page. You all had lives elsewhere, so even being on facebook was an act of heart.

Generations ago, there was a civic minded class in these old mill towns that could get things done. Now that class gets up in the morning and goes to work in Springfield or Amherst and is much less engaged where they sleep. Ah progress.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Le Mirage Café-Restaurant Review

Hollywood in Sturbridge is about Southwest Worcester County. So what are we doing reviewing a Wormtown eatery. Well we had one of those accounts that you get hooked into and some points so we bought a discount voucher. My daughter expressed an interest in Le Mirage Café so Monday evening early found us there.

Le Mirage has a pleasant, neat dining room. We were seated at a June Street window and had a fine view of the passing scene. I did have a question for our efficient waiter. The daughter pointed to the top of the window. There was what appeared to be a bullet hole. I asked our good man if it was something someone said? He took it good-naturedly.

We had not come to engage in battle but to eat. The cafe bills itself as Mediterranean. We decided to give the south shore of that sea a try and shared an order of the Baba Ghannouj. The BG was delicious, but was a little too chilled. The flavors would have been brighter if it had been served closer to room temperature.

For her main course, my young empress ordered the Chicken and Shrimp Casablanca. The pasta and sauce were perfect, creamy and bright, but the very large shrimps and pieces of chicken were a bit overcooked and tough. The accompanying salad had a pleasant, tangy dressing.

My choice was the baked Kibbe with Fatuoush Salad. I asked for the added Feta. It has been a long time since I've eaten kibbe and enjoyed on Monday. The salad with the pieces of pita bread through it was also good.

The cafe does not have a desert menu. Instead, one goes up to the display case and chooses. If you don't handle temptation well, it is not for you. My daughter asked for the Chocolate Soufflé. It was heated for her, but was nothing like a soufflé. Not a problem as it was more a delicious, dense, mini chocolate bundt cake. As for moi, the most dangerous place on this planet is between me and anything with Key Lime in its name. I had the cheesecake.

Le Mirage is BYOB. I have no problem letting my inner sommelier out.

We left sated and will be back. I'm not worried about the bullet. It was small caliber and they aimed high. Not a dull place.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It was a mighty storm!

My Dorothy Gale moment and loving la vida dull

Monday, August 8, 2011

Paul Girouard is the Guitar Stradivarius of Sturbridge

The Stradivarius of Sturbridge

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sturbridge Times Magazine is out, Shameless Self Promotion-August edition

Ah August. Less oppressive heat, but the occasional morning with the nip in the air the portends fall and then....... Forget I mentioned that.

I've beaten this drum before. Stubridge and environs has more going for it for movie locations than just about anywhere. In light of the State's generous incentives, why are other regions getting more, dare we say it, exposure? See Page 2 for why a film bureau would help.

Flapjack Willy's is the traditional American breakfast and lunch spot. A genre quickly passing. Still flourishing in North Brookfield. See review on Page 12.

My column on Page 18 is about my affair with J.K. Rowling. Okay, it's not what you think.

There are many other writers with articles in the Sturbridge Magazine, so look for it on a newstand. If you don't find one, you can download a pdf at http://sturbridgetimes.com/

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Book Review, Wrong, as in everything you know is....

Not everything, but experts can mislead us.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Yes, Virginia, there is a Podunk

We've gpt the story right here.

Podunk Remembered

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Salem Cross Inn-Happy 50th to a West Brookfield Institution

The Salem Cross Inn is an historical gem, and great beef. The summer Drover's roasts are justly famous. I used to try and convince people not from West Brookfield that the placid steers grazing outside were like a lobster tank. If you had enough people in your party, the chef would roast the steer you chose and serve it. few people were that gullible.

Below is my review from the March, 2008 issue of the Sturbridge Times. Magazine.

Salem Cross Review

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sturbridge Times Magazine is out, Shameless Self Promotion-July edition

Let's hope July is less eventful than the previous month with the tornado!

Do the experts know what they are talking about, some do, some guess or fudge it. On Page 5 is a review of Wrong, by David H. Freedman. Experts got some splainin to do.

Put knowledge of wood and love of music together in one man and what do you get? Paul Girouard, Fine Lines craftsman, is now making guitars. Read about it on Page 13.

Politically, economically and environmentally, we have problems. The new, local Green Rainbow Party has ideas on Page 17.

My column on Page 18 is about the tornado. Hint, I thought I was going to have a Dorothy Gale moment.

There are many other writers with articles in the Sturbridge Magazine, so look for it on a newstand. If you don't find one, you can download a pdf at http://sturbridgetimes.com/

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Restaurant Review-Mexicali Grill

The Mexicali Grill opened in Spencer late in May. Below is my review from the June issue of the Sturbridge Times Magazine.

Mexicali Grill Review

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sturbridge Times Magazine is out, Shameless Self Promotion-June edition

Isn't that a handsome lad on the cover.

Okay, it's been out since the beginning of June. Unfortunately, I am dyslexic where Ben Franklin is concerned. I thought "Poor Richard said never do today that which you can put off until tomorrow."

When someone says, "He's from Podunk" there saying he's a hick from the sticks. Not around here. The Podunk section of East Brookfield had a rich history and you can read about it on Page 8.

There is a new Mexican restaurant in Spencer. My review is on Page 15. We don't do stars or thumbs up. but I liked the Mexicali Grill.

My column is on Page 22. It's about the implications of the death of Osama bin Laden. Hint, think of the big hit song Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli had.

There are many other good articles so look for it on a newstand. If you don't find one, you can download a pdf at http://sturbridgetimes.com/

Thursday, June 9, 2011


The Fifth Annual Socks for Siberia Spring Family Festival is this Saturday at Hyland Orchard. More info at this link. Read about Wally and Michelle's work below.

Socks for Siberia

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Two Events-Henna in Brimfield, Farmers Market in West Brookfield

This Friday, from 4:30 pm to 6:30pm at Hitchcock Academy in Brimfield, Sangita Desai will hold a henna gathering. Facebook page is here.

The West Brookfield Farmers Market is today on the Common, 3 to 6:30 p.m. There is great stuff there. Don't worry, the Five Loaves Bakery always brings more than that.

My competitor, Grimes Apiary

Monday, May 23, 2011

West Brookfield Farmers Market is back-My article from last year

Come to the Common this Wednesday-3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

West Brook Field Farmers Market

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Asparagus Festival was a good day

As usual, Amy Dugas and crew did a great job. Happy to meet everyone in town I've not seen in the year. Took pics. Some below.

I was under the impression that it was the Dalai who was coming. Oh, these are Alpacas. Sorry

Love the Tavern's pizza anywhere oven.

You can get anything at the Asparagus Festival!

The Sixties will never die!

The line for the cotton candy was always the longest.

If you want a home where the Beefalo roam, Mark Kaufman has your place.

Little Rest Farm will be at the Farmers Market this week.

This guy's stuff all looks kinda like a self portrait.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Asparagus Festival This Saturday-My 2009 article

Asparagus Festival

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sangita Desai is hennaing for mom's day

I don't think your mom is gonna wanna put the big Harley Davidson tattoo on her forehead. Still, if you want to do something artistic with momsey yet not permanent, Sangita Desai has the event.

This Friday, from 2:00 pm to 5pm at Hitchcock Academy in Brimfield, both you and mom can have designs like those in the picture. facebook link is here.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Amherst Farmers Market-Great to be back, but boy was it cold

Up there in Amherst, they know how to make a farmers market work, but oh was it chilly. It was great to see everyone back doing business at the same place, today. Thanks to Sarah, the market manager, for being so organized.

Above, Ann Starbard on right is the goat cheese queen of New England

Above, SideHill Farms smoothies are to die for.

Above, put some of Sunset Farm's Rhubarb with strawberries and you've got a pie.

Above, I finally got a grown up tent, but really didn't need it today.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Scandal in Ware-Theater may still be saved!

It appears Fred McLennan has been doing some homework. The town of Ware awarded a demolition contract that might have a problematic history. Fred sent by registered mail to Nancy Talbot a copy of the 2008 OSHA Fine. Info included: 15 violations including a death in Holyoke (2008) on Main St when three men who were not properly trained were injured in a roof collapse, one died. Other records were included. Maybe not Watergatem, but we should all know who we are dealing with.

Below is my posting on yesterday's Examiner.

One last chance to save the oldest movie house in the country

The Town of Ware awarded a contract to demolish what is arguably the oldest movie house in the country. It looks bad for impresario Fred McLennan, but there is a glimmer of hope, your assistance is needed.

There is a petition before the Governor on releasing Mass Historical Commission emergency funds (that were applied for two years in a row) 
and half of Your Ware Selectmen were willing to give a stay, while a Connecticut Cinema Corporation made a bid on the Casino this week. 

So, if you want to help, please make a phone call to state and town.

 Phone contacts from Fred: Nancy J Talbot Town Clerk/Selectman Chairman of Selectman
(413) 967 9648 ext 101
. It could be easier to use Nancy's email; NTalbot@townofware.com.Governor's Office on release of Secretary of State Galvin's Emergency fund under his role as head of The Mass Historical Commission (617) 725 4005 or 888 870 7770

Please be polite. Tell Nancy you support the stay of execution and The Gov's office you support preservation of the historically important Casino.

This is a Hail Mary pass situation. The odds are still much against success. Still, a community theater is important for everyone interested in film in the region. I’m still dreaming of the Quabbin Film Festival.

Visit the fanpage at facebook.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mexican is coming to Spencer

The Sugden block will have a new tenant. the former Trumbull Bar & Grille space is to be the Mexicalli Grille. The restaurant will be operated by Mr. David Brambila of Sudbury. Mr. Brambila is a native of Mexico and has extensive experience in the Mexican restaurant business.

One can only wish Mr. Brambila all the best. Of course, south of the border cuisine has not done too well around here. As has been observed previously, this was not because the denizens are afraid of spicy food. Playa del Carmen was very bland. So, Dave, hurry up. We are waiting impatiently for you. Just make sure the food has some bite.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Restaurant Week-Kaizen is exquisite

The long awaited Sturbridge Restaurant Week is here. The other night, we went to Kaizen for the first time. We have been missing out. Not one bit of disappointment in the night from any of our party.

The Restaurant Week special menu had choices of appetizers. I started with Tuna-Tataki which paired with the wasabi and ginger at the side, made a great start. My wife ordered the Gyoza, that is the Japanese dumplings and, family being family, I sampled with pleasure.

Okay, I'm not a big sushi person. My daughter, Bríd, who was with us is better acquainted with the genre, and I ordered what she ordered. You got to choose the sushi entree from the regular menu. They had some cutesy names like Red Sox and Sturbridge. All I remember is I chose the one with salmon in it. What else was in it? Who cares? It was great.

Robin got the chicken dinner. I tasted that and it was good, but did not compare to my choice.

As we arrived late, all that was left was the Fried Ice Cream. Robin and I got the coconut and Bríd, the Green Tea. I had no inclination to share.

People had been telling us for the longest time to try Kaizen. Many say that it is the best place in Sturbridge. As an intellectual exercise, I am working up a rebuttal. It will take a long time.

Their website is http://www.kaizen479.com/

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Restaurant Week Comes to Sturbridge Area-It's about time!

Alright, who am I to complain. Still, this is an event that has been wanting for some time. One has to compliment the Central Mass South Chamber of Commerce and its tourism committe, the Sturbridge Townships for stepping up to the plate. Click here for the link to the participating restaurants and their menus.

For those who have never patronized restaurant weeks elsewhere, it works like this. A prix fixe menu of specials is provided at an attractive cost. For our restaurant week it will be 3-course menus for lunch and dinner, two options per course offered, priced $11.11 and $20.11 respectively.

So this is a chance to sample some of the area's eateries you have not yet been to.

Bon Appétit!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sturbridge Times Magazine is out, Shameless Self Promotion-April edition

April, that cruelest of months, is here with another issue of the Sturbridge Times, that kindest of magazines. It has been sent out and is on newstands. Moi, I have not been all that industrious for the first issue of spring, having but two items to tout.

On Page 23 is the account of my visit with AJ Comerford. You've seen The Green Boys trucks around town. AJ is one industrious lad who will go far.

My column is on Page 20. It's on Term Limits. Term Limits is an idea worth considering as a constitutional reform.

There are many other good articles so look for it on a newstand. If you don't find one, you can download a pdf at http://sturbridgetimes.com/

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

All is healed

In spite of the rapid melt of the snow cover, we all have not forgotten the harsh winter just departed. The unseasonable cold that will not give way to spring warmth reminds us if we were likely to forget.

Yesterday, there was a touch of frostbite felt in my hands while milking the cow. It was such an unpleasantness. After filtering the milk and cleaning up and putting pans away, I moseyed out front. Walking up to the beehives, and expecting the worst, I was happily surprised to see a lot of activity. Bees were out and about. It was so heartening, especially as this is the toughest winter I've experienced out here in the Brookfields.

It made my day.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sturbridge Times Magazine is out, Shameless Self Promotion-March edition-Sturbridge International Movie Project-some really shameless self promo

Well, It's March and before you beware the ides, take a look at the Sturbridge Times Magazine which has been sent out or is on the newstands.

On Page 7 is my review of Decision Points, the memoir of the previous president's time in office. Because it is in the magazine and not The Sturbridge Review of Books, there was only so much room allotted. One could have gone on for several pages. After it went to press, I reread it and noticed a glaring error on my part. See if you can find it.

On Page 15 is an article about a road trip to the Culinary Arts Museum in Providence. Food is dear to my heart so it was a pleasure.

My column is on Page 20. It's on free speech. Yeah, I'm a fanatic.

There are many other good articles so look for it on a newstand. If you don't find one, you can download a pdf at http://sturbridgetimes.com/

Sangita Desai is the Sturbridge area Henna expert. We bantered back and forth on facebook and came to the conclusion as to what Sturbridge really needs. The movie project, Bollywood in Sturbridge is now in the pre-pre-planning stage. We know everyone in Western Central Mass will want to get behind this. The only thing the project lacks is money, a lot of it. Hey, creativity does not come cheap. To stimulate potential investors, there is some henna artwork below.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of working on a commercial in Canton Massachusetts. It was for a company, SkyMed, that will come and get you and fly you home if you have an emergency. The team doing the shoot is Rab Media. Their team consisted of Rob Bartolome and Allison Freitas. The project was commissioned by Jose Moniz of Rollin On TV. It will be shown on the Cox Sports Network which is, I think, a southeastern regional network. The other actors were, Susan Wyoral, Ted Hilchey and Cesar Rego. It was a lot of fun and as it was shot lying down, no heavy lifting. Enjoy it below.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The TM said the Casino would not last the winter-not a prophetess, Be counted, come to the Demolition Pre Bid Conference

The Town Manager said the Casino would never make it through the winter. Okay, there are four weeks left, but buildings are dropping like flies all over Massachusetts and the Casino sails on. What does herself say now? It's all the holes in the roof. When I was in there, Light was not streaming through the roof.

When atheist H.L. Mencken was asked what he would do if he died and found himself before the 12 Apostles. He said he would say, "Gentlemen, I was wrong." I have no idea the TMs beliefs, but if she were Mencken, she would say, "Gentlemen, you are wrong."

Thei legal notice was posted on MassLive :

There will be a A pre-bid conference will be held for all interested parties on-site on Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 10:00 A.M. Meet at the Casino Theater, 121 Main Street, Ware, MA, at the front entrance. Attendance at this pre-bid conference is strongly recommended for parties submitting a bid.

Click the link for more info. Bids are being accepted on March 2. Some of us intend to be there on Wednesday. Hope you can come and show support. Thanks Pauline and Julie for the heads up.

Per Julie:
I spoke with Olivia Mausel of the Holyoke Historic Commission. She gave me ideas for help on the Casino. Involve the technical vocational students - Pathfinder, Palmer - Ware students go there. Involve the architectural classes at UMass.

Good points!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Freddie's not Dead-The Casino sails on while other Ware buildings sink!

Above, Casino roof defies the snow.

The Town of Ware selectmen and town clerk are worried about The Casino Theater. The structure is said to not be the most stable. Why, if you listen to the concerns of some town dads and moms, if someone sneezes in Belchertown, the Casino could collapse and bring about the demise of scores of townspeople, if not Western Civilization.

Okay, I exaggerate the hysteria, but hysteria it is. The impresario of the theater’s rebirth has had a triumph of sorts this winter. The Casino, for all its purported instability, has sailed through the storms like a serene ship on calm seas.

Across the street, however, the building housing Cebula Insurance and Chantel Bleu Accounting has seen its roof collapse and the tenants evacuated. Hey, maybe they could relocate to a theater on Main Street that is currently vacant, but somewhat more structurally sound than was earlier thought?

This does not mean that Fred has clear sailing. I’m guessing the town still wants to destroy the place, though the current season’s costs have depleted available funds. The Connecticut entrepreneur who visited a few weeks ago will not take up the project.

Still, he is alive and has a building that is still standing after many another roof has collapsed.

You can support the rebirth of the Casino by joining the facebook page here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Off Topic-Save Alfalfa-Not the one from the Little Rascals

This is not a usual topic for Hollywood in Sturbridge. No discussion of movies or restaurants. No, this is an appeal to those who care about the quality of their, well my food anyway.

we live on what we pretend is a farm. We raise a lot of vegetables and sell some products at a farmers' market. We also keep a family cow. Our stony land can provide forage, but we could not raise the feed for the winter, therefore we buy hay. We do not feed our cow and calf grain as that does not provide proper nutritional balance. For more information on that subject, here is a link.

We do feed a small amount of alfalfa in the form of pellets. This is done more for management. If we need to inspect them or to keep the cow happy during milking, it is a way to do it without grain.

What appears to be happening is that the Biotech Industry is putting the pressure on the administration to approve the use of Monsanto's Genetically Engineered (GE) Roundup Ready ™ Alfalfa in time for spring planting. This link is an alert on the subject from the Northeast Organic Farming Association.

According to the alert, Despite three District Court rulings and a landmark Supreme Court decision that makes planting GE alfalfa illegal and requires USDA to formulate a valid management plan, the agency is going full steam ahead putting the deregulation of GE alfalfa on a fast track. While conceding for the first time that GE contamination of organic and GE-free crops and markets is a major problem in the U.S., USDA's court-ordered 2300 page Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) relies on faulty data and fails to take into account the scientifically-validated promiscuous nature of GE gene flow in crops. It also overlooks the widespread corruption of conventional seed varieties by GE strains (such as occurred with StarLink corn and LibertyLink rice) along with documented severe economic injury to farmers and markets. And, there is no mention at all of possible health consequences from eating GM crops.

It appears that the administration will be giving a gift to Monsanto. The alert has steps for you to request that big bio not get this gift. I urge you to click on the link and read it and take the steps it urges.

I intend to, even though my guess is the fix is in. does Hope and Change mean you've got hope if you've got the some change?