Was very busy yesterday but the day ended with a drive to the Western Massachusetts Pinball club located in the Village of Three Rivers in Palmer MA. and when I say “three rivers” I mean that literally the old factory in which the club is located is precisely at the point where the three rivers meet.
Like many old factories they have sub-leted sections to various business, the WMPC is one of them and as you enter by the side door of the factory you will see signs like this one directing you to the club within
This was my 2nd visit to the club on the occasion of my 1st visit when they just re-opened when COVID restrictions were lifted I talked to the man in charge.
At the time I did this interview we did a 2nd highlighting the machines but alas I had some equipment issues so the 2nd part was done on my son’s phone but the video never got back to me for upload for some reason. My thought was to do the interior interview again but on this second visit the joint was really jumping so I left the men in charge to do their work while I did a quick look see at the machines myself.
The there were a few more games then the last time but several like the Indiana Jones game were in the back under repair. There was also a Virtual Pinball (the family guy game) which allows you to choose from many existing tables. (I put some high scores on the Doctor Who virtual table).
The club is now open two days a week (Thurs & Friday) and asks for a donation for unlimited play. Additionally they have tournaments during the evening so you can get some competition in along with friendly play. The players are entered in the computer which set up random three’s and foursomes on random games to play each other. The bottom two finishers on each game get a “strike”. Three strikes eliminates you so if you enter you are guaranteed three rounds of play (I finished 5th eliminated in round six). It’s lots of fun.
The only drawback to the place is the bathroom, because of the factory layout you have to go out a back door of the club and follow a set of signs to get to it. It’s a bit of a stroll so I would rethink any plan of downing a six pack just before entering the club.
The nominal hours are 6-10 but if a tournament goes beyond closing time (as last night’s did) the hours will extend until the tourney is over.
All in all this is an inexpensive and child friendly environment for a night out. I highly recommend the Western Mass Pinball Club. Their web site is here and their facebook here.
On Wednesday I covered and participated in a standout for Donald Trump in Townsend MA organized by the Fitchburg Republican Committee.
I got there with my ride about 11:50 and people kept trickling in till the crowd grew to twenty by about 12:15.
There was an assortment of signs that people had for my money this one would have the broadest appeal as you have to go back to Polk to find a President who has kept a higher percentage of promises than Donald Trump.
As you might guess the pro-life movement was represented, I recognized several people that I had seen at protests in front of Planned Parenthood in Fitchburg before the abortion provider left the town (you have no idea how wonderful it is to type that sentence).
This woman had three signs two as you can see were explicitly pro-life
And the third sign was a sentiment that I suspect is going to be a huge winner for the GOP and an even bigger disaster for the left in this election.
I can’t imagine what the left was thinking when they decided to hand this issue and police unions endorsements to the president, unless they are just afraid of their own base.
It would be bold to predict this will elect O’Conner to the US senate, particularly since MA has been spared BLM violence (Well done Gov Baker) but given Ed Markey link to the Democrats AOC wing it certainly can’t hurt his chances.
As I noted the event was organized by the Fitchburg GOP committee. Mary Lotze was in charge and I spoke to her as things began.
As you can hear there were a fair amount of horns, the standout seemed particularly popular with drivers of 18 wheeler and large trucks with heavy equipment with a single exception where a driver made it a point to spit in their direction (I should stress not at anyone). Oddly enough just about every car that had a dog in it also seemed to be with them. Here is a wide shot of the crowd.
This is a very well traveled intersection as it intersects three roads to and from NH including the route to Nashua and Manchester so getting a long shot from across the street was a bit of a pain.
While nobody is expecting Trump to win Massachusetts as I said three roads at this intersection lead to NH so that might help a bit, additionally recalling the 2010 election when Massachusetts was heavily contested it caused Democrat resources to be used here.
They did a later standout that day in Leominster MA as well but it was during my work hours. This standout will be repeated Wednesdays till election day.
Are these basically flies irritating the Massachusetts Donkey, perhaps, but it is from these efforts that you build a party and a campaign in a state.
If there has been on thing there has not been a shortage of these days it’s news but thanks to Covid , CCP Wuhan Virus there has been a shortage of places to play Pinball.
If not said virus for the last 5 days I would be at the 6th Pintastic New England this year scheduled to be in Boxborough rather than Sturbridge but alas it was not to be however yesterday morning my youngest informed me of a newly opened pinball arcade in Manchester Vermont which is about a 2 1/4 hour drive from where I live. So as we both had vacation days already taken, after mass we jumped in the car and took the long trek through ski country (God knows how people drive on those mountain roads in the winte) and foliage country to Pastime Pinball in Manchester Vermont. Where we were met by the owner who was kind enough to give us the tour…
…which had to be briefly interupted as a pair of customers came in. Given that you have a choice of a pay one price to play till close or a half hour sampler (buy the day pass because you KNOW you aren’t going to be satisfied with 30 minutes) you don’t want to keep people waiting.
However once the customers had their lanyards and were off playing the tour resumed.
It’s a very nice place with a good selection of 60 games starting from the very 1st flipper game ever made to the Munsters which came out last year. But for me as they have the following six games
Theater of Magic
Lord of the Rings
Wizard of Oz
They pretty much have the best there is.
One of the most interesting things they have is an old EM game with the clear cabinet that people can see how the workings work. I filmed my son playing it:
We got in about 4 hours of gameplay and played most of the games there. They regularly disinfected the games and had signs asking people to space themselves with a two game distance and they enforce the mask rule. It was a great time.
Alas due to Covid the hours are limited
In a case of really bad timing they had litterarrly opened just before the virus hit and with Pintastic cancelled they lost a prime chance to promote their new business.
So if you are a pinball fan who didn’t get a chance to hit Pintastic NE this year take in the Get yourself up to Manchester VT on a Friday Saturday and Sunday and indulge your Pinball fix at Pastime Pinball.
Hopefully by the time the foilage and ski seasons come they’ll be open daily keep an eye on their site for developments.
Outside food is not allowed in but the dogs and drinks are good, however if you decide you want something more substantial when your done, might I suggest the Zoey’s Double Hex right down the road.
It’s a local family restaurant and it seemed like the servers and host knew every person who came in. The food was absolutely perfect.
It you need a day, away from news, away from political stuff and the current insanity and would like to support a small local business that has brought great pinball to this neck of the wood, take a leisurely drive up to Manchester VT and scratch that pinball itch you didn’t know you had.
I am scheduled to work on Wednesday from 3:30 till Midnight so as I write this I have no idea how things went in the 1st of two Fitchburg “protests”.
Wednesday’s protest is sponsored by 3 pyramids a local black organization and is scheduled to be a march from Crocker Field to the City Hall (I presume the temporary city hall as the regular one is under re-construction) and is supposed to begin at 2:30 which is just about the time that I will be finishing getting ready for work.
I took a drive, both to pay the water bills but actually to scope out the route. Externally things seem to be OK there is a city crew watering the common and clearing a monument, people are at Market Basket there is some traffic but thanks to the covid stuff the streets are pretty empty. I’m informed by DaWife that the local Dunkin Donuts has closed it’s lobby at noon but other than that I’m not aware of any other business closing although as you can see by the picture Enterprise Rent-a-Car has boarded up their windows (but oddly not moved their cars to a different location. While on social media there is at least one report of bricks hidden under some debris I scoped the potential path and didn’t see this, and I was looking for it.
Local business that would be in the path of any crowd that got out of hand that I talked to are worried but see little they can do about it. At one business an employee was instructed to close up & get out if there are sirens indicating trouble to close and leave. They seemed resigned that what will happen will happen, but people are on edge.
These are the days I miss the World War 2 generation and the Sicilians that once lived in the patch.
It’s very possible (even probable for Wednesday’s protest) that there will be little or not trouble but the potential is there, fed by the media and the desire to turn a local crime in Minnesota into a national story for the sake of scoring election points.
Here is the video I shot, sorry about the quality as I was walking with no monopod.
Again I am writing this at 12:52 PM EST on Wednesday. By the time this posts we will know if Fitchburg had a protest or a riot or both on Wednesday but the results of Friday will still be up in the air. But this description of previous protests from the Sentinal & Enterprise tell me that whatever happens will be spun to death:
On Sunday, peaceful protests were carried out in Boston throughout the day until the demonstrations turned violent in the evening, with reports of fires being set and looting.
Boston police later released a list of the 53 people who were arrested after the violence began.
In Worcester on Monday, thousands of people demonstrated peacefully during the day to protest Floyd’s killing. However, things took a downward turn at night when some demonstrators threw rocks and police in riot gear used tear gas to disperse the crowds.
God willing we’ll have good news.
Update: Got out of work at midnight it was a 20 minute drive back to Fitchburg and I checked out the area, I saw no signs of damage so I presume everything was peaceful or at least under control.
When I left for work I made it a point to drive toward downtown. There was a chopper hovering over the center of the city. Not sure if that was the authorities or the media.
Espresso’s pizza whose manager I interviewed a bit ago during my american success story series which was directly in the line of march of the protest as scheduled was simply plastered with Black Lives Matters signs all over the place. I don’t know if this was cheap insurance or not but the windows were all whole. Perhaps next time I order I’ll ask if my life and my family’s lives matters to them and will decide if I order then again based on their answer.
There was a solid police presence both on main street. Cruisers seems to be strategically placed to keep an eye on key spots from the policeman’s monument to key intersections. I saw car in the parking lot of the temporary city hall in a line that would block access to anyone attempting to drive by. There were a group of men in the lot, I presume officers. I presume they will be there for a while till the morning.
I saw very few people on the streets, when I stopped at Espresso to read the signs one person walking by seemed almost smug bragging about Fitchburg because there was no trouble. I pointed out that the Tea Party had held events on main street and protests and prayers had been in front of the planned parenthood that moved into town and no businesses had worried about violence or felt the need to close. But as violence & rioting (frankly there’s not much worth looting here) to my city was a worry I don’t mind grading them on a curve for the day. I also noted a few people in odd places who seemed to be watching things. Not sure who or what they were and frankly after a late night at work didn’t feel like checking
As I headed home from downtown I noted that Domino’s which is usually open till 2 AM was closed. I turned around to check out way and saw a sign on the door saying: “We are closed so our employees can support black lives matter.” Again I don’t know if this is their feeling or if it’s insurance but I’ll be sure to ask if my life and my family’s life matter next time I order.
When I got home I was told things were quiet but was also told that the National Guard was in town deployed at the Civic Center for a time but I’ve found no evidence of it online of course I’m not on facebook so I don’t know if there is some info there.
When it comes down to it, the bottom line is no trouble at least not yet. Hopefully the weekend with be the same, if it is I’ll be pleased but I still resent the fact that I had to worry about my city , my friends, my property and my family because the MSM decided to elevate a local story to play politics.
In 2018 I was at CPAC with my sons when the younger seeing that I was, as usual, driving myself to a ridiculous point suggested doing something different, so we went on a little trip to a pinball place in Bethesda where I found what I thought was the most significant interview of the trip.
and wrote why this interview was so significant
Now a person like my self who has covered angry mobs last year, and is constantly bathed in the political fight, not to mention the media narrative of absolute Trump / GOP hatred and constantly in the company of activists both at home and at CPAC, might expect a Democrat woman of color living in a blue state to give answers fitting the us vs them narrative, particularly if filmed and in the presence of her friends. She did not. She gave the President mixed marks, complemented him on keeping campaign promises that he made to his people, noted that as a Democrat she’d like to see some more moderate moves. Her answers had none of the rancor or the division that the media has pushed on us for the year or that I’ve seen from angry activists. They were completely reasonable answers that would not have been out of place several decades ago in a saner time when I remembered people could disagree and get along. In other words they reflected who she is, a normal American trying to get by whose primary focus is real life instead of manufactured outrage.
Remember this was 2018, Mueller was still out there, plenty of people thought there was lot of “there” there. Stormy Daniels was still out there as was the creepy porn lawyer. In fact we were still in the pre-Kavanaugh era. In other words the entire spectacle had not yet blown up on the left.
This interview, given in public on film in front of friends made me draw two conclusions, the second being the most significant
Despite what our media friends are trying to sell us, Regular Democrats, even democrats in a blue place like Maryland are not wedded to the Peloxi/CNN/MSNBC line and are seeing this president for what he is rather than what they are being told he is.
People like Lea are winnable and the media narrative is all about convincing us she is not.
When we got back to CPAC I couldn’t wait to upload the video and rushed to tell every person I ran into that this was incredibly important and tremendously significant. Nobody seemed to care, we were in the CPAC bubble which meant all eyes were on the pols and the activists there, not to mention the President’s upcoming speech. The idea that this might be a signal of an opening to the black community for the President and the opposition of blacks to the president might be softer than other think was something totally off everyone’s radar.
Today (Thursday) is the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary a holy day of obligation so my day began with mass at 8 to fulfill my duty as a Catholic.
However my plans for the rest of the day are not my normal Thursday routine. Instead of getting ready for my last day of work for the week I will be heading up to Manchester NH to cover the President’s rally due to begin at 7 pm.
I decided against contacting Corey Lewandowski or folks from the NH GOP who I’ve covered for years to reverse this, I’m too old and too Sicilian for that. If the campaign doesn’t want me there so be it.
If I had been there my plan had been to collect data for a question in my mind that I wanted to answer:
“What does the Trump base think of proposed ‘redflag’ laws and will disappointing them on the issue be enough to make them stay home in 2020?”
I think I know what the answer to that question will be, but would have rather spoken from hard data than my best guess, no matter how informed said guess might be.
New Hampshire is the perfect place to ask this question for three reasons.
3. New Hampshire was a state President Trump lost by a hair in 2016 (47.62% to 47.25%) and is one that due to the booming economy might be expected to do better in circa 2020 even if there is a large run of Massachusetts voters suddenly appearing at the Granite State polls
It would have been wonderful to have a thirdchance to pose a question at a Trump campaign press conference, and frankly being able to question a sitting President would be the apex of any bloggers career, the real action however in my opinion, that matters in terms of Election 2020 is how his voters answered that question.
That’s, in my opinion, the story of the day, however I won’t be there to tell it.
But rest assured there will be plenty of members of the MSM who will be there, and their story of the day will be that the President is a racist, sexist, white supremacist whose economy is on the verge of recession and that those who support him are at best delusional or at worst aspiring Nazis who all aspire to be mass killers.
The fact that with minor variations this is the same story of the day that they have been telling since January 20th 2017 and before doesn’t seem to bother them as it fits in perfectly with the world view in their bubble.
Now maybe it’s just me but I’d think it would be a good idea to challenge this meme with 1st hand reporting and video to show it for the nonsense it is but hey if the President’s campaign doesn’t want that message challenged by someone like me, who am I to tell them otherwise?
The Latest in my series of Interviews with Immigrants is the incredible story of Lucy from Vietnam which I conducted during my trip to EWTN studios in Alabama at the beginning of the month.
If you are a person who regularly watches the Daily mass on EWTN you have seen Lucy in her white alb as she has not missed a mass in ten years. If you’ve ever wondered who she is and wanted to know her story, here is your chance to hear it.
I had planned to get this interview up earlier but the Kavanaugh stuff ate up all the oxygen on the net