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The Amazing African Violet

First new plant to bloom in 2019; photo by Sheila Velazquez.
First new plant to bloom in 2019; photo by Sheila Velazquez.

The houseplant that blooms year-round to add beautiful color inside when the landscape outside is gray is the African Violet. Growing and propagating them is much easier than you might imagine. And while spring is the time when we look forward to our outdoor gardens, an African Violet begun now from scratch will begin flowering at about the time your garden begins to fade and die. It takes two to three months for the plants to appear, and about as long until first bloom. It is time well worth it.

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As threat of strike looms, so too does doubt regarding sincerity of Stop & Shop’s positions

Much of what has written about why the United Food and Commercial Worker’s Union, representing those at Stop & Shop authorized to strike, and for what benefits, and the bloodless P.R counterpoints from Stop & Shop corporate miss a more looming, macrocosmic issue facing service and food industry work as a whole: automation and dignity.

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Trenton Doyle Hancock
Mind of the Mound: Critical Mass

A Once in A Lifetime Odyssey

“At some point I realized the fractured self is the true self, and that to go by the script society gives, telling you that you only have this one road that you can go down, is actually the antithesis of the American dream.

Trenton Doyle Hancock, Interview with Katy Henriksen, in the Creative Independent, 2017
Trenton Doyle Hancock, next to his longtime super being creation, Torpedoboy; photo courtesy the artist.
Trenton Doyle Hancock, next to his longtime super being creation, Torpedoboy; photo courtesy the artist.
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Kasey à la mode: Fish Wish

Salmon cakes can act as an appetizer, side item, or main course, depending on your appetite!; photo by Kasey Rogers.

The other day I was chatting with my sister Donna on the phone. Somehow we started talking about the foods of our childhood. One of the things my mom made was a dish called Salmon and Peas. The chunks of salmon were prepared in a white sauce accompanied by fresh, frozen, or canned peas that were added to the creamy concoction. She served it over mashed potatoes but I’ve served it over pasta, and it’s equally delicious. I always thought it was a Portuguese dish, but none of my Portuguese friends have heard of it. That part of our recollection must have been a bit of family folklore.

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Unsung Eats: Hot Dog Ranch,
North Adams — Beef Stew

The Hot Dog Ranch in North Adams offers a home-style Beef stew that earns it's place on the Unsung Eats chart; photo by James Kennedy.
The Hot Dog Ranch in North Adams offers a home-style Beef stew that earns it's place on the Unsung Eats chart; photo by James Kennedy.

Only at the Greylock Glass can you find Unsung Eats; the column that takes the guesswork out of where to find great local grub for short money.

I’ve driven by the Hot Dog Ranch in North Adams before, and when I checked out their menu online I saw that their daily specials were actually very affordable home-cooked–style meals so I decided to take them for a spin.

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Colcannon, soda bread, and an Irish ditty

A super-nutritious (and satisfying!) staple of rustic Irish Cooking, colcannon can be prepared in a multitude of ways; photo by Sheila Velazquez.
A super-nutritious (and satisfying!) staple of rustic Irish Cooking, colcannon can be prepared in a multitude of ways; photo by Sheila Velazquez.

The traditional St. Patrick’s Day feast is corned beef and cabbage. Potatoes round out the meal and can be boiled or mashed. I make them as colcannon, mashed potatoes into which butter, milk, salt and pepper, and cooked and chopped kale is mixed. So simple, so good. I used the remaining container of frozen kale from last year’s garden to make the batch shown. Make extra, because it goes well with everything. I especially like a scoop on a plate of eggs. 

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March 15, 2019:
International Youth Climate Strike

Members of the student group, R.E.V., at Mt. Greylock Regional School, Karen McComish, Sophie Jones, Maddy Art, and Ella Dudley speak at the Feburary 24 meeting of Greylock Together at the UNO Center in North Adams; photo by Jason Velázquez.
Members of the student group, R.E.V., at Mt. Greylock Regional School, Karen McComish, Sophie Jones, Maddy Art, and Ella Dudley speak at the Feburary 24 meeting of Greylock Together at the UNO Center in North Adams; photo by Jason Velázquez.

The youth of Earth have a message for its leaders today: You have failed to lead, so now you’ve forced us to.

By synchronizing worldwide demonstrations demanding action to reduce the human activities driving climate change, young people from elementary school on up through college are staging sit-ins, walkouts, marches, strikes, and town halls to make it clear to elected officials that they won’t sit by idly as the planet burns. Or floods. Or is ravaged by extreme weather. Or all of the above.

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May the Road Rise Up to Meet You: St. Patrick’s Day Festivities in Albany & Troy

Albany pulls out all the stops in their St. Patrick's Day festivities, including the parade, which starts at 2:00 p.m.; photo courtesy Discover Albany.
Albany pulls out all the stops in their St. Patrick's Day festivities, including the parade,
which starts at 2:00 p.m.; photo courtesy Discover Albany.

On a swell of immigration that began in the 1640s and continued all the way through (and beyond) the Great Famine of the mid-nineteenth century, Irish immigrants made a place for themselves in large Eastern United States port cities like New York and Boston. But as jobs became less plentiful, many branched out, heading up the Hudson River from New York City and landing in the newly prosperous manufacturing centers in Troy and Albany. According to Discover Albany, thanks to this influx, the city currently boasts the fourth-largest Irish population in the country.

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Unsung Eats: Lee’s Dynasty
Szechuan Chicken

Szechuan Chicken, with egg roll and a soft drink, available at Lee's Dynasty in Adams for under $10; photo by James Kennedy.
Szechuan Chicken, with egg roll and a soft drink, available at Lee's Dynasty in Adams for under $10; photo by James Kennedy.

Maybe today you don’t feel like cooking. Maybe today you don’t have the time to stop at the grocery store and go home and drag out the pots and pans because your entire day has been mired in chaos.  The answer then is to go out to eat or order take out but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to break the bank and there are so many options to explore for great grub cheap in northern Berkshire County if you know all the hotspots.

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Kasey à la mode: I love lavash

Kasey's Spinach and Feta Lavash Pizza; photo by Kasey Rogers.

When I ran my 2Beans Café, my building was right across the street from the Alexandria Pizzeria. They served breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and their menu included everything from pizza to Chinese food. I couldn’t imagine trying to prepare the large variety of foods they served every day. At that time, they had been in business for over forty years.  Trying to figure out how to compete with this well-established food business was intimidating.

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REVIEW: The Last Days
of Judas Iscariot

viewed 03/07/19

Before the doors leading into the CenterStage open at the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance, audience members waiting to see The Last Days of Judas Iscariot are invited to form lines behind three candle-bearers. We are led into a solemn scene lit by a single streetlight, where we stand before a woman who is mourning the death of her child. Another figure sits behind her at a quiet distance. The mother talks about her own pain and the shock of losing a grown son coupled with the excruciating memory of how alone he was in the end. Is this Mary, mother of Jesus?

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That elusive third party everyone might like to see get crankin’.

Rally in Bozeman, Montana; photo by Sheila Velazquez
Rally in Bozeman, Montana; photo by Sheila Velazquez

What if we had a party, and everybody came. Well, it wouldn’t have to be everybody, just the majority of Americans who haven’t been invited to the parties of either the Democrats or the Republicans, the folks whose interests aren’t served when the toasts are made and the swag handed out. Now that would be some party.

I haven’t voted for either a Democrat or Republican presidential candidate in a long while. I would have if the DNC hadn’t sabotaged Bernie’s campaign. That’s one I supported with all my heart and one to which I contributed. Not a huge amount, but considering what a cheapskate I am (ask my kids), it was a lot for me. 

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