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August 2017

TLC #46: Greylock Together Against Hate; Purple Dragon, Farm to Fork Fondo

Greylock Together “Stand Against Hate” brings hundreds to Field Park
Hundreds answered the call of Greylock Together to Stand Against Hate at Field Park, Williamstown the day after three died and 19 were wounded at a demonstration of white nationalists in Charlottesvill, VA; photo by Jason Velázquez
Hundreds answered the call of Greylock Together to Stand Against Hate at Field Park, Williamstown the day after three died and 19 were wounded at a demonstration of white nationalists in Charlottesville, VA; photo by Jason Velázquez

In this episode, we heard from some of the hundreds of people who took part in the Stand Against Hate organized by Greylock Together after the Charlottesville, VA tragedy.

We toured the new Spring Street, Williamstown shop, Purple Dragon Games., founded by Nico White.

And we had a great conversation with Tyler Wren, founder of the Farm to Fork Fondo, bringing cyclists into a closer connection with local food.

And we get an exclusive first listen to “Close to the Edge,” by our good friends the Whiskey Treaty Roadshow.

This episode is sponsored by The Hancock Shaker Village, celebrating the 20th Anniversary of their beloved Country Fair. And by Headwater Cider, a local orchard and mill that believes hard cider is best when you grow what you press, and press you grow.

We also heard a snatch of “Descendants,” performed by the Rob Piltch Trio on the amazing 2016 Jazz release, Portraits in Jazz: A Tribute to Wes Montgomery, sent to us by someone connected to Ed Bickert, though we are not really clear who. We’ll be playing more from this release as we can.

Greylock Together Responds to Charlottesville, VA attack


People of all ages, including a good number of creative children, joined the Williamstown happening August 14, 2017; photo by Jason Velázquez
People of all ages, including a good number of creative children, joined the Williamstown happening August 13, 2017; photo by Jason Velázquez

Today is Thursday, August 24, 2017, and this is Episode number 46. In the immediate aftermath of the August 12th tragedy in Charlottesville, VA, local activist group Greylock Together summoned hundreds of local residents, as well as some visitors, to Field Park in Williamstown for an observance of death of longtime social justice advocate Heather Heyer and a show of solidarity against hatred and violence. Today we here some of the voices who were present that day, calling for change.

We also speak with well-known cyclist Tyler Wren, founder of the Farm to Fork Fondo, which connects athletics and local agriculture where the rubber really does meet the road.

And we profile new local Williamstown business owned by Nico White, Purple Dragon Games, a Spring Street shop that creates a social epicenter for a community of gamers who roll old-school.

First though a Greylock Glass exclusive. Americana and Bluegrass powerhouse the Whiskey Treaty Roadshow are letting us share a tune from their as-yet-unreleased EP due out in September.

The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow will be performing September 24 at the Hancock Shaker Village's 20th annual Country Fair; submitted photo.
The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow will be performing September 24 at the Hancock Shaker Village’s 20th annual Country Fair; submitted photo.

And I’m guessing they’ll be performing this deeply moving track, “Close to the Edge,” which they’ve asked me to share with you right here on the Top Left Corner.

We’ve got a link to the Whiskey Treaty Roadshow’s website in the shownotes, and I really want you to make contact with them there, and sign up for their occasional newsletter, so that you can be the first to find out as soon as that EP drops next month.

Let’s go now to Field Park in Williamstown, August 12th and hear some of what was on the minds and in the hearts of those who gathered to Stand Against Hate. We ran first into frequent guest of various GG shows, artist, musician, promoter and activist Karl Mullen.

Geraldine Shen, who directs Greylock Together, explained why there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation on the group’s part to call people to Stand Against Hate.

Wendy Penner has been with Greylock Together since its origin back in November, and talked about the need for local responses to events tied into national conflicts.

Purple Dragon Games Events:
Wednesday: Magic Standard Constructed, $5 entry, Round 1 begins 6:00 p.m.
Thursday: Open Board Games, free entry, begins 6:00 p.m.
Friday: Friday Night Magic Booster Draft, $15, begins 6:30 p.m.
Sunday: D&D, $2 entry, 2:00pm

Nico White is on a quest to outfit North County gamers with games and gear as he nurtures a growing tabletop community; photo by Jason Velázquez.
Nico White is on a quest to outfit North County gamers with games and gear as he nurtures a growing tabletop community; photo by Jason Velázquez.

Laura Savia, Associate Director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival was just hours away from debuting this year’s community theatre production of “Once Upon a Time in the Berkshires” when she decided to offer the cast and crew a chance to participate in the demonstration. The sold-out show was, in fact, heartbreakingly aligned with the clash in Charlottesville that led to three deaths and injuries to 19 others.

Writer, editor, retired English professor, and general member of the local literati, Tela Zasloff was thoughful in her estimation of the manner in which Trumpism can be countered and the role of journalists in a political landscape that has grown increasingly hostile to the press.


Purple Dragon Games is open on Spring Street in Williamstown; submitted image.
Purple Dragon Games is open on Spring Street in Williamstown; submitted image.

Nico White, a Williams alum who also grew up in town, returned to pursue a passion he indulged in between study sessions at school—tabletop gaming. And he’s taken it pro right on Spring Street with the launch of Purple Dragon Games.

For anyone who’s spent any touring around on a bicycle, the fresh air and pastoral views in farm country are among some of the most delicious experiences you can have on two wheels. Tyler Wren, founder of Farm to Fork Fondo takes pedalers out of the breakdown lane and into the barnyard to sample some of the scenery they could once only enjoy with their eyes.

The Maine Farm to Fork Fondo took place on Sunday august 27, 2017; photo courtesy Farm to Fork Fondo.
The Maine Farm to Fork Fondo took place on Sunday august 27, 2017; photo courtesy Farm to Fork Fondo.


More information about the Farm to Fork Fondo can be found at their website, and of course, you can find the links in the shownotes. Looks like it’s going to be a helluva weekend, now matter how you get involved.

Well, that’s our show for this week. This has been Jason Velazquez, your host, writer, editor, web admin, and chief bottle washer here at the Greylock Glass. We’ve got a little time left over here at the end, so I think I’ll let Charlie Parr take us home with the title track of his 2015 release, Stumpjumper, since Tyler started off our conversation talking about mountain biking. Have a great week and check back again soon.








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Will Call #60: Tony Trischka annexes the Berkshires into his Territory

Tony Trischka and Territory brings some legendary American Roots cred to the Barn Music Summer Series at Hancock Shaker Village.

Tony Trischka (left) will play with his band, Territory, Sean Trischka (right) and Jack Pickerl; photo courtesy the artist.
Tony Trischka (left) will play with his band, Territory, Sean Trischka (right) and Jack Picker; photo courtesy the artist.


This is Will Call, #60—I’m your host, Jason Velazquez, and I thank you for tuning in. This episode is sponsored by Headwater Cider, who believes that cider is best when you grow what you press and press what you grow.

Tony Trischka and Territory

Saturday, August 19, doors—6:00 / show—7:00 p.m.
Final concert of the Barn Music, Summer Series
Hancock Shaker Village
1843 West Housatonic Street
Pittsfield MA, 01201
(413) 443-0188 | (800) 817-1137
Tickets: $20

Tony Trischka and Territory will perform songs from "Great Big World" and more at the Hancock Shaker Village 08/19. Click the image to buy the album via our Amazon affiliate link.
Tony Trischka and Territory will perform songs from Great Big World and more at the Hancock Shaker Village 08/19. Click the image to buy the album via our Amazon affiliate link.

I have to start out by saying that this was originally going to be a Top Left Corner episode. Then the opportunity to have a conversation with Tony Trischka dropped into my lap.

No lover of American Roots music could pass up the opportunity to talk with one of the world’s most renown and emulated banjo players. I’d have to be a fool.

Knowing he’d be busy, I figured on a 10 or 15 minute interview that would fit nicely into the middle of TLC. Then I looked at the clock towards the end of our talk and saw that over three quarters of an hour had passed. When I listened through the audio, I realized there was nothing to cut other than a few stray “ummms.”

My solution? Fire up a new episode of Will Call, keep the whole conversation and play some great music. Tony Trischka and his band, Territory, close out the Barn Music, Summer Series at Hancock Shaker Village this Saturday, August 19, and if you’re still undecided about whether or not to grab one of the precious few remaining tickets, here’s one of my fave tracks from his 2014 release, Great Big World, “Single String Medley.”

Be sure to check out his website to get access to photos, videos, info and more. Ready to start pickin’ and a grinnin’ yourself? Why not take some classes from Tony himself?

Left to right, Earl Scruggs, Béla Fleck, and Tony Trischka; photo courtesy the artist.
Left to right, Earl Scruggs, Béla Fleck, and Tony Trischka; photo courtesy the artist.


About Tony Trischka


Trischka, 2012 United States Artists Friends Fellow, is considered to be the consummate banjo artist and perhaps the most influential banjo player in the roots music world. For more than 45 years, his stylings have inspired a whole generation of bluegrass and acoustic musicians with the many voices he has brought to the instrument.

A native of Syracuse, New York, Trischka’s interest in banjo was sparked by the Kingston Trio’s “Charlie and the MTA” in 1963. Two years later, he joined the Down City Ramblers, where he remained through 1971. That year, Trischka made his recording debut on 15 Bluegrass Instrumentals with the band Country Cooking; at the same time, he was also a member of America’s premier sports-rock band Country Granola. In 1973, he began a three-year stint with Breakfast Special. Between 1974 and 1975, he recorded two solo albums, Bluegrass Light and Heartlands. After one more solo album in 1976, Banjoland, he went on to become musical leader for the Broadway show The Robber Bridegroom. Trischka toured with the show in 1978, the year he also played with the Monroe Doctrine.

On Tony’s latest album Great Big World (Rounder Records – released February, 2014) his instrumental expertise and boundless imagination are as sharp as ever. One of the most ambitious and accomplished of his career, the album is a deeply compelling showcase for his expansive instrumental talents, far-ranging musical interests and distinctive songwriting skills, as well as his sterling taste in collaborators. With contributions from his band Territory, Steve Martin, Michael Daves, Noam Pikelny, Ramblin’ Jack Eliot and many other special guests the 13-track set finds Trischka embracing all manner of possibilities, while keeping one foot firmly planted in the traditional bluegrass roots that first inspired him to make music.

Tony continues to maintain a national and international touring schedule with his band of extraordinary musicians.


Kayleigh McEnany and the the Real News

Kayleigh McEnany, rightist political operative, began hosting what I’ll generously call a web series on Facebook this week. Based on the week’s happenings in the Trumpiverse, “Real News” is constructed and delivered in fun-size blurbs for the enjoyment of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of adoring racist and xenophobic proles and bourgeoisie.

Kayleigh McEnany, Republican National Committee national spokesperson, debuted August 6 as the host of the web series "News of the Week, on "the official Facebook page for Donald J. Trump," seemingly unable to decide between a sort of Veronica Lake or Lauren Bacall. The overall effect was pretty solidly Sharon Stone ca. 1992. Image via video capture of Facebook webcast, (possibly) Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
Kayleigh McEnany, new Republican National Committee spokesperson, debuted August 6 as host of the web series “News of the Week, on “the official Facebook page for Donald J. Trump,” seemingly unable to decide between a Veronica Lake thing or Lauren Bacall. The overall effect ended up being a bad Sharon Stone ca. 1992. Image via vid-cap of webcast, by (possibly) Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.

Video stills that make people look stupid are really easy to find. Capturing a frame that flatters a speaker is actually wayyy harder. My inner junior high school shithead giggled and snorted as I paused the stream just as McEnany looked wild-eyed and deranged. Or like she was in mid-sneeze. Or when her eyes were closed and her mouth was open in the middle of a long “O” sound, as in the final vowel of the word “fellatiō.”

In my explorations of the minute: thirty runtime of Trump TV’s “News of the Week,” I was hoping to mine a doozy. I was looking for just the right unfortunate countenance to demonstrate the level of idiocy, of insipid schlock being pedaled as journalism by the Trump campaign engine. I found some instant classics, too. Underneath her drugstore blondery, McEnany’s injection-molded cheekbones bob up and down with the veneer of conviction. From deep within her glassy green eyes shines the intense earnestness and zeal of someone whacked on ecstasy, but modulated by exactly the right dosage of valium to pass for sober.

* (The full text of the transcript is below.)

Edmund Zhong (Facebook)
Within the first 6 months in office Trump has accomplished more than what Obama had in 8 years!

Then, the frames in between the comic squints and unattractive sneers began to catch my eye. Glimpses of something that wasn’t abject stupidity at all began to slip out. Something that wasn’t just the predictably pretty, reassuringly vapid face smiling out at America, reading the news. Something colder, more fraught with reptilian purpose. This thing I sensed through her expressions frightens me. This thing is Mission.

** “Who the hell is Kayleigh McEnany?”

After an impressive educational career, capped off with equally notable internships, McEnany found her calling as a conservative columnist and a commentator. She’s been a favorite Trump surrogate punching bag on CNN since early 2016. Media personalities in the center-left have pointed to instances where she has added fuel to conspiracy theories and inflamed hostilities, and the right has slammed her for essentially being an unseasoned avatar of the conservative movement with lip gloss.

This week—August 6, to be exact —after McEnany parted ways with CNN, she appeared as the “anchor” of the Trump media product that debuted on his Facebook page. The next day, the Republican National Committee tapped McEnany to be its national spokesperson for television and radio. I haven’t followed what the pundits on the extremeliest right have to say, but the response from the the center and center-left has been the shrill, self-righteous scorn and contempt you’d expect. Drivel! Propaganda! Americans will see right through it!

Andrew Hinman (YouTube)


It is sad but necessary to have to broadcast President Trump’s achievements in this manner. National news should do there [sic] job with out basis [sic]. It is what it is. Wake up America . You have a President that works.

The reasoned opinions of the well-informed don’t really matter, though. The original video alone has already garnered 1.7 million views, and it’s clones on YouTube and elsewhere have racked up another million. Even if half the adoring user comments are posted from fake accounts, that still leaves tens of thousands of legitimate disciples out there drooling out their love for their leader in fawning tweets and posts lacking proper spelling, punctuation, or, indeed, any coherent sentence structure at times. But the status of Trump’s base as an inarticulate orc horde doesn’t matter, either.










It doesn’t matter that she isn’t old enough to possess the context of the Revolution of ’94 (let alone “evil enemy empire”) necessary to understand how we got to this surreal place in American politics. Nor does it matter that whoever is filling up her teleprompter with inane and artless falsehoods mirrors the cartoonish media styles of both 1987’s Robocop and 1997’s Starship Troopers.

Sammy Spaniel (YouTube)
I see nothing wrong with Trump letting the American people know what the crooked mainstream media refuses to tell us. In fact it’s the MSM that forced Trump’s hand in this. Why are they surprised?

No logical criticism of the “News of the Week” from Trump Tower matters, because ultimately, the critics are missing the point. Hours after the video appeared on Facebook, Old guard journalists Jeff Greenfield and Dick Tofel joined Brian Stelter of CNN’s Reliable Sources to debate the merits of the newsish broadcast.

Jeff Greenfield observed that, “Campaigns have been trying to do news-like videos ever since there was video, so in the scheme of things, that doesn’t strike me as a particularly bothersome problem.” He believes that Trump TV is merely just part of a “long tradition, if not entirely noble tradition, of political campaign propaganda.”

Stephen Caldarola (YouTube)
The Mainstream Media still doesn’t realize that we have had it with their fake news and lies about OUR president, still talking about that Russia Nothing-burger and now they have the gall to call Our point of view News “Propaganda”.

Dick Tofel attempted to dilute the segment’s significance further, “If that were being done by the government, it would be enormously troubling. If that were being done by a political campaign, you know, I think as Jeff says, it’s pretty much politics as usual.”


Right here is where the mainstream media needs to pull its head out of its ass. Of course they can call the “reporting” flawed, simplistic, unethical, or whatever they like. Their high minded platitudes don’t matter because:

“The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.”

So says the original ein führer, anyway.

Millions of Trump supporters don’t just believe that CNN, MSNBC, and the original network Big Three deliver a low-quality news product. They don’t even simply question whether or not the journalists are reporting from a heavy bias. They believe that these media figures are agents of the ENEMY, spreading propaganda designed to make their leader look bad and them stupid. This crowd of mostly upper middle class white voters has understood itself to be at the receiving end of a culture war since Y2K. If believing that climate change is Chinese hoax or that a trillion dollar wall at the border will lower unemployment—if believing the impossible and the absurd—makes them feel better about themselves, tangible proof of the contrary is the last thing they want or will believe. — This is what the Greenfields and the Tofels of the world can’t get their head around.

Josh Lancer (Facebook)
Dear liberal trolls, Trump is making America great again. He won’t stop just because you don’t like him.

Donald Trump is himself an avatar. He is an increasingly holographic incarnation of a set of toxic anti-virtues that fester behind every third door in your neighborhood. With a pornographic instinct for stimulating America’s racism and suspicion and lechery and greed, the Trump cabal pleasures the national id in a way that is both unspeakably torrid, yet completely public. Trump supporters don’t care that there’s almost a zero percent chance that their boy will leave the country in even as good shape as he found it. They know the system screws us all. What they want is to indulge in something they weren’t allowed during the Obama administration—to focus blame and hatred (and maybe a little violence) on irrelevant foes.

Trump, the man, almost doesn’t matter at this point. In seven short months, he has sustained an unending polemic against sanity, restraint, and forethought, in a string of tweets that can be entered into a database for repurposing. Digital President Trump can now respond to all the perils that face the nation effortlessly whenever you click the “Surprise Me” policy app at

Yes, that may be nod to political humorists Firesign Theatre, but I deliver it without a trace of mirth. Science fiction writers such as Bradbury, Le Guin, Clarke, Asimov, Serling, L’Engle, Huxley, and dozens more all have something in common. They all imagined pieces of a future where humans complacently placed their governance into the vice of tyranny. Leadership has taken the form of all-knowing computer AI, alien overlords, infallible bureaucratic systems, but in each case, the masses have given up on the hard work of pluralistic democracy. At the head of George Orwell’s “Inner Party,” the benevolent face of “Big Brother” was ubiquitous in Oceana, the nation comprised of the former United States (did you know that?) and Great Britain in the novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Big Brother himself never appears. No one is sure if he was ever a real person. His power, however, as the embodiment and figurehead of the country’s collective oligarchy, he simultaneously instills reassurance and fear. Through propaganda.

OldSport (YouTube)
Cnn is scared because Trump has more ratings and followers than them.
You know who is spreading the propaganda, MSM? Look in the Mirror!
CNN=Fake News

In the news reports coming out of the Ministry of Truth, productivity is always up, the enemy is always nearly vanquished, and spontaneous demonstrations of patriotism occur daily. That the evidence points to an increasingly coarse existence on fewer and fewer resources doesn’t matter to the masses. They are kept in check by a police state, kept in fear of enemies from without and within, and kept anesthetized with cheap liquor and mindless entertainment. Big Brother’s actual contribution (if he even exists) to the dictatorship is immaterial.

And that may be the course the extreme right is following. Trump was a mythical figure even before taking office. I suspect we will see less and less of him (though the tweets will probably continue) in the coming years. The absence will strengthen his image, rather than call into question his leadership, even though the lack of his captaining should hint at other hands upon the wheel. I suspect, also, that whoever succeeds him, should his party win in 2020, will be even more of a cipher.

The increasingly shadowy nature of the real power behind public neocon figures is what makes the ascendence of Kayleigh McEnany such a terrifying development.

She’s obviously been groomed since she was very young to be in front of exactly the right camera at exactly the right time to derail the last boxcar of fact-based media. At the age of 29, she can boast a viewership of probably 3 million people (by the time you read this) for a stupid one and a half minute collection of innuendo, half-truths, and outright lies. McEnany is pushing the same Trumpologist tangle of illogic that she did on CNN, but this time without a sane person who actually understands national and world affairs sitting next to her to cry “bullshit.” She’s applying her Harvard Law training to cheap political pugilism that should insult any thinking person. But, of course, that’s not who she’s trying to reach. And her handlers don’t want people thinking too hard about to rose-scented sputum coming out of her mouth, or they wouldn’t have loaded up the video with so many flashy and distracting graphics.

Sandy Ellsworth



To any one that tries to belittle President Trump, you just don’t recognize a real man, one bred in patriotism and core values, a MAN. Sorry for your loss, ask Hillary for the key,.

I am afraid. People believe (or at least are doublethinking) that the “News of the Week” is legitimate journalism. Hundreds of thousands of them, at least. In large part, the mainstream media created her, just as it created Trump. Since at least the ’80’s, real substance has been eroding in both reporting and commentary on the radio, on television, and, to a slightly lesser degree, in print. The media created a pantheon celebrities and made acolytes of anyone with the jawline or the neckline to keep the public mesmerized.

McEnany, the RNC’s pretty spokeswoman with the alluringly bare, tanned shoulders framing an industrial turtleneck collar that screams verboten, sparkly silver cross dangling down, probably as a talisman against Rachel Maddow, is exactly where we’ve been heading for a long, long time. Oh, any newscaster can call black just dark shade of grey, but this gal! She can smile and convince you you’re seeing a rainbow.

The economy is doing great!

Lucrative jobs are everywhere you look!

You are happy! Even more, you’re in the winners’ circle!

We are neutralizing the threat posed by people not like you!

None of it has to be true to be effective once a liberal democracy takes a few steps down the road toward a dystopian, militarized police state. All that really has to exist is a dangerously large number of followers who can be incentivized to invest in the lie. And to make the conscious, voluntary decision to ignore warnings and reporting by a steadily discredited corps of journalists. Once that happens, the mob becomes the censor of public thought. Law enforcement and the military are empowered, even encouraged, to do things most men and women of conscience would never do to their fellow citizens.

It won’t matter which capricious, narcissistic demagogue with ties to some extremely dodgy bastards is in the Oval Office. Because Kayleigh—or Kaitlyn or Kaiden or Kelly or Kerry or Kyrie or Tina—will be up there on the screen. Telling us that things are okay. Telling us that America is loved and feared, just like God, your boss, and your dad should be. Telling us that anyone who says that the ship is leaking, that it’s taking on water in a really troubling way is possibly misguided, but probably treasonous. Telling us that it’s okay to tune out the truth.

Nancy Crider (Facebook)
Thank you for positive news instead of the usual depressing news on the network channels.

The only antidote to the vapid Gorgiasms of Trump, delivered in the mouth of McEnany and her ilk, is a relentless demand for better, more intelligent news. The American public deserves more balanced coverage not just of the two dominant political ideologies, but of the entire spectrum of political thought. Stories need be better-sourced. Analysis needs to focus on substantive rather than personality clashes. Journalists themselves need to reclaim their dignity, stop thinking the job is a popularity contest, and remember their fighting, working class roots. Until news consumers demand that the fourth estate starts acting like the protector of democracy it’s charged with being, news outlets will continue to succumb to the gravitational pull of nationalistic propaganda.


* complete transcript of “News of the Week,” courtesy Real Clear Politics

Hi everybody I’m Kayleigh McEnany, thank you for joining us as we provide you the news of the week from Trump Tower here in New York!



More great economic news on Friday, the July jobs report added a better than expected 209,000 jobs. Overall since the president took office, he has created more than 1 million jobs. The unemployment rate is at a 16 year low, and consumer confidence is at a 16 year high. All while the Dow Jones continued to break records. President Trump has clearly steered the economy back in the right direction.



On Wednesday, the president introduced the RAISE Act. For decades, a steady rise in immigration has depressed the wages of American workers. The RAISE Act will increase wages, decrease poverty, and save the taxpayers billions.



Americans deserve a raise, and President Trump is finally putting the American worker first.



Also on Wednesday, President Trump awarded the medal of honor to one of our Vietnam War heroes… James McCloughan. McCloughan risked his life on nine separate occasions, saving many of his wounded peers.



President Trump also honored veterans as a whole with yet another VA reform package that could enable millions of veterans to receive better access to care. President Trump is dedicated to honoring these men and women who fought valiantly for their country, and ensuring they get the care they deserve.



Thank you for joining us everybody, I’m Kayleigh McEnany and that is the real news.

** Recall the intraparty pundit catfight between McEnany and Dana Loesch.







Cryptocurrency Markets

What is cryptocurrency?

(from Wikipedia)
A cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency. Cryptocurrencies are classified as a subset of digital currencies and are also classified as a subset of alternative currencies and virtual currencies.



Additional Resources

Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference.

CoinDesk describes itself as “the world leader in news and information on digital currencies such as bitcoin, and its underlying technology – the blockchain.” It is an excellent starting point to understanding what the hell everyone’s talking about.

CRIX: is an innovative cryptocurrency platform offering fast and secure trading in bitcoin and a host of alternative digital currencies. Along with bitcoin, customers can trade in litecoin, dash, dogecoin, namecoin, peercoin, and nextcoin, with more digital currencies to be added soon.

Bitstamp: Cryptocurrency trading platform


TLC #45: Baker wants to “empower” the heat to play nice with ICE

Immigration Detainers

The bland phrase conjures up little emotion for people with no reason to believe that they, or loved ones, risk deportation due to immigration status. To countless families in the United States, however, the two words, “immigration detainers,” (also known as “ICE Holds”), plug in to a nightmare of vulnerability that tears at families and communities. We speak with Brooke Mead of the Berkshire Immigrant Center and Laura Rótolo of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts about Governor Baker’s proposed legislation that would ratchet the mechanisms of deportation up a gear or two.

Nationwide, local law enforcement is pushing back against pressure to perform the work of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, often disregarding immigration detainers; photo by Department of Homeland Security; public domain; via Wikimedia Commons</span></a>
Nationwide, local law enforcement is pushing back against pressure to perform the work of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, often disregarding immigration detainers; photo by Department of Homeland Security; public domain; via Wikimedia Commons

Berkshire Immigrant Center

Brooke Meade, director of the Berkshire Immigrant Center; photo courtesy Avi Dresner/WellTalk Radio.
Brooke Meade, director of the Berkshire Immigrant Center; photo courtesy Avi Dresner/WellTalk Radio.

(from BIC website)

Director of the Berkshire Immigrant Center, Brooke Mead, was formerly a high school Spanish teacher and holds her Masters degree in Spanish from Middlebury College. She has lived in Venezuela and Mexico and, having been an immigrant herself, brings with her the cultural understanding and sensitivity necessary to work with the immigrant and refugee population.

The mission of the Berkshire Immigrant Center is to assist individuals and families in making the economic, psychological and cultural adjustment to a new land, not only by meeting basic needs, but also by helping them to become active participants in our community. The Center also aims to build bridges of understanding and cooperation across cultures, to fight racism and discrimination in all forms, and to advocate for the rights of immigrants from all backgrounds.

The Center offers comprehensive services for individuals from more than 80 countries to promote civic engagement, facilitate cultural integration, and assist in navigating the complex U.S. immigration system.


Additional resources:

Slate’s very good article on the subject.
Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition

ACLU of Massachusetts

Laura Rotolo, Staff Council ACLU; photo courtesy ACLUM
Laura Rótolo, Staff Council ACLU; photo courtesy ACLUM

(from ACLUM website)

Laura Rótolo is staff counsel and community advocate at the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts where she focuses on issues relating to immigrants.

She joined the ACLU of Massachusetts in 2007, first as a human rights fellow studying immigration detention conditions. Currently, Laura works to create policies that safeguard fundamental rights, as well as challenge policies that do not. As a Latina and an immigrant from Argentina, she advocates within Latino immigrant communities in Massachusetts.

Laura is a graduate of Tufts University, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and American University’s Washington College of Law.

The ACLU of Massachusetts, this week, released the following statement concerning Governor Charlie Baker’s proposed legislation to “empower” local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration authorities via immigration detainers:

Governor Baker’s proposed legislation in response to last week’s groundbreaking ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial court on ICE detainers is constitutionally suspect because it attempts to authorize state and local law enforcement to detain people without due process. Last week’s Lunn decision by the Court was a major victory for the residents of Massachusetts against the Trump deportation machine. Why Governor Baker would attempt to aid President Trump is unsettling – as both a legal and political matter.

For nearly 100 years, the American Civil Liberties Union has worked daily in the courts, in the legislature, and in communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution, Bill Rights and laws of the United States.

The ACLU of Massachusetts—a private, nonpartisan organization with more than 72,000 supporters across the Commonwealth and over 100,000 online activists—is a state affiliate of the national ACLU. We defend the principles enshrined in the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights as well as the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Laura tweets at @LauraRotolo.


Inside the Lyme Epidemic

The Top Left Corner welcomes Kenneth Mercure back on the program, this time to discuss Lyme disease and his upcoming public education event:

Inside the Lyme Epidemic: Past, Present and Future with Pamela Weintraub
Saturday, August 12th, 2017; 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Berkshire Athenaeum, Auditorium, 1 Wendell Avenue, Pittsfield, Mass.

Adult deer tick,; photo by Photo by Scott Bauer. (Public domain), via Wikimedia CommonsAdult deer tick,; photo by Scott Bauer. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
(from Lyme Alliance of the Berkshires website)Lyme disease is at epidemic levels in Berkshire County! What should be an easily treated and manageable infection is being left to become a serious and evening life-threatening public health crisis. Lyme disease is under-reported, often misdiagnosed as something else and frequently suggested to be “all in your head”. There is a great disparity between the reality and seriousness of tick-borne infections and what is being touted as the ultimate truth about Lyme and its related diseases.However, there is work being done to help bridge this gap. The Lyme Alliance of the Berkshires, a Pittsfield based organization started in 2011, tirelessly works to help educate the public and to help provide support for individuals who are currently suffering with tick-borne disease. As part of this work we routinely invite speakers and host educational events to help make the public more aware of this issue.

Map of the range of the Deer Tick (Ixodes scapularis); image public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Map of the range of the Deer Tick (Ixodes scapularis); image public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Nearly a decade after her beloved book was originally published, author Pamela Weintraub will tell her story and discuss what has changed in the world of Lyme since 2008 and what still needs to be done to help end the Lyme epidemic. Pamela will speak and then will interact with attendees and answer questions. We will have a door prize raffle as part of this event and refreshments will be available. As always our event will be taking placing in the ground floor auditorium of the Berkshire Athenaeum on 1 Wendell Avenue in Pittsfield, Mass.


Will Call Episode #59: Vermont Stories through word and mural

Story Event at The Bennington Center for the Arts focus on “Stories About Us.”

Story Night Review takes place August 18 at the Bennington Center for the Arts; artwork courtesy Vermont Stories.
Story Night Review takes place August 18 at the Bennington Center for the Arts; artwork courtesy Vermont Stories.

What is Story Night Review?

The biggest Story Night yet at the beautiful Bennington Center for the Arts! Five storytellers put their lives on the line as we listen through the laughs and the tears. You’ve loved hearing intimate tales at Two Brews—now experience the playhouse edition. The Review brings together some favorite tellers and puts them on the stage for a night. Who knows, stories may ruffle some feathers, make us laugh or cringe but these are the stories of our neighbors, friends and perfect strangers. These are stories we all can understand and feel because it is from those closest to us
The event, sponsored by Spirits of Old Bennington, supports the Bennington Murals project.
“Homer,” by Jean-Baptiste Auguste Leloir CC-BY-SA-3.0, CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons
“Homer,” told a pretty mean tale. by Jean-Baptiste Auguste Leloir [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0, CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons



 This episode is sponsored by our friends at Headwater Cider!



Perched high atop a hill in Hawley, Mass., Headwater Cider raises happy apples. The view is gorgeous, the air is clean, and the cider mill blends an ancient art with contemporary efficiency.cyber You can find this delicious beverage at the Spirit Shop in Williamstown, West Liquors in North Adams, and plenty of other shops and restaurants in Massachusetts. A complete list is available in Headwater Cider’s listing in our directory! Check out their Facebook page for details about tastings and other upcoming events and



What Is Bennington Murals?

Bennington Mural Art Program is a community driven initiative to create professional art on our walls. Forest Byrd is an artist and illustrator who will be doing some of the work to get this off the ground and eventually work with many other artists to create dynamic art spaces. Many places are sited and in the planning stages.

We are working on concepts that will tell interesting stories of Bennington and be a surprise for residents and visitors to see. For more information check us out on Facebook or after August 18th at



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