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Region can’t handle more job loss

Date: 10/11/2011

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

Gee, I go away for a week and unplug from local news and a lot happens.

It seems that the reports of the death of Friendly’s is exaggerated and I sincerely hope that is true. The area could not face any more job losses at this time nor could it tolerate the demise of a brand name that holds so much history and has created so much love.

I think nearly everyone reading this column probably has a pleasant memory about Friendly’s. I know I do. They should get a Nobel Prize just for the creation of chocolate almond chip.

Friendly’s was the go-to restaurant when I was in college. The fare back in those days was pretty simple, but it tasted good and was at the right price. I still occasionally hanker for a fish sandwich.

Let’s hope the company can get through this new crisis and the folks who’ve lost their jobs are able to find new employment very soon.


So is Hank Williams Jr. one of the dumbest guys on the planet? His income from the use of his song to introduce “Monday Night Football” was easy money and now it’s gone because he compared President Barack Obama to Adolph Hitler.

Just how is Obama like the man who helped start a global conflict that killed millions of people and one that included genocide? Really, Bocephus?

Maybe this kind of nonsense plays for the knuckle-draggers who make up his core audience, but it does nothing to address any real solutions to the problems facing us.


If you aren’t aware of it already, the race for senate here in the Bay State is certainly getting national attention, especially with the entry of Elizabeth Warren into the contest.

Sen. Scott Brown’s victory was seen by some people as a referendum on the dominance of the Democratic Party in the state and for Republicans, a sweet payback for years of being in the minority.

Frankly, I thought it was a victory for a personable and authentic campaigner who worked hard for his votes against a candidate who thought she was a shoe-in — a terrible attitude to take in politics.

Nationally, this new race will bring in lots of out-of-state money and volunteers to help keep Brown in office. It will be framed as some sort of vote on the president — naturally.

Now, the voters will have to decide if Brown deserves a full term based on his record or if Warren or any of the other Democratic hopefuls are worth their votes.


It’s now time for some plugs.

The Valley Press Club will once again meet to affectionately roast area politicians — we only say terrible things about the people we love, right? — on Oct. 14, at 5:30 p.m., at the John Boyle O’Reilly Club, 33 Progress Ave., Springfield.

If you’re a political junkie, this annual event is the place to be. You can hob nob with elected officials, candidates and even lowly ink slingers.

The proceeds will benefit the Valley Press Club Scholarship Fund, which has awarded more than $105,000 in scholarships to area high school seniors.

Among those planning to attend include Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Springfield City Council President Jose Tosado, along with other area politicians, community activists and the general public.

The cost? A mere $15 at the door.

I would say I hope to see you there, but unfortunately I won’t be able to make it this year. Perhaps the show will be better without me!

And now for plug number two.

I’ve spent some quality time in White River Junction, Vt., where I’ve been a guest lecturer at the Center for Cartoon Studies. That community was hit rather hard by Tropical Storm Irene and one of the places devastated by the weather event was the Main Street Museum, which hosted me one evening several years back for a film show I presented on the cartoons of Max Fleischer.

On Oct. 20, there will be a special one-night, two-tier event for the museum’s relief and restoration, which was closed due to the high water.

Two of my closest friends, extraordinary cartoonist Stephen R. Bissette, and author Joseph Citro, New England’s “bard of the bizarre” will present a special event that will feature the Vermont premiere of a new movie, “The Whisperer in Darkness,” based on H.P. Lovecraft’s visit to Vermont.

This will be quite an event and if you’re a fan of either Bissette or Citro, you might want to get more information by going to

Hey, agree with me? Disagree? Drop me a line at or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. As always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper.

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