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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady sets to throw during NFL football practice in Foxborough, Mass., Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Mark Zinan: The lighter side of a personal darkness

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

SUNDERLAND — Anxiety, biologists inform us, is the human evolutionary psyche on super alert to the physical dangers of the pre historic world. Beware the leopard, tiger and shark. For millions of people, in our relatively physically safe environment, anxiety is the emotional predator. Let’s leap backwards. To the summer of 1971. For 99.9 percent of the American population, childhood …

Tynan Power: Time to face facts on anti-Semitism here in Valley

Monday, January 26, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Last week, the Gazette reported on vandalism at and near residences on Sherman Avenue, which included anti-Semitic graffiti. (“Northampton teens face charges after vandalism with swastikas,” Jan. 21). The article reported that the perpetrators, girls aged 14 and 15, were not yet being charged with a hate crime because the residents — none of whom are Jewish — did not feel …

Mehammed Amadeus Mack: On the plight of French Muslims

Sunday, January 25, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — While French Muslims are not and should not be the only lens through which we observe the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, they will likely feel the consequences of the events in an especially acute way. The events could not have come at a more horribly appropriate time in my teaching, as I have just wrapped up a section on …

Mary A. Nelen: Food that tastes like freedom

Sunday, December 28, 2014

EASTHAMPTON — Summer people line up under a leaf canopy on the green. An al fresco supper awaits them. Sunflowers hold down 40 fluttering tablecloths and a hula-hoop woman cavorts with a red-headed boy in face paint. Laughter is heard over an insatiable appetite for heirloom tomatoes and …

Jim Palermo: Let’s listen first, debate later

Friday, December 26, 2014

SOUTHAMPTON — There is a need for a quiet place in which we can discuss (not debate) issues that affect our lives. Unfortunately, issues such as the tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri, are too often usurped by news outlets, each seeking to place its own spin. The alleged …

Don Robinson: Stories of the birth of Jesus

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

ASHFIELD — Two weeks ago I exchanged emails with a devout friend. We were both feeling depressed about the state of the world. War and rumors of war seemed to be everywhere. My friend said she sometimes wished that Christ had come in power and great glory, a …

Jim Cahillane: An airman’s Christmas trip home

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

WILLIAMSBURG — One common thread that we Americans have woven into our ideals is the concept of being home for Christmas. Home is not only the place where, as Robert Frost observed, they have to take you in, but inside ourselves as that warm and welcoming place that …

Dave Roitman: No holiday from Keystone XL pipeline debates

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

FLORENCE — Have any relatives who like to push your climate change buttons? Think they’ll go after you on the Keystone XL pipeline? Or maybe you’re skeptical yourself. Here are five popular myths about the pipeline and how you can debunk each one – for yourself or your …

Pat Hynes & Frances Crowe: When peace settled in, one night, a century ago

Monday, December 22, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Along the western front of World War I lie miles of cemeteries for British, Scottish, Belgian, French and other soldiers killed in the war. In a lone, out-of-the way plot in this land of teenage war dead, a large cross and a dozen small ones honor …

Ginger Moon: When good luck at Christmas fails to register

Monday, December 22, 2014

AMHERST — I’ve never been a lucky person and I’ve pretty much resigned myself to being ruled by Murphy’s law. But last week I encountered the worst kind of luck and unexpectedly found myself in the middle of Alanis Morissette’s biggest hit, “Ironic.” I was standing at the …

Shawn Adams: The cat who came in from the cold

Sunday, December 21, 2014

PELHAM — For many, this time of year is a time of memory. Looking back on the past year, we reflect on the significant events that have shaped our lives. Some of these memories can be full of …

Claire Streeter: A father who tried once before to quit — and must again

Friday, December 19, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Dear Daddy: I’m writing to talk to you about something extremely important to me, and I’m not sure how to say it in person. I’m writing to talk to you about stopping smoking. I know you’ve been smoking since you were 15. Daddy, I’m worried about …

Kristin Carter:

Friday, December 19, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Dear Mom: Do you really know just how bad smoking is for you? Not only will it kill you, it is a habit that will cost you a lot of money each year. It affects your hygiene, causing bad breath and smelly clothes. It also causes …