Free Will Astrology: Summon old school tenacity as seen in Jurassic Park, Taurus
May25

Free Will Astrology: Summon old school tenacity as seen in Jurassic Park, Taurus

ARIES (March 21-April 19): A critic described Leonardo da Vinci’s painting the Mona Lisa as “the most visited, most written about, most sung about, most parodied work of art in the world.” It hasn’t been sold recently, but is estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Today it’s kept in the world-renowned Louvre museum in Paris, where it’s viewed by millions of art-lovers. But for years...

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Free Will Astrology: Tell the world you’re made of gold, Virgo
May21

Free Will Astrology: Tell the world you’re made of gold, Virgo

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The Aries poet Anna Kamienska described the process of writing as akin to “the backbreaking work of hacking a footpath, as in a coal mine; in total darkness, beneath the earth.” Whether or not you’re a writer, I’m guessing that your life might have felt like that recently. Your progress has been slow and the mood has been dense and the light has been dim. That’s the tough news. The good news is that I...

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Podcast: An adult jump rope team! Jennifer Therkelsen talks about adult fitness and practicing in a bar
May14

Podcast: An adult jump rope team! Jennifer Therkelsen talks about adult fitness and practicing in a bar

Jennifer Therkelsen had never jump roped as a kid, but now is one of the core members of the Pioneer Valley Jump Rope team, an all-adult jump rope team that practices weekly at The Taproom in Hadley. In our weekly podcast collaboration with Amherst Media, Therkelson talks fitness, jump ropes, and what it’s like to practice in a bar. The team has made nationals and will be competing in June. Check out their fundraising page...

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Free Will Astrology: Work on that PBJ recipe, Taurus
May11

Free Will Astrology: Work on that PBJ recipe, Taurus

ARIES (March 21-April 19): According to my assessment of the astrological omens, your duty right now is to be a brave observer and fair-minded intermediary and honest storyteller. Your people need you to help them do the right thing. They require your influence in order to make good decisions. So if you encounter lazy communication, dispel it with your clear and concise speech. If you find that foggy thinking has started to infect...

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Free Will Astrology: Be inspired by melting cheese, Aquarius
May07

Free Will Astrology: Be inspired by melting cheese, Aquarius

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The Torah is a primary sacred text of the Jewish religion. It consists of exactly 304,805 letters. When specially trained scribes make handwritten copies for ritual purposes, they must not make a single error in their transcription. The work may take as long as 18 months. Your attention to detail in the coming weeks doesn’t have to be quite so painstaking, Aries, but I hope you’ll make a strenuous effort to...

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Podcast: Cannabis business owner Seth Frappier talks about breaking down stoner myths
Apr30

Podcast: Cannabis business owner Seth Frappier talks about breaking down stoner myths

Seth Frappier started Easthampton-based Chronic Trips as a way to bring cannabis together with wellness and an active lifestyle. So far, the business has hosted hikes as well as a yoga session. Frappier talks about his hopes for opening a studio in Easthampton and the importance of reducing the stigma of the “lazy stoner.” He also talks about the changing laws related to cannabis and what social consumption does for...

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Free Will Astrology: Wreak creative destruction, Libra
Apr30

Free Will Astrology: Wreak creative destruction, Libra

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I hate rampant consumerism almost as much as I hate hatred, so I don’t offer the following advice lightly: Buy an experience that could help liberate you from the suffering you’ve had trouble outgrowing. Or buy a toy that can thaw the frozen joy that’s trapped within your out-of-date sadness. Or buy a connection that might inspire you to express a desire you need help in expressing. Or buy...

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Free Will Astrology: Put down your quills Aries!
Apr20

Free Will Astrology: Put down your quills Aries!

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Imagine you’re one of four porcupines caught in frigid weather. To keep warm, you all have the urge to huddle together and pool your body heat. But whenever you try to get close, you prick each other with your quills. The only solution to that problem is to move away from each other, even though it means you can’t quell your chill as well. This scenario was used by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud as a parable...

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Free Will Astrology: See you on the dark side of the moon, Leo
Apr16

Free Will Astrology: See you on the dark side of the moon, Leo

ARIES (March 21-April 19): In the early history of the automobile, electric engines were more popular and common than gasoline-powered engines. They were less noisy, dirty, smelly, and difficult to operate. It’s too bad that thereafter the technology for gasoline cars developed at a faster rate than the technology for electric cars. By the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, the petroleum-suckers were in...

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Wellness: PCOS, affecting fertility and appearance, quietly plagues many reproductive-age women
Apr10

Wellness: PCOS, affecting fertility and appearance, quietly plagues many reproductive-age women

“I was the fat girl complaining about back pain,” said Becca Minardi, 24, of Longmeadow about the early symptoms of her polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Diagnosed just six months ago, Minardi feels as though doctors didn’t take her seriously before her diagnosis. She believes she fell victim to what she calls “the stigma of women’s health.” PCOS affects between 8 and 20 percent of reproductive-age women but many don’t know that...

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Free Will Astrology: Don’t wait 9 years to publish your poems, Capricorn
Apr06

Free Will Astrology: Don’t wait 9 years to publish your poems, Capricorn

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Aries statesman Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States. He wrote one of history’s most famous documents, the Declaration of Independence. He was an architect, violinist, inventor, and linguist who spoke numerous languages, as well as a philosopher who was knowledgeable about mathematics, surveying, and horticulture. But his most laudable success came in 1789, when he procured the...

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Free Will Astrology: Play it safe in new ventures Aries
Apr03

Free Will Astrology: Play it safe in new ventures Aries

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Eighty-three-year-old author Harlan Ellison has had a long and successful career. In the course of publishing hundreds of literary works in seven different genres, he has won numerous awards. But when he was in his thirties, there was an interruption in the upward arc of his career. The film production company Walt Disney Studios hired him as a writer. During his first day on the job, Roy Disney overheard...

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Free Will Astrology: Your April Fool’s Horoscope
Mar26

Free Will Astrology: Your April Fool’s Horoscope

ARIES (March 21-April 19): A few years ago, a New Zealander named Bruce Simpson announced plans to build a cruise missile at his home using parts he bought legally from eBay and other online stores. In accordance with current astrological omens, I suggest you initiate a comparable project. For example, you could arrange a do-it-yourself space flight by tying a thousand helium balloons to your lawn chair. APRIL FOOL! I lied. Please...

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Dr. Schnuffie’s Flu Fighter a Local Solution to Illness
Mar21

Dr. Schnuffie’s Flu Fighter a Local Solution to Illness

Even though it didn’t get a catchy name, this flu season in the United States has been the most severe since the swine flu epidemic in 2009. While influenza season is winding down with the melting snow, there are still a few more risky weeks to get through. Thankfully, one local product that does have a catchy name may be just the hero Western Mass needs to fight off influenza. Dr. Schnuffie’s is not in fact a Winnie the Pooh...

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Free Will Astrology: Cherish and nurture the basics, Gemini
Mar19

Free Will Astrology: Cherish and nurture the basics, Gemini

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The “School of Hard Knocks” is an old-fashioned idiom referring to the unofficial and accidental course of study available via life’s tough experiences. The wisdom one gains through this alternate approach to education may be equal or even superior to the knowledge that comes from a formal university or training program. I mention this, Aries, because in accordance with astrological omens,...

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Free Will Astrology: Surround yourself with Beauty, Libra, Or Else
Mar12

Free Will Astrology: Surround yourself with Beauty, Libra, Or Else

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The British science fiction TV show Dr. Who has appeared on BBC in 40 of the last 54 years. Over that span, the titular character has been played by 13 different actors. From 2005 until 2010, Aries actor David Tennant was the magic, immortal, time-traveling Dr. Who. His ascendance to the role fulfilled a hopeful prophecy he had made about himself when he was 13 years old. Now is an excellent time for you,...

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Free Will Astrology: Have the Patience of Peter Parker, Libra
Mar05

Free Will Astrology: Have the Patience of Peter Parker, Libra

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The men who work on offshore oil rigs perform demanding, dangerous tasks on a regular basis. If they make mistakes, they may get injured or befoul the sea with petroleum. As you might guess, the culture on these rigs has traditionally been macho, stoic, and hard-driving. But in recent years, that has changed at one company. Shell Oil’s workers in the U.S. were trained by Holocaust survivor Claire Nuer...

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Free Will Astrology: Search Out Your Ghost Towns, Sagittarius
Feb26

Free Will Astrology: Search Out Your Ghost Towns, Sagittarius

ARIES (March 21-April 19): On September 1, 1666, a London baker named Thomas Farriner didn’t take proper precautions to douse the fire in his oven before he went to sleep. Consequences were serious. The conflagration that ignited in his little shop burned down large parts of the city. Three hundred twenty years later, a group of bakers gathered at the original site to offer a ritual atonement. “It’s never too late to apologize,” said...

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Puerto Rican Evacuees Receive Trauma Relief Through Acupuncture in Springfield
Feb22

Puerto Rican Evacuees Receive Trauma Relief Through Acupuncture in Springfield

The Springfield Family Resource Center of Gandara  is located in a modest building at 18 Gaucher Street in Springfield’s Pine Point neighborhood, and upon arrival it’s clear that this social service agency is a community lifeline. Inside, the narrow reception area teems with clients seeking services, and the staff are friendly and efficient. There is order in the chaos, however; case managers busily take information in a room directly...

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Free Will Astrology: Aries, It’s Wild Card Season for You
Feb19

Free Will Astrology: Aries, It’s Wild Card Season for You

ARIES (March 21-April 19): When you’re playing poker, a wild card refers to a card that can be used as any card the cardholder wants it to be. If the two of hearts is deemed wild before the game begins, it can be used as an ace of diamonds, jack of clubs, queen of spades, or anything else. That’s always a good thing! In the game of life, a wild card is the arrival of an unforeseen element that affects the flow of events...

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Free Will Astrology: Check your old pants for winning lottery tickets, Virgo
Feb06

Free Will Astrology: Check your old pants for winning lottery tickets, Virgo

ARIES (March 21-April 19): British athlete Liam Collins is an accomplished hurdler. In 2017, he won two medals at the World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships in South Korea. Collins is also a stuntman and street performer who does shows in which he hurtles over barriers made of chainsaws and leaps blindfolded through flaming hoops. For the foreseeable future, you may have a dual capacity with some resemblances to his. You could...

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Pole Fitness: From adult entertainment to an Olympic sport
Jan31

Pole Fitness: From adult entertainment to an Olympic sport

Holly Woods has always loved the art of dance. When she was a young girl in Manhattan, her mother rented an apartment above Alvin Ailey’s studio. “I would go downstairs and hangout and watch the ballet dancers perform,” she recalls. “You would see Debbie Allen and all these people coming and going. It was like Fame; I was fascinated by it.” When her family later moved to Apalachicola, Florida, she did the same thing at the town ballet...

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Free Will Astrology: Hidden Treasure Awaits, Aries
Jan29

Free Will Astrology: Hidden Treasure Awaits, Aries

ARIES (March 21-April 19): In all of history, humans have mined about 182,000 tons of gold. Best estimates suggest there are still 35 billion tons of gold buried in the earth, but the remaining riches will be more difficult to find and collect than what we’ve already gotten. We need better technology. If I had to say who would be the entrepreneurs and inventors best qualified to lead the quest, my choice would be members of the Aries...

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Free Will Astrology: Watch the Price of Eggs, Virgo
Jan22

Free Will Astrology: Watch the Price of Eggs, Virgo

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Anders Haugen competed for the U.S. as a ski jumper in the 1924 Winter Olympics. Although he was an accomplished athlete who had previously set a world record for distance, he won no medals at the games. But wait! Fifty years later, a sports historian discovered that there had a been a scoring mistake back in 1924. In fact, Haugen had done well enough to win the bronze medal. The mistake was rectified, and...

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Astrology: Libra, open your heart and go for the win-win!
Jan16

Astrology: Libra, open your heart and go for the win-win!

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Many American women did not have the right to vote until August 18, 1920. On that day, the Tennessee General Assembly became the 36th state legislature to approve the Nineteenth Amendment, thus sealing the legal requirements to change the U.S. Constitution and ensure women’s suffrage. The ballot in Tennessee was close. At the last minute, 24-year-old legislator Harry T. Burns changed his mind from no...

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Free Will Astrology: It’s Leo Makeover Season!
Jan08

Free Will Astrology: It’s Leo Makeover Season!

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I’m happy to inform you that life is giving you permission to be extra demanding in the coming weeks — as long as you’re not petty, brusque, or unreasonable. Here are a few examples that will pass the test: “I demand that you join me in getting drunk on the truth”; “I demand to receive rewards commensurate with my contributions”; “I demand that we collaborate to outsmart and escape the karmic conundrums...

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Editorial: Taking Up Running to Slow Down
Jan02

Editorial: Taking Up Running to Slow Down

I’m in my mid-30s, and “getting fit” is something I think about more now. It took me a long time to come around on the idea of exercise for exercise sake — but it has become something that I actually enjoy (even if I don’t do it as often as I should). In middle school, if memory serves, I was literally the last person to finish our required “mile run” in gym class. I don’t remember my time, but I remember walking for most of the...

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Changing Lives While Living With Chronic Illness
Jan02

Changing Lives While Living With Chronic Illness

Erica Verrillo of Whatley has written more than half a dozen books and launched a non-profit national organization, all while being partially bedridden for the past three decades. Verillo has Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.), a chronic and fluctuating neurological disease characterized by extreme exhaustion, muscle weakness, sensitivity to pain, confusion, forgetfulness, a weak immune system, and a lack of concentration. In 1998,...

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Fat freezing: Non-surgical process said to eliminate flab that’s hard to lose
Jan02

Fat freezing: Non-surgical process said to eliminate flab that’s hard to lose

There is a way to actually to get rid of your fat while lying down. It’s a method called CoolSculpting and it’s a machine connected to a hose with a plastic suction cup that hums as it vacuums up and freezes fat. Patients recline on a table as the cold kills the fat cells, without harming the surrounding tissue, says Dr. Katherine White in Northampton, who has had a dermatology practice in the area for over a decade. It’s an...

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Free Will Astrology: Fly Your Freak Flag, Aquarius
Jan02

Free Will Astrology: Fly Your Freak Flag, Aquarius

ARIES (March 21-April 19): In 2018, your past will undergo transformation. Your memories will revise and rearrange themselves. Bygone events that seemed complete and definitive will shimmy and shift, requiring new interpretations. The stories you have always told about how you became who you are will have to be edited, perhaps even rewritten. While these overhauls may sometimes be disconcerting, they will ultimately be liberating....

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Free Will Astrology: Pisces Theme is Secret Freedom
Dec26

Free Will Astrology: Pisces Theme is Secret Freedom

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “I need more smart allies, compassionate supporters, ethical role models, and loyal friends, and I need them right now!” writes Joanna K., an Aries reader from Albuquerque, New Mexico. On the other hand, there’s Jacques T., an Aries reader from Montreal. “To my amazement, I actually have much of the support and assistance I need,” he declares. “What I seem to need more of are constructive critics,...

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Free Will Astrology: Your Mission for 2018
Dec18

Free Will Astrology: Your Mission for 2018

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Your life in the first half of 2018 will be like a psychological boot camp that’s designed to beef up your emotional intelligence. Here’s another way to visualize your oncoming adventures: They will constitute a friendly nudge from the cosmos, pushing you to be energetic and ingenious in creating the kind of partnerships you want for the rest of your long life. As you go through your interesting tests and...

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Free Will Astrology: Don’t Listen to Mozart, Scorpio
Dec11

Free Will Astrology: Don’t Listen to Mozart, Scorpio

ARIES (March 21-April 19): According to a Sufi aphorism, you can’t be sure that you are in possession of the righteous truth unless a thousand people have called you a heretic. If that’s accurate, you still have a ways to go before you can be certified. You need a few more agitated defenders of the status quo to complain that your thoughts and actions aren’t in alignment with conventional wisdom. Go round them up! Ironically, those...

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Wellness: The Importance of Exercise at Every Age
Dec04

Wellness: The Importance of Exercise at Every Age

On a blustery and cold November morning last week, people inside the Northampton Senior Center were keeping warm in a group exercise class and in the fitness room. Stan Plaza and his wife, Darlene Plaza, try to come to the Fitness Center a few times a week to use the exercise machines in addition to participating in outdoor activities. Stan Plaza was using a machine to do arm curls while Darlene Plaza used an elliptical. “It’s a good...

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Free Will Astrology: Don’t Sell Out, Aries; You’ll Get Rich Quicker
Dec04

Free Will Astrology: Don’t Sell Out, Aries; You’ll Get Rich Quicker

ARIES (March 21-April 19): You may get richer quicker in 2018, Aries — especially if you refuse to sell out. You may accumulate more clout — especially if you treat everyone as your equal and always wield your power responsibly. I bet you will also experience deeper, richer emotions — especially if you avoid people who have low levels of emotional intelligence. Finally, I predict you will get the best sex of your life in the next 12...

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