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A letter to Barack Obama

By Jack Hoffman

Dear Mr. Obama:

Not long after the 2004 presidential election, I met a woman who claimed she was an independent voter who voted for George W. Bush. I asked her the reason why, and was there a Democrat she would have voted for? Her response was simple: Howard Dean because he stood for something.

That message has been seared in my memory ever since. And when you addressed the message of change and rallied the young voters in Iowa and around the nation to a cause I felt at long last the Democrats had themselves a candidate who could win.

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Golden Oldies

By Rosalie Tirella

Yea, we went to the ZZ Top concert and it was great!” I told one of my gal pals last summer. “I love ZZ Top!” “ZZ Top?” my gal pal asked, giggling. Where the hell were my ZZ Top records, she wanted to know? Which of their songs could I sing?

Actually, none before I met my boyfriend “Joe.” Lucinda Williams, Aimee Mann, Elvis Costello – these are – or were – the artists I listened to on my “hi-fi” stereo. All literate and sometimes snarky singer songwriter types who rocked my world. And they COULD rock out! Warren Zevon is still a personal hero. But ZZ Top? And their delicate, exquisitely sensitive songs such as, “Cheap Sun Glasses” or “She’s Got Legs” – you know, those lovely ballads that reduce all women to hookers? Well, let’s just say they weren’t my thing.

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Captured by lies and freed by the truth

By Jack Hoffman

“Cautiva” (captured) is a compelling Argentinean movie that explores a part of the sordid past history of a brutal military government that ruled Argentina from the late ‘70s to early ‘80s. The merciless gangsters of Argentina, like so many brutal dictatorships, were commonplace in Latin America and had what I consider to be a most insidious way of placating supporters of the military and police who wanted a child, but were unable to conceive one. – Want a baby? No problem – we will just go out and kidnap a pregnant woman, steal her newborn, and away you go!

Christina, the heroine of the story, is now 19 years old and learns by scientific proof that her adopted parents had lied to her about her original adoption and that her real parents disappeared, victims of this incomprehensible crime.

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The Ghost of Enron

By Jack Hoffman

Five years ago today I was invited to speak at an anniversary party for ICT. Rose Tirella, the publisher, editor, delivery girl, and chief bottle washer of the paper asked me to write something- just anything will do. Being an author, network investigative producer and part time speechwriter writing a column seemed challenging.

Since that first meeting there certainly has been lots of pot- holes on this journalistic road. But thanks to Rose and her tutelage, the freedom without censorship to express my opinions that she gave me I stayed with her mostly out of respect and admiration for her work and belief in an alternative news source.

To the many that have given their time without financial compensation only love of the paper and its philosophy a special thank you. The paper could never have worked if it wasn’t for the loyalty of the advertises. Throughout the years when myself or other writers challenged the boundaries of the other mundane print media leaving Rose in a state of nervousness you folks still remained. And even when I or some other writer dared challenge the mundane boundaries set by the other local print media that certainly touched some nerves- you remained.

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InCity Times is seven! Now, the important stuff …

By Rose Tirella

Happy seventh birthday to us! That’s right! InCity Times is seven years old, and we’re proud to be here. But we’ve no time to rest on our hot little laurels because the city that InCity Times loves is under siege and we have to write it about it. So here goes:

We don’t know what’s happening with the Worcester City Council this term, but this group of politicians seems to be in dire need of an enema. We don’t know how they feel about anything! They need to emote, pour out their feelings! We don’t know what they want to do – really do – about anything! They say one thing – City Manager Mike O’Brien proposes another. They demurely agree with O’Brien and the tail wags the dog!

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Worcester’s senior citizen gardeners

Some serious gardening is going on in our city!

By Josie Shagwert

Are you a community gardening enthusiast? Do you wax poetic about how, way back in the day, New England’s urban centers grew much of their own fresh food in Victory Gardens? Or do you just really dig how a tomato from your backyard tastes better than your supermarket-variety tomato (and it didn’t have to get trucked in from god-knows-where!)? Well, you’ve met your match in Worcester’s senior gardeners. It is possible that their unbridled enthusiasm for urban gardening is matched only by that of another group of gardeners; the teen participants in REC’s YouthGROW program.

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When does dumber become dumbest?

By Jack Hoffman

During the 1992 presidential campaign, papa Bush criticized the then Governor Clinton about a few anti-war opeds he wrote for the British press while he attended school in London. Bush said if the governor wanted to state his anti-war views publicly, it first should have been done in the U.S.A. It’s the old adage: keep your dirty laundry in Arkansas.

Now comes junior Bush with his characteristic swagger strutting across the stage about to address the Israeli Knesset in the heart of Israel’s capital of Jerusalem. Just a few minutes into his canned rumblings, he begins a tell-tale lecture on America’s politics, always considered to be a no-no, an unwritten law that presidents, when speaking in foreign countries, leave our politics at home. Never mind his usual BS, insinuation and misrepresentation of what Obama has said. This time he crossed a line, what the major media dared not touch – a direct insult to most Jews. Something no American politician has ever dared cross – comparing appeasement during the Hitler years to the Democrats’ idea of negotiating with our enemies.

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Our fathers, ourselves

Billy’s girls

By Rosalie Tirella

Billy Fredette calls his two daughters “my girls” with the accent on “my.” They are the loves of his life. They ARE his life. So much so that he’ll get choked up just telling you!

In their Lafayette Street apartment he has shoe boxes filled with their awards – certificates for perfect attendance at Chandler Street Elementary School. Letters and cards created by them. He has been on the cover of the MSPCC newsletter, a Dad worthy of cover photos and laudatory articles.When money was tight several years ago, the teachers at Millbury Street Head Start loved his little family so much they pooled their resources and gave Billy’s girls a sleigh-load of Christmas gifts.

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Sex and the City rules!

By Rosalie Tirella

You live in Worcester and are a middle-aged, single woman. You didn’t watch the Sex and the City television show when it ran on cable TV from 1998 to 2004 because 1. you didn’t have cable, 2. you didn’t have a TV and 3. you didn’t believe all that cultural icon hyperbole that had been heaped upon … a freakin’ TV show! You had your own life to live – to hell with Carrie Bradshaw’s!

But when Sex and the City went off the air four years ago, and you read all the accolades written by some very smart people in some very smart magazines and newspapers (hello, New York Times), you figured, what the hell, you’d take a peek and see what all the fuss was about. You now owned (were given) a 20-year-old television set that wasn’t hooked up for cable but was hooked up to a 10-year-old VCR (also a handy-me-down), and you knew the public library had all six seasons of Sex and the City on videocassette. So you borrowed some SATC videos, asking the librarian at the check-out desk (a bit cynically): “Did you watch the show? Is it any good?”

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City company offers commuters way to cut gas costs

By Steven R. Maher

[Editor’s Note: This story was submitted in May 2008 and not published for space reasons.]

Fuel costs are skyrocketing. Motorists are paying $40 to $50 to fill up their cars at the gas pump. Worcester Airport Limousines is offering some travelers a more affordable and convenient alternative mode of transportation. Whether you’re going to Logan Airport or a Red Sox game, there is money to be saved.

Hates Boston traffic
This writer was asked to go on a business trip to Bangor Maine. The plan was to fly out of Logan Airport at 10:15 AM, visit a company facility, and then fly home from Bangor on the 5:00 PM flight.

This writer truly dislikes navigating the Boston traffic. Equally detested was leaving the car in airport parking garages, where bad things sometimes happen. A co-worker had mentioned catching a shuttle on a business trip. So your humble writer decided to see if there was much of a cost difference between taking a shuttle and driving oneself.

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