Category Archives: Hoffman

Ya gotta choose between Ex-Lax and Pepto!

By Jack Hoffman

This morning I received what I would say was a desperate call. As in political: “Holy shit, Jack! Did you see the latest CNN poll? It showed Hillary and Trump were in a virtual tie!!”

My response was: Big deal. Tell me something that’s realistic.

Like: How about the electoral percentages in the key states? One of the polls I was interested in was what’s going on in the Lone Star state, Texas. It has 38 electoral votes out of 270 to win. Last Tuesday one of the more popular papers in Texas,conservative Dallas Morning News, wrote in its first edition of the week that they would not support the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

But it was the editorial the next day that shook many of their readers. “We recommend Hillary Clinton for President.”

Now why this deserves some of the following importance. Hillary and Donald are in a tie. And this is a state that hasn’t voted for a democrat since LBJ: And the paper hasn’t endorsed a democrat since FDR! The poll results tell us lots, including what some Southern states maybe thinking. Also, the fact that Mitt Romney won the state 57% to 41% for Obama. And what I think could be telling is the fact that Texas’ flower child Senator Ted Cruz who was insulted by Trump at the Republican nominating parties, has said “I will not support Trump.”

Is it possible that Texas, the hanging state, could go for Hillary?

I know they use poison now. Yippie! They just received a humanitarian award. But they still can walk around with their AK47s wrapped around their backs.

Maybe I’m dreaming? Note to Hillary: Get your money and ass down there. It could be the final death blow on Trump’s eventual grave.

Now for the dueling forum match, or shall we say, the premiere to the big debate later on. It was moderated by Today host Matt Lauer. I found Matty not so familiar with historic facts. For instance, Trump said he was against the Iraq war from the beginning. That’s bull shit and Lauer knew it and should have responded accordingly. Trump and Lauer continued on about Hillary’s e-mails and the possibility of her lying.

Like Bernie said, enough is enough.

I thought the Today wing ding was unfair, sloppy and even pure sexist. He continually talked over Hillary and allowed Trump to talk over him. The Donald was sarcastic as ever calling “the generals, who have been advising the president that “ “they have been reduced to rubble.” Some of these generals are still fighting in Iraq.

And once again Trump praised Putin as Russia’s strongman. Saying he would take Putin any day over Obama! And quoted Putin’s popularity at 86% of the Russian people.

Is Trump that naive?

To make such insulting comments about our president and praising Putin! I’ll bet the FBI has already begun a file on Trump.

A brief note why Trump won’t show his taxes: Simply put he pays no taxes!

It’s simple, he takes a loss on one of his properties and writes it off on the profits of others. It’s a little more complicated than that. Why don’t all these moderators that interview him ask has he paid any taxes in the last 10 years.

Enter an after forum conducted by one of my favorites, Rachel Maddow. An audience member gets up and asks a simple question: “Why did the president give all that money to Iran? We could have used it here.” Instead off debunking the question as completely false, she breezed over it wth a nothing response. I would suggest to those Fox listeners read the facts. It wasn’t our money. Just something else the media’s ignored in the full context. When Trump brings it up you would think the media would respond with the truth.

Don’t you think they have a responsibility to tell the truth?

They just like the controversy. It makes for good TV. The answer is simple. The World Court in the Hague ruled that the US had to pay back Iran’s money that we held since 1979. Don’t we believe in the law? Once again it wasn’t our money to keep. Rachel should have responded. But she just continued on with something about Hillary. My belief is that the media is still content on the dumbing down of its viewers.

Maybe it might take a few seconds more to explain the true story. I’m sorry but I guess I should apologize- it’s maybe to difficult for the audiences to comprehend.

I would like to hear from some Trump supporters!? I know you are out there!

Jack Hoffman

You be the judge

By Jack Hoffman



I was planning on writing my column for Rose on pass codes/words, but something else got my fancy up. Before I continue, I have just one question about pass codes/words: With all this hacking that’s going on … how the hell do they get into all these files, if they don’t know the pass code?

I’ll await a good response from some geek out there.

Now for what’s important:

I confess when this presidential nominating process began I was cheering for Donald Trump, before the oddsmakers didn’t give him a shot. I wanted him to win so he could bury the Republicans for the next 10 years — maybe longer!

And that’s what scares the hell out of the Repugs who refuse to back him.

I saw a bumper sticker on a parked car that read “I just don’t trust the government.” So I pasted a note on his car, saying: “I suggest you give back your Medicare and Social Security.” With an attachment that read: “It’s your government, too.”

Just this week the war of words has really picked up. It seems everyone or just a few are a little pissed off at their government.


And who is a racist and a bigot and some other choice words?

Let me turn to the Oxford Dictionary to define “bigot”: “A person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another.”

Sound familiar?…hello, Donald Trump!

After my wee bit of being pissed off, I received the following from a political pal of mine in Florida: It’s titled “Why you should vote Republican.”

Ok, let’s see why:

We’ve blocked every Obama move. We kept another liberal out of the Supreme Court, country be damned;

we cut taxes for the wealthy;

gerrymandered and suppressed the minority vote in every district we could;

repealed “Obamacare” 51 times at a cost of more than $54 million to taxpayers;

we shut down the government, wasting another $21 billion;

we didn’t pass a single jobs bill.

We blocked immigration reform, background checks, minimum wage and equal pay for women;

made women’s choice much harder to exercise;

cut off unemployment benefits, and even filibustered the Veterans Benefits bill.

Most important, we got many states to put in voter IDs so we can keep minorities at a minimum. Of course, there are no real statistics that there is any real voter fraud. Oh! that damn Federal Court is ruling against those IDs!

And we only worked 97 days this year!

Oh, and we want your vote!


And we are in need of your money!

I’m saving my pass codes column for when I simmer down…

Comments? Email Jack at

I’m back!

Watch out, Worcester, Hillary and Trump – Hoffman’s in town, with plenty of commentary in the back seat!

Yes!!! pics:R.T.

By Jack Hoffman

First, I want to thank those who cheered me up on just about every new medical problem I incurred. Secondly, I want to thank Rose, who got me off my lazy ass. I wish her all the best on her paper’s fifteenth anniversary.

Has it been that long, Rose?

[Yes, Jack!]

I wanted to come up with a column about something you haven’t read or seen during the past couple of weeks: A discussion or promise to do something about the high cost of a college education.

Yes, Bernie did, and later on Hillary got the Bern. It seems the pundits don’t see anything exciting about college costs, so they flashed more of Trump’s meandering slop.

And yet we belabored through drug commercials you can barely follow. Except watching cute ladies and circe type girls selling another batch of Cialis erection highs.

Followed by the legal ads for having a problem with the drugs that were just being sold.

As many of you know, I spend my summers on the Cape trying to score some loose change and a having a puff or two learning what the summer flock of the young folks have to say about America. One of my pleasures … or shall I say experiencing my loquacious mouth running wild, call it just another manic episode…

Our conversations usually run the gamut – from politics, up to and including college costs. When we get into the latter all the European kids are not just shocked but find U.S. college costs incomprehensible. Especially, when you throw out costs like $50,000 to $65,000.

So here are the facts – you can take them to study hall! One only out of four students from four different countries said he had pay $1,000 for this year for college. The other costs ranged from $00!! to $500. If you get excellent grades in Europe, the cost is 0.

According to the Pell Institute Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, TICAS The non-profit Institute on Higher Education, there is today 42 million Americans bearing a $1.3 trillion indebtness from college loans!!!!!

The real story is that student debt is a $140 billion year industry that got the go get ’em permission from Congress.

Along with the collection orders equal to the IRS.

In other words, they can attach your pay, repo your car and put a lean on your home.

Just a footnote – ask your primary care doctor, if he/she is young, Just what his/her debt is. Mine owes $400,000!!! Is it any wonder very few kids are not going into medicine? As many of you already know, these debts are the subject of family arguments and even more.

So you want to read more and get sick? Read this month’s Consumer Reports. The piece is titled “I kind of Ruined My Life By Going to College.”

One last thought: the interest rate today is 8% – 9% on these loans. Just think of this: the government and the debt collectors are making loads of $!

I’m here and got lots more to say if I can stay out of hospitals…

Comments, questions, compaints? Email Jack at

Why can’t we read something like this in the T & G …

… instead of the garbage we’ve seen on the circus? This is why we can never be great! A profound lack of brains and heart, re: circuses. – R.T.

From the LA TIMES:

No more curtain calls for elephants


They are majestic animals, not performers. The City Council should act to protect them.

The Los Angeles City Council is poised to consider a measure that would in effect prevent elephants from performing in traveling shows and exhibitions in the city. It’s hardly unusual for the council to sound off on any issue under the sun, but in this case, the proposal before it underscores a growing appreciation for the world’s largest and most majestic land mammal. It deserves to be approved, and should prompt serious reflection on humanity’s relationship with these noble animals.

In the wilds of Asia and Africa, elephants roam miles a day, foraging for vegetation, socializing in groups, gamboling over varied topography — dirt, grass, hills, rocks — and wallowing in mud holes. Until recently, nothing about that natural existence was approximated in zoos. When they weren’t on display in cramped exhibits, they were chained in zoo barns, standing on concrete or other hard surfaces. For 8,000-to-10,000-pound creatures who spend all day on their feet and can live into their 40s, the consequence of that confinement was a painful middle age, marked by arthritis, cracked toenails and sore feet.

Zookeepers entered elephants’ enclosures and maintained control over the animals with the bullhook. With one blunt end and a sharp hook on the other, it resembles a hammer. Keepers used it to poke, prod or strike.

Since the 1990s, as zoos and veterinarians started to understand the severity of elephant foot diseases, conditions began to improve. Zoos stopped chaining their elephants at night. Exhibits got bigger and surfaces for treading got softer. The Los Angeles Zoo spent more than $40 million building a new habitat, trying to offer, in several acres, some of what elephants might find in the wild — dirt, grass, hills, logs, a waterfall— as well as features they wouldn’t find, such as a barn with heated floors.

Today at the L.A. Zoo, the bullhook has been banished and keepers practice “protected contact” with elephants, meaning that man and pachyderm rarely share the same space. This protects keepers and animals and eliminates the need for the former to threaten the latter with a sharp-edged tool. The Assn. of Zoos and Aquariums, which accredits North American zoos, has instructed all of its member facilities to adopt, by 2014, the practice of keepers not sharing “unrestricted space” with elephants.

What has been slower to change is the common perception of elephants and how they interact with human civilization. That concept is tangled in a history of pachyderms depicted as brave warriors in battle, stately beasts of burden and hardy workers, hauling lumber in Asia, ferrying tourists in Thailand and carrying visitors at county fairs in the United States.

But elephants are not horses. Although some argue that they have become domestic animals, they are not domesticated in the technical sense of having been bred by humans for selective gene traits. At best (or worst), many have been tamed for human handling. But “taming” is not gentle; it requires chaining and the bullhook, and comes at the expense of an elephant’s well-being. Whether the animal is trained to entertain or to drag logs through a jungle, it is taught by force.

Using elephants to perform in circuses and give rides at county fairs may seem more benign than using them to labor in Asian logging facilities, but it relies on much of the same coercion. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has long defended its use of elephants, saying they are meticulously cared for on the road and at its conservation center in Florida. But Ringling still chains its elephants in trains to transport them and uses bullhooks to manage them, according to reports by the L.A. Department of Animal Services and a veterinarian assigned by the department to examine the animals. That’s why a City Council committee is recommending a prohibition on public elephant performances and bullhooks.

Elephants have been part of human history for thousands of years, and their image as gentle giants endures. But their interaction with humans has often been characterized by their mistreatment. With greater understanding has come new responsibility to treat elephants with the dignity they deserve and have too often been denied.


All I want for Christma is a Bushmaster

By Jack Hoffman

Christopher Bigoiz was 8 years old when his father invited him and his older brother to attend the annual Machine Gun Shoot at the Westfield Sportsman Club. What Dad had in store for little Chris was firing the new lightweight Uzi.

What was not contemplated was that the re-coil of this new lightweight was greater than the standard model – the rifle backfired and bullets rang out in the direction of his face. Surprised and shocked as many where at the allowing of kids as young as eight to test-fire the machine gun of choice, I began to research the subject only to find this occurrence of a supervised shootout of children as young as eight is commonplace throughout sportsman clubs.

As the vast majority of American hunters close in on old age, firearm makers need a good “shot” in the arm. They do this by recruiting young people as young as eight to get interested in the sport. According to a recent New York Times article, competition was setting in – especially in the last five years. Urbanization and video games were taking their share of the rifle business. It’s highly competitive – the dollars in the youth market.

The arms manufacturers have taken a page from the tobacco companies and set their sights on the youngsters. Youngsters who will be tomorrow’s hunters.

A Philip Morris corporate memo once noted that “today’s teenager is tomorrow’s potential regular customer [smoker].”

Responding to Americans’ declining interest in shooting sports, gun manufacturers are developing programs to market their products to younger children. The industry-funded NRA spends millions of dollars annually to recruit kids as gun enthusiasts. Their efforts focus on pushing semi-automatic assault weapons, including the very model used by the shooter in the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy. All those school children blown away! A war zone in a kindergarten class!

Machine gun rallies like the ones in Westfield are an example of the efforts put forth by the gun manufacturers They also hold raffles and T-shirt give- aways – all the little goodies the kids would want. Everything short of giving away the real McCoy. There is even a magazine geared to the youth market – “Junior Shooters. ” The magazine that seeks to get children involved with guns, once featured a smiling 15-year-old girl clutching a semiautomatic rifle. SEX sells! Teen sex sells!! The article extolled target shooting with a BushmasterAR 15. It also included a special section in the magazine where the reader could get a coupon for buying one. The author encouraged the youngsters to share the article with a parent. The coupon was real cute.

“Who knows?” “Maybe you’ll find a Bushmaster AR15 under your tree some frosty Christmas morning.

Worcester group joins the fight to make the minimum wage a living wage!

Do we agree with all their talking points? Abso-fuckin’-lutely!!! – R. Tirella

Hearing & Rally to Raise the Minimum Wage

Tuesday, June 11, at 10 a.m. at the State House in Gardiner Auditorium

Free buses leave Worcester City Hall at 8:30 a.m.
We’ll get back to Worcester by 5 p.m. (or earlier).

Join EPOCA in a solidarity action with Massachusetts Communities Action Network (MCAN), Mass. AFL-CIO, SEIU State Council, Coalition for Social Justice/Coalition Against Poverty, Chelsea Collaborative, Brockton Interfaith Community, UIA of New Bedford and Fall River, Essex County Community Organization, MASSUniting, Jobs with Justice & NE United for Justice in demanding that the minimum wage be raised from $8 to $11 in our state.
Good Jobs that Pay a Living Wage: Raising Massachusetts

Legislation to raise the minimum wage: An Act to Promote the Commonwealth’s Economic Recovery with a Strong Minimum Wage

Our friends at MCAN are working on legislation, House 1701 and Senate 878 to:

1. Raise the minimum wage from $8 and hour to $11 an hour over 2+ years

2. Index it to inflation so it’s value is kept up

3. Raise the wages of tipped employees from 30% of the minimum wage up to 70%

580,000 low wage earners in Massachusetts will benefit [those earning $12 an hour or less now]. The minimum wage was last raised on January 1, 2008 and everyone knows just how much gas, oil, and food prices have increased since then. More than 2/3 of low wage earners are adults.

Most low wage earners work for large, profitable companies like Walmart, TJX/Marshalls/Home Goods, McDonalds, Burger King and supermarket chains. The CEO of TJX/Marshalls earned $21 million last year while three quarters of their workforce only had part time work and most earned at or near the minimum wage.

Economic Impact: The additional money that low wage earners will receive through minimum wage increases will be spent in the economy and therefore, boost it.

Want a good laugh?

By Jack Hoffman

You must admit one thing: This Republican nominating process has got to be the biggest joke of the century. Maybe it’s just the clowns? You know the old saying: Falling into a pile of shit and coming up with roses. It used to be that the Democrats didn’t know their right shoe from their left. And yet they elected the best presidents of the century. But the Dems are back with a leader that in time may be one of the greats. The big joke is the Repugs throwing their not-so-smart politics in the air, completely missing the wall in front of their faces and having it all fall into one big pile of elephant dung.

So the Republicans can’t talk issues and when they fail, they resort to social issues that I thought were settled 30 years ago. Don’t you just love listening to the biggest advocates of downsizing and sending work abroad stand up and with a straight face discuss jobs-jobs-jobs. Especially Mitt Romney talking about the jobs we need after his company, Bain Capital, made extra benefits by sending jobs packing and hiring folks at roughly $8 an hour. Benefits (for Mitt) meaning lots of money for Mitt. I’ll bet the Dems are still adding up all the jobs that Bain sent packing.

In case you missed MSNBC on a not such a big deal Super-Tuesday, filmmaker Michael Moore was being interviewed by TV host Rachel Maddow. “So, Micheal Moore, what about the controversial contraception issue? The black hole that Rush Limbaugh has so conviently put himself and his Republican cohorts into.

Michael Moore: “I just heard that 33 sponsors have just pulled out.” “Pulled out!!!”

If you don’t get the joke, go into another room and read it again.

Several months ago I wrote my reasons for why Mitt couldn’t make it. Two important reasons: He is a Massachusetts blue blood who has country club written all over him. He doesn’t no tidily watt about what’s “on the street.” Real life for real people (hence all those Romney gaffes we keep getting) This may be good for the Worcester Country Club gangs in the South who still are trying to keep not only blacks, but also Jews from their clubs. Second and most important: Romney is a Mormon. And if you spent any time in the South with all those born again wackaroos you know Mitt is not going anywhere. How this guy made it so big in business is beyond me. And let’s not forget he left MA with a 27% favorable rating.

Sure Romney balanced the state budget! It’s in the constitution! He didn’t raise taxes – he just upped the fees for almost anything and everything. Could his business success in the Olympics be attributed to the cool billion $$$ from that nasty government of ours he loves to criticize? The truth is the Mormons used their political might for that money.

And just when you thought Romney was going to win the fickle finger trophy along comes Santorum and his tribe of ____ (don’t make me.) like a 1 1/2 mile closure he is going to keep me laughing. That wasn’t until Santorum – “the messenger of God” – got into the race and started to tell us about the baby—I already told that one. OK, here it is again. Santorum and his wife a neonatal nurse at the t ime had a preemie baby that died within two hours of being delivered. The Mrs. and Mr. took the dead baby home so that the rest of the family could see what ma ma was carrying around.

One last thought: Remember, George W. Bush got to be President of the United States! So don’t take anything for granted. The Repugs already have 40% of the vote!

My computer is failing, so I’ll just quit while I’m ahead … .

While on the massage table …

By Jack Hoffman

My physical therapist could hardly wait to get me on my back when he asked me, “Jack, what did you think of the debates?” I didn’t want to upset him with my progressive politics for fear I would only get a few seconds of a massage and the remaining time might be too much for me to handle.

But my big mouth wouldn’t shut up. “David they are boring and inclined to get me in an apolitical mood,” I told him. The truth is I find all these presidential debates a total joke. It’s like watching some adult versionof Community Auditions. How so many of these clowns have the chutzpa to think they can win a presidential race – let alone lead the greatest country on earth – amazes me. I was ready to nod off one during of those side shows when Rick Santorum, the wonder of Pennsylvania, who lost a rematch for governor by 20%, trotted out his wife along with some of his seven kids. He began telling the story how they took their newly born preemie home. Since his wife had preemie experience in the hospital she worked (she was a prenatal nurse), she got to take it home. How she ever got permission to take the baby home that barely had two hours of life within is still a mystery to me.

The Santorum’s excuse was they wanted their other kids to see what mommy was carrying and they could even play with the dead baby. And they have the audacity to criticize anyone who crosses their meaning of morality. I hardly finished telling my physical therapist the story when another therapist came up to me to tell me there was a thirteen year old listening to me- – Boo hoo – and can I cesnor myself.

Did I cross some line telling the story that millions of people were hearing on their TVs? And yet all these presidential candidates stand there criticizing President Obama for just about everything he has said and done, calling them “socialist ideas.” Especially Santorum. As previously mentioned, he can be a real beauty.

Another doozy from Santorum, who is the Republican front runner at this point, was homosexuality. He equated homosexuality with bestiality and pedophilia. When they mention some of Obama’s failings they are talking specifically about Social Security and Medicare and of course Obamacare – whose outlines were derived from the Mitt Romney’s healthcare program here in the Bay State. They don’t dare mention specifically a reduction in Social Security and Medicare for fear of losing the over 65 crowd. They will say President Obama has no foreign policy and will hesitate to point out all the news about the demise of Al Queda.

More than afew years ago we were talking about potential nominees. Even though the 2008 elections were barely over. Now we can hardly wait until the winning nominee appoints a certain somebody to be the vice presidential nominee.

Don’t hold your breath. Did you see how the media picked up on a story that the White House was thinking Secretary of State Hilary Clinton might want a go at it. Boy, are they winners, those in the media who are starting to seep to the level of a supermarket check out line tabloid magazine.

So now comes this new popular phenomenon to politics when something doesn’t click with the media the immediate response is “it was taken out of context.” Or the media is “elititist.” Mitt comes up with this winner by saying he enjoys firing people. Now I understand Mitt. What it must be like being trailed by so many of the media and sometimes you don’t realize what you say. His later response to the firing was it was taken out of context. He goes on to say that it was “insurance companies should be fired.”

Wait a minute – how do you get to insurance companies from firing people? Well it’s good old Mitt at it again with a 2 1/2 flip flop. We should call him the man with the golden flip. Don’t you just love this crap?

Now what about Mitt wanting this country to return to the soul it once was? Now he has me started. What does that mean Mittso? I know what soul means, but what period are you talking about? Anyone want to argue this? I wonder how much soul all these gentlemen have? Before we get into the Political Super Bowl, better still it should be the Stinky Bowl next November. Lets clear one lie up — When congress passed the $800 billion bail out bill, 30% of it went for tax relief to small business and the public. Another 30% went to infrastructure.

The balance remains in what is called the government pipeline. Waiting for commitments from the states. Fact # 1 the Congressional Budget Committee that sees where money is spent has concluded a survey with this particular program – its findings as far as jobs were that 300,000 jobs have been created from this program. So shut up about that falsehood of wasted expenditures.

I see this presidential race as a bunch of egomaniacs who see themselves as saviors – willing to say anything, willing to trash the environment, let millionaires off the tax hook. Running on a treadmill going nowhere.

Maybe voters have seen through this veil of hypocrisy and now understand when we talk about the loss of democracy.

How about returning this country to the people. Let’s have a rebirth of our democracy. That will never happen unless the moneyed folk who control the switches take a break and find something else to spend their money on. Obama has said his campaign will need over $1 billion to run a good campaign. What a waste — So don’t think for a second the democrats are so innocent.

The Supreme Court re: Citizens United has said in so many words that when it comes to corporations contributing money they are like people. Not in those words, but certainly close to it. They did say
the sky’s the limit when it comes to campaign contributions. And anyone can give as much $$$ as they want. Sheldon Adelson the billionaire casino operator just gave Newt more miliions. That’s after it’s become apparent Newt might have little or no chance of winning the nomination.

We are just beginning to see the real big money begin to flow. Who knows when the sky is the limit and the moneyed movers and and shakers have some of the deepest pockets in the world. They won’t give their power up.

Don’t worry – we will all pay for it next January.

Remembering Father Bernie Gilgun – Worcester’s hippie priest

By Jack Hoffman

On the early afternoon of Easter – Monday, April 25 of this year – Father Bernie Gilgun died quietly in the company of his family and friends at the University of Massachusetts hospital, here in Worcester. To those of us who knew Bernie, as he was so affectionately addressed by many of us, he was a legend in his time. His battles in the 1960s for civil rights, the anti-war movement and within the hierarchy of his own church will never earn him a statue at Newton Square. Or a light shining on a bust of him in one of the local churches. Bernie used to say the battles he fought were what freedom and democracy were about. And most important, they were some of the basic tenets of the religion he took and oath to obey and practice.

I once sat down with him to do an interview for my book — Run Run Run The lives of Abbie Hoffman. I must have run out of tape at least three times. You see, if Bernie was in the mood, he could win the prize for being loquacious. And when he got going, you could hear the walls of Jericho beginning to crack.

One of the first questions I asked was about a story my brother told me. Now Abbie Hoffman was no slouch for telling some bubba misters -especially with his kid brother. It was a Sunday morning when Father Bernie was giving a sermon on marrying for love – not religion – at the Blessed Sacrament Church on Pleasant Street – so the story goes. I think he already knew about our disdain for that particular church and many of its bullies who always tried to find a good opening for a fight or to blame us for killing Jesus. Although the latter was propaganda spread throughout the years by Mel Gibson (Sorry! Mel wasn’t born yet!) Finally, we were taken off the hook in the late 1960s by Pope John. Amen.

Back to my Bernie story: It didn’t take long for the church elders and Worcester’s Bishop Wright to hear about this one particular Bernie sermon. Bernie soon found himself transferred to a parish in Leicester.

The powers that be were already upset at Bernie for his extra curricular activities e.g. demonstrating with a group of 50 of us against the Vietnam War. I can still see Bernie leading the march holding palm leaves; leading us in prayer and singing “We Shall Overcome” as we began to get pelted with eggs from the Holy Cross students in front of City Hall.

Back to the interview. I asked Bernie about that sermon. With that usual arm gesture Italians and Jews use when they want you to forget about what the conversation is about – swinging your left arm out from your chest – You don’t have to say it. You just end that conversation now.

The first encounter with Bernie before the demonstration was at the old Phoenix house on Worcester’s lower Main Street where luminaries of the Worcester area would come and speak on the problems of the day. Money raised would go to Prospect House and payment for educational toys for the kids of Prospect House. There was Father Bernie preaching on something I can’t remember, but he had you mesmerized. All of a sudden, Abbie, no stranger to controversy even in those days, yelled out: “You are full of shit.” It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship – a friendship between two of Worcester’s infamous rebels that lasted nearly 40 years.

Abbie and Bernie went on bus trips to the South registering blacks just a few miles down the road where Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner were killed. Before they would leave, Bernie would show up at the backdoor of the old Worcester Medical – “Got some med supplies? Make sure your father doesn’t see what you are giving us.” (my dad owned Worcester medical – a pharmaceutical supply store). It was just a few weeks before at the old Moore’s club where a group from the Phoenix held a dance to raise some money. Abbie introduced Bernie to my dad and Bernie said “Oh! You’re Abb’s father”?

With a grumpy old dad’s tone my father said, “He isn’t Abbs or Abbie. His name is Abbott.” It was the first and only time I heard someone call my brother Abbott. That’s if you don’t count the F.B.I. – and Mr. Fenner, the principal, at Worcester’s old Classical High.

At the memorial to Abbie at the Temple two weeks after his death, I asked Bernie to give one of those famous eulogies. And did he ever. He said, “Abbie was on the side of the angels.” The crowd roared.

I asked Bernie for a good passage for the end of my book. He countered with what a radio caller once said to Abbie: “Wait until Jesus gets his hand on you.” I won’t repeat the rest of the caller’s comments.

Rest in Peace, Bernie