Category Archives: Music

Music to our souls๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽต๐ŸŽต … Next week is Pollinator Week!๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ



Save Our Bees! Easy Things You Can Do During Pollinator Week!

By Michelle Kretzer

Everyone loves to take a summer stroll through colorful, fragrant flowers or eat fresh fruit straight from the tree. But for bees and other endangered pollinators, things arenโ€™t looking so sweet.

Many pollinator populations are on the decline because of habitat loss, climate change, pollution, and pesticides. These animals โ€” including bees, birds, bats, butterflies and beetles โ€” help pollinate between 75 and 95 percent of all flowering plants on Earth. They add $217 billion to the global economy and help maintain healthy ecosystems that prevent soil erosion, counteract climate change and support other wildlife.

We depend on pollinators. And now, they need to be able to depend on us.

Next week, June 18 to 24, is National Pollinator Week, which was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate in order to highlight the urgency of protecting declining populations of pollinators. It has grown into an international recognition of these animals and the crucial role that they play in preserving biodiversity.

In honor of National Pollinator Week, here are easy ways that everyone can help save our bees.

๐Ÿโ€˜Beeโ€™ a โ€˜Honeeโ€™

A single bee may visit as many as 10,000 flowers per day to produce just a teaspoonful of honey during a lifetime. On a honey farm, bees will never benefit from that labor. After beekeepers steal all the honey from the hive, they keep the bees alive by feeding them sugary syrup and other subpar nutrients or just kill the entire hive โ€” between 20,000 and 80,000 bees. So let these animals keep their honey. They need it for nourishment more than we need it for a bit of flavoring. We can use maple syrup, agave nectar, molasses, jam, dandelion and apple โ€œhoney,โ€ Bee Free Honee (which Shark Tank star Mark Cuban invested in to help save bees), and all sorts of other sweeteners instead.

๐ŸMake Your Home the โ€˜Beeโ€™s Kneesโ€™

Planting flowers โ€” including sunflowers, wild lilac, lavender, and flowering cacti โ€” will provide bees with nectar and pollen. For those of us with condos and brown thumbs, even growing a few little herbs โ€” such as mint, chives, sage, thyme, parsley, and oregano โ€” on a windowsill or balcony can help feed bees. (And they, in turn, can help us actually keep a plant alive.)

๐ŸNone of Your Beeswax

Bees need their wax to construct honeycombs. So let them keep it! Instead, choose beeswax-free lip balms and candles!




Worcester’s 23rd Annual Bloomsday Ramble!

“He is young Leopold, as in a retrospective arrangement, a mirror within a mirror (hey, presto!), he beholdeth himself. That young figure of then is seen, precious manly, walking on a nipping morning from the old house in Clambrassil to the high school, his book satchel on him bandolierwise, and in it a goodly hunk of wheaten loaf, a mother’s thought.”

– James Joyce


From the Worcester County Poetry Association:

Bloomsday is named for Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of the Irish author James Joyce’s seminal work,
Ulysses, which is set entirely on June 16, 1904.

Cities around the world have held Bloomsday celebrations for decades.

The Worcester version involves readings in several locations approximating the sites visited by the characters of the novel in their own ramble through Dublin, June 16, 1904.

Readings will take place at six (6) venues in Central Massachusetts. The event will takes place rain or shine and will run from 8 a.m. to
9 p.m. on Saturday, June 16.

Bloomsday is always open to the public, and all are welcome to read during the event. Of course, listening is welcomed as well.

Each section ends approximately 30 minutes before the start of the reading at the next location.

๐Ÿ€ 8 am will find us at our traditional starting location, Bancroft Tower at Salisbury Park, Bancroft Tower Road, Worcester. Light refreshments will be available. This session will end at 9:30 am.

๐Ÿ€ At 10 am we will meet at Institute Park (Salisbury Street, Worcester). This session will end at noon.

๐Ÿ€ From 12:30 to 2 pm we will meet at The Wonder Bar (121 Shrewsbury Street, Worcester) to continue the shared journey. Participants should plan to cover the costs of their meals.

๐Ÿ€ The fourth session will start at 2:30 pm and will be held at the main branch of Worcester Public Library (3 Salem Square, Worcester). This session ends at 4:30 pm.

๐Ÿ€ Our dinner session this year will be held at Oโ€™Connorโ€™s Restaurant…Once again, participants should plan to cover the costs of their meals.

๐Ÿ€ For the final session, we will venture to The Old Stone Church on Rt. 140 in West Boylston (the address is 180 Beaman Street, West Boylston) and will start at 7:30 pm. Participants should
bring lanterns for after sunset and folding chairs. This session will end at 9:00 pm.

For more info, go to:

“He asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.”

– James Joyce

Meet Worcester’s Peter (Phuong) Doan! … and a ๐ŸŽถ

Peter Doan was a delegate at the Dem state convention this weekend! Go, Peter, go!! photos by Ron O’Clair


Convention floor – Peter up front ๐Ÿ’™!

By Ron O’Clair

I first met Peter Doan at the YMCA on Main Street when we both attended the Congressman Gutiรฉrrez-Congressman McGovern event held during April of this year. I recognized him as a Vietnam Veteran straight off and wanted to know if he would mind if I took his picture for CECELIA/the InCity Times website.

Peter was pleased to pose for the photograph and thankful that I had recognized his service during the Vietnam conflict where he served in the South Vietnamese Air Force as a Captain who flew helicopters as an ally of the United States of America.

We began a friendship that day, and he invited me to attend the โ€œBlack Aprilโ€ event being held at Worcester City Hall in remembrance of the 30 April 1975 pull out of Vietnam by the United States Armed Forces, leaving our Allies alone to fight off the Viet-Cong as best they could.

I went to that event, as was reported in CECELIA/InCity Times, and had an idea that it would be great for todayโ€™s generation to know what took place back then when America was divided over the issue of Vietnam, with major civilian opposition to the conflict, which ultimately led to the United States abruptly pulling out all of its forces – leaving many people like Peter behind to face the wrath of the Viet-Cong.

A few weeks ago, Peter and I took a trip to Green Hill Park and walked among the monuments there at the Massachusetts Vietnam Veteranโ€™s Memorial, reading the inscribed letters to home from fallen soldiers to their folks.

Peter spent four and a half years in a โ€œre-educationโ€ camp after Saigon fell to the Viet-Cong. It was a hell-hole where he witnessed his friends starve to death and be deprived of clean water. They had to drink water out of mud puddles on the ground: many of the people died of diseases such as Dysentery and Cholera.

At the prison camp Peter only received a bare minimum of rice each day, not sufficient to allow him good health. He finally escaped and made his way by boat as a โ€œrefugeeโ€ to Manilla, in the Philippines, where he applied for – and was granted – permission to immigrate to the United States of America.

Once Peter got here, he worked at saving enough money to secure the release of his wife and child, so that they could join him in America for a better life.

He actually had to pay to bribe corrupt officials of the Viet-Cong regime to secure the release of his family!

From what I could understand, it was a huge sum of Gold Baht which was the currency of Vietnam. He explained about coming to the United States as a boat refugee, settling in the Boston area on the 20th of April 1980. He got his first job through a program put in place by then-President Ronald Reagan focusing on hiring minorities.

Peter Doan – a brave and upstanding American!๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

He started working the very next Monday – at a Digital Equipment Corporation plant in Roxbury that was built for that purpose. He got paid $125 per week at $4.10 an hour. That was in 1980 when the sum$ was actually considered to be a good hourly wage.

Peter told me he applied for a Helicopter Pilot position with the company, but because he was not yet an American citizen, they would not consider him for that position – even though he had numerous hours flying the type of helicopter they required!

He told me he got a pay “raise” of a nickel more an hour after his first job review, an amount that today is insignificant. He also told me he worked more than one job in an effort to save the money he needed to release his family from Vietnam.

Peter’s first residence was an apartment in Dorchester, where he lived in a second-floor, three-bedroom apartment that had no heat. He shared it with four other Vietnamese refugees for $150 per month. Their slumlord told them if they wanted to have their heat fixed, the price for the apartment would be $300 per month. So they lived for three years with space heaters providing their only heat in the cold New England winters.

Here was Peter, arriving in America with the clothes on his back, and within 10 days of arrival, he had employment and housing and was well on his way to achieving the American dream.

He is justifiably proud to say he never took any welfare payments. He has done all he has accomplished by the sweat of his brow!

Each attempt to secure the release of his family cost Peter 10 24K Gold Baht, which equals $4,000 US dollars. And each time, his wife and child were intercepted by the authorities and sent to jail for three months. This happened 10 times between 1980 and 1990! In 1990 Peter was finally successful in getting his wife and child released, and they joined him in America, which ended up costing him more money the last time to have a better chance at a successful journey.

Peter’s son spent his first three years in an American high school, from which he graduated. Then he went to Harvard University, from which he graduated in 1997!๐ŸŽ‰ He works today with a well known American firm, Price, Waterhouse. His wife and child became American citizens in 1995.

Peter himself became an American citizen in 1985, voting for President Ronald W. Reagan for his second term.

Peter was active in politics, working with many officials – including our late, great U.S. Senator Teddy Kennedy, former Massachusetts Governor Michael S. Dukakis and his wife, Kitty Dukakis – to bring 27,000 Vietnamese children to the United States of America.

He was a delegate at the Republican convention back then and now is involved with the Democrats. Their state convention was held here in Worcester June 1 and 2.

Peter has such a fascinating story about coming to America and living through the darkest hours of our history during the Vietnam conflict! I would have known none of that, had I not taken the time to approach him at a Worcester event with my questions, as a person with preternatural curiosity, and in my capacity as a writer for CECELIA/the InCity Times!


Music to our souls! City of Worcester remembers our fallen heroes!

Green Hill Park – Memorial Day Ceremony๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

Photos and cutlines by Ron O’Clair:

Worcester Police Mounted Detail officers on “Buster” (left) and “Major” (right) were at the event!


United States Marine Corps bugler standing proudly. He had just performed a beautiful rendition of โ€œTapsโ€ before the crowd gathered at the Memorial.

The Honor Guard had just finished firing their rifles in a 21-gun salute to the fallen heroes as part of the ceremony.

Mayor Joseph Petty, city officials and guests at the event.

Worcester Police Officer Sean Lovely playing bagpipes.

Color Guard standing at attention.



Abby’s House Thrift Gift and Clothing Shop has moved! Check it out! … and … 2 ๐ŸŽต๐ŸŽต

Rose wearing an Abby’s Thrift
Store ๐ŸŽ! She’s scored some real beauties at the Good Will Store, too! For only $4, $5 and $7! Check out Abby’s today! Help the planet by recycling stuff! Plus, your purchase $$ goes to supporting the great ladies at Abby’s House. Thank you! pics: R.T.

And remember! Dorrie is the manager of the Abby store and curates it beautifully!

From the women at Abby’s:


OUR NEW LOCATION during the construction:


phone: 774-420-2119โค

DONATIONS WILL CONTINUE TO BE ACCEPTED DURING STORE HOURS! And we continue to sell cool vintage clothing, jewelry, shoes, hats, dishes, lamps, radios, decorative items and small furniture.

We’re open to all:

๐ŸŽ MON – THURS 10 a.m. โ€“ 3 p.m.

๐ŸŽต FRIDAY 10 a.m. โ€“ 2 p.m.

๐ŸŽโคSATURDAY 10 a.m. โ€“ 1 p.m.

Please continue to visit and help us. WE APPRECIATE YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT OF ABBYโ€™S HOUSE!!๐Ÿ˜Š

Rose bought this terrific Los Lobos album in Amherst years ago, as record stores throughout our great land began closing๐Ÿ˜ฅ๐Ÿ˜ฅ…

And … HAPPY 77th BIRTHDAY, BOB DYLAN! YOU CHARGED AND CHANGED ME FOREVER WHEN I WAS 16 and first began really listening to you!

“He who isn’t busy being born is busy dying.” – Bob Dylan

Breakfast with PETA and a ๐ŸŽต

Vanilla French toast with strawberry sauce ๐Ÿ˜Š. pic: PETA



1 vanilla bean

1 cup plain or vanilla nondairy milk (nut-free and/or soy-free if necessary)

1/2 cup canned coconut milk (or vegan creamer)

1/2 cup chickpea flour

2 Tbsp. maple syrup

2 Tbsp. arrowroot powder

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. salt

Vegan cooking spray (soy-free if necessary)

8 slices bread (the thicker the better; gluten-free if necessary)

4 cups chopped strawberries (fresh or frozen)

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1โ€“2 Tbsp. agave syrup (or maple syrup, depending on sweetness preference)

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. water

Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Sliced almonds (optional)

Screw the French toast!! Rose needs more closet space – NOT LESS!!๐Ÿ˜ฅ๐Ÿ˜ฅ


Use a paring knife, make a slit lengthwise down the side of the vanilla bean. You don’t want to cut it in half โ€” just split it open. Use the knife to scrape out the tiny seeds. Place the seeds in a large shallow bowl or baking dish.

Add the nondairy milk, coconut milk, flour, maple syrup, arrowroot powder, vanilla extract, and salt.

Stir until combined.

Preheat the oven to its lowest setting. Place a cooling rack on a baking sheet. Set aside.

Heat a large frying pan or griddle over medium heat for a couple of minutes.

Spray the pan generously with cooking spray.

Dip 1 or 2 slices of bread (depending on how many will fit in your pan) in the milk mixture and soak for 10 to 15 seconds on each side.

Place the slices in the pan and cook until golden and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

Transfer to the cooling rack and place the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm until ready to serve.

Repeat with the remaining slices of bread, respraying the pan each time before adding new slices.

To make the strawberry sauce:

Combine strawberries, cornstarch, agave, lemon juice, and water in a small pot and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, until thickened.

Remove from the heat and keep warm.

If you want, slice the pieces of toast in half diagonally before serving.

To serve, place 2 slices of bread (or 4 halves) on a plate. Top with a scoop of strawberry sauce and, if you desire, a light dusting of powdered sugar. Sprinkle with a few sliced almonds and serve.

Makes 8 slices

And for lunch … oh oh …

Monday wrap-up … and 2 ๐ŸŽต ๐ŸŽต

It’s Monday morn, โคCece-girl! pics: R.T.

๐ŸŽ of me eye!



Ringling Circus: One year later

By Craig Shapiro

It’s been a year since Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus finally paid the piper. To say that the price was “just” is an understatement.

For nearly 150 years, the circus kept animals in chains and confined them to cages, dragged them around the country, and beat and whipped them to make them perform.

But rather than seeing the writing on the wall and acknowledging the outcry of a caring public, Ringling stuck to its playbook โ€” even as it played to more empty seats.

That changed last May 21 in Uniondale, N.Y., when the curtain dropped on the circus’ shameful legacy for good.

A major win for the elephants, tigers, lions, zebras, camels, llamas, bears, monkeys, seals and other animals exploited by Ringling โ€” and for those who care about their welfare โ€” the demise of The Cruelest Show on Earth kicked off a series of victories.

This month, the Kelly Miller Circus raised the curtain on a new era. New owner James Kendrick Judkins had said that his Oklahoma-based circus would no longer include exotic animals, but he went one better when it opened its 80th season: It was completely animal-free.

Judkins took over after the previous owner, John Ringling North II โ€” the last Ringling still working with circuses โ€” was forced to sell the business amid declining ticket sales and the public’s outrage over cruel animal acts.

Reviews of the reborn circus underscore the success of Judkins’ compassionate decision: He heard from attendees of the opening performances that “it was the best show that they have seen in years.”

Given the growing opposition to forcing animals to perform, the warm reception given to the new Kelly Miller Circus isn’t surprising. Circuses that feature only willing human performers are thriving, including San Diego’s Circus Vargas, Quรฉbec’s Cirque ร‰loize and Cirque Italia.

Australia’s Stardust Circus paid attention as dedicated animal-rights advocates raised their voices, and as its list of canceled performances grew, it stopped touring with elephants. That win, however, came with an asterisk: The circus still tours with lions, monkeys and other animals.

Garden Bros. Circus could also stand to do a little soul-searching. It recently added an animal-free unit to its schedule, but other productions feature elephants from Carson & Barnes Circus, a disreputable exhibitor that beats these intelligent, family-oriented animals with steel-tipped bullhooks and shocks them with Tasers and electric prods.

While it’s commendable that Garden Bros. added an animal-free performance and Stardust stopped touring with elephants, they should both follow Kelly Miller’s lead and end all their animal acts.

Some victories have taken place away from the center ring. On June 21 last year, a month after Ringling Bros. was swept into the dustbin of history, New York banned all traveling circuses from bringing wild animals into its five boroughs, making it the largest city so far to recognize the cruelty inherent in forcing animals to perform.

Santa Fe, N.M., followed suit three months later.

And this was not long after Romania joined Peru, Sweden, Israel and other countries that have done the same.

But people who care about animals shouldnโ€™t rest on their laurels. Atlanta’s UniverSoul Circus has exploited animals for 25 years โ€” and has been greeted this year with opening-day protests in Jacksonville, Fla.; Charlotte, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; and beyond. Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wis., opens its doors to Carson & Barnes Circus, even though its animal-care director was videotaped attacking elephants with a bullhook, shocking them with an electric prod and telling his staff to hurt them until they screamed.

And the Melha Shrine Circus in Springfield, Mass., reneged on its promise to drop cruel animal acts.

Animals deserve a life free of fear and pain. Ringling Bros.’ demise should be a lesson to circuses that still haven’t changed with the times.

But if they refuse to learn from it, we can help them see the light by boycotting them and urging our families and friends to do the same.


FYI Friday … and a Los Lobos ๐ŸŽต

McGovern Profile Photo 1ab(1)
Congressman Jim McGovern Joins Bipartisan Measure to Force Vote Protecting DREAMers

Congressman Jim McGovern signed yesterday a bipartisan discharge petition to force a long-overdue vote on the House Floor to protect Americaโ€™s Dreamers.

โ€œCourageous, patriotic Dreamers in Massachusetts and around the country are living in limbo, under a cruel cloud of fear and uncertainty,โ€ Congressman McGovern said. โ€œToday I am proud to take real bipartisan action to get the American people a vote on legislation that would finally ensure Americaโ€™s Dreamers can live with certainty and continue to enrich our nation.โ€

The American people want Congress to pass a DREAM Act, as do the business, religious and law enforcement communities:

84 percent of Americans support a path to citizenship for Dreamers or permanent status;

88 percent of Independents back a path to citizenship or permanent status;

70 percent of Republicans back either citizenship or permanent status.

This discharge petition would force a House vote on bills to protect Dreamers, including the bipartisan โ€œDream Act of 2017โ€ and the bipartisan Hurd-Aguilar โ€œUSA Act of 2018.โ€

The proposal receiving the most votes on the Floor would be adopted, under a โ€œqueen-of-the-hillโ€ procedure.

โ€œA DREAM Act will pass overwhelmingly if brought to the Floor, and will be signed if brought to the Presidentโ€™s desk. I urge my Republican colleagues to join Democrats to sign this discharge petition, so we can safeguard the hopes, dreams and futures of bright young Dreamers in Massachusetts and across America,โ€ Congressman McGovern said.


Jett falls asleep counting chickens …

Why you should give a ‘cluck’ about chickens

By Heather Moore

People may not throw parties or parades or have brunches or barbecues to commemorate International Respect for Chickens Month, as they do for Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and other observances in May โ€” but perhaps they should. Chickens deserve compassion and respect. We should appreciate these smart, social birds for their personalities, not for the taste of their flesh.

Chickens and humans have a lot in common. Both feel pain and experience joy and love. Both form strong family ties and communicate constantly with others of their species. Chickens have at least 24 distinct vocalizations, so other birds know whether they’re warning them about a predator or just saying, “Hey.” When hens aren’t confined to factory farms, they lovingly tend to their eggs and “talk” to their unhatched chicks, who chirp back while they’re still in the shell.

Male chickens are known to strut around to impress females and show other males who’s the boss. Know any men like that?

Experts in chicken behavior say that these birds can count, anticipate the future and demonstrate self-control. Like humans, they show empathy for one another and mourn when they lose a loved one.

Was there ever any reason to think that they don’t?

Like humans, chickens engage in social and rejuvenating activities. While humans might go to a spa or play in the sand at the beach, chickens take dust bathsโ€”immersing themselves in dirt or sand and emerging refreshed, shaking the dirt off their feathers and rushing off to the next activity, just like dogs rolling in the grass, shaking off and running around.

These birds have distinct personalities as well as unique likes and dislikes. For example, Dorothy, an injured chicken rescued by PETA employees, is fond of pizza topped with vegan cheese and vegetables โ€” just like her rescuers are. When she was found, she had an exposed bone in her wing, but as soon as she healed, she was moved into a sanctuary with other chickens and found her place at the top of the pecking order. She keeps the other chickens in check and is vocal about her salad preferences: Add some grated carrots, but hold the green apples, please. At night, she walks up a ramp to her coop to tuck herself in.

But because humans like the taste of chicken flesh, billions of personable birds like Dorothy are confined to filthy, severely crowded sheds. They’re bred and drugged to grow so large so quickly that their legs and organs can’t keep up, and many of them suffer from leg deformities, organ failure and heart attacks. Chickens aren’t included in the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Actโ€”the only federal law that offers any sort of protection to farmed animals. At slaughter, they’re typically shackled upside down, their throats are slit and many are scalded and dismembered while they’re still conscious.

The good news is that we can do something to stop this crueltyโ€”starting at our next meal. Commercial egg replacers, bananas, applesauce and ground flaxseed can all be used instead of eggs in baked goods. Soft tofu works well in quiches, puddings and mousses, and seasoned firm tofu can be used in eggless egg salad and breakfast scrambles. Vegan mayonnaise, such as Vegenaise and Hellmann’s Vegan Carefully Crafted Dressing & Sandwich Spread, can be used instead of egg-based versions on sandwiches and in potato or pasta salad. If you crave something that “tastes like chicken,” try Beyond Meat’s vegan chicken strips, Gardein’s “chick’n” and other popular meat-free foods.

Chickens don’t actually want a party or a parade to celebrate International Respect for Chickens Month. They just want to live. Let’s give these remarkable animals the respect and kindness they deserve by leaving them โ€” and their eggs โ€” off our plates.

pic: R.T.

Another love song from KIKO, by Los Lobos!