Tag Archives: Worcester

New! 1 column from PETA; 1 from Rose

In the Canal District Talkin’ Trash!

By Rosalie Tirella

You’d think with thousands of people in the Canal District DAILY, the City of Worcester would have A PLAN TO EMPTY CD GARBAGE CANS DAILY … and maybe even hose down the streets a few times a week. There’s nothing quaint or easy peasy about the situation: It’s not a few paper cups tossed into a few trash receptacles. It’s heaping – we mean heaping – trash cans at the end of each and every day, overflowing onto Millbury, Water and Green streets’ sidewalks BECAUSE HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE VISIT THE NEIGHBORHOOD DAILY! Thousands on weekends.

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Outside Bobby’s Hotel Vernon, Kelly Square! pics: R.T.

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Wah Wah Water Street!

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Millbury Street – outside the old Vernon Drug Store. Bring us a drugstore, CD poo bas! I remember my late mother buying us kids hot fudge sundaes at Vernon’s soda fountain! Bring us an old fashioned ice cream counter, CVS!!

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Outside the old Oscar’s Cleaners – now a laundromat but still owned by the Asadorian family.

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Millbury Street – outside the old Steeple Bumpsted’s. Remember their iconic tee shirts?

Why should it be on the Canal District’s small biz folks to do major garbage removal? THIS MESS IS SOMETHING FOR THE City of Worcester DPW department to tackle! – people with garbage trucks carrying working men/women with big muscles wearing those protective gloves. IT’S A JOB, not an afterthought. The biggest slob of them all: Bobby Largesse’s Hotel Vernon. He never empties the trash …

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Americans deserve better: It’s time for new leadership at NIH

By Dr. Alka Chandna

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is our nation’s foremost medical research authority, charged with the lofty and admirable goal of seeking scientific knowledge to “enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.” But under the leadership of Director Francis Collins, the agency has repeatedly failed in this mission and squandered tens of billions in taxpayer money.

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Stop needless animal testing! Hundreds of monkeys in labs, alone, isolated – living HORRIFIC LIVES!

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Lots of animal research is not applicable to humans! STOP THE ANIMAL TORTURE – INCLUDING NEEDLESS INHUMANE TESTS ON SWEET MICE, BEAGLES AND GOLDEN RETRIEVERS!!!!

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Collins’ apparent lack of interest in fostering scientific excellence and his inability to steer the agency toward innovative, cutting-edge research makes him ill-suited to lead NIH, and his continued occupation of the captain’s chair threatens to torpedo this country’s position as a world leader in scientific research.

It’s time to fire Francis Collins.

Collins’ reign at NIH, beginning in 2009, has been marked by an acute lack of vision. Inexplicably choosing to mine the dusty defeats of the past for future success, Collins has directed nearly half the agency’s taxpayer-funded budget of $41 billion toward cruel and senseless animal experimentation, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that animal studies seldom result in effective treatments and cures for human diseases.

Ninety percent of basic research — the kind that Collins loves and most of which involves animals—fails to lead to treatments for humans. A whopping 95% of pharmaceutical drugs that test safe and effective in animals are unsuccessful in human clinical trials. And in its strategic plan for 2016 through 2020, NIH actually acknowledged that “animal models often fail to provide good ways to mimic disease or predict how drugs will work in humans.”

Yet, in spite of these clear failures, NIH just can’t seem to quit animal experimentation. At a workshop earlier this year, the institute discussed the well-documented difficulties of applying results from animals — including dogs, cats, monkeys, mice, rats, and rabbits — to humans. Its solution? Continuing to chase the unicorn, it settled on “better” animal experiments.

But Collins’ loyalty isn’t even to science or the health of Americans — it’s to the old methods and to his constituency, which is largely made up of animal experimenters. So our tax dollars are helping to prop up the animal experimentation industry. Myriad animal breeders and suppliers as well as companies that make everything from lab cages and equipment to kibble have found a good friend in Collins, who continues to provide for them with $19 billion a year.

That’s not just a waste of money and a waste of precious lives — it’s also a wasted opportunity. It’s endless suffering for those who desperately need new treatments that are left undiscovered. It is, at its core, poor leadership.

Collins has also refused to curb, or even acknowledge, the rampant negligence, cruelty, and repeated violations of federal law in his agency’s own animal laboratories.

From January 2018 to June 2021, 75 cases of serious animal welfare violations were documented in NIH’s Maryland laboratories. Animals suffocated, starved, and died of dehydration. They were injected with the wrong drugs and subjected to unapproved procedures. They became entrapped in parts of the equipment and died while frantically struggling to escape. One mouse burst into flames — yes, you read that right — when experimenters failed to notice that alcohol fumes had built up during a heat-generating surgery.

But not a word about any of that from Collins, who either doesn’t know or doesn’t care. Either way, it’s an indictment. That’s not how a leader leads.

NIH should be the world leader in cutting-edge scientific research. Squandering billions looking for solutions to this century’s problems with cruel 20th century methods is not leadership. Just the opposite. NIH needs a leader with vision, one who embraces the advancement of human-centric methods that can produce real-world remedies for human maladies. It’s what we deserve, and quite frankly, it’s what we’ve already paid for. Collins has had more than a decade to move NIH into the future. He has proved himself incapable. It’s time for someone new.

Alka Chandna is vice president of laboratory investigations cases at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510; www.PETA.org.

CANAL DISTRICT FUTURE, PAST

BY Rosalie Tirella

Late last night – I should say super early this morning – I drove through my old stamping grounds, Green Island, now dubbed “The Canal District.”
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pics: R.T.

All the gentrifiers were fast asleep – it was 2 a.m. – but THERE WERE HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE OUT – AND IN A CELEBRATORY MOOD! SCORES AND SCORES OF YOUNG PEOPLE OF COLOR OUT ON MY OLD STREETS. Hispanic kids, Black middle-aged ladies, Black men, Asian-American girls, most exquisitely dressed. Their gatherings were just getting started! On the corner of Harrison and Water streets a hundred or so 20-somethings, all impeccably coiffed, were hanging out in the street and parking lot; the autumn breeze was chilly to me but the kids were just chillin’: laughing, flirting, chatting. I drove into the scene smiling … Down on Millbury Street the old PNI Club was hosting a party with celebrants just heading out to their cars with gift bags. All folks of color. All looking lovely. A wedding party? A birthday bash? As a child my Polish relatives and their friends had held their wedding receptions at this PNI, at the end of our old Eastern European neighborhood, Green Island. The Polish bride was always pretty and wore white like she meant it! The Kielbasa was home made – smoked in a shed in Chicopee by her uncle. The pierogi were plenty and varied made by the chochi and Bapy’s who taste-tested a batch for lunch before bringing down their huge Tupperware containers filled with potato, blueberry, cheese, mushroom and meat pierogi. We danced and danced like the peasants we were – all polkas. And we sang Polish drinking songs, too. “MAY YOU LIVE ONE HUNDRED YEARS!!” It was a scene right out of THE DEER HUNTER.

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Rose’s old neighborhood

But last night, looking at the PNI, peering into the door way and seeing the Hispanic crowd all happy and danced-out with their trays of homemade food, I thought: HERE IS A NEW MOVIE. THEIR MOVIE. And I felt great about it.

Over on Harding Street, behind 3Gs sports bar, another group gathered. A bit more raucous than the other two …but I drove through it feeling safe. A hundred or so kids of color. It was their night, not this old lady’s.

The Canal District scene in day light is youngish blond bland girls, isolate, catty and hard. The boys their knights for the day with no fashion sense. This scene is difficult to take because Worcester is a majority-minority city, and there are usually two people of color in this Canal District day scene. You need money to attend most of their parties. They drive up the rents in my old ‘hood, and the old factories all have new windows. Their spacious, high-ceilinged, high-end apartment lofts now, not my Polish grandfather’s – Jaju’s – sweat shop.

I had a weird experience: an old biz pal put me up in his converted CD factory building. Now lofts and stained hardwood floors and painted beams. Beautiful. My pal is living proof of HANDSOME IS AS HANDSOME DOES. He said my plight moved him, so he gave me respite, shelter from the storm. Simple as that – but oh the world to me!! His assistant showed me downstairs: WE HAVE A COURTYARD! she gushed. But as she opened the big glass door and I walked out into this cobble-stoned yard inside the factory with four high brick walls and no ceiling – just a square of sky – all around me – I winced. The building’s five stories high – and windows all lined in a row…heavy doors across the way. It felt like prison. I thought: THIS WAS THE SHOE FACTORY WORKERS’ “BREAK ROOM.” How awful. Jaju had one like this, I bet, in Douglas, at the textile mill he worked at. … A soft-spoken man who never questioned his lot in life, Jaju was stoic, but his son, my uncle, worked a summer off from Holy Cross college with his dad in the Douglas mill and told my mom: IT WAS LIKE WORKING IN HELL.

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Old Green Island factories: brandy new for the kiddos!

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Newly installed new windows …

The factory in the Canal District was built in the 1860s, pre-union, mostly exploitative piece work, pre-OSHA, too. Hundreds of men – immigrants from Europe like my Jaju – toiled all day in the room I had slept in! And now I stood in what I felt was a perpetually dark space, a controlled space, a trap, not a courtyard. It was where the guys smoked a few of the cigs that their daughters or sons had rolled for them the night before for work. Then it was back to toiling …

🌸🙌🌼🥟Just in from Rose …

I’m thinking today …

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Rose musing with mutts …

… about the differences between Worcester’s Canal District and the Boulevard Diner.

This a.m: at the entrance of the gentrified Canal District – a poor person’s seat/home at the Peanut (I miss my ICONIC, SAFER, SLOWER Kelley Square!):
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At the Peanut …

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Except for Father Madden and Bill Riley at St. John’s Church on Temple Street, most Canal District denizens shun the homeless, push for their ouster.

But travel a few blocks down and enter Shrewsbury Street where you have the Boulevard Diner, a place where homeless folks always get a free cup o’ Joe and sandwich. Staff even built a community food pantry-shed – take a staple or snack, leave one … And this afternoon: PAINT IT LOUD AND PROUD: DINE AT THE BOULEVARD DINER ON SHREWSBURY STREET! The historic diner gets rechristened! Nice job!
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The Boulevard Diner…today!

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– text+photos by Rosalie Tirella

A Clean Worcester

By Edith Morgan

There is so much going on in Worcester: new residents (we gained about 20,000 according to new US Census figures), new housing, new businesses – and slowly the city is polishing its image. But the complaints about litter, trash and sidewalks rendered nearly impassable by weeds, trash and other impediments continue to be heard in many parts of the city.

This summer you may have seen groups of green-shirted youths picking up litter and trash along our streets – members of the new “Worcester Green Corps.” This is a new effort, and there are plans for future efforts, involving various neighborhoods and groups working on those areas, so that keeping us clean is a year-round, city-wide effort, not just on Earth Day or the occasional spot clean up. Of course, employing our young people is an additional bonus and certainly something to be done regularly in the summer.

But I think we need to look at the larger picture, and I have a number of suggestions for residents of Worcester:

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Canal District (Water and Millbury streets), this morning. Pics by R.T.

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1. We have a good trash pick up and recycling system. I make sure that our yellow trash bags do not attract wildlife; we double bag our garbage and put some ammonia in each bag before it goes out on the sidewalk.

2. The recycle bins work well if you bag or weigh down the paper, plastic and cans so the wind cannot blow them all over. And if your jars and cans are clean, they do not draw wild life.

3. Weeds do a great job of gradually destroying sidewalks – any crack can be a great home for a seed that then turns into a plant with deep roots. After a good rain, go out and pull out all the weeds in your sidewalk and at the street gutter. After doing this for three years, you will see how much of a difference it makes. Weeds make good “catch-alls” for windborne litter.

4. Are you a renter, owner or absentee landlord? No matter! You are responsible for keeping your frontage clear, to the middle of the street. We all complain about our city taxes, but if each of us does not do his/her part and we have to hire crews to pick up after us, that will be expensive and time-consuming.

5. The future generations need to be tained from the very beginning that public property is EVERYONE’S job. Students need to pick up their trash on the playground every day, at every grade level . It’s not the custodian’s job to pick up after us. I am not asking kids to mop, vacuum or repair. But at a MINIMUM, THEY SHOULD NOT LEAVE DEBRIS ALL OVER WHERE THEY HAVE BEEN.

6. We all need to take pride in seeing that Worcester’s public places are pristine and a source of pride. Tenants, renters, owners, visitors, newcomers, old timers, old, young – we all have the same responsibility.

7. Do you bring your own bags to the grocery store? What do you do with the fast foods you eat in the car when you finish? And smokers, where do you toss your butts ? Remember, the filters are not biodegradable!!

8. Finally , Worcester is our home: We do not trash our nest.

This just in: MARK YOUR CALENDARS! SEPTEMBER 10 – watch for free! Fahrenheit 9/11!

From filmmaker Michael Moore …

A Free Worldwide Screening of “Fahrenheit 9/11”

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Great flick!

I have an announcement for you. I would like to invite you to join me for a free worldwide screening on Friday, September 10th, of my 2004 film, Fahrenheit 9/11. We’ll watch it online together …

We’ve decided to hold this free screening because it’s become clear that many of our political, corporate and media leaders wish to rewrite the history of 9/11 and tell a fake-sentimental story that justified two wars of aggression, the removal of some of our basic constitutional rights, and the creation of the domestic surveillance state. This screening of Fahrenheit 9/11 is our attempt to tell the real facts and understand how our country has, since that fateful day, been in a downward spiral that must be and can be reversed.

The online film event will begin at 9pm ET on Friday, September 10th. I’ll say a few words, we’ll show the movie, and then afterward we’ll bring on some special guests for a discussion and take your questions live. As I said, it’s all free and it takes place right here on my Substack site, michaelmoore.com. To guarantee your “seat” from home, you simply need to be a free subscriber to this site. You can do that by clicking this button:

Fahrenheit 9/11 (still the highest grossing documentary of all time) questions the Bush administration’s motives for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It shows our troops speaking to the American people about the lies we’ve been told and shows the madness we’ve created on the ground in those countries. Many of the issues raised in the film – about voter suppression, poor treatment of military veterans, issues of race and class and U.S. militarism, are as timely today as ever.

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Michael Moore

The film was the first documentary in 50 years to win the top prize — the Palme d’Or — at the Cannes Film Festival. In the U.S., it won the People’s Choice Award — not for best documentary, but for Best Movie of the Year. It also broke an opening weekend box office record set by “Return of the Jedi”. That’s how weird it all was at the time.

Released just a little over a year into the Iraq War, the public overwhelmingly responded to the film which revealed the massive falsehoods and errors of the political, military and media establishment as they exploited the 9/11 tragedy for financial gain (see: military-industrial complex) and set the United States on a course for never-ending wars.

Fahrenheit 9/11 unfortunately remains even more relevant today as the same politicians and elites lead us down the same wrong roads. 20 years later and it is crushing that we still have not learned the lessons of 9/11. We lost the war in Afghanistan. We lost the war in Iraq. We lost the peace with Iran. We still rattle our sabres with countries like China while the world shakes its head and quietly laughs at us. We still believe we can solve problems by invading countries and killing civilians with drone attacks. We are no longer ‘#1’ except in our own minds. We created a fake War on Terror, we militarized our local police, we ended up trillions of dollars in debt — all to protect the so-called ‘homeland’ (a word straight out of the Fascist Dictionary) — when, in fact, the NSA and FBI now admit that our largest terrorist threat is from American citizens who are white supremacists seeking to overthrow Democracy. And we all know who their enablers are: The 147 Republican Senators and members of Congress who, just hours after the January 6th sacking of the Capitol, joined the insurrection and voted to overturn the presidential election results, claiming that Trump was their true president. They lost that vote, but all 147 of these traitors still remain in Congress.

So we are in dark times. Amongst the top industrialized nations we are still last in life expectancy, last in infant mortality, last in overall heath care, last in education, last in voter turnout, last in women’s rights — but first in gun deaths, first in mothers who die in childbirth, first in child poverty, first in number of people in prisons, first in student loan debt, first in home foreclosures and bankruptcies and first in citizens shot to death by the police. The world may laugh at us, but it’s no joke here in the U.S.

“This special screening of Fahrenheit 9/11 also marks the debut of “Mike’s Movie Night,” a new feature here on my recently announced site on Substack (the free platform on which you are reading this!). Every month or so, I’ll hold an online screening of a movie I love or have discovered and watch them with all my Substack members (occasionally the film’s director or actors will join us afterward). While this first “Mike’s Movie Night” next week will be available for free to all, subsequent movie nights will be my “thank you” gift to the paid members who are able to contribute and support our upcoming film and TV work. So become a member if you can!

Shut up about the climate if you still eat meat!

By Michelle Kretzer

A global heatwave. Flooding in Cameroon, China, Germany, India, Niger, Nigeria and Turkey. Wildfires in Algeria, Canada, Greece, Italy and the U.S. An earthquake in Haiti. A first-ever drought on the Colorado River. Tropical storms in the Caribbean. Seemingly, every day brings a new natural disaster. Consequently, every social media feed brings new posts from people “heartbroken” by the devastation — followed by posts of the burgers or pork chops they had for dinner.

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EAT LESS MEAT! TRY VEGANISM!

Oh, the irony.

The latest report from the United Nations (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirms that we must slash greenhouse-gas emissions and keep the rise in global temperatures below 1.5°C (2.7°F) in order to prevent a planetary catastrophe.

Scientists at the University of Oxford found that a global shift to vegan eating would do just that, cutting emissions 70% by 2050 (in addition to saving 8.1 million lives and $700 billion to $1 trillion a year on healthcare, unpaid care and lost working days). A separate Oxford study, this one involving the largest analysis of global food production ever conducted, determined that rejecting meat and dairy is the best thing a person can do for the planet.

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Go, Joe!!

In an interview with The Guardian, lead study author Joseph Poore explained, “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use. It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car. Agriculture is a sector that spans all the multitude of environmental problems. Really it is animal products that are responsible for so much of this.”

Further research at New York University found that by transitioning agricultural land from animals to plants, we could actually remove years of carbon dioxide emissions from the Earth’s atmosphere.

It’s not rocket science. It is, however, climate science.

In his “code red for humanity” statement, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “We are at imminent risk of hitting 1.5°C in the near term. The only way to prevent exceeding this threshold is by urgently stepping up our efforts and pursuing the most ambitious path. . . . [T]here is no time for delay and no room for excuses.”

You wouldn’t think that simply chowing down on climate-friendly food would qualify as “ambitious,” what with the availability of taste-alike plant versions of almost every kind of meat, milk and cheese imaginable. But, cue the excuses.

Most that I’ve heard run the gamut from laughable (“cows, pigs and chickens would go extinct”) to eye-roll-inducing (“cavepeople ate meat”).

“But the economy,” some say. OK, let’s look at the economy.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that animal agriculture costs the U.S. economy more in health and environmental damage from air pollution alone than it contributes. The study didn’t even have to take into account the negative health effects of eating animals, the damage from other forms of pollution and greenhouse-gas emissions or natural disaster relief.

And with the UN climate report promising more floods, more fires and more extreme weather events, those costs will only keep going up. Unless we reverse course.

Should we actually shut up about the climate crisis and the destruction it’s causing in every corner of the Earth? No. We should be shouting it from the rooftops — over a grill covered in Beyond Burgers and vegetable kebabs.
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At the Millbury lake: soldier’s gone fishin’!

By Rosalie Tirella

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Rose, Jett, Licac…with open hand.

What were the odds of our paths crossing? … Mine and the soldier dad’s. The day after the Kabul suicide bombers detonating themselves in a blood bath of body parts so that the ISIS-K gunmen could feel empowered and plunge into the swelling crowd of US soldiers and thousands of Afghani people to finish the job. To aim the muzzles of their AK47s willy nilly, blowing up babies, tearing toddlers’ arms off, ripping old men’s faces to the bone, shooting out the hearts of young women, virginal and some beautiful. And killing our American military men and women – American soldiers, USA warriors and protectors … “Kids” to me, an old lady.

Our American “kids” were doing all the right things at the Kabul airport: cuddling babies, offering bottled water to young women in ankle-length dresses overcome by the garbage, dessert heat, desperate pleas all around them …sitting dazed in the desert sands. Some American soldiers were photographed by the news agencies holding young boys’ hands as they led them inside the airport to the planes, planes that could hold an entire Afghan village!

Maybe this Millbury soldier had held his little boys’ hands as they embarked on a plane to fly to Disneyland … perhaps. I’m in Millbury, sitting on a rock at the edge of a pond, looking at the soldier dad, a US soldier – active duty – imagining … He is teaching his two little boys to fish at the muddy mouth of the little pond this August afternoon. He’s with HIS Dad, who’s 67 and a Millbury native, a blue collar guy recalling when you could buy a cup of coffee in town for 50 cents and none of the gourmet bakeries with their $5 cupcakes had yet moved in. He’s the gentle hand, smiling, pulling out his smart phone to take pictures of his grandsons with their catches dangling from their fishing rods – the rods are kiddie sized but totally functional. I wince as I watch the kivers flap listlessly in the sun, their green-yellow scales twinkling in the sunlight.

I notice the soldier son has bulging, well defined calf muscles and biceps; his shoulders are wide and lightly sculpted. He wears his shorts, tee shirt and sneakers like a uniform. His shorts are perfect, with creases in front; sneakers spotless, tee shirt smooth and pristine looking. His baseball cap is not soft and faded like some guys’ – it’s stiff and white looking. A bit nerdy. His cap hides the top half of his face – so he seems expressionless as I continue to search for his eyes.

“They [President Biden] thought this [withdrawal] through their third [hole],” he just said. He sounded disgusted. Fed up. You could tell he hated President Joe Biden and probably voted for Trump (both times). You could tell he expected only incompetence from Biden and cabinet. He was curt to me, dismissive of my small talk. Earlier he had said: I’m regretting the move back. I was away for ten years. We should have stayed in Colorado. But I’m back. In Massachusetts.” He said “Massachusetts” like he was spitting out one his sons’ earthworms.

“Too liberal for you?” I said. Then, making things worse: “You know, I’m a liberal Democrat and I run a little lefty paper in the city, but even I think Biden screwed up! And I support our soldiers! You can be a progressive Democrat – a liberal- and still support our troops!”

The soldier dad was unimpressed with my patriotism and continued to bait the fish hook at the end of his older son’s line…the boy wasn’t putting the hook into the worm right. The soldier seemed unhappy. He was sharp with his boys – giving orders to them, judging them for just wanting to loosen up a bit and goof off fishing. But he made them stand at the end of the lake with purpose…they didn’t dare leave their fishing posts. I sensed he loved them but was demanding a seriousness that three year olds lack. His littlest boy seemed sheepish. The soldier dad didn’t raise his head once to look at me, but he did mention something about “this end of the lake getting crowded” and maybe they should decamp and move up a ways.

From me, I guessed.

Which made me clap enthusiastically as his three year old caught his first ever kiver. YAY! YAY! HOORAY! I said. GOOD JOB! And I clapped my old veiny hands and clapped and clapped. This pleased the little boy to no end who now smiled at Jett my cute lil’ Husky mix. Jett was excited, too – he couldn’t take his eyes off the semi-circle of a fish flapping on the end of the little boy’s fishing hook. Jett had caught and killed a snake in the Millbury Dog Park the day before; the hunter in him was roused.

The little boy seemed to bask in my praise – over-the-top because his Dad had treated him so like a little soldier – scolding him for muddying his sneakers by the water’s edge, directing him to walk away from the water so he could clean off his sneakers and re-tie the laces, even though they had never come undone.

As I turned to focus on Jett, the little boy squealed: I WANT A WORM!!! He shouted mightily into the summer sky. Dad put one on his hook and the little boy giggled at me – he had gotten my attention! I watched him, with the help of his strong soldier Papa, pull the rod back and then flick it forward so the little plastic ball that acted as a buoy landed out a ways in the lake. Everybody watched it – the fish hook wasn’t far off – to see if a fish would tug at the worm. Grandad had taken a photo of the little boy and his first catch of the afternoon. Seeing his pretty fishy hanging lifeless from the line, the little boy, worried, sweet and good hearted like all babes in the woods, yelled to his father: “Can we put him back?” I wanted to hug him and shout: YES! YES, WE CAN! LET’S! But I knew Dad would be against it – and be angry with me for softening his son. So I shut my mouth.

The soldier dad’s tightness stayed there with us all at the lake. Not even his good sons could make him smile. Maybe he was hiding his pride and happiness. Or was it marital strife that made him act so determined at the pond surrounded by kivers, kids, silly Jett? Military training? Massachusetts? All of the above? I loved his little boys but wanted to leave. He was too oppressive. I said goodbye to the boys and grandpa. Soldier son went right on baiting his sons fishing hooks, ignoring me. I could tell he was thinking: Chatty, opinionated, liberal old broad. FROM MASSACHUSETTS.

But his 3 year old looked back at me and gave us a weak smile. I could tell he still wanted Jett, me and Lilac around, but he’s got to be the brave soldier … and eventually learn to have fun on his own. Maybe he’ll grow up to be a vegan.

New education column from Edith …

Power to the Teacher

By Edith Morgan

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A teacher’s tools … pic: E.M.

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The Worcester Public Library – a great resource for ALL students. pic: R.T.

I grew up in a home, and a belief system, where the teacher was revered and looked up to, and whose word was something to be taken very seriously. My teachers were in full control of their classrooms, and at least in the first few years, I believed everything my teachers said, and my parents backed what I was learning, sometimes to the dismay of my parents (as an eight year old I came home and declared I would have nothing to do with money, as my teacher had said that ”money was the root of all evil” and I would not have nothing more to do with it. My parents would not directly contradict my teacher, but they made sure that I later found out that the TRUE saying was that “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil.”

America has had a different history with teachers, from the itinerant Ichabod Crane to the present day certified, educated and continuously re-freshed with workshops and in-service programs teacher. Today’s teachers are professionals, in many ways specialists in their areas, who continuously seek better ways of serving their students.

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A busy year ahead for students and those who help them learn about the world and themselves.

When I first began teaching, I was paid $3,000 a year – but I was totally in charge of my classroom, left to implement the district curriculum as well as possible, given the fiscal constraints of public schools. But my power did not extend beyond the classroom and teachers were usually not consulted about what new buildings should be like or what the curriculum should be, except as an afterthought.

Our profession is the only one where decisions are made by the untrained and often uninformed. Just imagine if your doctor or your lawyer’s work was determined by a committee or a gaggle of politicians – what would their service be like??

It is high time that we give teachers some leeway and back them up, rather than to criticize and undermine their authority. Students very quickly figure out where the power lies, and if they imagine that it is in THEIR hands, you can be sure that they will soon misuse it.

WE ARE NOW COMING OUT OF NEARLY TWO YEARS OF VERY DIFFICULT TIMES, WHERE CHLDREN HAVE NOT DEVEOPED THE GROUP AND SOCIAL SKILLS THEY WOULD HAVE IN CLASSROOMS AND ON PLAYGROUNDS.

THEY HAVE BEEN SURROUNDED BY MEDIA THAT MISINFORM DELIBERATELY AND INCREASINGLY LIVE IN A SOCIETY WHERE FACTS, CRITICAL THINKING AND LOGIC ARE FALLING BY THE WAYSIDE.

We are going to have to be patient, and we will have to return to teaching our young to face reality, to think clearly, to seek facts before reaching decisions, and to value truth and reason above emotion. We, the adults around them, need to model responsibility and self control because our young do as we do, not as we say.

I have been heartened by the numerous examples of children showing empathy and kindness to others, including newcomers and those who are different from them. Would that our media and some of our politicians live by the same rules.

ON THE ROAD WITH ROSE

1. OUTSIDE THE BOX

BY ROSALIE TIRELLA

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Jett. pics:R.T.

The magical hour of our journey. Jett seems to thrive in this in-between world. He loves to look out the car window and see the city lights at night …the world rolls by his blue eye and his brown eye and he’s curious. My little husky mix loves jumping on a just made bed and soaking up the air conditioning while I unpack our gear and turn the TV on to Turner Classic Movies. He meets all kinds of people who pat his geriatric head, and the little kids love his tail that always curls up like a little flag. At 14 1/2 years old, this is Jett’s last great adventure. With me and Lilac, of course!

A few of my friends are going their own way, too – and liking it. They’re way past caring what the world thinks of them. They are wise, know the score. They’re fine with being untethered, unfettered …at 60! We don’t give a da*n what you think of us! Freedom, baby! Freedom! It’s addictive!

Dorrie just bought herself a camper and told me she’s “glamping” in Barre and having a terrific time. Just Dorrie and her dogs in nature. No pesky people, no city stress…she left it all behind in her gorgeous Victorian in Worcester, which she plans to sell. Was it Emerson who urged us to: “Simplify, simplify, simplify” ?
…Dorrie’s friend is sailing up and down the East Coast in a smallish boat with her boyfriend. Their home? Their boat – and wherever they drop anchor for the night.

Is it COVID that has made us brave? Has liar Trump catapulted us into honesty? Has our dying planet made us want to live Hendrix’s lyrics? “Excuse me while I kiss the sky!!!”

My cousin – 61 – just became a dad. For the first time. He and his young wife have left their cottage in Western Mass and are “bouncing around” Massachusetts, their two-month baby in tow … along with their two little dogs. When we talked on the phone they were heading to their motel. My cousin left his great job at the hospital to focus all his attention on his new born baby whom he adores and can’t stand being apart from for more than two minutes. Maybe the nurses at work found this irresponsible, just “dropping out” like that. But my cousin has never sounded giddy on the phone. These days, at 61, with two hip replacements and his finances thrown to the wind, he sounds positively giddy!

And me, meeting Worcester County in a more personal way, seeing so many more people than I normally would … talking with strangers and learning their stories. Seeing the pain and seeing how we try to transcend the pain. Brave souls, me included! And wanting to write it all down …

2. PUPS AND HOME

BY ROSE T.

The early bird catches the dog park. Jett and Lilac love their romps (twice daily) in the park, though Lilac is getting a bit clingy. She seems extra protective of me these days. My smart girl.

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I am more Jett – hyper and in-the-moment. Lilac is more thoughtful, almost wise. I think she dreams “HOME”! A few months ago, when I picked up some blankets and afghans from our old apartment on Blackstone River Road- and smelled their gameiness with a frown – Lilac wagged her tail furiously, dove onto the blankets which I had thrown onto the floor, and she rolled in them, reveling in the smell of our old apartment: HOME. This made me cry.

Lilac had seen the truth, our situation for what it is. Jett and I couldn’t have cared less about the ratty afghans. I think that’s because I have lived in crappy apts my whole life- and am unsentimental about all of them.. And for Jett, he adores me – really really loves me. I am the apple of his ice blue eye. To him, my beloved husky husky mix, ROSE = HOME. Rose is where his heart is. Lilac is attached, too, but not as intensely. With Jett it’s a primal thing. His mistress Rose is with him, so he is complete. He is Home.

Another discovery: seeing a city unfold its wings in the early morning. The truckers rousing in the DD parking lot…the homeless walkers stopping to put their knap sack and bags on the sidewalk – to repack, reorganize … take stock of their stuff. Important stuff. The new day lifts spirits…I go to the grocery store for fresh fruit and seltzer water. And to pee. I see my face in the big mirror by the door: I am old.

3. WEIRD STUFF AND YWCA EMPATHY

BY ROSE T.

Another night (saw a quasi fight break out at McDonald’s), another day (stay safe out there, all you traveling souls!) in my life …
Weird. In happier times I’d never think to wear cut-off blue jean shorts or buy a hamburger at McDonald’s special for Jett and Lilac. I feel guilty about doing both – so not me – but these trying days have made me do weird stuff.

Weirder still: I’ve just come to realize how few truly empathetic people are out there. The listeners. The soul soothers… You apply to SMOC, WCAC – Worcester’s premier social service agencies – re housing and your dire straights and…they do nothing. SMOC’s Chris Orcutt, the directors of WCAC barely acknowledge you, never return calls … But your gas station-owner buddy rises to the occasion- listens, hears you, gives that extra treat to the dogs…comes up with an apartment lead. While pumping gas. Always looks cute; these days his handsomeness is rounded with gentle concern when he talks with you. And last week he went out of his way to try to repair my jalopy so as to not slow us down

… Or take the front desk lady at the YWCA last night …A Hispanic lady sitting at the brandy new desk in the remodeled YWCA lobby. I was feeling grubby …needed a shower. I shower every day – to music courtesy of WUMB.ORG.

Making the shower ask is uncomfortable. Abby’s House is anti-dog. So are my relatives! Friends were busy with their Saturday nites. …But when I presented my hygiene conundrum to the front desk lady at the YW, she knit her brows and right away began working the problem. No, I wasn’t a Y member. Yes, I was smelly. Yes, I had toiletries. No, she didn’t have a towel to give me…And yet she moved quickly, talked with the maintenance girl and found me a family shower to shower in. I brought my make up and bath kit…laid out creme rinse, pretty soaps from Dorrie and had a luxurious shower at the YW at Salem Square last night. I dried my hair. Put on deodorant. Slathered on the moisturizer. Ahhh…

Now I could face the world with a modicum of confidence. Thank you, YWCA shower angel!
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On the road …

4. RED LIPSTICK AND BULKIES

BY ROSE T.

When the going gets rough, the tough get going … to the makeup display corner to buy red lipstick. Pretty tube. Nice rose-red color. No brush necessary – apply straight from the bullet.

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I’m in the Canal District, wearing my new red lipstick, but forget about the kiss – CRAVING a Widoff’s bulkie! Right now! The hot pillowy rolls just bought from Widoffs! For my mom on Lafayette Street! After Sunday mass …with my kid sisters and all the city’s church goers …now cued up in the bakery, holding tight to their snippets of paper with numbers on them- the ones they pulled out of the red dispenser when they entered Widoff’s. The counter girls – pretty kids from our high schools – will yell out your number and then it’ll be your turn to shout over the crowd of customers: 1 dozen bulkies – seeded!

Then the walk home…me eating a so soft, hot bulkie, torn in half, no butter (that’s for home) but still melt in your mouth delicious! Its poppy seeds are stuck between my teeth…I’ll eat two more, buttered, at home! This one’s for the road! My sisters will eat theirs at the kitchen table like good girls.

That’s what I’m missing now. Home in that wonderful Widoff’s Sunday Morning Scarfing Down a Bulkie after Mass.

Now we’ve got pot shops, hookah shops, tattoo shops, tapioca balls …in Widoff’s place. Instead of Lederman’s and Widoff bakeries and their tremendous freshly made bulkies, today I see some stupid hookah supply place with its big ugly hookah pipes – not bulkies!!! – in the display window! Lederman’s is now home to some ridiculously trendy exercise joint and a bo bo shake shack that I don’t evenunderstand. Never see any customers.

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Water Street

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Wistful for Lederman’s Bakery (and Widoff’s, right across the street!)

Miss my bulkies!

Wild horses have a target on their back

By Jennifer O’Connor

Just a century ago, millions of horses roamed the American West. By 1970, after being targeted for sport and killed for pet food and fertilizer, only 17,000 were left. In response, Congress passed a law to protect them and made it a crime for anyone to harass or kill wild horses on most federal land. However, that hasn’t stopped the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from continuing to round up tens of thousands of these horses, whose fate is often uncertain.

Euphemistically called “gathers,” the BLM conducts sweeping roundups on our nation’s open ranges using motorized vehicles and helicopters that terrorize the animals. Traumatized by the inescapable noise and physically exhausted from running, horses — some of whom incur injuries in the chaos — are packed into holding corrals. They may be held for years before being sold.

Although all buyers must sign contracts promising that animals bought from the program will not be slaughtered, one of the BLM’s biggest customers is an advocate of horse slaughter. The buyer moved horses across state lines and refused to say where they ended up. A government report determined that 1,700 were killed. Appallingly, those may be the “lucky” ones.

Many of those removed from the wide-open rangeland end up warehoused in corrals for the rest of their lives even though the BLM admits that its “long-term pastures” are “nearly filled to capacity.” And, of course, taxpayers shoulder the cost of this debacle: The BLM spent nearly $390 million on holding horses between 2012 and 2020.

Horses are social animals who use 17 different facial expressions to communicate — more than dogs and chimpanzees. Each herd has unique dynamics, just like our families. Horses tend to hang out most often with those whose company they prefer. Bonds are formed and sometimes broken. After foals grow up, some decide to stick around while others take off to make their own way. Even in established herds, there are squabbles over personal space and competition for position within the family hierarchy. One researcher said “long-term observation of these animals in the wild is like following a soap opera.”

So it is abjectly cruel to break up horse families and upend their social structure. Speciesism—ascribing an inferior status to those who don’t happen to be human — can take many forms, and treating wild horses as nuisances to be removed is one of them.

The BLM makes the disingenuous claim that range conditions can’t support unmanaged wild horse populations, yet wild horses are present on just 17% of BLM rangelands. They are vastly outnumbered by livestock. Cattle graze and roam over millions of the same acres and consume enormous amounts of grass and water. The bottom line is that this suffering is being inflicted on horses in order to appease ranchers and to safeguard their interests.

Rounding up wild horses with helicopters, selling them to killers or corralling them for life is indefensible. Let your federal representatives know that you want this BLM boondoggle to end.