Archive for 2006

Coffee in Worcester: Boston Donuts

posted by Mike on December 17th, 2006

This week: Worcester’s Boston Donuts, on Park Avenue near Chandler Street.

Boston Donuts

Pie and Coffee: This week we have a special guest: Kevin Ksen. Because we’re talking about Boston Donuts, and Kevin is a Boston Donuts fan. Bruce is a Boston Donuts fan, too.

Bruce: The last coffee I had was excellent. Every drop that I had of that coffee, the egg nog coffee, it just like watered my mouth so much. It was just so delicious, and so smooth, and so good that I gotta go back and have another coffee sometime. It probably won’t be the egg nog, but . . . .

Kevin: I’ve tried a few. I can’t say I’ve done the egg nog thing. I’ve certainly done the usual assortment of French vanilla and mocha cream, and the caramel one–that was good. I think the people are friendly. It’s a friendly restaurant, the people always want to talk to you.
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The Saint Isaac of Ninevah-Gift of Tears Catholic Worker Farm, Spencer, West Virginia

posted by Mike on December 15th, 2006

I went down to Spencer today and spent the afternoon chatting with Jean Kirkhope at the SIONGOTCWF.

DSCN8479

This Catholic Worker farm hosts service groups, raises some money through cottage industries, and does other Catholic Worker stuff. Not much farming at the moment. Their three dogs are awesome. Their location has moved around in recent years, and for all I know they’ll move again soon.

I like their greeting cards, especially the ones with the icon of Ammon Hennacy. If you ever want to buy me a gift, I could use pretty much an unlimited supply of these.

DSCN8481
These dogs are so sweet.

More info on Research Bureau’s iffy stats

posted by Mike on December 15th, 2006

Richard Nangle adds a new detail with his article in today’s paper:

“We didn’t just speak to the access people; we also spoke to the city regulators,” [WCCA’s] Mr. DePasquale said. For example, he said, The Research Bureau reported what Fort Worth received in a grant from its cable operator for capital and equipment and left out about $1 million in operating funding from the city.

[The Research Bureau’s] Ms. Schaefer responded, “We did not include capital grants in ours and he included capital grants in his chart.”

I asked them this yesterday: did your report oversimplify the funding picture? Now Ms. Schaefer is admitting that yes, there are aspects of funding that they didn’t report on.

If WCCA’s numbers are right, in some cases the Research Bureau oversimplified to the tune of $1,000,000.

(Not just capital grants, but also operating funds.)

Items

posted by Mike on December 15th, 2006

Greetings from the Mid-Ohio River Valley, where the excitement never stops.

Bunnie Huang, on China: “It’s also obvious (to an outsider) that the press is government controlled and biased. The writing style and headlining of the China Daily reminds me a lot of The Onion.”

The Parkersburg News isn’t government controlled, but it’s a lot like The Onion, too:
Electronic billboard placed
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posted by Mike in China, Items, Podcasts | on December 15th, 2006 | Permanent Link to “Items” | No Comments »

Research Bureau: wrong cable numbers?

posted by Mike on December 14th, 2006

WCCA double-checked the figures in the Research Bureau’s cable report, and found serious errors in the figures for public, educational, and government channel (PEG) funding:

Grand Rapids numbers were underreported by over one million dollars.

The most interesting tidbit is in a footnote. WCCA contacted the Cable Services Manager for the city of Fort Worth, TX, which the Research Bureau listed as spending $744K on PEG:

Mr. Westerman said he had tried to tell the Research Bureau that the $744,000 was only for capital and equipment, but he felt they didn’t understand. Fort Worth also receives an additional $1,000,000 for operations.

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City council agenda items (late)

posted by John on December 13th, 2006

Anonymous Reader, our weekly source of City Council Agenda highlights, is now pseudonymous reader “John.”

C. Request City Council’s Review, Consideration and Adoption of an Ordinance Concerning the Compensation of the Cultural Development Officer.

“Among the organization’s many accomplishments are the Cultural Calendar, Detours, Weekends in Worcester, Worcester: Creating a Home for the Arts, and the www.worcestermass.org web site. ”
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Reader comment

posted by Mike on December 11th, 2006

A reader comments on the Research Bureau’s cable report:

That report is a joke. If this were a Clark project and I was grading it, I’d give it a D. The background research seems okay, but it’s nothing new. There’s no justification of the conclusions and no attempt to analyze the results of the suggested policy. Smart people shouldn’t even pretend to take this seriously.

The question is, are city councilors able to understand that? Or, will they just see a way to get another $400,000 for the general fund? More cynically, do forces with power in local government want WCCA to continue?

posted by Mike in Research Bureau | on December 11th, 2006 | Permanent Link to “Reader comment” | No Comments »

Research Bureau: many numbers, few clues

posted by Mike on December 11th, 2006

It’s time for the city to renegotiate the cable monopoly, and the Worcester Regional Research Bureau has released a report in which it tries to make sense of the situation.

Among the more controversial recommendations, it wants the city to slash funding for the public access station WCCA TV13 by 2/3.

As a former WCCA employee, current volunteer, and general community media enthusiast, I’ll have some comments later. But a paragraph in today’s T&G story does a nice job highlighting the cluelessness of the WRRB researchers:

“The city should specify clearly in its contract with WCCA that public access funding be used for production and training — those activities related to providing public access,” the Research Bureau said. “Services that WCCA currently provides, such as a community computer lab, may be deemed by the city as an unnecessary expense for the public access studio and not a suitable public access service.” Mr. DePasquale said the computer lab is made up of donated equipment and that the only cost to the station is the electricity needed to run the computers.

Yes, the WRRB thinks the city should ditch four public computers in order to save the electricity costs. Penny wise and pound foolish.

According to an assessment WCCA had conducted earlier this year:

“From a brief look at the community survey, it looks like WCCA is enjoying a seventy-five percent approval rating from the community,” said Riedel.

Coffee in Worcester: Cafe Du Jour

posted by Mike on December 11th, 2006

Happy second Sunday of advent.

Here’s a discussion about Worcester’s Cafe Du Jour (237 Chandler St).

Bruce at Cafe Du Jour
Bruce at Cafe Du Jour
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Bonus items

posted by Mike on December 8th, 2006

I slipped up on the last “Items,” forgetting the biggest Worcester news of the month: Bruce played a show at the Hotel Vernon. Wish I could have been there. Thanks to Cindy for organizing the show, and to Jim and Jacob for being the backing band. I promise I’ll have another coffee review from me & Bruce on Sunday. In the meantime, here’s Bruce’s original “Burn in Frozen Wasteland in the Deepest Pits of Hell,” Stale Urine’s cover, and Incisor covering Bruce’s “The Legend.”

Worcester: This city should be destroyed.
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posted by Mike in Items | on December 8th, 2006 | Permanent Link to “Bonus items” | No Comments »