Coffee in Worcester: WCCA TV13

posted by Mike on April 29th, 2007

DSCN1782The cover story of this week’s InCity Times is a hagiography of WCCA’s Mauro DePasquale, a guy who deserves all the praise he can get. I’m a WCCA volunteer, and Bruce is an intern, so this week’s review is of the WCCA office coffee.

Pie and Coffee: Did you take a look at the article? What did you think?

Bruce: Definitely him. One small problem—I’m not in any of the photos.

P: Maybe we should put a photo of you at WCCA in this article.

I love the introduction (written by Rosalie Tirella):

We’ll say it loud and we’ll say it proud: We love WCCA TV 13 and its Executive Director Mauro DePasquale! From the political shows to the kids news programs, from the exotic and highly capable Zara Dedi at the front desk to no-nonsense community leader turned TV producer Judy Langlois. From the esoteric to the mundane. From the political to the spiritual, TV-13 rocks! Located in the heart of downtown at 415 Main St., in an old bank practically a stone’s throw from City Hall—

[Patrick, a member of the WCCA youth program, walks into the room, takes the paper, looks at the photos, and comments—]

Patrick: Everyone’s there except me.

P: Patrick, why is everyone concerned about their photo being in here?

WCCA practices its own brand of politics: a refreshingly inclusive and progressive kind we’d like to see more of in ‘ol City Hall.

WCCA’s community producers and guests are black, white and brown. They’re old, young and middle-aged. They’re political insiders like City Manager Mike O’Brien; they’re political ousiders (like me!). They’re conservative and liberal; religious and questioning. To tune in to TV 13 is to feast at some funky urban banquet. DePasquale likes to call his station “the electronic park.”

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Coffee of Worcester: Dunkin Donuts

posted by Mike on April 8th, 2007

This week we focus on the Dunkin Donuts at the corner of Pleasant and Main, the heart of Downtown Worcester. This store used to be across the intersection. A Honeydew Donuts will be moving into the old Dunkin location.

Dunkin Donuts, Worcester

Bruce: I think when we went down to Dunkin Donuts, that was very nice in there.

Pie and Coffee: You think so?

B: I think it’s a little more organized than it was when it was across the street. Across the street it was a little crowded, there’s not a lot of room to walk around.

P: See, I got a very different impression from you. My feeling was, the only good thing about this Dunkin Donuts was that it was full of dirtbags, so I felt right at home. But it was dirty, it was crowded, the registers are not set up good. I feel like I should write a diagram and show them how to lay out the cash registers. Because we were both standing at one of the registers, and people could hardly get to the other register because of the way it’s set up.

B: Yeah.
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Coffee in Worcester: Super Variety

posted by Mike on March 26th, 2007

This week, we talked with Bruce about Super Variety, a conveniece store across from Commerce Bank at 375 Main Street.

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Pie and Coffee: Super Variety has Green Mountain coffee.

Bruce: That coffee was pretty good.

P: I love that place!

B: I think that coffee has got a snap to it.
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Coffee in Worcester: Boulevard Diner

posted by Mike on March 12th, 2007

In this coffee review about the Boulevard Diner, Bruce and I are joined by Michael, the “publisher” of Pie and Coffee, who rarely appears on this blog. He speaks Hungarian, is a fan of classic diners, and lives near Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Pie and Coffee: So how do you say her name?

Michael: Báthory Erzsébet.

P: And what were you telling me about her?

M: Well, she liked to bathe in the blood of young girls. She thought it kept her young. And that’s not really cool, but the family couldn’t kill her, because she had a title and all that, and you don’t kill a family member. So they walled her up in her room, because they weren’t really killing her then.

P: So they just let her die.

M: Roughly speaking, yeah.

Bruce: Of a slow death.

M: Yeah. But they didn’t kill her!

B: Of a bloody death.

P: Did you hear Bruce’s song about her?

M: Yes I did, I liked that very much.

P: It got a good review on Volcano Boy.

B: I got a great review on Volcano Boy.

M: I saw that too.

B: You know what they say about Volcano Boy.

M: What do they say about Volcano Boy?

P: It’s a volcano—watch out for the ashes! They get hot!

P: So the Boulevard Diner.

M: The Boulevard Diner rocks!
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Coffee in Worcester: The Pickle Barrel

posted by Mike on February 25th, 2007

This Presidents’ Day, Bruce, I, and five friends packed a booth at the Pickle Barrel.

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Bruce: I had a pretty good time there with all those people there.

Pie and Coffee: What’s the Pickle Barrel like?

B: The day we went there, everybody was in good spirits. Because I’ve gone in there a couple times before, and it wasn’t such a good vibe. I really got a good vibe that day, because everybody there was on MySpace. My MySpace friends.

P: Not everybody, but a lot of them were.

B: A lot of them sitting at the table were. I encourage more people to be on MySpace.

P: What’s the coffee like at the Pickle Barrel?

B: Very good.

P: What’s the service like?

B: The service we had was very good.

P: It’s actually a pretty well-known place. It’s “the place” in that neighborhood.

B: Yeah. I mean, if you lived in that area, then you would go there. In the case that you lived downtown, you would go to the Midtown Mall, to that diner there.

P: The Pickle Barrel’s a lot bigger and busier than the Midtown Dinette, though.

B: One thing, The French toast is good, but the Midtown Dinette’s was better. One thing about the Pickle Barrel, they forgot to bring me syrup. Other than that, it was pretty good.

P: Well I gotta say too, it would be awesome if the Pickle Barrel had some vegan options. I know that’s sort of insane, and has nothing to do with their being a neighborhood diner. But I throw that out there as a suggestion.

So what is that paper that you’re wielding?

B: I was writing this down last night, abbreviating what the Snow Ghost would be. The rest, the rest, depends—this is two different sayings. The first one would be: shit-nude-out-whore ghoul-horror-out-sick-toll. The nice one would be: so-nice-to-weather good-host-original-snow-transport.

The other one, the Black Death, would be: the bastard-loud-arse dat-eat-arse-to-hell.

P: Any final thoughts about Worcester?

B: It’s kinda cold out today.

Coffee in Worcester: Neighborhood Cafe

posted by Mike on February 11th, 2007

Pie and Coffee: Which coffee place do you want to talk about?

Bruce: Neighborhood Cafe.

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P: The Neighborhood Cafe. Where is it?

B: In the neighborhood.
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Two comments on two quotes from Yochai Benkler

posted by Mike on February 9th, 2007

I’m starting a project on Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks, and already a couple quotes have caught my attention.

Benkler spends most of the book describing how our information, as opposed to material goods, often comes from non-profit/voluntary/ad hoc sources. In setting up this argument, he begins chapter 2 thus:

There are no noncommercial automobile manufacturers. There are no volunteer steel foundries. You would never have your primary source of bread depend on voluntary contributions from others.

Many people choose to depend on the kindness of strangers. At times, I myself have depended on voluntary contributions from others. A whole strand of itinerant Christianity is based on this model.

My nitpicking is irrelevant to the thrust of his argument, but still I wish he’d make a place for bums in his otherwise compulsively thorough world view.

Another quote:

If all copyright on newspapers were abolished, the revenues of newspapers would be little affected.

(See Note 6.)

When I look at the on-line versions of the Worcester papers, I see ample room for improvement. And in a world without newspaper copyright, someone could spend a couple days making a site that would grab content from the T&G and WoMag websites, import it into a decent Content Management System, and republish it on the web in a competent way. I would surely visit that site rather than the crappy ones that exist now. Trouble is, there’s probably not enough on-line ad revenue associate with this content, so nobody would take the time.

Does this argument about newspaper copyright hold in the virtual world because newspapers have no virtual future? Or is newspaper copyright key to that virtual future?

I shouldn’t think about these things before I’ve had my coffee.

NB: You can also read thought by people smarter than me about this book.

Coffee in Worcester: One Love Cafe

posted by Mike on January 28th, 2007

My camera is broken, so no photo this week.

Pie and Coffee: What about the One Love Cafe?

Bruce: I really enjoyed the lunch there.

P: It was good!

B: Yeah, very good.
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Coffee in Worcester: Midtown Dinette

posted by Mike on January 21st, 2007

Four men. One dinette.

Bruce and Jacob

I visited the Midtown Mall’s Midtown Dinette with artist/entrepreneurs Jacob Berendes and Mike Leslie, who run Happy Birthday Mike Leslie, and Bruce, who now has a MySpace page.

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Coffee in Worcester: WPI, part one

posted by Mike on January 14th, 2007

A friend described the espresso at Worcester Polytechnic Institute with one word: “Ew.” So we had to check it out. WPI student “Drew” was our guide.

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