Hillmaniacs (508 #377)

posted by Mike on April 7th, 2022


508 is a show about Worcester. This week, we discuss losing a judge and gaining a City Manager.


Audio: Download the mp3 or see more formats.

Subscribe with iTunes | Subscribe with Google Play | Contact Info | Twitter feed | RSS

Notes:
Timothy S. Hillman is a federal judge for the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

A Tale of Three City Manager Searches

posted by Mike in 508: A Show about Worcester, Worcester | on April 7th, 2022 | Permanent link | No Comments »

Accusations of Sexual Coercion at St. John’s Soup Kitchen in Worcester

posted by Mike on March 16th, 2022

Presumably lots more about this story in the coming weeks.

Crux:

The head of a Massachusetts parish soup kitchen was placed on administrative leave on March 11 after allegations were made to the diocese that for years he has coerced vulnerable women that use the soup kitchen’s services into sex.

The complaint was made against Billy Riley, who has been the food for the poor coordinator for St. John’s Catholic Church in the Diocese of Worcester since 2013.

[…]

Nicole Bell, the CEO of Living in Freedom Together – an organization in Worcester that supports women leaving prostitution and works to end the sex trade – made the March 11 complaint to the diocese’s victim assistance coordinator. Bell, who got out of prostitution herself eight years ago, detailed her experiences with Riley to Crux in February.

Bell said she first met Riley through the soup kitchen in 2011, at which time she was homeless. She alleges that he “took an interest in her” and offered to let her shower at his house.

“I did that because I’m experiencing homelessness. I have nothing,” Bell said. “And then that leads to some kind of exchange of sexual activity for his assistance and so eventually it felt like if I didn’t do what he was requesting of me that I wouldn’t be able to access the soup kitchen.”

[…]

Crux spoke with another woman in February – who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation from Riley – that had similar experiences with Riley from 2014 until August 2021 when she became sober.

posted by Mike in St. John's Free Meal, Worcester | on March 16th, 2022 | Permanent link | No Comments »

508 #376: Endemic Life

posted by Mike on March 15th, 2022

508 is a show about Worcester. This week, we talk about the City Council live commentary, Joe Petty’s campaign video, lifting Worcester’s mask mandate, our experiences getting COVID, nuclear war, endemic life, Substack, Brent Crude Oil, Metaculus Prediction Updates, Ukraine and its consequences, and COVID brain fog.


Audio: Download the mp3 or see more formats.

Subscribe with iTunes | Subscribe with Google Play | Contact Info | Twitter feed | RSS

posted by Mike in 508: A Show about Worcester, Worcester | on March 15th, 2022 | Permanent link | No Comments »

Lenten Gameplan, 2022

posted by Mike on March 2nd, 2022

I must be in an ascetic mood, because it doesn’t feel like “giving things up” for Lent will be much of a challenge this year.

Time was, giving up Facebook, or the radio, or coffee, felt like a real sacrifice. But this time around, as I wonder “Should I give this thing up?” that thing transforms into a burden in my mind, a burden it would be slightly painful to set down but which pretty quickly I would be glad to have cast off.

So I’m going to give up a whole slew of things this year, things I do to distract myself or pass the time but which I don’t really enjoy. There are a lot of those things! To keep the Lenten gameplan simple, all I’m going to commit to do with the resulting free time is pray a bit more than usual. My guide will be Bishop Robert Barron’s 2022 book of Lenten reflections.

In this post Zvi Mowshowitz breaks down “the sabbath” in a detailed (and secular) way I find inspiring. It’s helping me clarify my thoughts as I make my list of sacrifices.

This Lent will be a stressful one. The Pope has called for Ash Wednesday to be a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Ukraine. “It is a day to be close to the suffering of the Ukrainian people, to be aware that we are all brothers and sisters, and to implore God for an end to the war.”

Update: From River Sims’s Ash Wednesday message:

Dorothy Day once said in the midst of society’s fear of atomic bombs and concern over the war in Vietnam: “Go clean the toilets, and worry about the rest later.” Focus upon the need in front of your eyes, about which you can do something.

This Lent our focus is on our “flock” on the street, and my on inward remembering that “I am dust, and to dust, I shall return.”

It was suggested to use the word “stardust”, in administering ashes, and my answer: “We are going to die, we are mortal, and stardust takes way from the reality of dying.”

This morning, as I moved up the street placing ashes upon people sleeping in the doorways I received no harsh remarks, and approximately twenty-five out of fifty, were grateful.

For the first time, I did not wear a collar, a stole, a habit, and so in approaching each one they saw me simply as “River”, not the Church, from whom many have been rejected and hurt.

This afternoon I will be on the Haight and wearing my “normal” clothes, and while very few will receive ashes, again it will be just me talking and giving them food. I have some bracelets my friend Cindy has given us, with a little cross and color beads, and each one loves them.

Image: Detail from Pieter Bruegel’s The Fight Between Carnival and Lent, 1559.

posted by Mike in Lent | on March 2nd, 2022 | Permanent link | No Comments »

Kevin Can Forget Himself w/Ali Reid (508 #375)

posted by Mike on November 18th, 2021

508 is a show about Worcester. This week, we talk with Ali Reid, Worcester’s pre-eminent critic of public art, about Worcester Monopoly, Kevin Can F**k Himself, Ulysses, and the Abby Kelley Foster Memorial.


Audio: Download the mp3 or see more formats.

Subscribe with iTunes | Subscribe with Google Play | Contact Info | Twitter feed | RSS | Spotify
Continue reading »

posted by Mike in 508: A Show about Worcester, Worcester | on November 18th, 2021 | Permanent link | No Comments »

COVID Is Over (Again) (508 #374)

posted by Mike on November 9th, 2021

508 is a show about Worcester. This week, we talk about local election results, Polar Park, COVID, Dune, commodities news, the rise of Bill Shaner, and the fall of underground punk shows.


Audio: Download the mp3 or see more formats.

Subscribe with iTunes | Subscribe with Google Play | Contact Info | Twitter feed | RSS

posted by Mike in 508: A Show about Worcester, Worcester | on November 9th, 2021 | Permanent link | No Comments »

Worcester Election Lawn Signs, 2021

posted by Mike on November 1st, 2021

For past years, see the lawn sign roundups for 2007, 2009 (also 2009 websites), 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2019.

Continue reading »

posted by Mike in Worcester | on November 1st, 2021 | Permanent link | 1 Comment »

Happy Easter (COVID Is Over) (508 #373)

posted by Mike on April 7th, 2021

508 is a show about Worcester. This week, we look at the back of the Polar Park sign and struggle to use the Pulse website.


Audio: Download the mp3 or see more formats.

Subscribe with iTunes | Subscribe with Google Play | Contact Info | Twitter feed | RSS

posted by Mike in 508: A Show about Worcester, Worcester | on April 7th, 2021 | Permanent link | No Comments »

Post-COVID Imagination Deficit (508 #372)

posted by Mike on March 3rd, 2021

508 is a show about Worcester. This week, we talk about COVID in the Commonwealth, police in the schools, and the Worcester Pawsox schedule.


Audio: Download the mp3 or see more formats.

Subscribe with iTunes | Subscribe with Google Play | Contact Info | Twitter feed | RSS

Continue reading »

posted by Mike in 508: A Show about Worcester, Worcester | on March 3rd, 2021 | Permanent link | No Comments »

Lenten Gameplan, 2021

posted by Mike on February 17th, 2021

Ash Wednesday, 2021

When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to others to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you. (Matthew 6:16-18)

Every year, I think about the contrast between this verse (which is read aloud at mass) and the common practice of walking around in public for hours with a forehead full of ashes proclaiming your fast. This year, the ubiquitous facemask resolves this contradiction. I can even post a picture of myself on this blog—the mask imposes a certain humility, as you’ll never really know if the photo above is me after mass, or a photo of someone else I scrounged off Getty Images.

As usual, I’m giving up something for Lent. Unlike other years, I won’t mention what it is. I’ve learned to look for something that comforts me, but where that comfort leads me to avoid confronting an underlying problem, and/or that comfort keeps me from seeking refuge in God.

In this podcast, Matt Fradd takes the first ten minutes to give some practical advice on giving up stuff for Lent. My summary:

  • Be specific. (What exactly are you giving up, under what circumstances?)
  • Keep it simple. (Better to give up one thing than try and fail to give up two.)
  • Tell people your plan if that will make it more likely you follow through.
  • You’re under no obligation to find something extra to give up; your normal Lenten obligations are your only obligations.
  • Should you skip Sundays since they are technically not fasting days? A: “You can remit what you yourself impose.”

Am I content with my hypocrisies, or do I work to free my heart from the duplicity and falsehood that tie it down? (Pope Francis)

Mass this year was not much different than other COVID masses. For the imposition of ashes, the bishop used a fresh q-tip for each person. (One person replenished the supply while a deacon held a little container for the discards.) Most of the time when the priest puts ashes on your forehead, he uses his thumb, and steadies his hand by placing some fingers or even the heel of his hand on your face. There has not been much contact transmission of COVID, but having the priest put his hand on the face of everyone in the congregation does seem like a bad idea. (Like a lot of COVID precautions, it seems like one that might carry over to post-pandemic times.)

The biggest fasting news since last Ash Wednesday was probably this study that showed that intermittent fasting, specifically fasting 16 hours of every 24, did not help with weight loss or insulin issues. They concluded: “Time-restricted eating did not confer weight loss or cardiometabolic benefits in this study.”

Jacob, a non-religious Lent practitioner of many years, writes about “past Lenten give-ups” and notes: “The key to Lent is choosing something interesting to give up. This isn’t like New Year’s resolutions, where you’re explicitly trying to better yourself– as I understand it there isn’t really a morality angle to what you choose to give up for Lent. I mean you could give up something that’s bad for you, something good for you, or something neutral. The only thing that matters is it should be something that’s difficult for you to go without. It should be a challenge…. Of [the things I’ve given up], the one that got me in the most arguments was ‘Movies Made After 1965’, the one that was the most fucked-up was ‘Apologizing’, and the one that was the best for me in a general sense was probably ‘Snooze Button’. ‘Snooze Button’ and ‘Processed Sugar’ I did a few times…. I’m not a Bible lawyer but I think defining things in terms of a crutch cast aside is helpful to the process.”

posted by Mike in Fasting, Lent | on February 17th, 2021 | Permanent link | No Comments »