Devil’s Work (508 #331)

posted by Mike on May 26th, 2019

508 is a show about Worcester. This week, we talk about running for office, Kayti Burt on “The Incomparable,” Joyner Lucas’s “Devil’s Work,” cars, recycling, the Midtown Mall, and the Worcester Economic Index.

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Worcester City Election 2019: Who’s on the ballot?

May 14 is the last day to submit the signatures you need to get on the Worcester election ballot. Since last week’s show, we’ve seen two people pull papers to run for City Council. Peter Stefan, Worcester legend and funeral home director intends to run at-large. And Roger Frost intends to run in District 5. So that would have two challengers in D5, one challenger in D3, and no challengers in districts 1, 2, or 4.

Avengers: Endgame Prioritizes Emotional Strength Over Physical Power

Kayti Burt on The Incomparable #459: “Next Up: The Ronan Movie”

Worcester resident Kayti Burt, who sometimes comes on this show to talk about pop culture or hockey, is on this week’s episode of the big time pop culture podcast The Incomparable talking about “The Avengers: Final Vengeance.” So good job Kayti.

The Midtown Mall has been sold for $4 million, somewhat less than its assessed value, to Felicio Lana, who owns a bunch of properties including the ones adjacent to the mall. The mall has for years now been threatened with eminent domain, the powers that be believing the owners were running it like weird, reclusive slumlords instead of people with an eye on the future economic opportunities of downtown Worcester. I don’t know if the new owner will make them any happier, but he’ll probably be easier to get ahold of.

This week, Worcester church news means Worcester church rap video news. Worcester native Joyner Lucas shot a video for his song “Devil’s Work” in St Peter’s Church in Main South. In the video he wanders around the nave of a church, wearing a hat, holding a giant bible in one hand and a giant bottle of alcohol in the other hand, and prays for a bunch of celebrities to die. Monsignor Scollen, the pastor of St Peter’s, has said he was on vacation while all this was happening and that if they misunderstood what they were agreeing to when they agreed to let the video be filmed in the church. I am a long-time member of this parish and am not very happy about this, it is a mildly trashy video which is no great crime but that church to be is a sacred space, it’s just not the place for even mild trashiness. What do you think? The video puts me in mind of three other unconventional church-based videos, the opening of Boondock Saints, Joe Pera Reads You The Church Announcements, and the West Wing episode “Two Cathedrals.”

Forget Robots. The Breakthrough Technology Will Be in Your Car.

Adam Minter: In the flow of things

I have here a really interesting interview with the journalist Adam Minter, who wrote the book Junkyard Planet and a forthcoming book called Secondhand. And he makes a point that I think ties to our recycling discussions. He says, “I slowly began to understand that people in consumption-based societies assemble their identities via stuff, and become very emotional when those identities – and that stuff- is discarded in ways that don’t match their values. Over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that consumers actually care more about how their stuff is discarded, than how it is manufactured.” Which I think helps explain why our discussions about trash and recycling in Worcester involve so much emotion.

Worcester Economic Indicators

Thomas White at Assumption has released the quarterly Worcester Economic Index. I never saw this before. He writes, “Economic activity in the greater Worcester area slowed during the first quarter of 2019 according to the Worcester Economic Index (WEI). Since December, the WEI has increased at a 0.1% annualized rate which falls short of the revised 1.4% rate of the fourth quarter of 2018. The Worcester Economic Index is estimated using Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment and unemployment data for the greater Worcester area (NECTA). According to the BLS Current Population Survey of households, almost 3000 more people had jobs in March 2019 compared to March 2018, and the unemployment rate fell from 4.0% to 3.5% over the same period. However, the BLS payroll survey estimates the number of jobs in the region actually declined by 4,600 since March 2018.i The seeming contradiction in the employment estimates between the two surveys is the result of different sampling populations and employment definitions.” I have been trying to figure out how he puts this index together, and my best understanding is that it’s basically the average of local unemployment rates. It’s more mathematically complicated than just taking the average, but for our purposes it might as well be.

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