Doug Chapel Leaving Worcester?

It seems like I always pick up the In City Times a week late, so I’m a bit late getting to this. 

Not only did Rose T. clarify that “very Italian” means to move into your mother’s house with your as-yet-unconfirmed-except-by-some-random-ICT-reader girlfriend, but Cheez Wiz now seems to have some sort of regular column-ish assortment of random thoughts.  I think I speak for every reader of ICT when I say — more Cheez Wiz please!  His ramblings combined with a four-page-spread of Dorrie Maynard’s new store (Blackstone Vignettes) pretty much encompass everything the In City Times is about.

But the biggest news was in the cartoon.  The latest Action Geek cartoon is not (yet) posted on the web, but it sounded like Doug Chapel was considering leaving Worcester.  (Exact quote: “Worcester…I’m putting you on notice.  I’m getting out.  It won’t be immediately but the plan has been set into motion to escape.”

So, not to harp on the Worcester “One in Five” thing, but where is Kate Toomey?  If there’s one thing Worcester needs, it’s creative people who are willing to put some halfway decent content into the In City Times so I don’t feel completely embarrassed when I pick it up from the library.  These are the people who spice up the city so the rest of us homebodies don’t have to.

Literary Links that lead to CVS

Great post on Safire and Buckley.

Digital treasures, a Central & Western MA Digital Library Project.

Our copy of ickle and Lardee’s Grand Adventure came in the mail yesterday.  My elder son wanted to know if there were more books in the series.  “There’s a whole website,” I told him, to his great delight.

I know Liane’s the local girl, but I still prefer Scott Simon.  (I also recommend Pretty Birds on audio, from the library.)

This has nothing to do with books, but you might need a snap or two at the Thanksgiving table.

Ray Bradbury’s comments about libraries were from a while ago but are still relevant.

Found this wonderful short story site via the Worcester Public Library Twitter feed.  (If you don’t do Twitter, you can still subscribe to Twitter RSS Feeds!)

Also, regarding the library, the deadline for applications to be on the library board is Friday at noon.  I’ve been tempted, but I don’t know if I’d have the time to be on that board now.

We’re only a week away from Great Books Discussion Group!

I’ve been thinking about CVS from two perspectives: one, the almost-as-ubiquitous-as-Dunkin’-Donuts conglomerate, and two, the way Nicholson Baker describes the CVSes of my youth, in the mid-1980s or so, in the wonderful book The Mezzanine:

“This was the kind of important and secretive product that CVS stores sold–they were a whole chain dedicated to making available the small, expensive, highly specialized items that readied human bodies for human civilization. Men and women eyed each other strangely here–unusual forces of attraction and furtiveness were at work. Things were for sale whose use demanded nudity and privacy. It was more a woman’s store than a man’s store, but men were allowed to roam with complete freedom past shelves that glowed with low but measurable curie levels of luridness. You slip by a woman reading the fine print on a disposable vinegar douche kit. She feels you pass. FRISSON!”

Seriously, if Baker had written nothing but The Mezzanine, he’d already be in the running for best living American writer.  Request that book from the library NOW and savor all the ridiculously long footnotes and disturbingly accurate commentary on CVS and office routines and shoelaces.

Montvale Notes

I don’t have time for a long post on this, but Jeff mentioned the tennis court situation and how the local media has dropped the ball on this.

You can find minutes to Historical Commission meetings here.  They obviously do a lot of work besides just the Montvale District stuff, and I appreciate that there is a commission looking out for these kind of nit-picky things that don’t seem important as individual items but make a bit difference in the aggregate.

Also, you can find Elizabeth Todd’s email address in the comments to the Dianne Williamson column.  I’ll shoot her a note and see where things are standing with her.

But I can’t help but think — and the Dianne Williamson column pushed me in this direction — that certain residents of the Montvale neighborhood use the Historical Commission as their own gated community council where they can dictate what color a house can be painted or what in direction their porch lattice should run.  But I also can imagine that some residents are worried about changes in their neighborhood.  Those residents should feel blessed that they have additional protections from drastic neighborhood changes (the shoehorning in of duplexes in every available lot, etc.) the rest of us do not have.

There has been some mention in the media of Kate Toomey and a “One in Five” program to encourage those between ages 18 to 35 to live in the city, buy a house here, and become involved in the community.  I’m 30, and have heard nothing about this beyond a mention in Worcester Magazine.  It would seem to me that Mr. Tibrewal and Ms. Todd are precisely the people who should be targeted in this kind of program, if they haven’t already decided to pack things in.

Thanksgiving at Centerfold’s

On the 508 podcast, Mike mentioned that it used to be that people didn’t blog on Thanksgiving, but that that’s changed with more Internet availability.

I was driving the other day and noticed that the Centerfold’s** on Route 20 will be open on Thanksgiving starting at 6pm.

There’s a parallel in there somewhere…

So, in honor of Turkey Day, here’s my strip club story.

When I was in my early 20s, I was fascinated by the fact that certain strip clubs would advertise their meal options in the paper.  There was one place that offered a $10 prime rib special on Wednesdays.  This really depressed me, because I don’t eat meat on Wednesdays, so I was never going to be able to try that special.  I suppose I was blocking out the whole “having to eat meal while watching skinny chicks with big bosoms” aspect of things.  My then-boyfriend and I had a running joke about prime rib dinners*** and amateur night****.

So, one day, my then-boyfriend and I were driving down Route 20.  There are basically three types of businesses along that stretch of Route 20: strip clubs, car dealerships, and boat dealers/storage.  (I am still not sure which type “Dario is Diesel” falls under.)

My boyfriend parked at the border of a used car dealership and a strip club.  (I believe the strip club was Centerfold’s, but it could have been called Pudgy’s at the time.)  The strip club sign announced that it was amateur night.

He tells me to get out of the car.  I start flipping out and tell him I’m not getting out of the car and he’s not going to make me participate in amateur night.

“Nicole!  The station wagon I want to show you is right over there!”

It only took him shouting that a couple of times for me to realize that we were just going to check out a Buick wagon and that he hadn’t even noticed the strip club.  He probably realized at that point that I had watched way too many Lifetime movies about men who coerce their girlfriends into lives of prostitution for my own good.

I think it’s a sign of his forbearance that he decided to marry me, even after that.

**This is the English major in me coming out, but it should really be either “Centerfolds’ ” or just plain “Centerfolds.”  I know it’s too much to ask, but if Hurricane Betty’s can get the possessive right, why can’t Centerfold’s?

***I have an uncle who used to eat lunch every day at the Lamplighter (now Hurricane Betty’s).  His reason?  “Good turkey club.”  So I think the whole fascination with eating-at-a-strip-club-for-the-food is at least partly genetic.

****I used to commute to Boston every day by train.  One afternoon, I was on the train with a young woman who worked as a stripper at the Crystal Palace, and she said that she started in the business by doing an amateur night.  It was an easy $500.  She felt that a lot of women get pulled into that business with a comparatively easy amateur night.