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Helping People Help Themselves

July 27 - August 9, 2012


Celebrating Our 20th Year as Bostons Street Newspaper


From Local Gym to Olympic Arena

- pages 8-9

The Rise of Womens Boxing:

Beating the Heat is Harder When Youre Homeless - page 5

James Shearer: After Aurora, Questions That Must Be Answered
- page 3

Your vendor buys this paper for 25 and keeps all the proceeds. Please purchase from vendors with BLUE badges only.



2 spare Change News


July 27 - August 9, 2012

spare Change News

is published by the homeless emPowermeNt ProJeCt (heP)
spare Change News 1151 massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, mA 02138 Phone: 617-497-1595 Fax: 617-868-0767 e-mail: website:

editor in Chief Tom Benner Poetry editor Marc D. Goldfinger Graphic designer Brendan Bernard Puzzle editor Samuel Weems Cartoonist Michael Ripple editorial Assistants Bryant Antoine Ashlee Avery Alison Clark Chalkey Horenstein Leanne OBrian Adam Sennott Noelle Swan Samuel Weems Contributing writers Beatrice Bell Sarah Ferris Jacques Fleury Marc D. Goldfinger Zachary Goldhammer Laura Kiesel Caroline McHeffey James Shearer Noelle Swan Patty Tomsky Molly Lynn Watt distribution managers Barbara Johnson

heP AdmiNistrAtioN executive director Vincent Flanagan Board President James Shearer treasurer Chris McKnett secretary Cheryl Jordan Co-Clerks Michael Doore Kathrine Waite Board members Andrea Costello Cheryl Jordon Jos Mateo Michael Morisy Samuel Weems Bob Woodbury Bookkeeper Lisa Adams vendor supervisors Mike Valasunas Reggie Wynn

Editorial: A Work in Progress

No one can argue with the good intentions behind HomeBASE, the centerpiece of the Patrick administrations housing first approach to homelessness. The idea is to move the homeless out of emergency shelters and costly state-subsidized hotel and motel rooms, which are used in the frequent event that shelters are full and into permanent housing. The newly housed are to be surrounded by the support services they may need to remain housed, such as substance abuse or mental health counseling, workforce training, or child care vouchers so that single parents may go to work. Thats a sound policy goal, but the devil is in the details. The HomeBASE program took effect last Aug. 1, and as it enters its second year, remains a work in progress. Designed as an emergency assistance program, HomeBASE quickly turned into a housing voucher program for the broader population, opening the doors to anyone with substandard housing to apply for assistance. Applications were so numerous that in a few months, the rental assistance part of the program had to be frozen to families already enrolled. It became clear that HomeBASE alone was not going to solve the problem of homelessness in Massachusetts. The state budget for the fiscal year that began July 1 continues to stress housing over shelters, this time by denying low-income families access to shelter unless they meet certain criteria. Shelter eligibility will be limited to Massachusetts residents who meet income limits and one of four criteria domestic violence, unsafe living conditions, natural disaster such as fire or flood, or no-fault eviction. Advocates for the homeless worry that the new restrictions will leave families out in the streets, sleeping in cars, or doubled-up in substandard housing. They also question whether the additional housing resources included in the budget will be sufficient to help families to remain in housing on a permanent basis. The Patrick administration points to alternative prevention/re-housing programs that help to fill the void, including the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program and the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program for families, and the Home and Healthy for Good for chronically homeless individuals. Even so, the numbers of homeless families and individuals remain as high as ever, and it is clear that not enough is being done. Cash-strapped state budget writers say the federal government should be doing more, but homelessness remains way down on the list of things dominating the national political discourse. A housing response to homelessness remains a more dignified solution to shelter, helping families to stabilize themselves in their own communities and requiring steps toward self-sufficiency. Getting people into housing and breaking the cycle of homelessness remain important goals. Still, the demand for housing assistance points to the ongoing need for more affordable housing in Massachusetts, and underscores the lack of urgency at the state and federal levels. Additionally, workforce training and educational programs that help Massachusetts residents to find jobs and reach economic independence remain as important as ever.

A poem entitled Ready was published in our June 29-July 12, 2012 issue of Spare Change News and the author was incorrectly identified. The poem, with a few words changed, is virtually identical to lyrics from Ready for Love, a song by well-known singer-songwriter India.Arie and should have been credited to her. Spare Change News and Books of Hope (the source of the poem submitted by one of its young authors) apologize for the error. Spare Change News and Books of Hope are taking every precaution to ensure that this sort of error does not happen again.


Vision & Mission

Spare Change News was founded in 1992 by a group of homeless people and a member of Boston Jobs with Peace. Spare Change is published by the nonprofit organization The Homeless Empowerment Project (HEP).


To present, by our own example, that homeless and economically disadvantaged people, with the proper resources, empowerment, opportunity, and encouragement are capable of creating change for ourselves in society.


To empower the economically disadvantaged in Greater Boston through self-employment, skill development and self-expression. To create forums, including those of independent media in order to reshape public perception of poverty and homelessness.

July 27 - August 9, 2012


spare Change News

After Aurora, Questions that Need to be Answered

James shearer spare Change News

Late last week, an unassuming gentleman walked calmly into a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. With the exception of his outlandish clothing, nothing seemed out of place. It seemed to the folks who were there that he was just part of the show, which happened to be a special midnight showing of the latest Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises. But suddenly everything changed. The man hurled what is believed to be tear gas at the moviegoers and much to everyones horror began shooting. When all was said and done, 12 people were dead and 59 injured in what is the deadliest mass shooting in US history. S o u n d s l i k e s o m e t h i n g f ro m a Hollywood script, eh? But no, folks,

what happened in Aurora was all too real; there is no easy explanation for what happened. There may never be one. There never really is when these kinds of tragedies happen. As with many of those before him, we may really never know why another seemingly bright well-adjusted person suddenly became unhinged and chose to kill rather than to seek help. We are left to wonder why this happened and the victims are forever left with scars and nightmares. Loved ones are forced to live in a world without their loved ones and wonder what might have been. In the coming weeks and months there will be much scrutiny around this tragedy. Many will have comments and opinions. The gun control debate will begin anew and fade just as quickly. After the shock has worn off we will go back to our lives and muddle along until the next tragedy. But before that, I have some

thoughts and opinions on this mess. I am no expert but I do think some things need to be asked and said. Reportedly, the man bought a ticket for the midnight showing, slipped out the emergency exit, propped the door open, and slipped back inside. I suppose my first question is how did he manage to leave the theater through an emergency exit without being noticed, or someone finding it suspicious? How? Were there not ushers in the theater? Did no one see this or notice? Some would say that this is an unfair question to ask. I think not. Its a fair question and one that, going forward, has to be asked. At any rate you can be sure that if Im in a movie theater and notice this, I will say something or for that matter walk down and close the door myself. My other question is about the red flags -- this guy was buying ammo and gear online and no one became concerned. Why is it that when someone from a

country we cant pronounce buys a can of lighter fluid, Homeland Security is there in a flash, but when it comes to some white kid from San Diego buying weapons, not one voice of concern? Whats up with that? When is someone going to have the balls to stand up and say enough to the National Rifle Association? If we want real gun control in the country, then that has to be done. And last, maybe its time to put some controls over what can and cannot be bought over the net. If it was that easy to purchase enough ammo to fight off a small army, then maybe its time for a reality check. These questions may never get asked or maybe its not the right time to ask them, but when will be the right time, if not now? JAMES SHEARER is a co-founder and board president of Spare Change News.

Letters to the Editor

The Vision for a Homeless Bill of Rights

Its Time To Strengthen Gun Laws

To the Editor: The time is long overdue for gun control, as is practiced in England and other progressive peace loving countries. To quote Cheryl Wheeler in her song responding to the Jonesboro Schoolyard Shooting incident: ...but I know one thing. If it were up to me, Id take away the guns. In 1920, Britain passed a law requiring civilians to obtain a certificate from their district police chief in order to purchase or possess any firearm except a shotgun. To obtain this certificate, the applicant had to pay a fee, and the chief of police had to be satisfied that the applicant had good reason for requiring such a certificate and did not pose a danger to the public safety or to the peace. The certificate had to specify the types and quantities of firearms and ammunition that the applicant could purchase and keep. http://www.justfacts. com/guncontrol.asp We need brave politicians who have common sense, to propose a legal structure that will outlaw the sale and possession of automatic weapons and hand guns, automatic rifles, and other firing weapons like grenade launchers, etc. The crisis of gun violence is on us, and I think that creative efforts are required immediately. Thank you. Besides banning handguns and all automatic weapons, the gun manufacturers should be taxed to create a fund that will be used to remove guns from all neighborhoods in Mass. We need to make our communities safe for everyone. The idea of a militia is a domestic wartime concept. We have not had a domestic war since the Civil war, so a militia is meaningless and useless and anachronistic. David Fillingham Belmont

experiences. As principal investigator, I used covert participant observation to achieve full situational immersion by interacting with providers and accessing services as would a person experiencing homelessness. Surprisingly, I experienced, observed, and documented homeless service provider staff and security personnel, as a course of conduct,

To the Editor: This is to make a correction on Adam Sennotts article entitled Rhode Island Homeless Bill of Rights: Is Massachusetts Next? that was published on June 29, 2012. The article states, Along with Senator Tassoni, the bill was put together by John Joyce and Megan Smith, Co-Directors of the Rhode Island Homeless Advocacy Project, who used information they had received from people living on the streets of Rhode Island while drafting the bill. The bill was actually born out of a critical, ethnographic study that my organization International Freedom Coalition conducted of the homeless provider system in Providence from October 2010 to May 2011. The purpose was to understand the shelter clients lived

We were pleased to learn that our bill inspired local advocates to continue the work we started by adopting and adapting it to become the final, anti-discrimination Homeless Bill of Rights that was signed into law.
(i) subjecting clients to abuse, harassment, and intimidation as defined in the states legal statutes and (ii) administratively neglecting their clients by failing to comply with organizational and federal policies. Additionally, external rental and employment agencies were found to discriminate against shelter clients. No public advocacy or legislative efforts to prevent such abuses in shelters were found, such as those in place for other vulnerable populations in the
LETTER continued on page 11

spare Change News


July 27 - August 9, 2012

Cambridge Organization Forges Personal Relationships within the Growing Female Homeless Community
story and photo by Zachary Goldhammer Spare Change News

Women On The Rise

restricting services. On The Rise defines itself as a wet or lowthreshold organization, meaning that it refuses to turn away new members who may suffer from drug or alcohol addiction and does not necessarily require its members to seek treatment. Addiction often comes as part of the package, says Sandler. We wont turn anyone away for anything short of threatening violence. This means that many of the women who have been rejected by other aid programs are now seeking help from On The Rise. Instead of cutting back on services, On The Rise is looking to expand its offerings. In addition to providing tangible life services daily needs such as regular meals, showers, and laundry the program is also looking to provide greater access to housing and shelter. Currently, the program is unable to provide overnight shelter. However, its Keep the Keys program has been successful in finding affordable housing for around 50 women just this past year. The organization is looking to increase housing availability by acquiring more property, but skyhigh Cambridge property prices have kept this dream from becoming anything close to a reality. Additionally, some of the women who have found housing are not fully satisfied, as

On The Rise, the name of the Cambridge womens day shelter located at 341 Broadway in Cambridge, has recently taken on a new meaning. The phrase not only represents the ideological aims of the programto rehabilitate women who have been left on the streetsbut also an unfortunate reality: the number of homeless women in the city is, itself, rising, at a significant rate. Its always difficult for us to fully trust census data, said Executive Director Martha Sandler, but we cannot deny that there are more women showing up at our door every day. This year, the organization has met with around 400 women, an increase of about 12 percent from the previous year s count. This increase is particularly significant for an organization that prides itself on maintaining a long-term relational approach with the women it serves. Building personal relationships, Sandler says, is essential to establishing the trust of women who have been victimized by abuse and neglect, often beginning early in childhood. Yet how can the non-profit organization hope to keep its relationships personal as its membership continues to expand? The answer will not come from

legal entanglements keep them from getting exactly what they need. We have one woman here who has access to a home, but cant gain custody of her children because she doesnt have multiple bedrooms, and she cant gain access to multiple rooms because she doesnt have her children. Its a Catch-22, and there are lots of women in this sort of situation, Sandler saidys. With the prospect of housing for

many women still in the distant future, On The Rise is turning its focus back towards street outreach, teaming up with another local wet shelter, CASPAR. This is the sort of thing which we havent done since we moved to 341 Broadway, and which we need to do more, said Sandler. ZACHARY GOLDHAMMER is a volunteer writer and editor at Spare Change News.

Vendor Profile: The Grasshopper Who Found a Home

story and photo by Caroline mcheffey spare Change News

Reggie Wynn feels right at home selling his paper in Copley Square in front of the Old South Church. As an honorary greeter at the church, Reggie knows just about everyone who walks through the churchs doors. He has been representing Spare Change News in Copley Square for so long that he referred to himself as an information booth who can answer anyones questions as well as an actual information booth could. Reggie has been with Spare Change for about 12 years now but before that he was a grasshopper who hopped around job to job, places like shopping malls or rent-a-car businesses. This type of work, however, was never sufficient for the Grasshopper who loves to be outside, one reason why Reggie feels so at home being a vendor. Originally, Reggie is from Alabama but moved to Boston a long time ago. Years after his move up north he came

to know a couple of vendors who had found success with Spare Change and Reggie, with his outgoing and charismatic personality, thought he should give it a try. Over the past 12 years Reggie, too, has found success with the paper.

Selling the paper not only kept Reggie focused, but changed him inside and out. The transformation of the man can be seen both in his personality and his waistline. Years ago Reggie was obese, which is hard to believe after seeing Reggie today. Reggie now resides in low-income permanent housing, which he seems to fully appreciate. He briefly spoke of his days in shelters when he always felt as if he had to sleep with one eye open. Reggie isnt the only one to benefit. The newspaper itself is happy to have Reggie as a vendor. In 2011 Reggie was voted Most Dedicated and this past year received the Vendor of the Year title. When asked why he received these titles, Reggie said he really doesnt know. Im just happy with what Im doing. As a vendor, Reggie never misses a day and he truly believes in the mission of Spare Change, so much so that he is disappointed in vendors who only sell the paper when they need

money. A true vendor according to Reggie, always wants to sell. Asked how long he plans to spend with Spare Change, Reggie said, As long as I want to keep up the good work. Reggie doesnt only mean the mission of the paper but by good work he not only means the mission of the paper but also being out there for his customers on a daily basis. Reggie is the medicine the doctor cant prescribe when people are in bad moods, letting them know that a smile, conversation, and a familiar face like Reggies are there for them. Reggie describes his experience at Spare Change as him going forward instead of backwards. He cannot emphasize enough how glad he is to be selling for the paper and how happy he is with Spare Change. Reggie can be found out in front of the Old South Church in all weather, seven days a week. CAROLINE McHEFFEY is a Spare Change News writer and editor.

July 27 - August 9, 2012


spare Change News

Its Hotter for the Homeless

Life on the street makes you more vulnerable to the heat
laura Kiesel Spare Change News

As the thermostat in Boston has been hovering close to or above 90 degrees most days lately, it is important to keep in mind the dangers of overexposure to heat. The impact is often underreported, but heat waves generally kill more than 400 annually in the United States, according to author and sociologist Eric Klinenberg more than earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes combined. Extreme heat is often combined with high humidity, and can endanger public health and safety. People in cities are especially vulnerable to the dangers of heat spells because asphalt and blacktop absorb sunlight, there is more heat exhaust from buildings and vehicles, and there are Homeless people are at particular risk of suffering heat-related disorders because they usually do not have access to air-conditioned areas during heat waves. Fortunately, there are several resources available to homeless individuals in the Boston area to help them escape the heat, or at least minimize its impact on them. The good news is that we really emphasize preparedness for the heat and hot weather throughout the spring and summer months, since homeless people are the most vulnerable because of health issues, said James Greene, the director of the Emergency Shelter Commission for the city of Boston. One of the roles of the commission is to coordinate the city-wide response for homeless people during weather emergencies, including heat waves. This includes working closely with homeless shelters and other groups that focus on homeless outreach. We rely a lot on our partnerships, said Greene. When the weather becomes too hot, Greene says the commission requests that Boston shelters stay open 24 hours a day so that people have the option of getting out of the heat. Some shelters, such as the Pine Street Inn, also dispatch vans and street teams to drive around and offer transport to homeless people back to the shelter. During heat waves, the New England Center for Homeless Veterans also drops its restrictions and opens up its doors to all homeless people, regardless of veteran status. And for those who might resist spending their days at a shelter, there are other alternatives for beating the heat. These include cooling centers, which are usually senior or community centers that are air conditioned and offer options for indoor recreational activities during the day, or city pools, which often have extended hours during heat waves.

school, suggest they spend some time in the local library in order to get out of the sun, or offer them information about a local rehabilitation program. Were always outside talking to people on the streets, said Helberg. As with Boston and Cambridge, Somervilles homeless shelters remain open during the day during very hot weather. The Somerville Homeless Coalition, which runs a shelter at the Haitian Holy Bible Baptist Church in the Davis Square area, also opens its doors during the day when the temperatures reach start closing in at 90 degrees. A lot of people are just happy to watch television, play games o r re a d b o o k s , re m a r k e d M a r k Alston-Follansbee, the Coalitions executive director. Though the shelter is not air conditioned, since it is located in the basement of the church, it stays relatively cool at all times. It is also the only shelter in Somerville that is open to both men and women. Being homeless compromises ones health, so we dont want folks outside in an environment that will worsen their condition, explained AlstonFollansbee. However, many homeless individuals may still prefer to stay outside despite the very uncomfortable (and potentially dangerous) weather conditions. Its not bad as long as you keep hydrated, said Scott Matthews, who says he prefers to sleep outside rather than stay at a shelter most of the time. Matthews and his friend (who wished to remain anonymous) explained that many times shelters become overcrowded and noisy when it gets too hot outside, and that can lead to conflict and in-fighting among the patrons. At least outside, you can get peace and quiet, said Matthews. Spare Change News vendor Harold Moore also prefers to be outside when the weather is hot. I stay out [of the sun] in the afternoon and keep in the shade, said Moore, who then raises his arm to show his water bottle. And I stay close to access to lots of cool water. For more resources, please visit: extreme-heat.html h t t p : / / w w w. c i t y o f b o s BCYFCoolingCenters2012_tcm3-17934. pdf LAURA KIESEL is a freelance writer.

A young girl leaps off a pier at Castle Island into the Boston Harbor at the height of a heat wave across the country. Temperatures swelled nearly 100 degrees for several days in July, breaking records in many cities. In addition to trying to get homeless people out of the elements, the commission also works with outreach teams to distribute bottled water to those people who remain outside. According to Greene, homeless individuals who are addicted to drugs and alcohol are at increased risk of suffering from heat stroke and other adverse health effects from the heat because of the dehydrating effects of those substances. Those who are high or intoxicated also will be less aware of their bodys response to the weather and more susceptible to overexposure. Eric Helberg, who is the homeless outreach police officer for the city of Cambridge, also prioritizes getting

homeless out of the heat and indoors whenever possible. We work very closely with homeless shelter providers, explained Helberg, whose duties include patrolling specific spots where homeless people may congregate, such as Cambridge Commons, and ensuring everyone is comfortable and not in any danger from the heat. If someone is overly lethargic, or appears to have passed out, Helbergs job is to make sure they receive proper medical attention. Helberg makes sure to share resources with anyone who might be interested. For instance, he will refer people to the cooling center at the nearby high

Photo/reUters/Jim BoUrG

spare Change News


July 27 - August 9, 2012

State puts new limits on homeless shelter access

sarah Ferris Spare Change News

The Massachusetts Legislature set aside more than $80 million for permanent housing assistance in next years budget while slashing budgets for emergency assistance as the state rolls forward with an overhaul of its costliest housing programs. The state Legislature approved the massive expansion of Governor Deval Patricks flagship HomeBASE program, imposing additional limits on how the money can be spent for the overwhelmingly popular and costly housing assistance program. The HomeBASE funding pool, which offers up to $4,000 in housing and rental subsidies for families on the brink of homelessness, jumped to $83.4 million this year. Last year, the programs $21 million pot was drained in three months, cutting off new families from seeking aid even after the Legislature poured $19 million more into HomeBase in December. This year, families applying for the program can still receive up to $4,000 upfront to cover living costs, including rent, for one year. But a memo on this year s budget by the non-partisan Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center called into question whether $4,000 in assistance limited to 12 months will be sufficient to help many of these families, who earn very little income, to stay in housing over the long term. For the second year, the budget shifted millions of dollars from emergency housing options shelters and motels into long-term housing support as part of Patricks housing-first strategy. Funding for homeless shelters alone dropped $40 million from the 2012 fiscal year. A total $198 million was allocated for HomeBASE, Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) and Massachusetts Rental Voucher System this year. RAFT saw the largest increase of all programs, jumping from $300,000 to $8.8 million due to rising demand. In a controversial move, the Legislature also tightened criteria for individuals and families to enter shelters, admitting only those forced out of housing due to natural disaster or fire, domestic violence, eviction by no fault of their own, or unsafe living conditions. The restrictions indicate a sweeping shift in housing policy for Massachusetts, one of the top-spending states per capita on housing assistance. Kelly Turley, director of legislative advocacy for the Massachusetts Coalition on Homelessness, said the limits to shelter access were pretty shocking. To erode the safety net at a time

when the economy is so bad, at a time when families are so in need, doesnt make sense, Turley said. The current rules are already very restrictive, she said, pointing out that about 50 percent of families who apply to shelters now in Massachusetts are denied. National housing expert Dennis Culhane countered that narrowing the eligibility for shelters will push people into the states long-term housing programs instead of waiting in line at shelters, which he called way stations to nowhere. There has to be clear communication to families that theres a better way to be helped than going into the shelter system, said Culhane, a University of Pennsylvania professor who has written extensively on the subject of homelessness. More people can be helped and more assistance can be directed towards housing. National evidence supports the housing-first approach of HomeBASE, Culhane said. He added that research has shown families need only about

four months of assistance until they are back on their feet. This is a very positive and forward step that Massachusetts is taking, he added. A a ro n G o r n s t e i n , u n d e r s e c re tary for Housing and Community Development, lauded the first year s progress. HomeBase has helped about 7,000 families from either losing their home or staying long-term in a shelter, he said. The goal is to help families stay in the communities where they are, Gorstein said. We want to do everything we can to keep people in the home theyre in if its a safe situation. He stressed the program is more cost effective than placing families in motels, which costs the state about $3,000 without offering stability for that family. Gornstein said he did not think funding cuts to emergency assistance had taken away from the services they provide in shelters. He added, Its not an either or, you have to do both. Still, Gornstein said the administra-

tion knows how much work lies ahead. L a s t y e a r, u n e x p e c t e d l y h i g h demands for emergency housing prompted an extra $100 million midyear allocation to fund motels stays when shelters breached capacity. There are still about 1,618 families living in motels across the state, according to July 16 figures from the Patrick administration. We know theres more thats needed, but we have to work within resource constraints. There are many, many more families that are in need than there are resources, Gornstein said. Some of the states housing costs could be offset by the federal government, he said, but new rental assistance has not come from the Capital in more than 10 years. Well keep fighting for resources we need. It would be nice to have a partner in the federal government as well, but thats really been lacking, Gornstein said. SARAH FERRIS is a writer and editor for Spare Change News.

Photo / FliCKr/ meiliNG_BedA

July 27 - August 9, 2012


Spare Change News

Book Club for the Homeless:

Things Worth Discussing
Rob a book he had enjoyed, entitled Water for Elephants. Rob was quick to read the book and even quicker to pass it on to some of his other friends on the Common. Within a short amount of time, multiple of Peters favorite titles were circulating among the homeless of Boston. A book club had begun. The club has had an influence across America as well as internationally, helping to inform the creation of other homeless book clubs. Today, cities such as New York, London, Barcelona, Madison, Wisconsin and many others have their own versions of what began here in Boston. The Oasis Book Club continues to serve as a template for new startups. So much so, in fact, that the organization has made an outline for its clubs model which is accessible on its website so others are able to start their own book clubs with ease. I decided to attend the book club this past Tuesday without knowing what to expect. I was familiar with the room as it is the same room used for bingo. Three men were sitting around the table with a box of donuts in the middle and a handful of copies of On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Apparently, the beat writers most widely read novel was up for discussion that day. As members were filtering in a few of the early birds eagerly provided me with the inner workings of the club, such as the history, favorite and least favorite books, and how the club still functions five years after its birth. Ron Tibbets, who has been attending the Book Club since its inception, mentioned that a favorite among the group was Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn. Flynns work, about a young homeless shelter employee in Boston whose father checks in for a bed, was agreeable for the group because of how relevant it was to their lives. As group members trickled in a discussion of On the Road filled the room with energy and liveliness. Opinions and even some light tensions arose during the more heated debates over Dean, one of the main characters. The intellectual vibrance of comments and discussion of the novel surpassed my expectations coming into the room. Youd probably be surprised, too, to find a group of men discussing a feminist approach to the reading of On the Road. Ned, who has been attending the club since its inception, said he sees importance in the group in that it provides a space where homeless people will be treated as human beings and not statistics. Another longtime clubgoer described it as a safe time and a place to express themselves. Peter Resnik and Rob Day themselves were there to enjoy coffee and
Caroline McHeffey Spare Change News

Since last September, Ive been in touch with the Oasis Coalition, an organization that helps to empower and give a voice to the homeless and poor of Boston. My volunteer work there started through my school, Suffolk University, and I was quickly serving at their Monday night dinners on a weekly basis. Recently my involvement with the organization has landed me a place at the womens group every Thursday, often reading out bingo numbers. But one part of Oasis, its book club, was always a mystery to me. I realized I should become more familiar with it. The Oasis Coalitions Book Club is acclaimed for being the first book club for the homeless in the United States. It was founded about five years ago by two men, Peter Resnik and Rob Day. Peter and Rob have a unique and uncommon friendship that has transformed the lives of many. Rob, who was homeless when he first met Peter, would spend his days on the Boston Common. Peter, a successful lawyer of Boston, would often pass Rob on the Common and one day decided to initiate a conversation. It wasnt long before these daily encounters turned into daily conversations. The friendship led to Peter giving

share their feelings on the book with the rest of the group which had varying opinions. Peter was not too fond of the novel while Ned argued that Kerouac is smart, hes not just a hipster. Another man said that the book worked for the book club, speaking from his own empathy for the character in jail who wanted to become a writer. Moreover, this man, who was a bit older, was able to remember how energetic he was when he was younger. It reminded him of days that he would stay up all night until sunrise. I forgot I ever had that much energy, he said. Although the book club had a small crowd on the day that I attended (and for some reason all male), I was happily surprised with the intellectual debates, references, and overall openness that the group radiates. I was able to witness the value in a book club for the homeless. Feeling a sense of worth attached to ones own opinion is often what is lacking in a homeless persons life (or anyones life for that matter) as well as a safe space to express it. The Book Club meets at the Church on the Hill every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. CAROLINE McHEFFEY is a Spare Change News writer and editor.


spare Change News

cover story

July 27 - August 9, 2012

Chicago Golden Glove Champion Jamie Jacobsen, 22, trades blows with Spare Change News writer Noelle Swan, 32, during a casual sparring session at The Ring Boxing Club in Boston.

From Local Gym to Olympic Arena

Noelle swan Spare Change News

The Rise of Womens Boxing:

No sooner had the bell rung than Jamie Jacobsens fist connected with my nose. Instantly, my eyes welled up with water and a cold chill set in all over my body. By the second round, my nose had swelled up beyond utility, leaving me struggling to breathe through my mouthpiece. I staggered through three rounds, eating more punches than I care to remember and wondering what had happened to my two years of training. I bought an ice pop on my way home to soothe my throbbing bottom lip. Clinging to the bit of pride gained from seeing Jacobsen checking out her lip in the mirror after our sparring session, I vowed to myself that I would be back. Jacobsen and I are among a growing number of women who have turned to boxing for exercise and a competitive outlet. Next month, female boxers will contend for Olympic gold medals for the first time ever, at the 2012 summer games in London. Team USA fighters22-year-old flyweight Marlen Esparza, 27-year-old Quanitta Queen

Underwood and 17-year-old middleweight Clarissa Shieldswill compete in each of the three womens events. The road to the Olympics has been paved with lawsuits and controversy even though women have boxed for more than a century. Women participated in a demonstration bout in the 1904

Olympics in St. Louis, the first modernday Olympics to include mens boxing events. It would be another 70 years before womens boxing took the national stage again. In the 1970s, Cathy Cat Davis became synonymous with womens boxing. Major networks televised many

of her fights, and in 1978 she became the first and only woman to appear on the cover of The Ring magazine. Her career ended after a formal investigation revealed that many of her fights had been fixed. T h ro u g h t h e 1 9 8 0 s t h e U n i t e d States Amateur Boxing Federation, now known as USA Boxing, banned women from participating in sanctioned amateur fights until fighters Gail Grandchamp of Massachusetts and Dallas Malloy of Seattle sued for gender discrimination in the late 80s and early 90s. The 90s brought Laila Ali and Jackie Frazier-Lyde, daughters of former heavyweight champions Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier into the ring and American living rooms. Both went on to win world championship fights. Womens boxing has grown in popularity ever since, but has continued to meet opposition within the boxing world. John Hazard, former coach of the U.S womens national team, remembers taking his team to compete in Augusta, Georgia several years ago. He says he arranged for his team to work

Photos thomAs ChevAlier

July 27 - August 9, 2012

cover story

out at a local boxing gym while they were in town to prepare for the competition. When he showed up, the staff at the gym immediately stopped them. Hazard explained that he had called ahead and had been told that his team could train there, but he was quickly interrupted. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! I was told a boxing team was coming. Nobody said anything about any women! Hazard remembers him saying while pointing to a sign barring women from the gym. Today, Hazard and the coaches at his gym in Boston, The Ring Boxing Club, continue to work with female fighters, whether they are looking to compete, spar for fun or just get in shape. Vogue magazine just listed The Ring as one of the top five gyms in the country in which to learn to be an Olympic boxer. Women make up 40 percent of the membership. Many are students from down the street at Boston University; others are doctors, nurses, scientists, teachers, professors, mothers, and, yes, writers. Jacobsen and I met at Hazards club a few days before she bested me in that sparring session. I had trained for two years with boxing coach Teanna Babcock at a local womens health club chain. Babcock took me under her wing and pushed me to test my limits physically. Soon I had shed 30 pounds and a lot of uncertainty. For the first time, I felt confident, strong, and ready for more competition. That was how I first found myself on the receiving end of Jacobsens jab and her right cross and her left hook. The Lexington native then headed to Chicago for a year, where she joined an amateur boxing team and started training seriously to compete. A typical training day leading up to a fight included 10 minutes on a stationary bicycle, 30 to 45 minutes of running, a strenuous ab workout, and either circuit training or sparring with her team. Her training ultimately paid off. She fought and won three sanctioned fights, including the Chicago Golden Gloves Championship.

This summer, she returned to Boston to be near her friends and family for a few months before moving to San Diego for school. I met up with her at a coffee shop in Allston on a muggy evening in July to talk about her experience as a female fighter. I love the adrenaline rush and I love the one-on-one competition. She pauses, clearly trying to come up with an eloquent way to explain her passion but instead blurts out, Its just fun to hit things! Not everyone understands her love of the sport, however. People say, But youre gonna mess up your pretty face, or people just think its beastly. I know men and women are different. Men are naturally more athletic but that doesnt mean we cant do

it. I dont think that makes me a crazy feminist. Jacobsen has never been injured while boxing, though it is by definition a dangerous sport. (I once broke a rib while sparring shortly before an exhibition fight.) In amateur boxing, fighters wear protective headgear and a mouthpiece. Black eyes and broken noses are rare compared to the norm in professional boxing. Still, as with any sport in which participants sustain blows to the head, there is a risk of concussion. My fear of concussions has kept me from pursuing my own sanctioned fights, at least for now. While amateur fighters are taught to fight for points rather than for a knockout, some women are heavy hitters.

Jacobsen is one of those fighters. She says she has almost no defensive skills and instead relies on her long reach, her relentless jab, and a mean right cross. I have successfully used defensive measures in sparring maybe 10 times, she says. What I do most of the time is just bash people with my right hand. I became reacquainted with that right hand a few days later as she and I once again climbed into the ring together. Move your head, Noelle! called one of the coaches from the other side of the gym. I have heard that more times than I can count. I tend to rush in head on, catching jabs with my face. Her reach is so long that even when I managed to block her jab my follow-up right cross fell inches short. Though we are comparable in weight, at 59 she towers five full inches above me. Remembering her lack of defense, I manage to slip under her jab a few times, delivering rapid-fire uppercuts to her body and driving her into the corner of the ring. Around the gym, this move earned me the nickname The Piranha. But Jacobsen responded like no one else had. Unfazed by the barrage of shots digging into her abdomen, she fired soft and quick uppercuts at my gloves. I hesitated a split second, and she pounced. Jacobsen drove herself out of the corner, firing jab, cross, jab, cross, jab, cross and quickly made her way back into the power circle at the center of the ring. Blocking what punches I could, eating those I could not, I fought back as best I could. Red-faced and pouring sweat, we locked eyes through our gloves and grinned at each other. I forgot how much fun this is, she said before diving back into the fray. Even with Jacobsen fighting at 60 percent strength (I had made her promise before the fight not to kill me), she easily dominated both rounds. She is a decade younger, five inches taller, and infinitely more disciplined. But I will be back. NOELLE PIRANHA SWAN is a writer and editor for Spare Change News.


July 27 - August 9, 2012

Voices from the Streets a forum for those whose voices are too often ignored. From narratives to opinion to advice, these writers portray a unique perspective on life that might otherwise go unnoticed. Below, find that turning an ear towards those normally silenced opens the door to understanding and relating to those who have faced life on the street.

voices From the streets

A Controlled Dangerous Substance Act (part one)

marc d. Goldfinger Spare Change News

There was Dean Levy and he was counting the Quaaludes and he kept losing the count at around fifty or sixty. It was beginning to make him mad and his wife Brenda came over to help and dropped the coffee on his lap and he jumped up. Come on. Watch out with that, huh, Deans voice whined at her. Chrissie Bishop and Billie Sky were laughing at them and bumbling around the room. Every time Billie said something to Christine she would say, What, what, what, over and over because she was so high she couldnt hear. The dog Conan woke up and started snuffling around the door and looked up at Dean and then squatted. It was

diarrhea and it was mixed with blood. Brenda yelled, Dammit Dean, didnt you give Conan the hookworm medicine? She stumbled to the cabinet and pulled it open. The medicine was there and she took it down from the shelf. She opened it and dropped two caps into her hand. Dean gave her the finger, smiling at Billie and Billie laughed hard into the kitchen air. Chrissie had the paper towels in her hand and was wiping up the pool of brown mixed red from the floor and Brenda watched with wide eyes as Chrissies feet just slipped right out from under her and she managed to hold the towels above her head when she fell. The mess in the towels was running down her arm and she was swearing. Everyone broke out laughing and Conan ran into the living room and hid behind the couch.

Dean lost the count again. Brenda went over to the dog and opened the mouth of it. She dropped the caps in and rubbed his throat. Billie helped Dean make the count right and filled two envelopes with one hundred pills each. There were 700 or more still in the jar that they had picked up from Sammy at the Frost Pharmacy in East Orange earlier that day. Which means, between selling close to 75 in the afternoon to Jon, who was a lawyer practicing in the District Attorneys office in town, they had, between the four of them, eaten at least twenty-five of the Quaaludes. They had to make a delivery. None of them were really in any shape to go out but Mickey, who was a regular customer, had called and he was in begging mode. Dean, Dean, I just cant wait until tomorrow. Please. Ill kick in

an extra ten if you can deliver tonight. Dean, cash registers clicking in an otherwise dysfunctional mind, heard himself saying, That would be per hundred, am I correct? and the deal was sealed. As fate would have it, more than just that deal was going down. Listening at the end of Mickeys hook-up, grinning madly at each other, were the Orange, New Jerseys finest undercover mad dog detectives who, at the most inopportune time, had come in on Mickey and his pinch (girlfriend), known as Viola, whilst they were in the midst of selling some pills to one of the dicks. Selling drugs to cops was bad for business unless, of course, they were your friends. Unfortunately for Mickey and his old lady these cops were not their friends but they certainly offered what appeared to be a deal that seemed
GOLDFINGER continued on page 11

An Alternative Way of Healing Mind, Body, Spirit (part 2)

Jacques Fleury Spare Change News

The Spiritual Life:

to questions about faith and healing. He was in want of something more concrete than the blind faith that he practiced at the time, so he went on a spiritual expedition. In his devotion to finding spiritual truths, Dr. Usui travelled to the U.S. before uncovering some truths in Japan. He found an old Indic version of the Sanskrit language, penned by the disciples of Guatama Buddha. In these sutras, or scripts, there was a description of the methods, symbols and formulas the holy man used to heal. According to Lubecks story, these symbols play an integral part in the healing practice of Reiki. In his book, Way of the Heart, Lubeck continues to tell Dr. Usuis story. Even after discovering the Sanskrit sutras, he writes, Dr. Usui was not satisfied. He felt that he was still missing one thing! He had the desire to directly heal people using the laying of the hands model. He was told by a monk in the monastery to visit the holy mountain of order to meditate and fast in a special manner. The monk also told him to trust in God to bestow upon him access to the healing power. Dr. Usui then went to this mountain for 21 days, and just as he had hoped, on his last day...a bright ray of light came down to him from heaven, struck his forehead and filled him with strength and vitality. I know, I know, but Im not making this stuff up. Hang in there--I promise you itll pay off in the end. After he had been struck by the light, the symbols he formerly greeted in the ancient Sanskrit text were shrouded in shining energy bubbles. He knew then that he had access to Reiki: the universal life energy. In sharp contrast to Lubecks recount of Dr. Usuis beginnings, Frank Arjava Petter offers the idea that Dr. Usui, until this day, is considered to be a fabled creature shrouded in mystic fog. One thing that is for sure is that he was human just as we are. But he admits that not much else is known about the man. First of all, Petter essentially disarms Lubeck in remarking that Usui was Christian despite his spiritual searching. Rather than constructing a fable-like account of Dr. Usui and how he invented the discipline now known as Reiki, as

You are your only master, who else? Subdue yourself, and discover your master. -The Buddha So far, I have discussed how I came to Reiki, my initial skepticism nagging curiosity about the practice, the disputed founder Dr. Mikao Usui and his Reiki principles of do not worry, do not anger, honor your parent, teacher and elders and show gratitude to everything. Now I will continue by going more in depth about Dr. Usuis background and how he was said to have founded Reiki. After being challenged by one of the students regarding healing and the Bible at the Christian school where Dr. Usui is said to have taught, he became frustrated with his inability to provide the answers

Lubeck does, Petter offers more demographic type information, as well as some of the philosophies behind Usuis life process and beliefs. He states that Usuis main learning process involved reaching an internal source of wisdom, as well as an internal understanding that one can only get when you follow your own instincts gained from living your life and following your own will. And that was in part fundamental in connection with his Reiki ideologies. Speaking of will, lets take this time to define free will, soul, and spirit; all three correlate in some way to Reiki and its philosophies. Free will is defined as choice and power and it happens in the present. Soul means purpose and direction; its what gives us our spirit. And spirit allows us to see our higher consciousness, motivates our dynamics of being. Now I must confess that these definitions are borrowed from Professor Ferguson of University of Massachusetts Boston, whom I mentioned earlier. I took his class on the mind-body-spirit connection. I found him to be very inspiFLEURY continued on page 11

July 27 - August 9, 2012

breathed beer-breath in Mickeys face and said, You got a smart girl-friend. I hope you are as smart as her. Haw haw haw, laughed Dazeo. I dont know. It seems like theyve been thinking about this so long. I really dont think they want to help us. Lets just take them down. Its Friday night so theyll be stuck in jail for the weekend. He turned to Mickey, grinning like some dogs do when spoken to with a bone in the air waving above their heads, Youll have a bigger arsehole after a weekend in there. Never have to worry about constipation again, har har har. Viola sobbed uncontrollably and Mickey had wide-spinning-like-a-rabbit-in-the-headlight eyes. He caved and took the phone that Irish held out to him. Mickey called Dean. Dean was at the wheel and Brenda sat next to him all Quaalude loving him with her hands on him in places that were too numb to know the difference and he grinned and watched the lane lines move in the road. The wad of pills pressed Brenda in her wet spot between her legs and she wiggled around lighting a cigarette between the lips on her face that tingled with half-feeling. Billie and Chrissie in the back seat of the big Chrysler moved into each other and her tongue moving in the back of Billies throat as he moaned and slid his hand into her unsnapped jeans and she made the sexing motion with his hand slipping into her sweet. The lights of the road spilled ahead of them as Chrissie spilled into Billies hand and she reached for his and Brenda was so moved by the noise in the back seat that as they turned the corner onto the street where Mickey and Viola lived

she reached into Deans shirt and began to play with his nipple and -The lights were all around them. Shouting. Beer breath. Irish eyes not smiling and guns in their faces and blue lights on spin and Dean swallowed his gum when Brenda almost pulled off the nipple on his chest as she whipped her hand away and Chrissie pulled back from Billie so fast that her breath was still hot as she pulsed empty and closed and Billie was coughing for breath because he knew that he was in big trouble. (To Be Continued) MARC D. GOLDFINGER is a formerly homeless vendor who is now housed. He can be reached at and via his web page Marc D. Goldfinger. Marc also has books on www.smashwords. net that can be downloaded for $2.99.

GOLDFINGER continued from page 10

quite reasonable at the time. So all you got to do is call the man for us and arrange for him to bring you 200 pills and well let you guys slither on the sales charges and only press for the possession, the pasty-faced Irish cop hissed at Mickey. You know what a big difference that will make to the judge and youll have us testifying not to send you away. Your girl-friend is real pretty and she would have a rough time down at the Newark Street Jail. The detective named Dazeo snickered. Ill bet shell be the only white chick there, haw haw haw. Viola was crying by now and she said, Mickey, Mickey, dont you see that we have no choice? Pasty-faced Irish smiled and patted her gently on the shoulder as he

FLEURY continued from page 10

rational and to possess a quiet but penetrating intelligence. One of Fergusons often repeated lessons was to never give energy to what you dont want. He calls it the law of neutrality. Dont be for or against, just be. And then truth will come to you. I discovered in my research that Reiki has its roots in Buddhism. In Jack Maguires book Essential Buddhism, he elucidates the interrelatedness between Reiki and Buddhism. He avowed that it might be helpful to mention that the founder of Reiki, Dr. Usui, was a Buddhist. Hence to understand the origins of Reiki, its logical and imperative to understand the origins of Buddhism. Buddhism is considered to be of one the top five most popular religions in the entire world, the others being Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism. Buddhism has existed for
LETTER continued from page 3

2500 years. It has been far more ubiquitous beyond its homeland of India than any of the other world religions. Thats why some experts consider Buddhism to be the oldest world religion. Maguire defines the word buddha to mean the awakened one. It derives from a Sanskrit word, from the IndoEuropean root that gives us the English word bud. He adds that the Buddha managed to bud and then bloom into total consciousness...; he became enlightened. Then Maguire offers that the amazing truth of the matter is that we are all potential buddhas, perfect and complete right at this moment, but very few of us realize it. I used to eat feelings of incompletion and restlessness for breakfast. Then one day, I made a conscious choice to grab my feelings by the shoulders and changed them, just hard enough for them to fall out of place, so that they then could fall back into place. And in

order for that to happen, I knew that I would have to command myself to do some deeply spiritual soul searching. I knew that I wouldnt be able to stand on the side lines and be directed by the ray of light. Besides, I havent even opened any one of the windows in my heart for it to get in and permeate my being. Consequently, I also knew that I had to eventually assume some control over myself, over my life, over my light. In describing Buddhism, Maguire declares that Buddhism is not like Christianity, Judaism and Islam, religions of the book or the revealed word. Let me briefly describe Zen meditation, since it is our next topic of discussion. According to Random House Dictionary, Zen is defined as a Buddhism movement that emphasizes enlightenment by means of meditation and direct intuitive insight. Maguire quotes Vietnamese Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, who in his own wisdom said that our own life is the initial draft of the bill on November 19, 2010 (p. 77); c. our first semi-public presentation of the bill on December 6, 2010 (p. 79); d. our presentation of the bill to the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights on January 20, 2011 (p. 82); e. our presentation of the bill to the NAACP-Providence Branch on January 24, 2011 (pp. 83-85); f. our introduction of the bill and sponsorship request to Senator Tassoni on February 24, 2011 (pp. 103-104); g. our hearing with the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights on February 25, 2011 (pp. 102-104); h. our presentation of the bill to Mayor Taveras and advocates of the Rhode Island Civil Rights Roundtable on March 24, 2011 (pp. 105-107); i. our formal support request to the Rhode Island Civil Rights Roundtable

the instrument in which we experiment with truth. In other words, eventually we release what we put into our bodies. If we simply stared at our meals instead of eating them, we would feel empty inside. I can study Reiki all I want, but if I dont live it, I might as well have not even opened up a book to study it. So I will be my own master, in that I will set myself free of my perceived limitations and embrace the grandeur that is the Reiki light, love and joy! JACQUES FLEURYS book: Sparks in the Dark: A Lighter Shade of Blue, A Poetic Memoir about life in Haiti & America was featured in the Boston Globe & available at His CD A Lighter Shade of Blue with the folk group Sweet Wednesday to benefit Haiti charity St. Boniface is available on iTunes. Contact Jacques at: and visit him at:

state (e.g. nursing home patients). In direct response to these findings, I received a vision for a Homeless Bill of Rights. Led both by spirit and experience, I researched existing laws across the country, drafted a comprehensive anti-abuse and anti-discrimination Bill of Rights for the Homeless Act aka Homeless Bill of Rights based upon this legal research, and lobbied local advocates and elected officials for their support. The New Civil Rights Movement: Equal Treatment for the Homeless was born. We were pleased to learn that our bill inspired local advocates to continue the work we started by adopting and adapting it to become the final, antidiscrimination Homeless Bill of Rights that was signed into law. For complete details visit:

1. Our study blog entitled Walk a Week in Your Shoes: Celebrating Strong Families, which chronicles: a. the spiritual mission that prompted the research study; b. the receipt of the initial vision for a Homeless Bill of Rights; and c. and the first draft of the Homeless Bill of Rights. 2. Our working paper (PDF File size: 9.13MB) published on our website and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration PATH (Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness) site, which documents: a. our first presentation of the idea at a community homelessness forum on November 11, 2010 (p. 78); b. our first private presentation of

on February 24, 2012 (can be emailed upon request); and j. the formal letter of support received from the Rhode Island Civil Rights Roundtable on May 24, 2012 (can be emailed upon request). As a professional researcher, I hold myself and my organization to the same journalistic ethics in seeking truth, reporting it, and properly citing sources. As such, I am confident that you will appreciate printing this correction both online and in your print editions, if applicable. Sapphire Jule King, MAEd International Freedom Coalition Founder & President Houston, TX


spare Change News


July 27 - August 9, 2012

Boston: Human Rights City

Beatrice Bell Spare Change News

Dottie Stevens and Debbie-Ann Meskimen Ferretti, along with several others joined together in February 2010 to discuss how to have Boston become a Human Rights City. With the work from this union and several events during 2010 and 2011, Boston became a part of the Human Rights City Project on April 20, 2011. In the summer of 2011, Survivor Inc. and the Human Rights City reached out to agencies throughout Boston using the Declaration of Human Rights, which was originally signed by the United Nations back in 1948.

This was just the first step into making Human Rights recognized throughout Boston. On June 21, 2011, Shula Keonig came to Boston and spoke on the importance of Human Rights. Shula Keonig is the recipient of the United Nations Human Rights Award in 2004. From this came the Human Rights Coalition, started in August 2011. This group of organizations joined together to speak on how human rights can be used in resolving issues throughout the city of Boston. The Human Rights Coalition holds a meeting once a month to discuss the current issues that are happening throughout Boston. In January 2012, the Green Rainbow Party of the Human Rights Coalition (run by Mel King) joined Mass Global Action, Project Hunger, Survivors Inc., the Welfare Rights Coalition, DSNI organization and a more recently Womens International League of

Freedom and Peace. This group has seen the need to grow and reach out to organizations that surround Boston. The group of individuals felt the need to rename Human Rights Coalition to Human Rights City Boston & Beyond. For several months, Ive been attending Human Rights City Boston meetings. On July 16th, I went to a meeting at Tent City, and it was very informative. I learned about several upcoming events which they are going to be holding and attending. Since last year, their main goals have been fighting for peoples right to water and fighting to inform the public about their overall rights as human beings. Earlier this spring, they stepped things up a notch by handing out fliers and getting people to sign a petition which informs people about how they need to support their right to water. The petition was in the form of cards, each a little bigger than your average postcard. People signed the cards, which are going to be sent to Boston Mayor Thomas Meninos office. Signatures on the cards on the day of the Boston Marathon. We all got signatures that day from people who had come to see the marathon. Some people who signed the cards lived in Boston, Cambridge, further out parts of Massachusetts, California, Virginia, New York, Kansas, Ireland, England, South Africa, Scotland, Germany, France, New Zealand and Australia. It was boiling hot the day of the Boston Marathon, but we as a group did well for the day. Since then, more and more activities have been going on to inform people of their right to water and their other rights. Human Rights City Boston & Beyond was started when state representative Charles Yancey decided to fight for Boston to become a Human Rights City. I know youre wondering: what does that mean? It means that Boston is one of a small number of cities around the world that has to stand up and represent you as a citizen in a fair, equal, unprejudiced manner against persons who try to violate your human right to all the necessities to which we are entitled to from birth to the grave. That means they have to make sure as a city that our

right to housing, food, water, clothes, shelter, medical assistance, judicial assistance for the problems that we face and that such are reasonable for us to afford and be able to achieve (that includes the MBTA). Within the next few weeks and months, members of the Human Rights City Boston & Beyond will join other organizations to inform the residents of Boston that they have Human Rights and just what this means. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has 30 articles that state rights that people have just to survive. Suren Moodliar, Sandra Ruiz-Harris and Alisa LaSotnik of the Massachusetts Global Action are working on setting up a date and time to sit and talk with the Boston Water & Sewer Commission and they have an event scheduled for August 7 at 6:30 p.m. called Keep The Water Flowing. The event is being held in East Boston at the Social Center, 68 Central Square in East Boston. Look for announcements regarding other events this summer, which they are planning to take place in Fields Corner, Dorchester and Dudley Square in Roxbury. Sky Rose is planning an event called The State of The Safety Not, an event in which the youth of Boston have a forum to discuss their problems with how theyre treated in society and how they dont know what their human rights are. The event is being planned to take place at the Archdale Community Center on Archdale Street in Roslindale, MA. 02131 on September 16, 2012. On August 16-18, the Greater Boston chapter of the Green Rainbow Party will have a table at Greenfest located in Government Center. We hope that you are able to come and support the fight for the citizens of Bostons human rights and join Human Rights City Boston & Beyonds campaign for the human right to water. Human Rights City Boston & Beyond are planning to hold several events from now until December 10, 2012 to celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights back in 1948. Human Rights City Boston & Beyond wants your help in supporting the following goals: 1. Suren Moodlier from Mass Global Action will have a website up and running by the end of August. 2. 2,000 signature cards will be signed and submitted to Debbie by August 20, 2012. 3. Finally, our next meeting will be on September 27, 2012 at Tent City. Debbie is going to ask Mel King to set up the ability for Human Rights City Boston & Beyond to meet there on that August 27, and every 4th Thursday. After that, please join us. BEATRICE BELL is a Spare Change News writer and vendor.

July 27 - August 9, 2012




hurry hurry hurry two stories down the escalator wait wait wait the old man calls Spare Change, get your Spare Change the outbound is running 1-2-3 in a row I check my watch, Im inbound at least thats where I want to go the banjo lets fly a Celtic jig I toss a quarter in the fiddle case check my watch stare down the track and wait eeeeeerrrrrrrrkkkkkk crick the doors spring back one seat I press by others to snag it a pool of yellow on it I stand a woman holds an apple core a man replaces double-A batteries drops one he says oh shit a pregnant woman with a baby in a snuggly no one offers her a seat everyone has somewhere to go everyone has something to do the T emerges at the Charles/MGH the rain ceased no one looks a rainbow arches over sailors setting out I could get my G.E.D. have a three-week vacation in a hospital earn a fifteen hundred dollar stipend be counseled about my unwanted pregnancy join Hope Fellowship in worship be surprised by Michelob light get tested for HIV many ways to mend my life everyone is occupied studying feet listening to an ipod diddling with a cell phone reading heels click across the floor a man taps his walking stick people bump up against each other against the Do Not Lean on this Door sign ding ding ding grrrrrrrrrrrrr grrrrrrrrrr grrrrrrrrr seven cups of Dunkin Donuts nine cups of Starbucks eight Evian water bottles everyones hydrating no ones relating Porter Harvard Central Kendall Charles/MGH Park Downtown Crossing station mantra to the rhythms of the T takes me to a place I need to be Students hustle by but do not see him alone on the park bench taking a smoke Years ago he was a student on his way to somewhere Now he spends his days on the Common his silver hair pulled out of the way in a pony-tail always the same frayed jeans and shirt gray sneakers tied with string A canvas case patched with duct tape sits beside him he lifts out a battered 12-string guitar its bridge stressed out from years of percussive picking glances at the faint autographs on its leather back strap Josh White, Guy Carawan, Pete Seeger, Tony Saletan places his still-burning cigarette between two strings adjusts the tuning pegs, strums to find a key hums as his feet tap out the beat and sings This world is not my home, Im just a-passing through His lips curl into a smile around the sounds as he sings to a galaxy of ghosts He is not worrying about sifting through trash cans for discarded chips, half-eaten sandwiches nor finding a place to sleep on a bench, behind a bush or with some young woman happening his way willing to share her dorm bed for a night of song Tomorrow he will drift off to another bench shrouded in the proud tradition of protest to rage against hard times, lost causes, corrupt bosses mine disasters, union strikes, unjust wars, parted lovers not thinking of the wife and babies he left behind He pauses for a nip from his monogrammed flask The angels beckon me from Heavens open door And I cant feel at home in this world anymore

Molly Lynn Watt is the author of Shadow People, On the Wings of Song, (manuscript) set in Civil Rights Movement, Consider This, commissioned for Across the Ages dance concert May 2011 which deals with incest, and Civil Rights Update, paired with Dr. Kings Dream speech, required in Dallas Schools. She co-created and performs with Dan Lynn Watt, George & Ruth: Songs & Letters of the Spanish Civil War, curates The Fireside Readings, and edited Bagelbard Anthology volumes 1-4. Molly is the poetry editor for HILR Review and teaches writing poetry at HILR. She plays in a uke band.

Poems may be submitted to: Marc D. Goldfinger, 76 Unity Ave. Belmont MA, 02478
Every Thursday Every Sunday

or email: SCN cannot return poetry

submissions, and authors will be contacted only if their poems are published. Every Wednesday Second Tuesday of Every Month

squawk Coffeehouse, 9 pm 1555 mass Ave., Cambridge open mike for poets and musicians.

lizard lounge Poetry slam, 7 pm 1667 mass. Ave., Cambridge $5. 671- 547-0759

Every Saturday

out of the Blue Gallery, 8 pm 106 Prospect st., Cambridge $3-5 suggested donation. 671- 354-5287

Every Monday

Boston Poetry slam, 8 pm Cantab lounge, 738 mass. Ave., Cambridge $3. 21+. 617-354-2685

Newton Free library, 7 pm 330 homer st. 617-796-1360

Third Saturday of Every Month

out of the Blue Gallery, 8 pm 106 Prospect st., Cambridge $4 suggested donation. 617-354-5287

Second Thursday of Every Month

tapestry of voices, 6:30 pm Borders, 10 school st., Boston Free. 617-557-7188

Boston haiku society meeting, 2-6 pm Kaji Aso studio, 40 st. stephen st., Boston $3. 617-247-1719

Poetry event listings may be submitted to


spare Change News


July 27 - August 9, 2012

Helping Hands
Food Not Bombs 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Cambridge and Boston are teeming with organizations ready to provide food and services to the homeless and the needy. If youre in need, theyre there for you. If you can volunteer or donate, most of them could use your help.
Food pantry: Mon. -- Fri. 9 a.m. -- 5 p.m. Fair Foods $2 a bag St. Pauls Church 29 Mt. Auburn St, Cambridge Harvard Sq. Red Line, 617-491-8400 Saturdays 11:00- 11:30 a.m. SoMERVIllE, Cobble Hill apts Every other Wed. 11:30-1 Medical Walk-in Unit at Mass General Hospital 617-726-2707 Provides minor medical care for adults. Patients are seen in order of arrival. MGH accepts most insurances but requires copayments. Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat., Sun., Holidays 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; closed Thanksgiving & Christmas Boston Rescue Mission 39 Kingston St., Boston

Boston Common (near Park Street T station), 617-787-3463 Mass. ave. Baptist Church 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday:


Bread & Jams Self advocacy Center 50 Quincy St. Cambridge 617-441-3831 Located in the basement of the Swedenborg Church at the dren.

146 Hampshire St., Cambridge, 617-868-4853

corner of Kirkland and Quincy. Serves adults only, no chilBreakfast 9:30 to 10 a.m; lunch at 12:00 noon. Other services include case management, housing assistance, clinical treatment. assessment, and referrals for substance abuse and medical Boston Rescue Mission 39 Kingston St., Boston Sundays.

Hope Fellowship Church

84 Washington St. Back parking lot (near Sullivan Sq.) Mt. Pleasant apts. 70 Perkins St. (off Broadway) Every other Wed. 1:30 - 2:30 Hearty meals for all

16 Beech Street, Cambridge, MA month

Hope Caf 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. last Saturday of the loaves and Fishes, First Korean Church, 35 Magazine

Safe & healthy mens overnight shelter program. Women and children only (no boys over age 11)

Rosies Place 889 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-442-9322 Open 7 days a week; provides help with housing, medical es, rape crisis counselors, health specialists, and more.

Street, Cambridge

Somerville Community Baptist Church

Community meals: 3:00 p.m. weekdays, and 5:00 p.m. Pine Street Inn 444 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-482-4944

5:30 p.m. buffet dinner, music, food pantry

31 College Ave. Somerville, MA 02144, 617-625-6523 at 6:30pm

Pilgrim Trinitarian Congregational Church 540 Columbia Rd, Dorchester, 617-282-0456 we serve the guests, no standing in line. Sunday: 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. community lunch, cafe style, and

Free community meals the second Friday of every month

care, job training, financial aid and education, legal servicSt. Francis House 39 Boylston Street, Boston, 617-542-4211

Breakfast: 6:00 a.m.; brown bag lunches during the day; Dinner: 5:00 p.m.; Chicken truck: 11:30 a.m. (Saturdays only) Must be registered receive food. Rosies Place 889 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-442-9322 Women & children only, no boys over age 11 Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; Dinner: 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. St. Francis House 39 Boylston St., Boston, 617-542-4211 Emergency sandwiches: Weekdays 2:45 to 3:00 p.m. Lunch: 12:00 noon Breakfast: 7:30 to 9:00 a.m.; Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Salvation army 402 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, 617-547-3400 Womens lunch Place 67 Newbury St., Boston., 617-267-0200 Women & children only, no boys over 14 Open Mon. through Sat., 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. WEEKLY MEALS Monday: Boston Rescue Mission 39 Kingston St., Boston proof of address.

The Womens Center

Homeless Concerns

Meals offered 365 days/yr.; food pantry open weekdays. Offers a mailroom, open art studio, clothing lottery, computer library, support groups such as AA, showers, telephones, toothbrushes & razors, medical clinic, counseling zation services, and a womens center. For more details on and mental health services, housing counseling and stabilithese services and for their specific times visit www.stfranStarlight Ministries 617-262-4567

46 Pleasant St., Cambridge, 617-354-8807 Walk-ins welcome.

Boston Rescue Mission 39 Kingston St., Boston 5:00 p.m. Sundays. Food Not Bombs

Computers, kitchen, space, childrens room, and more. Women & children only (no boys over age 12) Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-3pm. Cambridge Multi-Service Center 19 Brookline St., Cambridge, 617-349-6340

955 Mass Ave (617) 787-3436

Central Square in Cambridge on Sundays from 3-5pm.

Greater Boston Food Bank, 617-427-5200 etc. Office hours: 8 a.m. -- 4:30 p.m.

Food Assistance

City-run agency with additional community non-profit

Outreach Wed. 7 p.m. by Park Street T station

partners. Works with Cambridge families in shelters, Employs housing specialists for elderly and disabled.

Streetlight outreach Wednesdays at 8:00 PM

Serves non-profit organizations such as agencies, shelters, Project Bread 617-723-5000; Hotline 1-800-645-8333 Referrals to food pantries throughout the city Somerville Food Pantry 617-776-7687

provides shelter referrals and other housing assistance. Office hours: Mon. 8:30 a.m. -- 8 p.m.; Tue., Wed., Thu. 8:30 a.m. -- 5 p.m.; Fri. 8:30 a.m. -- 12 p.m. Walk-ins accepted. Cardinal Medeiros Center 27 Isabella St., Boston, 617-619-6960

Harvard T-Station (The Pit); Porter Square T-Station.

Volunteers work weekly to serve the homeless who live in Harvard and Porter Squares. Volunteer teams give away warm food and beverages, clothing and counsel to those in need. Streetlight volunteers also lead an outdoor worship service for the entire community. The Womens Center

Buffet breakfast 7:00 to 11:00am, restaurant-style lunch

Food pantry: Mon, Tue, Fri 10 a.m. -- 2 p.m.; Wed 12 p.m. -- 4 p.m.; Thu 1 p.m. -- 4 p.m.; Sat 9 a.m.-- 12 p.m. Somerville residents only. Those unable to use other pantries due to disability may call and ask for the Project Soup Delivery Coordinator. Brookline Food Pantry

Day center for homeless adults (50 years & older); mental health & nursing staff; help with housing searches. Lunch served at 11:45 a.m.

46 Pleasant St., Cambridge, 617-354-8807

Computers, kitchen and rooms. Walk-ins welcome. Women & children only (no boys over age 16). on The Rise Hours: Mon-Fri 10 a.m.-- 8 p.m., Sat 10 a.m. -- 3 p.m. 341 Broadway, Cambridge, 617-497-7968

Food pantry: 9:00 to11:00 a.m. (except holidays). Bring Holy Resurrection orthodox Church 62 Harvard Ave., Allston, 617-787-7625 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. dinner and take-out from Open Door Soup Kitchen/St. Bridgets Food Pantry 617-868-4853. Tuesday: Mass. Ave. Baptist Church 146 Hampshire St., Cambridge, Dinner 6 :00 to 7:30 p.m. Church of the advent 30 Brimmer St., Boston, 617-523-2377 Dinner 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. 617-876-7772 First Parish Unitarian Church 3 Church St., Cambridge, Dinner 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. (doors open at 5:30) 354-0414

Office hours: Mon.-Thu. 9a.m.- 4p.m.; Fri. 9a.m.-3 p.m. Caspar 240 Albany St., Cambridge, 617-661-0600 Open 24 hrs/day; emergency shelter open 4:30 p.m. -- 8 a.m.; Clients who leave in the morning may not return recent local residency. until 3 p.m.; Clients staying multiple nights must prove ClaSP (Community Legal Assistance Services Project) 19 Brookline St., Cambridge, 617-552-0623 Service Center every Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. 617-552-0623 Free legal clinic for Cambridge homeless at the MultiEcclesia Ministries 67 Newbury Street, Boston., Weekly Schedule for the Common Cathedral: Common, 1 pm

15 St. Paul St., Brookline, 617-566-4953 1 p.m. -- 4 p.m.

Tues. & Thurs. 10 a.m. -- 2 p.m., Wed 3 p.m. -- 6 p.m.; Sat. Brookline residents only. Second-time visitors must present of food services.

Women only. Home-base during the day and advocacy services. Open six days/week. First-time visitors, call ahead or stop by Mon-Fri, 8-2pm. The outdoor Church of Cambridge

a letter from an advocate confirming that they are in need CEoC (Cambridge Economic Opportunity Commission) 11 Inman St. (basement), Cambridge, 617-868-2900 p.m.; Thu 11 a.m. -- 1 p.m.; Closed Fri. East End House Food pantry: Mon, Wed 4 p.m. -- 6 p.m.; Tue 12 p.m. -- 2

The Outdoor Church of Cambridge is an outdoor ministry

to homeless men and women in Cambridge. Prayer services and pastoral assistance outdoors in all seasons and all weather. Short prayer services in Porter Square, under the mobile sculpture near the T station, at 9:00 a.m. and on the Cambridge Common, near the tall Civil War monument

105 Spring St., Cambridge, 617-876-4444

Sunday: Worship at Brewer s Fountain on Boston Gospel Reflection at St. Pauls Cathedral, 138 Tremont St., 2:30 p.m. -- 4 p.m. a.m. --1 p.m. Monday: Lunch at Sproat Hall (St. Pauls Cathedral) 11:30 -Eucharist & Healing (St. Pauls Cathedral) 1 p.m. 2 p.m. --3 p.m.

and directly across from Christ Church Cambridge on Garden Street, at 1:00 p.m. every Sunday, throughout the year. Sandwiches, pastry, juice and clean white socks avail39 Brown Road, Harvard, Massachusetts 01451; Victory Programs, Inc.

Faith lutheran Church 311 Broadway, Cambridge, 617Faith Kitchen, second & last Tuesday of every month, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday: MIT/St. Barts

Food pantry: Tue 12 p.m. -- 2 p.m.; Fri 10 a.m. 12:30 p.m. for appointment).

Offers assistance in filling out food stamp applications (call Margaret Fuller House

able in Harvard Square and Central Square. (978)456-0047,

71 Cherry St., Cambridge, 617-547-4680 p.m.; Fri & Sat 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon Salvation army

6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at St. Bartholomews Episcopal Church, Central Square, Cambridge Hope Fellowship Church 16 Beech Street, Cambridge, MA Square in the pit 8:15 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. Dinner 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Food pantry: Wed. 5 :00 to 7:30 p.m.; Thurs. 1:00 to 4:00

- Common Fellowship in Sproat Hall (St. Pauls Cathedral) Wednesday: Common Art at the Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury Street, 10 a.m. -- 3 p.m. Cathedral) 2:30 p.m. -- 5 p.m. Friday: Common Cinema in Sproat Hall (St. Pauls Horizons for Homeless Children Short and long-term residential substance

use disorder treatment programs for individuals and families; affordable housing opportunities for eligible individuals; HIV/AIDS case management. Sites throughout Boston Please call for more information. (617) 541-0222 ext. 626

Streetlight outreach Team - Wednesday nights at Harvard Salvation army 402 Mass. Ave., Cambridge 617-547-3400 St. Bartholomews Episcopal Church Dinner 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Thursday:

402 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-547-3400 Cambridge and Somerville residents only. St. Francis House Food pantry: 9 a.m. -- 3 p.m. & by appointment 39 Boylston St., Boston, 617-542-4211

239 Harvard Street, Central Square, Cambridge

Food pantry: Mon. through Wed. 10 a.m. -- 11 a.m. Day Center


Sign up at the Counseling Desk in the St. Francis House St. James Episcopal Church

Horizons for Homeless Children is seeking volunteers to

interact and play with children living in family, teen paroffer daytime and evening shifts, so there is likely to be one that fits your schedule. A commitment of 2 hours a week Sat., Sept. 27, 9:30 a.m. -- 4:30 p.m.

Lawyers Clearinghouse, 617-723-0885

Legal Aid

ent, and domestic violence shelters in Greater Boston. We

Shelter Legal Services (Newton), 617-965-0449 The Homeless Eyecare Network of Boston (HEN-Boston)

Christ Church Zero Garden St. Cambridge 617-876-0200 Dinner 6 :00 p.m. The Womens Meal (Women and children welcome) St. Jamess Episcopal Church 5:00 to 7 p.m. 1991 Mass Ave, Cambridge, 617-547-4070 Union Baptist Church 5:00 p.m. Friday:

Helping Hand Food Pantry, Fresh Pond Apartments, 362 Ringe Ave, Cambridge, 617-547-4070 a.m. to 12:00 noon 617-661-1110 Tues., 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., Thurs. 11 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.; Sat. 10:00

for 6 months is required. The next training session will be

is a nonprofit organization dedicated to maintaining a constantly undated network of affordable and free eyecare services for the homeless. If you need an eye exam or glasses,

St. Pauls aME Church 85 Bishop Allen Drive, Cambridge,


Western ave Baptist Church 299 Western Ave., Cambridge,


874 Main St., Cambridge, 617-864-6885

Food pantry: Wed. 12p.m.--2 p.m.; Sat. 10a.m.--12 p.m.

subscribe to

Name _______________________________________________ street ________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________ City ____________________________ state ______ Zip _____

arlington St. Church 5:00 p.m.

Food pantry: Every second Wed., 10 a.m. For clinic patients with HIV/AIDS only.

351 Boylston St., Boston, 617-536-7050

Zinberg Clinic Pantry Cambridge Hospital 617-665-1606

My check or money order for $60 made payable to Spare Change News is enclosed.

mail to: spare Change News1151 massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, mA 02138


spare Change News


July 27 - August 9, 2012

Its a Mad Mans Mans Mans World

The 2012 Emmy nominations were announced and for the first year ever, not one of the networks received a nod for Best Drama. The field belonged to the pay-for-it crew. No wonder the stupid satellite company has me by the balls! Of course, Mad Men led with 17 nominations. Its been a winner since 2008, and for good reason. I recently reneged on several personal commitments to lie in bed and watch all five seasons on my laptop. I dont know why I resisted so long. Maybe it was the bad sixties colors on the refrigerators (Avocado! Goldenrod!) or Peggys hideous dirndl dresses. Jon Hamm (Lead Actor), Elisabeth Moss (Lead Actress), Christina Hendricks (Supporting), and Jared Harris (Supporting) are up for their Emmys for good reason. Hamm is so good as the conflicted anti-hero Don Draper that you half expect to be able to

in celebrity culture that even the erudite grads among them (like Dunhams character, Hannah) behave as if theyre already stars in their own reality show. All they have to do in their lives is show up, and someone will surely dispense their just due of fame, fortune, and a fabulous, camera-ready relationship. To the cast of characters in Girls I say, Grow up! To the rest of the nominees I say, Get up. Take a bow. Youve made it possible to put the formerly non-compatible words, quality and T.V. together again. The Emmys air on Sunday, Sept. 23 on NBC PATTY TOMSKY is a freelance writer.

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Patty Tomsky Spare Change News

pull him up in old issues of Advertising Age. The ooey gooey goodness of this stylish soap resides in his nuanced performance, especially this season, of a man in love and in a battle with his baser impulses. The prototypical career girl, Peggy (Moss) had lotsa fun things to do this season as well, including a delicious scene with her uber-Catholic mother as she and her underground journalist beau, Abe (Charlie Hofheimer) announce theyve begun to live in sin. Peggy and Joan Hendricks have also struck up a riveting friendship over the years: Two career women who have taken very different paths, to wildly varying results, to break into this mad mans mans mans world. I really must give a most plummy shout out to Jared Harris as Lane Pryce for his seasons toiling as a man in a downward spiral of extortion and for his multi-season storyline of an expat in over his head in the seedy, sultry world of mid-sixties Manhattan. His toothy,

oh-so-English grin in the face of the horror that his life has become is heart wrenching. If he doesnt win, Ill be on my feet in front of the telly screaming, Ballocks! I might just pierce my nose in a totally useless, but vaguely Sex Pistols-ish show of U.K. solidarity. As for the rest of the field: I love, love, love Max Greenfield in New Girl (Best Supporting in a Comedy) but Zooey Deschanels performance in the same show (Best Actress in a Lead Comedy) remains a bit twee for me. Edie Falco (Lead Actress in a Comedy) as Nurse Jackie is perfection but so is Julia LouisDreyfuss (Lead Actress in a Comedy) as a hysterical, self-involved boob of a vice president in Veep. As for Lena Dunham in Girls (Best Actress in a Comedy) the jury is still out for this girl. I watch the show but I turn it off feeling slightly disgusted. I think it has something to do with the purely vacuous, but well-acted storylines that underscore my sad suspicion that the 20-something generation is not only morally adrift but so awash

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