Phillipe and Jorge’s Cool, Cool World: Chickens and a Fox with Sox

Chickening Out

With the big flap at Halitosis Hall this legislative session over chicken coops and the birds’ wingspans (OK, that is a horrible pun, but blame the hot weather), Phillipe and Jorge are reminded of a famous story by journalist, author and very funny guy Calvin Trillin.

In New York City’s Chinatown, there is (possibly now was) a live chicken in a glassed-in box. You’d feed in a dollar, and the chicken will play a game of tic-tac-toe against you by tapping the various squares inside as you make your own picks outside. (Phillipe and Jorge did this a number of times when we lived on Mott St in the Big Apple.) The chicken almost invariably wins, we’re sorry to say.

Trillin recounted how he would take visiting friends to Chinatown to play against the chicken just for shits and giggles. They, too, would join the long line of losers.

But what amused Trillin most were the excuses his defeated pals would offer up. They would plead after going down to the fowl, “I haven’t played tic-tac-toe in a long time. The chicken plays every day!” To which Calvin would reply, “But it’s a chicken!” Or, “Well, the chicken got to go first!”  Trillin again: “But it’s a chicken!”

Maybe we should install a tic-tac-toe chicken box at the state house so our august lawmakers can finally see just how smart they are. “But the chicken knows a guy!”

Public Service, Little Rhody-style

So sad to see disgraced former House Speaker and current criminal Gordon Fox drive off to spend three years at the government’s pleasure at a white collar penitentiary in Pennsylvania.  Sob, sob, sniff, sniff. (Honk!)

But P&J found our quote of the week coming from Gordo’s husband, Marcus LaFond, as his beloved was heading off to the can. Surrounded by the ink-stained wretches and talking hairdos of the media, he implored them to back off, saying, “He (Fox) has given enough to the people of the state.” Yeah, Marcus, like a huge black eye and more fodder for folks across the country to look upon The Biggest Little as a corrupt tiny backwater where the motto “Lobsters and Mobsters” still reigns, and the criminal element can be found in every branch of state government.  Gee, guess we forgot to thank you before you picked up your prison jumpsuit, Gordo.

What makes LaFond’s remark even more appalling is that some of the money Fox is accused of taking as bribes or looting from his campaign fund went to LaFond’s Providence hair salon, Imagine Hair, and to the couple’s daily lifestyle. Most likely LaFond was well aware of where the money for renovations at his barber shop and the auto and Tiffany purchases came from, which makes P&J wonder if Gordo might actually deserve a cellmate he is quite familiar with in his new digs.

Patronizing PawSox

Phillipe and Jorge don’t know exactly who is supposed to be doing the public relations for the new Pawtucket Red Sox ownership, but it appears to be the crack communications firm of Moe, Larry and Curly.

After the brazen announcement of plans to move the PawSox out of revered McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket to a gleaming new ballpark on the I-195 land in Providence (with considerable help expected from state and local taxpayers, thank you very much) the owners have displayed the deft touch of a drunk wearing oven mitts. (We were going to say a catcher’s mitt, but we promised to use no more cheap baseball allusions regarding the PawSox.)

After the initial plan was received by the public and lawmakers, like a Ray Rice punch in an elevator, the PawSox execs have again displayed their cluelessness by announcing a statewide “listening tour” to get public input. “Listening tour” is one of the more annoying elements of Clintonspeak, a patronizing and condescending concept that means, “You talk to us, we pretend to listen, and then do whatever we were going to do in the first place by working out backroom deals.”

And whom did the PawSox bring in to head this charade? Some former dentist and senior advisor to PawSox/Red Sox owner Larry Lucchino, Dr. Charles Steinberg.  Not that he was a bad choice to succeed the recently deceased Jim Skeffington, the charming, ultra-slick and locally wired-in power-broker who was heading the PawSox’ pitch, unless you consider that the dumpy Steinberg didn’t know where the Providence River was while standing yards away from it in his first made-for-media event.

After the slap-back their initial proposal received, Steinberg is now on “tour” with essentially nothing concrete in hand, while you can be sure Lucchino and his high-powered Little Rhody buddies Tom Ryan and Terry Murray have Our Gina and House Speaker Nick ‘The Forehead” Mattiello on their cellphone speed dials. P&J are sure that the words of wisdom they will pick up from their travelling circus act will be well-considered by Steinberg and Lucchino over cocktails. “So this one goober in Woonsocket stands up and says, ‘Do you honestly expect us to help pay your bills while you rake in all the profits?’  What a moron! Why does he think we’re in this game?” Don’t expect that these carpetbaggers will “get” that the PawSox is a Little Rhody treasure, that the I-195 land was never in a million years intended to play host to a minor league baseball stadium, or that their claims that there will be no traffic problems and that people employed Downcity will hoof it over to Ben Dover Stadium after work in the thousands to watch the PawSox take on the Toledo Mud Hens is outright laughable to locals with half a brain.

Please tell us more, Doc Steinberg.  We’re “listening.”

Another “Jackie” bites the dust

Your superior correspondents got instantly nostalgic when it was reported that comedian Jack Carter passed away on June 28 at age 93. Although the name will probably not resonate with younger readers, back in the 1950s and ’60s, he was a regular presence on the big TV variety shows of the era like Ed Sullivan’s show. He would race through his routine and, if he wasn’t getting laughs, would start to perspire and blurt out “pee pee, caca, doodoo” (Jorge actually saw him do this on television once).

Here is where the Jack Carter story becomes forever linked with Phillipe & Jorge and the Young Adults: One afternoon around 1977, Phillipe was watching “The Hollywood Squares” on TV and Jack Carter was one of the squares. Peter Marshall read the question, “Where does the line, ‘Where heather lies in a field of grass’ appear?” Jack Carter’s response? “At the Teamsters’ picnic.”

After spitting out a mouthful of pernod and grapefruit, Phillipe immediately related the story to Jorge, whose response was to write the song “At the Teamsters’ Picnic” for his band, the Young Adults. Our favorite verse from the song is the last one: “We’ll sit around and swap some tales/’bout fisticuffs and county jails/There’ll be no talk of saving whales/At the Teamsters’ Picnic.”

RIP, Jack Carter
….while another Jackie rises
Speaking of the Young Adults, the band is going to do a rare performance on Sunday, Aug 30, at the Slater Mill in Pawtucket as part of the SAM Fest portion of the Pawtucket Arts Festival. The event, put together by Slater Mill head ramrod (and fine musician), Lori “Ursula George” Urso, will take place over two days. On Saturday afternoon, Aug 29, the Grammy-nominated Jon Butcher Axis Band will play along with the James Montgomery Band and Doug Woolverton & his DW Funk All-Stars. On Saturday evening at 7:30, the legendary Providence cult film Complex World will be screened outdoors. On Sunday afternoon, it’s The Young Adults along with a performance by “Sax” Gordon Beadle, Bobby Keyes and Jay Brunelle. This is world-class entertainment and it’s all free!
The Rosary Stigmata
As part of the FRINGEPVD Festival in Providence the Theater of Bewilderment will present the play The Rosary Stigmata by Casa Diablo regular, James Celenza (directed by Patricia Thomas, music by JPA Falzone). There will be two performances at the PAFF Auditorium at the downtown campus of URI at 80 Washington St, Tuesday, July 21 at 7:30pm and Thursday, July 23 at 7pm. Highly recommended. 

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