Phillipe & Jorge’s Cool, Cool World: Pope Frankie, Knowing a Guy and Passages

Cruisin’ for a Love

Phillipe and Jorge rarely see eye-to-eye with Pope Frankie of the Vatican, except to acknowledge that he is indeed a member of the Catholic faith and that bears do continue to defecate with regularity in the woods.

Despite Frankie’s continuing the tradition of swanning around the globe in red slippers and gilded evening gowns, he has shown more of a touch for the common man (still lagging on the female side, however, big guy) as he does his world tours. Certainly a little closer to reality and good taste than his predecessors, who put on the dog so much they looked like they wanted to be contestants in the senior division of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Nowhere was this more evident than recently in South America, where Frankie decided to ditch the notorious “Popemobile,” which always made the reigning pontiff look like the centerpiece of a “Lord of the Mannequins” float in the Rose Bowl parade, favoring what appeared to be a cheap Japanese model sedan. Frankie cut quite the figure riding in the back seat looking like one of the hombres cruising the main drag in San Bernadino, hanging out the window and trying to pick some hot senoritas.

It is always nice to see Frankie and the Catholic all-male leadership reaching out to their public, especially when their targets are women of a legal age. (Geddit?)

Not So Smart

As most people know, telling a police officer or nightclub doorkeeper cum bouncer, “Do you know who I am?” when confronted is a surefire winner — provided your goal was to ensure you would be arrested or banned from the popular bar after having received a shot to the head and being kicked to the curb.

The downside of trying to high-hat people by claiming you are of untouchable and weighty importance and “know people” seems to have eluded our governor, Gigi Raimondo, especially when dealing with federal authorities, who are perhaps even more brass-necked and easily pissed off than a cop or goon at the bar entrance who really doesn’t care who you are. This has been true in two of Gigi’s biggest embarrassments while in office, the UHIP benefits fiasco and the blatant backhanded and well-concealed diversion of 911 funding into the political slush fund known as the general fund on Smith Hill. (P&J will just let the “Warmer and Cooler” debacle speak for itself. But wouldn’t it have been “cooler” if as part of her promotion of this idiotic PR dumpster fire Gigi got the slogan tattooed on her arm as a show of support when it was launched before the shit hit the fan at the speed of light?)

One of Gigi’s biggest faults is that she always thinks she is the smartest person in the room. Unfortunately for Vo Dilunders, she is wrong, and too often.

In the case of UHIP, Gigi demanded that the new computer system be put on-line before it or those who would be using it were ready, obviously attempting to bask in the reflected glow as the champion of the huddled masses. This despite the very clear and forceful message from the feds that it was not ready for prime time and should not be launched prematurely. The result was a totally flawed, and — how to say this nicely? — completely fucked-up system that resulted in thousands of needy Rhode Islanders being deprived of money needed for such frivolous items as food and shelter. Many beneficiaries are still not getting their proper benefits thanks to Gigi deciding she knew better than the experts.

The UHIP disaster continues now that the special master for the system has demanded that outside help be contracted to help handle processing and calls, the latter having a mere two-hour average for those put on hold. Nice work, gang.

The 911 emergency funding, according to the Federal Communications Commission, was “stolen” from the funding stream coming from what you see on your phone bill as a “911 fee.” But you have to give credit to Gigi and the general assembly for this bare-faced and unapologetic heist, which clandestinely transferred $11.6 million (!) of the revenue to the general fund of the $16.8 allotted to the emergency service. Now that takes balls if you expected to defend it once you have been outed, as Gigi and Halitosis Hall denizens were recently.

Anyone familiar with Little Rhody politics knows the general fund is just a slop bucket used by assembly leadership — in this case, obviously with Governor Raimondo’s knowledge — to plug budget mistakes or grease necessary palms. While Gigi told the feds the money — all $5.2 million of the designated $$16.8 million — was being well spent on 911 programs and staff, other emergency experts pointed out that other states, instead of picking the taxpayers’ pockets, were installing advanced technology and training programs in the 911 system that would help responders save more lives.

Beside being appalling and embarrassing (the latter emotion which Gigi and assembly leaders are obviously immune to feeling), this is downright lying to the public. But Gigi knows best. That’s how you get to be when you’re the smartest person in the room. Provided that room’s a vomitorium.

Passages

A number of prominent Vo Dilundahs (Casa Diablo regulars all) passed away since the last Motif, and we would like to note their passings.
Charlie Reckard was a good friend of P&J’s, going back to his days as a bartender at the late, lamented, Leo’s bar and restaurant. Charlie was a strong supporter of the arts (music, in particular) and could be seen at all sorts of music events and art gallery openings. He was a kind and jolly fellow. Our condolences to his wife, Lucia O’Reilly, and his family and many friends.
…District Court Judge Bill Clifton was a groundbreaking black jurist who was one of the most brilliant legal minds we knew. His wife, O. Rogeriee Thompson, sits on the federal First Circuit Court of Appeals and is also a great jurist. Our condolences to her and also to Bill’s brother, Ed Clifton (a retired RI Superior Court judge), Ed’s wife, Audrey, and to the entire Clifton family.
 
Tom Griffin was a prolific playwright (The Boys Next Door, Einstein and the Polar Bear, Pasta) and a talented actor at Trinity Rep for many years. Jorge (Rudy Cheeks) remembers Tom as giving one of the finest performances he ever saw in the theater at URI, many years ago. The director, Judith Swift, introduced Jorge to the theater department performances. Jorge was also a neighbor of Tom’s on the East Side of Providence back in the 1980s.
These were all notable Rhode Islanders — people who helped make the Biggest Little the great place it is. All were people we felt great affection for and they will be sorely missed.

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