A Halitosis Hall War, a Big Oops and RIMHOF Inductees

How Halitosis Hall Works

Now that the controversial RhodeWorks tolling plan bill has been rushed through the General Assembly and signed by Governor Gigi, it should now be the legislature’s top priority to pass an ethics bill with some teeth in it.  But don’t hold your breath, boys and girls.

Democratic state Sen. James Sheehan of North Kingstown, who P&J have found to be a smarmy and self-promoting piece of work at times, has been pushing hard for an ethics bill in the past few years. His frustration about the blatant stonewalling of any ethics reform at Halitosis Hall has obviously reached the boiling point; he recently claimed that in a meeting of the Senate Democratic Caucus, Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed warned her colleagues that House Speaker Nick “Sgt. Schultz” Mattiello threatened her that if any ethics bills popped over the horizon in the senate that the house (read: His Excellency Mattiello) would, as Paiva Weed supposedly termed it, go to “war” with the senate. This would involve the house not passing any personally prized bills that might emerge from the august solons in that chamber. And in an election year, when legislators are looking to show their constituents what great contributions they’ve made to the common weal, having your sponsored bill blown out of the water once it crosses the rotunda into the snake pit known as the house can put a real hole in your re-election plans — especially if you are facing a tough opponent in November. Ah, such a civil, exalted and honorable way to run a state government designed to serve the great unwashed of The Biggest Little.


Actually, the RhodeWorks bill offered up another example of Sgt. Schultz’s imperious, heavy-handed and begrimed style of governing. Before Gigi finished handing out the ceremonial pens used to sign the tolling legislation, the speaker spanked and yanked three fellow Democrats who voted against RhodeWorks from their choice committee appointments: Rep. Raymond Hull from the powerful House Finance Committee; Rep. Joseph Solomon from the House Judiciary Committee; and Rep. Robert Phillips from the House Committee on Corporations. Hit it, James Brown – The Big Payback!

Ethics? Not around these parts, pal.

Funny Paper

The Other Paper has been quite pleased with itself of late after their big “makeover.” And the expansion of the already excellent commentary/editorial/op-ed pages has been a success, but while the varied and informed opinions are ultimately read-worthy, the new design and fonts still leave a good deal to be desired.

But as far as layout goes, perhaps The Urinal’s parent company Gatehouse Media fired a bit too many of its editors. We refer, of course, to the fact that Thursday’s edition of the rag included the same full page of comic strips that ran the day before. Ooops! P&J have a hard time imagining how anyone at a first-rate newspaper can let an entire, full-color redundant page escape their notice (we would never suggest it was conspiratorial revenge on recent employee cuts), unless the composers were dead drunk or asleep (which we obviously would not suggest as well … unless asked). However, the funny pages usually are the third thing readers go to after the front page and the first page of the sports section, and just before the Irish sports pages (the obituaries), so it’s amazing this error got past final muster.

Perhaps instead of another inspired and creative re-design charrette, the ink-stained wretches in charge of Our Little Towne’s organ of record might do well to make sure a full-page error doesn’t escape their refined eyes before making a dash for the nearest convivial watering hole that has more people in it than the deserted Urinal newsroom.

Il Duce and Il Douche

The “Lookalike” item below appeared in the January 8 edition of England’s Private Eye magazine’s letters to the editor section, and P&J thought it well worth sharing with our politically and historically astute readers. (And yes, the names were intentionally switched, Mr. and Ms. Nitpickers.)Trump-Mussolini Lookalike-1 copy

Nice resemblance, although we think Benito’s cap is far more fashionable than Trump’s dead animal topper.  Scowling practice at 3:00, don’t be late. Oh, OK, Benito, you have an excuse.

National Politics: Can it Get Any Weirder?

While the results of the New Hampshire primary were no great surprise at Casa Diablo, the way the campaign (on the Republican side, anyway) is being conducted continues to both worry and amuse us (although the amusement value is shrinking as we realize that one of these clowns might actually win in November). While the primary rules continue to confound us — that Bernie and Hillary could both come out with the same number of delegates after he virtually drubbed her in the vote count — rules are rules. We only hope that, ultimately, the people’s voice will be heard and heeded.

On the GOP side, Trump is threatening to “sue” Cruz because he was born in Canada. Sounds like a new kind of lawsuit to us and we wonder if “the heavy hitter” is in on it. Rubio, who morphed into “Marco Roboto” during the last Republican debate, may be losing ground based on his cluelessness, but it is questionable whether Jeb Bush, who is dangerously close to morphing into a Johnny “Ray” Boehner clone if and when he finally bursts into tears, can gain anything from Roboto’s stumble. John Kasich, arguably the sanest one in the bunch, may actually get some traction here.
Your superior correspondents hope that Bernie and Hillary can keep from the sort of low blows and misdemeanors that seem de rigeur for the Republicans.
RI Music Hall of Fame
The Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame announced their selections for 2016 inductions on February 12. While Richard Walton, the face of Stone Soup coffeehouse for so many years, and Carl Henry, the pioneering rock ‘n’ roll and jazz DJ who owned one of the best record stores ever in the Biggest Little, and Frankie Carle, the swing-era pianist and songwriter, have all passed on, Jorge is proud to have known Richard well and to have haunted Carl’s Diggins back in the late ’60s and early ’70s.
Carol Sloane, the great jazz singer, will perform at Chan’s at one of the induction events in April, which will be a treat. And congratulations to old friends Bill Harley, Sugar Ray Norcia and the Bluetones and Greg Abate — all fine musicians and performers.

Naturally, Jorge is too proud (and of course very shy, as is his reticent reputation) to mention it directly, but in his real life as Rudy Cheeks, he was one of the leaders of both the Fabulous Motels and Young Adults. His photo onstage wearing a wedding dress and holding his saxophone is a Little Rhody music scene cultural icon. And as a recent live reunion performance of the Young Adults proved, Phillipe is not the only one who still remembers the lyrics to virtually all their songs, from “A Power Tool is Not a Toy” to their biggest crowd pleasers, “Men” and “Complex World.” Phillipe sometimes feels like a ch-ch-ch-chimpanzee when he falls all over himself saying they were the best Biggest Little band he ever saw and arguably the best ever (with a tip o’ the beret to Roomful of Blues), but there is a case to be made. Outside the music scene, both the Motels and Young Adults had an enormous influence on the local hipster scene, we owe them our congratulations, thanks and continued applause.