1

On the Ball and Off the Wall: Puck off

This column is for non-sports fans who would like some enlightenment and hopefully humor without being sports fanatics.

Puck Off

The National Basketball Association and National Hockey Leagues are in their playoffs modes right now!

Wow!

Bow-wow!

The NBA and NHL are and have always been, secondary to the gods of sports, notably the NFL and major league baseball, with international soccer sneaking up on both of them.

You need only see that the NFL draft gets more airtime on ESPN, and all the premier highlights on TV are walk-off home runs. Neither the hockey nor hoops players need to guess who rules the sports roost. Even blown-dry idiots like draft predictor Mel Kipfer offer their usually incorrect guesses – but are touted as prescient geniuses by their networks − take center stage over any piddling NBA or NHL results.

The NBA has become a joke. It is all three-pointers or rim-rattling dunks. The fact that players can do such formerly sacred and prohibited things like traveling (four steps for the stars but only three for newbies), palming and carrying the ball like a waitress at a chic restaurant full of desperate “models” and horny millionaires, has diminished any semblance of playing by the rules of the game.

I refuse to watch NBA games. That will continue unless the Celtics make the finals, in which case it will be worth seeing if Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown can carry their team to an unexpected title. Hey, I’m a homer.

The best thing about pro basketball this year has been HBO’s series, “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.” Like any good Celts fan (Salaam, Cooz, Russ, Hondo, McHale and Larry Bird, and the rest of youse guys), I said I would never watch some LA ass-kissing tribute to a team I hate. But coerced into it by friends, it is a real treat, because it portrays the Lakers’ climb to prominence as full of assholes, pricks or both. Jerry West, their legendary guard (he’s the NBA’s logo, folks) and coach, makes them all come across so poorly − and he is reportedly threatening to sue HBO over his portrayal as a gold-plated dickhead − you can only exult in their professional and personal dysfunction.

But time to switch channels.

The real, true sport anyone should be watching right now is the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs. It is not just your basic hard nut, drop-the-gloves, regular-season game, that gave rise to the wonderful quote about Detroit Red Wings (et al.) player and Hall of Famer Gordie Howe. He had such respect from opposing players that he would have what they called a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick:” a goal, an assist and a fight.

Stanley Cup hockey is an entirely different animal from regular-season NHL bullshit. It is faster, more dynamic and incredibly appealing. It also does not feature the usual “Mine’s bigger than yours!” fighting that goes on regularly all season. That’s because in the Stanley Cup, if you get tossed into the penalty box for a cheap shot to show how tough you are, and the other team gets a power play and scores, you’ve just screwed your buddies. So keep your gloves on and skate away from any confrontation.

So eff the NBA, watch the Red Sox get off to their usual stumbling start, wince (and hope) at the Patriots’ genius draft choices (take a bow, N’Keal Harry), and then support the Bruins until they flame out, or blow our minds with a legitimate run at the Stanley Cup. 

Numbah Faw, Bobby Awe, we need ya baby.




ON THE BALL AND OFF THE WALL: Loyalties and legacies

This column is for non-sports fans who would like some enlightenment and hopefully humor without being sports fanatics.

Loyalties and Legacies

“I didn’t do it for the money.”

Any time you hear that from a pro athlete when he signs for another team, just respond by saying “Bullshit.” In these days, it is invariably all about the money.

This is an unfortunately excuse accepted by the dedicated fans of teams who watch their favorite players jump ship or get dumped via trades by millionaire owners to save some of their precious bucks with eye-watering contracts elsewhere, while sales of BoSox and Pats replica jerseys carry on and we chumps have our hearts on our sleeves and loyalty be damned.

But the legacies exist.

Local icons often lose the plot about what they mean to the faithful. We can forgive the Bruins’ Bobby Orr from limping off to Chicago in his last years, because “Numbah Faw, Bobby Aw” will live in the hearts of Broons’ New England fans forever. (As well as being a signature line from Robert Mitchum before he takes a bullet in the head in “The Friends of Eddie Coyle.”)

But can you imagine Carl Yastrzemski going away to be a designated hitter for the San Diego Padres? Or Ted Williams being a pinch hitter for the Cleveland Indians? How about John Havlicek coming on as the sixth man for the Detroit Pistons?

Or think of Larry Bird or Kevin McHale making up the numbers on the bench in Utah? No, these legends had a clue about what to do – and did it. They understood what legacies and loyalty really meant.

Thank all gods, Yaz, Teddy Ballgame and Hondo did the right thing, and walked off into the sunset with the love of every loyal fan.

And the most royal bend-over-for-the-bucks came when the Sox ownership shipped off former MVP Mookie Betts to the Dodgers and Andrew Benitendi to Kansas City, that was a spit in the face to Red Sox Nation. A decades-long possible premiere outfield for the BoSox of Betts, Benitendi and the now (unfortunately) shaky Jackie Bradley.

Yet the fans stay strong. But for how long?

The recent idiotic clash in Major League Baseball between the royalty and the players exposes how much the system is geared to the almighty dollar, not the loyalists in the stands. How does a guy/girl who works their ass off 24/7 for not necessarily minimum wage, but not a few thou an hour, reconcile their fandom with the obscene amounts paid to .250 hitters with an average glove who should pumping gas instead of cashing a check that is insulting to real working men and women?

On another front, there are the rare exceptions, usually among those who understand the concepts of loyalties and legacies.

Recent ones include this guy named Tom Brady, of whom you may have heard. He is the God of all that is Patriots Nation, and will be forever, even after his bullet-to-the-heart of his fans’ departure to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where of course, he won the Super Bowl first time around.

But he definitely understood the concepts of loyalty and legacy while collecting six Soopah rings hereabouts. He was never the highest-paid QB in the league, in part because he would allow the Pats management to take a portion of his salary to use to get better players. Imagine that!

Although he never said that he knew his New England legacy was assured (it is), the many rumored claims as to why he left for Florida are legion. One, supermodel wife wanted him home more often with the young imps; he hated the wonderful New England weather in the fall and winter (scream and salute “Tuck Rule” here); he now hates coach Bill Belichick; he now hates owner Bob Kraft; he wants a George Hamilton cancer tan; or he wanted to play with Gronk again (and how did that work out, Bucs fans? Yowzah!)

But he didn’t do it for the money.

There comes a time when money no longer rules, and attachment to a community – and one’s investigation of how their personal legacy will be perceived – that can change what is at the heart of pro sports. Immediate dollars or long-standing dignity?

And most importantly, respect from the loyal fans. Which should be number one.

But the real deals didn’t do it for the money. Think about it.




On the Ball and Off the Wall: Swimming with Dolphins

This column is for non-sports fans who would like some enlightenment and hopefully humor without being sports fanatics.

Race to the Top

One doesn’t believe that former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores is scheming and calculating enough to bring his racism suit against the National Football League for ignoring racial equality in hiring head coaches and general managers during Black History Month, but he sure rang the right bell at the right time.

Flores’ suit is justified and drew attention to what has been an ongoing farce cum tragedy in how NFL teams have been stymying any real move toward diversity, with the league offices doing their best Three Monkeys impersonation as the problem persists.

As Motif goes to press, Flores was just hired as a senior assistant coach by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Flores’ previous interviews with the New York Giants and Denver Broncos were simply window dressing, along the lines of “Some of my best friends are Black.” But here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?

The fact that he was hired by the Steelers is poetic justice, if not precision.

The so-called “Rooney Rule” at the basis of Flores’ legal complaint demands that NFL teams must legitimately interview at least a pair of minority candidates for top-level management jobs. It was instituted by Steelers owner Dan Rooney and has since had that torch carried by generations of his family. In this case, as they always had, they put their money where their mouth was in taking on the now-controversial Flores.

But years ago they had done the same thing in hiring a little-known coach in his thirties named Mike Tomlin, a dead-ringer for actor Omar Epps, who has since won a Super Bowl and never had a losing season with the black and gold.

(Quick aside here: I always had affection for the Steelers while growing up, those hard-ass teams of Bobby Layne and John Henry Johnson, because post-1960, my beloved Philadelphia Eagles sucked almost as much as they did. And this love affair grew more recently when at Christmas, my girlfriend and I would spend the holiday with her family where she grew up in Steel City. This almost got me killed, because when I went to work out at the local gym, I had fortunately borrowed her nephew’s local color exercise clothes, having left my N.E. Patriots logo workout stuff at home, and when I got to the fitness center everyone − and I mean everyone − had on the black and gold, rather than the red, white and blue of their arch-rivals, the Pats. Saved me from getting the shit kicked out of me in the locker room by guys who could have bench-pressed my car.)

But back to the current contretemps. The NFL is a Billionaire Boys Club of aging, good ol’ white team owners, however narcissistically inept (take a bow, Jerry Jones), with Commissioner Roger Goodell their reliable lap dog. One might say that they act like plantation owners in a league whose players are 70 percent black, but one guesses such harsh judgment would be wrong. Well, fuck ‘em, because except for the Rooneys and the minority of the rich boys who run the league, that is spot on.

This is all very sad, because at the competitors’ level, sports is and always has been the racial equalizer. No matter black, white, Hispanic, Filipino, Slavic, etc., these are the guys who fight with and for you, and you’re most likely showering with them as a group almost every day, which getting naked can do to really cut through any biases you may have. And nobody is about to call someone on the other team an n-word when that Black guy in the locker next to you has just saved your ass and gotten you a win because of his dedication to the whole squad.

The NFL, a monster business enterprise with no scruples, needs to be brought to ground and reality by lawsuits such as that of Brian Flores. The NFL response will doubtless continue to be as truthless and obfuscating as a Pentagon press briefing, but hang tough and push on. 

Sooner or later the sun will shine on these deceptions and let punks like Roger Goodell and the NFL owners shrivel in the heat, like the Wicked Witch melting in water in “The Wizard of Oz.” And none too late. 

Thanks, Brian, Mike and the Rooneys.




The Squid’s Ink: Huger Health Care?

Yes, it seems like the Lifespan/Care New England merger deal was rejected by both Attorney General Peter Neronha and the Federal Trade Commission. But our hackers found documents indicating that plans remain in place… This story and analysis came up through back channels and was written with repressed bile and intestinal fortitude…

“There is always a path forward, and we will explore all options to find the best possible…”

–Dr. James E. Fanale, Care New England President and CEO, as quoted in The Providence Journal

Big may have died because of his Peloton, but for Rhode Island, big healthcare will  still be better.

Ignoring warnings from the Rhode Island Attorney General, Federal Trade Commission, physicians and small medical providers, it looks like the smallest state may someday only have one health care company. 

“With our proposed merger of Lifespan and Care New England, we expect all other competition to wither and die,” said Dr. Ima Freud, the new Chief Splicer for Corporate Copulation. “Our research shows no need for small medical businesses to exist.

“When people go to ‘their doctor’ they take their time explaining their problems. They expect listening, and even empathy. This slows the healing process down. We’ve added keystroke counting software to examining room laptops. We call it ‘Docking Docs for Dallying.’”

Warehousing Medical Records 

One of the biggest complaints about the medical industrial complex—er, medical providers—is the lack of communication between different offices. The merger will solve that with a new system called All Records Gathered Here, or ARGH.

“Your randomized doctor will be able to know at a glance what venereal diseases you had as a youth,” Dr. Freud explained. “We’re even syncing it with your Stop and Shop and Whole Foods customer care numbers so we can tell whether you’re lying about soda and potato chips.”

When questioned about software glitches and data security breaches, Dr. Freud waved away concerns and told us that the problems faced by UHIP and RIPTA are “Just psychosomatic.” 

Other proposed merger benefits:

  • Larger buildings in fewer locations with smaller offices and starker lighting.
  • More employees focused on maintaining a “quality customer experience.”
  • Data Driven Digital Doctoring with mandatory linkage between cell phones, watches and fit-bit-type tech. “If you walk fewer than 10,000 steps a day, your risk of a heart attack doubles, so we’ll charge you more.”
  • A reduction in the number of physicians and an increase in nurse practitioners, physician assistants and traditional alternative medicine providers (TAMPs). “Folk medicine and quack cures might not work,” Dr. Freud said, “but they make people happy, and it costs less! President Trump proved it.”
  • Single-payer pricing for prescriptions combined with targeted billing. “Essentially, we’ll be able to charge whatever we want for aspirin and ibu!”
  • And of course, the latest Assessment Robots Scanning Everything (Project ARSE).
    “We’ve learned a lot from the recent releases of Alien Technology by the US Government,” said Dr. Freud, “about combining CAT scans with automatic rectal probes. We call it ‘Bend over and smile!’”

So, what’s the new company called?

According to the Internet, “LifeCare.org” has already been claimed by an end-of-life hospice in Lower Cape Fear, and the association was deemed too negative. “NewLife.org” is a Christian Church in Concord, MA.

Fortunately, following focus groups, where Rhode Island natives had trouble spelling any proposed name after only hearing it, the huge MediCorp settled on the perfect name of “Spanker,” pronounced, “Spanka.” 

“You come into the world with a spank,” Dr. Freud explained. “It works. You yell and scream, but you’ll live. We just want to keep up the practice. It’s not abuse if we legislate profits ahead of patients. Our new motto? Spanker: It’s for your own good.”

Note: this is a work of satire and not necessarily completely factual. It does not necessarily represent the opinions or views of Motif.




Squid’s Ink: Our Funny Valentines

St. Valentine was beaten to death and decapitated on February 14, so it’s no surprise that our hackers found some interesting gifts when we hacked the Hallmark Delivery Database…

  • Despite hiring her replacement, Governor Dan McKee sent former RI Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott a “Baby Come Back” strip-o-gram! The order specified that a “non-gender-specific terpsichorean” wear a K-95 mask while crooning:
    All day long, wearing a mask of false bravado (false bravado)
    Tryna keep up a smile that hides a tear (hides a tear)
    But as the sun goes down, I get that empty feeling again
    How I wish to God that you were here
  • The Rhode Island Squid Shuckers Association sent Dan McKee a jar of marinara and a jar of hot peppers to encourage the “Calamari Comeback.”
  • Former President Donald Trump and the Right Wing Wackjob… er Republican Party sent soon-to-be-former Representative Jim Langevin a dozen red roses as a thank you for declaring his un-candidacy. 
  • Now that he’s running for Congress, Seth Magaziner sent bouquets of forget-me-nots to the remaining Democratic candidates for governor. These were  accompanied by an audio message from Nelson of The Simpsons saying, “Ha ha!”
  • Nellie Gorbea replied by sending Seth a box of Sweenor’s chocolates with bites taken out of each.
  • The Rhode Island Auto Body Industry thanked Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio and House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi for overriding the veto of legislation opposed by auto insurers by sending wreaths of roses in the shape of a dented fender with the note, “Thanks for bumping up our profits!”
  • The COVID-19 Virus sent Antivaxxers little candy valentine hearts with the words, “Be Mine”

Baby Come Back lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management, Bluewater Music Corp., Crowleyhouse Music




Phillipe and Jorge’s Cool Cool World: Change in the cold air

The Lady Vanishes

We may have to bring back from the grave Alfred Hitchcock, who produced the movie “The Lady Vanishes,” to figure out the unexpected departure of Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott (Motif broke this news at motifri.com/nas-resigns) from her highly visible role as director of Little Rhody’s Department of Health.

Since the onset of COVID-19 and its variants, Dr. Alexander-Scott gained a great deal of star-quality exposure in the media − especially at then-governor Gigi Raimondo’s weekly press conferences. She commanded everyone’s attention, bringing facts and figures and updates on how the scourge was infecting Vo Dislunders, and carried the presence of someone you kept your eyes and ears locked on when she spoke.

But… in a stunning move… she has quit as head honcho of RIDOH without full explanation. She will serve out her term as interim head and then assume a role as a consultant, but the bombshell has already gone off.  Now the questions as to “why?” will be meat for speculation until the real reason(s) are sussed out.

The favorite theory in this betting pool is a major falling-out with Governor Dan “Who He?” McKee, be it personalities, policies or both. Who He? Has already been the target of none-too-subtle attacks on his lack of leadership on the COVID-19 crisis by two state officials, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner and Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, both of whom he will likely face in the upcoming Democratic Party primary in the race to be elected guv in 2022. And in The Biggest Little, where the GOP is essentially nonexistent, the winner there will cakewalk into the top seat on Smith Hill, so the long knives are already out.

The hits will keep on coming, but P&J figure that leaks from the State House will doubtless provide ongoing information (along with lies and rumors) about the doc’s decision. The exhibited strength of Dr. Alexander-Scott’s character makes it unlikely she will spill any more beans, and simply tell the prying media to eff off.

But this is far from over, so stay tuned, boys and girls. Ain’t we got fun?

Note: As Motif went to press, Deputy Director Tom McCarthy also announced he was leaving RIDOH. What’s up, docs?

Let the Games Begin

Phillipe & Jorge love the shameless world of politics, so we were aquiver when our U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin made the surprise announcement that he would not pursue re-election this year. Jim was a reliable moderate Democrat in D.C. through the years he served, his most notable badge of honor being his vote against the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld lying and manufactured Iraq War. (Hi, Condoleeza!)

But now we will get to see the best-fevered aspirations; drooling hunger for power; naked, preening narcissism; and total, wild-eyed desperation and need for attention among those who will try to jump into Langevin’s seat in the House of Representatives in Washington. We can’t wait. On your mark, get set, go, all you fantasizing future candidates.

Winnebacome, Winnebago 

P&J lost a longtime friend with the peaceful death at the beginning of January of a Little Rhody treasure, Jon Campbell.

No description of his genius and varied talents can do him proper justice. He was a musician (in the R.I. Music Hall of Fame); an artisan in many fields, notably shell jewelry and Uillean pipes (Irish bagpipes); pyrotechnic wizard for independent movies; connoisseur of all things Little Rhody; and a prince of South County. But most of all he was a sweetheart of a guy, and a total hot shit whom P&J always greatly admired.

He played in bands and soloed all over the state for decades, often with his music partner Joe Houlihan. His razor-sharp sense of humor led to his famous song, “Winnebacome, Winnebago,” an anthem for South County that hilariously skewered summertime tourists and out-of-state fishermen (and Jon knew his local fishing brethren well), and is really a tongue-in-cheek ode to SoCo. We’d like to be able to print the entire lyrics, but you can Google the song up and P&J believe it is required listening for any proud resident of The Biggest Little. To wit, an excerpt:

…And it’s Winnebacome, Winnebago
When the flea bites, the jellyfish stings, are you feeling sad?
Watch a mobsta eat a lobsta, are you feeling sad?

They’ve got sand in their eyes and a burn on their thighs
And the last tuna grindah is covahed with flies,
There’s a squid in the sink, the TV’s on the blink
They’ve got a bucket of crabs that’s beginning to stink.
Citronella, beach umbrella…
Are you feeling sad?

And it’s Winnebacome, Winnebago
And there’s no place to park anyplace that you go,
So let’s count license plates from the Midwestern states
And hope after Labor Day things will get straight…

  • Jon Campbell; 1951-2022

Boy, will you be missed, Jon. Thanks for the memories.




ON THE BALL AND OFF THE WALL: One Hand Clapping

This column is for non-sports fans who would like some enlightenment and hopefully humor without being sports fanatics.

One Hand Clapping

Maybe it was the Red Sox playing in fits and starts all season long, never more so than in the American League playoffs. Or the Patriots going into the tank at season’s end, after whipping up an unexpected seven-game winning streak before wrapping up the season with some embarrassing losses. Or the Celtics looking like a G League team, while the Bruins are muddling around trying to find their skates in the NHL.

But whatever the reason, professional sports in New England have generated all the sound and fury over the past months of one hand clapping. Not fun. It is a feeling like putting on some clothes that just don’t seem to fit right.

The air has quickly gone out of the local balloons, due in part to the Covid pandemic, which has jitterbugged through the stands and team rosters, abetted by the various mediocre performances.  And it seems that the electricity has gone out of the public, perhaps because fans aren’t wild about sitting next to unvaccinated and unmasked folks in the stands, so they give in-person attendance a miss. Or because the local sports bars are also lurking as possible super spreader sites.

In my limited, extremely casual research on this matter, there are a goodly number of diehard Sox/Pats/Celts/Broons fans taking in most games at home on TV by themselves in self-imposed exile and agony. And one wonders how comfortable that situation becomes if the partner you are living with would rather be streaming or binge-watching something on Netflix – “Christ, why don’t you get your lazy ass off the couch, get out of the effing house, and go down to the pub and watch the game with your friends!?! And put a coaster under that beer can, you slob!” Love springs eternal.

But methinks someone is riding to the rescue, that will put energetic and vocal fans back in the stands, and prompt office chitchat about the Sweaty Sciences. And that is college basketball.

Round these here parts, Providence College hoopsters have gotten out of the blocks fast and furious, holding down a vacillating place in the national Top 25 rankings, and packing the stands at The Dunk. While it is harder to question the parentage or sexual proclivities of referees and opponents when screaming through a mask, the support for PC is palpable. And URI also still draws enough students, alums and plain old b-ball fans down in South County to the Ryan Center to not have to augment their masks with bags of shame over their heads.

In a state like Little Rhody, where people describe PC as our own professional team, that kind of backing and respect matters. And it will blossom if coach Ed Cooley and his boys can bite, spit and kick their way into the NCAA tournament in March.

One might believe that the Super Bowl will recover the NFL’s season of up-and-down teams killing people in their betting pools (yes, my hand is raised). But since there is no real home team playing in the game – last year’s Buccaneers’ win in Tampa Bay’s stadium was an aberration – the seats are filled with some season ticket holders from the two teams involved who could afford to fly in, but generally the NFL shares its wealth with connected people from sponsors and anyone else with a vested (read $$) interest in the game. These big biz poseurs are likely just trying to find the best bars, restaurants, hookers, or all of the above, in town. You can bet those execs won’t give a damn about some hip-hop halftime show with a phony audience of ‘utes who look like they did lines of crystal meth to honor their promise to jump up and down and scream if they can just get into the stadium. Meanwhile, most everyone else in America will be thanking all gods that for once it’s east, west, home’s best, and break out the beer and chili in the TV room.

Here’s when collegiate basketball’s March Madness will ride to the rescue and put energy, raging team spirit, and a sense that they actually are ready to live and die with their homies back into play, and show that being there is half the fun. College fans travel, and the audience is always wired, even if their team is long gone, because then they will almost always side with the underdog, looking for an historic upset.

The buzz the NCAAs create is felt in your gut inside the arena, and boosted by the hordes of fans wandering the streets outside, occasionally taking over bars they then designate as their unofficial headquarters between games, with occasional chants breaking out glorifying their team.

Meanwhile, all across the country folks are clutching their tournament betting pool picks and either gloating about their basketball genius, or swearing like rappers over their favorites taking the pipe and claim they lost just to torment them personally.

In both cases, it’s a hell of a lot louder than one hand clapping. There’s still hope, sports fans.




Squid’s Ink: New Year’s Dissolutions

This month, we hacked Peloton. Yes, they killed Big on purpose, but it turns out that they also had a secret cache of New Year’s Resolutions from prominent people and organizations…

National and International Pledges

President Joe Biden vows to live through the year. 

Former President and current scumbag Donald Trump vows to bilk as many voters… er investors… as possible with his new new social media outlet, “Trumpeting Trump Trump.”

Vice President Kamala Harris promises to get out from under Joe’s shadow and accomplish something to justify running in 2024.

Barack Obama promises to talk to Michelle about running for President. Again.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson can’t promise to comb his hair, but he will try to wipe that silly grin off his face when announcing COVID deaths and restrictions.

Vladimir Putin has made a commitment to do everything in his power to piss off Joe Biden, just for fun. 

China promises to host the Olympics and not torture anyone in public.

Rogue’s Island Resolutions

Governor Dan McKee still promises to get a clue.

House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi promises not to get caught.

This year, Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio vows to replace Shekarchi as “The Most Powerful Man in Rhode Island”

Matt Brown promises to appeal to more than extremely progressive Progressive voters, though he has no idea how.

RI’s Republican Party resolves to find a viable candidate for Governor, but also can’t figure out how.

The Redistricting Commission promises, vows, and assures that there will be neither gerrymandering nor political favoritism. (Their Venmo is @Buy-A-Seat).

Departmental Aspirations

Johnston will change its name to Amazohnston

The RI Department of Education promises to stop saying that students are “behind.” They also promise to dump… er… give back Providence’s school system. They will accomplish all this with a series of cheerful and optimistic emails.

Having successfully done it once, The RI Department of Transportation promises to demolish roads, close bridges, and complete all construction in three to five years. Ten years, tops.

The Coastal Resources Management Council will do a better job covering up its commitment to the shoreline rights of the wealthy and powerful.

Barrington and Little Compton will provide free public access to all their beaches, and start charging non-residents tolls to enter town limits. 

The Providence Board of Licenses has picked an easy resolution: they will quickly approve reopening – or rebranding – any bars or strip club that is closed because of corruption or violence. (Their, somewhat ironic, Venmo is @We-See-Nothing)

Pawtucket will figure out what to do with the Apex building. Ideas include moving the methadone and drug rehab from downtown, creating an inoffensive sculpture garden or transforming it into “The World’s Largest Bucket” as a tourist attraction.

The Superman Building vows to stay empty and looming – unless taxpayers bend over and pay.

And… the RI DMV promises that as soon as COVID restrictions are lifted, we can return to long lines and agonizing waits.




Things we’ve forgotten: And things we wish we could forget

Memory Loss

One of the worst things affecting the sold-out Providence Urinal these days, which the late and beloved lunatic legend Buddy “Vincent A.” Cianci correctly referred to as the “Providence Pamphlet,” given its having the heft of a baby’s pacifier, is not the takeover by the outside force that publishes USA Today, but its current lack of what is called “institutional memory.”

Gone from the Urinal are people like Bob Kerr, Scott MacKay, Charlie Bakst, Alan Rosenberg, Bill Reynolds and others who could give you a living synopsis of the state and stories related to what is now happening in Little Rhody and how they related to the past. These stories were as close to a history class about The Biggest Little as you could find, exploring the links between bygone events and today’s news.

Today’s Urinal is so lightweight as to be laughable, especially when they have the audacity to sell this fish wrap (although it might be tough to cover even a good-sized menhaden) for $3 a day, and $6 on Sunday. A copy of the New York Times Sunday edition is a day’s worth+ of reading and is the same $6, while you can get through a copy of the Urinal in 15 minutes. Thank you, USA Today.

The new executive editor, David Ng, is quite taken with himself and his experience, even to the point of dropping the name of famed journalist Peter Hamill, and the insecurity and self-absorption of that alone should warn people off. And you know he would not have a clue if someone asked him about “Raymond.” And while P&J are certain that new staff addition Amy Russo is a sweet, charming and wonderful person, the fact the Urinal considers her column about what it is like to move to Rhode Island from New York City feature-worthy is insipid, essentially taking time to inform locals about what they already know. Tell us more, Amy, you fahhh-scinate us.

And on the short side, how this clown Victor Davis Hanson is allowed to write for anything more than a QAnon leaflet is absurd, but he was given voice by the Urinal after its transition, becoming a featured columnist to “balance” the supposedly liberal op-ed opinions prior to the Urinal dumping all editorials. Gutsy move, or should we say shameless (and we’d add “whores” here, but that would be impolite).

So please hang in there, the lovely and fragrant queen of the State House, Kathy Gregg, one of three people in the state who can understand each year’s budget; the relentless G. Wayne Miller; and Alex Kuffner, the excellent environmental reporter who carries on a proud tradition on Fountain Street from Bob Frederickson to Peter Lord to Alex himself, highlighting that in the Ocean State, it might be a good idea to focus on natural resources issues, which even the morons in charge might twig to.

Other than those all-stars, may we say to the nattering nabobs (tip of the hat, Spiro) at the Urinal, go eff yourselves and keep counting the $3 a day for absolute crap. You have ruined a wonderful and respected RI institution, and that is a memory everyone will definitely retain.

(B)advertising

If you are glued to the old-school broadcast TV, as are Phillipe & Jorge, you know you are spending nearly one-third of your time watching advertisements. And what a joy, n’est-ce pas?

Because of this, P&J consider ourselves connoisseurs of promotions for the fast-food chains and ambulance-chasing lawyers commandeering our intervals away from such highbrow shows as Downtown Abbey and Young Sheldon. (Note to NAMBLA: we watch the latter because it’s actually amusing, as longtime fans of Big Bang Theory. So piss off!)

But P&J have laughed out loud at the most recent attempt by Big Pharma to draw in customers via yet another phony “disorder” to treat the Great Unwashed (remember “Restless Leg Syndrome,” folks?). This is “Peyronie’s Disease,” and a cure to correcting a gentleman who may have a crink in his penis. (Apologies, but they said it first.)

While P&J would normally dismiss this as your usual ad agency scam to get the OK from a bunch of empty suits right after their three-martini lunches, we lit up when we heard one of the pitches on how to correct this devastating disease that threatens male humanity (and female, according to how far you want to “extend” this – insert snare drum rim-shot and audience applause here).

What caught P&J’s ears was that part of the professional advice given to PD sufferers was “stretching and straightening” exercises of the crooked organ.  Well, take it from us, men have been practicing these “stretching and straightening” maneuvers on their johnsons by themselves for centuries with little or no advice from anyone named “Peyronie.” (“If that is indeed your name, Colonel Bat Guano.“– See, Dr. Strangelove, as P&J quickly go off course.)




Squid’s Ink: The CVS COVID Bonus Edition

NOTE: This IS not misinformation… The Squid’s Ink is Satire. If you think we shouldn’t make fun of pandemics, politicians or the medical industrial complex, then don’t read this memo we intercepted…. 

From: The Board, Staff and Stockholders of CVS

To: Governor Daniel McKee

Subject: Holiday Testing Spree

Dear Governor McKee,

Thank you so much for your pre-Christmas announcement of additional COVID restrictions and recommendations. Because of your delayed warnings about spreading the virus during the holiday season, we had an unprecedented run on rapid tests in every single one of our pharmacies. 

We were initially hesitant about the announced opening of new state-run testing centers, but appointments for these facilities quickly filled, leaving responsible citizens scrambling. No one wanted to give Grandma a virus for Christmas.

Fortunately, we’ve been stockpiling “At-home OTC” rapid tests and have sold thousands upon thousands of them. Customers get two swabs, a couple of vials and two test strips (watch or timer not included). We get $25 a box with no insurance paperwork! We had to set a limit of eight boxes per customer. Needless to say, we’re thrilled.

I got this email from one store, “They’re flying off the shelf. We don’t even have time to break down the shipping boxes. As soon as someone asks, ‘Do you have…’ we just point.”

We’re so glad to have you as governor. While we might prefer Helena, as a thank you for this end-of-year sales bump, we promise not to threaten to move our headquarters until after the 2022 election.

Stay well.

– The folks at CVS