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Phillipe and Jorge’s Cool, Cool World: Bush Brothers, the Dumb and Dumber

Dumb and Dumber

As you are no doubt aware, Phillipe and Jorge are deep thinkers, and philosophical discussions at Casa Diablo often extend well into the night (fueled by frequent refills of Pernod and grapefruit and whatever we can find in the medicine cabinet that won’t knock us out).

So it was in the wee hours recently that P&J found themselves debating one of the most important questions facing all Americans today: Which of the two Bush brother aligns best with the Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels characters in the Farrelly Brothers’ movie Dumb and Dumber?

Phillipe argued that presidential aspirant Jeb could best fill Carrey’s role, as he was an action man while in office as Florida’s governor. Whereas Dubya let Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld do the heavy lifting of running the country while he commuted back and forth to Crawford, Texas, to ride his Pee Wee Herman bike with streamers flying off the handlebars around the property and ringing the little bell constantly, or hiding under his bed when the going got tough back in DC.

Jorge countered that by saying that Dubya was the more aggressive one. He has the capacity for making bold pronouncements without first engaging his brain, such as telling the terrorists to “Bring it on,” which to America’s dismay they did (and have continued to) while Dubya went back under the queen-sized in Crawford, or shouting and waving his sword about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction — Deadeye Dick, Condee and Rummy failed to let him in on the joke that they didn’t exist. Jeb takes witless responses typical of Daniels, even if they are entirely boneheaded.

Unfortunately for Jughead Jeb, he will have the shadow of the country’s village idiot constantly tracking him during his campaign. It already started when Megan Kelly of the repugnant Fox News asked him if he would have done what little brother did by invading Saddam Hussein’s fiefdom if we knew what we know now. Naturally, like any politician, Jeb was not paying attention to the question, but readying a formulaic answer about Iraq. This short attention span theater approach would work real well at a major summit meeting: “Why did you say you wanted to put an ‘X’ on the Ukraine, President Putin?” “I said ‘annex,’ you moron.” {Aside to Russian aide: “This guy is more out of it than Yeltsin after he polished off two liters of Stoli.”)

But back to our story. Jeb essentially ducked the question, although leaning in favor of supporting Dubya’s abominable choice, and confidently and obliviously uttered a non sequiter reference to Hillary Clinton’s initial support for the Iraq fiasco, leaving his handlers no doubt clutching their heads in horror. But wait — there’s more! Jughead got raked over the coals in the media so it became time for Jeb to quickly “walk back” his statement. Linguistics aficionados know that “walk back” is the current evolution of, “My remarks were taken out of context,” followed by, “I misspoke,” but they all come down to, in English, “I was lying and/or completely clueless.”

Jeb Bush really has no shot at becoming the Republican Party candidate because of the Dubya baggage, even as he emerges from the GOP’s clown car along with Mario Rubio, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and players to be named later. He looks amazingly un-presidential, instead reminding P&J of a high school nerd whose mother cuts his hair weekly, and who goes home right after school to read the Bible or play video games until dinner and homework.

Jeb Bush doesn’t just not have a date for the prom, he won’t even go. Dubya couldn’t even find the school gym where it was being held.

Kangaroo Court

Yep, P&J are as bone weary of the Deflategate issue as you are. However, we do feel obliged to comment on the case that has ensnarled the New England Patriots and our oft-invoked short-term personal savior, Tom Brady. (Tip of the beret and sombrero to the Church of the Sub-Genius for the very effective “short-term personal savior” concept.)

But the completely over-the-top penalties handed down to Tom Terrific and the Pats have actually been exceeded in preposterousness by the announcement that the clueless, misogynistic and incompetent NFL commish Roger Goodell has decided that he, not an impartial arbiter, will be the judge and jury on the Patriots’ and Brady’s appeal of the punishment.

This is such a blatant conflict of interest it would make a member of Little Rhody’s General Assembly blush. We already have a report as basis for the penalties that no lawyer would ever dare take before a real court of law unless he was looking to be disbarred. General knowledge of a transgression and a bunch of probablys would be thrown out before the prosecutor’s seat got warm. Get hard evidence or get going, counsel.

The so-called Wells Report also reeks of blatant bias, as supposedly impartial investigator Ted Wells and his team were paid a handsome sum of money by the NFL for their protracted investigation into the affair, but it is essentially, to quote Billy Shakespeare’s Macbeth, “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
signifying nothing.” And please raise your hands, boys and girls, if you have ever seen a report by a highly paid consultant issue findings that don’t favor all the desires of those writing the checks.  Thought so.

Now, on top of this, we are to have the man who doled out the punishment also decide the appeal of his decision? We don’t think so. Goodell is a gutless buttboy for the owners, and should have resigned after the Ray Rice wife-beating farce, but he has neither the balls nor dignity to do the right thing and quit, which means walking out on his undeserved $44 million per year contract. The gutter journos at TMZ who beat Goodell’s crack sleuths to the punch on the Rice case in getting the elevator tape of that creep punching out his wife could do a more respectable job of arbitration. See you in a real court, Rog.

Home Sweet (Temporary) Home

A long time back, P&J were informed by a very learned source who was friends with some rather unsavory characters on the local crime scene that the leader of organized crime in the area, Luigi “Baby Shacks” Manocchio, was a fan of “Phillipe and Jorge’s Cool, Cool World.” Must have been our striking resemblances to Dashiell Hammett and Mickey Spillane. (For younger readers, make that Lee Child and Robert B. Parker.) Hey, you don’t get to be the godfather without having good taste.

At any rate, Baby Shacks is being released from spending a few years inside at the government’s pleasure after being implicated in scams that involved shaking down local strip clubs. Instead of having Don Manocchio go to a halfway house en route to a return to society, we saw an opportunity to help out a devoted reader and had our buddy Luigi allowed instead to use Casa Diablo as his transition residence. The compliant judge obviously recognized P&J’s stellar reputation in the community and ability to live a mundane life on the straight and narrow.

We are looking forward to Baby Shacks regaling us with tales about his hand in having people join the choir eternal, burglary, loan sharking and racketeering, which of course he had no hand in. He is, in fact, just a whimsical raconteur and fantasist, much in the way the Mafia does not exist. So if you plan on coming to Casa Diablo for a visit, please call in advance so we can give you the password. Ignore those large and swarthy (but very well dressed in pinstriped suits and shiny steel-toed Italian shoes) gentlemen with lumps under their jackets outside the front and back doors.

Benvenuti, Luigi!

For Richard: Second Annual Red Bandana Awards

The Red Bandana Fund is a legacy to help sustain Vo Dilun’s community of individuals and organizations that embody the lifelong peace and justice ideals of the activist, Richard Walton. When Richard passed on a few years ago, a group of his friends got together and formed a group, The Red Bandana Fund (named for the red bandana Richard regularly wore), to honor his memory with an annual financial award made to an organization or individual whose work “best represents the ideals of peace and social justice that exemplify Richard’s life work.” 
 
Only in its second year, the Red Bandana Awards in 2014 went to the great Henry Shelton, Amos House and the Providence Student Union. This year, the awards will be given at a celebration to take place at Nick-a-Nee’s, 75 South St (corner of Chestnut) in PVD on Sun, May 31, from 4 – 7pm. The 2015 honorees will be Eric Hirsch and workers at the Renaissance Hotel for their work to make the Biggest Little a better place for all of us.
 
There will food, drink and, of course, music (Richard was one of the guiding forces behind Stone Soup Coffeehouse for decades). Music will be courtesy of the Extraordinary Rendition Band and The Gnomes.
 
Last year’s inaugural event was attended by a large group of community activists, artists, musicians and as Mad Magazine used to say, “the usual gang of idiots.” Or, in other words, a lot of the people your superior correspondents love. Come and join us, people who understand that love is the energy of a steadfast will, bent on creating fellowship.



Phillipe and Jorge’s Cool, Cool World: Ben Dover Stadium, Building Bridges and He Gotta Go Now

Ben Dover Stadium

The shovels are singing and the horseshit flying as the new owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox have begun their pitch to the Capital City and Little Rhody in earnest. (Well, at least to-date the state, leaving the Providence City Council not amused by being blown off by the PawSox honchos.)

The team pushing for the new baseball stadium on the newly created I-195 land parcel have surprisingly already shown many of their cards.  Led by local snake oil salesman and attorney (sorry, redundant) Jim Skeffington, who is what passes for a white shoe lawyer in La Prov, the new hierarchy of the beloved PawSox have made it known they will expect tax breaks and financial favors from the city and state to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, which means the taxpayers will be on the hook for funding this toy for the rich white boys who will reap the profits. For that reason, P&J understand the proposed venue will be named the Ben Dover Stadium for the public’s role in this hummer.

Fortunately, Our Gina has already made it clear that this dog won’t hunt, but it doesn’t mean that Skeffington — whose made-for-media cameras grin makes you think of what Dracula may have looked like if he owned a PR firm — and his gang won’t keep the pressure on. Their recent announcement that they would be prepared to buy the land, rather than lease it, hasn’t let the other shoe drop about what kind of a discount they would be demanding on the market price per acre.

At first blush, the obvious question is how this will meet the often and loudly espoused aim that the I-195 land becomes a Little Rhody economic development booster rocket, focusing on high-end technology, biotech and research. Knowledge District, indeed. As we have said here before, promoting the fact that a hotel may be built next to the stadium expecting Ohioan fans of the visiting Toledo Mud Hens to flock to Providence for a weekend series with the PawSox seems, to put it gently, insane bullshit.

Conspicuous by its absence in the debate is Brown University, which owns a bit of the land required by the Ben Dover Stadium proposal. Is the idea of selling off a piece of valuable land ticketed for their medical and research pursuits in lieu of a minor league ballpark really part of the school’s high-minded vision? We think not, President Paxson, so let’s get it together up on College Hill and just say no now, and not try to hide behind the ivy.

And if Skeffington thinks that his partner in this deal, Larry Lucchino, brings a special Boston Red Sox big-time, major league cachet to the wheeling and dealing to sway officials and the BoSox-loving public, we have two words for you: Curt Schilling.

While the negotiations continue and the analogy of this process being a nine-inning game has been beaten into a coma already, P&J have already warned you that the PawSox execs have a flame-throwing relief pitcher ready to come in late in the game named Moveto Mass. The new owners may have tipped their hand a bit already, but you can be sure that the call will go out to the bullpen for the Mass element as soon as they see the game starting to slip away.

Stick to the fastball, Little Rhody. The only thing Skeffington & Co. will be throwing is curves. (P&J promise this will be the last baseball analogy we will use in describing this badly thought-out deal, and urge other state and city officials to also take the pledge. Especially you, Councilman Zurier. This is serious stuff, and your tortured metaphors would be laughable if they weren’t so annoying.)

RITBA Rebels

Who the hell do the folks at the RI Turnpike and Bridge Authority think they are? These arrogant rebels seem hell-bent on crushing the culture of state construction in The Biggest Little.

Phillipe and Jorge refer to the recent work done on the Newport Bridge to install a controversial median barrier, which many felt rather unnecessary, but which was spurred by a few horrific head-on crashes, death resulting, in the past few years.

How did RITBA violate nearly every rule in the Vo Dilun construction project handbook? Get this: 1) they finished the median work on budget; 2) they finished the job ahead of the deadline; and 3) they failed to disrupt any major events that contribute to community spirit and/or provide a boost to local merchants through visitor and tourist dollars.

This is an absolute affront to Little Rhody tradition, carefully nurtured and maintained for decades, which requires massive cost overruns with a nod and a wink exchanged between state officials and construction companies, a deadline that prompts absolute behind-the-scene guffaws from all parties when it is announced, and massive traffic tie-ups that have visitors swearing that they will never set foot or wheel in the state for the rest of their lives, as they turn back and avoid even attempting to make it to a major tourist attraction like the Volvo ocean race series that is due to arrive in the City by the Sea on May 6, has been ballyhooed for months and figures to fill Newport’s hotels, restaurants and shops for a week-plus.

P&J will have our eye on you, RITBA, because it is this sort of thing that may become contagious for road and bridge projects statewide, possibly smearing Vo Dilun’s reputation for total incompetence and corruption.

Me Gotta Go

If there was ever a rock ‘n’ roll anthem before the Beatles, Dylan and the Stones came along, it was “Louie, Louie” by the Kingsmen. It was perfect: three chords, terrible sound recording and words that were so garbled that the FBI once spent countless hours investigating whether the song was obscene. In a report (over 100 pages long), the FBI determined that the song was “unintelligible at any speed.” What was actually obscene was the FBI wasting all that time and money. It was hard to hear the lyrics because the singer, Jack Ely, was standing on his toes with his head tilted back at a 45-degree angle, screaming the song upward because the microphone was dangling several feet above his head.

The song was subsequently recorded by over 1,700 bands, every garage and teenage band in the country played it and, at one point, there were “Louie, Louie” parades where marching bands would play the song over and over (the Rice University Marching Owl Band had a nice recorded version on Rhino Records). You can’t make this stuff up.

Jack Ely, the man who sang “Louie, Louie” for the Kingsmen, passed away in his home state of Oregon on Tues, April 28. Since no one could ever understand the words to the Kingsmen’s hit version, the garage bands of the era made up their own (“dirty”) words when covering the song. (Phillipe & Jorge’s visual image is of Eddie Haskell doing the twist to “Louie, Louie.”) But, the fact is that there are actual non-dirty words to the song. It was written and originally recorded by Richard Berry in 1956. As a public service, Cool, Cool World presents the actual lyrics to “Louie, Louie.”

 

Louie, Louie

Louie Louie, oh no
Me gotta go
Aye-yi-yi-yi, I said
Louie Louie, oh baby
Me gotta go

Fine little girl waits for me
Catch a ship across the sea
Sail that ship about, all alone
Never know if I make it home

CHORUS

Three nights and days I sail the sea
Think of girl, constantly
On that ship, I dream she’s there
I smell the rose in her hair.

CHORUS

See Jamaica, the moon above
It won’t be long, me see me love
Take her in my arms again
Tell her I’ll never leave again

louieLouie




Phillipe and Jorge’s Cool, Cool World: Traffic Snarls, Political Fools and Art Makes Everything Better

Newport Nightmares

Ah, Newport. Sailing Capital of the World. City by the Sea. Rhode Island’s #1 tourist attraction. And seemingly determined by state and local pols and planners to make a visit there as unpleasant as possible.

P&J refer to the ill-conceived need for a median strip on the Newport Bridge, an overreaction of the first order. The bridge has been reduced to one lane in both directions as of April 6, and the eastbound lanes’ EZ Pass lane was closed, which has resulted, by the RI Turnpike and Bridge Authority’s own calculations, to warrant an hour’s delay in the morning and evening commutes. Some fun, eh kiddies? P&J have seen this backup firsthand, and have considered doing roadside gun stands at both ends of the bridge for those drivers who want to buy a Glock or Sig Sauer and simply put a bullet in their heads as they try to get to work before noon, or home before “Jeopardy” ends. (And if you want to see a real car bomb go off, if there are still lane restrictions on May 5, the day festivities for the Volvo ocean sailing race begin, which Newport officials have humped harder as an attraction than Disney does Orlando or Walter White did crystal meth, expect fireworks galore.)

RITBA officials claim all this work will be done by May 1. Why not? Who has ever heard of a major construction project in Little Rhody going over its projected deadline or costing more than anticipated? (Take a bow, former governor Ed “Gerber Baby” DiPrete, whose state contract to build the new Jamestown Bridge not only ran over time-wise and cost-wise, but didn’t have a clause saying that the contractors would pay for lateness, and instead left the great unwashed of Vo Dilun on the hook for the massive cost overruns. Full gainer into that Dumpster, Gerb.) So keep bringing those Indonesian pee bottles with you folks, and don’t expect to get across the Bay in less than 60 minutes.

Worse is all the construction roadwork being done on Broadway in Newport, which for many is the only way into town unless you know the back routes — and even some Newporters don’t. The town planners did this to Washington Square businesses two years ago at the height of the tourism season. P&J pointed out that restaurant owners such as Biggie Korn at Yesterday’s would have been acquitted of murder of town officials on grounds of justifiable homicide as people avoided the downtown eating establishments as if they were selling Ebola on a bun at food carts.

P&J suspect it is only fitting that the “Scenic Newport” exit off the Newport Bridge empties onto yet another one-lane road named Farewell St, which fittingly runs between two cemeteries. (Geddit?) Stack the empty coffins by the gates, folks, we’re sure they will be quickly accommodated if all these construction woes continue.

Monster Raving Loonies 

The race is on. US Senator Ted Cruz announced his bid to become the Republican Party’s presidential candidate in 2016, and we can bet Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and Donald Trump feel upstaged. But it was nice to know Mitt Romney has tacitly acknowledged his insanity by offering to have an exhibition boxing match with former heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield. (“Just don’t muss up my hair, Evander.”)

Back in the 1960s, a titled and barking mad aspiring politician in England who called himself Screaming Lord Sutch, who put out unlistenable albums at his own expense and drove a Rolls Royce painted like the Union Jack, ran for office under his own Monster Raving Loony Party banner. Well, I am sure the Republicans can counter the emergent Tea Party with another allied wing called the GOP Monster Raving Loony Party, which Screaming Lord Sutch would appreciate to no end. And leading that parade will undoubtedly be Sen Cruz.

Cruz’s campaign may be the best thing that could happen to the Democratic Party and Queen Hillary. As he plays to an audience of evangelical “Christians,” like he did in his announcement at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University – who’s for grape Kool-Aid, kids? – he is bound to bring out the worst in all of the GOP future contenders during future public appearances and debates. If other potential candidates like the desperate and dim Jeb Bush, Miami Marco Rubio or schoolboy manqué Scott Walker find out they need to grab the ultra-conservative votes to have a chance of winning, they may quickly find God in the worst of ways, all caught on videotape before they have to “walk back” their comments. And the conservative bloc will be important, as none of them are getting the black, Latino or even women’s votes.

“God’s blessing has been on America from the very beginning of this nation, and I believe God isn’t done with Americans,” Cruz said. Well, we are glad to know The Big Sir found time from his global work to specially bless us back in the 1700s. But given this country’s recent behavior, and God botherers like Dubya Bush and now Cruz invoking his name and their direct connection to Him without express written consent of the NFL, maybe we better hope God is done with Americans, or at least looks the other way rather than sending America swarms of locusts or rivers of blood and telling us to keep him out of the discussion.

But Wait, There’s More

Only a week-plus after Cruz declared, self-ordained ophthalmologist Rand Paul threw his tousled toupee into the ring to the sustained applause of no one.

Little Randy urged voters to “take our country back,” when most people didn’t know it had been missing. Must have been smuggled out in a suitcase or shipped to Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s house, where he is hiding it from the eyes of all those faggots and dykes who want to disrupt Hoosier Heaven. (Note: After seeing the smarmy, lying phony Pence on TV, with his “boys regular” haircut promoting the “Freedom of Religion” act (honk!) his state passed, we can only conclude that Indiana is the only state where livestock animals are allowed to vote.)

In fact, our country has been taken by Randy Paul and his political pals in Washington, DC. They have corrupted the democratic process, they lie and steal at a rate that would make Vladimir Putin blush, and care nothing about the general public. So start taking it back from your buddies, Sen. Paul, a loathsome, lying and libertarian phony. Who has let these a-holes command even a minute of our attention? (And the media, who P&J will gladly buy a drink to wash the taste of the  candidates’ nether units out of their mouths – see: Clinton, Bill.) Only 16 more months of this assault on your sense of decency to go. Whee! Buckle up, campers.

STOP THE PRESSES: As P&J go to print, we first learn via Scott MacKay’s blog at Rhode Island Public Radio that former guv Linc Chafee is giving thoughts to a run to be the Democratic party’s presidential candidate in 2016, having formed an exploratory committee. This is kind of like having a colonoscopy just for the fun of it, as far as we read Linc’s chances. But if this is a sign of the future, P&J hope there is a space in the presidential candidate’s parking lot (behind the DC K-Mart – not unlike K Street, but with employees with more ethics at the retailer) for the Dems’ clown car right next to the one driven by Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.  Keep the delusions coming.

Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame Inductions 

The RIMHOF is only in its fourth year, but has grown in leaps and bounds to be what the Providence Journal has described as “Rhode Island’s most fascinating museum” (Providence Journal, May 24, 2014). There are two events this year and they are right around the corner. First, on Mon, April 20 at Bovi’s Tavern on Taunton Ave at 7pm, this year’s jazz inductees, George Masso, Duke Belaire and Bob Petteruti will be honored on stage before the regular Monday night performance by the John Allmark Orchestra (John took over for honoree Duke Belaire whose big band held  court on Monday nights for decades at Bovi’s). The other induction ceremony and concert is on Sun, April 26 at the Hall in Pawtucket’s Hope Artiste Village and next door at The Met. It’s an all-day affair starting at 2pm.

At the Hall will be the unveiling of the exhibits on this year’s inductees followed by the inductions and performances by many of the inductees themselves. At The Met will be a posthumous salute to Nelson Eddy, along with inductions of non-performer Richard “Paco” Zimmer, a legendary tour manager for major bands and the prime creator of one of Rhode Island’s greatest nightclubs, the Center Stage in East Providence. George Wein, founder of the Newport Jazz and Fok Festivals, is also a member of the 2015 class. He unfortunately will not be able to make the ceremonies, but promises to be in RI in the summer where a presentation to him will be made.

As for the performers/musicians, this year we will induct classic ’60s “garage bands” (garage bands with hit records), The Others, The Ascots and George “Georgie Porgie” Leonard. Brenda Bennett, who cut her teeth with the Tombstone Blues Band in the 1960s and continued as a member of Vanity 6 and Apollonia 6 (who worked with Prince) will be inducted in a new “sidemen” category as the Martys, i.e., bassist, Marty Ballou and drummer, Marty Richards, two the of the busiest sidemen in the business who have worked with jazz, blues and rock acts from the Gary Burton to Joe Perry to John Hammond to Peter Wolf, Roomful of Blues and too many to mention here.

And finally, one of RI’s most popular bands, The Schemers (who morphed into the Raindogs, who will also be honored) and the primary singer/songwriter with these bands, Mark Cutler, will be inducted. All of these bands and musicians will perform sets at the induction ceremony and, for those who care about RI music, this is a “must.” (Disclosure: Jorge, aka Rudy Cheeks, is on the RIMHOF board of directors).

HMS Gaspee

Most Vo Dilanduhs have heard of the Gaspee and its importance in American history (the ship burned in Pawtuxet Cover by angry patriots years before the Boston Tea Party). But to get a fuller view of the whole story — its relation to the slave trade, for instance — see the 51-minute documentary film, Aaron Briggs and the HMS Gaspee by Andrew Stewart, a young Rhode Islander who spent years putting this whole thing together. It is now available through Amazon Instant Video and we highly recommend it.




Phillipe and Jorge’s Cool, Cool World: Hernandez, Concrete Projo and Arc Iris

A Small Favor

This request will doubtless set the bad taste bell a-ringin’, but Phillipe and Jorge are at their wits’ end.

Would a local blond, white, teenage girl please manage to get abducted or at the least, go missing? P&J figure this is about the only thing that will get the clapped-out, mind-numbing coverage of the Aaron Hernandez trial out of the first three news stories EVERY DAY. Enough is enough, and this courtroom faux drama passed “enough” about eight months ago. The only people who seem interested in it are the media, but this dog don’t hunt anymore for the general public.

While Hernandez is always referred to as the “former star NE Patriots tight end,” the Pats managed to win a Super Bowl without him, thank you very much. And guilty or innocent in court, the verdict has already been reached that Hernandez is a violent, stupid thug. So what’s the fascination now, except for train wreck aficionados?

Even though the recent crash of the German airliner in the Alps caused by a mentally ill co-pilot took the lead-off spot for a few days with Hernandez reduced to second or third lead, it has no legs, since it took place in Europe and mostly furriners died. What we need is the surefire bet of that blond teen (preferably cute as a button and described by friends as “lighting up the room” every time she entered one) vanishing without a trace, which will take immediate precedence over any other story, and for weeks attract the media tragedy porn reporters. Please, do this small favor for P&J. Thanks.

RIP, Concrete Charlie

Growing up outside Philadelphia, Phillipe’s # 1 sports idol was the Philadelphia Eagles’ Chuck Bednarik (sorry, Richie Ashburn and Wilt the Stilt), who died last week. He is in the NFL Hall of Fame, deservedly so, and was the last of the two-way players, turning out at center and middle linebacker.

Bednarik was known as Concrete Charlie, supposedly because he once had a job loading bags of concrete. But as arguably the toughest guy in football when he played, the concrete analogy works one way or the other. The fact that he also flew 30 combat missions as a gunner in World War II didn’t hurt the hardass image either.

Phillipe also had a personal connection with Bednarik. When Chuck came home after the war, he went to college at Penn, and while there worked with P.’s father at Foremost Dairy. So to a young boy’s mind, he was part of the family.

Bednarik is probably best remembered from the time in 1960 when he laid a hit on glamor boy Frank Gifford of the arch-rival NY Giants that separated Gifford from both the ball and consciousness. In fact, Gifford sat out the entire next season due to the concussion. Bednarik was criticized for a photo of him pumping his fist over the prostrate Gifford, seemingly gloating he had KO’d him. But Chuck explained after he retired that was not the case, in his typical eloquent style, that he saw a teammate recover Gifford’s fumble and he was shouting, “This game is fucking over!”

But to Phillipe, his favorite Bednarik moment came in the 1960 NFL championship game at Franklin Field in Philly, which P. actually attended. The Eagles beat the Green Bay Packers, 17-13, but not before the Packers were marching down the field looking for the winning touchdown. With just seconds remaining, Concrete Charlie tackled Green Bay’s Jim Taylor at the Eagles nine-yard line. Bednarik lay on top of Taylor, holding him down as the clock ticked away, and told him, “You’re not getting up until this fucking game is over.” The final whistle blew, and P. went home walking on air. Thanks, Chuck.

Beginning of the End?  

So, Vo Dilun’s daily newspaper, one of the oldest and most celebrated daily newspapers in the country we like to call “the United States of America,” announced recently that they would double the price of a newsstand copy of the newspaper from $1 to $2. Here in the Biggest Little, a lot of people are wondering if this is the end of the line for a true institution. The building on Fountain Street in downtown that has been the paper’s headquarters for decades now is up for sale. It could very well be that they will now move to Cranston or some other nearby suburb.

As you will recall, it was in June 2014 (less than a year ago) that New York-based New Media Investment Group Inc., the parent company of Gatehouse Media LLC, purchased The Journal for $46 million cash. At that time, Phillipe & Jorge (and many others) openly worried that this would turn out badly. The Belo sale was bad enough (the loss of local ownership to a company that was primarily interested in The Journal‘s television holdings), but the Gatehouse sale was even worse. What they have done to their other newspaper holdings has been to make severe cutbacks that result in worse newspapers. There was no reason to believe that what they would do with the Other Paper would be any different and, sure enough, one of their first moves was to lay off veteran reporters and columnists (Thomas Morgan and Bob Kerr immediately come to mind) who represented both the heart and soul and institutional memory of the paper. Giant red flags.

Is anyone surprised at the latest move from this particular corporate organization? With sales figures flagging, the paper getting smaller, less local reporting and fewer pages, now mostly filled with syndicated copy from sources like the Associated Press, Gatehouse’s “solution” is to double the price of the daily paper. This is not going to work and fewer people will now pick up paper copies of The Providence Journal.

It has become increasingly obvious that the continued trend of large out-of-town conglomerates buying up daily newspapers around the country will result in the end of newspaper template we have come to know. Changing typefaces and fonts has also met with near universal dismay from regular readers of the paper.   

So will the last person to leave the building (likely to be Mark Patinkin) please turn out the light.

Music Tip for April

Your superior correspondents ran into a couple of members of the fine RI-based band Arc Iris the other day and want to tell you about the weekly arts and music festival that they will curate at Aurora on Westminster Street on four successive Friday evenings in April. Starting April 3, an eclectic variety of bands and musicians, from The ‘Mericans to Last Good Tooth, Haunt the House, Death Vessel, Andrea Belanger, Allysen Callery and Arc Iris themselves, will be performing with “intermittent performances in the front lounge” as well as the fabulous Big Nazo Lab creatures (who will be there each week). 

This is the Zoetical Festival and it is highly recommended. Do yourself a favor and check out some of the more interesting musical acts in the Biggest Little.




Phillipe and Jorge’s Cool, Cool World: Gordo Golightly, a Hill of Scandals, and Some Local Talent

Bribes and Bullshit

There are bribes and then there are “contributions,” the latter of which won’t pass the laugh test when you pull them off at a political scale that makes Wall Street investment bankers and brokers whiny.

Disgraced former RI House Speaker Gordon Fox proved himself to be an arrogant, power-broking wannabe piece of crap by taking bribes, committing wire fraud and filing false tax returns. For those transgressions he was convicted and now will spend three years at the government’s pleasure in some yet-unnamed prison, because he was too stupid to cover his tracks. He simply looted his campaign fund to the tune of $108,000 for personal use (P&J loved the part about some of the stolen cash going to purchases at Tiffany’s – was Gordo Golightly dressed up as Audrey Hepburn when he cruised the jewelry cases?) and also took a blatant $52,000 backhander from the owners of the Shark Bar and Grille on Thayer Street to get them a liquor license while on the Providence Board of Licenses.  This one’s on us, Gordo.

And let us not even get into what deeper role he played in giving $75 million of a new state economic development loan fund of $125 million to business neophyte Curt “Bloody Sock” Schilling for his absurd 38 Studios company. Yeah, good thinking, Gordo. Certainly don’t want to risk giving a million each to 125 emerging business or start-ups in Little Rhody, right? But when you’re skimming left, right and sideways off the deal, why not spend three-fifths of the loan fund on a rookie for his venture into one of the most volatile industries you can find?

But that just shows how having power can overcome the self-realization that you have become a moron. Only former Gov. Ed DiPrete’s Dumpster-diving at a Walt’s Roast Beef after a paper bag filled with a $10,000 kickback he threw out with his lunch trash could be more in tune with Biggest Little corruption legends.

But for a long time, the media treated Gordon Fox as a glorious God on Smith Hill. The first African-American and gay Speaker of the House, up from the bootstraps of scooping ice cream on North Main, who championed gay marriage in Vo Dilun in the face of adversity. And all the while he was running scams worthy of former Federal Hill wiseguys. Nice work in building Little Rhody’s image, a-hole.

Dead Brokerage

That image of Fox brings us to Hillary Clinton, and how shakedowns should be done. Until recently, she has been ass-kissed and adored by the media as the “presumptive” Democratic candidate for president in 2016.

Forget Benghazi and the emails. Although the latter “scandal,” in which she publicly embarrassed herself at a press conference by saying she used a personal email server for classified and sensitive government correspondence because she didn’t want to carry two phones, was swallowed only by AARP members who are still trying to figure out how to turn on the Blackberrys their children gave them at Christmas.

The story that will dog Ms. Pantsuit until the 2016 presidential election (yeah, she’s gonna be the Dems’ horse in the race no matter what) will be how much money the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation (which admittedly does do great work around the world) has and is receiving from big-time political donors and worse, foreign governments. Screw the PACs, we got a foundation. And we are talking millions from such female-friendly places like the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Saudi Arabia, the home of public stonings, women treated like dogs, and in the latter’s case, home of the 9-11 mass murderers. Hey, just make sure that contribution is in US dollars; we don’t want your stinking riyals and dirhams.

While not in the campaign coffers, it certainly keeps Hillary from being “dead broke.” And if you think for a second that those contributions aren’t made with the intent that a possible president will have a good memory of whose money is helping burnish her image, call your doctor for an MRI appointment. (Side note: This is similar to NBC not planning on being first in line for a White House leak if Hill wins after paying Chelsea $300,000 for a year’s journalistic work in which she produced practically nothing newsworthy.)

P&J hope the media keep picking at the Clinton Foundation scab, because the wound will definitely bleed at some point. And if the media won’t do it, we are sure the GOP opposition info offices will, and they may just be holding fire until it will be a bigger bombshell, say in September or October of 2016.

In the long run, P&J’s question is: How bad or obvious did things have to get before the media, or even upright people around both Gordo and Hill, pulled those two charlatans’ masks off in public? Fox was always dodgy, and a creep to boot. Hillary has all the charm of a cobra, is always on the defensive, and may be even oilier than her husband, which deserves some applause, since Bubba’s “I did not have sex with that woman” and “What is ‘is’?” set the bar extremely high in the unctuous and duplicitous categories.

Gordo is already in tears, and no doubt considering which Tiffany accessories he should bring to the can. We can’t imagine Hillary ever crying, unless she intentionally slices an onion into her hankie and holds it under her eyes, but wethinks those “contributions” may contribute to her downfall somewhere down the road.

Dan Von Bargen

There was much sadness in the Vo Dilun theater/acting community when word spread that Dan Von Bargen, the wonderful actor and truly nice man, had passed away in his hometown of Cincinnati on March 1. Dan had been ill and suffering for a few years so the community’s emotions were expressed best by the actor/director Bob Colonna who was quoted by the UPI. “I feel a huge wave of of sorrow and relief at the passing of this remarkable man, Dan Von Bargen. I treasure the years when I worked with him at Trinity Rep and in a couple of TV films. I admire his excellent body of work in the movies. And I mourn for the darkness and pain that were his final years. God bless him. He was a hell of a guy.”

Indeed he was. A beloved member of the extended Trinity Repertory Company, Dan was a mainstay in many stage productions at Trinity. He was probably best known by the general public as “Mr. Kruger,” George Costanza’s boss on Seinfeld. He performed in many films and had a starring role in the little-seen but powerful film Lord of Illusions and a major part in the local cult classic, Jim Wolpaw’s Complex World

Interestingly enough, Phillipe & Jorge met Dan the day he moved to Providence and wandered into Leo’s, the artists’ watering hole on Chestnut Street, immediately asking Phillipe (who was tending bar there at the time) to tell him all about the city. All who knew Dan loved him for his kind and gentle nature and he was widely admired for his great talent. We will miss this special man.

Sarah Steps Up
 
While your superior correspondents rarely watch the music competition shows on television, we are all abuzz about Sarah Potenza’s performances on “The Voice.” If the name “Potenza” rings a bell, that’s because it comes from one of the Biggest Little’s premier musical clans (Frank Potenza is a top flight jazz guitarist who has been based on the West Coast for some time now and, of course, Joe Potenza is one of the busiest bass players around). We gave a shout to Joe to find out what the family relation was and he told us that Sarah was his cousin Bob’s daughter, adding that “ironically, Sarah is my daughter’s name too, but she’s not a singer.” So, go get ’em, Sarah.



Phillipe and Jorge’s Cool, Cool World: PoorSox, Talking Heads and Soccer Names That Kick Butt

Truth to Power 

House Speaker Nick Mattiello recently got his knickers in a twist over remarks made about the Little Rhody budget and sausage-making process by Governor Gina Raimondo at Politico’s State Solutions Conference in Washington, part of the National Governor’s Association confab.

Here’s what Our Gina had to say that got Nicky’s careful coif mussed.  Please identify the errors:

“For too long, what’s happened in Rhode Island … is the governor proposes a budget and then the General Assembly takes the budget — often in the dark of night, in a quiet room — the lobbyists and the General Assembly get together and they hack it up every which way and out pops a budget.”

Mistakes? None. The budget process, which becomes part of the final day cluster-fuck that is a hallmark at Halitosis Hall, is one of the worst sins against good governance in the state. Good on ya, Gina. You won’t lose any support by telling the truth, especially from P&J. Keep it coming.

PoorSox

The Pawtucket Red Sox have long been near and dear to Phillipe and Jorge’s hearts, and we have always been treated like princes at McCoy Stadium. Jorge, a native of The Bucket and member of its city’s Hall of Fame, once sang the national anthem before a game. And Phillipe threw out the first pitch one memorable Memorial Day. (Split fastball on the inside corner for a strike.)

The sale of the PawSox to a team of high rollers, including Tom Ryan of CVS fame and Terry Murray of banking and investment notoriety, is a huge disappointment to your superior correspondents. The only upside is that two of the best executives in American professional baseball -­- major, minor or Little League — over the past 30 years, Mike Tamburro and Lou Schwechheimer, will retain active roles with the club.

The plans for a new stadium to house the team in Providence raise many troubling questions. First is that they want to locate it on the old I-195 land already being planned for development as a massive economic booster for Our Little Towne. Aren’t there about a million better uses for this property? (Think giving of $75 million of the state’s $125M in state economic development funding to one entity, the infamous 38 Studios, when sharing the wealth seemed the no-brainer choice. How did that work out, geniuses?) P&J love the argument by the new owners that it could help boost the prospects of a new hotel being proposed nearby the park, which will no doubt be filled with fans from outside the state rushing into town to watch the visiting Toledo Mud Hens take on the Capital City’s team.

Is this the best use of the I-195 land? No way in hell. Ask the officials at Brown University, which has a substantial plan/stake in the future of the area as a Knowledge District, about this canard if they can be persuaded to tell the truth. And the fact that the new owners have broadly hinted at gaining some support from the city, which is just staggering to its financial feet after taking an eight-count after the great economic collapse of 2008, is not only arrogant, but offensive.  Hey, Mayor Elorza, if you do something like gift them the land or ask taxpayers for one cent for this rich-white-boy toy-department project, you aren’t as smart as we thought you were.

Know one thing well in advance: The PawSox franchise will be held hostage for money and crass deals from the city and state for a stadium by its new ownership, with the threat of losing the beloved franchise to Massachusetts at the heart of the eventual ransom note(s).

Buy us some peanuts and Cracker Jack, even if we puke them back up. And that whirring sound you hear is Ben Mondor spinning like an industrial lathe in his grave.

Big Heads

Phillipe and Jorge have long pointed out that NBC News anchor Lyin’ Brian Williams was possibly the biggest phony in the news business, surpassed only possibly by Scott Pelley, the Niles Crane lookalike on CBS who appears to spend two hours a day in front of a mirror honing his empathetic reaction shots.

So it is no surprise Williams has finally been exposed as full of self-glorifying shit, and it’s doubtful he will have anything other than a Fox News or cable career in his future. What P&J are now looking forward to is the infighting at NBC News to see who becomes his permanent replacement. Lester Holt, doubtless delighted about his decision to sport horn-rimmed glasses on air a while back to give the illusion of a high IQ, is the obvious frontrunner. But if you think Savannah Guthrie and others at The Peacock Network aren’t going to turn this into a catfight worthy of the girls’ bathroom at a junior high school, you underestimate the desperation of egotistical, “love me, love me” red carpet wannabes that populate television. There will be more backstabbing going on at NBC in the next few months than 100 productions of Julius Caesar.

An Institute for Casual Research poll recently conducted by P&J on Facebook asked the question, “Who’s the bigger douchebag, Brian Williams or Kanye West?” Lyin’ Brian won hands down.  So keep a low profile, Lester, and make sure you get a food taster anytime Savannah has visited your dressing room.

What’s In a Name?

Phillipe and Jorge have always been intrigued by bizarre names in the sports world. Way back when, Phillipe used to publish an annual list of the most inspired cum weirdest names in college basketball. This produced the likes of Baskerville Holmes, Elvis Old Bull, Napoleon Lightning (preceding Hollywood’s fictional Napoleon Dynamite) and the ultimate brother act from the University of Virginia, Majestic Mapp and Scientific Mapp (truth).

The international soccer world has always been a treasure trove of strange names, starting with teams near and dear to P&J’s hearts like Young Boys Bern and Ghana’s Eleven Golden Boys. And on the individual level, you just can’t top Brazil’s Kaka when it comes to getting a cheap laugh.

Now the high-end English soccer mag, Four-Four-Two, has presented a list of current African players who will not soon be forgotten, including Tonic Chabalala (Bombay or Beefeater’s, sir?), Surprise Moriri and Naughty Makoena. But they single out one player who ought to have his own PBS “Masterpiece Mystery” detective series: Danger Fourpence. Yes, he plays in Zimbabwe, and it would be worth having him in the starting lineup just to give the announcers a kick, so to speak.




Phillipe and Jorge’s Cool, Cool World: Bus Stop, a Drop, and Rock ‘n’ Roll

Bus World
Issues having to do with RIPTA buses are always on Jorge’s mind as he has been riding them his entire life and has never had a driver’s license. He talks to drivers and other passengers and, with the weather we have been experiencing, it seems that the frustrations of many folks who are “on the buses” have been greatly exacerbated. Jorge also knows many other regular bus riders who are quite knowledgeable about how government and the buses work. Among them are Don Rhodes, the President and Legislative lobbyist for the RIPTA Riders Alliance and Bob Rizzo, the veteran multi-media artist who, for many years, ran arts programs for the city of Providence.
 
Bob lives in the Pawtuxet Village area (Cranston/Warwick) and mentions, specifically, the 1/4 mile (7 blocks) distances between stops on the R Line, a complaint also voiced by regular RIPTA rider Annette Gagne. That the R-line buses are almost always crowded, frequently so crowded that they pass by passengers waiting at stops because they can’t take on any more riders, is also a concern. And, although Jorge’s experience has been with the R Line,  he has been informed that the stops being far apart is true of a number of other main lines as well.
With all the snow came the worries about who is responsible for clearing out the snow at shelters and stops. One driver told me how concerned he was about the safety of passengers waiting at the #3 stop on Eddy Street outside of Rhode Island Hospital. People were standing in the street and it was clearly dangerous. “Someone’s going to get killed,” the driver told me. In fact, Don Rhodes was nearly hit on a couple of occasions because he had to stand in the street due to the shelters/stops being unshoveled.
Rhodes says that the current RIDOT model for street clearance is “outdated” and after the second, third or fourth passes by the plows, people often find that their driveways and sidewalks that they are legally required to keep clear are continually being clogged up by icy, hard snow that is nearly impossible to shovel.
At a recent meeting of the RIPTA Riders Alliance, Lamar, the advertising company that has a contract with RIPTA, said that they would be “responsible for keeping clear the 25 busiest bus shelters in the state.” This is a nice start, but they are in no way legally required to do this and if they are unable to follow through with their pledge, there are no consequences.
Since it is the poor and disenfranchised who comprise the majority of regular bus riders, this is a near-invisible problem. But when people start getting hit and injured because no one has addressed these storm-related issues, there will be an “I can’t believe this happened” public outcry. Don’t say that you weren’t warned.
For Rock & Roll Collectors
 
It’s time again for another meeting of the Original Southern New England Rock & Roll Collectors Convention. Created by Dr. Oldie himself (the Mad Peck), this is a must for anyone who collects vinyl, posters or any other sort of rock ‘n’ roll-related stuff. It’s also an opportunity to meet other collectors and fans. It takes place at its “new” location — the Knights of Columbus Hall on 304 Highland Ave (Rte. 123), South Attleboro, Mass, on Sun, March 1. Doors open at 10am and close at 3pm, and admission is still only two bucks! If you’re tired of being cooped up indoors and have been looking for an excuse to get out, this is it! So spread the word and let’s hope the weather cooperates!
Saturday Night Live 40  

There was only one thing that P&J wanted to see in the big “Saturday Night Live” 40th anniversary show … acknowledgement of our late and much loved friend, Charles Rocket, who was a cast member and anchored the Weekend Update segment of SNL in 1980. And he was acknowledged in a brief segment on cast members who have passed away.

It’s a long story, but in most histories of SNL, the 1980-81 season is usually ignored. Charlie was a major talent who was dealt a very bad hand, but those who remember his influence on the Providence underground art scene of the late 1960s and ’70s, know well his brilliance.

And, speaking of “Saturday Night Live,” kudos to its original set designer — about the best and most sought-after in the business — Providence’s own Eugene Lee.

Stairway to Hospital
Poor Phillipe learned this week that socks on stairs don’t mix when he slid down a set and landed in the hospital. He got a nasty bump on the noggin that would send excited shivers down the spine of any phrenologist, but he’ll be back in fine shape in time for our next column.



Phillipe and Jorge’s Cool, Cool World

Aftermath

Well, Juno (the blizzard) didn’t turn out to be ’78 redux, but it did shake everyone up, and it seems a lot of those responsible for dealing with the storm did their homework and got Vo Dilun back on track in a day or two. It was bad enough to shut down RIPTA for over 24 hours, but there were precious few power outages and Governor Gina passed what people are calling her first major test as the state’s Head Ramrod with flying colors.

Things were a bit spottier on the city and town level. There was the expected grumbling about the slow progress of plowing in some communities and, most dramatic of all, the realization that the storm interrupted vital doughnut deliveries to a number of Dunkin Donut franchises throughout the state. We cannot confirm this, but there was a rumor that in some police departments, word of the doughnut drought led some personnel to wear black cloths on their heads.

Somehow we survived it all and the Biggest Little can now breathe a sigh of relief as we forge on into the abyss.

Portrait of the Artist

We know that our old pal Linc is none too fond of his official portrait as governor that will grace a wall in the state house, but Phillipe and Jorge think it is perfect for a man who always kept his own counsel and endured more dark times than necessary.

Done by artist Julie Gearan, it shows Linc within a grim light, wearing a black topcoat and with a faraway look at, no doubt, more incoming storms. While the former governor wanted none of the usual accessories surrounding him − globe, portrait of Lincoln, library of unread books − it really does bring home the man in real life.  Someone who boldly challenged his own party, who was indeed an Independent Man like the one atop Halitosis Hall, and would stick to his guns until a high-noon shootout when challenged.

Two of the best features of Gearan’s excellent piece are subtle, but powerful. The sight of clouds lifting from the dark days in the background and Linc’s left hand resting on a rock with stems of marsh grasses rising around it. Yes, things did improve during Chafee’s tenure, whether you like admitting it or not. And his total, unqualified dedication to the environment was evident daily, and a tribute to his father, the late Senator John Chafee, author of the national Clean Water Act, whose power and prescience endures until this day.

It is great to see that this nuanced and no-nonsense portrait will be featured at the state house; its honesty will be light years away from the stiffly posed portraits of previous government leaders trying to convey a sense of dignity and honor who were conversely at best crooks, thieves and scoundrels whose first concern was to feather their own nests, the public be damned. The truth may hurt, Linc, but it has always been a rare commodity on Smith Hill, and both you and Ms. Gearan should be proud of your efforts.

No More Homecomings

There has been a great deal made lately of Arab/Muslim terrorists who left their developed home countries to travel to the likes of Syria or Yemen (pick your own third-world hellhole) to get military training there, and then come back home and commit mass murders against innocent citizens. While France and Great Britain are most concerned, especially since Charlie Hebdo, the US has our own crop of detestable scum flying the radical Islam flag, both here and in Stone Age nations.

Although government officials have either gotten their knickers in a twist or simply wet those panties, P&J believe there is a fairly easy solution.  When one of these assimilated psychopaths buys a ticket to travel to the Mideast or another resort vacation spot like Afghanistan, inform them that it is only going to be a one-way voyage. They will simply not be allowed to return, and their photos and personal info will be disseminated to every checkpoint in every country from which they may attempt their re-entry.

Will this stop the influx of terrorists entirely? Not a chance. But it would be a good first step. And as to protecting civil rights in free, essentially democratic countries, P&J would use the argument against these terrorism importers, famously used by great minds like Aristotle and the Marx Brothers, “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.” P&J are certain there will be plenty of second thoughts by these human scum leaving those pied-a-terres in Paris and London for a lifetime of “one hot and no cot” in a charmingly appointed cave or the delightful heat of the desert.

In the meantime, nous sommes Charlie, and are not afraid.

Passing of a Great Man

Phillipe & Jorge would like to join the chorus to salute the life of Dr. Stanley Aronson, the founding dean of Brown University’s Alpert School of Medicine, who passed away on Jan 28. Dr. Aronson had a huge and positive effect on life in the Biggest Little, not just through his pioneering work in medicine and as a mentor to generations of medical students and physicians, but also for his weekly columns that ran in the Providence Journal (on Mondays) for many years and were among the most erudite and learned articles to appear in the daily paper. He was also a co-founder of Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island. We recommend the obituary/salute written by Scott MacKay, political reporter for RI’s NPR station, WRNI, that can be found on the station’s website (ripr.org).

Ain’t No Sun Shine?

One of the first things to strike the pure-heart and inquiring mind of Phillipe when he moved to England decades ago was that one of the country’s largest papers, The Sun, featured just inside the front page photos of women baring their breasts. He found this feature to be very popular with his fellow workers on a construction site, who had less than degrees from Oxford or Cambridge, as well it might, because the news content of The Sun makes the New York Post look like The Times of London.

If you ever wondered how Australian media magnate Rupert ‘The Dirty Digger” Murdoch rose to prominence, it was through this great idea for what is now commonly know as “tits on page 3.” These topless shots were always accompanied by a caption that was to somehow justify their presence: “Frisky Liverpool lass Daphne is enjoying the surf in Bimini during her holiday vacation.” Yeah, and now Clive is spending too much time in the bathroom at home studying the stock market results in the paper.

There are conflicting reports in the British media these days after a shocking decision, supposedly ordered by the Dirty Digger, that the women on page 3 now wear bras or bikini tops while frolicking. But knowing Murdoch, if sales slip even a bit, the working class men in England will again be shouting “Phwoar!” after they pick up their morning copy of the Dirty Digger’s rag en route to the building site or factory.

P&J are now pondering if the head ramrods at the Urinal have already started moving on the quote from David Dinsmore when he became editor of The Sun back in 2013, and who vowed to keep the “tits on Page 3” alive: It is a “good way of selling newspapers.” Prepare to get ‘em out, Rhody girls.




Phillipe and Jorge’s Cool, Cool World: News from Little Rhody and Beyond

FUSVP

So now self-absorbed blowhard nancy-boy Catholic Bishop Tommy Tobin has used another major event — Gina Raimondo’s inauguration — to draw attention to himself by refusing to attend. Wow! Bow-wow!

Phillipe and Jorge believe that there is an easy way to halt this grandstanding by the belligerent bishop: Don’t invite him. If you were hosting parties and a person who you invited kept telling you not just that he wouldn’t attend but that he thinks you are immoral, would you keep asking him to stop by? Not a chance. Don’t give this posturing a-hole a chance to attack you by saying no.

This might be good for the Bish. Not being invited to the dance might actually help Tommy by giving him more time to check up on his paedo and shirtlifter priests, a woefully weak effort to date at best. Maybe if he got former Bishop Looie Jellonose to help him he might make more progress (honk!).

On a related note, the removal of Our Gina from the LaSalle Academy Wall of Champions at Tommy’s request due to her stance on abortion drew big headlines for the publicity-hungry bishop. But it also sparked some questions he would rather not address, such as why was pro-choice Sen. Jack Reed’s plaque allowed to remain? Picking your fights, Tommy, you chickenshit?

The result of this, P&J are informed by a person whose plaque also graced the Wall of Champions, is that they have taken down the entire display that celebrates the school’s many prominent and highly successful graduates of the distinguished and greatly respected school. (You know, the Little Rhody traditional path to success: LaSalle, Providence College, Suffolk Law School and hey, presto, Speaker of the House or Supreme Court judge.) Thanks, Tommy, for spurring the elimination of tributes to many people who have been assets to The Biggest Little and should be recognized for their achievements, no matter what their political and social positions. Collateral damage, indeed.

Just stay home from now on, Tommy.  No one needs a skunk at his or her garden party, and you absolutely reek.

Baron Was a Prince

Phillipe and Jorge were greatly saddened at the death of longtime Pawtucket Times and Woonsocket Call political reporter Jim Baron, a friend and colleague.

Jim was the consummate journalist covering the comings and goings at Halitosis Hall, and you could always find him trundling the State House hallways when the General Assembly was in session, notebook in hand and questions for any and all at the ready. Phillipe in particular dealt with him often at press events, and he invariably had a not-necessarily-inflammatory, but to-the-point query on the topic at hand. He was also a gentle giant, with a positive but world-weary demeanor that implied, “Well, what the hell you gonna do?” He was kind and caring person, and a helluva reporter, who will be greatly missed.

Other Side of the World

Now that our old pal North Korea’s “Supreme Leader” Kim Jong Un is grabbing headlines, people are learning a bit more about one of the Axis of Evil countries, a dictatorship that has no equal in the world at this point for suppression of its people.

But for a realistic glimpse into North Korea, P&J recommend the “Inspector O” mystery novels by James Church (a pseudonym), that center on a member of the police force in Pyongyang, the NK capital. In his travels, Inspector O provides an eye-opening (and disturbing) insight into life in this socially and politically walled-off country. (We recommend starting with “Corpse in the Koryo,” which refers to the best hotel in Pyongyang.)

A friend of P&J’s who is an expert on North Korea and has traveled there frequently knows Church, who also is regularly in and out of the country, and our pal knows who the author really is.  He expresses amazement that Church is still allowed in and out of the country without being permanently barred or simply thrown into prison, as the NK government officials know who he is in real life.

But if you want a subtle look at the bleakness of life in North Korea and the fears that go with walking out your door every day into a lawless society that can have you working in a freezing slave labor camp in the mountains in a Pyongyang minute for the slightest indiscretion, the Inspector O books are a must. Life there makes looking over your shoulder a must, and living in a one-room concrete apartment that resembles a jail cell look like the Playboy mansion.

Bowling and Herb (not to be confused with Herb Weiss) Updates

Here are two great new things on the local landscape that you will want to check out. The Breaktime Bowl and Bar is at the Hope Artiste Village, 1005 Main Street in the Bucket (of course, if you don’t already know that, we don’t know where you’ve been). It’s a 6-lane duckpin bowling alley (and Jorge, who grew up bowling duckpin at Al’s Central Avenue lanes in the Bucket is totally thrilled about this) on the third floor of the building and “officially” opened on Friday, Jan 9 (although there was a “soft opening” that occurred right after Christmas for those in the know about such things). The lanes are open from Thursdays through Saturdays (Thurs, Fri hours are 4pm to 1am, Sat it’s 9am to 1am) and there is morning and afternoon bowling on days when the Wintertime Farmers Market is operating. Reservations are highly recommended. Contact them at breaktimebowlandbar.com or by phone at 844.467.3383 (see our story at motifri.com/breaktime-bowl-and-bars-grand-opening).

Meanwhile, over on Peck Street in downtown Providence (next to the Copacetic “Rudely elegant jewelry” shop) is the new Elevated cannabis lounge. If you want to know more about this business, email them at feelingelevated@gmail.com and ask what they are all about.

Chooch of the Week

This one’s a challenge because “chooch-mania” is currently the rage all over the place and not limited to the Biggest Little. John Huppenthal, the outgoing “state superintendent of public instruction” in Arizona, made a point of sending out a “notice of non-compliance” to the Tucson Unified School District as he was on his way out the door, threatening to cut off their state funding over ethnic studies classes. Apparently some Tucson schools have committed the unpardonable sin of teaching from what Huppenthal sees as an African-American and Mexican-American “perspective.” We wouldn’t want anyone in Arizona to think that there are nothing but white folks in that state now, would we?

Super Mario

The death of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo sparked comments from across the country, usually in relation to his skills as an orator. Phillipe can back up those raves, as Cuomo once spoke at a press conference in Washington that P. helped organize. Speaking after the also-eloquent Libby Dole (yeah, Bad Bob’s wife), also no slouch at the microphone, he simply blew her and the crowd away with an inspiring speech about the need for better education for future workforce members that was spot-on every message point. P. had heard the previous raves about his linguistic skills, and they didn’t touch the real thing.




Phillipe and Jorge’s Cool, Cool World: A Goodbye, A Last-Minute Gift, Resolutions, and WTF, CIA?!

A Legendary Reporter Retires

Probably no television street reporter in the Biggest Little is as recognizable and ubiquitous as Sean Daly. who announced last week that he was retiring from the day-to-day grind of reporting the news. For 42 years, Sean reported the news, mostly in Vo Dilun (he spent a few years in Chicago and began his career in Washington, DC). Since 1981, when he started reporting for WLNE-Channel 6 (more recently he has been with WPRI-Channel 12) Sean was on the scene of almost every major story in the state.

He was known among his peers as a tenacious competitor with his own unique style: the booming voice, the way he would say “Sean Daly.” A two-time Emmy Award winner, he was the ultimate pro. Your superior correspondents have known Sean since he arrived here and have shared many a laugh with this always-upbeat reporter. Sean is also a big music fan (he recently burned Jorge a CD of one of his favorite bands, New Orleans’ Neville Brothers) and you can often see him out at the clubs at night, enjoying the music and cheering on the band.

All of Vo Dilun will miss seeing Sean on the little screen, but we hope to still see him around town so we can swap tales about all the crazy things that make the Biggest Little a reporter’s dream gig. Best wishes to one of the classiest reporters we’ve had the pleasure to know.

P&J’s Top Christmas Gift Idea

P&J’s friend and one of the most interesting artists around these or any other parts, Xander Marro, has a new book out called Trouble. It features pictures and writing by “some of the best troublemakers this city (and it’s nearby environs) has to offer, including Mike Leslie, Annapurna Himal von Wagner, Katrina Salander Clark, Walkeer Mettling, Matthew Derby, Mark Baumer, Mike Taylor, Rachel Ruth,Tom Bubul, Heather Benjamin, Lisa Carver, Matthew Lawrence, Eli V Manuscript, Jamie Lowe, Mimi Chrzanowski, Daniel Daley, Mary-Kim Arnold, Bert Crenca, Suzy Gonzalez, Mickey Zachilli Ccool Ddogg and some guy named Rudy Cheeks.

The book is available now at Ada Books, the AS220 project space, or the Dirt Palace Etsy etsy.com/listing/214997956/trouble?. The book is a work of art, from the amazing hands of Ms. Xander herself.

New Year’s Resolutions
Phillipe and Jorge always have a few New Year’s resolutions combined with heartfelt advice, which usually stay in play until at least Jan 2. Here are a few that will help you on your road to a better, wiser and more fulfilled life. You’re welcome.

The Crystal Ship: If you decide to pick up some fruity hottie in a bar and your target suddenly announces that they have full faith in the ability of Alex and Ani jewelry to give special insight into the soul and increase their ability to connect with the metaphysical universe, do two simple things. First, offer to buy that shiny-eyed airhead a drink. Then take the bartender aside and tell him to mix your wide-eyed sweetheart a frou-frou Polynesian umbrella drink with plenty of fruit. Discreetly mix in two shots of Everclear grain alcohol, which will be certain to crystallize their thinking, (Geddit?) Next, before they tuck into their moonshine cocktail, say you are going to the bathroom, sneak out the back door, call for cab, and go to another popular alcohol-revved meat market. Works every time.

Moving Experience: Never, ever, step in front of a moving bus. Especially if it is going at a high rate of speed. But also watch your back, as there are many others who would doubtless like to throw you under it. But if you are to be tossed beneath a bus, we would recommend a school bus, which at least has a monitor assigned to looking under the vehicle for possible mangled or dead people at every stop.

Not Well Done: Never eat anything that you see actually move on your plate after you have been served. Yes, sashimi and sushi include raw fish, but when that unagi starts some Lazarus-type squirming before you dig in, race for the door.

Happy New Year!

Waterboarding Is Not Surfing

It is tough for Phillipe and Jorge to judge the results of the recent Senate report on US government torture of foreign terrorists. Maybe we have read too many Vince Flynn and Lee Child suspense novels to think that whatever our CIA and other official clandestine organizations do to halt the murder of Americans is well justified, and would not be successful without these hideous war crimes (which is what they are, at heart).

Naturally, the CIA report was dealt with by the highest levels of government operatives − no doubt lying through their teeth to both the US Congress and American public − hey, that’s part of the job description − including such disreputable and repugnant characters as the unspeakable Dick Cheney, who said it contained only “a lot of crap.” Pretty good professional analysis, Dr. Death, especially since you said you hadn’t read the report, and were the top cheerleader for waterboarding.

Unsurprisingly, the claims are that Dubya the Dumb, the embarrassment and abomination who was our president at the time, knew nothing about this until four years after the torture was authorized. That’s the sign of a great, hands-on leader. “Don’t wake me from my nap or interrupt my Pee Wee Herman bike ride unless it’s important.”

Obviously the statements from our own poster boy for the horrors of torture, Sen. John McClain, that torture does not generally produce valuable or legitimate information, were ignored by his armchair warriors at the CIA and in Congress, who are now claiming otherwise. Not really what you would call based on firsthand knowledge, but tough shit, Senator. Say hi to the gang at the Hanoi Hilton.

But what most disturbs P&J are tactics like the “extraordinary renditions” our government seemed to enjoy. That is the tactic used when the vernment takes a suspect viewed as valuable and secretly flies them to a “black site” in the country of one of our allies (at least at that moment in time) for “enhanced interrogations,” as the soulless Cheney would put it. (That phrase is the sort of military-speak akin to “collateral damage.” Yeah, we bombed an elementary school and killed 50 innocent kids, but we wounded an Al Qaeda lieutenant. Wow. Bow-wow.) Those rendition countries have governments that are less receptive to public/media exposure of their investigative techniques, and are quite comfortable with such niceties as attaching a car battery to their prisoners’ genitals or snipping off bits of body parts. Now can we have more foreign aid money, Uncle Sam?

And yet the U.S. public is appalled when our international foes in this ugly, ugly war against terrorist ghosts see fit to show beheadings on video. They know what their friends have been subjected to − however much it was deserved for mass murdering and oppressing women, children and blameless civilians − but payback is a bitch, ain’t it? Bring a knife to a gun fight? We’ll bring a scimitar in HD. Seems to be just as effective to-date.

P&J don’t mean to be depressing, but you get what you pay for. And what price has or will the U.S. pay when allies are revealed to be no more ethical, moral or humane than the insane and vicious scum we are fighting?

P&J report. You decide.