November Holidays, Ranked: A sardonic take on the holidays of November

There were so many holidays in November worth ranking, I had to combine some. Here we go. 

6. Veterans Day, Nov. 11

Remember: Memorial Day is the one where we remember the deceased, and this one is for thanking veterans who are still around. And if you don’t know a veteran, a lot of you have a whole day off to go find one. No excuses. 

Or you can take the easy way out and just thank my grandpa, which I’m sure he’d appreciate before saying something wistful about the country and then quickly descending into conservative talking points. Thanks for your service, grandpa. 

5. National Sardines Day, Nov. 24

People still eat these? Goddamn. 

My grandpa used to pry open a can and let us taste these, and I think I only did it to gross out my mom. 

4. Thanksgiving / Black Friday / Small Business Saturday / Cyber Monday / Giving Tuesday, Nov. 24 – 29

There’s nothing more American than this sequence of holidays. First, we are going to gorge ourselves on massive amounts of food. Maybe we’ll reflect on the myth of the first Thanksgiving that purely exists to uphold the false colonizer narrative that colonialism wasn’t marked by violence and slavery and genocide – but probably not. Then, we are going to keep the capitalist engine running by having a holiday literally dedicated to buying things – doesn’t matter what really, just buy some stuff! Then we are going to have a similar day, except this time focus on buying stuff from small businesses. 

Then we get a day off before we are back at work buying more things, online this time (and probably from Amazon – back to big businesses, forget all that small business stuff until next year). And then, if we have literally any money left, we atone for our consumerism by giving it away on Giving Tuesday. If I was the Giving Tuesday people, I’d move it to before the multi-day shopping spree, while people still have cash to feel charitable with!

3. International Men’s Day / Women’s Entrepreneurship Day: Nov. 19

Listen folks, men do the herculean task of holding up the patriarchy every day, and it’s heavy. It’s time for men to get their long-deprived recognition, and for women to start a business to support the family. 

2. National Clean Out Your Fridge Day, Nov. 15

Sometimes I feel targeted by holidays. This is one of those times. 

There are a lot of words I could use to describe my fridge, one shared mostly by me and my human roommate but with a small portion dedicated to our feline cohabitant. Dirty is one, but I feel like it doesn’t quite do it justice. Perhaps ‘terrarium.’

1. National Fast Food Day, Nov 16

This one follows National Clean Out Your Fridge Day because after you clean out the fridge, you realize you have nothing to eat, so you go down the street to your local Mickey D’s. 

As a sub-ranking of this holiday ranking, I’m now going to rank my favorite fast food locations. 

Honorable Mention: Mary Lou’s Coffee. They probably aren’t considered fast food because it’s mostly coffee, plus I’ve only ever had one product from them: the Oreo Cookie Monster. But it’s damn good. So good, in fact, that every cup comes with an insulin prescription because your pancreas will fail.

3. KFC. It really is finger-licken’ good. And did you know the Colonel was almost a Kentucky senator? Crazy. And you know that they released a dating simulator computer game called I Love You, Colonel Sanders in 2019? Also crazy. 

2. McDonald’s. I go so frequently that the manager there knows I like to get three packets of mayo on the side for my french fries. The folks at KFC aren’t allowed to give me mayo. Maybe they would have taken the #2 spot if they did. I hope they are reading this. 

1. Popeye’s. If the bag isn’t soaked with grease, I don’t want it. It seems like the fry bag here is more of a suggested serving size that Popeye’s employees tend to ignore and just dump a truckload of fries on top of. And don’t even get me started on that heavenly chicken sandwich. 

September Holidays, Ranked

I can’t believe it’s September already, folks. We won. We beat the heat, and the beach traffic, and we arrived at the promised land: fall in New England. Now we can get ready for leaf peeping, the only sort of peeping that is generally accepted by society.

When I was first called to this holiday-ranking work, I thought it was clear that some holidays were better than others. With an open mind and heart, however, I’ve grown to see that each holiday brings something special to the table, and that ranking them is truly an exercise in absurdity.

Nah, I’m just kidding. Some are better than others and it’s my divine purpose to let y’all know. So let’s get down to business. And by the way, September is Baby Safety Month, so find something else to juggle until October, alright?

5. National Dog Walker Appreciation Day: September 8

Sorry-not-sorry, I feel like there are so many other professions that deserve an appreciation day before the dog walkers. First, it’s such a niche group. It’s not “Pet Care Industry” Day or “World Veterinary Day” (that’s in April), it’s just the dog walkers. Second, most people walk their own dogs because we aren’t fancy enough to pay for a dog walker — we may as well be celebrating “National Butler Day.” Hats off to the kids starting small dog-walker businesses and people who just like walking dogs, but let’s give this holiday to truly deserving people. I’d recommend “National Assistant Editor Day.”  

4. Labor Day: September 5

Put away the white clothes, folks, Labor Day is here.

In the late 1800s, Grover Cleveland was in a bad spot. He had just authorized a military response to the Pullman Strike, one of the biggest strikes in American history, and the military ended up firing into a crowd of people and killing an estimated 30. All this was because the railroad workers had their wages cut and many were facing starvation.

To mollify labor leaders, Cleveland was convinced to make a federal observance of the labor movement. But which day should he choose: the first Monday in September, proposed for its good weather for street parades and picnics? Or May 1, the anniversary of the Haymarket Affair, when a Chicago protest advocated for an eight-hour workday and was met with vicious police violence, emboldening socialists and anarchists around the globe? Ol’ Cleve went with the picnics. And even that was just for federal employees — to get the day off for everyone else, union members had to — you guessed it — strike.

May 1 is still acknowledged as International Workers’ Day, though! Just not a federal holiday.

3. National Milkshake Day: September 11

Honestly, I feel bad for the ardent supporters of National Milkshake Day. Seems like a cool holiday, but it falls on September 11. I highly, highly doubt we are going to get diners and dessert places to run milkshake specials on the day of the attack on the World Trade Center. We may want to shake things up by changing the day — what is everyone doing on the 12?  

2. Sept 25 – 27 Rosh Hashanah:

It’s the new year! Shanah tovah! …if you follow the Hebrew calendar, that is. Rosh Hashana is the first of the High Holidays, and it’s both joyful and serious: it’s a Jewish celebration of the creation of the world, but also a time for repentance, reflection on what we did wrong last year and figuring out how to avoid doing it again. Listen for the sound of the shofar, a musical instrument made from the horn of a ram, which is used to signify the importance of the day. And if you like food, you’re in luck — apples and challah bread dipped in honey portend a sweet new year.

1. September 19: Talk like a Pirate Day

Talk about the most underrated holiday in the business. National Talk Like A Pirate Day definitely steals the top spot in September holidays. If I were President, I’d make this mandatory. I want to see everything conducted in pirate speak for the whole day: business negotiations, medical diagnoses and funeral rites. I’d also make everyone call money “doubloons,” make piracy legal (digital only, cue that 90s anti-piracy ad) and require that anyone who wasn’t already wearing an eye-patch wear one over their right eye. Then I’d make those who already had one on their right eye wear one on their left eye. Aye, matey, it’d be absolute chaos and I would probably get run out of town. But at least I’d never be accused of not taking this top-tier national holiday seriously.  

ON THE BALL AND OFF THE WALL: Whose side are you on?

A quick guide for sports fans coming from out of Little Rhody. It will help you assimilate, and avoid having your ass kicked.

Rhode Island may be the smallest state, but among its million residents, you have a million different opinions and attitudes. This is character building in its highest form.  

But when it comes to big-time sports, loyalty to the locals, laudably, comes first. So here are a few tips for any newcomers. 

First, you need to get a tattoo of the Patriots’ “Elvis in a helmet” logo. For men, right in the center of your chest. For women just above a breast will suffice, if not draw a great deal of panting interest from desperate guys who have no couth, and they are legion. (And a final non sequitur note: You are allowed to root for Tom Brady wherever he plays.)

Before we begin our advice column, a few general rules.

First, you are all able to bring your allegiance to your former residence with you, just don’t flaunt it – unless it intrudes on your newly found dedication to Pats/Red Sox/Bruins/Celtics. (Exception made for anyone from the New York Metropolitan area, who should keep their mouths shut at all times.)

Prior to becoming a homer up here, as a pre-teen, I worshiped the Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies. While the Phillies constantly sucked, I was at the Eagles’ 1960 NFL championship win at Franklin Field over the Green Bay Packers, 17-13, when on the last play of the game, All-Everything Chuck Bednarik, who worked with my father while he was at Penn, tackled the Packers’ Jim Taylor on the Philly 15-yard line in their last drive, laid on top of him as the last seconds bled down, and famously told Taylor, “You’re not getting up until that (final) fucking whistle blows.”

Second, unless you really are looking to get your ass handed to you, while watching NFL football in a public space (read: bar) do not wear replica jerseys of a Pats opponen; and that goes double for the New York Jets and Giants. Steelers’ shirts are acceptable to a degree: They have the respect of Pats fans because of their similar devotion to their team. (Another digression: While spending the Christmas holiday in Pittsburgh one year, I went to the local massive gym to work out. Having not packed any Pats gear, I borrowed black and yellow sweats from my nephew, and that may have saved me from getting the shit kicked out of me in the locker room, as every muscle man there was in black and gold.) 

OK, loyalties you must embrace:

New England Patriots – Yes, everyone hates us. But eff ‘em if they can’t take a joke. Six Super Bowl wins and a genius head coach with all the likable, outgoing personality of a zombie are all is something all New Englanders can rally around. So get a Pats logo cap and/or hoodie, head down to your local sports bar, and immediately gain a number of new friends. But in case you get questions about your fave raves, here’s a little help.

Names to drop:  Gronk, Tombrady (yes, one word), Randy Moss, Malcolm Butler (associated with Seattle’s head coach Pete Carroll for the stupidest call in Super Bowl history), Julian (Edelman), Tedy Bruschi (wonderfully pronounced “Brewski”).

Boston Red Sox – If you are going to live in Rhode Island, you are immediately part of Red Sox Nation, and deny that loyalty at your own peril. Like the Battle of the Bulge, there are occasional forays into our territory, but usually short-lived ones. If you would like to be treated like a pariah, wear a Yankees ball cap into a sports bar. Somehow you become invisible to the bartender, accidentally get jostled and spill your long-awaited beer. Yes, the BoSox now suck, but we waited a long time to remove the Curse of the Bambino, so hold tight.

Names to drop:  Yaz, Tony C., Big Papi, Pedro, Dustin/Pedey, Tek, Xander. 

Boston Bruins – This is hockey country, and you need to get up to that speed, or move back to Connecticut.  While Da Broons own the hockey world hereabouts, they always flatter to deceive, as some English toff might say. But somehow, somewhere, the ghosts of past successes linger on. Just yell. “Numbah Fahw, Bobby Aw,” will still bring a bump to most Broons fans’ hearts. And if you are into the cinema arts, Robert Mitchum yelling out that line while being filmed live in the Boston Garden during a real game and balancing four cups of beer in The Friends of Eddie Coyle before taking a bullet in the back of his head later, is a classic.

Names to drop – Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito (best bumper sticker ever: “Jesus Saves.  And Espo puts in the Rebound.”), Derek “Turk” Sanderson, Chief Bucyk, Terrible Teddy Green, Pie McKenzie (personal favorite).

Boston Celtics – Seeing as how the NBA sucks harder than a pool-cleaning vacuum, now all three-pointers, blatant traveling and ridiculous jams, you still have to stick by the Celts. But nobody cares anymore, seemingly including the players, who continue living in the past.

Names to drop: Cooz, Russ, Red, Hondo, Larry, Kevin, The Chief, Paul Pierce, Jason and Jaylen.

So fake it until you make it, newbie boys and girls.

Phillipe & Jorge’s Cool Cool World: The Ads & The Influence

Under the Influence

The legendary writer and public provocateur H.L. Mencken once wrote that a serious journalist had to do two things: Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

That has been one of the touchstones for Phillipe and Jorge since we have been writing this column continuously (albeit for a variety of media outlets) for what is now our 43rd year (Yikes!). There were other inspirations, but now obscured by time, and you wouldn’t recognize them anyway.

P&J aren’t sure if we ever comforted the afflicted to the degree we would wish, but we sure as hell afflicted the comfortable, by attacking the powers that be at the leaders at the State House and the then-mighty Providence Urinal. Our goal was to piss off, in a very wise-ass fashion, all of them.

Which had never been done before, and which set their hair on fire.

Phillipe alone had the governor, speaker of the house, and head of the Urinal’s editorial board call his bosses and demand that he be fired. Fortunately, his superiors didn’t take shit from anyone, rallied around and said what he did on his own time was his choice. (Read: Get stuffed, pal.) P&J – 1 Dickheads – 0.

(Quick note to aspiring journalism/communications ‘utes. If you think you are ever going to make enough money in this market through your grand ideas and typing skills, fuggedaboudit. Unless you can bullshit your landlord into taking a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon and a dozen Slim Jims each month until you catch up on the rent, get a real job, boys and girls.)

Aah, but now the point we’re trying to get to. Despite all our tedious labor, one thing we would never call ourselves is “influencers.” What a despicable word.

Other than this over-inflated, abused and obscene misnomer – as anyone can call themselves an “influencer” – it comes in second in the Cringeworthy Category only behind the bean bag toss game that has now jaw-droppingly been called “Cornhole.” Really? REALLY?

There’s a larger point to make here. “Influencers” is simply a self-promoting and pretentious title to claim. If you ever hear P&J say we are influencers, you have permission to put a .22 slug into the backs of our heads, mob-execution style.

So we have a few questions for these clowns who claim that title:

  • Who are you?
  • What are your credentials? (Saying you have a podcast does not count)
  • What mouth-breathing, clueless lost souls who have no ability to make decisions on their own do you hope to “influence?”
  • Do you really believe anyone cares what you think about anything, as you are most likely delusional?

So please, please let us never refer to anyone as an influencer, because it insults everyone’s intelligence. Then again, this is America in 2022 and its farcical social media. So being a con man is now accepted if not celebrated, as  illustrated by our electing a deranged, lying grifter like Donald Trump as our president, a sin that just keeps on giving. 

Ad Nauseum (cont’d.)

As the TV political ads are now picking up steam, P&J are amused to see the direction they are taking.

Perhaps the weirdest one we have seen is governor Dan “Who He?” McKee’s spot featuring his mother.  We understand the thinking behind it — family guy, respects his elders, not afraid to make fun of himself — but it is just bizarre to wheel Mummy out as his foil. The only redeeming piece of it is at the end, when Mom quips about what a true guy he is, a governor who still lives with his mother. Instead of fidelity, that conjures up for P&J a fat kid living in the family basement playing Dungeons and Dragons with a can of grape soda and a lapful of Cheetos (We think they mean orange soda – influen… er, editor).

And some unsolicited advice to our endorsed candidates for governor and looie guv, Nellie Gorbea and Deb Ruggerio: turn the energy level up a couple notches in your ads and hit kitchen table issues like people having no money for such pesky items as food and fuel. Not even half of your admirable traits of action and attitude are coming across.

We would refer them to the best ad locally, by Shannon Liss-Riordan, running for attorney general in Massachusetts, who comes across as engaging, with a smile on her face while still looking like an ass-kicker.

You’re welcome.

August Holidays, Ranked: Our hottest month lacks hot holidays

Folks, it is HOT. I’m writing this in the middle of a stinkin’ heat wave. There are times I wish my apartment wasn’t built before the Great Depression, and this is one of them. Central air really was a great idea. 

As now you’ve come to expect, I’m here to serve up some more HOT takes (how fitting) on the holidays of August. Hold onto your pants, folks, because Leo season has some doozies. And with arguably no real, tradition-steeped holidays occupying this month, we had to dig pretty deep.

5. Victory Day: Monday, August 8

“Don’t worry guys, we aren’t celebrating the nuclear elimination of tens of thousands of Japanese people.” — RI General Assembly, 1990. We probably shouldn’t be recognizing a holiday that requires this clarification, but it seems that we are ready to make the sacrifice for the long weekend in August. RI has the distinction of being the only state to continue to acknowledge the end of WWII with a state holiday, since Arkansas dropped “World War II Memorial Day” in 1975. Probably because about 1 in 10 Rhode Islanders served in the war at the time. 

Whenever I think of the end of WWII, I think of how it took not one, but two atomic bombs for Japan to surrender. Imagine — a bomb is dropped on your country that wipes out an estimated 70,000 people (the entire population of modern Pawtucket, for example) in the blink of an eye. It’s the deadliest single moment on Earth since the meteor killed the dinosaurs — and the Japanese government (of the time) doesn’t blink. People are crazy. 

4. Just Because Day: Wednesday, August 27

Just Because Day celebrates spontaneity. The probable boomer who instigated it seems to believe that people would use Just Because Day to bestow random acts of kindness upon friends and strangers, but I seriously fear what Gen Z will do when they hear about this. They already eat laundry detergent and hit the woah with reckless abandon. Let’s keep this between us. 

3. National Oyster Day: Friday, August 5

It may surprise you to learn that for the first 200 years, oysters outnumbered quahogs in RI. Roger Williams’ notes describe members of the Narragansett Tribe fishing for them. It wasn’t until the Hurricane of 1938 wiped out oystering infrastructure, in addition to WWII depriving the industry of willing hands, that the quahog stepped in with its cute little foot. 

Both quahogs and oysters are great for the environment, as they filter their watery environments through filter feeding and provide habitat for other marine life. So if you see me at midnight wearing a ski mask dumping oysters and quahogs off the Providence Pedestrian Bridge to clean up the Providence River… no you didn’t.

2. National Spumoni Day: Sunday, August 21

I’m gonna be honest, folks. When I first read that August 21 was Spumoni Day, I thought it was a tribute to Dino Spumoni, an Italian-American big band swing singer who fakes his own death for post-mortem popularity on an episode of Hey Arnold!. He’s right up there with Chip Skylark (“My Shiny Teeth And Me” was a banger) and Ernesto de la Cruz (at the beginning) on my list of favorite fictional singers. Don’t sleep on Spongebob in that category either — Sweet Victory, The Campfire Song Song, and Krusty Krab Pizza were all childhood-defining. 

Anyway, turns out Spumoni is a colorful Italian gelato dessert, often with fruits and nuts. I’ve never heard of it, but check it out sometime. 

1. National Kool-Aid Day: Friday, August 12

OH YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. Everyone’s favorite anthropomorphic pitcher pitchman is coming through a wall near you on the second Friday in August. I had no idea how well the Kool-Aid Man captured the American imagination in the 1980s, appearing in a Marvel Comic, an Atari game, and even being used as hair dye. And the Southerners figured out that by adding Kool-Aid to a pickle jar and allowing that to marinate for a week, you can enjoy what are called “Koolickles,” a salty-sweet, unnaturally-colored snack. 

Dang. What can’t you do with this stuff? (Apparently, snort it. A popular post on the r/unexpectedkoolaidman subreddit is “I snorted Kool-Aid powder and I think I’m dying.” Food for thought there.)

Happy August!

July Holidays, Ranked

It’s back. Now in its third iteration, this column ranking holidays of the month has already gone on way too long. Is anyone reading this? Good thing I can laugh at my own jokes. 

Let’s get this one out of the way: 

6. 4th of July: What do you know, it’s on July 4. 

Yea, yea, yea. It’s all anyone thinks about when I say “I’m going to write about July holidays” and they’re all like “oh, like the 4th of July?” and I’m like “yeah, I guess.” When I think of the 4th of July I think of my suburban upbringing, sitting in a field at the local high school for hours waiting until the sun went down to see the fireworks. It’s hot and crowded, I’m sitting on the ground and the fireworks last a total of like 10 minutes, tops. Damn. 

I guess it’s better as an adult because of the beer, but that doesn’t stop the 4th of July from regularly falling short of childhood expectations. I’m over it. If you’re not, go to Bristol and look at the painted line on the road maybe, idk. 

Now that that’s behind us, let’s dive into these bad boy holidays of July: 

5. International Town Crier’s Day: July 11

Hear ye, hear ye! It’s International Town Crier’s Day on July 11 this year. What is a town crier, you may ask. Thank you for indulging me. 

The first town criers were running messengers, bringing news from battlefronts, declarations of war or offerings of peace from kingdom to kingdom. Later they would just call out information in the town square, ringing a bell and announcing stuff like, “Hey the king says y’all gotta pay more taxes,” or “Tunics are 50% off at Bartholomew’s Tunic Emporium.”  Interestingly, whatever the town crier said was considered official notice, so if you didn’t hear what they said right, that was your problem. 

Criers would usually read it off a written document, then nail it to a well-frequented doorpost, at an inn or somewhere people gathered. This is where we get the pattern of association between news and the term “post,” like in The Washington Post. Fun facts!

4. National Mac and Cheese Day: July 14

Mac and cheese is great and all, but I really just wanted to take this opportunity to plug my favorite cheesy meal at the Newport Creamery. Nothing makes me feel more Rhode Island than sitting with my elbows on the lunch counter, hunched over my favorite meal: the Super Crunchy Grilled Cheese, a grilled cheese sandwich with four mozzarella sticks on it, with an ice-cold coffee milk on the side. And yes, if you’re keeping track, that’s breaded cheese then surrounded by more cheese and then more bread. Now that’s Good Mood Food™. 

3. International Kissing Day: July 6

Pucker up, Motif fam, cause you just won a one-way ticket to smooch city — a kiss coupon, or koupon, if you will. Cut out this section of the article and show your current (or hopeful) smooch partner and ask if you can celebrate the holiday together. It expires at the end of this month. Let me know how it goes.

This day has me thinking of all those movies where at the end the main characters kiss and it’s just perfect. I can’t imagine how many awkward kisses that trope has prompted. Think of all the people in your life who are bad at reading social cues, and just pump them full of soppy stories where the solution to all of their relationship problems is a big romantic gesture like a public open-mouth kiss. I’m cringing just thinking about it. 

International Kissing Day falls on the same day as our magazine distribution day this month — if you’re reading this in print, that means that I’ve already offered our distro team a little (consensual) smoochy bonus in honor of the holiday, and I imagine it’s gone incredibly well. 

2. National Words with Friends Day: July 19

Let’s take a trip back to 2009. Obama just got inaugurated, your hair looked like Bieber’s when he was innocent (at least mine did), and Zynga dominated this new thing called Facebook. We poked our friends, answered and shared long personal quizzes about ourselves that we now know were just scams trying to get our security question answers, and we played FarmVille and Words with Friends. Don’t be embarrassed. We all did it. 

Last year, Zynga announced that July 19 was to be National Words with Friends Day. This year the holiday marks its 13th birthday (yea, you’re old, it’s true). I feel like they probably should slow their roll a little bit. While Words with Friends was certainly a major component of my life at that time, does it deserve a national day? Can any company just declare a national holiday for something they make? 

2 ½. National Bradly Writes This Article Day: July 1

Speaks for itself. 

1. Gorgeous Grandma Day: July 23

I feel like anyone in charge of ranking July holidays would put Gorgeous Grandma Day in the number one spot. The idea came from Alice Solomon, who graduated college at 50 years old, and realized that society often treats older women as irrelevant or of limited capacity. She decided to challenge this stereotype with Gorgeous Grandma Day, which teaches us to replace the image of helpless retirees with an edgier, foxier version. 

I’m way ahead of you Alice. Just last week I had to sit down with a friend to explain that while it didn’t have to affect our friendship, I was going to be his step-grandpa now. I think it went about as well as it could have. 

Happy July!

On the Ball and Off the Wall: The world according to Gronk

As the noted philosopher Yogi Berra once said, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

That applies to the recent announcement by former New England Patriots star and still beloved local hero Rob Gronkowski (check the number of his replica jerseys still in vogue at Gillette Stadium) that he would be retiring from football…again.

The guy you should know as “Gronk” – and if you don’t know who he is you simply have to get out more – is possibly the greatest tight end in NFL history…with a tip of the hat to John Mackey, Kellen Winslow, Tony Gonzalez and, yes, Russ Francis. But sorry, boys, The Gronk rules supreme. He’s already been named to the NFL’s 2010 All Decade Team and the league’s 100th Anniversary All-time Team. ‘Nuf sed.

He first retired from the Patriots in 2019, beaten and bruised. And understandably. He had had nine years in the frighteningly physical mosh pit that is pro football, and to get a measure of that kind of body abuse, have one of your friends beat you head-to-toe with a rubber truncheon every week for over 450 weeks on end. Can’t take it? Sissy.

(N.b. – From this point on, anything written in the past tense should be taken as still potentially in the present tense.)

But Gronk is a New England legend. He was a Tom Brady wet dream when he was drafted from the University of Arizona. A monster at 6’6” and 260 pounds, he was a ferocious blocker. But what brought the fans out of their seats was his receiving ability. With great (and enormous) hands, and watching him run with the ball after a reception was almost in Keystone Kops territory, with him shrugging off tacklers until two or three defenders were needed to pull him down, or thankfully for them, push him out of bounds, where he would still be standing.

But the endearing part of Gronk was that he is a true wild child. He took everything with an oddball sense of humor, which led to him getting endorsements right and left, and even ending up having his personae used in TV shows like “Family Guy,” a perfect fit for him. He’s still in demand, and is one of the most recognizable stars from the NFL.

When the Pats let Brady abscond to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it seemed only a matter of time before he would be ringing up his old pal and asked him how he would like to come play with him again. One year into self-imposed rehab, you can’t imagine Gronk saying no to his old friend. So all that happened is that the old Pats’ Pals led the Bucs to a Super Bowl win, with Gronk catching two TD passes from his partner as they gave the Kansas City Chiefs an ass-whipping. Gronk and Brady added their fourth and seventh rings, respectively, to collections that would make a New York City diamond district jeweler whinny.

Brady has already done his own about-face on his own retirement, after Giselle no doubt told him, “Get out of the house and do something, for Chrissake.” But with Gronk, you know what he says today is not necessarily what he says tomorrow, unless it’s plumping for promo products, and say hi to Brady in his Subway ads.

Some commentators have suggested that given the Bucs upcoming NFL schedule, with a bye in round 11, that may be the spot for Gronk to suddenly join the team for a run to the playoffs, which we have no doubt would be appreciated and accepted rather than viewed as an undeserved intrusion.

But we are sure that that would offend no fans from New England to Florida. Because that’s The World According to Gronk, and we will always love ya, big guy. 

Squid’s Ink: Chum chum chum chum

Even as daylight lingers, here in the Ocean State, the ink is thick and dark with swirling chum and hidden agendas. Our hackers didn’t have to look far to find the usual manipulations and idiocies. In this column, we’re just kicking a few rocks and seeing what scuttles.

  • In a profitable effort to keep pandemic numbers down, the State of Rhode Island has begun charging sales tax on COVID-19 test kits. That’s right. They used to be free, but now we’re making bank! 
  • Speaking of bank… The proposed Apex… er, Tidewater Soccer Stadium was given a delay of game penalty card when RI Commerce sent their request for more taxpayer funding back to committee. Former RI Money Store Chief Stephan Pryor denied it had anything to do with his run for State Treasurer. “I like giving businesses multimillion-dollar bribes,” Pryor explained. “I was just in the restroom washing my hands.” He resigned from RI Commerce about ten minutes later to run for state treasurer.
  • Speaking of multimillion-dollar bribes… the off-season Pension Obligation Bond referendum passed! Providence is Saved! The citizens of Providence approved… wait, let’s be real. Four percent (4%) of the voters participated in the farce, er, referendum, and a little more than 3% actually voted to approve it. Imagine two half-empty RIPTA buses searching for a new bus terminal, and the guy who filled the tank of another bus with gas voted “Yes.” Now we’re in a quandary, hoping that interest rates never go down, so the bond will never be issued.
  • Ten minutes after PVD hid… er, deferred… er, gambled… on paying off Cianci-era retirees with a Union-backed Ponzi scheme… Okay, so that whole sentence got away from us, let’s start again.
  • Ten minutes after PVD pretended to solve the pension crisis, the City Council gave taxpayers a break, lowering the real estate tax in order to gather votes for the upcoming election. “We had to do something,” said mayoral candidate Nirva La Fortune. The Council celebrated by taking bong hits then holding hands and singing “Kumbaya!”
  • Speaking of bong hits… Marijuana is finally legal in RI, a fact which New Orleans trumpeter Kermit Ruffins publicly celebrated again and again during his stellar performance at PVDFest. That he spoke from the “City Stage Sponsored by Waste Management” was not considered an ironic reflection on the state of the city.
  • Speaking of solid waste… A “privately owned” sewage treatment plant in Woonsocket has been caught dumping effluent (that’s piss and poop for us non-scientists) into the Blackstone River since July of 2021. This June, the RI DEM woke up and realized that the Blackstone River is contaminated and advised staying away from the water. When asked if the festering sludge affects the Seekonk River, DEM said, “No. It’s got a different name, which protects boaters, fisherfolk and clammers downstream.”
  • Speaking of guns… (Ok, we weren’t speaking of guns, but we’ve got a rhythm going.) After a spate of mass shootings, RI did the bare minimum by making large capacity magazines illegal. In a Providence Journal interview, Senate President Dominic Ruggerio was quoted as saying, “I will never vote to take anyone’s gun away from them. Never. Never. I mean, that’s a constitutional right … unless it’s a domestic abuser.” 
  • Speaking of domestic abusers, Joe Marzilli’s Old Canteen restaurant is for sale. Numerous articles have cited the allure of the popular dead mayor and wife batterer Vincent A Cianci’s “Table Number Five.” A historical marker cites this as the exact spot where the phrase “under the table” was coined.
  • Speaking of lip service, the State of RI and the Federal Government made Junteenth a holiday, celebrating the fact that many enslaved non-white people have been denied freedom, education and economic opportunities for longer than legally permitted. Can we feel good about America yet? Speaking for the long-oppressed Native and formerly interned Japanese and railroad-building Chinese American communities Tonto, Kato, and Mr. Wang the drycleaner all shook their heads, but because they’re still sidekicks, didn’t have any speaking lines.
  • Speaking of packing the United States Supreme Court by increasing the number of justices… No, the Democrats have been too cowardly to even put forth the option.

Well, I’m going to go grab my assault rifle, and prevent an abortion, because in 2022, women don’t get to choose who to bring in to the world and little children don’t get a say on getting shot. 

Termination Destination

Within days of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe V Wade, our hackers uncovered a new addition to the Innovation Economy: Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island is collaborating with the Providence Tourism Council to turn Rhode Island into your “Abortion Vacation Resort!”

The $5,000 (reimbursable) package includes:

  • Round trip airfare from Orlando to TF Green 
  • Luxury office accommodations in the Superman Building
  • Fried calamari (rings only) on Federal Hill
  • All you can eat hot wieners at the New York System
  • Armed escort to and from Planned Parenthood
  • An expedited medical marijuana card to brighten the mood
  • A RIPTA shuttle to Scarborough Beach
  • And all the Del’s Lemonade you can drink

“We are aware that for many, an abortion is a serious and often depressing procedure,” said Dr. Ima Freud, the interim head of interims. “With Disney offering to cover the costs, we think this is a great opportunity to bring that DNC to PVD!”

Several slogans are under consideration:

  • Fuck the Supreme Court, Visit Rhode Island
  • Warmer, Cooler, Abortioner!
  • We’re your termination destination!

Phillipe and Jorge’s Cool, Cool World: Automatic reaction and ProJo Opinions

Red Herrings

Despite all the caterwauling over the atrocious, bought-and-paid-for decision to knock down Roe v. Wade by conservative Supreme Court Justices (pardon the oxymoron), Phillipe & Jorge are finding solace elsewhere.

That is why we are comforted by the facts that show that there are more guns in America than people. This is helpful in the way that if you leave the house and forget your weapon, as you might your sunglasses, on the kitchen table, instead of having to go back in to retrieve it, you can continue on knowing you have a spare .45 in your glove compartment making things hunky-dory.

While the recent Buffalo and Uvalde shootings added to the hideous mix of other mass killing atrocities that have been unspeakable, and have led to what the members of Congress can’t stop patting themselves on the back for their “momentous” legislation (30 years and a dollar too late), this “bipartisan” attempt to cure citizens from packing 24/7 is a total sham.

While mental health background checks and school security are doubtless serious issues, they are merely programmed and strategic distractions from the major issue of outlawing the sale and ownership of assault weapons, which no one, especially the spineless GOP (Proprietor, National Rifle Association) wants to talk about.

No one, no one, needs an assault rifle, except to kill people. Have all these mass murders been committed by anyone using a handgun? Or hunters shooting from deer stands or duck blinds? Thought not.

The public is being told intentionally to look the other way, as if by a magician or a three-card monte dealer on a city street, to distract you from the very real and deadly problem that is killing America and Americans: assault weapons for sale to virtually anyone who can stand upright and fork over the dough.

Only when people wake up to challenge the false flag arguments being foisted on us by knowingly corrupt politicians, and address the real problem of assault weapons being sold, without a hint of the fact that they are the things that have been at the core of all the mass murders, should we feel we have even addressed the main problem. Only criminals have guns? How many street crimes involve assault weapons? How many deadly domestic blow-ups involve assault weapons? How many legitimate hunters use assault weapons? How many mass shootings involve assault weapons? Oops! Yeah, you got it. Doesn’t take a genius, does it?

So let’s cut the bullshit about these supposedly giant steps the country’s legislators at the national and local levels are taking to stop mass murders. It is indeed a Confederacy of Dunces. And guess who the dunces are, boys and girls? (And don’t think the politicians and NRA don’t know it.)

Spaced Out

The once mighty and respected Providence Urinal continues to dissolve before our eyes. You could call it fish wrap, but it is so thin now it could only hold a couple of small scup at best. That for $3 a day and $6 on Sunday. What a bargain!

For those of you smart enough to avoid buying a hard copy of the paper, it has jettisoned its editorials, as no one other than old hands like Kathy “Faster, Pussy Cat, Kill, Kill” Gregg, Pinky Patinkin, Patrick Anderson and a few other old hands actually have a clue about how Little Rhody operates and what the people think, and they obviously aren’t consulted. Now the non-resident owners have also said that their “Opinions” columns will be less opinionated, and if you can explain that to any sentient human being, you win. Double Pabulums all around!

No doubt to keep those two scup covered until you get home from fishing, you would be astounded to see that the obituaries section has now been enlarged, not by an increasing number of deaths, thank all gods, but by using hugely oversized type and photos, resulting in a few pages the size of a Cardi’s ad. This is known in the journalism trade as filling space. So now The Urinal can add an additional couple pages to make it seem less airy than a spider’s web, and brag about how they actually had enough copy to fill out 10 pages in the front section. It is so hideously overblown (over an event no one is pleased to announce) that while the folks that pay for the declaration of recent deaths might appreciate the frameable size of the news, it borders on the obscene, given the crassness that lies behind it.

Used to be that your local paper’s editorials were the conscience of the community, and in those days, rightly so. No more on Fountain Street. The top levels are controlled by clueless outsiders who barely know who Buddy was, or, for that matter, Raymond, and who you would have to physically turn and point out where Narragansett Bay is, as they were staring up the Woonasquatucket River looking for it.

P&J wonder how much space in the obits will be taken up when The Urinal dies?

June Holidays, Ranked: A sardonic take on the big days of June

Hello again, dear readers. I did not anticipate doing another one of these — but our May holidays article got some rave reviews (okay, a single rave review), and I’m a sucker for the validation. Seriously, if you tell me I’m special I’ll probably do whatever you want. Anyway, here’s some spicy takes on the holidays of June. 

5. Gaspee Day – June 10

In last place this month, I’ve put RI’s Gaspee Day. I know what you’re thinking: *gasp!* I thought Bradly liked Rhode Island! How can he diss Gaspee Day? 

As a guy who is pretty well-acquainted with RI history, I connect Gaspee Day with this false narrative that the American Revolution was a unanimous idea that everyone was fighting against “taxation without representation.” In reality, most people were poor, and probably weren’t affected all too much by tax rates if they weren’t shipping magnates. John Brown, however, WAS a shipping magnate (and a prolific trader of enslaved people) and was deeply affected by tax rates, which is why he went on to be one of the leaders of the Gaspee Raid. 

It’s basically like if Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk were like, “Let’s burn down the IRS because our taxes are too high!” and everyone else was like “yea sounds good!” and we celebrate those guys now. Plus, isn’t it a little macabre to roll a burning ship effigy down the street? People were hurt. Especially British Lt. Dudingston, who was shot in the groin. Tough break, Lt. 

Despite my gripes with the holiday, Warwick does put on a nice event. Read more about that at gaspee.com

4. Flag Day – June 14

In fourth place this month is Flag Day. This commemorates June 14, 1777, when we approved the design for our first flag. 

Um, okay? What kind of nothing holiday is this? It’s not even the same flag as it was back then. To be absolutely clear, we are not celebrating the country, just the flag. And people don’t even do anything with it. Maybe if it was a custom that everyone had to wear a toga made of an American flag that day, I’d have a little more patience for Flag Day. But no. No one likes to have fun. 

The reason that this even made the list at all is that it’s also my little brother’s birthday. Happy birthday, Travis!

3. Father’s Day – June 19, 2022

Ah, Dad’s Day. Something about this day makes me want to put on a short-sleeve button-down, cargo shorts and flip flops with socks, and ask my friends if they’re ready to rock ‘n roll when we are leaving a restaurant. It makes me want to insist that I’m just resting my eyes, say “hi hungry, I’m dad,” get to the airport seven hours early and get excited about walking into the hardware store (cue the Home Depot theme music). 

To my dad, who lives in NJ: thanks for sticking with me, for being patient as my tears hit the long division worksheet in the fourth grade, for calling and being interested even though our lives are very different. You’re the best dad there is. And no one can tell me differently, because print magazines are a one-way form of communication, and while someone might be shouting “no, my dad is better” at a non-sentient piece of paper right now, I can’t hear them. 

2. Pride Day – June 28

For anyone bummed about how corporate Pride Month has gotten — a rainbow version of a company logo is probably the most performative thing you can do these days — it made me feel better to reread the origins of Pride Day, which was the actual day the Stonewall riots started in New York in 1969. It was this police raid of a gay bar in Greenwich Village and the resulting pushback that helped launch the modern gay rights movement. 

I’ve always been incredibly interested in how, despite some internal contention from within the LGBTQIA+ community, contemporary Pride celebrations are jubilant and inclusive celebrations, while other modern rights movements have taken a more confrontational tack. This is especially notable considering Pride’s origins in throwing bricks at oppressive police officers. I wonder when that switch took place — if anyone wants to teach me more about this, I’d be interested to hear. 

Read more about RI Pride Festivities here

1. Juneteenth – June 19

If you were chillin’ in Galveston, TX on June 19 in 1865, you were probably privy to one of the most impactful moments in America’s history: General Gordon Granger rolling up on his horse to tell everyone that now, all enslaved people are free. The Civil War was over, General Lee signed his name at Appomattox, and the Emancipation Proclamation was the law of the land. Boom. (Just in case anyone needs me to say it one more time, the Confederacy lost. Just sayin’.)

Beyond the badassery of this, this holiday takes the number one spot in June because I like how (1) the holiday is observed when the impact of the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, not just when it was announced. That’s good attention to detail. And (2), there’s a super awesome block party happening in PVD that I can’t wait to go to! Entertainment, games, and food and drinks at Kin PVD, downtown’s coolest restaurant for southern and soul food. Learn more at kinpvd.com.