Local Lad Makes Bad
Both Phillipe & Jorge knew NBC’s recently deposed “Today Show” host Matt Lauer back when he was doing “PM Magazine” at WJAR in Providence in the early 1980s. Lauer did a profile segment on Jorge in 1984, after Jorge began doing a talk radio show on WHJJ.
The last P&J heard about Lauer from a local was when we bumped into former La Prov Mayor “Boy Joe” Paolino at the cleaners. He said that he and another former mayor, the incomparable Buddy “Vincent A.” Cianci (you may have heard of him), ran into Matt at a New York City bar when they were out on the town for a night. He invited them to a party the next day at his home in the Hamptons, which they took him up on. Boy Joe said that they were treated like royalty by Lauer, who gushed all over them while introducing them to his friends. Ah, that Providence mystique. Do you know Raymond?
This is a totally below-the-radar news item, but one that deserves special mention.
AT Wall will soon retire (as of January) from his job as director of Little Rhody’s Department of Corrections. He was the longest serving corrections director in the country, and spent more than three decades working in the state’s prison system. In sitcom terms, how about telling your parents you have a BA from Yale and JD from Yale Law School and you’re going to be a Head Honcho Warden in a notoriously corrupt state?
This is a job that most people would take only if they felt the cold steel of a handgun muzzle pressed against their temple, insisting they do so. But with the inmate count now way down, not too much disruption from the unions and a fine reputation for reasonable control out at the Adult Correctional Institution, there is much for which to commend Wall.
Years ago, P&J had a lengthy interview with AT. To say we came away impressed would be an understatement. He was one of the most compassionate people we have ever met, who understood — or tried his best to do so — the plight of many of the people who get fed into the revolving door that is our prison system. No pushover by any means, he also understood that prison once meant rehabilitation, and worked accordingly.
AT, we wish you well. Not too many like you out there in state government.
Beware the Bear
Phillipe and Jorge always look forward to the traditional Christmas ads that infest TV at this time of year, like the Norelco shaver running through the snow, the Coca-Cola polar bears and every kind of Chia pet you can imagine.
But your superior correspondents were fooled this year when we saw what we believed to be a fantastic spoof ad for “Trumpy Bear.” This abomination is a fat, ugly stuffed ursine with orange hair and bushy eyebrows, and a big red tie worthy of a “Saturday Night Live” sketch. It also goes for a mere $39.90 — surely a bargain.
But wait, there’s more!
Not only is this a legitimate ad for this monstrosity, endorsed on TV by at least one redneck in a pickup truck who proudly has Trumpy Bear riding next to him (probably to a doublewide in an Alabama trailer park where he lives with his 15-year-old female cousin – say hi, Roy Moore!), but it comes with an American flag blanket in a special zippered neck pouch, made to be draped over Trumpy Bear whenever he is out in public with his brain-damaged owner.
Like President “Make America Great Again” Predator’s preposterous ties and Ivanka the Terrible’s hideous fashion clothing line, the Trumpy Bears are made in Chinese sweat shops, rather than by US workers.
A Trump tribute enveloped in a phony patriotic shroud makes P&J recall the famous quote alternately attributed to renowned author Sinclair Lewis and/or legendary Louisiana Governor Huey ‘The Kingfish” Long: “When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”
In an additional special, the Trumpy Bear cross is only $9.99 plus shipping and handling. And in a separate offer, press-on stigmata decals are available for only $19.99. Let’s get on that computer right now to order — make sure you don’t get left out on Christmas morning.
If you are of a certain age (or a devotee of vintage television reruns), you know who Jim Nabors was. Yes, he was Gomer Pyle, who originally appeared on the old “Andy Griffith Show” before being spun off to his own series, “Gomer Pyle, USMC.” True aficionados of this stuff can also tell you that Gomer had a brother, Goober, played by George Lindsey.
Your superior correspondents would like to note the passing of Jim Nabors on November 30, not because we were necessarily Gomer fans, but because he was an openly gay man, who, although, not one of the earliest well-known show business figures to be out, was, nonetheless, an inspiration to many.
Perhaps one of his biggest eye-openers prior to coming out was when it was revealed he had an amazing singing voice that carried him through the years after his TV career as the Gomer persona waned. Shocking to anyone who was stealing his “Sur-prahz, sur-prahz, sur-prahz” line, thinking he was the same person as his hick character portrayal.
So farewell, Jim, and rest in peace.
A big tip of the beret and sombrero to old friends Meg Kerr and Bob Vanderslice, who donated a 25-foot fir to become the official State House Christmas tree this year. A gracious and generous gift from their home in Wickford from two folks who have given much to everyone in every way in numerous other scenarios.
P&J had offered up one of our poolside palm trees at Casa Diablo, but were for some unknown reason rebuffed. Hey, once climate change really digs its feet in, that will be the norm. Just way ahead of our time, as usual.