When the Reign Comes
In the era of faux reality shows ruling the universe, Phillipe and Jorge’s Cool, Cool World became very surreal on November 9. The reign of The Donald Duck Dynasty begins.
It is fairly incredible that Americans have elected an insane person with a narcissistic psychiatric disorder as their president. But don’t worry, we are told, he will surround himself with good people. Which is why, of course, we hear the likes of Newt Gingrich being talked about as a possible secretary of state in the new Trump cabinet. Great, have a fellow wife abuser and adulterer and emotional cripple with all the class and gravitas as a paedo gun show dealer and part-time carnival barker carry the US banner to nations worldwide. That’s sure to garner our allies’ instant comfort and security, as they count the silverware after every state dinner he attends. Trump and Gingrich, the global face of America. Vomit bags are in your seatback pocket, passengers.
Trump does have a parallel in international politics in the form of the former prime minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, who inflicted his damaged and deluded personality on his country for nine years. In that position, the heavily made-up septuagenarian media mogul with preposterously dyed hair like our own orange orangutan was merely nailed for tax fraud (sound familiar?), controlling the press through fomenting outright suppression of news and disseminating lies, and eventually for being heavily involved in a red hot “bunga-bunga” dancing romance with a hot-looking babe who turned out to be 17 years old (ditto on the recognition factor), who he eventually backed in a political career. No problem here, officer.
Stalwart as ever in our continuing pursuit of the laughable and absurd, which are thick on the ground these days, Phillipe and Jorge offer a way to find a chuckle in the upcoming days, months and years of the American Caligula’s reign.
As our new president meets and greets leaders from around the world, keep an eye on the faces of these paramount chiefs when they first encounter The Donald, especially when they believe they are off-camera, and even more so when our idiot king is proclaiming his greatness to the world. Perhaps we can have a competition, awarding points for each instance of eye-rolling, bowed-down head shaking or closest imitation of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” An outright guffaw would bring bonus points, while we might have to limit the number of times a visiting dignitary is caught looking like he or she is trying to swallow an elephant turd whole, as they will be legion.
Entry fee not required for all the TV producers and videographers out there. Let the games begin.
Such a Nice Boy
Good to see the Providence premiere of the film Bleed for This, the story of the remarkable comeback by local legend Vinny Paz (nee Pazienza), who survived life- and career-threatening spinal injuries from a car crash, yet won world titles in the ring after his stunning recovery.
Vinny, “The Pazmanian Devil,” is a wild and crazy guy, and sometimes criticized in Little Rhody for his over-the-top lifestyle, as it supposedly makes all Vo Dilunders look like bling-addicted guidos and guidettes (see: Pauly D of TV’s “Jersey Shore”). But Phillipe and Jorge knew Vinny and his wonderful parents, the one-of-a-kind wildman Angelo, and his demure and lovely mother, Louise, from way back in the day, and anyone who thinks Paz is a dimwitted fool is miles off the mark.
In the beginning of Vinny’s career, The Urinal gave little space to coverage of the Sweet Science, its violence and questionable culture obviously beneath them to deign to remark upon. Phillipe was then also writing a sport column for The NewPaper, “On the Ball and Off the Wall,” and was interested in the new kid from Cranston who was making his mark in the ring. At that point, the press releases for his bouts were being hand delivered to P. at his place of work by Vinny’s then girlfriend. And once P. met Vinny, he found him to be a very kind and intelligent person (thanks, Louise).
Vinny was being sent off to Italy for some fights to gain experience and sharpen his skills against real pros, and P. was impressed enough by Paz’s smarts that he suggested that Vinny send back accounts of his fights abroad, as The Urinal certainly wasn’t going to cover them.
What resulted was one of the most eye-opening, satisfying and wonderful moments of Phillipe’s decades-long career as a sportswriter and sportscaster. After Paz’s first fight, P. received in the mail (this was prior to email and texting, kiddies) a letter in a small pink envelope. Inside, on scented paper with scalloped edges, a cute little embossed graphic of a flower in the corner, like the notes you would get from your grandmother on your birthday with a dollar bill folded inside, was a multi-page, handwritten, blow-by-blow account of the bout in Italy. Not only was the writing clear, intelligent and interesting, but it was grammatically correct and easily good enough to be printed nearly verbatim in The NewPaper, which it was. But what gave P. the biggest kick was to be holding this tiny, firsthand account of a brutal fight on this miniature, light pink paper with the rose in the corner, and read lines like, “In the fifth he hit me below the belt, so I got pissed off and beat the shit out of him.” Ah, words to make a mother proud.
Despite the flash Vegas trappings, P&J have always had a great deal of respect and admiration for The Pazman, and having a film made about his heroic return to the sport he loved, that was kicked off by seeing the movie Rocky at the Park Cinema in Cranston, is the least he deserves. He was walking Hollywood from Day One. Angelo and Louise are smiling down, Vinny.
As the World Burns
Now that ignorance and apathy have become the coin of the realm, and lying and greed all-pervasive, Phillipe and Jorge can only say, “Have nice day.” You break it, you own it.