Hail and Farewell
Phillipe and Jorge are not yet about to bury our old pal Bill Reynolds, The Urinal’s reigning top sports columnist and author of many books, but are sad to see that he will now only be doing his Saturday “For What It’s Worth” pieces. For any fan of the Sweaty Sciences, these are first thing you turn to in the Saturday paper. But hey, still not bad for an old man.
Fellow Chip Hilton enthusiast Reynolds, who starred in basketball at both Barrington High and Brown, fought his way to the top on Fountain Street. We remember busting his balls in this space decades ago when he was assigned to write The Urinal’s annual and traditional “Summertime in Newport” piece, which was always given to one of the paper’s rookies, and essentially could be copied in every year with a few minor changes from the previous year’s.
Bill eventually ended up climbing the ladder at The Urinal, and by choice ended up in what is often referred to as the “toy department” – ie, sports. But what set him apart from and above the usual reporting − and made his books on everything from Rick Pitino to the Hope High basketball team extremely readable − is his ability to dig down and show the humanity and emotions that drive people, whether you knew a fastball from a field goal. He also knew how being involved in sports could help people grow, by learning how to cope with adversity, inherently fight racism and evolve further than they often thought they could.
While a sports junkie, he is also an inveterate reader and moviegoer, and “For What It’s Worth” usually includes a couple of critiques of books and the current cinema, and P&J have taken his advice more than once on what’s worth reading or watching. As a tip of the cap to his basketball prowess, he is known as “Shooter.” This was no hometown moniker, as when P was once interviewing nationally acclaimed writer of sports-themed books, John Feinstein, he dropped Bill’s name, and Feinstein immediately said, “Oh, Shooter!”
To ensure that Reynolds does not go gently into that good night, we will arrange for a Connecticut driver to pick him up and take him to a PG-rated superheroes movie, then perch him atop the State House with his old buddy, the Independent Man. (All inside jokes here folks, sorry, but his readers will get it.) Keep hitting those outside jumpers, pal.
And now, as Reynolds would say, three items for the price of one:
Michael Van Leesten. Little Rhody lost a true treasure with the passing recently of Michael Van Leesten, often described as a “drum major for justice.”
P&J wouldn’t claim to be running buddies with Michael, but knew him to chat with, and greatly admired and respected him, and were in awe of his achievements in advancing civil rights, both here and across the country. He was very classy, very smart, very involved in helping all people and especially very brave. He was a star basketball player at Hope High and Rhode Island College, but his benefits to the state’s minority communities over time far outweighed anything he could do on the court. You will be missed.
There is a grassroots movement that, to P&J’s knowledge, started with an item in GoLocalProv, by Kate Nagle, to name the new Providence River pedestrian bridge after Van Leesten. Needless to say, your superior correspondents think the “Van Leesten Bridge” is a great idea.
Mel Ash. We also wish to note the passing of Mel Ash, who was living in the San Francisco Bay area. Mel was a graphics department stalwart at the New Paper when P&J were there in the 1980s. He was also the author of The Zen of Recovery (1993). He had many friends in Vo Dilun and was greatly loved.
David Koch. Finally, on the national stage, greedy, right-wing scumbag David Koch finally popped his clogs. P&J will shed no tears over this loss; the only fluids we will exude will be to piss on his grave.
Koch, and his equally heinous brother Charles, were famous behind-the-scenes manipulators — billionaires whose sole reason for existence seemed to be to make money from their fossil fuel empire. Throwing their money at whomever could help them achieve their goal led to a political machine that bought candidates, elections and even political parties at the highest levels. (Take a bow, GOP.) This led to constant scurrilous acts of promoting deregulation, and fierce rejections of and attempts to scuttle efforts to address climate change. Keep an eye on anything that comes from Americans for Prosperity, perhaps the most influential cover group backed by the Koch Brothers.
The adage is you shouldn’t say anything bad about the dead, so P&J will simply say, “Rot in hell, Dave.”
Send Them Back!
As renowned arch-conservatives, Phillipe and Jorge stand firmly behind our beloved President Donald’s Trump calls for “The Squad” of four congresswomen and every Mexican rapist, drug dealer, loving parent and people from countries he can’t find on a map − but doesn’t need to − who also speak Mexican to be sent back to wherever they came from, exemplified the admirable heart and soul of current American diplomacy.
But why stop there, ask P&J? How about all the Jews, Italians and Irish who we have been letting into the country for decades? And what do we have to show for it? Never mind African Americans, who definitely should be deported to the “shitholes,” as Donny would say.
As far as the Jews go, all they have done is take over the US media, Hollywood and Wall Street, just to screw real, hard-working Americans like us. (Fact: P is a Son of the American Revolution and J a “jickey,” a UK immigrant.) And they take all the money they make here and send it back to Israel to support right-wing, Zionist apartheid enthusiast and Trump’s poodle, wannabe fuhrer Bibi Netanyahu. Send ‘em back!
And as far as the Italians go, their only achievement we can think of is bringing organized crime to our shores. Oh, forgot, they also introduced pizzerias, most of which are now run by Greeks, who also provide us with big, fat weddings. They should probably be put on the same boat and shipped back to the stunted societies with no history they came from. Send ‘em back!
Finally, there are the Irish. We must admit that their presence is a blessing for police forces and fire departments with their willingness to risk their lives for $50,000 a year. They have contributed much to America with their legacy of drinking, alcoholism, more drinking and pedophile priests. Maybe they wouldn’t have come over here in such masses if they learned how to effectively harvest potatoes, or adopted Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal\ by staving off hunger by fattening their babies and then eating them. But they do provide the butt of many good jokes, eg, “What’s the most useless thing on a woman’s body? An Irishman.” Or, “What’s a mile long with an IQ of 50? The St. Patrick’s Day parade.” Send ‘em back!
Yep, it is time to take further steps on whom we cashier from our United States. Hey, speak English, pal. Way to go, Donny, you’re on the right track. Just take some cues from your heroes Vlad Putin, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong-Undeuxtrois, and other dictators, and keep the pressure on. You are definitely making progress in showing how much, pride, dignity and sanity American has now.
Memorial Concert for Vin Earnshaw
On Sunday, September 8 at The Met on Main Street in Pawtucket, there will be a free concert in memory of Vinnie Earnshaw, a well-known veteran RI musician who passed away. Doors open at 2pm and the music starts at 3. Greg Allen’s Fringe Religion, the Heidi Nirk Band, and Neal and the Vipers are all scheduled to play, as well as an all-star jam led by Bob Angell.