Much ado about nothing
Overreaction time at Providence City Hall and the State House last week as our
august politicians got their knickers in a twist and fell all over one another
after a tongue-in-cheek Smithsonian magazine article suggested the
Biggest Little be absorbed by the nutmeg state of Connecticut.
This raised shades of more than a decade ago, when Stephen Morin, now a Vo
Dilun PR guy, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the state was merely
a "smudge in the fast lane on the way to Cape Cod." This less-than-threatening
observation led then-Governor Jumpin' Joe Garrahy to load up a limo full of
local civic and business leaders, and a few cases of Narragansett, for a
retraction-demanding road show to the WSJ's New York headquarters. That
must have given WSJ staffers a bigger laugh than Morin's bon mots.
This prior adventure in looking foolish didn't slow Mayor Buddy "Vincent A."
Cianci or legislators like Peter Kilmartin from making asses of themselves over
Donald Dale Jackson's "Good-bye, Rhode Island" piece. For starters, when it
comes to satire, Connecticutian Jackson is no Jonathan Swift. His article was
utterly forgettable, and if there were any yucks to be had at anyone's expense,
your superior correspondents certainly missed them. Cianci immediately penned
an BeloJo op-ed, ostensibly defending the virtues of La Prov and the Ocean
State, but the piece may have just as well have been titled, "I Bud-I, Master
of the Universe." And we're sure the essay will be ready for double-duty in his
campaign literature next time around. Our Little Towne's master of PR also
inveigled his way into a spot on the Today show to defend the state's
honor, which, as Groucho Marx might say, is more than Linc Almond ever did. At
least in this case Governor Bigfoot's typical glacial response served well, as
the furor died down before he could crawl out of his Barcalounger.
Representative Kilmartin actually took pen in hoof and scribbled off a letter
to Smithsonian objecting to the piece, stating, "Unfortunately there are
those who may think there is an iota of truth to it." If so, Pete, they are
doubtless members of the Pawtucket constituency that elected a moron like you
to represent them in the first place. We hope you enjoyed your two minutes of
Phillipe and Jorge must say we agree with the Bud-I's observation that he
keeps "looking in vain for a hit series called `Connecticut.' " Given the
quality of NBC's Providence, we bet our neighbors to the west and south
are delighted not to find one either.
The claws are out
The cat fights have started in bitching earnest in the race for John Chafee's
old Senate seat.
As reported in the Urinal's "Political Scene" column, a recent Alpha Research
poll conducted for the Republican National Committee shows that Senator Linc
Chafee is clearly leading the Democrats -- Representative Bob "Dorian" Weygand,
his primary challenger, "Little Richit" Licht and indy radio jockette Ahhleeen
Violet -- in any and all scenarios.
Weygand spokesman Terry Donilon immediately jumped ugly, questioning the
integrity of Alpha Research's president, Jim Gaffney, the husband of former
Congressional candidate Trudy Coxe and a well-traveled GOP consultant in his
early days. Said Terry, "You've got to question the credibility when it was
done by a political hack for Linc Chafee." Other than that, you and Jim are
great friends, eh Terry?
Gaffney responded to Donlion's charges by saying, "My hack days have been over
for years." (Jesus, Jim, and when did you stop beating your wife?) "I'm a
taxpaying small businessman, something (Donilon's) never been."
And it's only January. We can't wait until the traditionally sharp-edged
Attila the Nun and Little Ritchit get revved up. As they say about the best
boxing match-ups, don't wear a white shirt if you're sitting ringside.
Phillipe writes: As many of you now know, my reprehensible Phoenix
colleague, Rudy Cheeks, finally tied the knot with the lovely and fragrant
Susan Murphy on January 12. While that perfumed paradise will doubtless soon be
permeated by smoke from one of Rudy's heaters, we couldn't be more pleased
about two wonderful people hooking up for what we hope is a very long time. We
will for the moment ignore the fact that the wedding took place on Rudy's
birthday, a shameless fail-safe against ever forgetting their anniversary, and
wish them well in their new/old life. Love, cheers, and Pernod, grapefruit and
champagne cocktails all around!
Checking out the "$25 or less" restaurant review in the New York Times
of December 15, P&J discovered the name of Wylie Dufresne, who received
high praise for his work as head chef and owner of 71 Clinton Fresh Food on the
Big Apple's Lower East Side. For those of you with long memories of Our Little
Towne, Wylie is the son of Polly and Dewey Dufresne. Polly owned the Tin
Woodsman on Thayer Street, while Dewey was proprietor of the legendary sandwich
shop Joe's on Benefit Street and the shooting star of Prov's restaurant biz in
the '70s, Joe's Downtown, where super chefs George Germon and Johanne Killeen
of Al Forno worked in their early years. Dewey is evidently now serving as head
honcho of Dufresne filswine cellar, which also received kudos from reviewer
Eric Asimov. We'll be stopping in the next time we're in downtown Manhattan.
Despite its billing as the state's official New Year's Eve celebration, your
superior correspondents decided to pass on the Millennium Ball at the
Convention Center. Judging from Faye Zuckerman's society page review in the
Urinal, it's probably a good thing we did too, since watching Steve Kass make
out with anyone (even if it was his wife) is not exactly our idea of saluting
On Friday afternoon, however, we did stop by the Convention Center to take a
gander at the stage set for the party and we were not exactly surprised at the
extensive cheese factor in the ballroom. It seems that the future is on a
rather tight budget. While the rotunda was decorated to resemble a '40s-era
supper club & bar, Faye described the ballroom as being done up as "a
futuristic environment of long curving transparent tubing with Christmas-like
lights inside. The tubes stretched throughout the room. Two dancers, clad in
silver outfits with high-heeled silver shoes, gyrated in silver cages above the
floor. Fog machines gave the room a cloudy 21st century feel."
We don't know about you, but we tend to associate go-go dancers not with "the
future," but with a particularly regrettable period in the mid-'60s. If this is
the future, then so is Chad Everett in a Nehru jacket. Apparently Sullivan
Custom Planning of Newport envisions the future to be a cross between the mad
scientist lair of a James Bond villain and the 1025 Club.
Another interesting touch was the decision to place lighting under the
standard-issue round banquet tables in the ballroom. Might this have been done
to make it easy for any non-dancing silver-clad "entertainers" (read:
enterprising trollops) to wander about on all-fours under the tables? If so,
then the future is looking very much like the Clintonian present.
On one thing we can agree with Faux Phil Terzian, the Other Paper's dyspeptic
editorial columnist -- Atlanta Braves doofus reliever John Rocker is not off
his rocker, and baseball commissioner Bud Selig's plans to force Rocker to
undergo a psychiatric evaluation is a fairly transparent example of blatant
grandstanding. Of course, in Terzian's jaundiced version, Rocker isn't so much
a moron or a bigot, but just a poor misunderstood fellow being unfairly
excoriated for his less-than-PC utterances. Thanks Phil, we can always expect
you to get it wrong, even when you get it right.
Kudos and congrats
. . . to Mary Ann Sorrentino, the once and future hot mama of Vo Dilun talk
radio, who got the big scoop with her Thursday afternoon interview with the
recently released Governor Gerbster, on her new WLKW-AM talk show (that's 550,
"The Buzz"). News of the interview was allegedly embargoed until noon
Wednesday, but the eager newshounds at the BeloJo just couldn't restrain
themselves from breaking the story in Tuesday's paper. Speculation is that Mary
Ann got "the interview" in large part thanks to an op-ed piece from last May,
in which she accused the press (and, to some extent, the public) of excessive
vengefulness in piling on the former governor and making him a scapegoat for
all that is corrupt in the Biggest Little.
. . . to Rich Lupo who, while awaiting some resolution on where exactly in
downtown the Heartbreak Hotel will be situated in the new century, has decided
to keep his hand busy with his other all-consuming passion, Scrabble. Lupo's
new Scrabble club meets Mondays at 7 p.m. at Julian's restaurant on Broadway.
If you're a fanatic, you might just want to check this out. Be forewarned --
Lupo is a serious maven.
. . . to Bill Harley, nominated for the second consecutive year for a Grammy
in the spoken word, children's category. As a member of the Spellbinders
storytellers collective, one of the founders of Stone Soup Coffeehouse and a
solo performer, the Seekonk, Massachusetts, resident has been a longtime local
fave. (Bill's also a regular on NPR's All Things Considered.) He's one
of the real good guys in the Vo Dilun music community, and P&J have our
fingers crossed that the second time will be the charm.