No hose job
Well, it looks like years of bulk-buying those calendars with hunky
firefighters posing in only their boots and helmets and showing off their hoses
has paid off for Phillipe and Jorge. The Providence Firefighters Association is
asking in their new contract that full-time "domestic partners" of the bravest
be given health benefits, even if they happen to be of the superior persuasion.
All that's needed now is City Council approval, but since the laborers' and
teachers' unions already have that clause, it should swan its way right on
Given that the Bud-I was quoted as saying he thought this was a great idea --
and "I've been a very strong supporter of the gay and lesbian and transgendered
community" -- perhaps he will suggest that the police also add the domestic
partners' provision to their contract. That would definitely be a gimme, as
City Hall has been rolling over for the men and women in blue for time
immemorial. Also, were Hizzoner to suggest that they be covered under La Prov's
big tent, it might take the onus off any superior individuals on the rather
homophobic PPD to come forward with the suggestion.
Congrats to the firefighters on a mighty step forward. You can slide down our
poles any time.
Charlie Mauran came from McGovern's bar
Wore reflectors and slept in abandoned cars
He ran across Route 95, no one knew if he'd come back alive
We said, "Hey Charlie, take a walk on the East Side"
-- From "Take a Walk on the East Side," the Fabulous Motels' parody of the Lou Reed classic
Old-timer habitues of the legendary McGovern's and Leo's watering holes will
have their flags at half-mast, along with Phillipe and Jorge, after the death
of Charles J. "Sparky" Mauran, who passed away at age 89. The King of
Burrillville, who always advised that he couldn't go back there because of an
affair with a woman, the details of which couldn't possibly be revealed, was a
fixture at Providence's finer drinking establishments, as long as they featured
a 25-cent draft.
Sparky was always eager to chat, even if he couldn't recognize you. After John
Rector, overlord of Leo's, became his legal guardian to help Sparky with his
health and lodging problems, Charles J, simply greeted everyone by saying,
Sparky was duly famous for his acumen at checkers, even though he habitually
cheated, even though he didn't have to. Jorge recalls one match with a Brown
professor on a lazy Saturday afternoon when the professor caught Sparky making
an illicit move and began lecturing him on board game ethics. While the
professor chastised the unconvinced master, Sparky managed to make a couple of
other moves unseen by the exercised don.
Anyone who ever met Sparky has at least one hilarious or heartwarming tale to
tell. It's impossible to forget, too, the jagged but ever-present laugh he'd
let out after telling the stupidest joke imaginable.
Hey, John, what's the capital of Nebraska? The first cold one in heaven's on
us, St. Peter. Thanks for the memories, Sparky.
Enema of the people strikes again
Folks traipsing about downtown Providence may have noticed the leafletting
going on outside of FleetBoston's central office. Basically, it's the same old
story (updated in this week's Phoenix). Cleaning and maintenance workers
at Fleet, which started contracting out the work back in 1991 (a contract
currently held by Eastern), are being asked to tighten their belts once again
for the privilege of cleaning up after Terry Murray and company. Three days
before their old contract was about to expire, Eastern offered the custodial
staff a substantial increase in their health insurance costs, a cut in vacation
and pension benefits, and the elimination of four positions. If this is what
success means in the banking industry, who needs it?
Ralph at the State House
Usually a headline like this would be interpreted as someone barfing at the
latest shenanigans of the General Assembly. In this case, though, it's to alert
you die-hard dissidents that Ralph Nader, noted consumer advocate and
presidential candidate of the Green Party, will be visiting the Biggest Little
Monday, May 15. He'll be holding court in the rotunda of the big marble
building next to the mall with a press conference and Q&A session from noon
to 2 p.m.
National Green Party officials say Nader is currently polling 5.7 percent in a
Zogby poll, better numbers than the other well-known third-party candidate, the
odious Pat Buchanan of the Reform Party. The immediate hope of the Greens is to
raise at least $5 million nationwide to qualify for federal matching funds.
Beyond that, the Rhody Greens, with a high-profile candidate like Nader
anchoring the ticket, would like to attract enough support at the polls to
qualify as legitimate third party, in much the same way that the Cool Moose
did. Those folks pained by the lack of straight talk from Gore and Bush might
want to check out the liberal crusader on Monday.
Phillipe has been giddy over the treatment being given to anal ice queen Martha
Stewart since her announcement in the New York Times Magazine that she's
leaving Westport, Connecticut -- P's hometown while growing up -- because her
neighbors were so unfriendly and the town has become so precious. She mewled
about getting the door slammed in her face when she went over to people who
lived nearby with trays of cookies. Ooooh, what vicious creatures!
Obviously, this has been a cause for joy for Westporters, who have made a
large going-away card for Martha with some less-than-flattering remarks inked
on it. Meanwhile, a neighbor added some interesting insight about why such an
warm, outgoing and kind woman, who sought only basic social and civic courtesy,
might have felt a bit estranged in Westport: "I'm sorry that Ms. Stewart never
knocked on my door. Since her property was gated and electronically sealed, I
could not knock on her door to offer her an invitation (to a party)." Ta-ta,
Martha. It's a good thing.
Kudos and congrats
. . . to Bert Crenca, Lizzie Araujo and all the fine folks at AS220 for all
the swell events last week, culminating in Saturday night's Fool's Ball on
Empire Street. Cuban cuisine and four bands headlined the ball while a host of
Vo Dilun artists and notables danced the night away. Nice to see show biz
couples Tim Daly and Amy van Nostrand, and Michael Corrente and Libby Langdon
out and about supporting the local arts scene. Of course, the omni-present
Bud-I was there, as was Senator Jack Reed, who asked your superior
correspondents if they are reading the new Groucho bio by Stefan Kanfer.
When we answered in the affirmative and offered to pass the book along to Jack
(a savvy movie fan), the senator demurred, explaining that his reading time is
being spent on the new Frances FitzGerald tome, Way Out There In the
Blue, about the continued funding of the Reagan-era Strategic Defense
Initiative, despite a notable lack of any real results. Let's hope that some of
Jack's Congressional colleagues are checking out the same book.
. . . to Patrick Kennedy and Caterina Bandini, who, as reported last week by
the Boston Herald's gossip columnists, Laura Raposa and Gayle Fee, are
an item. On Monday, the Other Paper made note of the relationship in its
"Political Scene" column, adding that Caterina's sister, Gianna, is married to
Patrick's mother's niece (and I'm my own grandpa). Bandini, a news anchor at
Channel 7 in Boston, was, of course, a reporter at Channel 10 here in
Providence during the early '90s, setting many a couch potato's heart aflutter.
Needless to say, Channel 7 will not assign Bandini to any stories having to do
with the Kennedys, which, considering the Boston TV news scene, must mean
she'll be spending a lot of time on kitten-up-a-tree and roadside mishap
. . . to the Rev. Jim Miller, executive minister of the Rhode Island Council
of Churches, who was honored May 4 with "The Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom
Award" at the Yale Club in New York City. The good reverend was cited for his
work in easing racial tensions after the Cornel Young Jr. shooting, and for
promoting gay and lesbian rights in regard to Boy Scouts of America, both
locally and nationally. P&J have known Rev. Miller for many years, and his
intelligent but uncompromising approach to issues such as racism, gay and
lesbian rights, improved education, and ethics in government, where he has been
at the front of calls for reform at the State House, have made him one of our
local heroes. It's wonderful to see his efforts recognized on the national