A confederacy of dunces
God, what a lame ensemble company the "Eternal Election" crew have become.
The heir apparent to the throne, Dubya Bush, continues to speak to the
American public with a bug-eyed, uptight,
couldn't-pull-a-greased-pin-out-of-his-asshole-with-a-tractor look, which
strikes fear into the heart. This must delight fellow heads of state, like
Barak, Qaddafi, Hussein, and Arafat, who know they can eat Dubya's lunch any
time they desire. While his father, Poppy Bush, merely threw up on the Japanese
prime minister, Junior may simply wet his pants if confronted by the cagey sons
of the rising sun in matters of international trade.
While Dubya's brother, Jeb, continues to hunker down behind the outhouse in
Tallahassee, lest he incur Daddy's wrath, hired gun Katherine "the Court of St.
James would be fine, Mr. President" Harris continues to make Cruella De Ville
look like June Cleaver. The New Republic wins P&J's trophy for the
best depiction of Harris, featuring her in a "separated at birth" photo
comparison with none other than Ozzy Osbourne at his heavy metal, heavy mascara
best. This hideous shrew, a former real estate agent, is having about as much
luck selling herself as a legit politician as she would flogging a Central
Falls tenement to a Newport socialite.
On the Democratic side, Al "Two-by-four" Gore, and his glassy-eyed wife,
Tipper, appear to have been chugging straight from the gravy boat since the
election returns came in. Two more weeks of neurotic eating behind closed doors
and, if he ever gets in, they'll have to let out the shower curtains in the
White House -- no small feat given the voluminous hip size of the current
While "Big Time" Cheney recuperates from his 75th heart attack, his
counterpart, Joe Lieberman, continues to disgrace himself by trotting out, all
high and mighty, to defend the ludicrous legal Democratic machinations that
will have this election psychodrama prolonged until the Congress sits in
January. But no worries for Holy Joe -- he already hedged his bets when he ran
for his Senate seat, as well as vice president, in one of the most shameless
and selfish acts in electoral history. (Take a bow, Lloyd Bentsen.)
At least we can look forward to having the likes of Clarence "Coke Can" Thomas
joining in the festivities. As Maureen Dowd suggests, you can bet Poppy Bush
will be on the horn to Frogman ASAP to remind him who put him up for the
Supremes, and demanding that any decision from the highest bench had better be
in Sonny Boy's favor, or he'll tell the Times where all those Johnny
Wadd videos are stashed in Thomas's bedroom. God, could it get any better, or
any worse, than this?
Always ready to come to the aid of those who are stricken by ill health,
P&J rushed to the kitchen last week to whip up some nutritional goodies for
"Big Time" Cheney when he "took a hot," as we say in Vo Dilun. Well aware that
his doctors were obfuscating as fast as possible to portray the incident as
minor, in the style of White House and politically involved physicians through
the years, your superior correspondents know a sick puppy when we see one, and
Big Time fits that bill in spades.
So it was that we fired off a Thanksgiving Day meal to ease his discomfort and
get him back on the mend. We thoughtfully included a snack of pork rinds with
sour cream dip, followed by a huge chunk of seared foie gras. For the main
course, we whipped up a ham with a recipe we got from an Aretha Franklin
appearance on Martha Stewart, which calls for using an entire box of brown
sugar, mixed with cream soda, to make a delicious and dietary glaze. Lard
biscuits and thick gravy accompanied the 25-pound turkey, along with Julia
Child's mashed potatoes, which are made from one pound of butter, a quart of
heavy cream, and two potatoes. Green beans with Campbell's cream of mushroom
soup, topped with canned onion rings, followed. Eschewing the traditional
pumpkin pie for dessert, we opted to send along a chocolate cake with chocolate
frosting, topped by some Häagen-Dazs French vanilla ice cream, and washed
down by a tall Bailey's Irish Cream.
Mm-mm good! Get well soon, Big Time, and let us know if we can help out in the
A regular guy
Not many athletes are as well-liked and respected as Barrington's own pro
golfer, Brad Faxon. In addition to his all-around good guy rep, Faxon and
fellow Vo Dilunduh Billy Andrade host a wonderful charity tournament each year
that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local children in need.
So we weren't surprised to see that rather than hold an ostentatious wedding
costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, Brad's idea of playing it up was to
send a picture of himself and his new bride, the former Dorothea Ricci, to the
ProJo, where it ran on Sunday, next to the everyday Janes and Joes in
the wedding announcements. Typical, and appreciated, coming from a man who is a
star on the PGA tour, and who could be a self-absorbed, reactionary
conservative, just like many of his colleagues. Thankfully, Faxon plans to
remain in Barrington. We need more of his kind.
Big Bill, putative Democrat
As we all know, party labels in Vo Dilun have little to do with political
philosophy. For instance, who's more like a traditional Democrat: Bob Weygand
or Linc Chafee? Your superior correspondents believe one of the reasons that Vo
Dilunduhs voted for Linc is because of the belief that his philosophy on social
issues is closer to that of a traditional Democrat than Bob's. Sure, Bob's a
union guy, but a lot of people find that more troubling than reassuring.
Now, consider the case of the new majority leader of the state Senate, Big
Bill Irons, who, for all intents and purposes, is a Republican. It sounded like
Thanksgiving a week early for the assembled big shots when Big Bill spoke to
the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce breakfast at the Providence Marriott
on November 16. He was already a hero to the high rollers for championing the
infamous "tax breaks for the wealthy" legislation that, fortunately, went
nowhere in the last General Assembly session.
At the Marriott, Big Bill reiterated his support for the measure, noting, "I
know that making our tax rates competitive [with Massachusetts and Connecticut]
will attract strong opposition from those who are chiefly concerned with income
and equality. And I respect differences of opinion."
Irons doesn't seem to believe that the huge gap between rich and poor,
nationally as well as in the Biggest Little, is a big deal. But the "rising of
all yachts" economy clearly puts the lie to the belief (apparently shared by
Irons) that everyone makes out better in a strong economy. Congressional Budget
Office figures clearly show this hasn't been the case. The wealthiest among us
have cleaned up beyond belief, while those making under six figures continue to
face longer work hours, higher prices and, if the kids would like to go to
college, scraping up an extra 50K a year to cover the difference.
So Bill's idea is that if the wealthy get to keep even more of their money,
everyone will do better. How come that hasn't been the case, Bill? Based on
what -- your close reading of Adam Smith and Ayn Rand? Oh yeah, and Bill's also
a big booster of the container port at Quonset Point. We'll figure out how to
save the bay later.
About 18 years ago, Phillipe and Jorge were startled to get a phone call from a
radio reporter at WEAN, asking if we could do an interview for a local news
show that interviewed "celebrities" and aired at 6 a.m. on Sunday mornings.
First of all, P&J hardly fancied ourselves celebrities, although the words
"notorious," "wise asses," "dickheads," and other less-flattering sobriquets,
had been used to describe us during our first two years of column writing.
Secondly, as the ProJo's legendary music and social critic, Tony Lioce,
pointed out in his own column at the time, any fans of your superior
correspondents who would listen to a show that early on a Sunday morning had
obviously not gone to bed Saturday night and had just staggered home.
The caller just happened to be Channel 10's ace newswoman, Dyana Koelsch, then
a reporter for WEAN, who has the dubious distinction of being the first person
to interview P&J. She has since gone on to become one of the best TV
reporters in New England. This is why her announcement, that she'll be leaving
the JARheads next month to spend more time with her family, pains these old
pals of her. More on the lovely and fragrant Dyana in next week's column, as we
owe her the longstanding favor of an in-depth interview.
Kudos and congrats . . .
. . . to one of the handful of teenage CEOs in the country, Matthew St. Peter,
a senior at Moses Brown, who was named head ramrod of Angel Planes. This is the
charitable organization founded in 1996 by Matt and his older brother, Chris.
Angel Planes provides air transit to needy children who lack the wherewithal to
travel for medical treatment. A simple and great idea. Good for you, Matt.
. . . to P&J's pick for the weirdo romance of the week. New York Daily
News gossip-master Mitchell Fink reports that Nancy "These Boots Are Made
For Walkin' " Sinatra is currently "that way" with Phil "These records are made
for mono" Spector. Something stupid, indeed.