DiPrete, but not DiParted
You have to give Phillipe and Jorge's old friend, Ed "Gerber Baby" DiPrete, the
disgraced former governor of Vo Dilun, credit for having the brass cojones
(paid for by contractor kickbacks) to show up for what amounted to Old Timers'
Day at the gathering of the National Governors Association. The Urinal photo of
the former governors meeting at the Westin Hotel, featuring the Gerb, Bruce
"Captain Blowhard" Sundlun, and "Wide Phil" Noel, was worthy of the wall of a
post office anywhere in America. It should be noted, though, that Fast Eddie
actually used a comb on his hair this time, rather than the dish rag he
appeared to have employed prior to famous "Welcome to the ACI" photo --
featured on the front page of the BeloJo as the Gerb began enjoying the
comforts of home at the state's behest.
As our pal Merrill Chuckie Bakst reported, DiPrete was hardly shying away from
anyone, although security was alerted to lock the Dumpster, lest we all be
exposed to the sight of the Gerber Baby's patent leather wingtips flailing in
the air as he tried to recover discarded envelopes. And there was absolutely no
truth to the rumor that NGA head Parris Glendening of Maryland actually said,
"Hey, Wally Cox! I thought you were dead!" when he saw the Gerbster.
But P&J say, what's a little racketeering got to do with anything when it
comes to rubbing shoulders with men who understand the burden of public office?
If there's one person in the NGA who hasn't taken a backhander from a
developer, lobbyist, or corporate CEO, we'll eat Jesse Ventura's bike seat. The
Gerb just made the stupid mistake of getting caught. And he still had the honor
to take the hit for his kid and run the risk of playing drop the soap in the
ACI shower once too often.
What better way for governors from all around the country to see for
themselves the embodiment of the Biggest Little's official motto: "Lobsters and
Around the Block once or twice
A splendiferous last two weeks for your superior correspondents on Block
Island, with the intrepid Jorge doing the heavy lifting by writing the column
on an old Royal typewriter each Tuesday morning while being ferried from Old
Harbor to Galilee by an Elvis impersonator on a Jet Ski. And where else can you
actually get to see Christopher Walken walkin'? Mau!
Nothing like a little sun and surf, not mention the odd chilled glass at the
Beachhead, with the Fantastic Johnny C, to make all things right. However, it's
not all another day in paradise on the old Block these days. The famed painted
rock by Snake Hole Road, the lane where P&J set up shop, is in danger of
losing its tradition of being painted during the still of night, with apropos
greetings, wedding announcements, or birthday best wishes, to greet new
arrivals at dawn.
Instead, a rank bunch of Philistines who refuse to obey time-honored rules
(probably from New Jersey and wearing tank tops and Yankee caps), are painting
it during the day. This is about as detestable a practice as having the tooth
fairy exchange a quarter for a canine in an elementary school lunchroom. We
know of at least one miffed party who will be soon sending a letter, decrying
this abandonment of taste and courtesy, to the Block Island Times.
Not to mention the fearsome feud of astrologists. To this, we refer to the
Block Island Times of July 21, which ran this delightful account, in its
police report, of a psychic psyche-out:
"Janet Lee, who operates a psychic reading shop in the Figurehead building on
Water Street, reported to police that on July 9 and 10 she received threatening
phone calls. She told police that a female caller identified herself as Sandi
the psychic and [told Lee she] should `pack all your belongings and get on the
boat' because there is only room for one psychic on BI. When police approached
Sandra Miller, who offers psychic readings from her Chapel Street shop, Miller
denied having made any calls. Police are following the situation."
A couple of things come to mind while reading this worrisome account. First,
at least try leaving out the "Sandi the psychic" identification for starters,
honey. Even the BI police don't need extra mental powers to put that one
together. And shouldn't Janet Lee have foreseen this coming? And while there
may not be enough room for two psychics on Block Island (not to mention two
tanned, feather boa-draped gentlemen in wet Speedos, as was suggested by
certain Neanderthals we encountered one evening at the Yellow Kittens), there
is obviously enough room for plenty of psychotics, beginning with a certain
pair of starry-eyed ladies.
Patriotic tattoo trend?
Your superior correspondents have always been a bit suspicious of tattoos,
primarily because of the fleeting circumstances of age (youth) and
circumstances (drunk) under which many people tend to receive them. We don't
know exactly what this guy was thinking (or drinking), but in the BeloJo of
August 7, in a sidebar on the National Governors Association conference, there
was an item on the folks involved in a rally at Waterplace Park on Sunday,
August 5. Among the demonstrators (who were rallying against a variety of
trade, environmental and worker-related issues) was "one man on a bicycle . . .
dressed in black and sport(ing) a tattoo of the Rhode Island state seal on his
This might be the sort of body adornment one might expect from a talk radio
aficionado (although placement would more likely be on the buttocks), if talk
radio listeners were into tattoos in the way they're into, say, Confederate
battle flags. But the idea that tattoos of state seals might be catching on
with the youthful arty-boho leftist crowd is certainly heartening. P&J
always thought it was a mistake of epic proportions that anti-Vietnam
protesters didn't adopt the Stats and Stripes as a symbol, thereby co-opting
our national flag from the hawks.
The best part, in case one starts getting second thoughts about the Vo Dilun
state seal as body art (and we suspect this may happen within a week or two of
getting the embellishment), is that you can at least salvage the anchor in the
middle while having the rest of the tattoo burned off, and then claim you were
in the Navy or a relative of Popeye's or something.
Well worth your while
One of the films that your superior correspondents are looking forward to at
the Rhode Island International Film Festival is the US festival premiere of
Rick Goldsmith & Abby Ginzberg's Everyday Heroes. It's a documentary
about a diverse group of kids involved in a San Francisco area-based AmeriCorps
program. Forty thousand young people across the country are engaged in
AmeriCorps programs, including, in Rhode Island, City Year, America's Promise,
the Local Initiatives Support Coalition, YouthBuild, and RI Reads.
As longtime supporters of national service initiatives for younger people,
P&J look forward to the film especially because since Goldsmith is a former
student at Brown and RISD. He also produced Tell the Truth and Run, an
excellent documentary about the legendary radical journalist George Seldes
(who, in the '40s, promoted such radical notions as the danger of smoking. For
an excellent read, check out his autobiography, Witness to a Century:
Encounters with the Noted, Notorious, and Three SOBs). Everyday
Heroes will be screened on Saturday, August 11 at 3 p.m. at Brown
University's List Auditorium.
Isn't it great to hear about Dubya the Dumb's decision to change the focus of
his political strategy, a puff piece that has been neatly fed to and gobbled up
by the media in the last week? Perhaps moving his eyes more than a millimeter
apart might be the logical first step?
No, it is much deeper thinking than that. Now, a la Tom Brokaw, he will stop
using podiums and appear in less formal settings, where he can exude his
"charm." (If you've recently handled any live eels, Georgie Boy's charm is not
dissimilar to what was exuded on to your hands.) This is no doubt the deft
stroke of his advisers, like Karl Rove, the pig boy with the pear shape, who
have discovered that coming across as an isolationist, juvenile, right-wing
suck-up, lying, corporate-controlled cock-sucker (meee-oww! It's not the heat
-- it's the stupidity!) might not gain Dubya big points in the popularity
polls. Add that to the fact that Dubya makes our own Governor Bigfoot look like
a workaholic -- the prez will be spending his vacation in Texas until after
Labor Day. What do you mean, he's still a pampered boy? You mean your job
doesn't give you more than month off with pay? But that's OK, Big Time Dick
will call if he needs you to sign something.
Update on election reform
Your superior correspondents want to squelch rumors that some of the most
intriguing suggestions offered by the election reform panel, led by former
Presidents Ford and Carter, were left off the list. We know that there are a
lot of conspiracy theories out there (mainly because we start many of them),
but believe us, there is no truth to the line that Ford was upset when his idea
-- that polls be set up at local golf courses, so that golfing voters aren't
inconvenienced -- was rejected by Democratic members of the commission, who
insisted on a quid pro quo for dog tracks. Nor is there anything to the
rumor that Carter suggested at one point that complimentary bags of peanuts be
passed out by poll workers to all qualified voters.
Living wage update
The City Council of Santa Monica, California, recently passed a living wage
ordinance applicable to businesses in "the coastal zone and extended downtown
core" with gross receipts over $5 million, and to the city and its service
Your superior correspondents and the folks who are working on a similar
proposal for Providence will, of course, be watching Santa Monica closely. What
happens if it doesn't ruin that city, and actually brings decent living
conditions, opportunity, and security to the people of Santa Monica? What if
the standard economic wisdom is wrong about all this, and we don't actually
have to put up anymore with the vicious elements of capitalist excess --
something, we've always been told, that's an unfortunate part of the way things
What if we could actually do something to narrow the ludicrous gap between
rich and poor without destroying (and, in fact, stimulating) productivity,
because most people actually get a decent shake? Nah, it's just too much to
believe that all the rich old white men might actually be wrong about
Send gin molls, ginger beer, and Pulitzer-grade tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.