Your superior correspondents are still pondering the connection between fast
food and New Age spiritualism after reading about the "Whopper Fire Walk with
Me" incident at a Burger King corporate retreat held in Key Largo, Florida,
last week. As reported by the Associated Press, the meeting of marketing
department personnel -- intended to promote "bonding" -- featured the walking
over hot coals by workers.
About a dozen Burger King employees burned their feet badly enough to require
medical attention. Phillipe & Jorge can only speculate that this exercise
was devised to enable the marketing staff to get a feel for what the company's
much-touted "flame broiling" might feel like to a cow. Well . . . maybe not.
Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh, that right-wing radio blowhard, announced to his
listeners on October 8 that he's been suffering from severe hearing loss over
the past four months and is almost totally deaf. We believe the problem may go
back much farther than four months, since it's long been apparent to anyone
listening to Limbaugh that he's had a sort of selective hearing loss all along.
For years, Limbaugh has been handicapped by his inability to receive phone
calls from anyone who did not agree with him or blurt out "mega-ditto" before
bussing his substantial butt.
On rare occasions, Limbaugh would allow a differing opinion to be aired, as
long as his screeners could assure him that the caller was deficient enough in
the powers of articulation. Sophisticated, reasonable, articulate voices have
never been, and will never be, heard on Limbaugh's show. So what difference
will it make if he can't hear? From what P&J can tell, none whatsoever. He
was never interested in listening to anyone else, anyway.
Mark Bingham, American hero
Of course, we all recall the disgraceful comments by the American Talibanistas,
Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, blaming "pagans and abortionists, feminists,
gays and lesbians . . . the ACLU (and) People for the American Way," as being
morally culpable for creating an atmosphere to make the atrocities of September
11 possible. While apologizing for being over-the-top, Falwell and Robertson
have never apologized for their theological basis for saying such a thing.
That's because they still believe it.
In case you haven't heard of Mark Bingham yet, here's a little story about
what a real-life gay man did after being caught up in the September 11
Bingham, 31, an openly gay PR executive, owner of The Bingham Group (offices
in San Francisco and New York), was one of the passengers on United Airlines
Flight 93, the aircraft that crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. He was among
the group of passengers that thwarted the hijackers from continuing to their
intended target in Washington.
The 6'5" Bingham was also a national championship rugby player in college at
Berkeley, and in recent years he played for the San Francisco Fog, a gay rugby
team. A high school rugby playing buddy, Todd Sarner, told People
magazine that once, when Bingham and some friends were confronted with a pair
of muggers (one armed with a handgun), "He jumped in front of his friends, got
the gun away and beat the guys up." Those most familiar with what occurred on
Flight 93 think it's a good bet that Bingham inflicted some serious pain to the
hijackers before the jet crashed.
On October 4, at the 10th anniversary dinner of the Empire State Pride Agenda,
a statewide superior lobbying group in New York, Bingham was saluted, along
with the many gay cops, firefighters, and EMS workers who responded to the
tragedy. Those hailing Bingham included New York Governor George Pataki and NYC
Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Senator John McCain also spoke at Mark's funeral on
September 22 in San Francisco (where there's talk about erecting a statue to
If all these Republicans get it, why can't Falwell and Robertson?
Dropping the ball
The National Football League has been doing itself no favors PR-wise recently,
recalling the rather insensitive way in which games were played on the weekend
immediately after the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
On Sunday, October 7, certain teams failed to share with their fans the fact
that Dubya was going live to announce that the US had begun bombing
Afghanistan. One of these sites was in Miami, the Patriots-Dolphins game --
which was reported on furiously and at length by the Urinal's Jim Donaldson.
While one might make an argument for not wanting to cause unnecessary panic in
a packed stadium, it's always been our belief that Americans prefer not to be
kept in the dark by anyone, especially the NFL - the folks from the toy
department -- about matters of such importance.
The greed merchant aspect of the No Fun League also surfaced in the NFL's
decision not to shorten its season, which would have been done by eliminating
the first round of wild card playoffs to replace the lost weekend after the
September 11 attacks. But once the owners realized they'd lose revenue by doing
so, and could probably weather the public storm, they decided to go ahead with
the wild cards. This put commissioner Paul Tagliabue in the position of having
to work out a multi-million dollar buyout of the National Automobile Dealers
Association, which had planned its annual conference for the Super Bowl site of
New Orleans. Since the game was pushed back a week, the NFL had lost all its
rooms to NADA.
During these negotiations, Tagliabue cynically suggested the league was
looking to possibly relocate the game to greater New York City and have all the
big hoopla events in the Big Apple, which could certainly benefit from all the
tourist biz it can get at the moment. The NFL is also based there, so it would
have been a nice way to help the neighbors. But as soon as NADA took the NFL's
generous bribe, excuse us, compensation, the idea of helping out where it's
most needed quickly vanished, along with a good chunk of the league's
We admit that Truman Taylor's Sunday morning public affairs show on WLNE-TV,
Channel 6, is an acquired taste. It is waaay laid back, even compared to
other local product like WSBE's Deadly Experiment and Channel 12's
Newsmakers with Jack White. We imagine there are some cultists out there
who tune in merely to hear Truman's co-host, Bob Whitcomb, BeloJo
vice-president and editorial pages editor, do his amazing "Jim
Backus-on-Gilligan's Island" lockjaw voice, or to see if Truman's
pulse-rate appears to jump beyond reptilian level at some point during the
show. But Truman is generally in no danger of being mistaken for Howard
Last Sunday, October 7, however, the show really went big-time show biz. Still
the same tedious set and near-somnambulant performance by Truman, but the guest
this week was the Biggest Little's king of all media, Mayor Cianci.
Ostensibly, the Bud-I had been invited on to discuss the capital city's plans
in response to terrorist threats, and this is how the discussion began. About
10 minutes into the show, however, Truman brought up Plunder Dome. The Bud-I
answered perfunctorily, noting that he was restrained from discussing the
subject by order of Judge Torres. After Truman, Bob, and the Bud-I batted the
subject around for a few minutes, the discussion returned to municipal
preparedness. And then, as Truman announced he was going to break, he tried to
get back to Plunder Dome.
The Bud-I hit the roof. As Truman droned on inappropriately about whether or
not Edward Voccola was still renting property to the Providence School
Department, the mayor claimed he was being sandbagged, and that, based on a
discussion with Taylor's producer (Laurie Needham), there was only to be a
brief, obligatory question about Plunder Dome. This, however, was not how
Truman saw it.
So, what happened? Truman foolishly refused to back off on the questions that
he knew Cianci wouldn't answer, and the Bud-I slipped into his Bully Boy act
(which is particularly unattractive on television), while Whitcomb attempted to
keep things from degenerating into real nastiness. Naturally, the Bud-I got in
a few Don Rickles-like lines about Channel 6's pathetic ratings ("I've got more
people waiting for brunch at my house than there are watching this show"), and
he hectored Taylor and Whitcomb into donning the flag pins he was doling out.
It's pretty hard to say who came out looking worse in this whole mess
(Whitcomb wisely kept out of the crosshairs, thus preserving a certain level of
dignity). Though both host and guest appeared unappetizing, we'd have to say
the Bud-I prevailed in this one, mainly because his make-up was applied much
more professionally and Truman kept scrunching up his mouth in a really weird
Quote of the week
From The New York Times: "When Timothy McVeigh did that terrorism in
Oklahoma, nobody who owned a place called Timothy's changed the name. So why
-- Ghassan Mustafa, owner of Osama's Place, a popular restaurant, named for
a former owner, near Fort Bragg, North Carolina
P&J have a strong feeling that reservations may not be a problem these
days at Osama's Place.
Kudos & congrats
. . . to the state chapter of the ACLU for its win in federal court,
challenging the Providence Police Department's ban on officers talking to the
media without the chief's approval. The original suit was filed in 1999, on
behalf of Sergeant Rhonda Kessler. That prickly little thing we like to call
the First Amendment led Judge Mary Lisi to find against the department.
In other Providence police news, apparently 70 people from all over are
interested in the chief's job. One is the interim chief, Richard Sullivan, who,
in P&J's estimation, has made all the right moves so far. (By the way, the
gag order on talking to the media wasn't Colonel Sullivan's idea. He inherited
the stupid rule.)
. . . to Queen Lilibet, British monarch and, apparently, a zany, zany gal. The
London Sun reports that, like your superior correspondents, Her Majesty
has a Big Mouth Billy Bass (which she proudly displays above her piano at
Balmoral Castle). And we don't want to hear anything about how similar all us
. . . to all those super-sensitive folks who have been calling up the Warner
Bros. promotions department to complain about the poster for Steven
Soderbergh's upcoming remake of the Rat Pack opus, Ocean's Eleven.
Apparently the number "11" in the poster looks too much like the World Trade
Towers to some people. Must be the Dean Martin Vegetarian Fan Club.
Send fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Pulitzer-grade tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Issue Date: October 12 - 18, 2001