Half the fun and excitement of the Winter Olympics will be seeing just
how out of joint the top athletes from around the world and Olympic organizers
can get the Mormons and make them publicly overreact. It has already started,
much to P&J's glee.
Free condoms have been available as part of the public health services at the
Olympic Village during every winter and summer Olympics since 1992. However, in
a state dominated by the cult- like Mormons, sex is deemed so offensive that
parents must provide written permission for a child to attend classes in which
human sexuality and reproduction are discussed. ("Here, Mrs. Applegate -- my
father signed here, my mother signed here, my other mother signed here, and my
other mother signed here and . . .") The idea that Olympic athletes will be
playing hide-the-bobsled and doing flying camels in the Olympic Village
bedrooms during their stay in Salt Lake City is so reprehensible to the Mormon
Majority that local legislators are loudly protesting. They'll be joined by
Generation Life, a group that, like the Mormons, believes in promoting
abstinence as the surefire way of avoiding unwanted pregnancies.
Needless to say, the athletes are all for it, even though much was made of the
way that jocks from one country complained during the Sydney Olympics that
they'd used up their generous allotment of rubbers within a week. Imagine the
gall of Olympic organizers, who might have guessed that hundreds of amazing
physical specimens might find ways to have fun, other than playing Mormon
Tabernacle Choir CDs on their Walkmans, while co-mingling for a few weeks. It
looks like the Church of the Latter Day Aints should just be told to go home
and, well, you know, in their hats. But, hey, at least it's abstinence!
A capacity crowd attended the Rhode Island Foundation event last Saturday,
February 2, to discuss preservation of our historic mill buildings and their
eventual reuse. Some of those there, however, were not quite as upbeat as the
mayor and a variety of other speakers about the fine job we're doing in the
area of preservation. As put to P&J by participant Clay Rockefeller, a
principal in the Monohasset Mill project, "We're at a very pivotal point right
now" in the life of the city.
Those who worry about the future need only look to Eagle Square, where plans
for a shopping plaza of little distinction mean the forthcoming demolition of
most of a cluster of classic and irreplaceable 19th-century mill buildings. Or
the Silver Spring Bleaching and Dying Mill complex, which was torn down last
year to make way for a Home Depot.
Rockefeller, who poured a bit of cold water on the proceedings by declaring
the Providence Renaissance "dead," still has hope for the future, as well as
for a "more cautious approach" to the evaluation of endangered mills. "For me,
it's not just about the buildings or the architecture," he says. "These
buildings represent a history and that history is what the culture is based
on." Clay sees the preservation of that culture as a source of pride, and --
like many others -- creative and economic activity.
During the foundation event, the Bud-I announced the extension of the city tax
break for artists who work and live in the downtown arts district to artists
living in all the historic landmarked mill buildings in the city. Certainly,
this is a positive step, but it also seems like small potatoes compared to the
need for actual preservation and reuse.
Just this week, your superior correspondents received an e-mail alert about
the demolition this week of the garage building at 727 Valley St. (on the
corner of West Park in Smith Hill). Described by Jean Cozzens, another activist
for mill preservation, as "one of the few remaining Art Moderne industrial
structures in Rhode Island," it is indeed, or used to be, a striking building,
one that Jorge remembers fondly from the time when he lived in that
neighborhood 30 years ago.
It was just up the hill from the Coca-Cola plant at the intersection of Valley
& Orms streets, West Park and the Pleasant Valley Parkway/Dean Street. This
unique and stylish two-story building, built in the 1930s, apparently fell
through the cracks when it came to being listed on the mayor's mill initiative,
compiled by the planning department. The structure is owned by Coca-Cola, which
after demolition apparently began Tuesday, wants to use the space for a parking
lot. Ironically, as Cozzens points out, 727 Valley was originally built as a
garage and with only a small amount of rehab by Coca-Cola, it could have
supplied parking for more cars than Coke's proposed parking lot.
Enron and on
Let's see now, where were we with Enron? Porcine Boy George advisor Karl Rove
arranged to get Ralph Reed, major God-botherer and professional right-wing
loony, a job at Enron so he could line his pockets and Rove wouldn't have to
pay him from the Bush campaign funds for his consulting. Jesse Jackson was
"counseling" Dubya's pal, "Kenny Boy" Lay. And the crooks at Arthur Andersen
were leaping around, telling everyone they'd hired an old white man in a suit
who had once been in the Federal Reserve to "investigate" them.
Huge thanks also to Dick Cheney for continuing to stonewall his energy policy
meeting shenanigans. This conveniently keeps the public's attention on the fact
that he, Dubya, and John "Are those marble tits hovering over my head or am I
just glad to be AG?" Ashcroft are so far up Enron's and Kenny Boy's buttocks
all you can see are the soles of their shoes. Top marks to Senator Fritz
Hollings, who said, "I have never seen a better example of cash-and-carry
government than this Bush administration and Enron."
But then Kenny Boy got cold feet and bailed on his hearings before the House
and Senate. This provoked a histrionic show of outrage from the congressmen who
never expected him to show, and who knew that Lay's empty gesture was just a
publicity stunt. Lay claimed it was because of prejudicial remarks made by
legislators on the Sunday morning chattering class shows and even the New
York Times, which has covered the story with withering scrutiny. But even
if Lay had been sincere about visiting Capitol Hill, the report put out
Saturday by Enron's board -- the one that attempted to cover their collective
ass while suggesting a possible stay for Kenny Boy at the government's pleasure
-- would have spooked him into hiding with his lovely, lying wife Linda. Now
it's time for a quiz: can you spell "subpoena," Mr. Lay?
Lest you think this is a one-off for Enron and Arthur Andersen, think again.
Private Eye, the English magazine, reports that Andersen had been banned
by the ruling Tories years ago for doing any work with the British government
because the firm knowingly cooked car designer John DeLorean's books, a fraud
case for which the English taxpayers footed the bill. And Enron has continued
its practice of supplying campaign cash to grab an ear, notably that of British
secretaries of trade and industry. The current one, Patricia Hewitt, appointed
by Billary manqué Prime Minister Tony Blair, just happens to be an
ex-employee of -- wait for it -- Arthur Andersen.
Just a co-winky-dink, right, Tony and Georgie?
It must have been the "secret desire" mojo bag, bought by Phillipe a month ago
at the Reverend Zombie's House of Voodoo in the French Quarter, that inspired
the Patriots to victory last Sunday (because it certainly didn't work on that
little French waiter with the cute beignets later that night on Bourbon
The Pats' insistence to be introduced as a team instead of featuring just the
starting defense was one of the classiest moves ever -- and it won them respect
and admiration from sports commentators and fans across the country
(particularly when it was teamwork that won them the Super Bowl. It's called
walking the talk). But the Patriots have been doing this all year.
Our favorite post-game line came from defensive hero Ty Law, who, when asked
if he was worried about the St. Louis Rams' superior speed, said, "I ain't seen
anybody win a 100-yard dash with someone standing in front of him. We put it ON
One can imagine how the young fans who used to turn up to see Adam Vinatieri,
and whatever third-string tackle was forced to accompany him to the Warwick
Mall each week to appear on a local sports talk show, must feel. Getting what
at the time was an autograph from a nobody, and a chance to chat with a kicker
(how lame), wasn't exactly going to dinner with Drew Bledsoe. But you can bet
those autographs are now sealed in plastic forever, and those kids are the gods
of the junior highs across the state. Fitting reward for the faithful.
Speaking of the Super Bowl, P&J took in the pre-game show with the volume
turned off, a Dinah Washington record on the box, and black snoods on our heads
in remembrance of our boyhood football idol, Night Train Lane, who passed away
Night Train, a name that Philippe promised at an early age to pass on to his
first-born -- was actually named Dick Lane. He was a unanimous selection to the
NFL Hall of Fame and considered the greatest defensive back of all time,
although he only played football in junior college and the Army. His life story
is amazing, as he was the son of a pimp and hooker, who discarded him as a baby
in a trash bin in Austin, Texas. A window with two children found Lane and
His football fame and lifelong love of jazz led him to marry famed R&B
singer Dinah Washington in 1963, a cultural celebrity wedding that would have
lit up today's tabloids, if not the Times. He also had a wonderful quote
that bridged the two worlds: "A musician's got to have a style . . . That's
what I was always after. I wanted to create my own style of playing." He did.
Thanks for the memories. Good night, Train.
Send scuttlebutt, hearsay, and Pulitzer-grade tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Issue Date: February 8 - 14, 2002