There’s another wild and weird story emanating from little Jamestown (town motto: "Come on, baby, light my fire"), where year-old rumors — that members of the volunteer fire department videotaped sexual encounters taking place on fire trucks in the station — have reignited. Lighting the fuse was an open letter to Police Chief Tom Tighe (currently on leave to serve as interim town administrator) from Mary McDonagh, publisher of the local weekly 02835, requesting an investigation into the allegations. McDonagh, who stirred up the town not long ago by going public with an article about her long, now-ended purported relationship with the publisher of the town’s other weekly, claims that three present and former members of the department, whose names were not given, offered confirmation.
There are certain quirky legal details. Sex on fire trucks is not illegal, for instance, (and why should it be. This is America goddamn it, and if you can’t screw someone on an big engine, where can you?), but videotaping people without their consent is against the law. Evidently, a new investigation has been launched, and the media are enveloping the town like a forest fire. (Sorry, we just can’t help ourselves.)
As far as Phillipe & Jorge are concerned, this is like being given the golden key to a Fort Knox of awful one-liners. Did the sex take place on the pumper or the hook(er) and ladder? Hook and laid-her? Were the girls hotties? Squeeze this nozzle, honey, and watch it squirt. Is that a Dalmatian in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me? Look at the size of this hose! Thinking up your own bad puns is a great way to have fun at home with the family!
It has also been suggested that Jamestown’s notorious — and deafening — air horn, which is used to alert the geographically dispersed volunteers to fires (and employs code to identify the location) was being blown (there we go again) for two short blasts whenever anyone scored. P&J, of course, would never believe this sort of thing.
Once we stop laughing, we must note that the Jamestown Volunteer Fire Department is arguably the best in the state, and the local residents appreciate their good fortune in having such stalwarts. P&J know a number of past and present members of the squad, including the current chief, and we cannot believe that they would tolerate this kind of behavior for a second. If the rumors are true (and Ms. McDonagh’s claims might have more credibility if her sources came forward), it is probably just a few morons who will make the whole department look bad. The department staff and volunteers deserve much better. Meanwhile, we’ll be checking the transfer station for melted plastic resembling burnt videotape.
Hot stuff, no?
TIME FOR BAD BILLS
As the end of the legislative session draws near, it’s time for the annual ritual of jamming through a few bills designed to serve lobbyists and politicians at the expense of public accountability. This, as everyone knows, is quite easy to achieve. Merely pile dozens and dozens of bills together, all to be considered at the end of the session with virtually no debate, and in most cases, no op-portunity for the legislators voting on the bills to actually read them. Bravo Halitosis Hall. There are a couple of self-serving bills that you might want to watch this week that will probably be considered by the full House and Senate as you are reading this.
The first is 05-H 5477SubA, sponsored by House Majority Leader Gordon Fox. On June 7, the House Finance Committee, with bipartisan support, voted to gut new lobbyist disclosure requirements enacted just last year in the wake of the scandals that brought down Senate President Bill "Little Napoleon" Irons and Senator John "My Sharona" Celona. The law required lobbyists and those who employ them to file annual public reports detailing "all money and anything of value" worth more than $250 that they paid to "any major state decision-maker." The measure simply requires disclosure of these payments.
Yet legislation introduced earlier this year would exempt "the purchase or sale of goods or services or anything else of value in the ordinary course of business and for fair market value." This incredibly broad exemption basically represents a trip back to the good old days of secrecy and under-the-table deals.
Then there’s Senate bill 05-S 1123SubA, introduced by Senator Roger Badeau. On June 23, the state Senate voted to dismantle a 2001 law requiring the electronic filing and disclosure of campaign finance reports for candidates who raise or spend more than $5000 in a year. Technical problems prompted the Board of Elections to submit legislation that would postpone the implementation of the law. This timely interruption gave the Senate Judiciary Committee an opportunity to ditch the mandatory electronic campaign finance filing system. Senators Michael J. Damiani (D-East Providence) and Joseph M. Polisena (D-Johnston) were particularly prominent in challenging the notion that the public needs to know who is contributing to whom (also known as buying influence). The related bill would make electronic filing optional.
We thank Common Cause’s H. Philip West Jr. for an alert and the info on these bills. Be forewarned about an imminent slew of other really bad bills. Now is the time to pay very close attention to just what the Backroom Boys are up to.
ANOTHER WRONG-HEADED MOVE
Your superior correspondents also oppose yet another tax increase for other tobacco products (OTP). Hiking the tax on cigars, pipe tobacco, etc. will not enhance the state’s coffers, since OTP represents only 1.8 percent of tax revenue for tobacco products.
Consider the disparity in how the state treats tobacconists and gambling. We are huge hypocrites about gambling: "Hey let’s give an exemption for smoking at Lincoln and Newport Grand. Let’s add more slots, but remember, we think gambling is bad." Meanwhile, we just don’t care about our small businesses, because, well, they’re small. Do you think chronic gambling has destroyed more lives than puffing on a Cohiba? We’d stake our lives on it.
Unfortunately, the move to increase OTP taxes was included in the genera budget bill, and the damage appears to have been done.
GRAHAM EVENT GOES CRACKERS
We encountered two very weird things while reading the New York Times’ story about preparations for Billy Graham’s event in the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park section of Queens. The three-day event (June 24-26) drew about 230,000 people. First from Bizarro World was the inclusion in the crusade program of Bibleman, "a caped crusader in Spandex and silver body armor who will lead the children’s rally on Saturday morning at Flushing Meadows." P&J bet they also had a healthy number of Catholic priests at that one — nudge-nudge, wink-wink. Reference was then made to a successful volunteer applicant who was the leader of "a children’s wrestling ministry." (Encore for the previous reference to Catholic priests.) A children’s wrestling ministry? What in God’s name (appropriately) is that?
We’re sorry, say what you will about the apostles, but Michelangelo never happened to paint any religious scenes with Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the crew as oiled tattooed boys, wearing masks like Mexican wrestlers grappling in the sand by the Sea of Galilee, body-slamming and smashing papyrus chairs over each other’s heads.
Onward Christian soldiers, child wrestlers, and spandex-clad superheroes.
Sleep tight, J. Christ.
GOOD NIGHT, KNUCKLEHEAD SMIFF
Thanks for the memories, ventriloquist Paul Winchell, who died at age 82, taking Knucklehead and Jerry Mahoney with him. He was also an inventor, and did the voice of Tigger in Winnie the Pooh. Coincidentally, John Fiedler, who did the voice of Piglet, died within 24 hours. P&J think this is surely the result of a black market honey-smuggling deal gone sour. We suspect Kanga and Roo of masterminding the two simultaneous hits.
Send inner tubes and Pulitzer-grade tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Phillipe & Jorge archives.
Issue Date: July 1 - 7, 2005
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