Phillipe and Jorge's esteemed columnist friends from the Urinal, Bob Kerr and Edward Fitzpatrick, both picked up last week on the new bright orange "P" that is now meant to be the symbol of Providence to the outside world (yet not supplanting the state's motto of "Lobsters and Mobsters").
Since your superior correspondents' minds do not work like average human beings, we immediately equated this with the tempest in a teapot over altering the official name of our wondrous state. (And a tip of the beret and sombrero to legendary Little Rhody songwriter/Celtic musician/poet Jon Campbell for further inspiration.)
P+J harked back to a favorite old joke about the young man who boasted that he had a tattoo on a certain part of his anatomy that said "Swan," but when he was aroused, it would turn into "Saskatchewan."
So we immediately thought it was only appropriate to adapt this concept to the letter "P," by saying that P+J have similar tattoos of the letter on their bodies, which in times of great passion become "Providence Plantations." (Ba-da-boom!)
All class, all the time. You're very welcome.
A BRIDGE TOO FAR
In case you missed it, there was a very nice profile of Jamestown last week in the New York Times' Friday "Escapes" section, titled "A Quieter New England Just Across the Bridge," which was a less-than-subtle kick in the crotch to Newport.
While locals would have a bit of a chuckle over some of the gushing praise, Phillipe was certainly overjoyed to have the town praised as a great place for affluent New Yawkers to own a second home, since his house is on the market on Conanicut Island. However, as Jorge suggested, it may be that the writer of the piece essentially drove around town for an hour or so, had dinner at Tricia's Tropi-Grille — which received huge praise — walked across the street to the Narragansett Café and got hammered, thus becoming a local expert.
GO TO CHURCH
What with the furor over the recent rocket launch by North Korea — which, despite the international overreaction, was about as intimidating as a kid shooting off a roman candle — P+J's thoughts turned to one of the hidden literary talents whose opus takes place in Kim Jong Il's crazy house.
James Church, a pseudonym, has written three detective novels centered around a Pyongyang police detective known as Inspector O — A Corpse in the Koryo, Hidden Moon, and Blood and Bamboo. The books expose the absolute paranoia, deception, and hidden games that rule the everyday way of life in the North Korean intelligence community, and it is fascinating. As one reviewer said, it is a Korean Kafka. We were turned on to the books by a close friend who is a North Korean policy and nuclear expert who shall go unnamed, and who is amazed that Church is allowed to travel into the country, which he evidently still does, and if we tell you more than that we'll have to kill both you and ourselves.
Most mystery novels are complex enough, but when you throw in elements about everyone in the universe either working for the government, every phone call being wiretapped, the dust blowing out of China, playing one hand against the other, or being from Kazakhstan on a Scottish passport (which does not exist) but running the only bank ever to be robbed in Pyongyang, it's mind-boggling.
About 10 years ago, a former BeloJo reporter who went to work for the New York Times was so concerned about the future of the Urinal in the Biggest Little that she went to the managing editor of the paper, John Geddes, who is a University of Rhode Island grad, to ask if the Times could do anything to save Vo Dilun's organ of record. His reported reply was "Why bother? We own the Boston Globe and they will eventually take over the market when the ProJo tanks."
Now it is reported that the New York Times Company, recently bailed out by unctuous Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim (seriously, that's his name — we guess Nathan Detroit and Magic Dick were taken), is threatening to close down the Globe unless the unions knuckle under to the NYT demands. How's that for those old left-wing, Pete Seeger-sucking, pro-union boys on 42nd Street?
All that is being asked of the people who do the real job of turning out a revered paper is $20 million in union concessions. Practically nothing in Madoff and AIG money. Naturally, like the Urinal's ownership, which is doing its own intentional wrist-slicing, no one from the Times or Globe leadership would comment.
The Globe was founded in 1872. It has won 20 Pulitzers. Tweet that.
Years (actually, decades) ago, your superior correspondents wrote jeremiads about what we saw as a totally misguided state "initiative" involving the government and the "gaming industry." Our reasoning was not based so much on whether gambling was a potentially big moneymaker for the state or whether it was morally a good thing.