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Divorce, Blue Cross-style

Yes, the Biggest Littleís favorite health monopoly ó excuse us, we meant wonderful health-care benefits-plan company ó has announced a new addition to its premier coverage: divorce.

Blue Cross, former governor "The Missing Linc" Almondís favorite charity, kicked off its new divorce coverage campaign by announcing it was contributing to the cause of Ronald A. "Love íem and leave íem" Battista. Battista was the recipient of a $600,000 "loan" to help him recover from the wounds of his separation from his wife, as well as to purchase a new house. Battista is not required to pay off the loan, a pioneering new concept being promoted by the folks who run the stateís own health-care program. (P&J were a bit startled by this news. Whenever we get a loan from a financial institution such as a bank, thereís always a wild assumption that we will somehow pay back the amount tendered. Silly us.)

Yes, now you can benefit from the joys of marital strife. Included in Blue Crossís "Plan Battista," which appears to require for membership only the ability to hoodwink a board of fat cat directors with their thumbs up their asses (wisely checking for prostate cancer, no doubt) are:

Broken heart surgery: $50,000

Psychological pain and suffering: $100,000

Bad blood: $150,000

Spewing bile: $200,000

There are also some discounts for prescriptions in the plan:

Free condoms (for random screwing)

Free call back services to apologize for late night phone calls made while tired and emotional

As if this outpouring of love and affection for its customers was not enough, Blue Cross officials revealed more of their Dubya-like compassionate conservatism during testimony before the General Assemblyís Joint Committee on Health Care Oversight on March 29. Top executives said, in essence, that it is the fault of their customers. The general impression was as follows: "We wouldnít be charging you up the ying-yang if it wasnít for the fact that all our members are fat Dorito-munching, Bud-swilling, KFC finger-lickiní, pasta-pumping obese bastards. They should be taken to farms where their Big Mac-slurping lips will be sewn shut. This before they have to be fork-lifted out of their houses to take a dump or eat a salad for once in their grape soda-lacquered lives." The health plan giant took no responsibility for screwing up rates on normal human members who donít need to eat a rack of barbecued ribs for breakfast, washed down by a couple of Colt 45s, before the soaps come on.

"Itís a great step for health-care ratepayers everywhere," said no one. "God bless Blue Cross."


Your superior correspondents are pleased to announce ó with glee similar to that of Condee Rice prior to testifying before the 9-11 probe ó that we will have our heinies roasted and toasted on the occasion of 25 years of writing this low-brow for high brows column, on Thursday, April 8. The site will be Federal Reserve, the elegant restaurant in Our Little Towne, with cocktails (house special: Pernod and grapefruit) at 6:30, and heavy hors díoeuvres/ torching of P&J throughout the night. Our list of roasters includes Senator Jack Reed, our little big man (eating a childís portion filet mignon); Urinal stars Bob Kerr, cigarette smoker extraordinaire, and Follies MC Scottso MacKay; departing Channel 36 queen Muffy Farmer; Charlie Hall, known Ocean State wit and courtroom artiste supreme; Lieutenant Guv Charlie "Donít say I look like Herman Munster" Fogarty; Guy Dufault, honorary Narragansett sachem and golf course lobbyist; and Peter Kadzis, neíer-do-well and Phoenix honcho, perhaps the most dangerous of the lot because he actually used to be a roomie of P&Jís back in our wild years ó a half an hour ago.

The roast will benefit AIDS Project Rhode Island, which needs no introduction for the fine work it does, and the completion of Cherry Arnoldís soon-to-be legendary documentary on La Provís legendary former mayor, Buddy "Vincent A." Cianci. This cinéma vérité look at the Bud-I was extolled this week in our pal M. Chuckie Bakstís column in the BeloJo, and a sneak preview of one of the meatier clips will be shown to attendees.

Tariff is $50, a bargain at twice the price, especially given Federal Reserveís fare. For information on snatching up tix before they sell out, call the Phoenix at (401) 273-6397, or Governor Don Carcieri at home after midnight at (401) 555-8767. As the in crowd knows, be there or be square.


All right, we know that a lot of you out there have mixed feelings about the sport of boxing. The fact is that your superior correspondents do, too. Regardless, we have always found the career of Vo Dilunís own Vinny Paz (nee Pazienza) to be a pretty inspiring tale. We also know that being a professional prizefighter takes determination and a work ethic that is truly awesome. Just think about the requisite training regimen. Vinny did it for two decades (letís not even talk about the comeback from a broken neck).

Last Saturday, March 27, Vinny fought his last fight, succeeding in his goal of recording 50 victories before retiring. Your superior correspondents watched on television, and in classic Vinny style, the whole thing started in Choochville with Frank Stallone (!!!) singing "My Way" in the center of the ring. And what was Roberto Duran doing in his corner? We donít know, but even though Mr. Hands of Stone has been more like Mr. Mind of Mush in recent years, we might remind you about his reign in the lightweight division. This was a long time ago, but we saw the fights and have no doubt in proclaiming, pound-for-pound, that Duran is up there with Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, and (hereís a blast from the past) Salvador Sanchez.

Yes, Vinny had on the silly outfit, and that almost unbelievable Uncle Sam hat, but thatís always been his act.

The one thing everyone should remember is that Vinny is the real deal. He never backed down from the best fighters. He didnít have to go against Roy Jones Jr., but he did. He always gave it his all, and he tirelessly promoted his home state. He is a hero and champion. He deserves all the praise and plaudits that have come his way. Cojones and heart ó thatís Vinny. Good luck to him in whatever he chooses to do. He gave our little state a lot of thrills and a good long ride. Thanks, champ.


Speaking of boxing, here is a bit of a belated reference from a recent New York Times front pager about an ex-boxer named "Termite" Watkins. He is in Iraq to do some reconstruction work, and has found time to start training Iraqi fighters, with the upcoming Olympics as a goal. One of his native Iraqi assistants was quoted as saying how having Watkins in charge is a far sight better than his predecessor, Uday Hussein, a late son of our favorite madman dictator. Uday, cute and cuddly as a viper, had a great interest in sports. But due to his being a bit of a psychopath, he often tortured Iraqi athletes who did not reach his high expectations ó even if these were a bit delusional and based upon Hollywood dramas.

"No one wanted to spar with Uday," said the coach. "It was like he watched Rocky too many times. Uday would hit you and hit you. But if you returned a punch, he would shoot you."

Who says Sly Stallone wouldnít be a terrific Middle Eastern diplomat?


As of earlier this week, the Massachusetts legislature came up with tentative legislation to deny gay marriages in favor of "civil unions." But three cheers for Charlie Bakst who, in Sundayís BeloJo, wrote yet another column foursquare in favor of marriage, the whole enchilada. That Charlie writes for the dominant daily in the Biggest Little is significant. You already know what your superior correspondents think, and where the gay press (Bay Windows, innewsweekly, etc.) stands. To have someone in the mainstream press who is so unequivocal about the issue is especially gratifying.

True equality will happen. Sooner rather than later, we hope. But you canít stop the opening of minds, and thatís what this is really all about. The only seemingly valid argument against gay marriage is the conservative religious perspective that champions what they like to call "natural law." The proposition is that there is a natural order to things and that we humans are privy to it.

We believe that human sexuality is in the realm of mystery, not so-called natural law. We believe people loving each other is good, and that same-sex desire is no different from opposite sex desire. It is a mystery why some are gay and some straight, and why some are left-handed and others right-handed. Itís in the realm of mystery, and P&J, as people with a strong spiritual faith, respect that mystery and wish to honor it.

Therefore, we donít think heteros have any more "choice" over their sexual desires than homos. Itís not as if religious groups have not been wrong before. The Catholic Church, for example, had to eventually face reality and accept that Galileo was right about the Earth revolving around the sun. Did that acceptance do any great damage to the faithful? No! Nor will the acceptance of same-sex love.

The conventional wisdom of our grandparents and great-grandparents had it that there was a distinctive racial hierarchy. This was wrong. Even though such blatantly racist notions have been thoroughly discredited, the residual effects are still with us in the form of economic and social inequities. The ascendancy of (in Dr. Kingís words) "content of character" continues to be a pipe dream.

We know it will take a long time for the notion that homosexuality is a "sin" to fade into an idea embraced only by nut-bags. But just like racial superiority myths, it will go. And it will go because it is false. And your holy books, translated too many times over to be of much value in these matters, will not help. Itís over, fuggedaboutit, so embrace love and humanity.

Send wedding invites and Pulitzer-grade stuff to p&j@ phx.com.

The Phillipe & Jorge archives.
Issue Date: April 2 - 8, 2004
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