Phillipe and Jorge returned from an enjoyable weekend of clubbing baby harp seals in Quebec to find a message from Blue Cross on our phone machine at Casa Diablo. (To digress, your superior correspondents are at one with nature, which, of course, includes cute baby seals, as well as not-so-cute baby tarantulas, spilling by the hundreds from their mother’s nest to frighten people to the point of "takin’ a hot" But it was our anger at the hypocrisy of Paris Hilton, that beloved jet trash airhead, now in the vanguard of protecting the seals, that led us to pound away to our hearts’ content. It was virtually yesterday, after all, when America’s amateur porn star boasted how her whole life centered around "clubbing." QED, or, as translated into modern American English, "That proves it.")
At any rate, the desperate message came from a highly placed Blue Cross executive seeking P&J’s best advice for crisis management. Blue Cross is currently in dire straits, public opinion-wise, following revelations that it gave their grossly overpaid CEO a $600,000 loan (never to be repaid) to get a divorce and marry his secretary (doubtless for historic value as a 21st-century emblem of corporate behavior). Using a keen eye for discerning how this flew with the great unwashed, BCBS blamed its health coverage costs (featuring the popular "Ben Dover State Plan") on obese participants who continually pop into donut shops, clearing entire racks of Krispy Kremes with quarts of Narragansett.
Action men P&J are, of course, no strangers to crises, be it a falling soufflé or the TV at Casa D. going on the fritz just before a Liza Minnelli special on HBO. But getting back to Mr. Blue Cross: His panic was such we learned that the company has already found a damage control firm from Boston. We anxiously wait to see what tack BC will use with the advice of these new spin-meisters. They may employ the extremely popular Bush administration strategy — blatantly lying at all times, even if the explanations don’t pass the laugh test; stonewalling all inquiries; getting backdoor access to a key judge who could help to decide a case; and viciously attacking its critics on an ad hominem basis, rather than countering the facts, in an attempt to ruin their accusers’ personal and professional lives.
Not for nothin’, but Phillipe and Jorge are renowned worldwide as innovators. It appears, however, that the Blue Double-Crossers will not get the benefit of our cutting edge PR strategy, which crosses boundaries hitherto unexplored by corporate buccaneers and posturing politicians: Tell the truth, say you are sorry, and straighten up. We know this is a huge stretch for this crowd. Maybe someone in the upper echelons at Blue Cross (or even the White House) might be smart enough to understand it.
Naaah. Sleep tight, Scott Fraser and Condee Rice.
Nothing like a few of our countrymen being riddled with bullets, hauled from their burning cars, mutilated, dragged through the streets, and hung from bridges to get the American public’s attention. Maybe things aren’t going quite as planned in Iraq.
Showing President Flight Suit’s sensitivity and respect for our men and women in uniform, Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt told reporters after the bloodshed, "Despite an uptick in local engagements, the overall area of operations remains relatively stable with negligible impact on the coalition’s ability to continue progress in governance, economic development, and restoration of essential services." General Kimmitt evidently missed the message of P&J’s aforementioned PR seminar. Perhaps this is how the sympathetic and caring notification went out to the families of the victims: "We regret to inform you that despite an uptick in local engagements, blah, blah, blah, your son/husband/father was brutally murdered and mutilated by a mob whom we had no chance of controlling."
Love those compassionate conservatives, don’t you?
P.S.:Speaking of Dubya the Dumb, leader of the church of the Moron Majority, he showed he has some serious clout with his friends in Saudi Arabia when it comes to getting more oil to hold down the cost upsurge (read: price-gouging) that we’re all experiencing at the gas pump. Even though Dubya, his dad, and their entire family have had their lips surgically attached to the buttocks of the Saudi royals (and bin Laden’s family) for the past couple of decades, his bosom buddy sons of the desert effectively told him to go pound Arabian sand. Kiss our burnoose, Georgie Boy, was the subtle message. Time to get back into the flight suit, Junior, and as Wesley Clark so wonderfully put it, "prance around on an aircraft carrier," to protect the all hat, no cattle manhood. Mission accomplished!
DEATHS IN THE FAMILY
Phillipe & Jorge are saddened to report that last week was a particularly difficult one at Casa Diablo, especially for our many friends who were also regulars at the original Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel. Rich Lupo’s mom, Miriam, passed away. While she didn’t actually hang out at the club (she was way too legit for that), Miriam graced some special events over the years, like the premiere of the Complex World film, and most recently, Rich and Sarah’s wedding. Yes, she was really cool, a wonderful, spirited, and lovely person. Mrs. Lupo was a great raconteur as well. You could tell that she was a great mom. Our condolences to Rich, Sarah, Rich’s brother, Ed, and the rest of the Lupo family.
Patrick Michael Davis, another charter member of the Lupo’s scene, and one of most prominent musicians of that era, also passed away last week. Pat was the bass player for the Wild Turkey Band (later renamed the Hometown Rockers), one of this state’s biggest and most popular bands of the ’70s and early ’80s. Pat was admired and loved by many (his wake and funeral were overflowing with most of the best musicians of that halcyon era). We will remember him as one of the most courageous and honest people we have ever known. Pat was a gifted and inspiring artist, a great natural musician, but what his closest friends will always cherish is his courage and indomitable spirit. He severely injured his back more than a decade ago, to the point that he could no longer work. In recent years, he faced a number of serious health crises, and finally, cancer.
We can’t imagine the pain that Patrick suffered, day-in and day-out, for years, nor how his wife, Patty, was continuously able to provide love and support under such terrible circumstances. But they did it, astonishingly and without complaint. These are remarkable people. Patrick’s courage and humor in the face of pain and suffering remains an inspiration to his friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, who hung in there with him, showing real courage and love themselves. As long as real people play real music around here, Patrick will be remembered.
MAN AT WORK
Tommy from Queens writes to say that never, in his career of reading about stupid ideas, has he seen one as moronic as the state DOT’s decision to place a desk amid their construction area on the Washington Bridge on I-195. This is to indicate that motorists should be more careful, driving at the average one mph through the section, because it is the highway employees’ "office" and should be respected as such. (Unlike the respect not shown to Biggest Little commuters.)
Tommy is worried that yet another distraction for motorists might play against the notion of this being a work-safety zone, a la the eye-diverting sight of people pogo-sticking on the overpass, which has proved to be a surefire driving hazard over the years. We can imagine how many DOT employees would enjoy sitting at a desk, being paid to think up genius ideas like this, rather than welding cold steel in mid-winter or pouring asphalt on a balmy 90 degrees-high humidity day in mid-summer. Not finished yet (just like the bridge repair) DOT spokeswoman Dana Alexander Nolfe was quick to add a further cheery thought, saying to a Urinal reporter: "The announcement is to let motorists know that there will be more road construction this year than ever in the history of the state transportation agency." Yeee-ha! Party time, Little Rhody drivers!
Note: To the other truth-seekers who have contacted Phillipe and Jorge, asking about the desk on I-195, we regret to say, no, this is not where Attorney General Patrick Lynch has relocated his office to stay out of trouble. You’re welcome.
LITERARY VO DILUN
Casa Diablo has been awash in recent months with books from local authors. We’re still reading and enjoying the bounty, but we’d like to mention some of the recent titles. BeloJo reporter Mark Arsenault’s (he wrote the controversial Craig Price series last month) Spiked (Poison Pen Press) is a mystery set at a daily newspaper in Lowell, Massachusetts. Mark’s reliably gritty portrait of Lowell seems dead on, while his depiction of life at a daily newspaper might be a tad too bitter for some (actually, newspaper people will likely bust a gut laughing). A good yarn, well told, Spiked is a source of tremendous enjoyment, and we look forward to more from the talented Mr. Arsenault.
There’s more grit from Edward Dalton, the former reporter who has spent the past decade driving cab in the Biggest Little. Dalton’s self-published real cab rides is a collection of his columns from Providence Monthly, re-edited for (shall we say) a more mature audience. The strong language that was removed from the columns has been restored. A valuable and not-to-be-missed glossary of cabbie terms in the back of the book is as interesting as many of the tales. No-nonsense and highly opinionated, Dalton’s book is a must for anyone interested in Providence’s urban landscape.
We’re not exactly sure what to think of Robert Arellano’s Don Dimaio of La Plata (Akashic Books). It is a highly imaginative and fictionalized account of a certain long-serving mayor of Providence, but the chapters we’ve read consist almost entirely of the characters driving around town, inhaling drugs, and talking about sex. We hope there’s a bit more character development, because it’s obvious that Arellano can write. Time will tell, and we will let you know if the book turns around, becoming something more interesting.
Congratulations to former lieutenant governor Tom DiLuglio, who has just published a collection of short stories, From Scratch: Stories (Moyer Bell). We’ve always known Tom to be a sophisticate with an eye and ear for the arts, but didn’t realize that he was a writer. We look forward to picking up his book and wish him well with it.
Finally, although Lynne Cheney is not from the Ocean State, we are sad to announce that the vice-president’s wife will not be having her 1981 romance novel, Sisters, reissued. This fabulous work, featuring, according to USA Today, "brothels, attempted rapes, and a lesbian love affair," was, we suppose, not what the re-election team had in mind. Look for your copy on eBay.
Send vast tracts of land and Pulitzer-grade tips to P&J@ phx.com.
The Phillipe & Jorge archives.
Issue Date: April 9 - 15, 2004
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