The controversy over the Freedom From Religion Foundation's attack on a World War I and World War II memorial on city land in Woonsocket — it includes a cross — isn't worth a week's worth of talk radio time. But it does warrant a comment by P&J.

The foundation ought to pick its fights a little better. Going after a memorial erected to honor Americans who gave their lives in a far different time is going to get little sympathy. And don't wrap yourself in the overworked separation of church and state flag, because in this instance it is beyond nitpicking.

What's offensive is not the cross on the memorial. What is offensive is war. Wars are obscene. So if the Freedom From Religion Foundation wants to fight something that desecrates everyone and kills far too many, how about picketing the White House, the Pentagon, or Dover Air Force Base, where the body bags arrive home containing some of our best and bravest young people, who died for specious reasons in the international cesspool that is Afghanistan, and before that, in the oil-driven attack on Iraq?

You want obscene and offensive, you got it there, not in Woonsocket. Sleep tight, Ike.


SISTER CITY?

The concept of sister cities has always struck P&J as a fine and fanciful idea.

In Little Rhody, Providence has links to Florence, Italy and Niquinohomo, Nicaragua; while Newport has six international alliances, the best known being that with Kinsale, Ireland. But opportunists that P&J are, we see an excellent opportunity for Johnston to hook up with its own sister city in Austria.

According to the British tabloid The Mirror, the residents of the unfortunately named town of Fucking have decided to change its name, for quite obvious reasons. Their choice for a new moniker was Fugging, which kind of misses the point of the exercise, to our minds.

But it turns out there is already an Austrian village 200 miles to the south named Fugging, and the folks there don't want another municipality co-opting their name. One can imagine how sensitive the proud citizens of a town called Fugging would be.

Johnston might be able to offer a few tips. That town's politicians had the fine idea to attach an "a" to the start of their last names — Russo morphing into aRusso — in a bid to move further up the ballot. Our Austrian friends, then, might consider naming their town aFugging.

Or, in deference to the considerable elocution skills of Johnston homeboy Pauly D and his friends on Jersey Shore, perhaps Fuggin' A would resonate. Either way, the "a" would solve this poor Austrian village's dilemma, and mark the beginning of a beautiful sisterhood.

Next week: what to do about Intercourse, Pennsylvania.


YOU COULD DANCE TO HIM

For lack of space last week, we could not include a shoutout to the late Dick Clark, so here goes.

Growing up on City Line in Philadelphia, Phillipe was a stone cold American Bandstand fan. And on occasion, he would ride past the Philly studio where it was taped — his parents pointing out the blocks-long line of kids waiting to get their moment of fame dancing on the show. Naturally, doing the Philly Stroll on Bandstand with some hot beehived babe became his goal in life — that and becoming center fielder for the Phillies.

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