The Week, an excellent compilation of news, opinion, entertainment, humor, and occasional TV recommendations, is a routine cover-to-cover read at Casa Diablo. So we were startled to see none other than our own US Senator Sheldon Whitebread in the weekly spot of a famed author highlighting his or her favorite books. (The article was tied to Senator Sherbert's recently-released book of annotated inspiring quotations, On Virtues. We expect that our signed copies are in the mail.)
Whitehouse's selections were Last Exit to Brooklyn, by Hubert Selby; Howl by Allen Ginsberg (Whitebread is a poetry buff); Memoirs of a Midget, by Walter de la Mare; Class: A Guide Through the American Status System, by Paul Fussell; and Three Stooges FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Eye-Poking, Face-Slapping, Head-Thumping Geniuses, by David J. Hogan.
Well, truth be told, those are titles pulled from P&J's favorites list, not the good senator's choices, which ranged from high-minded poems and essays to a book of drink and food recipes titled, The Gentleman's Companion, that Ernest Hemingway reportedly kept in his Cuba home. Unfortunately, P&J can't say we have read any of the books on our friend's list, nor do we plan to as long as there are new episodes of Swamp People, Duck Dynasty, and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on TV.
One of Jorge's favorite bands, South County's Biscuit City, will be playing at Nick-a-Nee's in Providence on April 19 starting around 9 pm. There's a lot to like about Nick's (no cover charge, for example) and a lot to like about Biscuit City, helmed by Josh Schurman and featuring Paula Clare Ciminero, Mark Vinbury, Bro Dunn, and Mike "Tex" Tanaka. Biscuit City has a rootsy, country, bluesy sound all its own. They always put on a fun show.
In other music news, we heard from our friend Jeffrey Lee, Esq., who reminds us that the Original Southern New England Rock 'n' Roll Collectors Convention in February was sort of dismal. It took place during one of those pesky winter storms and, according to Dr. Oldie, dealers and customers were "too a-scared" to brave the weather. So they've added a show at DiParma's Italian Table at the Clarion Inn in Seekonk on April 21 from 10 am to 3 pm. The next one won't be until the end of October, so be there or be square.
There were half-mast flags and tears in the cocktail lounge at Casa Diablo last week after the death of Jonathan Winters. Winters was simply a comic genius — a wiseass idol from P&J's Wonder Years equally capable of cracking up elementary school kids and their parents. He put the "improv" into "improvisation," and as much as you may enjoy contemporary comedians like Robin Williams and Jim Carrey (who rightly consider Winters an inspiration), neither could come close to him for insane bits. Neither could anyone else.
His frequent appearances had a lot to do with the successes of The Steve Allen Show, Tonight Starring Jack Paar, and then Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. Anyone who saw Winters's split-second character changes with accompanying facial and vocal special effects could understand why he suffered a nervous breakdown in 1959.