The tale of local businessman Joseph A. Caramadre, who paid the terminally ill a fraction of the face value for the right to buy variable annuities in their names — annuities that paid out in full, plus interest, upon their deaths — is enough to make your skin crawl. But Joe the Ghoul may just be a bit player, as a recent Wall Street Journal story (referenced by the Providence Business News) suggests.
If P+J remember correctly, the New York Times broke the news a few months ago that the greedy vultures of Wall Street had developed a scheme to buy up terminally ill, aged, or infirm individuals' policies with ready cash that they could use before they turned their toes up, while passing on their substantial post mortem payments to the drooling investors so we could have more Mercedes in the driveways of Greenwich and the Hamptons. Can you say, "Can't take it with you, boys and girls?" No doubt the swine on Wall Street are appalled that someone not getting continued multi-million dollar bonuses from the taxpayers might beat them to the punch, never mind that the greedheads at today's soulless and unspeakable insurance agencies may have forgotten to cover their asses once again and stood to take a financial butt-whippin'. Gosh, so sorry, fellas.
RATZINGERING HIM OUT
It looks like our close personal friend at the Vatican, Pope Bendover, aka Joseph Ratzinger, is having a tough time keeping the mouths of his friends back home in Germany shut about his time there as archbishop.
The Catholic authorities in Deutschland say that in 1980, while Pope Bendover was Archbishop of Munich, a priest who was accused of molesting a young boy went into some sort of God-approved therapy, but was then sent to another diocese where he abused again. The Vatican is now employing the famous Hogan's Heroes' Sgt. Schultz German defense for the Teutonic tool man — "He knew not-tink!" — despite the fact that everyone believes zero went on in Munich without his knowledge.
The police were not alerted either. No surprise given that Ratzinger, later serving as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, penned a letter to the bishops asking that all cases of pedophilia and child abuse be reported directly to him. And if the bishops didn't make a call to the local gendarmes, so be it, he would just handle it with the incredibly transparent system they have in Rome.
Taking a page from the GOP playbook, the Vatican is claiming the media is to blame for persecuting this wonderful man. Hey, Bendover, we're guessing Elvis Costello's angels don't want to be anywhere near your red shoes these days.
MISSION: GLADIATOR MOVIES
For those of P+J's generation Peter Graves, who died last week, was first a TV icon on Mission: Impossible and later the answer to a trivia question: who is the brother of James Arness, who played the famed Gunsmoke lawman Matt Dillon?
He later rose to fame with a newer generation — and reached legendary status with his older admirers — for comic movie roles, notably as Captain Oveur in Airplane. The lines he utters to a young boy in the cabin of the plane — "Joey, do you like gladiator movies?" and "Have you ever seen a grown man naked?" — have reached the cult status of lines like Spinal Tap's "This one goes to 11!"