• And speaking of the circus, kudos to the inimitable Tom Morgan at the BeloJo for his story on Saturday about recently discovered correspondence between P.T. Barnum and the 19th-century mayor of Providence, Thomas A. Doyle. The discovery was made by city archivist Paul Campbell. Morgan's eagle eye found a mysterious and particularly amusing offer by Barnum to show off his "tattooed Greek nobleman" to the local press.
• Does anybody see irony in the fact that the main academic cheerleader for expansion of legalized gambling has the name Clyde Barrow?
• Bob Perlow, who is performing at the Comedy Connection in his one-man multi-media show, The Warm-Up Guy (see last week's "Cool, Cool World"), is originally from Pawtucket — a member of the family that owned Perlow Shoes, a downtown institution for years. Also, the director of the show, Steve Feinberg, is the same Steve Feinberg who runs the state film office. I couldn't confirm this information last week before we went to press but I find that it adds a new and interesting wrinkle to what has all the hallmarks of a great show. The Warm-Up Guy is performing on May 5 and 12 at 8 pm.
• I loved the front page story by John Tierney in Sunday's New York Times about the city of Somerville, Massachusetts. It seems officials there added a question to their city census forms this spring that asked, "On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy do you feel right now?" Said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone, "We need to change our mind-set in how we serve people . . . Cities keep careful track of their finances, but a bond rating doesn't tell us how people feel or why they want to raise a family here or relocate a business here." Let's not all rush to move to Somerville. Let's do something right here at home.
One of the reasons so many have so little faith in our government, the giant corporations, and other leading institutions — a situation that exacerbates "Moon Landing Syndrome" (see above) — is those institutions have all too frequently been unworthy of the trust of people. They have lied and cheated and abused the earth and its inhabitants.
A story I read on the BeloJo website, headlined "Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence urges Assembly to reject civil unions," points to yet another instance of this phenomenon. Reported and written by the great Katherine "Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill" Gregg, it detailed how the institutional church (I delineate between the "institutional church" and what I consider the real Christian church, the community of people who follow Christ) released an editorial in its propaganda sheet, the Rhode Island Catholic, that encouraged legislators to "stay steadfast in their opposition to the legal recognition of same-sex relationships as either marriage or civil unions" and to "work to strengthen marriage in our state by passing a Defense of Marriage Bill."
I called my old friend, Galileo Galilei, to ask him how long he thought it might take the institutional Catholic Church to wise up on the issue of love and sex and, specifically, same-sex love, and drop its ancient biases. Galileo wasn't too optimistic. I have a feeling this had something to do with his own experience with the institution. He suggested that the institutional Catholic Church might be the last outfit to accept love in all its glorious permutations. Love is love and it is good. Can we someday learn to leave it at that?
Send an egg timer and Pulitzer-grade tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.