Paging Chicken Little

City motivated to panic; Making things better; close encounter of the weird kind
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  October 5, 2011

Behaving with all the coolheaded aplomb of Prissy — the young maid played by Butterfly McQueen who ran around flapping her hands in the air and shrieking "I don't know nuthin' 'bout birthin' babies, Miz Scarlett" in Gone With the Wind — Providence school honchos and the city's emergency management agency managed to make a king-size balls-up of the arrival of the "Get Motivated" speakers seminar at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.

These battle-hardened veterans of major catastrophes (such as the budget meltdown in La Prov) were so frightened about the crowd imposing a "carmaggedon," they pushed back the start of school for two hours and did everything but suggest people coming to the city that morning parachute in to avoid the traffic.

If emergency managers thought a bunch of clapped-out political hacks, aging comedians, and former sportsmen would put the capital city into the sort of gridlock that only a shared visit by the Pope and Elvis-coming-back-from-the-grave might create, one wonders how they will prepare for the next appearance of the Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus.

Naturally TV "news" scavengers ate this faux apocalypse up. And we can expect more of the same next time.

Buy some milk, bread, and batteries, Ma — Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil have a seminar together at the Dunk this morning. Oh, the humanity!


P&J have seen some weird, wonderful, and perverse things here in Our Little Towne over three-plus decades, but even your superior correspondents were unable to remember a TV interview as weird as one we recently saw on Channel 12.

Following the arrests on September 28 of 14 individuals by state police on charges of possessing child pornography in what was called "Operation Safe Child Rhode Island," intrepid WPRI reporter Kathryn Sotnik tracked down one of the alleged pedophiles at home. Now, P&J don't know whether the gentleman who appeared on camera is guilty or innocent, but we do know he needs a good media consultant.

The accused stood in the doorway of what appeared to be his apartment, with Sotnik interviewing him as he held the door only half-open and remained inside. Might P&J suggest that it would have been a good idea to put on a shirt and not look like you had just emerged from your bathroom? It's a particularly important move when you happen to be middle-aged and balding, with a hairy back and chest that would make a gorilla — or Russell Brand — blush.

How Sotnik was able to keep the man standing there as she asked questions for what seemed like an eternity, with him stating his innocence every cellulite-jiggling, fishbelly white-skinned step of the way, was beyond P&J's ken.

When young Kathryn rolled the interview back at the station for her producers and editors, we would have given a million bucks to be flies on the wall and observe their reactions. It would have been a great place to take your skin for a crawl.

Oh, and a final hint from your free consultants, Mr. Suspect. Don't admit to working with youngsters as a DJ at boys clubs and dances.


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