• Job well done to shoppers on Black Friday, who managed to set a record for most firearms purchased in the US in a single day. Must have been those door-buster, loss-leader prices on Uzis and AK-47s — to be used only for target practice, of course — that put them over the top. Merry Christmas, and keep your hands where we can see them.
There have been a lot of public challenges lately, everything from the most highfalutin art battles to down and dirty politics. P&J's friend, the poet Silent Lotus, alerted us to a battle that's been raging in The New York Review of Books between the (white) Harvard professor, Helen Vendler, and the (black) highly esteemed poet, Rita Dove, concerning a tome Dove recently edited, The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth Century Poetry.
Professor Vendler's conclusion was that the selections were too "inclusive" and "multicultural" as well as "too peppy." Among the poets knocked by Vendler was the 1950 Pulitzer Prize winner, Gwendolyn Brooks. She claimed that Brooks's work is full of hyperbole. Sorry, Helen, we're thinking you're a bit of a tight-ass here.
Meanwhile, the GOP caravan pulled into ABC News for its latest (and, by far, most watched) candidates debate this weekend, with the Newt starting to build a lead over the embattled Mitt. The order of the day was "pigpile on Gingrich," but according to the pundits, no one laid a glove on Newt. He got away with calling the Palestinians an "invented people."
Mitt, for his part, made a critical error when he responded to a Rick Perry taunt with the suggestion that they make a $10,000 wager, undercutting his "regular guy" image — such as it was. And this after a Sunday New York Times feature extolling Romney's cheapskate tendencies. You could see Newt smirking at this little flare-up.
This only whets the appetite for a heavyweight matchup between the Newt and the current heavyweight champ, El Presidente Obama, if Newt can continue to whack his way through the field.
And finally there was an Old Timers' Day event when WPRO ran an exclusive interview on Monday morning with former Governor Ed "The Gerber Babe" DiPrete (congrats to 'PRO's Tara Granahan, who cajoled the Gerbster into doing the interview). DiPrete recounted his version of the glory days and his eventual downfall when he pleaded guilty and ended up in the state's other Big House.
The Gerbster claimed that he was not actually guilty but had taken the fall largely because he had run out of money for his defense. He bitterly complained about cheating on the part of then-AG Jeffrey "Pine Top" Pine and his prosecutorial team in the discovery part of the trial.
On Tuesday, Pine called in to the morning news show on 'PRO and begged to differ with the former governor's interpretation of the trial. (We also got call-in testimony from another former AG, Arlene "Attila the Nun" Violet, to challenge the Gerbster's recollections of the state's banking crisis.) It was great to hear these old political warhorses still mixing it up.
RIP, BISHOP FARROW