While the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the world's big "environmental summit," produced enough hot air to accelerate global warming tenfold, there was at least one noteworthy moment.

The Financial Times reported that thuggish paramount chief Robert Mugabe got his comeuppance with a particularly amusing interpreter's error: "When . . . Mugabe began to speak at the opening session of the conference, the sometimes erratic English translation on convention centre screens briefly described him as the president of the 'Republic of O.J. Simpson.' "

Close, but no cigar. After all, OJ only killed two people. To paraphrase Eddie Izzard's brilliant take on the respect afforded to vile dictators by the international political community, when you just kill a few people, you get called a murderer, when you kill a few thousand, it's "Well done! You must be an extremely busy man."

We'll send you that Heisman Trophy replica for your performance, Mr. President.


YOOOOOOK!

Phillipe and Jorge know star athletes hardly ever run out the string with the clubs they started with, though former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek recently came close — starting out in the Seattle Mariners farm system before playing his entire big league career in Boston.

(Indeed, any real sports bar in New England has a picture of The Tek giving the Yankees' hideous egomaniac A-Hole Rodriguez a face wash with his catcher's mitt, right alongside the photos of Ted Williams swinging the bat, Bobby Orr flying in midair after scoring his Stanley Cup-winning goal against the St. Louis Blues, and the original Big Three — Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish — walking up court together at the Boston Garden.)

Still, it pained us to hear that Kevin Youkilis was being traded to the Chicago White Sox for a pair of nobodies, evidently for making the mistake of turning 33 (here we paraphrase Casey Stengel's classic line about the Yankees dropping him as manager at age of 70).

The Youk is a real blood-and-guts baseballer. He looks like a bouncer at a biker bar, and comes at the game with the ferocity of same — as if his opponents have made the critical mistake of suggesting he is a pussy. The fact that another self-made All-Star, Sox golden boy Dustin Pedroia, praised Youk through the roof upon learning of his departure tells you all you need to know about his diamond cred.

We can only hope that Kevin continues to hear lots of "Yoooook!" cries echoing through airports and on the streets in the American League towns his visits — an audible gift from the folks of Red Sox Nation. Thanks for the memories, big guy, and here's a P&J monogrammed towel to wipe off the sweat.


THE MIGHTY MAX

Old Providence hands will know the name Max Alexander. Max lived in Providence for a number of years back in the 1970s and '80s and, for a while, was a "fellow" at the Casual Research Institute on the fifth floor of the Conrad Building, above the original Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel.

Besides writing and providing photographs for the Phoenix's, precursor, The NewPaper, Max was a bartender at the late, lamented Leo's. Max married Sarah Baldwin and they moved to New York and, later, Los Angeles, where Max worked as executive editor of Variety and as a senior editor at People magazine. The couple now resides in Maine.

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