Sleazy stunts like this one, which deprives patients of a welcome diversion from the soap operas and morphine drips, are cheapening the image of a once-proud paper. Continually squeezing the Providence Newspaper Guild and cutting back on staff is bad enough, but the Urinal now seems intent on becoming the organ of record in Potterville.

Probably just as well the folks in the hospital don't learn about this, as it would doubtless sicken them further — as it has anyone who has a decent bone in their body.


KIDNEY FOR JIM

One of the best newspaper men in the Biggest Little is P&J's pal Jim Gillis. Although Jim is originally from the Center of the Universe (aka, Pawtucket), he has long been a fixture at the Newport Daily News — probably the most knowledgeable writer there on music matters. He also does a lot of profiles of interesting people in the Aquidneck Island area and some general reporting.

About five years ago, Jim contracted kidney damage from an infection and things got worse over time. Since May of this year, he has been receiving kidney dialysis and is currently on the Rhode Island Hospital kidney transplant list. Jim's blood type is O positive so, if you are O positive and would consider donating a kidney to one of the state's finest journalists, we urge you to do so. We're looking for a hero who can help out another hero.


BUS BOAST

Your superior correspondents were somewhat taken aback by an item in the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority's most recent newsletter.

The budgetary woes at RIPTA have long been an issue and, more recently, the agency has been embroiled in other controversies.

Recently, we learned that a camera had been obscured in the room where cash from bus passes was counted. Then, in late August, RIPTA CEO Charles Odimgbe was placed on paid administrative leave for reasons that remain unclear.

More recently, $200,000 was spent on repainting RIPTA vans used to transport the disabled and elderly, a decision reportedly made by Odimgbe without the knowledge of RIPTA's board of directors.

The item in the newsletter boasted about the new paint job on the vans. Although P&J are not in a position to assess the CEO's job performance, we do find it curious that RIPTA would be trumpeting the newly painted buses when the whole issue is the subject of some controversy.


DELAY OF GAME

Speaking of controversies, do you think that it's time for the NFL to get the official referees back to work? All over the league, the teams and fans are kvetching about the lousy calls by the replacement officials. The NFL owners ought to get this thing straightened out before all hell breaks loose.


POLISHING KATE'S IMAGE

Phillipe and Jorge's butler Jeeves has been spending an inordinate amount of time in the loo since the pictures of our favorite Duchess, Kate Middleton, appeared in a 26-page spread in the Italian mag Chi.

We confronted our man after we found a well-worn copy of the publication, with the cover headline "La Regina E Nuda!," in the downstairs quarters at Casa Diablo. But Jeeves said he was only interested in the articles, which he claimed were top-drawer stuff.

P&J were both astonished at Jeeves's heretofore unknown fluency in Italian. But P. got much closer to the point, we believe, when he suggested that Jeeves stick to polishing the silver, not his rocket, while on duty.

Send Madden NFL 13 and Pulitzer-grade tips to p&j@phx.com.

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