Along for the 35-year ride

The origin story, the kerfuffles, the nicknames, and who's who
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  November 21, 2013

It is only fitting that Phillipe and Jorge would hit their 35th year of writing our “Cool, Cool World” column along with The Providence Phoenix celebrating 35 years of telling you whose what is where, when and why in The Biggest Little. We’ve been told that P&J is the longest-running column in Little Rhody’s journalistic annals. (That’s not counting comic strips, where we’re sure Dagwood and Blondie’s own hipster world would surpass us.)

Because of this achievement, P&J have at times been mentioned as candidates for the R.I. Journalism Hall of Fame, but as Jorge is always quick to respond, that will depend upon weather conditions — as in, “When Hell freezes over.”

Read on for some musings about our long and checkered career.

Who’s that girl?

“Cool, Cool World” got off to a flying start thanks to a tip from our pals at The Providence Journal (aka The Urinal, or, more recently, BeloJo). It was the first of many, many backdoor items we received from the ink-stained wretches on Fountain Street, who gave us info about things they couldn’t write about. The Urinal couldn’t print anything without two credible sources to back it up, while, meanwhile, we were just two wiseasses giving our opinion who could get away with printing the hottest tales on the grapevine. This situation resulted in esteemed Urinal columnist Bob Kerr once saying that P&J had “more of the truth and less of the facts” than his venerable organ.

For that first column, it turned out that our friends in the gay community had managed to sneak a wedding announcement into the week’s ProJo nuptials announcements, replete with a flattering photo of the “bride” who called herself Tanya DiPrete and wore a gorgeous and tasteful veil. In real life, however, Tanya had as much wedding tackle under his/her dress as the groom.

P&J publicly celebrated the open-mindedness of The Urinal recognizing a gay marriage in print (decades in advance of The New York Times’ bold step into that arena) and gave kudos to management for such a groundbreaking leap forward. However, when Fountain Street execs found they had been duped, they went ultra-ballistic, and took on a manhunt (ba-boom!) to see who had allowed this affront to decency to occur — with no luck, of course.

Thanks, Tanya. You’ll always be our favorite gal — and looking radiant, we might add.

You talkin’ to me?

Until P&J arrived, The Urinal, other media outlets, and most politicians weren’t accustomed to being undressed and made fun of in public. The shock of this bald-faced effrontery often led our civic leaders to become apoplectic, and respond like little children. “Mommy, Johnny called me a bad name!” On one occasion, a certain major domo at Halitosis Hall removed all of the week’s copies of the Phoenix from the building because we tore him a new fundament in print.

On more than one other occasion, P. or J.’s real-life employers were called on the phone and demanded we be fired from our jobs. Those callers included a speaker of the House, a governor and, most memorably, the ranting and raving Irishman who was the Urinal’s editorial page editor at the time, John Hackett.

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