The mighty Captain Blowhard, former Rhode Island governor Bruce Sundlun, was back in the news quite prominently with his stop sign-rolling, curb-jumping antics behind the wheel that led the Jamestown police to suggest that he come out with his driver's license and hands up, following similar assessments by the North Kingstown gendarmes and the URI security force. After a brief, vintage Blowhard moment in which he suggested that an inquiring Urinal reporter ride with him on his driver's road test — aka, Death Race 2009 — he decided to give up his road privileges upon the advice of family and friends.
The Captain's life has always been a spectacular, if sometimes nasty, story. We know he has a wonderful wife on Conanicut Island in the lovely and charming Soozie, so he should feel he's a lucky man. But every now and then the arrogance, Mr. Man-liness, and Roman hands and Russian fingers that have marked his career take over, along with the apparent effects of milkshake-sized ingestions of Viagra. Such was the case with the short-lived defense of his driving ability.
While his steady and firm hand on the tiller let Captain Blowhard lead the state successfully and admirably through the incredible financial scandal which saw him close down the state's credit unions within hours of taking office in his first term as Little Rhody's head ramrod, the bluster that always attended him was incredibly evident in the driving fiasco, as it was when he was taking pot shots at raccoons on his Newport estate years ago.
P+J's favorite story about Captain Blowhard was told to us by a Channel 10 weatherman who encountered Sundlun in the hallway just after he had decided to run for governor, as WJAR then shared an office building with the Captain's Outlet Co. His political advisors had told Blowhard he had to be a bit more personable if he intended to get any votes, and not do things like refuse to allow anyone to ride in the elevator with him in his Outlet kingdom. As he strode down the hall toward our friend, he said "Hello," which was so out of character that the Channel 10 serf said he turned around to see who was behind him that Sund-lun was addressing. You're a piece of work, Captain.
A FOR "ADULTERY"
The Gamm Theatre in Pawtucket is wrapping up its 24th season with an adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, directed by Casa Diablo's queen of the stage, Judith Swift, which guarantees an evening of wicked wit and wisdom.
As always, P+J prefer to let the Gamm's grande dame explain her work in her own terms, so here is Swift's description of the production: "Americans have always gotten a bad rap for their Puritan forebears. Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is the magnum opus of Puritan guilt — supposedly the stuff that makes us both judgmental about and perversely interested in blue dresses, cigars and Spitzer hookups. Phyllis Nagy's adaptation of the novel gets to the heart (a perverse pun) of the matter by focusing on areas wherein we most often fail each other and ourselves: the belief that salvation is worth any hell on earth; the notion that one person's passions can control another's; and the failure to relegate hairshirts to the mildewed shelves of medieval memories."