Hail to the chief

By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  July 1, 2009

P+J have worked with many people on Aquidneck Island on planning projects, and major projects such as the West Side Master Plan have been a model for what should be going on statewide. We hope all the parties and politicians on Aquidneck continue to lead the way in showing what should have been done many years ago to help Little Rhody's educational woes.


OK, Newport's schools might leave something to be desired, but the city fathers and mothers who run the town have finally bitten the bullet in regard to the seaweed problem at Easton's Beach, known more familiarly as First Beach.

First Beach has been a disgrace to the town for years, as seaweed believed to be driven onto shore after breaking from an offshore reef has been a stinking, unsightly mess. (Phillipe has firsthand knowledge, as he has lived three blocks away for years and is a body-surfing fool.) The red algae — note: it is not red tide, which many people wrongly call it and which is an entirely different beast — also helps trap pollutants in the water. This combination of sight, smell, and threats to health (not to mention having to pull the seaweed out of your bathing suit and nether regions) works as the opposite of a tourist attraction, despite streams of visitors strolling down Memorial Boulevard, only to find the water and beach unspeakable.

Newport has bought a $320,000 seaweed harvesting machine to abet the Sisyphean raking efforts the city has used to try to rid the beach of the offending algae. It is a bold and innovative step, but you have to be fairly thick not to realize that the city is losing money from the tourist trade as well as tarnishing its image as a picturesque seaside resort. There needs to be similar commitment from and partnership with Middletown, as First Beach merges into neighboring Atlantic Beach, which is plagued by other problems, such as runoff pollution. But this is a nice first step to restoring what has become a sad scene.


To a certain extent, your superior correspondents don't know what to say about Michael Jackson. We don't know if he was a pedophile and we don't know what to think about his increasingly freakish behavior. But we do know that he was an artist of rare skill and inspiration.

We prefer to remember that amazing kid who sang "The Love You Save" and "ABC." The moment in "ABC" when he interjects (making it sound like an ad lib) "Sit down, girl, I think I love you! No! Get up and show me what you can do" remains one of the most thrilling moments in pop music and an early indication that this kid was a genius singer and dancer and all-around entertainer.

Off the Wall and Thriller solidified our admiration for his unique and special gifts. Maybe there is a lesson in Michael Jackson going out the way he did, but we're not sure what that is, because we thought that lesson was learned absorbed more than 30 years ago with Elvis. Maybe Lisa Marie should have reminded Michael.


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