P&J were strangely drawn to the story by Linda Borg in the Sunday BeloJo on the exceptionally low marks the Biggest Little received in a happiness index conceived by what we suspect are a bunch of elite jickies from across the pond for the journal Science (which is, after all, headquartered in Cambridge, England). Despite the fact that the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York all rank lower in happiness in this highly dubious study, we Vo Dilunduhs, when confronted, will stand tall in support of our own inherent misery.
Of course, the part that really shook your superior correspondents was that nearly every person Borg spoke with or quoted to get to the bottom of this latest attack on the Rhody Pride was a Casa Diablo regular. Richard Walton, Bill Shuey, Linda Levin, Henry Shelton, Bill Harley — this looked for all the world like the guest list at the Casa Diablo New Year's Eve Ball. Needless to say, P&J aren't crabby types at all and, as you know, we never, ever complain.
SEASONS GREETINGS FOR PAWTUCKET
Regular Cool, Cool World readers know that Pawtucket is a favored city of your superior correspondents, so we were quite pleased to hear from our friend Herb Weiss, the indefatigable Economic & Cultural Affairs Officer for the city, that a very attractive retail store has recently purchased the historic Toole Building (228-230 Main Street) and hopes to be open for business in early spring.
Shekhar LLC has bought the five-story building from Louis Yip for $230,000 and is planning to put an Artee Home store there. Artee specializes in high-end textiles for drapes, upholstery, and home furnishings as well as rugs, furniture, and other home décor items. It's sort of a superstore for interior decorators and we hear there isn't a similar business within 50 miles.
We also understand that the fabulous Phyllis Nathanson, one of the original behind-the-scenes movers and shakers in creating the evolving face of modern Pawtucket as an arts/design/creative mecca, whose fingerprints are all over nearly every aspect of Pawtucket's rebirth, played a key role in brokering the deal. According to Donna Kirwan of the Times of Pawtucket, Phyllis had accidentally overheard Larry Leiberman (a representative for Shekhar's owners) ask someone about the availability of commercial space in Pawtucket. Needless to say, Phyllis's knowledge of the not-necessarily-related worlds of fashion, design, and Pawtucket real estate led her to steer Leiberman toward the very attractive Toole Building.
Besides extraordinary ambassadors like Phyllis (and her husband, the noted designer Morris) Nathanson, Richard Kazarian, Bob Billington, Herb Weiss, and many others, the powers that be in City Hall in Pawtucket have become quite skilled in cutting through red tape and addressing the fire code, zoning, and tax issues that can make the experience of trying to locate a business in a new city so frustrating. Congrats to all!
Phillipe did something rather unusual this Christmas Eve. He spent part of it watching a DVD of the US Navy boot camp graduation ceremonies at the Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois. To say it was inspiring would be a gross understatement.