C.J. Chivers's real journalism

Plus, it's time for same-sex marriage, the PPL on the brink, and some unusual tomes
By PHILLIPE and JORGE  |  April 22, 2009

Phillipe and Jorge were absolutely stunned by the astounding and chilling story on the front page of the April 20 Urinal (lifted, of course, from the front page of the New York Times) by C.J. "Chris" Chivers, who found himself caught in a Taliban ambush in the wilds of Afghanistan along with his Times cameraman and an US Army platoon.

Chivers is a former BeloJo reporter and ex-Marine, but one can't believe he was expecting to have this close a brush with death. The layout in the Other Paper ghoulishly pictured a soldier crossing a river on a length of wood, only seconds before he was blown up into a tree and killed by a roadside bomb. Photog Tyler Hicks also took photos of soldiers running for cover in a hail of bullets, and he had to ford a river in chest-deep water to seek cover from Taliban mortar fire on the other side. Chivers's recounting of the situation was so vivid you could almost hear the bullets whizzing past the platoon and their guests' heads.

If you want a you-are-there view of what a hideous predicament we are putting our troops into in a God- and Allah-forsaken hellhole that shows no sign of ever reaching any sort of peace, find Chivers's story at the Times' web site to read the full piece, not the BeloJo's Cliff Notes version.

As a follow-up on Chivers, Phillipe had a chance to work with him on a couple of fisheries stories while he was in the Biggest Little, as he is an avid striped bass angler. He had some interesting comments about his stay at the Urinal and why he chose to come to La Prov (found at mediabistro.com from an interview in the Baton Rouge Advocate): "When I left [Columbia School of Journalism] I had interest from the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Providence Journal. These weren't big jobs. They were internships with a small possibility of a full-time slot. I chose Providence because it was clear from the interviewing process that the editors in Rhode Island were more personally interested in their young reporters. And the fishing was better. That mattered."

A nice and deserved tribute to the newsroom folks on Fountain Street, from a real journalist.


Sad news came to Casa Diablo on April 16 about the death of P+J's old pal, Mike Anderson. One of the original crew at the late, lamented Leo's, Mike was a combination janitor/bookkeeper who helped establish the tradition that everyone who worked there in the mid-'70s must be vastly overqualified for what he or she did, from bartending to waitressing to being Jorge's role model as Choreboy, when the prevailing free-form attitude was "urinal cakes all around!" A very gentle and kind soul, and a slick-fielding third baseman in softball, he will be sorely missed.


P&J do not understand how elected public officials — like Governor Don "Laughing Boy" Carcieri, Speaker of the House Murphy, Senate President Paiva Weed, etc. — continue to be opposed to same-sex marriage. Their opposition is based solely on religious grounds. We'll say that again — solely on religious grounds — and this is not a theocratic state. And you can take it from us, Carcieri and the rest would be first in line to toss the founder, a guy with big cojones, Roger Williams, in the clink if he reared his acned puss in 21st-century Vo Dilun.

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