Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hi, neighbor! Have a 'gansett!

Howdy, neighbor! Have a 'gansett!
Originally uploaded by NetParrot.

The legend is back. Narragansett Beer is once again available in finer Ocean State bars and packies. It's no longer brewed in Rhode Island, but hey, that's alright. Please note that I do not condone getting parrots drunk.

So how is it? Not bad at all.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Good lord!

I had never intended for this site to become the "Rhode Island sports blog", but the hits just keep coming. Today's Boston Herald is reporting that Marvin "Bad News" Barnes, former American Basketball Association great, former Boston Celtic, former Providence College All-American and native (and still current) resident of Providence, actually snorted cocaine during games while sitting on the bench for the Celtics during the 1978-1979 season.

Former Providence College teammate and former NBA rookie of the year, North Providence native Ernie DiGrigorio expressed his skepticism, saying: "I don't believe he did cocaine on the bench. I love Marvin, but I think he's just saying that. I believe a lot of the things that have happened to him that are documented - the time in prison, living on the street, all the drug rehabs. But I find that one hard to believe."

Marvin begs to differ, "Yeah, I was doing it on the bench. I was playing for the Celtics, and I was sitting next to Nate Archibald and somebody else, and I was snorting cocaine right there on the bench while the game was going on. They all moved away from me. I had it under a towel. I guess I don't need to say that my career didn't last much longer after that."

The Herald talked to the always quotable Celtics legend (and current Celtics radio man) Cedric "Cornbread" Maxwell, then a teammate of Marvin Barnes. Cedric did not hesitate to talk about Marvin's gifts, his demons, and his (Maxwell's) own stunning naivete. In his own words:

“Marvin was a good guy, and he played well the first 15 or 20 games of the season. He was on time for everything and he was great. Then the worst thing in the world happened. We had a game in St. Louis, his old stomping grounds. I had the room right beside Marvin, and when I came back from the game the music was blaring and it stayed that way until the wake-up call the next morning. That was it. Marvin was never the same.
But he definitely wasn’t alone in doing drugs. There were guys on our team and on different teams that did coke. I had a player from another team come to my house one night, and this is how naive I was. I was living out in Framingham and he comes to my door with some guy from the building. He asks me if I have any baking powder, and I’m thinking, they’re cooking cakes at this hour? Then he asked for some ammonia. I’m like, damn, they’re cleaning, too?”

Bad News Barnes is clean today, which is wonderful. Celtics fans wistfully recall the reminiscences of Celtic legend Tommy Heinsohn saying that Marvin Barnes could have been one of the greatest of all time, and saying that he had never seen anyone squander such amazing abilities (at least, that is, until Roy Tarpley and Derrick Coleman came onto the scene).

Here at the Rhode Islander, we've got nothing but love for Marvin. Tell it like it was, big man.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

"Pazmanian Devil" goes broke

Vinnie "The Pazmanian Devil" Paz (formerly Pazienza) has gone broke. The Providence Journal (registration required) is reporting that Rhode Island's most famous living athlete has filed for bankruptcy, owing over $2,000,000. The ProJo lists where some of the money is owed:

The Pazmanian Devil has a little income coming in after his retirement, but not much. He can currently be seen on Cox cable local ads for a mortgage company, which will not be giving him anywhere near the bread required to pay this off. Paz blames his gambling habit and his lavish extravagant gift giving as having put him in the hole. A sad state of affairs from a once formidable boxer, who might easily be the only sports celebrity who is actually proud of being from Rhode Island! I certainly hope the five (five!) time former world champion finds a way to get out of the hole and back on his feet.

Note: the one and only Rhode Island bred and born Vinnie Paz should not be confused with the repulsive, doughy white rapper "Vinnie Paz" from the group Jedi Mind Tricks.


This picture of Al Jefferson (left) and Paul Pierce (right) says it all as the Boston Celtics were whooped on by the Seattle Supersonics last night. Al Jefferson's face is a mask of despair, while Paul Pierce seeks solace in towels.

On a different note, with proper maginification and scrutiny, one can discern the words "BIG AL" on the green band around his left wrist, and that's just great.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Leave the hand UP, Ricky!

The Boston Celtics have played four games, and each one of them has been an edge-of-your-seat affair. After a heartbreaking last second (.8 of a second!) loss to the Detroit Pistons and a hideous overtime loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, the Celtics fought their way back from an 18 point defecit against the Memphis Grizzlies and found themselves in another tightly matched fourth quarter.

On the last possession of the game, with Boston down by one, Paul Pierce took the ball down at the baseline, where he was immediately double teamed by the Grizzlies defense. He made a buttery smooth pass to teammate Ricky Davis who, thanks to the double team on Paul Pierce, was standing all alone at the free throw line. With less than a second remaining, Ricky drained the shot (time expired while the ball was in midair), and the Celtics won by a single point.

In the picture at left, point guard Delonte West hoists Ricky Davis into the air following the game winning shot, causing Nora to excitedly squeal, "it all about LOVE!"

Oh yeah, she's not kidding. I've got nothing but love for the Celtics. Celtics fans get an entire seat with their ticket, but they'll only need the edge.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Don't mess with The Don

Providence used to be the notorious home of the New England branch of La Cosa Nostra, and rule #1 is, don't fuck with The Don. This week, small time state lobbyist Guy Dufault used two "unscheduled" minutes of airtime on his television show (which is essentially a paid infomercial sponsored by his lobbying clients) to imply that he could blackmail Rhode Island governor Donald Carcieri (pictured above) by blurting out that he could bury him by talking about Carcieri's former "comattas" (Italian slang for "girlfriends"). The Providence Journal (registration required) has the ugly tale.

Carcieri, as is to be expected, is furious, and Dufault's clients are running away from him as if he had herpes sores all over his face. As to be expected in Rhode Island, his clients run the gamut from gambling, labor unions (naturally), the health care industry, and, um, gambling. For a state with no casino, Rhode Island certainly does have more than its fair share of gambling industry lobbyists. Cripes, even the state's Democratic party machinery disowned him, and you have no idea how badly you have to screw up to be disowned by the most crooked party machine in America. I wouldn't be surprised if Dufault's next move is a triple gainer off the Pell Bridge. Maybe he'll find his career at the bottom of Narragansett Bay.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Celtics win!

The Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 114-100 on Wednesday to begin their season 1-0, which left Nora and I giddy as schoolgirls on illegal drugs. The media hype was all on the Knicks and their new hall of fame coach Larry Brown, but when the dust settled, it was the Celtics out on top. So imagine my surprise when I watched "SportsCenter" on ESPN this morning, and saw that ESPN didn't even interview any of the Celtics, and treated the result of the game as an afterthought to the Larry Brown angle. Some teams get no respect, I tell you what. Doc Rivers must be furious.

The photo above is for Nora, who loves seeing the Celtics bond emotionally around sick children. Appearing with a desperately ill looking child (from left to right) are Marcus Banks (foreground), Ricky Davis (background), Kendrick Perkins and Justin Reed.

Next up for the Celtics? The Eastern Conference champion Detroit Pistons. It promises to be a classic ...


The Providence Journal (registration required) reports that Providence police detectives arrested two women at two separate massage parlors in the city, charging them with "permitting massages to be given without a license" - a misdemeanor. One of the ladies was also charged with "maintaining a common nuisance".

The detectives paid for massages, and made the busts when solicited for sexual favors above and beyond a therapeutic massage.

So, I hear you ask, why wasn't anyone arrested for solicitation of prostitution? The answer will surprise you: prostitution is not illegal in Rhode Island as long as it is conducted indoors. You would think this fact would create fabulous Nevada style resorts, but no, instead, it simply creates dingy downtown massage parlors staffed by illegal immigrants.

Clearly, an enterprising entrepreneur could exploit this legal loophole and create something along the lines of those working girl ranches in Nevada in Providence. Who will put up the million dollars required for "the Quahog ranch"? Rhode Island is already an "adult entertainment" destination, with several famous strip clubs so large, they service entire tour buses of customers before nine in the morning (the Foxy Lady and their "legs and eggs" breakfast), so why not go the extra mile and deliver what people are really looking for? Get all the proper licenses, hire elligible workers, and recoup that million dollars in no time flat. Men from Massachusetts will be spending all their free time and money at a place like this, so the first one to do it right can clean the hell up.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

At last - it begins

The 2005-2006 National Basketball Association season has begun, but tonight, the Boston Celtics play their first game of the season at the newly renamed TD Banknorth Garden against the New York Knicks. Anyone who knows me knows that I wouldn't care if the Red Sox and Patriots folded or moved to Mississippi tomorrow as long as the Celtics stayed in New England forever.

The picture above is of Celtics power forward Al Jefferson putting Charlotte Bobcats forward Primo Brezec on the proverbial poster with an earth shattering reverse smash. Primo's "my God, why have you forsaken me?" expression combined with his shrugged shoulders and upturned palms speaks volumes.

Speaking of posterizing, let us not forget Ricky Davis. Sure, he was with Cleveland then, but this is one of the sickest dunks of our age.

And on a personal note ...

Last week, on a whim, I chanced upon the webpage of a local dairy in East Providence, and left a message online asserting my sincere, lifelong desire to be a milkman (my desire is actually more along the lines of being a milkman like Reid Fleming, but that's besides the point), and leaving my email address and phone number.

When I awoke this afternoon (I work nights), lo and behold, there was a message on my machine from this dairy asking to talk with me. My goodness, could I be headed for work I would actually enjoy? The thought of cruising around Rhode Island delivering milk probably sounds fairly dull to most folks, but compared to what I do now, it would be a dream come true. We shall see.

Remembering Roger Williams

Reason magazine's November issue contains a fine article entitled "Remembering Roger Williams: What the father of Rhode Island can still teach us".

While I cannot argue with the substance of their assessment of Roger Williams, I vehemently disagree with their characterization of Providence as a "grim port town whose main growth industry is serving as the backdrop for gross-out comedies by the Farrelly brothers". I would also highly dispute that the religious climate in this country resembles that which Roger Williams dealt with in Massachusetts, where Puritan mores literally were the law, and dissent was punishable by extraordinary corporal measures. It goes without saying that the most religious state in America, Utah, is far more secular today than Roger Williams' Rhode Island was in the 17th century.

The point, however, was clear: Rhode Island was the first colony on earth founded on the principle that religion and politics need to be separated for the protection of both institutions, and Roger Williams further proved the point that such a separation was not only possible, but desireable. Without Roger Williams, the establishment cause of the US constitution would probably not exist, and the United States, like nearly every European nation to this day, would probably have a state church.

Roger Williams' bold plan also provided the framework for religious pluralism in America, providing a foothold for Jews, Quakers, Catholics and others at a time when Puritan exclusivity was the rule, and when the sovereign of the American colonies pulled double duty as the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. America's first Baptist church and first synagogue could not have existed anywhere else but Rhode Island at the time.

Reason correctly identifies his legacy as an underappreciated one, so let's give the man some of his overdue props, shall we?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Narragansett High School raided

Originally uploaded by jaki good.

The Providence Journal (registration required) is reporting that local police, aided by drug sniffing dogs, shut down Narragansett high school to search for drugs on the premises. Their haul consisted of a small bag of marijuana and a pipe taken from a student's car.

I'm all for scaring the hell out of teenagers by searching for drugs, and I don't think rich towns like Narragansett should get a pass, but good lord, why not try this in Providence or Central Falls? I guarantee they'll come up with more than a dime bag of grass.