Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Man busts bootleggers

The Providence Journal (registration required) is reporting that the Rhode Island State Police arrested five people in Providence and seized over 5,000 countefeit DVDs and compact discs. One of the spots The Man visited was the Manton Avenue Flea Market at the Atlantic Mills in Manton (or Olneyville - depending how you look at it).

I'm amazed only one person was arrested here, since bootlegged material has always been on sale at the Flea Market quite openly since it opened for business. I remember seeing bootleg video tapes for sale there in the 1990s, and bootleg DVDs for sale there last year. I suppose someone finally decided to get serious about it?

The Staties were reportedly accompanied by officers from the Providence police department, and the ever dreaded La Migra (agents from the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement).


Need I say more than a picture of Ricky Davis landing after slamming it down against the Celtics? Need I say more that merely imagining such an image at the beginning of the NBA season would fill me with dread and horror? Alright, I will.

In the first meeting of the two teams since last week's trade, the Minnesota Timberwolves demolished the Boston Celtics in Minneapolis, 110-85. Former Celtic Marcus Banks, who had been written off by the Celtics coaching staff during his stay in Boston, electified the home crowd with a virtuoso 20 point, 6 assist performance. The Timberwolves also received strong contributions from Mark Blount (16 points, 10 rebounds), Ricky Davis (9 points, 5 assists, 5 steals) and Justin Reed (9 points).

The Celtics got 22 points out of Wally Szczerbiak, and a whopping 2 points out of celebrated draft bust Michael Olowokandi, which is 32 points less than what the former Celtics dropped on their old team.

I just don't get Danny Ainge's method to his madness.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Rampaging RINO

The Providence Journal (registration required) is reporting that Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee makes it official: he's voting against President Bush's Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. This is hardly surprising coming from the Senate's most notorious RINO, especially one facing re-election in a heavily Democratic state. Chafee did have the good sense to avoid the ludicrous filibuster attempt launched by Massachusetts Senators Kerry and Kennedy, however.

Political pundits on the left mistake Chafee's "centrism" as courage. Let me disabuse them of this notion. It's cowardice in action. If Lincoln Chafee has any political principles whatsoever, they've never been made available for public display. He's focused on re-election, and in Rhode Island, that means shadowing the Democratic platform. Voting as an actual Republican in the Senate is a recipe for political suicide in Rhode Island, and while Chafee is short on courage, he's long on political self-preservation. He's a big part of why it's so very frustrating to be a bonafide Republican in Rhode Island.

Stephen Laffey will still be getting my vote in the primaries, but if push comes to shove, I'll still vote for Chafee when he's up for re-election, especially if it comes down to a choice between Chafee and the oleaginous huckster Matt Brown.

More Ocean State photos!

Wickford Harbor (North Kingstown, RI)
Originally uploaded by NetParrot.

My quest to take photographs of every square inch of Rhode Island continued this weekend with stops on Main Street in East Greenwich and scenic Wickford Village in North Kingstown. As usual, I've put the photos up on Flickr.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Vagina Dialogues

Vagina Monologues (East Greenwich, RI)
Originally uploaded by NetParrot.

Should a Catholic college be compelled to host Eve Ensler's puerile "The Vagina Monologues"? Providence College president, the Reverend Brian J. Shanley, says no. Some student activists say "yes".

What this boils down to is the right for a college administrator to determine what is and is not appropriate on their own campus. Providence College is not just a Catholic college, it is the only college in America run by Dominican friars. As such, a normal person would understand that Catholic mores and values are the rule of the day.

Reverend Shanley addressed the issue here on the Providence College website, saying: "prohibiting a theatrical production of The Vagina Monologues does not prohibit free inquiry about the play". Furthermore, the Reverend goes on to note that Providence College is not obligated to stage plays whose ideology and imagery may run contrary to the values of their institution. To a normal person, this still sounds sensible. It's why we would not expect Brown University to stage passion plays or a Pat Boone film festival if they didn't want to.

A normal person, however, is not an easily outraged college student. "The Vagina Monologues" can be found all over New England (the photo above is from East Greenwich, RI), so why is pressure being brought to bear to show it at PC?

The strawman argument being presented, of course, is censorship. What self-righteous college students forget is that the First Amendment protects the right of free speech from the government, not from private institutions. Nevertheless, the outrage (such as it is) over the school's decisions is decrying "censorship" and "curtailing free speech". No, and no. The school and even the Catholic Church itself have not prevented the publication of the play, or its performance in venues that want to show it. Deep down, people actually know this, but what the hell: a protest is a protest.

As the Providence Journal (registration required) reports: "holding red balloons and such signs as 'Mary Had A Vagina,' more than 120 students staged a rally yesterday against the decision of Providence College's president, the Rev. Brian J. Shanley, to ban the play 'The Vagina Monologues' from the Catholic campus."

Get it? Mary had a vagina? What stunningly sophisticated protest. Now that's bound to get them to change their minds. I can almost see the friars huddling together, consulting their Bibles and concluding, after spirited theological debate that yes, Mary did have a vagina, and therefore, their objections to staging the play are invalid after all.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Damn it, Danny, why?

Late last night, the Boston Celtics traded Ricky Davis, Mark Blount, Marcus Banks, Justin Reed and two second round draft picks to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Wally Szczerbiak, Michael Olowokandi, Dwayne Jones and a future first round draft pick. You can read the particulars of the trade here.

Let me come out and say it: this deal absolutely sucks. When I first heard it, I thought it sucked, but was comforted by the notion that Wally Szczerbiak was on the last year of his contract, and would be let go at the end of the season. Boy, was I wrong. Wally is owed $38 million dollars over the next three seasons. Basically, this deal boiled down to sacrificing Ricky Davis for a gawky white ballhog who can't play defense. Nora had it right in her evaluation of Celtics team president Danny Ainge:

"... most of Danny Ainge's other early trades, which seemed mostly designed to switch out talented black men for gawky white men"

She hit the nail on the head, there. Ricky Davis brought talent, passion, and (most importantly for Nora, I know) love. He loved being here after being traded to Boston from Cleveland. He loved people getting to know the real Ricky Davis, especially after his image around the league was often compared, unfavorably, to a venereal disease. Now he's gone to Minnesota. I hate this deal. Interestingly enough, however, Boston and Minnesota are slated to play each other, in Minnesota, on Monday night. As all the new players have to travel to their respective new cities, take (and pass) a physical exam, they probably won't play for their new teams until Monday. It promises to be explosive, if only emotionally.

I'll miss Mark Blount, Marcus Banks and Justin Reed, but losing Ricky Davis for such a marginal talent makes me feel the way I did when the Celtics traded Antoine Walker to the Dallas Mavericks for Raef LaFrentz: terrible. Will nobody stop Danny Ainge's reign of terror?


The Boston Herald released this statement from Ricky Davis to Celtics fans:

"I love Boston. It's a great place. Thank you to the Celtics organization and to the fans for accepting me while I was here. I'm going to miss my teammates. This is the BEST group of teammates I have EVER played with. This has been a great step in my career, and I thank everyone."

Somewhere, I think I hear Nora weeping ...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

An Ocean State tragedy

This man was found guilty of tax evasion, and faces 13 years in jail after being convicted in Providence. This is not a tragedy, but what is a tragedy is that Richard Hatch is, as of 2006, quite possibly the only man from Rhode Island that the rest of America can identify as being from Rhode Island.

There are other celebrities from Rhode Island, of course. James Woods comes to mind as the most genuinely famous, but who, outside Rhode Island, could discern his Ocean State roots? Perhaps Peter and Bobby Farrelly? Most of the rest of the list consists of has beens (Ruth Buzzi, Debra Messing, Jeffrey Osborne, Blu Cantrell), non-entities (Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Meredith Vieira) or beneath even my generous standard of contempt (does Seth MacFarlane really count?).

Won't someone, for the love of god!, from Rhode Island make it big and represent the state with some dignity?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Independent Man gets noticed

The Independent Man (at the Warwick Mall)
Originally uploaded by NetParrot

Sure, I posted about the Independent Man before.

Well, not the original, but the replica at the Warwick Mall. One Valerie Mockaitis wrote to me on Flickr and asked for permission to use my photos of the replica of the Independent Man taken at the mall for use on her State Capitols website.

Permission granted, Valerie. You did a fine editing job as well (my original photos do not show the entire statue in one frame - it looks like she cut and pasted my photos together to get the top of the spear into one picture). I should ask her for permission to use the edited version of my photos!

Her synopsis of the Independent Man mostly accurate. The original idea was to put a statue of Roger Williams on the top of the state house, but nobody can agree on exactly what he looked like. Therefore, an abstraction of the concept of the founding of Rhode Island was settled on, with the Independent Man representing Rhode Island's notoriously contrarian political and independence minded spirit.

Furthermore, I notice an additional error in Valerie's write up: Roger Williams was not the "co-founder" of Rhode Island, he was the founder period. It was Williams who secured Rhode Island's charter from King James II of England in 1643, and Williams who secured the deal with the Narragansetts to secure the territory that would become today's Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

I know, I know: Anne Hutchinson gets a lot of buzz lately as a sort of colonial American feminist icon, but beyond establishing the town of Portsmouth, her impact on the creation, formation and direction of the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations was decidedly negligible. Hutchinson moved on from Aquidneck Island and wound up in the Bronx, where she died after being scalped by the natives. Such is the horror of spurning Rhode Island for New York - let this be a lesson to us all.

Quibbling aside, Valerie's site is quite interesting. If you have any interest in our nation's state capitol buildings, I highly recommend taking a look.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Modern Diner

Modern Diner (Pawtucket, RI)
Originally uploaded by NetParrot.

One of the only things I liked about living in Belmont, MA was the proximity of my house to the Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown. The Deluxe offered world class diner fare with an eclectic menu with a genuine New England diner ambiance, and finding a new regular breakfast spot isn't always easy, even in New England. For a while, Nick's On Broadway filled the gap, but the tiny cramped spaces, long lines to get in, and eye popping prices have long made it something to settle on rather than something to really look forward to.

Thankfully, Rhode Island is the birthplace of the diner, and I've settled on the Modern Diner in Pawtucket to replace the beloved Deluxe as my breakfast spot of choice. If you're ever in the area, be sure to check it out.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Marvin beats the rap; uplifting the ghetto?

Rhode Island's own Marvin "Bad News" Barnes (pictured above) had found himself in hot water earlier this month after being arrested on disorderly conduct charges in late December. Apparently, the Warwick police claimed to have seen Marvin scuffling with his girlfriend on the balcony of his condominium in Warwick.

Marvin pled not guilty on New Year's Eve, and as of Thursday, the charges have been dropped. Neither Marvin, nor the Warwick police, seemed to have any further comment.

Marvin, of course, is continuing his work with The Rebound Foundation, which as far as anyone can determine, consists of Marvin Barnes recounting his sorry biography to horrified schoolchildren, in the hope that they can avoid making the same horrible lifestyle choices he made.

On a "improving one's life" note, a young man selling mix tape CDs outside my local 7-Eleven on Federal Hill asked if I (and for that matter, everyone else going in and out of the store) would like to "help a young brother get out the ghetto". Would I? For five bucks? That young man was Maf, and the outfit is called Landmindz. If they ever get big, I can claim I was in on the groundfloor, listening to them when one of their MCs was slinging mix tape CDs outside convenience stores in the ghetto.

Delinquent no longer

I did get a chance for some photoblogging in this weekend at Goddard Memorial State Park.

Despite having to go through East Greenwich to get there, the park is technicially a part of Potowomut in Warwick. I can't figure out why Warwick has an exclave, either. Even Google's map service has a hard time getting to the bottom of it.

At any rate, I've put the photos up on Flickr for perusal and possible enjoyment.

Friday, January 13, 2006

So very delinquent ...

Friends, Romans, countrymen: I've been extremely delinquent about providing updates to this blog. The holidays have come and gone, and with nary a photo of the Ocean State from me. This is obviously a lapse on my part. I vow to have new, thrilling pictures of Rhode Island taken this weekend, with lively commentary attached.

In lieu of a photo, I present a painting of children presenting roses to Josef Stalin. It has nothing to do with Rhode Island, of course, but what a great picture!