28 August 2003

maybe he's not so crazy...
christopher hitchens has notably gone off the deep end recently, but once in a while he still puts out something as worthwhile as this. while i'll admit that bama redneck judge roy moore is an easy target, this article gets to its point nicely.


27 August 2003

beliefnet (actually a pretty well-done web site) has a new feature called belief o-matic, which actually tells you what religion or belief you have by analyzing answers to 20 questions.

i like its disclaimer: "Warning: Belief-O-Matic™ assumes no legal liability for the ultimate fate of your soul."

some li'l rhody slang....
don't know exactly who wrote this little dictionary of rhode island-ese, but here goes:

The Adult Correctional Institute. It's located in Cveaanstin. People are
always either being remanded to it or escaping from it.

Antnee, Bvenda, Richit, Shevl
Names for children in Rhode Island's Italian-American neighborhoods.

An alcoholic beverage.

Drinking fountain. The word is apparently also used in parts of the upper
Midwest and Australia. We've read in a couple of places that the usage may
be related to the Wisconsin-based manufacturer, Kohler, which marketed a
fountain under the Bubbler name around 1914.

A drink made from milk, flavored syrup, and ice cream. In other parts of
the country it's called a milk shake or a frappe. A liberal interpretation
of the entry for cabinet in the Oxford English Dictionary might suggest
that the term originated from the English Newcastle or cabinet pudding, "a

pudding made of bread or cake, dried fruit, eggs and milk, usually served
hot with a sauce." Or it might not.

A member of the holy muscle car trinity, along with the Firebird and the
Iroc. Popular with mullet-headed men who have girlfriends named Shevl and
who wear black t-shirts with the sleeves cut off.

A district made up of the towns of Charlestown, Richmond, and Hopkinton.

Pronounced shuh-reese. A smoked Portuguese sausage that is dense and
spicy. There's also Linguica (leeng-gwee-sa), which is less spicy, as it's
made with less chili pepper.

The municipality south of Providence and north of Warrik.

De boatayuz
More than one, less than three.

De klenzaz
The local dry-cleaning establishment.

Where you keep that treadmill that you used for about a week back in '93.

Eas' (or Wes') Grennich
Witches may live there, but they're not pronounced.


Literally "forget about it," this phrase can mean anything from "yes" to
"no" and everything in between, depending upon context and inflection.
Donnie Brasco (as played by Johnny Depp), in the film by the same name,
explains some of the subtleties:

"Forget about it" is like if you agree with someone, you know, like
"Raquel Welsh is one great piece of ass, forget about it." But then, if
you disagree, like, "A Lincoln is better than a Cadillac? Forget about
it!" you know? But then, it's also like if something's the greatest thing
in the world, like Mingrio's Peppers, "forget about it." But it's also
like saying "Go to hell!" too. Like, you know, like, "Hey Paulie, you got
a one inch pecker?" and Paulie says, "Forget about it!" Sometimes it just
means forget about it.
Otherwise known as a destroyer, bellybuster, or hot weiner. A small hot
dog with a natural casing, slathered in mustard, meat sauce, chopped
onions, and celery salt, and served in a steamed bun.


v. 1. To protect from harm; watch over. 2. To watch over to prevent
escape. 3. To keep watch at (a door or gate). 4. To take precautions: god
against infection. --n. 1. One that gods. 2. Watchful care: under close
god. 3. Defensive posture or stance. 4. Football. One of the two players
on either side of the center. 5. Basketball. Either of the two players
stationed near the middle of the court. 6. A device that prevents injury,
damage, or loss. (American Heritage Dictionary, sort of)

In most places, you would get whiplash trying to get a good look at the
person you overheard asking for more gravy for their paster. In Rhode
island they're just asking for more tomato sauce. According to Bartlett's
Dictionary of Americanisms, it has also been used to denote the filling in
a pie.

Otherwise known as a hoagie, po' boy, or sub. It's a sangwidge.

The thing in your chest that pumps blood and keeps you alive.


All those dropped Rs have to go somewhere. They end up tacked onto the
ends of words ending in "A," like idear, bananner, paster, and vaniller.

Have you eaten yet? The appropriate response (assuming you haven't eaten)
is "No, joo?"

A liberal sprinkling of these can brighten up a dull, dreary ice cream
cone. We hear they're also called Ants in the Woonsocket area.

Don't break it or they'll put you in the ACI.

Usually heard as part of the phrase, "NiRoPe Pricing," the word comes from
the names of the three Cardi Brothers, Nick, Ron, and Pete, whose
furniture store commercials are ubiquitous on Southern New England
television and radio stations.

No school Fosta-Glosta
A catchphrase (much like "Whatchootalkin'boutWillis?"), uttered by
much-beloved media personality Salty Brine during winter snow-day reports.
Foster and Glocester are two abutting communities in the northwest of the

state that are completely snowbound during months containing an "r." Salty
always lumped the two together when making no-school announcements; most
Rhode Islanders believe there's a town out there called Fosta-Glosta.

Salty's been gone from the radio for a few years now, but the phrase
refuses to die. A sure way to find out if someone is lying about having
spent time in the state (as though one would), is to challenge him with
the phrase "No school..." A real Rhode Islander knows the rest.

No suh!
I believe you are pulling my leg, my friend.

On Special
On sale.

Short for package store, which is what they call liquor stores around
here. In Rhode Island, they're not open on Sundays.

This is not a plea for more porridge, but a polite way of saying, "What
the hell did you just say?"

A celebration.

What you hang earrings from. Think about it.

The municipality north of Providence and south of Attleboro.


A kind of ocean clam, or bivalve mollusk, found in the waters of the North
Atlantic. They come in two varieties: Arctica islandica, the ocean quahog;
and Mercenaria mercenaria, the bay quahog. They make handy ashtrays.

The common name, poquaûhock, is taken from the languages of the
Narragansett and Wampanoag Indians, and it's thought that today's
pronunciation can be traced to those origins. The Narragansetts, from the
west side of Narragansett Bay, probably pronounced the word "po-kwa-hok."
Today's western Rhode Islanders thus pronounce it "kwa-hog." The
Wampanoags of the East Bay called it "po-ko-hok," and today, eastern Rhode
Islanders likewise say "ko-hog."

Rhode Island handshake
A little extra gratuity for services rendered.

A meal served between two pieces of bread. Also Sammich.

A particular brand of hot dog, made with natural casings, that cuts loose
with a distinctive "snap" when bitten into.

Side by each

You'll hear this one mainly around Woonsocket. It comes from the French
"côté par chacun" and would be translated by most people as "side by
side." Other Woonsocketisms include the use of double pronouns, as in,
"I'm going to the supermarket, me," and the misplacement of phrases or
modifiers, as in, "Throw me down the stairs my bag," or "Drive slow your

South County
A mythical area that roughly includes Washington and Kent Counties.

Clam stuffing baked in a clam shell. Also known as a stuffed clam.

David Steinbrick, a producer at Cox Communications, sent us this tidbit:
"Over the years, I have heard the best way to describe a 'stuffie' to an
outsider. A stuffie is 'a clam meatloaf in an ashtray.' Succinct and to
the point. Except the non-native may wonder why we cook food in ashtrays."

An intensifier that's interchangeable with "very," as in, "We was drivin'
wikkit fast." Also used to mean "extremely good" or "spectacular," as in,

"Them forttajuly fyahworks was wikkit!"

The municipality south of Cveaanstin and north of Eas' Grennich.


26 August 2003

that annoying oreck guy as seen on TV...
apparently oreck vacuums are pretty much crap- 95% marketing and 5% product. anyway, check out this funny vacuum comparison from slate.


22 August 2003

bermuda of the north...
i was googling around the net a bit tonight and found this little bio of mv. yankee, a former block island ferry that lived a long and interesting life. anyway, block island is a little island 30 or so miles off the coast of l'il rhody.


20 August 2003

the mind of a suicide bomber...
fareed zakaria, an excellent columnist for newsweek and msnbc, does a little explaining of what drives a person to strap a bomb to their chest. it's a well-reasoned look at the problem that goes way beyond dubya's lame rhetoric. zakaria has written some other damn good columns, so check up on him often.


19 August 2003

ever get the feeling you're being googled?......
yes, google transformed the internet and spawned its own verb, but there's a new kid on the block. apparently teoma is the new big thing on the web. word on the street is that it will be a household name before long. better design and better ability to REALLY get what you want means teoma could be the search engine of the future.

when in doubt, deregulate...
that might as well be the mantra of the dubya white house. pretty much any problem can be solved by turning over public assets to his list of preferred companies (see: halliburton, enron, etc.). anyway, paul krugman explains today just how these idiots cut out the lights. it makes sense. if for-profit power companies aren't responsible for maintaining the transmission systems, these blackouts are bound to happen again.


15 August 2003

beer of the week...
i haven't done this in a while, but i felt the need to recognize a certain excellent micro-brew, specifically Smuttynose Brewing Co.'s Shoal's Pale Ale. i had heard that it one top prize as best American beer at the highly esteemed great british beer fest, so it's starting to get some real attention.
this new hampshire beer is well-balanced with some real hop kick to it. a very good pale ale.

the dark age begins...
well i didn't have to go without electricity last night, but, uh, a few million north americans did. it took only hours for dubya to co-opt the event for his own good by claiming that he's been fighting to modernize the country's electrical system all along, which is pure crap.
anyway, take it from a guy who knows a lot more than me about electrical de-regulation. it seems that niagara mohawk over in upstate new york might have some splainin to do before this is all over.


12 August 2003

college drop-outs...
is there any insitution less democratic and more outdated than the electoral college? just ask al gore and those guys who ran against rutherford b. hayes and (i think) william harrison who both won the electoral college despite losing the popular vote. sound familiar?
anyway, my problem with it is that it basically invalidates your vote if you're a, say, democrat in south carolina or a republican in maryland.
and it doesn't really force politicians to campaign in rural areas, either. instead it focuses campaigning on a few select battleground states (think florida).
wouldn't a better system be to either use a winner-take-all system in each congressional district (basically localizing the E.C.) or use a simple popular vote or use a nifty new formula such as a ranking by preference (where each voters ranks the candidates in order of preference and points are awarded based on how high a person ranks on each voter's ballot.
here and here are some links to various arguments relating to abolishing the E.C.


07 August 2003

feather boas and ak-47s....
apparently that's what Liberian guerillas like to wear on the battlefield. could a war be any more bizarre than this? you gotta read up.


01 August 2003

oh, and that turkey time reference is apparently what j.Lo says to ben "no affect" affleck just before their on-screen tryst.

can we send that screenwriter to camp x-ray? aschroft, anyone? can you help us out here?

it's turkey time. gobble, gobble.....
i just couldn't help it. it's friday and i feel like spreading the word about the new ben affleck/J. Lo flick "gigli." so i decided that the best way to do that was to include some excerpts from the movie's reviews...

from the ny times --

"In one scene Ricki takes on a group of ill-mannered ruffians who are making noise at a taco stand. Larry wants to beat them up, but she takes a more refined approach, sauntering over in her short denim skirt and lecturing them on their "people skills." She also threatens the apparent ringleader with a baroque martial-arts torture, which involves gouging out the eyes and also removing that part of the brain that stores visual information, so that the victim will not only be blind, but will also lose all memory of what he has seen. Having seen "Gigli," I must say that the idea has a certain appeal."

from the washington post's stephen hunter...

"Ben and Jen? After seeing "Gigli," I think Ben and Jerry could make a better movie. "Gigli" is certainly bereft of low pleasures: It's both giggle-free and jiggle-free. Worse, it's enervated, torpid, slack, dreary and, oh yes, nasty, brutish and long."

from the onion A.V. club....

"the film has all the charge and momentum of a Paxil ad. In what passes for chemistry, Lopez smirks while Affleck yells in a voice borrowed from early John Travolta roles. He delivers a monologue about how every relationship has a bull and a cow. She counters his bluster with quotes from Sun Tzu, though the film lets her killing skills, like her sexuality, remain mostly a matter of hearsay"


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