Sad news got to P+J about the passing of American legend Paul Newman. While one of the brightest stars in film history, his acting career paled in comparison to his life and his work as a human being a cut above the notch.
Phillipe grew up in Newman’s hometown of Westport, Connecticut. It was no big deal to bump into him at the market or find yourself standing in line with him at a restaurant, except for your brain and heart going 100 miles an hour — “Oh my God, it’s Paul Newman! It’s Paul Newman!” — trying to be cool and not make a fuss. He behaved just like your average Joe — provided said guy had those ridiculously blue eyes. (And let it be noted that P.’s mother used to be in the same workout as Newman’s wife, actress Joanne Woodward, an equally down to earth individual.)
What was far from average was his humanitarian work in raising more than $250 million for his Hole In the Wall camps for kids with life-threatening illnesses, gleaned from pouring 100 percent of the profits from his Newman’s Own products back into that organization.
Newman was also an anti-war activist, and had the proud distinction of being on Richard Nixon’s “enemy list,” saying it was “the highest single honor I’ve ever received.” He also occasionally wrote for and came to rescue of the Nation at a time of fiscal distress, further heightening his political credentials.
What Paul Newman did not have was a failure to communicate — he did so quite eloquently with words and deeds.
What global warming?
It is incredible how minor, D-list level celebrity seems to addle people’s brains. Maybe that “D” stands for “delusional.”
P+J refer to our attendance at a URI Honors Colloquium lecture on global climate change last week, featuring renowned climatologist Michael Mann. The Penn State scientist was one of the lead authors of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Third Scientific Assessment Report, and the IPCC and its authors were co-recipients along with some guy named Al Gore of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for bringing the global warming issue further to the fore. So he knows a bit about his subject, shall we say.
After Mann’s lecture, during a Q&A from the audience, a person who did not identify himself other than to say he was a “left-leaning, pro-environment person,” attacked Mann’s presented facts about climate change, and demanded he resign his professorship at Penn State, which seemed very odd, but whatcha gonna do? The agitated gentleman later told Urinal enviro reporter Peter Lord, who in best investigative fashion pursued him afterwards, that global warming is “the greatest hoax perpetrated on mankind.”
Well, it turns out that our outspoken friend was none other than meteorologist Herb Stevens, who perhaps you know better as “the Skiing Weatherman,” whose reports are seen on local TV stations. Telling Lord, “I’ve spent a lot of time in the last 10 years researching this matter,” he cited various bits of research, which Mann, used to these sorts of attacks, quickly and politely pointed out had all the scientific credibility of Dr. Chicken Little.
We look forward to Stevens’s reports from the slopes this winter, and perhaps he can note, “Hey, there’s snow here, how can there be global warming?” Phillipe + Jorge will treat you to a lift ticket for Mt. Kilimanjaro, Herbie.
Called strike three
A sad P+J adieu to the wonderful Urinal sportswriter Sean McAdam, who, while not taking a buyout or being laid off by the BeloJo boys, is nonetheless leaving to join the Boston Herald. Our loss is their gain.
Evidently, one of the chucklehead suits at Fountain Street seemed to think that Sean’s outside work at WEEI radio and ESPN.com somehow compromised his devotion to the Other Paper. In fact, that type of exposure is actually a huge visibility boost for the Urinal, which can use all the help it can get these days. Another wise decision being made by airhead execs who know as much about journalism and the business of real news as Sarah Palin does about the Bush Doctrine.
Not going places in RI
Your superior correspondents received quite a bit of feedback on a column item from two weeks back (“RIPTA’s short-sighted cuts,” September 19), from both e-mail and people buttonholing us on the street. It will probably come as no surprise that nary a soul found the proposed RIPTA cuts wise policy.
Here’s an excerpt from one e-mail correspondent that, while very specific, is indicative of the many untenable situations people are finding themselves in as the discussion continues on shortening, cutting back hours, and virtual elimination of numerous bus routes throughout the state: