In Providence, Rhode Island, people blink lights every evening to bid goodnight to patients in a children's hospital. And not just people, but a hotel, night club and library blink their lights too. The tradition goes back to 2010 and was started by cartoonist Steve Brosnihan.
With less than 200 days before deciding who will be POTUS #45, five states hold primaries today: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Following the problems with voting in New York, hopefully there won't be so many this week, although location limitations do not bode well. Since the New York primaries, Ted has cut a deal with John but thinks the convention will be contested, people are eyeing Bernie's email address book, Donald buys a ticket to Seattle but gets his historical election facts wrong while encouraging an academic discipline, John corners the astronaut demographic, Hillary rejects a non-endorsement, Joe is focusing on the Senate, and the new first rule of Abe Club is that there is no more Abe Club. [more inside]
And then there were five. On the Democratic party side, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders remain. On the Republican party side, Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Donald Trump remain. But there's also the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, and lots of other parties. The dates for candidate debates are fluid; for example there may be a Democratic debate on April 14th. In other election news, the New York Times thinks that Candidate Trump would be "Wildly unpopular", while the Washington Post thinks that Republicans are gaming the voting system in their favor. Cruz and Sanders lead in Wisconsin polls, Kasich enjoys a beer, and the BBC describes five ways the Republican bloodbath could end. [more inside]
Rhode Island has its own Perennial Candidate - Robert J. Healey. He founded the Cool Moose Party, and many candidates have enjoyed the rush of charging at the two-party Status Quo on a well organized but ultimately doomed third party ticket. In 2014, he spent less than $40 on his campaign as the Gubernatorial candidate for the Moderate Party. Forty. Dollars. Less than. He won 21% of the vote for Governor. He passed away in his sleep at his Barrington home, age 58.
Swamp Gas? Meteor? Ice Methane? Buried Ordinance? You decide! Strange things afoot at a Narraganset beach this weekend, where a woman was thrown 5 feet in the air and 10 feet laterally by some type of explosion. The link goes to a google compilation of articles. A genuine New England summertime mystery! [more inside]
"In 1914, a four-block-long tunnel was constructed through College Hill in Providence, Rhode Island to let the trolley system easily and quickly move from Main Street to Thayer Street and vice versa. After 34 years of use, it was paved to support buses and trackless trolleys. Though the trolley system was taken apart after about a decade, the tunnel continues to provide a portal for Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) buses to get up and down College Hill without being affected by traffic — but that is not the only purpose the tunnel serves. Despite several messages by the tunnel’s entrances warning passersby of the illegality of doing so, graffiti writers frequent the tunnel to spread their paint on its walls. I followed suit on two occasions to document it for others."
True Lies is a 1994 action comedy film directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Tom Arnold. The film was a huge hit, and is noteworthy in that it featured visual special effects considered impossible only a few years prior. It's been 20 years since it was released. Time for a revisit, then. [SPOILERS if you haven't seen this movie.] [more inside]
Transition Game: America’s first publicly out transgender high school coach is opening minds in the conservative rural town of Glocester, R.I.
As you may know, large areas are measured in Rhode Islands. For example. Now a handy web site will tell you how big countries are using this vital geographic method. Plus, you will learn some fun facts about Rhode Island.
"“It just felt really good, when this all started, to have the sexy sports celebrity from Boston who seemed to like Rhode Island and showed up in Rhode Island, and who built this exotic new business, even though no one knew what it was,” says the historian Ted Widmer, who grew up in Providence and works at Brown. “It seemed like the digital economy, or biotech, or whatever. But then it turned out that it wasn’t the new digital economy. It was some 13-year-old’s medieval fantasy.” "Curt Schilling, Rhode Island, and the Fall of 38 Studios.
The food stamp economy of Woonsocket, RI, profiled in The Washington Post.
Curt Schilling set out to build the greatest video-game company the world had ever seen, and to get rich — Bill Gates rich — doing it. Instead, the whole thing exploded in his face. Plus, a brief follow up. (Previously)
Curt Schilling, a former Major League Baseball pitcher, retired with an eye toward making games. His 38 Studios bought Big Huge Games, some big-name talent, and got started with Kingdoms of Amalur... with the help of a $75 million guaranteed loan from the state of Rhode Island (not without controversy). The game was good but not great and sales were likewise good but not great. Not great enough to cover the payments on a $75 million loan, anyway, not to mention payroll, and Rhode Island is likely on the hook.
If you've browsed some of the many year-end Best Album Lists, you might have seen AraabMUZIK's Electronic Dream rank highly. If his name means nothing to you, check an interview with the then 19 year old Hispanic kid from Rhode Island, who had recently graduated high school and connected with Dipset, or the 20 year old drummer-turned-producer whose performance was copied by Kanye (and other information on his life and times). Or maybe you follow producers, and knew he made the beat for Cam'ron's track I Used To Get It In Ohio, or cuts on the Dipset Trance Party mixes (DatPiff has volume 1, 2, and 3). If you want to know more, you can check a mini AraabMUZIK documentary (6:38 on YouTube), or just watch him work the MPC. [more inside]
“This is hard work and these are tough decisions, but students only have one chance for an education,” Education Secretary Duncan said, “and when schools continue to struggle we have a collective obligation to take action.” In response to a new federal mandate to fix under-performing schools, every teacher will be fired at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island.
27 live recordings from the 1959 Newport Jazz Festival can be streamed for free at Wolfgang's Vault. Here's a few of the musicians you can listen to: Count Basie & His Orchestra, Dizzy Gillespie, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Oscar Peterson Trio and Thelonious Monk. Registration is required but it's oh so worth it. The New York Times has the backstory of how these recordings ended up at Wolfgang's Vault.
Prostitution is legal in two states: Nevada and Rhode Island. Some legislators in Rhode Island have been trying to close the loophole for years, to no avail. Yesterday, for the first time, the bill took a huge step toward passage. [more inside]
Living in the Mall is an art project by Providence artist Michael J. Townsend that has come to an abrubt end. "Eight artists snuck into the depths of Providence Place mall and built a secret studio apartment in which they stayed, on and off, for nearly four years until mall security finally caught their leader last week." Townsend's wife, Adriana Yoto, also documented the project at her website.
Weird Tales: The Strange Life of HP Lovecraft is a 45-minute BBC radio documentary: "Geoff Ward examines the strange life and terrifying world of the man hailed as America's greatest horror writer since Poe. During his life, Lovecraft's work was confined to lurid pulp magazines and he died in penury in 1937. Today, however, his writings are considered modern classics and published in prestigious editions. How did such a weird, wild and ungodly writer get canonised? Among the writers considering his legacy are Neil Gaiman, ST Joshi, Kelly Link, Peter Straub and China Mieville." ST Joshi, a biographer of Lovecraft, has an essay up on The Scriptorium. Wikisource has an extensive collection of his writings, including not only his most famous novels and short stories, but also essays, letters, poetry and legal documents. He is buried in the city of his birth, Providence, Rhode Island, where he does eternal lie, even though someone made an unsuccessful attempt to exhume him in 1997.
Anna and Laura Tirocchi ran a dressmaking shop for the elite of Providence, Rhode Island between 1915 and 1947. In 1989 the building, which had been shut for 42 years, was found to contain a time capsule of the development of early 20th century fashion - from fabric and dresses to photographs and sewing machines and associated ephemera. The A&L Tirocchi Dressmakers Project website showcases the collection (after 12 years of research by RISD) through: the 514 project (with an image archive), essays, databases and exhibition sections. [via Intute]
Rhode Island's nut case governor decided to repeal the Bill of Rights. Fortunately, he got knocked upside the head first. (Obnoxious registration required.)
Art In Ruins chronicles the economic and cultural transformation of Providence, Rhode Island through the eyes of artists, architects, and urban planners.
6000 breathtaking aerial photos of American towns and other sites, with particularly good coverage of towns in New England (MA, VT, CT, NH, RI, ME). All of this by one photographer, Joseph Melanson, whose mission in life is "to show you facets of your environment that you never realized no matter how long you lived there."
The lawyers for the victims of the Rhode Island nightclub disaster are planning to sue a radio station that broadcast commercials for the concert. Wistow said that while he still needs to nail down the precise nature of Clear Channel's responsibility, he's all but certain to name the company [in the suit].
Buddy, we hardly knew ye. Vincent A. Cianci, Jr., mayor of Providence, R.I., heads off to jail on conspiracy charges, thus ending one of the most colorful relationships between a mayor and his city since Daley's Chicago. Whether revered for his astounding reconstruction of an embattled downtown, chastised for a career of shady dealings with shady people (and one unfortunate incident involving a fireplace, a lit cigarette, and his wife's lover), or turned into a cult figure by artsy college students, one thing is certain: Providence is a more interesting place because Buddy was a part of it.
Providence firefighters forced to march in gay parade. Is firefighters' participation in a gay rights parade "...an important demonstration of community solidarity" as claimed by one side, or should participation by public servants be limited to volunteers?
Poetry Slam 2000 will be in of all places Providence Rhode Island this August 8th-12th. I have liked this idea and yet could never wholly embrace it. The intensity is strong but the angst seems repetitive.
Mattdabrowski.com - Today I take on the Governor of Rhode Island and his bad-bill-writin' General Assembly.