A compendium of odd facts, audacious anecdotes, goofy photos, and random flotsam.
This section is a catch-all for short items that don't fit elsewhere on Quahog. It includes news stories, advertisements, trivia, handy tips, "funny" photos, correspondence, and sights from around the Ocean State that are quirky, interesting, or otherwise fun, but that we don't feel we can, in good conscience, devote an entire article to (at least, not yet). We like to call this collection of spare parts and substandard materials... Quahogenstein.
There's also the Providence Place Mall, but unless you're looking for the comforting sameness that can be found in any mall coast to coast, we don't encourage you to go there. If that's what you're looking for, though, hey, knock yourself out.
From: Stephen S.
Received: March 29, 8:12am
Subject: Water Tower I-95 West Greenwich
"I am writing to suggest doing a similar thing to the water tower on I-95 in West Greenwich that has been done to a water tower on I-85 in South Carolina. The water tower has been made to look like a gigantic peach. I think the water tower in West Greenwich made to look like a Quahog would forever make the quahog synonymous with Rhode Island for all the traveling vacationers from all over America. Just a thought!!!"
Questions of who owns the tower and who would pay for the paint job aside, we think it's a great idea. Here's our mock-up of what a quahoggified water tower might look like:
Update, April 13, 2021: We posted this to our Facebook page on April 7, and by the 13th it had been viewed by almost 30,000 people and shared 150 times. For a page with only 5.4k followers that's the equivalent of viral. Comments were overwhelmingly positive.
Christopher and Dan were recently interviewed by Gordon Forman for his nascent podcast series on weathergnome.com. In it they talk about how Quahog.org came to be and discuss the borders of South County, vampires, Johnnycakes vs. jonnycakes, and other Rhode Island minutiae. Take a listen. After all, there are far worse ways to spend thirty-five minutes of your life. Standing on line at the DMV comes to mind. Or buried up to your neck at the top of the Johnston Landfill, during a hurricane. Or regaining consciousness to find you're tied up, with one of Buddy Cianci's old toupees stuffed in your mouth as a gag, surrounded by hundreds of live, unbanded lobsters, at noon on a 100-degree day, inside the thorax of the Big Blue Bug. Those would be bad ways to spend thirty-five minutes.
Anyway, listen here and be thankful you're not being forced to endure a thirty-five-minute performance by The Dancing Cop.
This is the second one of these we've seen in our little state. It's possible Lindy Lane was named for Charles Lindbergh, who in 1927 was the first person to fly solo between New York and Paris, France. The mailbox is also located less than a mile from T.F. Green Airport. Coincidence? Or intention?
Dr. David M. Dosa, in the July 26, 2007, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, reported that a cat residing at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 100 Borden Street, Providence, can seemingly predict patient deaths. Two-year-old Oscar, a grey and white long-hair, has been observed consistently choosing for his cat-naps, the beds of end-stage Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease sufferers who only have two to four hours left to live. Once their time is up, Oscar rises, stretches, and casually walks away.
If we were more superstitious people we might imagine that Oscar was somehow sucking the last spark of life from these unfortunates to stoke the fires of his own nine lives. The staff at the nursing homes see a bright side to the fluffy little harbinger of death's cuddly visits, though—it allows them time to notify next-of-kin that the paradise train is probably about to leave the station. In recognition of Oscar's eerie gift, the cat was awarded a certificate of merit by Home and Hospice Care of Rhode Island, "for providing exceptional end-of-life care."
A: Sorry, folks. We're flattered by your interest, but Quahog is not hiring. We are an all-volunteer organization, we don't accept advertising, and we have no money to pay you. If, however, you're interested in contributing research, writing, photographs, reminiscences, materials for our collection, or whatever, please drop us a line at email@example.com.
The Providence Journal has begun running television and radio ads touting their new expanded classifieds section with the slogan "You give me double vision—ProJo." Now, we understand the concept—they've doubled their classifieds content and it's accessible both in print and online—but we can't help but do a mental double take (so to speak) every time we hear the commercial. Double vision to us means you've been spending too much time reading small print or staring at a computer screen. It also means blunt force injuries to the skull, overuse of alcohol or controlled substances, sleep deprivation, or a symptomatic indication of a growing brain tumor. Not since the Foreigner song, which celebrated the effects of an all-night bender, have we heard a more ineffectual attempt to rehabilitate an unpleasant occular condition.
We couldn't believe it at first, so we did it again. Then we asked a friend to do it and it came out the same. So it's true, a roll of Newport Bridge tokens is possibly the biggest bargain in Rhode Island. Here's the deal: the cost to drive your car once over the bridge is $2. But if you hand the toll operator a $10 bill and ask for a roll of tokens, you get ten tokens and you get to drive over the bridge. That's eleven trips for $10, a savings of $12, or almost fifty-five percent off the full price! So why wouldn't you buy a roll of tokens, even if you only drive over the bridge a few times in a year? Keep 'em in your glove compartment—you'll use them eventually.
Update: Since writing the above, we came across a June 1969 Evening Bulletin article announcing the sale of discounted tokens. While we're somewhat chagrinned to find we trumpeted something that probably everyone but us knew about, we're amazed by the fact that this discount has been in place almost forty years. Can you name any other product or service that costs the same now as it did in 1969?
Update, May 2008: Tokens will soon be a thing of the past with the installation of the E-ZPass electronic toll collection system on the Newport Bridge. However, once you get past the $10 cost of your first transponder (a second is $15 and any other boxes will run you $20.95 each), the cost of the toll for Rhode Island residents will remain at 83 cents a pop for the foreseeable future (which matches the current cost of "bulk" tokens—$50 for sixty). The fare for drivers paying cash will remain at $2. The Rhode Island Bridge and Turnpike Authority plans to have the system in place by January 2009.
Is it the case that every state has to have at least one example of this cheesy visual pun? Well, here's ours. We can't help but wonder what the stats are regarding the number of people who come up with this idea on their own versus those who are merely imitators.
Now if we can only find a two-story outhouse...
Update: As of September 2019 Google Street View shows this mailbox is no longer in place at this address, so don't bother to go looking for it.
Outside the Island Tap bar on Park Avenue in Portsmouth, Friday afternoon, February 6, 2004, one guy allegedly whacked another in the chest with a quahog rake.
According to police, the man with the rake, Michael Archambault, 45, of Portsmouth, got into a verbal disagreement with two brothers, Bradford and Christopher Landerville (23 and 26, respectively), also of Portsmouth, inside the bar. The disagreement became physical, with Archambault getting the worst of it.
Archambault exited the bar followed by the brothers, and the fight resumed. At some point Archambault ended the altercation when he took a quahog rake from his car and thumped Bradford Landerville a good one.
The fracas resulted in a bloody nose, other head injuries, and a charge of assault with a deadly weapon for Archambault; a trip to Newport hospital with "critical" chest injuries for Bradford Landerville (his condition was later upgraded); and a felony assault, a bail violation (in connection with a previous Newport drug charge), and a trip to the ACI for Christopher Landerville.
Rhode Island Monthly reported in April 1991 on a recent Blue Cross/Blue Shield television commercial:
A professor asks if anyone knows where Rhode Island is. His dimwitted students mumble a few stupid guesses and then a voice-over explains that, while it's true not everyone knows the location of the littlest state, everyone around the country is familiar with the Blue Cross line of coverage.
But the final frame holds an unintentional gaffe. The teacher, clearly exasperated, throws up his hands, then turns to a map and points to...
"Well," said one member of the Blue Cross public relations staff, "they're both small states."
Author William Manchester offered up this anecdote in the August/September 1982 issue of American Heritage:
My mother belonged to one of the First Families of Virginia; my father was a New England Yankee. Late in life his last surviving brother became interested in genealogy, digging in the records of, among other places, Little Compton, Rhode Island. He found that Thomas Manchester, the first of our small but plucky clan, arrived from Yorkshire, England, in 1638, and three generations later, on August 16, 1723, in Little Compton, Benjamin Manchester married Martha Seabury, a great-granddaughter of John Alden and Priscilla Mullens. That put my father's family's roots in Plymouth, where, I had believed, the colonies had started. I mentioned it to my mother. In a voice like a bearing about to go, she replied, "That was in 1620. We were in Jamestown in 1608."
Conn.: Dear Oracle: In reading an old will executed in Rhode Island, I noted that a son was given a flock bed. Could you kindly tell us what this is? A.E.G.
Answer: In this case "bed" means simply the pad such as "feather-bed," only not all old beds were stuffed with feathers. Some were stuffed with "flock," which was odds and ends of wool-combings, lint, and so on. Not a fancy article.
"Nope," laconically answered the clerk in Frank Iaciafano's Cranston market.
That, apparently, was enough for the customer. Bit by bit, he proceeded to pull the store apart. Passersby were sure that a four-ton block buster had descended on the heretofore peaceful community.
Today, Anthony Mariano, 44, of 22 Cope street, Providence, whose liking for bacon and dislike of meat shortages caused the wrecking of the store, was committed to the state hospital for mental diseases by Acting Judge Edward Drinkwater in Eighth District Court.
Mariano walked into the market early yesterday afternoon. After receiving the negative answer be proceeded to (1) smash the refrigerator, (2) hurl soda bottles through showcases, (3) sweep the cash register and scales to the floor, breaking them, and (4) heave fresh vegetables, spices and flavors all over the place.
Leaving the once neat store the irate customer concentrated on the exterior as
He picked up stones and laid down a barrage which destroyed (1) four big and expensive plate glass windows (2) transom windows, and (3) even a window in a second floor apartment.
Damage was estimated by police at several hundred dollars.
RAN away from the Subscriber, on the 6th Instant, an Apprentice Boy named Isaac Bowers, about 15 Years of Age, about 5 Feet high; had on a grey short Jacket, green Trowsers and a grey Great-Coat. Whoever will return said Apprentice shall be entitled to the above Reward, but no Charges. Masters of Vessels and others are forbid to harbour said Apprentice, on the Penalty of Law.
WHEREAS Abigail, the Wife of the Subscriber, has behaved in an unbecoming Manner: this is to forbid all Persons trusting her on my Account, as I shall Pay no Debts of her contracting after the Date hereof.
WILLIAM S. BRADLEE
Providence, January 29, 1796
—from the Providence Gazette, January 30, 1796
WILLIAM S. BRADLEE, my Husband, has endeavored to injure me in a public Manner, and circulate Reports the most inconsistent as well as vile. By Reason of his base Conduct, and stealing Articles from the House where I live, he has been turned away from it; and now, to avoid Prosecution, has suddenly ran away, spreading lies as he went. It is well known that I have lived in a House for a long Time where four Families are closely connected, all of whom will fully declare that I have never behaved in an unbecoming Manner in any thing, except in keeping with that most worthless of Men.
WHereas Capt. David Dexter of Col. Lippet's Regiment, has reported in public Company that I the Subscriber was a Coward, and acted the Part of such at the Engagement at Princeton—As the Honor of a Soldier is dearer to him than his Life, I hereby call upon said Dexter, in this public Manner, to made Declaration of all he knows of the Action, and wherein I acted the Part of a Coward; for as my Character stands impeached, I desire the Public may be made acquainted with the same, that they may judge of the whole Proceeding. If it has been said with a View to injure my Character, I apprehend he will be fond of communicating the whole to the public, in order to exculpate himself; but if it has been said by Way of Romance, while under the influence of the Bottle, he will be as fond of asking my Pardon. If he refuses to take any Notice of this Advertisement, I am determined never to leave him until I have obtained Satisfaction for the Abuse done me.