2017-12-28 / Opinion

An Ode to 2017

Inspired by an old newspaper tradition, our stalwart feature writer pens a tribute to the tumultuous year that has just passed.
By James Merolla
Let us lift up our glass, filled with holiday cheer,
To the winners, the losers, the events of the year;
What was hot, what was not; the Tweet, the skinny, the Gram;
From Broadway Street Fairs to the Pell Bridge Repair Eye-Cam;
From prominent figures being canned,
To plastic bags being banned,
From St. Patrick’s Day traditions getting older,
To frisky coyotes getting bolder,
From Fire Chiefs Peter Connerton and Ron Doire,
(Who finally got the chance to seamlessly retire),
From orders changed daily to remove Pell School’s basketball hoops.
To NEW city orders to put them up again. Whoops!
From Lucy’s Hearth Women’s shelter opening up to men…
Wait, say that one again?
To natives embroiled in an international political scandal
That may make the President’s tenure too hot to handle,
To the intriguing, the fatiguing, the outlandish, the provincial, the buzz;

This is the Year That Was:

In Newport and Middletown

Antiques Roadshow came to Rosecliff, fortune-hunter hopes were raised.
But the mansion’s wares dwarfed anything 3,200 folks had appraised.
Speaking of mansions, foes resisted a rest-pottie-building for tourists.
The Bathroom-Breakers? “Say It Ain’t So!” cry the purists.
Newcomer Dawn Euer replaced Senate Leader Theresa Paiva-Weed?
Political foes left knock-kneed? Indeed!
John Florez, who lost to Euer and others, wasn’t of like mind.
In the middle of his City Council term, he abruptly resigned.
Now, there is a scramble to fill that vacant seat.
Hmmm. Who will this Council entice and entreat?
Middetown banned E-cigs, VapEs. “For teens, they are E-bad!’
Retailers sued, however, and shouted, ‘E-nough! E-gad!’
They keep promising former Sheffield School will be a business incubator.
Now? No. Now? No. How about now? Maybe later……(now?)
They may start pulling educated adults out of athletic field bleachers;
Both Newport and Middletown have almost NO substitute teachers.
Leases for three cell phone giants on a tower at Rogers High are all done.
Their solution? ‘On the other side of the school, let’s build a taller one!’
They might move the Sailing Hall of Fame here from Annapolis
If Newport provides a good empty stone building. Anyone got an Acropolis?
Business is good! $40 million in Pell Bridge ramp roundabouts are planned!
The Newport Shipyard will expand!
Soon, you will enter
A new 84-room boutique hotel at the former Newport Yachting Center!
Maybe business is both good and bad and the local store counter fleet!
Ask the shops who sold $700K of hoity-toity goods that were counterfeit!
Watchers hold their binoculars, gather sleeping bags, got their supplies in;
They await the 2018 Volvo Ocean Race boats not yet on the horizon.

Rhode Island

Nick Mattiello sunk a deal that would keep the PawSox in Pawtucket.
Won’t put his name on a “bad deal,” nor give one single tax ducat.
A working title for this failed baseball saga by Simon and Schuster?
“R.I. Speaker Killed a City by Sending Their Team to Worcester.”
A State Rep. revealed colleagues drank from personal wet bars ‘til sated;
Another blew the whistle on State House sexual harassment. Are they related?
The failed launch of the $364 million computer system has police Bobbies
Wrestling angry, near violent, welfare clients screaming in the lobbies.
Rumors swirl that Gov. Gina Raimondo wants to climb the next political rung.
Could she really be replaced by Cranston’s Allan Fung?
Revealing both an electrically charged Super Ego and overactive id,
A 53% rate hike was approved for National Grid.
With coffers full, think they’d respond to a storm crisis in an hour?
Nah! For a week, thousands of Rhode Islanders were without power.
Some 34 teachers in Providence have been suspended and hounded
By students who made up accusations on a whim that are unfounded.
Why, oh, why, do these problems still vex us?
Please, Massachusetts, Connecticut, can’t you annex us?

The Nation

Newport’s Philip Bilden withdrew from being Secretary of the Navy,
Said entering government would mean losing too much profit gravy.
Middletown’s Michael Flynn resigned as National Security Advisor.
He’s being pressed to name Russians (“Mike, c’mon! Who would be the wiser?”)
Flynn then testified that he lied to the FBI.
Should we feel sorry for this local guy?
Hurricanes ravaged Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico. Trump appeared to
fudge it.
While pledging recovery support, he told the latter, “You screwed up our budget.” Twitter increased the number of characters you may use for each Tweet.
The President’s daily insults and rants are now sooo much more discreet.


The Patriots were down by 25; too much to overcome.
They won their fifth Super Bowl. Ho-hum.
Danny Ainge said Celtic fans were sooooo deserving
That he traded Isaiah Thomas, but brought in Kyrie Irving!
Gordon Hayward was also going to bring them up another peg,
But in the first minutes of his very first game, he horrifically broke his leg.
The Red Sox were still sloshing at the bottom of the barrel
So they finally fired double talking manager John Farrell.
Some terrific rookies gave the hated Yankees much needed nudge;
Led by the spectacular, gigantic Aaron Judge.
The Bruins are still floundering and not up to the task
They even benched $8 million goalie softie Tukka Rask.
The New York Giants’ clueless coach and GM got a canning
When they stupidly benched QB icon Eli Manning.
Locally, two Middletown teams proved they were boss.
They took state titles in girls tennis and boys lacrosse!

Notable Deaths

Judge Wapner, John Hurt, Chuck Berry, J. Geils, Mary Tyler Moore,
After all, what’s a heaven for?
Professor Irwin Corey, Al Jarreau, hosts Chuck Barris and Monty Hall;
To death, we lost them all.
Lou Duva, Jimmy Breslin, Erin Moran (“Happy Days”), Fats Domino,
So sad to see so many go.
Mike Connors, Roger Moore, Gregg Allman, Frank Deford, Adam West,
May you have eternal rest.
Bill Dana, Sam Shepard, Martin Landau, Helmut Kohl,
The body is gone, but wherefore the soul?
Glen Campbell, Harry Dean Stanton, Dick Gregory, Jerry Lewis.
Frank Deford, Hugh Hefner, Jake LaMotta or Y.A. Tittle,
Death cares very little.
Rollie Massimino, Robert Osborne, William Peter Blatty, Jim Nabors,
Don Rickles, David Cassidy, Tom Petty, Bill Paxton, Della Reese.
Rest in Peace.

Thank You!

And to our loyal readers and advertisers in Newport, Middletown,
Portsmouth, Jamestown;
(Especially that last place named after me…a man of great renown.)
From all of us at Newport, This Week, led by Lynne Tungett and Kirby Varacalli,
(Who, when selling ads, has no time to dally!)
Chris Allen, Charles Avenengo, Debbie Tungett Bailey, Jen Carter,
Sam Crichton, Annette Desrosiers, Rob Duca, Cynthia Gibson,
Mark Gorman, Meri Keller, Loren King, Amy Martin, Carolyn Neary,
Joe O’Connor, Carmen Rugel, Bob Rulli, Federico Santi,
Beth “Peaches” Udoma, and Brooke Constance White.
And, of course, me, James Merolla, Yours Truly!

Happy New Year to all, and to all a GOOD NIGHT!

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