Rubbing elbows with Public Enemy, John Sununu and Al Franken? It was a big week for Howard Dean, and we are not talking the National Democratic Convention. First the good doctor showed up on “Crossfire,” where he used his medical expertise to euthanize former White House Chief of Staff Sununu on the subject of third-term abortions. Then he moved on to “Politically Incorrect” — a very hip cable show on the Comedy Central Network that comes off like “Washington Week in Review” meets “Saturday Night Live.” Dean landed on a panel with former Texas governor Ann Richards, Public Enemy lead singer Chuck D. and token Republican Lisa Schiffren, who penned the Murphy Brown speech for Dan Quayle. Very strange bedfellows. The subject last Thursday? Easy — “Dick” Morris. “Two hundred dollars to get your toes sucked. Too much, Governor?” host Bill Maher asked Dean after a very lively discussion about the latest White House scandal. Even with his shirtsleeves rolled up, the guv looked stiff next to Richards, who really should have a late-night talk show of her own. But Dean got a few laughs, and quickly corrected Schiffren when she called him an old-fashioned liberal. “Compared to Dan Quayle, I'm a liberal. I think that makes me a moderate,” he shot back ... On the congressional front, er, back, Bernie Sanders was also in the national news last week. The congressman got written up in the New York Times for playing the rear end of a tiger in Bread and Puppet's annual Domestic Resurrection Circus. The Times headlined the tidbit, “a politician who prefers tigers to elephants and donkeys.” Sanders was quoted, "I'm the luckiest man in the U.S. Congress. I am not in Chicago and I didn’t go to San Diego.” Amen.
The most frequently heard comment at the University Store last week? “Gee, Dad's going to be really mad.” It's book buying, and crying, time at local colleges — that “gee” can easily add up to a “G” when you pick the wrong courses. Like Professional Nursing, with its whopping $550 book bill. Animal Science is not much better, at $298.95. Best to avoid classes that require regular reading in the Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. The price tag is $145. At least one thrifty student was happy not to find his course books among the stacks.“There’s Music 1, 2 ... 4. Hey, look, my class doesn’t exist.” Way to go.
Move over, Garth Brooks. Jamie Lee Thurston and the Rattlers have won themselves another country music contest. Two weeks before they represent New England at the Jimmy Dean Country Showdown in Wheeling, West Virginia, the Vermont-grown band will be heading south to play the Wild Horse Saloon in Nashville. Only four other bands were selected to perform before an audience of industry people. “Typically they sign one artist from that night to a major label,” says Kathy Mehuron, who does publicity for the band. “The folks in Nashville have basically said, ‘Make sure this is the performance of your life.’” Apparendy country stardom is just as elusive as rock ’n roll. “It is a cookie-cutter mentality. There is a look and a sound and an expectation,” Mehuron explains. Thurston has all the bases covered, down to his double first name and cowboy hat. Better yet, he can play . . . After a lot of maybes, Café No No is back in business. Volunteer Dawn Smith bit the bean and signed a one-year lease, guaranteeing the place will be open for another revolution. The café is in the process of going nonprofit and is actively seeking interns to help with grant-writing, producing theater, managing a business — “basically anything they want. There is a lot to be done,” Smith says. The café is also planning to operate its own kitchen. “My goal tor a couple or years now has been to open a nonprofit café with young people in Boston,” says the 23-year-old graduate of the University of Vermont. There's no-no place like home.