Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Median Strip Holiday Tree

The Providence Cross
"Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in."

Fortunately, I'm not Michael Corleone. 

Last night I received a short email from someone claiming to be Ken Block, former Moderate Party gubernatorial candidate. (EDIT: The original version took the person claiming to be Ken Block at his word. See what I get for not being overly suspicious and rude? My apologies to Ken Block.)
FYI, At that spot there was previously a cross by the gas station on Pleasant Valley Parkway, there is now a Christmas tree.
My first thought was that this was some kind of set up. I get emails from people from time to time that are insulting, mildly threatening, or are simply attempts to wind me up, but it never pays to be overly suspicious or rude so I replied:
Thank you, I'll look into it, but for the most part Christmas trees are considered secular in nature by the courts. Now a manger scene might be a problem, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
The spot on Pleasant Valley Parkway in question was the location of a Christian Cross, erected by Peter Montequila of Finest Car Wash for the purpose of letting atheists and Humanists know that he wanted them all to get out of Rhode Island. I wrote a very long summation of the events here. More recently I wrote about the cross having fallen into disrepair, since one flag was missing and the other was in tatters.

The Cross in disrepair

Despite what has been said in some circles, I don't go looking for issues. They come to me, but when I hear that there's a Christmas Tree of some kind on the median strip, I set out with my camera to find out.

First off, there are signs on the median now advertising Finest Car Wash. I don't care.

Second of all, the Providence Cross has been repaired! I guess someone has been reading my blog!

As soon as I saw it, I realized that Ken Block had gotten it wrong. This was not a Christmas Tree at all, but clearly a Holiday Tree. During the day the tree does not look too impressive, but there are lights around it, so I bet it looks pretty at night.

The Holiday Tree is topped with a vicious looking scrap metal star adorned with lights.

In an attempt to be inclusive, Finest Car War added signs to their Holiday Tree display that say "Merry Christmas" and feature a picture of a man and a woman praying to a baby. From what I know about mythology, the baby might be Mithra, or Hercules, or any number of other mythological gods. The point is that the display is very inclusive of a wide variety of religious points of view.

It's painfully obvious that this display was not put up to celebrate Christmas, but instead to spread an inclusive message of unity for all Rhode Islanders. Peter Montequila, after all, is the man who once said, in the spirit of unity:
If it really offends them, you know what? Don't drive down the street, or move someplace else or get out of the state, that's how I feel.
Merry Christmas, everyone!


  1. Important note -

    The email from Ken Block was a fake. I am Ken Block, and did not send that email to you.

    the real Ken Block

  2. The blog has been amended. Sorry for any confusion.

  3. Don't forget the fact that the tree is topped with a pentagram....obviously a pagan symbol representing the five elements.

  4. The email was not "fake", my name is Ken Block. I'm not the Ken Block of the moderate party. Never claimed to be. Never occurred to me that somebody would assume that I was.

    The just as real Ken Block

  5. Steve -

    I have to offer an apology here. A real Ken Block *did* in fact write the note that you received - just not Ken Block of the Moderate Party. There are in fact two Ken Blocks kicking around RI - each as real as the other.

    Somehow I suspect this is a bigger pain in the ass for the other Ken Block than for me :)

    Moderate Party Ken Block