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Pizza Pie
by Peter Kurth
January 14, 2005

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So, it seems there was this woman up in Milo, Maine, who baked a blueberry pie not long ago and got killed for it.  Her baking “is believed to have started a chain of events that ended in the murder-suicide” of herself and her husband, according to the Associated Press.

Feature it:  Pearle Cogswell, 66, bakes a blueberry pie and wants to give it away to “relatives” (no further identification of these relatives is given in the wire report).  But her husband, Eugene Cogswell, 75, objects to this.  Apparently, he wants to eat the pie himself.  The first thing he does is throw a glass of wine in her face.  Then he shoots her, right there in the kitchen. 


Overcome with remorse, realizing what he’s done, Cogswell then shoots himself, so that police now have two bodies to stumble over while they try to figure out what it was about Pearle’s pie that resulted in such a horror:  “The freshly baked blueberry pie was still on the countertop.”


Tsunami?  What tsunami?


Here’s another one for you:  An already “convicted foot-licker” in Rhode Island, Raymond Champion Dubin, 24, recently pleaded “no contest” to charges that he followed three women around department stores in Woonsocket “and licked their feet.”  One of the women insisted in court that Dubin had “licked her feet three times while she was shopping.”

I admit that I had to think about this very hard.  There you are in Woonsocket, R.I., shopping, and someone comes up and licks your feet.  OK – but three times


Iraq?  What war in Iraq?


You may think that these items have nothing to do with each other, and you’re right – they don’t.  It’s just that this is my first column of the New Year, and the last I get to write before George W. Bush gets crowned again by virtue of America’s corporate electoral system.  And so I’m grabbing at any straw I can find before having to turn again to the disasters of the Bush regime.


The tsunami, yes, we could talk about that, although so many people already have.  Leave it to America’s conglomerate media to turn even a disaster like this one into a story on the level of Brad and Jennifer’s separation. You get so tired of hearing about it that you’d just as soon see a return of the Black Death. Which, if things continue the way they are, you probably will.


Iraq?  Well, we do have some elections coming up there, not that they’ll be honest, and not that anyone will vote in them for fear of being shot or blown into pieces.  One of the problems with the overwhelming “tsunami” coverage is that it’s completely obscured the ongoing -- mounting, worsening -- devastation in Iraq, where the murdered population, by and large, has been as “innocent” as any British tourist swept off the beach while sunbathing topless in Thailand.


According to a report this week on the BBC in London, “The head of Iraq's intelligence service, General Muhammad Shahwani, now puts the number of ‘insurgents’ at 200,000, of which 40,000 are said to be the hard core and the rest active supporters.  These figures do not represent an insurgency. They represent a war.” Bushwhack, meanwhile, has issued orders to his staff that “no bad news” about Iraq is to be brought to his attention. 


Good work, Georgie!  That’s what I call liberation from the lash of Saddam Hussein.  And, by the way, why haven’t we seen Hussein drawn and quartered yet?  What’s scaring you, boy-o?


So let’s talk about pizza.  I mean the best pizza this side of Rome -- discounting, maybe, Chicago’s or New Haven’s -- which, in Burlington, Vermont, is served at Manhattan Pizza on the corner of Church and Main Streets.


Don’t bother arguing about this. I’ve eaten pizza all over this town, and while I have high praise for many of our pizzerias and their -- what are they? Pizzerizeurs? -- there is nothing to be eaten here that goes down better than a pie from Manhattan’s.  I’m so impressed by the deliciousness of these pies that I even ignore the hordes of students who gather there nightly to chow down and, you know, pick up chicks.  I might even shoot Pearle Cogswell rather than surrender a single piece of it.


What global warming? 


Manhattan Pizza’s owner and operator, Nancy Cuhna, who’s run the place since 1993, does only what an authentic pizzerizeuse needs to do to get it right:  She makes the crust very thin, and the glop very heavy, and the results are, shall we say, squisito.  It eliminates those four inches of 7-grain bread you normally have to feed to the birds before you can get a bite out of the heart of any sandwich anywhere else in town.


Meantime, did you know that Ding-Dong’s inaugural is going to cost the American taxpayer something like $40 million?  And that the lion’s share of paying for “security” at this obscene event is going to be borne, per imperial decree, by the city of Washington, DC, which has the misfortune of hosting the festivities?


You’ll remember, maybe, that the District of Columbia has no national representation, no voice in Congress, along with a poverty rate that far outstrips others in the nation.  But the District has received a certain amount of “anti-terrorist” funding, as can be seen by the thousands of concrete road-blocks and barricades erected on Pennsylvania Avenue and everywhere around the monuments of our nation’s glory.  And therefore, pace the Bushmen, the District can pay for adoring the emperor’s balls.


Take that last phrase any way you want.  What stolen election?  What “torture memo?” What Social Security “crisis”?  Pepperoni with that?


Peter Kurth is the author of international bestselling books including Anastasia: The Riddle of Anna Anderson, Isadora: A Sensational Life, and a biography of the anti-fascist journalist Dorothy Thompson, American Cassandra: The Life of Dorothy Thompson. His essays have appeared in Salon, Vanity Fair, New York Times Book Review, and many others. Peter lives in Burlington, Vermont. He can be reached at: Visit his website at:


Other Articles by Peter Kurth


* Year End Review 2004
* Say Cheese!
* One Question, One Rule
* End of the Road?
* Remembering Dorothy Thompson
* There's Nothing About Mary
* Time to Start Finishing
* Pass the Ammunition!
* Keep Petting That Goat!
* Religion in the News
* Beam Me Up, Mrs. Williams
* Such Emptiness! Such Depth of “Preparedness!”
* Absent on AIDS
* King James and King George

* Beheadings
* F--k this, Dick!
* Reagan Idiosis
* Chickenhawk Chic
* Letter to Mars
* Robbing "Defeat" to Pay "Appall"
* Standing Small
* Bible Time
* One Man's Flip Is Another Man's Flop
* Kee-reist is More Like It
* Star Wars
* The Breast That Ate Pittsburgh
* Monkey See, Monkey Do
* Crank Call
* A Cynic's Guide to the Top Stories of 2003
* Talking Turkey
* Let Them Drink Coke
* The Gang that Couldn’t Talk Straight On Iraq
* Party Rules