The Baltimore Ravens look pretty formidable going into the AFC Championship game, but I wonder if this squad from Charm City could give them a run for their money. The offense looks a bit sketchy, but the defensive unit is stacked with stone-cold killers. You wouldn’t want to be a receiver going over the middle against that secondary, that’s for sure.
Owner: Odell Watkins
GM: Tommy Carcetti
Head Coach: Cedric Daniels
Offensive Coordinator: Lester Freamon
Defensive Coordinator: Bill Rawls
QB: Gus Haynes
RB: Jimmy McNulty
FB: Thomas Hauk
C: Jay Landsman
RG: Bunk Moreland
RT: Bunny Colvin
LG: Ervin Burrell
TE: Kenneth Dozerman
WR: Leander Sydnor
WR: Ellis Carver
Alternate WR: Kima Greggs
Continue reading If the Wire Cast Was a Football Team
The complaint has always been my great metier, the form in which I am a non-pareil master. Last night I became an honest-to-goodness world record holder in my favored idiom. At the behest of Dan Rollman, the great mind behind the Universal Record Database, I set the new standard for Most Complaints In 60 Seconds, a feat documented by numerous officials, and witnessed by New York’s daily digest of record. A video of the proceedings will soon be available, but a transcript follows, for your reading pleasure:
Continue reading Complaint Dept.
“Just how much personal history do we require to truly understand an artist’s body of work?” That’s the question that launched my review of Nicholas Fox Weber’s biography of the architect Le Corbusier, which appears in the latest issue of Print. The more we get to know an artist, the better we appreciate their work. That Caravaggio and Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Pollock were famously tortured souls only makes their work more powerful, or at least emotionally engaging, for modern audiences. Architecture, a craft as much as an art, is a bit different—it is at once more abstract and less transparent. To paraphrase my review, you don’t need to know the details of Le Corbusier’s relationship with his mother to appreciate the radical nature of the Villa Savoye, nor can you easily detect the contours of that relationship in the villa’s white-washed planes.
Le Corbusier went to great lengths to shield the public from his private self, and it was a good thing too, for he was no angel. I can’t help but compare him to Peter Paul Rubens, the enigmatic subject of my own biography. Their personalities could hardly have been more different—Rubens was beloved by just about everyone who knew him, and dedicated much of his life to public service. Although knowledge of his personal biography is not essential to those who would understand his work, it is virtually impossible to fully grasp it without a grounding in the political and historical moment in which it was created. I think this is why we find the brooding Rembrandt to be so much more popular today than Rubens. In their own time, it was a different story.
I recently contributed an essay to a series celebrating the final year of Yankee Stadium on the website Bronx Banter. I’m in distinguished company: Jane Leavy, Pat Jordan, Bob Costas, Joe Posnanski, Rob Neyer—more than sixty of us altogether. It makes for great reading. One thing that has struck me in following the series is how formative the bleachers, the subject of my piece, have been for so many of the contributors. The opportunity to sit in cheap seats close to the field, and to become a part of a community is very special. One of the things I find most troubling about the new ballpark is that this opportunity will be dramatically compromised. The new bleachers will be more expensive, separated from the field of play, and some seats will come with obstructed views. This is all part of the evolution of professional baseball from sport to entertainment event. I don’t know what this will mean for the next generation of baseball writers—we might already be seeing it in the detached, pitilessness “snark” that marks the worst of web writing and yellow journalism. Reap what you sow.
The J-E-T-S spent $75 million this year on a state-of-the-art new training facility designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, but they may still miss the playoffs, after a string of losses to close out the season. Brett Favre, the consummate football throwback, seemed an odd fit for this team devoted to technology from the moment his signature was announced. My review of the Atlantic Health Jets Training Facility appears in the latest (Jan./Feb.) issue of ID Magazine. I wasn’t the only writer to note the disjunction between Favre and the Jets’ organizational obsession with technology. Jeff MacGregor addressed this in a superb profile for the now defunct NYT sports magazine, Play.
Update: The Jets did miss the playoffs, in typical Jets fashion. Favre may or may not be back.
Check out my essay on the classic scout song “Dunderbeck” in the latest issue (no. 6) of the always gnaw-worthy Meatpaper, the impeccably designed journal of carnivorous culture. The piece is not available online, but these are the lyrics of the song, an old—though grisly—favorite
Once there was a jolly man, his name was Dunderbeck.
He was very fond of sausage meat, and sauerkraut and spec.
He owned a great big butcher store, the finest ever seen,
and he took out a patent on a sausage meat machine.
Oh Dunderbeck, Oh Dunderbeck, how could you be so mean?
Ever to have invented such a wonderful machine?
For kitten cats and water-rats will never more be seen,
They’ll all be turned to sausage meat in Dunderbeck’s machine.
One day there was a little boy came walking in the store,
to buy a pound of sausage meat and eggs a half a score.
And while he was awaiting he whistled up a tune,
and the sausages they all got up and danced around the room. [Chorus]
One night there was a problem, the machine it would not go.
So Dunderbeck he climbed inside, the reason for to know.
His wife she had a nightmare, and she came down in her sleep.
She gave the crank a terrible yank, and Dunderbeck was meat. [Chorus]