Author Archives: Andrew Westney

About Andrew Westney

Andrew Westney writes about sports and business, and lives uphill on Tobacco Road.

UNC-Georgia Tech: Can a Brother Get a Beatdown?

Dear Jack,

Long time no talk!  What’s up, brotherman?  How you been?  How was the trip to Maine?  Talked to Dad lately?  How’s the wife and kid, he reciting Shakespeare yet?  But before we get into all that, there’s something urgent to catch up on: you and your alma mater ready to get your stingers handed to you Sunday?

Big words, I realize, considering how little recent success UNC has to stand on against the Bugs and their repetitive motion offense.  Run, run, play-action run, run…and I’m not even trying to hear that Tech has come to embrace the advent of the forward pass in the last three weeks: even grinders get bored enough to throw after scoring 50 points.  But I’ll take my chances this Saturday with the boys in Columbia Blue, as the color commentator for ESPN called them during the UNC-UVa game, to the bewilderment of his partner and the country as a whole below 110th St. on the West Side.*

*It’s a real school, with an actual football team.  Marcellus Wiley admits to going there, and according to Wikipedia, Wiley “played tailback, defensive end, and kick returner for the Lions”.  Yes, Columbia let a defensive end return kicks, and considered itself lucky.

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Future Home of the UNC Wrestling Preview – UFC CONTENT!

I know what you’re thinking: it’s early September and TRB is just getting around to previewing the wrestling season now?  When UNC pankrationistas have been murmurously anticipating the triumphant return from shoulder surgery of Zac “Crazy Arms” Bennett, the Johnstown Jesus, and the coronation of second-generation champion Corey “Make Mine Moxie” Mock since our near-near-near-miss at the NCAA Championships in March?

As it happens, there are so many subplots to the upcoming campaign that our crack writing staff has just begun to weave it all into a coherent narrative suitable to the pages of a sober sports website rather than a breathless telenovela; also, the schedule is currently unavailable on the team’s official website.  The site’s stark yet bracing reminder, “THERE ARE NO UPCOMING EVENTS”, urges us all to carpe diem- for the beginning is nigh.

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Shapiro vs. Serpico: The Rat in the Adage, Part Two

(Read part one here.)

“People who say I should go to hell, well, I’m here.”- Nevin Shapiro.

For a notorious rat, Frank Serpico never had much of a loyalty problem.

Long before Rudy Giuliani found his city so starved for perpetrators he had to start cracking down on jaywalkers, in that same Drop Dead decade when Jimmy Burke and his crew (the real-life GoodFellas) ripped off JFK, crime in the New York of the 1970s was at an ignominious apex- both outside and inside the law. A well-oiled arrangement permitted lower level cops to shake down drug dealers and numbers operators for a regular contribution while the brass looked the other way.  Not everybody was on the take, but pretty much everybody who wasn’t taking money kept quiet about those who did.  Continue reading

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Shapiro vs. Serpico: The Rat in the Adage

Welcome to football week on Tobacco Road Blues. New contributor Andrew Westney kicks us off…

“You took your first pinch like a man, and you learned the two greatest things in life…      Never rat on your friends, and always keep your mouth shut.” – GoodFellas

Jimmy Conway’s credo is a little Yogi Berra-esque, in that it makes perfect sense if you don’t try to make too much sense out of it.  The point is this, ya mook: don’t tell the cops anything, especially about your amici.  As that picture amply illustrated, though, you don’t always know who your friends are, or worse, sometimes the guys you thought were your friends will run out at the first sign of trouble.  But even then, a lot of people would rather go down with the ship than ever turn rat.

Good thing for journalists and dramatists, then, that a few individuals, with their heads screwed on a special way, choose to violate this code.  Because the best corruption tales beg for a rat: sure, intrepid reporters can break a scandal based on dogged review of documents and endless interviews with peripheral parties, but nothing drags the tarp off the cesspool like an insider naming names, taking no prisoners amongst those who until yesterday were his pals.

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