Tag Archives: Miami

Optipessimism Week 7: UNC – Miami

I wrote this column spur-of-the-moment after the game yesterday, and left in this first sentence for your perusal before rewriting the rest from scratch because it was simply too depressing:

“Where last week there was anger and resentment, this week there is only grim disappointment.”

At least, that’s how I felt. Feel, really. I wrote last week that UNC might have been the worst 5-1 team in Division I (I still refuse to use that idiotic FBS moniker, it reminds me of an amateur bowling league), and now I am sorry to report that my fears have been borne out. But first, some actual good news!

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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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