Tag Archives: Matthew McConaughey

A Magnificent (Game) Seven

2 Nov
Plaque at Wrigley Field

Plaque at Wrigley Field

The coverage of the 2016 MLB national tournament features per usual an  overblown  narrative that has been beaten to death and rivals some of the silly metrics that fill in the commentary and live coverage of the individual games. As my good and longest tenured bud Steve (Fagin) reminded me, we spent  the better part of our youth in Chicago when the Cubs (not Cubbies)never even achieved .500 seasons. I don’t recall concerns about the long championship droughts and I care as little about that as I do that the last Cub grand slam hit in the tourney was in 1908.

But then again I (have come to) understand that most of the mainstream verbiage and blather is directed to the casual  audience that has been all to happy to watch the annual baseball joust (especially in light of the 2016 political silly season)to escape the bad news shitstream—non-coverage of Standing Rock resistance,  acquittal of the Bundy thugs, cop shootings, Aleppo, Syria devastation and on and on.

Nonetheless, there is a host of good stories flowing out of the 2016 post season contests. Kyle Schweibar’s season-long rehabilitation to end up playing and fulfilling expectations. Tito Francona’s smart adaptation of his resources to triumph over the American League. Cub’s skipper Joe Maddon’s kids winning 103 games in the regular season, exposing obvious weaknesses in post season (being unable to hit A grade pitching) ads still ending up in the season’s penultimate game. The clear difference in regular and post season expressed in Chicago chief Theo Epstein’s quip, “You build a team for the regular season and then you pray in the post season”

And, of course, there are the ambient distractions of

1) noxious troll Pete Rose  joining rookie tv talking head Alex Rodriguez and Bg Hurt Frank Thomas for ‘expert’ commentary,

2) the silly Lincoln ads with Matthew McConaughey (for which he should be embarrassed),

3) Joe Buck’ s worthless chatter  *and MLB Hall of  Famer John Smoltz’s counterbalancing insights

Augmented Cubs logo

Augmented Cubs logo

 Watching the Cubs via MLB.com for the  past two seasons has been a joyful experience. They battled to the last out (in 2015) leading the NL in 1 run decisions) , the home broadcast announcers Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies were amusing knowledgeable and companionable for a  three hour plus viewing and Joe Maddon was and is a baseball lifer who avoids cliche and conventional wisdom in talking about his players and post-game review.

 So, I am, of course, hoping for the Cubs to triumph but I must acknowledge that it is too bad someone has to lose…


Good Poh-leece

16 Jun
Lincoln Park, Chicago. 1968

Lincoln Park, Chicago. 1968

Growing up in Chicago I had many occasions to witness the Chicago Police Department in action. From corruption scandals to the infamous Red Squad to the police riots in August of 1968 to the murder of Fred Hampton and a number of personal interactions in between, I formed an inchoate sense of police and no coherent thoughts about how policing big cities should be undertaken. Add to this pastiche, my long standing appreciation of crime stories by the likes of Elmore Leonard, George Pelecanos, James Lee Burke, Ed McBain and others and after all these years I am beginning to grasp some of the intractable dilemmas attached to crime and policing and the mine field that is US law enforcement. Not to dwell on this at the moment but these conundrums are what make crime stories so rich in drama…

The second season of True Detectives has two very high benchmarks with which it competes. One being, its first riveting season and the second,the universally lauded and extolled urban drama set in the cauldron of Baltimore’s racial divide , The Wire— especially now that the new blu ray edition has stimulated new conversations about its lofty literary status. One understated notion that is regnant in the Wire is that of being “good police” as in the statement that He/She is good police.” And we observe that in the case McNulty among other of the detectives one can be an alcoholic, ruin their marriage and exhibit numerous signs of dysfunction but obsessive focus on solving cases trumps almost everything.

Having watched the first three episodes of True Detective 2, its hard not to think of the genius pairing in the 1st season of Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as detective partners—which is not how the new narrative unfolds.In the new 2nd season, the three poh-leece who meander into the main plot and central crime (one loses count of all the felonies committed by everyone from the street up to corporate suites and city hall offices. In this case Colin Farrell is Ray Velcoro a detective in the City of Vinci (even I know that ‘vinci” is latin for I conquered),Rachel McAdams is Ani Bezzerides a Ventura County Sheriff’s detective and Taylor Kitsch plays Paul Woodrugh a motorcycle cop for the California Highway Patrol. Toss in Vince Vaughn as a latter day Macbeth and you have the drama’s main players. It should not go unmentioned that the Mayor of Vinci is played with great gusto by Richie Coster in scene stealing moment, he rivals a riveting scene in Bugsy where Harvey Keitel playing the LA mobster Mickey Cohen goes off Warren Beaty’s Bugsy Seagal.

I suppose ahead of the imminent HBO broadcast of True Detective‘s 2nd season on Father’s Day (a holiday I would still like someone to explain to me), gainfully employed typists are doing their jobs by announcing and opinionating on Nick Palazotti’s new creation. From where I watched, the story continues to spotlight the damaged and troubled men and women tasked with solving our society’s most awful crimes—many that sink way below even the Reptilian.As always a vision from which it is difficult to turn away…