Monday, January 28, 2008

Two Eulogies

In the span of twelve hours one character was suddenly lost forever, while another declared his future departure.

The two are wholly different. One is fictional, the other real. One is a Swedish footballer, the other is a Black man born and raised in East Baltimore. One took up a life of sport and prestige, the other a life of drugs and notoriety.

Proposition Joe was killed in last night’s episode of The Wire, set up by his Nephew and rival-turned-protégé Marlo Stanfield. He emerged in the first season as kingpin of the East side, an adversary of the Barksdale organization but not a rival. Operating the New Day Co-Op, Prop Joe was the liaison between The Greek and the Docks – where the drugs came in – and the rest of the drug barons in the city.

His constant scheming was his ultimate downfall. But it was also what distinguished Prop Joe from every other mogul. One can view his formation of the New Day Co-Op as a political move to solidify power for himself. But such an organization is too unique. Most people think drug dealers are vigilantes, but the Co-Op was a cabal that was similar to the political rackets in City Hall.

Prop Joe grew on me and although I foresaw his eventual power struggle, I did not expect it so soon. His co-op is now all but over. To use a (lame) StarWars allusion, Marlo is Emperor Palpatine and has dissolved the Imperial Senate.

Olof Mellberg first came on my radar when I was fleetingly into soccer. I saw the highlights of an Aston Villa match at a pub while in Copenhagen (although I cant fully recall). A cross between Dolph Lundgren and a lumberjack, his intense style, large stature, and burly beard immediately caught my attention. When Fulham played Aston Villa in August, Zat Knight was rumored to transfer to Villa. But that didn’t stop Mellberg, who at one point was in Zat’s face chewing him out.

Whenever I start a new manager campaign in FIFA, Mellberg is one of the first players I try to acquire. Silly, yes. But to date he is one of my favorite Premier League players. But sadly, he is choosing to play for (despicable) Juventus in Italy. I can't really blame him, as Turin is much more pleasant than Birmingham (or so I am told). Although he will be around until May, it will be a drawn out swan song.

Losing these two fellas has been tough, but there's still McNulty and Linvoy Primus out there.