Tuesday, September 26, 2006 

Read This: Into The Buzzsaw

Some bad craziness went down last week in the world of sports journalism, with two writers being sentenced to prison for refusing to disclose their sources in a book on Barry Bonds. (For those of you keeping score at home, that's now four people sentenced to prison in the Bonds case, none of whom is Bonds himself.)

Read my take on the whole thing here, at the Chicago Sports Review.

And yes, a Braves postmortem is coming in just a bit.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006 

New Column: The National League Bridesmaids' Brawl

The latest Chicago Sports Review column is up, in which I compare the contenders for the National League pennant to a horde of bloodthirsty chicks fighting for a bride's bouquet. Watch for name-drops of Kyle Wright, Scarlett Johannsen, and Malcolm Gladwell; Bobby Abreu as a Kanye lyric; some borderline pedophilia; what guys really want from Jenny McCarthy and Jillian Barberie; and the definitions of Woo Girls and the mysterious "sweater roll." Oh, and maybe some baseball, too. Read it by clicking here.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006 

Southern Lit--James Lee Burke's "Pegasus Descending"

I first heard about James Lee Burke back in 1992, when my buddy Todd Scott pointed me in the direction of a book entitled In the Electric Mist With Confederate Dead. You saddle a book with a title like that, you'd better deliver some epic-level Southern fiction. And Burke does exactly that, year after year, book after book. His latest, Pegasus Descending, is typical Burke--which is to say that it's a melange of southern Louisiana lowlifes, byzantine plot twists, the chokehold that the past holds on the present, and healthy dollops of Catholic imagery counterpointed by scenes of stunning violence. In short, it's the best damn "detective fiction" out these days, and I'd put it toe-to-toe with most "literary" fiction as well.

Burke's protagonist, Detective Dave Robicheaux, marks his 15th book with Pegasus. In this installment, he's working out his guilt for being too drunk to rescue a friend when an early-70s Miami bank heist went awry. Now, in 2005, the friend's daughter shows up in New Iberia, Louisiana, where--conveniently enough--the man Dave suspects was behind his friend's death now lives in wealth and comfort. From there, the book whirls through New Iberia society, from drug-slingers to rich frat kids, from casinos to churches. And it all culminates in blood just as Hurricane Katrina roars ashore.

Having an impending storm symbolize a coming crisis is a hack device used by damn near every writer you can imagine--including this clown--but Burke manages to make it seem fresh and new. For instance, check this section, Dave's recollection of Hurricane Audrey coming ashore when he was young and working on an oil derrick in the Gulf:

There was no sound at all. The wind stopped, the water around the drill barge flattened, then seemed to drop away from the steel pilings, as though all the water were being sucked out of the bay. The gum and cypres trees and willows along the shore straightened in the stillness, their leaves green and bright with sunshine, then the world came apart.

All the glass exploded from the windows in the pilothouse. The instrument shack, made of aluminum and bolted down on the stern, was shredded into confetti. The crew chief was shouting at everyone on the deck, pointing toward the hatch that led down to the engine room, but his words were lost in the roar of the wind. A curtain of rain slapped across the barge, then we were inside a vortex that looked exactly like millions of crystallized grass cuttings, except it was filled with objects and creatures that should not have been there. Fish of every kind and size, snakes, raccoons, blue herons, turkey buzzards, a pirogue, uprooted trees, possums and wood rabbits, a twisted tin roof, dozens of crab trabs and conical fishnets packed with enormous carp, hundreds of frogs, clusters of tar paper and weathered boards--all these things were spinning around our barge, sometimes thudding against the handrails and ladders and bulkheads.

Tell me you're not right there with him.

In the same way, he takes the devices he uses throughout every single novel--lush description of the Louisiana bayous, Dave's ever-present penchant for alcohol-fueled violence, the portentous dreams, the way damn near everybody Dave ever knew in his life ends up in New Iberia trailing a boatload of problems--and still makes the old seem new. It's familiar territory, but it's still worth reading, every single time.

Oh, and Burke comes up with the coolest names imaginable, book after book. Somebody needs to make a list of these evocative handles; "Pegasus" includes Bellerophon Lujan, Yvonne and Cesaire Darbonne, Wee Willie Bimstine, Nig Rosewater, Prospect Desmoreau, Monarch Little, and Whitey and Slim Bruxal. Whew.

Burke's good stuff. Read him. Check out his website here, and listen to an interview with him on the book here.

Monday, September 04, 2006 

Art Blast: The Network #1

Here's an in-progress page from The Network #1, pencils by Martin Morazzo. You may not be able to tell from this angle, but the supervillains are in the process of destroying Turner Field in Atlanta. The way the Braves have played there this year, that may not be the worst thing.






















For more about The Network, including the complete first few pages, click here.

Sunday, September 03, 2006 

Updated Archives

I'm in the process of overhauling the whole site, which includes a fresh look at the archives. I'm compiling a list of damn near everything I've ever written for mass-market consumption, but while you're waiting for the box set, here's the greatest hits:

The Archives

Enjoy.

Bio

Jay Busbee runs Yahoo! Sports' NASCAR Blog From The Marbles, Atlanta Magazine's Atlanta sports blog Right Down Peachtree, and the Southern sports/humor blog Sports Gone South. He also writes for damn near anybody who'll throw him a buck and a byline, and he's at work on the books The Quiet Dynasty: The History Of The Atlanta Braves' Championship Run (2009, Sports Publishing LLC) and God Is A Bulldog: Georgia, Florida, And The Greatest Play In College Football History (2010, Sports Publishing LLC). Click below for more info on his novels, articles, and comics.
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