Time was running out for Fizzle the rooster. Four weeks ago, he had announced his sex to the world, or at least to his Portland, Oregon, neighborhood, crowing so vociferously that there was no denying his masculinity. And that was the problem, because while Portland law allows up to three hens in a resident’s backyard without a permit—making the city a particularly appealing place for those who wish to try their hands at the growing pastime of urban chicken-keeping—roosters are strictly prohibited because of the noise.
With two minutes left in his workout, Rampage mounts a final assault on the heavy bag. An invisible string seems to connect the fighter and the trainer who controls his daily rhythms. Both men are born-again Christians with an overpowering hunger for love, and each uses that weakness to manipulate the other throughout the six weeks of training camp. They speak in their own shorthand about a prospective hire at one of their gyms. “He don’t say much. A Christian man, knows the Bible, don’t eat pork,” Rampage says, punishing the heavy bag with a series of brutal uppercuts.
Tom Chiarella (thanks, Casey): The sink is full of tongues. Beef tongues, each as big as a man’s shoe, frozen into one icy clump the size of a propane canister, defrosting for an afternoon pickup. There’s a lot of mouth, too, I guess, or palate — I’m not sure, because the top tongue is unfrozen enough that I can see a bone that looks like a little saddle. But right now the guys in back are breaking cows — sawing the hindquarters down with a handsaw, cutting the hip on the band saw, then the shank, thumbing out the ribs for short loin. Short loin is their money cut. No one is particularly worried about the tongues. You don’t have to rush the tongues, they tell me.
“Who ordered tongues?” I ask. Sometimes it’s loud in a butcher shop. The grinding saws or the clattering, the cuber, the vacuum sealer, the hasp and slam of the walk-in-refrigerator door, the radio. Not a cruel, industrial noise — no one wears earplugs. This is the loudness of commerce, the fail-safe cadence of call-in orders, the rattling meter of the morning butcher-shop routine.
David A. Fahrenthold (thanks, Kevin): The Chesapeake Bay is not tar-black and dead. It is not bright-green and toxic. It looks just as beautiful as ever, come a sunrise in Annapolis or a sunset over Tangier Sound. (Series, multimedia.)
Almost missed this: Finally, I thought, a story about a print organization that has found a way to tame the Web and come up with a digital business approach that could serve as a model. Except that TriCityNews of Monmouth County, N.J., is prospering precisely because it aggressively ignores the Web. Its Web site has a little boilerplate about the product and lists ad rates, but nothing more. (The address is trinews.com, for all the good it will do you.)
“Why would I put anything on the Web?” asked Dan Jacobson, the publisher and owner of the newspaper. “I don’t understand how putting content on the Web would do anything but help destroy our paper. Why should we give our readers any incentive whatsoever to not look at our content along with our advertisements, a large number of which are beautiful and cheap full-page ads?”
That’s the paradox we’re left with now that police have finally named a killer in the murder of Adam Walsh.
For 27 years, it seemed that the freckle-faced 6-year-old was snatched by the bogeyman Out There Somewhere. Last week, we got a name: Ottis Toole, drifter and serial killer, who died in 1996 while in prison for other crimes. But since 1981, when Adam was kidnapped from a Sears at a South Florida mall, we’ve become irreversibly more watchful, and more worried, and more aware of dangers both real and imagined.
Lee Hancock, part one of five: Min Patel huddled in a fourth-floor hallway with Dr. Edward Taylor near an intensive care unit, where the trauma surgeon’s patient lay tethered to a ventilator. Seven intravenous pumps pushed a cocktail of chemicals into his body to fight infection and keep his heart pumping.
The stakes didn’t get any higher than in Baylor University Medical Center’s 4 West ICU. Inside its fluorescent bullpens of beeping, whirring machines lay the most complex trauma and transplant cases in the biggest hospital in Dallas. The middle-aged accident victim had been stranded there for weeks, in a high-tech limbo.
“He looks a mess,” Ms. Patel, the palliative care team nurse, told the surgeon. “It doesn’t seem like we’re going to make him better.”
They came for the gravely ill racketeer last month, appearing at his North Providence home around dawn. His time was near, but not as near as the police officers at his door. He went peacefully.
Soon he was at state police headquarters, where veteran detectives knew him well: Nicholas Pari, once the smart-dressing mobster whose nickname, “Nicky,” had clearly not taxed the Mafia muse. Now 71, with gauze wrapped around his cancer-ruined neck: Nicky Pari.
The arrest, for running a crime ring from a flea market, put him in a reflective mood, and he said some things he clearly needed to say, including that he was dying. Still, ever-faithful to that perverse code of the streets, he seemed insulted when asked about the deeds of others.