Discover more from By Tony Russo
Tony Russo, In Hot Pursuit
Googling myself Part I
When Dragged into the Light (please buy my book) came out one of the marketing tactics I heard from the internet was to set up a Google alert for my name so I could better keep track of reviews and reportage surrounding the book. I did it, but I was skeptical.
My name is the equivalent of “Joe Smith” in Italian. What’s crazy is that, since I live in a podunk backwater, Italian names are still a little exotic. In fact, when I moved here in 1993 I lived in a small town called Snow Hill. One of my neighbors, assuming I was in the witness protection program, told me that particular backwater was no place to hide.
Hey. Thanks for reading. Please subscribe if you haven’t. It’s free and I won’t be a noodge.
Anyway, people here tend to think I’m related to all the other Russos on the planet and know them personally.
For, like, the first decade of the 20th century, I introduced myself as, “Tony Russo, no relation.” Which I thought was terribly clever. I still introduce myself like that on the Day Drinking on Delmarva podcast.
People would still start the “Are you related to…” question and have to stop. I know it’s obnoxious, but in my defense, when I lived in Jersey no one asked if I was related to another Russo or told me stories about some other Tony Russo they knew. Anyway, eventually it bored even me.
Headline-making Tony Russos are neither rare nor common, I get maybe two Google notifications per month. They’re never about me so I usually don’t click through. This week, I did.
There is a lot to unpack there but for now, I just want to say I’m disappointed that whoever developed it didn’t come up with a better name than “backflow preventer.” I personally would have named it after myself, a Russo valve, say.
It looks like this:
Thieves throw a chain around the center, hook the chain to their pickup and pop these badboys off in seconds and sell them for scrap.
I covered a similar story a decade or so ago. Farm irrigation systems have a lot of copper wire in them and there’d been a rash of thefts. Guys would tie their pickups to the wire and then just drive away, pulling the copper out like a waistband drawstring, thwripp!
Some mechanics had invented a simple lock that prevented thefts. Here’s the story.
The backflow preventer thieves have riding around doing this for weeks, ostensibly selling the scrap metal. Alternatively, they could be environmental Robin Hoods. There is no greater waste of water than a lawn (except a golf course, but that’s for another time). Maybe they see sprinkler systems as morally neutral and fair game for theft and vandalism.
It doesn’t matter. What does matter is I got distracted by this embedded headline:
Although I hoped against hope, it turned out that Officer Tony Russo wasn’t involved and the woman wasn’t shoplifting the bear spray (she was shoplifting Cheetos or something). I don’t wanna overdo this here, but she’ll go to jail for assault, the cop got an eyeful of bear repellent, which is no joke at all, and the Marshalls (where the stock is what other stores throw out) saved $.035.
The best part, though, was the same people who got all in a tizzy over a sprinkler theft got to run this breathless report on the uptick in shoplifters using bear spray on people who try and stop them.
“Uptick” in “shoplifters” is another way for saying this was the second time it has happened and it could easily be the same people. The intrepid Andy Cordan (pictured above) got to use the word “brazen” twice in a minute-long report.
Cordan (I guess) sees himself as an anti-petty-crime crusader, as I discovered when I went back to the sprinkler theft story.
I cut this together for your enjoyment.
The big yank is so contrived it hurts a little bit, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m still smiling even as I type this. You can watch the entire video by following the link below. There’s grainy security footage of the crime they ran as well.
My suspicion is Cordon went to the police station, saw that the video footage was garbage, and felt like he had to demonstrate what “yanking” something out of the ground with a pickup truck looked like.
Alternatively, maybe he bet someone he could work multiple uses of the word “yanking” into a news report after having double brazened just a day earlier.
Keep the Faith,
I might keep reporting on Tony Russos if the stories are good, so stay tuned for that.
It turns out the pizza king is dead, long live the pizza king.
Upon continued review, the “yanking” guy might not be Cordon. I don’t really care, all overwrought newsmen look the same to me.
Bad plagiarizers used to tip their hands by including footnotes that went nowhere or referring to things that weren’t in the text. I read a story recently about how it would be more difficult or even impossible to catch people who were passing AI off as their own work.
Fortunately, at least there will always be an entertaining number of careless individuals advertising their AI use.
Please subscribe to receive new posts and support my work.