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Tuesdays With Artie

It's been an interesting week all around for me, getting dropped into covering another team, trying to keep one eye on the Skins and reconnect with the family as well after a long, grueling season (I'm still way to busy to really do that). But I had to say, besides just getting to hang with Lauren and Chloe at least a little bit,. the highlight of the week came a few days ago.

There are certain voices and inflections that come across immediately. There are certain people you may have never spoken to in your life, but if they happened to call you one day randomly, you would instantly recognize who it was. De Niro. Iron Mike Tyson. Nick Novak (okay, I made that one up). And, my personal favorite, Artie Donovan.

This dude is a true iconoclast, the ultimate throwback to a time before political correctness, and, I can now safely say, a world-class interview. Big Art called me back Tuesday for a story I am working on. Ended up with not a whole lot of fodder for the story, but almost fell on the floor laughing. The man has the gift of gab like few others, is a natural story teller and just a helluva of a fun guy to shoot the bull with. I will find excuses to bug this 81-year old man in the future, if just for the blog if nothing else.

We ended up espousing the virtues of Schlitz beer - this man is now incredibly wealthy and owns/run a country club outside of Baltimore but refuses to drink anything else - and I got a primer on why someone who his former Colt teammates attest could easily put down 20-30 hot dogs in a sitting has never entered the Nathan's contest in New York ("I'm an eater, but I ain't no exhibitionist," Artie said). All of this was just sort of volunteered by him. I recall asking a few questions about the old Colts and this week's game, then Artie just kind of grabbed hold of the next half-hour of my life and I gladly went along for the ride.

If you ever saw him on David Letterman, you know exactly what I'm talking about. He is as down-to-earth as they come, and still completely content to spend the day watching sports, downing a pound of two of baloney and a few sixes of Schlitz. You will never catch him on the sidelines of games like some former Hall of Famers - "Hell, the last time I did that I got a (bleep) sunburn all over my bald head, and I learned my lesson right there," he said.

Anyway, I got to catch up with a lot of former Colts and famous Baltimorons this week, and I loved it. All of them could not have been more gracious with their time. I hope to do the story justice when it runs in Saturday's paper.

OTHER STUFF: As for the rest of my week, got to catch up with some friends and family during my time in B-more, which is always awesome, and took Chloe into the office briefly on Thursday. We're headed back to my parents this weekend, since I'll be in Baltimore for the game, and no matter what your opinion is of Baltimore and the Colts or the Ravens, this will be a wild couple of days in the area ...

Finally got a chance to go skating for the first time in, damn, probably at least 18 months (I am so lame). We took Chloe to a rink near the mall in Pentagon City, and she freaked out. She got weirded out when we were in the skate shop so I could get my blades sharpened. She started to lose it when I put on the old Super Tacks. And once I got on the ice, fughedaboutit. She wanted no part of it.

I did get her to let me skate around while holding her for 90 seconds, and that was it. Headed straight for mommy and they hung in Starbucks while I got a little workout in. Oh well. Good thing we started the process with her at 23 months, 'cause I think we got quite a ways to go before she's skating hand-in-hand with daddy ...

Also, went to Chuck E. Cheese for the first time Thursday night. Are all of these joints this depressing, or is the one in Alexandria just particularly dour?

Man, low-budget operation. The guitar-playing dog was broke and couldn't even muster the weak, mechanical twitching the other characters were subjecting us to. Place was pretty run down. I thought they had like teenage kids inside the costumes and they interacted with the kids or something. Regardless, Chloe loved it, and she was already a huge fan after my parents took her to the Chuck E. Cheese in Baltimore a few times.

Lauren and I decided we'll leave future trips to the grandparents as well. It can be their thing. Although I have to say, the Chuck E. Cheese gang did do a half-decent cover of "I Want You To Want Me." You really can't mess that song up no matter how hard you try. The first three Cheap Trick albums flat-out rock.

By Jason La Canfora  |  January 12, 2007; 7:00 AM ET
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