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          Front Page




I'm Worrying About Tony Soprano

By Jim Belshaw
Of the Journal
    He's insistent. He won't let it go. "Defend Paris," he says. "You have to defend Paris."
    I tell him I have no problem defending Paris. I love Paris. It's a beautiful city. Everyone should go.
    "Nobody is defending Paris," he says.
    This is not entirely accurate. Paris has been defending Paris. She put up an online petition to Free Paris on her MySpace Web page.
    It began: "Paris Whitney Hilton is an American celebrity and socialite. She is an heiress to a share of the Hilton Hotel fortune ... She provides hope for young people all over the U.S. and the world."
    That's a pretty good defense, isn't it? Hope for young people?
    "You should defend her," he says.
    I tell him I can't worry about Tony Soprano and defend Paris Hilton at the same time. I set aside this weekend to reflect on how I'll take it if Tony gets whacked tonight in the final episode of "The Sopranos."
    Paris Hilton is out of jail in what, 23 more days with good time? She can do that standing on her Hilton head.
    Then they'll throw a big party when she gets out of the can and people will push fat envelopes into her hand with her "taste" from that week's collections ...
    Wait, I think I'm mixing genres ...
    Look, it's not like I lack things to defend.
    Albuquerque, for instance.
    We're in trouble again. We're on another list, and of course we're at the wrong end of it.
    A reader e-mailed a Web link to Men's Health magazine with a brief bad news note: "Albuquerque is ranked in the top ten of The Capitals of Crash."
    Men's Health pulled statistics from government and insurance company sources for a list that ranked the driving habits of 100 cities.
    Columbia, S.C., is the worst at No. 100.
    Albuquerque is No. 90, which is to say we're in the Bottom Top Ten.
    The No. 1 safest driving city is Des Moines, Iowa; and No. 2 is Jersey City, N.J., which is hard for me to buy, but when the perfect transition drops in your lap, you can't ignore it.
    Jersey may be safe to drive in, but only if the car behind you isn't filled with Brooklyn goons sent by Phil Leotardo.
    As much as I'd like to defend Paris Hilton, or at least admire her genius for holding our attention, I don't think I'm up to defending the indefensible while mourning "The Sopranos" at the same time.
    It's bad enough that Bobby Bacala and Silvio Dante, Tony's underling sociopaths and thoroughly likable guys (in a sociopath kind of way), have already been gunned down.
    It was hard when Sil, loyal and slouching, born with shoulders locked in a congenital shrug, went down in a hail of bullets while reaching for his piece in the glove compartment. (He clings to life in an ICU, but it doesn't look good.)
    With Bobby and Sil gone, Tony is left with a few flunkies and the treacherous Paulie Walnuts, a Judas if Jersey ever saw one.
    And now somebody wants me to defend Paris Hilton, screaming for her mom while being hauled off to jail again.
    I can't do it. Not while I'm wrestling with the idea that for the past seven years I found something to like about a murderous mobster who was the focal point of the best dramatic series in the television history.
    Sorry about Paris.
    All due respect, what are ya gonna do?
   


    Write to Jim Belshaw at The Albuquerque Journal, P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, NM 87103; telephone— 823-3930; e-mail— jbelshaw@abqjournal.com.



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