Does anybody work on the last Friday before Christmas? I suspect that anyone in an office right now is either nursing a wicked hangover or knee deep in Rum balls and eggnog, looking for one of those fleeting sideways opportunities to duck into the copy room with the new intern.
But on the odd chance that you don't work in one of those kinds of offices, and are instead looking for some form of distraction as you feign productivity, here are some of the best things I've come across over the past week:
The 20 Worst Album Covers of 2008
The best/worst thing about the year coming to it's merciful conclusion is the endless barrage of best/worst lists for the year. The guys at Pitchfork are one of the select few whose lists fall into the "best" category, as they proudly bring you the worst album covers of 2008. The NSFW Amon Tobin cover is one of the greatest works of art I've ever come across, and there exists the very real possibility that it will be the logo for my fanstasy football team next year.
Be sure to check the sidebar for related lists (ie, The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s). These guys do a bang-up job.
Thanks to M@ for the link.
In light of the Madoff case, my buddy Flats forwarded me the link to the Charles Ponzi wikipedia entry. Ummm... I'd heard of a Ponzi scheme before, but I'd never actually taken the time to think about where that term came from. Needless to say, Charles Ponzi's life story is worth the read.
As if on cue, Urban Dictionary's word of the day on Tuesday, December 16 was Ponzi Crawl. Those guys are good.
The Return of the Curse of Flutie
This was one of the most gratifying/depressing reads I've come across in a long time. As a lifelong Bills fan and masochist, I've long suspected the correlation between Wade Phillips' indefensible benching of Doug Flutie in favour of (gasp!)...Rob Johnson prior to the 1999 playoffs, and the Bills subsequent tailspin into something below mediocrity. Every Bills fan knows that the Music City Miracle was little more than Doug Flutie and God teaming up to let Wade Phillips know that he had chosen poorly. But what I didn't know was just how great Flutie's powers were, or that he could ensure that curse stay with Coach Phillips until the day he dies.
Big tip of the cap to the guys at Cold, Hard Football Facts for putting this fine piece of investigative journalism together.
Most Likely to Succeed
by Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell is quickly becoming one of my favourite writers at The New Yorker. First, his brilliant piece about how long and arduous the road can be for writers hoping to eventually come into their own, and now this: a piece about what makes a great teacher, drawing comparisons between fledgling educators and NCAA Quarterbacks! I love it. It would be like someone asking me to write about the implementation of a controversial bi-weekly garbage pickup by-law, and my saying: "Yeah, I can do that. No problem. I'm just gonna need to run down to Costa Rica for a month to conduct some field research in this brothel a buddy of mine told me about... Don't worry, it'll all come together in print..."
I know there are many pedagogical dotcomrades out there, and I don't claim for a second to know even a fraction of what they do about educating; but I have to say, I learned more about the art of teaching from this article than I ever thought I would. Just a fantastic bit of writing. And if that weren't enough, it also includes a Joey Harrington sighting!
Licence to Deal
by Mark Medley
Just in case you were questioning the value of a literary agent. More than anything, this is a plug for my fantastic agent (last on the right), who makes the kinds of impossible decisions that I would simply never be able to make. She rules.
Thanks to Cat for the link.
by Mark "The Shark" Titus
Mark Titus' project might very well wind up being the blog of the year. He appeared on Bill Simmons' podcast this week (fast forward to the 41:48 mark to hear the Titus interview), and the interview was absolutely priceless.
To bring you up to speed, Mark Titus is the twelfth man on the Ohio State basketball team, and the primary goal of his basketball life is to put up the "trillion stat line": 1 minute played, followed by a string of zeroes... Basically, he gets in the game in garbage time and tries to do precisely nothing. No points. No rebounds. No steals. No assists... He basically just tries to run up and down the court without doing anything. And then he blogs about it. And it is phenomenal.
Check out this slice from his entry after the Butler game:
We beat Butler yesterday in a squeaker that featured my former high school teammate Gordon Hayward putting points on our team's collective face. Brownsburg High School was easily the best represented high school in the game, as Gordon and I combined for 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists. Because I didn't even get in the game, Gordon shouldered most of the productivity, but I looked really good with the towel around my neck on the bench. Seriously. I looked REALLY good. Despite Gordon's best effort, in the end my good looks obviously weighed much more heavily in the outcome of the game than his 25 points, because my team came out victorious.
Unfortunately the Butler game prevented me from partaking in one of my favorite pastimes of gawking at the cheerleaders. I was informed by my mom that one of the Butler cheerleaders was my second or third cousin thrice removed or something like that. So essentially, we aren't related at all. Nonetheless, I was fearful that I would find one of the Butler cheerleaders attractive, only to discover that she was the one that is related to me. That would have undoubtedly led to a realization similar to this. It was a chance that simply wasn't worth taking and I was forced to turn to an alternative form of entertainment during the game--the game itself.
There are so many great things about the Club Trillion blog, and so many ideas I wish I'd thought of first, not the least of which is the "Evan Turner's Facebook Status" update. You have no idea how many people I'd like to implement this feature with.
Check it out before Titus starts getting some actual playing time, which could have the effect of destroying his promising literary career.
Good luck with any holiday shopping you have left to do, which; if you're the least bit like me; includes all of your holiday shopping. If you're brave enough to step foot in a mall this weekend, feel free to punch someone in the face for me.