Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Diversion

A little something to get you through to the weekend. As always, here is some of the best stuff I've come across over the course of the past few weeks:

Priced To Sell
By Malcolm Gladwell

A relevant take on the market-driven price of information and ideas in the digital age. Stewart Brand once declared: "Information wants to be free". And as a site that provides little more than information...ummm... I'm going to have to agree.

The Glorious Third
By Hendrik Hertzberg

A look into the reasons behind Sarah Pallin's resignation. Hint: there's a good chance the reason's involve $$$... And I absolutely love the candour in the answer given by Levi Johnston, the 19-year old father of Pallin's grandchild:

“Levi,” a reporter put in, “say Sarah Palin ran for President in 2012. Would you vote for her?”

Johnston sighed. “No,” he said. “I think she’s a great lady and all, but after seeing what she did now—you know, this leaving Alaska—I would have to say no. I mean, obviously if she’s stressed out as governor, I mean, moving up to the Vice-President or President is huge. I just don’t think, anymore, that she’s cut out for the job.”

Let's Celebrate the "Summer of Mailbag"
By Bill Simmons

I won't lie to you: ever since The Sports Guy began twittering, his columns have been less-than-impressive. Fortunately for mankind, he has made a triumphant return with his most recent mailbag. Here are some of my favourite Q&As:

Q: Let's imagine for a second that you go to hell and are going to be forced to watch every game a sports team ever played and will play for the rest of eternity. Except, your memory will be wiped so you don't know the results (to maximize the agony) and you will become a die-hard fan of that team with no memory of other fan association (to ensure you don't get free Red Sox tickets forever). Which team in each of the four major sports will Satan be bestowing on you?-- Marty, Flint, Mich.

SG: Cubs, Bills, Clippers, Maple Leafs. I didn't have to think for even six seconds about it. In fact, I think this is part of hell -- you have to adopt these four teams and watch their games as you listen to a looped recording of Bill Russell's laugh mixed in with Yoko Ono music and no-longer-timely sideline reports from Tony Siragusa. Welcome to hell.

(As both a Leafs and a Bills fan, I agree wholeheartedly... But I'm sure there will be a breakthrough in my counseling sessions any day now, so I'm not overly worried.)

Q: How suffocating was Kobe's wife during L.A.'s locker room celebration? Didn't you half-expect to see her with champagne goggles on? There's a certain distance wives need to provide when a man wins a championship, no?-- Bill Ryan, Cherry Hill, N.J.

SG: Look, that's one of many reasons the NBA title celebration is the single worst in sports. We don't want to watch "The Family Man" with Nic Cage. We want to see guys letting loose! Here's how I would fix it:

1. We need a better trophy -- the Larry O'Brien trophy is just as clunky and ineffective as O'Brien was as commissioner. Maybe that's why they named it after him. It's horrendous. It looks like they cryogenically froze Verne Troyer and covered him in gold. What's wrong with just ripping off the Stanley Cup, only making the bottom a half-basketball? Lord Stanley's Cup is genius. You can kiss it, you can drink from it, you can hoist it over your head … there's just no downside. If you're telling me that it fits in better with hockey because NHL players drink beer and NBA players smoke pot, then fine, let's make a Stanley Cup that looks like a bong. We can call it the Stanley Bong. But let's do something...

Q: I still can't get over the fact that Sidney Crosby has been living with Mario Lemieux since he was first drafted. Can you imagine any other sport in which the No. 1 pick would go and live with his team's owner?-- Darren Low, Toronto

SG: Couldn't agree more, and I have been thinking about it ever since it was mentioned during the finals and I said, "Wait a second, he's STILL living there?" I always thought hockey differentiated itself from other sports with the Canadian connection, playoff beards, fighting, the Cup, coming back into a game 10 minutes after taking 50 stitches in the face from a slapshot and everything else of that ilk. But you're right -- Crosby/Lemieux should be the first thing mentioned in any "Why are hockey players different than all other types of athletes?" conversation. If Matthew Stafford moved in with the Detroit Lions' owner, we'd think it was the weirdest thing that ever happened and make him a running joke every time he threw an interception: Look out, Matthew, you're gonna get grounded! Uh-oh, they're gonna take cable out of your room! That kind of stuff.

In hockey? You could tell me any story about an NHL player, and I'd believe it. You could tell me Crosby and Geno Malkin share a condo, a bedroom and a bunk bed … I'd believe it. You could tell me the Maple Leafs soak their hands in deer urine before games because it makes their knuckles stronger … I'd believe it. You could tell me Chris Chelios is still playing at age 46 … I'd believe it. (What? He is?) You could tell me all NHL teams travel by bus and not plane … I'd believe it. Hockey players are a different breed. That's why we love them.

You know how I started the Tyson Zone for athletes who pass the point of craziness and eventually you'll believe any story about them? I'd argue that there's also an NHL Zone -- you could pick any NHL-related story, real or made up, and tell another sports fan that story, and they'd have no choice but to believe it. Why? Because of moments like, "Yeah, the captain of the Stanley Cup champs still lives at his owner's house even though he's 21."

Nike Confiscates Vides of Lebron Getting Dunked On
By The Canadian Press

The reason none of my dunks have appeared on YouTube.

Thanks to Ronnie for the link

The Story of Prisoner F95488
By Sam Alipour

A sad story illustrating how the American justice system can fail, shronicling the story of USCB soocer star Eric Frimpong

Thanks to DVZ for the link.

Two Mexican Midget Wrestlers Killed by Fake Prostitutes
By The Associated Press

Fairly self-explanatory. The runaway favourite for "Headline of the Year".

Thanks to Llibs for the story.

The Podcast of the Week comes courtesy of Bill Simmons, as he talks with Chris Connelly about celebrity deaths, the fact that we are quickly approaching the end of the decade (huh?), and the discrepancy in the quality of movies from the 90s to the 00s.

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