Friday, September 28, 2012

Other People's Writing

I can't be bothered to write things, but these folks did, in some cases delivering even better material than I could've produced on the same subject.  Only in 'some' cases, though.  You'd better believe if I'd had a one-on-one interview with Barack Obama, I would've gotten him to admit that Fred Armisen's impression was lousy.

* Michael Lewis chronicles a few days in the life of President Obama in a piece for Vanity Fair.  Not to be outdone, Mitt Romney will have a reporter follow him around for his daily routine of yelling at the help and swimming around in his money vault.

* The trend of 'perpetual roommates' is examined by Hilary Howard of the New York Times, looking these four single dudes in their late-thirties who have simply chosen to be roommates for years upon years since it's a situation that works well for them.  This is less an article than it is a glimpse into my future, except that two of my roomies are women and I don't have a Captain America shield hanging on my wall….yet.

* We catch up with legendary sports radio host Nanci "The Fabulous Sports Babe" Donnellan, via Grantland's Michael Kruse.  This one had some personal import for me.  My dad and I took a vacation down to Florida in 1995 and made it a point to drive somewhere in the morning for the sole purpose of listening to the Sports Babe on the radio.  Oddly, I've always just presumed she's been broadcasting ever since -- I had no idea her show essentially ended just a few years after that and both her career and personal life carried so many demons.

* I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love oral….histories, especially when they cover one of my favourite TV shows.  GQ's Brian Raftery turns the trick with this oral history of Cheers that I wish could've been roughly 50 pages longer.  One of these days I'll write a blog post doing a Cheers vs. Frasier breakdown to explain why I actually like the spinoff more, but that's another heated debate for another day.

* A profile of the xx (that's the band's actual name) by Grantland's Amos Barshad.  One of the best types of band profiles, in that I knew nothing about the xx going into it but now I wish nothing but the best for these kids.  And that's despite the fact that, after reading this article and checking out a few of their songs, I'm not really into their music. 

* The great (well, maybe just the good) murder mystery of Toronto's University College, retold by Chris Bateman for BlogTO.  My favourite part of this is clearly the guy carving the gargoyles' faces to resemble his arch-enemy, which ranks high on the list of creative vengeance techniques.

* How the chess world is evolving to deal with cheaters (or perhaps vice versa), by Grantland's Dave McKenna.  I've got to say, the tournament organizers seem like they really dropped the ball.  They let the kid actually hold a computer in his hand?!  For "scorekeeping" purposes?  This would be like letting football players call penalties on themselves, which probably would've ended up happening had the referee lockout gone on another couple of weeks.

* My old film professor Chris Lockett rips Margaret Wente a new one over her recent plagiarism scandal.  You'll notice that I'm very clearly identifying these articles as the works of other writers, so yeah, Doc Lockett's anti-plagiarism lessons back in undergrad weren't lost on me.  Then again, I'm also the author of the short-lived Henry Porter & The Wizards Of Pigbumps Academy, which is why all ad revenue from this blog goes directly into J.K. Rowling's pocket.  I still say that lawsuit was bullshit.  Henry Porter wears a monocle, not glasses! 

* Fantastic piece about Edward Payson Weston, a world-famous competitive walker in the 1870's, from Grantland's Brian Phillips.  One caveat: Phillips mentions a recently-written book about Weston very early on in the story, so I'm not sure if this article is really properly Phillips' creation or essentially just a Cliff Notes summary of the book.  (Someone get Margaret Wente on this.)  Either way, it's a great read.

* And hey, while we're talking about the honour system, here's Esquire's Chris Jones detailing how Teller (as in Penn & Teller) is suing to protect the sanctity of one of his signature magic tricks.  I love behind-the-scenes magic stories to no end, and I really love even the faintest possibility that this whole scenario could be some kind of long-form elaborate trick on Teller's part.  If it is real, however, Teller should forget the lawsuit and just bring his grievance to Tony Wonder and the rest of the Magician's Alliance.  They'd sort this Bakardy clown out in no time. 

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