Friday, January 11, 2013

Other People's Writing

After two whole days of posting in 2013, I'm exhausted.  (Resolution to be less lazy = shattered.)  Time to turn it over to other folks for this content.

* Ever notice that the local newspaper in Back To The Future had a really weird set of editorial priorities?  Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine did, as he explores the consistently poor headline choices of the Hill Valley Telegraph.  Reason #810684 why the Internet is awesome: you can openly throw shade on fictional newspapers.

* Deadspin's Ben Robinson breaks down how he and his friends plotted to get onto The Price Is Right.  I'm glad that the current generation still holds TPIR in some regard, as I feel my Generation Y-ers more or less jumped ship after Bob Barker retired.  The 'How I Met Your Mother' episode devoted to Barney's quest to dominate the show and meet Barker represented pretty much the high point of this Gen-Y phenomenon.  Heck, I even remember writing a short story for high school English class about a guy who obsessed over the show and was mentally ruined when he couldn't get out of Contestant's Row.  The title of said story?  "Rice's Plight."  I felt like that bit of wordplay was worth an A+ in and of itself but I got a measly A.  Thanks for nothing, Ms. Patterson!  #firstworldproblems

* Grantland's Bryan Curtis interviews Jim "Lee Child" Grant, author of the Jack Reacher novels.  It's an interesting look behind this apparently very popular book series that I had no idea existed until the recent (pretty decent) Tom Cruise action flick was released.  I kind of wish Curtis had asked why Grant went with the 'Jack Reacher' name, since it sounds so weirdly Dickensian, rather than the name of a tough-as-nail nomad hero.

* A hilarious story about the late Larry Hagman, as told by longtime TV writer Mark Evanier on his blog.  I've got to say, as cool as Hagman comes off in this story, I have some questions.  What's with the whole "only whistling on Sundays" thing?  I love how Evanier kind of just brushes over that and uses it as a punchline, but man, that's a weird-ass superstition.  Couldn't this have been adopted for an episode of Dallas?  Like, J.R. suffers a throat injury and can only communicate through whistling for a while?  And then he regains his speech just in time to get revenge on the man who injured his throat with a ring bell, the "Macho Man" Randy Savage.  Wait, I may be getting my 1980's iconography confused.

* Grantland's Brian Phillips heads to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas and ohmygod is it weird.  As Phillips himself notes in the story, here is a subsection of humanity that he had no experience at all with and had little idea existed, yet it's fascinating to read about.

* Ever hear of Vasili Arkhipov?  Oh, he was nobody special, he just SAVED THE WORLD FROM NUCLEAR WAR.  Arkhipov has been the subject of a recent documentary about his unheralded but critical role in world history and The Guardian's Edward Wilson outlines the details. 

* As usual, I've got an oral history for you and it's a bit of an old one.  From all the way back in 2011, here's Amos Barshad of New York Magazine delivering the history of the Beastie Boys by talking to the band themselves and virtually everyone ever associated with them.  It's a bittersweet piece now in the wake of MCA's death last year.

* Finally we have my favourite piece of the bunch, a look at professional pickpocket/entertainer Apollo Robbins by The New Yorker's Adam Green.  Just a very cool bit of work, and if you aren't fired up to see Robbins' act after reading this, I don't know what to tell you.  As entertaining as this story is, it's also terrifying.  I wear cargo pants, like, regularly --- am I just a sitting duck for pickpockets?  Should I just start wearing only a money clip, a la my posh buddy Trev?  I kid you not, Trevor has a money clip, top hat, bejewelled cane, and a full tuxedo on at all times. 

No comments: