Thursday, November 21, 2013

Other People's Writing

Grab your passport and hop onto the next flight to Grantland for this collection of quality writing by people without Riddler avatars….

* Jay Caspian Kang details the odd situation behind a group of teenagers who broke into the home of former NFL player Brian Holloway's house and trashed the place via a huge party.  Holloway has since launched a big campaign to both identify/shame the kids involved on social media, and also to get help to rebuild his home, and both efforts are drawing a lot of controversy.  I'll be honest, Holloway lost me at "referenced Ayn Rand on multiple occasions."  And I'll be doubly honest, as interesting as this story is, it pales in comparison to Holloway's claim that Michael Jackson rigged Super Bowl 20, which should be a 10,000-word expose unto itself.

* Tess Lynch writes about how being a parent tends to make you a pop culture hermit (and kind of an actual hermit), with Sesame Street's spoofs being one of a parent's few connections to the outside world.  My mind was blown when I recently learned that Lynch is Jane Curtin's daughter, which makes it kind of odd that Lynch is Grantland's SNL reviewer.  The reviews aren't particularly noteworthy, which probably makes sense given the Curtin family's general disinterest in SNL, despite Jane's pantheon cast member status.

* Wesley Morris' awesome review of 12 Years A Slave, one of the year's best films and assuredly its most powerful.  I watched this movie and All Is Lost on the same day and afterwards, I just wanted to curl up into a ball.

* Amos Barshad profiles the life and career of Danny Trejo, star of maybe the year's least-powerful film, Machete Kills.  Ninety minutes of stupid fun, sure, but 'powerful' isn't the first adjective that leapt to mind.

* Ben Lindbergh rates the 21 best deep-cut Paul McCartney tracks.  I have no idea if he's right or not since seriously, who rates Paul McCartney's solo work?

* Alex Pappademas chronicles the rise and fall of Blockbuster Video, and by extension the history of video rental places.  I'm not going to lie, I miss going into video stores and just browsing away at all those random titles on the wall.  Toronto has the very great Queen Video outlets, but still, I miss the random enjoyment of picking a crappy action movie solely based on how goofy the poster looks. 

* I must've been a good man in another life, since I've been rewarded with TWO Ken Dryden pieces.  The first is about his "day with the Stanley Cup" in both Etobicoke and tiny Domain, Manitoba.  The second is your typically well-reasoned Dryden piece, this one on concussions in sport and focused around Tony Dorsett, of all people.

* Charles P. Pierce has an elegiac look at the history of Ireland's Listowel Races.  I absolutely, positively have to visit Ireland at some point in my life, and not only due to my family's history of running into U2 members.

* Zach Lowe praises the Raptor, the great Toronto Raptors mascot who couldn't perform this season due to a torn Achilles tendon.  I've always suspected the Raptor was played by my friend Eric, who briefly had the nickname of "Rap-Tor" (with that specific pronunciation, for some reason) due to the fact that he wore an enormous Toronto Raptors cap for his Grade 10 class photo.  The evidence against my theory is that Eric lives in London so regular commutes to NBA games in Toronto would be difficult, and Eric (while a heck of a pitcher and middle infielder in his house league baseball days) may not quite be athletic enough to pull off the Raptor's acrobatic moves.  Whatever, I know I'm right.  Anyway, I was about to say that the Raptor's injury would be par for the course for the Raptors' sure-to-be-terrible season, but as I write this, they're leading their division.  Sure, their record is 5-7 and they're only in first place since the Knicks and Nets have been godawful so far, but hey, first place, baby!

No comments: