Monday, July 30, 2018

The Romanoffs

October 12, 2018 (Amazon)
Written & Directed by Matthew Weiner (Mad Men)


September 21, 2018 (Netflix)
Directed by Cary Fukunaga (True Detective Season 1, Beasts of No Nation)
Starring Jonah Hill, Emma Stone

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

N'Golo Kanté

The Ringer – "The Biggest Key to France’s World Cup Run Was Their Smallest, Most Unassuming Player"

"N’Golo KantĂ© doesn’t jump off the screen in the same way as his teammates—neither for France nor for his club team Chelsea. His diminutive stature (he’s listed at a generous 5-foot-6) compared with the majority of the players surrounding him on the pitch is often jarring, like a fourth grader playing streetball with a bunch of grown men. He is naturally shy, quiet, and unassuming—the “OK” meme guy in the form of a world-class player."

"KantĂ©’s presence on the pitch is itself a paradox: The 27-year-old defensive midfielder is self-effacing to the point of anonymity, but also omnipresent; a common refrain is that he’s got a secret twin, because there’s no way one single player can cover that much ground. The dude does not stop hustling, and I wouldn’t bat an eye if his pregame warm-up was secretly a half-marathon."

"The KantĂ©-specific celebrations continued on the French team bus, with a chant breaking out that praised his ability to shut down Lionel Messi, arguably the best player on the planet, in the round of 16 (“He’s short, he’s nice, he’s the one that stopped Leo Messi,” the KantĂ© ode goes, translated from French)."

"It’s why it makes sense for KantĂ©’s French teammates to dole out so much praise. KantĂ© isn’t one to do it for himself, so they might as well become his chorus of hype. In the World Cup, he had 52 recoveries, which led all players and was the most by a Frenchman since 1966, and was also tied for the tournament lead with 20 interceptions. Put simply, KantĂ© was as integral to France’s World Cup success as Griezmann, MbappĂ©, and Paul Pogba—and his teammates know it."

"After France won Sunday—a game in which KantĂ© underperformed and was subbed early in the second half, though it was later reported he tried to play through a stomach bug—KantĂ© was reportedly too shy to ask his teammates to hold the World Cup trophy, so Steven N’Zonzi had to ask them on his behalf. (My heart!) Every aspect of KantĂ©’s life is just one wholesome meme. Former teammates in France said he’s not interested in nightlife, preferring to go home and rest before more training and matches. He looks happy—even when he’s waiting at an airport."

The New York Yankees Are The Worst

New York Times – "The New York Yankees Are a Moral Abomination"

"Major League Baseball, like America, is in decline. A faint air of doom hangs about this most exquisite of games. The median age of its fans rises each year; the young increasingly prefer other diversions; some savants predict a contraction of the National and American Leagues in the near future. Meanwhile, the only solutions the owners can contrive are trivial measures for shortening time of play, and never with appreciable effect. Yet the real cause of the problem is obvious. Though there has always been an immense inequality of resources between the richest and poorest franchises, the division has widened to catastrophic proportions in recent decades. It is hard to persuade children to invest their love in teams that cannot plausibly hope for a championship any time within, oh, the first 30 years of their lives.

Yet M.L.B. would never consider the wisdom of creating a real system of shared revenues and salary caps. The richest franchises — among which the Yankees enjoy archetypal pre-eminence — are content to let the poorest wither in a laissez-faire desert rather than make any reasonable sacrifices for the common good. Thus the business of baseball — through greed, profligacy, shortsightedness and an insatiable appetite for immediate gratification — consumes itself by relentlessly allowing its own communal basis to disintegrate beneath it, and by ignoring the needs of future generations.

The analogy is imperfect, but irresistible. America — with its decaying infrastructure, its third-world public transit, its shrinking labor market, its evaporating middle class, its expanding gulf between rich and poor, its heartless health insurance system, its mindless indifference to a dying ecology, its predatory credit agencies, its looming Social Security collapse, its interminable war, its metastasizing national debt and all the social pathologies that gave it a degenerate imbecile and child-abducting sadist as its president — remains the only developed economy in the world that believes it wrong to use civic wealth for civic goods. Its absurdly engorged military budget diverts hundreds of billions of dollars a year from the public weal to those who profit from the military-industrial complex. Its plutocratic policies and libertarian ethos are immune to all appeals of human solidarity. It towers over the world, but promises secure shelter only to the fortunate few.

And so, of course, the Yankees cannot help but be emblematic of everything that characterizes us as a nation and as an idea: a thing gargantuan and heedless, invincible and yet bizarrely fragile and self-destructive. Still, I suppose one must be fair. M.L.B.’s decline, America’s — the Yankees may contribute mightily to the former, but they only epitomize the latter.

Though, truth be told, I would blame them for both if I could."

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

“Lincolnesque optimism”

New York Times – "Captain America No. 1, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Annotated"

Ta-Nehisi Coates to Write Captain America

"JFK personally (in 1962) chose font for “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” on fuselage of Air Force One because it resembled font of early printed version of Declaration of Independence"

Via @BeschlossDC

New England Historical Society – "JFK Redesigns Air Force One"

STUDIOKCA's Whale of Pacific and Atlantic Ocean Plastic

This Is Colossal – "A 38-Foot-Tall Whale Made From 10,000 Pounds of Plastic Waste Surfaces in Bruges"

"The studio, led by Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang, wanted to address how cities from across the globe are contributing to the waste that has piled up in our oceans—the discarded plastic that is washing up on our shores and endangering and killing marine life.

Skyscraper contains nearly 4,000-square-feet of plastic waste, which is just a dent in the 150 million tons of plastic that currently circulates in our seas. STUDIOKCA worked with the Hawaii Wildlife Fund to coordinate several beach clean-ups, which is how the team found most of the plastic for the 10,000-pound whale.

“Right now there is 150 million tons of plastic swimming in the ocean, our oceans, the oceans we share,” says Klimoski in a video created about the project. “Pound for pound that is more plastic waste swimming in the ocean than there is whales. So an opportunity like this to show the type of plastic and the amount of plastic that ends up in our oceans is really important.”"

Neymar Dives

New Yorker – "World Cup 2018: Neymar Fools Mexico, and Brazil Wins Again"

The End of the Warped Tour and the Continued Growth of Vans

New York Times – "R.I.P. Warped Tour. At Least We Still Have Vans."

"In 2004, when Vans was acquired by VF Corporation — which owns JanSport, Timberland and the North Face — it was making about $325 million in sales a year. This year, Mr. Palladini said, Vans is on track to surpass $3 billion.

The first Vans store, which was known at the time as the Van Doren Rubber Company and opened its doors in Anaheim, Calif., in March 1966, was a much humbler affair. It was founded by Paul and Jim Van Doren, brothers who would take custom orders and manufacture shoes on site. Eventually the shoes’ waffle soles attracted skateboarders, and in 1976, Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta — pro-skaters who were immortalized by Victor Rasuk and John Robinson in the 2005 film “Lords of Dogtown” — designed the Era, a low-top sneaker that became a Vans classic."


"A former Lollapalooza stage manager, Mr. Lyman had put together the first Warped Tour in 1995, with bands like Sublime and No Doubt on the original lineup. But he needed financial support to keep it going and was seeking sponsorship.

Steve Van Doren, the son of the Vans co-founder Paul Van Doren, was on a different mission. Separately, he was searching for someone to help him plan an amateur skate contest that would tour across the U.S. and the world. He met with Mr. Lyman, who said Vans would draw more people to skate events if live music were on the lineup.

In “Vans: Off the Wall,” a book about the company, Mr. Van Doren said that a deal was forged between the two men within 15 minutes of their meeting. Thus, the Vans Warped Tour was born."