Saturday, May 24, 2014

Countdown to the Copa del Mundo - Men in Blazers Predictions

The Men in Blazers, Roger Bennett and Michael Davies, have been doing a running video preview of the World Cup for Grantland. Here's their nonlinear predictions:

Doesn't move past group play
England (Rog)
Colombia (Davies)

USA (Davies)

France (Rog)
Italy (Rog)
Netherlands (Rog)
Spain (Rog)
Uruguay (Rog)
Belgium (Davies)
England (Davies)
Germany (Davies)

Germany (Rog)
Chile (Davies)
Portugal (Davies)

Argentina ("Nipple tingler vs. Brazil. Think Messi could do it all" - Rog)
Brazil (Rog)
Brazil (Davies)
Italy (Davies)

USA (Rog)
Spain (Davies)

Monday, May 19, 2014


"Friendship is everything. Friendship is more than talent. It is more than the government. It is almost the equal of family."

- Don Vito Corleone, The Godfather

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Countdown to the Copa del Mundo - ESPN World Cup Posters

Business Insider - "ESPN Made These Great National Team Posters To Promote The World Cup"

"The posters were made by Brazilian artist Cristiano Siqueira. They feature the star players from each country, as well as the team's nickname. There will eventually be posters for all 32 teams."

World Cup Nation Murals

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Dronie Photography

Wall Street Journal - "Let's Go Fly a Drone: The Best Vacation Pics Come From Above"

"This spring break, I swapped out my regular camera for flying photo drones. These remote-control aerial vehicles are floating tripods that let you take pictures and videos from overhead. For as little as $300, you can buy a device, no larger than a Panama hat, that hovers and swoops through the air at the flick of a finger. I took mine on trips to Joshua Tree and California wine country, and deployed them for group photos at the beach.

Flying a drone isn't just exhilarating; it also fundamentally changed how I think about photography. It is hard to get excited about vintage filters on Instagram after shooting a drone selfie (call it a "dronie") or panning hillside Napa vineyards at sunrise. A drone allows you to move a camera in ways that might otherwise require a helicopter and a Michael Bay budget. In the harsh desert landscape of Joshua Tree, we climbed atop towering boulders and then had the drone shoot a video that panned up from the ground. The footage made it look as though we had scaled a Martian mountain—and it put ordinary vacation movies to shame. Eat your heart out, National Geographic."

Interstellar Trailer

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Interstellar Movie Poster

"Christopher Nolan's Interstellar" 
"Christopher Nolan's Interstellar Film Teaser"

Countdown to the Copa del Mundo - Pelé

Led Brazil to three World Cup victories: 1958, 1962 and 1970.

"The Hunt for El Chapo"

New Yorker - "The Hunt for El Chapo"
By Patrick Radden Keefe

"...The marines streamed through a modest kitchen and into a series of windowless rooms. They noticed surveillance cameras and monitors everywhere. A gaudy oil painting of a bucking bull, stuck full of swords but still defiant, hung on one wall. But there was nobody in the house. In a bathroom on the ground floor, they discovered a bathtub that had been raised from its base, on hydraulic lifts, at a forty-five-degree angle, revealing a dark opening leading to a steep set of stairs: a tunnel.

In the early days of Guzmán’s career, before his time at Puente Grande, he distinguished himself as a trafficker who brought an unusual sense of imagination and play to the trade. Today, tunnels that traverse the U.S.-Mexico border are a mainstay of drug smuggling: up to a mile long, they often feature air-conditioning, electricity, sophisticated drainage systems, and tracks, so that heavy loads of contraband can be transported on carts. Guzmán invented the border tunnel. A quarter of a century ago, he commissioned an architect, Felipe de Jesús Corona-Verbera, to design a grocery store that served as a front company, and a private zoo in Guadalajara for his collection of tigers, crocodiles, and bears. By this point, Guzmán was making so much money that he needed secure locations in which to hide it, along with his drugs and his weapons. So he had Corona-Verbera devise a series of clavos, or stashes—secret compartments under the beds in his homes. Inevitably, a bolder idea presented itself: if you could dig a clavo beneath a house near the U.S. border, why not continue digging and come out on the other side? Guzmán ordered Corona-Verbera to design a tunnel that ran from a residence in Agua Prieta, immediately south of the border, to a cartel-owned warehouse in Douglas, Arizona. The result delighted him. “Corona made a fucking cool tunnel,” he said. Since then, U.S. intelligence has attributed no fewer than ninety border tunnels to the Sinaloa cartel.

When the marines began breaking into the house on Río Humaya Street, Guzmán was inside, as was a bodyguard. As the battering ram clanged against the door, they moved quickly into the ground-floor bathroom. Chapo activated the escape hatch by pushing a plug into an electrical outlet by the sink while flicking a hidden switch on the side of the vanity mirror. Suddenly, the caulk around the rim of the bathtub broke and the tub rose from its tiled frame. The caulk had camouflaged the escape hatch; even the bodyguard might have been unaware of its existence before Guzmán turned on the hydraulic lift.
They scrambled down the steps into a narrow passage. The space was lighted, but very tight, and they moved quickly, knowing that they had only a slight head start on the marines. They reached a small portal resembling the door of a bank safe, where the tunnel they were in connected to the main sewer system of Culiacán; crawling through this opening, they entered a cylindrical tunnel. The passage was unlit and less than five feet high; nevertheless, they splashed through the dirty, shallow water at high speed, as if Guzmán had rehearsed this escape.

By the time the semar commandos entered the tunnel, Guzmán had been running for more than ten minutes. A tunnel is an exceedingly dangerous environment in which to stalk someone who is armed: if he should turn and fire at you, he doesn’t even need to aim—one of the ricocheting bullets will likely hit you. But the marines did not hesitate. In the streets of Culiacán, meanwhile, dozens of troops were in position, ready to pursue Guzmán when he returned above ground. In the sky, a covert U.S. drone looked down on the city, poised to track the fugitive if he emerged from a manhole and fled through the streets.

Meanwhile, Chapo ran through the sewers, like Harry Lime in “The Third Man.” The tunnel forked, and at one juncture the marines were momentarily flummoxed, unable to tell which path he had taken. Then they spotted a tactical vest on the ground—Guzmán or the bodyguard must have shed it—and charged onward in that direction. Eventually, the marines emerged at a storm drain by the banks of a muddy river, more than a mile from the point where Guzmán had entered the tunnel. Once again, he had vanished."

The Leaked Patriots Internal Scouting Report on Johnny Manziel

Deadspin - "Leaked Internal Scouting Report: The Patriots Do Not Like Johnny Manziel"

"...but sources say he's a spoiled brat (grandfather gives him allowance, father bought him luxury car)."

"Doesn't study the game, said to know about 60% of the offense in '12, never watches film; one source said only time he watched film during '12 was before ALUN."

"arrogant and full of himself, but he's not smug to coaches. Has been like this since Day 1, has never gone to class, goes to beat of own drum, but has ultimate confidence. Loves the spotlight, football is his release, big games don't scare him. Has size 15 feet and freakishly big hands. Will drink, but no one I spoke with think he's a smoker. Teammates don't dislike him, but there's some resentment, more so in the offseason when he isn't coming to workouts and they are busting their butt. Loner, doesn't hang out with the guys, but very close with WR Mike Evans. Already has money, is used to spotlight, has already been exposed to NFL-level fame. Will never take football seriously enough for our coaching staff, he'll hate meetings, will have to drag him to work out, etc. The definition of the word maintenance. CONCERNS: Maturity, passion for preparation, high-maintenance, work ethic"

Rapper Vocabularies

View the interactive graphic.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Highest-Paid Athletes

ESPN - "25 Highest-Paid Athletes in the World"

Countdown to the Copa del Mundo - "International Figure" Lionel Messi

ESPN - "The Strange Relationship Between Lionel Messi and His Hometown in Argentina"
By Wright Thompson

"Messi isn't known as a deep thinker, or even really as a thinker at all, so it's fair to wonder if he's capable of existential longing. Many recycling bins of column inches have been devoted to the debate about his bland public persona. Is he incredibly well managed? After all, many thought Tiger Woods was unknowable, too. Is Messi -- how should I put this? -- stupid? An idiot savant? What if he's not guarded so much as empty? All those debates are just different ways of asking if he lives a second, interior life. Are there things inside Leo Messi -- fears, desires, hopes -- that he doesn't share?

There is a European newspaper story I read that strikes me as relevant. A few months ago, he took a private jet to Dubrovnik, Croatia, where a car took him across the Bosnian border into the town of Medjugorje. There's a shrine there, drawing pilgrims from around the world, because in 1981, six local youths claim to have seen the Virgin Mary, and some of them claim to still communicate with her. Messi was the guest of one of the visionaries, as they are known.

Ivan, his host, has received nine secrets from the Virgin that he has never shared. He says he sees Mary every day. She has rosy cheeks, blue eyes and an oval face. She wears a gray dress. Most people come to have their mind, body or spirit healed. The visionary wouldn't reveal the reason for Messi's pilgrimage, so we're left to wonder. What is broken inside Messi that he wanted to fix? What can't he buy with his millions or his fame? Of course, it's possible he just thought it might be a cool scene to check out. Maybe the visionary made up the whole thing. Maybe the paper did, or papers, plural, since the news appeared in multiple places, in multiple languages. Maybe we believe it because we want there to be unseen layers of Messi. We want there to be an explanation for his miracles even if we never hear the explanation ourselves. Just knowing it exists would be enough. That's certainly why I was in Rosario, driving around, knocking on doors."