Wednesday, December 27, 2023

The History of the Minnesota Vikings (9 Hour Movie)

From The Atlantic David Sims's Top 10 Movies of 2023:

9. The History of the Minnesota Vikings (directed by Jon Bois)

Bois is a sportswriter and video creator at the website SB Nation who has, over the years, evolved from a funny and insightful blogger to one of the most groundbreaking directors in documentary filmmaking. His first true opus, 2019’s The Bob Emergency, explored the decline of athletes named Bob in America; in 2020, he unveiled The History of the Seattle Mariners, an exhaustive look at the baseball team that ran for more than three hours. Though at least twice as long, The History of the Minnesota Vikings does something similar and is just as compelling, investing me in the long history of a team I don’t care about that plays a sport I barely understand. Bois makes sports documentaries that ignore the genre’s tired hallmarks—there are no talking heads, there’s barely any footage from games, and the music is almost entirely bouncy yacht rock. Instead he focuses on hard statistics and idiosyncratic anecdotes, endlessly zooming in and out of a jumble of graphs and charts in ways that shed new light on old, hard facts.

GQ - "Jon Bois Keeps Finding Beauty in Miserable Sports Teams"

"For the most part, the thing that attracted us to the Vikings was that there are more stories contained within that franchise than Alex and I have ever seen in any other sports franchise, ever. That includes the Yankees, the 49ers, anyone you want to name. If the Mariners are sort of the protagonist of their sport and the Falcons are the clowns and court jesters, the Vikings are the storytellers. We refer to the Vikings in the script as the great American storytellers. Their stories are primarily about football, but they tug on so many threads about what America is and what it’s become, for better or for worse. They’re just so unique in that way."


"I tend to, as I’ve gotten older especially, find that my appreciation for sports has less to do with the trophies at the end of the season. I gravitate toward how much I like the team and the people involved. That goes back to that thing you asked about misery and what other people interpret as misery, I interpret as meaning and story. I can kind of side step the entire being sad process—which is my privilege as a non-fan—and go straight to the good stuff. Hey, they ended up rich and famous, and I ended up with a great story!

There’s also the infinite timeline thing. It’s not like Super Bowl 60 or whatever is going to be the last one and you’ve got to get your championship in now. There’s always that flicker in the distance. On an infinite timeline, the Vikings are going to win a Super Bowl. You know that there will be that catharsis and that climactic moment. Even if it’s not going to happen soon, that hope doesn’t die."

"The global ambitions of Invader’s street art."


New Yorker - "Watch This Space"
By Lauren Collins

"His work transposes these generationally primordial references from the screen to the street, merging geek aesthetics with urban heroics. “Invader’s first innovation was in not writing letters,” the gallerist and curator Magda Danysz told me. “He took the graffiti way of doing things, but suddenly he was putting up an image.”

Invader first laid siege to Paris, mounting a hundred and forty-seven pieces in 1998 alone. Some of these still exist, presiding over the Pont d’Iéna tunnel or blending into the stone of the fountain at Châtelet. (Invader says that the mosaic near the Fontaine des Innocents, at Les Halles, is the all-time most flashed creation on his app.) Others live on only in photographs—a scarlet alien surveying a student protest from the République monument, like a benevolent ancestor of CCTV. “When I put something in the Métro, more people see it than if it were in the Louvre,” Invader told me, paraphrasing Keith Haring. (Invader actually did sneak ten pieces into the museum at one point, saying that this made him the only living artist on display.)"

Invader - Africa (Jan. 2015)
Invader - Pink Panther (Feb. 2013)
Street Art in Brooklyn (Jul. 2011)



New Yorker - "The World’s Fastest Road Cars—and the People Who Drive Them"
By Ed Caesar

"One definition of a hypercar is a vehicle that nobody needs. Most have theoretical top speeds approaching or exceeding 300 m.p.h., which is much faster than Formula 1 cars, whose top speeds are about 220 m.p.h. Many hypercars also accelerate faster than Formula 1 cars. Hypercars, though, are ostensibly manufactured for the road. (A few models are designated as track-only.) Except for Germany’s autobahn, which has no speed limit, there are few public highways where one can use more than a fraction of a hypercar’s power. To some motoring aficionados, driving a hypercar is like crushing a nut with a diamond-encrusted sledgehammer. “They are trophies, big-game hunter’s trophies,” Mikey Harvey, the editor of the car magazine The Road Rat, told me recently. “They have little or no engineering value, or aesthetic value, or, frankly, functional value. But they are rare. And they are king of the hill. And every one is a little bit faster than the last one. They’re all so completely, undrivably fast on the road. If you take any of those cars anywhere near the outer limits of their performance envelope, you should get a long custodial sentence. . . . I don’t get it. I just think it’s appealing to the very worst of us.”"

Also by Ed Caesar:
Making Cricket in America (Jul. 2023)
Ibiza's House DJ (Oct. 2022)
Simulating Westworld (Dec. 2021)

Learning F1 Racing

The Las Vegas NBA Expansion Team Name


According to

1. Outlaws (+400)
1. Supersonics (+400)
3. Vipers (+600)
3. Sin/Sinners (+600)
3. Spades (+600)
6. Vultures (+800)
6. Jokers (+800)
8. Bandits (+1000)
9. Devils (+1400)
10. Lions (+1400)
10. Invaders (+1400)
12. Bighorns (+1600)

The Seattle NHL Expansion Team Name (Dec. 2018)

Lex Fridman 2 Hour Interview with Jeff Bezos

Thai (US) Funk Band Khruangbin

From Wikipedia: hruangbin (/ˈkrʌŋbɪn/ KRUNG-bin; Thai: [kʰrɯa̯ŋ˥˩.bin], เครื่องบิน) is an American musical trio from Houston, Texas. The band is Laura Lee Ochoa on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and DJ Johnson on drums. 

The band is known for blending global music influences, such as classic soul, dub, rock and psychedelia. Their debut studio album, The Universe Smiles Upon You (2015), draws from the history of Thai music in the 1960s, specifically from Luk thung, while their second album, Con Todo el Mundo (2018), has influences from Spain and the Middle East, specifically Iran. In September 2022, the band released the album Ali in collaboration with Vieux Farka Touré, featuring songs by Vieux's father, Ali Farka Touré.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Prime Rib Roast for Christmas


New York Times - "The Rise and Fall of Prime-Rib Nation"

"“That big roast in the middle with the side dishes was a symbol of a meal that was fit for Americans,” she said. “‘Freedom From Want’ was Norman Rockwell’s way of describing it.”

A print ad from the American Meat Institute in the mid-1940s connected those ideas quite literally. Under a photo of a raw standing rib roast on a crimson background, the text read, “This is not just a piece of meat … This is a symbol of man’s desire, his will to survive.” Published in Life magazine, the mass-market bible of white, middle-class America, the campaign was seen by millions.

The gendered nature of that early pitch language found its way onto the menus of the prime-rib restaurants that proliferated in the 1950s and 1960s — places where you could get “Paul Bunyan’s Cut” or the “King Henry VIII Cut,” or, for less hungry diners, the “Queen Cut” or “Ladies Slice.”


"To the chef Angie Mar, though, that formulation never made sense. The granddaughter of Chinese immigrants, she grew up in Seattle, eating prime rib not only on Christmas but every Sunday for family dinner. “There’s something that’s really wonderful about seeing it carved,” she said. She now serves prime rib every Thursday at her Manhattan restaurant Le B.

“For food to have a gender association to it, I find to be so ridiculously American,” she said. “Great food is great food. And it brings all people to the table.”"


"“I think there’s got to be some connection to the past and some connection to the family,” Mr. Dobbels said. “The meal where we’re all sitting around the table is one thing that can really bring it back home. So I think that meal’s always going to be there, especially on the holidays. There’s a division happening in this country. But obviously there’s a lot of people who like to do things the old way.”"


"When you indulge in prime rib today, he said, “You’re almost on vacation in a different time.”"

Mark Rothoko Retrospective in Paris


Washington Post - "This once-in-a-generation Rothko exhibition is spellbinding"

"Rothko’s mature paintings, which date from around 1950, are — as many people know — composed of softly painted rectangles of luminous color. These rectangles have feathered, broken edges. They are like clouds torn from cotton candy. The rectangles are placed symmetrically. They’re usually oriented horizontally and placed one above the other on a vertical, more opaque ground.

Already, then, you may grasp Rothko’s interest in orchestrating contrasts within a format of extreme simplicity: Horizontal vs. vertical. Translucent vs. opaque. The hard edges of the stretched canvas vs. soft-edged, floating lozenges.

Howard Devree, a skeptical early reviewer, compared Rothko’s paintings to “a set of swatches prepared by a house painter for a housewife who cannot make up her mind.” (Ah, the 1950s.) Others understood immediately what Rothko was up to. He was trying to paint space and light, to make them portals to what he called “the exhilarated tragic experience which for me is the only source book for art.”


"This thingness can make his paintings feel very austere. (“We are for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth,” Rothko wrote in an early manifesto authored with Gottlieb.) But if you are in even a mildly receptive state, it can also seem luxuriant, radiant with complexity and nuance. And if you are feeling still more receptive, it might seem to conceal, as the critic Robert Rosenblum put it, “a total, remote presence, that we can only intuit and never fully grasp.”"

(On display at the Foundation Louis Vuitton from Oct. 18, 2023 - Apr. 2, 2024.)

Brian Flores's Novel Defensive Scheme


ESPN - "How adopting a college defense has fueled Vikings' turnaround"
By Kevin Seifert

"In his first season with the Vikings, Flores has achieved a rare feat: concocting a new NFL scheme with almost no one noticing. Flores revealed in a recent ESPN interview that he incorporated a version of the defense popularized at the college level by Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi, one that combines a six-man front with versions of zone coverage behind it.

NFL teams historically use man coverage behind loaded fronts, and no one ESPN reached out to could remember a defense that consistently did otherwise. The Vikings have capitalized on those unconventional foundations, added some of Flores' exotic blitz theories and built one of the league's most effective groups. Since the start of Week 4, when some rough early-season moments required significant fine-tuning, Flores' defense has ranked as a top 5 defense, coinciding with the team winning six of their last nine games.


The scheme has fooled offenses, sometimes to comic levels. During a game last month in Atlanta, Vikings safety Josh Metellus heard a Falcons coach yelling at him. Over and over, the coach told Metellus he had decoded the Vikings' scheme and knew what was coming.

"He was completely wrong every time he said it," Metellus said. "Nobody understands what we're doing."


The Vikings' staff held the nature of the concepts largely in secret. Veteran players like Smith, linebacker Jordan Hicks and defensive lineman Harrison Phillips understood the unusual nature of what the team was installing during the offseason, and Smith said: "It sounded kind of wild when I first heard it."


In doing so, Flores has focused on players rather than positions. Metellus is listed as a safety but has played a hybrid linebacker role. He has rushed on 79 dropbacks, the most by a defensive back in the NFL. The next-highest is Smith (61), who has already rushed more often than in any full season of his career. In obvious passing downs, meanwhile, Flores often uses four linebackers across the line of scrimmage without a single traditional defensive lineman."

Snoopy, The Mascot of our Times.

The Atlantic - "The Hero Gen Z Needs"

Arch Digest - "Will 2024 Be the Year of Snoopy Girls?"

"The TikTok account @snooopyiscool, also known as Snoopy Sister, went viral earlier this year and has more than half a million followers. Other Snoopy videos on the app regularly rack up thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of views. This online resurgence, primarily among young people, has mostly been fueled by short, shareable Peanuts clips set to surprisingly apt contemporary music. In them, Charlie Brown’s intrepid pet beagle tags along on the kids’ adventures—they often face some sort of problem but aren’t always left with an easy solution. Sometimes Snoopy is a help, and sometimes he’s a hindrance; other times, he’s on his own adventures. Regardless, Snoopy has always been defined in part by how emotional he is. Some fans say that his personality speaks to their inner child: He plays pretend and dreams big, while finding joy in little wins such as receiving a full bowl of food. But Snoopy’s grand feelings also reflect his existential side—a reminder of the comic’s original gloomy tone, the perception of which was softened and sanitized over subsequent decades. It seems that a new generation is finally seeing Snoopy for who he really is."

Laughing Online Across the World


Rest of World - "How different languages laugh online"

"Most English speakers are familiar with the nuances of when to say haha, lol, or lmao — each conveying a different weight to laughter. Other languages have their own specific terminology, some of which may not be immediately obvious even when translated.

Take Japanese, for instance. “Warau” is one way to express laughter. Some shortened that to just the first sound of the word, “w.” Others then noticed that “www” looked like blades of grass, leading people to start using the Japanese word for grass (草) to represent laughter. That continual evolution is why, if you want to write about laughing hard in Japanese, you could type 大草原: “giant grass field.”

Or there’s “askfhsjkd,” used in Turkish. No acronyms or wordplay here — keyboard spam is actually a popular way to indicate amusement among young Turkish speakers, as if they’ve been overcome by laughter and are unable to type complete words.

These are just a small fraction of the many ways people around the world represent laughter, from a little Nepali giggle — khit khit — to an explosion of laughter in Nigerian Pidgin: lwkmd, or “laugh wan kill me die.” We know the world can always use a little more laughter, so we’ve rounded up dozens of our favorite examples of how people from all over laugh online."

Boston Common Golf


Fast Company - "New team, new league, new design language: How Boston developed its uncommon TGL golf league identity"

"If you’re thinking, “A frog isn’t very intimidating,” that’s kind of the point. “It’s all part of how we’re trying to move a little bit away from the traditional end of golf,” says Werner, “and present something that’s a little bit more fun.”

“There’s actually a swagger to not choosing an alpha predator like a lion,” adds Isenberg. “It’s relatable in a very unisex way. As soon as we showed it to people, they said, ‘That makes me happy.’”

The amphibious character doesn’t have a name, and the ownership group doesn’t even like to call it a mascot (they prefer “animal symbol”—good luck with that), but the creative team is convinced that it strikes the right tone. It also led to a clever secondary logo featuring a golf hole flag emerging from a lily pad."


"”The font is intended to be a modern interpretation of all the ‘entering town’ signs you see across the city and the state,” says Werner. “And we’re accentuating the word ‘Common,’ again to be more inclusive and to emphasize that this is golf for everyone.”

All these democratizing gestures are commendable, but is there any concern that the word “Common” might make the team seem a bit, well, less than exceptional?

“We realize there’s a definition of the word that reflects something just average or plain,” says Werner. “But we feel it will resonate in Boston.”

And besides, he points out, the Red Sox are named after an article of clothing, and that seems to have worked out pretty well."

Seattle Sounders FC New Branding (Oct. 2023)

The Bikeriders

Written & Directed by Jeff Nichols
Starring Jodie Comer, Austin Butler, Michael Shannon, Mike Faist, Norman Reedus, Tom Hardy

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Civil War

Written & Directed by Alex Garland (Writer of 28 Days Later, Writer & Director of Ex Machina)
Starring Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Stephen McKinley Henderson Cailee Spaeny

Grand Theft Auto VI


The TV Shows That Make Football


New York Times Magazine - "Behind the Scenes of the Most Spectacular Show on TV"
By Jody Rosen

"For two decades, we have talked about a new golden age of television, heaping acclaim on “prestige” streaming and premium-cable series. But our praise songs to televisual art have largely ignored the most popular — and the most richly televisual — TV of all. Prestige dramas and comedies are, in essence, serialized movies, but a football telecast belongs to a different category. It is an extravagant exercise in visual storytelling: an hourslong motion-picture collage, assembled on the fly, pumped up with interstitial music, graffitied with graphics, embellished with hokey human-interest segments and narrated, with varying degrees of wit and magniloquence, by the featured soloists in the broadcast booth. As a technical feat, it’s a mindblower: a collective improvisation by a team of hundreds, pulled off with top craftsmanship under conditions of extreme pressure. “Sunday Night Football” is television’s biggest show, but it might also be the best — the flashiest, most exciting, most inventive, most artful use to which the medium has ever been put."


"But “S.N.F.” isn’t just a testament to excess. From the beginning, it has struck an improbable balance between carnival and seminar, seeking new ways to make a byzantine game more comprehensible. Today that task falls chiefly to Collinsworth, the 64-year-old former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver who took over analyst duties in 2009. Since then, he has solidified his place as football’s most sagacious color commentator, rendering judgments in a gravelly bass-baritone that has inspired a cottage industry of impersonators. Meme culture has seized on other tics, like the Collinsworthism “Now here’s a guy. …” But unlike the folkloric Madden or the hopped-up CBS analyst Tony Romo, who flaunts his smarts by predicting plays before the ball is snapped, Collinsworth isn’t first and foremost a personality. He has the cool, questing demeanor of a detective — a guy, as Collinsworth himself might put it, who regards football as a grand puzzle that rewards endless inquiry."

The Ringer - "“Not So Fast”: The Oral History of ESPN’s ‘College GameDay’"
By Bryan Curtis

The Killers's "Mr. Brightside" Lasts Time


New York Times - "How ‘Mr. Brightside’ Became a Generation’s Anthem"

"Yet in the intervening decades, “Mr. Brightside” — which eventually reached the Billboard Hot 100 over a year after its initial release, peaking at No. 10 in June 2005 — has become something more than a hit. It has grown into an all-purpose, inescapable rallying cry: a karaoke staple, a football tradition, a party playlist must-have, a meme. It’s a straight shot of nostalgia that, having survived that awkward interval when a song feels dated and falls out of favor, now belongs to a pantheon of modern classics that are both extremely of their time and transcend it."


"CHANCES ARE YOU’VE heard “Mr. Brightside” at a wedding — maybe you played it at your wedding. According to DJ Intelligence, one of the top software platforms D.J.s use to let their clients build event playlists, “Mr. Brightside” is the third most-requested song, behind only Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and Abba’s “Dancing Queen.”"

Pantone's 2024 Color of the Year - Peach Fuzz


Washington Post - "Pantone announces its 2024 color of the year"

"Soothing our fractured world sure sounds like a tall order for a muted mix of pink and orange. But in a news release, Pantone’s executive director, Leatrice Eiseman, asserted: “Peach Fuzz brings belonging, inspires recalibration, and an opportunity for nurturing. Drawing comfort from PANTONE 13-1023 Peach Fuzz, we can find peace from within, impacting our wellbeing.”"

2024 Food Trends


Axios - "Pickles, halloumi and camel milk: What we’ll be eating in 2024"
By Jennifer Kingson

"Get ready to eat more buckwheat, pickles, caramelized bananas, cinnamon sugar, dressed-up ramen, grilled halloumi cheese and Korean cuisine in 2024 — and to wash it down with a tall, cool glass of camel milk."


"What they're saying: Ultra-processed food — soon to become more widely known by its acronym, UPF — is poised to become the new "junk food," Mintel, the market research firm, says in its 2024 food trends report."


"Where it stands: "Newstalgia" is trending, as boomers, Gen Xers and millennials recall food faves of yesteryear, according to the 2024 food trends report from Datassential, a restaurant and menu consultancy.

"Pickles are the 'it' ingredient again," the report said. (Evidence includes Claussen's pickle-flavored wine spritzer and Heinz's new pickle ketchup.)

Espresso martinis — a '90s throwback — are "one of the fastest-growing menu items in the last 12 months," Datassential says."


"Details: Predictions for "hot" foods and ingredients in 2024 include:

Shawarma, shaved ice, mustard seeds and Spam. (Datassential)

Birria, Wagyu beef, stuffed vegetables, hot honey breakfast sandwiches and grilled/cooked cheeses (like raclette and halloumi). (National Restaurant Association)

Buckwheat (in noodles, granola, pancakes), cacao pulp, plant-based seafood and gourmet ramen. (Whole Foods)"


"Now trending: Restaurants that serve West African, African and Lebanese food are on the upswing, OpenTable CEO Debby Soo tells Axios."


""Bulgogi, bibimbap and the beloved Korean fried chicken are becoming increasingly popular," according to Food By Design, a culinary consultancy. "In the coming years, we expect their popularity to soar, with new Korean classics like tteokbokki (rice cakes) and japchae (sweet potato noodles) becoming more mainstream."

"Chaos Cooking" (Dec. 2022)
2022 Food Trends (Dec. 2021)

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Michigan Helmet Stickers


Detroit News - "New Michigan helmet stickers to tell story of a player's career"

"The stickers, which Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh brought back to the helmets during his first season in 2015, used to feature a wolverine in blue and could be awarded for any number of in-game achievements. Players accumulated helmet stickers each season and would start over the next with a clean helmet.

Now, the stickers represent anything from a win — the familiar maize sticker with a wolverine but with the overall number of the victory (the first win of the season will produce a sticker with 965) — to rivalry games, to All-Big Ten honors and academic honors, and a captain will have a sticker with a “C.”"


"“It’s a great way to reward the guys. We’ve always given ours players their helmet at the end of the their career, and this provides them with a keepsake that tells the complete story of their career rather than just that final season.”"

ESPN - "Sticking to Tradition"

"The Wolverines and Buckeyes are two of 13 FBS teams that currently use helmet decal reward systems, but they do so with different philosophies. The famous buckeye leaves are awarded for team, unit or individual on-field accomplishments throughout a single season, while Michigan's stickers display a unique image for each accomplishment and accrue year-over-year."


"Much like many elements of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry, helmet stickers trace back to Woody Hayes (Ohio State) and Bo Schembechler (Michigan), and stir debate. Ohio State wore the stickers first, in 1967, but Schembechler's teams at Miami (Ohio) began wearing tomahawk stickers on their helmets in 1965. Schembechler brought the tradition to Michigan, and both teams wore stickers for the first time in The Game in 1969, the start of The Ten Year War between the famous coaches."

The Long-Lost Minnesota-Wisconsin Slab of Bacon


The Athletic - "The Wisconsin-Minnesota rivalry trophy: What happened to the Slab of Bacon?"

"Dr. R.B. Fouch of Minneapolis created the trophy, which was first played for in 1930, with the idea that the winning team would bring home the bacon. It was presented each year through 1942. Wisconsin won the game 20-6 in 1942.

One version of the story goes that Peg Watrous, the president of Wisconsin women students, was supposed to exchange the trophy with a student from Minnesota after the 1943 game. But Minnesota fans stormed the field following a 25-13 victory, the task was never completed amid the chaos and Watrous didn’t know what happened to the trophy from there.

Another version of the story is that the trophy was presented to Minnesota that year, but Gophers interim coach George Hauser refused to accept it out of respect for World War II (head coach Bernie Bierman was ordered into active military duty during the war). Either way, the trophy never again exchanged hands because it disappeared. Upon its discovery in 1994, there was debate as to which school was the rightful owner, but it remains housed inside a glass encasing in Wisconsin’s student-athlete performance center. Alvarez famously remarked, “We took home the bacon and kept it.”

The Next-New Minnesota State Flag


 - "State Emblems Redesign Commission"
Smithsonian Magazine - "See the Top Contenders for the New Minnesota State Flag"
CBS News - "Here's the new flag design Minnesotans want, according to a ranked-choice poll"

"A new ranked choice poll shows the flag that Minnesotans would pick to represent their state.

Flag design F29 [the above flag] won the mock poll with 55.8% of the final round votes. Called the "L'étoile du Nord flag," it features a snowflake overlayed on a north star against a blue background. The artist, Brandon Hundt, said the design pays tribute to Minnesota's weather, geographical position, and lakes."


Directed by George Miller
Written by George Miller, Nico Lathouris
Starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Burke

Denis Villeneuve’s Next Movie Could Be Cleopatra


World of Reel - "Rumor: Denis Villeneuve’s Next Film is ‘Cleopatra,’ Starring Zendaya [Updated]"

"Villeneuve‘a next film will be “Cleopatra” for Sony Pictures. The screenplay is said to be written by David Scarpa (“Napoleon”) and based on the best-selling book by Stacey Schiff. Production is supposed to begin sometime in 2024.

The story focuses on Cleopatra's ruthless rise to power using her skills as a seductress. I highly doubt it’ll bear any resemblance to the 1963 Elizabeth Taylor starring epic, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

NFL Black Friday Game Gets the Celebratory "Leftover Sandwich"


From David Chang's IG: "The first Black Friday @nflonprime game is in the books. Grateful to the entire TNF family for helping me showing me the way. We worked 7 months to bring The Wedge Breaker…the inaugural thanksgiving leftover sandwich to the mvp of game. 🙏 to the entire @wholefoods @momofukugoods @majordomomedia @cookanyday @meyercookware @nyjets @miamidolphins & @metlifestadium kitchen crew for all of the help. Al doesn’t know what he’s missed out on!! ❤️ dc"

The QB and Football Whisperer


Washington Post - "Mike McDaniel needs a reboot"
By Kent Babb

"He would call Tagovailoa to remind him that he’s special. He even compiled a 700-play tape of Tagovailoa’s most impressive moments to bolster that message. In doing so, McDaniel discovered a trend: Rather than hesitate until a receiver beat a defender, Tagovailoa could sense an opening before it happened. His release came quicker even than most star quarterbacks. He wasn’t naturally afraid of mistakes. This fear had been learned."


"Any advice to a first-time parent?

“Be present,” Tagovailoa says McDaniel told him. “Just the joy, the unconditional love that I’m able to give him, that he gives me.”"

Saturday, November 18, 2023

The End of Working Class Sports


New York Times - "A’s Will Finally Turn Out the Lights on Pro Sports in Oakland"

The working man has long been a central figure in American sports, attracted to the games as a diversion from the 9-to-5 grind and viewing them as a more level playing field than other societal arenas, the workplace among them.

As professional sports began to expand west in the late 1950s, Oakland — anchored by ship building, automobile manufacturing and its port — became an obvious landing spot.

Within little more than a decade, Oakland became home to the Raiders of the upstart American Football League, the Athletics, the Warriors and, briefly, the California Golden Seals of the National Hockey League, who for a time played in unfashionable white skates.

All the teams played at a complex centered on a vast asphalt lot, flanked by a major freeway and a rail line.

Soon, the lot will be vacant. This is not because Oakland has changed; it has largely retained a working-class ethos, albeit with California rents. Rather, the business calculus for teams has evolved.

Franchise revenue is now driven more by television deals and sponsorships than ticket sales, though those prices have skyrocketed. The transformation of sports into media products has relegated cities to backdrops and fans to props — a point that was driven home during the coronavirus pandemic when the games went on in vacant or mostly empty stadiums.

If it is baffling why the Athletics are leaving the Bay Area, which is the 10th biggest market, according to the Nielsen Company, for Las Vegas, which is the 40th largest market, there is another factor at play, according to Roger Noll, a Stanford sports economist emeritus.

Sports gambling.

The Las Vegas A's (Jun. 2023)
Public Money for Private Stadiums (Aug. 2022) 

The Thanksgiving Rider


New Yorker - "Thanksgiving Rider"
By Simon Rich (Wikipedia)

The Country Bluegrass Rock and Soul of Chris Stapleton


GQ - "Is Chris Stapleton the One Thing That America Can Agree On?"

Kia's Massive Turnaround

3 Body Problem Clip

How China's Taking Over Online Shopping


Rest of World - "How China took over the world’s online shopping carts"

The Most Sought After Uniforms


Saturday, November 4, 2023

Revisiting Sicario


Grantland - "Are My Methods Unsound? Why ‘Sicario’ Is the ‘Apocalypse Now’ of the Drug War"
By Chris Ryan

"Visually, Sicario is similar to Apocalypse Now in that it uses a modern setting to paint a portrait of hell. When Sicario begins, it’s all stark suburban desert-scapes and harsh light — the sun, overhead fluorescents in office buildings. But as the film winds on, and the moral decay sets in as our hero becomes corrupted, cinematographer Roger Deakins and director Denis Villeneuve move to a palette of grays, oranges, reds, and purples. The desert becomes almost lunar; the world becomes otherworldly.

The visuals match the arc of the story. This is a rabbit hole tale. Sicario is about an FBI agent who joins up with two other … agents (I use that term loosely) to hunt down a shadowy cartel chief in Mexico. That’s the logline for the script. It is hardly what the movie is about.

It’s a movie about the drug war, not the war on drugs. This may not be immediately apparent to the viewer; it certainly isn’t to some of the characters in the film. In fact, it’s this discovery — for both the protagonist and the audience — that drives the film: This is a movie about revealing, about journeying into hell and finding out that it looks awfully familiar."

Thomas Mars (from Phoenix) on Assembling the Soundtrack for Priscilla


GQ - "How Priscilla Made the Sickest Soundtrack of the Year—Without Any Elvis Songs"

"“I started making playlists and discovering Elvis's music. There were a few songs that I kept playing over and over that I really loved,” says Thomas Mars of Phoenix, whose band did the music for Priscilla. Then the production got word that the Elvis Presley estate would be denying them the rights to his music. “The frustration was, I love these songs, but now we can't use them,” Mars says.


“I think we knew from the script that the use would be similar to Marie Antoinette a little bit,” Mars says. Priscilla does often feels in conversation with 2006’s Marie Antoinette, both in its exploration of girlhood, its sugary visuals, and, of course, the modern-day song placements."

Where Star Wars Was Filmed


CNN - "‘Star Wars’ locations that actually exist"

Including Tunisia; Hardangerjøkulen Glacier and Finse, Norway; Wadi Rum, Jordan; TMayan ruins in Tikal National Park, Guatemala; California; and more.

Inside Wes Anderson's Office


New York Magazine - "The Objects Wes Anderson Hoards in His New York Office"

"A dedicated section of shelves holds leather-bound volumes of back issues of The New Yorker, which he has been reading since high school. There’s also a set of the Encyclopædia Britannica “from before the internet, which made these sorta irrelevant,” he says."

The Fall Guy

Written by Drew Pearce (based on the 1980s TV series)
Directed by David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde, Bullet Train)
Starring Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, Winston Duke, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Hannah Waddingham, Stephanie Hsu

Saturday, October 28, 2023

The Philadelphia Eagles's Tush Push


New Yorker - "The N.F.L.’s Rear Guard Is Angry About the “Tush Push”"
By Louisa Thomas

"His glutes were already famous for their exploits. At fifteen years old, he competed in power-lifting meets; after transferring to Oklahoma from Alabama, for his final collegiate season, he was videotaped squatting five hundred and eighty-five pounds, nearly triple his own weight, and double that of a defensive lineman. A nice ass is not a requirement for the quarterback position. (If it were, Peyton Manning wouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame.) But, in an era defined by the run-pass option, having a quarterback who can stay upright while absorbing and exerting force sure helps.

The trick is putting the ass to work. The Eagles were terrible during Hurts’s rookie year, and they began the next season 2–5. Then they started running, more than anyone else, and became a juggernaut. Hurts led all quarterbacks that season in rushing, with seven hundred and eighty-four yards. The following year, he ran for seven hundred and sixty, finished second in M.V.P. voting, and led the Eagles to the Super Bowl. For some of those rushing yards, though—some of the most critical ones—he had help. At some point before the 2023 campaign, the Eagles’ coaches figured out that Hurts’s rear could do more than just make him a great runner. It could also be the perfect target for a big shove.

The modern “tush push” can be traced to a play that came at the end of a 2005 game between the University of Southern California and Notre Dame. Behind by three points, U.S.C. had the ball on Notre Dame’s goal line, with seven seconds left. The quarterback Matt Leinart ran straight into the wall of the Notre Dame defense, on a so-called Q.B. sneak, and appeared to have been stopped. But Reggie Bush, U.S.C.’s star running back, came in behind Leinart and shoved him into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown. At the time, it was illegal in both college football and the N.F.L. to directly aid the runner—most sneaks involve the quarterback diving into a sliver of open space or trying to leap over the offensive and defensive lines—but no flag was thrown. The following year, the N.F.L. removed language forbidding pushing the ball-carrier forward. The N.F.L. has denied that this decision had anything to do with the Bush push; the idea, according to the league, was to save referees from difficult judgment calls, not to give teams the opportunity to try a new offensive strategy.

But, during the first game of the 2022 season, that’s precisely what the Eagles did. As time wound down, the Eagles clung to a 38–35 lead over the Detroit Lions, facing fourth-and-one. Hurts lined up for a sneak and was shoved forward just far enough for a first down. As the Eagles’ campaign went on, the rugby-style scrum on a Q.B. sneak became the team’s signature play. “Sneak,” it should be said, quickly became a misnomer: everyone knew what was coming—but no one could stop it even so. Philly fans soon gave the play a geographically appropriate name, dubbing it the “brotherly shove.” (Somehow there have been no prominent appeals to call the play a “bum rush.”) The Eagles used it forty-one times during the regular season and converted the short yardage thirty-seven times. During the Super Bowl, the Eagles went to it six times, twice scoring touchdowns.

This year, the Eagles have gone to the tush push a league-leading seventeen times, gaining yards on all but one attempt. Other teams are trying it, too, and experimenting with other techniques. The Q.B. sneak has never been so popular. According to The Athletic, there were two hundred and thirty-three sneaks in 2021, a twenty-first-century record that was surpassed the following year. This season, sneaks are on pace to break the record again. Many of these plays are the more traditional sneak—violent and messy, with bodies writhing everywhere. But other teams are trying to copy the Eagles. They are using their quarterbacks as battering rams."

The Ringer - "Is 2023 the Year of the NFL Defensive Coordinator?"

The Benefits of Playing Multiple Sports


Esquire - "Patrick Mahomes Knows Where Football Is Heading"

"“But where you really see it is in high school now. I watch a lot of high school football around Kansas City, and what I see now is completely different from how I think it was even back when I was in high school. You see teams embracing these NFL-type offenses and quarterbacks out there just doing incredible things when it looks like the play is dead.” One thing Mahomes would love to see is less specialization in youth sports. He understands that a lot of young players think they need to specialize to keep up and, later, to excel at a specific sport. And he’s careful not to discourage that. But he believes that playing different sports helps athletes learn to compete and find ways to win.

“So much of what I do is because I played baseball,” he says. “I was a shortstop, and out on the football field I’m doing exactly what I was doing as a shortstop. I’m hitting the first baseman in the chest. All those arm angles, throwing sidearm, underhand, against the body—all of that is stuff I did as a shortstop.

“But playing high school basketball also had a huge influence on the way I play. I was a point guard, and in many ways that’s exactly how I feel now. I’m still the point guard, trying to get the ball to people in space, get the ball to them in a position to score. In a lot of ways, it’s exactly the same thing.” "