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; Hardangerj√łkulen 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 Encyclop√¶dia 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