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March 20, 2013

World Wide Wednesday

Deep Routes

At The Classical, Jack Moore praises Bo Ryan and his system:

In a way, Wisconsin’s story is the Moneyball of college basketball. Wisconsin hasn’t been good enough for long enough to match up with the truly storied programs in terms of recruiting resource; the program arguably became relevant nationally in 2000, when Dick Bennett helmed the squad to the Final Four two seasons before Ryan took over. For much of his career, Bo Ryan simply wasn’t going to convince the star guard, the muscular center or the hyper-athletic slasher to come play basketball at Wisconsin.

Instead, Ryan had to find talents hidden beneath the scoring-centric and NBA-centric scouting world that defined the national recruiting scene. He had to find big men with jump shots. He had to find small forwards who could defend the post. He had to find guards who could rebound. Even top-tier recruits like Joe Krabbenhoft, a five-star forward out of North Dakota, earned reputations as bangers and scrappers, reputations reserved for the untalented.

For Salon, Patrick Wensink talks about how much he ultimately got paid for writing a novel that became an Amazon bestseller:

I was reminded of a single page in “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”; specifically, the section where Dave Eggers breaks down his $100,000 advance on sales from his publisher. He then lists all his expenses. In the end the author banked a little less than half. It wasn’t bad money — just not the “I bet Dave Eggers totally owns a Jaguar”-type of income I expected. I mean, his name was on the cover of a book! He must be rich.

That honesty was refreshing and voyeuristic. I always said if I ever had a chance, I’d make a similar gesture. As a person learning about writing and publishing, there was something helpful about Eggers’ transparency. So here is my stab at similar honesty: the sugar bowls full of cocaine, bathtubs full of whiskey, semi-nude bookstore employees scattered throughout my bedroom tale of bestseller riches.

This is what it’s like, financially, to have the indie book publicity story of the year and be near the top of the bestseller list.

Drum roll.


Hi-hat crash.

Continue reading World Wide Wednesday

March 13, 2013

World Wide Wednesday

Deep Routes

Spencer Hall writes about depression and the Internet:

And here’s the icky, horrid, and needlessly personal part : I am, and have, for the better part of my life in tidy five year-ish cycles, dealt with depression. Dealing is the right term. You don’t fight it, because if you are the kind of person who suffers from depression, then you know you surrender the minute it shows up, and simply send distress signals to the appropriate people. They send meds, changes of routine, and patience. Then you wait for it to blow over, and just pardon yourself for the crying jags, long walks, and repeated listens of George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” over your headphones.

I’m just one data point, but the internet has never, ever exacerbated any of that for me, particularly regarding depression. If anything, it helped by giving the best data set in the world on the universal crap-to-gold ratio, i.e. that 90% of everything is crap, and that the 10% worth keeping is a matter of editing and careful curation.

In Vanity Fair, Rich Cohen talks about attempting to ghostwrite billionaire Theodore Fortsmann’s autobiography:

He asked why I wanted to work on the project, or, as he put it, “What do you see of value in my story?” I got a chill from this question. It suggested pathos: he needed me to tell him that his own life had significance, was worth recording. I once dated a girl who made me tell her why I liked her. It reminded me a little of that. I said I was interested in his story because it was a great one, as grand as a scenario by Trollope, the ingenious way he made all that cash and helped create the private-equity industry, how he broke up Dr Pepper and turned around Gulfstream, but it was the family story too, his grandfather, a man who made a fortune in woolens, his father, who battled the bottle, his older brother, Tony, who stands for big brothers everywhere. Written the right way, I said, it could be the story of America itself, epic, unique, and gloriously grand. In other words, I behaved like a whore, mouthing pretty words while my real motivation was self-evident. Hey, you want me to say you’re the biggest and the best and the most amazing and that I’m in this joint because I find you irresistible? Fine, as long as it ends with me getting paid.

At SB Nation, Andrew Sharp covers the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference skeptically:

There usually isn’t a clear answer to these debates anyway, and even when there is, there’s a good chance it all changes when the games happen. Randomness, variance, anomalies, etc. A growing faction of the media uses advanced stats to write mythbusting articles to make the sports conversation smarter, but it actually just makes things more pedantic. We are not scouts. Rather than couch all of our 2013 sports arguments in data that’s not as conclusive as it seems, it’s more fun to just have an argument.

It makes you appreciate the millions of people who don’t care about any of this, because maybe they have the right idea. Look around the Sloan Analytics Conference and you see a group of thousands of over-educated smart people, most of whom are white males, congratulating each other on expertise and hitting on all the same themes, forging this echo chamber that’s supposedly rendering everyone else extinct. “This conference is the Internet,” I write on Saturday afternoon.

There’s a much bigger world out there, and thank God for that.

Continue reading World Wide Wednesday

March 6, 2013

World Wide Wednesday

Deep Routes

For ESPN the Magazine, Wright Thompson gets unbelievable access to Michael Jordan:

THE OPPOSITE OF this creeping nostalgia is the way Jordan has always collected slights, inventing them — nurturing them. He can be a breathtaking asshole: self-centered, bullying and cruel. That’s the ugly side of greatness. He’s a killer, in the Darwinian sense of the word, immediately sensing and attacking someone’s weakest spot. He’d moo like a cow when the overweight general manager of the Bulls, Jerry Krause, would get onto the team bus. When the Bulls traded for the injury-prone Bill Cartwright, Jordan teased him as Medical Bill, and he once punched Will Perdue during practice. He punched Steve Kerr too, and who knows how many other people.

This started at an early age. Jordan genuinely believed his father liked his older brother, Larry, more than he liked him, and he used that insecurity as motivation. He burned, and thought if he succeeded, he would demand an equal share of affection. His whole life has been about proving things, to the people around him, to strangers, to himself. This has been successful and spectacularly unhealthy. If the boy in those letters from Chapel Hill is gone, it is this appetite to prove — to attack and to dominate and to win — that killed him. In the many biographies written about Jordan, most notably in David Halberstam’s “Playing for Keeps,” a common word used to describe Jordan is “rage.” Jordan might have stopped playing basketball, but the rage is still there. The fire remains, which is why he searches for release, on the golf course or at a blackjack table, why he spends so much time and energy on his basketball team and why he dreams of returning to play.

At SB Nation, Paul Flannery talks about the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference and drafts a strategy for effectively communicating the message:

For every analytically inclined member of a team’s front office there are several more who aren’t interested. For every Hoopdata loving basketball writer (please come back, Hoopdata) there are crusty beat writers who don’t care nothing about fancy-boy stats. And for every enlightened fan there are hundreds more who count the ringzzzz first, last and forever.

And that’s where this whole thing breaks down in a self-congratulatory echo chamber of smugness and mistrust. The cultural divide is still strong, but it doesn’t have to be. As Kirk Goldsberry mentioned in his presentation, we need to get better at communicating what the metrics mean and that’s where the media comes into play. With a little more patience and whole lot less hubris, we can start talking with people instead of at them.

Also on SB Nation, Matt Ufford analyzes Dennis Rodman’s trip to North Korea:

1. Rodman is right: he DID make history, though he makes that boast to Stephanopoulos with more flair and import than it warrants. A garishly-dressed pawn with facial piercings is still a pawn, and Rodman will be lucky if his role in the history of American-North Korean relations falls somewhere between Mrs. O’Leary’s cow and Paul Tibbets. (Humanity will be lucky if it doesn’t.)

2. I’m less troubled by Rodman’s lack of circumspection than by his utter failure to make a simple comparison. If you’re going to compare your friend Kim Jong Un to an American president (not a recommended stance in a debate, by the way), modern American history offers no shortage of presidents with blood on their hands, from Bush’s invasion of Iraq to Obama’s use of drone attacks to the succession of Democrats and Republicans who waged war in Vietnam for two decades. Saying “Bill Clinton had sex with his secretary,” aside from being factually suspect, is not a strong comeback when you’re being asked about Kim’s prison camps.

Continue reading World Wide Wednesday

March 1, 2013

Here’s the Best Food I Ate in Israel


Beef schwarma at Moshiko (this is the very end of what was a MASSIVE — 1.5x bigger than a Chipotle burrito — pita)


While the rest of the trip split off between two tourist traps, a group of four of us ventured to a Lebanese restaurant. Google leads me to believe it’s called Ktsy Hanahal, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. We got the meat sampler platter. The pies in the corners are beef and lamb while the empanadas (they told us what they were called in Lebanon, but I forget) and Kubbeh (the stuff that looks like corn dogs on the outside) were both stuffed with beef.

Tel Aviv

Eggs Benedict w/ ham and bacon at Benedict

Continue reading Here’s the Best Food I Ate…

February 6, 2013

World Wide Wednesday

On Grantland, Chuck Klosterman profiles Royce White, the Houston Rockets rookie who has had a very public battle with mental illness this season:

Part of what makes White so baffling (and, to his detractors, so infuriating) is the degree to which he seems totally normal. He concedes this is part of the problem, perception-wise; he says he’s thought about his condition so much that he can now control it, most of the time. But that control makes it difficult for him to illustrate how he’s different from any normal person who tends to get more nervous than necessary. For instance, it’s not that White cannot bear to step on an airplane; he’s taken dozens and dozens of flights throughout his short career, including one to Italy to play an exhibition for Iowa State. He just deeply hates the experience of flying (and says that he’s racked with anxiety for several hours before takeoff, which is worse than the flight itself). White also hates driving and constantly scans the road for “threats,” but that doesn’t mean he can’t drive (in the Real Sports segment, we see him calmly operating a vehicle with only one hand on the wheel). When I speak with him at the Cheesecake Factory, he seems more composed than many other celebrities and athletes I’ve interviewed in the past. But this, he insists, proves nothing except the complexity of his dilemma. “Everything is tied to my mental illness,” he tells me. “It’s like when you have arthritis: Even when you’re not hurting, you’re worried about when you will hurt next. It’s always related.”

In The New Republic, Judith Shulevitz talks about how older parenthood will upend society:

We have been conditioned to think of reproductive age as a female-only concern, but it isn’t. For decades, neonatologists have known about birth defects linked to older fathers: dwarfism, Apert syndrome (a bone disorder that may result in an elongated head), Marfan syndrome (a disorder of the connective tissue that results in weirdly tall, skinny bodies), and cleft palates. But the associations between parental age and birth defects were largely speculative until this year, when researchers in Iceland, using radically more powerful ways of looking at genomes, established that men pass on more de novo—that is, non-inherited and spontaneously occurring—genetic mutations to their children as they get older. In the scientists’ study, published inNature, they concluded that the number of genetic mutations that can be acquired from a father increases by two every year of his life, and doubles every 16, so that a 36-year-old man is twice as likely as a 20-year-old to bequeath de novo mutations to his children.

The Nature study ended by saying that the greater number of older dads could help to explain the 78 percent rise in autism cases over the past decade. Researchers have suspected links between autism and parental age for years. One much-cited study from 2006 argued that the risk of bearing an autistic child jumps from six in 10,000 before a man reaches 30 to 32 in 10,000 when he’s 40—a more than fivefold increase. When he reaches 50, it goes up to 52 in 10,000. It should be noted that there are many skeptics when it comes to explaining the increase of autism; one school of thought holds that it’s the result of more doctors making diagnoses, better equipment and information for the doctors to make them with, and a vocal parent lobby that encourages them. But it increasingly looks as if autism cases have risen more than overdiagnosis can account for and that parental age, particularly paternal age, has something to do with that fact.

Continue reading World Wide Wednesday

January 30, 2013

World Wide Wednesday

Deep Routes

At Adweek, Charlie Warzel conducts an oral history on Deadspin:

Excerpt from Leitch’s original pitch to Denton: “The Internet and sports are made for each other. But what has really been missing has been a strong, askew voice from outside the circle jerk of buffet-addled sportswriters interviewing naked athletes. Independent sports blogs are everywhere, but they don’t have any passion. They’re mostly just stat nerds. Sports needs a Wonkette, essentially.”

Leitch: Lock was sold enough that they thought they should do a sports site, but they didn’t want me—they wanted a name. I know a friend of mine was asked and turned it down because he thought ESPN was a safer bet and better money. Lockhart sent me an email that said, “Bad news. Nobody wants to do this. But the good news is, it’s your site now.” I was told I’d have six months to try and make it work, and I thought, that’s fine. I had been answering phones at a doctor’s office only a year and a half before.

Nick Denton, founder and publisher, Gawker Media: I don’t remember ever wanting Will to do another kind of site, but I think I had some hesitation over the breadth of coverage required. I wasn’t really clear that there were sports fans per se—rather, that there were fans of particular sports and particular teams. So I wasn’t sure it was a homogenous enough topic to support a broad site.

In Huffington Post, Ryan Grim and Ryan J. Reilly put together an extremely comprehensive piece on the Obama Administration’s hostile treatment of the medical marijuana industry:

The Justice Department may respond to the legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington and Colorado in several ways. One option would be to go after low-level marijuana users as scapegoats and seek a court ruling that would declare federal law trumps state law. One of the more extreme options, which officials acknowledge is currently being weighed by the department’s Civil Division, would be to preempt the laws by suing the states in the same way the feds sued Arizona over its harsh immigration law. Federal authorities could sue Washington and Colorado on the basis that any effort to regulate marijuana would violate the federal Controlled Substances Act.

“The question is whether you want to pick that fight,” a former Justice official said.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson met with Holder on Tuesday, but the U.S. attorney general declined to say whether the Justice Department would fight Washington’s new marijuana law. Inslee said the state will move forward implementing the law.

Continue reading World Wide Wednesday

January 23, 2013

World Wide Wednesday

Deep Routes

In Esquire, Tom Junod writes on the excruciating nature of NFL injuries:

“Fans basically know nothing,” Ryan Clark says when asked to talk about his experience of injury. “They know what they see on the field and that’s about it. They don’t know the work, the rehab, the getting out of bed on Monday morning. A lot of injuries are the ones that don’t get reported, the ones that don’t take you off the field. People always ask me, ‘Are you feeling good?’ No. You never feel good. Once the season starts, you never feel good. But it becomes your way of life. It becomes the norm. It’s different from a guy going to work at a bank. If he felt like I did, he wouldn’t get out of bed. He’d call in.”

“Our perspective is our own pain,” says the veteran who keeps the pain journal, who we’ll call PJ from now on. “What other perspective do we have? We’ve been beaten down since we were kids that you’re never too injured to play. And so when normal people — people who are not associated with football — ask ‘How do you feel?’ for many years it was hard for me to answer that question. It was hard for me to say exactly how I feel, because it would show a sign of weakness or softness. And at the professional level, you better not say how you feel, or the next man will get your job.”

On SB Nation, Kings fan Tom Ziller pens an open letter to the Maloofs:

Dear Joe, Gavin and George Maloof,

How do you sleep at night?

I know the stock retort from the rich and heartless is “on a big pile of money,” but HAHAHAHAHAHA c’mon guys, let’s try to be serious for a minute. You don’t have any money. You’re broke, and pillows made of dimes and nickels just aren’t comfortable. That’s why it’s come down to this: you can’t afford to keep the Sacramento Kings. You’ve run through all the other sources of liquid wealth, and now it’s time to flip the NBA team you said you’d never sell so that y’all can pay for yourvarioushabits. You’re terrible at making and keeping money. You make Antoine Walker look like Warren Buffett.

Y’all have always said that you’d never sell the Kings. Yet here we are. Y’all have continuously rejected claims that you’ve gone broke. Yet here we are. Y’all screamed down anyone who dare express consternation that relocation is your plans. Yet here we are. In a few months, if all goes according to your nefarious plans, you’ll have sold the Kings, and they’ll have been relocated to Seattle. And you’ll still be broke, because you are who you are. Your wealth management skills don’t exactly inspire confidence, y’know?

Continue reading World Wide Wednesday

January 16, 2013

World Wide Wednesday

Deep Route

For those of you not from the northeast, Mike and the Mad Dog influenced the current landscape of sports talk radio and debate television more than anybody else. For SB Nation, which has recently begun publishing great longform, Joe DePaolo profiles Mike Francesa:

For 15 minutes Francesa fields queries while making an alarmingly small amount of eye contact – that is to say, almost none. His eyes are fixed on CNBC. The Dow is down at this point, although a mild afternoon rally will allow it to close up slightly for the day. Though this information might be highly pertinent as it relates to Francesa’s portfolio, it is not the reason he is focused so intently on the television at this moment. Francesa is sizing up his inquisitor. It’s his feeling out process. This man does not suffer fools. You must prove yourself worthy of his time and attention, hardly a simple task.

Mike Francesa is a difficult man to satisfy. Though he’s a product of the Vietnam era (he was never drafted but chronic knee problems likely would have excused him from service), he conducts himself like one who came of age during World War II. Behind a tough exterior he holds many of the Greatest Generation’s core values dear. Smiles are few and far between.

Until you prove yourself, you get long, meandering answers. The man often repeats himself – a habit, one would assume, attributable to the fact that he must fill five-and-a-half hours of airtime daily. He doesn’t trust you to talk. Why should he? You simply aren’t as good at it as he is. So he’ll do it himself, thank you.

“I don’t lack confidence. I admit that. I know I’m good at this. If I don’t think I’m good at this, why would anyone else think I’m good at it?”

I got published on Outkick The Coverage, writing about attending a wedding during a Packers playoff game:

While the groom twice told me that he’d understand if I skipped his wedding, this was never really an option. Even I know that you can’t miss your close friends’ weddings. There are few things more scarce and sacred than Packers playoff games, but some (though perhaps not all) weddings qualify. This particular one was between two of my best friends from college. They have been together for over seven years and are unconditionally devoted to each other’s unconditional happiness. Their relationship is one of those rare ones where each individual’s close friends and family feel equally connected to the spouse. They have a bond for which we should all aspire.


Now, perhaps the game would have turned out differently if only I were able to focus on it. I’m sure this sounds really stupid to anyone who doesn’t feel the same way about their teams. But, those of us who do have already made an utterly irrational leap of faith. Why on Earth should we care if a group of players who we don’t know and will likely only meet for brief 30-second pockets when we line up to buy their autographs rises and falls in a specific set of laundry? Once we’ve come to terms with this madness and continue to go at it recklessly, the idea that our actions impact the games is not so farfetched.


I have a lucky outfit that I only break out for big games. It involves a cheesehead hat and a sewn Clay Matthews jersey and I swear to Aaron Rodgers that it’s undefeated. (I retired the cheesehead after the 2011 Super Bowl run but brought it back for select games this season after the pain and anguish of last year’s Giants loss.) I know that this IS crazy, but once again it’s really not that much crazier than being a crazed sports fan in the first place.

Let’s assume for a second that my lack of focus and proper outfit did adversely affect the outcome of the game. (I know, I know, but we’ve been over this already.) Even if that were the case, I’d do it again. No regrets. This wedding was more spiritually fulfilling for me than even a Packers playoff victory would have been. Consequently, I am struggling to think of a scenario where I would have been more comfortable with a Packers playoff loss.

Quick Reads

- Gorilla sales skyrocket after latest gorilla attack [The Onion]

-  ”A gun kept in the home was 43 times more likely to be involved in the death of a member of the household than to be used in self-defense” [NPR]

- Is this the most insane NRA ad ever? [Vanity Fair]

- 25 drunkest cities in America [Daily Beast]

Continue reading World Wide Wednesday

January 9, 2013

World Wide Wednesday

Deep Routes

One of my favorite writers, Drew Magary, profiles Snoop Dogg Lion for GQ:

I must pause here for a moment to point out that we are about to cross the threshold into Snoop’s Narnia. And in Snoop’s Narnia, ideas and concepts that many of us might find dubious, or unscrupulous, feel natural, even kind of innocent. By now, Snoop has joined the ranks of Keith Richards and Jack Nicholson—artists whom we have exempted from the standard rules of society because they’re so widely beloved. So in Snoop’s Narnia, it’s perfectly normal to smoke weed everywhere, all the time, at any hour of the day. In Snoop’s Narnia, it’s perfectly acceptable to look forward to teaching your kids how to pick seeds out of your stash or how to roll a blunt. “It’s not that I would ever push weed on our kids,” says Snoop, who has three children, ranging in age from 12 to 18, “but if they wanted to, I would love to show them how, the right way, so that way they won’t get nothing put in their shit or overdose or trying some shit that ain’t clean.”

The outstanding Nate Silver did a Reddit AMA, which was transcribed by the New York Times:

Q: At the end of the day, what would it take for a 3rd party candidate to seriously challenge for, or even win, the presidency? Was Perot a once in a lifetime phenomenon, or is there a possibility of something outside the 2 party system?

— SEHumphrey

A: Historically, periods of greater polarization are associated with better performance for third-party candidates, so the chances of a successful independent campaign are probably higher than average. However, that still might mean there’s 3 or 5 percent chance of an independent candidate winning the 2016 election as opposed to a 1 or 2 percent chance. You might need a perfect storm where (i) Obama is perceived as really having screwed up and (ii) the Republicans nominate someone terrible and (iii) someone VERY talented runs and takes his campaign very seriously and (iv) then gets a few breaks in the Electoral College, etc. None of those individual steps are impossible, but the odds against the parlay are pretty long.

On The Awl, Bethlehem Shoals writes about breaking up with writing:

This year, I discovered a new form this slippery, if useful, devil can take: advice that is no advice at all. We all want cues, validation, and support as we make our way through that perilous thicket of choices that is adulthood (there’s not much need for it before, when decisions tend to follow the responsible/irresponsible binary). But sometimes, you take a leap without any encouraging shove. You move forward as if you knew exactly what you were doing and why you were doing it, when really, there’s nothing but hot air propelling you. If that.

Enough with the abstractions. In 2011, I became a father; in 2012, I decided to give up freelance writing for an honest job in the world of advertising. It’s not like I surrendered my soul for a cubicle in the nearest accounting firm. I still get to think up weird shit for a living and the place I work is hardly a button-down police state. Plus, I was never an ace with reporting and frankly, coming up with laudatory campaigns for athletes is probably closer to my strengths than that all-elusive “features writer” status was. The fact remains, though, that at the drop of a hat I gave up the only thing I’ve ever been particularly good at, the only gig I’ve ever really known, and the source of pretty much anything I’m known for outside of my immediate circle of friends and family. I don’t have time to write and if I so much as touch the topic of sports, all sorts of potential conflicts of interest crop up. It’s a strange transition to make—one day, I’m working on another book proposal, then suddenly it’s in the rear-view. I helped found The Classical, which specializes in the kind of thoughtful writing about sports I’ve always valued most and now I’m effectively off my own pet project.

Continue reading World Wide Wednesday

January 2, 2013

World Wide Wednesday

Back from my vacation and feeling refreshed! Here are some of the most interesting links I’ve seen the past two weeks:

Deep Routes

On Slate, Tom Scocca writes that when gun nuts write gun laws, nuts have guns:

Yet today, LaPierre got up and described the gun lobby’s vision of our future: “A police officer in every single school.” “Armed security … building design … access control … information technology.” “An active national database of the mentally ill.”

This is the NRA’s idea of a free country. Kindergarteners on lockdown. Federal monitoring of everyone’s mental-health status. Cops in every hallway.

The experts and counterexperts can and will keep arguing about the local and regional crime-rate effects under our ever-expanding concealed-carry and open-carry laws. One trend line, though, seems obvious: The Second Amendment and the Fourth Amendment have been moving in opposite directions. The NRA has racked up legislative triumph after legislative triumph, extending gun rights into airports, bars, churches, and schools. Yet rather than deferring to the armed public, the police have grown ever more militarized, ever less concerned with warrants, ever more willing to respond to disorderliness with overwhelming force. The government is collecting your email and tracking your phone. Drones are flying police missions in American skies. More than 2 million people are incarcerated.

None of that came up in LaPierre’s discussion today, though he had time to denounce video games and the media. An ugly, violent, oppressive world is the world he wants. It’s the world that gun culture thrives in. The only liberty that matters to these people is the liberty to kill.

In NY Times Magazine, Jonah Weiner profiles Jerry Seinfeld:

For Seinfeld, whose worth Forbes estimated in 2010 to be $800 million, his touring regimen is a function not of financial necessity but rather of borderline monomania — a creative itch he can’t scratch. “I like money,” he says, “but it’s never been about the money.” Seinfeld will nurse a single joke for years, amending, abridging and reworking it incrementally, to get the thing just so. “It’s similar to calligraphy or samurai,” he says. “I want to make cricket cages. You know those Japanese cricket cages? Tiny, with the doors? That’s it for me: solitude and precision, refining a tiny thing for the sake of it.”

When he can’t tinker, he grows anxious. “If I don’t do a set in two weeks, I feel it,” he said. “I read an article a few years ago that said when you practice a sport a lot, you literally become a broadband: the nerve pathway in your brain contains a lot more information. As soon as you stop practicing, the pathway begins shrinking back down. Reading that changed my life. I used to wonder, Why am I doing these sets, getting on a stage? Don’t I know how to do this already? The answer is no. You must keep doing it. The broadband starts to narrow the moment you stop.”

In Vanity Fair, Ned Zeman puts together an oral history of Blues Brothers:

Everything revolves around Belushi, the most electric and popular comic actor of his time. It would be inaccurate to blame all the movie’s problems on Belushi. He isn’t responsible for the late-developing script or the unwieldy action sequences. It would be even more inaccurate to say Belushi isn’t responsible. He has become a blessed wreck, thanks mostly to his spiraling (and ultimately lethal) addiction to cocaine.

On days when coke gets the best of Belushi, production stalls. And when production stalls, money burns. And when money burns, Lew Wasserman burns.

It begins, as these things do, in a dark bar. The time is November 1973. The bar, a speakeasy called the 505 Club, is in Toronto and owned by Aykroyd, a bizarro 20-year-old with webbed toes, mismatched eyes—one green, one brown—and a checkered past as a two-bit hoodlum and a seminary student.

The club opens at one A.M. because Aykroyd works nights. For the past three years, he has been performing with Second City, the famed comedy troupe based in Chicago but also flourishing in Toronto.

Aykroyd is at the 505, unwinding after a show, when a bullish 24-year-old charges through the back door. This is Belushi, wearing a white scarf, a leather jacket, and a five-point driver’s cap of the sort worn by aging cabbies. Aykroyd wonders whether his guest had somehow mistaken himself for Lee J. Cobb.

The two had met earlier in the evening, backstage at Second City. “We had heard of each other,” Aykroyd recalls. “We took one look at each other. It was love at first sight.”

Quick Reads

- Twitter to offer users a download with all their tweets in a single file [Guardian]

- People have watched 1.2 million years of porn since 2006…on just two web sites! [Animal New York]

- Kurt Vonnegut’s daily routine [Brain Pickings]

- 13 real, not made-up things about Hulk Hogan’s new restaurant [SB Nation]

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