I don’t fear much in New York City. I feel safer walking around here than I did one night a few years ago in downtown Minneapolis, when there were about three lights working and two people around. There’s safety in numbers here. Terrorism? Nah. Earthquakes? Well, when’s that going to happen again?

But rats? God, the rats. I once had a rat run over my foot, while I was wearing sandals. That probably has something to do with the fear. As do the horrifying videos of rats crawling on people’s faces or legs on the subway.

This week in New York Magazine, writer Mark Jacobson wrote an entertaining – yet disturbing – story that carried the headline “Big Scary Ugly Dirty Rats: They’re everywhere-but they always were.” It attempts to figure out if there is a renaissance among the rats, or if we’re just more aware of them now. The last scene – where Jacobson confronts a rat in Central Park – will leave me with nightmares. As will the first scene, when a rat returns to life thanks to beer.

* Kris Humphries has apparently been in the news this week. He must be involved in negotiations in the NBA lockout or something. He used to make news for being a dominant high school basketball player at Hopkins. This thread – the original link for the newspaper story is old and dead – has a story from 2003, when Humphries was still planning on going to Duke, if he didn’t enter the NBA draft. It mentions fellow high school star LeBron James. Did you ever think you’d see the day when Kris Humphries – at least for a few months, or at least for a week – is more famous than LeBron?

* I, unfortunately, haven’t seen the new documentary on Chris Herren, which chronicles the former basketball star’ stunning fall and equally shocking resurrection. Here’s a podcast Herren did after the documentary aired, with Bill Simmons.

* And this week’s obligatory St. John’s football story, courtesy of Rachel Blount in the Star Tribune: Johnnies on the Spot.

* In other tabloid news, teen heartthrob Justin Bieber allegedly fathered a child with a fan. At least, that’s what one young woman is claiming.
Yes, this is the kind of junk that I read in the little free time I have. Weak.

* Actually, there was a time when I read books. One of them, The Rum Diary, is now a movie. If only that had happened in reverse order …
Anyway, the story was written by the notorious Hunter S. Thompson. He’s one of those people that is fascinating because he is sort of like me (a writer) yet nothing like me (a drug-addled lunatic).
Turns out Thompson was an old friend of current ESPN boss John Walsh. He tells some good stories in another recent episode of the B.S. Report.
As an aside, podcasts are great because you can ingest them while multitasking. Books? Not so much.

Postscript from Fury: Terry, I think you need the Book It program or something to get you back on the book bandwagon. Would a free pizza get you reading some more? And two words, my friend: audio books.


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