Welcome to this week’s edition of The Tapes. If you are still in need of a last-minute present for a loved one, think about getting them a subscription to TVFury. Tough to beat the price. Onward.
* On Christmas Day, the Lakers face the Bulls in the first game of the Mike Brown era, which follows the Phil Jackson reign. The Lakers will run an offense that includes a bunch of dribbling, some isolation, a wounded Kobe coming off screens, Pau Gasol shooting jumpers and Andrew Bynum getting injured. But it won’t include the triangle. Chuck Klosterman wrote a great piece for Grantland on the triangle offense and why, with Phil’s departure, it’s all but dead in the NBA.
* King Jong-il was a dictator, a madman possibly bent on nuclear destruction and an all-around strange guy. Yet reading about his sporting exploits is amusing, such as his famous round of golf when he shot 38 under par. The New York Times details the Dear Leader’s athletic achievements.
* Slate’s always-entertaining Explainer section offers readers a chance to vote on the unanswered question they’d like to see answered. Some of the choices: Are the blind sleepy all the time? Why do so many of our states end with the letter a?
* I remain an unapologetic Tom Cruise movie fan, even though Louise has refused to see any of his movies in the theater for about six seasons, or, for your Cruiseologists, around the time he jumped on the couch. I’ll be seeing the new Mission: Impossible this weekend, and New York Magazine wrote about whether the movie shows Cruise is back at the top of the action genre.
* Got any plans tonight? TV does. He’ll be heading to the second of two 10th-anniversary shows for Soulcrate Music, probably the best South Dakota rap crew, well, ever. (There are a few tickets left, allegedly, although the Thursday show sold out.) Expect a review next week. It’s likely to focus on how TV wishes he could be invisible when he attends concerts.
* And, now, a question: Am I the only educated man in America that doesn’t have time to read? Every week, this site – and many others – make me feel either stupid or lazy for not being able to dig into some excellent writing and weighty issues. I’m tempted to blame my kids except that I’m hardly the only person who has procreated. I feel like this is putting me at a disadvantage in terms of writing and life in general. Dammit.
Happy holidays to you all, just the same.