Archive for April, 2012

The good thing about writing about the NBA playoffs after they’ve started is that you won’t type sentences like, “Iman Shumpert’s defense will play a key role when the Knicks upset the Heat, but the Derrick Rose-led Bulls will ultimately prevail in the East.”

The playoffs are only two days old and already two players have been lost, injuries that not only ended their season, but will carry over into the next one. Rose’s torn knee alters the entire Eastern Conference race. While the Bulls should still have enough to ease past Philadelphia, most people would expect them to lose to the Celtics in the second round, if Boston’s old bones do make it past Atlanta. And the Heat become the overwhelming favorite in the conference, though they might have been just that even before the defending MVP went down.


Every year my friend John Rosengren comes to New York for the ASJA Conference, and every year we try to make it to a Yankees or Mets game. It’s a chance to watch some big-market baseball, but mostly we catch up and talk about writing and projects and goals and hopes.

Last night we met before the Mets game and stood in line to buy tickets. A young woman approached us and asked if it was just the two of us and when we said yes she asked if we wanted two free tickets. Her friends couldn’t make it. The seats were good, down the first base line, about 25 rows up. We accepted, but then John told a brief story about a friend of his who got arrested for trying to enter a Grateful Dead concert with a counterfeit ticket. Was this part of a big-city set-up? Was this night going to turn into Midnight Express, minus the hashish and Turkish prison?


Tonight in New York City, 32 divisions of one of the most powerful companies in America will gather together and begin divvying up the latest crop of young talent.

That’s essentially what the NFL Draft is, in corporate terms even though we tend not to look at it in that way. But what if we did? What if conventional companies, be it newspapers or trucking firms or schools, filled jobs in the same way. That is: Monitored prospective employees through college, put them through aptitude tests, studied their backgrounds, got to know them through a series of interviews, tested their performance under pressure and then – in ceremonial fashion – drafted them according to a predetermined order.

Could that work? (more…)

Guesties: How to cheat at the Olympics

Posted: April 25, 2012 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized

By Mike Johnson
Guest blogger

Sports doping is an eternal arms race. You have black-market chemists making undetectable ‘designer drugs,’ and you have anti-doping agencies coming up with more and more sophisticated tests in response. Sadly, the dopers are winning right now, and few sports are ‘pure.’ Many athletes – perhaps most – at the 2012 Olympics may be doping in some form or fashion.

But I can’t shake the feeling all this anti-doping testing might be sports’ Maginot Line – we’re so focused on doping that we may get caught flat-footed by types of cheating we don’t expect. Performance degradation of competitors comes to mind.

Let’s put on our mad scientist caps and talk heat rays. Consider how easy it would be to hide a low-power, directional microwave array in standard AV/broadcast equipment – basically a set of dishes that can focus energy at some distant point and heat it up a bit. Something that could be aimed at, say, a runner and heat up their interior tissue just enough to hurt their performance. (more…)

So I became a triathlete over the weekend. No big deal.

No, seriously, it’s not a big deal – it was merely a mini-triathlon. Held indoors. At a fitness club. A mile from my house. On a sunny Sunday. I could go on …

There wasn’t so much as an entry fee, even though all participants received two pieces of swag: a water bottle (one of those cool hard-plastic ones that are very popular with the ladies) and new, old t-shirts that had been printed up for previous events (mine was from 2009). For the record, I’ve already broken in both. Love free stuff. (more…)

Baseball in Inwood

Posted: April 23, 2012 by shawnfury in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

On Saturday I watched Lou Gehrig’s old team rally for a dramatic victory over a rival.

Columbia defeated Princeton 8-7.

Columbia actually swept Princeton in the Ivy League doubleheader, although I was only there for the first victory. When it’s a spring weekend and the weather’s sunny and warm like it was on Saturday, I often make the three-minute walk to the Columbia fields in northern Manhattan.


By Rich Jensen
Guest blogger

How we receive information is almost as important as the information itself. Occasionally, it is more important.

In the late 60s, assignment reporters for the network news sent back film footage of the Vietnam War. Unlike any previous war, this footage was processed, trimmed, and beamed right smack dab into the middle of millions of living rooms.

It’s one thing to read about the chaos of war. It’s another thing to have it appear in your neat, tidy, organized living room right after dinner. (more…)

The Moscow Mule presented in a proper copper mug.

For the record, I am not an alcoholic. In fact, anything more than two drinks and I end up spending the night doubled over in pain, restless and soaked in self-loathing. I’m not a lightweight when it comes to liquor, I’m a featherweight.

And why am I pointing this out? Because Fury recently brought to my attention that our uninitiated readers might have the wrong idea about me, what with all the talk of beer and booze. And because I’ve discovered a new drink, although it’s actually an old drink. At least, that’s what the story on the side of the box that contained my new copper mug says. And if you can’t trust what’s printed on cardboard …

In 1947, John Martin of Smirnoff ran into the owner of a Los Angeles restaurant called Cock’n Bull. The restauranteur had been trying to push his imported ginger beer with scant success. Martin saw an opportunity to promote his vodka. And so the Moscow Mule was born. Vodka, ginger beer and lime, served in a frosted copper mug. Soon the new drink was sweeping the country!

So the Moscow Mule has a quirky back story in addition to an interesting name and a smooth flavor. Yet I’d never even heard of it until this month – further proof, by the way, of my sobriety – when I stumbled across it in a back alley bar in Lincoln, Neb. (more…)

It'd be fun to have a day off to watch this. It's time for a revolution.

By Jay Rosenberg
Guest Blogger

I wish I had a more eloquent way to say this — it’s horseshit that anyone gets off for Patriot’s Day. Why should this one enclave of Northeast elitism get some magical extra day off that everyone else doesn’t? There are some tremendous people in the state of Massachusetts, completely worthy of a three-day weekend. But there are also plenty of hateful mouth-breathers. Why should their hateful mouth-breathers get a long weekend while ours have to work?

Here’s the idea. The third Monday of April, a brand spanking new national holiday: Jackie Robinson Day.


While this may be hard to believe coming off the twin dumpster fires of “Jack and Jill” and “Bucky Larson,” Adam Sandler used to make entertaining flicks – sophomoric, sure, but charming and funny and infinitely quotable.

“Happy Gilmore” is one of many (OK, at least two) examples. One of the better bits in the hockey-player-turns-golfer plot: When Gilmore explains that he was the first person ever to take off a skate and try to stab someone with it.

Well, I may have come close to that sort of infamy Saturday afternoon, bombing so badly as the emcee of a free charity event that it’s not impossible to think donors have asked for refunds. (more…)