Welcome to the Memorial Day Weekend edition of The Tapes. It’s raining in New York. I’m working Memorial Day. Other than that, fun weekend. To the links:
* I just finished writing a story for the Saint John’s alumni magazine. It’s extraordinary stuff. And in the next alumni magazine, the extraordinary story will share space with other tales of Johnnies and will include little updates on successes, births and marriages. None of them will be as exciting as Ted Kaczynski – the Unabomber – sending in an update to Harvard for his 50th reunion. He listed his occupation as prisoner.
* The Yankees might be up for sale soon. Well, probably not, unless this barely sourced story in the Daily News is accurate, which the Steinbrenner boys says it isn’t. George paid $8.8 million for the team. What would it go for now? At least, what, $50 million, right?
* Staged or not, this Kyrie Irving commercial is so cool. The story is Pepsi was there filming a documentary on the “nephew,” which is why the cameras were there. But the action was legitimate. True or not, it’s a great video.
* You really don’t want to read anymore about the Kardashians, correct? Well, read this piece on the man in the middle of all of it, Bruce Jenner. Esquire’s Chris Jones tells the tale.”On the show, Jenner can seem emasculated, as though his testicles are in a jar somewhere, along with the rest of his former presence, this once-proud man drowning in a sea of estrogen and petty humiliations. He can seem that way because that’s essentially what he is.”
* TV here. Now, I know this is going to come as a shock to everyone, but I didn’t do a ton of reading this week. Was too busy working and gearing up for the first real road trip for our little one. Oy.
The destination: Minneapolis-St. Paul, which just so happens to be gearing up to the fifth edition of hip-hop festival Soundset on Sunday. The biggest names on the bill are Atmosphere, Lupe Fiasco, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon. But the lineup is incredibly deep and rife with quality indie acts. You can download a mix featuring every involved artist here. It’s free and legal.
* One thing I did read was about, well, reading. The Harvard Sports Analysis Collective took a look at the readability of sports stories and specific writers. The broad results: sports sections are easier to read than most, and Charlie Pierce uses more complex words than, say, Rick Reilly.
What it doesn’t answer: Is it good or bad to be readable? I think we can all agree that some pieces are smarter than others, but I’d argue writers can go too far in that direction. I’m not saying they should dumb it down – ideally, the daily collection is all over in terms of reading level. It’s just that operating in the middle is probably ideal … as long as that comes naturally. Forcing things in either direction isn’t good. At least, that’s what Captain Obvious told me.