Archive for September, 2012

Wednesday night, at about 11:30 p.m., I noticed I suddenly had 80 unread messages in my email inbox. They were all mail delivery failure messages. I hadn’t sent any email in a few hours, much less 80 that failed to find a home. Turns out I’d been hacked or hijacked or whatever and a spammer had sent out a GREAT BUSINESS PROPOSAL to dozens of people in my contacts list. So disheartening, confusing. Hopefully the new password fixed things. If you received such a message, I apologize. But if you liked what you read and want to know more about THIS INSANE BUSINESS OFFER, please let me know. We could hit it big.

Anyway, this week’s links:

* The New York Times is doing an interesting series on data centers and the insane amounts of energy required to run them. It’s not something you think about at 11:30 at night as you’re dealing with a hacked email or while looking at 700 pictures on Facebook, but it’s a real issue. The stories have generated – if you will – controversy from technology folks who believe The Times isn’t with the times, and that the stories would have been more relevant six years ago. But as someone who wasn’t really aware of the issue – as is the case with so much technology – they opened my eyes a bit.

* Heart-warming story – or it is making a mockery of the game, take your pick – about former Chicago Cubs player Adam Greenberg, who was beaned on the first pitch he ever saw seven years ago. He never played again, done in by the after-effects of the concussion. But after a campaign by a filmmaker, the Marlins are going to give Greenberg one more at-bat, next week against the Mets.

* Here’s one of Grantland’s new 30 for 30 series, but a short one. It’s on Arnold Schwarzenegger and his life in Austria. Nearly all of the original 30 for 30 films were really good and they’re starting up again soon. Grantland will also be offering these shorter films.

* J.K. Rowling has a new book out. An adult book. A very adult book, apparently. It’s getting bad reviews, but I enjoyed this New York Magazine look at Times reviewer Michiko Kakutani and her love of the word limn.

* Chris Jones on Greg Schiano’s belief that kickoffs should be eliminated from football. That also brings us to the podcast of the week. ESPN The Podcast is an offshoot of – you guessed it – ESPN The Magazine. Hosted by editor Chad Millman, it’s sort of like a DVD extra to supplement the mag. For example, this week Jones came on to discuss his piece and to debate former NFL coach Herm Edwards on the topic. Previously, Wright Thompson gave insight into how his piece on Urban Meyer came to be. While it might be too Inside Baseball for the average fans, journalists should eat it up.

* Because we haven’t had a list for a while … Sports Illustrated has put out its second Twitter 100, a list of must-follows in the sports world. Incredibly, TVFury did not make the list. (That snub will be referenced during our Blog Hall of Fame induction speech in 2037.) But 100 others did. Some we’ve heard of an endorse, others seemed to be a bit of a reach. See for yourself.

The news first appeared last month on a Twitter account.

La Estufa, a restaurant in Inwood, was closing. According to the citizen’s tweet, people were removing furniture from the space it occupied near 215th Street on Broadway in Upper Manhattan.

In Inwood — and I suppose anywhere in New York, and, actually, anywhere in the country — you can never be completely surprised when a restaurant goes out of business. Family-run diners can close overnight and chains can shutdown in the middle of the day, sometimes right when a customer is biting down into a hamburger. But we thought La Estufa was safe. The restaurant, which opened in 2007, has been one of our favorites in the neighborhood. It’s 132 steps from our building’s front door to La Estufa’s entrance. We went there for the skirt steak and the fries during the week and the brunch on Sundays. We marked some big occasions in the cozy confines of the restaurant. Anniversaries, career successes, birthdays. When my parents visited a few years ago, we took them there for dinner on one of their last nights in the city.

Awhile back it even expanded, taking over part of the abandoned building next to it. They added outdoor tables and chairs and it was normal to see moms having lunch in the afternoon sun, their strollers nearby. Now it was closing?


The drive to text

Posted: September 26, 2012 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
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On Friday, Sioux Falls is going to become a safer place, certainly in theory and maybe in actuality, a city ordinance that bans texting and driving going into effect. That’s right, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – the Foo is looking out for people, too, and without taking away their buckets o’ soda.

This law will have no direct impact on me, of course, because I’d never even think of sending a text message while behind the wheel. (Looking around to see if anyone bought that.) But a … friend of mine … may or may not fidget with his phone while behind the wheel on a regular basis. He knows it’s not the smartest decision of the day, but he’s also an unrealistically busy guy and at last halfway believes that he won’t be able to get it all done in a day if he can’t be productive when on the move. (more…)

Simultaneous possession, huh?

I had another post all set to run in this spot and then the Screw Job in Seattle happened. It cannot not be ignored. And it seemed unlikely anybody else in America would write about it.

In case you missed it, the Seahawks beat the Packers – full disclosure: the only team in sports that I genuinely root for – 14-12 on Monday night in Seattle by scoring a Hail Mary touchdown on the final play of the game. Except it sure looked like they didn’t score. The pass seemed to be intercepted by Green Bay on a jump-ball situation in the end zone and then Seahawks WR Golden Tate latched onto the back of the defender after falling to the ground. One official on the spot signaled to stop the clock, as it if was a turnover. Another official, standing two feet away, raised his hands to rule a touchdown. The touchdown call won out on the field and again through replay.


Last week Time Warner finally agreed to carry the NFL Network, ending one of those strange cable TV disputes that always spring up and are always confusing, though they always involve obscene amounts of money. As a loyal Time Warner customer — one of their main offices is a 7-iron away from our apartment — I looked forward to enjoying it for the first time on Sunday. The cable company also now offers the famed RedZone package, which I have read about for a few years now from people who talk about it with the giddiness usually reserved for those who see a new version of the iPhone for the first time. Since I receive some type of tiered sports package — the one they put ESPN Classic on about a year ago, so I now pay four bucks a month for the privilege of watching the Russo and Steele car auctions — I would also get the RedZone.

So Sunday shaped up to be an exciting day.


No replacement employees here. No employees of any kind, for that matter. Yes, we’re still doing this for free. Why? We’re not really sure. Maybe you’ll be able to help us answer that by reading The Tapes, our week in review:

* I’m not a huge Neil Young guy, but I enjoyed this piece about him in the New York Times. The premise is especially cool: Interviewing the aging rocker while he drives his car.

* The podcast of the week: Here’s the Thing. It’s a WNYC production hosted by actor and generally interesting human being Alec Baldwin. What’s most striking is the mood. Yes, the mood. Baldwin has a phenomenal radio voice – as he displayed in the classic Schweddy Balls NPR sketch on Saturday Night Live – and excellently deliberate pacing. Plus, he asks good questions – I’m convinced he could have made a career in journalism if that whole acting thing hadn’t worked out.
As an added bonus, the guests are really good. I mean, how often does Dave Letterman give interviews? It’s a case of Baldwin using his status to create an interesting show. Good on him.

* Fury here. New York Magazine’s Kathryn Schulz wrote a great feature on Michael Chabon, whose new book Telegraph Avenue came out last week.

* At one time Bob Greene was one of the best-known columnists in the country, his pieces syndicated throughout the land, his books top sellers. Then, in 2002, he was fired by the Chicago Tribune for a relationship he had with a girl who was doing a piece on him for her school paper. Time Out Chicago catches up with Greene.

* This Sports Illustrated story by Thomas Lake is a week old but has gotten a lot of attention. He wrote about Rae Carruth’s son. Carruth was convicted of conspiring to kill his girlfriend, the boy’s mom, but is eligible for parole in a few years.

* So the Tommies beat the Johnnies last week. Yeah, yeah. But it was apparently a rowdy day in Collegeville, judging by this report, which reveals the tale of a Tommie co-ed who had to be collected before the game by her dad. Her blood alcohol? .35. Go Tommies.

I need to get something off my chest, er, arms. Namely, sleeves. When at the gym.

I’ve felt this way for a while, but have kept it to myself for fear of some sort of backlash, accusations of extreme vanity or general Guy Dudebro-ness. Now, I just don’t care. On Wednesday night, I turned another short-sleeve shirt into a cutoff, and the subsequent session gave me the courage to go public. (more…)

Steve Sabol’s NFL

Posted: September 19, 2012 by shawnfury in Uncategorized

The first full NFL game I can remember watching was the 1981 NFC Championship game between the Eagles and Cowboys. Yet my memories of classic games and moments from the 1960s and ’70s are as vivid as anything I’ve watched the past 10 years. Bart Starr’s touchdown in the Ice Bowl, Hank Stram’s taunts in Super Bowl IV, Lynn Swann’s acrobatic catches, Old Man Willie running down the field for the Raiders. Those images are called up on a moment’s notice, video snapshots that linger long after the details of those games fade.

Steve Sabol created those moments, and those memories. Sabol — who died Tuesday at the age of 69 after a battle with brain cancer — took over NFL Films from his dad, Ed. Today the NFL’s popularity is unrivaled, a religion that competes with any of the older ones who also put on Sunday shows. And Sabol deserves as much credit as anyone in the game’s history for making the league what it is today. He did it by documenting the present, and by never letting fans forget the past.


While you were watching poorly officiated football Monday night, I began transforming into an overbearing, no-perspective, vicarious-living, youth-sports parent. Or not. It’s too early to tell.

This much is certain: My 8-year-old daughter has joined a local volleyball league. It’s her first foray into organized athletics and therefore my first foray into being the father of an aspiring athlete.

As you might expect given my overly analytical nature, I’ve put some thought into how this is going to go, and actually feel pretty decent about it. (more…)

Diary of a non gambler

Posted: September 17, 2012 by shawnfury in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

This week we’re spending a few days in Atlantic City, where we’ll relax in a nice suite, wander on the beach, eat large portions of meat at a buffet, take in a show that hopefully involves some freakishly talented people, if not outright freaks, and I’ll speak with Nucky Thompson about providing protection for liquor shipments I’m sending to Janesville.

One thing I won’t be doing much? Gambling.