Archive for December, 2012

Everyone knows how the story begins. Everyone knows how the movie ends. What happened in between is known by a few, but will never be known by all. That’s Zero Dark Thirty, the new movie by Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow that details and dramatizes the hunt for Osama bin Laden and the subsequent raid that killed him in May 2011.

Zero Dark Thirty isn’t playing nationwide yet — that doesn’t happen until January — but I saw it last week in the city. It’s one of the great benefits to living in New York — having early access to something that everyone is talking about, even if hardly anyone can actually watch it.


This is our final links section of the year. Doesn’t mean it’ll be the best one of the year or anything. But it is the final one.

* I saw Zero Dark Thirty this week. Intense. Intense. Intense. The Washington Post had a story on the real-life woman behind Jessica Chastain’s CIA character in the film. The employee is not the most popular person at the agency, though they do credit her for the work she did in finding Osama bin Laden. And here’s a Jessica Chastain interview where she talks about the movie shoot.

* Speaking of controversial movies, Grantland spoke to Tarantino about Django Unchained.

* Here’s Dave Kindred on the death of Jack Klugman, who famously played sportswriter Oscar Madison.

* O.C. Register writer Kevin Ding, one of the best beat writers in the NBA, has not been impressed with Dwight Howard. Who has?

* Why does NYC drop a big ball on New Year’s Eve? It’s because of the New York Times (which, if you didn’t know, is also why it’s called Times Square.

* What’s the hot new pickup line for singles? “What’s your credit score?” Man, that’s sexy.

* No podcast of the week this week. Why? Because iTunes wasn’t updating podcast feeds on my iPhone. Either it’s a glitch in the system or people shut down their pod machines during the holiday. Either way: Weak. Am I the only one who throws away double-digit vacation days every year?

* Instead, we’ve got video to scratch your multimedia itch. Sioux Falls is home to one of the longest-running teams in minor league hoops. You don’t survive in that industry for almost a quarter century without some ingenuity – like social media night. The second edition is coming up Friday (and might feature four NBA players on assignment, led by the fabulously named Fab Melo). The team will wear special jerseys with their Twitter handles and fans can snag gear, food and seat upgrades via social media. Here’s a preview:

Seeking to punish myself for past and future sins, I headed out into the city on Saturday afternoon for some last-minute Christmas shopping and was pleased to see at least half of my fellow New Yorkers had come up with the same idea.

During my expedition I unexpectedly bumped into my friend Greg Downs, almost literally, as I walked with my head down, hoping that when I looked up again the street would be a lot less crowded. Greg is an acclaimed historian, award-winning fiction writer, college professor and, perhaps most impressively, a former guest contributor to TVFury. I also play against him in old man basketball.

We chatted for a few minutes and then decided to get a beer and some lunch. The discussion eventually evolved into what it almost always does whenever I meet up with Greg: Me asking question after question about history.


Move over, Baby Jesus and Capitalism – the NBA owns Christmas Day. OK, maybe that’s not entirely true, but the Association had a little something for everyone during its Tuesday quintuple header.

Fury was there for the hoops, while TV chose to obsess about uniforms and haircuts. They talk about all that and more in podcast form. That’s right – another podcast this week. Merry Christmas? Or lazy copout? You decide.

Here’s the link.

If I had a fireplace, I’d be sitting by it tonight. Coffee in hand. Multicolored lights from the tree reflecting around the room. It’s Christmas Eve, a time for reflection, especially this year.

My wife and I brought home two kids this week, a boy and a girl, after a 29-day stay in the NICU, the shortest of our two sentences. That makes five kids – one deceased and four by scientific means – in a shade under nine years. Five kids. I never thought I’d be that guy. (more…)

The playoffs aren’t all that’s being chased in the NFL – several respected individual records have fallen or could fall in this week’s regular-season finale.

What’s more impressive – Adrian Peterson approaching the single-season rushing mark or Calvin Johnson topping the single-season record for receiving yards? TV and Fury discuss that and more in a podcast, featuring special guest Ty Vandrovec, who just might hold the record for lightest podcaster ever (5 lbs, 12 oz.)

Here’s the link.

If you’re reading this, the world didn’t end.

It’s time for the weekly links, and there’s almost, but not quite, a theme: comedy!

* The New York Times has a lengthy feature on Jerry Seinfeld. It’s a look at the comedian’s continuing obsession with standup.

* Judd Apatow edited the latest issue of Vanity Fair, which was devoted entirely to comedy. A lot of great pieces in it. Here’s a really interesting Q&A between Apatow and Albert Brooks. Another piece takes a look at the filming of The Blues Brothers. Cocaine was in the budget, as it is for TVFury.

* There are a lot of sites doing best-of lists right now for 2012 that focus on the best nonfiction pieces of the year. Lots of great features/profiles/investigations from the past year. Here are Quickish’s best sports stories of 2012. Check out Longform for their choices of the best stories of the year, on everything from best business pieces to best art stories. And Nieman puts together their best picks in audio, newspapers and magazines.

* Here’s a story that might have been published too late in the year to make those lists, but was incredible. It’s an inside look at the U.S. Army’s experiments with chemical warfare in the 1960s, told through the eyes of one of the program’s top scientists. The experiments — which used everything from LSD to much-more powerful compounds — were conducted on U.S. soldiers. It’s a fascinating piece.

* Michael Weinreb writes about Mount Union’s Larry Kehres for Grantland.

* Turns out this will not be the finale of The Tapes because the world isn’t going to end today. Dammit. So says USA Today, which claims that the infamous Mayan prediction of an Apocalypse was actually a mistranslation. Bummer?

* This week’s podcast of the week: The Adam & Drew Show. No, it’s not Loveline, but it is the same two hosts – Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew Pinske – talking about society as much as health and relationships. Sometimes, it’s astounding that these two have remained friends for so long given their very different approaches. Yet that’s why it works – they’re complementary pieces, like peanut butter and jelly. Here’s a link.

These signs are common on store fronts.

These signs are common on store fronts in Happy Valley.

Let’s make one thing clear off the bat: This piece is not a judgment for or against the people of State College or Penn State. We’ve all read and watched plenty – probably too much, in fact – about the sexual-abuse scandal regarding the storied football program; we’ve all formulated opinions based on facts or allegations or emotions. That part of the story is essentially over, short of perhaps shaping future rules, laws or actions.

But Happy Valley hasn’t gone away, obviously, even as the media throng has moved on. That much was quietly yet overly clear – yes, a seemingly contradictory situation – during a weekend work visit, my first time there. I did not go out of my way to inspect every corner of campus or engage locals in discussion, casual or pointed. Instead, I just sort of walked around and observed – no assumptions, no judgments. (more…)

Real movies, fake stories

Posted: December 19, 2012 by shawnfury in Uncategorized
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In my free time I watch a lot of sports. I watch a lot of movies. I read a lot of books. I read a lot of newspapers and magazines. Sometimes, thanks to our three laptops, iPad, two televisions, Netflix subscriptions, HBO Go access and NBA League Pass, I might do all of those things at once.

And often times as I watch a movie, I sometimes wonder: What if this story was happening in the real world? This isn’t about based on true life movies or inspired by real events movies or anything like that. It’s wondering about movies based on nothing but a screenwriter’s imagination, and wondering how real-life writers would handle the chaos, crime, love story, thrills, action, bravery and cowardice that takes place in the films. To break it down a bit more, how would a feature writer at a newspaper or a longform writer at a magazine handle the tales we see once on the big screen and then a hundred times on a small one?


French im-press-ive

Posted: December 18, 2012 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
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Had my first cup of coffee the other day. Or it tasted like it, at least. (Boom! Roasted! Java joke.)

That’s how much better coffee made in a French press is compared to the old drip method. It’s astounding. (more…)