Archive for March, 2013


Welcome to this week’s links, which include an in-depth examination of the last play in the Timberwolves-Lakers game as we try and determine if Kobe fouled Rubio. No, no, he fouled him. Onward:

* This crazy Buzz Bissinger story got a lot of…buzz this week as the Friday Night Lights author detailed his shopping addiction and out-of-control sex life. Since then, Bissinger has reportedly entered rehab.

* Chris Jones with a great profile of Hugh Hefner for Esquire.

* Game of Thrones returns this week. New York Mag gives us the Game of Thrones death generator, where you choose how you’d like to die in Westeros.

* The Simpsons is famous for its amazing original songs — years ago I bought a CD that had about 20 of them on it. And here the show’s writers pick their favorites. Feels like Stonecutters should be higher than 7.

* Adrian Wojnarowski on the end of the Heat’s winning streak and LeBron’s unhappiness with the Bulls’ physical play.

* Louie Anderson is still hurting after a diving mishap for the show Splash. Huh.

* Five perfectly logical explanations for Justin Bieber going through airport security shirtless.

* CNN and Esquire are fighting about who killed Osama bin Laden. Really. Esquire published a story with the shooter. CNN debunked that story. Then Esquire pointed out that a few months ago CNN reported something contrary to the network’s most recent story. Media fight!


One of my first experiences with modern art came when I worked in Worthington and spent late nights with my co-worker and friend John Brewer. As we watched Heat and Casino over and over and ended the evening with drinks and conversation, John worked on or displayed his art. John is a man of many talents — great writer, respectable juggler, outstanding chef and amateur artist. One of his projects involved cans of Coke and toilet paper rolls.

It was art, he announced, and I bought the argument, as did his future wife. Our friend Cheri, though, didn’t accept his declaration and the two engaged in some spirited debates about the Coke project.

On Tuesday I made my first trip to the Museum of Modern Art and I wish Cheri and John had been with as numerous exhibits would have sparked arguments between the two of them about whether or not what we were looking at was actually art.

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Technical difficulties at headquarters prevented a new post so we had the crack research staff dig through the archives room. I caught a few minutes of the USA-Mexico soccer battle Tuesday so this piece from November 2011 felt relevant.

Where were you when Tiger Woods clinched the President’s Cup for the United States with a great bunker shot? I hope you watched it live on the Golf Channel and didn’t wait for the Sunday replay on NBC. That’s what true Americans did.

I actually pulled for the U.S. to defeat the hated International squad, my love of this great country rising every time the camera zoomed in on the smarmy Greg Norman, captain of the opposing squad.

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My oldest nephew graduated from the University of Minnesota and he still regrets being one of the students who chanted “Fire Mason” at a football game during the Glen Mason era. If he knew Tim Brewster would follow the veteran Mason he never would have opened his mouth and screamed those two words.

Monday on Twitter, I saw some people referencing Mason after it was announced that the university had fired Tubby Smith. Once again the school fired a veteran coach who had done a solid job but frustrated fans and media with befuddling losses and ultimately underachieving teams. These people wondered — or predicted — that Gopher fans would have the same regrets my nephew had about Mason.

Maybe that happens — and Gophers fans will really have flashbacks if the new head basketball coach is an unknown NBA assistant who talks a great game and refers to the fanbase in his opening press conference as Gophers Nation.

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To get an even better sense of what the Miami Heat are trying to accomplish, it’s worth noting that for them to set the NBA record for most consecutive victories, they still have to go on an eight-game winning streak, a feat few teams accomplish each season. But when a team has won 26 in a row eight seems inevitable.

And at this point in this incredible run, victory does seem inevitable for the Heat, no matter who they’re facing and now matter how big the deficit. Last Wednesday I was playing basketball and checked the Heat’s score against Cleveland. Miami trailed by 22 at the time, having already cut into a 27-point deficit. I announced the score to the other guys and all but one guy said, “Heat will win.” One other player hedged a few minutes later when I said the Heat still trailed by nine entering the fourth. It was a nine-point deficit, he noted. That’s still a good lead. Two minutes later LeBron had tied the game and Miami was on its way to another victory.

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The Tapes: March 22

Posted: March 22, 2013 by shawnfury in Uncategorized

Welcome to a hot batch of links on a cold — probably — March day.

* NBC is apparently going to get rid of Jay Leno again, but New York Magazine argues it would be a mistake.

* The alternative paper the Boston Phoenix shut down last week and Charlie Pierce wrote an obituary.

* Al Pacino as Phil Spector looks terrifying, but Grantland’s Andy Greenwald says he’s actually quite good as the murderous record producer. The HBO movie is not as good.

* LA Times columnist T.J. Simers will rip on anyone, but he had a different type of column after he suffered a stroke but received help from the Dodgers’ medical staff. Simers maintains his sense of humor.

* Interesting story in The Atlantic about the Touchscreen Generation, young kids raised on technology and what it will mean for their development. I think TVFury guest writer Rich Jensen should explore this in a future piece.

* Loved this Onion column: Find the thing you’re most passionate about, then do it on nights and weekends for the rest of your life.

* NY Mag says The Simpsons is the greatest sitcom ever. Better than Seinfeld. Better than Cheers.

* Really interesting piece from Ben Yagoda about In Cold Blood, Truman Capote’s classic which has come under examination for years — but even more so the past few months — for accuracy issues. Yagoda found the papers of the fact-checker who initially checked the stories when they appeared in The New Yorker.


Editor’s note: An ongoing series (well, hopefully) that will look at the final games of sports legends. Everyone remembers their careers and great moments but the end is usually mundane, forgettable, if not difficult to watch. The player is usually slower, tired and well past their prime. Their whole careers — and most of their lives — have been spent practicing or playing games. All those passes and free throws and catches and hits and pitches. And then, finally, it’s over. There’s one last basket, one last touchdown, one last game. It ends. It’s not the most memorable chapter in their careers but it is an important one — because it’s the final one. Today: Kevin McHale.

There’s something pure about the hatred a 9-year-old sports fan feels about anyone standing in the way of his favorite team, especially if the hate is directed at a 6-10 guy from northern Minnesota with a bad haircut and an odd body. When the Lakers met the Celtics in the 1984 Finals, I didn’t have memories of Kevin McHale’s appearance in the Minnesota state basketball tournament or of his time at the University of Minnesota. All I knew was that he was unstoppable in the post, whined about every call, grabbed a towel from under the basket after every foul and nearly killed Kurt Rambis.

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A few months after first experiencing pain in both knees and a week after writing about what it had done to my fading basketball career, I finally made it to the doctor Tuesday. It rained much of the day in New York City, giving me something else to blame for the ache in my knees as I wandered to the subway.

I visited the same doctor I saw a year and a half ago with the same problem, although this time my knee actually hurt when I visited him in the office, decreasing the likelihood he thought I was faking the injury.

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By Rich Jensen
Guest Blogger

Did you know ESPN has this show called First Take? Okay. It’s on ESPN2. ESPN2 is a channel whose existence is predicated on the notion that ESPN has so much stuff you should see that they can’t fit it all onto one channel. This is difficult to comprehend, because having two ESPNs does not double the amount of hours in my day, so I still have to make choices, and if I choose what’s on ESPN2, then I can’t also watch ESPN, unless I stop watching ESPN2. And what if I have to go to the bathroom, people? Or have to eat? I worry that they haven’t thought this through because they also have ESPNNEWS and ESPN Classic and ESPN Deportes and ESPNU. Clearly, I can’t watch all of these channels at once. I’m not Elvis. And Elvis didn’t have enough TVs to watch all these channels at once. I also do not live in a sports bar.

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Fury Files, currently ranked 25th in Q&A RPI. If you have time to spare or want to abuse your printer privileges at work, check out previous editions with Tom Linnemann, John Millea, David Brauer, Joe Posnanski, Pat Coleman, Kevin Van Valkenburg, Michael Kruse, Chris Jones, Chris Ballard, Roland Lazenby and Will Leitch.

This week’s guest is Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse, a Minnesota newspaper legend and one of the best columnists in the country. I grew up reading Reusse’s stories and hearing classic stories about Reusse — my parents are of similar age and are also from Fulda, the small town in southwest Minnesota made somewhat famous in countless Reusse columns over the years.

Reusse got his start in newspapers just after high school, when he landed a job as a copy boy at the old Minneapolis Morning Tribune. His boss was a middle-aged guy who’d go on to become a rival, peer, foe, foil, subject, colleague and friend — Sid Hartman. That gig started a love affair with papers that continues 50 years later, even if the business looks nothing like it once did. After stints at the newspapers in Duluth and St. Cloud, Reusse came back to the Twin Cities in 1968, spending 20 years in St. Paul before switching to the Star Tribune in 1988.

Reusse worked as a beat writer in his early years — along with a brief tenure as a morning editor that, he wrote, was a “failure, since it put me in charge of my drinking buddies” — before becoming a columnist in 1979. Reusse’s a versatile writer, but there’s no doubt he excels at those pieces that are the most-read for any big-city newspaper columnist and attract the most praise or vitriol from readers and fans, depending on whether they agree with his view: the rip job. He wasn’t impressed with Gophers football coach Tim Brewster’s intro. He pleaded with the NCAA selection committee to keep the Gophers hoops team out of the tourney. He said goodbye to the Minnesota North Stars, those losers. Today’s Twins are a lot like the miserable Twins of the ’90s. Then there are the Turkeys. Since 1978, Reusse’s picked a Turkey of the Year and the committee’s decisions always spark controversy.

But a one-note columnist would become a boring read, and what sets Reusse apart from so many is his love of the stories that are rarely in the spotlight, along with his ability to spin yarns on everything from John Gagliardi’s retirement to the legendary Edgerton basketball team from 1960 to the Fulda-Slayton Goat to an old Star Tribune copy editor named Bud Armstrong. Read his piece on Walsh Field in Gaylord and his column on Danube legend Bob Bruggers. Or his column on the Vikings’ Weeping Blondes.

These days, Reusse spends more time on the radio than he does at the paper, as he’s a daily co-host on 1500 ESPN with Phil Mackey. Reusse’s an early sports-radio pioneer — he started in 1980 with longtime friend and fellow columnist Joe Soucheray, a combo that’s still on the air today. Anyone who’s heard Reusse tell a tale on the radio — which is often punctuated with his distinctive cackle — knows his on-air style is as unique as his written one.

Check out Reusse’s column archive and blog and follow him on Twitter. And for a great story about Reusse, be sure to read this 2009 piece from David Shama.

Here, Reusse talks about his writing style, Turkeys, Sid, controversial columns, town team baseball, life in newspapers and radio, saying goodbye to Minnesota legends, what motivates him today, and much more. Thanks a lot for your time, Patrick.

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