Archive for April, 2013

I had three hometown newspapers when I was growing up. The Janesville Argus was the most literal representation, its small offices located on Main Street one block from our house. The quality of the Argus was totally dependent on the quality of the paper’s publisher. As a kid the paper was blessed with great publishers and editors, making the weekly Argus a great read. That quality declined over the years until the main question about the Argus wasn’t “What’s in it this week?”  but “Is it still alive?”

The Waseca County News was a bit bigger, but still a weekly. Twice-a-week when I was a kid and was a paperboy raking in the big quarters while lugging my heavy bag around Janesville, avoiding angry dogs and grouchy widows.


Podcast: A Winter Downpour

Posted: April 29, 2013 by terryvandrovec in Podcasts

How could TV not look into this band?

How could TV not look into this band?

No, this week’s podcast isn’t about the crap spring weather – it’s about music.

A Winter Downpour is a band from Duluth, Minn., that describes its sound as Indie Rock/Post Post/Sad Bastard. Guitar player Paul Connolly explains what that means and why the band called its last album: Vandrovec, I need help.

Here’s the link to the podcast. And here’s a link to the band’s site, where you can check out their music.

They have upcoming shows in Duluth (May 3) and St. Paul (May 5).

Welcome to spring upper Midwesterners. And welcome to this week’s links.

* Grantland’s Brian Phillips went to the Iditarod and the result is this epic piece that is well-written but also notable for the design.

* Don Van Natta Jr. takes a look at one of the most famous SI pieces ever, William Nack’s Pure Heart.

* Speaking of SI, Jack McCallum has a great story in the new issue on Gregg Popovich. It’s not online yet but McCallum wrote about just what it took to get an interview with the famously private coach.

* Charlie Pierce’s writings are always must-read but they were particularly so during the investigation into the Boston Marathon bombings. Here’s Pierce the day after the city was locked down.

* Deadspin wonders why the San Diego Chargers’ team doctor — a drunk quack in their words — is still allowed to work with the team.

* Here’s one of those dumb surveys that determines dumb things. This one looks at worst jobs in the country. The verdict? Reporter. Last year it was a lumberjack. Ok.

* Not safe for work but here’s Michael Shannon reading the insane sorority email from last week.

* Gwyneth Paltrow is the most beautiful woman in the world, and the most hated celebrity.

* Johnette Howard on what Kobe might have tweeted if he had been forced to watch Game 2.

* This week’s podcast of the week is pretty highbrow by comparison. On the Media, a production of New York Public Radio, tackles the subject of how the media handled the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent manhunt from several different angles.

* Bonus multimedia link: This week, an animated Web short called “Adventures of Christopher Bosh in the Multiverse.” Apparently, it’s been in the works for a long time and may or may not have been held up by some legal issues. It’s … insane. And probably true. Probably.

Eight years ago I was trying to write my book Keeping the Faith and was struggling with…how to write my book Keeping the Faith. Having spent my career in newspapers,expanding a story beyond 25 inches seemed daunting. I had all this great information and all these colorful characters, but how do you take that and create a narrative? Around the time I started with the actual writing, I received a copy of the St. John’s alumni magazine and it included a note about a 1986 graduate named John Rosengren, who was an author in the Twin Cities.

Rosengren…I knew the name. A year earlier I read his book Blades of Glory, about the powerhouse Bloomington Jefferson hockey team. I’m not even a hockey guy but I enjoyed the book and recommended it to the hockey guys I knew. When I read it I didn’t know Rosengren had been a Johnnie. A connection!


The fine people at tell me (and anyone else with a computer) that there’s a 50-percent chance of rain and/or snow today in Sioux Falls.

It’s April 23. Oy.

I don’t know the exact numbers, but we’ve gotten a bunch of snow this month – too much. Yet on Saturday it’s going to be 73 degrees. What the what?

There’s an old saying in the Dakotas: If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute; it’ll change. But this is ridiculous. (more…)

It’s been two weeks since Kobe Bryant played a game and could be nine months before he plays another one. But on a weekend when the opening round of the playoffs featured dominant performances by the home teams and not much Game 1 drama — save for the Nuggets-Warriors — the injured 34-year-old still managed to be the most interesting story, or at least the most controversial.

Kobe, stuck at home with his Achilles injury, had promised to tweet during the opening game, an intriguing prospect because he’s proven to be an entertaining presence on social media, whether it’s his Facebook post after his devastating injury or his appearance on Twitter earlier this season.


I almost went to bed on time Thursday. Almost. But then I checked my Twitter timeline, a move that’s become as much a part of the nighttime routine as brushing teeth. (more…)

As I type this parts of South Dakota and Minnesota are under a severe winter storm warning. Yes, on April 19. Sometimes I really miss Minnesota. Other times…

This week’s links:

* So many stories from a horrific week, but S.L. Price wrote about the Boston Bruins’ first game at home after the Marathon bombing.

* Patton Oswalt delivers an impassioned Star Wars filibuster for an episode of Parks & Rec.

* And if you didn’t read Oswalt’s Facebook post after the bombings, check it out.

* For you morning TV fans, read how Matt Lauer was a mean person and got Ann Curry kicked off Today.

* From The Onion: Internet comes up with 8.5 million leads on potential Boston bombing suspect.

* Check out the comments on Deadspin where people share their favorite Rasheed Wallace moments.

* A longread from Mark Bowden in Vanity Fair about a murder mystery in Texas. 

* Legendary Division III coach Frosty Westering died and Chuck Culpepper writes a great tribute on Sports on Earth. Westering’s Pacific Lutheran teams won the 1999 title and faced John Gagliardi’s St. John’s Johnnies four straight years in the playoffs, great battles between two of the country’s unique programs.

* The San Diego Padres president blames Zack Greinke for the big brawl between his team and Greinke’s Dodgers. Includes Rain Man reference.

* This might merit a longer post at a later date: A list of 40 workspaces that inspired famously creative people. I think I speak for all (middling) writers when I say that place is one of the most important and underrated part of the process.
One of my latest go-to spots: The gym. Seriously.

* This week’s podcast of the week: The Will Leitch Experience. The former Deadspin writer (and guest on The Fury Files) has started a daily pod in conjunction with longform project Sports on Earth. To be honest, I haven’t had time to listen to it yet. But that didn’t stop me from adding it to my iPhone podcast library – a meaningful sign that I expect it to be good.

The NBA Playoffs start Saturday. You didn’t think Fury (or TV) would forget, did you?

They discuss the most interesting opening-round pairings and pick a couple of teams that might be capable of more than one upset.

Plus, they riff on the handling and mishandling of Boston Marathon bombing coverage. Here’s the link.


I actually thought of Pat Summerall during the Masters, during one of the intros he used to do. Just those little spots talking about the Masters on CBS, maybe with the sponsors mentioned. Jim Nantz handles those now, the same way he handles all the big events for CBS. I’m not as anti-Nantz as many people, who are either tired of his omnipresence or the little Nantzian puns that end the Final Four and the Masters. Nantz is no Summerall, but that’s hardly his fault. No one else was either, and no one can compete against the voice of the man who narrated our youth.