Archive for May, 2013

Welcome to this week’s sizzling links, each hotter than the last.

* Here’s Eli Saslow’s ESPN The Magazine story on former Minnesota State Mankato football coach Todd Hoffner.

* I sent this story to family members who are out in the sun all summer and scoff at sunscreen. It’s Sports Illustrated writer Tim Layden — one of the best in the business — writing about his battle with skin cancer and his new nose. 

* Great news for Twins fans. Carlos Gomez is now one of the best players in baseball. It’s going to kill my dad in a few years when the same article’s written about Trevor Plouffe, who will be tearing it up in Arizona.

* The New York Post with its five favorite moments from New York Rangers coach John Tortorella’s time on the bench. Commence meltdowns.

* Grantland’s latest 30 for 30 short is on Clint Malarchuk, who was nearly killed on the ice 20 years ago. 

* Movie theater owners think the studios give away too much of the plot in long trailers so want them shortened to two minutes. 

* A few days old but needs to be seen again, the epic double flop by LeBron James and David West.

* Charles Ramsey — the Good Samaritan in the horrific Cleveland kidnapping case — does not want free hamburgers. 

* From The Onion: Netflix CEO: We Made a Big Gamble on Americans wanting to sit around and mindlessly watch TV for hours but it paid off.

* Will Leitch in the Bay with Stephen Curry. Leitch is also doing a series of podcasts from the Bay as part of a tour of America. Some good listens in in the bunch.

* Drew Magary is not impressed with Bill Simmons’ theory that Memphis sports fans get nervous because Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated there.

* I did like Simmons’ piece on Dwight Howard.

* In the mood to be scared out of your mind? Then read about coronavirus, a SARS-like disease that some see as a threat to the entire world. So we’ve got that going for us.

* This week marked the 28th anniversary of a soccer disaster that killed 39 people in Belgium – the Heysel Stadium disaster. Here’s one fan’s take.

* The podcast of the week award goes to … Radiolab for its show about a pair of married journalists in Tampa and their experience having a micropremie. Sound familiar? Modern medicine is incredible.

My old-man basketball league ended Wednesday night, though a final night of drinking and reminiscing will soon follow. I went out in a blaze of glory, or as much as that’s possible for middle-aged men playing in an elementary school in upper Manhattan. The threes were falling, the fadeaway was Nowitzki-esque. It was a nice end to a difficult season, one that was first shortened because of various bureaucratic debacles involving the New York City school system. A few weeks into it my knees ached and after a doctor told me I was too fat and needed to learn stretching exercises, they started to improve a bit before falling apart again over the past month. Unnamed sources insisted I was considering hanging it up. Not true. Oh, sure, I’ll keep whining about aches and pains but retire? Nah.

That said, the reality is my best days are 20 years behind me and, with my 38th birthday a few weeks away, I’ll have to adjust my game, especially if the knees go. It happens to all of us–Kareem, Jordan, Magic, Nash, Fury. But what will it look like as the years pile up, the hair goes gray before it falls out and the instincts become as slow as the feet?

Some possibilities:


This week on the pod, TV and Fury talk NBA Conference finals: Spur vs. Grizzlies (yawn) and Heat-Pacers (yeah).

But, first, they get all primal and discuss fixing garbage disposals and mowing lawns. Warning: Contains high amounts of (pretend) testosterone.

Here’s the link.

Time travel makes me anxious. Not time travel itself, or even the idea of it. It’s not possible, I realize this, so I’m not nervous in my day-to-day life. I don’t think a friend from the present is actually my son from the future sent back in time to mess with his old man’s destiny. I don’t stay awake researching wormholes that would allow me to go back into the past and tell Magic Johnson to get a shot off at the end of Game 2 of the 1984 NBA Finals — and if I was able to do that and the Lakers won that game and the series, would that affect their motivation for 1985 and maybe they don’t win that year?

No, real time travel — or the possibility of it being real — isn’t what makes me anxious. It’s watching, or reading about, fake people experiencing fake time travel that always leaves me wishing I could reach through the screen or dive into the pages and explain everything to them, even while the very concepts and science behind all of it completely confounds me.


Arrested Development is back, returning over the weekend from a seven-year hiatus. And from what I’ve seen in the first three episodes of the fourth season, it’s still excellently silly and biting. Even throw-away lines by extras are fantastic – like the peddler at the Cinco Quatro festival, shouting to potential customers: “Fill the bay with chorizo.”

Maybe you had to be there. (My only complaint: Seth Rogen as a young George Bluth. It doesn’t work, period, let alone in the company of Kristen Wiig doing a killer Lucille Bluth.)

Meanwhile, there’s a new wrinkle that’s captured my attention: The circumstance of the release. Might it be a game-changer for the future of television? (more…)

By the time you read this, Fury should be back in Inwood, completing a roughly 87-hour trip from Minnesota. He might as well have walked. God bless the airline industry.

The silver lining: He had plenty of time to find good links for this week’s edition of The Tapes:

Big weekend upcoming in TV, er, the Web or whatever the return of Arrested Development via Netflix is considered. The New York Times says this is the right time and platform for the cult hit to return.
Meanwhile, the show’s creator claims there is a correct way to watch the show, which will release an entire season worth of episodes all at once.

Headline: NASA is funding a 3D food printer, and it’ll start with pizza. Um, what? I’ll take two slices of space sausage, please.

The English Premier League season came to an end this week. That also marked the end of ESPN’s contract to air games. So no more Sir Ian Dark or Steve McManaman (aka Macca) on the Worldwide Leader. But they gave us a going away present in the form of these outtakes.


From Janesville, Minnesota. Yes, still in Janesville. After 8 hours at the airport and an incident with security over my wife’s purse and waiting for a plane from New York that never arrived — which we were then going to hop on and fly back to NYC — our flight back to the Apple was canceled, a call was placed to Ma and Pa Fury and we were again picked up at the airport and brought back to southern Minnesota for two more days. All in all quite a day.

Some more links before I collapse into bed.

* This Tiger Woods-Sergio Garcia feud only gets weirder as the commissioner of the European Tour makes his own stupid statement.

* Shake Shack is becoming something of a chain even though the owner doesn’t want it to be a chain and people wonder if it could affect what everyone loves about the place. Shake Shack makes one of my two favorite burgers in all of New York City so I’m all for other people in this fine country having the chance to consume it (but still, give me Dairy Queen shakes).

* Speaking of burgers, Restaurant’s Extreme Burger Challenge Moved Down to Regular Menu.

* Teenagers hate Facebook. But they’re staying on it. I’m still not on Facebook.


Blown away

Posted: May 23, 2013 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
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The words in this space were supposed to explain my new/old running shoes. It’s a long and inconsequential story – I’ll waste your time with that another day.

But then, while refreshing my Twitter feed in the late stages of the Heat-Pacers game, I was introduced to Zach Sobiech. Everything stopped for a few minutes, a rare occurrence in my weird and busy life.

I listened to his song – No. 1 on iTunes as of Wednesday night – and watched the 22-minute documentary about his battle with cancer, one the 18-year-old from Minnesota lost earlier this week.

The story is astounding and impactful – far more so than anything I could come up with. So do yourself a favor and watch the video or share it with a friend. Maybe donate to the fund or download his song.

Clearly, I did not know Zach Sobiech just as I don’t really know the athletes that I cover. Odds are that he spilled grape juice on the carpet when he was 6 or talked back to his parents when he was 12, that he was not perfect. But the way he message that he attempted to convey to the world during his final months on earth? The way people appeared to rally around him? It will stop you in your tracks, if only for a few minutes.

We all could be so much better than we are.


This week, TV and Fury bang out a podcast while in neighboring states.

The story starts there with Fury talking about an epic loss to his dad in high-stakes golf and continues with analysis of the NBA playoffs.

Oh, and it turns out that NBA executives like nursing shoes. What? Exactly.

Here’s the link.

The Fury household in Janesville always holds some surprises. Old science papers, bizarre medical books, magazines that are a century old, records with Cheech & Chong skits that my parents pretend they never listened to.

On my current trip I discovered another relic — and another example of my nonexistent art skills. In my old bedroom, sitting under some printing paper and scrap paper — which was underneath a red clothes hanger — was a scrapbook I created in 1987 and finished in 1991. It was my Lakers scrapbook and contained clippings that heralded their 1987 title and run through the 1989 playoffs. It ends in 1991 because Magic Johnson’s career ended in 1991.

But let’s start at the beginning.


New Vice

Posted: May 20, 2013 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
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Just like quarterbacks are said to get more credit and more blame than they deserve, HBO is neither as excellent or as awful as it’s said to be – at least in the time that I’ve had access to it. The truth lies somewhere in between as is the case with pretty much everything in life.

Still, the station is on a pretty decent run right now including fresh episodes of Veep, Real Sports and Game of Thrones (full disclosure: I’ve never watched it) plus the debut of the Christopher Guest comedy Family Tree and the acquisition of Wes Anderson flick Moonlight Kingdom – just to name a few.

And then there’s Vice. (more…)