Archive for June, 2013

Welcome to this week’s links.

* Description will be weak on this one so please click on it to see the pictures. A former NASA guy created images that show what planets would look like from Earth if they were the same distance away as the moon. Again, description doesn’t do it justice. Just look at Jupiter and Saturn.

* Interesting story from Yahoo’s Kevin Iole about the Iron Sheik. You know him from hating America during wrestling events in the 1980s. The Sheik’s had a tough life.

* Brian Phillips with a fascinating piece about the surfaces on tennis courts and why those surfaces are the reason for the golden age of men’s tennis. But, he wonders, why doesn’t anyone mention this?

* Charlie Pierce on Aaron Hernandez. 

* Adrian Peterson says a Detroit player asked him what he was juicing with during his amazing 2012 season.

* The New York Times writes about the decline and fall of the English major.

* Interesting interview with Padraig Harrington, who talks Rory, Tiger and his own struggles.

* The 24 best sketches from Mr. Show.

* Wright Thompson writes about the 1972 terrorist attacks at the Olympics and the memories that still linger. 

* Kevin Van Valkenburg on 15-year-old Dylan Moses, a football phenom and sought-after recruit. 

* Nineteen years ago Thursday this was the cover of Sports Illustrated.

* This is weirdly awesome: A site that will give you coffee-shop sounds.

* Mad Men is done for the season. Here’s what creator Matt Weiner had to say about the finale.

Forget about this current NBA draft, the real one. It’s a bunch of guys you watched for a year or have never heard of and the most excited people are South Dakotans and St. Cloud residents eager to see one of their own picked late in the first round or early in the second. We won’t know who’s good for a year or two and there’s no guarantee any of them will be great.

Instead, let’s visit an alternative universe. The bad suits remain, and David Stern will again announce every selection. We’re holding it in New York and people will boo. Who’s eligible? Everyone. Everyone who’s ever played in the NBA. When teams are considering who to take, they should evaluate the player’s entire career. So yes Bill Walton will be injury-prone. Yes, Magic retires after 12 seasons. Does Michael Jordan go first or do you go with a big man, the type of strategy that didn’t work for the Blazers in 1984 but has been great throughout NBA history — unless you want to argue against the resumes of Russell, Wilt, Kareem, and Duncan. Do older guys make the cut? In this fake world the teams — with their new legends — will play with their current guys (yes, things will get confusing). Could Mikan dominate or even compete?

Draft order was easy. No lottery, no conspiracies, unless teams have been tanking for 50 years in order to pick first. Worst all-time winning percentage picks first and on down the line. That means the Charlotte Bobcats own the first pick, the Lakers the last.  And these percentages take into account all of the teams that make up a franchise — the Brooklyn Nets’ record includes the New Jersey days, the Thunder were the Sonics and the Kings have been a well-traveled franchise.

And it looks like David Stern is making his way to the podium…


I got stuff on my mind, man. Little things. And here they are:

* It seems like Sparkling Ice is taking over the beverage world. On what do I base this assertion? The fact that my wife and my grandparents both drink it despite living in different Dakotas. Air-tight case.
If you’re among the uninitiated, Sparkling Ice is carbonated water that comes in a variety of flavors. There are no calories and minimal vitamins. In other words, it’s like fruity diet soda without the caffeine.
I like it just fine, but it raises a question: Why don’t we just drink water when seeking basic hydration? It’s like we feel compelled to entertain our taste buds for fear that they’ll get bored and leave.

* Sweating is awesome. It’s my favorite bodily function at the moment.
This crossed my mind the other day while I was at the gym, pounding out a couple miles on the treadmill while watching Wimbledon. My gym is air conditioned yet there’s no question that I sweat more there during the summer. The only downside is that it makes my earbuds more slippery. But it’s a small price to pay for the positives – the warm, the accomplishment, the fresh start. I imagine that’s how a snake feels when it sheds skin.
This is why I refuse to complain about the weather being too hot.

* I’ve gotten in the habit of doing (at least) a couple hours of work before going to bed. Tuck in the kids; get stuff done. I’ve found it gives me more freedom during the day.
It’s just that the downside can be mentally taxing. When my wife and kids and whatever company that might be at our house are laughing and carrying on, enjoying a care-free summer night, I get anxious, start to withdraw and think about all of the stuff that’s hanging over my head, knowing that time is slipping away and my sleep will suffer for it.
I doubt that I’m alone in this – plenty of friends and colleagues also do the late-night work thing. But I’m starting to wonder if it’s worthwhile. Maybe it’s better to be absent more during the day if that means being entirely present at night.

* Know what’s awesome? Coffee knowledge. That’s not to be confused with coffee snobbery.
The folks at Science Friday have put together a series of videos on what makes coffee work and how it can be manipulated for greater enjoyment. You can watch them here. Really interesting stuff.
Coffee enthusiasm and the craft-beer craze seem to have many similarities. The thing I like about the former more than the latter is it’s built around a stimulant rather than a depressant. With four kids in my charge, energy has to be in abundance meaning coffee is a more practical hobby for me than beer. I’m looking forward to trying to find a nice cup this week during a work trip to St. Cloud, Minn. And I’m considering buying a Moka Pot in order to start tinkering with homemade espresso.

Then again, maybe I should stop considering so much minutia and, you know, do something. There’s always tomorrow.

As far as I know we don’t yet have the technology or government program that allows us to determine the secret motivations of television viewers. So there’s no way of knowing what people actually wanted to see if they watched Nik Wallenda walk across a gigantic canyon near the Grand Canyon on Sunday night. How many tuned in because they’re avid fans of his? How many had never heard of him but stumbled upon the show? How many watched his Niagara Falls walk and wanted to see him do it again, this time over dry land and without a harness? How many watched to see if he’d plummet?


Team Tiny Miracles shirts: Now with extra swag.

Team Tiny Miracles shirts: Now with extra swag.

Things have been normal or something close to it at home for nearly a month. No difficult pregnancies, life-threatening illnesses, births, deaths or extended leaves from work. Just six people – half of them under the age of 3 – playing and laughing and eating and sometimes bickering and hardly sleeping. It’s been mostly glorious, the least eventful stretch my family has had in 3 years.

But now it’s time to pick a scab.


That dude wearing a Golden State Warriors jersey is super psyched right now because the Miami Heat on Thursday night defended their NBA crown by besting the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of The Finals.

Oy. Neither TV nor Fury really want to relive it given our proclivity for hating the Heat, but … we’re going to discuss it anyway. Because we’re pros like that.


I know, I know. You wait all week for our weekly links section on Friday. And now you’re reading this but it’s Thursday, right? Yes. So how can we buck tradition like this? How do we throw our entire production schedule into turmoil? How do we get the interns to work a different day? Well, tonight’s Game 7 of the NBA Finals and we’ll be doing a podcast at the end of it and that will go up Friday so you’re getting links a day early. What a treat.

* Obviously shocking news with the death of James Gandolfini. Here’s Matt Zoller Seitz in New York Magazine with a great tribute to Gandolfini the man. Alan Sepinwall on The Sopranos. Melinda Newman on meeting her hero. And some links from the past. Here’s Part 1 of Gandolfini on Inside the Actor’s Studio, with other parts on YouTube. Vanity Fair’s oral history of The Sopranos. Also in New York Magazine, it’s Gandolini, in his own words. GQ reran it’s great 2004 piece by Chris Heath on Gandolfini.

* My first boss, Doug Wolter, who returned to his old position as sports editor of the Daily Globe in Worthington, writes about the end of his fastpitch career and how tough it is letting go.

*’s Gregg Doyel says it’s all the Spurs’ fault for the Game 6 debacle.

* A recap of those Miami fans who left early. Just remember these people when LeBron’s yelling into the mic tonight after winning the title that the Heat have the best fans in the world. They’ll probably be gone by then anyway.

* Tommy Craggs writes about Howie Schwab — you know him from being stumped — who was let go by ESPN in a cost-cutting move.

* Sad tale. Writer Michael Hastings — whose Rolling Stone story ended the career of General Stanley McChrystal — was killed in a car accident in California.

*  Another sad story. Best-selling author Vince Flynn died. Flynn, a St. Thomas grad, had been battling prostate cancer.

* Charlie Pierce on Tiger Woods.

* Full trailer for the Anchorman sequel. 

* The New Yorker’s Sasha Frer-Jones on Kanye West’s new album.

* Bad news for Terry. How caffeine can cramp creativity. Wait, that’s bad news for me too.

* Experts figure out how much destruction was done to Metropolis in the new Man of Steel. 

* Speaking of the man in the cape, here’s a look at some of the actors who were nearly cast as Superman. Dustin Hoffman?

* Dave Chappelle may be prepping for a return to comedy. If so … Game, Blouses.

* In other Heat-fans-are-lame news, the good people at Jimmy Kimmel Live pulled a gag on some of them by pretending the team had a player named Mu Shu Pork. Awesome.

* Shameless self-promotion alert: San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis was in Sioux Falls this week. He was more engaging than the average athlete endorser. TV displayed considerably less charisma in an outtakes bit for a local sports talk show.

Ugh. We here at TVFury are still trying to come to grips with what happened Tuesday night on South Beach. In hindsight, maybe we should have headed for the exits early like so many loyal Heat fans.

But in a show of professionalism and unwavering maturity, we stayed up late to rehash an astounding Game 6 of the NBA Finals between Miami and San Antonio and to look ahead to the upcoming Game 7.

Here’s the link. Enjoy in moderation.

I’d been away from home before, but not like this – not with three years and four children between visits.

In fact, let’s back up for a second. Jamestown, N.D., is not my home anymore since I haven’t lived there on anything resembling a full-time basis in 15 years; rather it’s my hometown. And going back over the weekend with my wife and kids to celebrate the baptism of my newest niece was … nostalgic.

Plenty has changed. There are coffee shops now – yes, plural. The newspaper where I got my start in journalism moved a block. The high school is now the middle school and has a patch of synthetic turf where the parking lot used to be.

Plenty more hasn’t. The cement buffalo atop the hill remains the world’s largest. The baseball field remains green and vibrant. And the kids still yearn to leave.

Is it safe to say that your hometown never really gets a fair shake? Rebelling against it is among the safest forms of teenage angst. Plus, it’s pretty easy to to trash something you know inside and out.

Sure, there’s not a lot to do in this town of 15,000 compared to its North Dakota neighbors of Fargo-Bismarck let alone when stacked up against legit large cities of the world. Opportunities are harder to come by and/or have lower ceilings. But there remains room for appreciation.

My parents have a great house in the deepest part of a cul de sac – large and interesting and spread over four staggered levels. We moved there from four blocks away before my freshman year of high school. The backyard features an oversized, shaded deck that overlooks a gully bordering a public golf course. On a warm summer day, it’s one of the most peaceful places on the planet.

I was especially struck by the trees in the yard and the surrounding area – so many types and shapes and sizes. There’s almost no way I noticed that before.

It felt nice to sit and read the paper, the breeze threatening to carry it away. Normally a treadmill turkey, I opted to go for a run outside in the afternoon, zipping by familiar homes with unknown owners, turning near a lawn I used to mow and continuing past the golf course, the soccer park, the softball fields. I was surprised to find memories at every spot – they weren’t all good, of course. But this time they felt more like bygones than open sores.

Meanwhile, my oldest daughter made fast friends with a neighbor, another 9-year-old fond of neon colors. They cut flowers and swung on swings and invented a game using the seeds from the whirly birds that fell from the trees. It was the most classic kid stuff I’ve ever seen her do.

For those couple of days, things seemed slower, smaller, simpler. It’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever move back, but it felt good to be able to see the old place through different eyes.

It’s probably a good thing golf broadcasters don’t elicit emotions from viewers in the same way as football, baseball or basketball announcers. Sure you might complain about Tim McCarver’s ramblings but the longest you’ll have to listen to him is during a four-hour Red Sox-Yankees game. Imagine sharing eight hours with him. That’s how long we listen to golf announcers on Sundays at the U.S. Open and other majors that don’t take place in Augusta, Georgia. But people don’t really get worked up about golf broadcasters, either because they’re enjoying the weather porn too much or maybe there’s just not very much objectionable about whispered voices on a  warm summer day.

Johnny Miller might be the one exception. Plenty of people dislike the outspoken NBC analyst. They might think he’s too arrogant or too mean or are simply tired of him talking about the time he shot 63 on Sunday at Oakmont and won the U.S. Open. At one point I might have shared similar feelings, but those days are gone. These days I love Miller’s commentary and he’s not just my favorite golf analyst — he’s my favorite analyst in any sport.