Archive for February, 2014

A little book news

Posted: February 14, 2014 by shawnfury in Uncategorized
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Blood. Salt. Cod. Spice. Tuna. Fat. Bananas. Potatoes. Milk. Flotsam. And Jetsam. Wood. Garbage. Human waste.

Those are some of the subjects of books the past decade or so. I’ve read many of them — including ones mentioned above — and have enjoyed nearly all of them. The first thought when seeing the title is “How can anyone write an entire book about that one thing” followed by, “Why didn’t I think of that?” These books describe one thing but also write about how it affects the world. They’re about one seemingly small thing that influences nearly everything. Over the years I’ve tried thinking of something that would work for that type of book. What about beds? Or pillows? Pencils? Ink? The problem was everything’s been done, or so it seems. The other problem? If you’re going to write a book it has to be something you care about, and if you’re going to write a good book it should be something you’re passionate about.

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I am Billy Madison, high school graduate by the back-room dealings of my father.

That’s sort of how I felt – after an initial jolt of self-absorbed glee – about getting verified by Twitter on Monday.

That’s right – there’s a little checkmark to the right of my name on my profile. A quick search of the UltraNets shows that the social media site has 645.75 million users and roughly 54,000 are verified. If that doesn’t convey a level of pretend importance nothing does. (more…)

Copy editor at the movies

Posted: February 10, 2014 by shawnfury in Uncategorized
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If you’ve been in a theater the past month, you’ve probably seen the trailer for the new movie where Liam Neeson kills numerous people while saving others. It’s not the new Taken movie. Instead it’s about an air marshal who finds out someone will kill a passenger unless some money gets wired into a secret account and then that secret account is in Liam’s name and the crew turns against him and all he wants to do is find the madman before the whole damn plane goes down — or up — in flames. The movie is called Non-Stop.

And as I saw the title come up on the big screen during the previews, all I could think was, what kind of style guide was the studio using?

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Here are some links for your reading pleasure.

* There was a beloved composer in Japan who penned some of the most heartbreaking works the country had ever heard. He was also deaf, earning comparisons to Beethoven. Except it turns out he had a ghostwriter who wrote everything and he wasn’t deaf.

* Jeff Pearlman on the 1984 U.S. Olympic hockey team, the team after the Miracle on Ice.

* Pilots on Justin Bieber’s flight had to wear goggles because of the weed.

* Story about a crime reporter who lost everything because of his own meth addiction.

* This New York Magazine story on gentrification in Inwood includes a lengthy interview with our pharmacist, Manny.

* Stephen Moffat answers questions about season 3 of Sherlock.

* Horrifying GQ story about what it’s like to be gay in Putin’s Russia.

* This is a very important story. A complete timeline of all of George Clooney’s pranks. I will not hear anyone saying a bad word about George Clooney. Or his pranks.

* Philip Roth is really enjoying his retirement.

* The New York Times envisions what Manhattan would look like it if hosted the Winter Olympics.

* Alex Pappadamas on Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Let the Games begin

Posted: February 5, 2014 by shawnfury in Uncategorized
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These might already be the strangest Winter Olympics and they haven’t actually started. Just think how crazy things will get when a bobsled controversy erupts.

The selection of Sochi started the strangeness as no one understood how a small resort area could land the Games, though everyone simply assumed it had to do with bribes, vodka and blackmail. In the weeks leading up to the Olympics stories emerged about how ill-prepared Sochi and Russia were for the influx of athletes, fans and media. And now that those fans, media and athletes have actually arrived, all of the worst-case scenarios appear to be coming true. Journalists have already written about hotels that don’t have running water, venues covered in tarps and roving bands of stray dogs that are looking to feed off humans.

And hanging over everything is the fear of terrorism. Various groups have vowed to strike and many families of athletes chose to stay home. With a sense of dread, I can already picture the breaking news banner on CNN or NBC announcing that something terrible has happened, followed by explanations about black widows and civil war. The best-case scenario is people get affected by various housing or transportation fiascoes. The worst case is almost too difficult to think about, though our imaginations can do just that. Still…people will watch. I’ll watch. I remain a sucker for the Olympics, a wide-eyed sucker who is fully aware of the horrific corruption in the IOC and the host countries and the drugs and the jingoism and everything else.

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It’s a tradition at TVFury that I exchange posts with Terry after world-altering events. The first-ever cold-weather Super Bowl that was held in my own backyard surely qualifies. And so here we go.

FURY: Eh. Anyway. I was actually disappointed in the result. Not just because it was a blowout and everyone hates a Super Bowl blowout, but I wanted the Broncos to win. Not because of any great affinity for Denver. Over the past five or six seasons Peyton Manning became my favorite NFL player and I wanted him to win another Super Bowl. Instead it will be another nine months — or 40 years — of hearing about his legacy and what another Super Bowl loss means and on and on. And I certainly thought Denver had a great chance. And then, as they say, they had the kickoff. Denver’s no-show shouldn’t detract from Seattle, which proved that a dominant defense can still win a championship, even in these pass-happy, scoreboard-busting days. In fact, it’s sort of nice to know that’s possible. But Terry, do you think this game will be remembered more for the team that won it, or the team that lost? Will Seattle get the credit it deserves or will it be all about Denver — specifically Manning’s — failure?

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