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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Getting settled back in to life in NYC. Talked to a friend today who told me how miserable and cold it was in New York while we were in Minnesota. I simply talked about the -19 degree weather when we arrived and when we left, dropped the mic and walked out the door. Onto the links:

* Grantland discusses how Peyton Manning managed to have his best season ever.

Also from Grantland, a 30 for 30 short on the Atlanta bombing and Richard Jewell.

* Steven Seagal says the Olympics will be safe.

* New York Magazine with seven really good MTV Unplugged performances.

* Via David Grann, here’s Stanley Kubrick’s annotated copy of The Shining.

* Esquire spends some time with Michael Keaton.

* There will be a Sharknado 2. Plan accordingly.

Amtrak trek

Posted: January 30, 2014 by shawnfury in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Following a three-week stay in Minnesota, where we became the first people to voluntarily vacation in the state in January for 21 days and also experienced a pair of polar vortexes — one when we arrived, another when we left — we declined the wonders of air travel for the romance of the train.

A flight takes less than three hours and our train trip took 36 but I’d gladly do it again, even though I’m certain we never will again.

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As I thaw out my South African wife experiencing her first dose of a Minnesota winter in six years, here are some links.

* Arrests have been made in the famous Lufthansa heist, immortalized in Goodfellas.

* A little family connection on this one. Nice piece in the Worthington Daily Globe by my old boss Doug Wolter on my uncle Mike Fury, the longtime women’s basketball coach at Minnesota West, and his assistant Rosalie Hayenga.

* Quiz: Guess famous SNL quotes from just an image or GIF.

* Story about George Orwell’s race to finish 1984 before he died.

* Ryan Leaf sabotaged his chances to get drafted by the Colts with the first pick.

* Everything that happened in Dr. Strangelove could actually have happened in real life.

* Is Justin Bieber turning into Corey Haim? I don’t know.

* Richard Sherman has gone from despised to respected this week. Here’s another take on the Seattle CB.

* The New York Times claims that ultra-marathon runners aren’t like normal people.

Over a joyful, crushing, blood-sugar-destroying 14 hours on Monday and into Tuesday morning, I was able, with remarkable precision, to approximate the 2013 Vikings season during a marathon season of Tecmo Super Bowl. I’ve written about Tecmo before. It’s my favorite video game ever and one I could write 5,000 words about at anytime. This week I went up to Wisconsin with my old friend Brandon to visit my cousin Matt. I was only there one day and night. But during that time — from 1 p.m. to past 3 a.m. — we played a season of Tecmo, conjuring up old memories of seasons past and creating new memories I’ll be cursing 15 years from now.

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Two video streaming services seemed like one too many. So my crew recently dropped Netflix. For now. Odds are that we’ll be back, probably when it rolls out new seasons of “Orange is the New Black” or “House of Cards.”

The surviving platform: Prime Instant Video. Not because it’s better, but because it’s linked to free two-day shipping from Amazon. And I order a lot of stuff from Amazon. Billy Madison had nudie magazine day; I have Amazon shipment day – that’s when refrigerator-sized boxes (with smiley faces on the sides) arrive filled with diapers and baby wipes. It feels good to be stocked up in terms of poo extraction supplies. Read the rest of this entry »

If we learned anything Sunday in the NFC conference championship round it’s that football fans generally don’t like players on other teams.

How’s that for an epiphany? I mean, good luck finding insight like that anywhere else on the UltraNets.

By way of explanation, there are reasons to like all four semifinalists. The Patriots for their extended excellence and ability to get more wins from less talent; the Broncos for taking a chance on a supposedly kaput Peyton Manning and getting this far despite missing their head coach for part of the season due to health issues; the 49ers for revitalizing old-school methods – run the ball and defend like hell – in an era tilted toward the pass game; and the Seahawks for their undersized, underdog quarterback and ear-busting fans.  Read the rest of this entry »

This week’s top links, as voted by a blue-ribbon panel.

* Fascinating story with lots of surprising, tragic twists about someone who invented a superior golf club.

* What would NFL team logos look like if they were hipsters?

* A photographer went to take some photos of John Schneider and ended up being there when the actor received devastating news.

* Patrick Reusse on how Minnesotans get all excited whenever any new coach comes to the state.

* A quarterback’s wife left an AR-15 in the back of a rental car.

* The New York Times takes a look at the crush of must-see TV that’s pilling up on Sunday nights.

* Jezebel offered a $10,000 bounty for untouched images of Lena Dunham from her Vogue photo shoot, and their readers didn’t really approve.

* Bill Barnwell on why the 87th meeting between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady is different.


* Seth Meyers and Neal Brennan are funny guys. Vulture features an exchange between the two.