“Grantland East” – Rembert Browne

“Happy Thanksgiving!”

Decked out in a red flannel shirt, the kind that suggests a casual work environment, Juliet Litman enthusiastically welcomed her congregation, a throng of young dudes, mostly white, with a few willing and able women scattered about. These parishioners had come to Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village, site of the Madden lectures a little over a month prior, to pay final respects to the most important sports blog ever, the recently-deceased standard for longform pop journalism and the sort of offbeat topics you concoct in your dorm lounge late one night after several too many adult beverages. This was the Grantland wake.

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Leicester City's Jamie Vardy (2nd R) celebrates after scoring the opening goal.

Agence France-Presse

For all its faults and the criticism it generates, the international break in soccer does, at the very least, afford us the opportunity to survey the first third of the European domestic leagues. A cursory look at the tables as they stand now reveal mostly what you’d expect with even a rudimentary knowledge of how these things tend to go: Barcelona leads in Spain, tracked closely by both Madrid squads; Bayern Munich is on top in Germany with the kind of goal differential that is reminiscent of a college student’s bank account (which is to say, impressive for the soccer team, and dire for the student); Paris Saint-Germain is looking to have the French title wrapped up by Christmas, when its focus turns to completing an undefeated domestic season; Inter and Roma are sharing some space with Fiorentina, which is awfully (suspiciously?) charitable of them; and the two Manchester clubs are firmly slotted in the top four in England, with Arsenal and Tottenham closely trailing.

Leading that latter group, however, is an unheralded and unexpected group, with a Jamaican international serving as captain, who are only two seasons removed from promotion. While not the most desolate of England’s clubs, Leicester City is not among its notable fat cats either. With an incendiary scorer, a host of heady midfielders, the keeper son of a keeper man and a well-traveled manager, however, King Power Stadium may yet see meaningful continental matches and, with more than a bit of luck, a trophy.

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Getty Images

In case you haven’t heard – or are willfully ignoring it, like the group of people who attempt to avoid discovering the victor of the Super Bowl every year – one of the great mysteries of pop music has finally come undone, albeit partially. In an interview with PEOPLE magazine, singer-songwriter and proto-Taylor Swift Carly Simon has revealed that the second verse, at the very least, of her seminal hit “You’re So Vain” is, as many suspected, about Warren Beatty. With a great sigh of relief, I’m certain, James Taylor can rock himself to sleep, and Mick Jagger has finally achieved some level of satisfaction, depending on the geography of his egotism in 2015.

What Simon also did in revealing Beatty as her muse, however, was take some of the intimacy out of listening to music. To be frank, I’d really rather she wouldn’t have done that. It isn’t so much that she’s ruined “You’re So Vain” – the classic rock stations in Charlotte, North Carolina, that seem to think Simon only ever released one song already achieved that in my youth – but she did manage to remind us that, as much as we want to feel closer to the musicians we love, they are eternally out of reach, mingling with people more famous than we in parties on yachts, dressed in white clothing after Labor Day like the bourgeois bottles on the top shelf that they are.

To be clear, I’m only half-serious, but that half is deadly serious.

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MGM Pictures

My first James Bond movie was Die Another Day in 2002. Pierce Brosnan was James Bond. I was 10. The movie was ludicrous. I loved it.

In Die Another Day, Agent 007 and his female counterpart, Halle Berry’s Jinx, drive their invisible car all around an ice palace in order to stop Gustav Graves from melting the ice caps with his big space laser, which he built with conflict diamonds. Don’t ask how or why the car is invisible. Gustav Graves was born North Korean, but he used some sort of DNA treatment to reverse-Rachel Dolezal himself into a white blonde man as some sort of critique of Western culture, maybe? His henchman, Zao, also tried to do this, but only half-Dolezal’d, so he’s just very pale and also there are conflict diamonds stuck in his face for some reason. There is also a mean British woman who they fight at the ice palace. Her name is Miranda Frost, because her parents had the foresight to assume that she would one day be a henchwoman in an ice palace. James Bond slept with her before he knew she was mean. Eventually they all fight on a plane, and the bad guys and gal die, and James Bond saves the day.

By just about any conceivable metric for evaluating film, Die Another Day is a bad movie. Despite the countless flaws that bloated this ridiculous film, it served as my introduction to all things Bond. The lines were cheesy, but even in the worst Bond movie the cheesiest lines are at least somewhat tempered by sexy delivery and the cool tuxedos. When I saw Pierce Brosnan order his martini “shaken, not stirred” in the ice palace bar, it felt like I was suddenly part of something big, something cool(this part was jarring; I was not a cool ten year old).

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We made it fam. After nine weeks of NFL action, we’re finally back to a winning record against the spread on the year. I’ll be honest; I was extremely concerned we wouldn’t get here. After starting the season 0-5 I was worried that this season would be a losing one from start to finish, but we clawed for the inches and after going 3-2 last week, sit at 23-22 on the year. I could not be more proud.  Read More


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