Here is something that I do not imagine will come as any great shock to you, dearest reader: I am not at all knowledgeable in an overwhelming majority of the facets of figure skating. I know the equipment – a sheet of ice, a pair of skates and a warm-blooded person of distinct nationality in a skintight representation of an eighteenth century romance novel – I know a handful of names – Kristi Yamaguchi, Michelle Kwan, Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski, Nancy Kerrigan, Nancy Kerrigan’s problematic attacker who now has her own movie, for some reason – and far fewer but non-zero number of jump names, like the triple axel and the Salchow, and that’s where it ends.
But on Thursday night, as happens every four years, I took in the sport in all its glory, as the men’s short program from Pyeongchang hit primetime. Expecting to see the crowning of two-time American champion and team bronze medalist Nathan Chen, or the pyrotechnic flair and on-camera joyous irreverence to which we’ve grown accustomed over the past two weeks from fellow American Adam Rippon, I was instead treated to the comeback performance of the quadrennial and a Winnie the Pooh hailstorm.
(Courtesy of Amazon Studios)
Amazon’s forward thinking decision to be the next content supplier along with Netflix and Hulu gave the world the Golden Globe-winning Transparent. Now, with both Netflix and Amazon being validated as outlets worthy of cranking out new stories that can be both critically acclaimed and popular, the rush to create content with high profile names outside of a cable box is now the new normal.
With this, a few new pilots have been dumped out-of-the-blue for the casual consumer on Amazon. And there’s Mad Dogs with familiar names like Michael Imperioli and Billy Zane. Some show that looks like a highly polished Civil War dramatization (we sure do need another one!). And then there’s Man in the High Castle – a joint whose most high profile association is its executive producer, Ridley Scott.
The setting for the World Cup’s final scene
Thread count – high
Commission – high
Hourly rates – high
a minute of your time? forget about it
The line above is from Parquet Courts’ “Master of My Craft,” the first song from their “formal” 2012 debut, Light Up Gold. The song is a smart ass take on why anyone in their position cannot be bothered by street teams trying to peddle political ideology or social change via flyers and “quick surveys.” I know what it’s like to be in their position. Four years ago, I was also stoned, starving and making my way down M Street in Georgetown as the know-it-all with a grand, post-grad scheme. On our way back to the student apartments, we were approached by a young woman who, like one of the antagonists from Parquet Courts’ ode to slackerism, was carrying a clipboard and a pile of paper. “Wanna know what’s sexy?” she asked, her question simultaneously rhetorical and seductive. “Politics,” she said, as she handed me an informational slip from a non-profit I didn’t care to remember. A trash can was nearby. “No,” I chuckled with my friends as I balled the piece of paper up and crammed it into the trash can sitting within earshot of the young woman and her fellow street teamers. This was the same summer that I also shrugged my shoulders with the same passive indifference at the USMNT’s loss to Ghana. “Well, at least we have more money than their country,” I said reductively and offensively as I walked away from the Black Stars’ celebration. I gave soccer all the thought and consideration that I gave the woman’s curbside elevator pitch about her organization’s efforts.
And just like that, another American dream ends painfully at the feet of Belgium. Years of preparation and tough decisions, not without controversy, went into the U.S. Men’s National Team’s run into the knockout stages, an arduous and heart-pounding journey from the depths of the Group of Death and through the Amazonian rain forest. Landon Donovan was nowhere to be found. Jozy Altidore became an ineffectual cheerleader, for all intents and purposes. Michael Bradley commanded the midfield with the force of a dead battery and held possession in a way which undoubtedly made several Spaniards blush, but who were they to judge?
Tim Howard was brilliant. Clint Dempsey embodied the American ethos, playing through a broken nose and exhaustion. Jermaine Jones struck every ball with passion and unparalleled intensity. Matt Besler fearlessly stood tall against some of the world’s best strikers. This team, for all its follies and missed opportunities, represented its country perhaps more closely than any other at this World Cup. This was truly an American team, despite (or because of, depending on your disposition) all the talk of German-Americans and under-the-table deals preceding Jurgen Klinsmann’s first major tournament on a world stage. Victory again eluded the U.S., but that wasn’t really the goal anyway.
What now? Read More
Memo Ochoa stuntin’ on ’em
The 2014 FIFA World Cup is here, and I have a novice’s degree of knowledge as to what’s happening, as well as a small amount of sentimentality for the event. This is me traversing through work, drunken weekends, and Spotify with the World Cup either in the fore or background
Tuesday, June 17
I was staring at my screen in bewilderment at 9:05 AM. I was watching all of the American reaction videos to the second goal by John Brooks to win the game against Ghana for the United Stated. There were showers of beer, people acting in hysterics all colliding together with their wares of red, white and blue. I still couldn’t believe it. By 10:30 AM, I was still in a state of awe but it was concerning a ranking I saw on the music blog, Consequence of Sound. Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence received an A.
On Thursday, the 2014 FIFA World Cup begins in Brazil. While many eyes will be on the home team, which is the nominal favorite to capture its record-extending sixth World Cup title, thirty-one other teams will be vying to bring the glory of the beautiful game’s most hallowed prize to their homelands. Many of these sides have legendary players in various stages of their primes. Some seem simply to be along for the experience of playing on a senior international level as a sort of deposit for the future (See: Green, Julian). For all the acclaim of Brazil’s joga bonito, Italy’s azzurri and Die Mannschaft of Germany, two individual players are carrying the weight of their countries perhaps more heavily than anyone else, with the outcome of the tournament potentially dictating their places among the game’s all-time greatest.
I am, of course, talking about Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina’s Lionel Messi.
“The first game you got in on this court right here and played like a bum, you was a bum.” – Richard ‘Pee-Wee’ Kirkland, from NBATV’s The Doctor
From its humble beginnings as a playground for New York City’s P.S. 156, Holcombe Rucker Park has become the singular epicenter of layman basketball, particularly streetball and its derivatives, as well as a proving ground for rising stars and established legends alike. Located at the corner of 155th St. and 3rd Ave. in East Harlem, Rucker Park grew from one man’s vision of getting kids off the streets when it was opened on February 23, 1956. When Holcombe Rucker established a basketball league for the neighborhood children when he worked as a playground director in the Parks & Recreation Department for the city, he could not have anticipated the symbolism which the park attached to it would eventually carry. Perhaps no single place on earth is more closely identified with a sport than Rucker Park is with basketball, and for good reason. The people there are more passionate about basketball than most political revolutionaries, and without the unnecessary violence. Mostly. Read More
Marc Chagall, “On the Stretcher”
To be the absolute best at something, anything, in a city of eight million people takes a certain combination of skill, will, balance and, in most cases, luck. However minor that area of greatness is, once you are the best, that is it. The key piece of the puzzle seems to be that bit of luck. For an artist, it means having your works seen by a prominent critic and earning a prestigious exhibition at one of the better museums in Manhattan. For musicians, it means playing a great show in front of someone who matters, whether it be an agent, a producer, a club promoter or a famous bassist. For everyone else, it simply means working hard enough and being consistent enough to succeed in a given field. Health is a big part of consistency. More on that later. Read More
Egon Schiele – Agony
“You can’t win ’em all,” so the adage goes. While the application of this saying has extended to the subjects of romance, academic pursuit, flying standby at the airport and khaki sales at Kohl’s, it is safe to assume that the most practical sense in which someone can say this to a fellow human being occurs when engaging in sport. You hear it all the time, and no matter how diluted those words can become, they still retain truth, and the truth behind them is difficult to accept when you have spent the majority of an athletic season buffered by a sense of invincibility. Read More
With college football only a stones throw away (31 days to be exact!), power rankings and preseason polls are popping up all over the place. This is just lighter fluid to fuel the slow burning embers that are a result of summer sport fatigue. People go bat shit crazy about these polls and rankings as if they actually mean something. This crazy is only a primer for the reactions we can expect when foot meets ball (bear [Bryant] with me – oh, fuck these puns). These reactions serve as great supplements to good games, and sometimes they are talked about more than the match up itself. So I submit to you, deranged college football fanatics, the power rankings of some of the best reactions of the 2012 season.