December 30, 2005

Link-O-Rama

Before I get to this week's link dump, I want to apologize for the lack of substantive entries over the past four days. I have been absolutely swamped with various writing gigs (some pretty cool stuff that I'll talk about shortly, once all the deadlines are met) and have more or less been spending every waking hour typing up thousands of words for other places.

I'd like to be ranting about the Twins and linking to pictures of Elisha Cuthbert, of course, but everyone has to pay the bills. Plus, I'm sure you guys can benefit from getting a break from me every once in a while, especially at the end of the year. With that half-hearted mea culpa out of the way, let's hit the links for the final time in 2005 ...

  • I always get a kick out of how people describe me based solely on my writing. This time it's "cranky blogger Aaron Gleeman."
  • What's with the sudden run on oddly attractive actresses parking in handicap spots? First it was Kirsten Dunst and then came Amanda Bynes. Who's next, Claire Danes?
  • There have been a lot of very favorable reviews written about The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2006, but my favorite is probably this week's from Eric Simon over at Mets Geek.
  • Former Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com, Jessica Alba, was recently photographed buying lingerie. That's obviously extremely thought provoking, but in the end buying stuff like that is fairly pointless when you look so good that people are posting screen captures from the DVD version of your latest horrible movie so that everyone can gawk over them on the internet. Seriously, do you think her lucky bastard of a boyfriend sees the lingerie on her and goes, "Wow, now you really look good!"
  • I hate to kick a team when they're down (especially since the Vikings are down too), but this is perhaps my favorite headline of the entire NFL season: "Season-high 25 people arrested at Lambeau."
  • Jeff Shelman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune had a very nice article last week about Gophers basketball walk-on Zach Puchtel. It's an interesting story about a guy who started out at Harvard, made more interesting to me by the fact that I went to summer camp with Puchtel for a couple years.

    Not only that, but I distinctly remember him kicking my ass on the basketball court on numerous occasions, in large part because he was about a foot taller than everyone else there (he is 6'6" and 250 pounds now). And yes, that's twice this month that I've reminisced about playing childhood sports with someone who was written up in the newspaper. Meanwhile, I got winded just writing this sentence.

  • Finally, the poker boom has extended to the world of porn (marginally not-safe-for-work link).
  • Is anyone else as excited as I am about January 9?
  • Contrary to what the great George Costanza once so eloquently explained, sometimes "worlds colliding" can actually be a good thing. For instance, one of my favorite bloggers, Jon Weisman, interviewed one of my favorite actors, John C. McGinley, and they talked about baseball.
  • The slam-dunk choice for the most ridiculous hyperbole of the week goes to ESPN.com's Scoop Jackson, who named the launch of the execrable Quite Frankly With Stephen A. Smith one of his "What mattered most in 2005" events:
    No one really got the magnitude of this. Not even at ESPN. When the deal went down and "Quite Frankly" was born, the first thing I wanted to do was write a column about it. Not happening. "Too self-promoting" was what I was told. But "QF" was bigger than that. It was bigger than ESPN.

    When "Quite Frankly" aired on Aug. 1, 2005, it broke down a barrier that had been up for over a decade. And the following sentence is no disrespect to Bryant Gumbel, Michael Wilbon, John Saunders, Montell Williams, Orlando Jones or DL Hugley, but not since they pulled Arsenio Hall off the air in 1994 has a black man had his own talk show -- or been slated to host one with his name in the title. The fact that Stephen A. was given the format to do him -- to be himself, unscripted, unapologetic, unleashed -- was historical in the landscape of broadcast television.

    Right. Either that or ESPN gave an incredibly annoying person a show on which he could be incredibly annoying and no one watched it.

  • It turns out that Denny Green is as big a fan of running the football as he is of winning playoff games.
  • Bill Simmons' piece about the final Monday Night Football broadcast on ABC was right on the money. While Simmons was unemotional about the show despite actually feeling strongly about it decades ago, there was never a moment in my entire life when Monday Night Football meant more to me than some random football game being played a day after the rest of the NFL schedule.
  • I found this story odd, but only because of which passenger the cop allegedly wanted an autograph from.
  • I have always dreamt of being able to take pictures like these ones. Instead, I take pictures like these ones.
  • With the NFL season finishing up, this was my final week of writing Football Daily Dose columns for FoxSports.com. If you're interested, here are the links: Tuesday ... Wednesday ... Thursday.
  • And finally, here's a link to this week's baseball column over at Rotoworld, which is about the free agents who are still looking for work this offseason.
  • Today at The Hardball Times:
    - Ten Things I Didn't Know a Couple of Weeks Ago (by Dave Studeman)
    - Business of Baseball Report (by Brian Borawski)
    - Daily Graphing: John Patterson (by David Appelman)

    Pick of the Day (158-139, +$1,695):
    UCLA -2 (-110) over Northwestern

    Saturday's Pick:
    New York -7 (-110) over Oakland

    Sunday's Pick:
    Pittsburgh -17 (-110) over Detroit

    Monday's Pick:
    Notre Dame +5 (-110) over Ohio State


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