July 15, 2011

Link-O-Rama

This week's Link-O-Rama is sponsored by the Minnesota band Shoveldance, so please help support AG.com by checking out their new album ...

Joe Mauer and his girlfriend received the paparazzi treatment in Duluth, of all places.

Justin Timberlake got my vote for All-Star game MVP after trolling Joe Buck on the air.

• And runner-up on my MVP ballot was Kate Upton for her performance in the celebrity game.

• I've never hung out in Miami with Minka Kelly (yet!), but did see enough of the All-Star game to say Derek Jeter made the correct choice.

• I'm not usually big on collecting bobblehead dolls, but the set of all 25 players from the 1991 championship team being offered by the Twins next week looks pretty great. Hint. Hint. Hint.

• Take away the beard and Zach Galifianakis is just a nerdy looking high school kid. Literally.

Mila Kunis is on the cover of the latest GQ magazine and not only does the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com look spectacular enough to make iced coffee an effective photo shoot prop, the first word she utters in the accompanying interview is "oy." She may hold the title for a while.

• Meanwhile, not everyone is as comfortable speaking Yiddish.

• As great as the Kunis cover is, it might not even be the best photo shoot in this month's GQ.

• I'm glad to see Stringer Bell and Omar Little could settle their differences in the afterlife.

• Best opening paragraph of the year? "A Russian man who tried to rob a hair salon ended up as the victim when the female shop owner overpowered him, tied him up naked and then used him as a sex slave for three days." On a related note, robberies are up 500 percent in Russia.

• Let's hope Bryce Harper's plate discipline proves better than his tattoo discipline.

• For those of us with clear eyes and full hearts Robert Mays' oral history of Friday Night Lights on Grantland is pretty spectacular.

• Also spectacular? This collection of every "y'all" from Connie Britton:

Definitely one of the best moms in television history.

• And just like that, another blogger was born.

• Slideshows usually annoy me, but I'll make an exception for Aubrey Plaza.

• My aunt, Jane Gallop, has a new book out that everyone should buy. Here's a review quote:

Gallop is one of the small handful of critics who are keeping close reading alive. With this volume, she illuminates the stakes in paying such careful and loving attention to the words by which writers are turned, and turn themselves, into authors: stakes made visible on the relational field joining reader and author in an intimate bond that’s desirous, companionate, aggressive, indecent, sustaining, disturbing, unstable, and, when elaborated by a critic and thinker as gifted and incisive as Jane Gallop, also endlessly productive.

She's also a great aunt and has been incredibly supportive of my writing career, so order it.

• It's official: America's Next Great Restaurant is the most misleading title in television history.

• My first thought after reading this story? Hopefully this guy isn't as annoying as John Wayne Bobbitt was during his 15 minutes of fame in the 1990s. Also, ouch.

• Thanks to the internet I didn't have to watch the ESPYs to know Serena Williams was there.

• Last week I heard Scott Boras discuss "managing the media" during his speech at the SABR convention, so suffice it to say his latest headline grab doesn't surprise me.

• This could be an interesting way for mainstream media sites to make their comment sections less mind-meltingly awful, if only since it removes the ever-dangerous anonymity from the mix.

Zach Lowe of SI.com wrote a nice piece on why David Kahn's ongoing push for an up-tempo offense is, like many things he says and does, sort of silly.

• My idol Tom Scharpling took a break from steamrolling chumps to be interviewed by AV Club.

• Podcast recommendation: Julie Klausner's predictably charming and hilarious appearance on "Jordan, Jesse, Go!" with Jesse Thorn and Jordan Morris. And her own podcast is great too.

• ESPN3.com is showing live coverage of the World Series of Poker main event all weekend.

Matt Kemp and I live basically the same life.

• My perception is skewed by spending a week at ballparks in California, but it occurred to me that fewer men and more women wearing baseball hats would make the world a better place.

• One of the upcoming sponsors of the week had to delay their date, so if anyone is interested in stepping in to sponsor the week of July 25-31 click here for details and let me know.

• Finally, in honor of my fantastic trip to Long Beach and the surprising lack of drama in the LBC this week's AG.com-approved music video is Snoop Dogg with a live version of "Gin and Juice":

April 8, 2011

Link-O-Rama

I'm bummed out about Tsuyoshi Nishioka, but the links must go on ...

• I've been trying to make the switch from sportswriter to pimp for years.

Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian are still going strong and the former Gopher obviously has "The Kardashian Effect" to thank for becoming one of the NBA's most improved players.

Vin Scully is a big fan of the Honky Tonk Man. Greatness appreciates greatness, obviously.

Charlie Sheen's live show went about as well as should have been expected.

• Speaking of Sheen: Take a number, pal.

• Do all these people moving back into their parents' basements realize they're now obligated to become bloggers? Oddly, my mom threatens to move into my basement on a weekly basis.

• Whenever the level of discourse in the comments section gets me down I remind myself that about one percent of AG.com readers comment regularly. Apparently that's true for most blogs.

Mark Cuban was hanging out in the Hardball Talk comments section, which moves him ahead of Colby Rasmus' dad and Curt Flood's son as our most famous commenter.

• Today's technology would have ruined a bunch of Seinfeld episodes.

Wearing swimsuits remains her specialty, but Brooklyn Decker looks decent in clothes too.

Karl Pilkington is ratings gold.

• I wrote a lot of sentences this week, but this one was definitely my favorite: "Admittedly you can't invite Minka Kelly over to hang out in an earplug." Controversial, but true!

• I haven't danced since leaving the bar mitzvah circuit in 1996 and things have changed quite a bit since then based on Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton's impromptu "Dougie" lesson at a basketball game:

My specialty back in the mid-90s was awkward slow dances set to Boyz II Men songs.

• I'm dumbfounded how baseball "analysis" this mind-bogglingly bad gets into any mainstream publication, let alone the New York Times. It would have been a better fit on April 1.

• How long did the New York Times have an Elizabeth Taylor obituary ready to go before she actually died last month? Well, at the bottom of the piece was this footnote: "Mel Gussow, the principal writer of this article, died in 2005."

• Red Sox sideline reporter Heidi Watney narrowly avoided death by chicken and waffles.

• Here's a handy recap of my Twitter exchange with Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, who called me out (sort of) after hearing me talk Twins with Cathy Wurzer on Minnesota Public Radio.

• As my NBCSports.com colleague Craig Calcaterra notes, the Indians treat their bloggers far better than, say, the Twins.

• Friend of AG.com and local Associated Press reporter Jon Krawczynski is standing his ground in the face of a ridiculous lawsuit by NBA referee Bill Spooner.

• A former NBA referee tried to beat up Dominique Wilkins at a Hawks game in Atlanta. Based on the mugshot, he failed.

Gus Hansen might be even better at dating than he is at poker.

• My initial reaction after reading this sad story? Even that guy had a girlfriend.

Ken Rosenthal is the Brother Mouzone of baseball reporters.

• In addition to being the youngest champion in UFC history Jon Jones excels at apprehending thieves on the way to pre-fight waterfalls.

• I've never seen Brock Lesnar be more likable or interesting than in this interview with Ariel Helwani, who also switched gears for a hilarious MMA-driven chat with comedians Jim Norton and Robert Kelly.

Jose Canseco's twin brother Ozzie Canseco tried to impersonate him in a "celebrity boxing" match worth $10,000, but the tattoos gave him away.

• Not surprisingly, the best comedy on television has a great blooper reel:

In related news, my crush on Aubrey Plaza has grown even stronger.

• I can't blame HBO for canceling In Treatment given the lowly viewership numbers, but as one of the few people to see every episode from all three seasons of the Gabriel Byrne-led drama I'll definitely miss what was a truly unique, marvelously acted show.

• In much better television news AMC and Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner have worked out a deal to ensure the show will run at least two and possibly three more seasons, although the bad news is that new episodes won't begin again until 2012.

• One positive is that should give Jon Hamm plenty of time to shave, put on some socks, find a nice suit, and ditch the Cardinals hat for a little pomade.

• This could revolutionize television and movies or it could be nothing, but Netflix is getting into the content-creation business and their first partnership is with David Fincher.

Zach Galifianakis is creating a show starring one of the few comedians weirder than him.

• Not that this should surprise anyone who's seen her in Boardwalk Empire on HBO, but Paz de la Huerta seems like fun.

• Here's the fatal flaw of these never-ending Domino's commercials: Their new chicken is awful. I'm a fatso who ate chicken wings from Pizza Hut multiple times per week for months, yet even I'll never get it again. Also, what good is having a "rate our chicken" survey on the actual box? Are people supposed to fill it out and bring it back to the restaurant?

• I'm going to be honest about something embarrassing: As a kid I used to like the baked ziti.

• Friend of AG.com and Minneapolis Star Tribune writer Phil Miller got an "honorable mention" for best "game story" of 2010 from the Associated Press Sports Editors.

• Google discovery during the NCAA tournament: Marv Albert's real name is Marvin Aufrichtig and he'll be 70 years old in June.

• If the Timberwolves finally win the draft lottery, here's the guy they'll almost certainly pick.

• If you're into the NBA and interesting artwork, check out this site.

• Along with hosting my latest podcast obsession,Tom Scharpling had an interesting history as a basketball writer.

• My favorite podcast this week was Conan O'Brien's appearance on "WTF" with Marc Maron.

• Where do you stand on The Great Ketchup Debate of 2011?

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Steve Earle singing "I Feel Alright" live:

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