August 12, 2011

Link-O-Rama

This week's Link-O-Rama is sponsored by Wholesale Gold and Diamond Distributors in Minneapolis, so please help support AG.com by considering them for your jewelry needs ...

• I have so many questions about this photo that I don't even know where to start.

• You had me at "McNulty."

• Good news for people who like funny things on the television: FX renewed "Louie" for a third season and picked up "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" for two more seasons.

• And if you haven't seen it the "Louie" scene between Louis C.K. and Dane Cook is amazing.

Brett Favre thinks Fedor Emelianenko is sticking around too long.

• On a related note, UFC president Dana White revealed that Emelianenko once turned down a huge multi-fight offer to join the UFC and debut against Brock Lesnar.

Dirty pictures of Bar Refaeli. Literally.

• Not only did 1500-ESPN dump Colin Cowherd, his replacement is Judd Zulgad, who's leaving the Minneapolis Star Tribune to host his own show and be a columnist for the station's website. Congratulations to one of the nicest, best, and hardest-working media members in Minnesota.

• Oh, and if you want his old gig the Star Tribune has a "help wanted" listing.

Bryce Harper freaked out on an umpire after being ejected from a Double-A game.

• I'm guessing this is the best anyone has ever looked going through airport security.

• It must have been her "nice smile and personality" that snagged Derek Jeter.

• Best use of Win Probability Added ever? David Cameron versus leukemia.

Sentence of the week: "His marketing agent said Dennis Rodman is spending $60,000 to fly in Penny Marshall, Howard Stern, and other friends."

• A video tribute to one of the most essentially non-essential characters in television history:

It's still not too late for Bob Sacamano spin-off show.

Sarah Silverman to Deadspin: "Eat a dick."

• Some pretty compelling evidence that George Clooney is a genius.

• Being a baseball reporter is apparently more dangerous than it sounds, which is why it's far safer to stay in your parents' basement.

• SoccerTalk, anyone?

• They should be solid lead-ins for my cooking show.

LaVelle E. Neal III and Al Newman were finally spotted in the same place at the same time.

• Confession: I'm a 28-year-old man and one night this week I watched "WWE: Greatest Cage Matches Of All Time" on Netflix instant.

Lenny Dykstra looks good in orange.

• Just a couple 51-year-old former big leaguers brawling in a game managed by Jose Canseco.

• What were the biggest tactical mistakes that Stringer Bell made? I'm glad you asked.

• Podcast recommendation: Erin Gibson is hilarious on Twitter, so it's no surprise that she was an excellent guest on "Totally Laime" with Elizabeth Laime.

• I haven't posted a Fat-O-Meter update in quite a while and am feeling pretty good about my progress, so: I'm down 90 pounds since March 1. No real secrets, other than being very fat to begin with helps a lot. My initial goal was to have lost more pounds than Twins victories by the end of the season, but even if they finish the year on a 45-0 run I'm pretty safe.

• Speaking of which, Mila Kunis should write a dieting book. I'd buy it just for the pictures.

• If you like fiction and baseball, check out friend of AG.com Axel Kohagen's online novel.

• Reminder: If you're interested in advertising your product, service, local business, or website please consider helping to support AG.com by becoming a sponsor of the week.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Delta Spirit singing a live version of "Devil Knows You're Dead":

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:

February 4, 2011

Link-O-Rama

• If you don't think this will soon be hanging on my wall, you clearly don't know me very well.

• NHL goalie fights are pretty funny to begin with, but NHL goalie fights ending after one punch are hilarious.

Henry Abbott of ESPN.com took a very interesting look at the difference between perception and reality when it comes to Kobe Bryant and "clutch."

• An army of Christina Hendricks look-a-likes sounds fine to me.

Rob Neyer is for me what Bill James was for many baseball fans in the 1980s, shaping the way I watch and write about the sport to the point that I've basically been attempting to do a semi-passable Rob Neyer impression for the past decade. He's the first online writer I read on a regular basis and I remain a huge fan, so much so that I've never really gotten over being starstruck when I see him each year at the Society for American Baseball Research convention.

When it comes to bringing sabermetrics to a mainstream audience Neyer has been the single most effective baseball writer of all time, and that includes James. This week, after 15 years of great work at ESPN.com, he decided to make a change and is now the national baseball editor at SB Nation. And not only didn't he take even one day off between jobs, Neyer is churning out more content than ever at his new home. Congratulations and good luck to one of my heroes.

Justin Kubatko of Basketball-Reference.com wrote a guest column for the New York Times on Kevin Love's unique brand of greatness this season. And somehow he's not an All-Star (yet).

• I'm willing to help Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate Jenna Fischer reach her goal.

• An unlikely radio partnership between friend of AG.com Phil Mackey and longtime Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse has been so successful that 1500-ESPN has decided to expand their show by another hour each afternoon. In addition to more Mackey they smartly also lured Judd Zulgad away from KFAN, where the fantastic Star Tribune reporter had been an exclusive Vikings analyst. It almost makes up for the times they mistakenly put me on the air.

Least surprising news of the week: A.J. Pierzynski is friends with the guys from Creed.

• As a lifelong Minnesota it takes a lot to impress me regarding winter driving, but this did it:

If you look carefully, I think the other car has a "Geek Squad" logo on the door.

Eric Stonestreet is outstanding on Modern Family, but his greatest contribution to society will always be snapping a picture of Minka Kelly and Sofia Vergara posing together at the Golden Globes and posting it on Twitter.

• Twins president Dave St. Peter is now on Twitter, so you should probably follow him.

• Based on this lengthy article in New York magazine I clearly picked the wrong type of website to start nine years ago.

• I finally saw "The Social Network" this week. I liked it a lot, and the script and acting were so good that I would've happily watched it go on for another five hours, but for whatever reason it struck me as just short of being great. My primary takeaways from the film: 1) Rooney Mara is responsible for everything, ever. 2) Guys named Zuckerman should never interact with Aryan twins. 3) Don't throw beer. Grade: A-minus.

Apparently the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com liked "The Social Network" too.

• Now that he's dropped the price, I think we should pool our money together and buy Shawn Green's house.

Seth Stohs' annual "Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook" is now available for purchase and you should buy it. Seriously. I can't stress this enough: You should buy it. Not only is it a great read and an amazing value at $14.95 for 170 pages, Seth has spent thousands of hours and most of the past decade churning out good baseball writing that can be enjoyed for absolutely free. Paying him 15 bucks for a good product seems like an easy way to show support. Do it.

• My latest podcasting discovery is "Pop My Culture" with Cole Stratton and Vanessa Ragland, which is basically hour-long, mostly silly conversations with various comedians and actors. For instance, here's one with longtime Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate Linda Cardellini.

• If you have Netflix streaming and are as into offbeat documentaries as me, check out "I Like Killing Flies" and "I Think We're Alone Now." Both are equal parts engrossing and weird.

• Last weekend I had dinner at Mix Fusion Bistro in Eden Prairie and the food was every bit as good as when I reviewed the restaurant after it opened in July, with an added bonus that lots of people were there this time. Chalk one up for customers eventually finding a good product.

• I've done a 180-degree turn on the Super Bowl, going from initially believing in the Steelers as small underdogs to now thinking the Packers will win and cover the 2.5-point spread. For a slightly more comprehensive analysis of Sunday's matchup, read this.

• Here are some highlights from my NBCSports.com blogging this week:

- Red Sox want David Ortiz to continue facing lefties even if he can't hit them
- White Sox GM after making 1984 trade for Ozzie Guillen: "I think we just signed a jockey"
- Andy Pettitte's retirement (and Jamie Moyer's injury) means no active pitcher has 200 wins
- Chris Carter is going to be disappointed when the A's send him to Triple-A
- Lance Berkman criticizes the Rangers in explaining why he chose St. Louis over Texas
- Royals' projected 2011 payroll is $33 million (or $2 million more than Alex Rodriguez's salary)
- If healthy, Jesus Flores could be trade bait for the Nationals
- LaTroy Hawkins expects to be ready for Opening Day after shoulder surgery

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Little Richard singing "Long Tall Sally":

October 22, 2010

Link-O-Rama

• You know what's even more "baller" than a Division II football player? A taser.

• Remember the "boom goes the dynamite!" kid from a few years ago? Well, his name is Brian Collins and now he's a news reporter for the local ABC affiliate in Alexandria, Minnesota.

Esquire magazine named former Friday Night Lights star, current Parenthood guest star, and longtime Derek Jeter girlfriend Minka Kelly the "sexiest woman alive" for 2010.

• Based on this study, I should be a billionaire.

Zooey Deschanel and Katy Perry are like a before-and-after comparison, but I'm not exactly sure for what.

• My favorite headline of the week: "Why did Kanye West replace his bottom row of teeth with diamonds?" Even better, his answer: "I just thought that diamonds were cooler." Obviously.

• One of the greatest and most underrated soul singers of all time, Solomon Burke, died last week at age 70.

• This story is why the Target Field crowd is better off if I watch most Twins games from home.

• Is this guy doesn't become a superstar, something is wrong with the world:

He looks eerily like a miniature Patton Oswalt.

Ozzie Guillen's impression of David Ortiz trying to bunt for a hit is pretty great.

• When it comes to White Sox fans, sometimes the jokes write themselves.

• There's no shortage of great Randy Moss pictures, but none can top this beauty.

• Two weekends ago a phone call woke me Saturday morning and I was confused to hear a woman claiming to be "a reporter from the New York Post." Intrigued but still groggy, I checked my e-mail and found several messages from the same person offering $200 for "a freelancer to go out to a house in Eden Prairie and interview someone today." I'm not a reporter and barely leave my own house, so I replied with a simple "no thanks."

It turns out, as David Brauer of MinnPost found by doing a bit more digging, the New York Post was looking for someone to basically go ring the doorbell at Brett Favre's house while he was in New York to play the Jets. Apparently their goal was to get his wife involved and turn that into a story, which is just about the grossest possible thing someone could pay you $200 to do on a Saturday morning. Perhaps that was covered in journalism school after I dropped out.

• I'd be thrilled if marijuana saved the newspaper industry.

• On a related note, that's a whole lot of pot.

• Despite using exclusively laptops for a decade I've somehow managed to avoid "toasted leg syndrome." Clearly, like Robert Neville in a great book turned disappointing film, I am immune.

• I just hope they had an open bar at the reception.

Jessica Alba is back on the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com radar.

• Speaking of Alba, this is a slippery slope that ends with a lot of disappointed perverts.

• This video of Hakeem Olajuwon tutoring Dwight Howard is a must-watch for NBA fans:

After watching it I'm convinced Olajuwon a) would be an amazing coach, and b) could probably still give some team 10 solid minutes off the bench at age 47.

Roy Oswalt might be even better at photo-bombing than he is at pitching.

Mariano Rivera's unique greatness, as shown by heat maps.

Jon Heyman of SI.com blocked my Hardball Talk colleague Craig Calcaterra from following him on Twitter a while back, so I'm endlessly amused that a TBD.com post on social networking "tearing friends apart" included this excerpt:

The snub came months after Heyman called Calcaterra at home to discuss criticism Calcaterra had made of Heyman. Calcaterra says the call "ended civilly enough" but then came the Twitter block, a move that "far more offended" him than the phone call. "It's just so passive aggressive," he says.

Heyman confirms the block, saying that Calcaterra wrote numerous negative posts about him and he didn't want his tweets to provide further fodder. "I guess it's flattering, but I wasn't flattered," he says. Calcaterra says he's "moved on," but the incident made him question "odd interpersonal relationships" social networking sites encourage.

Heh.

• This is what many non-New Yorkers picture when they think of Yankees fans.

• Now that I've got a floor plan, it's probably time to remodel the AG.com home office.

• Professional poker player Nick Schulman was recently the subject on MTV's day-in-the-life style documentary show World of Jenks and my fellow degenerates will enjoy the episode.

Baseball America's scouting report on a 21-year-old Roy Halladay was right on the money.

• Here's an interesting interview with one of my favorite podcasters, Marc Maron.

• Here are some highlights from my NBCSports.com blogging this week:

- Zack Greinke can block a trade to 15 teams in 2011
- And a rookie shall lead them: Buster Posey carries Giants to brink of World Series
- Giants embracing the power of Aubrey Huff's "rally thong"
- Tigers sign Brandon Inge to two-year, $11.5 million deal with option for 2013
- Mariners’ new manager has an ugly history with Milton Bradley
- Rangers acquired Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus by trading Mark Teixeira in 2007
- Red Sox owner John Henry buys Liverpool soccer team for $476 million
- Ted Lilly’s three-year deal with Dodgers worth $33 million
- Tony La Russa will return as Cardinals manager in 2011

• Finally, in honor of his passing away this week's AG.com-approved music video is Burke and The Blind Boys of Alabama singing "None Of Us Are Free":

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