• There was some big news in the Twins blogosphere this week, as John Bonnes, Seth Stohs, Nick Nelson, and Parker Hageman launched a new site called TwinsDaily.com that combines their four blogs into one mega-blog and offers a platform for other writers to find an audience. I'm not involved with the site, but it's a great project and I'd encourage everyone to go hang out there (after you're done reading everything here, of course). Check out TwinsDaily.com.
• Daniel Von Bargen, the actor who brilliantly played George Costanza's boss on Seinfeld and was also good in the highly underrated movie Super Troopers, attempted to commit suicide by shooting himself in the head.
• As if Louis C.K. writing and producing a sitcom for CBS wasn't confusing enough, apparently Ashley Tisdalehas been cast as the star.
• Bonnes and I are planning a get-together for March 5 to watch the Twins-Red Sox spring training game on television. We'll have all the details next week on the podcast and our blogs, but in the meantime mark your calendar and start preparing your liver.
• Finally, in honor of Dukes' latest brush with the law this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Young, Wild, and Free" by Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa:
• It turns out "poo-poo and pee-pee cards" are the keys to managing a World Series team.
• Fat-O-Meter update: I'm down 110 pounds since March 7. No special gimmicks or weird diets, just fewer calories and more exercise. By now the weight loss has slowed down considerably, but I've gone from obese to fat and am dangerously close to husky. Still lots of work left.
• I've never hung out in Miami with Minka Kelly (yet!), but did see enough of the All-Star game to say Derek Jetermade 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.
• 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.
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.
• After five years as the Twins beat writer for MLB.com Kelly Thesierhas left the job for a new gig as a communications manager with the LPGA. I was (too) tough on Thesier when she first started at MLB.com, but her improvement over the years was remarkable and she always took my criticisms in stride, or at least managed to act very friendly the few times we met in person. Best of luck to Kelly in the golf world and thanks for five years of Twins coverage.
Thesier's replacement is Rhett Bollinger, who's been helping to cover the Angels and Dodgers for MLB.com since graduating from USC in 2008. I don't know much about him beyond that, but I definitely recognize his name from various MLB.com bylines over the years. Actually, that isn't entirely true. I can also confirm that Bollinger has exceptional taste in bloggers and/or is smart enough to suck up to the jerk who was often critical of the person he's replacing.
• I'm sad to note that Nate Doggpassed away at age 41. His mid-90s peak coincided perfectly with my getting into music and after my dad got me a CD player boombox for my 11th birthday "Regulate ... G Funk Era" was one of my first purchases. Seventeen years later I still have all the words to "Regulate" memorized and marvel at Nate Dogg's ability to turn the phrase "and it's going real swell" into a viable rap lyric. Hopefully his next stop is the East Side Motel.
• Terry Ryan and Bill Smithmay provide some insight into why only three current MLB general managers are former MLB players.
• For years Jon Krawczynski has been the most underrated sports writer in Minnesota while covering the Twins, Timberwolves, Vikings, and seemingly every other local team in the relative obscurity that comes with being part of the Associated Press content machine. Now he's finally getting some attention, but unfortunately it's because NBA referee Bill Spoonerfiled a lawsuit against Krawczynski for this January 24 post on Twitter:
No one will ever confuse me for a lawyer, but I can't imagine how someone could win a lawsuit over that. How does Spooner prove he didn't say that, let alone prove damages and whatever else is required to win the case? Beyond that, by suing Spooner has ensured that thousands and thousands of people read Krawczynski's original tweet, which was initially seen by at most his 2,000 followers and was only re-tweeted a dozen times before the lawsuit news broke.
• Speaking of the Associated Press, they'll now be asking Krawczynski and other MLB writers to pen "hometown" versions of game recaps in addition to standard stories so local newspapers not staffing games with their own writers can better use the content. That helps newsrooms that have suffered through big staff cuts, but it'll also lead to even more cookie-cutters recaps. Or as AP sports editor Terry Taylorsaid: "They were more concerned with just getting it fast."
• Everything you ever wanted to know and more about Adrian Beltreand head rubbing.
• My latest podcast discovery is "The Best Show On WFMU" hosted by Tom Scharpling, who is somehow consistently entertaining and funny while doing a three-hour show with zero breaks. He rants about various topics, takes calls from an odd and amusing cast of regulars, breaks in and out of an ultra-sarcastic persona, often has big-name guests from the comedy and music worlds, and sprinkles in fake guests played brilliantly by Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster.
"The Best Show" is truly unlike anything I've ever listened to before and I'd probably classify it as an acquired taste because of the quirkiness and many inside joke-like aspects, but I've very quickly burned through two years of the decade-long archive and am convinced Scharpling is a genius. Along with hosting my new favorite podcast, he was a "Monk" writer/producer, wrote NBA articles for Slam magazine, and is doing a new television series with Paul F. Tompkins.
• In a rare trip to the movie theater I saw "The Adjustment Bureau" last week. I'm a sucker for that type of science fiction plot and the overall conceit of the movie was very intriguing, but the actual execution was disappointing, especially in the final half-hour or so. Despite some solid performances from Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, John Slattery, and especially Anthony Mackie it left me feeling like Philip K. Dick's story had been wasted. Grade: C-plus.
• Jim Nantz may be CBS' lead announcer, but for me there's no question that Gus Johnson is the true voice of the NCAA tournament and Greg Bishop of the New York Timespenned a very good profile of the undisputed king of exciting calls.
• Also in the New York Times this week, Grant Hillwrote an excellent response to Jalen Rose regarding the portrayal of Duke players in ESPN's new Rose-produced "Fab Five" documentary. Hill's entire piece is really good, but the last line is spectacular.
• I'll be rooting forTim Collins this season, at least whenever he's not facing the Twins.
• I don't watch many network television shows at this point, but four of the spots on my DVR are filled with Thursday night NBC comedies and I'm thrilled that "Community" and "Parks and Recreation" have both been renewed for next season along with "30 Rock" and "The Office."
• Tim Lincecum spent the offseason trying to put on weight and revealed his methods, which led to a wholebunchofbaseballscribeswritingarticles about how he often got three double-doubles, two orders of fries, and a half-chocolate/half-strawberry shake from In-N-Out. I guess that's a lot of food for someone listed at 165 pounds to put down, but as a longtime fatboy it hardly seems worthy of such shocked coverage. On a related note, I've started another diet.
• I'm writing some lengthy season preview articles over at Hardball Talk, including this one on the AL Central's worst team and this one on J.J. Hardy's new team. Check 'em out, please.
• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Regulate" by Nate Dogg and Warren G: