Regular readers of the blog may have noticed a big downturn in activity over the past week. Mea culpa for that–I spent six days in Canada, first at a bachelor party in Niagara Falls (the number of bachelor parties I’ve been to lately is staggering), then in Toronto for various family and friend birthday celebrations. The Toronto leg of the trip featured a day of mishaps so preposterous that I’m actually going to pitch to a magazine as an article (probably Toronto Life).
Anyway, all that time away not only means less time to blog. It also means less time to go through my Google Reader queue. This is a big, big problem. Even after some recent pruning, I still subscribe to 44 feeds (it was 45, but I just cut one more as I was writing this post). It’s unavoidable, really. Since I’m writing a book about the Rays, I have to keep tabs on all the Rays beat writers and bloggers (DRays Bay, Marc Topkin, Marc Lancaster, etc.). Then there are the more general baseball (Rob Neyer, USS Mariner, Baseball Primer, FanGraphs, Baseball Analysts, Cardboard Gods, Joe Posnanski, Rany on the Royals, Squawking Baseball) and sports (Wall St. Journal, Andy Katz, Jay Bilas, Tim Marchman, Keith Law, Dave Dameshek, RotoSynthesis) feeds. Then you’ve got my news and politics favorites (Glenn Greenwald, New Yorker, Slate, Salon’s War Room, FiveThirtyEight.com). There’s the best catch-all blogs and sites (Andrew Sullivan, kottke.org, McSweeney’s). Finally, I also have several friends who share their favorites, almost all of those shares great ones. Miss even one day and the Reader fills up in a hurry. Miss a week and it’s a huge road back.
As penance for the light recent blogging activity and as a way to play catch-up with my Google Reader then, I present this all Google Reader edition of Links of the Day. In fact, these links are ALL shares from my GReader friends. So big thanks to Dave, Ben, Dan, Stephen and Rob for their contributions, and for keeping me current on everything from politics to food, Simpsons quizzes to new music (I’m trying Dave, I’m trying).
Here we go:
— Great article on free throw shooting in the New York Times. Amazing that FT success rate has remained unchanged for 50 years. This article attempts to explain why that’s the case.
— The great Michael Lewis’ latest must-read is a story about Iceland, and the hard times that have hit that until-recently prosperous nation. Aside from being the world’s best read among financial journalists (possibly any journalists), Mr. Lewis has been kind and gracious enough in the past to offer counsel to an anxious writer with a microscopic fraction of his talent and brand name. Hall of Fame writer + good guy = must read.
— The Daily Show clip in which Jon Stewart destroys Rick Santelli and CNBC has been making the rounds on the Web. If you haven’t yet watched it, though, you MUST click here.
— Long-time JK.com readers know some of my big pet peeves all too well: abstinence-only education, unnecessary war spending (i.e. most war spending), the War on Drugs, etc. Here’s another one: this country’s obsession with throwing people in jail. Actually, when you crunch the numbers, much of the problem with shelling out way too much money and way too much space for prisons and detention centers is related to the War On Drugs too. Lock up all the murderers you can, obviously. But wasting taxpayer money on some dude with a few grams of pot on him is a horrendously bad idea, for many reasons. I know Obama has bigger fish to fry, but I hope he’ll try to undo at least some of the damage caused by “won’t somebody think of the children”-fueled paranoia.
— Are you a Facebook social climber? Of course you are! Who isn’t? (I freely admit to friending random famous people I’ve never met–their feeds are often fascinating.) This Wall Street Journal writer takes you through his own Facebook personal journey, with amusing results.
— New Sports Illustrated cover = awesimo fantastico.
— The latest great quiz from brain teaser site Mental Floss is a Simpsons quiz in which you try to identify the voices of great one-off guest stars. I got the first 14 out of 14 right…then blew the 15th and final question. I will now eat a box of Krusty O’s with extra jagged metal O’s inside.
(By the way, I own an actual box of Krusty O’s, from when 7-11 had that Simpsons Movie promotion that turned select stores into Kwik-E-Marts. You are totally jealous.)
— Richard Nixon was one mockible dude.
— I will happily teach this class to anyone who’s interested.
— Hey look, it’s an article about the Wall Street Journal’s new sports coverage, featuring quotes from Sports Editor Sam Walker. If only the Journal had some ragtag quasi-stathead who’d be willing to fetch coffee and pick up dry cleaning when not writing articles. Oh, wait, they do!
— Finally, an additional hat tip to Dave, who reminds the world that the LeBron James and Larry Bird scoring bonanzas I linked to the other day face stiff competition from this Tracy McGrady gem:
UPDATE: King Kaufman passes along this excellent link from the Boston Phoenix on how to save local newspapers. Money passage:
3)Beef up local and sports coverage. This is what regional daily papers can uniquely provide. And they should. That means that serious thought should be given to turning such papers as the Boston Globe or BostonHerald (my two local newspapers) into sports papers with news sections, rather than the other way around.
The truth is that sports papers around the world are still hugely successful. Yes, the National failed here almost two decades ago, but that’s because Americans follow their sports locally, not nationally. A local version could well prove a success.
UPDATE 2: Dave produces another beauty. Miley Cyrus is out to ruin Radiohead! This might be the most preposterous story you’ll read all month.