Stuff I Read and Liked

Before anyone says anything, I’m very aware that this idea is a complete and total rip off of Deadspin’s Stories That Don’t Suck, which has been coming out once a week for a little over a month now.  From the first time I saw it, I couldn’t help but think, Fuck, why didn’t I come up with that? The answer: Mostly because I’m incapable of an original thought, and partly because, even if I had thought of it, it seemed too simple to work: You mean you just post links to articles you like, regardless of what they’re about, and just hope people will be interested enough to read them?  Now I’ve really heard it all…

With that said, I like to think of Stuff I Read and Liked as more of a tribute to a site and idea that I very much enjoy, rather than a unapologetic thievery of material (even though one of this week’s pieces will be lifted from one Deadspin has already linked to, but whatever.)

While I do my best to read and absorb every piece of Kentucky Basketball literature I can get my eyes on, I like to think I do a fair bit of browsing online when it comes to other topics of interest as well.  I figure this sort of post allows me to kill two birds with one stone: I can read things that aren’t Wildcats-related without feeling like I’m wasting time and brain space, since the good stuff I come across will eventually help me create these posts.  Pretty genius, right?

One last thing: There’s no real criteria for what I link to.  They won’t have a theme or be relevant to anything, nor will they necessarily be recent.  They’re just stuff I’ve read, liked, and think are worth checking out.  Here goes:

“What’s Really Behind Kobe vs. LeBron,” by Bethlehem Shoals (from The Baseline), 2010.

…last night was definitively Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James for many marbles. Kobe was bone-chillingly on to start, but trailed off gradually and his Lakers (especially that Pau Gasol fellow) couldn’t pick up the slack. LeBron gained momentum throughout before exploding in the fourth, turning to his jumper when, up to that point, he’d casually steamrolled LA inside, reliably finishing, getting to the line, or finding J.J. Hickson or Anderson Varejao for something wide open.

Between this wry shift in strategy, Bron’s everywhere-at-once exuberance, and the smile on his face — and Eminem lyrics in his mouf in the crucial closing minutes — we got something akin to an LBJ manifesto. Contrast this with Bryant’s hard-edged opening, where every jumper fell, every split-second alteration came off, and you felt like the world was about to end, but not in a good way. Those were the game’s bookends, and while one had you running for cover, the other sent you out into the streets.

So it’s Bron, right? After all, isn’t the point of these heavily-hyped match-ups to determine the best player in the NBA?

At this point, not really.

“Chuck Klosterman Repeats The Beatles,” by Chuck Klosterman (from the A.V. Club), 2009.

It is not easy to categorize the Beatles’ music; more than any other group, their sound can be described as “Beatlesque.” It’s akin to a combination of Badfinger, Oasis, Corner Shop, and everyother rock band that’s ever existed. The clandestine power derived from the autonomy of the group’s composition—each Beatle has his own distinct persona, even though their given names are almost impossible to remember. There was John Lennon (the mean one), Paul McCartney (the hummus eater), George Harrison (the best dancer), and drummer Ringo Starr (The Cat). Even the most casual consumers will be overwhelmed by the level of invention and the degree of change displayed over their scant eight-year recording career, a span complicated by McCartney’s tragic 1966 death and the 1968 addition of Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono, a woman so beloved by the band that they requested her physical presence in the studio during the making of Let It Be.”

“True Romance,” by Jack Hitt (from Salon), 1998.

Why did President Clinton wear that necktie? I’m referring to the $100 silk Zegna in audacious gold-and-navy patterns that Monica gave him with the remark, “When I see you wearing this tie, I’ll know I’m close to your heart.” Clinton donned it for a gun-ban rally in the Rose Garden the very morning Monica was testifying before the grand jury. The New York Times suspected that it was “a plea for solidarity,” while Newsday thought it was a White House threat to Lewinsky “that she was being watched.”

But there was something off in the timing. “Ms. Lewinsky did not learn of Mr. Clinton’s choice of neckties until she turned on the television that evening,” the Times noted.

Now, any two-bit G-7 knows that Clinton would have had to wear the tie the day before so that she would see it on the evening news prior to her testimony. Certainly Clinton, of all people, would have known such media fundamentals. So think like Sherlock Holmes for a minute. If it wasn’t witness-tampering or a threat, then what was Clinton signaling?

I was on my third day of noodling this riddle (along with a few others I will get to shortly) while strolling to a friend’s birthday party in Central Park when I looked up to see Woody Allen’s familiar building. Woody and Soon Yi, Bill and Monica. Could it be? What if it wasn’t just meaningless sex by a groupie eager to try out her presidential kneepads? What if Bill and Monica were actually in love?


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