Friday, August 19, 2016

How Boring Were These Olympic Events?

These Olympics, like all the ones before it, have boasted their share of awe-inspiring displays of athleticism, the burnishing of legacies, wild photo finishes, and heartwarming moments that might make even the most ruthless competitor tear up a bit. In Rio, all of that great stuff happened despite widespread corruption and protest, a messy "armed robbery" case, an embarrassing sex "scandal", and much else to make cynics roll their eyes at the very idea of the "Olympic spirit."

You know what else has been mixed in with all that goodness and badness? A healthy dose of dullness.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

How Did Sterling Call Gary Sanchez's First Homer?

Yankees catcher-of-the-future Gary Sanchez blasted his first career home run, a back-waller to center field at Fenway on Wednesday night. Here's how John Sterling called what we hope will be the first of many for Sanchez:
When the Yanks called up Sanchez earlier in the season, here's what I predicted:

Monday, August 8, 2016

How Much Is a YETI Worth?

This blog has been pretty slow during these dog days of summer, due to the combination of moving* and vacation.

*Oh, moving... There's a great Louis CK joke about the law against murder being the number one thing preventing murder. Well, with all the obstacles and idiots I had to deal with while moving, that joke definitely applied to me. Big-time.

One of our recent trips was our second-annual jaunt to the Jersey Shore, which is in many ways a week-long commercial for YETI coolers. Last year, each day I timed the first utterance of the word "YETI" and it usually happened within five minutes of sitting down on the beach. This year, the YETI craze reached new heights.

Monday, August 1, 2016

How Can We Compare the Recent Yankees Trades to Action Movies?

Well, the Yanks finally did it. They enacted the fie sale that many of us have been waiting for, so much so that their recent transaction page looks like a description of Chicago circa 1871.

Chapman! Miller! Beltran! Nova! Burn this baby down! 

For months, I was Nervous Pervis every time Miller entered a game or Beltran came to the plate, for fear that precious trade value might disappear with a serious injury. Basically, I gave this Yankees team a Ray Guy-level punt at some point in June and I was just worried that the organization's Tampa contingent wouldn't do the same until it was too late.

Now, it's a little depressing that rebuilding is officially underway in the Bronx, but I'll be dreaming about the Yankees offering half of Greenwich Village to Manny Machado and the entire Upper West Side to Bryce Harper at the end of 2017. In honor of the front office's major activity of the past week, here are five action movie comparisons to help us put those transactions into perspective:

Friday, June 24, 2016

How Entertaining Is This 2001 Internet Field Trip?

In the months leading up to the launch of the site The Ringer, we heard over and over how Bill Simmons' newest project would be very different from the dearly-beloved-yet-deceased Grantland. Secretly, though, most of us hoped for Grantland 2.0. After all, Simmons was bringing back much of the old gang, a la Fleetwood Mac in 2013. So why couldn't the new site be very similar to Grantland?

The Ringer has been very enjoyable so far, and one of the site's distinguishing features has been its technology coverage. While that isn't exactly my area of expertise (here's my much-maligned cell phone...
"Now with texting capabilities!"
), I have enjoyed many of the site's tech articles so far. My favorite was Alyssa Bereznak's funny retrospective about AOL's painfully dated paperback guide to the internet. Just more than a decade later, it's fun to look back and poke fun at the Neanderthal-esque way people used the Web. If I traveled back in time, with the scant present-day tech knowledge I've accrued, I could run Silicon Valley in the late 1990s. Anyways, I think I can add to Bereznak's noticings.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

How Nervy Is My Father?

My mom often says that my dad is the "second-nerviest person alive" behind only his sister, my aunt Beth Ann.

If you want to know what I mean by nervy, here's a revealing story: Broke as hell, my dad went to Lake Placid for the 1980 Olympics. No, he wasn't there to see Karin Enke-Kania of East Germany speed-skate. He was in the Adirondacks to watch our country's cute little upstarts play hockey against the best international competition.

Unfortunately, Olympic hockey is a marquee event, and tickets weren't cheap. That was especially true when the U.S. team reached the semifinals against the mighty Soviets. So my dad was hosed, right? He probably just watched the game in a bar on Main Street? Not so fast. Like he had done so many times before, he activated his well-honed nerviness and seized control of the situation. As I understand the story, he was in a bar before the game. Tickets were nowhere to be found, but there was a television crew there having a drink. At some point, one of the members of that crew left his "ABC"-emblazoned jacket on a barstool. My dad claims that the guy had left the bar and forgotten his coat. My skeptical side tells me that the guy probably just went to the bathroom. Either way, my dad grabbed the jacket, flashed his ID at the press entrance of the hockey arena, and he and his friends attended the freakin' Miracle on Ice as faux media members. On the nervy scale, that's right up there with the Soviet coach's infamous decision to remove star goalie Vladislav Tretiak from the game.

In honor of my dad on Father's Day, here's a short list of some of the other nervy things he's done throughout the years:

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

How Much Gratitude Do I Owe to 'Goosebumps'?

The original title of this piece was going to be "How Did Goosebumps Help Make Me the Man I Am Today?" However, there were a few problems with that title. First, I have trouble even considering myself a full-grown man, unless it's just an excuse to say the word man like Christopher Walken does in Wedding Crashers. Second, "the man I am today" implies that I'm somebody important. I'm not -- I'm just a well-meaning dude who teaches snot-nosed children their ABC's. (And sometimes teaches them what the '90s were.)

But I am someone (a man, I guess) who likes to read a lot. And that all started with Goosebumps, R.L. Stine's wildly popular horror series. Here, then, are the 10 ways that Goosebumps profoundly affected my life: