Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday's link-oh-rama lives

After being hit with a sinus infection harder than Ali hit Liston (50 years ago) I’m finally getting around to doing a little work/play. Thank you, Z Pack.

** I ran across this list of 50 things that turn 50 this year. Though this recent sickness had me questioning the likelihood, I am slated to turn the big 50 in July. Knock on wood and antibiotics.

** Scoggins: A reminder of what high school sports are about
After several Hopkins basketball players removed their second-place medals almost as soon as they received them on Saturday night, the team's student manager provided a moment to remember.
** Awww, who doesn’t love a good lost-puppy-found-and-returned-to-its-owner story? Cat people, that’s who. Evil cat people.
"I asked a couple of questions to make sure it was her dog. After I was sure, I said, 'When did you lose her?' I was thinking she'd say 'yesterday' but she said 'last summer.' I was like, 'What?' I was ridiculously excited for them. I can't imagine losing my dog for that long, and then actually getting her back."
** Fascinating story about Pakistan government and military: What Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden

** 5 new artists you should listen to after SXSW 2014

** Really funny Axe commercial. That is the cologne of choice among teenage boys these days. About chokes ya. I’m more of a Jay Z Gold guy.

** 10 things Our Kids Will Never Worry About thanks to the information revolution.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday Link-Oh-Rama

Gotta make this quick as I'm off to another one of those milestone family moments where Junior has his first prom. They do the grand march and banquet at the Alex Johnson and then across the street to the theater for the after-prom party. My job is to take photos of the fine couple and reflect on how old I'm getting.

In the meantime:

** Good news: My homeboys were more than hairy, bloodthirsty raiders. From the Star-Trib:
They had names like Thorfinn Skull-splitter, Erik Bloodaxe and Ragnar Hairy Pants. No wonder the Vikings have a rough and bloody reputation. A new exhibition at the British Museum strives to make people think again about the Scandinavian pillagers whose name means "pirate" in Old Norse. Through their ships, weapons, crafts, words and even skeletons, "Vikings: Life and Legend" aims to show how Viking energy and ideas redrew the map of the world.
** Doug Lund reflects on the bank teller who survived the Dillinger robbery in Sioux Falls and went on to great things.
** The Purple Yoda was on Arsenio this week. In case you missed it:

Prince and 3RDEYEGIRL light up the show with their performance of "She's Always In My Hair."

And be sure to listen to my new favorite of his: Funknroll.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Finished: 'Monster of Florence'

So I finally wrapped up the Monster of Florence book by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi. If this is an accurate reflection of the entire judicial and law enforcement bureaucracy in Italy, then they certainly have problems and it’s no wonder the Amanda Knox case turned into such a circus.

However, my guess is it is more of an isolated incident, with a few bad actors/prosecutors/judges. Since the authors of this book eventually got arrested too (and then charges dropped), it is in their best interest to present the prosecutors and judges as incompetent bozos in the worst possible light. And they did, using page after page of mockery to score those points.

It wouldn’t be too hard to pick a couple cases out of the blue in America as well to portray our legal system as messed up. Similarly Mexico, Australia, Greece, pick a country.

I tend to think Mr. Preston was operating on the up and up, but have my doubts about Mr. Spezi, who it wouldn’t surprise me to learn had crossed more than a few ethical lines in journalism and perhaps nudged up to or across some legal ones.

The afterward reflects on the Knox case, where a couple of the prosecutors were also involved in the Monster case, and in fact, were under indictment for issues with that while prosecuting Knox. Amazing.

All in all, it was a fascinating book. A thinker. I gave it a 7- on the Haugen 1-10 scale. Goodreads gives it a 3.67 out of 5.

Quotable quotes I highlighted:
“We all have a Monster within; the difference is in degree, not in kind.” 
“You cannot stare evil in the face; it has no face. It has no body, no bones, no blood. Any attempt to describe it ends in glibness and self-delusion.”  
  “Niccolò, for God’s sake, they accused me of being an accessory to murder, they said I planted a gun at that villa, they’ve indicted me for making false statements and obstruction of justice! They threatened me if I ever return to Italy. And you tell me I shouldn’t be concerned?”  “My dear Douglas, anyone who is anybody in Italy is indagato. I offer you my congratulations on becoming a genuine Italian.” 
Also, author Douglas Preston writes nonfiction books with Lincoln Child and they have a new one out that's supposed to be good.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Link-oh-Mardi Gr-ama

Some apologies are in order: First, sorry the Friday Link-O is a Saturday Link-O. I know how many of you set your watches by it (zero). But Mardi Gras called and I had the answer. Second, sorry to Kevin Costner for taking so much money from your Blackjack dealers last night in Deadwood. That movie coming out next month better not be another Waterworld, just saying. And, thirdly, I'd like to apologize to the woolly mammoth who came to my door this morning looking to get out of the snow and cold. Suck it up, man, you're a mammoth! A little snow and cold won't kill ya.


** Harold Ramis died earlier this week. This oral history (in Esquire) from Ramis and other participants on the making of Ghostbusters is pretty cool.

** From the NYT comes the last disposable action hero.

** How Mexico’s po-po caught ‘El Chapo’

** While I wouldn't vote for him, it's hard not to like our Veep. Here's a good profile on him.

** Here are things the President could learn from Kate Upton (caution: don't view this if you are averse to jiggling).

** Grateful student sets up video chat with 'Life of Pi' author.
Knowing Christensen’s admiration for Martel and “Life of Pi,” she decided the two men should “meet” via video chat. It seemed like a long shot, but she contacted the author on Facebook and made her request. Martel responded the same day. “I am indeed busy, what with my three children and my new novel that I’m revising, but a good teacher is worth the interruption,” he wrote. “I had my share of great teachers when I was young, and I am still grateful to them.”