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MJ: The Most Important Person in Every Room


UPC Label - The IncredibleAlthough quite dated by now, I only came by this article recently.  I found it fascinating.  And almost equally tragic.

When you type “Michael” into Wikipedia, the first three suggested entries that pop up, in order, are Michael Jackson, Michael (archangel), and Michael Jordan.  It seems almost insulting to Jordan, who is used to being first, best, greatest, most revered, most famous, most emulated, most beloved.  If you’re about my age, you grew up watching this man do almost impossible things on the basketball court.  I don’t even like basketball.  But growing up, I rabidly followed the Bulls.  It was more than watching a great player, or a great exhibition of sport.  It felt like witnessing two teams trying to play while a Ferrari screeched figure-eights on the court with them.  Jordan was completely, utterly, wonderfully disruptive.

Everyone wanted to Be Like Mike.  But what that degree of fame did to the man is unspeakably sad.  The very saddest part being that MJ seems not to realize the extent of the damage.

Exit factoid:  Jordan’s codename given by his security detail?  Y@HW3H.  That’s the name of God in Hebrew, if you don’t keep up with such things.  Yeah.

ESPN The Magazine – Michael Jordan Has Not Left the Building


REWIND: Frank Sinatra Has A Cold


UPC Label - EntertainmentWe’ve all read them.  The lengthy, immersive articles with famous, if not slightly offbeat subjects.  They play games with their own chronology, and seamlessly stitch anecdotes and quotes or songs or poetry into what’s functionally a deep-dive newspaper article.  Part novel, part news, the technique was so powerful it came to be called New Journalism.

Gay Talese started it all with this massive article, published in Esquire during the spring of 1966.  Swing through the life of an imminently powerful, irritable Sinatra, complete with all night benders in Vegas.  Francis’s mom plays machine politics.  A rough comic named Don Rickles dares to heckle Frank.  Dino pours a bottle of whiskey over his own head.

Enjoy, baby.

Esquire – Frank Sinatra Has a Cold

The Death of Jai Alai


“Imagine if a hundred years from now, the best shortstop, or the greatest point guard of all-time comes along when no one watches the game anymore.”

UPC Label - Art and CultureMy exposure to jai alai consists entirely of the one-second cut in the opening credits of the original Miami Vice television show.  That being said, this is the most interesting article you’ll ever read on an almost completely obscure subject.  Witness a sport both at its pinnacle and yet near extinction.

SB Nation :  What Happened to Jai Alai?

Stephen Wiltshire’s Gift


UPC Label - The Incredible


H/T David Murray

Apollo, God of Thieves


UPC Label - The IncredibleIf you were good at stealing, and I mean really good, one of the greatest thieves in the whole world… would you use your ‘gift’ for good or ill?  And if you were to say ‘for good’ then another tricky question comes.  How?

I very much like the question this legendary pickpocket poses to his baffled victims:  “Am I being paid enough to give it back?”

The New Yorker:  A Pickpocket’s Tale – The spectacular thefts of Apollo Robbins

UPDATE:  Video – The Art of Pickpocketing

Are You Honest? Are You Sure?


A Persian Crystal Ball


“[W]e’ve done it so that they can defend themselves. Not so they can start World War III.”

A lengthy exploration by Foreign Policy on what an Israeli strike on Iran might look like.  Hint:  It might not be what you think.

The most frightening part being that Israeli strategery isn’t simply trained on the Iranians alone.  Probably integral to Israel’s plans is the entanglement of the United States.

FP’s knowitalls anticipate three possible IDF attack options, one or more of which likely end in an Iranian missile strike on one of our capital ships. – The Entebbe Option