Category Archives: Sports

Weekend Links

Why truckers love NPR

A guide to the plants of Tolkien’s Middle Earth

Should one always obey the wishes of late authors to destroy unpublished work?

A history of tea and how European colonization changed the Western diet

How Buffy The Vampire Slayer redefined TV storytelling

When things go missing

How Instagram is changing restaurant design

What a dumb time to be alive

The fight over women’s basketball in Somalia

The untold story of the Astros’ rainbow uniforms

Why everyone loves blue

A history of Europe’s four winds

The real Gus Grissom

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Filed under History, Sports, TV/Movies, Uncategorized

Your Morning Cup of Links

“Strangely, this is the best you can really say of Trump: Thank goodness he’s a compulsive liar, because otherwise he’d just be nuts.”

Is it “immoral” for a Republican not to vote for Trump?

Is it immoral to vote for someone who not only says but boasts that he’ll issue illegal orders to the military and that they’ll obey? Is it immoral to make a guy who might not be able to pass a fourth-grade civics class leader of the free world? We can play this game all day. Of all the arguments that can be made for turning out for a louche authoritarian who, when asked for his favorite Bible verse, says “an eye for an eye,” an appeal to morality has to be the lamest.

Trumpism corrupts, and absolute Trumpism corrupts absolutely…Is there any line a Republican candidate could cross that would justify a Republican voter withholding his or her vote? If you want to say “a Republican should never vote Democratic,” okay. But there must be circumstances where a Republican voter would be morally justified in protesting by staying home. Where’s that line? There’s always going to be a counterargument in presidential elections that the Supreme Court is too important to risk letting a leftist fill vacancies. If Trump or some nominee of the future were to start preaching ethnic cleansing, say, would it be immoral not to vote for him for fear of liberal justices? I’m giving a deliberately extreme example (although not so extreme that some of Trump’s alt-right fans wouldn’t approve of it) to make the point that everyone has some moral line. Where is it? If David Duke finishes in the top two of Louisiana’s jungle primary along with a Democrat, where’s the moral line on that race?

How much responsibility does Trump bear for his current electoral problems? The blame game we’re playing between Trump fans and #NeverTrumpers is fun but it conveniently obscures the question of how much blame the man himself should be charged with. Even Hannity scolded him recently for attacking Republicans on the stump instead of focusing on Clinton, and most Trumpers, I’m sure, would stipulate as an abstract matter that there are things he could be doing better. But that’s a boilerplate admission. Every candidate can always be doing things better. What I’m interested in is why the tone from fans like Hannity is so much sharper when criticizing anti-Trumpers than it is when criticizing the man himself. Trump is, after all, in the process of blowing a once-in-a-lifetime chance for a populist “outsider” to swoop in and win the presidency. He’s facing a wildly unpopular nominee who’s stuck trying to win a third straight term for her party, one of the heaviest lifts in American politics. He has an economic message tailor-made to win over working-class voters frustrated by years of sluggish wages and, until lately, a difficult job market. He came into the election with universal name recognition and has created an insatiable media appetite for him. And he has, allegedly, billions of dollars of wealth he could have used to build the best ground game and the best data analytics money can buy. He had every advantage. And he cannot, stop, stepping. on. his. own. d*ck. He’s getting blown out by a corrupt, charmless dynast widely perceived as a pathological liar, mainly because he can’t resist being a bomb-throwing blowhard even when he and his fans have everything to gain by him doing so. Where’s the outrage about that? Instead of attacking Trump, all Hannity wants to talk about is how people like Ted Cruz has “sabotaged” this loser because he wouldn’t endorse a guy who casually accused Cruz’s wife of being ugly and his father of maybe having helped murder Kennedy. I’m willing to listen to how immoral #NeverTrumpers are for not backing Trump if it’s one part of a 50-part argument where the other 49 parts are complaints about Trump having squandered his many, many chances. When do we reach that part of this debate?

We’d be talking a lot more about stuff like this if the GOP hadn’t nominated an insane conspiracy theorist, but oh well.

Meet Niku, the weird object beyond Neptune that nobody can figure out

“It was the softest of landings for the spirited Simone Biles. She has much to teach about the blessing of adoption, the meaning of love, and the irreplaceable institution of the family.

The race to save a dying language

Review: ‘William Merritt Chase: A Modern Master’ at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. through September 11

Showtime at the Musée d’Orsay: Watching Varnish Dry

News you can use: How to claim land on the moon

These Olympians’ motherhood adds to their awesomeness

Antlers Hunter S Thompson stole from Hemingway’s home returned to family

Zoo gives free access to gingers for World Orangutan Day

Trump’s most WTF moments happen when he tries to speak conservative because he’s not a conservative. He is a stranger in a strange land. 

I. Love. America.

“She’s a mystery,” says Dave Marsh, coach of the U.S. Olympic women’s team. “I’ve experienced the passion and depth with which Katie trains and races. I’ve gone back and tried to figure out what causes it, because she doesn’t fit the model. She has a wonderful family, has everything, really, that she wants; she’s a beautiful person with seemingly no dark sides. But she has this energy stirring in her, not just at meets but at practice. “What is she pursuing? Her personal best, but she’s doing it with fury. Where’s the fury coming from? We don’t know, but the stove is running hot.”

The fuel? Ledecky grins and shrugs, but those who know her point to energies she’s only now coming to understand. To a World War II doctor practicing in a Pacific hell. To a cold-war dynamic that, in 1948, sent a Czech statesman hurtling to his death and compelled a father to implore his 20-year-old son to stay in America. To a Jewish cemetery in Prague, and to a Montana lake where, six decades ago, a four-year-old girl nearly drowned. To Michael Jordan’s hands, and to the promise of hot cocoa after a rainstorm.

Kenny Baker, the man behind R2-D2 in the Star Wars films, has died after a long illness.

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Filed under Around the World, Art, Politics, Science, Sports, Uncategorized

America. Is. Already. Great.


Last night Simone Manuel made history, becoming the first African American to win an individual swimming medal. If her reaction when she turned around and realized she won the gold medal didn’t bring tears to your eyes, you’re dead inside. What a beautiful story she has and what an incredible, exciting, come-from-behind victory last night. Congrats Simone!



Photos by Odd Andersen / Gabriel Bouys / AFP / Getty Images

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What a joy to watch excellence at the Olympics

In a year when we are constantly reminded that our politicians – and especially our presidential candidates – are craven mediocrities, what a joy it is to watch genuine excellence and incredible human achievement at the Olympic Games this week. What a joy to watch hard work pay off, to watch honesty triumph over cheating. What a joy, after constantly being told, whether by the Left or by the Trumpian Right, what a bad country we are, to be reminded how good we are. How exceptional we are. America Is Already Great. What a beautiful American story Simone Biles has. From foster care to being the best gymnast in the world. America Is Already Great. How beautiful to watch an American team with two African Americans, a Latina American, and a Jewish American beat out homogeneous teams. America Is Already Great. So thank you, Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky, Lilly King, the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team, and all the rest of Team USA for showing us humanity at its best this week, in a year when we’re constantly seeing it at its worse.

Robert Tracinski writes:

The real core of the Greek idea was the pursuit of human excellence…Whenever you think the limits of human capability have been reached, someone pushes them just a little farther…Our fascination with Olympic athletes comes from our ability to grasp a wider, abstract meaning. The extraordinary physiques of athletes are an easily grasped, visual symbol for the idea of extraordinary achievement as such. What we get from them is the idea of striving to make ourselves extraordinary in some way, even if it is not on the athletic field…For all of our politician’s incoherent blustering about making America great again, Olympic athletes show us how to make being human great again. We might want to look at that with a little of the seriousness and even reverence it deserves. There are a lot of things that are wrong in the world, and a lot of that is going to smear off on the edges of the Olympics. But the games themselves are part of what’s right.

And as Kevin Williamson put it:

There’s something special at work in all of those stories, and it usually starts with a child: “Hey, look what I can do!” becomes “Hey, I’m pretty good at this!” and sometimes, like Simone Biles or Steve Wozniak, they just keep going, all of them in their own way carrying the rest of us forward with them.

Politics thrives on convincing us that things are worse than they are, telling us that we must live in fear of violence and misery if we do not elevate the members of a very special caste of people who do very little resembling real work. The contest between Donald Trump and Hillary Rodham Clinton is not only unworthy of us as Americans — it is unworthy of us as a species. We contain within us greatness and the seeds of greatness, and the belief that the affairs of this free, dynamic, prosperous, good, unprecedented republic of 319 million souls rests on the choice between Enfeebled Psychotic Miscreant A and Enfeebled Psychotic Miscreant B is a superstition, one that we should leave behind.

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What. A. Game.


Wouldn’t be complete without an incredible story: Kris Jenkins, who hit the game-winner for Villanova, was adopted by a UNC player’s family when he was 10.

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🎶 Hello darkness my old friend 🎶


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November 22, 2015 · 5:18 pm

Je Suis Paris

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Filed under Sports, Video of the Day