Some random bits and pieces from the pages of my mind — none of them enough for a full blog post, but still worth passing on:
* Regular readers of this space know that I’m a big fan of Bill Simmons, ESPN.com’s “Sports Guy” since 2001. Well, Bill has gone and done something new, starting his own website called Grantland. Named after 1920s sportswriter Grantland Rice, it’s sort of a clearinghouse for feature and opinion pieces on sports, popular culture and the intersection of the two. Besides Simmons, the featured writers include Chuck Klosterman, Malcolm Gladwell, Katie Baker, This Recording’s Molly Lambert and ESPN’s Jonah Keri, plus a half-dozen others that you may not have heard of but will become a fan of before long. The level of authorship ranges from pretty good to excellent, they put up about a dozen pieces a day, and I probably spend more time reading it Monday-Friday than I can really afford. But I never seem to regret it.
I just added a link to Grantland to my list o’ links on the right — or you can click here to check it out. Try it, you might like it.
* My prayers go out to the people affected by the 5.8 earthquake that hit Virginia earlier today. It’s weird for me to even worry about a 5.8 — as a California native, I’ve been through a few 6s and at least one 7, so my tendency is to think, “oh, 5.8? That’s all? No big deal.” Well, it’s not a big deal if you grew up with it, if you’re used to it, if everything around you is built to withstand it. I don’t think that’s the case in Virginia, so that becomes a whole ‘nother animal. Hope everyone is doing okay out there.
And I hope the numbskulls who want to credit this quake to God’s wrath over gay marriages or liberals or “those people” in Washington (click here for a representative sample, and note that few of them know how to spell or punctuate) will just shut up and crawl back under their rocks. Because if God used earthquakes to punish homosexuals and liberals, he would’ve obliterated San Francisco (conveniently located near America’s largest earthquake fault) DECADES ago! It’s still there, I checked. And for those who think that a shaker in an odd place is automatically a sign of the End Times, keep in mind that the most powerful earthquakes in American history had as their epicenter … New Madrid in southeastern Missouri. In 1811. So chillax.
* I can say that I’m no longer a fan of American football — I follow it in passing, but largely to keep my wife informed of developments, and I don’t watch the games for more than a few seconds if I’ve got something better to do. Too much violence, too many injuries (and not just on the field), too much corruption, too many miscreants shooting or attacking people/things. Generally, everything I don’t want in my life. But as a former football fan, I still found this flowchart to be hilaaaaaaaariousz. Especially the bit about the Dallas Cowboys …
* My wife is starting a support group for people with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) in California’s Central Valley (basically, south of Sacramento and north of Fresno). Currently, it’s online only, but if they get enough members there will likely be regular face-to-face meetings. Go here if you’d like to join.
* Looks like some very important people have remembered that rap music started out being fun! This just puts a smile on my face every time I see it — so sue me. (And I hope someday to be in a place in life where I can say “Photo shoot fresh, looking like wealth/’Bout to call the paparazzi on myself” unironically.)
* On the fiction front, my long-in-the-works Iron Man fanfic “Hearts and Souls” is finally finished (clocking in at a novel-esque, almost 72,000 words), and I’ve started a follow-up series of vignettes called … well, “Vignettes”, of which I plan to bang out about one a week through the end of 2011. Free to enjoy as you please. If you like them, let me know; if you don’t like them, show me what I can improve; and if you’re Tony Stark, tell me what you think.
Also, I finally got around to watching the short-lived science fiction TV series Firefly, and it was just as terrific as my fellow SF fans said it was. If you’d like to explore it for yourself, it’s available for online viewing on Netflix, or at Hulu.com (though if you’re not a paid Hulu member, you can only watch about a third of the episodes). I’m planning to watch the subsequent feature film, Serenity; my expectations are appropriately high. And I’m thinking of asking for a long brown coat for Christmas …
*Finally, has anyone else noticed that you can no longer dial 767-xxxx (fill in four numbers of your choice) to get an accurate time by which to set your clocks? Apparently they did away with it a few years ago. Thankfully, for those of us who like to know EXACTLY what time it is, the U.S. Naval Observatory has put their cesium atom clock (accurate to within one second every graschmillion years) online for our benefit. Who says the government isn’t doing us any good?