Today, the first of two things from 2011 that I didn't want to like or even think existed, but which ended up being The Best of those things around, this one from the category of:
I don't like Bill Simmons, okay? More often than not, when I mention him on my sports blog it's to make fun of him and/or accuse him of stealing my ideas, which, to be honest, he does a lot because my ideas are awesome.
So when I first heard back in May that Bill Simmons was going to have his own website called "Grantland", news I got via a blog post on Slate which I didn't really understand, I said:
I only understand about half of that, but from what I gather, it's making fun of Bill Simmons, who deserves that because when he's funny at all it's because he copied me, and he's rarely funny. So I wholeheartedly support Tom Scocca in whatever it was he was writing about there -- and hereby forgive Tom Scocca for having himself kind of stolen my idea a while back, too.
And with that, I decided that I'd never have to read Bill Simmons again, since I never went to ESPN anymore because I'm sick of ESPN, and "NFL Today" and other sports websites; I don't really get my sports news from them at all. When I want sports news -- which is about twice a week -- I get it from a few sources, those sources having been:
1. The Dan Patrick Radio Show
2. The Sports Economist website.
3. NPR's Frank DeFord
5. Sometimes that one TV show with Colin Cowherd and Michelle Beadle, about whom I can't decide if she's hot or just sports hot, because sitting next to Colin Cowherd has to make one look better, doesn't it?
Or does it? People think that if you sit next to someone ugly you'll look better, or if you sit next to someone fat, you'll look skinnier, but as I think about it, I question that logic the same way I question the logic of going to an amusement park on a Tuesday or Wednesday because you think the lines will be shorter: if everything thought that way, Tuesday and Wednesday would be the worst days to be at the amusement park, wouldn't it? Which means you should go on Saturday, when nobody's there, except that's what we all think, so we all go on Saturday, which means...
... you can see why I never go anywhere, and instead just sit around pensively listening to Butterfly Nets by Bishop Allen.
That kind of logic isn't the same flawed logic as "let's sit by someone fat and ugly so we look skinny and pretty", which is also flawed logic, because isn't there just as much of a chance that people will look in your direction and say "Man, look at that whole group of fat, ugly people"?
I think that system only works if you are already hot/skinny, or if you want to make yourself look bad. For example, if you take a Ferrari (or, fill in the name of the car you like, or, if you don't like a car, then fill in the name of something you, personally, find beautiful/hot, like, say, Vanessa Williams or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in which the jelly is spread evenly among every bite.)
(Or, Vanessa Williams making you that PB&J. Man, that's HOT!)
Note: There is no sandwich in that picture. Also note: I am attempting to include more pictures in these posts because Michael Offutt, Author/Mincemeatarian (you're not the only one who can bestow titles, Mr Offutt) thinks I need more pictures, which I'm trying not to take as a criticism of my writing style, but how can I not? Do people go around telling [fill in name of author later, because right now all I can think about is Vanessa Williams, and that's going to seem a little obsessive if I say her again] that she needs more pictures in her work? They do not! Probably! I'm going to listen to Bishop Allen again.
Okay, I'm back. Where was I? Oh, yeah, hotness and how to improve oneself, which isn't at all what this post is about but I've vowed, in 2012, to do two things:
1. Not make any vows, and
2. Finish at least one thought this year, and
iii. Not be tied down by conventional ways of numbering things and let my imagination flow.
[stemella coeruleoalba]. Never admit up front how many items ought to be on a list.
So if you took your hot thing -- Vanessa Williams Making A Perfect PB&J being about the hottest thing anyone can imagine, so we'll go with that -- and put it among ugly things, it wouldn't look any hotter, would it? Sure, it would emphasize the hotness, as in this fictional conversation in which I, and Grumpy Bulldog, and Andrew Leon because I already mentioned Michael Offutt, Author/Higgs Boson, are sitting around having lunch:
Me: This is really weird, isn't it?
Grumpy: I hate everything, especially that girl because she looks like she might not like Kurt Vonnegut.
Andrew: I don't really have a catchy nickname for myself. Should I get one?
Michael Offutt Author/Palindrome, from off to the side: I recommend it! Also, you should have invited me! If I just mention people, they get, like 43,000 hits!
Grumpy: I hate him, now, too.
Me: Hey, is that Vanessa Williams making a PB&J sandwich over there?
Andrew Leon: I don't know, I can't see past all the fat, ugly people in the way.
Grumpy: I hate how much hotter she looks than everyone else.
Rusty Webb, in a surprise guest appearance: Vanessa, let me help you get away from those people at that table.
Michael Offutt Author/Pope Of The Church Of Ridley Scott: I would never have done that to anyone, unless by doing so I could get a sneak peek of Prometheus.
And... I officially have no readers anymore, correct?
On with thinking stuff about other stuff!
The other thing standing near a group of people can do is make you look bad. If I, in that hypothetical lunch scene above, had done to stand near Vanessa Williams, I (a) would have been violating both restraining orders, and (ochre) would have been exposed for being completely not hot -- my lack of hotness becoming extremely apparent in comparison to extreme hotness, the way you don't really notice how white that one shirt is in the detergent commercial until they put it next to the dingy shirt washed with that offbrand soap that your mom uses because she hates you.
Which brings me back to Michelle Beadle:
Hot? Or Sports Hot?
Which in turn brings me back to Bill Simmons and Grantland, which is what this post is about, remember.
I only read Grantland, originally, out of spite, to see just how bad it was and laugh at it and feel superior to Bill Simmons in the way that a guy who has his own sports blog with 0.03 readers can feel superior to a guy who makes his living watching sports and saying stuff about it.
And then I liked it. From the Bad Quarterbacks league to the shout-outs to pop culture to the for some reason Chuck Klosterman writing on it to the fact that they put a 2011 Song Round Up on the site that made no references to sports whatsoever to the fact that they had a great article about how basketball owners have their priorities all wrong... Grantland really stepped up sports writing and managed to do it with a mix that somehow manages to be sports-geeky with references to stats and fourth-string-wideouts and stuff nobody but nerds cares about but also in a way that manages to be fun.
Reading Grantland is, to me, what would happen if the smartest kid in high school got injected with Captain America serum, only the Captain America serum made him funny and interested in sports, a little, too, and so he began writing about it and posted it on a website with a super-pretentious name only somehow it all worked out and made it interesting, and also, let's pretend this metaphor never happened, it was just my way of working in a reference to Captain America, which I watched last night and which was pretty good, except that if Captain America's metabolism really worked at 4 times the rate of ordinary humans', he would need to eat at least 8,000 calories a day, and likely more considering how hard he's working at all other times, so his food bills would be enormous.
And, on Captain America, too, after it was over, Sweetie asked me "How could he be alive after all these years?"
And I said: "Well, you have to assume that he crashed into the ocean and froze pretty quickly, and since it was explained that his body could heal itself, he was in suspended animation with his body healing itself, too," and then I added "Or, more appropriately: something-something-something-science, he's healed!" which is what all science is about in comic books, anyway.
And that is why I like Grantland: because this post, which is about Grantland, also manages to be about how hot things are and PB&Js and Captain America and science. I'm not a sports junkie; I don't care much about the Xs and Os and stats unless you manage to make it interesting to me. Grantland manages to do that: be interesting, plus plus be smart about sports so that I can learn things and make sense of it.
So, in conclusion:
*. The numbering system you use is heterofascist; free your mind and the body will follow.
17. Grantland is The Best Sports Whatever Of 2011.
3. Michelle Beadle is not as hot as Vanessa Williams.
PRIOR BESTS of 2011:
Books (And Other Smarty-Pants Things)
Santa, Godzilla and Jesus Walk Into A Bar...
Nick, a nearly-failed UFO maker, finds a tiny brass trumpet lying in a gutter – moments before a dead body drops from the sky and he’s chased down the street and into a major adventure by Sexy Cop. Before he knows it, Nick is doing battle with Wenceslas’ Xmas Machine, helped by Angels, the Secret Army Under The Bed, and a man in a robe, as attempts at world domination mix in with Nick’s attempts to convince Sexy Cop that they are soulmates.
Santa, etc… is a hilariously offbeat, thrill-a-minute otherworldly adventure that attempts to answer the question “What is the most ridiculous possible explanation for Christmas as we know it.” Said one person: “If Douglas Adams had teamed up with Robert Heinlein to come up with a story to make everyone forget A Christmas Carol, they’d have simply ended up copying this story.” (That person was the author of this story, but still… he said it.)