Spencer Hall's Google Reader Account and Turntable Room

Spencer Hall shares things he likes on the Internet today, in quick-hit fashion.

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The Tim Tebow CFL Chronicles are coming soon

You may have noticed that Jon Bois has been relatively scarce around here. There is a reason: he has been holed up in a bunker writing the Tim Tebow CFL Chronicles, the definitive fictional account of the quarterback's adventures in the Great White North. It features illustrations like this, cameos from Natrone Means and Dante Hall, and...a sea battle? I'm pretty sure there's a naval battle at the end that's also part of a football game, if I've got that part right. At 35,000 words, I can also honestly say it's the world's first CFL-seaventure-GIFstory novella, and also its finest. When do you get to see it? The answer: when it's done, which should be fairly soon, aka sometime in the next week or so after Jon records the audio tracks to Johnny Manziel's country album. It's harder to find a good pedal steel player than you might think, even in the great Commonwealth of Kentucky.


The greatest Wheel of Fortune episode ever

James Brown would like an "I", please


You must read "I Am Zlatan" and this is why

1. I am Zlatan is brilliant, and you should read it, and not just because the PSG striker inspires Euro-Dancehall tribute anthems. 2. You should read it because Zlatan is funny, mostly without effort. He describes himself sitting in a track suit with a giant gold watch in his Mercedes trying to hit on his future wife, wondering what she thinks of him, and then announces "Well, I thought I was pretty awesome" even as she's shutting him down. He talks about how bad he is at drinking, how he squanders his fame playing XBox games for 12 hours straight. Late in the book, he taunts the "nice, blonde Swedish boys" of his youth team for never becoming giant international soccer stars like he did, and yells at Pep Guardiola for driving the "Ferrari" of Zlatan like a Fiat. He tells his beloved manager to fuck off no fewer than a thousand times, usually right before he is transferred from one club to another for a record sum. He happily discusses how to lose the cops if you're speeding Sweden, provided you have a Ferrari Enzo. (Which, Zlatan will tell you without an ounce of guilt, is amazing just like Zlatan.) 3. You should also read it because Zlatan is so brutally honest about everything. His family fights over the dinner table and takes Ikea furniture home on their backs to avoid paying the delivery fees. In a fit of juvenile theft, he accidentally steals a coach's bike. He scarfs whole loaves of bread after practices and sells his dad's beer cans for extra cash. It's stuff you've read before in athlete biographies, but never with this kind of voice. 4. You should read it because David Lagercrantz is fiendishly good at translating Zlatan's voice from transcription to print. Zlatan's easy to love, but getting it all in a shape you can read in about three hours couldn't have been easy. 5. I sort of teared up at the end, the last thing I expected from this book. He will make you feel emotions. He is Zlatan.


On ending another player's career

During the breakdown of the play he starts to scramble to the outside and my first thought is "Please God let him throw the ball away". He pump fakes once and my second thought is "PLEASE GOD LET HIM THROW THE BALL AWAY". My prayers were not answered and it was at this moment I had a decision to make.

DeQwan Young is a DB for the Erie Explosion of the UIFL, but you may know him better as the guy who broke Jared Lorenzen's leg and ended the giant quarterback's football career. According to his guest spot on The Lounge, he really, really wanted Jared Lorenzen to throw the ball away because he had no interest in hitting a man who outweighed him by a hundred pounds or so, but had to because of the game, the situation, and because he had no interest in being embarrassed in front of a large audience. (And no, Jared Lorenzen is not accepting his friend request on Facebook.)

R.I.P., Louis Zamperini

He shook Hitler's hand at the 1936 Olympics, survived a B-24 crash, spent 47 days at sea in an open lifeboat, and made it off Japan's notorious "Execution Island" P.O.W. camp. He nearly starved to death, and took nearly two years worth of beatings from Japanese camp wardens, including many from Mutsuhiro Watanabe, one of Japan's most notorious war criminals. And when he finally stopped drinking after the war, sobered up, and made it back to Japan, he met his captors and hugged each one by one. In 1988 at the age of 81, he ran with the Olympic torch past the camps where he was held as a P.O.W. Louis Zamperini, the subject of the book Unbroken and one of the most extraordinary Americans around, died today at the age of 97, and it's hard to pick out what may be more remarkable about his life: what he survived, or what he forgave.


You'll never have this, Belgium

It's Dolly Parton playing the Benny Hill theme forwards and backwards. Even if you win today, Belgium, you'll never have that. NEVER. (P.S. She's really playing, just like she is here on "Son of a Preacher Man.")


The starting eleven: rappers


1. We're kind of playing a loose 4-2-3-1 here, if you're wondering about the formation.

2. Starting in goal, we needed length and athleticism. At around 6'5" and with a not insubstantial high school basketball career to his credit, 2 Chainz will more than do as a kind of Hakeem Olajuwon-in-reverse project.

3. Central defense requires some tenacity, energy, and fearlessness, and that's Waka Flocka Flame. Flocka brings along an impressive list of tangible and intangible soccer assets: height for headers, tattoos, and quality soccer hair. Wiz Khalifa takes the other spot based on his height and ability to calm Waka down when he gets a red card for obliterating a striker in the box. Wiz also fills out the tats requirement for central defenders nicely, though whether he can actually do anything is beside the point. He's there to keep things calm.

4. Fullbacks in the 4-2-3-1 have to be physical enough to cut off attacks down the flanks, yet fast enough to push the ball up the pitch. The veteran is Nelly, who like all veterans understands the value of fitness, but also knows how to conserve energy for when it's most needed. (For instance: Nelly has not done anything since 2004, and is waiting for just the right moment to pounce.) On the other side is Tyler the Creator, who fills out the role of team lunatic and hit man. You need a leg broken? Tyler is your man, though you'll never be sure exactly whose leg he's going to snap, or what that player's team will be. You want to see an Odd Future goal celebration; you NEED to see an Odd Future goal celebration.

5. Defensive midfielders represent the true strength of our team. Short, yes, but undeniably strong, and balanced nicely between Kendrick Lamar, the outlandish ball-hog incapable of taking a turn without destroying all other opposition, and Big Boi, the veteran capable of boundless creativity who understands the whole field. You might be wondering about Big Boi's conditioning: he's surprisingly fit, but we assumed he'd be doing a lot of passing and not much running, anyway. Also, this is totally made-up, so you should get upset about this, and about the combined nine and a half feet of defensive midfielder we're starting.

6. The three attacking midfielders are a mess, but you have to admit they're a fascinating mess. Eminem is the older star clearly down a step, and perhaps only starting thanks to an elaborate blackmail scheme involving the manager and a woman who is not his wife. He's volatile, still occasionally explosive, and prone to disappearing into his mansion for months on end. Drake is sulky and wildly popular, so he belongs up here, too. By simply putting on a jersey, he may already be the best Canadian soccer player ever. (Eat it, Craig Forrest.) Pitbull's starting job is part of a contractual agreement with FIFA; we have no choice thanks to Sepp Blatter's insane devotion to corporate synergy. As with everywhere else in life, Pitbull is here, and we're just going to have to enjoy him.

7. Big K.R.I.T. is a bold choice at striker, but consider his striker-y attributes: he comes out of nowhere, works alone a lot, and then swoops in after periods of inactivity to deliver thunderous scores.

8. Didn't make the squad for good reasons: Kanye (locker room cancer), Andre 3000 (shows up once every ten years at this point), 50 Cent (TV and endorsement obligations), Jay-Z (age, off-field issues, knees), Gucci Mane (legal issues, conditioning), Juicy J (failed drug test), Bun B (age, conditioning), Rick Ross (fitness issues), Shaq (Grown Ups 2), Lil Wayne (did not get permission slip signed by Birdman).

9. The manager is Action Bronson solely because we want to see him sweaty, angry, and in an ill-fitting suit.


Good morning, here's Marcos Valle looking awesome

"Estrelar" by Marcos Valle, a piece of early 80s Brazilian disco-funk set to what appears to be Marcos driving an awesome car to his living room. His living room is the beach, where he watches movies with ladies in bikinis and enjoys tropical drinks. You say that you can't really make the living room your beach? You are clearly not Brazilian, and never will be. (HT: DJ Meeks)


Barkley Marathon documentary is predictably insane

The Atlantic made a 22 minute documentary about the 2014 Barkley Marathon, a forbidding ultramarathon run through hellaciously hilly Morgan County, Tennessee. It only took the sole finisher in the documentary fifty hours to collapse, nearly give up, and then notice the waving of the tree branches in the wind, but bloody feet and physical annihilation are a small price to pay to star in your own Terence Malick movie in the freezing woods of East Tennessee.

P.S. Bonus points for showing the race's founder firing up a cigarette the minute the starting bell goes off.


For the person with zero going on in their life

At last, the beverage for the person who doesn't want to leave a single percentage point unused, but wants that perfect ZERO LIFE. (Via Paul.)


John Oliver describes every sports fan everywhere

1. John Oliver's gotten really, really good at his job really, really quickly. Everyone will watch this today, and then share it on your social media platform of choice with "WATCH JOHN OLIVER SHRED FIFA LOL", and you'll miss the central and most painful point of this. FIFA is a horrible institution, a toxic cauldron poisoning the soul-warming flame of soccer itself. It's not just that John Oliver can do the Jon Stewart thing you're so fond of hitting the like button on, but it's the deft hand pointing you towards something so much worse that makes Oliver remarkable here: that you'll still watch, because for all its faults something in you and billions of other people still feeds off something in the game, something that enables FIFA despite your best critical instincts. Take that in as evidence of his skill, or hell, just hit the little "Share" button and type LOL. Whether you notice it or not, John Oliver's doing something remarkable here, something broadly applicable to any sports fan struggling with a beloved game that might be in some very filthy custodial hands. (CC: everyone, pretty much.)

2. There actually is a movie about FIFA. Its title is "United Passions," and in case you wonder what narcissistic managerial drones would create a film about corrupt sporting kleptocrats, your answer is simple: the narcissistic managerial bribe-guzzlers at FIFA. They spent $27 million of FIFA's "non-profit" money on the film, and did not even attempt to cover up Sepp Blatter's only remarkable skill as a person in the trailer. ("He is good at finding money.")

This is the most exciting clip from the entire preview.

THAT TABLE POUND SAVED SOCCER. Add Sam Neill and Tim Roth to the list of actors who will literally appear in anything for money.

3. You can watch the entire E:60 on Qatar's labor atrocities here, and should.


Rio World Cup prep, chapter four: Arnold goes to Rio

We're sure this is EXACTLY what Rio is going to look like, even thirty years later and without a completely uncouth Arnold Schwarzenegger driving shirtless in a dune buggy.


Mario Kart time trials: a real thing

It took me until the release of Mario Kart 8 to realize competitive time-trialing was a real thing-- like, enough of a thing to merit a Wiki entry on the depth of real, live tactics for it. That clip is not from a time trial, but is a reminder that Luigi leads the game in sheer cold killing rage.


Notes on Kanye West's wedding/NFL audition

1. I was in line for groceries on the late night dad beat last week and these very dull visitors from somewhere not here were speaking in flat, monotonous accents about their church group. I want to make that part up, but I can't. They were talking about their church group, and buying batteries for their digital cameras for whatever event they were going to in town, and then they saw the cover of People featuring Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

Woman one: "Oh, I don't like him. I don't like him at all."

Woman two: "Me neither. She could do so much better."

And at that point, at 11:15 p.m. with a six pack of kids' whole fat yogurt and a brick of vacuum-sealed coffee in hand, I nearly turned around to the Stirrup Pants Hitlerettes and said "KANYE WEST IS A DAMN GENIUS AND YOU ARE SHIT." (I did not because the police are strong and have hard sticks to beat you with, but I really, really wanted to, and that's what counts here.)

I legitimately believe that, though, and reading about his wedding only confirms this. I feel confident in saying that Kanye's wedding is his third best album at worst, and one of his most important works, and also his best audition for becoming the NFL's greatest owner ever.

2. Kanye put a 49 foot tall gold toilet-god-temple on top of a Medici fortress and made people go to the bathroom in the dark in it, thus creating the most haunting metaphor of our time for wealth. At first it gleams in the distance, then invites you into a world of darkness, despair, and the uncomfortable silence of Italian bathroom attendants trying to hand you wet wipes in the dark.

3. Kanye ordered 30 black marble nude statues made for the wedding. The reasonable about of time given for fulfillment of this work order: four days. Of the thirty blocks cut, a grand total of six made it to the wedding intact and with their heads attached, a batting average of .200 that puts them right at the express statue maker's Mendoza Line. It's like my father the demand sculptor always said: "It's a lot like love, son: you can get it quick, or you can get it cheap, but you can't have both, and either way your head might fall off for no reason at any time."

4. Kanye scrapped the lights at the last second because no one needed to look at anyone but him.

5. This happened.

He took a saw and started sawing it in half himself. Two men held the bar stable as he sawed, and sawed, into the bar, defacing the entire front, screaming at everyone around him. He said it looked like a bar from Texas. Then he ordered two pieces of raw wood to be nailed onto the front of the bar. Once the wood was in place, "Now," he said, "it’s art."

You will never do anything this self-assured in your life. Also, I do not believe Kanye West is on cocaine, or at least any more so than any other person with the mutation of having naturally occurring, incredibly powerful cocaine glands located in their brain stem. 

6. If the dinner table had the names of the guests engraved -- and sometimes misspelled -- on it, then there is a possibility there is a chunk of Italian marble that just reads "Cyhi the Pronce" on it floating around Florence thrift shops. Find it, and I will give you five dollars from my bank account in exchange for it, and thank you for my new special power totem stone.

7. You might think him sending Andrea Bocelli packing after singing "Con Te Partirò" is cold, but it's a roster move that sends a powerful message that no one talent is bigger than the wedding team. Authoritative stuff from a guy clearly in charge of his own franchise.

8. I am seeing him sawing the draft board in half and stapling it back together with platinum staples while firing and rehiring his GM five times in a morning. I am seeing Roger Goodell striding to the mike and announcing without a hint of irony "with the seventh pick in the 2018 draft, the Chicago Bears select a $4500 floor lamp made of stuff animals by Mariano Fortuny." I see the NFL's most minimalist fan experience coupled with the vision of the owner openly watching hardcore pornography with a bored scowl on his face in a 35 point blowout to the Packers. After reading what he did with his wedding, I am more convinced than ever that Kanye West needs to buy an NFL team now. I --nay, WE-- need him as an owner more than I can express with these feeble, clumsy words.

9. In conclusion:

Kanye then gave a 45-minute toast to himself.


Imagine, a sane thing about Johnny Manziel

I'm a 26-year-old professional, and I promise you that the whole pool knew I was having a great time. If I could go back tomorrow, I would. I'll have to wait until July instead.

This is the first sane thing written about Johnny Manziel in the history of mainstream sports journalism. It is also set in a poolside concert by Kendrick Lamar, which seems like the least exciting and oddest place to see a Kendrick Lamar concert. The best place to see a Kendrick Lamar concert? In a club in London, of course.

An important note on video gaming

If you're SHAUN gonna release a SHAUUNNNN great video game like Ubisoft SHAUUUUUN does every few years, make sure you SHAUUUUUUN make the viewer feel comfortable with a few glitches to SHAAUUUUUNNNNN let them know that even great artists and engineers are human. (via @claesbell) P.S. SHAAUUUUUUNNNNNN


CM Punk may actually be punk

But it’s a testament to his strength of character that he simply walked away instead of just crafting shoddy work and cashing checks.

This Martin Douglas piece on CM Punk makes the case that CM Punk is, well, actually pretty punk in terms of how he got into wrestling in the first place, and why he's been missing for four months. (Which may not just be about a contract dispute.)

It's a family car (from hell)

The 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat's engine note sounds like what we imagine time ripping sounds like, but can a Challenger take a car seat? Wait: you're saying it can? You're saying it's a family car, for a family man, and it's in my driveway and all my money is gone and it has blown out the windows in my house and it was worth it. It was all TOTALLY WORTH IT.


Adam Muema's story gets weird(er)

Saw you weren't at pro day. Want to meet up somewhere for lunch and chat? A few minutes later, he wrote back. I'm watching you just can't see me.

Kevin Van Valkenberg tried to track down former San Diego State University running back Adam Muema after he missed the NFL combine and began posting strange religious messages online. It starts with the bizarre, and only gets weirder from there.

Irony is a difficult concept

Please allow me to rant for a moment about the state of the media.

Sure, guy who works for the thing that encourages the very thing you're complaining about, and that probably funds the luxury car you drive back and forth to work in while weeping into a fistful of wadded up dollar bills. (Note: please share this on Facebook.)

Google Trends confirms Michigan's sadness

A few notes on this analysis of Google Trends:


1. This is a deeply unflattering infographic about America. By rule, it must be shared with everyone on the Internet.

2. Georgia, where I live, is obsessed with cooking crack, butt implants, Spanx, and divorce. Speaking as a resident: this is so accurate it makes my teeth hurt.

3. Michigan's fondness for "Knock-Knock Jokes / Little Caesars / Omelette / Taco Bell / Topless Bar / Where do babies come from?" is one of the most heartbreaking collection of words I have ever read and that includes the last five pages of The Brothers Karamazov.

4. The best party goes to New Mexico: "Frito Pie / Juggalos / Peyote / U.F.O."

5. You might criticize Alabama for caring too much about football, but: "ALABAMA: FOX News / God / Impeach Obama / Jesus / Jessica Simpson / Obama Is The Antichrist / Polka / Satan." Let them have football. THEY NEED IT. REAL BAD.

6. I can't talk about Arkansas' without crying.

7. No jokes told about you, Vermont, you're Annie Lennox devotees 22 years after the release of Diva and there's a lot of respect for that here.

8. Go to bed, Oregon. Go to bed right now.

9. Going to pretend Lousiana isn't searching for LSU's dance team, and is instead as a community devoted more than any other state to honoring the greatest sitcom of all time.


Will it baby? The finest car reviews ever

Jason Torchinsky testing cars not meant to hold child passengers is way more fun than it should be, particularly when it involves testing a giant yellow bumble bee of a Bentley. #dadlyfe


Catwoman was the worst basketball film ever

Why, Danger Guerrero. Why. (To be fair: Halle Berry did accept her Razzie for Worst Actress in person for this movie.)


Let's talk about barbecue trollin'

If you're going to do it right, don't do it by making Nashville first, or ever ahead of Memphis. It's like we have to tell you how to do this, Travel and Leisure, since you made such a hash of your list you put Kansas City ahead of Austin, an act of such naked madness you'd be jailed in another century for even saying it. You wanna know how to do it properly, T&L?

You name the best fifty barbecue joints in the world and don't name a single one outside the state of Texas.

Amateurs. Rank damn amateurs, Travel and Leisure, every last one of you.

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