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When I arrived at the clubhouse at noon, I was prepared for the sort of stuffy and overlong awards ceremony that dulls the spirits of parents everywhere. I was also afraid we’d miss the opening of the U.S.-England match. Happily, my natural pessimism was misplaced. Pleasant smells of charred cowflesh met me as I made my way through a chaos of bouncing balls and darting children; the barbecue was in full swing, and a soccer game was stirring up tremendous clouds of dust from the courtyard. I quickly made my way into the cool and musty shadows of the main hall, with its impressive display of 99 years’ worth of trophies and plaques. My eye drifted along the endless glass cases, and though I could discern no obvious scheme of organization, it appeared that the 1930s, 1950s and 1960s had been especially prolific. At the other end of the hall, I was startled by the immensely smug televised countenance of ESPN’s Alexi Lalas, projected on a screen, when through a doorway I glimpsed the object of my quest. –“Saturday Afternoon Fever,” Roger D. Hodge, The New York Observer
There was no way Bates could maintain an NBA career while slipping into full-blown alcoholism. So what did he do? Get clean, pull himself together, and take another shot at the big leagues? Nope. By the looks of things, he found a place where he could keep playing without giving up the bottle. That place was the Philippines. In the PBA, Bates’s talent was so overwhelming that he probably could have played in a drunken stupor and averaged 30 points per game. By most accounts, he always dried out before tip-off. His career average of 46 points per game is the highest of any PBA player, import or local, and Bates will probably always be remembered as the best import in league history. Throughout the ’80s, he was a superstar in the Philippines, one of the nation’s most famous and infamous ballers, whose legacy lives on today. –“The Legend of Black Superman: Billy Ray Bates, Flying High in the Philippines,” Rafe Bartholomew, Deadspin
Anthologizing is a dusty sport, half antique hunting and half literary gossipfest, and I love it. I went home and prowled my shelves and realized how many of the Victorian-era stories I had already read. Why, here’s that pasty-faced bastard Lord Ruthven, by Byron’s doctor and hanger-on, John Polidori, and so obviously based upon Byron himself. Here is Théophile Gautier’s crazy priest, in love with a vampire courtesan and wrestling with his naughty soul. And there were many stories I hadn’t read before—gay vampires, child vampires, even an invisible vampire. –“All the Dead are Vampires,” Michael Sims, The Chronicle of Higher Education
More from Rafe Bartholomew:
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”