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Filipino basketball fans expect and tolerate some hanky-panky. Wealthy teams ignore the salary cap pretty blatantly. This brings up a disparity between the types of teams you have playing. Some want to win at any cost. However, because Filipino basketball is all run by corporate sponsorship—with team names like the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and the San Miguel Beermen—you have other teams for whom winning is not as vital. They’re funded by people who find it a prestigious association for their corporation, win or lose. If the Coca-Cola Tigers beat the Barako Energy Coffee Masters, the announcer still has to say “Barako Energy Coffee Masters.” –“Thrilla in Manilla,” Rafe Bartholomew, interviewed by Lapham’s Quarterly
What its purpose might be, I don’t know. Nor, does it seem, does anyone else. But I can report that as an artistic statement, this melodramatic monument is highly derivative. Not only does it clearly take its visual cues from Ghost Bikes— the sculptural series that began sprouting around New York five years ago in memory of slain bike riders—but it follows a long tradition of artists taking some shit and painting it white, from Cy Twombly’s all-white sculptural assemblages to Jasper Johns’s white flag to Günther Uecker’s nails on a canvas board to Robert Ryman’s pallid canvases. And, of course, there is the visual debt to sculptor Charles Long, below, whose 2003 work “Soundly Through the Noise” kinda looks like it could at one point have been a stroller chained to a signpost. (Speaking of which, this little number could be yours simply by dialing the esteemed Tonya Bonakdar Gallery.) –“The Ghost Stroller: If It’s Art, It’s Bad Art,” Carolina A. Miranda, DadWagon
Thirteen hundred miles away, a man and a woman performed on the subway platform. He was from Honduras via Mexico and Texas, played acoustic guitar, and sang in a deep voice without vibrato. She sat in a folding chair next to him until he nodded. Then she stood up and joined him, too heavily on the beat, a crippled walk, and well off-key. A train came screaming into the station, so he stopped, but she kept on, so he slapped her. Then she stopped. Then he covered his ears with his hands. The train left, and he told me the noise penetrates his head. When he found out that I’m from Texas, he sang a song he’d written about a man near Port Isabel who wants to flirt with an American girl but can’t because his English is no good. In the song he doesn’t name the American girl. He calls her chamaca, something like “kiddo.” After the song, he told me the American girl’s real name. It wasn’t the girl with him now; she was from Veracruz, and her name was Lucero. His own name was Santo. When he was singing about the hair of the unreachable American girl near Port Isabel, Santo’s right hand left the guitar strings for a moment to touch Lucero’s hair. –“The Thickness of Soup or Hair,” Mark Dow, Agni
More from TedRoss:
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands they’d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members — because ocean life pays better than money! — who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Rank of Detroit among major U.S. cities whose residents give the largest portion of their income to charity:
A South Dakota researcher concluded that only scant blood spatter results when chain saws are used to dismember pigs.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature