OJ is Dead

For those of a certain age, the spectacle of the OJ Simpson trial in the mid 1990s was the start of reality TV. From the LA Times obituary:

The enduring image from the days immediately after the slayings would be the Bronco cruising down eerily empty freeways, trailed by a fleet of police cars. For seven hours on Friday, June 17, the celebrated former athlete eluded authorities who had planned to arrest him that morning. Behind the wheel of the Bronco was Simpson’s boyhood friend and former NFL colleague Al “A.C.” Cowlings. In the back, reportedly holding a gun to his own head, was Simpson.

Tipped by news reports, crowds gathered along the Bronco’s route as it sliced through Orange and Los Angeles counties. Some bystanders cheered, “Go, O.J., go!” as the Bronco passed, as if they were witnessing one of his legendary runs on the football field. Others held up signs: “We Love the Juice,” “Save the Juice.”

An estimated 95 million people — bigger by several million than the number who tuned into the Super Bowl that year — watched the slow-speed pursuit on television. Later, some commentators would trace the roots of reality TV to the surreal, 60-mile car chase that transfixed the nation and ended without violence in Simpson’s driveway, where he finally surrendered.

LA Times

To really get a sense of how important the OJ Trial and spectacle was, I would highly recommend watching “OJ: Made In America” and then follow that up with the excellent ESPN/30for30 documentary June 17, 1994

Caitlin Clark Is Not Done Yet

I watched this whole game last night. What a moment for college sports to witness this. She has been doing this for four years now and as her college career comes to an end this March, folks need to take a step back and appreciate the moment. Similar to what Jay Bilas recently wrote in a nice appreciation of her

Clark is now the all-time scoring champion of NCAA women’s basketball. She is the most exciting and recognizable college basketball player in the country. Period. Men or women. Her games sell out, at home and on the road. Every sports fan knows her. Every. Single. One. Yet, the responsibility of carrying the women’s game doesn’t seem to faze her one bit.

She is not the Pete Maravich or Steph Curry of women’s basketball, she is a singular star in American culture, having cut her own trailblazing path along with the likes of Ann Meyers, Nancy Lieberman, Cynthia Cooper-Dyke and others.

Jay Bilas on ESPN

As of today, she has 3,569 career points after last night’s performance, where she eclipsed the NCAA scoring record previously set in 2017. She is now less than 100 points from breaking both women’s AND men’s all time collegiate records – Kansas’s Lynette Woodard’s scored 3,649 career points (She played in the AIAW era before women’s sports were part of the NCAA) and LSU’s Pete Maravich had 3,667 (which was done in an era when Freshmen didn’t play AND there was no three point shot) – with four regular season games to go. This will be appointment TV. Whether you played basketball or not, you just have to really appreciate what she has done to for the game of basketball – men AND women!

Her career stats at Iowa are pretty staggering and what impresses me the most is that her Assists have continued to rise along with her points scored. She’s scoring points and she is still getting the rest of her team involved:

SeasonPointsReboundsAssists3PT %FT%
Caitlin Clark Career stats – University of Iowa Hawkeyes

So if you have the chances, check her out in the next four games of Iowa’s regular season. And hopefully a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. She will not disappoint.

Another Siri Fail

I had a fun little interaction with my iPhone, Messages, Apple Maps, Car Play, and Siri last night that sublimely illustrates how far Siri has fallen behind.

The scenario: My wife took a drive last night to drop off one of our cars to my son who goes to college nearby. The plan was that my wife would drive drive the car that was to be dropped off and then I would leave home about an hour later and drive over to pick her up because we were then going somewhere else.

Before I left home, I wasn’t fully sure exactly where my wife would be so I checked “Find My Friend” to pinpoint her location and used that location for my directions. After I left home, my wife texted me to go to a different location. And this was the interaction with Siri via Car Play:

Wife (Read to me by Siri via Car Play): Go to parking lot behind the student center.

Me (dictating to Siri via Car Play): OK. No problem. Send me your exact location.

Wife: Sends me an Apple Maps location pin via Messages/text of the above location.

Siri reading my Wife’s last text: [Wife] responded with a text I can’t read.

So here I am driving my car as Siri says that it is unable to read the text that she sent with her location. You would think that Apple’s iOS should have been aware that the device is in “Car Play” mode, and that I was actively at that moment using Apple Maps Directions. So based on that, if an Apple Maps location pin is sent via Messages, Siri should have then been able to detect that an Apple Maps location pin was included in the message and deliver, at minimum, a ‘canned’ message to that effect, instead of saying that it can’t read the contents of the message at all. To me, Siri should have be able to assess the situation and contents of the message and audibly say “[Sender] has sent you an Apple Maps location. Would you like to open this location in Apple Maps?” The next level, super smart move would have been for Siri to also ask “Do you want this location pin to be set as my Apple Maps Directions destination?” All of these apps are native Apple iOS apps, so there should not have been any 3rd party/’walled garden’ or privacy situations present.

After Siri responded saying it could not read the text, at the next stop light, I had to then quickly grab my phone, open it, open Messages, get to my wife’s text, click on the location pin, which then opened in Apple Maps, and set that as my new Apple Maps Directions destination.

So I’ll acknowledge that this is a ‘first world’ problem and that the pro move would probably have been to call my wife instead of handling this via text while I am driving in my car. Yet even if I called her, she would have then had to tell me her location and I would still would have had to find a way to input that specific information into Apple Maps so I knew where to go. However, Apple’s Car Play is designed to handle this exact scenario. Or so one would think.

Our Moment of Zen

Image via Comedy Central on Threads

Jon Stewart is returning to ‘The Daily Show’ on Mondays for the next year or more, and will also be Executive Producer of the show. This is wonderful news. From Oliver Darcy at CNN:

The comedian, who during his 16-year run as host of the Comedy Central program established it as an entertainment and cultural force, will return to host the show each week on Mondays starting February 12, Showtime and MTV Entertainment Studios announced Wednesday.

Stewart, who returns as the 2024 presidential election season heats up, will also executive produce the show and work with a rotating line-up of comedians who will helm the program the rest of the week, Tuesdays through Thursdays.

“Stewart is the voice of our generation, and we are honored to have him return to Comedy Central’s ‘The Daily Show’ to help us all make sense of the insanity and division roiling the country as we enter the election season,” Chris McCarthy, chief executive of Showtime and MTV Entertainment Studios, said in a statement.

Oliver Darcy

I was always so disappointed when he left the show ahead of the 2016 Presidential election. I hope he will make up for it this time around.

Comedy is the truth and few are better than Jon Stewart at exposing the hypocrisy that is rampant in our world today.

A Fan’s Appreciation Of Coach Belichick

I’m a life long New England Patriots fan. I grew up in Boston. I have rooted for my home town Boston and New England teams for my whole life, even though I have not lived there for a long time. From the time I started watching the Patriots – when they played at rickety old Schaefer/Sullivan/Foxboro Stadium – they were a pillar of ineptitude. They were hopeless to the point where it was ingrained in the psyche of the New England fan base. The Patriots were always the fourth fiddle in Boston, after the Red Sox, the Celtics (often alternating at the top), and the Bruins. They were never very good, save a few seasons in the mid 1970s and a fluke run to the Super Bowl in 1986 when they got smoked by the Chicago Bears. They were the afterthought in the Boston area even when Mr. Kraft bought the team in 1994. The Patriots started to demonstrate progress when they made the 1996 Super Bowl, only to lose to the Brett Favre led Green Bay Packers. Back then, I optimistically thought that I would be lucky if I lived (at the time, I was in my 20’s) to see them win one Super Bowl.

Things started to really change in the year 2000 when they made the smart move on hiring Coach Belichick, and then got lucky by drafting Tom Brady in the 6th round of that year’s NFL Draft. And as they say, the rest is history. Between 2000 and 2019, that combination – along with all the other players and people who worked with the franchise – led the Patriots to 9 Super Bowl appearances, 6 Super Bowl Championships, and 17 AFC East titles. Those 6 Super Bowl could easily have been 8 (or they could easily have been only 2). I’d argue that had they beaten the Colts in the 2007 AFC Championship, they would have wiped the floor in the Super Bowl against the Rex Grossman led Chicago Bears. Belichick is at his best when going against an over matched quarterback (See: Jared Goff of the Rams in SB LIII).

And this brings me to an appreciation of Coach Belichick as he departs the New England Patriots after 24 years as their Head Coach. He is simply the best football coach we will ever see, and the fans of New England should be appreciative that they (we) were able to go along on this ride with him for almost a quarter century. Sure, Coach Belichick was gruff and ornery in press conferences, yet he did that to not give away any information to the competition. Brilliant. Duh. Sure, he had his controversies – some were legitimate, others were fabricated. Yet, throughout all those distractions, he was still able to prepare the team for the next challenge. The level of management needed to run a professional football program of this scale is pretty profound and he was able to sustain excellence for an extraordinary period of time. There has been much said about who was more impactful to the success of the Patriots – Tom Brady or Coach Belichick. The past few years seem to show it leans towards Brady, however I will take the middle lane and say that they needed each other. I don’t see Brady being anything near as good as he became without Coach Belichick, and conversely, I think Brady did things that took the franchise to places even Coach Belichick couldn’t have dreamed of.

My personal connection to Coach Belichick is that he lived in the same town as me when I finished high school in New Jersey, and he was the DC of the New York Giants. In fact, he lived next door to a high school friend of mine. I recall my friend saying “Look out for Bill Belichick. He will be an NFL Head Coach one day and he will be great.” And the story goes that, one day back then, my friend happened to run into Coach Belichick on their street, and my friend proceeded to share advice to (!!) Coach Belichick about how best to stop Eric Dickerson (the great RB of the 1980s LA Rams). As if Coach Belichick needed to hear any guidance from a kid in the local high school!! I saw my friend a few months ago and we still had a good laugh about that story!

So thank you Coach Belichick. And thank you Tom Brady. And thank you Mr. Kraft. And everyone else that was part of the Patriots’ success.

As I said earlier, I would have been happy with one Super Bowl championship. Coach Belichick led the team to 6. It should have been 8. Maybe 9. But I’ll gladly take the 6 (and hopefully more in the future). It is 5 more than I ever would have dreamed of.

Everything He Touches, Dies

As our country’s political apparatus continues to reflect well known parodies from both written media and television, a certain orange grifter is doing everything he can to delay and circumvent the multitude of legal indictments that are facing him, including the federal cases brought by Special Council Jack Smith related to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The lawyers for “Agent Orange”, with a straight face, have argued that “Orange Julius” didn’t do what he is accused of and that his position as president at the time gives him full immunity from prosecution for breaking laws. They are resting their flimsy argument on the fact that “Diaper Don” was already impeached and acquitted for his actions by the US Congress, a process that is purely political and has no legal basis in a court of law. Most hilariously, after reading today’s Letter From An American newsletter, comes this fantastic pair of paragraphs:

A number of Republican Senators—including then Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)—agreed, saying they would acquit Trump but expected him to answer to the law rather than the political system. “We have a criminal justice system in this country,” McConnell said. “We have civil litigation. And former Presidents are not immune from being held accountable by either one.” 

Interestingly, Trump’s argument that he cannot now be charged with crimes makes the Republican senators who voted to acquit him complicit. It’s an acknowledgement of what was clear all along: they could have stopped him at any point, but they repeatedly chose not to. Now he is explicitly suggesting that their behavior shields him from answering to the law. 

Heather Cox Richardson

What an utter asshat. I honestly can not wrap my head around what makes “Mar-A-Lardo” appealing to people.

Establishing The Norm

The pilot/premiere (S1E1) of “All In The Family” – 1971

Norman Lear passed yesterday. He was one of the most important and influential television producers of all time, single handedly responsible for all time classic shows like”All In The Family“, “The Jeffersons“, “Maude“, “Good Times“, and “Sanford and Son“, to name a few. There have been numerous great stories and articles shared over the past day or so about Mr. Lear, who from all accounts, still had his fastball at the ripe old age of 100. For me, I’ll just leave you with the above pilot/premiere episode of “All In The Family”, which still crushes 52 years later. If you get the chance and can find the series on you local streaming service, take the time to watch it. It is still funny and tackles social and political issues that are – sadly – still relevant today.

REM on Letterman in 1983

REM performing “So. Central Rain” and “Radio Free Europe” on Late Show with David Letterman

Amazing time capsule video of R.E.M. making their national TV debut on the Late Show with David Letterman in October 1983. On this appearance, they played two of their earliest hits – ‘Radio Free Europe’ (off of their first album Murmur) and ‘So. Central Rain’ (off of their second album Reckoning). The performance of ‘So. Central Rain’ was such an early cut of the song that they actually had not given it a name – it was the song’s national premier! What is even more unique is that they actually played two songs on the show. On most late shows (SNL being the exception), bands only play one song, a trend that generally conveys to this day.

First – look at how young they all look! From Letterman to the band itself. This was from a time when R.E.M. was literally just getting started and had just released the aforementioned album “Murmur”. Michael Stipe was so shy in those days that he did not even engage with Letterman when he greeted the band after playing ‘Radio Free Europe’. Second – look at the set of the Letterman show where they played! It looked like someone’s basement – which was probably in keeping with the venues they were playing in at the time!

I think everyone has ‘concert regrets’ – shows that you had the opportunity to go to but did not attend for any number of reasons – apathy, conflict, punishment, etc. For me, one of several concert regrets is not going to see R.E.M. at Drew University’s Baldwin Gym in 1985. Look at that set list. Amazing! I had just moved to a new town in New Jersey at the time and for whatever reason, I did not go to this show. They were gaining in popularity and on the verge of exploding, but were just not there yet. It was *the perfect time* to see them.

R.E.M. continues to be one of my all time favorite bands. Listening to R.E.M. today brings back a flood of smiles and memories that are attached to their songs. If you are a fan, Michael Stipe just sat down for an interview on the podcast Smartless.

Big Brother Is Watching

After Sept 11, 2001, it is a known fact that the US Government ratcheted up the surveillance on all activities around this country. Even beyond the 2013 Edward Snowden leaks that first set a spotlight on this sort of Government surveillance, I think people sort of ignored the reality that this was happening. These sorts of programs make so many political arguments (on both sides of the aisle) about “government overreach” pretty ironic. And in a revelation that can hardly be a surprise to anyone, it was published this week that a deeply buried DoJ surveillance program – code named “Hemisphere” – has for years monitored trillions of innocent phone calls, and then took that data and applied high level analysis to find ‘needle in the haystack’ behavioral trends.

A little-known surveillance program tracks more than a trillion domestic phone records within the United States each year, according to a letter WIRED obtained that was sent by US senator Ron Wyden to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Sunday, challenging the program’s legality.

According to the letter, a surveillance program now known as Data Analytical Services (DAS) has for more than a decade allowed federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to mine the details of Americans’ calls, analyzing the phone records of countless people who are not suspected of any crime, including victims. Using a technique known as chain analysis, the program targets not only those in direct phone contact with a criminal suspect but anyone with whom those individuals have been in contact as well.

The DAS program, formerly known as Hemisphere, is run in coordination with the telecom giant AT&T, which captures and conducts analysis of US call records for law enforcement agencies, from local police and sheriffs’ departments to US customs offices and postal inspectors across the country, according to a White House memo reviewed by WIRED. Records show that the White House has provided more than $6 million to the program, which allows the targeting of the records of any calls that use AT&T’s infrastructure—a maze of routers and switches that crisscross the United States.

In a letter to US attorney general Merrick Garland on Sunday, Wyden wrote that he had “serious concerns about the legality” of the DAS program, adding that “troubling information” he’d received “would justifiably outrage many Americans and other members of Congress.” That information, which Wyden says the DOJ confidentially provided to him, is considered “sensitive but unclassified” by the US government, meaning that while it poses no risk to national security, federal officials, like Wyden, are forbidden from disclosing it to the public, according to the senator’s letter.

Dell Cameron, Dhruv Mehrotra from Wired

To me, this is hardly a stunning revelation. You always had to know this sort of thing was happening somewhere deep in the bowels of the US Government. The rub is that it was finally made public.

London Football Teams

As you may know, folks in England are bonkers about soccer/football. If you want to get a good sense of how much they love their hometown teams, and how football is so engrained in their culture, go watch “Welcome to Wrexham” or “Sunderland ‘Till I Die“. And just to illustrate that point further, take a look at all the football teams – from the highest level Premier League to the lowest non league teams – that are just based in London. By my count, there are 80 teams based in the greater London area as depicted by the logos below. I was inspired by a friend to turn this into a desktop wallpaper, so I did so in two styles – one with a plain grey background and another with all the team names in light text behind the map of London. Click on the images below to download a full size version (2560×1440). Enjoy!

London Football Teams
London Football Teams
London Football Teams
London Football Teams – Team Names in Background

What You’ll Find At A Getty Estate Sale

Stories like this validate to me that behind the walls of the old money Robber Barrons of years gone by are some astounding pieces of history that are waiting to be discovered and shared.

A guy named Alex Clausen – a map dealer – was parusing a virtual estate sale for Gordon and Ann Getty (as one does) where a unique map called a portolan chart caught his eye. What was unique to him was that the item description stated that the map was from 1500 – 1525, while the drawings and details on the map itself said to him that it was from an earlier time, which in turn would make the map that much more unique and valuable. And boy was he right.

The first known reference to the chart came from Italian scholar Pietro Amat di San Filippo, who saw the map in the library of a Corsini family palace in Florence in 1888 and included mention of it in an article he wrote for the Italian Geographic Society. The scholar tentatively dated it from 1347 to 1354. It changed hands several times before Ann and Gordon Getty purchased it in 1993.

The couple had the map restored and for years it hung in the library of their San Francisco townhouse. They paid roughly 56,500 British pounds for the map, then the equivalent of about $85,000. Nearly 30 years later, Clausen and the team from Barry Lawrence Ruderman purchased it for just over $239,000.

Los Angeles Times

After the purchase, Clausen and his team did more research and determined that the map dated to 1360 (!!), which turned that $239,000 purchase into an artifact worth a cool $7.5 Million.

Making the discovery “was really rewarding from an intellectual perspective,” Clausen said, surveying the chart, which measures roughly 2.2 feet by 3.7 feet and is framed in a heavy case at his office in La Jolla.

“And, of course, it’s also rewarding from a commercial perspective, because it takes something that I think was a reasonable buy from what it was listed as and moves it into an absolutely different category.”

Los Angeles Times

So if you have an extra $7.5 Mil hanging around, the Rex Tholomeus Portolan Chart of 1360 is here for the taking.

Media Diet And Other Things

Sometimes, it becomes apparent to me that this part of the site is basically the equivalant of screaming into the void. I basically did not post anything here for almost three months and nothing seemed to change. As they say, if a tree falls in the forest and no one was there, did it make any noise? I think the issue for me that I need to develop more of a consistent voice that needs to be developed and evolved over time. There is also the time commitment: I’ve always done this as sort of a side hobby – I’ve never really dedicated myself to frequently posting here because of ‘real world’ commitments like a job, family and other responsiblities. In the past, I have highlighted items that have peaked my interest and were just worth sharing with the world. Yet part of the challenge in standing out in today’s landscape is figuring out an approach – do you go for volume or quality? – are you built for speed or comfort (as Vince Vaughn once said)? So as I think about how to refresh and re-think the ‘blog’ part of the site, I’m going to try to figure this out. As for now, I’m going to share a couple of updates and then share some media that I am consuming.

Wallpapers – English and European Soccer

Over the latter part of the summer, I cranked out updating approximately 900 Wallpapers across my posted collections on the site that represent all English Soccer League team kits – from the English Premier League through the National Leagues (National League, National League North and South), as well as leagues in Scotland, and Europe. There are still a few laggards however as of now, the stats reflect that I have updated all Home kit designs across all leagues, all except 3 Away kits across all leagues, and 65% of Third kits across all leagues (not all teams have third kits).

Wallpapers – Music

I’ve quietly added several to this collection – either on my own or via the occasional request. For this collection, I have been trying to track against the top 500 albums of all time, as ranked by Rolling Stone’s annual list. I’ve always been happy with the design of these wallpapers, in that you can prominantly see the name of the album and the artist, while at the same time you can see the song list and the album art on the two corners of the background while using your computer. Whatever you would be working on would be in the middle of your screen, yet you can see the songs and/or the album art in the right and left corners and immediately recognize what album it is.

My Media Diet

Building off of something that Jason Kottke does on a semi regular basis, I thought I’d share a few of the media items that I have been consuming recently.

Stop Making Sense (IMAX) – [Grade: A] David Byne dancing with a lamp and making it compelling. The classic concert movie was re-relased and remastered . It looked amazing on the IMAX screen.

Welcome To Wrexham – Season 2 (HULU, FX) – [Grade: A] – The well documented story of the ups and downs of how two Hollywood actors purchased a Wales soccer/football team is well into its second season. The show’s first season was excellent. The show’s second season is rivaling it, and the best is yet to come!

The Gold (Paramount+) – [Grade: A] You had me at British spy series based on the real Brinks-Mat robbery.

Star Wars: Rebels (Disney+) – [Grade: C-] I’ve been trying extremely hard to watch the full Star Wars saga in the proper order. After plowing through the Star Wars: Clone Wars series, I am struggling with Rebels. I’ve heard the last season makes it worth it but I’m skeptical. The only thing keeping me motivated is that Andor is next.

Slow Horses: Real Tigers (Book) – [Grade: B] After watching the first two seasons of the series on Apple TV+, I decided to read the books from author Mick Herron which correspond to the series (Slow Horses, Dead Lions) and then read the third book – Real Tigers – ahead of the 3rd season. Solid read yet the real revelation is that Gary Oldman’s depiction of Jackson Lamb is spot on.

Foundation (Apple TV+) – [Grade: C] I’ve been told the 2nd season is better and easier to follow but I have been struggling with the first season of this series.

Sex Education – Season 4 (Netflix) – [Grade: B] Really enjoyed the first two seasons of this series. The fourth season was solid however it started to get cluttered with so many storylines. Otis, Maeve and Ruby steal the season.

Beckham (Netflix) – [Grade: B+] I learned a few things about “Becks” and grew to appreciate him after watching this. He is surprisingly humble and grounded even though he was, and is, one of the iconic figures in soccer and style over the past 25 years. If you are in the middle of the Pop Culture – English Premier League fan venn diagram, this is for you.

Seinfeld (Netflix) – [Grade: B+] I rewatched all 9 seasons over the past several months – each episode is only 23-25 minutes. The jokes still hit. Some of the tropes felt a little dated. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The Americans (Hulu) – [Grade: A] Rewatching this as well. I loved this show when it was on TV and that point of view has not changed.

David Foster Wallace’s Legendary Commencement Speech

Back in 2005, David Foster Wallace (DFW) gave the commencement speech at Kenyon College in Gambier, OH. As with many things that DFW did, it took on a life and legend of its own. Here is the speech set to a whiteboard session authored by Mark Wooding, who runs the After Skool YouTube channel and has done a similar exercise for other important audio.

The speech starts with a great parable and goes on from there. Worth the 23 minute listen.

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”


How Tom Cruise Prepared for his Stunts

The amount of preparation and practice that Cruise and the film team did ahead of the final shots of some of his most iconic stunt scenes is pretty insane. For the big motorcycle jump scene in the most recent movie “Dead Reckoning”, they created a replica ramp in England where Cruise practiced repeatedly. In the “Fallout” movie, Cruise prepped by practicing 16 hours a day on how to fly a helicopter to nail the key scenes in the movies.

Tony Bennett Dies at age 96

A legend amongst legends. His appeal crossed generations for over 70 years as he sang with everyone from Celine Dion to Amy Winehouse to Lady Gaga. Reading his obituary is like a time capsule of the past 97 years. I knew he served in World War II but had no idea that he was on the front line of troops to liberate the German concentration camps. And I had no idea the story behind how he decided on his stage name:

At night he performed at amateur shows and worked as a singing waiter. He had just begun to get paying work as a singer, using the stage name Joe Bari, when he was drafted.

He arrived in Europe toward the end of World War II, serving in Germany in the infantry. He spent time on the front lines, an experience he described as “a front-row seat in hell,” and was among the troops who arrived to liberate the prisoners at the Landsberg concentration camp, a subcamp of Dachau.

After Germany surrendered, Mr. Bennett was part of the occupying forces, assigned to special services, where he ended up as a singer with Army bands and for a time was featured in a ragtag version of the musical “On the Town” — directed by Arthur Penn, who would go on to direct “Bonnie and Clyde” and other notable movies — in the opera house in Wiesbaden.

He returned to New York in August 1946 and set about beginning a career as a musician. On the G.I. Bill, he took classes at the American Theater Wing, which he later said helped teach him how to tell a story in song. He sang in nightclubs in Manhattan and Queens.

A series of breaks followed. He appeared on the radio show “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts,” the “American Idol” of its day. (The competition was won by Rosemary Clooney.) There are different versions of the biggest break in Mr. Bennett’s early career, but as he told it in “The Good Life,” he had been singing occasionally at a club in Greenwich Village where the owner had offered Pearl Bailey a gig as the headliner; she agreed, but only on the condition that Joe Bari stayed on the bill.

When Bob Hope came down to take in Ms. Bailey’s act, he liked Joe Bari so much that he asked him to open for him at the Paramount Theater. Hope had a condition, however: He didn’t like the name Joe Bari, and insisted it be changed. Dismissing the name Anthony Benedetto as too long to fit on a marquee, Hope christened the young singer Tony Bennett.

NY Times

Here are two snippets of an interview he did with Howard Stern back in 2011. The first one talks more about his time serving in World War II and how that experience impacted him. The second talked about his own trouble with drugs, how Frank Sinatra gave him a warning, and how he wished he did the same to Amy Winehouse.

Stuff Your Face

Via The Washington Post

Joey Chestnut once again won the annual 4th of July Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest, downing 62 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Over the years, the performance of the professional eaters participating in the annual Hot Dog eating event have shown a remarkable level of improvement (if you want to call it that), starting when Takeru Kobayashi burst on the scene in 2001.

On July 4, 2001, Takeru Kobayashi, a newcomer at the Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest, systematically swallowed 50 hot dogs and soggy buns in 12 minutes, doubling the contest’s previous record.

Six years later, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut dethroned Kobayashi at the Coney Island showdown and in 2021, he set an all-time record of 76 hot dogs and buns in just 10 minutes.

In the 20 years before Kobayashi’s debut, the average champion had to eat about 16 hot dogs and buns to win the contest’s “Mustard Belt” prize. Now, they have to eat more than that just to qualify — typically 20 dogs in 10 minutes — and at least triple that to have any hope of winning.

The Washington Post

The article goes on to talk about what is the ‘perfect body type’ for extreme competitive eating and how much more a body could take to surpass Chestnut’s record of 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes (spoiler: Chestnut thinks someone could push 90 hot dogs!).

I’ll stick to what I had yesterday at a neighbor’s 4th of July celebration: a hamburger and a chicken slider, a few beers, and some great desserts.

Twitter Tuesday – Tweets Of The Week

Twitter Tuesday – Tweets Of The Week