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On fantasy football, losing a contest, and an entirely appropriate last line

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So my entry wasn't picked as a finalist in the Grantland fantasy columnist competition. Which, on the one hand: No writing time-intensive weekly previews and reviews for free all season. On the other hand: No getting to write about fantasy football for lots and lots of people. So, yay and boo or whatever.

Anyway, since I spent some time on this silly piece, I figured I'd post it here. Y'know, for my thousands of readers. (Even though for all I know it's the intellectual property of the Disney/ESPN Industrial Complex despite the fact that they didn't choose to use it; there was a LOT of fine print in those contest rules, mostly along the lines of "ALL YOUR WORD ARE BELONG TO US AND WE WILL NOT PAY YOU.")... »Read more »

The Samneric Dialogues 2: Character matters

Amorak: Let’s talk about The Wire and Grantland’s bracket thing. I mean, Omar is almost for sure going to win, but what do you think about the contest?

Mark: Well, first of all, how the seeds and characters were picked are big questions I have. Some of the ones they left out: Slim Charles, Gus, Beadie, Carver. And instead, they've got Sergei? Cheese? How do they make Bubs a 7-seed and Clay Davis a 2-seed? I love Wallace, but he shouldn't be a 4. McNulty is too prominent in the show arc to be a #3. I don't know how you even begin to evaluate each matchup. Love for the character? Ruthlessness? Power? Impact on the show? No Valchek, Templeton, Burrell, The Greek, and where are all the women (except Snoop and Kima)? They should have done a full field of 64. Top seeds: Omar, McNulty, Stringer, and Avon or Bubbles.... »Read more »

Five true things about AWP (and why I love it anyway)

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Oh, but it's so fashionable to make fun of AWP. The panels are lame, the people are pretentious, and whether anyone admits it or not, what we all secretly want from our time there is to find someone to A, tell us we're awesome, and B, pay us lots of money for the screenplay rights to that prose poem we once published in PANK or somewhere. If A and B don't come through, we'll compensate by getting rip-roaringly drunk at the hotel bar. Or, we'll do that anyway. We are writers, after all, with stereotypes to uphold.

Right now, as the conference approaches, 'tis the season for blog posts about the conference. Writers who are more famous than I am show their world-weariness by pointing out the foibles of the conference and its attendees. Journals plug their tables and their authors and hope you'll stop by to subscribe. Other journals post survival guides for conference newbies. People Facebook and Tweet links to Kay Ryan's misanthropic 2005 piece in which she essentially eviscerates the entire notion of a community of writers. ... »Read more »

Lamenting the NYT paywall

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Look, I get it. Intellectually, I understand why The New York Times is moving to a subscription model for its website. I know newspapers are in trouble, and giving away all those stories isn't helping. High-quality, original content is expensive to produce. 

But emotionally, I hate it. I can't stand the idea of paying for an online subscription.... »Read more »

Theater review: My Little Pony Live

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Permit me to begin this review with a pet peeve: parents who insist on bringing their children to the theater. Exposing your rugrats to high culture is fine and all, but why must it happen at the expense of those of us grownups who want to take in a show?... »Read more »

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