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Showing posts from April, 2015

New Yorker Fiction Review: "Musa" by Kamel Daoud

Issue: April 6, 2015

Story: "Musa" by Kamel Daoud

Rating: $

Review: Full disclosure here..."Musa" is an excerpt from Daoud's 2013 novel The Meursault Investigation, which, if you were paying attention in high school literature you probably remember is a reference to Albert Camus' 1942 classic absurdist/existentialist novel, The Stranger. I'm relieved to find that out after reading this story, because I'm glad this isn't just a classic "gimmick" story and that it, instead, is part of a larger and more meaningful work.

In The Stranger, the main character Meursault, kills a nameless, faceless Arab on the beach outside Algiers on a sunny day, eventually gets convicted of the crime, goes to jail, and gets executed (spoiler, sorry, but it's been out for 70 years...). In "Musa" the main character narrates the time in his life when he found out about his brother's death and in which he and his mother endure the hardship of havin…

New Yorker Fiction Review: "This is an Alert" by Thomas Pierce

Issue: March 30, 2015

Story: "This is an Alert" by Thomas Pierce

Rating: $/Meh

Review: I always love to see another young gun getting some acreage in The New Yorker. Thomas Pierce, author of the short story collection Hall of Small Mammals, is a product of the University of Virginia MFA program, a veteran of NPR, and his work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Paris Review, and Best American Non-Required Reading, among other places.

I also always love read to some good spec fiction; stories set in a somewhat plausible and usually unpleasant near-future. "This is an Alert" tells the story of an afternoon in the life of a family in what could easily be the year 2020 or so, a year in which country-less drones wage war in the skies miles above and, down on earth, people are slaves to an electronic alert system admonishing them to put on their gas masks every few minutes to avoid being gassed by drones fighting overhead. They dutifully obey the alert system...until they don…

Stefan Szymanski predicts the demise of the MLS...

...sort of. What he's actually saying is a lot more nuanced and subtle: that if the MLS is actually intent on becoming a world class league on the order of the EPL, La Liga, etc. it will have to spend an amount of money that will cause the owners to lose money and therefore exit the league.

Read the article here: http://www.soccernomics-agency.com/?p=692

Szymanski, author of the influential book Soccernomics (the Moneyball of soccer) is like the Yoda of soccer analysis, so when he says something like this it sends shockwaves (SHOCKWAVES I TELL YOU) through the soccer community and a lot of U.S. soccer pundits and fans are getting their feathers all ruffled because of this. But if you look closely, Szymanski is just making a really interesting point off of a number of different assumptions, which may or may not be true.

The assumptions are:

1.) That MLS owners will not operate at a loss for the sake of pride and winning championships, as do other soccer owners throughout the world (…

New Yorker Fiction Review: "Sleep" by Colm Toibin

Issue: March 23, 2015

Story: "Sleep" by Colm Toibin

Rating: Meh Meh Meh

Review: This was short and it was a story. And that's the best thing I can say about it.

A close first person (is there any other kind, you may ask? Yes) narration of a few months in which a man, tormented by the death of his brother, is forced by his lover to confront the demons that haunt him in his sleep. So he travels to his native Ireland to see a shrink -- in the belief that only an Irish shrink can help -- and gets hypnotized into living the moments of his brothers' death in his shoes. He returns to New York, but nothing is the same.

There were far, far too many "I"s in this story. So many that I got swallowed up by them. That "I" is an important thing in a first person story but it can also be a black hole, an "identity suck" if you will. It becomes a bottomless pit into which all the imagination and texture and exteriority of the character's world gets thro…

DeAndre Yedlin Quietly Slips Into the EPL

The latest MLS export to the EPL, DeAndre Yedlin, formerly a right-back for the Seattle Sounders and currently still a member of the USMNT, got his first official EPL playing time on Saturday for Tottenham Hotspur after arriving at the club in January and a little less than a year after having been signed to play for the club.

There was no fan fare. There were no horns or whistles. No confetti. Just Yedlin stepping quietly out onto the field in the 79' minute of Spurs' ultimate 0-1 loss to Aston Villa to take a throw-in. And with that, he's broken his first team EPL cherry. We'll see what happens from here, but...U.S.-bred outfield player (non-goalkeepers) do not tend to fare well in the EPL. The only advantage Yedlin might have is that he's still young and moldable.

In his 10+ minutes on the field vs. Aston Villa, Yedlin looked...pretty much like what you'd expect from a guy making his EPL debut. He was a little tentative, got caught out of position a few tim…

Article on Globalization and the EPL

Globalization and Soccer. Soccer and Globalization. They go together like...I don't know...pick two things that go together.

There's already enough written on this subject to keep a soccer/economics (Soccernomics!) nut occupied till the next World Cup. This article holds up Tottenham Hotspur striker and England international Harry Kane as an example of why globalization might actually be hurting English soccer, essentially using Kane's recent success as an example of how England should be growing more of its players at home (Kane apparently grew up in the shadow of White Hart Lane or whatever).

Here's the link: http://nyti.ms/19MGJdX

Interesting argument, but...one good season by Harry Kane doesn't reeeeally amount to an argument against globalization in the EPL, and it's clear that the author knows that. Yes it's true that England needs to make sure it develops young players for the national team and for the continued strength of English soccer, but the E…