I started my Twitter account while sitting in the Twitter offices in San Francisco, interviewing Twitter head honchos Evan Williams and Biz Stone for this big feature story. I didn't know what Twitter was, though people thought I did.
I was assigned the story by the New York brass because I had considerable experience with upstart dot-coms, but I was outside of the loop on this one; Twitter was scary to me, someone who, as you might have noticed, prefers to write long, rather than in 140 character increments. I started my Twitter account because I thought it might be a fun gimmick for the story, a reporter updates readers on interview while it's going on type of thing. It didn't work out that way — thankfully, considering that's a really hacky way to write a story — but I ended up being hooked. But I'm not hooked on Tweeting. I'm hooked on reading Tweets. That has to be one of the more effeminate sentence combinations I've ever written. And I've written many.
As you know if you follow me on Twitter, I'm not the world's most entertaining Tweeter. Mostly, it's just links to stories I've written, banal updates on parental visits and conversations with Cardinals beat reporters. As a writer, I find Twitter useful mostly as an aggregate. But as a reader, it has become my morning newspaper. When I wake up in the morning, I log onto Twitter to find out what's happening in the world. Which is idiotic and utterly true.
To me, Twitter is the world's greatest RSS feed, allowing me to gather information from friends, colleagues, reporters, comedians and anyone else who regularly updates with information I care about. Movies? Check! TV reviews? Check! and Check! Hilarious stumbling and backtracking? Check! Smart media criticism? Check! and Check! Genius baseball wit? Check! Dry fake outrage? Check! Mattoon news? Check! I make my own newspaper every day. And I can unsubscribe to any section of the paper I want to, at any time.
This is nothing new, of course; Old Man Discovers Twitter. But what's interesting to me is that I find using Twitter almost as passive an experience as reading a newspaper. I update my own Twitter about as often as I wrote on my newspaper, which is to say, "occasionally." I just feel like everyone does it better than I do. I enjoy reading what other people have to say; some seem to have mastered the form. Twitter has become my morning news source, because I just pick and choose what I want and ignore the rest. This is why I'm growing stupider. This is why we all are. I couldn't be happier about it. I'll read the New York Times later, to explain what happens. For now, this'll work.
I'm not turning my icon green, though. I still support the Iranian people. Honest.
J.J. Abrams. My parents were here all weekend, and as with all parents visiting from out of town, eventually you run out of activities for them and everybody just collapses in front of the television. (Like we were gonna go to a museum or some shit.) Desperate, I strapped them in a chair to watch the pilot episode of "Lost," and now, of course, they're hooked, spending most of the rest of the week trying to figure out why the bald guy can walk now and who's going to be the lucky castaway to shoot Boone and Shannon in the face. You would have thought my parents the last people on the planet to lack even the most cursory exposure to "Lost," but you'd be wrong. Witness! Foster Kamer at Gawker this weekend uncovered a Dutch television station duped into thinking the scene of the plane crash in "Lost" was actual footage from the Air France crash. No, really: They actually thought this. They even had a hilarious Web posting about it, which they of course took down. The best part is that you can see Evangeline Lilly as Kate in the photo. The Dutch don't know who this is? Come on, Holland, let's try to stay in the game here.
Michael Bay. I love the notion of enormous robots fighting as much as anybody, but after the horrific first Transformers movie — which was a spectacle in the same way that spinning around in circles in your yard for an hour until your brain explodes was a spectacle — you couldn't drag me to the sequel. (Particularly after withering report from a screening, the highlight being the product placement of "a huge Planters peanuts can is placed smack in the middle of a garage floor during one scene, because that's where one usually keeps food - on the floor with nothing around it in a huge garage." (Roger Ebert's review is particularly spirited.) You still can't escape the marketing of this film, though, and much of that is because of Bay, who really shouldn't ever be forgiven for Pearl Harbor, which has a legitimate claim on the worst, most misguided movie imaginable. His instantly legendary angry email to the Paramount promotions department contains this super doubleplus brilliant clause: "So far our print has been in my opinion and abject failure." That is the most sentence ever. That looks like it was written in this column.
Matthew Berry. Like Daulerio and Drew, I received an angry email from Tucker Max this weekend, and man, if that's not a career capper, I can't imagine what is. I'm not sure why it's Daulerio's fault that the aging cretin outed ESPN fantasy expert Matthew Berry as a guy who had a "threesome set up with a porn star and some other girl, had them both IN HIS HOTEL ROOM, and blew it-didn't fuck either one!" but hey, the video he sent all of us was awfully clever anyway. Of course, acting as if Tucker Max has ever said a truthful word in his life is somewhat of a fallacy in the first place; one gets a sense that Berry and Max had a few beers, and next thing you knew, Max was writing pretend stories about threesomes with porn stars and Berry's all "Wha-wha-wha?" I'm sure this hasn't been a pleasant week for Berry, who seems like a nice, if somewhat frattish, fellow, but it's difficult to feel too sorry for him: If you hang out with Tucker Max, and then tell the world about it (at 5:40 in the morning!), you probably deserve whatever's coming your way. I like that Max felt obliged to point out it wasn't Bill Simmons, though. I'm sure Bill appreciates that.
Stephen Curry. As a late-in-life, I-grew-up-without-a-team, hey-Woody-Allen-likes-them-why-not? New York Knicks fan/convert — I accept all scorn here — I'm cheering madly for the Knicks to end up with the modern-day Maravich, even if almost every mock draft anymore has someone choosing him before he comes around. I was trying to come up with the worst possible person for the Knicks to draft, the person who would inspire the Garden to freak out like the Balkman days of yore. I decided it would be Tyler Hansbrough, who, oddly, NBADraft.net has going to the Nets at No. 11. There wouldn't be a worse player for Mike D'Antoni's style, and he'd become an instant, legendary punchline. No one would remember Frederic Weis again. I almost hope it happens. How will you feel if your team drafts Tyler Hansbrough, and your team isn't the Charlotte Bobcats? This is my favorite new storyline of Thursday's draft.
Johnny Depp. I'm willing to wait in line for hours to see Public Enemies — rough early buzz aside — because I would watch Michael Mann film a peanut butter sandwich for two hours. (Particularly if that ham-sandwich was being eaten by a crazed Al Pacino with a come beat everybody up.) That looks like the mascot for Hell's minor league baseball team. Nightmare Fuel, indeed. [pours one out for Chandler]
Lucas Glover. Like the rest of you, I have no idea who Lucas Glover is and will therefore not bother telling you anything about the new U.S. Open winner. I do think some credit should go out to The New York Times' Mark Sweeney, who, using some strange golf Bill James statistics, picked Glover as his sleeper pick to win the tournament last Wednesday. Way to go, Mark Sweeney, whoever you are! Actually, it turns out that he kind of is the Bill James of golf. This Golf Digest story from two years ago talks about his "Urgency Effect," which basically attempts to quantify how golfers get the yips. I don't know what it means. I'm just relieved we're halfway through the golf season, when people like me have to pretend golf is a sport we follow as closely as we follow other sports. You know what golfers need? They need numbers, like in NASCAR. That way the middle manager at your corporate complex could stick a "23 Woods" sticker on the back of his Miata, and we'd know all we needed to about the guy we're honking at in traffic.
Joe Morgan. Now that Craggs has hit his stride — eventually we're all going to forget anyone else works here — I'm taking particular glee in his weekly hectoring of Joe Morgan. Much like Josh Levin is still in Rick Reilly's head to this day with the whole tooth metaphor thing, you get the sense, in the wake of Morgan's "apology" on Sunday night, that the same thing might be happening. That's the good news. The bad news is that Morgan might end up so shaky that he turns into Tim McCarver. You can imagine in future telecasts, Morgan, afraid that he will inadvertently unleash another
pile of bullshit "confusion," limiting himself to saying easily verifiable things like, "That was a single. I once hit a single." and "There are nine innings in most baseball games." I'm not sure if that would be better or worse. Think of it this way: Do you prefer the harmless brainlessness of Clark Kellogg, or the obnoxious but opinionated snootiness of Billy Packer? That we must make such decisions ... that, friends, is our plight.
Alex Rodriguez. Pete Abraham of the Journal News is what New York beat reporters would be like if they weren't all crazy — slight oversimplification! Don't depant me next time I visit the press box, guys! — and he has absolutely nailed how sloppy the Yankees have been with Alex Rodriguez since he came off the disabled list. A-Rod's rehab, remember, was more of a split-the-baby procedure, a little bit of surgery here, a little bit of surgery at the end of the season, let the man settle in and work his way back type of thing. Manager Joe Girardi didn't do this at all, though, playing him every day until, inevitably, he broke down, to the point that they're going to be sitting him at least a day a week for quite some time, probably even more. It's like they completely forgot he was hurt, which is not a smart decision for a team paying him about $26 million every season through the 2017 season. This is why the Yankees are insane and still compelling: Every year is so important that they're willing to risk a guy they still owe $206 million simply to stay competitive for May and June. And it didn't even work. I have to say: The Yankees are a fun team to write about for your job.
Donte Stallworth. Like me, the Palm Beach Post, in the wake of Donte Stallworth's light sentence for killing a man while driving under the influence, got to thinking about Leonard Little. The Rams linebacker killed a woman in 1998 while driving home drunk after his birthday party — the woman was actually the wife of a photographer who occasionally shoots Rams games, as documented memorably by SI's Mike Fish — and was only suspended for eight games. (He served 30 more days in jail than Stallworth will.) Little, amazingly, is still playing, even though he was arrested again for a DUI in 2004, though he was ultimately acquitted of the charges. It's impossible to have the right stance on instances like Little's and Stallworth's. Part of you wants to throw them in jail for 100 years, and the other says that if you serve your time, you should have the right to rejoin your chosen vocation while you have the opportunity, even if you're a monster who did something stupid and terrible. Either way, it makes you want to bash your head into a wall until it bleeds.
Jeff Weaver. One suspects Tigers fans, Yankees fans and Mariners fans aren't doing backflips about it, but we Cardinals fans are happy for Jeff Weaver, who appears to be settling into a somewhat regular rotation slot with the Dodgers. As I've mentioned before, there's no place on earth other than Busch Stadium that Jeff Weaver would be greeted with a standing ovation, and that includes the Weaver household. On the list of unlikely World Series heroes, Weaver has to be considered one of the least likely; the man was dominant in a deciding game against a classic offense. (The only guy who hit him was Sean Casey, of all people.) The Weaver tenure in St. Louis was a total blur; he didn't show up until July and was knocked around until the playoffs. His October was so ridiculous that, when my father and I had a discussion on whose World Series jersey we should buy to commemorate 2006, we ended up choosing Weaver. Sure, I look like an idiot when I wear the jersey to softball games, but hey, I'm usually wearing black socks and maroon shorts anyway, so the jersey is the least of my problems. By the way, the 2006 commemorative championship video is particularly amusing to watch now, considering Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, Jeff Suppan, Adam Wainwright, everyone looks all officially and grownup, and then Weaver shows up looking like the biggest dirtball alive. All he's missing is a pack of Winstons and rotting teeth. Bless him.