Blaise Pascal (on solitude as virtue)

I bought the April edition of Harper’s magazine — you can’t get it at the supermarket checkout (except in FantasyHowdyLand), but my chi-chi grocery emporium’s mag-rack wasn’t that far away — and, well, I bought it because it was Harper’s (and I was hungry), but also because of a perfect storm of stories highlighted on the cover. (I felt fated, head-spatially profiled, chosen.) “American Hustle” features basketball (good news for this hoops-head) and how hothouse youth coaches exploit African kids (possibly even more attractive to this highly conflicted coach who loves the game, loves excellence, hates what is done in the name of religion sport). “Rotten Ice” is a story of Arctic melting, not only for me but for EcoBride. Rebecca Solnit writes, perhaps just for this career English Creature, an op-ed titled “Abolish High School!” The cover piece, though, was both the initial eye candy and the clincher: “GOING IT ALONE: Fenton Johnson on the dignity and challenge of solitude”.

It starts well, pleasing my expectant reading tastebuds. I haven’t finished.

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They Came, They Saw, They Silvered

26 Sept. 2013: a different version of this piece (and the previous one) runs today at, a fine English-language site for all things to do with Chinese basketball. The name roughly means “hoops is cool”. Check it out. waxed excited and nostalgic about tiny Lithuania and its out-sized basketball history here. The Green (and gold) Giants powered and shot their way to a chance to win their fourth European championship last night (3 am China time), and their shot at a first title in ten years. We were not quite so Kleiza-obsessed, though he was a Toronto Raptor for awhile, as to chance the frustrations of live-streaming in Dalian in the middle of the night, but we were up at the crack of nine to find out what happened.

The opponent was France, and Tony Parker happened. He only scored 12 in the final, but was the MVP of the competition as France won its first-ever European championship with an 80-66 win over the Little Country That Could. (And apparently still Can.)

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