is off piste for the week

No this week. Reading list ’til next time:

The No-Stats All-Star – Michael Lewis, NYT

Lance Armstrong Rides Again – Douglas Brinkley, Vanity Fair

The pain of pedal power – Simon Scardifield, The Times

‘Happiness was defined by the moment when you slotted a Subbuteo football past your best friend’s goalkeeper’ – Extracts of Graham Taylor and David Baddiel’s Subbuteo reminiscences, The Guardian

Sex, drugs and shoulder pads – The unbelievable story of the implosion of the Dallas Cowboys – Jeff Pearlman, The Observer

Non sport: Playing The Beatles Backwards: The Ultimate Countdown – Jamsbio

Reading list: Updike on golf

John Updike died today. As well as being a literary athlete, he was a keen amateur golfer:

“Indeed, few sights are more odious on the golf course than a sauntering, beered-up foursome obviously having a good time. Some golfers, we are told, enjoy the landscape; but properly the landscape shrivels and compresses into the grim, surrealistically vivid patch of grass directly under the golfer’s eyes as he morosely walks toward where he thinks his ball might be.”

Essay excerpt.

Reading list: Barry O’Bomber

Chuck Klosterman interviews Michelle Obama’s brother, a basketball coach.

“When I played basketball with Barack, he was quietly confident, which means he had good self-esteem without being cocky. He was certainly a team player — he wasn’t a pig, he passed when he was supposed to pass, and he cut when he was supposed to cut. To me, that speaks to a lack of selfishness. He had natural leadership ability, because he didn’t just pass me the ball because he was dating my sister.”

World Cup reading list

If you’ve not actually moved from the couch since final whistle, and are starting to contemplate brightening up your pit of despair with a fridge, toaster, and large plastic tub to catch the dribble, then here’s all the interweb action you’ve missed

Stephen Jones responds to readers letters – Jaysus. Stephen Jones is either the bastard child of Margret Thatcher and a dashing young Clive Woodward, or John Clarke’s greatest ever creation

NZ’s own Jed Thian writes in the Guardian (the GUARDIAN!) on the pain – heh, yes the poms at work had a field day on Monday. Nice croissants, though

– Bart from The Silver Fern on why we lost and the reconditioning programme – some well considered points from a smart rugby guy

Inky on his primal response to Sunday’s loss, ie going out and getting covered in blood and guts. I’ve only just started reading Inky, the archives are highly recommended

Public Address System gets it out of their system – Following Russell Brown’s thoughtful post, there’s a mammoth thread really worth reading, and watch the youtube vid of the Paris Rugby ball..

Reading List – Rugby World Cup

Time to round up the interweb’s best – anything’s got to be better than watching England v South Africa. England are crap, their boneheaded approach summed up thus – Jason Robinson’s just gone to ground having pulled a hamstring, only to have his entire forward pack leap on him as one. Dicks.

Habana beware as we unleash our whizzo pranks – the brilliant Harry Pearson on how England can compete: “…Clive Woodward led his squad team-building in what survival experts acknowledge is the world’s harshest environment – a provincial prep school… Martin Johnson and his men were subjected to a brutal regime of syrup of figs, boiled cabbage, cold showers, cross-country runs, Latin, and being forced to watch as the older boys ate all the cakes their mummies had sent…Jonny Wilkinson told the BBC’s John Inverdale… “Please don’t lock me in the ink cupboard again, sir. It’s dark and it smells and there are creatures scurrying and scratching . . .” – Har

The Dropkicks help office drones survive the World Cup – nice action. The droppies have been on fire, with a record turnaround podcast and bonus fashion run-down… they were even nice enough to publish my lame-ass lolblacks

This guy reckons Doug Howlett looks like Darth Vader – makes a change from the usual Greg Sommerville / Yoda comparison

– Oh, and go see Superbad for a break from the rubgy, it’s way funny

Reading list: Nathan Rarere has an ‘actually funny’ rugby blog

Radio guy Nathan Rarere, who used to present Ice TV with cycling’s Jon Bridges and God’s Petra Baghurst, has a rugby blog that’s actually funny. On his latest post, he’s compared Hawke’s Bay’s forward pack’s ‘take no prisoners’ approach (that generally translates to ‘ensure the oppostion remains unconcious for large parts of the game’) to Roman army tactical manoeuvres. I like it a lot – added to the link roll.