And now for a much-deserved break from all the bad news.
The Journal runs a terrific “ahed”—the name for the paper’s classic offbeat front-page stories— this morning, about an Aussie pro bowler taking the sport by the storm by rolling the ball with two hands (disclosure: the reporter, Adam Thompson, is a pal of mine from my WSJ days).
The ball can top 600 revolutions per minute, up to 17% more rotation than the nearest elite one-armed competitor and twice what some other top pros generate. Ideally, the approach sends the ball flirting with the right edge of the lane before hooking sharply into the center and creating an explosion of pins. “When he hits the pocket, it’s curtains,” says John Jowdy, a coach since 1948. “The ball is very destructive.”
And the tension, of course, is that the revolutionary is ruffling feather amongst the old guard (who fear the fact that he can get much more spin on the ball than they can):
Some see parallels in the unorthodox two-handed approach to track-and-field’s Fosbury Flop — named after the Olympic gold medalist whose backward leap permanently changed high jumping. But Mr. Belmonte has faced doubters on many sides. Some bowlers scoff at what they see as the PBA’s favoritism toward him. Some think his little-studied form could injure young bowlers as they get older. And Mr. Belmonte has crossed paths with some old-timers who simply don’t like the new style.
The WSJ has a video report embedded in the Web page if you want to check out his style.
On the other coast, the Los Angeles Times’s Column One is also a great read, this one about a tiny Alaskan fishing village whose police blotter has become must-reading around the world for some. Here’s why:
A literate, witty and often hilariously calm voice of reason in this outpost of human foibles, the Unalaska police report documents what happens when thousands of fishermen from all over the world descend on one small port for shore leave:
Bunkhouse roommates throw lamps and nightstands at each other. Ethiopian and Somali immigrants engage in raucous but obscure tribal disputes. Drunks pass out — in ditches, on bar stools, in other people’s bunks and in unfamiliar living rooms.
Here’s my favorite bit:
Of course, the locals manage to get into their own share of scrapes. Names aren’t included in the blotter postings unless someone has been charged with a significant crime. Still, most residents are able to read between the lines. Who was the woman who phoned the police and said her armchair was trying to kill her? That one was easy — her furniture’s always after her. Who was the trawl fisherman arrested for driving while intoxicated after pulling out of the Harbor View Bar’s parking lot with a teacup Chihuahua in his lap? Do you have to ask?
Finally, this one’s for you New Yorkers (and those of us who miss New York): The New York Times posts a tribute to the city created with Legos by the artist Christop Niemann. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a long time. My favorite is “Many on Subway Platform, Seeing a Critter on the Tracks” or maybe “Plastic Bag, Caught in Tree Branch”. And I think we can all agree about that terrible Verizon monstrosity—a cancer on the Brooklyn Bridge skyline. Mr. Bloomberg (or Mr. Seidenberg), tear down this building!
Hey, for a few minutes theses pieces helped me forget about the 626,000 jobs lost last month. Thanks, guys.