It was a knockout week for articles about people who are smarter than normal people.
There are over 300 million people in the US — only 32 of them are annually selected to be Rhodes scholars. There are almost seven billion people on earth — only 32 of them are annually selected in the NFL Draft’s first round. What are the odds that one person could score both? Hey, I only graduated from relatively lowly Kennesaw State University, and even I can calculate that it’s SLIGHTLYRARE. Future NFL star/current Rhodes scholar Myron Rolle makes you and me and everyone we know all feel like big, big losers. Can you imagine the pressures of being Myron Rolle? Article’s most underrated moment: when we learn that Rolle, quite possibly the most smartest American pro athlete ever, enjoys the music of Plies, who looks like this.
Rolle’s fellow people-who-are-smarter-than-you, Ivy Leaguers Jessica Lin, Jessica Matthews, Julia Silverman, and Hemali Thakkar, have created a soccer ball that generates energy by being kicked. Fifteen minutes of play generates enough power to run a light for three hours, meaning a whole day of running/kicking can help patch the electricity gaps third-world villages have to deal with.*
The Atlantic’s food columnist compares Walmart’s produce with Whole Foods’, hosting a blind taste-test for 16 professional food critics. THIRD-BULLETTWIST: several critics end up “not entirely happy” to discover the produce they preferred was actually THEPOPULISTPRODUCE. This changes everything! Update the class war scoreboard: Little Guy 1, Rhodes Cornerback & The Soccer Teslas… still somewhat more than 1. Ok, fine.
Watching football is a big waste of time. The average NFL game features only about 11 or 12 minutes of live gameplay content. The rest is replays, crowd shots, loitering, promos, and so on. But is this really a problem? When watching a game by myself, I can play with my daughter, read blogs, work (as I’m doing right now — Hi mom! — there’s 6:16 to go in Cowboys-Vikings!), etc. without really missing much, and lots of people Tivo games anyway. When watching games with friends, there’s plenty of breaks in the football we can use to discuss football. Who really loses in this arrangement? ELSEWHEREINSPORTS:Calculating Charlie Brown’s Wins, Losses, and Other Pitching Stats based on one man’s Peanuts extrapolatin’. No, not this Charlie Brown.
Regarding the strange and unreadable Esquire thing about Jay-Z… Oh man. Plenty of writers had problems with its content, while others focused on its baffling syntax. (FULLDISCLOSURE: I liked that “campefire flickers” line.) I’m not sure which part of this messy, messy article qualifies as a “Best” anything. It’s the most forced writing I’ve ever read — it reads like it was written by a suburban 15-year-old boy who always looks for chances to remind his teachers that Mos Def is poetry. Maybe it’s the article’s amazing music-writer-unifying properties, as the spectacle of rap writers rallying to shoot it down was inspiring.
Jimmy Kimmel lays into Jay Leno on Leno’s own show. Around 1:40, Kimmel dings Leno and Leno refuses to play along. You can see Kimmel’s eyes light up, as he realizes he gets to tee off on Leno for the next four minutes. Jay loses his audience, and all he can do is wait it out. I don’t watch any of these shows, so I don’t really have a dog well-trained competitor in this fight, but Leno is impossible to like at this point.
“Why would anybody ever wanna leave Baltimore? That’s what I’m askin’.”
The new trailer for Treme, the upcoming series by The Wire’s creators:
Heads up, friends: This post is part of ENGINE’s decade-closing blogsplosion. Click here to witness the rest of the damage. The aughties!
It’s time for the exhaustive list of the Worst _____ of the Decade lists.
We try to be positive. But come on. When Pew concludes it was the worst decade in 50 years, and Time drops the 10 Worst Things about the Worst Decade Ever, it’s hard to forget this decade kicked off with Y2K — not just a fail fail, but the biggest fail fail ever — and has only gotten more and more bailouty and wardrobe malfunctionous since.
Would love to list nice things; just filling a void here. Kottke’s already got the best lists list covered. It has some worsts too, but isn’t nearly as horrific as what you’re about to endure Also, Fimoculous has the 2009 list of lists up and running — perfect for those getting the shakes at staring down the barrel of all ten years at once.
Our next entry in our series will be as pleasant as can be. But it’s darkest before the dawn. Wade into the shock and awful.
Frowny-faced NFL player Larry Johnson’s feet really cover a lot of ground. Sadly, they find his mouth more often than they find the end zone. Jay Smooth sets LJ straight:
Your weekly inspiration: At some point this week, it’ll be high time to give nary a crap what your bourgeois lawyer friends think, just like this man dancing with authority to MJ at the bus stop day in and day out: