What I Read: Roger Ebert, Manny Pacquiao, Gamblers and Fear & Loathing

I spent two hours at”Common Ground coffee shop in Hampden, nestled down with a medium roast Zeke’s coffee and a stack of printed articles, magazines and local newspapers that I’ve been meaning to mow through but haven’t had the time or energy.

Reading, for me, is a pastime. If possible, I like to go for a walk, or go to the gym before, to feel refreshed and focus. Though I’ve always wanted to hunke down at a bar, like my home bar Frazier’s on the Avenue, with my stack of reading, booze and concentration don’t handle well together for me. So, coffee shops, with their comfy aura and roasted scent, work better.

Some articles I burned through today:

  • Excellent article in Esquire, written by Chris Jones, about Roger Ebert and his battle with thyroid cancer, which destroyed his jaw and forced him to take in all his sustenance in liquid form. For supplements, read New Yorker/Sporting News/Deadspin writer Will Leach’s own story on Roger Ebert as well Ebert’s own take on the Esquire piece.
  • A wild GQ feature about Manny Pacquiao, his entourage and his relationship with his home nation of the Philippines. The story about one of the members of his inner circle, known as The Governor, and his attempt to breed are Liger are insane.
  • A quick tear through Baltimore City Paper and the Urbanite.
  • Three stories that you can all find on Deadspin’s ‘Stories that Don’t Suck‘ series; an 1986 Sports Illustrated profile of the drunken ramblings of former Baltimore Colts owner Bob Irsay, a stunning 1972  profile of an addicted gambler in Yonkers New York by famed author Dan DeLillo, and my favorite, Rolling Stone’s Hunter S. Thompson’s 1973 piece “Fear and Loathing at the Superbowl”.

(Please read the Thompson piece. It represents both his most admirable skills as a writer and critic, and also the self-indulgence that sent his career into decline. Thompson never lost the ability to write clean, lean text – he was always a Hemingway devotee and it rippled through his writing even when the drugs took over. Plus, he was never afraid to write about his on negative foibles. Plus, he was the most pointed, bull’s eye media critic of his time. His work in “Hell’s Angels” rightly skewered the faultiness and sensationalism ofnewspaper journalism in his area in a methodical, well reasoned approach. He became famous for his drug-induced ramblings, which the latter half of this story falls into, but his best work came when his mind was focused and fresh.)

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