The Most Interesting Story Correction I’ve Ever Made

30 Jun


So today my profile of Jared Jeffries went live on SLAM Magazine’s website. The story ran in the latest issue of SLAM.

Some quick background: the story was part of SLAM’s annual “Throwback” issue. As my editor said when he sent me the assignment: “Jeffries snuck onto a SLAM cover once and he has a fishing show now.” The second part of that sentence had me hooked and, it turns out, Jeffries is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever interviewed. That’s essentially what the profile is about, so I urge you to go read it. I promise, Jared Jeffries is more interesting than you think. He told me about the time he went alligator hunting with Brad Miller and all the crazy fishing trips he’s taken.

During our conversations he mentioned someone by the name of Josh Temple, a close friend who charters boats for a living. I looked Temple up, gave him a call and he sent me this long e-mail full of all sorts of anecdotes and quotes.

Now, you might have noticed that in the online version the following correction appears at the end of the article.

“The print version of this article misstated Jeffries’ possession of a teddy bear named Mr. Biggles. Jeffries does not own a teddy bear.”

This, I felt, was something I should explain, so here we go: most of the stories Temple shared with me came via e-mail. One that stood out: how there was this teddy bear Jeffries brought with him everywhere he went. Here’s what I wrote in the magazine:

Also, Mr. Biggles must always be nearby.

That’s Jeffries’ teddy bear. According to Josh Temple, who’s been fishing with Jeffries for nearly a decade, Mr. Biggles can never leave Jeffries’ side. Jeffries was carrying the raggedy bear with him the first time he met Temple. The bear was brought along a few years later when the two chartered a yacht to celebrate Jeffries’ marriage. It was also there not long after when they set sail to help Jeffries get over his divorce. Jeffries has been caught cuddling with Mr. Biggles in bed. It took Temple a few years, but eventually he was able to summon up the courage to inquire why, exactly, an extremely large grown man was toting around a stuffed animal everywhere he went.

The answer didn’t provide much clarity.

“You mean you don’t have one?” Temple remembers Jeffries responding. “Shit, Mr. Biggles is the man.”

All that came from Temple. The mistake I made (and, journalistically, it was a bad one) was not verifying with Jeffries. Then again, WHAT KIND OF PERSON WOULD MAKE UP A STORY ABOUT A TEDDY BEAR?!

Turns out, a ship captain named Josh Temple.

Here’s an e-mail I got from Jeffries this week.

Why would you believe Josh on the Teddy Bear thing. Lmfao. There was no Mr. Biggles.
You’re crazy. Please take that out of the online article.

I emailed Temple and relayed the message. His response:

Don’t let Jared snowball you he’s a shiester! He takes Mr Biggles everywhere he goes! He probably doesn’t want it made public but those are the facts!

At this point I was confused and also annoyed. Also, I couldn’t believe that I was actually going back and forth trying to verify the existence of a Mr. Biggles.
I reached back out to Jeffries. His response:
On my kids that’s not true. Lol
He then forwarded me an e-mail from Temple that made it seem as if this whole thing was a prank of some sort. So, there you go. My bad, for sure. But also gives you a little insight into the type of people Jared Jeffries hangs out with and why he’s such a fun dude.
Also, I’m sure this is exactly the type of stuff Woodward and Bernstein spent their time on.

New Stories

24 Jun

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So holy hell, that was a crazy two weeks. First off, I want to know who’s responsible for scheduling the NBA Draft for last night as opposed to this coming Thursday, June 30. We need some breathing time after the Finals! As one NBA reporter said to me on Wednesday (we’ll keep him nameless), “I just found out Henry Ellenson was white.”

As for my work pertaining to the draft, well I had two profiles go up this week on players selected last night.

The one I spent the most time on, and am most proud of, is this Bleacher Report story on Ben Simmons and why so many of the criticism being tossed at him are misguided. I actually spent almost a year reporting it, getting in touch with his siblings, LSU teammates and coaches, and some scouts too. My take: dude’s going to be a stud.

My other pre-draft profile was for SB Nation and on Kentucky big man Skal Labiessiere, who nearly died in the Haiti earthquake in 2010, and yet is perpetually called “soft” by fans, scouts and media. It’s a label he says he’s not particularly fond of.

Some other stories/columns I’ve had published over the past two weeks:

Finally, I spent two days last month in Spokane (which, apparently, is pronounced Spo-can, not Spo-cain. Who knew?) hanging out with Adam Morrison for Bleacher Report. We went golfing and shooting and drinking and some other stuff, too. He might be a different kind of guy. But he’s a good guy — and, more importantly, living the life.

Check out the story here.

That’s it for this week, thanks for reading!

This Week’s Stories

20 May


So I’m going to start doing something different here. Since I’m now consistently writing for a bunch of different places I figured that I’d start making a weekly post here listing all my stories from the previous week. This way my MILLIONS OF FANS can keep track of everything I’m doing.

Anyway, I wrote six stories this week. Or, rather, I had six stories publishes this week. Here they are:

For Tablet Magazine, I profiled Mike Packer, the head-honcho of Packer Shoes, one of the top boutique sneaker stores in the country, and world. Packer is a cool dude with an interesting back story. He also happens to be an observant Jew. It was a fun story to work on.

I did a lot of basketball writing this week, too. Some X’s and O’s breakdowns of the Cavaliers ridiculous three-point shooting, and of Channing Frye’s major impact on Cleveland, both for SB Nation. Also for SB Nation, the five big questions the Heat must answer this offseason. Miami could possibly get Kevin Durant. The franchise could also be screwed. It will be interesting to watch. And for The Comeback I wrote why I think the Knicks’ hiring of Jeff Hornacek should have the team’s fans excited.

Finally, I went to Saturday Night Live last week. Well, kind of. Turns out they do a dress rehearsal every week before the show. It was weird to see. And fun. I wrote about it for The Comeback.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading! Oh, and next week the Bachelorette returns! Which means Power Rankings return! Which means all will be well in the world once again.

Thanks for reading!

What a Corporate Memo from Moses to God Would Look Like

7 Apr

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So I’ve been taking some graduate school writing classes. One of the courses focuses on super short stories (flash fiction and the like) and below is something I came up with one night for an assignment. I like to think it’s pretty clever (who doesn’t like some good ol’ fashioned and kind of corny biblical humor), though apparently certain editors of certain websites disagree. Anyway, I figured I’d post it here, because, well, why not…

Subject: Re: NEW BYLAWS

Initial response around the office is positive. Murders are way down and morale is at an all-time high. One thing to keep an eye on, though: the folks over in Acquisitions are concerned about the ban on stealing; they think it’s going to affect their bottom line. Any suggestions/thoughts on ways to appease them?

Also, I spoke to Aaron and informed him that he and the Commodities department can expect to see deductions in their paychecks corresponding to the amount of gold they lost in the fire. I made it clear that any further rejection of company policies would result in immediate termination.

A few other quick matters of business:

  • Any update on when we can move into the new office space? In the meantime, can we get Maintenance to do something about the humidity?
  • New cafeteria looks great, though down the line we might need to add a bit more variety. Maybe one of those rocks that dispenses water?
  • Amalekites Associates seems to be prepping for a hostile takeover. We need to review counter maneuvers.

Perhaps we can discuss at next board meeting?


(Got some new clubs and have been working on my sand game — you good for 9 on Saturday, or is that no-longer kosher?)

Purim and Hamentashens

23 Mar


Purim is, I think, my favorite Jewish holiday, mostly because it’s got everything you could possibly want.

Alcohol. Lots and lots of alcohol.

And it’s only one day.

And you get to eat a lot. Actually, that pretty much applies to every Jewish holiday. On Purim, though, there are no restrictions on using electricity—meaning that when you finish stuffing your face you can them migrate over to the couch and digest while watching TV.

Purim also has the best story of all the Jewish holidays—and to me, of the entire Hebrew Bible. The Book of Esther is pretty much a  biblical version of Game of Thrones. There’s blood and sex and war and death and more blood and more sex  and no mention of God or the supernatural, which to me makes it a more entertaining tale to read than, say, those involving impossible-to-believe miracles like the splitting of an entire sea.

So yeah, I’m excited about Purim’s arrival. I love everything about it.

Everything, that is, except, hamentashens. Those I just don’t get.

For those non-Tribespeople unfamiliar with the food, a hamentashen is a cookie, usually filled with jelly—though if you’re lucky you get your hands on a chocolate chip one—that is rolled into a three-corner shape. Why three corners? Because Haman, the evil villain from the Book of Esther who was essentially Hitler 1.0, supposedly wore a three-cornered hat while prancing around town.

Well, that’s not really the why, and this—and jelly, I don’t like jelly!—is what bothers me about these cookies. That why illuminates what the three-corner shape represents. What it does not do is explain why in the hell we celebrate a holiday and the Jewish people surviving an attempted genocide by making a delicious cookie in the shape of the villain’s hat. This would be like celebrating the downfall of Hitler by baking swastika-shaped cake. It just doesn’t make sense.

Make a cookie in the shape of a crown, to honor Queen Esther. Or a horse, for Mordechai. If you want to incorporate Haman into the ritual do so in a way that mocks him (like booing during the reading of the Book of Esther, which is already done), or makes people think about the vile person that he was. Don’t hand him the honor of dessert.

Perhaps I’m missing something here—if I am please let me know—but to me, none of this makes sense and so this Purim I will be taking a stand against Hamentashens. It’s time to put an end to this nonsense.

(Unless someone brings some chocolate ones. Or chocolate and peanut butter. Those are delicious and I’m sucker for pastries.)

Iona Basketball Players, Ranked

17 Mar


It’s March, which mean’s it’s March Madness time, which means it’s bracket season, which means it’s time for everyone to lay claim to their favorite Cinderella.

This year Iona is a popular pick. And for good reason. The Gaels play fast, shoot a ton of 3s and are, generally, a ton of fun to watch. Iona also happens to be located about a mile away from my childhood home. I grew up watching the team, learned how to play at the college’s basketball camp. Yeah, the school might have bought out and demolished my favorite local diner. But, hey, no one’s perfect.

Anyway, I thought this would be a good time to do an unofficial ranking of the 10 best players to ever come through New Rochelle. And there have been some good ones over the years. The school, after all, has made the NCAA Tournament 11 times (though it’s never advanced to the round of 32) and has won the MAAC tournament nine times. So, without further ado, here are my top-10.

  1. Jeff Ruland: Kind of a no-brainer. A two-time NBA All-Star and the school’s fifth all-time leading scorer. The 1980 team led by him and coached by Jim Valvano is probably the school’s greatest ever.
  2. Richie Guerin: Just 22nd on the school’s all-time scoring list. But he was a six-time NBA All-Star.
  3. Steve Burtt, Sr.: The school’s all-time leading scorer and averaged 24.2 points per game as a senior.
  4. AJ English: Now we get to the dude’s I’ve actually seen play. English, the star of the current team, is one of the best scorers in the country but is a really good passer, too. He has a shot at making the NBA.
  5. Scott Machado: I really thought this guy was going to make the NBA. He’s the best point guard to ever come through Iona. He couldn’t shoot but was a great point guard/team leader. He played with two other guys on this list, and Arizona tranfer MoMo Jones. That was the best Iona team I’ve ever seen.
  6. Steve Burtt, Jr.: Until English came along this guy was the best scorer I’d seen in a Gaels uniform. Dude averaged 25.2 points per game as a senior.
  7. Tariq Kirksay: Wasn’t as explosive as Burtt, but did end up having a nice career oversees.
  8. Sean Armand: The team’s all-time leader in three-pointers made. Could also put the ball on the floor a bit and was part of that Machado team that, I believe, led the nation in scoring.
  9. David Laury: Had a nice career and is now in the D-League, according to Wikipedia.
  10. Mike Glover: The rare talented big man to come through the MAAC.

My NBA Predictions, Because Who Doesn’t Love Predictions?

26 Oct

Eastern Conference

  1. Cavs
  2. Bulls
  3. Hawks
  4. Heat
  5. Wizards
  6. Bucks
  7. Raptors
  8. Pacers

Conference Finals: Cavs over Heat

Western Conference

  1. Thunder
  2. Warriors
  3. Clippers
  4. Spurs
  5. Rockets
  6. Grizzlies
  7. Pelicans
  8. Jazz

Conference Finals: Spurs over Warriors (Note: the top of the conference is absolutely stacked. Any of those top-five teams could make the finals)

Finals: Spurs over Cavs

MVP: Anthony Davis

ROY: Emmanuel Mudiay

DPOY: Draymond Green

Coach of the Year: Honestly, who cares?