Bill Simmons, Weasels, and Jackals

A week later, I still find myself thinking about ESPN’s suspension of Bill Simmons. The fact that it’s based on what was said on a podcast. The fact that Simmons is now effectively muzzled and can’t say a word about the suspension (he can’t even use his own Twitter account, let alone podcast). The absolute insanity of the suspension being longer than Ray Rice’s original suspension. The whole thing.

Amy Davidson brings up a couple good points. First, on the situation itself:

Simmons’s anger is absolutely earned. Goodell’s denial is absurd; as I’ve written before, what did he think it looked like when a football player knocked a woman unconscious? (Note that Simmons is saying that he lied about knowing what was on the tape, not whether Goodell saw it himself.) There are a few levels of dishonesty here: when Goodell hears that a player—a man whom he watches on the field every week using the force of his body in violent collisions—has hit a woman, and says that he just can’t picture the mechanics of that action without a video, how many lies is he telling, to others and to himself? Perhaps in other cases, when players choked women, shot them, or dragged them by the hair, he needed a sort of animated diagram.

It’s pretty simple, really. Goodell, and by extension, the NFL, has taken what is a serious, sad, and bad situation and has obfuscated it in trying to save their own asses and hiding behind technicalities. Like weasels.

Second, specifically on Simmons part here:

Maybe Simmons was deliberately looking for ESPN’s limits; if so, he found them. What does it mean, anyway, for a journalist to be suspended? Simmons presumably won’t be able to write his columns, appear on television, or record his podcasts. But he still might be asking questions.

Whether he was doing it on purpose or not doesn’t really matter. What matters is that ESPN was foolish to suspend Simmons for this. Whether they’re acting as the hand of Goodell here or not, it appears that they are. That’s all that matters. It has destroyed their credibility.

It’s interesting to think that Simmons was smart enough to know exactly how this would play out — that he would goad ESPN into suspending him and that it would elevate the firestorm even further as a result. Regardless, he comes out of this looking great, while Roger Goodell, the NFL, and ESPN all look like conspiratorial jackals.

But it also puts Simmons in a precarious situation when he returns from suspension. Does he continue on with business as usual? Can he? Won’t it look like ESPN (and again, by extension — rightly or wrongly — the NFL) ultimately “won”? That money continues to talk?

It would seem like the perfect reason for Simmons to break away and re-start Grantland (he’ll undoubtedly be blocked from using the name) on his own? Maybe he has a non-compete (I assume so). And there are probably a half dozen other reasons why it would be hard for Simmons to leave ESPN (aside from the large amount of money they pay him, of course). But doesn’t he have to now?

By forcing ESPN’s hand (for the right reason) did he force his own?

The Harbaughs believe in Brady Hoke. He’s a great coach. He believes in Michigan. I believe in what they’re doing there. I think they’re going to turn it around.
John Harbaugh, the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens (not to be confused with his brother Jim, the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers), addressing the rumors swirling that he (or his brother) could be heading to Ann Arbor (where both grew up) to fix the Wolverines any time soon.

Anonymous asked:

I'd never want to buy a $10k watch at an Apple Store. How could Apple change the stores so that I would?

It’s a good question — one I’ve been thinking about as well recently (hat tip to Megan for first bringing it up). While I do believe they will sell the Apple Watch in Apple Stores, it does seem like it may make sense to open some smaller, Apple Watch-specific stores in certain markets. Ideally, these would be situated in the high-end shopping areas where high-end watch stores currently reside. Stay tuned for more thoughts on this.

Rob Brunner:

Another way Bourdain stays engaged is by constantly experimenting with technology. As equipment has improved over the years, the show has become more visually accomplished. In addition to high-end cameras like $16,000 Sony F3s with cinema-quality lenses and more modest equipment such as Canon 7Ds, the team now regularly uses GoPros, often in unexpected ways. In the Shanghai episode, they rigged up what they refer to as “shot cam,” a GoPro attached to a shot glass that captures, to dizzying effect, the liquor’s-eye view during a night of revelry. They have used bags of risotto for makeshift tracking shots (“risotto cam”) and turned a Hot Wheels track into a camera dolly. Bourdain is especially excited about the possibility of shooting an upcoming show entirely on iPhones.

The “shot cam” is genius. The iPhone thing should be very much possible with the iPhone 6/6+.

Also love this:

Bourdain now has a term for such corporate meddling: being asked to “eat a shit sandwich.” It’s one of the few meals he flat-out refuses to consume. “Given a choice between eating the sandwich and not having a television career, I would happily not have a television career,” he says. “Most people eat the sandwich.” He quit, taking the show to Travel Channel.

Most people definitely eat the sandwich.

Rob Dean:

Over on his excellent website, Extension 765, Soderbergh has uploaded a black-and-white version of the 1981 blockbuster in an effort to prompt cinephiliacs to think about how an impressive talent like Spielberg was able to convey so much of the story merely through length and composition of shots. He also removed all sound from the video, instead replacing it with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score for The Social Network, so that viewers can solely focus on the staging of the film.

So this is what “retirement" is like for Soderbergh. (The end result, which you can watch on Soderbergh’s site is beautiful and sort of mesmerizing.)

Cecilia Kang:

Podcasters also like the personal connection they have with fans who listen through ear buds or headphones, which can make shows feel more intimate than other forms of media.

Mars said he keeps that in mind and mikes himself more closely than he used to. This allows him to use a quieter voice, which he calls a “head voice,” in the hopes of more closely connecting with listeners.

I like that concept.

Certainly doesn’t sound like the absolute worst device is the world, but certainly nothing that will save BlackBerry. A solid C-/D+. 

I’m perplexed by the design choice here. Yes, it’s the shape of a passport, but why is that a good thing? No one types on their passport. No one reads things on their passport. It looks as if BlackBerry made it different simply for the sake of being different.

Yes, it sounds like the large, square screen makes it mildly easier to read email and documents. But the shape also makes it harder to type, negating any positives of the screen. And it’s arguably net negative given BlackBerry users love of their keyboards. 

I would have gone the other way — either way. I would have either made a device that’s the ultimate one-handed use machine (especially since Apple is going in the other direction with the iPhone 6/6 Plus). Or made the thing bigger, with the best physical “thumb” keyboard on a phone ever.