I recently came across a “book” by one of my favorite Shark Tank sharks, Mr. Mark Cuban. This collection of previously written blog posts entitled How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It. As the now owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Cuban is definitely able to mix his sports metaphors and business knowledge in this mostly autobiographical selection of stories.
This book is not very long and it’s probably not going to tell you anything new, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. If you want to learn more about the early failures and successes of Cuban, this will give you good insight to that. But if you want to learn how to start your own business or how to become the next owner of your favorite sports team, all you’re going to get out of this book is a “you need to try very hard, and probably fail a couple of times.” Also, you’re going to realize that it takes a giant dose of luck to actually hit it big.
Yes, you can probably get all this stuff for free on the internet as he has just compiled some blog posts. But, the quality posts have been selected and they have been edited – Something us bloggers often fail to do. And it’s less than $3, so he’s not asking for much.
So Croak isn’t really a sports book. The only mentions of sports in the book is when they discuss which New York baseball team the main character follows and when there is a death at a baseball game. Croak is getting mention here because the author, Gina Damico, is a friend of the site and the woman who, for some unknown reason, agreed to marry me. Croak hits shelves today and has now been released upon the world.
Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than that of shoveling manure.
He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach her the family business.
Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner Driggs and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her Targets like a natural born Killer.
Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to Kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die—that is, people who aren’t supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent—Lex’s curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage—or will she ditch Croak and join in?
I have a bit of a Kickstarter problem, to the tune of 14 backed projects in the last 7 months. But don’t worry — I can handle it. I can quit any time I want. Until that time comes though, let me tell you of a few interesting finds.
162pixels 2012 Baseball Statographic eBook – These guys are putting together a small ebook full of preseason baseball pretty statistical goodness. In less than a week, we’ll know if they made their tiny $1500 goal. And no, I didn’t go for the level that includes a link to my blog in the book. 🙂 And if you think that $5 for a silly baseball book isn’t worth it, give them the money for the fun Moneyball-style promotion video:
Gridiron Heroes – This one actually just finished funding. But don’t fret, you can still get in line to play some Gridiron heroes by checking out their Facebook page. What are you getting in line to play? A Tecmo Bowl style football simulation MMO game on the Facebook. If you are into MMOG then you should try playing destiny, if you want to level up your character faster then check out this awesome destiny 2 boosting. I’m tired of all the Facebook games being puzzlers or boring farming simulations, so I can’t wait for some footballs up in there. Here’s their gameplay trailer:
BALLCRAPS – Also recently successful in getting their project kickstarted, BALLCRAPS is a mix of craps and football. Basically it’s a felt craps-style board where the betting that happens is about predicting the future plays of the game. I’ve put myself on their mailing list to be the first to know about Baseballcraps when the get around to making that.
That’s kind of all I found for decent sports-related KickStarters, but instead of ending this post now, I’m going to point out a few interesting board gaming ones for the nerds who are into that.
Mobile Frame Zero: Rapid Attack – This is strategy and tactics LEGO-based miniatures game. The designers are Vincent Baker (of Dogs in the Vineyard, Apocalypse World, The Abductinators, etc.) and Joshua A.C. Newman (of Shock:Social Science Fiction, Shock:Human Contact, and Under the Bed). So it has some decent pedigrees and it’s about fighting LEGO robots — What more do you want?
Velociraptor! Cannibalism! – “Velociraptor! Cannibalism! is a card game of survival, mutation, and the occasional volcano. Based on a crude understanding of natural selection,Velocipator! Cannibalism! puts you in the role of a young, eager and bright eyed Raptor as they must eat delicious, adorable prey, survive environmental disaster, mutate and steal the body parts of other Raptors.” And if that’s not enough to convince you, perhaps this fancy kitten-eating raptor can change your mind:
So earlier this year Amazon sends me my usual morning email containing a Kindle Daily Deal (for those of you without kindles, it’s a random book on sale for $1 or $2). On the day in question, here is what I was told:
Today only, Rick Reilly’s entertaining and wide-ranging collection of sports essays–with an introduction by Lance Armstrong–is just $0.99 (90% off yesterday’s price).
That tiny tidbit and small image of the cover was all I had to go on, but I was rich in post-Christmas Amazon money to the tune of almost $25. So that $0.99 was easy to forget and I clicked the “Amazon, please take more of my money” button that I click far too often as it is.
Now, I’ve never been a Sports Illustrated subscriber — the swimsuit edition and football flip phone could not woo me. So I was pretty much in the dark when it came to Rick Reilly. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. I learned that Reilly has been writing this short back page column weekly since 1998. If I were a SI subscriber, I’d probably be one of the many readers who start reading their magazine from the back.
The book is a collection of 100 of Reilly’s favorite columns, along with an Introduction by Lance Armstrong. They pretty much alternated between heartwarming stories and sarcastic commentaries and amusing tales of the good and bad people in sports. The comedic stories were just OK for the most part with some gems like poking fun at Canada or Seattle:
Postscript: Seattle was really torqued off about this one. Of course, getting hate mail from Seattle is like having your refrigerator raided by Kate Moss. One guy e-mailed me and ended it with, “And I want you to know, I purposely wrote this in a difficult-to-read font!” Oooh, six-point calligraphy. Scary.
But the best stories were the tear-jerking tales of adversity and love:
WHY DO THEY COME? WHY do they hang around to watch the slowest high school cross-country runner in America? Why do they want to see a kid finish the 3.1 miles in 51 minutes when the winner did it in 16? Why do they cry? Why do they nearly break their wrists applauding a junior who falls flat on his face almost every race? Why do they hug a teenager who could be beaten by any other kid running backward?
Why do they do it? Why do all of his teammates go back out on the course and run the last 10 minutes of every race with him? Why do other teams do it too? And the girls’ teams? Why run all the way back out there to pace a kid running like a tortoise with bunions?
I tried a couple of new things for my birthday this year. I got some exercise and some blisters by going roller skating at Boston’s only roller skating rink — Chez Vous. Exercise, because I had forgotten that I’m getting older and I’m not as spry as I was in my youth. and Blisters because the rentals skates have been worn by many a person before myself. But even with that, it was a fun time and I got to feel younger that I actually am.
Another “sport” I tried for my birthday was some indoor miniature golf. I went to a local Monster Golf and tried to shine under the black lights. It was pretty good other than the weird way that all the greens were interconnected.
But when I got home, I learned that for the low low price of $140,000.00 I could have my very own black light miniature golf course. Sweet! But the amazing income of $3 a month for a blog, doesn’t allow one to buy such extravagances. So for now, I must stick to the day job.
Finally, a week ago, I said I was giving away a copy of Baseball Prospectus’s new Guide to the 2008 Baseball Season. Well that time has come. Using the exciting random method of visiting Random.org and getting a number between 2 and 10 (the comments that are not mine on my post). The winner is The U. Who you may know from being a sports trivia genius over at Chuck Sports.
The Minnesota Vikings boomed a punt to Devin Hester of the Chicago Bears, most dangerous punt returner ever, and he repaid the favor by running the ball back 89 yards for a touchdown. As a result, football pundits everywhere are asking, “Why does anyone punt to Devin Hester instead of kicking the ball out of bounds?” Tuesday Morning Quarterback asks: Why do NFL teams ever punt to any returner, rather than deliberately punt out of bounds?
(1) I didn’t see the game, so I’ll pay Mr. Easterbrook the Samaritan compliment of presuming that maybe Ron Franklin and Pete Bercich said something about it. Still, that hardly constitutes “pundits everywhere,” and without further citations I have to just roll my eyes.
(2) Because the (miniscule) chance of a punt being run back for a touchdown is offset by the (pretty good) chance that the kicking team will beat the receiving team to the spot of the ball, thereby waddling around it in what I call “mother hen” mode.
(3) Think about it for half of a second, Easterbrook – if this were a dominant strategy, wouldn’t more coaches do it? Easterbrook cites one time Belichick did it, as proof of the Mastermind’s Genius, and concludes it’s the way to go. That’s some crackerjack research, Easterbrook. Read More