Monday, March 2, 2015

In the New York Times this Weekend - March 1, 2015 (Updated March 2, 2015)

All apologies for the day-late post, folks. Had to work yesterday. Spent the afternoon and into the early evening hours writing staff reviews. Fun times. So with apologies and excuses out of the way and without further adieu, quickly now...

Arts & Leisure
Two articles from this section are worth a catch-up read tonight.

On the face of it, you wouldn't think an article about a barn in North Dakota being sold would be all that interesting. But this is no ordinary barn. For more than 25 years, the Johnson family barn in Arthur, North Dakota has hosted dances on Friday nights featuring live music and, you guessed it, dancing. People of all generations come from miles around to listen to great music, drink, eat and dance the night away. All that may change when the sale is complete. Brian Johnson (no relation to the AC/DC singer of the same name) is the owner of the farmstead including the barn that is now up for sale. Let's hope the buyer continues the Friday night dance tradition. I loved hearing that Roy Orbison once stopped in on his way to a gig and jumped on stage to sing a song or two.

My friend KAM is a big Downton Abbey fan. Don't call, email or text unless it's an emergency on Sunday night between 9pm and 10pm. I'm guessing she'll enjoy this article on the challenges faced by the show's food stylist. Just reading this article makes me hungry. And reminds me that I'm about five episodes behind - so no spoilers in the Comments section, if you please. Enjoy, KAM.

I mentioned in Saturday's post that this weekend's updates could be made up almost entirely of obituaries between Leonard Nimoy aka Mr. Spock, Earl Lloyd, the NBA's first black player, and another NBA player, Anthony Mason of the New York Knicks.

Mason, or Mase, as he was known by those of us who cheered him on when he played for those great Pat Riley era teams, died of congestive heart failure at age 48. According to his agent and others who knew him well, he did a bad job of taking care of himself and let his weight get out of control. His mother Mary, apparently the only person he ever truly listened to, survives him at age 90 and is still going strong. Mase was a fierce competitor and fearsome presence on the basketball court. He personified the Knicks' toughness with his chiseled physique and ever present scowl. He never agreed with a foul called against him and never thought he was getting enough minutes or looks on the offensive end. I loved him as a player. Off the court was a different story, but I'll let someone else dwell on that.

When Mase came jogging onto the court with a freshly cut motto or one word message carved into his close cropped hair and sporting jet black sneakers and black socks, you knew he was ready to do battle. He was never intimidated by anyone and often saved his best performances for the biggest games. I love the story Pat Riley tells about Mase in the opening of his book "The Winner Within." During his first practice as coach of the Knicks, Riles set up a one-on-one rebounding drill between the two baddest mofos in camp - Mase, who was battling for a spot on the team, and recent free agent signing Xavier McDaniel. I'll let you seek out the book to hear how the story unfolds. Rest in Peace, Mase. We could use two or three of your kind on the current Knicks roster.

I'm going to leave it here for this extended weekend's post with a commitment to be back on schedule with a more substantial offering this coming Saturday. Until then...

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