Weekend Reading Roundup
Make no mistake about it: I think that not only should The Wrestler have been nominated for Best Picture tonight, but that it should've eked out a victory over Slumdog Millionaire. Alas, the tale of a struggling ex-rassler from Jersey (aw yeah!) was snubbed -- just like The Dark Knight was -- but 't least Mickey is up for Best Actor (Didn't see Milk, but if Penn wins, I'll chalk it up as a way-overdue acknowledgment of Spicoli's wasting of Mr. Hand's time.
But it should be Rourke's night. Because He prompted the New York Times to track down Tito Santana for an article today.
Tito Santana wasn’t as flashy as some. Randy (Macho Man) Savage had a signature move where he’d climb to the top of the turnbuckle, jump and land on his hip. “Now he has hip trouble,” Mr. Santana said. “I always took educated bumps.”
But since A1 was soaked since I dropped it in a puddle out front this morning, the only other Times piece I saw worth mentioning was Nicholas Kristof -- I consider him the best columnist in the land -- noting that Clooney was with him in Darfur and launching into a story which proves just how ridiculous it is that more people aren't outraged by the ongoing genocide there. (Check my column on Philly's empowering of murderers here.)
The slaughter in Darfur has continued for six years largely because world leaders have been complacent and preoccupied. In the coming weeks, the International Criminal Court is expected to issue an arrest warrant for Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, for orchestrating the killings — and that will give the world a new opportunity to end the slaughter.
As for the dry Inquirer -- not a slight, just noting that the deliveryman didn't leave it in a puddle, as is his standard M.O. -- I loved the subhead, "Emotional, not sexual" in the story about Vinnie Fumo's late sugardaddy Stephen C. Marcus who apparently took $1 million from his daughter's trust fund to give $1 million to a dirtbag (Fumo, pictured at last year's Mummers parade) with whom he presumably had an emotional, not sexual relationship.
During his trial, Fumo's attorney asked him to talk about his ties to Marcus. Fumo then veered unexpectedly into tender territory, expounding to jurors about the nature of male bonding.
"Between men, you love men sometimes, not in a sexual way but an emotional way," Fumo said. "And we loved each other."
Talking of his relationship with Marcus, who was a dozen years older, Fumo added:
"Steve Marcus was the sweetest human being you would ever want to meet. He was a really nice guy. He was a philanthropist. Did a lot of anonymous philanthropy."
Along with the $1 million, Marcus' philanthropy included giving Fumo a jet-powered Hinckley Picnic Boat worth $500,000, a vessel known for its classic lines.
Also in the Sunday Inky, Game Four NLCS Homer Legend Matt Stairs doesn't think he'll be around if the Phils sign (what I'd consider a mistake) Nomar ...
"If they get a righthanded hitter, I'm gone," he said. "I don't think we need one, but if they got one, I'd understand. This is my 21st spring training. I know it's a business. But as badly as I want to be here, it would be tough. I like it here."
... a tragic North Philly story about a domestic stabbing-turned-arson, and an international AP brief about my Irish peers protesting the nation's boom-turned-bust economy.
And finally, GQ magazine has a bang-up piece on the pirates who've turned the Gulf of Aden between Somalia and Yemen into a lucrative shipjacking spot ...
As for why the rest of the world doesn’t want to get more involved, part of the problem has to do with the perceived legal complications of capturing and prosecuting pirates (though international-law scholars I spoke with say any country can arrest and prosecute robbers on the high seas). Then there’s the bigger fear of getting sucked back into Somalia. Most military experts I’ve talked to say the only way to really stamp out piracy is to take out the pirates onshore. But there’s the rub, because no one wants to put boots on Somali ground. The Black Hawk Down episode, in which Somali militiamen in flip-flops shot down two Black Hawk helicopters and killed eighteen American soldiers, is still fresh in everyone’s memory. So for now it remains a game of chase, played out on about a million square miles of water.
... as well as shouting out Philly businesses: the Philadelphia Record Exchange (for being one of 10 Reasons to Go to the Record Store Again) and Little Pete's (for deep-fried slabs of scrapple).