Reads Listens Views 7/12/2013

Hanford Dixon and Frank Minnifield they may not be (yet), but Liskiewitz's choice of the Seahawks corner tandem is a smart nod. Photo by Football Schedule.
Brandon Browner is my type of player. Photo by Football Schedule.

Thank You 

I got the idea for the Rookie Scouting Portfolio in 2003. I still have a journal filled with notes I took in longhand while watching Steven Jackson and Brandon Browner at Oregon State. I liked Browner for his physicality. The fact that he’s considered a relatively new contributor in the NFL is an amazing story that speaks a lot to his perseverance to take the hard road to get there.

I get it. A project like the RSP requires perseverance. Those who truly study film of draft prospects learn this in short order. You have to give up a lot to do what you love.

A lot of people don’t understand it. I’m living the dream to them. However, they’re dreaming if they think it’s like they imagine.

The cost of a living the dream is a high price tag of commitment to make something a career before it even has a glimmer of true hope to supply what people expect as the benefits. It’s long on work and short on free time, sleep, and it challenges your capacity for repetitive work.

It can take a physical and emotional toll. I’m not alone. This goes for guys like Josh Norris and Dane Brugler and West Bunting and Chad Reuter before them. I could go into detail, but it’s going to sound more and more like a woe as me tale and that’s not the intent.

I love what I do. I chose to do it. I’m paying the freight.

While I thank you for reading the blog and buying the Rookie Scouting Portfolio, the person who deserves the greatest thanks is my wife. She entered my life just after I had waded waste-deep into this commitment. She heard me tell her when we started dating that I’m about a quarter of the way into a career marathon that would mean a lifestyle where doing something as simple as spending free time together might require an organized appointment.

That’s a negative on the romance scale and she didn’t flinch.

She was willing to commit to me and this insane project. She’s flexible about when and how we spend time together. She has provided as many good ideas about what I do with the RSP as anyone. And she’s a beautiful soul who is direct, smart, funny, and one of the toughest people I know.

Thank you, Alicia – a big reason why more and more people are finally figuring out that the Rookie Scouting Portfolio is one of the best small investments of fantasy football/draftnik season is because you’ve persevered so I can continue to do the same.

Download the RSP not because of me getting sentimental, but because I believe in the next statement as much as anything in my life: You’ll immediately see that you got more than your money’s worth for the price you pay. In fact many of you will feel like you’re cheating me – about 2 in every 10 readers email me this sentiment.

Enough of that – time to share things that caught my eye on the Internet in recent weeks.


I want you to listen to the first 50 seconds of this video and see if you can remember how the melody sounds.

Now listen to the way these two greats take the same song and make it a new one. The song below is the same basic harmony as the one above, but these guys turn a Cole Porter standard “What Is This Thing Called Love” into a more passionate, earthier, down n’ dirty “Hot House” . . .

To this day, this is still the definition of bad assery at its finest and why great Hip-Hop has its roots in Bebop. I’m sure if I had only five songs to listen to for the rest of my life, this version of “Hot House” would make the list.


About 15 years ago I volunteered as a hospice worker for an Anglican Priest who lived in a trailer about 25 miles from Athens. He was a Korean War veteran. The blast of an exploding shell while on an air craft carrier temporarily blinded him and bought him a ticket back to the states.

While at a military hospital in Texas a few women from the nearby Indian reservation would volunteer to help the injured veterans. One of the volunteers began reading this man’s letters daily. They fell in love and he proposed before he ever had the bandages lifted from his eyes.

They were married over 40 years. They moved to Georgia, bought a big house,  had two kids, and adopted 27 others during their lifetime. He managed a local hardware store and later an became the Anglican Priest he was when I met him. He had a large congregation and many people in the community came to him for advice.

His wife died after a long battle with cancer and when he was diagnosed a number of years later, he opted not to seek treatment. He had seven years of decent health before I met him. I cleaned for him, set up mouse traps for this small trailer he had moved to after the state government built a highway through his house, and made runs to pick up Kentucky Fried Chicken – his favorite.  Most of all I listened to him tell stories about his life.

What was most memorable about my time with this man was that he had 29 kids, a community he gave so much to, and he thanked me – a 28-year-old at the time – for allowing him to tell me things he would never feel comfortable telling any of them. The reason was he was always the listener and adviser.

That was his role and he felt that no one around him knew how to give him the support all human beings need. I suspect he didn’t know how to receive support – much less ask it from those who saw him as a provider for most of his adult life.  While this saddened me on some level, I was grateful that I could be there for another human being in this way.

So when I see the picture of this man in a hospital in his final days and the staff allowed him to spend time with his dog, it reminds me that bonds are not always predictable and it’s nice to see an organization recognize it – especially a place prone to bureaucratic entanglements like a hospital.


If you don’t have a daughter, this will make you think long and hard about how you see women. It’s also telling of how much hard work goes into being a truly great actor – emotional work and openness that the average person wouldn’t dare tread. Hat Tip to Jared Plotts in the 216 (if it is still 216).

Football Reads

Non-Football Reads

  • Welcome to Hell: Philadelphia Has a Serious Case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – If there is one article you read today, this month, or this year, Steve Volk’s piece that reveals how our cities have youth dealing with issues similar to our veterans and Rwandans is the one to read. It will take you about 20 minutes, but I implore you to do so.
  • King of the Hill Animation Help – I’m not a big fan of animated sitcoms. They have their moments, but I don’t get into them like my wife.  However thanks to her, I am a converted die-hard fan of King of the Hill. This is a good PowerPoint for wannabe animators who worked on the show. Entertaining if you’re a King of the Hill buff – and I’ve seen on Twitter than many of you are.
  • BBC broadcast of Sylvia Path reading her poem “Tulips”  – One of the most powerful voices in modern poetry reads one of her pieces. This is an edgy piece because of the juxtaposing imagery of passion and sterility. There’s a tone with her reading where I feel like I’m witnessing an animal that  is tense and warning you it’s about to strike if you don’t retreat. H/T to Doug Farrar – yes, that Doug Farrar – for tweeting this the other day.
  • The Sound of Color – Colorblind artist Neil Harbisson is an intrepid “eyeborg” wearer. That’s a device that converts color into audible frequencies, meaning that Harbisson gets to hear a symphony of color, instead of seeing a world only in grayscale.
  • The Man Who Predicted Google Glass Forecasts The Near Feature – Physicist and award-winning sci-fi writer David Brinn shares some compelling thoughts.
  • Banana Peels Into Plastic? – You betcha. H/T to Gary Davenport – a writer I need to feature more here for his fantasy football work.
  • Goodwill’s Salaries Called Into Question – I love Goodwill’s concept. The execution might need some work.


From the sublime to hilarious toilet humor . . .

H/T to my old friend Joe Mendez, who is one of the more well-read guys I know but also one of the least pretentious. Miss hanging with you.

4 responses to “Reads Listens Views 7/12/2013”

  1. Matt,
    Thank you for the soul-touching “view” about the Anglican Priest and a glimpse of an unsung hero. We mostly see a hero as a dynamic, headline-making do-gooder and the quiet greatness of people like the fine gentleman you recall here is rarely recognized. A salute and a firm thank you for being there for him, and for enriching our live just a little bit more.

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