Note: Steve Austin does not appear on any of our lists.
It’s August, Holtby and Johansson have re-signed, and there’s basically nothing else going on. RMNB’s Slack has somehow turned into a discussion on the greatest wrestlers of all time. Ian supposed Kane might be one of my favorites. I informed him, no, Kane falls somewhere behind The Godfather and Val Venis on my list. And then the lists came out.
Presenting: Our Favorite Pro Wrestlers of all time. Hashtag: #summercontent
Tommy L. wants me to write about the culture of vikings. Tommy L. is awesome. Here goes.
There never was a viking culture and there never were any vikings. Vikings as we know them– villains wearing horned helmets who sacked dark-age Europe– were just a name and a story told by people who weren’t vikings. To the northmen, no one was a viking unless he or she was on a viking, which is what they called their raids. In general use, viking was an exonym: a named used by people outside the group. Among themselves, the vikings were known as the Northmen or the Norsemen– not to be confused with the Normans, whom we’ll discuss below.
Norsemen were the people of the Nordic countries. At some point in the 8th century of the Common Era, the Norsemen decided to go sailing and bust some heads. They were a bustling culture already, but advances in art, technology, and specifically seafaring were what spurred the Viking Era.
The Baltimore Orioles have been swept out of the ALCS by the Kansas City Royals. That was an unceremonious end to the team’s best season since 1997. I’m still stunned.
The Orioles had a truly magical season. They lost Matt Wieters to injury after just 26 games and Manny Machado after 82. Newly mortal but still spectacular slugger Chris Davis missed the playoffs to suspension for taking adderall without permission. And yet they found new talent in improbable places: Steve Pearce’s out-of-nowhere slugging, Nelson Cruz’s redemption tour, Zach Britton’s heavy-gravity closing, and whatever the hell you would call Ryan Flaherty and whatever the hell it is that Ryan Flaherty does.
The Orioles dominated the AL East and swept the ferocious Detroit Tigers in the ALDS. And though they were felled by the Kansas City Royals in four straight, blooper-filled, small-ball disasters, I still love the Orioles. If you love them– or Maryland at all– I’ve made some shirts that might interest you.
(If you’re not from Maryland and/or hate us for this stuff, just skip over this one! We still love you.)
On September 26, 2013, In Preseason, By Peter Hassett
This series so far has been a list of things we’re excited about– on-ice and off– for the new season. Today I wanna do something a little different. Today I want to introduce you to a man named Stanislav Petrov.
Thirty years ago, on September 26, 1983, Petrov was working on the Soviet nuclear missile defense program. His job was to monitor possible incoming attacks from the United States. If he detected an incoming attack, his job was to start the process for firing back at the US. Mutually Assured Destruction.
That night, Petrov’s early-warning system said an American attack had been launched. Five intercontinental ballistic missiles were incoming. But instead of mindlessly doing his duty, Petrov used that rarest of human talents: doubt. He judged it to be a false alarm. He did not tap the big red Пуск button that would have begun “an irreversible chain reaction in a system geared to launch a counter-strike without human interference.”
So the Russians did not fire back at the States. Petrov’s false alarm was eventually confirmed. And then he was drummed out of the military for disobeying orders.
I guess that has nothing to do with hockey, but it kind of has everything to do with hockey. Thirty years ago today, a normal guy made sure that world would spin another day just by using his noggin and his heart. That’s worth remembering, I think.
I was born that same day thirty years ago, so I think about this a lot. As Craig Ferguson might say, it was a triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism. Earth needs more of that.