Sunday, 23 March 2014

the world's best juggler

Only jugglers know who the best juggler is. Six balls looks not much harder than five but it's ten times harder. Grantland currently features one of my favourite things for ages, by Jason Fagone, about a juggler called Anthony Gatto, who is setting up a new business under his real name. As the piece puts it:

We are committed to offering a cost effective solution to tearing out and replacing old, damaged and deteriorating concrete,” reads the “About” page. “From stained micro-toppings to metallic floor finishes, counter tops and garage floor epoxy coatings, we have the solution for you.” A small head shot shows what looks like a smiling Gatto. Next to the head shot is a name. The name is not the one that has amazed audiences for the last 30 years. “Owned and operated,” the page says, “by Anthony Commarota.”

How did the greatest juggler in the world end up working in concrete?

This American Life is often great, but the episode Except For That One Thing was particularly strong. It has a short story about a date, a finale about a guy who went to prison for a crime he did commit and in the middle was Jon Mooallem talking about the Meat Problem of America's early twentieth century. The USA had run out of frontier, exterminated the passenger pigeon, killed most of the cod and almost all the bison, and it was frightened. What was the answer? Hippos. Breed hippos in Florida.

I was having a drink with two friends the other night. I am 40. They are 36 or so. Neither of them had seen The Commitments. This shocked me. I reckon almost no one who was a student when I was a student missed that film. These two, who were students just afterwards (not even after, because I was a graduate student when they were undergraduates), didn't see it and didn't see that as peculiar. The only way I could make them understand was by asking how surprised they would be if someone five years younger than them hadn't seen The Full Monty.

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