149 | Reyan Ali (NBA Jam)

My Summer Lair Chapter #149: Do You Have Any NBA Jam Feelings?

Starting in 1984 you could buy Michael Jordan’s Nike shoes with the hope and the expectation that you could “Be like Mike.” You know how the song goes: “Sometimes I dream. That he is me. You’ve got to see that’s how I dream to be. I dream I move, I dream I groove. Like Mike.”

Following Jordan’s inspired example so many kids were on the basketball court game clock winding down everything is on the line…the season the championship and they’re forced to take the final dramatic shot.

And…of course, because many kids were not Michael Jordan the shot didn’t always go in: so many championships were lost on playgrounds. Even harder was trying to dunk like Jordan: dude had hang time but all I ever had was just…time. According to my uber cool Casio calculator watch. Ladies.

So the idea of Be like Mike while a fantastic marketing hook was not going to be a reality; even with sweet Air Jordan 1s.

Unless…I had a quarter. For a quarter an actual physical economic quarter not an NBA quarter I could play NBA Jam.

I could leap into the heavens and bring down an earth-shattering dunk. I could launch threes with smooth peanut butter ease; sometimes if I hit enough shots I’d start to heat up like Jiffy Pop. Vicious classic New York City Knicks defense I can elbow and push and shove my opponents. Eat hardwood!

This quarter was an investment in NBA fun. And so when I discovered Reyan Ali’s NBA Jam?his book on the classic arcade game from Boss Fight Books?I’m like yo I got feelings. I got experiences. So does he.

And we’re not alone! As you’ll hear his 4 year journey to document NBA Jam included talking to DJ Jazzy Jeff and Shaq and the developers and so much more. Like us, they have experience and feelings about NBA Jam.

I’m grateful he wrote this book so we could have this conversation.


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Reyan Ali @ WT F

Host & Photography by Sammy Younan

Recorded: Wednesday April 8, 2020 at 4:30pm (EST)

#SetTheVCR: March 29-April 4, 2020

Sammy Younan

Girth Radio Presents…

Well, our modern society has been coronavirus interrupted which means we’ve gone from #PantsWorthy where an event was worth puttin on pants to #CouchWorthy determining if something is worth watching. Thankfully here are some #CouchWorthy suggestions!

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It Girdle For Seniors

Spent part of the day on the phone with a couple of seniors as IT support.

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Hidden Gem: Jay Electronica “Fruits Of The Spirit”

Sammy Younan

Girth Radio Presents…

Yeezus. Of course, Jay Electronica would drop his Snuffleupagus seen album A Written Testimony on Friday, March 13. In the midst of a pandemic. Though it was a most excellent way to kick off Friday. Ok Jay let’s see what ya got…on Fruits Of The Spirit.

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147 | Joe Posnanski (The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini)

My Summer Lair Chapter #147: How Did Harry Houdini Come Into Your Life?

“Nobody has neutral feelings about Harry Houdini. His personality does not inspire mild emotions. No one has ever said, “I’m ambivalent about the guy.” Many people along this journey adore Houdini for his ambition, his ingenuity, his relentlessness, and for the way he became larger than life. But there are also people that can’t stand him.”

Harry Houdini cuts both ways: he’s got his fans and he’s got his haters. The term we use now is polarizing: he’s a polarizing figure. The quote is from The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini by Joe Posnanski. The title relates to the quote because even now; dead since 1926 Houdini’s afterlife still includes his fans and his haters. Even in death, Harry Houdini’s fame and life remain polarizing.

(It’s equally fascinating that Houdini was so passionate about being the best and making the necessary sacrifices to be the best (ever?) that people would respond to him with such passion. Passion generates passion. It should be like a law of physics or something.)

All of this is exactly what you want in an American superhero. When you contemplate these larger than life characters and their wild stories filled with lies and half-truths and deceptions and myths it prompts an obvious question. What is it about America that it’s able to create these compelling superheroes? I’m talking about Harry, Evel Knievel…Babe Ruth. Superman.

We cover all of these superheroes in this charismatic conversation that kicks off with Joe sharing a magical moment with an American superhero Muhammad Ali.


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Joe Posnanski @ WT F

Host & Photography by Sammy Younan

Recorded: Thursday March 12, 2020 at 5:30pm (EST) at WeWork

Morning Tea: The New Mutants

The New Mutants are

Rahne Sinclair/Wolfsbane

Illyana Rasputin/Magik

Sam Guthrie/Cannonball

Roberto “Bobby” da Costa/Sunspot

Danielle Moonstar/Mirage.

Also this is yet again a reminder that Reddit is not news much less journalism. Your feelings are not facts.

The New Mutants opens on April 3, 2020.

Yo: Read The Rest: Here.

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Morning Tea: Net Neutrality

The media tends to do an awful job with complex issues like Net Neutrality. (Technically the media sucks at most complex issues: fools’ strong Twitter opinions ain’t much better. There’s gotta be lots of context and nuance and clear thinking.).

Useful? Check out the book: After Net Neutrality: A New Deal for the Digital Age by David Elliot Berman and Victor Pickard. It’s short but packed. I’m always on the hunt for concise and context and clarity. I hafta understand the issues and what solutions are possible before I can get upset.

Lotta media on this issue is like eating McDonalds it just makes me sick not informed or fulfilled. Frustrating.

Yo: Read The Rest: Here.

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Feeling The Heat

As per current fears about the Miami Heat.

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Morning Tea: The Johnny Carson Channel

Super SiriusXM news to make it a true Super Tuesday!

“The Johnny Carson Channel is back on SiriusXM 105 all this month. The channel will feature full episodes from the Carson archives, as well as celebrities discussing their favourite Carson moments.”

This Carson Channel is crazy cool: the interviews are skillful and though some of it is dated Johnny Carson remains a Late Night #GOAT. It’s him and Letterman. Probably Conan.

Yo: Read The Rest: Here.

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146 | David Ben (Illusions: The Art of Magic)

My Summer Lair Chapter #146: Do You Know What The Council For National Policy Is?

This magic moment is brought to you by the AGO: The Art Gallery of Ontario. One of my all time favourite AGO exhibitions was David Bowie Is… back in the fall of 2013: basically Bowie’s work and life and books and clothes and photographs of the sonic illusionist.

Similar to David Bowie Is… Illusions: The Art of Magic on right now is a show business exhibition celebrating the Golden Age of Magic (roughly 1880-1930) featuring more than 55 colourful posters from the Allan Slaight Collection plus photographs, films, documents and cool magic gear like handcuffs and Houndini’s straitjacket. Yes!

Before talking to David Ben I visited the AGO during lunch: that’s right I decided to get all cultured (it happens occasionally…don’t tell anybody or else my street rep will be ruined…).

In the second wing from the entrance there’s a LARGE Harry Houdini poster really simple; really stylish of just his face with some marketing blah blah at the bottom. As I gaze into Harry’s fiery eyes an older woman (fine…a senior) shuffles up behind me and to my left exclaiming: “Oh My!”

Thinking she must be equally mesmerized by Harry Houdini she turns to me: “He’s so handsome! And talented. He is so handsome and talented.”

And that right there is a totally different type of magic. Though he died in 1926 it’s great to see Harry Houdini is still making magic happen in 2020.

What’s amazing about Illusions: The Art of Magic at the AGO is that you get to see real magic as part of your admission! The magic is supplied by the Toronto Magic Company; one of the performing magicians is Jonah Babins…you have to go when he is performing!

Jonah was my guest on My Summer Lair Chapter #118. Jonah is delightful and generous and witty and magical all in that order. Like David Ben he is an avid magic enthusiast; like if you listen to that interview I did with him it concludes with him performing a magic trick; you can follow along at home. Like he prepared that for the podcast. So cool.

Take your time with this exhibition: enjoy it…go through it slowly. The My Summer Lair episode following this is with Joe Posnanski for his outstanding book The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini which you can buy in the AGO’s giftshop.


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David Ben @ WT F

Host & Photography by Sammy Younan

Recorded: Wednesday March 4, 2020 at 1pm (EST) at AGO

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