1. I like Michael Orthofer’s breakdown of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature odds. Of course, the Great Enigma of Sweden always pulls out surprises, and I doubt that anyone would have given Harold Pinter better odds than 20-1 last year. Nobel Prize season starts right about now, but the Literature prize will be the last to be announced this year, so it’ll probably be a couple more weeks before the Swedes speak. LitKicks says Orhan Pamuk deserves to take this puppy.
2. Big congrats to litblogger Jeff Bryant and his Stubby Clappers for winning the championship round in a hotly contested 2006 Yahoo Fantasy Baseball League. Numerous bloggers participated, and C. Max Magee of The Millions‘s Ravenswood Ravens came in second.
Elsewhere in the league, the unofficial award for most literary team name goes to the Ruppert Mundys, and some of the worse names included the Boston Knee Sox (and the Stubby Clappers). But, by far the worst part of the season — and the message gets serious here — was when a very talented baseball fan and blogger named Mike Simanoff killed himself in mid-season. I didn’t know Mike at all, but his Chicago Windbags sure kicked my Ashpile Mets’ ass, and I enjoyed looking at his eclectic blog, Little Toy Robot (it’s still up, and there’s also a memorial site here).
I heard third-hand that Mike suffered from longtime emotional difficulties, and that’s all I know. A look at his blog shows a smart guy who could write, and who doesn’t seem visibly more troubled than any of the rest of us sad fools. He was an expert fantasy baseball player, and even though he died six weeks before the end of the season his team ended the season in third place without him (mine landed eight places below, though I remain obliviously still alive).