3 GREAT STORIES: Starring frivolity, whimsy, and nostalgia

Every week, I will shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

I’m back.

After two weeks of vacation and four fillinthegap blog posts, I return with fresh Telling The Story content, starting with three great stories from this past week.

And in the spirit of vacation, I have chosen stories on the opposite side of serious.

Perhaps I am speaking too broadly. After all, the stories in question deal with millions of dollars, ancient traditions, and behind-the-scenes heartache. But mostly, these are not front-page matters. They are in-depth looks at lighter fare.

How Bobby Bonilla landed the luckiest baseball contract ever (7/1/13, Celebrity Net Worth): This is one of those stories that actually ran a full month ago — but that I saw last week for the first time.

Bobby Bonilla is a former Major League Baseball star who these days, despite having long ago ended his career, receives a million-dollar check every July from the New York Mets. Sports aficionados know all about the famous contract, but few people know about how it came to be.

Enter Brian Warner of Celebrity Net Worth.

Warner details the behind-the-scenes details of Bonilla’s deal, including the unlikely role of notorious Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff. This is not the best-written article you will ever see, but it is informative and thorough. Sometimes, for matters like this, “informative” and “thorough” are what make the difference.

The pleasures of reading recipes (7/29/13, The New Yorker): I rarely cite “review” posts as great articles, but this one caught my eye. The best reviewers use their subject matter to draw greater conclusions and offer glimpses into humanity.

The New Yorker’s Bee Wilson does that here.

In reviewing a book called “A History of Food in 100 Recipes”, Wilson ruminates about why we look at recipes in the first place — especially if we have no intention of cobbling together the ingredients and making the dish in question. She puts forth an enjoyable, whimsical read that will make you smile … and may make you rush out and buy the book.

Noble Effort (7/29/13, 99% Invisible): It did not take long for Roman Mars and the team at 99% Invisible to make their way back to the 3 Great Stories list.

The latest episode is a classic — an in-depth look into a seemingly light-hearted subject. In this case, the subject is cartoon animation.

Mars and reporter Eric Wolinsky look into the overlooked work of layout artists; these are the folks who create the backgrounds on which our favorite cartoon characters act. They focus on one particular artist: Maurice Noble, who worked for many years for Warner Brothers.

Check out the episode for a terrific, 17-minute escapist romp. Or just click the above link and check out some old Wile E. Coyote routines. You win either way.


Have a suggestion for “3 Great Stories of the Week”? E-mail me at matt@tellingthestoryblog.com.

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