"It was a converted barn, far from the mill proper. Inside, suspended in a giant transparent pane -- very much like the imprisoned evil General Zod in Superman - was the huge, flattened face of want-away Aston Villa ace Gareth Barry.Don't feel remorse if some part of you would like to print out Barney Ronay's column and staple it to the forehead of the nearest media insider. Pick Bob McKenzie from TSN. He looks like he would be heavy sleeper.
" 'Our new service,' the director shrugged. "With Barry trapped here inside a purgatory of rumour and counter-rumour we can flood the market with Barry-talk, all of it authentically Barry-flavoured. Within weeks we can transform an entire career into a mind-numbingly repetitive transfer rumour. Did I tell you we had that Cristiano Ronaldo in? Very large neck muscles.'
"' This is unacceptably weird,' I cried, pounding my fist on the wall and feeling my eyes bulge like Edward Woodward in The Wicker Man. 'Gareth. I'm busting you out of here.' "
Point being, keeping up with all the trade and free-agency scuttlebutt seems to be a quick ticket to your wit's end... Life is not one continuous news scroll across the bottom of a TV screen, so you have to laugh like hell, and feel a little empathy for the media professionals who are paid to be so super-serious about this, this minutaie. Hey, the Flames signed Todd Bertuzzi today? Whoop-de-freakin'-do, the rest of us are content to go on living our lives.
(Digression: Did Calgary Flames management figure that they better go get Bertuzzi since their team wasn't already plodding and penalty-prone enough last season? He's basically Eric Lindros during his half-season with the Leafs -- he might be listed at 240, but he plays like a buck-eighty.
Jarome Iginla is diminished in these eyes for apparently lobbying the Flames to bring in Bertuzzi. The Hockey Mafia just have to keep propping up Bertuzzi, which might keep him in the swanky hockey player lifestyle to which he and his spouse are accustomed, but probably isn't going to help him in the long run. Please go read Five Hole Fanatics' take.)
Anywho, in future columns, the intreprid Ronay will set out to locate the Missing Link, the lost city of Atlantis and Freddie Prinze Jr.'s career.
Is Barry stuck in the rumour mill? (Barney Ronay, The Guardian; via Jeff Blair)
Can't Buy Me Love (Andy Grabia, The Battle of Alberta)