Breakfast of Champions 8/4: Doom, but no gloom

A triple threat of a weekend, the past 72 hours saw three hotly-anticipated events come to a boil. For theater lovers? The Fringe Festival, of course. For sports junkies? The triumphant return of Francisco Liriano and his apparently healthy (knock wood) lightning rod of a left arm.

For hip-hop heads, though, it was all about Doomtree's full-crew long-player and the accompanying First Avenue show where the bunch tore it down. Check out Amber Schadewald's review of the Doomtree CD release party (with complete photo slideshow by Daniel Corrigan).

Francisco Liriano's callup -- and the resultant rise of the Twins to first place -- inspired reaction as strong as it was immediate. Judd Spicer called for Liriano's promotion on July 18, and exults in the results. ESPN's own Jonah Keri checks in as well, inventing a new word to describe the lunacy of keeping Livan Hernandez over The Franchise.

The Fringe Festival runs through Aug. 10, and if you want the latest on what's hot, check our constantly-updated Fringe Blog. Among the raved-about shows so far: "Shakespeare's Land of the Dead," "Conundrum Rehabbed," and "Hero Cycle," a review of which should be up this morning.

The labor unrest continues at the Strib, with Teamsters putting the kibosh on the most recent contract offer.

Wine connoiseur? Then perhaps you want to check out the new Wine of the Month club. Think "connoiseur" is French for "doesn't come in a box"? Then maybe Arbor Mist is more your speed.

From Gary Hodges at Joystick Division:

Sure, Xbox Live has had some great content in its time. Geometry Wars. Pac-Man Championship Edition. Reefer Madness. Naysayers can bitch about the $50 a year XBL costs, but talking like grown-ups: it's still the best online service around.

This opinion was cemented in my mind only 10 minutes into The Machine Girl, a Japanese straight-to-video release that dethrones the mighty Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky as the most insane, retardedly violent laugh-out-loud funny terrible-but-in-a-good-way movie I've ever sat through.

A guy named Clem just fits in on the farm, don't you think? After all, it's legal on the farm to pay people to do work for other people. Clem Haskins turns 65 a week from today.

If Norm Coleman gives back most of Ted Stevens' dirty money, does that count? Is it like Westley being only mostly dead in the Princess Bride? Sources say no.

I kind of want to take Vladimir the Tiny Horse home with me. If he disappears from the zoo, you'll know we've probably done it up like Christian the Lion.

(Warning: video contains heartwarming content and Whitney Houston.)

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