November 30, 2004

Take Off Your Yamacha

Adam Sandler’s “The Hanukkah Song” should be abandoned immediately as a cultural touchstone, according to JewishWorldReview editor-in-chief Binyamin Jolkovsky. Jolkovsky, quoted in a Washington Times piece, believes that the song is “an embarrassment,” in part because it doesn’t touch on the actual Hanukkah story- although if he shared any type of substantive critique, the Times reporter did a pretty awful job of putting it across.

I’m no Sandler fan and never have been. But I recognize the valuable role of “Hanukkah Song” and its sequels in instilling Jewish pride among Hebraic youngsters, who may not have been aware that, say, David Lee Roth lights the Menorah, that Harrison Ford is a quarter Jewish, or that numerous other celebs are just as Jewish as they are.

In fact, this is a pretty bad article in general- it mistakenly refers to Sandler’s animated film “Eight Crazy Nights” as “a made-for-TV Hanukkah movie” (it was released theatrically), while attributing the recent parody “Hanukkah Hey Ya” to “a Jewish hip-hop group called Outkast.”

Jolkovsky favors replacing “The Hanukkah Song” in pop culture with a song I’ve never heard of (“Color Candles” by Eli Nathan). I vote for two Hanukkah songs that actually do reference the Maccabees’ story: either the Peter Yarrow standard “Light One Candle” or, even better, Rabbi Joseph Black’s “Judah Maccabee.”

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:56 PM | Comments (5)

The Cooperstown Hot Stove

With the baseball transaction wire going unusually slowly this year- aside from a few questionable signings by the Washington Hebrew Nationals- we turn our attention to the Hall of Fame ballot, released the other day.

Of first-time eligibles, the only shoo-in appears to be Wade Boggs, leaving whether he’ll actually go through with having a Devil Rays cap on his plaque as the only mystery. Boggs won the AL batting title just about every year of the ‘80s, and while batting average is now “overrated,” as we now know, I still say Boggs is a first-ballot guy.

Also new to the ballot are Darryl Strawberry- whose pissing away of a certain Hall career is one of the sadder baseball developments of the past two decades- and the not-quite-good-enough Willie McGee. On the no-chance-in-hell list, we’ve got Jeff Montgomery, Otis Nixon, Terry Steinbach, and Tom Candiotti.

As for holdovers, I’m not convinced that Bert Blyleven deserves induction, nor the closer trio of Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter, and Rich Gossage. I do, however, support the inclusion of Jack Morris (the winningest pitcher of the ‘80s), as well as Ryne Sandberg, who would be a shoo-in too if it weren’t for that 18-month retirement he took.

And no, I'm still against the induction of Pete Rose. Notice no one's talking about it this year?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:53 PM | Comments (2)

Outgrowing Payne

Alexander Payne’s “Sideways” was released about a month ago, and as of now I’m yet to read a negative review of it (it’s currently at a 97 on Rotten Tomatoes). Yet I still found the film quite overrated, just as I did Payne’s previous film, “About Schmidt.”

Yes, it had some funny moments, and yes the performances were excellent. But my problems with “Sideways” were threefold: the characters were irredeemably unlikable; the last 40 minutes could’ve been squeezed into 10 minutes; and I thought the “brilliant scene” that everyone loved (Paul Giamatti and Virginia Madsen’s wine-as-life-metaphor chat) was trite, as well as false as hell.

I’ve heard “Sideways” compared to “Swingers,” except that it’s about middle-aged men instead of 20-somethings. “Swingers” is among my very favorite movies of all time, yet I didn’t quite relate the same way to “Sideways.” Maybe check back with me when I’m 50.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:51 PM | Comments (1)

I Heart Huckabee

“Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, the other Man from Hope, lost 110 pounds in a year and a half. Amazingly, he did this without dying, or separating into two separate Mike Huckabees, one smaller than the other.”
Reihan Salam, in TNR, handicapping the field of ’08 Republican candidates.
Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

Overheard Quote of the Day

Bullwinkle Ate My Family

Chick: Yeah, deers aren't that bad. You're in trouble if you hit a cow, though. And even worse would be a moose, because if you don't kill it it's gonna kill you!

-Via the hilarious OverheardInNewYork, which consists of wild statements uttered by Big Apple residents (from yuppies to hipsters to homeless people); it's mindful of those great anecdotes that used to run on the second page of New York Press.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:45 PM | Comments (0)

Succeeding Safire

New York magazine floats some names in regards to who may succeed William Safire as the token conservative on the New York Times op-ed page: David Frum, Charles Krauthammer, Christopher Caldwell, Richard Brookhiser, Fred Barnes, Robert Kagan, and John Tierney.

I wouldn't mind Frum or Krauthammer (Barnes, I would mind), although I've been saying all along that Caldwell would be the best choice. A frequent Weekly Standard writer who has been contributing to the NYT Magazine for the past year or so, Caldwell used to write great columns for New York Press, and while he's quite similar politically and stylistically to David Brooks, it's not as though Krugman, Herbert, and Kristoff aren't all clones anyway.

That said, John Tierney would be intriguing. He wrote a great magazine piece a few years ago called "Recycling is Garbage" that was so persuasive that I haven't recycled since.

UPDATE: Here's a whole blog dedicated to getting Jonah Goldberg the job.

Speaking of the Times op-ed page, how lazy is Maureen Dowd, giving away two-thirds of her column to a letter from her Republican brother? I've often compared Dowd's style (and skill) to that of a college newspaper columnist, but I don't even think such a gambit would past muster with The Justice.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:07 AM | Comments (1)

November 29, 2004

Master Of The Domain

Top New York blogger Paul Katcher had a much-ballyhooed piece this week on, ranking the top ten sports-related moments on "Seinfeld." Best of all, it makes the right choices: of course, the Keith Hernandez episode is #1, and "What the hell did you trade Jay Buhner for?" comes in second. Check it out, if you haven't already.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:54 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

"You might be asking this morning, 'What in the world are the Bears doing signing Jeff George?' Simple. The day he turns 70, Jeff George will be better than Jonathan Quinn is today. I'm not kidding. Not one bit. That is one disgraceful quarterback depth chart the Bears have."
-Sports Illustrated's Peter King, who (like me) was at the Vikings game Sunday and (also like me) was stuck that night in the F concourse at the Minneapolis airport. In fact, we were probably on the same plane.
Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:49 PM | Comments (3)

He's No Mientkiewicz

Immediately following the Vikings' victory today over the Jaguars at the Metrodome, both the callers and announcers on the radio postgame show repeatedly and mysteriously referred to Jags quarterback Byron Leftwich as "Leftkowitz." In doing so, they both mispronounced a not-hard-to-pronounce name, and inadvertently assigned him a heretofore unknown dose of Semitism, to boot. What, do they refer to Leftwich's fellow Marshall alum, Randy Moss, as "Moskowitz"?

Still though- not enough to make Leftwich Eckstein-eligible.

I'm back in New York and ready to crash; stay tuned tomorrow for more Vikings thoughts, including a full-fledged fisking of the aforementioned new-stadium propaganda.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:22 AM | Comments (0)

Music Critic Quote of the Week

"Eminem's wisecracking, scatological Slim Shady persona resurfaces for the entire middle portion of the album, but that ends around "Ass Like That," a track so muddled that it's hard to tell whether it's a song-length putdown of Triumph The Insult Comic Dog or an elaborate backhanded homage. The song backfires spectacularly, because Eminem and Triumph essentially share the same shtick—deflating celebrity egos with barbed wisecracks—and because at this point, Triumph is a lot funnier and more pointed in his putdowns than his human counterpart."
-Nathan Rabin, reviewing the "Encore" album in the Onion AV Club. Where's Triumph's Grammy?
Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:16 AM | Comments (1)


My choice was the right one:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:14 AM | Comments (2)

November 27, 2004


I had a happy Thanksgiving, and hope you all did too; I’ve just been enjoying spending time with family and friends this week. A few local observations:

- My parents saw Al Franken speak last week, and seems completely serious about running for the Senate from Minnesota in ’08. Gulp. And speaking of St. Louis Park native sons, Thomas Friedman seems to have suddenly, inexplicably, gone completely hysterical, either that or he’s doing his best Phil Mushnick impression. What, did Friedman and Krugman swap identities for a week or something?

- The Turkey of the Year is an inspired choice: the Vikings' horrible owner, Red McCombs. I'm going to the game Sunday, and am already looking forward to the we-need-a-stadium propaganda waiting for me on my seat when I arrive.

- Seems like every time I come home there’s some major local crime story that has everyone in Minnesota talking- whether it’s the Dru Sjodin kidnapping, the Audrey Seiler fake kidnapping, or the arrest of the two daughters of the state attorney general- really, it’s all very “Fargo.” There have been a few this time: that mass murder of six hunters in the Western Wisconsin woods last week still has everyone here reeling, while also shining the spotlight on the heretofore unreported feuds between white hunters and Asian hunters. On top of that, a girl was kidnapped from South Minneapolis the other day, triggering an Amber Alert.

- And I can’t even escape it in my own home: my sister is dogsitting a friend’s dog for the week, and it’s a little tiny white dog by the name of Bert. I liked him at first, but then I learned the truth: the dog had previously had a “brother,” named Ernie, until one day, years ago, BERT KILLED ERNIE. Yes, just shoved him down the stairs one day. Perhaps they should have been named Cain and Abel.

So of course I spent the entire weekend joking about how I shouldn’t stand too close to Bert at the top of the stairs, since he might try to push me. And of course, the obvious comparison was made to the bunny in “Monty Python.”

Still, nice to have a dog around the house again, even if does have a confirmed kill.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:42 AM | Comments (0)

Running With the Wolves

But the most talked-about crime of all was the arrest Wednesday night in an Indianapolis nightclub of Timberwolves center Michael Olowokandi. ‘Kandi, showing a toughness and tenacity that should come as a surprise to anyone who has actually seen him play the game, absorbed two tazer shots before going down, was later booked on trespassing and disorderly conduct charges, and has been suspended three games by the team. And while the Pacers are missing approximately half their team due to injuries and suspensions following last Friday’s brawl, they still managed to defeat the 'Kandi-less Wolves on Thursday night.

- Things went a bit better for the Wolves tonight, when I went to Target Center to see them defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 115-90, the day after Grizzlies coach Hubie Brown retired for health reasons. The Wolves looked good, and hopefully this game was truer to their nature than the sorry performance against Indiana.

Then again, at one point the Grizzlies had four white guys on the floor at once. Maybe Adolph Rupp should replace Brown as coach.

- Jesse Ventura- looking like the mountain-man hermit that he now is- was in his customary courtside seat, and at one point he began screaming at the refs after a bad out-of-bounds call. The Wolves at that point were, I believe, up by 27 points. Order was quickly restored, which was unfortunate, because being able to witness in person a nationally televised melee with Jesse Ventura as the focal point probably would have made my year.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:31 AM | Comments (0)

The New U2

I’m not usually one to go with my first impression on CDs, since it normally changes so drastically the more I listen to them, but the new album is great. Except for the thinly veiled song about the Mideast conflict; that just sucks.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:29 AM | Comments (1)

November 25, 2004

Ron Artest: Day 5

There was a great piece in Slate yesterday by Ben Mathis-Lilley (not to be confused with Ben Fong-Torres) arguing that the Pacers-Pistons brawl was not so much a "tragedy" or "stain on the game," so much as a supremely-entertaining, completely harmless event.

Indeed, as I said the other day, that is how it will be remembered. It happened, the perpetrators got their just punishment, and years from now we'll look back on it in amusement. Mathis-Lilley:

Rather than acknowledge that the brawl was a freak occurrence—and a funny one to boot—the sports commentariat have heralded the apocalypse and rapturously praised NBA Commissioner David Stern's predictably harsh suspensions. Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News wrote that the fight "was more than just a black eye. It was Stern's Black Sox scandal." No, this was his Disco Demolition Night.
Last night, Bill O'Reilly did a piece on the fight, and it was like one of his segments where he rails against the evils of porn while cycling porn footage: throughout the segment, O'Reilly played a non-stop reel of every major on-field sports brawl of the past two decades: there was the Pedro/Don Zimmer incident, the subsequent bullpen brawl, the Izzy Alcantara minor-league fight, the conflagration between Jeff Van Gundy and Alonzo Mourning's leg, and even the Nolan Ryan/Robin Ventura thing. If you've watched ESPN at all in the last week, you've probably seen the same reel yourself.

During this, O'Reilly railed against sports violence, while I and probably everyone watching laughed, wistfully remembering when we'd watched those fights as kids. And remember- no one in them ever got hurt. Funny that Mr. O's clips omitted any reference to the '86 Mets, the most notoriously brawl-happy team in sports history, but that may be because his guest for the segment was Keith Hernandez.

Sports Guy, in a pair of columns, expressed similar sentiments. And yes, I thought the cartoon was funny.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:34 AM | Comments (3)

The Meta-Meta Sitcom

Former "Friends" star Lisa Kudrow has signed to star in a new sitcom for HBO. In the show, called "Comeback," Kudrow will play an actress coming off a hit sitcom who attempts to resurrect her career, while everyone recognizes her as her old character.

Which is great, except the exact same idea was discussed two years ago on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," as the premise of a potential post-"Seinfeld" sitcom for Jason Alexander- the same episode containing Alexander's classic argument with Larry David over whether or not George Costanza was a loser. How many different levels of "meta" is this?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:12 AM | Comments (0)

Video Game Quote of the Week

As always at home, I turned on KFAN earlier today, and this was the first thing I heard:

"So you can drive to the ghetto, pick up a hooker, bring her to your car, pay her, do your thing, and then- this is the best part- as she'd getting out, you can shoot her, and take her money back!"
At first I thought "The Common Man," Dan Cole, had developed some new habits I hadn't heard about. But then, five minutes later, I realized they were talking about "Grand Theft Auto."

Speaking of which, I got invited the other day to participate on a conference call announcing the "10 Most Video Games" for children. Conducted by both Christian groups and feminists- always nice to see the sneering, sanctimonious scolds of the left and right joining forces to wag their fingers in unison- the survey lists "Doom 3" as #1, followed by "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas,"
"Gunslinger Girls 2," "Half Life 2," "Halo 2," and "Hitman: Blood Money."

I prefer this list of Worst Video Games- it's a lot funnier.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:24 AM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2004

Turkey Time (Gobble Gobble)

I'm heading off to Minnesota tonight, as I'm happy to have been able to spend Thanksgiving with my family every year since I've lived out East (this is the ninth).

A few Twin Cities Turkey Day traditions I've always loved: Family dinners, football, the annual broadcast of Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant on KQRS, and Patrick Reusse's annual "Turkey of the Year" column, where he names the biggest turkey from the previous 12 months of sports.

The favorite at this time, due to the whole "feed my family" incident, has to be Latrell Sprewell, although that was really only the second-most outrageous thing Sprewell has done in his career, and Sprewell didn't win the Award in '97 when he tried to murder his coach. The T-Wolves and Twins both had stellar seasons, so it shouldn't come from either of those, and the Wild are on lockout, so that should leave the award for my two personal favorites: Vikings coach Mike Tice, and owner Red McCombs.

Then again, Reusse could go the national route (Ron Artest) or the political route (Norm Coleman). Whoever it is, we'll find out Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, I'll be at Target Center for Wolves-Grizzlies Friday and the Metrodome for Vikings-Jags on Sunday, while spending the remaining time with family and friends, reading the Tom Wolfe book, and catching up on sleep. Though I should be able to find time for a few posts too.

Happy Thanksgiving, and have a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:36 AM | Comments (2)


I'm not normally one to harp on the evil, liberal, biased excesses of the "MSM" (mainstream media)- one, because I think in most cases such "excesses" are overblown, and two, I'd sort of like to work for them at some point.

But still, even I was riled by today's news that Jonathan Klein, the longtime CBS producer who in the wake of the recent Dan Rather scandal uttered the infamous quote that dismissed the average blogger as "a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas," has been named the new president of CNN.

So much for the "MSM" learning from their mistakes, although then again it's hard to imagine CNN becoming any more unwatchable than it is already.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:14 AM | Comments (0)

Don't Forget Your Towel!

My favorite part of the Eagles-Redskins game at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday- other than McNabb's heroics, Clinton Portis scoring a grand total of one fantasy point, and my lovely girlfriend repeatedly shouting the words to "Fly Eagles Fly"- was probably the fan in the lower deck who, in a homage to Nicolette, showed up clad in only a towel. Anyone know if the TV cameras caught him?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:08 AM | Comments (1)

Eckstein Award Nominee

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons recently assumed the #1 ranking in college basketball, and in reading the game report the other night that their starting small forward has quite an interesting name: Jamaal Levy.

How did a native of Panama with a Muslim first name and Jewish last name end up at a Baptist university in North Carolina? Your guess is as good as mine, but I can say that like Eckstein Hall of Famer and Eagles running back Dorsey Levens, Jamaal Levy may be a Levite, but he's not a Jew.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:57 AM | Comments (1)

At Least He's Not Designing Purses... Yet

Anyone see that profile in last week's Sports Illustrated of Utah Jazz star Carlos Boozer? Perhaps the author unfairly played it up, but the way Boozer's relationship with his wife was portrayed made Boozer sound like Doug Christie, Jr.:

[Boozer's wife CeCe] watches film with him, rebounds his practice shots and analyzes his play after games. Last summer she also sat in on every meeting during his controversial free-agent contract negotiations. When Boozer first spoke with Jazz owner Larry Miller, CeCe was on the conference call (as was Carlos's agent at the time, Rob Pelinka) and did, recalls Miller, "about a third of the talking."
Yikes. I'd been wondering why Boozer would walk away from an understood deal to re-sign with Cleveland; this makes it sound like the whole thing was all CeCe's doing, with Pelinka, the ex-agent, just the patsy.

Apparently the new management in Utah, while being happy with Boozer's play, sees the underlying problem.

The Jazz brass takes pains to distance itself from the controversy. "What happened in Cleveland was like a divorce," says G.M. Kevin O'Connor. "We're like the remarriage."
Is O'Connor trying to drop a subtle hint that the Jazz would like Boozer to divorce his wife?

And finally, there's the article's closing quote, which was Sports Guy's quote of the day. Here's Boozer explaining why he was late coming home, and thus had to cancel an interview with reporter Chris Ballard:

"There are two ways to argue with a woman, and neither of them work."
Huh? Is that supposed to be some variation on the old "what do you say to a woman with two black eyes" joke? Methinks Ballard was upset about the canceled interview, so he therefore didn't have much trouble painting his subject as the second-most whipped player in the league. Good thing he didn't try the same thing with Ron Artest.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:48 AM | Comments (1)

Battle of the Bands

Shwa, the excellent Philly-based indie band fronted by the brother of my good friend Emily, is currently competing in a "Favorite Local Band" contest at I've seen the band and they're great, so head over to the site and vote early, often, and for Shwa.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:32 AM | Comments (2)

November 22, 2004

Artest Formerly Known As...

My first thought after watching the Pistons/Pacers brawl on Friday- looks like Ron Artest might get that month off after all. Indeed, Artest has been suspended for the rest of the season- almost certain to be shortened, of course, on appeal.

Oh well, at least now Artest will be able to claim more "street cred" as he promotes his hip-hop album. The fight was pretty scary, of course, but I get the feeling it will be played, for laughs, as part of "SportsCenter" montages for years, like the Jim Mora thing and that clip of Mike Milbury charging into the stands and hitting a Rangers fan with his shoe.

Meanwhile, the New York Times goes to the expert- "legendary" former Washington Bullets heckler Robin Ficker- for an op-ed piece. He may not deserve the honor, but the NYT, inadvertently, got the last laugh- his name is misspelled as "Robin Fecker" in the byline.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:00 AM | Comments (1)

November 19, 2004

Sports Guy: The Animated Series

It’s coming next week. Hopefully he’ll be as funny as the pig, voiced by his friend Adam Carolla, on “Drawn Together.”

Meanwhile, Simmons has posted three columns in the last two days, and is STILL yet to address the Gary Sheffield/R. Kelly story. I’m counting on a 5,000-word analysis on Monday.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:47 PM | Comments (0)

Best Sports Logo Ever

Too bad it’s not real. Although I plan on calling the Washington baseball team that, oh, forever.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:45 PM | Comments (0)

The Latest Completely Wrong Dick Morris Theory on Hillary

This time, it’s that she’ll be spending more time in Arkansas, at Bill’s presidential library, in order to shore up her red state credentials. Yea, I’m sure that’s the idea- it’s not like she’s the senator from New York- or has to run for re-election in two years, IN NEW YORK- or anything like that.

As Napoleon Dynamite would say, “Idiot!”

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:50 PM | Comments (0)

Bam Went The Turkey

Five teenagers on Long Island were arrested last night for throwing a turkey through the windshield of a moving car, nearly killing the woman inside.

The story has gotten lots of play in all the New York papers, but what they all missed is that the stunt was likely done as a copycat of the MTV series “Viva La Bam.” In the show’s first season finale that aired last December, the cast members engaged in a scavenger hunt, during which one of the items (in between “trade pants with a stranger” and “Lick a mannequin's ass”) was this:

31. Shot-put a turkey into your car - 30 pts.
At least on VLB, the cars were parked. And unoccupied.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:41 PM | Comments (0)

First Avenue Is Alive (Long Live First Avenue!)

The legendary Minneapolis rock club First Ave., the venue that introduced Prince, the Replacements and numerous other local-acts-made-good, will re-open tonight, after closing for nearly a month. The closure was so thought to be permanent that the New York Times popped in with a lengthy piece last weekend called “First Avenue Is Dead.”

The first act of the new era? Gwar!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:39 PM | Comments (1)

If Oxblog Can Cover Wrestling…

And still be taken seriously as a blog, then I guess so can I.

A magazine that I grew up reading, Pro Wrestling Illustrated, recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. The most prominent of the “Apter mags” (named after former editor Bill Apter), PWI was always fascinating to me, because it read like Sports Illustrated, except that it covered wrestling as though it were real- the articles all treated the wrestlers and matches as though they were on the level, and all wrestler interviews were conducted “in character.”

From a journalistic standpoint, is this defensible, or is it fraudulent and unethical? The PWI writers and editors were putting together these stories full of information that they knew to be false, yet perhaps you could call it a mutual suspension of disbelief- after all, it’s to be assumed that, like wrestling itself, most non-children consuming the product were completely aware that wrestling was fixed. Indeed, writing such “fake stories” didn’t stop such PWI alumni as SI writer Kostya Kennedy and New York Post columnist Gersh Kuntzman from succeeding in “real life” journalism.

The rise of the internet and “wrestling spoilers” sites sort of forced PWI out of the closet, and now the magazine will even use such words as “angles” and “storylines”- and here’s an interview with publisher Stu Saks, explaining how things worked. They may have abdicated their authority to Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, but PWI remains alive and successful. Congrats on 25.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:29 PM | Comments (1)

I'm Ready For Some Football

I've been to maybe five NFL games in my entire life, but I just happen to going to two, in two different cities, the next two Sundays: Eagles-Redskins in Philly this week, and Vikings-Jaguars at the Metrodome next week.

I've also never before been to a non-Dome NFL game, although spending the afternoon in the cold at the Linc will be worth it, on the off-chance I'll get to meet a towel-clad Nicolette Sheridan.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:48 AM | Comments (1)

A Subway Story

As I alluded to earlier, I recently started dating a wonderful woman, and for that I feel very lucky and very blessed. But alas, am I aware that many of my brothers out there aren’t quite so lucky- and remain under the thumb of the sort of woman Jordan likes to not-so-lovingly call The Succubus.

Now since Becca’s been in the picture my friends have been telling me that I’ve gotten noticably less cynical, and I suppose there’s some truth to that. But not all the time. And indeed, where better can one go to get one’s edge back, then the New York City subway?

It’s Wednesday night, about 6:30, and my co-worker and I are headed uptown on the NR to the below-mentioned outsourcing panel. I walked onto the train and headed for a seat, until I heard an unbelievably shrill female voice shriek “excuse me” at me.

“Yes?,” I asked

"You just plowed RIGHT into him," she hissed.

I had seen or felt myself bumping into no one, and certainly no “him,” as the only person in my field of vision was this already-quite-unpleasant woman. I pointed this out, until she interrupted…

"Your bag just hit him!," turning around and pointing to her clearly embarrassed-looking boyfriend, who at that point was behind me. So I apologized to the boyfriend, who was like "that's ok" and just wanted the whole thing to be over.

"Sorry, I didn't see you," I said.

"No, of COURSE you didn't," Jackie Christie replied.

Now I should point out that while it’s been eight years since I’ve lived in my native Midwest, even now, people STILL tell me I’m too nice. Perhaps it would’ve been appropriate to scream this awful woman's head off, and/or mention to her that in New York F’n City, you’re not supposed to chide people for minor, unintentional faux pas, especially not on the subway.

But then, what really would have been even MORE appropriate, and what I wish to God I had done, is go up to the boyfriend, take him aside, or (better yet) stay right in front of the nightmarish succubus, and tell him “dude. Get this horrible, horrible woman the FUCK out of your life, before she absolutely destroys you."

Let that be a warning, gentlemen- if you’re in a relationship and it gets to the point where your girlfriend is picking fights on the subway, for no reason, with random strangers, on YOUR behalf, that's sort of a sign that maybe it's time to reevaluate things.

You may have also heard about how a few weeks ago someone rigged a Manhattan train station tote board so that it displayed the message “pretty girls don’t ride the subway”- provoking predictable outrage. I’d like to see the same guy rig the 42nd Street station, this time to say “pretty girls don’t scream at strangers for no reason on the subway.”

UPDATE: At least this nightmare girlfriend didn't play the trumpet.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:38 AM | Comments (2)

November 18, 2004

Quote of the Day

"I loved Rabin as much as I've ever loved another man"
-Bill Clinton, from tonight's interview with Peter Jennings. I've heard people accuse the U.S. being "in bed with Israel," but...
Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:21 PM | Comments (0)

White Sux, Cont'd

Baseball superagent Scott Boras has gotten a lot of ink this offseason, because he happens to represent virtually every major free agent this year. Therefore, he's expected to have the Yankees, Red Sox, and possibly even the other 28 teams vying for the services of his clients.

Better make that 27... Chicago White Sox general manager Ken Williams said last week that he doesn't plan to make plays for any Boras-represented players, accusing the agent of demanding too much for his clients.

In doing so, Williams has effectively conceded that the White Sox don't care about acquiring quality players, and won't be good again anytime soon. Williams needlessly put his team at a disadvantage- not only does the refusal to deal with Boras handicap the Sox in the free agent market, but in the in-season trade market as well. No wonder Williams trades for Carl Everett and Roberto Alomar every year.

(Owner Jerry Reinsdorf later backed off Williams' statement, but the damage has been done- now that they've already alienated Boras, don't expect him to do the Sox any favors).

Then again, as a Twins fan, it's not like I'm upset that a divisional rival has voluntarily taken itself out of the game. Here's a Baseball Think Factory discussion of the situation.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:09 PM | Comments (2)

Powerful Debate

I was sent by work tonight to cover a debate on the merits of offshore-outsourcing between representatives of two distinguished political magazines- The Nation and The Economist- that I don’t read. Still, very interesting; I can’t quote anyone directly because I’ll be writing a real story later, but I can share a few observations from the evening:

-The event was held at a Central Park West-based institution known as the New York Society for Ethical Culture. The NYSEC is known for their liberal politics- which, as usual at these things, led to a majority-leftist crowd- as well as their long-running feud with their Fifth Avenue-based counterpart, the New York Society Against Ethical Culture.

- There were actually some conservatives in the room, believe it or not, although when the moderator, local radio host Brian Lehrer, asked (by show of hands) how much of the audience believed that Bush stole the election in Ohio, about two-thirds of the hands in the auditorium went up.

- It was quite a commentary on New York’s political spectrum that this liberal vs. conservative debate was held between two supposedly diametrically opposed political magazines who nonetheless both endorsed John Kerry for president. But still, huge flags representing each magazine were displayed behind the panel; the Nation’s was blue, and Economist’s was red.

- The panelists on the Economist side were the wonderfully named Clive Crook, and Ben Edwards; the Nation was represented by activist Lori Wallach and longtime Rolling Stone National Affairs Editor William Greider. It’s worth noting that Greider’s resemblance to “The X-Files”’ Cigarette Smoking Man is so uncanny as to be almost unavoidable (he supports outsourcing- to the aliens!) Although isn’t being National Affairs Editor of Rolling Stone sort of like being the Hip-Hop Correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly?

- As pointed out to me by my Nation-reading co-worker, the gentleman seated directly in front of me was none other than Victor Navasky, who is editorial director and publisher of the magazine. I’d brought with me as reading material one of Christopher Hitchens’ books, though I sort of kept it hidden once I knew Hitch’s estranged former boss was right close by.

- One of the panelists talked about Bush economic adviser Gregory Mankiw’s infamous declaration earlier this year that “outsourcing is good,” yet no one pointed out the wonderful factoid that Mankiw had, at Harvard, served as a professor and thesis adviser for Kerry’s top economic adviser.

- When one of the Economist panelists mentioned his generally conservative magazine’s opposition to President Bush on issues of free trade- specifically, Bush's imposition of steel tariffs and increases of farm subsidies- most of the audience applauded. Not because they agreed with the position or opposed steel tariffs or farm subsidies- but rather, just because they’re that conditioned to cheer Bush-bashing of any kind.

- One of the panelists sarcastically said something along the lines of “people in India have more jobs? Mazel tov!” I love when gentiles casually use Yiddish (especially when it’s “schlep” or “schtupp”). Even Al Michaels, on “Monday Night Football” the other night, narrated an instant-reply call by pointing out that a player’s “touchas” had crossed the plane of the goal-line.

- An audience question asked if New York’s financial services industry has been affected at all by the outsourcing craze. Yea, Wall Street’s been outsourcing all right- to New Jersey.

- And finally, in an entire evening of discussion about outsourcing involving a panel of experts, there was not one single mention of goo-backs.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:31 AM | Comments (1)

A Blow Against The (Secretary of) State

The New York Post’s Keith Kelly lets us know that the author and former George magazine editor Richard Blow has changed his name, and will henceforth be known as “Richard Bradley.” I can’t say I blame him; if my last name were “Blow,” I’d change it relatively quickly myself. However, I must say, the timing is suspicious…

Blow/Bradley is best known as the author of a controversial bio of JFK, Jr.,that came out last year, but he also made headlines last October with an article raising the question of whether Condoleeza Rice is a lesbian. (Some of you may be familiar with the story; I’ve got a couple hundred Google searches about it this week).

Interesting, isn’t it, that two days after Rice is introduced as the new secretary of state, Blow should announce a sudden name change. And isn’t it also strange that the exact same day, in the exact same New York Post, it should be mentioned that Rice “has been romantically linked” to a man, former NFL star Gene Washington. Yes, indeed, as always, the timing is suspicious.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:22 AM | Comments (0)

The TO Flap

As everyone knows by now, the latest NFL/”Decency”/Terrell Owens kerfuffle is over the comedy skit that ran before this week’s edition of “Monday Night Football,” in which Owens was confronted in the Eagles locker room by towel-clad “Desperate Housewives” actress Nicolette Sheridan, the two flirted, and then Nicolette dropped the towel and jumped into TO’s arms. I tuned in about five minutes too late to actually see it, and the first I heard of the flap was the next day, when the network apologized.

Now perhaps it was inappropriate to run such a salacious bit at 9 PM Eastern time, and as you all know, I’m no TO fan. But having now seen the tape, I must admit- I thought it was hilarious. The acting and reaction shots resembled porn dialogue (which I guess was the point), and unlike the nonsensical Janet Jackson incident, the skit actually worked as entertainment (you can watch it here, on IFilm's awesome Viral Video page). Jarvis, of course, has something to say about this too.

I’ve only seen part of one episode of “Desperate Housewives,” but it’s great to see the return to prominence of Nicolette Sheridan. I had a huge crush on her when I was 12, until she apparently disappeared into nowhere for about 15 years (starring in such cinematic classics as “Deadly Vision,” “Deadly Betrayal,” “Dead Husbands,” and “.com For Murder”) until suddenly resurfacing this year on TV’s hottest show. With Madchen Amick joining “ER,” it’s been a great year for the TV sex symbols of 1990. Kirstie Alley notwithstanding.

I'm just shocked that Bill Simmons wrote a long column today in which he mentioned neither the Owens flap, or the Sheffield/R. Kelly thing. He must still be composing himself.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:19 AM | Comments (0)

TV Critic Quote of the Day

“After being chastised for a lack of teamwork by the project's rigid director, Anthony (who, when he gets his hair cut, apparently says to his barber, ‘Give me the Santorum, my good man!’), Landon was defensive,”
- Josh Wolk, returning from “paternity leave” to resume his duties as “Real World: Philadelphia” recapper, on What percentage of EW (and MTV)’s readership/viewership would recognize Rick Santorum’s haircut if they saw it? Or is he talking about the other Santorum?
Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:15 AM | Comments (0)

Brain-Dead in O-HI-O

This election-recrimination piece in the Justice by a Brandeis student from Ohio shares his shame that all the stupid hicks in his state voted for Bush, in the process talking about how he’s used to seeing “Confederate flags” in some of the state’s more rural areas. Confederate flags? In OHIO? Is this guy hallucinating?

This is just as implausible as that episode of ‘90210’ where the black students and Jewish students on their college campus are feuding about the upcoming appearance of a Farrakhan-like speaker, and the blacks deface the Hillel building with a swastika.

(Via Josh)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:14 AM | Comments (2)

November 17, 2004


Gary Sheffield’s wife? In a sex tape/extortion scandal? With a threesome? Involving R. Kelly?

I know what I was thinking when I first heard this, and what you all were too: Gary Sheffield is married to a 14-year-old?

My second thought- did this happen while Gary was living with Barry Bonds?

No, actually, according to the New York Post’s account, the tape was made “more than 10 years ago,” while Mrs. Sheffield was in the midst of a “long-term relationship” with the “I Believe I Can Fly" singer. The catch? Gary’s wife is 28 now, which would put her in the underage zone at the time of the relationship with Kelly. Yep, sounds about right.

This scandal gives me so much Yankenfraude, that hell, they can HAVE Pedro, for all I care.

No word on whether we’ll get to see the tape; at any rate, I can’t wait for the “Chappelle’s Show” re-enactment.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:55 AM | Comments (1)

November 16, 2004

A Stern Warning

Jeff Jarvis is the Blogosphere’s hero today. First, after nearly a year of being a leading voice against the FCC’s intrusive role in regulating television and radio content, Jarvis actually filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, from which he discovered that one of the major fines- $1.2 million for the Fox series “Married By America”- was the result of written complaints by only three viewers.

This major scoop has largely exposed the FCC’s laughable, possibly unconstitutional crackdown, and this morning, it even earned Jeff a call-in appearance on the Howard Stern show. To the consternation of his largely conservative reading/commenting base, Jeff has covered Stern’s battles with the FCC so often that for a while he ran a feature called “The Daily Stern.”

I still can’t get over that- it’s a joke by now that bloggers don’t like to do actual reporting. But Jarvis is a blogger, and he filed a FOIA! I’m an actual journalist, and I’ve filed one FOIA in my life- and unfortunately, it did not result in an invite to the Stern show.

The latest outrage with the FCC- 66 different ABC affiliates actually refused to broadcast Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan” –a patriotic masterpiece- because they feared governmental fines over the film’s cursing. Though I can’t say I’d object if they did the same thing to a certain other recent World War II film.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:28 PM | Comments (1)

Book Critic Quote of the Day

THERE'S AN ENVY to Tom Wolfe's usual run of detractors, of course, but something more than envy--a resentment, an ache, a fury: If I could write like that, a small cat snarls inside each of their heads, I'd . . . I'd change things in this rabid, racist, right-wing world. I'd zola the rich bastards until they burbled for mercy. I'd dickens the corporate polluters until they drowned themselves in their own sick sludge. I'd thackeray, I'd balzac, I'd dostoyevsky everyone who doesn't get it--it, IT, the ineffable IT of political conscience, the mystical rightness that lets a Princeton professor be a revolutionary and, well, a Princeton professor at the same time. God--or Charles Darwin, maybe, or some freak of perverse genetics--put a sword in Tom Wolfe's hands, and the oblivious creep won't use it to smite the ungodly. The man doesn't deserve his sentences. Prose belongs to us, by divine right and right of conquest. And here comes this white-suited fake dandy, this reporter, to set up camp right in the middle of it, like John Ashcroft--or Gary Bauer or, I don't know, Elmer Gantry--buying the prettiest summer house on Martha's Vineyard.
-Joseph Buttom, reviewing “I Am Charlotte Simmons” in the Weekly Standard. And since Tom Wolfe is David Brooks’ sole inspiration and influence as a journalist, the soon-to-be-lone-conservative-Times-columnist addresses the book in his column today as well.

I plan on picking up the book this week and reading it on my Thanksgiving break.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:16 PM | Comments (0)

Worst Headline of the Year

For an story on Chicago Bears Brian Urlacher, discussing his brief affair last year with Paris Hilton:

Urlacher Comes Clean On Paris

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

"Yay Condi Rice. I want her to go to Saudi Arabia, and I want her first words upon getting off the plane to be 'I’ll drive.'"
-James Lileks, on the new Secretary of State.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2004

The Times of This Fish

A favorite blogger of mine, ThisFish (Needs a Bicycle), has a piece in Sunday’s New York Times, published under her real name, Heather Hunter*. In it, she tells the story of a love triangle that she was a part of, in which the man and “other woman” were both bloggers themselves, leading to all sorts of grief when the bloggers read the blogs and saw things they weren’t supposed to see.

Congrats to Heather, of course; it's great to see her getting the credit she deserves. One thing I’ve always liked about her writing is that she leaves just the right amount of information concealed. The story itself doesn’t name names, but the identities of “The Musician” and “The Young Photographer” shouldn’t be too hard to decipher from her descriptions, at least not to anyone familiar with the Manhattan blogging community. Also today, Gawker covers the situation, and Young Photographer herself clears the air. So does The Musician.

At any rate, it’s much better than the last time the NYT took a high-profile stab at the blog phenomenon.

I’ve been tempted –especially in light of very happy recent events- to blog more about my personal life, and perhaps I will, although certainly not with the detail of a Heather or a Stephanie or a Bastard.

*Yes, I am aware that Heather has the same name as a porn star. In fact, she mentioned this to me the time I met her. And because of the whole Long Dong Silver thing, I can sort of relate.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:57 PM | Comments (2)

Hamas or Fatah? The Choice Is Yours

News Item: Palestinians to Hold January Elections.

My prediction? Arafat wins, even with that whole “death” thing. Hey, it didn’t stop Mel Carnahan.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:16 PM | Comments (1)

Recriminations, Cont'd

I’m a week late to this, but did anyone catch the Newsweek post-election wrap-up, called “The Inside Story”? It’s where they share all the stories that they weren’t allowed to run during the campaign, and I look forward to it every four years.

The big over-arching themes this year? The Kerry campaign appeared to be in disarray pretty much all along, with aides fighting amongst themselves and Teresa wreaking havoc, bashing her husband at every turn and consuming “perhaps a glass of wine too many” each night (I’m telling you, she’s Karen Walker!)

Meanwhile, liberal bias notwithstanding, the story made the Bush campaign sound like summer camp, with the staffers seemingly constantly huddled around Karl Rove’s omnipotent and omnipresent Blackberry. But my favorite tidbit of all involved Peggy Noonan, the former Reagan speechwriter who was brought in to help with the convention speechwriting. Here’s how Bush aide Mark McKinnon responded to her effort:

The campaign sent Noonan a bunch of photos and told her to try harder. McKinnon tried to imagine the speechwriter—a "feeler," he called her, "she's very artistic, very poetic... she's a feeler"—using the photos to get over her block. He thought of Noonan "getting naked and rubbing the pictures, lighting incense, channeling." Whatever: it seemed to work.
And all this time I assumed the Democrats were the party of getting naked, lighting incense, and channeling!

And finally, the Google result count for “Why Kerry Lost” has reached 59,900. Compared to only 1,320 for “Why Gore Lost.”

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

These Are His Readers

The aforementioned has morphed into a Bill Simmons web forum called SonsOfTheSportsGuy. The goal at this point is to get The Intern or Bill himself to mention it; in a world where Curt Schilling frequents SOSH, I suppose it's not that far-fetched.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:11 PM | Comments (0)

A Seminal Candidate

See any of the above Hebrew logo during the presidential campaign? According to Asparagirl, the design (distributed on T-shirts and buttons by a group called Jews For John Kerry) has another, especially embarrassing meaning:

It seems like they transliterated Kerry as קרי (or qof-resh-yud if you read it right-to-left), which is an actual Hebrew word with an unfortunate meaning: "seminal emission". Oops.
Oops is right. A friend of mine also noticed the double-meaning, but wore the button anyway:
Yeah, I had one of those buttons, and it always made me laugh when I thought about what the Hebrew actually meant. Note that the root "Bush" in Hebrew means "shame". So I would go around saying "The candidates' names are appropriate. If Bush wins, I'm going to be ashamed. If Kerry wins..."
Only on the Upper West Side, my friends, only on the Upper West Side.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:00 PM | Comments (0)

Ol' Dirty Bastard Dead

But enough about Arafat...

Anyway, rapper Russell Jones, aka Old Dirty Bastard aka Dirt McGirt aka Big Black Baby Jesus, passed away on Saturday at the age of 35. ODB was a founding member of the groundbreaking rap collective known as the Wu Tang Clan, before later striking out on his own as a solo artist.

Now normally when rappers die, they've got a ton of old material stashed away, making possible years and years of posthumous releases. Either that, or "outtakes" are cobbled together into stand-alone albums. Not sure how much completed stuff ODB has on the shelf, but I fear the outtake thing may have been exhausted, because in 2002 an album, "The Trials and Tribulations of Russell Jones," was cobbled together out of old ODB tracks. Not because Jones was dead, but because he was doing a prison stretch at the time.

Indeed, Ol' Dirty Bastard's scrapes with the law were legendary, as he was arrested for, among other crimes, shoplifting, missing/falling asleep during court appearances, threats against his wife, illegally wearing body armour, breaking out of a court-mandated rehab facility, failure to pay child support, and sunbathing nude at a hotel in Berlin.

Wu Tang, for what it's worth, reunited for a final show just two days before ODB's death.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:20 AM | Comments (4)

Quote of the Day

"You say the Midwest: Well, what is Detroit? Black, ghettoized Detroit? That's the Midwest. The south side of Chicago is the Midwest. North Omaha is the Midwest. To say it's all noble white people is such bullshit. I think anything that communicates a monolithic point of view about anything is wrong, certainly about a region."
- Alexander Payne, director of the new film "Sideways" (as well as "Election" and "About Schmidt"), putting the lie to all this "Bush won 'cause all the stupid yokels in Jesusland voted for him" nonsense.
Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:49 AM | Comments (2)

November 12, 2004


Scott Peterson murdered his wife and unborn child two years ago. Because that wife happened to be attractive and white, you've heard about it nonstop ever since. Today, luckily, the Peterson case didn't live up to the sorry precedent of the last California-based Trial of the Century, as Peterson was convicted on two counts of murder.

I've made it a practice throughout this entire matter to not care about, and therefore not comment; I concur with Glenn Reynolds, who spoke for serious news junkies everywhere:

My main feeling is disappointment that it's over: For many, many months I've been able to look up at TVs in bars, restaurants, the gym, etc. -- and when the Peterson trial was on, I knew right away that there was no actual news to report. Now I've lost that valuable tool.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:09 PM | Comments (5)

November 11, 2004

Girls Hate Each Other- And Bill Maher

Despite their differing politics, I've always gotten the sense that Bill O'Reilly and Bill Maher get along well with one another, when they've appeared on each other's shows. But now they've got one more thing in common- they've both been sued by women this year for sexual misconduct.

Maher, according to the Smoking Gun, has been sued for $9 million by former girlfriend Nancy "Coco" Johnsen, who says Maher "subjected her to physical and verbal abuse, including 'insulting, humiliating and degrading racial comments.'" Not a surprise, to anyone who's ever seen more than five minutes of a Maher TV show or stand-up act.

Then I started thinking- Maher's girlfriend, Coco, hmm, sounds familiar. But then I remembered something from Andrew Sullivan's Weekly Dish e-mail, following Sully's "Real Time" appearance in February:

Maher is completely and wonderfully larger than life. His current girlfriend, Coco, was a gorgeous African-American woman in a blond wig with an endowment far more impressive than Janet Jackson's. Coco apparently reads this blog a lot. I'm flattered.
Wow. So soon after that whole grabbing-his-own-ass-on-live-TV thing, does Sullivan really want to be linked to Maher in the press all over again?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:23 PM | Comments (0)

Toxic Bachelor #1

This week’s New York Press cover story is an instant classic of the “diary of a womanizing asshole” genre. Called “My Cheating Art” and written by “Lucius Allred,” it’s every bit as hilarious as it disturbing. This guy is so over the top in his caddishness that even Steve the Mildly Unwell Bastard would say “man, that guy’s totally out of control.” In fact, he DID say that.

Still, ladies and gents, check it out- maybe you’ll even learn something.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:19 PM | Comments (0)

The Bill Simmons devotees among you may remember that in last week’s football column, he made the following joke:

LIONS (-3.5) over Redskins
The Lions are officially my gambling nemesis. I give up. By the way, if you would like to be a plaintiff in the class action suit by fantasy football owners against Clinton Portis, check out for details.
Had I not been reading a printed copy of the column on the subway, I’d probably have clicked the link, since I indeed have Portis on my fantasy team and he’s screwed me many times this season. But alas, the link was dead, and in the next graf Simmons joked,
(Note: To everyone who clicked on that link ... I mean, you must feel pretty dumb right now? Do you have anything to say for yourself?)
I emphasis that the link WAS dead, because (of course) an enterprising Sports Guy fan bought the domain name, and has turned into a Cult-of-Bill analysis blog. Great stuff so far- sort of doing for what AdNags does for the New York Times.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:17 PM | Comments (0)

Worst Film Critic Quote of the Week

Manohla Dargis, reviewing “The Polar Express” in the New York Times:

“Tots surely won't recognize that Santa's big entrance in front of the throngs of frenzied elves and awe-struck children directly evokes, however unconsciously, one of Hitler's Nuremberg rally entrances in Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will." But their parents may marvel that when Santa's big red sack of toys is hoisted from factory floor to sleigh it resembles nothing so much as an airborne scrotum.”
(Via Jeff Jarvis, who slams this style of writing as “look-at-me-I'm-wearing-a-thong writerly exhibitionism.” It is, as you may remember, a kids movie.)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:13 PM | Comments (0)

Call Him Cy

Well, that was easy. Just as he was undefeated in the entire second half of the season, Minnesota’s Johan Santana did not lose a single Cy Young vote, winning the award unanimously today. Johan becomes the first Twin to win the Cy Young award since Frank Viola in 1988. Not bad for a guy who couldn’t even crack the starting rotation two years ago.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:11 PM | Comments (0)

More on Mnookin

In the lede of his “Hard News” review, Slate's Jack Shafer asks,

If New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines hadn't insisted on covering the Augusta National Golf Club's lack of female members as if it were a human rights violation ... if Jayson Blair hadn't lied, plagiarized, and fabricated his way to infamy ... if Rick Bragg hadn't sent his "intern" to Apalachicola, Fla., to do his first-person reporting for him ... if these mini-calamities that make up the three acts of Seth Mnookin's Times tragedy, Hard News, had never happened, would Raines still be running the Times?
Which is just about the same question I asked Mnookin myself the other night (the answer? “probably not”). Like Shafer (and Mnookin), I should be paid to be a media critic.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:09 PM | Comments (0)

Our Top Story Tonight. (OUR TOP STORY TONIGHT!!!)

Generalissimo Yasser Arafat is Still Dead

The lifelong thug and gangster, who was responsible for hundreds if not thousands of murders, the theft of billions of dollars from his own people, and the continued failure to secure a state for said people, somehow died of natural causes, robbing him of the martyrdom he had long sought.

Only the good die young; Arafat was 75.

Funeral plans have been finalized: the “state funeral” will be held in Cairo, at which point the body will be moved so that Arafat can be buried at his compound in Ramallah, in the West Bank. I say once he’s buried, Israel should send tanks to surround his grave every couple of months, just for old times sake.

After last year’s Brooklyn service and rally outside the Israeli consulate after the head of Hamas was killed, we’re likely to see lots of protests/memorials around New York in the next few days. I plan to attend them all, clad in an IDF T-shirt.

Vegas has not as of yet released the over/under for funeral riot deaths.

The death of Arafat, who edges out Kofi Annan and Henry Kissinger for the title of Most Embarrassing Noble Peace Prize Winner, also represents my second score in the Blogger Dead Pool, after Ronald Reagan.

When Yitzhak Rabin died in 1995, there was about seven hours of nonstop news coverage on every channel. When Arafat died tonight, Fox News reported the story for about two minutes before switching back to an O’Reilly re-run.

In conclusion, good riddance to a horrible monster. There’s just a little bit less evil in the world today than there was yesterday. And the best thing of all is that Arafat died without ever realizing his dream of the end of the State of Israel.

If You Will It, Dude, It Is No Dream

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:51 AM | Comments (4)

Mnews With Mnookin

I had the chance last night to meet Seth Mnookin, former media reporter for Newsweek and author of the new book “Hard News,” last night at a Barnes & Noble reading in Manhattan. I hadn’t planned on going, but just happened to visit the B&N when Mnookin was about to start speaking. The new book tells the story of the New York Times, around the time of the Jayson Blair scandal, and has gotten rave reviews so far.

The reading was interesting, as (as usual at these things) the crowd asked all sorts of questions (“why doesn’t the Times do more reporting about the neocons were doing before the war?”) that had little or nothing to do with the subject at hand. While I’ve still got the Tom Wolfe book and the Jon Stewart book and the David Brooks book and the James Wolcott book on my list, I’m going to have to read Mnookin’s at some point too.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:43 AM | Comments (0)

Burn Your Siddur Award Nominee

From the Protocols blog, quoting an “Upper West Sider” by the name of Chaim Amalek*

I think I know how both to revitalize the Reform Movement AND boost the number of Jews in America being born. Simply put, Reform Judaism should become the party of early reckless sex between Jews, encouraging Jewish teens (above the age of consent) to pop one out before starting college, and then to keep on popping them out on a biannual basis.

Once word gets out that reform temple is the place for a young bachur to get laid, these places will be full to the balconies with young jews with fornication on their mind. Nature will take its course, and, absent birth control (which the Holy Father eschews) presto! More Jewish babies.

I was in NFTY- I always assumed Reform was "the party of early reckless sex" as it was.

(*Chaim Amalek, it should be noted, is in fact a pseudonym for Protocols blogger and former porn journalist Luke Ford).

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:38 AM | Comments (2)

I’m Bill James, Bitch

Check out the first ever Hardball Times baseball yearbook, brought to you by Aaron Gleeman’s excellent baseball site. Among the writers appearing in it are the man who invented the genre, Bill James.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:30 AM | Comments (0)

Shortstop Roulette

Tim Kurkjian has an ESPN piece on the merry-go-round this offseason of free agent shortstops. Two things I want to see happen: 1) The Twins not bring back Cristian Guzman, and 2) every team but the Red Sox signs a shortstop, and every player but Nomar signs with a team.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:29 AM | Comments (0)

Let the Attorney General Soar

Attorney General/all-purpose bogeyman John Ashcroft has resigned, apparently to give full-time attention to his musical career.

I never cared much for the guy- especially the statue-covering stuff and the no-dancing stuff- and I’m glad to see him gone, but I never really thought he was the freedom-crushing fascist so many made him out to be. After all, freedom-crushing fascists tend not to give up power peacefully.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:26 AM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

"Kerry's strenuous and demeaning efforts to look comfortable around union members should be the tipoff: These flirtations with the proles are getting to be as clumsy and embarrassing as the family life of a gay man in denial. The Republicans are already the party of war and welfare. Let the Democrats embrace their destiny as the party of free trade and free love."
Tim Cavanaugh, Reason Online. I'm no Libertarian, but I'm with him in supporting Free Love Agreements.
Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:21 AM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2004

Clarett Comes Clean

In what could ultimately prove to be one of the biggest sports stories of the year, former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett has admitted that he received cash, cars, and other gifts –as well as improper academic help- from boosters and THE Ohio State University itself.

Clarett, who is in his second year of being ineligible to play college or pro ball, made the explosive accusations in an ESPN the Magazine article titled “My Side” (though really, shouldn’t EVERY article in that magazine be called “My Side”? All it is, month after month, is athletes justifying themselves). At any rate, I have no idea if this is true, but if it is? Sorry, Buckeye fans- I hope you enjoyed being national champions a couple years back, because your title could be taken away retroactively.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:28 PM | Comments (4)

The ‘Deis Campaign

The Boston Globe saw it fit to visit my alma mater, Brandeis University, to gauge their reaction to the election loss- and while those quoted weren’t quite as embarrassing as the characters the NYT found, it’s still pretty laughable, as the reporter pointed out that “the forum was dominated more by head-shaking and pep-talking than by policy analysis.”

Leading the discussion were the two biggest political celebrities on the ‘deis faculty- former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, and Anita Hill, who now teaches law, social policy, and women's studies. Say, I wonder how Anita feels about Clarence Thomas maybe becoming chief justice? Strange that the Globe story doesn’t mention this, even though earlier it quotes Reich as predicting that Antonin Scalia will get the job.

Should be another long four years in Waltham. If Middle America is “Jesusland,” what do we call Brandeis? Mosesland?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:22 PM | Comments (1)

Hacker Heaven

The New Republic ran an interesting little online story today about computer hackers eventually going to work for corporations and law enforcement. Which is even more interesting, because it has the exact same premise as one of Stephen Glass’ fake stories, which appeared in the same magazine back in 1998.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

Weekend at Yasser’s

No he’s still not dead, though he may have set the all time record for most consecutive days of “taking a turn for the worse.” Funny that we should get “Weekend at Bernie’s” references, on the same day that Bernie lookalike Dave Wannstedt quits as coach of the Miami Dolphins.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:14 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

“There are other complaints as well. Take the two leading liberal columnists at the New York Times, Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman. As we all know, one's a whining self-parody of a hysterical liberal who lets feminine emotion and fear defeat reason and fact in almost every column. The other used to date Michael Douglas.”
Jonah Goldberg, National Review
Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:12 PM | Comments (0)

The Office

Here’s an NYT story about… my office building, at 1359 Broadway.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:10 PM | Comments (0)

A Couple of NFL Beefs

Don’t even get me started on the Vikings, who lost to the Colts on "Monday Night Football" tonight to continue their re-enactment of their 2003 collapse. Mike Tice is the Terry McAuliffe of football coaches- the more he fails, the longer he gets to keep his job. And unfortunately, this wasn’t a big enough game for Peyton Manning to choke in.

And another thing- and now that I’m dating an Eagles fan, and she reads this blog, I probably shouldn’t even say it, but I will anyway. All of these football players have stupid dances that they do after getting touchdowns/sacks. That’s been a part of the game for years and I’m well past the point of getting upset about it.

But what pisses me off is now all the players are getting into feuds, in the media, about their stupid dances. Terrell Owens, of course, is the worst offender (sorry, Becca!). But then he goes and imitates Ray Lewis, and Lewis fights back, and then all of a sudden Owens is in trouble for bringing up Lewis’ double-murder rap (which is supposed to be an even bigger outrage than the murder rap itself, but nevermind). And now this week, Hines Ward decided to imitate T.O. when he scored a touchdown against the Eagles, setting off a whole other round of media hang-wringing.

Enough already. I don’t care about these dumb dances or who “disrespected” who by imitating who and whose comments were out of line or “taken out of context.” Players- just shut up about it. And reporters- please- stop writing about it!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:16 AM | Comments (1)

Peggy Sue Got Elected

Peggy Flanagan, who was a year behind me at St. Louis Park High School, was elected to the Minneapolis school board last week as the leading vote-getter, despite being only 25 years old, having no children, and having just moved to Minneapolis. She also campaigned by emphasizing her Ojibwa roots, despite having a white mother, white stepfather, Korean brother, and the uber-Irish name “Peggy Flanagan.”

Still, congrats to Peggy, who once worked for one of my political heroes (Paul Wellstone), did her part to keep Minnesota as a blue state, and continues to bring honor to the alma mater of myself, Jeremy, and The Mustache.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:13 AM | Comments (1)

The Worst Blue-State Condescension Article of All Time

The New York Times, after the election, decided to interview some New Yorkers to gauge their reaction to Bush's win, and the result so laughably encapsulates every elite-liberal stereotype, all in one place, that I honestly thought the story was a parody when I first read it.

Those interviewed include: a film producer, a “barmaid in Brooklyn,” a retired psychiatrist, and an art dealer. They all have chic dogs, all say things like “New Yorkers are more sophisticated,” and (of course) none of them know anyone who voted for Bush. One even describes New York as “an island off the cost of Europe,” making the all-too-common mistake of mistaking a particular 15-block section of the Upper West Side of Manhattan for "New York."

These types of people were able to blame Bush's first electoral victory on the Supreme Court, the Florida fiasco, et. al. But now that the president has won an undisputed election, they're forced to go further- right into the realm of Bush-won-because-the-yokels-who-voted-for-him-are-too-stupid-to-know-any-better. Where they're more comfortable anyway, of course.

One New Yorker quoted in the piece looks down with disdain her native Midwest (something I, for as long as I live in New York, promise to never, ever do), stating "They're very 1950's"- as opposed to the stereotypical blue staters, who are instead very 1960s. Better to live 40 years in the past than 50 years, I suppose.

This part of the story is particularly laughable; emphasis all mine:

Ms. Camhe, the film producer, frequents Elaine's restaurant with friends and spends many mornings on a bench in Central Park talking politics with homeless people with whom she's become acquainted.[???] She spent part of Tuesday knocking on doors in Pennsylvania to rustle up Kerry votes then returned to Manhattan to attend an election-night party thrown by Miramax's chairman, Harvey Weinstein, at The Palm. Ms. Camhe was also up much of the night talking to a son in California who was depressed at the election results.

When it became clear yesterday morning that the outlook for a Kerry squeaker was a mirage, she was unable to eat breakfast. Her doorman on Central Park West gave her a consoling hug. Then a friend buying coffee along with her said she had just heard a report on television that Mr. Kerry had conceded and tears welled in Ms. Camhe's eyes.

Ms. Camhe explained the habits and beliefs of those dwelling in the heartland like an anthropologist.

"What's different about New York City is it tends to bring people together and so we can't ignore each others' dreams and values and it creates a much more inclusive consciousness," she said.

[New York, home of Wall Street and much of the cutthroat corporate world, “brings people together?” Spoken like a true non-private sector worker.]
"When you're in a more isolated environment, you're more susceptible to some ideology that's imposed on you."
[Yea, I was thinking the same thing.]
As an example, Ms. Camhe offered the different attitudes New Yorkers may have about social issues like gay marriage.
"We live in this marvelous diversity where we actually have gay neighbors," she said. "They're not some vilified unknown. They're our neighbors."
What the hell does that mean? People outside New York don’t have gay neighbors? Mike Silverman, who is gay and lives with his partner in Lawrence, Kansas, might be interested to know that. Closed-minded nonsense like that brings many words to my mind, but “sophisticated” is certainly not among them.

I know most of the NYT audience will likely relate to the people quoted here. But in the realm of stereotype-building, the story is without peer in recent journalistic history. This would be like, if Bush had lost, a newspaper had sent a reporter to a NASCAR track and quoted a bunch of people with mullets bitching about the disproportionate electoral influence of the “niggers, fags, and Jews,” before adjourning to go shoot beer cans off each other’s heads.

UPDATE: Apparently Lileks already addressed this; he calls it “advice from our betters.”

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:56 AM | Comments (3)

’Six Feet Under’ Buried

It was announced today that the fifth season of “Six Feet Under,” which is scheduled to go into production this week, will be the last.

Kind of shocking, since the show only started in 2001. But then again, ‘Six Feet’ took a dramatic step backward in terms of quality in its most recent season, with nonsensical, contrived plotlines, and characters behaving in ways totally untrue to themselves. It got a bit better as the season went on, but then concluded with the same stupid plot twist –a man confesses, out of nowhere, to a murder and then, out of nowhere, shoots himself- that I’ve seen dozens of times on hack network dramas created by David E. Kelley and his ilk.

No matter what other reasons there were for the decision, I nevertheless applaud creator Alan Ball for deciding to pull the plug when he realized that the show was running out of steam creatively.

And speaking of dead characters coming back to life as ghosts- this Jimmy Smits-returning-to-“NYPD Blue” thing could be REALLY good, or be REALLY laughable. I can see no in-between.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:49 AM | Comments (0)

News Item

Olympic Champion Michael Phelps Arrested For DUI

And with that, Phelps forfeits his previously strong candidacy for SI’s Sportsman of the Year award. I vote for SOTY going, collectively, to the World Champion Red Sox.

Phelps omits any mention of the incident on his official website.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:45 AM | Comments (0)

A Chili Evening

I was at Karol’s chili-fest last night; good to see some New York bloggers, and finally visit the famous apartment and its infamous balcony that I’ve heard so much about.

I can’t vouch for who had the best chili, but I can say that Karol and Peter have a CD collection that’s 2-4 times the size of my own. Very impressive.

For more, check out the accounts by Jessica, Ken, Eric, and Karol herself.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:44 AM | Comments (0)

Not Dead Yet

Mount St. Helens hasn’t erupted, and Yasser Arafat is still alive. And unfortunately, the longer the decrepit terrorist lives, the more crazy theories come out of the woodwork.

David Frum, who I had thought previously was a generally reasoned and well-regarded voice on the right, makes the circumstantial case that Arafat is in fact dying of AIDS. The reason? “He has suffered a dramatic weight loss, memory loss and periods of disorientation, loss of muscle control and recurring nausea... These symptoms sound remarkably AIDS-like, don't they?” They could- but they’re also true of about a hundred other diseases.

This meme may have originated in a column written last September by Joseph Farah on the truly freakish right-wing website World Net Daily, which makes Fox News Channel look like The Nation. In it, Farah seeks to undermine Arafat’s position by dropping this bombshell (love the phrasing, by the way; emphasis mine):

What do I mean? I mean Arafat is a homosexual. There are also persistent rumors that he is a pedophile. I mean, in his private life, he is everything the Islamic culture detests – a closet pervert…

[Quoting a 16-year-old book making the same claim:]

"I just called the microphone monitoring center to ask about the 'Fedayee,'" Arafat's code name, explained Munteaunu. "After the meeting with the Comrade, he went directly to the guest house and had dinner. At this very moment, the 'Fedayee' is in his bedroom making love to his bodyguard. The one I knew was his latest lover. He's playing tiger again. The officer monitoring his microphones connected me live with the bedroom, and the squawling almost broke my eardrums. Arafat was roaring like a tiger, and his lover yelping like a hyena.

Munteaunu continued: "I've never before seen so much cleverness, blood and filth all together in one man."

After reading the report, I felt a compulsion to take a shower whenever I had been kissed by Arafat, or even just shaken his hand."

I’m not saying this is true- in fact, judging by WND’s track record, I’m pretty sure it’s not. But it sort of makes you re-think that whole “Queer Resistance For Palestine” thing, doesn’t it?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:40 AM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2004

Everybody's Got a Theory

Number of Google search results, as of last Thursday, for the phrase "Why Kerry Lost": 116.

Number of results today: 9,900.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:56 AM | Comments (0)

This Just In

Generallissimo Yasser Arafat is still brain-dead.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:39 AM | Comments (1)

Sully vs. Chomsky

I've spent way too much in recent months defending my Blogfather, Andrew Sullivan, against liberal and conservative attacks alike, all the way up until Karol's chili cook-off last night. Now perhaps it was an attempt to get back some conservative cred after his endorsement of Kerry, but Andrew had a great moment on Bill Maher's show on Friday night, as he went off on academic bastard Noam Chomsky following Maher's taped interview with him.

I don't believe I had ever before seen Chomsky interviewed on television, and Maher talked about how the MIT professor had long been "the most requested guest among the kids," who Maher had been trying to book repeatedly for as long as he's been a talk show host. And since many watching were likely hearing of Chomsky for the first time, I'm glad Sullivan stepped up and told the truth- namely, that Chomsky is a fraud who has taught two generations of college students to hate their country, and is only popular because he manages to pass off a "transgressive" view of politics and history to empty-vessel 17-year-olds who read his book in Intro to Sociology and then cluelessly mutter that it "changed my life."

Yea, you conservatives can bash Andrew all you want- but when was the last time one of you took down Noam Chomsky on national television?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:17 AM | Comments (4)

Worth the Price of a Ticket to "Meet Joe Black"

True, the "Star Wars" franchise hasn't exactly earned itself a lot of cred in recent years, what with the substandard movies and continued proliferation of the doctored "special editions." So I wouldn't have expected the release of the new trailer for the final film, "Revenge of the Sith," to generate much enthusiasm- except that it has.

Check it out here; might Lucas' franchise, against all odds, actually end on a high note? It sort of helps that Darth Vader and Chewbacca are involved, and Jar Jar is not.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:08 AM | Comments (2)

Back-ing Out

The Arizona Diamondbacks have pulled a George O'Leary, firing new manager Wally Backman after four days at his"dream job," once revelations came to light about drunken driving and spousal abuse arrests that Backman had failed to disclose.

The saddest thing of all: managing the Arizona Diamondbacks was his dream job. If he's got a dream to be a manager, shouldn't the job be with the Yankees, Mets, or Cubs, or some other team that at least existed for the majority of his career?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:41 AM | Comments (0)

A Stupid Joke I'm Probably the First to Make Publicly

With Howard Stern announcing that he will soon jump to Sirius Satellite Radio, rumors are rampant that Sirius will be acquired by another, larger competitor prior to Stern's arrival in January of 2006. Which only brings up the natural question: If the radio provider were purchased by Yahoo!, would it then have to go by the name Yahoo-Sirius?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:58 AM | Comments (1)

November 04, 2004

Notes on the Election of ’04

Some Simmons-style ramblings. Here we go:

- No, I’m not happy with the election, and especially not with the enormity of the Republican gains, especially after we had our hopes up throughout the day. But I am happy that it ended quickly, and in an undisputed, un-recounted fashion.

Now I’m not one of those “how can ANYONE could vote for Bush?” people, yet I do find it astonishing that so many GOP voters put “moral values” (i.e., “stopping gay marriage”) ahead of the war on terror when asked to name their #1 issue. As I would say if I were a Fox News talking head, “how can you care so much about other things- when WE. ARE. AT. WAR!?”

- And no, the “MSM” and Zogby did NOT purposely rig the exit polls to try to carry the day for the Democrats. Zogby, for instance, bases his entire professional standing on whether or not he’s right in predicting the outcome of the election. Why would he blow that just to score partisan points, when he knew he’d be proven wrong a few hours later?

- What can the Democrats do now? No, they can’t “move to the left,” and no, they can’t “move to the center,” because either would cause them to lop off half their constituency, and parties don’t assume power by eliminating constituencies. I suppose the best thing the Dems can hope for is a split/implosion in the GOP. If, say, Roe v. Wade were overturned, I could see a libertarian/evangelical schism destroying the current Republican coalition, with women and moderates scurrying back to the Dems. But that's years in the future...

Either way, I just know it: the Dems WILL rise again, somehow, some way. Somehow I think it’ll involve Barack Obama running for president.

- With the ’08 campaign set to begin in, oh, just a few months, we can already begin speculating about who’ll run. It should be fascinating, as it’s the first election since 1952 in which no incumbent president or vice president will be running. Hillary Clinton and John Edwards are locks to run for the Dems, possibly joined by Howard Dean, and maybe even Al Gore (but probably not). On the GOP side, we’ve got Rudy, McCain, Bill Frist, possibly Jeb Bush, and George Pataki.

At any rate, the prospect of Hillary actually carrying out her sinister evil plot to run for president practically ensures that Dick Morris will never have trouble coming up with a column idea ever again.

- Yes, in retrospect, I suppose nominating Kerry was probably a bad idea. But I'm not sure any of the Dems could've beaten this particular GOTV operation, especially not Howard Dean.

- Current number of Google results for the phrase “Why Kerry Lost”: 116.

- Walking around the Upper West Side on Wednesday was like what walking around Boston must’ve been like the day after the Grady Little/Aaron Boone game.

- Speaking of Boston, Kerry conceded on Wednesday at Faneuil Hall; three days before, I had lunch about 40 feet away from where he was standing. Meanwhile, the Red Sox win the World Series, they make the cover of Time magazine- and then it’s off newsstands after three days, in favor of the post-election “extra” edition.

- Should Terry McAuliffe be fired as DNC chairman? No, he should be taken outside and shot. He did a one-year job for four years, and has done nothing but fail since Day 1.

- Similarly, while it’s sad to see the Dems drop the seat, Tom Daschle may have been the least effective Senate Majority Leader in history.

- So now, for four more years, American politics reverts to a titanic struggle between two forces I don’t particularly like: the Bush-lovers and the Bush-haters. Call it “Bush vs. Anti-Bush”- sort of like "Bears vs. Bulls":

“The senseless waste of pitting these two mighty forces of nature against each other, like matter vs. anti-matter, will be a tragedy, not only for the teams involved.." [ flips card over ] "..but for our planet. All nations must band together, to ensure that such a conflageration never takes place."
- On Election Day, Aaron Gleeman posted a thousands-of-words-long entry on “a national outrage.” It was, of course, a response to Jeter winning the Gold Glove.

- I guess this is the end of that whole Redskins lose/incumbent loses thing, a whole four days after we first heard about it.

- Ed Helms on The Daily Show: “If you want to have gay sex or visit a library, this is probably your last night to do either of those things. I’ll be killing too birds with one stone.”

- Scott Ganz has a brilliant exegesis on where the Dems are at now. I can relate, as someone coming from the same place he is. Best graf:

Similarly, the Big Liberal Tent has too many noxious assholes farting with the flaps down, and the stink is driving people away…Michael Moore is literally a walking big fat irony. His massively deceptive, unappealing operation has somehow managed to take many perfectly defensible, moral positions and contaminate them with his particular flair for dishonesty, paranoia, bile, and smug, superior finger wagging. He needs to be shot into space, just as soon as we can find a rocket big enough.

- Unfortunately, Bush’s re-election all but guarantees that “Fahrenheit 9/11” will win the Oscar for Best Picture. Even though it’s about the 275th best movie that’s come out this year.

- Finally, as you all know thanks to the fine folks at the WSJ, I am keeping the Jarvis pledge:

I promise to... Support the President, even if I didn't vote for him..... Criticize the President, even if I did vote for him..... Uphold standards of civilized discourse in blogs and in media while pushing both to be better.... Unite as a nation, putting country over party, as we work together to make America better.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:27 PM | Comments (3)

In Other News, Buckwheat Has Been Shot

Arafat In a Coma; Health "Deteriorating Seriously."

UPDATE: Ding dong, the witch is... clinically dead. Reports say.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:28 PM | Comments (2)

Biggest Election Shocker of All

Edina, MN- the famously Republican Minneapolis suburb that is home to thousands of WASPs, numerous country clubs, and Southdale (James Lileks' favorite shopping mall)- went for Kerry. Looks like the neighborhood "changed."

I'm hella tired (to borrow a phrase from another blue state), so my final post-election thoughts should arrive sometime Thursday or Friday. Chin up, Dems.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:02 AM | Comments (0)

Barely Managing

Three National League franchises have new managers: the Phillies hired Charlie Manuel, the Mets named Willie Randolph, and the Arizona Diamondbacks tapped former Twin and Met Wally Backman. Backman will keep his job despite reports that he was convicted on both assault and DUI charges in recent years. An '86 Met, and he has a criminal record? You're kidding!

Backman will also retain former manager and legendary video game character Al Pedrique as a coach.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:38 AM | Comments (2)

Voice Not Of America

New York Press has lately been making fun of the Village Voice and its penchant for impossibly shrill, repetitive anti-Bush covers, nearly always depicting the commander-in-chief as either a monkey or a cowboy. This week, they've decided to hold a little contest among their staff to guess the Voice's post-election front-page. My personal favorite is A.J. Daulerio's:

There is a pissed-off donkey in blackface, wearing a rainbow coat, cradling a picture of Christopher Reeve, sitting on a garbage heap of swing-state votes. It's watching an elephant with a Bush-like visage, smiling devilishly and wiping its ass with the Kyoto Treaty right next to a copy of the Constitution, which is covered in giant, smoldering turds.
Also, Nick Bilton:
Bush is a marionette at the end of a performance. He is kneeling, hands raised to God. In the background, the Supreme Court justices—also marionettes, Team America-style—are dressed as cheerleaders. Behind them, Karen Hughes, Katherine Harris, Condi and Jeb form a swing band. Hundred-dollar bills fall from above like confetti; on each side, oil gushes like 4th of July fireworks. At the top of the page, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and Jesus control the marionettes.
The Voice, true to reform, refers in a new piece to "The Death of Our Civic Life."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:33 AM | Comments (2)

A Bittersweet Flashback

Keith Olbermann just referred to John Kerry "drooling the drool of regret into the pillow of remorse." He's not the only one.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:20 AM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2004

2004 Election Night Running Diary

(Note: this was all written in order and in real time, and edited only for punctuation at the time of posting):

I voted at about 8:45 this morning at my precinct on 109th St. I voted straight-ticket Democrat (Kerry/Schumer/Rangel), except for judges; I also voted for Daniel O’Donnell (Rosie’s lookalike, also-gay brother) for State Assembly, and then saw him on the street a few minutes later. No “voter fraud” that I could see.

I followed the exit polls on Drudge and elsewhere all day, and enter the night with a VERY good feeling about Kerry. But I’m not getting my hopes up yet…

7:30: Chris Matthews says he has a “big announcement” to make about Ohio- but then delays it five minutes, before declaring it “too close to call.” Also TCTC- Virginia and South Carolina- not good for Bush.

7:43: Fox says Jim Bunning- who has apparently suddenly gone senile in the last few weeks- is lagging behind in Kentucky. Bunning was the first baseball Hall of Famer to be a Senator; I’m guessing Kirby Puckett probably won’t be the second.

7:44: I don’t know whose genius idea it was to open the NBA season on Election Night, but they should be fired. I’ve never been less excited about basketball, and my team is one of the best in the league.

7:46: Kerry wins Vermont; apparently they don’t resent him as much over the Dean thing as I thought they might.

7:59: MSNBC’s playing their “going to commercial” music whenever they need to stall before calling a state. Very funny, but that’s gonna start bugging me very soon.

8:00: Numerous states just called. Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland TCTC. Kerry wins Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, Maine, Delaware, DC. Bush wins Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma. The solid blues are all Kerry, but the reds are still TCTC. Hmm.

8:05: Morton Kondracke says Oklahoma Senate candidate Tom Coburn is in trouble ‘cause he had said “lesbianism is running rampant” in the state’s schools, and that girls shouldn’t be allowed to go to the bathroom together. Shades of the first debate, everyone on Fox News looks glum- that’s a sign.

8:06: In an absolute shocker, Barack Obama has defeated Alan Keyes in Illinois. Damn, I was looking forward to Keyes’ floor speeches.

8:08: George Clooney’s dad lost his congressional race in Kentucky. On National Review's The Corner, Mark Steyn gets off one of my favorite lines of the night: “Nick Clooney is NOT George Clooney’s father. He is Rosemary Clooney’s brother. This is a conservative website.”

8:11: A bunch of senators who I’d had no idea were even running for re-election were re-elected, and no surprises. I had also forgotten Chuck Schumer was running until I got to the booth this morning.

8:14: We’ve yet to see Tim Russert’s magic dry-erase board. Probably not ‘til swing states start deciding.

8:18: Bush wins Virginia. Which wouldn’t be a surprise, except it was TCTC, and Virginia was never a swing state at any point. Ditto for North Carolina, and South Carolina.

8:35: CBS calls Tom Coburn the winner in Oklahoma, which is bad news for all you elementary school lesbians out there.

8:36: Dan Rather says “what Kerry needs right now is to make a comeback, like with Tom Brady coming off the bench.” Except that Brady is a starting player and doesn’t come off the bench. And the Patriots lost on Sunday.

8:45: In a Fox News debate over whether or not Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman looked nervous in an earlier interview with Bill Kristol, Fred Barnes nervously describes “the normal Ken Mehlman” as “the norman Ken Melvin.”

8:53: It amazes me that someone as laughable as Susan Estrich is put forward as a viable Democratic representative. She’s like the female Alan Colmes.

8:54: It’s mentioned that Colorado Senate candidate Pete Coors is the great-grandson of brewery founder Adolph Coors. If my grandfather’s name had been “Adolph,” and I went into politics, I’d be sure not to mention that to anyone, ever. Then again, I’d do the same if “Coors” were my last name.

8:57: We’re hearing about various voting-deadline extensions in Pennsylvania. Oh yay, a month from now we’ll know the names and voting patterns of individual counties in PA. Here comes 9:

9:00: Kerry wins New York, Rhode Island. Bush wins Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming. The rest TCTC.

9:03: Strange- the Minnesota/Iowa/Missouri/Arkansas/Louisiana line down the Mississippi is still uncalled. Directly next to it is the all-red line of ND, SD, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. Means nothing, except that the Big Ten is more liberal than the Big 12.

9:07: That weird vote-splitting initiative in Colorado failed; so cross that one- along with terrorism- off the “potential constitutional crisis” checklist.

9:10: The Jews in the Senate are doing well: Schumer and Feingold are both re-elected easily. Also, CBS projects the House will remain Republican.

9:14: MSNBC declares “Teen Pregnancy” has won in Florida with 65% of the vote.

9:30: Mississippi and Lousiana go for Bush. Still no Arkansas or Missouri though.

9:32: Inez Tenenbaum loses in South Carolina- taking her out of contention for the Eckstein Award.

9:34: The Magic Slate has arrived! Except now it’s a telestrator-like dry-erase board, projected onto a bigger screen. I don’t like that- the Slate’s appeal was that it’s so low-tech.

9:42: Comedy Central is showing the “Kindergarten Recount” episode of “South Park.” Perfect.

9:43: We see footage, on NBC, of hippies voting in Madison. That’s a real bipartisan area- they’ve got both Democrats and Greens.

10:00: Bush wins Utah despite 0% reporting, MSNBC says. Iowa’s too close, just like every other swing state. Nevada too. Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania all too close, and even Missouri. It’s gonna be a long night.

10:06: A couple of Senate races (Kentucky and Florida) are still too close, even though 99% of precincts are reporting. How does that work?

10:10: Wow, I was just mentioned (and linked) in a Wall Street Journal article.

10:14: Bush wins Missouri and Arkansas. Oh well.

10:18: Barack Obama delivers the evening’s first major acceptance speech. Where was Keyes’ concession?

10:33: Jim Bunning won. Damn.

10:37: Carl Cameron, who was caught uploading fake Kerry quotes to the Fox News website the other week, is with the Kerry campaign in Boston. Fair and balanced, indeed.

10:43: Jon Stewart jokes: “Michigan’s motto: ‘More Arabs Than You’d Think.’”

10:50: CBS calls Pennsylvania for Kerry. And NBC. It took almost three hours for the first swing-state to go.

10:51: Russert: “All eyes are on Ohio.” Recalls his famous quote of “Florida, Florida Florida,” at about 8:00 on Election Night 2000.

11:00: Kerry, of course, wins California and Washington. Bush wins Idaho. Barbara Boxer, Ron Wyden, and Patty Murray- all re-elected.

11:03: It remains possible at this hour that every state will go exactly the way it did in 2000.

11:11: FNC calls the Pennsylvania Senate race for Arlen Specter.

11:15: Keyes on MSNBC! Gives an analogy about “building a foundation” based on a solid rock. Is this a reference to that “house” he was living in?

11:17: Chris Matthews refers to the current Republican Illinois Senator as “Peter… what’s his name? Fitzsimmons? Fitzpatrick? Peter Fitzpatrick.” (It’s Fitzgerald).

11:23: Last 20 minutes of “The Godfather” on AMC- I think I’d rather watch this.

11:29: It’s looking like Florida for Bush. If it was two-of-three- it’s all about Ohio.

11:32: Joe Scarborough extols the virtues of former FEMA head James Lee Witt: “I loved the guy- I hugged him.”

11:34: Brokaw’s losing his voice. Bring in Brian Williams!

11:36: Carl Cameron quotes an ACT official that he doesn’t expect a network call until 1:30 AM. But then, “Campaign Carl” also quoted Kerry as calling himself a metrosexual.

11:40: Bill (a Republican): “Just like when the Red Sox led by 7 in the 9th, I'm assuming nothing.” Of course, he also could’ve said “when the Yankees led in Game 4…”

11:43: CBS calls Florida for Bush. Should’ve happened hours ago, but they were understandably gun shy after last time. Rather: “Kerry might be nailed to the wall, shirts on fire, bill collectors at door.”

12:00: It’s midnight, and no one’s won yet. It really is like one of those baseball games last week.

12:03: Kerry wins Oregon.

12:13: P. Diddy on NBC, interviewed by my girl Campbell Brown. Since the youth didn’t vote, are they all gonna die?

12:15: Ron Reagan explaining the results: “men sit in cubicles all day, and don’t feel particularly manly. But then 9/11 happened…” What the hell?

12:26: There are ten states left: Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, New Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii.

12:32: Ken Salazar wins Colorado- sorry, Karol.

12:34: After Vinter wins in Louisiana, CBS declares the Republicans keep the Senate.

12:35: At this late hour, we have our first color-changed state, as Fox calls New Hampshire for Kerry.

12:43: Michael Barone says Ohio is likely for Bush, leading Brit Hume to use the phrase “barring a Kerry upset in Alaska…” Fox indeed calls Ohio for Kerry.

12:50: MSNBC, however, looks at the numbers in Cuyahoga County (Ohio), believing that Kerry could possibly come back. Shades of 2000, if Fox jumped the gun on Ohio? Alaska closes at 1, which could be the time of Fox’s final call.

12:57: On MSNBC, they’re repeatedly tossing around the phrase “beyond the legal margin.”

1:00: NBC calls Ohio for Bush. And Fox calls Alaska for Bush- bringing him to 269. But everything has the caveat- “if the numbers hold up.”

1:12: Not that it matters, but Kerry’s leading in Wisconsin and Nevada. CBS, however, still refuses to call Ohio for Bush. So does CNN. Hmm.

1:34: Still hand-wringing about Ohio on all the networks.

1:36: Finally- Kerry wins Minnesota. That’s the result I really wanted to see. Still waiting on all the other states.

1:50: Wonkette’s on NBC! Along with my mom’s high school classmate John Hinderaker, and Joe Trippi- ugh, I just realized this will lead to the return of the very, very wrong “Dean could’ve beaten Bush” argument.

1:58: CNN says Iowa’s result will be delayed until Wednesday- due to “fatigue” on the part of election officials. WTF? Almost as embarrassing as earlier in the night, when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel -a major paper in a swing state- decided to run an election night blog, until the comically early hour of 9 PM, when the blogger complained of being “all blogged out,” and retired for the evening.

2:01: John Henry- the owner of the World Champion Boston Red Sox- has deployed his private plane for Democratic lawyers to go wherever they need to be. Yikes.

2:02: Unbelievable that no network has yet called a state to put Bush over the top. Are they afraid to?

2:11: Rather calls the Ohio Secretary of State “Mr. Blackwell.” I kept expecting him to turn all catty and start making fun of Dan’s tie.

2:19: The polls just closed in Hawaii. I think it would be awesome if the entire election came down to a recount battle in Hawaii for the last three electoral votes. Then the entire press corps would get to spend five weeks in Honolulu. I could see all the reporters agreeing amongst themselves to rig the election in favor of that outcome- it would be the Pro Bowl of politics.

2:27: Edwards speaks. They’re still calling him “the next vice president.” Is it really a good idea to send out the trial lawyer to outline their legal strategy at this point? All he says is “we will fight for every vote.”

2:30: Michigan for Kerry. Helping a hot governor helps your party, for sure.

2:39: Ah-nuld is addressing the crowd to talk about- ballot initiatives? And the seven-second delay is audible behind him. Who is he, Ashlee Simpson?

2:48: It appears we’re done with news for the evening- tomorrow is when the lawsuits start. I haven’t even begun to formulate an opinion, except for one thing: how major is it that no network has yet put Bush over the top with the 270?

Yes, if the Democrats have a shot to win, they should go for it. But why does this feel like a doomed love affair, where you’re pretty sure it’s over, but still holding on to sliver of hope, even if you shouldn’t?

UPDATE: I'm still awake. They're saying Bush will declare victory- even at 5 AM?- if he gets another state.

3:36: An hilarious argument on MSNBC on whether husbands bully their wives into voting their way, or the other way around. Pat Buchanan, of course, argues that couples always vote the same as one another, causing the rest of the panel (Ron Reagan especially) to look at him like he has two heads.

3:50: All right, looks like no more news tonight; I'm ready for bed. Barring an unforeseen judicial miracle, it looks like another four years of being caught in the middle between the Bush-bashers and Bush himself. Oh joy.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:34 AM | Comments (3)

November 02, 2004

Dear Diary

I'm in the middle of a running diary of election night, to be posted- hours and hours from now- when we know who the winner is. But I thought I'd share that I was mentioned (and linked to) in a Wall Street Journal article earlier, in relation to my signing on to the Jarvis pledge.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:26 PM | Comments (0)

FFF Speaks

It's the moment we've all been waiting for- Michael Moore's final pre-election message, which proves that he's even dumber- and more of a liability to "progressive" causes- then I thought. First he completely contradicts his own candidate on the election's most important issue:

"President Kerry had better bring the troops home right away. My prediction: Kerry’s roots are anti-war. He has seen the horrors of war and because of that he will avoid war unless it is absolutely necessary. Ask most vets. But don’t ask someone whose only horror was when he arrived too late for a kegger in Alabama."
But that's not as objectionable as when he puts himself forward as inspiration to Osama Bin Laden:
"There he was, OBL, all tan and rested and on videotape (hey, did you get the feeling that he had a bootleg of my movie? Are there DVD players in those caves in Afghanistan?)"
Yea, I was thinking the same thing. Nice to see that a friggin' mass murderer is so concerned about the Patriot Act- and that Moore (who's supposed to be a peacenik) is so proud to have inspired him.

Some refuse to vote for Kerry because they feel it will vindicate people like Moore and give them more influence. I feel the opposite way- a Kerry presidency would do more to marginalize Fat Fat Fatty than anything else imaginable. Remember the Clinton years, when Moore's time was mostly taken up with non-bestselling books and a couple of TV shows that got canceled almost instantly?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:02 PM | Comments (0)

The Pledge

I endorse Jeff Jarvis' Post-Election Peace Pledge:

After the election results are in, I promise to:
: Support the President, even if I didn't vote for him.
: Criticize the President, even if I did vote for him.
: Uphold standards of civilized discourse in blogs and in media while pushing both to be better.
: Unite as a nation, putting country over party, even as we work together to make America better.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:20 AM | Comments (2)

November 01, 2004

One More Day

After a campaign that’s lasted more than two years, it’s hard to believe the vote is just a day away. I’m rejecting all invitations to election parties in favor of my customary habit of staying-home-watching-on-TV-and-flipping-channels-‘til-4-AM. I may end up live-blogging, or doing a running diary.

I’ll be voting near Columbia U.; I’m curious whether Bush will get even a single vote in my precinct.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:04 PM | Comments (1)

3 Million Man March

Yes, I was in Boston for the Red Sox victory parade on Saturday, and it was an experience I won't soon forget. A few notes:

- I took the Acela up Friday night, and at least two thirds of the people on the train- as it was leaving New York- were wearing Red Sox stuff.

- I got to the corner of Tremont Street on Boston Common a few minutes after the parade had already passed, but my friends and I later ran all the way to the Charles River esplanade and caught a bit of the parade's marine portion. I was especially entertained by Ricky Gutierrez, Adam Hyzdu, and the rest of the guys on the "Left Off the Postseason Roster" duckboat.

- Lots of great signs. The Jeter/golf one got all the attention, but my favorite was a cartoon someone drew of Babe Ruth having sex with a goat, which read "F-ck the Curse." As the guy pivoted around to let someone take a picture, he screamed out, "Manny touched my sign, man!"

- As I discussed with Jordan last night, those Sox players can look forward to getting laid by the women of Boston at a clip unprecedented by any group of men in any city in history, with the possible exception of New York City firemen in the few months after 9/11. We're talking boy-band ass.

- Along those same lines, anyone catch that photo in SI of a couple of the Sox nonchalantly playing cards in the clubhouse, as a nude Manny Ramirez lurked in the background?

- At any rate, I'm glad I was able to be in a city I love for one of its greatest moments ever. I even walked from the North End to Harvard on Saturday afternoon, just to bask in the atmosphere.

- And yes, the Patriots lost on Sunday. But really, did anyone care?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:01 PM | Comments (3)

Political Football

We’ve all heard this whole idea by now of how Kerry must win the election because the Redskins lost yesterday, and in the last 16 presidential elections the incumbent party has won following a Skins victory, and lost following a Skins loss.

To which I say: bullshit. That only happened 16 times. The Red Sox were 86-for-86 in “not winning the World Series,” and that streak didn’t hold up this year either.

Sorry if I sound bitter about football- but damn, the Vikings looked horrid yesterday against the Giants. I especially loved when Mike “The Genius” Tice used up both challenges (both unsuccessfully) in the first quarter. That was a nice touch. The Fox network even switched away from the game in the middle of the third quarter to show Lions-Cowboys- something they’re known for never doing.

I’m going to swallow hard and attend the Vikes/Jags game when I go home for Thanksgiving, and and also a Timberwolves game the night before. No Wild though.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:47 PM | Comments (1)

He Used To Be a Caveman...

How about that Bin Laden tape- he used to be a terrorist mastermind, but now he sounds just like that annoying guy in your office who doesn't follow politics but just saw "Fahrenheit 9/11" and now won't shut up about it.

Still, I was sure Binny was dead or near to it, and I’m sorry to see he still breathes. My feelings on Arafat are quite similar.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:44 PM | Comments (0)

‘Drawn’ In

Anyone catch the premiere of “Drawn Together” last week? I was skeptical- especially since I remember how awful “Kid Notorious” was- but I ended up loving the new Comedy Central show. It’s pretty much a split parody of “The Real World,” Saturday morning cartoons, and the Disney animated films, and just about everything hit head on.

The best character is the neurotic Betty Boop clone, who is so clearly (and brilliantly) based on ex-Real Worlder Frankie that a defamation suit wouldn’t surprise me. The clichéd racial feuding between the Belle clone and “Josie and the Pussycats”-like black girl was too close to the real thing to quite work, but the show also had inspired parodies of Pikachu, Spongebob, and The Tick, and I also loved the Adam Carolla-voiced pig.

Plus, “I’m on a never-ending quest to save my girlfriend!” is quite a good catchphrase. I might even have to make that my away-message.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:41 PM | Comments (0)

Vecsey Sucks Sued

News item: Peter Vecsey, the worst sports columnist in America, has been sued by NBA player Danny Fortson for defamation, after he wrote in a column last year alleging that Fortson is a "thug," a "thugged out player," a "vacant lot," a "meaningless mass," and "gangsta or a wanksta." Also named in the suit is Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo.

Now as I've made clear before, Vecsey's prose is so bad- the stupid nicknames, the puns, the alliterations, the misguided use of hip-hop lingo- that I've been tempted to take action against him numerous times myself. But I've gotta take his side on this one- because it really is a free speech issue, and because guess what- Fortson IS a thug.

Now back to our regularly-scheduled Vecsey-bashing... 50-something white sportswriters really should be fired if they attempt to use "wanksta" in a column.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:37 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

“Life and politics will persist, in this republic, while the republic's enemies will continue to be toxic and lethal and protean. Neither electoral outcome can alter that. It's absurd for liberals to talk as if Kristallnacht is impending with Bush, and it's unwise and indecent for Republicans to equate Kerry with capitulation. There's no one to whom he can surrender, is there? I think that the nature of the jihadist enemy will decide things in the end.”
Christopher Hitchens, in Slate. Keep that in mind please, partisan idiots.
Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:31 PM | Comments (0)