For a school that dropped football in 1959, Brandeis sure has been having quite a bit of gridiron success lately. The Boston Globe reports that Benny Friedman- an NFL pioneer in the 1920s was generally credited with popularizing the forward pass, and who later became the first and only football coach (1949-1959) in the history of my alma mater- is a strong candidate for posthumous induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He’s already in the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
And not only that, but we’re about to have a Super Bowl in which the owners of both teams have ‘deis ties: the Eagles’ Jeffrey Lurie got his PhD there, while the wife of Patriots owner Bob Kraft, Myra, is a graduate as well; both men are big donors. Remind me to tell you the story sometime about when, as a Justice reporter, I was yelled at and told to put my pen down by Mr. Kraft during a School of Economics speech, when I tried to ask him about the team’s then-impending, later-scuttled move to Hartford.
Political guru-turned-columnist Dick Morris, as I’ve documented numerous times previously, has the bad habit of flying completely off the handle whenever the subject of Hillary Clinton comes up. His Hillary-based columns nearly always: a) ascribe both all-encompassing power and unimaginable ruthlessness to the former first lady; b) detail some grand conspiracy theory by HRC to double-cross her opponents in order to become president; c) predict some sort of upcoming “war within the Democratic party,” pitting Hillary against whatever Dem is hot at the time; and d) turn out completely wrong.
Today’s is no exception, as Morris accuses Hillary of “selling out” by moving to the center in order to buttress the party’s move to the left; Dick –himself an ex-liberal who has since found great riches in his similar move to the right- has always called Hill a leftist. Never mind that Hillary’s centrist move has been in progress ever since she was elected to the Senate four years ago. The “clash for control of the party,” Morris says, will be between Hillary and soon-to-be-DNC-chairman Howard Dean- but in late 2003, of course, Morris predicted that Hillary would be Dean’s running mate.
The “all encompassing power” argument is missing from this one, but Dick offers an excuse, in explaining why Clinton crony Harold Ickes endorsed Dean for the DNC job:
The Clintons could have gotten Ickes the job, but neither one did any heavy lifting on his behalf. Why not? I'm no longer privy to their secrets, but my guess is that Bill was too sick, sad, physically weakened and unfocused — and that Hillary, an ingénue without his guidance and leadership, didn't dare to try on her own for fear of publicly failing.But Morris hasn’t been “privy to their secrets” for almost five years- shouldn’t that disclaimer be in ALL of his columns, as well as the two books he’s written about the Clintons?
Meanwhile, Sen. Clinton collapsed today while giving a speech. Don't know what exactly happened, but I’m sure Dick is hard at work coming up with a theory about it.
I’m quite happy that elections in Iraq seem to have come off well, with high voter turnout and relatively little terrorism. We may end up pulling this thing off yet. I caught Michael Totten on the Friends of Democracy C-SPAN special yesterday, and am quite jealous that he got to join in the elections celebration with Christopher Hitchens. Because while I was able to meet Hitch a year ago, I unfortunately never got to drink with him.
So attention bloggers: the most important story today is that the Iraqi elections went well. It is NOT that “MSM” didn’t give enough credence to the notion that the Iraqi elections went well.
UPDATE: Hitch, meanwhile, channels Monty Python in his column today:
”The Vietnam/Iraq babble is, from any point of view, a busted flush. It's no good. It's a stiff. It's passed on. It has ceased to be. It's joined the choir invisible. It's turned up its toes. It's gone. It's an ex-analogy.”
The new owner of the San Francisco Examiner newspaper, Philip Anshutz, is in hot water after placing an ad in which the paper depicts a young-looking Palestinian girl holding a machine gun. The print ad, advertising that the paper will cover everything “from PTA to PLO,” featured a girl with a violin under “PTA,” and the gun-toting girl under “PLO”; the paper has since apologized, and agreed to pull the ad after an outcry by the usual suspects, including the pro-jihad website Electronic Intifada.
Anshutz never should’ve apologized, and the ad never should’ve been pulled. A 12-year-old girl with a gun is a completely accurate representation of what the PLO is –after all, its critics aren’t disputing the accuracy of the photo- and their arming of 12-year-old girls is, if you ask me, much more of an outrage than a photograph of such.
Yes, I know the Examiner is launching a new version in Washington, and wants to avoid a big Fake Outrage Scandal to coincide with the launch. But at least now there ad will be seen, for free, by exponentially more people than would have otherwise, especially once the Blogosphere gets ahold of this. Anshutz should write the "Electronic Intefada" people a thank-you note.
Manhattan blogger extraordinaire C reported last week that she was recently invited to an orgy (she declined). She did later tell me, however, that she attended the “pre-orgy party,” but left before the action started.
This brings up all sorts of unanswered questions. How do orgies get planned? Is there an Evite (“Come to Bob’s Orgy”)? Are there rules in place to assure male/female balance? Is it like a Blogger Bash, where everyone e-mails each other pictures the next day?
Does everyone wear masks and talk really slowly? Is the whole thing accompanied by a single shrill, repetitive, piano note? Did Sydney Pollack show up, in suspenders but no shirt? Did I forget to include any feeble “Eyes Wide Shut” references?
Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been writing about pro wrestling a lot less lately. This is because I’ve barely been watching the weekly shows, and skipping most of the pay-per-views as well- I guess I’ve just lost interest, especially since the WWE now has a near-monopoly, and there aren’t so many surprises anymore.
But buoyed by a brilliant ad campaign that dressed up the wrestlers for a “West Side Story” parody, I went to watch last night’s “Royal Rumble” event with the friends I used to enjoy every pay-per-view with, and it was quite entertaining. The highlight was probably an importune unscripted moment when, as the 30-man rumble match was ending, Vince McMahon ran out to the ring to settle a dispute, tripped and hurt his leg, and had to issue instructions to the refs from a seated position. Pure gold.
"Rampant lesbianism in school restrooms": Bad.
There haven't been any major developments on the current Second Biggest NFL Story Involving A Loudmouth Wide Receiver (i.e., the Randy Moss trade rumors). The trade talks seem to be on hold until there's some resolution of whether or not Red McCombs will sell the team, as Red wants to hang onto #84 as his reported asking price for the team continues to approach a billion dollars.
Assuming that's all resolved, the #1 rumored destination for Moss has been the Baltimore Ravens, where he'd be reunited with his former offensive coordinator Brian Billick, and likely outrun every pitiful pass from Kyle Boller. Especially interested in the prospect of Moss-to-Baltimore is Deion Sanders, the former superstar who returned to the NFL last year and made no impact whatsoever for the Ravens. Deion says he's likely to return for one more year if the Ravens get Moss, and then there's this:
Sanders went on to suggest that he and Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis would be able to provide a little guidance for the occasionally wayward Moss, who has been dogged by controversy throughout his career.Wow, that great role models for the impressionable young Moss- the most selfish player in NFL history, and a guy who was up on double-murder charges! Moss, meanwhile, would be balanced on offense with Jamal Lewis- when he gets out of jail, that is, after Lewis was sentenced today to four months for drug trafficking. And you thought Cris Carter was a bad influence.
If Moss ends up in Baltimore, I guess that makes the Avon Barksdale comparison even more trenchant.
By far, it's Larry Miller's. I'm still laughing over the "no pants" story.
"The premature triumphalism of some bloggers indicates that they haven't paid attention to how Webified journalists have become. They also ignore media history. New media technologies almost never replace old media technologies, they merely force old technologies to adapt and find new ways to connect with their audiences... the only extinct mass media that I can think of is the movie house newsreel."-Slate's Jack Shafer, in a tough-but-fair piece on blogs that I suspect the 'sphere will be all over tomorrow. I just hope they don't try to turn Shafer, a very smart and astute media critic, into another Nick Coleman.
I love and defend blogs as much as anyone. But, as I'll be saying in that long-gestating piece that I'm still working on, the hubris is getting to be a bit much-especially when it's directed at "MSM."
UPDATE: Welcome, Slatesters. Nice to see the Blogosphere for the most part saw Shafer's point and didn't savage him over it, with a few notable exceptions. Then again, that might have something to do with Jack not being a leftist.
The latest news on the Only Super Bowl Story Anyone Cares About: Terrell Owens wants to play in the big game, but the doctor who did his surgery has not cleared him to play- meaning either that Owens will be held out, or the legend built on his performance in the game will be buttressed because he “went against doctor’s orders.”
I had another thought. Now, as we learned from the Shaquille O’Neal episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” superstar athletes have the power to fire team doctors at will, whether it’s because of unfavorable diagnoses, or because they cheated at Scattergories.
So what if TO fires the doctor and hires another who lets him play? But what if the second doctor won’t clear him either? Will he just fire them all until he finds one he likes, like Nixon used to do with attorneys general?
Not sure how it'll all shake out, but I'm sure we'll hear about it, every day, for the next week and a half.
Another day, another pundit payola scandal. This time it turns out that Maggie Gallagher, a syndicated columnist whose work appears in the New York Post among other places, accepted $21,500 from the federal government for “marriage-themed writing projects.” It’s not as much of a direct payola deal as the one that brought down Armstrong Williams, but Gallagher nevertheless failed to disclose that she was being paid by the Bush Administration to do exactly what she was doing in her columns.
I must confess to a bit of Schadenfreude here, simply because I’ve found always Gallagher’s columns- which focus, almost exclusively, on bashing gay marriage, gay adoption, and gayness in general- trite, poorly argued, and insulting, and don’t consider her deserving of such a high perch. And I’m also not buying her excuse that she’s “not a journalist”- she has a column on an op-ed page, of course she is.
It doesn’t pain me in the slightest to see her professionally embarrassed; the only thing better would be if she turned out to be a lesbian.
There’s also news that Charles Krauthammer and Bill Kristol were present at a White House meeting in which ideas for the president’s inaugural address were discussed. But since the two apparently didn’t know it was a strategy session, and since they (as far as we know) weren’t paid, I’m inclined to give them a pass.
And speaking of Charles: this column, given the headline “Charles Krauthammer: Arafat’s Heir,” makes it sound as though Krauthammer IS Arafat’s heir. Actually, it’s a column BY Krauthammer, giving that designation to Mahmoud Abbas.
Iraq’s historic election is set to take place on Sunday, and the Spirit of America has joined up with Michael Totten and several Iraqis to produce an election-coverage blog called Friends of Democracy. Check it out.
Having missed out on Carlos Delgado, the Mets have reportedly traded a minor leaguer to the Red Sox for Doug Mientkiewicz, the former U.S. Olympic and Twins first baseman who famously caught the last out of the 2004 World Series, and then kept the ball. The question is, does he bring The Ball with him to the Mets? First Pedro, now the Ball- Minaya’s stealing all of Boston’s most valuable assets.
Meanwhile, Anna Benson now moves to a distant third in the Hottest Mets Wife queue, behind Piazza’s new bride Alicia Rickter, and Jodi Mientkiewicz.
UPDATE: Doug, apparently, has agreed to give back the ball.
I’ve been neglecting my film writing duties lately due to being very busy, but I do have a review of “Spanglish” up at IOFilm.com. I didn’t care for the movie, but Cloris Leachman was the best part, and I was sorry to see she didn’t get an Oscar nomination.
Anyone see that “Real Sports” segment the other night on sports announcer Joe Buck? Buck somehow manages to come across as even more of an insufferable ass in interviews and talk show appearances than he does in the booth, which is quite an achievement (though the reporter who interviewed him, Bernard Goldberg, nearly matches Buck in the “insufferable ass” department).
Buck spent the interview gleefully bragging about how he’s benefited from nepotism, while attempting to justify his holier-than-thou Randy Moss comments, while at the same time lending his likeness to Scooter the Talking Baseball, “Leon,” and other such abominations. Kind of shame, considering that his father is one of my all-time favorite people in sports.
I don’t necessarily think Buck is a bad play-by-play man. But he’s also probably not in the top 20 of America’s most talented broadcasters- so he’s therefore totally undeserving of his role as the #1 announcer for both baseball and football on Fox.
My recent “Trade Randy Moss” post has for some reason got me up to #3 on Google for that phrase, which has led to both high traffic and lots of crazy comments this past week. In fact, reading the comments makes me even more adamant about wanting to get rid of Moss- it’s reminiscent of the “it’s just Jadakiss’ opinion” people.
My personal favorite comment is by this guy, channeling Rush Limbaugh, who seems to advocate a return to the Randy Ratio:
Culpepper is an overrated QB. He prolly [sic] leads the league in fumbles .. I'm not making this a black white issue, but putting an average white (pocket) QB that will stay in there for an extra few seconds, probably getting laid out after he releases the ball, would do a lot better then seeing the current idiot trying to run from the pocket and getting hit while, at the same time, dropping the ball every, what seems to be, 10 plays. Get a new QB. I bet Ken Dorsey would know how to do this.Yea, let’s get rid of the best quarterback in the NFC, and replace him with the backup of last year’s 2-14 Niners team. And as we all know, black quarterbacks never make the Super Bowl. The Vikings already had Gino Torretta; why bring in Dorsey?
I feel like this site has been visited in the past week by every single illiterate Vikings fan in the Twin Cities. Other than the head coach, of course.
Jeff Jarvis, launching the latest –and best- of his jeremiads against the Federal Communication Commission’s censorship efforts:
“In the first set of rulings, the FCC seems to bravely decide that "dick" in various forms is OK. Ditto ass, penis, vaginal, nutsack, and a three-way. In the second set, they add the words hell and damn -- as if they were ever in contention as indecent and blaspamous -- as well as breast, nipples, can, pissed, crap, bastard, and bitch. It's the liberalization of America, I tell you, it's the second damned sexual revolution… Ah, so I can call the FCC commissioners a bunch of dicks, asses, bastards, and bitches and get away with it. Get me on the air! But if I use those words in a sustained manner -- FCC is full of asses and asses and asses and asses -- my ass would be grass.”Speaking of Jarvis, he got a rare mention this week in the magazine he founded- Entertainment Weekly, on the occasion of its 15th anniversary. Also in last week’s EW? James Lileks, whose new book was named to the Must List. James must’ve been feeling charitable, because they accidentally called the book by its subtitle rather than its title, and he did NOT attack it as “another screwup by the out-of-touch MSM” in today’s Bleat.
UPDATE: I just saw Jeff Jarvis himself appear in a stupid, way-below-him discussion on MSNBC with Pat Buchanan and Michael Medved about "The Passion of the Christ"'s lack of major Oscar nominations. Funny that the rabidly anti-Hollywood Buchanan and Medved are so outraged about something as arbitrary as the Academy Awards voting, and also that Buchanan can wring so much righteous indignation out of a lack of nominations for such a "box office hit," when "Passion" was outperformed at the box office by both "Shrek 2" and "Spider-man 2." Then Medved gave away the ending of "Million Dollar Baby" for good measure.
September 11, 2001: Terrorists attack New York, killing 3000 Americans and destroying the World Trade Center. Damage to the city’s transportation infrastructure, however, is minimal, and full subway service is restored within six months.
January 23, 2005: A homeless man sets a shopping cart full of wood blocks on fire in a control room, destroying hundreds of wires and knocking service of the C line offline for as much as five years.
Since this happened all the other subway lines (including the 1/9, which I take), have been about twice as crowded as usual. How was this allowed to happen? What is the MTA doing using 70-year-old equipment to run the subways? Why was Homeless Beavis allowed into a control room with a shopping cart and bricks? And worst of all, how can one guy with a shopping cart cause more damage to the system than the worst terrorist attack in history?
No matter what the answers, I’ve got a hunch I know what the solution will be: Fare increase!
I don’t have a lot to say about this year’s Oscar nominations, as usual the Best Picture nominees are the five I was expecting, although this year I’ve only seen two of the five (I missed “Million Dollar Baby,” “Finding Neverland,” and “Ray,” although the latter is coming from Netflix next week). I’ll be rooting for “Aviator” and Martin Scorsese.
I’m happy that my favorite movie of the year, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” got the two nominations it deserved- original screenplay and actress for Kate Winslet, and also that “Fahrenheit 9/11” was shut out completely. I’d feared that the Academy would award it Best Picture out of pure anti-Bush spite.
As for the other Most Controversial Movie of the Year, someone pointed out awhile ago that “Passion of the Christ” would be eligible for Best Foreign Language Film, except there’s no Aramaic home country. Similarly, you know how the Village Voice’s insufferable film critics seem to back at least one big new Palestinian movie each year? Palestinian films are ineligible in that category as well. Why? Because Palestine isn’t a country. Seriously.
Robert Altman is at work on a film version of Garrison Keillor’s long-running radio series “The Prairie Home Companion.” The film will star Altman regulars Tom Waits, Lyle Lovett, Lily Tomlin, and possibly even George Clooney; Keillor will appear as the narrator.
I’m not entirely certain how PHC could work in film format, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s Altman, a man who’s made a career of adapting works previously thought unadaptable.
Brandeis Discovers Beer: “A keg of beer was stolen from the back of a delivery truck parked next to Sherman on Dec. 11, 2004, according to Barbara Laverdiere, Aramark's director at Brandeis.”
Brandeis Discovers Sex: “Campus health professionals and students who counsel their peers on sexual safety identify genital warts as the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease on college campuses today. As many as 20 percent of Brandeis female students could be infected, reports Sioban Mclaughlin, a nurse practitioner at the University Health Center.”
I was planning to stop by campus on my visit to Boston next month, but now I'm having second thoughts- what happened to the alma mater I remember?
Anyone see tonight's tribute to Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show"? Some classic clips, a too-rare Ed McMahon appearance... so much great stuff, and so much funnier than anything Leno's done since he took over the show.
I especially enjoyed the Drew Carey stand-up routine that brought the house down in 1991. I remember watching that live, and thinking "wow, who is this guy?" It also was a nice touch to include the first-ever appearances of Seinfeld, Garry Shandling, Eddie Murphy, and all the other stand-up legends. Assuming this wasn't put together months/years ago, I'm impressed that Team Leno assembled such a dynamite package on such short notice.
Great episode of "24" tonight. You know the first ten minutes? That's the sort of thing I'd like to see happen in Iraq, oh, just about every day.
I liked Fox News' report of the rescue. Doesn't the viewing audience notice that every time the world gets saved, Jack Bauer is always prominently involved? Shouldn't he have gotten a book deal by now?
And nice to see the girlfriend get rescued- can we start a pool on how many episodes it'll be before she's taken hostage again? She's getting to be the new Kim, who remains the only character in television history so annoying that she was run off a show by its fanbase, despite her status as one of TV's sexiest women.
And speaking of which, when Jack goes out on a date, does he warn the woman in advance that "yea, every person who's ever close to me, sooner or later, will be abducted and/or murdered?" Then again, I suppose chicks dig it when he saves the world.
The Buffalo alt-weekly the Buffalo Beast has released its annual 50 Most Loathsome Americans list. Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell is #1, and there are some real zingers. For instance:
- Tom Cruise is "extremely convincing when he plays an ambitious, superficial prick."
- Stephen Moore "actually snivels visibly."
- Lynndie England is "the most authentic trailer trash to enter the public spotlight since Anna Nicole."
- Michael Jackson is accused of "surgically transforming himself into a ghastly artificial creature, and then forcing himself on little boys."
- Anna Nicole Smith is "like some tawdry copy of a pre-death Marilyn Monroe without any Arthur Miller to suppress her."
- Zell Miller is "part Yosemite Sam and part Foghorn Leghorn."
- Joan Rivers is "the most ghastly face science has managed to create without the use of chemical weapons."
- Donald Trump "shares Saddam Hussein’s compulsion to have gaudy structures named after himself."
And Donald Rumsfeld "carries himself in press conferences like a cranky grandfather who is sick of hearing his daughters whine about how he molested them every now and then."
Can't wait for the New York Press version...
Super Bowl XXXIX is all set, as for the first time in memory we've got two large-market East Coast franchises squaring off for the championship.
So thus begins the two-week hype period, likely magnified this year by both the East Coast factor, and the eternal "will TO play?" question. I don't offer a prediction yet, but I am quite happy to see the Eagles finally get over the hump and into the big game. More to come.
Johnny Carson died Sunday morning at the age of 79. I only watched the last couple years of Johnny's "Tonight Show" tenure, but can vouch for the fact that Johnny remained a genius until the very end. He will be missed.
That said, Johnny also marks my first Dead Pool win of the year. I'm halfway to last year's total.
Day 2 thoughts on the most shocking public outing of a celebrity since McGreevey:
- Experts have weighed in: Sponges of Bob’s persuasion reproduce asexually, making questions of their sexual orientation moot.
- Meanwhile, Bill O’Reilly continued his slide into irrelevance tonight, referring to the beloved cartoon sponge as "Squarepants Puffbob.” He did this while interviewing new Essence Magazine editor Michaela Angela Davis (who, despite being an editor of Essence, being presumably named after Angela Davis, and having an enormous Afro, looks very much like a white person.)
- Andrew Sullivan, inexplicably, has yet to address the situation. The world waits with baited breath. But one thing Andrew has been writing about lately is this controversy involving a new book claiming Abraham Lincoln was gay. Sully specifically took issue with a Weekly Standard cover depicting the 16th president of the United States in a stereotypically gay fashion.
In response to this Dan Savage- who has said that he and Sullivan are friends- is at it again, once again naming embarrassing sexual terms after Republicans. In this week’s column Savage- in the midst of gloating that “Santorum” winning an award from the American Dialect Society- answered a little from a reader asking about a certain gay sex act known as “femoral intercourse” that Honest Abe was alleged to have engaged in. Asked if the act is still performed today, Dan answered thusly:
Some other names for femoral intercourse: college-style, dry humping, English method, and my favorite, the Weekly Standard.Then again, the Standard did once run this cover image…
Roger Clemens will return to the Astros for one more season, giving us the chance to witness one or two more "last games of Clemens' career"- a career that at this point has had more false endings than “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.”
“Andy Reid looks like the star of a CBS sitcom where the portly guy is married to an improbably hot chick; Mora looks like one of those clean-cut porn stars who isn't quite reliable enough to get his own one-on-one scene; Bill Belichick dresses like the lead singer of an '80s cover band; and Bill Cowher looks so much like Sergeant Slaughter, you keep waiting for the Iron Sheik to attack him”–Bill Simmons, breaking down the coaches in a typically astute NFL playoff column.
But what was up with Simmons’ column the other day about the Red Sox fan who was in a coma for the whole World Series run? If you’d showed me the piece and told me Rick Reilly wrote it, I’d believe you- how did Bill get through a column about a guy in a coma without any Morrissey jokes? (My version would’ve had “Talk to Her” jokes).
As for the playoffs, I stick with my picks- Eagles and Steelers. It’s been a home-team year.
UPDATE: Apparently I wasn’t the only one with the Reilly idea.
This morning I was confronted with a scam that I once fell for and still run into from time to time. You’re walking down the street, someone bumps into you, the person tells you their glasses were broken in the collision, and they ask you for money. Don’t fall for it folks- I’ve stumbled into this one at least three times.
It seems to always either happen early in the morning or late at night, and quite often in my neighborhood. Here’s a blog by a Columbia student who said the same thing happened to him, about two blocks from where it did to me this morning.
SpongeBob Squarepants: TV star. Movie star. Loved by kids the world over as the lovable yellow creature who “lives in a pineapple under the sea.” Oh yea, and he’s also a puppet of the Radical Homosexual Agenda.
That’s according to gay-bashing blowhard James Dobson. The loathsome chairman of Focus on the Family gave a speech in Washington the other night in which he alleged SpongeBob had appeared in a “pro-homosexual video,” which is actually a “tolerance pledge” featuring such other characters as Jimmy Neutron and Barney. Even worse, Dobson's spokesman referred to the pledge as "an insidious means by which the organization is manipulating and potentially brainwashing kids."
You'd think the above photo would be proof of Bob's heterosexuality, but perhaps not; guess this means he'll have to clear things up by marrying a "Baywatch" babe.
Almost as bad as the description of Bob in the Times story:
[SpongeBob] has become a well-known camp figure among adult gay men, perhaps because he holds hands with his animated sidekick Patrick and likes to watch the imaginary television show "The Adventures of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy."I’ve heard all the jokes about SpongeBob being gay, of course. But is he really a “a well-known camp figure among adult gay men”? I’d never heard that before, but if he is, maybe all those thefts of inflatable SpongeBobs from the roofs of Burger Kings weren’t by teenagers after all.
Besides- SpongeBob's not gay- he's black!
In an absolute genius move, NFL Network recently brought aboard former Colts and Saints coach Jim Mora as an analyst on its flagship show. Not of games, mind you, but of press conferences. Nearly legendary for his unrehearsed postgame diatribes (“we couldn’t do diddly-poo on offense”), Mora’s an ideal choice- even if one of the remaining coaches he’ll be analyzing is his own son, Falcons coach Jim Mora, Jr.
Mora also hosts a Saturday show on Fox Sports Radio. If the TV networks actually cared about providing entertaining and insightful commentary on their pre-game shows, Jim Mora would have a weekly seat.
Last night’s musical guest: Kenny G. With special guest backing musicians Earth, Wind, & Fire. The men on stage had a combined age of about 200- that is, only slightly higher than the combined age of the current Yankees' starting rotation.
I don't want to say Kenny is passe, but I remember teasing my parents about going to one of his concerts- and that was about 15 years ago.
"[Oberst] now cements his status as youth culture's apostle to the middlebrow with 'I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning,' a handsome channel 13 complimentary tote bag of an album that polishes his image as the fantasy rebellious son who hangs at socialist bookstores and swipes your Gram Parsons records."-Keith Harris, reviewing the new Bright Eyes album in the Village Voice.
And speaking of the Voice, it appears the newspaper boxes I wrote about the other day have returned to much of uptown Manhattan- although all along 42nd Street and in much of midtown, they're still gone. Hmm, maybe it's a zoning thing?
Today, strange is as it is to say, is the final day of George W. Bush’s first term*, as Dubya will be sworn in tomorrow for term #2. Inauguration Day has always been one of my favorite times on the political calendar, as I’ve always found it semi-miraculous that we can turn on the TV and watch an orderly, ceremonial transition of power, whereas in much of the world, we’d be watching a war, a coup, or a mass assassination.
Others, alas, don’t feel that way. Upset that their endless protests throughout 2002-2004 failed to get Bush out of office and may have even played a role in his re-election, the Anti-Bush Movement has plans to protest/disrupt the festivities. There's the actual protests in DC, other "actions" taking place in other cities, and even this asinine campaign called "Not One Damn Dime," as though a one-day consumer boycott will somehow convince Bush to not take the oath of office after all.
But what, exactly, are they seeking to accomplish? In my opinion, nothing- their goal, more than anything concrete or substantial, is to feel good about themselves.
My new friend Michael Totten had a post on this yesterday, and he calls the phenomenon (originally coined in a Lip magazine essay), “activistism"- in reference to those more concerned with propogating activism and enjoying their own self-righteousness than in actually accomplishing anything politically. Here’s Michael:
Anyway, it finally clicked, what separated me from the left-wing herd for many years even before 911. So many of them are activists. I’m not – not in any way shape or form whatsoever. I’m a book-reader, an intellectual, and a writer. I’m interested in history and ideas. They are interested in activism and power.Exactly. That’s how I’ve felt since at least high school.
Along the same lines, my blog twin has a great post in which he observes that the Blogosphere, despite its independence, is actually more partisan than the “MSM.” He goes on to state that the Blogosphere is the ideal place for “political hybrids” such as himself- and me, and Jarvis, and Totten, and lots of other people. Exactly.
*The colloquialism has always been that Bush’s father’s single term was “the First Bush Administration,” whereas Dubya’s is the second. So what do we call the new term? “The Third Bush Administration”?
Those of us Vikings fans still stewing about Sunday’s loss got some rare good news yesterday, when it was reported in the Strib that Red McCombs has stepped up talks to sell the team, most likely to some combination of Arizona businessman Reggie Fowler, local auto magnate Denny Hecker, and Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor.
This is a great development, for a couple of reasons: the classless, cheapskate taint of McCombs’ tenure will come to an end, along with his ever-present stadium demands and relocation threats. And even better? Since the misguided loyalty to Mike Tice is mostly McCombs’, new owner likely equals new coach. Fowler would also become the NFL’s first African-American owner, something that’s long overdue.
I don’t agree with Fowler’s idea to build a new stadium in far-flung Anoka County, though at least such a thing would guarantee the team’s never leaving town.
In less good Vikings news- offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has left the team to take the same job with the Dolphins. Way to hang on to the only member of the coaching staff who isn’t an imbecile.
The Mets' catcher will wed former Playboy playmate and “Baywatch” actress Alicia Rickter next week. Oh, the possibilities:
“After all these years, a verdict: Not gay.”
“More models for Jeter.”
“Guess Mike gave up on Kris Benson cheating before the season.”
“I’d like to see her throw something at Debbie Clemens.”
“Manhattan’s New Most Eligible Bachelor? Mike Bloomberg.”
“He’d f-ck a catcher’s mitt.”
“Alicia Thus Joins the Wonderful Met Wife Tradition, of Nancy Lopez, Toni Darling, Lisa Strawberry, Charisse Strawberry, Kevin Mitchell’s girlfriend with the cat, and Anna Benson.”
“He’s marrying a ‘Baywatch’ babe? What is he, a member of Motley Crue?”
“Piazza’s new beard.”
If you live and/or work in Manhattan, you may have noticed something this week: those rows of alt-weekly newspaper boxes that have always been on every other block are suddenly all gone, with only occasional solitary boxes remaining. I’m not exactly sure why this is –as there’s thus far been no mainstream media coverage whatsoever of the issue- but I do think this is quite an unfortunate development.
Matt Taibbi of New York Press wrote a piece almost two years ago about an effort in the city council to regulate “street furniture,” being shepherded by councilwoman Eva Moskowitz, that passed in 2002. But I don’t remember that bill specifically banning the boxes, nor was their any indication in this week’s issue of either NYP or the Village Voice that such a wholesale removal of the boxes was going to take place imminently.
Since coming to the city I’ve been a regular reader of the Press, Voice, The Onion, and numerous other papers, and enjoy being able to pick them up all around town. I’d like to know what exactly is going on here, and why hundreds of newspaper boxes could just disappear seemingly overnight with no fanfare whatsoever.
In the wake of the Vikings’ embarrassing loss to the Eagles on a Sunday and blowing of a playoff berth they had no business holding in the first place, it’s time to assess the team’s severe structural problems. And while it’s hard to imagine the organization emerging from its current mire until cheapskate Red McCombs sells the team and incompetent coach Mike Tice is fired, there is one move in the realm of the immediately-possible that absolutely needs to happen: the team must get rid of Randy Moss.
Yes, Moss is a special talent who has shown tremendous game-breaking ability in his time on the team. But if he were to retire tomorrow a la Ricky Williams, the young receiver’s legacy would that of a Young Punk, one whose various misdeeds- from the “Randy Ratio” to his running down a Minneapolis traffic cop with his Lexus to his walking away from his teammates with 2 tickets left in the last game of the season to the “10 grand ain’t [expletive]” interview- have all gone completely consequence-free under the McCombs/Tice regime. It’s time the organization realized, as Michael Wilbon and others have pointed out, that they will never reach the Super Bowl with Moss on the team.
There should be plenty of takers for a talented wide receiver, especially by teams following the Eagles’ example of grabbing a receiver-who’s-an-asshole and dramatically improving as a result. Let the Ravens or someone like them wave too much money and too many draft picks, to finally take the walking embarrassment that is Randy Moss off the Vikings’ hands.
There’s a major cross-blog debate going on right now about an important topic that everyone seems to have an opinion on. Iraq? Social Security? Abortion? Actually, no- it's actress' bodies. At issue is a photo of actress Teri Polo (Ben Stiller’s wife in “Meet the Parents/Fockers”) looking especially emaciated at a recent movie premiere, as well as in a forthcoming nude photo spread in Playboy.
Wizbang has all the relevant photos; Michele has an illuminating discussion in which her mostly male commenters share their thoughts. As for me, the story depresses me for three reasons: because an actress as attractive as Polo feels that she has to starve herself down to McBeal-like levels in order to be “sexy”; because some men actually seem to like it, and because Polo, who appears to still have a viable acting career, stooped to posing in Playboy. The magazine has become so irrelevant that when I see a celebrity in it, all I can think is “wow, her career must be totally over.”
If she's lucky, maybe she'll able to join the Tara Reid/Carmen Electra crowd of former actresses who currently have no career other than semi-annual Maxim/FHM appearances.
From a New York Press item on those two idiots in Queens who beat up a goth kid who claimed to be a practicing satanist:
The local tabs... couldn't resist running with headlines like "Qns. Satanist Catches Hell" (Daily News) and "Devil of a Beating for Queens Satanist" (The Post). Reading those, we had to wonder—if the victim in this case had been Muslim, Catholic or gay, would they have used headlines like "Allah Be Pummeled," "Priest Gets Holy Crap Beaten Out of Him," or "Gay Man's Wrist Not so Limp in Cast"? We doubt it (except maybe for that first one).
This story from the San Francisco Chronicle just smacks of "urban legend," but knowing what I do about former Twins catcher A.J. Pierzynski, I don't doubt its veracity:
During a Giants exhibition game last spring, Pierzynski took a shot to his, shall we say, private parts. Trainer Stan Conte rushed to the scene, placed his hands on Pierzynski's shoulders in a reassuring way, and asked how it felt. "Like this," said Pierzynski, viciously delivering a knee to Conte's groin... The incident went unreported because all of the beat writers happened to be doing in-game interviews in the clubhouse, but it was corroborated by a half-dozen eyewitnesses who could hardly believe their eyes. Said one source, as reliable as they come: "There is absolutely no doubt that it happened."And the White Sox just signed A.J. to be their starting catcher. Can't wait 'til he meets Frank Thomas and Carl Everett- at least the ChiSox' "colorful" clubhouse will lend some entertainment to their upcoming 100-loss season (Via OffWing.)
Your Famous Blogger Twin is Andrew Sullivan
Opinionated with a lot to say
You blog because you truly love to write
Well, I guess one unexpected, completely nonsensical playoff victory per year is enough…
The Vikings’ almost tragically up-and-down 2004 season ended on a down note Sunday in Philadelphia, and I was on hand for it. The final score was 27-14, but really, it wasn’t that close. A few notes from the game:
- Wanting to avoid the wrath of Philly’s notoriously, uh, difficult fans, I limited my Vikings paraphernalia to only a purple Culpepper shirt, worn under my sweater and jacket. And while the fans weren’t quite the ruffians often depicted by the media, I did see them harassing various Viking fans with hilarious insults both in the crowd and in the mens’ room, and I get the sense that if I’d worn a Randy Moss jersey, I’d be blogging today from the hospital.
- After a week of being the focal point of just about every media story about the game, Moss didn’t do, uh, [expletive], therefore embarrassing himself in a big game for the third week in a row. And since he didn’t score, he didn’t have a chance to show the crowd his [expletive.] I didn’t see any fans moon Moss, but then it was about 30 degrees.
- The game wasn’t as close as it looked, as the Eagles lost two near-touchdowns. The comically botched fake field goal was a nice touch- in case you’re new to the Vikings yes, Mike Tice is just as good at trick plays as he is at clock/timeout/challenge management. The Philly fans have a tradition of, during the player introductions, shouting “SUCKS!,” in unison, after the name of each opposing player. I stayed silent during most of the Vikings’ intro, though I did join in the “SUCKS!” after Tice’s name.
- I was there as a guest of my girlfriend and her parents, Eagles fans all. One reason to be glad the Eagles won; it would’ve been a long car road home otherwise. Anyway, all season long they (and I) have gotten a lot of amusement out of a certain woman who sits in the seats behind theirs, who spends much of each game pretending to know about football, but really comes across as nothing but a dim-witted dolt. And even SHE was going on about how dumb Mike Tice is.
-As for the other games: After Jim Mora, Sr. famously never won a playoff game in his entire coaching career (mostly because his teams couldn’t do “diddly-poo” on offense), his son and Falcons coach Jim Mora, Jr. pulled off a victory on his first try on Saturday. Sort of like Dubya managing to escape his father’s fate as a one-termer. In the AFC, it was kind of sad to see the dominant Peyton Manning of the regular season disappear once again in Foxboro, and I hope Doug Brien was placed in protective custody as soon as he got back to New York.
- I won’t be as cold for Sunday’s games, as I plan to watch them from either home or a sports bar, but I can safely say we’ll be seeing an all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl. We know Ed Rendell’s an Eagles guy, but who will Santorum side with?
I had the good fortune to meet one of America’s savviest and smartest bloggers, Michael Totten, along with his wife Shelly, during their jaunt to NYC last Thursday. We shared some great conversation about politics, the blogosphere, and everything else, and it’s good to see that I’m not the only political junkie out there who’s not totally beholden to one party.
One of my favorite things about the blogosphere is that if you read someone’s blog and enjoy what they have to say, chances are you’ll enjoy what they have to say once you meet them in person. That’s been the case with numerous bloggers I’ve met, and Michael is certainly another.
Unfortunately, I had to miss C’s soon-to-be-legendary birthday party on Saturday night, which was seemingly attended by every blogger in New York and quite a few out-of-towners as well. I’ll be sure to make it next time, should C decide to turn 27 again.
Jordan had a good weekend too- hanging out in Vegas with both porn stars and Ferengis. But he still found time to call and taunt me with 15 seconds left in the Vikings-Eagles game…
Thursday: “Sharon Cuts Ties With Palestinians Over Attack”
Friday: “Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat rejected Israel's decision to freeze all official contacts”
This reminds me of that “Seinfeld” episode where George tries to break up with his girlfriend but she “doesn’t accept it,” so he’s stuck with her. Doesn’t “cutting ties” mean that only one side has to do it?
There are just two more days until the titanic Divisional Playoff clash between the Vikings and Eagles, and I'll be at Lincoln Financial Field for it.
Now in the playoffs, with only eight teams still alive and a week between games, stupid one-day stories get magnified and turned into six-day stories. Take the Randy Moss mooning incident, for instance. It happened, the announcers rebuked him, yadda yadda yadda.
Now, the story's veered off until all sorts of equally stupid directions: Vikings owner Red McCombs demanded that Fox remove announcer Joe Buck from the game in response to his anti-Moss comments last week (I'm no Buck fan -and the Red Sox would've had an even stronger bias case against him last fall- but McCombs is quite a few degrees further on the Loathsome Scale). Then Moss was fined $10,000, and dismissed the fine laughingly in one of the great reporter/athlete exchanges of recent years:
Reporter: "Write the check yet, Randy?"It's the second-best confrontation to take place in the last week between a reporter and an athlete named Randy. And if you lived in Minneapolis about ten years ago, the exchange probably sounded eerily familiar (scroll down to the yellow).
Moss: "When you're rich you don't write checks."
Reporter: "If you don't write checks, how do you pay these guys?"
Moss: "Straight cash, homey."
Reporter: "Randy, are you upset about the fine?"
Moss: "No, cause it ain't [expletive]. Ain't nothing but 10 grand. What's 10 grand to me? Ain't [expletive] … Next time I might shake my [expletive]."
After four years of non-stop mockery, Rohm inadvertently becomes an icon, in her last 15 seconds on TV.
Maureen Dowd has written her semi-annual column articulating her frustration that men don’t seem to want to date strong/smart/accomplished women (aka, women like Maureen Dowd). The only thing that changes from column to column is the pop culture references. And the “new study that shows…”
Dowd’s theory this time around accuses men of wanting to only date young, attractive women and/or underlings, as though this is any truer today than it was, say, 50 years ago (or 500). But leaping from there to the conclusion that men are actively afraid of women of substance is simply laughable, and just smacks of smug self-justification on Dowd’s part. I mean, I can’t tell you how many times a buddy of mine has said “you know, I’d really like to date that woman, but she’s just too smart.”
No, most men aren’t repelled by smart, strong woman. I, for one, love them. We ARE repelled by is shrill, unfriendly women who treat us badly. Using the "you hate strong women" defense as a virtual get-out-of-jail-free card against anyone ever not liking her was a trick borrowed from Dowd by Teresa Heinz Kerry during the presidential campaign- and I don't remember her having much luck with it either.
I’d recommend Maureen save this stuff for her Match.com profile, and leave the hallowed pages of the Times op-ed page to someone who's a bit more, uh, smarter and stronger.
I haven’t blogged much about the Timberwolves’ free-fall (they’re now .500), probably because I haven’t been watching the games, and the “Hang Time” column in City Pages tends to be a more of authority on such matters (anyone know of any good Wolves blogs?) But I’ve been seeing plenty of stupid rash suggestions, most notably involving trading Wally Szczerbiak or firing Flip Saunders. Please. For Saunders to lose his job while Mike Tice keeps his would be the biggest travesty in Minnesota sports since Norm Green left town.
But that’s nothing compared to this idea, from the SI.com “Truth and Rumors” column:
It seems only a matter of time before Kevin Garnett says he has had enough of the Latrell Sprewells and Sam Cassells and asks out. Before he does that, the Bulls should put in a call to McHale and make the following offer: We'll give you Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler -- plus whatever spare parts you need to make the money work -- in exchange for Garnett.
-- Arlington Heights Daily Herald
Yea, great idea! Get rid of the best player in the league, get two underachieving young guys and stick them on the team with Sprewell and Cassell! I’m sure the Wolves would LOVE to do that! I’m not sure what flavor of crack they’re smoking in the Daily Herald newsroom, but I think I’d like some.
Kevin McHale would be thrown into Minnehaha Falls if he ever made that trade. It’s a move that would make the Joe Smith illegal contract look like Joe Barry Carroll-for-Robert Parish.
The Linguistic Society of America has named “Santorum” the Most Outrageous Word of the Year for 2004. The only problem? The word was around well before this year- in fact, Dan Savage coined the term around the time of the senator’s infamous anti-gay comments, which were published in April of 2003. In fact, I named Santorum the “Frothy Mixture of the Year” during my year-end awards for ‘03.
Then again, the LSA’s pick for “Word of the Year,” “Red State/Blue State/Purple State,” is at least four years old.
The most- and least-whipped players in the NBA have a sitdown, courtesy of The Brushback.
McSweeney's has an exclusive interview with the Guitar Solo from “Stairway to Heaven.” Topics touched on include the Solo’s alleged “feud” with that same song’s Guitar Intro. Personally, I prefer the intro, but that’s just because I can play it, but not the solo.
The worst character in the 15-year history of "Law & Order" is no more, as Elisabeth Rohm's assistant DA, Serena Southerlyn, was fired at the end of tonight's episode by Fred Thompson's DA. Throwing in, for the first time, that Rohm's character was a lesbian was a nice curveball, although the association with their cause to such a bland, boring, completely soulless character should be received as an outrage by the gay community.
The new season of "Queer Eye For The Straight Guy" kicked off with an unbelievably ironic episode in which the Fab Five made over an American soldier prior to his wedding, which took place just before the soldier was scheduled to ship out to Iraq (I did not see, but read about, the episode).
The levels of irony here are practically unpenetrable. Does the "Queer Eye" crowd support the war in Iraq? Are Carson Kressley and Kyan Douglas the new Perle and Wolfowitz for '05? And how does the military feel about this? Here's Carson:
"If they let the gays in the military, this is what we'd wear," says Carson self-mockingly of his own khaki cowboy shirt. "Ohmigod! Let's go to the foxhole now."Meanwhile, check out the new "Queer Eye For the Straight Girl," for a special appearance by Lauren, the wife of blogger Lex Friedman. Tune in, or else LilB will demand the establishment of a "Queer Eye For the Brandeis Girl" spinoff.
UPDATE: Oops, guess all's not well that ends well- apparently the soldier's ex-wife is upset both because all the furniture the Fab Five threw out was hers, and because the soldier neglected to divorce her before marrying his current wife. Way to ruin a feel good story- how long until we hear from a disgruntled ex-lover of Honey Labrador?
The week that blogs and media are abuzz about that new "Lincoln was gay" book comes word that Steven Spielberg's next film- after next summer's "War of the Worlds" remake- will be a biopic of the Great Emancipator, starring Liam Neeson as Lincoln. May I suggest Steve Buscemi as John Wilkes Booth?
Guess this means Spielberg's never making that Munich '72 movie, "Vengeance." Then again, since Tony Kushner was supposed to write the script, that might be for the best.
Too bad Spielberg's Lincoln movie will never compare to that old SNL sketch with Phil Hartman as Lincoln, Roseanne Barr as Mary Todd, and Mike Myers as Shelby Foote.
You couldn’t pay me enough to read this book. Honestly, even Amber Frey's appeals to me more. How can the first major blogging book deal go to someone who's more famous for her whoring than her writing?
Yes, the Orioles pitcher is so angry about being detained in Aruba for a week after punching a judge on a beach that he has decided to renounce his homeland- even though he's been knighted there. Nice to see the Orioles are making some news this offseason- this is the first time.
ESPN's new poker series: Too much shouting, not enough dumpy Asians.Seth Stevenson, Slate. And that's just the headline.
Though if Screamin' A keeps writing anti-Tice columns like this one, I may just have to revise my opinion.
No, I haven't yet had time to read the Rather report, but I have seen all the reactions; it's pretty much come down to the reactions you'd expect everyone to have. And I'm still working on that big piece about MSM - it's still being fleshed out and besides, this isn't the best week to be defending mainstream media in any big way.
The morning of the report's release, Hugh Hewitt predicted that we should
“expect a parallel universe to develop within MSM -- a sober toned but nevertheless congratulatory nod towards the "thoroughness" of the Panel's effort and the severity of CBS' response. Thus will the wagons of legacy media circle around Black Rock.”Here's how the primary institution of "MSM"- the New York Times- led their story, today on the front page:
“Already under duress from years of budget cuts, poor ratings and reduced influence, CBS News suffered a crushing blow to its credibility yesterday because of a broadcast that has now been labeled as both factually discredited and unprofessionally produced.”I’m not saying I don't ever agree with Hewitt. But if the NYT were to editorialize in favor of Dan Rather’s castration, Hewitt would still call it “the pathetic, hyperliberal yelp of the fading, obsolete MSM.”
Yes, the Times put the Rather report on the front page, but the conservative, Murdoch-owned New York Post, alas, did not:
But the Post front page, I grant you, is much funnier.
“Rumors are that Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston broke up because one of them wanted to have kids. Oddly enough, that’s the same reason the Jackson 5 broke up.”-Conan O'Brien, tonight.
Looking to jump into the "MSM" without going to j-school or starting a blog? A reader e-mails me this job listing: there's a reporter position open at the Punxsutawney Spirit in Punxsutawney, PA.
Get the job, and perhaps you'll eventually have the opportunity to anchor their Groundhog Day coverage. But the drawbacks are many: the starting salary is just $15,000 a year, you have to live in the middle of nowhere, there's that pesky problem of living the same day over and over for years, and worst of all, you can only leave if you sleep with Andie MacDowell.
Good benefits though. And I bet $15k a year goes a long way in Punxsutawney.
Attention, whipped men of the world- your new uniform has arrived:
And adding insult to insult, the Magic gave Christie T-Mac’s old number. Guess this proves Jackie didn't have a no-trade clause.
Perhaps this would be more appropriate:
Sure, let Moss be fined. But let's not blow this out of proportion- doing a silly dance in the endzone is roughly one-onehundedth the transgression of Moss walking off the field with two seconds left a week before. And this time, he actually helped his team win. And hearing Joe Buck's self-righteous commentary was especially galling, considering he appears in those "Leon" commercials that are nothing but a racist parody of such players as Moss and Terrell Owens.
Anyway, I will indeed be attending Sunday's Vikings-Eagles divisional playoff game at the Linc, along with my Eagles-loving girlfriend; in order to not be torn limb-from-limb by the famously rowdy Philly fans, I'll be practicing my patented method of "silent cheering" for the visiting team that I used to such great effect at Yankee Stadium for 2003's Twins-Yankees series. And no, I won't moon the crowd.
Jackie Christie's less-famous husband has been traded to Orlando for Cuttino Mobley. Not sure if this is the real reason, but I've got a feeling that after years of Jackie's antics, which led to lawsuits and other trouble, the Sacramento management finally drew the line when the reality show was announced.
Possibly the most noxious pundit alive is Brent Bozell, the professionally uptight scold with a hatred for culture that borders on nihilism. Now he's going after the classic "Stupid Spoiled Whore" episode of "South Park," the one that deservedly lampooned Paris Hilton, and ended with the horrible heiress stuffed up the ass of the character Mr. Slave.
South Park is the only show I know smart enough to defend being a total slut while wanting to keep it from being broadcast to children. Bad slut: Ms Hilton. Good slut: Mr Slave. You'd be surprised how many men in harnesses would never dream of broadcasting their sexual amusement beyond the tight confines of their own subculture. They're subtler conservatives than Mr Bozell.Jay-sus Christ...
To the consternation of Yankee fans everywhere, including a friend who has IM'd me every morning for the past two months to ask, "did the Yankees get Beltran yet?," the free agent centerfielder has opted to jump to the crosstown Mets.
Years from now, the Yankees' decision to go for Randy Johnson ahead of Carlos Beltran may be looked at as a watershed moment of their fall from grace. When the Big Unit has long retired Beltran will likely still be knocking in runs in Queens; at least if he'd signed with the Astros, the Yanks probably would've traded for him in 2 or 3 years.
As for the Unit, those of us wondering if he'd be able to handle the New York media after a lifetime of small-market play got a nice surprise today, when the future Hall of Famer got into a scuffle with a photographer, on the way back from his physical. An omen of things to come, perhaps?
The plain old Thickburger (the Monster Thickburger's smaller predecessor) was termed "food porn" by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. CSPI gives this label to food it considers outlandishly unhealthy. I guess if the Thickburger qualifies as food porn, the Monster Thickburger is XXX hard-core food porn, with cheese bondage and underage buns and deviant bacon orgies.–Seth Stevenson, reviewing the latest porny food commercial, in Slate.
Things I (and my readers) actually wrote, in the last week:
"Look for that on Sunday or Monday, when I should also have something to say about the sad demise of the Vikings' season." -Me, January 7.
"As for picks, yes, I’ve come to grips with the fact that the Vikings are losing on Sunday... the Vikes are barreling very quickly toward Wilbonian “Sorry, No Account” status." -Me, January 6.
"No, they’re not going to beat the Packers at Lambeau in January. Even if, unlike Sunday, Randy Moss can stay until the last play without walking off the field." -Me, January 3.
"You need not worry. Remember this is the Red/Tice Vikings you are talking about. GB could beat them at Lambeau in January 99 out of 100 times." -A commenter, January 4.
Let's just say I'm pleasantly surprised. The Vikes actually played a hell of a game- one I'll certainly remember next time "Monday Night Football" holds another of its three-hour Favre-worship sessions- and I knew it was "Minny"'s day when one of Favre's passes was intercepted on the sidelines by Mike Tice himself. The Vikings put forth the kind of effort that I hadn't seen from them since October or so, but whether they can hold up their mojo against the Eagles is another matter entirely.
And you thought it was embarrassing for the NFC to have two 8-8 teams in the playoffs- now they've got 8-8 teams in the second round.
As for Moss pretending to moon the crowd- yes it was classless, and yes he should be fined- but I still thought it was hilarious. The Oscar Gamble-inspired Afros were a nice touch as well- perhaps Moss was repaying Outkast for namechecking him in "The Whole World" by imitating Andre 3000.
Worse Than FictionWouldn’t that headline fit with every Krugman column of the past five years?
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Reality continues to be worse than any novel I could write.
But lest you think I’m all about bashing liberals, I’ve got a huge post I’m working on in which I’ll be discussing all these issues involving blogs, media, and “the MSM.” Look for that on Sunday or Monday, when I should also have something to say about the sad demise of the Vikings' season.
Curious after its victory in the Take Six Village Voice critics poll, I watched “Before Sunset” last night. And while I generally liked the film, found it entertaining, and consider myself a fan of director Richard Linklater, how anyone –much less a plurality of critics- could call it the best movie of the year is absolutely unfathomable to me. I’d say there’s more truth to be found about the nature of romance and heartbreak in any one of the DVD chapters of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” than there is in all 80 minutes of “Before Sunset.”
Going to be in NYC this Saturday? Then you really should go see my friend Dan Israel, who is in town from Minneapolis for a solo gig at CB’s Gallery Saturday night. And check out his new album here. I’ll be out of town, but if you’d like to hear some excellent live music, check Dan out.
From Ken Summers we learn of Bevis Lake, a body of water 25 miles Northeast of Seattle, which has appeared on Census Bureau records as “Butthead Lake”- likely the result of some low-level bureau employee with both chutzpah and a sense of humor.
Heh heh, cool.
But that’s nothing compared to this: researching a story at work the other day about a recent corporate shakeup at Mitsubishi, I learned that that company’s senior vice president of marketing, until two months ago, was a man named Ian Beavis. But even better than that,
During Beavis's reign, Mitsubishi's creative veered from the emotional "Wake Up and Drive" campaign, what Beavis called a "rock video" orientation, to more rational product and performance specifics.Yes, a man named Beavis rejected an ad campaign because it reminded him of rock videos. I’m not sure how the dismissal was phrased, but I’d imagine the phrase “this sucks!” played at least a minor part.
Mitsubishi’s new CEO, by the way? Richard Gilligan.
Jon Stewart had a pretty good 2004- bringing “The Daily Show” to a creative and popular peak during the election, writing the best-selling “America: The Book,” and winning Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainer of the Year Award. As ’05 dawns, Stewart can add another feather to his cap: he got “Crossfire” canceled.
Three months after Stewart famously went on that show, called Tucker Carlson a “dick,” and accused the hosts of “hurting America,” new CNN boss Jon Klein canceled the show, fired Carlson, and declared that he “comes down in the Jon Stewart camp.” Not that I disagree with any of the three decisions, but I just hope Klein –who as a CBS exec made the infamous comment about the average blogger being “guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas”- can put something on the air that’s not as boring or mundane as “Crossfire” and rest of CNN’s sorry existing programming. He also threw a longtime employee under the bus, as Mickey Kaus pointed out.
As for “Crossfire,” I’m not really going to miss it (even though my sister interned there one semester); besides, those types of shows tend to work better when, such as in the case of “Hannity & Colmes,” one side isn’t actually trying to win.
After forcing a trade from the Twins last summer, Doug Mientkiewicz’s season ended well, I’d say- as Red Sox first baseman, he caught the last out of Boston’s historic World Series win.
Yea- that ending isn’t looking so good anymore. Mientkiewicz still has the ball, and has told team officials that he doesn’t plan on giving it back. He may have a legal claim, for all I know, but I wouldn’t say this is such a great PR move- after all, before, his place was secure as "the guy who caught the last out". Now, he’s "the guy who wouldn’t give back the ball"
And speaking of ex-Twins corner infielders… who knew Corey Koskie made enough of an impact on Minnesota to place a full-page “thank you” ad on his way out of town?
Next week will see the final appearance on “Law & Order” of Elisabeth Rohm, who for the past four years has portrayed Assistant DA Serena Southerlyn. Now to say L&O has never really been “about” its characters is an understatement- but I think it’s fair to say that if Jerry Orbach’s Det. Briscoe was the most popular character in the history of the show, Serena is the least popular- probably because Rohm can’t act her way out of a paper bag. Jill Hennessey she ain’t.
I guess you could call MSNBC’s Dan Abrams the Elisabeth Rohm of the news division, so its apropos that the two are said to be dating. And now that L&O has factored into the Andrea Yates murder case, you can expect Abrams to bring up the connection on his show tonight.
Did you notice that all four NFC teams playing in the playoffs this weekend have coaches named “Mike”? The Vikings-Packers game pits Tice against Sherman, while Rams-Seahawks gives us Martz vs. Holmgren. A fifth Mike, Shanahan, got into the playoffs with Denver, although Buffalo coach Mike Mularkey, who probably did a better job this season than any of the other Mikes, saw his team eliminated in Week 17. I'd been wondering why there hadn't been many coach firings yet this off-season, but then I remembered that most of the league's truly awful coaches are still alive in the playoffs.
As for picks, yes, I’ve come to grips with the fact that the Vikings are losing on Sunday. And the only solace I can take in the firings yesterday of the 49ers’ Dennis Erickson and Terry Donahue is that if the most classless organization in the NFL can see the error of their ways, maybe the second-most classless (Red McCombs’ shop) can too, and undergo a similar housecleaning. If they can’t, the Vikes are barreling very quickly toward Wilbonian “Sorry, No Account” status. Anyway, how I see the playoffs:
Wild Card Round:
Chargers over Jets
Colts over Broncos
Rams over Seahawks
Packers over Vikings
Eagles over Rams
Packers over Falcons
Colts over Patriots
Steelers over Chargers
Eagles over Packers
Steelers over Colts
Super Bowl XXXIX
Steelers 27, Eagles 21
UPDATE: Speaking of the Vikings, Jason Whitlock has a column today bashing Randy Moss as a “punk.” That I agree with, much more than usual with Whitlock. Except for this line, which is problematic, I’d say:
Randy Moss is no Avon Barksdale. Randy doesn't love the game. He loves what the game can do for Randy Moss.Barksdale, for those of you (i.e., most people) who don’t watch “The Wire,” is that show’s Baltimore drug kingpin; what Whitlock is saying, I think, is that the fictional Barksdale actually enjoys “the game” (i.e., his chosen profession, selling drugs), whereas Moss does not enjoy his. Must be nice for Randy to be compared, unfavorably, to a drug lord.
As Emily pointed out, today marks the tenth anniversary of the Nancy Kerrigan pipe assault, which was far and away the second most-overhyped news story of the ‘90s (behind the O.J. Simpson case, and ahead of Y2K.) In honor of the occasion, I’d really love to see Geraldo convene a discussion panel with Kerrigan, Tonya Harding, Jeff Gillooly, Shawn Eckhardt, and Shane Stant. I still chuckle ten years later when I remember David Letterman’s Top Ten Ways to Mispronounce “Jeff Gillooly.”
UPDATE: Oops, it's not '94 anymore, and actually been 11 years. Apologies to Mr. Gillooly.
Yankees sign 41-year-old Randy Johnson for 2 years, $32 million.
Why this same question wasn’t posed the moment the paper first became aware of Ashlee remains a matter of some mystery.
Did you hear about that story about Kristian Walker, the Swedish boy who disappeared in Thailand during the Tsunami, leading to fears that he’d been abducted from a hospital and sold into sex slavery? Uh, yea, that’s not what happened. New York Post today (emphasis mine):
Fears that Kristian Walker, 12, might have survived the waves only to have fallen into the hands of sex traffickers began when his family reported that a doctor at a hospital had seen a boy leaving with a foreign man.
But police said yesterday those reports turned out to be a case of mistaken identity by a Thai doctor who said he can't tell Western kids apart.
The Beekman Theatre on Manhattan's Upper East Side closed this week, and while I'd never been there, I'm sad about it for two reasons. One, as a cinema fan I'm always upset to see one less historical theater, and two, the Beekman was the location for one of my favorite movie scenes of all time: the one in "Annie Hall" where Woody Allen and Diane Keaton are in line for a movie, the guy behind them loudly pontificates about Fellini before quoting Marshall McLuhan- until McLuhan himself emerges from the shadows to correct him.
Unfortunately, McLuhan died 25 years ago, Allen hasn't made a good movie in almost a decade, and now the Beekman is no more.
Grace Hill Media, the marketing company behind the new Dennis Quaid/Scarlett Johannson/Topher Grace movie "In Good Company," have initiated an innovative marketing campaign in which they're inviting bloggers to see the movie for free, provided they agree to blog about it. This is a brilliant idea, and should help create tons of word-of-mouth for the film.
Thanks to Hugh Hewitt, through whom I discovered this.
The latest company to restate its earnings due to accounting irregularities? Krispy Kreme. Its stock has plunged and an SEC investigation is even underway.
Enron. Adelphia. Tyco. Worldcom. Global Crossing. The executives of these companies may have enriched themselves by stealing from their employees and shareholders. But even Dennis Kozlowski's legendary toga party wasn't as gluttonous as your average trip to Krispy Kreme. Yum.
Yes, there lives a God. The Sacramento Bee reported today that VH1 is in talks with the NBA's most infamous couple, Doug and Jackie Christie, for a reality show in which they'll be trailed at home and on the road. I just hope they have the good sense to pay Simmons residuals. From his first-ever Christie column:
If you were granted an alternate TV wish, wouldn't it be for an "Osbournes"-style reality-TV show called "The Christies"? Just Doug getting harassed by his wife in episodes entitled "I wasn't looking at her!" and "I told you, that was Peja's fiancee!"I can't wait for the episode where the Christies have Mr. and Mrs. Carlos Boozer over for dinner.
(Thanks to the apparently-back-blogging Jeremy for the post title idea.)
I never thought I'd say this, but "The West Wing" is back from the brink, and quietly putting together a very good season. It's managed to escape the irrelevance that plagued the show following Bush's election and 9/11, and is putting a storyline together for its fictional presidential campaign that actually could be more interesting than the real-life 2004 campaign, while also letting tensions between the different longtime characters slowly build to a boil. I just hope the people in charge have the good sense to let those two storylines reach a crescendo, and then immediately end the series.
That said: When the producers hired Kristin Chenoweth as the show's new press secretary, they did realize that she's about two feet shorter than Allison Janney, right? Their scene together tonight was like watching Shaquille O'Neal guarded by Earl Boykins.
People keep asking why, as a Twins fan, I don't support putting Bert in the Hall. Here's why:
Bert BlylevenWell really, it's more the second reason. Because Greg Maddux was famously caught picking his nose in the dugout during a mid-'90s World Series game, and I can't imagine that will keep him out of Cooperstown.
- Was an avid nose-picker, as evidenced by two separate videos of him getting in to his knuckle.
- Holds the major league record for homeruns allowed in a season, with 50 in 1986.
My friend Josephine, who had never heard of blogs five days ago but heard Bill and I talking about ours at a new years' party, has gone and started one of her own. And Ryan, my old roommate from my Hoboken days, has got one as well.
Slate all this week is hosting a discussion among several very smart film critics- a few of whom were disciples of the late Pauline Kael- on the recently concluded year in film. Some great stuff, mostly tearing apart the year's three most overrated movies ("Sideways," "Fahrenheit 9/11," and "Dogville"). Here's Charles Taylor, demolishing the latter film:
As with every von Trier it's grainy, washed-out, and, to borrow a line from the late, great Moms Mabley, so ugly it hurt my feelings. The people who praised it remind me of nothing so much as the liberal, urban theatergoers in Brian DePalma's Hi, Mom! who attend a night of radical black theater, are mugged and raped by the actors, and then leave talking about what a rewarding, eye-opening experience it was for them.Read it also, for Armond White's trashing of "the Village Voice brand of self-righteous liberalism," some deserved mocking of the Voice poll respondent who sat through "Dogville" three times, and Taylor's dismissal of "Sideways" as "a 'Cathy' comic strip for middle-aged men," while also pointing out the obvious class condescension in that film, similar to that in director Alexander Payne's previous picture, "About Schmidt."
Check it out; they’ll be there all week.
Two superstars of the era when I first started watching the game, Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandberg, were elected today to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Boggs on his first try and Sandberg on his third. With the two colorful players going in along with writers’ wing inductee Peter Gammons, it should be a hell of an induction weekend this July.
Among notables falling short this year were outfielders Jim Rice and Andre Dawson, closers Goose Gossage and Bruce Sutter, overrated Yankee Don Mattingly, and Series-winning Twins hurlers Bert Blyleven (not circled) and Jack Morris. Of those, I vote only for Rice and Morris- the former because he was the most feared slugger of his day, and the latter because he was the winningest pitcher of the ‘80s, and won World Series for three teams. Alas, Gossage, Sutter, Morris, and Mattingly will have to settle for induction only into the Mustache Hall of Fame; the only current members of both Halls are Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Catfish Hunter, and now Boggs.
And finally, a year after his classless admission that he indeed bet on baseball, the Pete Rose Protest Vote hit an all-time low, as the banished Hit King received only nine write-in votes, compared to 15 last year. But that’s still two more than onetime shoo-in Darryl Strawberry got. I highly doubt we’ll be seeing either of the disgraced former superstars enshrined in Cooperstown in our lifetimes.
You were afraid the mafia isn’t playing their part in the War on Terror? Page Six begs to differ:
WE'RE not sure if the U.S. Army's soldiers learned anything from Tony Soprano's soldiers, but one wounded G.I. from Texas tried to enlist Vincent Curatola, who plays Johnny Sack on the HBO series. "He asked me how much he'd have to pay me to shoot the guy who shot him in the head," Curatola told PAGE SIX's Lisa Marsh. He replied, "I'd do it for free."Yea, I think we need to unleash Tony's entire crew in Baghdad. The posse from “Deadwood” and drug dealers from “The Wire” can come too.
Thanks for the overwhelming response to this year's “Shameful Events” list. A few follow-up notes:
- Yes, as you may have noticed, the list gets bigger every year. Last year it was 30, the year before 25, and so on. I guess it’s just that each year is more shameful than the last.
- No, I didn’t think the Red Sox winning the World Series was itself shameful- in fact, it was probably the news event that made me happiest in 2004. It was the “years of denial” thing that merited its inclusion, along with the Rose and Bonds admissions.
- Why Jessica Simpson and not Ashlee’s lipsynching incident? I guess I’m just mystified by Jessica’s success, as she was a teen-pop also-ran until this year, when she inexplicably became a superstar despite being just as untalented as before. I left out Ashlee because the lip-synching thing was more humorous than anything else, because her music’s a little bit better, and because I kind of think she’s hot.
- I tried to keep the list generally nonpartisan, or at least bipartisan. That’s why I left out such events as Bush’s re-election, Kerry’s flip-flopping, Jenna and Barbara’s freakish RNC speech, and every time Teresa Heinz opened her mouth. I also left out most specific sports team beefs that weren’t national stories, such as Oakland’s Hudson/Mulder trades, Isiah Thomas’ Knicks tinkering, and about a half-dozen references to Mike Tice.
- Lots of people seemed to want more Israel references, but think about it- there was a lot less terrorism, the Hamas guys all got bumped off, and Arafat died. I’d say the Jewish State had a pretty good year, yes?
Nominations are open for ’05- despite the lack of an election, we shouldn’t have any trouble coming up with 40, I don’t think.
They're already running promos for the upcoming "American Idol" season, with the usual bad singers being made fun of by the judges. At the end of one of the current ads, a female contestant launches into a horrid rendition of the Spice Girls' "Wannabe"- followed by this zinger from Simon Cowell: "Well, you sound just like a Spice Girl. Unfortuntely, that's not a complement."
Hah, that comment would just be a hoot. Except that the creator of "American Idol," Simon Fuller, also created the Spice Girls. Strange that they'd bash that specific group, though considering Fuller allegedly had a torrid affair with Emma "Baby Spice" Bunton, perhaps it's not a coincidence.
ESPN’s Michael Smith has the Vikings- yes, the Vikings- as his “dark horse” in the NFL playoffs.
If Minnesota was a thoroughbred, even the riskiest of gamblers would be reluctant to wager on the Vikings in what is now a three-game race.Yea, that’s because the jockey doesn’t know where the stirrups are.
No, they’re not going to beat the Packers at Lambeau in January. Even if, unlike Sunday, Randy Moss can stay until the last play without walking off the field.
BusinessWire (emphasis mine):
Newstream Digest: Celebrity Make-Up Artist Shows What's Hot for 2005, FDA Approves Bone Growth Stimulator & Other Free Multimedia Content for Journalists
Among those receiving only one vote: Ben Affleck, Jimmy Fallon, Gallagher, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Kip Winger, Zbignew Brzezinski (that was me), Hulk Hogan, Mark Linn Baker, Garret Morris, Tara Reid, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Cat Stevens, Robbie "Vanilla Ice" Van Winkle, and Pauly Shore.
A.O. Scott is rarely right, but I completely agree with the Times film critic's characterization of "Sideways" as "the most drastically overrated movie of 2004." Even if he is about the 30th person I've heard point out that critics liked it because most of them look like Paul Giamatti.
Congratulations to my Minnesota Vikings, who impressively and courageously qualified for their first playoff berth in four years on Sunday, after, uh... losing to the sorry, no-account Washington Redskins, for their fourth loss in five games. Michael Wilbon:
The Vikings' position in the playoffs should be vacated. After losing a playoff spot on the final play last season, Minnesota couldn't beat the going-nowhere Redskins on the final day. It's hard to tell which team is a more disappointing chump outfit, the Vikings or the Seahawks. The Vikings get the vote, though, because Randy Moss, with one play left and his teammates on the field playing for a spot in the playoffs, just walked off the field. Moss is a great player but one utterly without character as measured in football terms. Any team with him as its best player is doomed, and any coach who presides over such an outfit, as much as I like Mike Tice and respect his football I.Q., has to go.Yes, the Vikings were a blocked last-second Carolina field goal away from a fourth consecutive non-playoff season, despite two having two relatively healthy superstars on offense the entire time. Congrats on the contract extension, Mike!