August 27, 2006

On Vacation

Becca and I are heading out tomorrow morning on our summer vacation, during which we're driving from Philadelphia to Minneapolis, with stops on the way in Cincinnati and Chicago. We're ending up in the cities next weekend for the wedding of my longtime friend (and frequent commenter here) Jeff S.

This blog will likely not be updated until I return a week from Wednesday, though I may peek in once or twice next weekend. In the meantime, next week's North Star column, on the first anniversary of Katrina, is online here. Everyone have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend, and I'll be back September 6.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:33 PM | Comments (0)

Friedman, Coen, Bohn

When I was growing up and wanted to be a professional baseball player, my dad always told me that it was fairly unlikely that I, or anyone else I knew from the neighborhood, would ever become a professional athlete. Well my dad was certainly right about me, the neighborhood part has been another matter.

T.J. Bohn, an outfielder who was apparently two years behind me at St. Louis Park High School (though I don't remember him), was called up by the Seattle Mariners earlier this week and made his major league debut (he was sent back down after five games).

Bohn joins the NHL's Erik Rasmussen as the only SLP natives playing major-league professional sports. We're better at producing thinkers, I guess. That, and frontmen from Semisonic.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:23 PM | Comments (1)

I Love the Leader

The Twins now lead the AL Wild Card race by a game and a half after defeating the White Sox both Friday and Saturday (Game 3 is this afternoon). It's looking like a special year.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)

Eckstein Award Nominee

You'd think someone with the name "Gabe Gross" would be a shoo-in to be Jewish, but you'd think not about the Milwaukee Brewers outfielder. From Bill Simmons on Friday:

"Not to sound like legendary Hollywood producer Bob Ryan, but what if I told you that Gabe Gross uses a Christian song for his at-bat music that includes lyrics like "help me Jesus!" and "Hallelujah!" Is that something you'd be interested in?"
Not to mention, reverse Eckstein points for "Bob Ryan," Martin Landau's character on "Entourage." They couldn't think of a Jewish name for him?

That Simmons column, by the way, made me extra excited to make the Chicago-to-Minneapolis drive through Wisconsin next week, as part of our road trip. I used to do it a couple times a year, but haven't since '99. We'll have to count the Favre jerseys, and the cheese signs.

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

It Might Just Be the Editor in Me

Anyone catch those promos for the NFL Network's upcoming Thursday/Saturday package that ran dozens of times during the Eagles-Steelers preseason game Friday, and presumably numerous other networks showing NFL games? On screen, "Thursday" was spelled "Thurday." How does no one catch these things?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:36 PM | Comments (1)

Centanni Freed

Reporter Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig have been freed from the Gaza Strip. Some great news, finally.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:15 PM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2006

And... She's Out of the Band

News Item: Bruce Springsteen, Patti Scialfa May Be Divorcing

When I saw Bruce and Co. at the "Vote For Change" concert during the 2004 campaign, they let Patti do a solo set first, and during it someone from the crowd heckled "No more Bruce's wife! Vote for change!" I guess Bruce must've listened.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:16 PM | Comments (0)

Film Critic Quote of the Week

"Given that the Atlanta duo OutKast is one of the most creative forces hip-hop has witnessed, it's ironic that the biggest problem with its first feature film is that the music is so mediocre -- a serious failure when you're trying to revive the movie musical."
-Jim Derogatis of the Chicago Sun-Times on "Idlewild." I agree- I loved the style, and there were some legitimately great moments, but the musical numbers really left something to be desired.
Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:35 AM | Comments (2)

August 24, 2006

Sexual Perversity in Waltham

I thought there was a lot of creepy stuff happening in the Watch City back when I lived there, but that was apparently nothing compared to this recent scandal (as reported in Matt Taibbi's "Week in Sportscrime" column):

"But even that wasn’t as weird as the reported tale of Waltham High School teacher/assistant basketball coach Robert Dacey. If you haven’t heard, police say that Dacey brought middle school boys back to his home, convinced them to blindfold themselves and lie on a table while they waited for a “masseuse” friend of his to come in, and then allegedly committed sex acts with the boys while wearing a wig and fake fingernails so the boys would think their sex partner was female. Bet on this Boston-area Crying Game scandal turning into a Canadian-produced Lifetime movie in the near future, the only plot change being that Dacey’s character will be apprehended by a crusading mom whom no one believed, played by Facts of Life actress Lisa Whelchel."
Hey, Blair was pretty hot back in the day. For Waltham, anyway. And what kind of school would hire someone to work with boys whose name rhymes with "Gacy"?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:04 PM | Comments (4)

A Sad Day for the Plutonians

Not only does Emory and Olgethorpe's homeworld get de-classified as a planet, but not a single journalist has asked for their take on it.

All that, and the "Aqua Teen" movie has reportedly been pushed back to February '07. Sorry, guys.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:03 PM | Comments (1)

The Year of the Boof

It's been a big year so far in '06 for people named Boof. Not only has Boof Bonser made the Twins' starting rotation, but a woman named Kola Boof is claiming in a new book that she was the mistress of Osama Bin Laden. Osama expert Peter Bergen's take:

The worst book of the year, is surely Diary of a Lost Girl: The Autobiography of Kola Boof. Boof, a Washington DC-raised Sudanese-American “womanist” poet, has garnered publicity with her claim that she was Osama bin Laden’s mistress in the mid-90s. In lurid prose she details her life as bin Laden’s moll. However, the book is rife with howlers large and small, for instance, there is one vividly recounted scene in which Boof performs sex acts on a group that included bin Laden; Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s number two; Abdullah Azzam, bin Laden’s mentor, and Sayyid Qutb, the Egyptian jihadist theoretician. Boof says this happened in Morocco in 1996. However, in 1996 bin Laden was living in Sudan, Ayman al Zawahiri was imprisoned in Dagestan, Azzam had been assassinated in Pakistan thirteen years earlier, and Qutb had been lying in his grave for three decades. Boof should stick to poetry.
Or pitching.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:58 PM | Comments (2)

August 23, 2006

Survivor: Race War

I'd really love to know who decided this was a good idea. "I know! Let's take television's most popular reality show, and turn it into the prison riot episode of 'Oz'"! If it really works, they can do it by religion next time- I can't wait for the Jews vs. Muslims immunity challenge.

Isn't this the sort of idea that ends the careers of every top network executive, while causing a racial discrimination class action suit, to boot?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:56 PM | Comments (4)

Centanni Update

A group with the Monty Python-like name Holy Jihad Brigades has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of Fox News reporter Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig, and released a videotape of the two men.

The group, which waited much longer than usual to reveal themselves and was previously unfamiliar to anyone familiar with the region, sounds like a bit of an amateur operation. But meanwhile, this ridiculously underreported story is finally getting play on the news, which I'm glad to see.

Speaking of which, a commenter over at Karol's blog has some inside information that may solve the mystery of why we've barely heard about this:

About 3 days after the kidnappings (about a week or so ago) I called my buddy, who is one of the video edit managers at Fox cable news and asked him where the media was. Before he responded I asked him if it was the obvious, that fox had orders just to say it happened but not pontificate or have any talking heads on the matter for fear of aggravating the kidnappers and putting the kidnappees in more danger.
And he said, exactly, everyone got a memo from Murdoch himself saying something to that effect. They are in negotiations to get them back, and they'll trashtalk all they want after theyre back or after theyre dead.
For now they are ordered to "report the kidnapping, and switch to the next story"
How's that so hard to understand?
Murdoch is trying to get 2 of his own guys back.

As for the other stations, they are probably respecting this.

Makes a whole lot of sense to me. I heard someone else suggest that Murdoch buy back Centanni and Wiig's freedom, and then immediately send assassins after the kidnappers. Assuming, of course, that Murdoch has in-house assassins.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:44 PM | Comments (1)

Let There Be Porn

Yes, now they're going after hotel room porn:

A coalition of 13 conservative groups -- including the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America -- took out full-page ads in some editions of USA Today earlier this month urging the Justice Department and FBI to investigate whether some of the pay-per-view movies widely available in hotels violate federal and state obscenity laws.
I say, bring it on. This is going to backfire on the right, and here's why: Conservatives like porn, too. Unlike all those "cultural' and "decency" issues that Republicans like to campaign on for the sake of "the children," hotel porn is something enjoyed by adults, at least the majority of the time, without children present. And, as Bill Maher once said (because no one but him would ever say this), hotel porn actually prevents affairs, because men on business trips watch it instead of going out. If Spectravision went away tomorrow, expect to see adultery (and prostitution) skyrocket soon after.

Let the GOP become the party of no-more-porn, and see where they end up as a result.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:15 PM | Comments (2)

Star of Shea-vid

The New York Mets traded for Shawn Green yesterday, and then celebrated with a walk-off victory over St. Louis last night. Green, somewhat surprisingly, becomes one of the few Jews to play for the Mets, with the only other of note being Art Shamsky. (No, David Cone was not Jewish.)

This blog appears to have been created just for the occasion. And now that the Mets have a Jewish rightfielder, will Denis Leary be visiting the SportsNet NY booth to talk about it?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

The Shatner Roast

The Good: A few excellent lines, especially Greg Giraldo saying that Shatner "is involved with a foundation to bring peace to the Middle East. So whatever you're doing, Bill, keep it up." Also, unlike the Chevy Chase roast, they seemed to actually get some people who know Shatner and have worked with him.

The Bad: Why was comedian Lisa Lampanelli the butt of approximately one-third of the jokes, when I and most people watching had never heard of her before? Though I did like the line that she has "screwed more black men than the Tuskegee experiments."

The Ugly: Andy Dick and Farrah Fawcett both disintegrating before our very eyes. They would both be excellent Dead Pool picks for '07.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:40 PM | Comments (1)

They're Talking About the Little League Team, Not the Island Itself

New York Times: Staten Island Is Eliminated, but Kids Will Keep Playing

For a minute there, I thought the Billy Joel song "I've Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway" had actually come true.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

Music Critic Quote of the Day

"Those background boys yelling 'Oh, Snap' might be impressed, but I'm not. 'London Bridge' ain't dope, just dopey. Catchy is only a virtue when it's by clever, as in 'Milkshake,' which 'London Bridge' desperately wants to be. And ladies, likening yourself to a moldy tourist trap really isn't the best way to bring all the boys to the yard."
-Jeff Jensen, bashing the not-long-awaited first single from Fergie, in Entertainment Weekly.
Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

Apocalypse Not Now

August 22 has come and gone, meaning that those predictions about Iran launching a nuclear attack were, shall we say, unfounded. I'm about as surprised now as I was after Satan failed to conquer Earth on 6/6/'06.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:06 AM | Comments (0)

That's the Mexican President, Not the News Channel

AP: Fox Criticizes 'Extremist' Politics

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

August 22, 2006

Life's Rich Pageant

I look at the laughably overhyped JonBenet Ramsey case- while also working in mention of the Steve Centanni thing- in this week's North Star Writers' Group column.

Michelle Malkin, of course, has floated the theory that liberal bias is behind the lack of Centanni coverage in MSM. But does that explain why Fox News themselves, at least until this week, has barely covered the kidnapping of its own reporter?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:48 AM | Comments (1)

Snakes. Plane. Be There.

I finally saw it last night, and enjoyed it much. Every bit as cheesy, but nevertheless exciting, as I expected. I'm only sad Don Simpson didn't live to see the most perfectly high concept film in Hollywood history.

I must say, though, that I'm shocked about its middling box office performance.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:00 AM | Comments (3)

Memo to the Blue Jays

If the manager has now gotten into a physical confrontation with one of his own players for the second time in a month, isn't that an indication that maybe something is wrong? I mean, it's not like he lied about going to Vietnam, or anything, but maybe it's time to let John Gibbons go.

UPDATE: Having now watched the highlights, I've gotta revise my position and blame Ted Lilly. When you're a pitcher, you don't refuse to come out of the game, that's something that just can't be done.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:58 AM | Comments (1)

Quote of the Day

"People. Why are [Twins fans] booing A.J. [Pierzynski]? Honestly, it’s just childish, and it makes it seem like we’re one of those towns where the majority of the baseball fans have no earthly idea how the game works, and have merely wandered into the ballpark because they heard there was beer inside. (Helloooooo, Philadelphia!)"
-"Intern Sam," on I hate when my two sports cities fight. But it'll be fun next year, when the Twins play the Phillies and the Vikings play the Eagles.

Speaking of the Phils, they've finally reached .500 after beating the Cubs last night, with Aaron Rowand suffering yet another collision (this time it was with Chase Utley and not with the wall; neither, though, came up with the ball).

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:54 AM | Comments (4)

Anthology of Analogies

Have you noticed that historical analogies, for some people, have all but replaced political ideology? Ross Douthat has too, and he points out in a dynamite WSJ piece, defining people according to whether they think the present circumstances best echo '19, '38, '42, '48, or '72.

Call me a 1942ist, with a hint of creeping '48ism.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)

Onward and Upward

Seems like everybody's moving up in the world this week. My favorite radio show, "The Kidd Chris Show," has finally been syndicated, and will be heard in Pittsburgh as well as Philly starting next week (he's "fingercuffing PA," as a trade paper says).

Also, my friend Ben Dreyfus got a letter published in the New York Times today, while Aaron Gleeman has signed some type of lucrative long-term contract (though he won't say with whom, quite yet).

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:46 AM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2006

Boston Massacre, Part II

Yikes. Yikes yikes yikes.

The AL East race is about over following the Yankees' sweep of the Red Sox this weekend, at Fenway, in a rare five-game series. They've already turned against Theo Epstein in Boston, it appears, putting Simmons' whole "Five Year Grace Period" theory in serious jeopardy.

On the bright side, though, the Twins are now just one game out of the wild card lead after taking 2 of 3 from the White Sox in their weekend series. And even better than that, Francisco Liriano may very well be back in early September.

One last Yanks/Sox note: Check out this great piece in the NYT on finding the exact border between Yankees and Red Sox territory.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:05 PM | Comments (1)

Don't Feed Vito

News Item: Don Vito, from "Viva La Bam," arrested on sexual assault charges.

Vincent Margera, 50, stands accused of inappropriately fondling and groping two different girls, one 12 and one 14. He was ejected from Citizen's Bank Park earlier this year for brawling with Mets fans during a Phillies game.

As the arrest took place in Colorado, Vito becomes the second most-famous Philadelphia native busted on sexual assault charges in that state this decade.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2006

Film Critic Quote of the Week

"Ain’t it Cool News is Daily Kos. Ain’t it Cool talkbackers are Kossack bloggers. Harry Knowles is Markos Moulitsas. And Snakes on a Plane is Ned Lamont."
-Peter Suderman, on his blog. Stay with him, he's got a point.
Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

See You Next Tuesday

Everyone's been praising that counterintuitive pro-Ann Coulter piece that ran in TNR earlier this week but, uh, I like Paul Katcher's take a lot more.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:37 AM | Comments (0)

Correction of the Week

From the Philadelphia Daily News earlier this week:

A photo caption in yesterday's Daily News incorrectly stated that Donald Trump took part in Monday's LOVE Park celebration of the new advertising alliance between and the Daily News and Inquirer. The mascot, which is named Trump, was part of Monday's festivities.
Here are the side-by-side photos; obviously, it's no match: The Trumposaurus is MUCH better looking. (owned by Philadelphia Media Holdings, like my company, yada yada yada) today ran an AP story headlined "Letter Threatens To Blow Up Taj Mahal." But it was correctly reported to be the actual Taj Mahal in India, and not the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

It's Not Your Fault... It's Not Your Fault

News Item: Cynthia McKinney Blames 18-Point Election Loss on Voting Machines, Open Primaries, Runoffs, Republican Voters, and the Media.

None of it could possibly be her fault, of course. If Cynthia went to Vegas and lost, she would call a press conference the next day and blame it on the cards, the dealers, the casinos and, I'd imagine, the Vegas PD.

(Via Crosblog, who suggests we return Cynthia to Congress, preferably as a non-voting delegate, just for comedy's sake).

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2006

Ad Critic Quote of the Week

"I’m a golfer, but I’m tired of Srixon’s new ad campaign. The company that makes Srixon golf balls has a relatively new ad campaign in which a jive-talking golf ball rolls around and proclaims “GET YOUR SRIKS ON!” Srixon only has a few pro golfers as spokespersons, but one of them includes Fuzzy Zoeller (who referred to Tiger Woods as "that little boy" after Tiger won the 1997 Masters, and urged Tiger not to order fried chicken or collard greens). The ads are NOT clever or hip—they are tasteless and weak. Srixon needs to retire them."
-Blogger Blackprof. I saw the commercial for the first time tonight and thought the same thing about the "ghetto golfball." I don't want to say the commercial was questionable-veering-on-racist, but I heard the voice-over actor quit his job, went AWOL, and later resurfaced in Africa.
Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:15 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

"The civil rights lobbies are working from a passé play book. They are blind to the lethal nature of the new Salafist totalitarianism. They won't recognize that we are facing an irrationalist movement immune to compromise and dedicated to achieve its ends of controlling every aspect of daily life, every process of the mind, through indiscriminate mass slaughter. It is a culture obsessed with death, a culture that despises women, a culture devoted to mad hatreds not just of Americans and Jews everywhere, but of Muslims anywhere who embrace a less totalitarian, less radical, more humane view of Islam. These Muslims are to be murdered, and have been in their thousands, along with "the pigs of Jews, the monkeys of Christians" and all the "dirty infidels".
-Harold Evans, making a lot of sense, in the Guardian. I'm working on a similar piece for next week's day-job paper, and I'll post it here next Wednesday.
Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:46 PM | Comments (0)

Apparently, There Wasn't a Water Cooler Around

News Item: Former Pitcher Kevin Brown Pulls Gun on Neighbor

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:33 PM | Comments (2)

More Important Than Terrorism, the Mideast, and Hurricanes Combined

The other day, I was complaining that none of the major U.S. television news organizations seemed to care that an American reporter, Steve Centanni, had been abducted in Gaza. Now, I'm complaining that none of the major U.S. television news organizations care about anything, outside of a single, insignificant, ten-year-old murder case.

Yes, yesterday and today, it's been all Jon-Benet, all the time, on CNN, MSNBC, Fox, CNBC, and Headline News. Thankfully, nothing else is going on in the world these days. I still have absolutely no idea why we're supposed to care, but I hear it's because she was so darn adorable. 'Cause I'm sure lots of ugly children were killed in 1996 too, but they weren't in beauty pageants, so they don't matter.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:32 PM | Comments (1)

The Jews Are Responsible For All of the Weapons Arrests in the World

News Item: Maurice Clarett Had Ties to Israeli Mobsters

Now if only we could get the mobsters to invade Lebanon...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:25 PM | Comments (2)

Dallas vs. Charlie: Age in the Cage

The current four-game series between the Mets and Phillies has been weird enough as it is, with the Phillies winning all three games so far, Jon Lieber pitching a complete-game shutout last night, and Pedro Martinez giving up six runs in a single inning. But the weirdest thing of all was a pre-game confrontation the other night between Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, 62, and the team's special adviser, 72-year-old Dallas Green. It was as entertaining a fight between two men with a combined age of 134 can possibly be, and I wish I'd witnessed it in person.

It all started when the perpetually embattled Manuel was ripped on a radio show a few weeks ago by the outspoken Green, who managed the Phillies' 1980 championship team. As a result the team banned Green from the field and clubhouse for a certain period of time, but he showed up Tuesday night, leading Manuel to angrily confront him on the field prior to the game. Luckily, the confrontation -referred to as an "AARP Death Match" and "cocktail of conflicted codgers" by the Delco Times- was defused before it came to blows.

And you thought Holyfield was too old to still be fighting.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

Damn America-Hating Hollywood Liberals

You know that "Hollywood elite" that's responsible for all the wars in the world, among other evils? They did this yesterday:

Kidman Condemns Hamas, Hezbollah

NICOLE Kidman has made a public stand against terrorism.

The actress, joined by 84 other high-profile Hollywood stars, directors, studio bosses and media moguls, has taken out a powerfully-worded full page advertisement in today's Los Angeles Times newspaper.

It specifically targets "terrorist organisations" such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine.

"We the undersigned are pained and devastated by the civilian casualties in Israel and Lebanon caused by terrorist actions initiated by terrorist organisations such as Hezbollah and Hamas," the ad reads...

The actors listed included: Michael Douglas, Dennis Hopper, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Danny De Vito, Don Johnson, James Woods, Kelly Preston, Patricia Heaton and William Hurt.

Directors Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Michael Mann, Dick Donner and Sam Raimi also signed their names.

I know the opinions of Hollywood celebrities on politics are just as meaningless when we agree with them as when we don't. But regardless, good for them. Now I just want to see them back it up by making some movies.

UPDATE: And it's not just them. Adam Sandler has donated 100 Playstations to Israeli children.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:09 AM | Comments (1)

Jon-Benet, Solved?

Well, I certainly wasn't expecting that news, today...

A man has been arrested in Bangkok, Thailand, in a connection with the murder almost ten years ago of Jen-Benet Ramsey. The saddest part? The return to cable news of that non-stop reel of Jon-Benet's beauty pageant footage, which served to augment the general media spin at the time that "this case is a tragedy, primarily, because she was so cute." I can't wait to see Geraldo emoting about it again.

At this rate, they'll solve the Natalee Holloway case in about 2016...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:26 AM | Comments (2)

"How's Rehab, Mel?"

It's unfortunately been removed from YouTube due to NESN meddling, but that footage the other night of Denis Leary, possibly drunk in the broadcast booth during a Red Sox game, was far and away Leary's best work of the past 15 years. And you didn't think a comedian could coerce ten minutes of dynamite material out of using Kevin Youkilis' Jewishness as a club with which to beat Mel Gibson over the head. Hell, at this point Youkilis is probably more bankable as an action star. Outside the Arab world, anyway.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:21 AM | Comments (1)

Attention Gabachos

If you're not reading Gustavo Arellano's "Ask A Mexican" column in OC Weekly and various other papers, you certainly should be. Not only does it provide unique and honest analysis of the issues that are in the papers every day, but it's downright hilarious. This column, featuring a glossary of terms, is as good an entry point as any.

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

At Least He Wasn't Masturbating

I was skeptical enough about this year's Vikings even before the news the other day that receiver Koren Robinson had fallen off the wagon and been arrested for DUI- and, thanks to the NFL's wonderful substance abuse program, he's likely facing a year-long suspension. Just a sad story all around, especially considering that the Vikings really seemed to be heading towards a new, post-Whizzinator, post-Love Boat beginning.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:07 AM | Comments (0)

Cracked Isn't Whack

Cracked Magazine- that's right, Cracked- has returned to action, with guns blazing. In their first issue, they've taken aim at the much less clever ESPN the Magazine.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:03 AM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2006

The Centanni Blackout

Okay, now it's getting weird. Like I said yesterday, Fox News reporter Steve Centanni has been kidnapped in Gaza, along with cameraman Olaf Wiig. And to say the American media has underplayed the story is an understatement.

Like Daniel Pearl and Jill Carroll before him, Centanni is a respected American reporter, abducted in a part of the world known for jihadist activity, and his life may very well be in danger. But unlike those two earlier cases, which inspired headlines and in-depth features for as long as they were in captivity, the Centanni story is almost nowhere. The release of Carroll's account of her ordeal, and the attendant TV interview, have gotten much more play this week than the fresh story about Centanni, who is a well-known, visible reporter.

The New York Times and Washington Post did brief features, but none are prominently featured on their websites. The story is near the bottom of both Drudge and Romenesko. And not even Centanni's own network is on the case- I watched FNC for about two hours tonight and didn't hear his name.

Does anyone have any sort of explanation for this? Yes, I know there's a lot going on these days, and I know there's been little news since Centanni and Wiig were snatched. But anyone has any idea why the press, and even the blogosphere, have practically ignored what should be a major story, I would love to hear it.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:05 AM | Comments (2)

The 9/11-Free Universe

New York magazine this week runs a special section asking various writers and other luminaries what would have happened in the world since had 9/11 never happened.

Most of the answers are predictable answers based on what we know about the people already, but in the section is an amazing piece of writing from Andrew Sullivan, purporting to be an "alternate history blog" of the present day, had there been no attack. The gist: the threat from Islamic terrorism was not prevented, but merely postponed. I recommend everyone read this, if only for the fascinating political scenarios.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:50 AM | Comments (0)

That Was a Disgusting Act By Fox Sports

Joe Buck is America's second-most blatant beneficiary of nepotism, behind only the president. A mediocre-to-awful announcer whether it's baseball or football, and an unsufferable ass in every interview I've ever seen him give, Buck has now been handed a third major on-air gig on no basis other than that his father was a great man.

Buck has been named the host of Fox's NFL pregame show, a job he will handle remotely, while also serving as the network's top game analyst. It's just unfathomable to me why Fox would go to the trouble to attempt this logistical nightmare, when they could probably just as easily find more qualified announcers to do both jobs. I would be seriously outraged about this, if I hadn't stopped watching all of the worthless football pregame shows years ago.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:37 AM | Comments (3)

Quote of the Day

"IN A LIVE BBC interview recently, I called Hizbullah "Islamo-fascists." The interviewer said nervously, "That's a very controversial description." I replied that it was merely accurate. She brought the interview to a swift close.

But how else should one describe a military machine that marches under the banner of a demagogic leader who seeks above all to kill Jews?

Its not just Hizbullah, of course. The same ideology of hate and destruction motivates al-Qaida, perhaps the inspiration, if not the controller, of the arrested British bombers.

In a thoughtful recent speech in Los Angeles Blair spoke of fighting an "arc of extremism." That extremism is Islamic extremism, whether it is inspired al-Qaida or by Teheran, whether its foot soldiers are Sunni or Shi'ite, whether they were born in Britain, or southern Lebanon, or Iran, or Saudi Arabia, or anywhere else.

As Blair said: The battle is over the values that are to govern the future of the worlds. "Are they those of tolerance, freedom, respect for difference and diversity; or those of reaction, division, hatred?"

"This is war," said Blair.

Alas, it is. Wherever they were born, the men who want to blow up airliners, who want to destroy Israel and, not coincidentally, who want to kill all hope of a decent society in Iraq - are Islamo-fascists who are united in hatred of us."

-William Shawcross, in a Jerusalem Post piece titled "Yes, The Problem is Islamic Fascism." These days, truer words cannot possibly be spoken.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:29 AM | Comments (0)

Bruno Kirby, RIP

The actor, always a favorite of mine, passed away today at the age of 57. Kirby played the young Clemenza in "The Godfather, Part II," and like his costar John Cazale, his cinematic output was scarce, but much of it was memorable. He may be best known as Billy Crystal's friend in both "City Slickers" and "When Harry Met Sally," and just last month showed up on "Entourage" as that producer whose "Shrek" doll was stolen. He will be missed.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:24 AM | Comments (0)

The Longest Quickie Ever

Dan Shanoff's sometimes interesting, but usually boring "Daily Quickie" column on will come to an end later this month. The column, I thought, was little more than a reiteration of that day's conventional wisdom but hey, I guess it had its fans.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:19 AM | Comments (2)

August 15, 2006

This Had Better Keep Him From Running For President

News Item: Senator George Allen Calls Opponent's Staffer a "Macaque."

It's an ethnic slur for North Africans, used by the French, as discovered by TNR's Ryan Lizza, via an amazing website called "List of Ethnic Slurs." Did you know, for instance, that a "Matzo Baller" is "a non-Jewish person who prefers Jews as sexual partners"?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:40 PM | Comments (2)

Adult Film Critic Quote of the Day

From Fleshbot (Link not safe for work):

Playboy's Spice Studios is making a foray into what it calls "psycho-sexual drama" in its newest release, "The Sex Whisperer", starring Brittney Skye. The plot involves lonely housewives revealing their innermost sexual secrets to each other, and climaxes with a twist (spoiler alert: the ending paves the way for the sequel, "The Sex Legend of Sexer Vance").

While there is some evidence to support the notion that the feature-style porn movie is making a comeback, the only thing I think when hearing the words "psycho-sexual drama" is "Brandeis University".

Via LilB, who denies that he's now secretly writing for Fleshbot.

UPDATE: And speaking of Jewish-themed pornography, check out this Rachel Kramer Bussel column for a report on an orgy recently conducted by a Queens-based group called Kinky Jews. KJ, she writes, billed the event as an "underwear-only Shabbat dinner." Hey Ben- it's another new independent minyan!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:48 PM | Comments (0)

Idiot of the Decade

It's gotta be the guy who mailed a death threat to Ryan Howard- and referred to himself as a Mets fan angry that Howard had defeated David Wright in the All-Star Home Run Derby. The letter, postmarked from Scranton, included threats to shoot Howard and put him in a wheelchair.

You've gotta be enough of a moron just to threaten an athlete- but over the Home Run Derby? He's gotta be one of those fans who doesn't eat for days after a particularly unfair All-Star Snub.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:40 PM | Comments (0)

Other Than The Yankees, It's What I Miss Least About New York

Behold: The "city-girl squawk."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)

The 2006 Zeitgeist, All in One Book

It's gotta be this one:

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

Does That Make Me Crazy? Probably

I explore the idea of which political party has more "crazies" in it, and whether their craziness trumps the opposite party's craziness, in this week's North Star column.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:55 AM | Comments (1)


It was reported yesterday that two Fox News employees, reporter Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig, had been abducted in Gaza when their van was ambushed. And the strange thing about it is- we've heard almost nothing about it from any television network. Are they for some reason keeping this on the down low for negotiation purposes- or is there some particular reason to not worry that Palestinian kidnappers would harm an American journalist? I'm curious as to the answer.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:53 AM | Comments (0)

Thoughts on the Vikings and Monday Night Football

- First of all, good to see the Vikes back. For some reason they were the last team to play a preseason game, with the Eagles playing twice before the Vikes did once.

- Even though they lost, I just got the feeling that things are different this year, and that the Tice era is dead and buried. Brad Childress really seems to know what he's doing, and I can tell the team is on the right track.

- That said, I hate, HATE, the new uniforms. They look more like the Chargers than themselves, with those goofy white stripes. Someone get Uni Watch on the line.

- Tavaris Jackson looked damn good at quarterback, especially for a guy who's not even supposed to be ready to play for a couple more years. Maybe that draft, which caused the team's GM to be fired a few days later, wasn't such a debacle afterall. Though it's not good news that #1 pick Chad Greenway appears hurt.

- Ragnar, the Vikings' mascot, was seen posing for a picture with a Raiders fan in the crowd. Another sight you'd never see in Philly.

- I generally liked ESPN's inaugural MNF presentation, as I'd been afraid they'd do something foolish, like change the music. And while all this time I was afraid Kornheiser would be an embarrassment, he actually impressed me. Not only did he stay awake to the end of the game, but he got the better of Joe Theissman in a late-game argument, when Joe put forth the ludicrous notion that the Packers should've dumped Brett Favre. (Apparently, the new MNF team has carried on the tradition from the old one that they must talk about Favre at all times, even if he's not playing in the game).

UPDATE: Paul Lukas of Uni Watch agrees with me, referencing "those horrific new Vikings uniforms."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:29 AM | Comments (0)

The Worst Inning of Pedro's Career

While watching the football game tonight, I was stared in shock at a baseball score that came on the ticker during the game: PHILLIES 13, METS 0. How the hell did that happen, I wondered, when Pedro Martinez was pitching for the Mets tonight?

Here's why: Plagued by a strained right calf, Pedro had likely the worst start of his career. He lasted just one inning, giving up six runs on four hits, while also hitting two batters, walking one, and committing an error and a balk. The inning reminded me of nothing as much as Luke Wilson's tennis match in "The Royal Tenenbaum," after he found out Gwyneth was marrying Bill Murray. If I were a Met fan, I'd be worried.

As for the Phils, they continue their quixotic wild card campaign, falling just two and a half games back of Cincinnati. And while I continue to hear every day from WIP about how nobody in town cares about the Phillies, they're just gonna blow it, and it's Eagles time, the Phils drew just under 37,000 tonight, after nearly selling out the building for their weekend series against the Reds. No, it's not the pulse.

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

Quote of the Day

"What the major news organizations ought to be doing is to make their own analysis of the images coming out of Lebanon and if, as seems more than likely, they find widespread malfeasance, some hard questions need to be asked about why it occurred. Some of it may stem from the urge every photographer feels to make a photo perfect. Some of it probably flows from a simple economic imperative — a freelancer who produces dramatic images gets picked up more and paid more. Moreover, the obscenely anti-Israeli tenor of most of the European and world press means there's an eager market for pictures of dead Lebanese babies."
-Media critic Tim Rutten, certainly no conservative, in the certainly-not-conservative L.A. Times.
Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:50 AM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2006

Junior Seau's Footprint Retires

NFL linebacker Junior Seau, a likely future Hall of Famer, will announce his retirement from football on Monday. He had a great career and everything, but I'll most remember Junior from those Nike commercials, the year they decided to build their ad campaign around Dennis Hopper as an insane referee. "That's Junior Seau's footprint, man!"

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:58 PM | Comments (1)

Angst in Narberth

This guy seems to not have had as good a time as I did at last week's screening of "Invincible," thanks most to the antics of Vince Papile's crazy, Teresa Heinz-like wife, who doesn't appear to be nearly as pleasant in real life as she was in the movie. I thought the days of black people being kicked out of their seats in favor of people "from the neighborhood" had ended 30 or 40 years ago.

I was in the opposite auditorium and saw none of this, but it does appear the people running the screening had no idea what they were doing and invited way too many people.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:26 PM | Comments (2)

If You Go To Family Reunions to Pick Up Women...

I didn't think it was possible to write a great op-ed column based on Jeff Foxworthy's "You Might Be a Redneck" routine, but the Inquirer's Chris Satullo has somehow pulled it off. If you want a column that's pretty much a carbon-copy of my political worldview, take a look at this one.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:05 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2006

"Itty Bitty Nixons"

It's a tag-team battle royale: Geraldo and O'Reilly vs. Stewart and Colbert. I've gotta go with the latter based on this, one of the best "Daily Show" segments of the year:

I remember that O'Reilly segment. It was the one where they turned the Mel Gibson arrest story into one about how "the internet is being too mean to celebrities."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:37 AM | Comments (1)

The Worst Mistake of Its Kind Since Columbus Found "The Indies"

When rookie pitcher Tom Mastny joined the Cleveland Indians last week, it was disccovered that he is listed in the team's media guide as being from Indonesia, making him the first-ever major leaguer from that country. This was even mentioned in Sports Illustrated this week.

Oops. As Paul Hagen reported in the Philadelphia Daily News yesterday, Mastny is actually not from Indonesia. He's from Indiana. This profile says he's from Zionsville, and he doesn't look Indonesian.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:31 AM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

"For instance, let's say Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David decided, "All right, we're making a movie version of 'Seinfeld.'" Wouldn't you have a certain level of expectations for that movie? If you paid $11 and it turned out to be a movie where Seinfeld was a famous comic battling a drug problem, Elaine was his mean-spirited wife, Kramer was a friend from drug rehab trying to help him out, and George Costanza was a former NFL player who served as Jerry's bodyguard … and the movie was kinda funny, but totally different from any "Seinfeld" episode, only the movie was called "Seinfeld" … well, wouldn't you be a little confused?"
-Bill Simmons, on the fallacy of the "Miami Vice" movie, in his summer movie roundup.

I agree with Bill on "Invincible," it was good, if a bit unoriginal (The "Rocky" and "Rudy" references are practically preordained). But it got the working-class Philly sports fan dynamic exactly right, and I was afraid it wouldn't; you have to love any Philly sports movie that opens with booing on the soundtrack.

Also saw "Beerfest" today, in preparation for an interview with two Broken Lizard members on Monday. The verdict: better than "Club Dread," but not as good as "Super Troopers." Lots of laughs, though.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:25 AM | Comments (0)

ABC Sports, RIP

The ESPN juggernaut has claimed another victim, as it has completely absorbed its onetime corporate parent, ABC Sports. The erstwhile home of Howard Cosell, Jim McKay, "Monday Night Football," and "Wide World of Sports" is no more. Richard Sandomir writes the eulogy.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:21 AM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2006

I'm Ashamed I Thought Of This, But...

Had that airborne terrorist attack succeeded this week, it would have caused at least a several-month delay in the release of "Snakes on a Plane." Down with terrorists (and snakes!)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:35 AM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2006

Memo To Those Who Thought "Munich" Proved Spielberg Was a Loony Israel-Basher

News Item: Spielberg Foundation To Donate $1 Million for Israeli Relief Efforts

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

Gammo's Back

Peter Gammons appeared at a baseball game the other night on Cape Cod, his first public appearance since suffering a brain aneurysm a few months ago. It'll be awhile before he returns to ESPN, he said, but I just can't wait until he's introduced at Fenway.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:04 PM | Comments (0)

Sorry, Eddie Johnson

Earlier this week, it was widely reported that former NBA All-Star Eddie Johnson, a man with a significantly long rap sheet, had been arrested for sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl. It was an especially awful day for... the other former NBA All-Star named Eddie Johnson.

The Chicago Tribune, among other newspapers, mistakenly attributed the crime to the wrong Johnson, while other papers mixed in details about both players in their write-ups. The Tribune apologized today to the non-criminal Johnson; I'm still waiting for them to apologize to generations of Cubs fans.

If I were the good Eddie Johnson, I would sue the bad Eddie Johnson for causing harm to my reputation. If that guy could sue Michael Jordan for looking like him...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:02 PM | Comments (0)

I Like Tony Kornheiser, But...

Shouldn't this column, if he's telling the truth, lead to his immediate firing from the Monday Night Football booth?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:54 PM | Comments (1)

Immediately After This Photo Was Taken, Colmes Defended His Partner's Honor By Asking, Nicely, For the Sign To Be Disposed Of

This is hilarious, in the excellent tradition of the Lee Corso Guy.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:23 AM | Comments (1)

August 09, 2006

Quote of the Day

"Oh, dude, I feel so much better about being Jewish now that I see that Mel Gibson is just a big wacko douche."
-Kyle, from "South Park," on the brilliant "Passion of the Jew" episode that was re-broadcast tonight. And here it is on YouTube.
Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)

Justin Time

That annoying stat about no Twins player hitting 30 homers in a season since 1987 died an unmerciful death this evening, when Justin Morneau slugged #30, to give Minnesota a 4-3 victory over Detroit, and a split victory in their three-game series.

Morneau is the first Twin with 30 since Gary Gaetti, Kent Hrbek, and Tom Brunansky all pulled off the feat in "Minny"'s championship season of '87.

Friday, meanwhile, it's Garza time.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:30 PM | Comments (1)

"I Had to Stop Drinking Alcohol, Because I Used To Wake Up Nude Under the Hood of My Car With My Keys in My Ass"

Recalling some of the best stand-up material of his career, Robin Williams has once again entered rehab for alcoholism.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)

Lanny vs. the Nutroots

Former Clinton crony Lanny Davis had an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal the other day ripping the "netroots" supporters of Ned Lamont for their venom towards Joe Lieberman, which he compares to the "McCarthyism" of the right of his youth, and "sanctimony and vitriol displayed by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Michael Savage" today.

The author shares examples of hatefulness, and anti-Semitism, from commenters on the Daily Kos and Huffington Post. Which led Bill O'Reilly, on his radio show last night, to ask why the "liberal media" made such a big deal about Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic comments, but was dead silent about the anti-Semitic Lieberman-bashing on the blogs.

I know I've been ripping O'Reilly a lot lately. But come on. Anyone with half a brain knows the answer: Mel Gibson is an internationally known public figure. "Rim," a commenter on the Huffington Post, is not (that's the person who said on HuffPo that Lieberman is "beholden to the Jewish Lobby"). What "Rim," or any other random blog commenter says, isn't really news. Thousands of people, left and right, say stupid things in blog comment sections every day. It's also pretty clear that O'Reilly doesn't read blogs and has no idea what the difference is between a blogger and a commenter.

(Davis also rightfully rips Michael Savage, who is so off-the-charts insane that he can't help but be entertaining. Savage, of course, long ago turned against Bush because he's too liberal. I listened to his show for five minutes last night, just long enough to hear him refer to Lieberman as a "far-left-wing liberal" and Lamont as a "Leninist" who "almost certainly supports Hezbollah.")

The debate over which side, the left or the right, has more "crazies" on it, is a stupid and irrelevant one. Both sides have way too many, who have way too much influence. Whether it's 10% on one side and 12% on the other isn't terribly important. The crazies on the left knocked off a moderate Senate candidate, yes- but the crazies on the right bought millions of copies of Ann Coulter's book. And for every Kos comment that Lieberman is in the pocket of the Jews, I can show you a Little Green Footballs thread in which someone (or 20 someones) calls for the nuking of the entire Muslim world.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:05 PM | Comments (0)

Did You Ever Notice That...

Every American celebrity with the last name "Rooney" is a white male over the age of 70? Mickey Rooney will be 86 next month, "60 Minutes"' Andy Rooney is 87, and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney just turned 74. Are people just not getting that last name anymore for some reason? The only young Rooney I can think of is British soccer star Wayne Rooney, who is 21.

(Oops, forgot about John Rooney, who briefly announced for the Twins in the '80s. Not sure of his age, but he's probably younger than 70.)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

Michael Kay Godwin

Since he compared baseball's prohibition against talking during a no-hitter* to slavery and the Holocaust on his show yesterday, I think it's safe to say that ESPN Radio's Michael Kay is not aware of Godwin's Law.

*During my office Wiffleball league game yesterday, we were being no-hit after three innings, so I loudly jinxed the opposing team by screaming "YOU'RE THROWING A NO-HITTER!" at the opposing bench. Lo and behold, we scored four runs in the following inning.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:17 PM | Comments (0)

It's Goodell

Roger Goodell has been elected the new commissioner of the NFL. I say it's a good move. The league is in better shape than it's ever been in, so I feel some continuity certainly can't hurt. Though I must say, the guy with the cheerleading wife would've been interesting.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:13 PM | Comments (0)

Say It Ain't So, Joe

In the most hyped primary election of the year, Joe Lieberman lost tonight in the Connecticut Senate Democratic primary, to Ned Lamont. It's considered a triumph for the bloggers, for the anti-war forces, and for the left of the Democratic Party generally.

While I'm not a huge Joe fan and never had been, I was hoping he'd pull it off, and I don't like the message it sends that centrist Democrats are no longer welcome in the party, even after years of service. But I wouldn't draw too many conclusions from this. I wouldn't say that Connecticut necessarily speaks for the nation.

That said, I do think that Lieberman should stand down, and abandon the idea of his independent candidacy. The Democratic voters have spoken, and this is not such a dignified way for him to end his political career.

And speaking of finished careers, the most loathsome Democrat in Congress- that'd be Cynthia McKinney- lost big in her primary runoff in Georgia. Good job, J-E-W-S!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:19 AM | Comments (5)

August 08, 2006

The Best Endorsement I Can Imagine

The usual humorless, anti-fun religious fanatics have had a predictable reaction to the year's funniest film:

The publisher [Ted Baehr] said Will Ferrell's "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" is "a racist, bigoted work that ridicules the Bible Belt, Southern white men, Christianity, Jesus Christ, the family, and American masculinity."

Baehr said the lead character's mocking prayer to baby Jesus shows anti-Christian bigotry and wonders why Hollywood isn't treating Will Ferrell like it's treated Mel Gibson, who has apologized for his anti-Semitic outburst.

Obviously, it's because Ferrell didn't blame the baby Jesus for starting all of the wars in the world.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)

It's Garza Time

News Item: Minnesota Twins Call Up Phenom Matt Garza.

It's about time, too. Especially with Francisco Liriano possibly injured.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)

The Great Jewish Political Dilemma

This week's North Star column is online. This week, I examine the dilemma faced by liberal Jews such as myself, who don't agree with the Republicans on anything, but very much agree with them about Israel.

North Star: What's a Liberal Jew to Do?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:48 AM | Comments (1)

This Had Better Win a Pulitzer

Behold, the greatest piece of newspaper writing thus far in 2006: Claire Hoffman's interview/confrontation/evisceration of Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis in the Los Angeles Times, one that may very well lead to Francis being jailed. If you only read one newspaper article this week that begins with the subject threatening to anally rape the reporter- followed by her punching him in the face- be sure it's this one.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:22 AM | Comments (2)

August 07, 2006

Israel Analogy of the Day

"If you're pounding on my grandmother, do I negotiate to get you to stop?"
-Stephen Silberfarb, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council in Minneapolis, as quoted in a profile by Strib columnist Katherine Kersten.

No, I'm not to be confused with yet another guy with a similar name to mine. But I did once interview for a job with Mr. Silberfarb, and he is working with my father and others in pleading the pro-Israel case in the Twin Cities area.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:19 PM | Comments (0)

It's a Fake

Yes, that Reuters photo from Lebanon is officially a fake, as were several others by that photographer.

Does this show that the photographer himself is a fraud and a liar? Yes.

Does this show that Reuters is biased and shouldn't be trusted on Mideast news? Probably.

Does this show that "MSM" as a whole is horrible and evil and on the side of the enemy? No, of course not.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:58 PM | Comments (5)

Michelle Malkin Calls It "The Feel Good Movie of the Year"

News Item: Gary Cole to Star in Movie About Baseball in Japanese Internment Camps

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:03 AM | Comments (2)

August 03, 2006

The Trial of Alan Colmes

"Hannity and Colmes," of course, is always a surreal proposition even in the best of times. But Wednesday night's installment was downright Kafkaesque. I continue to be amazed that Alan Colmes was able to get through the evening without committing suicide.

Sean Hannity was hosting one of his periodic "freedom concerts," and broadcast live from the event in San Diego along with a group of conservative guests, including Oliver North, Ann Coulter, and Tom DeLay, in front of an audience of 200 fans who cheered every word from each of the righties. But Colmes was broadcasting, alone, from the studio back in New York. Apparently he wasn't invited.

The evening began with Hannity, North, David Jacobson (the American hostage held in Lebanon in the '80s) and the 200 fans, squaring off against Colmes. A fair fight, certainly. And balanced. The argument somehow turned into "Colmes and liberals like him" misrepresenting what had gone on in Iran/Contra, which was North agreeing to sell arms clandestinely to the Islamofascist regime in Iran- something Hannity would certainly be screaming "treason" about 50 times a day if a Democrat ever did it.

I had to turn the show off soon after Coulter joined the festivities for a segment and she and Hannity somehow turned the Mel Gibson arrest story into one about "liberal hypocrisy," since the left hadn't been nearly as mean to Patrick Kennedy when he got arrested for drunk driving. Except for the part about Patrick not being nearly as famous as Mel, and his not saying anything at all about the Jews at the time. Then Ann got a few marriage proposals from crowd members.

Sometimes I feel so sorry for Alan Colmes. Isn't he bound to snap one of these days and try to choke Hannity with one of his ties?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:49 PM | Comments (4)

Gaffe of the Week

This one comes from 82-year-old Eagles legend Chuck Bednarik, who appeared at Eagles' training camp earlier this week and said that he "always despised" Reggie White, the late Eagles superstar who goes into the Hall of Fame this weekend.

Following an outcry from Eagles fans, Bednarik apologized today, claiming that he'd confused White with Terrell Owens.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:36 PM | Comments (2)

Fans of Hezbollah?

Hezbollah is now threatening journalists, according to Michael Totten, who was himself threatened by Hezbollah while in Lebanon last year. But hey, the journalists and Hezbollah are all on the same side, right?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:25 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

Margo Howard, as quoted by Martin Peretz:

"If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel."
Amen. Though I don't think Peretz really needed to mention that he "had a fling" with the person he's quoting.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:41 PM | Comments (1)

Against Helen Thomas

Jonathan Chait in TNR has a great takedown of that self-righteous old hag Helen Thomas. The best part:

The reality is that, of all the indignities the Bush administration has inflicted upon the media, Bush's slighting of Thomas is by far the most justifiable. She is, after all, now a columnist, and columnists do not typically get to ask questions at White House press conferences. More importantly, her questions are as wildly inappropriate for the forum of a press conference as they are ineffective. It is hard to imagine what admissions could be extracted from questions like, "Does the president think that the Palestinians have a right to resist 35 years of brutal occupation?" Or lectures like, "Why are we killing people in Iraq? Men, women, and children are being killed there. I mean, what is the reason we are there, killing people, continuing? It's outrageous."
It's time for the "speaking truth to power" fallacy to just die, isn't it?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:31 PM | Comments (3)

And You Thought You Had Too Much Responsibility For Your Age

Jack Shafer offers advice to Jared Kushner, the new owner of the New York Observer newspaper. Kushner is 25 years old, is currently in both law school and pursuing an MBA, and got the $10 million purchase price from "flipping real estate" while he was a Harvard undergraduate.

Where'd he get the seed money for that little venture? Kushner is the son of Charles Kushner, the moneybags former New Jersey political power broker who was Jim McGreevey's political patron. The elder Kushner is currently doing a 24-month stretch for tax fraud and obstruction of justice; he's the guy who hired a hooker to entrap his own brother-in-law for blackmail purposes. But hey, good to know the new owner comes from good stock.

Kushner only bought the paper, reports said, because Robert DeNiro's group backed out of an earlier agreement.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:18 PM | Comments (1)

"Sucks" Doesn't Suck

Seth Stevenson of Slate defends the word "sucks." Not that it needed defending...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:08 PM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2006

Worst Comment Ever

In a discussion of the Qana massacre over at Karol's, the commenter known as "Jake" has this to say:

"People are blaming these deaths on Hezbollah or the Israelis while ignoring the parties that are 90% responsible for the slaughter...

These parties are the European and American MSM. The blood of women and children are on their hands and lips. They are the true murderers in this conflict. They are the essence of evil.

Without the cooperation, collusion and encouragement of Western media, Hezbollah would not have used human shields in conducting their warfare. They would not have expended the effort to cause these women and children to die. Western MSM caused these deaths and will cause many more before this conflict is resolved."

This comment has everything: Moral obtuseness. Lack of perspective. Collective punishment of an entire profession, based on no examples at all. Straw-man argumentation. And failure to understand the function of a free press.

I don't care how much you dislike the media. Hezbollah fires rockets at civilians, and the media doesn't. Therefore, the media is not more evil than Hezbollah. And once again, the media is not a single monolithic, collective, entity.

I'm a member of "MSM." I'm certainly not a "fan" of Hezbollah, and I suspect I'd love to see them destroyed by Israel just as much as Jake does. But I fail to see how in the hell the people how report on murders are somehow worse than those who committed them, much less the equal of them. By that logic, Truman Capote, instead of the two actual killers, should have been hung in Kansas. "If he hadn't reported it, it wouldn't have happened!"

I don't know who these mythical "fans of Hezbollah" are in the media. I've never heard a single American reporter or pundit praise Hezbollah.

If a war, or a massacre, or a terrorist attack occurs, why shouldn't the media report it? That's their job. This is a common canard on the left and the right, that if the media doesn't completely take my side, on every occasion and on every issue, then they're somehow evil.

The media, at least in the U.S., has actually been doing a much better job covering this current crisis than they normally do with this sort of thing. From what I've seen, all have made it clear that Hezbollah started the conflict. But hey, if one person didn't, then that means "MSM," collectively, didn't.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:27 PM | Comments (5)

Be Your Own Bill

On this site, you can make your own Bill Simmons column. I think I just threw up in my mouth.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2006

The Embarrassing Bill O'Reilly

On the Mel Gibson thing, one of the first questions asked by O'Reilly- one of "The Passion"'s archest defenders back in 2004- is... "is the internet too dangerous for celebrities"? Nevermind that in the case of Gibson's arrest, the internet (by got the story exactly right, and broke something that every newspaper missed.

This is of a piece with O'Reilly's call for a federal "cyberpolice" a few years ago. And of course, it's strange that Mr. "I'm looking out for the little guy" has made it one of his big causes to protect the privacy of "famous people." And, of course, O'Reilly has once again neglected to disclose that he has a business relationship with Gibson, who optioned Bill's novel.

UPDATE: To clarify, I didn't say O'Reilly has never disclosed that Gibson optioned his book. I wrote that he didn't last night, and that he hasn't always. Journalistic ethics dictate that you have to disclose conflicts of interest every time.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:53 PM | Comments (3)


They'd better not jinx him, that's all I have to say.

Not counting this, he's the first Twin on the cover of SI since Torii Hunter in 2001.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:32 PM | Comments (0)

Column A

I'm happy to report that I have agreed to become a syndicated columnist, via a syndicate called the North Star Writers Group. I'll be writing a weekly column on politics, which will be offered to newspapers across the country. Here's my first column*, on the Mel Gibson arrest, and here's a piece I wrote to introduce myself prior to that. And don't forget to check out the other North Star writers.

This blog will continue unaffected, as will my regular Trend Leader work. And yes, I mean it this time, the latter will be available on the web in September.

*Thanks to my friend and future groomsman, Jeremy, for suggesting the Chuck Klosterman-based lede.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:29 PM | Comments (2)

If Fidel Dies...

I recommend he be replaced by Fidel Castro, Rabbit DJ.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:24 PM | Comments (0)

Beinart vs. Coulter

My favorite pundit takes on my least favorite- and wins handily. It's all in response to Coulter's latest laughable argument- that Bill Clinton's promiscuity with women is somehow a sign of latent homosexuality.

I mean, shouldn't we just stop paying attention to Ann at this point? She's clearly reached muttering-to-herself-in-a-subway-car status. My newspaper got a letter to the editor this week, in fact, from a 15-year-old girl, criticizing Coulter because she's been taught in school to be respectful towards others, and Coulter isn't. Then again, that girl has probably also been told it's not wise to cultivate a look that resembles that of a cheap transvestite hooker.

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan augments this debate:

"The phenomenon Kaus and Coulter are pretending to deal with is called testosterone. It's called men - gay or straight. And Peter Beinart is right: by inherently equating homosexuality as such with promiscuity, Coulter is peddling an old homophobic slur, and Kaus is backing her up. Her point about Bill Clinton - that because he is promiscuous he is somehow gay - is a revealing inversion of the truth. The truth is that many gay men are acting like Bill Clinton, because, like Bill Clinton, they are full of testosterone, and, like Bill Clinton, they can get sex when they want. Clinton gets it and has gotten it because of his charm and his power (which he regularly abused for sexual harassment purposes). Many straight men would do the same if they could get away with it. Can you imagine the lines for straight bathhouses if women were as eager to get it on with strangers as men are?"

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:56 AM | Comments (0)

I Can't Imagine Why

News Item: ABC Cancels Mel Gibson-Produced Holocaust Miniseries

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:15 AM | Comments (2)

Come What May Not

Boston Globe basketball writer Peter May got slammed a couple of weeks ago, by Bill Simmons and others, for writing a whole column questioning why the Celtics had re-signed Paul Pierce, when he couldn't leave as a free agent for several more years. May had forgotten that Pierce had an escape clause that would have allowed him free agency after next year.

There's another screwup in May's column of two days ago. I hate pointing this out, since I've always found May to be an exemplary basketball writer (he did have to hang around Brandeis all those years the Celts practiced there, after all). But on Sunday, in writing about this latest Charles-Barkley-for-governor groundswell, May wrote:

Sir Charles is pushing his new book, ``Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man?" According to the Hall, the book is a ``candid collection of 13 interviews by Barkley with prominent Americans like Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Tiger Woods, Morgan Freeman, and comedian George Lopez on the subject of race."
Thing is, Barkley's book is not new. It came out almost two years ago. I read it six months ago (good read, by the way). Shouldn't an NBA columnist have been aware of this book? Doesn't he watch PTI?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

Christopher Hitchens, eviscerating Mel Gibson:

"There's a lot to dislike about Gibson. He is given to furious tirades against homosexuals of the sort that make one wonder if he has some kind of subliminal or "unaddressed" problem. His vulgar and nasty movies, which also feature this prejudice, are additionally replete with the cheapest caricatures of the English. Braveheart and The Patriot are two of the most laughable historical films ever made. (Englishmen don't form picket lines outside movie theaters when "stereotyped," but still.) He has told interviewers that his wife, the mother of his children, is going to hell because she subscribes to the wrong Christian sect (a view that he justifies as "a pronouncement from the chair"). And it has been obvious for some time to the most meager intelligence that he is sick to his empty core with Jew-hatred."
Pretty impressive, considering that Hitchens probably had more to drink before writing that column than Gibson did before climbing behind the wheel.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:42 AM | Comments (2)

We're Gonna Win, Jim

Here's Jim Souhan of the Strib on the Twins' remarkable win over Detroit Sunday, in which they scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth off the usually unhittable Jeremy Bonderman:

"The 43,204 in attendance Sunday probably went home mouthing famous lines in sports history:

"Do you believe in miracles?"

"I don't believe what I just saw!"

Best of all, for a team hanging tough in the playoff race, the fans also were probably thinking, "And we'll see you tomorrow night!"'

That last quote, of course, was Jack Buck's call of Kirby Puckett's game-winning homer in the Game 6 of the '91 World Series.

And this was before the Twins won tonight's game 15-2...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:04 AM | Comments (0)