If Joseph Biden drops out of the presidential race in February of 2007, did he still "run for president in 2008"?
Biden, despite about ten other previous declarations, announced for president this morning, and let's just say the momentum didn't quite carry him far. Also today appeared a New York Observer profile in which Biden is quoted as saying the following about Barack Obama:
“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”Now, the idea of whether it's insulting or condescending to call a black person "articulate" is one that's debatable- and it's been debated, most notably on David Mills' excellent Undercover Black Man blog. I tend to think it can be- especially when using the phrase "he speaks so well"- but in Obama's case, a strong part of his appeal is that he is one of the most inspiring orators in present politics.
But Biden takes it a step further- I mean, calling a black person "clean"? I know it had been awhile since an African-American had served in the Senate, but was Biden expecting him to show up covered in dirt? I'd been thinking Biden, considering his foreign-policy background, had a pretty good shot at the veep slot, either with Hillary, Obama, or whoever else the nominee is. But now that Joe has put his foot in his mouth once again, I'm guessing that's not so likely.
I first heard about this on one of the conservative radio shows today, during which the host and all the callers predicted the media would give Biden a pass. But CNN spent at least an hour on the story this afternoon.
Yes, the terrorist attack in Boston this morning was a hoax- and it's all Err's fault.
Suspicious packages around the city, which police feared were bombs, were actually viral marketing for... the upcoming "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" movie. The threat, though, caused all subway traffic and several major roads to be shut down. According to Boston.com:
The objects that had been placed on bridges and other infrastructure across the city are patterns of lighted dots in the shape of a boxy character on the cartoon show. The lights are on a black rectangle a little larger than a laptop and flash purple and blue.Ignignot, however, is totally in the clear.
The boxy character is named Err and appears to be raising his middle finger and giving an obscene gesture. Err is described on the "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" website as "rebellious and angry."
I just hope that people don't take this out on "Aqua Teen" itself, to the point where the show itself or the upcoming movie is jeopardized.
You've gotta love how "trade rumors" work, especially during Super Bowl week.
Here's how the latest nonsense came about: Last Friday, Jim Carty, a columnist for the Ann Arbor News in Michigan, wrote a piece suggesting that the Lions, instead of using the #2 pick in April's draft on Brady Quinn, should instead trade the pick to the Eagles for Donovan McNabb.
Carty sites no inside information that such a move is in the works or has even been discussed or thought of by the teams involved. All he has to go on is that he, personally, would like to see the Lions make that move. Hell, if I were a Lions fan, I would too.
It's now on just about every sports site, as a "rumor," that a McNabb/Quinn trade may actually happen. It's always been my general understanding that a "trade rumor" is something that is under consideration by one or both teams. When it's merely something a small-town sportswriter thinks might be a good idea, that's not a "trade rumor." That's a "trade suggestion."
I personally would absolutely love it if the Vikings traded their fifth round pick in this year's draft to New England for Tom Brady. Now that I've mentioned it, does that mean there are now "rumors" of such a deal taking place?
The state of New Jersey has taken steps to improve its reputation- by removing a line from its constitution which states that "no idiot or insane person" has the right to vote. It's a step in the right direction, as it's nice to see a state, in 2007, amending its constitution for a reason that has nothing to do with same-sex marriage.
This reminds me of something funny that happened when I went to the Devils-Flyers game at the Meadowlands a few weeks ago. They did that thing on the scoreboard where they show a fan of the home team (so everyone cheers), followed by a fan of the road team (so everyone boos.) It kept going back and forth like that, until the scoreboard showed an image of downtown Philadelphia (booo), followed by a lovely postcard-like shot of the Jersey Shore (cheer).
"Whaddya know," I said. "They picked the one pretty part of New Jersey."
News Item: Billy Joel to release first single in 14 years.
The pop song is called "East End Girl," and is about his wife, Katie. I suppose it was getting awkward, because at recent concerts, Billy has been dedicating "She's Got a Way" to Katie- even though it was written long before she was born.
Damn, when I was in high school the biggest issue tackled by the MSHSL was whether or not to mandate mouthguards.
"The low-point of her acting career, [Diane Keaton] essays a character whose pathological interference into her daughter's life is rationalized as a product of never having had an orgasm. Nothing less, nothing more. We learn this in a scene where Daphne has lost her voice (thank God) and has to spend a few days with Milly, jotting down her frustrations on a notepad. Keaton, sadly, accepts the anti-woman reductiveness of the script with embarrassing and ingratiating gusto... wearing what appears to be dresses-cum-clown-suits of her own design and always holding a cake in her hand that inevitably splatters across her face."Ed Gonzalez, of Slant, on "Because I Said So"- and he's far too kind. What a horrid, insulting film, one made up almost entirely of telegraphed gags that are recycled from old sitcom conventions. And you have to love a movie whose central conceit is that the mother of Mandy Moore- a totally gorgeous 25-year-old who, by the way, is a professional chef- is afraid her daughter will be alone forever.
The name of the film? You guessed it, "Assraelis."
Bill Simmons on Super Bowl hype:
"For the first time, we have two African-American coaches in the same game (Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith). That's going to lead to a series of columns and features about the significance of this fact, followed by a series of columns claiming that it's 2007 and we'll have truly broken down the race barrier when two blacks can coach in the Super Bowl without anyone mentioning this, followed by a series of columns excoriating the previous series of columns for belittling the significance of two black Super Bowl coaches in a league that clearly has been afraid to hire black head coaches. Sadly, all this stuff will overshadow the biggest story involving an African-American NFL coach -- that the Steelers just hired Omar Epps to replace Bill Cowher."No, Epps and Mike Tomlin are not the same person. They just look alike. And Tomlin is just a year older.
Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer testified today, as the likely star witness in the trial of former Cheney chief of staff Scooter Libby. Fleischer, who testified in exchange for immunity, reportedly agreed to cooperate after reading that anyone responsible for outing Valerie Plame "could be subject to the death penalty."
Were this "The Wire," Ari would likely find himself shot execution-style, with his body dumped in a vacant house somewhere in Southeast D.C. Instead, he'll likely have to settle for never working for any Republican politician, ever again.
Also, expect the defense to use this TNR piece from 2002, in which Jonathan Chait writes that Ari, in his skills as a liar, "has a way of blindsiding you, leaving you disoriented and awestruck." That ought to impeach his credibility as a witness.
Tonight, I attended my first college basketball game in probably ten years, as I saw Pitt defeat Villanova at the Wachovia Center in a battle of Big East contenders. While 'nova was clearly the home team, there were quite a few Pitt boosters, including my fiance, on hand, who were quite happy to see a victory. And after the last couple years of Sixers games, it was nice to see a crowd for a basketball game at Wachovia that wasn't completely dead, for the first time in recent memory.
Two interesting observations from the game: the Villanova promotions people appear to be running out of ideas for contests between time outs, because twice they did the old who-can-make-more-free-throws duel. Another time - holy gender roles, Batman!- they invited a female contestant to shoot cabbages into a shopping cart ten feet away, with the grand prize being a thirty-second shopping spree at the (sponsoring) local supermarket. The game was then delayed for about five minutes while janitors attempted to clear the court of stray bits of cabbage.
Also, an advertisement ran on the scoreboard for a Villanova booster group, known as "The V Club." Which is funny, because at most universities, "The V Club" is the student group responsible for producing "The Vagina Monologues."
"The Daily Show," off last week, teed off tonight on the bullshit Obama/Madrassah story. (YouTube to be posted when it's available.) The last few seconds- "I'm Chuck Norris, sitting in for Sean Hannity"- is funnier than any parody Stewart or Colbert could ever imagine. I caught the end of that episode, when Norris revealed at the end that Newt Gingrich has won the coveted Chuck Norris endorsement for president in '08.
UPDATE: Here it is:
That was hilarious, tonight on "24," when Milo (played by Claire's toe-sucking boyfriend from "Six Feet Under") said that there's no way the Middle Eastern CTU agent could possibly be a terrorist- because "she's a registered Republican, for God's sake!" I bet it was Dinesh D'Souza's favorite TV moment of all time.
The Baseball Crank looks at how the "Star Wars" prequels could have been a lot better than they were. And yes, "less Jar Jar" is among the top ideas.
News Item: Barbaro euthanized
So the Boston Red Sox are supposedly on the verge of acquiring first baseman Todd Helton from the Colorado Rockies, the team with which he's spent his entire career, and for which he is the all-time greatest player. In the deal, according to various versions, the Sox would give up Mike Lowell, Julian Tavarez, Craig Hanson and/or Manny Delcarmen, and possibly other prospects; the Rockies would also likely agree to pay more than half of the roughly $90 million remaining on Helton's contract.
Do I like this move for the Sox? I suppose so, as their lineup becomes downright scary with Helton plugged in among Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, J.D. Drew, and the rest. But, Helton's age, contract-length, and recent injury history are cause for concern, and look at it this way- the Sox have taken some BIG risks this offseason, throwing huge money at Drew, Julio Lugo, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and now (possibly) Helton. If two or three or even all four of those deals turn out to be busts, that could hamstring the Sox for years to come, and maybe even cost Theo Epstein his job.
The other problem is, this idea of the Sox trading prospects for a high-salaried, downside-of-his-career veteran is the sort of move often made by a certain other team, that the Bosox are sort of known for having a rivalry with.
UPDATE: The deal is now off, apparently. If the A-Rod precedent repeats itself, it'll be rekindled and die again several times between now and spring training, and the Yankees will end up swooping in and getting him instead.
I comment on Jimmy Carter's recent visit to my alma mater in this week's North Star column.
News Item: Renee Zellweger may be dating Luke Perry
Though to be fair, Keith doesn't seem to know a whole lot about the situation over there, as he predicts the Kurds, who aren't even really a participant in the sectarian violence, will win. "I promise you, they'll end up with it all," Keith told Newsday.
Some sports radio types in Boston are trying to get Red Sox pitcher/staunch Republican Curt Schilling to run for the Senate in 2008, against John Kerry. I suppose the only thing in Massachusetts stronger than its Democratic identity is its Red Sox fandom, but alas, Schilling has no interest.
If you're an Andrew Sullivan reader, you almost certainly have already heard about this. It's a music video, by a gentleman named Donnie Davies, called (wait for it...) "God Hates a Fag." Davies, on his website, claims to be an ex-gay minister who has embraced The Lord, and encourages the same path for other conflicted gays. Which is a great idea, one that never, ever, leads to getting ratted out by a male prostitute who you had sex and did meth with.
Anyway, it's a damn catchy song, which you might even find humming before catching (and hating) yourself. And in fact, the video looks like such a note-perfect parody of anti-gay politics (and of Christian Rock) that some have argued it must be a put-on. This argument was strengthened, earlier this week, when Davies made a video thanking Sullivan "for getting behind me."
Several times a week, Mike submits awful, monotone song parodies, nearly all of which include "fag," "homo," and other slurs repeated ad nauseum and directed at various people on the show. It's hard to tell which of the two songwriters, Donnie or Red Hill, is more unintentionally hilarious.
If you'd like a great look at what the mood is like in Israel these days, take a look at this amazing piece by rabbi/journalist Daniel Gordis, which was forwarded to me Thursday by three different people. It's great. This is the guy who should be speaking at Brandeis and getting ovations.
News Item: Miller Lite will end 'Man Laws' ad campaign
News Item: David Lee Roth, Van Halen to reunite.
I'd be a lot more excited about this if the lineup didn't include Eddie Van Halen's 15-year-old son on bass.
Slate: Ram Job: Gay sheep and antigay eugenics. (Will Saletan, of course.)
Some idiot at the Bears-Saints game in Chicago hung a banner stating "Bears finishing what Katrina started," which was enough to win the banner-waver a silver medal in Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World" segment Monday. (The gold went to the people behind the Obama/madrassah story.)
I saw a similarily awful banner outside someone's house in the Philly suburbs the week of the Eagles/Saints game, warning the Saints to be ready for "Hurricane Dawk," in reference to Brian Dawkins.
Rather than ignoring it, Kerry/Swift Boat style, staffers for Barack Obama have taken apart the bogus madrassah story, point by point. But don't be surprised if, regardless, you hear more and more about this in the next two years.
I missed most of the State of the Union last night, but I think it's safe to say that Michelle Bachmann liked it more than I would have.
"The cutting is so rapid that nothing that happens is remotely believable, but, of course, it’s not intended to be. “Smokin’ Aces” has been made with the kind of antic violence that wins a movie the honorific title of “black comedy.” What that indicates in this case is that nothing makes sense—and that’s supposed to be cool. Everyone involved, including the English producers, can feel down and dirty, as if they were mean hipsters pushing through old barriers and joyriding into areas of wild freedom."-David Denby, in the New Yorker, on "Smokin' Aces," which I saw last night and absolutely loved. It's a totally anarchic, hilarious, and extremely bloody dark comedy, that should be loved by everyone who didn't think "Reservoir Dogs" was violent enough. And Jason Bateman has a brilliant, 45-second cameo that is instantly the highlight of his non-"Arrested Development" career.
News Item: Kerry decides against running in 2008
Now that the Democrats actually have people running who their own supporters aren't embarrassed to vote for, I'd say Kerry has sort have made himself obsolete. Maybe he'll follow in Gore's footsteps and try to win an Oscar.
Did Sean Salisbury say on the air that Peyton Manning "Jewed" the Patriots during Sunday's game? Deadspin investigates; audio is unconclusive.
This may be, at worst, a Freudian slip. But it almost seems like Salisbury and Michael Irvin are competing over who can commit the most fireable offenses without actually getting canned from ESPN.
The Timberwolves, despite their .500 record and status as a possible playoff team, have fired coach Dwane Casey and replaced him with assistant Randy Wittman. I do not follow the Wolves closely enough to know whether this was a good idea, but I can tell you that this move has long been rumored, and that Casey's departure keeps alive the Wolves tradition of every non-Flip Saunders coach lasting only a couple of years.
Washington Post: Pelosi Lures Cameras to the Speaker's Box
Via Jonathan Last, this is the best thing of its kind since "Rosie marries longtime girlfriend, slams Bush."
I wonder how these people feel about this.
I was going to watch the webcast of the Brandeis-set Jimmy Carter speech, in order to write a column and maybe even do a running diary, but it looks like all the interest crashed the 'deis web site. They never were so good at anything computer-related, were they?
The New York Post today ran a really, really weird sports story, that seemed strange even by the Post's usually bizarre standards. In it, Peter Vecsey writes that Larry Brown, who recently returned to the Philadelphia 76ers in an advisory capacity, has been hanging around Villanova basketball practices near his Main Line home. And, since he's started to get chummy with Wildcats coach Jay Wright, it leads to speculation that the Sixers might want to bring Wright in to replace Mo Cheeks as head coach.
The story is accompanied with a large picture of Wright, and the headline "Sixers Wright On." But, then there's the last two paragraphs of the story which, you could say, sort of bury the lede:
I hate when I'm forced to refute my own story, but I'm notified by a Sixers source who hasn't led me astray more than once or twice lately, "there is nothing to it."So, in other words, the story isn't true. So why the hell is it even in the paper?
Apparently, Villanova isn't the only college Brown has been haunting on a regular basis since he moved back. "He has been to other college practices around town as well."
But it's directed at Joan Collins, not Tootie. This is by far my favorite recent feud between 70-ish former TV stars.
Like I said, I don't care that much about the Oscars. But even I'm surprised that "Dreamgirls" was left out of the Best Picture category. When I saw it, I really felt like it had "Best Picture" written all over it, even more than "The Departed" (which I liked more) or "The Queen." I did not see "Babel" or "Letters From Iwo Jima, but I did see (and strongly disliked) "Little Miss Sunshine." I'm sorry, I'll never, ever understand that film's appeal.
I have no big disagreements with the acting categories, though I would have loved to see Sacha Baron Cohen get recognized for "Borat."
I'll have more to say later, I'm sure.
Donovan is reportedly unhappy that he wasn't allowed to travel with the team to New Orleans, that his mother has been portrayed negatively, and because he feels "some within the organization" would rather Jeff Garcia continue as quarterback.
It's sad to see this, really. McNabb should spend his entire career in Philly and be given every chance to lead the Eagles to a championship. But, after two straight season-ending injuries, and with a certain percentage of the city's fans having an irrational hatred of Donovan, it was inevitable that he eventually get frustrated with the situation.
This whole situation, unfortunately, is starting to mirror Daunte Culpepper's departure from the Vikings. Though come to think of it, McNabb sure would like great in purple...
UPDATE: I realize there's about a 1% chance of it happening, but the Trenton Times' Mark Eckel floats the McNabb-to-the-Vikings possibility.
Hey, did you hear he went to a militant Islamic religious school when he was five years old? Or maybe he didn't. It's his word against the Moonies.
I look at the upcoming "the media lost us the Iraq war" spin, in this week's North Star column.
Kiffin, who was interviewed for the University of Minnesota's job a few weeks ago but lost out to Tim Brewster, becomes the first man ever elevated from assistant college coach to head NFL coach. Not only was the 31-year-old Kiffin not the Raiders' first choice, but he wasn't even their first choice among USC assistants. That was offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, who turned Al Davis down last week.
So when will the Raiders be good again? Pick the date Davis dies, add five years, and maybe they'll be a wild card.
News Item: Congress may combat TV violence.
This is always such a stupid debate. Hopefully, though, it'll be forgotten right after the next election, just like it always is.
PHOENIX, Arizona (AP) -- A charter school alerted authorities to a 29-year-old sex offender who tried to enroll there, pretending he was just 12, in what sheriff's officials said Friday may have been an attempt to lure children into sexual abuse.This would be funny even if one of the victims' last names wasn't "Stiffler." Stiffler's mom could not be reached for comment.
The Yavapai County sheriff's office also said Neil Havens Rodreick II conned two men he was living with and having sex with into believing he was a young boy.
(Via Fagistan, who is considerably funnier than Perez Hilton ever was.)
Jimmy Carter's sure-to-be controversial speech at Brandeis University, scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, will be broadcast live on the Internet, at this address. Therefore, you can rebut Carter's arguments in real time, instead of waiting until the next day's paper like everyone else.
Well that's a monkey off Peyton Manning's back... the Colts quarterback finally shed the twin labels of "chokes in the playoffs" and "can't beat Brady," in an ESPN Classic-level victory tonight over the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. It was a great comeback, in which the Colts came back from trailing 21-3, and the teams traded scores throughout the second half.
They'll face the Bears in the Super Bowl, after Chicago crushed the Saints in Chicago. After an entire December and January of unseasonably warm playoff games, everyone seemed to forget that cold weather home teams tend to win playoff games over dome road teams, especially when it's snowing.
The Saints deserve credit for an amazing year, and will probably enter next year as the favorite in the NFC.
So, Bears-Colts. The top storylines that we'll all be sick of in two weeks? Let's see:
- Will Manning choke?
- Will Grossman choke?
- Better pitchman- Manning, or Kevin Federline?
- "How long have you been a black coach?"
- Chicago sure is close to Indy!
- Super Bowl Shuffle '07
- Say, what are the "Da Bears" people up to?
I made my return to my former home in Northern New Jersey over the weekend, seeing some of Becca's relatives and attending the Flyers-Devils game at Continental Arena.
The game was quite a fun time, even though Becca's beloved Flyers lost in a shootout. I'm not much of a hockey fan these days, and really haven't been since the North Stars left Minnesota in '93. But it was fun to watch the game in person from great seats, and also to see my high school classmate Erik Rasmussen (now with the Devils) in action. So I know officially stop short of endorsing Bill Simmons' call for Real World/Road Rules Challenge to replace hockey as America's fourth major sport.
Some interesting things are going on at the Meadowlands. Both teams are moving out of Continental Arena, with the Nets going to Brooklyn, and the Devils moving to that noted hotbed of hockey enthusiasm, Newark. Meanwhile, the Giants and Jets are allegedly teaming up on a $1 billion-plus stadium, to be built next to the current Giants Stadium, aimed at setting a new naming rights record and ending the Jets' inferiority complex for good.
They're also building a new mall complex next door called "Xanadu," except they're not, because the company building it was just sold out of existence. I think the people behind the Esplanade, and the Museum of Science and Trucking, should take over the project.
"I never thought a book by [Dinesh] D’Souza, the aging enfant terrible of American conservatism, would, like the Stalinist apologetics of the popular front period, contain such a soft spot for radical evil... Unlike President Bush, who once said he could not understand how anyone could hate America, D’Souza knows why Islamic radicals attack us. “Painful though it may be to admit,” he admits, “some of what the critics or even enemies say about America and the West ... may be true.” Susan Sontag never said we brought Sept. 11 on ourselves. Dinesh D’Souza does say it.Alan Wolfe, teeing off on D'Souza's awful book, in the New York Times Book Review. Wolfe, you may remember, is the guy who bashed Michael Moore in TNR as "Chomsky for children," so it's nice to see him go after the loony right with the same gusto.
UPDATE: The Plank notices an interesting acknowledgement on the book.
Andrew Sullivan will move his blog to the website of the Atlantic Monthly next month. A fine marriage of a great writer and a great periodical, although I doubt the blog will change much at all (I'm a fan from the white-text-on-purple-background days.)
News Item: Rage Against the Machine to reunite.
ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick runs down the candidates to succeed Bud Selig when (if?) he steps down as scheduled in the 2009. The top contender is Andy MacPhail, despite his failure in a decade running the Cubs, while others mentioned include Bob Dupuy, Steve Greenberg, and even President Bush.
But third on the list should surprise Phillies fans- Dave Montgomery. The team's main owner is despised by the team's backers as a cheapskate- no matter how many long-term contracts he hands out. But hey- a promotion would be mean he's no longer running the Phils.
News Item: Wrestling's Bam Bam Bigelow dead at 45.
Yes, the world now has one less 300-pound man with tattoos of flames covering his head.
News Item: Twins sign pitcher Ramon Ortiz
I guess the idea is that Ortiz, who lost 16 games with the Nationals last year, will improve with more run support. This still leaves the Twins' potential rotation with one superstar (Johan Santana), three very questionable veterans (Carlos Silva, Ortiz, Sidney Ponson), and a bunch of kids (Boof Bonser, Matt Garza, Scott Baker, Glen Perkins.) Overall, I'm not enthused.
But, it could be worse. They could've signed Russ Ortiz.
Yes, the Colbert-O'Reilly summit was a little disappointing, but it did have a few great lines. Most notably (from the New York Times):
“You and I have taken a lot of positions against the powers that be, and we’ve paid a heavy price,” Mr. Colbert said to his host. “We have TV shows, product lines and books.”Here's the exchange on YouTube:
From a Chuck Klosterman column in Esquire, on former athletes-turned-broadcasters:
If you discount the print-media buffoons (Jay Mariotti, Skip Bayless, et al.) who go on TV with the express intent of destroying whatever credibility the newspaper industry once had, Salisbury is the least cogent, most wrongheaded voice in the sports media. He's an atrocity. Yet this broadcast lunacy has saved his gridiron legacy. Salisbury's career-passer rating was a dismal 55.1 and he never had one decent season, but in retrospect that production looks amazing. It seems impossible, but it's true: Sean Salisbury was better as a player. Which is just about the craziest sentence I've ever written.And this was written before Salisbury's recent cell-phone-picture-of-his-junk scandal.
Klosterman's new book, by the way, is hilarious, especially the old piece about Mexican teenagers in LA who love Morissey. I was laughing so hard reading it the other night that I woke up Becca in the middle of the night.
The piece says Johnny Cougar is "still philosophically averse to the idea" of using his music to sell cars. But not philosophically averse enough, apparently, to keep the commercial from running 500 damn times during every football game.
But for those wishing that this ad campaign eventually will run its course, a cautionary tale: A previous Chevy campaign used variations of Bob Seger's "Like a Rock" for a good seven years. But it still wasn't enough to get Seger to drive a Chevy...
"Hey, it's cold today- that must mean there's no such thing as global warming!"
News Item: Muslims angry about "24"
Yes, of course they are. Look at it this way: this is the sixth season of "24." Of the six, this is the third in which the primary terrorists have been Muslims, for a ratio of 50%. Thus, Islamic radicals make up a considerably lower percentage of total terrorists on "24" than they do in real life.
If a show about counter-terrorism were to go several seasons without any Islamic radicals whatsoever, it would be nothing less than dishonest. Not to mention that all of the three seasons have also featured "good" Muslim characters, and that it's virtually certain the real villains of this season will ultimately turn out to be either the military/industrial complex, Big Oil, or both.
Why is Dick Morris so hard to take seriously? There are many reasons, but a blooper he made this week can be added to the list. Morris wrote a syndicated column, titled "Obama's First Blunder," in which he chastised Sen. Barack Obama for voting against an amendment that would ban candidate's spouses from paying jobs on their spouse's campaign.
Two things wrong with this: Obama voted for the amendment, not against it, and Morris' own wife, Eileen McGann, gets a co-byline on every one of his columns. Funny that Morris would then praise his nemesis, Hillary Clinton, because she "opposes wives cashing in on their husbands’ positions."
Americans Wondering What They Did To Deserve This Much Joe BuckThis came up when we were watching the playoffs last week: who has benefited the most from nepotism- President Bush, Joe Buck, or Eli Manning?
NEW YORK—According to sports fans across America, the near-ubiquitous presence of play-by-play broadcaster, pregame reporter, and post-game analyst Joe Buck has begun to make them consider if they are being punished for something. "In this life, it's only natural to have to endure a certain amount of Joe Buck, but lately I've been inundated with this pervading informant to the point that I can't get his goddamn buttery-smooth voice out of my head," said avid football viewer and casual baseball fan Thomas Lenz. "I mean, I'm a grown man and can tune it out, but I have a 10-year-old son being who has to live through this. It's just not fair." Joe Buck was unavailable for comment, as he was doing a Borat impression on the set of his latest Fox Sports commercial.
It could be a brilliant TV moment, or it could be a train wreck- knowing how little of a sense of humor he has about himself, O'Reilly's liable to just start screaming during the show that Colbert is a fraud. Then again, Colbert isn't really a parody of The Factor anymore- if it were, all Stephen would talk about is pedophiles. (Colbert, the same night, will also go on O'Reilly's show.)
The Onion: Rumsfeld leaves most recent job off resume
"Meanwhile, both the New York and Los Angeles Times have hired “professional Oscar prognosticators” to provide daily Internet updates, beginning months ahead of the ceremony. The concept of a “professional Oscar prognosticator” makes me very sad. Is it really a point of pride to be able to predict the whims of an insular group of elderly showbiz people who tend to have terrible taste? This all strikes me as some gay version of fantasy football."- Sean Burns, in a must-read Philadelphia Weekly essay. I think about the Oscars about two days a year- when the nominations are announced, and on Oscar night. I think movies themselves are a lot more important than what "the industry" thinks about them- "Crash"'s laughable Best Picture win being Exhibit A.
This isn't exactly a high water mark in the history of stand-up comedy, as typified by the sort of crap usually found on TV (see: Mencia, Carlos), and by the recent experience I had in Philly, when three out of six comics on a bill were booed off the stage (actually, that last thing might say more about Philly than the state of comedy, but I digress...)
I have long been a fan of C.K.'s stand-up, he directed the cult classic "Pootie Tang," while also creating and starring in the now-canceled HBO show "Lucky Louie," which was watched by myself and about ten other people. The show was a bit uneven, but I'm pleased to say the stand-up special is funny from beginning to end. The same goes for Martin's very different but just-as-funny special, which incorporates music and drawings along with the traditional stand-up. Both great specials, and they should be repeating frequently.
I get the need to be "safe" the year after last year's Colbert incident, but come on- Rich Little? I guess they thought Jay Leno would be too subversive.
""I saw some amazing, beautiful, invigorating parts of America. But I saw some dark parts of America, an ugly side of America. A side of America that rarely sees the light of day. I refer, of course, to the anus and testicles of my co-star, Ken Davitian."-Sacha Baron Cohen, accepting the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a comedy. The only tragedy was that he didn't also win a supporting award for his groundbreaking role as a gay French NASCAR driver in "Talladega Nights."
The Inquirer's Les Bowen, on the Eagles loss:
Perusing Internet message boards the last few days, I'm disappointed in one thing: I think Eagles fans have met or exceeded expectations in venting their spleen at Andy Reid, but I can't find anybody who blames the New Orleans loss on McNabb. I think the haters just aren't trying hard enough. Surely there is a way to make this McNabb's fault. You people have a reputation to uphold.Come on, didn't he smile, or something, during the game or the day after? We all know that's the real reason they lost.
Felicia Pearson, the actress who plays the fearsome drug dealer/enforcer known as "Snoop" on "The Wire," was reportedly arrested for prostitution in Florida last week, according to the gossip website MediaTakeOut.com. However, it appears the item was a prank/parody, and is in fact not true. At least one reporter (Howard Gensler of the Philadelphia Daily News) fell for it.
Pearson is known on "The Wire" for killing rival dealers and snitches and, along with partner Chris Portlow, hiding them in vacant ghetto houses and nailing the doors shut with a nailgun. Snoop is generally considered one of the most frightening female villains in television history, despite her hard-to-understand speech patterns, and her resemblance to a 12-year-old boy. If Howard Gensler is lucky, hopefully he won't end up nailed into a vacant somewhere in North Philly.
I don't care, I really don't. I watched "24" instead.
The Phillies have finally ended their offseason-long search for a setup man, and after it took nearly as long as Inigo Montoya's search for the six-fingered man who killed his father, they have settled on a six-fingered man of their own: Antonio Alfonseca. The pitcher, a former closer with the Marlins and numerous other teams, was born with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot.
However, unlike the "Princess Bride"'s six-finger man, and unlike certain other recent Phillies relief pitchers, Alfonseca is not believed to have ever killed anyone.
Paul Lukas, in his Uni Watch column on ESPN.com, has ranked each city by its sports uniforms. Boston comes in first, followed by Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. Philly is 10th, and Minnesota -mostly thanks to the Vikings' abominable new jerseys- is dead last.
I agree with Lukas on the Vikings, but what's so bad about the Twins and Wolves' duds? The Wolves' are a huge improvement over the pre-Garnett wolf-in-a-basketball design, which was brought back by throwback-loving teen Namond on "The Wire" last year.
UPDATE: Paul Katcher's thoughts on this are quite comical.
I look at the recent documentary "Our Brand is Crisis," in this week's North Star Writers Group column.
"D'Souza is basically arguing that the terrorists hate us for our freedom, and, therefore, we should "curtail" our freedoms to appease them. Actually, it's worse than that. He's blaming freedom itself, along with his political opponents, for provoking September 11. In fact, he's treading perilously close to suggesting we make our society more like a fundamentalist Islamic society so the fundamentalist Muslims will be less likely to hate us. I don't think I can come up with a more offensive explanation for why 9/11 happened if someone paid me."Radley Balko, on Dinesh D'Souza's vile new book "The Enemy at Home," which blames the "cultural left" for 9/11- and essentially argues that the sex-, woman- and gay-hating jihadists have a point.
According to the Strib, the suddenly improving Timberwolves are about to unload their worst contract albatross, the signed-through-2010 Marko Jaric. Detroit, for some reason that I can't fathom, seems to want to trade for the marginal point guard, dangling one of its three big men (Antonio McDyess, Dale Davis, or Nazr Muhammad.) I'm happy about the potential deal, but I'd be even happier if they could get back the first-round draft pick they gave up in the first Jaric deal.
The divisional round is always the best football weekend of the year, and this year didn't let us down. All four games went right down to the wire, setting up title games of Bears-Saints in the NFC and Patriots-Colts in the AFC.
Everyone said the AFC title game would be the "real Super Bowl" this year, but in the AFC the lower seeds won both games despite sluggish performances from their superstar quarterbacks, while in the NFC the home teams both looked good winning.
I would have been four-for-four in my pre-playoff title game picks had the Chargers held out against the Patriots. Aside from two drives, Tom Brady had the worst playoff game in his career, and New England got extremely lucky with several San Diego mistakes, which may cost Marty Schottenheimer his job. The most impressive quarterback in the round, in fact, was... Rex Grossman.
Saturday night also marked the death of the Eagles' season, as they played New Orleans tough, but ultimately lost by a field goal. There were some questionable calls, and I really have to question why Andy Reid punted on 4th-and-15 with two minutes left. But regardless, the better team won. The Eagles should be proud of themselves, though, for coming back from a 5-6 start and winning the division and a playoff game. I now prepare myself for seven months of daily McNabb-or-Garcia arguments on talk radio.
And finally... who else had a huge dilemma when "24" started with six minutes left in the Pats-Chargers game? Us non-TiVo subscribers were screwed; it's this century's answer to the Heidi Game.
A very good premiere, no question about it. I like that they're finally getting the question of how Jack feels about all this torture stuff. Non-stop action, as usual, and some intriguing no characters. But, as usual with "24," a few quibbles (SPOILER WARNING FOR ALL):
- In the season's first hour, they pulled out Roger Ebert's old Fallacy of the Talking Killer. Nice of Fayed to tell Jack his entire evil plan, and then put him in a death machine that doesn't work. (The biting of the neck was a great kill for Jack, though.)
- Sorry, but I'm just not buying Kumar from "Harold and Kumar" as a terrorist. Unless they're taking him in the direction of fiction's first-ever stoner terrorist, but it doesn't look that way.
- How come the Islamic terrorists on "24" never look like Islamic terrorists in real life? They all have Western styles of dress, almost no beards, and no Islamic garb whatsoever. It may be because the world of "24" has sleeper cells all over America, while the real world seems to have next to none.
- The lifelong terrorist kingpin renounces violence, and gets every terror-supporting government to back him and negotiate with the West? Yea, right. If only it were that easy. And they're really running out of terrorist names- "Assad"? "Fayed"? Why not come up with a name that doesn't match the president of Syria, or Princess Di's boyfriend?
- And like anyone could get elected President of the United States if their sister worked for the Islamic Civil Rights Center (much less, both David Palmer and now Wayne.) And how come, Harry Lennix's unconvincing accent notwithstanding, the Islamic civil rights group didn't seem to have any actual Arab Muslims working for it?
But regardless, I'll still be glued to the TV tomorrow night, and for the next 22 Monday nights after that.
Yes, at last, it's the Nation of Islam Sports Blog. (It's a parody, I think.) Their thoughts on the "Quite Frankly" cancellation are especially hilarious.
Isaac over at ALOTT5MA, making a Super Bowl prediction:
Fact: The University of Florida Gators are the reigning NCAA men's basketball champions.I still say Saints.
Fact: The University of Florida Gators are the reigning NCAA men's football champions.
Fact: A University of Florida Gator was the point guard, sometimes known as the "quarterback," of the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat.
Fact: A University of Florida Gator was the shortstop, sometimes known as the "quarterback of the defense,"2 of the reigning MLB champion St. Louis Cardinals.
Fact: A University of Florida Gator is the reigning champion of Dancing with the Stars.
Fact: Alcorn State, Boston College, Tennessee, Michigan, North Carolina State, Purdue, and San Jose State have failed to win all of the NCAA football, NCAA men's basketball, and Dancing with the Stars titles that they have sought in the last year.
Fact: The name Rex means "king."
Fact: A king's principal job is to reign.
Fact: The quarterback for the Chicago Bears is named Rex.3 Believe me when I tell you: He is a University of Florida Gator.
Mark McGwire has finally broken his silence about not making the Hall of Fame, saying that he is "very proud of" his career, and making no statements about whether he did or didn't use steroids. The media outlet that broke the story? The Daily Titan, which is the student newspaper at Cal State Fullerton. Apparently they were the only outlet in the country that noticed Big Mac was appearing at a charity function and decided to talk to him there.
But unfortunately, Stephen A. will have an "expanded presence" on ESPN itself, which will include "Expanded Appearances on SportsCenter, NBA, ESPNEWS Plus Four Interview Specials; ESPN The Magazine & ESPN.com Opportunities." Because if no one wanted to watch him on his own show, they'll be dying to catch him on EVERY show.
Yes, everyone's going nuts because Barbara Boxer questioned how Condoleeza Rice can send soldiers to Iraq when she has no children of her own.
My take? It's a little bit out of line, but not at the level you'd guess from some of the vitriol. Yes, it's sort of silly for politicians to argue about each other's families, and it's sort of un-American to ever tell anyone that they're not allowed to have an opinion about anything. But it's not like Boxer was making some sort of value judgment about Rice not having children. If Rice did have children and they weren't soldiers, she merely would've said "and your children aren't serving."
I'm no Boxer fan for sure, but the vitriol directed at her for this seems misplaced. The failure of the war itself bothers me just a bit more.
The worst comment? Mr. Limbaugh, of course:
“Here you have a rich white chick with a huge, big mouth, trying to lynch this — an African-American woman — right before Martin Luther King Day, hitting below the ovaries here.”Nice to see Rush suddenly embracing the language of college-based lefty identity politics. "Lynch"?
"Judge doesn't just bite the hand that feeds him, he barfs all over his audience. Language has degenerated into a slur of grunts, insults, Ebonics, and Valleyspeak. Slumped on La-Z-Boys equipped with built-in toilets, feeding tubes dangling from their slack jaws, the dirtbag citizenry gawk at the latest episode of Ow! My Balls! on the Violence Channel. Ass, the No. 1 movie in the nation, consists of a single, sustained butt shot with occasional flatulence on the soundtrack. (In granting Best Picture and Screenplay Oscars to this Warholian stunt, the Academy, at least, has smartened up in the five centuries since Crash.)"- The Village Voice's Nathan Lee, on the suppressed Mike Judge film "Idiocracy," finally released this week. It's rough-around-the-edges, sure, but downright hilarious at several points, as it imagines a future with, among other things, a shirtless Fox News anchor and a pimp named "Upgrayedd" (pronounced "upgrade.")
The Inquirer's Bob Ford:
"Of course, the irony is that, with the Eagles, it is always about McNabb. If he talks; if he doesn't. If he watches the game from a luxury box; if he stands on the sideline. If he spends the off-season in Arizona; if he hangs around Philadelphia. If he sells soup; if he doesn't. Always McNabb, all the time.It really is ridiculous: If McNabb sits in the press box for a game, he's criticized for not being there for his teammates. If he's on the sidelines, he's upstaging Jeff Garcia. And God forbid he should smile or make a facial expression or anything like that...
In all probability, the reason McNabb isn't making himself available is that he knows by now that he can't win. Regardless of what he might say, at least half the listening public wouldn't like it, or would think that the very act of talking was a blatant attempt to draw attention to himself and away from the gutty, gritty team-that-won't-die that has bloomed in his absence."
Thus, we get the absurdity of Eagles fans, while their team has won six straight and is in the second round of the playoffs, still obsessing over a man who's not actually playing in the games. Philly, as they say, is different from other places.
UPDATE: Case in point:
One group of Philly fans loaded up a pickup truck with imported snow in order to fire snowballs at Giants fans before yesterday's game. Even more hysterically sociopathic, the Birds supporters brought buckets to take the snow with them in order to hunt down New York fans in the parking lot.I just hope they're classy enough not to try any of that shit in New Orleans on Saturday. Because much as Philly fans have been through over the years, I'd say N.O. has had it a bit worse.
As the Jason Kidd-Joumana Kidd divorce continues to make hilarious headlines, the NBA's other most dysfunctional couple is back in the news as well. Doug and Jackie Christie have released a comedy DVD, "THe Christies: Uncut," which will poke fun at their unorthodox relationship. In one skit, Doug "plays a flatulent elderly man upset over his hair loss," according to Sports Illustrated.
If this sounds as hilarious to you as it does to me, you can buy the DVD from Jackie's website, according to SI. Except that you can't, because it's not mentioned anywhere on the site.
New York Daily News: Bonds tested positive for amphetamine, but blamed it on teammate.
I stand by my prediction that either injury, suspension, indictment, or one or more of the above will prevent Barry from breaking Aaron's record in '07.
Press Register: Man Shot in Argument Over James Brown's Height
Such a misunderstanding, because I'll bet one of them had confused the Godfather of Soul with the other James Brown ("J.B."), the host of the CBS football pregame show.
This incident comes on the heels of the recent murder in New York of boxer Kemal Kolenovic, who was shot while attempting to settle a dispute over ""which Albanian surnames were most associated with tougher and generally superior people."
"If you wanted to figure out what was happening over the last four years, you would have been infinitely better off paying attention to [newspaper correspondents'] writing than to what the president or his top generals were saying. If we fail to achieve our goals in Iraq — which the administration defines as a "unified, stable, democratic and secure nation" — it won't be the fault of the ink-stained wretches or even their blow-dried TV counterparts. To argue otherwise deflects blame from those who deserve it, in the upper echelons of the administration and the armed forces. Perhaps that's the point."-Max Boot- an arch-neocon- knocking down the absurd spin which we all know is coming- that a U.S. defeat in Iraq is all "the media"'s fault.
Bush's speech tonight was a case of "too little, too late." Had a surge happened, say, in early 2004, it may have actually made a difference, but that ship has sailed. "Failure in Iraq would be a disaster for the United States" indeed- and it will also be the first line of Dubya's obituary.
Yes, he's just as bad at sexual harassment as he is at announcing and quarterbacking. That trick, I'm guessing, was learned during his stint with the Vikings.
Bill Simmons, in today's chat, on the Hall of Fame voting:
It's an idiotic system. I hate it. Three people voted for Dante Bichette!!! How can this be a real system? I wish they would emulate the NFL and make it a committee that only had qualified people on it. Or else, we'll just let Gammons decide the inductees every year. I would be fine with this.I agree with the Gammons plan.
In the Atlantic, Virginia Postrel praises chain stores. And I see her point. Mom-and-pops have their charms, sure, but every time I drive by a Barnes and Noble I feel like I have to stop in.
Wow, it sounds like Larry Brown has no interest in coaching the 76ers. But I still say he will, by the end of 2007.
Meanwhile, Chris Webber has reportedly accepted a buyout, putting his disastrous Sixers tenure to an end. They needed to be rebuilt, and they are, but they'll still be outright unwatchable for at least a couple of years.
Paula Abdul: Simon Cowell is "like a brother -- or a lover"
Yale barbershop singers recovering after ambush NEW YORK (AFP) - Members of a close-harmony group from Yale University are recovering after being ambushed and beaten up while on tour in California.I still have no idea whether this was caused by anti-a cappella sentiment, or by anti-national anthem feelings. This being San Fran, I'm guessing it's the former.
Members of the a cappella Baker's Dozen were performing at a party in San Francisco at the new year when their rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" apparently sparked taunts and threats from fellow partygoers.
As the group left the house, they were attacked by dozens of assailants, suffering scrapes, black eyes and concussions, said Connecticut's News Channel 8.
"Here's Belichick's problem, and it has nothing to do with the fact that he dresses like he's from Appalachia and has the personality of a wet mop: He thinks he's above everybody else. He treats every Sunday with more secrecy than the US generals handle our strategy in Iraq. He believes three Super Bowl championships give him immunity against moronity. They don't."- Boston Globe columnist Brian McGrory, on Belichick's cameraman-shoving incident on Sunday. And here I thought Ron Borges was the only anti-Belichick guy at the Globe.
The Baseball Hall of Fame announcements come out this afternoon; if I had a ballot, I would vote for Ripken, Gwynn, Jim Rice, and Jack Morris. Not McGwire... at least, not the first year.
I also hope McGwire will have the decency to release some sort of statement, where he praises Ripken and Gwynn, and says he doesn't want to be the focus of Hall of Fame week, the way Pete Rose was three years ago, when he released his book the week the inductions were announced.
UPDATE: It's Gwynn and Ripken, both nearly unanimously. I also really hope that the Veterans' Committee votes Buck O'Neil in, even if it's posthumously.
News Item: Terrell Owens Fires Publicist
Let this be a lesson, PR people of the world: Don't chew gum during a nationally televised press conference. And don't tell the world that your client has too much money to have committed suicide.
Check out the Hype Machine, an aggregator of mp3 blogs through which you can find, well, just about any song you're looking for, and discover some new stuff as well. It might be enough to put me off Limewire for good.
I liked "Children of Men" an awful lot- it had an amazing visual style, several how'd-they-do-that long camera takes, a whole bunch of memorable moments, and a political message that was obvious, but not overly preachy or condescending.
But two things I couldn't believe: in the scene in which they take Clive Owen to the room where we see all the old newspapers on the walls, one of headlines is ""Kazakhstan Annihilated." Huh? Did Borat cause an international incident? I also found it kind of odd that there will still be hippies in 2027. Will people still be living in the '60s, 60 years after the '60s ended?
James Cameron, it was announced today, will end his decade-long feature directoral sabatical, and make the long-rumored virtual-reality adventure "Avatar." Should certainly be interesting, although I doubt we'll see it before 2009.
In his latest Beirut dispatch, Michael Totten describes a recent Hezbollah gathering as "like a Phish concert for terrorists."
All four division winners held serve in the NFL wild card weekend, as the Colts beat the Chiefs and the Seahawks bested the Cowboys on Saturday, while the Patriots and Eagles defeated the Jets and Giants, respectively, on Sunday.
The highlight, aside from Brian Westbrook ending Tiki Barber and Tom Coughlin's careers and Tony Romo's two fumbles in five seconds, was probably Bill Belichick shoving aside a photographer in order to shake hands with Eric Mangini. Bill's gonna have to buy that guy a car, or something.
I watched both Sunday games at Chickie's and Pete's, down the road from the actual game at Lincoln Financial Field; C&P is a great sports bar, and probably one of the top five reasons to live in Philly. Our party of ten went through six Towers of Beer in seven hours.
"The so-indie-it-hurts "Little Miss Sunshine," hits the road in search of America only to find a country that sucks out loud. Let's run it down: here, being young sucks, being old sucks, dying sucks, health-care bureaucracy sucks, beauty pageants suck, being middle-class sucks, being homosexual sucks more than you could possibly imagine, dysfunctional families suck, of course our obsession with bodily aesthetics sucks because true beauty is more than skin deep."-The Reverse Shot folks, in their year-end "11 Offenses" list. I still don't get why everyone loved that movie so much.
"No matter how fine Paine's intentions, he can't obscure the fact that "Who Killed the Electric Car?" is, at the end of the day, the tragic tale of a bunch of rich people whining because somebody took their trendy toys away."- Daniel Feinberg, on Zap2It. I watched this the other day and found it interesting, but yea, I see his point: the group of electric car-lovers consisted of a group, larging studded with D-list celebs, that very much resembled a cult. Sort of like Scientology.
My favorite part? Mel Gibson's participation, specifically when he says, of the demise of the cars, "you really have to wonder who's pulling the strings." I don't know how any saw that in the theater without audibly blurting out "The Jews!"
UPDATE: Apparently, the car has been un-killed.
I can't believe Jim Mora actually authorized Coors to use the "Playoffs???" incident in a commercial. He must need the money, after losing the Fox Sports gig.
My internet was out all weekend, and the Colts look like they're winning, so here are my amended playoffs picks:
First round: Colts over Chiefs, Patriots over Jets, Cowboys over Seahawks, Eagles over Giants
Second round: Colts over Ravens, Chargers over Patriots, Saints over Eagles, Bears over Cowboys
Title games: Chargers over Colts; Saints over Bears
Super Bowl XLI: Saints over Chargers
"Given what is happening at the Inquirer, I hope that columnists Stephen A. Smith and John Grogan do what is right and take voluntary buyouts given they have both hit the jackpot in other realms and could care less about what they write for the paper. They both mail their columns in now. Smith is preoccupied with his ESPN show and is apprently never in the city he allegedly covers. Grogan is mired in the gooey syrup that made Marley and Me such a hit and has never shown any knowledge of the region whatsoever."-Buzz Bissinger, author of "Friday Night Lights," commenting on yesterday's bloodletting at the Philadelphia Inquirer, in which more than 60 staffers were let go. I'll have more to say about this in a few days...
Keith Ellison was sworn into Congress today. He placed his hand on the Koran. And... the world didn't end. The Republic didn't collapse. Sharia law was not imposed. The terrorists didn't win. Any of this still could happen, but I'm guessing it probably won't.
Steven Spielberg will finally direct the long-awaited fourth "Indiana Jones" film, for release in 2008.
Is this a good idea? Who knows? Ford is really, really old, and it's been a very long time since the last film (I was in 5th grade, I believe.) But on the other hand, Spielberg can do wonders, and if the last few years have taught us anything, it's that franchises can be "re-booted" (Batman, Superman, Rocky, James Bond, etc.) with great success.
In a very good column about steroids, Bill Simmons points out what a joke that whole Janet Jackson brouhaha was:
"Part of our country's problem is the shortsighted way we "protect" our kids from life's harsh realities. Janet Jackson's nipple slip was such a traumatic moment for Americans that some live sporting events now run on tape-delay, and Howard Stern fled to SIRIUS to escape the clutches of the increasingly fascistic FCC. Meanwhile, any kid can glimpse Britney's crotch if he or she is even remotely familiar with Google."Seriously. The Janet nipple slip was for a fraction of a second, was not in close-up, and it was obscured by that bizarre ring thing she was wearing. Now, if Britney were to go panties-free at the Super Bowl...
With Brad Radke retiring and Francisco Liriano out for the year, the Twins enter '07 down two starters. So they've taken steps to help address the imbalance by bringing in... Sidney Ponson?
The veteran pitcher, known for his weight and drinking problems, for punching a judge on the beach in Aruba and for washing out with two teams in '06, will fit in the rotation behind Johan Santana, Carlos Silva and Boof Bonser, and will compete with a veritable who's-who of pitching prospects, including Matt Garza and Kevin Slowey.
I know the Twins seem to have an unlimited supply of young pitchers. And they did win 96 games last year. But that rotation's looking a bit thin, and I'm not so certain Ponson is the answer. And remind me to tell my dad to warn all the judges in the Minneapolis area about Ponson's impending arrival.
I got into this show big time about two years ago, but then had to stop watching for a month due to work obligations, and once I started watching again I didn't know who any of the characters were. I wish the cast and crew luck; I'm sure Rachel Bilson will someday be in much better movies than "The Last Kiss."
It's like Tice got sick of hearing how much everyone hates Childress, and wanted to set up a head-to-head comparison. Oh, please, no. Luckily, the Strib reports that Tice may be ineligible for, you guessed it, educational reasons: The U requires all head coaches to have finished college, and Tice left early.
"Later this evening, Texas Tech will come back from a 35-7 deficit against Minnesota to win the Liberty Bowl. This event occurred on the same day that Saddam Hussein was executed in Iraq. All things considered, I think Saddam had a better day than Glen Mason."-Chuck Klosterman, in an ESPN.com column that's interesting, even if he argues therein that "no one still believes" that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.
Saw "Pan's Labyrinth" tonight, and it's totally justified in its placement on many critics' top ten lists. A great, great movie- exciting, scary, and uplifting all at once, and the first Guillermo Del Toro movie I've ever liked. It's like the similarly named Jennifer Connolly film - a young girl in a fantasy world, with a baby sibling involved- except with better acting, a better story, non-laughable special effects, and a distinct lack of David Bowie.
It's a guy beating Super Mario Brothers in five minutes. (Via Caryn.)
These are contained in this week's North Star column, the first of '07.
1. “Thank You For Smoking” (Jason Reitman)
2. “The Departed” (Martin Scorsese)
3. “Stranger Than Fiction” (Marc Forster)
4. “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” (Larry Charles)
5. “Dreamgirls” (Bill Condon)
6. “A Prairie Home Companion” (Robert Altman)
7. “United 93” (Paul Greengrass)
8. “The Queen” (Stephen Frears)
9. “Cars” (John Lassiter)
10. “Casino Royale” (Martin Campbell)
Honorable mention: “Lucky Number Slevin,” “Inside Man,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “An Inconvenient Truth,” Science of Sleep,” “World Trade Center,” “Invincible,” “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” “The Black Dahlia”
Worst of the Year: “Looking For Comedy in the Muslim World,” “Strangers With Candy,” “American Dreamz,” “Failure to Launch,”
Films I Didn’t See: “Children of Men,” “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Letters From Iwo Jima,” “Little Children,” “Notes on a Scandal”
1. “The Wire” (HBO)
2. “The Shield” (FX)
3. “24” (FOX)
4. “Big Love” (HBO)
5. “The Colbert Report” (Comedy Central)
6. “South Park” (Comedy Central)
7. “How I Met Your Mother” (CBS)
8. “The Sopranos’ (HBO)
9. “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” (MSNBC)
10. “Entourage” (HBO)
- Paul Haggis’ “Crash,” a cloying, utterly false film aimed at making Hollywood liberals feel guilty about their latest racism, wins the Oscar for Best Picture.
- Muslims the world over riot over a bunch of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that ran in a Danish newspaper; after numerous deaths and burnt buildings, all but a handful of American newspapers refuse to run the cartoons.
- Basketball player Eddie Griffin is arrested in Minneapolis for driving, drunk, without a license, while masturbating and watching a porn DVD in his car. After crashing into another car, Griffin is caught on a surveillance camera offering to a buy a car (“but not a Bentley”) for the owner if he lets him off.
- Vice President Dick Cheney shoots a friend in the face in a hunting accident; after leaving the hospital, the man apologizes to the veep, as opposed to the other way around.
- The Palestinians democratically elect Hamas to represent them in their legislature, becoming the first territory in the world to democratically elect a full-on terrorist organization.
- Despite being the most incompetent executives in sports history and presiding over multiple losing seasons, neither the Knicks’ Isiah Thomas nor the Lions’ Matt Millen has yet been fired.
- Iraq continues to be a disaster, with no indication given that the president has any idea what to do. But the Iraq Study Group report offers little in the way of new solutions.
- The Cincinnati Bengals have as many player arrests as wins (8 of each.)
- Despite no experience in radio talk or comedy, David Lee Roth is for some reason given a syndicated radio show in several East Coast markets, which is so unlistenably bad that it’s canceled after less than four months.
- Proving radio programmers know nothing, they later do the same thing with Whoopi Goldberg.
- Pennsylvania state legislator reveals that he had spent $25,000 in taxpayer money on… books.
- Britney Spears begins going out underwear-free: news that would have excited most males a lot more five years ago.
- At Brandeis: A female student is arrested for assaulting a police officer with a pair of Ugg boots, a masturbating mystery man haunts the tennis courts, and it is revealed that disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff ’81 only donated $50 over the course of 25 years.
- New York Post gossip writer Jared Paul Stern is nabbed by the FBI after he attempts to extort Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle with immunity from the column in exchange for cash.
- Slobodan Milosevic and Kenneth Lay both die before they can face punishment for their crimes; Saddam Hussein, thankfully, dies just in time.
- Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmanenijad continues to cause trouble, including continuing to pursue nuclear weapons, and hosting a holocaust denial conference.
- A Long Island minor league hockey team with mob ties is accused of giving some of the team’s players no-show construction jobs.
- Mel Gibson is arrested on a DUI in Malibu; he calls the arresting officer “sugar tits” and makes anti-Semitic remarks too.
- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen is criticized for calling columnist Jay Mariotti a homosexual slur; Guillen later apologizes, calling Mariotti a “piece of shit” instead.
- A relatively innocuous New York Times travel section article about Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld’s summer homes in Maryland is interpreted by the conservative blogosphere as a murder plot.
- CNN’s Nancy Grace grills Melinda Duckett, the mother of a missing 2-year-old, on her show; Duckett commits suicide the next day.
- At the University of Northern Colorado, the backup punter is arrested for stabbing the starting punter.
- Michael Richards, who played Kramer on “Seinfeld,” screams racial slurs from the stage of a Los Angeles comedy club; he later gives the most uncomfortable apology in history, on Letterman.
- The 94-year-old Negro Leagues legend Buck O’Neil is inexplicably kept out of the Baseball Hall of Fame in a special election; he later passes away.
- Terrell Owens is a football distraction once again, most notably with his drug overdose/suicide attempt in September.
- Three words: Screech sex tape.
- Congressman Mark Foley resigns after it’s revealed he had engaged in inappropriate instant messages with male pages; several top officials, it turned out, had known about it.
- A terror alert about dirty bombs exploding at seven NFL stadiums turns out to be a hoax, that was part of an online “writing duel.”
- After Keith Ellison becomes the first Muslim elected to Congress, a parade of conservative pundits become apoplectic that he wants to swear his oath on the Koran.
- George Allen’s political career ends after he’s videotaped using a French African racial slur, “macaca.”
- And worst of all, News Corp. goes into business with O.J. Simpson on a book and special called “If I Did It.”
Athlete of the Year: Jason McElwain, the autistic manager of a high school basketball team near Rochester, N.Y., who was allowed to play in his team’s final home game, and responded by scoring 20 points, including six three-pointers, in just a few minutes of action. His story has already been optioned for a “Remember the Titans”-like movie.
Athletic Achievement of the Year: Sal Fasano, then a backup catcher with the Phillies, admitted in an interview with the Philadelphia City Paper that in his minor-league days, he would drink 30 beers and a fifth of Southern Comfort every night.
Quote of the Year:
"I think that you flatter Isiah Thomas far too much by suggesting that he is merely one of a number of atrocious GMs. The truth is that Rob Babcock and Billy King are Einstein next to him. The mess he is creating right now in New York will be studied by business school students 50 years from now alongside Enron and pets.com."– Malcolm Gladwell, while chatting with Bill Simmons.
Film Critic Quote of the Year:
"I’m giving "Strangers With Candy" one star for every laugh it gave me [zero]. The Amy Sedaris comedy based on the failed TV show isn't the least funny film of the year - but for that it should send a thank-you note to "United 93...' The point of the movie is to take down white trash, but can trash be taken any lower than it already is? Sedaris and crew are doing not satire but manic caricature, trying to bring life to feeble punch lines by screaming them. This movie is worse than flying from JFK to Singapore in the middle seat between two chatty Scientologists. It's worse than do-it-yourself rhinoplasty. It's even worse than college improv."– Kyle Smith of the New York Post.
Press Critic Quote of the Year:
"The press can’t win. When The Times publishes a piece like its domestic spying exposé, the paper is criticized by the left for sitting on the piece for over a year, and excoriated by the right for being unpatriotic in a time of war. The polarization of American politics has grown so severe that partisan critics now blame the media for failing to bring down their political enemies. Unless bloggers on both sides of the aisle understand that it’s not the job of the press to do their political bidding, the media better get used to being a punching bag."- Gabriel Sherman, in the New York Observer.
YouTube of the Year:
Cartoon of the Year: A child of Palestine, a child of Israel.
Blog Post of the Year: Andrew Sullivan's "alternate-universe" blog of what would have happened over the years if there had been no 9/11, in New York Magazine.
Tabloid Front Page of the Year: "Second Graders With Crack" (Philadelphia Daily News, March 1).
Headline of the Year (Best): "This is Your Brain on Jugs: What Sexy Women Do to Men's Thinking Skills" (Slate, April 21).
Headline of the Year (Worst): Wheelchair-Bound Grandmother, 37, Was City's 355th Homicide (Philadelphia Daily News, Nov. 14).
Newspaper Piece of the Year: Claire Hoffman's interview/interrogation of Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis, which started with the subject threatening to rape the reporter, and ended with her punching him in the face (Los Angeles Times, Aug. 6).
Oped of the Year: "What Year is It," Ross Douthat's look at how everyone follows politics by drawing historical parallels. (Wall Street Journal, Aug. 15).
Press Conference of the Year: Dennis Green's, after the Cardinals' heartbreaking loss to the Bears on Monday Night Football October 16, screaming "the Bears are who we THOUGHT they were," and "if you want to crown them, crown their ass."
Crime Reporting Piece of the Year: Wendy Ruderman's piece on a swastika-tatooed ex-con in West Deptford, NJ, who was living in a metal container, with a prostitute, outside the home of his ex-wife. (Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 11.)
Correction of the Year:The Associated Press, in their injury report of June 29, accidentally reported that Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood had torn his labia, rather than his labrum. The correction came too late to prevent the incorrect note from appearing in more than 100 newspapers.
Eckstein Award Winner (for achievements by non-Jews with Jewish-sounding names): David Eckstein himself, of course, though I’m sure he’s happier about being World Series MVP. He beats out Bears quarterback (and 2003 winner) Rex Grossman, and Wyoming Gov. David Freudenthal.
Chutzpah Award Winner: Saddam Hussein, prior to his death, for complaining that the judge in his war crimes trial was biased, because he was from a town against which Saddam had once carried out a poison gas attack.
Burn Your Siddur Award Winner: Baruch Marzel, chairman of Israel's United Jewish Front party, for publishing a letter criticizing Israeli model Linor Abargil for dating Lithuanian basketball player Sarunas Jasikevicius, who was playing in Israel at the time but is not Jewish. In order to make her aware of "the dangers associated with marrying gentiles," Marzel left his phone number for Abargil, and said she was free to call at any time.