March 30, 2007

Today on

Don't tell Eddie Griffin, but Sirius is now offering live in-car TV. It's only kids' shows, though, and only in the back seat. Also, E-Gear (really, my colleague Audrey) is mentioned in today's New York Times.

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

Frothy Mixture: The Movie

America's worst ex-Senator, Rick Santorum, has announced this post-political career plans. He's joining a Pittsburgh law firm, he may become an Inquirer op-ed columnist, and... he plans to make documentaries.

What will the first be about? It's "the relationship between radical Islam and the 'radical leftists in various countries around the world.'" Because as we all know, there's nothing more liberal than radical Islam.

For those more inclined to take in Mideast analysis from someone who isn't a complete lunatic, Michael Totten's latest dispatch from Iraq has him meeting with some Iranian exiles in Kurdistan who are... unreconstructed Communists. So going by the Santorum thesis, they must be natural allies of the Islamist mullahs in Tehran, right? Uh, no, not so much. Here's Michael:

Whatever they think of our politics, they know very well that we are not enemies. Their enemies rule in Tehran, as do ours. 3,000 members of the Komalah Party are “martyrs,” as Kamal had earlier put it, and not one of them was killed by an American.
Whoever ends up giving Santorum funding for his sub-Moore garbage film, their money would be much better spent on Michael Totten.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:08 PM | Comments (1)

Make Love Not War

News Item: Kids Allegedly Have Sex During Assembly on Killing

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:07 PM | Comments (1)

Quote of the Day

From a Philadelphia Inquirer column by Annette John-Hall:

"Sounds ridiculous, but Obama isn't the only one being forced to validate his black card. Eagles quarterback McNabb, often criticized for not being street-tough enough, and mayoral candidate Michael Nutter, tagged as "Watermelon Man" by political wannabe T. Milton Street Sr., are vexed by the same image problem. That somehow acceptance by whites makes them suspect to blacks."
Damn, I'd been planning to write a whole column on the many McNabb/Obama parallels. Maybe I still will.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:07 PM | Comments (0)

Headline of the Year Nomineee

Reuters: Catholics Angry Over Naked Chocolate Jesus

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:06 PM | Comments (0)

Life Imitates "Crash"

News Item: Philly cop accused of sexual assault during traffic stop

Stay tuned, because next week, I'm sure that same cop will end up saving the person he assaulted from a burning car.

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

March 29, 2007

Ah, Philly

A.J. Daulerio of Deadspin previews the Phillies season and brings back memories of Philly baseball of yore:

By the time the third inning rolled around, Vet Stadium's upper deck levels had turned into a Larry Clark film: tin foil bowls being inconspicuously smoked, passed out girls getting felt up, lackluster fistfights, cascading vomit -- just a glorious time.
When we talk about the magic of baseball in springtime, that's exactly what I have in mind. See you at the ballpark!

UPDATE: Best line is in the comments:

"Dude, we're up 13-2 in the 9th inning."
"They scored two runs? BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!"
That must mean it's time for an E-A-G-L-E-S chant.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:45 PM | Comments (0)

For People Who Didn't Think Vomiting Kermit and Douchebag Kermit Were Wrong Enough

Kermit the Frog covers Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" via Johnny Cash. What I'd prefer to see is Trent Reznor doing "The Rainbow Connection."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:44 PM | Comments (1)

Headline of the Year Nominee

Michigan Daily: Masturbating Trespasser Booted From Frat

You might think this sort of thing in frat culture wouldn't be rare, but... the intruder was a female. I thought being a masturbating trespasser was how you got IN the frat, but I digress.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:43 PM | Comments (2)

That Tierney Piece

The profile of Inquirer/Daily News owner Brian Tierney that's in the current Philadelphia magazine had been sitting in my to-read pile for almost a week, but I finally got to it last night and... my lord.

Tierney, as you may or may not know, was briefly my boss, as he purchased the papers along with Broad Street Community Newspapers while I was working for the BSCN-owned Trend Leader. I'm not bitter about being laid off, as I'm in a much better situation now, and I know Tierney himself didn't choose me, personally, for the layoff list. But reading the piece, uh, hmm...

Bruce Toll, another co-owner of the paper, has this anecdote told about him:

Bruce Toll, vice chairman of Toll Brothers, has embarked on a second career as a peripatetic investor, buying into a biotech start-up, a bagel chain, a chain of for-profit methadone clinics, a for-profit kidney dialysis company and a huge auto mall. When I asked him if the newspaper business was like any other he’d been in, he said, “No. This is the hardest business I’ve invested in. And there’s so much unknown. In methadone clinics, everyone who signs up keeps going for the rest of their life. Once you’re there, you’re there. Same with dialysis. ... But with newspapers, you’ve got to resell the newspaper every day, with advertising and such.” Toll is the chairman of Philadelphia Media Holdings. In Toll’s office, there’s a drawing, given to him by his kids, of Scrooge McDuck, the money-worshiping villain from the old DuckTales cartoons. (Toll is a notorious cost-cutter — he says his tactic is to look for costs that can be cut but don’t affect anyone, “like health care.")
So, let's review: Methodone: good (and, for profit.) Health care: bad. The fact that someone would actually consider Scrooge McDuck a figure of admiration, I suppose, validates that old adage about the rich being different from you and me. When Toll watches "It's a Wonderful Life," does he root for Mr. Potter?

Here's the eeriest part, though. A couple of weeks before I was laid off, my office held a blind auction, in which my prize was... an Easy Button. Others won bottles of liquor or sushi kits, but I got the Easy Button. The day I was laid off, in a bit of gallows humor, I made some joke along the lines of... "They laid off 70 people? That was easy."

From the piece:

But in other ways, Tierney has made the publisher’s suite his own. On the wall, a new sign reads YOU GET THE CULTURE YOU’RE WILLING TO ACCEPT. There’s a red “EASY” button from Staples next to his iMac; when you press the button, a voice says, “That was easy.”
I guess they really work, just like in the commercials!

Philebrity, meanwhile, has gone through the profile... and illustrated it with YouTubes from Monster movies!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:39 PM | Comments (1)

The Brady Bunch

When I watched the clips of Peyton Manning on SNL this weekend, I realized there was a really, really obvious monologue joke that he had an opening to make, but didn't. But, it turns out, he did, says the Boston Herald's Inside Track column:

"What do Tom Brady and the circus have in common?” Peyton said Joe asked him. “They both have two more rings than you.” Well, according to former writer Dan Shanoff, that was not how the joke originally went. In the dress rehearsal, Burlington homegal Amy Poehler was dressed in a Pats jersey and she is the one who delivered the “two more rings than you” line.
To which, Peyton replied “That’s not the ONLY thing he’ll have two more of . . .”

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:36 PM | Comments (1)

In My Minor-League Basketball League There is Problem

Michael Ray Richardson, the former NBA star who was suspended from the league multiple times for drugs, is back in the news, and it's because he has been suspended again. But not from the NBA, and not for drugs.

Richardson, now coaching the Albany Patroons of the CBA, was banished for the rest of the season yesterday after making several controversial comments about Jews. When asked by reporters about his contract situation, Richardson replied that he needn't worry, because he had retained "big-time Jew lawyers." then he said...

"Are you kidding me? They are. They've got the best security system in the world. Have you ever been to an airport in Tel Aviv? They're real crafty. Listen, they are hated all over the world, so they've got to be crafty."

And he continued, "They got a lot of power in this world, you know what I mean?" he said. "Which I think is great. I don't think there's nothing wrong with it. If you look in most professional sports, they're run by Jewish people. If you look at a lot of most successful corporations and stuff, more businesses, they're run by Jewish. It's not a knock, but they are some crafty people."

Yes, it was a dumb, dumb thing to say, and yes, he should be more media-savvy than to mouth off about that sort of thing to reporters. And no, he probably shouldn't have used the word "crafty."

But come on- this is nowhere near Mel Gibson, Michael Richards, or Tim "I hate gay people" Hardaway. After all, Richardson was praising Jewish people, both for their resourcefulness and military acumen. Clumsily and sort of offensively, yes, but praise is praise.

The biggest surprise of this whole story- the CBA still exists! I thought Isiah Thomas ran it into the ground. Though in that case, unlike with the Knicks, he wasn't given a promotion, an extension, and a raise for destroying the formerly valuable basketball property with which he was entrusted.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:34 PM | Comments (0)

Are They Trying to Have a Slow Start?

News Item: Twins Keep Silva, Send Garza Down

Yes, last year was awesome, when they looked dead in April but crawled back until winning the division the last day of the season. But come on- baseball doesn't give points for degree of difficulty. Still, you just know Garza, Glen Perkins and Kevin Slowey will all be in the rotation by my birthday (July 28) if not by Memorial Day.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)

Snow Job

The Onion's website yesterday had an audio parody that purported to feature White House press secretary Tony Snow "evading questions" about his own mental health. The bit, called "Tony Snow Deftly Sidesteps Question of Own Sanity," was a mock press conference in which Snow sidesteps questions from reporters, only instead of about Bush, they're about him.

You'd think it sort of odd that they'd go with this sort of item, only a couple of days after Snow announced that his cancer had returned. But even odder, is that while this sort of thing- left-leaning humor web site mocks Republican with cancer!- seems tailor-made for the Fox News/blog Outrage Machine, but I haven't even seen it mentioned by anyone. Maybe conservatives don't read The Onion, but the paper has gotten lots of attention the last few days, what with its launch of a new 24-hour news project.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:25 PM | Comments (1)

Does This Mean Steven Hill Has to Run Too?

News Item: "Law & Order" Re-runs May Be Pulled if Thompson Runs

At issue is the "equal time" rule. But even more of a problem is for TNT- how will they fill that 10 hours per day of programming?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:23 PM | Comments (2)

One Down, Two To Go

News Item: Joe Buck to give up Fox Pregame Show Job

Now, he's merely the lead announcer for both baseball and football.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:22 PM | Comments (2)

March 28, 2007

Today's Writings

On E-Gear, I look at the latest baseball/DirecTV developments, while on the main page, my colleagues write on the new Xbox Elite, as well as the first-ever live-TV-enabled cell phones.

And also, for you Philly people, I have a piece in this week's PhillyEdge picking the ten best local sports blogs. It's not online, but it's available in numerous local bars and bookstores.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)

Best Reason Yet to Support Fred Thompson

News Item: James Dobson Criticizes Fred Thompson

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:12 PM | Comments (0)

Wrong Pac Man

Yes, very very wrong. This video takes all the Pac man Jones/Pacman jokes a step further:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:10 PM | Comments (3)

Burning Man

News Item: Former Pitcher Ugueth Urbina Convicted; Sentenced to 14 Years

My co-workers and I spent a whole hour yesterday debating how to shoehorn a certain Pink Floyd reference into a headline- but I think Philly Sports Net beat us out (scroll down).

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

March 27, 2007

Film Critic Quote of the Week

Neill Cumpston, the guy who wrote that review that called "300" "ass-ruling," is back, and he's seen "Grindhouse":

This one was directed by Quentin Tarantino, who’s been an actor in stuff like RESERVOIR DOGS and PULP FICTION (he’s also in PLANET OF TERROR and DEATH PROOF). This is his first directing job and the dude KICKS ALL SPECTRUM OF ASS. He kicks ass that isn’t even in the ass area. Like, his director skills are so stripper-with-chainsaw good they make you grow asses on other parts of your body that he then kicks. I hope he directs more movies. I would see them, burn down the theater, and then call the fire department so I could tell all the fireman about what a kick-ass movie it was. When they started to attack me with axes, I’d fly away because Quentin’s movie would have given me ninja flight.
(He's just kidding about Quentin, kids.)

I'm seeing this one next Wednesday. As for current cinema: "Shooter" is a laughably silly thriller, sort of a sillier, far-left-wing version of "24," that's redeemed only by a great chase scene through Philly, and a cackling performance by Ned Beatty as an evil senator who might as well be wearing a T-shirt that says "Dick Cheney."

Meanwhile, "Blades of Glory" was considerably funnier than it had any right to be, especially since a whole lot could have gone wrong with it that doesn't. A movie like that adds up to the sum of its gags, and in this one the majority of them work. Ferrell's at his best, Amy Poehler and Will Arnett are great villains, and the filmmakers get around the whole problem of figure skating being lame by giving all the skating scenes laughably awful special effects. And Craig T. Nelson is in it as in it as a coach who's only ever called "Coach"- the best gag of its kind since the "Judge Reinhold's Mock Trial" episode of "Arrested Development."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:32 PM | Comments (1)

Quote of the Day

Matthew Yglesias, on the bizarre arrest of an aide to Sen. James Webb for carrying a loaded gun into a Senate office building:

Why not let Senators pack heat as they roam the corridors? Then, next time Dick Cheney tells Pat Leahy to go fuck himself, Leahy can pull out his piece and fill Cheney's belly with lead. Even better, if Cheney tries to shoot back, he'll probably wind up missing and taking out half the Republican caucus.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:31 PM | Comments (1)

Great Vengeance and FURIOUS Anger

A bizarre line in George Will's column today, about anger overtaking reason in American life:

Under the headline "San Franciscans Hurl Their Rage at Parking Patrol," the New York Times recently described the verbal abuse and physical violence -- there were 28 attacks in 2006 -- inflicted on parking enforcement officers in a city that has a surplus of liberalism and a shortage of parking places. Parking is so difficult that George Anderson, a mental health expert, has stopped holding lectures there because his audiences arrive seething about their parking frustrations. Anderson represents the American Association of Anger Management Providers.
Uh, isn't it possible that the reason people at Anderson 's lectures are so angry is that... he's an anger management specialist, and therefore angry people are interested in seeing him? This isn't to say that people in San Fran aren't barking mad- lots of them are- but still.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:30 PM | Comments (0)


The Philadelphia Daily News has apparently taken to overusing the word "thug," Philadelphia Will Do says. It may make sense, in these 400-murders-a-year times, but the Daily News will never catch the New York Post, which never refers to criminals as anything other than "thugs," "vermin," or "animals." Unless, of course, they're talking about the Mafia, in which case they're "dapper gentlemen" and "victims of overzealous prosecution."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)

YouTube Clip of the Day

On this one, from Bloggingheads, blogger/journalist Garance Franke-Ruta and blogger/law professor Ann Althouse are talking about everyone's favorite topic, civility in the blogosphere. But then, Franke-Ruta mentions the "Jessica Valenti Breast Controversy" (don't ask) and then Ann comes undone. Garance spends the rest of the clip looking absolutely horrified.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)

It Must Tilt Just Right Then

Uber-liberal blogger Green Greenwald, March 27: "The Politico, is a pernicious new presence in our media landscape... nothing more than the Drudge Report dressed up with the trappings of mainstream media credibility."

Uber-conservative (er, "center-right") blogger Hugh Hewitt, March 20: "Is Politico tilting left"?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)

We Already Have That; It's Called "The Daily Show"

News Item: The Onion to launch online news videos

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)

Sports Critic Quote of the Day

"ESPN has dropped Theismann from its MNF booth. Now there are only four most idiotic decisions left in sports -- Isiah Thomas as Knicks GM, Mike Hargrove as Mariners manager, Norv Turner as Chargers coach, and "This Is Our Country" as Chevy's heavy-rotation ad suicide."
- Isaac, at ALOTT5MA. But he left out Matt Millen, and all three of Joe Buck's jobs.
Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:26 PM | Comments (2)

What's With Drivers Named Eddie Griffin?

News Item: Comedian Griffin Crashes, Totals $1.5 million Ferrari

Still, what the other Eddie Griffin did was much, much worse.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:26 PM | Comments (1)

March 26, 2007

Will Hillary Be Doing This in 2011?

John Kerry is on "The Daily Show," flogging a new book he wrote about the importance of the environment. Yes, a defeated Democratic presidential candidate, deciding that rather than run again, he'll devote his full-time energies to spreading Earth awareness. What an original, groundbreaking idea. It's cutting-edge thinking like that that led Kerry to... fail to defeat one of the worst presidents in history.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:29 PM | Comments (1)

Say Hello to Takeo

The Eagles' long search for a linebacker has ended, at least partially, as the team today acquired Takeo Spikes from Buffalo, along with quarterback Kelly Holcomb, for defensive tackle Darwin Walker.

It's the sort of deal the Eagles rarely make- a trade for a 30ish veteran, and a linebacker to boot- but Spikes is a real good player, and they didn't need Walker with all the DTs they have. Holcomb, though? I don't get that one, yet I highly doubt he'll ever actually get into a game for the Eagles.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:50 PM | Comments (0)

Ten Minutes 'Til Bauer

(SPOILERS!) On tonight's episode "24," rather than rip off themselves, decided to rip off... "Rain Man." Yes, you read that right- one of the terrorists just happened to have an autistic savant brother. It was bound to happen sooner or later, right?

Couple that with the increasingly ridiculous president/VP storylines- the vice president would really do this to the president who put him on the ticket? Palmer woke up, was instantly lucid, and was briefed on the events of the last five hours in about five minutes?- and the latest mole hunt, which uncovered no mole at all- and you can really say this is the most ridiculous season ever, even with lots of competition. And what ever happened with Logan? Did he die? If so, wouldn't anyone care to maybe mention it?

Even sadder than that? This is also the season when "24" has started to intrude in real-life politics.

Still, I really think fans of this show will look back at the "Rain Man" episode as a real "jump the shark" moment. What's next? A "Driving Miss Daisy" homage?

UPDATE: Another problem: That whole "never ever mention the name of a Mideast country" rule.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)

It's Certainly Intelligently Designed

The "couch gag" in Sunday's Simpsons episode featured Homer "evolving" from a single cell organism to his present form. The first truly brilliant gag on that show in many years.

Meanwhile, I bailed on "American Dad" long, long ago, but supposedly last night's episode riffed for an entire half hour on Jewish women, JDate, and Brandeis University. I had no idea they were in the habit of ripping off material directly from my best friend's brain.

(Via Sepinwall)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:45 PM | Comments (3)

And You Thought Philly's Fans Were Tough

News Item: Pakistan Cricket Coach Assassinated After Loss

Philly can still be tough though- Ryan Howard blew up at reporters yesterday due to frustration over his current slump. The season, you may remember, hasn't even friggin' started yet.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:44 PM | Comments (1)

"24: Liberal or Conservative," Cont'd

Kevin Drum looks at the question himself; I pondered it two years ago. The answer that we both reached? A little of both.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:41 PM | Comments (0)

Finally, Some Good Announcer News

News Item: ESPN drops Joe Theismann from "Monday Night Football" booth, replaces him with Ron Jaworski

Theissman, the king of the obvious observation, will surely not be missed; Jaws' smart take on the game will be a welcome addition. Plus, Jaworski was a much better quarterback.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:40 PM | Comments (1)

One Shining Moment, Indeed

This sounds like a Bill Simmons story, I know, but I swear it's true. My dad was in town this weekend, and we were watching the NCAA tournament .We turned on the Florida/Oregon game, he saw Joakim Noah, and he asked, "is this the womens' tournament"?

A common mistake, for sure.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:39 PM | Comments (0)

Today's Writings

I conclude my look at Israel and the elections in this week's North Star column, and also talk a bit about the new Apple TV on E-Gear.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:35 PM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2007

Today on

About that Google phone? Um, yea, not so much. Also, NBC and Fox are working on a YouTube competitor, and may bring in Time Warner and other conglomerates. In the tradition of "GooTube," "JewTube," and "SueTube," the word on the street for this one is "MeTooTube."

Meanwhile, on Dealerscope, Sharp AQUOS becomes the Official High Definition TV of Major League Baseball. I was on the conference call and kept expecting someone to start yelling at them about DirecTV in the middle of it, but that didn't happen.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:50 PM | Comments (1)

My High School Experience Suddenly Makes a Whole Lot More Sense

News Item: Minnesota Has Nation's Shyest Men, Loneliest Women

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:49 PM | Comments (0)

You Can't Teach Talent

Sid Hartman, on the Vikings' sad quarterback situation:

Brad Childress describes it as a quarterback classroom, where Vikings quarterbacks Tarvaris Jackson, Brooks Bollinger and Drew Henson are meeting every morning with quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers and then doing some throwing on the field after that.
Oh, I'm so excited! That group would be sorry enough as it is, but when you consider that they have no one whatsoever to throw to... it's gonna be a long year next year.

As for the David Carr possibility... I always thought he was a victim in Houston of a bad offensive line and not having the right players around him, and that he could flourish in a better situation. Except... I'm not so sure the Vikes ARE a better situation. Not with Troy Williamson and Bobby Wade as their two best receivers.

Brad Childress is clearly emulating the coaching style of his mentor, Andy Reid, in his own job. But the problem is, he's taken all the negative parts of Reid- the arrogance with the media, the belief in his system above all else, the lack of interest in bringing in good receivers- and rejected all the positive ones (such as... actually knowing what he's doing, and winning games.)

That said, I still feel better about the Vikes than the Raiders- I mean, they really want to reunite Culpepper and Moss, even though they're both pretty much done?

UPDATE: The Vikes had said they wouldn't trade for Carr, but they don't have to, now that he's been cut.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:49 PM | Comments (1)

Linking to the Links

This is one of the greatest cartoons I've seen this year, from Don Asmussen of the San Francisco Chronicle. Now all he has to do is solve the Zodiac murders, and he'll be the most famous cartoonist in Chronicle history.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:48 PM | Comments (0)

In Retrospect, They Were Totally Wrong In Thinking ESPN the Magazine Would be "Phat"

This list of the ten greatest basketball-related TV commercials has been rightfully pilloried, mostly because of its lack of any of the Jordan/Mars Blackmon bits. I have a different complaint: "All Nude, Tastefully Done" was left out completely:

I really think that was the high point of Marbury's career.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:47 PM | Comments (0)

Most Disturbing Story of the Day

Don King is meeting with the Pope in Rome. And that's not even the worst part (from Page Six):

March 15, 2007 -- WHEN Ana Carril-Grumberg read on Page Six yesterday that boxing promoter Don King is scheduled to meet Pope Benedict XVI next week, she called us to say that King's son, Eric, owes her $5,250 in child support for their daughter Nathalie, 16. "I want the pope to intervene," Carril-Grumberg said. From Paris, King responded, "I didn't sleep with her. My son may be a naughty boy, but he's a grown man." King characterized Carril-Grumberg as a gold-digger: "She thought she was striking gold, oil actually, because it's black," laughed King. But getting serious, he said, "I'll ask my son when I get back. If he's got obligations, I'll tell him to take care of them."
Because there's no better idea for baby mama-drama than to let the Pontiff handle it.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:47 PM | Comments (1)

March 22, 2007

That Clay Aiken/Jesus Video

Here it is. I'm not sure how I feel about living on the same planet as whoever came up with this. (Explanation here.)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:39 PM | Comments (4)

What What What???

News Item: Minnesota Hires Tubby Smith Away From Kentucky

I mean... who saw that one coming? A coach leaving one of college basketball's marquee schools, where he's won a national championship, to take over... the Gophers? And here I thought Sid Hartman's constant agitating for Larry Brown or Flip Saunders was mere wishful thinking.

And in more good MN sports news, the Twins' stadium appears ready to proceed. Now if only they can be talked into putting Matt Garza in the rotation instead of Sidney Ponson...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:34 PM | Comments (1)

Edwards Continues

Contradicting earlier reports, John Edwards announced today that despite a cancer recurrence for his wife, Elizabeth, he plans to continue his campaign for the presidency. I don't plan to vote for him, but I must admire the class with which he handled this. Some people, alas, have different opinions on that matter.

Mrs. Edwards made quite an impression on me during the '04 campaign, as the rare political wife who actually seems authentic. She will certainly be in my thoughts as she battles cancer.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:33 PM | Comments (1)

Today's Writings

I follow up, again, on the DirecTV stuff, at Dealerscope, another of our magazine sites. I swear- I'm writing about things here that don't have anything to do with baseball.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)

Cathy Seipp, RIP

The conservative journalist and blogger passed away from lung cancer yesterday, at the age of 49. The tributes are pouring in from all over the blogs, and on Cathy's own blog too.

I never agreed much with Cathy's politics, but I always found her a funny and engaging writer, back when she was part of the old New York Press, up to her more recent blog work. She will be greatly missed.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:26 PM | Comments (0)

Bad Inky, Bad Bad

News Item: Inquirer pulls TV column from Gail Shister

Shister, Brandeis class of 1974, is one of the nation's most respected TV writers, and it's really hard to understand this decision. How can a hard-working reporter like Shister get the hook, when Stephen A. Smith, whose column seems to be about his fifth priority, gets to hang around?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:25 PM | Comments (0)

Mr. 6000

This is this blog's 6000th post. Thanks so much for reading these past five years.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:20 PM | Comments (1)

March 21, 2007

Today on

Three things:

- HD DVD defends itself in the format war by tying itself to a bunch of Oscar-winning movies... which are also available on Blu-ray (Plus, they don't give out Oscars for the DVDs.)
- overtakes to become the top sports web portal, ending a streak that goes back to the days of ESPNET Sportszone. You could attribute the change to anything from increased competition to the pay content wall to the death of Ralph Wiley- but we all know the real reason is that everyone is sick of that video that plays whenever you open ESPN.
- And finally, the price of PS3 may finally drop, which may put it into line with the sales figures of Xbox. No, not 360- I mean the original Xbox.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:40 PM | Comments (2)

Because Summer of '69 Would've Been Inappropriate

The video below may very well shatter the Unintentional Comedy Scale: It's Clay Aiken singing a cover of Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do (I Do It For You)"... juxtaposed with a montage of Jesus being crucified. Just wrong on so many different levels that it would take months to properly enumerate them.

UPDATE: Damn, looks like it was pulled. I'll see if it pops up elsewhere.

UPDATE II: Here it is.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:39 PM | Comments (1)

He Needed To Come Up With Something That Would Make "Studio 60" Look Like a Success

News Item: Aaron Sorkin Readies Broadway Adaptation of Flaming Lips' "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots"

I like Sorkin and I really like that album. But that project? I don't know... Because if there's anything Broadway audiences are known for, it's their love of obscure indie rock.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:38 PM | Comments (3)

Inevitable Next Step: David Carr, Viking

News Item: Texans Acquire Matt Schaub From Falcons

I predict the Vikes will see if they can get Brady Quinn in the draft, and if they can't, it's all about Carr. Am I excited? Not really, but better him than Brad Johnson, Tarvaris Jackson, or Trent Green.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:37 PM | Comments (0)

They're cheap... They're not committed to Winning... They're Cheap... They're Not Committed to Winning...

News Item: Eagles sign DT Reagor to three-year deal

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:36 PM | Comments (0)

Compared to Newspapers These Days, Even Brandeis Looks Good

News Item: Columnist Eileen McNamara Quits Boston Globe, Will Teach at Brandeis Full Time

McNamara, whose writing I always liked, has taught at the 'deis before, including while I was there, but I never had the chance to take any of her classes. Aside from Jon Carroll, another recent media-to-academia refugee, I never learned nearly as much from my journalism classes as I did from the newspaper.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:35 PM | Comments (0)

Two Great Humor Pieces

The New Yorker bellies up to the kids' table, with the kind of seriously funny, accessable essay that's usually beneath them. Also, Michael Currie Schaffer of TNR makes fun of Joe Lieberman, and why I've wasted time with this blog post when I should be off fighting Islamic radicalism. Schaffer's an Inquirer guy, and I'm proud to work around the corner from him.

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

He's Not Right, But I Wish He Was

News Item: Schwarznegger calls Rush Limbaugh "irrelevant."

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

March 20, 2007


Here's a video, leaked for the first time today, of director David O. Russell screaming at Lily Tomlin on the set of the 2004 movie "I Heart Huckabee's":

Keep in mind: Russell was going crazy in order to predict his vision for a movie that was complete nonsense. And it's not like Tomlin knows anything about the medium; she only made 15 different movies with Robert Altman.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:43 PM | Comments (5)

Today on

I look at YouTube's first annual video awards, and also a new study showing that the average number of channels in U.S. households has exceeded 100 for the first time. Take what Bruce said, and almost double it.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:30 PM | Comments (0)

Gaffe of the Day

Mitt Romney, in Miami to campaign among anti-Castro Cubans, used the phrase "Patria o muerte, venceremos," meaning "Fatherland or death, we shall overcome," mistakenly believing it's an anti-Castro catchphrase. In fact, it's a phrase Fidel uses himself. Oops. When Romney next visits a synagogue, aides should make sure to scrub his speech of any accidental "Mein Kampf" quotes.

Runner-up goes to Al Sharpton who, while protesting that three of the five cops in the Sean Bell shooting were charged with manslaughter and not murder, meant to proclaim "all five officers should have been charged," but mistakenly blurted out "all five officers should have been shot." Though in Al's case, I suppose that's less a gaffe than a Freudian slip.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:26 PM | Comments (1)

That "One Third" Is Also Known as "The Executive Branch"

News Item: One-third of Washington, DC, population is illiterate

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:24 PM | Comments (2)

Beatle Steroids

Chuck Klosterman discusses steroids in the NFL, through the prism of the Beatles:

"It can be strongly argued that the most important date in the history of rock music was Aug. 28, 1964. This was the day Bob Dylan met the Beatles in New York City's Hotel Delmonico and got them high. Obviously, a lot of people might want to disagree with this assertion, but the artistic evidence is hard to ignore. The introduction of marijuana altered the trajectory of the Beatles' songwriting, reconstructed their consciousness and prompted them to make the most influential rock albums of all time. After the summer of 1964, the Beatles started taking serious drugs, and those drugs altered their musical performance. Though it may not have been their overt intent, the Beatles took performance-enhancing drugs. And this is germane to sports for one reason: Absolutely no one holds it against them. No one views "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver" as "less authentic" albums, despite the fact that they would not (and probably could not) have been made by people who weren't on drugs."
And speaking of steroids, now comes news that 11 pro wrestlers have been linked to the Albany/Florida probe. The biggest names involved are Edge, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, and the late Eddie Guerrero, who died of a heart attack in late 2005.

A commenter on asks if they're going to "put an asterisk in the record books" next to every WWE champion who used steroids. I think it would be easier to put an asterisk next to every champion who didn't.

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

Sports YouTube of the Day

During an NIT game, an injured player for DePaul is shown eating a giant tub of popcorn on the bench. The worst part: the announcers spend thirty seconds singing the player's praises, and neglect to mention the whole popcorn thing. (From Deadspin.)

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


What day do you have in the "Gonzales resigns" pool? I say Wednesday.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:32 AM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2007


I saw it last night, and it is truly, truly ass-ruling. The Xerxes-as-'70s-David Bowie was probably my favorite part. Though between that and the various Third World villains, I'm sure the ethnic studies academics of the world will be picking this one apart for years to come.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:29 PM | Comments (1)

New Writings

In today's North Star column- the first of a two-parter- I look at how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict fits into the '08 race. Also, at E-Gear, some indications that Blu-ray might be winning the format war. Now, they're talking about taking down DVD itself, not just HD-DVD.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:27 PM | Comments (1)

Death of a T-Ball Teammate

There's a big story in the Twin Cities right now about a man in rural Minnesota who was shot and killed by a police officer. The man, 27-year-old Bill Krawchuk, was allegedly driving drunk, and when stopped by a highway cop, he attempted to drive away, in the process dragging the officer with his SUV. The officer then shot Krawchuk, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

I myself have a connection to this case- Krawchuk grew up a few blocks from me in St. Louis Park, and we were teammates for at least a couple of years in the SLP T-ball/softball league. He and his family moved away, I believe, around the time I was in junior high, and I hadn't seen Bill since then, although I got a mass e-mail last night from a mutual old friend, who said he and Krawchuk were best friends.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:25 PM | Comments (4)

Eagle Trip

Matt Williamson of says the Eagles are "on the right track" so far this offseason, and have to enter the '07 season as the favorite in the NFC East.

This may come as news to everyone who gets their sports info from talk radio in Philly, who have been led to believe that Philly is about to become the worst team in the league. The argument goes that the Eagles aren't "committed to winning" because they haven't signed enough free agents. If only they had the guts to do things like giving Eli Manning a $5 million bonus for no apparent reason.

Speaking of which, there was a funny story in Sunday's Inquirer about Donovan McNabb going to a Philly restaurant with his wife and running into WIP morning hosts Angelo Cataldi and Rhea Hughes, along with their respective spouses. The WIP table was debating whether to send drinks over to the McNabbs' table when they were informed that McNabb wanted to buy them a round.

Cataldi was the one who led a campaign in 1999 to prevent the Eagles from drafting McNabb. Since then, he has pretty much been at the forefront of the campaign to undermine the quarterback, and convince Eagles' fans that their team, which has been near the top of the league for eight years, is really run by idiots. McNabb saw Cataldi in a restaurant and, showing what a class act he is... bought the man some drinks. I don't want to know what Joey Porter would've done in that situation.

I can't help contrasting this Eagles situation with the Minnesota Twins, another team I follow, which like the Eagles has won four of the last five division titles but not any championships in its current run. I don't really understand the idea of bringing in Ramon Ortiz and Sidney Ponson, and putting them both in the season-opening rotation.

However, much like Andy Reid, the team's GM, Terry Ryan, has a proven track record of being right about these things. I concede that as a longtime baseball professional, and the reigning MLB Executive of the Year, Ryan might know a little bit more about baseball than I do, and like Andy Reid, chances are pretty good that he knows what he's doing.

If Ryan worked in Philly, everyone, I'm sure, would want him fired.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:20 PM | Comments (0)

Nailing Actors

Eddie Copeland has a post on the actors/actresses he likens to "nails on a chalkboard." It's a good list, but if I wrote this post, it's headline would be "Julia Roberts, Julia Roberts, Julia Roberts." I'm just glad she's left out of the upcoming second "Ocean's Eleven" sequel.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:08 PM | Comments (1)

March 16, 2007

More Local YouTube Goodness

Anyone from the Twin Cities will love this one: It's a WCCO newscast, from 1981, a few days after Reagan was shot. Highlights include the unbelievably young Pat Miles and Don Shelby, as well as the interview with 16-year-old Jodie Foster. But unfortunately, there's no weather report from Bud Kraehling. Did people really refer to Minneapolis-St. Paul as "the Northwest," as late as the '80s?

I was three years old when this aired. But since my family was unquestionably a "10 PM Report" household, I don't doubt that it was on in my house that night. Local news really isn't what it used to be, is it? It's been unwatchable in every city I've ever lived in as an adult.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:45 PM | Comments (2)

Today on E-Gear

Yes, the rumors are true: It's the Google phone!

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

Immoral Oral

A funny subplot about the NCAA tournament: the appearance of Oral Roberts University in the field of 65 has brought the notorious '80s televangelist/extortionist back into the public consciousness after a lengthy absence.

Sort of strange, since Roberts' conservative Christian worldview has largely triumphed on the political stage, yet he's hardly been around to enjoy it for the past decade or so. But then again, Oral was always a lot more about constructing elaborate schemes to steal people's money than accumulation of political power, whether through visions of a "900-foot Jesus" or claiming that God would "call him home" if his flock didn't give him $8 million. Plus, he's now almost 90 years old.

Still, funny to see Bill Simmons devoting half of his March Madness diary to Oral jokes. Meanwhile, God and the 900-foot Jesus both failed to prevent ORU from losing by 16 points to Washington State, a school where the word "Oral" is presumably not associated with an 89-year-old cleric.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:43 PM | Comments (0)

Rosie O'Donnell Was Their First Choice, But They Didn't Want Her in Wrestling Tights

I've mentioned a few times recently that I'm finally starting to tire of pro wrestling, after being a fan for most of my life. But what's going on now might be the last straw.

The upcoming Wrestlemania pay-pay-view, traditionally the biggest of the year, is hyping as its major confrontation... Vince McMahon vs. Donald Trump. Yes, you read that right. They're both billionaires and they hate each other- get it?

No, Vince and Donald won't actually be squaring off in the ring; they'll each be in the corner of wrestlers, and whichever wrestler loses, the corresponding billionaire will get his head shaved. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant, it ain't.

Maybe wrestling is just running out of ideas. But come on- why in the world would anyone get excited about Trump vs. Vince? Hell, most people I know hate them both.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:35 PM | Comments (0)

Media Critic Quote of the Day

Bruce Bartlett- a conservative Bush-hater, but a conservative nonetheless- comments on today's media:

In my view, the media did have a strong left-wing tilt for many years. But over the last 20 years or so, I think that has mostly disappeared. Major newspapers like the Post and New York Times are now fairly evenhanded in their news coverage. Their editorial pages are still pretty liberal, of course, but the Post in particular is far less liberal in its editorial positions than it was in the 1970s.

If, as I believe, the major media tilted left and have moved toward the center, then this means they moved to the right. It is this movement that the left has picked up on and is complaining about. But the idea that the media now tilt toward conservatives is absurd.

However, I do think that in some ways conservatives have become better at using the media, taking advantage of its institutional biases to spin stories in conservative directions. Contrary to what the left thinks, this is not something nefarious, but simply the application of good public-relations skills.

I think he's just about right. There are way too many ideologues these days who are way too quick to scream "bias" at any piece of reporting that doesn't conform exactly to their preconceived agenda.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:29 PM | Comments (0)

MSM Imitates Pat Buchanan

This week's Time Magazine cover:

And Buchanan's book from 2004:

I still like MSM more, though. It's much friendlier to the Jews.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:24 PM | Comments (3)

Snoop's Legal Trouble

No, I'm not talking about Snoop Dogg's recent European arrest. I'm talking of Felicia Pearson, who plays the terrifying female hitman, called Snoop, on "The Wire." There's a fascinating piece in the Washington Post today about Pearson, who spent several years in prison for a murder she committed while a juvenile. It turns out the family of the person Pearson killed isn't so happy about the actress now achieving fame playing... a murderer. Great, great stuff.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:22 PM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2007

Surviving The Gulag, But Not the Turnpike

Shocking news out of the Garden State:

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. - A man fatally beat a former Soviet political prisoner at a highway rest stop Thursday after the victim declined an offer to buy his religious CDs, police said.

Brian K. White, 26, of Humble, Texas, was charged with murder, eluding police and weapons charges.

Authorities said White stopped at a rest stop along the New Jersey Turnpike and approached Michail J. Makarenko, 75, who was traveling from his home in Hillsboro, Va., to New York to see friends, and asked him if he wanted to buy religious CDs.

When the man declined, authorities said witnesses told them, White picked up a rock and started striking the man in the head before getting back in his car, a Chevrolet Camaro, heading toward New York City.

What a way to spread the gospel, huh?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:18 PM | Comments (2)

Unintentionally Hilarious YouTube Find of the Day

This guy decided he would come up with his own ad campaign for KARE-11, the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis. Alas, he was rejected. He probably should've hired someone else to do the voiceover:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:30 PM | Comments (1)

What, Sexual Harassment Again?

News Item: Zsa Zsa's Husband Sues Bill O'Reilly

No no, it was because Billo called him a "fraud." But admit it, sexual harassment would've been funnier.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:36 PM | Comments (0)

Kevin the Eagle

The Eagles finally did something to shut up their legions of dim-bulb critics today, signing wide receiver Kevin Curtis to a six-year deal. He's a good, solid, Number 2 or 3 receiver, who won't require Philly to spend a draft pick on the position. And not only that, but he doesn't have Stallworth's drug/injury baggage. Good signing- and it looks like Ron Dayne could be next.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:33 PM | Comments (2)

Today on

All kind of problems were reported in the online version of March Madness, and Viacom sues Google/YouTube for $1 billion for copyright infringement. That's a lot of "South Park" clips.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:32 PM | Comments (0)

Kuhn Dead

News Item: Former Commissioner Bowie Kuhn Dies at 80

Kuhn's time as commissioner(1969-1984) was a tumultuous one for the game, although really you could say that about everyone who's ever held the job. He's been accused of many bad things (racism, standing in the way of free agency, excessive drug enforcement), but then, he never sold out his fans by selling broadcast rights to DirecTV.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:31 PM | Comments (0)

Steve Jobs' Surge

Apple (and MadTV) present: The iRaq!

I've got a feeling the iPhone won't be such a quagmire, however.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:28 PM | Comments (0)

You Can Tell He's Got His Priorities Straight

News Item: Philly police commissioner calls for boycott of coloring book

The city had over 400 murders last year and is averaging about one a day so far in '07. But hey, good thing the commish has that whole coloring book problem taken care of. Why Sylvester Johnson wasn't forced out long ago is something I'll never understand.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)

And Not Just Because My Parents Went There

I've gotta say, the University of Minnesota Hillel people are a clever bunch, coming up with the domain name. I just hope they're not looking at a billion-dollar lawsuit or anything like that.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:26 PM | Comments (0)

Quick NCAA Picks

Sweet 16: Florida, Maryland, Oregon, Wisconsin, Kansas, Illinois, Duke, UCLA, No. Carolina, Texas, Geo Wash, Georgetown, Ohio St.,Tennessee, Louisville, Memphis

Elite Eight: Florida, Oregon, Kansas, Duke, Texas, Georgetown, Ohio St., Louisville

Final Four: Oregon, Kansas, Georgetown, Ohio St.

Championship game: Kansas- Ohio State

Champion: Kansas

Disclaimers: I'm almost always wrong about these things. Plus, I only watched about three college basketball games all year.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:35 AM | Comments (1)

March 14, 2007

You Mean... It Wasn't the Jews?

News Item: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Admits to Responsibility for Sept. 11 Attacks

This is not as belated- but just as unsurprising- as Pete Rose's latest confession/story change.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:34 PM | Comments (2)

Leaving the Strib

Continuing the slow dry-bleeding of the American newspaper industry, the new owners of the Star Tribune have announced the "voluntary buyouts" of 24 staffers, including several mainstays at the paper. The most prominent include Timberwolves beat writer Steve Ashburner, and humor/food columnist Al Sicherman.

Sicherman, for his part, in 1989 wrote one of my favorite newspaper pieces of all time- his eulogy for his son, Joe, who died at the age of 18 when he jumped out a window after taking LSD. Sicherman's byline of late, though, had been so scarce that I assumed he must've retired years ago.

Of course, if Sid Hartman had done the right thing and retired himself (like he should have done about 15 years ago), about half those people could've kept their jobs. The legendary DC sportscaster George Michael (of "Sports Machine" fame) recently retired rather than let his staff get decimated; Sid, alas, is no George. Reminds me of Nicholson's quote in "Broadcast News" about knocking a million or so off his salary.

From the Onion, some comforting thoughts for the departed.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:46 PM | Comments (0)

But Then What Did He Mean by "The Women Are Strong, the Men Are Good Looking"?

Garrison Keillor has written some stuff in his Salon column that many, including Dan Savage, are calling homphobic, and it's hard to argue. I'm a big Keillor fan from way back, but this is disappointing. Not that his Salon column has ever been all that great- last time it made news, he was insinuating that Norm Coleman had helped plot the assassination of Paul Wellstone.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:45 PM | Comments (1)

One More Thompson-for-President Thought

We all remember the "Is it because I'm a lesbian" moment, which was probably the beginning of the end for the original "Law & Order." But I have to wonder- will Fred Thompson's "no" answer to that question hurt him with the Republican base, if he runs? I'm guessing he won't be running in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:45 PM | Comments (0)

Odious and Infelicitous

The presidential candidates were at the AIPAC conference in Washington yesterday, as Hillary and Obama jousted about Israel, and how much they support it (yes, both of them do.) Obama, though, ran into some trouble for his comment Sunday that "nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people" in the Middle East.

This drew a rebuke from a rabbi with a rather interesting name:

"Awarding first place in the suffering matrix is odious and infelicitous,” said Rabbi Steven Silver of Redondo Beach, Calif., after listening to Mrs. Clinton speak at a reception at the Aipac conference. “I think a lot of Americans would find that comment offensive, too.”
Who knew there was a Rabbi Steven Silver? How had I not heard of him until now? If he's like most rabbis I know, being quoted in the New York Times is one of the five greatest things that has ever happened to him in his life.

Is Obama right? Joe Klein has some thoughts. The question is really only important if you believe -and I don't- that the party that suffers most wins. The Palestinian suffering is real, but it doesn't mean they're right, it doesn't mean they deserve everything they ask for, and it doesn't mean it's the Israelis' fault. They've suffered because Arafat stole from them for decades, because they've embraced noxious ideologies from Marxism to jihadism to a mixture of the two, and because (as we all know) they "never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity." And until all that changes, the suffering won't end, occupation or no occupation.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:44 PM | Comments (1)

Liberals and Terrorism

Jonathan Chait, responding to a Joe Lieberman speech:

"Lieberman is simply making a classic conservative error. Yes, most American liberals devote more energy to opposing domestic conservatism than to opposing foreign totalitarianism, even though the latter is vastly worse. Lieberman's mistake is in assuming that this is because liberals think Bush is worse than bin Laden. In fact, it's because our society aggrees that Islamist extremism is evil, but it doesn't agree that the Bush administration is very bad, so we spend most of our time debating the point of contention. Likewise, American conservatives spent more of their time complaining about American liberals than complaining about Islamist extremists. This doesn't mean they think Nancy Pelosi is worse than bin Laden. (Except, of course for Dinseh D'Souza, who apparently does think this.)"
Sometimes I do really feel like the right hates Hollywood liberals and Ted Kennedy more than it does the terrorists. Case in point: Stories on "The O'Reilly Factor" Monday about terrorism: 0. Stories on "The O'Reilly Factor" Monday about the use of the word "vagina" at a high school open mic night: 1.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:43 PM | Comments (1)


One of my favorite restaurants in New York, Coffee Shop on Union Square, has been closed by the health department after multiple violations (it'll be open again tomorrow). I'll never forget the last time I went there, a few days before I moved away, when right before we walked in there was a brawl right outside between two rival groups of anti-war protesters.

(Via Karol, who a post below reveals that Bush "has officially lost me." Karol's probably the most staunch Republican I know, so if he's lost Karol, he's lost pretty much everyone. Next thing you know, Hugh Hewitt will jump ship.)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:41 PM | Comments (1)

The NCAA Primary

Deadspin, buoyed by John McCain actually filling out a bracket, guesses who the different presidential candidates are rooting for in the NCAAs. The list:

Barack Obama: Illinois.
Bill Richardson: New Mexico State.
Sam Brownback: Oral Roberts.
Mitt Romney: BYU.
Joe Biden: Jackson State (for its cleanliness and freshness).
Hillary Clinton: Florida.
Rudy Guiliani: THE YANKEES!
I say this is Kansas' year. It's gotta be one of these years...

Meanwhile, don't miss the Name of the Year ballot. I say it's between Doris Morris and Mario Hilario. But former "A Different World" castmember Jazzmen Guy has an outside shot too, as does Conceptualization Gibbs.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2007

Another Reason to Hate the Pack

News Item: Packers May Trade for Randy Moss

Well, I guess if the Cowboys accepted TO after he danced on their star, the Packers fans will tolerate Moss after he mooned them. Joe Buck probably won't, though.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:00 PM | Comments (0)

He Makes Jimmy Carter Look Like a Zionist

Proving once again that the only thing that ever leads to "campus discord" anymore is the monthly row over visiting speakers, Brandeis is once again up in arms about an upcoming visit. This time, it's from Norman Finkelstein, the deservedly despised "Holocaust minimizer" who is invited to speak on campus.

At least, he was invited, until the invitation was recently pulled by the Radical Student Alliance and the Arab Culture Club. When not even the Radical Student Alliance (and Arab Culture Club) will have you, that's an indication that maybe you're not welcome at the Non-Sectarian Jewish-Sponsored Home of Social Justice.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:00 PM | Comments (2)

Best Fucking Picture

Here's a clip of "The Departed," with everything but the cursing edited out. This two-minute clip, by the way, includes Mark Wahlberg's entire Oscar-nominated performance.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:54 PM | Comments (2)

Pokey and the Brain

So there's this story going on in the LSU womens' basketball program in which the coach, Pokey Chatman, announced her resignation right before the NCAA tournament, with the stated reason being that she had had an "inappropriate relationship" with one of her players. It's not known who the player is, whether it's a current or former player, or if the relationship began while the player was on the team.

The story hasn't gotten a whole lot of mainstream media coverage, probably because... most sports fans don't follow womens' college basketball, and had never heard of any of these people before. It is interesting in many ways though, as I'm not aware of any situation, at the college level or above, in which a coach has had to resign over a relationship with a player. It's also interesting to read the user comments on each of the stories has done on this, and the various accusations about gender, sexual-orientation, and media coverage double standards.

On this, I tend to think that rules are rules, it's not right for a coach to be having an affair with someone who is a player on their team, and if that's the case Chatman was right to resign. However, as the player was potentially of age, there has been no crime committed. I would feel the same way if the coach and player were of opposite genders, or if it were two men. Though that would, I imagine, be a much much bigger scandal.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)

Capturing Freeman

There's a great interview with one of my favorite sportswriters, Mike Freeman, over at The Big Lead. He wrote the excellent "ESPN: An Uncensored History" a few years back, and says he's working on another book that promises to dish lots of dirt on various other sportswriters. His thoughts on the Salisbury/cell phone incident are also memorable- and he discloses the existence of an ESPN Enemies List!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:52 PM | Comments (2)

Remind Me to Go See "300"

News Item: Iran Lashes Out at "300"

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:49 PM | Comments (1)

March 12, 2007

Quote of the Day

Here's Matthew Yglesias, on the absurdity of the Washington Post running an op-ed in favor of the Iraq surge by a man whose brother was the architect of said surge:

While The Weekly Standard has to make do with using Frederick Kagan's wife to write articles proclaiming the Kagan surge plan a success, The Washington Post believes in integrity and trots out brother Robert Kagan to do it instead. Maybe someday we can get Donald Kagan's take on all this. If only the whole world were made up of members of the Kagan family, then maybe George W. Bush would be a really popular president.
It's pretty damn hard to keep all those Kagans straight, especially since there are also a bunch of Kaplans- including a Robert and a Fred, as well as a Lawrence- who are also foreign policy writers. Here is an incomplete primer on all of the above.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:12 PM | Comments (0)

Spreading the Ball Around

What an offseason so far for Tom Brady- two new babies by two different women, and three new receivers from three different teams. He'll have his hands full next fall, no doubt about it.

(When Bridget Moynihan heard about the second baby, did she say "but I thought I was his favorite receiver?")

The most prominent new Pats wideout is Donte' Stallworth, who left the Eagles to sign a not-so-lucrative contract with New England. People in Philly are upset- shocking, I know- because not only did the Iggles not keep Stallworth, but they have shown no aggressiveness at all thus far in free agency. In fact, I've heard about 10 talk show callers in the last two days argue that the Eagles "aren't committed to winning," and "will never win a Super Bowl" as long as Lurie/Banner/Reid/McNabb are in charge.

Oh, please. Stallworth is a solid player and will be missed, but he's no superstar. He's got drug issues and injury issues (not a good combination, see "Robinson, Koren"), and the Eagles scored more points last year in games he didn't play than in those he did. He won't be that hard to replace.

We go through this every year. The Eagles never make much noise in free agency because there's not their style. The Redskins always do because it is. The Eagles, four of the last five years, have won the NFC East, and the Redskins have not. There's a reason the 'skins haven't been much of a factor since Dan Snyder bought the team.

The Eagles realize that tossing money at free agents is not the way to win in today's NFL, especially this year, in which mediocre players have been getting huge money in a ridiculously over-inflated market. And, they have a record of accomplishment to show for it. Because many, many times in the Reid/McNabb era, Eagles management has been at odds with fan conventional wisdom, and nearly all those times, the Eagles have been right and the fans have been wrong. Take a look at Ricky Williams now if you don't believe me.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:37 PM | Comments (2)

Accidental Porn

Two movies released so far this year, "Because I Said So" and "Wild Hogs"- two of the worst, in fact- have both used a version of the same gag. A middle-aged, non-savvy character is using a computer. He/she presses the wrong button, unwittingly bringing up hard-core pornography. Therefore, he/she is subject to great embarrassment, when unable to turn the website off.

It's sort of a dumb gag, sort of embarrassing for such excellent actors as Diane Keaton and William H. Macy to stoop to. And even worse, many critics commented on how implausible such a situation is. But now, in fact, the exact same thing has happened in real life.

A Connecticut substitute teacher was convicted in January of exposing her class of 7th graders to a pornographic website- even though the non-computer-literate 40-year-old was merely attempting to show her students a site devoted to hairstyles. That's when the porn popped up. The teacher, Julie Amero, thus faces as much as 40 years in prison.

Screw Scooter Libby. It's Amero who should get an immediate pardon.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:20 PM | Comments (0)

John McCain, Dark Lord of the Sith

Jonathan Chait, erstwhile McCain fan who openly pushed for an '04 party switch, nails it in this column, pointing out how the Arizona senator is much like Anakin Skywalker.

Sort of trumps this guy, huh?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:07 PM | Comments (1)

Brand New Writings

A whole lot today. First, in my North Star column, I ask whether Rudy Giuliani can win the election, and whether he should. Meanwhile, on E-Gear, I've got a story about wine from vending machines, and another about a new mp3 player being endorsed by Pink. (If you don't think she's a big enough star, keep in mind that that company's last tie-in was with Depeche Mode.)

And finally, there's a blog post on the site (not by me) about new developments in high-definition porn DVDs.

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

Another Actor President?

News Item: Fred Thompson may run for the White House

You know, I always hoped the first president to come out of the "Law & Order" cast would be Steven Hill. He has a lot more gravitas than Fred.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:00 PM | Comments (2)

Life Imitates 'Eternal Sunshine'

News Item: Drug can clear away one fearful memory while leaving another intact.

But will it keep you from remembering Kate Winslet?

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

March 10, 2007

Commercially Speaking

The Phat Phree has come up with a great, great list, complete with YouTubes, of the 50 greatest local commercials of all time. Here's my favorite, by far:

So many questions: Why didn't he say their address? How come the delivery guy is wearing a suit? Did anyone ever criticize this ad for glorifying the stoner lifestyle? Anyway, the list is headed by these five surrealist masterpieces from Norton's Furniture in Cleveland.

Some other highlights:

- A school board candidate who obviously would rather be running for the Jedi Council.
- The other caveman commercial.
- Jesus kills Satan- and not on "South Park."
- Mr. Appliance answering his shoe.
- The world's worst Dick Vitale impersonator, pushing "Mulch Madness."

For some reason, Hilton the chainsaw guy (of Conan O'Brien fame) was left off the list, as were "Crazy Eddie" Intar, and the Minneapolis classic featuring the Neff Law Firm and the backs of all those peoples' heads: DIVORCE. WILL. BANKRUPTCY.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:22 PM | Comments (5)

Most Shameless Fox News Spin Ever

From one of the business shows this morning:

Lesson of Walter Reed: Universal Health Care Would Be a Disaster!

You really can't make this stuff up, can you? Don't blame the people actually in charge- blame a theoretical, not-yet-implemented idea that has nothing to do with the problem.

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

March 09, 2007

Today on

I delve into the latest developments on the baseball/DirecTV deal, which appears to be a largely fraudulent compromise.

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

Quote of the Day

When will The Left condemn Paris Hilton? Christopher Orr answers:


Mickey Kaus is shocked, shocked that Paris Hilton's use of the "n-word" in a years-old videotape has not gotten more media attention. I'd like to read this as something other than a new entrant in his series of quasi-defenses of Ann Coulter's use of the "f-word" at CPAC--see! Hilton did something even worse, and no one's up in arms about it!--but it's awfully hard to do so.

For the record, Mickey: a) Paris Hilton is not a political speaker, author, columnist, or talking head (let alone all four); and b) given that she came to prominence for a suspiciously leaked sex tape and her name is synonymous with cultural decline, it's not clear how much lower her public image can sink.

But, yes, if and when a prominent liberal group invites Paris Hilton to speak and applauds at her slurs, she (and it) will merit exactly the response Coulter has received. And, yes, if and when Ann Coulter's public profile is reduced to roles in D-grade sex comedies and paparazzi reports about her sex life and drunk driving, we'll all stop condemning her. Fair?

Paris and Ann are both part of the same tradition, in which they're both anorexic, not-very-attractive blonds who people pay attention to for no reason I can fathom. That, and they're both against the estate tax.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:40 PM | Comments (1)

Advice from the Inquirer Editorial Board

They're clear and concise:

To T. Milton Street:Please stop. Don't ever run for public office anywhere again. You're not just embarrassing yourself - though you've done that quite thoroughly. You're embarrassing this city, and potentially distorting what is a truly vital set of City Council elections.

To Ann Coulter: Please be quiet. Don't share your rude, mean and meaningless opinions with us in print, on the airwaves, or in speeches. For how long? Preferably forever, but at least through the 2008 election. Allow us at least that long to begin cleansing the national discourse of the toxins you so regularly release.

Yes, they're both insane. But the difference is, Milton has never been applauded by as many people as cheered the "faggot" comment at CPAC.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:32 PM | Comments (0)

In Defense of the N-Word

David Mills defends the (possibly) indefensible, in this handy list of pop culture's 10 greatest moments involving the N-word. And no, Michael Richards does not make the list.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:31 PM | Comments (1)

13 More Weeks of Not Being Funny

News Item: "Half Hour News Hour" Renewed by Fox News

Thus, the conservative version of Air America Radio lives on, for another quarter.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:27 PM | Comments (2)

March 08, 2007

Whacked For Good

The final "Sopranos" season begins a month from today, and the Vanity Fair cover came out today. For such a short time before the season, I'm hearing almost nothing so far, but I'm sure more details will leak out before long.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:30 PM | Comments (0)

Obama-Barkley '08?

With Tiger Woods as Secretary of State? That's something we must ponder after reading this great GQ profile of TNT's "Inside the NFL" crew. The best part:

Charles gives up about three minutes in and makes a phone call. "Hey, Barack," he says. "Charles Barkley here. Hey, congratulations, man! We did good. I'm so excited. We swept those assholes out of town." (This is November 9, two days after the election.) "Listen, man," he goes on, "I was just in Vegas with Tiger for the fight. It was a lot of fun. He's in Asia now, playing for the next couple of weeks, but when he gets back, I gotta get y'all together. He's finally at the point in his life where he can think about something other than golf. He's ready to become more political. You'd be a great place for him to start. When he gets back, let's get y'all together."
Wow. And I'd been under the impression that Sir Charles was a lifelong Republican.

Now, if Barack can get endorsements of both members of Gnarls Barkley, then he'll really be in business. More on Barack and the black community here.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:04 PM | Comments (1)

Today on

I write on CBS' expansion of bandwidth for webcasts of the NCAA Tournament, which will give the obsessed gamblers and bracket addicts of the world even less reason to do any work a week from today. Also, a Snoop Dogg-related headline pun. I wanted to run either a picture of D-O-double-G, or of Snoop from "The Wire," but was unfortunately overruled.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:46 PM | Comments (0)

Bad News For People Who Love Bad News

News Item: Ex-wrestler Bad News Brown dead at 63

The wrestler, real name Allen Coage, began his career in Calgary's Stampede territory and then had a memorable run in the WWF in the '80s fighting Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, and others. He was known for taunting opponents by likening them to "bare-bellied share croppers," as well as for having a prominent beer gut even in the prime of his career.

Coage had been working in recent years as a mall security guard. I know I'd be scared to shoplift if I saw him nearby.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)

Too Christian, or Not Christian Enough?

News Item: Pat Robertson's operation, CBN, questions Obama's Christianity.

Give him this: Barack's certainly making the right enemies.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:41 PM | Comments (0)

Good News, Bad News

For those of you who follow Philly politics and enjoy batshit-insane candidates, there's good news and bad: First, mayoral brother Milton Street has abandoned his bid for office, possibly getting the hint that he's under federal indictment, doesn't live in Philly, and his own brother doesn't even support him.

But have no fear, because Milton plans to still run for the City Council- where he'll be running against his own nephew, the mayor's son Sharif Street. He may not make the ballot though, as one of the local papers reported that all of the signatures on his ballot petition appear to be of the same handwriting.

And in other great news, Street's place on the ballot is being taken by a homeless man, whose name is Jesus White. No, I can't even make these things up anymore.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:40 PM | Comments (0)

Jackie on Film

A movie is finally being made about the most important event in the history of American professional sports- Jackie Robinson's crossing of baseball's color barrier in 1947. Other than a little-seen 1950 film, a la "The Greatest," in which Robinson played himself, this is the first-ever Hollywood biopic on America's most heroic athlete*.

No word on who will play Robinson, but Jennifer Hudson is eyeing the role of his wife Rachel, and Robert Redford (the producer of the film) may play Branch Rickey. Thomas Carter ("Coach Carter") will direct; as long as they don't Disney-fy it too much, I can't wait for this film.

*When I say this, I'm referring to Robinson, and not to John Rocker. Common mistake, I know.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)

The Ewing Theory in Philly

Mark Eckel on WIP had an interesting point last night: all four Philly pro teams have, in the last year, gotten rid of or suffered an injury to one of their best players and subsequently gotten better: The Phillies (Bobby Abreu), the Eagles (Donovan McNabb), the Sixers (Allen Iverson), and the Flyers (Peter Forsberg). Barbaro's stable probably improved after he shuffled off as well. Eckel doesn't seem to know, though, about the Ewing Theory, and since I didn't listen for long, I didn't catch if any of his callers mentioned it.

If it keeps going like this, Philly need only get rid of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, McNabb (again), Brian Westbrook, Andre Miller, Andre Iguodala, Simon Gagne, and Scottie Upshall, and you might as well get ready for that parade.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:34 PM | Comments (0)

Gay Porn Stars and Marxists

Fagistan has an excellent essay about Coulter, the Bushies, and that war hero who turned out to be a gay porn star. Check it out.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)

How'd I Not Notice Myself?

This blog has come up with an elaborate theory of how Eli Manning and "24"'s President Wayne Palmer are alike. Except that Peyton hasn't been assassinated, of course.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:37 AM | Comments (0)

March 07, 2007

Today on

I write about an alleged Best Buy conspiracy to defraud customers in Connecticut, some new game products from Sony, and (last but not least) motherfucking exploding laptops on a motherfucking plane!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

The Stallworth Shuffle

Weird, weird goings-on in the NFL free agent market, as football teams have followed baseball in giving insanely large contracts to unproven, over the hill, and/or generally sucky players ($20 million guaranteed for the finished Joey Porter? Really?). Can you blame the Eagles for wanting to sit it out, and picking this year as the one where they have no cap room?

Speaking of the Eagles, perhaps the most intriguing subplot of the offseason involves receiver Donte' Stallworth. After a decent but slightly injury-plagued first season with the team, Stallworth was allowed to enter free agency- and word leaked late last week that the receiver was in fact in the league's substance-abuse program, presumably due to a single failed drug test for a non-steroid substance.

The notoriously conspiracy-minded Philly sports talk callers, of course, immediately jumped to the conclusion that the Eagles had planted the story themselves in order to depress Stallworth's market value, even though coach Andy Reid is currently dealing with his two sons facing drug charges. This theory was presumably put to rest Wednesday morning when Bob Brookover, the author of the original story, wrote that the Eagles organization was not the source of his story.

Brookover's story also went through the bizarre roller coaster ride Tuesday night, when it was first reported that Stallworth had signed with New England, a story that was later retracted by both Comcast Sports Net and the NFL Network. The two networks had gone with the story on the say-so of Stallworth's agent; seeing as how that agent's name is Drew Rosenhaus, I'm just shocked that something he did was duplicitous.

My guess? Stallworth doesn't stay. If the Eagles were really interested, they'd have locked him up to an extension months ago. They'll go into training camp with Reggie Brown, Hank Baskett, and Jason Avant as the top three receivers, until swinging a trade before the season- just as they did for Stallworth last year.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:24 PM | Comments (1)

The Last Premiere

Even though I hadn't read it with any regularity in years, I was saddened to hear earlier this week that Premiere magazine will be shutting its print edition and function solely as a website. As a teenager, the magazine was my first exposure to the business, and art, of Hollywood, and helped push me towards my lifelong love affair with the movies.

Even worse? The stated reason for the move is that the only thing that sells entertainment magazines these days is celebrity gossip, and Premiere's long lead time precluded it from being up to date on such things. So if only they'd put Anna Nicole on the cover a few more times, they could've gone the way of US Weekly (another once-decent magazine that has collapsed under the weight of all-Paris, all the time.)

My favorite parts? The monthly transcript of a classic movie scene, Peter Biskind's reporting, and that annual pre-Oscars piece by William Goldman when he ran through the Best Picture noms and why each of them sucks.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:14 PM | Comments (1)

It Was Really Inevitable, Wasn't It?

New York Post: O.J. Simpson an Anna Nicole dad candidate

If that's the case, look on the bright side- the Goldmans might finally get their money.

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

March 06, 2007

Scooting Off to Jail

News Item: Scooter Libby convicted on four of five charges

I haven't read much about the verdict yet, but once I have I will comment further.

UPDATE: The Republican Theory of Everything stands: One of the jurors was... a former journalist! MSM MSM MSM!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:38 PM | Comments (1)

Today on

I look at the implications of the baseball/DirecTV deal, and also a new exercise regimen based on playing the Nintendo Wii.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:36 PM | Comments (1)

My Favorite College Newspaper Story of the Year...

And it's from my old paper, The Justice: Vagina Club's Funds For Charity Misplaced

What are we supposed to call this? Vaginagate?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:35 PM | Comments (0)

A Few Notes on "24"

Even though I have every reason not to, I am enjoying this season of "24." (SPOILERS START NOW!) They're repeating themselves just blatantly now- Jack breaking into another foreign consulate? Another presidential assassination attempt? Haven't there been more attempted presidential killings in the six years of "24" than in the entirety of American history put together?

Still, the show is exciting, the tension is still there, and Jack Bauer remains one of the great action heroes of all time. The "WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR"/"TELL ME WHERE THE BOMB IS" schtick has never gotten old, and probably never will.

However, a few things don't quite make sense- the public never found out about Logan's treachery? There's no Dana Priest in their world? Jack's evil brother was connected to both last year's evil Russian separatists and this year's evil Russian ultra-nationalists. How could the two possibly be on the same side? And Wayne Palmer, by far, is the worst president in the show's history. Why not Ray Wise, who was the veep last season?

Then, there's the politics, which are getting more attention than ever this year. No, "24" is not a "conservative" show at this point, not unless you consider the gleeful endorsement of torture to be a central tenant of conservatism (It wasn't prior to Bush-Cheney, and probably never will be again after.) The show clearly has gone back and forth politically, with plots resting at various times on liberal or conservative assumptions.

I say this as a liberal, but when "24" gets all "liberal" on us, it can be just as fuzzy-headed and simplistic as the worst of Paul Haggis. Take Season 2: The first half (stopping a nuclear bomb) was awesome. The second half (stopping an EVIL consortium of oil interests from starting a war) was not quite so awesome, probably because the villains may as well have had "Halliburton" tatooed on their foreheads.

This year, I have a specific problem: the character of Assad. He is long time, well-known terrorist leader who has carried out numerous attacks all over the world in the name of jihad, sort of a fictional version of Osama Bin Laden. Now, he has renounced violence and vowed to "negotiate" and "pursue his goals peacefully." We're also supposed to believe that Assad is so powerful in the terrorist world that he can call off future attacks all by himself.

What's left not articulated is- what are those goals? We're given no indication that he's not still a radical Islamist, only that he has renounced violence. So what exactly is it that he's pursuing peacefully- worldwide sharia law? Head scarves for everyone? No more rights for women or gays? The end of the state of Israel?

All of those things, I'd imagine, are off the table were Assad to be negotiating with an American government. And besides- if Bin Laden/Assad were to renounce violence, come to the U.S., meet with the president, and call for an end to terrorism, I can't imagine most terrorists would follow his heed. More likely, they'd brand him a traitor and an infidel and issue a fatwa calling for his death.

Yet all season long, anyone who has expressed skepticism about Assad has been considered... intolerant, if not a pure villain. You figure it out. At any rate, after this week (SPOILER!) he's dead, so it no longer matters.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:34 PM | Comments (0)

He Must Not Have Taken Them Correctly Former Phillie David Bell linked to steroid ring

Also involved- shockingly!- is pro wrestler Kurt Angle. This should be no surprise to anyone who has seen a picture of Angle in the last five years. And last but not least- John Rocker! Too bad for him, his involvement with this could sully his previously impeccable reputation.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:32 PM | Comments (0)

Notes (Exchange) on a Scandal

There's yet another plagiarism scandal going on at the Boston Globe, and it's at least the fourth in the last decade. This time, it involves sportswriter Ron Borges, who pretty clearly lifted several whole paragraphs of a recent column from the News Tribune of Tacoma. As a result, he's been suspended for two months. As Borges was, not too long ago, the subject of a long Boston Magazine about how everyone in Boston hates him, I'm guessing lots of people around the Hub are quite happy today.

As a big fan of Sunday notes columns (especially in Borges' paper, the Globe, where Peter Gammons invented the genre), I find this stuff shocking. And the most shocking thing of all? it turns out all the beat writers have a central message board that they go to in order to pull Sunday stories. Most of the columnists include a butt-covering disclaimer that "material from other sources... and beat writers was used in this column." But the understanding, I'd imagine, is that reporters are supposed to at least rephrase the items, and not just drop them in word for word like Borges did.

(In the spirit of Borges, by the way, I've plagiarized the title of this post from Dan Shanoff.)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:30 PM | Comments (1)

Anti-Coulter Quote of the Day I

Jack Shafer, on Ann:

"Coulter doesn't make D'Souza's mistake of striving for respect. Effrontery is what she does for a living, and she's comfortable with it. So, I suppose it's only a matter of time before she calls Barack Obama a Black Panther masquerading as Uncle Tom, describes Hillary Clinton as a dyke Hitler, or reaches for something even more irreverent. As long as respectable forums like TV talk shows, New York publishers, and CPAC continue to give her a platform, the press won't be able to leave her alone."
What's he talking about? They're already calling Obama a Black Panther masquerading as an Uncle Tom.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:28 PM | Comments (1)

Anti-Coulter Quote of the Day II

Michael Musto, also on Ann:

"What next—a gay-pride trophy for ANN COULTER? That godless, horse-faced neigh-sayer just wet herself again—and even conservatives think she was out of line! (No, let me not make any more comments about that one. It turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word cunt. Besides, I'm sure she was just doing a Sarah Silverman and invoking bigotry in order to comment on it. Weren't you, cunt?)"
I'd noticed that too- Coulter's schtick and Silverman's are remarkably similar. And I don't think either of them is particularly politically astute, or funny.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:27 PM | Comments (1)

Only a Mayor in the Middle of a Heterosexual Sex Scandal Could Pull this Off

News Item: San Francisco Mayor's Office Criticized for Proclaiming 'Gay Porn Day'

Say it with me: In San Francisco, every day is Gay Porn Day!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:26 PM | Comments (0)

Weinkauf Award Nominee

I give it to every single person quoted in this NYT piece about the movie "300," all extremely shallow people looking to find an it's-all-about-Bush subtext in a work where none exists. Credit to the reporter for actually understanding that. This take on the film, though, is much more astute.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

A Real Dog-Bites-Phanatic Story

The Phillie Phanatic was viciously attacked by a dog Saturday outside the Wachovia Center, while the Phanatic, the dog, and thousands of others were waiting in line for Police tickets. The dog belonged to Matt Cord, a DJ on local rock station WMMR.

You hate to see something like that happen to America's most beloved mascot, but then he has been sued so many times (for kicking a pregnant woman, assaulting fans, and other crimes), that perhaps this is a case of mascot karma.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:23 PM | Comments (0)

If You Think It's Cold Here...

I had this conversation a lot back when I lived in New York.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:23 PM | Comments (2)

March 05, 2007

Bashing Obama's Religion, Whatever It May Be

I look at the really ridiculous smearing of Barack Obama and his church- the second crazy attack on his religious belief in as many months- in this week's North Star column. Of the 33 I've written, this is the one I probably feel strongest about. Also, check out the new head shot.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:58 PM | Comments (7)

Must Not Be a Very Accurate Formula, Then

News Item: Under this formula, Kevin McHale is best GM in sports

Isn't that like a survey finding Bush the greatest president? Or Towelie the greatest "South Park" character?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:56 PM | Comments (2)

Condemning Hannity

As anyone who has watched Sean Hannity on television or heard him on the radio knows, he has a specific trick he trots out every time he has on any liberal guest- I call it the "will you condemn this?" game.

You've seen it: Hannity finds a particularly outrageous thing some liberal (usually an obscure blogger, religious cleric or college professor) has said. He then demands that his liberal guest "condemn these outrageous remarks" before the interview can proceed any further. If the guest doesn't condemn, he's being an extremist too. If he does, he's throwing his own colleague under the bus and exposing the Democrats as "divided." If he refuses to answer, he's being "evasive." No matter what, Hannity wins.

Along with talking to black guests as though they were children, it's Hannity's favorite tactic. But this weekend, an interviewer decided to use Hannity's own trick against him. When asked about the Ann Coulter "faggot" comment, Sean says:

I didn’t hear it. I’d rather see it before I comment on it and whatever. You know, no other person is responsible for what a person says except that person. And so, if they have a problem with what Ann Coulter says, blame Ann Coulter. You can’t blame somebody else for what she said. So I didn’t see it.
So that's right: the inventor of the "Will you condemn this" game... denounces the "Will you condemn this game"! And it's obviously a mistake to tie Hannity to Coulter; she's only been on his show once a week for the last six years.

And when did he say this? In an interview with Michelle Malkin. When you're being lectured about defending extremist actions, and the person doing the questioning is the author of "In Defense of Internment," it might be time to start re-evaluating things.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:56 PM | Comments (1)

Yes, Let's

News Item: 'Let's Start Talking,' Santana Tells Twins

The Twins, for the first time in the franchise's 45 years, have the best starting pitcher in baseball. They'd better lock him up, even if it takes $150 million.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)

The Timing is Suspicious, I'd Say

News Item: Eagles' Stallworth reportedly in substance-abuse program

Well, that might explain why he's gotten no offers so far- and why the Saints wanted to dump him last year in the first place. The CW has been that the Eagles want Stallworth back but weren't going to overpay; now it looks like they probably won't have to. Did they leak it? Hmm. Probably not, especially since the last few weeks of Andy Reid's life probably wouldn't encourage him to gain advantage from revealing someone's drug status.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:53 PM | Comments (0)

On the List of Dumbest Things Ever Said, This Must Crack the Top 10

Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe says the following Via Hit & Run:

I have been called -- my kids are all aware of this -- dumb, crazy man, science abuser, Holocaust denier, villain of the month, hate-filled, warmonger, Neanderthal, Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun. And I can just tell you that I wear some of those titles proudly.
Some of them? Which ones, other than Holocaust denier?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:49 PM | Comments (1)

Not That There's Anything Wrong With it, But...

Is Bill Simmons gay? Because he seems to have taken more than a purely professional interest in Kevin Durant...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2007

I've Long Practiced a Similar Blackout Myself

News Item: AP stages week-long Paris Hilton blackout

Without a doubt, it's MSM's greatest moment of the last two years. And no, they didn't get a single complaint.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)

Bye Bye, Jeff

News Item: Jeff Garcia leaves Eagles to sign with Tampa Bay

Yes, Garcia had a great year with Philly, leading the team to a 6-1 record down the stretch and a playoff victory over the Giants. He was an exciting, likable player who lifted the team up after everyone had given up hope. Then, there's his girlfriend...

But honestly? He wasn't going to keep it up forever. He'd never been as good in his career before as he was in '06, and at 38, he probably wasn't going to be again. And to suggest that he's better than Donovan McNabb is the height of armchair-quarterback sports fan nonsense. So, expect it to harden into Philly fan conventional wisdom over the course of the next few months.

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

Quote of the Day

From Barack Obama's speech to AIPAC yesterday:

"President Ahmadinejad has denied the Holocaust. He held a conference in his country, claiming it was a myth. But we know the Holocaust was as real as the 6 million who died in mass graves at Buchenwald, or the cattle cars to Dachau or whose ashes clouded the sky at Auschwitz. We have seen the pictures. We have walked the halls of the Holocaust museum in Washington and Yad Vashem. We have touched the tattoos on loved-ones arms. After 60 years, it is time to deny the deniers.

In the 21st century, it is unacceptable that a member state of the United Nations would openly call for the elimination of another member state. But that is exactly what he has done. Neither Israel nor the United States has the luxury of dismissing these outrages as mere rhetoric.

The world must work to stop Iran's uranium enrichment program and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It is far too dangerous to have nuclear weapons in the hands of a radical theocracy. And while we should take no option, including military action, off the table, sustained and aggressive diplomacy combined with tough sanctions should be our primary means to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons."

Unless something drastically, drastically changes, Obama will be my candidate in 2008. More on that in the North Star column next week.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:45 PM | Comments (1)

Exit Shinders?

Shinders, the venerable Twin Cities bookstore/tobacco shop/baseball card store chain, may be in danger of closing, the Strib says today. The store is in trouble both with the bank and the law, as its owner, Robert S. Weisberg, was recently arrested when when cops found "a .40-caliber submachine gun, Ecstasy, needles and 6 grams of methamphetamine" in his car.

The store was my go-to place for boxes of baseball cards in my youth, and during my wrestling-fan days, it was the only place in town where I could get PWI. If it closes, it will be missed.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:39 PM | Comments (1)

March 02, 2007

YouTube of the Day

This commercial, the Clip of the Week tonight on E!'s must-see "The Soup" show, is one of the most delightfully creepy things I've ever seen:

I think they owe royalties to Steagle Colbeagle the Eagle.

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

Quote of the Day

Blogger Daniel Larison, on George Will pointing out that Rudy Giuliani grew up rooting for the Yankees over the Dodgers, even though he's from Brooklyn:

How does treason to one’s home borough recommend a man to anyone? You might as well say, “Our next speaker grew up in America during the Cold War, but nonetheless supported the expansion of Soviet communism.” How on earth does it make him comparable to Margaret Thatcher? Was she also in the habit of despising her hometown? I think not. What sort of decent person roots for the Yankees anyway?
I always liked Rudy as mayor of New York. But you can add this to the list of reasons I can't support him for president.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:25 PM | Comments (1)

A Fun Exercise

Blogger Brian Flemming linked back to his blog in March 2003, and listed all the things he was wrong about back then. He's also challenged others to do the same, so here I go. In March of '03, I was wrong about the following:

- That the war in Iraq was a good idea.
- That Terry Glenn wouldn't work out with the Cowboys.
- That that year's season of "Six Feet Under' would be enjoyable.
- That it was a good idea to draft Erubial Durazo, Kevin Millar, and Jason Kendall for my fantasy team.
- That the Twins would win the '03 World Series.

But other than that, I didn't do all that bad.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

So Long, Smoot

Closing out a sad, but at the same time very funny chapter in Vikings history, the team today released Fred Smoot. He's unquestionably the best NFL player ever to organize a team-wide boat orgy. I guess you could say that, on the field and off, Pacman Jones has made Smoot irrelevant.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:55 PM | Comments (0)

Insulting the Widows Wasn't Going Too Far, But Now...

News Item: Ann Coulter calls John Edwards a "faggot" at conservative conference.

You know, for someone who uncannily resembles a transvestite, Ann's gaydar is totally off.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:49 PM | Comments (0)

Today on

I look into the new Netflix video-on-demand service, and Blockbuster's plans for same. Also, Reihan Salam has a funny review of the Netflix on-demand stuff on Slate.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:11 PM | Comments (0)

Film Critic Quote of the Day

Here's A.O. Scott in the New York Times, on the abominable "City Slickers" ripoff "Wild Hogs":

"The main thing about these guys — the main source of the movie’s fumbling attempts at humor — is that they’re not gay. Really. Seriously. No way. They may worry about people thinking that they’re gay, and they may do things that might make people think that they’re gay — dance, touch one another, take off their clothes, express emotion — but they’re absolutely 100 percent not gay. No no no no no no. No sir, I mean, no ma’am. That’s what makes it funny, see."
I too noticed that the entire first half of this horrible, witless movie consisted entirely of sophomoric gay jokes, as though the screenwriters realized nothing was working and kept returning to that.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:09 PM | Comments (0)

Unless You've Been Living in a Cave...

You've probably heard that ABC is planning to adapt the Geico "So Easy a Caveman Could Do It" commercials into a sitcom pilot. "Cavemen," Variety reports, "will revolve around three pre-historic men who must battle prejudice as they attempt to live as normal thirtysomethings in modern Atlanta."

Now, I know I may be alone on this, but I like the cavemen. The ads are a pitch-perfect parody of American racial identity politics and assimilation, and each one they've come up with is funnier than the last. But that said- will the joke work as a sitcom? I tend to think no.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:07 PM | Comments (0)

Chutzpah Award Nominee

An Upper East Side dentist named Larry Rosenthal, who is apparently such a legendary asshole that there's a web page dedicated to him called, was living in the building last fall when Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle crashed his plane, killing Lidle and the pilot. So the dentist is suing... Lidle's family. After that suit is adjudicated, Rosenthal plans to kill his parents, and then beg the courts for mercy because he's an orphan.

Deadspin has a good roundup of numerous allegations, including one that Rosenthal has a list of female patients with whom he traded dental care for sex.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:06 PM | Comments (0)

Exit Christie

Doug Christie's professional basketball career likely ended late last month, when the famously whipped shooting guard walked away from the L.A. Clippers. Christie, who had signed the second of two ten-day contracts, apparently had his publicist send a note to the team's offices during the All-Star Break (when they are closed), thus becoming probably the only player in league history to bail on a 10-day contract.

Why didn't Christie just call or drop off the note himself? Because that could conceivably result in him speaking to a woman other than his wife, which as we all know is not allowed.

Clips coach Mike Dunleavy had the best line: "I missed that hand signal."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:01 PM | Comments (0)

Yes, Yes, and Yes

From TNR's blog:

According to Lynn Sweet at the Chicago Sun-Times, Obama's speech on Israel and the Middle East at an AIPAC Chicago regional conference tomorrow "will call for tougher Iran sanctions, more bilateral diplomacy and declare he is for leaving all military options on the table."
Sounds about right to me. But how can Obama speak to AIPAC? Isn't he part of the Chicago black separatist cult?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:58 PM | Comments (0)

Quite Frankly, What's He Talking About?

Stephen A. Smith had a line in his column yesterday that was quite bizarre, even by Stephen A. standards. In writing about the possibility of Larry Brown once again coaching the Sixers, Smith writes:

"Still, Larry Brown's spirit hovers over this franchise like another hit HBO special from comedian Chris Rock.

Rock hasn't been seen in a while. He hasn't been heard from in a while, either, unless you watch 'I Hate Chris!' But he's coming eventually, and there is nothing anyone can do about it."

All together now: Huh? First of all, the analogy makes no sense at all. Second of all, Stephen A. doesn't mention that he in fact has a cameo appearance in Rock's new movie, "I Think I Love My Wife." But, if Smith is buddies enough with Rock to be in his movie, shouldn't he at least know that the name of his sitcom is "Everybody Hates Chris," not "I Hate Chris"?

The Rock movie was actually reasonably funny, but still not nearly at the level of what Rock (and his co-writer, Louis C.K.) are capable of. But the movie is full of crazy cameos- in addition to Smith, there's both Omar and Bunk from "The Wire."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:57 PM | Comments (1)

March 01, 2007

Pimp My License Plate

On today, I look at a new product that allows drivers to broadcast digital messages of their choosing from their license plate or back window. It's a product sure to be used, before long, for cursing, trash-talking, and/or sexual harassment purposes.

Plus: Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin goes to Washington and testifies before Congress. It would've been more fun if they'd sent Stern.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:10 PM | Comments (0)

Correction of the Week

Where but Philadelphia would this one be found? From Wednesday's Daily News:

A story in yesterday's paper about several mayoral candidates' visit to Central High School misstated their cheesesteak preferences. Chaka Fattah, Tom Knox, and Michael Nutter all favor Pat's; Al Taubenberger and Bob Brady prefer Geno's.
What- not a single Tony Luke's guy in the race? No wonder this city's political culture is in chaos.

And speaking of the crazy Philly mayors' race, another candidate is Milton Street, the brother of the current mayor, who jumped into the race despite the fact that he is presently under federal indictment for fraud and tax evasion- as well as the pesky fact that he lives not in Philadelphia but rather in New Jersey. Street also recently split with his lawyer, over a "difference in legal strategy" (the lawyer's strategy, presumably, did not involve Street continuing to run for mayor.)

Because, unlike most politicians, Milton Street has no problem publicly hurling vicious, personal, race-tinged insults at all of his opponents, the local media can't get enough of him. And yesterday was no exception, as the candidate appeared on both Angelo Cataldi and Kidd Chris' radio shows.

I only heard the Kidd Chris appearance, during which Street appeared unaware that the show is a Stern-like comedy program and the hosts know absolutely nothing about local politics. Then, wrapping up an hourlong in-studio interview, Street was asked if he would wear a Kidd Chris shirt on the campaign trail, and he replied, "who's Kidd Chris?" The Cataldi appearance, meanwhile, prompted Philadelphia Will Do to suggest a Street/Cataldi mayoral ticket, even though Philly has no such position as "vice mayor."

Now Milton Street may be a criminal, and he may be completely insane. But I would still vote for him over Angelo Cataldi.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:09 PM | Comments (0)

That Would Certainly Explain a Lot

The Onion: Kevin Garnett: 'I Want To Stay In Minnesota Because I Like Losing'

It's incredible how horribly Glen Taylor and Kevin McHale have blown the chance to win a championship with a future Hall of Famer in his prime. Just about any other superstar would've wanted to bail years ago. KG has been patient, but one man can only eat so much shit. Should any of us be surprised that he's now making noises about wanting to leave?

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

"Wire" news

They're writing Season 5. David Simon, of the Undercover Black Man blog, will be writing an episode. And Clark Johnson (from "Homicide") will play the editor of the Baltimore Sun-like newspaper. Absolutely can't wait, even though it's at least a year away.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:06 PM | Comments (0)

That'll Help the Paper How, Exactly?

News Item: Santorum may become Inquirer op-ed columnist.

I only approve if they put him side-by-side with Dan Savage.

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

Slander, Booyakasha!

One of the last known humans to have not yet sued Sacha Baron Cohen has done just that, as a young woman named Heddi Cundle is taking the comedian to court for defamation. Cohen and Cundle knew each other as kids, and when Cohen grew up to become Ali G, he used her name in a sketch on "Da Ali G Show." In the bit, the hip-hop journalist was interviewing Gore Vidal, when he said:

Ain't it better sometimes, to get rid of the whole thing rather than amend [the Constitution] cos like me used to go out with this bitch called Heddi Cundle, and she used to always trying amend herself. Y'know, get her hair done in highlights, get like tattoo done on her batty crease, y'know have the whole thing shaved—very nice but it didn't make any more difference. She was still a minger, and so, y'know, me had enough, and once me got her pregnant me said, "Alright, laters, that is it." Ain't it the same with the Constitution?
Yea, I can see how she may have a problem with that.

When I was in my own comedy troupe in college, we once ran into a similar problem. My senior year, some of my fellow members had written a sketch about a stereotypical, princess-y, gold-digging Jewish Brandeis girl, and they gave her the name "Sarah Glickstein." The people who wrote it were freshmen and seemingly pulled the name out of thin air, but I had to let them know that there had in fact been a Brandeis girl, who had graduated the year before, whose name really was Sarah Glickstein, and that they'd better change it.

(From what I remember, the real Sarah Glickstein was actually pretty cool and exhibited none of the stereotypes of her fictional namesake. So Sarah, if you self-googled and are reading this, I did you a previously undisclosed solid back in '99.)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:03 PM | Comments (1)

Don't You Worry About the Klan

Is the Ku Klux Klan really in "revival"? No it's not, according to David Garrow of the LA Times, who says the present-day Klan is very old, very impotent, and very irrelevant. Another indication of this is since the '80s, just about every Klan rally has had more counter-demonstrators than actual participants.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:01 PM | Comments (2)

Back Again

Sorry, there were once again complications with the domain name renewal, so the blog was down for much of the morning. But we're back now; new posts are below.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:59 PM | Comments (1)

Slap Shot + 30

Yes, the iconic hockey movie was released 30 years ago this week. If hockey were really like that, I would like it a lot more than I actually do.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:16 AM | Comments (0)

Grasping At Straws

Throwing in the towel on the "Obama is a Muslim" meme, the right is now tarring Barack by claiming he... belongs to a black church! How dare he!

Sean Hannity has ripped the church as "divisive"- and compared it to a cult- because it claims on its website that it supports "commitment to God, commitment to the black community, commitment to the black family, and adherence to the black work ethic." Clearly our nation must be defended from such evil, subversive, far-left-wing ideas. Because obviously, black churches have never done any good for America.

So yes, the Republicans - who claim to be the party of people of faith and bash the Democrats as "Godless" and the "party of death" and claim that those resisting the religious right are attacking faith itself- are now vilifying Barack Obama because of... his commitment to his religion. And if they're not tying Obama to one world religion, they just try another. I can't wait until someone tries to complete the trifecta by calling Obama a "bad Jew."

Thankfully Erik Rush, the dim-witted columnist who originated this nonsense, was on Fox News tonight and appeared so overmatched that he was actually outargued decisively by Alan Colmes. Not an easy feat, to be sure.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:56 AM | Comments (0)