September 27, 2007

That Three-Week Deadline is About to Pass

Onion: Donovan McNabb has perfect game, for a black quarterback

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:15 PM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2007

To Hell With Haggis

My Trend review of "In the Valley of Elah" is online here. I'm seeing a crazy amount of fall releases in the next two weeks, starting with "Michael Clayton" tonight, so I'll review them as fast as I can.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:04 PM | Comments (1)

Things We Learn From Wikipedia

From the entry on the awesome, Israeli/summer camp sport ga-ga, we learn this about Ali G/Borat:

The comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, despite his lanky frame, was noted for being a champion ga-ga player in his Habonim days. According to his official online biography, Cohen won the Habonim UK ga-ga championship on multiple occasions and in 1992 led his country to a silver medal in the world ga-ga ball championships eventually coming in second to the undefeated Australian Habonim team.
All the usual Wikipedia disclaimers apply, of course, but how cool is that? Especially since being a ga-ga player over six feet tall is about as much a handicap as being a basketball player under 5'5".

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

The "Over/Under on the N-Word" at the Linc

The Philadelphia City Paper's Ted Hesson was at the Eagles game Sunday, and counts the times he heard #5 called you-know-what-word by the drunken mouth-breathers in the stands. Of course, by the fourth quarter, I'd imagine it was more along the lines of "that [n-word] has four touchdowns!"

In the meantime, Howard Bryant- a great, great addition to has a dynamite piece on the last few months of intersections between race and sports, interspersed with all the hate mail he's gotten from all sides. Just as with McNabb, the reaction to the piece proves its author right.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)

Y Tu Mahmoud Tambien

Thanks to Brian Beutler, I'm no longer the only one who noticed the Iranian bastard's notable resemblance to actor Gael Garcia Bernal.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:01 PM | Comments (3)

Cornering the Market on Michael Lewis

The San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday signed Michael Lewis, formerly of the Saints, to be their new punt returner. Lewis is not be confused with the other Michael Lewis, the safety who used to be with the Eagles, who is also now a 49er; I'm curious as to how they'll hand the names-on-the-back-of-the-uniforms issue.

The 49ers have not announced any plans to sign the Michael Lewis who wrote "Moneyball," as he is not, to anyone's knowledge, a professional football player. ESPN the Magazine last year, however, did give a byline to Michael Lewis the safety, leading to widespread confusion among just about everyone who read it.

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

I Was Hoping It Would Be Yahoo!, So We'd have a Corporation Called "Yahoo!/Sirius"

News Item: Google May Buy Sirius Satellite Radio

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

Music Critic Quote of the Day


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

Mismanagement's Jonah Keri followed up his recent "100 Most Hated Players" list with a trio of newer lists, of the most hated owners, GMs, and coaches. And, big surprise, Minnesota is heavily represented.

On the owner list, the Twins' only two owners- Clark Griffith and Carl Pohlad- are #11 and 12, respectively, while Norm "Sucks" Green is #17. Red McCombs, perhaps by virtue of owning the team for such a short time, was merely named "honorable mention." Glen "illegal contract" Taylor is not on the list, and neither is Zygi Wilf- but it does include Bill Wirtz and Ted Stepien, both of whom died in the last week. (No Philly owners are listed except for Ed Snider, and that's just for the Sixers half of his operation.)

As for GMs, Kevin McHale is #11, one ahead of Ed Wade, while no coaches or managers from Minny make the list. No, not even Mike Tice, who I would've put in the top ten.

Overall, Rick Pitino is most-hated coach, Matt Millen most-hated GM, while Art Modell leads the owners.

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

The SLUT Train

Funny developments in Seattle, where people are riding the SLUT, according to the Seattle Post Intelligencer:

There's a story going around South Lake Union, but a spokeswoman for Vulcan, Paul Allen's development company, says it's just an urban legend.

That aside, the story that the neighborhood's streetcar line now under construction was called the South Lake Union Trolley until the powers that be realized the unfortunate acronym -- SLUT -- seems here to stay.

Officially, it's now the South Lake Union Streetcar. But the trolley name already has caught on, and in the old Cascade neighborhood in South Lake Union, they're waiting for the SLUT.

At the Kapow! Coffee house on Harrison Street, they're selling T-shirts that read "Ride the SLUT."

If only they'd actually built Campbell Scott's Seattle Supertrain, from "Singles," none of this would've happened.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:59 PM | Comments (2)

This Severely Hurts His Eckstein Award Prospects

News Item: Bears bench Rex Grossman

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

September 25, 2007

The Columbia Central Roast of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Yes, I was against the invitation of Iran's abominable president to Columbia University. But damn, this was awesome:

"And your mom's ugly, too!"

Also, Borat is apparently now posting to YouTube.

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

Worst Fundraiser Ever

News Item: Giuliani party seeks $9.11 per person

No, Rudy himself did not plan this. But I'm ready for every Republican on TV for the next month to be asked, "will you condemn this?"

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

MSG Horror

This Isiah Thomas sexual harassment trial has been like a gift that keeps on giving, both for comedy's sake and Knick-hating's sake, with at least one howler in the paper every day. The funniest thing yet? The Big Lead's take on New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser's piece:

Also, for pure comedic value, please read nutty Andrea Peyser's take on all this. If you're not in NY and you've never read her, think about an angry Mitch Albom. Then triple that anger, and you're in the vicinity. The title of her column: BALL GIRL IN SLICK SWAP OF COUSINS. The guy who sent us this link called it ‘hardcore pornography.'
Every Peyser column is exactly the same: "You know that guy who killed his wife/raped a woman/stole from the government? He's really, really bad!" Here, she discusses former Knicks intern Kathleen Decker, who allegedly had sex in a car outside a strip club with Stephon Marbury:
The young lady who made her indelible mark on her back - or her knees - in basketball star Stephon Marbury's truck testified in a loud voice, sorely lacking in diction and grammar, that she currently works making "dreams come true" for poor kids.

But it was clear that the dreams Kathleen is qualified to fulfill involve grown men and stationary cars.

The vehicular vixen talked about the night her life took a sharp turn for the better. It was April 2005 - her birthday - when she visited Sue's Rendezvous strip club in Mount Vernon.

Her group ran into Marbury and his no-good cousin, Hassan Gonsalves, with whom, in a startling lack of planning, Kathleen was involved in "a relationship."

The biggest surprise of all this? Marbury has a "no-good cousin," and it's not Sebastian Telfair.

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


By some miracle, in a season in which they have lost five of their original six starters and have essentially dragged people in off the street to pitch for them in relief, the Phillies are still alive the last week of the season. They are tied for the NL wild card lead with San Diego, and are just two games back of the Mets in the NL East. And on top of that, the Phils are at home for all six remaining games (against Atlanta, and Washington), while the Padres are on the road for all six. San Diego also lost one of their best players, when Milton Bradley became the first player in baseball history to suffer a torn ACL while being restrained by his own manager.

At any rate, general manager Pat Gillick announced yesterday that he will return next year for his final season in Philly. Which makes sense; he is almost 70. Hopefully, the Phils have given some sort of assurance to Ruben Amaro, Jr., that the job is his after Gillick leaves. In the meantime, Charlie Manuel's status remains uncertain. But considering what he's done with such limited talent this year, there's no doubt he deserves to return.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:21 PM | Comments (0)

I'm Guessing She's Not a McNabb Fan Either

News Item: Reality star Adrienne Curry blogs that blacks should "move the fuck on" from slavery.

To be fair, Curry did preface it by saying that the fact that black people were slaves "does suck some major balls."

The lesson here: Just because you know how to blog, doesn't mean you should.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:21 PM | Comments (0)

YouTube of the Day

Two random dudes cover Frankie Valli's "Big Girls Don't Cry":

Much better than the Fergie song of the same name.

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

It's Always Sad Seeing Rival Groups of 80-Year-Old Jewish Comedians Fight

News Item: NY Friars' Club Gets Injunction Against LA Friars' Club

And here I thought the days of East Coast/West Coast battles ended in the '90s.

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

Sex at Camp Randall

A (heterosexual) couple is nabbed for having intercourse in a bathroom stall during a University of Wisconsin football game. No word on whether they were wearing cheeseheads at the time.

The whole account has be read to be believed; my favorite part was when the man and woman had already been arrested, and he thought it a good move to ask, "what's your name, again?"

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

September 24, 2007


So that was nice, wasn't it? After a week of nothing but controversy, and worries about whether Donovan McNabb could still play quarterback in the NFL- yesterday happens. A 56-21 victory over Detroit, in which the quarterback completed 21 of 26 passes for 381 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions, thereby saving both the Eagles and my fantasy team from 0-3 starts.

And even more bizarrely, the Eagles did it all with several key defensive players injured, while wearing laughably hideously "throwback" uniforms that looked like they were borrowed either from the Swedish national hockey team, or The Ambiguously Gay Duo.

Donovan McNabb is still a very, very good NFL quarterback. I'm glad that's the topic of conversation this week, as opposed to all of last week's racial stuff. In the meantime, here's my North Star column on the matter.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:16 PM | Comments (0)

O'Reilly Self Parody Alert

This sounds like something from the Onion, but no, it's true (via TNR, Andrew Sullivan, and MediaMatters):

Discussing his recent dinner with Rev. Al Sharpton at the Harlem restaurant Sylvia's, Bill O'Reilly reported that he "couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship." O'Reilly added: "There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, 'M-Fer, I want more iced tea.' "
You can almost hear Bill channeling Huckleberry Finn- "it's almost like the restaurant was white inside."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:16 PM | Comments (0)

So What's the Vikings' Excuse?

During the Vikings' embarrassing loss Sunday to one of the league's worst teams, the Chiefs, some drunk ran onto the field- and found himself summarily tackled by the team's mascot:

The Chiefs, alas, needed no mascot to stop the Vikes' anemic offense, beating the Vikes 13-10. Amazingly, the mere benching of Tarvaris Jackson wasn't enough to revive the Vikes' offense, because Kelly Holcomb couldn't get anything going either. And of course, they left their lone offensive weapon, Adrian Peterson, on the sidelines for the final drive. Great move. At this point, I'd be thrilled with 8-8.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:15 PM | Comments (0)

Correction of the Year Nominee

From the New York Times (via Regret the Error):

An Inside summary last Sunday about “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” misspelled the given name of the actor who stars in the film. He is Brad Pitt, not Bratt.
Beacuse he's not one of the world's most recognized movie stars, or anything like that.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:14 PM | Comments (0)

Taking Down Coulter

Mark Bowden does us all a great service.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:14 PM | Comments (0)

Outraged Over the Lack of Outrage (But Not Really)

This business about's ad- and all the politicians who have or haven't condemned it, have brought out all the bullshit I normally associate with the "will you condemn this" game. Michael Kinsley, writing in Time, rightly mocks it. Call it The Politics of Perpetual Pretend Outrage:

"It's all phony, of course. The war's backers are obviously delighted to have this ad from which they can make an issue. They wouldn't trade it for a week in Anbar province (a formerly troubled area of Iraq that is now, thanks to us, an Eden of peace and tranquillity where barely a car bomb disturbs the perfumed silence — or so they say)... The constant calls for political candidates to prove their bona fides by condemning or denouncing something somebody else said or to renounce a person's support or to return her tainted money are a tiresome new tic in American politics. They're turning politics into a game of "Mother, May I?" Did you say "Here is my plan for health-care reform"? Uh-oh, you were supposed to say "I condemn's comments on General Petraeus, and here is my plan for health-care reform. All this drawing of uncrossable lines and issuing of fatuous fatwas is supposed to be a bad habit of the left. When right-wingers are attacking this habit rather than practicing it, they call it political correctness. The problem with political correctness is that it turns discussions of substance into arguments over etiquette. The last thing that supporters of the war want to talk about at this point is the war. They'd far rather talk about this insult to General Petraeus. It just isn't done in polite society, it seems, to criticize a general in the middle of a war. (Although, when else?) "

Marc Ambinder has more:
It's fair to assume that, anytime a politician uses the phrase "refuse to condemn" or one of its variants, the outrage behind the utterance is probably contrived so as to stoke fears and prejudices.

The phrase usually arises when someone or entity ; the other party pounces, not because they're really outraged (they are not), but because they believe that outrage rallies the troops. There's a circular logic employed, too. If you don't join the cavalcade of outrage, then you can be accused of "refusing to condemn" something.

The comment itself may indeed be offensive, but it does not follow that folks who are associated with the comment-maker have any duty to condemn, much less even mention the comments, especially because, when they do, they're playing onto the turf claimed by those outraged at the comments.

Therefore, the outrage directed at those who REFUSE TO CONDEMN something is logically synthetic. Of course they're NOT outraged. They're DELIGHTED, because they get to whip their opponents over the head with it.

It's the wimpiest form of guilt by association there is.

So yes, the ad is stupid, and yes, I disagree with it. But to consider a slander on the troops themselves? That's a stretch.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:13 PM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2007

Quote of the Day

Michael Wilbon, writing on "his boy," Donovan McNabb:

Anybody who doubts McNabb needs only to walk around one of the upper-concourse areas of Lincoln Financial Field late in a game when, as several white friends have told me, the frequent use of the word "nigger" preceding McNabb's name during a losing performance is so casual it sickens them. Rex Grossman, just to name one white quarterback who has to deal with daily criticism, doesn't have to be on the wrong end of that kind of hateful venom, even though he'll never be half the quarterback McNabb has been... Is this a huge deal? No, probably not. But that doesn't mean it doesn't exist, and McNabb simply stated that. He didn't say it angrily, he didn't say he wanted to take up arms and attack The Man. He just said black quarterbacks are scrutinized and criticized more than their white frat QB brothers -- in other ways, too. As my friend Tony Kornheiser points out, black franchise quarterbacks also have been criticized by black fans and players for not being "black enough" and being too close to white ownership."
And this is why I'm convinced that McNabb is right and the talk radio dumbasses are wrong. Because I live in Philly, I talk sports with people, and hear this stuff all the time.

I'll have more on this in the North Star column next week.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:40 PM | Comments (3)

Can They Keep Her Behind the Wall, Please?

Maureen Dowd-bashing doesn't get much better than this.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:40 PM | Comments (1)

September 20, 2007

Things I've Learned From the Last Two Days of Philadelphia Sports Talk Radio

Donovan McNabb was never really all that good, he needs to stop whining, there's no racism in sports at all, and black people really need to get over it already when it comes to slavery. Also, apparently there's a baseball team in Philly, and they're in a pennant race, or something.

My personal favorite was the WIP caller last night who said that racism isn't against blacks isn't that big a deal because, after all, "the Irish were slaves too."

Sure, Donovan could come back this week, crush Detroit, and lead the Iggles on yet another playoff run. But barring that, it's looking like the end game for him in Philly is on the way. Can the Vikings sign him? Please? And Pro Football Talk says Minneapolis native Larry Fitzgerald wants out of Arizona. Hmm....

In the meantime, Mike Freeman has an excellent column about this, and so does Jason Whitlock, even though the former takes a shot at the latter towards the end. And McNabb responds himself, on his blog.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:13 PM | Comments (3)

And You Thought Jimmy Carter Was Controversial?

News Item: Ahmadinejad To Speak at Columbia U.

Usually when it comes to college speaker controversies- of which there are many, especially at Brandeis- I take the "might as well let him speak" position. After all, if the speaker's so objectionable, you're always free to, you know, not go to the speech.

But this is another dimension entirely. The leader of a terror-supporting state, who has called for genocide of Jews and destruction of Israel, all while denying the Holocaust. Columbia would probably never let an American or German Holocaust denier speak on campus, so why allow it just because he's the president of Iran?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:11 PM | Comments (1)

Go Ahead and Laugh, Philly

News Item: Ed Wade to be named Astros GM

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:10 PM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2007

Quote of the Day

Tim Marchman, on that whole "the manager needs to light a fire under the players!" fallacy:

The way I've always figured things, if it was a good idea for major league managers to start screaming and playing the fool every time things went south for their team, major league baseball teams would start hiring really far-gone crackheads, who in my experience are always willing to hoot and holler at the least provocation. Since no general manager has ever been seen soliciting résumés on the Q train, it seems that they have accepted what should be obvious to everyone: Yelling at grown men is stupid and counterproductive.
If there were any truth to this talk-radio-based nonsense, wouldn't Tom Coughlin be the greatest coach in NFL history? Instead, he's about to be fired, again.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:52 PM | Comments (0)

That "Real World" Apology

Here it is:

This was a good talk...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:48 PM | Comments (0)

Maybe He Should've Directed "Medellin," After All

The verdict on Paul Haggis' "In the Valley of Elah": Not nearly as reprehensible as "Crash," but still pretty hackish nonetheless. I'm with Philadelphia Weekly's Matt Prigge:

"When it was announced that Haggis’ follow-up was about the Iraq War, the response was roughly on par with when Oliver Stone proclaimed his next movie would deal with 9/11. What in Jesus Herold Christ on rubber crutches could the manipulative shockmeister who dreamt up a scene where disillusioned actor Terrence Howard tries to get himself shot by the notoriously racist LAPD have to say about our national disgrace?

Best not to think about it. So it’s with a modicum of relief that, like Stone’s World Trade Center, Haggis’ In the Valley of Elah is terrible in a completely different way than anticipated. It’s merely a lousy, poorly plotted procedural with the topicality awkwardly (and cynically) grafted on. Phew—I guess. "

Yea, any movie where Terrence Howard intentionally gets shot- "Crash," "The Brave One"- pretty much automatically sucks.

I also associate myself completely with every word of James Berardinelli's review. It's hard to tell which movie has a more insulting, howl-worthy ending, "Valley of Elah," or "The Kingdom."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:16 PM | Comments (0)

What Weathermen Do When They Think the Cameras Aren't Running

It could've been worse, I guess. He could have done the same thing in a report about breast cancer.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:16 PM | Comments (0)

Does This Mean Nouri al-Maliki is He-Man?

From an excellent T.A. Frank piece in Washington Monthly about how, even though he's usually right, no one seems to read the New York Times' Bob Herbert:

I feel lousy about saying this. Bob Herbert's on my team. By contrast, I could easily name ten other columnists who seem to make it their mission to find new, untested forms of destruction to bring upon us. If you told me that, say, Charles Krauthammer's articles were ghostwritten by Skeletor, I doubt I'd blink.
I was always assumed it was Dr. Claw.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:15 PM | Comments (0)

So That's What's The Matter With Kansas

Mike Hargrove, who resigned abruptly as manager of the Mariners a few months ago, will have a new gig next year. Managing a semipro team, for which he once played. In the town of Liberal, Kansas. What's the team called? The Liberal Beejays.

I guess it would've been wrong to call them The Hummers.

Has Bill Clinton been to a game?

They don't suck.

Okay, I'm done.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:15 PM | Comments (0)

Jack Bauer Can Now Raise the Dead

News Item: "24" To Bring Tony Almeida Back From the Dead

I always liked the character, but this is a little much, no? At least that "Jack fights global warming" idea seems to not actually be happening.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:13 PM | Comments (2)

September 18, 2007

The World's Greatest Apology

From the current (very entertaining) "Real World" season, as cast member Isaac apologies for knocking down a female housemate during a drunken game of Twister

I can't get it to embed, but here's the video; it's the one marked "Cooling Down," and the apology starts with about 4:30 remaining.

Good talk!

On the list of great apologies this decade, this is right up there with TO-apologizing-to-McNabb, and Rick James-apologizing-to-Charlie-Murphy.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

Ten in a Row!

Fans of WYSP's Kidd Chris Show got a huge scare yesterday, when the show returned from its format/flip hiatus. When the show started at 3, it consisted of... playing music, along with 2-minute-long, not-particularly-funny canned bits featuring Chris and sidekick Thomas constantly repeating the phrase "the Rock is Back!"

What a disappointment, my friends and I all thought. Chris' heavily Stern-influcenced talk show was consistently hilarious and irreverent, to the point where I listened religiously, something I never did even when Stern was on terrestrial. Just because the rest of the station had flipped to rock, I figured, why must Chris become a glorified DJ, especially since his show was highly rated and popular?

Alas, our fears were misplaced. According to the Philadelphia Daily News (and an e-mail sent by the show contributor known as Skidmark), the show will exist in its current form for an undetermined period, to "establish the rock," before reverting to the 4-hour-a-day, all-talk, Telephone Jihad-filled broadcast we all know and love. And Chris confirmed this on the air today. Hallelujah.

So Chris will be staying in Philly. Stephen A. Smith, it appears, will not.

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

Film Critic Quote of the Day

Todd McCarthy of Variety, saying something that absolutely needs to be said about the upcoming crop of "serious" fall films:

"Based on what I've seen so far, particularly at the Toronto Film Festival, I'm in no rush to see the rest of the Iraq-centered fiction films (as opposed to documentaries) Hollywood will be serving up in the coming months, simply because I think I know exactly where they're coming from and that I'm not going to learn anything new from them... No matter the specific qualities of the writing, filmmaking and performances; the problem for me is that all these films emanate from precisely the same mindset, the safest, least provocative attitude it is possible to have: the war sucks, Bush sucks, America is down the tubes.
Does anyone in Hollywood think anything different than this? According to polls, more than 60% of Americans also agree."
This doesn't mean McCarthy disagrees that the Iraq war is a disaster, that Bush sucks, etc.; I don't disagree either. But that doesn't mean pretentious films arguing exactly that are automatically good. Check out this review by David Edelstein of Paul Haggis' "In the Valley of Elah" (which I'm seeing tonight). As Ross Douthat pointed out, Edelstein pretty much agreed the movie was horribly made, but gave it a positive review because it "had its heart in the right place."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:46 PM | Comments (1)

What Will Piss Off Philly the Most?

A- The Eagles' Monday night loss, in which they didn't score a touchdown, McNabb looked shaky, none of the recievers did a thing, and team fell 0-2 against a very weak divisional rival?

B- Charles Barkley's third-quarter-length appearance in the Monday Night Football booth, during which he and Tony Kornheiser ripped Philadelphia fans and flogged every stereotype, however true, about them? Or...

C- The Phillies nearly blowing an 11-0 lead, and defeating St. Louis 13-11?

The answer's probably A, but maybe B. It's certainly not C, because of the 15 people who actually watched the Phillies game, most of them were probably happy that the team actually won, and picked up a game on the Mets. Of course, the Kidd Chris situation (as detailed above) pisses me off more than any of the above.

UPDATE: More from McNabb, as he apparently has this to say in the "Real Sports" interview scheduled for tonight:

"There's not that many African-American quarterbacks, so we have to do a little bit extra," McNabb tells HBO. "Because the percentage of us playing this position, which people didn't want us to play ... is low, so we do a little extra."

Later in the interview, Brown presses McNabb on criticism of his performance -- and if African-American QBs are graded more harshly.

"I pass for 300 yards, our team wins by seven, [mimicking] 'Ah, he could've made this throw, they would have scored if he did this,' " McNabb tells HBO.

"Doesn't every quarterback go through that?" Brown asks.

"Not everybody," McNabb replies.

All of that is, of course, demonstrably and undeniably true, but I just know the story's going to be "Oh no! Donovan's whining again!" The fact is, there are people in Philly, many more than there should be, who don't trust McNabb as quarterback, and a certain percentage of it has something to do with race. I talk sports with people and hear the comments. All the time.

Don't forget, though- the last time the Eagles went 0-2 was 2003, the year of Rush Limbaugh's imbecilic dressing down of #5, and the team responded by rallying back to win the NFC East and reach the NFC title game.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:46 PM | Comments (3)

Say It Ain't So, Gardy!

Just because the Twins have blown '07 already, doesn't mean they have to blow '08 too. And no, I'm not talking about Santana/Hunter/Nathan leaving. Apparently, manager Ron Gardenhire's plan for next year is to start Nick Punto at second base. The same Nick Punto who is, by any objective measure, the worst player in the American League. Take it away, Aaron Gleeman:

If Gardenhire actually "knew what he had in Punto," he'd stop playing him every day. Instead, Punto already has over 500 plate appearances with two weeks left to play despite ranking dead last among all MLB hitters in batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS (and 161st out of 166 in on-base percentage).
Much as people knock Charlie Manuel for his in-game decisions, not even he would send Punto to the plate 500 times.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

Charles Pierce, on the Patriots' dominating performance over the Chargers Sunday night, after a week of the Cameragate scandal:

here was all manner of chortling and gloating about how the team had managed to overcome the stigma of the media's pointing out that its head coach had gotten caught behaving like an arrogant jackass. A team this good, this dominant, got to cast itself in its own mind as outraged innocents battling to stick it to The Man.It was like watching conservatives talk about how Michael Moore was picking on them while they were running the entire government.
Will they go undefeated? Who knows. But I bet if they do, the '72 Dolphins will question the legitimacy.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:39 PM | Comments (0)

Today on E-Gear

It's a new umbrella, equipped with a sensor that actually connects with to get that days' weather, and flashes different colors to indicate whether or not you should bring the umbrella with you that day! No word on whether or not Rihanna has agreed to endorse it yet. Also, Apple has announced the terms of that iPhone rebate, while the Wii becomes the #1 console of its generation, in total sales.

We also have a special feature on new network shows in HD. And finally, giant killer robots!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:38 PM | Comments (0)

First, They Came For the File Sharing Sites

News Item: Music publishers push for shutdown of lyrics websites

How tone deaf can an industry get? It started with their shutdown of the OLGA (the Online Guitar Archive), and then there was the RIAA/Napster battle. Now, we can't even look up the lyrics without the National Music Publishers Association threatening the sites with lawsuits.

The publishers, of course, are trying to start their own "official" versions of the sites. But come on- I use the sites at least once a week- I'll hear a song on the radio, in a restaurant, or in a movie, I'll google the lyrics, find them, and then download the song. I'm sure I'm not the only person who does this. Is the music industry, which is on the brink of collapse, really that desperate? I guess they are.

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

See Ya Later, Schmuck

News Item: Publisher Par Ridder Forced to Resign, Escorted From Star Tribune Building

Ridder's up there with the president, Joe Buck, and Eli Manning on the "undeserved nepotism" scale; I only wish the three of them had been shown the door from their jobs as quickly as GOB, I mean, Par was.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:36 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2007

Chait is Enough

I review Jonathan Chait's excellent new book "The Big Con" in this week's North Star column.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:58 PM | Comments (0)

The 10 Total Turnovers Were the Best Part

Yea, so much for that Week 1 optimism... the Vikings did just about everything wrong that a team can do wrong on Sunday- and they still almost won the game. They lost to Detroit in overtime, after four interceptions from a clearly not-ready-for-prime-time Tarvaris Jackson, and the Lions figured out, in his second career game, how to stop Adrian Peterson. Ugh, it's going to be a long season.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:56 PM | Comments (0)

O.J.'s Luck Runs Out

News Item: O.J. Simpson Arrested in Vegas Armed Robbery.

"Simpson's Eleven," they're calling it. This quote is my favorite part:

"I'm O.J. Simpson. How am I going to think that I'm going to rob somebody and get away with it?" he told the Los Angeles Times in a story published yesterday.
Yea, who ever heard of O.J. Simpson getting away with something? Unfortunately, the Juice won't be able to re-assemble the Dream Team, since Cochran and Kardashian are dead, and Dershowitz is too busy fighting Jimmy Carter.

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

Clipoff Time!

No, I didn't watch the Emmys (not nominating "The Wire" made me boycott, and James Spader's victory over Gandolfini makes me never want to watch again.) But the best moment each year is always the "clip-off," as the nominees for Best Comedy Writing are all introduced. This year was no disappointment:

Maher had the best clip, but Stewart deserved to win (Conan did.)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:42 PM | Comments (0)

Whacking Jimmy Fallon

All this time I thought I was the only one annoyed by Jimmy Fallon's old SNL giggle-fits, the ones that ruined just about every sketch on the show for a three-year period. Apparently Tracy Morgan didn't like it much either, according to Page Six:

The "30 Rock" star tells the Octo ber issue of Penthouse that his castmates were bothered during skits by Fallon's "laughing and all that dumb [bleep] he used to do - he wouldn't mess with me because I didn't [bleep]ing play that s - - t. That's taking all the attention off of everybody else and putting it on you, like, 'Oh, look at me, I'm the cute one.' I told him not to do that s - - t in my sketches, so he never did."
Too bad that Morgan's material, giggles or no giggles, was never all that funny to begin with.

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

"If There Were a Woman President, There Would Never Be Any Wars, Never! Just Every 28 Days, Some Severe Negotiations"

News Item: Sally Field censored on Emmy telecast for stating that "if the mothers ruled the world, there would be no goddamned wars in the first place."

I refuse to touch this one, except to say that a mother (Hillary Clinton) may very well be our next president, and I'm virtually certain there'll be at least one war during her administration.

The title of this post, by the way, comes from a mid-1980s standup special by Robin Williams. My lord, has any comedian fallen further faster than him? I saw his movie, "Man of the Year," over the weekend, which was a thriller disguised as a liberal fantasy about Jon Stewart running for president- that is, if Stewart replaced his biting satire with old, stupid, and obvious jokes that everyone in the movie laughs at for no apparent reason. And in the last scene, there's even a joke that's lifted wholesale from... that very same Williams routine, from circa 1985.

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

How'd That Happen?

Yes, the Phillies swept the Mets for the third time this year, to come within 3.5 games in the NL East. What's the reaction in Philly? Yes, that's right, "they're gonna blow it!" And by "they," they mean "The Eagles."

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

Sure Beats "Avoid the Clap, Jimmy Dugan"

Who's the biggest asshole on the Yankees? Clemens, of course, but Shelley Duncan is a close second.

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

Bad News For the Radical Homosexual Agenda

News Item: Alan Keyes to Run For President, Participate in Next GOP Debate

Because I guess the completely insane were under-represented (but not totally unrepresented) in the GOP field before. I wonder who his lesbian daughter is voting for.

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

September 14, 2007

Film Critic Quote of the Day

"Five feet of sinew crowned with blade-sharp cheekbones, Jodie Foster is flexed, vexed and primed to strike in The Brave One, an exploitation flick with top-flight talent and arty pretensions. The revenge fantasy directed by Neil Jordan insists that a vigilante is a liberal who's been mugged, a message roughly 30 years past its sell-by date."
-Carrie Rickey, in the Philadelphia Inquirer, on "Brave One"; she was actually sitting in the same row as me at the screening. My review should be up on Monday.
Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

Return of the Rock

CBS Radio's plan to replace Howard Stern with the "Free FM" format died its final death on Wednesday when Philadelphia's WYSP officially flipped back to an all-rock format.

After Stern embarked to Sirius two years ago, CBS decided to flip several of its East Coast rock stations into all-shock jock formats to compete with Stern, a plan that began with the disastrous hiring of David Lee Roth to do a morning show. That experiment ended after four months, and the stations, including K-Rock in New York, have slowly switched back to rock. YSP was the last of those on the East Coast, although even the Philly station dropped the "Free FM" monicker months ago. (LA and Detroit still use the Free FM name)

"The Kidd Chris Show," the only talk show on the station that's actually listenable, will remain, along with "Opie and Anthony," but two of Kidd Show's mainstays- Monkeyboy and producer Brad Maybe- were let go. The station will re-launch officially Monday.

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

Quote of the Day

James Fallows wonders if Rudy Giuliani is insane:

Mayor Giuliani, outrageously worse. Is this how he's been all along? To start with, he doesn't know anything. To be more precise: not a single sentence that he utters suggests any familiarity with what people have been saying and arguing -- about terrorism, Iraq, the situation of the military, security trade-offs, etc -- for the last few years. He's out of date in two ways: He displays the "fashionable in 2003 and 2004" assumption that if you say "nine-eleven, nine-eleven, nine-eleven!!" enough times, you end all debate about military policy. He displays the "fashionable about three weeks ago" assumption that if you say "General Petraeus, General Petraeus, General Petraeus" enough times, you've offered an Iraq policy. And through it all he seems totally self-confident. Hmm, have we seen anything like this combo before?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:42 PM | Comments (0)

I'm Not an Edwards Fan, But...

It's hard to argue with any of this:

And no, I'm not going to criticize him for failing to denounce Robert George has more on the subject.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:41 PM | Comments (2)

September 13, 2007

Saying Goodbye to Ryan

Twenty years ago this week, Rosh Hashanah began at the exact same time as the Twins started the 1987 ALCS against the Tigers, which led to all sorts of jokes by the rabbis about how he was sure a lot of people would rather be at home. Today, leaving Rosh Hashanah services, I got some Twins news that wasn't nearly as happy as the start of a playoff series- Terry Ryan was resigning as GM of the team.

Ryan, GM of the team for 13 years, cited a diminishment of his joy in the game in his desire to step down; he'll be replaced by longtime assistant Bill Smith, who will hopefully do a better job than Ryan's other former assistant, Wayne Krivsky, has done in Cincinnati. Ryan created a perennial contender by making smart trades and being a wiz at player development, thus building a strong team in a small market.

Ryan is certain to become a contender for every open GM job for the next year or two, although he'll remain as a consultant. I just hope this isn't the first of many Twins departures to come this offseason.

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

Philly Gets Impatient

No, I did not write this Onion article, even though it encapsulates 100% my attitude about the Eagles, McNabb, and their fan base:

Eagles Fans Give McNabb Three-Week Deadline To Win Super Bowl
PHILADELPHIA—Frustrated with the Eagles' last-second 16-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers last Sunday, and with quarterback Donovan McNabb's failure to single-handedly score three touchdowns, prevent two of his teammates from muffing punts, or block any of Green Bay's field goals, thousands of Philadelphia fans demanded that McNabb win an NFL championship for Philadelphia sometime within the next three weeks.

"For the last time: How much longer do we have to wait for McNabb to get off his ass?" Eagles fan Jacob Wilkerson said of the five-time Pro Bowler in one of over 1,500 messages addressed to the quarterback left on the Eagles' voicemail Monday. "Come on McNabb, it's time to finish the job. We've been really lenient up to this point, but it's time to hunker down and throw the ball. If you think you need to take the whole three weeks, that's fine, but we would really like it by next Wednesday."

The same paper, last year, reported that "Eagles Fans Fully Expect Donovan McNabb To Play With Torn ACL."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:18 PM | Comments (1)

Belichick and Nixon

What's Bill Simmons' reaction to the Patriots/sign-stealing scandal? Surprise! He thinks it's a big deal:

I'm a big Watergate buff, and there are some eerie parallels to last Sunday's Jets game and the '72 presidential electon -- not just the spying symmetry, but that neither the Patriots nor Nixon needed to take the risk. Nixon had the '72 election locked up but was so paranoid, he allowed his guys to basically defame Edmund Muskie and George McGovern and tried to break into the Democratic headquarters multiple times. Belichick knew he had a better team than the Jets, but he tried to steal their signals anyway. Let's hope this doesn't lead to a disgraced Belichick climbing on a private jet in 18 months and raising his arms defiantly in the air.
And yes, people in Philly are actually hoping that this will result in the Patriots forfeiting their Super Bowls and the Eagles retroactively being recognized as Super Bowl champs. I wouldn't hold my breath for that.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:13 PM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2007

The Wait is Over

"The Daily Show"'s take on the Petraeus Report is a classic:

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

Two Words: Frozen Sperm

News Item: U. of Minnesota Has Safest Sex of Any U.S. College

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

Defending Britney

Sort of, anyway. Fagistan has this to say about the anti-Britney reaction:

Is she perhaps out of shape? Sure! But she's popped out two babies and hasn't worked for a long time. She may well not be in the kind of physical shape it requires to do the dance routines she used to be so great at. Certainly all that muscle tone seems to have gone the way of the Brontosaurus. But the girl is anything but fat. Looking at the photos, I can still see at least several of her ribs. She looks far better in that bikini, I'd bet, than any of the people calling her a cow would.

Why does Britney's decision not to undergo a grueling workout routine before taking the stage suddenly become a huge moral failing? There are millions of women struggling to get a body like Britney's and now we're telling them that even if they achieve it they'll still be too fat and ugly to be seen in respectable company?

Was she lethargic? Uncharismatic? Generally embarrassing? You betcha. But fat? I wouldn't say so.

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

They're Back!

News Item: Led Zeppelin to Reunite For One-Time Charity Gig

As speculated in every reunion scenario of the past two decades, Jason Bonham (son of deceased bassist John Bonham) will be the drummer. Will someone please offer them a truckload of money to do a worldwide tour? I've never been so excited to see a band that broke up when I was two years old.

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

Better Than John Cena

SportsPickle: New wrestler “The Injector” vows to destroy foes over the long run with a steroids regimen that causes organ failure

I'd like to put him up against my proposed wrestler, Vicodin Man, who is always so hopped up on painkillers that none of the other wrestlers' moves hurt him.

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

September 11, 2007

Tuesday, 9/11

I have nothing to say that hasn't already been said.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)

Philly Sports Quote of the Day

Phil Sheridan on his message board, when asked which WIP hosts he likes most/least:

I think Eskin talks to certain people and gets some insight into what's going on and so it's worth listening with those parameters in mind.
I think Gargano and Martorano mid-day are actually fun to listen to. Decent guys, too.
The morning show is an embarrassment to the station and the Philadelphia sports scene.
It's hard to disagree with any of the above, really. Except that Eskin's knowledge is sort of drowned out by the part where he yells at every other caller.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:03 PM | Comments (0)

Brandeis' Forbidden Dance

The Justice: Admin bans new dance

The Lambada? No, it's just the "Liquid Latex Club's fall dance." There used to be a Liquid Latex fashion show, and a "Less You Wear, Less You Pay" Dance, but after the latter was banned, someone apparently decided to combine the two.

And it's a good thing, too- because if this went forward, freshmen might actually have the impression that college students like to have fun, drink, and have sex!

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

Film Critic Quote of the Wee

David Edelstein of New York magazine, eviscerating "The Brave One":

What could impel Jodie Foster and director Neil Jordan to whisk us back to the bad old days of Death Wish and Ms. 45? Were their credit cards maxed out? Were their kneecaps about to be broken?... You probably think I’m oversimplifying—that Foster and Jordan are too thoughtful, artistically ambitious, and politically progressive to make a movie that would have Bernie Goetz rolling his eyes. But Foster’s feminist victimization complex seems to be looping around to meet Nixon and Agnew. Next she’ll be hunting Commies for the FBI."
I saw this last night; what an abominable, indefensible, total mess of a movie it is. It gets New York wrong, it gets humanity wrong, and it's like an elementary school version of "Munich," right down to the creepy sex scene juxtaposed with a murder. The movie, though, should gladden the hearts of anyone chomping at the bit to relive the debates surrounding the Bernie Goetz case.

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

Ted Stepien, RIP

Ted Stepien, the early 1980s Cleveland Caviliers owner who was so famously incompetent that the league actually gave the Cavs extra draft choices after he sold the team, died yesterday at the age of 82. I had assumed, up until today, that Stepien must have died 20 or more years ago.

Now that Stepien and Marge Schott are both dead, Donald Sterling and Carl Pohlad must vie for the title of Worst Living Sports Owner.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:56 PM | Comments (0)

Just Too Irish

To people who hate Notre Dame, ESPN must look like this every day.

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

Film Critic Quote of the Week

Cinema academic David Bordwell, whose book I read back in my college film classes, is on my side:

A spectre is haunting contemporary cinema: the shaky shot.

Viewers have been protesting for some years now. I recall friends asking me why the images were so bumpy in Woody Allen’s Husbands and Wives and Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark. The Bourne Ultimatum, this summer’s wildest excursion into Unsteadicam, has put the matter back on the agenda... In an earlier post, I quoted Hong Kong cinematographers’ saying about the shaky camera. The handheld camera covers three mistakes: Bad acting, bad set design, and bad directing.

It's the worst cinematic development of the year, by far. And Ebert is with me too.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:33 AM | Comments (1)

September 10, 2007

Today's Writings in Three Places

- On E-Gear, Apple has agreed to give a $100 credit to any early adopter of the iPhone steamed about the recent $200 price cut. My coworker said her boyfriend, who got her one, wanted to use the $100 to buy a kayak, but unfortunately the credit is for the Apple Store only, and there's no iKayak yet. If there was, I'd totally get one. Also, the XM/Sirius merger is inching towards approval, and LG, sensing a long-from-over format war, has launched another dual Blu-ray/HD DVD player.

- My review of "3:10 to Yuma" is online at the Trend's site. All the pre-release buzz was positive, but apparently a lot of the published-on-Friday critics agreed with my middling assessment.

- And finally, my North Star column this week is on the David Petraeus and the surge, as today marks the demise of the "you really should wait for David Petraeus before you denounce the surge" argument, which never got in the way of the "the surge is definitely working" argument.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:03 PM | Comments (0)

Why We Got Married in May

Well, this is one reason:

Other than the trippy Peyton Manning/Escher/"The Shining" clip, it was probably the best commercial of Week 1.

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

Week 1 Notes

You could say the Eagles' special teams were "special," after all, in their Week 1 loss to the Packers at LAM-BOW FIELD. Two turnovers caused by kick-return fumbles doomed the Iggles, who didn't look particularly great on offense either. The Phillies played (and won) yesterday too, at the same time as the Eagles' game; I'm guessing there were ubiquitous E-A-G-L-E-S chants among the 25 people who showed up at Citizen's Bank Park.

But how about those Vikings, huh? They knocked out the Falcons' Ewing Theory prospects with a decisive victory in their opener. Tarvaris Jackson didn't even play that badly. Who knows, there may be hope for them yet. In my fantasy league, I was greatly buoyed by Peterson- but lost to my opponent, thanks to the Vikings' defense.

- That's great for Randy Moss. But, this doesn't mean he's not ever going to run over a cop or toll collector on the Mass Pike, just so you know.

- The pre-game shows were typically embarrassing. The next time I laugh at Fox's Madden impersonator will be the first, and ESPN's 10-year-old kid didn't bring much to the table either. As for the Jimmy Johnson/Barry Switzer segment? My fellow Minnesotans- didn't it remind you of that Sunday night show where Sid, Reusse, and Dark Star sit around and talk sports like the rambling old men that they are?

Also, for the first time ever, I managed to survive the first week of my knockout pool (the Glen Macnow version.) Thanks, Steelers!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)

Bye, Ric

News Item: Ric Flair to Leave WWE

I mean, I love Flair as much as the next wrestling fan, but come on- the man is 58 years old. He's older than my dad, he's older than my boss, and he's older than Hulk Hogan. To put it in perspective, Flair is 15 years older than Barry Bonds, 14 years older than Jamie Moyer, 13 years older than Roger Clemens, and two years older than El Duque Hernandez.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:02 PM | Comments (3)

TV Critic Quote of the Day

Alan Sepinwall, on that horrific Britney Spears performance last night:

That may have been the most embarrassing live TV musical performance since Ashlee Simpson did her little hoedown on "SNL," and Ashlee hadn't been spiraling out of control in public for several years leading up to that point. Britney looked bored, could barely bother to lip sync convincingly, was afraid of walking in those boots, let alone dance in them, and was of course immediately followed by Sarah Silverman. The only plus was that I thought she looked to be in pretty good shape, but I appear to be in the minority on that, judging from a brief skim of the blogosphere.
I thought about posting the YouTube, but I didn't want to scare any of you.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)

Also Known As "No Law at All"

News Item: Law School to Offer Course on "The Law of '24'"

I'd love for them to explain how Jack can repeatedly escape custody, hold people at gunpoint, etc., and never be prosecuted for anything. Was he given a Bond-like "license to kill" at some point between seasons?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:01 PM | Comments (1)

Hit the Road, Jack

I guess Jack McCaffery of WPEN- the worst sports radio personality this side of Ferrell- is just as bad at column-writing as he is at radio. Here, he suggests that the Phillies trade Ryan Howard for Johan Santana, a deal that has about as much chance of happening as Jose Mesa for Barry Bonds.

I was wondering how long it would take parts of Philly to turn on Howard, who has only won Rookie of the Year and MVP in his first two full seasons. Pretty soon we'll be hearing that he "doesn't have what it takes to win," "has no heart," and all the other unfounded bullshit that's regularly hurled at McNabb.

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

Ryan Braun's Koufax Moment

Will the Brewers' Ryan Braun, who has a chance to be the first Jewish Rookie of the Year in history, play on Yom Kippur? ShysterBall investigates.

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

Book Critic Quote of the Week

Peter Beinart, reviewing the new Norman Podhoretz book, and mocking NPod's assertion that "In its own way, this war of ideas is no less bloody than the one being fought by our troops in the Middle East."

No less bloody? That’s good to know. Next time I talk to my sister-in-law, an emergency medicine doctor serving at Camp Taji, north of Baghdad, I’ll tell her we have it just as rough here at home. Norman Podhoretz is practically dodging I.E.D.’s on his way to Zabar’s.

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

September 09, 2007

Esoteric List of the Day

Big Stupid Tommy has a list of the Things You Don't Want to Find in a Pinata.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:44 PM | Comments (1)

Life Imitates "Curb Your Enthusiasm"

News Item: Synagogue seats go for $1.8M

Mine were free, though.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:49 PM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2007

Film Critic Quote of the Week

The WSJ's Joe Morgenstern, on "3:10 to Yuma":

The basic plot survives intact, and intriguing as ever. The picture looks great: Phedon Papamichael's elegant color cinematography has replaced Charles Lawton Jr.'s elegant black-and-white cinematography. And the action sequences are impressive, for a while. Yet the whole enterprise is seriously out of scale. What began half a century ago as a small, taut Western has become an extended, self-serious and, in the end, ludicrously distended spectacle that seems to bring the Yuma train to the station 20 minutes late.
I saw it the other night, and consider it as completely and totally average. I had trouble thinking of what to write in my review. But I did not, any point, think to e-mail the director and ask for a nude photo of one of the actresses in it, as this guy did. If only he'd done the same thing after seeing "High School Musical"...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

This is Our Kickoff

My favorite thing about last night's NFL "kickoff" game in Indianapolis- John Mellencamp performed beforehand, and did NOT sing "This is Our Country." The commercial did, however, run immediately after his performance.

I appreciate CSTB's obscure reference to Cougar's noted former drummer, Kenny Aronoff. I met Aronoff like 15 years ago when he spoke at my summer camp; he also sat around with us and told entertaining groupie stories.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)

Nah, I'm More Excited For the Springsteen Album

News Item: Bin Laden Releasing tape on Sept. 11

The nerve of those damn terrorists. On my wife's birthday, no less...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)

I'm Not the Only One!

Apparently, there's one other person in the world besides me who thought it was a good investment to buy a Doug Mientkiewicz jersey.

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

Their Worst PR Blunder Since, Oh, Last Year

News Item: Vikings spokesman blames bridge collapse for slow ticket sales.

It's going to be a long, long season, I fear. But thankfully, the Vikes get to start against one team that's even more dysfunctional (the Falcons.)

UPDATE: Yes, the Vikings managed to sell out, after its TV network affiliate bought the final thousand or so seats. Randball has the best line about this:

The e-mail that just landed in our inbox from the Vikings bears this headline: “Vikings announce 97th consecutive sellout,” which is about as honest as telling people you hit a home run when really it was a lazy fly ball caught by a kindly outfielder, who then proceeded to throw the ball over the fence.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:33 AM | Comments (0)

Yea, It Sounded Too Good to Be True

News Item: Rick Ankiel named in HGH probe

Well, the fall-of-grace part certainly makes the Ankiel/Roy Hobbs parallel stand. The book version of Roy Hobbs, anyway.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:24 AM | Comments (0)

Might Want to Short That Disney Stock

News Item: Nude photo surfaces of "High School Musical's" Vanessa Hudgens

Well, I certainly never saw that one coming. It's good thing there's no recent precedent for formerly innocent Disney Channel stars falling off the deep end into depravity.

I also think it's funny that, possibly the gayest blog on the Internet, has become the go-to place for finding surprising nude photos of female celebrities.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:10 AM | Comments (1)

September 06, 2007

Trending Upward

The Trend, the suburban newspaper where I was formerly an editor and still am the film critic, has finally launched a website. You can find my review of "The Bourne Ultimatum" here.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:55 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

Yahoo's Charles Robinson with an excellent column on Donovan McNabb, who's one of football's most controversial players, even though there's absolutely no good reason for him to be controversial at all:

If the topic of conversation isn't his record, then it's his health. If it's not his health, it's something he said. If it's not something he said, it's something he didn't say. And if it's none of those things, then it's someone else's opinion that he has to address.
In the story, various people measure Philly anti-McNabb contingent as one percent (Andy Reid's guess) and 5 percent (Donovan himself). Whatever the real number, it should stay stagnant by the end of Sunday, unless McNabb does something horrible like smile on the sideline at the wrong time.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:53 PM | Comments (0)

They Can't All Be Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer

Cracked has a list up today of the 10 Most Annoying Recurring SNL Characters, and it's impressive primarily because the authors were somehow able to whittle it down to only ten. No, Cajun Man really never was funny, and neither were Mary Katherine Gallagher, the "Buh-Bye" guy, or anyone ever played by Jimmy Fallon. I remember Hans and Franz being funny, but then I was like 12 at the time.

I would add that stupid "Spartan Spirits" bit, which was never funny a single time, as well as "It's Pat," and way too many others to count.

Remember Chris Farley's "Relapse Guy"? That's one that never seems to show up in retrospectives, for sort of obvious reasons.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)

We Know What Team They're On

Here's the best fantasy football/picks contest of the season.

My team this year is The Strike Team (a nod to my starting quarterback, Vic Mackey); someone in my league is Travis Henry's First Born, though most of them just use their own names. Most leagues, at least ESPN and Yahoo, are not allowing such Vick/Pacman-related names as The Rape Stands or Bad Newz Kennels or the Rainmakers. KSK has some ideas too.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:12 PM | Comments (1)

Funny, I Always Thought Ayn Rand Wrote That

News Item: Vadim Perelman to Helm Angelina Jolie's 'Atlas Shrugged'

Is Angie no longer a "crazy Hollywood lefty," if she's adapting an Objectivist novel?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:44 PM | Comments (1)

But, But... How Will I Get Home?

News Item: Craig supporters call for boycott of Minneapolis airport.

They're not alone in the cause; Whizzinator supporters have vowed to take a stand as well.

The boycott is being pushed by pro-Craig "land rights" activists, though I fail to see what a lewd conduct arrest has to do with that.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)

September 05, 2007

Today on E-Gear

The new iPods are here! And much as I love the 6th generation one I got a month ago, I sort of wish I'd waited and gotten the new iPod Touch- which is essentially an iPhone, minus the phone.

It's a total overhaul for the brand, with new versions of the Nano, Shuffle, and everything else, plus changes to the iTunes store (direct ringtone downloads!) But most bizarre of all is that Apple skipped the "New iPod" phase and went directly to iPod Classic, unveiling a new edition that, in one version, can hold up to 40,000 songs. But who in the world has that much music, other than DJs and professional rock critics? It might be the first electronics product solely designed for Chuck Klosterman.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:49 PM | Comments (5)

What's Sid Saying?

There's been a groundswell- despite a whole bunch of losses like today's 8-2 lead-turned-9-8-loss to the Mets- that the Phillies' Charlie Manuel should be named NL Manager of the Year. Sure, he's not the smartest game manager in the world, and sure, almost everyone in Philly hates him.

But, Uncle Charlie's got the Phils in the race, almost 10 games over .500, despite numerous injuries that have left the team with one of their original six starting pitchers, and a laughable bullpen in which the likes of Jose Mesa and Antonio Alfonseca are on the mound in key situations. I may not agree with the Charlie-for-Manager-of-the-Year idea, but I at least see the point.

This Sid Hartman argument, however, I don't so much see at all:

Though it appears the Twins' playoff hopes were dashed after they got swept at Cleveland last week, it's amazing they were able to hang in there as long as they did given the number of injuries they've had this year, and for that reason, Ron Gardenhire should be named American League Manager of the Year.
Um, huh?

The Twins are two games under .500, and almost completely out of the race. They can't score runs to save their lives, and haven't been able to all season. Whether Gardenhire is doing a good job or not, I can't say. But for the "number of injuries" excuse to work, shouldn't the team actually be, you know, good, if its skipper is going to be recognized as manager of the year? Especially since, now that I think about it, the Twins really haven't had all that many injuries?

The amount of playing time for Nick Punto, for instance, should be enough to disqualify Gardy from the race all by itself. And Joe Morgan's observation that "Pat Burrell can run" is now no longer the dumbest baseball comment of the season.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:37 PM | Comments (1)

A Book I'm Not Planning on Reading

I guess the reality show, the clothing line, the comedy DVD, and everything else didn't work out, so this is their latest stab at continued relevance.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:59 PM | Comments (1)

Headline of the Year Nominee

From Not the birdie they expected: Emu follows golfers

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:05 PM | Comments (0)

September 04, 2007

What Do You Think, Philly?

See if you can guess how well this scenario (suggested by the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo) would play in the City of Brotherly Love:

If things don't turn around for [J.D.] Drew, would you send him and a lot of cash to Philadelphia for Pat Burrell this offseason? Granted, Drew has some bad blood with Phillies fans; he didn't sign after being their top pick in 1997. But that was 10 years ago. Drew is clearly more comfortable in the National League. In interleague play this season, he hit .328 in 58 at-bats, with 4 homers, 13 RBIs, a .394 OBP, and .603 slugging percentage. Burrell, soon to be 31, is a guy the Phillies would have given to you for a thank you card a couple of months ago. But he is up to 24 homers and 77 RBIs with a .270 average and .409 on-base percentage, a big part of the Phillies' resurgence. He has one year left at $14 million, and lists Boston as one of the teams to which he would accept a trade.
That would never happen, of course, but if it did... that might be the trade that finally makes WIP's switchboard explode.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:22 PM | Comments (0)

Groundbreaking, Cont'd

It really was always all about the beer with Kent Hrbek. From Scott Miller's Sportsline column, on the Twins stadium groundbreaking:

So after Twins legend Kent Hrbek steps up to speak during the ceremony, telling everyone he can't wait to explain to his daughter that catcher Joe Mauer actually lost the ball in the sun and not in the dingy Metrodome roof, he says, "I came for the beer."

Then someone hands him a bottle of Bud Lite. So Herbie wheels around, obtains the approval of owner Carl Pohlad, cracks it open and takes a swig. "That's the first of many here at the ol' ballpark," he says.

Can't wait for my first.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:19 PM | Comments (3)

Well, At Least Paul Haggis Didn't Direct It

The the latest season of "Entourage," mercifully, ended Sunday night, completing the collapse of this once-great show. I guess this is a lesson: when you broadcast two seasons of a show back to back, the quality may very well suffer.

I don't know what was most annoying about this season: The over-reliance on Billy Walsh, the series' all-time most-annoying character. The creepy misogyny (remember the tranny? And the "best rimjob on the West Coast" episode?) The endlessly stupid Turtle/Drama escapades. The Anna Faris arc, which went absolutely nowhere.

But probably worst of all was the repeated, totally unconvincing episode construction: Vince does something dumb. E does something dumber. Turtle and Drama do other dumb things (that have nothing to do with the main plot, but keep them from getting laid.) Then, something (Dennis Hopper's bookie, Kanye West's plane, etc.) falls out of the sky and solves everyone's problems, and everything turns out fine. Sure, the finale didn't turn out that way, but who doubts that it eventually will? Pretty much everything that didn't involve Lloyd totally sucked.

I'm about ready for 'Curb' to start, how about you?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:11 PM | Comments (3)

Down the Toilet

Larry Craig resigned over the weekend; here's my North Star column on the matter. Meanwhile, Jim McGreevey wrote a bizarre letter to the Washington Post... defending Craig, and putting across that what he (McGreevey) did was much worse than Craig's action. Certainly a change of pace, that's for sure.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:10 PM | Comments (0)

Good One, Spadaro

The Philadelphia Eagles, like many sports franchises, have turned their team Web site into an online goldmine, sporting huge traffic and even attempting to "cover" the team in a journalistic fashion, employing a "reporter" (Dave Spadaro) who "breaks stories" that are presumably fed to him directly from the team.

Spadaro is perhaps best known for his semi-weekly sparring matches with the WIP morning show, where he shills non-stop for the team, while Cataldi and Co. constantly ascribe nefarious motives to the team's management. But the Eagles site made an embarrassing gaffe over the weekend- they "broke the story" about the Eagles' final training camp cuts, but somehow included several of the wrong players on the list.

Phil Sheridan has the story; I'm still wondering exactly how this happened.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:08 PM | Comments (1)

Drugstore Cowboy

News Item: Dallas QB Coach Wade Wilson Suspended For HGH Use

Wilson, best known to myself and many others as the 1980s Vikings quarterback who was better than Sean Salisbury but not as good as Rich Gannon, claims he obtained the drugs in order to self-treat his diabetes, although it's sort of shady why he didn't just go to a legit doctor, as opposed to a raided-by-the-feds Internet pharmacy. Did he pass the drugs on to any players in Dallas or in previous stop Chicago? No one knows, but this sounds mighty shady.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:07 PM | Comments (0)

Just When You Thought They Were Out...

News Item: Doug Christie Eyeing NBA Comeback

Doug says no more hand signals, but... he and Jackie are working on a book. Yikes. Hopefully, this will work out better than Doug's LAST comeback, when he bailed on a 10-day contract after five days.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:07 PM | Comments (0)