The team Halloween party attire, in which Kitna dressed as a "naked man" and his wife portrayed a fast food employee, was a reference to the arrest last year in which Lions defensive line coach Joe Cullen was arrested for driving drunk -and nude- through an area Wendy's drivethrough.
Kitna and his wife were also the target of other costumers; a teammate and his wife showed up at the same party dressed as "Bible-thumpers."
My review of the Steve Carell comedy "Dan in Real Life" is online on the Trend Web site. Every single review I read of the film said either that "Dane Cook ruins it" or "it was pretty good, despite Dane Cook"; my review says the latter.
Scott Lemieux, of Lawyers, Guns and Money, on the latest nonsense from America's worst op-ed columnist, laying waste to...:
The latest bit of vacuous misogyny from Maureen Dowd, whose presence on a major op-ed page remains and will always be an absolute disgrace. A couple more points are worth emphasizing. First, none of this has the slightest shred of substantive significance; the idea (also now being propounded by Slate) that pop-psych anecdotes about people's marriages tell us anything interesting about a presidential candidate's performance is nothing but a cover for journalists who prefer lazy gossip to actually doing their jobs. The second is that Dowd, as always, doesn't seem to understand feminism. Not only is feminism (to use Jessica Valenti's line) not Maureen Dowd's dating service, most intelligent feminists understand that feminism does not provide any single answer to the question "what should you do if your husband gets a blowjob from somebody else?" Some feminists are in open marriages. Some forgive adultery as anybody in a long-term relationship has to forgive some mistakes. Some will find it intolerable and leave. Feminism is a way of evaluating a relationship, not (leaving aside violence, etc.) a set of one-size-fits-all answers about how to deal with every situation. And finally, it should be obvious (and this is the biggest reason why such analysis is so useless) that Clinton would have been condemned no matter what she did. If she had left her husband, she would be a cold man-hating shrew with no respect for the institution of marriage; since she stayed with her husband, she's somehow an ambitious schemer who is betraying feminism (which is not betrayed, apparently, by sexist smears on her candidacy in the New York Times.) She can't win.
The legendary crooner died last night at the age of 73. Sure, I know I'm being a philistine for saying this, but I primarily remember Goulet for four things: His great ESPN college basketball commercials in the mid-'90s, his role as villain Quentin Hapsburg* in the underrated "Naked Gun 2 1/2," his brilliant Emerald Nuts commercials from earlier this year, and (of course) Will Ferrell's ingenious impression of him:
*No, Goulet didn't really die like this.
News Item: Jeff George lobbies to be signed by Vikings
Considering that the Vikings were the one and only team that cut George at exactly the right time, as opposed to keeping him for too long like the Colts, Falcons and Raiders did, I can't imagine they'd want to bring him back seven or so years later.
I think it's safe to say I'm not so excited about the upcoming NBA season. After all, according to Sports Illustrated, the team in my hometown (the Wolves) is the worst in the Western Conference, while the one in my adopted hometown (the Sixers) is the Least in the East. But despite all that, I enjoyed Awful Announcing's compilation of every team's slogan, along with better ideas for each.
This is sort of amusing:
The 2007 Colorado Rockies: Definitive proof that God doesn't care who wins the World Series.
I’m back in Philadelphia after a long weekend visiting family and friends in Minnesota; here’s some thoughts on what happened on the trip, and in the world at large in the past five days:
- Yes, I saw the Larry Craig mens’ room in the airport, though we passed it at 1:30 in the morning and I didn’t feel like going in. I love that it’s right next to the big Snoopy statue, one of many throughout the Twin Cities area.
- As for the other big Minnesota story of this year, we went and looked at the site of the bridge collapse. Luckily, there are other bridges right nearby on either side of it, so traffic has been minimally disturbed. But everyone seemed sort of disappointed that my wife, a professional bridge engineer, wasn’t able to rebuild the bridge all by herself. I had to tell them it doesn't quite work that way.
- Like I've said before, every time I’m in town there’s some big local crime story that has everyone captivated; this time, it’s the Minneapolis woman who was murdered after answering a Craig’s List ad for a nanny. I’m sure that’ll be a “Law & Order” episode by next month.
- The main purpose of our trip was the Vikings-Eagles game at the Metrodome on Sunday, which the Eagles ended up winning 23-16. There were lots of Eagles fans in town for the game, both on the airplane (there were E-A-G-L-E-S chants as the plane landed, at 1 AM) and in the stadium itself. I saw about ten Randall Cunningham Eagles jerseys, but not a single Cunningham/Vikings one.
- Yes, the Eagles looked good, and so did Donovan, and unlike the previous three games Philly was actually able to score in the red zone. But as Simmons (quoting Kietel) would say, “let’s not start [expletive] each other’s [expletives] quite yet.” Just because they beat the Vikings doesn’t mean the Eagles have turned their season around. Dallas, next Sunday, is going to be a tough game.
- No, I’m not ready to say that Brad Childress is a worse coach than Mike Tice, but he’s closing the gap. Wasting two challenges- including one on the opening kickoff of the second half- is just plain dumb. The Vikings used two quarterbacks, neither of whom was Tarvaris Jackson, yet Kelly Holcomb and Brooks Bollinger both sucked. Say, after Sunday, now we know Donovan McNabb can play in the Metrodome…
- Going to games in Philly and Minnesota really are the same in some ways, but different in others. The Minnesotans behind us were drunk off their asses by the end of the game, sure, but it was more “stupid, funny” drunk, whereas during most of my trips to the Linc those around us have often been “angry, violent” drunk.
- Since no NFL team, for some reason, can have just one mascot, the Vikes have complemented Ragnar with a new sidekick, “Viktor.” As you can see from this picture, Viktor’s resemblance to Hulk Hogan is so uncanny as to be hopelessly distracting.
- As for the Timberwolves, their season may be utterly hopeless as they wait for the talent to develop and the draft picks and cap space to arrive, but their ad campaign, featuring ersatz blaxploitation character Sweetwater Jones, is something to behold. Their best decision in years, even if he is named after a Barry Manilow song.
- I’m dreading the start of the Twins’ offseason, but we did catch Syl Jones’ play about Kirby Puckett, “Kirby,” at the History Theatre in St. Paul. I highly recommend seeing it if you’re any sort of Kirby fan at all, and you’ll be in the Cities in the next month or so. It’s an honest portrayal, warts and all, of the most important athlete in the state’s history.
- Speaking of baseball… congratulations to the Red Sox for winning the series. And shame on Scott Boras for leaking A-Rod’s opt-out plans during the freakin’ clinching game of the series. Who’s the bigger a-hole- Boras, for that stunt, or Bill Belichick, for going for it on fourth down while up 38-0?
LilB has long vowed to restart his long-dormant blog if the Sox won a second championship (either that, or one of several other preconditions), so now, after three years, WKIKYA has returned.
- While in town we caught the new movie “Ira and Abby,” which was far from perfect, but I still liked it, mostly because it fits in the burgeoning subgenre called the Upper West Side Movie (UWSM). You know the type: set on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, in which the characters are majority Jewish and/or majority psychiatrists, and the allusions to Woody Allen are either implied or outright stated.
I recommend “Ira and Abby” mostly for its great cast, featuring Jennifer Westfeldt (from one of the best UWSMs, “Kissing Jessica Stein”) and Chris Messina (Claire’s boyfriend Ted in the last season of “Six Feet Under”), and a dynamite quartet as their parents: Robert Klein, Judith Light, Fred Willard and Frances Conroy. Plus, cameos from Jason Alexander, Chris Parnell, Darrell Hammond and, best of all, Jon Hamm (Don Draper from “Mad Men.”) It’s the sort of movie where I sort of recognized one of the actresses but couldn’t put my finger on it, but later checked IMDB and found that she played the "peekaboo girl" in the last scene of “Swingers.”
- Last but not least, check out this week’s North Star column, on the fifth anniversary of Paul Wellstone’s death. More to come on Wednesday.
Pacifist Viking is approaching this Sunday's game, oh, the exact same way I am:
Finally, I like Donovan McNabb: I think he's a good quarterback and a good person that has faced a lot of undue criticism. I really wish him well in his career, and if I weren't rooting against him, I'd really enjoy getting to watch him play live (which I still might). But if the Vikings hasten McNabb's departure from Philadelphia--and eventual arrival in Minnesota--by beating up on the Eagles, then by all means, beat up on the Eagles. Give me my fantasies of the 2008 Vikings with Donovan McNabb (fully recovered from his ACL injury) faking a handoff to rushing leader Adrian Peterson and throwing deep to Larry Fitzgerald. We all need our fantasies.I had the same dream!
And speaking of Minnesota blogs, here's the best cake ever.
Isaac of ALOTT5MA lays out the scenario of what sounds like a run-of-the-mill "Friends" episode, until he springs this on us:
All of that actually happened, except Ross is Ed Levi, and Joey is Aaron Director, and Rachel is Ronald Coase, and Monica is Milton Friedman, and the handsome gay man is George Stigler, and Chandler is most of the rest of the world’s economists and law professors, and Season 1 is 1953, and Season 3 is 1959-60, and picking up chicks is antitrust law and the pseudo-economic theory on which it is based, and Monica’s friends from cooking school are Robert Bork and Abner Mikva and Henry Manne, and Rachel and Monica’s apartment is the Journal of Law and Economics, and Rachel’s whirlwind romance story is The Federal Communications Commission, and Central Perk is Aaron Director’s house, and the Technique is the idea that in the absence of transaction costs a good will naturally wind up in the hands of its most efficient user, and explaining it all to Chandler is The Problem of Social Cost.I mean, could that BE any more brilliant?
Next week: Joey convinces Phoebe to debunk the Standard Oil myth.
It's almost unbelievable to consider, but Paul Wellstone died five years ago yesterday. He's still greatly missed, in Minnesota and everywhere else.
If you've ever had a desire to see Kevin Garnett do a Ric Flair impression, now's your chance.
If the '07 Celtics were the Four Horsemen, Garnett would be Flair, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce would be Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson, Doc Rivers would be JJ Dillon, and Eddie House would be Paul Roma.
Is anyone else sick to death of these stupid AT&T commercials with the names of a bunch of cities scrunched together, like "Chilondoscow" and "New Bosmento"? They're more annoying than Dane Cook and "This is Ouuuuur Country" put together. Doing that sort of thing never works- Remember Christmahanukwanzaakah?- and now Comcast is doing it too.
The most inexplicable thing of all? The adds are directed by Wes Anderson. I'm a Wes apologist to the end; I liked both "Life Aquatic" and "Darjeeling." But even I've gotta jump off the bandwagon at this point.
Yes, it's a live model of Scrooge McDuck's money bin. If I were a billionaire, I'd totally get one of those. Who needs banks?
Dave Calhoun from Time Out London on the odious "Lions For Lambs," which I saw tonight:
"Lions for Lambs’ – or, more accurately, ‘Politics for Dummies’ – is directed by Robert Redford and stars Redford as a corduroy-clad, idealistic university tutor in California who spends most of this self-important and empty film – that’s at least six years too late to have any real relevance beyond the box-office – in conversation with a promising but lazy student... The politics of this film are basic beyond belief, which would be acceptable is they weren’t also so muddled and unconvincingly expressed. Apathy is a theme: the promising student is obviously a symbol of latent intelligence which, if roused, might make for a more varied and powerful political debate among the American people. Yet this tack is heavily compromised by the casting of the director in the role of the selfless humanitarian with a message."Oh, it's so bad. It's a movie with not a single original idea in its head, that spends its entire running time recycling dialogue that may or may not be lifted from "Crossfire" transcripts from 2003. All while making statements about war, journalism, politics, and education, and knowing little to nothing about any of the four. Don't see this movie. Please, I beg you.
My review of "Gone Baby Gone" is online at The Trend. Be sure to see the movie if you're a "Wire" fan; Amy Ryan (Beadie Russell) plays the crackhead mom, while Michael K. Williams (Omar) is in it too.
On E-Gear, Blu-ray has a big lead in sales over HD DVD- but may close the gap later this year thanks to "Transformers." Apple is flying high, and Wal*Mart has a problem with people leaking their ad circulars.
And last but not least, the anti-gaming zealot Jack Thompson is suing Best Buy for selling M-related video games to kids, even though 99.9999999 of them have never shot anyone or otherwise caused any harm to themselves or anyone else. Thompson, incidentally, is currently under fire for including images of hardcore gay pornography along with a recent court filing.
Digby, on the "fake outrage" game:
Just as Newt Gingrich was not truly offended by Bill Clinton's behavior (which mirrored his own) neither were conservative congressmen and Rush Limbaugh truly upset by the Move On ad --- and everyone knew it, which was the point. It is a potent demonstration of pure power to force others to insincerely condemn or apologize for something, particularly when the person who is forcing it is also insincerely outraged. For a political party that suffers from a reputation for weakness, it is extremely damaging to be so publicly cowed over and over again. It separates them from their most ardent supporters and makes them appear guilty and unprincipled to the public at large.
Paul Zimmerman of SI tears down the laughable fraud known as the quarterback rating system, a stupid algoritim that no one understands, and that has remained unchanged- while the game has changed around it- for more than 30 years. I say retire it. If the baseball statisticians can come up with relevant new stats like every week, why can't football? I say let the Football Outsiders people handle it.
"The case of the insane, drug-addicted, transgendered model wannabe, who's suing the billionaire moneyman with an alleged penchant for underage girls and a sculpture of dog feces in his Upper East Side mansion, is getting weird."Not that it was weird before, or anything...
This is, far and away, the greatest moment of Joe Buck's career:
(See here for background.) As a result of this, and the Giants' hot start, both Buck and Eli Manning have dropped in the Undeserved Nepotism standings, behind Dubya, James Dolan and Hank and Hal Steinbrenner.
Both way overdue, of course. But what would really count is an actual Hall of Fame induction.
It'll be the Sox in six. And I still can't get used to the Series starting on a Wednesday.
Flash Warner's thoughts on this, by the way, are priceless.
It's looking like Philly radio host Kidd Chris is heading to the WYSP morning shift, following yesterday's sacking of Opie and Anthony from the station. Kidd has been pulled from afternoons, and while there's been no official announcement, I'd expect a mornings move within days.
If that's the case, expect a full-on war between Chris and WMMR's "Preston and Steve." I can't wait.
A couple of weeks ago, the show teased a "major announcement" to come at 5 PM that day, which everyone assumed was a move to mornings... but it turned out to be merely be a concert announcement about the upcoming Philly solo debut of Korn frontman Jonathan Davis. On an appearance with Howard Stern the other day, Chris did not deny the morning rumors.
UPDATE: The latest from the Inquirer's Michael Klein:
By the time Kidd Chris and his agent are finished with WYSP (94.1), he probably will be Kidd Chri$.
Chris - lone remaining air personality from WYSP's former talk format - was pulled from his afternoon slot yesterday for his own preservation. Station general manager David Yadgaroff said too many callers wanted to discuss the upheaval at WYSP, including Tuesday's dumping of the Opie & Anthony morning show. It was having an impact on Chris' show, Yadgaroff said, adding that he would return. He would not say where or when.
I hear that timing hinges on contract negotiations, as Chris and agent Robert Eatman are seeking a sizable raise - into the mid six figures - and additional resources befitting a morning show. Although Chris could return Monday, WYSP is looking toward the week after.
Minny will supposedly get Antoine Walker, Michael Doleac and Wayne Simien, as well as a draft pick. Once upon a time, Walker to the Wolves would've excited me, but not now.
News Item: Rick Santorum to become Inquirer columnist
And here I thought they were making progress by getting rid of Stephen A...
(See the link, by the way, and note Santorum's son's uncanny resemblance to McLovin.
Mitt Romney is an idiot. I mean, seriously.
Sean Burns on the reasonably good "Dan in Real Life," which I saw tonight:
As Mitch is played by the odious Dane Cook, we must first take a moment to face the prospect of a universe so cruel, godless and unfair that Juliette Binoche would willingly spend more than 40 seconds in the presence of a loutish, noisy MySpace comedian who tells other people’s jokes.It's an above-average movie, even though Steve Carell is playing an advice columnist named Dan who's neither as raunchy, as funny, or as gay as his real-life counterpart Dan Savage.
This is classic:
With Terry Francona managing the Red Sox to a second World Series appearance in four years, it's time once again to evaluate his less-than-successful tenure as Phillies manager in the late 1990s. The Inquirer's Jim Salisbury takes a stab:
Despite all his successes in Boston, Francona still is viewed by some in Philadelphia - fans, media, even prominent baseball people - as a schnook.That impression reminds me of, I don't know, every player or manager who has ever played in Philly, ever.
That's a mistake.
"Nobody that matters or knows what they're talking about sees him that way," said Curt Schilling, who has spent eight of the last 11 seasons pitching for Francona, first in Philadelphia, now in Boston.
"Unfortunately, there are some people in Philadelphia that have the ability to shape opinions. There are some people in the media there that are the most ignorant sports people I've ever met.
Speaking of Boston sports, here's an actually good Dan Shaughnessy column. Even though I saw the punchline coming a mile away.
Scott Tobias of The AV Club, on the awful-looking "The Comebacks":
In a nutshell, that's the problem with parodies like this one and the Scary/Date/Epic Movie spoofs; they think that references alone constitute jokes, so they often don't bother putting much of a twist on them. They seem to hope that simply picking up on not-so-obscure nods to mainstream movies will be gratification enough for the audience. So congratulations, viewers: You don't live in a cave."
It's hard to imagine a three-way pundit battle in which Geraldo Rivera is the most sympathetic participant, but that happened last week, when Michelle Malkin vowed to never again appear on "The O'Reilly Factor." Here's New York magazine's version of events; this happened last week but somehow I missed it completely:
We guess Michelle Malkin won't be coming to town to guest-host for Bill O'Reilly anymore. She just quit forever, after a three-way conservative-pundit street fight that has left our minds reeling a little bit. For those weren't paying attention (we weren't, until now), what happened was this: Crazy attention whore Geraldo Rivera told the Boston Globe that crazy attention whore Malkin was "the most vile, hateful commentator I've ever met … It’s good she’s in D.C. and I’m in N.Y. I’d spit on her if I saw her.” Later, when O'Reilly asked him if he wanted to say something about it on the show because, he said, Malkin's "feelings were hurt." (Saying this he came across, weirdly, as almost grandfatherly and sane.) Rivera did apologized for his "ungentlemanly" and "ungallant" words — "I never spit!" he said — but couldn't help qualifying that he disagreed with everything Malkin said and basically indicating that he thought she was an asshole.No more O'Reilly and Malkin together? It's like finding out my least-favorite band just broke up.
Then Ann Coulter chimed in and said Geraldo was an asshole, and furthermore that his overgrown mustache was full of tortilla chips and Michael Jackson's love juice. (No, she didn't, but if she had chimed in that's what we imagine she might have said.) Then Malkin referred to his mea culpa on her Website as "a whiny, effeminate, blame-the-victim bleat," and soon after decided that she wasn't going to be a victim of mean-spirited insults, and if anyone really loved her they could go over to her blog where she would be hurling them at others.
The World Series is set, after the Red Sox offense exploded in Games 6 and 7 to knock the Indians out of the postseason and Boston into the World Series against Colorado. Poor Cleveland though. Haven't their fans suffered enough, in just about every sport?
The central question of Boston's World Series run, though, is bound to be the following: have they become the Yankees? Did the Sox and Yanks do some sort of identity switch at some point in '04 (like in, say, Game 4?) The Yankees, meanwhile, are now owned and run by idiots, as the Sox were for the entire 20th century. Was becoming what they most hated, while incurring the wrath of the whole country outside New England, worth winning a championship and maybe a second? (I'm gonna say most Boston fans would answer "yes.")
The Series starts Wednesday. Watch for the Jub-Jub.
A Big Lead commenter, on the Rick Reilly-to-ESPN move:
I assume that this will be a magazine and “Page 2″ move, right? He could do well with Page 2, even though his columns aren’t about New York (Pearlman), Boston (Simmons), and Racism (everyone else).If that happened, Reilly would be about the 8th-best Page 2 columnist, just behind DJ Gallo and ahead of Scoop Jackson.
I look at that S-CHIP fiasco, and whether 12-year-olds are considered "fair game," in this week's North Star column. The "Gone Baby Gone" review will be up later in the week.
I think we can officially call the Eagles' season over after Sunday's embarrassing loss to the Bears. After a game in which neither team could get in the end zone, the Eagles appeared to score the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter. But then the Bears, thanks to the Eagles' use of the dreaded "prevent" defense, marched the ball 97 yards in less than two minutes, scoring a touchdown with nine seconds to go to put the Eagles away. People in Philly aren't so happy today.
As for the Vikings... is Tarvaris Jackson the worst quarterback in Vikings history? Is Sean Salisbury finally off the hook? It's nice to see ProFootballTalk is reporting that the Vikes might, maybe, "barring a turnaround," look for a different quarterback next year.
So neither of these teams look particularly good. I look forward to seeing them play each other Sunday at the Metrodome.
Representing that rare sliver of the electorate that thinks Bill Maher is neither liberal nor conspiratorial enough, these guys attacked Maher's show on Friday:
And here I thought only the LaRouche idiots did this sort of thing.
I haven't been blogging about it at all because I know most of my readers don't watch it, but I've been totally loving AMC's show "Mad Men," which just concluded its standout first season. I highly recommend everyone check out the first season DVDs when they come out; "Mad Men" is certainly the best HBO show ever not actually broadcast by HBO. I agree with Tim Goodman:
I love the theme song and the opening graphics. I love the modernism and color palette and clothes, the way the show makes you want to drink at noon - and then some. I love how it was an existential character study that took its damned time to reveal what was underneath and how it would never have been made on a broadcast network and poor AMC is using it as a loss leader. But we all benefit. I want AMC to get that DVD box set out before Christmas.
And you thought Will Ferrell's impression of Lipton was funny before...
The Onion gets to the heart of the issues that don't matter:
"The Daily Show" is still better, of course. But the Onion's videos are closing the gap.
Don't know about you, but I won't miss him.
Apparently the Yankees' new management doesn't have the PR savvy that Steinbrenner did. After the Torre firing, which made the organization look awful, we get this story, about the team charging employees for hotel incidentals, including "in-room movies." Brings to mind the "HBO-pays-for-the-porn" scene in the first episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
There's a long, but excellent piece in this week's New Yorker about "The Wire" and creator David Simon that gets me even more excited for the new season, now just three months away. My favorite part:
Filming on city streets in marginal neighborhoods carries its peculiar risks and rewards. On one occasion, a car involved in a high-speed chase smashed into one of the actors’ cars, and everybody had to dive out of the way. Another time, a man got shot yards away, staggered onto the set trailing blood, and was treated by the show’s medic. Once, a man pressed a package of heroin into the hands of Andre Royo, the actor who plays the sympathetic junkie and police informant Bubbles, saying, “Man, you need a fix more than I do.” Royo refers to that moment as his “street Oscar.”Then there's this observation, which I've noticed too:
Sometimes the fan base of “The Wire” seems like the demographics of many American cities—mainly the urban poor and the affluent élite, with the middle class hollowed out.In other words: everyone who watches "The Wire" is a Democrat.
This is so not cool at all.
And keeping with the "Getting to.... base" metaphor, check out this Philadelphia Daily News headline on the Phillies' 3B situation for next year. No, I won't make a "hot corner" joke.
1.) “Would you have sex with a man to stop a terrorist attack?”
2.) “If lowering taxes results in increased revenues then would lowering taxes to zero result in infinite revenues?”
3.) “If you had a time machine, would you travel back in time and abort Bin Laden?”
4.) “Would you torture and kill Jesus to ensure mankind’s salvation? And how does that work?”
5.) “If Russia entered Turkey from the rear would Greece help?”
6.) For Rudy specifically: “How many alimony checks does the sanctity of marriage cost?”
Jonathan Last has a roundup.
The AV Club's Nathan Rabin, in the entry for the apparently justifiably little-seen Iraq war film "Home of the Brave," as part of the "My Year of Flops" series:
Watching Brave repeatedly go over the top, then keep going, I was reminded of the line in Futurama where Zoidberg’s uncle, the legendary silent-screen crustacean Harold Zoid, insists that in talkies everyone must run the full gamut of emotions in every scene. But even an incorrigible ham like Zoid would draw the line at Biel’s bitter ex-boyfriend grousing, “I guess it only takes one good hand to push people away” (take that, disabled veteran!). Incidentally, it only takes one angrily upraised finger to give the film the salute it so richly deserves.It's always good when you can bring Zoidberg into a discussion that has nothing to do with Futurama. I do that all the time with Slurm.
This Philadelphia morning show clip would've been hilarious even if not for the accidental near-nudity (watch the left side):
And speaking of bloopers on Philly morning shows... The Muff!
The one likable and admirable part of the last decade of the New York Yankees, Joe Torre, has departed the organization, turning down a one-year offer today. Good for him. If four world championships, and this year's return to the playoffs from the April brink, weren't enough, nothing ever will do.
I eagerly look forward to the Yankees hiring Don Mattingly as manager, and finishing behind the Devil Rays in 2008.
Certainly this from Philadelphia Weekly, of Rudy Giuliani eating a cheesesteak at Geno's that causes a Hitler mustache made out of Cheez Whiz. Call it "Adolf, Wit'."
Speaking of Rudy, then there's this:
The Good Phight gives it a shot.
Sean Burns on "Rendition,"which I refuse to see:
Obviously this is an important subject, and indeed I found myself trapped in an infuriating post-screening conversation with a colleague who kept insisting this is a motion picture every American needs to see. I argued that the topic demands discussion, but the movie itself is actually really boring and kind of shitty. He claimed such things don’t matter—so I guess you all have your marching orders... Besides the profound lack of drama and generally arrogant air of Oscar-grubbing self-righteousness, what Rendition suffers from most is an infuriating lack of specificity. Calling these folks one-dimensional would be extremely generous, as there are barely a handful of personality traits to go around in this picture. These characters have been given vague platforms instead of human behavior, and they wander stiffly through the frame, reciting talking-points memos in lieu of actual dialogue. Kelley Shane’s screenplay may as well have been written on index cards. Nothing here feels real, and for an allegedly muckracking expose, the film packs surprisingly little urgency.Let the record show: it ALWAYS matters if a movie is really boring and kind of shitty.
I watched ESPN's "E:60" last night, and while it had its moments, I was generally unimpressed. Here's Richard Sandomir:
It is also obvious how much ESPN wants to turn its correspondents — Jeremy Schaap, Rachel Nichols, Tom Farrey, Lisa Salters and Michael Smith — into stars, with an opening clearly influenced by “NYPD Blue.” About a million viewers saw them on Manhattan streets, running, walking, hailing cabs and climbing subway steps, all to the accompaniment of a percussive backbeat. Hey, it’s Sipowicz! No, you fool, it’s Schaap.I really liked the North Carolina segment, the Bill Simmons bit was funny, and the Miami Northwestern piece bizarrely featured 2 Live Crew frontman Luther Campbell as the good guy (!) and New York-turned-Miami schools chancellor Rudy Crew as the bad guy.
You expect to see this ESPN troop kick in clubhouse doors, flash their gold ESPN reporter shields and shout, “Drop your syringe, skell, we’re the E:60 Squad!”
Problems: That "Vince Young's iPod" segment was just embarrassing, and continues ESPN's bizarre obsession with innocuous personal details of the athletes. And the Vegas segment was just weird- it ended abruptly, and since it mentioned the line moving on a football game involving Toledo, shouldn't it have mentioned that Toledo was involved in a point-shaving scandal?
News Item: Dan Patrick Joins Sports Illustrated
Just doesn't sound right, does it?
American sports have a huge drunken-asshole problem; this is undeniable. Anyone who's been to a major sporting event in recent years can tell you that. (Unless, of course, the game was in Florida, Atlanta or Arizona; those cities tend to have a "no one at the games" problem.)
Mark Yost, on the Wall Street Journal editorial page, tackles the problem- in, shall we say, typical, class-warfare-in-favor-of-the-rich WSJ editorial-page style:
Personal seat licenses and premium seating tend to price out some of the thugs. Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium was long considered the worst in the league for fan behavior. Cops used to walk through the stands in visiting team jerseys to bait thugs who preyed on visiting fans. Things were so bad that there was a courtroom right in the stadium to arraign the worst offenders. Things have gotten better since the Eagles moved in 2003 to Lincoln Financial Field, which has new luxury suites and nearly 11,000 Club seats that cost $800 or more a game. "The more expensive the experience, the less inclined fans are to ruin it," said Houston's Mr. Rootes.If you've been to a game at the Linc, who know that the luxury suites haven't solved the problem. There's still fights galore, plentiful drunkenness, and everything else. Then again, I've never been urinated on, so I suppose it's different from the vet.
Still, though, Yost's solution to the violence and thuggery problems seems to be not allowing the poor into the stadium at all. Here's my favorite part:
In Buffalo, the unruly behavior often spills over into the luxury suites, prompting Mr. Clark to post guards outside each one. "Fans would just walk in and use the bathroom," said Bills suite-holder Ed Shill. "In the warm weather, when the windows were open, they'd dive in and grab food and beer. In the winter, when it's 20-below outside and we're in our shirtsleeves drinking hot chocolate, they'd throw things at the windows and give us the finger."Common folk invading our luxury boxes? It's every WSJ Editorial Board member's worst nightmare!
This sentence, though, is sort of comical:
The Twins fans come in and have one or two beers," said Marty Neumann, manager of The Little Wagon, a sports bar near Minneapolis's Metrodome. "The Vikings fans come in and have 10."Who knew there was a pregame bar scene near the Dome?
My review of "The Darjeeling Limited" is online here, at the Trend.
The president for all of my college years will speak at my alma mater, Brandeis, in December, just a few hundred feet away from where I first read the Starr Report.
This is hilarious (from the Onion):
I also enjoyed the cameo by Romantic Depot in Hoboken, the "romantic video store" whose owner once sent me hate mail.
David Mills has some fun. It doesn't sound THAT different from what she usually says and writes, does it?
The great Joe Posnanski, sportswriter and Indians fan, on Game 2 of the ALCS:
A few years ago, I went to the Olympics in Greece when my oldest daughter, Elizabeth, was only two years old. I was away from her for three weeks, and it was awful. For three weeks, I thought about how much she was changing, how much I was missing, how bad a father I was, how desperately I missed her. And then, finally, the Olympics ended, and I took the long plane ride, and then another, and finally I arrived at the airport, and I walked on the concourse, and there she was, mt Elizabeth, and she ran into my arms and shouted “Daddy” and it was just about the best feeling I’ve ever felt.
Yeah, that’s just about how happy I was to see Eric Gagne.
Remember ten years ago, when Nick Cage was an actor, and The Rock was a wrestler?
Jewcy.com's Daily Schvitz: Two Americas: Ahmadinejad at Columbia, Tila Tequila on TV
My thoughts on Al Gore's Nobel are in this week's North Star column.
Rookie running back Adrian Peterson- the one and only bright spot on offense for the 2007 Vikings- did it again Sunday, scoring three touchdowns against the Bears to drive both the Vikings and my fantasy team to victory.
I still don't see why coach Brad Childress continues to not make full use of his one and only offensive weapon; it's sort of like how the Twins banished Johan Santana to the bullpen for the first two years of his career. At any rate, Peterson gives the Vikes some hope for the future, at last. I'm looking forward to seeing him in person at the Dome later this month.
Here's the latest of what Pacman Jones has been up to, courtesy of The Baltimore Sun's Ring Posts Blog:
First, TNA promoted that Jones was going to wrestle on the show, knowing full well that his agreement with the Tennessee Titans restricts him from doing so. Unlike previous tag-team matches in which Jones was technically part of the match (although he was not allowed to make physical contact), last night he had a debuting wrestler substitute for him. Then, in a truly distasteful act, TNA had Jones throw dollar bills in the ring as a distraction, and referee Earl Hebner picked them up “like a dancer in a strip club,” in the words of Tenay. This, of course, was playing off the incident in which Jones threw cash from a plastic trash bag on stage at a Las Vegas strip club to “make it rain” for dancers. A melee ensued and shots were fired, leaving Thomas Urbanski, a bouncer at the club and a former pro wrestler, paralyzed from the waist down. It’s disgraceful for TNA to make light of such a serious incident, and Jones is beyond clueless if this is his idea of rehabilitating his image.Why in the world would Jones possibly think that doing this was a good idea? It would be like O.J. participating in a video game where a character makes a stabbing motion. (Oh, wait...)
In his ESPN.com podcast interview with Seth Meyers last week, Bill Simmons suggested that "Saturday Night Live" do a parody of Dane Cook's irritating commercials for the baseball playoffs, specifically making fun of Cook not knowing who the players are. Bill's wish was Seth's command, apparently, because this appeared on the show last night:
It was the second-funniest thing on SNL so far this year, behind the triumphant return of Rowlf and the Swedish Chef.
This movie sounds awesome (err, not so much):
Warner Bros. is working on a movie "loosely based" on Howard Dean's presidential campaign, and it will star Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney. Rumor is Clooney's playing Dean, and DiCaprio's playing "the young, idealistic communications chief," i.e., Joe Trippi. Written by Beau Willimon, a former assistant on the Dean campaign, it's set make its debut on Broadway next fall, where it will feature Jake Gyllenhaal as the communications chief. Oh, and it will be titled Farragut North, named after the Metro stop closest to Prospect HQ. In a twist of fate, Hollywood becomes D.C. for beautiful people.I wasn't buying what the Dean campaign had to sell in, you know, real life, so I can't imagine it being such a great movie, either. Then again, the movie version of "Primary Colors" wasn't so bad...
This one. Because Stephen Colbert, not MoDo, wrote it. Can we leave her behind the TimesSelect wall, please?
Take a tour of the next five new major league ballparks on MLB.com, here. They all look great- even if the new Yankee Stadium looks remarkably the same as the old- but leave it to the Twins to be too cheap to actually provide a virtual model, just the same four photos.
My review of TAOJJBTCRF (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), is online at the Trend's site. And on E-Gear, the first laptop with HD DVD has had its price dropped below $1000 (it was over $3000 three months ago), while Amazon is teaching how to do HD on their Web site. And if you can't afford an iPhone, move up in the alphabet and grab the B'Phone. That's right- it's endorsed by Beyonce.
I'll have more on the Gore Nobel Prize on this week's column, published Monday; the gist of my argument is "Get over it people- he's not running for president!"
On legislation, as the latest "seven dirty words" bill before Congress shows. The bill was introduced in 2003, and will continue to hold the title unless the day comes when this is introduced in the House.
Larry Dobrow, in a dynamite CBSSports.com piece eviscerating the MLB playoff coverage:
I happen to think Frank Caliendo is a funny guy and a legitimately gifted mimic. That Pacino impression? HOO-ah!
Unfortunately, in a decision almost certainly not made by Caliendo or anybody in his sphere of influence, baseball fans have been treated to an ad for his new show immediately after every half-inning of the 12 games broadcast so far. This comes out to 216 ads through Sunday, and that might well shortchange the actual sum by a bit. I can't imagine what else Caliendo has to offer beyond what we have already been asked to view, so I will not watch his show. Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines "overkill" as "the obliteration (of a target) with more nuclear force than required."
As for Dane Cook, well, it seems almost piling on to restate the obvious: That he's not funny or appealing, and that MLB couldn't have chosen a worse fit for its core audience of smartasses and shut-ins. Just for sport, though, here are a few personalities who could have been almost as bad: Andy Rooney, due to his onrushing senility; Bette Midler, owing to her inclination to break into song; and anyone surnamed "Affleck."
On the occasion of the start of the ALCS, this guy has an idea of how to solve the Chief Wahoo/nickname controversy. Hint: Harold and Kumar will like it.
News Item: Diamondbacks fans throw bottles on field.
You know those websites where one can get ordained as an "official" clergy person, usually in order to officiate at the wedding of a friend? Some are objecting, and marriages are even being retroactively invalidated because the officiant did not have proper credentials. That's one thing, but then there's this strange argument from David Cleaver, solicitor for the statewide Association of Registers of Wills and Clerks of Orphans Court:
“The problem with Internet ordinations,” Cleaver says, “is that you don’t know who you are ordaining. You open the door for convicted pedophiles, rapists, even your garbage collector, to officiate at weddings.”Say what? What do wedding ordinations have to do with pedophiles? Are you afraid the official is going to molest a child during the ceremony? And as we all know, it's only non-qualified officients who would ever be pedophiles. That never happens with, say, ordained clergy.
There's really no other way to interpret this, is there? What does Ann have to do to no longer be invited on to TV shows? Repeatedly shout the n-word on national television?
It was reported yesterday in various Philadelphia news outlets that the Phillies' ownership group has decided to sell the team, and that the deal should be closed within 1-2 years. No new owner has been named, but the scenario put forward was that current silent partner Claire Betz will be bought out, with a new owner taking over, and some members of the current ownership group remaining part of the team.
The owners, for what it's worth, deny the story.
New ownership would benefit the Phils in many ways. Yes, the "Phillies are cheap" canard is untrue (Rich Hofmann has more on that), but the current owners are unquestionably tone-deaf, as demonstrated by numerous comments over the years, the handling of the Brett Myers debacle, and numerous other incidents over the years. But no, Philly- Mark Cuban isn't getting the team, or any other. Just forget about that one right now.
Troy Patterson of Slate on "Shot at Love With Tila Tequila," a show for those who didn't think "Flavor of Love" and "I Love New York" were sleazy enough:
In a twist on all those stodgy televised courtship tournaments, A Shot at Love sets 16 men and 16 women in pursuit of the heroine's affections. Yes, Tila is proud to call herself bisexual. No, I'm not holding my breath in expectation that she'll win an award from GLAAD. But far be it from me to question the passions that stir Tila's heart and loins. I'll leave that to You, the collective author of Wikipedia and its ilk, who has coined the term "MySpace bisexual." The recreational lexicographers at UrbanDictionary.com bring the utmost delicacy to defining the term: "A girl who makes out with other slutty chicks at parties and then claims to be bisexual because it's trendy to say so and gets people's attention on myspace."I watched the first episode, my guess is that of the 16 "lesbians," about two of them actually are, and the rest are just people pretending in order to be famous.
UPDATE: Speaking of which, tell me if you're surprised by this headline: Gay Porn Star on I Love New York 2
I saw the new Wes Anderson film last night- it's nothing groundbreaking, and not up there with "Rushmore" or "Royal Tenenbaums," but about even with "The Life Aquatic." And as I've mentioned before, I've enjoyed 'Aquatic' roughly 20 percent more each time I've watched it over the past three years. In the meantime, here's Wes Anderson's famous American Express commercial:
And finally, here's a dynamite Reihan Salam post defending Anderson's portrayal of South Asian characters, and calling Wes the "Tyler Perry of the white man."
Eagles coach Andy Reid has denied rumors, which spread last week on a couple of blogs, that he was on the way out, and might even resign before the season was over. Reid's denial included two classic quotes: "The only way I don't finish up coaching this year is if I die," and this:
Really, I'm not sure what a blog is, to be very honest with you," he said. "So I don't know where the information came from, but it was false. I just wanted to make sure people understood that...Like I said, I'm not blog efficient," he said. "That has nothing to do with me. I'm here. As long as the Philadelphia Eagles want me here, I'm here."I can understand someone as busy as an NFL coach being too busy to read blogs. But a couple of problems with that: One, the two blogs that spread the rumor were A.J. Daulerio's for Philadelphia Magazine, and Mike Florio's ProFootballTalk.com- neither of which is of the "random guy sitting in his pajamas" variety. Secondly, I think the word Andy was looking for was "blog-literate." Reid doesn't seem to know what the word "efficient" means, which should come as no surprise to anyone who's ever seen him try to handle the clock in a second half.
So the Yankees' dynasty has ended... again. Roger Clemens has pitched the last game of his career... again. George Steinbrenner is threatening to fire his manager... yet again, though this time there's some doubt as to whether George is actually really in charge, whether of the team or of his own mind.
And yes, Derek Jeter blew the Series.
In a move sure to drive the talk radio-calling segment of the Phillies fan base, the team announced last night that they have re-signed manager Charlie Manuel to a two-year contract, with an option for a third. Charlie, despite sometimes questionable in-game decisions, led the Phils to their first division title and playoff appearance since 1993.
Despite nearly being fired about seven different times over the past three years, Manuel has led the Phils to three straight winning seasons, with the 2007, 89-win division title coming despite perpetual pitching injuries and a bullpen that was never all that good to begin with. The team could have fallen apart numerous times but never did, and that's to Manuel's credit. That's not enough, though, for most Phils fans to get past the way he talks and looks.
Speaking of which, I thought I was the only one who noticed the eerie parallels between the '06 Twins and the '07 Phils. But TwinsGeek, also a Twins fan married to a Phillies fan, did too:
But for a Twins fan there was a special kind of pain, more of an ache, because you've felt this before. The outsider might theorize that was due to the similarities between this year's Phils and last year's Twins - the whole late charge preceding a quick playoff exit. But Twins fans recognized the familiar stink of a couple of ex-Twins.The one Reds fan in my office couldn't believe Lohse either. Neither will the team that signs him for $10 million a year this offseason.
In case you missed it, Game 2 was decided when Charlie Manuel made a move that would have left any Twins fan's mouth agape. His pitcher, rookie Kyle Kendrick, had struggled, but was leading 3-2 in the fourth inning. Unfortunately, the bases were loaded. So with two outs, Manuel pulled his starter early and brought in....
..wait for it.....wait for it.....
News Item: Miller, Coors to Merge
Lewis Black on the recent embrace of triviality in politics:
Every sports blog already noticed this, I realize, but I thought I'd make fun of two of the "Ten Things I Think I Think" in Peter King's column this past Monday:
g. I could watch the Frank Caliendo stuff about a hundred more times. He's funnier today than Belushi was 30 years ago. He's even got GeorgeBush's facial expressions down pat. I mean, they're perfect.Um, what?
h. And did I mention how great the Parcells-Coors Light-Bigfoot ad is? It's the best one of the entire series, particularly when Parcells, after being asked if he believes in Bigfoot, says, "I'd have to see some visual evidence,'' and there's Bigfoot, in the $17.95 Bigfoot costume.
Caliendo's impressions are accurate, I'll give him that. But I've never seen him do anything funny with any of them. And, it's not like Dubya, Nicholson, and Pacino are exactly original or difficult to do. It also doesn't help that the same commercials have run about 750,000 times in the last week, giving Frank a "his father is the district attorney" problem. That, and his "Bush" looks more like Rush Limbaugh than the president.
As for Coors... those "press conference" ads are just dumb. And the Bigfoot bit is the lamest one of all.
Yes, the Phillies season ended on Saturday at the hands of the Colorado Rockies, as the Phils' strength all season (offense) failed them at the worst possible time. It was one of three first-round sweeps out of a possible four, which also saw the Angels and Cubs sent home early. The Yankees, spurred on by George Steinbrenner reverting to his 1970s identity and issuing a public win-tonight-or-you're-fired threat to Joe Torre, managed to survive another day by winning Game 3.
The Phils, in the end, came up short, but it was a hell of a ride, and the team is poised to contend for a long time to come.
Finally, I like Bill's line:
"The Mets beat the Phillies to the golf course by a week! We win!"
On E-Gear, they're releasing another new version of the PS3, Best Buy is the best place to get hi-def movies, and Sony is so jumping into in-game product placement that they've opened a new division for it.
And in this week's North Star column, I analyze the latest threats from that lunatic James Dobson.
Paul Waldman, at TAPPED, on the Obama "patriotism" "scandal":
Now that people are actually attacking Barack Obama for saying that he doesn't wear an American flag pin because it isn't all that meaningful, one wonders if this might be an opportunity for us to have a genuine discussion about different varieties of patriotism. This is a pretty clear conservative/progressive split. Conservatives are huge fans of symbolic patriotism -- flag lapel pins, flags on cars, full-throated singing of "God Bless the U.S.A." (aka "Proud to Be an American"), and so on -- public displays, in which one demonstrates to other people that one loves America.See also this unintentionally hilarious "Hannity and Colmes" segment, in which Sean argues that the Democrats have been "bought and paid for by MoveOn.org" because of a poll stating that 20 percent of Democrats think the world will be a better place if we lose in Iraq. Uh, wouldn't Sean's "all Democrats are extremists" argument be more convincing if, say, 80 percent had answered yes to that question?
Progressives, on the other hand, tend to favor substantive patriotism, which involves doing things to make one's country better. After all, if progressives really hated America, why would they even want to change it in ways that would make it conform more with their values? That would mean, from their perspective, making it better, something you wouldn't do if you just hated the country. I hate the Yankees, so if I figured out the perfect combination of trades that would lead to them winning the next five World Series, I'd be sure not to tell them...
Let's make an analogy. There are two sets of parents, both of whom have a child who's struggling in school. The Smiths decide to set aside extra hours every week to help Billy with his studies, working with him until his grades begin to improve. The Joneses, on the other hand, slap a bumper sticker on their car that says, "My child is an honor student!" and when the school guidance counselor tries to talk to them about what they can all do together to address Jimmy's problems, they consider punching her in the face, but in the end decide to accuse her of hating Jimmy and being out to get him.
News Item: Fox to consider Joe Buck for late night show
Aside from not being the slightest bit talented, funny, or likable, Joe sounds to me like a natural for late-night TV. I'm for the move, however, if it gets him out of the booth, but knowing Fox they'll just let him do all the jobs simultaneously.
From a New Yorker piece, by Nick Paumgarten, comparing the Isiah Thomas sexual harassment trial with NBC's "The Office.":
That evening on cable, there happened to be a rerun of an episode from “The Office,” called “Basketball,” in which Michael (Carell) challenges the warehouse staff to a game of hoops. Michael picks the only African-American in the office first (“Stanley, of course.” “Why ‘of course’?”), drafts the receptionist as a cheerleader (“You know, some pigtails? Little halter top?”), and tells another employee, “Just try not to be too gay on the court.” All he suffers, in the end, is some interdepartmental comeuppance, but one can imagine that the show’s creators could use a lawsuit as a conceit for a two-hour farewell special, reprising, via testimony, all Michael’s choicest remarks.I liked that idea a lot better the first time, back when it was called "the last episode of 'Seinfeld.'" Though actually, come to think of it, I didn't like it better.
This blog has come with a list of the 25 worst sports losses in Minnesota history. All four Vikings Super Bowls, of course, are on there, but #1 is the Gary Anderson game in 1999, which is really the only obvious choice.
The Star Tribune's Colin Covert on "The Heartbreak Kid":
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Hiring the raucous Farrelly brothers to remake Elaine May's deliciously caustic stab at love, marriage and infidelity is a recipe for disappointment, like mixing shrimp and chocolate pudding.I laughed more than Covert did, but I agree that there's something not quite right about the movie. Maybe it's that it owes a hell of a lot more to "There's Something About Mary," "Meet the Parents," and the numerous other Stiller comedies than it does to the original. Maybe it's the blatancy of the filmmakers, being unable to cast obvious first choice Cameron Diaz, instead hiring ten-years-younger Diaz clone Malin Akerman.* Or maybe it was that the strength of 'Mary,' and other successful Stiller-starring gross-out romcoms, was that they had heart, and likable characters- in 'Heartbreak,' both lead characters are downright despicable individuals.
May's 1972 double Oscar nominee, the story of a honeymooner who deserts his bride when he spots a better prospect, is a blackhearted comedy of pain and embarrassment. The Farrellys thrive in the world of gross-out farce and noggin-cracking physical comedy. They're wizards with groin injuries. Heartbreak, not so much.
Or maybe it's Jerry Stiller's creepy turn as Ben's father, who's constantly asking his own son if he's been "crushing pussy." Or perhaps is the crazy third act. Or maybe the over-reliance on supporting actor Carlos Mencia, who's one of the worst comedians on the planet and not much of an actor either. But I think the biggest problem of all is that Judd Apatow and Co. are now doing the Farellly Brothers' schtick, only much better than the Farellys ever did it themselves. Crazy as it was, "Superbad" at least depicted recognizable human behavior. Not so of "The Heartbreak Kid," in which a woman is not the slightest bit creeped out when a homeless-looking man (and his father!) sneak into her bedroom.
*The producers of "Ocean's Thirteen," apparently, went the opposite direction, hiring Ellen Barkin as a 30-years-OLDER Diaz clone.
Well, that was fun while it lasted. The Phillies, having galvanized their fan base in fighting back from way down to win the NL East on the last day of the season, have quickly fallen behind 2 games to 0, at home, in the NLDS against Colorado, after losing 10-5 on Thursday.
This can't help remind me of the 2006 Twins, who also got off to a bad start, also roared back to win a tough division on the season's final weekend after not leading all year... and ultimately had nothing left for the postseason, as they were quickly swept out by Oakland in the first round. Call Kaz Matsui this year's Marco Scutaro.
If the Phils get eliminated this weekend, I can already hear the fan reaction: Charlie Manuel "cost us the series." Howard and Utley "choked" and "aren't true winners." The team's "failure" to spend money came back to bite them, as it always does. And of course, it'll be like the drive against the Mets never happened. There's a grain of truth to all of these- but the fact is, the Phils are built to contend for a very long time.
Johan Santana is the new Kevin Garnett: a superstar Minnesota athlete lusted after by big-city columnists all over the country. I predict at least 10 New York columnists will write between now and November 1 that the Mets (or Yankees, if they lose in the first round) "need" Santana. Here's one idea from the Bergen County Record:
The Mets undoubtedly will attempt to put together a package for Minnesota's Johan Santana. But that might not be so simple. First, the Mets may not have the young prospects to put together an attractive offer -- so start with Lastings Milledge and Philip Humber or Mike Pelfrey and start adding on from there. And Santana has said he will waive his no-trade clause if there is an attractive contract extension accompanying it. But the Mets have made it clear that they don't want to offer more than four or five years to a pitcher.I like Buster Olney's idea of a Santana-and-Bartlett-for-Reyes-Gomez-and-Pelfrey deal. It'll never happen, though.
Bill Simmons, reacting to the news that NFL star Travis Henry- father of nine children by nine women- may be suspended for a year after failing a drug test:
Put it this way: You are making a STRONG statement when you purchase a Henry jersey right now. You're basically saying, "I love pot, I love sex, and your dad would have a heart attack if he knew I was dating you."I'll be watching StraightCashHomey.net for exactly that.
During a game at the Georgia Dome, the Falcons' mascot (with an assist from a bunny) throws a cake at a cheerleader. I guess it's "cake the cheerleader, cake the world," or something:
That, of course, followed this, earlier in the season. I guess after the Vick thing, all the animals associated with the Falcons are getting their revenge on the humans.
(H/T to ALOTT5MA, which likened the above footage to footage from "A Clockwork Orange.")
The premise is that it's a "debate" between two pop culture icons, like, say, "Saturday Night Live" vs. "Star Wars." It could be good- Black is, after all, hilarious- but then I first heard about this a year or two ago, so it's apparently been on the shelf for awhile.
I don't know what's weirder- that the arena will be all but defunct in two years when the Nets leave for Brooklyn (the Devils are already gone), or that Izod beat out Rocawear for the rights. Since Jay-Z owns both that and a share of the Nets, you'd think that would be money from one pocket to the other.
Kenneth Turan, in the LA Times, on TAOJJBTCRF:
"While a character like this -- someone who, all evidence to the contrary, fully believes he is "destined for great things" -- can perversely fascinate in a book, film is a different medium. Spending hour after hour watching this callow leech so worm his way into James' life that the outlaw himself says, "do you want to be like me, or do you want to be me," is close to torture.I saw "American Gangster" last night. It's a masterpiece. If you must see an "epic" movie this fall, make sure it's that, and not the one where Casey Affleck bats his eyes at Brad Pitt for three hours, and then (spoiler!) shoots him.
Even worse is the considerable time spent with the rivalries and contretemps of the fatuous misfits and lowlife losers that are the best James can do for a gang in these last days of his career. While the women in this film, notably Mary-Louise Parker as Jesse's wife, Zee, have almost nothing to say, writer-director Dominik can't get enough of the painfully authentic period dialogue of his boys. But with the exception of Frank James (who has the good sense to leave the film almost immediately), these feeble nonentities come off as a whiny 19th century version of the guys from "Entourage," or maybe the "Dumb and Dumber" version of "Mean Girls." With guns."
Jon Stewart tears Chris Matthews a new one:
As evidenced by this New York Observer interview, I think it really is about time we got some professional help for Ann Coulter. Seriously- she's crazier than every MoveOn.org contributor, put together.
Worlds collide. This would be like if Motley Crue reunited, only with Axl Rose as the lead singer.
Ace and Gary take on Larry Craig- and the Minnesota sports reference is the best part:
From the New York Times (via TrueHoop):
An earlier version of this article misstated the location of a 2005 sexual encounter between Stephon Marbury of the Knicks and a team intern. Mr. Marbury testified that it took place in his truck, not in the trunk of his car.I guess that's why Stephon had to leave the Timberwolves- in Minnesota, it's way too cold to have sex with an intern in your car.
The baseball playoffs start today, and as Mr. Gammons never tires of reminding us, it's a total crapshoot. Last year, for instance, St. Louis was the worst team of the 8, and they won the World Series. Anyway, here's how I see it going down.
ALDS: Indians over Yankees in 5; Red Sox over Angels in 3
NLDS: Phillies over Rockies in 4; Cubs over Diamondbacks in 4
ALCS: Indians over Red Sox in 7
NLCS: Phillies over Cubs in 6
World Series: Indians over Phillies in 6
By the way, Phils fans, here's Sunday's ninth inning, complete with Harry Kalas' call:
I didn't think it possible for Brad Pitt to be in a three-hour film that's worse than "Babel," but he's managed it. Here's Salon's Stephanie Zacharek, eviscerating Pitt's subpar new Western:
"Spoiler alert: Jesse James dies in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford." Robert Ford is the one who pulls the trigger. If you care only about whodunit and not about how and why, "The Assassination of Jesse James" isn't for you. Then again, if you care even remotely about how and why -- or even just about staying awake -- "The Assassination of Jesse James" really isn't for you... The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" represents a breakthrough in the moviegoing experience. It may be the first time we've been asked to watch a book on tape.I saw this last night, it's unquestionably the slowest, most boring movie of the year. If you're looking for a two hour, forty-minute movie that feels twice as long, in which there's practically no action and, in fact, not much of anything happening at all, then this is the movie for you.
I had a nearly three-hour meeting at work today. It was about the same length as "Jesse James"- but given the choice, I think I'd rather sit through the meeting again than the movie.
An entertaining moment on WPEN's very good morning show in Philly: A caller on Monday, the day after the Phillies won the NL East and the Eagles got crushed by the Giants, said he was looking forward to hearing what "that assclown up the dial" would have to say. "That assclown" is, of course, Howard Eskin, known for defending the Eagles organization in every situation, but never having a single positive thing to say about the Phillies.
Eskin, on his show, didn't disappoint Monday- first the host, who on more than one occasion has called Charlie Manuel the worst manager in the history of the game, felt the need to... chide the organization, for not yet giving him an extension. Then, he agreed with a caller who stated, and I'm not making this up, "the reason people aren't going to the park is because the owners don't spend money." Which is a totally true statement except that, uh, people ARE going to the park (they drew 3 million this year), and the owners DO spend money (an end-of-season payroll of around $90 million.)
Of all the stupid assumptions commonly held by Philadelphia sports talk listeners, "The Phillies don't spend enough to win a championship" is among the stupidest, second only to "McNabb doesn't have enough heart," "Ryan Howard should be traded because he strikes out too much," and "the Irish were slaves, too." The Phillies' opening day payroll of $89 million was 14th in baseball, behind such champions of baseball genius as the Giants, Orioles, Dodgers... and the Mets, who just lost the division to the Phils. The Amazins' started the year with a payroll of $117.9 million, nearly $29 million more than Philadelphia.
The truth is, spending money helps, and the Phils do it. But spending money doesn't equal winning, and smart personnel decisions are much more important than team payroll.
The Knicks refusal to settle this case might be the dumbest move in the history of jurisprudence. Not only did they lose, but all of their career have been ruined.
On E-Gear, most cable companies have added TBS to their HD channels, in time for the baseball playoffs- in every major city, except Chicago. Sorry, Cubs fans. And in this week's North Star column, I look at why it's stupid that every movie about war and/or terrorism has to be framed as a police procedural.
As hosted by Conan O'Brien:
According to the Star Tribune today, the Twins might consider signing Barry Bonds to solve their problems with offense/left field/DH/ticket sales. It's intriguing, of sure, but there are enough obstacles in the way that I'd imagine Tom Glavine has a better chance of being elected Queens borough president than Bonds does of ever suiting up for the Twinkies.
Speaking of Barry, these "revelations"- from Greg Anderson's former cellmate, may be the best ever:
Desperate to combat the testicular shrinkage that can occur with steroids use, Bonds injected human growth hormone directly into his genitals during the 2002 playoffs — with disastrous results for both him and the Giants.Expect Congress to immediately demand a test for elk semen. And yes, I realize the piece is a parody. This was first pointed out by Josh Wolf, the blogger who spent several months in jail earlier this year for contempt of court. Wolf knew it wasn't real because... he did time with Greg Anderson, and realized it wasn't like him to snitch to a reporter.
• In early 2003, owing to the performance-enhancing drugs coursing through his body, Bonds suddenly began lactating, forcing doctors to excise his mammary glands.
• Wary of taking steroids since the BALCO flap broke, Bonds, intent on maintaining his edge, now supplements his diet with "Barry's brew," a homemade high-energy drink made of elk semen that has yielded its own troubling side effects.
Dan Savage celebrates pop culture's greatest Last Supper parodies, in reference to the latest Religious Right tantrum. By the way, the new Steve Carell movie, "Dan in Real Life," is about an advice columnist named "Dan." The real thing, I'm sure, is much much better.
My feelings about the Vikings this year are pretty much summed up by this. Die.
Yes, they did it. The Philadelphia Phillies ended their 14-year postseason drought today and won the NL East, by beating Washington in Philadelphia as the rival Mets simultaneously were defeated by Florida at Shea.
The Phils did this despite the following handicaps: A 4-11 start in April, injuries to several major players, lackluster relief pitching for nearly the entire season, a manager who most in town consider an idiot, a fan base that gave up on them about eight different times, and (last but not least), a seven-game divisional deficit to the Mets as recently as three weeks ago. The Phillies did not lead the division by themselves until the final Friday of the season.
The win gets a huge monkey off the Phillies' back, and will almost certainly buy the undeservedly maligned Charlie Manuel another season or two in the dugout. The playoffs start Wednesday; despite the bizarre scheduling, it should be an amazing playoffs in both leagues.
You know, when I moved to Philadelphia just over two years ago, one thing I figured was that I'd run into fewer celebrities than I did in my New York years. There aren't as many nationally or internationally known folks around here- other than, oh, athletes and news anchors- and besides, I drive now instead of walking around.
However, in terms of running into the famous, last week was one for the ages (and I spent last weekend in New York, where I saw not a single celeb anywhere.)
On Thursday, I was walking by the Philadelphia Inquirer building on the way to lunch, and who do I see being interviewed in front, but Bono himself. The U2 frontman was in town getting the Liberty Medal at the Constitution Center; here's the NBC-10 interview that I was standing a few feet away from.
The next day saw a visit to town by Jerry Seinfeld, who was promoting his new "Bee Movie," and this time I was actually covering it as a reporter. They showed some footage, and Jerry himself was introduced by the Inquirer's Brian Tierney, who went on to taunt the Mets fan about recent baseball events. Then, at a press conference, I got to ask some questions of Jerry and the directors.
The movie looked good (like "Ratatouille," only with bees), and Seinfeld still looks exactly like he did when the show ended nine years ago. He also vowed, alas, that he'll never create another TV series.
News Item: Newt Gingrich not running for president
It's really a shame; a Hillary-Newt election could've been a 1995 re-enactment, which certainly beats the 1969 re-enactment that was the 2004 campaign.
Hokey and predictable as it was, "The Game Plan" was, all in all, a better movie. For one thing, it didn't try to piggyback off the Daniel Pearl murder in order to bolster a cheap action subplot. And for another, it didn't conclude by showing that terrorist masterminds really love their daughters, too.