On the occasion of the Garza/Young trade, Bat-girl has returned from retirement to reenact it in Legos. Watch, to see Lego Delmon Young teach Lego Mauer, Morneau and Cuddyer how to properly chuck a bat.
Who knew the Strib's two Twins beat writers ride to work together in a tank?
Did David Lynch take this picture?
UPDATE: Obama is also, apparently, a "jihadist vegetarian."
News Item: Radiohead announces tour dates
David Aldridge's column yesterday on Sean Taylor is probably the best thing I've read in the Philadelphia Inquirer all year. At a time when the Inquirer and Daily News are laying everyone off- even Aldridge himself, briefly- and each day a half-dozen columnists write the exact same thing in the exact same style and in the exact same institutional voice, it's good to see a true journalistic superstar like Aldridge come through with something great like this. In a decade full of blunders by ESPN, the jettisoning of Aldridge is near the top of the list.
News Item: Tila Tequila Accused of Faking Bisexuality
It's a scandal! The integrity of "A Shot at Love" is being questioned! Next, you'll tell me that "I Love New York" isn't on the level.
News Item: Evel Knievel Dead
On E-Gear, Verizon's network is being opened up to any phone that "meets its specifications," so you'll be able to buy a phone at Best Buy, call Verizon, and get service. It doesn't work with the iPhone, though. Also, a group of Geek Squad employees in Minneapolis are fans of "Chuck," although they're jealous that, unlike them, Chuck gets to have adventures, and hook up with beautiful women.
Also, on Dealerscope, here's one of the periodic crime stories I always put on the site: A Milwaukee-area Kmart became engulfed in chaos due to a computer glitch that caused every single credit card applicant to be approved, regardless of credit history. This led to a rumor that "free money," or at least $4,000 of instant in-store credit, was available to anyone who wanted it- leading to huge crowds, and eventually fisticuffs and multiple arrests. Kmart eventually turned off the spigot, but even after that one enterprising fellow took several credit card applications from a nearby Kmart and began selling them outside the first store, for $20 a pop.
Internet history was made Wednesday afternoon when Bill Simmons chatted for over seven hours on ESPN.com, to benefit the V Foundation.
Of the chat's seven hours, approximately two of them were taken up entirely by Johan Santana trade scenarios. But Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, who is a comedy morning show personality first and a writer second, has possibly the worst one of all (as pointed out by Fire Joe Morgan.com:)
If I'm the Twins' general manager, here's what I do. (And I'd do it under duress because I'd be working for a cheapskate owner.) I get on the horn with Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein and say, "You want Johan Santana, right?"My favorite thing about when people propose outlandish trade scenarios is when they get really angry at their team's GM for not having yet made the trade. Sansevere does that, and also seems to not understand that 1) Silva is a free agent and can't be traded, 2) the Sox probably aren't in such a hurry to trade five young, inexpensive key players from a team that just won a World Series for two pitchers who are a year away from free agency, as well as another who is already in free agency.
Epstein likely will say, "Right."
Then I say, "Tell you what. I'll trade you Santana and Carlos Silva and Joe Nathan."
Then I wait for Epstein to pick the phone up off the floor, and I say, "I don't really want to part with Santana or Nathan, but my owner is a cheapskate and won't pay what it will take to sign them long term. So, you give me center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, second baseman Dustin Pedroia, closer Jonathan Papelbon, starters Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, and we've got a deal."
I think the Twins should trade Nick Punto and Jason Tyner to the Yankees for Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. Come on, Bill Smith! What's wrong with you?
Not any better is the common Philly idea of trading Ryan Howard for Santana, because Howard "strikes out too much." But I still haven't heard that one as many times as the Donovan McNabb for Devin Hester idea. I've heard five different WIP callers suggest that one in the last year, although I think three of the five called him "Kevin Hester."
UPDATE: Supposedly, the Red Sox and Twins are "talking about the framework" of a deal for Santana, in which the Twins get Coco Crisp, Jon Lester, Jed Lowrie and a fourth minor league pitcher. I don't know how i feel about this- ANOTHER Minnesota superstar in Boston to go with Garnett, Ortiz, Moss, and Schools Superintendent Carol Johnson, and I don't know that Lester is enough pitching in return when there's a chance to maybe get Hughes from the Yanks. And the Sox getting Santana without giving up Ellsbury or Buchholz? Giving them a rotation of Santana, Beckett, Schilling, DiceK, Buchholz and Wakefield? They could win 120 games.
Ron Shelton ("Bull Durham"!) will direct. And since HBO has made many great movies and ESPN never has, I think they made the right choice. The script could do it like "All the President's Men" and make Williams and Fainaru-Wada the stars, without Bonds even being in it. Either that, or they'll have to have multiple actors play Bonds in different parts of his career, sort of like with Dylan in "I'm Not There."
For the people behind on stuff-of-legend post-9/11 issue, I say they get a pass.
What a weird, weird trade. Neither team is really buying or selling, and how often do you see small-market teams exchange high-upside talents with almost no service time? It's a risk to give up Garza, but Young is a damn-good talent, and the Twins needed some offense in a big way.
I'm happy to have Delmon Young, provided he doesn't throw any more bats at any more umpires.
The biggest surprise? The Rays may actually not be that far away from being good. They've gotten rid of their awful owner, awful GM, awful manager, awful uniforms and awful name, and they're working on replacing the awful stadium. Plus, they suddenly have a very impressive nucleus of young pitchers, and hitters to match. I'd be worried about them if they weren't sharing a division with Boston and the Yankees.
As for the Twinkies, they must've seen something they didn't like in Garza-maybe the fact that he can't pitch to save his life in the Metrodome, and the Twinkies still have to play there two more years.
The other most surprising thing of the trade? Brendan Harris is white. I didn't see that one coming at all, since i haven't exactly watched a lot of Rays games lately. I guess they needed another Reggie Clevelander now that Lew Ford has been released.
Two more reasons to love baseball: the winter meetings next week, and the return of powder-blue road uniforms!
I do love Michael Wilbon, both in print and on TV, but this Kissing Suzy Kolber parody of his chats is just hilarious. Especially the part about the aliens.
Joe Posnanski has an excellent blog post about Herschel Walker and his amazing college career. It reminds me that one of the most ironic things about the Minnesota/Philly sports fan dichotomy is that while Walker may be the most hated athlete in Minnesota history (along with Christian Laettner and J.R. Rider), he's absolutely beloved in Philly. That's got to be the only case of any athlete I can think of, where they're more popular in Philadelphia than in another city. Well, I suppose it's possible that Rangers fans hate Eric Lindros more than Flyers fans.
Cracked gives us the Nine Most Badass Bible Verses; Ezekiel 25:17 is omitted, mostly because it doesn't really contain hardly any of the Samuel L. Jackson monologue from "Pulp Fiction." However my Bar Mitzvah portion, Numbers 16, is #5.
And yes, because I know you were wondering, the Old Testament gets 7 of the 9. Must be that whole "wrathful and vengeful God" thing.
The New York Times traces the last ten years of Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury's careers. I'd say Garnett's had a slightly better last six months, wouldn't you say?
What could have been, had they both stayed in Minnesota... though it wouldn't surprise me at all if in the next year Starbury is bought out and joins his old friend in Boston.
Wow, I don't even know what to say about this. More to come.
Zac Efron, the teen heartthrob from "High School Musical" and "Hairspray," was named to the list in Entertainment Weekly's Entertainer of the Year issue (J.K. Rowling won top honors), and in his interview he gave a quote that was somewhat problematic, and not only because it involves praising Barry Bonds:
"I got to meet Barry Bonds. He invited me to watch practice at Giants Stadium in San Francisco. So me, my brother and my dad, who have been going to Giants Stadium for years, finally got to meet this guy who's like a hero.Now, the ballpark the Giants play in has gone by many names in the short time it's been in existence, including Pac Bell Park, SBC Park, and now AT&T Park. But it was never called Giants Stadium. The team's previous stadium also changed its name numerous times, but no, that was never Giants Stadium either, and Zac is probably too young to have ever even gone there. There's only one Giants Stadium, and it's the one in New Jersey. Strange that someone who's been going there for years doesn't know the name of the friggin' place.
I'd imagine such an error would've made big, big news if, say, one of the presidential candidates said it.
My review of the totally insane, totally scattershot, and totally awesome "Southland Tales" is online at the Trend. To preface: I'm one of the few people on Earth who liked this movie.
Via the invaluable StraightCashHomey.net, here's a guy in 2007 wearing a Chuck Knoblaunch Yankees jersey. I can only hope any trade to come in the next week or two between the Twins and Yankees goes as well as that one did.
News Item: Carson Daly to Defy Writers' Strike
News Item: Twins, Yankees Begin Santana Trade Talks
If that's the case, I want nothing less than Melky, Tabata, Kennedy and Hughes. And if the Mets, Angels, or Dodgers want to make a better offer, I'm all ears as well.
It's hard to disagree with a word of what 700Level.com says:
"There is a double standard in Philadelphia. I don't think it's caused by one singular thing but rather a combination of a whole lot of things. If Donovan McNabb went out on Sunday night against the Patriots and put up the same exact game that A.J. Feeley put up, Philadelphia would be calling him a choker who can't win under pressure. Feeley on the other hand is looked at as a savior for keeping the Birds close. Does McNabb's paycheck come into play? Sure. Does McNabb's inability to know when to say the right thing and/or keep his mouth shut come into play? Absolutely. Does the fact that Feeley steps in and right away gets the offense going come into play? No doubt. Is race a factor? I kind of think it is."All that said, I still say Feeley, since he's healthier, should start Sunday against Seattle. It's also hard to disagree with what one commenter over there says:
For a portion of Philly fans, the anti-McNabb sentiment has always, always gone beyond criticizing his game, and extended to brutal personal insults toward him, his family, his appearance, and his perceived intelligence. And, like others have said, any gathering of Eagles fans after a loss is almost guaranteed to feature at least one idiot throwing out racial slurs. The people who deny the role race plays must have never been to an Eagles game, or a bar in Philly, or a Thanksgiving dinner in Philly, or anywhere where white people gather in Philly. It's there, and it's impossible to deny.Don't get me wrong, I love living in Philly. But that sort of casual racism that is, let's face it, all over the place here bothers me quite a lot.
Just an incredibly sad story about the death of a truly great NFL safety. I know he had some problems in his life- but for someone, the father of a young child, to be cut down at the age of 24- is just beyond tragic.
Someone on YouTube scored highlights of "Wire" season four with a song from Tupac's Elton John-sampling "Ghetto Gospel." It works surprisingly well:
Here's Adam Thierer, on the strangeness of Christian arch-conservative Mike Huckabee being endorsed by the likes of Ric Flair, Chuck Norris and Ted Nugent:
But I’m just wondering, has Mike Huckabee listened to “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang” by Ted Nugent? Does he know what that song is referring to? And I wonder what the governor Huckabee’s favorite Nugent album is. Is it “Penetrator”? Or is it “If You Can’t Lick ‘Em…Lick ‘Em”? Or perhaps it’s “Love Grenade”? And has the governor listened to tunes on those albums like “The Harder They Come, The Harder I Get”?I'd understand all that- if Huckabee and Flair were willing to jointly endorse my idea for the Royal Rumble presidential debate. Wooooo!
And I’m also wondering if Gov. Huckabee has watched some of those old Chuck Norris karate movies like “Forced Vengence,” “A Force of One,” or “Silent Rage”? I loved those movies as a kid, but those are the sort of flix that the FCC and many members of Congress would like to see banned from television for their “excessively violent” nature. Is the governor OK with those movies?
Finally, does Huckabee realize that Ric Flair’s claim to fame in the professional wrestling world was that he was the ultimate “cut man”? That is, Flair was willing to be one of those guys who, in just about every match, would voluntarily cut his head open with a razor blade after being thrown out of the ring. (He hid on floor and cut his head with a blade that would be hidden under the stage). My God, Flair bled like nobody else, and the blood would ultimately make his shocking white hair turn pink, ratty, and disgusting. And the fans went wild! We all loved to see the pompous “Nature Boy” bleed.
If you've ever used CraigsList to look for dates, this horrific list from Cracked.com may be enough to get you to stop. Yikes.
What a difference two weeks makes. After the Vikings' victory over the team he rooted for until three years ago, the Giants, owner Zygi Wilf announced that coach Brad Childress' job is "secure through 2008." Presumably he doesn't mean through, say, January 2, 2008.
The Vikes have, in fact, shown signs of life in recent weeks, and have clawed their way into the six-way tie at 5-6 in the NFC. They certainly have a strong nucleus of young players, especially from the last two drafts, and with a tweak or two they certainly could contend.
I still have doubts about Childress, and a December losing streak could certainly cause the owner to reverse himself. There's certainly no lack of precedent for that in the NFL. But after Sunday, Chilly has earned just that- a sort-of extension.
I write about the Meadowlands "Show Your Tits" extravaganza in this week's North Star column; I had censored the word "tits" when I filed it, but my editors over there insisted, to their credit, on including it. For a rebuttal, see the Myspace member who goes by the ultra-classy screenname "Jets Tits."
Also, on E-Gear, I write about this awesome new ad for Sirius, the one in which iPods and just about every other means of music delivery of the past 50 years fall like dominoes. In case you missed it:
It was great seeing that over and over during football yesterday, amidst all the Peyton Manning ads, "This is Our Country," Philawareapragueacago, "Saving the best for numero uno," and all the other crap.
I'm sure, as with Sid Hartman, that there once was a time when Bill Conlin was a fine writer who lived up to his sterling reputation. But, like Sid, Conlin is now a doddering, decades-past-his-prime fool still unfairly earning a paycheck that could have been spread among 5-10 of his paper's better, now-laid-off writers.
If you haven't heard about it yet, read here for the whole story of how Conlin sent an e-mail in which he wished Hitler had killed all the bloggers," and apparently didn't think it possible that the e-mail would be reproduced and find its way around the world. We'll see if it gets brought up on Daily News Live tonight.
"The BCS works as well as Kim Kardashian in the lead role of "The Eleanor Roosevelt Story." It is the Kim Jong Il of college football: dictatorial and isolationist."- Gene Wojciechowski, on ESPN.com. No, if Missouri plays West Virginia in the championship game it won't be anywhere close to as entertaining as episodes of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" viewed for the same length of time.
ShysterBall talks sense in making fun of the sort of column that constantly appears this time of year:
Ian O'Connor of the Bergen Record thinks that the Mets need to make some moves. No, not to specifically address team needs, fill gaps, or add organizational depth in a prudent and well thought-out matter. No, they need to do it to "steal the Yankees thunder."I see this sort of stupid attitude in Philly too, from people who think the Phils "aren't committed to winning" because they don't make the same offseason splashes the Mets and Yankees do, as well as everyone who's ever complained about how the Redskins always make big-name free agent signings and the Eagles never do.
This notion -- that the New York teams should make moves that land them on the tabloids' back pages instead of at the top of the NL East standings-- is a common one among New York baseball writers. "Please provide us column fodder and circulation increases," guys like O'Connor are demanding, "winning should not be your primary objective..."
This is what people are talking about when they talk about how hard it is to play in New York. The GMs can't simply build solid teams, they must do it with panache. The stars can't simply smack the cover off the ball, they must fill some vaguely defined role as "hero" as well. If the stars manage to do that at some point, they can never be judged on their performance going forward, for to speak ill of the hero is blasphemy. This, in turn, makes it very difficult to be that star's manager or teammate. The whole scene presents an entirely different competing set of demands than that which players and execs are used to having, and the only consistent thing that seems to be driving it is a competitive media market.
After a week in which the main debate in Philly was whether or not the Eagles would beat the spread of 25 and a half against New England on Sunday night, the Eagles played probably their best game of the year and even led in the fourth quarter- but still fell just short, losing 31-28 at Gillette Stadium. Like the Super Bowl between the teams three years ago, the Eagles lost by three points.
A.J. Feeley had an excellent game, despite three interceptions, in a night that may very well lead to Donovan McNabb's departure. A win would have been an upset on the level of Appalachan State over Michigan, but Philly will have to be content with a near-win, and status as one of six 5-6 teams in the NFC that are currently tied for the last playoff spot.
"The Kidd Chris Show," literally as I write this, has just returned to the air. Here's a glimpse of what they were up to for the past two months:
In the Vikings-Giants game at Giants Stadium Sunday, one team blew out the other while scoring 41 points. But this time, the Vikings came out on top, it wasn't a shutout, and it wasn't the 2000 NFC Championship game.
The Vikes crushed the Giants 41-17, in a game that was shown in much of the country until the fourth quarter, when Fox cut away from the blowout to broadcast Tampa Bay-Washington.
Tarvaris Jackson actually looked semi-decent, throwing a long touchdown pass on the second play of the game, and the defense picked off Eli Manning four times, including three for touchdowns. The Eli Manning face made several appearances as Eli had probably his worst game as a pro. My fantasy league opponent started the Giants' defense (which scored -3 points), while benching the Vikings' (which scored 30.)
The Vikes now find themselves 5-6, with an easy remaining schedule, and have a decent shot at grabbing the sixth seed (as do the Eagles) if an 8-8 makes it in the NFC. I'm not deluded, but it still nice to see such a dominant victory.
News Item: Hulk Hogan, wife to divorce
Yes, none other than Eric Cartman introduced the starting lineup on the broadcast of Colorado's game Saturday:
Here's a list of the top ten most-searched subjects on Conservapedia (the right-wing Wikipedia); see if you can guess what nine of the ten have in common.
Nathan Rabin, in his sublime "My Year of Flops" series, looks at the Madonna bomb "Body of Evidence":
With Evidence, one of the world’s preeminent sex symbols bombed spectacularly as a screen vixen. Then again, I’m not entirely convinced that Madonna wasn’t somehow willed into existence some time in the late ‘70s by Camile Paglia. It’s as if Paglia was sitting around one day and thought “Wow, if only there was one virgin-whore-bitch-goddess-sinner-saint-icon-God who could embody every pretentious idea I’ve ever had. Then I’d be set.” Bam! Suddenly a full-grown Madonna would materialize out of thin air and masturbate with a big black crucifix while dressed as Elvis.Et tu, Camile?
My editor at Dealerscope, Jeff O'Heir, writes about how electronics retailers can learn from the first scene of "American Gangster." But why stop there? The world's heroin dealers have a lot of business knowledge that we can also tap.
News Item: Torii Hunter Leaves Twins, Signs With Angels
I knew it was coming, but it still sucks. I don't really get why the Angels needed Hunter- they already had like four outfielders, and signed another CF, Gary Matthews, to a five-year deal just a year ago. The numbers he got- 5 years, $90 million- would appear to signal that Aaron Rowand will get slightly less, which puts him out of the Phillies' price range.
Now it's time for the Twins to rebuild. Trade Santana for five good young players. Trade Nathan too, and get something for him. Build around who you get back, plus the rest of what's coming in from the farm system, and aim at contending in 2010, when the new park opens. It might suck for awhile, especialy with the Wolves having just done the exact same thing, but it doesn't mean it isn't the right thing.
Larry Dobrow, in AdAge, about how "SportsCenter" is now unwatchable:
I love sports, to the extent that you need a crowbar and some WD-40 to pry me off the couch on Sunday night... In short, I am ESPN's dream viewer.Yea, I pretty much watch ESPNews now too.
And yet I'd no sooner watch "SportsCenter," the network's flagship daily studio show, than spend the weekend antiquing. The show no longer bothers to show me the day's top plays and convey a gaggle of pertinent statistics. No, it feels the need to entertain me, to dazzle me with its showbiz sheen.
I do not want this. I want to know who won and who lost, and how. I'm pretty simple-minded that way. Hence I no longer watch "SportsCenter" unless I'm trapped in a hotel room with a limited cable tier and no internet access.
I review the great but not-quite-perfect "No Country For Old Men," here.
Yes, as we all know, Chuck Norris supports Huckabee. Ezra Klein, in posting the instant-classic ad, also pooh-poohs it:
That said, this is Huckabee's first ad in Iowa, and it seems strangely conceived. Chuck Norris facts are very well known amongst plugged-in hipsters who read Gawker. They are not very well known, I'd guess, among Iowans. If this were a web-only ad meant to get the campaign some YouTube pick-up, it would be very well-designed. As an introduction to Iowans? I think it'll confuse more than it will convert.In other weird endorsement news, Curt Schilling backs McCain, Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt support Edwards, and (most strangely of all) Pat Robertson supports Giuliani.
Yes, 10 billion promos later, "Frank TV" is finally here- and Alan Sepinwall isn't impressed:
Every year, there are one or two new TV shows that get overhyped during a major sporting event. And for every one that works ("The Closer," plugged ad nauseam during TNT's '05 NBA playoff coverage), there are a half-dozen where viewers openly rebelled at having their senses assaulted (say, Fox's '03 soap "Skin," where Ron Silver's unintentionally hilarious promo cry of "His father is the district attorney!" still cracks up my friends; yes, we are sad, sad men). And I'm not sure I've ever seen a campaign as ubiquitous as TBS' "Frank TV" blitz. Not only was Caliendo in every commercial break, but his face was constantly popping up in on-screen graphics, and I'm pretty sure he was impersonating an umpire at the moment when the midges attacked Joba Chamberlain.Speaking of "His Father is the District Attorney!," Ron Silver is now blogging. While my sort-of-neocon phase ended three or four years ago, Ron's apparently never did.
This has got to be the most unintentionally hilarious op-ed I've ever read. Though for all I know, similar howlers appear on WorldNetDaily pretty much every day.
(Via Bill, who must be thrilled about the Glavine-to-the-Braves signing.)
Yes, the New York Times has discovered the phenomenon of "Show Your Tits" chants at football games. Who would've thought? Next thing, you'll be telling me about the same thing happening at concerts, or wrestling events, or even (!) Wing Bowl.
UPDATE: Even more embarrassing drunkenness, a bit further down I-95. Literally, ON I-95.
News Item: Jimmy Rollins voted NL MVP
That's almost enough to make up for the Phils' bizarre, clandestine, ultimately failed pursuit of Mike Lowell, in which they denied for weeks that they'd make a play, then allegedly did so- the night before he signed with another team for a year and $15 less than what Philly offered. Something seems a bit off here.
November 16, 2007 -- I'VE had root canals that were more enjoyable than "Margot at the Wedding," Noah Baumbach's hugely pretentious, ugly and annoying follow-up to "The Squid and the Whale."I don't know what was worse in this abominable movie: the characters (some of the most despicable in recent cinematic history,) or the cinematography. It's a just plain ugly movie, in every sense of the word, the sort of thing that normally happens when American directors try to make knockoffs of French New Wave films or, even worse, Dogme 95 crap.
I thought the earlier film was a tad overpraised, but it's a masterpiece compared to "Margot," a ham-fisted, faux French film peopled with the kind of self-absorbed literary neurotics you'd immediately flee from at a party.
I like Baumbach, I really do. "Kicking and Screaming" (no, not the Will Ferrell soccer movie) was one of the better comedies of the '90s, "Mr. Jealousy" wasn't much of a step down, and while I thought "Squid and the Whale" was overpraised, I'm still glad I saw it.
But 'Margot'? I detested every moment of it- especially an ultra-botoxed Nicole Kidman's attempts at expressing emotion with a frozen face. Stay away from this movie. It's like "Arrested Development," with all the hateful family dysfunction, but none of the laughs.
Yes, the reaction to the latest McNabb injury by Jonathan Last's non-football-watching-wife was quite amusing.
For the second straight week, the Eagles pulled off a win Sunday, to put themselves at 5-5, though no one in Philly seems particularly happy about the win. It might be because McNabb first played horribly and then got hurt again- this time, it's his ankle and thumb. A.J. Feeley didn't look much better, but the defense gave up no points- the only Miami score was a Ted Ginn return for a touchdown- and Philly prevailed 17-7 to keep Miami winless.
On the WIP morning show, opinion was divided. Angelo Cataldi argued that the Eagles, despite denials, absolutely won't start McNabb next Sunday and will lie about it until Friday; whereas several callers were sure that McNabb is in fact faking the injury. All present seemed to agree that it was wrong for McNabb to come back out onto the sideline if he wasn't going to play again; it reminded me of last year, after his injury, when McNabb watched some games from the press box and others from the sidelines. When he did the former, he "wasn't there for his teammates"; when he did the latter, he was "upstaging them."
As for the Vikings, they pulled out a win as well, beating old friend Daunte Culpepper and the Raiders. Chester Taylor filled in ably for Adrian Peterson on both the Vikings and my fantasy team, scoring three TDs, and most shockingly of all, Tarvaris Jackson both had a semi-decent game and did not leave due to injury! But let's hope Tarvaris doesn't have TOO many good games; the Vikes still need an '08 upgrade.
I spout off on the Bonds indictment in this week's North Star column.
GIULIANI PLAYING 9/11 CARDYou know, I was wondering why Rudy had been so subdued about 9/11 thus far in the campaign. It's about time he brought it up, after not mentioning a single time in the last year.
By CARL CAMPANILE
November 19, 2007 -- Rudy Giuliani is trumpeting his leadership in the wake of 9/11 in campaign mailings to voters in Iowa and New Hampshire... While Giuliani's supporters have long boasted about his performance after the attacks, he himself had not, until now, mentioned it as prominently.
The only problem with this clip- I don't think they used the "no ifs, ands, or butts" pun enough times.
Philadelphia Daily News: Kidd Chris Show likely returning Nov. 26, in the morning
Glad to hear it; the morning radio options in Philly, shall we see, leave much to be desired
Here's Kevin Barnes, from the excellent band Of Montreal, on the stupid "you sold out!" mentality so prevalent in music:
The pseudo-nihilistic punk rockers of the 70's created an impossible code in which no one can actually live by. It's such garbage. The idea that anyone who attempts to do anything commercial is a sell out is completely out of touch with reality. The punk rock manifesto is one of anarchy and intolerance. The punk rockers polluted our minds. They offered a solution that had no future. Of course, if the world would have ended before Sandinista! was released then everything would have been alright. It didn't. Now we have all of these half-conceived ideas and idiot philosophies floating around to confuse and alienate us. I think it is important to face reality. It is important to decide whether you are going to completely rail against the system or find a way to make it work for you. You cannot do both -- and if you attempt to do both you will only become even more bitter and confused.I'm glad someone finally said that.
Here's Simmons echoing my thoughts exactly on "No Country For Old Men":
"By the way, if somebody has a good explanation for the last 25 minutes of that movie, I'd love to hear it. Everyone at my theater applauded when it was over, like something special had just happened. Meanwhile, I'm was sitting there going, "Wait, it's over? What the hell just happened? Without spoiling it, from the moment we see a hotel pool for the first time, the wheels come off so fast that it's like Norv Turner took over for the Coen Brothers. So frustrating."
News Item: Barry Bonds Indicted by Federal Grand Jury
Let this be a lesson: Having the best lawyers money can buy doesn't help a bit if you're dumb enough to blatently lie under oath before a grand jury. Much, much more to come on this.
UPDATE: Here's a look at Bonds' expected defense:
The best he could do then was tell the grand jury it was possible his personal trainer, Greg Anderson, knew others with the same initials.I can see it now: it was the other Barry B:
The indictment handed down Thursday recounts his grand jury testimony and mentions a positive test for steroids for "Barry B."
A Best Buy in New Jersey pulled a neat trick- they continually pulled Wii consoles out of the back room and told customers that it was the "last one"- that is, until another "last Wii" emerged about a half hour later. According to Consumerist.com, managers were heard whispering to each other to "wait 40 minutes and send out the next one."
Also, as I reported from New York, a whole lot of big shots- including Seinfeld, Mary J. Blige, and Drew Carey- will be at CES in Vegas in January. I won't be there, but Maria Bartiromo will.
And at the Trend, I join the critical pileup on "Lions For Lambs" here.
I haven't seen "Redacted," and I'm not sure that I plan to, especially considering the reaction it's been getting from critics. Hell, even Armond White, the world's most ardent Brian DePalma apologist, couldn't bring himself to defend it:
"Redacted’s bald, humorless title feels desperate, like De Palma’s defection to digital-video fashion—desperate to keep up. For a cinema aesthete, that’s practically a capitulation to terrorism... Redacted opens itself to the obnoxious rabble-rousing of right-wing fanatics like Bill O’Reilly because it carelessly blames the war on the young men who fight it...The O'Reilly vs. Mark Cuban brouhaha over this is silly on a number of levels, from O'Reilly's threat to "come after" Cuban unless he agrees to pull the film, to the insistence that the movie "slanders the troops" and "puts them in harm's way" when 1) it's based on an incident that actually happened, and 2) O'Reilly and most of the others making noise have not actually seen the film. As is BillO's slander of Cuban, a multi-billionaire capitalist who has said he voted for Bush twice, as a "far-leftist."
Did the City of Philadelphia really have a cartoon mascot, for its recycling programs, named Curby Bucket? And did they really keep going with it after the untimely death of Kirby Puckett? I can understand doing that, maybe, if they had the cooperation of Kirby and/or his surviving relatives- and if Kirby had actually, as he considered doing in the early '90s, signed with the Phillies.
Curby Bucket was brought up by ALOTT5MA in reaction to the introduction of another winner, "G-Hog the Rapping Groundhog," who I guess is supposed to get people interested in health careers. See the ad for yourself here; I guess G-Hog now becomes Pennsylvania's Third-Most Famous Groundhog.
I turned on the TV last night, wanting to watch some show that was on. But that show wasn't on- preempted in favor of O.J. Simpson sitting in court. Yes, that's right- the '90s are back!
The funniest part of all: the judge (male) presiding over the case... has a ponytail! I guess only in Vegas can a judge be 31 years old and look like Kevin Smith. And not only that, he was supposedly elected to the judgeship, with just two years of legal experience, because he has the same name as his father and voters presumably assumed they were electing the elder Joseph Bonaventure.
Did Philly's Mayor-elect really rip the city's biggest (fictional) icon? He seems to have, according to Daily News' "Next Mayor" blog:
"We are entering the post-Rocky era in Philadelphia," the mayor-elect said. "I think it's an identity that doesn't serve us well."Personally, I'm more excited about the end of the John Street era.
Nutter -- who did say he enjoys the movie -- continued: The movie had a Cinderella quality about it. If you had no skills somehow you could be great."
He went on to say "We need to stop celebrating low skills and start working on an identity where smart is cool and going to college is the norm."
Here we go again: it's analogies of rappers to presidential candidates. My personal favorites are McCain/50 Cent, Mike Huckabee/Ma$e, and Ron Paul/Soulja Boy.
Balls Sticks and Stuff on the Phillies and their money:
Here's the thing that everyone seems to be forgetting while looking with jealous and disdainful eyes at the blue-bloods who own the team that wears red-pinstripes: spending more money doesn't necessarily accomplish anything. Yes, the team that won the World Series this year, the Boston Red Sox, spent the second-most in baseball on payroll. But the other three teams that reached their league's championship games -- Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks -- were near the bottom of baseball in terms of payroll. Plus, teams such as the Minnesota Twins and the Oakland A's are more often than not exceptionally competitive while spending very little on payroll. In 2007, the Phillies spent between $90 and $100 million on player salaries, depending on how you parse the numbers, which is a range higher than approximately three quarters of the other teams in the league. Make no mistake, the Phillies are willing to spend.You'd think this would be obvious to anyone who pays any attention at all, but apparently not.
Last night's episode of "Criminal Minds" ended with the exact same plot twist as the famous "Scott Tenorman Must Die" episode of "South Park": It turned out the killer had fed the remains of a dead body to many people, as chili.
Now granted, both of them pretty much ripped off the idea from Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, but the episode was full not of Shakespeare but rather biblical references.
Yes, it's a complete mess of a movie, that jumps all over the place in tone and never quite makes up its mind about whether it's a politically conscious post-apocalyptic thriller, or a parody of same. But you know what? I had a smile on my face the entire time. How can you not love a movie that casts The Rock as its messianic hero, Justin Timberlake as its Revelations-quoting narrator, Buffy as a porn star, Jon Lovitz (!) as a bad-ass cop, and Cheri Oteri (!!) as a heavily-armed revolutionary? And don't even get me started on Wallace Shawn as the German mad-scientist villain...
With its anarchic spirit, its parody of media saturation, and its intermittent David Lynch homages, Richard Kelly's film has more to say about the national mindset in 2007 than a thousand "Renditions" or "Lions For Lambs." "Southland Tales" is refreshing, among many other reasons, because it never takes itself too seriously.
It's certainly not going to be everyone's cup of tea- so many people walked out of the screening early that it felt like a flashback to the Eagles-Cowboys game two weeks ago- but those who stayed, I could tell, loved it. I expect that, like Kelly's "Donnie Darko," 'Southland' will have a large cult of admirers who consider it brilliant. And I'm proud to be a charter member.
NJ.com's Eagle Scout blog asks the questions I've been asking since Sunday about the Eagles:
Where has the joy gone? The enjoyment of the victory? The short term bliss provided by a win over a division opponent, regardless of record, regardless of playoff aspirations. Where has it all gone? A win should ignite some sort of pleasure, the fundamental building block of why someone would go through the emotional toil that has become a Philadelphia Eagles game. Not this day in age. The thrill seems to be gone.The biggest debate in Philly this week has been whether McNabb's performance in Washington (20-for-28, 247 yards, four TDs, no INT) was a "good game"; this was the subject of a screaming match on WIP Tuesday between player-turned-host G. Cobb and host/blithering idiot Angelo Cataldi. In it, Cataldi, comically, asked if it would've been "open season" on McNabb in Philly had that fourth-quarter fumble actually cost the team the game. Ha. Thanks to schmucks like Cataldi, it's been open season on McNabb for about eight years.
One of 950's nighttime hosts had the best line last night, as a rejoiner to the caller who said "he's sick and tired of all the McNabb defenders." He said, "I'd like to sit side by side with you and watch a 16-game season with someone like Joey Harrington at quarterback, and then see what you think of McNabb then."
As a Vikings fan, I hear that. What's worse- having the "is our five-time Pro Bowl, former Super Bowl quarterback still good?" debate, or having to have this debate:
Kelly Holcomb and Brooks Bollinger are combined 0-4 as starters for the Vikings. Tarvaris Jackson is 3-2. So there. He's the quarterback for this team (of course, in one of Tarvaris' wins, the Viking defense outscored the opponent 14-3, and in the other two Adrian Peterson had 300 total yards--and in one of those Tarvaris didn't even play in the dominant second half anyway. And of course Tarvaris' lack of durability is its own problem. And of course all statistics and observation suggests Tarvaris sucks).A coda to the worst season of QB play in franchise history: The Vikings, last week, had to pay Koy Detmer $90,000- for signing, practicing for three days, and then being released. Since it'll probably be the last NFL paycheck Detmer ever gets, I hope he spends it on lots of toothbrushes.
Just idiocy all around, in this story:
What began as a confrontation in a convenience store between three men Sunday night ended with an abandoned boat being dragged through Navy Yard City and dumped in a driveway.And it's all downhill from there. (Via a wonderful blog called Badtux the Snarky Penguin.)
Around 10 p.m., several people reported seeing a vehicle towing a 16-foot boat without a trailer. After following a trail of white paint and debris in the road from the driveway where the boat was deposited, an officer arrived at a junkyard on Arsenal Way, reports said.
Two men at the junkyard admitted to transporting the boat to the third man's home, saying they were returning it because he had not paid them for an initial removal service. The men further reported that shortly before returning the boat, the third man had harassed them, threatening to kill them both.
In Penn Station in New York last night, on the way back from CES Unveiled- yes, there's a new flat surface that charges any device that's placed on it, wirelessly- I saw none other than Brent Bozell, entering the station and quickly ducking into the upstairs VIP area. I'm guessing he had taped a "Hannity & Colmes" segment earlier and was heading back to DC on the train.
I said nothing to him, and it took me a minute to place who he was, but ever since I've been wondering which really offensive "South Park" or "Family Guy" quote I should've yelled at him. Any ideas? If so, put them in the comments.
From the AP, RE: Paris Hilton and Indian elephants:
"GAUHATI, India (AP) -- In a Nov. 13 story, The Associated Press incorrectly reported that Paris Hilton was praised by conservationists for highlighting the problem of binge-drinking elephants in northeastern India.
"Lori Berk, a publicist for Hilton, said she never made any comments about helping drunken elephants in India."
I'm heading up to New York for a one-day business trip, so blogging will likely be nonexistent until Wednesday. Stay tuned for takes on the latest McNabb wars, the first day of baseball free agency, the surprisingly enjoyable movie "Southland Tales," and a product that should have been invented years ago but has finally arrived: Yes, from Gibson, it's a guitar that tunes itself.
I look at the label most often aimed, wrongly, at Hillary in this week's North Star column.
Yes, it's rap lyrics, represented by graphs. I love it, even though I've paid so little attention to rap in the last five years that I don't get half the jokes. Still, whoever did this deserves a standing ovation.
Apparently, Barack Obama is borrowing his entrance music from the last really great thing to come out of Chicago- the Jordan-era Bulls. Good to know he has the Alan Parsons Project on his side.
Well, I guess it could be worse; after all, he doesn't need surgery. Last time a major Vikings player injured a knee ligament that I had never heard of- Daunte Culpepper's MCL (along with his ACL and PCL)- it was the end of his career in Minnesota. Thankfully, Peterson's knee is merely injured, as opposed to completely obliterated.
If the Vikings win more than one or two more games this year, I'll be shocked. I only hope Childress' inevitable departure doesn't put the kibosh on my Donovan-in-Purple dreams.
They sure are obsessed with sex, nudity, porn, and other such things:
It's outrageous- that's why we're going to show you every second of it, repeatedly!
"Curb Your Enthusiasm" may have had another up-and-down season- albeit mostly up- but I'm happy with its finale. The Loretta/Susie moment in the last two minutes was a sight to behold.
If this was indeed the end, they ended it well. Even if the "gerbil question" was never definitively resolved.
One quibble though: the Ben Laden joke? I was there first.
The Vikings' game today against Green Bay wasn't quite the success that last week's victory over San Diego was- not even close. The Vikes lost 34-0, for their first shutout loss since the 41-0 NFC title game loss in 2001, and their first regular season goose-egg since 1991.
It's hard to pick the worst part- the injury to Adrian Peterson (which, thankfully doesn't seem serious)? The grand total of 7 passing yards in the first half by Brooks Bollinger? The lack of anything encouraging from the defense? What a disaster. How can the Vikings look so good last week in beating San Diego, the same team that, as of this writing, is leading the Colts late in the fourth quarter?
The Eagles looked better, beating Washington despite trailing until the fourth quarter, when they scored two late touchdowns to win 33-25. Once again, Donovan McNabb had a decent game statistically despite a few glaring mistakes, and the offense showed signs of life as well. And with winless Miami at home next week, the Iggles have a chance to reach .500 (and fall under again the week after, when they travel to New England.)
Yes, it was a wild Sunday in the NFL. But isn't every Sunday wild?
From a list on Cracked.com of the next nine childrens' characters likely to come out of the closet, now that Dumbledore has, we get He-Man, Curious George, Peppermint Patty, several of the Smurfs, and Kermit the Frog:
Kermit the FrogI certainly could, yes.
Unlike many of the characters on this list, we're not even sure this lonely bastard knows he's gay. One of his first gigs was on The Muppet Show where he was the show-tune singing head of a theatre troop. After suppressing his enthusiasm for musical theater, he went on to a long film career comprised mostly of being propositioned by a sexually aggressive female pig and turning her down.
Real-world gay counterpart:
Anderson Cooper. Cooper doesn't admit he's gay in the same way that Michael Jackson doesn't admit he's ever had plastic surgery. Beyond their closeted status, Cooper and Kermit are good matches because they're both beloved, and Kermit played a likable news reporter on Sesame Street. Also, couldn't you just see Miss Piggy-incarnate Nancy Grace obliviously throwing herself at Cooper at the CNN Christmas party?
They just opened a new Circuit City in Salinas, Calif., and for the occasion, they hosted a party with a specialist guest: former 49ers running back Roger Craig. Sounds like a fun event- all sorts of electronics, a popular NFL star, lots of other fun. But forgive some San Franciscans of they didn't show up, in case they saw this headline in The Salinas Californian:
Come on people- for most of the '80s, there were TWO Roger Craigs in San Fran sports: the running back, and the manager of the Giants. Why'd you have to confuse them with the infamous senator? Because I know I wouldn't want to meet him at Circuit City.
New York magazine's Vulture blog has a list of the 7 best movie weapons of 2007; having seen "No Country For Old Men" the other night, I can't help but agree with its #1 pick, that oxygen tank/cattle gun contraption that Javier Bardem uses in it. In fact, it's on the short list of best movie weapons ever, and on the '07 list it tops Kurt Russell's car and Rose McGowan's machine gun leg (both from "Grindhouse") and Viggo Mortensen's penis (from "Eastern Promises.")
As for 'No Country' itself, I liked it but didn't love it. Great characters- especially Bardem, who's an Oscar shoo-in at this point- and a few great set pieces, but it was just a little too slow and draggy, and I had problems with the ending too. I put it squarely in the middle of the Coen canon, better than the last couple but not as good as "Fargo," "Man Who Wasn't There," "Blood Simple," "Lebowski" or "Miller's Crossing."
What "24" would've looked like in '94:
Because the technology they use now -what with the PDAs that can download whole government databases in seconds- is so specific to the present.
I could understand the Red McCombs regime doing this, but the Wilfs? The Vikings took away a game check from wide receiver Troy Williamson this week, after he missed last week's game. Was it a drug suspension? Did he miss a team meeting? Just plain no-show the game? Not exactly- Williamson was attending the funeral of his grandmother, the woman who raised him.
Not only is this totally wrong and indefensible, but horrible PR as well. Just when, thanks to Purple Jesus, the Vikes were starting to get some of their first good press in the last five years. Not good Vikes, not good.
UPDATE: ShysterBall has a great take on this:
Say what you will about MLB's often contentious relationship with the players, but at least there's a history there -- recently anyway -- informed by two powerful entities battling on more or less equal terms. What's more, once those battles subside, the acrimony tends to be pushed to the background, and the relationship tends to be a typical employer-employee affair. The owners generally treat the players with respect, and people tend to approach their jobs and their personal lives like adults.
In contrast, the NFL treats its players like indentured servants who should thank ownership and the league at every turn for being allowed the privilege of sacrificing their bodies and long-term health for the current TV deal. Ownership can terminate contracts on a whim while the players are stuck. Fines are routinely levied in such a way as to constitute ex-post facto laws. Players were, until very, very recently, punished for missing optional offseason workouts (and some have suggested that they are still punished for it). The pension system is atrocious, post-career health care for on-field injuries is a joke, and the life expectancy for ex-NFL players only looks good when compared to professional wrestling and coal mining.
There may be reasons for all of this -- how Gene Upshaw still has a job I have no idea -- but it all leads to a sport that can only be enjoyed by totally ignoring everything that happens off the field. And as I think this blog established a long time ago, I'm not the sort of person who can limit my consumption of a sport to the game itself.
Obviously all professional sports are big businesses, but it seems as though only the NFL routinely goes out of its way to remind us of this, eschewing even the pretense that it's just a game and its players are out there to have some fun. And even if it is just a pretense, I think it's an important one.
Here's Jason Whitlock, apparently not having read any Philly newspaper in the past six months or so, arguing about Andy Reid "getting a pass from the media":
Only the uninformed, butt-kissing media members or delusional Eagles fans believe any of this transpired without Andy and Tammy Reid knowing. The judge didn't buy it. That's why he was critical. I credit the judge for talking to the Reids the same way he would D'Angelo Barksdale's mama, Brianna (the final season of The Wire starts in January).Does this mean Tammy Reid will talk Britt and Garrett into not snitching, so as to save the family business, at which point Jeffrey Lurie arranges for the Reid boys to "commit suicide" in their jail cell?
From Michael Klein:
WYSP (94.1) is getting close to announcing its new lineup (yes, with Kidd Chris in mornings). For now, while the rock station's legal department toils on contracts, WYSP has been dropping in occasional tryouts. Tuesday night, Tic Tak - formerly part of Q102's nighttime Freak Show - flew in from the West Coast and lit up the switchboard with callers. Two former WYSPers also have been heard recently: Spike (Brett Eskin, now in Chicago) and Monkeyboy.You'd think being called every gay second of the day, both in dialogue and song parodies, would keep Spike (Howard Eskin's son) out of Philly for good. But I guess not.
News Item: Facebook Poised to "Take Over the World"
Four years after the Billy Wagner trade, the Phillies have once again acquired a closer from the Astros. But this time, Ed Wade is on the opposite side of the trade.
The Phils got Lidge, along with infielder Eric Bruntlett, for outfielder Michael Bourn, reliever Geoff Geary and minor-league infielder Mike Costanzo. The move presumably means that Brett Myers will be returning to the rotation.
I'd say, from a Phillies standpoint, that I like the move, with some reservations. Adding Myers to the rotation is certainly a better bet than most of the free agent pitchers out there, and I like that the Phils struck first in the offseason, it's the sort of thing they tend not to ever do.
As for reservations, I liked Bourn a lot, and had the idea that he could someday be a centerfielder and leadoff hitter. I also always liked Geary, even though he sucked last year, and Costanzo had the advantage of being 1) a local guy, 2) a third baseman, which the team needs, and 3) someone with a last name just one letter away from "Costanza." Other than that though, good deal.
Sean Burns piles on "Lions For Lambs" in Philadelphia Weekly:
For something that fancies itself a call to action, it’s ironic that Matthew Michael Carnahan’s screenplay can’t even be bothered to dramatize anything. One of the least cinematic movies ever made, Lions for Lambs is simply a sloppily photographed recording of four underwritten characters sitting around reciting generic, dumbed-down talking points at one another inside drab offices... It’s the role of an artist to not just comment on current events, but also to shape that commentary into a dramatic form that’ll excite, move and inspire people. Lions for Lambs isn’t filmmaking; it’s list-making."
My review of the excellent "American Gangster" is online at the Trend website.
News Item: Borat Endorses Barack Obama
This, to me, is much more significant than Pat Robertson's backing of Rudy Giuliani. Sure, Borat's a fictional character, and he did refer to Obama as "the basketball player, Barak Obamas." But, unlike Robertson, Borat is not totally batshit insane, and also unlike Robertson, he's actually been a little bit relevant in the last 15 years.
Think Donovan's "subpar" season is the reason the Eagles aren't any good this year? Think again, Iggles Blog says. I'll keep that all in mind when #5 is handing off to Adrian Peterson next year. And no, I don't mean the Bears' Adrian Peterson.
Michael Nutter was officially elected mayor of Philadelphia on Tuesday, defeating Republican Al Traubenberger in a landslide. The real election- the Democratic primary- was back in May, and Nutter had won that handily. He's got a huge challenge ahead of him, but I'm excited for the Nutter Era, and I really feel like he's got a chance to save Philly from the ruin of the John Street years.
Somewhat strangely, Nutter's victory wasn't even the biggest story in Philadelphia on Tuesday (and neither was Curt Schilling's decision to forgo the Phils and return to Boston.) In fact, the capture in Florida of John Jordan Lewis, the accused (and now, confessed) killer of Philly police officer Chuck Cassidy, is what really had the city talking. It says a whole lot about the incompetence of the Philadelphia city government that, as usual, Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson threw up his hands and did nothing, while it was the department of Miami police chief John Timoney- formerly of Philly- who actually made the collar.
Good that Lewis was captured; now let's not go and turn him into a cause celebre/death penalty martyr like that other Philadelphia cop killer...
News Item: Vikings to Try Out Chris Weinke
Weinke's a St. Paul native, having starred at quarterback at Cretin Durham Hall (Dave Winfield and Joe Mauer's high school) before a multi-year odyssey in minor league baseball, which ended when Weinke won a national championship at quarterback with Florida State at the age of 28. It's a great local story, sure, but it doesn't change the fact that just like Tarvaris, Kelly and Brooks, Weinke has never shown at any point in his career that he's capable of being an NFL quarterback.
UPDATE: The Vikings have signed a quarterback, all right, but it's not Weinke- it's Koy Detmer. Just because the ex-Eagles backup route didn't work with Mike McMahon or Kelly Holcomb doesn't mean that it won't with Koy. But look on the bright side- he's a very, very good field goal holder. And, his neckbeard is second only to Clapton's.
News Item: Matt Williams Bought Steroids, HGH
Matt Williams? Really? I always thought he was one of the game's good guys. Remember, in '94 he had a shot at 61 before the strike hit. When the report finally comes out, I'm sure there will be tons more names even more shocking.
News Item: Rosie O'Donnell May Get Nightly MSNBC Show
Not bad for a backup, huh?
The Vikings' Adrian Peterson on Sunday set a new NFL record for individual rushing yards in a game, rushing for 296 yards to lead the Vikings to a 35-17 victory over San Diego. The record-breaking day also put Peterson over 1,000 yards for the season, just halfway into the schedule.
Playing multiple, ineffective quarterbacks once again, the Vikes found a groundbreaking, ingenious strategy: don't throw the ball, at all, and just hand it off to Peterson and Chester Taylor. It's the sort of thing the WIP callers have been demanding of Andy Reid for years- too bad even if they did it, they wouldn't be any better.
Jim Souhan writes that a victory for the Vikings over the Chargers should inspire Minnesota to hire Marty Schottenheimer. Let's just all forget that we ever read that, can we please?
Speaking of the Iggles, I was on hand at the Linc last night for the inevitable conclusion of their season, as they were blown out by Dallas. The offense was bad as usual, but this time the defense utterly failed as well. It's sad to see this near-dynasty coming to an end, as the stands mostly emptied about halfway through the third quarter.
The game was depressing enough; but the near-fight I witnessed in the mens' room during halftime was even worse. Two guys came in. Guy #1 started screaming to anyone who would listen that Guy #2 was a closet Dallas fan, even though Guy #2 was wearing no Cowboys insignias whatsoever. Then Guy #1 started slapping Guy #2, and most of the rest of the room reacted by calling Guy #1 a "pussy," because he was merely slapping and not punching Guy #2. All in all an ugly scene.
I wrote last week that the Vikings/Eagles game at the Dome was not all that different than the typical game in Philly -indeed, in both the home team lost and was booed lustily. But I've never seen that sort of mens' room violence anywhere in Minnesota- insert Larry Craig joke here.
In this week's North Star column, I look at the latest mediocre liberal message movie, "Lions For Lambs." And on E-Gear, Google is finally using their technology to build a phone platform, while the iPhone was named Invention of the Year by Time magazine.
It was at the bottom of my to-read pile for the week, but I finally got around to reading Josh Levin's Slate piece about the decline of Sports Illustrated, and why it's no longer relavent.
I agree mostly with the piece- it's ridiculous that SI has felt the need to turn much of its news hole into a clone of the odious ESPN the Magazine, as opposed to the other way around- and there's a paucity of the good long-form writing that has been the magazine's hallmark for a half-century. The SI Players section is an embarrassment- who cares about the athletes' favorite movies, or tattoos?
But there's still a lot to recommend about the magazine: Gary Smith's pieces, for one, as well as Tom Verducci's. The seasonal preview issues are always awesome, and I still never miss an online column by Peter King, Jon Heyman, or Richard Deitsch. Still, Levin is right that they need to make the website better, especially by mining their archives.
Most of all, we need less of the ESPN the Magazine-patented apologies for awful people in sports, and more of the critical pieces that have become Verducci's hallmark. The loss of Rick Reilly? I can't complain.
What can law enforcement do to draw out criminals? Well, it helps if they all like Ozzy Osbourne. A sheriff in the Fargo area came up with that plan when Ozzy recently visited, sending out invitations to a bogus "VIP party" to 36 local people with outstanding arrest warrants. And it seems to have worked:
Thinking they had won concert tickets compliments of "PDL Productions," the unsuspecting fans actually got a free trip to jail from Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney. The arrests were for such violations as ignoring court summons and failing to pay child support, including two warrants from Minnesota. The department went so far as to print up fake "I Crashed the Bash" T-shirts and offered a free souvenir photo -- a booking photo.Ozzy, however, was not amused, issuing a statement condemning the sheriff. Somewhat miraculously, not a single word of the statement was bleeped out.
All sorts of damning revelations came yesterday when Andy Reid's two sons were sentenced to 23 months in jail each on drug and gun charges, as well as violating probation, and multiple car accidents.
- The judge chided the Reids for failing to provide structure for their sons, also likening their home to a "drug emporium" (not to be confused with the mostly-defunct West Coast drugstore chain that uses that name.
- It hadn't been reported until yesterday, but police reportedly found steroids, as well as heroin, at the Reid home. The news every NFL coach dreams of hearing! Now there'll be a league investigation into what Andy knew about that.
- Garrett Reid also "enjoyed being the rich kid who dealt drugs in poor, violent Philadelphia neighborhoods." How a pasty white kid managed that, without it quickly becoming public knowledge that Andy Reid's son was selling drugs, remains a mystery. They must take that "Stop Snitching" stuff very seriously. Another reason it's too bad "The Wire" is ending- they could have introduced a new character, an upstart West Baltimore drug dealer who's the son of the Ravens' head coach. They could give him a name like "Ziggy Billick."
- Most gruesomely of all is this nugget, about Garrett Reid: "Authorities... found 89 prescription drug pills in Reid's jail cell Thursday morning. They believe he smuggled them in his rectum when he was jailed earlier this week." I mean, I guess this shows that I have no conception of what drug addiction is like. Because there isn't a single substance I can think of- no food, no drug, no nothing- that I need to have so much that I'd be willing to 1) shove it up my ass, 2) after it's been up my ass, ingest it, and 3) Do this not one time, but 89 times.
- And finally, everyone's been saying that Andy might resign from the Eagles after this season in order to "spend more time with his family" or "deal with his family situation." First of all, he won't be "spending time" with either of his sons, since they'll be in jail for the next two years. Second, they're already in jail, so what more could he do while out of a job? And third, the sons are in jail in Philadelphia, so I can't imagine Andy wanting to leave Philly to be in another city. My guess is he sticks around.
Apparently, the season-ending injury hasn't affected his endorsement potential:
Probably the best ad for ESPN the Magazine- still not worth reading, after all these years- since "All nude, tastefully done."
This being our first year as homeowners, we had trick or treaters for the first time this year. And even though I read about 10,000 hectoring newspaper columns on how "Halloween costumes are too slutty" - and one more about how the holiday is being stolen from the gays by the straights- everyone who came to the door was dressed tastefully. One girl, probably about five, even wore a full Stewie Griffin costume. But my favorite part was unquestionably the two little girls, who said "trick or treat" while barely in costume- accompanied by their father, who was dressed as Death. Good thing he didn't knock on the door himself, or else I wouldn't be writing this today.
And no, I didn't refuse candy to anyone- I wasn't introduced in having anyone writing "Bald Asshole" on my house.
I still love "Meet the Press," but I can see where Paul Waldman is coming from in this TAP piece about the embrace of stupid triviality in the presidential race:
"The two parties' nominees will be decided three months from now, and we can be sure that in that time, at least one or two candidates will have their campaigns upended by the answer they gave to an absurd question, delivered by Tim Russert or someone like him, about what their favorite Bible verse is, or whom they want to win the Super Bowl, or what kind of beer they like. "Aha!" the reporters will shout, as though they actually unearthed something revealing on which the race for the presidency of the most powerful nation on earth should be decided. The one whose tiny little mind devised the question will be praised to the stars for his journalistic acumen."
10,000 Takes has taken to calling this year's young Timberwolves team the "Teen Wolves," which is funny on about five different levels. Here's how desperate the Wolves are to fill Target Center this year.
This is pretty cool- even if it's a direct ripoff of "Duck Amuck":
I stopped reading Gregg Easterbrook quite awhile ago- I don't have time to read a lot of 15,000-word weekly football columns anymore- but Isaac of ALOTT5MA gets to what always bugged me about him:
It tickles me a little that people are now saying that Easterbrook is batshit-insane because, like many of us, he says that the Patriots are evil, but unlike almost all of us, he actually means it literally. Yes, that position is batshit-insane, but folks, where have you been all these years? To wit: (1) he is a political scientist who thinks he is a football genius, based on his interesting theories that one should always run in short-yardage situations and never blitz -- two theories incontrovertibly proven, I suppose, by an anecdote per week; (2) his columns are Unabomberish in length, focus, and tone; and (3) despite being the brother of a prominent legal economist with a deep knowledge of antitrust law, he trots out his pet rant every year that the decision of one entity (the NFL) to distribute one product (the ability to view all games, instead of regionally-selected ones) through one distributor (DirecTV) violates the antitrust laws (and, presumably, is economically inefficient).
News Item: Jets May Fire Mangini, Hire Mike Tice
Tice thought the Minnesota media was tough on him? Wait until he deals with the New York Post...
The not exactly unbiased Kissing Suzy Kolber looks at the coaching matchup in this Sunday's Patriots-Colts battle. I'm for Dungy- and I'm still mad at the Vikings for not hiring him when they had the chance in '02.
Remember that whole thing about Don Vito, Bam Margera's uncle from "Viva La Bam," being arrested for groping underage girls? His entire trial somehow took place without my hearing about it, but he's now been convicted, and may be facing life imprisonment. I'm still wondering how the case got to the jury so quickly; R. Kelly is somehow still awaiting trial, and his arrest was like six years ago.
The weirdest part of the case, which was adjudicated in Colorado? Margera's lawyer is Pamela Mackey. Mackey was, as you may remember, the lawyer for another Philadelphian charged for sex crimes in Colorado- Kobe Bryant. Her legal strategy, according to the AP report:
Defense attorney Pamela Mackey had argued that when Margera appeared at the skate park, he took on the persona of the outrageous and profane Don Vito. Mackey had said that Margera, a car painter, learned that the crazier he acted, the more his fans loved it.Exactly the type of argument I'd expect to hear from the sort of attorney who gives wobblejobs to homeless guys.
Where'd he kick him again?
No, I'm not for the Vikings signing Jeff George. I've made that clear; I don't think there's anyone in America other than George himself and Jason Whitlock, who think that's a good idea. At any rate, looks like it's not happening; here's what Coach Chilly had to say about it:
During his news conference Wednesday, Childress was asked about George's interest in his club and his thoughts on players who may be on the downside of their careers.Memo to the coach: You have three quarterbacks. They all horribly, unquestionably suck, and you had either a singular or primary role in bringing each of them to Minnesota. Tarvaris Jackson, in particular, seems better-suited for fantasy camp than for NFL stadiums. Who the hell are you to knock down someone's NFL aspirations, when the guys who yourself chose clearly can't get the job done?
"Probably maybe go to a fantasy camp or something like that," Childress said. "Downside would probably be - I think - kind."
George was taken aback by Childress' comment.
"It kind of catches me off guard," George said. "I don't know how to comment on that."
At this point I almost wish for a George signing, just to see him tear into Childress on the sideline. And if that doesn't work, maybe they can bring in June Jones as coach. Bring back the run-and-shoot offense, maybe try to draft Colt Brennan. Too bad the Vikes are about four good receivers short.
According to ALOTT5MA, two of America's leading fast food burger joints, Fatburger and Five Guys Burgers and Fries- are opening in Manhattan for the first time. We've got Five Guys here in Philly, but no Fatburger and, even more tragically, no White Castle. There also appear to be no In 'n' Out locations anywhere on the East Coast, and the closest Fuddruckers to Philadelphia is in Voorhees, N.J.
Behold: Michael Smerconish, in the Philadelphia Daily News, discoursing on the word "vayjayjay." I may not agree with Smerconish much, but I can think of about 1,000 things I'd rather see him write about than about than that.