January 31, 2008

Film Critic Quote of the Day

Here's Josh Levin on "Meet the Spartans" which, mercifully, was not screened for critics:

"This was the worst movie I've ever seen, so bad that I hesitate to label it a "movie" and thus reflect shame upon the entire medium of film. Friedberg and Seltzer do not practice the same craft as P.T. Anderson, David Cronenberg, Michael Bay, Kevin Costner, the Zucker Brothers, the Wayans Brothers, Uwe Boll, any dad who takes shaky home movies on a camping trip, or a bear who turns on a video camera by accident while trying to eat it. They are not filmmakers. They are evildoers, charlatans, symbols of Western civilization's decline under the weight of too many pop culture references."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:21 PM | Comments (0)

Another Reason to Love Obama

He supports marijuana decriminalization- and somehow, it hasn't ever been an issue in the campaign.

We know Barack is a "Wire" fan- does he favor a Hamsterdam in every city?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:14 PM | Comments (0)

Felcher and Sons' Best

On the occasion of the Super Bowl, Gawker runs a list of the 25 best Super Bowl commercials ever. It's hard to argue with the first two (Mean Joe Greene and Apple 1984), but the one below should be much higher. Yes, it's Terry Tate: Office Linebacker:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:13 PM | Comments (0)

Clinton in Kazakhstan

Why a businessman from Borat's homeland and his shady dealings with Bill may mean the beginning of the end of the Clinton campaign. But no, this scandal has nothing to do with Clinton's hram.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:13 PM | Comments (1)

Tabloid Front Page of the Year Nominee

First time for everything, I know.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:52 PM | Comments (0)

Yes We Can, Brother

Yes, Hulk Hogan supports Obama:

Now it's time for him to Hulk Up on Super Tuesday, and drop the leg on the Clintons.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:04 AM | Comments (2)

Forgetting Reagan

Tonight's totally surreal Republican presidential debate will be the subject of my next North Star column, out Friday, but in the meantime I'll let Josh Patashnik of TNR handle the honors:

The final question at the GOP debate tonight asked the candidates whether they believe Ronald Reagan would have endorsed them. Within the span of four minutes, they told the audience that Ronald Reagan wouldn't have supported a candidate who changed his position on key Republican issues, wouldn't have supported amnesty for illegal immigrants, would have reduced the size of government, and would have reverted to the gold standard. The jury's out on whether these men are qualified to be president, but they sure aren't qualified to teach eleventh grade American history.
Reminds me of the time Hannity was saying on the radio that if Reagan were alive, he wouldn't let the Iranians even talk about enriching uranium. Oh no, he just would've sold arms to them himself.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

January 30, 2008

Top Ten Santana Trade Mitigating Factors

Okay, I'm still not happy that Santana's gone, and not for the best offer the Twins got. But, there are a few reasons to be cautiously optimistic. Another name for this exercise is "desperately grasping at straws":

1. The Twins may be better at scouting and player development than any other team; they've come out significantly on top in every vet-for-prospect trade they've made in the last decade, whether it's Knoblauch, Pierzynski, or Eric Milton. Chances are they have a better idea of Humber, Mulvey and Guerra's ceilings than even the Mets do. In other words, since they're not run by idiots, the Twinkies are likely to recover much more quickly from the trade of their best player than the T-Wolves are. Even if they didn't get an Al Jefferson back for him.

2. Minny, while they'll have enough offensive firepower to make things interesting next year, don't really have a realistic chance to compete with Cleveland and Detroit in the AL Central, so their best bet is to play for 2010, and the opening of Best Buy Ballpark (or whatever the stadium ends up being called.) The Twins' collection of young pitching talent should mature, to some degree, by then; out of Liriano, Baker, Slowey, Bonser, Perkins, Nick Blackburn, the three Mets and guys we've never heard of yet, I'd imagine at least a couple of top starters will emerge.

3. Santana was traded to the National League, and won't be haunting the Twins every season, or in any pennant race. They also don't meet in interleague again for a couple more years.

4. My Met-fan friends tell me Carlos Gomez is damn exciting and will make things interesting out in center field. I believe them, although considering that position has been occupied over the past two decades by Kirby Puckett and Torii Hunter, he has pretty big shoes to fill.

5. For the next five years, the Twins will always be just one bad arm twitch away from winning the trade.

6. Like I said yesterday, the deal has eerie similarities to the last trade in which the Mets got an ace lefthander from the Twins- the Frank Viola deal in 1989. Sure, this time it's 4-for-1 instead of 5-for-1, and it's three pitchers instead of five. But last time the Twins used their haul to win a championship 18 months later. I saw this coming six months ago, although I sort of hoped Aaron Heilman would be included and fill the Rick Aguilera role.

7. Until he becomes a household name, I'll get to refer to Mulvey as "Kevin Mulva."

8. When Santana gets off to a slow start- because he always does- the New York tabloids will go apeshit. And really, who doesn't love that.

9. I'll get to see Santana face the Phillies at Citizen's Bank Park multiple times this year- and get to hear Philly fans bitch about why can't THEIR team get people like Johan and why are they so CHEAP, while they enjoy the Phils' near-$100 million payroll. As the Twins make do with theirs, which should hover around $50 million.

10. Bill Conlin, on "Daily News Live," actually argued that the Mets were making a mistake because Santana's win-loss record last year was "only 15-13." Laughing at him made me smile for the first time last night.

UPDATE: ALOTT5MA ranks the Santanas.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:09 PM | Comments (0)

Tracing Diane Lane

My review of the awful, awful, alleged thriller "Untraceable" is online at the Trend's site.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:08 PM | Comments (0)

McNulty's Super Bowl Pick

KSK meets "The Wire." Thank you, Christmas Ape.

Be sure to watch the accompanying YouTube (from Season 2) of Jimmy driving drunk while listening to the Pogues; it cuts off before the part where he shags a diner waitress.

UPDATE: I can't help but agree with KSK commentator "Phony Gwynn":

If ever a show was getting blown by three hot chicks while eating fried chicken and waffles while watching your teams win the Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup and National Championship in every sport save curling, The Wire is it.
Yea, but, "The Wire" is much more bleak and nihilistic than the above scenario.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:06 PM | Comments (3)

"He Mined Turds, Jon!"

News Item: Edwards to end presidential bid

Let this be a lesson: No matter how good it sounds, and no matter how intuitive it is to believe in it, pure economic populism just plain doesn't win in America, especially not at the presidential level. But I still don't think we've seen the last of Edwards. Attorney General in an Obama Administration, perhaps?

I was never an Edwards supporter, but I don't have the revulsion with him that some others do. And, political futility aside, what's so hateable about a rich guy who cares about the poor? Isn't that better than being a rich guy who doesn't care about the poor?

My other problem with Edwards: I could never hear his "son of a millworker" speech without being instantly reminded of Stephen Colbert's "son of a turd miner, grandson of a goat-ball licker" riff, quite possibly the funniest thing ever broadcast on "The Daily Show."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:06 PM | Comments (3)

Well, He Can Still Be President of 9/11

News Item: Giuliani to drop out of presidential race, endorse McCain*

We've also been spared the national nightmare of Norman Podhoretz as Secretary of State. And while we may very well see the first black or female president, we will not be seeing the first-ever mistress-turned-First-Lady.

*See included photo at link. Am I the first to notice Cindy McCain's uncanny resemblance to Patsy from "Absolutely Fabulous"?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:05 PM | Comments (2)

Birds Don't Like News Coverage

I think that's proven by this footage:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:04 PM | Comments (1)

Quite Frankly, You're Fired

News Item: Philadelphia Inquirer officially fires Stephen A. Smith

I guess this means I won't be seeing him around Philly at all now- not that I ever did before.

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

Obama's Not Just a Christian, or a Muslim...

He would also be the first Jewish president, according to this less-than-convincing Huffington Post piece:

Surprised? You shouldn't be. Consider the following eight clues:

1. His mom was a free-spirited agnostic obsessed with his education...
2. His wife seems to like him, but kvetches about him in public.
3. He is a lawyer and community activist
4. He was president of the Harvard Law Review
5. He taught at the University of Chicago
6. He squabbles with Democratic relatives in New York
7. He plays basketball at the Y.
8. He's funnier than Joe Lieberman

Eh, like I said, I'm not quite convinced. I think the whole Clinton "first black president" thing is sort of invalidated by Toni Morrison actually supporting Obama, just as I think a First Jewish President should actually be, you know, Jewish. But I do love the description of Michelle Obama as a "shiksa Goddess."

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

January 29, 2008

Film Critic Quote of the Week

Aaron Hillis of the Voice, on the truly dreadful-looking "Meet the Spartans":

"Mike Judge predicted this bullshit would happen in his dystopian satire Idiocracy, in which Americans had become so dumb that the multiplex headliner was something called Ass: just two hours of a naked, farting rump. Depressingly, he was off by about 500 years. "
The real thing of "300" was silly enough; why sit through it again?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:59 PM | Comments (3)

Well, At Least It Wasn't Boston. Or the Yankees

News Item: Twins complete tentative trade of Santana to Mets.

It's for Carlos Gomez and pitchers Kevin Mulvey, Deolis Guerra and Phil Humber, and NOT Fernando Martinez. Gomez had BETTER be good, is all I can say.

I'm not happy about this, of course. But, as I suggested last August, perhaps this will be a reenactment of the Frank Viola trade in 1989, which led directly to the Twins' second championship two years later.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:21 PM | Comments (2)

Giants Win, and Other Bad Predictions

KSK goes over some other things that won't be happening this year. The one about Prop Joe is my favorite.

Speaking of which, I'm totally loving this "Wire" season as usual, but one thing I don't get: McNulty and Lester are faking the serial killer so that the police will get enough money and enough detectives so they can eventually chase (and catch) Marlo. But don't they realize that if they get caught falsifying information and committing all of the other crimes associated with the serial killer plot, won't it jeopardize the Marlo case as well? Woudn't it be like the Ramparts case, in which police corruption resulted in the overturning of dozens of criminal convictions? In fact, my guess is that the season will end exactly that way, with Marlo, Chris and Snoop dead to rights, but then walking free when the hammer falls on Jimmy and Lester.

For more "Wire" commentary, Alan Sepinwall's site is the place to be.

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

Anti-Philly Philly Quote of the Week

Frank Fitzpatrick of the Inquirer is being killed in town for this and a couple of other columns he's written lately, which is a good indication that he's 100 percent right:

No, no, Nanette, it's not really those nattering New Yorkers we despise.

Nor those hidebound Bostonians, either.

It's ourselves, stupid.

We're Philadelphia sports fans. We hate us more than them.


Well, for a start, 25 years - that's 100 seasons - of title-less anger, frustration, hurt, and civic jealousy can generate a lot of self-loathing.

We fool ourselves into believing we vent all that animosity in those big, bellowing boos that are our collective (name-)calling cards or in all the mean-spirited griping that is the coin of the "rip it" realm on talk radio WIP (We're Insufferable Philadelphians).

I've said this many times but it bears repeating: By constantly booing and bitching about their teams, and by attempting to push every superstar player out of town, Philly's fans are making it harder, not easier, for their teams to win a championship.

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

Obama-Hewson '08

Kyle Smith lays out a convincing case that Barack Obama is the Bono of politics. But I thought Bono was the Bono of politics?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:19 PM | Comments (1)

Donovan vs. Skip

One of the two of them is certainly much more convincing in this argument than the other. See if you can guess which.

Was that Skip Bayless, or the Cryptkeeper?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:18 PM | Comments (0)

The Answer: Lots of Strange Erotic Journeys From Milan to Minsk

In this dynamite piece, Anne Applebaum considers where, exactly, all those beautiful Russian women came from.

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

January 28, 2008

Questioning Tiger

I look at just how much responsibility Tiger Woods should take as a social activist, in this week's North Star Writers Group column.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:13 PM | Comments (1)


This is sort of amusing, as the presidential candidates channel David Bowie

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

Feliz Navidad

I've generally been an apologist for the Phillies this offseason- I am, after all, the only person in the entire Delaware Valley who likes what they're doing in the Ryan Howard negotiation. But even I can't defend today's signing of Pedro Feliz, who "fills" the team's third-base hole despite not being appreciably better than Wes Helms, who was half of the platoon he'll be replacing.

A mediocre free agent third baseman from the Giants? I thought the Phils already tried that with David Bell.

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

Fuck the FCC

They're fining "NYPD Blue"- a show that went off the air five years ago- over a million dollars because of a few seconds of female nudity? Can anyone offer a convincing explanation as to why that makes any sense at all?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:10 PM | Comments (1)

January 27, 2008

Saturday in South Carolina

I was in awe enough of Obama even before Saturday's 2-to-1 victory. But then came this speech which, if you ask me, beats out his 2004 convention address:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:38 PM | Comments (1)

January 25, 2008

Yes, Twins, Yes!

News Item: Twins lock up Morneau, Cuddyer to long-term extensions

I guess after losing Hunter and before losing Santana, the team had to do something to keep all their fans from hating them. Still though, I'm happy about this.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:08 PM | Comments (0)

Kidd Chris Strikes Again

That Kidd Chris attack on the SEC womens' basketball coaches' press conference? Apparently they've struck again, and this time, it's the Big East:

Prank callers asked several Big East men's basketball coaches lewd questions when they crashed the league's weekly teleconference Thursday posing as reporters or using the names of major newspapers.

The Southeastern Conference women's basketball teleconference received similar calls Tuesday.

Big East Associate Commissioner John Paquette said the calls would be investigated. The Kidd Chris radio program on WYSP-FM 94.1 in Philadelphia claims to be behind both of the pranks.

As the media attention increases, I'm looking forward to Chris and the Cream Team pulling off more of these. As Jimmy McNulty would say, "we have to kill again."

The bit is available in podcast form here, starting at the 1:13 mark.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:30 PM | Comments (0)

Campaign 2008 Word of the Year

CJR: "Horseracism."

And no, it has nothing to do with racism against horses.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)


I don't what this YouTube is or where it came from, but I can't stop laughing at it:

Sexy baby...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)

"Cloverfield" Nitpicks

While I very much I enjoyed the film, I too, thought it had certain believability problems. Here's Amelie Gillette, with a bit of a SPOILER ALERT!:

So it would take a while to walk through the darkened 6 line from Spring St. to 59th St.? So what? And it would also take more than a few seconds of running to get from 59th and Lexington to Columbus Circle? Big deal. It's not like the movie is presented as an uninterrupted document of the evening shot more-or-less in real time, right?
Yea, I assumed when they emerged from the subway it was already daylight. But no, apparently only about 30 minutes had passed.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:33 AM | Comments (3)

Plagiarizing From Themselves

The New York Post's Page Six ran an item on Jan. 2 asking this question, the answer to which is obviously "Nicole Kidman":

WHICH 40ish actress has finally gotten pregnant for the first time? Her rep is denying it because she's only a month into it, and has suffered miscarriages in the past. Said our source: "Watch for her to get bangs and start wearing hats to hide her sagging face because you can't be on Botox when you are pregnant"
Anyway, either the Post never answered the question, or they really want to figure out who it was, because they ran the same item again today.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

The Onion Gets in the Game

From this week's issue:

TV Critics Admit To Never Having Watched The Wire
NEW YORK—Despite heaping lavish praise on the HBO crime drama The Wire, television critics across the country admitted Monday that not one of them has ever sat down to watch an entire episode of the show. "The Wire has done what no other television program has come close to achieving—namely, presenting the life of a decaying American city and doing so with the scope and moral vision of great literature," said New York Times critic Virginia Heffernan, who was surprised to hear that the groundbreaking series had already started its fifth and final season in early January. "It sounds fantastic. I really wish I had HBO." Many reviewers from top media outlets assured reporters that they would start watching the Peabody Award–winning show just as soon as the first season reaches the top of their Netflix queues.

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

January 24, 2008

That's Great, I Don't Like Him Either

New York Times: All the other GOP candidates hate Mitt Romney.

By November, I'm expecting, much of America will feel the same way. Another overly slick, extremely rich guy with big hair from Massachetts who's notorious for flip-flopping- let's nominate him! My favorite part of the piece:

“Never get into a wrestling match with a pig,” Senator John McCain said in New Hampshire this month after reporters asked him about Mr. Romney. “You both get dirty, and the pig likes it.”
An Obama-McCain race would be great, because we'd be virtually assured of getting a president who is, all things considered, a decent, honorable human being. So I just know we're looking at Hillary-Romney, where neither really is.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:54 PM | Comments (5)

Killing Carr

Today’s sports radio moment of the day came courtesy of Howard Eskin’s show, in which the Wolfman had viewers call in and share their favorite childhood sports memories. One caller shared a tale of growing up in North Carolina near former Celtics player and coach M.L. Carr, at which point Eskin said something like “oh yea, great guy, he sadly passed away last year.” The caller replied, “yea, that was sad.”

Oops- Carr is very much alive. Eskin likely confused him with Dennis Johnson, another ex-Celtic who indeed passed away last year at a young age. But how could the caller, who had such happy memories of Carr, not know that he wasn’t dead?

Committing an almost worst gaffe came was Chris Matthews on “Hardball” tonight. When showing the footage of John McCain being endorsed by “Rocky” himself, Sylvester Stallone, Matthews joked that McCain’s next move will be to “climb the stairs of the Art Museum in Philadelphia and raise his arms, like everyone else always does.” Oops- McCain, due to his injuries in Vietnam, is unable to raise his arms.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)

More NYP Trouble

There’s more controversy at New York Press, the NYC alt-weekly that I wrote for from time to time during my time in the Big Apple. Already having gone through owners and editors the way Steinbrenner used to go through managers, the paper has lately burned through several different sex columnists, with editor David Blum firing multiple sex scribes, none of whom ever lived up to the level of former NYP writer Amy Sohn.

The paper’s latest sex writer, Claudia Lonow, was greeted this week with a cover story on her column, “Lip Service,” certainly not the sort of thing that normally happens for new columnists. But her honeymoon, it turned out, lasted not even 24 hours.

The Press reported on its site tonight that Lonow had resigned from the paper, after a blogger discovered that she had lifted several questions for the column from Dan Savage. Lonow, a TV writer who had never before written for a newspaper, used the Costanza defense, claiming she had no idea such a thing was frowned upon.

The paper’s search for the next great sex columnist continues (why haven’t they given Rachel Kramer Bussel a run yet?) I admit, though, that “Lip Service” was an excellent name for a sex column. But not as excellent as the paper’s previous one, Kelly Kreth’s “Outside the Box.”

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:17 PM | Comments (0)

John Gibson, Asshole

He yukked it up on the radio about Heath Ledger's death, just hours after it happened. All class, that guy.

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


My review of the generally awesome "Cloverfield" is online at the Trend site.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:13 PM | Comments (2)

C U Next Tuesday, Hillary

In this brilliant piece, Matt Labash lets us know about a new anti-Hillary 527, called Citizens United Not Timid (note the acronym). Their logo is very tasteful as well. Backed by veteran GOP sleazeball Roger Stone, the group promises to make the Swift Boat Vets look like Sesame Street by comparison. Nice to see them borrowing humor from years-old Kevin Smith movies.

Read the whole thing; I'll never hear the phrase "special flower" the same way again.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:13 PM | Comments (1)

He Seemed So Likable Back in '91

News Item: Chuck Knoblauch reportedly flees Congressional subpoena

Chuck Knoblauch, Bill Clinton- everyone I really liked back in the early '90s is letting me down this week. At least Pearl Jam is still doing good things.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:12 PM | Comments (0)

Battle of the Mike Smiths

Reportedly, ESPN's Len Pasquarelli is upset because his colleague, Michael Smith, broke the story that the other Mike Smith, the one who's a football coach, was just named coach of the Atlanta Falcons. I read about this on ProFootballTalk.com- which employs another Mike Smith- Michael David Smith- as a writer.

Has Mike Smith the writer taken advantage of the the media's well-known Mike Smith bias, getting the coach Mike Smith to help another Mike Smith out? I think he did.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:12 PM | Comments (0)

Two in a Row

Break up the Wolves! The Timberwolves won two games in a row for the first time this year last night, somehow beating the Phoenix Suns for the second time this year. I still have next to no hope for the team until they get rid of Kevin McHale, but they've got some pieces in place to be quite good two or three years down the line. Which is a lot more than I can say for the Sixers.

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

January 23, 2008

IANAKD (I am Not a Kos Diarist)

Just to be clear on something: This Daily Kos diary, which reprints my North Star column from last week, might put across the impression that I am the author of the diary, or that the column has been "syndicated" by Kos; a commenter today seemed to think so. Anyway, neither is true; someone has simply posted my column (crediting me, of course) on the site.

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

Pundit Critic Quote of the Day

A letter writer to Andrew Sullivan, very accurately characterizing NRO pundits Katrina Jean Lopez and Mark Levin:

Here's the deal: Lopez and Levin have three basic posts: (1) "A True Conservative believes X," (2) "A True Conservative does not believe Y," and (3) "Mr. [or Gov. or Sen.] Z is not a True Conservative because he does not believe X, or he does believe Y." Of course, this is an easy way to make a living, but not very original or thoughtful.

Let's try it out: A True Conservative believes "in waterboarding."

Sen. McCain is not a True Conservative because he does not believe "in waterboarding." (OK, I cheated. I've read your blog.) But you get the point, because there's really so little to get. There are no candidates who approach what Lopez and Levin want, and no President could ever govern that way (see, e.g., Reagan). But they love the talk. Lopez and Levin want a small-tent Republican party: no libertarians, no moderates, no compassionate conservatives, no McCain, no Huckabee, no Rudy, no ideas of recent vintage. And no discussion! We're talking to you Brooks, and to you too, Kristol. Shape up or ship out.

Note: Lopez has one other basic post, the kind you linked to today. "President Bush completes me because today he said [or did] X." Thus, President Bush completes me because today he "was giddy around nuns."

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

Kidd Chris vs. the SEC

Shocking news out of Kentucky this morning:

Several women's basketball coaches were asked lewd questions by prank callers who infiltrated a media teleconference Tuesday afternoon.

A Southeastern Conference official said the league is working to find out who made the calls and is searching for ways to keep this from happening in the future...

The prank callers, who were claiming to be legitimate reporters, managed to get on and ask at least six questions to more than half of the league's 12 coaches. The questions were graphic in nature and included inquiries about coaches having sexual relations with players and players' performances based on their menstrual cycles.

On this morning's Kidd Chris Show on WYSP in Philly, the "Cream Team," a consortium of prank callers led by "media terrorist" East Coast Bob, claimed responsibility for the calls. Traditionally the Cream Team has specialized in prank-calling radio shows, but of late they've been infiltrating business conference calls and spreading their cheer that away.

But I have to wonder- so soon after the Imus/Rutgers scandal, is it really such a good idea for shock jocks to be screwing around with womens' basketball personnel? Then again, the Cream Team left racial stuff out of it completely, and these were coaches falling victim, not 19-year-old players. Also, and I'm sure Kidd and the Cream Team don't know this, but the SEC actually had a scandal last year, involving former LSU coach Pokey Chatman, in which a coach was accused of having an affair with a player.

Anyway, if you want to hear the bit, it's on the podcast here. It starts at about the 1:17 mark, with about 6 minutes of discussion before that.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:14 PM | Comments (2)

The Internet Has a Party

Not a bad bit at all, from Cracked. Facebook is cute.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:13 PM | Comments (2)

Ryan Howard vs. The Phillies

There's trouble with the Philadelphia Phillies. Coming off its first NL East crown in 14 years, the team is facing a contentious contract dispute with its most prominent player, Ryan Howard. The player and team have not yet come together on a short-term or long-term contract, so the matter is not headed to binding arbitration,

As usual in Philly, there's been a lot of complaining from irate fans. And as with most such situations in this town, it looks like most of the complaints are coming from people who either don't understand the rules of baseball, the rules of arbitration, or any of the facts of the situation whatsoever.

Here are the facts: blocked by Jim Thome at first base with the Phils, Howard became a first-time major league regular at the age of 26. As soon as Thome was traded, Howard emerged as a slugging superstar, winning the NL Rookie of the Year in 2005, before hitting 58 home runs (a team record) and being named NL MVP in '06. Last year, despite showing up overweight, going through a couple of prolonged slumps, Howard still had a strong year, smacking 46 homers and 136 RBIs, for an "OPS+" of 144.

Under baseball rules, a team has the right to, essentially, pay a player whatever it wants for the first three-plus years of his career. After that, the player is arbitration-eligible. After 2006, when Howard was not yet arbitration-eligible, the Phils renewed his contract for $900,000, a near-threefold increase over his salary the year before, and also an all-time record salary for a non-arbitration-eligible player. The reaction among Philly fans and media was that the Phils had "lowballed" Howard, since they hadn't paid him an even million.

After 2007, when Howard reached arbitration eligibility, many expected the Phils to hand Howard a long-term deal, as they had the previous offseason when other young star, Chase Utley, reached arbo eligibility. That has yet to happen, and the teams appear set to enter arbitration next week with the Phillies offering $7 million and Howard countering with $10 million. The arbitrator is required to choose one number or the other, although the vast majority of arbo cases are settled before they even reach the table.

The reaction by fans and media now? Once again, it's the "Phillies are cheap" meme. How dare they not give Howard what he wants? Why not sign him for 7 or 8 or 9 years? And besides- best keep Howard happy- or else he'll leave the team.

I find it hard to object to anything the Phillies have done at any step of the way. The argument must begin with this: Howard is under the Phils' control for four more seasons. He can't be a free agent until after the 2011 season, and therefore the team is best-served by maintaining cost-certainty for as long as possible. That's not being "cheap," that's just smart management. They're merely, for now, shielding themselves from the very real risk that Howard will start to decline within a year or two.

Howard is the exact sort of player- defense-challenged first baseman, power-hitting but strikeout-prone, weight problem- who tends to flame out in his early-to-mid 30s- and now, he's 28. What if Howard turns into Ryan Klesko? What if he's another Mo Vaughn, another 1B beloved in his city who, it turned out, Boston got rid of at exactly the right time? And to use an example closer to home, what if he's Pat Burrell, making huge money and largely disappointing at the end of a long-term deal?

I'm not saying the Phils should get rid of Howard. He seems to be a wonderful young man, I love watching him play the game, and if he shows he can stay in shape and cut down on the strikeouts, signing him to an extension may not be such a bad idea. But don't forget- Howard, even if he loses in arbitration, is looking at a $7 million salary, an eightfold raise over last year.

The Phillies are cheap? Their payroll last year was around $100 million, which was in the top ten of the league. They beat a team down the stretch, the Mets, that had a payroll more than $50 million higher, but lost in the playoffs to the Rockies, a team paying their players about $30 million lower, which shows that maybe payroll isn't everything. $100 million? I wish the Pohlads were that cheap.

Keith Law has additional, similar thoughts, and also tosses in some shots at that blithering idiot Bill Conlin.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:13 PM | Comments (1)

Film Critic Quote of the Week

Nathan Lee, of the Village Voice, on the vile "Untraceable":

"Untraceable being a movie about the effect of violence in the media, or whatever, each new murder scenario wraps quicker than the last, as hordes of new viewers log on to gawk at torture and snark it up on the message board. Damn you, media! Damn you, you!"
I saw this tonight, and let's just say it's the most anti-Web 2.0 movie of all time. Not only does it argue, laughably unconvincingly, that the next logical step after YouTube and MySpace is that a serial killer will emerge to use murder as "user-generated content," but that we're all complicit, should such a thing ever happen. Diane Lane sure is pretty, though.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:38 AM | Comments (0)


I was shocked to learn this afternoon that Heath Ledger had passed away, in a New York apartment, at the age of 28.

The guy I originally learned of through "10 Things I Hate About You" and other late-'90s teen movies later emerged, a few years later, as one of the finest actors of his generation, giving a standout performance in "Brokeback Mountain" and also making an impression in "I'm Not There," "Monster's Ball," and other movies. He's scheduled to play The Joker in next summer's "Batman" sequel; not sure yet whether he finished filming the part at the time of his death.

Most sadly of all, Ledger leaves behind a 2-year-old daughter. His death remains shocking, and likely will remain so even as we learn more details.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:27 AM | Comments (6)

Watergate, 2008 Edition

During my visit to our nation's capital last weekend, my friend Evan decided to give me an impromptu tour of some Washington landmarks, and we first set out for the Watergate.

It is, I must say first of all, one of the ugliest buildings I've ever seen. I'm no architecture buff, and I could certainly see that it might have been the height of fashions in the early '70s. But today? Eek.

Anyway, Evan wanted to know if there was any museum/commemoration of the break-in or any of the resulting events, but when we knocked on the door no one answered. We thought about breaking in (har!) but eventually a security guard came to the door. Evan asked him the museum question and... the guy who works at the Watergate seemed to have no idea that there had been any break-in or anything there at all. Seriously.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:22 AM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2008

The Noms

I can't say I have any surprise or complaint to express about this year's Oscar nominations, which were announced today. I would've liked to see "Sweeney Todd" and/or "Charlie Wilson's War" up for Best Picture, but the four of the five movies nominated that I've seen were all excellent (I have not yet gotten to "Atonement.") In fact, the only thing about the noms that upset me is that the awards themselves might not happen.

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

His Running Mate Revealed

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

He Also Predicted the Win by Rocky Marciano

Not many people thought the Giants could beat the Packers on Sunday, but Prince Akeem called it, more than 20 years ago:

When will Zamunda be awarded a Super Bowl?

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

Back to Acting?

News Item: Fred Thompson drops out of presidential race

This presidential race has shown that a woman, a black man, a Mormon and a thrice-married man can all be viable candidates for the presidency. A lazy man, however, cannot.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:59 PM | Comments (1)

January 21, 2008

Obama Equals Farrakhan?

No, not so much, as I demonstrate in this week's North Star column.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:07 PM | Comments (3)

The East Coast Bias Bowl

Yes, I would have certainly preferred Patriots-Packers, and unless you're a Giants fan, you probably would have, too. But in two weeks, we're looking at a Patriots-Giants Super Bowl, yet another New York/Boston battle, and also another Brady/Manning clash. The Pats, I'm sure, will open as huge favorites, but then nobody thought the Giants could do a thing with Eli Manning at quarterback, Tom Coughlin as coach, and Tiki Barber in the booth.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:06 PM | Comments (1)

"Wire" Critic Quote of the Day

I'm loving the season, of course, and I especially liked Sunday night's episode. Having been laid off from media companies three different times in the last decade, I've gotten the "we have to contemplate doing more with less going forward" line way too many times for one lifetime. But Jeffrey Goldberg is right about this point:

Why is there no reference whatsoever to the newspaper's Web site? Simon makes it clear in his Washington Post "Outlook" piece that he neither knows very much nor cares very much about the Web, but doesn't reality demand that we see the newsroom of the Sun feeding the beast? All this talk of finals and double dots is so archaic. Are you telling me that the cub reporter, Alma Gutierrez, would run all over the city looking for an early edition of the paper before checking to see how her story was played on the Web? I just looked—the Baltimore Sun actually does have a Web site.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:05 PM | Comments (1)

Sports Radio Moment of the Day

Yesterday afternoon, when driving up from Washington, DC, towards Philly, we heard a Baltimore sports talk show host raise the possibility of the Ravens trading for Donovan McNabb- since their new coach, John Harbaugh, is an ex-Philly assistant- but ultimately drop the idea, because the Ravens probably aren't going to be ready to contend for another year or two, and McNabb would cost too much in the way of money or draft picks.

About 45 minutes later, once we were back in Philadelphia radio range, we heard WIP's Rob Ellis suggest that the Eagles should, indeed, trade McNabb, and because they have so many pieces in place (?) and seem to be ready to contend right now (??), the best place to trade Donovan would be... the Ravens. The grass is always greener, I guess.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:04 PM | Comments (0)

Cowboys in 8 Seconds

I'm a few days late with this, but I so love it:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:03 PM | Comments (2)

Another Reason to Love Obama

Just in time for MLK Day, Barack (with some help from the New York Times) brought Coretta Scott King back from the dead.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:03 PM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2008

Best Bowling Movie Since Lebowski

My review of "There Will Be Blood" is now online at the Trend.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:45 PM | Comments (0)

Is it Because He Was Traded For Multiple Players and Multiple Draft Picks?

News Item: Herschel Walker reveals he has Multiple Personality Disorder.

I know I shouldn't joke, but I'm still bitter about that trade, even almost 20 years later.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)

Bud Selig Has a Randy Moss Problem

Here he is in the press conference announcing his latest contract extension, casually alluding to assaulting his wife:

Say what you will about Rudy Giuliani taking calls from his wife during speeches- at least he's never made jokes about assaulting her, or either of his former wives.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)

What, is He Replacing Meatwad?

News Item: John Kruk to guest-star on "Aqua Teen Hunger Force"

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)

Not on Demand

As fans of "The Wire" know, HBO has, last season and this season, rewarded hardcore fans by putting the episodes of the show online a week ahead of time, usually coming online on Sunday at midnight.

Except this week, in Philly at least, Comcast didn't do it. The cable giant had no explanation as to why when I called, but it took them until Wednesday to put it up. So yes, I'm all for firing their CEO.

The episode was well worth the wait, however. I'm going to D.C. this weekend and looking forward to stopping in Baltimore on the way back, but no, I won't be visiting any of the locations. They're probably not very safe.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)

I've Sure Worked in Some Not-so-Great Places...

But this week, I'm really, really glad I don't work at Golfweek. Good God.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)

His Milkshake Brings All the Critics to the Yard

If you saw "There Will Be Blood," you know what this is all about. Great stuff.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:53 PM | Comments (0)

The Jews Did It

News Item: Chess champion/batty anti-Semite Bobby Fischer dies

Fischer's chess prime was long before my time, so I remember mostly as the guy who came back and violated the Yugoslavia boycott, often made anti-Semitic comments despite having a Jewish mother, and inspired the very underrated movie "Searching For Bobby Fischer." Will I miss him? Nah.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:52 PM | Comments (1)

January 17, 2008

Funniest Ancillary News Item in Months

News Item: Former Michigan Congressman, Indicted For Terrorism, Used to Be Debbie Schlussel's Boss

My first thought is, ha! The embarrassing pundit whose entire persona is based on calling everyone and everything a terrorist and linking everyone and everything to terrorism... used to work for a terrorist! I bet Jason Alexander is laughing right now.

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

The 2007 Packers: What a Feel-Good Story

You know those salt-of-the-Earth Packers fans, who are so much sweeter and less critical than East Coast types? Yea, well, one of them did this:

PARDEEVILLE, Wis. -- Authorities in Columbia County said a 36-year-old man tied up his young son with tape after the boy refused to wear a Green Bay Packers jersey during the team's game last Saturday.

heriff's Lt. Wayne Smith said Mathew Kowald was cited for disorderly conduct for the incident involving his 7-year-old son at their home in Pardeeville this past weekend. Kowald was accused of restraining the boy for an hour with tape and also taping a jersey onto him during that time.

It's obvious why the kid wouldn't wear green- he secretly likes the Vikings.

But it could've been worse- he could've taped a block of cheese onto his son's head.

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

Not Again...

News Item: Bud Selig's contract extended through 2012

I know about the revenues and "health of the game" and all that... but come on. How about some new blood?

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

January 16, 2008

Richard Cohen is Dead to Me

I'll have more on this in the North Star column this week, but that column Cohen wrote last week- in which he condemns Obama for not condemning someone who knows someone who knows someone who once gave Louis Farrakhan an award- was one of the more noxious pieces in recent memory, a disgraceful bit of Hannitizing from someone who's allegedly a liberal columnist on a supposedly liberal op-ed page. It's hard to disagree with Andrew Sullivan's take:

The more I think about it, the more disgraceful that column was. Pure identity politics paranoia. A Jewish columnist sees a black man running for president and the first thing he asks himself is: where is this guy on Farrakhan? And Obama has to disprove his connections, even though there is not even a smidgen of evidence connecting the two, and even, as Greg Sargent points out, Obama's own spokesman explicitly disowned any support for Farrakhan in the same column.

If Obama has to disown a man he has never had anything to do with and a man whose toxic racist politics Obama has consistently and continuously opposed with all his might, then every black candidate is forced to jump through Cohen's petty little racist litmus test. They're all guilty of anti-Semitism until proved innocent. And Cohen's transparent disavowals of such an insinuation make it worse not better.

We are learning a lot through this primary process - especially about some powerful white liberals and race. What we're learning isn't pretty.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:34 PM | Comments (0)

You're the Best... Around...

My full article detailing the top ten movies of 2007 has been posted at the Trend website.

Also, I'm now going to be doing occasional DVD reviews for North Star; here's the first, a look at the totally entertaining and totally bonkers "Shoot 'Em Up." I can do no better than Sean Burns, who described the film as "both completely retarded and totally fucking awesome."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:58 PM | Comments (1)

"You, Sir, Suck!"

Alexis Cohen, on "American Idol" last night, setting back the reputations of Allentown, and Jewish girls, back decades (starting at about 4:40):

How can someone be from Allentown and think that Bon Jovi (as opposed to Billy Joel) wrote "Allentown"?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:57 PM | Comments (2)


News Item: "Rent" to Close on Broadway

I know it wasn't the greatest musical in Broadway history, but it's certainly the one that meant the most to me. I spent the latter half of the '90s listening to the soundtrack (along with Dave Matthews' "Crash," it was pretty much my freshman hall's soundtrack hall), and my first year in New York I passed the theater on 41st street just about every day, on the way to my laughable Hell's Kitchen studio. And I don't care what anyone says, I LIKED the movie version.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:56 PM | Comments (1)

Stupidity in Congress

One thing I love about when baseball players and/or execs are dragged before Congress is that it causes people who don't usually watch Congressional hearings to pay attention, and it makes them realize just how idiotic- and grandstanding- elected officials of both parties are. Here's Tim Marchman on yesterday's proceedings:

This sort of mutual incomprehension occupied much of yesterday's hearings. Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat of Minnesota, accused baseball of a "criminal conspiracy that defrauded millions of baseball fans of billions of dollars." Rep. Mark Souder, a Republican of Indiana, demanded to know what baseball was doing about gene doping, a technology that does not exist. Rep. Shays soliloquized in Stengelese, repeatedly referencing the 1919 Chicago Blackhawks (presumably he meant the Black Sox), one Palmieri (presumably he meant Rafael Palmeiro, not the famed pianist) and his 300th hit (presumably he meant his 3,000th).
And now Miguel Tejada might go to jail! That trade's looking better all the time, huh, Ed Wade?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:54 PM | Comments (0)

Andre the Giant, Drunk

I'd always heard stories about Andre the Giant and his drinking, in various wrestler autobiographies and in the famous "wrestling sleaze" thread, but I had never before seen all the stories collected in one place, before this Modern Drunkard piece. Andre made Sal Fasano look like a teetotaler.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:53 PM | Comments (0)

Party Down Under

I don't even have words for this:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:51 PM | Comments (1)

But, But... Will It Jeopardize Angelo Cataldi's Column?

News Item: Metro Newspapers bleeding red ink, may be sold

There's only one nice thing I can say about Angelo's writings: you don't have to hear his voice while reading them.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:51 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2008

The Next Best Thing to David Palmer

News Item: Dennis Haysbert Endorses Obama

I just hope it isn't Haysbert wishing to live vicariously through his real-life counterpart:

"People on the street would ask me to run for office," says Haysbert, who was greeted with "Mr. President" by secret service agents, pages and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) during a visit to Washington. "I'd get that reaction around the world when I went to promote the show."
Reminds me of Bill Simmons' idea from a couple years back that Haysbert should legally change his name to "David Palmer," and run for president. I guess he thought starring on "The Unit" and continuing to make All State commercials was a better career path.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:49 PM | Comments (3)

Which is Funnier...

That Mary J. Blige allegedly received steroids from Signature Pharmacy, or that she did so under the name "Marlo Stanfield," the cold-blooded drug dealer from "The Wire"? I can't say, though, that I'm the slightest bit surprised about 50 Cent being on the juice.

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

Hitler vs. Blu-ray

What if the Fuhrer ran HD DVD?

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

Out With the Drought?

From the great parody newspaper the Philadelphia Turkey, here's a look at a local fan celebrating the 25th anniversary of both the last Philly sports tournament, and his last sexual encounter.

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

January 14, 2008

Yea, But Will They Test the Host?

News Item: 'American Gladiators' to require steroid testing

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:59 PM | Comments (1)

Another Reason To Love Obama

Not only is "The Wire" his favorite show, but Omar is his favorite character.

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

I Almost Want to See It, Just For Comedy's Sake

News Item: Mike Tice being considered for Miami Dolphins coaching job

What a weird day for the NFL, especially the Manning brothers. Eli wins, Peyton loses, and this commercial makes its national debut. The best part: Peyton channeling G.O.B. Bluth and realizing that he's "made a huge mistake."

Watching T.O. cry was hilarious, I admit. But despite the loss today, I'm not prepared to call Tony Romo a loser, or a fraud, or a failure, or anything like that. Most quarterbacks -like Eli Manning, for instance- suck their first couple times through the playoffs.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:39 PM | Comments (1)

Clemens v. McNamee

I ask- and answer- some questions about the Roger Clemens/Brian McNamee dustup in this week's North Star column.

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

Ozzy vs. Kidd Chris

WYSP and WMMR's renewed battle for the Philadelphia rock radio mantle has ensnared an unlikely bystander: Ozzy Osbourne. The Daily News says:

93.3 WMMR called Epic Records yesterday to tell them that “their artist was being portrayed in an unflattering light," confirmed ‘MMR Program Director Bill Weston when we asked about the station’s response to an interview with an Ozzy Osbourne impersonator on 94 WYSP’s Kidd Chris show in which Fake Ozzy trashes WMMR. We’re told Real Ozzy’s people later complained to ‘YSP about the prank after the record company was contacted by WMMR. Fake Ozzy’s British accent disappeared occasionally and his least offensive barb against WMMR said if he had to do another lame interview on ‘MMR he’d go back on drugs. Kidd Chris and ‘YSP management offered no comment asked if Ozzy’s people had contacted the station to complain about the prank.
It was actually a pretty funny bit, in which "Ozzy" called Preston and Steve gay and expressed unhappiness that 'MMR was sponsoring his concert. Ozzy may not like it, but at least this time he's not being used to ensnare gullible criminals.

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

January 13, 2008

Film Critic Quote of the Week

Owen Gleiberman of EW, trashing "27 Dresses":

It's not that their movie is cynical; it's that all the chick-flick trappings — the fashion, the wedding chitchat, the masochistic one-way crush — drive the story rather than the other way around. 27 Dresses is a movie geared to a pitch of high matrimonial-princess fever. It's white-lace porn for girls of every age, and the way that it revelsin that get-me-to-the-altar mood, to the point of making anyone who isn't getting married feel like a loser, is the picture's key selling point.
I've written this before, but I really wish Owen would write a book about this- and give it a name like "White Lace Porn."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:47 PM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2008

Father of the Year

Gotta give it to this guy:

With his 1½-year-old son in tow, David Mantor left his Maplewood home Wednesday evening, telling his wife he was headed for the grocery store.

Hours later, police say, Mantor's wife bailed him out of jail in western Wisconsin, after he was arrested on suspicion of leaving the little boy in a locked van for more than three hours as he sat in a strip club. Charges are being considered.

Mantor's excuse? He's an alcoholic, and fell off the wagon that night. I'm sure he'll get lots of leniency in that case.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

Sports Radio Moment of the Day

A caller to Howard Eskin yesterday suggested- nay, demanded- that the Eagles pursue Pacman Jones this offseason. Sure, he's quite a good cornerback and kick returner, but on the other hand, Pacman's suspension could extend into next season, he'd always be one more mistep away from another suspension or jail, and perhaps worst of all, it would never be safe to go to Delilah's or Club Risque ever again.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:23 PM | Comments (1)

January 11, 2008

Say It Ain't So, Chili!

Remember Chili Davis, the '91 Twin who also played for several other teams, including the Angels and Yankees? Apparently, he's up to no good these days, according to Randball:

Remember your fondness for the ’91 Twins and how it kind of died a little when the Kirby Puckett revelations hit the media? Yeah, this next part isn’t going to help. Over to you, Arizona Republic:

As she waited in court for a jury to come back with a verdict, Tina Placourakis flashed back to the worst day of her life.

That was the day the man she loved attacked her while she was taking a shower, she said. There, in the place she should have felt safest, he knocked her to the floor and held her for seven hours, sometimes with a foot on her neck.

As she shivered on the tile, naked and curled in a fetal position, he spit tobacco chew on her, urinated in the drain next to her and humiliated her until he got what he wanted, which was for her to sign over the title of her car to him.

The him, of course, is Chili Davis. He was found guilty of assault and battery in civil court and ordered to pay $350,000 in damages. Happy Friday, everyone!

I used to think it was cool when Chili would strike out and then break the bat over his knee, but apparently he's found less-healthy outlets for his anger.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:28 PM | Comments (0)

Two Smears, Both False?

How can Obama be both a radical Muslim and a black-supremicist Christian? He can't; he's neither.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:28 PM | Comments (1)

Anti-Huckabee Quote of the Day

Jonathan Chait, talking about just how ridiculous the idea of the "Fairtax" is:

"Basically, trying to explain why the Fairtax is a bad idea is like trying to explain why having trained elephants perform open-heart surgery on every first-grader in America is a bad idea. The whole idea is one bit of lunacy stacked upon another, so when you focus on any one element of it, you let the other side suck you into into arguments about details--Maybe there could be benefits to preemptively fixing the hearts of six year olds! Perhaps elephants do have the potential intelligence to one day perform this task!!--that inadvertently make the plan sound semi-credible."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:27 PM | Comments (1)

January 10, 2008

Michael Nutter Channels Sugarhill Gang

You've probably seen this, but it's still awesome:

I'm excited for the Nutter Era, but it's hard not to get nervous, hearing about "A New Day," knowing the exact same thing was promised last year, by Tommy Carcetti.

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

President For Five Days

In this special mid-week North Star column, I look at just how disappointing it was Tuesday when Barack Obama's five-day presidency was ended by Hillary Clinton.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:21 PM | Comments (3)

Prediction: Beanie Sigel to Kill Dan Gross

Philadelphia Daily News gossip columnist Dan Gross probably thought his job would slow down a bit now that the Alycia Lane thing is over, but apparently that's not the case: Gross ran an item last month about how rapper Beanie Sigel, who just recently got out of jail, was spotted at the Tropicana in Atlantic City. Well, turns out travelling that far from Philadelphia was a violation of Beanie's parole, so he's heading to a halfway house. Mr. Gross, meanwhile, might want to invest in some extra security.

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

Nickname of the Year

Jessica Simpson, as "Yoko Romo" (I believe Dan Patrick started it.)

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

January 09, 2008

I'm a Person of the 'book

I've finally broken down and joined Facebook; you can go ahead and friend me here, if you haven't already. I resisted for this long because it's just a long and complicated dance- first everyone was on Friendster (which I never minded) before they all got sick of that and switched to Myspace, just is now apparently obsolete in the face of Facebook.

I will say this, though- I like Facebook, it's very well put-together and easy to use. And it's face it- Myspace just sucks. It's ugly to the point that I consider it a crime against web design, which bothers me almost as much as that annoying music on everyone's page. And on top of that, spam! Lots of it, every day, from pretend chicks! Congrats on buying the company for $580 million, Rupert Murdoch! Hopefully that whole Wall Street Journal thing will work out better for ya.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:06 PM | Comments (1)

Four-Minute "Wire"

Been meaning to catch up? Now's your chance!

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

Quote of the Day

John Pagano, on the rapturous reaction some liberals have to Obama, what he refers to (in a nice Woody Allen reference) as "the Obama Orgasmatron":

This is such a spoogetastic verbal blow-job. If Obama actually wins the nomination, will the entire NPR class don hospital gowns and wander the streets openly masturbating?

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

Hillary: Not Dead Yet

I'll have more on this in a special North Star column to be published tomorrow, but damn, I really enjoyed that five-day period when it looked as though Obama had already won, Hillary had already lost, and it appeared as though the culture wars of the '90s were finally behind us. Apparently, not so much- I now fully expect Hillary to win the nomination, and just as the 2004 election was a referendum on Vietnam, the '08 election will be another rehashing of the Clinton impeachment. Oh joy, just what we all want.

Also, did anyone else notice that weird beeping sound that was ever-present on MSNBC's set throughout the night? I kept thinking my smoke alarm was going off.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:36 AM | Comments (2)

January 08, 2008


If you're a Timberwolves fan, you probably have the same question as 10,000 Takes- why is Kevin McHale still running the team? I agree with his ideas of making the "Why" signs ubiquitous around the Twin Cities area.

New Yorkers may be advised to try a similar campaign vis a vis Isiah Thomas, but their version would likely be called "Why the Fuck?"

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

New Hampshire Prediction

Obama and McCain both win tonight, and emerge as near-overwhelming favorites for the nominations.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:30 PM | Comments (1)

Colbert and Change

Good to have Stewart and Colbert back- though without writers, it sort of like seeing an old friend after awhile and he's had a lobotomy. I liked this bit with Andrew Sullivan, however:

Hard to disagree with anything he says about Obama, either.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:29 PM | Comments (1)

Guess I'll Never Run Into Her In the Elevator Now

News Item: Alycia Lane fired by CBS-3

My hope: this results in a lawsuit, in which the bikini pictures are subpoenaed and used as a defense exhibit.

UPDATE: Someone on Wikipedia had some fun with the situation.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:29 PM | Comments (0)

The First Goose Ever in Cooperstown

Actually, the second... Goose Goslin was voted in in '68.

Goose Gossage was the lone player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame today, with only Jim Rice coming especially close.

I can't argue with Gossage getting in, from what I reminder he was a pretty dominant reliever and the numbers certainly bear that out. I've become a convert for Bert Blyleven (and against Jack Morris), but neither of them, of course, got in either.

Meanwhile, I'm sort of curious who gave Chuck Knoblauch his one vote.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:28 PM | Comments (1)

Clemens vs. McNamee

Well, that was just about the weirdest thing I've ever heard. When was the last time a secretly taped phone call between two guys who were suing each other was played for the press, and anyone who wanted (I did) could listen to it in their car on the way home?

I have no idea whether or not the call makes Clemens look more or less innocent; clearly both men had lawyers with them and were playing rhetorical games as to not put themselves in legal jeopardy (had Clemens told McNamee to come forward and say he'd lied, that might be witness tampering.) I still say Clemens took steroids at some point in his career, but if he's willing to perjure himself before Congress, he's even dumber than I thought.

As usual, I appreciate Shysterball's take:

Of course there is all kinds of pretending going on here. The lawyers are pretending to be public relations men. The most dominant and aggressive player in decades is pretending to be a victim. The man who ratted out his biggest client is pretending to still be his friend. Congress is pretending to be protecting children, those in positions of power within the game during the rise of steroids in baseball are pretending that the Mitchell Report provides closure of some kind, and many in the media are pretending that they know more than they do.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:25 PM | Comments (0)

Uh, Oops

Thomas Boswell, Washington Post, this morning: "Joe Gibbs not only wants to stay as Redskins coach next season, he wants a contract extension from owner Daniel Snyder."

Headline, Washington Post, a little later this morning: "Joe Gibbs Resigns as Head Coach."

This is why newspapers are dying. Not because they get stuff wrong, but because they can't possibly stay on top of the news in a timely-enough manner.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:25 PM | Comments (0)

I am Shocked, Shocked!

News Item: J.R. Rider jailed on outstanding warrants

I'm just shocked to see an upstanding young men like him get in trouble. Yet oddly enough, I'm sure he won't do as much time as Rick Fenney.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:24 PM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2008


Yes, the first episode is great, and the second episode (already available on demand) is even better, with a really, really bizarre twist at the end. I look forward to seeing how the season develops but man, I'll miss it when it's gone.

If you're new to the show, the best places for recaps are the House Next Door, Alan Sepinwall's blog and Tim Goodman's site. And my North Star column this week is about the show as well.

Speaking of writings, my first-ever E-Gear magazine piece, on the new Google phone, is now online. And while I didn't write it- and I'm not at CES in Vegas- my editor Maureen is, and she writes about a new joint headphone venture between Monster Cable and Dr. Dre. We didn't have a file photo of Dre on hand, so we had to have one taken; I of course had to double-check and make sure it wasn't the "Yo MTV Raps" Dr. Dre.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:33 PM | Comments (0)

Hannity vs. Viggo

Yes, Viggo Mortensen appeared on "Hannity and Colmes." But unlike the last time I saw him, he did not fight his adversaries while nude.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:32 PM | Comments (1)

Another Reason to Love Obama

His chief speechwriter's name is Jon Favreau (not to be confused with the "Swingers" writer/star of the same name.) So money, and he doesn't even know it.

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

January 06, 2008

Film Critic Quote of the Week

Dana Stevens of Slate, as part of this year's Movie Club, on "Southland Tales" vs. David Lynch:

At any rate, I won't speed the moldering of Sembène's corpse by either championing or piling on to Southland Tales, which struck me as a wildly imaginative, intermittently brilliant journey up its creator's own ass. (Not unlike—and here I'm really going to get in trouble—David Lynch's freaky, seductive, infuriating self-released odyssey Inland Empire. Lynch just happens to have a more compelling ass.)
They got some good critics in the discussion this year- and left out that asshat Jonathan Rosenbaum.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)

Sports Radio Moment of the Day

While I suppose it's preferable to the 50 people a day calling WIP to say the exact same three things about the Eagles (Get a big time wide receiver! Run the ball more! Spend more money!), one caller's laughable trade scenario on Howard Eskin's show last week just slayed me. He suggested the Eagles call up Atlana and offer Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, and Reggie Brown for the #3 pick in the draft (to be used on Darren McFadden), D'Angelo Hall, and Alge Crumpler.

I'm sure if Tom Heckert takes the Atlanta GM job, as has been rumored, he'd be interested in that. But no one else would.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:28 AM | Comments (1)

January 04, 2008


So how about that, huh? Barack Obama not only won the Iowa caucuses but dominated them, easily defeating both Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, and drawing large support from both the youth vote and independents. Barack may pull this thing off yet...

My favorite thing about the night, aside from Barack's win and the likely burial of Mitt Romney: When Hillary spoke, standing to her immediate left was... Bill Clinton. When Huckabee spoke, standing to his immediate left was... Chuck Norris. They've both got heavy hitters on their side, clearly.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:01 PM | Comments (4)

January 03, 2008

The Worst of '07

I look at the worst movies of 2007, as well as the most overrated, in the Trend this week.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:40 PM | Comments (2)

Headline of the Year

AP: Nude Couple Grapple Over Dog Near Shower

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:38 PM | Comments (1)

Weinkauf Award Nominee (For Excessive Shoehorning of Bush Symbolism Into Film Criticism)

"War makes you wonder what exactly defines murder and who is enabled to commit it... Where do these current killers come from? It's suggestive that both There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men were shot in mid-Texas Bush country (although the former is set in California). It's even more provocative that none of these killers show the slightest remorse—just plumb evil, I guess.
-J. Hoberman, in the introduction to the Village Voice critics poll.

I just saw "There Will Be Blood," and it's good, but certainly not "Best Movie of the Year" good. But I don't get the people who don't like the ending- I thought it was the strongest segment of the movie, by far.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)

January 02, 2008

The Vikings' Season, RIP

I was away all weekend so I didn't get to comment on the death of the Vikings' 2007 season, which doubled as the very end of Troy Williamson's career in football. I especially enjoyed his flubbing of a certain touchdown that was also the single best pass I've ever seen Tarvaris Jackson throw.

The Vikes are 8-8, as are the Eagles. It now looks likely, barring a trade demand that wouldn't surprise me, that Donovan McNabb will remain in Philly for another year, meaning the Vikings are stuck with either another year of Tarvaris, or another veteran QB, of which there are apparently none available. Which is too bad, because the Vikes need only a quarterback and a receiver or two to become a top contender.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:42 PM | Comments (1)

January 01, 2008

Mummer: Like Nothing Else

Today I for the first time attended Philadelphia's one-of-a-kind tradition, the Mummer's Parade. Yes, it's a group of manly, blue-collar guys, who could probably beat you up, spending New Years' Day dressed in fruity costumes (of their own design), dancing and playing instruments. Fun, fun stuff. I even got to meet and shake hands with Michael Nutter, the city's new mayor, at the parade.

Anyway, head over to the Viewers' Choice poll, and vote for my friends in the South Philly String Band.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:53 PM | Comments (0)

Happy New Year

I wish everyone a happy and healthy new year. I'll be back later in the week with the annual awards, plus the Shameful Events list.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

Top Ten Films of 2007

1. "Juno" (Jason Reitman)
2. "Sweeney Todd" (Tim Burton)
3. "Charlie Wilson's War" (Mike Nichols)
4. "American Gangster" (Ridley Scott)
5. "Southland Tales" (Richard Kelly)
6. "No Country For Old Men" (Joel and Ethan Coen)
7. "Once" (John Carney)
8. "Superbad" (Ken Mottola)
9. "Grindhouse" (Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino)
10. "No End in Sight" (Charles Ferguson)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)

Top Ten TV Shows of 2007

1. "Mad Men" (AMC)
2. "The Sopranos" (HBO)
3. "Big Love" (HBO)
4. "The Shield" (FX)
5. "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS)
6. "The Office" (NBC)
7. "Flight of the Conchords" (HBO)
8. "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" (FX)
9. "The Colbert Report" (Comedy Central)
10. "South Park" (Comedy Central)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:42 AM | Comments (4)

Top Ten Albums of 2007

1. Radiohead- "In Rainbows"
2. Wilco- "Sky Blue Sky"
3. Bruce Springsteen- "Magic"
4. Kanye West- "Graduation"
5. Original soundtrack, "Once"
6. Spoon- "Ga Ga Ga Ga"
7. Arcade Fire- "Neon Bible"
8. Fountains of Wayne- "Traffic and Weather"
9. Feist- "The Reminder"
10. Stars- "In Our Bedroom After the War"

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)

Garden Party

In New York over the weekend we caught the Knicks' game against the Bulls and let's just say, the biggest surprise was that the "Fire Isiah" chants didn't start until the game's final minute. My lord, what a horrible team.

Other highlights of the game, which somehow was the first time I ever saw the Knicks at MSG:

- Stephon Marbury showed up, but didn't play. Jamal Crawford didn't play either, so Nate Robinson was the starting point guard- and they play that annoying "hey bay-BEE" song every time he scores.

- The Knicks City Kids, a dance troupe that seems to consist mostly of 10-year-olds, did a choreographed routine to... "Soulja Boy." I sure hope none of them have figured out what "Superman Dat Ho" means.

- As a special promotion, MSG gave away Allan Houston replica jerseys to everyone in attendance- though I suppose "unloaded" would be a more accurate word. I'm guessing they had about 15,000 of them left over in their pro shops and related retail outlets from around the time of Houston's $100 million contract, and didn't sell them through all of the years of injuries, or his abortive comeback earlier this year. My dad seems to like his, though.

- And when they showed the trivia question on the scoreboard at the World's Most Famous Arena, the text message address was "MSGNY." Did you notice that that's "misogyny" without the vowels? I bet Anucha Browne-Sanders did.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)