This Clemens/"A Few Good Men" mash-up is pretty funny. How much you wanna bet Clemens does a feeble Nicholson impression? Doesn't everybody?
Tigers relief pitcher Joel Zumaya- who has suffered injuries in past seasons from both playing Guitar Hero and from rescuing baseball memorabilia from his parents' burning home- is back in camp and hoping to contribute. Shysterball guesses what Zumaya's next injury will be:
Elbow strain, Hamstring, Oblique strain, Eye strain, Biliousness, Pregnancy (wife), Pregnancy (own), Guitar Hero, Halo 3, Burger Time, Rickets, Alien hand syndrome, Restless leg syndrome, Tommy John surgery, Joel Zumaya surgery (to be named upon discovery of new malady), Blackwater Fever, Consumption, Rotator cuff, Cuff links (in eye), Familial hyperlipoproteinemia type III, Spontaneous polydactylism, Beri-Beri, The Yips, Riley-Day syndrome, Stockholm syndrome, Capgras syndrome, Tendenitis, Dislocated shoulder, Located shoulder, The Willies, Munchausen syndrome, FieldMy money's on Myxomatosis.
Blogger Jon Swift has a further list of supporters that Obama must immediately denounce, reject and disavow. They include:
The "Yes We Can" video is directed by Jesse Dylan, whose father Bob Dylan wrote "Subterranean Homesick Blues," which included the lyric "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows," which is where the violent, radical, left-wing group the Weather Underground got its name.Does Obama also have to denounce the Wallflowers?
The Wawa location on 20th and Locust in Center City Philadelphia closed for good last night, and a vigil was held to say goodbye. PW was there:
Wawa- which still has a handful of city locations and many more in the 'burbs- remains one of the top five reasons to live in Philadelphia (the other four being Chickie's and Pete's, Citizen's Bank Park, the Mummers' parade, and WXPN.) Runners-up include Tastykakes, Yuengling Lager, and Mayor Michael Nutter.
This deal, if it goes through, should help the Eagles avoid the "cheap" and "not willing to spend big on free agents" tags. And 5 years, $47 million is defensible. GCobb says this could be a prelude to a trade of Lito Sheppard and a #1 pick for Larry Fitzgerald, but that sounds a bit too much like "wishful thinking," if you ask me.
Headline on Comcast Sports Net's Web site: "Eagles Close in on Samuel, Clemons." Yes, Mark Twain is coming to Philadlephia.
The Vikings, meanwhile, brought in ex-Eagle (and ex-Gopher) fullback Thomas Tapeh, as well as safety Madieu Williams, who I'd never heard of until yesterday, though I hear he's good.
Kyle Smith on the very unfunny "Semi-Pro":
"“Semi-Pro” goes up for the dunk and misses the hoop, the backboard and the point. It manages to both strike out and get sacked instead. Whose idea was it to remake “Slap Shot” a la Jerry Lewis?This movie fails because it thinks the 1970s are inherently hilarious, and therefore thinks that nothing else funny has to happen. Therefore, we get a whole movie full of funny people (Ferrell, Will Arnett, Andy Richter, etc.) doing unfunny things.
Two completely different movies strangle the laughs out of each other in an inept 70s basketball comedy. Will Ferrell does slapstick in patterned sateen shirts with matching scarves that speak louder than the script. For no reason, he fights a bear, rollerskates over a line of cheerleaders and has a black mom. He’s doing “Anchorman” with a fro."
From William Wolfrum:
"If you haven't tasted Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi, but would like an idea of what it tastes like, do this - keep a straw in your pocket and wander around outside until you find a pigeon or squirrel that's been dead for, oh, say three months. Stick the straw into the dead animal and suck. Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi tastes like that, except worse. Plus, the taste lingers in your mouth for months. And gradually gets worse until it's like your mouth was invaded by the notoriously rare and deadly Asian Shit Ant."
Like I've said before- I WISH the Twins ($60 million payroll) were that cheap.
News Item: Blind Rabbi Picks Up Steam in Race
Yes, that's right: blind Rabbi Dennis Shulman is running for Congress in Bergen County, New Jersey, as a Democrat, and has a good chance of winning. He would be the first rabbi, blind or not, ever elected to Congress.
See, now there's one candidate who doesn't have to worry about his congregation's newsletter having given an award to Louis Farrakhan...
Not content to profile a mere WIP sports talk host, Philadelphia Weekly this week actually features a cover story about a WIP caller. It's Phil From Mt. Airy, a name that should be familiar to any 610 listener, and the piece (backed with quotes from several WIP hosts) implies that Phil is the station's smartest, most-effective caller.
From the piece, we learn that Phil believes the following about the current Philadelphia sports scene: The Phillies are too cheap, they didn't offer Ryan Howard enough money, the Eagles' owners aren't to be trusted, they need to get a big-time receiver, and Andy Reid should be fired as coach.
You know who else believes all those things? Every single other WIP caller every day, always. Proof positive that calling a radio station several times a day and reciting all the exact conventional wisdom is not only newsworthy, but deserving of a cover story.
"Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson both started out with such promise, and yet these days seem increasingly, often embarrassingly adrift when attempting to navigate grownup roles. The double whammy of Closer and Match Point didn’t just feel like two lost little girls badly pantomiming caricatures of adult sexuality, but the hyperbolic hosannas for both lackluster performances shone a harsh light on the creepy critical blind spot for former child actresses once they’re finally old enough to remove their clothes on-screen. (See also: Christina Ricci, the later years.)"Ricci's transformation was legitimately shocking in "The Ice Storm," when she was like 16, but since then we've all pretty much gotten used to her playing a wacky slut every time out.
Burns' review also features a Hall of Fame headline: "Boleyn For Concubine."
In AFF's Doublethink, James Poulos has a dynamite essay on "the Radiohead Decade." It's a fine counterpart to that piece from one of Chuck Klosterman's books arguing that the "Kid A" album predicted the 9/11 attacks a year in advance.
All this time I thought Vince Fumo was as close to a real-life Clay Davis as exists, but I guess Sharpe James is Clay and Clarence Royce rolled into one.
Here's an older post on the great "Wire" blog Heaven and Here, with some commentary on James.
Might this have the same effect as when Odell Watkins switched from Royce to Carcetti?
Obviously, this snub will have a profound effect on Cole Hamels' psyche, and will certainly cause him to leave as a free agent in 2013. Isn't that what the Howard arbitration hysteria taught us?
I review worst-movie-of-the-year candidate "Jumper" in the Trend this week. It's sad that something so horrible was directed by the same man, Doug Liman, who directed my favorite movie, "Swingers."
News Item: ESPN Fires Sean Salisbury
The day we have long envisioned and wished for has finally arrived. This screaming, sneering buffoon was for some reason made the focal point of ESPN's NFL highlight coverage, despite never having anything interesting to say, and despite having been a horrible, horrible quarterback. That, and the whole taking-a-cell-phone-picture-of-his-junk incident.
ESPN also announced that another ex-Viking, Cris Carter- one who didn't completely suck back when he played- will be joining the network's football coverage.
You've all heard me complain about those who think, erroneously, that the movie "Fargo" was actually set in Fargo, N.D. In his essay on the Coen Bros. in last week's New Yorker, David Denby doesn't make that mistake, but does make another:
In “Fargo,” the Coens’ topographical obsession yields a view of landscape as moral destiny. Despite the title, the movie is set largely in Brainerd, Minnesota, where the snow falls so heavily that the fields and the sky merge into a single blinding mass.NO, it is NOT. The only scenes in the movie set in Brainerd are the highway triple-murder, Marge's introduction, and the scene at the end with Marge and her husband. The rest of the movie, except for the introduction in Fargo, is set in suburban Minneapolis. Remember, Marge came from "up Brainerd, investigating some malfeasance"?
Other than that, though, good essay.
Brandeis grad Nelson Figueroa, a pitcher best known for being traded to the Phillies in the 2000 Curt Schilling deal, is in camp with the New York Mets as a non-roster player. Here, he gives greetings to his alma mater:
In this bit of brilliance, a cartoonist conclusively proves that "Garfield" would've been funnier had the titular cat left years ago.
From Jeffrey Barg's "Angry Grammarian" column in Philadelphia Weekly, much ado about a missing comma in Bill Cosby's book title:
I only wish I were referring to the 70-year-old’s recent announcement that he’s recording a rap album all about the problems plaguing black America. But no. Instead I’m talking about his recent book Come on People.Ever try to explain what "superman dat ho" means to a mixed group of dinner guests? Always awkward.
No commas there. Come on People.
Sure, Cosby’s rap album could do as much damage to the genre as Soulja Boy has. But is Dr. Cliff Huxtable, who’s spent years railing against profane rap lyrics, really advocating supermanning dat ho?
John McCain hosted a rally in Ohio today in which Cincinnati talk radio nutjob Bill Cunningham -yes, the guy who said on Fox News a few years ago that he wishes cops would beat up black men more often- introduced him. And said this:
Hussein is Obama's middle name, but talk show host Bill Cunningham used it three times as he addressed the crowd before the likely Republican nominee's appearance.McCain, to his credit, immediately apologized and distanced himself from Cunningham. How dare he disrespect talk radio!
"Now we have a hack, Chicago-style Daley politician who is picturing himself as change. When he gets done with you, all you're going to have in your pocket is change," Cunningham said as the audience roared.
The time will come, Cunningham added, when the media will "peel the bark off Barack Hussein Obama" and tell the truth about his relationship with indicted fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko and how Obama got "sweetheart deals" in Chicago.
I knew the "Obama-as-Chicago-machine-politician" meme would creep up eventually, after all the other smears failed. Real funny- like the legendarily racist old Chicago political machine would ever support a black man for dog catcher, let alone president.
My favorite movie scene of 2007: the last scene of "Juno." Spoiler alert, obviously:
I'm happy with 'No Country' as Best Picture, but this would've been better.
- It's one of those products that sounds more like an April Fool's joke than something real: There's a new mp3 player- that's also a taser. It's being marketed to women, in fashionable colors, so ladies, if the next time you go jogging you'd like to have access to both hot tunes and a 50,000-volt shock device, this product may be right for you. The price tag is $349.95; for about half that you can buy an iPod, which holds more music, but won't tase anyone, bro.
- With the format war over, Sony has introduced its first two new post-war Blu-ray Disc players, which sort of makes it sound like they were produced in 1950. It's one of about 50,000 new products announced by Sony in the last two days, leading to a priceless rant from Wired.com blogger Rob Beschizza, channeling every journalist who ever got too many press releases on the same day:
Sony Dumps Ton of New Stuff On Internet, Says "Here, Cover This."My boss is at that line show currently; he at least gets to experience these limitless announcements while in Vegas.
Do you like product name alphabettorrhea? Sony sure does, having put out so many new gadgets today that the International Alphanumeric Character Fund has had to announce an immediate moratorium on new product announcements.
Take the ICF-C1iPMK2. This is a clock radio. Why does a clock radio need a name like that?
It goes on and on. As of today, you may now hanker for an NWZ A276, A720 or A820 (and even an A820K!), an MDR NC40, AS40EX or AS100W, an SRS ZX-71, an MDR-EX700LP, an HTCT100, an HT-SS2300 or DWG700, an NHS-130C (which has nothing to do with free health care in England), a PFR-V1, an STR-DG920, and an BDP-S350 (or, for the lavish, an S550). Oh, and you can get a PX-LX300USB. How could I have missed it? Ah, and some pretty new Vaio Graphic Splashes. And cameras.
Done? No. The B600 and P620 are sufficiently different to warrant a entire sentence dedicated to describing the differences between these two completely discrete product releases.
I've spent an hour reading these press releases, and nothing, not one thing, seems worthy of individual attention: where's the innovation, the flair, the love? It's like a commercial cleaning supplies catalog, but with integrated circuits and buttons you can press.
Andrew Sullivan, on Hillary:
"We've learned something important these past couple of weeks. Clinton is a terrible manager of people. Coming into a campaign she had been planning for, what, two decades, she was so not ready on Day One, or even Day 300. Her White House, if we can glean anything from the campaign, would be a secretive nest of well-fed yes-people, an uncontrollable egomaniac spouse able and willing to bigfoot anyone if he wants to, a phalanx of flunkies who cannot tell the boss when things are wrong, and a drizzle of dreary hacks like Mark Penn. Her only genuine skill is pivoting off the Limbaugh machine (which is now as played out as its enemies). Her new weapon is apparently bursting into tears. I mean: really."I'm tremendously excited about the possibility that this will all be over next Tuesday.
That's my take on the current state of the presidential race; more lengthy thoughts can be found in this week's North Star column.
Here's more evidence of Hillary's pathetic desperation- they sent out pictures today letting everyone know that... Obama wore Somali garb! While in Somalia! This, to me, is even more ridiculous than the "second-class delegates" argument.
Thoughts on the 80th Oscars, even though I missed a half-hour chunk of the show while driving:
- For the first time in recent Oscar history, I have nothing to really complain about. "No Country For Old Men" is perfectly worthy, great to see the Coens get three more Oscars (to go with their original screenplay win for "Fargo"), and favorite after favorite of mine won: Diablo Cody, Bardem, Day-Lewis, and best of all, "Falling Slowly," the amazing song from the amazing movie "Once." I would've wanted to see Amy Ryan beat out Tilda Swinton, and if more people watched "The Wire," I'm sure she would have.
- Stewart was excellent, and a huge improvement over the last time he hosted. Maybe it should be the rule from now on that the host and his writers only get two weeks to write the show. The "Norbit" joke was especially hilarious. After last year's awful, awful Ellen DeGeneres performance, it's good to see Stewart more comfortable in the gig. I vote for him or Conan next year.
- That said, just a few too many video montages.
- Sad that "No End in Sight" lost in the Documentary category but hey, at least Michael Moore's grand Castro apologia didn't win either.
- Did Steve Carell accidentally say "shit" while presenting? I thought I heard him do it. Congrats on the upcoming $2 million FCC fine, ABC!
New York magazine eulogizes one of the greatest characters in television history, the late Omar Little.
Watched the first post-strike episode of "Saturday Night Live" over the weekend, and while it got off to a slow start, the show got better as it went along. The opening presidential debate bit was horrible- more than eight minutes, with a single joke, and nothing funny- and brilliant as Fred Armisen is, I wasn't buying his Obama.
Despite a pointless cameo by Steve Martin and a not-much-better one by Mike Huckabee, the show ended with brilliance. I refer specifically to an "Apprentice" parody which was really just a showcase for a whole bunch of celebrity impressions in a row. Best of all was a dead-on Rachael Ray done by debuting featured player Casey Wilson. Then, the show closed with this bit of awesomeness, Daniel Plainview on the Food Network:
News Item: Ralph Nader to run for president
It's really hard to believe what Ralph is thinking at this point. His reason for running in 2000- that the two major parties are exactly the same and that the Democrats need to be taught a lesson for tacking the center- has been dealt as serious a blow by the last seven years of history as any idea can possibly be dealt. If he gets even one percent of the general election vote I'll be shocked.
Also, the above link is incorrect- this is actually Ralph's fourth run for president, not the third. He ran in 1996- I remember that my drug-dealing freshman RA voted for him.
This hilarious Cracked list of the 7 Most Powerful Wizards (Too Lazy to Use Their Powers) seems to want to have it both ways when it comes to the Smurfs. It first says of Skelator:
Essentially a nude, muscular Smurf with a yellow skull for a head... If you're into nude men who like to ride around on giant cats then your entertainment options were pretty much limited to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.But then the writer unleashes the following attack on Smurfs villain Gargamel:
Gargamel is a hermit "wizard" who is the Smurfs' main antagonist. At various times he either wants to capture the Smurfs and use them as part of a potion that creates gold, or he wants to eat them. The Smurfs are a versatile resource for Gargamel... If successful wizarding were baseball, Gargamel would be the White Sox. His only goal in life is to capture the Smurfs and since all Smurfs are roughly the size of squirrels and subsist almost entirely on a diet of Smurfberries, one would conclude that a basic knowledge of mousetraps would do the trick.
Instead, Gargamel, with the entire arsenal of potions from the wizarding world at his disposal, launches infuriatingly complicated Rube Goldbergian magical schemes, and completely fails every single time.
Being outsmarted by a Smurf is like being outsmarted by one of your shoes.
Howard Eskin spends nine minutes berating a caller named "Arthur" for calling the morning show on rival station Sports Radio 950:
Until now, I had assumed that WIP's policy was to pretend 950 didn't exist. But anyway, who knew Eskin demanded monogamy from this callers?
Picture: No Country For Old Men
Director: Coen Brothers
Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis
Actress: Ellen Page
Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem
Supporting Actress: Tilda Swinton
Original Screenplay: Juno
Adapted Screenplay: No Country For Old Men
Animated Feature: Ratatouille
Art Direction: Sweeney Todd
Cinematography: There Will Be Blood
Costume Design: Atonement
Documentary Feature: No End in Sight
Editing: The Bourne Ultimatum
Makeup: La Vie en Rose
Original Score: Atonement
Original Song: "Falling Slowly” (Once)
Sound Editing: Transformers
Sound Mixing: Transformers
Visual Effects: Transformers.
I have no guesses for Foreign-Language Film, Documentary Short Subject, Animated Short, or Live Action Short, as neither saw nor have heard of any of the films in any of those categories.
The writer behind it, it turns out, was a former Gore speechwriter who got the idea right after Obama's 2004 convention address.
What will Page Six do now? Baird Jones, the "Webster Hall art curator" who appeared to be the source for about 60 percent of the New York Post's Page Six items between the years 2000 and 2006, was found dead yesterday in New York.
Yes, it's the Republican Party's solution to all problems, in this election year and at all other times.
It turns out, though, that the guy actually being dug up is the other Gipper.
This comes from a commenter at TNR's The Plank, but would it really surprise you if Mark Penn said the same thing?:
Yeah, but this just goes to show that Obama only wins in states that hold contested elections. Sure, he wins big in caucus states, he wins big in primary states, he wins big when turnout is low, and he wins big with record-high turnout. But what the Obama-worshipping media is overlooking is that in each of the 25 state contests Obama has won so far, his name appeared on the ballot. It's time to stop giving Obama a pass on this critical issue.Speaking of TNR, Jonathan Chait's cover story this week, on McCain's coldly calculating political nature over the years, had a Hall of Fame headline: "Maverick vs. Iceman." So he's his own wingman?
Remember, if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama's name will not be on the ballot in November. And only Hillary Clinton has demonstrated that she can win when Obama's name is not on the ballot. In fact, she's undefeated in contests where Obama is not on the ballot, making her clearly the more electable general-election candidate.
Can this now be over, please? The Phils weren't "cheap" for offering $7 million to a first-time-eligible player, Howard's "unresolved" contract status isn't going to be a "distraction," and Howard's not going to "hold a grudge against the team" because he didn't get paid enough. Howard's never said anything about being upset about his contract, or wanting to leave, or anything. And now that he's got a $10 million salary, when he made $900,000 last year, he's really got nothing to complain about.
Let me say this one more time: Ryan Howard is FOUR YEARS AWAY FROM FREE AGENCY. When Howard is a free agent, Obama or Hillary or McCain will be running for re-election. My wife's cousin who's due to have a baby this week will have a four-year-old. The Phils will almost certainly have a different manager and GM, and maybe even a different owner. So if you're a Phils fan and you're worried about Howard leaving, don't be. Have your mind on more short-term concerns.
I don't know enough about it to comment fully, but I do see the Republicans, in having to choose between of two of their biggest of enemies, have taken the side of McCain over that of the New York Times. And yes, as always, "liberal media bias" is a bigger story than whatever story the media outlet actually uncovered.
And yes, "the timing is suspicious." But isn't the timing of everything always suspicious?
Think the Yankees are regretting the A-Rod deal yet? They likely will be after yesterday, when the superstar third baseball offered up his unborn child for marriage to Andy Pettitte:
"Andy is one of the greatest human beings I've ever met," Rodriguez said. "I have two daughters -- well, I have one and one on the way. If I had a daughter, I would want 'em to marry Andy Pettitte. The age difference might be a little awkward, but in today's day and age anything is possible."Doesn't that sound like something Roberto Benigni would say?
We knew Reihan Salam was one of the greatest of bloggers, but he's also a hell of a singer/dancer/Elvis (Costello) impersonator:
News Item: Jesse L. Martin to leave "Law & Order."
Anthony Anderson, so good as the drug dealer on "The Shield," will step in. I'm loving this current season, but Green will be missed. Then again, if any show can survive a cast shakeup, it's L&O. I just wish they'd plug one of the "Wire" cops in, Munch-style- who wouldn't want to see a few more years of McNulty, Bunk or Freamon?
News Item: More Americans giving up golf
I don't know, my wife's uncle and I tried to play last weekend, in 30-degree weather, and we couldn't get on the course because too many people were there.
The Packers-loving people of Wisconsin voted, overwhelmingly, in every geographic and demographic corner of the state, for an admitted Bears fan. Then again, so did the people of Minnesota. Lions fans, in politics as in football and life, don't count.
Another reason: SNL has finally seen it fit to hire an Obama impersonator. And one more: he's won ten states in a row.
Keith Law, rejecting a column by Phil Sheridan of the Inquirer which argued that the Phils should purposely throw the Howard arbitration case:
I have news for Mr. Sheridan: What fans think doesn't matter. A GM who gives a shit what his fans think about a player's salary is going to be out of work in fairly short order. What matters is winning. If the team wins, the fans don't care how it came about. And paying a player more than you are required to pay him pushes you further from winning, not closer. So if you want to make the fans happy, beat Ryan Howard in arbitration and take the $3 million saved and try to put it towards the pitching problem.Sheridan's my favorite newspaper columnist in Philly by a wide margin, but even he doesn't get it right all the time. Law, meanwhile, gets extra points for the "Bad Idea Jeans" reference in the headline.
My review of the quite good "Definitely, Maybe" is online at the Trend Web site.
The Politico's Jamal Simmons- which was not Bill Simmons' Islamic nickname for himself as a teenager, but appears to be an actual guy- wrote a column today about how Obama's campaign is very similar to Matt Santos' on "The West Wing." Which is an argument I liked a lot more myself, back when I made it in a column published Sunday. TVTattle.com, I was glad to see, linked to my version today.
Yes, the continuing war of words between the Mets and Phillies has merged with that of Obama and Clinton. According to Shysterball, Mets owner Fred Wilpon said in a recent interview that "we expect to be in the playoffs, and deep into the playoffs," in reaction to Jimmy Rollins predicting a 100-win Phils season, in reaction to Carlos Beltran calling the Mets the "team to beat," in reaction to Rollins saying the same thing last year and Philly actually being that team.
When asked to comment on his boss' quote, Pedro Martinez said the following:
"To me, as a player, it's just words,""Just Words"! Sounds familiar, huh?
Yes, it's the Sons of Ben, a "preemptive fan club" for Philadelphia's not-yet-in-existence MLS soccer club, profiled in the Guardian by Philadelphia Weekly's Steven Wells.
The SOBs have quite a reputation already for hooliganism, even though they as of yet have no team to root for or games to go to. But still, it's shocking to see how much Philly fans love their team when it has no players, coaches, or owners yet.
I'm not a huge soccer fan at all, though "How Soccer Explains the World" is one of the best books I've read in the past few years, and I've been meaning at some point to dive into the English Premiership (Tottenham Hotspurs is my team, I dig that "Yid Army" thing.) I'm sure I'll go to a few games if Philly gets the team, although I do think Chester, the poverty-ridden inner-ring suburb where they're building the stadium, has much, much better uses for a couple hundred million dollars than a soccer stadium.
Ladies and gentlemen... AngryJournalist.com! My favorite part is where the different angry journalists get angry with each other.
By the way, I'd be even more angry if I worked for the Courier-Post.
The Keith Van Horn trade makes me wonder...could an NBA player who is dead be included in a trade, for salary cap purposes? We already know that under NBA rules, from the Reggie Lewis and Bobby Phills precedents, that someone who has passed on still counts against the cap, so why shouldn't they be treated as an "expiring contract" in order to make a trade possible that would not be otherwise? Isn't it only a matter of time that someone tries this, and has to live with the resulting thundering backlash?
I'm serious, if Eddie Griffin's contract hadn't run out six months before his death, I'm not convinced Kevin McHale wouldn't have tried to include him in a postmortem trade.
Wait for it... wait for it.... BAM!
That's what happens when you take your eye off the ball while the clerk is checking your Hawaiian ID. It also reminds me of, uh, something that happens on next Sunday's episode of "The Wire." But that's all I'll say.
In a day we’ve only been awaiting for about six decades, Fidel Castro yesterday stepped down as president of Cuba. It’s a wonder how long a man can survive in office when he isn’t term-limited, doesn’t have to stand for re-election, and gets to imprison and/or kill political opponents.
Hey, did you hear that American liberals really love Castro? Very, very few of us actually do, but I’m sure you heard we all did.
- The format war is over- who didn’t see that one coming? Now that HD DVD has given up its useless fight, can Hillary be far behind?
- If you have one of those old, gigantic, first-season-of-“X-Files”-style cell phones, as of yesterday it no longer works, thanks to the recent analog shutoff. So sorry Mulder, you’re outta luck.
- They’re opening an Apple store at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas, matching the one already at the Pier at Caesar’s in AC. So if you’re looking for somewhere to blow all your winnings before you make it to the strip club, there will now be iPods standing in your way. The Apple Store is also rumored to be on its way to- the wonder of it all- Foxwoods.
- And here’s my boss, E-Gear editor Grant Clauser, being interviewed on Philadelphia’s 6ABC on the one-year-away digital TV transition.
Gotta give the honor to Lisa Schiffren of NRO’s The Corner for this wonderful post, in which she uses personal anecdotal memories to suggest that, because Obama is roughly her age and the product of interracial marriage, that his parents must have been communists. No, she offers none of that pesky stuff we might call “evidence,” but she does suggest that “some investigative journalism” be done to look into the matter.
Obama wins Wisconsin by 13 points, his ninth consecutive primary/caucus victory.
Not his greatest-ever speech tonight- he seemed tired, and appeared to forget the next line a couple of times- and you have to wonder if he was less-soaring on purpose.
But regardless- if it weren’t for this superdelegate nonsense, we’d be talking about Hillary dropping out tomorrow, wouldn’t we?
Pretty much the entire Phillies team, front office, coaching staff, and even broadcast partner Comcast SportsNet conspired over the weekend on an elaborate prank to convince pitcher Kyle Kendrick he'd been traded to Japan:
The debate on Philly sports talk today: Was this an innocent, time-honored baseball prank, or a cruel, sadistic joke that will crush the psyche of a young, impressionable pitcher? And aren't there ethical questions about a news organization (CSN) taking part in such a thing?
Nah, I wouldn't worry so much. And shouldn't Kendrick be smart enough to realize that in baseball, you can't be "traded to Japan"?
To me, the biggest surprise was that Brett Myers was able to get through the whole four minutes without assaulting any women or reporters.
Which of the following were actual anti-Obama arguments made by Hillary supporters today, and which one did I make up? (Check the links for the answer.)
1. Because Barack Obama used language in a speech similar to that of a friend and fellow elected official who supports his candidacy, approves of the practice, and has the same speechwriter, he's guilty of plagiarism!
2. Since those who voted for Obama in red states are "second-class delegates," Hillary is the rightful frontrunner.
3. The "real" delegate count- which counts exit polls instead of actual results, excludes caucuses and states with open primaries, includes Michigan and Florida, and excludes everything since Super Tuesday- proves conclusively that Hillary is the real winner!
4. Barack Obama is from Chicago, talks about hope, and is black- just like Jesse Jackson!
5. Because Obama used the word "periodically" in referring to Clinton's criticisms of him, he was obviously making a vile, sexist reference to her menstrual cycle!
Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, Obama has won more votes, more delegates, and more states, and is leading in the polls, both nationally and in the next few primary states.
I just want to put my name out there, in case Keith Van Horn isn't interested, to be the guy who gets a free $4 million just to be included in a trade between Dallas and New Jersey, even though I (like Keith) haven't played for either team this year, nor will I later this year, or ever again. It really would be no trouble at all.
And all because Devean George used his expert Augsburg College education to veto the original deal. The NBA collective bargaining agreement- it's FANNNN-tastic!
I trace Obama's "West Wing" roots in this week's North Star column.
Much as I loved last night's "Wire"- especially the "Ghetto Goodnight Moon" scene at the end- episode 8, which debuted on demand last night, was the best of the season by far, and one of the best in the history of the series. Just two more to go this year- but what's this I hear about a "Wire" movie? Hmmm, intriguing.
Slate analyzes "it is what it is." Apparently, not even William Safire knows where it originated.
News Item: Obama Accused of Plagiarizing Speech
I'm not seeing what the big deal is here. He didn't "plagiarize" anything word-for-word, and the man who gave the similar speech, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, is a supporter and friend of Obama who himself does not object to it- and has the same friggin' speechwriter. And besides, Obama has admitted on the stump before that he and Patrick borrow lines from each other. It is, after all, just words.
Looking for a good reason to never, ever sign up for Verizon FiOS? Here's one.
Not awesome at all. And he stole Barney Stinson's catchphrase.
"I like to think of Reagan as the deceased spouse that prevents the Republicans from marrying again."-Dennis Miller, on this radio show the other night. Miller may have jumped the shark completely as a comedian, and as a political and sports commentator, and his radio show, the majority of the time, sucks. His sports show just got canceled, and he's got a game show about to debut that I'm sure will meet the same fate. But I've gotta admit- that might be the best analogy related to the GOP in '08 that I've heard all year.
Jim Salisbury in the Inquirer yesterday had a piece that every disgruntled Phllly fan should read:
Ryan Howard's contract situation is the biggest story of the spring in Phillies camp.But hey, nothing wrong with getting really, really angry about all this for no reason.
It's also the biggest nonstory.
Think about it. Is Howard going to walk out of camp if he doesn't get what he wants? No. Is he going to sit out the season? No. Is he going to stomp off to free agency in November? No.
Oh, what's that you say, he could bolt in November 2011? OK. That's four seasons away. The Phillies have won one World Series in 125 years and zero playoff games in the last 14. So pardon us if we don't break out in hives worrying about something that might - repeat, might - happen after the 2011 season.
This is a sexy story because it involves the Phillies, a popular player and money, and any time the words Phillies and money come together, folks surely will voice their opinions.
Having had a few days to digest this, a few observations on Wednesday's hearing:
- Sure, McNamee is a sleaze, and sure, he's got credibility problems. But based on all the information that is presently available, I find it nearly impossible to believe that Clemens did not use steroids or HGH. We're really supposed to believe that his best friend- and HIS WIFE- used HGH but Clemens, the one who we have the most reason to suspect, did not? Of course he did. And now he can only hope that McNamee's credibility is efficiently shot that Clemens can walk away indictment-free.
- Still- if Clemens is in fact lying, how many times did he perjure himself in one day? It might be an all-time record.
- When was the last time you went to a barbeque/pool party, and worried that it might come up in Congressional hearings ten years later? I guess that's the sort of thing that happens when you have Jose Canseco in your life. Then again, a decade-ago pool party is always a more pleasant thing to reminisce about than a decade-ago bleeding ass wound.
- The mysterious Clemens nanny hasn't surfaced, but what's the over/under on which month she appears in Playboy? I say July. I'm surprised the New York Post doesn't have pictures yet.
- I had no idea that lunatic Dan Burton was even still in Congress. I had assumed he'd retired to a life of non-stop golf junkets around the time the Clinton impeachment failed. It could be worse, I suppose- he could still be chairman of this committee.
- It's amusing when a Congressional hearing takes place related to baseball, or some other topic that massive amounts of people care about, and people watching are shocked -shocked, I tell you!- about what self-righteous, grand-standing idiots so many members of Congress are. News flash- it's like this every day!
- Still though, I'm not totally sold on the "Congress has better things to do" argument. It's not like they would've spent Wednesday ending the Iraq war or solving the subprime crisis had it not been for the baseball hearing. And besides, Congress holds hundreds of hearings each year- this was just three hours. But still...
- Why in the world is steroids within the purview of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee? The topic seems to be about neither oversight nor the government nor reform.
- Speaking of members of Congress sticking their nose in sports, there's also Arlen Specter threatening a Spanish Inquisition of the Patriots' dynasty- and then there's Patrick Murphy. The first-term Congressman from Pennsylvania this week was the lone dissenting vote on a resolution to congratulate the Giants on winning the Super Bowl. Murphy said he couldn't in good conscience, as an Eagles fan, vote for the Giants. That's the sort of thing that makes him sound like a hero to Philly and like a pathetic sore loser to the rest of the country.
- Funny to see such a pronounced Democrat/Republican split on which side the members of Congress took in the hearing. A few hypotheses:
a) Clemens is himself a staunch Republican, and has schmoozed with GOP politicians for years, including in the days leading up to the hearing. So they naturally took his side.
b) Waxman (the chairman) took the anti-Clemens position right off the bat, so the other Dems followed his lead and the Republicans took the opposite tack just out of spite.
c) McNamee was clearly the "underdog" in the situation, so the Dems naturally flocked to his side. Had there been a hearing into the subprime mess, and two of the witnesses had been someone who had their house foreclosed on one side and the CEO of Countrywide on the other, I'd guess Chris Shays would have browbeaten the former witness, while Elijah Cummings grilled the latter.
Still though, I thought it amusing that McNamee's lawyers suggested that President Bush may someday pardon Clemens, if he ever gets indicted. How in the world could Dubya justify pardoning Clemens and not Bonds, when the two of them stand accused of committing the exact same crime for the exact same reason?
I end with a movie quote that fits the occasion, as pointed out by a poster on Baseball Think Factory:
"I'm happy that you've made the statement. But I cannot agree with most of my colleagues. See, I don't think an adult of your intellegence should be commended for simply, at long last, telling the truth."That's Congressman Steven Derounian, to Charles Van Doren after he finally confesses to a congressional committee, at the end of "Quiz Show." Here it applies to Andy Pettitte- sure, he agreed to finally tell the truth, even if it means curtains for best friend in the world. But is he a hero? Not quite.
Derounian, incidentally, was a Republican.
Just in case you were wondering, police incompetence in Baltimore doesn't just happen on "The Wire." From a Baltimore Sun story that was not written by Scott Templeton:
A Baltimore police officer was suspended yesterday after a YouTube video surfaced on the Internet showing him berating and manhandling a teenage skateboarder at the Inner Harbor.
On the video, the officer, Salvatore Rivieri, puts the boy in a headlock, pushes him to the ground, questions his upbringing, threatens to "smack" him and repeatedly accuses the youngster of showing disrespect because the youth refers to the officer as "man" and "dude."
Here's the YouTube:
If they can't handle a stupid teenage skateboarder, the Baltimore cops are certainly no match for Marlo Stanfield.
Christopher Orr of TNR, reviewing a movie, "Fool's Good," that he hasn't actually seen:
"I haven't seen the recently released Matthew McConaughey-Kate Hudson vehicle Fool's Gold, and will avoid it as long as I can. But given that it was the number-one grossing movie in the country last weekend despite the critical consensus that it is "stupid, slack, and sexless," "life-sucking," and "like Raiders of the Lost Ark, only for retards," it occurs to me that it is among the most perfectly titled films in cinematic history."Yes, yes it is.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter- fresh off last night's "World News Tonight" puff piece- is scheduled to appear tomorrow morning on WYSP's Kidd Chris Show. It's sure to be entertaining, but I wonder if Nutter knows about some of the, shall we say, controversial stuff they've done over the years. They won't be taking any listener calls, we can be sure of that.
Between Chris Rock yesterday, Goldberg (!) today, and Nutter tomorrow, it's probably the best guest week in KiddShow history. Also, they have a new Web site.
The House Republicans, classy as always:
During what was supposed to be a somber memorial service in Statuary Hall for Rep. Tom Lantos, who died Monday, the House chamber became mired in chaos over procedural votes.Lantos was a genuine hero, one of the few in politics- the only Holocaust survivor to ever serve in Congress, who escaped- twice- from concentration camps in Hungary and, upon reaching the United States, serving nearly 30 years in the House. Way to put petty political stuff ahead of stuff like that.
Democrats angrily denounced the GOP as insensitive for calling a "motion to adjourn" — essentially a dilatory tactic — while dignitaries were still giving tributes to Lantos, a Holocaust survivor who was chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a loyal Clinton supporter, committed one of those "gaffes" the other day, when he told a Pittsburgh newspaper that some conservative whites in Pennsylvania "are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate." He also noted that had his 2006 election opponent, Lynn Swann, been white, the election would have been closer.
In doing so, Rendell has pissed off the following groups:
- White Keystone State non-racists, thinking Rendell has insulted them by implication.
- Fellow Hillary supporters, feeling guilty that they could win the Pennsylvania primary on the backs of racist anti-Barack voters.
- Obama supporters, thinking Rendell is using coded racial language by encouraging whites to vote with their own race.
- Republicans, who think the worst thing on the planet is "making a race issue out of everything, and what about Sharpton? DUKE LACROSSE! DUKE LACROSSE!"
- Actual Pennsylvania racists, upset about being associated with both Hillary and Rendell.
None of this changes the fact that Rendell is pretty much undisputably right, in that there are certain people in Pennsylvania who aren't too keen on candidates of color. And it's not just in rural areas- what about Philadelphia? Ten percent of the city isn't even okay with a black quarterback, let alone a black president.
I may think of Obama as a real-life Matt Santos and David Palmer rolled into one, but this guy has, uh, other ideas. I'm just wondering what Smoove B thinks of all this.
I review the unsurprisingly awful "Fool's Good" at the Trend site, and at the slightly better, direct-to-DVD comedy "Blue State" at North Star.
Last night I saw "Definitely, Maybe," which was quite good, even though it borrowed its title from an Oasis album and its premise from the considerably more brilliant "How I Met Your Mother." I like Ryan Reynolds as a leading man, setting his romantic foibles against those of Bill Clinton throughout the '90s was inspired, and you really can't go wrong when the three female leads are Elizabeth Banks (good), Isla Fisher (better) and Rachel Weisz (best).
The strangest thing, though: the male lead's character was named "Will Hayes"- also the name of the notorious leader of the censorious Hollywood Production Code office in the 1930s, which is the subject of a well-received recent book by my college film professor, Thomas Doherty. No idea what the two Will Hayes have in common, but I can tell that, due to a bizarrely out-of-place lesbianism subplot, the movie would NOT have been Code-approved.
Not only is Barack a stealth Muslim and Christian black separatist who supports Che Guevara and hates the American flag, but now he's been endorsed by the Klan!
No, he hasn't really. But you knew that, didn't you?
Still, wouldn't the KKK backing Obama be just as bad a betrayal of their core principles as, say, Pat Robertson endorsing Giuliani?
I've been vocal before about my disdain for the phrase "it is what it is," mostly because it means absolutely nothing, and it's rarely an improvement over not saying anything at all. Still, though, I was amused to see it figure prominently in today's the Clemens/McNamee hearings (from Jayson Stark's running blog):
Rep. Tom Davis grilled McNamee about the infamous taped phone conversation, in which Clemens asked him to "tell the truth."I'll comment more on the full hearings once I watch more highlights; my understanding thus far has come entirely from the Stark blog. I am glad, though, that a nanny has been introduced into the proceedings. And that there was a gratuitous "lynching" reference, mitigated only in that it was a retort to Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass), and that it was clearly not racial since everyone testifying was white.
"Why didn't you just tell Mr. Clemens ... `Roger, I did tell the truth?' " Davis asked.
McNamee: "Because ... I realized I was being taped. ... But if you listen to it and know my jargon, I did say that. I said, `It is what it is' ... meaning, `I did tell the truth.' "
And that we know now that Debbie Clemens DID use HGH, which should forever disqualify her from the swimsuit issue. And that Andy Pettitte's snitch jacket has the potential to tear the '08 Yankees locker room apart. So I'd say it was a good day.
UPDATE: Did you know there's a band called It Is What It Is? They call themselves "IIWII." Personally, I preferred Was (Not Was.)
And here's a long article, about how Obama is the Wii and Hillary is the PS3. The headline? You guessed it- "Yes Wii Can."
First the last season was horrible, then they couldn't come up with a plot for next year, then the show was delayed a year due to the strike, and Surnow- the self-described "right-wing nutjob"- is departing.
Nothing but things to be happy about in the news tonight:
1. Obama sweeps the Potomac Primary, giving himself what looks to be an undisputed delegate lead.
2. The writers' strike is officially settled, with the Oscars set to go on and Stewart and Colbert getting their staffs back Wednesday, and,
3. Roger Clemens's best friend 'til the end, Andy Pettitte, appears to have snitched on him, indicating that the Rocket tomorrow will either recant before Congress, or perjure himself and wind up sharing a cell with Bonds.
If I hadn't gotten my car stuck in the ice while going uphill a block and a half from my house, it would've been a perfect evening.
The NYT's David Carr, analyzing the endgame of the writers' strike:
Will the studios stick to their new vows of restraint? Perhaps there’s an instructive comparison with another business run by big egos in search of talent, Major League Baseball.I'd still rather see a movie directed by Ted Lilly than one by Michael Bay.
Every few years, the baseball owners announce that there’s a new austerity in the air and that they won’t overspend on players. But just before spring training starts, they get nervous and suddenly a pitcher like Ted Lilly — the baseball equivalent of an assistant gag writer on “Two and a Half Men” — gets something like $10 million.
What an inane column from Sam Donnellon the other day, right down to the stupid headline "Maybe Howard Should Play For the Flyers."
The premise of the piece which, to be fair, fits in pretty closely with Philly fan conventional wisdom: The Phillies are being cheap by only offering Ryan Howard $7 million in arbitration, and by not signing him to a long-term deal. Contrast that with the Flyers, who are clearly not cheap, since they're thinking about bringing back Peter Forsberg.
Nevermind that Howard is a young star in his prime, while Forsberg is on his last legs. Or that the Phillies won their division last year while the Flyers finished last. Or that hockey has a salary cap and baseball doesn't...
The biggest flaw in Donnellon's argument is that... the Flyers haven't actually signed Forsberg. In fact, they might not at all. Meanwhile, the Phillies have Howard in the fold for next year. And for the three years after that, too. So the argument boils down to... by not being cheap, the Flyers MAY, possibly, get a onetime superstar for part of a season. By BEING cheap the Phillies WILL, for sure, get a current superstar, for this season and three more seasons after this one. If those are the definitions, being cheap has merits.
The Philly public's complete ignorance in regards to this Howard situation continues to confound me like little else; more thoughts on this here. Want to see how a cheap team works? Look at my Twins, who have about half the Phils' payroll going into '08. If Carl Pohlad owned the Phils, they would be looking at their nucleus- Howard, Utley, Rollins, Hamels- and deciding which two they can keep and which two they need to trade. Instead, all four are signed for years to come. That's not being cheap; that's being smart.
It's death by a thousand cuts in the format war, as both Best Buy and Netflix go for Blu-ray. At this point, it's a question of who gives up first- HD DVD, or Hillary Clinton?
Stephen Colbert gives Toothy McBigHair a sad sendoff:
The Guy Smiley footage clinches it for me. You know, Stewart and Colbert weren't as funny as usual without their writers, but the shows weren't a total waste during the strike, mostly because some of this real-life footage really writes itself.
So apparently, some volunteers for Obama in Texas- not actual staffers, mind you, but volunteers setting up the office for the actual staffers arriving weeks from now- put up a Cuban flag, decorated with a picture of Che Guevara in a campaign office. So obviously, because every candidate must answer for everything every one of his supporters does, ever, this both means that 1) Barack Obama IS Che Guevera, and 2) Every Democrat in the world must immediately denounce this, today, right now, this second, or else they're all godless communists by implication.
I already can't wait for the three "Hannity and Colmes" segments on the subject tonight. And I just know this will get more attention in the next 30 days than, say, health care policy.
News Item: Twins sign pitcher Livan Hernandez
The Twins signed a veteran? Is that allowed?
I guess the Twins had that $20 million budget surplus burning a hole in their pocket, and decided their rotation needed "veteran leadership." Better him than, say, Ramon Ortiz or Eric Milton again, although I think the biggest question at this point is which contender Livan will be traded to in July.
Nothing that exciting ever happened in my high school. The best anyone ever did was break into the PA system and play the clip of Bob Dylan singing "everybody must get stoned."
If you read any sports blogs at all, you probably know by now that someone (it's not known who) has been leaking old behind-the-scenes footage of Chris Berman, usually either cursing, yelling at underlings, or (in one case) hitting on young women. Here's the latest one, in which he practices what to say to Al Michaels:
Am I the only who's really enjoying this year's resurgence of "Law & Order"? Not only is the new cast top notch, especially Jeremy Sisto as the cop and Linus Roache as the DA. The show had been treading water the last two or three years, but after flirting with cancellation and delaying its premiere until January, the show has been reborn, in its 18th season.
Also, the writing has been top-notch, and actually daring- especially in last week's totally bonkers, yet strangely affecting episode, called "Quit Calm." Not a "ripped from the headlines" episode at all, the show featured January Jones, from "Mad Men," as a murder defendent, and tied in plots involving the Mafia, the subprime mortgage crisis, the Patriot Act, and 8 murders, allegedly committed by a beautiful blond woman, that somehow did NOT become the most sensational case ever. The episode had so much on its mind that it threw in a terrorism subplot, and then abandoned it right away without much explanation. I can tell the writers had a whole lot of fun with this one, as they prepared to go out on strike.
Even better- the third episode in a row with "Wire" cast member guest-starring! This time it was Jim True-Frost (Prez) as a shady loan originator; the last two featured John Doman (Rawls) as a Larry Craig-like politico, and the week before had Tristan Wilds (Michael) as a murder witness. If Isiah Whitlock (Clay Davis) appears on the show, in what would be as sixth appearance, I'll officially be a happy man.
I look at how, nine months out, we're almost assured of a fairly good president, in this week's North Star column.
Looks like the writers' strike is over. Looks like the writers got a decent deal, though certainly not everything they wanted. As for viewers- I'm certainly glad all the shows will be coming back. But you know what? I sort of liked not having a million things piling up on the DVR for the last few months. I was finally starting to catch up on reading...
Not only did he sweep four states (and the Virgin Islands- did Tim Duncan vote for him?) over the weekend, but Dick Morris, a man whose entire future career success is dependent upon a Hillary Clinton presidency, now says he expects Obama to earn the nomination. I can't wait for Dick's stories about how Hillary is scheming to be named Obama's vice president, or a series on the latest "war within the Democratic Party."
And yes, he also won a Grammy, for Best Spoken Word Recording, beating out two ex-presidents (Carter and Bill Clinton.)
Mac Thomason, the Braves fan behind the brilliant "Road From Bristol" tournament of a few years ago, here produces a "short film" about oft-injured Braves pitcher Mike Hampton checking his e-mail:
Keep that in mind, Mets fans- every pitcher ever given a contract of more than $100 million has been a disaster. So aren't you glad you didn't keep Hampton after 2000?
Yes, Nancy Grace was on "The Wire" last night. She probably had no idea how bad she looked, giving her usual sensational coverage to a murder case that, in this case, doesn't actually exist.
How did Herbie Hancock win Album of the Year? I hadn't even been aware that he released an album this year. Are people younger than 60 not allowed to vote in that category?
UPDATE: Commenter Freddy says he thought Hancock was dead. He's not, but of all the people on the "Ken Burns' Jazz" box set, I'm guessing the only ones still living are Hancock and Dave Brubeck.
With the news this week that the CW Network will be dropping WWE Smackdown, I was surprised the other night to be watching MSNBC and here an advertisement for an upcoming broadcast called "Lockup: Raw - Hell in a Cell."
Is wrestling coming to the news network? Not exactly. As part of MSNBC's bizarre programming decision to have about half of its shows be true-crime reality series and re-runs of "To Catch a Predator," they're now airing a prison-set reality show called "Lock-up," and the upcoming episode is called "Lockup: Raw- Hell in a Cell."
Apparently no one told them that both "Raw" (the Monday night show) and "Hell in a Cell" (a particular brand of steel cage match) are both well-known wrestling terms. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to the debut of "To Catch a Predator: Suplex Edition."
News Item: Clemens' wife used HGH too, McNamee says
A dumber election year scandal is hard to imagine. The word "pimp" clearly doesn't mean what it used to mean, especially not since "Pimp My Ride" has been on the air and "Pimp my..." puns have become ubiquitous. Schuster clearly was not implying that the Clintons were lending their own daughter out to perform sexual favors, and anyone with a fraction of a brain clearly knows that.
He never should've been suspended, and anyone who changes their vote based on this needs to have their head examined.
It may be hard to believe, but Gary Coleman turns 40 years old today.
Ever since Romney dropped out earlier today I'd been wondering what the Web's number one Mitt-hater, Bruce Reed, would have to say about it. And here he is:
"When Democrats looked at Romney, we also saw the perfect candidate—for us to run against. The best presidential candidates have the ability to change people's minds. Mitt Romney never got that far because he never failed to change his own mind first. So when Romney gamely suspended his campaign this afternoon, there was heartfelt sadness on both sides of the aisle. Democrats are sorry to lose an adversary whose ideological marathon vividly illustrated the vast distance a man must travel to reach the right wing of the Republican Party...
It's hard to imagine a more perfect outcome. For now, sadness reigns. As the Five Brothers might say, somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout; but there is no joy in Mittville—Guy Smiley has dropped out.
Former Twin Cities sportswriter Jim Caple pens a sad tale about all the major athletes leaving Minnesota lately. My favorite part:
"Granted, the losses have piled up fairly heavily in the past year or so. In addition to Santana, Hunter, Garnett and Moss, Betty Crocker lost her job in a hostile takeover by Rachel Ray, while the Pillsbury Doughboy was arrested for soliciting another passenger in the men's room at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport... So Minnesotans will go on with their normal 15-hour days, inventing new types of post-it notes at 3M, developing cancer treatments at the Mayo Clinic, shoveling driveways and ordering seeds for the next planting season. And come April, they will cheer on the players they got from the Mets (whoever they are) and wait until they develop into stars in their own right who will help the Twins to another championship. And then they will wave good-bye to those players, because if they really are any good, they eventually will leave Minnesota in a trade or free agency."At least Adrian Peterson will be around for awhile...
Stewart Without Writers mocks the networks:
The clear analogy between the presidential election on the final season of "The West Wing" and the current real-life White House race came to me like a ton of bricks the other day, and I suspected I wasn't the first to notice. Nope, Christopher Hope of the Telegraph got there first.
Dennis Haysbert has already endorsed Barack; if he can only get Jimmy Smits' support, he should have the Fictional President Vote locked up.
If you take it further, I guess Obama's running mate has to be a past Democratic president's chief of staff. John Podesta? Leon Panetta? Erskine Bowles? Whoever he is, I hope he doesn't die on election night.
I write about a mysterious company called QTrax, which claimed to have deals in place with every record label to provide free downloads of millions of songs- until it turned out that no such deals existed at all. See especially the comments, in which a guy claiming to be a QTrax employee rebuts none of the charges, but does argue that the service "is in fact a possible revolution."
News Item: Mitt Romney drops out of presidential race
The tears of the clown (Hugh Hewitt) will be forthcoming. But meanwhile, Romney F-you'd his way out the door with a Cheney-esque "vote for the Democrats and we're all gonna die" speech. My heart just bleeds that he wasn't the nominee.
And so today, on Feb. 7 of the election year -assuming no last-minute Huckabee boomlet- we are assured of having an at-least-pretty-good president. I'm all about Obama, of course, but I wouldn't be ashamed to have Hillary or McCain as my president. I'd have been very, very ashamed of Romney.
An "Arrested Development" movie is reportedly edging even closer to reality, which is great news. Not only is it one of the greatest sitcoms ever, but several cast members (Bateman, Arnett, and of course Michael Cera) have moved on to bigger stardom since it went off the air. And besides, if they could make a movie version of "Strangers With Candy," which was both never very popular and NOT FUNNY AT ALL, AD can't be far behind.
Speaking of which, a curiously named company called Loblaw, which I guess is Canada's largest grocery store chain, reported their earnings today. It's outside my company's purview, but I really wanted to write an article, just to work in a headline along the lines of "Bob Loblaw Lobs Law Bomb."
UPDATE: It's about something else entirely, but ALOTT5MA also made a Bob Loblaw's Law Blog joke today.
News Item: Marion Barry to endorse Obama
I won't be surprised for a second if the contest goes all the way to Pennsylvania in April.
I review the bizarre and generally mediocre chick flick "Over Her Dead Body" in the Trend.
The authors of the awesome FireJoeMorgan.com have decided to reveal their names for the first time. Turns out the lead writer is a writer for "Saturday Night Live" and "The Office"
News Item: McCain to "Resurrect" Reagan at CPAC
Supposedly it's a video that McCain will interact with, Nat/Natalie Cole style. How this could possibly work, I can't even begin to comprehend.
The Phillies are supposedly interested in Kris Benson as a fifth starter, and are going to see him throw again this week. I'm all for it- he's a decent pitcher when healthy, and besides, his wife Anna can fill the Crazy Philly Brunette role recently vacated by Alycia Lane.
A great night for Obama, for sure, although I'm expecting this race to go on for quite a long time. Thrilled that Barack won Minnesota, especially by such a wide margin, as well as Connecticut, to prevent a Northeast sweep by Hillary. Also good to see him win lots of middle America- if Barack is the nominee, I just know he'll peel off a handful of red states. Another excellent speech as well; I love ""We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For" as a slogan almost as much as "Yes We Can."
On the GOP side, I'm thrilled to see Romney's campaign implode, to the point where he actually bragged that he'd won all three of his home states (Hillary, losing Illinois, only pulled two out of three.) It's just so wonderful that, while it looks like McCain win ultimately win the nomination, none of three remaining GOPers are remotely capable of bringing out the base the way the Republicans need to win a general election this year.
Chuck Todd, on MSNBC right now, is using a dry-erase board to add up the delegates and has it pretty much 50/50 for the night between the two Democrats. All fine and good, but where's Tim Russert's dry-erase board?
Meanwhile, I heard Barack Obama's rally last weekend drew more people to the Target Center than any Wolves game this year.
I like the song itself, but having it sung along with the speech doesn't quite work. The speech ruins the song, and the song ruins the speech- it might have been better to just put it out as a song and let everyone know that the lyrics are based on the speech. Also, there's something sort of odd about the "We Are the World" gimmick being adapted to a single political candidacy. At any rate, judge for yourself:
A few things about last night's "Wire" episode:
- That Baltimore Sun editorial board meeting with Templeton and McNulty trumping each other's lies was one of the greatest scenes in the history of the series. I had to watch it multiple times to figure out at which point each of them knew the other was lying. Just brilliant writing all around.
- My only problem with the fake serial killer subplot is that I don't understand how Jimmy and Lester are supposed to "nail Marlo Stanfield," when absolutely all of the evidence they're gathering against him would be clearly inadmissable in court. You think Levy the Evil Jewish Lawyer won't get that wiretap thrown out, considering it's illegal and all? Starting with the phone number itself, straight from his own rolodex?
- Similarly, I fully expect the Clay Davis prosecution to fall apart once it comes out that Lester was involved in the fake serial killer case; Lester, of course, was also the lead detective for Clay.
- Philadelphians- do you notice the obvious parallel between Baltimore's Sen. Clay Davis and Philadelphia's Sen. Vince Fumo, both super-powerful and super-corrupt state senators who, once indicted, use ethnic politics as the last refuge of scoundrels? The only place it falls apart is that I can't see John Street standing by Fumo at a rally, the way Clarence Royce did with Clay. Sheeeeeeeeeit.
- Is the death of Prop Joe such an insignificant event that none of the cops even noticed it? Do they still, all these years later, not even know about the co-op, or is there some Season 3 scene I don't remember where they followed Stringer Bell to a meeting?
- Chris Portlow has kids? Really? All this time I assumed Snoop was his wife.
- McNulty's ex-wife- who was also on "Rescue Me"- is quite hot. But I still say Beadie is hotter. Glad to see Amy Ryan, who I've loved since Season 2, get an Oscar nomination for "Gone Baby Gone."
- And yes, apparently Omar can fly. Who didn't see that one coming?
(I'm specifically avoiding mention of the on-demand episode that I've already watched- and yes, I know that Snoop is a lesbian and not Chris' wife.)
One of the most reprehensible people in sports is finally calling it quits, a couple of decades too late, if you ask me. Bob Knight stepped down as coach of Texas Tech today, marking the end of the road for the man who choked one of his own players, kicked another (his son!) during a game, and threw a flower pot at a secretary, part of a disturbing pattern of the coach throwing and kicking inanimate objects.
Sure, he was an excellent basketball coach, but that didn't make up for the fact that he was a violent sociopath. He's often been called a refugee from another time, and we can only be happy that Knight's time is now past.
UPDATE: But hey! Knight must be a great guy, because he told Sid Hartman first that he was leaving! And Sid still thinks Knight would have wanted to take over the Gophers, which is sort of like arguing, in 2008, that Saddam actually had weapons of mass destruction.
News Item: Larry David endorses Barack Obama
World champion Eli Manning? World champion Tom Coughlin? Bitter, non-champion Tiki Barber? I still can't believe the Giants beat the Patriots last night, in one of the most thrilling Super Bowls in memory.
I was rooting for New England, even though Kraft yelled at me that time, mostly because I wanted to see history made and I've never particularly cared for the Giants. But they got it done, no question. Maybe this will be like Super Bowl XXXVI (Rams-Patriots), when the underdog beat the favorite and the dynasty torch was passed. Not such a popular notion in Philly, that's for sure.
My favorite, without a doubt, was this Amp Energy spot in which a biker dude attaches one end of jumper cables to his engine, the other to his nipples as clamps, and then dances to Salt 'n' Pepa's "Push It."
The "do not attempt" is my favorite part.
The best of the rest:
- I for one loved the internal Fox ad with a montage of coaches holding scoresheets ahead of their mouths as they call plays, accompanied with fake audio about how they can't wait to watch "House" tonight. Great stuff, though I'm sure the league is perturbed that they made light of Spygate. Fox's ad people were on their game ll night; we were also treated to the Fox NFL Robot getting his ass kicked by the Terminator.
- The NFL "Superad," with the great true story of Chester Pitts going from an oboe player bagging groceries to Houston's offensive line.
- Cars.com (the witch doctor one.)
- The balloons of Stewie and Underdog fighting over the coke bottle. Good, but would've been better if Stewie had talked.
- The Etrade baby. Talking babies are usually creepy, but this one won me over.
- I also liked Timberlake's bit for Pepsi, though when I heard he was appearing in a commercial with an "ex-Saturday Night Live co-star," it got my hopes up that we'd see a "Barry Gibb Talk Show" commercial.
- The "What is Love" thing for Pepsi, which acknowledged its "Night at the Roxbury" roots with a Chris Kattan cameo at the end.
All the Salesgenie.com ads. Creepy, unfunny, and who knows what the hell Salesgenie is? I hope placing the ads made them go bankrupt.
- The Audi/"Godfather" bit. The people behind this one seem to using the "Meet the Spartans" standard of humor, which assumes that just because a bit recalls a famous movie, it's automatically funny. The same thing goes for this year's Clydesdales ad, the umpteenth "Rocky" parody. Not to mention the Richard Simmons ad- is it really still funny in 2008 to make fun of Richard Simmons?
- The Carville-Frist thing was only mildly amusing, but it could be worse: Frist could be running for president now, and maybe even winning.
- The Bud Light cavemen. Aren't we all sick of cavemen by now? But at least the ones in the Geico ads can talk.
See them all here.
Cracked takes a look at how all those "we're not gonna protest" people from "PCU" were right on.
I was happy to see Art Monk and Andre Tippett both get elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Sunday, after waiting for way too long. Gary Zimmerman, too- he was the preeminent Vikings lineman of my youth, as well as an early Eckstein Award candidate. And I remember Darrell Green winning every NFL's Fastest Man competition.
But I must ask- no Cris Carter? Huh? What, did they decide that because Monk had to wait 15 years, Carter has to go 2-3 years before he gets in? Let's see he and Randall McDaniel go in as part of the Vikings Class of '09.
David Mills, on why he didn't go see a movie this weekend:
“Rambo”? I would rather staple my nuts to a park bench.Mills will have to stay in Sunday night- and watch either the Super Bowl, or this week's episode of "The Wire," which he wrote.
“The Bucket List”? I’d rather spend 90 minutes making an actual list of my favorite buckets.
“How She Move”? I’d much rather see a movie called “How She Conjugate Verbs.”
The day the Santana trade was finalized, there was at least some good news for Minnesota sports. The Timberwolves won their tenth game of the year, which means they are officially not the worst team in NBA history. That distinction remains with the '72-'73 Sixers, who won just nine.
10,000 Takes has been following this all season; now he's posted the perfect photo.
On the North Star site, I analyze John McCain's surge*, the GOP's Reagan obsession, and that weird debate the other night, in which just about every position held by any of the candidates on any issue was attributed to Reagan, even if the Gipper held the opposite view when he was actually alive and in office.
And on E-Gear, now that cell phones have better and better web access, there's a movement afoot by pornographers to make more of their content mobile. I can understand their temptation, but what I can't understand is the, um, logistics of how such usage would work.
*Speaking of which, great idea, Tom Daschle and Co., to leak the news that McCain almost became a Democrat, RIGHT BEFORE SUPER TUESDAY. Come on! McCain's days away from sweeping the primaries and destroying the GOP coalition, and this comes out now? This is worse than Kerry's botched joke, if you ask me.
1. Final score.1. Patriots 35, Giants 17
2. Game MVP
3. Company responsible for the commercial receiving the highest rating in Monday's USA Today Ad Meter survey. (AdAge is your resource.)
4. Assuming they do 3-4 songs, predict the twelve-minute setlist that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will perform during the halftime show.
Remember what I said about not really liking Jimmy Kimmel's show, and not thinking Sarah Silverman had done anything funny in five years? Yea- I take it all back-
This is awesome. Maybe Tarantino can direct the Obama video presentation at the convention. Settle that writers' strike, pronto!
I was sad to hear the other day that Michael Wilbon had suffered a heart attack, though I was gladdened to see that he was recovering after an angioplasty and was resting comfortably.
So I was surprised to see Wilbon's column come up in my RSS feed today- I had assumed he'd be taking weeks or even months off. But today, Wilbon writes that he heard from all sorts of friends in the sports world -and even enemies, and even Jeff George.
I've talked a lot about how much I love PTI, and Wilbon's column is probably the best on any sports page in America. He'll be missed while he's recovering, but what's most important is that he get well.
It's fake, apparently- and the Mr. Show crew is behind it.
The Phillies great appeared on the Cartoon Network show last weekend, in one of the weirdest TV episodes I've ever seen; it was disturbingly surreal, even by Adult Swim standards:
My only complaints: None of the actual Aqua Teens appeared - I'm still waiting for them to do a "There Will Be Blood" parody with Master Shake- and the animated "John Kruk" looked nothing like Kruk at all. In fact, he looked more like Ravishing Rick Rude.