I finally caught the Bob Costas sports media special tonight- the first half of it, anyway- and oh lord! I knew Buzz Bissinger was eccentric, but had no idea he was completely crazy:
Thoughts: I renew my usual objection to any sort of 100 percent generalizations of big media as a whole, or blogging as a whole. Something isn't stupid just because it's on a blog, nor is it genius.
Similarly, Bissinger doesn't sound like he's, you know, spent much time on blogs, and therefore has no idea what he's talking about. Loud, ignorant and profane is no way to go through life, son.
In all, though, what I've seen of the special so far was top-notch; Michael Strahan telling off that idiot Chris Russo was especially a highlight. More on this later.
This artist has created a variety of tableaus, featuring "Simpsons" characters done up like "Wire" characters. If you liked the scenes of McNulty and Bunk drinking by the train tracks before, they're even better when one of them is yellow.
I pointed out last week how odd it was that New York Press put out a 20th anniversary issue that, on the front cover, included the names of several prominent former writers for the paper, which would seem to imply that they had in fact contributed to the issue. The paper's former editor, John Strausbaugh, noticed too, and he wasn't as nice as I was:
I have not been, and would not be, associated with the New York Press since the pigfuckers who bought it from Russ Smith unceremoniously canned me, via a phone call from a flunky, two days before Christmas 2002. Merry Xmas, Mr. Strausbaugh, and rots a ruck. So I was surprised to see my name on the cover of the “20th Anniversary” issue (April 23-28). The roll call of fallen heroes on the cover clearly suggests we all had something to do with this issue, when obviously most of us did not, and a lot of us definitely would not... Armond’s having written half the issue notwithstanding, the pretense that there’s an unbroken timeline connecting the original New York Press to the current version is misleading and disingenuous at best. Using my name to front for this fantasy was, unintentionally I’m sure, kind of an insult.
Bill pointed this out, and I've been laughing about it since this morning:
I don't know what's worse: that they questioned whether they could find "video" of an event that took place in the 1850s, or that they couldn't tell the difference between Stephen Douglas and Frederick Douglass. It's pretty embarrassing when a joke about "messing around with an intern" is the third-worst moment in a 25-second clip.
From Cracked's list of "6 Things You Didn't Know You Could Get Addicted To," here's a disorder I think I may have:
When you hear there's such a thing as book addiction, you figure, hell, it'd be rad to be addicted to the Western literary canon. You'd be so quick with quips and quotes at dinner parties you could wear a damned monocle and nobody would dare call you on it.I'm not THAT bad, I've never stolen books, and unlike Philadelphia politician Mark Cohen, I've never charged the taxpayers $28,000 over two years just in books. And I don't think my wife would enjoy it if I built a fort in my office.
The horrifying reality:
The most prominent modern bibiliomaniac was Stephen Carrie Blumberg. From 1974 to 1990, this bookish chap raided the archives of about 185 North American universities. When the FBI finally raided his Ottumwa, Iowa home, the feds discovered 28,000 stolen books and manuscripts he had been compulsively hoarding.
Bibliomaniacs like him don't necessarily read their books or even collect valuable ones. They just collect them out of a compulsive need to have a fuckload of books. So you could be a bibliomaniac while remaining completely illiterate, though you could build a kick-ass fort.
So Obama finally did it. Can we finally move on from this and talk about stuff that matters for once? And no, I don't mean Bill Ayers.
WCCO in Minneapolis just got really creepy:
WCCO recently whacked weatherman Paul Douglas, who was never a favorite of mine. But at least he never did a Beavis impression during a live broadcast.
Anyone else watching this reality show "The Paper" on MTV? It's really something- the day-to-day goings-on of a high school newspaper staff in Florida. My favorite parts are that the editor in chief, Amanda, is a complete lunatic who is totally oblivious that the rest of the staff hates her, and that it appears all of the males on the staff are gay. Yet so far, we haven't seen them do any actual journalism at all. In all, it's much more interesting then a show about my high school's newspaper would've been.
I was sorry to see this week that Matt Zoller Seitz, one of my favorite film critics for nearly ten years, is getting out of the film writing business. I read MZS for years in New York Press, before he left a few years ago and started the excellent criticism site The House Next Door. Seitz directed an excellent small film a couple of years ago called "Home," which is worth checking out, and supposedly he's going to be going into filmmaking full time.
The Philadelphia Daily News just launched a new Eagles blog, called "The Eagletarian" (get it?) The day it launched, Philadelphia Will Do predicted it would have "the best comments ever," and the first day didn't disappoint:
Reid Banner and Lurie flat out lie to the people, much like Osama and Hiller did. They all make it sound like they have the best of intentions, but, in the end, they say what you want to hear until they get what they want(money or vote), and then go on doing what they have done their whole life.And that was before the draft.
Stewart is on the case:
Both parties can agree that penis theft is bad, right?
Matthew Yglesias, like me, has noticed how stupid this idea is of the Democratic Party is split between the (upscale) "wine track" and (downscale) "beer track":
the real question is when did beer become so downscale? Go to a retail corridor in a yuppified neighborhood in any town in America and you'll find a bar full of people drinking . . . beer. Go to a Whole Foods in a town where supermarkets are allowed to sell beer and you'll find . . . beer. Surely these are well-known facts. Meanwhile, in literal sense the American "beer track" seems to involve Obama-friendly plains states plus outliers like Nevada (casinos) and New Hampshire (people driving in from neighboring states to avoid taxes).Since I'm a college-educated member of the media who supports Obama, I'm pretty clearly in the wine track- but I very much prefer beer as well.
I had forgotten that former New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith ever even existed, but Christopher Hitchens certainly remembers, and I'm thinking he isn't a fan:
[Consider] the views of former Sen. Bob Smith, R-N.H., who opined that McCain's rage quotient "would place this country at risk in international affairs, and the world perhaps in danger." I once went on a TV panel with Smith and passed some green-room time with him, and I can assure you that premature detonations of any kind would certainly not be his problem. He combines the body of an ox with the brains of a gnat. Indeed, if his brains were made of gunpowder and were to accidentally explode, the resulting bang would not even be enough to disarrange his hair. He moved from being the most right-wing Republican senator from New Hampshire, switching to the U.S. Taxpayers Party after a distinct absence of what we call "traction" in his presidential run of 2000, tried to rejoin the GOP when he saw a nice, fat chairmanship become vacant on the death of Sen. John Chafee, failed at that, lost the nomination in his own state, moved to Florida, endorsed John Kerry in 2004, endorsed Duncan Hunter for the Republican nomination in December last year, and was last spotted on the Web page of the Constitution Party: a Web page that's tons of fun to check out. And this cretinous dolt, who managed to do all the above without bringing out so much as a sweat on his massive and bovine frame, is the chief character witness against the impetuous McCain. Nice work.Whether the target is Mother Teresa, Bob Smith, or God, no one can throw insults around like Hitch.
The Inquirer's Jim Salisbury interviews former Cubs and Phillies manager Lee Elia, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his famous rant against Cubs fans in 1983. My favorite part is that Elia apologizes and clarifies that he didn't really mean 15 percent of Cubs fans don't work (he meant 15 people, not 15 percent), but he doesn't apologize at all for calling Wrigley Field "a fuckin' playground for the cocksuckers."
I discuss John Mellencamp's unwelcome intrusion into the presidential race, in this week's North Star column.
When the Vikings traded up in the second round of the draft yesterday, ahead of the Bears, I was hoping, praying, it was for Brian Brohm. But nope, it was safety Tyrell Johnson, who I hear is good (Brohm did indeed go to the NFC North, but to the Packers, not the Bears.) I was relieved, however, for them to grab USC's John David Booty in the fifth.
True, Booty may have slid for a reason, but he's a pro-style quarterback, and I'm sure Vikings fans will be clamoring for him by midseason. After all, after the Jared Allen trade the Vikes are a loaded team, whose only significant question mark is the quarterback position. If Booty does play and win, I could see him becoming a Minnesota folk hero- and wouldn't it be fun to own a "Booty" jersey? We will NEVER run out of "Booty" puns, nor will it ever get old.
That Johnson pick, meanwhile, was acquired from the Eagles, in their second tradedown of the day; they had earlier traded out of the first round in exchange for several picks, including a #1 next year from Carolina. Since the Eagles didn't make a first-round pick, didn't trade Lito Sheppard, and didn't acquire a big-time wide receiver, most fans aren't too happy today, although the team did get some impressive defensive players as well as an explosive returner in DeSean Jackson, which should put to an end the parade of WIP callers suggesting a trade of Donovan McNabb for "Kevin Hester."
Then again, it's funny to hear people rip their team's late-round selections, when in reality just about no fan has any idea who any of these people are, and no clue whatsoever whether any of them will ever be good. Nobody knows anything, in the draft as in Hollywood, and pretending otherwise is idiocy.
Kidd Chris this morning did 15 minutes of radio on Tesla, and why they were an awesome band. It's hard to disagree and in fact, I think you have to consider them the most underrated American band of the past 25 years.
Look at it this way: Tesla had four strong albums (most hair-metal bands had one, if that.) They had a good singer and very good guitarist, they could nail rockers and ballads with equal aplomb, and they kicked off the Unplugged craze with "Five Man Acoustical Jam," an album so awesome even my dad used to borrow it. They even had awesome album titles- "Mechanical Resonance," "The Great Radio Controversy" and- best of all- "Psychotic Supper."
And that's making no mention of their obsession with Nikola Tesla, who they named their band after and frequently referred to in their songs. I never understood- why didn't Tesla have as big a career as Guns 'n' Roses or Poison? They were at least as talented, right?
Speaking of Kidd, here's their new commercial, a cheese classic:
Clemens, as with everything, has denied the allegations. I really hope it's true; Clemens just becomes easier to hate by the minute, doesn't he?
This anti-Israel jeremiad came the other day in response to... my post, almost four years ago, celebrating the Israeli windsurfer, Gal Fridman, winning Israel's first-ever Olympic gold medal:
Dude, get a life and stop your stupid nationalistic view. The sun is going end up swallowing everyone in the end. We are all in the same boat you idiot. Some Jews like yourself are such complainers. You're the one that took over a territory illegally. The UN felt sorry for you greedy ass, don't know why. If you had a better character maybe more people would have sympathy for you but quite honestly your arrogance sickens a lot of people. The US, our freakin tax money, should stop funding your government. What have you done for U.S. lately? Nothing but trouble, that's all. Get a life!I'm the one who took over a territory illegally? I was born in 1978. Dude.
Gib, of the blog Crosblog, in my comments over the weekend, in reaction to the Michael Hayes story:
It is dumb to be racist.That, to me, is a much, much smarter take on race than I'm used to hearing, whether it's from those who argue that racism is everywhere, or those who believe the only racist in America is Al Sharpton and no injustice done to blacks has ever been as terrible as the Duke lacrosse case.
It is dumber to make racist remarks out loud, as you are not only stupid, but now everyone knows that you are stupid, and can shun you.
It is quite possibly the dumbest thing ever to make racist remarks to Mark Henry, a 400 pound former Olympic weightlifter, as now not only are you stupid, and everyone knows you are stupid, but you also run the risk of having your limbs ripped off.
Today's award, for non-Jews with Jewish-sounding names, goes to Levy Mwanawasa, the current president of Zambia. He may have a Levite first name, and he may be spearheading the opposition to Robert Mugabe in neighboring Zimbabwe, but he's not a Jew. He's a Baptist, and his wife is a Jehovah's Witness.
Sullivan on Obama:
Is Obama a Muslim? Does it matter any more? We are in world of McTruthyism. In that world, Obama is an atheist, a Muslim, a black liberation theologian and a Marxist. Since the truth is irrelevant, they can all be true!This is in reaction to a quote from Michael Savage, who's unfortunately no longer on in Philly. Considering he thinks Joe Lieberman is a socialist, Savage's thoughts on Obama have got to be entertaining.
Esquire collects funny moments from City Council and Congressional committee meetings. My favorite is this crazy person, who testifies about a "rogue helicopter pilot," who he believes may be former Charlotte Hornets owner George Shinn:
Good to know that "John Edwards knows about this."
Daniel Koffler is right:
There are literally uncountably infinitely many possible manipulations of the primary and caucus results, of which uncountably infinitely many produce a lead for Hillary Clinton, uncountably infinitely many produce a lead for Barack Obama, uncountably infinitely many produce a lead for Mike Gravel, and uncountably many produce no determinate leader. (That's not an exhaustive profile.) For example, if you only count states Barack Obama won, Obama's lead in both delegates and popular votes is massive; mutatis mutandis for Clinton. If you only count Gravel voters, Gravelmania is sweeping the Democratic party. Also, if you only count states that are yellow on Wikipedia's US map, or only the total number of commonwealths won, or only count the average elevation of states won by each candidate, or only the total number of years voters for each candidate have lived, or total X chromosomes possessed by each candidate's supporters, Hillary Clinton is killing it. But if you only count states named for French and English monarchs, only count the total student loan debt of each candidate's supporters, or only count membership totals in facebook support groups, Obama's coasting.But if you use crazy, undoubtedly controversial metrics like "popular vote" or "delegates," Obama is winning. I'm old-fashioned, I know.
News Item: Jimmy Fallon named next host of "Late Night"
How'd you like to be Carson Daly? He gets passed over in favor of the guy who used to imitate him as a "massive tool."
I've got another retail crime roundup in Dealerscope this morning, right here.
Stewart goes on the attack:
So the Cowboys have traded for Pacman Jones, even though he still hasn't been reinstated, and he's likely one more incident away from lifetime banishment.
A prediction- Pacman never actually plays a down for the Cowboys. And isn't Texas the strip club capital of America?
"Gorgeous" Jimmy Garvin couldn't be reached for comment, and Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy is dead.
I guess this was the only possible scenario in which Michael "PS" Hayes could get back into the news. Sort of like how there's no way Chris Benoit was ever going to be on the cover of People magazine, had he not murdered his wife and child.
My review of the documentary "Young@Heart" is online at the Trend site. To sum it up:
At any rate, if you’re looking to see a documentary this season about old people singing, the Rolling Stones’ “Shine a Light” is not your only option.
After seven weeks, it's hard to believe it's finally over. Farewell, Pennsylvania primary- we hardly knew you.
The venerable New York alt-weekly New York Press is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and is marking the occasion with an anniversary issue, which includes the names of several of the top writers who have graced the paper's pages over the years- John Strausbaugh, Russ Smith, Matt Taibbi, Armond White, Jim Knipfel, William Monahan, Amy Sohn, Matt Zoller Seitz, Tim Marchman and William Bryk, among many others.
Seeing all these names on the cover makes me nostalgiac for the days when the Press was must-read every week- and got me excited with the implication that all of those people would be contributing essays on the occasion of the anniversary. Except that... on the website, the only only two names on that list with pieces published are Smith and White, who double as the only two still with the paper. Now perhaps all of those people actually wrote things for the print edition and they're not online yet, but otherwise it seems like a bait-and-switch to me.
Here's a timeline of the paper's history. Happy birthday, NYP!
Shouldn't all those shows be called that?
Always to great to hear that your team has brought in arguably the best defensive player in football, even if it requires a huge contract and first- and third-round draft picks. Him AND Pat Williams AND Kevin Williams on the defensive line? That's a wall, I tell you.
So it continues. Ugh. I knew Hillary would win PA, it was just a question of by how much. 52-48 would've been awesome, but 55-45 isn't the end of the world. On to Indiana and North Carolina...
The good news, from an Obama standpoint, is that Hillary will barely cut into the delegate and popular vote leads. And Obama can likely make up the losses in both in North Carolina by itself.
I was proud to cast my vote for Obama today, and I hope I get to again in seven months. Also, happy to see that Barack won Delaware County by an inverse proportion (55-45) to the statewide vote.
After Hillary made her victory speech, the song playing on the PA system was... "Our Country" by John Mellencamp. Before Obama went on stage to speak, the song playing on the PA system was... "Our Country" by John Mellencamp. (Johnny Cougar himself was even on hand in Indiana for Obama's speech.)
In addition, the theme song of John Edwards' campaign was... "Our Country" by John Mellencamp. Meanwhile, John McCain was forced to stop using a song on the campaign trail after its writer objected. That song? "Our Country," by John Mellencamp.
For a song that's so hated by football fans, due to its non-stop use during broadcasts, that it's become a punchline, why in the world would four different presidential candidates want to be associated with it?
From Matthew Yglesias:
I really worry sometimes about things like The New York Times Magazine giving advice on how to reduce your carbon footprint. Not only are these kind of "personal virtue" efforts insufficient to tackling the challenge of global warming, I think talking about them too much is actually counterproductive. The calculations involved in figuring out the aggregate carbon impact of this or that are just far too difficult for anyone to carry out. What's more, it's generally not going to be possible for a single person through his or her own exertions to really bring about dramatic cuts, and the last thing you need is people sitting around thinking "I drive a Prius, I've done my part" and then not voting the right way or otherwise being disengaged from the political process.A blog post of mine from many years ago is the #1 result on Google for "Earth Day sucks." I no longer believe that it does- the Bush years have convinced me of that, and many other things- but I still agree with Matt. Let's do something about China's vile industrial pollution policies, which have a lot more to do with global warming than what kind of lightbulbs the 5 percent of Americans who care about that sort of thing do.
What's the excuse? According to a Worldwide Leader spokesman quoted in the NYDN:
Our position is that when they're down to the final two candidates, we'll look for options to interview each accordingly. Fans don't expect political coverage on our air.On our air??? It's a podcast! If you don't want to hear it, don't click on it.
Aside from the ABC debate, it's the biggest media scandal of the campaign- Bill Simmons doesn't get to interview Obama, but Angelo Cataldi- and Preston and Steve- do.
It's hard to disagree with anything written here by Ken Rosenthal, on the Phillies' situation with Ryan Howard. Namely, the Phils are in perfect position, as they have him under their control for his entire crime, right up until he's likely to start declining.
The average Phillies fan, though, doesn't want to hear it. They want the team to sign Howard for 10 years and $300 million, a contract they'll be whining about three years into it.
... and Cracked.com is where it starts:
Things You Will Need:I still love Apatow's stuff- "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" was GREAT- but in two years when everyone's sick of Judd, I'll remember this.
A beloved failed TV show from which to pull your cast
A thorough knowledge of basic sexual slang (for help with this, see my other manual, “From Pearl Necklaces to Donkey Punches: the Eight Comedic Sexual Maneuvers”)
A disdain for continuity
An old High School yearbook from which to pull ideas and characters
A shitload of film to allow actors time to improvise (ie, “write the script”)
An understanding of improvisational comedy that entails two guys speaking in unconnected one-liners
Paul Rudd’s phone number
A giant bag of weed (usually Paul Rudd can provide this)
I talk about the NBA's callous pulling of the Sonics from Seattle in this week's North Star column. I'm sure I'll get back to the election next week.
Obama's certainly the best of the three at cutting promos; as for McCain, the best I can say about him is that he's not that much older than Ric Flair.
I was happy to discover yesterday that Bruegger's Bagel Bakery, my favorite bagels on Earth, will be arriving in Philadelphia later this spring. I guess they bought local chains in both Philly and North Carolina, and will turn those locations into Brueggers'. Mmm, can't wait.
I was really sorry to hear over the weekend that John Marzano, the big-league catcher/turned Philadelphia radio and TV sports commentator, had died suddenly at the age of 45.
I first knew of Marzano as a backup catcher with the Red Sox in the late '80s, and he later played for Seattle as well. After retiring, he returned to his native Philly and began appearing on both Comcast SportsNet and WIP; last year he left 610 in order to take a job with Major League Baseball's new web venture.
Marzano's last appearance was on Daily News Live on Thursday; I guess it's still available on demand from Comcast.
Get over Reagan- and stop pretending Reagan had positions that he never had. That's all I ask.
News Item: Isiah Thomas fired as Knicks coach
What's the next move for the Knicks- a coaching search, or a Truth and Reconciliation Commission?
If you're looking for my live coverage of the presidential debate in Philadelphia on Wednesday, here are the links:
My North Star Writers' Group column from the debate is here.
To see a group of Free Republic posters bash me, before posting a bunch of pictures of Barack Obama's head on Osama Bin Laden's body, click here.
This might be the most brilliant YouTube of the year, as I both laughed uproariously and was sincerely moved:
David Limbaugh, Rush's brother, slams me in his column today, along with TV critic Tom Shales of the Washington Post, who wrote pretty much the same column I did about the debate. Once again, I find it just hilarious that while I'm an independent columnist, and the people I'm criticizing are ABC friggin' News, it's me who's the "mainstream media."
Time to panic: the proposed new football stadium in Los Angeles has... purple seats! Which means the Vikings might move there!
Except that... the plan, like the last ten to be proposed in L.A., will probably never actually happen, and even if 5,000 other things that would have to happen happened, I can't imagine the Wilfs would be able to take the Vikings name with them West. After all, we all know how senseless it is to have "Lakers" be the name of a team in LA.
I don't know if I've ever looked forward to a "Daily Show" episode more than I did last night's- and in taking down the Philly debate disaster, Stewart didn't disappoint:
Dan Kennedy's description was my favorite:
"Indeed, it seemed like at least half the debate consisted of stupid hot-button questions that are of interest mainly to people who've already decided to vote Republican this fall."
A funny backdrop to the Flyers-Capitals playoff series: a brouhaha involving the Washington Post, a court order and the sensitive hearts of Philly fans.
Mike Wise of the Washington Post wrote a column the other day ripping both the Flyers' aggressive/violent style of play and the similar ethos among their fans, saying, among other things:
20,000 people in fluorescent orange howled for their World Extreme Cagefighters, and a crowd in the upper bowl chanted vulgarities at Ovechkin that went beyond the bounds of loutish fan behavior. As the frothing masses left the arena, they felt good about the bull being struck and killed -- checking the multi-generational Russian wizards Ovechkin and Sergei Fedorov into humility as much as the boards...The Caps' postseason slogan: "Rock The Red." The Flyers? "Vengeance Now," which comes across as less of a slogan and more of a sequel to Charles Bronson's "Death Wish."Wise also called Flyers tough guy/"Kidd Chris" regular Riley Cote a "stumpy rogue," and said of the Flyers that "They flat-out market and sell violence here, sanctioned, unbridled assaults disguised as sport."
The Capitals didn't come out as Eastern Conference foes; they entered the playing surface like Russell Crowe entered the Coliseum in "Gladiator." Flyer fans didn't want to beat Washington as much as see Ovechkin bludgeoned, his teammates emasculated.
When Philadelphia fans hear this sort of thing they... get bitter, and cling to the Flyers and, uh, never mind. But the Flyers' organization decided to harness the situation to their advantage and distribute copies of the column to arriving fans. But the Post- both citing intellectual property and, probably, avoidance of a riot- kiboshed the idea, obtaining a cease-and-desist order. But the damage was done, and the Flyers won in double overtime to take a 3-1 series lead.
Of course, when it comes to the WaPo, this wasn't nearly as much of an outrage as the firing of Christmas Ape.
Jonathan Chait, on the folly of right-wing populism:
Barack Obama's comments about the white working class have thrown the political campaign into a particularly comic spasm of pretense and hypocrisy, but I was planning to let it go, I really was, until George F. Will decided to leap to the defense of the proletariat. Yes, that George F. Will. The fabulously wealthy, bow tie-wearing, pretentious reference-mongering, Anglophilic fop who grew up in a university town as a professor's son, earned two advanced degrees, has a designated table at a French restaurant in Georgetown, and, had he dwelt for any extended time among the working class, would be lucky to escape without his underwear being yanked up over his ears. Will devoted his column to expressing his displeasure at Obama's "condescension" toward the working class.Obviously, only the GOP is allowed to make sweeping generalizations about every single person who votes for the other side.
This is pretty humorous, as a photographer places "Star War" characters in various urban settings (go to the page and click "series" to see them all.) The storm troopers under the highway overpass were probably my favorite.
Pieces about sports on Slate generally suck, but this one by Neal Pollack is great. Enough with the stupid lists, races, "power rankings" and all that other crap that weighs down sports- I'd rather just watch the games.
My North Star column on the debate, filed from on site, is online here. I had a great time and I'm glad I went, but my lord am I mad at the questions ABC asked. Stephanopoulos went on Hannity's radio show and got suggested questions, which he later asked? Really?
The spin room, though, is really something, I recommend every political junkie get in there at least once. The most popular spinners were Mayor Nutter, Gov. Rendell, Congressman Patrick Murphy, Obama advisor David Axelrod, and a few other people I didn't recognize.
I asked Nutter a question about one of Hillary's gun answers, and about the federal government's role in crime prevention generally, and halfway through he started waving his arms. It was loud in there and I couldn't hear anything, so I figured he was asking me to get to the point. In actuality, the mayor of Philadelphia was asking my name and who I was with.
I didn't get to anyone else any questions, though I'm guessing I probably walked through the background of 15 different TV stations' live shots.
I was especially impressed with WPHT radio host Dom Giordano, who was broadcasting live while walking around in the room. I was less impressed later, however, when I listened to his show and he praised the questions asked, since he's sick of hearing about issues "like health care."
And about that column- the freepers got ahold of it! Who knew North Star was part of the dreaded MSM? Funny that here I am as independent columnist, writing a column critical of the performance of ABC News, yet it's me who is part of the dying, irrelavent, liberal mainstream media.
9:46: Last question from Gibson, about pure politics: How will you make the case to the superdelegates? Hillary says "we need a fighter back in the White House." I'd say Bush is a fighter, just on the wrong side. She talks about tackling problems and various proposals, but I'm sure her real argument to the supers will be something along the lines of "Obama sucks and can't win."
9:51: And that's the end. Who won? Really, who cares? Obama looked tired, I think he had a sore throat, and it wasn't his best performance by any stretch. But Hillary didn't do much to capitalize either.
The big story of the night was the laughably unfair and superficial questions, which seemed entirely based on Republican talking points and/or stuff having nothing to do with who will be a better president. Mark my words: that'll be the story coming out of tonight.
More to come; off to the spin room now.
9:24: Gibson says "every American said a small prayer" today over the Virginia Tech massacre. Every American? I bet Sam Harris didn't.
9:25: The question is about guns, and Hillary is asked about stemming violence, bringing up Philadelphia and it's more-than-one-a-day murder rate, and proposing bringing back the assault weapons ban. She talks about illegal guns, even in the hands of "some who are, unfortunately, mentally challenged." Huh? Obama merely called gun-owners bitter; Hillary apparently thinks they're retards.
9:29: Obama rightly brings up the difference between gun owners who hunt and those who kill. He, too, talks about keeping the "mentally deranged" from having firearms. Who knew that was the big issue?
9:31: Hillary talks about keeping "machine guns" out of the hands of criminals. How many of Philly's nearly 400 murders last year were caused by machine guns? I'm gonna guess less than 10.
9:33: Time for talk about... affirmative action! More Republican issues for the Democrats to debate. Obama takes the Bill Clinton no-quotas "mend it, don't end it" position. Hillary calls for "affirmative action, generally."
9:36: "We're running low on time," Gibson says. Wasn't the debate supposed to be over six minutes ago? Hillary vows to "investigate" gas prices.
9:41: Obama praises the first President Bush, and even acknowledges that some Republicans have good ideas. I predict this gets him branded a crypto-Republican in future Hillary ads.
8:52: We're back from commercial; a videotaped question asks about how we're getting out of Iraq. Yes, it's the first policy question, 52 minutes into the debate.
I have to say I am actually shocked at the appallingly poor quality of the questions: the worst of the campaign so far. Pure MSM process bullshit. Again: it's now halfway through and there has not been a single question on the economy, foreign policy, healthcare, terrorism, Iraq or any other actual policy issue in this campaign. How much longer can ABC News avoid the actual policy issues in this election?8:54: Hillary says that the threat of withdrawal will motivate the Iraqis to get in gear. That sounds pretty suspect to me.
8:56: Perhaps cognizant that Obama, while responding to smear after smear, talked for about 75% of the time in the debate's first half, Hillary gets to talk about Iraq for five minutes straight.
8:59: Stephanopoulos asks about the question of a nuclear Iran, which is a wee bit more significant in world affairs than whether Obama is or isn't friends with Bill Ayers. Obama gives the right answer, stating that Iran cannot be allowed to have nuclear weapons, nor fund Hezbollah or Hamas.
9:04: George, playing a McCain clip, asks whether Hillary can promise she won't raise taxes at all on people making less than $200,000 a year. Obama pledges not to do so either. Since when was middle class defined as "less than $200,000 a year"?
9:11: The moderators, both manderins of the "ultra-left-wing MSM," ask a series of questions predicated on the primacy of supply-side economics, cornering Obama when he questions the notion of capital-gains tax cuts causing revenues to go up. Somewhere, Jonathan Chait's head is exploding.
8:00: And we're live at the debate, the 21st of the campaign but the first in six weeks. It's in a tiny, TINY room, holding only 400 people; I once saw an excellent presentation about the Declaration of Independence in that very room.
8:03: Obama hits the frustration thing head-on in his opening statement, talking about a man who lost his job in Latrobe. He doesn't use the word "bitter," though.
8:06: Already a commercial? Really?
8:08: Gibson asks about Mario Cuomo's suggestion that the two candidates agree to take on the other as running mate, whoever wins. Should be an interesting question to dodge- Obama says it's "too early," before changing the subject to John McCain. Hillary does the same... and changes the subject to Iraq and health care.
8:12: Here comes the "bitter" question. Obama recovers well, explaining the comments much better than he did the first time. Hillary soft-pedals it, going no further than "people could certainly be taken aback" by the comments.
8:16: Stephanopoulos asks Hillary point-blank whether Obama can beat John McCain- and, point-blank, she refuses to answer. When pressed, she says yes, but "I can do a better job." When asked the same thing, Obama doesn't hesitate to say "yes," before defending himself against the elitism and condescension charges.
8:20: In a canny move, Obama brings up the "baking cookies" brouhaha from 1992, accusing Hillary of taking the opposite side now.
8:22: And now the Wright questions! They better get to substantial stuff before the next commercial. Gibson asks about the incident a year ago when Wright was disinvited from an Obama event; what's the point of this, other than Russert-style gotcha?
8:29: Obama says that if Hillary is the nominee, there will be lots of video clips making the Fox and YouTube rounds about "other things," as opposed to Wright sermons if he wins. Like what? Embarrassing old hairstyles? "I did not have sexual relations with that woman"?
8:31: Oops... Obama accidentally says he's disowned Wright himself, as opposed to the comments, before catching himself. I'm guessing that's the most quoted moment of the night.
8:32: Shame on Hillary for dragging out Farrakhan and Hamas references in reference to Obama. When did she become a right-wing blogger?
8:33: And now Bosnia questions. Hillary says she was "not as accurate as I've been in the past." What about the future?
8:37: A videotaped question from a woman who says she's "not questioning Obama's patriotism"- but then questions his patriotism by asking why he doesn't wear the American flag. Good answer from Obama on flag pins, who rightly calls it a "manufactured issue."
8:41: A William Ayers question? Really? Did Little Green Footballs supply these questions?
8:44: A good line by Hillary, who suggests that the Republicans should simply apologize for the Bush years and not field a candidate. But Obama hits back, noting that President Clinton in fact pardoned two members of the Weather Underground.
8:46: It took almost 40 years, but the Weathermen are finally relavent again!
I'm blogging live from the filing room at the Constitution Center presidential debate, about an hour before the actual debate starts. I got here about five hours ago; due to a Secret Service sweep, we had to be here early.
It's funny that most of the other reporters here have been on the trail for months, have other attended dozens of these things, and are sick to death of this and want it to be over already. Me, I'm in political junkie heaven.
About a half hour ago, I was standing about 15 feet away as Charles Gibson and George Stephenopoulos, tonight's moderators, anchored "World News Tonight." Last time I saw George in person was when he spoke on campus during about my first week at Brandeis; he doesn't actually look much older. Though I can confirm that, because Charlie towers over him, George does indeed stand on a box when the two are on camera together.
One of the more amusing moments of the day so far: I saw a well-dressed guy with dreadlocks who looked like a TV reporter on his cell phone as he walked by the newscast about to start. I heard him say "George is right there... I don't know, I can't get that close," so I assumed he was talking to his producer who wanted him to arrange an interview. About 30 seconds later, I saw the guy walk back and say into the phone "about 5'5.""
Lots of activity around the building, especially from supporters of the candidates, all with signs and bullhorns. Hillary's folks outnumbered Barack's by far, so I'm guessing her union support played a role in that. Anti-abortion folks are there as well. There are also decorated trucks baring signs that drive by occasionally, which can't be good for the traffic situation around here.
Who else is here? I've seen most of MSNBC's pundit team (Howard Fineman, Richard Wolfe), as well as a few Inquirer columnists. From the outdoor overlook, I could see Michael Nutter arrive through the front door. Also, there are lots of women here who are dressed way, way, too fashionably for a presidential debate.
The only bad part? My cell phone died about five hours ago, which means no photos; I also can't even call my wife. More to come later, once the debate starts...
Apparently the New Yorker is working on a Michelle Malkin profile, but Miss Internment is refusing to cooperate. Here's Gawker's comment:
Blogger Michelle Malkin is an impressively craven and vile human being, a dangerous demagogue who properly belongs grouped with slavery defenders, flat-earthers and Nixon apologists interned forever in the extreme fringes of the popular discourse, and she's too humorlessly vapid to plausibly attempt Ann Coulter's "it's just a joke" defense. But all that said, she reached her peak of influence and fame a couple years ago, thank god. Still, we'd love to read the New Yorker's forthcoming profile of the reactionary sophist, because maybe it would answer those burning questions about how much influence her insane husband has on her "writing" or maybe it'd just be a ripping good exploration of moral bankruptcy.Can't wait to read the piece; with any luck it'll make the Chris Matthews piece last week look like a valentine by comparison.
After watching the Herschel Walker interview on "Nightline" the other night, I felt like something seemed fishy, and Mike Freeman did too:
Let's be crystal clear. I'm not mocking someone who possesses a mental illness because I don't really believe Walker has or ever had a mental illness.And no, I'm not just saying that because I'm bitter about the trade.
What Walker possesses is a severe case of what doctors call trying to sell a book. He's simply vomited some tall tales and metaphysical malarkey in an attempt to make a profit.
As I mentioned last week, I'm covering tonight's presidential debate at the constitution center for North Star. I'm going to try to live-blog, but if I don't look for full coverage either late tonight or early tomorrow.
My review of the best movie of the year so far, by far, "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," is online at the Trend site. See this movie when it comes out Friday, I beg you; it's better than "Knocked Up" and up there with "40 Year Old Virgin" and "Superbad."
News Item: Bruce Springsteen endorses Barack Obama
The legendary "Kidd Chris Show" caller known as Yeti is profiled by this blog; the Kidd Show's online fan club, the Underbelly, you'll be interested to know, has "levels," sort of like Scientology.
John Baer, in the Daily News, on Bittergate:
SOME THOUGHTS on the latest diversion of Campaign '08, a campaign apparently hell-bent on keeping the nation mired in its own stupidity.
As a native-born, small-town Pennsylvanian, a son of native-born, small-town Pennsylvania parents - one from the coal region, one from Lancaster County - let me assure you that the so-called offensive, condescending things Barack Obama said about the people I come from are basically right on target.
Jon Stewart's thoughts on this are inspired:
Yea, I always thought "elite" meant "good" too.
It's the week before the NFL draft, and Eskin's been doing more Obama-bashing than he has Eagles-praising. Here's a write-up of the interview; apparently Howard did his best Lurie/Banner/Reid-like ass-kissing, and didn't even ask Hillary what she was making for dinner.
I look at Morgan Spurlock's new movie "Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden," as well as the Q&A he recently held at Penn, in this week's North Star column. By the way, the screening was held at a theater across the street from a McDonalds. I saw Spurlock leaving and thought it would've been funny if he'd gone in, but alas he walked the other direction.
Atlanta is ranked first, followed by Seattle, Buffalo, Phoenix (?), San Diego, Houston, Denver (???), Cleveland, Philly, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Pretty dumb, if you ask me. Atlanta, of course, won 15 straight division titles in baseball, and if no one comes to any of their games in any sport, it's their own damn fault they're so miserable. Seattle I can see, now that they're losing their NBA team, but Phoenix? Which won a World Series this decade and has a perennial contenders in basketball? Denver, which wins frequent Stanley Cups, was in last year's World Series, and has one of the NFL's marquee franchises? And how could anyone living in San Diego be miserable for any reason at all?
There's no way any city other than Cleveland or Buffalo should be considered for this "honor." Then again, Forbes is the same magazine that named Kevin McHale the best GM in sports a few years ago...
Here's what I think about Obama's gaffe, in which he talked about how blue-collar voters in Pennsylvania:
get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.It's almost like he tried to make the statement most designed to gin up the Republican outrage machine, and to get Hannity and O'Reilly howling. Bringing up guns? and religion? And doing it at a fundraiser in San Francisco? Not a smart move at all. But that doesn't change the fact that, uh, a lot of voters DO do that, and it's pretty much a well-established phenomenon that it's hard to argue with.
Did you know Barry Bonds once guest-starred on a "Beverly Hills 90210" episode which involved Steve Sanders' father... cheating at golf? Somehow I don't remember this at all, but Bill Simmons, of course does.
One of the contributors to the Kissing Suzy Kolber blog, the wonderfully named Christmas Ape, has decided to reveal himself. Unless he's joking, it turns out he's a Washington Post reporter. Awesome. At this point, he's considerably more worthy of a column than Kornheiser is.
Nerve.com and IFC the other day came out with a list of the 50 greatest comedy sketches of all time. It's worth checking out, if only because you're bound to catch brilliant stuff you've never seen before- for instance, this was my first exposure to both the State's orphan game show bit, and Mr. Show's "Pre-Taped Call-in Show."
Monty Python's "Dead Parrot" is #1, which is inarguable, but I can argue with #s 50, 49, 48- SNL's "More Cowbell," UCB's "Ass Pennies" and SNL's "Gerald Ford Dead," which all should've been in the top ten. Also, some unforgivable omissions: Chappelle's "Clayton Bigsby: Black White Supremacist," several SNL bits, including the Penis sketch and the Clarence Thomas parody, and this, the Vacant Lot's treatise on the lyrics of "Blinded by the Light":
Also, nothing from Boris' Kitchen.
My latest "Week in Electronics Retail Crime" column is up at Dealerscope.com, featuring yet another Geek Squad porn bust- and a group of thieves, active all over the East Coast, who wear "black ninja uniforms" while robbing Best Buys.
In this TNR piece, Philadelphia magazine's Steve Volk talks about how Barack Obama's role model in the Pennsylvania vote should be... Ed Rendell, from the 2002 gubernatorial primary, even though Ed is a Hillary backer. Past election analogies are always fun, and this is a good one.
John Oliver has some fun with the guys on the 48th Street:
(Click at the end for Part 2.)
There's now one less reason to keep reading the Philadelphia Inquirer, now that David Aldridge is leaving the paper. That's really terrible; even though he's known more for TV work, Aldridge did a great job with NBA and column writing, and will greatly be missed. His piece last November on Sean Taylor's death, "Time to Stop All the Dying," was one of the best sports columns I've read in recent memory.
Ken Jennings (yes, the "Jeopardy" champ) on his blog picks the best band from each of the 50 states. The Minnesota choice, of course, is between Prince and the Revolution and the Replacements. I'd have gone with the 'Mats, but Jennings pick the Purple One.
Springsteen/E-Street is of course the only logical New Jersey pick, but The Roots for PA? Is there no one better?
Here it is; here's what I'm wondering. Did the author, Mark Leibovich, start off wanting to make Matthews look like the biggest jerk imaginable, or did his reporting take him in that direction? How could Matthews be dumb enough to hit on women- including actress Kerry Washington- when he knew a reporter was present? And who knew that, supposedly, all the on-air personalities at MSNBC hate each other?
Still, I appreciate the piece bringing two of my favorite moments of the 2004 campaign: Matthews yelling at Michelle Malkin after she suggested that Kerry wounded himself in Vietnam, and Zell Miller challenging Matthews to a duel. It omitted the Triumph the Insult Comic Dog/Ron Silver incident, but that's understandable since Matthews wasn't involved.
Shysterball, in the course of naming his favorite player on each MLB team, tells a funny story about his grandma supposedly living down the street from Alan Trammell:
As a really young player, he made his in-season home on Inkster Road in Redford, Michigan, two doors down from my grandmother's house. At least that's what my uncle, who still lived at home, occasionally worked as a roofer, and drank Stroh's all day told me. Once when we were visiting, my brother and I walked to the house in which he was rumored to live and knocked on the door. A woman in her 20s answered it. We asked if Alan Trammell was there, but she said no. At the time we assumed that he had already left for batting practice or something. In hindsight I realize that it might not have actually been his house, and that the woman, while taciturn to the point of being misleading, was technically telling the truth.I had a similar experience when I was a kid at camp, and this one girl who was a counselor had the last name "Welch." I asked her the first day if she was related to Bob Welch, then a pitcher for the A's, and she for some reason lied and said she was. The whole session I asked her how her cousin Bob was doing, and how she'd sure pitched great the night before. The last day she finally told me Bob Welch wasn't really her cousin. I sure was dumb when I was 10.
My wife, though, when growing up, really did live near then-Phillies shortstop Kevin Stocker.
It's a bunch of rock songs - that you're supposed to guess, based on every word of the lyrics being re-arranged in alphabetical order. It's harder than it sounds. Here's my favorite:
9 a all american amusement an and are at baby back be beach beyond bold bones born boulevard boys break broken but cages can ’cause chrome-wheeled comb come could ’cross day death die don’t down dream dreams drive drones drop engines everlasting everybody’s feels four friend from fuel-injected get girl girls glory go gonna gotta guard hair hands hard hemi-powered heroes hide highway highway’s how huddled i i’ll i’m if in is it it’s jammed just kids kiss know last-chance left legs let like line live lonely look love machines madness mansions me mirrors mist my n never night no of oh on one ooh out over palace park place power rap real really rearview ride rider rims rips rises road ’round run runaway sadness scared scream so someday soul sprung stark steppin’ strap streets suicide sun sweat that the their then there’s these this three through till to together tonight town tramps trap try two us velvet visions walk wanna we we’ll we’re wendy were when where while whoa wild will wire with wrap you young youTwo tips: First, try to find the most unusual word in the song and work from there, and second, if the word "highway" is in the song more than once, it's probably by Springsteen.
I review the George Clooney football flop "Leatherheads" in the Trend this week. It's a movie so pointless and unfunny, that it's no surprise at all that Rick Reilly co-wrote it.
There was a post this morning on ProFootballTalk that's pretty weird even by PFT standards. It starts off by quoting Pennsylvania Gov./Hillary booster/Eagles postgame analyst Ed Rendell as saying that Keith Olbermann "should be on the Obama payroll," before pointing out that since Olbermann's on the NBC football pregame show, that might "create tension" with the NFL, especially since the presidential election will coincide with next NFL season, and the majority of NFL owners have political leanings considerably to the right of Olbermann.
So... PFT speculates, based on nothing, that the NFL will "pull a Playmakers" and "at some point suggest a change." Nevermind that Olbermann's liberalism was never an issue last year, or that he never brought up politics on the show. Nor is anyone quoted, anonymously or not, as favoring such a move. Then Florio... comes out against such a move, were it to happen.
So Florio is raising a hypothetical situation that no one has suggested or even hinted at, and then tearing down his own rumor. Only on PFT. He doesn't even mention the possibility that Rendell's bosses at Comcast Sports Net could have a problem with his Hillary support. Maybe they'll make Ray Didinger wear a McCain button on the air.
Bill Simmons, ripping sports media in general:
Worst debate coming out of the game: Will Bill Self stay at Kansas or "sell out" and jump to Oklahoma State to become the highest-paid college coach? There's nothing funnier than when sports columnists and radio hosts -- for the most part, a group of people who will appear on any conceivable show no matter how terrible it is, as long as they're getting paid at least $50, and by the way, if you want them to spend three months ghostwriting someone's forgettable biography, they're available for that, too -- complain someone else is selling out. Give it a rest. I guarantee that if you offered any sports media member three times as much money to work somewhere else, 99.99999999 percent of the time, they'd take it. They would. So please, shut the hell up and spare us the "selling out" stories.Seriously. Meanwhile, Mike and Mike this morning devoted more than an hour to... drunken and hostile fan behavior! Compared with the guys down the dial, who generally celebrate such things.
In a move that's sure to be seen as controversial, Hillary has contacted the NCAA Board of Directors to argue that Memphis is actually better qualified to be National Champion.Did you notice that neither Michigan or Florida made the NCAA tournament?
Ms. Clinton stated that Memphis, while losing the game, had actually shown more ability to act like a National Champion on Day One. She argued that Memphis had passed every test during the game, including scoring more points than Kansas for 38 minutes. For 38 minutes they had shown the experience necessary to be National Champion. "Just because some team comes along in the last minute and scores more points than the other guy doesn't mean they're necessarily able to be National Champion on Day One."
Ms. Clinton further stated that Memphis should've won the game had Derrick Rose's second half three pointer been allowed to count. Instead, it was ruled a two after review by the officials. His foot was clearly inside the line. Memphis coach John Calipari said he would ask that the rule allowing monitor review of shots be changed after this season. Hillary said she seconded that, and pointed out had Memphis been allowed to count a three that wasn't really a three they would've won. "It doesn't matter what the rules of the game are before it starts. What matters is how we change the rules after the game so we can have the winner we want."
Interesting tidbit from Bill James' new book, as pointed out by Rob Neyer on his blog yesterday:
Two of the greatest home run under-producers of all time were teammates: Kirby Puckett and Gary Gaetti in 1984. Puckett hit no home runs (-16), Gaetti hit only 5 (-19). Suggesting the possibility that the Twins' two World Championships may have been aided by their team being among the first to discover ... well, I'd better not go there. Nor will I point out that Gaetti was bald and had acne and Puckett died young.Um, what? Is James accusing Puckett and Gaetti and other Twins of using steroids? This is certainly the first I've ever heard of that one. Puckett did not have, shall we say, the type of physique commonly associated with 'roid usage, and of course it's well-established that his death was caused by a stroke, mitigated by the fact that he weighed close to 400 pounds. Gaetti was never the biggest guy either, but if his baldness is evidence of steroid use, I look forward to the same charge being leveled at Cal Ripken.
The only cheating accusation I've ever heard leveled at the '87 Twins was sign-stealing, with the help of the Metrodome center field cameras. But that's never been substantiated either.
Bugs and Cranks unloads on James here. I've always loved James' writing, but I always seemed to detect a subtle anti-Twins bias in his '80s books- specifically, he'd always accuse the Twins and Brewers of playing slow white guys for no apparent reason.
Lawrence O'Donnell has an interesting, fictional piece in New York magazine, imagining what might unfold at the Democratic convention in Denver. Please do not hold it against O'Donnell that the piece begins with a gay sex scene; it gets better.
I may have almost entirely whiffed on my NCAA tournament picks, but I did get the winner right, as Kansas beat Memphis last night to win its first championship in 20 years.
Great game, but I must say I was a bit disappointed in "One Shining Moment." Mostly because of that awful female backing track they used in the song. What was wrong with Luther Vandross doing it himself? At least grant him that courtesy, especially now that he's dead.
One other complaint: can anyone give me a good explanation for why the championship game started at 9:20 Eastern time? I thought the World Series games started late, and their first pitch is an hour earlier. The game didn't end until around midnight, and "One Shining Moment" began at nearly 12:30. Come on now.
Michelle Cottle of TNR has a great piece up about it:
Penn had been a focus of animus within the Hillary campaign from day one. Famous for his inability to play well with others, Penn is near universally regarded as rough, arrogant, antisocial, controlling, manipulative, brutally ambitious, and occasionally downright abusive--a hurler of cell phones, pagers, and Chinese food.So what? I still say letting the "Pinch my squid" call past was much worse.
I go further into the Richardson/Carville craziness, in this week's North Star column.
This classic "Cheers" moment was mentioned in Entertainment Weekly this week, believe it or not, and now (via Sepinwall) it's on YouTube. I give you Cliff Clavin on Jeopardy!:
I didn't notice how much the "Jeopardy!" set had changed since 1992.
Weezer in June will break Seal's record of most self-titled albums, when they release their sixth album overall, and third that is called, yes, "Weezer." It will be red, apparently; hopefully it'll be as good as the Blue and Green albums.
When I first heard she was being pushed as a potential veep, something sounded wrong about it. Richelieu (of the Weekly Standard) articulates why:
Whatever Condi's impressive attributes, picking her for VP would be a lunatic move:This all came from an interview with Dan Senor, who presumably would like to be the vice presidential press secretary.
1) It is the perfect way to make the general election an endless re-hash of the Bush Teams many mistakes in Iraq. By picking her McCain would endorse those epic fumbles.
2) She would pull exactly 14 black votes away from Barack Obama.
3) She has no special state where she could change the Electoral College math; she is a political non-entity in her home state of California.
4) Condi is a policy person, not a candidate type professional pol. Beware first timers playing in the Workd Series.
A patriot and impressive person yes, but a badly over-thought idea as veep. But not to worry, this hype is just silly hype. She'll never make McCain's short list.
They're both proxies of the Kidd Chris/Preston and Steve war, though my favorite part is that Cord picked the fight- while wearing a neckbrace for a car accident a few days before.
News Item: Charlton Heston dies at 84
I prefer to remember Heston more for his classic early Hollywood work, especially "The Ten Commandments," "Planet of the Apes" and "Ben Hur," then for the cockamamie political crusades of his later years, best highlighted by his senile interview with Michael Moore in "Bowling For Columbine" (which actually made Moore look worse than Heston) and gun-nut roles in shitty movies like Tim Burton's POTA remake and Warren Beatty's "Town and Country."
My one brush with Heston was, of course, his visit to Brandeis in 2000 (my senior year), one of those many "controversial speaker" episodes which always led to nothing controversial at all. All I remember is that the speech was sponsored by the campus Republican club, which gave so many invitations to "VIPs" that most students were shut out- so my friends and I snuck in through the kitchen. When I mentioned this in passing, at the gym the next day, to a member of the GOP club, a press release went out two hours later about the security breach.
I leave you with Heston's cameo from "Wayne's World":
This new sort of dismays me as an Obama supporter- it means the Hillary campaign will now no longer have a complete imbicle as its chief strategist.
So today, in typical bad-news-on-a-Friday-afternoon fashion, Bill and Hillary Clinton finally released their tax returns (I think they purposely did it when Andrew Sullivan was on vacation.) The result sounds like a baseball contract: they made $109 million in the last eight years, mostly from Bill's speeches, their requisite book deals, investments, and her Senate salary.
Far be it from me to defend Hillary, but who cares? I know exactly what will happen: The Republicans, and probably some Democrats, will talk about how the Clintons are "out of touch" becaue they have so much money, and can't stand up for the concerns of the working class because of it.
To that I say, bullshit. As I often say, isn't it better to be a rich person who cares about the poor than a rich person who doesn't? How come when liberals complain about tax cuts for the rich, it's "class warfare," but it's perfectly acceptable to insult the rich provided they are either Hollywood celebrities, lawyers, or liberal politicians? Bush has a hell of a lot of money too, but I don't see the right getting up in arms about that. I guess the cowboy boots somehow mitigate that.
That said, if this does in fact hurt Hillary with blue-collar voters in, say, Pennsylvania, tipping the state to Obama, I won't be complaining or anything.
Amusing bit from Bill Simmons' Friday column:
Q: Bill Simmons mentioned MY name? In the street? When we bounce from this (bleep) here, y'all (expletives) gonna go down to them corners and let them people know ... WORD DID NOT GET BACK TO ME! Let 'em know Billy take on any (expletive), Bill Simmons, Allen Iverson, whoever. My name IS MY NAME!!In his time as Philly's GM, though, Billy never had the authority of Marlo, that's for sure. He also never had his lieutenants shoot people and stuff them into abandoned rowhouses. Then again, if Billy King is Marlo, I guess David Stern is The Greek.
-- Billy King, Philly
SG: I'd write "LOL" here if I wasn't so morally opposed to the usage of the phrase "LOL." By the way, any e-mail that can successfully incorporate Marlo Stanfield and Billy King is a mortal lock to make the mailbag. That's just the way it is.
Phanatic Magazine previews it here. My favorite part:
Mike and Mike Show - 6 a.m. - 9 a.m. - Great show with great personalities but Philly will balk. I don't care if it's the NCAA Championship or a Yankees - Dodgers World Series, the locals would rather talk about Chad Johnson coming to town for the 85th time.If they want to succeed in Philly they'll have to have on Jayson Stark and/or Sal Paolantonio, oh, every day of the year. I'm sure Arlen Specter will become a regular guest too.
The Atlantic's Reihan Salam writes a great piece about the funny web practice of "rickrolling" here.
Just kidding, it's here.
TNR's The Stump, quoting Roll Call:
Briefly Quoted. “Do you think she could talk sexy so I can pinch my squid? ... Obama has cute ears.”The Kidd Chris Show is behind this. I just know it.
— An unidentified rogue caller on a media conference call with campaign staffers for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday, talking dirty before the moderator cut him off.
UPDATE: Yes, Kidd Chris did indeed claim responsibility for this on their show this morning. Not a surprise; disrupting conference calls is part of their MO- and they're the only people I've ever heard refer to male genitalia as "squid."
I have another roundup of the latest electronics thefts and other retail crimes, in Dealerscope today. The lead story: the genius who had trouble drilling a hole in order to install a satellite dish, so he used a gun to do it- and shot and killed his own wife. He'd be the stupidest criminal of the week, if not for the sex-with-a-picnic-table guy.
They both lost 1-0 last night, and are now 1-2. The Twins, though, got four hits, to the Phils' 1. For the Phils, I say the same thing I said last April: they're not really this bad. They're going to score runs eventually, and besides- having a bad April isn't really any worse than having a bad May or a bad July. All games count the same in the standings, and its' better to finish well than to start fast and run out of gas.
Speaking of the Twins- Land O Lakes Park? Really? NOT a good idea, if it's true. How can you name a stadium after butter?
UPDATE: The Phils managed their first win of the year today... after Jayson Werth was walked with the bases loaded in the bottom of the tenth (following IBBs to both Howard and Utley.) A win is a win, yes? Especially after giving up 5 runs in the top of the first?
I'm trying to figure out how any of these "readers" griping about the MSM and liberal bias can lay that charge on every journalist in the nation.I'm a liberal guy myself, I make no attempt to hide that fact. But look through my Dealerscope and E-Gear and other professional stuff- can you find political bias? I write about frickin' Wal*Mart almost every day, yet I somehow suppress the urge to call them evil capitalist swine each time. I suspect most journalists are in about the same boat I am.
I don't have a journalism degree and I work at a paper in a county that is mostly rural and partly suburban. I am trying to think where I could have inserted liberal bias into a story about which roads will be repaved this summer, a story about how the sewer tap-in fees are being raised, a story about the two new developments planned, a story about the route the new water line will take, a story about how the supervisors voted for three new housing developments and approved a grant to help pay for a new firetruck, a couple of stories about the school budget, a story about how graduation is being moved to later because the district used up all the snow days, a story about how drought affected the local corn crop, a story about a new restaurant in town, and similar stories.
My editor at North Star, Dan Calabrese, broke a big story this week on Hillary Clinton's behavior during Watergate (yes, you read that right.) Check it out here.
If he wins here, it's over. By the way, I'll be covering the presidential debate live on April 16.
UPDATE: Obama also gets an endorsement from... Wyoming Gov. (and Eckstein Award Winner) David Freudenthal!
I review "Stop Loss" in the Trend this week, online here.
In case you missed it:
I bet the producers of HIMYM held on to that one for at least two years. Meanwhile, via Sepinwall, here's the back story for both the Doogie thing and the TedMosbyisaJerk.com song.
Not "on." "With." And he did it four times:
Bellevue Police Captain Matt Johnson says Art Price, Jr., 40, was seen on four occasions between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and noon having sex with his picnic table. What makes this a felony, Johnson says, is that it took place in close proximity to a school, which made it likely that children could have seen Price.I just know what his defense will be- "it's not illegal when it's YOUR picnic table!"
The neighbor -- who wishes to remain anonymous -- saw Price walk out onto his deck, stand a round metal table on its side and use the hole in the umbrella to have sex.
The most recent instance took place March 14, we're told. A neighbor videotaped Price.
"The first video we had, he was completely nude. He would use the hole from the umbrella and have sex with the table," Johnson says.
My personal favorite is this:
San Francisco Giants are The Grateful Dead: Defined for years by the presence of a bloated, drug-addled figurehead who all the fans paid to see, at the expense of developing or addressing the needs of the rest of the group. Owners/management gladly raked in the cash. His abrupt departure left his former comrades and bosses with a purposeless existence. Greatest accomplishments as a group were years in the past, but that didn't stop people from paying ridiculous sums to watch them.and this:
Florida Marlins are The Sex Pistols: Young group assembled by a greedy, creepy man (Malcolm McClaren; Wayne Huizenga), and swiftly dismantled after hitting their peak. Followed by a second, unexpected comeback with the original creepy man nowhere in sight.There's some dispute in the comments over whether the best Twins analogue is Prince, or the Replacements.
Keith Uhlich on the very-funny-in-retrospect "Never Back Down":
"As Never Back Down would have it, Orlando, Florida is a spoiled rich kid's haven, littered with cavernous million dollar mansions and inhabited by sun-baked, iPhone-toting teenagers prone to nightly Fight Club-like bouts of bloodletting. Parents and trailer trash are non-existent, but rock-hard abs are legion (for truth-in-advertising purposes the film might best be subtitled 'Chest Porn').Much less funny, even though it's supposed to be? "Leatherheads," which I saw tonight. Not only does the movie have nothing of interest to say about 1920s football, but it abandons the subject altogether for an hourlong second act filled with an unconvincing love triangle and a pointless World War I subplot. And has anyone else noticed that with the exception of "O Brother Where Art Thou," George Clooney can't act in comedies at all?
No, unlike the New Yorker last week, I do not support efforts to do away with the penny. But the below Upright Citizens Brigade clip is a great argument in favor of just such a move (via LilB):
This is pretty amusing, as we learn that the "official version" of the Death Star destruction can't possibly be true.
Molester claims he was victim of Bigfoot
A man who claims that he was molested by Bigfoot as a child was ordered to serve 20 years in prison yesterday for his own molestation-related activities.
Gene R. Morrill, 57, of New Ipswich, N.H., had previously pleaded guilty in Stafford Circuit Court to 20 charges stemming from his efforts to solicit 13-year-old boys over the Internet.
Defense attorney Terrence Patton cited Morrill's mental health issues in seeking leniency from Judge J. Howe Brown.