June 30, 2008

Drilling For Fake Oil

I look into the possibility of synthetic oil, in this week's North Star column.

And on E-Gear, one of the greatest products ever created: a toilet-paper dispenser with a built-in iPod dock.

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

Gay Sports Champions Part I

From Hugo Schwyzer

This leads me to my observation: legalizing gay marriage is good for sports teams. Spain did it a few years back, and wham, they win the Euro for the first time since 1964. Canada did it just before the 2006 Winter Olympics, and bingo, they had their best-ever medal haul. South Africa legalized gay marriage in 2006, and won the Rugby World Cup the following year. Massachusetts gave same-sex couples the right to wed a few years ago — and ask Red Sox and Celtic fans about how nicely things have gone for their teams since. For all those folks who insist that God’s punishment for gay marriage will be obvious, so far the evidence is, um, lacking. The evidence for the opposite is growing.

If California upholds gay marriage at the ballot box in November, I predict championships for USC football, UCLA basketball, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Anaheim Angels — all within short order.

Come on- what are you waiting for, Minnesota? The veep nod can wait, Pawlenty.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:26 PM | Comments (1)

Gay Sports Champions Part II

The nutjob right-wing group known as the American Family Association apparently has some type of auto-correct feature on their site that, for whatever reason, changes the word "gay" to "homosexual." Yes, even in stories about track and field, in which sprinter Tyson Gay is the winner:

Tyson Homosexual was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has.

His time of 9.68 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials Sunday doesn't count as a world record, because it was run with the help of a too-strong tailwind. Here's what does matter: Homosexual qualified for his first Summer Games team and served notice he's certainly someone to watch in Beijing.

"It means a lot to me," the 25-year-old Homosexual said. "I'm glad my body could do it, because now I know I have it in me."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:26 PM | Comments (3)

Best Movies of the Half Year

"Forgetting Sarah Marshall," "Iron Man," "Be Kind Rewind," "The Wackness," "Wall*E," "Cloverfield," "Prince Caspian," "Bigger Stronger Faster," "Definitely Maybe."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:25 PM | Comments (5)

Worst Movies of the Half Year

"Jumper," "Speed Racer," "Untraceable," "Drillbit Taylor," "Never Back Down."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:25 PM | Comments (1)

The Trouble With Wall*E

I liked the new Pixar movie quite a bit, although I wouldn't put it in the upper echelon of the Pixar canon (that's "Toy Story 2," "The Incredibles," and "Cars." But I did feel sort of uneasy about one aspect of it. Kyle Smith elaborates:

The earthlings — or maybe Americans, as none of them have any other kind of accent — are brain-dead blobs perpetually stuffed to the gills with entertainment. They never leave their spotless flying barcaloungers — and never could, since their bones have shrunk to useless twigs inside their Shrek-like masses. They float through their troglodyte lives as unquestioning subjects of the master corporation (the same one that ruined the Earth) that houses them, distracts them and feeds them. All foods are made to be sucked down like milkshakes for maximum convenience.
The same thing, of course, was true of "Idiocracy," a film with pretty much the exact same plot, minus the robots-in-love part. I just found that part of the plot, as well as the movie's overall message, not exactly subtle.

Full review to come Wednesday.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:25 PM | Comments (6)

Don't Call me S. Hussein Silver

I haven't made much of a secret to anyone who knows me or reads my writings that I support Barack Obama's presidential candidacy, I find him the most inspiring candidate to high office (with the possible exception of Paul Wellstone) in my lifetime, I genuinely admire the man, and I sincerely hope that he's our next president.

Changing my middle name to his, however, is where I draw the line.

A few years ago, when everyone was supposed to add "fair and balanced" to the name of their blog, I thought it was sort of cool. But actually taking the middle name of the candidate you like is another thing entirely.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:24 PM | Comments (5)

June 29, 2008

The Return of Friendster

They love it in Asia, apparently- to the point where it may soon be the world's largest social network, once again. Better that than MySpace.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:23 PM | Comments (0)

You Can Cross Clark Off the VP List

News Item: Wesley Clark says "I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president"

Pretty funny, from a guy whose one and only qualification to run for president was his own military record. All he did in that entire campaign was shoot himself in the foot, so I'll guess his nonexistent veep chances just went away completely. Good.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:54 PM | Comments (1)

June 28, 2008

Quote of the Day

Matthew Yglesias, on the idiocy of two known adulterers (one of whom is gay!) co-sponsoring the Federal Marriage Amendment:

Good news! Larry Craig and David Vitter are on the case. Some liberals see irony here, but I see two men well-positioned to know what a tenuous strand it is holding the institution together and how easily a handful of gay weddings could plunge us all into an endless wide-stance, hooker-filled dystopia.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:50 PM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2008

For Love or Mayo

The Timberwolves made a midnight trade after last night's NBA draft, swapping their pick, O.J. Mayo, along with the undesirable contracts of Marko Jaric, Greg Buckner and Antoine Walker to the Grizzlies in exchange for draftee Kevin Love, as well as MIke Miller, Jason Collins and Brian Cardinal. I went to bed in the middle of the second round so I didn't even hear about the trade until this morning.

I really don't know what to say about this trade. I like Love, I think he's a better fit for the Wolves than Mayo was, Miller's quite a good player, and getting out from under Jaric and Walker's contracts was absolutely necessary- the Wolves are, improbably, just about bad-contract-free, aside from Brian Cardinal's, which they took in the trade.

In the other hand, I have zero trust in Kevin McHale to do anything, and I still have no idea why he even still has a job. Then again, the other GM in the trade, Chris Wallace, is even more of an imbecile, so...

Worst thing about the trade: It means there won't actually be a "Love/Gay" frontcourt in Memphis next year.

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

New Writings

My first-ever product review for E-Gear, of a very underwhelming video iPod dock, is online here.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:24 PM | Comments (1)

Costas Now: The Remix

In honor of Will Leitsch's retirement from Deadpsin, JE Skeets produced this bit of overdubbed brilliance:

Opinion! Titties! Videos about tasting Shaq's ass!

Also, A.J. Daulerio is the new editor, so it'll be nice to have some Philly perspective on the world's most important sports blog.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:23 PM | Comments (0)

Fortunately, the Bar From "Cocktail" Remains Intact

News Item: Bar From "Top Gun" Destroyed

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

June 26, 2008

Magazine Cover of the Year

From New York magazine:


You know it's a bad year for conservative Republicans when both parties' candidates embrace terrorist fist jabs.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)

Sports Radio Moment of the Day

Last night, on ESPN 950's night time show, a caller to Harry Mays and Dan Schwartzman suggested the following trade scenario: Sixers trade Andre Miller, Andre Iguodala and the 16th pick in the draft to Miami for the 2nd pick in the draft, which Philly would use to take Michael Beasley.

The two hosts enthusiastically approved, seemingly unaware that 1) the NBA has a salary cap, 2) that trade would put Miami over it, most likely, 3) It's not legal to trade tens of millions in contracts for one draft pick, 4) Iguodala is a restricted free agent and can't be traded, barring a sign-and-trade that can't happen prior to the draft, and 5) The trade doesn't really benefit either team. Other than that though, great idea.

Makes about as much sense as the callers who, each and every day, suggest the Phils trade Ryan Howard and/or Pat Burrell for "pitching."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)

Against "Our Country," Cont'd

From Cracked's list of "Five Songs That Don't Mean What You Think They Mean," #1 is America's least favorite beer commercial anthem:

While there's plenty of room for confusion in the lyrics, there is one thing most everyone can agree on. Those fucking Chevy commercials need to stop. Since approximately week three of the 2006 season, NFL fans nationwide have entered into each and every commercial break paralyzed by the fear that, at some point during the break in action, the words "The dream is still alive" will act as the harbinger that signals the beginning of the 30 least pleasurable seconds of their Sunday football watching experience. The least pleasurable, that is, until the whole experience is repeated 15 more times throughout the game. And the game after that.
My advice for Obama: don't let Johnny Cougar anywhere near Denver during the convention. Got it?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:57 AM | Comments (1)

All of Philly is Jealous of Shawn Chacon

News Item: Astros' Chacon suspended for choking GM Wade

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:56 AM | Comments (0)

Souhan the Original

Canis Hoopus has been running "Wolves Draft Central" bits the last couple of days, coming up with funny dialogue among the 50 or so people involved in the Timberwolves' draft process, and generally hammering home the point that the team has too many people in charge, and none of them really know anything.

So great an idea for a bit, in fact, that JIm Souhan did the exact same thing in today's column. The Canis version was much funnier, however.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

The Cult of Chuck Todd, Cont'd

Yes, it's VivaChuckTodd!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2008

Two New Movie Reviews

I review "Get Smart" in the Trend, and the DVD of "Interview" on the North Star page. I don't terribly recommend either one.

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

Solve For R

Stewart echoes what I said yesterday:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:52 PM | Comments (0)

T-Wolves Draft Notes

I can't say I'm especially excited about O.J. Mayo or Brook Lopez or Kevin Love, but I am intrigued by these reports that Pat Riley isn't enthused about Michael Beasley and, if he can't make a trade, might just take Mayo with the pick. Still though, I put the scenario of Beasley actually falling to the Wolves at about 5 percent likelihood, because I'm sure one of three things will happen:

- It turns out Riley was full of shit all along and the Heat take Beasley.

- Some other team trades into 2 spot and takes Beasley, or

- Riley indeed takes Mayo, but Kevin McHale makes an ill-advised trade out of the 3 spot with another team more enthused about Beasley than he is.

For more on this, visit the wonderfully named Wolves blog Canis Hoopis.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:51 PM | Comments (0)

There Are No Strategists

Politico takes a fascinating look at those people on TV often referred to as "Democratic strategists" or "Republican strategists." Surprise! Most of them have never strategized for anyone in their life.

Did you ever notice how on Fox News the Republican strategists are people like Karl Rove and Newt Gingrich, while their Democratic counterparts are people you've never heard of it? Funny how that works out.

At least MSNBC's GOP strawman is Pat Buchanan. Pat may be a lifelong racist and anti-Semite who writes books blaming the Holocaust on Winston Churchill, but at least he's actually worked for GOP presidents. Who the hell is Kirsten Powers?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:46 PM | Comments (0)

We Don't Need No Steenkin' Badges!

News Item: Shaquille O'Neal loses sheriff's badge after anti-Kobe rap

I never thought I'd enjoy Shaq rapping, but that was before i heard this masterpiece:

Shaq would certainly be the first basketball Hall of Famer to disclose his vasectomy while still an active player.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:45 PM | Comments (1)

Porn and Baseball

Nextround.net ranks the best baseball player/porn names in history. Conspicuously absent are Dick Pole, Dickie Thon, and of course, Randy Johnson, who not only had the name but looked like a porn star for most of the '90s.

This thread reminds me of the classic WBRS discussion in the late '90s when someone suggested that Gary Gaetti looked more like a porn star than any other athlete, to which the host replied that since Gaetti was at the time baseball's most vocal born-again Christian, a career in porn would seem unlikely.

#1 on the Nextround list is Boof Bonser, but the greatest porn name in sports history is another Minnesota athlete: Vikings linebacker-turned-player personnel director Scott Studwell.

(Via Shysterball.)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

Not A Story About Al Franken

News Item: Tough-guy actor eyes Senate seat

The candidate, Sonny Landham, was in "Predator," along with future governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura. He's also referred to his opponent, Mitch McConnell, as "Boss Hogg," which is almost enough to make we want to register in Kentucky just to vote for him.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2008

The Most Nonsensical Smear Ever

Karl Rove, on Obama:

Even if you never met him, you know this guy. He's the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by.
'Cause when I think "country club," I think of a skinny black guy who never makes snide comments and doesn't play golf.

I have no idea what Rove is trying to get at here, but Yglesias' commenters took a stab:. My favorites:

- "Having grown up as the middle class kid surrounded by upper-middle-class country club-goers, I feel I can say with authority that, no, Obama does not come across as this guy. George W. Bush is that guy."

- "What country club that Karl Rove has ever been to would allow Obama to come to one of their parties?"

- "Yeah, that doesn't even make any sense. Guys with beautiful dates are busy mingling, showing off their beautiful dates. The guys standing off to the sides and making snide remarks are the ones without beautiful dates."

- "So Barack Obama is basically Chevy Chase's character in Caddyshack?"

- "I thought Muslims weren't allowed to drink alcohol. This is getting SOOOOO confusing..."

- "This is intended as raw meat for those who resent the success of Tiger Woods and the fact that he has a stunning wife. How big a demographic could that be?"

- "The way he phrased it sounds like we're all supposed to know what it's like to deal with that guy at the country club. It's like Krusty trying his hand at observational humor and complaining about your butler bringing you the wrong cognac."

- "If Karl Rove were at a country club party, he'd be the guy who scratched your car and then said the staff did it."

- "it's weird to paint an African American - particularly a black man that's also being painted as a foreign, exotic, Muslim, anti-white black churchgoer that's out to destroy America, or at least the white part of it - as a snooty country club elitist"

- "Wait, was this quote supposed to be about Obama or Truman Capote? Cause I get them confused all the time."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)

Like The Twins' Ewing Theory Season Wasn't Rubbing It In Enough

News Item: Johan Santana gives up grand slam to Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez

Hernandez is the first AL pitcher to hit a grand slam since before the advent of the DH- and he did it off the best pitcher in the game.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:54 PM | Comments (3)

A Carlin Thought

Mike Barnicle guest-hosted "Hardball" last night, although I didn't see him mention George Carlin's death in the part of the show I watched. Barnicle, you may remember, was fired from the Boston Globe in the late '90s for, among other offenses, plagiarizing Carlin's jokes in his columns. After watching Barnicle on TV for the last week doing a constant eulogy of his friend Tim Russert, funny to see him not mention Carlin at all.

Meanwhile, HBO will be re-running all of Carlin's specials in the next couple of weeks. That's a courtesy that I'm guessing won't be repeated when, say, Gallagher passes on.

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

"Half Hour News Hour: The Sports Version"

News Item: ESPN to Launch "Daily Show"-like Late Night Program

I suppose if they were able to harness the sort of comedic talent generally on display in the sports blogosphere, this idea could maybe work. But instead, I'm sure, the Sklar Brothers will be prominently involved, and it'll suck.

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

So Long, Larry

News Item: Philadelphia's KYW fires Larry Mendte

The plot just keeps thickening- now the FBI is supposedly looking into whether Mendte specifically leaked the bikini-pictures e-mail to the press. This is going to be the most entertaining trial ever.

On his new blog, Kidd Chris has thoughts as well. Funny that, as mentioned in Alycia's Lane's lawsuit, Mendte sat in with Chris while he bashed Lane and now, six months later, all three of them have been fired by the same company.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:52 PM | Comments (0)

Terrorism and Lack Thereof: Both Good for Republicans

McCain advisor Charlie Black:

In an interview with Fortune, Black said that a terrorist attack would be a “big advantage” to McCain, a comment the all-but-certain GOP candidate immediately distanced himself from.
So let me get this straight: Per Cheney in '04, we have to vote for Republicans, in order to keep us safe from future terrorist attacks. But per Charlie Black, if an actual terrorist attack happens, during a Republican administration, the best thing to do is responding by... voting for Republicans.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:51 PM | Comments (0)

Oswalt to Philly?

A pitcher signed long-term, who's still good, coming from a team with a GM known for making bad trades? I'm intrigued...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:51 PM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2008

Against Kelly and Polanski

I wonder why child molestation, in the age of "To Catch a Predator," isn't considered such a big deal anymore by some- see, R. Kelly's continued career- in this week's North Star column.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:57 PM | Comments (2)

Twins Up, Phils Down

Something odd has been going on of late with my two favorite baseball teams: the Phillies can't win and the Twins can't lose. The Phils were swept this weekend at home by the Angels in a series in which they couldn't score runs, while the Twins swept the Diamondbacks at home. The Phils' losing streak stands at five, while the Twins have now won six straight.

I wouldn't read too much into any of the above, though, because the Twins clearly aren't really this good, and the Phils aren't really nearly this bad.

Look at the standings. The Phils are still in first place, but more importantly they've scored 79 more runs than they've given up, which is far, far ahead of any other NL team besides the Cubs. That indicates that they really are good, and haven't just won because they've been lucky. Their bats have been silent for the last week, sure, but they're not likely to stay that way for long. Trading their four best prospects for three months of C.C. Sabathia, as most of WIP Nation seems to want, would be exactly the wrong move.

The Twins, meanwhile, despite being four games over .500 and just 1.5 in back of the White Sox, have given up two more runs than they've scored. The Twins have gotten some excellent pitching out of their young staff, yes, and I'm liking that they're getting production out of people like Alexi Casilla and Brian Boucher (the less Nick Punto in the lineup, the better.) But unless they make a trade for a power bat, I really don't see any scenario in which they make the playoffs.

And yes, you really have to love Philly sports radio. The two stations on Friday reacted to the news of Curt Schilling's likely career-ending surgery thusly: WIP's Howard Eskin conducted what must have been a HIPPA-violating in-depth interview with Schilling's surgeon, while over on WPEN Mike Missanelli talked up the idea of.. the Phillies trying to sign Schilling next year. They should just be happy they didn't sign him THIS year.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:57 PM | Comments (0)

Carlin Dead

The legendary comedian George Carlin died Sunday at the age of 71. I've enjoyed Carlin's comedy for years- the baseball/football bit, the occasional acting roles, and his brilliant post-9/11 special "Complaints and Grievances" were especially favorites of mine. But the best of all? The Seven Words You Can't Say on TV, of course:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:56 PM | Comments (0)

Keith and Laura, Sitting in a Tree...

This, to me, was the most fascinating thing in the New Yorker's Keith Olbermann profile last week:

Shortly after Olbermann’s “shut the hell up” commentary on President Bush last month, conservative radio pounced on the implication that he was calling American troops in Iraq “cold-blooded killers,” and Olbermann took particular note of criticism from Laura Ingraham, who said on the air, “I believe MSNBC really needs to bring in a medical team at this point. . . . I don’t know what happened to him. I really don’t. He didn’t use to be this way.” (Olbermann dated Ingraham briefly a decade ago. “There were a few problems,” he told me. “There were a few things that I could see were going to be impediments. Oddly, they were not political things.”)
Say what? How'd that happen? I'm certainly not surprised to hear it didn't work out...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:55 PM | Comments (0)

"The Greatest, Best Country God Has Ever Given Man On the Face of the Earth.'"

Colbert vs. Hannity:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:55 PM | Comments (1)

June 22, 2008

Overestimating Tavaris

News Item: SI's Dr. Z picks Vikings to win Super Bowl

I'm more optimistic about this year than most, but let's not get carried away here.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:44 PM | Comments (0)

The Right Move

News Item: Tom Brokaw to host "Meet the Press" through November

Good idea. Then, in December or January, Chuck Todd Time can begin.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:21 PM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2008

Vedder in Camden

Last night I, a big fan of the group going back to their first album in 1991, finally saw Pearl Jam live for the first time, at the Susquehanna Bank (nee Tweeter) Center across the river in Camden. Yes, I once saw Vedder sing "Better Man" with Springsteen, and once saw McCready and Stone Gossard throw out the first pitch at a St. Paul Saints game a few hours before they were to play the Xcel Center. But never before had I seen the whole band play.

A great show (here's the setlist), they really are as great live as I've always been led to believe. The set was a pretty even mix of old and new, with just about every album represented. Highlights were "Black," "Given to Fly," and especially "Evenflow," on which Mike McCready played the entire guitar solo with the ax behind his head. Also great renditions of "Better Man," as well as "Yellow Ledbetter" (the closer), even though I'm still no closer to understanding the lyrics.

Other highlights include Vedder dedicating "Light Years" to Tim Russert, musing about all the long-gone venues in Philly where they've played over the years, and (my personal favorite) giving a long speech about ending the war, during which he stated that "it's right there in Constitution- we can throw those fuckers out!" (I'm not a lawyer, but I don't remember that part.)

About 30 seconds after Vedder's anti-war speech, a huge brawl broke out a few feet from me in the crowd; in line for the ferry back to Philly, one NJGuido.com-type guy threatened to fight three different people who thought were cutting in line.

Notable omissions: "Alive," "Jeremy," "Daughter," "Worldwide Suicide," and "Rearviewmirror." No complaints, though.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:45 PM | Comments (2)

Buzz Keeps Digging

Buzz Bissinger, the world's most famous blog-hater, gave an interview to Boston Phoenix writer/very conflicted T-Wolves fan Adam Reilly this week, in which he appeared to be contrite, and even praised a few blogs. But then he negated it all by saying this:

He adds, “You have blogs that proudly parade around saying, ‘We don’t need no stinking credibility or stinking information — it doesn’t matter what you say or do if you know how to write.’ They cover themselves under the mantle of the First Amendment. But if John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had any idea what the First Amendment would have wrought, they would have canceled it.”
Yes, Bissinger- longtime journalist, author, Pulitzer Prize winner- just said blogs would have justified the retroactive cancellation of the First Amendment. He should have his Pulitzer revoked, just for that.

Reilly's piece is worth reading in full; Bill Simmons gives some good quotes as well. And, of course, Ken Tremendous tees off on Buzz in response.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

Obama/McNabb Parallel, Cont'd

Will Bunch of Attytood shares a reader e-mail, from ""John in Northeast Philly"::

Hello, No disrespect but liberals like you make me sick. Quite frankly real Americans don't care what we do to these bastards and we shouldn't. In fact until we start beheading them on live TV, they and their supporters don't have a complaint... Keep wishing for obama, as a Philadelphian you've suffered under enough black leaders and quarterbacks to know better.
Bunch's rejoiner: "I truly hope Philadelphia can be restored to those glory years when Roman Gabriel was guiding the Eagles and Frank Rizzo was in City Hall."

All I can say is, Obama had better not smile at the wrong time during a debate this fall.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

"Meet the Press" Succession Blogging

Too soon? Of course. But my pick, like many others, is Chuck Todd. Sure, they should probably led Tom Brokaw handle it through the election to get him prepared, but giving it to Matthews or Olbermann or David Gregory is NOT a good idea. Not as bad as Katie Couric, or Russert's 22-year-old son, but still not good.

Fore more information, check out (yes, that's right) ChuckToddFacts.com

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:43 PM | Comments (4)

On the End of Schilling

Shysterball articulates pretty much exactly how I feel:

The bad news: Curt Schilling's pitching career is likely over. He was a true great on the mound, vastly underrated during the early portions of his career, and simply dominant during large stretches of his prime.

The worse news: There is now nothing standing in the way of Curt Schilling's broadcasting and/or political careers.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:42 PM | Comments (0)

Against Myers

I've been looking forward all week to the "Love Guru" reviews. I had a chance to see it Wednesday, but instead my wife and I stayed home and watched three straight "Homicide" re-runs. Judging from today's reviews, I think we made the right decision:

Dana Stevens:

There are good movies. There are bad movies. There are movies so bad they're good (though, strangely, not the reverse). And once in a while there is a movie so bad that it takes you to a place beyond good and evil and abandons you there, shivering and alone. Watching The Love Guru (Paramount Pictures) is a spiritual experience of a sort, but not the sort that its creator and star, Mike Myers, intended. This tale of a guru who brings joy to all who meet him is the most joy-draining 88 minutes I've ever spent outside a hospital waiting room. In the course of those long minutes, Myers leads you on a journey deep inside himself, to the source from whence his comedy springs—and it's about as much fun as a tour of someone's large intestine.
A.O. Scott:
A whole new vocabulary seems to be required. To say that the movie is not funny is merely to affirm the obvious. The word “unfunny” surely applies to Mr. Myers’s obnoxious attempts to find mirth in physical and cultural differences but does not quite capture the strenuous unpleasantness of his performance. No, “The Love Guru” is downright antifunny, an experience that makes you wonder if you will ever laugh again.
Roger Ebert:
Myers has made some funny movies, but this film could have been written on toilet walls by callow adolescents. Every reference to a human sex organ or process of defecation is not automatically funny simply because it is naughty, but Myers seems to labor under that delusion. He acts as if he’s getting away with something, but in fact all he’s getting away with is selling tickets to a dreary experience.
Christopher Orr:
Still, The Love Guru is impossible to recommend, not only on its own merits but on the basis of what might follow. After two Wayne's Worlds, three Austin Powerses, and three Shreks, let me suggest we all avoid any behavior that might invite the diminishing returns of Guru 2: Sitar Boogaloo.
Kyle Smith:
'THE Love Guru" is even funnier than "Wayne's World" or "Austin Powers." Not. If this movie were a president, it would be Tedious Roosevelt.
I believe every single one of the above reviews contains some variation on the line "The Mariska Hargitay joke is funny the first time, but not the 50th time."

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

Against Carvey

Did you notice something odd about last week's Dana Carvey HBO special- namely, that wasn't funny at all? The AV Club's Sean O'Neal has a long essay as to why.

Who's having a worse career these days- Wayne, or Garth?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:41 PM | Comments (1)

The Cito Restoration

News Item: Blue Jays fire manager John Gibbons; replace him with Cito Gaston

Gaston, as you probably remember, won two World Series as Jays manager in the early '90s, but never got another job again, which never made any sense to me at all. His hiring, though, doesn't change the Jays' status as the AL East team with the least-bright medium-to-long-term future.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:41 PM | Comments (1)

In Defense (Sort of) of J.D. Drew

A.J. Daulerio of Deadspin, on Philadelphia fans' continued booing of J.D. Drew:

Regardless of the truth, the booing of J.D. Drew will continue because he has become the embodiment of Philadelphia's frustration, shame, and title-lessness. It's more symbolic than anything else, but it's also become tiresome. All it does is give more ammunition for all of the out-of-town writers to bring up snowballing Santa Claus, batery throwing, and other isolated incidents of wretchedness that have made Philadelphia trogolydytic fan capital of the United States. It'd be nice if they actually proved them wrong.
It's funny that the same people who still boo Drew 11 years later are the ones who get mad at Donovan McNabb for still "holding a grudge" about being booed at the draft.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:40 PM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2008

How Not To Fire a Manager

Jim Caple has some helpful ideas for firings that would've been even worse than the Mets' of Willie Randolph. My favorite idea:

Waking him up in the middle of the night in his hotel room and telling him that you need to speak to him first thing in the morning about something very, very important, but you can't tell him what right now because you don't want to ruin his night's sleep, then adding that, oh, he probably should avoid ordering an InDemand movie or room service for breakfast or using the minibar unless he's willing to pay for it himself.
Isn't that what the Padres did to Larry Bowa?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

Primary Follies

A stroll down memory lane, with some help from Benny Hill:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

More Bush-Bashing From Matthew Yglesias

The Atlantic blogger really really hates Bush. No, not the president (although I think he does) the band Bush. I don't much care for either.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

Esoteric Web Site of the Day

I give you... Prime Number Shitting Bear!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:49 PM | Comments (0)

Film Critic Quote of the Day

Michael Totten on "Zohan"

American mall rats who buy theater tickets just for the laughs get a brief lesson on the Six Day War in 1967 and on Israel’s rules of engagement designed to shield innocent civilians from collateral damage. Zohan may be a raunchy comic book type of character, but he accurately represents most Israeli soldiers I’ve met in at least one way – he would much rather hang out with beautiful women on the beaches of Tel Aviv than fight Arabs. He’s easy to get along with as long as you are not trying to kill him. And if you are trying to kill him – watch out.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:49 PM | Comments (0)

The Muslim Women

So apparently, a pair of women in Muslim head coverings were not allowed to be seated behind Barack Obama at his big speech with Al Gore in Detroit last week. This was obviously a stupid thing for them to do, and the campaign apologized as soon as they heard about it.

What probably happened here is that a campaign volunteer - as opposed to, say, David Axelrod or Obama himself- did a stupid thing that the campaign backed away from the second they heard about it. To say this is somehow "hypocritical" would only be the case if it were the official policy of the campaign to kick Muslims off stage, and there's no evidence whatsoever that this is the case.

And besides- who exactly would refuse to vote for Obama because of this? Someone who really loves Muslims but isn't exactly sure about Obama?

And no, when it comes to Obama and Islam, this isn't even the stupidest story of the day...

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

"Blame the Gays"

This guy blames the onset of gay marriage in California for the death of his own (straight) marriage:

Hard to argue with that logic.

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

June 18, 2008

"This is For Everybody in 'Sota"

That was the first thing Kevin Garnett said last night after the Boston Celtics crushed the L.A. Lakers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals to win their first championship since 1986. At least he didn't say "Minny."

I am genuinely happy for the Celtics, their fans, and especially Garnett. Garnett was a team player in Minnesota, didn't demand a trade in a situation in which just about any other superstar would have, and only left when it was clear that's what management wanted. He arrived in exactly the right situation and played well enough to cross himself off the "never won a championship" list. Now will he do what Ray Bourque did, and take the O'Brien Trophy to Minneapolis in the off-season?

As for the Celtics, I lived in Boston in the latter half of the '90s when the team had little going for it. I remember going to a game, when I was visiting schools, at a half-empty FleetCenter in which a scoreboard intro featuring the Celtic greats of the past gave way to a team whose marquee players were Dana Barros and Dino Radja. I went to Brandeis, where the team practiced and I once ran into Pervis Ellison at the gym, but they took off from there a couple of years after I arrived. Meanwhile, the Rick Pitino Era brought in big hopes that were dashed almost immediately.

Tiresome as it is that Boston has come without an improbable helmet catch of winning three consecutive titles in baseball, football, and basketball, I'm quite happy for the Celtics and I'm glad they won. The only remaining question is, what will Kevin McHale do with his playoff share?

Here's KG's awkward postgame interview with fellow ex-'Sotan Michele Tafoya:

Also loved the hug with Bill Russell. Had he won that with the Wolves, the hug would've been with... who? Tony Campbell? Pooh Richardson? Christian Laettner?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:04 PM | Comments (1)

Going Green

I review "The Incredible Hulk" in the Trend this week. And in case you missed it, my new Rotten Tomatoes page is here.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:03 PM | Comments (1)

Keystone Lead

News Item: Obama leads McCain by 12 in Pennsylvania

And Florida and Ohio too!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:03 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

Joe Posnanski, on the MJ/Kobe argument that we will now never hear again after last night:

Comparing Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan is like … er … it’s just plain … Kobe Bryant? To Michael Jordan? What? … I mean, that’s like saying that … um … I mean Kobe Bryant is like … are you CRAZY?“

Yep, that’s me sputtering. I cannot even begin a viable argument because it’s like arguing why chocolate cake tastes better than roofing insulation. It’s like arguing that Abraham Lincoln was a more significant American than John Candy. It’s like arguing that Casablanca is a better movie than the Bay City Rollers album Once Upon A Star … It’s like … Kobe? Compared to Michael? Are you serious? … it’s like here it is again, to even ARGUE the point is so frustrating, so infuriating, because you have to begin with an unfair premise, that being that there IS AN ARGUMENT to be made, and there is not.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:01 PM | Comments (3)

Matt vs. Mac

In an over-the-top but nonetheless valuable piece about John McCain for Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi interviews some "low-info voters":

Cindy Oestriecher, a McCain supporter who turned out for his speech in New Orleans, is stumped when I ask her for an example of Obama's lack of patriotism. "What was that thing about anti-American?" she asks a friend. "What were they referring to?"

"What thing?" asks the friend.

"People were talking about that thing, that anti-American thing," Cindy says, frowning.

"You mean about the flag, the thing on the Internet?" the friend replies.

"Yeah, I guess," says Cindy. "The anti-American thing." "That bothers you?" I ask.

"Of course it does!"

"But you don't even know what it is," I say. "You just know that someone else said he was anti-American. You don't even know who it was that said it!"

She shrugs. What's my point? We all know what the deal is. When it comes to presidential politics, you either are or you aren't. And Barack Obama aren't.

Taibbi, though, is the guy who thinks Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are both way too conservative to be president.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:00 PM | Comments (0)

Stewart on Randolph

Hey, say what you will about whatever company you work for. But it's probably been awhile since they last fired someone in the middle of the night.

So we hear they didn't fire him on Sunday because it was Father's Day, and they did it late at night so that all of the columnists and beat writers would miss their deadlines. Yet somehow, it ended up being a bigger PR nightmare than either of those would have been. This is why the Mets (like other New York teams, especially the Knicks and Rangers) never win. They make way too many decisions in order to "make a splash," to get on the back pages, etc., as opposed to just doing what the best thing is for the team. Hey, the Phillies don't give a rat's ass what the fans or media think about anything- and look who's in first place.

This time last year, a lot of people in Philly thought Charlie Manuel was the worst manager ever in baseball. Now, he's not even the worst manager in his own division whose last name is "Manuel."

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

Jemele Heil

ESPN.com columnist Jemele Hill has been suspended from writing for the site after a column she wrote recently in which she said rooting for the Celtics would be like rooting for Hitler. The "joke," to me, was so over-the-top as to not be the slightest bit offensive, aside from the obvious breaking of Godwin's Law. Still, I'm a Jemele fan, and I look forward to her returning to work.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

Omar in Philly!

The actor who played Omar on "The Wire," Michael K. Williams, visited a Philadelphia high school this week to warn the kids about the dangers of street violence. I just hope he didn't encourage them to rob drug dealers for a living.

Great lede from my man Daniel Rubin:

How do you grab high school students' attention two days before the final bell?

You bring in the scar-faced, shotgun-toting, duster-wearing, gay vigilante who tormented Baltimore drug dealers on HBO's The Wire.

You'd think "Wire" praise would be verboten in the Inquirer, what with Bill Marimow still in charge...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:56 PM | Comments (0)

Against "Douchebag"

Esquire wants the word banned, or at least moratorium'd:

Unlike asshole or bullshit, douchebag refers to a device, an apparatus of common utility, and hasn't entirely shed its tie to meaning, so it's acceptable in a way that asshole or bullshit will never be. At the same time, it still has the naughty visuals, so self-styled edgy TV shows -- e.g., 30 Rock, The Office, The Daily Show -- employ it indiscriminately. As proven by tool in the late nineties, an epithet loses most of its value once it's appropriated by prime time.
Hopefully, the blog Hot Chicks With Douchebags can live on due to some sort of grandfather clause.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:55 PM | Comments (1)

June 17, 2008

It's a Crime

My latest roundup of electronics crime is up on Dealerscope.com. (Apologies for the slow loading times, now and always.)

One of the crimes listed is a really sad story right here in Philadelphia, of a young guy who had just moved to the city- from Minnesota of all places- who was gunned down near the Italian market, probably for his iPod.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:36 PM | Comments (0)


Stewart discovers that laughable Obama/Cuomo "plagiarism" segment from Fox:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:35 PM | Comments (0)

The Russert Backlash

So apparently some are unhappy about MSNBC, and other networks, "overdoing" the memorializing of Tim Russert over the weekend. Sure, it's always a bit much when a news channel covers one story, and only one story, for a period of several days, but I can't get too upset here. Russert was an enormous figure in American journalism and on NBC News, and he's certainly much more of a figure of national consequence then, say, Anna Nicole Smith, whose death was on constant rotation on every news channel for weeks.

TV Barn agrees with me:

Well, what else were they going to do — show repeats of those "Lockup" documentaries? Come on. Of course they were going to memorialize their beloved Irish uncle, their "leader" (Keith Olbermann), their "best friend" (several NBCers), their "father figure" (Chuck Todd). Not to mention the most-watched Sunday morning host and a constant presence on MSNBC during this election season. NBC even joined in, having nothing to lose but perhaps a "American Gladiators" re-airing, and devoted an hour to a quickly assembled tribute on Friday.
Incidentally, the Russert coverage got huge ratings, and different versions of his two books currently occupy the top three spots on Amazon.com

It was hard not to well up with tears while watching the "Meet the Press" tribute on Sunday, and I also really liked the tributes that Conan O'Brien and Jon Stewart did on Monday. Also, I learned from Michael Wilbon's weekly chat on Monday that "Pardon the Interruption" was 1) Tim Russert's idea, and 2) like Conan's show, a past internship home for Luke Russert.

Read on in the Wilbon chat for Mike's fascinating thoughts on what his father, who died 20 years ago, would have thought of Barack Obama.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:33 PM | Comments (1)

"Morning Joe" Moment of the Day

This is how I know MSNBC's "Morning Joe" is good- I watch it for about five minutes every day and at least one memorable thing seems to always happen. Today, they were talking about Obama and how he's distanced himself from many of his less-savory associates. Joe Scarborough admired his ability to do so, and compared it to the similar ability of the Kennedys. Then Joe said this:

"The Kennedys have always been good at throwing dead weight overboard."
Now, I know he wasn't making a Chappaquiddick joke, but still- these days it's probably best to avoid anything that could possibly be construed as such. It still made me laugh for ten minutes straight, however.

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

Film Critic Quote of the Day

The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt on "Get Smart":

"This is a slap-dash effort whose producers threw money and stunts onscreen instead of the satirical gags and one-liners that made the old spy spoof so memorable... the overriding factor here is that the filmmakers -- this would include ham-fisted director Peter Segal and the punchless writing team of Tom J. Astle & Matt Ember -- don't know what the joke is. Is this a spoof of an old TV series. Is this a spoof of Ian Fleming? Is this a Carell vehicle? No one seems to know as familiar lines crop up in the wrong places and the timing of gags, so indelibly rendered in the series, misfires on nearly every occasion."
I saw this last night and it was pretty bad. None of the jokes really worked, and just about every major action set piece was stolen from another, better movie. Remember Catherine Zeta-Jones' ass ducking under those laser beams in "Entrapment"? Hope you liked it, because Anne Hathaway re-enacts the scene here almost word-for-word and motion-for-motion.

The one and only reason to root for this movie to succeed is that it could potentially lead to a sequel/remake of "The Nude Bomb" and Anne Hathaway would be in it.

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

To Be Fair, They Were Actually Referring to the Dallas Cowboys' "White House"

News Item: Texas Republicans distribute button asking "If Obama is President, Will We Still Call It the White House?"

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:30 PM | Comments (0)

Skipper Overboard

News Item: Mets fire manager Willie Randolph, two coaches

This probably had to happen after last year's collapse and this year's awful start, but I always liked Randolph, and I hope he doesn't have to wait as long for his next managerial job as he did for his first one.

Also- how was it that I didn't know until now that Tom Nieto, the backup catcher for the '87 Twins, was the Mets' first-base coach? Much like how it took until the middle of the 2005 World Series before I knew that Gary Gaetti was Houston's hitting coach.

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

June 16, 2008

Remembering Tim

I eulogize Tim Russert in this week's North Star column.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:58 PM | Comments (0)

Barack Obama vs. Philadelphia Sports Fans

This happened the other night in Philly:

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said at a fund-raiser in Philadelphia on Friday, employing a phrase that could have been lifted from a gangster movie.

“Because from what I understand, folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans,” he said, referring to the city’s football team.

A "shocking" Obama quote! Sensitive Philadelphia sports fans insulted by a totally innocuous statement! I just love it when two of my biggest pet peeves come together! I can't wait to hear Howard Eskin scream about this for an hour on my way home today.

This is without a doubt the best ammo yet for my Obama/McNabb Grand Parallel argument.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:49 PM | Comments (1)

Fake Headline of the Day

Ridiculopathy.com: R. Kelly Acquitted, Pees on Jury to Celebrate

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

No More Munichs

Great piece in Newsweek by Evan Thomas, on the overuse of the "Munich" analogy:

It may be true, as the saying goes, that leaders who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. But it's also true that leaders who carelessly or heedlessly use historical analogies, who twist or hype the lessons of the past, may be destined to make even bigger mistakes than their predecessors. In modern American history, no metaphor has been more used—or abused—than "Munich."
Fareed Zakeria, on his weekend show, had a great piece about this, especially in regards to Reagan- who let's not forget was called an appeaser, just for meeting with Gorbachev.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:45 PM | Comments (1)

Film Critic Quote of the Day

James Kirchick, in TNR, calling "The Happening" "The Most Morally Abhorrent Film Ever Made":

his isn't just radical environemntalist fare; it's perverse and anti-human. Shyamalan cuts immediately from the natural joy of pregnancy to its consequence: mass, nature-inflicted murder. It's not carbon output, styrofoam cups or the clearing of the rain forests that so angers Mother Earth and, thus, her self-appointed human spokesman. It's us.
I haven't seen this movie yet, but I'm going to guess that, say, "Triumph of the Will" was more abhorrent than "The Happening." But probably much more skillfully made.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:44 PM | Comments (2)

June 14, 2008

Digital Downtown!

My company co-produced an electronics show up in New York the last few days; here's a video they made:

Visit Dealerscope.com to see stories of more stuff that went on there.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:53 AM | Comments (2)

June 13, 2008

Tim Russert, RIP

The shocking news was reported this afternoon that Tim Russert has died at the age of 58, of unknown causes. The longtime host of "Meet the Press," who had moderated the show since and served as Washington Bureau Chief for NBC News since 1988.

"Meet the Press" has always been my favorite Sunday news show and I've tried to watch it every week; I'm happy I caught last Sunday's edition. My other greatest memories of Russert include his "magic slate" dry erase board from 2000 and other election nights over the year's, as well as his guest spot in the mid 1990s on "Homicide: Life on the Street" as the "cousin" of a character whose name was Megan Russert. And during every one of those remarkable primary nights in the last six months, Russert was an invaluable contributor.

Russert reportedly suffered a heart attack; he will be greatly missed.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:48 PM | Comments (2)

McCain's Best Hope For Fall

Lots of people like this:

(Via my unironically Republican brother-in-law.)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:48 PM | Comments (2)

"Momentum is a Strange Girl. She Jumped On the Other Side of the Ship"

That quote from Phil Jackson, before the fourth quarter, pretty much sums up last night's NBA Finals Game 4- the Celtics won, to go up 3-1 in the series. There many explanations of why, but I think the quote explains the biggest reason for the result- Jackson coached the game stoned.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:47 PM | Comments (2)

Best Lineup Card Ever

I may despise the White Sox, but I sure do love Ozzie Guillen. Totally hilarious, totally insane- but he can never be fired, because he won the World Series a few years ago. This Onion bit has Guillen filing a profane lineup card led by "Orlando Fucking Cabrera" and "Goddamn Motherfucking Neckless Bastard A.J. Shitbag Pierzynski DUMB!!! FUCK!!!" It's a parody, but would you be surprised if Guillen did that for real? The best part:

Upon noticing that "Cocksucking Assbag Motherfucking Shitfucking Numbnuts Fuckhole" was penciled into the No. 4 spot, Paul Konerko expressed delight that he was batting cleanup.
Hey, Goddamn Motherfucking Neckless Bastard had some good years for the Twins, and fetched quite a Goddamn Motherfucking bounty when we traded him to the Giants.

(Via Shysterball).

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:45 PM | Comments (2)

Bye Bye, Boo Berry

News Item: Twins send down Juan Rincon

He was never the same after that steroid suspension in '06. Funny how those things work...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

A Dark M. Night

From "Funny of Die," it's M. Night Shymalan's "What's Happening":

What I still don't get is, if Raj and Rerun can be killed by water, why would they invade a planet covered entirely in water?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:43 PM | Comments (2)

Quote of the Day

John Scalzi, on the stupid is-Obama-black-or-biracial nonsense:

Here’s a quick test on whether Obama should be considered fully black: Poof! Barack Obama has been magically transported to a KKK meeting in deepest, whitest Klanistan without his Secret Service detail. There’s a rope and a tree nearby. What happens to Obama? If you say, “why, Barack Obama walks out of there alive, of course” then sure, he’s biracial. Also, you’re a fucking idiot. To everybody who cares about Obama’s racial identity, either positively or negatively, the man is a black man, married to a black woman, who has black children. Black black black black black black black black.
So that's two Fox News racial faux pas this week. How long before Hannity or John Gibson lets the n-word slip?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)

In Praise of Entertainment Weekly

Tyler Cowen and Seth Roberts praise their favorite magazine:

Too many readers are too concerned about affiliating themselves with prestigious magazines, rather than learning something. EW takes us to new places because the magazine covers only what is new, or newly reissued. Other cultural contributions (dare I call them “products”?) simply don’t exist for the magazine. That’s what is truly startling about the pages, not what is there but what’s not there. We need to take that seriously, as our culture already operates on that basis.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:42 PM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2008

What of the Hillary Voters?

I answer that question in a mid-week North Star column." Based on every poll I've seen, the answer is "voting for Obama." And his baby mama, too.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:47 PM | Comments (1)

Worst Thing Ever Nominee

Apparently MADD, the anti-drunk driving group, did a truly sick program in a San Diego-area high school last month. They went around to different class rooms and told students that specific classmates had been killed in drunken driving accidents. Then later, the students were brought into an assembly when they were told their friends were not dead after all- but don't drink and drive.

How ridiculous and cruel is that? It might drive one to drink, in fact.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:47 PM | Comments (2)


Obama gets off to an early lead.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:46 PM | Comments (0)

Conlin in Trouble

Philadelphia Daily News columnist Bill Conlin, best known for nonsensical, rambling columns that reference hilarious stories from the 1950s, has been suspended from appearing on Comcast Sports Net, due to shocking, controversial statements he made on the air:

That was a panel of Philadelphia sports reporters discussing the Eagles' minicamp. At the end of the clip, the longtime Philadelphia newspaper columnist Bill Conlin said in response to an e-mail from a viewer, "Amazing that guy would leave the blueberry harvest to send that off." The other panelists then laughed before one said, "Don't mock the blueberry harvest, mister."
Now, I'm certainly no fan of Conlin, but my questions are: 1) what the hell does that mean, and 2) why is it offensive? Is he being "elitist," assuming that a stupid Eagles fan must be a farmer? Say what?

As The 700 Level points out, funny that he gets in trouble, but Angelo Cataldi doesn't, after airing a considerably offensive (and much less funny) segment.

Here's that Angelo clip again; what kind of idiot thinks this crap is funny? And why do they refer to "that Arab dude" when the accent and every other stereotype is of Indians? If they got fired over this I'd be absolutely thrilled.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:46 PM | Comments (0)

Libya Hates Obama

Much of the world may want Obama to win, but Muammar el-Qaddafi apparently does not. His thoughts on the election:

We suspect he may fear being killed by Israeli agents and meet the same fate as Kennedy when he promised to look into Israel's nuclear program," Gadhafi said.
This remind anyone else of Borat deciding to drive across the country instead of fly, "in case the Jews repeat their attack of 9/11"?

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

June 11, 2008

Get Out There and Denounce!

The satirical blogger Jon Swift wades into the Obama-and-the-Jews question:

Obama is going to have to work overtime to deny rumors that he wants to wipe Israel off the map and that he has a secret plan to round up all the Jews and put them in ghettos where black people now live. If Obama would just say, "I do not have any secret plans at the current time to make peace with Iran by driving the Jews out of Israel into the sea or move black people into the homes of Jewish people and move all the Jewish people to Harlem," I think many Jews would be relieved. But so far Obama has not forcefully denied these rumors.
Swift goes on to ask that Barack release his birth certificate so that he can prove that his middle name is in fact "Hussein" and not "Muhammad," which would be brilliant satire if not for the fact that... some people really are trying to do exactly that, and aren't kidding about it.

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

Hummus and Tomatoes

I review the sometimes funny but always uneven "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" at the Trend. Also, I'm happy to report that my reviews will henceforth be appearing on RottenTomatoes. Here's my page; more will be added later.

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

Subprime Stadium

In one of the best newspaper sports columns I've seen this year, St. Louis' Kevin Horrigan envisions the St. Louis Rams trying to get a subprime loan for their hoped-for new stadium.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:50 PM | Comments (0)

More Eagles Warm Fuzzies

The NJ.com Eagle Scout blog, on the McNabb "injury":

Let me just say this, if McNabb shows any type of physical problem come training camp the media powder keg will be unlike anything we've ever seen. Couple such a scenario with a few poor McNabb preseason outings (and a few stellar Kevin Kolb outings) and chaotic, anarchist, pandemonium will manifest itself in ways we've never even imagined.

Good times.

He also refers to Angelo Cataldi's WIP circus as the "Morning Clown Car Show."

UPDATE: Speaking of Angelo, apparently he's broadcast a "Schwoogies"-like bit of his own.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:48 PM | Comments (0)

Best Customer Reviews Ever

I give you Balloon Juice on... the McCain golf set!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:45 PM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2008

McNabb Panic

News Item: Donovan McNabb rested due to shoulder tendinitis

The Eagles' QB will be sitting for the remainder of the team's "organized team activities," which end later this week. Is it just me, or is every NFL team suddenly having mini-camps and/or OTAs every weekend of the offseason?

Anyway, as with all things McNabb, this is sure to engender tons of discussion, debate, and argument in Philly, even though this is a super-minor injury taking place more than three months before the start of the season.

Then again, I was at the Italian Market Festival in Philly the other week and saw three different people wearing Kevin Kolb jerseys. When you buy that jersey, you're sending the message that you really, really, can't wait for Donovan to be gone.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:59 PM | Comments (0)

Wrestling With Bob Barr

Republican Congressman-turned-Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr writes on the Huffington Post that he was convinced to turn against the war on drugs by two factors, both related to pro wrestling: His friendship with outspoken libertarian Glen Jacobs- also known as Kane- and the Chris Benoit murder/suicide, which took place in his home state of Georgia.

What's the rationale? Here's Barr:

McMahon didn't wait for Congress to pass a law or parade his wrestlers in front of congressional committee hearings; he took the lead and assumed responsibility over the health and welfare of the individuals who work for the WWE.

As part of the WWE Wellness Program, wrestlers go through regular drug testing and even cardiovascular testing. The latter identified a previously unknown heart condition for the wrestler "MVP" and he was treated for Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome. The government's War on Drugs wouldn't have done that.

So the war on drugs is a joke because wrestling's joke of a "wellness program" is... less of a joke?

I'm slightly sympathetic to drug legalization arguments- I'd love to see a Hamsterdam* in every city, for one thing- but I really have absolutely no idea what Barr is talking about here.

* Speaking of Season 3 of "The Wire," there's a fascinating article in this month's Atlantic, about how demolition of housing projects and the spreading of Secton 8 housing actually leads to more crime, that's like reality, straight from David Simon's pen.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:50 PM | Comments (2)

The Bedard Non-Rumor

Things are going pretty well for the Philadelphia Phillies, I'd say. They're in first place in the NL East, with the Mets and Braves both in turmoil and the Marlins unlikely to hang with them. They score a ton of runs, lead the NL in bullpen ERA, and have stayed remarkably injury-free. In fact, they've used only five starters and they are, on June 10, yet to make a roster move involving the pitching staff.

So what's topic A in town related to the Phillies, aside from Ryan Howard's contract? It's the idea that the Phils need to add another pitcher, with names like C.C. Sabathia and Ben Sheets being thrown around in outlandish trade scenarios all day long on the airwaves. So when I read the latest sportswriter-created trade rumor, I knew it would be all over Philly talk radio, and I was right.

With the Seattle Mariners out of it, fire sale rumors are flying, and Tacoma News Tribune beat reporter John McGrath stoked them earlier this week, suggesting the Mariners begin dismantling the team- by dealing ace Erik Bedard to the Phillies:

The package for Bedard could include Adrian Cardenas, 20, a left-handed-hitting infielder regarded as the Phillies’ top prospect. And Brad Harman, 22, called up to Philadelphia from Double-A this spring as a replacement for the injured Rollins. And Jason Donald, a former University of Arizona standout.

Not sold? Then demand Michael Taylor, a 6-foot-6, 260-pound Stanford product fast enough to qualify as a base-stealing threat. Or 6-5, 200-pound Dominic Brown, a former high school wide receiver who turned down a scholarship from the Miami Hurricanes last year.

Now, keep in mind- there's no indication this trade, or any one like it, has ever been discussed by either team. It's just one sportswriter's idea. Not to mention, the Mariners just traded for Bedard four months ago and signed him to a new deal, so it seems highly unlikely that they'd immediately flip him, especially not for a package clearly inferior to the one they already gave up to Baltimore for the pitcher.

Sure, the Phillies' Pat Gillick used to be Seattle's GM, and has exhibited a fondness for ex-Mariners in the past. But I wouldn't get my hopes up about this trade or anything like it taking place. Because I'm probably about as likely to pitch for the Phils this year as Erik Bedard is.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:57 PM | Comments (0)

The "Most Liberal Senator" Canard

You've probably heard the "Obama is the most liberal Senator according to the National Journal" talking point dozens of times, just as you likely heard it about Kerry dozens of times in 2004. Surprise- it wasn't true either time. The Houston Chronicle:

Looking behind their 2007 ratings, you find an odd assortment of 99 Senate bills. The Journal then divines which bill is liberal and by how much, then each Senator is rated by their vote on that particular bill. For an example: The Senate bill last year to establish an office of ethical responsibility was branded as liberal. If a Senator voted yes for the bill, then that was a liberal vote. I'm not sure when ethics became a liberal/conservative issue, but that is how they do it. The Journal then continues this manipulation of votes and weighting until they get the answer they want: Obama is the most liberal senator.

Now, if you look at all the votes, then that result should be consistent, correct? Not hardly. If you look at all the Senate votes Obama participated in compared with all the Senators' votes, you'll find that he ranks 41st in 2007, more conservative than Hillary, at 29th.

No survey that places Joseph Biden to the left of Bernie Sanders should ever be taken seriously by anyone, much less quoted daily by pundits.

538 has more, including a much better way of doing this.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:21 PM | Comments (1)

Check Ya Self Before You Dap Yourself

I saw this on MSNBC this morning and laughed loudly:

Fist pounding 101 with Pat Buchanan
Fist pounding 101 with Pat Buchanan

This segment is almost enough to make Buchanan's continued employment defensible. Almost. E.D. Hill, though, is another matter.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:21 PM | Comments (1)

"Saturday Night Live" vs "Saturday Night's Main Event"

News Item: Jesse Ventura may enter Senate race against Franken, Coleman

Who would've guessed, in 1990, that the guy who plays Stuart Smalley would one day run for high office against the heel announcer from "WWF Wrestling Challenge"? Only in Minnesota, I guess.

The funniest part- Ventura is scheduled to play golf this week along with fellow Independence Party pol Dean Barkley, and they have agreed that whoever loses won't run. Yes, that's right. Barkley, by the way, was briefly appointed to the U.S. Senate by Ventura, for the two months between the death of Paul Wellstone and the end of his term; Barkley is a now a bus driver.

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

Furniture and Preemptive War

I was reading in one of my company's publications today about an upcoming furniture conference- NeoCon 2008. It's being held this week in Chicago, and "Neocon" is short for "The National Exposition of Contract Furnishings." It's been around since 1969. Actor Rainn Wilson will be appearing at this year's show; Paul Wolfowitz, presumably, won't be.

You'd think, sometime around 2003, that they would've changed the name, but nope, the furniture Neocon remains.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:20 PM | Comments (2)

And I Bet the First Search Was "Charlie Crist" and "Gay"

News Item: John McCain admits he's using Google to research vice presidential choice

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:18 PM | Comments (0)

Worst Thing Ever Nominee

New York Post: Rodney King to appear on "Celebrity Rehab 2"

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:17 PM | Comments (0)

Working Blue

News Item: "Smurfs" movie headed to the big screen

Ian McKellan as Papa Smurf? Kevin Spacey as Brainy? Uma Thurman as Smurfette?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:17 PM | Comments (1)

Desperate Dick

What's one of the more positive developements associated with the exit of Hillary Clinton from the presidential race? It means the probable end of Dick Morris' career.

Ever since the start of her first Senate campaign, Morris' entire career has revolved around scaring conservatives into the possibility of a Hillary presidency. Now that it's over, Dick is officially out of things to write about. That is, until he wrote this:

Media commentators and pundits heard what they wanted to hear in Hillary's speech on Saturday. Her endorsement of Obama and her "suspension" of her campaign seemed to indicate that it is all over. No, it's not.

Hillary has not released her delegates. She still has 1,639.5 pledged, elected delegates, within reach of the 2,118 needed to be nominated if the superdelegates break in her favor.

So for now, Hillary is deferring to Obama, bowing to party pressure. But don't be deceived. If Obama makes a mistake and begins to drop in the polls or some other tape comes out or a new pastor emerges with more racial rhetoric, Hillary still has her 1,639.5 delegates. Count on her to back Obama in public, but look for her aides and supporters, and perhaps her husband, to raise the question of whether or not the results of the primaries should not be revisited in light of the trouble in the Obama candidacy.

Morris didn't write that a month ago- he wrote it on SUNDAY. I always thought "concede" meant "concede," and "superdelegate majority" meant "superdelegate majority." And I thought it took Hillary too long to admit it was over. She apparently gave up earlier than her former adviser did.

I fully expect to see Morris, on Fox News next January 19, still spinning out scenarios of how Hillary might somehow usurp the presidency.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:09 AM | Comments (0)

June 09, 2008

The Right Goes Crazy Over Obama, Cont'd

This isn't as bad as "terrorist dap," but it's still pretty bad (from a Town Hall columnist):

An Obama presidency would signal the final salvo by the Left in the culture wars. Obama’s advance troops have already taken over our college campuses, have bound and gagged our conservative professors, have ravished our virgins, have pillaged our stores of wisdom, and have ensconced themselves in the thrones of power in deans’, presidents’ and department heads’ offices.

The victory cry is heard across the land in the cheers of Obama’s constituency on college campuses.

This has been going on under the very noses of the Republicans.

Of course Obama ravishes virgins! Oh, you didn't know that?

(Via Balloon Juice, who adds, "a lot is going on under your nose when your head is up your ass.")

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:39 PM | Comments (0)

Return of the Millers

Some in Minnesota have been wondering what exactly will become of the St. Paul Saints when the Twins go outdoors in two years. After all, the minor league team's top selling point, aside from its legendary wackiness, has been that they're outdoors and the Twins aren't. Even with ten more ideas per year as brilliant as the Larry Craig bobble foot, can the Saints survive?

Not only can they, but it appears they'll have competition. The other Twin Cities pre-1961 minor league team, the Minneapolis Millers, may be revived, with a new ballpark in suburban Burnsville. The new Millers would play in the Northern League.

As for the Twins? It really hurts to be swept in four games by the White Sox and the completely insane Ozzie Guillen. It really does.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:31 PM | Comments (2)

New Writings

I look at how Obama put Hillary away in this week's North Star column; I also have another Electronics Crime roundup at Dealerscope. That CEO who gave his clients Ecstasy is mentioned in the latter.

And here's my story about the new iPhone, at E-Gear.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

Thank You, Activist Judges!

I just want to send congratulations to my longtime blog-pal, Mike Silverman, who will be getting married next weekend in California to his longtime partner, Dave. They already got married almost ten years ago, and have also collected a domestic partnership and civil union over the years, but this time, in the eyes of the law, it counts. Mazel tov!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)

Know How I Know You're Gay? 'Cause You Like Coldplay

I'm not gay, but I must admit the new Coldplay album is EXCELLENT, their best work yet. Plus, you really gain appreciation for an album when you slowly download it over the course of a week.

The new Weezer? Also good, but not appreciably different than the entire rest of their catalogue. They've also continued their annoying tradition of releasing the worst song on the album as the first single.

The new Hold Steady? I'm liking, as always. Gotta love a band that sounds like '70s Springsteen, except instead of Jersey, all the references are to the Minneapolis area.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:39 PM | Comments (3)

June 08, 2008

Terrorist Dap

News Item: Fox News asks if Barack and Michelle Obama shared a "terrorist fist jab."

If I weren't laughing uproariously, I'd be horrified.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:38 PM | Comments (2)

That "Whitey" Tape

No, there is no Michelle Obama "Whitey" tape. That's been pretty much proven at this point, especially after this Robert George post.

At least, that's how I felt, until this was unearthed:

It's just as shocking as a friend of a friend of a friend of mine said it would be.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:36 PM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2008

On Hillary Dropping Out

A letter-writer to Sullivan:

"This is a real Baby Boomer way of going out. It's like The Who saying 'We'll never tour again.'"
It was a gracious and classy speech, I admit. Now I just want her to disappear for awhile.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:54 PM | Comments (0)

Jim McKay, RIP

The broadcasting legend passed away today at the age of 86. He's best known, of course, for his coverage of the Munich crisis in 1972, but he was pretty much the face of ABC sports for decades, and I remember watching him on the old "Wide World of Sports" when I was growing up. He will be missed.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:57 PM | Comments (0)

Film Critic Quote of the Week

A.O. Scott, on "Zohan":

A highly skilled military operative who specializes in counterterrorism, he is basically a less anguished version of the character played by Eric Bana in “Munich.” The brilliant opening sequence places him in a tableau that would bring a tear to Theodor Herzl’s eye. Whether it would be a tear of joy or dismay I will leave to more seasoned polemicists, but there is something both appealing and authentic about a vision of the Jewish state on its 60th birthday that emphasizes lithe young bodies frolicking, flirting and playing Hacky Sack on the beach. If you will it, it is no dream.
I think it's funny that nearly every review has mentioned "Munich." That, or "Shampoo."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:53 PM | Comments (1)

June 06, 2008

Simmons vs. Reilly, Cont'd

Bill Simmons, continuing his anti-ESPN boldness, goes after the company's new golden boy, Rick Reilly. See if you can guess who's side I'm on:

“I don’t even care about the money (he’s making). I care about the fact he only has to write 800 words all week. What does he do all week? I’m just getting warmed up at 800 words.”

Also, Simmons said of Reilly, “I don’t think (his hiring) has really changed my life in any way other than he touches my soul with his writing. That’s really it. He’s raising the bar morally, financially. . . he’s raising it all over the place. I’m just happy to be along for the ride.”

Simmons later wrote in and bashed Scott's Shots, the blog that reported this (which is associated with Boston Sports Media Watch, the world's most ultra-specific sports blog.)

I can't blame him, though- Simmons is the man who revolutionized sportswriting, while Reilly's the guy who writes the same schmaltzy human-interest column and stupid golf jokes every week and gets paid millions and millions to do it. I'd resent him too if I were Bill.

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

Baseball, Yuengling Lager, Above Average

In reaction to the news that the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum recently received a major donation from Rush frontman Geddy Lee, Shysterball says the following:

Anyway, this is probably as good a time as any to share one of my original theories about the universe. It goes like this: You can tell a lot about a guy based on the following things:

1) his favorite sport;

2) his choice of beer; and

3) how he feels about Rush.

I'm not sayin' there are any right or wrong answers to those questions (well, "baseball" is obviously the right answer, but let's leave that for a moment). I'm just sayin' that if you know that stuff about someone, you can pretty much figure out most of the other things worth knowing.

I've never seen Rush live, nor have I been to the museum, but I hope to have the honor of both eventually.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:18 PM | Comments (3)

Kristen Schaal on Hillary and Sexism

The "Flight of the Conchords" girl scores with Stewart:

They scored the montage to the Indigo Girls' "Closer to Fine"! This probably means at least one of the "Daily Show" writers was in NFTY with me.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:17 PM | Comments (2)

The Philadelphia Inquirer is Ass

Funny story from down the street:

Readers of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News opened their papers Friday to see ads for a new airline called Derrie-Air, which purportedly charges passengers by the pound.

But the new carrier will never get off the ground. It's a one-day advertising campaign about a fake airline by Philadelphia Media Holdings, the papers' owner, and Gyro ad agency.

In light blue banners throughout the papers — as well as on their website, Philly.com — Derrie-Air cheerily trumpets its policy: The more you weigh, the more you pay. The ads direct readers to the website www.flyderrie-air.com.

Philadelphia Media Holdings spokesman Jay Devine said the goal is to "demonstrate the power of our brands in generating awareness and generating traffic for our advertisers, and put a smile on people's faces."

No wonder they can't make their interest payments.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:17 PM | Comments (0)

I Bet Their Office Parties Are More Fun Than Mine...

The New York Times today has without a doubt my favorite business section story of the year:

Henry T. Nicholas III, the flamboyant co-founder and former chief executive of the chip maker Broadcom, was indicted Thursday in California on fraud, conspiracy and drug charges, including allegations that he spiked the drinks of other executives with ecstasy.

One indictment said he also maintained several residences that were used to distribute and sell drugs, including cocaine and methamphetamine, and threatened to kill people if they talked about his activities.

This guy's trial sounds like it would be even more fun to cover than R. Kelly's. Wait, there's more:
In one incident described in the indictment, Mr. Nicholas and his guests are said to have inhaled so much marijuana on a flight to Las Vegas from Orange County, Calif., that clouds of smoke and fumes drifted into the cockpit of the private plane and the pilot was required to put on an oxygen mask.

Mr. Nicholas is also accused of hiring prostitutes not only for himself but also for customers and associates of Broadcom, and to have supplied them with drugs. And, according to the indictment, Mr. Nicholas “used threats of violence and death and payments of money to attempt to conceal his unlawful conduct.”

In one 2002 incident cited in the indictment, Mr. Nicholas is described as entering into a $1 million settlement agreement “with a Broadcom employee who had knowledge” of his boss’s drug activities.

Mr. Nicholas used several residences in Orange County and Las Vegas, as well as a commercial office space called the “warehouse,” to distribute and use drugs, according to the unsealed indictments. Various code words, including “supplies,” “party favors” and “refreshments,” were used to describe the various drugs, the indictment said. But ecstasy is described as a particular favorite. According to the indictment, Mr. Nicholas gave some to an executive without his knowledge in July 1999 at the Woodstock concert in Rome, N.Y.

See, I knew nothing good came out of Woodstock '99!

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

A New Fox News Low

The "Fox and Friends" idiots attack Obama for "plagiarizing" Mario Cuomo- despite not using any of the same words or even talking about the same thing:

It's really something when a segment gets MORE reasonable the moment Michelle Malkin shows up.

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

Leitsch Leaves

News Item: Will Leitsch leaves Deadspin

Leitsch did a lot to put the sports blogosphere on the map, and his confrontation with Buzz Bissinger means his legacy is secure. But I must admit- the site had become all but unreadable in recent months. Still though, best of luck; leaving a Gawker-owned blog seems to always be a good career move.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:14 PM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2008

Another Reason to Love Obama

This is what he does to people who lie about his record on Israel:

[D]uring a Senate vote Wednesday, Obama dragged Lieberman by the hand to a far corner of the Senate chamber and engaged in what appeared to reporters in the gallery as an intense, three-minute conversation. While it was unclear what the two were discussing, the body language suggested that Obama was trying to convince Lieberman of something and his stance appeared slightly intimidating. Using forceful, but not angry, hand gestures, Obama literally backed up Lieberman against the wall, leaned in very close at times, and appeared to be trying to dominate the conversation, as the two talked over each other in a few instances.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:11 PM | Comments (1)

Esoteric Web Site of the Day


I saw some people at Quiznos today who I wish knew about that site.

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

Obama's Achilles Heel: Racist Voters

Can he win them over? MSNBC, as interpreted by Kissing Suzy Kolber,delves into it.

Chris Matthews: Let’s bring in Pat Buchanan for a moment. Pat, what do you think Barack Obama can do to help win over some of these racist voters?

Pat Buchanan: Well, I think no matter what he does, Chris, he’s going to have a tough time. Remember, not only is he black, but he’s also MARRIED to a black woman, and that’s still very taboo in certain sections of the country.

Chris Matthews: You’ve met plenty of racists on the campaign trail, Pat. You’re even one yourself. What do you think racists would like to see out of Obama?

Pat Buchanan: I think they’d like to see him get tougher with blacks. You know, for racist voters, the #1 issue in this campaign will be RACE. So Obama’s not gonna get away with simply paying lip service to these people. He’s gonna have to go all out.

It's really just fascinating.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:10 PM | Comments (0)

Andy and Amby

A discussion between Atlantic bloggers:

My favorite part is that Sullivan is wearing shorts at the office.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)

Veepstakes, Cont'd

Nate Silver suggests Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer. Executive, from a Western state, Catholic, has blue-collar/red state appeal, excellent speaker and campaigner, speaks Arabic fluently (!), and like Obama is new to the national scene. I am intrigued, I must admit.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)

Adam Sandler, Conservative

In an essay at Cinematical, Eric Kohn looks at the politically conservative current present in many of Sandler's films which, despite all the sex and fart jokes, seem to embrace wholesome, conservative values.

I agree up to a point, but Sandler's new film, "You Don't Mess With the Zohan," which I saw last night, doesn't really fit the analysis, mostly because its politics are clearly liberal: About halfway through, it turns from a broad, goofy, slapsticky comedy into a heavy-handed plea for Mideast peace. The first half hour is nothing less than brilliant, Sandler's Zohan character is very funny, all of Hebrew/Israeli jokes work, and some of the physical comedy is great as well- but talk about a comedy that runs out of gas way, way too early.

Another disappointment- a complete lack of ga-ga jokes.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:07 PM | Comments (0)

Braugher's Back

News Item: Andre Braugher joins Ray Romano TNT pilot.

As I've mentioned previously, I've gotten addicted of late to "Homicide: Life on the Street," and have been devouring the re-runs on WGN via my DVR. The biggest mystery of all to me is what happened to Braugher, and why didn't he become a huge star? He was downright brilliant on the show. Hopefully he can make something of this one.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:07 PM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2008

Notes on Last Night

So, it's finally over, and the general election now begins. A few observations on a historic night:

- First of all, it cannot be denied that the winning of a major party's presidential nomination by an African-American is a wonderful thing for this country. If you'd asked me five years ago how soon we'd see the first black president, I'd have probably guessed 20 or 25 years. Now, we may have one THIS year. Whatever you think about Obama, this is a milestone that must be acknowledged.

- McCain's general election campaign got off to an especially sputtering start, with a witless speech that not only purloined most of Obama's own slogan, but seemingly dragged on forever. And why must McCain do that stupid grin whenever he gets a zinger in? And why must he do that Beavis-like chuckle as well? Also funny to hear McCain bash "the media," after a decade-long period in which they loved him and he loved them.

- As for Hillary, to call the speech ungracious would be an understatement. Matthew Yglesias last night said it better than I could:

I probably shouldn't write any more about this woman and her staff. Suffice it to say that I've found her behavior over the past couple of months to be utterly unconscionable and this speech is no different. I think if I were to try to express how I really feel about the people who've been enabling her behavior, I'd say something deeply unwise. Suffice it to say, that for quite a while now all of John McCain's most effective allies have been on Hillary Clinton's payroll.
Unless internal polling shows him that he absolutely would win with her on the ticket and absolutely would lose without her, I don't think Obama should even begin to consider Hillary as veep.

- Great speech by Obama, he clearly had the crowd eating right out of his hand and hit major flourishes two or three times. If this is the contrast for the next several months- a dynamic speaker who inspires his base, against a sluggish one who puts his to sleep- I can't see McCain getting any momentum. And yes, he gave Michelle dap prior to the speech. I noticed that, too.

- I loved the idea of giving the speech in St. Paul, in the same building that will host the GOP convention in September. But funny to hear Obama rip the oil companies at the XCel Energy Center. It's also an arena that was built almost singlehandedly due to the efforts of Mayor-turned-Sen. Norm Coleman, who the Democrats will be trying like hell to defeat in November.

- Odd thing on MSNBC: At 9 p.m EDT, when the polls closed in South Dakota, MSNBC interrupted McCain's speech to declare that Obama had crossed the necessary delegate threshold and was therefore the presumptive nominee. None of the other networks did this, and I sort of assumed that the AP making the exact same declaration six hours earlier meant it was already in the bag.

- In other election news, Frank Lautenberg easily beat back a challenge from Rob Andrews in the New Jersey Senate Democratic primary. Lautenberg, who is 84 years old and already retired from the Senate once, will face Dick Zimmer in the the fall. I was on Andrews' side, until he started running a particularly loathsome ad, and not only that, it was pretty much his only ad buy in the Philadelphia market.

- So the general election begins. I can't wait to watch it, write about it, and vote in it.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:19 PM | Comments (2)

Roids on Celluloid

I review the fascinating new documentary "Bigger Stronger Faster," on the Trend site, mostly because I didn't consider myself qualified to fairly review "Sex and the City."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:18 PM | Comments (1)

Obviously, He Doesn't Support Israel

Obama, at AIPAC today:

Sen. Barack Obama vowed Wednesday that Jerusalem must "remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided."

Sen. Barack Obama declared himself the presumptive Democratic nominee on Tuesday night.

"Any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel's identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders," the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, an influential pro-Israel lobbying group.

"Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided," Obama said.

Why is it that on every other issue, we take the candidates at their word as to what they'll do and why they'll do it, but when it comes to this, so many believe Obama must have nefarious, hidden motives, which go against absolutely everything he's ever said on the subject?

UPDATE: On the e-mails:

“They’re filled with tall tales and dire warnings about a certain candidate for President. And all I want to say is – let me know if you see this guy named Barack Obama, because he sounds pretty frightening. But if anyone has been confused by these emails, I want you to know that today I’ll be speaking from my heart, and as a true friend of Israel.:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:17 PM | Comments (1)

For the Purposes of This Analogy, Flip Saunders Will Play the Role of Mark Penn

Brilliant satire from Christopher Orr of TNR- a "statement" from Pistons GM Joe Dumars:

"Some in the media are declaring the series over because the Boston Celtics have won four of the six games played so far. But I don’t understand why, with a series this close and hotly contested, anyone would want to shut it down before we play a seventh game and have all the results in. As anybody who follows the NBA knows, a seven-game series would be good for the league, and the added competition would make the eventual victor, whomever it might be, a stronger opponent against the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals...

But back to the series in question. Yes, Boston has won four games and Detroit only two. But it's hard to imagine a more arbitrary and undemocratic way to determine this series’s outcome than "games won." It is, after all, a bedrock value of the game of basketball that all points must be counted. But how can that be the case when every point beyond the winning point is ignored? There are literally dozens of layups, jumpers, free throws, and (yes, even) dunks that our opponents want to say don't count for anything at all. We call on the NBA to do the right thing and fully count all of the baskets that were made throughout the course of this series.

Once you abandon the artificial four-games-to-two framework that the media has tried to impose on the series, a very different picture emerges, with the Celtics leading by a mere 549 points to 539. Yes that’s right, the margin between the two teams is less than one percent—a tie, for all intents and purposes...

We again ask the league to consider all these facts and come to a fair solution. I’ll be holding a press conference at the Palace tonight, to which I’m inviting all Pistons season-ticket holders. I may announce our intention to drop out of the Eastern Conference Finals. Or I may not. But know one thing: If the media and league elites put the Celtics up against LA, they will lose, and we’ll be the first to say I told you so.

Yes, I'm rooting for both Obama and the Celtics.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:16 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

Joe Posnanski, who's not even a political writer, echoing my sentiments exactly:

I have to say up front that I find this whole elitist talk sickeningly absurd. The man is RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT. Of course he thinks he’s elite. He’s not trying to become captain of our bowling team. Of course he thinks he’s elite, and so does McCain, Hill, Bob Barr*, Lyndon LaRouche, Ross Perot, Dennis Kucinich, Tracy Flick and anyone else who has the audacity to believe that he/she should be the President. Please. How in the hell can someone raise hundreds of millions of dollars and travel non-stop around the country to tell people again and again why he is the right choice — the only choice — to become the world’s most powerful person and NOT BE ELITIST? Ripping a presidential candidate for being elitist to me is like ripping your heart surgeon for being a perfectionist.
Then he makes fun of David Brooks for not knowing that Applebee's doesn't have a salad bar.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:16 PM | Comments (1)

Quote of the Day, Part II

Nate Silver, on the increasingly must-read FiveThirtyEight.com:

Candidates never look good at this stage of the political cycle, any more than football players do after playing a game in the mud. But I tend to think that these are two of the objectively stronger candidates that have been nominated in some time, creating perhaps the best matchup since the Kennedy-Nixon race of 1960. Barack Obama and John McCain each have classic and proud American biographies. Obama is probably the best political athlete since Bill Clinton; John McCain has a brand so strong that even Democrats feel obligated to compliment him. How many Republicans would rather have George W. Bush running again? How many Democrats would rather have John Kerry than Obama?
I can't imagine many would. This is the first open election I've ever heard of in which both parties nominated the best candidate.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:15 PM | Comments (0)

June 03, 2008

Far Left?

Andrew Sullivan, on the meme that Obama is "far left":

But let's be clear. "Far left" means to the right of Clinton in healthcare, right? "Far left" means tax rates broadly within the post-Reagan parameters and certainly far to the right of, say, Richard Nixon. "Far left" means retaining the right to bomb Pakistan if al Qaeda is deemed a threat there. "Far left" means a policy of withdrawal from Iraq that, as Bill Kristol observes, is increasingly close to McCain's. "Far left" means a man that Joe Lieberman was thrilled to get to support his last Senate campaign. "Far left" means a "cap-and-trade" position on climate change very close to John McCain's. "Far left" means well to the racial right of Jesse Jackson. "Far left" means opposition to same-sex marriage and to a federal constitutional amendment (very close to John McCain). "Far left" means a policy on torture embraced by the Republican nominee and endorsed by every American president apart from George W. Bush.

This "far left" meme is meaningless. It says everything about the intellectual bankruptcy of the talk radio right and nothing about the substantive polices and challenges of a president Obama.

They think everyone more liberal than Joe Lieberman is "far left."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:15 PM | Comments (3)

Unfortunate Headline of the Day

Wall Street Journal: Intel Looks to Power Bottom of Market

(The Journal and Urban Dictionary DO speak the same language!)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:56 PM | Comments (0)

(Not So) Slow News Day

I was wondering- what would have to happen, in 2008, for Tatum O'Neal to appear on the front page of the New York Post? I think the only plausible options are 1) getting arrested for crack, 2) being murdered, or 3) murdering someone else. Luckily, it was only #1. But still, this is obviously a much more important and front-page-worthy story than, say, the last day of the Democratic presidential race.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:36 PM | Comments (0)

Boundary Waters Rampage!

I'm not much of a camping type, but I really enjoyed my one visit to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, up on the border of Minnesota and Canada, when I was in high school. And I'm really glad this didn't happen when I was up there:

Facing a possible prison term for terrorizing as many as 80 campers last August in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a 20-year-old Ely man tearfully admitted his guilt in court Monday, saying the drunken shooting spree he and five friends went on was "stupid, ignorant and thoughtless."

"It was the worst night of my life, and I can't take it back," said Jay Andrew Olson, who drove one of the two motorboats from which the group shot off guns and fireworks and yelled profanity at campers from Basswood Lake on the night of Aug. 7.

A "possible" prison sentence? The Strib adds that there was "evidence that [the rampage] was fueled by lingering resentment in Ely of the environmental activism that led to creation of the BWCA." Last time something this unfortunate happened on one of Minnesota's lakes, Fred Smoot was involved.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:36 PM | Comments (0)

Film Critic Quote of the Day

Andrew Sullivan puts his movie critic hat on and reviews "Sex and the City":

"I went to see it last night. It makes The English Patient seem too fast-paced. After an hour (of many), I felt a very rare and very sudden desire to watch a lot of a NASCAR."
Andy must be sexist, I can hear the Hillary fans saying already- he hates Hillary, hates SATC, prefers the company of men...

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

My Favorite Thing in the Bill Clinton Vanity Fair Piece

It's really something- about 7,000 words of innuendos about the ex-president's potential financial misdealings, womanizing, "running with a fast crowd," and hurting his wife's presidential campaign more than he was helping it. But this is my favorite part:

His former labor secretary and onetime friend turned critic, Robert Reich, called Clinton’s attacks on Obama “ill-tempered and ill-founded.” No less a loquacious commentator than the Reverend Al Sharpton said that it was time for Clinton to just “shut up.” His old flame Gennifer Flowers, who has endorsed Hillary, referred to him as an “idiot husband.”
Wait a minute- Gennifer Flowers made a presidential endorsement? Of Hillary? Did she accept it? (I'm guessing not.) Who are Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky supporting?

This is without a doubt the first time in American political history that the ex-mistress of a politician has, many years later, endorsed the politician's wife. Although I'm willing to guess that exact scenario has happened fairly regularly in French and Italian politics.

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

The Stealth Movie

I heard years ago that an "Onion" movie was in the works, although last I heard, as of a few months ago, the project had been abandoned. But then, whaddya know, it's listed among this week's DVD releases. Here's the trailer; it seems heavily influenced by "Kentucky Fried Movie" and "Amazon Women on the Moon."

It's Steven Seagal's best - and only- role in years!

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

Who Says the Philadelphia Sports Media Suffers From Groupthink?

Sam Donnellon, Philadelphia Daily News, Tuesday: What-ifs don't bug Ken Griffey Jr.

Mark Eckel, Trenton Times, Tuesday: Griffey Jr. not thinking about the 'what-ifs'

Now granted, they were probably both in the same press conference where Griffey gave an on-the-record quote about "what-ifs." But still. At least neither of them wrote an April column about the Eagles being too cheap.

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

The Myth of "The Vicious Attacks on Hillary":

Nate Silver of 538:

An analysis of press releases from five sources - the Clinton, Obama and McCain campaigns and the Democratic and Republican National Committees - reveals that since March 1, Obama has been targeted by 151 opposition press releases, McCain 144 and Clinton 9.
I've got a feeling there won't be any more after today anyway.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:30 PM | Comments (0)

Coolest Google Maps Trick Since the "Walk Across the Atlantic" Thing

Ben Maller pointed this out:

Lou Piniella might not use the internet much but he has been caught leaving a Chicago hot spot by Google Maps. The Cubs manager can be seen walking if you type in the address 3552 N. Clark, Chicago IL 600636, click street view and spin the camera around 180 degrees.
Yes, it works; he's walking about a block from Wrigley Field

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:30 PM | Comments (0)

June 02, 2008

Theeeee Yankees Lose

The Twins tonight beat the Yankees 6-5 in a nationally televised game from the Dome, a win that featured Joe Mauer's first homer of the year, Delmon Young actually showing some offensive firepower (but no homers), and Alex Rodriguez being called safe at home even though he was clearly out by a foot or more.

I don't have the Extra Innings package so I don't get to watch my team often, but I like this Twins team, they're exciting, and could actually make things interesting in the AL Central, even though this is supposed to be a rebuilding year. But they really need to start hitting more homers than they have been. If you'd told me that on June 2, Mauer would have one homer and Young would have none- and Francisco Liriano had contributed nothing- I'd have guessed last place, for sure.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:36 PM | Comments (1)

Simmons/ESPN Detente

He had confirmed the bad blood and stated that he'd be writing less for ESPN.com; but Bill Simmons indicated in today's chat that things seem to be thawing:

Reader: Is this whole thing just a show so we know you and ESPN are still cool?

Bill Simmons: I am no longer sleeping on the living room coach. Altrhough we're still not having sex.

Meanwhile, at the end, Simmons vows to do two podcasts, an NBA finals preview, a magazine column, and "thoughts after Game 1," and that's all this week, in addition to the chat. So much for writing less...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:26 PM | Comments (0)

Laughing at Politics

In this week's North Star column, I review a new book that looks at the relationship between politics and late night comedy. It's not a column that Jay Leno would enjoy.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:23 PM | Comments (1)

Film Critic Quote of the Day

Dana Stevens on "Sex and the City," with thoughts that pretty much mirror my own:

For me, the series functioned as a guilty pleasure that was truly guilty: I would rent a few episodes on DVD on nights when I was home alone and not up to the intellectual challenge of watching a good movie. The show's values are reprehensible, its view of gender relations cartoonish, its puns execrable. I honestly believe, as I wrote when the series finale aired in 2004*, that Sex and the City is singlehandedly responsible for a measurable uptick in the number of materialistic twits in New York City and perhaps the world. And yet … and yet …
I never hated the show- in fact, any movie or TV show that photographs New York as well as it did just naturally appeals to me. But I just didn't like the effect it had on women, especially in Manhattan during the years it was on.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:22 PM | Comments (1)

Chad Flashback

I forget to mention last week my unabashed love for HBO's "Recount" movie, which I've already watched twice already. Loved the performances, loved the drama, especially loved Laura Dern playing Katherine Harris as equal parts very scary and totally accurate. I didn't really like the ending, though. My only complaint.

Was this really from the guy who directed "Austin Powers"?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)

Funny, I Always Thought They Were Called "Idiots"

News Item: Presidential campaigns reach out to "low-info voters"

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:21 PM | Comments (1)