November 28, 2008

Back From the Dead

After one of the worst three-week stretches in franchise history, one in which the obituary of the Reid/McNabb era was written dozens of times, the Eagles seemingly came back from the dead Thanksgiving night, crushing the Arizona Cardinals 48-20.

Donovan McNabb continued his career-long streak of always having a great game after a week-long controversy, while Brian Westbrook overcame injuries to score four touchdowns. And most strangely of all, the team actually used a balanced attack, running the ball more than passing it over the course of the game.

At 6-5-1, they're still a playoff longshot, but this victory should be enough to stave off the braying jackals away for at least another week. Then again, fan optimism still isn't high. My father-in-law was trying to sell his tickets up until the day of the game; I joked that doing that must've been like trying to sell your house right now.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)


Terrible what's going on, absolutely awful. My sister, as a matter of fact, is in India right now for a friend's wedding, but thankfully, it's a different part of the country.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:27 AM | Comments (2)

The Dome Goes Out With a Bang

Yes, that Minnesota-Iowa bathroom coupling last weekend has quickly become the stuff of legend. Highlights from the Strib's account:

- The woman in involved, a 38-year-old married mother of three, was "so drunk on wine that she doesn't remember anything about the incident."

- "I don't know what happened," Feldman told the Register. "But I don't deny that it did happen, because, obviously, there are police reports."

- Walsh was released to his girlfriend and Feldman to her husband, police said.

That's funny, I didn't think the Dome even served wine. One blog called the scene of the crime "Minnesota's second most-famous bathroom stall."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:26 AM | Comments (1)

Tech Critic Quote of the Day

I don't agree with everything on Farhad Manjoo's list of stuff not to buy on Black Friday, but I can't dispute this:

FM iPod transmitters. It sounds like a good idea: These devices broadcast your music over an unoccupied FM frequency, letting you listen to tunes in the car. But they don't work. Trust me. Over the years I've tried several models in different cars, and none has ever produced a clear signal for more than a few minutes. Your tunes sound like they're being sent from a distant station while you're driving through a mountain pass. They're selling for $20 to $50 this year. For that price, buy some blank CDs and make a few playlists for your commute. Your ears will thank me.
They do work sometimes, but only on long road trips through super-rural areas.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:26 AM | Comments (2)

Real-Life Rickroll

This is great:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)

Film Critic Quote of the Day

Slate's Dana Stevens, tearing apart "Australia":

It's a mystery to me how Baz Luhrmann continues to be regarded as a director worth following. A long time has passed since I've regarded his lush, loud, defiantly unsubtle output with anything but dread... Audiences without a vast appetite for racial condescension, CGI cattle, and backlit smooches will sit through Australia with all the enthusiasm of the British convicts who were shipped to that continent against their will in the late 18th century.

Over the course of its 165 minutes, the movie plods through at least three apparent endings. (The first one comes one hour and 15 minutes short of the actual conclusion.) Had I been included in that focus-group audience, I could have voted on my favorite ending before the screening was even through. I'd have cast my ballot for whichever one came sooner.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)

Matthews For Senate?

It looks like a reality, according to 538. For entertainment purposes, I'm all for it. But can he win? I really don't know. The Franken experience taught us it's not so wise to run a guy with a 20-year paper trail of controversial writings and statements. Not to mention, the fact that Specter's a moderate who's fought back from cancer a half-dozen times could make him hard to beat, age notwithstanding.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

Sullivan on "Milk"

Poignant, heartfelt thoughts from Andrew on this great film.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:24 AM | Comments (1)

November 27, 2008

As God As My Witness...

A Thanksgiving classic:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2008

Wal-marts Nationwide, Under Seige

I look at the latest developments in electronics crime, in my latest roundup at

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:27 PM | Comments (0)

Winter Movie Roundup

I've been seeing tons of the holiday releases this month- two screenings last week, two this week, and THREE next week- so here's a brief roundup of what I've seen so far:

"Twilight"- To say I'm not in the demographic for this movie would be an understatement. But I actually liked it more than I expected to. Sure, it's ridiculously silly at times, but the adventure parts worked, the actors had good chemistry, and I really liked the Pacific Northwest cinematography, which was surprisingly "Twin Peaks"-like. (In case you didn't guess, I haven't read the books.) Full review in the Trend is here.

"Slumdog Millionaire"- Everybody and their brother loved this one, and I feel bad saying it, but... I don't see what all the fuss was about. Sure, it was entertaining and inspiring, but I just didn't get the brilliant vibe everyone else did, and I say that as someone who generally likes Danny Boyle quite a lot. I just felt like the film is based around its gimmick (the kid knows all the game show answers because he learned them firsthand throughout his miserable third-world life) but never really transcends it.

"Australia"- Ugh, what a mess. It's like Baz Luhrmann couldn't decide whether to make a screwball comedy, a Western, a war movie or a romance, so he decided to throw them all into one film, one that's so, so SO long. Other drawbacks- it's an anti-racism message movie, except it plays the "Magical Negro" card to the hilt and even tosses in an inarticulate Chinese guy as pure comic relief. And on top of that, Nicole Kidman once again shows that Botox to be hazardous to one's acting talent. I wholeheartedly endorse Christopher Orr's review, in which he calls Baz on his bizarre directorial tic of having someone die of tuberculosis in every one of his projects. (Full review to come next week.)

"Milk"- Now that's more like it. The most perfect execution of the biopic formula in years, "Milk" is propelled by Sean Penn's great, great performance- probably his best since "Dead Man Walking"- and Gus Van Sant's tight direction. It's always fascinating, from its description of Milk the man to the political intrigue in San Francisco to its depiction of the birth and rise of the Castro Street scene. Its modern-day political resonance is also pretty hard to ignore, especially after Proposition 8. This one goes near the top of the Best Movies of the Year list, for sure (More to come in North Star next week.)

To see in the next few weeks: "Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Doubt," "Cadillac Records," "Valkyrie," "Frost/Nixon," and many more.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:26 PM | Comments (4)

The End of "The Shield"

(SPOILER ALERT!) What a great, great series finale of one of the decade's best TV shows (I put it behind only "The Sopranos," "The Wire," and "Mad Men"). It handled the "what to do with our anti-hero?" question much better than "The Sopranos" did, not choosing "dead" or "in jail," but rather a third option that was both totally deserved and even a little bit funny. Sort of reminiscent of how things ended for Marlo on "The Wire," only if he'd been the protagonist.

A few other notes: Ending Shane's storyline the way they did, so soon after Chris Benoit, took balls of steel. Also, I loved the callback to the Julian-is-gay issue, something the show seemingly abandoned about three seasons ago. And Andre 3000 as a mayoral candidate! I'd totally vote for him.

As he did with David Chase and David Simon when their shows ended, Alan Sepinwall has a lengthy but definitive interview with creator Shawn Ryan. Read it all, and appreciate the greatness that this show gave us for the last seven years.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:24 PM | Comments (2)

A Thanksgiving Tradition

All 18-plus minutes of Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant":

Watch more Dailymotion videos on AOL Video

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:23 PM | Comments (0)

Back, With a Disclaimer

You thought you'd seen the last of the B.S. Report? Oh no. Bill Simmons has returned to doing his podcast, after settling his latest impasse with his bosses at the WWL. Apparently they objected to his discussing his friendship with a certain sports blogger who is also a male porn star, and he responded by threatening to quit. Deadspin has more*; he's had to add a disclaimer at the beginning stating that ""The BS report is a free-flowing conversation that occasionally touches on mature subjects."

I still think it's inevitable that Simmons will eventually quit, start his own Web site, and sign a Dan Patrick-like deal where he can appear on all sorts of different platforms but maintain of his brand.

*Love the reference in it to "The Robin Byrd Show." It was also alluded to on "How I Met Your Mother" a few weeks ago ("there's this show on cable where this old Jewish lady dances in a bikini!"), and parodied on SNL in the late '90s. How could anyone who's never lived in Manhattan know what that is? Not only is it pornographic and weird, but it's hyperlocal!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:23 PM | Comments (0)

End of an Era

News Item: Whizzinator makers agree to plead guilty

Athletes' masking-agent options are rapidly dwindling.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)

At Least It's Not the Airport

One couple has, uh, another way of saying goodbye to the Metrodome. How can anyone have sex in a bathroom that still has trough-style urinals?

To be fair, the game was 55-0, and there isn't exactly much to do in the Dome concourses.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:21 PM | Comments (0)

Hannity After Colmes

The Onion gets the people's view on their breakup.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:21 PM | Comments (0)

LeBron-to-New York?

This is starting to get sort of ridiculous. Maybe LeBron James will sign with the Knicks someday. Maybe he won't. But either way it won't happen for almost two years. Everyone, just shut up about it already! This reminds me of the whole Garnett thing, where everyone said for five years that he was "wasting his career" in Minnesota and had to go to a "real city."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2008

Quote of the Day

Sullivan, on reality's well-known liberal bias:

The press is not supposed to be relentlessly in the middle of whatever two political parties at any moment in time represent. It's also supposed to have its own understanding of reality. After the worst presidency since Buchanan, with a default Republican nominee who picked a deranged know-nothing fem-bot as veep, with two disastrous wars, the worst attack on the US homeland in history and an economic crisis of unparalleled proportions in the modern world, some reporters and journalists had a duty to subject the incumbent party to more skepticism than the challenger.

The McCain campaign was, historians will note, one of the worst in memory. It is not disusting bias for the media to reflect that at the time.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:52 PM | Comments (1)

Charting the Storm

I review the new BlackBerry on the E-Gear site.

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

In Praise of the Phlllie Phanatic's Hot Dog Gun

One of the best things about going to the game gets a "documentary":

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

Headline I Never Thought I'd See

News Item: Bush pardons rapper

I had totally forgotten about the John Forte case. Good to see him getting out, finally.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:51 PM | Comments (1)

Well, It Certainly Would Be More Entertaining Than His Usual Press Conference

Philly Turkey: Reid Commits Seppuku

Gee, they act like someone in Pennsylvania committing suicide during a press conference is something that's never happened before.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:50 PM | Comments (2)

November 24, 2008

New Writings For Today

I look into the first big question about the Obama administration- "How Clintonian is too Clintonian?"- in this week's North Star column. Also, starting next week, each column will come out on Tuesday instead of Monday.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:11 PM | Comments (0)

Last Days of the Dome

The Twins have announced a variety of promotions for the last season of the Metrodome next year, including an all-Metrodome Team, a special uniform patch, 1982 throwback jerseys costing $215 (!), and a Top 100 Metrodome Memories countdown. The Randball commenters have some other ideas.

My Top Five Metrodome moments:
1. Puckett/"We'll see you tomorrow night!" in '91 World Series (Game 6)
2. Gene Larkin single wins '91 World Series (Game 7)
3. Last out of '87 World Series (Game 7)
4. Kent Hrbek pulls Ron Gant off first base in '91 World Series (Game 2)
5. Dave Kingman hits home run into roof of Dome (May 1984).

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:11 PM | Comments (0)

It's Donovan

News Item: Despite benching, Donovan McNabb to start for Eagles on Thanksgiving.

How will the fans react at the game? I'm guessing it starts with "b" and ends with "ooooooooooo."

The happiest man in Philadelphia today? Probably Larry Mendte. The ex-anchorman was sentenced to six months of house arrest for breaking into the e-mails of co-anchor Alycia Lane, and no one in town is talking about it at all.

You know who's not a happy man? These two guys:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:09 PM | Comments (0)

He Could Take No More Abuse

News Item: Alan Colmes to leave "Hannity and Colmes"

It would surprise me, though, if he later rethinks his decision, reasoning that Hannity really loves him after all.

Where else will they find such a supine liberal?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:09 PM | Comments (3)

Men Are Gay For Rachel Maddow

She explains it to Conan:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:09 PM | Comments (0)

It Was An Undervote- He Meant to Write In "Crab People"

News Item: Minnesota "Lizard People" Voter Comes Forward

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:08 PM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2008

A Question About the "24" Movie

Does the time-clock refer to Washington, D.C., time, or Africa time? Because, probably impossibly, there seems to be daylight in both places. In January.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:50 PM | Comments (2)

End of an Era

The Donovan McNabb era in Philadelphia all but officially ended Sunday, when he was benched at halftime of a loss to the Ravens in Baltimore.

Adding to the agony for Eagles fans: Andy Reid supposedly didn't actually tell McNabb that he was going to the bench- he left it to assistant coaches- and Kevin Kolb looked just as bad, throwing two interceptions in the second half, including one in the end zone that was returned more than 100 yards for a touchdown.

Where do the Eagles go from here? Who knows? I had thought that Reid's job was safe, but now I'm not so sure- the fans might revolt if he's back next year. Now, I wouldn't completely lose faith in Kolb based on today's performance, but what if he's not the answer?

It's going to be a very ugly couple of months- McNabb's going to depart, and I can't imagine it'll be especially harmonious. I'm just wondering how many WIP callers this week suggest that Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan replace Reid- the living-in-the-past contingent of fans who love Buddy Ryan would love that.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:22 PM | Comments (1)

Making the Jews Choose

News Item: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock say "Israel's better than Hollywood"

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:16 PM | Comments (0)

How to Make Fun of Obama

Jimmy Kimmel goes to a black barbershop and hashes out some ground rules:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:51 PM | Comments (0)

Return of the No Pinstripes-Red Hats?

News Item: Twins to wear 1982 throwback uniforms on home Saturdays in '09

It's to commemorate the last season in the Dome. I always hated the old uniforms- and '82 wasn't such a good year for the Twins- but it'll be fun for nostalgia purposes.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2008

You'd Better Know What You're Doing, Barack

News Item: Hillary Clinton reportedly accepts Secretary of State appointment

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

Palin and the Turkeys

Yes, this was humorous, as Sarah Palin "pardons" a turkey, and then gives an interview as additional turkeys are slaughtered behind her:

But MSNBC, as is their wont, went way, way over the top, including making it "breaking news" and teasing the segment for nearly an hour. Look on the bright side, though- at least she didn't pardon a person, and have that happen.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:46 PM | Comments (2)

College Football Critic Quote of the Day

Shysterball on Michigan/Ohio State tomorrow:

this game is going to be an almost exaggerated version of classic Big Ten-style football. This will drive SEC, Big 12, and Pac-10 fans absolutely nuts. Save it. We know: The Big Ten sucks. Your conferences invented speed and offense. The southern and western schools have better looking women, have more passionate fans, and your players, coaches, and legends both living and dead walk on water, breathe greatness, eat all challengers, and shit glory. We don't care.
Speaking of the Big Ten this weekend, it also marks the final Golden Gophers game at the Metrodome. The Gophers have done a lot of things in their nearly 30 years under the teflon, but they have done very little shitting of glory.

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

"Ted's Got an Airport, and I Think That's Neat"

Larry Craig is a gift to comedy that keeps on giving.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2008

Music Critic Quote of the Day

Chuck Klosterman once wrote a "review" of Guns 'n' Roses' "Chinese Democracy" that was actually an April Fools joke. That was almost three years ago. Now, in the AV Club, he reviews the album for real:

Reviewing Chinese Democracy is not like reviewing music. It's more like reviewing a unicorn. Should I primarily be blown away that it exists at all? Am I supposed to compare it to conventional horses? To a rhinoceros? Does its pre-existing mythology impact its actual value, or must it be examined inside a cultural vacuum, as if this creature is no more (or less) special than the remainder of the animal kingdom? I've been thinking about this record for 15 years; during that span, I've thought about this record more than I've thought about China, and maybe as much as I've thought about the principles of democracy. This is a little like when that grizzly bear finally ate Timothy Treadwell: Intellectually, he always knew it was coming. He had to. His very existence was built around that conclusion. But you still can't psychologically prepare for the bear who eats you alive, particularly if the bear wears cornrows.
Yes, that's right: Sometimes, the bear eats you. More:
Sometimes it seems like Axl believes every single Guns N' Roses song needs to employ every single thing that Guns N' Roses has the capacity to do—there needs to be a soft part, a hard part, a falsetto stretch, some piano plinking, some R&B bullshit, a little Judas Priest, subhuman sound effects, a few Robert Plant yowls, dolphin squeaks, wind, overt sentimentality, and a caustic modernization of the blues.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:52 PM | Comments (0)

There is No Fairness Doctrine

Great piece in TNR about how despite all the fearmongering, there really is no campaign at all to bring back the anti-talk radio "Fairness Doctrine":

To figure out who was causing such agitation, I went searching for the proponents of the fairness doctrine. I looked at Obama's position--and it turns out that he doesn't want the policy reinstated. Then I called the array of Democratic congressmen who had been tagged by conservatives as doctrine proponents. But they all denied any intention to push for its reinstatement. As some of the world's great egotists, it's not surprising that Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly believe they would be the first political prisoners interred in an Obama administration. But, the more I searched for actual evidence of the doctrine's return, the more I had to conclude that Schumer was just messing with their heads.
But hey, no reason not to get really, really scared about it happening after all.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:52 PM | Comments (0)

Hip Fucking Surgery

News Item: Chase Utley to have surgery, out 4-6 months

Yea, I had a hunch he was hurt last year. This news makes Tad Iguchi's return to the team much more likely.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:51 PM | Comments (3)

Obama Saves the Princess

This is so, so great.

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

Out of Town News, RIP

The newsstand in Harvard Square, one of the best, is soon to be no more. Too bad; I went there on a lot of Friday nights my freshman year of college.

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

The Bunch/Reagan Book Gets a Title, Cover

Can't wait.

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

Silver vs. Ziegler

Great, great stuff from Nate as he confronts a right-wing talk show host- the same one profiled years ago by David Foster Wallace.

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

My Type

This tool analyzes any blog based on the URL; here's what it says about mine:

The active and play-ful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2008

Inside John King's Giant iPhone

The Daily Show investigates:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:59 PM | Comments (0)


This is on my desk right now:

I'll be reviewing it for E-Gear; looking forward to it very much.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:51 PM | Comments (2)

Golfing With Steve

I've talked before about the kinship I feel I have with Steve Rushin, the former Sports Illustrated columnist, my fellow journalist named Steve who grew up in Minnesota and later moved East, has a wife named Rebecca and a sister named Amy, who lives and breathes sports and has even remained a die-hard Twins fan.

Rushin has an article in Golf Digest about his family's golfing history and it's a great read full of great stories. But this part at the end struck me especially:

There was that time at Meadowbrook in Hopkins, Minn., that Tom and I were paired with a lone stranger who had -- we couldn't help but notice -- only one arm. The man swung right-handed clubs with his left hand, as if hitting a backhand in tennis, and his fluid swing (and flawless first tee shot) gave my brother and me a strange feeling of impending doom. And so Tom turned to me and whispered, with a deep sense of disquiet, "We're about to get our asses kicked by a guy with one arm." Which is precisely what happened.
In my brief, two-year career as a golfer, I've played maybe six courses total, and only one in Minnesota. That course, of course, is Meadowbrook. I used to have cross-country meets there, too.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:50 PM | Comments (1)

Quote of the Day

The always sane Iggles Blog, after Sunday:

Sunday was a terrible day for Eagles fans, but for the Tri-State Area McNabb Bashers Club (TAMBC) it was truly Christmas come early, as the team's QB finally barfed up a game as bad as club members think he always plays.
McNabb will be gone after this year, and the McNabb bashers will finally get to enjoy a quarterback who doesn't smile on the sidelines or occasionally make innocuous political pronouncements or speak up when his own wide receiver tries to sabotage him. True, the new QB (Kevin Kolb) won't be proven in any way whatsoever, and he'll have zero career playoff victories to Donovan's nine, and his chances of having any NFL success will be around 50/50, if that. But what's important is, he doesn't smile after losses. It's very important, to have priorities.

Yes, I know I've been beating this drum for three years now, but how perfect a fit would McNabb be for the Vikings? It's his ex-offensive coordinator (Childress), in an offense he knows and is familiar with, and he'll have a superlative running game and offensive line and pretty strong defense- plus the motivation to rejuvenate and prove himself- he's still only 31, after all. Besides, Minnesota fans are the type that will appreciate him, especially after five years of awful quarterback play; he's a Midwestern guy who's got the perfect personality for the Twin Cities.

And won't Reid (assuming he's still in charge) want to help out his pal Chilly? The only drawbacks- the Vikes' receivers aren't much better than the Eagles' now, the cap may be an issue since the Vikes haven't paid a quarterback much since Culpepper left, and there remains a chance Childress himself won't be back.

Still- I want this to happen. I need this to happen.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:49 PM | Comments (0)

Film Critic Quote of the Day

Reihan Salam's thoughts on "Rachel Getting Married" are well worth reading, as always. My favorite part:

Um, a lot of the cultural trappings of the wedding struck me as ridiculous. I saw the movie with a friend and at one point we said:

So why does the wedding have an Indian theme exactly?

I think it’s because they’re assholes.

Still, that looked like the most fun wedding in history, the crazy drug addict sister threatening to ruin it notwithstanding.

Here's my review in the Trend.

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

The Ultimate Identity Politics Perfect Storm

News Item: al-Qaeda, in tape, calls Obama a "house negro"

So is he still a terrorist after this?

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

"The Shield"

Wow. Now this is how you end a series.

We all know what happened at the end of the "The Sopranos." "The Wire," great as it was, had a final season that was clearly its weakest. But "The Shield" has sort of built toward its conclusion, season by season and episode by episode, leading up to what's certain to be a classic finale next week.

I won't spoil anything, except to say this- that long silence before the confession- wow. 90-minute finale to follow next Tuesday.

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

Kidman and Sav

The upcoming Oscar-bait drama "Australia" comes out next week, and tonight the Australian Society of Philadelphia is hosting a premiere party. The guest of honor? Eagles punter Sav Rocca, a native of Down Under. Seeing as how Sav shanked three punts in a row leading up to the team's embarrassing tie against Cincinnati last Sunday, the question must be raised: Will Rocca be booed? Because I think booing a local athlete at a movie premiere would probably mark a first, even for Philly.

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

Sports Radio Moment of the Day

Howard Eskin, whose Andy Reid-backing world is now crashing down all around him, spent his show Tuesday snapping at every single caller, as usual. But then, right before signing off at 7, a caller said something along the lines of "don't cut me off like you did everyone else," so Eskin snapped back, "all right, if you can do the show so much better, have at it."

So the guy went on for 3-4 minutes, mostly saying everything that every other caller on both Philly stations has been repeating for the past 10 days, while Eskin stayed conspicuously silent. This went on until the guy ran out of things to say- at which point the host proceeded to yell at the guy for 3-4 minutes himself.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:34 AM | Comments (0)

A Poll

What was least likely a year ago:

A) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

B) American League MVP Dustin Pedroia

C) Senator Al Franken

D) World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, or

E) Defendant Mark Cuban

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:25 AM | Comments (3)

November 18, 2008

Today's Writings

Yes, you can now order a pizza, without getting up from the couch, through your Tivo. Now if only they could have a feature where the deliver guy actually brings the pizza to your couch himself... only in America, for sure.

And on Dealerscope, here's my report for a training session on the DTV transition at a Best Buy in Deptford, N.J. And the editor of E-Gear, Grant Clauser, was interviewed on Philadelphia's ABC affiliate last night.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:57 PM | Comments (1)


Best HIMYM of the year, no question. I remember "Wooooo!" Girls. Back when I lived in Hoboken, they were a big, big part of my life. I'd even have to dodge them on my way to Starbucks in the morning. But none of them were as attractive as Meadow Soprano.

And yes, Barney really nicknamed her boobs "Hannity and Colmes."

And yes, being from Minnesota, I actually went to high school with a guy named Sven.

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

Militant Black Directors and Conservative Politicians Have Something in Common After All

News Item: Mike Huckabee's campaign autobiography is titled "Do the Right Thing"

This is funny on a number of levels- how will Spike react when he hears? What are the odds Huck has actually seen "Do the Right Thing" or knew the title was already taken (not high, I'm guessing.) At any rate, I'm guessing Huckabee's book will not end with quotes from Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

George Packer tees off on Bill Kristol:

It’s not just that Kristol isn’t another Safire (although an absence of verbal playfulness and wit is a consistent hallmark of the Kristol prose style). It’s not just that his views are utterly predictable (if that were firing grounds, close to half the Times columnists would lose their jobs). It’s not just that he was fundamentally wrong at least every other week throughout the year (misattributing a quote in his first column, counting Clinton out after Iowa, placing Obama at a Jeremiah Wright sermon that Obama didn’t attend, predicting the imminent return of a McCain adviser named Mike Murphy who ended up staying off the campaign, all but predicting a McCain victory, sort of predicting that McCain would oppose the bailout, praising McCain’s “suspension” of his campaign as a smart move, preferring fake populism to professional excellence and Joe the Plumber to Horace the Poet, urging Ayers-Wright attack tactics as the way for McCain to win, basically telling McCain to ignore all the advice Kristol had given him throughout the year, but above all, vouching again and again and again, privately and publicly, for Palin as an excellent Vice-Presidential choice). What the hell—it was an unpredictable year.

The real grounds for firing Kristol are that he didn’t take his column seriously. In his year on the Op-Ed page, not one memorable sentence, not one provocative thought, not one valuable piece of information appeared under his name. The prose was so limp (“Who, inquiring minds want to know, is going to spare us a first Obama term?”) that you had the sense Kristol wrote his column during the commercial breaks of his gig on Fox News Sunday and gave it about the same amount of thought.

There are some very smart and unique conservative voices out there in the world, both on blogs and across the NYT op-ed page (David Brooks.) Kristol is way, way out of their league. He failed this year as both a columnist and an operative.

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

Crazier Than You Think

Stewart mocks the Minnesota Senate race and the crazy people we keep electing:

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

I Always Thought Cheese Was a Bigger Problem For Them

NYT: Some See Big Problem in Wisconsin Drinking

Was Brett Favre an anonymous source for this story?

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

November 17, 2008

Sports Radio Moment of the Day

Jody McDonald of 950 ESPN has instituted a policy to immediately hang up on any caller who makes any reference to Donovan McNabb inappropriately smiling on the sidelines. The WIP morning show, on the other hand, would rather devote multiple 30-minutes segments each week to that subject.

My hope for 2009, which is looking more likely every week: Donovan McNabb, smiling for good reason, in Minnesota. Kevin Kolb, not smiling for any reason at all, in Philadelphia.

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

Play, RIP

The New York Times' Play magazine, which for the past five years has done a better job doing what Sports Illustrated used to do than SI has done in memory, is no more, it was announced today. Damn. Chuck Klosterman and Michael Lewis will have to confine their once-annual awesome sports pieces to or Slate.

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

Now He Definitely Won't Own the Cubs

News Item: SEC sues Mark Cuban for insider trading

Hey, maybe the new SEC, in January, will drop this. But for now, MLB has a perfectly good excuse to keep Cubes out of the game. He maintains his innocence, for what it's worth.

Cuban is the last NBA owner I'd suspect of this sort of thing. Donald Sterling would be a first guess, or Glen Taylor, or even the Dolans. Though knowing James Dolan, he'd probably try to insider-trade and actually lose money.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:18 PM | Comments (1)

New Writings For Today

In my North Star column, I praise the Newsweek election issue. And in E-Gear, I look into why Barack Obama may no longer be able to carry his BlackBerry.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:35 AM | Comments (1)

November 16, 2008

There's No Tying in Football!

Apparently, yes there is. As Eagles fans found out today, the hard way...

Following a week in which the city turned against Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb in a way unprecedented in the past decade, the Eagles went into Cincinnati and played probably their worst game of the year, against the worst team in the AFC. The result was a tie that was every bit as unsatisfying as the one in the baseball All-Star Game a few years ago.

McNabb- the NFL's all-time career leader in percentage of interceptions not thrown- threw three picks, and then made matters worse after the game by appearing to admit that he wasn't aware that NFL games end in ties after a single overtime. Watch that now become a permanent anti-McNabb talking point.

So the Eagles are now 5-4-1, and are by no means eliminated from contention- but considering how badly they played, it's not looking so good. It'll be interesting to see how Howard Eskin spins this one- like I've said before, the day Eskin starts ripping McNabb is the day we'll know Reid and Co. have given the go-ahead to get rid of him.

Meanwhile, we knew the NFC North would be mediocre, but a three-way first-place tie, at 5-5, after Week 11? Really? At least we know the 0-10 Lions are behind the pack.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:42 PM | Comments (0)

Best SNL Digital Short Ever?

This bit, from last night's show, starts off slow, as just another Andy Samberg homoerotic bit (hasn't he done like ten already?) But the punchline pays off, big time:

A pretty solid show last night in all, especially the Justin Timberlake cameo, and the always-great "this song reminds me of..." bit. I couldn't stop laughing at the Snagglepuss monologue either. In all, probably the most gay-focused SNL episode ever.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:31 PM | Comments (1)

You Mean She Wasn't Really in Love With Crazee Eyez Killah?

News Item: Wanda Sykes comes out as lesbian.

I guess there's a reason she wasn't in that episode of 'Curb' where all the lesbians love Larry, that is until he outs Marty Funkhauser's daughter (played by Mayim "Blossom" Bialik.)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:11 PM | Comments (0)

My Position on the Auto Industry Bailout

I'm for it, but only if they can find an extra $1 billion to throw at Toyota in exchange for an immediate abandonment of "Saved By Zero." Who's with me?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:02 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2008

Dean and Obama, Cont'd

I finally got a hold of the Newsweek post-eleciton opus and read it; it's not a disappointment (more on that in next week's column.) Meanwhile, a highlight:

Joe Trippi, the unorthodox political genius who created the Dean Internet juggernaut, often said that if the Dean campaign was like the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, then Obama was the Apollo program—in other words, in one cycle skipping over commercial aviation, jet travel and supersonic transport to go straight to the moon. (Asked about this analogy, [Dean and Obama staffer Joe] Rospars replied evenly, "Not really, if you consider that Kitty Hawk was a successful flight, as compared to something that blew up on the f–––ing launchpad.")

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

November 14, 2008

The More Things Change...

Phil Sheridan, on the Eagles:

My position is that no reasonable, thinking human being can make a defensible argument that firing Reid or changing quarterbacks would improve the Eagles' chances next year. I do think Reid has lost some of the benefit of the doubt he'd earned and that his moves warrant more scrutiny, but calling him a failure is just plain immature."
Sheridan wrote that in November. November of 2005. Will people still be demanding Reid and McNabb's heads in 2011?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:40 PM | Comments (0)

Secretary Hillary?

I haven't even begun to wrap my head around this idea:

A secret meeting between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton yesterday has set rumors swirling that the president-elect might tap his former rival to be his secretary of State.

The pair met Thursday afternoon at Obama's office in downtown Chicago, Times staff writers confirm. Neither politician has spoken publicly about the meeting, but unidentified aides have told media outlets like CNN that Obama offered Clinton the role.

I'm sure Hillary would do a good enough job; she certainly knows the world, as does her husband, although hopefully her State Department would be better-run than, say, her campaign. I'm also sympathetic to the idea that Obama has offered Hillary State to get her away from health care reform.

Who gets the Senate seat? Probably Nita Lowey, although perhaps Anthony Weiner can be persuaded to forget about running for mayor. That'll be a lot of Democratic senate vacancies, all of a sudden...

And finally, a Secretary of State Hillary would find herself fourth in line for the presidency. What nefarious conspiracy will she mount in an attempt to usurp the presidency? I'm sure Dick Morris has some ideas.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:35 PM | Comments (0)

Film Critic Quote of the Week

Scanning the "Quantum of Solace" reviews, I'm thrilled to see so many critics denouncing its embrace of the shaky-cam. Christopher Orr of TNR, one of commentariat's most strident anti-shaky-cam voices, chimes in:

Following the temper of the time, Foster presents the movie's many action sequences in a wash of choppy, hyperedited shots, but he pushes the tendency to such extremes that he makes the Bourne films (on which Quantum is clearly modeled) look like Rope. The result is a near-total lack of spatial continuity--I have fifty dollars for anyone who can put salt shakers on a table and show me what took place in a particular boat chase--but an unmistakable visceral intensity. If, as it appears, this is where action filmmaking is headed, concession stands of the future will make a killing in Ritalin sales.
Our movement is slowly gaining strength...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:29 PM | Comments (0)


As mentioned earlier, I was at the CES Unveiled event in New York Tuesday; here's a slideshow of stuff introduced that day.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:21 PM | Comments (0)

The Bond Identity

Saw "Quantum of Solace" last night- let's just place it somewhere in the middle of the Bond canon. Below "Casino Royale," every Connery movie and "Goldeneye," but above the Timothy Dalton outings.

Thematically and stylistically, 'Quantum' owes a great deal more to the "Bourne" films than it does to earlier films in the Bond series. It's got the existential angst, it's got the brooding and joylessness- and it's also got (worst of all) the shaky-cam. Every action sequence subscribes to the jittery, hand-held, enemy-of-coherence fad, popularized by the Bourne movies and copied in the last couple of years by pretty much every single action movie that's been made by Hollywood.

This has long bothered me, but I talked to two other critics as I was leaving the screening and it was the first thing they mentioned, too. Also, you know that scene, that happened about 20 times in the Bourne movies, when Matt Damon walks into a room, some guy jumps out of the shadows to attack him, they have an incoherent fight for 25 seconds, and then the other guy ends up dead? 'Quantum' lifts that, pretty much verbatim.

And also, much worse in fact, is a whole sequence- a shootout during an opera performance- lifted directly from the climax of "The Godfather, Part III."

I'm a fan of director Marc Forster. His "Stranger Than Fiction" is an underrated gem, he did a good job with the "Kite Runner" movie, and I like "Monster's Ball" a lot more than most people. But action is clearly not his forte.

On the plus side, the villain- played by the guy who gave Eric Bana the names in "Munich"- was excellent, the plot not so bad either, and I liked the primary Bond girl (Olga Kurylenko) a lot and the secondary one (Gemma Arterton) even more.

Stephanie Zacharek agrees with me:

Forster seems to think that fast cutting alone makes an action sequence exciting, and to that end he's ripped numerous pages out of the "Bourne" movies, only they're the wrong pages. The editing in the Bourne movies, no matter how fast it is, is always coherent. Forster, on the other hand, pays little attention to the space people occupy in the frame; in most cases it's impossible to know who's coming from where, and why, let alone what they think they're doing.
I still don't understand why directors, again and again, make this stupid choice. Might as well put a black sheet in front of the screen.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:07 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

Peter King, on this Sunday's Eagles game:

Sure, let's fire Andy Reid. That's a smart idea. Let's dump a coach averaging 10.5 wins a year, who has piloted the Eagles to more wins than any other NFC team in the past 10 years, because he's made the playoffs six times in nine previous years but hasn't won a Super Bowl, and because he lost to the best team in football by five at home. That's the ticket. That's what you want to do with your franchise. Let's let WIP run the team and pick the next coach.
Ouch. Just watch- the Eagles are going to win by 40-3 or something like that, and you won't hear another "Fire Andy" rant on 610 until they lose again, probably three weeks later.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:07 PM | Comments (0)

Shepard Smith vs. Liberal Bias

The only honest man on Fox News goes way, way off-message:

I really don't understand the argument that "liberal media bias" is to blame for Bush's historically low approval ratings. Was the media somehow not as liberal back in 2003, when he was in the 70s?

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

Anti-Palin Quote of the Week

John Cole says it better than I ever could: We dislike Palin not because she "has a good sex life," didn't abort her child, is from Alaska, from a small town, or because "she's a mom." We dislike her because she her entire persona is a celebration of willful ignorance and mediocrity, and of the idea that those traits are emblematic of "regular people." America rejected this fraud, and hopefully that rejection was permanent.

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

Barack: Be Afraid!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:01 PM | Comments (0)

Second-Best Thing to Happen in America This Month

News Item: Focus on the Family announces layoffs.

First Colorado goes blue, and now this. Hopefully this group, led by that charlatan hack James Dobson, will go the way of the Christian Coalition.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:01 PM | Comments (0)


News Item: to shut down

This is sad. Especially because Joe Morgan himself outlasted them. Still, the creator, Ken Tremendous, has better things to do, like write for "The Office."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:01 PM | Comments (0)

Financial News Montage of the Year

This is amazing: Clips of Fox News financial commentator Peter Shiff, over the past two years, accurately predicting the entire subprime crisis and subsequent economic meltdown, while the other panelists disagree, mock and laugh at him:

My favorite part is when everyone else recommends we buy Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns. (Via Sullivan.)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:00 PM | Comments (1)

November 13, 2008

New Writings For the Day

In a mid-week North Star column, I look at the unlikely vindication of Howard Dean. Meanwhile, my review of the surprising good "Soul Men"- not to be confused (see below) with the movie that launched Obama to the presidency is online at

And on E-Gear Cisco, impatient about when Cisco Field in California will be built, has reached a deal to wire the new Yankee Stadium.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:26 PM | Comments (0)

President C. Thomas Howell

The craziest Obama essay since the election? It's gotta be Armond White's take, that the '80s comedy "Soul Man" (yes, "Soul Man") paved the way for Obama's election for president. It's actually oddly convincing.

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

Reason #1,502 Why It's Great Obama Won

I give you!.They're all true, too.

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

Missing Only a Nude Female Co-Star

I'll be the first to admit that "South Park" has been pretty subpar this season, pretty much cramming in one witless movie parody after another. The election episode was notable more for its super-fast turnaround time than anything particularly funny or original, while the two-part "Cloverfield" spoof might have been the least funny episode of the entire series.

But I've gotta say, last night's "High School Musical" parody was an instant classic. Loved the Zac Efron stand-in, a singing/dancing kid who really wants to play basketball, but his theater-queen father (Mr. Queermo!) won't allow it. And the funniest part of all was that Kyle/Stan/Kenny/Cartman were the only ones who wouldn't sing, when... 11 years ago, there was a whole movie of them singing. Great stuff.

But... how much of "South Park"'s audience has seen "High School Musical"? I'm guessing there's not much overlap. Not as obscure as the time they did a "Myra Breckinridge" homage, but still...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:25 PM | Comments (2)

Kevin Spacey Can Play HIm Again, in the Obama Biopic

News Item: Ron Klain named Biden's chief of staff

In my opinion, there have been only three great movies so far this year: "The Dark Knight," "Rachel Getting Married," and "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist." If "Recount" had been released theatrically, it would be ahead of them all.

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

Not a "Saved By Zero" Among Them

News Item: Facebook Users Name Ten Favorite Commercials

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:23 PM | Comments (1)

November 12, 2008

Looking For Newsweek

I knew I was a fan of Newsweek's quadrennial post-election opus, but apparently I'm not the only one... I had hoped to get my copy and then read it on the train up to New York yesterday, but the newsstand in 30th Street station was out of it. When I got to New York, so was the first Hudson News I saw in Penn Station. And the next two. And, apparently, every other newsstand in Manhattan- I must've gone to at least 30, including a couple that were right in front of Newsweek's headquarters building. I should've gone in and asked for a copy.

Did people just buy it as a keepsake, or to read the soon-to-be-legendary behind-the-scenes article? I don't know, but I can say that in these days of doom and gloom for the newspaper and magazine industries, it's good to see people hoarding copies, even if I can't get one myself. Now, if only we could have the first black president, or a Phillies world championship, every week...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:15 PM | Comments (1)

Unveiling CES

I spent yesterday in New York at an event previewing January's International CES; here's Dealerscope's team coverage of the event. I'll be in Vegas for more January 8-10.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:14 PM | Comments (0)

Fear and Loathing of the Eagles

Remember what I said about WIP being somehow different now that the Phillies had won the World Series, that everyone was happier now and it wasn't the station I remembered? Yea, that lasted about a week.

The Eagles are the whipping boys now, following last week's Sunday night loss to the Giants. What's funny is the Eagles, who are 5-4 (the Vikings, by contrast, are THRILLED to be 5-4) were actually winners of three straight before this week. But because that streak coincided with the Phillies' title run, no one was paying attention. So since the Giants loss, Topic A in Philadelphia has now become "should the Eagles get rid of Reid, get rid of McNabb, or get rid of both Reid and McNabb?"

As with every time the Eagles lose a game, all the revisionist history comes creeping through. Reid was never a good coach. McNabb "always" chokes and "always" throws at receivers' feet (except for when he doesn't do either, which is almost all the time.) They will NEVER WIN with this coach/quarterback/ownership group (funny, I heard that about the Phillies every day until about three weeks ago.) Or hey, Reid/McNabb's run to four NFC title games, one Super Bowl appearance, and eight playoff wins doesn't count, because "the NFC was weak back then."

The WIP morning show has been leading this as usual, coming after years and years of killing everything about the Phillies, from the owners to the management to the players; if they'd had their druthers Charlie Manuel would've been fired, and Pat Burrell released, years ago. Hell, Cataldi decided before last season that Pat Gillick was a bad general manager because he saw him once wearing a Hawaiian shirt. Yet they celebrated just like everyone else at the parade; something tells me if the Eagles ever have one, it'll be the same thing and they'll somehow forget about the 525 times they demanded Andy Reid's firing.

Come on- the Eagles are 5-4! They're not 1-7! With an easy schedule coming up- and a penchant for almost always finishing strongly- I'd guess they have more than a 50/50 shot at the playoffs. But hey, enjoy this while you can- I really hope this town is prepared for 10 years of awful quarterback play if McNabb's gone after this year.

Yes, I know Reid can be sort of questionable when it comes to game-day calls, and McNabb has at times been inconsistent this year. But they're both very, very good at what they do, and wouldn't have won as many games in their careers as they have if they were not.

UPDATE: Oh wow, Bernard Hopkins insulted McNabb again! It's just as shocking as the other 15 times he did it.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:14 PM | Comments (0)

Get Him a Body Bag! Again! YEA!

News Item: Will Smith's son will star in "Karate Kid" remake

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:13 PM | Comments (0)

Waiting For "Milk"

I haven't seen the movie yet, and I don't know if it could be as good as the documentary on the same subject, but this trailer for Gus Van Sant's "Milk" is one of the best I've ever seen:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:12 PM | Comments (1)

The First "Wire"-Fan President

At Huffington, Casey Gane-McCalla looks at how the new president can learn from "The Wire." Hopefully he won't be another Carcetti...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2008

Obama: Oy Vay!

I look into how, in the end, the Jews came back to vote for Obama, in this week's North Star column.

And on the day job side, Circuit City has filed Chapter 11- apparently, those commercials where the computer monitor develops shapely legs weren't enough to keep them solvent. And I also have a new retail crime roundup.

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

Football Day

Happy as I am about the Vikings beating the Packers at the Dome for the first time in the Childress era, otherwise it was quite a weird Sunday. Weirdest of all was the Giants-Eagles game at the Linc, which I attended last night.

Neither team played particularly well, but the Eagles' defense was especially weak, unable to stop the run at any point in the game. Meanwhile, Philly has once again decided that Donovan McNabb is worthless, presumably because he only scored 31 points against the best team in the NFC, and only managed to score one touchdown in the last five minutes when down by 12.

Nope, this one goes more on Andy Reid, for calling unsuccessful challenges on consecutive plays in the fourth quarter. Then again, I do agree with Iggles Blog when they ask, "Why does a five-point loss to the best team in the conference mean the coach should be fired?" I also would in no way assume that a team with a 5-4 record and an easy upcoming schedule has lost all hope of making the playoffs.

Other notes from the game: Cole Hamels and Pat Burrell were there and got the loudest cheers of the night. Joe Biden was there too, in owner Jeffrey Lurie's box; the two of them were booed, though I'm not sure who the booing was directed at. That's actually a somewhat common debate topic for the day after Eagles games: "Who were they booing?" The answer, usually, is all of the above.

And finally, the best thing about going to a game in person- no "Saved by Zero."

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

Joe Fuckin' Scarborough

The "Morning Joe" host channels Chase Utley. Mike Barnicle's shock (and Mika "Robin Quivers" Brzezinski calling him "honey") are the best parts:

Not as embarrassing as Chris Matthews saying on the air that it's his job to make sure the Obama Administration is successful.

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

Against "Derangement Syndrome"

Alex Knapp, on this stupid conservative tic of dismissing any criticism of their favorite politicians as "Bush Derangement Syndrome" (Or Palin, etc.):

This is fascinating to me on a number of levels. Not the least of which is that it’s pretty apparent that the tossing about of the “[insert name here] Derangement Syndrome” card is primarily a sad attempt to ignore argument or, at the very least, evidence of a refusal to comprehend that somebody else might see the world (horrors!) differently.

For my own part, the most fascinating aspect of this “Derangement Syndrome” is that it is most prominently used in the defense of two politicians (Bush and Palin) who have really lousy records of their time in office. Especially from a conservative perspective. For Bush’s part, well, res ipsa loquitor–at this point we all know his record.

As for Palin, this is a woman who, as both Mayor and Governor, raised taxes, spent prolifigately, eagerly sought out federal pork, and was more than happy to heap subsidies on big businesses. All of which, as far as I can tell, make her just another mediocre Alaskan politician.

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

Homer Draper

My favorite part of the recent "Treehouse of Horror":

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

A Shoutout to Mim

My high school journalism teacher, Mim Kagol, is mentioned this week in the New Yorker, in a profile of another of her former pupils, Thomas Friedman. In fact, she has frequently appeared over the years in Friedman profiles, which certainly says a lot about her.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

McNulty vs. Pembleton

Tim Goodman proposes a face-off between the two greatest TV detectives of all time- both of Baltimore. Love them both, and "The Wire" was the better show, but I've gotta go with Frank Pembleton. I still don't understand why Andre Braugher never became a huge movie star...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:26 PM | Comments (0)

Life Imitates "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"

News Item: New drug may someday enable selective erasure of memories

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:26 PM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2008

Anti-Saved By Zero Quote of the Day

Bill Simmons joins the movement:

Cut down on the ads, Toyota. We're not kidding. You know why you haven't see John Mellencamp in two years? He's trapped in the basement of some frustrated baseball fan who dressed him like the Gimp and keeps him in a trunk after hearing "Our Country" for the 700,000th time. Look, we're all ecstatic that the guys from the Fixx are getting royalties again. Just tone it down. We get it. Zero APR financing. Heard you loud and clear.
Can't Obama do something about this?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:44 AM | Comments (1)

Sports Radio Moment of the Day

Howard Eskin, throughout the last few days, has been bashing "blogs," and their inherent inaccuracies, for the rumors that have spread in recent days about the Phillies acquiring Matt Holliday, or perhaps even making Jimmy Rollins available in trade.

The Holliday rumor originated from Jon Heyman, on, which is... not a blog. The Rollins rumor first came up in the San Jose Mercury News, which is of course a newspaper, not a blog.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:41 AM | Comments (2)

November 07, 2008

Quote of the Day

James Wolcott, on Shelby Steele's "why Obama can't win" book:

Obama not only could win, he did win, and he won big, winning a majority of the popular vote, flipping red states blue, and thrilling the world. He flew high, and kept flying, and the thesis of your book was wrong, arrogant and wrong. As wrong as the editor who rejected Poe's "The Raven" for publication. As wrong as Dow 36,000. As wrong as Dick Morris is with every book he publishes. So when you write a ponderous thumbsucker about the election for the LA Times, the first thing you should do is come clean, be a mensch, own up, and perform a small act of contrition, conceding your jumbo-sized error of judgment. Instead, you play pontiff and pretend as if what happened this Tuesday conforms with your panoramic perception of race relations
Come on, no one can possibly be more consistently wrong than Dick "Condi vs. Hillary: the Next Great Presidential Race" Morris.

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


The Brandeis newspaper known as the Hoot looks into the Bryan Rudnick PA/Jewish e-mail scandal, complete with background info on the Charlton Heston visit and other Bryan shenanigans from back in the day. A great read.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:58 PM | Comments (1)

November 06, 2008

"Porno" From Kevin Smith

My review of "Zach and Miri Make a Porno" (or as it was called in pre-10 p.m. TV commercials, "Zach and Miri"), is online at

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:28 PM | Comments (2)

Shocker! Obama Appoints Zionist!

Jeffrey Goldberg, on the appointment of Rahm Emanuel as White House Chief of Staff:

1) This choice makes the entire "Does Obama secretly hate Israel?" conversation seem a bit ridiculous (Though the vast majority of Jewish voters seemed to have figured that out by the election). Rahm did not, despite the rumors, serve in the Israeli Army, but he is deeply and emotionally committed to Israel and its safety. We've talked about the issue a dozen times; it's something he thinks about constantly, and his appointment gives me further reason to believe that the Obama Administration will not wait seven years to address the Israeli-Arab crisis.

2) Peace-processors take heart: Rahm, precisely because he's a lover of Israel, will not have much patience with Israeli excuse-making, so when the next Prime Minister tells President Obama that as much as he'd love to, he can't dismantle the Neve Manyak settlement outpost, or whichever outpost needs dismantling, because of a) domestic politics; b) security concerns, or c) the Bible, Rahm will call out such nonsense, and it will be very hard for right-wing Israelis to come back and accuse him of being a self-hating Jew. This is not to say that he's unaware of Palestinian dysfunction, or Iranian extremism, but that he has a good grasp of some of Israel's foibles as well. All in all, it's a very heartening choice.

I can't say this more clearly: there was never any reason to believe that Obama doesn't support Israel. Every "reason" put forward in that regard, always, was wholly imaginary.

Jewcy has more.

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

Southern Strategy, RIP

Alan Wolfe buries much of what was defeated on Tuesday. Good riddance.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:27 PM | Comments (4)

More Hate For "Saved by Zero"

The AP, this time.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

Ralph Nader, Idiot

He calls Obama an "uncle Tom." Good for Shepard Smith for slapping him down:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:26 PM | Comments (0)

CNN's Only Remaining Hope

More on that weird election night hologram:

On the subject's side:
• 35 HD cameras pointed at the subject in a ring
• Different cameras shoot at different angles (like the matrix), to transmit the entire body image
• The cameras are hooked up to the cameras in home base in NY, synchronizing the angles so perspective is right
• The system is set up in trailers outside Obama and McCain HQ
• Not only is it mechanical tracking via camera communication, there's infrared as well
• Correspondents see a 37-inch plasma where the return feed of the combined images are fed back to them. Useful for a misplaced hair or an unseemly boogar
• Twenty "computers" are crunching this data in order to make it usable

On the HQ side:
• Only used on two out of 40-something total camera feeds that CNN has

Wow, sounds to me like way, way too much money and effort for something that's not that cool.

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

Quote of the Day

Joe Klein, on what's really going on in foreign policy:

What has emerged during the past few months is a centrist consensus, including most of the Bush 41 foreign policy team, the uniformed military, Barack Obama and the Democratic Party's best known experts, on the way to proceed in Iraq, Afghanistan, talks with Syria and Iran and many of the other problems we face in the greater Middle East.

Still, I would also like to encourage Randy Scheunemann, Bill Kristol et al to continue to coalesce around Sarah Palin--her intellectual rigor and clarity, especially on foreign policy, indicate that she represents the real future of the neoconservative movement.

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

What Would Buck O'Neil Say?

Joe Posnanski remembers his friend on the occasion of Obama's victory.

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

November 05, 2008

Obama/McNabb Parallel, Cont'd

From's story about athlete reactions to the result:

Donovan McNabb grew up in Chicago never believing he would see a black man become president.

Perhaps that was one reason why the 31-year-old Philadelphia Eagles quarterback didn't register to vote until this election.

McNabb, though, had met Barack Obama, believed in his ideas and supported his policies. Watching Obama deliver his victory speech at Grant Park brought back all sorts of memories.

"It reminded me of, obviously, when Martin Luther King spoke and the messages that he spoke about," McNabb said Wednesday. "As a man, if you teared up, it was acceptable because it was that deep.

"For the first time, I had the opportunity to vote and I can say that I was a part of it," he said.

Pennsylvania went overwhelmingly for one; hopefully it will continue to support the other.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:55 PM | Comments (3)

Obama/Santos, Cont'd

An Yglesias commenter notices:

1998: Josh Lyman is modeled after Rahm Emanuel.
2004: Matt Santos is modeled after Barack Obama
2006: Matt Santos wins the presidency, and appoints Josh Lyman his Chief of Staff
2008: Barack Obama wins the presidency, and appoints Rahm his Chief of Staff.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:45 PM | Comments (0)


Beautiful reaction from Tom Toles:


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

Election Next Day Notes

- We're looking at a recount (!) in the Minnesota Senate race, as Franken and Coleman are apparently less than 600 votes apart out of almost 3 million cast. I still say a generic Dem (like Mike Ciresi) would have beaten Norm by 7-10 points. Unfortunately, that lunatic Michele Bachmann was re-elected.

- Terrible what happened in California with the gay marriage initiative. But I've got a feeling they'll go back in four years and reverse that.

- I really wish Jesse Helms had lived six more months, to see 1) his former seat fall to a Democrat, and 2) the election of a black man as president.

- Yes, despite all the Wright/Farrakhan/Israel bullshit, Obama won the Jewish vote, big-time, and even outperformed Kerry. Mazel tov, Barack.

- So, what ever happened with that Whitey tape? I'm beginning to think maybe it never existed at all.

- Book that looks pretty stupid right now: Shelby Steele's "A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win."

- I can't wait to read the Newsweek post-election opus- it's one of my favorite parts of every presidential race. They've started posting it online.

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

The President-Elect

And here's MSNBC, before and after the call:

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

Quote of the Day

Rod Dreher, on the "symmetry of history":

1. The modern conservative movement began with the crushing defeat of Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential race. The modern conservative movement ends with the crushing defeat of Arizona Sen. John McCain -- who took Goldwater's Senate seat upon his retirement -- in the 2008 presidential race.

2. Modern liberalism began its implosion with riots in Chicago's Grant Park at the 1968 Democratic Convention. Tonight, modern liberalism is reborn at Chicago's Grant Park, where a black Chicago Democrat will celebrate winning the presidency.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)

Better Him Than Daschle

News Item: Rahm Emanuel offered position as White House Chief of Staff

I'm still wondering why "Entourage" hasn't introduced a brother character for Ari who's a leading member of Congress. I think that could be a better storyline than anything we've seen thus far this year.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)

The Onion on the Election

Great stuff:

Carrying a majority of the popular vote, Obama did especially well among women and young voters, who polls showed were particularly sensitive to the current climate of everything being fucked. Another contributing factor to Obama's victory, political experts said, may have been the growing number of Americans who, faced with the complete collapse of their country, were at last able to abandon their preconceptions and cast their vote for a progressive African-American.

After enduring eight years of near constant trauma, the United States is, at long last, ready for equality.

Citizens with eyes, ears, and the ability to wake up and realize what truly matters in the end are also believed to have played a crucial role in Tuesday's election.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:59 PM | Comments (0)

Trumping Matt Santos

News Item: Blair Underwood says his L.A. Law character was based on Barack Obama.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:59 PM | Comments (0)

November 04, 2008

Election Night 2008 Liveblog

6:44: And we're live, here in Broomall. I love that MSNBC's on-screen graphics are eerily similar to those ESPN uses for the NFL Draft.

6:46: I voted today at my local precinct, and surprisingly, there was no line at all. Obama's get-out-the-vote operation was something to behold- I got four different phone calls in the last few days, and I don't even know how many door-hanging things. I even managed to get my politics-hating wife to join me and vote.

7:00: First projections from MSNBC- Obama wins Vermont, McCain wins Kentucky. No big surprises, I'd say.

7:04: Mark Warner wins the Virginia Senate seat. Judging by his sleep-inducing DNC keynote, let's just say I'm glad he didn't run for president.

7:18: On CNN, Jessica Yellin is being interviewed by Wolf Blitzer- "via hologram!" WTF? CNN, building a bridge to the 24th century.

7:30: All 7:30 states are too close to call.

7:57: CNN calls South Carolina for McCain, even though Obama is winning. Again, not much of a shocker there.

8:00: Obama wins Massachusetts, Illinois, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, DC and Maine; McCain carries Oklahoma and Tennessee.

8:02: MSNBC calls Pennyslvania for Obama! I think the election just ended. Obama just compared it to the Battle of Gettysburg, because "the Republicans lost." Huh?

8:04: Obama wins New Hampshire, too.

8:09: Howard Dean interviewed on MSNBC. Who would have thought he, as DNC chairman, would preside over one of the most successful runs in the history of the Democratic Party?

8:11: Obama won Hillary voters in PA by an 81-19 margin. And how many articles were there about the PUMA "phenomenon"? 500?

8:16: Biden is reelected to the Senate in Delaware. Funny that he could so easily win when he obviously doesn't even want to be a Senate anymore. John Kerry was re-elected too; I had forgotten he was even running.

8:23: Fox is holding off on calling PA for Obama. I'm shocked, shocked!

8:25: MSNBC's cameras are showing the Palm Beach County election officials examining ballots. What year is this?

8:31: Kay Hagen wins the North Carolina Senate race over Elizabeth Dole. Let this be a lesson: if you accuse your opponent, in a TV commercial, of not believing in God, you'll probably lose.

8:36: McCain wins Georgia. Would have been nice for Obama, but oh well, he didn't need it.

9:00: Here we go: McCain wins Kansas, Wyoming and North Dakota, Obama wins New York, Michigan, Minnesota (!), Wisconsin and Rhode Island. Arizona, unbelievably, is too close to call.

9:16: Fox calls New Mexico for Obama- that's the first '04 red state to flip. Almost there...

9:18: Fox calls Ohio for Obama. If that's right, then it's over. And Karl Rove's there to watch.

9:34: I really miss Tim Russert tonight. Him and his dry-erase board.

10:09: November is like January- Obama wins Iowa.

10:46: Chuck Todd guesses that if Tim Russsert were alive, he wouldn't be writing down the name of any state- he'd be writing "Bush, Bush, Bush."

10:47: Anderson Cooper talks to a hologram of I'd pay attention to what they're talking about, but I can't stop laughing.

10:50: Fox calls Virginia for Obama. That means California will put him over the top at 11.

11:00: With the calling of California, Washington and Oregon, Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States.

11:18: McCain concession time. It just hit me- Sarah Palin will not be vice president. Whew. McCain looks like he's talking to about 200 people. The idiots are still booing Obama, but at least no one yelled "terrorist!" this time.

11:21: Obama wins Florida and Colorado, too.

11:26: McCain just thanked his "campaign comrades." Does that mean he's a socialist????

11:28: Overall, a classy speech by McCain. The crowd there? Not so classy.

11:40: As David Gregory reads a statement from Hillary Clinton, Chris Matthews can be heard laughing audibly in the background.

11:46: The winning presidential candidate will give his acceptance speech on actual Election Night for the first time since 1996.

11:59: "We as a people will get there." Hell of a speech, even though it's probably not in the top ten of those he's given.

12:23: This feels a lot like the last scene of a movie, doesn't it? No words, just music and celebrating.

12:48: All right, that's it for tonight. Still don't know who won Indiana, North Carolina, Montana or Missouri; also still waiting on that Minnesota Senate race as well as the Michele Bachmann Congressional seat. More on that tomorrow; but in the meantime check out my special election night North Star column.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:44 PM | Comments (5)

Quote of the Day

Jay-Z, at a rally in Philadelphia for Obama last night:

"Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk. Martin Luther King walked so Obama could run. Obama's running so we can all fly."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:08 PM | Comments (1)

Obama-Biden: The Team to Beat

Last week's champ (Jimmy Rollins) introduces this week's in Philly:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:08 PM | Comments (0)

TV Critic Quote of the Week

Isaac Chotiner watched 24 hours of Fox News immediately before the election:

To watch the channel in the final days of Decision 2008 is to enter a world where ACORN, media bias, Obama's campaign financing, and Fox News itself are the central storylines of the election. Once the network of optimistic, flag-waving jingoism, Fox has become a beacon of sky-is-falling fury.
It's going to be a fun four years on Sixth Avenue for those guys.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

"Last of the Culture Warriors"

Great column by Peter Beinart in the Post, on how this election may represent the end of the culture war moment in politics:

Although she seems like a fresh face, Sarah Palin actually represents the end of an era. She may be the last culture warrior on a national ticket for a very long time.
We can only hope.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2008

Quote of the Day

My good friend Bill McCabe, on why he'll be voting for either Obama or Barr:

Palin is indisputably the single worst major party candidate for high office in living memory, a proudly ignorant political automaton whose only notable qualities are a pretty face, a sufficient lack of awareness to blind her to her own incompetencies and a quality of ambition that can only be described as voracious. The GOP base should have been insulted that this was all it was given by the McCain campaign; instead it embraced her and has declared her a frontrunner for 2012. Which tells you that the GOP base has learned nothing in the last eight years; Palin, in every way that matters, is nothing more than Bush with boobs. The GOP base doesn’t want a president, it wants a mirror.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:41 PM | Comments (2)


That's FiveThirtyEight's (presumably) final number for Obama's winning percentage. Yep, I feel pretty good.

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

Obama By 5-6

I predict the election in this week's North Star column.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:26 PM | Comments (1)

Chase Utley's Favorite Political Website

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:26 PM | Comments (0)

With Moves Like This, They'll Never Win a Championship... Oh Wait

News Item: Phillies name Ruben Amaro general manager

He's a Cuban Jew (!), and you can't go wrong with that.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:26 PM | Comments (1)

November 02, 2008

What a Parade

Since all I've ever heard anyone talk about since moving to Philly three years ago was "a parade down Broad Street," I figured once one actually happened I'd better go. So Friday I joined my wife and her family at the Phillies' championship parade.

It was quite a scene- over 2 million people in attendance throughout the parade route, and another 50,000 each in a pair of rallies at Lincoln Financial Field and Citizen's Bank Park. Chase Utley created a "scandal" by proclaiming "world fucking champions!" in the televised rally, but the crowd in person seemed to like it.

Other highlights- Pat Burrell got to ride in the lead float, pulled by Budweiser Clydesdales, though I'm not sure why. Scott Eyre pointed at my 1-year-old nephew. Mayor Michael Nutter held up the World Series trophy throughout the day. And Charlie Manuel seemed to be the only person there wearing a suit.

Will Philly ever be the same? I'm sure it will be. But WIP is so different all of a sudden- everyone's so happy!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:43 PM | Comments (2)


Great, great stuff:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:20 PM | Comments (2)

Quote of the Day

Matt Yglesias, on this Khalidi business:

There’s something very disturbing to me about the broader implications of the sort of guilt by association tactics that the McCain campaign has used over and over again this year. I expect the merits of my political views to be judged based on my writing and other statements and my actions. Like anyone who’s interested in politics and interested in learning, I have cordial relationships with lots of people who have lots of opinions. And that’s how the world ought to work. It would be a disaster if someone everyone who wanted to operate in mainstream politics had to spend his entire life in a hermetically sealed bubble in which he never meets or talks to anyone with unpopular views on any subject.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)