December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Have a good last night of 2008. I never got around to the achievement awards or Shameful Events list last year, but I hope to get that up by the weekend.

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

Top Ten Films of 2008 (mine)

1. "The Dark Knight"
2. "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist"
3. "Milk"
4. "Rachel Getting Married"
5. "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
6. "Frost/Nixon"
7. "The Visitor"
8. "Man on Wire"
9. "Wall-E"
10. "Dear Zachary"

Honorable Mention: "Valkyrie," "In Bruges," "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," "The Pineapple Express," "Burn After Reading," "Be Kind Rewind," "The Bank Job," "Iron Man," "The Wackness," "Synecdoche, New York," "Young@Heart," "Definitely, Maybe"

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:38 PM | Comments (1)

Top Ten TV Shows of 2008 (mine)

1. "The Shield" (FX)
2. "Mad Men" (AMC)
3. "The Wire" (HBO)
4 (tie). "The Daily Show"/"The Colbert Report" (Comedy Central)
6. "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS)
7. "The Paper" (MTV)
8. "Saturday Night Live" (NBC)
9. "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" (FX)
10. "Morning Joe" (MSNBC)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:38 PM | Comments (1)

Top Five Albums of 2008 (mine)

1. Vampire Weekend, "Vampire Weekend"
2. Coldplay, "Viva La Vida, Or Death and All His Friends"
3. The Hold Steady, "Stay Positive"
4. Soundtrack, "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist"
5. Lil Wayne, "Tha Carter III"

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

Top 40 Products of 2008 (my magazine's)

E-Gear gives us the top 40 gadgets of the year.

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

Crime Time

The last consumer electronics retail crime roundup of the year is online at Dealerscope.com

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

Good to Know

The other day, Brandeis University's newspaper, the Justice (both my alma maters)sent out an e-mail blast re-assuring us all that Brandeis' endowment is safe, despite the havoc wreaked on Jewish philanthropy worldwide by Bernie Madoff.

Apparently the Shapiro family- which has its name on the student center, the admissions center, a large freshman dorm, and probably a dozen other buildings on campus- lost a large part of their fortune in the fraud. The university itself, though, had no money tied up with Madoff. Which means that they're much better run than the New York Mets.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:34 PM | Comments (1)

First the Movie Theater Thing, Now This

News Item: Eagles-Cowboys dispute leads to shooting.

Not sure which one was the shooter, but the guy who was arguing for the Eagles? He was right.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:34 PM | Comments (0)

Blago, Burress and the "Cracker Ass Cracker" Vote

Ta-Nehesi makes a whole lot of sense.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:30 PM | Comments (2)

The Wild Thing Goes National

News Item: Mitch Williams hired as analyst by MLB Network

A Comcast Sports Net and WIP host for the past two years, the "Wild Thing" had previously been known primarily as that huge-mulletted relief pitcher who gave up the World Series-losing home run in 1993. But then a surprising thing happened- he turned out to be a great, great broadcaster. He'll be missed in Philly- I'll never forget his outraged commentary the night Game 5 of the World Series was suspended ("There was standing water on the field!"), and a knowledgable and authoritative sports media figure in a town with way too few.

Something sort of eerie, though- Williams was originally hired on both WIP and Comcast to replace John Marzano, who was leaving to work for MLB.com and eventually the MLB Network. Marzano died of a heart attack this year, and now Williams is succeeding him in another job.

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

Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf, RIP

I was sorry to hear earlier this week that the legendary Chicago rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf had passed away at the age of 84. I studied with Rabbi Wolf for two weeks at camp in 1995 or so, and I was shocked to hear him emerge more than a decade later as a friend, neighbor and defender of Barack Obama. I had had no idea of his earlier fame as an anti-war and civil rights activist.

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

Onion Headline of the Decade Nominee

From 2001: 300 Naked Women Feared Lost In Computer Crash

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

From the People Who Brought You "Santorum..."

Name a sex act after Saddleback!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:01 AM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2008

What's Wrong With You, Minny?

News Item: 14,000 tickets still available for Vikings-Eagles game at Metrodome

This is kind of embarrassing- I thought we had good fans! Especially for the first home playoff game in eight years.

Why is this happening? I've heard a few theories: The majority of regular season games are attended by season ticket holders; not a lot of people buy single-game and are having trouble getting into the habit now. The Metrodome's not an especially fun venue, and you can't see a thing from the upper deck. Despite the 10-6 record and division title, there's dissatisfaction with the team, and no one really trusts Childress or T-Jack.

There's also the economy- Minnesota's richest citizens got hit big-time by the Madoff ponzi scheme, coming right on the heels of the much smaller and local but similar Petters ponzi scheme- I'm sure some of the many season ticket holders not buying playoff tickets were part of one of those groups.

Maybe it's just the dirty little secret that in most situations, NFL games are a lot more fun to watch on TV than they are to attend in person.

At any rate, I doubt there will actually be a blackout- sponsors tend to step up to buy tickets in this type of situation. But what I do expect is that many, many Philadelphia fans will show up in Minny for the game, and it'll be a big story in the days afterward.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:26 PM | Comments (1)

Film Critic Quote of the Week

Sean Burns of Philadelphia Weekly, on "Revolutionary Road":

Did you ever hear the one about how beneath those postcard-perfect shiny surfaces, the suburbs are actually barren wastelands of dysfunction? Oh, yeah—everybody’s heard that one...

But here we go again anyway, and what separates Revolutionary Road from those other flicks is its complete absence of humor, characterization or story. Kate and Leo just stand around shouting the subtext at one another...

Revolutionary Road might work best as a sick joke, aimed at couples who went to see Titanic on a first date and now find themselves married and as miserable as Frank and April Wheeler. Otherwise, I can’t imagine any reason for it to exist.

Oh, it's so much worse than that. The movie has one idea- that the suburbs are stifling and constraining- and hammers it constantly for two hours.

At the screening tonight, I'm convinced that 50 percent of the people who showed up only came because they heard Kate Winslet has a new movie that's filled with nude scenes, only they confused 'Road' with "The Reader."

One highlight though- during what's meant to be the film's most emotionally wrenching moment, a woman's cell phone rang. Except it didn't just ring- her particular ring consisted of a Cookie Monster-like voice yelling "Ring ring," several times in rapid succession, followed by a loud scream.

Normally, I don't have much of a tolerance for that sort of thing. But this particular ring, at that particular moment of that particular movie- I couldn't stop laughing for the rest of the movie and for about 10 minutes afterward.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:15 PM | Comments (0)

Chutzpah Award Winner

News Item: Rod Blagojevich names Roland Burris to fill Obama's seat

The Minnesota nightmare is bad enough, and so is Caroline Kennedy- but now we've got the state and national Democrats both standing in the way of a probably illegal appointment. Sending Bobby Rush out there to brandish the race card and throw the word "lynching" around was a nice touch too.

I just hope Blago is impeached before Burris can be seated.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:29 PM | Comments (0)

Peyton Manning is Larry David

Jason Whitlock goes crazy with the NFL/HBO analogies, first going Eagles/Sopranos:

Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb are the Tony Soprano and Paulie Walnuts of the NFL. Yes, they bicker and fight and have good reason to be suspicious of each other, but at the end of the day, you'll always find Andy Soprano and Donnie Walnuts in the same foxhole.

Reid and McNabb drive me crazy. If Reid would just give McNabb his own crew, the Eagles would earn with the best of them. And if McNabb would avoid the boneheaded mistake, Reid would have more incentive to make him the captain of a talented offensive crew.

It's frustrating. It's also inspiring the way these two never abandon each other. They've been through the good times and the bad times. Who will ever forget when they had to whack Terrell "Big Pussy" Owens for turning rat?

And "Wire"/Ravens:
Ray Ray and Ed Reed are the real Avon Barksdale and Wee-Bey Brice of Baltimore, old-school, ride-or-die soldiers. Joe "Stringer Bell" Flacco and John "Marlo Stanfield" Harbaugh are likely to receive a lot of hype for the Ravens' surprising season, but Ray Ray and Ed Reed held it down on the streets.
Marlo is the coach of Avon, Stringer and Wee-Bey? Never. But Derrick Mason is Chris and Snoop rolled into one.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)

Donovan Redeemed

Stephen A. Smith- who can be a hell of a good writer when he actually tries hard- has a great piece on ESPN.com on Donovan McNabb's late-season redemption. And yes, I'm resigned to the fact that McNabb-to-the-Vikings isn't happening, at least not this year, and regardless of what happens Sunday Donovan and T-Jack will remain quarterbacks of their respective teams in 2009.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

"Like Johnny Carson Being Replaced by Dane Cook"

Apparently, everyone really hates film critic Ben Lyons. Not hard to blame them, if you ask me.

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

By All Means, Go Ahead and Do It, GOP

From a Politico story on this ridiculous "Magic Negro" flap:

The controversy surrounding a comedy CD distributed by Republican National Committee chair candidate Chip Saltsman has not torpedoed his bid and might have inadvertently helped it.

Four days after news broke that the former Tennessee GOP chairman had sent a CD that included a song titled “Barack the Magic Negro” to the RNC members he is courting, some of those officials are rallying around the embattled Saltsman, with a few questioning whether the national media and his opponents are piling on.

It's almost 2009. A black man has been elected president of the United States. A candidate for the chairmanship of the opposite party not only thought it funny to include a song calling him a "Negro" on a CD, but thought the Republican National Committee would like it too. And... he was right. If that doesn't tell you about the difference between the two parties these days, I don't know what is.

I know, I know, it's a backlash against "political correctness." But someone showing up in Congress in a Klan hood would be politically incorrect too- and also very, very wrong.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:48 AM | Comments (1)

Sure to Be Wrong

I make 15 predictions for the year to come in this week's North Star column.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:33 AM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2008

Crazy, Crazy Football Notes

A team that's had a whole season of questionable quarterback play and a coach that everyone in town hates has finished the season 10-6 and won a division title, while a team that everyone in its town gave up on multiple times this year, also coached by a man hated locally- who happens to be the mentor of the previously mentioned hated coach- has somehow made the playoffs too. And the teams are set to play next Sunday.

Yes, with their win over the Giants on a last-second field goal the Vikings won their first-ever NFC North crown to earn their first playoff appearance since 2004- when they lost to, yes, the Eagles, led by coach Mike Tice and quarterback Daunte Culpepper. That was in the opening months of my relationship with my now-wife and we actually went to the game; things should get pretty tense again next week.

As for the Eagles, sorry Philly- it's looking like another year of Reid and McNabb. The team was given up for dead after its tie with Cincinnati, "unless they can win out"; they didn't win out, but did get incredibly lucky in Week 17- Chicago and Tampa both had to lose while favored, while the Eagles had to beat Dallas; all three of those things, of course, came to pass.

The Iggles crushed hated rival Dallas 44-6; knocking the Cowboys out of the playoffs and cementing their own spot. Can we now officially retire the "McNabb can't win big games" talking point? Today was a pretty friggin' big game, and it seems like he came through.

How crazy is the NFC playoffs? Both the Vikings and Eagles, two teams whose own fans don't believe they belong in the playoffs, have beaten the #1 seed (the Giants) in the last three weeks.

Then again, in the AFC, 8-8 San Diego is in (with a home game!) and 11-5 New England is out. I can't wait for the 10,000 Bill Simmons column on this gross injustice.

Oh, and the Lions are officially winless. Can you imagine the party in Detroit when they win their first game in almost two years?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:21 PM | Comments (2)

Could Have Happened At Any Movie I Went To In the Last Four Years

News Item: Philadelphia man shot because family talked during movie

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:23 PM | Comments (0)

Scientologist vs. Nazis

My review of "Valkyrie" is now online at Philly.com

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:06 PM | Comments (0)

How in the World Will She Avoid All the Gay Jokes?

News Item: Kathy Griffin, Anderson Cooper to co-host CNN new years' show

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

December 23, 2008

Flying South

I'm heading to Florida tomorrow morning for a much-needed vacation, so there will be no posts until I return next Sunday. Everybody have a happy holiday season, and I'll be back next week with some year-end stuff.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:44 PM | Comments (0)

Mo' Pastors, Mo' Problems

I look at Obama's latest pastor trouble in this week's North Star column.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:43 PM | Comments (0)

America's "Retarded Little Brother"

That's Matt Labash's description of Detroit; he's got another one of his gonzo tour de forces up now.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:43 PM | Comments (0)

Say It Ain't So, Tex!

News Item: Mark Teixeira signs with Yankees for eight years, $170 million

The Yankees now have the four highest-paid players in baseball. There are about 12 players in baseball with $100 million contracts. Three of them are in the Yankees' infield. And if the Yanks finish behind the Rays in the standings again, I won't even be mildly surprised.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:42 PM | Comments (0)

Happy Birthday, Motherfucker

ALOTT5MA wishes Samuel L. Jackson a happy 60th birthday, and sums up my feelings:

One things that makes me happy is knowing that if I see that Deep Blue Sea is on cable, I can wait until exactly one hour in to watch the greatest speech in film history.
This came on during my birthday party last year, and we must have rewound and fast-forwarded five times:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:41 PM | Comments (0)

When I Heard "Ex-Clinton Aide," I Was Sure It Was Dick Morris

News Item: Deputy assistant secretary of the Navy under Clinton pleads guilty to child porn charges

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:41 PM | Comments (0)

Happy Holidays, Andy and Donovan

After the Eagles' loss Sunday, the Philly fans spread holiday cheer, Turkey-style.

Meanwhile, as a Vikings fan, the surprising part to me wasn't that the Bears beat the Packers last night. It was that the fans at Soldier Field, in two-degree weather, seemed so damn happy for the entire game. Happiness? At an NFL game? Who ever heard of such a thing?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:41 PM | Comments (1)

December 22, 2008

Season's Greetings From Chewbacca and the Whole Family

Vanity Fair has a great piece commemorating the infamous "Star Wars Holiday Special," full of great quotes from Bruce Vilanch who, improbably, was one of its writers.

My only quibble- the author makes it seem like the special is the lone misstep in the whole history of the "Star Wars" canon. Guess he hasn't been paying attention since 1997 or so.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:41 PM | Comments (1)

Facing the Music

I review an awesome iPod/dock stereo from Denon on E-Gear.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:36 PM | Comments (0)

I Blame "Saved by Zero"

News Item: Toyota to post first loss in 70 years

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:36 PM | Comments (0)

Bono's Back

U2 will return next year with their first album in five years, to be titled "No Line on the Horizon." We'll be seeing it in early March, apparently; can't wait.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:30 PM | Comments (1)

December 21, 2008

Film Critic Quote of the Week

David Denby of the New Yorker on the holiday season for movies:

t has become clearer than ever that the movie year is divided into two parts. There’s the first nine months, which are filled, it seems, with big-audience digital spectacles about men who fly, animated movies about indignant handheld devices and chatty rodents, and all-male comedies about virgins lost in a condom factory. And then there’s the Oscar-focused final three months of the year, which are devoted to movies about failure, abjection, death, and the Holocaust, most of them starring Kate Winslet or Cate Blanchett.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:09 PM | Comments (0)

Crime and Clinton

Interesting interview on the Daily Beast with New York-turned-LA police boss Bill Bratton about how crime differs on the coasts. But I especially noticed something he said about Obama's cabinet:

I'm very optimistic that they get it much more thoroughly than the current administration. One, because there are so many Clintonites—Rahm Emanuel was very involved in the crime acts of the 90s as was Joe Biden and Eric Holder.
Now, by "crime acts" Holder means the omnibus crime bills that passed during the Clinton years and have been given some credit for the fall of crime in the '90s. But by using the phrase "crime acts," it seems like Bratton is accusing all those people of committing criminal acts themselves.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:07 PM | Comments (1)

December 20, 2008

Wrestler on "Wrestler"

Mick Foley, in Slate, reviews Darren Aronofsky's "The Wrestler":

Casting Rourke in the lead seemed like a mistake. Sure, he had been in some good films a few election cycles ago, and I'll admit to stealing his popcorn-box trick from Diner back in '82. But he seemed unlikely to deliver the portrait of a wrestler I wanted.
The idea of Cactus Jack doing the popcorn trick is just hilarious to me- almost as hilarious as anything in "The Loved One."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)

Most Pinstripes Ever

Only Uni Watch could figure out that Sabathia's broken another record. That is, until Prince Fielder inevitably becomes a Yankee.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

Death of a Dock

News Item: Former pitcher Dock Ellis dies.

There's an error in the ESPN.com obituary:

Dock Ellis, the former major league pitcher best remembered for his flamboyance and social activism as a member of the great Pittsburgh Pirates teams of the 1970s, died Friday of a liver ailment in California, his former agent, Tom Reich, confirmed. Ellis was 63.
No no. Ellis is best known for having thrown a no-hitter after taking acid in 1970.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:52 AM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2008

Another Movie Roundup

I've seen a bunch more stuff this week; really, I've already gotten to every major end-of-year picture with the exception of "Revolutionary Road," "The Wrestler" and "Gran Torino." Quick takes on a few of them:

- "Frost/Nixon"- If you're even a little bit of a political junkie you'll be sure to love this one, even if you weren't alive in the '70s. It's Ron Howard's best film in years (he'd made about five clunkers in a row), Peter Morgan's script is a winner all the way through, and both are augmented by excellent performances from Michael Sheen and Frank Langella in the two title roles.

Two odd things: An actual monologue about "the power of the close-up" (in a movie directed by the most close-up-happy major filmmaker working today) and a role for Rebecca Hall as Frost's mistress in which she must've been given few directions other than "look hot." Guess they figured they needed to spice up a film that could've been subtitled "Hours of Two Middle-Aged Men Arguing."

- "Seven Pounds"- It's the year's most manipulative and mawkish film, reuniting the director and star of "The Pursuit of Happyness" in a story for people who didn't think that movie did enough forceful tugging of heart strings. The horrible, horrible script doles out very little information, until we figure out what's going on about halfway through and are left wondering how the movie can go the direction it's going without a huge moral reckoning. And then... nothing. Still not as bad as "Hancock," though. The reviews today have been quite entertaining.

- "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"- Now that's more like it. I fell for this film, big time. Now, it may be nearly two hours long, which is awfully lengthy for a movie based based on a short story. But everything hits on all cylinders: the premise, the story construction, the production design, the CGI, even the score. Pitt and Cate Blanchett are both the best I've ever seen them.

I kept worrying it would run out of steam at the end- especially with an incongruous subplot involving a certain natural disaster- but the ending actually turned out perfectly.

Two more odd things: I spent the whole movie thinking the woman in the framing device was Juliette Binoche, and she was pretty much reprising his "English Patient" role. But actually, I had my peaked-in-1996 actresses wrong- it was Julia Ormond. And in the scenes in which Brad Pitt is made up as an old man, he looks uncannily like David Letterman. I mean, I couldn't not notice it.

- "Synecdoche, New York": There was a lot I loved in this film, but ultimately it got away from writer/director Charlie Kaufman. I agree with whichever critic said he's an unrestrained id who needs to be checked by superego-director like Spike Jonze or Michel Gondry. Still, a very good cast; it's especially great to see Samantha Morton again.

'Synecdoche' is one of those movies that could conceivably be great, you just have to read about ten essays about afterward to understand why. Total nonsense, but still much, much better than "Doubt."

- "Marley and Me"- My #1 goal for the holiday season is to avoid seeing this movie; so far, so good. I mean, I think for the whole first two years it was on the bestseller list I just assumed it was a biography of Bob Marley, by one of this friends.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:48 PM | Comments (1)

Quote of the Day

I don't feel especially strongly about this whole Rick Warren thing- no, he would not have been my first choice, and yes, Warren stands for a lot of repugnant stuff, but it's just a convocation. If he'd been named, say, Secretary of Health and Human Services or something, then it would be cause for legitimate outrage.

A Wonkette commenter (linked by Balloon Juice) had the best line:

I’m hoping that the Revererend Wright parachutes on stage just as Rick “Pus-Driven Life” Warren is about to give the invocation, and then he says “THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE MINE, BITCHES” and starts spraying machine gun fire. Then he and Hopey make up over Warrens bullet-riddled corpse and they start handing out guns to the crowd from big ass crates marked USSR and “Fidel Forever.” The end.
I think Sean Hannity and Mark Levin legitimately fear and expect that exactly that will happen.

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

Our Power is Sadly Waning

News Item: Obama cabinet has no Jewish members

The White House chief of staff and chief strategist, of course, are both of the tribe. I seem to remember Bush's original cabinet being MOT-free as well, but as you may have heard, he had a few Jewish advisors too.

An Yglesias commenter: "Keep your goyim close and your Jews closer."

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

Doubting T-Jack

Bill Simmons sees less chance of Vikings success than I do:

My favorite headline of the week: "JACKSON? FREROTTE? THE INTRIGUE BUILDS." Um … it does? Should I move to the edge of my seat just so I don't feel left out? I've watched "Scooby Doo" episodes with my daughter that had more building intrigue than Jackson versus Frerotte. I'm not kidding. You should have seen the twist in the Abominable Snowman episode we just watched. Turned out it was Mr. Hanrahan all along. Who saw that coming?
Does this mean they'll tear Zygi Wilf's face off at the end to reveal Red McCombs?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:41 PM | Comments (0)

"It's a Wonderful Life" Revisionism of the Week

Yea, I knew someone would write this piece this year. Watching it last weekend, I was struck by how George Bailey is put forward as a good guy because his Building and Loan refused to foreclose on people who couldn't pay their mortgages, something that takes on new resonance these days. Then again, at least he didn't sell their mortgages into the asset-backed securitization market.

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

What Does His Below-the-Belt Wig Have to Do With Anything?

Forward: Merkin seen as enabler for Madoff

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

Deep Throat, RIP

News Item: Mark Felt dies at the age of 95.

He helped bring down a president, and inspired one of the great screen characterizations of all time (Hal Holbrook in "All the President's Men.") How many Americans can say that?

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

Good Enough, Smart Enough, Electable Enough

News Item: Al Franken takes first lead in Senate recount.

At one point, he was leading by two votes. TWO!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:38 PM | Comments (2)

December 18, 2008

Against 'Slumdog,' Cont'd

Peter Suderman agrees with me that it's the years' most overrated movie:

Slumdog isn't a terrible movie, but it's sappy, suspense-free, and packed with one-note characters, including a female lead who's more object than person. In terms of violence, it's grittier than most similar pictures, but mostly in a desperately "edgy" way that seems designed to gloss over its blatant sentimentality. The best you can say about it is that it's stylish schmaltz.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:53 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

George Packer, on Sean Penn's disgraceful shilling for Chavez and Castro:

Why does someone like Penn think he can do this job, which isn’t his job? Perhaps because he can write down and relay the words of famous people to whom his own fame gives him access, and because certain thoughts pass through his mind while he’s writing them down. Penn’s moonlighting shows a kind of contempt for journalism, which turns out to be rather difficult to do well. It also shows that he’s missed one of the main points of Obama’s election, which has Penn shedding tears at the end of his dispatch. Obama is the splendid fruit of a meritocracy. In a meritocracy, actors who act well get good roles. They don’t get to be journalists, too—a job that, in a meritocracy, should go to those who do journalism well. Nor should any journalist, however accomplished, expect to land a leading part in Penn’s next movie.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:52 PM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2008

New Writings For Today

A whole lot of new stuff from me today:

- I review the mediocre, award-trolling "Doubt" on Philly.com. I'm seeing pretty much the last two big December movies- "Seven Pounds" and "Benjamin Button"- this week.

- I'm now doing a separate blog- think one post a week or so- on the E-Gear site. Here's a post on "The Room," which ties in with the "Shakma" story that I've told here before.

- I've got a new electronics retail crime update up at Dealerscope.

- And finally, I write on E-Gear about a deal to broadcast the BCS Championship Game, in 3D, in movie theaters in ten cities across the country. An interesting sidebar- the company behind the technology is called 3ality, and its CEO is... David Modell, the son of Art Modell. So I'm going to guess one of those ten cities won't be Cleveland.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)

Really the Only Possible Choice

Sure, every new president gets the Person of the Year award. But I'm sure this will be put forward as evidence of Time's left-wing perfidy and sucking up to the new president. Remember this?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:23 PM | Comments (0)

Anti-Yankees Quote of the Week

Shysterball, making fun of the idea of the Yankees signing Manny Ramirez and having a largely 30-something-heavy starting lineup:

That's not a baseball team. That's the cast of "The Big Chill," with Cano playing the Meg Tilly character. Between innings they can listen to oldies and talk about what happened to their vanished youth.
Whatever happened to Meg Tilly? I haven't seen her in anything since "Sleep With Me," and that was like 15 years ago.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:23 PM | Comments (0)

Film Critic Quote of the Week

I mentioned before that I didn't love "Slumdog Millionaire" as much as most others seemed to; neither did the Onion's Noel Murray, quoted as part of the paper's year-end wrapup:

For all its kinetic style and emotional uplift, Slumdog Millionaire is a frustratingly one-note film, using its game-show framing device not as an opportunity to explore myriad accents of Indian poverty, but to tell one preposterous love story, propped up by contrivance upon contrivance. Director Danny Boyle can be somewhat excused for making a Bollywood-influenced "fairy tale," and he's to be commended for putting so much emphasis on garbage, shit, scars, and other signifiers of a hardscrabble life. But sheesh… that plot! Too many people recognize each other by voice or by sight after being separated for years; too many details of India's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire don't make sense; too many moustache-twirling bad guys complicate the hero's life for the sake of melodrama the movie doesn't need. Slumdog Millionaire has its charms, but in a way, its charms are part of the problem—the film seems to be trying too hard to make poverty relatable by equating rising out of poverty with a love that transcends all obstacles, or underdogs who beat the odds. The movie is rousing in all the wrong places.
Yea, and what was up with all of the questions on 'Millionaire' being in the exact chronological order of his life? Kind of a coincidence, huh?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:22 PM | Comments (0)

Sports Radio Moment of the Day

I know I'm beating a dead horse with this, but Angelo Cataldi spent the entire 45 minutes I heard him for this morning whining about the Eagles' Cincinnati tie. Still. It's like the last three weeks (all wins) never happened. Then again, this was the guy who was screaming about Pat Gillick's lack of deadline deals (and his Hawaiian shirts) two months before they won the World Series, so Andy Reid is in good company.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:22 PM | Comments (0)

Farewell to Broken-Up Bands

Stereogum has some fun:


Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:21 PM | Comments (0)

Smoove B on the Election

The Onion's love man gets political.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:21 PM | Comments (0)

More Surveillance From Belichick

A note from Peter King's column this week, on what can be done on controversial goal-line calls like in last week's Pittsburgh-Baltimore game:

The other idea, from Bill Belichick, is this one: why not have fixed cameras on the side of every NFL goal line, looking straight down the line from slightly above the field, with fixed cameras looking down each sideline and each end line also. I'd love to see something to take the doubt out of those replays.
Yea, clandestine cameras on the field. That's Belichick's solution for everything.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2008

Three Years? That's It?

News Item: Penn State gives Joe Paterno three-year extension

At this point, why don't they just announce "the job is his until he keels over," and be done with it?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:04 PM | Comments (1)

"1999 NFC Championship Game. DAMN!"

All I have to say about last night's "How I Met Your Mother" is this- if there really were a Minnesota-themed bar in New York, I would have pretty much lived there for five years, and everyone would've known my name. We even would've drummed out all the Canadian fake-Minnesotans (but not if they looked like Robin.)

So yes, great episode, even if they did steal the "Prince is the only black person in Minnesota" joke from Chris Rock.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:58 PM | Comments (2)

The Wall Street Journal Embraces Strip Clubs

From the last two paragraphs of a Wall Street Journal story about the slow sales of G'n'R's "Chinese Democracy" album:

While "Chinese Democracy" has failed to catch on with radio stations, Mr. Rose's record company is betting on a heavy rotation of another sort to boost sales. Two cuts from the album were included in "StripJoints," a CD compilation packaged with Exotic Dancer magazine that went out to 2,500 sexually oriented clubs.

"It's always nice to present music to people when they're having a good time," said Bob Chiappardi, chief executive of Concrete Marketing, which was hired for the strip-club promotion. "It's all about association."

The album may be striking out in terms of retail, radio play, criitical reception and word of month, but at least it's catching on in one market.

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

Football Notes, Real and Imaginary

- The Eagles crushed the Cleveland Browns last night for their third straight victory, 30-10, as the offense was clicking on all cylinders and third string quarterback Ken Dorsey was no match for their resurgent defense. The Eagles now must get by Washington and Dallas the last two weeks of the season, and also need some help from other teams.

- I just listened to the Angelo Cataldi morning show rip the Eagles thoroughly, the morning after a 20-point victory. Why? Well, it's partially that show's agenda- they'd rather lose with a different coach than win with Andy Reid. And it was a few mistakes, including a turnover at the end of the first half. But it's mostly the "run the ball" obsession. Please. The passing game was working last night, and McNabb was on fire, so they threw, and they won. They're your team. Be happy.

- The MNF broadcast itself was amusing, both for the non-stop Philly-bashing- which Eagles fans generally treat as though it's a hate crime- and even references to the Santa Claus incident, which happened 40 years ago this week. I also loved when Kornheiser unequivocally declared, with Ron Jaworski sitting inches away, that McNabb is the best quarterback in Eagles history. I bet Tony forgot Jaws ever played for the Eagles.

- Philly needs the Vikings to beat Atlanta next week, in order to have hope of moving ahead of the Falcons. So it'll be nice to have the whole city on my team's side for once.

- That said, a Vikings-Eagles first round matchup looks very likely if both teams make the playoffs. I'll be in Vegas that weekend though, although hopefully not on a plane.

- And yes, Brian Westbrook didn't score, and Silver Surfers are therefore champion of my fantasy league for this year. Huzzah! If I can win as a fifth seed with a 5-7 regular season record, that gives hope to fans of every NFL team.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:30 PM | Comments (1)

Barack and Blago

I look at the (non) relationship between the two Illinois Democrats, in this week's North Star column.

As for the "Meet the Press" discussion of the subject on Sunday, I wholeheartedly endorse this view. If Lisa Madigan is ever nominated for national office, Demi Moore could play her on SNL and have a Fey-like career bump.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:30 PM | Comments (1)

How I Know I'm From Minnesota

Whenever I add someone I went to high school with as a friend on Facebook, there's about a 50/50 chance that in their picture, they're holding a large fish.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:29 PM | Comments (0)

Speaking of Football...

My favorite ESPN pre-game segment: "C'Mon, Man!"

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:29 PM | Comments (0)

He's Not Blue, Either

News Item: Sportswriter under fire for calling Mavericks' Barea a "Mexican smurf"

I guess by that standard, Shaq is an "American Gargamel."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:29 PM | Comments (0)

Bernard Madoff's Favorite Drinking Game

Urban Dictionary defines "Ponzi Crawl":

A pub crawl that adds a new person to buy a round at each location. Each new person is promised that they will get free drinks at all the future bars if they buy this round. Obviously, whoever joins the ponzi crawl last gets screwed!

Let's get some suckers to buy us beer on a ponzi crawl this weekend.

Yesterday's word of the day was "Shame Stick."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:28 PM | Comments (2)

ShopRite vs. Lehigh Valley Nazis

A couple in Holland Township, Pa., are in a battle with the local ShopRite supermarket, whose bakery refused to put their childrens' name on a birthday cake. The kids' names?

JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell and Adolf Hitler Campbell.
I'm with ShopRite on this one. Those poor kids.

You were wondering why, despite what all the polls said, there was some doubt that Obama could carry Pennsylvania? This is why.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)

Room To Move

I didn't know about "The Room," and the bizarre Hollywood cult that has built up around it, until reading the piece in last week's EW, but now I can't get enough of it and want to see the film immediately (unfortunately, it's not on Netflix, and Amazon is out.) It looks like a first-ballot candidate for the Unintentional Comedy Hall of Fame.

Here's the trailer (and no, this is not a parody):

My favorite part is that it's called "The Best Movie of the Year," except that exclamation isn't attributed to anyone.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:07 AM | Comments (1)

December 15, 2008

Can't They Appeal The Injury?

News Item: Pat Williams out up to six weeks with shoulder injury

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

"It’s Not That I Hate Tony. I Love Tony."

Yes, I think it's safe to say we've now entered the "I love Donovan" stage of Terrell Owens' Dallas meltdown, Sunday night's win notwithstanding.

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

Tarvaris the Superstar

28-0 at the half? 4 touchdowns and no INTs for Tarvaris Jackson? The Vikes in first place with the chance to clinch next week? Works for me!

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

Armisen-as-Paterson

So everyone gets on Fred Armisen's SNL impression of Barack Obama, primarily because it's a non-black actor playing a black character. So what does SNL do? It brings about an impression, also by Armisen, of another black politician- one who's blind. Here's Armisen as New York Gov. David Paterson:

Paterson is unhappy, but I thought it was funny. Totally wrong, but still funny.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:07 PM | Comments (3)

A Farewell to Mo

News Item: Sixers fire Mo Cheeks

Never mind that he's a local hero as a player, or that he's gotten something like three separate contract extensions in the past two years. The team's bad start means the team supposedly is better off with Tony DiLeo- whose last head coaching job was in West Germany, to give an idea of how long ago it was- on the bench. Moving Andre Igoadala's $80 million contract might be a better idea.

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

Throw Baby Throw

This year, as in each of the last four years, the primary topic of discussion for Eagles fans during the season is the ancient debate of "why won't they run the ball?" (Narrowly edging out "why won't they get a big-time receiver," "when will Andy Reid be fired," and "Does Donovan have heart"?")

The throw-or-not-throw debate has hit a crescendo in the past week or two, as the team has used a more balanced offense in huge wins over the Cardinals and Giants. This has coincided with a big improvement in defensive play, as well as a return to health for Brian Westbrook.

Still though, when the Eagles play the Browns tonight, I'm rooting for more throwing. That's because I'm in the championship game of my fantasy league, I'm winning by 28 points going into tonight, and my opponent has Westbrook. So he can run all he wants, so long as he gets no touchdowns. Go pass!

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

December 14, 2008

Who Throws a Shoe?

Dubya gets a rude awakening in Iraq:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:17 PM | Comments (3)

December 12, 2008

T.O. as Crazy Girlfriend

Bill Simmons once said signing T.O. is like making out with a girl with a mouthful of cold sores; Jason Whitlock does him one better:

But T.O. and his sideline histrionics wear on a quarterback. He's like the hot stripper you tried to clean up and convert into a real girlfriend. It's a lot of fun until the moment she has her second drink while out to eat with your parents. You unravel quicker than she does... It's probably unfair, but I blame T.O. The environment he creates with all of his ranting and raving is not one conducive to consistent QB play. Can we agree that Joe Montana was the best big-game QB in NFL history? Do you remember Jerry Rice acting like a deranged idiot on the sideline?

You can't turn a T.O. into a housewife.

Why do I get the sense that on the stripper thing, Jason is writing from personal experience?

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

The Starcaps Scandal, in Brief

Big Daddy Drew, in part of the weekly, must-read "Dick Joke Jamboroo," on what's going on with the maybe-suspensions of the Vikings' Williams tandem:

A number of players took a supplement that contained a banned substance: Bumetanide. BUT this substance wasn’t listed on the label. Not only that, the NFL knew that the supplement contained Bumetanide, but failed to warn the player’s union or the players themselves.

Yet, the league still wants to suspend Kevin Williams and company anyway, claiming they are responsible for what they put in their bodies. So, by the NFL’s logic, if some crazy asshole decided to sprinkle cocaine in cans of Spaghetti-O’s (a move I recommend), and every player who ate it then tested positive for coke as a result, that would warrant a suspension and losing a quarter of their yearly salary.

I bet Kevin and Pat Williams could eat a LOT of Spaghetti-O's, coke-laced or not.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:28 PM | Comments (0)

Like "Team to Beat," Only Worse

News Item: Cole Hamels, in radio interview, calls Mets "choke artists"

Let me see if I have this straight. A radio station in New York has on a player from Philadelphia, known for hotheaded comments, and they ask him if the Mets are choke artists. He agrees. Huge, huge controversy ensues.

Except that, under any objective standard, the Mets HAVE choked. It's known by every Mets fan and stated as fact on WFAN dozens of times a day, I'm sure. What, was Hamels supposed to lie, and say "oh no, you didn't choke, we just played really, really well"?

Hey, I love that the Mets and Phils are starting to have a rivalry for the first time in history. But this is ridiculous. Why is it even news? Is there even anyone claiming they're outraged that he said it? What am I missing here?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:25 PM | Comments (1)

Anti-Baltimore Rant of the Day

KSK's Christmas Ape, dumping on his rival's city:

FUCK YOU for taking pride in The Wire. “Hey, someone made a compelling drama about how our city is an unlivable, horribly mismanaged hellscape! B-MOOOOOORRRRREEEE” I hope you get left in a vacant townhouse.
Ya feel me?

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

Out With Pat the Bat, In With Raul

News Item: Phillies sign Raul Ibanez for 3 years, $30 million.

The deal marks the end of Pat Burrell's time in Philly, which was pretty inevitable. The good parts are that Ibanez is a slugger who's gotten better with age and should dominate in Citizen's Bank Park, and isn't as slump-prone as Burrell. Also, 3/30 isn't bad for someone who produces that many runs. Not to mention, it's not a trade and they didn't have to give up anyone.

The bad? He's 36, which is older than Burrell, isn't that great a fielder, and bats left. As do the team's two best players (Howard and Utley) and their top three pinch-hitters (Dobbs, Jenkins, Stairs.) Against righties, with all their switch hitters, that leaves just Jayson Werth, Pedro Feliz and whoever the catcher is as right-handed hitters.

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

Will Fox News Ever Recover?

News Item: Hannity will host show solo without Colmes

Clearly, Alan was what made that show go. Fox will never be the same again.

Stewart, Hall and Oates have more:


Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:58 PM | Comments (1)

Guess He's Giving Up on an "Australia" Nomination

News Item: Hugh Jackman to host Oscars

This is an offbeat, but very good choice. Jackman can sing and dance, and do comedy; this idea could work.

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

The Minnesota Sports-Hate Mount Rushmore

Randball asks who gets on there. I'd say Kevin McHale, Herschel Walker, Christian Laettner and Carl Pohlad.

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

The Death of EW?

Entertainment Weekly, one of my favorite magazines for the last 15 years, is considering going all-digital and abandoning print, Gawker says. The magazine denies it, but man, if there's any truth to this, it's astoundingly bad news for the magazine world.

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

December 11, 2008

All McNabb's Fault

News Item: Sources: T.O.'s expressed resentment toward Romo

There's dissension in the ranks!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:52 PM | Comments (1)

At the Movies

I review "Cadillac Records" on Philly.com.

Other recent movies- I see "Frost/Nixon" tonight. I really didn't like "Doubt," I thought it was more an Oscar-Trolling Machine than it was a movie, filled with a whole lot of yelling disguised as great acting. But "Valkyrie" was surprisingly good. Despite a slow start, it gets going after a half hour and turns into an expert thriller. I was also pleasantly shocked that its running time came in under two hours- yes, it was surprisingly short, much like Tom Cruise himself.

I don't care about the Golden Globes, so I won't be commenting on that. No award show that nominates "Mammia Mia" for Best Picture, and not "Milk," deserves to be taken seriously by anyone.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:02 PM | Comments (1)

No Great Hannukah Songs?

Jeffrey Goldberg asks why there aren't any. And while the usual canon, I agree, sucks ("Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel"? Really?), I can think of three great ones off the top of my head: Peter Yarrow's "Light One Candle," the song "Judah Maccabee" by my old compadre Rabbi Joseph Black, and (my favorite of all) Barenaked Ladies' "Hanukkah Blessings," without a doubt the best pop song ever to have the words "Baruch Atta Adonai" in the chorus.

And no, Adam Sandler's doesn't belong anywhere near this discussion.

I ask again- when will Hollywood produce a "300"-like historical epic about the Maccabees? It has heroes, villains, action, and every Jew in the world will see it. Perfect for the holidays!

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

"The Sea Was Angry That Day, My Friends"

A cartoonist on YouTube draws crude animations of classic "Seinfeld" scenarios. Here's one of the best:


Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

Scandal on Scandal

The Onion's peanut gallery looks at Rod Blagojevich- and it's got a new member.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:59 PM | Comments (0)

We've All Seen His Penis

Yes, it's an interview with the now-17-year-old who was the baby on the cover of Nirvana's "Nevermind."

I guess he knows how Visanthe Shiancoe feels.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)

"PRO SPORTS MERCH," Busted

I've written before about that racketeering-like enterprise that places numerous ads on job listings sites, promising "opportunities" in "pro sports merchandise" and all sorts of bogus clients- until the actual "job" turns out to be selling worthless products door to door. It's all part of the DS-Max "empire," and Eric Wolfram has assembled the definitive website about this massive scam.

Anyway, tonight local Philly affiliate CBS 3 did an expose of a New Jersey affiliate of this enterprise; it's worth checking out here.

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

December 10, 2008

You Putz!

It's a great day for New York Post headline writers, as the Mets tonight acquired pitcher J.J. Putz from the Mariners in a three-team, ten-player trade. After the signing of K-Rod yesterday the Mets now have two closers, which is two more than they had for the majority of 2007.

Putz to New York was sort of inevitable, wasn't it? Now, if Peter Schmuck were to jump to a New York paper...

Meanwhile, I don't begrudge the Yankees signing C.C. Sabathia- but A.J. Burnett? If that happens, the Yankee-hater in me will rejoice.

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

Sobering Thought of the Day

Britt Robson:

McHale has been making personnel decisions for the Wolves longer than he played basketball for the Celtics
Yikes. And he was much, much better at the latter, too.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:25 PM | Comments (1)

Wal-Mart Theft Across America

I look at that and more in this week's retail crime roundup.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:53 PM | Comments (0)

Winter Meetings Quote of the Year

Shysterball, on what he'd do if he were there:

As the Winter Meetings get underway in Las Vegas, I can't help but think how much fun it would be to sit in the Petrossian Bar with a cell phone up to my ear and exclaim loudly: "So it's six years and $150M for Manny? This is confirmed? Wow. Who would have thunk that Theo would have taken him back?"

I'd then spend the rest of the day clicking between Dierkes, Rosenthal, and Sons of Sam Horn, getting drunk, and laughing my head off.


Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:53 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2008

Right Wing Radio Moment of the Day

Mark Levin, the nasally-voiced, self-proclaimed "Great One," has been calling Barack Obama a Marxist all year, so it wasn't a surprise that tonight he was doing so again.

This time, Levin got on Obama for discussing appointing a "Cyberspace Czar." This was terrible, according to Levin, because Obama and his ilk have an affinity for "Communist words," such as "spread the wealth around" and, yes, "czar."

A couple of holes in that theory. One, every president in the past three decades, including Levin's beloved Reagan, have employed a drug czar. And two, perhaps more importantly is this: As anyone even moderately familiar with 20th century history knows, the czars weren't Communists.

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

Tweety For Senate?

I look at the positives and negatives of Chris Matthews' possible Senate candidacy in this week's North Star column.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)

Blajo Goes Down

News Item: Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich arrested on federal corruption charges

And that's TWO Land of Lincoln governors in a row who are likely to end up in jail. Recent senators from that state, however, have fared a bit better.

Apparently he tried to personally profit from both the sale of the Cubs AND the appointment of Obama's successor.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:28 PM | Comments (0)

"More New Republic Than Nation"

That's how my North Star colleague, Jamie Weinstein, describes Obama so far. Sounds good to me!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)

Against Seth MacFarlane

Jonathan Last takes apart the "Cavalcade of Comedy."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:26 PM | Comments (1)

Fraggle Recall

News Item: Thousands of "Fraggle Rock" DVD Sets Recalled

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:26 PM | Comments (2)

December 08, 2008

Still Not Funny, Just 90 Minutes Earlier

News Item: Jay Leno to host five-day-a-week show, at 10 p.m., on NBC.

I guess Leno's core audience is getting older and older, and won't want to stay up until 11:30 forever. But still- no more dramas at 10, ever? I don't get this decision, although it still makes more sense than giving Jimmy Fallon his own show.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:43 PM | Comments (2)

Three For Three

Vikings- win! Eagles- win! My fantasy team- (about to) win!

It was a good weekend for football. The Vikings, while they should've won by a lot more, beat the Lions in Detroit, making a winless season by the Lions much more likely. This happened despite Gus Frerotte getting hurt and Tarvaris Jackson having to actually play- he didn't even look that bad. My favorite moment, though, was when Jared Allen proved his bad-ass credentials- after a dirty hit, he tried to limp over to the guy who hit him, despite being restrained by teammates.

The Eagles, meanwhile, quieted all the Reid and McNabb haters by beating the NFC's best team, the Giants, in New York. In doing so they actually ran the ball more than they threw it, converted most of their third downs, and even stopped the run. I know, everyone's going to credit the team finally running the ball, but I'd say the key has been that Westbrook is healthy (something like six touchdowns in the last two games.) They couldn't have run the ball even if they tried while he was still banged up.

Finally my team, the Silver Surfers, reached the semi-finals despite a 5-7 regular season record. I was way behind until Romo and T.O. (both of whom I have) connected for a touchdown at the end of the first half. I'm now back by two points, but I have Matt Bryant going tonight, while my undefeated-all-year opponent has no one. Finals, here I come.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:38 PM | Comments (1)

Love Boat Flashback of the Week

News Item: Fox apologizes for naked Viking

I did see the highlight of Zygi Wilf handing the game ball to Brad Childress, on behalf of Childress' son (who's about to join the Marine Corps), but I somehow failed to notice a nude Visanthe Shiancoe in the shot. I had no idea players were allowed to still be naked during the game ball presentation. I guess now Chris Cooley is off the hook.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:38 PM | Comments (1)

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Damn, I love the winter meetings. I'm going to be refreshing MLB Trade Rumors many, many times, over the course of the week, and I expect by Friday it will overtake FiveThirtyEight to once again become the Greatest Web Site in the World.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:37 PM | Comments (0)

Why the Wolves Suck

News Item: Wolves fire Wittman, McHale is interim coach

Why? Why why why why? The Knicks did a similar thing- rewarded one of the all-time worst GMs by having him coach as well- but at least they only did it once. This is the second time McHale has donned the sweater on the sideline. The only good news, though, is that McHale will be giving up his front office duties to coach.

How about bringing back Flip Saunders? How about Sam Mitchell, an Original T-Wolf who had some success in Toronto before he was fired recently? If Scotty Brooks, the white, mulletted sixth man on the '89 team, can get a coaching job in the NBA, so can Sam.

Speaking of the old days of the Wolves...

UPDATE: The best Deadspin comment: "At least Matt Millen never signed anyone who managed to get into a car crash while masturbating."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:36 PM | Comments (0)

Thumbs Down

"This is Our Country"- gone. "Saved by Zero"- apparently, gone. The two-faced ticket agent? Not gone, but a lot less of her. But this one, with the people's faces superimposed on thumbs while they text on a phone? Just plain creepy as hell. Luckily, I'm sure it won't outlast the holidays.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:35 PM | Comments (0)

"The Journalism Bowl"

News Item: Northwestern, Missouri to Square Off in Alamo Bowl

Columbia's invitation must've gotten lost in the mail.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:35 PM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2008

Worst Headline of the Year Nominee

AP: Man arrested after cops find crack in his vomit

I really hope the vomit won't be introduced as evidence for trial...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:10 PM | Comments (0)

Sunny, RIP

News Item: After 28 years in coma, Sunny Von Bulow dies

I was about two years old when it happened, so I know this story for two things: One, the excellent 1990 movie "Reversal of Fortune," starring Jeremy Irons as Claus, Glenn Close as Sunny and Ron Silver as Alan Dershowitz. And secondly, a few years ago I was in one of those death pools and I tried to include Sunny on my list, but was told by the administrator that people in comas were ineligible.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:11 PM | Comments (0)

SVU is Getting Repetitive

Rape (bump bump), rape (bump bump):


Every Episode of 'Law and Order: SVU' In Under a Minute -- powered by Cracked.com

That's why I stick to the L&O original.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:55 PM | Comments (0)

December 05, 2008

TV Critic Quote of the Week

Bill Simmons (who isn't really a TV critic, but...):

Well, the fifth season of "Entourage" wasn't implausible at all: I can totally see Vince's losing his career after one bad movie (so what if Colin Farrell has made 15 stinkers and keeps getting jobs?), becoming Hollywood poison, getting a job only because his agent passed up a $10-million-a-year studio head position to stay with him -- you know, because agents have such great character -- submarining an elaborate $120 million action movie that somehow came together in about 2.23 seconds because the director hated him (in the irony of ironies, because he didn't think Vince, a guy played by Adrian Grenier, could act), hitting rock bottom and moving back to Queens, then climactically rebounding with the lead in Martin Scorsese's new movie without ever auditioning for it, and while all of this was happening Jamie-Lynn Sigler fell in love with a jobless Turtle, and Johnny Drama starred on an NBC drama that normally would tape for 17 hours a day, unless your show stars Johnny Drama, in which case you tape once a month for a couple of minutes. Awesome. I'd ask for that 390 minutes of my life back, but it's my own fault for watching. I blame myself.
Stay tuned for his thoughts on why Michigan should be absorbed into Canada. Hey, the governor is already Canadian...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:56 PM | Comments (1)

Debunking Birth Certificate-gate

Shocker! Barack Obama really was born in the United States! David Weigel proves it.

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

Film Critic Quote of the Week

Keith Phipps of the AV Club on "Cadillac Records":

The release of Cadillac Records (and the existence of the still-unreleased Who Do You Love) underscores the oversight that's kept filmmakers away from Chicago's Chess Records for so long. Home to artists like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Bo Diddley, Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, Chuck Berry, and Willie Dixon in their mid-century prime, the Chess roster teems with characters whose lives could provide the fodder for many remarkable movies. Or they could be carelessly piled into one movie that leaves no life-of-the-artist cliché untouched, like Cadillac Records does.
Yea, a separate movie about only Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters or, even better, Mos Def as Chuck Berry, would've been significantly better than this film.

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

The Best Albums Never Made

The American Scene has a hell of an end-of-year list. Any other year, "Chinese Democracy" would've been a shoo-in.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:53 PM | Comments (1)

Ranking the Dicks

With the release of "Frost/Nixon," which I don't see until next week, New York's Vulture blog ranks the top ten movie Nixons of all time. My favorite is probably Dan "Nick Tortelli" Hedaya's take in "Dick," although Gregory Itzin's President Logan on "24" was pretty much a half-Nixon impression.

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

December 04, 2008

Get Lowe?

News Item: Phillies make offer for Derek Lowe

I love this idea, for several reasons. Sure, Lowe is 35- but that's 11 years younger than the alternative (Jamie Moyer.) He's a ground ball pitcher (great for the ballpark), has experience in both big markets and sports-mad East Coast cities, has excelled in the playoffs, and has never been injured in his life.

Will they outbid the Yankees? Maybe, maybe not. If they don't, it's because they're too cheap. Man, with that attitude this team will NEVER win the World Series.

Who should they NOT sign? How about A.J. Burnett. Gee, five years and $80 million for a guy who's injured as often as he's healthy? Where do I sign up?

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

There Are Those Who Call Me...

Anyone else watching "The Life and Times of Tim" on HBO? I've gotten hooked in the last week or two. If "If It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" is a live-action "South Park," then 'Tim' is a cartoon "Curb Your Enthusiasm." What other series would name its pilot "Angry Unpaid Hooker"?

And the creator's name is Steve Dildarian. Gee, I wonder what his nickname was in college.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:13 PM | Comments (2)

Frankenrecount

Excellent piece by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone about the Minnesota recount, which is now likely headed towards conclusion. Now, questionable as Franken may be, let's not lose sight of just how loathsome a figure Coleman is:

Coleman is a creepy, weird-looking character, a beanpole in a suit topped with a rigid mousse helmet of politician hair, like the offspring of a mop and a game-show host. He also has the misfortune of having perhaps the worst sense of humor of any politician running for office this year — a trait that shone through brilliantly in his relentless anti-Franken attack ads, some of which were monstrously, wonderfully unfunny.
I still say a generic Democrat would've beaten this clown by 8-10 points.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:11 PM | Comments (1)

December 03, 2008

And You Thought Biden Was a Gaffe Machine

Ed Rendell's in trouble, for something he accidentally said into an open microphone this week about Gov. Janet Napolitano, the nominee to be Secretary of Homeland Security:

"Janet's perfect for that job. Because for that job, you have to have no life. Janet has no family. Perfect. She can devote, literally, 19-20 hours a day to it," said Rendell, whose comments were picked up by the open mic.
My first reaction? Let's just say there are, uh, things he could have said candidly about Napolitano that would have gotten him into much, much more trouble. Something along the lines of the lead of this piece, for instance, which sounds a lot like something Eddie would say.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:43 PM | Comments (1)

The Blunder Down Under

I review the generally awful "Australia" on the Trend site.

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

Quote of the Day

Balloon Juice, on why Obama won:

The Republicans have lost the last two elections not because of media bias, but because they are being blamed for the current mess we are in, and they are being blamed for good reason. Until 2006 they controlled Congress and the White House, right now they control the White House. Listening to Republicans trying to blame their loss on media bias is like listening to OJ Simpson trying to blame his conviction on racism.
Or blaming plane crashes on gravity.

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

Colbert on Plaxico


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

Flo Speaks!

An interview with everyone's favorite be-speckled Progressive Insurance pitchwoman.

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

The Williams Suspensions

I agree with Big Daddy Drew. (Warning: some possibly vulgar language.)

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

Everybody's Favorite Non-Suspended Viking

No supplements necessary for Purple Jesus:

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

Donovan and the Twins

News Item: McNabb's wife gives birth to twins.

Mazel tov to Donovan. Might his inconsistency lately have had something to do with worrying about the pregnancy? Wouldn't surprise me. Still though- much as McNabb gets raked over the coals in Philly, his personal life has been kept pretty private. I don't even know what his wife's name is, or how many other kids he has.

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

December 02, 2008

Thoughts on "Milk"

I discuss the film in this week's North Star column.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:18 PM | Comments (0)

The Media Elite vs. MySpace

Media writer Michael Wolff has many things to say about Rupert Murdoch both in a new book and in this BusinessWeek interview; here's my favorite part:

I don’t think that’s true. I think it is--if you’re on MySpace now, you’re a [expletive] cretin. And you’re not only a [expletive] cretin, but you’re poor. Nobody who has beyond an 8th grade level of education is on MySpace. It is for backwards people.
Normally I'd consider it condescending for a member of the elite media to talk down to people who are uneducated, "poor" and "[expletive] cretins" based on their entertainment choices, but hey, he's totally right about MySpace.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:17 PM | Comments (1)

Becoming Fox

Stewart plays J'Accuse with MSNBC:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:13 PM | Comments (0)

Chuck Todd Weeps

News Item: David Gregory reportedly to Host "Meet the Press"

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)

Film Critic Quote of the Week

Last year, the AV Club's Nathan Rabin came up with the idea of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and the concept has since taken off- even getting its own Wikipedia entry. An MPDG is defined by Rabin as "that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures."

Now, Rabin revisits the topic, talking about a couple of direct-to-DVD movies with MPDGs, including one with Lucy Liu:

It doesn’t help that Liu is pushing forty. Manic Pixie Dream Girls tend to be twenty-year olds with perky tits for a reason. If a fetching nineteen-year-old says, “Let’s play hooky, dress up like pirates and fly kites!” it’d probably come off as charming. But if a divorced, forty-three year-old mother of two proposed the same thing it’d come off as regressive and unhinged.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)

A No-Brainer

News Item: Michael Phelps Named SI Sportsman of the Year

This couldn't have been more obvious; Phelps' odds of winning were roughly on par with Obama's chances of being Person of the Year. Entertainment Weekly's Entertainer of the Year was obviously between Robert Downey, Jr., and Tiny Fey; Downey won.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:11 PM | Comments (0)

TV Critic Quote of the Day

Time's James Poniewozik, obliterating the Wednesday night monstrosity that was "Rosie Live":

Have Rosie or any of her producers checked the ratings for the Tony awards lately? If so, they might have realized that the cumulative audience for Spamalot shout-outs, tap-dancing kids, Liza Minnelli, artsy-circus acts, Harry Connick Jr., Long Island jokes, pie-in-the-face gags and vaudeville bits is, shall we say, limited. Though I'm sure there were a couple octogenarians in Great Neck who loved it.
I caught the first five minutes- and only because my mother was visiting and wanted to watch it- but that was all I could take.

Also a huge dud- the Stephen Colbert Christmas special, which had one moderately funny bit (the Jon Stewart song), while the rest sank like a stone. What, did they give the writing staff the week off or something?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:35 AM | Comments (2)

The Hitchens Show

The world's worst-behaved talk show guest, Christopher Hitchens, was on "Hardball" tonight. Watch him blatantly disregard every rule for talk show guests, most notably the one where you're not supposed to answer questions meant for the other guest:

I'd love it if Matthews runs for the Senate, but Hitch running would be much better.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:31 AM | Comments (0)

December 01, 2008

The Comebacks

Cracked has a great list of the best insults- and comebacks- in history, most of which involve Winston Churchill. Except for this one, Jimmy Page vs. Keith Moon:

Setting the Scene:

One night, Robert Plant, John Entwhistle, Page and Moon were partying together at Moon’s house. We can safely presume both were high out of their minds, and at this point in the night had wearied of driving cars into pools full of groupies. Plant took the edge off by telling Moon all about his concept for a new rock band of tight-jeaned, open-shirted, long-haired men singing ten minute songs in falsetto about goblins raiding Middle Earth. Shaking off the effects of the horse sedatives he’d just taken rectally, Moon pulled himself out of the haze long enough to analogize–

The Zing:

“That idea will go over like a lead zeppelin.”

The Comeback:

The entire Led Zeppelin discography, not to mention the fact that more people associate Jimmy Page with the hard-rockin’ lifestyle than even know who the hell Keith Moon was.

If that Mike Myers-starring Keith Moon biopic ever gets made, that scene had better be in it. (Though since Moon lived to be only 32 and Myers is now 45, I'm not holding my breath.)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:07 PM | Comments (1)

Ruling the North

Mediocre as they've looked all year, the Minnesota Vikings actually pulled off a dynamite game last night against the Bears on national television, winning 34-14 at the Metrodome. The game was keyed by a four-down goal-line stand in which the Bears got no points, a league-record 99-yard touchdown catch from Gus Frerotte to Bernard Berrian, and a gutsy performance by Adrian Peterson, who broke more tackles and rushed for more yards in one game than any running back I've ever seen.

With the win, the Vikes take sole possession of first place in the NFC North with a 7-5 record, one game ahead of the Bears, two ahead of the Packers, and seven ahead of the winless Lions. The night's other highlight: A long, awkward discussion between Madden and Michaels after John proclaimed Charles Tillman "the best stripper in the NFL," due to his ability to strip the ball.

Now, if only both starting defensive tackles weren't about to be suspended for the rest of the year...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:53 PM | Comments (0)

Oh, Shoot

Those of us in Philly really love to rehash the McNabb vs. T.O. argument, even four years later. It happens on the radio about ten times a day, and it even happened over dinner with my wife's relatives last night. But of all the horrible things Terrell Owens did- from insulting his own quarterback to pushups in the driveway to showing up in fatigues- at least he never shot himself in the leg, tried to cover up the crime, or surrendered to police on weapons charges.

But hey, Owens also never caught the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl either, which Plaxico Burress has done. I have a feeling he won't do it again this year, though.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:53 PM | Comments (2)

Shyster Plays Hardball

I'd like to take a moment to congratulate one of my favorite bloggers, Craig Calcaterra, who has moved his Shysterball blog to Hardball Times. A lawyer who I can tell would rather be a sportswriter, Craig's always good for many, many insightful posts every day, using his legal expertise as well as his considerable baseball knowledge. And I have no problem praising him, even though he loves the Braves and hates the Twins.

Check the new site out here.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:52 PM | Comments (0)

Lewis on the Meltdown

Want to read the best piece I've seen written yet on the financial crisis? Check out Michael Lewis' "The End of Wall Street's Boom" in the December Portfolio, and available online now.

Lewis showed in his 1989 book, "Liar's Poker," that large swathes of Wall Street know nothing about anything and just pull stuff out of their asses; I think the intervening 20 years have vindicated that thesis, and also expanded it to numerous other industries.

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

Pardoning the Wal-Mart Stampeders

Jon Swift does it again. Great, great stuff.

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