A caller to Jody MacDonald's show this morning chastised the Eagles for being so cheap- because with $48 million in cap room, they haven't yet signed a single free agent.
Free agency, at the time of the call, had been underway for all of nine hours.
Michael Totten gives us the blow-by-blow of the battle he and Christopher Hitchens just had with skinheads in the streets of Beirut.
Michael Schaffer has a great piece on TNR about the Larry Mendte/Alicia Lane brouhaha of last year, also making the astute observation that in most cities besides New York and L.A., the biggest celebrities in town are the news anchors.
The gossip columns in the New York papers are about actors, musicians, society people, and strip club-frequenting Yankees players. This is what Philly ones look like:
So readers were in the loop when Channel 29's Sue Serio had knee surgery. They knew when her Fox colleague Dorothy Krysiuk missed work for a back injury. Locals learned of a recent nightclub visit by Fox 29's Sharon Crowley, Tasha Jamerson and--presumably recovered from the back troubles--Krysiuk ("must have been ladies' night," mused the Inquirer) and a Brasserie Perrier sighting of Channel 6's Nydia Han and Erin O'Hearn (who displayed "a healthy dose of cleavage," according to the Daily News). It doesn't matter how prosaic the details are: Both dailies were hot on the story when Channel 10 weatherman Glenn Schwartz had rotator cuff surgery, making it temporarily impossible for him to don his trademark bowties. Locals learned when Channel 10's Jade McCarthy got engaged. And, sure, "Action News" anchor Monica Malpass made the news during her explosive divorce. But readers also knew about it when she filed paperwork to build a new deck for her Rittenhouse Square home, when she adopted a kitten, and when she showed up at a party last year looking "cougarific."Well, it's that, or flash-in-the-pan ex-Playboy chicks engaged to mediocre Eagles receivers.
On the Rick Santelli thing, I totally agree with both Wright and Kaus:
Yes, he is very "Washington Generals-like."
A professional wrestler from Levittown allegedly "staged a fall" at a 7-Eleven in an attempt to collect $50,000 in damages, state Attorney General Tom Corbett said yesterday.Yikes. I'd never heard of this guy; the story says he "formerly wrestled for the World Wide Wrestling Alliance, now wrestles for the National Wrestling Superstars," which presumably meant moving from one high school gymnasium circuit to another.
Despite claims of an injured neck and back, investigators say, Michael Taris, 34, continued to clothesline his opponents and leap from the turnbuckle - while moonlighting as a male escort and massage therapist.
Fasten your seatbelts- Seinfeld's coming back to TV!:
NEW YORK — Jerry Seinfeld is returning to NBC as producer of a comic reality series where celebrities and a referee try to help squabbling couples make peace. That's the good news for Seinfeld's fans.With all due respect, that sounds to me like the dumbest idea for a TV show ever. Not quite as disastrous as the Gates/Seinfeld commercial series, but still pretty bad.
The bad news? Seinfeld said he has no plans to step in front of the cameras for "The Marriage Ref" or, for that matter, to ever star in a television series again. "It's a young man's game," said Seinfeld, 54. "Nothing could surpass the experience I had."
News Item: "Naked Gun 4" is in pipeline
I review the Clive Owen vs. Evil Banks thriller "The International" at the still-existent-for-now Philly.com. I gave it a mixed review, but it didn't deserve to be such a flop.
Very nicely done, Barack. Very. I don't know if it'll work. But if it does, the Republicans are fucked for a decade.
My favorite part- he promised a cure for cancer, "in our time"! There was an entire "West Wing" episode where they agonized over whether or not to do that in a presidential speech.
It's too bad he's either Hitler, or the Anti-Christ:
I never saw the "Usual Suspects" homage coming.
BNL might be the most underrated band of the last 15 years- call them the Tesla of their day. They've continued, Pearl Jam-like, to put out excellent albums despite falling out of the zeitgeist. Can they keep it up with Page leaving? Ed Robertson is sort of a co-frontman, so he can still sing, but... I don't know.
I wish I was in a profession where I could not work for a year while negotiating with my bosses whether I'd get $20 million to not work, or slightly less than that to not work, plus a new contract with my new employer and no professional repercussions at all. Anyway, there will be no more truck parties in New York.
Cera's on a John Cazale-like streak now- "Superbad," "Juno," and "Nick and Norah" were all instant classics- and I've got a feeling the AD movie won't be much worse.
He and Conan were always great together, and his acting career wasn't really going anywhere, so this is a good move. Can't wait for June 1.
Yes, supervillains have e-mail inboxes too, Cracked tells us.
I look at Alexandra Pelosi's 2008 election documentary, "Right America Feeling Wronged," in this week's North Star column.
From the Independent Spirit Awards, much, much better than Sean Penn's smug-a-thon at the Oscars:
Big news in the Eagles/McNabb soap opera, via ESPN's Mike Smith:
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb and Eagles brass held a lengthy meeting last week, where last season's Week 12 benching and the subject of a contract extension were discussed, a source told ESPN.It'll be interesting to see how the WIP/crazy fan conventional wisdom comes down on this. On the one hand, it's McNabb talking, and we all know whenever he says or does anything it's always bad. But on the other hand, he's calling for additional offensive weapons, on which he's the same side as every angry talk show caller.
Independent of the meeting, the source said that McNabb may hold off on further extension talks until he sees how the Eagles improve themselves in the offseason via free agency and/or trades.
I mean, come on Eagles fans, who would you rather have going into the year- McNabb, or a Tarvaris Jackson/Sage Rosenfels platoon?
A cross-country road trip through Mormon history. Countless family revelations. Ginnifer Goodwin rear nudity. And even a guest appearance by Charles Robinson (Mack from "Night Court!") as probably the first African-American ever on the series. All adding up to the best episode of "Big Love" ever broadcast.
The blog Pax Arcana has the best Oscar essay I've read this year, on the chain reaction, starting in 1974, that has led to all sorts of Oscar injustice.
In TNR, Michelle Cottle considers the question of whether the president is "cool":
If one were to gather together a dozen of our society's key arbiters of cool--ad execs, movie stars, fashion designers, music critics, pollsters, suburban tweens--and instruct them to generate the profile of a "cool" politician, what are the odds that their efforts would result in a gangly, jug-eared, overeducated, workaholic with a fondness for Scrabble? Not to denigrate our freshly minted president, but, when you tick through some of the basics, Barack Obama comes across as an inveterate dork. It's not just that the guy is a double-Ivied academic; he is painfully wonky with hard-core professorial tendencies. If what we've witnessed thus far of his dancing is any indication, he is somewhat rhythmically challenged. His favorite book is Moby-Dick. His favorite TV program growing up was "MASH," though "The Dick Van Dyke Show" was right up there. He has read at least six Harry Potter tomes. Perhaps most damning, he is a collector of comics--Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian--a tidbit that prompted the editor-in-chief of Marvel to publicly enthuse: "This has got to be the coolest thing on Planet Earth for us. The commander-in-chief is actually a nerd-in-chief."On the other hand, he's calm, and he plays basketball.
News Item: Vikings near trade for QB Sage Rosenfels
Much as it excites me to see a Jewish quarterback on my favorite team (a first, I believe), I was sort of hoping they'd aim a bit higher in their attempts to improve at the position. Because if you already have two mediocre QBs, adding a third doesn't help you much.
Hee hee hee:
All that, with "Nuts" on screen. How'd Wolf keep a straight face?
Well, they tried to do something different, I give them credit for that. Some of it worked, most of it didn't, but then, I suppose this year's Oscars were doomed anyway, since there was practically no suspense about any of the major categories. A few notes:
- I actually liked the opening song-and-dance number, especially the Anne Hathaway cameo- maybe SHE should be hosting. The second one, the "tribute to musicals," was a mess though, putting it directly in line with the majority of Baz Luhrmann's work.
- I also wasn't a fan of the five-actors-introduce-the-nominees part, both because it took FOREVER, and because they cut out the actual footage of the performances. Guessing which clip they'd use was always half the fun.
- I don't know what was worse- that the curtain didn't open for the first genre montage, or that a technician could be heard on the broadcast yelling, "open it, Steve!"
- Loved Duncan Lance Black's acceptance speech, for "Milk." Andrew Sullivan would have too, if he didn't hate the Oscars so much. And again, for like the 18th time in the last 20 years, Best Original Screenplay went to a better movie than Best Picture.
- Good for Penelope Cruz. I watched the movie earlier today, and I think my favorite part was that, after Cruz acted atrociously in every English-language movie for ten years, Javier Bardem kept yelling at her to "speak English!" in front of Scarlett Johannson. "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," like other Woody Allen films, certainly subscribes to the "throw a lot of really beautiful women into one movie" theory of casting.
- The forced presenter banter was a bit much, even compared to most years. Especially Jack Black and Jennifer Aniston. And were we really supposed to be all excited that Aniston and Jolie were in the same room at the same time? If three different magazine covers I saw yesterday were any indication, then yes.
- I found the Apatow "Pineapple Express" short film generally unimpressive, except for the part where James Franco watched himself (in "Milk") kissing another man.
- The romance montage sucked, but props for the use of Coldplay's great, great "Lovers in Japan."
- Nate Silver: "Remember when the Oscars used to be interesting and the Super Bowl used to be boring?"
- It's funny, I thought Sean Penn's performance in "Milk" was better than Mickey Rourke's in "The Wrestler," but was rooting a lot more for Mickey, mostly because Penn's sort of a loathsome figure, and because Rourke would give a better speech.
- Good for Kate Winslet. And nice to see a Ricky Gervais-written self-fulfulling prophecy come true:
- I long ago made my peace with "Slumdog" winning. Oh well, it was better than "Crash."
For background, the Philadelphia Magazine piece this month on the entire misguided venture, by Steve Volk, is a must-read.
I have another electronics retail crime update, including the story of the drunken 70-year-old who shot out his TV after the DTV shutoff.
Excellent final episode last night, despite a conspicuous lack of a certain Insult Comic Dog. My favorite bit ever on the show is here.
And on February 21, the Twins make their first significant free agent signing of the offseason. Still, good move.
These are what WILL win, not should:
Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Director: Danny Boyle (Slumdog MIllionaire)
Actor: Sean Penn
Actress: Kate Winslet
Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger
Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz
Original Screenplay: Duncan Lance Black (Milk)
Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog MIllionaire)
Animated Feature: Wall-E
Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Cinematography: The Dark Knight
Costume Design: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Documentary Feature: Man on Wire
Editing: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Foreign Language Film: The Class
Makeup: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Music (score): Slumdog Millionaire
Original song: "Jai Ho"
Animated Short: "Presto"
Sound Editing: "The Dark Knight"
Sound Mixing: "The Dark Knight"
Visual Effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
I won't predict Documentary Short or Live Action Short Film, as I've seen none of the nominees.
Excellent piece on Salon, pretty much laying out where I stand on Roman Polanski- he's a convicted child rapist and fugitive, he deserves no sympathy from anyone, and that documentary about him last year was a joke. Great director, though.
The author of the piece is Bill Wyman; no idea whether it's the ex-Rolling Stones bass player or not.
N+1 previews the Oscars. Here's their take on the probable Best Picture:
I don't like movies that cover their heroes in shit. But covering a little boy in shit and having him go up to Amitabh Bachchan to ask for an autograph is audacious even for a filmmaker as crass as Danny Boyle.
Slumdog Millionaire is torture movie, which I didn't know going in. The Islamic protagonist is a stand-in for all the Muslims tortured since 9/11. They are offered Slumdog Millionaire as a redemption—a torture movie is about to win an Oscar for their trouble.
We learn being tortured is worth it. If you give the right answers it's like winning the lottery: they'll set you free and pay you off, you get the girl, a dance sequence where you're the star.
Part of the torture is that you have to turn every experience you've ever had into a mnemonic device that could save your life in a deadly game of Trivial Pursuit. It's no longer enough just to spin the cylinder in Russian Roulette like in The Deer Hunter. Now somebody has to ask you what's the capital of South Dakota first.
Philadelphia Weekly critics Sean Burns and Matt Prigge in their Oscar roundtable:
MP: I’m no fan of The Reader, but better that than, say, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. At least The Reader tries, however clumsily, to say something original about the Holocaust, and even goes to some genuinely uncomfortable places. And give Harvey some credit: This Ilsa: Tortured She-Wolf of the SS thing is a tough sell.I dare them to put that on the poster.
SB: I’ll give them credit for making a Holocaust movie you can masturbate to. It’s been a long time since The Night Porter.
But later that night, three of our "scoop" brigade--Jonathan Foreman, Michael Totten and Christopher Hitchens--got involved in a street brawl with some thugs of a Syria-loving skinhead party called the SSNP after Hitchens rather gallantly insulted their swastika flag. On our way to a meeting with Minister of State Nassib Lahoud, Hitchens showed me the gashed knuckles and bruises suffered during the punch up. The attackers had apparently come out of nowhere on posh Hamra Street, where they had gone to buy shoes. "I was on the ground," Hitchens said, "and getting it in the head." It was a miracle they didn't pull Kalashnikovs.Can't wait to read about this on Totten's blog. I also appreciate Foreman's involvement; he's the only person I can think of besides myself who is both a film critic and op-ed columnist.
KO takes on the crazy lady:
Luckily, he and Killer Kowalski were not in the same nursing home. But are we sure this really happened, and it isn't an "angle"?
Louis Brandeis' "ex-niece" comes out against selling off the art collection. But when will we hear from Morrie Schwartz's relatives?
Having already conquered baseball and politics, he now predicts the Oscars. I mean, he has to get something wrong eventually, right?
Funny new tourism commercial:
Of course, if they were being more accurate about Love Park, there'd be at least one homeless couple involved. But they certainly got the sleeping bags part right.
Unbelievably, Gene Siskel passed away ten years ago tomorrow. Roger Ebert eulogizes his friend.
The AV Club's Nathan Rabin, on "My Year of Flops" recipient "Theodore Rex":
Whoopi Goldberg thought the premise for Theodore Rex was so fatally flawed, she was willing to pass up a $5 million payday. That’s $5 million in genuine American currency, not Confederacy dollars or Shrute bucks. Bear in mind that this is a woman who thought it’d be hilarious for Ted Danson to slather on the blackface at a Friar’s Club roast in her honor, then perform a bizarre routine she’d written about her vagina. She didn’t need to be sued into appearing in Fatal Beauty, Jumping Jack Flash, Eddie, Bogus, The Little Rascals,and The Associate. Goldberg also chose to become intimately associated in the public mind first with Comedy Relief shtickmeisters Robin Williams and Billy Crystal, then with the has-been brigade on Hollywood Squares, and finally Barbara Walters’ estrogen-powered assemblage of screeching yentas on The View. So Goldberg knows an awful lot about bad ideas and questionable associations. But even she was prepared to draw the line at acting opposite a flatulent, sneakers-clad dinosaur puppet which looks and acts like a rejected prototype for the little-loved ’90s sitcom Dinosaurs, one bought for pennies on the dollar at a Jim Henson rummage sale.Has Whoopi ever been good in anything? If she has I don't remember it. She's also probably the worst Oscar host in history, it's between her, Letterman, and Ellen.
I review the abominable "Confessions of a Shopaholic" on Philly.com. A sampling:
“Shopaholic”’s biggest problem is that it wants to have it both ways. It wants to luxuriate in expensive clothes and shoes and other princess-fantasy accoutrements — targeting itself clearly at those who enjoy such things — while at the same time posing as a heavy-handed brief against debt, shallowness and financial irresponsibility. Say what you will about “Sex and the City” and its many, many flaws, but at least it was honest, and unguilty, about its unabashed materialism.
Craig Calcaterra of Shysterball did his own baseball-tinged version of everyone's favorite Facebook meme, so I thought I'd do my own, in honor of the start of the season. Note: I found this much easier to do than my regular 25:
1. I was never very good at actually playing baseball, but I once had a two-homer game in T-ball, and probably led my Little League in walks (because no pitcher in my league could get the ball over the plate.) I would have been a perfect Moneyball player if 11-year-olds were eligible for the draft.
2. I kept my baseball card collection intact because I always assumed that the cards would be worth something someday. Unfortunately, it turned out every other kid my age had the exact same idea.
3. I've been a Twins fan my whole life, though the Phillies are my NL team, and I adopted the Red Sox for awhile in the '90s when I was living in Boston and the Twins weren't even trying.
4. Even though I'm not really a Phillies fan, I liked the Phillies more than most Phillies fans did prior to last October.
5. I'm very lucky that I married a woman who enjoys both watching and going to games.
6. Our children will be raised in both faiths (Twins and Phillies.)
7. The Braves are my least-favorite team (for several reasons, including the Tomahawk chop, their fans who don't care, and John Rocker), followed closely by the Yankees and White Sox.
8. I've seen the last out of every World Series since 1985. I had the hardest time in 1992, when I was at a Jewish youth group event, and my friends and I snuck into the rabbi's office to see the Blue Jays finish off the Braves.
9. I went to eight Twins games in 1987 (including spring training, regular season, playoffs and World Series) and 10 in 1991; the Twins were undefeated in games I attended both years. Every subsequent season, if I went to a game and they lost I knew it wasn't their year.
10. Kirby Puckett was always my favorite player, followed by Tom Brunansky, but for some reason Randy Bush seemed to always hit a home run whenever I went to a game.
11. The only time I ever went to spring training was the Twins at Tinker Field in Orlando in 1987; they of course won the World Series that year.
12. I went to World Series Games 1 and 6 in '87, Games 2, 6, and 7 in '91 (all at the Dome), and Game 4 at Shea Stadium in 2000.
13. Since I was at Game 6, I never heard Jack Buck say "and we'll see you tomorrow night."
14. At the end of our rehearsal dinner the night before our wedding, my dad told everyone, "and we'll see you tomorrow night!"
15. Myself, my wife, and both sets of parents went to the Phillies game days before our wedding in 2007, a game in which Cole Hamels took a perfect game into the 7th inning. Had he finished it, we could've spent the next 50 years calling it "the Wedding no-hitter."
16. I've never seen a no-hitter in person, but I did once see a triple play.
17. I've never caught a ball at a game, but have had several close calls.
18. Steroids aren't the biggest deal in the world to me. I think there are many, much better reasons to despise Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez that have nothing to do with PEDs.
19. Best baseball movie: Field of Dreams, followed by Bull Durham and Pride of the Yankees
20. Best baseball books: Ball Four, Moneyball, Summer of '49, Opening Day.
21. I've been to the following ballparks: Metrodome, Citizen's Bank Park, Milwaukee County Stadium, Comiskey Park (old), U.S. Cellular Field, Wrigley Field, Great American Ballpark, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium (old), Shea Stadium, Camden Yards, RFK Stadium, PNC Park, and AT&T Park.
22. Fenway is the best of the old ones; PNC the best of the new, followed closely by Citizen's Bank and AT&T.
23. I never liked the old Yankee Stadium, and won't miss it. It's ugly, they renovated it in the '70s to make it look more like a cooker-cutter monstrosity, and the upper deck is a mile from the field. And worst of all, the Yankees played there.
24. I shouldn't miss the Metrodome, but I'm going to anyway.
I discovered today that Bar Rafaeli, the model/Leonardo DiCaprio girlfriend/Swimsuit Issue cover girl, is from Hod Ha'Sharon, the town in Israel where I spent two months in 1995 at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel.
Bar was 10 years old when I was there; I bet at least once we were in the same line at Schlomo's, Burger Ranch or Come Soon.
A Howard Eskin caller Tuesday suggested that the Eagles trade Brian Westbrook to Atlanta for the rights to Michael Vick. When asked by Eskin how the Eagles could justify bringing in a criminal, the caller replied, "he didn't kill no dogs."
Tuesday was a big day for editors of mine on TV. First, my North Star editor Dan Calabrese appeared on Fox and Friends to talk about the proposed auto bailout:
And at night, E-Gear editor Grant Clauser appeared on Philly's 6ABC. There's no embed link available, but you can watch it here.
News Item: Obama: No return of Fairness Doctrine
If you've heard right-wing talk radio in the past three months, this has been Topic A, beyond even the stimulus. Even though only a few scattered members of Congress have made noises about it, and no one on Team Obama had ever come close to suggesting it. It'll be interesting to see how they react to this news- I predict they'll predict Obama never said it.
He asks why Bud Selig hasn't been indicted, when Vince McMahon was in 1994. One reason: the government accused McMahon of personally distributing steroids to wrestlers himself. No one has ever accused Selig of doing anything like that.
Sorry Jess, you can go back to your 9/11 conspiracy theories now.
My lord, Carrie Fisher looks terrible.
But you know, if you get to know him...
They must be, if their reaction to the A-Rod and Phelps drug revelations is any indication, as I argue in this week's North Star column.
One always-repetitive, never-funny show criticizes another. I give "Family Guy" credit though- it's not just 23 minutes of dick jokes every week.
Fox Sports: Dropping Deuce: Saints Cut McAllister
Ron Brownstein, on "Meet the Press" Sunday, on the stimulus package:
This bill was a presidency in a box. He achieved more of his aims in this single legislation than many presidents will achieve in an entire term. I mean, there is more new net public investment here on things the Democrats consider essential for long-term growth--like education, scientific research, alternative energy--than Bill Clinton was able to achieve in two terms.But, but... I thought Obama's presidency was already a failure!
Russ Smith talks to the legendary Balitmore Sun baseball writer. He's gotta be the only American whose first and last name are both synonymous with "penis."
Yes, it's HOM vs. Schneiderman's, and makes Coleman vs. Franken look like nothing. My company's Home Furnishings Business NOW has more.
New York magazine profiles New York Press' crazy but invaluable film critic, Armond White. The best part:
This opinion generated a mini-firestorm of hate mail on Rotten Tomatoes, the widely skimmed Internet movie-review site currently featuring a forum titled “Armond White of the New York Press May Be the Worst Film Critic Ever.” Among the more than 300 postings—for other critics, two comments is a groundswell—White was described as “sad,” “crotchety,” a peddler of “Cold War platitudes,” a hater of the common people, a “Christian boy,” an abuser of affirmative action, and a mindless typist. But at least none of the Dark Knight defenders suggested he get cancer from stuffing formaldehyde-filled coffins, “you stupid idiot,” as one Iron Man fan did.I wish my RT reviews generated that type of passion.
Dana Stevens on 'Shopaholic':
Lucky for the movie that Isla Fisher is so likable, because Rebecca Bloomwood is a real dud of a human being: a vain, shallow, materialistic twit who abuses the trust of both her endlessly forgiving boss and her enabling roommate, Suze (Krysten Ritter). The character's moral trajectory over the course of the film makes no sense: She's rewarded over and over for poor performance, and when her comeuppance does arrive, it's so brief and easily overcome that the message seems to be: When in dire financial and personal distress, charge one last cute outfit on your credit card and lie like crazy. No one ever tells Rebecca what she most needs to hear: that her obsession with designer labels to the exclusion of all else is not only an unwise spending strategy but a repellent personality trait.
Yes, in the times, it's a profile of the losingest franchise in basketball history, the Washington Generals. Did you know they're separately owned, and don't travel with the Globetrotters? And that the games aren't actually fixed (not officially, anyway?)
T.A. Frank has a brilliant piece in the Guardian on what we might be saying if it were Gore leaving office this month instead of Bush.
I have another Retail Crime update up at Dealerscope.com.
Congressional grandstanding isn't as bad as being a corrupt banker, but it's still pretty obnoxious:
What, you mean he didn't intimidate/buy off every witness, and send in his own daughter as a spy in the D.A.'s office, all right under the nose of the dumbest prosecutor on Earth? I'm loving this season of the show, but the trial plotline strained credulity, big time.
This helped, though:
Jason Whitlock often makes provocative arguments centering around race and sports. A lot of the time, I agree with him. But not today. He argues that the hubbub about Bonds and A-Rod steroid scandals is all about a desire to protect... the legacy of Babe Ruth.
Babe Ruth is not going anywhere without a massive, nuclear fight. His supporters do not care that he dominated a segregated, inferior brand of Major League Baseball.Uh, no. Who are these people trying to protect the legacy of Babe Ruth? Ruth's last game was played in 1935, and he died in 1948. There's just about nobody still alive in the baseball or media establishments who knew Ruth or ever saw him play.
Babe Ruth is an important symbol, and challengers to his throne will be greeted with immense resistance.
If the Babe has played any role in the mythology of baseball in the past two decades, it's been as part of the "Curse of the Bambino" nonsense. And besides, just about everyone I've ever heard express shame that Bonds got the home run record has said so out of shame that it was Hank Aaron who was beaten out, not Ruth.
KSK takes turns picking which wrestler they'd most like to be. Surprisingly, Chris Benoit's name isn't mentioned until late in the comments.
Happy Valentines Day from 5SecondFilms:
For necessary and unnecessary expenses related to the Wireless and Broadband Deployment Grant Programs established by section 6002 of division B of this Act, $2,825,000,000, of which $1,000,000,000 shall be for Wireless Deployment Grants and $1,825,000,000 shall be for Broadband Deployment Grants: Provided, That an additional $100 million shall be paid directly to Stephen Silver in the form of subsidized loans that do not require repayment. Provided Further, That the funds be used by Stephen Silver to Pay the mortgage or for whatever. Provided Even Further, That Stephen Silver will receive free Minnesota Twins tickets for life. Provided Even Further Still, That Stephen Silver shall be treated as a cabinet-level appointment for the purpose of income tax reporting, and therefore no taxes shall be paid on any of the aformentioned benefits. And one more thing: Michele Bachman is hereby expelled from Congress, effective immediately upon enactment.
I discuss why I have no interest in getting a Kindle, in an E-Gear blog post.
The trailer is out for Quentin Tarantino's "Inglorious Basterds":
The usual QT blood-splattering, only it's Nazis. That I can get behind.
Yes, we have our Name of the Year nominees:
LSU football recruits Barkevious Mingo and Shavodrick Beaver, CNN internet reporter Casanova Love, George Washington University senior Infinite McCloud, Canadian construction worker Taco Vandervelde, Wall Street Journal reporter Tariq Engineer, Harvard fencer Moonlit Wang, Michigan high-school baseball player Quetzalcoatl Carrasco, exclamation-pointed Oregon lawyer Darren QX Bean!, Harvard professor Pepper Culpepper, Boise State basketball coach Calamity McEntire, Lodi, N.J., high-school runner Elvis Cake, Ohio doctor Shasta Kielbasa, Chicago high-school football player Jazzario Barrios, and Florida man God Lucky Howard, who sold cocaine to cops near a church.
Angelo Cataldi today opined that he had a problem with "He's Just Not That Into You" because he couldn't understand why Bradley Cooper would cheat on Jennifer Connolly with Scarlett Johansson, because Scarlett "looked fat" in the movie. Then he repeated the word "FAT!" three times.
And you thought he could only be outrageously wrong about football and baseball...
I review "He's Just Not That Into You" on Philly.com. Yes, I'm in the middle of a three-week run of mediocre chick flicks, but I am saying "The International" tomorrow night.
News Item: Brett Favre tells Jets he's retiring
I'm with Les Bowen:
"Dude, these are pretty much the same questions I answered in Tampa, to every media outlet that approached me, and for three nights in a row on SportsCenter. Shockingly enough, my answers haven't changed. Look up one of the tapes and dub it into your 'report.' The only thing that is new is the talk-radio-manufactured 'throwing the defense under the bus' canard. All I have to say there is that I did no such thing, and my teammates know that.As long as he doesn't smile while he says it.
I agree with Kevin Drum- they must go. Does anyone like them? Why must I click through five times to read a 500-word Sid Hartman column?
In which CNN's anchorlady steals my "Chutzpah Award" concept and gives it to Wells Fargo:
I give Campbell a pass, for four reasons:
- I've had a crush on her for years
- She's right about Walls Fargo
- I hardly do the "Chutzpah Award" bit anymore, and
- Campbell is Jewish (she converted, when she married ex-Bush spokesman Dan Senor), and therefore has the right to casually throw Yiddish words around.
I think it's safe to say nobody saw that one coming. I'm curious what effect, if any, this will have on Robbie's Hall of Fame chances. ESPN, somewhat bizarrely, has completely ignored the story.
CNN has all the origin stories.
Looks like with all the coalition negotiations on the way, it's going to drag out for a few more weeks. Ugh. First Coleman-Franken, now this- when Jews face each other in elections, why does resolution always take forever?
I haven't read Gregg Easterbrook's ESPN column all year- I like the Jamboroo a lot more- but I'm glad I didn't miss his annual bad-predictions column. Keep this in mind next time you see people pontificating on any NFL show:
Let's turn to the incredible celebrity ring-up conducted annually by David Nielsen of Scripps-Howard News Service. For 20 years, Nielsen and his colleagues have called celebrities the week before the Super Bowl to ask their exact final score predictions. So far he has collected 1,741 final score predictions, and two have been correct: Martina Navratilova predicted Denver 31, Green Bay 24 in 1998 and tough-guy actor Dennis Farina predicted New England 24, Philadelphia 21 in 2005.Of everyone in the world, it's Dennis Farina. Fuck you, fuckball.
The Brett Favre part is priceless too. For someone so close to the QB, Peter King was wrong just about every step of the way.
The Voice's Melissa Anderson on "Confessions of a Shopaholic":
The Confessions of a Shopaholic we need right now would be a handheld doc featuring former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain sobbing into the camera and begging the American public to forgive him for purchasing a $35,000 commode. With its curious release date—the film is meant to be Valentine's Day date fodder but ends up resonating more with the horrors of Friday the 13th—Confessions of a Shopaholic plays like both a supremely outmoded chick-lit adaptation and an outrageously obscene gesture as the economy continues to swallow up livelihoods, homes, and hope.Yes, it's really that bad.
News Item: Eight arrested in Michael Phelps case
A few bong hits two weeks ago, and eight people are arrested? Who ever heard of people being arrested retroactively for drug use?
Hey Barack, how about a pardon?
I write about that bizarre clash between Hamas and Fatah loyalists, in St. Paul, in this week's North Star column.
This Jon Stewart takedown of O'Reilly is something to behold:
Look, nobody ever comes off looking good when you confront them in their driveway. Or on a bus. Or in the stands of a college basketball game.
Exhibit A: Hulk Hogan
Exhibit B: A-Rod
Everything with Fey-as-Palin was great, the Jon Hamm and Neil Patrick Harris episodes were grand slams, but SNL's been slumping lately. Isaac of ALOTT5MA agrees:
Has any SNL performer ever dominated the show as much as Kristen Wiig does this season? I happen to agree with the writers that Wiig is the best thing about the cast right now, and her Bjork (Iceland tourism jingle: "There is no sun/You are on fire/Demons take your face/Come to Iceland!") was the highlight last night. Still, it can't be good for the show to rely so much on one performer. She was the featured player in all but one sketch through the news, and she does something like 80% of the recurring characters the show has right now. She's going to get burned out or the audience will get used to her, and then what?And yes, the McGruber bit is starting to get a little old.
If it happens, I can't f'n wait.
News Item: Ex-journalist now runs a strip club
What would happen if it was revealed that Brett Favre took steroids? Would it just be everyone on ESPN crying for an entire day, like on MSNBC that weekend after Tim Russert died?
According to the show's moral calculus, it appears, threatening to torture/kill the president's husband is a horribly evil act by the villains, but there's nothing whatsoever wrong with threatening to torture and kill a baby, so long as the good guys do it.
Not to mention, the African warlord having a sweet waitress girlfriend is the silliest thing I've seen on the show in years, and that's saying something.
Yes, it's every curse word in the entire run of "Sopranos," in order. It is, of course, 27 minutes long:
My favorites: when Uncle Junior calls someone a "motherless fuck," and when Christopher refers to Jackie Jr. as "Little Lord Fuck Pants."
A Comcast Sports Net reporter, Kevin Walsh, saw Donovan McNabb, with some buddies, in the stands at the recent Villanova/Syracuse basketball game. That led into this loaded, totally awkward interview.
What was the next question on the list? I'm guessing it was "You haven't won a Super Bowl yet- how do you live with yourself?"
Walsh, of course, was invited on Angelo Cataldi's show this morning, where he was given congratulations on the scoop, as well as his part in continuing their ten-year quest to run Donovan out of town.
From King's column today:
The New York Post's lead story on the Alex Rodriguez steroid scandal in Sunday's paper was 18 paragraphs long. There were four bylines on it, and at the end of the story two more writers were credited with additional reporting. Six writers for 461 words. That's 77 words per writer, or 19 more words each writer than this paragraph.Come on, it's the Post. None of the normal rules of journalism- whether economical or ethical- apply in their case.
I get being angry at Alex Rodriguez. Everyone has a right to, especially Yankees fans. He's embarrassed himself, probably wounded his legacy irreparably, and he sounded like an idiot in his interview with Gammons. But Bill Madden of the Daily News is just ridiculous. He suggests the Yankees simply release the slugger- which would, of course, entail the team eating the remaining nine years and $270 million on his contract.
Sure, the team would get absolutely nothing out of a quarter of a million dollars. But they'd be proving a point. "Making a statement," as Madden says.
Please. It's always easy to demand someone else throw millions of dollars down the drain, since it's not your money. But there are whole teams in Major League Baseball that are worth less than $270 million. I can't imagine anyone, not even the Yankees, simply eating that kind of cash.
It's this sort of piece that makes me wish Fire Joe Morgan was still around.
I agree with Beerleaguer. Where's Ruben Amaro's movie deal?
Very good move for both sides. Howard gets his money, but the Phils only commit for three years, therefore likely missing the slugger's inevitable early-30s decline- all while avoiding arbitration.
Some helpful suggestions. My suggestion would be "go back in time and don't make any more movies after "T2."
News Item: A-Rod tested positive for steroids in 2003.
Bud Selig's hope, I'm sure, was for A-Rod to pursue the home run record over the next several years and re-claim it for the non-steroid forces of good. Guess that's not happening now.
I love sabermetrics as much as anyone, but... it's not very cinematic. I can think of two other Michael Lewis books off the top of my head ("Liar's Poker" and "The Blind Side") that would make much better movies.
Apparently, as evidenced by the abrupt cut above, NBC deemed footage of the Masturbating Bear masturbating inappropriate for the Web.
News Item: Sid Hartman was among Madoff victims
Still, I think Bernie should get an extra 10 years tacked on just for stealing from Sandy Koufax.
The NYT weighs in today; mine's up on my Facebook page.
Just because I think that the New York Times should leave vacant the opinion-columnist position just evacuated by William Kristol doesn't mean I think he's irreplaceable. He's completely replaceable: I can name a thousand bloggers who filed better copy daily during the year Kristol wrote weekly for the Times. Why did his work reek? He's a good writer, a smart thinker, well-connected, and a dazzling smiler. Was he being deliberately perverse about the gig, trying to test the crap-acceptance threshold of the Times with his copy? Or just lazy? That's my guess. Has any big-league columnist put less effort into his pieces than Kristol? If he labored more than 45 minutes on the average piece, I'd be astonished.
It's looking that way. Hopefully next time Brandeis is in the national news, it'll be about something a little more positive.
News Item: Joe Buck to host HBO talk show
I agree with what AA says about it:
My first reaction, as with any Buck news, is to cringe. But this actually could be a blessing in disguise. The more and more shows that Costas starting hosting, the less and less play-by-play he actually did. I also rarely watched Costas Now, so the prospect of having Buck as far away from games as possible, is certainly appealing.Nah, I'm sure he'll still be the #1 guy for baseball and football for years to come. And now that Bush is out of office, he's the #1 guy in America for unearned nepotism, too.
I really don’t understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane. Imagine trying to negotiate an agreement on dinner plans with your date, and you suggest Italian and she states her preference would be a meal of tire rims and anthrax. If you can figure out a way to split the difference there and find a meal you will both enjoy, you can probably figure out how bipartisanship is going to work the next few years.
Israel's elections are set for next Tuesday; my friend Ben breaks down the participating parties. I don't know how I feel about the Mens' Rights party's chances, considering their Web site is a Geocities page.
David Edelstein, on "Taken":
The script, by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, panders to macho American wet dreams that feel distinctly antiquated in the new age of American non-exceptionalism. And in a just universe, the idea that rich white American virgins are the prime targets of sex-slavers would make tens of thousands of captive underage Asian girls rise up shouting, “That is the last straw!”But as Dick Cheney has taught us, it's very important to be very fucking afraid, all the time.
Pretty amusing piece by Jim Caple, looking at other (fictional) books written by Joe Torre through the years. The "Fargo" reference, with Bud Selig standing in for Jerry, is a nice touch.
I review the abominable "New in Town" on Philly.com. I'm sure it's out of theaters already, but even if it's not, please don't see it.
A pretty unbelievable piece of video here, as factions from Hamas and Fatah brawl- not in Ramallah, but on the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol:
You know who looks best in this whole thing? Keith Ellison. Now that he's been booed off the stage by actual Islamic radicals, will Glenn Beck and Co. admit that he's not himself an Islamic radical?
Iggles Blog tears down the latest bit of nonsense involving "Donovan McNabb's shocking comments." Oh no! He pointed out that the defense blew the Arizona game, when... the defense blew the Arizona game! What an outrage! Let's all set our asses on fire!
You know, I thought this we're-all-gonna-die-because-of-the-Democrats bullshit would cease once the election was over and Bush-Cheney was out of office. But apparently not.
Sully says it best:
It seems to me that regardless of the merits or demerits of his view, it's a remarkable violation of civil norms for a vice-president just out of power to assault his successors and all-but declare them indifferent to public safety. It's deeply divisive, deeply partisan and utterly self-serving. In other words: as cheap as one would expect. And part of what ails conservatism. Yes, they seem to be rooting for failure at home and abroad, because it would help vindicate their own appalling record on both fronts.In light of this, how about changing your mind on that whole no-war-crimes investigation thing, huh, Barack?
Yes, this movie would've much better if every male character had been Crazy Movie Set Christian Bale:
I talk about Springsteen's recent run in this week's North Star column.
Apparently they're making the Twins players build the stadium themselves:
News Item: Costas leaves HBO for MLB Network
True, I'll miss Costas Now. But this means Bob will again be calling baseball games, which is great news. He's a hell of a lot better at it than Joe Morgan or Joe Buck.
I've got a new electronics crime update up at Dealerscope.com
The Game: What a great one- that's two classics in a row. The teams really went toe-to-toe with each other, to the point that even non-fans were into it. Hell of a game.
Bruce: Hell of a halftime show too, up there with Prince two years ago and almost as good as the best one ever, U2 at SBXXXVI. I got three out of four right on the setlist, but I'm not complaining at all.
The Commercials My favorite was Conan, followed by the Monster and Careerbuilder ones. The worst- Ed McMahon and MC Hammer for Cash4Gold. Just sad to watch, on many levels. And also, why so many dogs and horses?
Phil Sheridan, making sense as usual:
For all the anger directed at Lurie, you wouldn't gain much by trading him for either of the owners in this Super Bowl.The Eagles, you know, crushed both the Steelers and Cardinals in the regular season.
The Rooneys are wonderful people and old-guard NFL owners, but they run the Steelers much more frugally than Lurie runs the Eagles. And if you think Lurie is overly patient with Reid, do you think owners who gave Bill Cowher 14 years to win a Super Bowl would be any different?
Arizona's Bill Bidwill is arguably the worst owner in the NFL. He moved his team from St. Louis to Phoenix, where it didn't host a playoff game in its first two decades. If Bidwill was bothered in the least, he did a fine job of hiding it. The only thing the Cards did right was keep losing until they hit on a few high draft choices.
Andrew Sullivan, on the "scandal" involving Michael Phelps:
Yes, Michael Phelps took a few hits from a bong at a party. He also threw back a great deal of alcohol, maybe made a few passes at a few girls and bonded with a few dudes. This is news?I'm going to laugh at anyone who claims this "tarnishes" his Olympic medals. Please.
And yet this absurd ritual takes place in which Phelps has to pretend he did something dreadful and we all have to tut-tut and frown and furrow our brows, and the sponsors cluck and the press preens - while the only conceivable news is that a 23 year-old had a good time at a party, breaking no professional rules since he was not competing when he was goofing off.
And, seriously, does anyone think that smoking pot would give him an unfair advantage in the pool? Please. When on earth are we going to grow up as a culture?
I totally agree with what Drew says.