I look into the charges being lobbed at Obama- real and imagined- in this week's North Star column.
Two veterans outfielders were released today, Gary Sheffield by the Tigers, and Geoff Jenkins by the Phillies, both despite having millions of dollars left on their contracts. Sheffield departed a team without causing a scene for the first time in his career, while Jenkins- aside from a big hit in the clinching game of the World Series- was largely a flop in his one year in Philly.
So therefore... the Phils are supposedly considering signing Sheff themselves. Hmm.
John Cole, who I agree with completely:
Let me break it down for you. People don’t want to sit in the dark for an hour in 2009. Period.The same goes for that "carbon credit" nonsense, too.
I am all in favor of efforts to promote the health of the environment. I will pay higher taxes on fossil fuels. I will support investment in green technologies. I will support investments in biofuels and alternative energy. I will support higher CAFE standards and substantial investments in mass transit. I will support efforts to protect endangered species, wetlands, and to preserve pristine tracts of land. I will reside in an eco-friendly abode as soon as it is economically feasible. I recycle. I use reusable bags when I shop. I will carpool. I’ll do all of that, and I am sure I will do more.
But I’m not going to sit in the damned dark for an hour. That is just silly.
Live From Parts Unknown... Warrior!
Like anyone would ever sit on a motorized bar stool while not intoxicated...
The great On the DL podcast, which I mentioned the other day, is so opposed to ESPN Radio host Colin Cowherd- now on the air in Philly for an hour a day on 950 ESPN- that they're petitioning to have their show replace his, even if it's for free.
I'm all for that, but why not put them on 610 in place of the present morning idiots? If you ask me, Cataldi and Co. make Cowherd sound like a genius and a visionary by comparison. Then again, the WIP audience might not be able to abide a morning without any Reid/McNabb/Banner conspiracy theories.
The great Louis CK, on how everyone complains about the wrong things:
Some very practical, well-timed advice, via Tumblr.
but apparently that's not the case with Jose Tabata:
Pirates prospect Jose Tabata, reading from a statement in Spanish, said his wife lied to him about being pregnant and then showed to him a baby that she later handed over to authorities, who arrested her on charges of child abduction.He sounds like a real bright guy.
He said Amalia Tabata Pereira, 43, also never informed him that she spent two years and nine months in prison in connection with a fraud and arson case in the same Tampa area where they met and wed while he was a member of the New York Yankees' Class A affiliate there.
"Far left blogger" Amanda Terkel gets some revenge:
Blogger Amanda Terkel exacted revenge on the O'Reilly Factor for stalking and ambushing her on a desolate Virginia street: She got UPS to stop advertising, and a Ford spokesman to trash the show.
After preparing next to no attention to podcasts for years, I'm suddenly addicted to about ten of them. A few of my favorites:
- "The B.S. Report." Just when his writing schtick was starting to get a bit stale, Simmons has reinvented himself as a podcaster who has mastered the medium in a fairly short time. He has excellent guests- everyone from Chuck Klosterman to Seth Meyers to Mike "Ken Tremendous" Schnur- but his banter with his old, Yankee-loving buddy JackO is the best of all.
- "The Adam Carolla Podcast." The ex-"Man Show" host has had an uneven career, but this podcast- already the world's most popular- is Adam in his element and at his best. And it's all because he got fired from his radio show a few weeks ago. The episode last week with Bill Simmons, in which Carolla went off on a 25-minute tangent about the Charles Manson murders and how he should have just hung out with the hippie chicks instead of carrying out the massacres, was the funniest thing I've heard in any medium in months.
- "The Deadcast." Deadspin's recently launched podcast, featuring the always-hilarious Drew Magary as well as Will Leitch. Delightfully profane, much like Deadspin itself.
- "Jordan and Chloe." I mentioned this before, but it's my LA-based friend Jordan Rockwell- and his cat, Chloe- hosting discussion on love, life and relationships. It's the same hilarious stuff that got me hooked on his old blog five years ago.
- "On the DL Podcast." A Philly-based, but nationally-focused show, now five days a week, covering mostly sports but also politics and culture; the show boasts an insanely high profile roster of regular guests, from ESPN personalities to Philly newspaper columnists to blogosphere royalty to politicians (Michael Nutter and Ed Rendell have both appeared.) Hosted by Dan Levy (the "DL" of the title), along with film publicist Nick Tarnowski.
- "Fox Twin Cities Sports on Demand." Yes, it's video, but I listen to the audio. A fresh take on Minnesota sports with the anchor and producers of the local Fox affiliate in the Twin Cities, and a huge breath of fresh air if you're an out-of-towner and your only exposure to Minnesota sports is Sid and Souhan. It's co-hosted by my old synagogue pal Seth Kaplan, while Aaron Gleeman is a frequent guest.
Will I launch my own? Probably not anytime soon, but who knows...
For the story of the Bernie Madoff of iPods, and more, see this week's roundup of retail crime.
Balloon Juice, on Crazy Michele Bachmann's attempts to ban the non-existent plot to adopt China's currency:
Also, I think we need a bill banning the sale of Georgia, California, Iowa, and New York to the Germans- just to make sure it doesn’t happen. Bachmann is so crazy it upsets me that Will Ferrell is male.I bet Kristen Wiig could do an awesome impression.
It's one thing to criticize Israel. Sometimes it's warranted, especially these days. But this? That's not warranted. Not even close.
News Item: L.A. Clippers interviewed Isiah Thomas
Well, they are a perfect fit...
It captured a pair of Germans peeing in the street in the middle of the day.
"South Park," on a creative resurgence once again, shows us how Treasury decides what to do with each bank:
My old haunt BlogCritics has a list of the best series finales in TV history. It has the right #1 ("Six Feet Under"), but where's "The Shield"? What about the amazingly great last episode of "Cheers"?
This blog will come as a joy to all the Obama conspiracy nuts- yes, it's written by the president's Teleprompter!
I really don't understand this "outrage" over Obama's Teleprompter use- doesn't every politician use them? And hasn't Obama proved that he can handle himself without one such as, say, when he won all three presidential debates?
Next week, they'll be bashing him for having speechwriters.
Probably the "Dominos Bailout." I don't get it- how is a discount on pizza a bailout? Who's being bailed out? What are they being bailed out of? How in any way whatsoever is a discount on the fourth pizza you buy the slightest bit analogous to the government giving billions to banks? And the CEO refuses to give the "hedge fund guy" the extra pizza- are Wall Streeters not eligible for the same pizza special as everyone else?
The punchline: the very CEO in the commercials... is considering a run for governor! That has to violate McCain-Feingold, right?
It's been delayed for years, but the trailer for Spike Jonze's "Where the Wild Things Are," uh, adaptation is quite impressive:
Nice use of Arcade Fire, too.
Paul Dailing lays out the rules:
Apparently, it's very simple. The more you self-reference, pick feuds and talk about the failure of TimesSelect, the better you're doing. If you make it sound like you're the one who figured out newspapers are dying, you win.
I mean, the point's not to fix anything. It's to describe the problem more dramatically than the next guy. If Steve Outing says newspapers have a "death spiral" and Clay Shirky predicts "a bloodbath," the point goes to Shirky.
Basically, imagine a group of people watching a building burn down and bickering amongst themselves about whether it's a conflagration or an inferno. It's like that, but with consulting fees.
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of his one hit, Rolling Stone interviews Young M.C. Oddly, no questions at all about the "best friend Harry's got a brother Larry" mystery.
Not so much, Nate Silver says.
I'm not a fan of "Family Guy," as I've mentioned repeatedly over the years, but as long as they're assaulting the virgin ears of the American Family Association, they're doing the Lord's work in my work. The Slog has more. It's great to know that we now have an FCC that's going to ignore frivolous bullshit like this.
Dubya was booed on RAW this week by the in-arena audience while appearing on a pre-taped "thank you to the troops" message. He has more "heel heat" than anyone on WWE's active roster, it appears.
Next week: Vince Fumo!
Rotten Tomatoes has launched a new feature for its critics, featuring a "sampling of this critics' taste" above their reviews. Here's mine.
Like Ron in his native San Di-ah-go, Schilling was a locally beloved institution--a hero in Boston, Philly, and Arizona--with a comically inflated sense of self-importance. He was a very, very good pitcher, especially in the postseason, but not an all-time great (most sportswriters think he's a bubble candidate for the Hall of Fame). Still, when Schilling dramatically wrote in his retirement post, "Four Wosrld Series, three World Championships ... there are men with plaques in Cooperstown who never experienced one," all that was missing was that famous Ron-ism, '"I'm kind of a big deal."I also like the comparison of Roger Clemens to Wes Mantooth.
TNR flagged this piece in the British Prospect Magazine, by Bartle Bull, speculating about the "wheels coming off" the Obama administration, and what's coming next:
Thus the big question in Democratic circles today: “What does Hillary do about this?” Her supporters still feel that the election was stolen from her. With capital on strike, states rebelling against the president’s dependency agenda, the treasury secretary probably soon to be replaced, many top jobs still unfilled, the liberal press anxious and poll numbers plummeting, Hillary Clinton’s departure could sink an administration that already feels like a listing ship, leaving her a clear path to the Democratic nomination for 2012."Bartle Bull," apparently, is a British colloquial translation for "Dick Morris."
Ever wonder why a serially rude, dick-to-everyone columnist who can't write, pays only cursory attention to journalistic ethics, and continues to work two decades past the standard retirement age, got to be the most legendary sportswriter in Minnesota history? Check out Jeff Severns Guntzel's highly readable profile of Sid Hartman in Minnesota Monthly.
Philly readers- picture Howard Eskin, only meaner and 40 years older, and that's Sid.
James Berardinelli on "Monsters vs. Aliens":
I'm sure the average five year-old will be enchanted. But the average five year old watches Teletubbies and Sponge Bob Squarepants. The problem with Monsters vs. Aliens is that all those writers didn't think much about potential audience members on the hairy side of puberty... this is not a movie. It's an amusement park ride. It's a chance for kids to "ooh" and "ahh" while parents catch a nap. Sure, the film is sweet and harmless but, take away the 3D, and all you're left with is a generic kids' movie.I totally agree; had I not seen it in IMAX 3D, I'm sure I'd have been even more underwhelmed.
I review "Duplicity," on Philly.com.
Yes, Keith Olbermann is now writing a baseball blog, at MLB.com. Whatever you think about Keith, his politics, and his TV persona, he's a pretty good sports analyst. I think his ESPN.com column in the mid '90s was the first thing I ever read regularly on the Internet.
Yes, there's a real-life Omar, on trial in Philly:
An admitted drug kingpin testifying for the government in the second trial of alleged rogue Philadelphia cop Malik Snell identified Snell in a federal courtroom yesterday as the cop who robbed him of $40,000 in December 2007.I was wondered that about Omar on "The Wire"- what if the cops caught him red-handed stealing from drug dealers? Would they indict or try him? Is stealing illegal drugs from illegal drug dealers actually a crime, or is it cancelled out? I guess now we have the answer.
But Snell's attorney questioned the credibility of drug dealer Ricardo Mc-Kendrick Jr.'s testimony, pointing to a major discrepancy between what he said yesterday and earlier grand-jury testimony.
Snell, 36, an 11-year veteran of the force assigned to the 18th District in West Philadelphia, was fired last year.
Michael Vick is out of jail and supposedly writing a book; KSK has some ideas for titles.
It's almost like he was having a ladder match against himself.
Washington Monthy's Charles Homans has a highly readable overview of Culture11, the short-lived web journal meant to be the "conservative Slate," but which went under after just a few months.
The gist- the site actually had interest in engaging with culture in a way that conservative but not totally dismissive- but the movement had no interest.
Wired has a handy chart.
Yes, they're now making fun of the president for laughing and smiling too much, at the wrong time. I'm sure Donovan knows how he feels.
I look at the NFL's upcoming labor dispute, in this week's North Star column.
The best thing about last night's "How I Met Your Mother"- Robin's Clue-like game over which Canadian celebrity she slept with, what he collected, and which Canadian sex act they partook in. Even better? This, another great fake Web site from the show.
The TV Club has other guesses about what the act was.
Imagine if they had "AIG" right on their jerseys? In fact, I think there's AIG signage in every MLB park I've ever been to.
As I don't believe I've mentioned on the blog previously, Rebecca and I are expecting our first child in late August. It's exciting, albeit nerve-wracking, but all in all I can't wait.
Then there's the question of what exactly to name him or her (we're not finding out the sex beforehand.) Here are a few names I've suggested for Silver-to-Be-Named-Later that have been shut down thus far by the wife, broken down by categories. Vote for your favorite in the comments!:
Personal heroes division: Bruce, Kirby, Barack, Donovan, Kent, Sweet Dee
Other famous Silvers division: Nate, Ron, Sterling, David, Long Jon, Sheldon, Joel, Joan Micklin, Cheyenne, Long Dong
NFL/NBA division: D'Brickashaw, Laveranues, Norv, Santonio, Plaxico, Lomas, Alge, Craphonso, Knowshon, DeMarcus, LaMarcus, JaMarcus, Marvcus, King, Peerless, Pervis, Lofa, Sage, Boubacar, Dikembe, Boof, Merton, Merkin.
NHL division: Guy
Neil Patrick Harris division: Neil, Doogie, Barney, Dr. Horrible
Israeli Prime Ministers division: Ehud, Menachem, Ariel, Shimon, Yitzhak, Bibi, Tzipi
Other world leaders/politicians division: Boutros-Boutros, Pervez, Saxby, Rahm, Nebuchadnezzar
Old Testament Division: Ezekial, Hosea, Zechariah, Job
"Arrested Development" division: George Michael, Tobias, Maeby, Buster, G.O.B.
NASA/"The Right Stuff" division: Chuck, Gus, Deke
Ultra-Minnesota Division: Sven, Ole, Gustavus, Arne, Ric
"The Real World" Division: Cohutta, Puck, Irulan, Tec, Baya, Amaya, Svetlana, Aneesa, Coral, Jacinda
Yes, most of our discussions have eventually come around to this.
Not sure if Paul actually ate all 64 entrants in preparation, but judging from his skinny appearance in his head shot, probably not. Note: This is probably my favorite non-Simmons ESPN.com piece of the past five years.
This Funny or Die video boils the World's Worst Genre to its essence. The faux-Moldy Peaches song at the end is the best part:
At least, I hope it's a parody, and not an actual film that's really coming out...
The bad news: I picked only eight of the Sweet 16. The good news: all four of my Final Four teams are alive, as are seven of my Elite Eight. That's the advantage of picking nearly all chalk, Obama and I agree.
The Factor is just all class, huh? Blogger Amanda Terkel, a 5', 100-pound female, was followed to Virginia and stalked by BillO's producers, just for having the temerity to criticize comments O'Reilly made about rape victims. Stay tuned tonight, for that, and probably another expose about how paparazzi are evil.
Sports Illustrated had a great piece last week about athletes, and how they often go broke during or after their careers. The biggest culprits? Divorce, and trusting your old buddies with your money. If you're an athlete, it would behoove you to not do either.
This is awesome:
That Lindsay Bluth, she was always sort of selfish.
Remember the vacant houses in Baltimore that Marlo stuffed dead bodies into on "The Wire"? There's a plan afoot to do something constructive with them. Presumably, it doesn't involve a nail gun.
Obviously it was stupid, and Obama, to his credit, apologized immediately. Even the Wall Street Journal editorial page gives him a pass:
Even if the joke was unbecoming, Mr. Obama was clearly trying to make fun of himself, not special needs children or adults. The best response came from Special Olympics bowling champion Kolan McConiughey, who has bowled five perfect games in the past four years and challenged the President to a match. "He bowled a 129. I bowl a 300. I could beat that score easily," Mr. McConiughey said.Ozzie Guillen, meanwhile, thought it was funny.
My old friend Sheila O'Malley has a loving tribute to the late actress, especially her role in "Cabaret" on Broadway.
Alan Wolfe, on the ludicrous notion that Obama's liberal policies are somehow tantamount to socialism:
But all these commentators--right, left, and middle--may want to take a deep breath. We aren't headed for an era of socialism at all, since socialism is not a natural outgrowth of liberalism. Liberalism is a political philosophy that seeks to extend personal autonomy to as many people as possible, if necessary through positive government action; socialism, by contrast, seeks as much equality as possible, even if doing so curtails individual liberty. These are differences of kind, not degree-- differences that have historically placed the two philosophies in direct competition. Today, socialism is on the decline, in large part because liberalism has lately been on the rise. And, if Barack Obama's version of liberalism succeeds, socialism will be even less popular than it already is.
I've seen a lot of stuff lately, and not necessarily written proper reviews, so real quick:
- "I Love You Man." Very funny comedy, sort of an Apatow movie that Apatow had nothing to do with. Paul Rudd and Jason Segel play the exact opposite of their usual personas- imagine HIMYM, if Segel played Barney instead of Marshall. Lots of laughs, and it thankfully doesn't depend entirely on gay jokes. Only drawback- so much blatant Apple product placement that the iPhone is practically a third costar.
- "Sunshine Cleaning." I already reviewed this on Philly.com; yeesh. Just "Little Miss Sunshine," "Junebug," and every other recent Sundance movie thrown into a blender, with all of the humor and profundity filtered out. Still, hard not to love that Amy Adams.
- "Duplicity." Great thriller, probably the best movie of the year so far, and I say that as one who absolutely despises Julia Roberts. A typically ingenious script by Tony Gilroy, a twisty plot that in retrospect makes perfect sense, and great chemistry by the leads. The opening credit sequence, in which rival CEOs Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson brawl in slow motion on an airport runway, is the best I've seen in years.
- "The Great Buck Howard." A pretty enjoyable, if slight, showbiz picture that isn't bad at all, but you'll forget it ten minutes after stepping out of the theater. I have something of a soft spot for stories about the fringes of showbiz, and John Malkovich is good as always, as a pseudo-Amazing Kreskin. Colin Hanks showed on "Mad Men' that he can do well in a small role, but he's no leading man; his dad, who produced, is clearly only in the film because his face in the trailer got them a better distribution deal.
Atlas Shrugged is a stupid book, Ayn Rand is a stupid woman, and John Galt’s ideas are stupid. That said, none of them are nearly this stupid. Rand’s novel isn’t about a world in which executives who build companies based on a lot of incorrect decisions, then pay themselves millions of dollars while bankrupting their firms, then come to the government hat-in-hand asking for bailouts, then find that the bailers-out want to attach some strings to their hundreds of billions of dollars in public funds and then go to hide out in Galt’s Gulch. That doesn’t make any sense at all.I'm not as anti-Rand as Matt is, but I view "Atlas Shrugged" the way I view "Sex and the City"- it's just fine as entertainment, but if you start using it as a blueprint for how to make every decision in how you live your life, it can only end in tears.
If the folks running Citigroup and Bank of America and AIG were good at their jobs, we wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. That’s the point. But they weren’t good. They lost staggering sums of money. Their companies went broke. They had to beg for taxpayer dollars. You don’t get to do that and then turn around and “go Galt.”
Yes, it's outrageous that they got them. But no, I don't support Congress passing legislation to tax specific people. However, if Lawrence O'Donnell is right, I take that back:
There are 172 House members who take two oaths. They take an oath of office and then they take an oath to Grover Norquist, who is a Washington—a well-heeled Washingtonian fetishist about tax cuts. And they promised to him that they will never, ever vote to raise any taxes of any kind.
And half of them violated that promise, including Eric Cantor, who, it turns out, voted to do something today he said and promised his electorate he would never do, promised Grover Norquist he would never do. He voted for it—the biggest marginal tax rate increase in history—to take the top tax rate, from 35 percent to 90 percent. We’ve never seen a vote like it. It will never be passed in the Senate; it will never come up in the Senate. Nancy Pelosi trapped all those Republicans into voting for a huge tax increase.
Colbert is the greatest:
Did he mean to say it? Did he say it "in character"? Can "Stephen Colbert" pay the FCC fine? We'll never know.
is there a bigger joke in right-wing punditocracy than Bernard Goldberg? And of course he had no idea "schvartze" was an offensive word.
And you thought I was kidding about Myers' career being a Kenny Powers prequel...
I love it. The actual episode wasn't bad either.
The Miami Herald profiles Loring Jethro Frank, a freewheeling rabbi who's been called "the Crazy Eddie of American Judaism." Then again, I always thought Crazy Eddie was the Crazy Eddie of American Judaism.
The latest electronics retail crime update is online at Dealerscope.com.
This blog has a walking tour of New York's independent bookstores. Personally, I'd rather just spend all day at the Strand
Sweet 16: Louisville, Utah, Kansas, Michigan State, UConn, Miss. State, Marquette, Memphis, Pitt, Florida State, UCLA, Minnesota, North Carolina, Western Kentucky, Arizona State, Oklahoma
Elite Eight: Louisville, Michigan State, UConn, Memphis, Pitt, UCLA, North Carolina, Oklahoma
Final Four: Louisville, Memphis, Pitt, Oklahoma
Championship: Pitt over Louisville
I review the terrible "Sunshine Cleaning" on Philly.com. Much as I love Amy Adams, she couldn't save this turkey.
Porn star Jenna Jameson gave birth to twins this week. She named them after her first pet and the street she grew up on.
It's almost enough to drive one to drink.
Hey, when there was that run of puff pieces last year about how Lenny Dykstra has become an ultra-successful financial genius, you just had a hunch the whole thing was a fraud, right? Your hunch was correct, as an ex-employee shares in GQ."
I appear to be the only journalist in America to mention "HIS FATHER IS THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY" in an obituary of Ron Silver, although Bill Simmons talked about it on his podcast yesterday, and Alan Sepinwall happened to mention it in a review of "Kings," last Friday, which had nothing to do with Silver.
I eulogize Ron Silver, in this week's North Star column.
I'm lucky to live in a part of town where taking the 24-hour traffic nightmare that is the Schuylkill is a rare occurrence. If I had to do it every day, I might just go nuts and run naked down the highway too.
One of my favorite writers confronts Mr. Truthiness:
I guess like most other liberal hawks, myself included, Ron eventually came back around to the "liberal" side of things.
I've been watching lots of TV lately, here's a few takes on ongoing/about-to-end seasons of some of my favorites:
"Big Love" (HBO): This has been "Big Love"'s best season, and probably the best run of any HBO series since the "Sopranos"/"Wire" heyday. They've managed to stuff about three seasons worth of plot into ten episodes, but the writers and actors are able to handle it and make it believable. Chloe Sevigny deserves an Emmy, and that road trip episode deserves every writing award in the world. Just amazing stuff all around, and I'll miss it when it's over.
"Damages" (FX): If "Big Love" has shown how to juggle innumerable plot strands during a season, the second run of "Damages" has shown how not to. After a tight, near-brilliant first season, Season 2 has been a mess- too many villains, not nearly enough focus, and not much of a sense that it's heading anywhere. William Hurt is set up as the season's primary antagonist, with his wife's murder the inciting event, but then the murder is forgotten and Hurt disappears for six episodes. Then Season 1's villain, Ted Danson, returns, albeit defanged and seemingly shoehorned-in to the plot. It's great to see some "Wire" veterans- John Doman, Clarke Peters- but neither of their characters is nearly as compelling as Rawls or Lester. And perhaps worst of all, Rose Byrne looks like she hasn't eaten since Season 1.
"The Real World: Brooklyn" (MTV): Not one of the show's stronger seasons, but I still watch. There are eight roomies this year instead of seven- meaning one or two of them are simply not seen in most episodes- although about 60 percent of the screen time is monopolized by Katelynn, the show's first-ever post-op transsexual. Then again, she's the only one of the eight who's the slightest bit compelling. There's also Chet, the 19-year-old Mormon who's an aspiring veejay, whose dream is to get on MTV- someone should inform him that he's ALREADY on MTV. He's also 1) a complete idiot, and 2) clearly latently homosexual, although probably years away from coming to grips with it.
"You're Welcome, America: A Final Night With George W. Bush" (HBO): I got about halfway through this before I realized I hadn't laughed a single time yet. The problems are threefold: The shelf life of Bush-is-a-moron jokes is long past, ten minutes is too long for an SNL sketch, let alone 90, and Will Ferrell's Bush impression was always wildly overrated anyway. It's not one of the ten best characters he's done, and it never held a candle to Dana Carvey's Bush I, or Darrell Hammond's brilliant Al Gore. I'm just glad I didn't plunk down $200 to see it on Broadway.
"Eastbound and Down" (HBO): I admit I didn't warm to this show at first, but it's grown on me, in a big way. I love the characters, I love the writing, and I love how it nails the way so many current and former ballplayers are degenerate idiots (I told my wife the show could be called "Brett Myers: the Post-Retirement Years.") Bonus points for Ferrell, doing an uncanny Ric Flair impression as a car dealer.
"South Park" (Comedy Central): There's only been one episode so far this season, but it was a winner, if only for its depiction of Mickey Mouse as a foul-mouthed studio boss. Last season's run of episodes was HORRIBLE, just one witless movie parody after another, but the good ones tend to come in bunches.
"Saturday Night Live" (NBC): What an up-and-down season. All the election stuff was great, especially Fey-as-Palin. As soon as the year changed there were a couple of standout episodes, hosted by Jon Hamm and Neil Patrick Harris. Then there were about four duds in a row, even though they were hosted by the usually sharp Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. Last week's Dwayne Johnson episode was excellent, but the show returned to mediocrity Saturday with an awful show hosted by Tracy Morgan- who is not funny, never was, and never will be.
"How I Met Your Mother" (CBS): Still the best sitcom on TV by a significant margin. After a relatively weak post-strike run last spring, HIMYM has had a great season, and last week's episode, 30 minutes of the gang at the bar going over flashbacks-within-flashbacks- was the show at its best. How that stupid dick-joke-a-thon "Two and a Half Men" gets better ratings than this, I'll never understand.
Reuben Frank, on the Eagles' unpopular offseason:
Stop blasting Andy Reid for a moment and ask yourself whether maybe a guy whose team has reached five NFC Championship Games in the last eight years might actually have a clue what he’s doing.Being reasonable like that could ruin Frank's career as a part-time WIP host. The latest notion- "let's trade McNabb for Jay Cutler!" Let's not.
Think about it.
It’s easy to rip Reid and the Eagles. They’re an easy target. They haven’t won a Super Bowl. Reid is rarely enlightening or insightful in interviews. Good information from the front office rarely reaches the public. The most popular players on the team invariably end up leaving as free agents, feeling betrayed by the franchise they shed so much blood for...
The same thing that infuriates the fans every year in March always makes sense by December and January, when the Eagles are usually on a late-season playoff run.
To win in the NFL, you have to stay young. Haven’t we learned anything from the way the Cowboys and Redskins do business? Collecting older, overpriced veterans is not the way to win. The Cowboys have zero playoff wins this decade. The Redskins have one. The Eagles have 10.
UPDATE: Want to know how many times someone can be wrong in one newspaper column? Now you know!
I really like the idea of this Esquire profile of Ben Affleck- namely, that the tabloid bullshit of the past ten years should in no way blind us the fact that Affleck's a pretty damn good actor, and not a bad director either. But it's just... the piece is so horribly written that I had trouble getting through it. I mean, who cares what color Affleck's car is?
One big thing in particular.
No one asked your opinion of Obama- nor were they surprised to hear you use the s-word.
My fellow Silver passed away Sunday of esophageal cancer at the age of 62. No relation, but I was always a fan. More in tomorrow's North Star column.
They announced the brackets yesterday; I have nothing to say about any of the seedings, except for this: I don't want to hear any suggestions about, say, expanding the tournament to twice as many teams, or getting rid of automatic bids, or any other radical modification to the rules. The tournament is great the way it is. Don't monkey with it.
The day after the BCS pairings are announced, everyone always complains that the wrong teams are in the championship game. The after the NCAA brackets come out, the big complaint is which 12th seed did or didn't make it. Which is a worse problem to have?
Clay Shirky has a can't-miss essay on newspapers and how they got to where they are. The gist- we could say we saw this coming and could have prevented it, but we'd be lying.
Shepherd Smith follows Colbert's lead and mocks his colleague:
It should really be called "Be Afraid Friday."
News Item: Sen. Vince Fumo convicted on all 137 counts
The lesson, as always- if you're a public official, don't buy vacuum cleaners for every floor of every one of your residents. And don't piss off your son-in-law, either.
I don't know what I'm most excited about- this, the Martin Scorsese Atlantic City crime series, or the David Simon New Orleans show. Or the Seinfeld/"Curb" crossover. Or, if it happens, the second season of "Eastbound and Down." Maybe HBO isn't so dead after all...
John Yoo has a right to free speech in this country. What that means is that he's allowed to walk down this street or stand up on a soapbox in Fairmount Park and spout his repulsive viewpoints -- and not get arrested. It doesn't mean that Yoo is entitled to powerful megaphones for those views, like the op-ed page of an American newspaper -- not if we're really serious about treating torture with the gravity it deserves. Yoo's megaphone should have been unplugged a long time.
I look at that, and more, in a crime report on Dealerscope.com.
Round one goes to Stewart. Mostly because Cramer didn't really fight back at all:
I agree with this Balloon Juice post- I actually like Cramer. Rick Santelli is more loathsome by a factor of about a thousand.
I don't know how this could possibly not be awesome.
David Rothkopf of Foreign Policy, of the role of the "Israel Lobby" in the quashed Charles Freeman nomination:
No, there is only one reason to argue that the Israel lobby is somehow special or of special significance. It is to suggest that American policy in the Middle East is being driven by the interests of an especially unsavory group of ultra-powerful people who are masters at manipulating Washington. And we know who they are right? Well, actually, we do...it's the oil companies. But therein lies my point. The "Israel Lobby" is a distraction, a distortion and a vessel in which to carry and by which to explain and even excuse the hatreds and prejudices of a small group. It distorts reality, implies coordination where there is none, implies consensus across a group of people with widely divergent views, misinterprets the actions of a few as a plan of the many, overstates the influence of those it argues are involved, indicts the motives associated with a whole class of ideas enabling them to be dismissed before they are fairly considered, and seeks to argue that normal behavior in a democracy is somehow sinister for one group when it is healthy for others. Further, it tars opponents as members of a lowly lobby while reserving the intellectual and moral high ground for the views of Walt & Co. -- "you lobby, we are patriots."That's pretty much my stance on this- yes there is an Israel Lobby, yes, it's powerful, but no, they're not wrong, and no, they have nothing to be ashamed of.
Victoria Jackson, who's clearly even worse at political commentary than she is at being funny:
Don't you just hate how those Hollywood celebrities with their stupid politics never shut up?
On Mike Missanelli's ESPN 950 show today, the host shared that "reports out of Arizona" have the Cardinals already offering Anquan Boldin around, with the Eagles and Giants as the leading contenders. This had already been reported in recent days, but the new reports added another wrinkle- both teams have already submitted offers.
The "offers," per this report, were two first round picks and a third rounder from the Giants, but a mere second-rounder and third-rounder from the Eagles. For the next hour, this was held up as further evidence that the Eagles don't have what it takes to win.
Here's the problem- the "reports" don't seem to actually exist. Google News turns up no results for such a thing, and both Pro Football Talk and National Football Post- both of which tend to jump on this sort of thing within minutes- contain no mention of it (PFT, in fact, reports that Boldin isn't on the block after all.) If you're going to kill the Eagles, at least do it based on something that's actually factual.
Even beyond that- if the Giants were offering two #1s, wouldn't the deal have been done already? And even if the reports actually existed, how do we know it wasn't leaked by one side, another, or Boldin's agent? What if the Eagles' "offer" was just a first offer and not a final one?
Mikey Miss, you may remember, spent most of last July demanding that the Phillies unload their entire farm system for C.C. Sabathia, because there's no way they'd be good enough to win the World Series otherwise. They didn't trade for Sabathia, they did win the World Series, and even beat the Sabathia-powered Brewers in the NLDS.
I'm sensing a pattern emerging:
News Item: Man kills shark that tried to eat his friend
So sports blogger extraordinaire Drew Magary decided to mock Rick Reilly, and make Twitter the place to do it. Thus was born "Rick Rielly," a mock feed for the world's most cloying sports columnist. Some of the highlights, before the feed was pulled earlier this week:
"Dave Lao was born without a pituitary gland. Yet his love of Nordic skiing grows by the day. Funny how that works."I'm debating whether to start Twittering myself. On the one hand, I think I'd like it; on the other, I already waste enough time each day with Facebook and Google Reader.
"They have the Audacity of Rope. They're the Squaw Valley Junior College tug of war team."
"Eight-time World Boomerang Association champion Keith Murdock is always quick with a comeback!"
"There's brave. Then there's Don Teed brave. Never heard of him? Not surprising, considering he's always shunned the limelight and he's dead."
In the Inquirer's silly a-bunch-of-columnists-e-mail-each-other-and-we-put-it-in-the-paper thingy, Bob Ford delves into whether an athlete is or isn't a "Philly guy":
Philly guy? Let's see. He's got to work hard and not complain. He's got to say every 10 minutes or so how great the fans are. He's got to be a blue-collar, lunch bucket, regular sort of a fellow. He has to have grit, moxie, tenacity, spunk and spirit. Or is all of that a cliche for what a very narrow slice of sports fans in this community wants in its athletes? A kind of a Page 2 caricature of an athlete? Just wondering.That's the thing that I still don't get about this city- what if he isn't that? What if he meets some of the criteria, and not others? And if not, why must Philadelphia limit themselves to athletes who fit that narrow definition of who they accept, when other cities don't? I guess that's the price you pay for having a quarterback who, despite making the playoffs nearly every year, smiles too much.
The AV Club blog on the abysmal indie film "Sunshine Cleaning":
For me Sundance isn’t just a film festival. It’s also a strange cinematic subgenre onto itself characterized by downbeat comedy-dramas/character studies about struggling misfits on the fringes of society set to tremblingly earnest guitar noodling. These pucky dreamers are often played by movie stars keen to prove their acting chops by nobly going without trailers, bravely facing the world with a minimum of make-up and a wardrobe rooted in K-Mart garb and thrift-store finds instead of the usual designer togs. In the case of Sunshine Cleaning, Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Steve Zahn and Alan Arkin are all suffering for their art.I saw this the other night; there's really no reason in the world for it to exist. If not for the presence of the impossibly lovable Amy Adams, it would've been totally unbearable.
Sunshine Cleaning felt like a movie I’d seen over and over again, sometimes actually at Sundance. Yet writing about the films’ overly familiar feel in my review I realized that the film is derivative of movies most of my readers have never seen and will never see, semi-obscurities that fill video stores yet are seen by a fraction of the audience of the Paul Blart: Mall Cops of the world. There is a whole world of indie mediocrity and sub-mediocrity many of you tragically will never be able to experience firsthand.
My full review is up at Philly.com.
Ross Douthat has been named the new conservative op-ed columnist for the New York Times. This is great news, even though it greatly pains me to learn that the Times has a columnist who's younger than I am.
Douthat, while considerably to my right, is a fascinating writer, with a very good grasp and interesting take on issues as diverse as politics, religion, and movies. His book about Harvard is excellent as well, although I still haven't gotten to his and Reihan Salam's Republican manifesto.
All in all, a huge improvement over than idiot hack Bill Kristol.
Peter King, yesterday:
The Eagles and Giants, two receiver-needy teams, are in position to deal for Anquan Boldin, who I continue to say will not be a Cardinal by July. Philly has 21, 28 and 53, the Giants 29, 45 and 60. I find it hard to believe the Eagles won't trade for Boldin. Very hard. He's a perfect fit, and they've got the cap room to sign him.But if the Eagles do that, are they still the most vile, classless organization in the history of team sports? Will they still be "cheap"?
Meanwhile, the normally reasonable Mike Missanelli has been embarrassing himself for the past week by excoriating the Eagles for not bringing back Terrell Owens. Why's that? Simply because he's better on the field than Hank Baskett or Reggie Brown. And because that "locker room chemistry" issue is either overrated, or was the fault of other people on all three of Owens' teams (the argument changes depending on the day.)
To use a Whitlock-like analogy. Imagine if your ex-wife, who four years ago completely and utterly ruined your life, came back into the picture, newly single, and looking pretty good. Would you get back together with her? By Missanelli's reasoning, why yes you would. Even though she, you know, ruined your life.
The new U2 album is pretty strong, top to bottom, I'd say. It's not as good as the last two but better than, say, "Zooropa" or "Pop." But the first single, "Get On Your Boots," just plain sucks. Now, the band's been known to release a less-than-stellar first song (remember "Discotheque"?), but this is a new low. And not only that, but it's not even original:
No idea what ever became of The Escape Club, but if they're still around they should sue Bono.
My buddy Jordan Rockwell has debuted his new podcast- cohosted by his surprisingly talkative cat, Chloe- in which he doles out relationship advice and even gets into some of his patented "Succubus" stories. The first one is online here.
TNR's Chris Orr tears apart an Amity Shlaes column that compares Obama to "The Matrix," coming up with some better ideas:
There's the timely anti-utopianism of Watchmen, which would let you take your pick between comparing Obama to a foppish, idealistic mass-murderer or an above-it-all blue god (naked, too!) who's lost touch with human reality. If you were too busy to make it to the multiplex this weekend, you could instead opt for the "human struggle is necessary and we shouldn't leave all our problems to be solved by a paternalistic government" theme of Wall-E (you'll want to gloss over the ecology, obviously); or, if you'd like to impress the die-hards, you could cite the low-key libertarianism of Joss Whedon's (tragically underseen) Serenity. And don't even get me started on the possiblities of the Star Wars saga (tell me you wouldn't love to toss out the phrase "Evil Empire") or "Battlestar Gallactica" or the infinite permutations of Star Trek. But Peter Orzag as Agent Smith? You really, really need to do better than that.
Imagine if most wrestlers didn't die in their 40s and actually lived long enough to reach convalescence homes. They'd be very dangerous places.
Even the iciest hipsters retain dorky traces of their ten-year old card-collecting selves, and come alive at the mention of the subject. Oddly often, they want to talk not about Topps, but Sportflics, a short-lived line of holograph-enhanced cards from the 1980s. Tilted just so, Sportflics displayed a flipbook-style progression of, say, Dale Sveum in action; more often, kids just ran their fingernails over the ribbed plastic surface for a satisfying "wicky-wicky" effect. Sportflics were the last real attempt I can think of to challenge the idea of the baseball card. After they failed, it was business as usual: picture on the front, stats and text on the back, forever and ever, amen.Sportflics were the best. I used to do the "wicky-wicky" thing with my teeth, which couldn't have been good for the resale value of the cards.
Matt Labash comes out strongly against Facebook. I actually wasn't that impressed with the piece, until I got to this part:
Then, of course, there is the crushing anticlimax of people re-entering your life who might've fallen away into your past, because in each other's past is where you mutually belong. Perhaps you haven't seen them in 20 years. Perhaps she was the cheerleader whose shapely legs fired your imagination in geometry class, whose smile could heat the gymnasium, whose jojoba-enriched hair you smelled when you broke into her locker and pulled some strands from her brush, dropping it in a Ziplock baggie, taking it home to fashion an effigy for your hair-doll shrine.
Now you're left on Facebook, desperately trying to recapture the magic by paging through photos of her freckly kids at Busch Gardens, stalking her like some kind of weirdo. She's 15 pounds heavier now. But that's okay, next to her husband, a red-faced orb who used to be a hale three-sport athlete, whose only physical exertion now appears to be curling gin-and-tonics and power carb-loading. But her words are still a caress, as even pixels carry the melodious lilt of a voice that perfumes the air like April birdsong, when she status-updates you and 738 of her closest friends, with: "Madison ate bad clams last night. Boy, does her tummy hurt!!! :-("
I look into the GOP's lack of a leader- and why it really doesn't matter- in this week's North Star column.
McSweeney's gives us the inevitable: Keeping Up With the Cardassians.
Did you see the first episode, of the real show? I don't know what's worse: that they celebrated her getting out of jail for DUI (after three hours) by getting drunk in the middle of the day, or that the mom still has unresolved issues about being on the opposite side of the O.J. trial from her late ex-husband. This is, by far, the most delightfully loathsome show on TV.
I'm already sick of the "Eagles R retarted" guy, and it's only been like 24 hours.
*If he's Joe then Angelo Cataldi is Rush Limbaugh and Rhea Hughes, of course, is Sarah Palin.
An FTC-produced parody of the other ads:
So yea, with the departure of Brian Dawkins, along with that of Tra Thomas, and today's news that the team has fired a low-level gameday employee for posting "The Eagles are Retarted!" to his Facebook page, I'd say, less than two months after the NFC Championship Game, fan dissatisfaction with the Eagles is at an all-time high.
If you've heard sports radio in Philly in the past couple of weeks, you've probably heard the following arguments at least a dozen times each: The team sucks and is a disgrace, the owners don't care about the fans or about winning and are all about money, they don't spend enough, the team "never goes the extra mile" to acquire new players, their coach is an idiot who can't handle himself during games, and (most of all) the team will ABSOLUTELY NEVER EVER WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP as long as the current ownership regime is in charge.
If those arguments sound familiar, it's because I've heard every one of them for years- only about the Phillies. All were solidly hardened conventional wisdom, with Dave Montgomery and Charlie Manuel's names standing in for Joe Banner and Andy Reid's- really, all the way up until last October. But not so much since. Just something to think about.
I was happy to discover this week that Patrick Sauriol's Corona Coming Attractions, the best movie Web site around for most of the '90s, is back. Check it out here.
Excellent "How I Met Your Mother" tonight- you can never go wrong with an entire episode based entirely on flashbacks and flashbacks-within-flashbacks, and great to see Laura Prepon again, playing the sort of nightmarish college girlfriend that every one of us had at least one of.
Two big continuity holes, however: One, if Marshall forgot his pants, what pants did he wear on his way from home to the gym? And two, in the flashback to college, when the characters are going to Wrestlemania, Marshall is dressed as the Ultimate Warrior. It's already been established that the characters are in college in the late '90s; the last time Warrior participated in WM was 1996, at Wrestlemania XII. The event took place in Anaheim, Calif., more than 3,000 miles away from Wesleyan College.
Plus, when Robin talks in her sleep, it's hockey play-by-play.
Speaking of wrestling, Koko B. Ware has been named to the WWE Hall of Fame. Yes, I know it's silly to get upset about the makeup of a fake Hall of Fame in a fake sport, but seriously- Koko B. Ware? He had a heyday of about two years, he was better known for his bird than for anything he did in the ring, and his finishing move, "The Ghostbuster"- lift the guy up, and just sit down- just plain sucked.
Koko is the WWE Hall of Fame would be like if Steve Lombardozzi made the Baseball Hall of Fame.
EW's "Pop Watch" on the "L Word" finale:
As series finales go, this one was a head-scratcher. The tone felt heavy and ominous, and all that moody music was making me wonder when The Log Lady and The Man From Another Place would come sashaying through a scene.I only watched the show sporadically over the years- I'm not a lesbian, after all- but I'd seen the whole last season. But man, that finale made "The Sopranos" conclusion look authoritative and unambiguous by comparison.
Chris McDevitt, on the media's love-affair with the real-life Alex P. Keaton:
Did I miss a meeting? When did the United States of America start taking the opinions of teenagers seriously? Aren’t this kids peers going to multiple viewings of “The Jonas Brothers: 3D” and debating the merits of “autotuning” as used by Kanye West vs. Akon? Why is the media labeling this child a ‘wunderkind’ and ‘prodigy’? Any kid worth his salt can regurgitate the political purviews of his parents ad nauseum. He’s homeschooled, the only people he knows are his parents and conservative talk show host, Bill Bennett, who he apparently calls on a regular basis...I can't wait for the three Hannity segments tonight about how "the media" is "viciously attacking" a child.
It’s really really easy to be a Republican when you’re 14 years old. Virgins are notoriously Pro-Life. Those who can’t be drafted don’t care about foreign wars. Those who don’t pay taxes think anyone who is taxed is taxed way too much. Why worry about healthcare when you’re covered by your parents for the next 10 years?
Ken Levine, a former "Cheers" writer, looks back at some of the contrivances on the show. But I can say right off the top of my head that a lot of people paid for drinks on the show. Norm also had a "bar tab" that was a 400-page binder.
Still, a lot of paradoxes on that show (as pointed out by Levine and commenters): everyone drank all day every day but no one ever was drunk. Carla was the only waitress, at times no one was ever tending bar, and Cheers had remarkably few employees for such a large bar. Cliff wears his postal uniform at all times, even on Sundays. Elite professional Frasier is both friends with the rest of the gang, and spends as much time at the bar as the unemployed Norm does. And I don't remember anyone ever ordering anything but beer.
Since I probably saw 200 episodes of Cheers before ever actually setting foot in a bar, none of this occurred to me as a kid. See also: one of my favorite SI pieces ever, by the great Steve Rushin.
Dwayne Johnson on Saturday ended "Saturday Night Live"'s four-episode dud streak, hosting a very funny, well-rounded show. Who knew Rocky could sing, or do a better Obama impression than Fred Armisen? This was my favorite part:
Jonathan Chait, on Amity Shlaes' "The Forgotten Man":
The experience of reading The Forgotten Man is more like talking to an old person who lived through the Depression than it is like reading an actual history of the Depression. Major events get cursory treatment while minor characters, such as an idiosyncratic black preacher or the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, receive lengthy portraits. Having been prepared for a revisionist argument against the New Deal, I kept wondering if I had picked up the wrong book.
Conor Friedersdorf, on this "Going John Galt" nonsense:
Do you know why we're in a position where this sort of massive expansion of government is possible? It is partly because America’s professional class — its lawyers, engineers, and doctors, those meritocrats who “got into the better colleges and grad schools” — voted in large numbers for the Democratic candidate. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that affluent professional meritocrats, who often live in urban centers and prize competence, spent the 2008 campaign being told by the GOP ticket that big city professionals live in fake America, that a diploma from an elite college is reason for suspicion, that the wine these folks drink marks them as less authentic than the beer of their compatriots, etc...I love this idea that businessmen won't hire people if their taxes are a few percentage points higher, but will have no problem completely withdrawing from the economy. I'm sure that'll catch on among a couple dozen people nationwide.
What does the average, apolitical law firm partner or neurosurgeon or mechanical engineer think when he flips on the television and sees Joe the Plumber being held up as the face of the Republican Party? Do they think, “This is a party that is going to reward meritocrats like me,” or do they think, “I’ve got a choice between a party that’s going to insult my intelligence, and another that’s going to take a slightly higher percentage of my annual earnings.”
"The Soup," hosted by Joel McHale, might be the best thing going on cable- there's really no reason to even watch TV anymore, because you know Joel will catch it for air on Friday night. Here, he recaps "The Bachelor," in a bit I found hilarious even though I've never seen a minute of the show:
Can't wait for next week, for McHale's commentary on the season premiere of Kim Kardashian and her two "dead-behind-the-eyes" sisters.
Here's an essay on, uh, Little Dr. Manhattan, as seen in "Watchmen.":
A female superhero, Silk Spectre II, is outfitted in a latex body suit with perma-hard nipples, there's a horribly cheesy sex scene set to "Hallelujah," and your overshare problem is the glowing blue penis?At first I was wondering who that was covering "Hallelujah," before I realized- wait, it's the Leonard Cohen original.
I can't quite get so outraged about this:
On his radio show Friday, Rush Limbaugh suggested that Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) would be dead by the time health care reform legislation passes. "Before it's all over, it'll be called the Ted Kennedy memorial health care bill," the talk show host says.I didn't mean it in the mean-spirited sense that he did, but... that exact thought has occurred to me more than once. In fact, it almost certainly was going to happen exactly that way- health care passing right after Ted's death the way the Civil Rights Act passed right after JFK's. But now that a stink has been raised over this, it probably won't.
This radio interview of David Frum by Mark Levin just about sums it up. I don't know what's funnier, Levin- whose show consists almost entirely of juvenile namecalling and screaming at the top of his lungs- accusing Frum of "personal attacks," or his turning down Frum's microphone every time he tries to make a point.
Here's Frum's reaction; it's funny that a former Bush speechwriter and arch-neocon is now too liberal for the conservative movement.
Since it was the Jason Alexander/Larry David argument (about whether or not George was a loser) that first got me hooked on the show, this can only be good news.
My new favorite Philly sports blog, iSportacus, shows us one such character.
News Item: TBS cancels "Frank TV"
I agree with Matthew Continetti, on how stupid this whole "who's the leader of the Republican Party?" debate is:
It is well established that a party's leader is its presidential nomineeTo be fair, Triumph had some very intriguing ideas on energy policy. Something about harnessing the power of poop.
and, if that nominee wins election, the president. An exception to this rule would be when one party controls Congress but not the presidency. In that case, the provisional leader of the congressional party would be the speaker of the House. Think Newt Gingrich from 1995 to 1998 and Nancy Pelosi in 2007 and 2008. This isn't rocket science.
The GOP's presidential nominee lost in 2008. It holds no power in Congress. Hence the party will have to muddle through without a "leader" until the 2012 Republican primaries. Big deal. Such has been the case with all out-parties in American history. Who was the Democratic party's "leader" during the years 2005 to 2007? Was it Howard Dean? Al Franken? Keith Olbermann? Triumph the Insult Comic Dog?
Jayson Stark writes about the proverbial "invited-to-spring training as non-roster players." No, they don't actually get invitations in the mail, with bows and RSVPs and plus-ones and stuff.
News Item: Cowboys release Terrell Owens
And yes, I'm going to laugh uproariously at the first person who suggests the Eagles re-sign him. He's destined to be a Raider, I'm sure.
Be sure not to miss Jason Whitlock, with a whole column's worth of Owens-as-stripper analogies.
And on the undercard: Colbert vs. Glenn Beck!
Scott Lemieux on the worst columnist in America:
In criticizing Dowd for focusing almost entirely on inane personal trivia larded with her bizarre gender obsessions, I might have implied that she should write more about politics and policy. This, however, would be misleading. This would be a bad idea, because of course she doesn't know anything about politics and policy, so it's not as if the few columns she writes that are nominally about these things are any less vacuous. Rather, the question is why the Times has chosen to use Dowd to fill a position that should be occupied by someone who has some idea what they're talking about about something.
The Inquirer's Frank Fitzpatrick, on the Eagle fan reaction to Brian Dawkins' departure:
Why couldn't they have listened to us fans?Yes, it sucks that Dawkins left, and he's going to be greatly missed. But he was clearly on the downside of career, he was going to leave the team relatively soon anyway, and not having him around is not going to prevent them from winning next year.
I mean, why do we even bother to dress in team jerseys and get drunk every Sunday if we're just going to be ignored? Wonder how they'd like it if we didn't renew our season tickets? Bet you that franchise wouldn't survive long if they had to fill the stadium with high-school graduates.
Doesn't Andy Reid know that we're the real football experts? How many times has he called a talk radio station? How many fantasy leagues is he in? What are his blogging credentials?
This shows that the Eagles don't care what the fans think. And that's a compliment. If the team, or any other, say, put trade/signing moves up for a fan vote, that would be a one-way ticket to last place.
Last night was quite entertaining though- after Howard Eskin interviewed team president Joe Banner yesterday, Eskin and Ike Reese had a 15-minute screaming match about Dawkins during the crossover of their shows, with Reese pretty much representing Dawkins and Eskin pretty much representing the team. Riveting stuff.
Hee hee hee. It's probably the first funny thing ever produced by either Congressional Campaign Committee.
I've seen most of these before, but still good to have them all in one place:
The Glenn Beck post-sexual harassment awkward moment is the best by far.
I have a new electronics retail crime column this week in Dealerscope, including the story of a couple arrested on multiple charges when they decided to rob a Walmart while carrying drugs, as well as the guy who took money from gullible people to go into Walmart and use his "employee discount" to buy stuff for them while they waited outside (he went out another door, with their money, and no, he wasn't really an employee.)
But while we're at it with Walmart, none of that, even a whole years' worth, was nearly as horrifying as this. I wonder whose teeth they were...
James Wolcott, stating the obvious:
During its Rovian/Fox News heyday, the right tried to make Michael Moore's mug the face of the Democratic Party, hold Democrats responsible for every egregious thing Moore said or did. It only partially succeeded because Moore was too independent an operator to be seamlessly morphed with Al Gore and John Kerry. But Limbaugh bleeds Republican red. He has been glorified and embraced as the perfect Ganesh by Newt Gingrich, CPAC, and the Bush family. He is the face and mouth of the conservative movement. A mouth that has swallowed Michael Steele whole, and has room for plenty more.
Random weirdness in the Inquirer/Daily News bankruptcy:
Then late last week, Philadelphia Newspapers made an unusual request: it is seeking to hire an additional law firm to look into an alleged instance of its existing lenders’ secretly — and illegally — recording meetings with the company before it filed for bankruptcy.Yea, George Costanza once tried the same thing.
Unnamed sources told The Philadelphia Inquirer, which first reported the news, that Philadelphia Newspapers’ chief executive, Brian P. Tierney, found a digital voice recorder hidden amid papers on a table where he met with creditors after a November meeting.
David Poland on "Watchmen":
Have you ever been at a party and there is a story that you remember as being so funny… and you start telling it… and the people you are telling it are not responding it the way you expect them to… so you elaborate so they “get it”… but the more you elaborate the longer and less funny the story really is… but you are in it and you are just trying to fight your way through to that punchline…It looks cool, I'll give it that, and the opening credit sequence is something to behold. But this movie just plain didn't work for me, mostly because it's written, and structured, absolutely atrociously. It's absolutely impossible to follow if you haven't read the book, and too long by about an hour.
It’s a great story, but you (or your director) had to be there.
They built this movie from the outside in. And you feel it in virtually every frame. That will be plenty for some. Not for me.
I'm not a graphic novel guy, but the fact that I've never read a "Batman" book didn't in any way lessen my appreciation of "Dark Knight." Not so here; pretty much all that kept me going while watching it was Jackie Earle Haley's excellent performance, and the hope that something, anything, might actually happen by the end.
UPDATE:Sean Burns, too:
I can’t help but wonder if the movie will even make any sense to anyone who hasn’t read the comic. This is such an obsessively detailed, richly realized universe, it takes the film well over an hour to establish all the players and their histories before the story can get started. Characters too often pause to deliver lengthy monologues that played great on the page, but stop the movie dead in its tracks. For a flick so chock-full of apocalyptic ultraviolence, Watchmen often feels strangely inert.
Awful Announcing: Bill Simmons Compares "Cold Pizza/First Take" To Snuff Films
I think he's just openly trying to get fired at this point.
Nathan Rabin of the AV Club on Mike Myers' "The Love Guru":
A smart, talented, accomplished writer-actor like Myers spending years meticulously creating, rehearsing, and refining an obnoxious one-note cartoon like Guru Pitka is a like a group of brilliant scientists working around the clock for a decade to build a malfunctioning fart machine: a surreal waste of time, energy and manpower.The iPhone app developers are at it already.
I review the excellent, under-the-radar "Two Lovers" on Philly.com. This performance- and not the Letterman freakshow- is why Joaquin should be in the news these days.
I don't know which of them is more of a conservative self-parody:
Michael Lewis, in Vanity Fair, has an astonishing piece, both horrifying and hilarious- on the other major financial meltdown of 2008- the one in Iceland. My favorite part:
The investigators produced a chart detailing a byzantine web of interlinked entities that boiled down to this: A handful of guys in Iceland, who had no experience of finance, were taking out tens of billions of dollars in short-term loans from abroad. They were then re-lending this money to themselves and their friends to buy assets—the banks, soccer teams, etc. Since the entire world’s assets were rising—thanks in part to people like these Icelandic lunatics paying crazy prices for them—they appeared to be making money. Yet another hedge-fund manager explained Icelandic banking to me this way: You have a dog, and I have a cat. We agree that they are each worth a billion dollars. You sell me the dog for a billion, and I sell you the cat for a billion. Now we are no longer pet owners, but Icelandic banks, with a billion dollars in new assets.It's the best business journalism piece since, well, the last time Lewis did one.
There's an article in this month's Philadelphia magazine (not online, I don't think) about the race to succeed Lynne Abraham as the city's district attorney (yes, Philly, like New York, is about to have its first open D.A.'s race in decades.) It contained a shocking fact- the Philadelphia D.A.'s office has 580 employees. 580! I'd been led to believe, from 19 years worth of "Law & Order," that D.A. offices, like homicide squads, have only three people working in them at any given time.
I look into how the right is obsessed with the mythical return of the Fairness Doctrine, even though almost no one actually is in favor of it, in this week's North Star column.
I really enjoyed this new ad by Comcast:
News Item: Bill Ayers to visit Brandeis
He's one of the few important '60s radicals who didn't actually attend Brandeis, so I guess a visit was inevitable. I would've thought he'd be needed at the White House, since he's such an important advisor to Obama and all...
Yes, there are just 150 full-time film critics left in America. MCN lists them all.
Who knew you could sneak into the White House by going underwater? Kind of reminds me of that old "Da Ali G Show" bit in which Ali G asked some former National Security Adviser if it's possible to crash a train into the White House.
News Item: TJ Houshmanzadeh signs with Seahawks
The Vikings sure tried, giving him the private jet/limo treatment, but alas it wasn't to be. This followed a bizarre period in which TJ went on the radio in multiple cities, including Philly, and to get the fans' hopes up that his signing was imminent. I'd say whatever agent came up with that is more worthy of his commission than, say, Scott Boras for Manny Ramirez.
Speaking of the Eagles, they lost Brian Dawkins over the weekend, and the fan base is in shock. Yes, they probably should've found a way to keep him, and most likely let him go not over money but rather the unwillingness to offer a second year. A massive PR hit, to be sure, but the Eagles have a good record of getting rid of veterans at exactly the right time.
The Daily News will soon be printed as an edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer, though the two papers will maintain separate news staffs and still compete for stories, officials of Philadelphia Media Holdings, which owns both papers announced yesterday.Sure it is. My guess: a year from now, the Daily News will be a section of the Inquirer.
Philadelphia Media Holdings CEO Brian Tierney said the change will save money on wire services by allowing the publications to act as a single subscriber, and will be helpful in selling advertising.
“Instead of telling advertisers we have 330,000 circulation (at the Inquirer) plus the Daily News, it will help to say we have 440,000 daily circulation,” Tierney said.