The best catcher in baseball, and the best Twin since Puckett, returns to the team Friday. Now, the season can start for real.
Souter is, I believe, the first Supreme Court nominee to retire who I remember being first nominated.
Who will succeed him? I'm guessing judge Sonia Sotomayor. Not only would she be the first Hispanic Justice, but she ended the baseball strike in 1995.
ESPN 950's Mike Missanelli was working up a populist lather on his show today, in reaction to comments from ESPN radio national host Colin Cowherd.
I don't have the words right in front of me or a transcript, but Cowherd was ranting against "local radio," and how callers are idiots who don't know anything. Specifically, he referred to Andy Reid- who spends 20 hours a week watching film and sleeping in his office- and how stupid radio callers who bash him every Monday morning know nothing compared to him.
Not really sure where to come down on this. On the one hand, Cowherd is a fool, as anyone who's listened to him for five minutes can attest. Plus, it's not generally wise for a radio host to bash "local radio," especially since just about every ESPN station that carries Cowherd also airs local shows. The On the DL guys have been rightly bashing ESPN for making fun of silly local guys in their commercials, while at the same time airing Mike and Mike bikini waxing contests; now we have Cowherd employing similarly faulty reasoning.
But on the other hand... Cowherd is completely right that a great many talk show callers, in Philly and elsewhere, don't know what they're talking about, and that people like Andy Reid know much, much more about football than the average talk caller (or for that matter, host) ever will. One of the best things about the Eagles organization is that they don't listen to the talk radio callers; if they did, they would have done things like draft Ricky Williams in 1999 and throw Donovan McNabb overboard in favor of Terrell Owens in '05.
I know sowing outrage and exploiting anger is a big, big part of talk radio, whether it's sports, politics, or shock jock stuff. But this is ridiculous, on both sides.
News Item: Boston station suspends Jay Severin for anti-Mexican commentsThe Globe:
Jay Severin, the fiery, right-wing radio talk show host on Boston’s WTKK-FM radio station, was suspended today after calling Mexican immigrants "criminaliens," “primitives,” “leeches,” and “women with mustaches and VD,” among other incendiary comments.This is not to excuse Severin, who's a pretty reprehensible character. But it's always weird, what gets people suspended in radio. Severin was on in Philly for awhile, and he said stuff like that every single day. I don't think I ever heard his show without hearing the word "crimaliens" at least a few times. His show was pretty much all bash-the-Mexicans, all the time, even before he was trying to blame them for starting swine flu.
This would be like Howard Stern being suspended for talking about lesbians.
A note to potential thieves: If you work at Walmart, and steal a bunch of iPods, and you hope to sell them, it's probably not wise to advertise them on a bulletin board in the same Walmart that you stole them from. I delve into this, and more, in the latest Week in Electronics Retail Crime column.
It's gotta be Byron York, arguing in the Washington Examiner that due to "sky-high ratings among African-Americans," President Obama's approval ratings "appear a bit more popular overall than they actually are."
Fox News gets increasingly crazy over 100 days:
I can't even imagine how excited I am for this.
Sure, he destroyed a $1,000, less-than-a-year-old computer for no reason. But at least he proved a point.
My favorite thought-piece about Ferris Bueller is the "Fight Club" theory, in which Ferris Bueller, the person, is just a figment of Cameron's imagination, like Tyler Durden, and Sloane is the girl Cameron secretly loves.But then why did Ben Stein the Teacher call out both "Bueller" and "Frye" as separate people, when neither of them was either there to imagine it?
One day while he's lying sick in bed, Cameron lets "Ferris" steal his father's car and take the day off, and as Cameron wanders around the city, all of his interactions with Ferris and Sloane, and all the impossible hijinks, are all just played out in his head. This is part of the reason why the "three" characters can see so much of Chicago in less than one day -- Cameron is alone, just imagining it all.
It isn't until he destroys the front of the car in a fugue state does he finally get a grip and decide to confront his father, after which he imagines a final, impossible escape for Ferris and a storybook happy ending for Sloane ("He's gonna marry me!"), the girl that Cameron knows he can never have.
UPDATE: From the same site- a wiki of Ferris' crimes.
Mark Levin, between screaming fits of on-air rage, has taken to calling Barack Obama "Milhous." Why? A reference to the Simpsons character? He does know that was Nixon's middle name, right?
North Carolina Congrseswoman Virginia Foxx tells an urban legend version of the Matthew Shephard story- with Shepard's mother on hand:
I almost did a double take that it was Foxx; the last 50 times a female Republican member of Congress said something wildly insane and/or inaccurate, it was Michele Bachmann.
Brett Favre will not be a Viking this year, next year, or any year. It's not happening. But apparently Patrick Reusse didn't get the memo.
I review the generally weak "The Soloist" on Philly.com.
It hasn't been a very proud 100 days for the GOP:
Will things get better for them? I'm not imagining they will.
Now he's back to defending Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk, even comparing him to Jesus. How in the world can MSNBC continue to justify having this guy on the air for hours every day?
Quite possibly the most horrifying interview ever:
Hannity very clearly had never heard of Kardashian before this interview- he doesn't even know that she's famous for having a big ass and a sex tape. Not to mention- have you seen that show? Kim is probably the least interesting of the whole family.
That said, she held her own much better at that desk than Colmes ever did.
News Item: Stone, Douglas on board for "Wall Street 2"
Just a big steaming bag of FAIL. Low-flying planes near buildings in lower Manhattan? What could possibly go wrong? Stewart has more:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||M - Th 11p / 10c|
|Mistakes on a Plane|
Because accidental F-bombs on awards shows are clearly the most dangerous epidemic facing our nation.
John Cole on the GOP and torture:
Considering what they have done with virtually every other aspect of the Bush years, I honestly expected them to do what they did with the trillions of dollars of spending and debt that happened with a Republican congress and a Republican President Bush- first, pretend it didn’t happen, then after being forced to acknowledge it did happen, claim that everyone was doing it and blame the Democrats and scream about Murtha and Barney Frank, and when that didn’t work, just pretend that it was “other” Republicans who aren’t “real conservatives” (Move along, these aren’t the wasteful spenders you are looking for) while ranting about earmarks. That is what they did with spending, I figured they would do it again with torture.The longer it goes on, the less surprised I am.
But they didn’t and they aren’t. Instead, they are mobilizing and going balls to the wall in defense of sadism. It is really quite amazing, and a testament to just how sick and detestable and rotten to the core the Republican party has become.
UPDATE: I also love Cole's co-blogger DougJ's headline for a post about Jim Tedisco losing the special election in New York: "Tedisco Demolition Night."
In honor of his cover story on Zach Grienke- the first Royals SI cover boy since David Cone in the early '80s- Joe Posnanski shares the last time each MLB team made the cover of Sports Illustrated.
You can blame the Royals' last decade and a half of futility on many things, but certainly not the SI cover jinx. Ditto for the Pittsburgh Pirates; the last Pirate on the cover was a skinny Barry Bonds.
Despite being on vacation I was able to watch bits and pieces of the NFL draft, and follow the rest on my phone. A few thoughts:
- I'm sorry, if you don't think the Eagles had a great draft, you're a fool. You needed weapons? They got a Big Time Wide Receiver (Jeremy Maclin), a running back (LeSean McCoy) and even a tight end (Cornelius Ingram) who was #1 on Scouts Inc.'s "Best Available" rankings for two whole rounds before he was picked. The team has improved, immensely, over the crew that came within points of last year's Super Bowl.
Unless you're living in the alternative universe that is the WIP morning show- in the failure to trade for Anquan Boldin equals a disaster- it was an A+ draft.
- After weeks and weeks of rumors, the only active veteran NFL player traded on either day of the draft was Ellis Hobbs (going from New England to the Eagles.)
- I've got a feeling the Randy Moss Era in Minnesota will repeat itself with Percy Harvin- he dropped to them in the draft, he'll be a major impact player, but such a pain in the ass that he'll be out within four or five years. Love the Phil Loadholt pick in Round 2- there's no more perfect name for an offensive lineman than "Loadholt."
- The Raiders are idiots. That is all. And the Redskins are probably even worse.
- But what was the worst decision of the day? Certainly this segment with Erin Andrews, a clearly disinterested Bill Cosby, and another kid named Cosby:
I don't even get the point- is Quan Cosby's son, the fruit of one of those paternity suits from a few years ago?
News Item: Sen. Arlen Specter to switch parties
That gives the Democrats the magic 60-seat majority when Al Franken is seated- and also throws the 2010 PA Senate race into flux. Whether Specter faces a primary challenge from Patrick Murphy or Joe Sestak, or battles Pat Toomey in the general, the seat will almost certainly stay blue.
At any rate, I certainly did not see that one coming.
I get into why we need a Truth Commission on torture, in this week's North Star column.
This is sort of awesome:
So Hannity is the Angry Gorilla? Sounds about right.
An excellent choice, especially considering Booker is probably very much in demand this time of year. There's been a major controversy over the commencement speaker pretty much every year since I was there - remember when people complained about Helmut Kohl, because their grandparents would be traumatized by a German?- but I imagine the Booker choice will be almost universally praised.
And in other Brandeis news- they might get rid of my major department, American Studies!
News Item: Barkevious Mingo is 2009 Name of the Year
This despite the late entry of Marijuana Pepsi Sawyer.
News Item: Creed to reunite for new album, tour
Let's just all ignore them, and maybe they'll go away.
This is a great one:
Much much better than the black-and-white spots with the smarmy CEO.
I appear to have returned to a heat wave... but at least I don't have swine flu. Regularly scheduled blogging to resume tomorrow.
I'm off for a four-day mini-vacation; expect posting to resume Tuesday.
Mike Florio has delivered a video segment on the Eagles' practice of handing out long-term contracts to young players early in their careers, and how it has led them into the mess with Sheldon Brown, who is now demanding a trade after the team has refused to give him a new contract.
As with just about everything Florio says or writes about the Eagles, his argument is lifted directly from WIP conventional wisdom- I've heard Glen Macnow, Hugh Douglas and others make the exact same argument, practically word-for-word. The argument is that the Eagles, in handing out "below-market contracts" to young players, are shooting themselves in the foot and not treating their players well.
Here's the Eagles' M.O. when it comes to player personnel: They draft as well as they can, build the core of the team that way, and use trades and free agency to fill holes. When players are two or three years into their rookie contract, the team decides to "catch them on the way up," and sign them to an extension- for much more money than the player was making before, but for less than he would make in free agency a few days later. Then, as the player nears the end of his contract, he's usually traded or released.
This M.O. has led the Eagles to keep virtually every player they want to keep, kept them way under the cap, and gotten them to the playoffs most years. And, the team has a nearly spotless record in getting rid of players at exactly the right time. The drawback is that the team occasionally falls into an ugly contract dispute with a player, as is happening now with Brown.
I'm not sure where I come down on Brown- he's a very good player who's certainly underpaid, and I don't fault him for seeking a trade if making more money before he retires is what is important to him. This isn't like the Terrell Owens situation, which TO demanded a renegotiation one year into a long-term deal- something totally unprecedented in the league- and then sabotaged the team when he didn't get it. But then again- why'd Brown sign the contract? Doesn't he know that if you sign an eight-year extension, you can't get a raise for eight years?
But what I don't understand is what the alternative is for the Eagles- should they just let every one of their young players go to free agency? Never sign any extensions? Take the Washington Redskins tack of trading your draft picks, signing over-the-hill big name veterans, having a different head coach or coordinator every other years, and otherwise run the team like a typical uneducated fan?
The Bybee Memo, set to music:
Steve Benen on Karl Rove's laughable reasoning:
"Rove said the administration's recent disclosures about torture are "very dangerous." Rove insisted, "What they've essentially said is if we have policy disagreements with our predecessors.... [W]e're going to turn ourselves into the moral equivalent of a Latin American country run by colonels in mirrored sunglasses and what we're gonna do is prosecute systematically the previous administration, or threaten prosecutions against the previous administration, based on policy differences. Is that what we've come to in this country?"But it's not like they got a blowjob from an intern or anything like that.
You see, in Rove World, the way to avoid becoming a banana republic is to have a chief executive who ignores the rule of law. Then, the chief executive is replaced, and his/her successor must ensure there are no consequences for those who ignored the rule of law in the recent past.
No matter how serious alleged crimes, no matter how compelling the evidence, no matter the consequences, if a president believes those who came before him/her broke the law, he/she must not prosecute, or even investigate. If he/she disagrees, the president would be acting like a Latin American colonel in mirrored sunglasses."
Only Fox News is "we do not fucking torture" an unconscionably radical position. If he's fired, will it be for the "we do not torture," or the "fucking"?
I review "State of Play" on Philly.com.
Yes, his stats about there being "more paid bloggers than lawyers" are, unsurprisingly, just as off as his delegate math while working for Hillary. Kottke has more.
This is just about the worst local news idea in history:
(KMSP) hit another high point in their stellar news coverage. Instead of, you know, reporting the news, they were going to be the news. How? They had this great idea to play pretend pedophile, drive around in a pedo-van (unmarked SUV) and try to get unsuspecting Edina kids to talk to a stranger. Why didn't we think of this?That's still not quite as offensive as this.
The piece would piggyback off a story about an attempted child abduction in Edina last week. They wanted to know: How dumb are these kids really?
Manofest has the list of the worst Fallon moments so far. It's pretty long, for a show that's only been on a couple of months.
I'm all about Stephen Colbert's album of patriotic anthems:
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Who's Riding My Coattails Now? - Blown Away by the USA|
He stole the "Bangles covers" bit from every college a cappella group ever.
I couldn't be a reporter in that city, just because I'd be cracking "Rocky IV" jokes non-stop, every day.
Yes, the "Gathering Storm" ad is now, literally, beyond parody. FunnyOrDie gets in the act:
Jane Lynch is a true American treasure, and probably deserved an Oscar for "Role Models." "You know what I used to have for breakfast every day? Cocaine! You know what I had for lunch? Cocaine!"
A pretty astonishing story by David Weigel about how Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs, the godfather of the post-9/11 "anti-idiotarian" blogosphere, has learned in the age of Obama that there are, in fact, many enemies to the right. I suppose it was usually the kill-all-the-Muslims commenters at that site who were a lot scarier than Johnson.
Everyone in Minnesota, at every public gathering, should continuously chant "Norm Sucks," until Norm agrees to step aside. It certainly worked in 1992.
Successive posts in my RSS reader today:
New York Times: Texas Instruments Posts a Small Profit
Wall Street Journal: Texas Instruments Profit Drops 97%
I look at both in this week's North Star column.
I've never been to the city, but this guy has a funny take:
That, not "Cleveland Rocks," should've been the "Drew Carey Show" theme song.
It has arrived- vote for Barkevious Mingo!
It should have been great, but it left me totally cold. I don't know if the biggest problem was the shaking camera work, the intrusive, BUMP-BUMP-BUMP musical score, or the ludicrous, one-twist-too-many ending. Also, Ben Affleck- who I normally defend- was just brutal, in probably his worst performance since Bay's "Pearl Harbor." There's also the journalistic stuff, as pointed out by Patrick Goldstein:
The problem is pretty obvious -- the film's screenwriters, all clearly gifted at dialogue and storytelling, have taken a story that is really a cop movie and grafted it into the world of journalism. Crowe actually interrogates one suspect -- whoops, I mean source -- in a motel room, with a backup crew of cops -- whoops, I mean reporters -- stashed in an adjoining motel room, secretly videotaping the encounter, which he then shows to another source/suspect in the story. This is, ahem, wrong on a thousand different ethical levels, not to mention, in an era of vastly diminished newspaper resources, who could afford to pay for all the video gear, much less two motel rooms?Not to mention, as David Poland pointed out, Affleck is supposedly the college roommate of Russell Crowe's character, and married to Robin Wright Penn, with whom they both went to college. Except Affleck is eight years younger than Crowe and six years younger than Wright Penn. I think Ben was in middle school when Robin was starring in "The Princess Bride." Another critic, I forget which, said no Congressional wife would ever have an affair with a mere Washington reporter.
Crowe has a basic conflict of interest that would disqualify any reporter from covering this story; he's an old friend (and former college roommate) of the powerful congressman who's at the heart of a murder mystery. Even worse, from a believability angle, Crowe's top editor (nicely played as a tough-talking Fleet Street expatriate by Helen Mirren) knows all about their friendship, which in real journalistic life, would have disqualified Crowe from covering the story from the jump-off, especially since he has an even more complicated entanglement with the congressman's wife.
There's a host of other farfetched moments, including a scene where Mirren refuses to print an explosive story, saying that the paper's new owners are insisting that Crowe get at least one key source on the record. A reputable newspaper would indeed demand that at least one source be on the record before printing a big story, but that demand would come from the editors, not from the owners of the paper, who usually find out about a big story at the same time the readers do -- after it's printed.
Matt Taibbi apparently feels about the same way about Brian Cashman as he does about most Republicans:
What Brian Cashman has accomplished as GM of the Yankees over the past few years, in turning a perennial World Series champ into a third-place also-ran, is like walking into a backstage party for Led Zeppelin with a two-pound bag of coke and a 28-inch penis and failing for a whole night to get laid.Hard to argue with the logic of that.
Cashman managed to discover the one avenue through which limitless money and power under the current Major League Baseball rules can be a competitive disadvantage. He found that if you pack your roster from top to bottom with pathologically needy, egomaniacal, paranoid megamillionaires aged 30 and up, you can more or less permanently block the development of the choice, hungry, 25- to 30-year-old talent group that serves as the core of virtually all winning baseball teams.
Near the end of his gargantuan NBA MVP rankings column, Bill Simmons pointed out the many, year-to-year parallels between "24"'s Jack Bauer and Miami's Dwyane Wade:
2002: Wade submits a stellar sophomore year at Marquette (after not playing as a freshman) and puts himself on the map; Bauer submits a stellar Season 1 of "24" and puts himself on the map.Does Dwyane also have a hot daughter who's exceptionally dumb?
2003: Wade carries Marquette to the Final Four; Bauer carries "24" to an excellent Season 2 in which he detonates a nuclear bomb in L.A. (no, not the Kobe incident in Colorado -- an actual nuclear bomb).
2004: Wade leads Miami to the NBA playoffs before losing in Round 2; Bauer fights off a heroin addiction and carries "24" to a solid Season 3 that falls apart down the stretch after he kills Nina Myers.
2005: Wade gets a new running mate (a controversial center named Shaq) and would've won the title if he didn't get injured during the Eastern finals; Jack gets a new running mate (a controversial girlfriend named Audrey) and could have had his best season ever if the "nuclear football" plot hadn't fallen apart right near the end.
2006: Wade enjoys his greatest season (Finals MVP, first title) and so does Bauer in Season 5 (which features David Palmer's assassination, Jack coming out of hiding in the Mojave desert, President Logan's meltdown, a really good nerve gas plot and Jack getting kidnapped by the Chinese). Both Wade and Jack peaked in 2006. And if that's not enough, Gary Payton co-starred with both of them: As GP on Miami and Wayne Palmer on "24."
2007: Wade's Miami team falls apart (44 wins, first-round exit) as Wade's supporting cast crumbles and poor Wade is too banged up from previous seasons to carry them. Jack's TV show falls apart (worst "24" season by far) and his supporting cast crumbles (no Tony Almeida or Michelle Dessler and too much President Wayne Palmer, the Mark Blount of "24") as he's too banged up from previous seasons to carry them.
2008: Wade's season gets cancelled by injuries (he plays only 51 games); Jack's season gets cancelled by the writer's strike. Everyone wonders if we'll ever see vintage Wade or vintage Jack again.
2009: Comeback years all around! Wade submits his best regular season ever; Jack leads "24" to its strongest first 18 episodes ever. Now we're heading for the playoffs and who the hell knows what will happen?
It's for electronics thieves too, as I point out in this week's Electronics Retail Crime column.
It costs them only the later of their two first rounders, plus one of their 10 fourth-round picks and a pick next year. It's a good move and fills their left tackle hole- giving them major offensive line depth- and it'll let the Eagles take a running back or tight end with their other first (the 21st.) But since Peters is not a big time wide receiver... BOOOOOOO!
Even more dangerous, and more gay:
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|The Colbert Coalition's Anti-Gay Marriage Ad|
What Keith Ellison really thinks about Michele Bachmann. Awesome.
Because Lizzie Grubman, of all people, already did it.
Stewart on the tea parties:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||M - Th 11p / 10c|
|Nationwide Tax Protests|
So Hulk Hogan is in trouble for stating, in a recent Rolling Stone interview, that he "understands" what O.J. Simpson did:
''I could have turned everything into a crime scene, like OJ, cutting everybody's throat,'' he told the magazine. ``You live half a mile from the 20,000-square-foot home you can't go to anymore, you're driving through downtown Clearwater and see a 19-year-old boy driving your Escalade, and you know that a 19-year-old boy is sleeping in your bed, with your wife . . . I totally understand OJ. I get it."You know what's really terrible about this? He stole the idea, almost word for word, from Chris Rock:
I'm just impressed that Hulk was able to complete an entire sentence without using the word "brother."
Can I just say how ridiculous this obsession with the NFL schedule is? I haven't listened to a single radio show in past three days in which the host hasn't gone through the schedule game by game to guess which games the Eagles will win or lose.
The season is five months away! They haven't even had the draft yet! And on top of that, nobody knows how good any team is- even once the season has started! Haven't you ever heard of upsets, or teams being unexpectedly good or bad?
Besides, I can guarantee that- mostly due to the Bengals tie- not a single observer throughout the entire league correctly predicted the Eagles 9-6-1 record last year.
Matt Taibbi, on Miss Internment:
Previously Michelle Malkin’s writing was on the edge of unreadable; she’s sort of like Ann Coulter, only without that tiny fraction of P.T. Barnum/Mick Jagger-esque self-promotional flair that makes Coulter at least vaguely interesting. When you read Ann Coulter, you know you’re reading someone who would fuck a hippopotamus if she thought it would boost her Q rating. That’s a rare quality and it commands one’s attention.
Michelle Malkin doesn’t have that. She’s just a mean little dunce who’s wedged herself into a nicely paying career as a GOP spokesclown, and she’s going to ride that gig for as long as it keeps gas in her minivan.
A brilliant parody of the "pro-marriage" folks:
The music would've fit in perfectly, though, in the Gordon Jump-as-molester episode.
Definitely Bill Conlin's. Wow.
The New York Obsever has an epic piece today on a Kari Farrell, a fugitive grifter who allegedly scammed multitudes of Brooklyn hipsters out of thousands of dollars. Her favored scam? Lying to friends and lovers about having cancer.
The highlight of the piece (and maybe of the whole year):
“She has this thing with guys where she talks about sex really upfront and kind of puts people off balance,” said Joe. (It was also around November that a guy named Troy was at Union Pool, the Williamsburg bar, when the bartender passed him a note from another customer. It read, “I want to give you a hand job with my mouth,” and was signed “Korean Abdul-Jabbar.” It was, according to Troy, from Ms. Ferrell. Another time, a patron at Fabiane’s, the café on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, said Ms. Ferrell passed him a note which read: “I want you to throw a hot dog down my hall.”)
The Philadelphia Tea Party today drew a raucous, enthusiastic crowd of... 200. Obama's shaking in his boots, I'm sure.
I review the so-wrong-it's-hilarious "Observe and Report" on Philly.com.
It took place yesterday; I was hoping they'd have the decency to cancel it 24 hours after Harry Kalas' death, but no no. I was only able to stomach a few minutes, after the third time someone mentioned both Chunky Soup and McNabb's mother as a reason to get rid of him.
The Donovan Debate reminds me quite a lot of the "debate" over evolution, or the one over whether or not the Holocaust occurred. Even having the debate at all is way too much of a concession to the forces of unreason.
Johann Hari profiles the world's greatest blogger.
Not to sound like Louis CK and his chair in the sky, but tonight's screening of "State of Play" was almost ruined by one of the most annoying movie theater experiences of the last several years.
Sure, it was bad enough that the couple behind us was talking to each other, at full volume, for the entire first half of the film, in between loudly tearing apart various food items. But at probably the movie's most crucial point, the man's phone rang. After about four rings, he answered it. Then, he handed it to the woman, who proceeded to have a 15-second conversation while everyone on that side of the theater shushed her. Then, she screamed "BUT IT'S MY SON," and proceeded to COMPLAIN, ON THE PHONE, in a MOVIE THEATER, that people were shushing her.
Luckily, the couple then left the theater- all the while, complaining about how rudely they'd been treated by people shushing them! As they were leaving, the man said something like "this is why people are getting shot at the movies." Apparently, he forgot that in last December's infamous Philadelphia movie theater shooting, it was of course the guy who was talking who was shot.
This is brilliant, and probably would make a better film than the actual "Where the Wild Things Are":
Ben Mathis-Lilley on those annoying push-to-talk commercials:
But this ad is strangely galling nonetheless, because its logic falls apart so quickly. Isn't it actually the government's failure to haggle over details that causes so many of our problems? Here's the fireman legislature's take on an environmental bill: " Lots of paper to tell us we need clean water. Need clean water, guys?' 'AYE!' " These guys just don't seem like they would have dug into the details of mortgage regulation, credit-default swaps, or FEMA oversight (and let's not even get started on their likely insensitivity to women's issues). In fact, if the heroes of these commercials are supposed to be paragons of no-bullshit efficiency, why are they communicating via Sprint Nextel Direct Connect despite being in the same room together? Which fireman subcommittee authorized the purchase of all those walkie-talkies? In this ad, Sprint Nextel's crowd-pleasing formula is mangled; the spot is a polemic against the idea that government should involve reading, writing, and discussion.The "Callahan" one is even more annoying.
Ever wonder what a WWE "creative meeting" looks like? ESPN was invited in:
I wade into the issue- and the breathtakingly dishonest recent ad by a "pro-marriage" group- in this week's North Star column.
Here's a point-by-point response to that ad:
The700Level piles on. Yes, it's pretty ridiculous that in the middle of the football offseason, with the Sixers and Flyers both in the playoffs and the Phillies defending their World Series title, both local TV stations have seen it fit to host heavily-promoted debates in regards to the Eagles.
"24" was pretty crazy last night- from the return of Kim Bauer to the shocking conclusion- but the weirdest moment of all had to have been this PSA, delivered (in character?) by Mary Lynn Rajskub/Chloe:
Now those are what I call "Crazy Eyes."
This is so wrong I can't even begin to describe it. But I thought Jerry wasn't an orgy guy...
They really ought to be ashamed of this:
Sure, the Tea Party people are idiots for not knowing what "teabagging" is, but come on, this is supposed to be a news show.
When even Bernie Goldberg thinks you've gone too far, that says a lot:
Yes, the pirate crisis was resolved successfully, and that's a reason to... bash Obama. This is great, too.
Pretty much every sportswriter had something to say about Harry Kalas. And it seems like almost everyone loved him- pretty rare for a Philadelphia figure.
Some highlights: The On the DL podcast this morning was a tribute to HK. Meanwhile, Jayson Stark gave a tribute on ESPN last night that seemed to have been delivered over the phone.
Joe Conklin, whose many uncanny impressions included Harry, eulogizes him here. I always said whenever Kalas dies they should just hire Conklin to do his impression in the booth full-time, but I don't know how well that would go over.
Meanwhile, the surviving announcers had to work the game yesterday, a Phils win over Washington. I heard this part:
Scott Franzke started to choke up as he neared the end of the Phillies' radio broadcast Monday afternoon at Nationals Park.
Franzke routinely ends his broadcasts with a simple sign off. He typically thanks his producers at the ballpark and back in Philadelphia. He follows that by saying "For Larry Andersen and Harry Kalas, I'm Scott Franzke ..."
The words are automatic.
Not Monday. Kalas, the Philadelphia icon and Hall of Fame broadcaster, died at 1:20 p.m. ET after he collapsed inside the broadcast booth. This time, those routine words took on an entirely different meaning.
"For Larry Andersen and Harry Kalas ..."
A brilliant parody:
I like Lauren better. But I'm still a Mac.
The Department of Homeland Security came out with a report about dangerous far-right, extremist groups possibly threatening violence. The report was referring to militias and that sort of thing, but Michelle Malkin, naturally, thought they were talking about her.
Will Leitch tees off on the Mets' newest bench player in a devastating New York magazine takedown.
Let's see- a 40-year-old guy who can't play anymore, who just got paid $13.6 million by another team to go away, who has thrown his own teams under the bus seven different times in his career, who is a confirmed steroids user? Where do I sign up?
The legendary announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies and NFL films died this afternoon at the age of 73, after collapsing in the broadcast booth prior to today's Phillies game in Washington.
One of the last of his kind- a legendary announcer associated with one team for decades- Kalas is a Baseball Hall of Famer who had called the Phillies games on TV and radio since 1971. He was, of course, behind the radio microphone for the Phils' World Series victory last October.
People had been saying for years that Harry was slipping, and occasionally missing calls, but I never minded (as opposed to Harry Caray, who appeared to be calling the wrong sport in his final years). I for one feel incredibly blessed that I was able to hear him call games for the past four years, as he was one of the very best things about sports in Philadelphia. RIP.
David Edelstein, on the "rape scene" (SPOILERS!):
Although I have never had such a dilemma in life, usually being the first to pass out, I hope I’d have the decency to walk away from a semi-conscious woman. I hope I also wouldn’t harass a Muslim co-worker, use a Taser on a man who parks next to a loading dock, break into a mall and assault policemen, or triumphantly shoot an unarmed criminal. Although I adore Lolita, I hope I am never tempted to lay a finger on a prepubescent girl. Although I grew up watching the Three Stooges, I shall endeavor never to jam two fingers into someone's eyes or yank anyone by the nose with a ball-peen hammer.
Though technically, Saddam didn't really go to hell, and begin his affair with Satan, until after he was dead.
A letter writer to Sullivan gets it exactly right:
The Left of that era grew to be increasingly insular, ideologically rigid, and dyspeptic. Identifying as a liberal during the Reagan era was a bit of a badge of honor, but the complete lack of power lead to all sorts of nuttiness. With nothing but a record of losing, it became possible for the anyone on the Left to come up with ridiculous policy prescriptions, and the lack of anyone in power listening made the advocate look bold and daring, rather than unstable and silly.My other favorite point from the letter: "Returning to the Teabagging events (is there any better sign that the GOP has lost the young than that nobody along the way warned them about that name?)"
Rachel Maddow, on how the "pro-marriage" movement needs some new acronyms:
This piece in Slate by David Samuels is the best thing I've read on the Middle East, Israel and Iran in months. The gist: Israel will probably bomb Iran and take out their nuclear capabilities- and then turn around and give the Palestinians a state:
Saudi Arabia would be happy. Egypt would be happy. Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates would be happy. Jordan would be happy. Iraq would be happy. Two-thirds of the Lebanese would be happy. The Palestinians would go about building their state, and Israel would buy itself another 40 years as the only nuclear-armed country in the Middle East. Iran would not be happy.I'm not necessarily saying I approve of this solution, but it's certainly something to think about.
But who said peace won't have a price?
This sort of set-up worked really well on "Sports Night," and we know how well Sorkin handles the politics angle. Then again, did you see "Studio 60"? It could be really, really great or really, really horrible.
Remember all those people who said Kenneth Blackwell would've done better at the RNC than Michael Steele? Maybe not:
A brilliant parody of talk radio's favorite subject.
News Item: Washington, DC, to host "Real World" season.
Predictions: the house will be in Adams Morgan, their job will be with Rock the Vote or something, and at least one of the females will have an affair with a Congressman.
Someone should try that with O'Reilly's ambush guy.
Newsweek, oddly enougn, has put out a ranking of the 50 most influential rabbis in the U.S. David Saperstein, head of the Religious Action Center, is #1, seven spots ahead of reform head Eric Yoffie. No one I know is on the list except Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus, mother of my friend Ben.
Jeffrey Goldberg has thoughts of his own.
I review "Fast and Furious" on Philly.com.
Keith Olbermann eulogizes his mom:
Did any athlete in the last 15 years devolve faster than Knoblauch? It's between him and Penny Hardaway.
A delightful takedown. My favorite part:
That reminds me of the famous story about Squeaky the Chicago Mouse. It seems that Squeaky was floating on his back along the Chicago River one day. Approaching the Michigan Avenue lift bridge, he called out: Raise the bridge! I have an erection!Let's see them try to ambush Roger in front of his house, as BillO's producer tries to shove a microphone in front of the guy who can no longer speak.
Stewart, in top form:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||M - Th 11p / 10c|
|Baracknophobia - Obey|
I was hoping he would make fun of that lunatic Dick Morris for stating that Obama "repealed the Declaration of Independence," but that was in the previous segment.
I have another electronics retail crime update up at Dealerscope.com.
I tell a recent Philly story in this week's North Star column.
ESPN 950 in Philly announced today that Mike Missanelli will host an event, on April 14, called the "Great Donovan Debate." At the event, to be broadcast at a local bar and broadcast live on the air, Mikey Miss and a group of NFL experts will debate the value of the Eagles QB, much the way Lincoln and Douglas debated the value of slavery.
The Great Donovan Debate is not to be confused with The Great Eagles Debate, another bar-set sports-radio debate, among WIP personalities, that was held last year with a second edition soon to come. Last year's edition, in keeping with daily WIP custom, featured Howard Eskin arguing in favor of the Eagles and (literally) every other host on the station arguing against them.
I know I'm in the minority, but if you ask me Philly having a debate about the quality of McNabb as a quarterback would be like if New Jersey had a debate about the quality of Bruce Springsteen as a rock star.
David Edelstein, on "Observe and Report":
It’s set in a mall and centers on a cop, but it is to Paul Blart: Mall Cop as Taxi Driver is to Taxi.I'm seeing the film tomorrow night; can't wait.
I was getting pretty annoyed by the repetitive commercials on last night's Phillies-Braves baseball opener, as they were about as effective as Brett Myers' stuff. I mean, I've always liked Dustin Pedroia, but after seeing him polish his MVP trophy taunt that video game executive 400 times, I was ready to slap.
But then, around the seventh inning or so, a small bearded Scotsman appeared and started whacking everyone with a dipstick:
My first-ever magazine cover story, the E-Gear guide to iPod and iPhone accessories, has been published and can be read online here.
Projected order of finish:
AL East: Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Orioles, Blue Jays
AL Central: Twins, Indians, Royals, White Sox, Tigers
AL West: Angels, A's, Rangers, Mariners
NL East: Phillies, Mets, Marlins, Braves, Nationals
NL Central: Cubs, Reds, Cardinals, Brewers, Pirates, Astros
NL West: Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, Rockies, Padres
AL Wild Card: Rays
NL Wild Card: Reds
ALCS: Yankees over Rays
NLCS: Cubs over Phillies
World Series: Cubs over Yankees
I watched the finale of "ER" on Friday, and it was pretty good, aside from the inexplicable appearance of- and bad acting by- Alexis Bleidel.
Sure, I stopped watching four years ago like most of America. But this last run of episodes- leading up to the clip show and the finale itself- showed once again that "ER" was a damn good show for a very, very long time, producing a large chunk of the best episodes, story arcs and moments of the 1990s. Really, before the influx of HBO/FX/Showtime/AMC shows, it was the best drama on TV for several years.
Mike Sielski of the Bucks County Courier Times on the Philly sports attitude, post-'08:
Boo Ryan Howard, the reigning National League MVP, three games into the following season? But we haven't won a championship in 25 years! Suggest that Andy Reid, the most successful Eagles coach in a half century, ought to be fired? But we haven't won a championship in 25 years! Jeer Donovan McNabb on draft day? Cheer Michael Irvin's career-ending injury? Chuck batteries at J.D. Drew? But + But + But +I agree- the Eagles will have to win a Super Bowl before the whining finally stops.
Except the drought is over. It ended in October. So, now that the Phillies have won a World Series and a Big 5 team has reached the Final Four and might yet win a national championship, and the Eagles came within one victory of reaching the Super Bowl and the Flyers came within three victories of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals - all in the last 11 months - it's time to ask a favor of Philadelphia's sports fans.
Can you stop the whining, just for a little while?
I'm a sucker for anything anti-Bay, so therefore...
The only problem- not enough shaky-cam.
I still can't believe, even after seeing it, that they really made a "Fast and the Furious" sequel called "Fast and Furious"; neither can Stephane Zacharek:
Even in the context of a Hollywood that repackages the same movies over and over again but with different names and (slightly) varied characters and stories, Justin Lin's sequel to a sequel to a sequel "Fast & Furious" seems especially cheap and lowdown. It's like an imitation Hot Wheels that comes in the same kind of blister pack as the original and features lettering in approximately the same typeface, only it's called Fast Wheels, and it's the thing your clueless-if-well-meaning parents come home with when what you want with all your heart is the real thing.
Tim Goodman lays out all of the many logical fallacies in the recently-completed second season "Damages." Sure, I enjoyed watching it, and the acting was great was always, but yea- it made no damn sense.
Goldberg- the Sandy Koufax of his day- wins the WCW title from Hulk Hogan:
I was a Jewish camp councilor the summer this happened- the kids reacted to this the way my dad's generation likely reacted to Koufax's four no-hitters.
Nick Naylor, protagonist of "Thank You For Smoking," I'm guessing, is behind this product:
With the realization that cigarette smoking causes cancer in some smokers and is harmful to non-smokers that are continuously exposed to second-hand smoke, many smokers have been tormented with the thought of "needing to quit." There's only one problem...smoking nicotine-laced cigarettes is terribly addictive, and even the physical act of smoking a cigarette can become a strong nervous habit.At last- it's the invention of the "You Know, Whatever Device."!
Fortunately, a company called InLife gives smokers a new intelligent alternative with its innovative electronic cigarette products. Electronic cigarettes produce simulated smoke with no tobacco, and they do not produce second-hand smoke.
That immediately goes to the "A-List" section of my Google Reader.
No, they're not really releasing "You're Fucking Out, I'm Fucking In" as an audiobook, but someone has assembled every clip of it into one convenient YouTube:
Had 'Eastbound' run seven seasons instead of six episodes, that would've been as long as this.
News Item: Porn star to visit Brandeis
It's Sasha Grey, talking about her new movie. But it's not the first time- I saw Linda Lovelace speak on campus in '98 or so, not long before her death.
News Item: Iowa legalizes gay marriage.
Yes, Iowa. Way to go, Hawkeyes, becoming the first Midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage. I agree with Anonymous Liberal:
I'll go out on a limb and predict that--within 10 years--the U.S. Supreme Court, in an opinion authored by Justice Kennedy, will issue a landmark ruling striking down prohibitions on gay marriage. I also believe that the next Democratic presidential nominee will be unapologetically pro gay marriage, and it's not inconceivable that at some point during his time in office, President Obama himself will publicly reverse his position on this issue. The political and legal trajectory of this issue is pretty easy to chart out at this point. And when it reaches its logical endpoint, with full marriage equality across the country, we're all going to look back and wonder why it took so damn long to recognize something so obvious.I expect Iowa to become considerably more attractive to gay Minnesotans than it ever was before.
Like we needed this to convince us it's a bad idea.
Fascinating discussion on ESPN 950 tonight, as host Dan Schwartzman brought up a dichotomy, that I've noticed myself, between fan response in Philly to the Phillies over the years, and the Eagles now.
The rap on the Phillies over the several years prior to last year's title was the following: the ownership group is cheap and doesn't care about winning as much as money, the team president (Dave Montgomery) is a blue-blooded skinflint who doesn't care what the fans think, the manager (Charlie Manuel) is an idiot who can't handle in-game decisions and should've been fired a long time ago, and the team will never win a championship until all of the above is changed radically.
Lately, especially since the departure of Brian Dawkins, similar talk radio conventional wisdom has emerged about the Eagles- the ownership (Jeffrey Lurie) is cheap and doesn't care about winning as much as money, the team president (Joe Banner) is a blue-blooded skinflint who doesn't care what the fans think, the coach (Andy Reid) is an idiot who can't handle in-game decisions and should've been fired a long time ago, and the team will never win a championship until all of the above is changed radically.
Schwartzman got this far in the argument, but reached the exact wrong conclusion. The correct lesson from the above is that those who said that about the Phillies over the years were wrong, about everything, pretty much all along, and that maybe everyone saying the same things about the Eagles- who have had much, much more on-field success in the last ten years than the Phils did pre-'08- are equally wrong now. Instead, Schwartzman's conclusion was, and I quote, "all these years- we've been killing the wrong team!"
I don't know what's a bigger fallacy, calling the Eagles' last decade- with eight playoffs appearances, five NFC championship games, and one Super Bowl appearance- a "lack of success," or to imply that the fans haven't been killing Lurie, Banner, Reid and McNabb all along. Of course they have.
As I've said often, try going through a four-or-five year stretch without making the playoffs, or a season with Joey Harrington or Dan Orlovsky as your quarterback, or Matt Millen as your GM or Bruce Coslet as your coach. Then come back and let me know how horrible the Eagles are. The ones who played in the NFC championship game two months ago, those Eagles.
"They will NEVER A WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP as long as these owners are in charge." I heard that on WIP about 6,000 times about the Phillies between 2005 and 2008. It was, of course, not true then, and I've got a feeling it's not true about the Eagles now.
By the way, do you know how much the Phillies have been discussed on the two talk stations this spring, as the defending champs return to defend their title? Hardly at all. Sure, some of it has to do with tournament and Villanova's NCAA run, but the fans have had practically nothing to say. Probably because with a champion at last, there's nothing to complain about.
A wonderful, funny, and poignant movie about being young and a nerd. And yes, it made me want to run out to ValleyFair, like, tomorrow. Great music, too- you can never have too much Replacements or Lou Reed.
Well, that puts an end to the ludicrous McNabb-for-Cutler talk. The Bears get their first good QB probably since Jim McMahon, while giving up a bevy of draft picks, one of which I'm sure will net a draft pick better than Kyle Orton or Chris Simms.
Should the Vikings have made a move for Cutler? Well... he's certainly better than Tarvaris or Sage, but giving up the whole top of their draft again isn't advisable, especially since they did it last year too for Jared Allen. Anyone who followed the Vikings between 1989 and 1992 knows what happens when you give up high draft picks multiple years in a row.
Should the Eagles have made a move for Cutler? Hell fucking no.
Three words: Twin refs fight!
For the party who spent the last eight years telling the rest of the world to go fuck itself, I appreciate the Republicans' newfound respect for diplomatic sensitivity.
PTI's lead story:
It would've been funnier if they'd had Pitino returning to the Celtics.
"ER" goes off the air tonight. I stopped watching 3 or 4 years ago, but it was always a favorite and this last run of episodes has been excellent. David Mills has a great post about it- he wrote for the show for less than a season, but... created the character of Dr. Romano, who I'll probably remember in 20 years.
Ta-Nahesi, on Glenn Beck:
The point was made yesterday that there are white people on TV, every day, who make a living speaking in a manner that's twice as insane as anything you hear on the corner. Indeed. If you're a nut and you happen to be black, you're Cynthia McKinney. If you're a nut and happen to be white, well... I know white people aren't embarrassed by Glenn Beck. But seriously, you guys really should be. Come on white folks, where's that sense of solidarity you've showed for centuries? You guys are a sorry bunch
He's talking about this:
I used to listen to Beck's radio show, and I thought it was a little off-kilter, but sort of funny. He wasn't always this insane, was he? And remember how apoplectic the right used to get when some fringe figure compared Bush to Hitler?
I review the underwhelming "Monsters vs. Aliens" on Philly.com.
He does it again!
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|The 10/31 Project|
I never pegged Stephen as a Rent-head.
Shysterball weighs on the potential signing by the Phillies of Gary Sheffield:
The Phillies are said to be interested in Gary Sheffield and/or Andruw Jones. Signing either of those guys would likely require the release of postseason hero Matt Stairs. Which is something you only do if the player coming in actually has a good shot at bringing something more to the table. Signing Sheffield (bad shoulder, bad wheels, bad attitude) or Jones (bad everything) however, would be an exercise in applied pipe dream studies.It's funny how radically different Phillies fans are approaching this season, as opposed to every other since I've lived in town. This time last year, everyone was bashing the owners and wondering when Charlie Manuel would be fired already. Sam Donnellon wonders when the boos will come again.
Thankfully the fans in Philadelphia are an understanding, passive and oblivious lot and would never take issue with such a move.
The Anonymous Liberal, on the political debate today:
The majority of conservatives are engaged an imaginary debate with fictitious opponents... The notion that there is anyone of significance on the American left who still believes in anything approaching genuine socialism is pure fantasy. That debate, to the extent it ever really happened in this country, was settled a long time ago. What we're dealing with right now are differences of opinion regarding how best to manage the failure of a number of major companies. It's not a debate about socialism vs. capitalism; it's a debate about methods of damage control. But many conservatives have so deluded themselves with their own propaganda that they're not even capable of following the conversation any more. So instead they spend all day indulging in paranoid delusions and debates that have no relevance to current events. It's a sad spectacle.Of course Obama has no interest in running GM or taking control of private industry.
News Item: O'Reilly to boycott Minnesota
The infamous midnight movie "The Room," which is barely available on DVD and not on Netflix, aired last night on "Adult Swim." I unfortunately missed it but am really hoping they run it again.
Probably the greatest moment of WWF's late-'90s heyday: Mick Foley wins his first-ever championship, against The Rock, in January of 1999:
(The reason for these posts- Wrestlemania is Sunday.)
It's definitely the Scituate, Mass., Youth Soccer League's most fearsome group of 6-to-7-year-old girls- known as Green Death. The coach's letter to parents is unspeakably hilarious, but will immediately cease to be so if he ever kills a ref or something.
It's not as great as the real NCAA Tournament or the Meat Bracket, but the Village Voice has another March/April bracket.