August 31, 2009

And Besides, When Will Don Draper Whack Someone?

That, to me, is the gist of this New York Times critique of the current season of "Mad Men," which is- horrors!- moving too slowly for Dave Itzkoff's tastes. He compares it, in fact, to "The Sopranos," which often moved its plot glacially when concentrating on character.

Increasingly, Matthew Weiner, a former “Sopranos” producer, and his “Mad Men” writing staff seem to be so enamored with their characters that they are content to assemble them in potentially interesting settings, let the cameras linger on them and hope that an interesting scene emerges.
I vehemently disagreed with this notion when it was floated about "Sopranos," and I still do now. Both are wonderful, amazing shows in which the bench of fascinating characters goes about 20-deep. "Mad Men," in addition, has as its structure that it's moving slowly through the 1960s. That "Mad Men" takes it time is one of my favorite things about it, and it isn't about plot the way most network shows are.

Does Matthew Weiner care as little about what the short-term whims of his audience as his ex-boss, David Chase, did? I sure as hell hope so.

By the way, the third episode was the best of the season. That scene with Don alone at the bar with the old guy (Chelcie Ross) was as good as it gets. And only Christina Hendricks can play the accordion and look hot doing it.

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

Not So Glourious

My review of the disappointing "Inglourious Basterds" is online on

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

"True Blood" Imitates Wrestling, Again

Sunday's episode featured a large egg, the contents of which will remain mysterious until the season finale.

What's in the egg? My money's on the Gobbeldy Gooker.

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

With Help From a Crack Investigative Team

Matt Labash has a long, in-depth and surprisingly sympathetic profile of Marion Barry in the Weekly Standard. Read it all.

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

August 30, 2009

Cheers vs. Gary's

Everything you've ever wanted to know about the greatest bar rivalry in sitcom history, via Ken Levine. The Wade Boggs and Kevin McHale cameos were my favorites.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:48 AM | Comments (1)

August 29, 2009

He Loves "Trapped in the Closet," Too

An aside from KSK's brilliant, weekly fantasy football/sex advice mailbag:

And why am I reading Leitch’s movie reviews anyway? His favorite director is a pedophile who made two good movies three decades ago.
I've read that paragraph about ten times, and still have no idea whether Will Leitch's favorite director is Woody Allen, or Roman Polanski.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:42 AM | Comments (1)

August 28, 2009

Paranoia, Ironic and Not

Earlier this evening, in response to this little bit of televised nuttiness, I tweeted the following:

I learned from Glenn Beck today that Americorps is really Obama's secret, Hitler-like army. Also, the left is too radical
This quote was subsequently re-tweeted by... someone who's apparently a hardcore Glenn Beck supporter. As if such an accusation were obviously true and not purely, self-evidently insane.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:53 PM | Comments (0)

Minnesota State Fair vs. the Birthers

Obama's birth certificate- in seeds!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:31 PM | Comments (0)

Vick's Debut

So Michael Vick played last night in the Eagles' preseason game, went 4-for-4, and... was cheered by the majority of the crowd. And not only that, but only about ten people each showed up to protest on the pet-activist and NAACP sides.

Let this show once again that the idiots screaming on sports radio don't represent a majority of Philadelphia. Because if they did, Vick would've been booed off the field. My theory is that the vitriol towards the Vick signing has a lot more to do with certain people's intent hatred of the Eagles organization and management than with dogs.

This is pretty funny, too.

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

The Glenn Beck "Oligarchy"

This is pretty hilarious:

Spelling things right is for elitist liberals, a lesson he apparently learned from Dan Quayle.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:11 PM | Comments (2)

That New Black Party Panther Party "Scandal"

David Weigel is on the case:

One problem with comparing the Philadelphia incident to the infamous crimes of the 1960s is that it didn’t effectively target potential McCain voters. Rather than targeting white voters, or going to a predominantly Republican district, the NBP went to a largely African-American precinct close to downtown Philadelphia. Obama carried the precinct by a landslide, with 596 votes to only 13 votes for McCain. The Republican candidate fared worse than George W. Bush in 2004, when he won 24 votes there, but better than Bush in 2000, when he won only eight votes. In a race that Obama won by 620,478 votes statewide, the New Black Panther incident was a blip.
A couple of idiots went to one polling place in one city and acted like fools, probably preventing one or two people from voting- and this case is the primary objective of the Bush-nominee-dominated U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Again- to the right, it's only racism when black people do it.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:10 PM | Comments (0)

"Taking Woodstock"

The buzz was pretty negative on Ang Lee's Woodstock comedy/drama, but I actually liked it quite a bit. Demetri Martin totally nails the lead role, and the film is full of great little performances, from Eugene Levy as Max Yasgur to Dan Fogler as the leader of a nude theater troupe to (best of all) Liev Schreiber as a cross-dressing Army veteran. And I liked the decision to not actually show any of the musical performances.

Lee is a great director capable of major misfires (i.e., "Hulk"), and while "Taking Woodstock" is no "Brokeback," "The Ice Storm" or "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," it's still probably the best movie of August.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:10 PM | Comments (0)

The Party of Death

This is pretty sickening:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:06 PM | Comments (0)

As Long As They Don't Bring Back the Scary, Scary Giant Porcupine

News Item: Revival on the way for "Shalom Sesame"

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

August 27, 2009

Two Questions About Vick

Let me see if I have this Vick thing straight- the NAACP is going to be protesting at the stadium, in order to keep Vick from being "held hostage" by animal-rights activists who want him banned, in order to protect his civil rights. But... Vick hasn't been banned. He signed with the Eagles. So really, they're protesting n favor of the Eagles.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for the NAACP, and I agree with their position that Vick should be allowed to resume his career. But to argue that Michael Vick is somehow an heir to the American civil rights tradition is nothing short of absurd.

Another thing I don't understand: I've heard about ten different sports radio callers in the last two weeks saying "the Eagles only signed Vick for the money." Now I understand the "Eagles are cheap" idea is orthodoxy around here, but how does signing Vick get them money?

They're not going to sell any more or any fewer tickets as a result of him being on the team (all the games are sold out, and anyone who dumps their tickets will find someone willing to buy them.) They haven't gained or lost any sponsorships as a result of the signing. And while they'll get some money from T-shirt and jersey revenues, that money is split with the players association, and I can't imagine they'd make enough just from their cut of Vick jersey sales to make up for his $1.3 million salary. If they do, it'll be a thousand dollars or two.

So in other words, the Eagles paid money to sign a player who they believe will make an impact and help them win. Isn't that what the Cataldi types are always saying they should do?

Then there's this. Wow.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:00 PM | Comments (1)

Not Death-Proof, But...

Some advice on how to "future-proof your career" if you're a journalist. I'm already doing almost all of them.

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

But He's Certainly, 100 Percent Not Racist, No Doubt About It

News Item: GOP congresswoman calls for "great white hope" to challenge Obama

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:59 PM | Comments (1)

Wawa in Washington

The world's greatest convenience store invades the Beltway, even as it vacates all most of its urban Philly locations.

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

Less Love for VH1

News Item: VH1 considers moving away from "... of Love" reality show formula.

Oh no! This could end New York's career!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:58 PM | Comments (0)

The Most Politically-Charged Preseason Game Ever

In the Linc parking lot Thursday night: PETA protestors on one side. The local NAACP on the other*. And 25,000 drunken Eagles fans in between. This cannot possibly have a good outcome. Unless Vick throws three touchdown passes, that is.

*Yep, that's the exact same local NAACP leader who wrote the infamous anti-McNabb op-ed a few years ago.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:08 AM | Comments (0)

Harold, Maude, Whoopi and Phil

Yes, Cat Stevens is now endorsing cell phones:

Probably the best use of that song since this.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:06 AM | Comments (0)

The Great Vikings Schism

Yes, the "it's going to end badly" hypothesis has certainly gained some traction. Oh well, at least no one threatened to sacrifice any goats today.

As for SI's "Favre-free issue," I agree with the idea in theory, and the snarky article that doesn't mention him by name is humorous. But why pull such stuff the one week that Favre actually made news? Especially since SI has been a ringleader of the Cult of Brett for 15 years.

Meanwhile, I really wish had been doing a Favre-free day when they published this.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:05 AM | Comments (0)

Lidge on the Ledge

In the tradition of "which of our five strong starters should we get rid of?," the Phillies now face another dilemma: "Who should be the closer?" It's either the guy who was on the mound for last year's World Series-clinching pitch but has struggled (Brad Lidge), the dominant set-up man (Ryan Madson) or the 2007 closer/longtime starter who's coming back from an injury (Brett Myers)?

The Pirates, who the Phils beat tonight, haven't had a closer as good as any of those three in about 15 years.

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

August 26, 2009

Ted, RIP

The legendary senator died Tuesday night at the age of 77. I can't add much to what's already been said by many, except for this, which someone posted to Twitter:

In lieu of flowers, please pass health care.

His most famous speech:

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

Film Critic Quote of the Day

Tom Stempel, House Next Door's "Understanding Screenwriting" columnist, on "Julie and Julia":

Nora Ephron loves food almost as much as Judd Apatow loves penises. All the 6,238 articles, interviews, and recipes about or by Ephron that have appeared in The New York Times in the last months have told us that, if you did not already know from her novel Heartburn. So here we have a movie about master chef Julia Child and Julie Powell, a blogger determined to cook all the recipes in Child’s cookbook in one year, all mixed together. The question is, is there anything in this film that would satisfy those of us who are happy picking up a couple of burgers at a drive-thru?... In the New York scenes, would it have killed Ephron to have at least one character who just didn’t give a shit about cooking?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:33 PM | Comments (0)

Electronics in the Cemetery, and More

I look at the latest in the wacky world of gadget retail theft in this week's roundup.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:33 PM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2009

Health Scare

I look into what Obama should do on health care, in a new North Star column.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:06 PM | Comments (0)

Poster of the Year

I love this:

Obama also, by the way, manages to be both a milquetoast who lets the Democratic Congress roll him while at the same time being a Hitler-like dictator.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:05 PM | Comments (2)

The Brett Favre Animal Sacrifice

Nah, I'd say the Packers fans are taking the departure of their hero quite well, what do you think? I won't make a "goat cheese" joke.

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

"The Big Piece"

After four years, a world championship, an MVP, a rookie of the year, and 211 home runs, Ryan Howard finally gets a nickname. There was a movement at one point to call him "R6," but that never caught on.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:04 PM | Comments (1)

Life Imitates "Big Fan"

News Item: WIP host, ESPN950 producer get in barroom fisticuffs

No, Mike Missanelli was not involved. I'll have more on "Big Fan" later, but I was not a big fan of it. It lost me on the first five minutes when a caller on the New York sports radio station referred to the Eagles as "Gang Green."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:04 PM | Comments (0)

What Does Obama Have to Hide?

This may be a new low. Obama would become the second consecutive Democratic president whose penis has become a political issue.

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

Quote of the Day

James Fallows, back from China, writes on the insanity of the health care debate:

Elizabeth "Betsy" McCaughey also needs no introduction to Atlantic readers. She has brought more misinformation, more often, more destructively into America's consideration of health-policy issues than any other individual. She has no concept of "truth" or "accuracy" in the normal senses of those terms, as demonstrated last week when she went on The Daily Show. Virtually every statement she has made about health-reform proposals, from the Clinton era until now, has been proven to be false. It doesn't slow her down.

And now we have the New York Times, in a big take-out story, saying that Dr. Emanuel, in his role as Obama health-care advisor, is in an "uncomfortable place" because he is being criticized by*:

1) Betsy McCaughey !
2) Rep. Michele Bachman (look her up) !!
3) Sarah Palin !!!
4) Lyndon LaRouche !!!!

McCaughey, Bachman, Palin, LaRouche -- shaping American debate and media coverage about health policy? Was Zsa Zsa Gabor not available?

Good thing Obama has the left-wing, in-the-tank New York Times backing him up.

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

Lede of the Year


A Nebraska man who stole a painting of the Virgin Mary to finance an abortion for a teen he raped has been convicted of first-degree sexual assault and felony theft.

(Via CrosBlog)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:01 PM | Comments (2)

Not to Celebrate Misfortune, But...

The day the Twins traded Johan Santana to the Mets last January, I made a list here of the "Top Ten Santana Trade Mitigating Factors," from a Twins point of view. With the exception of Mulvey/Mulva, I had thought I was wrong about all ten, but it turns out I may have been right about #5, too.

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

Another Great FX Pilot

I was excited enough about the Louis CK sitcom and fantasy league show, but now they spring this on us:

Variety reports that FX has picked up drama project "March to Madness" from executive producer Don Cheadle. The series chronicles the glory and the seedy side of college basketball...

"March" will revolve around a corrupt college basketball program that cheats its way to the "March Madness" NCAA basketball tournament. The story will be told through the eyes of the college coach, whose idealistic approach to the job has slowly been eroded by the compromises he's forced to make.

It's "The Shield," set in college basketball. Can't wait.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:00 PM | Comments (2)

The Wrestling Channel

News Item: WWE readying cable channel

I'm excited about this, especially since WWE owns every wrestling tape library there is, and there's nothing better than old wrestling (among things that aren't as good as old wrestling- current wrestling.) Come on, if you were flipping through channels on a Sunday afternoon and Wrestlemania VI came on, you know you'd watch it.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:59 PM | Comments (2)


11Points has an excellent list of Internet firsts. Here's my favorite story:

it's believed that the first porn site was It was registered in 1994 by a guy named Gary Kremen.

Yes, that rhymes with semen. However... Gary did not have pornographic intentions with At least that's what he says today.

A guy named Stephen M. Cohen, which rhymes with bone (and "moan"... and "sex, phone" and "she moves her body like a cyclone"), DID see the pornographic potential of the domain. So he contacted Network Solutions, which administrated all domain names back then, and fraudulently had the ownership of transferred to his name using a series of fake faxes and forged documents.

He quickly turned it into a thriving, profitable and dirty porn site.

Kremen was furious, and sued Cohen. After a long court battle, Kremen won a $65 million judgment and got the rights to back. Before he could get the money, though, Cohen fled to Mexico and moved his money to an offshore account. He was tracked down in 2005 and turned over to U.S. authorities.

Kremen sold for $12 million. In between fighting for, he had the time to found Which, I'd guess, has led to exponentially more actual sex than

So he got paid three times, it sounds like.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:38 AM | Comments (1)

Reality Show/Murder Quote of the Day

From a New York Times account of the VH1 reality show murder, editor Andy Dehnart:

“The network has built a brand on unstable, crazy people interacting on these idiotic and mindless dating shows, and can’t pretend to not have anything to do with it.”
"Megan Wants a Millionaire," the show that murderer Ryan Jenkins was appearing on at the time of the crime, is a spinoff of "Rock of Love," which is itself a spinoff of "Flavor of Love." Indeed, this franchise- now numbering more than 20 shows- has essentially taken over VH1's entire lineup in the last couple of years. And while I'm ashamed to admit I've watched these shows from time to time, it really is the sleaziest stuff currently on TV by a wide margin.

On these shows, among numerous other sins, virtually every female is either a past, present, or future stripper, with black male participants pure minstrel stereotypes. And even worse, all of the above are encouraged to act as outrageously and inappropriately as possible, all in the hope of some sort of mainstream fame that never actually comes. My favorite is the frequent situation when, on the Bret Michaels show in particular, a contestant is accused of "not being here for Bret," as though the unblemished integrity of "Rock of Love" is somehow being breached.

VH1 has a long history of latching onto one gimmick and turning its entire schedule over to it, whether it's "Popup Video," "Behind the Music," the "I Love the '80s" series and now this. But the "... of Love" genre is a new low; perhaps this latest event will remind the network that perhaps it's time to move on to a newer, less shameful era.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:35 AM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2009

He's Wearing a German Helmet!

Or, an East German hat, at least.

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

The Bads

I review the pretty bad "The Goods" on

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


Oh yea, Favre looked great in his debut. Yikes. The same night, he went undrafted in my fantasy league, one with 14 teams and 16 rounds.

By the way, Brett has now tied Michael Jordan for retirements with three, but is one behind Roger Clemens for the most ever. But that's not including boxers and pro wrestlers; I think Mick Foley and Terry Funk have each retired at least ten times.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:07 AM | Comments (1)

The Unstoppable Eric Bruntlett

The Phils' utility infielder, one of the worst players in baseball all year, had three hits against the Mets Sunday. Then, on the last play of the game, this happened:

It's the first unassisted triple play to end a game since the '20s.

Also notable in this game- pitchers included the respective aces of the 1998 Boston Red Sox (Pedro Martinez) and the 1998 Brandeis baseball team (Nelson Figueroa.)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:05 AM | Comments (0)

On the Death of the News

In reaction to Michael Sokolove's excellent recent overview of the Philadelphia dailies in their probable twilight, my soon-to-be brother-in-law Jason has a letter published in this week's New York Times Magazine.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:05 AM | Comments (1)

Quote of the Day

Conor Clarke, on the health care debate:

to recap, the tactic is this: (1) Make a preposterous and false claim about a bill. (2) Have the claim disproved. (3) Avoid defending the original claim, but instead observe that the controversy reflects "a legitimate difference of interpretation" about what might happen in the future. Effective opposition in three easy steps!

And so we have a conundrum: Ignore the tactic, and let the falsehood persist, or engage with the tactic, and play into the false appearance of legitimate debate. I do not have a good solution. The best I can do is repeat, with endless tedium, that the bill is not ambiguous and the original claim is still false. I can further add that people who hide falsehoods behind the smokescreen of an equally false ambiguity are doing a fabulous job of destroying legitimate public discourse

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:04 AM | Comments (0)

The Clap

The slow clap, that is. A wonderful montage:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:04 AM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2009

Summer Podcast

My latest appearance on the Jordan and Chloe podcast, also featuring our friend Jenn May, is online here. We discuss "(500) Days of Summer" and more.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:13 AM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2009

August Movie Roundup

Some takes on recent movies I've seen. Full reviews will be posted to of a some of them in the next couple of weeks.

"Inglourious Basterds" (Quentin Tarantino)

My Take: It's Quentin Tarantino. It's Jews killing Nazis. Two of my favorite things, together in one movie. So why didn't I like it?

The movie is just plain too long and too slow. It's full of long, long dialogue scenes, but the dialogue isn't up to QT's usual great standards, and most of the time the buildup isn't worth it. The trailer made it look like a two-and-a-half hour rampage through Europe, with Brad Pitt and the gang knocking off Nazis along the way. But that's only about one-fifth of the movie. It's not Tarantino's worst movie- that would be the second "Kill Bill"- but certainly the biggest movie letdown of the year.

But on the other hand...: I think I'm going to be The Bear Jew for Halloween this year.

Spoiler-filled questions: So now we can make historical movies that alter how history actually turned out? Someone should adapt Halberstam's "Summer of '49," only with the Red Sox winning the World Series instead of the Yankees.


"The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard" (Neal Brennan)

My Take: A whole bunch of very funny comedians (Jeremy Piven, Ken Jeong, David Koechner, Will Ferrell and about ten more), combine to make an unfunny "Anchorman" ripoff set on a used-car lot. Piven plays a more smarmy version of Ari, while Ferrell contributes a not-very-impressive cameo. And all the car stuff was done much better in the Ashley Schaefer BMW scenes on "Eastbound and Down," also with Ferrell.

But on the other hand...: Kathryn Hahn all but steals the movie. And the director co-created "Chappelle's Show," so he's probably capable of better.

Spoiler-filled questions: The villain (Ed Helms) is in a boy band. When was this script written, 1997?


"Cold Souls" (Sophie Barthes)

My take: Paul Giamatti plays himself, an actor who tries to gain a professional advantage by... having his soul extracted and stored at a science facility. Not only does this premise not really work as comedy, drama, or sci-fi, but similar ideas were mined in a much better way in both "Being John Malkovich" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

But on the other hand...: Great to see Michael Tucker, from "L.A. Law," in a bit part.

Spoiler-filled questions: The plot just makes no sense- if the soul-extraction thing is a medical breakthrough that's been written up in the New Yorker, why hasn't anyone figured out that it's all an international criminal conspiracy led by Russian gangsters? And why hasn't the lab been sued by, oh, every client they've ever had?


"District 9" (Neill Blomkamp)

My take: A brilliantly conceived sci-fi parable about aliens living in Johannesburg, and a government bureaucrat who gets mixed up with them in a surprising way. I really liked the film's concept and execution, although I didn't find it quite as transcendent as some others did. I didn't think it was that much better than, say, "28 Days Later."

But on the other hand...: It gets a little lazy and standard-actiony in the third act.

Spoiler-filled questions: I'm curious, if the aliens landed in South Africa in the early '80s, whether South African history still unfolded the way it did. Did apartheid still end in 1990?


Next week: "Big Fan" and "Taking Woodstock"

An addendum: A woman sitting down the row from me at the "Cold Souls" screening last night goes in the Bad Moviegoer Hall of Fame. First, before the movie, a guy wanted to sit next to his wife, but there were only two seats available that weren't next to each other. So he asked the three people in between to slide down one. Two of them got up, but the third woman said "No!" When asked why, she replied, "I'm sitting here, and I don't feel like moving!" When the other two people rotated so the guy and his wife could sit together, the woman blurted out, "What, I'm just being honest!"

As soon as the movie began, she fell asleep, and snored loudly for the ensuing two hours.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:33 PM | Comments (1)

They'll Piss on Your Rug, Too, Dude

Joe Klein: "The GOP Has Become a Party of Nihilists"

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:31 PM | Comments (1)

"A Country Where A Mixed Race President and a Gay Jew Qualify as Nazis"

Conservatives are the new liberals:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Fox News: The New Liberals
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests
Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:31 PM | Comments (1)

The First Name I Think of When I Hear "Beating Up Nazis"

News Item: Al Gore hosts Nasvhille premiere of "Inglourious Basterds"

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

A Sin Worse Than Dogfighting

The latest public figure to commit an anti-Philly fan hate crime is Larry King. On last night's show, during a discussion of the Michael Vick situation, Larry supposedly joked that Philadelphia sports fans "would boo a cure for cancer."

A clumsy joke, and not particularly funny, more a bad retelling of the "go to the airport and boo the landings" joke that's been variously attributed to Bob Uecker and Jay Johnstone. I'm just surprised Larry, these days, was doing a show on a topic other than "interviews with the elderly widows of recently deceased celebrities.

And now, an occasion-specific Larry King Game:

Because I killed all those dogs, nobody remembers that I have herpes. Philadelphia, Pennsylvana- hello!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:22 AM | Comments (0)

If There's Grass on the Field...

This Thursday morning, after a 29-year absence, Major League Baseball grass returns to Minnesota, as the Target Field, uh, field is installed. See the link for a kick-ass "virtual tour" of the new park.

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

And You Thought American Sports Fans Were A-Holes

This story puts the worst you've seen in the U.S. to shame. Put that next to Bill Simmons' story of his soccer trip to Mexico's Estadio Azteca, which makes Lincoln Financial Field look like Sesame Street.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:20 AM | Comments (0)

The Yiddish Vikings Union

A day after Cris Carter inexplicably blurted out the word "mishugganeh" on ESPN, everyone is still trying to figure out what he meant. On the DL's Dan Levy speculates that he really meant to say "misphokhe," in referring specifically to the team's camaraderie. But where Carter learned Yiddish- perhaps a schetl grandmother we never knew about?- remains uncertain.

At any rate, I'm sure Zygi Wilf, if he knew about this debate, would greatly enjoy it.

Another hypothesis: maybe Carter is suggesting that the Vikings institute team-wide Mishugganeh races.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:20 AM | Comments (0)

Glenn Beck: The Drug

This is one of the weirdest videos ever, but I still couldn't stop laughing:

The Glenn Beck Prescription - watch more funny videos

I hope Funny or Die doesn't lose advertisers because they showed this...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:19 AM | Comments (0)

Megan Wants a Murderer

Have you seen this "Megan Wants a Millionaire" show on VH1? It's the latest spinoff of "Rock of Love" and may be a new low in a franchise full of them- if you liked "Daisy of Love" but worried that it was too high-brow, this is the show for you.

But now, a contestant on the show is a murder suspect:

Ryan Alexander Jenkins, a suitor on VH1's currently airing Megan Wants a Millionaire reality dating series, has been named a "person of interest" by police in the death of Jasmine Fiore.

Jenkins reported the 28-year-old swimsuit model missing on Saturday and her body was subsequently found in a suitcase by a man who was searching a metal trash bin for recyclables in Buena Park

Yikes. The show was immediately yanked from the air. The biggest remaining question- how will "The Soup" handle this?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:19 AM | Comments (0)

Two Shows I Can't Wait For


FX is getting serious about its comedy slate, giving series orders to two half-hour laffers.

"The League" revolves around a group of longtime guy friends who participate in a fantasy football league. "Louie" stars comic Louis CK as a standup comic and newly single dad raising two daughters in New York City.

Anyone who's ever been in a fantasy league knows it's a comedy goldmine, and CK is the funniest standup alive. Between those and 'Sunny,' FX is getting to be quite the comedy network.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:18 AM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2009

Oh, That's Hee-larious!

News Item: Men who brought assault rifles to Obama speech were part of radio stunt

Prank-calling a conference call = funny.

Simulating a presidential assassination plot = not funny.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

How to Deal With the Town Hall Nutters

Great job, Barney Frank:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:24 AM | Comments (2)

Thoughts on Favre

My fellow Vikings fan Drew Magary, on Tuesday's events:

This whole Favre thing is easy for Packer fans. YOU STABBED US IN THE BACK, YOU FUCK! That's a pretty simple emotion to get a handle on. In a way, I envy them for their situation.

I, on the other hand, have no fucking clue how I'm supposed to feel when I turn on the TV this fall and see Brett Favre throw a touchdown pass for the Vikings, and then do that fucking thing he does where he runs around in a circle and the analysts laugh joyously at his playful antics. Oh, I know how I'll react when he throws one of his inevitable 28 picks. Vitriol is easy like that.

But support? Adoration? I have a hard time reconciling the fact that my happiness with the Vikings will now be directly tied to Brett Favre's success as a quarterback... I've spent most of the past hour praying that Favre blows out his knee Friday night and that Sage Rosenfels somehow morphs into an All-Pro. That's the BEST CASE SCENARIO of how this season will play out for me...

I said it before: this signing represents just how singularly idiotic and irrational a pursuit it is to be a sports fan. If I don't like Brett Favre, and I don't, why root for him now? He's still the same asshole, he just happened to want to play for my team

If you thought that was profane, check out Drew's earlier thoughts...

I'm in favor of the signing, mostly because Favre is a better quarterback than the other options, because the team was loaded all over the field except for under center, and because the Vikes are so in need of fan enthusiasm that their future in Minnesota may very well be at stake in the coming years. The season certainly got much more interesting- especially those two Green Bay games.

But that said, I am perfectly aware that the odds of the Favre experiment ending in absolute disaster aren't especially long.

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

Leave Your Guns at Home...

if you're going to see the president speak, Marc Ambinder ably explains:

When that guy in New Hampshire brought his gun to Obama's town hall meeting, he was ostensibly trying to make a point about freedom and the second amendment. Point made.

Everyone else -- all the copycats -- are hurting themselves. Why bring the guns? The events aren't safe? Of course they are.

They're the safest places on earth, given all the police activity.

Make a statement? Statement's already been made.

Hey, why not bring a loaded assault rifle to a rally, and point it at Obama's head the whole time? When the Secret Service tackles you, it's "tryanny"!

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


The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Must-Be TV
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Protests
Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:22 AM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2009

The End of the Affair

Slate's Josh Levin goes into detail about the end of the bromance between Brett Favre and Peter King. Who will be Brett's new journalistic BFF? I'd nominate Sid Hartman, but he's (more than) twice Brett's age.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:31 PM | Comments (0)

Cris Carter is Mishugganeh

The Vikings great-turned-ESPN analyst bashes the Vikings for their handling of the Favre thing- but then, five seconds from the end of the clip, delivers a glorious, out-of-nowhere Yiddish malapropism:

I think he meant to say "chutzpah." If he'd said "Zygi Wilf is putting his touchas on the line," it would have made a lot more sense, on three different levels.

UPDATE: Deadspin noticed too.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:44 PM | Comments (1)

Quote of the Day

Conor Clarke, on the Glenn Beck boycotts, getting at why I don't really buy into boycotting:

What's the logical conclusion here? Do we boycott and counter-boycott, until we've whittled ourselves down to country of red and blue companies as well as red and blue states? There's nothing to stop us. Fox is well within its rights to retain the hosting services of Glenn Beck, and Wal-Mart is within its rights to take its advertising dollars elsewhere, and the readership of is within its rights to take its paychecks elsewhere, too. And I suppose I can take my eyeballs to some other corner of the Internet. Three cheers for liberalism!

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

On the QT

A video essay, by Matt Zoller Seitz, on Tarantino (here's the text version):

I had forgotten about the girl in "Death Proof" who wears a cheerleader uniform for the whole film for no apparent reason.

I'll have more to say about "Inglourious Basterds" when it comes out later this week.

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

Favre Quote of the Day

Simmons (Via Twitter):

Next steps for Favre: Admit he hates cheese curds & dark beer; call Laverne & Shirley "ugly and not funny"; sucker-punch Alice Cooper.
Now, after 17 years of holding his tongue, Favre can finally make fun of people for wearing foam blocks of cheese on their heads.

Later on Twitter, Simmons compared Favre's jump to the time Hulk Hogan joined the nWo. Except that the Hogan thing was a total shock- it wasn't preceded by two years of rumors and false starts and flip-flops.

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

"Mad Men," Spoiled

Mad Men Spoiler Report from Michael Gladis

Also, footnotes!

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

News Certain to Lead to a Very Bad Maureen Dowd Column

News Item: Tom DeLay to appear on "Dancing With the Stars"

"Dancing With the Stars," or jail? Lil' Kim recently faced a similar dilemma.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:49 AM | Comments (2)

Unless He Changes His Mind on the Plane, or On His Way to the Press Conference...

WCCO: Favre to sign with Vikings today.

You knew this would happen. I'm sick of the circus, of course, but hey- they have a better chance to win with him than they do with the Sage-Tarvaris Connection (which, by the way, doubles as the name of my local fantasy league team.)

Again, way to go Mark Rosen, for beating all of ESPN to the scoop.

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

Writings For The Week

I delve into the Michael Vick situation at North Star, and have another new crime update at Dealerscope. Also, my latest appearance on the Jordan and Chloe podcast should be posted sometime this week.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

Getting Mad Again

"Mad Men" is back! And the third season premiere was excellent. Definitely the best TV episode set at Baltimore's Belvedere Hotel since that great three-part season-premiere of "Homicide" with James Earl Jones, which was loosely based on "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll." Well, probably the only one too.

For great recaps all season long, go to The House Next Door, and Alan Sepinwall's blog.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2009

The Silliest Vick-Related Column of All

In an upset, the winner isn't one of the many who spewed righteous indignation, but rather good old Jack McCaffery, who concludes this:

Ignore the protests and the P.R. puff, and understand what just happened: The Eagles hired a quarterback younger than Donovan McNabb, and to help them explain why, they rolled out a highly decorated former head coach. So can there be any other conclusion that come, oh, 2011, Vick will be their quarterback and Dungy could be their head coach?...

So ... since when does Tony Dungy coach the Eagles?

He might already be on the job ... and with his own well-mentored quarterback in place.

Seriously- can there be any other conclusion??? Especially since Vick was signed through... 2010. And Dungy has repeatedly declared that he's retired from coaching. But other than that, yea- there can be no other conclusion.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

"The Crazy Tree"

Rick Perlstein has a valuable op-ed stating that the nuttiness on display at the town halls- and the lies about death panels and the like- is nothing new on the right:

The tree of crazy is an ever-present aspect of America's flora. Only now, it's being watered by misguided he-said-she-said reporting and taking over the forest. Latest word is that the enlightened and mild provision in the draft legislation to help elderly people who want living wills -- the one hysterics turned into the "death panel" canard -- is losing favor, according to the Wall Street Journal, because of "complaints over the provision."

Good thing our leaders weren't so cowardly in 1964, or we would never have passed a civil rights bill -- because of complaints over the provisions in it that would enslave whites.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:47 PM | Comments (0)


I review the awful "Paper Heart" on

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:28 PM | Comments (2)

Rodents Who Like Cheese I

I'm really glad this clip exists:

some more matt 1 from Reel Clerk on Vimeo.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:27 PM | Comments (1)

Rodents Who Like Cheese II

This made me laugh for about ten minutes.

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

I'm Pretty Sure Kenny Powers Fell Out of a Truck a Few Times Too

Ladies and gentlemen, Brett Myers! Because getting out of a car can be really, really hard.

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

The Corrections

The 11 Points blog finds some of the best ones in history.

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

Oh, Not This Again...


Though Glazer is not reporting that Favre will be a Viking in 2009, Glazer comes excruciatingly close to doing so.

"After visiting the Vikings for two days, I am convinced -- positively convinced -- that Brett Favre will soon have talks with the Vikings to return to the team and could be joining them for this season after all," Glazer writes.  "If my instincts are correct, all those purple Favre jerseys will have a home on Minnesota store shelves."

Glazer also says that "damn near everybody" at Vikings camp agrees with this assessment.

I'm sure Favre will play for the Vikings this year, whether it's now or (more likely) in mid-October.

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

Bob Dylan Can't Get Arrested

The funniest AP story in awhile:

Rock legend Bob Dylan was treated like a complete unknown by police in a New Jersey shore community when a resident called to report someone wandering around the neighborhood.

Dylan was in Long Branch, about a two-hour drive south of New York City, on July 23 as part of a tour with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp that was to play at a baseball stadium in nearby Lakewood.

A 24-year-old police officer apparently was unaware of who Dylan is and asked him for identification, Long Branch business administrator Howard Woolley said Friday.

"I don't think she was familiar with his entire body of work," Woolley said... A second officer, also in his 20s, responded to assist the first officer. He, too, apparently was unfamiliar with Dylan, Woolley said.

I love all the conspicuous Dylan lyrical references sprinkled throughout the AP story. I bet they wouldn't do that if the same thing happened to, say, James Hetfield.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:21 PM | Comments (1)

"You Lie to America"

I wish this sort of thing would happen more on TV news:

This after the panel on "This Week" praised Sarah Palin for "reshaping the debate" over health care- by lying through her teeth about it.

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

August 14, 2009

HIMYM: The Musical!

Yea, I've got a feeling I'm going to like this.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:39 PM | Comments (1)

"Quentin Likes to Talk, and I Don't Like to Drink Milk"

I totally agree with David Poland's take on "Inglorious Basterds":

Full review to come next week, but I'm with David- way, way too much talk, and not nearly enough action.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)

The Happiest Man in Philly Today Is...

Bernard Hopkins. The famously McNabb-hating boxing champ suggested on the radio last month that the Eagles get rid of Donovan and replace him with Michael Vick. Sure, everyone laughed- but now he's halfway to his goal!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:54 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2009

Vick to Eagles?!?!

A ballsy move, to be sure, albeit one that's going to piss off a lot of people. He'll give the team depth and the ability to get creative on offense, plus another option for the wildcat formation. The problem, as it would've been for any team signing him, is on the PR side.

I feel like listening to WIP all day tomorrow and counting how many callers vow to never again attend an Eagles game (all the same people, I'm sure, who denounced the Phillies after the Brett Myers arrest in '06, and I'm sure didn't jump back on the bandwagon last year.)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:33 PM | Comments (0)

Whitlock vs. "Pussy Galore"

The big man blames the usual suspect for the Rick Pitino scandal.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:33 PM | Comments (0)

Finally, Twins at Phils!

The two teams will play each other next year, for the first time since 2004, in Philly, the Phillies Zone blog says. I'll probably go to all three games.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:32 PM | Comments (1)

Pearlman/Rocker, Plus 10

On the anniversary, the reporter remembers. Ah, the '90s, back when it was a rare occasion for people to shout racial invective into an open microphone. Now it's in the news every day!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:32 PM | Comments (0)

My New Favorite Political Blog

I look forward to its review of "Inglorious Basterds."

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

Quote of the Day

David Frum:

Newt Gingrich tweeted: “The person who drafted the outrageous homeland security memo smearing veterans and conservatives should be fired.”

I don’t think the former speaker could tweet such a thing today in good conscience. The person who drafted that homeland security memo has gained very good reason to be worried. The guns are coming out. The risks are real.

It’s not enough for conservatives to repudiate violence, as some are belatedly beginning to do. We have to tone down the militant and accusatory rhetoric. If Barack Obama really were a fascist, really were a Nazi, really did plan death panels to kill the old and infirm, really did contemplate overthrowing the American constitutional republic—if he were those things, somebody should shoot him.

But he is not. He is an ambitious, liberal president who is spending too much money and emitting too much debt. His health-care ideas are too ambitious and his climate plans are too interventionist. The president can be met and bested on the field of reason—but only by people who are themselves reasonable.

Saying that, as Frum does regularly, has led to him being billed a closet-liberal. Of course. (FWIW, Frum later retracted the somebody should shoot him" hypothetical.

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

"Why Are There Black Bars on My TV Screen?"

I used to get this question all the time, back when I worked in a video store and there were "widescreen" and "full screen" versions of every movie.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:21 PM | Comments (0)

Film Critic Quote of the Week

Sean Burns, on G.I. Joe:

As far as this year’s mega-budget summer blockbusters based on 1980’s animated television programs designed toadvertise crappy plastic Hasbro toys to children, director Stephen Sommers’ G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra turns out to be a slightly more pleasurable experience than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. But then again, so is a prolapsed colon
I didn't see "G.I. Joe"- they canceled the only critics' screening, which is never a good sign.

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

Quote of the Day

Jonathan Cohn, on "The swiftboating of health care":

We're stuck in what Josh Marshall has called a "nonsense feedback loop"--a conversation in which Zeke Emanuel wants to kill grandma, health care reform is bad for the people who can't get health care, and Stephen Hawking has been snuffed out by the British National Health System. Instead of arguments that are unrelated to reality, we're getting arguments that are the very opposite of reality.
There's also Sarah Palin's explanation of her "death panels" quote, which fails to address the key discrepancy: Palin said there will be death panels. There aren't going to be any.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:47 PM | Comments (0)

Why'd They Ditch Their Fellow Caveman?

News Item: Geico pulls ads from Glenn Beck's show.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:43 AM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2009

Quote of the Day

" is The Next Dylan in the same way Harold Miner was Baby Jordan."
-the always-hilarious @FakeKlosterman Twitter.
Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:56 PM | Comments (0)

Three Thoughts on the Victorino Beer Toss

1. Clearly, this sort of thing is wrong to do and the guy deserves to get banned from Wrigley forever.

2. It's amusing hearing Philly fans play the "imagine if this happened in Philly!" card, especially since a guy was beaten to death at a Phillies game just a few weeks ago,

3. The only thing more unlikely than Shane Victorino becoming one of the most popular Phillies is that he's simultaneously become the most-hated Phillie for opposing fans. How can anyone not like Shane?

UPDATE: Looks like this post is unnaturally high in the Google results for "Victorino beer." Come on Philly, you know I love ya.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:52 PM | Comments (18)

The Party of Oliver Stone

John Guardiano has an exceptionally silly piece on New Majority, arguing that even as people on the right go crazy about Obama's birth certificate, the health care death panel, and other such things, the left has their crazies too, led by... JFK conspiracy theorist Oliver Stone? Here's Guardiano:

But why are leftists and the media silent when one of their own propagates an even more malicious and bizarre theory about our nation’s military and intelligence personnel? Worse yet, why do some of America’s leading media outlets give these crackpots a platform to propagate their lies?

This happens more often than you may realize. The latest case in point is a recent Huffington Post piece by the acclaimed director Oliver Stone, in which Stone asserts unequivocally that “the military-intelligence community” assassinated President Kennedy.

I'm not arguing that there aren't crazy people on the left- but is Oliver Stone's JFK theory really the best you can do?

First of all, this is a pretty old issue; "JFK" came out 18 years ago. I'm guessing if any liberal was going to denounce Stone for it, they would have done so back in 1991. If liberals didn't repudiate Stone this week, it was probably for one of two reasons: they didn't see his Huffington Post piece, or they're ignoring Stone because he's been irrelevant for years.

He made a movie about 9/11 that wasn't that bad, but nobody saw it. Then he made one about Bush that wasn't so bad either, but... nobody saw that either. Now he's readying a sequel to "Wall Street" that sounds like the worst movie idea of the decade.

So let's review: the crazy right includes all the birthers, all the death panelers, several members of Congress who back both, and much of the conservative media establishment. The crazy left consists of... Oliver Stone.

And hey, I agree with Guardiano that Stone is dead wrong about the JFK assassination, and I know I'm not the only liberal who feels that way.

David Frum's New Majority site has done some very good work, attempting to chart an intelligent, respectable future for conservatism while standing up to the likes of Sarah Palin and Mark Levin. But this piece wasn't one of its shining moments.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:48 PM | Comments (0)

And You Thought His Celtics Coaching Tenure Was An Embarrassment

News Item: Rick Pitino admits affair, paying for abortion

That'll go over really well in Kentucky, I'm sure. Still, it's gotta be terrible to pay someone off to keep them quiet, only for what happened to come out anyway.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:44 PM | Comments (1)

Quote of the Day

Dan Savage, on the horrifying prospect of a Rick Santorum presidential candidacy

Rick Santorum is thinking about running for president in 2012. Politico cites Santorum's interest in the race as evidence of the 2012 GOP presidential field's "unusual fluidity."
It wouldn't be the first time that Santorum was associated with an unusual fluid.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

"I Still Fucking Believe That People Are Fucking Good at Heart"

News Item: David Mamet to adapt "Diary of Anne Frank" for movie

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2009

The Rambis to Be Named

Steve Aschburner considers new T-Wolves coach Kurt Rambis the "player to be named" in the "trade" that sent the Minneapolis Lakers to California, five decades ago:

To review: L.A. got the Lakers from Minneapolis, along with Elgin Baylor, the draft pick that became Jerry West, five preexisting NBA titles that it touts as its own, a genealogy that it can proudly trace back to the league's roots and the legend of George Mikan to provide context to Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal, not to mention one hydrologically suspect but alliteratively perfect nickname. Minnesota got back, finally, now, a guy known to most sports fans in the state as the guy Hibbing legend Kevin McHale clotheslined so productively in the 1984 NBA Finals, someone vaguely reminiscent -- with his surfer hair, '80s mustache and black horn-rimmed glasses -- of an extra in The Big Lebowski
Coach Dude. I like that.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

"If That's What You Call a Mob..."

Sure, this may be fish-in-a-barrel for Stewart, but he doesn't disappoint:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Healther Skelter
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorSpinal Tap Performance
Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:41 PM | Comments (0)

Hitler in the White House

Hee hee hee.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

The Right Embraces "Rules For Radicals"

Ha, I knew it! The town hall screamers are the spiritual descendants of Abbie Hoffman, and I hope they realize it.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)

The Party of Death Panels

I look at the idiots on the wrong side of the health care debate in a new North Star column.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:00 PM | Comments (0)

"Transformers" Sucks: N+1!

N Plus One Mag (what, you thought we were done?):

This second Transformers film is garbage, a big pile of useless scrap and refuse in every way, but there are shots in it of plastic beauty which use Megan Fox's stress-tested porno face like an element in a James Rosenquist painting of car parts and spaghetti. But so what? James Rosenquist paintings already exist.
Meanwhile, following Topless Robot's classic TransformersFAQ, here's another one for "GI Joe."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:00 PM | Comments (0)

Good- Fewer Babies For the Death Panels to Kill!

News Item: Nine-months after election night, "Obama Baby Boom" fails to materialize

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

Acer Should be Called "Asser"

It's the worst laptop commercial ever (the title says it all):

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:58 PM | Comments (0)

The Dumbest Health Care Argument Yet

I didn't think Palin's "Death Panels" could be topped, but she's been outdone by Investor's Business Daily, which argued that Stephen Hawking "wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless."

Hawking, of course, was born in England and lives there to this day. And people with his condition would be much better off under Obamacare than the current health care system.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:45 AM | Comments (1)

August 10, 2009

Stone Cold Bill and Sookie

Did you catch "True Blood" on Sunday? (SPOILERS!) The showdown in the Fellowship of the Sun was like a classic pro wrestling angle. You had the heroes and villains squaring off- with Steve Newlin in the Vince McMahon role- until more and more faces and heels (Bill, then Steve Austinesque Jason Stackhouse, then the Dallas vampires, who sound like a World Class tag team) made separate entrances one by one. All that was missing was ring entrance music.

Then Godrick appeared at the top of the set, just as The Undertaker might. Eric even looked as though he was about to chokeslam Newlin, until Jason, Austin-like, punched him in the face.

Then again Vince, even at his tawdriest, would never have one wrestler serve a human heart to another.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:59 PM | Comments (1)

Mike and Bill

An amazing story from Jonathan Raunch.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:57 PM | Comments (0)

Flying Hot Dogs and Roof Swastikas

Deadspin eulogizes the Metrodome. I really am going to miss that place- although the Vikings I'm sure will be playing there for at least five more years.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:55 PM | Comments (1)

Lying About Health Care

Steven Pearlstein:

The recent attacks by Republican leaders and their ideological fellow-travelers on the effort to reform the health-care system have been so misleading, so disingenuous, that they could only spring from a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage. By poisoning the political well, they've given up any pretense of being the loyal opposition. They've become political terrorists, willing to say or do anything to prevent the country from reaching a consensus on one of its most serious domestic problems.

There are lots of valid criticisms that can be made against the health reform plans moving through Congress -- I've made a few myself. But there is no credible way to look at what has been proposed by the president or any congressional committee and conclude that these will result in a government takeover of the health-care system. That is a flat-out lie whose only purpose is to scare the public and stop political conversation.

I'd be all for a "bipartisan" solution to health care reform if the GOP had any interest whatsoever in negotiating one.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:54 PM | Comments (0)

The History of FAIL

In the Times, Ben Zimmer looks back at the Epic Rise of Epic Fail.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:54 PM | Comments (0)

Apatow, Part III

I review "Funny People" on

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:19 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

Cracked tackles "Epic Movie" and the other non-comedies:

But they are not simply doing a bad job. They are not doing a job at all. They are comedy writers who haven't even bothered to write comedy. This is unprecedented, not just in the film world, but in the entire history of employment. And this is not one scene in one movie. It is every scene in every movie they have ever made... Another problem facing these movies (that is closely tied to the lack of jokes) is the overwhelming use of references, hence "reference movie." Every second of each film is a reference to another, better movie. They do not make jokes about these movies. They simply present the movie as it was originally seen and then throw in a quick commercial for Pepsi, a dance-off or a moment where a head-shaven Britney Spears sings to a doll. Again, no jokes. Just things we recognize as things

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:18 PM | Comments (0)

Fucking Succinct

Here's a great site for abbreviated, to-the-point movie reviews. I even agree with most of them.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:18 PM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2009

Health Care = Hitler!

Yes, they're actually arguing that Obama's health care logo looks Nazi-like- if you add a swastika to it! That, to my knowledge, is equally true of every logo in history.

You know what? Obama's known for giving speeches that draw large crowds of people to action- JUST LIKE HITLER!!!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:17 PM | Comments (2)

Dum Duh Duh... HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY!

The most obvious headline since Kodak pulled Kodachrome:

Philadelphia Weekly: "Don't You Forget About John Hughes" "Don't You Forget About John Hughes" "Don't You Forget About John Hughes"

MoviePilot: "Don't You Forget About John Hughes"

Colorado Daily: "Don't You Forget About John Hughes"

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:16 PM | Comments (0)

They Finally Trade For a Veteran, and It's Him?

News Item: Twins trade for Carl Pavano

Some teams (well, really, only the Phillies) have the horrible problem that they have six solid starters and have to get rid of one. Everyone else has to do stuff like trade for Carl Pavano.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:16 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

Sullivan, on what's going on:

If that is what you really believe - that people in cities or suburbs, that minorities, that gays, that blacks and Hispanics are not part of "real America" - then of course, you are angry. You believe a fake America has taken over. You cannot understand this. So you start believing that we have a fascist/communist dictatorship, that there was some fraud allowing a non-citizen to become president, that the government is about to "take over" all healthcare provision ... and on and on. And no one is left in the GOP to challenge this, to calm it down, to present practical alternatives to the obvious crushing problems the country and the private sector have in paying for increasingly costly healthcare.

To me, this is a triumph of ideology. And conservatism is now an abstract anti-government ideology, fueled by cultural, racial and sexual resentment. This is a recipe for more violence, and more marginalization.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:15 PM | Comments (0)

"The Black Kids Computer Desk," and Other Favorites

11 Points has a great list of accidentally racist brand and product names.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:15 PM | Comments (0)

John Hughes, RIP

The famous director of such '80s classics as "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Pretty in Pink," "Sixteen Candles," "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," and many more has died at the age of 59. Hughes made a whole bunch of great movies in a short period of time, and then went away, skipping the long decline phase of many of his contemporaries.

I turned on MSNBC tonight, and it was the end of Ed Schultz's show, which Lawrence O'Donnell was guest-hosting. At the end of the show, one of the guests said something along the lines of, "you're a Hollywood guy- why no mention of the death of the great John Hughes?" O'Donnell- who was a "West Wing" producer and later inexplicably played Bill's lawyer on "Big Love"- replied that Entertainment Tonight would probably do something great on it tonight.

So I turned to Entertainment Tonight, which was just starting; it was probably the first time I'd watched the show in 15 years. The first story- "Michael Jackson's bloody shirt." Then came two more Jacko stories and something about the John Edwards/Rielle Hunter case. Hughes' death was not mentioned, although there is a brief obit on the show's Web site.

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

They Have Boats?

In the latest Week in Electronics Retail Crime column for Dealerscope, I look at a "Music Man"-like door-to-door scam, cops who commandeered a boat, "Face/Off"-style, to stop a guy who stole two vacuum cleaners, and some geniuses who robbed a guy at an ATM, took his credit card, and were arrested, 30 minutes later, for using said credit card at Walmart. I mean, why not just use the stolen cash instead?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:11 AM | Comments (0)

And We'll See You... Saturday Afternoon

Attention Twins fans- MLB network is broadcasting Games 6 and 7 of the 1991 World Series on Saturday. I'll certainly be DVRing both.

For you Phils fans wondering which of your six starters to get rid of, remember that the Twins won one World Series with Les Straker as their third starter, and another with 42-year-old, sandpaper-wielding Joe Niekro.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:10 AM | Comments (0)

Movie Trailer Critic Quote of the Week

Pajiba's Daniel Carlson, on the "long-awaited" trailer for the movie adaptation of Tucker Max's "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell":

He’s the worst kind of person there is. So of course, he got a movie deal. His memoir, unrepentantly and “hilariously” titled I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, has been turned into a movie starring Matt Czurzchruzhchy and Jesse Bradford and what looks like $27 for set design, editing, and what have you. Watching the trailer makes you realize that there are some depths to which not even Dane Cook would sink; it is that bad, that shameful, that bracing, that depressing.
Max's book, loathsome as it was, was actually perversely entertaining, but the movie looks like a 5th-rate "Hangover" ripoff, and I'll be shocked if it even reaches theaters.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:09 AM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2009

"The Best Video Game Hockey Player Ever"

That's how Kottke eulogizes JR's career. I agree:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:19 PM | Comments (1)

Three Thoughts on "Julie and Julia" (Which I Liked Quite a Bit)

- It's a bit hard to get used to Meryl Streep being a foot taller than usual.

- Julie Powell was a blogger in New York in 2002. How come I never knew her? There weren't that many of us back then, and we all used to congregate at those "Blogger Bashes." Julie's invitation must've gotten lost in the mail, or maybe she was too busy cooking.

- Ponying up for the rights to the Dan Aykroyd/Julia Child SNL bit was the smartest cinematic decision Nora Ephron has made since about 1989.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:49 PM | Comments (1)

Bachmann's Greatest Hits

I'm just glad that Olbermann doesn't have a "truce" with her:

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

They forgot her citing of the "Hoot-Smalley" Act.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:48 PM | Comments (2)

The Philly Six?

Hey, looks like my six-man rotation idea might actually happen after all! Meanwhile, the Phillies should be glad they traded for Cliff Lee, rather than a pitcher who doesn't exist.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:47 PM | Comments (0)

"A Harvey Fiersteinesque Conservative Minstrel”

The best description I've ever heard of The Toesucker:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Obama Must Pass a Health Care Bill
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorSpinal Tap Performance
Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)

Forge Your Own!

You, too, can make a fake Kenyan birth certificate for yourself.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)

August 05, 2009

The Much More Worthy Pursuit Than Dating Turtle

The erstwhile Meadow actually gets to do some acting in this great parody (it gets real good around the two-minute mark):

The Real Housewives of New Jersey with Jamie-Lynn Sigler from Jamie-Lynn Sigler

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:22 PM | Comments (0)

Film Critic Quote of the Week

Time Out New York's Karina Longworth, on "Paper Heart":

Part documentary, part fiction and all cloying affectation, Paper Heart doesn’t seem to care about its subjects, whose insights are incredibly slight. As a scripted romance, it’s a nonstarter, thanks largely to Yi, a charisma-free black hole who continually sucks the whole endeavor down to the level of a nervous giggle.
I saw this last night- just complete nonsense. Not funny, no insight whatsoever. The world's first mumblecore mockumentary- and no, that's not a compliment.

UPDATE:More from MSNBC's Alonso Duralde:

Unfortunately, Yi falls in love with Michael Cera, and while he’s a wonderfully talented actor, he’s thoroughly unconvincing as himself.

The moment that Cera first walks on-camera, the whole movie’s vibe changes — while everyone else actually seems like they’re in a documentary, his performance immediately reads as “guy pretending like he’s not acting but is actually appearing nonchalantly in a non-fiction film.”

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

The ESPN Twitter Crackdown

Sandomir has the details. I really hope this doesn't mean the end of some really good Twitter feeds by WWL employees. Simmons has some fun with it:

My take on the great unspoken: Ultimately it's good if (redacted) incorporates (redacted). Had to start somewhere.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:47 AM | Comments (0)

Obit of the Day

Jeffrey Goldberg on Sidney Zion:

Yes, he was a jerk, and yes, you couldn't say things like, "Just put yourself in the shoes of a Palestinian for a second," without having him explode, and yes, he was mean even to people he liked, but Sid Zion, who died Sunday, is one of the reasons I wanted to be a reporter.
I hope no obituary of me ever begins with "yes, he was a jerk." Even a positive one.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:46 AM | Comments (0)

Will He Quit After A Year to Take Another, Better Office?

News Item: Lou Holtz considering run for Congress

NOTE: This post's subject is a reference to Holtz leaving the University of Minnesota for Notre Dame in 1985- not a Sarah Palin joke.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:45 AM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2009

The Official End of the Birther Conspiracy

Here it is. Until they forge another one, anyway.

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

Mad Muppets

This is great.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

"The Crank Cycle"

What's really going on in the health care debate:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Master Rebators - The Crank Cycle
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorSpinal Tap Performance

Uh, didn't the Cash for Clunkers program work better than the government thought it would?

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

Quote of the Day

Robert Dougherty on the "Obama as the Joker" posters:

If President Obama isn't called a socialist once every day, then it is a day on which his opponents must be busy taking a nap. The Obama Joker poster is a new tactic, however, albeit small time. But using the Joker to paint Obama as a socialist isn't really that accurate at all.

The Joker was many things, but he was hardly a socialist. In fact, the Joker is the polar opposite of a socialist, and anyone who watched The Dark Knight would know that. Socialism is the result of an all-powerful central government that runs every aspect of life -- but the Joker subscribes to anarchy, one of socialism's polar opposites.

If the Joker was a socialist, he would be destroying Gotham in the name of an all-powerful state. Instead, the self-described "agent of chaos" nearly brought down the state itself, and all of its most cherished institutions, so that nothing could bring order to Gotham.

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

Fantasy With Howard and Rollins

The Phils get funny:

Baseball Fantasy Camp with Ryan Howard and Jimmie Rollins - watch more funny videos

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:01 PM | Comments (0)

The Case Against He-Man realizes, in retrospect, that the old He-Man TV show sort of sucked. Next thing, they'll tell us He-Man tested positive for HGH.

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

The Right and Race

I get into the conservative media's consistent approach to racial controversy- "white people are always right"- in this week's North Star column.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:14 AM | Comments (1)

Sociology and Math With Sports Guy

Certainly the most math-challenged Twitter post of the weekend, by Simmons.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:13 AM | Comments (3)

Can't Wait For "Mad Men"

Seriously, I cannot wait.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2009

The 'Truth' Hurts

I review the awful "Ugly Truth" on

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:07 PM | Comments (0)

HBO Lives

Remember all those "HBO is dead" stories this time last year? Let's just say the network's death was premature.

"Big Love" just finished its best season ever. "True Blood" is running on all cylinders and getting the network's best ratings since "Sopranos" went off the air. Sure, "Entourage" is worse than ever, especially with the involvement of Alexis Dziena, who resembles a 15-year-old anorexic alien, but you can't win 'em all. Even "Hung" isn't that bad.

And here's word from Sepinwall on what's coming: New "Curb" with the "Seinfeld" reunion! David Simon's "Treme!" Martin Scorsese's "Boardwalk Empire"! The Schwartzman/Galifinakis "Bored to Death"! A new animated version of the Ricky Gervais podcast! New seasons of the hilarious "Life and Times of Tim" and "Eastbound and Down"!

Almost enough to make me not regret getting rid of all my other movie channels...

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

Sports Radio Moment of the Day

A caller to WIP this afternoon suggested that Michael Vick shouldn't be let back into the NFL, because "dogs fought in all of our nation's wars."

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

Don't Release the Names

Shyster, making legal and rational sense:

There's a growing sentiment out there -- joined by everyone from crooked guys like Victor Conte to dumb guys like Ozzie Guillen to smart guys like Maury Brown -- that baseball or the union or the courts or whoever should just release all the names on the list of the 2003 positive tests. Setting aside the fact that such a thing is practically impossible -- actually releasing it all would require a court order itself, and no one else involved in the case has any incentive for it to be lifted -- it's also a horrible idea.

The list, as everyone seems to be forgetting, would not have existed if the people whose names appear on it (and about a thousand others) hadn't been promised that it would remain confidential while it existed and would be destroyed soon after it was created. Those promises were broken, first by the players' own union, who violated the players' trust, and then by the federal government, who, in the opinion of many, overstepped previously-established legal grounds to seize the information in the course of their BALCO investigation. An investigation, mind you, that had nothing to do with the vast majority of the players on the list.

I can't even tell you how many times I've heard columnist and radio hosts demand that "they" should release all the names. Who's "they"?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:43 PM | Comments (2)