In the Law and Order version of the Tiger Woods incident, a famous jockey's wife throws a horse through his rear window.
Oh, the Vikings. What can you say? I'm just happy as a fan that I get to enjoy this, because I know this run of dominant wins every week isn't going to last forever. That said, a Super Bowl victory this year would be ideal.
- Prince was at the game! Of course he's a fan of the Minnesota team in purple.
- As for the Eagles, I went to the game Sunday, and was happy to see that after months of hearing that Donovan McNabb never, ever, under any circumstances comes from behind to win games, he's now done so in the fourth quarter two weeks in a row- and that's without Brian Westbook. The Eagles are now 7-4, their best record through 11 games since their Super Bowl run in '04, and that's prior to their usual December hot streak. Not hearing so much get-rid-of-Andy-and-Donovan talk these days, huh?
- Two notes from the game- they played a clip from "Rocky Balboa" on the scoreboard that I heard had never before been played at an Eagles game, and at one point there was a snippet of the "Coach" theme song. I'm certainly an Eagles fan of the Minnesota State Screaming variety.
I review "New Moon," which was like "The Matrix Reloaded" for girls, on Philly.com.
Did you know there's a new drug that treats acid reflux, which is called Aciphex? And that it's pronounced the same as "ass effects"?
Now, the drug industry is handicapped in its advertising, since it has to disclose side effects in every commercial. So why make it even worse by naming the drug "ass effects"?
Some brilliance, from "The Soup":
COME AND GET YER POPCORN!
Glad to hear Tiger Woods is okay, and I'm curious to hear exactly what happened outside his house Friday morning. I think the weirdest part is that he was reported in "serious condition"- and we're supposed to wonder, "is he dead?"- until we heard about a half hour later that he was out of the hospital and totally fine.
A caller to Brian Startare Saturday accused Donovan McNabb of not throwing enough to DeSean Jackson because he is "jealous of Jackson's popularity." This is an old talking point from the McNabb/TO wars that was never especially substantiated even back then, but makes even less sense now, especially since McNabb threw a long touchdown pass to Jackson just last week.
Ken Levine on why Thanksgiving really sucks for TV writers:
Every sitcom I’ve ever worked on, we’ve had the obligatory Thanksgiving episode. How many variations can you have on the big family dinner going awry? I think I’ve written the “turkey gets burned”, “relatives clash”, “nutty friends invited”, “can’t find a restaurant”, “kids break something”, “Guess who’s Coming to Dinner variation, “Meet the Parents variation”,“football gambler loses big”, “tofu turkey substitute”, “someone accidentally gets dragged seven blocks by the Mr. Potato Head balloon”, “mom’s a terrible cook”, “relative accidentally not invited”, “someone is allergic to something in the stuffing and has a funny seizure”, “power outage”, “thawing frozen turkey last minute”, “food fight”, and “the pilgrim re-enactment” episode fifteen times.Other than the obvious, I always loved the "Friends" episode that guest-starred Brad Pitt, which didn't really use any of the above.
Sure, it's sort of disquieting that a couple of idiots managed to sneak into a state dinner and meet the president, but come on- why is it front-page news four days later? I like John Cole's take, after nutty Congressman Peter King suggested "They could have grabbed a knife from the dining room table.”:
Or they could have had a suitcase nuke made out to look like a great ass in a red dress. Or they could have been carrying vials of cyanide and poured it into the drink of every ranking government official. Or they could have kidnapped the Obama kids and held the President ransom to release everyone at Gitmo.
But they didn’t now, did they? They sneaked in, got away with some free eats and a few drinks, and went on their merry way. So grow up. Grabbed a knife from the dinner table- that is too stupid for even an Austin Powers movie. Christ.
And it bears repeating- that is ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee leading the pantswetting brigade. The next time you have to take your shoes off at the airport or throw out your 6 ounce container of hand creme, you can thank jackasses like him.
News Item: Sixers consider bringing back Allen Iverson
I don't really understand the rationale for bringing him back, other than feel-good reasons. He was a great player back in the day? He isn't anymore. He's done a lot for the organization and deserves to be recognized? So did Dr. J- why not re-sign him too? They're not drawing at all without him? They also weren't drawing their last two years with him. Sure, the Sixers are about Topic Z in town right now- but re-signing AI will put them back in the news for a week, tops, or until there's another McNabb "controversy."
Still, a good week for Stephen A. Smith, with two major scoops- first, that Iverson was retiring, and now that he may be returning to Philly. So what if the two scoops are complete opposites?
I'm loving the show on FX, as I've mentioned. But does the premise sound familiar? From Bill Simmons' intern contest a few years ago, when entrants were asked to submit programming ideas for a 24-hour sports channel:
The Season: (insert fantasy league name -- ex.: Old School Nasty)No, it doesn't have the mockumentary angle but there was both a draft episode and a crazy commissioner. Still, I'm surprised this show didn't happen years earlier. Mr. McGibblets is too.
A mockumentary in the Christopher Guest and company mold about an over-the-top fantasy league. Episodes would involve a draft taken more seriously than Middle East peace negotiations, a life-long friendship being torn apart over a questionable trade, a maniacal commissioner on an out of control power trip, an owner who completely breaks down and refuses to leave his home (think Favreau in Swingers) when his top pick tears an ACL, and the most elongated slow-motion celebration ever in the season finale when a champion is crowned.
Some of you may remember the shortlived early-'90s TV series "Brooklyn Bridge," which was created by Gary David Goldberg was about a Jewish family in Brooklyn in the 1950s. It's my dad's all-time favorite show, and not only because the main character had his same first and last name.
Anyway, the now-grown up star of the series, Danny Lanzetta, is back in the news. No, not a drug bust or anything- he merely wrote an angry letter to Bill Simmons about Sports Guy's longtime criticism of Patrick Ewing. If you ask me, the athletic hero of the fictional Alan Silver- Jackie Robinson- was much more admirable than Ewing.
Some incisive satire from ex-Fox News anchor John Gibson:
What, you mean he's serious?
While most of the right has taken the tack of pretending the Bush years never happened- while at the same time pushing for policies pretty much identical to Dubya's, in the person of his distaff mini-me Sarah Palin. But very few have the chutzpah to actually defend the Bush legacy. I mean, not even Hannity does that anymore.
Speaking of Dubya, did you know there's a right-wing backlash against the movie "The Blind Side"? So what if it's a movie in which the heroes are conservative Christian Republicans- some are up in arms about an innocuous anti-Bush joke.
Jim Caple combines two of the best things about Minnesota- the Coen Brothers and Joe Mauer.
"Fantastic Mr. Fox": I can't remember a time when a live-action director has so seemingly transferred his visual and thematic style to animation as Wes Anderson has here. Just a delightful, beautiful film in every way. I'm a longtime Anderson apologist, although I didn't love "Darjeeling Limited" as much as his other work; "Mr. Fox" is a welcome return to form.
"Bad Lieutenant Port of Call New Orleans": I don't know what bizarre confluence of events allowed this movie to exist, but whatever they were I'm glad they happened. What a nutso, ridiculous delight- Werner Herzog, remaking "Bad Lieutenant," with Nicolas Cage, set in New Orleans, only as a super-black comedy with random reptiles all over the place. Just delightfully insane from beginning to end, with Cage delivering a turn that makes his "Leaving Las Vegas" performance look subdued by comparison. My favorite part was that he had different accents depending on which drug he was on- his cocaine voice, for instance, sounds like a bad Jimmy Stewart impression.
"The Twilight Saga: New Moon": The sad part is, I sort of liked the first one. But the sequel? Yeesh. Much less well-acted, well-written, well-plotted and well-directed than the original, "New Moon" lost me even before its bonkers third act. Just when it's starting to get interested, the plot abruptly jumps halfway across the world and suddenly turns into "The Matrix Reloaded," with men in robes who we've never seen before giving long, incomprehensible speeches. Though I did enjoy Michael Sheen as a sort of Vampire Pope. The movie was clearly rushed into and through production; I don't remember ever seeing a blockbuster movie with such laughable special effects.
Ignore this and watch "True Blood" instead. At least the vampires actually have sex on that show.
Longtime Eagle Jon Runyan yesterday became the first player in the NFL to simultaneously announce that he was 1) signing with a new team, 2) retiring at the end of the year, and 3) running for Congress.
Rundog will play the remainder of the year for the San Diego Chargers, after which he will retire from the game and begin a campaign for the U.S. House in New Jersey as a Republican.
I always liked Runyan, but I'm not going to enjoy listening to him spout tea party bullshit throughout next year, especially since you just know his campaign commercials will run in the Philly area about every two minutes.
Charles Murray- no liberal, he- on Glenn Beck:
Beck uses tactics that include tiny snippets of film as proof of a person’s worldview, guilt by association, insinuation, and occasionally outright goofs like the fake quote. To put it another way, I as a viewer have no way to judge whether Beck is right. I have to trust that the snippets are not taken out of context, that the dubious association between A and B actually has evidence to support it, and that his numbers are accurate. It is impossible to have that trust.
The lesson, as always: if you're going to do a goofy Photoshop on your political Web site that combines a popular movie with a picture of a Senator, it probably shouldn't involve semen in their hair.
As an aside, I've always found Mary Landrieu much, much more attractive than Cameron Diaz.
The greatest blog commenter in the world, the AV Club's Zodiac Motherfucker, visited the Web site's Chicago offices and met several of the staff. But he wouldn't get photographed without his mask.
The Washington Wizards owner, one of the grand old men of the NBA, died today. A great anecdote that I hadn't previously known about:
he was the person who changed the name of his team from the Bullets to the Wizards after his friend, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, was killed.
That's according to Editor and Publisher, in a well-researched report.
Which gets done first- health care, or Joe Mauer's contract? One will cost trillions, and the other merely hundreds of millions.
Drew McWeeny of Hitfix on "Old Dogs":
If "Old Dogs" were a person, I would stab it in the face.... It is rare that I hate a film with the feverish intensity that I feel towards this one, but it hit pretty much every single button for me, and by halfway through, I felt like I was going to crawl out of my skin. What I thought was going to be a mediocre family-themed comedy instead struck me as one of the most singularly vile experiences I've had in a theater all year. To give you an idea how wretched the film is, if you take the worst Robin Williams film, multiply it by the worst John Travolta film, and then multiply that by "Wild Hogs," the last film from director Walt Becker, you would still end up with something better than this."Wild Hogs"- which was like a remake of "City Slickers," only replacing all the humor with lazy gay jokes- was probably the worst Hollywood comedy of recent years, so there was no way I was seeing this garbage.
An Andrew Sullivan reader, on why women don't like Sarah Palin:
It's very simple why women don't like her as much as men. Women saw through Sarah Palin and we saw through her quickly. Men are literal and are more likely to say what they mean and mean what they say. Women are more nuanced and better able to persuade and manipulate others with their words. So it's quite natural for us to be able to look below the surface of another woman's words and grasp the intentions behind them.You mean, they don't hate her because they're afraid of her?
Sarah Palin is the peppy cheerleader in high school all the boys thought was so sweet but the girls knew was really a vicious shrew. She's the new girl in the office who wears tight shirts and three-inch heels, is super-friendly to her male superiors, ignores the other women, and gets promoted sooner than her more capable and hard working peers. She's the outgoing PTA mom all of the other women are scared to cross because they will find themselves put on the worst committees. Only a woman knows how to give another woman a sweet smile and at the same time cut her down to size with an artfully crafted "compliment" without male observers having a clue about what just happened. It's like a dog whistle.
Jason Segel sings an original composition, along with the Swell Season (aka the couple from "Once"):
No, it didn't hang together quite as well as the episode the week before- I still laugh whenever I even think about Marty Funkhauser's long, vulgar joke- but the "Curb Your Enthusiasm" finale was still something to behold. Whether it was the "Seinfeld" cast together again on the "Seinfeld" set, Larry-playing-George, "Acting Without Acting," or the multiple layers of meta-storytelling on top of each other, the episode was nothing if not immensely satisfying. Finally, a decent "Seinfeld" finale!
First, there was Queen. Then, Wayne and Garth. Now, the Muppets:
A shockingly funny Neil Young impression from Jimmy Fallon, as he covers the "Fresh Prince" theme:
The retailer must be stopped, according to various right-wing loons, because... they dared to acknowledge a Muslim holiday. First they ban Christmas, and now this!
News Item: Joe Mauer named AL MVP
Near-unanimous, too! Way to go Joe. Hopefully next time he's on the front page of ESPN.com, it'll be to announce his new contract.
MLB Network over the weekend broadcast the 1965 World Series. Now, between growing up as a Jew and as a Twins fan, I've heard the story of that series about a billion times- Koufax didn't pitch Game 1 because of Yom Kippur, but the Dodgers defeated the Twins anyway. But until Saturday, I'd never actually seen any of the games. I'm guessing the footage was recently unearthed or something.
The Onion foresees an inevitable day.
The British "Office" made sense as a pseudodocumentary, since it was only 12 episodes. But how could the American doc possibly be less than 20 hours long?
So you'd think Eagles fans would be happy about their team beating the Bears last night to bring their record to 6-4. You'd think wrong, judging by today's WIP morning show. I think Angelo Cataldi was one of the more optimistic ones.
My favorite was the guy who called to complain about the team, identifying himself as a decades-long season-ticket holder, and complaining that he might have to buy tickets for as many as three home playoff games.
First of all, there's no way in the world the Eagles will have more than one home playoff game this year- they're not catching the Saints or Vikings for either of the first-round byes, and the only way they'd host a championship game is if they're the third seed and the top two seeds both lose in the second round (it happened last year, but don't bet on it again.) Second of all... shouldn't you be happy about your team being the playoffs?
Even if that's a lot to pay for tickets, couldn't you, you know, sell them, for a profit? For an Eagles fan who, unlike you, doesn't hate the team?
The Eagles beat the Bears tonight doing several things I've been hearing for the last week that they never, ever do- a fourth-quarter comeback, decent clock management, and a fairly even run/pass balance.
So what will I be hearing from the 610 gang this week? I'm guessing that because Jay Cutler struggled and the Bears' defense was weak, the win doesn't really count. That, and i'm sure there'll be outrage that McNabb spent time after the game reassuring Cutler.
As the Vikes, what can I say? It's always nice to clinch a winning season prior to Thanksgiving.
I review "The Blind Side" on Philly.com.
Matt Taibbi, on Palin and the culture war:
At the end of this decade what we call “politics” has devolved into a kind of ongoing, brainless soap opera about dueling cultural resentments and the really cool thing about it, if you’re a TV news producer or a talk radio host, is that you can build the next day’s news cycle meme around pretty much anything at all, no matter how irrelevant — like who’s wearing a flag lapel pin and who isn’t, who spent $150K worth of campaign funds on clothes and who didn’t, who wore a t-shirt calling someone a cunt and who didn’t, and who put a picture of a former Vice Presidential candidate in jogging shorts on his magazine cover (and who didn’t).
It doesn’t matter what the argument is about. What’s important is that once the argument starts, the two sides will automatically coalesce around the various instant-cocoa talking points and scream at each other until they’re blue in the face, or until the next argument starts.
Phil Sheridan, in an excellent Inquirer column, goes against the fallacy of "must win games." If the Eagles lose tonight they'll be 5-5; they were 5-5 last year and went to the NFC title game; they were 5-5 in 2006 and ended up 10-6.
The best of Roger, Season 3 edition:
I must say I'm loving FX's "The League," which takes a great premise- a bunch of guys in a fantasy football league- and expands way beyond it. In fact, most of the show's best gags have nothing to do with fantasy at all.
Take this bit: The guy on the show, Kevin, hates the Barney-like kids toy, Mr. McGibbletts, that his young daughter loves, so he does the only natural thing to sour her on him: He hires his ne'er-do-well brother, Taco, to dress up as McGibbletts and sneak into her room at night to "scare" her (last minute of the first clip and all of the second):
I've noticed something lately on Howard Eskin's show, which is always a must-listen when the Eagles are losing: he seems to be going out of his way, in most situations, to deflect blame away from Andy Reid and towards Donovan McNabb. And Eskin is also buying into most of the anti-McNabb talking points, favored by other hosts on the station, that he's always resisted.
Eskin always makes a habit of vociferously bashing players who have either just been cut by the Eagles or fallen out of favor with them; I always assumed that once the team was getting rid of Donovan, Eskin starting to bash him would be the first clue.
News Item: Vikings extend Childress
I guess they didn't need to do it, but since they're 7-1 and all, I really can't complain. Minnesota teams tend to always either keep coaches forever (Kelly, Gardenhire, Denny Green, Flip Saunders, Jacques Lemaire) or fire them after a year or two (Tice, every non-Flip Wolves coach ever), so it looks like Childress fits more into the former category.
Another Eagles gem from the Onion:
Eagles Settle For Field Goal After 260-Yard Drive
SAN DIEGO—The Eagles were forced to settle for a field goal against the Chargers Sunday after sustaining a 260-yard, 64-play drive that featured six separate red-zone appearances and took 52 minutes off the game clock. "It's disappointing not to score a touchdown when you keep a drive alive for more than three and a half quarters," said quarterback Donovan McNabb, who completed 32 of his 66 passes, converted 26 first downs, and was carted off the field for X-rays twice during the drive. "At least we came away with three points. Those 120 yards in penalties really hurt our field position, but those conversions on third and 21, third and 64, and the fake punt on fourth and 72 showed that this team never quits." Backup QB Michael Vick took one snap from center during the nearly hour-long drive, failing to complete a screen pass.
An interesting conservative media tic:
"Spokeytown," a Matt Yglesias commenter, on the ACORN hysteria, as noted in the poll that 52% of Republicans believe ACORN stole the election for Obama:
It’s pretty obvious that none of these people have ever had any dealings whatsoever with ACORN, an extremely low budget, idealistic, shoestring operation that does really good work, with the typical variable-quality management you see in organizations like that, and apparently some higher-ups pocketing money for themselves. Something tells me if ACORN were really this world-dominating secret society they wouldn’t need to hire broke college kids as canvassers to bug people on downtown sidewalks for money.
Stewart gets to what Palin's about:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Daily Show: The Rogue Warrior|
They hate her because she's a mom!
On a Wednesday night last November, I left my office in Center City Philadelphia and took I-76 to King of Prussia to see the screning of the (first) "Twilight" movie. On the way up, I listened to WIP, and caller after caller scream to Howard Eskin that the Eagles must get rid of Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb.
Tonight, I again took 76 from my office to KOP, this time for "New Moon," and I again listened to WIP, as caller after caller screamed to Eskin that the Eagles must, must get rid of Reid and McNabb.
There are two more "Twlight" movies. I fully expect this pattern to repeat itself next year, and probably the year after that, too.
Thomas Frank on the Palin tome:
It is her mastery of the lament that explained former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s appeal last year, and now her knack for self-pity is on full display in her book, “Going Rogue.” This is the memoir as prolonged, keening wail, larded with petty vindictiveness. With an impressive attention to detail, Ms. Palin settles every score, answers every criticism; locates a scapegoat for every foul-up, and fastens an insult on every critic, down to the last obscure Palin-doubter back in Alaska
Ms. Palin’s life is meant to be an inspiration. Maybe I should follow her example. The opinion-page equivalent of the Palinesque style is easy enough to imagine: I would use this space to recite the indignities the world forced on me over the course of the week—an effete-looking young person ignored me the other day—plus glimpses of heartland authenticity—I sure do like pot roast—before concluding, darkly, that the reason I suffer is because I am such a sterling American.
This is pretty brilliant:
I just hope they don't redub one of the sex scenes over Grover and Maria or something. "YOU ARE MY ROSE YOU ARE MY ROSE!"
Both shows had been hit or miss in recent weeks, but "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "How I Met Your Mother" both had their best show of the season, by far, on Sunday and Monday.
For 'Curb,' we can talk all about Vicki Lewis' crude description of her daughter's rash, or Marty Funkhauser's joke to Jerry. But how great did they handle the MIchael Richards thing? His meeting with J.B. Smoove was something to behold. And even better, how awesome is it to see the "Seinfeld" cast together again on the set? And the script for the reunion was actually good! Even though it's pretty jarring to hear Jerry and George talk about iPhone apps and Bernie Madoff.
As for HIMYM, I think they realized that the plot possibilities for a Barney/Robin coupling were limited, so they broke them up almost immediately. But last night's episode was a return to glory, doing everything HIMYM does best- lists, jumps back and forth through time, and NPH being NPH. Legen... wait for it... you know the drill.
And let me talk again how awful Slate's "Shame Index" is. If you're going to recap HIMYM, why have it be by someone who obviously neither likes the show or understands anything about its appeal?
I review "An Education" on Philly.com.
The last time the Twins got new uniforms, in 1987, they won the World Series, so that bodes well for their new duds, introduced this week.
It all looks good, even though the home uniform doesn't look like it's changed. I like the new road design, as well as the 1961 throwback, which is vastly preferable to the '80s version they wore occasionally last year. I like the new logo, too:
Target Field! It's the thing next April I'm second-most excited about.
Conan and Andy visit my other favorite talk show:
Newsweek lists 12 comics that aren't actually funny. Pretty much no disagreement here...
The top 100 quotes from the decade's best TV show:
I totally agree with this petition, being endorsed by soon-to-be-ex-lawyer Craig Calcaterra. Do we know that the video actually exists of the Dock Ellis Game? You'd think it would've surfaced by now, if so.
This may be the worst op-ed of the year - who could've guessed Andrea Peyser would be beaten out?
After over a year of hearing about it, I finally saw "The Room" this weekend. It was the first movie I watched on my new living room TV, bought earlier in the day, and it's safe to say the next movie I watch on it will probably be better.
My theory is that Tommy Wiseau got his heart savagely broken by some woman and then set out to get his revenge through a serious work of art- which due to various incompetence with acting, directing and every other aspect, ended up being perhaps the most unintentionally hilarious movie in history.
The trailer, if you haven't had the honor:
It's now available on Netflix.
How did it not occur to me, until a friend pointed it out this weekend, that the Don Draper/Dick Whitman story on "Mad Men" is all but identical to the old Seymour Skinner/Armin Tamzarian arc on "The Simpsons"? How have the five "Mad Men" recaps I read a week not mentioned this?
Was January Jones terrible on "Saturday Night Live" this week, or what? If she was planning to use that to propel herself into a Katherine Heigl-like career in romcoms, I foresee a problem. That Grace Kelly-farting bit might have been the worst SNL bit of the last five years.
It's been a weak year, with the lone exception being the Taylor Swift episode last week. This show needs some new blood, fast, especially on the writing staff.
Only the Post, understated as always:
Yes, a decade so memorable it barely even has a name.
They should make a testicular-cancer version based on the "popcorn trick" scene in "Diner."
The New York Times points out that word "douche" is suddenly being used all over prime-time television. A new level of permissiveness when it comes to vulgarity? Nah, I just think the word "douche" has become a lot more common in general. Until a few years ago I never heard it unless followed by "bag."
Charles Pierce reviews the Book of Basketball:
After all, The Book Of Basketball is at the top of The New York Times bestseller list, and it already has done the world the great service of dumping from that spot Mitch Albom's latest exercise in Flintstones Chewable Eschatology. And it may just be big and heavy and lumpy enough to keep Sarah Palin's upcoming tome, My Vengeful Screaming Vagina, out of the top spot.
Reformed right-wing loon Charles Johnson, in a revealing interview:
National security is still an important issue. But the main reason I can’t march along with the right wing blogosphere any more, not to put too fine a point on it, is that most of them have succumbed to Obama Derangement Syndrome. One “nontroversy” after another, followed by the outrage of the day, followed by conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory, all delivered in breathless, angry prose that’s just wearying and depressing to read.
It’s not just the economic issues either. I’ve never been on board with the anti-science, anti-Enlightenment radical religious right. Once I began making my opinions known on issues like creationism and abortion, I realized that there just wasn’t very much in common with many of the bloggers on the right. And then, when most of them decided to fall in and support a blogger like Robert Stacy McCain, who has neo-Nazi friends, has written articles for the openly white supremacist website American Renaissance, and has made numerous openly racist statements on the record … well, I was extremely disappointed to see it, but unfortunately not surprised.
There's no food that's worth dying for, but buffalo wings come as close as anything. I'm just shocked that Minnesota-based Buffalo Wild Wings had penetrated the Northeast. Why no Philly presence yet?
I think Matt Osborne is onto something:
I have decided to coin a phrase: Palin-Bachmann Syndrome™, defined as the psychological imbalance produced by a toxic mix of right-wing identity politics and diva training.I've long thought beauty pageants were among the worst things ever in America; this is just more confirmation.
Palin-Bachmann Syndrome™ manifests in the following behaviors: rambling, inane "word-salads" while speaking in public; paranoid access-control; espousal of fringe insanity; appeal to prejudices. See also: borderline and narcissistic personality disorders..."
An animated history of Dock Ellis' no-hitter- on LSD- in 1970:
One of his best speeches:
I haven't blogged at all about the Foot Hood massacre; it's clearly a horrible, horrible thing, and I don't have much to add. All I can say is, it's stupid to imply that the guy being a radical Muslim had nothing to do with the attack, but even stupider to imply that all Muslims, in or out of the military, should now be under suspicion.
I want to praise Marty Beckerman's outstanding article in Salon this week, in which he looks back in horror on his early-20s right-wing phase. I had one of those too- like Marty's, brought on by 9/11, and disgust with the collegiate version of activist liberalism- although I mine was neither as deep or as long as Beckerman's. Luckily we both ended up in the right place. It's hard to disagree with this part:
I am not an extreme leftist by any means -- I still dream of swimming in a vault of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck, I would die to protect the First Amendment from censorial progressive overreach, and I would consider voting for moderate Republicans if any still existed -- but I've learned to see the big picture. It doesn't matter whether you are liberal or conservative, but it's dangerous to always think with exclamation points instead of question marks. Your stance on any particular issue is far less important than whether your worldview is a product of inquiry or incuriosity, whether you feel more comfortable questioning the crowd or blindly marching with it. No ideology has a monopoly on reality -- including left-wing politics.
Will Leitch has a very good piece about Bill Simmons' ascension to #1 on the New York Times best seller list and how it represents the culmination of a decade of changes in the sportswriting game. The best part:
That Rick Reilly sits next to Simmons on ESPN.com's front page today is wonderfully surreal: No one's reputation as Sports Wit suffered more from Simmons' ascendance than Reilly. He morphed from Jim Murray to Henny Youngman, seemingly in a matter of weeks
So let me get this straight: Stephen A. Smith, once a very good sports columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, spends four or five years appearing on ESPN for hours a day, all but ignoring his newspaper duties and writing about Philadelphia sports while no longer living in Philly or even really paying attention to what's going on there. Then, after refusing a demotion to a reporting job, he's fired. Now, a arbitrator has ruled that... the paper must not only rehire Smith, but pay him six months in back pay. Say what?
News Item: Jon Runyan may run for Congress in New Jersey.
All I have to say about this is, it's good to see there are career options available for ex-Philadelphia Eagles other than "WIP radio host."
News Item: Lou Dobbs leaving CNN.
What month do you think his Fox show starts? January? March?
I have a new Weeks in Electronics Retail Crime roundup on the newly redesigned Dealerscope.com. This week, yes, mounties make an appearance.
The Eagles are a talented group compromised by the shortcomings of their quarterback and doomed by the stubbornness of their coach. They will never win a championship with Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb on board.We already know Cataldi doesn't understand football, but now we know he also doesn't understand math. The "1 in 64" argument supposes that McNabb, in every game of the last four years, had a chance for a fourth quarter comeback and failed.
The story never changes, nor will it in the foreseeable future. Donovan McNabb cannot win a game with a late drive, either because of the inaccuracy of his throws or the ineptitude of his leadership. He has managed to rescue from defeat in the fourth quarter exactly one game in the last four seasons. That’s one in 64, or 1.7 percent.
The argument ignores 1) the 10 or 15 games in that period McNabb has missed due to injury; 2) all of the games the Eagles have won or lost in blowouts, 3) all of the games in which the game ended in some other fashion besides "Eagles coming from behind to win in the final minutes."
It's one thing to criticize McNabb for not coming through in clutch moments. But how can any rational person blame the quarterback for those situations not even happening in the first place?
By his logic, Cataldi is blaming Donovan McNabb for failing to rally the Eagles to a fourth quarter comeback in Week 3 this year, when Philly beat the Chiefs by 20 points with McNabb on the sidelines and Kevin Kolb playing quarterback. But I'm just making excuses and being an apologist- a true winning quarterback would have found a way to do it anyway.
This argument is akin to saying that Chase Utley went 2-for-34 in Game 1 of the World Series.
The Stu's Hunt Down feature looks back at the Love Boat thing, four years later:
Claim to Fame, Minnesota: on October 6, 2005, members of the Purple chartered two boats to cruise Lake Minnetonka. And by “cruise Lake Minnetonka,” I mean re-enact Caligula. It takes a lot for something to be the most notorious Vikings-related incident this decade (41-Donut, Korey Stringer, Koren Robinson, the Randy Ratio, the Parking Cop, the Ticket Scalping, Arctic Blast, The Stairwell, the Favre Helicopter Chase, StarCaps, Spergon Wynn starting two games at QB), but unless Jared Allen drives a stolen monster truck into Winter Park and burns it to the ground before December 31st, I’m pretty sure this is the winner.What about the Whizzinator? It says something about an organization that someone getting arrested at an airport with a fake penis and dried urine doesn't crack the top ten of embarrassing moments for the decade. Then again, thanks to Larry Craig, Onterrio Smith's bust wasn't even the most embarrassing arrest at that particular airport.
Yea, it's like they're not even really trying anymore:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Sean Hannity Uses Glenn Beck's Protest Footage|
Will Carroll looks at one of my favorite pet peeves- outlandish, fan-generated trade scenarios. I'm excited for the first time I heard a Kyle Kendrick and Eric Bruntlett for Roy Halladay swap seriously considered on the radio.
The wonder of it all... I just drove near Foxwoods last weekend and had the song in my head for an hour.
News Item: Michelle Obama approval ratings dropping
Cue Dick Morris, who I expect to take to Fox tonight and float a scenario in which Obama divorces Michelle and marries HIllary Clinton prior to the 2012 race.
My review of "This Is It" - HEE HEEEEEE - is online at Philly.com.
What a great, great finale to an excellent season. Sepinwall was right- it felt like a caper movie. And I don't believe all this whining about how the season "moved too slow"- the pace has always been one of the best things about the show.
Can't wait for Season 4...
It's looking like third base is this year's version of last year's left field, in which there are a whole lot of free agents out there and not as many teams needing help at the position. The Twins and Phillies, in particular, are both in need of an upgrade at the position, with the Phils having declined Pedro Feliz's option for next year.
The Twins presently have four guys on their roster- Nick Punto, Matt Tolbert, Brendan Harris, and Alexi Casilla- who would be utility infielders on a good team; as of now two of the four would be starting at second and third.
Adrian Beltre to Philly and Garret Atkins to the Twins are my best guesses. Although it wouldn't surprise me if Pedro Feliz jumps to the Twins and the Phillies surprise everyone by trading for an even better player.
Because it would be so, so terrible if a shrieking, gleefully ignorant dolt with very little grasp of sports knowledge and much more interest in promotion of uneducated negativity - and interviews with strippers- were to no longer be on the air in Philly.
I've said this many times before, but the WIP morning show represents every single one of the worst things about Philadelphia fan culture, from the nonstop negativity and hostility to the conspiracy-mongering to the yelling to the gluttony (WIng Bowl.) Shouldn't the sports morning show be hosted by someone who actually likes the local teams?
You can tell this group is something way, way beyond typical Republicans or conservatives- it truly has a racist, Jew-baiting, Buchanite tinge to it. Elie Wiesel? What a left-wing hippie communist.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|The 11/3 Project|
Some true creative genius here.
I love this trade. Love it. The Twins' biggest problem last year was a lack of production from every infield position except first base- so they've brought in a shortstop who can produce at the plate and field. Now they just need a 2B and 3B, neither of whom is named Nick Punto, and they'll be all good.
Besides, Gomez has seemingly gotten worse as the years have gone on.
The Rolling Stone writer takes aim at the Wicked Witch of Wasilla:
This amazing gaffe reminded everyone of what we might have to look forward to in 2012, when the Republican Party may well nominate a woman who would lose at Trivial Pursuit to a Chilean sea bass, who makes George W. Bush look like Sir Isaac Newton. What’s incredible about Palin isn’t that she has a few gaps in her knowledge base, but that she doesn’t know anything about anything at all; she moreover doesn’t seem to feel the need to make sure one idea follows the next when she talks, instead just blurting out random unconnected bits and pieces of deep-seated resentment and persecution complex. Even ideological consistency is an alien concept to her (she wears her religious fundamentalism on her sleeve, but lets her unmarried daughter shack up with a human hard-on in the next room over) and she appears to resent the notion that it shouldn’t be.
I'm really glad Richard Sandomir wrote tihs NYT article this week about the ridiculous phenomenon of every single fan thinking the MLB playoff announcers are biased against their team.
Sandomir points out that this is most often bullshit- and that it's been going on for decades. Fans are used to homer announcers, and when they get unbiased ones, they go crazy. I'm no fan of Joe Buck or Tim McCarver, believe me- but they're wholely innocent of this particular charge.
It's an even more annoying corallary to the nonstop political bias hunts that have become such an ugly feature of political discourse in recent years. The different is, with sports, who cares? It's not like what the announcers say in any way affects the outcome of the game.
Did you notice Buck and McCarver were favoring the Yankees in Game 6, and praising them the whole time? You think maybe that's because they were winning?
Andrew Ferguson, on the critical cult of Bob Dylan, and his new Christmas album:
Many of the notices about Christmas in the Heart have been pussyfooting. We should be clear: The record is not irony, or camp. This is not a case of "It's so bad it's good." Dylan is not Florence Foster Jenkins or Tom Waits. This is a case of "It's so bad I can't believe it." Under no one else's name would a commercial concern like Sony release a product so embarrassing. Yet embarrassing doesn't quite cover it. For a man as self-aware as Bob Dylan, it's--what? The conclusion is unavoidable: He's doing this on purpose. He knows what his record sounds like. It's not a misstep. It's not a gag. It's an affront, a taunt. He's giving us a choice. He's saying, Okay, this is what it's come to: You've got two options. You can cover your ears and go running from the room in horror, or you can call me an enigmatic genius who's daring to plumb heretofore unexplored archetypes of the American imagination. But you can't do both.The Standard, it appears, is now better at music criticism than it is at political or foreign policy analysis.
News Item: Phillies will not re-sign Brett Myers
I've been comparing Brett to Kenny Powers for a long time, but now he apparently calls himself that too.
One of the most loathsome members of Congress, Tom Tancredo, walks off MSNBC:
The Yankees won the 2009 World Series Tuesday, beating the Phillies 7-3 in Game 6 of the World Series. It's the Yanks' first title in nine years, and the first ever in the sixth year of the Jeter/A-Rod combination.
They earned the title with one of their more complete teams of recent years- but make no mistake, I hate the Yankees more than ever, especially since they went through both the Yankees and Twins this offseason. Oh, and they won one more for George Steinbrenner! That would be a totally heartwarming story, except, you know, the exact opposite.
In all, a valiant effort by the Phillies- winning the World Series one year and then losing the next year's in six games is certainly nothing to sneeze at. The team has their entire core returning intact, with some intriguing prospects set to join them and an organization that's been doing everything right for a long time, and they're certain to be in contention for years to come.
Hey, it's November! Pitchers and catchers in just four months, and opening day in just six!
Sean Burns was one of the few critics who agreed with me about the downright creepiness of "This Is It," which he calls a "necrophiliac gravy train":
He also looks awful—spindly and emaciated with distractingly gigantic hands and feet, peering out from behind his omni-present sunglasses with that creepily immobile, nose-less death-mask face. The few times Jackson is actually heard speaking in the movie, he comes off like someone you’d hide from on the subway, unable to articulate a simple request to lower the volume on his headphones without shrieking “There’s a fist in my ear!”It's like everyone just sort of suspended disbelief and pretended they weren't watching something totally horrifying.
If I wanted a review unit it's probably just a phone call away, but I wouldn't want to have those in the office, it's probably a sexual harassment complaint waiting to happen.
A very British look at American news, including Fox:
I spent the last couple of days in Los Angeles covering the Blu-Con, an industry conference on Blu-ray and its future, and I think I'm convinced- I'm going to go buy a Blu-ray player. Anyway, you can see my articles filed live from L.A. here.
I review the Coen Bros' treatment of St. Louis Park Judaism, "A Serious Man," on Philly.com.
And I can't stop laughing:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Clash of the Cretins|
How dare they stereotype New York and Philly fans- who seem driven to live up to the stereotype in every way.
"Let me hear ya, douchebags!"
- I don't want to hear about how Tuesday's election was a "mandate on Obama," a rebuke to Obama, the beginning of the end of his administration, or anything like that- It's two governors' races and one Congressional race, both of which have the same 2,000 variables that every political race does.
- I had predicted a Corzine win, although it's not the biggest surprise ever that Chris Christie pulled it out. Yes, New Jersey is a longtime cesspool of corruption- but will it change with the GOP in charge? Don't count on that.
Christie's the type of pragmatic, non-insane Republican who could do a good job, and whether he does or not, he's virtually certain to be challenged by a "true conservative" next time around. I'm just excited for Cory Booker to run against him in 2013. In all, I'm just glad the commercials are over.
- After all that nonsense in the New York 23rd, the Democrats end up picking up a Republican Congressional seat, meaning Obama has expanded both his Senate and House majorities this year. Hopefully this will put to rest any idea that this "tea party" idiocy will be anything resembling a viable, electable political movement.
- Damn you, Maine. Seriously. May you feel the economic impact when the bulk of your gay residents move down to Massachusetts.
Congrats to Craig Calcaterra, the world's greatest baseball-blogging lawyer, who has chosen to give up the law and blog about baseball full time. I'll bet about 50 percent of the lawyers in this country would do the same thing if they had the opportunity. Looking forward to reading Craig, one of the sharpest minds on baseball out there, throughout the offseason, now that he'll be unencumbered by a day job.
Let me speak out once again against airlines- I'm looking in your direction, US Air- who charge for checking bags.
I had three flights this week, and the same thing happened on all three: Everyone carried their suitcases on the plane, the plane ran out of overheard space, and the crew ended up checking all the bags anyway. This is to say nothing of the extra time security takes, the slow-to-a-crawl boarding process, etc.
I thought the reason they had to start charging was that fuel prices was too high- but now they're low again. Come on US Air, get rid of it!
News Item: Clinton Couple Accused of Theft
I'm heading out to the West Coast Monday for a brief business trip to a conference, where the keynote speaker happens to be a certain noted filmmaker. But when I see him, this will NOT be my reaction:
I had a hell of a sports day Sunday- to the Linc for Eagles-Giants, to the bar for Vikings-Packers, and home for Phillies-Yankees in Game 4. Let's take 'em one by one:
All year long, as with every year, the reaction to the Eagles in town has been, when they win, it's because the competition sucks, and when they lose, it's just more proof of how terrible they are. The team shut up its critics- maybe- with a decisive thrashing of the Giants. Great game by McNabb, everyone on the offense joined in, and the defense largely held up too. They're now 5-2 and tied for first in the NFC East with Dallas, they face next Sunday night.
Sights from the game- lots of people in Phillies stuff, and even a few brave souls wearing Yankees gear. Loud "Yankees Suck" chants- it felt like I was at a Patriots game. Then, at the end, a loud chant of "Let's Go Phillies"- I don't approve, just as I didn't for all the years there were "E-A-G-L-E-S" chants at Phillies games- it's disrespectful to a team that was ready to wrap up a huge victory.
My other favorite moment- McNabb and Jeremy Maclin, both of whom are on my fantasy team, connected for a touchdown in the second quarter. I love when my team scores points right in front of me!
- As for the Vikings, quite a thing to behold- the Packers clearly didn't belong on the same field with them. I can't even imagine the existential crisis that must be happening in the state of Wisconsin right now.
If either of my fantasy teams had won or Tottenham had beaten Arsenal, it would've been a perfect sports weekend. Oh, except for...
- The World Series, where the Yankees took a 3-1 lead by beating the Phillies tonight. The Phils just had no answer for C.C. Sabathia, and couldn't set down the Yankee lineup no matter who pitched.
Should Cliff Lee have pitched Game 4? Nah. You didn't stick a guy who's unproven on three days rest and have him pitch in the World Series. But is the series over? I wouldn't count the Phils out.
At the beginning of the broadcast, I loved seeing the highlights of the series so far, spliced with clips from "Avatar." Apropos, since both the movie and the Yankees cost over $200 million.
No matter what happens in the series, I'll still be laughing about the A-Rod/centaur thing.
Of course, this was the situation when Derek Jeter decided to bunt in Game 2 of the World Series. Nobody out. Two on. Two strikes. Yankees ahead two runs. Jeter would later admit in his own understated way that it was dumb to try and bunt there (he bunted foul for strike three), but, of course, “dumb” doesn’t begin to cover the lunacy of that bunt attempt. It is dumb to send an insulting text message to the insult-target by mistake. It is dumb for the Coyote to keep buying his Road Runner hunting products from the Acme Corporation. It is dumb to pull on Superman’s cape, to spit in the wind, to tell Batman your villainous plan when you have him captured, to give Gilligan some sort of meaningful role the rescue mission. That bunt wasn’t dumb. It was closer to a nervous breakdown.
Jonathan Chait on J Street and its left flank:
J Street aspires to be a politically influential group that challenges AIPAC for the loyalty of the Jewish mainstream. An organization representing Jewish anti-Zionists would have about as much clout as a group representing Jewish professional athletes.But Jews representing professional athletes- i.e., agents- have quite a bit of clout.