February 28, 2010

Divorcing "The Marriage Ref"

You know, when they first announced this a year ago, I said "that sounds to me like the dumbest idea for a TV show ever." The commercials didn't make it look any better. But the premiere of "The Marriage Ref" tonight was even worse than I could've possibly imagined.

I don't know what the worst part- the ridiculously loud laugh track, which had uproarious laughter following lame jokes? People like Alec "Bitter Divorce" Baldwin and Marv "Creepy Sex Scandal" Albert doling out marriage advice? Smarmy host Tom Papa? The sad realization that Seinfeld, if he put his mind to it, could probably create another great TV series?

This show made me long for the wit and sophistication of "The Jay Leno Show." And to think, Jerry was getting back into our good graces, with the Curb/Seinfeld reunion and all...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

What a Weekend

The latest from Noah- including video!- is here.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:19 PM | Comments (0)

Missing Mickey

Ken Levine posted this video- with Mickey Mouse visiting "Cheers"- and I totally remember that special! It was Mickey's 60th birthday, and the conceit was that Mickey was missing:

In the clip John Ritter played the newscaster reporting on the Missing Mouse, and it was a running joke that he would not shower until Mickey was found. Apparently he had gone home with Kirstie Alley.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:19 PM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2010

On the Eve of the Gold Medal Game...

A four-year-old delivers the Herb Brooks speech from "Miracle":

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:56 PM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2010

New From the Blogging Baby

Noah's got another blog post- now live from the crib.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

Jonathan Chait, on the health care summit:

President Obama is so much smarter and a better communicator than members of Congress in either party. The contrast, side by side, is almost ridiculous... But most the time, this is like watching Lebron James play basketball with a bunch of kids who got cut from the 7th grade basketball team. He's treating them really nice, letting his teammates take shots and allowing the other team to try to score. Nice try on that layup, Timmy, you almost got it on. But after a couple minutes I want him to just grab the ball and dunk on these clowns already.
How many times does Obama have to wipe the floor with Republicans in a debate setting before they stop the silly teleprompter jokes?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)

Stephen A., Sports Radio Caller

Yes, Stephen A. Smith plays the "Eagles are cheap" game, also implying that the Eagles were wrong to cut all of the over-the-hill veterans over the years who, it turned out, they were right to cut.

Smith's now about 0-for-7 on columns since his return. He's such a self-parody at this point that when he came on WIP the other day, it took about ten minutes before I could tell whether it was really him, or Joe Conklin doing an impression.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:36 PM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2010

Great Ballparks Throughout History

I really can't get enough of charts like this one, featuring the names of stadiums teams have played in throughout baseball history. My favorite is the Marlins, whose stadium name changes roughly ever six months.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:11 PM | Comments (0)

Life Imitates "Quiz Show"

News Item: FCC investigates possible fix on "Our Little Genius" game show

At first I thought it was hilarious, because Kevin Pollak is the host of the show, and he was in "Quiz Show." But then I remembered it was David Paymer, not Pollak.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:10 PM | Comments (0)

Sports Radio Moment of the Day

Howard Eskin today was screaming about the awful, inappropriate statement made by Donovan McNabb on the occasion of Brian Westbrook's release. Here's what McNabb said:

"A great player, a great leader and a hard worker," McNabb said. "[I hope] for nothing but good things for him for the rest of his life. I’ve talked to him on many occasions and he can continue to play this game and play it at a high level, so good luck to Brian. I know this is a down day for all of us because he is a great friend of mine, but I know things will work out for him."
What am I missing? Is there something horribly awry about that statement? I can't seem to find anything anyone would object to other than "McNabb said it."

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

Pictures of Dicks

In a totally safe-for-work slideshow, New York Observer sets us straight about the many men named Dick associated with the Olympics. Heh, heh, "Dick Button." "Dick Pound."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:56 PM | Comments (0)

Mocking Glenn

Stewart goes to town on the Glenn Beck CPAC speech. "Books are free"- ha!

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Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:55 PM | Comments (0)

Westbrook Gets Baba Booey'd

What year is this? A Howard Stern guy prank-calls SportsCenter pretending to be Brian Westbrook:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:54 PM | Comments (0)

Domestic Violence- Woooooooo!

News Item: Ric Flair's wife arrested on domestic violence charges

The lesson, as always- if you're 61 years old and your wife is beating you, it's time to get out of pro wrestling.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:53 PM | Comments (0)

What, Is It Overstayed Welcomes Week?

News Item: Brett Favre to appear on first week of Jay Leno "Tonight Show"

The most false retirements ever on one stage!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:51 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2010

On Missing Reels

Tonight's film screening started a little late because... the film itself didn't arrive at the theater until right before showtime. Reminds me of one of my favorite Roger Ebert reviews ever, of the 1996 French comedy "Little Indian, Big City":

Through a stroke of good luck, the entire third reel of the film was missing the day I saw it. I went back to the screening room two days later, to view the missing reel. It was as bad as the rest, but nothing could have saved this film. As my colleague Gene Siskel observed, "If the third reel had been the missing footage from Orson Welles' `The Magnificent Ambersons,' this movie still would have sucked.''

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:57 PM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2010

Hitch on Haig

Christopher Hitchens is always willing to be exceedingly nasty about the recently deceased- his Bob Hope anti-obit is a classic- and now he turns his guns on Alexander Haig:

I saw that "demeanor" up close more than once and was coldly appalled by the pig-nostriled and also piggy-eyed form that it took. But nothing could equal that day's performance, which evinced all the sweaty, pasty-faced, trembling symptoms of a weak king or of a slobbering dauphin who could not wait to try on the crown. For a few hours at least, the United States of America appeared to be—and actually was—a pathetic banana republic.

Indeed, the bulk of Haig's awful political career was an example of banana-republic principles and the related phenomenon of an overambitious man in uniform who mastered the essential art of licking the derrières of those above him while simultaneously (see above) bullying and menacing those below.

I'm almost excited for Henry Kissinger's death, just to see what Hitchens comes up with.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:31 PM | Comments (0)

Big Love Thoughts

I still love the show, but... I don't know. I feel like they're trying to stuff about twice as much plot into this season as there is room for, juggling so many plots that they keep forgetting things. Remember that Bill was starting a church? What happened to that? And is Amanda Seyfried still on the show?

Sunday's episode was just ridiculous- breaking into the compound in Mexico? Really? The episode was just one deus ex machina after another. It also doesn't help that the show decided to steal the entire background of the Jack Abramoff scandal- right down to the Scotland junction and a Ralph Reed stand-in- and it seems the only reason Bill is running for office is so they can make him into a John Edwards figure.

That said, the show is still very entertaining.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

Eckstein Award Nominee

Australian snowboarder Torah Bright, who won the gold medal in the women's halfpipe in the Olympics. Yes, she may have the same first name as the Jewish holy scroll, but she's not a Jew. She's a Mormon, in fact.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

Best "Two and a Half Men" Ever

If the show were really this- with commentary- I might actually watch it:

See more funny videos and funny pictures at CollegeHumor.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:23 PM | Comments (0)

The "American Gladiators" Audience

Did you ever notice this? I didn't.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2010

More From Noah

My son's latest blog post is online here.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:14 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2010

Thoughts on Tiger

A few scattered thoughts:

- I'm still not entirely clear why Tiger Woods needs to apologize to anyone other than his wife. I also don't see why he needs to step forward and endure an extended episode of self-flagellation. I also don't believe for a second that he's a sex addict- he's a guy who likes to get laid, who's going through the motions of rehab because he doesn't want to get divorced.

- At this point, I would just like for Tiger to return to golf, and I don't want to hear from any more sportswriters who seek to remind us, every single day, how ashamed we should all be to be sports fans. And I reiterate my position that when all is said and done for Tiger's career, the sex scandal will be a mere footnote.

- This would've been a better idea, Part I: "Tiger Woods Returns to Sex"

- This would've been a better idea, Part II: From a Chuck Klosterman/Bill Simmons chat on ESPN.com, six years ago, as they debated the most shocking thing that could possibly happen in sports:

If Tiger Woods called a press conference and then (a.) retired from golf, (b.) said he was gay, (c.) made several casual anti-Semitic remarks, (d.) punched a female golf reporter in the face, and then (e.) refused to comment on any of these issues (to anyone) ever again ... that would be pretty shocking.
Tiger, of course, did none of the above. But if he'd done any of the four, it would've been much more interesting than the press conference that actually happened.

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

Two Thoughts on CPAC

- Is it just me, or is there some kind of major conservative conference/convention/uprising every single week of the year? Dave Weigel is a busy, busy man.

- Yes, there really is a Tea Party subgroup called "XPAC." Not to be confused with the former De-Generation X/NWO fifth banana of the same name, also known as the guy who made a sex tape with Chyna. Should we instead be calling them the "1-2-3 Kid Movement"?

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

Because Fake Slate Pitches Never Get Old

Jalopnik has some good ones- my personal favorite is "Why I'm Giving My Son Autism." Are we sure Tim Noah hasn't really written that piece?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2010

That Ebert Piece

I didn't get to it this morning, but it's amazing. Go read it now.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:29 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2010

Best Month Ever

Our son Noah turned one month old Monday; here's his latest blog post.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:47 PM | Comments (1)

Cheney vs. Bush

Peter Beinart is very right:

On the surface, the sides are clear: Republican versus Democrat, liberal versus conservative, hawk versus dove. But the more you examine Cheney’s attacks on Obama, the more it looks like Obama has simply gotten caught in the crossfire of an intra-Republican civil war. Cheney’s real target may be less Obama than his predecessor, George W. Bush...

It’s almost as if there have been three presidencies since 9/11: 1) The Cheney administration (2001-2003 or 2004), in which the vice president—aided by his old friend Donald Rumsfeld, and his key aides Scooter Libby and David Addington—got Bush to pursue a war on terror largely outside the law. 2) The Bush administration (2004-2009), in which Bush, aided by Rice, Robert Gates, chief of staff Joshua Bolton, and the rulings of the supreme court, reign in Cheney and some of his policies. And 3) the Obama administration, which tries to bring Bush’s second term policies even more under the rule of law

How much you want to bet the 2012 GOP nominee will be more of a Cheneyite than a Bushite?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

She's Still Got the Hula Hoop

Lindsey Jacobellis may have blown it in the Olympics for the second straight time, but at least she can hula hoop:

And speaking of Lindseys in the Olympics, way to go Vonn! Nice to see someone out in the public eye who speaks with the "Fargo" accent, but doesn't every ask how that "hopey changy stuff is working out for ya."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:12 PM | Comments (1)

Ban the Internet!

The Philly city council blames the messenger:

Two members of Philadelphia's city council are considering legal action against Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace in the wake of a "flash mob" earlier this week that turned violent, according to a letter sent to the city's mayor and obtained by CNET
Because it's Facebook's fault that bad acts were planned by people on it. Had they planned it by phone, would they be suing Verizon and AT&T?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:46 PM | Comments (1)

Oh Yay! A Sarah Palin/"Family Guy" Feud!

I have absolutely no interest in defending either side.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

The Second-Best John Travolta Movie With "Royale With Cheese"

I review the surprisingly not-terrible "From Paris With Love" on Philly.com.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:26 PM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2010

The Hunter S. Thompson AV Hotline

Here's a clip that's been making the rounds in electronics industry circles, of Hunter S. Thompson berating an audio/video dealer in a voicemail:

Anyway, our magazine wrote about this, and then we heard from the guy who was on the other end of the message. Here's my interview with him.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:29 PM | Comments (1)

Crime Time

I have a new Week in Electronics Retail Crime roundup up at Dealerscope.com, including the story of a guy who took a bat to 29 TVs at Walmart.

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

February 14, 2010

Olympic Thoughts

I've been enjoying the Olympics generally; a few thoughts:

- The opening ceremony stuffed about an hour of cool stuff into four hours. it could've done without the slam poetry, but k.d. lang's Canada-on-Canada cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" was just amazing. And I still can't believe the TorchFail- everything went fine for the first three hours, until the most important part?

- The moguls looked surprisingly similar to the roads in Philadelphia, five days after the storm.

- America won a medal in cross country skiing! I was on the skiing team in high school- yes, they have that in Minnesota- and some of my teammates followed the international cross-country skiing scene closely, even watching old footage of competitions and practically worshiping various skiiers, most of whom were Norwegian. Never thought the USA would break through like that.

- McDonalds doesn't seem to be doing its "America Wins, You Win" thing this year, which is a shame- it worked so well in 1984.

- The way they're treating the Georgian luger - blaming him for his own death- is pretty shameful. Has the IOC or any of the international sports governing bodies ever been anything less than corrupt.

- The German pairs figure skaters skated to Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns," WHILE DRESSED AS CLOWNS. Yes, that happened.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:06 PM | Comments (1)

Terminate This Franchise

Looking for a movie to rent? Don't choose "Terminator: Salvation," which I managed to miss last summer and should have kept on missing.

Take one of the best action movies ever (Terminator 2), and subtract, literally, EVERYTHING GOOD ABOUT IT- Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Cameron, cool, revolutionary special effects, a compelling plot/mythology, time travel- and you have T4. Also not helping were an awful, one-note Christian Bale performance, a boring plot, and an ugly, totally unexciting visual style.

Still, it was only the third or fourth worst action movie of last summer.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:06 PM | Comments (1)

"Lynch Coates"

Ta-Nahesi handled this a lot better than I would have, that's for damn sure.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:05 PM | Comments (0)

Also: We Are Not, In Fact, the World

Did you catch the new "We Are the World" video on the night of the Olympic opening ceremonies? Yikes, what a disaster.

No, there was no reason to do it again. And no, there didn't seem to be much discretion in who was allowed to participate. By the time autotuning made its first appearance I was ready to turn it off, and then when will.i.am showed up and got into his "yo, yo, we are the world!", that was it. How many things can that guy ruin in one year? And yes, it was directed by Paul Haggis. Of course it was.

I understand wanting to do a charity single for Haiti, but how about, I don't know, writing a new song? Someone on Twitter had the right idea- I'll donate if you stop showing it.

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

The QB Conundrum

Sick of hearing about the McNabb/Kolb Eagles quarterback controversy? If not, there's a really well-written blog about that and only that subject!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:03 PM | Comments (1)

February 13, 2010

Wes Anderson's "Spider-man"

Pretty good, pretty good:

If that were a real movie, it would be 10 times better than "Spider-man 3."

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

February 12, 2010

The Real Rahm

Adam Samberg's Rahm Emanuel impression, which isn't that different from his Mark Wahlberg impression:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:25 PM | Comments (0)

Film Critic Quote of the Week

Ebert on "Valentine's Day":

"Valentine's Day" is being marketed as a Date Movie. I think it's more of a First-Date Movie. If your date likes it, do not date that person again. And if you like it, there may not be a second date.
One of the only good things about the snow calamity this week is that I missed the screening of this movie.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:23 PM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2010

Four Weeks Old and Fully Clothed

My son Noah has a new blog post, which you can read here.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:56 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

Jonathan Chait on two books animating conservative thought these days: "Atlas Shrugged" and Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism":

What do those works have in common? They're written by people who don't understand liberalism and the left at all, and are thus unable to present liberal ideas in terms remotely recognizable to liberals themselves. The specific lack of understanding lies in an inability to grasp the enormous differences between American liberalism and socialism or communism, seeing them as variants on the same basic theme. The historical reality is that the architects of American liberalism saw it as a bulwark against communism, and communists and socialists in turn viewed the liberals as in implacable enemy. (Yes, you can cherry pick a few data points of commonality, but these are the exceptions rather than the rule.) The result is a tendency to see even modest efforts to sand off the roughest edges of capitalism in order to make free markets work for all Americans as the opening salvo of a vast and endless assault upon the market system.
No one who's honest- or knows what words mean- could possibly think that Obama is a socialist.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)

The Sky Isn't Blue; and Sarah Palin Didn't Quit

The incredibly nutty right-wing blogger Pam Geller was for some reason invited onto Joy Behar's CNN show the other night. I'm not sure what's my favorite part- when she tells Ron Reagan that she knows his father better than he does, or when she claims Sarah Palin did not quit as governor of Alaska:

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

Worst Sports Column of the New Year

I've read through this Stephen A. Smith column three times, and I'm still not entirely sure whether he wants Andy Reid or Donovan McNabb to return to the Eagles. He seems to take both positions on both guys.

The howlers are plentiful- Smith seems to be under the impression that Eagles fans never blame Andy Reid for losses, or that the team's recent history is comprised of "one excruciating season after another." And McNabb has only played with two big-time receivers in his career? How many do most quarterbacks play with?

The On the DL podcast tears this one apart, clearly putting more time and effort into their work than Smith did into his. What did we do for those three years without Screamin' A writing in Philly?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2010

Campus Idiots vs. Michael Oren

I'm not generally in favor of shouting down speakers at public events, whether it's Tea Partiers doing it, or campus leftists, or people who really hate Bill Gates. Here's what happened when Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren tried to speak at UC Irvine recently:

This sort of action seems to be based around the idea that "if you don't agree with me, you don't have a right to free speech," which is a pretty noxious idea no matter who espouses it.

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

February 09, 2010

Please Think of the (Mosby) Children

Here's a fan-created song about "How I Met Your Mother," told from the point of view of... Ted Mosby's daughter:

You'd think she'd be more creeped out about Ted telling his entire pre-marriage sexual history to his kids.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

Sarah Palin is Stupid, Cont'd

I don't know what's worse about this- that she quoted Pat Buchanan, or that she misunderstood him. It says a whole lot that next to her, Buchanan has the comparatively sane position.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)

Manning and the Braves

People are comparing Peyton Manning to the '90s Atlanta Braves, since both were great for a long time but won only one championship. Craig Calcaterra unloads:

I can't decide if Manning or the Braves should be more insulted by this phony, brain dead line of analysis.  If anything they should both team up and beat the hell out of whoever launched the meme in the first place (maybe the Bills and the Ohio State Buckeyes should join them). Oh, how trenchant! Of course any player or team that demonstrates only occasional greatness should be on the defensive and be made to be ashamed of itself.  Of course there is nothing worse in sports than to fall just short of a championship. Second place is first-loser, after all. They would have been better off simply giving up before the regular season began. Beats being a lousy stinkin' choker.

But I suppose I can't really blame the columnists who spew this stuff. The concept that almost, but not quite reaching the pinnacle evidences some character deficit is probably deeply ingrained in the American psyche. A myth that had to be created in order to protect the masses from the cold hard reality that random chance and dumb luck governs a hell of a lot more of our lives than any of us would care to admit.  The good and virtuous always prevail. The weak and flawed always lose. It's so much easier that way.

I've also been hearing this bullshit that Manning isn't really a great quarterback, because "a great quarterback would've won that game." Please. by that rationale, there are no great quarterbacks each year other than the Super Bowl winner. But the Saints lost to the Bucs, at home, in Week 16- and a great quarterback clearly would've won THAT game. You suck, Drew Brees.

That said, I still cheered loudly every single time the Braves lost the World Series.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:53 PM | Comments (2)

February 08, 2010

If Peyton Played in Philly

iSportacus, with an on-the-nose look at how Eagles fan would react, if they were Colts fans, to last night's game.

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

Super Bowl Notes

Congrats to the Saints, on winning New Orleans' first-ever professional sports championship, five years after Katrina and 44 years after the team entered the league, and spent most of the next four decades losing in an embarrassing fashion. I would have rather it had been the Vikings, of course, but good for the Saints, at least we lost to the defending world champions.

The game was fully worthy of its status as the most-watched television broadcast of all time.

Now, without further ado, thoughts on the commercials; here's a roundup I did of the tech-based ones.

- The Google ad was the best of the night, and one of the best TV commercials I've ever seen. It reminded me of the "Married Life" montage from "Up"- it told a full story, in an extremely condensed amount of time, almost entirely wordlessly. And even better, I heard they did it in-house, with no ad agency.

- That FLO TV ad with Nantz was pretty bizarrely mean-spirited, not to mention nonsensical- if your wife asks you to go shopping during the Super Bowl, say "no." Plus, if you have the type of wife who makes you go shopping during a big game, she probably won't take too kindly to your carrying around a FLO TV while doing so.

The other FLO TV ad wasn't much better, featuring a historical montage that wrapped up with will.i.am, who is the Ted McGinley of advertising- that guy just poisons everything he touches (music, ads, CNN's hologram gimmick- really, everything but Obama.)

- The Dodge Charger "affirmation" bit had a singular implication: If you really hate your wife, this car is for you!

- On Leno/Letterman, the backstory is much, much better than the ad itself. I love that NBC flew Leno to New York on its own jet so he could promote their competition's show.

- Ultimate lesson of the Tim Tebow ad: If your mom doesn't abort you, one day you may tackle her. And much as Focus on the Family is a noxious organization in every way, they played the media like a fiddle for the past few weeks, earning themselves millions worth of free publicity. They must have the same media strategist as Mancrunch.com.

- TruTV: I laughed about five minutes straight at Punxsutawney Troy Polamalu.

- Arcade Fire's "Wake Up" makes any footage 75 percent better, whether you're the NFL or Spike Jonze.

- Doritios: Loved the little kid telling off his mom's suitor, but the other spots were pretty mediocre. What's up with the guy who buried himself in a coffin full of Doritos? He knows they get stale after a day or two, right?

- Bud Light: Not a good one among them. And do all-female book clubs usually serve beer?

- Snickers: I don't get it- why did Betty White turn into a man? And yes, Abe Vigoda managed to outlive "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien." Don't think anyone saw that one coming.

- KGB: Wow, there's a product no Russian immigrant will ever use.

- Audi "Green Police": Um, what? This played like a right-wing critique of green culture- so why don't you buy this green car?

- Taco Bell/Charles Barkey: Wha? Charles is many things, but a performer is not one of them. As his recent SNL appearance showed, Charles is about as good at acting as he is at golf.

And finally... enough of the talking E*Trade baby. Enough of another animal wanting to a Clydesdale. And enough of this GoDaddy nonsense. I get it- we're supposed to think there's nudity on the Web site!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:15 PM | Comments (1)

February 07, 2010

Three Weeks of Noah

My son has a new blog post.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:34 PM | Comments (0)


I review "Edge of Darkness" on Philly.com.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:34 PM | Comments (0)

Covering Wing Bowl

I didn't make it this year- once per lifetime was enough- but Brian Hickey was, with an entertaining writeup.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:30 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

Jonathan Chait, on those ads that have been running in several states against "The Big Bank Bailout," which is in fact the financial regulatory bill that the banks oppose:

The political dynamic is that the Republicans are supporting the big banks and credit card companies, who want to keep in place the laws that allowed them to get too big to fail. Opposing change, and siding with these institutions is wildly unpopular. So the approach urged by [Frank] Luntz is to simply pretend that a regulatory reform bill staunchly opposed by the financial industry is instead a new bailout fund favored by the financial industry. I wonder why Democrats never thought of this approach. Instead of opposing the Bush tax cuts, why not crusade against the "Bush tax hike"? Rather than oppose Samuel Alito's Supreme Court nomination, why not just insist you oppose the nomination of Charles Manson? Everybody hates Charles Manson.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:29 PM | Comments (0)

Breitbart vs. Birthers

Journalist Dave Weigel, the world's greatest chronicler of today's nutty conservative movement, describes a backstage confrontation between right-wing impresario Andrew Breitbart and World Nut Daily editor Joseph Farah, who gave a pro-birther speech at this weekend's Tea Party convention.

Here, from the Buffalo Beast's annual "50 Most Loathsome Americans" list, is Farah's entry:

As editor of Worldnetdaily, old Joe’s insanity is often the starting line in the race from Drudge to Fox to a large, sweaty-headed Olbermann condemnation. Birther, creationist, secret Muslim, 9/11 conspiracies, Vince Foster, Chuck Norris: they do it all, and false evidence is their favorite kind. WND makes Jenny McCarthy’s Twitter feed read like a peer-reviewed journal, and yet the media pays attention to both, because our culture’s an intellectual cesspool. You know you’re in trouble when even Glenn Beck thinks your Obama conspiracy theories are ridiculous.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:28 PM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2010


News Item: Twins sign 2B Orlando Hudson

I love this signing. Love it. Like I've said before, the Twins have four guys on their roster- Nick Punto, Brendan Harris, Alexi Casilla and Matt Tolbert- that should be utility infielders on a contending team; they had to play playoff games last year with three of them in the lineup at a time.

Now, with Hudson in the fold, they can either platoon Punto and Harris at third, or start Harris and use Punto in a utility role. And third base prospect Danny Valencia should up with the big club by midseason. Plus, they add Hudson's speed and on-base percentage to the top of the lineup, and add a guy who's supposed to be just a quote machine.

Even though they've now done more in late January/early February than in the rest of the offseason put together, I'm happy with the Twins where they stand today, heading into the Target Field opening. They've got quite a good lineup top to bottom, plus seven starting pitchers as of now. And the team has a payroll just under $100 million! The Twins!

Can't wait to watch them on Fox nine times next year.

Now, sign Mauer.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)

"Lost" is Yummy

5 Second Films looks at how the show comes together:

I liked the premiere, and actually understood it surprisingly well, having never seen the show before.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)

But He Seemed Like Such a Great Guy!

News Item: John Edwards hit wife Elizabeth prior to separation

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)

But He Seemed Like Such a Great Guy II!

News Item: Michael Irvin accused of rape

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:39 AM | Comments (1)

Demon Sheep!

Is this the biggest political laughingstock ever? See especially the 2:20 mark or so- it's like "Children of the Corn: The Sheep Version":

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2010

The Brandeis Terrorist Goes Down

Aafia Siddiqui, the long-accused al-Qaeda operative who after being captured was accused of trying to kill American officers in Afghanistan, has been convicted in a New York court.

Two funny things about this story: one, after all the KSM fake outrage, this terrorist was tried in a New York court without any controversy or hubbub whatsoever. And two, Siddiqui is an alum of... Brandeis, where she got a Ph.D. in neuroscience. Here's the kicker:

As the jurors began leaving the courtroom, Ms. Siddiqui, her face mostly covered in a cream-colored scarf, turned in her chair to face them. Holding her right index finger in the air, she said: “This is a verdict coming from Israel and not from America. That’s where the anger belongs.”

Though the outburst prompted marshals to remove Ms. Siddiqui, 37, from the courtroom

Yes, of all the places to go to grad school, this woman chose the Non-Sectarian Jewish-Sponsored University.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:34 AM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2010

Scooby Dooby Jew!

One of the weirdest, craziest things on "The Daily Show" in awhile:

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Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:17 PM | Comments (0)

February 02, 2010

Oscar Thoughts

Can't say I disagree that much with the best picture nominations- on my year-end list, the ten movies nominated for Best Picture were my #1, #2, #3, #4, #13, #14, #18, #26, #27, and #37 choices. No "Where the Wild Things Are" or "in the Loop" for Picture, but what can you do? At least "Serious Man" made it.

And why no Nicolas Cage nomination for "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans"? It wasn't THAT different from his "Leaving Las Vegas" role...

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

TV Roundup

- "Saturday Night Live" After sucking for about ten episodes in a row, SNL Saturday came out with its best top-to-bottom show since, well, the last time Jon Hamm hosted. Did the writers suddenly become funnier? Nah, I think it was all Hamm. That guy's damn talented, just as good at comedy as drama; I can see him becoming a huge, huge movie star within the year.

- "Big Love" It's still very entertaining and watchable, but this season is clearly not up to the level of last year, mostly due to the insane story arc that has Bill running for elected office (in addition to running a home store, a casino, and a church- yes, he has more jobs than wives.) They're really turning him into a villain in the later seasons, and that's in some way admirable. Bill the politician made his friend take the fall for his own transgression? Who would do such a thing?

- "Damages" After the show's second season got away from it, big time- trying to squeeze three years worth of plot into one- the show seems to be back in form in the third season, even if it is stealing the entire Bernie Madoff story verbatim. Still, I'm loving Martin Short as a sleazy lawyer - in the funnyman-goes-serious-on-"Damages" tradition of Ted Danson and Darrell Hammond- and Campbell Scott is doing great too. Plus, Rose Byrne is no longer starved down to a size zero- she appears to have grown to a 1 or maybe even a 2.

-"Lost" As you may have gathered from its complete lack of mentions in the past five years, I've never watched "Lost," although I've decided to watch the final season, because, why the hell not? I want to be able to participate in my co-workers' hours-long dissections of it. I posted the question on Facebook and several people tried to talk me out of it, pointing out that I should go back and watch the whole series on Netflix/Hulu. Yea, due to recent events in my household, I've got a feeling that's not happening. It's on as I type and I'm going to watch it later.

- "24" Here's a show that really should go off the air very soon- they're completely out of ideas at this point, other than changing the city every year, and the nationalities of the villains. But how exactly are we supposed to tell all these evil Russians/Germans apart? There's about 10 of them. The Katee Sackhoff stalker plot is pretty terrible too- and why is she wearing cocktail dress while working at CTU? Then there's Renee, Johnny Utah-style, using her real name while undercover. And yes, if Jack spent the rest of the season undercover, with a German accent, as "Meir," I might actually be interested. But that seems to be over.

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

Following Dick Cheney's Path to Power

News Item: Brandeis presidential search committee chairman nominated for president.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:58 PM | Comments (2)

The Trouble With Bipartisanship

A James Fallows correspondent has it right:

"GOP member: 'I'd like this in the bill.'

"Dem member response: 'If we put it in, will you vote for the bill?'

"GOP member:  'You know I can't vote for the bill.'

"Dem member:  'Then why should we put it in the bill?'

And there's more:
"Bipartisanship in the American sense means compromising on legislation so that a sufficient number of members of Congress from BOTH parties will support it, even if (as is typically the case) a few majority party members defect and most minority party members don't join.  Bipartisanship consists of getting ENOUGH members of the minority party to join the (incomplete) majority in voting for major legislation.  It can't happen if the minority party members vote as a block against major legislation.  And that can happen only if the minority party has the ability to discipline its ranks so that none join the majority, which is the unprecedented situation we've got in Congress today.
Far too many define "bipartisanship" as "everyone in the opposite party going along with everything I want anyway."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:57 PM | Comments (0)

Film Critic Quote of the Week

My college classmate Zach Handlen, revisiting "Orphan" in the AV Club:

Basically, Orphan is what would happen if Kirsten Dunst’s character in Interview With The Vampire had survived, become a film actress, and beat out Rebecca De Mornay for the villain role in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:56 PM | Comments (0)

February 01, 2010

Your Monday Noah

My son's got a new blog post, which can be read here.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:53 PM | Comments (1)

Mauer Signs- No He Doesn't!

Twins fans temporarily got their hopes up this afternoon when WCCO's Mark Rosen reported that they had agreed with Joe Mauer on a 10-year contract extension at undisclosed terms. Oops... several other top reporters, both national and local, reported soon after that no deal was done.

I'm sure the deal will still happen- although I wouldn't imagine it'll be for ten years- but this is pretty embarrassing for Rosen. He was, however, the reporter who ultimately broke the news that Favre was indeed coming to the Vikings, even though half of ESPN's reporters were camped out on his lawn at the time.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:52 PM | Comments (1)

Obama vs. the House Republicans

Thought One: He's Way, Way Smarter Than All of Them

Not to mention- we're closer than ever to my wish of a U.S. version of Prime Minister's Question Time.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

Sports Radio Moment of the Day

Sitting in for Howard Eskin today, Anthony Gargano joined Ike Reese, and two men went on and on about why didn't want to watch the Pro Bowl. Because it's boring and meaningless? Of course not- because of Donovan McNabb.

The two hosts went on about how they didn't want to see McNabb "clowning around" at the Pro Bowl, when everyone back in Philly knows that he hasn't won a Super Bowl yet.

Which brings up a natural question- how should McNabb, or any other non-Super Bowl-winning quarterback, behave in the offseason? Take a vow of poverty? Engage in self-flagellation? Not appear in public at all?

How about "work out hard, sometimes with teammates, in an attempt to be ready for the next year?" That seems to be the most likely way to bring about an eventual championship- and it's what McNabb does, every year.

I'm telling you- the McNabb/Obama parallel is stronger than ever, with Donovan filling the Lucifer role on sports talk radio that the president does on political talk. To their single-minded enemies, anything either man says or does, no matter how innocuous, is occasion for full-throated vitriol and outrage.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:49 PM | Comments (0)

A Parody, Sort Of

Onion: Vikings Stand Behind Brett Favre's Decision To Jerk Team Around For Months

Imagine how deferential they'd be towards him if he HADN'T thrown a season-ending interception.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:49 PM | Comments (0)

Cornering the Market on Mediocre Mikes

News Item: Bears hire Mike Martz as offensive coordinator

So they've got Mike Martz AND Mike Tice on the same offensive staff? When are they signing Mike McMahon to play quarterback?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:48 PM | Comments (0)