March 31, 2010

Noah's First Passover

See Noah's blog for highlights of his first Passover.

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

March 29, 2010

Quote of the Day

Matt Yglesias, on that ridiculous Glenn Reynolds post alleging that Obama "just hates Israel and hates Jews":

I’ll say for my part that I think a great many of Obama’s actions throughout the years—most notably his many social and professional relationships with Jewish people—suggest that he is not motivated by hatred of Jews. What’s more, his ability to persuade the overwhelming majority of American Jews to vote him is likewise an indication that the people most likely to be concerned with detecting Jew-hatred do not find this charge to be plausible. I suppose it’s true that the old “some of my best Chiefs of Staff are Jewish” thing can fall flat at certain points. But then there’s Larry Summers, David Axelrod, Peter Orszag, etc. The Obama White House looks more like an anti-semite’s conspiracy theory about Jews running the government than like an actual anti-semitic conspiracy.
Once again- Obama "snubbing" Netanyahu isn't any more "anti-Israel" than criticizing Obama is "anti-American."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:13 AM | Comments (1)

March 28, 2010

The Hart-McMahon Anti-Climax

Yes, I watched the Bret Hart/Vince McMahon Wrestlemania match tonight. I don't watch WWE much anymore, but since it was pretty much the last unrealized "dream match" left that hadn't happen, I figured I needed to watch.

Honestly? Ugh. It's not so much that it was a 60-something non-wrestler fighting against a 50-something guy who was presumably retired for injury reasons. It was just plain an ugly scene- Hart beating up McMahon for 15 minutes looked like an old man beating up an even older man.

Revenge, long in the making, that was anti-climatic, bungled, and way-too-late. Reminded me quite a bit of Saddam Hussein's execution.

UPDATE: The Atlantic's ace political blogger Marc Ambinder, a noted wrestling fan, live-tweeted Wrestlemania tonight. It's apropos, since wrestling and politics are more or less the same thing these days.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)

The Best McNabb Take, and the Worst

I agree with every word of this rant by Johnny Goodtimes Sorry for the length, but it's all great:

Sanity is not the hallmark of the Philadelphia Eagle fan. Instead, the majority of the talk in this city revolves around McNabb’s inbability to win the big one, around his lack of clutchness, his lack of character, his lack of cajones. His successes are cavalierly dismissed, his failures examined under a microscope that is far more intense than anything Louis Pasteur peered through. The anti-McNabb faction, stoked by loud-mouthed haters like Angelo Cataldi (who completely lacks any semblance of talent) and Mike Missanelli (who I think is usually pretty clearheaded but who fails to see this issue with any objectivity), froth at the mouth with stories of McNabb smiling, of vomiting, of his training in Arizona instead of the Siberian mountains like Rocky. The haters grasp at anything they can latch onto to validate their booing of McNabb on Draft Day, and then try to convince others with a rehashing of their major points day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute, on chat boards and local radio. Like Jim Jones’s voice booming out over the camp speakers in Guyana, the same words, phrases, and beliefs are rehashed and reiterated in a giant loop until you almost halfway-believe because you have no other choice....

The vitriol directed at McNabb is shockingly intense, particularly when you consider  that he is without question the best quarterback in the 77 year history of the franchise. I’m sure that Bills fans got sick of Jim Kelly losing the big one year after year, but I highly doubt he approached even a modicum of the venom McNabb faces in Philadelphia....

I only can hope for this: that McNabb goes to a winner such as Minnesota. That the fans in his new town appreciate not only his talent but his toughness and his class. And that he wins a Super Bowl, while Eagle fans keep crying in their beer, as if fate owes them one. Newsflash: Fate doesn’t owe you shit. In fact, your pain may not be a product of fate, but one of kharma. As long as you treat athletes who leave it all on the field like trash, perhaps you don’t deserve a parade."

Then there's this bit of self-parody from Mike Florio:
To stay in Philly, McNabb may need another "financial apology"
This post is based on no facts and pure speculation, recycles the "financial apology" canard that some sportswriter made up, and just plain amounts to nothing. McNabb will probably get a new contract from whatever team trades for him, or from the Eagles if they get rid of Kolb and keep him. Is there something sinister or controversial about that?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)

The Year's Weakest Health Care Allegory

I review "Repo Men" on Not nearly as good as "Repo Man."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:37 PM | Comments (1)

Qumar, and Other "Unnamed Middle Eastern Countries"

11 Points has a list of the most dangerous fictional Middle Eastern countries. My favorite is "The West Wing"'s "Qumar," which is especially dangerous considering it appears to have been carved out of a section of Iran.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:34 PM | Comments (0)

The Baseball Card Bubble

Yes, there was one, and the cards you collected as a kid are pretty worthless. Sorry, your mom was wrong.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:34 PM | Comments (1)

March 26, 2010

"Lost" Baby, Yeah!

"Lost" gets "Austin Powers"-like opening credits:

Lost vs. Saul Bass from Hexagonall on Vimeo.

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


Here's Noah's latest blog post. Yes, he's now five pounds, seven ounces.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

Ta-Nehisi Coates, on the "rank amateurism" of the tea party:

I hear GOP folks and Tea Partiers bemoaning the fact that media and Democrats are using the extremes of their movement for ratings and to score points. This is like Drew Brees complaining that Dwight Freeney keeps trying to sack him. If that were Martin Luther King's response to media coverage, the South might still be segregated. I exaggerate, but my point is that the whining reflects a basic misunderstanding of the rules of protest. When you lead a protest you lead it, you own it, and your opponents, and the media, will hold you responsible for whatever happens in the course of that protest. This isn't left-wing bias, it's the nature of the threat.
And speaking of the teabaggers, there's this. And, even better, this.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)

Just a Fucking Bill

Jimmy Fallon continues to bring much funnier stuff than you ever thought he could:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)

An Anti-Chicago Hate Crime

News Item: Michelle Obama says Grimaldi's pizza in Brooklyn "better than Chicago pizza"

Now, I love Michelle, and I've had Grimaldi's and it's quite excellent (I lived a couple of blocks from the Hoboken location.) But it's a far, far cry from Chicago pizza, which blows any East Coast pie out of the water.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:45 PM | Comments (0)

Mine Too!

News Item: McNabb's top trade preference is Vikings

I really wish Brett would hurry up and decide, but... I still wouldn't bet against Donovan either staying with the Eagles one year or being one-and-done with whatever team he's traded to, and then signing as a free agent with the Vikes in 2011.

Favre wanted to go the Vikings in '08, but wasn't able to and instead went to the Jets for a year, before coming to Minnesota. I'm loving this, the Twin Cities being where every top QB wants to end up.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:44 PM | Comments (0)

"The Office" Outs Anderson Cooper

I noticed this last night, but no one on Twitter did until hours later. How in the world did they get that past standards and practices?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:41 PM | Comments (1)

The Court in 140

Here's a fun Twitter game- people describing their favorite Supreme Court decisions in 140 words or less. Try that, and in Haiku!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:41 PM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2010

Thoughts on McNabb

So it's now looking like Donovan McNabb will most likely be gone from the Eagles, probably in the next few weeks.

My views on Donovan have been stated numerous times over the years- he's clearly been one of the best quarterbacks in the league for his entire career, he's brought the Eagles more success than they'd experienced in decades prior to his arrival, and even if he's never been appreciated since the day he was drafted, he certainly will be once he's gone.

More than any other athlete, McNabb has fallen victim to the Philadelphia fan attitude of "if you haven't won a championship, you suck and I hate you." I expect the Anti-Eagles Movement, from talk radio to the sports bars, to find a huge hole in their lives once they don't have Donovan to kick around anymore.

I would love for him to be a Viking, as they're as perfect a fit for him as there is in the league- a ready-made contender, same offense, strong supporting cast, head coach and QB coach who are his friends, a city that WOULD appreciate him- but the Vikes are content to wait for Brett Favre's decision, even if it comes in mid-August again. What a shame.

I agree with Iggles Blog's take:

Since 2004, when McNabb really hit his stride throwing the ball, look at those numbers.  In three seasons -- 2004, 2007 and 2008 -- McNabb had better numbers than the guy who won it all.  To believe that McNabb wasn't good enough to win a Super Bowl when he was better than the guys who, in fact, did, requires such tremendous mental contortions that it's no wonder critics settle on things like "well, he just smiles too much is all."
So congrats Eagles fans. You may not make the playoffs next year, or have a winning record, or any hope of a championship, or even much reason to think you'll be playing meaningful games for much of the season. But at least you'll have a quarterback who doesn't smile at the wrong time, or annoy you with his press conference answers. Because that's what's really important.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:43 PM | Comments (4)

"At the Movies," RIP

The movie review show, long hosted by Siskel and Ebert, will go off the air this August. It's a shame, especially since it recently relaunched with the very capable A.O. Scott/Michael Phillips duo.

I've been DVRing it every week, although since it aired at 2 in the morning on Sunday, and half of it was usually cut off by the end of a "Desperate Housewives" re-run, perhaps the lack of ratings wasn't much of a surprise.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:42 PM | Comments (0)

So, He's Running Then?

Gen. David Petraeus, sort of dashing Republican hopes that he'll be their electoral savior:

I thought I’d said no about as many ways as I could. I really do mean no. We have all these artful ways of doing it. I’ve tried Shermanesque responses, which everybody goes and finds out what Sherman said was pretty unequivocally no. I’ve done several different ways. I’ve tried quoting the country song, ‘What Part of No Don’t You Understand?’ I mean, I really do mean that. I feel very privileged to be able to serve our country. I’m honored to continue to do that as long as I can contribute, but I will not, ever, run for political office, I can assure you. And again, we have said that repeatedly and I’m hoping that people realize at a certain point you say it so many times that you could never flip, and start your career by flip-flopping into it.
Then again, after criticizing Israel's settlements and calling for the end of DADT, Petraeus is way too liberal to run as a Republican anyway.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:41 PM | Comments (1)

Headline I Should've Seen in 2002, Not 2010

News Item: Deal reached to rebuild World Trade Center

Barring unforeseen delays, of course.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:40 PM | Comments (0)

Flash Mobs!

The big story in Philly the last few weeks is... flash mobs! The Times:

hundreds of teenagers have been converging downtown for a ritual that is part bullying, part running of the bulls: sprinting down the block, the teenagers sometimes pause to brawl with one another, assault pedestrians or vandalize property
If you remember flash mobs, they were a bizarre hipster/performance art phenomenon that briefly took place, in New York and elsewhere, around 2003-'04, sort of coinciding with the Howard Dean presidential bid and featuring a lot of the same people.

From what I remember it was more of a prank than anything else; hundreds of people would show up somewhere, do something wacky, and then immediately disperse. The Philadelphia version, as is often the case, is much more violent.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:39 PM | Comments (0)

Just a Few Bad Apples

Pretty depressing poll numbers from Harris:

• 67 percent of Republicans (and 40 percent of Americans overall) believe that Obama is a socialist.

• 57 percent of Republicans (32 percent overall) believe that Obama is a Muslim

• 45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was "not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president"

• 38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is "doing many of the things that Hitler did"

• Scariest of all, 24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama "may be the Antichrist."

Well, if true, that's just awesome.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:38 PM | Comments (0)

Headline of the Day

New York Times: Frum Forced Out at Conservative Institute

No, as a rabbi friend pointed out, this is not about a frum (religious) Jew being kicked out of an institution of Conservative Judaism. Nope, it's the other conservative movement- David Frum has been forced out of the American Enterprise Institute.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:38 PM | Comments (0)

Name That Name

The Name of the Year pairings have been announced- and yes, Hitler and Stalin are against each other in Round 1. My favorite is either Spartacus Bernstein or Flavius Killebrew.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:37 PM | Comments (0)

"South Park" Should Go After Him Again

Is there anyone in American life more loathsome than Bill Donohue? It appears his argument is that it is anti-Catholic bigotry to accuse the Catholic church of covering up pedophilia, even if it did. At least he doesn't blame the gays this time.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:37 PM | Comments (0)

On "Liz Lemoning"

I totally agree with Matt Yglesias here, and one of my many reasons for disliking "30 Rock" is that it treats the obviously gorgeous Tina Fey character like she's ugly- and somehow uses this for humor. Same with Julia Louis-Dreyfus on "Old Christine," Debra Messing when "Will and Grace" was on, and Rachel from "Glee." Who is laughing at these jokes exactly?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:36 PM | Comments (2)

Quote of the Day

Josh Marshall, on the assholes:

Thankfully, no one has been injured or killed. But this didn't come from nowhere and it can't be pawned off on a few cranks. Everything that's happened over the last five days has grown from a pattern of incitement going back almost a year -- wildly hyperbolic statements, coded appeals to menacing behavior, flippant jokes about bringing firearms to political events and all the rest. Now Eric Cantor (R-VA) is going on the attack, claiming that who's really to blame here is the Democrats for making a big deal about these acts of violence against them.

No one who is even remotely honest can pretend that anything about this is bipartisan in character. The Right and yes the national Republican party has been stirring this pot for months. We all see this. Cantor's behavior is shameful beyond imagining. It's time for a truth moment for the national Republican party. Incitement matters. They have to take responsibility for what they've done: which is nothing less than a campaign of incitement for which they're now unwilling to take any responsibility.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:35 PM | Comments (0)

"Break Their Windows"

Yes, this guy should be arrested. And it's not "tyranny" if he does. How's this clown different from Bill Ayers again?

The decent members of the conservative movement need to put a stop to this stuff, NOW, before there are assassinations.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:34 PM | Comments (0)

At Least She's Honest

News Item: Chloe Sevigny admits "Big Love" was "awful" in Season 4

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:34 PM | Comments (0)

Not Chris Matthews' Finest Moment

He talks in January about how laughable it was that health care would be passed via reconciliation:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Posted by Stephen Silver at 07:33 PM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2010

Comment Away

Looks like comments are working again. Have at it below.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:09 PM | Comments (5)

March 23, 2010

Out of the Zone

It may be out of theaters already, but my review of "Green Zone" is online here.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:53 PM | Comments (1)

March 22, 2010

Quote of the Day

John Cole, on the ludicrous notion that health care was "jammed down the throats of the American people":

The bill was passed with a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, as required by law and Senate rules. It was then passed in the House by majority rule and in accordance with all House Rules.

It was done so by a Democratic majority elected sixteen months ago along with a Democratic President who campaigned daily on Health Care reform, and who received the most votes in the history of American elections and won by the widest margin in decades.

The bill was crafted quite openly, after a year and a half of public debate, and the exact Senate bill that was passed in the House yesterday has been available for people to read and discuss for three entire months. This was the slowest, most open, most thoroughly discussed piece of legislation in my lifetime.

Anyone who says this was “rammed down” anyone’s throats simply does not know what they are talking about. But hey- ride that wave of anger... it has really served the Republicans well so far."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 09:34 PM | Comments (0)

Notes on Health Care Passage

Well, no matter what happens for the rest of Obama's presidency, he passed health care reform, something that absolutely needed to happen and has needed to happen for many decades. A few notes:

- Maligned as she is, Nancy Pelosi deserves a ton of credit for doing what a party leader in Congress is supposed to do- whip the caucus and get stuff passed.

- Even moreso, I credit Obama for not giving up, and falling into the post-Scott Brown concern troll trap of "take a few months off, and then go for a bipartisan solution." They used to say Clinton managed 8 years in office without any major legislative accomplishments; they'll never say that about Obama.

- Speaking of Clinton, Dee Dee Myers gave a CNN interview over the weekend in which she threw out the "people want to have a beer with him. They're just not sure he wants to have a beer with them" cliche. She also urged that Obama "take a page out of the Clinton political playbook"- you mean the playbook that wasn't able to pass health care?

- Then there's the disgraceful group of angry buffoons known as the Tea Party movement, who plunged to a nadir the day before the vote, when some of them shouted the n-word at Congressman and civil rights giant John Lewis. Do they conceive of what it means to be an angry, all-white mob, spitting and shouting the n-word at John Lewis? Do they know what historical legacy they're invoking?

Yes, it's just a few bad apples. Many, many, many bad apples, that show up at every single event and give most of the speeches. Screw them. Like Jon Stewart said, it's not "tyranny." It's "losing."

- And how about a legal challenge? It's nice to see the GOP is now in favor of "activist judges."

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

Way to Go, Weigel

Just wanted to congratulate Dave Weigel, who's written some of the best journalism of the past year covering the conservative movement for the Washington Independent, for his new gig with the Washington Post.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 08:45 PM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2010

Noah's Weekend

Noah's latest blog post is here. We're coming up on "zero day"- his original due date- in just over a week.

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

Mauer Stays

News Item: Twins sign Joe Mauer to eight-year extension

I asked six or eight months ago which would happen first, Mauer's contract, or passage of health care. Turns out it came down to the exact same day, albeit many months later than was preferable.

You can't disagree with this; Mauer is a once-in-a-lifetime player, and a local guy to boot, and they really had no choice but to keep him. Still, I never thought I'd see the day that the Twins signed someone to a $180 million contract.

So sorry Yankees fans- there's one player in baseball who you CAN'T have.

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

March 19, 2010

Stewart vs. Beck

This impression/evisceration of Glenn Beck by Jon Stewart made me want to stand and applaud:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Intro - Progressivism Is Cancer
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Reform

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Conservative Libertarian
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Reform

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:53 PM | Comments (0)


Looks like I'm in first place in my NCAA office pool, near the end of the second day. Goes to show that doing research, and actually watching any college basketball during the season, is highly overrated.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:50 PM | Comments (0)

Sulu is Sharp

An excellent new commercial with George Takei:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:46 PM | Comments (2)

Target Field Isn't a Bad Stage Itself

Jason of the baseball blog IAATB, on the ridiculous idea that Joe Mauer "deserves the big stage of New York":

That’s the last thing this guy deserves.  He deserves to remain in his backyard, with family and friends and being the face of a very good, talented and competitive Twins franchise for the next decade a half. Why does Silva think that Mauer deserves New York?  Because it’s bigger, more crowded, can afford to pay him more?  It’s a dangerous word, deserve.

Deserves”.  This one word gets Yankee fans in so much trouble.  It implies a God-given right.  We tend to think that we, the Yankees, deserve the best players because we’re New York, because we have the most money to spend, because we’ve won 27 World Series titles, etc… We don’t deserve anything more than what we go out and earn.  Wins, respect, whatever.  Joe Mauer doesn’t “deserve” New York anymore than New York “deserves” Joe Mauer.  This is exactly the sort of sentiment that gives Yankee fans the reputation they have (well, along with the cast of Jersey Shore and guys like this, to the right).
You know who deserves Joe Mauer?  The fine people of Minnesota.

No city DESERVES any player. And I couldn't be more excited for neither Joe Mauer or LeBron james to ever play for a New York team.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:45 PM | Comments (0)

The Hannity Scam?

News Item: Only small percentage of Sean Hannity's "Freedom Concert" funds went to actual charity.

This story looked too good to be true, and it probably is, according to an investigation by David Frum's shop. This did originate with Debbie Schlussel, who is generally known for accusing innocent people of stuff (terrorism, usually) so perhaps it's not a huge surprise.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:43 PM | Comments (0)

World's Most Racist Walmart

It's in Southern New Jersey. I don't know what's worse- what happened, or the lovely comments to the CNN story, all of which take the "it's not that big a deal" tack. I bet every single person who wrote that is mad at Al Sharpton for being mean to white people.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:42 PM | Comments (0)

Nice Guys Finish First

News Item: Twins called "nicest team in baseball"

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:41 PM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2010

For All Mankind

Cactus Jack visits "The Daily Show":

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Crumbums & Fatcats
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Reform
Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:30 AM | Comments (0)

Accessorizing the iPad

I look at accessories for the new Apple device, on

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:28 AM | Comments (0)


Glad stardom hasn't kept Zach G from doing his best bit:

Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: Ben Stiller from Between Two Ferns

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:27 AM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2010

Two Months of Noah

Noah's two-month blog post is here.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)


David Simon's new show looks even better than I could've imagined:


Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

They Must Have Moved to the Suburbs and Found Them Stifling

News Item: Kate Winslet, Sam Mendes separate

I don't generally make it a habit of enjoying the marital misfortunes of others, but how apropos that the director and female star of probably the worst movie ever made about marriage ("Revolutionary Road") would themselves get divorced. I'm just glad we never had to watch them yell at each other for two hours.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

Jeffrey Goldberg, with the sanest thing I've seen written about the current Israeli kerfuffle:

I'm not actually suggesting that the White House is directly meddling in internal Israeli politics, but it's clear to everyone -- at the White House, at the State Department, at Goldblog -- that no progress will be made on any front if Avigdor Lieberman's far-right party, Yisrael Beiteinu, and Eli Yishai's fundamentalist Shas Party, remain in Netanyahu's surpassingly fragile coalition.

So what is the goal? The goal is force a rupture in the governing coalition that will make it necessary for Netanyahu to take on Livni's centrist Kadima Party (he has already tried to do this, but too much on his terms) and form a broad, 68-seat majority in Knesset that does not have to rely on gangsters, messianists and medievalists for votes.

It's a terrible thing to see the U.S. and Israel at odds. But it's not "Obama vs. Israel." It's "Obama vs. Bibi." If you're anti-Bibi you're not any more anti-Israel then you'd be anti-American if you were anti-Obama.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2010

Kirby at 50

Kirby Puckett, it's hard to believe, would have been 50 years old on Sunday. Can't wait to visit his statue at Target Field in a couple of months.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

One Week Home

Noah's got a new blog post here, about his first week at home. The little guy turns two months old today.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

Best Brooklyn Cop Film of the Month

Yes, better than "Cop Out." I review "Brooklyn's Finest" on here.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

"Trade Rumor" of the Day Phillies internally considered trading Ryan Howard for Albert Pujols

Not believable, for several reasons. One, Ruben Amaro denies the assertion, right there in the story, and calls it a "lie." Two, it would make no sense- the only reason to trade Howard is if you can't afford him, and Pujols is even more expensive. And three, it just doesn't make sense for either team. The Cardinals like having Pujols, and the Phillies like having Howard.

It's not going to happen, period. But I'm sure it'll still be Topic A on sports talk all week.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)

Film Critic Quote of the Week

Newsweek's Ilana Ozernoy on "Green Zone":

"In the end, though, it is not the details that do this film in; it's the setup. Greengrass shows us very well that it was stupid to allow the looting, that de-Baathification and dismantling the Army were bad ideas, and that all of it led to the insurgency. But then he tells us that we still might have accomplished the mission had one man—one rogue, truth-seeking officer—tracked down a little black notebook whisked away by a Saddam loyalist. In other words, Paul Greengrass compresses the complexity so painstakingly assembled by Chandrasekaran into one notebook that contains one secret that reveals the one important source that only one journalist discovered after speaking to one evil administration official. But in the real Iraq, there were many secrets, many heroes, many villains and accomplices (witting and unwitting), and plenty of good and bad journalism.... In the end, the film felt like a stylized revenge fantasy—a poor man's Inglourious Basterds."
Another big moment in the movie that rang totally false: at the end, Matt Damon's hero runs up to Greg Kinnear's Bushie villain and yells at him, as the Judith Miller stand-in and a few other journalists stand around and stare from far away. Bullshit. I know journalists- they love conflict. If a soldier ran over to, say, Scooter Libby in 2003 and started pointing his finger at his chest and yelling at him, every reporter in the room would have run right over, notebooks in hand.

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

Quote of the Day

Speaking of retail theft, here's an amusing question-and-answer from Drew Magary's Deadspin Funbag:

I love stealing from Walmart! My swipe of choice has been bite-sized candy! I could easily steal a $3 DVD of Daylight or travel size shampoos, but who really gets a thrill doing that!? I go for the 10-pack of Almond Joys! Carefully, I open the pack, steal about 6 bars and reseal the 10-pack! It is exciting and gives me the feeling that I am "sticking it to "The Man"". Sometimes, I get real ballsy and eat a couple bars while perusing the aisles! Have you ever stolen something? And I am not talking a lame piece of Bubble Yum from the 7-11!

OMG! I don't know! You're not actually sticking it to The Man when you do that! You're actually fucking over the poor asshole who gets paid ten cents a day to stock the shelves! The Man doesn't give a shit if you steal Tic Tacs! He's just happy to now have an excuse to fire Paco and call INS on him! So maybe you should stop!

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

March 12, 2010

What's Going On Here

A couple of thoughts about this here blog:

First, it appears the comments aren't working. Not sure what happened; I was getting tons of spam so perhaps my providers blocked all of them, although I wasn't told that directly. I'll look into it and try to get that fixed.

Secondly, you may have noticed a sort of slowing in the frequency of posts here of late. I've been doing this blog, it's hard to believe, for almost eight years, and I've written multiple posts most of those days.

But of late things have started to change- in the world and in my life. Noah is finally home now, at the same time that I'm getting new, additional responsibilities at work. Not to mention, I keep hearing that in the age of Facebook and Twitter, blogging is going away- it's now the stodgy old medium, embraced by the dinosaurs.

This blog is going to continue, no question about it, although expect it to change and evolve in the coming months. There will be times (such as the last two days) when the inspiration will strike me, and I'll throw out 10-15 posts in 24 hours. But that's going to be the exception rather than the rule; I may go post-free for a few days at a time sometimes.

So here's how I expect things to work going forward: I post to Twitter frequently, at If you're not on Twitter, click my name on Facebook instead; my statuses there and my tweets are one and the same. If you're interested in seeing my writing more frequently, that's the place to go.

Most posts here will continue to be the usual stuff: post-length expansions of my tweets, funny quotes and YouTube clips, in addition to links to my movie reviews, occasional CTPG/E-Gear/Week in Retail Crime articles, other published writings, and (of course) the Noah blog posts, which people seem to really like. That'll all be there; I just can't promise it'll be there as frequently as before.

I care a lot about this blog, and have greatly enjoyed writing it for the last few years; I was doing this back in 2002 when no one would pay me a penny to actually write. I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read it, and just wanted to fill you in on what's going on around here.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:21 PM | Comments (0)

Saving Josh's Laptop

In the tradition of my frequent crime updates, here's an interview I did yesterday with my old college pal Josh Bob, who used a special software program to hack into his own stolen laptop and get it back from thieves.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

The Trouble With "Green Zone"

I'll have more in my review published next week, but oh lord did I hate this movie. Why must filmmakers tell stories about very recent history, and change, literally, all of the details? Anyone who's read as much as one book about the Iraq war- even the one the movie is allegedly based on- will notice how wrong it is. A whole of lot of horrible things went into the decision to invade Iraq- so why make up whole new, fake ones?

What really happened to lead us to the Iraq War, as last year's great "In the Loop" made clear, was a combination of dishonesty, incompetence, cowardice and wishful thinking, among dozens of people at many levels of government in more than one country.

"Green Zone" reduces all that to one evil guy lying, and the one evil guy isn't even George Bush or Dick Cheney. It's a fictional bureaucrat, played by Greg Kinnear, who's like a one man Rumsfeld/Feith/Bremer/Libby, a midlevel civilian bureaucrat who for some reason has the power to order troops into battle. Matt Damon- his "Stuck on You" costar- is an all-purpose white knight hero, who not only searches in vain for WMDs, and then uncovers the whole conspiracy all by himself.

The howlers are plentiful- the Judith Miller character works not for the Times but the Wall Street Journal- whose Web site is now There's a character based on the notorious WMD informant "Curveball," except that every single thing about him is different.

And altogether, what's the point here? To expose the perfidy of the Bush Administration lying about WMD? I think we're about five years too late for that.

Now, I'm the most anti-shakycam critic in the world, but the overuse of shakycam (by one of its inventors, Paul Greengrass) wasn't even close to the biggest problem here. The Tomatometer is 50/50 on this one; that's way too kind if you ask me.

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

"24" Is Dead

Probably, anyway. Reports are the show will go away after this year, thanks to declining ratings and rising costs.

Yea, it's about time. The show ran out of ideas years ago, especially since there are only so many terrorist attack scenarios/nationalities of villains that can be plausibly used, and the show long ago started repeating itself. And the 24-hour, one-day, real-time structure had a high-enough degree of writing difficulty as it was.

There's allegedly going to be a movie, which I suppose could be good; they just need to take the time and write something good, that isn't just a two-hour episode of the show and is actually something special and memorable.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:10 PM | Comments (0)

Not So Small Market

I agree with Tim Marchman, reacting mostly to the trade-Mauer idea:

The Twin Cities are the sixteenth largest metro in the United States, bigger than St. Louis, Baltimore and Denver, among others. They have the fourth largest median household income of any metro, behind only the Bay Area and Washington-Baltimore among baseball markets.

The Twins have a new park opening in a month, have made the playoffs five of the last eight years, and are running a $100 million payroll this year.

Why people still have it in their mind that Minneapolis is a small market I'm not really sure, but it isn't. It's not an especially large one, but this is the sort of team that should be heisting players other teams can't afford, not getting rid of its own stars, and from here it seems writing about the team should reflect that.

Remember when Baltimore and Cleveland were considered "large market"?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:09 PM | Comments (0)

Today in Insincere GOP Advice

Jonathan Chait once again flags right-leaning politicians/pundits pretending to give Obama "advice," encouraging him to give up on health care reform. What's the point of this exercise? You think Obama's going to bail on his primary domestic policy priority because Sean Hannity and Dick Morris are telling him to?

Then again, the tenor of the arguments tends to be that if health care passes, it's terrible for Obama, but If health care doesn't pass, it's also terrible for Obama. Had he not even taken up the issue, I'm sure, that also would've been bad for Obama.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:08 PM | Comments (0)

"Parks and Recreation and the Hutt"

Great as the NBC show is- and it's gotten amazingly good this year- I think this video is even better:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:56 PM | Comments (0)

Leeann Chin, RIP

The restaurateur behind the Minnesota eatery- and subsequent chain of fast food places based on the same cuisine- has died. I always loved it there, especially the cream cheese puffs.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:54 PM | Comments (0)

Worse For Baseball Than Steroids and Strikes Combined

"Floating realignment." Worst idea I've ever heard, and not only because absolutely no one will understand it.

So the Yankees and Red Sox are in the same division. Guess what? The day will someday come when they're not good anymore. Someday the Yanks will hire an idiot as manager or GM, make a bunch of bad contract decisions in a row, and suck for a long period of time. It happened for a whole decade with the Knicks and Rangers, both New York teams that far outspend their opponents.

Someone please talk Bud out of this. It's beyond absurd.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:17 AM | Comments (0)

Donavon Traded!

But despite this Web hoax the actual Donovan McNabb remains an Eagle. If you're going to spoof an article, try to at least spell the relevant names and cities correctly.

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

Don't Trade Mauer

"Should the Twins trade Joe Mauer?" That was the big question today in Minnesota papers, radio and blogs, even though it look like the only guy even raising the idea is columnist Jim Souhan.

It'll never happen. The Twins are contenders, they're almost certainly going to extend Mauer, and even if they don't they'd probably rather grab the draft picks instead of a 20-cents-on-the-dollar trade.

But if you thought the Souhan column was bad, he writes "Trade Mauer for Santana" on his blog today: At least that's the headline as the idea of trading Mauer for a pitcher with $100 million left on his contract- who the Twins balked at paying last time they had the chance- isn't actually mentioned in the piece.

I can't wait for WIP tomorrow- Carlos Ruiz and Brad Lidge for Mauer!

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

March 11, 2010

LT to MN?

The Vikings are supposedly looking to sign LaDainian Tomlinson to replace Chester Taylor as the third down back/backup to Adrian Peterson. I'm all for it; anytime you can grab the guy who was the #1 pick in every fantasy draft in 2009 (Peterson) with the #1 pick in every draft the year before (Tomlinson), and stick them in the same backfield, you do that.

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

I'm Not Normally One For Nutpicking, But...

Read the wonderful comments to this Politico story about the car accident that seriously injured Harry Reid's wife and daughter. Karma? Too bad "that hag Pelosi" wasn't in the car? "He probably has sex with his male staffers"? "Is he a demon?"

Wonderful people they've got over there.

(See here if you're wondering what "nutpicking" is.)

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

It's NOTY Time

It's once again time for the annual Name of the Year tournament! Who will succeed last year's winner, Barkevious Mingo? My money's on Spartacus Bernstein. Had I known that "Spartacus" was an acceptable first name for a Jewish boy, Noah might not be Noah.

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

Beck vs. Massa

Yes, this really happened:

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Since he's simultaneously in the middle of a political crisis, a health crisis and a sexual identity crisis, it might be wise for Massa to not give any more interviews for awhile.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:48 PM | Comments (0)

Age in the Cage

I'd been hearing about it for awhile, but I flipped tonight to TNA, and saw Hulk Hogan on TV. Yikes.

I'm sure the wrestling blogs have covered this plenty, but it's really unbelievable that almost ten years after WCW went out of business, TNA is back with the same head writer, and a bunch of the same people, except that now everyone is ten years older.

So we get things like 56-year-old Hulk Hogan fighting 62-year-old Ric Flair. I remember being really excited the first time they fought. That was in 1991, I believe.

Still, at least Bret Hart and Vince McMahon are going to wrestle at Wrestlemania this year. That was literally the last trick they had remaining up their sleeve.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:45 PM | Comments (0)

King Me

Love this Burger King commercial, for two reasons:

It's Howard Eskin being chased through an office- and the woman at the end is... Kimmy Robertson, Lucy the receptionist from "Twin Peaks"! Will this be Jenna Fischer in 20 years?

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

March 09, 2010

Welcome Home Noah

My son is home from the NICU, finally. Here's his first blog post from the house.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)


This is about two months late, but here's a video I shot at CES in January, about the OnStar system on the new Chevy Volt.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)

The Trouble With "Big Love"

I totally agree with Amelie Gillette's take on "Big Love"'s season finale. Yes, it's still entertaining, but the season was SUCH a mess. My biggest complaint, of many- haven't about 100 different people found out over the years that the Henricksons are polygamists? So how was he able to run for office without anyone blowing the whistle? Politicians' skeletons generally have a way of emerging during elections.

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

Joe Nathan. Damn!

Just when I was getting excited about the Twins season, their all-world closer goes down, probably for the season. Who knows who they'll turn to, although it's worth remembering that the Twins have had strong relief pitching pretty much for the last 25 years, even when they haven't been good. Ron Davis was their last really awful closer.

By the way, Noah's first televised baseball game will be Saturday's Twins-Phillies spring training game.

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

Oscar Thoughts

I'll always love the Oscars, even if they're as long-winded, bloated, boring and poorly-written as last night's show was. A few notes:

- I like Martin and Baldwin, and they're both good on their own. But there was no reason they needed to both be there- they pretty much just alternated jokes and had no banter with each that I can remember. The writing was just awful throughout- the only thing I laughed at all night was Martin's "Precious"/"Born a poor black child" joke.

- Speaking of "Precious," Mo'Nique has gone in three years from host of "Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School" to Academy Award winner. Not a very common progression.

- Tweet of the night, from Sean Burns after Mo'Nique won: "Awesome! Eddie Murphy just won Best Supporting Actress for NORBIT!"

- The "In the Loop" clip, for adapted screenplay, was literally the only five seconds in the film without profanity. Fuckity-bye. I sort of wish that or "Up in the Air" had won in that category- UITA, in fact, won zero Oscars.

- NOT a good death montage, especially since much of it was shot wide and you couldn't even see the names on screen. Same problem last year. And while they had to cut out various elements, including the song performances and the lifetime achievement awards, WHY the need for ten minutes of interpretive dance?

- Anyway, I'm happy "Hurt Locker" won, it was more deserving than "Avatar," and good that Cameron was kept off the podium. I'm sure his other three ex-wives are thrilled as well.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:10 AM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2010

"Mission: Impossible" at Best Buy, and More

I go into some recent stories of malfeasance at the electronics store on

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)

March 07, 2010

New From Noah

My son has a new blog post, up now. Complete with fortune cookies!

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:58 PM | Comments (0)

A Cop Out by Kevin

I review Kevin Smith's "Cop Out" on and no, I still don't find Tracy Morgan funny.

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

I'm Not Taking Comcast Back, But...

Great, great GREAT idea to have Jon Hamm do the commercial voiceover. He's just as good as it as he was with the Kodak Wheel in Season 1 of "Mad Men":

I'm telling you, Hamm will be the biggest movie star in the world in 3-4 years. There's nothing Clooney has that he doesn't.

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

Jews and Movies

Heeb ranks the 100 greatest Jewish movie moments. #1 is obvious; I would've also accepted the last scene of "Inglourious Basterds," though I suppose it's disqualified for being somewhat ahistorical.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

Pimp Chat

Colbert on ACORN:

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

Porn Chat

Some surprising profundity in an unlikely place: the weekly Fantasy Football and Sex Advice Mailbag on Kissing Suzy Kolber. The part at the beginning about porn is right on the nose, as is the video clip (safe for work, don't worry.)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:53 PM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2010

Fair and Balanced?

Jon Stewart, giving Angela Davis a surprising cameo:

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Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:41 PM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2010

Best Fox News 10 Seconds Ever

After many years, "Democratic Strategist" Bob Beckel just can't take being a Colmes type anymore:

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Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:36 PM | Comments (0)

Ebert and Leitch

A wonderful remembrance, by Will Leitch, of his various crossing of paths with Roger Ebert over the years. I have similar stories myself- I've emailed with Roger quite a few times over the years, and also met him at book signings and the like, and he gave me some quotes for my senior thesis. I don't have his email address anymore; if I did, I'd be sure to send him this photo, of my then-month-old son doing his trademark hand gesture.

I sort of like what Deadspin has become lately, even if a lot of it has nothing whatsoever to do with sports. Whether it's stuff like this, or Drew Magery's wondrous Funbag, Failgate, and Asshole Coach Digest columns, the site is better than ever by a large margin.

And speaking of film criticism and long-ago mentors of mine, my Brandeis film professor Thomas Doherty has a new essay about the death of film criticism that's gotten a ton of attention this week.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)

Boo Hulu

News Item: "Daily Show," "Colbert Report" pulled from Hulu

Not good, Viacom. Now I'll have to start going to or, last resort, actually watch the show on TV.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:34 PM | Comments (0)

Fighting Electronics Crime, In Action!

I only write about it, but my college classmate, Josh Bob, actually did something about electronics theft, tracking down the theft of his laptop using the webcam feature. Here's the Boston Herald story about the case.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:34 PM | Comments (0)

Fear Obama!

Welcome to the Republicans' strategy for 2010:

The Republican National Committee plans to raise money this election cycle through an aggressive campaign capitalizing on “fear” of President Barack Obama and a promise to "save the country from trending toward socialism."

The strategy was detailed in a confidential party fundraising presentation, obtained by POLITICO, which also outlines how “ego-driven” wealthy donors can be tapped with offers of access and “tchochkes.”

But I thought they were pretending to be for the little guy this week?a

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:33 PM | Comments (0)

TV Roundup

- "Law & Order": Yes, they did an Insane Clown Posse episode, including Juggalo murderers, and didn't even change the names. And Sy Abelman from "A Serious Man" played the judge! This show has gone off the rails in many ways, but the Leno 10:00 failure increased its chances of survival, and it's looking like the show might even make it to Season 21.

- "Modern Family" This show just keeps getting better and better. It's so hard to come up with sitcom plots that haven't been done before- but the gay male couple with a baby traumatized by their baby's first word being "Mommy"? Never happened before, I promise. And just when you thought "Asian woman driver" jokes couldn't be funny, tonight's episode set up and executed one just perfectly.

- "Big Love." Oh, I don't know. It's still entertaining, for sure, and I'm excited for the finale, even if they did schedule against the Oscars. But the breaking-into-the-Mexican-compound episode? Sunday's tetherball showdown? The twice-as-many-plots-in-one-fewer episodes? It hasn't been as bad a fourth season as "Six Feet Under" (or "Entourage," for that matter), but come on.

- "Lost." I'm watching this season after never seeing the show before, but I think I like it, and get it. Sure, I don't understand everything, but reading recaps by Sepinwall, Tim Goodman, the AV Club folks, and others have helped a lot. I'd still love to go back to the beginning and watch, though I don't expect to have a whole lot of time for that in the next, oh, 18 years or so.

- "Saturday Night Live." Except for the Jon Hamm episode, it's been pretty weak all year, honestly. Why did they do a Univision segment, in English? And the Telenovela bit wasn't nearly as good as "Conando." The show seems to only come up with good material when there's a good host, and there even seems to be a Kristen Wiig backlash emerging- mostly because all of her recurring characters are awful.

- "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno." And you thought it was bad before Sarah Palin did a monologue...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:32 PM | Comments (0)

"High School Students at Model U.N. Conferences Have Proposed Less Ludicrous Ideas"

Spencer Ackerman eviscerates Mitt Romney's new book. I'll be sure to run out and buy that one.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:31 PM | Comments (0)

The Presidential All-Stars

"Funny or Die" brings the star power in a presidential parody:

Funny or Die's Presidential Reunion from Will Ferrell

Funniest thing Jim Carrey- or, for that matter, Aykroyd or Carvey- has done in years. A whole lot better than HBO's mediocre "Funny or Die" show, as well.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:31 PM | Comments (0)

Jon Swift, RIP

I was sad to hear that the satirical blogger who wrote under the name Jon Swift has died. RIP.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:30 PM | Comments (0)

March 02, 2010

Not So Happy "Valentine's Day"

I review the generally weak comedy on

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:56 PM | Comments (0)

Siskel vs. Ebert

In honor of Roger getting his voice back:

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

Against Richard Schickel

Or, "get off my lawn, critics!"

Let me just say- if you don't love films, don't become a film critic. And if you hate sports, please, do not become a sportswriter.

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

Hey Mickey...

News Item: Mickey Kaus to run for Senate in California

As a nominal liberal who has done little on his blog in the last ten years but blast other liberals, it's hard to see what Kaus' appeal is as a candidate. The fact that he is friends with- and is rumored to have dated- Ann Coulter doesn't help either.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:52 PM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2010

Dumbest Thing Ever Said?

Minnesota Congressional candidate Barb Davis White is a strong contender:

“Rosa Parks did not move to the front of the bus to support sodomy.”
I don't remember sodomy being much of an issue in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Also, Rosa Parks didn't "move to the front of the bus." Didn't she just stay in her seat?

And you thought Michele Bachmann was the biggest fool among Minnesota politicians...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:38 PM | Comments (0)

Headline of the Year Nominee

Haaretz: 'Snooki' and 'Mr. Big' Unhurt After Incident at Star-Studded Purim Bash

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

Film Critic Quote of the Day

Adrian Chen, on Gawker:

In a nightmare world, The Jay Leno Show would still exist, and it would be The Marriage Ref's lead-in. In this world, NBC would feature back-to-back shows where audiences could be busted up by someone just saying the word "thong"—just the word itself! Not even a joke about it! It would be a world where there never existed a wildly popular sit-com called Seinfeld that showed how the funniest parts of a relationship are often the least obvious. A show that changed comedy in such a way that it is possible to imagine an actually funny version of The Marriage Ref, where all of the guests (Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais and Larry David will all be on future episodes) get together at a nondescript diner after a taping and kvetch about how hard it is to say no to something, even if you absolutely know it's a terrible idea.
Remember Gene Siskel's Test: "Is this movie more interesting than a documentary of all the same actors having lunch?" Sounds like every "Marriage Ref" episode fails that.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:32 PM | Comments (0)

Obama/McNabb Parallel, Cont'd

My onetime editor, Dan Calabrese, instead sees an Obama/Daunte Culpepper parallel. Same draft, right? But I don't see it- the president, after all, has never been caught on an on-boat orgy. And at this point he has much better knees than Daunte.

Then again, as long we're doing '99 Draft quarterbacks, Sarah Palin is Tim Couch, Mitt Romney is Cade McNown, and Mike Huckabee is Akili Smith.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)