I'm still picking my jaw up off the floor after reading Patton Oswalt's Wired essay on the end of geek culture:
We need to get serious, and I’m here to outline my own personal fantasy: We start with lists of the best lists of boobs. Every Beatles song, along with every alternate take, along with every cover version of every one of their songs and every alternate take of every cover version, all on your chewing-gum-sized iPod nano. Goonies vs. Saw. Every book on your Kindle. Every book on Kindle on every Kindle. The Human Centipede done with the cast of The Hills and directed by the Coen brothers.Let's get started right away on that Spencer/Heidi "Human Centipede" thing...
That’s when we’ll reach Etewaf singularity. Pop culture will become self-aware. It will happen in the A.V. Club first: A brilliant Nathan Rabin column about the worst Turkish rip-offs of American comic book characters will suddenly begin writing its own comments, each a single sentence from the sequel to A Confederacy of Dunces. Then a fourth and fifth season of Arrested Development, directed by David Milch of Deadwood, will appear suddenly in the TV Shows section of iTunes. Someone BitTorrenting a Crass bootleg will suddenly find their hard drive crammed with Elvis Presley’s “lost” grunge album from 1994. And everyone’s TiVo will record Ghostbusters III, starring Peter Sellers, Lee Marvin, and John Candy.
This will last only a moment. We’ll have one minute before pop culture swells and blackens like a rotten peach and then explodes, sending every movie, album, book, and TV show flying away into space. Maybe tendrils and fragments of them will attach to asteroids or plop down on ice planets light-years away. A billion years after our sun burns out, a race of intelligent ice crystals will build a culture based on dialog from The Princess Bride. On another planet, intelligent gas clouds will wait for the yearly passing of the “Lebowski” comet. One of the rings of Saturn will be made from blurbs for the softcover release of Infinite Jest, twirled forever into a ribbon of effusive praise.
But back here on Earth, we’ll enter year zero for pop culture. All that we’ll have left to work with will be a VHS copy of Zapped!, the soundtrack to The Road Warrior, and Steve Ditko’s eight-issue run on Shade: The Changing Man. For a while—maybe a generation—pop culture pastimes will revolve around politics and farming.
Billy Bob Thornton gives an old favorite a new spin on the Pollak show (starting at about 43:30 mark and for the four or five minutes after that):
Perhaps it wasn't worth it for the Vikings to beat the Eagles Tuesday night. They sacrificed themselves some draft position, and now my wife is mad at me.
The Purple, who played their best game of the year, bested the Green, who played their worst, for the first time in the six years that my wife and I have known each other, including Eagles playoff victories in 2004 and 2008. Mostly, the contest felt like a preseason game. Probably because IT WAS PLAYED ON A TUESDAY.
The real story was Vikings rookie quarterback Joe Webb, who completely flummoxed the Eagles defense. I was impressed, but lets not go crazy and anoint Webb the QB of the future. Sure, I could see him keeping the seat warm for whichever first rounder the Vikings draft next year, but more likely he'll never be a full-time Vikings starter again and this will be forever referred to as "The Joe Webb Tuesday Night Game."
However, the win may very well mean Leslie Frazier gets the "interim" tag taken off, and I'm all for that.
As for the Eagles, I'd attribute the loss to Vick's injury at the start of the game, numerous defensive injuries catching up to them and the team's penchant for throwing up an inexplicable stinker once a year (last year it was the Oakland loss.) They were likely the #3 seed regardless, so now they can rest starters in Week 17.
But regardless of anyone's rooting interest, I think we can all agree the worst moment of the night was NBC's inexplicable, Springsteen-scored Brett Favre montage, which made it look like Favre had died. It totally makes sense to devote so much attention to the guy who's not even part of that game. And there was also a guy at the game, in Philadelphia between the Eagles and Vikings in which Favre did not play, wearing a Favre Packers jersey. WHY?
My son blogs about his first big winter storm, as well as his first Jewish Christmas.
My feeling Week in Electronics Retail Crime column of the year is up at Dealerscope.com.
The president signs the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell:
Julian Sanchez points out a problem I've noticed:
On Twitter, my friends Shani and Erie are engaged in a bit of time-honored kvetching about the legendary and general awfulness of restaurant Web sites. Who thinks it’s good idea to blast annoying music at people going to your site? Why do they so often rely on Flash, which doesn’t really add anything to the experience, when half the time people are looking up the site on mobile devices to get basic information? Why this bizarre preference for menus in PDF format?
The really strange thing to me isn’t that restaurants would make these mistakes initially. These are, after all, mostly small brick-and-mortar businesses whose Web presence is pretty peripheral to what they do. The truly baffling thing is that people have been complaining about these exact same things for years; they’re universally acknowledged to be errors by anyone with a lick of design sense.
Lunatic Frank Gaffney goes on Fox News to complain that Fox isn't mean enough to Muslims. The anchor says, essentially, "we are too!"
If only Favre hadn't thrown that interception...
In some local media news... the local Philadelphia newspaper The Trend, also known at various times as the Trend Leader, My Community Trend, Philly.com/Community and various other names, ceased to exist, at least in its editorial-containing form, earlier this month.
I worked there full time from October of 2005 until January of 2007, and continued as their freelance film critic until this month. I greatly appreciate my time there, as they actually hired me to do this writing thing for a living, and I had some great, great times. I got to run an edition of a weekly newspaper, essentially, myself, and I made several good friends there that I've retained to this day. And I never could've imagined, when I was offered the chance to stay on as film critic, that I'd still be doing it almost four years later.
Part of the Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News family of newspapers- hence the Philly.com address for my reviews- the Trend, remarkably, had four different owners during the five years I wrote for it- first Knight Ridder, then McClatchy, followed by the Brian Tierney-led Philadelphia Media Holdings group and finally the Philadelphia Media Network, aka "the bankruptcy creditors." It was the latest sale to the fifth owner, which split the Broad Street Community Newspapers division off from the dailies, that finally did the Trend in.
However, all is not lost. Several of my Trend friends have joined Patch.com, a recently launched nationwide network of local websites that is owned by AOL. Yes, AOL still has a function, and a very good one- they're hiring journalists! And I'm along for the ride too- I'm going to be moving my weekly movie review (and sometimes more than one a week) over to Patch, and I'll also be doing some local news stories as well.
North American Publishing Co. remains my full time job, I'm as busy as ever, and I'll be off to CES in Las Vegas next week. But in the meantime, my first movie article for Patch, my Top Ten list for the year, will run later this week. You can still see my review archives at RottenTomatoes.
First of all, I'm guessing Lurie is probably the only owner in the entire NFL who's a Democrat, so chances are he and Barack have met before at fundraisers or some such. Second of all, I'm surprised no right-wing backlash has yet emerged to the Vick part. "Obama defends dog-killing!"
Eh, I usually like Rendell, but he's in the wrong here. There was a legitimate public health concern and therefore the league was perfectly justified in moving the game to Tuesday. He reminds me of those stupid ex-NFL stars who complain about concussion safety concerns because "they may as well put them in skirts!"
A fun thought experiment- think about how different this story would be if Rendell had used the p-word instead of the w-word.
No football tonight, but there will be cheesesteaks:
Unless it's the Vikings in the last three weeks, that is... tonight's Eagles-Vikings game, which I had tickets to, and which I'd looked forward to since the schedule was first announced ten months ago, was postponed until Tuesday due to the snowstorm hitting the East Coast.
This means the Twins in their first year outside suffered exactly one postponement, while the Vikings already have two, even though the Twins play outdoors and they play indoors, there's ten times as many baseball as football games, and football almost never postpones games.
It just adds another wrinkle to the most surreal season in Vikings history and now- in what looks like a negotiating ploy- Zygi Wilf is asking for the Vikings to play their 2011 schedule outdoors.
Radley Balko on the farce that is cable news:
As a TV pundit your objective isn’t to educate, or inform, or even to make an educated argument in favor of your position. Your job is to reinforce what the people watching on your side already believe. People don’t watch cable news to be challenged or to learn. They watch it to get the latest talking points that they can use in their next political argument at the bar, over the water cooler, or at the dinner table. Producers know this. The cable news pundit’s comparative advantage, then, isn’t specialized knowledge. It’s the ability to distill any issue in the news into a pithy argument about why red is better than blue, or left is better than right, or how this is just further proof that the ACLU/NRA wants to eat your baby.
Over the weekend I watched the Joaquin Phoenix documentary "I'm Still Here," which chronicled the two years Phoenix pretended to quit acting, pursue a career as a rapper, and generally fall into drug-fueled madness.
The first thing that comes to mind about the project, which almost nobody saw, was "way more trouble than it was worth." That said, the doc itself was pretty hilarious, and I consider it probably the first truly interesting thing Phoenix has done in his career.
Bit of a nonsensical piece in the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent this week:
Cliff Lee is more than just the modern-day Sandy Koufax. At least to Philadelphia Jews, he is.That last line is an understatement. The argument doesn't apply to Philadelphia Jews any more than it does to Philadelphia Italians, Puerto Ricans, Asians, or any other baseball-loving ethnic groups in both New York and Philly.
Let me explain. Sure, Mr. Lee may be a good 'ole Arkansas boy who enjoys a hunting expedition and has the (non-Jewish) good looks of a young John Wayne. No matter. The man was -- and, by declining to don Yankees pinstripes, still is -- the sheriff that Philadelphia Jews have longed for in our longtime battle with the city of New York -- and our insufferable relatives who call it home.
Maybe Judaism has nothing to do with this.
I honestly don't even know why this foot fetish story is even news. So what? No one did anything wrong. There's no accusation of adultery, or harassment, or hypocrisy, or anything at all. The only reason we even know about it is because Deadspin has decided to be like Wikileaks and just release everything regardless of newsworthiness or ethics.
The Village Voice, naming Train's "Hey Soul Sister" the worst song of the year:
"Hey Soul Sister" is an orgy where bad ideas trade STDs, and the most syphilitic brain-fart stumbled in drunk from a Smash Mouth show. (For those of you who arrived late, Smash Mouth was a band from the late '90s that was formed when a soul patch met cake frosting. Their wikki-wikki scratching and dorkpie hats did to music what blood-soaked clowns do to the dreams of sleeping children.) Listen to "Hey, Soul Sister" a few times and you'll inevitably be reminded of the "whistling solo" from the Shrek house band's inescapable "All Star." From Smash Mouth, Train picked up an earworm that burrowed into society's asshole, laid 4.7 million iTunes eggs, and gave birth to a grey cloud of banality that covers the Earth.
Palin, surprisingly, got all the way through that 40-second clip without quitting.
Readplatform is dead on:
Last Friday Buy Nothing Day went largely unobserved in the United States despite being heavily promoted by the magazine Adbusters. That’s mostly because, like Adbusters, Buy Nothing Day is bullshit... Are hoards of Americans lining up at 4 A.M. outside of Best Buy or fighting for the last copy of Halo 7 in GameStop on Black Friday clues that our society is too preoccupied with material things? Yeah. But it’s still a lot better than a bunch of yuppies giving themselves congratulatory handjobs because they postponed their Christmas shopping.
Does this mean Marty Mornhinweg just got fired? Because you'd think that whole "best offense in the league" thing would allow him to keep his job as offensive coordinator.
Ladies and gentlemen, Barney Frank:
The Vikings season hit yet another nadir in a year full of them Monday night, as the Vikes were crushed by the Bears on national television, playing outside at TCF Bank Stadium.
The game was at least the 10th "final game of Brett Favre's career," although I'll be on hand for the next one in Philadelphia next Sunday. After he was listed as "out" for an entire week, Favre was upgraded to "questionable" the morning of the game and then played, although Adrian Peterson ruined tens of thousands of fantasy football championship games by surprisingly missing the game.
Favre deciding to play reminded me a lot of the last scene of "The Wrestler." I was fully expecting him to die on the field, although he merely left the game with a concussion in the second quarter. It was, at least, the 10th or 12th "last game of Favre's career," and I'll be there for the next one in Philadelphia next Sunday night.
He was replaced by Joe Webb, a rookie sixth-round pick playing the first cold-weather game of his life. I admire Webb's tenacity, especially in running for a third quarter touchdown, but he has no business starting an NFL game at this stage of his career, especially not in the cold.
The broadcast itself was the usual disconnect- almost every NFL fan is sick to death of Favre and would just as soon never see him again, but all we got from the two-hour pregame show and three-hour broadcast was nonstop praise and idolotry. The low point was probably Jon Gruden referring to Favre (I'm not kidding) as "the Ultimate Warrior."
It even continued on the "Mike and Mike" show the following morning, on which one of the hosts referred to "the thing Favre is addicted to, that keeps him going out there." They were talking about competition, but I assumed they meant Vicodin. And speaking of which, they were talking on the broadcast about Favre possibly taking a painkiller injection before the game. Because it's not like he has a history of painkiller addiction or anything.
The only positive developments: They honored the 50th anniversary team at halftime, and 83-year-old ex-coach Bud Grant- who narrowly edged out Brad Childress and Mike Tice to be named the best Vikings coach- came out IN SHORT SLEEVES, The honorees included '70s stars on two different sides of the law: recent convicted felon Carl Eller and Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page.
And finally, it was great to see a game outside in the snow in Minnesota, especially with fans throwing snowballs in the air after both Vikings TDs. Too bad any new stadium will have a retractable roof and they'll never be a snow game again. Dana Wessel had the best take on Twitter:
Just like I predicted in 1995: Favre's career would end as a Viking playing in an open-air Gopher stadium because the Dome collapsed
My favorite movie review of the year was Lindy West's takedown of "Sex and the City 2." Here, a British man with a cold reads that review out loud (starting at the 6:20 mark):
This guy and I agree on both the best and worst movie of the year.
I really liked the movie, I should say. One of the better boxing movies of recent years, the boxing scenes were actually shot clearly, and standout performances by Wahlberg, Bale and Amy Adams. Also, it didn't consist entirely of bullshit psychobabble, which is more than I can say for the director's previous film, "I Heart Huckabees."
That said, four nitpicks:
- The movie acts like Micky Ward and his brother invented the Rope-a-dope, as though Muhammad Ali had never existed.
- Other than the movie, the thing Micky Ward is best known for is his three fights with Arturo Gatti in the early 2000s. Not only does "The Fighter" leave them out, but Gatti's life- what with the mysterious death and all- might have made a more interesting movie than Ward's.
- I love Melissa Leo, but I didn't love this performance- it was a lot of yelling disguised as good acting. And she just plain doesn't look right without red hair.
- The depiction of Wahlberg's evil, evil ex-wife. Maybe she truly was that awful, but I've got a feeling they were going by Ward's personal interpretation of events. At least they didn't have her write him a "you will never amount to nothing!" letter, like Wahlberg's ex in "Invincible" did.
What a week:
That Gatorade bottle thing never gets old.
As the AV Club writes, a "sugar daddy" placement website called Sugar Sugar has made an offer of $1 million to Kelsey Grammer to become its spokesman. It went ahead and sent out a press release yesterday, despite the fact that Grammer has not yet agreed to endorse them, and I can't imagine he ever will.
In fact, I thought about replying to the release and asking what Sugar Sugar's strategy is for when Grammer sues them.
Andy Reid's postgame press conference after the Eagles-Giants Sunday was one of his best ever. Eli Manning's, after the same game, was one of the worst:
Still, one of the better Manning Faces ever.
Because even though his first name was "Jefferson Davis," I don't remember Hogg ever explicitly praising segregationist organizations.
Blue Muppet Michael Steele never gets old:
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|The Great Gaffesby|
An amazing finish in East Rutherford Sunday, as the Eagles scored 28 points in the last seven minutes to beat the Giants 38-31. Here's Merrill Reese's great radio call of the finish:
This was a fun game to follow on Facebook and Twitter, especially when the Eagles looked pathetic in the first half and their fans were alternately demanding Andy Reid's firing and threatening to turn off the game.
The Senate did a truly great thing Saturday, at last voting to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell and allow gays to at last serve openly in the military.
I remember arguing about gays in the military in high school debate, and wondering what in the world whether or not someone was gay had to do with how good a soldier they were.
What happened in the intervening two decades was that attitudes about the issue, and gay issues in general, have changed profoundly, to the point where - at a time when Republicans almost never go along with the president- several GOPers voted for the repeal.
Yes, the rookie sixth-round pick, who the team originally intended to convert to wide receiver, and has never played a cold weather game in his life, will start Monday's game at TCF Bank Stadium. Oh- and the field is frozen.
Yet suddenly, Donovan McNabb is a 2011 possibility after all, if only as a stopgap before whatever quarterback they draft is ready. What a laughable mess that is down in Washington.
One talking point I'm really sick of hearing because it's so blatantly wrong: "If George Steinbrenner were alive, the Yankees never would've failed to sign Cliff Lee!"
Bullshit, for several reasons. First, Steinbrenner was essentially a vegetable for the last few years of his life, and certainly wasn't in charge of the team. And secondly, the Yankees' failure to sign Lee wasn't because they didn't offer enough money or didn't try hard enough. Lee took less money to go to the Phillies. Stephen A. Smith, Curt Schilling and other commentators known for being wrong most of the time have pushed this one.
Which isn't to say that George's sons won't eventually lead the Yankees to ruin. In fact, I hope they do.
Critic Andrew Dignan has the best take I've seen on one of the most overrated movies of the year, Ben Affleck's "The Town."
My beef was that it was poorly directed- why use the same establishing shot ten different times?
News Item: Zach Greinke traded to Brewers
I was hoping the Twins would be a contender, but the Royals didn't want to trade him within the division. Then again, he'll probably be on the market again a year from now. Those poor Royals fans.
Hudson's one year with the Twins was pretty subpar, but he's not Nick Punto or Brendan Harris, and his nickname, "O-Dog," inspired me to nickname my son the "No-Dog."
No word on whether BOB will be appearing as well.
If you haven't seen Carrie Fisher's HBO special, "Wishful Drinking," yet, check it out. Just great, great stuff- so funny, so painful.
Did Randy Moss call a Tennessee sports radio station, under the name "Woody," and rip Jeff Fisher? PFT investigates. At least he's been nice to the caterers so far.
And speaking of poles, there was supposed to be a celebration in Minnesota last week of the 20th anniversary of the Will Steger expedition, which successfully walked the length of Antarctica. The celebration was canceled due to snow.
Almost as good as the real thing:
Speaking of which...
SNL's been pretty mediocre but this was hilarious:
The silliest, cheesiest thing I've seen in quite awhile:
I knew it wasn't legit because it talks about the Mets signing an impact player, and they haven't done that yet this offseason.
A list I've been kicking around for awhile, the first of many this month:
10."Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit" ("How I Met Your Mother")
HIMYM channels "The Drew Carey Show" with this 100th episode musical number:
9. Russell the Gay Vampire King kills a news anchor ("True Blood")
"True Blood"'s third season was pretty subpar, except for Denis O'Hare's delightfully scenery-chewing villain:
8. "I didn't order assholes with my whiskey" ("Justified")
Raylen Givens faces down a couple of rednecks:
7. Buena Sera ("Treme")
This montage, to a Louie Prima song, was made me fall in love with David Simon's New Orleans saga:
6. The Zeitlin Punch ("Terriers")
The character you wanted to see get punched all season, finally is, repeatedly:
5. Lethal Weapon 5 ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia")
Season 6's best moment was this hilarious parody- which even included a homage to "The Room":
4. "Bohemian Rhapsody" + Birth ("Glee")
Maybe becoming a father a few months before this aired did it for me, but I found this "Glee'"s greatest moment to date- and the best use of the Queen classic since "Wayne's World."
3. Don and Peggy ("Mad Men")
Season 4's best episode, "The Suitcase," has its best moment, as Don mourns the death of his "wife" Anna:
2. Hank vs. the Cousins ("Breaking Bad")
DEA agent Hank brawls with identical-twin hitmen:
1. Poker, and the meaning of "faggot" ("Louie")
Funny, poignant and perfectly timed: I've watched this 20 times and it gets better every one:
My now 11-month-old son's latest blog post is online here.
My latest appearance on the Sensitive Nice Guy podcast is online here.
I only hope the Larry King Game will continue:
Coming Attractions called it "the Assassination of Yogi Bear by the Coward Boo Boo," although I'm struck by the "Grizzly Man" parallels.
Skip Bayless believes Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies because he's "afraid" of the "pressure" of being "the ace" of the Rangers, or going to the biggest city:
Because obviously there's no pressure coming to Philly. What total, total horseshit.
UPDATE: Welcome, Hardball Talk readers!
Just not the first responders:
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Brett Favre's 297-game consecutive games streak ended last night, as the Vikings were crushed by the Giants on a neutral site in Detroit, a loss that officially eliminated them from playoff contention. If nothing else, the game showed that the Vikings and their fans should have no illusions about Tarvaris Jackson- he's not the future, and they need to find another solution in the offseason.
Now, can we please stop treating the end of Favre's streak like it's a world-historical event? No fan I know cares. Because nobody cares about statistics in football. And on a day with two Monday night games, and a huge, shocking, free agent signing in baseball, I don't know why the 11 p.m. SportsCenter had to begin with 28 minutes of all-Favre, including his entire post-game press conference for a game he didn't play in.
Every single Phillies loss last year was blamed on the fact that they had traded Cliff Lee. Next year, they'll need a new excuse.
Even though the Phils traded him a year ago because they decided they couldn't afford him, even though they had a supposed payroll cap, even though they didn't really need more pitching, even though they have a policy of never going over three years for a pitcher and even though they were never mentioned as a suitor until yesterday, the Phillies have signed Lee to a five-year deal for over $100 million.
Lee decided to spurn the Yankees in part because their fans were mean to his wife during the ALCS when he was with the Rangers. So the one time that asshole fan behavior actually has consequences, it rebounds to Philadelphia's benefit.
The Phillies will obviously enter 2011 as the favorite to win the NL pennant and probably for winning the World Series too. And the signing certainly extends their championship window by a couple more years. But one thing to keep in mind: almost every significant player on the team, other than Cole Hamels, is over 30, including the entire starting lineup, Halladay, Oswalt and now Lee. There remains a chance that all of those people will decline at once.
But in the meantime, Philly, enjoy R2C2!
I review the delightfully insane "Black Swan" at Philly.com.
I look at the latest in electronics crime here, including a hospital employee who bilked his employer out of millions by ordering toner. Lots of toner.
This is pretty impressive:
I'm sure they'll something similar on the Oscars next year, only not nearly as well.
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As you probably heard, this happened on Sunday:
What a surreal thing to see. Horrible a sports facility as it is, the Metrodome is the place where, by a wide margin, I've been to the most games of any in the world, including some of the most important of my life. It's sort of like watching a sci-fi movie where the White House, or a familiar block in New York City, gets destroyed.
The Dome was built almost 30 years ago, and while there have been roof breaches before, all the snowstorms and all the blizzards never created anything like this before.
At first I was bummed on Saturday night, when they first announced the game was being moved to Monday- the storm ruined my Sunday and my Monday. Not only was the Vikings-Giants game supposed to be televised locally in Philly had it been played Sunday afternoon, but with the Vikes playing an NFC East rival my whole household's rooting interests would've been aligned. Even better, the Bears and Packers both suffered bad losses Sunday- although their stadiums remain upright.
Instead, they'll play Monday night in Detroit, and I won't be able to watch it on TV. Why Detroit? Well, the game could've stayed in Minnesota if there were another 45,000-seat football stadium, say, a few miles away elsewhere in Minneapolis. Oh wait, there is one! But apparently someone decided Minnesotans- the best snow-clearers on Earth- couldn't clear the field on 36 hours notice, and that it was easier to put the entire Giants team on a plane to Detroit than to fly their cold-weather gear to Minnesota.
Still, what a weird, weird year for the Vikings, from Childress' precipitous fall to Favre's cell pics to Moss' arrival and quick exit to the roof caving in. Bryant McKinnie wrote on Twitter that "this season has been the weirdest by far in my 9yrs here", which is really something, considering that another of those years included McKinnie himself being hit with criminal charges for his part in a boat orgy.
So many questions- how did the roof withstand every snowstorm ever until now? On the video above, why are there seven different camera angles? The turf wasn't built to withstand the elements- how will they clean the field? Snowplow? Zamboni?
Nobody died of course- though imagine if this happened during a game- but I couldn't help but be reminded of the last time I woke up to the news that a famous building had collapsed. And speaking of 9/11, now we get hilarious conspiracy theories! The Wilfs blew up their own stadium so they could push for a new one (which will certainly happen, by the way*). The league did it in order to prolong Favre's streak. I'm sure putting together such a plan, on no notice, in the middle of a storm, is totally within Roger Goodell's capability.
*Funny thing about that is, the Wilfs are now going to have to spend a whole bunch of money to fix the roof. A roof that, if they have their druthers, they're just going to tear down, along with the rest of the stadium, a year or two from now.
I think it's karma. During football season, snow wants to be on the ground. And after 30 years, it finally made it. Either that, or the building really, really doesn't like being called "Mall of America Field" (and thankfully, in the coverage, just about no one called it by that name.)
That winter meetings perennial gets destroyed by Twitter, via The Score blog. And that's not even the most fun someone had with Jon Heyman on Twitter last week...
Tottenham salvages a tie in the final minutes:
Paul Waldman is exactly right:
But don't tell politicians that. If there's one thing elected officials from both parties agree on, it's that "the American people" want certain things and don't want other things. It just so happens that they want whatever the person speaking wants, and they are horrified by the things he doesn't want. If you watched C-SPAN for a day, you'd hear dozens of invocations of "the American people," with nary a whiff of ambiguity.
The truth, though, is that "the American people" don't have opinions or beliefs or judgments. Each one of us does, and subsets of us share some things in common, but the idea of a collective national will is a fantasy.
The New York Times looks at the success of the Atlantic- which made millions in profits last year while maintaining a world-class website and a top-notch print product. The journalism world should emulate the Atlantic as much as possible and the Huffington Post as little as possible.
This Washington Post story is amazing, hitting home with me for more than one reason, and told entirely in Facebook statuses.
Pajiba goes through all the famous women with that have that first name. Much as I love Munn my favorite is Thirlby, although where's Mayor Nutter's daughter?
I know we're not supposed to hold the supermarket tabloids to an especially high standard, but this Kendra Wilkinson abomination is pretty egregious even for them:
Now, when you see the phrase "loses her baby," it has a certain connotation- especially with an exclamation point and when paired with "tragic news." But that's not what happened- in fact, "loses her baby" in this instance means that Kendra's two-year-old son is now living in Minnesota with her husband, Hank Baskett, while he's there playing for the Vikings, while Kendra remains back in L.A.
"Loses her baby"? "Tragic news"? Does this magazine know how many of their readers have suffered miscarriages? And that "losing her baby," when she has the option of either bringing the baby back to L.A. with her or, I don't know, going to Minnesota herself, isn't exactly a tragedy at all? I'd imagine she has the means to go to Minnesota for the one month left in the football season- or is the Twin Cities that undesirable a location for a reality TV show?
It's not just offensive, it's inaccurate. I mean, this is a fire-the-editor-in-chief-level offense.
Some thoughts on recent TV shows, some of which have wrapped up for the season, or for the month, or forever:
- "Terriers." I'm going to miss this show a lot, and it'll probably go down as one of the best one-and-done TV series ever ("Freaks and Geeks" remains the best.) The positive part is, I expect it to gain a cult following on DVD, with people figuring "hey, it's only one season, I'll have time to watch it!"
- "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." The season got off to a weak start but redeemed itself first with the classic Halloween episode, and then with the brilliant "Lethal Weapon" episode and the Chase Utley/Ryan Howard cameos. And funny that the "Who's Dee's baby's daddy?" mystery and the "Who's Cartman's Father?" bit from "South Park" ten years earlier had the exact same ending.
- "Glee." Despite all its many, many flaws, I still love this show. But did they just forget for an episode that Rachel was Jewish? She wears Christmas-colored clothes, has a favorite Christmas song and a Christmas wish. And what 16-year-old in 2010 has even heard of Wham!? It would be like if "Will and Grace" did one episode where Jack was straight and had a wife.
"The Office"- I haven't loved it this season, although it's always great to see Amy Ryan again and the idea of Angela having a boyfriend she doesn't know is gay has potential. But the episode where Michael suddenly gets obsessed with China was just painful- like someone in the writers' room read a Thomas Friedman column and decided "hey, this would make a funny sitcom episode!"
"Boardwalk Empire." Love this show and it picked up steam throughout the season. But did you notice they stole visual after visual from the Coen brothers? (And actors too?) The second-to-last episode was like an extended "Miller's Crossing" homage while other parts looked exactly like "O Brother Where Art Thou." Luckily, they turned to the best- "The Godfather"- for ripoff in the finale.
- "The Walking Dead." Great show that should have been more than six episodes- I really feel like there was enough story there for at least ten. Also, the show teaches a valuable lesson: Don't be racist, or else you'll be abandoned handcuffed on top of a building, as rampaging zombies approach, and your fate will be left maddeningly ambiguous.
- "Modern Family." Great episode Wednesday. Such a great cast, the kids especially. And Machete! And I knew I recognized the other mom at the dance and I couldn't put my finger on it- Artemis from "Always Sunny"!
ProFootballTalk is a valuable site much of the time, but the stupid speculation is just ridiculous. Here's how the site sums up the story yesterday about the Colts' radio play-by-play announcer, Bob Lamey, bashing Peyton Manning when he thought he was off the air:
Don’t be shocked if, after the season, the Colts decide to “go in a different direction.” Manning has leverage and a long memory. We think he won’t tolerate knowing that such comments were made by a team employee, and we believe he’ll insist that Lamey be relieved of his duties if the Colts truly want to sign Manning to a new deal.Really? Does Peyton Manning have a history of vindictiveness against his enemies or behind-the-scenes power plays? A lot of athletes are known for that sort of thing but Peyton, after ten years in the league, never has been.
But hey- they'd better get it solved by next week! Or else I hear Jim Caldwell might be fired as coach!
Where's this TV commercial? Why isn't every Democrat screaming about it from the rooftops? Why can't this be held over the head of everyone who voted for it for the rest of their career?
Howard Eskin, yesterday afternoon, on rumors that Phillies radio announcer Scott Franzke was in talks to leave the team to work for the Texas Rangers:
I'm told Phillies radio pl by pl guy Scott Franske Interviewing in texas. If they lose him its a disgrace for Phils. Again its Phils cheapLet's count down the things wrong with that tweet:
- It's grammatically incorrect.
- In this tweet, like two others from Howard Thursday, Franzke's name is spelled wrong.
- Franzke said later in the day that he's under contract for next year and not leaving.
- In an age where the Phillies have a $150 million payroll, are paying Ryan Howard more than $140 million over the next six years, and have eight-figure commitments to close to a dozen players, you can't still call them cheap. And besides, the supposed reason for Franzke to leave is that he's from Texas, not that the Phils are underpaying him.
Other than that, though, great tweet.
CNN, inexplicably, aired the Jeff Daniels diarrhea scene from "Dumb and Dumber" during primetime last night. I have no idea why, but here it is:
The Al Gore clip at the end is even more inexplicable.
My latest appearance on the Sensitive Nice Guy podcast is online here. Jordan and I discuss "Love and Other Drugs," the current season of "How I Met Your Mother" and various other stuff.
Fake Headline from MinnPost: Pew Deficit poll: Public favors being in shape, opposes diet, exercise
Of course. Just about everyone in America is in favor of less spending and an end to deficits. But just about any action that could actually lead to that result- cutting Medicare, Social Security or defense, or raising taxes- is so politically impossible that it would probably end the career of whoever tried it.
And that's why no politician of either party actually cares about the deficit. The Democrats never care; the Republicans only care when they're out of power. That said, it's much more important, right now, to get the economy going again.
She deserved better. Well really, anyone would deserve better than that.
Congratulations to Mark Dayton, who is now officially Minnesota's governor-elect after Tom Emmer conceded earlier this week. Dayton is Minnesota's first Democratic governor in 20 years, since Rudy Perpich was defeated in 1990, and the state now has a Democratic governor and two Democratic senators at the same time for the first time since the '60s. The GOP does control both houses of the state legislature, however.
Jon Stewart tees off on the world's foremost defender of Christmas:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|The Gretch Who Saved the War on Christmas|
Drew Magary bashes a holiday icon. He's totally right about Lucy.
A must-read piece by one of the AV Club's better minds:
I’m not asking that sports broadcasts start integrating Twitter, because chances are that would be awful. (I think of how CNN uses Twitter, with the most inane commentary on the day’s events either scrolling along the screen or read aloud by anchors, and I shudder.) Still, I do find the “I’m just an dumb old guy who doesn’t understand this kooky modern world” attitude of most sports announcers doesn’t just fail to make games more enjoyable; it actively impedes pleasure.This crystalizes something I've been thinking about for a while: There's really a cold war these days between different types of sports fans. There are sports snobs, and everyone else. Sports snobs love "Moneyball," blogs, sabermetrics, soccer, and methodical approaches to the game- and they hate NASCAR, Chris Berman and all methods of sportswriter and sportscaster cliche. I am a sports snob, no question about it- but I acknowledge that myself and my fellow snobs can get, well, snobby, and that we're clearly in the minority.
Reuben Frank makes a great point- just because Michael Vick is playing great for the Eagles and Donovan McNabb isn't playing great for Washington, doesn't mean McNabb was never good, or that the McNabb haters are now vindicated:
Before we elevate Vick over McNabb, let him lead the Eagles to the playoffs, which Donovan did seven times. Let him win a playoff game, which McNabb did nine times. Let him guide the Eagles to the NFC title game, which Donovan did five times. Let him take the Eagles to the Super Bowl, which Donovan did once.
Hey, we understand you had McNabb burnout by the end of last year. Most of us did.
But that doesn’t change the fact that for most of his career in Philly, McNabb was a winner.
TechnicallyPhilly lists the worst-designed websites in Philadelphia. Somehow the most obvious- Philly.com- was left off the list.
Our generation has its own John Rocker.
I review the iLuv Vibe Plus- which isn't nearly as dirty as the name suggests- at E-Gear.com.
Same as the old "Secrets" bit, but...:
Heather Mac Donald on Wikileaks:
I would love to see Dinesh D’Souza and all the other right-wing hysterics who are hawking the idea of Obama’s scary Otherness explain how these diplomatic cables contribute in any way to their thesis. I would love to see them nominate their favorite dispatches that demonstrate Obama’s efforts to undermine American power and to elevate socialism, Third World radicalism, and anti-colonialism over traditional American interests. To the contrary, the cables demonstrate a continuity of American foreign policy and discourse from the Bush to the Obama administrations. The Obama-era dispatches show the same assumptions about the need to maintain American supremacy as have been harbored by every previous administration. And I doubt whether Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld would have deplored the idea of gathering biometric or other identity information on fellow diplomats. If Obama and Holder wanted to destroy American influence, they should be cheering Assange on, not looking for ways to prosecute him.Isn't Obama's agreeing to extend the tax cuts proof, at last, that he's not a socialist? But they'll still call him one anyway.
Vitaly Borker (as mentioned below) has been arrested, and I have a blog post about it on E-Gear.com. If you were wondering who would get arrested first, Borker or Julian Assange, Borker wins although probably only by a few hours.
The best one-and-done TV series since "Freaks and Geeks" has been canceled. Too bad, but future generations of fans will have a chance to catch up on the DVD set without too much of a time commitment.
The Phillies' Ryan Madson introduces his own sushi roll- at a restaurant I happened to eat at two nights ago:
Mmm, Zama. I didn't see that roll on the menu, but there was a Winston Justice roll. I heard Osi Umenyiora ate six of them in one night.
Fact: No child, anywhere in the world, will ever be abused or not abused based on whether your Facebook picture is or is not a cartoon. Changing your Facebook picture isn't going to prevent child abuse. and It's not going to cause it either. If you don't believe me, ask Snopes.
I'm all for ending child abuse. But this campaign is going to do about as much to help that goal as Kim Kardashian not tweeting for a day is going to end AIDS.
I sure know what maters to the president, and a brief survey of his first two years would reveal it rather baldly. "Non-argumentative reasonableness" so far has prevented a second great depression, rescued Detroit, bailed out the banks, pitlessly isolated Tehran's regime, exposed Netanyahu, decimated al Qaeda's mid-level leadership in Pakistan and Afghanistan, withdrawn troops fron Iraq on schedule, gotten two Justices on the Supreme Court, cut a point or two off the unemployment rate with the stimulus, seen real wages for those employed grow, presided over a stock market boom and record corporate profits, and maneuvered a GOP still intoxicated with failed ideology to become more and more wedded to white, old evangelicals led by Sarah Palin. And did I mention universal health insurance - the holy grail for Democrats for decades?I'm against the cave-in on taxes, but the "Obama is a socialist" meme must end today. No socialist in the world would agree to a tax cut for the rich like that.
On Michael Smerconish's radio show one day last week, they were debating the new law, recently passed by Congress, which will make it illegal for TV stations to play TV commercials louder than normal programming.
The debate was about 50/50 between whether the law was necessary or Congress wasting time, until one caller had a different take: "They're making our TV pictures smaller!," he said. "Why, there's big black bars at the top and bottom of the screen!"
Smerconish didn't have the heart to tell him. I had to have that conversation back when I was a video store clerk and VHS letterboxing was relatively new, but that was in 1996.
News Item: DecorMyEyes proprietor arrested
Yea, his business model of defrauding every customer, threatening to rape some of them, and using the resulting bad publicity to rise in the Google rankings didn't seem sustainable to me, either.
I was sorry to learn Friday of this great reporter, who was the Sixers' beat reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News for nearly 30 years. In a town where there aren't many universally beloved media figures, Jasner certainly was one. I used to run into him at synagogue, and at the Shore in the summer as well.
The Vikings Sunday went to 2-0 under Leslie Frazier, crushing Buffalo 38-14, as Brett Favre got hurt on his first pass of the game and Tarvaris Jackson came in and threw for 187 yards with two touchdowns (and three INTs.) So now the team will have a decision to make- go with the hot hand, or let Favre continue his streak?
It's so good to see some positivity this season for once. I just hope it doesn't give them the solution that Tarvaris is the long-term solution for them at quarterback.
The Phils are going to miss Werth, but that contract is completely insane, in terms of both money and years, and the Phils would've been nuts to match/overbid it. I bet the Nats will be trying to trade him by 2012 or 2013 at the latest.
Remember the nutty contract Aaron Rowand got to leave the Phillies? Werth signed for more than twice as much. Guess that means the Nats will win the World Series in 2015 with Werth not in the lineup.
ProFootball Talk: "Code Red" may be coming for DeSean Jackson
You mean Reid's going to tacitly allow the team to beat Jackson to death?
I review "127 Hours" at Philly.com.
New York Times: Silver Said to Be Stolen Is Back Home
I'm about a week late with this I admit, but the New York Times had a great piece about DecorMyEyes, a New York-based online eyeware seller with a, shall we say, unique business model: they defraud their customers on just about every transaction, stonewall and/or threaten them when they complain, and then let the resulting online complaints drive them to the top of search engine rankings. The guy behind the site admits to all of this, on the record.
What the guy's doing is clearly a criminal enterprise, and I imagine it's only a matter of time before the guy gets indicted on some sort of racketeering charges (on top of multiple instances of threatening to sexually assault female customers.)
Meanwhile Google, which changes their algorithm all the time, has made some changes to make such things harder to do.
We may have some source material for my Maccabees movie idea- Jeffrey Goldberg is working on a biography of Judah.
And live in the 44th. Sorry, Arizona!
Jack McCaffrey on the demise of the Spectrum:
It has hosted Bruce Springsteen, Stanley Cup champions, the Final Four, great fights, the NBA Finals, memorable wrestling cards and circuses.McCaffrey's generally my least-favorite sportswriter in town, but he's right here.
It would be that Meadowlands Arena- that tribute to ordinary construction in the middle of a North Jersey parking lot. But since it has become cause for an annoying stump speech around Zinkoff Blvd. to list and list and list again all the events that played the Spectrum, it was just time- that’s all;- to point out that all such arenas have such histories. Some are worth preserving (Madison Square Garden), others (the Spectrum) apparently are not. So, mercifully, the deconstruction of the Spectrum has begun, and it was about time. The tributes were trumping the reality.The place was around for 43 years. It only would have been a story had all those events not played there in that time … not that they did.
You you may have seen him commenting on this blog every day of the past year!
Tom Scocca vs. the always-terrible Alessandra Stanley:
Goodness! While we're at it, why isn't there more television programming that shows a person having two beers at a party and then talking to a few people he or she wouldn't otherwise have talked to? And then they go out for another beer and some burgers and the person wants to tip 20 percent on his or her share of a $47.23 check, split three ways, but all he or she has is 20s from the ATM, and—shoot, all the other people have are 20s, too, so can the waitress—where's the waitress? Can she break a 20—no, two 20s—no, wait, one's OK, right? Three fives and five ones? Why is drinking on television so simplified and...dramatic?
My son celebrates his first Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and a whole lot more in his new blog post.
Simply put, it had too many babies in it.I agree. Babies are great in real life, but not so great as plot devices on biker shows. That said, the finale was pretty great.
Cut Abel The Kidnapped Wonder-MacGuffin out of the storyline and it could have been perfectly serviceable run of episodes. There would have been time for so much more of the good stuff about law vs. order, practice vs. principle, love vs. lifestyle, that previously threatened to make this show more than a bad soap opera dressed up in black leather and dirty denim. In fact, if Jax Teller hadn't gone all Sally Field on us this season, it would have saved cast, crew, audience, and production company the time, expense, strain, and embarrassment of that thumpingly ill-scripted and implausible trip to Ireland. None of that was remotely necessary, and it was all done at the expense of more interesting themes, plot lines, and characters--the very things that drew me in last season.
Also, I've been getting caught up on "Undeclared," which they've been re-running on IFC, and which I'm seeing for the first time since it first aired. It's funny seeing "Undeclared" Charlie Hunnum and the "Sons of Anarchy" version, since they look like two totally different people. Seth Rogen, on the other hand, looks exactly the same now as he did then.
Howard Eskin, the world's only remaining believer of the "Phillies are cheap" myth, was talking on Tuesday's show about Troy Tulowitski's new $150 million contract with the Rockies. "Do you think the Phillies would ever give anyone $150 million? Ha! Yea right!" Co-host Ike Reese chimed in, "they don't even guarantee people three years!'
Yea right. The Phillies, just a few months ago, gave Ryan Howard an extension for $125 million. But that contract doesn't kick in until 2012- and in 2011, he's due to make $20 million in the last year of his existing deal, so that's $145 million.
If you add in the money he made in the portion of 2010 after he was given the contract, that puts the total at over $150 million and between 2009 and 2016, Howard will have earned $179 million total from the Phillies.
But the Phillies would never, ever give someone $150 million! (Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the data.)