COMING HOME: I’m leaving tonight to head back to New York after visiting “Minny” for the last five days. Highlights have included generally avoiding the ridiculously cold weather, visiting family and friends, going to see T-Wolves and Wild, both of whom lost.
The Wolves looked especially weak on Wednesday night, as Latrell Sprewell failed to perform against his former teammates and Minnesota fell to the Knicks. Then again, there’s not much they could do, what with Wally Sczcerbiak, Michael Olowokandi, and Troy Hudson all out with injuries- even Dancin’ Mark Madsen missed the game, necessitating the ugly spectacle of Fred Hoiberg playing the entire second quarter.
I did see Jesse Ventura at the game, as he sat by himself for the entire first half before his notoriously hard-partying son Tyrel joined him at the half. Tyrel did not, however, “[leave] behind liquor bottles, damaged furnishings and vomit for the staff to clean up,” as he once did at the governor’s mansion.
While no politicians showed up, Friday’s Wild game, at least, had the spectacle of the famous Mascot All-Star Game during the first intermission, despite Minny’s 2-1 loss to San Jose. With a giant Subway sandwich in goal, the two teams once again skated to a scoreless tie, with the highlight being Charlie the Tuna’s tackle of Twins mascot TC Bear to prevent a late score.
That ruled, as did XCel Energy Center itself. And the “State of Hockey” song kicks ass too. The Wild even have a Finnish player by the name of Annti Laaksonen, whose name is remarkably similar to the drug Rush Limbaugh was accused of using. Alas, Laaksonen’s position on the ice? Left wing.
Oh, and this year’s Turkey of the Year, after “the most feeble nine-victory season in Big Ten history,” is Minnesota football coach Glen Mason.
That’s all; more when I return to the Big Apple.
TWO STEPS FORWARD… The Jewish newspaper the Forward last week unveiled its annual Forward 50, or the 50 most influential American Jews. Topping the list for the second straight year was Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense seen by most as the principal architect of the Iraq war.
Rounding out the top five were Reform movement head rabbi Eric Yoffie, ADL honcho Abraham Foxman, Hannah Rosenthal of the Jewish Council on Public Affairs, and World Trade Center architect Daniel Libeskind.
Also listed, among those frequently mentioned here, were Joseph Lieberman, Barney Frank, Eric Cantor, Alan Dershowitz, Michael Lerner, Daniel Pipes, Douglas Rushkoff, Jon Stewart, and Debra Messing; the 50 had three Brandeisians that I know of: Yoffie, Messing, and Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Among those conspicuous by their absence from the list: Goldberg, Al Franken, Sarah Silverman, Theo Epstein, Heeb editrix Jenn Bleyer, Jay Fiedler, Ron Silver, David Paymer, and Ron Jeremy.
REAL WORLD NIGHTMARE: Less than a week after the completion of “The Real World:Paris,” which may have been the most boring season in the history of the series (quick- name five things that happened), the unfortunate news was reported the other night that a woman was allegedly raped in the house of the next “Real World” season, in San Diego.
Neither the alleged victim or perpetrator is a member of the cast but both are supposedly acquaintances of the current Real Worlders, though if guilty the perp certainly goes in the pantheon of all-time dumbest criminals for choosing to rape a woman in a house full of cameras.
No idea about whether or not the show will continue to be taped, or whether the alleged rape will be talked about when the show airs; it probably can’t air until the matter is adjudicated. Though when angry hipsters in Chicago loudly protested the filming of a “Real World” season in the Wicker Park section of that city a few years ago, that was left out of the episodes.
In other other Real World news, Jeff Nussbaum, the former Tom Daschle staffer and brother of RW legend Cara Nussbaum-Kahn, is the co-author of James Carville’s new book, “Had Enough.”
WELCOME TO BOSTON:
Pitcher Curt Schilling today agreed to a three-year contract to join the Boston Red Sox, and thus become the best #2 starter in Bosox history. At this point, there is little question that on paper, the Red Sox are ahead of the Yankees.
Look at that photo- doesn’t it look like the guy on the left should be the general manager, and the guy on the right the player who just signed the contract? Not often you see a 28-year-old GM sign a 37-year-old player.
But if Schilling had refused the trade, would Theo have broken all the furniture in his house?
PACINO… DeNIRO… PAYMER: I’m really looking forward to this new ABC crime drama “Line of Fire,” which debuts next week and looks like it has a chance to rise above the rest of the “Sopranos” rip-offs from the last few years. The twists are many- it’s set in Richmond, Virginia (will there be a Meryl Yourish cameo?), the FBI is personified by ex-“24” wife Leslie Hope and former “ER” babe Leslie Bibb (but apparently not Leslie Nielson), and the mob boss is portrayed by David Paymer, who has had a very similar career as a character actor as James Gandolfini did prior to ‘Sopranos.’ Paymer as a badass- it might just be as satisfying as Kevin Pollak’s thug character turn in “The Usual Suspects.”
It certainly sounds intriguing. But then, “Skin” sounded intriguing too, and we all know what happened there.
THE DIRRRRTY DIET: Us Weekly this week, for those dying to know, gives us the “skinny” on “How Christina [Aguilera] Lost the Weight,” complete with two seemingly identical photos of the sickly-looking “sexy” siren.
While I am certainly proud of Xtina that she was able to drop from 90 pounds all the way back down to 80, I fear Miss Aguilera may be a bit passe, considering that US has relegated her to second-banana on the cover to that other anorexic young “hottie” with no discernable talent, Paris Hilton.
Expect a Christina sex tape to surface before Christmas, though as Triumph the Insult Comic Dog said of her MTV videos, “it’s like watching porn, except the music’s not as good.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “That’s certainly something I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving. It’s been an amazing year: getting rid of Trent Lott, Saddam Hussein and Howell Raines is about as good as it gets. But the right to marry? I can barely believe my luck.” -Andrew Sullivan, in his “Daily Dish” e-mail.
MORE TROUBLE FOR ANN: We’ve got our latest Easterbrook-like debate over whether something someone wrote is or isn’t anti-Semitic- and this time the “someone” is none other than leggy conservative pundit Ann Coulter. In her latest column, in which she lambastes the entire Democratic presidential field for having the temerity both to have suffered deaths in the family and to have Jewish ancestors, Coultergeist fires off the following:
In addition to having a number of family deaths among them, the Democrats’ other big idea — too nuanced for a bumper sticker — is that many of them have Jewish ancestry. There’s Joe Lieberman: Always Jewish. Wesley Clark: Found Out His Father Was Jewish in College. John Kerry: Jewish Since He Began Presidential Fund-Raising. Howard Dean: Married to a Jew. Al Sharpton: Circumcised. Even Hillary Clinton claimed to have unearthed some evidence that she was a Jew — along with the long lost evidence that she was a Yankees fan. And that, boys and girls, is how the Jews survived thousands of years of persecution: by being susceptible to pandering.
I’m not often in the habit of defending Ann Coulter, but in this case I’m willing to let her off on the anti-Semitism charge- her characteristically sarcastic point is that Jews aren’t susceptible to pandering, but the candidates think they are, thus their sudden discoveries of Jewish relatives. Nevermind that the Jewish vote isn’t nearly as important in presidential primary politics is it in New York (hence the Hillary relative); after all, how many Jews are there in New Hampshire and Iowa?
The quote, however, sounds anti-Semitic until you’ve read it a couple of times and that, coupled with the disclosure in David Brock’s book that Ann said she quit her New York law firm years ago “to get away from all those Jews,” sort of makes you wonder. Then again, the larger point of the column- and the rest of her work- is that Ann hates liberals, at roughly the level that the most vile anti-Semites hate Jews.
And my only other question- how does Ann know that Al Sharpton is uncircumcised?
LEDE OF THE YEAR: From the AP:
REISTERSTOWN, Md. – A naked man who was shot in the back showed up at the home of retired Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken on Thanksgiving night and pleaded for help, police said.
The baseball superstar, helping out a needy naked guy on Thanksgiving- what could be more American than that?
Better him arriving naked at Ripken’s house than Kevin Costner…
AT THE MOVIES: I’ll be back with more blogging from the Frozen Tundra (aka The State of Hockey) later tonight, but first, my two latest movie reviews: “The Matrix Revolutions” at IOFilm.com, and “Shattered Glass” at Hot Movie Ticket.
The latter is highly recommended; the former, not so much.