November 7, 2011

word

quean [kween] n. 1. an overly forward, impudent woman; shrew; hussy 2. a prostitute 3. British Dialect. a girl or young woman, especially a robust one

birthday

Leon Trotsky (1879), Albert Camus (1913), Billy Graham (1918), Joni Mitchell (1941), David Petraeus (1952), King Kong Bundy (1957), Dana Plato (1964), Morgan Spurlock (1970)

standpoint

There’s very few bars left that allow smoking, and the place where I work is not one of them but here’s a curious little side effect to the smoking ban: people bringing their small infant or child to the bar. It’s always a younger couple meeting up with childless friends. They’ll come in and announce, “Oh, we don’t need a table, we’re just gonna hang at the bar. Is that cool?” Despite the suggestions of the staff that they might be more comfortable at a table, they insist that (a) their baby is so well-behaved, he or she will be fine in the carrier and will most likely sleep the entire time and (b) other places let them do it all of the time (a lie) and there’s never a problem (another lie).

And 99.9% of the time, the first 30 minutes are uneventful. But inevitably, the crying starts or, worse, the shouting out of incomprehensible words and phrases. Yes, I fully understand this is what children do. It is not lost on me.

But lots of people who come to sit at a bar are doing so precisely because it’s supposed to be a child-free zone. They desire to eat a meal in peace while participating in some adult conversation. And, while they may smile politely each time a baby is disrupting that peace, they secretly (and sometimes not so secretly) wish the people who brought the baby would use a little common sense and remove themselves from the area. But that rarely happens. Instead, they’ll most likely spring the baby from the carrier and place he or she on top of the bar, creating an even bigger spectacle. The parents are under the impression that since they firmly believe their baby is the most amazing specimen to ever draw breath, everyone else will feel the exact same way with the proper exposure. And it never works out that way. The other customers begin to mutter under their breath or ask for their bill and leave. When the couple finally do pack up shop and leave (with the baby, of course) everyone looks at me and asks questions like, “Since when are babies allowed at the bar?” or “How can people be so oblivious?” I have no answer for these questions because to answer them would be violating basic hospitality business axioms that state you shouldn’t badmouth customers to other customers.

But if I allowed myself to say whatever I wanted, it might go something like this: “When you have a baby, one of the main things you’re giving up, unless you find someone to babysit, is the ability to sit at a bar and drink. It’s different if you come in at 2:30 in the afternoon while the bar is empty and want to get a quick bite to eat during off time. But when you come in at 6:00 pm and want to prop your baby up in his or her carrier on a barstool and have multiple drinks, well, I’m sorry but that’s not okay. There’s such a thing as common courtesy and those kinds of parents need to look into it.”

I’ll never say anything like that to my customers but something needs to be said eventually.

quotation

When love is not madness, it is not love. ↔ Pedro Calderón de la Barca

tune

My buddy Tim loves this song. I gotta agree with him, it’s pretty solid. Like Stars meets The Pogues. Here’s “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men.

gallimaufry

→ Holy shit. This clip from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart would’ve probably been good enough with just Donald Trump’s idiotic comments but Ann Coulter makes me want to move to another country.

→ What a great example of damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t.

→ If you’re looking for an incredibly obvious news story, look no further and just click here.

→ Sorry, everyone, no sports coverage today. I know you were dying for it.

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October 26, 2011

word

bunkum [buhng-kuhm] n. 1. insincere speechmaking by a politician intended merely to please local constituents 2. insincere talk; claptrap; humbug

birthday

Bob Hoskins (1942), Pat Conroy (1945), Pat Sajak (1946), Bootsy Collins (1951), Rita Wilson (1956), Dylan McDermott (1961), Cary Elwes (1962), Natalie Merchant (1963), Seth MacFarlane (1973), Jon Heder (1977)

standpoint

It’s funny to me how people are treating the 2012 Presidential election. First of all, it’s not even 2012 yet. Also, despite what the media is pushing, the race hasn’t even begun yet. And the GOP should be happy about it because if conservative voters keep changing their collective mind about who they want to go against Obama, they’re gonna run out of viable candidates before this whole thing gets properly started.

Every week there’s a new “front runner.” Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and even Michele Bachmann have had their reign as heir apparent. And now it’s Herman Cain.

Herman Cain. Conservative. Black. CEO. Lunatic. I’m not using that last word in a negative way because, to paraphrase the immortal Billy Joel, it might just be a lunatic we’re looking for.

I mean the guy just says whatever the hell he wants, whenever he wants. He’ll make a statement one day, then come back a little later and contradict it. Or maybe he’ll expound on it. Or maybe he’ll just flat out deny he ever said it. It doesn’t matter if what he’s saying from one minute to the next is true because it appears like it is. He speaks in such a way that you just kind of want to believe whatever words happen to be falling out of his mouth are the truth.

Here’s a great article detailing how Cain is clearly the new zen master of shucking and jiving.

Right now, Cain is an amusing figure, a kind of curiosity. He’s an eloquent man participating in debates and interviews in which the subject matter is entirely hypothetical. I’m mostly sure that when it’s time to get serious, when everyone is looking for actual answers, when it’s time to play for real, Cain will be less appealing.

But, while I never want to live in a world where Herman Cain is running anything but his mouth, I have to admit that I kind of dig his whole free-wheeling, in-your-face demeanor. Now if only we could get someone worthwhile to do the same. Finger crossed, folks.

quotation

Forget governments. Focus on the individuals. ↔ Mohamed ElBaradei

tune

A few weeks back, I picked up 12 Desperate Straight Lines by Telekinesis because the sticker on the CD read, “Spin says, ‘If you don’t like Telekinesis, your ears don’t work.'” Strong words. Maybe a little too strong. But it’s still a good listen. Check out “I Cannot Love You”

gallimaufry

→ Dear Arby’s, as a nationwide purveyor of meat sandwiches, I gotta believe you’ve got a pretty sizable marketing department. Furthermore, I find it hard to fathom someone in that marketing department didn’t maybe tell you that no one in Philadelphia calls a cheese steak a “Philly.” It’s not the most important thing going on in the world right now but it’s just bugging the shit out of me.

Here’s yet another example of how The Onion can be more accurate than the actual sports media.

→ This is great. Here’s the media reporting on how the media is losing interest in Occupy Wall Street. Maybe the media should be focusing on why people are losing interest in the media.

04.15.09 – Wednesday

Word: claque [klak] n. 1. a group of persons hired to applaud an act or performer 2. a group of sycophants

Birthday: Leonardo da Vinci (1453), Henry James (1843), Bessie Smith (1894), Roy Clark (1933), Emma Thompson (1959), Linda Perry (1965), Samantha Fox (1966), Seth Rogen (1982)

Occurence: 1755Samuel Johnson‘s A Dictionary of the English Langauge is published in London.

Standpoint: Recently, I found StumbleUpon (or “SU“). I’d seen the SU icon on various sites, so I wanted to find out what it was all about. I signed up for a free account. Touting itself as “the best way to discover things you like on the web,” StumbleUpon is both (a) a very unique way to explore the internet, and (b) an incredibly simple way to waste three hours of your life. After signing up and completing my profile, I was asked to pick my favorite “Topics.” There’s a bunch to choose from. After clicking everything that interested me, and installing the SU toolbar on my internet browser, I was ready to “Start Stumbling.”

Below is a list of the first ten web sites I “stumbled upon.”

1. Things People Said: Courtroom Quotations – A site that finds funny or embarrassing statements made during courtroom trials. This was a good way to start it off. Some of the quotations were pretty entertaining. (Example: A lawyer asks the question, “How far apart were the vehicles at the time of the collision?”) Grade: B+
2. Bibliomania: Free Online Literature and Study Guides – Sites like this seem to come up frequently on SU. Probably pretty handy for high school and college students but just because I picked “Literature” as one of my Topics doesn’t mean I want to read David Copperfield online. Grade: C-
3. Viralnerd.com Random Photo – A three-panel cartoon of The Mario Brothers applying for a job to rescue a captured princess. They get the job when they write the word “Super” above the words “Mario Bros.” on their business card. I don’t know. I’m not buying it. Grade: D
4. Bookstove.com: Why I Hate Twilight – A 95-item list of “reasons why you shouldn’t read Twilight posted by a Bookstove.com user. I’ve never read the book. Or seen the movie. I can’t hold that against this particular site. I suspect that if you know anything about Twilight, the list is meaningful. The page took, what I thought to be, an inordinate amount of time to load. Grade: B+
5. Word Perhect – Confusing. I was asked three different questions with multiple options, none of which made sense. After I did what it asked, a word-processing template came up with my results in the text area. This might be useful to someone, somewhere. But I don’t see how. Grade: F
6. TimeTicker and the Time Tickers – This would be an awful name for a musical act, but as a web site, it’s kind of cool. It allows you to find the time anywhere in the world. I found it useful because it allowed me to finally figure out how to correctly set the time on my WordPress profile. Only problem was an annoying pop-up. Grade: A-
7. Authspot.com: Whispers Softly – A poem named “Whispers Softly” by someone calling themselves FJ McCarthy. Not a huge poetry fan, but I know a good poem when I read one. Good job, FJ. Grade: A
8. Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines – Tons of information here. I really like this site. I added it to my RSS feed. Grade: A+
9. CatStuff: Cat Facts and Trivia – A list of facts, some historical trivia and diet tips. All for cats. Dog people probably won’t like this site. Grade: B
10. Random Photograph from NationalGeographic.com – Beautiful aerial shot of Chicago at night. This happens a lot on SU. Random photography is a good way to kill time. But not very useful. Unless you’re from Chicago and want a kickass background for your laptop. Grade: C+

All of that took me about 10 minutes. What did I get out of the StumbleUpon experience? Well, I did find some useful information (see Truthdig and TimeTicker). I found some completely useless junk (see Word Perhect and Viralnerd’s Random Photo). And I found some cool stuff to read and look at (see Things People Said: Courtroom Quotations and CatStuff). 

The only negative issue I encountered during my “stumbling” was that my computer slowed down significantly while using the toolbar. Overall, though, I’m happy with how it all turned out. I’ll use it again. 

Quotation: How would you like a job where, every time you make a mistake, a big red light goes on and 18,000 people boo?Jacques Plante, former NHL goaltender

Tune: I heard “Call and Response” by Or, the Whale a short time after the Hurricane Katrina disaster. I think it’s a great thing when a song can convey how an entire group of people is feeling. Bonus: Or, the Whale looks like it rocks in concert.

Gallimaufry: Recently, Jamie Foxx slammed Miley Cyrus during his radio show after he learned that the teenage superstar said she was “going to ruin” the band Radiohead after they refused to meet with her at the Grammy’s. In an attempt to demonstrate how insignificant he thought she was, Foxx advised Cyrus, who was not present, to “make a sex tape” and “do some heroin.” Probably out of line. Last night, Foxx publicly apologized to Cyrus on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Fair enough. Now, where’s Cyrus’ apology to Radiohead?…For all you bloggers out there wondering if frequent posting will increase your traffic, read “Blog Post Frequency Results” from Life of Justin: The Blog of a Digital NomadNewt Gingrich eyeing a possible run at the Presidency in 2012? I like it. President Obama won’t even have to campaign to get another four years. Thanks, Newt.

Incoming: TomorrowAnnoying Sayings and Misused Words. Friday3 Things To Do in Philadelphia When You’re Dead and 5 People I Wish Would Move To Another Planet. And for those of you who have been giving me One-Word Movie Title suggestions on Twitter and Facebook, fear not. Monday’s post will reveal the results of that data.

Lastly: Let’s Go Flyers!