05.22.09 – Friday

Word: zephyr [zef-er] n. 1. a gentle, mild breeze 2. (initial capital letter) Literary. the west wind 3. any of various things of fine, light quality, as fabric, yarn, etc.

Birthday: Richard Wagner (1813), Solomon Bundy (1823), Mary Cassatt (1844), Arthur Conan Doyle (1859), Laurence Olivier (1907), Johnny Olson (1910), Sun Ra (1914), Harvey Milk (1930), Peter Nero (1934), M. Scott Peck (1936), Richard Benjamin (1938), Bernard Shaw (1940), Paul Winfield (1941), Theodore Kaczyinski (1942), Bernie Taupin (1950), Morrissey (1959), John Vanderslice (1967), Naomi Campbell (1970), Joshua LeJeune (1974)

Standpoint: Today I turn 35. That may sound old to some of you, young to others. I never really do a lot of pondering about my birthday. It always bothers me when people complain about their birthdays. Zip it, whiner. It could be worse. You could live in one of these six countries.

  • Vietnam – All birthdays are celebrated at the dawn of the New Year. Furthermore, when asked their birthday, Vietnamese people respond with the year, not the actual day. What a rip-off. I’m not one of those people who thinks the world has to stop on my birthday, but at least get me a card or write something nice on my Facebook wall. 
  • Argentina – On your birthday, you receive ear tugs in the amount corresponding to your age. This is also a custom in Italy and Hungary. Probably a pretty painful day as you advance in years. 35 tugs on the ear? Get the hell away from me.
  • England – The Brits have something called a “fortune telling cake.” In the actual cake, there will be items such as coins and thimbles baked into it. I don’t know how much I’d be able to enjoy eating a cake that I was certain contained small pieces of dirty metal.
  • Germany – If you’re a man over the age of 30 and not yet married, you’re expected to sweep the steps of City Hall. On top of that, your friends throw trash all over the area. It’s designed to let the eligible women in town know you’re on the market. I would probably bring a Shop-Vac and do a lot of bitching. Not sure how many ladies I would attract.
  • Holland – The Dutch believe that receiving a gift wrapped in black & white is bad luck. Remember this next time you’re in Amsterdam for a friend’s birthday. You don’t want to be that guy. Or maybe you do. It’s altogether possible that we don’t know each other all that well.
  • Canada – In the Atlantic region, the birthday child is ambushed and their nose is greased for good luck. Ah, nothing says “Happy Birthday” like a well-intentioned ambush. The grease is placed on the nose because it is believed bad luck will slide right off of it. Apparently, Canadian bad luck has no traction.

I guess we really don’t have it all that bad with our relatively normal parties and metal object-free birthday cakes.

Weekend: Each Friday, I give you 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead – my list of stuff you can do to spend this weekend in Philadelphia as if it’s gonna be your last. This week, I’m including Monday due to that face that it’s Memorial Day Weekend.

  • Today (05.22) – Emerson B.J.L. Sullivan’s – My buddy Emerson B. takes the stage, doing his acoustic hip-hop thing. He’s a great live act and will probably engage you in some witty banter. Go check him out so that you can say you saw him before he blew up and got all famous and whatnot. Also, after the show, buy him beers. 8pm
  • Saturday (05.23) – Locals Only Beer WeekendLocal 44 – Lots and lots of local brews (including Victory, Sly Fox, Stoudt’s, Weyerbacher, Dogfish Head, Flying Fish and more) at reduced prices. Spend your Saturday trying all of them. Just make sure to cab it home. 11:30am – 11:30pm
  • Sunday (05.24) – Brandywine River Blues FestivalChaddsford Winery – The Philadelphia area’s most popular winery presents a day of winetasting and music. If you’re not headed to the Jersey Shore, this would be a great excuse to get out of the house, drink some wine and listen to some live blues. Noon – 6pm
  • Monday (05.25) – Star Trek: The ExhibitionThe Franklin Institute – Wind down the long weekend with a trip into the future. Or past, depending on the scope of your imagination. “This 12,500 foot exhibition, an amalgamation of all five television and ten film series spanning over 40 years, is the ultimate opportunity to connect with iconic Star Trek moments and characters, while celebrating the creative spirit of science fiction and science that gave rise to many of today’s modern marvels.” Sounds like a perfectly acceptable way to spend an afternoon, but then again, I’m a borderline sci-fi geek. 9:30am – 5pm

Quotation: Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.  – Larry Lorenzoni

Tune: Finally picked up the new Silversun Pickups album, Swoon. Really good. Honestly. Best song so far? Try “Sort Of.”

Gallimaufry: Here is where I usually give you three interesting stories I’ve happend upon during the course of my day. Instead, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for reading this blog. I’ve been at it for almost three months now and I appreciate everyone of you taking the time to comment and email to let me know how much you like it. Thanks again.

Incoming: Sad news. No new posts next week. I will, however, return the following Monday with an altered format. I don’t want to get too much into it as I’ve not completely figured it out myself yet. Rest assured, all of the facets you like about the daily euneJeune will still be here everyday. Just accompanied by some new stuff. Stay tuned. Thanks again for reading.

05.15.09 – Friday

Word: fulsome [fool-suhm, fuhl-] adj. 1. offensive to good taste, esp. as being excessive; overdone or gross: fulsome praise that embarrassed her deeply; fulsome décor 2. disgusting; sickening; repulsive: a table heaped with fulsome mounds of greasy foods 3. excessively or insincerely lavish: fulsome admiration 4. encompassing all aspects; comprehensive: a fulsome survey of the political situation in Central America 5. abundant or copious

Birthday: L. Frank Baum (1856), Richard J. Daley (1902), Eddy Arnold (1918), Utah Phillips (1935), Wavy Gravy (1936), Madeleine Albright (1937), Brian Eno (1948), Chazz Palminteri (1952), George Brett (1953), Dan Patrick (1956), David Krumholtz (1978), Jamie-Lynn Sigler (1981)

Standpoint: When a music artist performs a new rendition of another music artist’s established song, it’s called a “cover version.” It’s widely accepted that the cover artist’s rendition is the weaker one based on the assumption the original must be better because it’s just that – the original. However, there are certain artists and songs that go against the grain in that regard. After devising my own list and  asking for your suggestions on Twitter and Facebook, I’ve compiled a list of 7 Cover Songs Better Than Their Originals.

While doing the searches for these songs on YouTube, I discovered that in most of the cases, the cover was more popular. This is only a small sample of songs that are better that the ones they’re covering. How about you? Got any favorites you think should’ve been included here?

Weekend: Each Friday, I’ll provide you with 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead – my list of events for spending this weekend in Philadelphia as if it was your last:

  • Today (05.15.09) – MMA Famous Singles Pub CrawlThe Public House – Tired of spending Friday nights without a significant other. Here’s your chance to do something about it. Meet Market Adventures presents a night of “No Covers. No Driving. No Worries.” Riding around from bar to bar on a bus with complete strangers, drinking and mingling? What ‘s stopping you? Get out there and find someone special.  Time: 6:30pm to midnight
  • Saturday (05.16.09) – The Shins – Electric Factory – One of the poster-bands for the indie music scene, The Shins hit the stage with a revamped lineup. I’ve seen them a few times and can testify to the fact that James Mercer and Co. put on one mean live show.  Time: 8:30pm
  • Sunday (05.17.09) – 9th Street Italian Market Festival – South 9th Street from Fitzwater to Federal – In its official press release, the Festival boasts, “halfball, great food, wonderful people and live performances from three stages.” Sounds great. Sign me up. But first, what in the world is halfball? Time: 10am – 5pm

Quotation: A rock show, if it is any good, should make you feel younger.John Sellers

Gallimaufry: Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, the 10-year old star of Slumdog Millionaire, was ordered out of his home yesterday, just before he watched it bulldozed to the ground. An Indian government official called it “a pre-monsoon demolition drive.” I call it pretty shitty to tear people’s homes down in such an abrupt manner. Apparently, the young star has a trust fund set up for him by the makers of Slumdog, but hasn’t received any assistance yet out of fear the money will end up in the wrong hands. ∞ HELP! Paste Magazine is in danger of having to close up shop. For those of you who don’t all ready know, Paste is one of the best music publications in circulation. Help The Campaign to Save Paste! ∞ Is Jordan coming to the Philadelphia 76ers? Maybe. But not “His Airness“. Eddie Jordan is set to interview with the NBA team to fill their head coach vacancy.

Incoming: Next week’s going to be a good one. I can feel it. All right, that’s it for me. Thanks for reading. Come back Monday for some more.

05.08.09 – Friday

Word: nomenclature [noh-muhn-kley-cher, noh-men-kluh-cher, -choor] n. 1. a set or system of names or terms, as those used in a particular science or art, by an individual or community, etc. 2. the names or terms comprising a set or system

Birthday: Oscar Hammerstein (1847), Harry S. Truman (1884), Roberto Rossellini (1906), Don Rickles (1926), Gary Snyder (1930), Sonny Liston (1932), Ricky Nelson (1940), Gary Glitter (1944), Alex Van Halen (1953), Stephen Furst (1954), David Keith (1954), Bill Cowher (1957), Melissa Gilbert (1964), Enrique Iglesias (1975)

Standpoint: It’s been a soaking-wet, rainy week here in Philadelphia and I’m really looking forward to a little sunshine this weekend. Just to help things along, I thought I do my version of a rain-dance and share some upbeat music to help you through these, and any future, rainy days. I give you 7 Sunny Rainy Day Songs:

Got better sunny rainy day songs? Tell us about it.

Weekend: Each Friday, I’ll provide you with 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead – my list of activities for spending this weekend in Philadelphia as if it’s your last.

Have some fun out there this weekend and make sure to do something nice for your mom on Sunday – it’s Mother’s Day.

Quotation: The trouble with weather forecasting is that it’s right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it. – Patrick Young

Tune: They’ve been called “the new Smashing Pumpkins.” Personally, in some ways, I think Silversun Pickups might be better. Listen to “Well Thought Out Twinkles” – one of the best driving-fast songs in the history of music and cars. “Come join in the last hurrah!”

Gallimaufry: Manny Ramirez of MLB‘s Los Angeles Dodgers has been suspended 50 games for violating the league’s drug policy. The star outfielder claims he was given medication that, unbeknownst to him, was on the list of banned substances. He’ll lose over $8 million over the course of his suspension. This reminded me of a piece that Chuck Klosterman wrote for ESPN.com’s Page 2 concerning  Barry Bonds that I’ve been meaning to share. ∞ My friend Donika sent me a link to a cool new blog that seems to be more and more relevant as we trudge through this economic mess. Working for the Government describes itself as “a depot for funny, outlandish, touching (though NOT depressing) stories unique to the current unemployment and economic environment.” My favorite post so far is “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” but they’re all great. ∞ It’s getting pretty dicey out there in the world of music. Now that the Wayne Coyne-Win Butler Feud is history, it seems that Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor wants in on the action. While answering some fan questions online, he took shots at Prince and Weezer‘s Rivers Cuomo. Here’s a sample of what he had to offer: “I’m not Prince or Rivers Cuomo, who brags about having hundreds of great songs,” Reznor replied. “And to that I would say, ‘Prince, if you have a hundred great songs or a thousand, how about picking a few and putting them on your record that you’ve put out, because your last several have sucked.’ Same for you, Rivers. I say that constructively, you know.” I’m siding with Reznor on this one.

Incoming: Next week will have lots of twists (and just possibly a few turns) as I’ll be attempting some new tricks, including my first-ever interview. Thanks for reading this week. Come back Monday for some more.

05.01.09 – Friday

Word: larceny [lahr-suh-nee] n. the wrongful taking and carrying away of personal goods of another from his or her possession with intent to convert them to the taker’s own use

Birthday: Calamity Jane (1852), Kate Smith (1907), Glenn Ford (1916), Jack Paar (1918), Joseph Heller (1923), Scott Carpenter (1925), Shirley Horn (1934), Judy Collins (1939), John Woo (1946), Tim McGraw (1967), Wes Anderson (1969)

Occurence: 1751 – The first cricket match is played in America. (It hasn’t ended yet. The average cricket match lasts about 300 years. Or maybe it just feels that way.)

Standpoint: Last weekend, I moved. In my old house, I had kind of a central command set up in my bedroom. Cable TV. Stereo. Internet. Obviously, I spent a lot of time in there. Now, however, I come home and there is no cable TV and there is no internet. So it’s just me, my books and my stereo. I’ve realized that my iPod was being neglected. I wasn’t listening to enough music. Now, with no other option, that’s all I’m doing. And as I’ve been revisiting my music library, I’ve come across some songs that may put my title of “music snob” to rest for good. Here are 7 Songs I’m Unhappy Being In My iPod. Enjoy.

  • Ace Of Base“The Sign” – Most likely, when I downloaded this song on 02.11.08, I had some good intentions for doing so. At this time, I can’t recall what in the world they might’ve been. I remember barely liking this song in college. And, even then, I was probably pretending to like it because of some girl.
  • Stroke 9“Little Black Backpack” – I wish I could say this was a straggler from some mix CD that was made for me back in the day. But it wasn’t. Apparently, I downloaded this song at 2:51 one morning back in 2007. I’ll blame it on Jack Daniels.
  • Right Said Fred“I’m Too Sexy” – OK. This one’s not my fault. My mother asked me to DJ a fashion show for her a few years back. I figured this would be a good song to end the show on a high note. I was right. The women loved it.
  • Young MC“Bust A Move” – This song is borderline listenable. But at the end, it all falls apart. His “best friend Harry has a brother Larry/In five days from now he’s gonna marry/He’s hopin’ you can make it there if you can/’Cause in the ceremony you’ll be the best man.” Huh? Who asks his brother’s best friend to be his best man? And a mere five days before the ceremony? It just doesn’t make any sense.
  • James Blunt“You’re Beautiful” – Remember when this guy was supposed to be the next big thing and thenVH1 and every easy-listening radio station in the country ran with this song and played it about 213 times a day? 2006 was the year I first got my iPod and I was obsessed with adding as much music as I could onto it. That’s how this sappy song got on there.
  • Charles & Eddie“Would I Lie To You?” – I have good days. I have bad days. My guess is 03.21.07 wasn’t one of my greatest days. Why else would I have downloaded this song?
  • Club Nouveau“Lean On Me” – Not only do I have this song on my iPod, but I’ve got the extended version weighing in at over 7 minutes. This had to be another alcohol-induced download as it was 4:14am when I added this little gem.

All right. So now you know. Got any embarrassing tunes on your iPod? Why not take this time to purge yourself and share them?

Weekend: Each Friday, I’ll provide you with 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead – my list of events to attend in Philadelphia this weekend as if it’s your last.

Quotation: Always strive to excel, but only on weekends.Richard Rorty

Tune: There are two versions of “Ultimatum” by The Long Winters. One is a faster studio version that appears on Putting the Days To Bed. The other (better) version is slower.

Gallimaufry: Philadelphia Stories is a non-profit literary magazine that supports the written word and, really, all the arts here in The City of Brotherly Love. It’s online auction is running now through 05.09.09. The items include nice getaways, gifts certificates to some of the city’s best spots and excellent works of art. Click HERE to support your local art scene. Unless you don’t live in Philly. And then, still, I think you should do it anyway…Mayor Nutter has announced his plan to make Philadelphia the “greenest city in the United States of America.” Check out his Greenworks PhiladelphiaWorld Health Organization (WHO) officials have declared they will stop using the term “swine flu” in order to stop people from killing pigs. (Some geniuses in Egypt apparently slaughtered 3,000 pigs in order to protect themselves from the epidemic.) Officials say they will refer to the disease by its given name – Influenza A H1N1. Sorry. Don’t see that one catching on.

Incoming: Next week will have some more of your favorite columns along with some new stuff I’ve been working on. Thanks for reading this week. Come back Monday for some more.

04.24.09 – Friday

Word: hoi polloi [hoi puhloi] n. the common people; the masses (often preceded by the)

Birthday: Willem de Kooning (1904), Alan Eagleson (1933), Shirley MacLaine (1934), Barbara Streisand (1942), Eric Bogosian (1953), Mumia Abu-Jamal (1954), Michael O’Keefe (1955), Cedric The Entertainer (1964), Djimon Hounsou (1964), Kelly Clarkson (1982)

Occurence: 1184 BC – Greeks enter Troy using the Trojan Horse. I still can’t comprehend how in the hell this actually worked.

Standpoint: If you’re one of the millions of people going out to eat at a restaurant this weekend, I’ve compiled 5 Things You Can Say Or Do That Will Instantly Make Your Waiter Dislike You.

  1.  Ignore Your Waiter – In case you’ve never noticed, a restaurant can be a pretty busy place. While you are there to enjoy yourself (and rightfully so), your waiter is actually working. One thing you can do right away to earn the love of your waiter is to continue your super-important conversation when he or she walks up to greet your table. Go ahead and finish informing your fellow diners with crucial information like who’s sleeping with who in your neighborhood, or an extremely detailed account of your drive to the restaurant. That stuff can’t wait. Don’t let a silly fact like your waiter having several other tables to tend to get in the way of your self-important ramblings.
  2. Public Displays of Affection – Another way to make sure you stay in the good graces of your waiter is to show him or her how much you love the person you’re with. There’s nothing that makes a waiter happier than watching two complete strangers making out and doing God-knows-what underneath the table with your hands. Also, make sure that you sit on the same side of the booth or table as your partner to announce to everyone in the restaurant, “Hey. The two of us are quite fond of each other.” Waiters love to be reminded that they can’t currently be with the one they love so the next best thing is watching your adorable little grope-fest as he or she attempts to pry your drink order out of you.
  3. Ask Stupid Questions – You know the common sense that you employ almost every minute of your day-to-day life? Leave that at home. Enter the dining experience as if you were just thawed out of ice or your spaceship just landed and you’ve never been to a restaurant. If you’re thirsty you might try posing a question like, “Excuse me, is there any chance I could get a glass of water?” After all, you might’ve never been to this particular restaurant. They might not have running water. It’s best not to assume. Your waiter will appreciate how softly you’re treading around the issue and there’s no real  likelihood of he or she thinking that you are a schmuck for posing a question you already know the answer to.
  4. Stay As Long As You Like – You’re most likely a great person. The relationship that you’ve fostered with your waiter will probably last a lifetime. So when you’ve finished your dessert and downed your last drop of coffee, don’t worry about leaving. Your waiter is hoping that you stay all night. That way he or she won’t have to deal with the inevitable gloominess of saying goodbye and welcoming a new table to where you once sat. The money that waiter would make from serving more people could never equal the mutually rewarding experience the two of you are sharing. You can’t put a price on a lasting friendship.
  5. Don’t Worry About the Tip – Even though waiters make all of their money off of tips left by patrons, don’t be concerned. For example, say your bill is $130. Don’t worry about the traditional 20% tip of $26. Leave whatever you like. Your waiter will probably use the experience to boost his or her resolve and vow to improve service on the next table. One day, he or she will look back and remember you fondly for providing the catalyst that kicked his or her service standards to the next level. And that’s way more important than actual money.

I treated each item like it’s something you should do. Obviously, I’m hoping you picked up on the sarcasm.

Weekend: Each Friday, I’ll provide you with 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead – my list of things to do this in Philadelphia this weekend as if it’s your last.

  • Today (04.24) – Presidents of the United States of AmericaThe Troc – Back in the 90s, the power pop trio gave us some of the best songs about fruit (“Peaches“) and odd women from boggy marshes (“Lump“). They broke up for a while but are now back together. Lots of energy and clever lyrics. If you’re into that kind of thing. Time: 9pm
  • Saturday (04.25) – Fishtown Shad FestPenn Treaty Park – Fishtown originally gained its name from all the shad that were fished out of the Delaware River. The fish can’t be found around these parts anymore but that’s not stopping Fishtown residents from celebrating what William Penn desribed as “excellent fish.” Events include a Shad Run Race, a historical trolley tour of Fishtown, numerous children’s activities and performances from local musical acts including Hoots and Hellmouth. Oh, there will also be plenty of beer and shad dishes from local vendors. Time: 11am – 5pm
  • Sunday (04.25) – The Mütter Museum – On its website, The Mütter Museum describes itself as “valuable resource for educating and enlightening the public about our medical past and telling important stories about what it means to be human.” People I know who’ve been there describe more as “a museum with all this gross stuff.” My guess is that both statements are probably true. Time: 10am – 5pm

Quotation: When you are through changing, you are through. Bruce Barton

Tune: Before I saw the Aqueduct‘s video for “Living a Lie,” I was completely unaware that David Terry could pass for Kevin Smith.

Gallimaufry: Sometimes, when you try to be a funny and do something like, say, pretend to fall off a bridge, you actually fall off the bridge. Just ask this guy…If you are still on the fence about the idiocy of Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly, this will straighten you outThe Flyers shutout the Penguins last night 3-0. Can “The Orange and Black” win the next two games and advance to next round? If they play like they can, they are more than capable of sending Sidney Crosby and his squad to the golf course.

Incoming: Tomorrow morning, I’ll be moving away from East Falls and heading west to East Norriton. (I’ve decided, for the rest of my life, I’ll only live in areas that start with the word “East.”) My internet situation is up in the air but I’ll still be doing daily posts while I adjust to my new schedule. Anyone know anything about East Norriton?

04.23.09 – Thursday

Word: milieu [mil-yoo] n. surroundings, esp. of a social or cultural nature: a snobbish milieu

Birthday: William Shakespeare (1564), James Buchanan (1791), Cow Cow Davenport (1894), Lester B. Pearson (1897), Shirley Temple (1928), Roy Orbison (1936), Lee Majors (1939), Sandra Dee (1942), Hervé Villechaize (1943), Joyce DeWitt (1949), Michael Moore (1954), Jan Hooks (1957), Valerie Bertinelli (1960), George Lopez (1961), Timothy McVeigh (1968), John Cena (1977), Kal Penn (1977), Jaime King (1979)

Occurence: 1985 – In the most unpopular move in soft drink history, The Coca-Cola Company replaces Coca-Cola Classic with New Coke. Three months later, the original is back in stores.

Standpoint: It’s time for this week’s edition of Annoying Sayings & Misused Words. Let’s get to it.

  • “figuratively” vs. “literally” – Literally, everyone is abusing the word “literally.” (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.) But it’s almost true, I guess. If you’re like me in that you (a) have normal hearing and (b) understand the English language, then you know what I’m talking about. For example, a statement like, “The party was so packed. There were literally 2,000 people in that apartment.” Sure, I understand that there were a lot of people at the party. But unless the host lives in one of the most impressive apartments in the history of indoor dwellings, then I think the numbers are a bit off. To put it lightly. Rather, the word “figuratively” should’ve replaced “literally.” “Figuratively” means “metaphorical” or “not literal.” “Literally” means “in a literal manner” or “word for word.” So all these people saying things like, “Jesus, it’s literally been raining for 20 straight days,” or, “You should’ve seen the dog park. There were literally like 700 dogs down there today,” need to simply substitute the word “figuratively” for “literally.” The problem here? It won’t happen. “Figuratively” just doesn’t roll out of the mouth the same way “literally” does. It doesn’t convey the same feeling or deliver the same kind of impact. So, sorry, folks, I think we’re stuck with this one. Literally.
  • “My Bad” – Once, an employee of mine showed up for work about two hours late on a very important day. First thing he said to me? “Sorry, Josh, my bad.” I just about shot through the roof. “My bad” has become one of those things that people say in lieu of an apology. I think it started with pro athletes who say it frequently after a missed pass or a dropped ball. But showing up two hours late for work? I needed a little more than that because I was already completely certain it was “his bad.” I wasn’t sitting around wondering if the guy was late because of something I might’ve done. I knew that the blame rested squarely on that clown’s shoulders. So, do me a favor. Unless we’re playing flag football and you miss me wide open by a mile in the end zone, don’t bring out “my bad.”
  • “Same Difference” – As with “My Bad,” this falls into the category of “lazy sayings.” One article I read qualified it as a “verbal shrug.” I think that about sums it up – it’s the equivalent of “whatever” nowadays. “Same difference” isn’t so much misused as it’s overused. It really should be “same thing, no difference,” but that’s not how most mean it. Mainly, it’s used in the same way as, “I’m just saying.” It’s just a conversational device for one to end an argument in which they are wrong without having to admit it.

Tune: Last summer, I listened to “Sultan” by What Made Milawaukee Famous about 4 times a day. I like the use of horns. Also, pretty great name for a band.

Gallimaufry: I was working and didn’t get a chance to watch it, but according to everyone who did, this week’s disco episode of “American Idol” was pretty awful. I heard it described as “a trainwreck”…Tonight, the Flyers face elimination in their first-round playoff series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. If the Flyers can’t pull it out, losing to a team with as little heart as the Penguins will be tough enough. But what might be worse is losing to a team with some of the most pathetic fans in sports history. Disgraceful. And we in Philly get a bad name as fans…For the record, I think Perez Hilton is annoying and probably secretly loves all the celebrities he shreds on a daily basis. But, after some deliberation, I think what he did to Carrie Prejean during the Miss USA competition was a pretty strong and calculated move.

Incoming: Tomorrow3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead and 5 Things You Should Say To Your Waiter If You Want Him To Dislike You.

04.22.09 – Wednesday

Today is Earth Day!

Word: espouse [i-spouz, i-spous] v. 1. to make one’s own; adopt or embrace, as a cause 2. to marry 3. to give (a woman) in marriage

Birthday: Immanuel Kant (1724), Vladimir Lenin (1870), Vladimir Nabokov (1899), Robert Oppenheimer (1904), Charles Mingus (1922), Aaron Spelling (1923), Charlotte Rae (1926), Richard Donner (1930), Glen Campbell (1936), Jack Nicholson (1937), John Waters (1946), Peter Frampton (1950), Paul Carrack (1951), Marilyn Chambers (1952), Ryan Stiles (1959), Byron Allen (1961), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (1966), Daniel Johns (1979)

Ocurrence: 1970 – The first ever Earth Day is held.

Standpoint: Twitter. You can’t escape it. It’s everywhere. In the past month, I haven’t read a newspaper or watched a talk show where there hasn’t there wasn’t some reference to Twitter, “tweets,” “twittering,” “tweeting” or one of the myriad of other new terms that has invaded the English language because of the overwhelming popularity of the social networking site. If you haven’t heard of it, you must be purposely trying to avoid it. Twitter (and everything to do with it) is currently big news. Last week, Ashton Kutcher challenged CNN to a race to see which one could get to 1 million followers first. Kutcher won. Also last week, Oprah Winfrey publicly joined Twitter on her show where her guest was Evan Williams, Twitter’s CEO. Her first tweet was unsuccessful. Some guy named Corey Menscher has invented the Kickbee, a device a pregnant woman can wear that will detect her baby “kicking” and post a tweet about it.

I joined Twitter a little over a month ago. I railed against it for a while, but finally succumbed. Really just to figure out what the hell it was all about. So, what have I learned? In essence, Twitter is primarily an outlet for people to braindump. Some denominate it microblogging. I think it of it as more full-dress insanity. The tweets come fast and furious. I’m not particular about who I follow or who I allow to follow me. I employ Twitter to drum up additional traffic for this blog, so I figure, the more the merrier.

But individuals are on Twitter for all kinds of reasons. As I’m writing this, I’ve just passed 400 followers. In addition, I’m following close to 800 people in the Twitterverse. I know all of 12 of them personally. The rest are celebrities (Kutcher, P. Diddy and ,yes, even Wil Wheaton), news sites (CNN, E! Online, The Huffington Post), musical acts (Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Band of Horses), companies trying to sell stuff (which is seemingly effective) or fellow bloggers.

Some that I’m following (or they’re following me, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep it all in order), are simply odd. One guy I was following was actually posing as Christopher Walken. His tweets were pretty funny and I could picture the actor writing them. The guy was caught and booted. (He’s now back.)Another person contantly updates conditions on the highways in and around San Jose, CA. I’ve no use for this information but I don’t drop anyone so I’m continually informed on what roads not to take around a city I’ve no current plans to step foot in. These are just two examples. There are hundreds, probably more like hundreds of thousands, more.

So, is Twitter useful? I’d love to give some snarky response about how it’s not, but that would be dishonest. My blog traffic has increased because of my Twitter activity. Not because my clever tweets are necessarily reeling everyone in but because of the promiscuous following habits of most users, myself included. I’m pretty certain that hardly anyone is reading even 10% of all the tweets that appear on their Twitter homepage. So, while it’s doubtful that everyone in TwitterLand is paying real attention to one another, it doesn’t really seem to matter. It’s more about being involved in swirling mayhem and telling people, “Yeah, I’m on Twitter.” 

Quotation: Thank God man cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth. Henry David Thoreau

Tune: Sadly, I didn’t get into Guided By Voices until last summer. After listening to Robert Pollard and crew’s many great songs, I quietly wondered what planet I’d been living on that I never ran across them before. Listen to “Echos Myron.”

Gallimaufry: After being hospitalized a few days ago, it appears that physicist Stephen Hawking will make a full recovery…President Obama sure has had his fair share of firsts. Here’s another one. He’ll be the first US President to appear topless on the cover of a magazineFacebook groups are popping against, of all people, martial artist and movie star Jackie Chan for comments he made over the weekend, including that “the Chinese need to be controlled.” Apparently, the guy’s a fan of oppression. Who knew?

Incoming: TomorrowAnnoying Sayings & Misused Words. Friday3 Things To Do in Philly When You’re Dead and more.