11.18.09 – A Wednesday

WORD

paragon [paruh-gon, -guhn] n. 1. a model or pattern of excellence or of a particular excellence 2. Printing. a 20-point type 3. an unusually large, round pearl v. 4. to compare; parallel 5. to be a match for; rival

BIRTHDAY

Asa Gray (1810), Dorothy Dix (1861), George Gallup (1901), Imogene Coca (1908), Hank Ballard (1927), Don Cherry (1936), Margaret Atwood (1939), Linda Evans (1942), Graham Parker (1950), Delroy Lindo (1952), Kevin Nealon (1953), Elizabeth Perkins (1960), Owen Wilson (1968), Duncan Sheik (1969), Mike Epps (1970), Chloë Sevigny (1974)

STANDPOINT

OK. What’s irking the shit out of me today is quite simple. People keep asking me, “Why do you write so angry?”

Yes. I write angry. Yes. I am occassionally an angry person. But that doesn’t mean much of anything except I’m one of those folks who’s easily bothered by the people I come into contact with everyday. And you may not be one of those folks. And that’s fine. But maybe you should be.

You see, my problem with people thinking I’m too angry is there aren’t enough of you out there who are remotely angry enough. Being angry or annoyed is not cool because everyone wants everyone to just be cool. But, the truth is, there aren’t enough of you out there acting remotely cool enough.

And, so, if I tend to get a bit animated or a little too passionate about the current state of most everything, you’ll have to forgive me. I’m just not down with everyone being so goddam down about stuff.

QUOTATION

What I’ve learned about teaching is to refer back to the root of that word, which is educo, which means “to pull from.” Education does not mean jamming information into somebody’s head. Rather, it’s that ancient idea that all knowledge is within us; to teach is to help somebody pull it out of themselves.Alan Arkin

TUNE

Tonight, I’m headed down, with Jer and Ezgi, to World Cafe Live in Philadelphia to see Blind Pilot. I hope I hear “The Story I Heard.” I really can’t imagine a scenario where I wouldn’t.

GALLIMAUFRY

→ Suddenly, pharmaceutical companies have come to the conclusion it might be a good idea to get into the preventive medicine business, instead of the curbing and/or curing side of it. In the next five years, there may be vaccines available for such maladies as Alzheimer’s disease, AIDS, Malaria, grass allergies and even something called traveler’s diarrhea. With the soaring prices of prescriptions and the subsequent scramble to find other options like the internet and Canada, maybe someone at one of these companies said somethig like, “Hey, what if we switch gears and actually try to find a genuine way to help people? I mean, we’ve tried everything else, right? Let’s give it a shot.” Funny, how a completely fucked economical situation can bring out the best in people.

A group of Native Americans, who’d filed a suit against the Washington Redskins over the use of the name “Redskins,” had their case tossed out by the US Supreme Court yesterday for, from what I can tell, is a complete technicality. I’m no lawyer, though, so I could easily be wrong. However, what I’m completely unwrong about is that the NFL franchise should just give up the name. We’re headed toward the future here, people, let’s keep our eyes on the ball. (Plus, the Redskins are so bad I’m sure hardly anyone would notice if they became the Washington Suckasses.)

Jonathan Safran Foer, author of one of my favorite books of all-time, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, has a new non-fiction novel coming out titled Eating Animals. Check out his interview with the AV Club.

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04.08.09 – Wednesday

Word: abscond [ab-skond] v. to depart in a sudden and secret manner, esp. to avoid capture and legal prosecution: The cashier absconded with the money.

 

Birthday: David Rittenhouse (1732), Betty Ford (1918), Carmen McRae (1920), Kofi Annan (1938), Stuart Pankin (1946), Tom DeLay (1947), Steve Howe (1947), John Schneider (1960), Izzy Stradlin (1962), Julian Lennon (1963), Biz Markie (1964), Robin Wright Penn (1966), Patricia Arquette (1968)

 

Occurrence: 1992 – Tennis legend and Philadelphia native Arthur Ashe announces he’s contracted AIDS from blood transfusions during one of his two heart surgeries. Because I hail from Philadelphia, I’m ashamed to admit that I thought he had contracted AIDS sexually.

 

Standpoint: So. After I wrote yesterday’s post, I started doing my nightly internet research. While I was flipping through my RSS Reader, I noticed that Glenn Beck was on my TV screen, ranting pretty intensely about Richard Poplawski. He condemned so-called “liberal bloggers” for casting blame on the right-wing portion of our nation and its attitude about gun control. (I was only half-listening, really. A good deal of my attention was being put to use wondering how in the hell the dude ever got a talk show. Why do networks always mistake yelling for charisma?) In any case, he was going on and on about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and casually alluding to the right to bear arms. Something struck me. Society is kind of fucking nuts. Nowadays, people are nearly hysterical about things like cigarettes, artificial sweeteners and Big Macs. (If you didn’t know, they’re bad for you.) People who smoke too much, use too much artificial sweetener or eat too much fast food are likely to die from some horrible disease. Proven facts. I’m not disputing them. But I’m reasonably confident that people who get shot at, even once, are more likely to die from the bullets hurtling at them. So why are tobacco, artificial sweetener and fast food companies under constant barrage and gun companies less so? It’s simple. The Second Amendment to which Mr. Beck was alluding. It says that we all have the right to own guns. No one ever thought to make a Constitutional Amendment about the right to puff on a Camel Light, pour Equal in coffee or woof down a Whopper. But as a United States citizen, Richard Poplawski was able to gather deadly weapons. The Constitution told him it was OK. I wonder if the loved ones of the fallen Pittsburgh Police officers give a rat’s ass about the Constitution right now. I know I don’t. I don’t think laws are made to be broken. I do, however, think laws should be re-examined after a certain amount of time and held up to our current reality. Gun laws need to be changed. Now.

 

QuotationThus the metric system did not really catch on in the States, unless you count the increasing popularity of the 9mm bullet.Dave Barry

 

Tune: Throw Me The Statue is a great band that I’ve had the opportunity to see in concert at least three times but, for various reasons, didn’t. Here’s “About To Walk”. (By the way, Matt Durkin, if you’re reading this, I want my Throw Me The Statue album back, punk. Also, the Elvis Costello album and the David Sedaris book.)

 

Link: 60 Incredible Aerial Photos from 640 Pixels – Simply amazing stuff.

 

Gallimaufry: Blockbuster Video is apparently close to kaput. Maybe that “no late fees” policy wasn’t such a hot idea…The actor who was inside the Darth Vader (James Earl Jones was the voice) suit for the first three Star Wars films (or the last three, depending on what level geek you are) hasn’t been paid residuals for Return of the Jedi yet. LucasFilm claims that David Prowse signed a contract that stipulates he only gets residual money when the film actually turns a profit. The studio claims that Jedi has yet to do that. You read that right…Fans of the FOX show House were taken off-guard last night when Kal Penn’s character, Dr. Kutner, committed suicide. Turns out the star of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle is set to become an associate director at the Office of Public Liaison at The White House. Is there any other place Penn could’ve been going to work where that secret would not have been leaked? I think not.

 

Incoming: Tomorrow – Finally. Your Annoying Sayings responses will be addressed. Friday – My “3 Incredibly Cool Things To Do In Philadelphia This Weekend”. (I know. The title is way too long. I’m working on it.)