07.01.09 – Wednesday

Word: egregious [i-gree-juhs, -jee-uhs] adj. 1. extraordinary in some bad way; glaring; flagrant: an egregious mistake; an egregious liar 2. Archaic. distinguished or eminent

Birthday: Comte de Rochambeau (1725), George Sand (1804), William Strunk Jr. (1869), Thomas A. Dorsey (1899), Estée Lauder (1906), Willie Dixon (1915), Olivia de Havilland (1916), Jamie Farr (1934), Jean Marsh (1934), Sydney Pollack (1934), Karen Black (1939), Deborah Harry (1945), Shirley Hemphill (1947), David Duke (1950), Fred Schneider (1952), Terrence Mann (1951), Dan Aykroyd (1952), Alan Ruck (1956), Diana, Princess of Wales (1961), Carl Lewis (1961), Andre Braugher (1962), Pamela Anderson (1967), Henry Simmons (1970), Missy Elliott (1971), Claire Forlani (1972), Sufjan Stevens (1975), Liv Tyler (1977)

Quotation: Every society honors its live conformists, and its dead troublemakers. – Mignon McLaughlin

Tune: Last year sometime (I can’t remember when exactly.), I saw The New Pornographers in concert. While its album are really good, the band is even more spectacular. It helped that the closing song was my favorite – “From Blown Speakers.”

Gallimaufry: Finally. Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Minnesota unanimously decided that Al Franken was indeed a US Senator. After eight months, his opponent, Republican Norm Coleman, conceded. In the end, Franken only won by 312 votes, but it was good enough. The nation was monitoring the election outcome because (a) Franken was once a popular member of Saturday Night Live, and (b) his winning the seat gives the Democratic Party control of an unheard of 60 seats in the Senate. Tom, everyone’s default friend on MySpace (remember MySpace?), has been shitcanned. Don’t feel bad for the guy, though, he’s making $500,000 for the next two years. This brings two questions to mind. One, is this the beginning of the end for MySpace? Two, if it is, will anyone notice? Unfortunately, print media seems to be disappearing. The lastest victim? VIBE magazine.

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05.21.09 – Thursday

Word: jabberwocky [jab-er-wok-ee] n. 1. a playful imitation of language consisting of invented, meaningless words; nonsense; gibberish 2. an example of writing or speech consisting of or containing meaningless words ∞ adj. 3. consisting of or comparable to Jabberwocky; meaningless; senseless

Birthday: Albrecht Dürer (1471), Henri Rousseau (1844), Armand Hammer (1898), Fats Waller (1904), Raymond Burr (1917), Leo Sayer (1948), Al Franken (1951), Mr. T (1952), Judge Reinhold (1957), The Notorious B.I.G. (1972), Fairuza Balk (1974)

Standpoint: Thursday is the day I address your suggestions for Annoying Sayings & Misused Words. Let’s have at it.

  •  “OMG” – (submitted by Fred T.) – “OMG” started out as a chat acronym for “Oh my God!’ But, I’m sorry to report that it has snuck out into the spoken word. I think it’s a great thing to teach children to say instead of, “Oh my God!” Otherwise, unless you’re using it ironically (something I’ll always support), congratulations. It’s official. You’re a tool.
  • “It’s” vs. “Its” – (submitted by Cheryl F.) – When it comes to “it’s” and “its”, I’m ever vigilant. Definitely easy to make a mistake here with just an apostrophe (‘) making the difference. “It’s” is a contraction for “it is” or “it has.” It’s going to be a great day. “Its” is possessive pronoun meaning “of it” or “belonging to it.” The bear got its foot trapped in the rocks. These two words are confused and misused mainly due to lack of attention to detail. Make sure to keep an eye out. One of the easiest grammatical mistakes to miss.
  • “I know, right?” – (submitted by Harold W.) – I’m reasonably sure, without my knowledge, a law was passed that every woman under-30 in this country is obligated  to utter this phrase exactly 85 times per day. First, if you’re agreeing with something someone said by saying, “I know,” there is no need to follow it with, “right?” The other person already agrees with you. By itself, it’s not that bothersome. But the way it’s said most of the time can make my skin crawl. I think it all has to do with the 2-octave jump the voice does when emphazizing  the last word “right,” making it sound like, “I know, riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight?”

How about you? What things do you hear or read that bother you? Let us know.

Quotation: Never mistake motion for action. Ernest Hemingway

Tune: I read about Harlem Shakes‘ song “Sunlight” on a friend’s Facebook status update. Great driving-to-the-beach song.

Gallimaufry: Today might be remembered for a long time as President Obama and former VP Dick Cheney will both give speeches on the state of terrorism in this country. Cheney thinks Obama has left the country wide-open for a terrorist attack and will give his thoughts in a speech titled “Keeping America Safe: An Address by Dick Cheney.” Obama’s speech is called, “How’s Dick Cheney Still Alive?” ∞ Human piece of garbage Michael Vick was released from prison yesterday after serving 18 months for admitting sharing responsibility for brutally murdering several dogs. The former NFL star will server the last two months of his sentence under house arrest in Hampton, Virginia. Vick is reportedly ready to join a Humane Society of the United States campaign designed to discourage urban youth from pitting angry dogs against each other in fights to the death. ∞ Oscar-winning director Cameron Crowe understands how to make music work in movies. If you’ve ever watched the scene from Say Anything where John Cusack plays Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” outside Ione Skye’s house, you know exactly what I mean. Anyway, Crowe has compiled a list of some of the best music moments in film history. Pretty solid, in my opinion.

Incoming: Tomorrow – It’s my birthday. But it’ll also be Friday so you’ll get my 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead plus some birthday-related list. Come back and check it out.

04.14.09 – Tuesday

[Note: Today’s post is a little longer than usual due to the passing of Philadelphia’s legendary broadcaster, Harry Kalas – a man who will forever be remembered as “The Voice of the Philadelphia Phillies.”]

Word: sycophant [sikuh-fuhnt, – fant, sahy-kuh-] n. a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite

Birthday: Shorty Rogers (1924), Rod Steiger (1925), Loretta Lynn (1935), Pete Rose (1941), Richard Jeni (1957), Brad Garrett (1960), Robert Carlyle (1961), Anthony Michael Hall (1968), Adrien Brody (1973), Sarah Michelle Gellar (1977), Win Butler (1980)

Occurence: 1865Abraham Lincoln is shot from behind by in Ford’s Theatre by John Wilkes Booth.

Standpoint: I remember one afternoon in college. My buddy Joe Taylor and I were watching NFL Films. I mentioned that the narrator’s voice sounded kind of familiar. Joe sat up from the couch. “You don’t know who that is?” I told my friend I didn’t. “It’s Harry Kalas! The guy who calls Phillies games with Richie Ashburn!  Are you shitting me?”I wasn’t “shitting” him. I just wasn’t an avid Phillies fan. At that point, I saw no reason to stir Joe up any further by explaining to him I didn’t know who Richie Ashburn was.

Harry Kalas died yesterday at the age of 73 while preparing to call a Phillies-Nationals game in Washington D.C. Before that afternoon with Joe, I did know who he was. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t a baseball fan. Growing up in Philadelphia, it was nearly impossible to not know the man who could’ve patented the phrase, “It’s outta here!”  After college, I eventually did get into baseball and came to share the common reverence held for “The Voice of the Philadelphia Phillies.” He was one of those rare announcers whose love for the game and his team oozed out into the living rooms of all watching. His soothing voice could go from completely relaxed to incredibly excited with the swing of a bat.

The game of baseball lost a true living legend yesterday. The one silver lining being repeated everywhere was that at least Kalas lived long enough to see one more Phillies World Championship last October. I was actually outside Citizens Bank Park when it happened and heard Kalas call it live when Brad Lidge got that third out. Simultaneously, I heard the roar from the crowd in the stadium. My friends out in the parking lot, looked toward the ballpark and lamented the fact that we weren’t inside to experience the ensuing euphoria. I thought to myself that I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I got to hear the best broadcaster in baseball history call the final out of the World Series. It was the people inside who missed out.

Further Reading.

Quotation: Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side, a dark side and it holds the universe together. Carl Zwanzig

Tune: I first heard this song back on MTV’s 120 Minutes. (Remember when MTV played good songs?) “Mr E.’s Beautiful Blues” immediately made me buy everything I could by Eels.

Gallimaufry: Amazon.com is under fire for their new “adult” policy. The online bookstore has being accused of removing only “adult” literature dealing with homosexuality. (Amazon is claiming a glitch on the site.) Click here to learn more and sign the petition. (Thanks to Beth Treisner)…I suspect that “Facebook Users Get Worse Grades in College” is the first of many articles I’ll read in the next year about the negative effects of the popular social networking site…Al Franken is still not a United States Senator but it appears to be a matter of time until he is. Hey, Minnesota, let the guy in already. Jesse “The Body” Ventura used to be your governor. I mean, seriously.

Incoming: Tomorrow – What’s StumbleUpon?  Thursday – More of your Annoying Sayings/Misused Words (This is now going to be a permanent Thursday thing.) Friday3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead and 5 People I Wish Would Move to Another Planet.