06.01.09 – Monday

Note: All right, so I’m back. I took a week off to take care of some personal stuff and work on my other writing projects and in doing so I realized something: I can’t do this blog every weekday in the way that I was and still have time to pursue other goals. Now, don’t worry, there will still be daily content on here every Monday through Friday. It’ll just be a little different. Since the “Standpoint” section seems to be the one you all like the most, I’m separating it from each daily post. It will appear by itself and only three days a week. It was getting a little difficult to write five “Standpoints” per week and maintain the quality. This way, I’ll be able to write about more of the issues you really want to read about. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.

Word: pithy [pith-ee] adj. 1. brief, forceful, and meaningful in expression; full of vigor, substance, or meaning; terse; forcible: a pithy observation 2. of, like, or abounding in pith

Birthday: Jacques Marquette (1637), Brigham Young (1801), William S. Knowles (1917), Nelson Riddle (1921), Andy Griffith (1926), Marilyn Monroe (1926), Charles Wilson (1933), Pat Boone (1934), Morgan Freeman (1937), René Auberjonois (1940), Ronnie Wood (1947), David Berkowitz (1953), Teri Polo (1969), Alexi Lalas (1970), Heidi Klum (1973), Alanis Morissette (1974), Brandi Carlile (1980)

Quotation: Live your life so when the times comes for the funeral the preacher won’t have to bullshit the peoples. Babatunde Olatunji

Tune: I watched Zack and Miri Make a Porno last weekend. (It was better than people told me it’d be.) Anyway, during the scene where Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks first…ahem…actively participate in relations with one another, a song came on that was unmistakably by the band Live. After 1994’s Throwing Copper, I stopped listening to Live. (Except “Simple Creed.” I love that song.) They stopped making good music. Turns out that the song in the movie was “Hold Me Up,” a b-side from the Throwing Copper album. I liked the song a lot. And I’m OK with that because, even though I’d never heard it before, it was from an era when I thought Live was still kind of worthwhile. Plus, a good song is a good song no matter who’s performing it. All right, that’s not true. I don’t really believe that. Still, good stuff. I don’t think Live released the song anywhere. It’s not on the Zack and Miri Make a Porno soundtrack. But, as I’m known to, I was able to find a site where you can download “Hold Me Up” for free.

Gallimaufry: Despite disliking the movie Titanic on an almost undescribable level, I’ve always been kind of fascinated by the real-life story. Sadly, the last survivor of the tragedy, Millvina Deans, died yesterday. Dean was only 2 months old when the Titanic sank. ∞ Tone-Lôc, the rapper behind such megahit classics like “Funky Cold Medina,” “Wild Thing,” and, well, I guess just those two, collapsed during a concert in Florida on Friday. He reportedly suffered a seizure due to “flight delays and heat.” He’s expected to make a full recovery.  ∞ Lastly, I’m pleased to announce that the Detroit Red Wings are up 2-0 on the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals. As usual, Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby is proving to everyone what a douchebag he can be. Crosby aside, the Red Wings deserve the Cup again. Simply the better team.  

Incoming: Tomorrow – I’ll discuss the 2009 MTV Movie Awards.

05.07.09 – Thursday

Word: acrimony [ak-ruh-moh-nee] n. sharpness, harshness or bitterness of nature, speech, disposition, etc.: The speaker attacked him with great acrimony

Birthday: William Bainbridge (1774), Johannes Brahms (1833), Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840), Gary Cooper (1901), Eva Peron (1919), Johnny Unitas (1933), Jimmy Ruffin (1939), Thelma Houston (1946), Bill Kreutzmann (1946), Randall “Tex” Cobb (1950), Tim Russert (1950), Traci Lords (1968), Eagle Eye Cherry (1969), Breckin Meyer (1974)Nicole Sheridan (1975)

Standpoint: It’s Thursday and that means I’m addressing your suggestions for Annoying Sayings & Misused Words. Right. Now.

  • “ironical” vs. “ironic” – Mentioned by many of you, I think it’s safe to say that we owe this “irony” debate to Alanis Morissette. “Ironical” is defined as “using or prone to irony.” I hate it when I disappoint my readers but that’s probably just what the next sentence will accomplish. As for “ironic,” the second definition offered by dictionary.com was actually “ironical.” So, unfortunately for all of you grammar hounds out there, you are no longer free to correct people when they use “ironical.” Sorry.
  • “could have” vs. “could of” – I hear this one a lot. Hell, I might even say “could of,” I’m not sure. But if I do, I’m wrong as can be. To quote EnglishPlus.com, “‘Could of’ does not exist.” That’s about the end of the debate right there, I think.
  • “no offense, but…” – In its essence, this is a cowardly phrase that was most likely shortened from another, much longer phrase  like, “Hey, I’m a big wuss and I’m about to say something that may or may not piss you off, but I still want to make my feelings known on this issue without fear of bodily harm or reciprocity via an equally offensive comment launched in my direction.” In my experience, when someone starts out a statement with, “no offense, but…” it’s usually meant to imply the opposite like, “No offense, dude, but you suck.” I think it’s all right when used that way. Kind of ironical. Right?

Well, there you go. I’m starting to get the sense that a lot of these words that we all originally thought were being misused have now been accepted by the word authorities as acceptable usage. Are they simply addressing the evolution of the language or are the bending to the will of a people who are too lazy to speak it properly? What do you think?

Quotation: The internet is the world’s largest library. It’s just that all the books are on the floor. John Allen Paulos

Tune: Colin Hay might be remembered by most for his involvement with the 80s Australian pop band Men At Work, but what he’s done since then is create some amazing singer-songwriter anthems. Check out “Waiting For My Real Life To Begin.” Also, if you are a fan of the show “Scrubs,” this might be worth checking out. And if, for whatever reason, you’re pining for those Men At Work days, here’s Hay’s reworking of “Overkill.”

Gallimaufry: Apparently, our society now has individuals calling themselves “public intellectuals.” Read all about Stu Bykofsky’s experience with Dr. Marc Lamont Hill. ∞ Due to all of the driving around I’ve been doing since the new move, I’ve been daydreaming about faster-than-light travel. It’s fun to fantasize about pushing a button and having the world around you turn into a blur as you travel hundreds of miles in the blink of an eye. It’s even more fun to imagine Jean-Luc Picard in the backseat, calmly giving the order to “Engage,” right before you hit the imaginary button. That kind of thing will probably never be possible over land but, out in the cosmos, Space.com seems to think it might be possible sooner than we think ∞ The Shins are back. Well. Kind of. Marty Crandall and Jesse Sandoval are out of the band for what lead singer James Mercer calls “aesthetic reasons.” He’s recruited Ron Lewis from Grand Archives and Joe Plummer from Modest Mouse to join the band for their new tour and upcoming album.

Incoming: Tomorrow3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead and, inspired by all of this rain lately, 7 Sunny Songs About Rain.

04.01.09 – Wednesday

Word: hyperbole [hahy-pur-buh-lee] n. 1. obvious and intentional exaggeration  2. an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, as in “wait and eternity”

 

Birthday: Otto von Bismarck (1815), Big Jim Fisk (1834), Gordon Jump (1932), Debbie Reynolds (1932), Ali MacGraw (1938), Jimmy Cliff (1948), Gil Scott-Heron (1949), Annette O’Toole (1952), Method Man (1971), Rachel Maddow (1971), Bijou Phillips (1980)

 

Occurrence: 2004Google launches Gmail. This should be enough to make April 1st a national holiday. If you don’t use Gmail, switch now.

 

Standpoint: Well, its April Fool’s Day and guess who’s got something really funny cooking up? Hackers. The Conficker worm is looking to create quite a stir. If you’re reading this, you’re probably safe. Often, I wonder what it would take for me to become a full-fledged hacker. What steps would I need to take?

 

  1. Dump my girlfriend – Sorry, honey, but hacking is time-consuming stuff. No more romantic dinners or movie nights for a while. After all, I’ll be trying to take over the world.
  2. Enroll in a martial arts class – Hackers claim they do this for the mental discipline needed to be successful at the craft. I envision some sort of ornate Japanese spear hanging on a wall in my office.
  3. Change my wardrobe – I’ll need to fit in with my hacker brethren so I’ll need lots of ironic t-shirts with clever statements like, “Big Brother Is Watching You” and “Just Because I’m Paranoid Doesn’t Mean They’re Not Watching Me.” Also, buying a wide assortment of Converse All-Stars feels like something I’ll have to seriously think about.
  4. Modify my attitude – Right now, I’m not particularly angry enough to do something like, say, hack into the New York Stock Exchange and collapse the economy. Gotta get mean. Or at the very least, gotta get not-so-apathetic.
  5. Create believable back-story – I’ll come up with stories that I can share with my hacker brethren so they’ll better relate to me. One story will chronicle a particularly horrific gym class involving multiple dodgeballs caroming off my face. Another one will be the tale of how I went stag to my senior prom with my buddy Gilbert and we got totally wasted and made fun of everyone else for “participating in elitist bullshit.” 
  6. Actually learn how to hack – I’ll be good at talking the talk but walking the walk will be a totally different story. Most hacker experts estimate that someone with practically no knowledge of hacking (like me) will need to spend 18-24 months training to acquire the basic necessary skills.

 Seems like a lot of work. I probably won’t do it.

 

Quotation: If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner. Tallulah Bankhead

 

Tune: I hear that, in real life, Alanis Morissette is a cool person. Most of her songs, though, annoy the crap out of me. “Hands Clean” is an exception. I like the whole idea of fast forwarding to a few years later.

 

Link: Music Map – Like iTunes’ “Related Artist” feature but about 8,000 times better.

 

Gallimaufry: Not sure which blanket-with-sleeves you should be looking at? You’ve got more options than the Snuggie…Tattletexting? It’s real and coming to a sporting event near you…Hipsters have always been a source of endless amusement for me. For many reasons. Here’s an article by Lauren Alfrey “What Can We Learn by Learning about Hipsters?” Interesting take.