05.09.11 – a monday

word

élan [ey-lahn, ey-lan] n. dash; impetuous ardor: to dance with great élan

birthday

J. M. Barrie (1860), Mike Wallace (1918), James L. Brooks (1940), John Ashcroft (1942), Candice Bergen (1946), Billy Joel (1949), Rosario Dawson (1979), Andrew W. K. (1979),

standpoint

A few weeks back, I wrote about mental floss, a fact-filled magazine my roommate subscribes to, and shared a sampling of the nuggets of knowledge I’ve come across since reading it. I like factual information and, apparently, I’m not alone because I received quite a few thankful emails from those of you who subscribed to mental floss after reading that post. And, all I can say is, you’re welcome.

Here’s a few more tidbits I’ve come across since then.

→ Back in 1896, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average was created, it was based on the 12 most successful companies in the USA. Today, the Dow Jones is based on 30 companies including American Express and The Home Depot. The only surviving company of the original 12 is General Electric.

→ Each night after Disneyland closes, the park is invaded by hundreds of feral cats.

→ Every sports team in the country that featured the word “red” in its name in relation to Native Americans has changed it to something more innocuous. Only one refuses to join the rest of us in our attempts to forward civilization: the Washington Redskins.

George W. Bush’s Wikipedia page is the all-time most edited with 44,169 changes.

→ There are some out there who estimate that Americans are sitting on $30 billion worth of unused gift cards.

That’s all for this installment.

quotation

If the whole world were put into one scale, and my mother in the other, the whole world would kick the beam. ↔ Lord Langdale

tune

I don’t really like driving. It’s pretty frickin’ annoying. I mean, if it was just me on the road, I would absolutely love driving. But I’m not alone out there and most people haven’t got the slightest clue as to how to conduct themselves when behind the wheel. The only aspect of driving that makes it remotely bearable is music. And some songs are really good to drive to and almost make the experience of driving from one place to another enjoyable. Case in point, “Alex Chilton” by The Replacements.

gallimaufry

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is threatening to creep onto the list of my top-20 movies ever. There’s something about it that makes me want to watch over and over. I don’t care if that makes me uncool.

→ Often, I find stories for this blog on Drudge Report. It’s kind of useful but also kind of freaky. I imagine its headquarters underneath a secret mountain somewhere and everyone who works there is convinced they’re the only people who’ll survive whatever it is they’ve decided that day is going to cause Armageddon. Also, those dudes definitely play lots of online role-playing games.

→ Hey, news media types, I think we can take the “Breaking News” tag off the whole Osama bin Laden thing. It’s been a week now. How long can news actually break?

03.18.09 – Wednesday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: intrepid [in-trep-id] adj. resolutely fearless, dauntless

Birthday: Mary Tudor (1496), John C. Calhoun (1782), Grover Cleveland (1837), Neville Chamberlain (1869), Ernest Gallo (1909), Jack Warden (1920), Peter Graves (1926), George Plimpton (1927), John Updike (1932), Wilson Pickett (1941), Bill Frisell (1951), Irene Cara (1959), James McMurtry (1962), Vanessa L. Williams (1963), Bonnie Blair (1964), Jerry Cantrell (1966), Queen Latifah (1970), Dane Cook (1972)

Occurrence: 1850American Express founded by Henry Wells and William Fargo. Probably no one left with “1850” under the little “Member Since” on their credit card.

Standpoint: Nick Schuyler should be left alone to mourn and mend. He was the sole survivor of the ill-fated fishing trip that went wrong when the 21-foot boat that he and his three comrades (two current NFL players and one former collegiate player) capsized about 70 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Originally, Schuyler gave a vague recollection of the events surrounding February 28th but now, after spending some time recuperating from hypothermia at Tampa General Hospital, he apparently has come forth with more details that conflict with his original statements to the Coast Guard personnel who found him. According to him, two of his companions (Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith) became desolate, took off their life jackets and floated off into the water. Will Bleakley, the one who lasted the longest alongside Schuyler, thought he saw a light and discarded his life jacket to swim towards it. Now some people, led by the other men’s families, are questioning the validity of his story. It’s almost not even worth surviving a tragedy anymore because, on top of actually having to survive the rigors of said tragedy, you are forced to spend a lifetime recounting the tale and defending your version. Leave the poor guy alone. He’s been through enough.

Quotation: Perhaps your fear in passing judgment on me is greater than mine in receiving it. – Giordano Bruno

Soupçon: The name “Muppet” was derived from a combination of “puppet” and “marionette” by (who else?) Jim Henson.

Tune: Check out my friend Nicholas Chupein and the rest of the guys in Athens – an up and coming band from Chicago, IL. Drawing from a wide array of influences, Athens has successfully conjured up a unique and enjoyable sound that’s been described as, “Like reading Dr. Seuss while getting hit over the head with a guitar.” You’ll understand more once you buy “What Would We Wear Were We Werewolves?” It’s also available on iTunes.

Link: Overthinking It – A site that examines pop culture, by its own admission, maybe a little too much.

Gallimaufry: Since early 2008, Somali pirates have collected over $200 million by raiding vessels in the Gulf of Aden region. Check out this photo gallery of the pirates’ efforts from The Boston Globe. It’s amazing to me, and I’m sure most of you, the small ships they’re using to overtake the much larger ones…400 million light years away, two galaxies are colliding. Don’t worry, NGC 6240 poses no threat to us. This is the first time that scientists have been able to see, by combining images from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope, a galactic merger in process. It’ll take several million years for the process to complete so we’ve got that to look forward to, right?…Anyone else think it was funny that Martin Brodeur (522 career wins) passed Patrick Roy on the NHL’s all-time career wins list on St. Patrick’s Day?