06.04.09 – Thursday

Word: descry [di-skrahy] v. 1. to see (something unclear or distant) by looking carefully; discern; espy: The lookout descried land. 2. to discover; perceive; detect

Birthday: Benjamin Huntsman (1704), Apollon Maykov (1821), Dennis Weaver (1924), Morgana King (1930), John Drew Barrymore (1932), Bruce Dern (1936), Freddy Fender (1937), Gorilla Monsoon (1937), Parker Stevenson (1952), Keith David (1956), Scott Wolf (1968), Al B. Sure (1968), Horatio Sanz (1969), Noah Wyle (1971), Stefan Lessard (1974), Russell Brand (1975), Angelina Jolie (1975)

Quotation: Smile, breathe and go slowly. Thich Nhat Hanh

Tune: Just got the new Manchester Orchestra album, Mean Everything to Nothing. Take a listen to the first single “I’ve Got Friends.”

Gallimaufry: The quest to find the biggest asshole on the planet is officially over. His name is Arthur Kade and he’s from Philadelphia. Sort of a half-assed Tucker Max, Kade has created a blog detailing “The Journey” – he sold his financial planning practice to pursue a professional acting career. He’s a perfect example of how certain people can get what they want in this world without understanding much of possibly anything. I’ll have more on this dude coming soon. I just wanted to give you a little taste.  Sometimes (only sometimes) when I’m eating ice cream I think to myself that I wish it were actually pudding. Um, you think that too sometimes, right? Anyway, the fine people at Coldstone Creamery must have been reading my mind. Introducing ice cream that doesn’t melt – it turns into JELL-O Pudding. The next time you crave some after-dinner sweet, this will eliminate the stress of making an almost impossible decision. Ice cream of pudding?  Turns out the two dessert juggernauts have teamed up to make the world’s most indestructible treat. Crafty bastards. One thing I think you and I might agree on is Hulu is pretty damn sweet. High quality TV shows and movies for free? Who wouldn’t like that? No one, that’s who. Well, it might not be free for very long. News Corp., the company that owns Hulu, has appointed a new chief digital officer. Apparently, he thinks it might be more financially viable to charge for Hulu’s content. Here’s hoping he comes to his senses.

Incoming: The week is almost over and I’ve still more almost ready to go. I’m definitely going to unleash a little something about this Arthur Kade fellow. It just wouldn’t be right if I let it go by the wayside. Also, I’ve got some thoughts I’d like to share about all the movie remaking going on in Hollywood right now. And, of course, 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead, which will be expanded a little in keeping with the new format.

05.04.09 – Monday

Word: ostensible [o-sten-suh-buhl] adj. 1. outwardly appearing as such; professed; pretended: an ostensible cheerfulness concealing sadness 2. apparent, evident or conspicuous: the ostensible truth of their theories

Birthday: Horace Mann (1796), William H. Prescott (1796), Ron Carter (1937), Dick Dale (1937), Mr. Fuji (1937), Paul Gleason (1939), Robin Cook (1940), Roger Rees (1944), Mick Mars (1951), Pia Zadora (1954), Randy Travis (1959), Oleta Adams (1962), Ana Gasteyer (1967), Gregg Alexander (1970), Will Arnett (1970), Lance Bass (1979)

Occurence: 1972 – The Don’t Make A Wave Committee officially changes its name to Greenpeace Foundation.

Standpoint: “I’ll never date a girl who reads those idiotic celebrity gossip magazines.” I made that statement (or something similar) one night over some beers to a buddy of mine. Eventually, I came to realize, if I stuck to my guns and only dated females who didn’t read periodicals such as US Magazine and People, I’d be limiting my dating pool to roughly 14 women. As I’ve done numerous times in my life, I was forced to go back on a statement I completely believed at the time of its utterance.

All women read “idiotic celebrity gossip magazines.” Lots of men do, too, though it’s not something any of us will admit to each other. Everyone loves exploring the surreal arena that is celebrity gossip. And why? The reason’s not exactly forthcoming. How do you explain someone with two master’s degrees getting school-girl excited about the arrival of a  magazine which contains twice as many pictures as complete sentences? It makes little sense that individuals who can speak on many educated topics will drop whatever they’re doing to find out what crazy capers Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie are currently mixed up in. Logic comes up short in providing a definitive answer.

Online, the genre is best described as logjammed. Blogging about the day-to-day (and often minute-to-minute) ongoings of celebrity life is as widespread as it is unchecked. Let’s blame it on Perez. While I estimate I’d last about 10 seconds in a conversation with Hilton before the guy uttered something unforgivingly bothersome, his “reporting” is – at the very least – (a) perchance on the level and (b) marginally readable. Sadly, I can’t offer the same quasi-praise for his colleagues in the celebrity blogosphere. In their world, the Swine Flu isn’t newsworthy until Amy Winehouse contracts it. In the battle of what’s really important. Somali pirates finish a distant second to David Hasselhoff’s drinking problem.

The “Blogroll” on TMZ.com contains scores of sites dedicated to the pursuit of celebrity exposure. Yesterday, after immersing myself in their vocation, I concluded that, minus those who stalk or pass for celebrities, the population of Los Angeles may very well reside at about 700 people. Here’s some of the hard-hitting journalism I encountered along the way.

  • “Kelly Osbourne on Cocaine Diet”AnythingHollywood – At first, I thought the title suggested Kelly Osbourne was actively using blow to shed some unwanted pounds. After further delving  into the two-paragraph article, I discovered it contained her poignant inner thoughts on celebs who do employ the use of cocaine for weight loss. Ozzy‘s daughter is tired of reading about “how fat” she is. “It’s not like I’m like all the other celebrities in Hollywood that’s going to do a line of cocaine to lose weight.” Osbourne makes no mention of the fact that an exercise regimen might be a valid consideration. Nor does she offer a solid explanation as to how exactly she continues to think of herself as a celebrity.  AnythingHollywood concludes the article with encouragement for the former reality television star, “Stay happy, Kelly, that’s what matters.” I’m reasonably sure Osbourne’s message is meaningful to someone out there: “Hey, the best way to deflect unwanted discussion on being unhealthy and overweight is highlighting a worse thing you could be doing. Like habit-forming drugs.” When you read it about a dozen times in the right kind of light, it’s almost inspirational.
  • “Alyson Hannigan & Alexis Denisof Take Satyana For A Stroll”Pink is the New Blog – Let’s do a breakdown. “It really looks like the Hannigan-Denisofs are taking things nice and easy these days so that they can enjoy being a new family unit with their just over a month-old baby girl. It’s clear that parenthood really suits the couple.” I’m not disagreeing with that, but I’m hoping that the author has a little more to go on than the pictures. Not much more than Hannigan pushing a futuristic stroller with Denisof ambling along, hands in pockets. More: “…the serenity and calmness that they show whenever they are out and about belies that notion that new parents are frazzled and nearly driven to insanity.” I’m a little skeptical. Perhaps “the serenity and calmness” displayed might be better described as “the bewilderment and stupefaction” of two people faced with the reality of a casual walk turning into a spectator sport. “Frazzled?” “Nearly driven to insanity?” Inevitable, if you ask me…Finally, “…of course, we don’t get to see what they look like at 3AM when little Miss Satyana gets hungry/wet and/or poopy.” Patience, Pink is the New Blog. I’m sure one day, with the right set of circumstances, you’ll get the pictures needed to scoop the exclusive on the “Miss Satyana Was Hungry/Wet and/or Poopy” story that the world is on-the-edge-of-its-seat to read. Personally, I would’ve rather read a few sentences on how naming your daughter “Satyana” is somehow (a) acceptable or (b) not creating an uphill battle for the child.
  • “Get That Money, HoHan!”Dlisted – So poorly written that I’d wager Lindsay Lohan could’ve written something a bit more coherent. Annoying in the fact that someone is making money off maintaining and contributing to Dlisted. Encouraging in that, if whomever is at the helm of this nonsense is profiting in any way whatsoever, odds are that you can make money doing nearly anything. Lohan is one of the most inconsequential people that I (unfortunately) know about. Dlisted is her blog equivalent. Unfair? Maybe. But I think I’m standing on pretty solid ground here.

The fun/absurdity doesn’t end there. I could go on. But I think I’ve adequately shown my intent here. If we could bottle the collective energy spent daily on the gathering of celebrity gossip we’d have the means to quickly solve all the world’s problems. At the very least, we could figure out some way for Kelly Osbourne to achieve her goal of drug-free weight loss.

Quotation: Be nice to whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity. Desmond Tutu

Tune: As a rule, I dislike remixes. However, this version of Soul Coughing‘s “Circles” has been a long-time exception.

Gallimaufry: Congratulations to everyone who ran in the 2009 Blue Cross Broad Street Run yesterday. Special congrats go out to my roomie who ran 10 miles in an hour and a half. Way to go, Kate. All the training paid off…TopCultured.com has published its list of “4 Tell-tale Signs of Douchebaggery.” I recently bought a shirt at Express and I wear a wristband so it turns out I’m half a douchebag. I think that’s more favorable  than some might describe me…The 76ers had a “total collapse.”  The Flyers got outworked by a lesser team. The Phillies are off to a good, but not spectacular, start. Enter the Eagles minicamp and the silence of Donovan McNabb. Ah. I knew that World Series euphoria would wear off eventually. Welcome back, shaky Philadelphia sports scene. 

Incoming: Tomorrow7 Best Movie Soundtracks. Wednesday – Working on something. Stay tuned. Later – More of your entries for Annoying Sayings & Misused Words and 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead and much much much more.

04.17.09 – Friday

Word: quixotic [kwik-sot-ik] adj. 1. (sometimes initial capital letter) resembling or befitting Don Quixote 2. extravagantly chivalrous or romantic; visionary, impractical or impracticable 3. impulsive or rashly unpredictable

Birthday: J.P. Morgan (1837), Thornton Wilder (1897), Harry Reasoner (1923), Jan Hammer (1948), Rowdy Roddy Piper (1954), Michael Sembello (1954), Nick Hornby (1957), Maynard James Keenan (1964), Liz Phair (1967), Redman (1970), Jennifer Garner (1972), Victoria Beckham (1974)

Occurence: 1790 – In Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin passes away at the age of 84.

Standpoint: In doing my daily research for this blog, I come across a lot of the same names. Some of these names I would prefer to never hear again. So, I decided to make a list of 5 People I Would Like To See Move To Another Planet. Here’s the first five people (in no particular order) I’d like to put on a vessel headed for another planet and what I’d say to them before I kicked them inside and sealed the hatch.

  • Glenn BeckFOX News Talk Show Host – “I’m sorry, Mr. Beck, but we just don’t need people like you anymore. Once upon a time, we liked it when our TV personalities stirred up the pot and whipped people into a frenzy for no good reason . It was fun to watch. But now, the stakes are too high. I’m afraid we need responsible broadcasting in this day and age. I know what you’re going to say. FOX News will just put someone else in your place. But we’ve all got our fingers crossed that person will be a little smarter and not half as loud. Here’s to hoping.”
  • Miley CyrusTeenage Music and Movie Superstar – “This is really delaying the inevitable, Miss Cyrus. In a couple of years, you won’t be famous anymore and no one will care where you are. So you might as well be on another planet. Maybe there, you can get a fresh start and actually make something of yourself without your dad, Billy Ray Cyrus. We know this will probably break his (achy-breaky) heart, but we’re looking to do what is best for everyone. We’ve packed your Radiohead CDs for the trip. Enjoy.”
  • Tom GreenInternet Talk Show Host – “Mr. Green, I’ve watched your internet talk show. You don’t seem as annoying as you did on MTV, a few years back. You were doing fine, conducting harmless interviews with Andrew “Dice” Clay, Kathy Griffin and other inconsequential celebrities. But you got greedy. You went on “Celebrity Apprentice” and reminded us that you are someone whose only comedic value rests in your ability to annoy. We’ve had enough.”
  • Paris HiltonHotel Heiress – “Miss Hilton, you’re innocuous enough. You seem to enjoy dabbling in all sorts of stuff. Music, television, fragrances. It appears you have a wide array of interests. We’re not sure how you became famous or even how you’ve managed to stay that way. Sadly, this might not even be your own doing. But we gotta get rid of you. There’s just too many people who care about your activities and we have to make you disappear so that those people can do more productive things with their time. Like monitor the Ashton Kutcher-CNN Twitter race.” [Note: The race is over. Ashton Kutcher won.]
  • MadonnaInternational Music Superstar –  “Hey, Madonna, you had a good run. But when you’re a younger woman and you want to, say, adopt a kid from a third-world country, we think you’re doing a great thing. When you’re your age and you seem to be amassing kids for no good reason, we think you’re creepy. We just wanted you to tour once in a while and sing ‘Material Girl’ and other former hits from your impressive catalog.  But you’ve pushed us too far. Don’t worry about your babies. We’re taking them over to Angelina Jolie‘s.”

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

  • Today (04.17) –  3 Dollar Dance PartyWorld Cafe Live – Described as “an up and coming dance party made for everyone regardless of race, sexuality or background.” Since I’ve lost all the weight (50lbs. in the past year), I’ve noticed that I’m not a half-bad dancer. I’m not skilled, but I’m certainly not a liabilty out on the dance floor. And it sounds like it would be a cool crowd. Time: 11pm
  • Saturday (04.18) – Fresh Fish 2.0 Ten Minute Play FestivalWalking Fish Theatre – Often, people say, “Finally! Something for the A.D.D. crowd!” Well, in this instance, it’s kind of true. Brought to you by B. Somebody Productions, Fresh Fish 2.0 boasts “eight different plays with eight different directors and loads of different actors.” Time: 8pm
  • Sunday (04.19) – Cezanne and BeyondPhiladelphia Art Museum – A large collection (40 paintings and 20 watercolors) are showcased “alongside works by several artists for whom Cezanne has been a central inspiration and whose work reflects , both visually and poetically, Cezanne’s extraordinary legacy.” This exhibit is running through May 31st, so you’ve got some time. But why wait? Time: All Day

Quotation: Weekends don’t count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless Bill Watterson

Tune: Yesterday, I asked my friend Ezgi to name her favorite song in heavy rotation right now. She replied, “‘Stars of Track and Field’ by Belle and Sebastian.” Take a listen.

Gallimaufry: In Philadelphia, it will soon become  illegal to use your cell phone while operating anything on wheels. Now what will all the drivers in front of me to occupy their time while they go 5mph in a 35mph zone? Ah, why am I worried? I’m sure they’ll figure something out…I’m pleased to say that I’ve discovered the reason reality television was invented. Keshia Knight Pulliam (Rudy from TV’s “The Cosby Show”) is finally getting her own reality show. My only question: What took so long?…After three decades, John Madden is calling it quits. The NFL announcer is retiring to spend more time with his family.

Incoming: Next week’s posts will include my Best One-Word Movie Titles, more Annoying Sayings & Misused Words, and some other great stuff. This was the best week so far for this fledgling blog and that’s mainly due to all of the reader participation I’ve received through comments left here, personal emails and all the involvement on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for reading this week. Come back Monday for some more.