02.24.11 – a thursday

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word

penchant [pen-chuhnt] n. a strong inclination, taste, or liking for something: a penchant for outdoor sports

birthday

Honus Wagner (1874), Abe Vigoda (1921), Dominic Chianese (1931), James Farentino (1938), Joe Lieberman (1942), Barry Bostwick (1945), Edward James Olmos (1947), George Thorogood (1950), Debra Jo Rupp (1951), Steve Jobs (1955), Michelle Shocked (1962), Billy Zane (1966), Mitch Hedberg (1968)

standpoint

Last night might have marked the greatest quizzo comeback of all-time if our team had actually claimed the top spot. Instead we took third but it was remarkable all the same although some among us (you know who you are) simply weren’t satisfied with the bronze.

Anyway, there’s no new standpoint today but there will be tomorrow. Hope you enjoy the rest of the post. Especially you, Joe.

quotation

All television is educational television. The question is: What is it teaching? ↔ Nicholas Johnson

tune

Attention: Make sure you check this out before the ever-changing and unpredictable copyright laws swoop down and remove it forever. “Rhythm and Blues Alibi” by Gomez. Easily one of my top 20 all-time favorite songs accompanied by a kick-ass video. Enjoy.

gallimaufry

Last week, in an unprecedented move, the online music site Pitchfork announced some news that had absolutely nothing to do with Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Sufjan Stevens, LCD Soundsystem or any indie rock outfit with an animal in its name. (Panda Bear? Huh?) Death Cab For Cutie’s new album, Codes and Keys, will be released this May. I know, not much of a deviation but, seriously, let’s all get together and send the folks at Pitchfork some new albums or sign them up for emusic or something.

These douchebags got nine years each in jail for beating a Mexican immigrant to death by punching him with a “fist pack” and kicking him after he lost consciousness. Nine years? That’s it? Way to go, USA. Let’s make sure we cut out those newspaper clippings for the scrapbook.

→ How boring is living in Alabama? Well, apparently, it’s mundane enough to make you want to poison trees when you’re inconsequential football team loses a meaningless game. (Before all you college football zealots start popping off, I am fully aware Alabama-Auburn games are not meaningless in terms of college football. It’s just meaningless to the rest of the world.)

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03.10.10 – A Wednesday

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word

mellifluous [muhlif-loo-uhs] adj. 1. sweetly or smoothly flowing; sweet-sounding: a mellifluous voice; mellifluous tones 2. flowing with honey; sweetened with or as if with honey

birthday

Ferdinand I (1503), Bix Beiderbecke (1903), James Earl Ray (1928), Chuck Norris (1940), Robert Llewellyn (1956), Osama bin Laden (1957), Shannon Tweed (1957), Jim White (1957), Sharon Stone (1958), Mitch Gaylord (1961), Pam Oliver (1961), Jeff Ament (1963), Rick Rubin (1963), Neneh Cherry (1964), Jasmine Guy (1964), Edie Brickell (1966), Timbaland (1971), Eva Herzigova (1973), Shannon Miller (1977), Robin Thicke (1977), Carrie Underwood (1983)

standpoint

I like my camera. It wasn’t expensive but, sometimes, it takes some really good pictures. More than a few people have told me I have a good eye for shooting things.

The cool thing about a good photograph is it’s untouchable. It’s static and not responsible for anything more than it portrays. Although every part of my personality would suggest otherwise, I’m drawn to the unchanging nature of still photography.

So, today, I thought that instead of bashing one thing or another I find wrong with the world, I’d share with you some of the beauty I’ve found in it. Hope you enjoy.

From Oscar's Tavern in Philadelphia.

Silverware bin from my brother's kitchen.

East Falls train station in Philadelphia.

The view from the back of the shore house.

Last year's Bike Race in Manayunk.

I’ve got tons more but thought it would be best to start out light. I’ll post more in an upcoming post someday soon.

quotation

You use your money to buy privacy because during most of your life you aren’t allowed to be normal.Johnny Depp

tune

Local Natives make soaring, sky-scraping harmonies, dreamy orchestral melodies, and throbbing tribal beats that bash their way into your soul.” That’s according to the band’s label, Frenchkiss Records. Obviously, the statement’s a bit biased but it’s also pretty dead on. Be on the lookout for constant comparisons to Vampire Weekend and Arcade Fire as Local Natives gets bigger. Check out “Stranger Things” off the recently released Gorilla Manor. (Thanks to Ezgi for turning me on these guys.)

gallimaufry

All right, just because you discover something is possible doesn’t necessarily mean you make it happen. I love how this chef pairs the dish with a Riesling. Unreal.

→ For those of you shouting as loud as you can about how your privacy rights are being violated on the Internet by Google or the government or some other establishment you think of as “The Man,” you might want to reconsider your thinking. This woman might’ve gotten away with killing a Swedish artist. If it hadn’t been for those crazy kids at the Justice Department figuring out what she was up to before she had time to make it happen.

→ Yesterday, I was so immersed in Oscar hoopla that I failed to mention it was the 200th post to this blog. Can’t believe it’s been that many. Although, in a way, it’s sort of felt like more. Anyway, thanks for reading.

02.03.10 – A Wednesday

WORD

quibble [kwibuhl] n. 1. an instance of the use of ambiguous, prevaricating, or irrelevant language or arguments to evade a point at issue 2. the general use of such arguments 3. petty or carping criticism; a minor objection v. (used w/o object) 4. to equivocate 5. to carp; cavil

BIRTHDAY

Elizabeth Blackwell (1821), Gertrude Stein (1864), Norman Rockwell (1894), Pretty Boy Floyd (1904), James Michener (1907), Joey Bishop (1918), Nathan Lane (1956), Maura Tierney (1965), Sean Kingston (1990)

STANDPOINT

Today, I’ve got nothing. Well, that’s not exactly true. There’s tons and tons of garbage that’s bothering me but I need to further organize my thoughts. Thanks for reading. Come back tomorrow for some more.

QUOTATION

Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient allover the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.Howard Zinn

TUNE

Hipsters everywhere simply love themselves some Arcade Fire. And maybe I do, too. But only to a point. I’m not particularly gushing over everything the band does. (I’m sure, somehow, that makes me a bad person.) But I still really get into the first song I ever heard by Win Butler and crew – “Rebellion (Lies)”

GALLIMAUFRY

→ I think some of the reason “Calvin and Hobbes” still finds an audience today is because I chose not to run the wheels off it. That’s one of the statements Bill Watterson made in a recent interview, his first in about 15 years. I’m one of the millions of people who wish he was still creating “Calvin and Hobbes,” but after reading what he had to say, I’m kind of glad he stopped. But only kind of.

→ A website called IJustMadeLove.com? Are you fucking joking? Oh, you’re not? Christ.

→ When I read pieces like “New Spider-Man Device Could Let Humans Walk on Walls,” it’s one of the rare instances I feel like, all right, someone out there’s listening.

01.05.10 – A Tuesday

WORD

riposte [ri-pohst] n. 1. a quick, sharp return in speech or action; counterstroke: a brilliant riposte to an insult 2. Fencing. a quick thrust given after parrying a lunge  v. (used w/o subject) 3. to make a riposte 4. to reply or retaliate

BIRTHDAY

Zebulon Pike (1778), George Reeves (1914), Jane Wyman (1917), Francis L. Kellogg (1917), Walter Mondale (1928), Robert Duvall (1931), Charlie Rose (1942), Ed Rendell (1944), Diane Keaton (1946), Ted Lange (1948), Marilyn Manson (1969), Bradley Cooper (1975)

STANDPOINT

In the spirit of reviewing 2009 (which yesterday I stated I was against but seem to be participating in anyway), I’ve compiled a list of the best music releases from last year, in no particular order. After each review, I’ll post the top track off the album.

Now, obviously, there were other albums released in 2009 that some of you (mainly my buddy Joe) will undoubtedly tell me I was wrong in omitting. Green Day, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, Wilco, among others, all released albums recently. I either didn’t like them or didn’t listen to them.

If you feel strongly about it, make a comment and tell me where I went wrong. Music is subjective, of course, and these are just my opinions. Even I can admit my judgment is occasionally subject to bias when it comes to music. But, remember, I’m usually right.

QUOTATION

The problem is not that there are problems.  The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.Theodore Rubin

TUNE

As much as I make fun of it, Canada seems to be putting out some decent indie rock bands recently. Arcade Fire. Broken Social Scene. The New Pornographers. The Rural Alberta Advantage. The Stills. To name only a few. And you can add Human Highway to that list. Made up of singer/songwriter Jim Guthrie and Nicholas Thorburn of the band Islands, the band released Moody Motorcycle in 2008. I’ve recently given it a re-listen and love the song “All Day.”

GALLIMAUFRY

After years of being tabloid fodder and keeping a nation on the edge of its seat, Vince Vaughan has entered into wedlock. Phew!

→ Christ. People. Let’s cease the vacillation. First, the Dallas Cowboys suck and Tony Romo, their quarterback, is a choke artist. Now, since beating the Philadelphia Eagles two days ago, their a Super Bowl favorite? Make up your mind, sports “gurus.”

→ What’s funnier? All the airport security talk or Spike Lee lending his heavy influence to the USA’s bid for a World Cup? Trick question. Neither are funny. Both are equally unimportant.

07.23.09 – Thursday

Word: chagrin [shuhgrin] n. 1. a feeling of vexation, marked by disappointment or humiliation v. 2. to vex by disappointment or humiliation: The rejection of his proposal chagrined him deeply.

Birthday: Pope Clement XI (1649), Raymond Chandler (1888), Pee Wee Reese (1918), Guy Fournier (1931), Claude Fournier (1931), Don Drysdale (1936), Anthony Kennedy (1936), Ronny Cox (1938), Charles Harrelson (1938), Don Imus (1940), Martin Lee Gore (1961), Woody Harrelson (1961), Eriq La Salle (1962), Slash (1965), Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967), Stephanie Seymour (1968), Charisma Carpenter (1970), Alison Krauss (1971), Joel Stein (1971), Marlon Wayans (1972), Monica Lewinsky (1973), Daniel Radcliffe (1989)

Quotation: The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and to a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence.Thomas Wolfe

Tune: Remember when, according to indie rock dweebs everywhere, Philadelphia-based then Brooklyn-based Clap Your Hands Say Yeah were supposed to be, like, the next Arcade Fire? Whatever happened with that? Haven’t heard a peep from them recently. Their website hasn’t been updated since May. Let’s get on the stick, fellas. In the meantime, you can listen to my personal favorite song by the band – “Over and Over Again (Lost and Found)”

Gallimaufry: In a season when it seems so many of our culture’s greatest legends are dying, the hits just keep on coming. On Tuesday night, after 15 years of glorious stardom, Gidget died. No. Not Sally Field. The chihuahua from the Taco Bell commercials. Truly, when will this all end? At the risk of sounding insensitive, I’m calling bullshit on the lady who’s accused Ben Roethlisberger of raping her last year in Reno. In my opinion, rape is probably the most heinous crime one can commit due to the fact it’s equal parts mental and physical abuse. Rapists should have their own prisons where the public is allowed to visit and throw rocks at them. In this case, however, I do believe this woman might be a bit unhinged and looking to get some money out of a highly-visible, very popular sports celebrity. Maybe I’m wrong, but my gut’s telling me no. Let the one-can-never-have-too-many-shoes jokes begin. Amazon.com has purchased Zappos.com for $850 million. Amazon’s going to paying Zappos’ employees $40 million in stocks and cash and none of them will be losing their jobs. It’s unclear what motivated the mega-deal or if Zappos’ super-awesome free shipping and return policies will be effected.

05.06.09 – Wednesday

Word: levity [lev-i-tee] n. 1. lightness of mind, character or behavior; lack of appropriate seriousness or earnestness 2. an instance or exhibition of this 3. fickleness 4. lightness in weight

Birthday: Maxmilien Robespierre (1758), Sigmund Freud (1856), Christian Morgenstern (1871), Rudolph Valentino (1896), Orson Welles (1915), Willie Mays (1931), Rubin Carter (1937), Jimmie Dale Gilmore (1945), Bob Seger (1945), Tony Blair (1953), Roma Downey (1960), John Flansburgh (1960), George Clooney (1961)

Standpoint: Recently, I moved from the City of Philadelphia to one of its suburbs, East Norriton. I grew up in the ‘burbs and, throughout my adult life, have gone through several suburban stints. But mostly, in the past decade and a half, I’ve lived in some section of Philadelphia. Obviously, there are differences. Here are three that I’ve noticed so far this time around.

  • Driving – There are  sidewalks out here but they’re used about as often as that Snuggie you got last Christmas. No one walks anywhere from what I can tell. In the city, pedestrian traffic almost drove me insane. Now, it’s the other cars on the road that are filling that hole in my life. Because hardly anyone demonstrates a sense of urgency. Also, gratuitous use of one’s horn is frowned upon. I’m not asking my fellow drivers to hop the curb or run a red light. But the other day I was driving behind a woman talking on her phone and not moving after the light had been green for about five seconds. I was only looking for a little understanding when I gave a little honk, informing her I’d be agreeable if she put down the cell phone and pushed the gas pedal. She did put the phone down. Then she gave me the finger. Then she pushed the gas pedal. In that order. The next morning, the guy in front of me, driving what looked like the first pickup truck made by Ford, didn’t use his turn signal while pulling into the Sears Hardware at a speed that would’ve made a parade procession appear supersonic by comparison. Apparently, I missed the memo about Fred not having to worry about the proper rules of the road when he’s going to drink coffee in the Sears parking lot with the rest of the guys who feel that using a turn signal is just plain bothersome/uncool. Again, my horn use was met with the middle finger. OK. Message received loud and clear. No honking of the horn. Let’s move on.
  • Civility – In the city, I can remember going to Wawa, the local convenience store, collecting my targeted items, taking them to the counter, paying for them and walking out the door. Without uttering a single word. I didn’t know anything about any of the people who worked in a store I frequented at least once a day. And – I’m sure this’ll sound ruder than I intend it -but I really didn’t want to get familiar with the crew at Wawa. I’ve always felt that idle small-talk in a convenience store makes it significantly less convenient. Out here in the suburbs, it appears there is some expectation of chit-chat during the customer-clerk exchange. My first day here, I was in line at 7-Eleven behind a woman who the clerk referred to as “Liz.” She was probably about 30 years older than he and affectionately called the clerk, “Mitchy,” although the name on his shirt clearly read “Mitch.” After their five-minute conversation about her ambitious gardening enterprises and the latest shenanigans of a dog she was “about ten seconds away from driving out to the goddam country,” Liz managed to make her way out of the store. Mitch turned to me, “How’re you doing today, sir?” “Doing well,” was all I could get out. The rest of my time with Mitch was spent in uncomfortable silence. Next.
  • Hours of Operation – Gone are the days of random 3am gunshots from the low-income housing behind my bedroom. No more coming home at midnight to find half the neighborhood still awake, yelling at the television or each other. Besides the McDonald’s and the APlus, it’s tough work finding something open after 10pm. Lights off. It’s bedtime. I’m sure you can imagine how troubling that might be for a night-owl like myself. Last night, I was in bed at 11pm. I don’t think that’s happened since I was actually 11. My only options for going out somewhere were to either (a) do about 50 round trips through the Mickey D’s drive-thru or (b) head down to the 7-Eleven and engage Mitch in a discussion about Liz’s misbehaving canine. Thanks, but no. On the upside, I’ve never gotten better sleep. Hmmm. Think there’s something to that?

That’s all I got for now but I’m sure I’ll be making more discoveries in the course of readjusting to suburban life. Stay tuned.   

Quotation: And all this means you can expect an unrelenting, unyielding effort from this administration to strengthen our prosperity and our security – in the second hundred days and the third hundred days and all the days after.President Obama

Tune: A while back, I heard Marching Band‘s “For Your Love” on an episode of “How I Met Your Mother.” Having a song featured on a TV show or a movie has become the new “making it big.”

Gallimaufry: Yesterday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke informed Congress that the economy should experience an upswing in the second half of this year. He went on to say that all would still not be right with the economy but there would be mild improvement. Hey. It’s a start. ∞ Everyone can rest easy. The Wayne Coyne-Win Butler brouhaha is now officially over. You might recall I covered this back in March. Coyne, lead singer of The Flaming Lips, has apologized: “I wish whatever had been said wouldn’t have been taken as such a defiant statement by The Flaming Lips because it wasn’t…I was talking about the dudes running their stages.” Weird. Compare that with his previous statement: “Whenever I’ve been around them, I’ve found that they not only treated their crew like shit, they treated the audience like shit.” Whatever happened to real rock feuds? I mean, neither Axl Rose nor Vince Neil looked like they could’ve beaten their way out of a wet paper bag, but at least they talked a good game. As of yet, there’s no official response from Butler and Arcade Fire to Coyne’s back-pedaling. ∞ After what must have seemed like an eternity (I know it did to me), the 13th Annual Webby Awards, “honoring excellence on the internet,” were announced. Among this years Special Achievement Award Winners, Jimmy Fallon for Webby Person of the Year and Twitter for Webby Breakout of the Year. No word yet on where I fell in the voting. I’m sure I’ll be receiving a call sometime soon. ∞ After completing this post, I found out that Dom DeLuise died yesterday at the age of 76. My immediate reaction was to watch the outtakes from Cannonball Run. I’m not sure why. Rest in peace, Dom.

Incoming: TomorrowAnnoying Sayings & Misused Words Friday3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead and some other interesting stuff.

03.30.09 – Monday

Whereabouts: Phoenixville, PA (Spent the night at my folks’ place. They’ve graciously taken my cats into their home and I slept over to help ease the transition for both the cats and myself.)

Word: assuage [uhsweyj] verb 1. to make milder or less severe; relieve; ease; mitigate: to assuage one’s grief; to assuage one’s pain  2. to appease; satisfy; allay; relieve: to assuage one’s hunger  3. to soothe, calm or mollify: to assuage his fears; to assuage her anger

Birthday: Jethro Tull (1684), Francisco Goya (1746), Vincent Van Gogh (1853), Franz Oppenheimer (1864), McGeorge Bundy (1919), Richard Dysart (1929), Warren Beatty (1937), Eric Clapton (1945), Paul Reiser (1957), MC Hammer (1962), Tracy Chapman (1964), Ian Ziering (1964), Céline Dion (1968), Donna D’Errico (1968), Secretariat (1970), Norah Jones (1979), Anna Nalick (1984)

Occurrence: 1933 – The first observance of Doctor’s Day in Winder, Georgia. In 1990, the USA officially began to recognize “National Doctor’s Day.”

Standpoint: Today, Y-Rock on XPN kicks off Modern Rock Madness. Basically, it’s a bracket-style contest not unlike the NCAA Basketball Tournament. It pits music artists against each other in one-on-one competition with the victor moving on to the next round until there is only one left standing. Click HERE to take a look at the match-ups. While it’s a nice concept, this type of radio programming always leaves me a bit salty. And that’s because, like most things I guess, it’s primarily a popularity contest. Granted Modern Rock Madness 2008 ended up with a worthy victor: Radiohead. But the rest of the final four (Modest Mouse, Cake and Beck) gave me the feeling that people voted based on who they thought they should and not who was actually the more talented. And this year’s bracket is kind of befuddling. Why pit David Bowie and Elvis Costello against each other right off the bat? Either one could arguably be in the top eight. Also, how did Spoon and Arcade Fire earn a first round showdown? Both bands are wildly successful right now and it just doesn’t seem right to have one of them eliminated in the first round while bands of equal current success like Vampire Weekend and My Morning Jacket virtually assured first-round victories. The organizers of the NCAA Tournament don’t have the number one and two teams play each other on the first night. I wouldn’t care if they did but I’m betting a lot of you would. Should we hold Y-Rock on XPN to a lesser standard? I’m pretty sure the answer is yes, but I wish it was no.

Quotation: Money does not make you happy but quiets the nerves.Sean O’Casey

Digit: 8 – In Scotland, you only need be eight years old to be convicted of a crime as long it can be proven that you knew what you were doing.

Tune: People who talk music with me are sick of me going on and on about Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. I can’t decide whether “Modern Mystery” or “Think I’m Gonna Die” is its best song. Have a listen to both and then you tell me.

Link: Nerdist – A very funny site by Chris Hardwick.

Gallimaufry: If you live in or around Philadelphia, you’ve driven on I-76, otherwise known as The Schuylkill Expressway. It’s a frustrating stretch of road. To put it mildly. In one of your jaunts down “The Schuylkill” you’ve undoubtedly heard someone say something like, “This has gotta be the worst goddam highway in the country.” Well, next time you can reply to that person, “Actually, it’s not. It’s not even in the top 10.”…If you’re single, tired of dating and wonder where you can go to simply have sex with women without the hassle of all that commitment, today is your lucky day. Simply move to New Zealand where it appears young women are taking promiscuity to a whole new level…Saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button over the weekend. Good movie but Slumdog Millionaire and Milk were much better…It’s no secret that there are millions of not-so-bright individuals running around out there, but this guy takes the cake. Do you think maybe he was looking to get caught?…Check out my friend Brendan F. Quinn’s excellent article “Beam Me Up, Scottie: Reynolds’ Race To The Bucket Sends ‘Nova To The Final Four.”…Thanks for all the responses (both here and on Facebook) to my “Annoying Sayings” post this past Friday. I’ll be doing a follow-up later this week with your suggestions.