07.10.09 – Friday

Word: aphorism [afuh-riz-uhm] n. a terse saying embodying a general truth, or astute observation, as “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton).

Birthday: John Calvin (1509), Camille Pissarro (1830), Adolphus Busch (1839), John Wyndham (1903), David Brinkley (1920), Jake LaMotta (1921), Fred Gwynne (1926), Lee Morgan (1938), Arthur Ashe (1943), Ron Glass (1945), Arlo Guthrie (1947), Greg Kihn (1949), Neil Tennant (1954), Béla Fleck (1958), Chiwetel Ejiofor (1974), Adrian Grenier (1976), Jessica Simpson (1980) 

Quotation: Golf. My God, that’s a mysterious occupation. I know people who are – good friends – who are absolutely smitten, practicing their swing and talking about it. I can understand some sort of sport where your body got a benefit, like marathon running or bicycle racing. That’s not golf. And not only that, but the whole business of standing in the sun- my God. That’s like torture.Christopher Walken

Tune: Houseguest’s pop shuffles and sashays with an off-kilter grace, like a defiant drunk finding his way home. Guitars shamble and rumble with repressed power, rising in hooky swells that call to mind Guided by Voices, Beat Happening, and the Feelies.” That’s how Cleveland Scene feels about Akron, Ohio band, Houseguest. Try “Proud Utility Infielder” and see if you agree.

Gallimaufry: Levi Johnston, the 19-year old who knocked up Bristol Palin, held a press conference Thursday “because Alaskans want to know why Palin has decided to resign, effective the end of the month.” Johnston, who is no longer engaged to Palin’s daughter, feels the reason for her stepping down has something to do with book deals. “She had talked about how nice it would be to take some of this money people had been offering us and you know just run with it, say ‘forget everything else.'” Not sure why he felt like he had to weigh in, but there it is. The Palin family dismissed the aspiring actor’s comments as “a piece of fiction.” Just when you think we’ve come so far as a society. The Valley Club, a swim club in Huntingdon Valley, a suburb of Philadelphia, shows we still got a long way to go. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission is launching an investigation into the events of this past Monday, when an inner city group brought 65 children to swim at the club’s pool facility. Apparently, members were outraged, pulling their children from the pool and holding them protectively from the mostly minority group of children from The Creative Steps, a camp in Northeast Philadelphia. Alethea Wright, the camp’s director, had worked out a deal with The Valley Club to bring the kids to the pool every Monday afternoon. The club is claiming they eventually pulled the minority children from the pool because of “overcrowding.” I’m not buying it and either should you.

04.08.09 – Wednesday

Word: abscond [ab-skond] v. to depart in a sudden and secret manner, esp. to avoid capture and legal prosecution: The cashier absconded with the money.

 

Birthday: David Rittenhouse (1732), Betty Ford (1918), Carmen McRae (1920), Kofi Annan (1938), Stuart Pankin (1946), Tom DeLay (1947), Steve Howe (1947), John Schneider (1960), Izzy Stradlin (1962), Julian Lennon (1963), Biz Markie (1964), Robin Wright Penn (1966), Patricia Arquette (1968)

 

Occurrence: 1992 – Tennis legend and Philadelphia native Arthur Ashe announces he’s contracted AIDS from blood transfusions during one of his two heart surgeries. Because I hail from Philadelphia, I’m ashamed to admit that I thought he had contracted AIDS sexually.

 

Standpoint: So. After I wrote yesterday’s post, I started doing my nightly internet research. While I was flipping through my RSS Reader, I noticed that Glenn Beck was on my TV screen, ranting pretty intensely about Richard Poplawski. He condemned so-called “liberal bloggers” for casting blame on the right-wing portion of our nation and its attitude about gun control. (I was only half-listening, really. A good deal of my attention was being put to use wondering how in the hell the dude ever got a talk show. Why do networks always mistake yelling for charisma?) In any case, he was going on and on about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and casually alluding to the right to bear arms. Something struck me. Society is kind of fucking nuts. Nowadays, people are nearly hysterical about things like cigarettes, artificial sweeteners and Big Macs. (If you didn’t know, they’re bad for you.) People who smoke too much, use too much artificial sweetener or eat too much fast food are likely to die from some horrible disease. Proven facts. I’m not disputing them. But I’m reasonably confident that people who get shot at, even once, are more likely to die from the bullets hurtling at them. So why are tobacco, artificial sweetener and fast food companies under constant barrage and gun companies less so? It’s simple. The Second Amendment to which Mr. Beck was alluding. It says that we all have the right to own guns. No one ever thought to make a Constitutional Amendment about the right to puff on a Camel Light, pour Equal in coffee or woof down a Whopper. But as a United States citizen, Richard Poplawski was able to gather deadly weapons. The Constitution told him it was OK. I wonder if the loved ones of the fallen Pittsburgh Police officers give a rat’s ass about the Constitution right now. I know I don’t. I don’t think laws are made to be broken. I do, however, think laws should be re-examined after a certain amount of time and held up to our current reality. Gun laws need to be changed. Now.

 

QuotationThus the metric system did not really catch on in the States, unless you count the increasing popularity of the 9mm bullet.Dave Barry

 

Tune: Throw Me The Statue is a great band that I’ve had the opportunity to see in concert at least three times but, for various reasons, didn’t. Here’s “About To Walk”. (By the way, Matt Durkin, if you’re reading this, I want my Throw Me The Statue album back, punk. Also, the Elvis Costello album and the David Sedaris book.)

 

Link: 60 Incredible Aerial Photos from 640 Pixels – Simply amazing stuff.

 

Gallimaufry: Blockbuster Video is apparently close to kaput. Maybe that “no late fees” policy wasn’t such a hot idea…The actor who was inside the Darth Vader (James Earl Jones was the voice) suit for the first three Star Wars films (or the last three, depending on what level geek you are) hasn’t been paid residuals for Return of the Jedi yet. LucasFilm claims that David Prowse signed a contract that stipulates he only gets residual money when the film actually turns a profit. The studio claims that Jedi has yet to do that. You read that right…Fans of the FOX show House were taken off-guard last night when Kal Penn’s character, Dr. Kutner, committed suicide. Turns out the star of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle is set to become an associate director at the Office of Public Liaison at The White House. Is there any other place Penn could’ve been going to work where that secret would not have been leaked? I think not.

 

Incoming: Tomorrow – Finally. Your Annoying Sayings responses will be addressed. Friday – My “3 Incredibly Cool Things To Do In Philadelphia This Weekend”. (I know. The title is way too long. I’m working on it.)