07.29.09 – Wednesday

Word: symbiosis [sim-bee-oh-sis, -bahy-] n. 1. Biology. the living together of two dissimilar organisms, as in mutualism, commensalism, amensalism, or parasitism 2. Psychiatry. a relationship between two people in which each person is dependent upon and receives reinforcement, whether beneficial or detrimental, from the other 3. Psychoanalysis. the relationship between an infant and its mother in which the infant is dependent on the mother both physically and emotionally 4. any interdependent or mutually beneficial relationship between two persons, groups, etc

Birthday: Alexis de Tocqueville (1805), Booth Tarkington (1869), Benito Mussolini (1883), Ralph A. Bard (1884), Irwin Corey (1914), Jean Baudrillard (1929), Lou Albano (1933), Peter Jennings (1938), Tony Sirico (1942), Ken Burns (1953), Geddy Lee (1953), Patti Scialfa (1953), Alexandra Paul (1963), Martina McBride (1966), Wil Wheaton (1972), Stephen Dorff (1973), Josh Radnor (1974), Afroman (1974)

Quotation: I have known no man of genius who had not to pay, in some affliction or defect, either physical or spiritual, for what the gods had given him.Max Beerbohm

Tune: It’s difficult to, at the present time, find any band as hot as Bon Iver – a huge part of the bearded men movement (Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses) enjoying the can-do-no-wrong phase some bands enjoy at the onset of rushing popularity. Earlier this year, Bon Iver released a new EP titled Blood Bank. And it contains four very good songs. Take a listen to the title track – “Blood Bank.”

Gallimaufry: First and foremost, I’d like to extend my sympathies to the family of Philadelphia Eagles’ Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson, who dies yesterday from cancer at the age of 68. Truly a good guy in a sport dangerously short of them. I don’t know about all of you, but I’d like to have one week where we don’t see someone in public spotlight die for a change. It’s not good for the collective psyche. How is it all these people who, for the most part, bettered our society are dying undeservedly and world-class shithead Osama bin Laden is still running out there somewhere. Justice? I’m not seeing it.  While I’m on the subject of world-class shitheads, if someone is making a list of them, Glenn Beck better be featured prominently on it. Yesterday, on FOX News’ morning show, “Fox & Friends,” the popular talk show host, while discussing the Henry Louis Gates Jr. case, accused President Obama of having “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.” (Which is it, genius?) When challenged on his remarks by host Brian Kilmeade, who pointed out Obama has surrounded himself with a mostly-white staff in the White House, Beck replied, “I’m not saying he doesn’t like white people. He has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist.” Huh? How can a guy like white  people while simultaneously carrying “a deep-seated hatred” for them? If you’re cool like me, you’ll be at The Manhattan Room (or The M-Room)on 15 W. Girard Avenue in Philadelphia tonight to watch Chicago band Athens open up for Anders Manly.

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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?