06.20.11 – a monday

word

Golgotha [gol-guh-thuh] n. 1. a hill near Jerusalem where Jesus was buried; Calvary 2. a place of suffering or sacrifice 3. a place of burial

birthday

Errol Flynn (1909), Audie Murphy (1924), Martin Landau (1928), Danny Aiello (1933), Brian Wilson (1942), Anne Murray (1945), Bob Vila (1946), Lionel Richie (1949), John Goodman (1952), Nicole Kidman (1967), Josh Lucas (1971), Mike Birbiglia (1978)

standpoint

I’m sitting here watching Return of the Jedi and wondering if SPIKE TV airs anything other than the six Star Wars movies. I’m not knocking it. Just wondering.

By my own estimation, this must be my 50th viewing of Jedi (don’t judge) and it’s one of several movies that I can quote verbatim. And, while I’m an above average fan of most things Star Wars, I dislike most everything about Luke Skywalker. I like the actual character but I think the casting of Mark Hamill might be one of the biggest cinematic blunders ever. Whenever his whiny ass is featured prominently in a scene, my mind wanders.

And now I’m thinking of the other night, while I was bartending, when one of my regular customers asked me a question that people pose when they’re running out of discussion topics: If you could have dinner with five people, alive or dead, who would they be?

First, and I didn’t always feel this way, but I tend to pick people that are alive. It’s drastically more feasible.

Second, depending on what I’m into in terms of reading, music, entertainment in general, I’m likely not to list the same five people from one day to the next. I’m fickle like that.

Third, I don’t want to have dinner with all five people at the same time. That would be awkward and futile. Dinners typically last two hours when they’re going well. 25 minutes per person? No. As long as we’re playing an adult version of make believe, I prefer to name five people I would have dinner with on an individual basis.

IN ANY CASE, here’s the five people I would currently select.

Kevin Nealon – Even though he was on SNL for several years he never struck me as particularly hilarious. But I saw him on Real Time over the weekend and I now think the two of us might hit it off.

Stephanie Courtney – You’re probably asking, “Who the hell is that?” Well, it’s Flo from those Progressive commercials and, yes, I understand she’s playing a part.

Bob Mould – I’m not in love with every song he’s ever made but he’s responsible for more than a few of my favorites and the progression of his career fascinates me. I’m definitely going to read his autobiography, See A Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody.

A. J. Jacobs – If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ve figured out I’m a gigantic fan of this guy and his perpetual curiosity. I’m halfway through My Life As an Experiment: One Man’s Humble Quest To Improve Himself and it’s pretty great. (Thanks, Samantha.)

Louis C. K. – I consider him to be the funniest guy around right now and if we had dinner I’d probably be so intimidated I wouldn’t talk at all. And that would be weird for the both of us. I’m really looking forward to the second season of Louie.

All right, that’s it for now, I’m gonna watch the final assault on the Death Star and then head to bed.

quotation

Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. ↔ Erich Fromm

tune

I mentioned him above so I thought I would share one of the songs that first made me dig Bob Mould, “Compositions For the Young and Old.”

gallimaufry

I’m a little late with this but several of you emailed me this video after I wrote about how going to the movies nowadays is a microcosm of what a shitty society we’ve made.

Obviously, I love that the Alamo Drafthouse did this.

→ Even if you’re not a golf fan, you must give props to Rory McIlroy for what he did at the U.S. Open over the weekend. Truly amazing stuff.

→ C’mon, Bill Murray. Get off your high horse and make this happen. I realize you consider yourself above this kind of thing now but it’s what the people want.

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12.11.09 – A Friday

WORD

mortify [mawr-tuh-fahy] v. (used w/ object) 1. to humiliate or shame, as by injury to one’s pride or self-respect 2. to subjugate (the body, passions, etc.) by abstinence, ascetic discipline, or self-inflicted suffering 3. Pathology. to affect with gangrene or necrosis v. (used w/o object) 4. to practice mortification or disciplinary austerities 5. Pathology. to undergo mortification; become gangrened or necrosed

Note: I am giving the definition of “mortify” because it has been brought to my attention it’s used wrong pretty much all of the time. I have to admit, I learned something new today.

BIRTHDAY

John Labatt (1838), Carlo Ponti (1912), Big Mama Thornton (1926), Rita Moreno (1931), McCoy Tyner (1938), Donna Mills (1942), John Kerry (1943), Brenda Lee (1944), Teri Garr (1947), Bess Armstrong (1953), Jermaine Jackson (1954), Nikki Sixx (1958), Jon Brion (1963), Mo’Nique (1967), Mos Def (1973)

STANDPOINT

This Tiger Woods scandal. Christ.

Thousands of unanswerable questions seem to be flooding the news hourly. None are getting answered.

The facts (maybe) are: (a) At 2am the morning after Thanksgiving, Tiger got into his car and drove into a fire hydrant and then a tree, both within walking distance of his home. (b) His wife reportedly saved him by smashing one of the back windows with a golf club. (c) Tiger didn’t really want to talk about the whole thing, instead he took to dodging police inquiries and issuing vague statements on his website. (d) At least a dozen women jumped out of the woodwork, feeling the sudden urge to tell the world about their sexual misconduct with Woods. (e) Tiger’s mother-in-law was admitted to the hospital with stomach pains that probably had something to do with her son-in-law sleeping with lots of women who were not her daughter. (f) Tiger Woods’ life, no matter how this all plays out, is fucked.

And that sucks for him but he was having sex with hostesses, waitresses and porn stars. Difficult to feel bad for the guy. Difficult, but not implausible. I mean, getting caught for one transgression must be a pretty shitty ordeal. But to get caught having mulitple affairs with at least ten different women within the span of several days? Well, I’m not even sure Bill Clinton could shuck and jive his way clear of something like that.

There is one question, however, I would like answered: Whatever Tiger has done or not done, what’s the difference? How’s it going to change my life?

Sure, it’s interesting to bemoan the current state of a society which seems to (a) shrug its collective shoulders when yet another of its heroes are found to be flawed, and (b) be running out of respectable authority figures and celebrities. We’ve adapted a very another-one-bites-the-dust mentality. Everyone’s rather concerned but no one wholly cares.

There are those overly curious about a situation in which a man who seemingly had everything he could ever want, managed to blunder this bad. People are demanding the truth, soapboxing on the notion we all deserve to know. As usual, the American people want to get down to the bottom of a situation in the interest of mainly being able to say, “I hate my life, but I imagine I’d rather be me than Tiger right now.” It’s always amazed me how determined people are to reveal how fucked up everyone else is.

It’s not like any of it matters.  Woods is under absolutely no obligation to disclose more than he wants. He’s not a politician. He’s broken no laws. In reality, he could pack all ten women he’s been sleeping with into his Cadillac and drive into ten trees. Unless, he’s charged with some sort of crime, he doesn’t have to justify anything. Oh. In addition, he’s also the first billion-dollar athlete, so if O.J. Simpson can kill two people and amble freely out of an actual courtroom, Woods’ gigantic gobs of money will guarantee a night of careless driving and a few years of bad decisions won’t stop him from ambling equally free out the courtroom of public opinion.

Plus, in a few months, possibly a few weeks, everyone will have moved on to the next thing. And I don’t blame it on short memory. Everyone says that and it’s bullshit. The real reason everyone’ll forget about this by the next time Woods steps onto some nationally-televised first tee is once the outrage lessens a bit, most people will start making excuses for Tiger Woods because the execrable things he’s done to his undeserving family will have grown far less significant than the idea of a PGA season without Tiger Woods.

Note: During my research and reading for the above rant, I encountered this piece. As far as I’m concerned, Tiger Woods can do whatever the hell he wants. As long as Glenn Beck is around, everyone else gets a pass.

QUOTATION

The typical gambler might not really understand the probabilistic nuances of the wheel or the dice, but such things seem a bit more tractable than, say, trying to raise a child in this lunatic society of ours.Arthur S. Reber

TUNE

 Yesterday, I hit up my favorite music store, Main Street Music in Manayunk. (One of the best music shops of all-time, by the way. If you can get there, I highly recommend it.) Anyway, I bought a couple albums. One of them was People Are Soft by local Philadelphia band, The Swimmers. I like the whole album a lot. Go buy it and support your local music scene. Favorite track so far? “Nervous Wreck.”

GALLIMAUFRY

→ For all of out there who wish you could get rid of Facebook forever, there’s now an option. Seppukoo.com is ready to assist you with your virtual suicide. Click here to see how it works.

→ There’s many arguments I can tolerate listening to, no matter how completely wrong they are. But I refuse to hear anyone out who’s not entirely convinced Ted Knight didn’t steal the show in Caddyshack. I know. There are argument to be made for Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield. But without Judge Smails (link is a small collection of wavs), it would’ve been a lesser film. Still good. Just not as good.  

→ Do you desire with all your heart to have a chihuahua? All you have to do is get on a plane to California, where the little dogs have become an essential purse accessory to the likes of Paris Hilton, Miley Cyrus and a slew of other people who don’t really matter. Animal shelters across the state are reporting chihuahuas make up close to 30% of its inhabitants. Seems even idiots are capable of grasping the notion that, after they take it out of their purse, the dog wants to do all kinds of annoying crap like eat and be taken for a walk.

09.21.09 – A Monday

WORD

farrago [fuhrah-goh, –rey-] n. a confused mixture; hodgepodge; medley: a farrago of doubts, fears, hopes, and wishes

BIRTHDAY

Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor (1415), Louis Joliet (1645), H.G. Wells (1866), Larry Hagman (1931), Leonard Cohen (1934), Henry Gibson (1935), Jerry Bruckheimer (1945), Stephen King (1947), Bill Murray (1950), Bruce Arena (1951), Ethan Coen (1957), Nancy Travis (1961), Rob Morrow (1962), Cheryl Hines (1965), Faith Hill (1967), Ricki Lake (1968), Alfonso Ribeiro (1971), Luke Wilson (1971), Liam Gallagher (1971), Nicole Richie (1981)

STANDPOINT

I got nothing to report today. All of this medical treatment has turned my sleeping patterns into much of a debacle.

Some things are in the works, though.

Is 2009 the year of celebrity deaths? Maybe. Maybe not.

What I’ve figured out about my relationship with the suburbs. And, no, all you Facebook friends, it’s got nothing to do with all the damn spiders.

Lastly, I’m working on a piece about the modern dating scene and I think more than a few of you will be curious to see what I’ve discovered.

Until then, come back for some more.

QUOTATION

It’s so much easier for me to talk about my life in front of two thousand people than it is one-on-one. I’m a real defensive person, because if you were sensitive in my neighborhood you were something to eat. ← Richard Pryor

TUNE

Watching the SNL rerun this past Saturday, I came to the conclusion everything Green Day has done in the past several years is just simply mediocre. I mean, “Jesus of Suburbia” (Great lyrics: “And there’s nothing wrong with me/This is how I’m supposed to be/In a land of make believe/That don’t believe in me.”) is a really great song but I’m done thinking bands who reshape its music to appeal to the lowest common denominator (AKA the musically lazy who make up just about every dim-witted person who make “American Idol” a runaway hit show). I’m here to tell you “J.A.R. (Jason Andrew Felva)” was the last truly good song Green Day released. Disagree? Too bad. You’re exactly who I’m talking about.

GALLIMAUFRY

→ Something that’s truly sad about…well, life in general…sometimes is when you find program on television that truly appeals to you. It’s smart and funny and entertaining. Comedy Central used to air this game show called “Beat the Geeks.” And I loved it. So did my buddy Tim. We would watch it for hours On-Demand. But then it went away. And the world was reduced accordingly.

→ Often, I’ve wondered just how many days Bill Murray’s character spent running around Punxsutawney in Groundhog Day. Luckily, someone took the time to figure it all out. In what may be too much detail.

→ My buddy Dave Frees, a solidly good guy in his own right, has a son in Victor’s Lament. Check out the music. Kind of a Mighty Mighty Bosstones vibe to it, but probably better. Check out “Living for Today.”

09-07-09: Monday

It’ s a holiday Monday, so I’m just going to keep it light and give you some of my favorite movie clips.

Enjoy the holiday. Come back tomorrow for some more.

06.02.09 – Tuesday

Word: ephemeral [i-fem-er-uhl] adj. 1. lasting a very short time; short-lived; transitory: the ephemeral joys of childhood 2. lasting but one day: an ephemeral flower  ∞ n. 3. anything short-lived, as certain insects

Birthday: Martha Washington (1731), Marquis de Sade (1740), Thomas Hardy (1840), Johnny Weissmuller (1904), Sally Kellerman (1937), Stacy Keach (1941), Charlie Watts (1941), Jerry Mathers (1948), Gary Bettman (1952), Dana Carvey (1955), Lydia Lunch (1959), Kyle Petty (1960), B-Real (1970), Wayne Brady (1972), Nikki Cox (1978), Justin Long (1978)

Quotation: In a minute there is time for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. T.S. Eliot

Tune: Lately, I’ve been exploring my iPod and finding songs I’m not sure ended up on it. Some are terrible. Others are quite good. Here’s “Innocent Violent Ordinary” by The Appleseed Cast. It’s one of the good ones.

Gallimaufry: If you play the lottery on any kind of regular basis, this will drive you nuts. More proof there is really no justice out there. I wonder what the inept individuals ended up doing with all the money. ∞ Ghostbusters was one of the most successful movies of all-time. A classic. Irrefutably so. Ghostbusters II was a classic sequel. Kind of shitty, but you watch when there’s nothing else on. Now years later, when everyone is remaking everything, the original creators of Ghostbusters decided to try something a little different. (Although it does seem there might be some interest in making a third movie.) Enter Ghostbusters: The Video Game. Bill Murray (Peter Venkman), Dan Aykroyd (Ray Stantz), Harold Ramis (Egon Spengler) and Ernie Hudson (Winston Zeddmore) all contributed their voices to the game, set to come out June 16th for XBox 360, Playstation 3, Wii and Nintendo DS. Also involved were original cast members Annie Potts, Brian Doyle Murray and William Atherton. The game looks to be pretty sweet and has been met with some solid reviews. If you’re wondering, yes, I’ll be getting it. ∞ Hey, remember when Weezer used to be cool? Yeah, I don’t either. But now there’s a Weezer-inspired Snuggie called the Wuggie. Rivers Cuomo had this to say about it: “A Wuggie is basically exactly like a Snuggie, except it says Weezer on it. The people at Snuggie are doing it with us and promoting it with us. It’s a totally legit Snuggie.” If you were worried about it not being “legit,” now you can rest easy. I’m pretty sure if anyone I know buys the Wuggie, I’ll have to pull the plug on our association. You’ve been warned.

Incoming: Later today – I’ll address the debacle that was The 2009 MTV Movie Awards.

04.20.09 – Monday

Word: euphemism [yoo-fuh-miz-uhm] n. 1. the substitution of a mild, indirect or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh or blunt 2. the expression so substituted: “To pass away” is a euphemism for “to die.”

Birthday: Napoleon III (1808), Adolf Hitler (1889), Lionel Hampon (1908), Tito Puente (1923), George Takei (1937), Ryan O’Neal (1941), Jessica Lange (1949), Luther Vandross (1951), Clint Howard (1959), Don Mattingly (1961), Crispin Glover (1964), Carmen Electra (1972), Joey Lawrence (1976)

Occurence: 1999Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold kill 13 people and injure 24 others before committing suicide during the Columbine High School Massacre.

Standpoint: Last week, I polled all my friends on Facebook and Twitter. I asked them to name the best movie with a one-word title. Also, I was asking everyone I talked to, including my co-workers at The Chestnut Grill, who came up with a ton of them. (Special thanks to Ezgi and Adina on that one.) So, I compiled over 200 suggested titles and whittled (Colleen, you were right. I misused “wheedle”. Live and learn. 4/21/09) the list down to 15 movies. Here is the list (alphabetically) of 15 Great Movies with a One-Word Title, followed by the reason each film made the final cut. Enjoy.

There you have it. Just in case you’re wondering, it’s pretty difficult deciding the best 15 out of 200. The Honorable Mentions are too many to list. I can give you a few movies that never stood a chance. Titanic. Volcano. Twister. Accepted.

I’m sure you can think of a few movies I overlooked or discarded. Tell me which ones and why.

Quotation: Everybody is wrong about everything, just about all of the time. Chuck Klosterman

Gallimaufry: Falling into the “How-Pathetic-Can-I-Possibly-Get” category, Spencer Pratt (“The Hills”) has challenged Ashton Kutcher to a 30-day contest to see who can get the most Twitter followers. Dude, you’re a little late. I suggest concentrating your efforts on something that doesn’t involve some crappy show like “The Hills.” Look into it…All season long on “American Idol,” people have been asking the question, “Why in the hell did they bring Kara DioGuardi on as a fourth judge?” It appears she’s wondering the same thing. Could this be a sign of her exit?…Yesterday was a good day in Philadelphia for sports. The Phillies beat the San Diego Padres, 5-4, off a two-run homer in the ninth inning by Raul Ibanez. The 76ers beat the Orlando Magic in the Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on a last-second jumper by Andre Iguodala. But the highlight of the day in sports, for me at least, was sitting at my brother Jeremy’s new house and watching the Flyers spank the Pittsburgh Penguins, 6-3. Claude Giroux registered a Gordie Howe hat trick. He’s the real deal. (Thanks to Phinally Philly for the link.)

Incoming: This week is up in the air. Besides more of your suggestions for Annoying Sayings & Misused Words, we’ll have to see where the wind takes us.