October 26, 2011

word

bunkum [buhng-kuhm] n. 1. insincere speechmaking by a politician intended merely to please local constituents 2. insincere talk; claptrap; humbug

birthday

Bob Hoskins (1942), Pat Conroy (1945), Pat Sajak (1946), Bootsy Collins (1951), Rita Wilson (1956), Dylan McDermott (1961), Cary Elwes (1962), Natalie Merchant (1963), Seth MacFarlane (1973), Jon Heder (1977)

standpoint

It’s funny to me how people are treating the 2012 Presidential election. First of all, it’s not even 2012 yet. Also, despite what the media is pushing, the race hasn’t even begun yet. And the GOP should be happy about it because if conservative voters keep changing their collective mind about who they want to go against Obama, they’re gonna run out of viable candidates before this whole thing gets properly started.

Every week there’s a new “front runner.” Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and even Michele Bachmann have had their reign as heir apparent. And now it’s Herman Cain.

Herman Cain. Conservative. Black. CEO. Lunatic. I’m not using that last word in a negative way because, to paraphrase the immortal Billy Joel, it might just be a lunatic we’re looking for.

I mean the guy just says whatever the hell he wants, whenever he wants. He’ll make a statement one day, then come back a little later and contradict it. Or maybe he’ll expound on it. Or maybe he’ll just flat out deny he ever said it. It doesn’t matter if what he’s saying from one minute to the next is true because it appears like it is. He speaks in such a way that you just kind of want to believe whatever words happen to be falling out of his mouth are the truth.

Here’s a great article detailing how Cain is clearly the new zen master of shucking and jiving.

Right now, Cain is an amusing figure, a kind of curiosity. He’s an eloquent man participating in debates and interviews in which the subject matter is entirely hypothetical. I’m mostly sure that when it’s time to get serious, when everyone is looking for actual answers, when it’s time to play for real, Cain will be less appealing.

But, while I never want to live in a world where Herman Cain is running anything but his mouth, I have to admit that I kind of dig his whole free-wheeling, in-your-face demeanor. Now if only we could get someone worthwhile to do the same. Finger crossed, folks.

quotation

Forget governments. Focus on the individuals. ↔ Mohamed ElBaradei

tune

A few weeks back, I picked up 12 Desperate Straight Lines by Telekinesis because the sticker on the CD read, “Spin says, ‘If you don’t like Telekinesis, your ears don’t work.'” Strong words. Maybe a little too strong. But it’s still a good listen. Check out “I Cannot Love You”

gallimaufry

→ Dear Arby’s, as a nationwide purveyor of meat sandwiches, I gotta believe you’ve got a pretty sizable marketing department. Furthermore, I find it hard to fathom someone in that marketing department didn’t maybe tell you that no one in Philadelphia calls a cheese steak a “Philly.” It’s not the most important thing going on in the world right now but it’s just bugging the shit out of me.

Here’s yet another example of how The Onion can be more accurate than the actual sports media.

→ This is great. Here’s the media reporting on how the media is losing interest in Occupy Wall Street. Maybe the media should be focusing on why people are losing interest in the media.

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05.09.11 – a monday

word

élan [ey-lahn, ey-lan] n. dash; impetuous ardor: to dance with great élan

birthday

J. M. Barrie (1860), Mike Wallace (1918), James L. Brooks (1940), John Ashcroft (1942), Candice Bergen (1946), Billy Joel (1949), Rosario Dawson (1979), Andrew W. K. (1979),

standpoint

A few weeks back, I wrote about mental floss, a fact-filled magazine my roommate subscribes to, and shared a sampling of the nuggets of knowledge I’ve come across since reading it. I like factual information and, apparently, I’m not alone because I received quite a few thankful emails from those of you who subscribed to mental floss after reading that post. And, all I can say is, you’re welcome.

Here’s a few more tidbits I’ve come across since then.

→ Back in 1896, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average was created, it was based on the 12 most successful companies in the USA. Today, the Dow Jones is based on 30 companies including American Express and The Home Depot. The only surviving company of the original 12 is General Electric.

→ Each night after Disneyland closes, the park is invaded by hundreds of feral cats.

→ Every sports team in the country that featured the word “red” in its name in relation to Native Americans has changed it to something more innocuous. Only one refuses to join the rest of us in our attempts to forward civilization: the Washington Redskins.

George W. Bush’s Wikipedia page is the all-time most edited with 44,169 changes.

→ There are some out there who estimate that Americans are sitting on $30 billion worth of unused gift cards.

That’s all for this installment.

quotation

If the whole world were put into one scale, and my mother in the other, the whole world would kick the beam. ↔ Lord Langdale

tune

I don’t really like driving. It’s pretty frickin’ annoying. I mean, if it was just me on the road, I would absolutely love driving. But I’m not alone out there and most people haven’t got the slightest clue as to how to conduct themselves when behind the wheel. The only aspect of driving that makes it remotely bearable is music. And some songs are really good to drive to and almost make the experience of driving from one place to another enjoyable. Case in point, “Alex Chilton” by The Replacements.

gallimaufry

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is threatening to creep onto the list of my top-20 movies ever. There’s something about it that makes me want to watch over and over. I don’t care if that makes me uncool.

→ Often, I find stories for this blog on Drudge Report. It’s kind of useful but also kind of freaky. I imagine its headquarters underneath a secret mountain somewhere and everyone who works there is convinced they’re the only people who’ll survive whatever it is they’ve decided that day is going to cause Armageddon. Also, those dudes definitely play lots of online role-playing games.

→ Hey, news media types, I think we can take the “Breaking News” tag off the whole Osama bin Laden thing. It’s been a week now. How long can news actually break?

04.27.09 – Monday

Word: somnolent [som-nuh-luhnt] adj. 1. sleepy; drowsy 2. tending to cause sleep: For him, the opera was a somnolent experience.

Birthday: Mary Wollstonecraft (1759), Samuel F.B. Morse (1791), Ulysses S. Grant (1822), Jack Klugman (1922), Casey Kasem (1932), August Wilson (1945), Frank William Abagnale Jr. (1948), Kate Pierson (1948), Ace Frehley (1951), Sheena Easton (1959)

Occurence: 1810Beethoven composes Für Elise.

Standpoint: Over this past weekend, I walked into a bar. That’s not the intro to a joke. But the end result was funny. I had unsuspectingly entered the sometimes-strange, occasionally-uncomfortable but always-entertaining world of karaoke.

If you’re between the age of 21 and 120, you’ve inevitably experienced this Japanese form of entertainment. Admit it. Whether an active participant or an amused onlooker, you’ve attended – on purpose or by accident – what Jim Carrey in The Cable Guy called “a karaoke jam.” If you’ve never been, you are either (a) living in some cave on a very high mountain or (b) overly concerned with maintaining your “too-cool-for-karaoke” status. (If you fall into one of those two categories, I congratulate you, albeit for very different reasons.)

In any case, if you’re one of the billions who have actually witnessed it live, then you’ve undoubtedly noticed what I have. No matter where or in what kind of place it takes place, watching karaoke will always brings out the following types of individuals:

  • “The Trailblazer” – This person gets up to sing first because he or she is either (a) dared by friends to do it, or (b) the self-desrcibed “life of the party.” Most likely, the rendition is not awful but “The Ham” is in no danger of being hounded by record label executives. Probable Song Selection: Something by Madonna or Journey.
  • “The Pro” – For the first few songs, you’ll most likely witness this person, sitting with a small group of friends (if any), and stoically analyzing the participants like Simon Cowell. When his or her name is called to step up to microphone, “The Pro” will rise with limited fanfare, walk confidently towards the front and belt out the lyrics. The performance is much better than what been offered so far and most in attendance will turn to a friend and give a look that says, “Hey, this ain’t so bad.” At the end of the song, he or she receives a loud cheer while walking unassumingly back to his or her chair. Probable song selection: Something by Celine Dion or Billy Joel. [Note: Inescapably, “The Pro” will become less and less appreciated over the course of the night due to everyone getting drunker and realizing they have more fun when people suck. After many drinks, “The Pro” is more commonly referred to as “that fucking showoff who keeps singing the sappy songs.”]
  • “The Badass” – Usually a male, this character brings a certain machismo to the mic. His attitude is a mixture of “I’m the greatest,” and “Karaoke is for douchebags.” The beers and shots have gotten the better of him, and he’s decided to show the crowd how it’s done. The song completed, he’ll usually shove the microphone back at the DJ or simply drop it on the ground before strutting off the stage. Shooting the middle finger to all gathered is optional but not a requirement for “The Badass.” Probable Song Selection: Metallica or Guns ‘N’ Roses. Maybe Poison.
  • “The Giggler” – Opposite of “The Badass,” this is commonly a woman or, more accurately, a group of women who’ve collectively gathered the nerve to take the stage after a very long conversation in which, “I’ll go up there if you do,” is uttered close to 900 times. The ladies will take the stage with the best intentions but only two of them will actually sing the song. The other three will look out at the crowd and laugh with hands over their faces. For both the participants and observers, the performance can’t end soon enough. Probable Song Selection: Britney Spears or Cyndi Lauper.
  • “The Longshot” – During the course of the night, there is always a dark horse. Someone who gets up and sings dreadfully but possesses a certain characteristic like being older than everyone else or being cute in a non-traditional way. The crowd will rally around  and spur him or her on. This is unique to karaoke because it’s the only time someone can do something worse than everyone else and get the loudest round of applause. For one night, “The Longshot” is the most popular person in the place.  Our common love of the underdog combined with our penchant for overindulging in booze makes this possible. Probably Song Selection: Frank Sinatra or Neil Diamond.
  • “The Almost” – Wastes the entire night by going back and forth on whether to get up and sing and will annoy practically everyone by polling them on if he or she should, “just get up there and do it.” Never getting the needed encouragement due to the fact that no one really gives a shit, his or her attention will be turned toward becoming the drunkest person in bar (who didn’t sing).

The one undeniable fact about karaoke is that its huge popularity is owed directly to massive consumption of alcoholic beverages. Without booze, karaoke doesn’t exist.

Quotation: Life is something that happens when you can’t go to sleep. Fran Lebowitz

Tune: On every mix CD I’ve made in the past 5 years, Pinback‘s “Fortress” has eventually made it on to each one of them.

Gallimaufry: Britain’s Got Talent‘s Susan Boyle getting a makeover or Simon Cowell’s response to it? It was a dead heat in the battle of news items I couldn’t care less about…Lollapalooza announced its 2009 lineup. Along with the obvious acts (Depeche Mode, Beastie Boys, Jane’s Addiction), some of the chosen (Band of Horses, The Manchester Orchestra, Bon Iver, Andrew Bird) make me feel like the organizers are purposely trying to get me in Chicago this August 7-9…Only in this day and age can something like a cruise ship fighting off a bunch of Somali pirates be spun as a negative against the good guys.

Incoming: As I wrote last week, I moved this weekend. I’m a little behind in terms of being organized for this week’s posts. Stay tuned for more details.