09.23.09 – A Wednesday

WORD

amalgamate [uhmal-guh-meyt] v. 1. to mix or merge so as to make a combination; blend; unite; combine: to amalgamate two companies 2. Metallurgy. to mix or alloy (a metal) with mercury 3. to combine, unite, merge, or coalesce: The three schools decided to amalgamate 4. to blend with another metal, as mercury

BIRTHDAY

Euripides (480 BC), Kublai Khan (1214), Mary Mallon (1869), Mickey Rooney (1920), John Coltrane (1926), Ray Charles (1930), Julio Iglesias (1943), Bruce Springsteen (1949), Jason Alexander (1959), Elizabeth Peña (1961), Ani DiFranco (1970), Jermaine Dupri (1972), Layzie Bone (1975), Rachael Yamagata (1977), Melanie Oudin (1991)

STANDPOINT

Two things I’ve always been gifted at are (a) making drinks and (b) convincing people I’m actually interested in the words coming out of their mouths. So, I’m a natural bartender.

And I love bartending. For the most part. But there a few annoying people who might appear during any given night I’ll always be unhappy to lay eyes on.

  • “The Loud Dude Who Is Totally Fucking Wrong About Pretty Much Everything” – This guy lives in every bar you’ve ever been to. He offers his opinions on just about everything in earshot, reciting  facts and statistics that are completely false. People put up with this kind of guy because, although he’s stupid, he’s no idiot and eventually offers to buy drinks for other customers. Sadly, people accept because, hey, free alcohol. As the bartender, and therefore the only sober person present, I’m forced to listen to the guy’s conspiracy theory about how Jack Ruby didn’t kill Lee Harvey Oswald, despite that being the one fucking fact in the whole JFK conspiracy everyone knows is absolutely true.
  • “The Wishy-Washy Individual Hankering For Some Dream World Elixir” – OK, here’s a tip for all you who plan on ever going to a bar again. Don’t pepper the bartender with an endless ingredient list of a drink that could never possibly exist. “Well, I want something fruity, but I don’t want it too sweet, and I don’t want to really taste the alcohol, but I want it to be strong because I’m only gonna have, like, one. Or maybe two.” You might as well ask me to serve that drink in the Holy Grail and have it personally delivered by Brad Pitt. Because that’d be easier than making your fantasyland cocktail. What do you like to drink? Just tell me. I’ll make it. As long as the ingredients don’t involve pixie dust or the breath of an angel.
  • “The Ultra-Demanding Dolt Who Doesn’t Truly Understand The System” – If you are finicky, that’s perfectly fine. That’s what I’m there for. If you want what you want the way you want, I’m on board. I’m the same way. However, if you make me shuck and jive, groove and dance, run around like a hopped-up chimpanzee, hey, it’s cool. I’m in the service industry and that’s exactly what I’m there for. But if you run up a tab of, say, $320 and you leave me a $30 tip, I’ll deal with it. Life will go on. BUT, the next time you come and sit at my bar, prepare to be placed at the very bottom of my priority level, somewhere between making sure my floor is clean and checking my cell for text messages. Tip well, and you’re gonna get treated well.
QUOTATION

The sudden disappointment of a hope leaves a scar which the ultimate fulfillment of that hope never entirely removes. Thomas Hardy

TUNE

In Philadelphia, there’s not a much greater place to watch a band you love than Johnny Brenda’s. Here’s a video of Rogue Wave‘s “Kicking The Heart Out.” I was at the show. My friend Danielle and I were busy getting hammered at the bar. But still, I was there.

GALLIMAUFRY

→ The video of Will Ferrell and a bunch of other celebrities imploring the American people to help out this country’s health insurance execs was yesterday’s big internet draw. Regardless of you position on the issue, this is some pretty funny stuff. I love Thomas Lennon‘s remark at the very end.

→ Apparently, 60% of Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck. Welcome to my world, people. Glad to have you aboard.

→ Dude, are you fucking kidding me? GLENN BECK DAY? Mt. Vernon, you suck.

05.04.09 – Monday

Word: ostensible [o-sten-suh-buhl] adj. 1. outwardly appearing as such; professed; pretended: an ostensible cheerfulness concealing sadness 2. apparent, evident or conspicuous: the ostensible truth of their theories

Birthday: Horace Mann (1796), William H. Prescott (1796), Ron Carter (1937), Dick Dale (1937), Mr. Fuji (1937), Paul Gleason (1939), Robin Cook (1940), Roger Rees (1944), Mick Mars (1951), Pia Zadora (1954), Randy Travis (1959), Oleta Adams (1962), Ana Gasteyer (1967), Gregg Alexander (1970), Will Arnett (1970), Lance Bass (1979)

Occurence: 1972 – The Don’t Make A Wave Committee officially changes its name to Greenpeace Foundation.

Standpoint: “I’ll never date a girl who reads those idiotic celebrity gossip magazines.” I made that statement (or something similar) one night over some beers to a buddy of mine. Eventually, I came to realize, if I stuck to my guns and only dated females who didn’t read periodicals such as US Magazine and People, I’d be limiting my dating pool to roughly 14 women. As I’ve done numerous times in my life, I was forced to go back on a statement I completely believed at the time of its utterance.

All women read “idiotic celebrity gossip magazines.” Lots of men do, too, though it’s not something any of us will admit to each other. Everyone loves exploring the surreal arena that is celebrity gossip. And why? The reason’s not exactly forthcoming. How do you explain someone with two master’s degrees getting school-girl excited about the arrival of a  magazine which contains twice as many pictures as complete sentences? It makes little sense that individuals who can speak on many educated topics will drop whatever they’re doing to find out what crazy capers Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie are currently mixed up in. Logic comes up short in providing a definitive answer.

Online, the genre is best described as logjammed. Blogging about the day-to-day (and often minute-to-minute) ongoings of celebrity life is as widespread as it is unchecked. Let’s blame it on Perez. While I estimate I’d last about 10 seconds in a conversation with Hilton before the guy uttered something unforgivingly bothersome, his “reporting” is – at the very least – (a) perchance on the level and (b) marginally readable. Sadly, I can’t offer the same quasi-praise for his colleagues in the celebrity blogosphere. In their world, the Swine Flu isn’t newsworthy until Amy Winehouse contracts it. In the battle of what’s really important. Somali pirates finish a distant second to David Hasselhoff’s drinking problem.

The “Blogroll” on TMZ.com contains scores of sites dedicated to the pursuit of celebrity exposure. Yesterday, after immersing myself in their vocation, I concluded that, minus those who stalk or pass for celebrities, the population of Los Angeles may very well reside at about 700 people. Here’s some of the hard-hitting journalism I encountered along the way.

  • “Kelly Osbourne on Cocaine Diet”AnythingHollywood – At first, I thought the title suggested Kelly Osbourne was actively using blow to shed some unwanted pounds. After further delving  into the two-paragraph article, I discovered it contained her poignant inner thoughts on celebs who do employ the use of cocaine for weight loss. Ozzy‘s daughter is tired of reading about “how fat” she is. “It’s not like I’m like all the other celebrities in Hollywood that’s going to do a line of cocaine to lose weight.” Osbourne makes no mention of the fact that an exercise regimen might be a valid consideration. Nor does she offer a solid explanation as to how exactly she continues to think of herself as a celebrity.  AnythingHollywood concludes the article with encouragement for the former reality television star, “Stay happy, Kelly, that’s what matters.” I’m reasonably sure Osbourne’s message is meaningful to someone out there: “Hey, the best way to deflect unwanted discussion on being unhealthy and overweight is highlighting a worse thing you could be doing. Like habit-forming drugs.” When you read it about a dozen times in the right kind of light, it’s almost inspirational.
  • “Alyson Hannigan & Alexis Denisof Take Satyana For A Stroll”Pink is the New Blog – Let’s do a breakdown. “It really looks like the Hannigan-Denisofs are taking things nice and easy these days so that they can enjoy being a new family unit with their just over a month-old baby girl. It’s clear that parenthood really suits the couple.” I’m not disagreeing with that, but I’m hoping that the author has a little more to go on than the pictures. Not much more than Hannigan pushing a futuristic stroller with Denisof ambling along, hands in pockets. More: “…the serenity and calmness that they show whenever they are out and about belies that notion that new parents are frazzled and nearly driven to insanity.” I’m a little skeptical. Perhaps “the serenity and calmness” displayed might be better described as “the bewilderment and stupefaction” of two people faced with the reality of a casual walk turning into a spectator sport. “Frazzled?” “Nearly driven to insanity?” Inevitable, if you ask me…Finally, “…of course, we don’t get to see what they look like at 3AM when little Miss Satyana gets hungry/wet and/or poopy.” Patience, Pink is the New Blog. I’m sure one day, with the right set of circumstances, you’ll get the pictures needed to scoop the exclusive on the “Miss Satyana Was Hungry/Wet and/or Poopy” story that the world is on-the-edge-of-its-seat to read. Personally, I would’ve rather read a few sentences on how naming your daughter “Satyana” is somehow (a) acceptable or (b) not creating an uphill battle for the child.
  • “Get That Money, HoHan!”Dlisted – So poorly written that I’d wager Lindsay Lohan could’ve written something a bit more coherent. Annoying in the fact that someone is making money off maintaining and contributing to Dlisted. Encouraging in that, if whomever is at the helm of this nonsense is profiting in any way whatsoever, odds are that you can make money doing nearly anything. Lohan is one of the most inconsequential people that I (unfortunately) know about. Dlisted is her blog equivalent. Unfair? Maybe. But I think I’m standing on pretty solid ground here.

The fun/absurdity doesn’t end there. I could go on. But I think I’ve adequately shown my intent here. If we could bottle the collective energy spent daily on the gathering of celebrity gossip we’d have the means to quickly solve all the world’s problems. At the very least, we could figure out some way for Kelly Osbourne to achieve her goal of drug-free weight loss.

Quotation: Be nice to whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity. Desmond Tutu

Tune: As a rule, I dislike remixes. However, this version of Soul Coughing‘s “Circles” has been a long-time exception.

Gallimaufry: Congratulations to everyone who ran in the 2009 Blue Cross Broad Street Run yesterday. Special congrats go out to my roomie who ran 10 miles in an hour and a half. Way to go, Kate. All the training paid off…TopCultured.com has published its list of “4 Tell-tale Signs of Douchebaggery.” I recently bought a shirt at Express and I wear a wristband so it turns out I’m half a douchebag. I think that’s more favorable  than some might describe me…The 76ers had a “total collapse.”  The Flyers got outworked by a lesser team. The Phillies are off to a good, but not spectacular, start. Enter the Eagles minicamp and the silence of Donovan McNabb. Ah. I knew that World Series euphoria would wear off eventually. Welcome back, shaky Philadelphia sports scene. 

Incoming: Tomorrow7 Best Movie Soundtracks. Wednesday – Working on something. Stay tuned. Later – More of your entries for Annoying Sayings & Misused Words and 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead and much much much more.