04.06.10 – A Tuesday

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word

sojourn [n. soh-jurn; v. soh-jurn, soh-jurn] n. 1. a temporary stay: during his sojourn in Paris v. 2. to stay for a time in a place; live temporarily: to sojourn on the Riviera for two months

birthday

Raphael (1483), Jean-Baptiste Rousseau (1671), Pasquale Paoli (1725), James Mill (1773), Gerry Mulligan (1927), Merle Haggard (1937), Billy Dee Williams (1937), Barry Levinson (1942), John Ratzenberger (1947), Marilu Henner (1952), Michael Rooker (1955), John Pizzarelli (1960), Frank Black (1965), Jonathan Firth (1967), Paul Rudd (1969), Zach Braff (1975), Candace Cameron (1976)

standpoint

Ah, the end of an era. Capitulating to the wishes of the majority of its fans, the Philadelphia Eagles finally traded longtime quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins for a second-round draft pick this year and a conditional one next year.

True to their nature, Philadelphia sports enthusiasts, given exactly what they wanted, began to grumble. Did the Eagles get enough for McNabb? Will Kevin Kolb be the starter some think he can be or will he be the next Bobby Hoying? Why would the two teams make the deal on the eve of MLB’s Opening Day, one when the two cities’ baseball counterparts, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals, were set to square off?

People, please shut the hell up. From the start, you griped about the poor guy for eleven straight years. When he was chosen ahead of running back Ricky Williams at the draft, Eagles’ “fans” in attendance booed him. And, instead of buckling under the criticism, McNabb simply led the Eagles to five NFC Championships and one Super Bowl appearance. Just in case you’re slow, I’ll elaborate. That means during roughly half of his tenure in Philadelphia, the Eagles were at least the fourth best team in the NFL. They made the playoffs eight of those eleven years. In total, he’s won 92 games and is third on the list of current quarterbacks with a .651 winning percentage, wedged in between Peyton Manning and Brett Favre. It’s hard to imagine how much more all of you spectacular would’ve hated him if he actually did suck.

And now, Eagles fans, you have Kevin Kolb and you’ve no choice but to be happy with him. But, let’s face it, if Kolb comes out and has a bad start to the season, you’ll all be screaming for Michael Vick to come in and save the day. And if he doesn’t get it done, you’ll be asking for some other poor schmuck to give you the Super Bowl ring you desperately need to validate all those pathetically wasted Sundays, sitting on your couch wearing your “DAWKINS” jersey and begging anyone in earshot to answer the question, “Why doesn’t Reid run the ball more?” I hope Kolb gets it done. He seems like a quality fellow. But his stomach for bullshit is about to get tested. If the guy he’s replacing was only outmatched in terms of wins in the past decade by Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, and still deemed a shitty quarterback, what chance does Kolb stand? Is he going to be better than Brady or Manning? Not likely.

And, please, let’s not lament the terms of the trade. It’s ironic all you sports gurus claimed McNabb was junk on a daily basis, and now you’re the same nitwits who are bitching the Eagles didn’t get enough for him. It’s one or the other, people. Pick a side and stay on it for once, you wishy-washy nutjobs.

As for the timing of the trade and the fact it coincided with the first day of baseball, please give me a break. I’m not the most business-oriented of minds but even I understand the McNabb trade was a business deal, conducted between two businesses. There was millions of dollars at stake. When would’ve been a suitable time to make the trade? After the baseball season? Ridiculous.

By the tone of this rant, I hope it’s obvious that, while I don’t hate the NFL, I don’t have much respect for a lot of the people who play it and even less who make it their life’s devotion. But I do have respect for Donovan McNabb because he’s always been the underdog, even when he squarely didn’t deserve the role. Next season, I’ll be pulling for him. Even when he plays the Eagles. Because there’s nothing I like better when one guy proves a million idiots wrong.

quotation

It takes a kind of shabby arrogance to survive in our time, and a fairly romantic nature to want to. Edgar Z. Freidenberg

tune

Normally, I’d proffer there’s too many videos on YouTube made by people with nothing better to do. But in this instance, I’ll need to back down from that stance. A montage of The Office set to Ben Folds‘ “There’s Always Someone Cooler Than You” is located directly in my wheelhouse. And it should be in yours, too.

gallimaufry

→ I think our country is fantastic. This shitball church changed the wording of their sign when faced with proper political pressure. I’m going to speak more on this tomorrow but, for the time being, I hope everyone reading this understands our nation is in serious trouble.

How funny is this? Does this company have meetings? Wouldn’t it stand to reason at least one person present would say, “Wait, I’m not sure but I think someone told me lead paint is apparently bad for you now.”

→ On Philadelphia’s latest decision to relax about pot, District Attorney Seth Williams said, “We can’t declare a war on drugs by going after the kid who’s smoking a joint on 55th Street.” In an unrelated development, 55th Street property values are skyrocketing.

02.08.10 – A Monday

word

ebullient [i-buhl-yuhnt, i-bool-] adj. 1. overflowing with fervor, enthusiasm, or excitement; high-spirited: The award winner was in an ebullient mood at the dinner in her honor 2. bubbling up like a boiling liquid

birthday

Samuel Butler (1612), John Ruskin (1819), William Tecumseh Sherman (1820), Jules Verne (1828), Kate Chopin (1850), Lana Turner (1921), Jack Lemmon (1925), Neal Cassady (1926), James Dean (1931), John Williams (1932), Ted Koppel (1940), Nick Nolte (1941), Robert Klein (1942), Mary Steenburgen (1953), John Grisham (1955), Vince Neil (1961), Joshua Kadison (1963), Gary Coleman (1968), Mary McCormack (1969), Seth Green (1974)

standpoint

I’m a football fan but not a huge one. I halfheartedly participate in two (2) fantasy leagues and have a moderate interest in my hometown Philadelphia Eagles, but I’m much less emotionally invested in the NFL than I let on. Most years, I watch the Super Bowl more out of some misplaced obligation to some archaic sense of manhood. But I didn’t feel the same way this year. I actually had a mildly strong desire to watch last night because I like both the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints, along with their respective quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.

But I was curious to see how Super Bowl XLIV would be a different experience for me. And, lucky for you, I chronicled it. Here goes.

Note: I was reasonably sure that the Colts would win and cover the spread (+5.5) and the over (57 pts.) would become a matter of fact.

Pregame

» Not going to lie, I watched golf until just about the start of the game so I didn’t get to see what inane crap led up to the actual footage from Miami.

» But I did tune in time to see the Colts get introduced onto the field to the same song by The Who that opens up every episode of CSI:Miami, which turned out to be all of The Who I needed.

» Queen Latifah sang America The Beautiful with a choir and musical accompaniment. It didn’t really work all that well. Looked like she was never really in sync. Carrie Underwood sang The Star-Spangled Banner and it was better. During all this, cameras were on Peyton Manning, who looked amped to the point he was cursing the fact Francis Scott Key and Katharine Bates were ever born.

» The next class of inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame were introduced as honorary whatevers to the coin toss. Emmitt Smith was the honorary coin tosser. Saints called heads. Smith flipped the coin directly at the Saints players, who sidestepped it. It was heads. Saints got the ball.

1st Quarter – 6:20(ish) PM

» Betty White and Abe Vigoda starred in a clever ad for Snickers. I’m completely sure those two actors were used because about 99% of viewers thought both had died years ago.

» The ad for the Boost Mobile Shuffle, featuring prominent members of the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears, was awful.

» In keeping with Hollywood’s trend of recycling, there’s another Robin Hood movie coming out starring Russell Crowe. Looks like both Braveheart and Gladiator ate a bunch of bows and arrows and vomited on each other. I’ll probably go see it.

» First quarter came to a close. Colts-10. Saints-0. I wasn’t paying much attention to the actual game.

2nd Quarter – 7:00 PM

» Pretty fast 1st quarter. At this point, I was certain the Colts were going to run away with the game.

» A Cars.com ad came on, detailing the life of a boy genius type doing all sorts of amazing boy genius type stuff. But when it came time to buy a car, he was at a loss. He looked to his mobile device for answers and, you guessed it, Cars.com came to the rescue. At one point during the ad, the boy genius delivered a baby Bengal tiger while on safari. That kicked off a conversation between my girlfriend and I where we discussed her desire to bring a baby panther into the apartment. Negotiations reached a stalemate after she refused to budge on the name of the baby panther. Oh well.

» The Saints began to make a game of it. Pretty sure they kicked a field goal.

» One ad had Jay Leno, Oprah Winfrey and David Letterman on the same couch talking about something. I’m not sure what because I was distracted. Leno didn’t look like he was actually there. The next ad (maybe) had Brett Favre making fun of the fact he never actually retires. I like it when celebrities/athletes know to do that.

» The Colts stopped the Saints on a 4th and goal from the 1-yard line with less than 2 minutes remaining in the half. See? I pay mind to the important stuff.

» I wasn’t quite sure how it happened but the Saints kick another field goal just as time expires on the 1st half. Colts – 10. Saints – 6.

Halftime – 7:50 PM

» The Who played. The Who sucked. I monitored Twitter feeds instead. Best Tweet? “Wake up your great grandma. The Who is on.”

3rd Quarter – 8:22 PM

» The Saints began the 2nd half with an onside kick. Which they recovered. Which turned out to be huge. Saints – 13. Colts – 10.

» According to a new Volkswagen ad, the classic car game, Punch Buggy, has now been expanded to include the entire Volkswagen fleet. As a matter of fact, it seems whatever substance it’s painting its cars with nowadays is so cutting edge, even Stevie Wonder can see it. Much to the chagrin of an arm sore Tracy Morgan. Classic.

» The Colts’ Joseph Addai ran in for a touchdown. Colts – 17. Saints – 13. I was a little disappointed about how good of a game it was becoming. I’m not used to the Super Bowl being about the Super Bowl. Not being able to run out of the room in between commercials was messing with my head.

» Two commercials gave me pause in different ways. First, the new E*TRADE baby wasn’t half as funny as the original. Second, Google aired its first ever television ad. I think.

» The Saints kicked another field goal which flew under my radar. End of the 3rd quarter. Colts – 17. Saints – 16.

4th Quarter – 8:56 PM

» Honestly, I should’ve been playing closer attention. The Saints started scoring. They took the lead. They intercepted a very important Peyton Manning pass at a crucial time. I watched the whole thing. I swear. But, as happens more than not, I became embroiled in a debate that made the game take a backseat.

» Super Bowl XLIV ended at 9:45 PM. The New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts by the score of 31-17. If I bet the game the way I thought it would go, I would’ve been dead wrong. Yet another reason why I’m not a gambling man.

Overall, a most exhilarating football contest. The best Super Bowl in years. Congrats, New Orleans. Call me when you’re done partying. That should be around June.

quotation

Everybody gets told to write about what they know. The trouble with many of us is that at the earlier stages of life we think we know everything- or to put it more usefully, we are often unaware of the scope and structure of our ignorance.Thomas Pynchon

tune

One band from the 80s that doesn’t get enough credit is The Housemartins. I like to think of them as a sort of catchier version of  The Smiths. Also, they’ve got one of the best titled songs ever – “The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death.” Actually, after just listening to it, it seems to work nowadays as well.

gallimaufry

→ I just got done reading King of Russia: A Year in the Russian Super League, and it was simple and great. Former NHL head coach and current Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach Dave King narrates his experiences as the first ever Canadian coach in Russia. The guy really knows his stuff and he provides great insight into Russian hockey and its players, especially Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Evgeny Malkin.

→ Speaking of the Pittsburgh Penguins, yesterday afternoon’s game between them and the Washington Capitals was just about as complete as you could ask for. Caps won it in overtime 5-4 after being down 4-2 going into the third period.

01.25.10 – A Monday

WORD

skulduggery [skuhl-duhguh-ree] n. 1. dishonorable proceedings; mean dishonesty or trickery: bribery, graft, and other such skulduggery 2. an instance of dishonest or deceitful behavior; trick

BIRTHDAY

William Cavendish (1640), Robert Burns (1759), W. Somerset Maugham (1874), Virginia Woolf (1882), Antônio Carlos Jobim (1927), Etta James (1938), Steve Prefontaine (1951), The Honky Tonk Man (1953), Stephen Chbosky (1970), Dat Phan (1975), Alicia Keys (1981)

STANDPOINT

The New Orleans Saints will face off against the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.

And people will bitch about that because, let’s face it, bitching about everything is just about all we do anymore. But I like the matchup because, for the first time I can remember, both teams earned the right to be there.

That bothers most people because there’s less of a storyline. If the New York Jets had beaten the Colts, sportswriters would’ve had a field day with many underdog stories that would most assuredly prominently featured the word “scrappy.” If the Minnesota Vikings had beaten the Saints, there would’ve been an onslaught of conjecture about whether this would be Brett Favre‘s last chance to once again win it all.

But neither of those things happened. The two teams that went undefeated for the better part of the regular season are going to meet to see who’s best. That’s the way it should be because it makes this year’s Super Bowl much more meaningful. But the build up before is lessened because what was supposed to happen actually came true. No scrappy underdogs. No fading legend taking his last stab at ultimate glory. No added drama.

Just the two best football teams squaring off against each other. It’s sad that, for most of us, that’s not nearly enough.

QUOTATION

Why can’t we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together?  I guess that wouldn’t work.  Someone would leave.  Someone always leaves.  Then we would have to say good-bye.  I hate good-byes.  I know what I need.  I need more hellos.Charles M. Schultz

TUNE

Sometimes, I’ve trouble understanding why a song that’s really kind of fucking great isn’t included on a band’s album. Case in point? “Sightlines” by Rogue Wave. It appears on the Spider-Man 3 Soundtrack. How in the world did it not make the cut? In any case, you can click on the “Sightlines” link above and download the song from the band’s website.

GALLIMAUFRY

If you live in California, I seriously suggest you read all about “Frankenstorm.” If it is possible, it’s pretty fucking dire.

→ Late at night, my girlfriend makes me watch Roseanne. A lot. And while I gripe about it from time to time, I secretly like the show. (Not so much of a secret now, I guess.) Roseanne Barr was at her least annoying and John Goodman was, well, really good. Man.

→ My buddy Anthony SanFilippo covers the Philadelphia Flyers for The Delaware County Daily Times and he does it extremely well. One of his latest pieces on former Flyer R. J. Umberger shines a light on Anthony’s true love for the game of hockey as well as Umberger’s outstanding character. If you’re a Flyers’ fan, you should be reading Anthony’s column often. And, for the record, I’m singing his praises despite the fact he trounced me this past week in our fantasy hockey league.

12.30.09 – A Wednesday

WORD

onerous [on-er-uhs, oh-ner-] adj. 1. burdensome, oppressive, or troublesome; causing hardship: onerous duties 2. having or involving obligations or responsibilities, esp. legal ones, that outweigh the advantages: an onerous agreement

BIRTHDAY

Titus (39), Rudyard Kipling (1865), Bo Diddley (1928), Del Shannon (1934), James Burrows (1940), Michael Nesmith (1942), Fred Ward (1942), Davy Jones (1945), Patti Smith (1946), Jeff Lynne (1947), Meredith Vieira (1953), Suzy Bogguss (1956), Matt Lauer (1957), Tracey Ullman (1959), Heidi Fleiss (1965), Tiger Woods (1975), Tyrese (1978), Eliza Dushku (1980), LeBron James (1984)

STANDPOINT

Well, tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and that means 2009 (thankfully) will be going away forever and 2010 will be ushered in with lots and lots of wishful thinking.

I know I, for one, will be happy to see 2009 end.

Every year, around this time, I can’t help but look back on what was going on 365 days previous and if I’m where I thought I’d be. (Fortunately, I’m not.) I’m relatively certain that’s what most everyone else does, too. Makes me wonder about how some of this year’s newsmakers thought this year would turn out…

Richard Poplawski was probably cleaning one of his many guns, unaware a mere four months later, he’d become one of the most despicable assholes ever by killing three police officers responding to a call from his mother.

Tiger Woods was most likely spending time with his family, sporadically scurrying to the bathroom to text message one of several women he was seeing on the side, unable to comprehend a year that saw him go from arguably the world’s most popular athlete to its biggest punchline.

Billy Mays, Brittany Murphy, Michael Jackson, Natasha Richardson, Patrick Swayze and Steve McNair were all as likely as not unknowingly ushering in their last change of the calendar year.

Barack Obama was, in all probability, conjuring the first year of his Presidency, one without all the fucking smoke-and-mirror nonsense perpetrated by his political rivals.

George W. Bush was definitely daydreaming about spending some quality time, sitting on the edge of his bed and staring at a blank wall.

Brett Favre was apparently relatively close to finally retiring, after three years of indecision. And that’s exactly what he did. Shortly after, he signed with the Minnesota Vikings.

Michael Vick was languishing in the midst of an 18-month stint in prison for slaughtering defenseless dogs, no doubt curious of where the end of 2009 would find him. Several months later, he’d find himself as the least productive member of the Philadelphia Eagles. Don’t worry, though, the initial outrage demonstrated by animal rights advocates was short-lived due to this country’s unnatural obsession with the NFL.

Yes, indeed, 2009 was kind of a screwy fuck of a year. Let’s hope we can get our act together for 2010.

QUOTATION

New Year’s eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights.Hamilton Wright Mabie

TUNE

I’ve always loved “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap. I just do. That’s it.

GALLIMAUFRY

Tomorrow night will be special, not only because it’ll be New Year’s Eve, but because it’ll feature a blue moon. And that’s not quite what you think it is.

→ Christ. David Goldman, who recently won a nine-year legal battle to get his son back, was flown home by NBC and some journalists’ group is upset for what their calling “checkbook journalism.” Mainly, I think they’re all pissed because NBC beat them to the punch. People will bitch about just about anything.

Van Morrison, 64, has proven it’s never too late to become a daddy. Again.

That’s it for me this year. I hope everyone has a fantastic New Year’s Eve. Be safe. Don’t be an idiot.

All of next week, starting Monday, I’ll be concentrating on more of looking back on 2009. Come back then for some more. And thanks for reading.

07.27.09 – Monday

Word: pique [peek] v. 1. to affect with sharp irritation and resentment, esp. by some wound to pride: She was greatly piqued when they refused her invitation 2. to wound (the pride, vanity, etc.) 3. to excite (interest, curiosity, etc.): Her curiosity was piqued by the gossip 4. to arouse an emotion or provoke to action: to pique someone to answer a challenge 5. Archaic. to pride (oneself) (usually fol. by on or upon) 6. to arouse pique in someone: an action that piqued when it was meant to soothe n. 7. a feeling of irritation or resentment, as from a wound to pride or self-esteem: to be in a pique 8. Obsolete. a state of irritated feeling between persons

Birthday: Samuel Smith (1752), Alexandre Dumas, fils (1824), Josef Priller (1915), Normal Lear (1922), Jerry Van Dyke (1931), John Pleshette (1942), Peggy Fleming (1948), Yahoo Serious (1953), Bill Engvall (1957), Karl Mueller (1962), Juliana Hatfield (1967), Triple H (1969), Maya Rudolph (1972), Pete Yorn (1974), Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez (1975), Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (1977)

Quotation: Bypasses are devices that allow some people to dash from point A to point B very fast while other people dash from point B to point A very fast.  People living at point C, being a point directly in between, are often given to wonder what’s so great about point A that so many people from point B are so keen to get there and what’s so great about point B that so many people from point A are so keen to get there.  They often wish that people would just once and for all work out where the hell they wanted to be.Douglas Adams

Tune: Boston band Wheat has had one helluva journey. After independently releasing its first two albums Medeiros and Hope and Adams in the late 1990s, Columbia Records signed Wheat and, in 2003, released Per Second, Per Second, Per Second…Every Second, an album that included the radio-friendly hit “I Met a Girl.” It turned out to be one-and-done with Columbia, however, and the band went back to the drawing board. (I’ve heard from some that Wheat felt Per Second… was over-produced, and that may just be a good point.) Its next release, everyday i said a prayer for kathy and made a one square inch, was the result of what vocalist Scott Levesque called, “just 3 guys in a basement…kind of like the old days, for us, by us.” I think a lot of Wheat fans, myself included, were hoping for something a little less over-polished than the tracks on Per Second… but the band may have gone too far the other way – maybe it got a little too rough around the edges. A few weeks ago, Wheat may have released its finest album, White Ink, Black Ink, – a solid compromise of the smooth and the raw. It may be cliché, but after almost two decades, Wheat might’ve at last found their sound. Favorite song so far? “My Warning Song”

Gallimaufry: In reality, the Tour de France 2009 was only three weeks long. But it felt much much much longer than that (most likely because VS. aired it pretty much 24 hours-a-day and some of the guys I work with watched each stage 3 times daily) when it ended yesterday with Alberto Contador wearing the traditional yellow jersey of the overall winner. Not Lance Armstrong. The 37-year old cancer survivor, 7-time Tour de France champion and, most importantly, the guy who played himself during the lynchpin scene in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story that sent Vince Vaughn back to help his team win the championship, came in 3rd. Not too shabby but obviously not what everyone was hoping for. Some are saying Armstrong hurt his chances for an 8th win by helping Contador, his teammate, during different legs of the race. Fear not. Armstrong will be back next year (but not on the same team as Contador), and my advice would be to not bet against him. The guy has always been a master at doing the things people have told him were out of his reach. I’m going out on a very sturdy limb and predicting one last win for Armstrong in next year’s Tour, which I probably won’t watch. The Beastie Boys are cancelling all of its upcoming tour dates and pushing back the release of its upcoming album, Hot Sauce Committee Part 1, due to the fact MCA (real name Adam Yauch) has been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his parotid gland. From the official press release of the band’s label EMI Music – “Luckily it was caught early and is localized in one area, and as such is considered very treatable. It will however require surgery and several weeks of additional treatment. Fortunately the cancer is not in a location that will affect Yauch’s vocal chords.” Here’s wishing Yauch a speedy recovery. If you follow the NFL and have a working brain (not necessarily a paradoxical statement, by the way), you’re most likely sick and tired of Brett Favre’s continuing indecision on whether or not to play with the Minnestota Vikings (a divisional rival of Favre‘s original team, the Green Bay Packers) this season. At this weekend’s Madden NFL 10 Pigskin Pro-Am, John Elway and Joe Montana, two guys who’ve been in similar shoes, each gave their own opinion of what Favre should do. I like Montana’s best – “If it was the first time he’s done it, it would be different. But we’ve seen it already, and here we go again. I’m sure that’s all [the Minnesota Vikings] are thinking about.” I’m pretty sure he was politely trying to tell Favre to – as my mother is sometimes known to say – “Shit or get off the pot!” At this point, all the vacillating on Favre’s part is only blemishing his amazing career and tarnishing the future Hall of Famer’s reputation. It’s only natural that, besides the thrill of playing the game, the withdraw from the spotlight is what depresses the athletes the most, but still. Come on, dude. Enough already.