02.17.10 – A Wednesday

word

ethos [ee-thos, ee-thohs, eth-os, -ohs] n. 1. Sociology. the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society; dominant assumptions of a people or period: In the Greek ethos the individual was highly valued 2. the character or disposition of a community, group, person, etc 3. the moral element in dramatic literature that determines a character’s action rather than his or her thought or emotion

birthday

Aaron Montgomery Ward (1844), Banjo Paterson (1864), Thomas J. Watson (1874), Hal Holbrook (1925), Chaim Potok (1929), Gene Pitney (1940), Huey P. Newton (1942), Rene Russo (1954), Lou Diamond Phillips (1962), Michael Jordan (1963), Michael Bay (1965), Denise Richards (1971), Billie Jo Armstrong (1972), Ralphie May (1972), Jerry O’Connell (1974), Jason Ritter (1980), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (1981), Paris Hilton (1981)

standpoint

Oh, yes! It is time, once again, for another installment of The Wishing Well, a regular column in which I waywardly wish five wishes.

I WISH Google would’ve spent a little more time developing Buzz before releasing it to the world. Last week, Buzz just showed up on my Gmail and, so far, it seems mostly a weak answer to Facebook and Twitter. Maybe I’ll be proved wrong one day but it won’t be tomorrow.

I WISH it was possible for me to tell you I dislike Patti Stanger, the lady from The Millionaire Matchmaker. But it’s not. Despite myself, I think she might actually be a good person. Go figure.

I WISH every website that automatically plays a video or song when you visit it would please cut that shit out. Listen, I’m on your site for a reason. You’ve got my interest. So, maybe you could quit trying to give me a heart attack with your cacophonous nonsense.

I WISH someone would explain to me why in the world CNBC would choose to keep airing the Women’s Curling match/game/whatever between the United States and Japan when there was a perfectly good Men’s Ice Hockey game going on between Canada and Norway. Actually, the hockey game turned out to be a lopsided 8-0 win by Canada. But still.

→ I WISH Pitchfork would diversify its coverage a bit. I mean, honestly, how much do we really need to know about Thom Yorke and Wayne Coyne?

That’s it for this installment. Got any wishes you’d like to share?

quotation

How wrong to have been so negative, how wrong to have been so gloomy, how wrong to have run away from life, how wrong to have said no, again and again, instead of yes. ↔ Jonathan Franzen

tune

Way back in 1998, there were these Philips Electronics TV ads featuring then-unknown English indie-rock band Gomez performing a cover of The Beatles’ “Getting Better.” I remember wanting to hear more of the song and, despite my best attempts, I never did find it and eventually forget about it. Until now. I was never a fan of Gomez but, recently, I’ve been reintroduced to the band and am sort of digging them. As a result, my memory was jogged and I remembered my unfinished mission to find the song from the TV commercial. I found it. “Getting Better” by Gomez. Enjoy.

gallimaufry

So there’s this episode of Family Guy in which there’s a negative depiction of someone with Down syndrome. And, sure, that’s kind of shitty but it’s Famly Guy and exactly no one should be surprised. What I find a tad more offensive is why anyone thinks I care what Bristol Palin thinks about anything at all.

→ The IOC (International Olympic Committee) is really keeping a nice perspective on what’s important at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games as it’s upset over the slogans on the masks of the goalies for the United States Men’s Hockey Team. Especially, Jonathan Quick’s which sports “Support Our Troops” on the back.

→ Does anyone out there have a Powermat? Do they really work? Let me know.

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07.10.09 – Friday

Word: aphorism [afuh-riz-uhm] n. a terse saying embodying a general truth, or astute observation, as “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton).

Birthday: John Calvin (1509), Camille Pissarro (1830), Adolphus Busch (1839), John Wyndham (1903), David Brinkley (1920), Jake LaMotta (1921), Fred Gwynne (1926), Lee Morgan (1938), Arthur Ashe (1943), Ron Glass (1945), Arlo Guthrie (1947), Greg Kihn (1949), Neil Tennant (1954), Béla Fleck (1958), Chiwetel Ejiofor (1974), Adrian Grenier (1976), Jessica Simpson (1980) 

Quotation: Golf. My God, that’s a mysterious occupation. I know people who are – good friends – who are absolutely smitten, practicing their swing and talking about it. I can understand some sort of sport where your body got a benefit, like marathon running or bicycle racing. That’s not golf. And not only that, but the whole business of standing in the sun- my God. That’s like torture.Christopher Walken

Tune: Houseguest’s pop shuffles and sashays with an off-kilter grace, like a defiant drunk finding his way home. Guitars shamble and rumble with repressed power, rising in hooky swells that call to mind Guided by Voices, Beat Happening, and the Feelies.” That’s how Cleveland Scene feels about Akron, Ohio band, Houseguest. Try “Proud Utility Infielder” and see if you agree.

Gallimaufry: Levi Johnston, the 19-year old who knocked up Bristol Palin, held a press conference Thursday “because Alaskans want to know why Palin has decided to resign, effective the end of the month.” Johnston, who is no longer engaged to Palin’s daughter, feels the reason for her stepping down has something to do with book deals. “She had talked about how nice it would be to take some of this money people had been offering us and you know just run with it, say ‘forget everything else.'” Not sure why he felt like he had to weigh in, but there it is. The Palin family dismissed the aspiring actor’s comments as “a piece of fiction.” Just when you think we’ve come so far as a society. The Valley Club, a swim club in Huntingdon Valley, a suburb of Philadelphia, shows we still got a long way to go. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission is launching an investigation into the events of this past Monday, when an inner city group brought 65 children to swim at the club’s pool facility. Apparently, members were outraged, pulling their children from the pool and holding them protectively from the mostly minority group of children from The Creative Steps, a camp in Northeast Philadelphia. Alethea Wright, the camp’s director, had worked out a deal with The Valley Club to bring the kids to the pool every Monday afternoon. The club is claiming they eventually pulled the minority children from the pool because of “overcrowding.” I’m not buying it and either should you.

06.12.09 – Friday

Word: avarice [av-er-is] n. insatiable greed for riches; inordinate, miserly desire to gain and hoard wealth

Birthday: Paul Guldin (1577), Harriet Martineau (1802), Emmett Hardy (1903), Dave Berg (1920), George H.W. Bush (1924), Vic Damone (1928), Anne Frank (1929), Jim Nabors (1930), Marv Albert (1941), Chick Corea (1941), Timothy Busfield (1957), John Linnell (1959), Scott Thompson (1959), Jason Mewes (1974), Kenny Wayne Shepherd (1977), DJ Qualls (1978), Kendra Wilkinson (1985)

Quotation: Some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible. — Doug Larson

Tune: A week or two ago, I bought Dark Was The Night: A Red Hot Compilation. As with a lot of various artist type albums, there wasn’t too much great stuff. I did, however, find an examplary cover of Nick Drake‘s “Cello Song” performed by The Books and José González.

Gallimaufry: When I’m in my car, I love honking the horn. (I got into a golf cart one time with a buddy of mine who asked, “Are you pissed this thing doesn’t have a horn?”) I believe my use of the horn to be a service to all the bad drivers out there, letting each one know I feel they shouldn’t be on the road. After reading about this free speech case in Monroe, Washington, I might start thinking twice. Sarah Palin is angry at David Letterman. On Monday night, the CBS late night host made some comments about Palin’s visit to New York City with her family. He erroneously made jokes about Palin’s 14 year old daughter Willow but thought he was referring to 18 year old (and new mom) Bristol. The Alaskan governor fired back, “Laughter incited by sexually perverted comments made by a 62-year-old male celebrity aimed at a 14-year-old girl is not only disgusting, but it reminds us some Hollywood/NY entertainers have a long way to go in understanding what the rest of America understands – that acceptance of inappropriate sexual comments about an underage girl, who could be anyone’s daughter, contributes to the atrociously high rate of sexual exploitation of minors by older men who use and abuse others.” Point well taken. I agree with Palin’s statement. But since when is she an expert on “what the rest of America understands?” Letterman, by the way, has since apologized and extended an invitation to Palin to appear on his show. Swine flu has now been declared a pandemic. If you’re worried, check out what it all means and what kind of danger you might actually be in. It’s really not as bad as it sounds. Still kind of shitty, though.

03.12.09 – Thursday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: quiddity [kwid-i-tee] noun 1. the quality that makes a thing what it is; the essential nature of a thing  2. a trifling nicety of subtle distinction, as in argument

Birthday: Simon Newcomb (1835), Julia Lennon (1914), Jack Kerouac (1922), Billie “Buckwheat” Thomas (1931), Al Jarreau (1940), Sammy “The Bull” Gravano (1945), Liza Minnelli (1946), Mitt Romney (1947), James Taylor (1948), Ron Jeremy (1953), Courtney B. Vance (1960), Aaron Eckhart (1968), Graham Coxon (1969), Dave Eggers (1970)

Occurrence: 2001 – Talk-show host Morton Downey, Jr. dies. Geez. Remember that frickin’ guy?

Irksome: For the past few years, I’ve made it a point to collect the little rectangular scraps of paper found inside Chinese fortune cookies. Normally, it is an inspirational little number like, “When winter comes heaven will rain success on you.” It’s nice. Makes me look forward to the  winter months and the raining of my unavoidable success. Never mind that it should be snowing in winter, the sentiment is still a pleasant one. It’s inviting to read something that makes me feel good about myself after stuffing my face with questionable food. Lately, though, an odd trend has emerged. Here are three “fortunes” I’ve recently received: “Make two grins grow where there was only a grouch before.” “The universe without music would be madness.” “The speed of the leader determines the rate of the pack.” Huh? What kind of inspiration is this? What exactly is happening down at the fortune cookie factory? Thinking of a universe gone mad due to the absence of music is not something I particularly want to think about while digesting my sesame chicken. Fortune cookies are free, so bitching about it seems kind of pointless but would it be too much to ask for a corny little saying that makes me smirk instead of some abstract statement that launches me and my dinner companions into four-hour debate on how to turn a grouch into two grins? I don’t think it is.

Quotation: What’s in store for me in the direction I don’t take?Jack Kerouac

Soupçon: Everyone knows how to play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Research done by the University of Virginia’s Brett Tjaden suggest it is easier to play the Six Degrees game with over 650 other actors including Martin Sheen, Elliott Gould and Gene Hackman. The number one actor play Six Degrees with? Rod Steiger. You can read all about it in Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point.

Tune: I can’t decide if I like The Fray’s cover of “The Great Beyond.” R.E.M.’s original version has always been one of my favorite songs.

Link: 2Man Advantage – an always interesting and sometimes funny daily NHL blog.

Gallimaufry: WXPN 88.5, based at The University of Pennsylvania, airs The World Café with David Dye every weekday at 2pm. Great combination of otherwise unavailable music and superb interviewing by Dye makes it one of the best radio shows in the free world…Late Night with Jimmy Fallon update: I am still watching. Fallon seems to be getting a little more at ease with playing host. Don’t look now, but he might be coming into his own…Bristol Palin, daughter of Alaska governor Sarah Palin, and her fiancé have broken up. Didn’t see that one coming, did ya?