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.

07.13.09 – Monday

Word: facetious [fuhsee-shuhs] adj. 1. not meant to be taken seriously or literally: a facetious remark 2. amusing; humorous 3. lacking serious intent; concerned with something nonessential, amusing, or frivolous: a facetious person

Birthday: Julius Caesar (100 BC), John Jacob Astor IV (1864), Bob Crane (1928), Jack Kemp (1935), Patrick Stewart (1940), Robert Forster (1941), Harrison Ford (1942), Roger McGuinn (1942), Cheech Marin (1946), Tony Kornheiser (1948), Michael Spinks (1956), Cameron Crowe (1957), Phil Margera (1957), Stephen “Steve-O” Gilchrist Glover (1974)

Quotation: What is guilt? Guilt is the pledge drive constantly hammering in our heads that keeps us from fully enjoying the show. Guilt is the reason they put the articles in Playboy.Dennis Miller

Tune: I used to work at a private club where the members (a small percentage of them, at least) played cricket. After deciding to learn everything about how the game was played, I was still disappointed watching it. Not a captivating spectator sport. A few days ago, I stumbled upon The Duckworth Lewis Method, which is a band named after a confusing mathematical formula used to determine “the target score for the team batting second in a one-day cricket or Twenty20 cricket match interrupted by weather or other circumstance.” Yeah. Sounds boring to me, too. But the Irish band, made up of The Divine Comedy‘s Neil Hannon and Pugwash‘s Thomas Walsh, has created an album of cricket-based songs that are most definitely not boring. It’s a theme album, narrating an entire cricket match, which can sometimes last a few days. With my limited knowledge, I can’t make heads or tails of what it’s all supposed to mean. (I’m sure there are many out there who can.) But it’s not all that important. The tracks are all pretty solid. Check out “Flatten The Hay.”

Gallimaufry: In this craptastic economy, it’s likely several of you might be looking for a job. That means going on multiple painful interviews. Before you head out on your next one, read “The 9 Worst Interview Mistakes” from SalesHQ.com. My favorite is the first one on the list – Not Acting Bored or Cocky. Since Michael Jackson’s memorial service last week, which reportedly cost the city of Los Angeles $1.4 million, more and more pundits have been harping on the fact that California is just about broke. However, according to some out there, economic restablization for Gov. Arnold‘s ailing state could be as simple as two logical steps – the legalization of both marijuana and same-sex marriage. Read CBS News.com’s “High Stakes: A Call To Legalize Marijuana” and watch Jimmy Fallon and The Roots Slow Jam The California Economy to see why the two ideas might be something to seriously consider. And not just to help the economy. While I’m on the topic of the death of Michael Jackson (and, I swear, this is definitely the last time I’ll bring it up), there are many out there speculating that the King of Pop faked his own death, thereby joining the ranks of a long list of celebrities (see Elvis Presley, Tupac Shakur, Jim Morrison) who chose the same path. For more on the topic read “Dead Celebrities Crazy People Insist Are Still Alive But In Hiding” by Paste Magazine’s Steve LaBate. Truly eye opening.

06.05.09 – Friday

Word: ersatz [er-zahts, -sahts, er-zahts, –sahts] adj. 1. serving as a substitute; synthetic; artificial: an ersatz coffee made from grain n. 2. an artificial substance or article used to replace something natural or genuine; a substitute

Birthday: Thomas Chippendale (1708), Pat Garrett (1850), Pancho Villa (1878), John Maynard Keynes (1883), Salvatore Ferragamo (1898), Richard Scarry (1919), Spalding Gray (1941), Ken Follett (1949), Suze Orman (1951), Richard Butler (1956), Kenny G (1956), Jeff Garlin (1962), Ron Livingston (1967), Brian McKnight (1969), Mark Wahlberg (1971), Chuck Klosterman (1972), Pete Wentz (1979)

Quotation: I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat.  I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!Dr. Seuss

Tune: Ever watch the great old comedy sketch show The Kids In The Hall and wonder who did the theme song? The band is Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet and the song is called “Having an Average Weekend.”

Gallimaufry: With President Obama in the White House and most everyone pissed at California over Proposition 8, it’s easy to look at our country and decide it’s moving in the right direction. Enter Ken Pagano, pastor of New Bethel Church in Louisville, Kentucky. This June 27th, Pagano is inviting his congregation to attend services with their firearms, “to celebrate the Fourth of July and the Second Amendment.” Says the ex-Marine-and-one-time-handgun-instructor-turned-pastor, “We’re just going to celebrate the upcoming theme of the birth of our nation. And we’re not ashamed to say that there was a strong belief in God and firearms — without that this country wouldn’t be here.” No loaded guns will be allowed in the church. In addition to bringing firearms, Pagano is asking attendees to bring a canned good and a friend. I mean, it’s only Kentucky, but still. It’s 2009, jackass. For the record, Sonia Sotomayor’s “Wise Latina” comment is no different than Sarah Palin’s comparing hockey moms to pitbulls. But no one, including the idiots over at FOX News, are going to make the connection. The Supreme Court nominee was referring to a group of women who make up a large portion of the nation’s population, while Palin was talking about a group of women in Alaska who don’t represent enough people to fill up The Rose Bowl. (That may or may not be true.) Both women were making their comments in jest. In the grand scheme of things, I’m guessing Alaskan hockey moms are considered a bit more innocuous than Latina women. Just a hunch. Sitting out in the sun for extended periods of time, getting high and drunk with your closest friends and listening to dozens of popular bands is every American’s right. At least it should be. The warm weather invading us right now means only one thing – it’s Summer Concert Festival Season. Check out Pitchfork’s comprehensive guide to this year’s opportunities to pass out on a stranger’s blanket by mid-afternoon.

Incoming: I know I promised some thoughts about Arthur Kade (I’ve grilled my considerable group of contacts for this one and unearthed some great stuff.) and movie remakes, as well as 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead, but as they say, life got in the way. I’ll be working on all those for the beginning of next week. Also, for everyone attending this weekend’s TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship (What happened to simply calling it “The Bike Race?”), make sure to stay hydrated and have some fun. I’m not quite sure if I’ll be making my annual appearance as of yet, but if I do, I’ll make sure to say hello.

03.20.09 – Friday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: halcyon [hal-see-uhn] adj. 1. calm; peaceful; tranquil  2. rich; wealthy; prosperous  3. happy; joyful; carefree

Birthday: Napoleon II (1811), Henrik Ibsen (1828), Ozzie Nelson (1906), Jack Barry (1918), Carl Reiner (1922), Fred Rogers (1928), Hal Linden (1931), Lee “Scratch” Perry (1936), Jerry Reed (1937), Paul Junger Witt (1943), Pat Riley (1945), Bobby Orr (1948), William Hurt (1950), Jimmie Vaughn (1951), Spike Lee (1957), Holly Hunter (1958), Sting (1959), A.J. Jacobs (1968), Michael Rappaport (1970)

Occurrence: 1985Libby Riddles becomes the first female ever to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Women everywhere rejoice. Dogs everywhere still pissed.

Standpoint: Why? That’s the only question I have for Joaquin Phoenix. Furthermore, that’s probably the question the dude should’ve asked himself before deciding to retire from acting to become the next Matisyahu, with brother-in-law Casey Affleck in tow to film the whole debacle. Has Phoenix never heard of Keanu Reeves? Jared Leto? Juliette Lewis? Don Johnson? They’re all actors who tried their hands in the music biz and came up with less-than-spectacular results. (Oddly enough, the same doesn’t hold true for musicians who make the leap into acting. See Will Smith, Jon Bon Jovi, Queen Latifah, Justin Timberlake.) Hopefully, the talented actor regains his senses and comes back from his trip to Jupiter. Odds are he will. After the novelty of his act wears off, people will stop buying tickets and Phoenix will undoubtedly have to return to acting. Just a matter of time.

Quotation: I don’t think that there are any limits to how excellent we could make life seem.Jonathan Safran Foer

Stupefaction: In Florida, scientists are firing rockets at lightning. Seriously. I hate to ruin the ending for you but the lightning won, remaining the undefeated champ of shit you don’t wanna screw around with.

Tune: Be honest. If you went to high school or college in the 90s, there was at least one time you drove around with the windows down listening to “I’m Free” by The Soup Dragons.

Link: FutureMe – Send an email to your future self.

Weekend (Fridays only): Do you long to hear 80s music sung by an all-male chorus? I thought so. Check out “That 80s Show” performed by the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus at Prince’s Music Theater tonight and tomorrow night…For all of you with little ones, The Berenstain Bears’ Family Matters starts this weekend at the Walnut Street Theatre For Kids and runs through April 4th…Also on Saturday, why not check out one of the few remaining home games of The Philadelphia Phantoms as they take on the Binghamton Rangers at the Wachovia Spectrum – 7:05pm…Amazingly, tickets are still available for Morrisey’s show at The Academy of Music this Sunday (3/22) starting 8:00pm.

Gallimaufry: This week, California took time out of its busy schedule fighting gay marriage (see Prop 8) to debate whether legalizing marijuana would properly stimulate its flailing economy. Now there’s a debate worthy of everyone’s time and energy…March Madness is officially upon us and I still don’t care…I haven’t completely wrapped my head around it (who has?) but this bailout process reminds me of a video I once saw where a log sunk into quicksand…Want to feel better about yourself by listening to an audio clip of someone sounding like a jackass? Check out Lou Dobbs’ rant about St. Patrick’s Day…Following up on yesterday’s post, here is a link to the entire interview Jon Stewart conducted with Jim Cramer on The Daily Show…That’s it for me this week. Come back Monday for some more.