November 23, 2011

word

bibliophage [bib-lee-uh-feyj] n. an ardent reader; a bookworm

birthday

William H. “Billy the Kid” Bonney (1859) (most likely inaccurate), Boris Karloff (1887), Harpo Marx (1888), Bruce Hornsby (1954), Chris Hardwick (1971), Miley Cyrus (1992)

standpoint

I’ve watched a lot of movies. And when it comes to movies there’s about a million lists out there of the best this and the worst that and what have you. But one list that’s mostly overlooked is The Biggest Assholes in Movie History. Sure there are a few out there but it’s largely an explored area. So I thought I would weigh in on this topic that is obviously in dire need of address. So here’s my list…so far.

Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker in The Social Network – Usually, Timberlake does his best to look squeaky clean in his cinematic endeavors but I gotta respect the guy for taking this role and doing a great job with it.

Hart Bochner as Harry Ellis in Die Hard – Ok, I know he’s more comic relief than serious asshole but the guy exemplifies every douchebag in the 80s. (Side note: I had no Bochner directed PCU until I had to look him up for this post.)

Matt Damon as Charlie Dillon in School Ties – If you can watch this movie and not want to punch real-life Matt Damon in the face, you’ve got ice water running through your veins.

Gene Hackman as John Herod in The Quick and The Dead – This clip doesn’t really reveal the extent of what a gigantic shithead Hackman plays in this movie but it’s the best scene so I thought I would include it.

William Atherton as Walter Peck in Ghostbusters – Atherton might be a very nice guy in real life but he will always be known for being one of the biggest assholes to ever grace the screen. I could’ve also cited him for Die Hard or Real Genius.

So that’s that. Feel free to comment if you think there are any I’ve overlooked.

quotation

I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land. ↔ Jon Stewart

tune

Here’s the thing about The Muppets: They’re fucking awesome. Even though, they’re not technically members of the human race, they sum up everything great about it. They always assume the best about whatever situation they find themselves in. But they’re also incredibly sarcastic and, at times, they do actually get angry. But, in the end, they always forgive. I love this clip of Jason Segel’s SNL monologue from this past Saturday. (Sorry, you’re going to have to clip on the link. It wouldn’t embed properly.)

gallimaufry

→ Last night, CNN aired the GOP National Security Debate. I listened to most of it as I was preparing this post. When is the GOP going to realize it is doing itself absolutely no service by holding all of these debates? It’s become comical. My favorite part was when Herman Cain addressed Wolf Blitzer as “Blitz.” Here’s an article on some of the other gaffes from last night’s hi-jinks.

→ I know I’m probably beating this to death but what else is new? Yesterday, on 97.5 The Fanatic, Mike Missanelli interviewed Eric Lindros and John LeClair. During the interview, they discussed their latest charity efforts with CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia), what it was like to play with each other, Lindros’ feelings about his return to the city that shunned him and lots of other stuff.

→ I won’t be posting again until sometime next week. Happy Thanksgiving!

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05.11.09 – Monday

Word: raconteur [rak-uhn-tur] n. a person who is skilled in relating stories and anecdotes interestingly

Birthday: Chang and Eng Bunker (1811), Charles W. Fairbanks (1852), Irving Berlin (1888), Martha Graham (1894), Salvador Dalí (1904), Louis Farrakhan (1933), David Gest (1953), Martha Quinn (1959), Natasha RIchardson (1963), Laetitia Casta (1978)

Standpoint: Nowadays, everyone has an opinion on everything. It’s nearly impossible to share anything of interest with anyone without a follow-up correlation or some other form of one-upping. During the course of any given day, if you were to count the instances you hear a sentence that starts with, “They say that…”, or “I just read about…”, the number could conceivably end up nonsensically high.

In this day and age, the onslaught of information is dwarfed only by the amount of opinion it generates.  

One problem is many people don’t understand that some (probably most) “information” they’re being fed is based in fact the way that Star Wars was based in fact. Meaning that much of what you’re watching or reading has the potential to be true, but not necessarily right now. Every media outlet, from CNN to The New York Times to Fox News, is working an angle and/or pushing an agenda. Whatever’s behind it, boosting viewer ratings or selling more newspapers or attempting to influence your politics, all of your news stories come with, at the very least, some small degree of slant. 

Another problem is even more people fail to grasp that just because there’s a man on the television screen discussing his thoughts on a particular matter, it doesn’t make him an authority on anything except his own opinion. That goes for Jon Stewart as much as it does Glenn Beck, two individuals who receive equal amounts of  unwarranted credbility. (Although in Stewart’s defense, he understands his show is primarily for entertainment purposes, while Beck seems totally unaware that his show produces just as many laughs.) Television personalities are both charismatic and persuasive. With a viewer-friendly, professional presentation and use of the proper words at the right time, it’s remarkably easy to take in the thoughts of these “experts” and register them as fact.  

From all the reporting we’re led to believe is factual and the infinite amount of commentary that inevitably follows, it’s entirely possible that we’ve come to know so much that we actually know less. The pursuit of the truth has been replaced by the pursuit of who’s right. And it may not be the fault of those presenting the information. It’s likely that, due to the countless variations offered on “what’s really going on,” you are now afforded the opportunity to simply accept whichever version better falls in line with what you truly want to believe, whatever that may be.

For example, in the case of the issue of global warming, you can side with either (a) those who think that the rise of greenhouse gases is manmade or (b) those who think it’s part of the natural cycle of Earth’s ecosystem. There’s no proving the wrong side. Each side employs science, largely assumed to be infallible in terms of fact, to prove its point. In effect, both sides enjoy the satisfaction of knowing they’re right. Therefore, you’re allowed to pick the perspective you’re more comfortable swallowing, and then, you’re also right. One nice perk that stems from such a scenario is that you can switch sides whenever you want, and, like magic, you’re still right. Sounds pretty great, right?

Well. Not entirely. If we’ve created a world where all fact and opinion are simultaneously true, how are we ever going to figure out what’s not working and move forward? We won’t. And, what’s worse, no one really seems to mind. Maybe in those movies about apocalyptic futures, it wasn’t war that destroyed the human race. It might’ve been that we reached a point where we were able to stop one another from doing anything remotely useful.

Quotation: Every improvement in communication makes the bore more terrible. Frank Moore Colby

Tune: Only music snobs will argue that Illinois’ Hum is not a “one-hit wonder.” If I was going to have only one song that everyone would remember, I would definitely want it to sound something like “Stars.”

Gallimaufry: Check out oddee.com’s list of 15 Strangest Foods and decide which one you would definitely not eat. Mine’s the dried lizards. ∞ Meet Saya, the world first robotic teacher. Now students won’t even have to use their brains to come up with clever ways to cheat. Sweet. ∞ It’s official. There are no more conversations in which the topics of Facebook and Twitter aren’t breached. Even Pentagon briefings.

Incoming: Tomorrow – I’ll find out if it’s possible to do a Google image search without eventually running into porn. Later in the week – My first interview, Annoying Sayings & Misused Words and much much more.

04.22.09 – Wednesday

Today is Earth Day!

Word: espouse [i-spouz, i-spous] v. 1. to make one’s own; adopt or embrace, as a cause 2. to marry 3. to give (a woman) in marriage

Birthday: Immanuel Kant (1724), Vladimir Lenin (1870), Vladimir Nabokov (1899), Robert Oppenheimer (1904), Charles Mingus (1922), Aaron Spelling (1923), Charlotte Rae (1926), Richard Donner (1930), Glen Campbell (1936), Jack Nicholson (1937), John Waters (1946), Peter Frampton (1950), Paul Carrack (1951), Marilyn Chambers (1952), Ryan Stiles (1959), Byron Allen (1961), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (1966), Daniel Johns (1979)

Ocurrence: 1970 – The first ever Earth Day is held.

Standpoint: Twitter. You can’t escape it. It’s everywhere. In the past month, I haven’t read a newspaper or watched a talk show where there hasn’t there wasn’t some reference to Twitter, “tweets,” “twittering,” “tweeting” or one of the myriad of other new terms that has invaded the English language because of the overwhelming popularity of the social networking site. If you haven’t heard of it, you must be purposely trying to avoid it. Twitter (and everything to do with it) is currently big news. Last week, Ashton Kutcher challenged CNN to a race to see which one could get to 1 million followers first. Kutcher won. Also last week, Oprah Winfrey publicly joined Twitter on her show where her guest was Evan Williams, Twitter’s CEO. Her first tweet was unsuccessful. Some guy named Corey Menscher has invented the Kickbee, a device a pregnant woman can wear that will detect her baby “kicking” and post a tweet about it.

I joined Twitter a little over a month ago. I railed against it for a while, but finally succumbed. Really just to figure out what the hell it was all about. So, what have I learned? In essence, Twitter is primarily an outlet for people to braindump. Some denominate it microblogging. I think it of it as more full-dress insanity. The tweets come fast and furious. I’m not particular about who I follow or who I allow to follow me. I employ Twitter to drum up additional traffic for this blog, so I figure, the more the merrier.

But individuals are on Twitter for all kinds of reasons. As I’m writing this, I’ve just passed 400 followers. In addition, I’m following close to 800 people in the Twitterverse. I know all of 12 of them personally. The rest are celebrities (Kutcher, P. Diddy and ,yes, even Wil Wheaton), news sites (CNN, E! Online, The Huffington Post), musical acts (Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Band of Horses), companies trying to sell stuff (which is seemingly effective) or fellow bloggers.

Some that I’m following (or they’re following me, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep it all in order), are simply odd. One guy I was following was actually posing as Christopher Walken. His tweets were pretty funny and I could picture the actor writing them. The guy was caught and booted. (He’s now back.)Another person contantly updates conditions on the highways in and around San Jose, CA. I’ve no use for this information but I don’t drop anyone so I’m continually informed on what roads not to take around a city I’ve no current plans to step foot in. These are just two examples. There are hundreds, probably more like hundreds of thousands, more.

So, is Twitter useful? I’d love to give some snarky response about how it’s not, but that would be dishonest. My blog traffic has increased because of my Twitter activity. Not because my clever tweets are necessarily reeling everyone in but because of the promiscuous following habits of most users, myself included. I’m pretty certain that hardly anyone is reading even 10% of all the tweets that appear on their Twitter homepage. So, while it’s doubtful that everyone in TwitterLand is paying real attention to one another, it doesn’t really seem to matter. It’s more about being involved in swirling mayhem and telling people, “Yeah, I’m on Twitter.” 

Quotation: Thank God man cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth. Henry David Thoreau

Tune: Sadly, I didn’t get into Guided By Voices until last summer. After listening to Robert Pollard and crew’s many great songs, I quietly wondered what planet I’d been living on that I never ran across them before. Listen to “Echos Myron.”

Gallimaufry: After being hospitalized a few days ago, it appears that physicist Stephen Hawking will make a full recovery…President Obama sure has had his fair share of firsts. Here’s another one. He’ll be the first US President to appear topless on the cover of a magazineFacebook groups are popping against, of all people, martial artist and movie star Jackie Chan for comments he made over the weekend, including that “the Chinese need to be controlled.” Apparently, the guy’s a fan of oppression. Who knew?

Incoming: TomorrowAnnoying Sayings & Misused Words. Friday3 Things To Do in Philly When You’re Dead and more.