06.29.09 – Monday

Word: sociopath [soh-see-uh-path, soh-shee-] n. a person, as a psychopathic personality, whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience

Birthday: William Mayo (1861), Nelson Eddy (1901), Slim Pickens (1919), Robert Evans (1930), Harmon Killebrew (1936), Gary Busey (1944), Richard Lewis (1947), Colin Hay (1953), Maria Conchita Alonso (1957), Michael Nutter (1957), Jeff Burton (1967), Sam Farrar (1978)

Quotation: To do a common thing, uncommonly well, brings success – Henry John Heinz

Tune: “Orchestrated indie pop with brilliant melodies and a quiet sense of everything.” That’s what Hybrid Magazine has to say about Portland, Oregon band Derby. It’s a damn near dead-on description, too. Check out “If Ever There’s A Reason” from Posters Fade. Here’s a year-old review of the album by Conor McKay of NPR.

Gallimaufry: In what is now becoming an almost daily occurence, another celebrity has suddenly passed away. Professional pitchman Billy Mays was discovered dead in his bed by his wife yesterday morning. Saturday afternoon, Mays, a man who was famous for yelling at the top of his lungs about the effectiveness of such products as OxiClean and Orange Glo,  bumped his head as his plane touched down in Tampa International Airport in what was described as “a rough landing.” As of yet, no one’s claiming a connection between the landing and Mays’ untimely death. I don’t care what anyone else has to say about it. The fact that the US Men’s National Soccer Team made it to the finals of the FIFA Confederates Cup and actually came close to beating Brazil before eventually falling 3-2 late in the game is a good thing. I’m proud of them. And you should be too. For 2010’s FIFA World Cup South Africa, this year’s showing in the Confederates Cup will give US soccers fans (all 254 of them) something to look forward to. Spoon has got to be the hardest working band in the history of music. I know it and now so do you. Unlike Conor Oberst, who releases something new each week (some good, most bad), Spoon keeps pumping out quality track after quality track. Tomorrow, the Merge Records band is releasing a new EP called Got Nuffin. Go get it on Amazon.

Advertisements

05.07.09 – Thursday

Word: acrimony [ak-ruh-moh-nee] n. sharpness, harshness or bitterness of nature, speech, disposition, etc.: The speaker attacked him with great acrimony

Birthday: William Bainbridge (1774), Johannes Brahms (1833), Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840), Gary Cooper (1901), Eva Peron (1919), Johnny Unitas (1933), Jimmy Ruffin (1939), Thelma Houston (1946), Bill Kreutzmann (1946), Randall “Tex” Cobb (1950), Tim Russert (1950), Traci Lords (1968), Eagle Eye Cherry (1969), Breckin Meyer (1974)Nicole Sheridan (1975)

Standpoint: It’s Thursday and that means I’m addressing your suggestions for Annoying Sayings & Misused Words. Right. Now.

  • “ironical” vs. “ironic” – Mentioned by many of you, I think it’s safe to say that we owe this “irony” debate to Alanis Morissette. “Ironical” is defined as “using or prone to irony.” I hate it when I disappoint my readers but that’s probably just what the next sentence will accomplish. As for “ironic,” the second definition offered by dictionary.com was actually “ironical.” So, unfortunately for all of you grammar hounds out there, you are no longer free to correct people when they use “ironical.” Sorry.
  • “could have” vs. “could of” – I hear this one a lot. Hell, I might even say “could of,” I’m not sure. But if I do, I’m wrong as can be. To quote EnglishPlus.com, “‘Could of’ does not exist.” That’s about the end of the debate right there, I think.
  • “no offense, but…” – In its essence, this is a cowardly phrase that was most likely shortened from another, much longer phrase  like, “Hey, I’m a big wuss and I’m about to say something that may or may not piss you off, but I still want to make my feelings known on this issue without fear of bodily harm or reciprocity via an equally offensive comment launched in my direction.” In my experience, when someone starts out a statement with, “no offense, but…” it’s usually meant to imply the opposite like, “No offense, dude, but you suck.” I think it’s all right when used that way. Kind of ironical. Right?

Well, there you go. I’m starting to get the sense that a lot of these words that we all originally thought were being misused have now been accepted by the word authorities as acceptable usage. Are they simply addressing the evolution of the language or are the bending to the will of a people who are too lazy to speak it properly? What do you think?

Quotation: The internet is the world’s largest library. It’s just that all the books are on the floor. John Allen Paulos

Tune: Colin Hay might be remembered by most for his involvement with the 80s Australian pop band Men At Work, but what he’s done since then is create some amazing singer-songwriter anthems. Check out “Waiting For My Real Life To Begin.” Also, if you are a fan of the show “Scrubs,” this might be worth checking out. And if, for whatever reason, you’re pining for those Men At Work days, here’s Hay’s reworking of “Overkill.”

Gallimaufry: Apparently, our society now has individuals calling themselves “public intellectuals.” Read all about Stu Bykofsky’s experience with Dr. Marc Lamont Hill. ∞ Due to all of the driving around I’ve been doing since the new move, I’ve been daydreaming about faster-than-light travel. It’s fun to fantasize about pushing a button and having the world around you turn into a blur as you travel hundreds of miles in the blink of an eye. It’s even more fun to imagine Jean-Luc Picard in the backseat, calmly giving the order to “Engage,” right before you hit the imaginary button. That kind of thing will probably never be possible over land but, out in the cosmos, Space.com seems to think it might be possible sooner than we think ∞ The Shins are back. Well. Kind of. Marty Crandall and Jesse Sandoval are out of the band for what lead singer James Mercer calls “aesthetic reasons.” He’s recruited Ron Lewis from Grand Archives and Joe Plummer from Modest Mouse to join the band for their new tour and upcoming album.

Incoming: Tomorrow3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead and, inspired by all of this rain lately, 7 Sunny Songs About Rain.