October 31, 2011

word

cognoscenti [kon-yuhshen-tee, kog-nuh-] n. persons who have superior knowledge and understanding of a particular field, especially in the fine arts, literature, and world of fashion

birthday

John Keats (1795), Dan Rather (1931), Michael Landon (1936), David Ogden Stiers (1942), Peter Frampton (1943), Sally Kirkland (1944), Brian Doyle-Murray (1945), John Candy (1950), Peter Jackson (1961), Johnny Marr (1963), Dermot Mulroney (1963), Rob Schneider (1963), Adam Horovitz (1966), Vanilla Ice (1967)

standpoint
Over the weekend, the Philadelphia area got an early snowstorm and the alarmists were out in full force. One local newswoman warned people whose bed was near a window next to a tree to sleep in another room for fear wind might blow icy branches through the glass panes and be “potentially fatal.” She was being completely serious. 

Hurricane Schwartz and anyone else who claim to predict the weather should be taken as seriously as any FoxNews anchor.

Is it going to be sunny? Is it going to rain? Is it going to snow? What’s the weather guy/girl say? We all ask these questions constantly even though most of us understand forecasting the weather is next to impossible. And that’s due to the simple fact that forecasting the weather is actually impossible.

No one knows what’s going to happen. Yes, I’ll admit they’ve got a slightly better idea about tomorrow’s weather but only slightly. But Hurricane and his cronies aren’t offering their opinions; they’re posing as weather authorities.

It’s fucking genius if you think about it. Without the weather, local news programming is diminished to a tally of all the awful shit that happened during the course of the day, and the rehashing of sporting events that most everyone watched all ready. Without the weather, local news programming has no hold over us. Without that control, hardly anyone would watch. And so, it drums up scary situations in which Mother Nature will make mincemeat out of those of us who neglected to buy a few weeks’ worth of milk and bread hours before every time snowflakes fall from the sky.

For reasons I can’t explain, we still listen to it. And, sadly, we probably always will.

quotation

There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls. ↔ George Carlin

tune

Sometimes I add a song to my iPod and then completely forget about it. A few months later I’ll be driving along listening on shuffle and the song will make a reappearance. And I realize that, for whatever reason, I wasn’t ready to appreciate the song until that moment in time. Such was the way with “Changing” by The Airborne Toxic Event.

gallimaufry

→ Hopefully, this dude will stop talking shit for a while. The Philadelphia Eagles completely embarrassed Rob Ryan and the Dallas Cowboys last night. Guess Andy Reid gets to keep his job for a little longer.

→ This is crazy. 7 BILLION PEOPLE. It’s kinda perplexing.

→ In case you’re wondering what the next frivolous thing we’re all supposed to be worrying about might be, look no further: Sonic Drugs.

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04.27.10 – A Tuesday

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word

extirpate [ek-ster-peyt, ik-stur-peyt] v. used w/ obj. 1. to remove or destroy totally; do away with; exterminate 2. to pull up by or as if by the roots; root up: to extirpate an unwanted hair

birthday

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759), Samuel F. B. Morse (1791), Ulysses S. Grant (1822), Jack Klugman (1922), Casey Kasem (1932), Frank William Abagnale, Jr. (1948), Kate Pierson (1948), Ace Frehley (1951), Sheena Easton (1959)

standpoint

This past weekend, the NFL conducted its annual draft and it was all anyone could talk about. I didn’t really pay much attention. The only time I care about football is when it’s actually being played. To me, the draft seems to be just another reason for NFL fans, most of whom I regard as whiners, to bitch and moan, ask each other why their particular team took one guy and not another, failed to draft a player at one position and not another, and so on and so forth.

For the past several years the relationship between the NFL and its fans has fascinated me. Football enthusiasts are mostly fanatics, highly devoted folks who expect a lot from their chosen organization. Curiously, though, the same expectations do not extend to the individual athletes. And here’s why I think that’s so.

First and foremost, I’m a hockey fan. Training camp for the NHL begins at the end of each summer and the Stanley Cup Finals usually wrap up sometime in early summer of the next year. By comparison, NFL training camps start in early August and the Super Bowl is usually played the first week of February. In addition, football teams play once a week while hockey (and basketball and baseball) teams might play several times in the same amount of time. Bottom line, football fans feel an urgency, a need to do as much as they can with the little time afforded them. It’s the reason fall/winter Sunday afternoons and, to a slightly lesser extent, Monday nights have been bestowed with an almost venerable aura. There’s an almost obligatory sense to watch football when it’s on. You didn’t watch the game yesterday afternoon? Why not? You’d better have a bulletproof alibi.

The brevity of the NFL season also has an impact on its players. It provides them more time to pursue other interests with the massive amounts of cash they accumulate over the year. The majority of the athletes go home to their families, maybe investing in a hometown restaurant or contributing their time in a charitable fashion. But there are those who don’t make the best choices when it comes to how they spend their money and time in the offseason, getting in trouble with the law in a variety of ways. It seems you can’t turn on SportsCenter without seeing a new feature on some NFL knucklehead being brought up some kind of charges. Their actions are part bad decision making, part too much time and money on their hands. Someone’s bound to get into trouble.

When these stories come out, there’s always a heavy dose of public outrage by NFL fans and pundits. But it’s never sustained. The player always pays the fine or, less often, does the time and then it’s back to business as usual. An odd thing about the NFL is that, despite its massive fanbase, most of its teams flat-out suck, which means there’s always teams out there willing to take a chance on a skilled player. Even if that player beats his girlfriends, or fires guns at nightclubs, or recently completed yet another stint of drug rehab. When a team signs a guy like that, its fans, more concerned with a Super Bowl parade than a strong sense of morality, always jump on board.

In the weeks after Michael Vick was paroled, rumors surfaced about Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones tinkering with the idea of signing him. Every football fan in Philadelphia was laughing, shaking their heads and telling each other how perfect Vick would fit in with the rest of the criminals the Cowboys have gained a reputation for bringing aboard. Then the Eagles signed Vick. For a day or two, people seemed a little put off the organization would sign a convicted animal abuser. But within a week, no one was talking about dogs, but about another animal: the wildcat. As in the “Wildcat Offense” and how Vick would flourish in it. Nowadays, if you bring up the fact the guy used to beat dogs to death people roll their eyes and tell you to give it a rest. No wants to hear it. In essence, he’s been exonerated in the public eye because he puts on an Eagles’ uniform every Sunday (and the occasional Monday) for a few months out of the year.

And Vick’s not even a close to be the only one. He’s a member of a rather large club. Ray Lewis may have been acquitted of his murder charge but everyone knows he at least had something to with the deaths of those people. Baltimore Ravens fans don’t care. Adam “Pacman” Jones has a criminal record detailing a wide array of offenses. Detroit Lions fans won’t care if the team signs him. Ben Roethlisberger most definitely has a problem with sexually assaulting women, although he escaped formal charges. After he serves his upcoming six-game suspension and leads the team down the field for a touchdown, Pittsburgh Steelers fans won’t care. These are guys you wouldn’t want working in your office building, but if they’re playing football, fans will rationalize why it’s okay to forgive, and even cheer, for him.

Sometimes, guys wake up and take advantage of a second (or third) chance like Cris Carter. But, unfortunately, most of them will end up like Rae Carruth.

For the record, I don’t hold the NFL owners in any contempt for signing or retaining criminals. They’re running a business. In terms of dollars and cents, it makes sense for them to take the chances they do and, sometimes, as in the Roethlisberger situation, they have no other choice.

But what’s the fans excuse? How can the rationality of all this be explained? If these guys weren’t playing football, they’d be in jail and no one would give a rat’s ass what they were up to. Lucky for them, that’s not the case. They continue to get the love and respect of millions of people despite the fact, outside playing a game, they’ve done nothing to deserve it.

It’s comical and pathetic.

quotation

Whenever I hear people talking about liberal ideas, I am always astounded that men should love to fool themselves with empty sounds. An idea should never be liberal; it must be vigorous, positive, and without loose ends so that it may fulfill its divine mission and be productive. The proper place for liberality is in the realm of the emotions. Johann von Goethe

tune

I’ve shared this before but I’m going to do it again because, well, I do what I want. I’m of the opinion Chuck D is a pretty solid dude. I present Public Enemy‘s “Harder Than You Think.”

gallimaufry

→ I think Stephen Hawking might be watching Independence Day a little too much. And who can blame him? It’s a good movie mostly. But he may not be completely wrong here.

→ Sometimes something as simple as a sandwich can be a strong indicator of where we’re headed as a society. People, we’re driving in the wrong direction here.

→ My favorite show on ESPN? It’s SportsNation. I’m sure some of you out there now think a little less of me.

03.04.10 – A Thursday

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word

plethora [pleth-er-uh] n. 1. overabundance; excess: a plethora of advice and a paucity of assistance 2. Pathology Archaic. a morbid condition due to excess of red corpuscles in the blood or increase in the quantity of blood

birthday

Antonio Vivaldi (1678), David “Robber” Lewis (1790), Channing Pollock (1880), Knute Rockne (1888), Shemp Howard (1895), John Garfield (1913), Paul Mauriat (1925), Gloria Gaither (1942), Bobby Womack (1944), James Ellroy (1948), Catherine O’Hara (1954), Patricia Heaton (1958), Steven Weber (1961), Evan Dando (1967), Chastity Bono (1969), Buck 65 (1972), Jon Fratelli (1979)

standpoint

I know. Excuses. I’m full of them. But I’ve been looking forward to watching some NHL and there were more than a few games on last night and, well, you know what happened. Plus, I’m trying to get better sleep lately and all that crap. But, I promise, there will be a new Standpoint tomorrow. I’d stake my fortune on it.

quotation

Natives who beat drums to drive off evil spirits are objects of scorn to smart Americans who blow horns to break up traffic jams.Mary Ellen Kelly

tune

As the story goes, Conrad O. Johnson, the music teacher at Kashmere High School in Houston TX, went to an Otis Redding concert one night back in 1967. The next day, he decided to transform the style of his music program and – bam – that’s how the Kashmere Stage Band came to be.

gallimaufry

As much as I have a low opinion of Pittsburgh Penguins‘ superstar Sidney Crosby, it sucks when something like this happens. Seriously, people, have a little respect. This, however, is a demonstration on how Canadians can get a little too jacked for hockey. Settle down, will ya?

Dallas Cowboys owner/meddler Jerry Jones is a gigantic douchebag. I know it. You know it. And, apparently, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton knows it. Very nice job. I’m sure Payton meant the whole thing in fun but, still.

→ People are getting dumber. Especially when it comes to their kids. Seriously. I’d venture to say that 90% of parents under 40 are complete and utter morons. That number may be wrong, but, based on my exposure to this problem, I don’t think so.

01.05.10 – A Tuesday

WORD

riposte [ri-pohst] n. 1. a quick, sharp return in speech or action; counterstroke: a brilliant riposte to an insult 2. Fencing. a quick thrust given after parrying a lunge  v. (used w/o subject) 3. to make a riposte 4. to reply or retaliate

BIRTHDAY

Zebulon Pike (1778), George Reeves (1914), Jane Wyman (1917), Francis L. Kellogg (1917), Walter Mondale (1928), Robert Duvall (1931), Charlie Rose (1942), Ed Rendell (1944), Diane Keaton (1946), Ted Lange (1948), Marilyn Manson (1969), Bradley Cooper (1975)

STANDPOINT

In the spirit of reviewing 2009 (which yesterday I stated I was against but seem to be participating in anyway), I’ve compiled a list of the best music releases from last year, in no particular order. After each review, I’ll post the top track off the album.

Now, obviously, there were other albums released in 2009 that some of you (mainly my buddy Joe) will undoubtedly tell me I was wrong in omitting. Green Day, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, Wilco, among others, all released albums recently. I either didn’t like them or didn’t listen to them.

If you feel strongly about it, make a comment and tell me where I went wrong. Music is subjective, of course, and these are just my opinions. Even I can admit my judgment is occasionally subject to bias when it comes to music. But, remember, I’m usually right.

QUOTATION

The problem is not that there are problems.  The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.Theodore Rubin

TUNE

As much as I make fun of it, Canada seems to be putting out some decent indie rock bands recently. Arcade Fire. Broken Social Scene. The New Pornographers. The Rural Alberta Advantage. The Stills. To name only a few. And you can add Human Highway to that list. Made up of singer/songwriter Jim Guthrie and Nicholas Thorburn of the band Islands, the band released Moody Motorcycle in 2008. I’ve recently given it a re-listen and love the song “All Day.”

GALLIMAUFRY

After years of being tabloid fodder and keeping a nation on the edge of its seat, Vince Vaughan has entered into wedlock. Phew!

→ Christ. People. Let’s cease the vacillation. First, the Dallas Cowboys suck and Tony Romo, their quarterback, is a choke artist. Now, since beating the Philadelphia Eagles two days ago, their a Super Bowl favorite? Make up your mind, sports “gurus.”

→ What’s funnier? All the airport security talk or Spike Lee lending his heavy influence to the USA’s bid for a World Cup? Trick question. Neither are funny. Both are equally unimportant.

01.04.10 – A Monday

WORD

dogmatic [dawg-mat-ik, dog-] 1. of, pertaining to, or of the nature of a dogma or dogmas; doctrinal 2. asserting opinions in a doctrinaire or arrogant manner; opinionated

BIRTHDAY

Sir Isaac Newton (1643), Jacob Grimm (1785), Don Shula (1930), Dyan Cannon (1937), Bernard Sumner (1956), Patty Loveless (1957), Matt Frewer (1958), Michael Stipe (1960), Dave Foley (1963), Julia Ormond (1965), David Berman (1967)

STANDPOINT

So, not only is it the the end of a year, it’s the end of a decade. Which, in my estimation, has more than quadrupled the annual year-in-review nonsense. What is the use of exploring what’s transpired in the last 365 days? Or the last 3,652.42199? (That’s exactly how many days are in a decade which kind of weirds me out.)

In any case, I’m only a human being. And so I’ve read some of these lists. Apparently, 2009 is one most people would like to see flushed down the toilet with extreme prejudice. (I’m one of them, but not due to anything outside of my own personal experience.) This past year was, according to most accounts, one filled with tantamount portions of both doom and gloom. And, while I guess everyone is right and everything is sort of shitty, I think it’s wholly irrefutable things could be worse.

And, the reason is this:  In the course of perusing and pondering all the recent trials and tribulations of our downtrodden society, I came upon Yahoo!’s Year In Review – Top 10 Searches. I concluded shit can’t be all that bad after reading what people seem to actually care about.

Despite the times, we’ve clearly got an advantage over any other generation that came before us because, in the internet, we’ve got a vast archive of information that can help better pretty much any situation. I was fully expecting terms like, “financial help,” and “employment opportunities,” to appear somewhere on a list of top searches by a group of individuals who spend most of its time worrying about the future. But, as happens more than not, people leave me disappointed.

Instead of searching for help, everyone’s searching for crap. The top search term of the year was Michael Jackson. Before his untimely death, only the most ardent fans truly seemed to care about whatever odd capers Jacko was involved in. Once he died, everyone took an active interest and felt the need to seek out information on someone they pretty much knew everything about in the first place.

The rest of the top search list was, in order, The Twilight Saga, WWE, Megan Fox, Britney Spears, Naruto (whatever the fuck that is), American Idol, Kim Kardashian, NASCAR and Rune Scape (again, huh?).

Once finding this data, I decided that, hey, everything’s going to be just fine. Because, if life was as seriously dismal as most would have us believe, we’d probably spend less time question for knowledge on tweener flicks, supposed sports, irrelevant celebrities, reality television and, again, whatever those other two are.

Let’s just relax people and collectively ease back from the ledge. If, as as culture, we’re concerning ourselves with such inconsequential nonsense on the internet, how ominous could it really be? Right?

QUOTATION

You know, Hitler wanted to be an artist. At eighteen, he took his inheritance, seven hundred kronen, and moved to Vienna to live and study. He applied to the Academy of Fine Arts and later to the School of Architecture. Ever see one of his paintings? Neither have I. Resistance beat him. Call it overstatement but I’ll say it anyway: it was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas. → Steven Pressfield

TUNE

I’m fully aware of the fact that, in terms of music, I’ve a tendency to circulate around certain artists. Sorry. Some of these folks are just too damn good.  I found “New Amsterdam” on vodpod (a site I feel you should most likely be checking out) over the weekend and decided to share one of my favorite Elvis Costello offerings.

GALLIMAUFRY

→ I’m disgusted to report that even I’m not immune to the controversial MTV “reality” show Jersey Shore. The creators should be rounded up, along with anyone remotely involved including the cast, stuffed into a bag and hammertossed into the ocean. That said, I’m still watching it. Shit, I’m watching it right now. Christ.

→ It seems the Philadelphia Eagles‘ run of stepping ass-backward into big piles of sunshine has come to a close. Yesterday’s shutout loss the Dallas Cowboys was pretty embarrassing. Luckily, instead of enjoying the bye week they’d have earned from a victory, the whole team gets to go back to Dallas next week and do it all over again.

Jeff Bridges might finally get his due with an Oscar nod this year for his role in Crazy Heart. About effing time.

07.22.09 – Wednesday

Word: ineffable [in-efuh-buhl] adj. 1. incapable of being expressed or described in words; inexpressible: ineffable joy 2. not to be spoken because of its sacredness; unutterable: the ineffable name of the deity

Birthday: Gaspard de Prony (1755), Emma Lazarus (1849), Edward Hopper (1882), Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy (1890), Bob Dole (1923), Oscar De la Renta (1932), Louise Fletcher (1934), Tom Robbins (1936), Terence Stamp (1938), Alex Trebek (1940), George Clinton (1941), Bobby Sherman (1943), Danny Glover (1946), Albert Brooks (1947), Don Henley (1947), S. E. Hinton (1950), Al Di Meola (1954), Willem Dafoe (1955), Keith Sweat (1961), Rob Estes (1963), John Leguizamo (1964), David Spade (1964), Keyshawn Johnson (1972), Rufus Wainwright (1973)

Quotation: There are many in this old world of ours who hold that things break about even for all of us.  I have observed for example that we all get the same amount of ice.  The rich get it in the summertime and the poor get it in the winter.Bat Masterson

Tune: Oakland, California’s The Heavenly States made a song called “The Story Of” a few years back. According to my iPod, I listened to it over 300 times. The song is catchy. I remember reading somewhere The Heavenly States were the perfect fix for anyone who liked Dave Matthews Band but didn’t want their friends to know they actually liked DMB. I don’t see it. Maybe it has something to do with the fact both bands employ a violin in most of their songs.

Gallimaufry: Tyler Perry must be one helluva guy. After the disgraceful debacle at The Valley Club in Huntingdon Valley, PA last week, the playwright/TV series creator/screenwriter has decided the 65 children in the middle of it all need a vacation. So, what’s he doing? He’s sending them all to Disney World. “This is awful, and for anyone that has grown up in the inner-city, you know that one small act of kindness can change your life,” said Perry on his website. See? Sometimes people can be not shitty to each other. It’s hard to believe Michael Vick is only 29-years old. It seems like we’ve been hearing about the convicted dog-torturer for decades. Now that he’s completely free of any legal entanglements, Vick’s looking to get back into the NFL. But commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t committed to making any decisions anytime soon. Not even about if he’ll be making any decisions anytime soon. I, for one, would be pleased if I never again saw Vick in a football uniform again. But my gut tells me I will, and it will most likely be of the Dallas Cowboys variety. “The desire is there; that’s one component. The other component is opportunity.” That’s Alec Baldwin telling Playboy Magazine he’s maybe considering running for political office. I’m reasonably sure it’s only a matter of time before we turn all of our celebrities into politicians. It just seems to be where we’re headed.

04.03.09 – Friday

Word: satire [sat-ahyuh r] n. 1. the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule or the like, in exposing, denouncing or deriding vice, folly, etc. 2. a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice is held up to scorn, derision or ridicule 3. a literary genre containing such compositions

 

Birthday: Washington Irving (1783), Marlon Brando (1924), Doris Day (1924), Gus Grissom (1926), Jane Goodall (1934), Wayne Newton (1942), Tony Orlando (1944), Richard Thompson (1949), Ray Combs (1956), Alec Baldwin (1958), David Hyde Pierce (1959), Eddie Murphy (1961), Mike Ness (1962), Picabo Street (1971), Jennie Garth (1972), Aries Spears (1975)

 

Occurrence: 1996 – The “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski is arrested in Montana. Currently, he’s serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole in Florence, Colorado. Don’t bother trying to visit him. He’s not accepting visitors. (Note: Apparently, I was mistaken about yesterday being the anniversary of the assassination of Jesse James by Robert Ford. It’s today. That’s what fact-checking at 2am will get you. Lesson learned.)

 

Standpoint: Michael Vick is getting out jail in a month or so. It’s rumored that he will be playing football for some NFL team in the upcoming season. Probably the Dallas Cowboys. And that’s a sad sad thing. The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback funded a dog fighting ring and had direct knowledge of his friends killing dogs. I understand that I’m a little tough on the NFL. I apologize for exactly none of what I say about the league. If he is reinstated and resumes his playing career, it will be a new low for an organization that has already burrowed underneath the slimiest slime and muckiest muck.

 

Quotation: He who stands for nothing will fall for anything. Alexander Hamilton (Note: I’ve heard this attributed to Malcolm X. Guess he lifted it from Hamilton.)

 

Weekend: My picks for dope stuff to do in Philadelphia this weekend.

 

Tonight (4/3) – 8pm Go see Bob Mould (formerly of Husker Du and Sugar) at The North Star Bar. 

Saturday (4/4) – 8pm The 6th Borough’s Depression Isn’t Just a River in Egypt at Connie’s Ric Rac.

Sunday (4/5) – 2pm Take the kids down to the American Swedish Historical Museum to participate in Swedish Easter traditions.

 

Tune: Another favorite unsung band. Teenage Fanclub. Check out “Ain’t That Enough”.

 

Video: I’ve heard of American actors going over to Japan and doing crazy commercials. I’d never seen video evidence of it, though. Until now. Watch this collection of Nicolas Cage commercials. (Thanks to Tim Mulvey.)

 

Gallimaufry: NASA still has made no decision regarding the naming of the new room in the International Space Station. But Chaka Fattah (D-PA) is getting behind naming it after Stephen Colbert who won the contest after urging his Colbert Report viewers to cast write-in votes for him…People keep asking me questions about the new Facebook and what to do about all of the clutter. I’m still feeling it out myself but here’s an article that may help…The Onion’s AV Club encourages everyone to turn off the shuffle and listen to these 25 albums the way they were intended – straight through. Sadly, I own only one of these albums: XTC’s Skylarking…All right. That’s it for me. Thanks for another great week. Come back on Monday for some more.