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.

09.18.09 – A Friday

Word

querolous [kweruh-luhs, kwer-yuh-] adj. 1. full of complaints; complaining 2. characterized by or uttered in complaint; peevish: a querulous tone; constant querulous reminders of things to be done

Birthday

Trajan (53), Samuel Johnson (1709), George Read (1733), Greta Garbo (1905), Jack Warden (1920), Robert Blake (1933), Frankie Avalon (1939), Fred Willard (1939), Dee Dee Ramone (1952), James Gandolfini (1961), Holly Robinson Peete (1964), Lance Armstrong (1971), Jada Pinkett Smith (1971), James Marsden (1973), Xzibit (1974), Jason Sudeikis (1975)

Standpoint

If you’re an avid reader of this blog, and it’s shame if you’re not, you’ve come to the conclusion that I’m an above-average humorous individual. To put it mildly.

And, after reaching  that conclusion, I’m betting you’ve wondered, “Hey. How’d that guy get so goddamn funny? What his secret?” Well, it stems from all kinds of places. I will say that, coming from a family with five other siblings competing for attention at the dinner table, it didn’t take a genius to figure out the the proper execution of well-timed humor earned you a little more time at the podium during the nightly palaver.

But that wasn’t all there was to it. I had my influences. At a young age, I decided every single person in the entertainment business was essentially just borrowing material from somewhere or another, and presenting it as their own original ponderings. But, once in a while, I’d see something that either (a) was borrowing shit from so many different places it did actually became original content, or (b) was original content. Watching anything that fell into one of those categories represented a possibility of, for me at least, a tiny shred of hope the world wasn’t doomed to watch garbage like “Charles In Charge” or “Who’s The Boss?” for the rest of eternity.  

Here are a few things you can watch if you want to see exactly what I’m talking about. (Note: It’s a coincidence that Dave Foley is in two of the three clips here. Or maybe not. He’s a funny motherfucker.) (Another note: I was going to embed the videos but I couldn’t with some so just hit the link.)

Clip OneNewsRadio“The Cane”

Phil Hartman has my vote as the funniest person ever to put two feet on Earth’s soil. This scene from “NewsRadio” with Dave Foley represents most of the range Hartman possessed. Foley is great, too.

 Clip(s) TwoKids In The Hall“King of Empty Promises” and The State“Porcupine Racetrack”

“Kids In The Hall” is debatably the funniest sketch comedy show of all-time. Other might say it was “The State.” I lean towards the latter, but, really it all depends on my mood. Both were unendingly funny. Both went places similar shows (“SNL“MADtv”) either weren’t allowed to go or were incapable of. These two sketches helped convinced me there were other like-minded lunatics out there in the world.

Clip ThreeBlack Books“Bernard Black Drunk”

This clip from “Black Books” – the British sitcom that aired on the UK’s Channel 4 for three seasons and the US’ Comedy Central for about one hour late some random Sunday night – is representative of the completely hilarious work Dylan Moran and Bill Bailey did on this unfortunately still-unknown classic.

 Sadly, if you don’t find any/all of this funny, there’s only one thing wrong with you. You would fail to recognize humor if it walked up and kneecapped you.

Quotation

A drunk driver’s very dangerous. Everybody knows that. But so is a drunken backseat driver – if he’s persuasive. ← Demetri Martin

Tune

Yesterday, I revealed that I’m a sucker for a song with well-written lyrics. Well, there’s something that can make a song with well-written lyrics even better. And that’s a multi-part harmony. When done the right way, multiple harmonies can turn an ordinary song into an anthem. The multiple harmony song usually starts off kind of slow, but that’s not a requirement. There is one steadfast rule, though, each harmony, and its corresponding lyrics, has to be introduced separately. A byproduct of that is the song can travel all over the rythmic spectrum, producing the effect of several songs contained in one. The result of the crescendo is an overlapping vocal harmony where all the separate vocal sections are woven into each other and the best parts of each accompanying melody are grooved into one. The final minute of such a song should make you want to turn up the volume, roll down the windows and hit the gas pedal. That’s how you know it’s a good one. I have five favorite songs falling into that category. But, I think I’ve decided that “See These Bones” by Nada Surf is the greatest. The best part is when Matthew Caws comes in with “The lights in the city are more or less blinking/Which side of the story decides what you’re thinking.” It’s the beginning of the end. But in a really good way. Listen to it. I’m not wrong. Right?

Gallimaufry

→ Man, am I glad I never got around to removing the PEOPLE SUCK sticker from the interior of my car. Because, I’m really sorry, it’s one of the indisputable truths of this world. Need more proof than the cool sticker in my car? Check out WhyTheFuckDoYouHaveAKid.com. As Jonathan Schmock, the actor who played the Chez Quiz Maitre D’ in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (click that link to watch the original movie trailer.), stated so very snootily, “I weep for the future.”

→ You know what’s a really great thing? When the mayor of one of the largest cities in the country plays chicken with the state legislature using innocent peoples’ jobs as a bargaining chip. That’s what Philadelphia’s mayor, Michael Nutter, did with the jobs of 3,000 municipal workers in an attempt to pry money out of Pennsylvania. It worked. But still. Kind of shitty.

→ All right. Need to make a teensy tiny request of the fashion world here. Please make the fucking Snuggie go away. I’ll help in whatever way I can. Just let me know where to be and when to ber there. For centuries, individuals have made an easy time of having a blanket on top of them as they relax. It’s kind of like Basic Human Knowledge 101.  We don’t need one that slips over our heads. We are not Old West Mexican gunfighters.

07.15.09 – Wednesday

Word: strident [strahyd-nt] adj. 1. making or having a harsh sound; grating; creaking: strident insects; strident hinges 2. having a shrill, irritating quality or character: a strident tone in his writings 3. Linguistics. (in distinctive feature analysis) characterized acoustically by noise of relatively high intensity, as sibilants, labiodental and uvular fricatives, and most affricates

Birthday: Ewostatewos (1273), Rembrandt van Rijn (1606), Lloyd “Cowboy” Copas (1913), Clive Cussler (1931), Alex Karras (1935), Barry Goldwater Jr. (1938), Millie Jackson (1944), Jan-Michael Vincent (1944), Linda Ronstadt (1946), Arianna Huffington (1950), Jesse “The Body” Ventura (1951), Johnny Thunders (1952), Ian Curtis (1956), Barry Melrose (1956), Marky Ramone (1956), Joe Satriani (1956), Kim Alexis (1960), Willie Aames (1960), Lolita Davidovich (1961), Forest Whitaker (1961), Brigitte Nielsen (1963), Jason Bonham (1966), Eddie Griffin (1968), Dave Foley (1972), Beth Ostrosky (1972), Brian Austin Green (1973)

Quotation: Impartial observers from other planets would consider ours an utterly bizarre enclave if it were populated by birds, defined as flying animals, that nevertheless rarely or never actually flew.  They would also be perplexed if they encountered in our seas, lakes, rivers, and ponds, creatures defined as swimmers that never did any swimming.  But they would be even more surprised to encounter a species defined as a thinking animal if, in fact, the creature very rarely indulged in actual thinking.Steve Allen

Tune: “It’s a genuine stand-alone quirk-pop gem, all parping brass and chintzy keyboard riffs with singalong vocals.” Those are the words of Topher Healy of Rave magazine, referring to “Brainless” by Sunny Day Sets Fire. Once again, a song I was legitimately surprised to find had a very high play count on my iPod. Not because it’s not good – just the opposite – but I had no idea I’d listened to it so much.

Gallimaufry: I love animals but, uh, this is just a bit outlandish in my opinion. Yesterday marked the maiden filght of Pet Airways, an animals-only airline developed by Alysa Binder and Dan Wiesel, a husband and wife who’d become dissatisfied with their Jack Russell terrier’s flying adventures. As of right now, the airline is only offering flights between five major cities – New York, Washington, Chicago, Denver and Los Angles – but they’re all booked solid for the next two months, apparently. Each ticket is around $250, and passengers will be provided a pre-flight bathroom break and checked on every 15 minutes. Basically, if you don’t want your pet to travel in the cargo hold, you can pony up a little more dough (roughly an additional $100 – $200, depending on which airline you’ll be flying), and make sure Fido, most likely, has a more comfortable flying experience than you, yourself, will. Christ. Is the recession over? Did anyone else think it odd that FOX had such a cockeyed angle of President Obama’s first pitch at last night’s 2009 MLB All-Star Game? Even stranger, FOX went immediately to a commercial break and didn’t even air the pitch until a few minutes later, when Obama had joined the team in the broadcasting booth. Turns out, our President isn’t much of a pitcher. After an awkwardly executed toss, the ball just barely made it into the glove of St. Louis Cardinal‘s superstar Albert Pujols, who had already moved up in an attempt to make sure Obama didn’t embarrass himself. “I did not play organized baseball when I was a kid and so, you know, I think some of these natural moves aren’t so natural to me,” said our nation’s leader. It wasn’t the best looking first-pitch of all-time, but, besides a lack of a distance and the fact that he looked like he’d never thrown a ball before, I’d say he got the job done quite nicely. Plus, what the hell is the difference if he can’t throw a strike? He probably can’t kick a field goal, either. Most likely, those skills will never be needed at his current post. It’s usually a good thing when young people are proud to embrace the traditions of their ancestors. Usually. But not always. Anthony Karen shows us in “LIFE Goes Inside Today’s KKK,” that some dumb bullshit will simply never go away. It’s true. Just when the world needs them the least, the Ku Klux Klan is poised to make a comeback. Fantastic. I was just thinking the other day that we were running short on complete dipshits out there, but I’m pretty sure that we’re all set now. Thanks for showing up, fellas.