03.05.10 – A Friday

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word

cache [kash] n. 1. a hiding place, esp. one in the ground, for ammunition, food, treasures, etc.: She hid her jewelry in a little cache in the cellar 2. anything so hidden: The enemy never found our cache of food 3. Alaska and Northern Canada. a small shed elevated on poles above the reach of animals and used for storing food, equipment, etc

birthday

Howard Pyle (1853), Rex Harrison (1908), Dean Stockwell (1936), Paul Evans (1938), Fred Williamson (1938), Marsha Warfield (1954), Penn Jilette (1955), Teena Marie (1956), Andy Gibb (1958), Charles and Craig Reid (1962), Joel Osteen (1963), Michael Irvin (1966), MC Solaar (1969), John Frusciante (1970), Kevin Connolly (1974), Eva Mendes (1974), Niki Taylor (1975)

standpoint

Time for a very special Friday edition of The Wishing Well, the weekly installment where I wish for things that’ll most likely never happen. Let’s begin.

I WISH Hollywood wasn’t completely dragging its heels. I mean, what is all this Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus crap all about. You what, though? People are going to go see this gigantic piece of garbage. That’s sadder than any movie.

I WISH the human race had developed more styles of driving. As far as I can tell, we have two. The first one is a balls-out aggressive approach that seems to put a concern for human life lower on the list of what’s important than, say, getting to a tennis lesson on time. The second one is a cautious defensive approach that seems to get some thinking going 35 mph on a major fucking highway is somehow safe.

I WISH I could piss all over how everyone in Philadelphia is so damn excited about the Philadelphia Phillies’ upcoming season. But I can’t. Truth be told, I’m sort of excited myself.

I WISH I could tell you truthfully that my third attempt at reading David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest was a glowing success. But that’s be a lie, people. That book is just too freaking long and dense. Sorry, Mr. Wallace, maybe the fourth time will be a charm?

I WISH someone out there could tell me what the entertainment draw might have been in watching the NFL Scouting Combine. A bunch of dudes I’ve never heard of running sprints on some field somewhere isn’t exactly my idea of riveting television. But, hey, what do I know?

That’s it for me this week. How about you? What are you wishing for right about now?

quotation

Small miseries, like small debts, hit us in so many places, and meet us at so many turns and corners, that what they want in weight, they make up in number, and render it less hazardous to stand the fire of one cannon ball, than a volley composed of such a shower of bullets.Rudyard Kipling

tune

So far, Permalight, the new album by Rogue Wave, has not disappointed me. I’m really liking it a great deal. The opening track is downright decent. Check out “Solitary Gun.”

gallimaufry

This has happened to me many many times. I’m sure you’ve gone through something just like it. Unless you were one of those people who always insists on sleeping in a bed. If you are one of those annoying individuals, maybe the article isn’t for you.

I liked it when people called each other “ock.” It sucks that didn’t stick. Just sounded kind of cool.

→ I know I dropped the ball with the Standpoint section this week, people. Lots going on and I just kind of wasn’t in the mood. That’ll change next week. Come back Monday for some more.

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02.25.10 – A Thursday

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word

proffer [prof-er] v. 1. to put before a person for acceptance; offer n. 2. the act of proffering 3. an offer or proposal

birthday

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841), John Foster Dulles (1888), Zeppo Marx (1901), King Clancy (1903), Bobby Riggs (1918), Ralph Stanley (1927), Larry Gelbart (1928), Tommy Newsom (1929), Sally Jesse Raphaël (1935), George Harrison (1943), Ric Flair (1949), James Brown (1951), John Doe (1954), Lee Evans (1964), Veronica Webb (1965), Carrot Top (1965), Téa Leoni (1966), Samantha Phillips (1966), Sean Astin (1971), Daniel Powter (1971), Julio Iglesias, Jr. (1973), Chelsea Handler (1975)

standpoint

Lately, I’ve been noticing items in the news about serial cat killers. By now, we’ve all heard the results of studies linking individuals who originally kill household pets like cats and dogs, eventually moving on to killing human beings. It’s indisputable that that’s often the case.

And there are those out there who point to the fact our society kills lots of animals like cows, pigs and chickens. But, unless you’re some kind of dimwit, you know there’s a distinct difference between the systematic slaughter of animals for food, and the needless slaughter of animals meant for companionship. In addition, some critics say the dissection of animals like cats in high school biology classes contributes to certain individuals not understanding the difference between that activity and, say, murdering and gutting the next door neighbors’ dog. I’m not convinced by that point of view.

But I am convinced of this: there’s something seriously awry when a person who (allegedly) kills 19 cats, showing little to no remorse for his actions, is found mentally competent and of no harm to anyone, that’s a big, huge problem.

Obviously, I’m an animal lover and, yes, I have cats. But that doesn’t mean I dislike dogs, or any animal. To me, and for lots of people I’d wager, the greatest aspect of animals is that they’re not trying to hurt anyone, even when they are. When you hear about someone getting attacked by a bear, no reasonable person would classify the bear as some kind of psycho. Mostly, animals just want to eat and do the rest of their business without delay. Unless provoked by behavior they might feel threatening, or they’re conditioned to attack people, animals don’t really have a malicious bone in their body.

And, unless you’re one of these mental screwjobs whose in possession of a clear conscience after killing an entire neighborhood worth of cats, or you’re Michael Vick, you understand animals, especially the ones we take into our homes as pets, are only as good or bad as we make them.

They don’t deserve some horrifically painful death simply because some freak has the ability and complete lack of decency to do so.

Bottom line, the laws should be revised. Here in Pennsylvania the price one pays for killing, maiming, disfiguring or torturing any cat or dog is a fine of no less than $1000 and up to 2 years in prison. If, at the very least, even the FBI has acknowledged that the act of torturing animals will most likely eventually progress into the same kind of actions against humans, then why are these laws still so limp? The cruelty toward the animals alone should be enough to lock people up for longer but, hey, I’ll settle for whatever reason gets it done.

To help with this problem try the following links:

HelpingAnimals.com

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

The Animal Rights FAQ

quotation

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”David Foster Wallace

tune

I’ve been listening to a lot of old Morrissey lately. Actually, for the first time in probably a decade. I’m finding I like his stuff more now than I did years ago. I’m especially digging on “Do Your Best and Don’t Worry.”

gallimaufry

→ To all my fellow writers out there, here’s a good article for you to peruse. I especially agree with the part on exclamation points. Here’s Part 2 of the article.

→ My hat is off to Jonas Hiller. Team Swiss’ goaltender, who plays for the NHL Anaheim Mighty Ducks, made 42 saves in a 2-0 loss to Team USA yesterday. Hiller’s teammates just couldn’t get any goal support for the poor guy. Meanwhile, Team USA, a squad many thought didn’t have much of a chance at the onset of the Winter Olympics, moved on to become one of final four teams in the tournament.

→ A friend of mine posted this on Facebook last night and I just had to share it. Provides a whole new dimension to sibling rivalry. Kids can be downright mean to each other.

03.19.09 – Thursday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: zeitgeist [tsahyt-gahyst] noun the spirit of the time; general trend of thought or feeling characteristic of a particular period of time

Birthday: Wyatt  Earp (1848), William Jennings Bryan (1860), Earl Warren (1891), Richie Ashburn (1927), Sirhan Sirhan (1944), Glenn Close (1947), Harvey Weinstein (1952), Bruce Willis (1955)

Occurrence: 1987PTL Club televangelist Jim Bakker resigns due to a sex scandal, handing the reigns over to Jerry Falwell, who proceeded to lead a very esteemed career crusading against such evils as civil rights, homosexuality and Teletubbies, just to name a few.

Standpoint: The new Facebook interface is dreadful. The social networking site is claiming that it’s receiving “mixed reactions” to its new design but I haven’t found anything to suggest that anyone likes it at all. As I’m writing this on Wednesday night, the new Facebook application, “New Layout Vote on Facebook”, has the votes for at 31,825 and the votes against at 514,610. By my calculations (and math is not my strong suit), that’s a 16 to 1 ratio. Not exactly a close-call. Facebook seems to be emulating Twitter with the new design and I’m baffled as to why. Facebook dwarves Twitter in pure traffic volume so why would it change to a more Twitteresque appearance? The “News Feed” on my Homepage now gives me a staggering amount of information about my friends like their results of the “Who Sings That 80s Song?” quiz. I’m glad everyone seems to be scoring so high but do I really care? Not really. At this point, I’m wondering if/when Facebook will cave the way it did last month when it announced a new user’s terms of service only to rescind it days later. Bottom-line: If something is working perfectly fine, don’t redesign its homepage and make navigation cumbersome to the point of disinterest.

Quotation: The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.David Foster Wallace

Soupçon: In the movie Game of Death, the studio changed the plot and used actual footage from Bruce Lee’s funeral after the actor died midway through filming.

Tune: William Shatner has made a name for himself in the music biz by working with the likes of Ben Folds and Brad Paisley. Check out “I Can’t Get Behind That” – a spoken word duet with Henry Rollins. (I like the puppets in the video.)

Link: Ultimate Flash Face – This is too cool. Hours of fun. Try it.

Gallimaufry: The previews for the new NBC drama “Kings” made the show seem pretty ridiculous. Somehow, I found myself watching it this past Sunday night and guess what? Pretty strong. Christoper Egan (Julian Shepherd) is a little too Ryan Phillipe and Ian McShane (King Benjamin Silas) seems to play the same guy in everything I see him in but neither of those things will keep me from watching next week… I’ve read Tucker Carlson’s article “How Jon Stewart Went Bad” a couple of times now and I do feel Carlson isn’t completely off-base about certain points like Stewart’s softball tactics with Kerry in ’04 and Obama in ’08. But, Mr. Carlson, please. If the rest of the media feel that they can’t attack him out of fear or reverence or whatever, I don’t see how the blame falls on Stewart…Check out the 2009 National Douchebag Tournament. And before the comments start coming, the answer is no, I’m not one of the contestants.