02.08.10 – A Monday

word

ebullient [i-buhl-yuhnt, i-bool-] adj. 1. overflowing with fervor, enthusiasm, or excitement; high-spirited: The award winner was in an ebullient mood at the dinner in her honor 2. bubbling up like a boiling liquid

birthday

Samuel Butler (1612), John Ruskin (1819), William Tecumseh Sherman (1820), Jules Verne (1828), Kate Chopin (1850), Lana Turner (1921), Jack Lemmon (1925), Neal Cassady (1926), James Dean (1931), John Williams (1932), Ted Koppel (1940), Nick Nolte (1941), Robert Klein (1942), Mary Steenburgen (1953), John Grisham (1955), Vince Neil (1961), Joshua Kadison (1963), Gary Coleman (1968), Mary McCormack (1969), Seth Green (1974)

standpoint

I’m a football fan but not a huge one. I halfheartedly participate in two (2) fantasy leagues and have a moderate interest in my hometown Philadelphia Eagles, but I’m much less emotionally invested in the NFL than I let on. Most years, I watch the Super Bowl more out of some misplaced obligation to some archaic sense of manhood. But I didn’t feel the same way this year. I actually had a mildly strong desire to watch last night because I like both the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints, along with their respective quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.

But I was curious to see how Super Bowl XLIV would be a different experience for me. And, lucky for you, I chronicled it. Here goes.

Note: I was reasonably sure that the Colts would win and cover the spread (+5.5) and the over (57 pts.) would become a matter of fact.

Pregame

» Not going to lie, I watched golf until just about the start of the game so I didn’t get to see what inane crap led up to the actual footage from Miami.

» But I did tune in time to see the Colts get introduced onto the field to the same song by The Who that opens up every episode of CSI:Miami, which turned out to be all of The Who I needed.

» Queen Latifah sang America The Beautiful with a choir and musical accompaniment. It didn’t really work all that well. Looked like she was never really in sync. Carrie Underwood sang The Star-Spangled Banner and it was better. During all this, cameras were on Peyton Manning, who looked amped to the point he was cursing the fact Francis Scott Key and Katharine Bates were ever born.

» The next class of inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame were introduced as honorary whatevers to the coin toss. Emmitt Smith was the honorary coin tosser. Saints called heads. Smith flipped the coin directly at the Saints players, who sidestepped it. It was heads. Saints got the ball.

1st Quarter – 6:20(ish) PM

» Betty White and Abe Vigoda starred in a clever ad for Snickers. I’m completely sure those two actors were used because about 99% of viewers thought both had died years ago.

» The ad for the Boost Mobile Shuffle, featuring prominent members of the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears, was awful.

» In keeping with Hollywood’s trend of recycling, there’s another Robin Hood movie coming out starring Russell Crowe. Looks like both Braveheart and Gladiator ate a bunch of bows and arrows and vomited on each other. I’ll probably go see it.

» First quarter came to a close. Colts-10. Saints-0. I wasn’t paying much attention to the actual game.

2nd Quarter – 7:00 PM

» Pretty fast 1st quarter. At this point, I was certain the Colts were going to run away with the game.

» A Cars.com ad came on, detailing the life of a boy genius type doing all sorts of amazing boy genius type stuff. But when it came time to buy a car, he was at a loss. He looked to his mobile device for answers and, you guessed it, Cars.com came to the rescue. At one point during the ad, the boy genius delivered a baby Bengal tiger while on safari. That kicked off a conversation between my girlfriend and I where we discussed her desire to bring a baby panther into the apartment. Negotiations reached a stalemate after she refused to budge on the name of the baby panther. Oh well.

» The Saints began to make a game of it. Pretty sure they kicked a field goal.

» One ad had Jay Leno, Oprah Winfrey and David Letterman on the same couch talking about something. I’m not sure what because I was distracted. Leno didn’t look like he was actually there. The next ad (maybe) had Brett Favre making fun of the fact he never actually retires. I like it when celebrities/athletes know to do that.

» The Colts stopped the Saints on a 4th and goal from the 1-yard line with less than 2 minutes remaining in the half. See? I pay mind to the important stuff.

» I wasn’t quite sure how it happened but the Saints kick another field goal just as time expires on the 1st half. Colts – 10. Saints – 6.

Halftime – 7:50 PM

» The Who played. The Who sucked. I monitored Twitter feeds instead. Best Tweet? “Wake up your great grandma. The Who is on.”

3rd Quarter – 8:22 PM

» The Saints began the 2nd half with an onside kick. Which they recovered. Which turned out to be huge. Saints – 13. Colts – 10.

» According to a new Volkswagen ad, the classic car game, Punch Buggy, has now been expanded to include the entire Volkswagen fleet. As a matter of fact, it seems whatever substance it’s painting its cars with nowadays is so cutting edge, even Stevie Wonder can see it. Much to the chagrin of an arm sore Tracy Morgan. Classic.

» The Colts’ Joseph Addai ran in for a touchdown. Colts – 17. Saints – 13. I was a little disappointed about how good of a game it was becoming. I’m not used to the Super Bowl being about the Super Bowl. Not being able to run out of the room in between commercials was messing with my head.

» Two commercials gave me pause in different ways. First, the new E*TRADE baby wasn’t half as funny as the original. Second, Google aired its first ever television ad. I think.

» The Saints kicked another field goal which flew under my radar. End of the 3rd quarter. Colts – 17. Saints – 16.

4th Quarter – 8:56 PM

» Honestly, I should’ve been playing closer attention. The Saints started scoring. They took the lead. They intercepted a very important Peyton Manning pass at a crucial time. I watched the whole thing. I swear. But, as happens more than not, I became embroiled in a debate that made the game take a backseat.

» Super Bowl XLIV ended at 9:45 PM. The New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts by the score of 31-17. If I bet the game the way I thought it would go, I would’ve been dead wrong. Yet another reason why I’m not a gambling man.

Overall, a most exhilarating football contest. The best Super Bowl in years. Congrats, New Orleans. Call me when you’re done partying. That should be around June.

quotation

Everybody gets told to write about what they know. The trouble with many of us is that at the earlier stages of life we think we know everything- or to put it more usefully, we are often unaware of the scope and structure of our ignorance.Thomas Pynchon

tune

One band from the 80s that doesn’t get enough credit is The Housemartins. I like to think of them as a sort of catchier version of  The Smiths. Also, they’ve got one of the best titled songs ever – “The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death.” Actually, after just listening to it, it seems to work nowadays as well.

gallimaufry

→ I just got done reading King of Russia: A Year in the Russian Super League, and it was simple and great. Former NHL head coach and current Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach Dave King narrates his experiences as the first ever Canadian coach in Russia. The guy really knows his stuff and he provides great insight into Russian hockey and its players, especially Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Evgeny Malkin.

→ Speaking of the Pittsburgh Penguins, yesterday afternoon’s game between them and the Washington Capitals was just about as complete as you could ask for. Caps won it in overtime 5-4 after being down 4-2 going into the third period.

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06.25.09 – Thursday

Word: daedal [deed-l] adj. 1. skillful; ingenious 2.cleverly intricate 3. diversified 

Birthday: Thomas Pennant (1726), George Orwell (1903), Sidney Lumet (1924), June Lockhart (1925), James Meredith (1933), Eddie Floyd (1935), Harold Melvin (1939), Carly Simon (1945), Jimmie Walker (1947), Tim Finn (1952), Anthony Bourdain (1956), Ricky Gervais (1961), George Michael (1963), Zim Zum (1969)

Quotation: I’ll play first, third, left. I’ll play anywhere – except Philadelphia.Richie Allen

Tune: A few years back, someone told me I needed to get #3, an album by some outfit named Suburban Kids With Biblical Names. I’m relatively certain they’re from Sweden. I thought the name of the band sounded kind of cool. I bought the album. And – predictably- I hated it. Except for one song – “Loop Duplicate My Heart.” It’s not really that good. It’s just sort of good when compared to the rest of the album. Not a ringing endorsement, I know.

Gallimaufry: OK. So, the Governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, is suspected of having an affair. Next, he goes AWOL and people start looking for him. Then, he apparently calls in and tells everyone he’s all right, just off on some goof romp up the Applachian Trail. We all shrug. That’s cool, I guess. Just a guy hiking with his thoughts. working some shit out. But he wasn’t hiking through the woods. Dude says he was “crying in Argentina,” visiting, for the last time he claims, the woman he’s been cheating on his wife with for the last year. The guy is the governor of a state and he up and leaves for five days. I mean, it’s only South Carolina, but still. So far, only one lawmaker is calling for his resignation. Only one.   Yesterday, in South Africa, the USA National Soccer Team advanced to the finals of the Confederations Cup by beating Spain, 2-0. For those of you who don’t follow soccer (presumably all of you), yesterdays victory for the USA was the equivalent of your high school basketball team beating the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls. Spain hadn’t been beaten since November of 2006. USA will be making its first finals appearance ever. My prediction is, if they win, you’d still be hard-pressed to find anyone who cares. Unfortunately, this country doesn’t embrace soccer in the way the rest of the world does. My theory is that it takes too much thinking and there’s not enough commercials.  Leave the guy be. Since his drowning death in 1997, Jeff Buckley‘s music has become more iconic than had he survived that fateful nighttime swim in Memphis. Wait. I’m not putting down Buckley. I’m one of the few people who actually thought Grace was a classic album before 1997. I’m just of the opinion that we don’t have to take everything the guy ever recorded and turn it into something meaningful and profound. But it seems, for the time being, we’ll keep at it, as heard by the “remastered” version of Elton John’s “We All Fall In Love Sometimes,” featured in the (how-can-it-not-be?) weepy movie, My Sister’s Keeper.

05.15.09 – Friday

Word: fulsome [fool-suhm, fuhl-] adj. 1. offensive to good taste, esp. as being excessive; overdone or gross: fulsome praise that embarrassed her deeply; fulsome décor 2. disgusting; sickening; repulsive: a table heaped with fulsome mounds of greasy foods 3. excessively or insincerely lavish: fulsome admiration 4. encompassing all aspects; comprehensive: a fulsome survey of the political situation in Central America 5. abundant or copious

Birthday: L. Frank Baum (1856), Richard J. Daley (1902), Eddy Arnold (1918), Utah Phillips (1935), Wavy Gravy (1936), Madeleine Albright (1937), Brian Eno (1948), Chazz Palminteri (1952), George Brett (1953), Dan Patrick (1956), David Krumholtz (1978), Jamie-Lynn Sigler (1981)

Standpoint: When a music artist performs a new rendition of another music artist’s established song, it’s called a “cover version.” It’s widely accepted that the cover artist’s rendition is the weaker one based on the assumption the original must be better because it’s just that – the original. However, there are certain artists and songs that go against the grain in that regard. After devising my own list and  asking for your suggestions on Twitter and Facebook, I’ve compiled a list of 7 Cover Songs Better Than Their Originals.

While doing the searches for these songs on YouTube, I discovered that in most of the cases, the cover was more popular. This is only a small sample of songs that are better that the ones they’re covering. How about you? Got any favorites you think should’ve been included here?

Weekend: Each Friday, I’ll provide you with 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead – my list of events for spending this weekend in Philadelphia as if it was your last:

  • Today (05.15.09) – MMA Famous Singles Pub CrawlThe Public House – Tired of spending Friday nights without a significant other. Here’s your chance to do something about it. Meet Market Adventures presents a night of “No Covers. No Driving. No Worries.” Riding around from bar to bar on a bus with complete strangers, drinking and mingling? What ‘s stopping you? Get out there and find someone special.  Time: 6:30pm to midnight
  • Saturday (05.16.09) – The Shins – Electric Factory – One of the poster-bands for the indie music scene, The Shins hit the stage with a revamped lineup. I’ve seen them a few times and can testify to the fact that James Mercer and Co. put on one mean live show.  Time: 8:30pm
  • Sunday (05.17.09) – 9th Street Italian Market Festival – South 9th Street from Fitzwater to Federal – In its official press release, the Festival boasts, “halfball, great food, wonderful people and live performances from three stages.” Sounds great. Sign me up. But first, what in the world is halfball? Time: 10am – 5pm

Quotation: A rock show, if it is any good, should make you feel younger.John Sellers

Gallimaufry: Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, the 10-year old star of Slumdog Millionaire, was ordered out of his home yesterday, just before he watched it bulldozed to the ground. An Indian government official called it “a pre-monsoon demolition drive.” I call it pretty shitty to tear people’s homes down in such an abrupt manner. Apparently, the young star has a trust fund set up for him by the makers of Slumdog, but hasn’t received any assistance yet out of fear the money will end up in the wrong hands. ∞ HELP! Paste Magazine is in danger of having to close up shop. For those of you who don’t all ready know, Paste is one of the best music publications in circulation. Help The Campaign to Save Paste! ∞ Is Jordan coming to the Philadelphia 76ers? Maybe. But not “His Airness“. Eddie Jordan is set to interview with the NBA team to fill their head coach vacancy.

Incoming: Next week’s going to be a good one. I can feel it. All right, that’s it for me. Thanks for reading. Come back Monday for some more.

03.25.09 – Wednesday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: idiom [id-ee-uhm] noun 1. an expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its constituent elements, as kick the bucket or hang one’s head, or from the general grammatical rules of a language, as the table round for the round table, and that is not a constituent of a larger expression of like characteristics  2. a language, dialect, or style of speaking peculiar to a people  3. a construction or expression of one language whose parts correspond to elements in another language but whose total structure or meaning is not matched in the same way in another language  4. the peculiar character or genius of a language  5. a distinct style or character, in music, art, etc.: the idiom of Bach

Birthday: Catherine of Siena (1347), Jack Ruby (1911), Howard Cosell (1918), Flannery O’Connor (1925), Jim Lovell (1928), Gloria Steinem (1934), Anita Bryant (1940), Aretha Franklin (1942), Elton John (1947), James McDaniel (1958), Haywood Nelson (1960), Sarah Jessica Parker (1965), Jeff Healey (1966), Doug Stanhope (1967)

Occurrence: 1969John Lennon and Yoko Ono stage their first Bed-In for Peace in the Hilton Amsterdam. People made statements like this often back then. I guess it made sense in those days but, nowadays, I don’t see anyone caring if Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow were to do something similar.

Standpoint: Last night, a guy who didn’t want his picture taken threatened me. My good friend, Suzi Simon, asked me to bring my camera to The Chestnut Grill to commemorate its first Karaoke Night. As I’m known to do, I took many pictures of the crowd. I then sat down with my roommate Kate to have a Miller Lite and some wings. A guy tapped me on the shoulder. “Excuse me, can I have a word with you, buddy?” I turned around. “Sure, what’s up?” “Do you wanna sell that camera?” “Nah, it’s not for sale.” “All right, well, if you’re not selling it, I suggest you stop takin’ pictures of me.” “Oh. I’m not taking pictures of just you. I’m taking pictures of the whole crowd.” “Well, you had better stop. I don’t wanna be in no more pictures.” “OK, well, I’m more taking pictures of the people singing. You might’ve been in a couple but again, I’m not taking them specifically of you.” “Just stop takin’ fuckin’ pictures of me, got it?” “Sure.” He walked away and up to his friends who proceeded to stare at Kate and me. Pretty uncomfortable moment. Why am I telling you this story? Because I can’t stand douchebags. They should just stay home. I’m not sure if the dude was out cheating on his wife, or wanted by the law, or whatever. Later, I was talking to one of his buddies who told me that the guy just didn’t want his pictures on the internet. I assured him that would never happen. I created a Facebook album of Suzi’s Karaoke Night. Did I include a picture of Mr. Do-You-Wanna-Sell-That-Camera? You bet. By the way, Suzi’s event was a success. Everyone had a blast.

Quotation: Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heartTecumseh

Digit: 1200 – That’s the number of peanuts it takes to make one 28-ounce jar of peanut butter.

Tune: A great band from the 1990s that nobody but me and my friends seemed to be paying attention to was The Connells. “74-75” is one of the band’s best songs.

Link: The Daily Swarm – Music news site that covers just about every aspect and genre you can conjure.

Gallimaufry: Too funny. Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report, has won a NASA contest to have a new room named after him in the international space station. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) said Colbert “won it fair and square – even his campaign was a bit over the top.” Predictably, NASA is reserving the right to name the room whatever the hell it wants to…Don’t read this article in the L.A. Times if you ever want to enjoy a hamburger again…In a post a few weeks back, I mentioned Jonathan Krohn, the nation’s youngest political pundit. Now, read about 12-year old David Fishman, the nation’s youngest food critic.