07.21.09 – Tuesday

Word: blithe [blahyth, blahyth] adj. 1. joyous, merry, or gay in disposition; glad; cheerful: Everyone loved her for her blithe spirit 2. without thought or regard; carefree; heedless: a blithe indifference to anyone’s feelings

Birthday: Philip Neri (1515), Jean Picard (1620), Sam Bass (1851), Ernest Hemingway (1899), Don Knotts (1924), John Gardner (1933), Janet Reno (1938), Kenneth Starr (1946), Cat Stevens/Yusaf Islam (1948), Garry Trudeau (1948), Robin Williams (1951), Howie Epstein (1955), Jon Lovitz (1957), Charlotte Gainsbourg (1971), Josh Hartnett (1978), Damian Marley (1978), Rory Culkin (1989)

Quotation: The unforgivable crime is soft hitting.  Do not hit at all if it can be avoided; but never hit softly.Theodore Roosevelt

Tune: Brakes (sometimes known as brakesbrakesbrakes) is an English band best known for its short song, “Cheyney, Cheyney, Cheyney, Stop Being Such a Dick,” credits itself, in the words of lead vocalist Eamon Hamilton, with being “fundamentally responsible for the election of Barack Obama as President of The United States of America.” Hamilton further explains, that without the song, “…it is without a doubt that McCain would’ve won, and died, and Sarah Palin would have become President and Ruler of the Known Universe by April 2009. We would’ve been releasing our new album ‘Touchdown’ into a world in the grip of a nuclear winter, with no electricity for people to listen to the CD, and no Internet for them to download it from. We would still have toured it, though.” Those words may or may not be true, but I’m reasonably sure I’m happy we didn’t have to find out. My favorite offering from the band? “Beatific Visions” off the album The Beatific Visions.

Gallimaufry: We may be witnessing the beginning of the end. As is the case with all popular and profitable pop culture offerings these days, American Idol is involved in troubles involving slighted egos demanding overinflated financial compensation. It all started when Ryan Seacrest, host of the FOX show, received a contract extension for three years to the tune of $45 million dollars. It grew larger when the show’s most visible (and biggest asshole), Simon Cowell began negotiations to make him richer than about 99% of the rest of world’s population. It became a problem when Paula Abdul, the judge most known for emotional breakdows and once upon a time starring in a music video with Keanu Reeves, began feeling slighted from a lack of a big money offer, declared she’s thinking of not coming back to the show for the next season. Everyone better wise up because, while Idol is a big money ticket, it can’t afford to start paying everyone oil executive salaries. Alternatively, despite the fact Abdul might be one of the most annoying people on TV, someone needs to step in get a deal working with the former Laker girl because the truth of the matter is people do tune into the show to see if she will freak out. Bottom line, Abdul’s a bit of a draw. “One weapon of this kind that went off over Omaha would eliminate most of the electrical production in the United States. And we are not today hardened against this. It is an enormous catastrophic threat.” Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said that yesterday during a speech at the Heritage Foundation. You’re probably wondering what he was talking about. Nuclear weapons? Biological? Nope. The man who is trying his best to become the predominant GOP mouthpiece was talking about EMPs. Electromagnetic pulses. He’s pretty sure it’s the weapon our enemies will soon be using to take us out. His proof? A fictional novel by his “co-author and good friend Bill Forstchen,” a novelist who, ” has written a remarkable novel called One Second After, in which he takes a town in North Carolina and shows you what would happen with a successful electro-magnetic pulse attack.” If we’re going to start defending ourselves from fictional attacks, I’d rather start with something more inevetable, like Independence Day. Those aliens were completely out of their fucking extra-terrestrial minds. For all of you out there who think Facebook might be creepy and weird, read the romantic tale of Kelly Hildebrandt and, um, Kelly Hildebrandt. One is a 20-year old woman from Florida. The other is a 24-year old male from Texas. They met when the female Kelly Hildebrandt plugged her own name into the Facebook search engine. It produced one result – the male Kelly Hildebrandt. After a gradual process that started with email exchanges and ended with the male Kelly visiting the female Kelly in South Florida, the couple fell in love. See? That’s not creepy or weird at all. Right? (I’m fully aware some of you are going to find their story insanely adorable.)

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05.21.09 – Thursday

Word: jabberwocky [jab-er-wok-ee] n. 1. a playful imitation of language consisting of invented, meaningless words; nonsense; gibberish 2. an example of writing or speech consisting of or containing meaningless words ∞ adj. 3. consisting of or comparable to Jabberwocky; meaningless; senseless

Birthday: Albrecht Dürer (1471), Henri Rousseau (1844), Armand Hammer (1898), Fats Waller (1904), Raymond Burr (1917), Leo Sayer (1948), Al Franken (1951), Mr. T (1952), Judge Reinhold (1957), The Notorious B.I.G. (1972), Fairuza Balk (1974)

Standpoint: Thursday is the day I address your suggestions for Annoying Sayings & Misused Words. Let’s have at it.

  •  “OMG” – (submitted by Fred T.) – “OMG” started out as a chat acronym for “Oh my God!’ But, I’m sorry to report that it has snuck out into the spoken word. I think it’s a great thing to teach children to say instead of, “Oh my God!” Otherwise, unless you’re using it ironically (something I’ll always support), congratulations. It’s official. You’re a tool.
  • “It’s” vs. “Its” – (submitted by Cheryl F.) – When it comes to “it’s” and “its”, I’m ever vigilant. Definitely easy to make a mistake here with just an apostrophe (‘) making the difference. “It’s” is a contraction for “it is” or “it has.” It’s going to be a great day. “Its” is possessive pronoun meaning “of it” or “belonging to it.” The bear got its foot trapped in the rocks. These two words are confused and misused mainly due to lack of attention to detail. Make sure to keep an eye out. One of the easiest grammatical mistakes to miss.
  • “I know, right?” – (submitted by Harold W.) – I’m reasonably sure, without my knowledge, a law was passed that every woman under-30 in this country is obligated  to utter this phrase exactly 85 times per day. First, if you’re agreeing with something someone said by saying, “I know,” there is no need to follow it with, “right?” The other person already agrees with you. By itself, it’s not that bothersome. But the way it’s said most of the time can make my skin crawl. I think it all has to do with the 2-octave jump the voice does when emphazizing  the last word “right,” making it sound like, “I know, riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight?”

How about you? What things do you hear or read that bother you? Let us know.

Quotation: Never mistake motion for action. Ernest Hemingway

Tune: I read about Harlem Shakes‘ song “Sunlight” on a friend’s Facebook status update. Great driving-to-the-beach song.

Gallimaufry: Today might be remembered for a long time as President Obama and former VP Dick Cheney will both give speeches on the state of terrorism in this country. Cheney thinks Obama has left the country wide-open for a terrorist attack and will give his thoughts in a speech titled “Keeping America Safe: An Address by Dick Cheney.” Obama’s speech is called, “How’s Dick Cheney Still Alive?” ∞ Human piece of garbage Michael Vick was released from prison yesterday after serving 18 months for admitting sharing responsibility for brutally murdering several dogs. The former NFL star will server the last two months of his sentence under house arrest in Hampton, Virginia. Vick is reportedly ready to join a Humane Society of the United States campaign designed to discourage urban youth from pitting angry dogs against each other in fights to the death. ∞ Oscar-winning director Cameron Crowe understands how to make music work in movies. If you’ve ever watched the scene from Say Anything where John Cusack plays Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” outside Ione Skye’s house, you know exactly what I mean. Anyway, Crowe has compiled a list of some of the best music moments in film history. Pretty solid, in my opinion.

Incoming: Tomorrow – It’s my birthday. But it’ll also be Friday so you’ll get my 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead plus some birthday-related list. Come back and check it out.

04.21.09 – Tuesday

Word: wheedle [hweed-l, weed-l] v. 1. to endeavour to influence (a person) by smooth, flattering or beguiling words or acts: We wheedled him incessantly, but he would not consent. 2. to persuade (a person) by such words or acts: She wheedles him into going with her. 3. to obtain (something) by artful persuasions: I wheedled a new car out of my father. 4. to use artful or beguiling persuasions: I always wheedle if I really need something.

Birthday: Charlotte Brontë (1816), Marcel Camus (1912), Anthony Quinn (1915), Charles Grodin (1935), Iggy Pop (1947), Tony Danza (1951), Andie MacDowell (1958), Robert Smith (1959), Michael Franti (1966), Rob Riggle (1970), Nicole Sullivan (1970), Vincent Lecavalier (1980), Tony Romo (1980)

Occurence: 1982Milwaukee BrewersRollie Fingers becomes the first pitcher ever to record 300 saves.

Standpoint: For years, it’s been a mystery. Why wouldn’t MTV release the complete series DVD of “The State?” Well, apparently, the wait is over. July 14th will be the day. I thought this would be a good opportunity to give those of you unfamiliar a few examples of why “The State” was so very very good. You’ll probably recognize most of the cast (Kevin Allison, Michael Ian Black, Robert Ben Garant, Todd Holoubek, Michael Patrick Jann, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Thomas Lennon, Joe Lo Truglio and Ken Marino) from countless movies and television shows. Here are some of the best sketches by The State.

I could’ve listed about 30 more but I think this will suffice.

Special thanks to Tim Mulvey for sending along the original link.

Quotation: Always do sober what’d you do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. Ernest Hemingway

Tune: Ever see a beautiful girl and want to get to know her and then remember you have a girlfriend? Wheat wrote a song about it – “I Met a Girl.”

Gallimaufry: Being kinda new to Twitter, I gotta tell you, I’m fascinated. But there is a weird side to it. Here’s some of Meghan McCain’s experiences with Karl Rove on the social networking site…Rafiq Qureshi, father of Slumdog Millionaire childstar Rubina Ali, has allegedly been trying to sell his daugher. Qureshi disputes the allegations…What recession? The Coachella music festival, featuring the likes of Paul McCartney and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, was packed over the weekend.

Incoming: Tomorrow – Everyone else is doing it, so why can’t I? I’ll pop off about Twitter…Thursday – More Annoying Sayings & Misused WordsFriday3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead and much much more.