05.09.11 – a monday

word

élan [ey-lahn, ey-lan] n. dash; impetuous ardor: to dance with great élan

birthday

J. M. Barrie (1860), Mike Wallace (1918), James L. Brooks (1940), John Ashcroft (1942), Candice Bergen (1946), Billy Joel (1949), Rosario Dawson (1979), Andrew W. K. (1979),

standpoint

A few weeks back, I wrote about mental floss, a fact-filled magazine my roommate subscribes to, and shared a sampling of the nuggets of knowledge I’ve come across since reading it. I like factual information and, apparently, I’m not alone because I received quite a few thankful emails from those of you who subscribed to mental floss after reading that post. And, all I can say is, you’re welcome.

Here’s a few more tidbits I’ve come across since then.

→ Back in 1896, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average was created, it was based on the 12 most successful companies in the USA. Today, the Dow Jones is based on 30 companies including American Express and The Home Depot. The only surviving company of the original 12 is General Electric.

→ Each night after Disneyland closes, the park is invaded by hundreds of feral cats.

→ Every sports team in the country that featured the word “red” in its name in relation to Native Americans has changed it to something more innocuous. Only one refuses to join the rest of us in our attempts to forward civilization: the Washington Redskins.

George W. Bush’s Wikipedia page is the all-time most edited with 44,169 changes.

→ There are some out there who estimate that Americans are sitting on $30 billion worth of unused gift cards.

That’s all for this installment.

quotation

If the whole world were put into one scale, and my mother in the other, the whole world would kick the beam. ↔ Lord Langdale

tune

I don’t really like driving. It’s pretty frickin’ annoying. I mean, if it was just me on the road, I would absolutely love driving. But I’m not alone out there and most people haven’t got the slightest clue as to how to conduct themselves when behind the wheel. The only aspect of driving that makes it remotely bearable is music. And some songs are really good to drive to and almost make the experience of driving from one place to another enjoyable. Case in point, “Alex Chilton” by The Replacements.

gallimaufry

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is threatening to creep onto the list of my top-20 movies ever. There’s something about it that makes me want to watch over and over. I don’t care if that makes me uncool.

→ Often, I find stories for this blog on Drudge Report. It’s kind of useful but also kind of freaky. I imagine its headquarters underneath a secret mountain somewhere and everyone who works there is convinced they’re the only people who’ll survive whatever it is they’ve decided that day is going to cause Armageddon. Also, those dudes definitely play lots of online role-playing games.

→ Hey, news media types, I think we can take the “Breaking News” tag off the whole Osama bin Laden thing. It’s been a week now. How long can news actually break?

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12.30.09 – A Wednesday

WORD

onerous [on-er-uhs, oh-ner-] adj. 1. burdensome, oppressive, or troublesome; causing hardship: onerous duties 2. having or involving obligations or responsibilities, esp. legal ones, that outweigh the advantages: an onerous agreement

BIRTHDAY

Titus (39), Rudyard Kipling (1865), Bo Diddley (1928), Del Shannon (1934), James Burrows (1940), Michael Nesmith (1942), Fred Ward (1942), Davy Jones (1945), Patti Smith (1946), Jeff Lynne (1947), Meredith Vieira (1953), Suzy Bogguss (1956), Matt Lauer (1957), Tracey Ullman (1959), Heidi Fleiss (1965), Tiger Woods (1975), Tyrese (1978), Eliza Dushku (1980), LeBron James (1984)

STANDPOINT

Well, tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and that means 2009 (thankfully) will be going away forever and 2010 will be ushered in with lots and lots of wishful thinking.

I know I, for one, will be happy to see 2009 end.

Every year, around this time, I can’t help but look back on what was going on 365 days previous and if I’m where I thought I’d be. (Fortunately, I’m not.) I’m relatively certain that’s what most everyone else does, too. Makes me wonder about how some of this year’s newsmakers thought this year would turn out…

Richard Poplawski was probably cleaning one of his many guns, unaware a mere four months later, he’d become one of the most despicable assholes ever by killing three police officers responding to a call from his mother.

Tiger Woods was most likely spending time with his family, sporadically scurrying to the bathroom to text message one of several women he was seeing on the side, unable to comprehend a year that saw him go from arguably the world’s most popular athlete to its biggest punchline.

Billy Mays, Brittany Murphy, Michael Jackson, Natasha Richardson, Patrick Swayze and Steve McNair were all as likely as not unknowingly ushering in their last change of the calendar year.

Barack Obama was, in all probability, conjuring the first year of his Presidency, one without all the fucking smoke-and-mirror nonsense perpetrated by his political rivals.

George W. Bush was definitely daydreaming about spending some quality time, sitting on the edge of his bed and staring at a blank wall.

Brett Favre was apparently relatively close to finally retiring, after three years of indecision. And that’s exactly what he did. Shortly after, he signed with the Minnesota Vikings.

Michael Vick was languishing in the midst of an 18-month stint in prison for slaughtering defenseless dogs, no doubt curious of where the end of 2009 would find him. Several months later, he’d find himself as the least productive member of the Philadelphia Eagles. Don’t worry, though, the initial outrage demonstrated by animal rights advocates was short-lived due to this country’s unnatural obsession with the NFL.

Yes, indeed, 2009 was kind of a screwy fuck of a year. Let’s hope we can get our act together for 2010.

QUOTATION

New Year’s eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights.Hamilton Wright Mabie

TUNE

I’ve always loved “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap. I just do. That’s it.

GALLIMAUFRY

Tomorrow night will be special, not only because it’ll be New Year’s Eve, but because it’ll feature a blue moon. And that’s not quite what you think it is.

→ Christ. David Goldman, who recently won a nine-year legal battle to get his son back, was flown home by NBC and some journalists’ group is upset for what their calling “checkbook journalism.” Mainly, I think they’re all pissed because NBC beat them to the punch. People will bitch about just about anything.

Van Morrison, 64, has proven it’s never too late to become a daddy. Again.

That’s it for me this year. I hope everyone has a fantastic New Year’s Eve. Be safe. Don’t be an idiot.

All of next week, starting Monday, I’ll be concentrating on more of looking back on 2009. Come back then for some more. And thanks for reading.

07.06.09 – Monday

Word: crestfallen [krest-faw-luhn] adj. 1. dejected; dispirited; discouraged 2. having a drooping crest or head

Birthday: John Paul Jones (1747), Nancy Reagan (1921), Merv Griffin (1925), Bill Haley (1925), Della Reese (1931), Ned Beatty (1937), Burt Ward (1945), George W. Bush (1946), Fred Dryer (1946), Sylvester Stallone (1946), Geoffrey Rush (1951), Nanci Griffith (1953), Brian Posehn (1966), 50 Cent (1975)

Quotation: I don’t have any big regrets, because I’m pretty happy with my life. But I have lots of minor regrets. I always order the wrong dish in restaurants. Always. No matter what I order, somebody else orders something that’s better. It even got to the point where I was consciously trying to pick things that I didn’t think I wanted, because I thought I would reverse the process and actually pick the things I would later regret not having. But I regret that, too.Chuck Klosterman

Tune: In July of 2005, Wolf Parade’s Spencer Krug started a solo career that, oddly, transformed into another entire band – Sunset Rubdown. Just downloaded their new album, Dragonlayer, and I’m especially digging on “Idiot Heart.” Also, I love band member Jordan Robson-Cramer’s attitude toward how fans actually get the band’s music (legally or illegally), saying, “(Illegal downloading) may not be good from the label’s perspective, but I think it does have its merits.”

Gallimaufry: Another day, another surprising celebrity death. Yesterday, former NFL MVP Steve McNair was found shot to death in his Nashville condo. His mistress was also found dead, also shot to death, with the pistol used to kill both of them under her body. The former Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens quarterback was cheating on his wife with a waitress, Sahel Kazemi, from a restaurant he’d opened recently opened in Nashville. While his murder is an honest-to-goodness tragedy, it pales in comparison to the shock and sadness his wife and four sons must be feeling right now. I realize this might be a little late, but the idea of sitting through a 2-hour “comedy” show performed by Glenn Beck, is just about as close I could come to imagining my worst nightmare. The New York Times‘ Mike Hale wrote an article about what it was like watching The Common Sense show. I’ve written it before – Beck’s daily show on the Fox News channel provides me with all the laughs I need. On Friday, Alaskan governor Sarah Palin announced she will be stepping down from that post. Most are saying last year’s GOP VP runner-up is gearing up for a shot at the White House in 3.5 years. I’m not sure how that’ll work, since Palin has pretty much sucked at just about everything she’s ever done. I still can’t figure out why John McCain picked her as his running mate – she practically assured him a defeat. The job she’s done in Alaska has been classified by most as “ineffectual.” For all her bitching and moaning about the liberal media, she’s done more to hurt her public image than anyone else. Including Tina Fey. Hopefully, this is the first in a series of events that will result, a few years down the road, in people wondering what ever happened to “That Hockey Mom Politician From Alaska.”

06.30.09 – Tuesday

Word: trenchant [tren-chuhnt] adj. 1. incisive or keen, as language or a person; caustic; cutting: trenchant wit 2. vigorous; effective; energetic: a trenchant policy of political reform 3. clearly or sharply defined; clear-cut; distinct

Birthday: John Gay (1685), Georges Duhamel (1884), Man Mountain Dean (1891), Lena Horne (1917), José Emilio Pacheco (1939), Stanley Clarke (1951), David Alan Grier (1955), Vincent D’Onofrio (1959), Yngwie J. Malmsteen (1963), Mike Tyson (1966), Matisyahu (1979), Michael Phelps (1985)

Quotation: I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.Clarence Darrow

Tune: Defy. That’s right. I defy you to find a better song to blast out of your car on a summer evening drive than “A-Punk” by Vampire Weekend. I’ve thrown down the gauntlet. Challenge!

Gallimaufry: Bernie Madoff, the asshole that stole billions of dollars from too many people to mention, received a 150-year sentence in federal prison. He’s 71 now so he’ll be 221-years old when he gets out. Obviously, the Ponzi-scheming douchehag won’t live that long. But wouldn’t it be great if he did? “I’m very excited. The fans are passionate about hockey. The style of play the Flyers play certainly fits mine. They’ve got some great young talent. I hope to help them win a Stanley Cup.” Those were the words of NHL defenseman Chris Pronger after learning he’d been traded from the Anaheim Mighty Ducks to the Philadelphia Flyers for forward Joffrey Lupul and blueliner Luca Sbisa. When holding up the $6.5 million salary he’s due this upcoming season, Pronger, 34, didn’t exactly light the world on fire last year (11 goals, 37 assists) for the Ducks but he’s definitely a substantial upgrade to the Flyers’ defense corps, a group that experienced some difficulty (putting it mildly) in their own zone last season. It was inevitable. As a country, we’re a bunch of fickle bastards. Last year, we elected Barack Obama to be our President because we deemed the qualities he possesses necessary. Smart. Charismatic. Willing to administer change. But here we are, a half-year into his (first?) term and – surprise – we’ve grown restless. The bubble has burst. For the first time since as emerging as the Democratic front-runner in 2008, President Obama may now have to operate as a politician in the realm of mere mortals. Or even worse, in the realm of mere politicians. My opinion? (Glad you asked…) The job of being President of the United States has got to be one of the most complicated fucking debacles a person can assume. Let’s give the man a little wiggle room. Most of us hated George W. Bush and we let him do whatever the hell he wanted for EIGHT years. Let’s give Obama more than six months. A little patience might be in order.

06.18.09 – Thursday

Word: magnanimous [mag-nanuh-muhs] adj. 1. generous in forgiving an insult or injury; free from petty resentfulness or vindictiveness: to be magnanimous toward one’s enemies 2. high-minded; noble: a just and magnanimous ruler 3. proceeding from or revealing generosity or nobility of mind, character, etc.: a magnanimous gesture of forgiveness

Birthday: Ivan Goncharov (1812), William Henry Seward, Jr. (1839), Alexander Wetmore (1886), Bud Collyer (1908), Sammy Cahn (1913), John D. Rockefeller IV (1937), Roger Ebert (1942), Paul McCartney (1942), Isabella Rossellini (1952), Carol Kane (1952), Dizzy Reed (1963), Uday Hussein (1964), Ray Lamontagne (1973)

Quotation: A lot of what passes for depression these days is nothing more than a body saying that it needs work.Geoffrey Norman

Tune: A while back, I had a semi-serious problem. Each week, I’d buy close to ten new albums. That went on for about a year or so. Needless to say, no one can listen to that music on a weekly basis. As a result, I had lots of music I never got around to hearing. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been alluding to the fact that I’m on a mission to experience it all. My lastest find? A Belgian band called Girls In Hawaii. I remember after getting the album From Here To There, I really liked “Short Song For a Short Mind.” I still do.

Gallimaufry: “Let your kid text during dinner! Let your kid text during school! It pays off. Your kid could win money and publicity and a phone.” Those were the words of Kate Moore, a 15-year old from Iowa and the newly-crowned U.S. Texting Champion. She defeated a field of 21 other texters in competitions that included blindfolded texting and texting through an obstacle course. On average, Moore sends over 400 texts-per-day. If her parents are cool with it, everyone else should be, I guess. But what in the world does a 15-year old girl from Des Moines have to say in over 14,000 texts-per-month? Uh-Oh. Bill Maher‘s pissed. And not at a Republican. The HBO talk-show host is annoyed with the President. “This is not getting the job done, and this is not what I voted for,” said Maher, who’s taking issue with Obama for, among other things, appearing too much on television and failing to take the opportunity to push his promised policies past a weakened GOP. He even went so far as to say Obama needed to adopt some of the brashness of George W. Bush. “He needs to stop worrying about being loved, and bring out that smug, insufferable swagger that says ‘Suck on it, America!'” Now all we have to do is wait and see if other liberal pundits make the same leap and start attacking Obama, who has so far been treated as messianic/untouchable. Camping enthusiasts and hippies alike took a blow yesterday. The Original Outdoor Outfitter, Eddie Bauer Inc., has declared bankruptcy, a move that most likely means the closing of its 370 retail stores nationwide. The Belleville, WA company is hoping it doesn’t come to that, but I’d suggest going out and getting that new tent you’ve been ogling before it’s too late.