11.13.09 – A Friday

WORD

garrulous [garuh-luhs, gar-yuh-] adj. 1. excessively talkative in a rambling, roundabout manner, esp. about trivial matters 2. wordy or diffuse: a garrulous and boring speech

BIRTHDAY

John Dickinson (1732), Robert Louis Stevenson (1850), Richard Mulligan (1932), Garry Marshall (1934), John Hammond (1942), Joe Mantegna (1947), Chris Noth (1954), Whoopi Goldberg (1955), Jimmy Kimmel (1967), Steve Zahn (1967), Gerard Butler (1969)

STANDPOINT

If you put a gun to my head (and I’m by no means suggesting you do that), and asked me, given a choice, what’s my favorite leisure time activity, I’m relatively sure the answer would be watching a Philadelphia Flyers game with either my brother Jer or my best friend Harv, and preferrably both because we are all of the same mind when it comes to the game of hockey. (If I could pick a third person to be there, it’d be my good friend Joe, but he resides in Connecticut and it’s not really practical for him to drive down for games. I’m sure you realize this without me explaining it.)

I am completely certain 99% of you, in a similar circumstance, would offer a different response. (Although, that’s your loss because, even if you don’t like hockey, Jer and Harv and Joe are three solid dudes to hang with.)

Knowing what an excellent judge of character I am, I’m positive it wouldn’t be my choice of company you’d find fault with – it’d be my choice of actually watching hockey. Which no one seems to do these days.

When it comes to watching professional sporting contests, the game of hockey is fighting an uphill battle. And here’s why.

This country loves two sports the most – football and baseball. Again, you may disagree, and that’s totally fine. But for the purposes here, I’m going to adhere to the idea football and baseball are the two sports most everyone couldn’t live without as if it’s a legitimate fact. Which, despite your opinion, is completely true.

Why are football and baseball so popular? Well, lots and lots of reasons. Most everyone of you grew up playing one or both of these sports, or wishing you could. Also, you know all the rules due to the fact the commentators endlessly disect each and every at-bat/play. In addition, of all the televised sports, football and baseball simply offer the opportunity for more bathroom breaks and the chance to talk to your buddies about the game without actually talking during it. There are more, but, in the interests of space and keeping your attention, I’ll stop at those three.

With hockey, hardly any of us have ever played it. (No, NHL ’94 for the Sega Genesis doesn’t count. Although, I’d listen to any argument to the contrary.) Unless you make a deliberate effort to do so, some of the less-obvious rules are hard to figure out. Lastly, it’s a game you need to pay attention to – talking about the game is reserved for the few commercial breaks and the two 15-minute intermissions.

For those reasons, and probably 200 more, the game of hockey just doesn’t jive with most everyone out there. And, while I’d love to, I can’t say as I blame you. It’s easy to watch a baseball game with friends, even when not everyone in the room particularly cares about the outcome because everyone pretty much knows what’s going on. Same with football games but they have the added bonus of having become excuses to eat a lot of food and drink a bunch of beers which I’m a huge fan of.  They’re major social experiences in a culture becoming more and more devoid of them. I can’t find fault with wanting to spend your time away from work, time away from your kids, time away from whatever, in a relaxing atmosphere where you can yell at the television and rarely use your brain. (That last statement was sincere, not sarcastic.)

Me? I enjoy watching a sport that encourages me to think, requires my attention and leaves me, win or lose, with a weird sense of fulfillment. I love baseball and I kinda like football. But neither give me the same thrill.

And so, I’m a hockey fan.

QUOTATION

You can’t navigate me. I may do mean things, and I may hurt you, and I may run away without your permission, and you may hate me forever, and I know that scares the living shit outta you ’cause you know I’m the only real thing you got.Ethan Hawke (as Troy Dyer in Reality Bites)

TUNE

Admittedly, this is bad timing after my whole music snobbery rant, but I drove around all over the place yesterday, and I’m trying to become less dependent on my iPod, and attempting to revisit my vaunted CD collection. In any case, I listened to Fountains of Wayne the whole time. Not widely considered an important cog in the machinery of essential music. But, fuck it. I like the band just the same. Especially “No Better Place.”

GALLIMAUFRY

→ I’ve no idea why I like these HTC television ads so much, but I do. Here’s my favorite.

Joselio Hanson, a backup CB for the Phiadelphia Eagles, has received a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Dude. Come on. You’re a backup CB. Really necessary?

→ I tweeted this last night, but for those of you not hip to the Twitter thing yet, I’m encouraging everyone I know to listen to the music of my buddy Emerson B. Go hear his tunes on MySpace. Follow him on Twitter. And get out to one of his shows. If, for no other reason, than you might be able to hang with me.

Advertisements

09.28.09 – A Monday

WORD

inane [i-neyn] adj. 1. lacking sense, significance, or ideas; silly: inane questions 2. empty; void n. 3. something that is empty or void, esp. the void of infinite space

BIRTHDAY

Confucious (551 BC), Ed Sullivan (1901), Max Schmeling (1905), Al Capp (1909), Brigitte Bardot (1934), Rod Roddy (1937), Ben E. King (1938), J.T. Walsh (1943), Steve Largent (1954), Janeane Garofalo (1964), Mira Sorvino (1967), Moon Unit Zappa (1967), Naomi Watts (1968), Joseph Arthur (1971), Bam Margera (1979), Ray Emery (1982), Hilary Duff (1987)

STANDPOINT

When it comes to the world of music, I’m in a bit of a shitty spot.

Because, you see, no matter what your particular music inclinations (and I’m sure they’re fantastic), there’s a 73% chance I feel different. Yes. It’s confusing. Let me clarify a bit.

For me, there are only three sects of music listeners out there.

“I don’t care if it’s cool, I just like that song.” – You’re someone who has uttered the previous statement about 9,233 times. You turn on the radio. You hear a song that begs you to drive faster, tap your foot and sing at the top of your lungs. The song ends. Some smooth DJ informs you that the last song was the newest release by Pink, Nickelback or some similarly dreadful source. For about three seconds, you wrestle with the following contradictory facts: (a) you’re relatively sure the artist is somewhat uncool, and (b) you just don’t care because it made you bounce around and sing. If bouncing around and singing in your car is important to you, you’ll likely choose the last option. And, hey, that’s more than all right. Just don’t go around offering up your opinion when the rest of us are talking about what constitutes good music. You’ve eliminated yourself as trustworthy. Sadly, you’re definitely part of the problem. Yes, you’re a fucking moron if you think the new Green Day album is “really good” just because everyone else is listening to it. You either suck at evaluating music or you just don’t care enough to be discerning. Either way, you’re someone who contributes to the MTV culture and that’s just not OK. Ever.

“Even if I’ve listened to a band for years, once I hear one of their songs during a TV commercial, I think they’re shit.” – OK, I get where you’re coming from. You’re an indie rock enthusiast with a chip on your shoulder. You’re absolutely right. But you’re also absolutely wrong. Unfortunately, the music you like is conveying ideals and beliefs that you own, that you share. And it’s not likely these ideals and beliefs have anything to do with “selling out” or being the song employed in the promo for the upcoming season of fucking “Grey’s Anatomy.” It sucks that millions of people (who’ve done nothing but turn on the TV) have discovered one of your favorites songs of the past three years, a song you found because you do the legwork, you’re constantly researching, looking for good music. You’re head’s up. But your head’s also up your ass if you can’t be happy for Vampire Weekend because the guys in that band, while they probably adore playing the smaller artsy venues in front of you and 100 other people, are looking for maximum exposure. And, while it sucks you gotta hear people you know to be moronic talk about how “it’s great when they curse at the beginning of ‘Oxford Comma,’” deal with it. You owe it to those who’ve brought you so many hours of listening pleasure. The main reason you suck is because you make others feel uncomfortable about their choices. And, hey, who the fuck are you?

“What in the good goddamn is wrong with you people?” – Here’s the group I’m in with most of the people I call friends. It takes work to be in this group. You have to constantly adjust your position. But in a quality way.  Most of you out there see things in black and white. And that’s worse than listening to Creed. The world ebbs and flows, and you gotta ebb and flow with it, brother. Just because an artist is making supremely shitty music right now, doesn’t mean it’s gonna be that way forever. People change. Attitudes get readjusted. We all eventually get shown the light. I’m of the personal unpopular opinion one of my favorite bands, R.E.M., will come back around one day and get back to some seriously good business. You probably disagree. That’s cool.  

Here’s the bottom line: Listen to music you like. It’s fine. But you need to understand, no matter which group you fall into, you’re never gonna be completely right. Unless you’re me. Sorry abour your luck.

QUOTATION

If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don’t, they never were.Khalil Gibran

TUNE

In the spirit of my Standpoint, I offer “Sweet Pain.” A 90s song from a Blues Traveler, a band just about everyone’s deemed irrelevant. Listen to it. Do you feel what I can feel?

GALLIMAUFRY

→ I think Esquire sending someone who knows very little about pop culture to interview Gerard Butler had a great result. As a matter of fact, there’s not much Esquire can do that doesn’t meet with my immediate approval.

→ The LAPD is pretty fucking relentless. Just ask Roman Polanski, who’s been wanted by Los Angeles authorities for over 30 years. He was arrested this past Saturday night in Switzerland. Finally. Seriously, how in the world is the USA supposed to bring anyone to justice if it can’t bring down this guy? Top notch work, everyone. Now, how about you all get back to work on shit that really matters? Thanks.

→ Christ. Peter Forsberg wants back into the NHL. The team on the top of his wishlist? You guessed it, genius. My Philadelphia Flyers. Stay away, Peter. We’ve moved on.