04.16.09 – Thursday

Word: anachronism [uhnak-ruh-niz-uhm] n. 1. something or someone that is not in its correct historical chronological time, esp. a thing or person that belongs to an earlier time: The sword is an anchronism in modern warfare 2. an error in chronology in which a person, object, event, etc., is assigned a date or period other than the correct one: To assign Michelangelo to the 14th century is an anachronism.

Birthday: Wilbur Wright (1867), Charlie Chaplin (1899), Henry Mancini (1924), Pope Benedict XVI (1927), Herbie Mann (1930), Bobby Vinton (1935), Dusty Springfield (1939), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1947), Gerry Rafferty (1947), Peter Garrett (1953), Ellen Barkin (1954)Ian MacKaye (1962), Dave Pirner (1964), Jon Cryer (1965)Martin Lawrence (1965), Peter Billingsley (1971), Lukas Haas (1976), Akon (1977) 

Occurence: 2007 – On the campus of Virginia Tech, Seung-Hui Cho shoots 32 people to death, injures 23 others and eventually kills himself. Would’ve been great if he’d reversed the order.

Standpoint: It’s Thurday (already). Time for me to address some of your suggestions for “Annoying Sayings and Misused Words.” Let’s get to it. 

  •  “hone in on” vs. “home in on” – Which one of the following do you think is correct? “He honed in on his true calling.” Or, “He homed in on his true calling.” Dictionary.com provides the answer. To “hone in on” means (a) “to move or advance toward a target or a goal,” or (b) “to direct one’s attention; focus.” To “home in on” means “to proceed, esp. under control of an automated aiming mechanism, toward a specific target as a plane, missile or location.”  So, unless you are in control of “an automated aiming mechanism”, (and if you are, I want to hang out with you), then you are misusing “home in on.” Winner: “hone in on”
  • “provoke” vs. “provocate” – This has always bugged me. My sister Tina and her kids say “provocate” all the time and I correct them when they do and tell them they should be using the word “provoke.” Turns out I’m the one that needs correcting. “Provocate”  is defined by dictionary.com as “to provoke” and is listed in Webster’s New Millennium Dictionary of English. Winner: My sister Tina and her kids
  • “they’re” “their” and “there” – Probably the three most misspelled words on Facebook and Twitter. Trust me, I’m as guilty as anyone. I’m sure everyone knows where to use these words and when but here are the rules, anyway. Just in case. They’re” is a contraction of the words “they” and “are” as in “They’re coming to take me away!” “Their” is a form of the possessive case of the word “they” as in “That’s their problem!” “There” means “in or at that place” as in “Don’t go in there!” Winner: We all win when we use these three words the right way.

Keep up the suggestions for “Annoying Sayings and Misused Words,” featured here every Thursday.

Quotation: Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired. Jules Renard

Tune: I know very little about Japanese recording artist and producer Cornelius. I do, however, know that “Drop” is terrific.

Gallimaufry: NASA has made a decision. They won’t name the new room on The International Space Station after Stephen Colbert, despite the fact that The Colbert Report host won an online write-in contest last month with the help of his viewers. Astronaut Sunita L. Williams appeared on the show two nights ago to deliver the news to the heartbroken host face-to-face. However, NASA will be naming something on the space station after Colbert – the Combined Operational Load-Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (COLBERT), a piece of exercise equipment. So he’s got that going for him. Which is nice…In what some are calling the least important race in recent history (and by “some,” I mean me), Ashton Kutcher, star of Punk’d and husband to Demi Moore, has challenged the news network CNN to a race on Twitter. Whichever gets to 1,000,000 followers first, wins. CNN currently has the most Twitter followers (921,432), while Kutcher is somewhere in the 800,000s. Kutcher has said that if he wins, he’ll “ding dong ditch” Ted Turner‘s house. I’m not sure why those terms are agreaable to the actor but I’d like to see how he would get to the front door of the CNN founder’s house…Any of you attend any of the “tea party” rallies staged across the country yesterday? If so, I’d like to hear all about it.

Incoming: Tomorrow3 Things To Do in Philly When You’re Dead, my list of 3 events I would attend if it were my last weekend in Philadelphia. Plus, 5 People I Wish Would Move to Another Planet, a roster of 5 folks I’d be happy to never hear from again.

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04.03.09 – Friday

Word: satire [sat-ahyuh r] n. 1. the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule or the like, in exposing, denouncing or deriding vice, folly, etc. 2. a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice is held up to scorn, derision or ridicule 3. a literary genre containing such compositions

 

Birthday: Washington Irving (1783), Marlon Brando (1924), Doris Day (1924), Gus Grissom (1926), Jane Goodall (1934), Wayne Newton (1942), Tony Orlando (1944), Richard Thompson (1949), Ray Combs (1956), Alec Baldwin (1958), David Hyde Pierce (1959), Eddie Murphy (1961), Mike Ness (1962), Picabo Street (1971), Jennie Garth (1972), Aries Spears (1975)

 

Occurrence: 1996 – The “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski is arrested in Montana. Currently, he’s serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole in Florence, Colorado. Don’t bother trying to visit him. He’s not accepting visitors. (Note: Apparently, I was mistaken about yesterday being the anniversary of the assassination of Jesse James by Robert Ford. It’s today. That’s what fact-checking at 2am will get you. Lesson learned.)

 

Standpoint: Michael Vick is getting out jail in a month or so. It’s rumored that he will be playing football for some NFL team in the upcoming season. Probably the Dallas Cowboys. And that’s a sad sad thing. The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback funded a dog fighting ring and had direct knowledge of his friends killing dogs. I understand that I’m a little tough on the NFL. I apologize for exactly none of what I say about the league. If he is reinstated and resumes his playing career, it will be a new low for an organization that has already burrowed underneath the slimiest slime and muckiest muck.

 

Quotation: He who stands for nothing will fall for anything. Alexander Hamilton (Note: I’ve heard this attributed to Malcolm X. Guess he lifted it from Hamilton.)

 

Weekend: My picks for dope stuff to do in Philadelphia this weekend.

 

Tonight (4/3) – 8pm Go see Bob Mould (formerly of Husker Du and Sugar) at The North Star Bar. 

Saturday (4/4) – 8pm The 6th Borough’s Depression Isn’t Just a River in Egypt at Connie’s Ric Rac.

Sunday (4/5) – 2pm Take the kids down to the American Swedish Historical Museum to participate in Swedish Easter traditions.

 

Tune: Another favorite unsung band. Teenage Fanclub. Check out “Ain’t That Enough”.

 

Video: I’ve heard of American actors going over to Japan and doing crazy commercials. I’d never seen video evidence of it, though. Until now. Watch this collection of Nicolas Cage commercials. (Thanks to Tim Mulvey.)

 

Gallimaufry: NASA still has made no decision regarding the naming of the new room in the International Space Station. But Chaka Fattah (D-PA) is getting behind naming it after Stephen Colbert who won the contest after urging his Colbert Report viewers to cast write-in votes for him…People keep asking me questions about the new Facebook and what to do about all of the clutter. I’m still feeling it out myself but here’s an article that may help…The Onion’s AV Club encourages everyone to turn off the shuffle and listen to these 25 albums the way they were intended – straight through. Sadly, I own only one of these albums: XTC’s Skylarking…All right. That’s it for me. Thanks for another great week. Come back on Monday for some more.