April 9th, 2012

word

sycophant [sikuh-fuhnt, -fant, sahy-kuh-] n. a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite

birthday

James “Jim” Bowie (1796), Max von Sydow (1929), John Madden (1936), Steven Seagal (1956), Brian Setzer (1959), Q-Tip (1970), Mandy Moore (1984)

standpoint

Yesterday was Easter Sunday. Those of you who know even the slightest bit about me know that I’m about as religious as Christopher Hitchens.

But the one thing I do like about Easter is the family dinner. Sure, Thanksgiving and Christmas are traditionally more renowned for big family dinners and there’s some truth to that, especially in my family. Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners are legendary. My mother is more talented in the kitchen than 98% of the chefs in this country and both my parents have spent the entirety of their adult lives to makes sure both of those holidays are memorable, in one way or another, each and every year. Even as my siblings and I have moved into adulthood.

But Easter is different and it’s also not. Throughout the years, I’m sure I’ve experienced the occasional Easter dinner in the comfort of my parents’ house but I can’t truly recall one. Normally, that’s the holiday our family spends dining out. And, although the food’s never quite as delicious as when my mother, sisters and sisters-in-law (as well as the random, unsuccessful dish from a man in the family) are in charge of the menu, Easter dinner is fun due to the fact no one is in charge of anything except for actually showing up.

And that makes for a much more lighthearted evening. We can talk and catch up and ridicule and debate meaningless crap and even once in a while say nice things about each other.

Anyway, that’s what I felt like writing about today. It was more for me than any of you but I hope you enjoyed it at least a little.

quotation

Any idiot can get laid when they’re famous. That’s easy. It’s getting laid when you’re not famous that takes some talent. ↔ Kevin Bacon

tune

So I was watching Just Go With It the other night. C’mon, like you’ve never watched a bad Adam Sandler movie. Don’t judge. In any case, every song on the entire soundtrack had something to do with Sting and I forgot how much I liked The Police‘s “Canary in a Coal Mine.”

gallimaufry

→ Went and saw The Hunger Games this past Thursday evening. Despite the lady behind us who was providing her own unique brand of commentary toward the end, I was generally pleased with the adaptation.

→ It’s the year for dudes of faith. First, Tim Tebow. And now, Bubba Watson wins the Masters. Maybe all these athletes should start taking god more seriously. Seriously.

→ For all of you who know me personally and love making fun of my “antique” cell phone, I’m happy to admit I’ll be getting an iPhone today. So you’ll have to find someone else to rip on. Sorry.

09.17.09 – A Thursday

Word

logorrhea [law-guhreeuh, log-uh-] n. 1. pathologically incoherent, repetitious speech 2. incessant or compulsive talkativeness; wearisome volubility

Birthday

Jonathan Alder (1773), William Carlos Williams (1883), John Willard Marriott (1900), Warren Burger (1907), Hank Williams (1923), Roddy McDowall (1928), Anne Bancroft (1931), Ken Kesey (1935), Reinhold Messner (1944), Phil Jackson (1945), John Ritter (1948), Rita Rudner (1956), Baz Luhrmann (1962), Dustin Nguyen (1962), Bryan Singer (1965), Doug E. Fresh (1966), Anastacia (1968), Bobby Lee (1972), Mirah (1974), Constantine Maroulis (1975), Alexander Ovechkin (1985)

Standpoint

It’s pretty much a universal belief that the iPhone is the single greatest invention of this, or any other, era. Maybe. They seem pretty great. The whole bumpin’-iPhones-to-exchange pics app looks maybe somehow maybe somewhat useful. The holding-your-iPhone-to-a-speaker-in-a-public-place-to-find-out-who-is-performing app seems more than useful, if not a blatant attempt by Apple to get iPhone users to buy songs while inebriated in a bar. I bet it works more often than not. Kudos, Apple geniuses. I don’t own an iPhone, so I don’t truly know what it is everyone is yammering about.

However, I do know this: the iPhone is destroying something near and dear to my heart. Being both a bartender and an avid bar customer, I’m a huge fan of the mostly meaningless, often illogical and mainly unfulfilling pastime of bullshitting from a bar stool. Once upon a time, you could go to a local watering hole with a group of your buddies, and, after a few drinks, start up some nonsensical debate, usually about (a) sports, (b) music, (c) movies, and, even sometimes, (d) historical events. These are the kinds of debates that, even when highly intelligent individuals are involved, can go on for hours due to the emphatic way each person “swears to God” they’re right, and the increasing amounts of alcohol consumed.

For me, these deliberations are highly entertaining due to the simple fact it’s inconsequential who’s right and who’s wrong. The winner is the person who can convince everyone else involved they are, in fact, wrong, and he, in fact, is right. Even when he’s completely wrong and everyone else is exactly right. Whichever side of the bar I find myself on, it’s something I excel at. As a bartender, I love manipulating a bunch of drunk conversation in one way or another, nudging them along with supposedly innocous statements. As a bar customer, I more enjoy stating a fact or taking a position I know to be erroneous, and coaxing everyone to accept it as gospel truth. I’m kind of a dick that way.

IN ANY CASE, the iPhone has turned almost all of these disputes, once a nightlong event, into a simple matter of pulling a device out a pocket, and providing an irrefutable answer to whatever the hell it was everyone was discussing, reducing it to a matter of minutes, sometimes seconds.

The topic is trivial. Did Jason Bateman play a swarmy kid in the Ricky Schroeder sitcom “Silver Spoons?” Some people say yes, some say no. The argument could go on forever. Meanwhile, in the course of all that banter, the immediate topic gets put aside for a time, other topics emerge and are chewed on. Eventually, someone remembers how it all started and the original question is loudly thrown back onto the table. More hemming and hawing. No conclusion can be reached. But everyone had a helluva time trying to figure it out.

But now, when the Jason Bateman-“Silver Spoons” question comes up, at least three people, one of which was some loner eavesdropper no one knows, will whip out their iPhone (or its ugly cousin, the Blackberry), go to IMDb.com and tell everyone, yes, Jason Bateman was on the “Silver Spoons,” playing a characater named Derek for 23 episodes between 1982 and 1984.

And that’s it. End of discussion. Hours of fun averted.

I love all this technology, but there are some things that will go away because of it, that will make everything just a little less fun.

Quotation

The thing about being a professor is that if you can make just one student successful, if you can make just one student see the light, if you can make just one ready for the outside world, then you’re still stuck with nineteen failures. ← Mel Helitzer

Tune

Recently, someone described my music listening tastes as, “mostly lyric-driven.” OK, I’ll buy that. Probably true. Guess that’s why Brendan Benson‘s song, “What I’m Looking For” has been my on-again, off-again theme song for the past several years. I’m reasonably sure some of the most well-written lyrics ever.

Gallimaufry

Judging from my experiences with most of you out there in the world, some of you could really benefit from reading “10 Ways to Keep Your Mind Sharp.” Seriously, people, take a look at it. For me.

According to some dude named Sam McCaig from THN.com, The Philadelphia Flyers have all but sewn it up for the upcoming season. No reason to play the games, fellas. We’ll just take The Cup whenever it’s convenient for you to run it down this way. I hate articles like this because they never ever come true.

→ Despite the fact that just about everyone was saying it would never happen, Pavement’s decided it’s time for a reunion. Indie-rocker nirvana starts now.