01.08.10 – A Friday

WORD

colloquial [kuhloh-kwee-uhl] adj. 1. characteristic of or appropriate to ordinary or familiar conversation rather than formal speech or writing; informal 2. involving or using conversation

BIRTHDAY

Hans von Bülow (1830), Frank Nelson Doubleday (1862), Larry Storch (1923), Soupy Sales (1926), Elvis Presley (1935), Bob Eubanks (1938), Graham Chapman (1941), Robby Krieger (1946), David Bowie (1947), Mike Reno (1955), Paul Hester (1959), R. Kelly (1967), Ami Dolenz (1969), Sean Paul (1973)

STANDPOINT

As I type this, I’m watching a TNT promo for Southland. Last year, NBC dropped the cop drama before it even debuted. TNT scooped it up and will start running the series, in its entirety, this Tuesday. (TNT is waiting to see how the ratings go for the seven episodes NBC aired plus six never-before-seen ones before deciding to order a new season.)

As I’ve felt in the past, I’m currently confounded why some quality shows get the boot and other crappy shows (According To Jim, The Real World, Judge Judy, JAG) seem to run on forever. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me since quality entertainment seems to be a notion no one concern themselves with.

It got me thinking about some other shows that were inexplicably dropped before their time. The following is a list of my favorite shows abandoned too soon.

QUOTATION

The National Rifle Association says that, “Guns don’t kill people, uh, people do.” But I think, I think the gun helps. You know? I think it helps. I just think just standing there going, “Bang!” That’s not going to kill too many people, is it?Eddie Izzard

TUNE

There’s not a ton of information out there on Seattle-based band The Pale Pacific (formerly The Pale). I came upon the 2005 release Urgency a while back and it became one of my favorite “half albums” – those containing an equal amount of both good and so-so songs. (I’ve got a lot of those, by the way.) One of the better songs is “Identity Theft.” Give it a listen.

GALLIMAUFRY

I’m not so naive to think all of this wintry weather going on is proof-positive that global warming is hogwash. But -50° wind chills in the Midwest don’t exactly help Al Gore’s cause.

→ Someone needs to be in a world of hurt to attempt to stab themselves to death. That’s exactly what Howard Stern’s sidekick, Artie Lange, did. Nine times. Long bouts of depression and numerous episodes of drug abuse apparently led him to it. Here’s hoping the guy can find some kind of peace and shake loose of his demons.

→ The other day, I reported that Vampire Weekend and Spoon were releasing albums next Tuesday. I lied. Vampire Weekend is releasing Contra next week, but Spoon’s Transference won’t come out until two weeks later. In any case, should be a good couple of months coming up for new music with Ben Kweller, Eels, Beach House, David Bowie, Midlake, Hot Chip, Peter Gabriel, Field Music, Jason Falkner, Shout Out Louds, Rogue Wave, The Whigs, Aloha, Frightened Rabbit, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, The Morning Benders and White Stripes all poised with fresh material.

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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.