02.10.11 – a thursday

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word

junta [hoon-ta,  juhn-, huhn-] n. 1. a small group ruling a country, esp. immediately after a coup d’état and before a legally constituted government has been instituted 2. a council 3. a deliberative or administrative council, esp. in Spain and Latin America

birthday

Charles Lamb (1775), Jimmy Durante (1893), Robert Wagner (1930), Roberta Flack (1937), Mark Spitz (1950), Jim Cramer (1955), Greg Norman (1955), George Stephanopoulos (1961), Glenn Beck (1964), Laura Dern (1967), Elizabeth Banks (1974)

standpoint

So it’s been a while since I’ve been doing this every day and it feels great to be back.

During the hiatus, lots of stuff has happened, some great, some bad, and some absolutely devastating.

November 30th, 2010 was, hands down, the worst day of my life so far. That was the day Harvey, my best friend, passed away after fighting leukemia for the better part of a year.

I’m completely aware that most of you who read this are folks who know me on a personal level and, if you’ve known me for any stretch of time in the past 20 years, you inevitably came into contact with Harvey.

Tomorrow, I’m going to attempt to pay tribute to him in the way he deserves. Today, however, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite pictures of him.

quotation

I do not diminish the incredible symbolic importance of a black man getting elected president. But my euphoria was a smart man getting elected president. Maybe for the first time in my lifetime we had elected one of the thousand smartest Americans presidents.Aaron Sorkin

tune

I’ve never made a secret of the fact that, while my music interests dwell almost completely within the indie rock realm, I tend to almost always lean toward the pop side of the genre. It’s true that hipsters and I don’t really see eye-to-eye while discussing the merits of certain music. Also, it’s true I have been involved in heated conversations in which, afterwards, one friend or another has accused me of “taking a friendly debate and turning it into an uncomfortable, evening-ending tirade.” Well, maybe but whatever. In any case, here’s Swedish pop duo Marching Band‘s “Another Day.” Enjoy.

gallimaufry

How much would you like to bet Dallas won’t be in the running for hosting any more Super Bowls for a while? Good job, Jerry Jones.

→ Dear Christopher Lee, now that you’ve suddenly found yourself with an abundance of free time, why not take that time to try to become smarter? Sending a shirtless pic to some random woman on you met on Craigslist? Dude, come on.

→ Have you tried Xtranormal? It’s the site responsible for the weird GEICO tv ads. You can make your own short movies using its characters, themes and whatnot. It was a pretty fun 20 minutes until I lost interest.

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04.27.10 – A Tuesday

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word

extirpate [ek-ster-peyt, ik-stur-peyt] v. used w/ obj. 1. to remove or destroy totally; do away with; exterminate 2. to pull up by or as if by the roots; root up: to extirpate an unwanted hair

birthday

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759), Samuel F. B. Morse (1791), Ulysses S. Grant (1822), Jack Klugman (1922), Casey Kasem (1932), Frank William Abagnale, Jr. (1948), Kate Pierson (1948), Ace Frehley (1951), Sheena Easton (1959)

standpoint

This past weekend, the NFL conducted its annual draft and it was all anyone could talk about. I didn’t really pay much attention. The only time I care about football is when it’s actually being played. To me, the draft seems to be just another reason for NFL fans, most of whom I regard as whiners, to bitch and moan, ask each other why their particular team took one guy and not another, failed to draft a player at one position and not another, and so on and so forth.

For the past several years the relationship between the NFL and its fans has fascinated me. Football enthusiasts are mostly fanatics, highly devoted folks who expect a lot from their chosen organization. Curiously, though, the same expectations do not extend to the individual athletes. And here’s why I think that’s so.

First and foremost, I’m a hockey fan. Training camp for the NHL begins at the end of each summer and the Stanley Cup Finals usually wrap up sometime in early summer of the next year. By comparison, NFL training camps start in early August and the Super Bowl is usually played the first week of February. In addition, football teams play once a week while hockey (and basketball and baseball) teams might play several times in the same amount of time. Bottom line, football fans feel an urgency, a need to do as much as they can with the little time afforded them. It’s the reason fall/winter Sunday afternoons and, to a slightly lesser extent, Monday nights have been bestowed with an almost venerable aura. There’s an almost obligatory sense to watch football when it’s on. You didn’t watch the game yesterday afternoon? Why not? You’d better have a bulletproof alibi.

The brevity of the NFL season also has an impact on its players. It provides them more time to pursue other interests with the massive amounts of cash they accumulate over the year. The majority of the athletes go home to their families, maybe investing in a hometown restaurant or contributing their time in a charitable fashion. But there are those who don’t make the best choices when it comes to how they spend their money and time in the offseason, getting in trouble with the law in a variety of ways. It seems you can’t turn on SportsCenter without seeing a new feature on some NFL knucklehead being brought up some kind of charges. Their actions are part bad decision making, part too much time and money on their hands. Someone’s bound to get into trouble.

When these stories come out, there’s always a heavy dose of public outrage by NFL fans and pundits. But it’s never sustained. The player always pays the fine or, less often, does the time and then it’s back to business as usual. An odd thing about the NFL is that, despite its massive fanbase, most of its teams flat-out suck, which means there’s always teams out there willing to take a chance on a skilled player. Even if that player beats his girlfriends, or fires guns at nightclubs, or recently completed yet another stint of drug rehab. When a team signs a guy like that, its fans, more concerned with a Super Bowl parade than a strong sense of morality, always jump on board.

In the weeks after Michael Vick was paroled, rumors surfaced about Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones tinkering with the idea of signing him. Every football fan in Philadelphia was laughing, shaking their heads and telling each other how perfect Vick would fit in with the rest of the criminals the Cowboys have gained a reputation for bringing aboard. Then the Eagles signed Vick. For a day or two, people seemed a little put off the organization would sign a convicted animal abuser. But within a week, no one was talking about dogs, but about another animal: the wildcat. As in the “Wildcat Offense” and how Vick would flourish in it. Nowadays, if you bring up the fact the guy used to beat dogs to death people roll their eyes and tell you to give it a rest. No wants to hear it. In essence, he’s been exonerated in the public eye because he puts on an Eagles’ uniform every Sunday (and the occasional Monday) for a few months out of the year.

And Vick’s not even a close to be the only one. He’s a member of a rather large club. Ray Lewis may have been acquitted of his murder charge but everyone knows he at least had something to with the deaths of those people. Baltimore Ravens fans don’t care. Adam “Pacman” Jones has a criminal record detailing a wide array of offenses. Detroit Lions fans won’t care if the team signs him. Ben Roethlisberger most definitely has a problem with sexually assaulting women, although he escaped formal charges. After he serves his upcoming six-game suspension and leads the team down the field for a touchdown, Pittsburgh Steelers fans won’t care. These are guys you wouldn’t want working in your office building, but if they’re playing football, fans will rationalize why it’s okay to forgive, and even cheer, for him.

Sometimes, guys wake up and take advantage of a second (or third) chance like Cris Carter. But, unfortunately, most of them will end up like Rae Carruth.

For the record, I don’t hold the NFL owners in any contempt for signing or retaining criminals. They’re running a business. In terms of dollars and cents, it makes sense for them to take the chances they do and, sometimes, as in the Roethlisberger situation, they have no other choice.

But what’s the fans excuse? How can the rationality of all this be explained? If these guys weren’t playing football, they’d be in jail and no one would give a rat’s ass what they were up to. Lucky for them, that’s not the case. They continue to get the love and respect of millions of people despite the fact, outside playing a game, they’ve done nothing to deserve it.

It’s comical and pathetic.

quotation

Whenever I hear people talking about liberal ideas, I am always astounded that men should love to fool themselves with empty sounds. An idea should never be liberal; it must be vigorous, positive, and without loose ends so that it may fulfill its divine mission and be productive. The proper place for liberality is in the realm of the emotions. Johann von Goethe

tune

I’ve shared this before but I’m going to do it again because, well, I do what I want. I’m of the opinion Chuck D is a pretty solid dude. I present Public Enemy‘s “Harder Than You Think.”

gallimaufry

→ I think Stephen Hawking might be watching Independence Day a little too much. And who can blame him? It’s a good movie mostly. But he may not be completely wrong here.

→ Sometimes something as simple as a sandwich can be a strong indicator of where we’re headed as a society. People, we’re driving in the wrong direction here.

→ My favorite show on ESPN? It’s SportsNation. I’m sure some of you out there now think a little less of me.

03.04.10 – A Thursday

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word

plethora [pleth-er-uh] n. 1. overabundance; excess: a plethora of advice and a paucity of assistance 2. Pathology Archaic. a morbid condition due to excess of red corpuscles in the blood or increase in the quantity of blood

birthday

Antonio Vivaldi (1678), David “Robber” Lewis (1790), Channing Pollock (1880), Knute Rockne (1888), Shemp Howard (1895), John Garfield (1913), Paul Mauriat (1925), Gloria Gaither (1942), Bobby Womack (1944), James Ellroy (1948), Catherine O’Hara (1954), Patricia Heaton (1958), Steven Weber (1961), Evan Dando (1967), Chastity Bono (1969), Buck 65 (1972), Jon Fratelli (1979)

standpoint

I know. Excuses. I’m full of them. But I’ve been looking forward to watching some NHL and there were more than a few games on last night and, well, you know what happened. Plus, I’m trying to get better sleep lately and all that crap. But, I promise, there will be a new Standpoint tomorrow. I’d stake my fortune on it.

quotation

Natives who beat drums to drive off evil spirits are objects of scorn to smart Americans who blow horns to break up traffic jams.Mary Ellen Kelly

tune

As the story goes, Conrad O. Johnson, the music teacher at Kashmere High School in Houston TX, went to an Otis Redding concert one night back in 1967. The next day, he decided to transform the style of his music program and – bam – that’s how the Kashmere Stage Band came to be.

gallimaufry

As much as I have a low opinion of Pittsburgh Penguins‘ superstar Sidney Crosby, it sucks when something like this happens. Seriously, people, have a little respect. This, however, is a demonstration on how Canadians can get a little too jacked for hockey. Settle down, will ya?

Dallas Cowboys owner/meddler Jerry Jones is a gigantic douchebag. I know it. You know it. And, apparently, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton knows it. Very nice job. I’m sure Payton meant the whole thing in fun but, still.

→ People are getting dumber. Especially when it comes to their kids. Seriously. I’d venture to say that 90% of parents under 40 are complete and utter morons. That number may be wrong, but, based on my exposure to this problem, I don’t think so.