04.29.10 – A Thursday

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word

chicanery [shi-key-nuh-ree, chi-] n. 1. trickery or deception by quibbling or sophistry: He resorted to the worst flattery and chicanery to win the job 2. a quibble or subterfuge used to trick, deceive, or evade

birthday

William Randolph Hearst (1863), Duke Ellington (1899), Hirohito (1901), Lonnie Donegan (1931), Bernard Madoff (1938), Richard Kline (1944), Dale Earnhardt (1951), Nora Dunn (1952), Jerry Seinfeld (1954), Kate Mulgrew (1955), Daniel Day-Lewis (1957), Michelle Pfeiffer (1958), Eve Plumb (1958), Master P (1967), Carnie Wilson (1968), Andre Agassi (1970), Uma Thurman (1970), Barbaro (2003)

standpoint

It’s true that humans are my least favorite animals. I’m a big fan of the rest of them, though. Sometimes, I think other animals are quite lucky. No sense of individuality. No hang ups about death. No concept of time. No supposition on what’s right or wrong. Except for the constraints folks like us place on them, the balance of the animal kingdom enjoy freedoms in a way we humans once did but never will again. Whether we know it or not, that’s why we have pets.

We hold our pets in higher regard. And we should. Some get a little too carried away with it. You always hear about crazy cat people who thought it was a perfectly sound idea to take in 320 felines into a two-bedroom house. I was once at a good friend’s wedding where I had the misfortune of sitting at a table with a gentleman who conducted a 45-minute monologue on such topics as how his dog liked to run on one specific side of the dog park, preferred to chew on his work shoes but left the guy’s sneakers alone, fancied one type of dog food over another. It was pretty hard to sit through.

But those are the extremists. Most of us have pets and we love them more conventionally.

I have cats. And I dig them. Pudds and Buckley. They fascinate me. They’re crazy and affectionate and amazing. I can’t explain why they do the insane things they do but I don’t care. Sure, they’re my pets but, in my opinion, that’s a prosaic designation. More so, my cats are my friends. And, whether you have cats or dogs or fish or birds or monkeys, that’s what pets are. Friends. (Due to some shuffling around that was going on about a year ago, I had to take Pudds and Buckley to stay with my parents. I miss them everyday but my mother and father fell in love with the two weirdos and even though I’m in a situation where I could conceivably take them back, I wouldn’t dream of doing so. The four of them – my parents and my cats – are so happy together, it makes little sense to break them up.)

Your pets spend all day waiting for you to come home and when you do, they don’t care about anything else except you’re back. They don’t care if you lost your job, if wrecked your car, etc. They just want to hang with you. It’s a supremely pure relationship in that it’s unconditional.

So, today, I’m asking all of you to give a little shout-out to your pets. Take them on an extra long walk. But them a toy or treat. Give them a special meal. If roles were reversed, they’d do it for you.

Me and Buckley and Pudds

quotation

It often happens that a man is more humanely related to a cat or a dog than to any human being. Henry David Thoreau

tune

2010 is turning out to be the year all of my favorite music artists are releasing new material. The latest to do so is Teenage Fanclub. The Scottish mainstays will release Shadows here in the States on June 8th. Here’s a preview – “Baby Lee.”

gallimaufry

→ The NHL playoffs this season have been amazing, especially in the Eastern Conference where the bottom three seeds successfully knocked off the top three. I haven’t looked into it but I’d wager that’s a first. The East, considered the stronger conference this year, may have shot itself in the foot if the San Jose Sharks start playing as amazing as they’re capable.

Life on Mars? Who gives a shit? Let’s turn the telescopes and probes back onto ourselves.

→ Just yesterday afternoon, I was thinking how great it would be if Hollywood could find a way to put out more crap. Luckily, I read this last night and it answered my prayers.

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09.15.09 – A Tuesday

WORD

itinerant [ahy-tin-er-uhnt, i-tin-] adj. 1. traveling from place to place, esp. on a circuit, as a minister, judge, or sales representative; itinerating; journeying 2. characterized by such traveling: itinerant preaching 3. working in one place for a comparatively short time and then moving on to work in another place, usually as a physical or outdoor laborer; characterized by alternating periods of working and wandering: an itinerant farm hand n. 4. a person who alternates between working and wandering 5. a person who travels from place to place, esp. for duty or business

BIRTHDAY

Marco Polo (1254), James Fenimore Cooper (1789), William Howard Taft (1857), Agatha Christie (1890), John N. Mitchell (1913), Nipsey Russell (1918), Bobby Short (1924), Cannonball Adderley (1928), Merlin Olsen (1940), Tommy Lee Jones (1946), Oliver Stone (1946), Wendie Jo Sperber (1958), Dan Marino (1961), Josh Charles (1971), Prince Henry of Wales (1984)

STANDPOINT

So, I was going to write about the plight of professional athletes in Philadelphia but I decided it’d be best to weigh in on this Kanye West-Taylor Swift debacle from the MTV Video Music Awards a couple of nights ago.

West, apparently upset that Beyoncé didn’t win in the Best Female Video category, came onstage and grabbed the microphone from Swift to publicly voice his objections to the final result. And everyone’s world was turned upside-down.

And rightfully so. It appeared as if Swift, one of the great thinkers of her generation, was about to share some of her poignant inner perspectives with all of us out here in the huddled masses. But West robbed everyone of hearing those life-changing words. For that, my friends, we should never forget or forgive. There was a great injustice done this past Sunday night. One that will undoubtedly leave a permanent mark on every facet of our society. Truly.

OK. If you’re having trouble figuring out the point I’m attempting to make, I’ll break it down for you – what Kanye West did to Taylor Swift doesn’t really matter for the simple reason that…well…it just doesn’t matter. I’m sure Swift was traumatized by the whole ordeal and I’m equally certain we’ll be hearing some overly-produced piece of fluff (that she and others will call “a song”) and she’ll be just fine.

President Obama was right when he called West “a jackass.” He didn’t say “enemy of the public.” Or “heinous criminal.” West acted like a jackass. Just like a lot of people you know.

Bottom line? It’s all about publicity and entertainment. I’d bet all of ten of my fingers that West and Swift have already privately resolved the situation. Unfortunately, the rest of us, dominated by the mindless, ultra-driven individuals who love to tell us what’s important and what’s not, will have to hear about this for a long time. Or, more likely until the end of the week. But it’ll feel like forever. At least to me.

QUOTATION

I always look for a woman who has a tattoo.  I see a woman with a tattoo, and I’m thinking, okay, here’s a gal who’s capable of making a decision she’ll regret in the future.Richard Jeni

TUNE

I thought since today would’ve been jazz great Cannonball Adderley‘s 81st birthday, it’d be best to commemorate it by sharing “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” – one of the greatest songs of all-time.

GALLIMAUFRY

→ Man, is this the year of the celebrity death or what? Sad to report Patrick Swayze died yesterday at the age of 57, finally losing his fight with pancreatic cancer. Swayze, while he was not always consistently making hit movies, was in some of the most popular films of all-time. The Outsiders. Red Dawn. Dirty Dancing. Road House. Ghost. Point Break. Donnie Darko. Rest In Peace, Dalton. BY THE WAY, I’d love for everyone who reads this to weigh-in on their favorite Patrick Swayze movie/moment.

→ One thing that will never ever change is this country’s obsession with “Seinfeld.” And rightfully so. Jerry and crew observed one of the most important rules of show business – always leaving the audience wanting more. And it is more we are about to receive as the cast of the popular sitcom ever will reunite on “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David’s HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Not exactly sure what the context will be, but Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Michael Richards will all appear on the third episode of the upcoming season.

→ I know you all are just excited as I am the Philadelphia Flyers opened up training camp this past weekend. What’s that? You’re not? Well, you should be. Jerk.