November 28, 2011

word

slumgullion [sluhm-guhl-yuhn, sluhm-guhl-] n. 1. a stew of meat, vegetables, potatoes, etc. 2. a beverage made weak or thin, as watery tea, coffee or the like 3. the refuse from processing whale carcasses 4. a reddish, muddy deposit in mining sluices

birthday

William Blake (1757), Gary Hart (1936), Randy Newman (1943), Alexander Godunov (1949), Paul Shaffer (1949), Ed Harris (1950), Judd Nelson (1959), Jon Stewart (1962), Anna Nicole Smith (1967)

standpoint

Today, I’m sharing some videos. You may have seen them before but you may have not. So just shut up and watch.

Delta Airline Ebonics Commercial

Funny Siri Commercial Parody

The Kids in the Hall’s King of Empty Promises

Quick Change Mexican Joust Scene

quotation

First think I look at? The face. Always the face. She’s gotta be pretty. Without pretty, I don’t care how good the body is. Bar rules don’t apply here. ↔ Arny Freytag

tune

If you’ve ever had a bar “where everyone knows your name,” well, then you’ll most likely understand “Radio Bar” by Fountains of Wayne.

gallimaufry

→ What is going on here? Is Philadelphia growing up? No one’s throwing batteries or snowballs or cheesesteaks? What will the rest of the country think? Someone better get down there and do something embarrassing and, at the very least, get people talking about something other than the epic season the Philadelphia Eagles are having.

The Lego Millennium Falcon. Cooler than most people’s cars.

→ I won’t be posting tomorrow. But there will be a post on Wednesday. Count on it…

November 23, 2011

word

bibliophage [bib-lee-uh-feyj] n. an ardent reader; a bookworm

birthday

William H. “Billy the Kid” Bonney (1859) (most likely inaccurate), Boris Karloff (1887), Harpo Marx (1888), Bruce Hornsby (1954), Chris Hardwick (1971), Miley Cyrus (1992)

standpoint

I’ve watched a lot of movies. And when it comes to movies there’s about a million lists out there of the best this and the worst that and what have you. But one list that’s mostly overlooked is The Biggest Assholes in Movie History. Sure there are a few out there but it’s largely an explored area. So I thought I would weigh in on this topic that is obviously in dire need of address. So here’s my list…so far.

Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker in The Social Network – Usually, Timberlake does his best to look squeaky clean in his cinematic endeavors but I gotta respect the guy for taking this role and doing a great job with it.

Hart Bochner as Harry Ellis in Die Hard – Ok, I know he’s more comic relief than serious asshole but the guy exemplifies every douchebag in the 80s. (Side note: I had no Bochner directed PCU until I had to look him up for this post.)

Matt Damon as Charlie Dillon in School Ties – If you can watch this movie and not want to punch real-life Matt Damon in the face, you’ve got ice water running through your veins.

Gene Hackman as John Herod in The Quick and The Dead – This clip doesn’t really reveal the extent of what a gigantic shithead Hackman plays in this movie but it’s the best scene so I thought I would include it.

William Atherton as Walter Peck in Ghostbusters – Atherton might be a very nice guy in real life but he will always be known for being one of the biggest assholes to ever grace the screen. I could’ve also cited him for Die Hard or Real Genius.

So that’s that. Feel free to comment if you think there are any I’ve overlooked.

quotation

I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land. ↔ Jon Stewart

tune

Here’s the thing about The Muppets: They’re fucking awesome. Even though, they’re not technically members of the human race, they sum up everything great about it. They always assume the best about whatever situation they find themselves in. But they’re also incredibly sarcastic and, at times, they do actually get angry. But, in the end, they always forgive. I love this clip of Jason Segel’s SNL monologue from this past Saturday. (Sorry, you’re going to have to clip on the link. It wouldn’t embed properly.)

gallimaufry

→ Last night, CNN aired the GOP National Security Debate. I listened to most of it as I was preparing this post. When is the GOP going to realize it is doing itself absolutely no service by holding all of these debates? It’s become comical. My favorite part was when Herman Cain addressed Wolf Blitzer as “Blitz.” Here’s an article on some of the other gaffes from last night’s hi-jinks.

→ I know I’m probably beating this to death but what else is new? Yesterday, on 97.5 The Fanatic, Mike Missanelli interviewed Eric Lindros and John LeClair. During the interview, they discussed their latest charity efforts with CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia), what it was like to play with each other, Lindros’ feelings about his return to the city that shunned him and lots of other stuff.

→ I won’t be posting again until sometime next week. Happy Thanksgiving!

November 7, 2011

word

quean [kween] n. 1. an overly forward, impudent woman; shrew; hussy 2. a prostitute 3. British Dialect. a girl or young woman, especially a robust one

birthday

Leon Trotsky (1879), Albert Camus (1913), Billy Graham (1918), Joni Mitchell (1941), David Petraeus (1952), King Kong Bundy (1957), Dana Plato (1964), Morgan Spurlock (1970)

standpoint

There’s very few bars left that allow smoking, and the place where I work is not one of them but here’s a curious little side effect to the smoking ban: people bringing their small infant or child to the bar. It’s always a younger couple meeting up with childless friends. They’ll come in and announce, “Oh, we don’t need a table, we’re just gonna hang at the bar. Is that cool?” Despite the suggestions of the staff that they might be more comfortable at a table, they insist that (a) their baby is so well-behaved, he or she will be fine in the carrier and will most likely sleep the entire time and (b) other places let them do it all of the time (a lie) and there’s never a problem (another lie).

And 99.9% of the time, the first 30 minutes are uneventful. But inevitably, the crying starts or, worse, the shouting out of incomprehensible words and phrases. Yes, I fully understand this is what children do. It is not lost on me.

But lots of people who come to sit at a bar are doing so precisely because it’s supposed to be a child-free zone. They desire to eat a meal in peace while participating in some adult conversation. And, while they may smile politely each time a baby is disrupting that peace, they secretly (and sometimes not so secretly) wish the people who brought the baby would use a little common sense and remove themselves from the area. But that rarely happens. Instead, they’ll most likely spring the baby from the carrier and place he or she on top of the bar, creating an even bigger spectacle. The parents are under the impression that since they firmly believe their baby is the most amazing specimen to ever draw breath, everyone else will feel the exact same way with the proper exposure. And it never works out that way. The other customers begin to mutter under their breath or ask for their bill and leave. When the couple finally do pack up shop and leave (with the baby, of course) everyone looks at me and asks questions like, “Since when are babies allowed at the bar?” or “How can people be so oblivious?” I have no answer for these questions because to answer them would be violating basic hospitality business axioms that state you shouldn’t badmouth customers to other customers.

But if I allowed myself to say whatever I wanted, it might go something like this: “When you have a baby, one of the main things you’re giving up, unless you find someone to babysit, is the ability to sit at a bar and drink. It’s different if you come in at 2:30 in the afternoon while the bar is empty and want to get a quick bite to eat during off time. But when you come in at 6:00 pm and want to prop your baby up in his or her carrier on a barstool and have multiple drinks, well, I’m sorry but that’s not okay. There’s such a thing as common courtesy and those kinds of parents need to look into it.”

I’ll never say anything like that to my customers but something needs to be said eventually.

quotation

When love is not madness, it is not love. ↔ Pedro Calderón de la Barca

tune

My buddy Tim loves this song. I gotta agree with him, it’s pretty solid. Like Stars meets The Pogues. Here’s “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men.

gallimaufry

→ Holy shit. This clip from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart would’ve probably been good enough with just Donald Trump’s idiotic comments but Ann Coulter makes me want to move to another country.

→ What a great example of damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t.

→ If you’re looking for an incredibly obvious news story, look no further and just click here.

→ Sorry, everyone, no sports coverage today. I know you were dying for it.

05.11.09 – Monday

Word: raconteur [rak-uhn-tur] n. a person who is skilled in relating stories and anecdotes interestingly

Birthday: Chang and Eng Bunker (1811), Charles W. Fairbanks (1852), Irving Berlin (1888), Martha Graham (1894), Salvador Dalí (1904), Louis Farrakhan (1933), David Gest (1953), Martha Quinn (1959), Natasha RIchardson (1963), Laetitia Casta (1978)

Standpoint: Nowadays, everyone has an opinion on everything. It’s nearly impossible to share anything of interest with anyone without a follow-up correlation or some other form of one-upping. During the course of any given day, if you were to count the instances you hear a sentence that starts with, “They say that…”, or “I just read about…”, the number could conceivably end up nonsensically high.

In this day and age, the onslaught of information is dwarfed only by the amount of opinion it generates.  

One problem is many people don’t understand that some (probably most) “information” they’re being fed is based in fact the way that Star Wars was based in fact. Meaning that much of what you’re watching or reading has the potential to be true, but not necessarily right now. Every media outlet, from CNN to The New York Times to Fox News, is working an angle and/or pushing an agenda. Whatever’s behind it, boosting viewer ratings or selling more newspapers or attempting to influence your politics, all of your news stories come with, at the very least, some small degree of slant. 

Another problem is even more people fail to grasp that just because there’s a man on the television screen discussing his thoughts on a particular matter, it doesn’t make him an authority on anything except his own opinion. That goes for Jon Stewart as much as it does Glenn Beck, two individuals who receive equal amounts of  unwarranted credbility. (Although in Stewart’s defense, he understands his show is primarily for entertainment purposes, while Beck seems totally unaware that his show produces just as many laughs.) Television personalities are both charismatic and persuasive. With a viewer-friendly, professional presentation and use of the proper words at the right time, it’s remarkably easy to take in the thoughts of these “experts” and register them as fact.  

From all the reporting we’re led to believe is factual and the infinite amount of commentary that inevitably follows, it’s entirely possible that we’ve come to know so much that we actually know less. The pursuit of the truth has been replaced by the pursuit of who’s right. And it may not be the fault of those presenting the information. It’s likely that, due to the countless variations offered on “what’s really going on,” you are now afforded the opportunity to simply accept whichever version better falls in line with what you truly want to believe, whatever that may be.

For example, in the case of the issue of global warming, you can side with either (a) those who think that the rise of greenhouse gases is manmade or (b) those who think it’s part of the natural cycle of Earth’s ecosystem. There’s no proving the wrong side. Each side employs science, largely assumed to be infallible in terms of fact, to prove its point. In effect, both sides enjoy the satisfaction of knowing they’re right. Therefore, you’re allowed to pick the perspective you’re more comfortable swallowing, and then, you’re also right. One nice perk that stems from such a scenario is that you can switch sides whenever you want, and, like magic, you’re still right. Sounds pretty great, right?

Well. Not entirely. If we’ve created a world where all fact and opinion are simultaneously true, how are we ever going to figure out what’s not working and move forward? We won’t. And, what’s worse, no one really seems to mind. Maybe in those movies about apocalyptic futures, it wasn’t war that destroyed the human race. It might’ve been that we reached a point where we were able to stop one another from doing anything remotely useful.

Quotation: Every improvement in communication makes the bore more terrible. Frank Moore Colby

Tune: Only music snobs will argue that Illinois’ Hum is not a “one-hit wonder.” If I was going to have only one song that everyone would remember, I would definitely want it to sound something like “Stars.”

Gallimaufry: Check out oddee.com’s list of 15 Strangest Foods and decide which one you would definitely not eat. Mine’s the dried lizards. ∞ Meet Saya, the world first robotic teacher. Now students won’t even have to use their brains to come up with clever ways to cheat. Sweet. ∞ It’s official. There are no more conversations in which the topics of Facebook and Twitter aren’t breached. Even Pentagon briefings.

Incoming: Tomorrow – I’ll find out if it’s possible to do a Google image search without eventually running into porn. Later in the week – My first interview, Annoying Sayings & Misused Words and much much more.

03.20.09 – Friday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: halcyon [hal-see-uhn] adj. 1. calm; peaceful; tranquil  2. rich; wealthy; prosperous  3. happy; joyful; carefree

Birthday: Napoleon II (1811), Henrik Ibsen (1828), Ozzie Nelson (1906), Jack Barry (1918), Carl Reiner (1922), Fred Rogers (1928), Hal Linden (1931), Lee “Scratch” Perry (1936), Jerry Reed (1937), Paul Junger Witt (1943), Pat Riley (1945), Bobby Orr (1948), William Hurt (1950), Jimmie Vaughn (1951), Spike Lee (1957), Holly Hunter (1958), Sting (1959), A.J. Jacobs (1968), Michael Rappaport (1970)

Occurrence: 1985Libby Riddles becomes the first female ever to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Women everywhere rejoice. Dogs everywhere still pissed.

Standpoint: Why? That’s the only question I have for Joaquin Phoenix. Furthermore, that’s probably the question the dude should’ve asked himself before deciding to retire from acting to become the next Matisyahu, with brother-in-law Casey Affleck in tow to film the whole debacle. Has Phoenix never heard of Keanu Reeves? Jared Leto? Juliette Lewis? Don Johnson? They’re all actors who tried their hands in the music biz and came up with less-than-spectacular results. (Oddly enough, the same doesn’t hold true for musicians who make the leap into acting. See Will Smith, Jon Bon Jovi, Queen Latifah, Justin Timberlake.) Hopefully, the talented actor regains his senses and comes back from his trip to Jupiter. Odds are he will. After the novelty of his act wears off, people will stop buying tickets and Phoenix will undoubtedly have to return to acting. Just a matter of time.

Quotation: I don’t think that there are any limits to how excellent we could make life seem.Jonathan Safran Foer

Stupefaction: In Florida, scientists are firing rockets at lightning. Seriously. I hate to ruin the ending for you but the lightning won, remaining the undefeated champ of shit you don’t wanna screw around with.

Tune: Be honest. If you went to high school or college in the 90s, there was at least one time you drove around with the windows down listening to “I’m Free” by The Soup Dragons.

Link: FutureMe – Send an email to your future self.

Weekend (Fridays only): Do you long to hear 80s music sung by an all-male chorus? I thought so. Check out “That 80s Show” performed by the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus at Prince’s Music Theater tonight and tomorrow night…For all of you with little ones, The Berenstain Bears’ Family Matters starts this weekend at the Walnut Street Theatre For Kids and runs through April 4th…Also on Saturday, why not check out one of the few remaining home games of The Philadelphia Phantoms as they take on the Binghamton Rangers at the Wachovia Spectrum – 7:05pm…Amazingly, tickets are still available for Morrisey’s show at The Academy of Music this Sunday (3/22) starting 8:00pm.

Gallimaufry: This week, California took time out of its busy schedule fighting gay marriage (see Prop 8) to debate whether legalizing marijuana would properly stimulate its flailing economy. Now there’s a debate worthy of everyone’s time and energy…March Madness is officially upon us and I still don’t care…I haven’t completely wrapped my head around it (who has?) but this bailout process reminds me of a video I once saw where a log sunk into quicksand…Want to feel better about yourself by listening to an audio clip of someone sounding like a jackass? Check out Lou Dobbs’ rant about St. Patrick’s Day…Following up on yesterday’s post, here is a link to the entire interview Jon Stewart conducted with Jim Cramer on The Daily Show…That’s it for me this week. Come back Monday for some more.

03.05.09 – Thursday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: wonky [wong-kee] adj. British slang 1. shaky, groggy or unsteady  2. unreliable; not trustworthy

Birthday: Rex Harrison (1908), Tommy Tucker (1933), Dean Stockwell (1936), Eddy Grant (1948), Penn Jilette (1955), Andy Gibb (1958), Joel Osteen (1963), Michael Irvin (1966), John Frusciante (1970), Kevin Connolly (1974), Eva Mendes (1974)

Occurrence: 1836Samuel Colt made the first production model .34-caliber revolver, facilitating murders everywhere.

Irksome: Yesterday, I caught a little bit of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” As usual, I was entertained. During one of the segments of the show, Stewart was openly mocking President Obama’s new timeline for removing our troops from Iraq. Later in the day, I was telling a friend of mine about it. His reaction? “Dude. That’s messed up. Obama hasn’t even been in office two months and Stewart is already turning on him?” My response? Absolutely. I think the initial overwhelming joy that the people of this country felt (including me) seeing a man like Barack Obama assume the role of President has made them lose sight of something. We are supposed to question our leaders. When we blindly follow the directives of your leader(s), we will inevitably find ourselves in the exact predicament we were in the past eight years. This is the United States of America, after all. Even a man like President Obama needs to be closely scrutinized by the people he is governing. As you were, Mr. Stewart.

Quotation: A critic is a legless man who teaches running.Channing Pollock

Tidbit: Apparently, right-handed people live an average of nine years longer than left-handed folks. After much deliberation, I could think of nothing clever or witty to say about that fact. Except that I’m right-handed. Sucks for all you lefties out there.

Song: Ever hear a song and think that, even though the person who wrote it has never met you, you could’ve written it yourself? Sure you have. That is exactly what I thought the first time I heard “Beautiful Beat” by Nada Surf.

Link: Funny Or Die – A wide assortment of clever stuff including Literal Video and the Will Ferrell landlord sketch. Check it out.

Gallimaufry: SHAMELESS PLUG – Ezgi is a good friend of mine who writes a very entertaining blog about what goes on in her most-cynical mind. Click HERE and get an insight into a one of the greatest, strangest people I know…Speaking of President Obama, click HERE to read Helene Cooper’s article in the New York Times about how the guy is already starting to get gray hairs from the stress…Updating my thoughts on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”, I am still on the fence but closer to liking it than I was before. I know you all were wondering.