12.21.09 – A Monday

WORD

exiguous [ig-zig-yoo-uhs, ik-sig-] adj. scanty; meager; small; slender: exiguous income

BIRTHDAY

Roger Williams (1603), Josh Gibson (1911), Joe Paterno (1926), Phil Donahue (1935), Jane Fonda (1937), Frank Zappa (1940), Samuel L. Jackson (1948), Jeffrey Katzenberg (1950), Chris Evert (1954), Jane Kaczmarek (1955), Ray Romano (1957), Florence Griffith Joyner (1959), Andy Dick (1965), Kiefer Sutherland (1966), Julie Delpy (1969)

STANDPOINT

In the spirit of the holiday season, I’m going to share 4 things I’m pretty sure everyone should do at one point in their lives.

  1. Split a bottle of Booker’s Bourbon with a good friend(s). Of course, the person you decide to share it with should be a bourbon fan.  In my opinion, Booker’s is peerless. Enthusiasts describe it as “oaky,” and “smoky,” and, I guess, they’re probably right. I describe it as “delicious.” And, no worries, I’m not one of those who’d make you feel like a geek for diluting it with your beverage of choice (i.e. Coke or Ginger Ale), but it’s just really good all by its lonesome. There’s something to be said for sitting down with a buddy, watching a hockey game and polishing off a bottle of Booker’s. But be careful, it will render you inebriated, no matter how much you think of your tolerance for alcohol. You’ll have to trust me when I tell you I know of what I speak. So go out and grab a bottle, invite over a person or persons you deem up for it and, for your own sake, don’t plan on driving until at least the next morning.
  2. Listen to an unknown music catalog. You have a musical artist or band you’ve always intended on getting to know better, but it’s never happened. Life gets in the way. You forget about it. Once in a while, you’re reminded of it and you tell yourself you’re going to get some of the artist’s/band’s albums and do something like dedicating all of your drive-time to work in exploring each and every song they offer. Last year, after putting it off forever, I spent a couple of rainy days, holed up in my house listening to everything I could download by Guided By Voices. Everyone always told me I’d be into GBV. I didn’t think they we’re lying. And, it turned out they were right. So if you have the time and the inclination, I recommend you give yourself the gift of the possibility of some new favorite music. If you need some suggestions, let me know. I’m full of them.
  3. Even when it’s unpopular, go to bat for a friend you know is worthy of your defense. This one’s a bit more vague but I think everyone’s been exposed to a situation in which you’re positively certain a friend of yours is getting a raw deal. And, most likely, he’s a victim of the flawed consensus of other folks you call “friends.” Stand up for the underdog, even at risk to your own good standing. In the long run, or possibly sooner, you’ll feel good about your decision and yourself. Plus, it’s always a really great to wind up being right.
  4. Make yourself uncomfortable on purpose. You’re like everyone else. You’re able to imagine a specific set of circumstances and conclude it’d be pretty close to your worst fucking nightmare. But you should get over it. It’s never as bad as you conjure. If you’re afraid of heights, go to an amusement park and make yourself get on every single ride. If you’re homophobic, go to a bar or an event with a heavy concentration of homosexuals. If you scared to death of speaking in front of a group of people, volunteer yourself at work to make the next big presentation. Your imagination always presents you with every possible idea of what can go wrong. Luckily, life doesn’t usually work like that and, while there may be a hiccup or two or three, you’ll come out of it as something better than you were.

OK, those are my ideas. Tell us some of yours.

QUOTATION

You may delay, but time will not.Benjamin Franklin

TUNE

Right now, in the current state of the music world, we’re decidedly in an exciting time. Gone are the days of record companies and radio stations dictating what we need to listen to. Instead, we’ve an influx of bands that are able to sustain themselves through clever internet marketing and relentless touring. And I, for one, couldn’t be more ecstatic about it. There’s lot of great music out there in the world, folks, and, now more than ever, it’s not impossible to discover. Check out Mock Orange‘s “Song in D.” Tell me you find nothing good about it. And then I’ll call you a liar.

GALLIMAUFRY

Apparently, the entire time Steven Seagal has been making mediocre movies (save for the classic Under Siege), he’s been an actual law enforcement officer in Jefferson Parish, LA. A&E is now airing episodes of Steven Seagal Lawman, documenting the action star on patrol. While the cynical part of me would love to dismiss Seagal as just another attention hungry celebrity, I’m inclined to think the dude’s doing something he actually believes in. And I’m more than down with that.

→ Yesterday, actress Brittany Murphy, 32, died of what initially appears to be natural causes. Not sure about all of that, but she was way too young and it’s sad, no matter the cause.

→ After firing head coach John Stevens, bringing in new head coach Peter Laviolette and getting key players Simon Gagne and Blair Betts back from injury, the Philadelphia Flyers seem no closer to shaking loose of its current state of free-fall. 12 losses in the last 15 games. Not exactly acceptable for a team boasting the likes of Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Daniel Briere, Chris Pronger and Kimmo Timonen. Sure, goalie Ray Emery is out for a while, but one could make an argument that the play of backup Brian Boucher has been better. Bottom line, the team’s going to have do something sooner than later if this all continues. Most likely, it’ll result in Jeff Carter wearing another jersey.

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09-04-11: A Friday

Word

candor [kan-der] n. 1. the state or quality of being frank, open, and sincere in speech or expression; candidness: The candor of the speech impressed the audience 2. freedom from bias; fairness; impartiality: to consider an issue with candor

Birthday

Anton Bruckner (1824), Mickey Cohen (1913), Henry Ford II (1917), Paul Harvey (1918), Forrest Carter (1925), Dick York (1928), Clive Granger (1934), Raymond Floyd (1942), Tom Watson (1949), Khandi Alexander (1957), David Drew Pinsky (Dr. Drew) (1958), Kim Thayil (1960), Damon Wayans (1960), Mike Piazza (1968), Dave Buchwald (1970), Ione Skye (1971), Beyoncé Knowles (1981)

Standpoint

With the return of the NFL season, we are inevitably going to be forced to face the dreaded return of NFL commentary and game announcing. Here are a few things that bug the shit out of me routinely on Sunday and Monday Night (and occasionally Thursday night).

Keys To The Game – Right before the kickoff of each and every game, the expert announcers rattle off something called the “Keys to the Game.” Usually, these “Keys” are the factors the entire production staff has figured out one team will need to do to win the game. Most of the time, it boils down to three bulletpoints that usually translate into (a) limiting the other team’s scoring to as much as possible, while on the other hand, (b) scoring as many points as possible, and (c) not taking stupid penalties. Concepts easily grasped by anyone who has a rudimentary understanding of how a competitive game actually works.

The On-Field Interview – Usually, some newbie sportscaster is relegated to the sidelines for the duration of the game. This person is usually asked, in whatever kind of weather, to comment on things like “the feel of the crowd,” or “the mood on the bench.” But the sideline reporter’s time to shine is definitely the on-field interview where he or she gets the opportunity to ask the coach, either right before the game or the second half starts, a supposedly poignant question like, “Coach, your team is down 42-7. What’s your strategy for the second half.” The coach will normally respond with something like, “Well, I had a talk with the guys during halftime and I think you’re going to see a different football team out there in the second half.” Translation? “Well, I went into the locker room and threatened everyone within an inch of their life and I’m pretty sure the entire team knows I’m absolutely serious about killing them and everyone they know if the other team scores one more fucking point. But, honestly, I gotta say I’m ecstatic you stopped me to chat. Besides picking you up over my head and throwing you as far as humanly possible, it’s difficult to conjure anything else I’d rather be doing right now.”

The In-The-Booth GuestMonday Night Football is the main culprit here. Whatever city the MNF game is in, some famous person gets scheduled to come up and chat about the game with the commentators. A nice idea. The only problem is that everyone involved in the conversation eventually gets wrapped up in whatever the hell it is they’re talking about and we get to hear Kiefer Sutherland talk about all intense action on the upcoming season of 24 while, on the field, some guy is breaking a 90-yard touchdown run.

Tony Siragusa“The Goose” can make even the most exciting game kind of suck. Waddling around the sidelines and making ill-informed, unfunny, random observations is apparently something you can get paid for. Even in this economy.

Quotation

Among creatures born into chaos, a majority will imagine an order, a minority will question the order, and the rest will be pronounced insane.Robert Brault

Tune

Brendan Benson has recently gained fame as part of the Jack White-led outfit The Raconteurs. But he’s been around for years, making outstanding music all by himself. His latest release, My Old, Familiar Friend, is no exception. Try “A Whole Lot Better.”

Gallimaufry

→ About seven years ago, poolside on some cruise ship, I read “Video-Game Character Wondering Why Heartless God Always Chooses ‘Continue'” and became convinced that The Onion was the funniest periodical of all time. I actually spit out my banana daquiri when I read, “But sometimes, like when I suicidally attack dozens of armed guards with only my bare hands, it seems that God is putting me through hell merely to amuse Himself. It just doesn’t make sense.” Trust me. It’s funny in context. Go read it if you don’t believe me.

→ To the depths of my core, I’m a huge Star Wars fan. I don’t go to conventions or sleep out for any kind of tickets, but it’s likely I know more about George Lucas‘ epic than you do. Geeky? Yes. Let’s move on. I’m no idiot. Nor am I blind or deaf. So I understand there are fundamental plot faults in everything, including my much beloved Star Wars. For more information on this topic, please read “7 Classic Star Wars Characters Who Totally Dropped The Ball.”

→ I’ve worked in the restaurant business my entire adult life and can testify that most of “Five Secrets Restaurants Don’t Want You to Know” is absolutely true. Except for the “Be Wary of Fish” part. Never once heard of that happening.

The 2009 MTV Movie Awards – Good & Bad

Sunday night, I sat down to watch the 2009 MTV Movie Awards. Funny thing. Once upon a time, I’d steer clear of all award shows, but I like Andy Samberg (who hosted this year’s show) and so I decided to check it out.

I watched it in its entirety. And while it felt kind of dirty, I’m glad I did. I was equally entertained and disgusted – usually alternating back and forth between the two feelings in the span of just under a minute. At times, I was pleased – usually by something involving Samberg. Just as often, however, I was displeased – usually by something involving the movie Twilight, which won just about all the awards. (Even Samberg and some of the presenters seemed a little put-off by all the attention the tweener vampire flick was receiving.)

Here are me thoughts on some moments from the 2009 MTV Movies Awards:

  • “Cool Guys Don’t Look At Explosions” – My second favorite part of the show. Samberg and Will Ferrell (as Neil Diamond) perform something typically spoofy proclaiming, “the flames are hot but their hearts are chill,” amidst a montage of cool guys (Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Iron Man) not looking at explosions. I think the keyboard solo actually tied the whole thing together for me.
  • Sacha Baron Cohen-Eminem FiascoSacha Baron Cohen is fucking annoying. I know. I’m supposed to watch his prankster antics and find them unbelievably mortifying/clever. But I don’t. If that lessens me in your eyes, I’m prepared to deal with that. When Cohen (as his gay alter-ego Bruno) descended onto Eminem and proceeded to plant his ass in the rapper’s face, I was hoping that Slim Shady’s entourage was going to make the whole night worthwhile and murder Cohen. No such luck. The douchebag survived.
  • Forest Whitaker Singing “Dick in a Box” – Easily my favorite part of the show. LeAnn Rimes and Chris Isaak were great paying homage to Samberg’s Digital Shorts “Jizz In My Pants” and “Lazy Sunday” but Whitaker’s interpretation of “Dick in a Box” was almost better than the original. Truly. I think it’s safe to say everyone is now in on the whole absurdist comedy wave.
  • Miley Cyrus Wins “Best Song In A Movie” Award – She beat out four other songs she shouldn’t have. Her acceptance speech illustrated why we as a society need to ban against the talentless, unsexy hack. “I wanna thank God! Hellllooooooo? The only reason I’m here!” Thanks, God. We owe you one.
  • Ben Stiller Receiving the “MTV Generation Award”Kiefer Sutherland, Zac Efron and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog presented the award to Stiller. It was very much like a roast with Efron saying things like, “You sell out the theaters without selling out.” Triumph obsessed over Stiller’s resemblance to different primates. Sutherland broke down, sat on the edge of the stage and addressed Stiller directly in a “heartfelt” testimonial of his admiration. Sutherland went on for about two minutes too long. To his credit, Stiller sat through the whole thing without choking any of them. If I was him, I would’ve at least made a run at the dog.

Overall, the show spanned the canvas of everything pop culture. And, while there were some truly sickening/moronic people and ideas out there, it was proof to me there are things happening that just might be worthwhile. Still, when I saw the likes of Cyrus and the dude with the hair from Twilight mixed in with performers with actual real talent, I was forced to wonder if the world of entertainment wasn’t free-falling to some dark, evil place.