07.27.11 – a wednesday

word

handsel [han-suhl] n. 1. a gift or token for good luck or as an expression of good wishes, as at the beginning of the new year or when entering upon a new situation or enterprise 2. a first installment of payment 3. the initial experience of anything; first encounter with or use of something taken as a token of what will follow; foretaste  v. 4. to give a handsel to 5. to inaugurate auspiciously 6. to use, try or experience for the first time

birthday

Samuel Smith (1752), Jerry Van Dyke (1931), Peggy Fleming (1948), Yahoo Serious (1953), Bill Engvall (1957), Juliana Hatfield (1967), Maya Rudolph (1972), Pete Yorn (1974), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (1977)

standpoint

Sorry, no new standpoint today. But tomorrow probably.

quotation

Ten seconds from now you don’t know what you’re gonna say or think. So who’s in charge? ↔ Harry Dean Stanton

tune

I’m sure the hipster community is up in arms, conducting meetings and planning an appropriate course of action against Justin Vernon over “Beth/Rest” the last song on the new Bon Iver album. It may sound like a b-side from Pink Floyd circa 1984 but, shit, I’m digging it.

gallimaufry

→ I saw Matt and Kim perform last night on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and they’re pretty fucking awesome, if I do say so myself.

→ What a complete turnaround. Michael Vick must have the most gifted PR people in the history of folks being famous.

This friggin’ guy and his tiger suit are about as creepy as creepy can get.

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07.13.09 – Monday

Word: facetious [fuhsee-shuhs] adj. 1. not meant to be taken seriously or literally: a facetious remark 2. amusing; humorous 3. lacking serious intent; concerned with something nonessential, amusing, or frivolous: a facetious person

Birthday: Julius Caesar (100 BC), John Jacob Astor IV (1864), Bob Crane (1928), Jack Kemp (1935), Patrick Stewart (1940), Robert Forster (1941), Harrison Ford (1942), Roger McGuinn (1942), Cheech Marin (1946), Tony Kornheiser (1948), Michael Spinks (1956), Cameron Crowe (1957), Phil Margera (1957), Stephen “Steve-O” Gilchrist Glover (1974)

Quotation: What is guilt? Guilt is the pledge drive constantly hammering in our heads that keeps us from fully enjoying the show. Guilt is the reason they put the articles in Playboy.Dennis Miller

Tune: I used to work at a private club where the members (a small percentage of them, at least) played cricket. After deciding to learn everything about how the game was played, I was still disappointed watching it. Not a captivating spectator sport. A few days ago, I stumbled upon The Duckworth Lewis Method, which is a band named after a confusing mathematical formula used to determine “the target score for the team batting second in a one-day cricket or Twenty20 cricket match interrupted by weather or other circumstance.” Yeah. Sounds boring to me, too. But the Irish band, made up of The Divine Comedy‘s Neil Hannon and Pugwash‘s Thomas Walsh, has created an album of cricket-based songs that are most definitely not boring. It’s a theme album, narrating an entire cricket match, which can sometimes last a few days. With my limited knowledge, I can’t make heads or tails of what it’s all supposed to mean. (I’m sure there are many out there who can.) But it’s not all that important. The tracks are all pretty solid. Check out “Flatten The Hay.”

Gallimaufry: In this craptastic economy, it’s likely several of you might be looking for a job. That means going on multiple painful interviews. Before you head out on your next one, read “The 9 Worst Interview Mistakes” from SalesHQ.com. My favorite is the first one on the list – Not Acting Bored or Cocky. Since Michael Jackson’s memorial service last week, which reportedly cost the city of Los Angeles $1.4 million, more and more pundits have been harping on the fact that California is just about broke. However, according to some out there, economic restablization for Gov. Arnold‘s ailing state could be as simple as two logical steps – the legalization of both marijuana and same-sex marriage. Read CBS News.com’s “High Stakes: A Call To Legalize Marijuana” and watch Jimmy Fallon and The Roots Slow Jam The California Economy to see why the two ideas might be something to seriously consider. And not just to help the economy. While I’m on the topic of the death of Michael Jackson (and, I swear, this is definitely the last time I’ll bring it up), there are many out there speculating that the King of Pop faked his own death, thereby joining the ranks of a long list of celebrities (see Elvis Presley, Tupac Shakur, Jim Morrison) who chose the same path. For more on the topic read “Dead Celebrities Crazy People Insist Are Still Alive But In Hiding” by Paste Magazine’s Steve LaBate. Truly eye opening.

03.23.09 – Monday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: jejune (request from Marc Schuster) [ji-joon] adj. 1. without interest or significance; dull; insipid  2. juvenile; immature; childish  3. lacking knowledge or experience  4. deficient or lacking in nutritive value

Birthday: William Kidd (1645), Schuyler Colfax (1823), Joan Crawford (1905), David  Grisman (1945), Ric Ocasek (1949), Ron Jaworski (1951), Chaka Khan (1953), Moses Malone (1955), Amanda Plummer (1957), Hope Davis (1964), Richard Grieco (1965), Yasmeen Ghauri (1971), Keri Russell (1976), Perez Hilton (1978)

Occurrence: 1775Patrick Henry delivers his famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech. It is strange that he said those words while he had his wife, who had gone insane, straitjacketed and locked in a room in the basement since 1772.

Standpoint: Twitter has replaced Facebook as the most talked about social networking site on the web. This past week, “tweets” (Twitter’s 140 character status updates) were big news. During the weekend festivities at SXSW, members of many bands (Jane’s Addiction, The Decemberists, Grizzly Bear – to name a few) were keeping their followers constantly updated before, during and after their shows. Shaquille O’Neal announced before the Phoenix Suns’ Saturday night game against the Washington Wizards that he was going to tweet something big during halftime. (Later, he found out that his coach knew about it and simply typed the message, “Shhhhhhh.”) Someone even jeopardized a job she had been offered after bad-mouthing the proposed employer in a tweet. Whether we like it or not, we’re living in a pretty amazing/insane time. Cell phones make sure that everyone is constantly accessible. Facebook makes it possible for everyone to stay friends until death or account deactivation. Now Twitter affords people the ability to follow the actual events of someone’s daily life. The globe is shrinking and there’s no end in sight.

Quotation: Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.Douglas Adams

Stupefaction: United States Armed Forces have turned down 48,000 potential recruits since 2005 due to obesity.

Tune: If you’ve recently been the victim of a bad break-up, trying doing what I did last time a relationship went awry – listen to “Rootless Tree” by Damien Rice about 400 per day. ATTENTION: IF YOU ARE LISTENING TO THIS AT WORK, DON’T PLAY AT A HIGH VOLUME. CURSE WORDS ARE SUNG LOUDLY.

Link: Multicolr Search Lab – Find images employing your favorite colors.

Gallimaufry: I am still watching “Kings” and enjoying it…This past weekend, Nicholas Cage’s new movie, “Knowing”, opened. I haven’t seen it but is Cage going to make another viable film? Not sure, but I’m of the opinion that he needs to sit down and figure out a way to star in a movie that doesn’t suck. The Washington Post’s John Anderson has more to say about the actor’s once-great careerThe Onion is chronicling President Obama’s first 100 days in office. My favorite so far? Day 42…Anyone catch the Morrissey show last night in Philadelphia? If so, I would love to hear how it was. He’s on “Late with Jimmy Fallon” tonight.

03.12.09 – Thursday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: quiddity [kwid-i-tee] noun 1. the quality that makes a thing what it is; the essential nature of a thing  2. a trifling nicety of subtle distinction, as in argument

Birthday: Simon Newcomb (1835), Julia Lennon (1914), Jack Kerouac (1922), Billie “Buckwheat” Thomas (1931), Al Jarreau (1940), Sammy “The Bull” Gravano (1945), Liza Minnelli (1946), Mitt Romney (1947), James Taylor (1948), Ron Jeremy (1953), Courtney B. Vance (1960), Aaron Eckhart (1968), Graham Coxon (1969), Dave Eggers (1970)

Occurrence: 2001 – Talk-show host Morton Downey, Jr. dies. Geez. Remember that frickin’ guy?

Irksome: For the past few years, I’ve made it a point to collect the little rectangular scraps of paper found inside Chinese fortune cookies. Normally, it is an inspirational little number like, “When winter comes heaven will rain success on you.” It’s nice. Makes me look forward to the  winter months and the raining of my unavoidable success. Never mind that it should be snowing in winter, the sentiment is still a pleasant one. It’s inviting to read something that makes me feel good about myself after stuffing my face with questionable food. Lately, though, an odd trend has emerged. Here are three “fortunes” I’ve recently received: “Make two grins grow where there was only a grouch before.” “The universe without music would be madness.” “The speed of the leader determines the rate of the pack.” Huh? What kind of inspiration is this? What exactly is happening down at the fortune cookie factory? Thinking of a universe gone mad due to the absence of music is not something I particularly want to think about while digesting my sesame chicken. Fortune cookies are free, so bitching about it seems kind of pointless but would it be too much to ask for a corny little saying that makes me smirk instead of some abstract statement that launches me and my dinner companions into four-hour debate on how to turn a grouch into two grins? I don’t think it is.

Quotation: What’s in store for me in the direction I don’t take?Jack Kerouac

Soupçon: Everyone knows how to play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Research done by the University of Virginia’s Brett Tjaden suggest it is easier to play the Six Degrees game with over 650 other actors including Martin Sheen, Elliott Gould and Gene Hackman. The number one actor play Six Degrees with? Rod Steiger. You can read all about it in Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point.

Tune: I can’t decide if I like The Fray’s cover of “The Great Beyond.” R.E.M.’s original version has always been one of my favorite songs.

Link: 2Man Advantage – an always interesting and sometimes funny daily NHL blog.

Gallimaufry: WXPN 88.5, based at The University of Pennsylvania, airs The World Café with David Dye every weekday at 2pm. Great combination of otherwise unavailable music and superb interviewing by Dye makes it one of the best radio shows in the free world…Late Night with Jimmy Fallon update: I am still watching. Fallon seems to be getting a little more at ease with playing host. Don’t look now, but he might be coming into his own…Bristol Palin, daughter of Alaska governor Sarah Palin, and her fiancé have broken up. Didn’t see that one coming, did ya?

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.

03.04.09 – Wednesday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: aposiopesis [ap-uh-sahy-uhpee-sis] n. a sudden breaking off in the midst of a sentence, as if from inability or unwillingness to proceed

Birthday: Anthony Vivaldi (1687), Knute Rockne (1888), Shemp Howard (1895), Paul Mauriat (1925), Bobby Womack (1944), James Ellroy (1948), Catherine O’Hara (1954), Adrian Zmed (1954), Steven Weber (1961), Kevin Johnson (1966), Evan Dando (1967)

Occurrence: 1634 – The first tavern is opened in Boston, Massachusetts by Samuel Cole. The first of hundreds of thousands.

Irksome: I’m not going to bail after one show but Late Night with Jimmy Fallon is not really doing it for me so far. Mr. Fallon seems like an affable guy and his nervous energy was funny on SNL but he needs to lose a little bit of that awkwardness. Conan O’Brien mastered walking the line between acting confident and playing the geek. Fallon must do the same to capture the late night crowd, especially on the East Coast, where obviously more will be expected of him. I did like The Roots as the house band and the “Slow-Jam the News” of the stimulus package definitely made me laugh. I know Jimmy is capable of more than he showed me Monday night. I just hope he gets the chance to prove it.  

Quotation: Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.Horace Mann

Tidbit: Yesterday, March 3rd 2009, was a Square Root Day. Third (3) day of the third (3) month of 2009 (9). 3×3=9. The next one is April 4th, 2016. Start planning your square root parties accordingly. I like Miller Lite.

Song: Last summer, I listened to the Public Enemy song, “Harder Than You Think” about 9 million times. I’m not saying you should listen to it that many times. But I don’t think it’s too much to ask.

Link: swaptree – Do yourself a favor and check this out. The premise of the site is paying for new stuff with stuff you already own. I think it’s a great idea.

Gallimaufry: HERE is the blog of one of my favorite authors, John Sellers. Not only is he a talented writer, he also happens to be a good dude. A few months back, I solicited some advice from John about something I was writing. He replied to me in helpful detail and told me not to hesitate to seek his council in the future. Very cool. Also, while visiting Philadelphia he visited The Dark Horse after he read about it one of my stories…Click HERE to read about Sam Roberts.