04.30.10 – A Friday

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much obliged

Before I get into the last post, I wanted to thank all of you for reading and posting comments to the daily euneJeune. I can’t tell you how much I’ve appreciated all the feedback and support.

For their role, however large or small, they played in making this a rewarding undertaking, I’d like to give a special thanks to the following people: Donika Miller, Marc Schuster, David Frees, John Sellers, Ezgi Bilici, Joe Taylor, John Hay, Kate Jacovino, Jeannie Matamoros, Beth Treisner, Heather Petrovsky, Courtney Papada Daly, Kelly Kampf, Jonathan Chriswell, Bill McLeer, Kristie Attardi, Wynn Sanders, Mike Graveley, Richard O’Connor, Brian McFadden, Kevin Emery, Adam Schwartzberg and Annette Burgess. Your support was huge.

Sorry if you deserved a mention and didn’t get one. Doesn’t mean anything other than I’m forgetful.

Also, a special shout-out goes to Mindninja, or Jen, or whatever the hell your name is, for stalking me for a few months last year. Your unrelenting negativity taught me there’s always going to be someone who flat out disagrees with my perspective. I have no idea who you are, but I have my theories (ex-girlfriend, ex-friend, etc.). Whoever you are, I hope the medication is working.

All right, now to today’s installment.

word

abeyance [uh-bey-uhns] n. 1. temporary inactivity, cessation, or suspension: Let’s hold that problem in abeyance for a while 2. Law. a state or condition of real property in which title is not as yet vested in a known titleholder: an estate in abeyance

birthday

Jean-Baptiste de la Salle (1651), David Thompson (1770), Alice B. Toklas (1877), Percy Heath (1923), Johnny Horton (1925), Cloris Leachman (1926), Willie Nelson (1933), Gary Collins (1938), Burt Young (1940), Jill Clayburgh (1944), Isaiah Thomas (1961), Akon (1973), Johnny Galecki (1975), Kirsten Dunst (1982)

standpoint

It’s finally here. The day I’m closing shop on the euneJeune daily. 14 months ago, I began this to prove to myself I could write something, good or bad, on a daily basis. And, for the most part, I did. I’ll always look back to this blog as something I’m proud of. I’m going to miss it badly.

But life goes on and I need to spend the time I allotted for this and use it for the writing I was meant to. Don’t worry, I won’t be entirely disappearing from the internet. I’ve been invited to be a contributor on Popularity Contest, a blog recently started by my friend Marc Schuster, and I’ll be posting stories on there from time-to-time.

I love Esquire and my favorite section is always “What I’ve Learned.” For my last Standpoint, I’m going to share what I’ve learned about myself, about the internet, about the world, from what I’ve done here.

» Astrology is horseshit. The day of the year someone happens to be born is completely inconsequential. Oskar Schindler and Saddam Hussein share the same birthday. So do Leonardo da Vinci and Seth Rogen, Raphael and Zach Braff, Vincent van Gogh and MC Hammer, James Madison and Erik Estrada. Looking for similarities within those pairings is ridiculous.

» Like most writers, I guess, I have a tendency to concentrate on troublesome people. I’ve focused more on Glenn Beck, Oprah Winfrey and Sarah Palin than I have on Chuck Klosterman, Conan O’Brien and Jack Kerouac. Something I should dwell on for a stretch.

» I have a broader vocabulary than I used to. The other day, I heard someone describe himself as a polemic and I knew exactly what he meant. (He was calling himself a controversialist.)

» The amount of news stories on any given day is staggering. Between the “reputable” sources and the bloggers, it’s fairly easy to find a news story in which the facts are presented just the way you like them. It’s great because no one ever again has to be wrong. Even when they are.

» I challenge you to find any quotations website where Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde and Ralph Waldo Emerson aren’t prominently featured. Go on, I dare you.

» Probably even Zach Rogue thinks I listen to too much Rogue Wave.

» When you write a blog, your greatest friends won’t read it. If you offered my best friend Harvey $1 million to tell you just one thing I wrote about here in the past six months, he’d be forced to forfeit the cash. (I have to say Joe Taylor is an exception to this rule. Or I’d never hear the end of it.)

» If you’re doing anything online that’s in need of promotion and you fail to see the merits of Facebook an Twitter, you need to reconsider. The days where I shared or tweeted my latest post, my traffic was over three times higher than those days I didn’t. The stuff works.

» One thing anyone who writes needs to remember is that there are those out there who internalize everything they read. Because of that, you’ll receive negative and hurtful attacks. Never let the vitriol people spew stop you from expressing yourself. Fuck those people. Wake up tomorrow and keep going.

I’ve learned all that and more. I hope you learned some things, as well.

quotation

Don’t be dismayed by goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends. Richard Bach

tune

For my last post I thought this Elliott Smith song was rather appropriate. Enjoy “A Fond Farewell.”

gallimaufry

→ If you’re not yet reading Hyperbole and a Half, I’m not sure what you’re waiting for. One of the greatest blogs I’ve read.

→ Man, US Senators sure do fancy themselves some meddling. Hey, elected officials, I’ve got to believe there some other problem you can be trying to solve. We’d be in a pretty sweet spot right now if Facebook privacy issues was the country’s highest priority.

This is the closest thing I’ve seen resembling honest journalism in a long, long time.

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11.30.09 – A Monday

WORD

outlier [out-lahy-er] n. 1. a person or thing that lies outside 2. a person residing outside the place of his or her business, duty, etc 3. Geology. a part of a formation left detached through the removal of surrounding parts by erosion

BIRTHDAY

Jonathan Swift (1667), Mark Twain (1835), Lord Frederick Cavendish (1836), Richard Crenna (1926), Robert Guillaume (1927), Dick Clark (1929), G. Gordon Liddy (1930), Abbie Hoffman (1936), Ridley Scott (1937), Terrence Malick (1943), David Mamet (1947), Mandy Patinkin (1952), Billy Idol (1955), Bo Jackson (1962), Ben Stiller (1965), Clay Aiken (1978), Gael García Bernal (1978)

STANDPOINT

Several years ago, when the reality-television craze began kicking its ugly way into our living rooms, I boldly declared, “This won’t last. It’s a fad. It’ll go away.”

Man, was I wrong.

It has lasted. It’s not a fad. And it refuses to go away. As a matter of fact, it’s continuing to grow. From what I can tell, it’s also making society as a whole dumber. So, of course, that fascinates me.

First off, let me say I don’t think all reality-television is bad. Some of it’s actually worthwhile. Top Chef, The Amazing Race, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Those are some I’ve watched without becoming agitated. And that’s inasmuch as those shows are chronicling individuals doing things I can’t (or won’t) do.

For example, Top Chef. I’ve worked in the restaurtant business for almost two decades, in both the front- and back-of-the-house. I’m no chef, but I know my way around a kitchen. Basically, I can make food people like, but not necessarily rave about. So, when I watch Top Chef, I’m entertained because I’m watching individuals do something I can’t, something I find extraordinary. To me, that’s interesting.

In contrast, when I view programs like Big Brother, The Real World, or The Real Housewives of Atlanta, all I see are a group of unexceptional individuals supposedly living lives we’re expected to perceive as somehow “real.” But it’s not at all. Just a collection of nitwits trying to outsmart one another while simultaneously positioning themselves for more camera time.

From the little I’ve seen of Big Brother, it’s never failed to confuse me. Besides the participants, none of which I feed redeemable, and the events, few of which aren’t orchestrated, being actual, what the fuck is so real about it? The answer is exactly none of it. Everyone in the house has a motive. The producers stage events that, without prodding, would never come about. All the footage gets edited to death so the true sequence is lost. To me, that’s uninteresting.

What truly sucks about all of this is that I’m apparently squarely in the minority. I’m relatively sure most of us find things capable of bothering us daily. Also, I was under the impression watching television was supposed to be fun and less bothersome than our daily routines.

If I’m wrong about all this, I’ll accept it. But, before you start popping off on how I’m completely wrong about reality television, I need you to answer the following question: If these shows are so enjoyable, why is it every single conversation I’ve ever heard about them is basically a discussion on which character is more annoying and why?

QUOTATION

This is what politics is to me: Somebody tells you all the trees on your street have a disease. One side says give them food and water and everything will be fine. One side says chop them down and burn them so they don’t infect another street. That’s politics. And I’m going, Who says they’re diseased? And how does this sickness manifest itself? And is this outside of a natural cycle? And who said this again? And when were they on the street? But we just have people who shout, “Chop it down and burn it” or “Give it food and water,” and there’s your two choices. Sorry, I’m not a believer.John Malkovich

TUNE

MewithoutYou is a band from Philadelphia. That’s here. In Pennsylvania. I’ve heard them mentioned from time-to-time, and I think I may have seen the band live once but that might be entirely untrue. In any case, I was recently introduced to the video for “The Fox, The Crow and The Cookie,” and, to put it mildly, it’s pretty fuckin’ great. The song is solid but the whole concept and execution of the video is pretty unique and remarkable.  

CALLIMAUFRY

→ OK, so the whole Tiger Woods car accident thing. I have two questions. (1) Where was Woods going at 2:25am, the morning after Thanksgiving. (2) Why did the wife, after hearing the accident, decide to head out to investigate with a golf club? Woods is going to live to golf another day. He’s fine and that’s great. Truly. Still, everyone’s going to want to discover what really went down. The truth is no one besides Woods and his wife are ever going to know what happened. And, so far, it appears they’re not going to tell. Sadly, for everyone who’s dying to know, it’s bound to become one of those events marked for countless decades of endless speculation. When you’re a billionnaire, you can crash your car and not be expected to give some valid explanation.

Rush Limbaugh is America’s most influential conservative. Still, who cares?

→ No post tomorrow. If you’ve a problem with that, you’ll need to get in line behind my good friend Joe Taylor, who I’ve started affectionately calling “Boss-Man.” OK, I only did it once, but I plan on doing it again real soon.