06.10.11 – a friday

word

lucubrate [loo-kyoo-breyt] v. 1. to work, write or study laboriously, especially at night 2. to write learnedly

birthday

Jacques Marquette (1637), Howlin’ Wolf (1910), Judy Garland (1922), Maurice Sendak (1928), João Gilberto (1931), F. Lee Bailey (1933), John Edwards (1953), Elizabeth Hurley (1965), Mike Doughty (1970)

standpoint

While I’m sitting here trying to think of something irking me to write about, I’m realizing I’m in a genuinely good mood. So, while I normally get pretty irate about now due to all of the inane crap I peruse daily as part of writing this blog, I’m not my usual inflamed self. But I’m gonna give it a try anyway.

These people stole my idea. Let me explain. I remember when I was younger, I dreaded the first and last month of the school year because there was simply no way to adequately air condition a building occupied by several hundred teenagers. It was always uncomfortably hot. I told every faculty member I came into contact with that school should be dismissed because of what I deemed “inhumane conditions.” My suggestions were always met with eye rolls and sighs. Guess I was on to something, huh?

→ After writing that last little blurb, I became aware that I’ve never been able to spell the word adequate without using spell check. I only spelled it write this time because I cheated and looked.

→ I literally haven’t watched a second of Mad Men. Feels good to get that off of my chest.

→ Everyone I know is sick and tired of me talking about (and imitating) this so I’m posting it here in an attempt to get it out of my system. James Spader is ridiculous here.

Okay, I will admit Catherine Tate was almost as good.

→ By the way, who is going to be the new boss on The Office? Anyone got the inside dope?

quotation

If you cannot be a poet, be the poem. ↔David Carradine

tune

As you most likely saw above, today is Mike Doughty‘s birthday and as I do every year on this day, I offer you one of his songs. Here’s “Unsingable Name.”

gallimaufry

What a freakishly sad way to go. Seriously, the odds have to be astronomical on this one.

They needed to conduct a study for this? Whatever happened to just chalking things up to common sense?

This dog earned a million dollars a year. I’m betting she earned every penny.

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03.08.10 – A Monday

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word

narcissism [nahr-suh-siz-em] n. 1. inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity 2. Psychoanalysis. erotic gratification derived from admiration of one’s own physical or mental attributes, being a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development

birthday

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841), Mississippi John Hurt (1892), Alan Hale, Jr. (1921), Lynn Redgrave (1943), Micky Dolenz (1945), Gary Numan (1958), Aidan Quinn (1959), Camryn Manheim (1961), Shawn Mullins (1968), Freddie Prinze, Jr. (1976), James Van Der Beek (1977)

standpoint

I was all ready to go off on The 82nd Annual Academy Awards but if you haven’t yet figured out how much crap The Oscars are, well, then I’m going to have a hard time figuring out a way to let you down easy. So let’s move on, shall we?

“What are your top 5 albums of all time?”

I get this question a lot. Really. For some, this might be something readily apparent. But, for me, not so much. I mean, I’ve albums I’ll never tire of but I’m not sure that’s the proper criteria. I’ve had albums I’ve listened to non-stop for a month or two but inevitably found myself burned out on. There’s also been those I didn’t like at first but sort of grew into and, now, can’t do without. In addition, there’s albums that fit seamlessly into my life at the right place and time but, now, have lost some, if not all, of their meaning.

Listening preferences, from one stage of life to the next, are fickle and subject to change. Or at least they should be. I can’t imagine what it would be like to plug the same exact album into my CD player for the rest of my life. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure that if there’s a hell and I make it there, it’ll be my fate to listen to Led Zeppelin or Yes or Journey or The Steve Miller Band or something similarly dreadful for all of eternity.

The way I see it, listening to music goes hand-in-hand with living life. When someone stops searching for that new sound, that new anything at all, that gets their blood pumping at a different rate than what’s come before, that’s the exact moment someone has concluded that, right then and there, life’s offered all it’s going to. That person is content to listen to the same old songs, wear a Pink Floyd concert t-shirt to summer barbecues and preach about the “fundamental soundness” of classic rock.

And that’s fine for that person. But not for me. I’ve been accused of “liking things no one else knows about” just because no one else knows about them. I’ve been told I probably don’t like the music I listen to and I’m just being different for the sake of being different. Fair enough. Guilty as charged, I guess.

But I’ll never be swayed by anything due to a mild degree of likability, or moderate amount of soundness, and I’ll always be looking for new things to recapture my sense of awe in the world, and not just in music but in all things. That’s how you stay young, no matter what you got going on in that crazy life of yours.

quotation

They’re out there. You can see them in the audience – seemingly witty, attractive and cool. You can imagine talking to them about the short stories of Denis Johnson, or explaining the ever-so-multi-layered metaphors in that one song, the one during which you saw them stifling a lip-sync. Will you ever actually speak to them? Doubt it. Most people that are actually like you think bands are too cool to talk to them. ↔ Mike Doughty

tune

Apparently, I don’t pay as much attention to music as I boast. Turns out, The A-Sides, a Philadelphia band that I really like, broke up about two years ago without letting me know. Not exactly sure why but, hey, shit happens. Two of the guys went on to form a band named Sun Airway. In any case, I always liked “Sidewalk Chalk.”

gallimaufry

Dear Professional Athletes, what in the world is wrong with you? You guys got the money, the fame and every other possible advantage when it comes to attracting pretty much any female you want. Get a grip, will you? Not sure if anyone’s ever explained it to you but women simply frown upon sexual assault. And rightfully so, douchebags. Ever see those relatively unattractive dudes who are dating or married to women they’ve most likely have no business with? Yeah, well, they put in the work and if you did a fraction of it, you’d be level-jumping like the champion you are on the playing field. This is just laziness on your part and, for that, you’re not going to get sympathy on either side of the aisle, male or female.

The City of Brotherly Love has finally come into its own. After all the fighting and scratching and clawing, we’ve got it. That’s right, long considered the benchmark for how big a city truly is, the Red Bull Flugtag is going to grace us with its presence. Not only will you get the opportunity to risk your life by careening off a flight deck in a contraption you made with your best buds evenings after work in your backyard, but you’ll also get to test your body’s ability to fight off infection after a dip in the Delaware River. And I’ll probably be there watching it.

→ I know I’m picking on this lady a little too much lately but I’m certain she’ll have no problem falling asleep tonight on her huge money-stuffed mattress atop her gigantic golden bed.

02.09.10 – A Tuesday

word

soporific [sop-uhrif-ik, soh-puh-] adj. 1. causing or tending to cause sleep 2. pertaining to or characterized by sleep or sleepiness; sleepy; drowsy n. 3. something that causes sleep, as a medicine or drug

birthday

William Henry Harrison (1773)Carmen Miranda (1909), Dean Rusk (1909), Carole King (1942), Joe Pesci (1943), Mia Farrow (1945), Vince Papale (1946), Judith Light (1949), Jim J. Bullock (1955), John Kruk (1961), Travis Tritt (1963), John Walker Lindh (1981)

standpoint

Most everyone I know makes fun of Twitter. And, mostly, I get what they’re saying. It’s confusing to navigate if you don’t take the time to learn how to streamline, which I have. The trick of it is to be selective about who you follow. If you follow everyone who follows you, you’re bound to have a Twitter homepage that makes about as much sense if it was in Russian. (Unless you understand Russian, and then just pick another language, one you’re unfamiliar with.)

So what I’ve made two rules about Twitter. (1) I follow people I know. (2) I follow famous people I find interesting.

Below, I’m going to list 5 people who fall into the second category and an example of one of their typical tweets.

1. Chad OchoCinco (OGOchoCinco) – Before Twitter, I never really cared for the guy. But unless he’s putting on one hell of a show, he seems to be a good dude. TWEET: For those who take life and my twitter feed so serious please unfollow-this is for those who think n live outside the box-OCCN INC.

2. Mike Doughty (MikeDoughtyYeah) – One of my favorite musicians, turns out the guy is a good writer too. TWEET: If you’re gonna get angry in the grocery store line, perhaps a city of 10 million people is not for you.

3. Josh Malina (JoshMalina) – The veteran actor actually found me on Twitter after I made a snide comment about him appearing on some kid show I’ve since forgotten the name of. He took it well. TWEET: It’s spooky, the extent to which Taylor Swift is telling my story through her songs.

4. Michael Ian Black (michaelianblack) – One of the funniest people on the planet. TWEET: “Everything I do, I do it for you.” Even take a shit, Bryan Adams? Even take a SHIT?

5. Chuck Klosterman (CKlosterman) – Come on. You didn’t think I was going to leave him off the list, did you? TWEET: These Dominos employees need thicker skins. That focus group really got to them!

There’s plenty more I follow and, no need to worry, I’ll probably do this again sometime soon. How about you? Got any favorites on Twitter?

quotation

I understand Barack Obama. It is not always easy, but I do. I can even relate to him. Of course, we weren’t supposed  to need to. He was supposed to be above that. He was never supposed to be an everyman, and never pretended to be. He transcended beer tests, barbecue tests, and the rest – the tests of whether he was “likable” enough as a politician. It didn’t matter whether I wanted to have a beer with him or not, and nobody asked. He was Barack Obama. What he represented was much larger than any individual, even himself. It is not necessarily a good thing that I’ve come to understand him. But I do. ↔ Tom Junod

tune

Recently, I watched the fantastic movie Once. Great story and even better music. Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová are real life musicians (they’re the two people who make up The Swell Season) playing struggling musicians in Dublin. Check out “Say It To Me Now.”

gallimaufry

I knew it. Eventually someone would find that beer is actually good for you. It was just a matter of time.

→ Some people hate the snow. Some people are idiots. This past Friday-Saturday we received the second biggest snowstorm in Philadelphia history. And it appears there will be more starting today at 3pm.

→ Yesterday, we got FiOS here in our apartment. From what little I’ve seen so far, I like it about nine times more than I did Comcast.

11.10.09 – A Tuesday

WORD

animus [anuh-muhs] n. 1. strong dislike or enmity; hostile attitude; animosity 2. purpose; intention; animating spirit 3. (in the psychology of C. G. Jung) the masculine principle, esp. as present in women

BIRTHDAY

Martin Luther (1483), Winston Churchill (1871), Russell Johnson (1924), Richard Burton (1925), Ennio Morricone (1928), Roy Scheider (1932), Russell Means (1939), Saxby Chambliss (1943), Tim Rice (1944), Sinbad (1956), Linda Cohn (1959), Mackenzie Phillips (1959), Neil Gaiman (1960), Michael Jai White (1967), Tracy Morgan (1968), Warren G. (1970), Brittany Murphy (1977), Eve (1978), Miranda Lambert (1983)

STANDPOINT

While I’m not writing this blog or reading a book or doing something of a social nature or whatever the hell else I feel like, I am a bartender. I like being a bartender. I like serving drinks, talking to people and making them laugh. It’s important to like what you do. For those of you out there who don’t like your chosen occupation, get out while you still can. That’s my advice to you. So there.

In any case, there’s one aspect of bartending that grates on my fucking nerves – listening to people drone on and on about something that matters so little to everyone everywhere and no one yet realizes it.

Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of pointless nonsense about one subject in particular. You see, I bartend in a little town called Skippack. Down the road a ways is a slightly-larger, but no more important, town named Collegeville, cleverly because of the fact Ursinus College is located within it.

But nowadays, no one’s talking about Ursinus. To be fair, it’s likely they weren’t anyway. Nevertheless, there’s only one thing everyone wants to talk about no matter what: the grand opening of the Wegmans, a supermarket that, apparently, has the ability to capture the collective consciousness of everyone within a 45-minute drive.

It’s all anyone can talk about. So automatically I hate it. In general, I have a problem with anything that no one has a problem with. That’s mainly my problem with almost everything.

Here’s the thing. I don’t want to talk about a place you can go to buy food. (a) I’m not particularly dazzled by recollections of an, until now, never before seen selection of cheese. Also, (b) I’m not entirely impressed by the fact there’s a pub inside a supermarket. In addition, (c) I’m not remotely interested in the largest selection of seafood in the area. (These three things, by the way, are almost always offered as the main reasons one would ever go to Wegmans, although not the only ones.)

Granted, I am a single, 35-year old male (temporarily) living in an area greatly overpopulated with parents and children. For parents, it is a unique opportunity to provide for your family and afford yourself a few drinks while doing it, instead of having to wait to get home, unload the groceries, make dinner and put the kids to bed before opening a bottle of wine, or four, and get your buzz on. I am not ignorant of this fact. As I’ve been more exposed to parents as an adult, I’ve figured out that good parenting is directly proportionate to the amount of weekly alcohol consumption. It wasn’t that way when I was growing up but that’s the way it is now. At least, for the most part. Not saying all you parents out there are getting bombed every night. But a lot of you are. I can’t blame you. If I were a parent, I would probably be within your ranks.

In any case, hearing people swap stories about their first (and second and third) trip to Wegmans is about as depressing a level of converation that can be reached.

I refuse to participate.

So I’m not going. Even it means never talking to anyone again. Or, at least, until I move downtown in January. Then, I’ll have to talk to all the single folks about how fresh everything at Whole Foods seem to be. But, somehow, it doesn’t seem like it’ll suck half as much.

QUOTATION

The weirder you’re going to behave, the more normal you should look.  It works in reverse, too.  When I see a kid with three or four rings in his nose, I know there is absolutely nothing extraordinary about that person.P.J. O’Rourke

TUNE

Sometimes, all it takes is a killer line in a song to make listen to it about 93 times – over and over. Such is the case with Mike Doughty‘s tune, “I Just Want the Girl in the Blue Dress To Keep On Dancing.” It’s a good and quick song that features the line, “I’ll assess the essence of the mess…” Not sure why I like that so much. But I do. And that’s that.

GALLIMAUFRY

→ If you haven’t seen the video footage of University of New Mexico’s women’s soccer player, Elizabeth Lambert, you should. This chick is so completely crazy, I’m surprised I’ve never dated her.

→ Just want to officially thank the Philadelphia Phillies for coming oh-so-very-close to winning back-to-back World Series. I know the whole organization has been waiting for me to weigh in. Once again, I will state Philadelphia is a “baseball town.” I will keep saying that until everyone believes it. Because it’s the truth.

→ In a world gone mad, sometimes I read some news that alleviates all the numbness and actually allows me to feel again. The fact Steven Tyler has officially left Aerosmith was not that kind of news. I’m sure there’s a large group of people out there who care when a middle-aged singer leaves a band that hasn’t contributed anything musically solid in decades. I’m just not a member of that group.  

06.10.09 – Wednesday

Word: vapid [vap-id] adj. 1. lacking or having lost life, sharpness, or flavor; insipid; flat: vapid tea 2. without liveliness or spirit; dull or tedious: a vapid party; vapid conversation

Birthday: Jacques Marquette (1637), Howlin’ Wolf (1910), Judy Garland (1922), Maurice Sendak (1928), João Gilberto (1931), F. Lee Bailey (1933), John Edwards (1953), Eliot Spitzer (1959), Maxi Priest (1960), Kim Deal (1961), Kelley Deal (1961), Gina Gershon (1962), Jeanne Tripplehorn (1963), Jimmy Chamberlin (1964), Elizabeth Hurley (1965), Joey Santiago (1965), Bill Burr (1968), The D.O.C. (1968), Mike Doughty (1970), Faith Evans (1973), Flesh-N-Bone (1973), Tara Lipinski (1982)

Quotation: Be as beneficent as the sun or the sea, but if your rights as a rational being are trenched on, die on the first inch of your territory.Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tune: It’s his birthday, so I thought I’d share my favorite Mike Doughty song – “The Only Answer.”

Gallimaufry: President Obama may soon see his 61% approval rating nosedive. Why? Well, Jon Voight says so. Monday night, while speaking at a GOP fundraiser in Washington D.C., the actor described Obama as “wildly radical” and labelled him a “false prophet.” The Hollywood veteran and star of such films as Midnight Cowboy, Deliverance and Transformers has long been an opponent of the President. No word yet on how Obama is sleeping after learning of Voight’s comments, which even some Republicans thought were a bit over the top.  When it was discovered Cameron Crowe was directing a commercial with Pearl Jam for mega-retailer Target, some started to wonder what was going on. Had Pearl Jam, a band that took on Ticketmaster years ago over escalating ticket prices, finally sold out? Untrue, says the band’s longtime manager, Kelly Curtis. “Target was cool enough to realize that little independent record stores are not their competition.” “I make decisions around the band’s business that are consistent with their overall philosophy,” said Curtis, “which is to sell music in a way that’s accessible and affordable to their fans, on every distribution platform that their fans access music, and in a way that takes care of the little guys.” Seems above-board to me. I’ve found Target to have a solid (if not limited) and affordable music selection. Plus, the flip-flops I bought there a few weeks back have produced to my liking. ∞ This Friday, June 12th will be the last day you’ll be able to watch television on those old rabbit ears. All major TV stations will stop broadcasting in analog and go all digital. It’s for real this time, so if you’ve been dragging on getting the digital converter box, best get a move on. The future is now. Or maybe you’re one of the billions of people who’ve discovered cable and satellite television. In that case, you’ve nothing to worry about.

Incoming: Got some good stuff coming up. Come back tomorrow for some more.