January 19th, 2012

word

swivet [swiv-it] n. a state of nervous excitement, haste or anxiety; flutter: I was in such a swivet that I could hardly speak.

birthday

Due to yesterday’s Wikipedia blackout over SOPA and PIPA, I won’t be providing people’s birthdays today. Yeah, government is rocking it.

standpoint

So I haven’t been posting. I don’t really have an excuse worth submitting.

Also, I don’t really have a clear standpoint today. But I’m going to share some thoughts I’ve been having and you can deem them a waste of your time or not and let me know after you’re done.

→ The GOP Presidential candidates. Shit. You guys made a huge fucking mistake when you ceased being fun. Bring back Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann because the rest of you guys are sort of hateful and boring. And, c’mon, it’s gonna be Romney. And he’s gonna lose to Obama. And everyone’s gonna spend four more years bitching. I think this is something that, besides those of you who are hoping against hope, we should all just agree on.

→ On a side note, if you GOP clowns are looking to actually back someone I’d be interested in your bringing your very own Jimmy McMillan into these debates. An “exquisitely bearded 64-year old ex-postal worker” who “is no stranger to controversies?” The American public deserves to know more.

Rick Santorum is actually still in the race. Seriously? What the fuck, people? Are there still people out there who believe in what Santorum has to say? Thinly veiled racist and homophobic statements? Rick Santorum embodies the exact opposite direction this country needs to go in. If you disagree with me on that, I encourage you to drive off a fucking bridge. Seriously. If you even know how to use the internet, click on Google Maps, find the nearest bridge and step on the gas pedal. (And, Fox News has once again nailed it right on the head with this superb article that means absolutely nothing to anyone. Great job, Dan Gainor.) See what I did there with all the links? Pretty clever, right? Here’s another.

→ On a lighter note, I think I’m finally coming around to The Office without Steve Carell. Maybe I should’ve put that one first.

quotation

What other people think of me is none of my business. ↔ Gary Oldman

tune

If shown this video to about a dozen people and about eleven of them loved. (The one exception was my good friend Joe who wondered if there was something wrong with me.) Joe’s objections aside, I think this song, and accompanying video is one of the best things I’ve heard in quite some time. Here’s “Losers” from The Belle Brigade.

gallimaufry

→ I wonder if, because of all this social networking, celebrities get pissed at each other when shit like this happens. Will Peyton Manning say something to Rob Lowe the next time their paths cross?

→ Yesterday, while painting a hallway, I listened to NPR’s interview with Nicholas Money and everything he had to say about mushrooms. It didn’t strike me until I was writing this that Samantha and I struggled over which mushroom pizza to order last night at Arpeggio’s. I guess Mr. Money’s description of various fungi didn’t make a dent. Also, if you’re thinking about dining at Arpeggio’s, seriously consider take-out. I’ve gotten better service at 3am from a strung-out diner waitress. Food was good, though.

→ Hey, if Francesco Schettino, the captain of the Costa Concordia says he “tripped” into a lifeboat, than I’m gonna take his word for it. I mean, it’s just too awful an excuse to not be true.

October 26, 2011

word

bunkum [buhng-kuhm] n. 1. insincere speechmaking by a politician intended merely to please local constituents 2. insincere talk; claptrap; humbug

birthday

Bob Hoskins (1942), Pat Conroy (1945), Pat Sajak (1946), Bootsy Collins (1951), Rita Wilson (1956), Dylan McDermott (1961), Cary Elwes (1962), Natalie Merchant (1963), Seth MacFarlane (1973), Jon Heder (1977)

standpoint

It’s funny to me how people are treating the 2012 Presidential election. First of all, it’s not even 2012 yet. Also, despite what the media is pushing, the race hasn’t even begun yet. And the GOP should be happy about it because if conservative voters keep changing their collective mind about who they want to go against Obama, they’re gonna run out of viable candidates before this whole thing gets properly started.

Every week there’s a new “front runner.” Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and even Michele Bachmann have had their reign as heir apparent. And now it’s Herman Cain.

Herman Cain. Conservative. Black. CEO. Lunatic. I’m not using that last word in a negative way because, to paraphrase the immortal Billy Joel, it might just be a lunatic we’re looking for.

I mean the guy just says whatever the hell he wants, whenever he wants. He’ll make a statement one day, then come back a little later and contradict it. Or maybe he’ll expound on it. Or maybe he’ll just flat out deny he ever said it. It doesn’t matter if what he’s saying from one minute to the next is true because it appears like it is. He speaks in such a way that you just kind of want to believe whatever words happen to be falling out of his mouth are the truth.

Here’s a great article detailing how Cain is clearly the new zen master of shucking and jiving.

Right now, Cain is an amusing figure, a kind of curiosity. He’s an eloquent man participating in debates and interviews in which the subject matter is entirely hypothetical. I’m mostly sure that when it’s time to get serious, when everyone is looking for actual answers, when it’s time to play for real, Cain will be less appealing.

But, while I never want to live in a world where Herman Cain is running anything but his mouth, I have to admit that I kind of dig his whole free-wheeling, in-your-face demeanor. Now if only we could get someone worthwhile to do the same. Finger crossed, folks.

quotation

Forget governments. Focus on the individuals. ↔ Mohamed ElBaradei

tune

A few weeks back, I picked up 12 Desperate Straight Lines by Telekinesis because the sticker on the CD read, “Spin says, ‘If you don’t like Telekinesis, your ears don’t work.'” Strong words. Maybe a little too strong. But it’s still a good listen. Check out “I Cannot Love You”

gallimaufry

→ Dear Arby’s, as a nationwide purveyor of meat sandwiches, I gotta believe you’ve got a pretty sizable marketing department. Furthermore, I find it hard to fathom someone in that marketing department didn’t maybe tell you that no one in Philadelphia calls a cheese steak a “Philly.” It’s not the most important thing going on in the world right now but it’s just bugging the shit out of me.

Here’s yet another example of how The Onion can be more accurate than the actual sports media.

→ This is great. Here’s the media reporting on how the media is losing interest in Occupy Wall Street. Maybe the media should be focusing on why people are losing interest in the media.

06.15.11 – a wednesday

word

betide [bih-tahyd] v. 1. to happen to; come to; befall: Woe betide the villain! 2. to happen; come to pass: Whatever betides, maintain your courage

birthday

Sam Giancana (1908), Mario Cuomo (1932), Waylon Jennings (1937), Harry Nilsson (1941), Simon Callow (1949), Jim Varney (1949), James Belushi (1954), Julie Hagerty (1955), Helen Hunt (1963), Courteney Cox (1964), Ice Cube (1969), Leah Remini (1970), Neil Patrick Harris (1973)

standpoint

Let’s face it, there’s only so many reruns one can watch before looking elsewhere for entertainment. Two nights ago, I was ready to watch Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals but lost interest midway through the first period when it became clear only one team, the Boston Bruins, came to play.

So I turned on the CNN Republican Debate and I actually learned a few things. First, apparently people participating in debates don’t actually have to answer the question posed to them. Instead, they answer some imaginary question they would’ve have preferred to be asked. Second, Republicans, at least the seven gathered on that stage in New Hampshire, absolutely fucking hate Barack Obama. If you went by what they were saying, he can barely go to the bathroom by himself. Third, all the candidates love to make babies. Also, they love to brag about it. Fourth and last thing I learned is that everyone of them despises homosexuals.

Granted, I’m no political analyst. Normally, I steer clear of the whole arena because political arguments are, to me at least, exercises in futility usually won by simpletons with tunnel vision and booming voices. “Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” Plato wrote that.

But I am going to weigh in on the good folks who took the stage for last night’s “debate” which in the end turned out to be more of a meet-and-greet with the American public. Here are the unique impressions each one left on me.

Rick Santorum – This dude is pretty much my worst nightmare to be stuck in a room with. The only thing this clown loves more than God is himself.

Michele Bachmann – From everything I’d heard about this woman, I was expecting her to say plenty of inane crap. But she didn’t. She’s either extremely coachable or not as dumb as everyone thinks.

Newt Gingrich – Don’t take this hombre lightly. His campaign may appear as if it’s run by high school stoners but he’s got words at his disposal. They’re the words of a douche but still.

Mitt Romney – I gather that he is the front runner. He sure acted like it. He didn’t have much to say but, damn, he sure looked presidential. Really great head of hair.

Ron Paul – I’d like to have a couple of drinks with this dude. So off-the-wall, he’s harmless but interesting. Reminded me of Elmer Fudd if he’d solved the speech problem and became intensely religious and political.

Tim Pawlenty – This guy showed everyone he can back down from a statement he made just 24 hours earlier with the best of them. A true politician.

Herman Cain – CEO of Godfather’s Pizza? Never heard of it. But if this guy is running for president, how insanely tasty must that pizza be? The only other time I’ve heard of him was when he was ranting about Obama being from Kenya. I definitely want to try that pizza.

All in all, the debate was modern day media at its finest with one enormous grapefruit being lobbed after the other. Bottom line? I understand the economy is in disarray but I can’t get behind anyone who blathers on and on about outmoded religious morays while simultaneously displaying such disdain for individuals who don’t fit into their accepted ideals of normalcy. I can’t advocate prosperity built on meaningless hatred. If that makes me unworldly or foolish or wide-eyed, I can live with that.

quotation

There’s an old saying that God exists in your search for him. I just want you to understand that I ain’t looking ↔ Leslie Nielsen

tune

It’s taken me a little bit of time to get around to listen to TV On The Radio‘s latest album, Nine Types of Light. (Once again recommended to me by my roommate Dan.) I like the first song on the album which is cleverly called “Second Song.”

gallimaufry

I found slicingupeyeballs.com by accident and I still haven’t gone through it but the Pixies‘ lyrical reference is enough for me to take it seriously.

→ I support John Kasich’s move here. It seems the governor of Ohio’s got a sense of humor.

Am I supposed to feel bad for this guy? Come on.

03.12.10 – A Friday

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If he was still alive, Jack Kerouac would have turned 88 today. I’m saluting one of my favorite writers by dedicating most of today’s post to the man who despised being called “The King of the Beats.”


word

dharma [dahr-muh, duhr-] n. 1. essential quality or character, as of the cosmos or one’s own nature 2. conformity to religious law, custom, duty, or one’s own quality or character 3. virtue 4. religion 5. law, esp. religious law 6. the doctrine or teaching of the Buddha

birthday

Clement Studebaker (1831), Simon Newcomb (1835), Julia Lennon (1914), Elaine de Kooning (1918), Gordon MacRae (1921), Jack Kerouac (1922), Billie “Buckwheat” Thomas (1931), Al Jarreau (1940), Sammy “The Bull” Gravano (1945), Liza Minnelli (1946), Mitt Romney (1947), James Taylor (1948), Rob Cohen (1949), Jon Provost (1950), Ron Jeremy (1953), Marlon Jackson (1957), Courtney B. Vance (1960), Darryl Strawberry (1962), Steve Levy (1965), Aaron Eckhart (1968), Graham Coxon (1969), Dave Eggers (1970), Pete Doherty (1979), Samm Levine (1982)

standpoint

Often, I get the feeling knowledgeable people think a little less of me when I tell them Jack Kerouac is one of my favorite writers. That’s fine with me. I don’t back down from my love for the guy.

My initial exposure to Kerouac was probably similar to many others. I used to ditch gym class in high school. By my sophomore year, I figured out the teacher wasn’t entirely vigilant with his attendance records and so many of us didn’t show up that the dude would give everyone at least a C, most likely so that no one ever got wise. That was fine with me. I found other ways to occupy my time which usually resulted in getting caught for ditching, garnering numerous detentions.

During my senior year, I discovered it was easier to go to the library due to the fact it was a place where the faculty didn’t look for troublemakers like myself . The second floor stacks were mainly occupied by those underclassmen who felt more at home in the library than the cafeteria where their classmates, especially the bullies, weren’t going to bother them. It was in the back of one of those stacks where I would take off my suit jacket, roll it up into a ball and try to sleep for a half an hour. But, even as seldom traveled as the second floor was, inevitably someone I knew would come by and ask, “LeJeune, what the fuck are you doing up here?” No matter what stage of my life I’ve been in, people disrupting my sleep has always been something I can count on. And so it was on the second floor of that library.

But in one corner of that floor, there was an area where the library staff stored items it used for seasonal displays. Among the props were some large cardboard constructions made to look like gigantic books. After my first few failed attempts at a midday siesta, I dragged two of the “books” over to the stacks and, with me inside, piled them on top of each other, creating a wall. The younger students must have assumed the wall was there for a reason and didn’t bother with it. I’d finally created a restful little nook.

One day while I was preparing for my nap, I noticed a book resting on top of the others. It was On the Road by Jack Kerouac. It didn’t belong there. I guessed I wasn’t the only student who figured out my second floor nook was a good place for some solitude. I picked it up and started reading, thinking it would put me to sleep after a few pages.

It didn’t. For the next few days, I didn’t sleep. I read. For me, On the Road was special. I’d read others like it. My high school’s English curriculum was pretty progressive. But it was the first novel of its kind that I’d read by my own accord, on my own terms. The notion of discovering and reading On the Road all by myself was more important than the actual text.

But what I read was far from useless. I experienced On the Road at the exact right time in my life. Still young enough to make an indelible impression. Old enough to begin realizing there was a ton of bullshit in the world.

I’ve read hundreds of books since On the Road, and I’m not so naive to think, in the scope of all literature, it’s as grand an accomplishment as some proffer. But for many of us, it’s symbolic of the American youth’s rite of passage. And, for that reason alone, it’s a book that rises above the multitude of critics who try to dismiss. For that reason alone, it’ll never go away.

quotation

I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion. ↔ Jack Kerouac

tune

A few months back, I made a big stir about the newest Kerouac documentary, One Fast Move Or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur. And rightfully so. It was a good, albeit completely depressing, watch. Plus, the soundtrack by Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard was even better once I saw it in the context of the film. Here’s Farrar and Gibbard performing “These Roads Don’t Move.”

gallimaufry

In a world that seems to be fixated on pointing all the shortcomings of us males, it’s nice to see someone say something nice about men for a change. Especially those of us with above-average intelligence.

→ A good friend of mine, who I’m uncertain wants his name dropped yet in connection with this, is one of the creators of Popularity Contest: The Anodyne to Your Pop-Culture Blues. Bookmark it. Once it’s big, you’ll be able to tell all your friends, “I know how great it is, man, I’ve been reading it since it started.” At the very least, you’ll discover the meaning of anodyne.

→ While I was writing this, The Marriage Ref was on my television. Not sure if the show’s going to make it. But it did make me think of a reality show I might, in fact, watch. It would be on Bravo or maybe E! and it would feature Madonna and Oprah Winfrey pitted against one another in a contest. Every episode would comprise of each woman being analyzed by one of the world’s foremost psychologists to help them resolve their issues with men. The series finale would have both women presenting their cases to a panel of judges, made up of equal parts mental health professionals and regular folks. The prize for the winner would be to keep on living her exceptionally wonderful life. The loser would be allowed to say her goodbyes to fans, friends and family before being launched into space in a dumpster. It doesn’t matter to me which one loses. Either way, we all win. Sorry, that was a bit long-winded but how many of you disagree? Yeah. Didn’t think so.

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?