02.26.10 – A Friday

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word

surreptitious [sur-uhp-tishuhs] adj. 1. obtained, done, made, etc., by stealth; secret or unauthorized; clandestine: a surreptitious glance 2. acting in a stealthy way 3. obtained by subreption; subreptitious

birthday

Wenceslaus (1361), Christopher Marlowe (1564), Victor Hugo (1802), Levi Strauss (1829), William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody (1846), John Harvey Kellogg (1852), Herbert Henry Dow (1866), Grover Cleveland Alexander (1887), Tex Avery (1908), Jackie Gleason (1916), Tony Randall (1920), Fats Domino (1928), Johnny Cash (1932), Mitch Ryder (1945), Michael Bolton (1953), Greg Germann (1958), Erykah Badu (1971)

standpoint

Earlier this week, I admitted to succumbing to the subtle nuances of the sport of curling. I didn’t claim to love it. It’s okay. As far as television watching goes, it accomplishes what it needs to. But I’m annoyed about people clamoring on and on (and on) about the high television ratings curling is getting during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Let’s face facts. This time next week, hardly anyone’s going to be lifting a finger to do anything about their supposed love affair with curling. It’s not the fact the cult sport is getting so much attention that’s drawing my ire. Good for curling, I guess.

No, what’s bothering me is the insinuation and the mindset of “majority rules,” the notion that if most everyone shares the same opinion on a particular person, event or ideal, inherently it must have a certain degree of merit. It’s employed as a substantive bookmark and those in the minority, those who just don’t see what all the fuss is about, are viewed as being ultraist. And, in case you’re unaware, I’m no longer talking about something as innocuous as curling.

In our society, somewhere along the way it became improper to have a dissenting voice. If you’re not a joiner, your point of view doesn’t carry the same weight. In most circles, you’re summarily dismissed as one sort of crackpot. You didn’t vote for Obama? You don’t watch American Idol? You haven’t read any books Oprah’s recommended? You don’t own any classic rock albums? You don’t get jacked for Monday Night Football? Why not? What the hell is wrong with your dumb ass?

Maybe those are questions you’ve been asked. They’re queries designed to put you on the defensive. They’re meant to imply you most likely have a wire loose somewhere in that head of yours. They’re intended to make you reconsider your discord with what everyone else is doing. There’s a reason for that. When you break from the norm it creates a certain amount of anxiety among those who don’t. It raises doubts within them they’d prefer to overlook. It’s cause for pause, an unsettling wavering to the approach of most individuals’ need to be a part of something with little regard to precisely what that something is.

Simply put, the majority has the edge on the minority in sheer numbers. But the latter scares the former much more than the former does the latter. And that’s because while the majority does in fact rule, it’s mostly in error a high percentage of the time. Pick up any history book and you’ll find an overabundance of instances in which the majority blundered.

There’s absolutely no harm in a surge of popularity for a sport in the Olympics, reading a book someone suggests or listening to Boston. The harm resides in the zeitgeist.

The minority is sometimes right; the majority always wrong.George Bernard Shaw

quotation

War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children.Jimmy Carter

tune

Earlier this week, I posted an a capella cover version of Toto’s “Africa” by Perpetuum Jazzile. One of my most loyal readers, and closest friends, posted a video response. I think it’s also a quality ditty. Thanks, Joe Taylor, for your interest, albeit often overzealous, in me and my blog. In honor of you, good buddy, I present Howie Day‘s version of “Africa.” Enjoy.

gallimaufry

This is all the proof you’ll need to be convinced it merely takes a lot of money to get a shitty record produced. Props for including Paris Hilton on the list. So very very true.

If you’re an adult between the ages of 25-40, you’ll identify with this article. There’s a reason a lot of names went the way of the dodo. Hey, parents, not that you’ve got a kid, I understand you’re just dying to show all your friends how creative you can be, but give your kid a break. You have to remember that chldren are awfully mean to each other, and your sons and daughters are going to have a hard time appreciating your ingenuity while dining alone in the cafeteria.

→ I’m pretty sure internet music sites all over the world would simply shut down if there wasn’t at least one item per day to post about Thom Yorke. Yesterday’s big news? Yorke finally named the band he put together last fall – Atoms For Peace. The only aspect of AFP (as I’m sure music geeks will soon be calling it) weaker than the name is that Flea, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (or RHCP), is its bassist.

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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.