04.28.10 – A Wednesday

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word

harangue [huhrang] n. 1. a scolding or a long or intense verbal attack; diatribe 2. a long, passionate, and vehement speech, esp. one delivered before a public gathering 3. any long, pompous speech or writing of a tediously hortatory or didactic nature; sermonizing lecture or discourse v. used w/ obj. 4. to address in a harangue v. used w/o obj. 5. to deliver a harangue

birthday

James Monroe (1758), Lionel Barrymore (1878), Heinrich Müller (1900), Oskar Schindler (1908), Ferruccio Lamborghini (1916), Harper Lee (1926), James Baker (1930), Saddam Hussein (1937), Ann-Margret (1941), Bruno Kirby (1949), Jay Leno (1950), Paul Guilfoyle (1955), Too Short (1966), Kari Wührer (1967), Bridget Moynahan (1971), Elisabeth Röhm (1973), Penélope Cruz (1974), Jessica Alba (1981)

standpoint

So last night I’m bartending and one of my customers strikes up a conversation with me about hockey. I’m perpetually wary to get into any kind of hockey talk because, truth be told, there’s very few out there who can maintain it on the level I can.

But I was in a good mood last night so, after issuing a lighthearted warning about he should proceed with caution, I obliged the gentleman. Here’s how our exchange went.

Customer: So, who’s your favorite Flyer of all-time?

Me: Ah, I don’t want to answer that. You’re going to hate the answer.

Customer: Oh, Christ, please don’t tell me it’s fucking Lindros.

Me: See? I told you that you weren’t going to like it. Yes, it’s Lindros.

Customer: So, you’re telling me you think Lindros was a great player.

Me: No. I didn’t say that. He’s my favorite player but if you’re asking me if he was a great player, then I’d have to say yes.

Customer: You’re trying to convince me you know a lot about hockey and you’re favorite all-time player is Eric Lindros? Sorry, but I can’t take you seriously now. There’s no way his name should be considered among Flyers’ greats.

And such is the plight of the status of Eric Lindros in the collective mindset of Philadelphia Flyers fans. Arguably, it’s unfair. And, this being the last week of this blog, I want to finally put my thoughts on this to rest.

Despite the troublesome history of “The Big E” in this town, there’s no basis for not including him among Flyers’ greats.

Eric Lindros played 486 regular season games for the Flyers. In that span he amassed 659 points (290 goals, 369 assists). That’s a hefty 1.35 points-per-game. In comparison, Flyers’ legend Bobby Clarke averaged only 1.05 ppg.

Despite playing only 486 games, he’s still 5th on the team’s all-time scoring list. Of the top-20 on that list, Dave Poulin is the only other player with less than 500 games (467). His point total? 394 (161 g, 233 a).

Of the all-time playoff leader for the Flyers, Lindros is ranked 9th with 57 points (24 g, 33 a) in 50 games played. That’s 1.14 ppg. Flyers hero Brian Propp is 2nd on the same list with 112 points (52 g, 60 a) in 116 games played. That’s 0.96 ppg.

So, if you’re going by the stats, it’s fairly reasonable to say that, if you’re fielding a squad of all-time Flyers in some imaginary game, you’d most likely want Lindros in your lineup.

Even though the stats back up my argument, I’ve always hated going by them. Hockey is a game of intangibles. And “Number 88” was huge intangible. He was an immense presence on the ice. He could skate with most anyone. His wrist shot was borderline unstoppable. He had the ability to pass on a dime. And, oh yeah, he could drop the gloves with the best of them.

Bottom line, Eric Lindros wasn’t the best player that ever played in the NHL, but he deserves to be mentioned in the game’s greats. Hell, even Bobby Clarke thinks so.

I understand this argument is a bit cursory but I could probably right a 20-page on this subject. And, besides, I think I’ve made my point.

quotation

I’d rather have a hundred thousand or a million people saying I’m nuts and I’m crazy for my musical choices and what I’ve said lyrically, than a million people all raising their hand on the first day. Chuck D

tune

From time to time, I’m annoyed with indie music. There’s a lot of buzz bands, supposed to be the next big thing. I’m a sucker for that kind of talk. Often, I believe the hype (despite being told many times to no do that exact thing.) In my estimation, I’m disappointed at least half the time. And such was the case a few years back with English brother-sister tandem act, The Magic Numbers. I’m a big fan of good pop music (Matthew Sweet, Rogue Wave, etc.) but these guys and gals were just too much pop, not enough substance. However, I did always like “Forever Lost.”

gallimaufry

→ Honestly, I thought this guy only ran over pigeons. If you get the reference, I automatically like you.

This would be a pretty great historical find if the story it’s based on wasn’t a complete fabrication.

→ Since joining Facebook, one of the beefs I’ve had with the social networking site was that, unlike MySpace, it failed to capitalize on much anything having to do with music. Looks like they’re about to remedy the situation.

11.13.09 – A Friday

WORD

garrulous [garuh-luhs, gar-yuh-] adj. 1. excessively talkative in a rambling, roundabout manner, esp. about trivial matters 2. wordy or diffuse: a garrulous and boring speech

BIRTHDAY

John Dickinson (1732), Robert Louis Stevenson (1850), Richard Mulligan (1932), Garry Marshall (1934), John Hammond (1942), Joe Mantegna (1947), Chris Noth (1954), Whoopi Goldberg (1955), Jimmy Kimmel (1967), Steve Zahn (1967), Gerard Butler (1969)

STANDPOINT

If you put a gun to my head (and I’m by no means suggesting you do that), and asked me, given a choice, what’s my favorite leisure time activity, I’m relatively sure the answer would be watching a Philadelphia Flyers game with either my brother Jer or my best friend Harv, and preferrably both because we are all of the same mind when it comes to the game of hockey. (If I could pick a third person to be there, it’d be my good friend Joe, but he resides in Connecticut and it’s not really practical for him to drive down for games. I’m sure you realize this without me explaining it.)

I am completely certain 99% of you, in a similar circumstance, would offer a different response. (Although, that’s your loss because, even if you don’t like hockey, Jer and Harv and Joe are three solid dudes to hang with.)

Knowing what an excellent judge of character I am, I’m positive it wouldn’t be my choice of company you’d find fault with – it’d be my choice of actually watching hockey. Which no one seems to do these days.

When it comes to watching professional sporting contests, the game of hockey is fighting an uphill battle. And here’s why.

This country loves two sports the most – football and baseball. Again, you may disagree, and that’s totally fine. But for the purposes here, I’m going to adhere to the idea football and baseball are the two sports most everyone couldn’t live without as if it’s a legitimate fact. Which, despite your opinion, is completely true.

Why are football and baseball so popular? Well, lots and lots of reasons. Most everyone of you grew up playing one or both of these sports, or wishing you could. Also, you know all the rules due to the fact the commentators endlessly disect each and every at-bat/play. In addition, of all the televised sports, football and baseball simply offer the opportunity for more bathroom breaks and the chance to talk to your buddies about the game without actually talking during it. There are more, but, in the interests of space and keeping your attention, I’ll stop at those three.

With hockey, hardly any of us have ever played it. (No, NHL ’94 for the Sega Genesis doesn’t count. Although, I’d listen to any argument to the contrary.) Unless you make a deliberate effort to do so, some of the less-obvious rules are hard to figure out. Lastly, it’s a game you need to pay attention to – talking about the game is reserved for the few commercial breaks and the two 15-minute intermissions.

For those reasons, and probably 200 more, the game of hockey just doesn’t jive with most everyone out there. And, while I’d love to, I can’t say as I blame you. It’s easy to watch a baseball game with friends, even when not everyone in the room particularly cares about the outcome because everyone pretty much knows what’s going on. Same with football games but they have the added bonus of having become excuses to eat a lot of food and drink a bunch of beers which I’m a huge fan of.  They’re major social experiences in a culture becoming more and more devoid of them. I can’t find fault with wanting to spend your time away from work, time away from your kids, time away from whatever, in a relaxing atmosphere where you can yell at the television and rarely use your brain. (That last statement was sincere, not sarcastic.)

Me? I enjoy watching a sport that encourages me to think, requires my attention and leaves me, win or lose, with a weird sense of fulfillment. I love baseball and I kinda like football. But neither give me the same thrill.

And so, I’m a hockey fan.

QUOTATION

You can’t navigate me. I may do mean things, and I may hurt you, and I may run away without your permission, and you may hate me forever, and I know that scares the living shit outta you ’cause you know I’m the only real thing you got.Ethan Hawke (as Troy Dyer in Reality Bites)

TUNE

Admittedly, this is bad timing after my whole music snobbery rant, but I drove around all over the place yesterday, and I’m trying to become less dependent on my iPod, and attempting to revisit my vaunted CD collection. In any case, I listened to Fountains of Wayne the whole time. Not widely considered an important cog in the machinery of essential music. But, fuck it. I like the band just the same. Especially “No Better Place.”

GALLIMAUFRY

→ I’ve no idea why I like these HTC television ads so much, but I do. Here’s my favorite.

Joselio Hanson, a backup CB for the Phiadelphia Eagles, has received a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Dude. Come on. You’re a backup CB. Really necessary?

→ I tweeted this last night, but for those of you not hip to the Twitter thing yet, I’m encouraging everyone I know to listen to the music of my buddy Emerson B. Go hear his tunes on MySpace. Follow him on Twitter. And get out to one of his shows. If, for no other reason, than you might be able to hang with me.

Wednesday – September 2nd

Word

polestar [pohl-stahr] n. 1. polaris 2. something that serves as a guiding principle 3. something that is the center of attention or attraction

Birthday

William Somervile (1675), Roger Wolcott (1847), Albert Spalding (1850), Joseph Roth (1894), Horace Silver (1928), Glen Sather (1943), Billy Preston (1946), Dan White (1946), Walt Simonson (1946), Terry Bradshaw (1948), Christa McAuliffe (1948), Mark Harmon (1951), Michael Gray (1951), Jimmy Connors (1952), John Zorn (1953), John S. Hall (1960), Keanu Reeves (1964), Lennox Lewis (1965), Salma Hayek (1966), Katt Williams (1973), Brian Westbrook (1979), Aimee Osbourne (1983)

Standpoint

Here’s something I wonder about from time to time. If I was a character in a horror movie, would I be the funny guy who died right away? Or would I be the one who, once I realized what was going, became the voice of reason/whiny guy and be the last one slaughtered before the male and female lead made their triumphant stand and figured out how to beat the killer? Also, I wonder if my character would put up a good fight or if I’d be the victim of choosing the wrong hallway to walk down and get my head lopped off when I turned an unfortunate corner where some psycho was strategically waiting.

It may not seem important to think about such things, but I’m sure if you think about it for a short while, you’ll understand just how important it really is.

Quotation

The chief function of the city is to convert power into form, energy into culture, dead matter into the living symbols of art, biological reproduction into social creativity.Lewis Mumford

Tune

In doing this blog, I learn several new things everyday. It’s one of the great parts of doing it, actually. For instance, while researching today’s post, I learned the name for Throw Me The Statue was originally the title of a mixtape made by Scott Reitherman who eventually turned it into the name for his musical endeavours. TMTS released a new album in August – Creaturesque – and I can say with confidence it’s pretty great. Go to Stereogum to download “Ancestors.” And then go get the whole frickin’ album.

Gallimaufry

• I know everyone’s talking about how print media is going the way of fax machines and MySpace but I gotta tell you – I still love reading music magazines in my hands instead of off a computer screen. One such periodical I’m enjoying very much in the last few months is The Fader. It has to do with the selection of topics and the quality of the articles. The album reviews are done in a cool and unique way, too. Peter Macia‘s “Phoenix Remains a Band Apart – Inseparable” from the July/August 2009 issue was as much about an individual’s personal music experience as it was informative about the band.

Twitter is huge but Facebook has the staying power in the social networking battle royale. Check out Erik Linask’s “I’m in a Facebook State of Mind” if you don’t believe me.

• Dear Hollywood, why are you trying to ruin everything ever? I just read you’re remaking Teen Wolf. Please. Stop. Now.

07.01.09 – Wednesday

Word: egregious [i-gree-juhs, -jee-uhs] adj. 1. extraordinary in some bad way; glaring; flagrant: an egregious mistake; an egregious liar 2. Archaic. distinguished or eminent

Birthday: Comte de Rochambeau (1725), George Sand (1804), William Strunk Jr. (1869), Thomas A. Dorsey (1899), Estée Lauder (1906), Willie Dixon (1915), Olivia de Havilland (1916), Jamie Farr (1934), Jean Marsh (1934), Sydney Pollack (1934), Karen Black (1939), Deborah Harry (1945), Shirley Hemphill (1947), David Duke (1950), Fred Schneider (1952), Terrence Mann (1951), Dan Aykroyd (1952), Alan Ruck (1956), Diana, Princess of Wales (1961), Carl Lewis (1961), Andre Braugher (1962), Pamela Anderson (1967), Henry Simmons (1970), Missy Elliott (1971), Claire Forlani (1972), Sufjan Stevens (1975), Liv Tyler (1977)

Quotation: Every society honors its live conformists, and its dead troublemakers. – Mignon McLaughlin

Tune: Last year sometime (I can’t remember when exactly.), I saw The New Pornographers in concert. While its album are really good, the band is even more spectacular. It helped that the closing song was my favorite – “From Blown Speakers.”

Gallimaufry: Finally. Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Minnesota unanimously decided that Al Franken was indeed a US Senator. After eight months, his opponent, Republican Norm Coleman, conceded. In the end, Franken only won by 312 votes, but it was good enough. The nation was monitoring the election outcome because (a) Franken was once a popular member of Saturday Night Live, and (b) his winning the seat gives the Democratic Party control of an unheard of 60 seats in the Senate. Tom, everyone’s default friend on MySpace (remember MySpace?), has been shitcanned. Don’t feel bad for the guy, though, he’s making $500,000 for the next two years. This brings two questions to mind. One, is this the beginning of the end for MySpace? Two, if it is, will anyone notice? Unfortunately, print media seems to be disappearing. The lastest victim? VIBE magazine.