November 4, 2011

word

obscurantism [uhb-skyooruhn-tiz-uhm, ob-skyooran-tiz-uhm] n. 1. opposition to the increase and spread of knowledge 2. deliberate obscurity or evasion of clarity

birthday

Will Rogers (1879), Walter Cronkite (1916), Art Carney (1918), Freddy Heineken (1923), Doris Roberts (1930), Laura Bush (1946), Robert Mapplethorpe (1946), Markie Post (1950), Kathy Griffin (1960), Ralph Macchio (1961), Jeff Probst (1962), Sean Combs (1969), Matthew McConaughey (1969)

standpoint

I like to draw from time to time. I don’t do it enough but when I do actually sit down to draw, I’m always pleased with the results.

Here are some samples of what I’ve drawn. I apologize for the resolution since I had to take pictures of them because I don’t have a scanner. But I think you’ll get the idea.

This is a simple viewpoint from the living room of the house that Harv and I lived in on Maiden St.

Five weird guys just hanging out.

A drunken rendering of the sunrise in Avalon.

The bottom of a tree outside the library at Saint Joseph's University.

Some weird creature I drew with lines.

I have a lot more but I think I need to wait to get a scanner. These were just the best ones that came out with crude photography.

quotation

Yeah, I’m cocky and I am arrogant. But that doesn’t mean I’m not a nice person. ↔ Jeremy Roenick

tune

You might recognize Cloud Cult‘s “Lucky Today” from a tv ad that aired a while back but it’s also kind of my theme song from time to time.

gallimaufry

Louis C.K. was on Conan last night. It wasn’t as good as the last time.

→ In the sports world today, the NBA and the NBA Players Association are still nowhere near a compromise. And no one’s all that broken up about it.

→ Here’s Why Being The Office Jerk Could Pay Off. I got nothing left in the tank. Take from it what you will.

01.22.10 – A Friday

WORD

perfunctory [per-fuhngk-tuh-ree] adj. 1. performed merely as a routine duty; hasty and superficial: perfunctory courtesy 2. lacking interest, care, or enthusiasm; indifferent or apathetic: In his lectures he reveals himself to be merely a perfunctory speaker

BIRTHDAY

Francis Bacon (1561), Grigori Rasputin (1869), Sam Cooke (1931), Piper Laurie (1932), Bill Bixby (1934), Seymour Cassel (1935), John Hurt (1940), Steve Perry (1949), Jim Jarmusch (1953), Linda Blair (1959), Michael Hutchence (1960), Daniel Johnston (1961), DJ Jazzy Jeff (1965), Diane Lane (1965), Olivia d’Abo (1969), Balthazar Getty (1975)

STANDPOINT

On my first blog, I used to a regular post called The Wishing Well. Basically, I would state five wishes, about any topic I wished. I enjoyed doing The Wishing Well. And so, I’m reviving it here. Enjoy.

I WISH I knew why the top search engine term driving traffic to this blog was “Marilu Henner.” The redheaded actress, probably best known for her work on the (awesome) sitcom Taxi and the (equally awesome) film Johnny Dangerously, has contributed 277 hits to this blog. I mentioned her one time in the “Birthday” section. Either Henner is much more popular that I thought, or someone out there likes her waaaaay too much.

I WISH I could tell you many white people, during this past holiday season, came into my bar and wished me a “Happy Kwanzaa.” Probably almost a hundred, each more annoying and tasteless than the next.

I WISH for NBA officials to seriously reexamine the league’s All Star Game selection process. I like Allen Iverson but how in the world is the guy starting? He has no reason to even be on the team. But then again, what the hell do I care about the NBA?

I WISH the rumor about Jersey Shore coming to Sea Isle City for its second season was actually true. As small as that town is, the congestion generated from all the douchebags overrunning it would make for some interesting story lines. Plus, it would be fun to watch how many more fights the cast members would get into with the Sea Isle population. I’d give the guys on that show a 35% percent chance of making it through the entire summer.

I WISH Tiger Woods all the best while getting treatment for “sexual addiction.” No I don’t. What a bunch of horseshit. Q: How many famous guys with money are out there doing exactly what Tiger was doing? A: Most all of them.

QUOTATION

Oil is sixty dollars a barrel. There are terrorists everywhere. We have a catastrophe in our world every ten minutes. I don’t know how anybody’s getting through anything. Right now, people just need to be entertained. Bob Saget

TUNE

A while back, I was told to download “Penn Station” by The Felice Brothers. The other night, I finally did just that. I immediately wished I’d done it much sooner. Thanks, Brendan.

GALLIMAUFRY

My buddy (and biggest fan) Joe Taylor sent me this awesome John Hughes montage from YouTube yesterday. Check it out.

→ Beer snobs around the world are fretting right now. It seems Belgium might be running out of beer.

→ Holy Shit. Those were the only words that came to mind after reading this article about some dipshit who’s forming an all-white basketball league in Georgia. Christ.

12.14.09 – A Monday

Last Friday night, my Uncle Joe died unexpectedly. He was probably the most affable and good-natured guy you’d have the good fortune to come across. Of my five brothers and sisters, I was probably the least close to Joe, and I’m pretty sure I was the only one who’d never gone to visit him at his home in Maryland. And I’m equally sure I’ll regret that for the rest of my life. Just kind of figured he’d be around to hang out with. Life is ruthlessly unpredictable, folks. Get out there and grab what you can from it. 

This post is dedicated to Uncle Joe. 

WORD

nonpareil [non-puhrel] adj. 1. having no equal; peerless n. 2. a person or thing having no equal 3. a small pellet of colored sugar for decorating candy, cake, and cookies 4. a flat, round, bite-sized piece of chocolate covered with this sugar

BIRTHDAY

Nostradamus (1503), Spike Jones (1911), Lee Remick (1935), Patty Duke (1946), Michael Ovitz (1946), Beth Orton (1970)

STANDPOINT

Last week I commented on Allen Iverson’s return to the Philadelphia 76ers.

For the record, I like Allen Iverson. I always have. Even when, in 2002, he threw his naked wife out of their house in Gladwyne, where I grew up. Lots and lots of things happened as a result of A.I.’s actions, including causing me to be over two hours late for some family function due to the fact every TV news van in the country was trying to get into probably the least traffic-friendly town you can imagine.  

In any case, the return of Allen Iverson has left me with mixed emotions. I’m glad he’s back, but as I stated last week, I’m curious as to why everyone else is.

Philadelphia has a history of taking young, talented athletes and making them regret they ever played their respective sport. The Philadelphia PhilliesMike Schmidt was deemed the best third baseman in history. Eric Lindros had a career for the Philadelphia Flyers that placed him, for much of it, in the same company as Gordie Howe, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky. On any other team in the NFL, Philadelphia Eagles‘ quarterback Donovan McNabb would be credited for being one of the best at his position in the past decade. Allen Iverson, in his first stint with the 76ers, was a diminutive individual, usually scoring more than double the points of the giants he played against.

And where did it get them? Schmidt retired as a Phillie but left here so damaged it took him almost a decade to return to the fans who booed much harder when he didn’t get the job done as they cheered when he did. Lindros’ story is much more complicated but, even with all the drama and concussions, he’s still a fringe candidate for the debate of who’s the best player in NHL history, even Bobby Clarke thinks so. McNabb still manages to come to work every Sunday and play for a bunch of worthless fans who’ve forgotten the likes of Bobby Hoying, Bubby Brister and Rodney Peete. And Iverson was one of the best in the NBA, while playing for a team that seemed content to let him try to win a championship all by himself.

Which begs the question, why would anyone come play in Philadelphia, a city where even those days when probably capable of better, and those days when you don’t live up to expectations there’s a million people leading the charge for your head? Don’t believe me? This past Phillies-Yankees World Series, I forget which game it was. I was at a bar and Phillies’ slugger Ryan Howard was striking out. A lot. And one of the morons sitting around me said, “Man, would you look at this fuckin’ bum on the goddamn television?” Yeah, genius, I was looking at the TV. At Ryan Howard. A guy who’s managed to hit 220 homers and knock in 635 runs in just five seasons. But Howard, and the rest of the Phillies, didn’t win this past World Series like they did the year before. And so, for that, Howard’s a bum. Just like every other professional athlete in Philadelphia sports’ history who didn’t give their fans the misplaced, instant gratification for which they feel erroneously entitled.

QUOTATION

 This and nothing else is the desperately sought and tragically fragile writer’s process: in his imagination, he sees made-up people doing things–sees clearly–and in the act of wondering what they will do next, he sees what they will do next, and all this he writes down in the best, most accurate words he can find, understanding even as he writes that he may have to find better words later, and that a change in the words may mean a sharpening or deepening of the vision, the fictive dream or vision becoming more and more lucid, until reality, by comparison, seems cold, tedious, and dead.John Gardner

TUNE

I normally have something poignant to say about the song I’m sharing with you. But today I don’t. Listen to “HEERS” by Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. It’s good. And that’s that.

GALLIMAUFRY

→ Listen up, country! The people of Houston get it. So why can’t the rest of you clowns fall in line? Annise Parker will become the city’s first openly gay mayor, making Houston the biggest city ever to do so. Is it safe to say it’s pretty fucked up when Texans are breaking new ground?

Tiger Woods, most likely after reading my post last Friday, has announced, “After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf.” In what many are considering the understatement of a lifetime, Woods furthered with, “I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person.” You think?

→ OK. Let me get this straight. Donte Stallworth drunkenly drives over, and kills, a guy a few months back and gets 30 fucking days in jail. Meanwhile, New Jersey resident John Wilson is facing up to 20 years for growing 17 marijuana plants for his own personal use to treat his multiple sclerosis. I don’t drink and drive because I’m hesitant to put my life and the lives of others in jeopardy. I do, however, occassionally smoke pot in the privacy of my own home which, until now, seemed relatively innocuous. I guess I had it all backwards and turned upside-down. How naive of me.

11.16.09 – A Monday

WORD

foment [foh-ment] v. 1. to instigate or foster (discord, rebellion, etc.); promote the growth or development of: to foment trouble; to foment discontent 2. to apply warm water or medicated liquid, ointments, etc., to (the surface of the body)

BIRTHDAY

Tiberius (42 BC), Eddie Condon (1905), Burgess Meredith (1908), Griff Rhys Jones (1953), Dwight Gooden (1964), Diana Krall (1964), Lisa Bonet (1967), Martha Plimpton (1970), Oksana Baiul (1977), Maggie Gyllenhaal (1977)

STANDPOINT

OK, so I had a whole big thing written about how modern society is making the free-thinking individual an endangered species, but, for once, I want to recollect my thoughts on it, and rewrite it. So it’ll be here tomorrow. Count on it.

“If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.”  – Albert Einstein

QUOTATION

Now I know the things I know, and I do the things I do; and if you do not like me so, to hell, my love, with you!Dorothy Parker

TUNE

Recently, I’ve been giving a closer listen to Time To Die by The Dodos. I think “Two Medicines” is the best track on the album. I’ll probably change my mind by tomorrow. But right now, that’s my official stance.

GALLIMAUFRY

→ Man, does everyone have a sex tape nowadays? Carrie Prejean, the moron who used to be Miss Calfornia, apparently let an old boyfriend tape her masturbating. And now some porn company has a hold of it. Just a matter of time before it gets leaked, if it hasn’t all ready. People get rich over this kind of shit. Even in this economy.

→ I don’t care what you think. I’ll admit it. I have always loved Allen Iverson. His current debacle with the Memphis Grizzlies might, sadly, be his swan song in the NBA.

→ I used to do a segment on this blog named Annoying Sayings & Misused Words. Check out how Cracked.com ripped me off. Also, they probably did it better than I ever did.

05.20.09 – Wednesday

Word: swagger [swag-er] v. int. 1. to walk or strut with a defiant or  insolent air 2. to boast or brag noisily ∞ v. t. 3. to bring, drive, force, etc., by blustering ∞ n. 4. swaggering manner, conduct, or walk; ostentatious display of arrogance and conceit

Birthday: Honoré de Balzac (1799), John Stuart Mill (1806), James Stewart (1908), Gardner Fox (1911), Lee “Scratch” Perry (1936), Joe Cocker (1944), Cher (1946), Ron Reagan (1950), Jane Wiedlin (1958), Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (1959), Bronson Pinchot (1959), Ted Allen (1965), Mindy Cohn (1966), Busta Rhymes (1972)

Standpoint: Monday night, as I was watching the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it was impossible to miss Sidney Crosby. Even when he was doing absolutely nothing, the spotlight shown in his direction. He’s the new poster boy for the NHL, who would love for him to become the next Wayne Gretzky, whose combination of pure skill and squeaky-clean good looks brought the league into prominence in this country two decades ago. The problem is Crosby is no Gretzky. Even in this early stage of his career, he’s not popular with the fans or among his peers. And here’s why.

Most professional sports are just a live enactment of good vs. evil. In any contest, there are the good guys – those we ‘re all waiting to see win in dramatic fashion – and the bad guys – those we are waiting to fall miserably on their faces. And we enjoy watching either one because wishing for a team to lose is just as much fun as wishing for it to win. Sometimes even more so.

Take Joe Montana. With a name like that, he was destined to occupy a place among the good guys. Besides the name, the man possessed all of the qualities that one needs to become one of America’s heroes. In short, Joe Montana was a guy that no one thought would be anything more than a capable quarterback. Of course, as is often the case, people ended up eating their words as he led the San Francisco 49ers to some of the most famous comebacks during one of the greatest dynasties in sports history. His losses were sometimes just as spectacular as his wins. We all rooted for him. Whichever team was playing against Joe Montana became the enemy.

 Then we have Kobe Bryant, who was marked by the NBA to be its replacement for Michael Jordan, its most celebrated good guy. But things went wrong. The Los Angeles Lakers‘ superstar distinguished himself by openly feuding with Shaquille O’Neal and being the only guy in human history capable of pissing off Phil Jackson. Oh yeah, being accused of sexual assault didn’t really help, either. Still, Kobe prevailed and is currently one of the top basketball players in the world. But no one is happy about it and we all root against him. Whichever team is playing against Kobe Bryant becomes the favorite.

So we all loved Montana. And we all love to hate Bryant. But what about Crosby? What group does he fit into? Well, he’ll probably never be shown the kind of love the good guys enjoy. At least not outside of Pittsburgh. On the other hand, he’ll never earn a spot with the bad guys as one of professional sports’ villains. And that’s because he’s more disliked than he is hated. And you might think that being disliked doesn’t sound as bad as being hated. But it is.

Because, no matter what the particular sport or situation, what we’re all looking for is entertainment. And being a human highlight reel is only so entertaining for so long. Here’s what the San Jose SharksJeremy Roenick has to say about Crosby: I think he’s too quiet, too hum-drum, too cliched. I love the kid as a hockey player, but I think he can be more spectacular if he steps up and shows a little personality. Now while the outspoken Roenick might not be the best judge about the proper use of “personality,” his remarks mirror the public sentiment. Mainly, we find the guy boring. Outside of whining to officials about everything imaginable (he complained to the referee during a recent game against the Washington Capitals because he thought the fans were throwing an excessive amount of hats on the ice after a hat trick by rival superstar Alex Ovechkin), and his admittedly sick amount of talent, Crosby is vanilla. And while vanilla is good it doesn’t get anyone fired up.

The impression that he gives is a neutral one. Like maybe he’d be OK playing out the season in spectator-less arenas and simply concentrating on hockey. And, while that may not be true, it’s the vibe he gives off and one thing sports fans won’t tolerate is an athlete who refuses to acknowledge their part in the process.

What really sucks about all of this is, if the Penguins somehow manage to win the Stanley Cup, when Crosby lifts it over his head, most hockey fans will fill ripped off because we;ll feel neither the good guys or the bad guys triumphed. The boring whiner did.   

Quotation: By night, an atheist half believes in God. Edward Young

Tune: On advice from my brother Jeremy, I’m attempting to get into Say Hi To Your Mom. So far, I like what I hear. Try “The Death of Girl Number Two.”

Gallimaufry: Declining honeybee populations represent a potentially disastrous problem for the world’s ecosystem. And no one’s really been able to explain how it’s happening. But it looks like there might be hope. ∞ Hollywood is one step closer to completing its mission of destroying everything from my past. The most recent victim? Footloose, the 1984 Kevin Bacon classic that was so dorky-cool most guys didn’t seem to mind it was about dancing. If the initial casting choices for the remake are any indication, this movie is going to absolutely blow. ∞ Blink-182 has reunited and I’ve watched them the past two nights on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I’m a huge fan of the band’s albums. Ask anyone. But they’ve always been considered a shitty live act and, from what I’ve seen, that’s not a perception in danger of going away anytime soon.

Incoming: TomorrowAnnoying Sayings & Misused Words. Friday3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead and more.

05.05.09 – Tuesday

Get your drink on. It’s Cinco De Mayo.

Word: ideologue [ahy-dee-uh-lawg, -log, id-ee, ahy-dee] n. a person who zealously advocates an ideology

Birthday: Søren Kierkegaard (1813), Karl Marx (1818), Blind Willie McTell (1901), Michael Murphy (1938), Lance Henriksen (1940), Tammy Wynette (1942), Michael Palin (1943)John Rhys-Davies (1944), Kurt Loder (1945), Ian McCullough (1959), Brian Williams (1959), Tina Yothers (1973), Chris Brown (1989)

Standpoint: Over the weekend, I re-watched Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. The movie was good but not great. The soundtrack, however, was superb. That got m thinking about how mediocre movies can be saved by an excellent soundtrack. I started to think about movies in which the music enhanced the overall film experience. That was the only criteria. There may be better soundtracks out there but this list of the 7 Movie-Enhancing Soundtracks is all about movies that would have been lessened (in however small a degree) without the proper use of song.

Before you flood my inbox with the mistakes and omissions I made, let me mention some movies that almost made it but I decided to use in some other way on some other list I’m planning for the near future. That’s how the likes of Star Wars, Rushmore and some of your other suggestions came to not be included.

Quotation: Home is not where you live but where they understand you.Christian Morgenstern

Tune: “When They Really Get To Know You, They Will Run” by Pedro The Lion is not only an enjoyable song, but has a great title. I’m not sure what the video is all about but it was the only one with good sound clarity.

Gallimaufry: Robert Duvall vs. Walmart. Who will win the Battle of Locust Grove, Virginia? Only time will tell…The NBA shocked exacly nobody yesterday when it announced LeBron James was the 2009 Most Valuable Player…After what seems maybe a bit too long, Vampire Weekend is working on their second album. Here’s hoping those guys can avoid the jinx.

Incoming: Tomorrow – Still working on it. But it’ll be good. ThursdayAnnoying Sayings & Misused Words. Friday3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead.