07.09.09 – Thursday

Word: acrimony [ak-ruh-moh-nee] n. sharpness, harshness, or bitterness of nature, speech, disposition, etc.: The speaker attacked him with great acrimony

Birthday:  Ann Radcliffe (1764), Clarence Campbell (1905), Lee Hazlewood (1929), Donald Rumsfeld (1932), Brian Dennehy (1938), Dean R Koontz (1945), Bon Scott (1946), O.J. Simpson (1947), Chris Cooper (1951), John Tesh (1952), Jimmy Smits (1955), Marc Almond (1956), Tom Hanks (1956), Kelly McGillis (1957), Courtney Love (1964), Jack White (1975), Fred Savage (1976)

Quotation: A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.Herm Albright

Tune: Yet another gem I unearthed in the catacombs of my iPod. Pinback‘s “Seville” might be the best driving-on-a-highway song I’ve ever heard.

Gallimaufry: Hey, married men out there, if you’re thinking about engaging in an extra-marital affair, you should take note of what happened to Steve McNair this past 4th of July. The former NFL quarterback was shot in his sleep by his 20-year old mistress, Sahel Kazemi. Here’s the thing: If one person wants to date another, knowing full well that person is married, there’s automatically something off-kilter. It’s a good chance the individual is a few sandwiches short of a picnic. We’re not talking about an ironclad rule here, or anything, but don’t act totally surprised if that person does something like, say, shoot you while you’re taking a nap on the couch. I like LeBron James. But the fact that he got dunked on, at his very own Nike LeBron James Skills Academy, by college basketball star Jordan Crawford is kind of funny. What’s even funnier is Nike confiscated all video footage of the event, including that of CBS Sports.com. It’s also kind of messed up. Nobody’s perfect. LeBron and Nike may have gone too far in trying to protect the current NBA MVP’s image. If you’re not yet convinced that most everyone around you is crazy, you need to know something. A USA Today/Gallup Poll turned up some pretty nauseating results. 71% of Republicans are saying they will still vote for Sarah Palin, who stepped down as governor of Alaska last week for no apparent reason. Also, 53% of all people polled said they felt coverage of Palin was “unfairly negative.” It might be time to do some serious soul searching, America.

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06.11.09 – Thursday

Word: inure [in-yoor, i-noor] v. 1. to accustom to hardship, difficulty, pain, etc.; toughen or harden; habituate (usually fol. by to): inured to cold 2. to come into use; take or have effect 3. to become beneficial or advantageous

Birthday: Ben Jonson (1572), Richard Strauss (1864), Vince Lombardi (1913), Gene Wilder (1933), Frank Beard (1949), Joe Montana (1956), Hugh Laurie (1959), Peter Dinklage (1969), Ryan Dunn (1977), Joshua Jackson (1979), Shia LeBeouf (1986)

Quotation: Just because everything is different doesn’t mean anything has changed.Irene Peter

Tune: Just got Noble Beast by Andrew Bird. So far, I’m digging “Anonanimal” the most.

Gallimaufry: Trent Reznor, one of the most active musicians on Twitter, may be hanging up his social networking spurs. On the official Nine Inch Nails website “Forum” section, Reznor had this to say, “I will be tuning out of the social networking sites because at the end of the day it’s now doing more harm than good in the bigger picture and the experiment seems to have yielded a result. Idiots rule.” Indeed they do, but did he really need Twitter to grasp that concept? The NFL (National Football League) is ready to play hardball with the NFLPA (National Football League Players’ Association).  With relatively-new NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and brand new NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith not wanting to look weak in their first head-to-head matchup, it should be fun to watch as the two groups square off over revenue sharing. Because, really, in a terrible economy, I can’t imagine what people would love to see more than insanely rich people fighting over money. My advice? Settle this one quickly and quietly, fellas. It’s hard to believe 10 years ago this month, Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker released Napster. I caught onto Napster really early, completely by accident. (A girl at a bar told me about it.) Once I found it, I was completely hooked. Sure, by today’s standards, it was clunky and time-consuming, but for a music junkie like me, it was internet crack cocaine. The day it got shut down, I didn’t light a candle or anything. But still. It sucked. I’ve never been able to bring myself to try the new pay version.   

Incoming: Relax, will ya? Be patient.

05.21.09 – Thursday

Word: jabberwocky [jab-er-wok-ee] n. 1. a playful imitation of language consisting of invented, meaningless words; nonsense; gibberish 2. an example of writing or speech consisting of or containing meaningless words ∞ adj. 3. consisting of or comparable to Jabberwocky; meaningless; senseless

Birthday: Albrecht Dürer (1471), Henri Rousseau (1844), Armand Hammer (1898), Fats Waller (1904), Raymond Burr (1917), Leo Sayer (1948), Al Franken (1951), Mr. T (1952), Judge Reinhold (1957), The Notorious B.I.G. (1972), Fairuza Balk (1974)

Standpoint: Thursday is the day I address your suggestions for Annoying Sayings & Misused Words. Let’s have at it.

  •  “OMG” – (submitted by Fred T.) – “OMG” started out as a chat acronym for “Oh my God!’ But, I’m sorry to report that it has snuck out into the spoken word. I think it’s a great thing to teach children to say instead of, “Oh my God!” Otherwise, unless you’re using it ironically (something I’ll always support), congratulations. It’s official. You’re a tool.
  • “It’s” vs. “Its” – (submitted by Cheryl F.) – When it comes to “it’s” and “its”, I’m ever vigilant. Definitely easy to make a mistake here with just an apostrophe (‘) making the difference. “It’s” is a contraction for “it is” or “it has.” It’s going to be a great day. “Its” is possessive pronoun meaning “of it” or “belonging to it.” The bear got its foot trapped in the rocks. These two words are confused and misused mainly due to lack of attention to detail. Make sure to keep an eye out. One of the easiest grammatical mistakes to miss.
  • “I know, right?” – (submitted by Harold W.) – I’m reasonably sure, without my knowledge, a law was passed that every woman under-30 in this country is obligated  to utter this phrase exactly 85 times per day. First, if you’re agreeing with something someone said by saying, “I know,” there is no need to follow it with, “right?” The other person already agrees with you. By itself, it’s not that bothersome. But the way it’s said most of the time can make my skin crawl. I think it all has to do with the 2-octave jump the voice does when emphazizing  the last word “right,” making it sound like, “I know, riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight?”

How about you? What things do you hear or read that bother you? Let us know.

Quotation: Never mistake motion for action. Ernest Hemingway

Tune: I read about Harlem Shakes‘ song “Sunlight” on a friend’s Facebook status update. Great driving-to-the-beach song.

Gallimaufry: Today might be remembered for a long time as President Obama and former VP Dick Cheney will both give speeches on the state of terrorism in this country. Cheney thinks Obama has left the country wide-open for a terrorist attack and will give his thoughts in a speech titled “Keeping America Safe: An Address by Dick Cheney.” Obama’s speech is called, “How’s Dick Cheney Still Alive?” ∞ Human piece of garbage Michael Vick was released from prison yesterday after serving 18 months for admitting sharing responsibility for brutally murdering several dogs. The former NFL star will server the last two months of his sentence under house arrest in Hampton, Virginia. Vick is reportedly ready to join a Humane Society of the United States campaign designed to discourage urban youth from pitting angry dogs against each other in fights to the death. ∞ Oscar-winning director Cameron Crowe understands how to make music work in movies. If you’ve ever watched the scene from Say Anything where John Cusack plays Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” outside Ione Skye’s house, you know exactly what I mean. Anyway, Crowe has compiled a list of some of the best music moments in film history. Pretty solid, in my opinion.

Incoming: Tomorrow – It’s my birthday. But it’ll also be Friday so you’ll get my 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead plus some birthday-related list. Come back and check it out.

04.17.09 – Friday

Word: quixotic [kwik-sot-ik] adj. 1. (sometimes initial capital letter) resembling or befitting Don Quixote 2. extravagantly chivalrous or romantic; visionary, impractical or impracticable 3. impulsive or rashly unpredictable

Birthday: J.P. Morgan (1837), Thornton Wilder (1897), Harry Reasoner (1923), Jan Hammer (1948), Rowdy Roddy Piper (1954), Michael Sembello (1954), Nick Hornby (1957), Maynard James Keenan (1964), Liz Phair (1967), Redman (1970), Jennifer Garner (1972), Victoria Beckham (1974)

Occurence: 1790 – In Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin passes away at the age of 84.

Standpoint: In doing my daily research for this blog, I come across a lot of the same names. Some of these names I would prefer to never hear again. So, I decided to make a list of 5 People I Would Like To See Move To Another Planet. Here’s the first five people (in no particular order) I’d like to put on a vessel headed for another planet and what I’d say to them before I kicked them inside and sealed the hatch.

  • Glenn BeckFOX News Talk Show Host – “I’m sorry, Mr. Beck, but we just don’t need people like you anymore. Once upon a time, we liked it when our TV personalities stirred up the pot and whipped people into a frenzy for no good reason . It was fun to watch. But now, the stakes are too high. I’m afraid we need responsible broadcasting in this day and age. I know what you’re going to say. FOX News will just put someone else in your place. But we’ve all got our fingers crossed that person will be a little smarter and not half as loud. Here’s to hoping.”
  • Miley CyrusTeenage Music and Movie Superstar – “This is really delaying the inevitable, Miss Cyrus. In a couple of years, you won’t be famous anymore and no one will care where you are. So you might as well be on another planet. Maybe there, you can get a fresh start and actually make something of yourself without your dad, Billy Ray Cyrus. We know this will probably break his (achy-breaky) heart, but we’re looking to do what is best for everyone. We’ve packed your Radiohead CDs for the trip. Enjoy.”
  • Tom GreenInternet Talk Show Host – “Mr. Green, I’ve watched your internet talk show. You don’t seem as annoying as you did on MTV, a few years back. You were doing fine, conducting harmless interviews with Andrew “Dice” Clay, Kathy Griffin and other inconsequential celebrities. But you got greedy. You went on “Celebrity Apprentice” and reminded us that you are someone whose only comedic value rests in your ability to annoy. We’ve had enough.”
  • Paris HiltonHotel Heiress – “Miss Hilton, you’re innocuous enough. You seem to enjoy dabbling in all sorts of stuff. Music, television, fragrances. It appears you have a wide array of interests. We’re not sure how you became famous or even how you’ve managed to stay that way. Sadly, this might not even be your own doing. But we gotta get rid of you. There’s just too many people who care about your activities and we have to make you disappear so that those people can do more productive things with their time. Like monitor the Ashton Kutcher-CNN Twitter race.” [Note: The race is over. Ashton Kutcher won.]
  • MadonnaInternational Music Superstar –  “Hey, Madonna, you had a good run. But when you’re a younger woman and you want to, say, adopt a kid from a third-world country, we think you’re doing a great thing. When you’re your age and you seem to be amassing kids for no good reason, we think you’re creepy. We just wanted you to tour once in a while and sing ‘Material Girl’ and other former hits from your impressive catalog.  But you’ve pushed us too far. Don’t worry about your babies. We’re taking them over to Angelina Jolie‘s.”

Weekend: Each Friday, I’ll give you the 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead – my list of things to do in Philadelphia this weekend as if it’s your last. 

  • Today (04.17) –  3 Dollar Dance PartyWorld Cafe Live – Described as “an up and coming dance party made for everyone regardless of race, sexuality or background.” Since I’ve lost all the weight (50lbs. in the past year), I’ve noticed that I’m not a half-bad dancer. I’m not skilled, but I’m certainly not a liabilty out on the dance floor. And it sounds like it would be a cool crowd. Time: 11pm
  • Saturday (04.18) – Fresh Fish 2.0 Ten Minute Play FestivalWalking Fish Theatre – Often, people say, “Finally! Something for the A.D.D. crowd!” Well, in this instance, it’s kind of true. Brought to you by B. Somebody Productions, Fresh Fish 2.0 boasts “eight different plays with eight different directors and loads of different actors.” Time: 8pm
  • Sunday (04.19) – Cezanne and BeyondPhiladelphia Art Museum – A large collection (40 paintings and 20 watercolors) are showcased “alongside works by several artists for whom Cezanne has been a central inspiration and whose work reflects , both visually and poetically, Cezanne’s extraordinary legacy.” This exhibit is running through May 31st, so you’ve got some time. But why wait? Time: All Day

Quotation: Weekends don’t count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless Bill Watterson

Tune: Yesterday, I asked my friend Ezgi to name her favorite song in heavy rotation right now. She replied, “‘Stars of Track and Field’ by Belle and Sebastian.” Take a listen.

Gallimaufry: In Philadelphia, it will soon become  illegal to use your cell phone while operating anything on wheels. Now what will all the drivers in front of me to occupy their time while they go 5mph in a 35mph zone? Ah, why am I worried? I’m sure they’ll figure something out…I’m pleased to say that I’ve discovered the reason reality television was invented. Keshia Knight Pulliam (Rudy from TV’s “The Cosby Show”) is finally getting her own reality show. My only question: What took so long?…After three decades, John Madden is calling it quits. The NFL announcer is retiring to spend more time with his family.

Incoming: Next week’s posts will include my Best One-Word Movie Titles, more Annoying Sayings & Misused Words, and some other great stuff. This was the best week so far for this fledgling blog and that’s mainly due to all of the reader participation I’ve received through comments left here, personal emails and all the involvement on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for reading this week. Come back Monday for some more.

04.03.09 – Friday

Word: satire [sat-ahyuh r] n. 1. the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule or the like, in exposing, denouncing or deriding vice, folly, etc. 2. a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice is held up to scorn, derision or ridicule 3. a literary genre containing such compositions

 

Birthday: Washington Irving (1783), Marlon Brando (1924), Doris Day (1924), Gus Grissom (1926), Jane Goodall (1934), Wayne Newton (1942), Tony Orlando (1944), Richard Thompson (1949), Ray Combs (1956), Alec Baldwin (1958), David Hyde Pierce (1959), Eddie Murphy (1961), Mike Ness (1962), Picabo Street (1971), Jennie Garth (1972), Aries Spears (1975)

 

Occurrence: 1996 – The “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski is arrested in Montana. Currently, he’s serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole in Florence, Colorado. Don’t bother trying to visit him. He’s not accepting visitors. (Note: Apparently, I was mistaken about yesterday being the anniversary of the assassination of Jesse James by Robert Ford. It’s today. That’s what fact-checking at 2am will get you. Lesson learned.)

 

Standpoint: Michael Vick is getting out jail in a month or so. It’s rumored that he will be playing football for some NFL team in the upcoming season. Probably the Dallas Cowboys. And that’s a sad sad thing. The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback funded a dog fighting ring and had direct knowledge of his friends killing dogs. I understand that I’m a little tough on the NFL. I apologize for exactly none of what I say about the league. If he is reinstated and resumes his playing career, it will be a new low for an organization that has already burrowed underneath the slimiest slime and muckiest muck.

 

Quotation: He who stands for nothing will fall for anything. Alexander Hamilton (Note: I’ve heard this attributed to Malcolm X. Guess he lifted it from Hamilton.)

 

Weekend: My picks for dope stuff to do in Philadelphia this weekend.

 

Tonight (4/3) – 8pm Go see Bob Mould (formerly of Husker Du and Sugar) at The North Star Bar. 

Saturday (4/4) – 8pm The 6th Borough’s Depression Isn’t Just a River in Egypt at Connie’s Ric Rac.

Sunday (4/5) – 2pm Take the kids down to the American Swedish Historical Museum to participate in Swedish Easter traditions.

 

Tune: Another favorite unsung band. Teenage Fanclub. Check out “Ain’t That Enough”.

 

Video: I’ve heard of American actors going over to Japan and doing crazy commercials. I’d never seen video evidence of it, though. Until now. Watch this collection of Nicolas Cage commercials. (Thanks to Tim Mulvey.)

 

Gallimaufry: NASA still has made no decision regarding the naming of the new room in the International Space Station. But Chaka Fattah (D-PA) is getting behind naming it after Stephen Colbert who won the contest after urging his Colbert Report viewers to cast write-in votes for him…People keep asking me questions about the new Facebook and what to do about all of the clutter. I’m still feeling it out myself but here’s an article that may help…The Onion’s AV Club encourages everyone to turn off the shuffle and listen to these 25 albums the way they were intended – straight through. Sadly, I own only one of these albums: XTC’s Skylarking…All right. That’s it for me. Thanks for another great week. Come back on Monday for some more.

03.31.09 – Tuesday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: subterfuge [suhb-ter-fyooj] n. an artifice or expedient used to evade a rule, escape a consequence, hide something, etc.

Birthday: René Descartes (1596), Johann Sebastian Bach (1685), Joseph Haydn (1732), César Chávez (1927), William Daniels(1927), Gordie Howe (1928), Liz Claiborne (1929), Richard Chamberlain (1934), Shirley Jones (1934), Barney Frank (1940), Christopher Walken (1943), Gabe Kaplan (1945), Al Gore (1948), Rhea Perlman (1948), Ed Marinaro (1950), Angus Young (1955), Ewan McGregor (1971), Josh Saviano (1976)

Occurrence: 1918Daylight Saving Time is first used. I’ve heard all the reasons why DST is a good idea. None of them appeal to me. It’s just a hassle. Except when I’m at a bar when we’re turning the clocks back. Then, I mean hey, one more hour of drinking. When is that ever a bad thing?

Standpoint: I like police officers. I know lots of people who don’t. Most have had a bad experience with a cop. Some just like thumbing their nose at authority. (Rock on, rebel.) But being a police officer can’t be easy. I can understand why they might sometimes be rude. First, people generally lie to them. Hardly anyone tells the exact truth. At least not right off the bat. Cops always have to ask a million questions to get to the bottom of anything. That’s gotta be frustrating. Second, imagine if – every conversation that you had in a day – you had to worry about someone either lunging at you or sprinting away and diving over some fence. I’d find it hard to remain forever-courteous in that situation. So I get it. I appreciate everything that law enforcement does for our society. But what Dallas Police Officer Robert Powell did to Ryan and Tamisha Moats was borderline criminal. Guy definitely shouldn’t be a cop. Or even a junkyard security guard. Moats, however, handled the situation like a gentleman and continues to do so. The saddest part about the whole incident is that, if Moats wasn’t an NFL running back, we would’ve never even known it occurred.

Quotation: A careful driver is one who honks his horn when he goes through a red light.Henry Morgan

Soupçon: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms prohibits the use of the word “refreshing” in describing any alcoholic beverage. I thought old Zima ads might’ve used the word but I can’t find any official use of the word “refreshing.”

Tune: Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” has always confused me. If she’s singing, “You’re so vain/You probably think this song is about you,” then wouldn’t the song at least be partially “about” whoever the hell she thinks is “so vain?” I think so. Furthermore, Simon has never confirmed who she’s referring to. Popular speculation names several suspects: Mick Jagger, Cat Stevens, Warren Beatty, Kris Kristofferson and James Taylor. Apparently, back then, if you played the guitar or happened to be Warren Beatty, you had a pretty good shot of dating Ms. Simon.

Link: Calvin and Hobbes Wonderland – Everything you could possibly need about the awesome comic strip by Bill Watterson.

Gallimaufry: It’s no secret that I like President Obama. But funny is funny. Check out Barack Obama’s Teleprompter’s Blog…Ever wished for super powers? Sure you have. Let Cracked explain why you don’t want them…Using TweetDeck for Twitter is my new vice. I highly recommend it.

03.17.09 – Tuesday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: stultify [stuhl-tuh-fahy] verb to make, or cause to appear, foolish or ridiculous

Birthday: Nat King Cole (1919), John Wayne Gacy (1942), Patrick Duffy (1949), Kurt Russell (1951), Gary Sinise (1955), Casey Siemaszko (1961), Rob Lowe (1964), Billy Corgan (1967), Mia Hamm (1972)

Occurrence: 1854 – The rubber band is first patented. Interesting, but I would like to know the first time someone figured out how to wrap it around their hand and point at people like a gun.

Standpoint: In today’s NFL, you’re just not a viable wide receiver until ESPN shows a clip of you getting arrested or questioned by the police. Apparently, it’s a rite of passage. This past Saturday morning, Donte Stallworth struck and killed Juan Sanchez, a man who had just finished his shift. Stallworth has now joined the ranks of Plaxico Burress, Javon Walker, Marvin Harrison and host of other professional wideouts who can’t seem to help but get busted for (or suspected of) criminal acts. Originally, it was reported that charges would not be brought up against the Cleveland Browns player, but now it seems a definite possibility. The most amazing aspect of this current trend of “bad boy” wide receivers is that, for the most part, every one of them is, or has the potential to be, an elite player. Randy Moss. Terry Glenn. Brandon Marshall. Koren Robinson. All great talents. All ended up destroying or diminishing their own careers for participation in events that, to the rest of us, seem completely absurd. The problem is well-documented. This is news to no one. So when does Commissioner Robert Goodell drop the hammer and start kicking these guys out of the league? And when do the teams start sending a real message by not signing these guys, no matter what their level of talent may be? The NFL has become a safe harbor for individuals who continually break the law (see Matt Jones), learn nothing from their actions and have the bank accounts to mount defenses O.J. Simpson would drool over. I’ll take drama-queen Terrell Owens over any of these guys. He may be a big problem in the locker room and a seemingly below-average human being but at least I know when I walk out of work he’s not going to run me over in his Bentley.

Quotation: How do I know what I think until I see what I say?E.M. Forster

Soupçon: The original Greek question mark became the English semicolon (;). I know I keep ripping off A.J. Jacobs but can you really blame me? I maintain a daily blog that includes an interesting fact section and I’m reading a book chronicling a man’s search for knowledge. I’ve just gotten to the “R” chapter of The Know-It-All so I’m almost done ripping it off.

Tune: Besides being great guys, Backyard Tire Fire is an outstanding live band. About a year ago, my brother and I went to The North Star to see The Beautiful Girls. BTF was the opening act and they put on a great show. After their set, I had lost my interest in seeing the main act and spent the rest of the night at the bar with the band. Great night. Check out “Corrine”.

Link: Bag of Songs – Superlative Philadelphia-based blog covering the world of music.

Gallimaufry: Not everyone is hurting during the recession. Condom sales are up due to, among other factors, people staying in more and couples holding off on having a child. Read Amanda Ruggeri’s article “10 Winners in the Recession” from U.S. News & World Report to see who else is prospering…Paste Magazine has made a list of the best independent movie houses in the country. Surprisingly, none of Philadelphia’s made the list…Looks like tough times ahead for Atlantic City, NJ. Casinos are experiencing record losses right now. Hope the Borgata is still there May 23rd when I’m going to see Joel McHale for my birthday. Fingers crossed, people…Hope everyone has a SAFE St. Patrick’s Day. Lots of drinking rookies out there. Be careful and don’t drive.