March 28th, 2012

word

chelonian [ki-loh-nee-uhn] 1. adj. belonging or pertaining to the order Chelonia, comprising the turtles 2. n. a turtle

birthday

Dianne Wiest (1948), Reba McEntire (1955), Vince Vaughn (1970), Nick Frost (1972), Julia Stiles (1981), Lady Gaga (1986),

standpoint

The Trayvon Martin case is a true tragedy. And, like everything that happens these days in this country, it’s become so mired in ridiculous details that it’ll most likely never arrive at a proper resolution.

Here’s what I’ve figured out so far:

(1) Martin was walking down the street, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and in possession of both a bag of Skittles and a bottle of iced tea when George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watchmen, started following him.

(2) After just a few minutes, Martin was dead, apparently shot by Zimmerman, who, according the guidelines set forth by the national Neighborhood Watch, shouldn’t have been armed while on patrol.

(3) The police arrived to find Zimmerman with a bloody nose and minor head wound, standing over Martin’s body. He stated he killed Martin in self-defense. The police believed him and he’s free to go.

Those are the only things I know to be undeniably true about the actual event. The rest of it is mostly just fodder for those who feel turning a tragedy into a nationwide debate, while dragging all involved through mud, is a good way to kill time and push a particular political agenda.

Yes, Trayvon Martin was suspended from school three times. Yes, he was found at one time or another to be in possession of marijuana. So what? He made some bad decisions. He was 17. And how many other 17 year olds are out there making bad decisions? The answer is mostly all of them.

Yes, Trayvon Martin was wearing a hoodie. Is this really something we’re talking about? I wear hoodies quite often. But I’m going to climb out on a limb here and say that if George Zimmerman saw a white, 37 year old male walking down his street donning a hooded sweatshirt, he probably wouldn’t have decided to follow me. The whole hoodie aspect is asinine.

Yes, every politician and activist in the country has made a comment on this tragedy. And the way this country is nowadays, no one can say anything right at any time. Because, no matter what anyone says, there’s a large group of people who are ready to pile on. But politicians can’t simply decline to comment on any issue and so they’re forced to perpetually piss off lots of people. And we wonder why no one of merit is stepping up to run for public office in this country.

Bottom line is this: Zimmerman shot Martin. Let him stand trial for it.

quotation

Genius ain’t anything more than elegant common sense. ↔ Josh Billings

tune

Hall and Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That” being covered by Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers as they’re driving around in a van? Yes! That does sound good!

gallimaufry

Stupid people apparently love other stupid people.

How could being in 3-D possibly make Titanic better? Unless a giant pair of hands come out of the screen and put me out of my misery by choking the life out of me, there’s simply no way.

NHL hockey continues to be one of the least popular sports in our country. But John Buccigross wants you to reconsider your opinion.

06.07.11 – a tuesday

word

hackneyed [hak-need] adj. made commonplace or trite; stale; banal: the hackneyed images of his poetry

birthday

Jessica Tandy (1909), Dean Martin (1917), Tom Jones (1940), Liam Neeson (1952), Prince (1958), Allen Iverson (1975), Bill Hader (1978), Anna Kournikova (1981), Michael Cera (1988)

standpoint

Last night, I decided to go see X-Men: First Class at my local theater.

In recent years, I’ve been hearing this sort of statement more and more: “Yeah, I love movies but I hate going to the theater. It’s so distracting. Unless it’s some sort of special effects blockbuster, I’d rather just wait until it comes out on DVD or HBO or something.”

Truthfully, most times I’ve heard someone say that, I’ve been the one saying it.

But I didn’t always feel that way. Once upon a time, I went to see a movie at least twice a month, either with other people or, more often, by myself. It was a nice way to pass the time. But going to the theater nowadays is akin to placing the lens of a metaphorical microscope on everything sucky about humanity.

And here’s just two reasons why:

1. Commentary – Apparently, during any movie, there’s a contest called “Who’s the Best At Following Along?” Not everyone is picked to play but those chosen are a fiercely competitive bunch, vehemently shouting out things like, “He’s gonna get shot!” or “That’s a mistake!” *SPOILER ALERT* Last night, for instance, there was a scene in which a hand was flicking cigar ashes into an ashtray. It was the very beginning of Hugh Jackman‘s ten-second cameo as Wolverine, the central character of the X-Men franchise. But before his face appeared on screen, at least 15 people cried out, “That’s Wolverine!”

2. Cell Phones – The scourge of the modern cinema, it’s easy to understand how moveigoers might forget to turn their cell phones to silent or vibrate. It’s not like there’s several announcements before the start of a movie, asking everyone to check them. I blame the clever warnings. They’re too subtle. Here’s what they should run instead. Still, I don’t think anyone would give a shit. Last night, there were so many sounds coming from cell phones that I entertained the idea I might be the subject of a gigantic prank. My favorite, however, was the guy directly behind me who, an hour into the movie, answered his phone and proceeded to schedule a meeting for 2:30 this afternoon.

quotation

Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you and scorn in the one ahead. ↔ Mac McCleary

tune

I loved Hall & Oates when I was a kid. Truth be told, I still dig their songs. They represent everything solid about the 1980s. That’s no lie. The video for “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” is quintessentially representative of the decade most everyone would love to forget.

gallimaufry

Here’s a life lesson, people. This clown had so many opportunities to ride off into the sunset as an American success story. But now he’s the poster child for greed and living beyond one’s own means. Suckah.

The “Jailbirds?” Why not? The NFL is such a laughingstock, why shouldn’t the Eagles be the biggest joke in it? Cue The Longest Yard references, starting…now.

→ Just to make this an all-sports gallimaufry, I’ll let you know that Mark Recchi was never one of my favorites when he played for the Flyers but there’s a part of me that’s pleased to see the 43-year-old not only competing for his third Stanley Cup ring, but contributing as well.

05.23.11 – a monday

word

tyro [tahy-ro] n. a beginner in learning anything; novice

birthday

Douglas Fairbanks (1883), Scatman Crothers (1910), Joan Collins (1933), Drew Carey (1958), Jewel (1974)

standpoint

Yesterday was my birthday and, holy shit, the amount of emails, Facebook messages, texts and calls I received was pretty damn humbling.

But as great a day as it was, there was a twinge of sadness that, at first, I couldn’t figure out. And then I realized it was the first birthday in a well over a decade with no Harv. For those of you who might not know, my best friend Harvey Forsyth passed away last November. One of the countless things I loved about him was that, while he was ever reluctant to make a big deal about his own birthday, he was always more than willing to make a big deal out of mine.

I’m not discounting all of the fantastic sentiments I received yesterday because that’s simply not the case. I truly appreciated every last one. But, without a second’s hesitation, I would trade all of them for one more chance to sit next to Harv at our favorite bar as he held up his beer to meet mine and wished me a happy birthday.

quotation

The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes. ↔ Frank Lloyd Wright

tune

This one’s gonna take a little patience. If I was only allowed to listen to 20 songs for the rest of my life, “Tokyo” by Bob Schneider would be a shoe-in. This is the only video I could find of it and it’s not that great and there’s a fanboy singing along at parts but I think the lyrics are some of the best around. Enjoy.

gallimaufry

The answer to the question posed in the title of this article is a very loud and resounding, “WHY WOULD YOU WASTE YOUR TIME WRITING THIS?”

→ I’m constantly back and forth about Daniel Tosh. Sometimes, I think we might get along famously. Other times, I’m convinced he’d be annoying on a level I haven’t experienced. I’m relatively sure, when he thinks about me, he’s having the same sort of internal struggle.

→ Okay. Fine. The Vancouver Canucks is the best team in the NHL. I was wrong. You guys were right. I can’t call them all so just shut up about it all ready.

05.11.11 – a wednesday

word

animalcule [an-uhmal-kyool] n. 1. a minute or microscopic animal, nearly or quite invisible to the naked eye, as an infusorian or rotifer 2. Archaic. a tiny animal, as a mouse or fly

birthday

Irving Berlin (1888), Salvador Dalí (1904), Louis Farrakhan (1933), Martha Quinn (1959), Natasha Richardson (1963)

standpoint

First, I’d like to sincerely thank everyone who clicked here and made yesterday’s post one of my highest viewed ever.

Now that that’s out of the way, here are some things I’m finding irksome today.

→ I often use the word “irksome” to describe how I feel about one topic or another and most times I do, someone has something to say about my use of the word. It’s a perfectly valid word, people, and I’ll use it as I see fit.

→ The character aspersions surrounding Philadelphia Flyers’ captain Mike Richards and the team’s second round exit from the playoffs are completely ridiculous. Including the past two NHL seasons and last year’s Olympics, Richards has played in 204 games, the most of any hockey player in that time span.

→ For ten years, everyone and their grandmother wanted Osama bin Laden dead. Obama gave the order to kill bin Laden and it obviously happened and people have been celebrating. (Christ, last Saturday afternoon some squirrelly dopes in my neighborhood sat outside their house drinking with a sign that said something like, “HONK IF YOU’RE HAPPY BIN LADEN IS DEAD.” And the carhorns were going off fast and furious all day.) But the morbid honeymoon is over and we’re seeing headlines like, “Bin Laden’s death now part of Obama’s re-elect message.” Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Ain’t America the greatest?

quotation

Man spends his life in reasoning on the past, in complaining of the present, in fearing future. ↔ Antoine Rivarol

tune

This is “Porcupine Racetrack,” one of the best sketches The State ever performed. Here’s the thing. If you don’t think this is funny, I’m not saying we won’t ever be friends but it’s going to be an uphill battle. (Sorry the video is not truly embedded but MTV thrives on being a pain in the ass.)

http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:uma:video:mtv.com:375229

gallimaufry

Speaking of The State and “Porcupine Racetrack,” here’s an interview with Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black and David Wain about how the sketch came to be.

→ Man, there’s nothing worse than not being able to figure out if a company is truly worth $7 billion or not. It’s a real fucking problem.

04.20.11 – a wednesday

word

chthonian [thoh-nee-uhn] adj. of or pertaining to the deities, spirits and other beings dwelling under the earth

birthday

Adolf Hitler (1899), Lionel Hampton (1908), George Takei (1937), Jessica Lange (1949), Luther Vandross (1951), Crispin Glover (1964), Carmen Electra (1972), Joey Lawrence (1976)

standpoint

Here’s some stuff that’s been on my mind in the past few days.

→ Apparently, someone is trying hack my gmail account. At least that’s what Google is telling me. I am not a violent individual, by any stretch of the imagination, but I would have no problem spending a rainy afternoon punching hackers in the face. Seriously, you guys need to get some frickin’ girlfriends all ready.

→ Why is it so difficult to find out about the status of Comedy Central’s The Benson Interruption? Is it through? On hiatus? Is Doug Benson on a record-setting marijuana binge? I want answers, people.

→ I don’t care that some dude called me “a skirt” the other day when I openly declared I want a Can-Am Roadster, I still think they’re cool.

→ I’ve made a decision. Daredevil, starring Ben Affleck, is the worst superhero movie ever made. Adam West can finally hold his head high.

→ Following Wil Wheaton on Twitter as he watches his Los Angeles Kings is simultaneously fun and heartbreaking. The dude obviously digs hockey.

quotation

As advertising blather becomes the nation’s normal idiom, language becomes printed noise. ↔ George Will

tune

I don’t have a long-winded intro for this one, it’s just, in my opinion, a kick-ass song. Here’s “Open House” by Bombay Bicycle Club.

gallimaufry

Turns out those days were not “all happy” and it appears as if they definitely weren’t “free.” I’m relieved to see Richie and Fonzie aren’t getting involved in this mess.

I’ve never concealed my objection to the ridiculous gun laws in this country but the guns aren’t truly to blame. (They’re just inanimate objects, after all.) No, the actual problem is there’s no mandatory IQ test for those folks out there who feel owning a gun is a stellar idea. Read this story and tell me I’m wrong.

Hey, if you haven’t yet figured out why the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs is unquestionably the most complete sports experience on the planet, you’re missing out. 

04.29.10 – A Thursday

Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to MySpaceAdd to NewsvineAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter

word

chicanery [shi-key-nuh-ree, chi-] n. 1. trickery or deception by quibbling or sophistry: He resorted to the worst flattery and chicanery to win the job 2. a quibble or subterfuge used to trick, deceive, or evade

birthday

William Randolph Hearst (1863), Duke Ellington (1899), Hirohito (1901), Lonnie Donegan (1931), Bernard Madoff (1938), Richard Kline (1944), Dale Earnhardt (1951), Nora Dunn (1952), Jerry Seinfeld (1954), Kate Mulgrew (1955), Daniel Day-Lewis (1957), Michelle Pfeiffer (1958), Eve Plumb (1958), Master P (1967), Carnie Wilson (1968), Andre Agassi (1970), Uma Thurman (1970), Barbaro (2003)

standpoint

It’s true that humans are my least favorite animals. I’m a big fan of the rest of them, though. Sometimes, I think other animals are quite lucky. No sense of individuality. No hang ups about death. No concept of time. No supposition on what’s right or wrong. Except for the constraints folks like us place on them, the balance of the animal kingdom enjoy freedoms in a way we humans once did but never will again. Whether we know it or not, that’s why we have pets.

We hold our pets in higher regard. And we should. Some get a little too carried away with it. You always hear about crazy cat people who thought it was a perfectly sound idea to take in 320 felines into a two-bedroom house. I was once at a good friend’s wedding where I had the misfortune of sitting at a table with a gentleman who conducted a 45-minute monologue on such topics as how his dog liked to run on one specific side of the dog park, preferred to chew on his work shoes but left the guy’s sneakers alone, fancied one type of dog food over another. It was pretty hard to sit through.

But those are the extremists. Most of us have pets and we love them more conventionally.

I have cats. And I dig them. Pudds and Buckley. They fascinate me. They’re crazy and affectionate and amazing. I can’t explain why they do the insane things they do but I don’t care. Sure, they’re my pets but, in my opinion, that’s a prosaic designation. More so, my cats are my friends. And, whether you have cats or dogs or fish or birds or monkeys, that’s what pets are. Friends. (Due to some shuffling around that was going on about a year ago, I had to take Pudds and Buckley to stay with my parents. I miss them everyday but my mother and father fell in love with the two weirdos and even though I’m in a situation where I could conceivably take them back, I wouldn’t dream of doing so. The four of them – my parents and my cats – are so happy together, it makes little sense to break them up.)

Your pets spend all day waiting for you to come home and when you do, they don’t care about anything else except you’re back. They don’t care if you lost your job, if wrecked your car, etc. They just want to hang with you. It’s a supremely pure relationship in that it’s unconditional.

So, today, I’m asking all of you to give a little shout-out to your pets. Take them on an extra long walk. But them a toy or treat. Give them a special meal. If roles were reversed, they’d do it for you.

Me and Buckley and Pudds

quotation

It often happens that a man is more humanely related to a cat or a dog than to any human being. Henry David Thoreau

tune

2010 is turning out to be the year all of my favorite music artists are releasing new material. The latest to do so is Teenage Fanclub. The Scottish mainstays will release Shadows here in the States on June 8th. Here’s a preview – “Baby Lee.”

gallimaufry

→ The NHL playoffs this season have been amazing, especially in the Eastern Conference where the bottom three seeds successfully knocked off the top three. I haven’t looked into it but I’d wager that’s a first. The East, considered the stronger conference this year, may have shot itself in the foot if the San Jose Sharks start playing as amazing as they’re capable.

Life on Mars? Who gives a shit? Let’s turn the telescopes and probes back onto ourselves.

→ Just yesterday afternoon, I was thinking how great it would be if Hollywood could find a way to put out more crap. Luckily, I read this last night and it answered my prayers.

04.27.10 – A Tuesday

Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to MySpaceAdd to NewsvineAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter

word

extirpate [ek-ster-peyt, ik-stur-peyt] v. used w/ obj. 1. to remove or destroy totally; do away with; exterminate 2. to pull up by or as if by the roots; root up: to extirpate an unwanted hair

birthday

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759), Samuel F. B. Morse (1791), Ulysses S. Grant (1822), Jack Klugman (1922), Casey Kasem (1932), Frank William Abagnale, Jr. (1948), Kate Pierson (1948), Ace Frehley (1951), Sheena Easton (1959)

standpoint

This past weekend, the NFL conducted its annual draft and it was all anyone could talk about. I didn’t really pay much attention. The only time I care about football is when it’s actually being played. To me, the draft seems to be just another reason for NFL fans, most of whom I regard as whiners, to bitch and moan, ask each other why their particular team took one guy and not another, failed to draft a player at one position and not another, and so on and so forth.

For the past several years the relationship between the NFL and its fans has fascinated me. Football enthusiasts are mostly fanatics, highly devoted folks who expect a lot from their chosen organization. Curiously, though, the same expectations do not extend to the individual athletes. And here’s why I think that’s so.

First and foremost, I’m a hockey fan. Training camp for the NHL begins at the end of each summer and the Stanley Cup Finals usually wrap up sometime in early summer of the next year. By comparison, NFL training camps start in early August and the Super Bowl is usually played the first week of February. In addition, football teams play once a week while hockey (and basketball and baseball) teams might play several times in the same amount of time. Bottom line, football fans feel an urgency, a need to do as much as they can with the little time afforded them. It’s the reason fall/winter Sunday afternoons and, to a slightly lesser extent, Monday nights have been bestowed with an almost venerable aura. There’s an almost obligatory sense to watch football when it’s on. You didn’t watch the game yesterday afternoon? Why not? You’d better have a bulletproof alibi.

The brevity of the NFL season also has an impact on its players. It provides them more time to pursue other interests with the massive amounts of cash they accumulate over the year. The majority of the athletes go home to their families, maybe investing in a hometown restaurant or contributing their time in a charitable fashion. But there are those who don’t make the best choices when it comes to how they spend their money and time in the offseason, getting in trouble with the law in a variety of ways. It seems you can’t turn on SportsCenter without seeing a new feature on some NFL knucklehead being brought up some kind of charges. Their actions are part bad decision making, part too much time and money on their hands. Someone’s bound to get into trouble.

When these stories come out, there’s always a heavy dose of public outrage by NFL fans and pundits. But it’s never sustained. The player always pays the fine or, less often, does the time and then it’s back to business as usual. An odd thing about the NFL is that, despite its massive fanbase, most of its teams flat-out suck, which means there’s always teams out there willing to take a chance on a skilled player. Even if that player beats his girlfriends, or fires guns at nightclubs, or recently completed yet another stint of drug rehab. When a team signs a guy like that, its fans, more concerned with a Super Bowl parade than a strong sense of morality, always jump on board.

In the weeks after Michael Vick was paroled, rumors surfaced about Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones tinkering with the idea of signing him. Every football fan in Philadelphia was laughing, shaking their heads and telling each other how perfect Vick would fit in with the rest of the criminals the Cowboys have gained a reputation for bringing aboard. Then the Eagles signed Vick. For a day or two, people seemed a little put off the organization would sign a convicted animal abuser. But within a week, no one was talking about dogs, but about another animal: the wildcat. As in the “Wildcat Offense” and how Vick would flourish in it. Nowadays, if you bring up the fact the guy used to beat dogs to death people roll their eyes and tell you to give it a rest. No wants to hear it. In essence, he’s been exonerated in the public eye because he puts on an Eagles’ uniform every Sunday (and the occasional Monday) for a few months out of the year.

And Vick’s not even a close to be the only one. He’s a member of a rather large club. Ray Lewis may have been acquitted of his murder charge but everyone knows he at least had something to with the deaths of those people. Baltimore Ravens fans don’t care. Adam “Pacman” Jones has a criminal record detailing a wide array of offenses. Detroit Lions fans won’t care if the team signs him. Ben Roethlisberger most definitely has a problem with sexually assaulting women, although he escaped formal charges. After he serves his upcoming six-game suspension and leads the team down the field for a touchdown, Pittsburgh Steelers fans won’t care. These are guys you wouldn’t want working in your office building, but if they’re playing football, fans will rationalize why it’s okay to forgive, and even cheer, for him.

Sometimes, guys wake up and take advantage of a second (or third) chance like Cris Carter. But, unfortunately, most of them will end up like Rae Carruth.

For the record, I don’t hold the NFL owners in any contempt for signing or retaining criminals. They’re running a business. In terms of dollars and cents, it makes sense for them to take the chances they do and, sometimes, as in the Roethlisberger situation, they have no other choice.

But what’s the fans excuse? How can the rationality of all this be explained? If these guys weren’t playing football, they’d be in jail and no one would give a rat’s ass what they were up to. Lucky for them, that’s not the case. They continue to get the love and respect of millions of people despite the fact, outside playing a game, they’ve done nothing to deserve it.

It’s comical and pathetic.

quotation

Whenever I hear people talking about liberal ideas, I am always astounded that men should love to fool themselves with empty sounds. An idea should never be liberal; it must be vigorous, positive, and without loose ends so that it may fulfill its divine mission and be productive. The proper place for liberality is in the realm of the emotions. Johann von Goethe

tune

I’ve shared this before but I’m going to do it again because, well, I do what I want. I’m of the opinion Chuck D is a pretty solid dude. I present Public Enemy‘s “Harder Than You Think.”

gallimaufry

→ I think Stephen Hawking might be watching Independence Day a little too much. And who can blame him? It’s a good movie mostly. But he may not be completely wrong here.

→ Sometimes something as simple as a sandwich can be a strong indicator of where we’re headed as a society. People, we’re driving in the wrong direction here.

→ My favorite show on ESPN? It’s SportsNation. I’m sure some of you out there now think a little less of me.