12.11.09 – A Friday

WORD

mortify [mawr-tuh-fahy] v. (used w/ object) 1. to humiliate or shame, as by injury to one’s pride or self-respect 2. to subjugate (the body, passions, etc.) by abstinence, ascetic discipline, or self-inflicted suffering 3. Pathology. to affect with gangrene or necrosis v. (used w/o object) 4. to practice mortification or disciplinary austerities 5. Pathology. to undergo mortification; become gangrened or necrosed

Note: I am giving the definition of “mortify” because it has been brought to my attention it’s used wrong pretty much all of the time. I have to admit, I learned something new today.

BIRTHDAY

John Labatt (1838), Carlo Ponti (1912), Big Mama Thornton (1926), Rita Moreno (1931), McCoy Tyner (1938), Donna Mills (1942), John Kerry (1943), Brenda Lee (1944), Teri Garr (1947), Bess Armstrong (1953), Jermaine Jackson (1954), Nikki Sixx (1958), Jon Brion (1963), Mo’Nique (1967), Mos Def (1973)

STANDPOINT

This Tiger Woods scandal. Christ.

Thousands of unanswerable questions seem to be flooding the news hourly. None are getting answered.

The facts (maybe) are: (a) At 2am the morning after Thanksgiving, Tiger got into his car and drove into a fire hydrant and then a tree, both within walking distance of his home. (b) His wife reportedly saved him by smashing one of the back windows with a golf club. (c) Tiger didn’t really want to talk about the whole thing, instead he took to dodging police inquiries and issuing vague statements on his website. (d) At least a dozen women jumped out of the woodwork, feeling the sudden urge to tell the world about their sexual misconduct with Woods. (e) Tiger’s mother-in-law was admitted to the hospital with stomach pains that probably had something to do with her son-in-law sleeping with lots of women who were not her daughter. (f) Tiger Woods’ life, no matter how this all plays out, is fucked.

And that sucks for him but he was having sex with hostesses, waitresses and porn stars. Difficult to feel bad for the guy. Difficult, but not implausible. I mean, getting caught for one transgression must be a pretty shitty ordeal. But to get caught having mulitple affairs with at least ten different women within the span of several days? Well, I’m not even sure Bill Clinton could shuck and jive his way clear of something like that.

There is one question, however, I would like answered: Whatever Tiger has done or not done, what’s the difference? How’s it going to change my life?

Sure, it’s interesting to bemoan the current state of a society which seems to (a) shrug its collective shoulders when yet another of its heroes are found to be flawed, and (b) be running out of respectable authority figures and celebrities. We’ve adapted a very another-one-bites-the-dust mentality. Everyone’s rather concerned but no one wholly cares.

There are those overly curious about a situation in which a man who seemingly had everything he could ever want, managed to blunder this bad. People are demanding the truth, soapboxing on the notion we all deserve to know. As usual, the American people want to get down to the bottom of a situation in the interest of mainly being able to say, “I hate my life, but I imagine I’d rather be me than Tiger right now.” It’s always amazed me how determined people are to reveal how fucked up everyone else is.

It’s not like any of it matters.  Woods is under absolutely no obligation to disclose more than he wants. He’s not a politician. He’s broken no laws. In reality, he could pack all ten women he’s been sleeping with into his Cadillac and drive into ten trees. Unless, he’s charged with some sort of crime, he doesn’t have to justify anything. Oh. In addition, he’s also the first billion-dollar athlete, so if O.J. Simpson can kill two people and amble freely out of an actual courtroom, Woods’ gigantic gobs of money will guarantee a night of careless driving and a few years of bad decisions won’t stop him from ambling equally free out the courtroom of public opinion.

Plus, in a few months, possibly a few weeks, everyone will have moved on to the next thing. And I don’t blame it on short memory. Everyone says that and it’s bullshit. The real reason everyone’ll forget about this by the next time Woods steps onto some nationally-televised first tee is once the outrage lessens a bit, most people will start making excuses for Tiger Woods because the execrable things he’s done to his undeserving family will have grown far less significant than the idea of a PGA season without Tiger Woods.

Note: During my research and reading for the above rant, I encountered this piece. As far as I’m concerned, Tiger Woods can do whatever the hell he wants. As long as Glenn Beck is around, everyone else gets a pass.

QUOTATION

The typical gambler might not really understand the probabilistic nuances of the wheel or the dice, but such things seem a bit more tractable than, say, trying to raise a child in this lunatic society of ours.Arthur S. Reber

TUNE

 Yesterday, I hit up my favorite music store, Main Street Music in Manayunk. (One of the best music shops of all-time, by the way. If you can get there, I highly recommend it.) Anyway, I bought a couple albums. One of them was People Are Soft by local Philadelphia band, The Swimmers. I like the whole album a lot. Go buy it and support your local music scene. Favorite track so far? “Nervous Wreck.”

GALLIMAUFRY

→ For all of out there who wish you could get rid of Facebook forever, there’s now an option. Seppukoo.com is ready to assist you with your virtual suicide. Click here to see how it works.

→ There’s many arguments I can tolerate listening to, no matter how completely wrong they are. But I refuse to hear anyone out who’s not entirely convinced Ted Knight didn’t steal the show in Caddyshack. I know. There are argument to be made for Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield. But without Judge Smails (link is a small collection of wavs), it would’ve been a lesser film. Still good. Just not as good.  

→ Do you desire with all your heart to have a chihuahua? All you have to do is get on a plane to California, where the little dogs have become an essential purse accessory to the likes of Paris Hilton, Miley Cyrus and a slew of other people who don’t really matter. Animal shelters across the state are reporting chihuahuas make up close to 30% of its inhabitants. Seems even idiots are capable of grasping the notion that, after they take it out of their purse, the dog wants to do all kinds of annoying crap like eat and be taken for a walk.

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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.

06.26.09 – Friday

Word: mollify [moluh-fahy] v. 1. to soften in feeling or temper, as a person; pacify; appease 2. to mitigate or reduce; soften: to mollify one’s demands

Birthday: Abner Doubleday (1819), Lord Kelvin (1824), Pearl S. Buck (1892), Colonel Tom Parker (1909), Dave Grusin (1934), Gilberto Gil (1942), Mick Jones (1955), Chris Isaak (1956), Patty Smyth (1957), Mark McKinney (1959), Greg LeMond (1961), Sean Hayes (1970), Chris O’Donnell (1970), Nick Offerman (1970), Jason Schwartzman (1980), Michael Vick (1980)

Quotation: What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising?  Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public.Vilhjalmur Stefansson

Tune: I love it when I go to a show, expecting one thing and get something totally different. My ex-wife and I loved to listen to singer-songwriter Steve Poltz but when she got me tickets to go see him at Tin Angel in Philadelphia, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it. I figured it would be like every other show I’d seen there – imagine someone with a guitar on a stage, in front of them a crowd who reveres music much the way I imagine religious people revere God. Anyway, Poltz turned out to be one of the most entertaining storytellers ever. He told a story about puking on David Cassidy‘s shoes in Las Vegas. I think that’s what it was about. I was pretty smashed. (The assembled audiophiles didn’t approve but Poltz didn’t seem to mind when I talked to him after the show.) Check out this live performance of  “Chinese Vacation.”

Gallimaufry: When I read articles like “Jive-talking twin Transformers raise race issues,” I’m convinced people are seriously losing their fucking minds. It’s a movie. Yesterday, I saw Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Sure, Skids and Mudflap were unquestionably bothersome. But offensive? Only to those out there who purposely search everything for offensive undertones. Get a grip. In case you were in a cave listening to your iPod yesterday, you already know that Michael Jackson died at the age of 50, the apparent victim of cardiac arrest. OK, I get it. The man (maybe) was a top-notch performed and he was loved all over the world. But he was also a pedophile, even though that was never adequately proven. Everyone knew it. But, as we’ve seen more and more lately, if you entertain people in any way, shape or form, (and you’re name is not O.J.), you’ve basically received a license to do whatever the hell you want. Last night, I watched a news report that said people up in Harlem held an impromptu parade to celebrate the life of Jackson. Kind of ridiculous. The guy molested children. But he did invent the moonwalk. Apparently, we think that dance is pretty awesome. Sadly, Jacko’s death overshadowed the death of Farrah Fawcett, who also passed away yesterday from her long bout with cancer. It was almost a triple-play when bloggers started reporting the death of Jeff Goldblum, stating he fell off a cliff in Hawaii while playing golf. But, he didn’t die. He wasn’t even in Hawaii. He was in Los Angeles. Stupid misinformed bloggers.

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.