01.29.10 – A Friday

WORD

besot [bi-sot] v. 1. to intoxicate or stupefy with drink 2. to make stupid or foolish: a mind besotted with fear and superstition 3. to infatuate; obsess: He is besotted by her youth and beauty

BIRTHDAY

Thomas Paine (1737), William McKinley (1843), Anton Chekhov (1860), W. C. Fields (1880), R. Norris Williams (1891), John Forsythe (1918), Tom Selleck (1945), Marc Singer (1948), Ann Jillian (1950), Tommy Ramone (1952), Oprah Winfrey (1954), Greg Louganis (1960), Nicholas Turturro (1962), Edward Burns (1968), Heather Graham (1970), Sara Gilbert (1975), Jonny Lang (1981), Adam Lambert (1982)

STANDPOINT

Just a message to all of you who subject the rest of us to your uniquely arid and decidedly lopsided views on what’s wrong with this country.

Relocate. Move to a place where, I don’t know, maybe they like self-serving, pseudo-intellectual dipshits who quote The Founding Fathers and think Rush Limbaugh is someone special. The Founders were just greedy fucks who died a couple of centuries back and Limbaugh, as an pundit, inhabits a lower rung on the ladder of purport than Sesame Street‘s resident lovable goofball Elmo. In truth, all the crap you cite is about as irrelevant as quoting The Bible.

You have daily musings about growing up in a simpler time. As likely as not, one, if not both, of your parents were a doctor, lawyer or something similarly lucrative. And now you’re out in the world, and things just aren’t coming so easy, are they? Well, suck it up.

And quit griping. Some advice? You’re never going to get laid on a consistent basis because, let’s face it, most women don’t really like whiny white boys who nightly inhabit some bar stool and lament about how bad they’ve got it. You’re embarrassing white guys everywhere. It’s sadder than the ending of Pay It Forward. So please stop.

You’re fatuous and not concerned in helping anyone save the dope you see every morning in the bathroom mirror. And, I may be going out on a limb here, but presumably you’re not stoked when looking that person in the eye everyday before work.

Shut the fuck up and enjoy everything your privileged lifestyle affords you. You know, lame-ass pub crawls and thematic happy hours and, oh yeah, a life 99.9% of Earth’s occupants would literally kill for.

QUOTATION

Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them. ↔ Paul Valery

TUNE

Paddy Casey released “Whatever Gets You True” in 1999. But it’s one of those songs that could easily been released yesterday. I’m saying it’s timeless. Do I have to explain everything? Read between the lines for crying out loud.

GALLIMAUFRY

This past Wednesday night, J. D. Salinger, author of  the classic novel The Catcher in the Rye, passed away at the age of 91. I understand it’s sad when anyone dies but he lived a full life and will be remembered for as long as people read books. Pretty great legacy.

→ After much hullabaloo, President Obama has ordered the U.S. Justice Department to find another city for the trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, one of the alleged orchestrators behind the 9-11 attacks. It was supposed to take place in Manhattan.

→ Once again, I find The Onion‘s sports coverage the most honest and truthful out there. This piece about NFL commentators is pretty much dead-on.

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11.24.09 – A Tuesday

WORD

ancillary [an-suh-ler-ee or, especially Brit., an-siluh-ree] adj. 1. subordinate; subsidiary 2. auxiliary; assisting n. 3. something that serves in an ancillary capacity: Slides, records, and other ancillaries can be used with the basic textbook

Note: A friend of mine used “ancillary” in a sentence the other day, and I was ashamed to admit, while I determined the word’s meaning from the context, I was unable to accurately define it.

BIRTHDAY

Bat Masterson (1853), Scott Joplin (1868), Dale Carnegie (1888), Lucky Luciano (1897), William F. Buckley Jr. (1925), Paul Tagliabue (1940), Pete Best (1941), Ted Bundy (1946), Dwight Schultz (1947), Linda Tripp (1949), Denise Crosby (1957), Edgar Meyer (1960), Keith Primeau (1971), Colin Hanks (1977), Katherine Heigl (1978)

STANDPOINT

Man! Everyone is going batshit over the recent release of The Twilight Saga: New Moon.

And, I mean, my guess is all the praise is warranted.

It was, most likely, a great movie. All the inferred twists. All the supposed turns. The brooding guy with the wall of hair was expected to be really good. The rest of the cast seemed superb, especially those dudes who turn into werewolves. The one scene, where the one werewolf is chasing some girl across a backyard toward a house and, then, some guy shows up on the porch, and he starts running at the action, but once he nears the sprinting young lady, he jumps over her while becoming a werewolf himself, taking a defensive stance as if to suggest to the werewolf who was originally in pursuit, “Hey, dude! You can’t eat her. I’m kinda digging on her. You cool with that?” 

Maybe he was cool with that. Maybe he wasn’t. Maybe he was annoyed because this guy liked the girl who was running. Maybe he was annoyed because this guy liked every fucking girl he ever saw who was running. Maybe he’d finally had enough. Maybe he decided, right then and there, in that backyard, he was going to take a stand. Maybe something happened after that where the girl miraculously lived. Maybe she tragically died.

I’ll never know. I’ve only seen the previews. And that’s all I’m ever gonna see.

QUOTATION

If you don’t like doing something, but you still spend most of every day doing it, then you’re cheating yourself. If you hate your job – and you probably do – and fantasize endlessly about quitting, then you should quit. Quit the job you hate. I’ll say it two more times: Quit the job you hate. Quit the job you hate.Ted Rall

TUNE

 So, something great someone can do is introduce you to quality music that, otherwise, would’ve never come your way. Two nights ago, I was with an (increasingly) good friend playing Scrabble (the result of which was a draw, no question), drinking red wine and listening to a guy named Joe Pisapia on the stereo. Solid stuff. Try “River Song” and you’ll know I’m right. Like I’m right about this supposedly dubious Scrabble outcome.

GALLIMAUFRY

→ When reading online news, I rarely smile. However, reading about Oprah ending her “talk show” brought on an ear-to-ear grin that almost hurt my cheeks. OK. Not really. But I am psyched about it.

→ I’m encouraging everyone of you to take a serious look at every book in your house after I read about a London family who’d no clue there was a first edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species sitting in the bathroom for the past 40 years or so.

→ OK. You caught me. I haven’t been updating this blog as much as I used to. I apologize for the fact I’ve recently rediscovered that, after a year hiatus, I’m allowed to have a life. Awww. I can’t stay mad at you folks. I’ll update as much as I can. Thanks for reading. Seriously.

11.17.09 – A Tuesday

WORD

jive [jahyv] n. 1. swing music or early jazz 2. the jargon associated with swing music and early jazz 3. Slang. deceptive, exaggerated, or meaningless talk: Don’t give me any of that jive! v. 4. to play jive 5. to dance to jive; jitterbug 6. Slang. to engage in kidding, teasing, or exaggeration 7. Slang. to tease; fool; kid: Stop jiving me! adj. 8. Slang. insincere, pretentious, or deceptive

BIRTHDAY

Frank Calder (1877), Soichiro Honda (1906), Gordon Lightfoot (1938), Martin Scorsese (1942), Lauren Hutton (1943), Danny DeVito (1944), Lorne Michaels (1944), Gene Clark (1944), Stephen Root (1951), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (1958), Jeff Buckley (1966), Sophie Marceau (1966), Daisy Fuentes (1966), Kimya Dawson (1972)

STANDPOINT

Short and sweet today. I’m really quite annoyed with the all the goddamn Christmas ads, sales, etc. that are all ready all over the place.

Despite my misanthropic tendencies, I’m really kind of a softie in some ways. I like the holidays. I do.

But this time of year has been kind of tainted, for me, by all the commercialism. Even those of you out there who possess the unending optimism I enjoy frowning upon know this to be true.

For lack of a better, more definitive sentiment: BAH! HUMBUG!

QUOTATION

There are about five things to write songs about: I’m leaving you. You’re leaving me. I want you. You don’t want me. I believe in something. Five subjects, and twelve notes. For all that, we musicians do pretty well.Elvis Costello

TUNE

I know. I’m beating this HTC commercial thing into the ground. I just like it. Really like it. More than I like most people. For those of you wondering what song is actually playing, it’s a remix of “Sinnerman” by Nina Simone. One of the comments on YouTube simply reads, “Futureproof.” Sums it up.

GALLIMAUFRY

Oprah Winfrey and Sarah Palin were on the same stage and no one thought to do the proper thing and plant explosives. Christ, people, do I have to think of everything?

→ In what’s becoming sadly commonplace, another celebrity has died young. Ken Ober, the host of the late-80s MTV game show “Remote Control,” passed away yesterday at the age of 52. As of yet, no one’s sure how.

→ All right, on a personal note, here’s a picture of my favorite piece of art – “Woman with a Water Jug” by Johannes Vermeer. It’s only 18 in. by 16 in. The detail is amazing. Best part is that the painting currently resides in New York City at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Tuesday – 07.14.09

Word: impetus [im-pi-tuhs] n. 1. a moving force; impulse; stimulus: The grant for building the opera house gave impetus to the city’s cultural life 2. (broadly) the momentum of a moving body, esp. with reference to the cause of motion

Birthday: Jules Mazarin (1602), Gertrude Bell (1868), A. B. “Happy” Chandler (1898), Irving Stone (1903), Tom Carvel (1906), William Hanna (1910), Woody Guthrie (1912), Gerald Ford (1913), Ingmar Bergman (1918), Arthur Laurents (1918), Harry Dean Stanton (1926), Roosevelt “Rosey” Grier (1932), Jerry Rubin (1938), Sid Haig (1939), Vincent Pastore (1946), Joel Silver (1952), Angelique Kidjo (1960), Tanya Donelly (1966), Matthew Fox (1966), Nina Siemaszko (1970), Taboo (1975)

Quotation: Small miseries, like small debts, hit us in so many places, and meet us at so many turns and corners, that what they want in weight, they make up in number, and render it less hazardous to stand the fire of one cannon ball, than a volley composed of such a shower of bullets.Rudyard Kipling

Tune: You’ve just got to love a band that cultivated a following for itself by throwing (and headlining) large, illegal, outdoor parties. A good marketing strategy, to say the least. By the time the cops got wise and finally shut down the guys in Mystery Jets (and their Eel Pie Island get-togethers), the band had already made enough of a name for itself to get signed by 679 Recordings, a London-based record company. One critic (Sam Wolfson of Observer Music Monthly) wrote, “Mystery Jets thrive in the gap between naivety and cynicism.” Um. I’m not sure Wolfson meant it as a compliment but I think it is. Listen to “Diamonds in the Dark.”

Gallimaufry: Ever stub your toe or grab a burning hot pan? It hurts, right? Now, how many times, after experiencing the unexpected pain that followed, did you curse the object that inadvertantly caused it? Be honest. Well, you needn’t feel bad about it anymore. Researchers at Keele University in England have found angrily swearing as a result of, say, stepping barefoot on something sharp in the dark, triggers your “fight-or-flight” response. Basically, they’re saying, by cursing up a storm, you’re raising your levels of aggression and, truly, lessening the painful sensation on the bottom of your foot. Seattle’s Modest Mouse has an affinity for outstanding album titles. This Is a Long Drive for Somebody with Nothing to Think About. Good News for People Who Love Bad News. We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. The title of its upcoming EP is no exception – No One’s First and You’re Next. Spin.com has an exclusive on the first track named “Perpetual Motion Machine.” As is always the case with me, I need a few more listens to make sound judgement, but it’s a solid tune, for sure. For myriad reasons, I possess exactly no love for Oprah Winfrey. I know she does a lot of good, but that good is accompanied by – what I feel is – an intollerably high amount of smugness. It’s for that reason, I enjoyed reading “Top 12 Oprah Mistakes, Lies and Embarrassments.” Yes. I know she’s only human. But still. Live your best life, indeed.

04.22.09 – Wednesday

Today is Earth Day!

Word: espouse [i-spouz, i-spous] v. 1. to make one’s own; adopt or embrace, as a cause 2. to marry 3. to give (a woman) in marriage

Birthday: Immanuel Kant (1724), Vladimir Lenin (1870), Vladimir Nabokov (1899), Robert Oppenheimer (1904), Charles Mingus (1922), Aaron Spelling (1923), Charlotte Rae (1926), Richard Donner (1930), Glen Campbell (1936), Jack Nicholson (1937), John Waters (1946), Peter Frampton (1950), Paul Carrack (1951), Marilyn Chambers (1952), Ryan Stiles (1959), Byron Allen (1961), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (1966), Daniel Johns (1979)

Ocurrence: 1970 – The first ever Earth Day is held.

Standpoint: Twitter. You can’t escape it. It’s everywhere. In the past month, I haven’t read a newspaper or watched a talk show where there hasn’t there wasn’t some reference to Twitter, “tweets,” “twittering,” “tweeting” or one of the myriad of other new terms that has invaded the English language because of the overwhelming popularity of the social networking site. If you haven’t heard of it, you must be purposely trying to avoid it. Twitter (and everything to do with it) is currently big news. Last week, Ashton Kutcher challenged CNN to a race to see which one could get to 1 million followers first. Kutcher won. Also last week, Oprah Winfrey publicly joined Twitter on her show where her guest was Evan Williams, Twitter’s CEO. Her first tweet was unsuccessful. Some guy named Corey Menscher has invented the Kickbee, a device a pregnant woman can wear that will detect her baby “kicking” and post a tweet about it.

I joined Twitter a little over a month ago. I railed against it for a while, but finally succumbed. Really just to figure out what the hell it was all about. So, what have I learned? In essence, Twitter is primarily an outlet for people to braindump. Some denominate it microblogging. I think it of it as more full-dress insanity. The tweets come fast and furious. I’m not particular about who I follow or who I allow to follow me. I employ Twitter to drum up additional traffic for this blog, so I figure, the more the merrier.

But individuals are on Twitter for all kinds of reasons. As I’m writing this, I’ve just passed 400 followers. In addition, I’m following close to 800 people in the Twitterverse. I know all of 12 of them personally. The rest are celebrities (Kutcher, P. Diddy and ,yes, even Wil Wheaton), news sites (CNN, E! Online, The Huffington Post), musical acts (Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Band of Horses), companies trying to sell stuff (which is seemingly effective) or fellow bloggers.

Some that I’m following (or they’re following me, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep it all in order), are simply odd. One guy I was following was actually posing as Christopher Walken. His tweets were pretty funny and I could picture the actor writing them. The guy was caught and booted. (He’s now back.)Another person contantly updates conditions on the highways in and around San Jose, CA. I’ve no use for this information but I don’t drop anyone so I’m continually informed on what roads not to take around a city I’ve no current plans to step foot in. These are just two examples. There are hundreds, probably more like hundreds of thousands, more.

So, is Twitter useful? I’d love to give some snarky response about how it’s not, but that would be dishonest. My blog traffic has increased because of my Twitter activity. Not because my clever tweets are necessarily reeling everyone in but because of the promiscuous following habits of most users, myself included. I’m pretty certain that hardly anyone is reading even 10% of all the tweets that appear on their Twitter homepage. So, while it’s doubtful that everyone in TwitterLand is paying real attention to one another, it doesn’t really seem to matter. It’s more about being involved in swirling mayhem and telling people, “Yeah, I’m on Twitter.” 

Quotation: Thank God man cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth. Henry David Thoreau

Tune: Sadly, I didn’t get into Guided By Voices until last summer. After listening to Robert Pollard and crew’s many great songs, I quietly wondered what planet I’d been living on that I never ran across them before. Listen to “Echos Myron.”

Gallimaufry: After being hospitalized a few days ago, it appears that physicist Stephen Hawking will make a full recovery…President Obama sure has had his fair share of firsts. Here’s another one. He’ll be the first US President to appear topless on the cover of a magazineFacebook groups are popping against, of all people, martial artist and movie star Jackie Chan for comments he made over the weekend, including that “the Chinese need to be controlled.” Apparently, the guy’s a fan of oppression. Who knew?

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

03.11.09 – Wednesday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: obviate [ob-vee-ayt] – transitive verb to prevent by interception; to anticipate and dispose of or make unnecessary

Birthday: Lawrence Welk (1903), Rupert Murdoch (1931), Sam Donaldson (1934), Antonin Scalia (1936), Bobby McFerrin (1950), Jerry Zucker (1950), Joey Buttafuoco (1956), Peter Berg (1964), Jesse Jackson Jr. (1965), Wallace Langham (1965), Lisa Loeb (1968), Terrence Howard (1969), Johnny Knoxville (1971)

Occurrence: 1989 – The television show Cops makes its debut. All over the United States, guys in wife-beater tank tops tremble in fear.

Irksome: In its infinite wisdom, Nickelodeon is keeping Chris Brown as a nominee for the 2009 Kids’ Choice Awards. Brown, arrested for beating up his girlfriend and fellow pop star Rihanna, is up for Favorite Male Singer and Favorite Song. Despite Oprah’s protests, Rihanna and Brown are back together so I guess Nickelodeon figures it’ll be all right. In my humble opinion, the people over at Nickelodeon are certified morons. What a great message to send to the youth of America – Hey, kids, it’s OK to beat up your girlfriend as long as you’ve got an exceptional singing voice. Way to drop the ball, Nickelodeon. Hopefully Dwayne Johnson, the host of this year’s Kids’ Choice Awards, will have the good sense to throw Mr. Brown off the stage should the singer win.

Quotation: After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is musicAldous Huxley

Soupçon: Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are witren, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. I took this directly from HERE.

Tune: Some people say that the 1980s produced some of the worst music ever. Debatable. I think when Train debuted “Drops of Jupiter”, it showed everyone that bands in the 1990s were capable of making some pretty awful music as well.

Link: Eats – nice website for finding a place to dine out in your area.

Gallimaufry: For you readers who live in Philadelphia, here is some information about the imminent SEPTA strike. Hope things get resolved before that. What a hassle…Marc Shuster is a talented Philadelphia writer. His novel, The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Party Girl, is launching May 9th 2009. Check out Marc’s blog, Abominations…At the risk of revealing myself as a complete nerd, I will admit right here and now that I’m excited to see the new Star Trek movie.