04.29.10 – A Thursday

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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.

12.03.09 – A Thursday

WORD

votary [voh-tuh-ree] n. 1. a person who is bound by solemn religious vows, as a monk or a nun 2. an adherent of a religion or cult; a worshiper of a particular deity or sacred personage 3. a person who is devoted or addicted to some subject or pursuit: a votary of jazz 4. a devoted follower or admirer adj. 5. consecrated by a vow 6. of or pertaining to a vow

BIRTHDAY

George B. McClellan (1826), Joseph Conrad (1857), Andy Williams (1927), Ozzy Osbourne (1948), Mickey Thomas (1949), Daryl Hannah (1960), Julianne Moore (1960), Katarina Witt (1965), Brendan Fraser (1968), Montell Jordan (1968), Holly Marie Combs (1973)

STANDPOINT

“As disappointed as we are today, let’s get up tomorrow and redouble our efforts.” Those were the words issued yesterday by New York Governor David Paterson in response to his state’s senate voting down a same-sex marriage bill.

Good for Paterson. See? Some people out there get it. Well, I think most do.

Proponents of same-sex marriage always play the same old broken record. Mainly, they speak of (a) the idea that marriage should be an agreement between one man and one woman and (b) the deterioration of  “traditional values.”

First, geniuses, how much success have us heterosexuals had at preserving the sacred institution of marriage? Everyone loves to say over 50% of marriages fail but that’s inaccurate. It’s really 41% for first marriages, 60% for second marriages and 73% for third marriages. So, as usual, the statitistics we’re presented with are twisted. Still, 41% is a lot. Almost half.

What I want to know is, if close to half of these heterosexual marriages are failing, how is it valid to argue letting same-sex partners marry would make it any worse? The truth is, it wouldn’t.

And this whole “traditional values” nonsense is just that – nonsense. The world is changing and, while there may be many out there who still hold to these “traditional values,” the problem is most of have figured out these traditions hold very little value.

Most of us want same-sex marriage. Those who don’t, however, hold more power in our fucked, unfixable political structure. Because most of us in support of same-sex marriage have realized participating in the political process is about as futile as attempting to swim to Greenland.   

Here’s the deal, people. Stop trying to block same-sex marriage. It’s embarrassing anyone really even is against it in the first place. And, please, don’t give me some half-assed argument that you don’t want the gay community raising children. Have you seen the kids out there lately? How in the world could anyone do worse than the bang up job all of us heterosexuals have been doing?

Frankly, it’s not even possible.

QUOTATION

I don’t gamble, because winning a hundred dollars doesn’t give me great pleasure. But losing a hundred dollars pisses me off.Alex Trebek

TUNE

Lately, I’ve been rediscovering the music of The Smiths. It’s likely I’m covering no new ground when I make the following statement: those songs were really quite great. It’s hard to pick a favorite, though, but while I sit here writing this I’m listening to “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out.” 

GALLIMAUFRY

Allen Iverson is coming back to the people who love/hate him the most. The iconic guard has signed a one-year, non-guaranteed contract wth the Philadelphia 76ers, the team that traded him three years ago after an entertaining (putting it mildly) 10-year stint. I always liked A.I. so I’m happy to see him back.

Liam Gallagher, formerly of the band Oasis, is starting a new band. The roster? Well, everyone else that was in Oasis. Except his brother, Noel Gallagher, who left the band in August. If those two put as much energy into making music as they do publicly fighting with each other, it’s possible they could create some of the best music of all-time. Liam has not announced the name of the new band, but it won’t be Oasis.

Meredith Baxter, the mom from 1980s TV sitcom Family Ties, has announced she’s a lesbian. For some reason, the media seems to think it’s important we know.

05.04.09 – Monday

Word: ostensible [o-sten-suh-buhl] adj. 1. outwardly appearing as such; professed; pretended: an ostensible cheerfulness concealing sadness 2. apparent, evident or conspicuous: the ostensible truth of their theories

Birthday: Horace Mann (1796), William H. Prescott (1796), Ron Carter (1937), Dick Dale (1937), Mr. Fuji (1937), Paul Gleason (1939), Robin Cook (1940), Roger Rees (1944), Mick Mars (1951), Pia Zadora (1954), Randy Travis (1959), Oleta Adams (1962), Ana Gasteyer (1967), Gregg Alexander (1970), Will Arnett (1970), Lance Bass (1979)

Occurence: 1972 – The Don’t Make A Wave Committee officially changes its name to Greenpeace Foundation.

Standpoint: “I’ll never date a girl who reads those idiotic celebrity gossip magazines.” I made that statement (or something similar) one night over some beers to a buddy of mine. Eventually, I came to realize, if I stuck to my guns and only dated females who didn’t read periodicals such as US Magazine and People, I’d be limiting my dating pool to roughly 14 women. As I’ve done numerous times in my life, I was forced to go back on a statement I completely believed at the time of its utterance.

All women read “idiotic celebrity gossip magazines.” Lots of men do, too, though it’s not something any of us will admit to each other. Everyone loves exploring the surreal arena that is celebrity gossip. And why? The reason’s not exactly forthcoming. How do you explain someone with two master’s degrees getting school-girl excited about the arrival of a  magazine which contains twice as many pictures as complete sentences? It makes little sense that individuals who can speak on many educated topics will drop whatever they’re doing to find out what crazy capers Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie are currently mixed up in. Logic comes up short in providing a definitive answer.

Online, the genre is best described as logjammed. Blogging about the day-to-day (and often minute-to-minute) ongoings of celebrity life is as widespread as it is unchecked. Let’s blame it on Perez. While I estimate I’d last about 10 seconds in a conversation with Hilton before the guy uttered something unforgivingly bothersome, his “reporting” is – at the very least – (a) perchance on the level and (b) marginally readable. Sadly, I can’t offer the same quasi-praise for his colleagues in the celebrity blogosphere. In their world, the Swine Flu isn’t newsworthy until Amy Winehouse contracts it. In the battle of what’s really important. Somali pirates finish a distant second to David Hasselhoff’s drinking problem.

The “Blogroll” on TMZ.com contains scores of sites dedicated to the pursuit of celebrity exposure. Yesterday, after immersing myself in their vocation, I concluded that, minus those who stalk or pass for celebrities, the population of Los Angeles may very well reside at about 700 people. Here’s some of the hard-hitting journalism I encountered along the way.

  • “Kelly Osbourne on Cocaine Diet”AnythingHollywood – At first, I thought the title suggested Kelly Osbourne was actively using blow to shed some unwanted pounds. After further delving  into the two-paragraph article, I discovered it contained her poignant inner thoughts on celebs who do employ the use of cocaine for weight loss. Ozzy‘s daughter is tired of reading about “how fat” she is. “It’s not like I’m like all the other celebrities in Hollywood that’s going to do a line of cocaine to lose weight.” Osbourne makes no mention of the fact that an exercise regimen might be a valid consideration. Nor does she offer a solid explanation as to how exactly she continues to think of herself as a celebrity.  AnythingHollywood concludes the article with encouragement for the former reality television star, “Stay happy, Kelly, that’s what matters.” I’m reasonably sure Osbourne’s message is meaningful to someone out there: “Hey, the best way to deflect unwanted discussion on being unhealthy and overweight is highlighting a worse thing you could be doing. Like habit-forming drugs.” When you read it about a dozen times in the right kind of light, it’s almost inspirational.
  • “Alyson Hannigan & Alexis Denisof Take Satyana For A Stroll”Pink is the New Blog – Let’s do a breakdown. “It really looks like the Hannigan-Denisofs are taking things nice and easy these days so that they can enjoy being a new family unit with their just over a month-old baby girl. It’s clear that parenthood really suits the couple.” I’m not disagreeing with that, but I’m hoping that the author has a little more to go on than the pictures. Not much more than Hannigan pushing a futuristic stroller with Denisof ambling along, hands in pockets. More: “…the serenity and calmness that they show whenever they are out and about belies that notion that new parents are frazzled and nearly driven to insanity.” I’m a little skeptical. Perhaps “the serenity and calmness” displayed might be better described as “the bewilderment and stupefaction” of two people faced with the reality of a casual walk turning into a spectator sport. “Frazzled?” “Nearly driven to insanity?” Inevitable, if you ask me…Finally, “…of course, we don’t get to see what they look like at 3AM when little Miss Satyana gets hungry/wet and/or poopy.” Patience, Pink is the New Blog. I’m sure one day, with the right set of circumstances, you’ll get the pictures needed to scoop the exclusive on the “Miss Satyana Was Hungry/Wet and/or Poopy” story that the world is on-the-edge-of-its-seat to read. Personally, I would’ve rather read a few sentences on how naming your daughter “Satyana” is somehow (a) acceptable or (b) not creating an uphill battle for the child.
  • “Get That Money, HoHan!”Dlisted – So poorly written that I’d wager Lindsay Lohan could’ve written something a bit more coherent. Annoying in the fact that someone is making money off maintaining and contributing to Dlisted. Encouraging in that, if whomever is at the helm of this nonsense is profiting in any way whatsoever, odds are that you can make money doing nearly anything. Lohan is one of the most inconsequential people that I (unfortunately) know about. Dlisted is her blog equivalent. Unfair? Maybe. But I think I’m standing on pretty solid ground here.

The fun/absurdity doesn’t end there. I could go on. But I think I’ve adequately shown my intent here. If we could bottle the collective energy spent daily on the gathering of celebrity gossip we’d have the means to quickly solve all the world’s problems. At the very least, we could figure out some way for Kelly Osbourne to achieve her goal of drug-free weight loss.

Quotation: Be nice to whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity. Desmond Tutu

Tune: As a rule, I dislike remixes. However, this version of Soul Coughing‘s “Circles” has been a long-time exception.

Gallimaufry: Congratulations to everyone who ran in the 2009 Blue Cross Broad Street Run yesterday. Special congrats go out to my roomie who ran 10 miles in an hour and a half. Way to go, Kate. All the training paid off…TopCultured.com has published its list of “4 Tell-tale Signs of Douchebaggery.” I recently bought a shirt at Express and I wear a wristband so it turns out I’m half a douchebag. I think that’s more favorable  than some might describe me…The 76ers had a “total collapse.”  The Flyers got outworked by a lesser team. The Phillies are off to a good, but not spectacular, start. Enter the Eagles minicamp and the silence of Donovan McNabb. Ah. I knew that World Series euphoria would wear off eventually. Welcome back, shaky Philadelphia sports scene. 

Incoming: Tomorrow7 Best Movie Soundtracks. Wednesday – Working on something. Stay tuned. Later – More of your entries for Annoying Sayings & Misused Words and 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead and much much much more.

03.26.09 – Thursday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: elucidate [i-loo-si-deyt] 1. verb (used with object) to make lucid or clear; throw light upon; explain: an explanation that elucidated his recent strange behavior  2. verb (used without object) to provide clarification; explain

Birthday: Nathaniel Bowditch (1773), Robert Frost (1874), Tennessee Williams (1911), Gregory Corso (1930), Sandra Day O’Connor (1930), Leonard Nimoy (1931), Alan Arkin (1934), Harry Kalas (1936), James Caan (1940), Erica Jong (1942), Bob Woodward (1943), Diana Ross (1944), Steven Tyler (1948), Vicki Lawrence (1949), Teddy Pendergrass (1950), Martin Short (1950), Leeza Gibbons (1957), Jennifer Grey (1960), Michael Imperioli (1966), Kenny Chesney (1968), James Iha (1968), Amy Smart (1976), Keira Knightley (1985)

Occurrence: 1969John Kennedy Toole commits suicide outside of Biloxi, Mississippi. Eleven years later, A Confederacy of Dunces is first published. In 1981, Toole posthumously is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Standpoint: “In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” Andy Warhol said that. It became a cliché. Even Warhol grew tired of it. Whatever he was talking about, however, is no longer relevant. Fame has changed. It’s no longer fleeting. Once a human being becomes famous, he is famous forever. A while back, television executives discovered something: we don’t want celebrities to go away. Shows like “Dancing With the Stars”, “Celebrity Apprentice” and “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” feature individuals that, once upon a time, we would’ve never heard from again. Jeff Conaway? Tom Green? Steve-O?!? People who were once deservedly in the public spotlight (maybe) continue to reside in it because no one is asking them to leave. We encourage them to hang out and simply remain famous. And it’s because we either (a) associate the celebrity with some sort of nostalgia or (b) are patiently waiting for the celebrity to fail. Why else would we care what Ozzy Osbourne and his family are up to? Or Hulk Hogan and his family? Fame is no longer reserved for the unique and talented. Nowadays, you just need a marketing strategy. Is there any other reason why Kathy Griffin is not the manager of a Los Angeles-area GAP?

Quotation: Without music, life would be a mistake Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Digit: 17 – It’s proven as the least random number, meaning when asked to come up with a random number, people will pick 17 more often than other numbers.

Tune: Last night, I heard one of the most ridiculous songs I’ve heard in a while. Listen to Jazmine Sullivan’s “Bust Your Windows” and tell me you don’t agree. I dare ya.  

Link: Worldometers – Think overpopulation isn’t a problem?

Gallimaufry: I like Alexander Ovechkin but his “Stick on Fire” celebration after scoring his 50th goal was lame. That kind of crap belongs in the NFL not the NHL…More hockey. This article by Seth Rorabaugh about his experience with Philadelphia FlyersScott Hartnell shows how NHL players are different from other professional athletes…Are you a fan of circular logic? If so, you’ll love what is happening with the vitamin B-6…Make sure to check back tomorrow for things to do in Philadelphia over the weekend.