02.17.11 – a thursday

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word

bollix [bol-iks] v. 1. to so (something) badly; bungle (often followed by up): His interference bollixed up the whole deal n. 2. a confused bungle

birthday

Aaron Montgomery Ward (1844), Thomas J. Watson (1874), Margaret Truman (1924), Hal Holbrook (1925), Chaim Potok (1929), Jim Brown (1936), Huey P. Newton (1942), Rene Russo (1954), Lou Diamond Phillips (1962), Michael Jordan (1963), Larry the Cable Guy (1963), Michael Bay (1965), Denise Richards (1971), Billie Joe Armstrong (1972), Jerry O’Connell (1974), Jason Ritter (1980), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (1981), Paris Hilton (1981)

standpoint

“They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners. They curse, discuss drugs, talk back, argue for grades, complain about everything, fancy themselves to whatever they desire, and are just generally annoying.”

That’s how Central Bucks East High School teacher Natalie Munroe described her students in a post on her personal blog. Some of those students, the aforementioned “lazy whiners,” somehow discovered the blog and reported it to school officials. Shortly thereafter, Munroe was suspended with pay.

What’s bugging me here, and I hope I’m wrong, is that she’s going to end up on the losing side of this situation.

Munroe is essentially spot-on with her analysis of modern teens. Most of these kids nowadays lack anything resembling strong character traits. And that’s mainly because they’ve never had their asses properly kicked, either metaphorically or actually. They’re punks in the truest sense of the word, products of a flawed system that made sure none of them went home without a trophy in tow, even when they failed to perform something as simple as hitting a motionless baseball propped up on a T.

What’s the point in excelling when the dipshit who comes in last gets the same recognition as you?

Don’t get me wrong. When I was 17 years-old, I was as disengaged and lazy as was humanly possible. Some of my high school teachers remember me as one of the most frustrating students they’ve ever had. I got in trouble more than most, futilely argued my misguided points and was an overall gigantic pain in the ass.

But I understood the rules, even when I didn’t play by them. When I was in the wrong, I didn’t always admit it but I always knew it. I rarely went to my parents and tried to convince them I was being unfairly persecuted and the few times I did, they laughed me right out of the living room. My mother and father knew I knew better because that’s how they brought me up. To this day, my parents love me unconditionally, but, for the most part, they’ve never let that love get in the way of me owning up to my wrongdoings. Growing up, most of my friends had parents conducting affairs in a similar fashion.

These days, though, it’s rare that parents are willing to admit the faults of their children and that’s primarily because it would mean admitting their own. And that’s altogether the reason Natalie Munroe is most likely screwed.

I seriously doubt something as effete as free speech is going to possess the sufficient weight to mount a fight against something as tenacious as a few hundred pissed-off parents who, instead of seeking therapy, opted to have kids instead.

To paraphrase Han Solo, “Good luck, Natalie Munroe, you’re going to need it.”

quotation

Even cowards can endure hardship; only the brave can endure suspense. ↔ Mignon McLaughlin

tune

“Saints” isn’t likely to be embraced by most females out there. And, while I don’t truly agree with the lyrics put forth by indie rock band Army Navy, it’s still catch as all get out.

gallimaufry

I attempted to watch the movie version of The A-Team last night. I turned it off after 20 minutes. Hollywood, one last time, I’m begging you to stop incapacitating my childhood cinematic chicaneries. Bigger complaint is the guy that played Murdock looked more like Dirk Benedict than Dwight Schultz. Put some effort into it, fellas.

→ Hey, Len Lesser, we’re going to miss you. If there actually is a heaven, give it a great big, “HELLO!” on your arrival.

→ For whatever reasons, you may have missed the final results of The 135th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Hickory, a Scottish deerhound from Virginia, won the whole enchilada. After the victory, Hickory’s handler, Angela Lloyd best summed up how Hickory was feeling: “She’s not used to lights, cameras and noise.”

02.17.10 – A Wednesday

word

ethos [ee-thos, ee-thohs, eth-os, -ohs] n. 1. Sociology. the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society; dominant assumptions of a people or period: In the Greek ethos the individual was highly valued 2. the character or disposition of a community, group, person, etc 3. the moral element in dramatic literature that determines a character’s action rather than his or her thought or emotion

birthday

Aaron Montgomery Ward (1844), Banjo Paterson (1864), Thomas J. Watson (1874), Hal Holbrook (1925), Chaim Potok (1929), Gene Pitney (1940), Huey P. Newton (1942), Rene Russo (1954), Lou Diamond Phillips (1962), Michael Jordan (1963), Michael Bay (1965), Denise Richards (1971), Billie Jo Armstrong (1972), Ralphie May (1972), Jerry O’Connell (1974), Jason Ritter (1980), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (1981), Paris Hilton (1981)

standpoint

Oh, yes! It is time, once again, for another installment of The Wishing Well, a regular column in which I waywardly wish five wishes.

I WISH Google would’ve spent a little more time developing Buzz before releasing it to the world. Last week, Buzz just showed up on my Gmail and, so far, it seems mostly a weak answer to Facebook and Twitter. Maybe I’ll be proved wrong one day but it won’t be tomorrow.

I WISH it was possible for me to tell you I dislike Patti Stanger, the lady from The Millionaire Matchmaker. But it’s not. Despite myself, I think she might actually be a good person. Go figure.

I WISH every website that automatically plays a video or song when you visit it would please cut that shit out. Listen, I’m on your site for a reason. You’ve got my interest. So, maybe you could quit trying to give me a heart attack with your cacophonous nonsense.

I WISH someone would explain to me why in the world CNBC would choose to keep airing the Women’s Curling match/game/whatever between the United States and Japan when there was a perfectly good Men’s Ice Hockey game going on between Canada and Norway. Actually, the hockey game turned out to be a lopsided 8-0 win by Canada. But still.

→ I WISH Pitchfork would diversify its coverage a bit. I mean, honestly, how much do we really need to know about Thom Yorke and Wayne Coyne?

That’s it for this installment. Got any wishes you’d like to share?

quotation

How wrong to have been so negative, how wrong to have been so gloomy, how wrong to have run away from life, how wrong to have said no, again and again, instead of yes. ↔ Jonathan Franzen

tune

Way back in 1998, there were these Philips Electronics TV ads featuring then-unknown English indie-rock band Gomez performing a cover of The Beatles’ “Getting Better.” I remember wanting to hear more of the song and, despite my best attempts, I never did find it and eventually forget about it. Until now. I was never a fan of Gomez but, recently, I’ve been reintroduced to the band and am sort of digging them. As a result, my memory was jogged and I remembered my unfinished mission to find the song from the TV commercial. I found it. “Getting Better” by Gomez. Enjoy.

gallimaufry

So there’s this episode of Family Guy in which there’s a negative depiction of someone with Down syndrome. And, sure, that’s kind of shitty but it’s Famly Guy and exactly no one should be surprised. What I find a tad more offensive is why anyone thinks I care what Bristol Palin thinks about anything at all.

→ The IOC (International Olympic Committee) is really keeping a nice perspective on what’s important at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games as it’s upset over the slogans on the masks of the goalies for the United States Men’s Hockey Team. Especially, Jonathan Quick’s which sports “Support Our Troops” on the back.

→ Does anyone out there have a Powermat? Do they really work? Let me know.

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.

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.