06.13.11 – a monday

word

cockalorum [kok-uhlawruhm, –lohr-] n. a self-important little man

birthday

William Butler Yeats (1865), Christo (1935), Jeanne-Claude (1935), Malcolm McDowell (1943), Tim Allen (1953), Ally Sheedy (1962), David Gray (1968), Rivers Cuomo (1970), Chris Evans (1981), Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen (1986)

standpoint

By now, if you’ve been following along with this blog the way you know you should, you’ve realized I’m a sucker for trivia. I like facts. That’s why mental floss is like crack cocaine for my brain. Both the magazine and the website. And, as I’ve done in the past, I’m going to share four factoids currently occupying my thoughts. Enjoy.

Vidalia onions can only be grown in certain counties of Georgia. I have nothing witty to say about this.

Wheel of Fortune was the last American game show to offer fur coats as prizes. It took until 1990 for the brains behind the show to realize it was an idea whose time had come.

Cuban citizens are not allowed to move to another dwelling unless they can find someone to swap places with. Even then the government needs to conduct the transaction. Socialism sounds pretty great, right?

→ Despite what you’ve been told, the plow, the wheeled cart and irrigation systems were actually invented by individuals looking to make better beer. Why didn’t those responsible get the proper credit? Most likely it was because they drank a shitload of beer.

quotation

For disappearing acts, it’s hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work. ↔ Doug Larson

tune

Gotta give it up to my roommate Dan who turned me on to the latest Cold War Kids‘ album, Mine Is Yours. A few years back, I bought the first album, Robbers & Cowards, and I liked exactly two songs from it. When that happens, I typically give up on a band even though I know it’s wrong to do so. In any case, listen to “Finally Begin.” Solid stuff.

gallimaufry

Grantland.com is finally open for business and I couldn’t be happier.

→ After this unfortunate turn of events, is there anyone out there who can tell us where we stand with all of this rapture nonsense?

→ Some might read this article and think that, hell yes, there’s justice in the world. Others might disagree. But there’s one fact no one can dispute: two teams played basketball last night.

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02.25.10 – A Thursday

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word

proffer [prof-er] v. 1. to put before a person for acceptance; offer n. 2. the act of proffering 3. an offer or proposal

birthday

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841), John Foster Dulles (1888), Zeppo Marx (1901), King Clancy (1903), Bobby Riggs (1918), Ralph Stanley (1927), Larry Gelbart (1928), Tommy Newsom (1929), Sally Jesse Raphaël (1935), George Harrison (1943), Ric Flair (1949), James Brown (1951), John Doe (1954), Lee Evans (1964), Veronica Webb (1965), Carrot Top (1965), Téa Leoni (1966), Samantha Phillips (1966), Sean Astin (1971), Daniel Powter (1971), Julio Iglesias, Jr. (1973), Chelsea Handler (1975)

standpoint

Lately, I’ve been noticing items in the news about serial cat killers. By now, we’ve all heard the results of studies linking individuals who originally kill household pets like cats and dogs, eventually moving on to killing human beings. It’s indisputable that that’s often the case.

And there are those out there who point to the fact our society kills lots of animals like cows, pigs and chickens. But, unless you’re some kind of dimwit, you know there’s a distinct difference between the systematic slaughter of animals for food, and the needless slaughter of animals meant for companionship. In addition, some critics say the dissection of animals like cats in high school biology classes contributes to certain individuals not understanding the difference between that activity and, say, murdering and gutting the next door neighbors’ dog. I’m not convinced by that point of view.

But I am convinced of this: there’s something seriously awry when a person who (allegedly) kills 19 cats, showing little to no remorse for his actions, is found mentally competent and of no harm to anyone, that’s a big, huge problem.

Obviously, I’m an animal lover and, yes, I have cats. But that doesn’t mean I dislike dogs, or any animal. To me, and for lots of people I’d wager, the greatest aspect of animals is that they’re not trying to hurt anyone, even when they are. When you hear about someone getting attacked by a bear, no reasonable person would classify the bear as some kind of psycho. Mostly, animals just want to eat and do the rest of their business without delay. Unless provoked by behavior they might feel threatening, or they’re conditioned to attack people, animals don’t really have a malicious bone in their body.

And, unless you’re one of these mental screwjobs whose in possession of a clear conscience after killing an entire neighborhood worth of cats, or you’re Michael Vick, you understand animals, especially the ones we take into our homes as pets, are only as good or bad as we make them.

They don’t deserve some horrifically painful death simply because some freak has the ability and complete lack of decency to do so.

Bottom line, the laws should be revised. Here in Pennsylvania the price one pays for killing, maiming, disfiguring or torturing any cat or dog is a fine of no less than $1000 and up to 2 years in prison. If, at the very least, even the FBI has acknowledged that the act of torturing animals will most likely eventually progress into the same kind of actions against humans, then why are these laws still so limp? The cruelty toward the animals alone should be enough to lock people up for longer but, hey, I’ll settle for whatever reason gets it done.

To help with this problem try the following links:

HelpingAnimals.com

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

The Animal Rights FAQ

quotation

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”David Foster Wallace

tune

I’ve been listening to a lot of old Morrissey lately. Actually, for the first time in probably a decade. I’m finding I like his stuff more now than I did years ago. I’m especially digging on “Do Your Best and Don’t Worry.”

gallimaufry

→ To all my fellow writers out there, here’s a good article for you to peruse. I especially agree with the part on exclamation points. Here’s Part 2 of the article.

→ My hat is off to Jonas Hiller. Team Swiss’ goaltender, who plays for the NHL Anaheim Mighty Ducks, made 42 saves in a 2-0 loss to Team USA yesterday. Hiller’s teammates just couldn’t get any goal support for the poor guy. Meanwhile, Team USA, a squad many thought didn’t have much of a chance at the onset of the Winter Olympics, moved on to become one of final four teams in the tournament.

→ A friend of mine posted this on Facebook last night and I just had to share it. Provides a whole new dimension to sibling rivalry. Kids can be downright mean to each other.