07.28.09 – Tuesday

Word: vicissitude [vi-sis-i-tood, -tyood] n. 1. a change or variation occurring in the course of something 2. interchange or alternation, as of states or things 3. vicissitudes, successive, alternating, or changing phases or conditions, as of life or fortune; ups and downs: They remained friends through the vicissitudes of 40 years 4. regular change or succession of one state or thing to another 5. change; mutation; mutability

Birthday: Ignaz Bösendorfer (1796), Ballington Booth (1857), Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna of Russia (1860), Beatrix Potter (1866), Marcel Duchamp (1887), Barbara La Marr (1896), Rudy Vallee (1901), Charles Townes (1915), Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1929), Junior Kimbrough (1930), Mike Bloomfield (1943), Bill Bradley (1943), Richard Wright (1943), Jim Davis (1945), Gerald Casale (1948), Sally Struthers (1948), Michael Hitchcock (1958), Lori Loughlin (1964), Stephen Lynch (1971), Elizabeth Berkley (1972), Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em (1990)

Quotation: People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order so they’ll have good voice boxes in case there’s ever anything really meaningful to say. Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Tune: The other day, I went through the list of music artists I’ve featured here and was pretty damn stupefied I’d never included anything by Pete Yorn. For the last several years, I always find myself coming back to his albums because, in some ways, they’re pretty close to perfect. At least most of the songs definitely are. Check out “Crystal Village” – off his second album, Day I Forgot. Also, he celebrated his 35th birthday yesterday. (Which you already knew because you read this blog everyday.)

Gallimaufry: If I went by Bob Poilon of NPR.org, and his list of the Best Albums of 2009 (So Far), I’d have to seriously consider that maybe I’m not as hip as I think I am, seeing as how I only own 4 out of 30. Wow. I gotta get on the stick and start listening to some more music. I mean, the year is halfway over already. Check it out and see how many of the albums you’ve got – you might just be as surprised as I was. Do you love Young Guns, and/or more importantly Young Guns II? Well, then I’m about to tell you about the best vacation idea you’ve possibly ever heard of in your life. The New Mexico Tourism Department has created a six-day intinerary designed to help you follow in the footsteps of the legendary Billy the Kid, including something called “The Billy the Kid Pageant.” There seems to be no mention of the fact William H. Bonney‘s (as The Kid was formally known) story is one that most scholars agree is mostly fiction. Likewise, it’s not known if vacationing Wild West enthusiasts will be participating in something Billy the Kid definitely did do, namely wandering around the desert for long stretches of time, starving and exhausted. In what can only be considered the boldest of bold moves, EW.com is challenging the longheld notion that 1939 was the best year for the release of films by offering instead…the year 1984. And it may just have a very valid, solidly based point on its hands. Some of the films that debuted 25 years ago? Footloose. Splash. Romancing The Stone. This Is Spinal Tap. The Natural. Sixteen Candles. The Karate Kid. Ghostbusters. Revenge of the Nerds. RED DAWN. The Terminator. Beverly Hills Cop. Johnny Dangerously. And so many more. Hard to believe all those movies were all released (a) in the same year and (b) a quarter century ago.

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07.27.09 – Monday

Word: pique [peek] v. 1. to affect with sharp irritation and resentment, esp. by some wound to pride: She was greatly piqued when they refused her invitation 2. to wound (the pride, vanity, etc.) 3. to excite (interest, curiosity, etc.): Her curiosity was piqued by the gossip 4. to arouse an emotion or provoke to action: to pique someone to answer a challenge 5. Archaic. to pride (oneself) (usually fol. by on or upon) 6. to arouse pique in someone: an action that piqued when it was meant to soothe n. 7. a feeling of irritation or resentment, as from a wound to pride or self-esteem: to be in a pique 8. Obsolete. a state of irritated feeling between persons

Birthday: Samuel Smith (1752), Alexandre Dumas, fils (1824), Josef Priller (1915), Normal Lear (1922), Jerry Van Dyke (1931), John Pleshette (1942), Peggy Fleming (1948), Yahoo Serious (1953), Bill Engvall (1957), Karl Mueller (1962), Juliana Hatfield (1967), Triple H (1969), Maya Rudolph (1972), Pete Yorn (1974), Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez (1975), Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (1977)

Quotation: Bypasses are devices that allow some people to dash from point A to point B very fast while other people dash from point B to point A very fast.  People living at point C, being a point directly in between, are often given to wonder what’s so great about point A that so many people from point B are so keen to get there and what’s so great about point B that so many people from point A are so keen to get there.  They often wish that people would just once and for all work out where the hell they wanted to be.Douglas Adams

Tune: Boston band Wheat has had one helluva journey. After independently releasing its first two albums Medeiros and Hope and Adams in the late 1990s, Columbia Records signed Wheat and, in 2003, released Per Second, Per Second, Per Second…Every Second, an album that included the radio-friendly hit “I Met a Girl.” It turned out to be one-and-done with Columbia, however, and the band went back to the drawing board. (I’ve heard from some that Wheat felt Per Second… was over-produced, and that may just be a good point.) Its next release, everyday i said a prayer for kathy and made a one square inch, was the result of what vocalist Scott Levesque called, “just 3 guys in a basement…kind of like the old days, for us, by us.” I think a lot of Wheat fans, myself included, were hoping for something a little less over-polished than the tracks on Per Second… but the band may have gone too far the other way – maybe it got a little too rough around the edges. A few weeks ago, Wheat may have released its finest album, White Ink, Black Ink, – a solid compromise of the smooth and the raw. It may be cliché, but after almost two decades, Wheat might’ve at last found their sound. Favorite song so far? “My Warning Song”

Gallimaufry: In reality, the Tour de France 2009 was only three weeks long. But it felt much much much longer than that (most likely because VS. aired it pretty much 24 hours-a-day and some of the guys I work with watched each stage 3 times daily) when it ended yesterday with Alberto Contador wearing the traditional yellow jersey of the overall winner. Not Lance Armstrong. The 37-year old cancer survivor, 7-time Tour de France champion and, most importantly, the guy who played himself during the lynchpin scene in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story that sent Vince Vaughn back to help his team win the championship, came in 3rd. Not too shabby but obviously not what everyone was hoping for. Some are saying Armstrong hurt his chances for an 8th win by helping Contador, his teammate, during different legs of the race. Fear not. Armstrong will be back next year (but not on the same team as Contador), and my advice would be to not bet against him. The guy has always been a master at doing the things people have told him were out of his reach. I’m going out on a very sturdy limb and predicting one last win for Armstrong in next year’s Tour, which I probably won’t watch. The Beastie Boys are cancelling all of its upcoming tour dates and pushing back the release of its upcoming album, Hot Sauce Committee Part 1, due to the fact MCA (real name Adam Yauch) has been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his parotid gland. From the official press release of the band’s label EMI Music – “Luckily it was caught early and is localized in one area, and as such is considered very treatable. It will however require surgery and several weeks of additional treatment. Fortunately the cancer is not in a location that will affect Yauch’s vocal chords.” Here’s wishing Yauch a speedy recovery. If you follow the NFL and have a working brain (not necessarily a paradoxical statement, by the way), you’re most likely sick and tired of Brett Favre’s continuing indecision on whether or not to play with the Minnestota Vikings (a divisional rival of Favre‘s original team, the Green Bay Packers) this season. At this weekend’s Madden NFL 10 Pigskin Pro-Am, John Elway and Joe Montana, two guys who’ve been in similar shoes, each gave their own opinion of what Favre should do. I like Montana’s best – “If it was the first time he’s done it, it would be different. But we’ve seen it already, and here we go again. I’m sure that’s all [the Minnesota Vikings] are thinking about.” I’m pretty sure he was politely trying to tell Favre to – as my mother is sometimes known to say – “Shit or get off the pot!” At this point, all the vacillating on Favre’s part is only blemishing his amazing career and tarnishing the future Hall of Famer’s reputation. It’s only natural that, besides the thrill of playing the game, the withdraw from the spotlight is what depresses the athletes the most, but still. Come on, dude. Enough already.