February 10th, 2012

word

hiemal [hahyuh-muhl] adj. of or pertaining to winter; wintry

birthday

Jimmy Durante (1893), Robert Wagner (1930), Roberta Flack (1937), Mark Spitz (1950), Glenn Beck (1964), Laura Dern (1967), Elizabeth Banks (1974)

standpoint

First, let me just say that Wednesday’s post was one of my most popular ever and that I appreciated all of the back-and-forth on Facebook. I was tossing around the idea of posting the comment strain here but decided not to as I’m unsure of the legality of re-publishing comments made on there.

Anyway, switching gears, here’s a portion of a conversation between two women I overheard the other night:

Woman #1: Did you read Gone With the Wind yet?

Woman#2: No, but I’m gonna get around to it.

Woman #1: Book group is in two days, the book is like 500 pages, you’re not gonna be able to read it. (eJ – Actually the book is over 1,ooo pages.)

Woman #2: Who cares? I’ll just get shitfaced so no one asks me any questions.

Nearby Guy: Actually, you could just watch the movie version.

Woman #1: They made a movie out of that book?

Nearby Guy: Yeah, it’s pretty famous, probably more famous than the book.

Woman #2: Right. See there? I’ll just watch the movie. Do you think it’s on Netflix?

Woman #1: I’m not sure but they got every movie on Netflix, so probably. But Netflix won’t get it to you on time. Book group is on Thursday.

Woman #2: Well, just tell me the gist, so I can act like I read it.

Woman #1: It all takes place during the Civil War.

Woman #2: Oh, it’s a war story. I hate those.

Woman #1: Nah, nah, it’s not like a shoot-em-up kind of story. It’s mostly a love story between this guy named Brett (Rhett) and this woman named Scarlett. And, if you ask me, Scarlett is the biggest moron that ever lived.

Woman #2: Is it a true story?

Woman #1: I don’t think so but maybe. Why?

Woman #2: You said “the biggest moron that ever lived.” Was she a real person?

Woman #1: No, I mean, she might have actually lived but I don’t know. My point is that she was a total fucking moron.

Woman #2: Okay, why?

Woman #1: I don’t know she just was. I’m not getting into with you because you didn’t read the goddamn book. So I started to get curious about the Civil War and look up some stuff. And I learned more through Google than I did actually reading the book.

Woman #2:  You know you can’t trust all the stuff you find on Google.

Woman #1: You think I don’t know that? But I did learn some shit.

Woman #2: Okay, what did you learn? Anything good?

Woman #1: Oh yeah. Tons. Like did you know that Negroes got the right to vote before women did?

Woman #2: No shit. Wait, are you sure? Negroes? Like how long before?

Woman #1: I don’t really remember but it was a while. A couple of years, I think. I couldn’t believe it, either. I would’ve bet anything women were allowed to vote before Negroes.

Woman #2: You can’t be right about that. Women weren’t first? It was Negroes?

At that point, I had to just walk away.

People are pretty outstanding.

quotation

A world where medical advances allow us to live forever is a terrifying thought. Imagine the crowd. ↔ Salman Rushdie

tune

If you’re cool like me, you’ll be at The Electric Factory in Philadelphia on Saturday, March 24th (hit that link right there to go and get tickets) to see Dr. Dog. I’m betting they’re going to play “That Old Black Hole” somewhere toward the end of their set because, wow, what a great song.

gallimaufry

→ Speaking of same-sex marriage, here’s Governor Christine Gregoire of Washington State doing the right thing.

Michael Vick‘s been attempting to show the world he’s a rehabilitated citizen, but it seems no one but Philadelphia Eagles fans are buying it. The guy just made the top of Forbes‘ list of America’s Most Disliked Athletes.

This isn’t true but it could be.

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November 28, 2011

word

slumgullion [sluhm-guhl-yuhn, sluhm-guhl-] n. 1. a stew of meat, vegetables, potatoes, etc. 2. a beverage made weak or thin, as watery tea, coffee or the like 3. the refuse from processing whale carcasses 4. a reddish, muddy deposit in mining sluices

birthday

William Blake (1757), Gary Hart (1936), Randy Newman (1943), Alexander Godunov (1949), Paul Shaffer (1949), Ed Harris (1950), Judd Nelson (1959), Jon Stewart (1962), Anna Nicole Smith (1967)

standpoint

Today, I’m sharing some videos. You may have seen them before but you may have not. So just shut up and watch.

Delta Airline Ebonics Commercial

Funny Siri Commercial Parody

The Kids in the Hall’s King of Empty Promises

Quick Change Mexican Joust Scene

quotation

First think I look at? The face. Always the face. She’s gotta be pretty. Without pretty, I don’t care how good the body is. Bar rules don’t apply here. ↔ Arny Freytag

tune

If you’ve ever had a bar “where everyone knows your name,” well, then you’ll most likely understand “Radio Bar” by Fountains of Wayne.

gallimaufry

→ What is going on here? Is Philadelphia growing up? No one’s throwing batteries or snowballs or cheesesteaks? What will the rest of the country think? Someone better get down there and do something embarrassing and, at the very least, get people talking about something other than the epic season the Philadelphia Eagles are having.

The Lego Millennium Falcon. Cooler than most people’s cars.

→ I won’t be posting tomorrow. But there will be a post on Wednesday. Count on it…

November 21, 2011

word

catachresis [kat-uhkree-sis] n. misused or strained use of words, as in a mixed metaphor, occurring either in error or for rhetorical effect

birthday

Voltaire (1694), Marlo Thomas (1937), Harold Ramis (1944), Goldie Hawn (1945), Björk (1965)

standpoint

For all of you movie buffs, I’m working on something pretty cool for the next post, so stay tuned. Thanks for reading.

quotation

Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly. ↔ Rose Franken

tune

I realized the other day that those who actually pay attention to my tune of the day must think that I listen to music solely of the indie rock persuasion. Not so, people. I also like jazz a great deal. Here’s one of my favorites – “Strange Meadowlark” by Dave Brubeck, who, incidentally, I was lucky enough to see in concert a few years back.

gallimaufry

→ Hey, fucking geniuses, people still take this shit seriously. You’re an embarrassment to racist morons everywhere.

→ The Philadelphia Eagles continue to lose when they’re supposed to win and win when they’re supposed to lose. Absolutely fucking annoying.

→ I had no idea John Sellers released his new book, The Old Man and the Swamp. I will definitely be picking it up soon and suggest you all do the same. I’ve had some personal contact with Mr. Sellers over the years and not only is he a great writer but he’s a quality individual as well.

October 31, 2011

word

cognoscenti [kon-yuhshen-tee, kog-nuh-] n. persons who have superior knowledge and understanding of a particular field, especially in the fine arts, literature, and world of fashion

birthday

John Keats (1795), Dan Rather (1931), Michael Landon (1936), David Ogden Stiers (1942), Peter Frampton (1943), Sally Kirkland (1944), Brian Doyle-Murray (1945), John Candy (1950), Peter Jackson (1961), Johnny Marr (1963), Dermot Mulroney (1963), Rob Schneider (1963), Adam Horovitz (1966), Vanilla Ice (1967)

standpoint
Over the weekend, the Philadelphia area got an early snowstorm and the alarmists were out in full force. One local newswoman warned people whose bed was near a window next to a tree to sleep in another room for fear wind might blow icy branches through the glass panes and be “potentially fatal.” She was being completely serious. 

Hurricane Schwartz and anyone else who claim to predict the weather should be taken as seriously as any FoxNews anchor.

Is it going to be sunny? Is it going to rain? Is it going to snow? What’s the weather guy/girl say? We all ask these questions constantly even though most of us understand forecasting the weather is next to impossible. And that’s due to the simple fact that forecasting the weather is actually impossible.

No one knows what’s going to happen. Yes, I’ll admit they’ve got a slightly better idea about tomorrow’s weather but only slightly. But Hurricane and his cronies aren’t offering their opinions; they’re posing as weather authorities.

It’s fucking genius if you think about it. Without the weather, local news programming is diminished to a tally of all the awful shit that happened during the course of the day, and the rehashing of sporting events that most everyone watched all ready. Without the weather, local news programming has no hold over us. Without that control, hardly anyone would watch. And so, it drums up scary situations in which Mother Nature will make mincemeat out of those of us who neglected to buy a few weeks’ worth of milk and bread hours before every time snowflakes fall from the sky.

For reasons I can’t explain, we still listen to it. And, sadly, we probably always will.

quotation

There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls. ↔ George Carlin

tune

Sometimes I add a song to my iPod and then completely forget about it. A few months later I’ll be driving along listening on shuffle and the song will make a reappearance. And I realize that, for whatever reason, I wasn’t ready to appreciate the song until that moment in time. Such was the way with “Changing” by The Airborne Toxic Event.

gallimaufry

→ Hopefully, this dude will stop talking shit for a while. The Philadelphia Eagles completely embarrassed Rob Ryan and the Dallas Cowboys last night. Guess Andy Reid gets to keep his job for a little longer.

→ This is crazy. 7 BILLION PEOPLE. It’s kinda perplexing.

→ In case you’re wondering what the next frivolous thing we’re all supposed to be worrying about might be, look no further: Sonic Drugs.

08.15.11 – a monday

word

entelechy [en-teluh-kee] n. 1. a realization or actuality as opposed to a potentiality 2. (in vitalist philosophy) a vital agent or force directing growth and life

birthday

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769), Sir Walter Scott (1771), Charles Comiskey (1859), Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875), Edna Ferber (1885), Julia Child (1912), Oscar Peterson (1925), Debra Messing (1968), Anthony Anderson (1970), Ben Affleck (1972), Natasha Henstridge (1974)

standpoint

To quote rock legend Aaron Lewis, “It’s been a while.” (I couldn’t remember that dude’s name and had to look it up. Sadly, Staind is still in existence. Why is it that the suckiest bands never seem to go away?) In any case, here’s some of the inconsequential nonsense floating around my cranium.

→ I’ve got a ton of t-shirts, each cooler than the next. It’s true. I recently found my He-Man and the Masters of the Universe t-shirt and I’ve been getting solid feedback on it. (That’s not me in the picture, it’s one of those pretentious t-shirt models.)

→ I finally watched Inception. It was good, not great.

→ I watched The A-Team movie again. It totally blew. Again.

→ Philadelphia dive bars. Ever since Brian McManus wrote a book , I’ve been involved in several conversations concerning real dive bars. (Sorry, brother, but Oscar’s? McGlinchey’s?) For my money, the Casmar Cafe in Conshohocken and Towey’s Tavern in Chestnut Hill (which I won’t even link to) are tied for the dive bar championship. McManus’ bars are simply a collection of spots that truly test hipsters’ comfort threshold.

→ The Ames Straw Poll is yet another reason I’m seriously considering moving to South America. Christ. Are you kidding me?

quotation

No one can get inner peace by pouncing on it. ↔ Harry Emerson Fosdick

tune

Foster The People‘s “Houdini” is one straight-up kickass track. I listen to it at least once a day. Minimum.

gallimaufry

“This has been a wake-up call for our country.” You think, Einstein?

→ If you’re one of the New York Giants fans who posted comments on Steve Smith’s Facebook page, the rest of us are wondering if maybe it’s high time you explored some therapy options in your surrounding community.

→ Sucks. TLA Video will be out of business within the next year. The times, oh, they are a changin’.

06.07.11 – a tuesday

word

hackneyed [hak-need] adj. made commonplace or trite; stale; banal: the hackneyed images of his poetry

birthday

Jessica Tandy (1909), Dean Martin (1917), Tom Jones (1940), Liam Neeson (1952), Prince (1958), Allen Iverson (1975), Bill Hader (1978), Anna Kournikova (1981), Michael Cera (1988)

standpoint

Last night, I decided to go see X-Men: First Class at my local theater.

In recent years, I’ve been hearing this sort of statement more and more: “Yeah, I love movies but I hate going to the theater. It’s so distracting. Unless it’s some sort of special effects blockbuster, I’d rather just wait until it comes out on DVD or HBO or something.”

Truthfully, most times I’ve heard someone say that, I’ve been the one saying it.

But I didn’t always feel that way. Once upon a time, I went to see a movie at least twice a month, either with other people or, more often, by myself. It was a nice way to pass the time. But going to the theater nowadays is akin to placing the lens of a metaphorical microscope on everything sucky about humanity.

And here’s just two reasons why:

1. Commentary – Apparently, during any movie, there’s a contest called “Who’s the Best At Following Along?” Not everyone is picked to play but those chosen are a fiercely competitive bunch, vehemently shouting out things like, “He’s gonna get shot!” or “That’s a mistake!” *SPOILER ALERT* Last night, for instance, there was a scene in which a hand was flicking cigar ashes into an ashtray. It was the very beginning of Hugh Jackman‘s ten-second cameo as Wolverine, the central character of the X-Men franchise. But before his face appeared on screen, at least 15 people cried out, “That’s Wolverine!”

2. Cell Phones – The scourge of the modern cinema, it’s easy to understand how moveigoers might forget to turn their cell phones to silent or vibrate. It’s not like there’s several announcements before the start of a movie, asking everyone to check them. I blame the clever warnings. They’re too subtle. Here’s what they should run instead. Still, I don’t think anyone would give a shit. Last night, there were so many sounds coming from cell phones that I entertained the idea I might be the subject of a gigantic prank. My favorite, however, was the guy directly behind me who, an hour into the movie, answered his phone and proceeded to schedule a meeting for 2:30 this afternoon.

quotation

Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you and scorn in the one ahead. ↔ Mac McCleary

tune

I loved Hall & Oates when I was a kid. Truth be told, I still dig their songs. They represent everything solid about the 1980s. That’s no lie. The video for “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” is quintessentially representative of the decade most everyone would love to forget.

gallimaufry

Here’s a life lesson, people. This clown had so many opportunities to ride off into the sunset as an American success story. But now he’s the poster child for greed and living beyond one’s own means. Suckah.

The “Jailbirds?” Why not? The NFL is such a laughingstock, why shouldn’t the Eagles be the biggest joke in it? Cue The Longest Yard references, starting…now.

→ Just to make this an all-sports gallimaufry, I’ll let you know that Mark Recchi was never one of my favorites when he played for the Flyers but there’s a part of me that’s pleased to see the 43-year-old not only competing for his third Stanley Cup ring, but contributing as well.

04.27.10 – A Tuesday

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word

extirpate [ek-ster-peyt, ik-stur-peyt] v. used w/ obj. 1. to remove or destroy totally; do away with; exterminate 2. to pull up by or as if by the roots; root up: to extirpate an unwanted hair

birthday

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759), Samuel F. B. Morse (1791), Ulysses S. Grant (1822), Jack Klugman (1922), Casey Kasem (1932), Frank William Abagnale, Jr. (1948), Kate Pierson (1948), Ace Frehley (1951), Sheena Easton (1959)

standpoint

This past weekend, the NFL conducted its annual draft and it was all anyone could talk about. I didn’t really pay much attention. The only time I care about football is when it’s actually being played. To me, the draft seems to be just another reason for NFL fans, most of whom I regard as whiners, to bitch and moan, ask each other why their particular team took one guy and not another, failed to draft a player at one position and not another, and so on and so forth.

For the past several years the relationship between the NFL and its fans has fascinated me. Football enthusiasts are mostly fanatics, highly devoted folks who expect a lot from their chosen organization. Curiously, though, the same expectations do not extend to the individual athletes. And here’s why I think that’s so.

First and foremost, I’m a hockey fan. Training camp for the NHL begins at the end of each summer and the Stanley Cup Finals usually wrap up sometime in early summer of the next year. By comparison, NFL training camps start in early August and the Super Bowl is usually played the first week of February. In addition, football teams play once a week while hockey (and basketball and baseball) teams might play several times in the same amount of time. Bottom line, football fans feel an urgency, a need to do as much as they can with the little time afforded them. It’s the reason fall/winter Sunday afternoons and, to a slightly lesser extent, Monday nights have been bestowed with an almost venerable aura. There’s an almost obligatory sense to watch football when it’s on. You didn’t watch the game yesterday afternoon? Why not? You’d better have a bulletproof alibi.

The brevity of the NFL season also has an impact on its players. It provides them more time to pursue other interests with the massive amounts of cash they accumulate over the year. The majority of the athletes go home to their families, maybe investing in a hometown restaurant or contributing their time in a charitable fashion. But there are those who don’t make the best choices when it comes to how they spend their money and time in the offseason, getting in trouble with the law in a variety of ways. It seems you can’t turn on SportsCenter without seeing a new feature on some NFL knucklehead being brought up some kind of charges. Their actions are part bad decision making, part too much time and money on their hands. Someone’s bound to get into trouble.

When these stories come out, there’s always a heavy dose of public outrage by NFL fans and pundits. But it’s never sustained. The player always pays the fine or, less often, does the time and then it’s back to business as usual. An odd thing about the NFL is that, despite its massive fanbase, most of its teams flat-out suck, which means there’s always teams out there willing to take a chance on a skilled player. Even if that player beats his girlfriends, or fires guns at nightclubs, or recently completed yet another stint of drug rehab. When a team signs a guy like that, its fans, more concerned with a Super Bowl parade than a strong sense of morality, always jump on board.

In the weeks after Michael Vick was paroled, rumors surfaced about Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones tinkering with the idea of signing him. Every football fan in Philadelphia was laughing, shaking their heads and telling each other how perfect Vick would fit in with the rest of the criminals the Cowboys have gained a reputation for bringing aboard. Then the Eagles signed Vick. For a day or two, people seemed a little put off the organization would sign a convicted animal abuser. But within a week, no one was talking about dogs, but about another animal: the wildcat. As in the “Wildcat Offense” and how Vick would flourish in it. Nowadays, if you bring up the fact the guy used to beat dogs to death people roll their eyes and tell you to give it a rest. No wants to hear it. In essence, he’s been exonerated in the public eye because he puts on an Eagles’ uniform every Sunday (and the occasional Monday) for a few months out of the year.

And Vick’s not even a close to be the only one. He’s a member of a rather large club. Ray Lewis may have been acquitted of his murder charge but everyone knows he at least had something to with the deaths of those people. Baltimore Ravens fans don’t care. Adam “Pacman” Jones has a criminal record detailing a wide array of offenses. Detroit Lions fans won’t care if the team signs him. Ben Roethlisberger most definitely has a problem with sexually assaulting women, although he escaped formal charges. After he serves his upcoming six-game suspension and leads the team down the field for a touchdown, Pittsburgh Steelers fans won’t care. These are guys you wouldn’t want working in your office building, but if they’re playing football, fans will rationalize why it’s okay to forgive, and even cheer, for him.

Sometimes, guys wake up and take advantage of a second (or third) chance like Cris Carter. But, unfortunately, most of them will end up like Rae Carruth.

For the record, I don’t hold the NFL owners in any contempt for signing or retaining criminals. They’re running a business. In terms of dollars and cents, it makes sense for them to take the chances they do and, sometimes, as in the Roethlisberger situation, they have no other choice.

But what’s the fans excuse? How can the rationality of all this be explained? If these guys weren’t playing football, they’d be in jail and no one would give a rat’s ass what they were up to. Lucky for them, that’s not the case. They continue to get the love and respect of millions of people despite the fact, outside playing a game, they’ve done nothing to deserve it.

It’s comical and pathetic.

quotation

Whenever I hear people talking about liberal ideas, I am always astounded that men should love to fool themselves with empty sounds. An idea should never be liberal; it must be vigorous, positive, and without loose ends so that it may fulfill its divine mission and be productive. The proper place for liberality is in the realm of the emotions. Johann von Goethe

tune

I’ve shared this before but I’m going to do it again because, well, I do what I want. I’m of the opinion Chuck D is a pretty solid dude. I present Public Enemy‘s “Harder Than You Think.”

gallimaufry

→ I think Stephen Hawking might be watching Independence Day a little too much. And who can blame him? It’s a good movie mostly. But he may not be completely wrong here.

→ Sometimes something as simple as a sandwich can be a strong indicator of where we’re headed as a society. People, we’re driving in the wrong direction here.

→ My favorite show on ESPN? It’s SportsNation. I’m sure some of you out there now think a little less of me.