04.20.09 – Monday

Word: euphemism [yoo-fuh-miz-uhm] n. 1. the substitution of a mild, indirect or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh or blunt 2. the expression so substituted: “To pass away” is a euphemism for “to die.”

Birthday: Napoleon III (1808), Adolf Hitler (1889), Lionel Hampon (1908), Tito Puente (1923), George Takei (1937), Ryan O’Neal (1941), Jessica Lange (1949), Luther Vandross (1951), Clint Howard (1959), Don Mattingly (1961), Crispin Glover (1964), Carmen Electra (1972), Joey Lawrence (1976)

Occurence: 1999Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold kill 13 people and injure 24 others before committing suicide during the Columbine High School Massacre.

Standpoint: Last week, I polled all my friends on Facebook and Twitter. I asked them to name the best movie with a one-word title. Also, I was asking everyone I talked to, including my co-workers at The Chestnut Grill, who came up with a ton of them. (Special thanks to Ezgi and Adina on that one.) So, I compiled over 200 suggested titles and whittled (Colleen, you were right. I misused “wheedle”. Live and learn. 4/21/09) the list down to 15 movies. Here is the list (alphabetically) of 15 Great Movies with a One-Word Title, followed by the reason each film made the final cut. Enjoy.

There you have it. Just in case you’re wondering, it’s pretty difficult deciding the best 15 out of 200. The Honorable Mentions are too many to list. I can give you a few movies that never stood a chance. Titanic. Volcano. Twister. Accepted.

I’m sure you can think of a few movies I overlooked or discarded. Tell me which ones and why.

Quotation: Everybody is wrong about everything, just about all of the time. Chuck Klosterman

Gallimaufry: Falling into the “How-Pathetic-Can-I-Possibly-Get” category, Spencer Pratt (“The Hills”) has challenged Ashton Kutcher to a 30-day contest to see who can get the most Twitter followers. Dude, you’re a little late. I suggest concentrating your efforts on something that doesn’t involve some crappy show like “The Hills.” Look into it…All season long on “American Idol,” people have been asking the question, “Why in the hell did they bring Kara DioGuardi on as a fourth judge?” It appears she’s wondering the same thing. Could this be a sign of her exit?…Yesterday was a good day in Philadelphia for sports. The Phillies beat the San Diego Padres, 5-4, off a two-run homer in the ninth inning by Raul Ibanez. The 76ers beat the Orlando Magic in the Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on a last-second jumper by Andre Iguodala. But the highlight of the day in sports, for me at least, was sitting at my brother Jeremy’s new house and watching the Flyers spank the Pittsburgh Penguins, 6-3. Claude Giroux registered a Gordie Howe hat trick. He’s the real deal. (Thanks to Phinally Philly for the link.)

Incoming: This week is up in the air. Besides more of your suggestions for Annoying Sayings & Misused Words, we’ll have to see where the wind takes us.

04.14.09 – Tuesday

[Note: Today’s post is a little longer than usual due to the passing of Philadelphia’s legendary broadcaster, Harry Kalas – a man who will forever be remembered as “The Voice of the Philadelphia Phillies.”]

Word: sycophant [sikuh-fuhnt, – fant, sahy-kuh-] n. a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite

Birthday: Shorty Rogers (1924), Rod Steiger (1925), Loretta Lynn (1935), Pete Rose (1941), Richard Jeni (1957), Brad Garrett (1960), Robert Carlyle (1961), Anthony Michael Hall (1968), Adrien Brody (1973), Sarah Michelle Gellar (1977), Win Butler (1980)

Occurence: 1865Abraham Lincoln is shot from behind by in Ford’s Theatre by John Wilkes Booth.

Standpoint: I remember one afternoon in college. My buddy Joe Taylor and I were watching NFL Films. I mentioned that the narrator’s voice sounded kind of familiar. Joe sat up from the couch. “You don’t know who that is?” I told my friend I didn’t. “It’s Harry Kalas! The guy who calls Phillies games with Richie Ashburn!  Are you shitting me?”I wasn’t “shitting” him. I just wasn’t an avid Phillies fan. At that point, I saw no reason to stir Joe up any further by explaining to him I didn’t know who Richie Ashburn was.

Harry Kalas died yesterday at the age of 73 while preparing to call a Phillies-Nationals game in Washington D.C. Before that afternoon with Joe, I did know who he was. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t a baseball fan. Growing up in Philadelphia, it was nearly impossible to not know the man who could’ve patented the phrase, “It’s outta here!”  After college, I eventually did get into baseball and came to share the common reverence held for “The Voice of the Philadelphia Phillies.” He was one of those rare announcers whose love for the game and his team oozed out into the living rooms of all watching. His soothing voice could go from completely relaxed to incredibly excited with the swing of a bat.

The game of baseball lost a true living legend yesterday. The one silver lining being repeated everywhere was that at least Kalas lived long enough to see one more Phillies World Championship last October. I was actually outside Citizens Bank Park when it happened and heard Kalas call it live when Brad Lidge got that third out. Simultaneously, I heard the roar from the crowd in the stadium. My friends out in the parking lot, looked toward the ballpark and lamented the fact that we weren’t inside to experience the ensuing euphoria. I thought to myself that I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I got to hear the best broadcaster in baseball history call the final out of the World Series. It was the people inside who missed out.

Further Reading.

Quotation: Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side, a dark side and it holds the universe together. Carl Zwanzig

Tune: I first heard this song back on MTV’s 120 Minutes. (Remember when MTV played good songs?) “Mr E.’s Beautiful Blues” immediately made me buy everything I could by Eels.

Gallimaufry: Amazon.com is under fire for their new “adult” policy. The online bookstore has being accused of removing only “adult” literature dealing with homosexuality. (Amazon is claiming a glitch on the site.) Click here to learn more and sign the petition. (Thanks to Beth Treisner)…I suspect that “Facebook Users Get Worse Grades in College” is the first of many articles I’ll read in the next year about the negative effects of the popular social networking site…Al Franken is still not a United States Senator but it appears to be a matter of time until he is. Hey, Minnesota, let the guy in already. Jesse “The Body” Ventura used to be your governor. I mean, seriously.

Incoming: Tomorrow – What’s StumbleUpon?  Thursday – More of your Annoying Sayings/Misused Words (This is now going to be a permanent Thursday thing.) Friday3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead and 5 People I Wish Would Move to Another Planet.

04.09.09 – Thursday

Word: histrionic [his-tree-on-ik] adj. 1. of or pertaining to actors or acting 2. deliberately affected or self-consciously emotional; overly dramatic, in behavior or speech

 

Birthday: Charles Baudelaire (1821), Hugh Hefner (1926), Tom Lehrer (1928), Jim Fowler (1932), Carl Perkins (1932), Marty Kroft (1937), Peter Gammons (1945), Dennis Quaid (1954), Marc Jacobs (1963), Paulina Porizkova (1965), Jenna Jameson (1974), Albert Hammond, Jr. (1979), Keshia Knight Pulliam (1979), Jesse McCartney (1987)

 

Occurrence: 2003Saddam Hussein’s statue is toppled to the ground and destroyed by the Iraqi people as U.S. forces take over Baghdad. That was six years ago. When, exactly, did we win that war?

 

Standpoint: A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about sayings or phrases that I find annoying. Since then, I’ve received emails and comments, both here and on Facebook, from all of you who wanted to share your annoying sayings. I found that what really bother some of you are frequently misused words. I picked the top three and did a little research. Here is that I found:

 

  1. “irregardless” vs. “regardless” – “Irregardless” is not a word. At least, not an accepted one. According to dictionary.com, “Irregardless” is a non-standard word because of the two negative elements ir- and –less. The site presumes that “those who use it, including on occasion educated speakers, may do so from a desire to add emphasis.” On the other hand, “regardless” means, “having or showing no regard.”  The winner: regardless
  2. “supposably” vs. “supposedly” – This one is going to disappoint some of you. Dictionary.com says both are fine. “Supposably” is defined as “to believe or assume as true; take for granted.” “Supposedly” is defined as “assumed as true, regardless of fact.” I don’t really see a difference, do you? The winner: it’s a tie
  3. “orientate” vs. “orient” – “Orientate” is actually a word. It means, “to arrange in order; to dispose or place (a body) so as to show its relation to other bodies.” (No, I don’t think that means an actual human body.) “Orient” has many different meanings, including one that resembles the above one for orientate. However, the one that fits with the way most people use both these words is “to familiarize (a person) with new surroundings or circumstances.” So when someone says, “I had to orientate him into the new apartment,” they’re misusing the word. The winner: orient

So, there you go. I still can’t believe that “supposably” is a word. Thanks everyone for your contributions.

QuotationIt’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein

 

Tune: Over the weekend, I was having a conversation with a certain someone who insisted that all bands would choose making the big time over being a consistently working, moderately profitable one. I disagreed. Example of one such band? Cloud Cult. Here’s a blurb from the band’s official bio: “Despite offers from major labels, Cloud Cult has chosen to remain independent, recording and releasing their albums through Earthology Records, a not-for-profit environmental record label established by Minowa in 1998. On a self-funded shoe-string budget they have achieved top 20 CMJ radio charting for all of their last three albums, a domain usually reserved for the SubPops and Merges of the world.” My favorite Cloud Cult tune is “Hurricane and Fire Survival Guide.”

 

Link: Lights – Not sure if I’ve posted this before, but wanted to share it. Takes a few seconds to figure out.

 

Gallimaufry: Everyone’s talking about the Philadelphia Phillies’ new World Champions rings. Reviews have been good. I even overheard on lady call them “stunning.” I think the rings are pretty god-awful but I’d probably wear one if I’d just won the World Series. A shame they can’t present the team with the rings every night. The Phillies won in impressive style, coming back late in the game to win 12-11 after being down 10-3 (Thanks to Phinally Philly for the link)…Iron Man 2 began filming recently. Looks like Iron Man cast members Robert Downey, Jr. (Tony Stark), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts) and Samuel L. Jackson (Col. Nick Fury) will return for the second installment while Don Cheadle will replace Terrence Howard as James “Rhodey” Rhodes. New cast members will include Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Mickey Rourke (Whiplash) and Sam Rockwell (Justin Hammer). It’s rumored that there will be appearances by Jeff Bridges and Tim Robbins but nothing solid yet…Think status updates on Facebook and tweets on Twitter are getting impossible to follow? If so, you’re not going to like where Mashable’s Jennifer Van Grove is predicting for the future in “A Brief History of the Status Update.” Personally, I think it’ll be great.

 

Incoming: Tomorrow – My “Top 3 Incredibly Cool Things To Do in Philadelphia This Weekend” and some other amazing stuff.

03.24.09 – Tuesday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: ubiquitous [yoo-bik-wi-tuhs] adj. existing or being everywhere, especially at the same time; omnipresent

Birthday: Harry Houdini (1874), Ub Iwerks (1901), Thomas Dewey (1902), Clyde Barrow (1909), Joseph Barbera (1911), Gorgeous George (1915), Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919), Norman Fell (1924), Steve McQueen (1930), Bob Mackie (1940), Nick Lowe (1949), Tommy Hilfiger (1951), Robert Carradine (1954), Kelly LeBrock (1960), Star Jones Reynolds (1962), Annabella Sciorra (1964), The Undertaker (1965), Lara Flynn Boyle (1970), Megyn Price (1972), Alyson Hannigan (1974), Peyton Manning (1976)

Occurrence: 1958Elvis Presley gets inducted into the army. I still think it’s strange that this happened. I know The King was drafted but do you think any celebrity today would actually do this at the height of their career? I tend to think no.

Standpoint: Last Friday, March 20th, was the first day of Spring. Around Philadelphia, it was cold outside. And this perplexed many people who, I guess, had it marked down on their calendar as the day to dust-off the flip-flops and shorts. “What the hell? I thought its Spring.” “It’s not that warm out. Winter is supposed to be over.” “I was all psyched to wear my new sandals today but it’s too cold and I had to wear my regular shoes.” This is just a mere sampling of comments I overheard last Friday. Apparently, many individuals were disappointed by the weather’s refusal to cooperate with their desire to “finally drive to work with the windows down.” In this Age of Entitlement, we even expect Mother Nature to do what we think is “right” and “totally fair.”

Quotation: Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters. Neil Gaiman

Digit: 13 – Number of cities and towns in the USA named Philadelphia. Besides the one in Pennsylvania there is one each in Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico and New York. There are two each in Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Tune: When I was younger and out in social situations, I often thought of “Halloween” by matt pond PA. Take a listen and you might know what I mean.

Link: Phinally Philly – An absolutely spectacular blog about Philadelphia sports.

Gallimaufry: Paul Berry, CTO of the Huffington Post, offers his opinion of the Facebook redesign that everyone (including me) has been deliberating to the point of exhaustion. A little bit of a different take…Kids can be cruel. Read all about one family who has launched a national campaign to educate high school students about “sexting”…In India, Tata Motors has announced that their Nano, the world’s cheapest car, will hit roads in July. It’s small and only costs 100,000 rupee ($1980)…Tonight, if you’re gonna be near the Chestnut Hill area in Philadelphia PA, make sure to stop by The Chestnut Grill for its first Karaoke Night run by my good friend Suzi Simon. Starts at 9pm. Plus, I’ll be there so that should be enough reason for you to come out.