11.12.09 – A Thursday

WORD

platitude [plat-i-tood, -tyood] n. 1. a flat, dull, or trite remark, esp. one uttered as if it were fresh or profound 2. the quality or state of being flat, dull, or trite: the platitude of most political oratory

BIRTHDAY

Bartomoleo Bandinelli (1493), Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815), Auguste Rodin (1840), Karl Marx (1897), Jo Stafford (1917), Kim Hunter (1922), Charles Manson (1934), Mills Lane (1936), Booker T. Jones (1944), Al Michaels (1944), Neil Young (1945), Megan Mullally (1958), Sammy Sosa (1968), Tonya Harding (1970), Tevin Campbell (1976), Ryan Gosling (1980), Anne Hathaway (1982)

STANDPOINT

One things that bugs the shit out of me is when someone, after finding I lean toward the indie rock persuasion in terms of music listening, will classify me as a “music snob.”

The reason it irks me is because it’s simply not true. Well, not completely true anyhow. There’s truth to the idea I look down my nose at artists like Pink, Britney Spears and Kanye West. But it’s only because I think that those artists (and about a million more) really concentrate on finding new ways to suck. And not just at music. At life, as well.

However, if you like those artists and want to listen to them, feel free. Yu can turn them on and dance around your living room and scream the moronic lyrics at the top of your lungs for all I care.

You see, because while I have discerning musical tastes, I am all for you listening to whatever makes you happy. Even if that same music makes me uncontrollably sad. Listen to what you like. It’s your choice.

The problem I have is when someone like you tries to engage me in some sort of debate about musis, lecturing me on the finer, more subtle points of music. Here’s where I gotta stop you.

As I stated before, listen to what you like. But, please, for both our benefit make no attempts to persuade me one way or another about the musical merits of the new Green Day album or how I don’t really understand what Taylor Swift is really singing about. I do. I get it. And, as you’ve made a conscious decision to like that kind of thing, I’ve chosen to go the exact opposite way with my listening pleasure.

So when you call me a “music snob,” you should not be too surprised when the next 30,000 words that come out of my mouth are directed squarely at you, your intellgence and your lack of depth.

Because, really, what’s the difference between you accusing me of being too deep to understand the simplicity of simple music, and me accusing you of being too much of a simpleton to understand the simplicity of great music?

Guess that clears that up. Glad we had this talk.

QUOTATION

What is the feeling when you’re driving away from people, and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? It’s the too huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.Jack Kerouac

TUNE

Seems like a ton of bands are doing the return-to-rock thing. (See Kings of Leon, My Morning Jacket) Usually, I dislike these trends. Furthermore, I hate being told what to like by anyone. But, being the music geek I am, forcing myself to listen to everything I possibly can (within limits) is something I just need to do. And, sometimes, I stumble upon a band that, despite myself, I kind of really dig. Like Alberta Cross, the NYC-based via London band that just released its debut album, Broken Side of Time. Check out “ATX.”

GALLIMAUFRY

THR.com has published a list of the top male TV earners. Tops? Simon Cowell at $75 million a year. No surprise there. Number 10 was a bit of a surprise, though. David Caruso at $9 million per year. All you hammy actors out there have some hope. (Personally, I love watching Caruso in CSI:Miami.)

→ I posted this on Facebook yesterday but I had to share it again here. This is one of the most ridiculous commercials I’ve ever seen. And up here in Phoenixville PA, it’s on like non-stop. It’s for KIA of West Chester and it’s almost making me want to got there and pretend I want to buy a car. Just to see if these dudes are equally hopped-up off camera. My favorite part is when the one dude, Anthony, gets cut off in the middle of the catch phrase, “THAT’S CRAAAZY!” Indeed.

→ The dude who started the Twitter account @shitmydadsays has signed a TV deal with CBS, after signing a book deal recently. Congrats, brother. I love it when stuff like that happens. My favorite tweet of his so far? “Son, no one gives a shit about all the things your cell phone does. You didn’t invent it, you just bought it. Anybody can do that.”

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09.28.09 – A Monday

WORD

inane [i-neyn] adj. 1. lacking sense, significance, or ideas; silly: inane questions 2. empty; void n. 3. something that is empty or void, esp. the void of infinite space

BIRTHDAY

Confucious (551 BC), Ed Sullivan (1901), Max Schmeling (1905), Al Capp (1909), Brigitte Bardot (1934), Rod Roddy (1937), Ben E. King (1938), J.T. Walsh (1943), Steve Largent (1954), Janeane Garofalo (1964), Mira Sorvino (1967), Moon Unit Zappa (1967), Naomi Watts (1968), Joseph Arthur (1971), Bam Margera (1979), Ray Emery (1982), Hilary Duff (1987)

STANDPOINT

When it comes to the world of music, I’m in a bit of a shitty spot.

Because, you see, no matter what your particular music inclinations (and I’m sure they’re fantastic), there’s a 73% chance I feel different. Yes. It’s confusing. Let me clarify a bit.

For me, there are only three sects of music listeners out there.

“I don’t care if it’s cool, I just like that song.” – You’re someone who has uttered the previous statement about 9,233 times. You turn on the radio. You hear a song that begs you to drive faster, tap your foot and sing at the top of your lungs. The song ends. Some smooth DJ informs you that the last song was the newest release by Pink, Nickelback or some similarly dreadful source. For about three seconds, you wrestle with the following contradictory facts: (a) you’re relatively sure the artist is somewhat uncool, and (b) you just don’t care because it made you bounce around and sing. If bouncing around and singing in your car is important to you, you’ll likely choose the last option. And, hey, that’s more than all right. Just don’t go around offering up your opinion when the rest of us are talking about what constitutes good music. You’ve eliminated yourself as trustworthy. Sadly, you’re definitely part of the problem. Yes, you’re a fucking moron if you think the new Green Day album is “really good” just because everyone else is listening to it. You either suck at evaluating music or you just don’t care enough to be discerning. Either way, you’re someone who contributes to the MTV culture and that’s just not OK. Ever.

“Even if I’ve listened to a band for years, once I hear one of their songs during a TV commercial, I think they’re shit.” – OK, I get where you’re coming from. You’re an indie rock enthusiast with a chip on your shoulder. You’re absolutely right. But you’re also absolutely wrong. Unfortunately, the music you like is conveying ideals and beliefs that you own, that you share. And it’s not likely these ideals and beliefs have anything to do with “selling out” or being the song employed in the promo for the upcoming season of fucking “Grey’s Anatomy.” It sucks that millions of people (who’ve done nothing but turn on the TV) have discovered one of your favorites songs of the past three years, a song you found because you do the legwork, you’re constantly researching, looking for good music. You’re head’s up. But your head’s also up your ass if you can’t be happy for Vampire Weekend because the guys in that band, while they probably adore playing the smaller artsy venues in front of you and 100 other people, are looking for maximum exposure. And, while it sucks you gotta hear people you know to be moronic talk about how “it’s great when they curse at the beginning of ‘Oxford Comma,’” deal with it. You owe it to those who’ve brought you so many hours of listening pleasure. The main reason you suck is because you make others feel uncomfortable about their choices. And, hey, who the fuck are you?

“What in the good goddamn is wrong with you people?” – Here’s the group I’m in with most of the people I call friends. It takes work to be in this group. You have to constantly adjust your position. But in a quality way.  Most of you out there see things in black and white. And that’s worse than listening to Creed. The world ebbs and flows, and you gotta ebb and flow with it, brother. Just because an artist is making supremely shitty music right now, doesn’t mean it’s gonna be that way forever. People change. Attitudes get readjusted. We all eventually get shown the light. I’m of the personal unpopular opinion one of my favorite bands, R.E.M., will come back around one day and get back to some seriously good business. You probably disagree. That’s cool.  

Here’s the bottom line: Listen to music you like. It’s fine. But you need to understand, no matter which group you fall into, you’re never gonna be completely right. Unless you’re me. Sorry abour your luck.

QUOTATION

If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don’t, they never were.Khalil Gibran

TUNE

In the spirit of my Standpoint, I offer “Sweet Pain.” A 90s song from a Blues Traveler, a band just about everyone’s deemed irrelevant. Listen to it. Do you feel what I can feel?

GALLIMAUFRY

→ I think Esquire sending someone who knows very little about pop culture to interview Gerard Butler had a great result. As a matter of fact, there’s not much Esquire can do that doesn’t meet with my immediate approval.

→ The LAPD is pretty fucking relentless. Just ask Roman Polanski, who’s been wanted by Los Angeles authorities for over 30 years. He was arrested this past Saturday night in Switzerland. Finally. Seriously, how in the world is the USA supposed to bring anyone to justice if it can’t bring down this guy? Top notch work, everyone. Now, how about you all get back to work on shit that really matters? Thanks.

→ Christ. Peter Forsberg wants back into the NHL. The team on the top of his wishlist? You guessed it, genius. My Philadelphia Flyers. Stay away, Peter. We’ve moved on.

09.08.09 – A Tuesday

Word

cull [kuhl] v. 1. to choose; select; pick 2. to gather the choice things or parts from 3. to collect; gather; pluck n. 4. act of culling 5. something culled, esp. something picked out and put aside as inferior

Birthday

Charles J. Guiteau (1841), Sid Caesar (1922), Lyndon LaRouche (1922), Peter Sellers (1925), Patsy Cline (1932), Ron Pigpen McKernan (1945), Maurice Cheeks (1956), Heather Thomas (1957), Aimee Mann (1960), Neko Case (1970), David Arquette (1971), Pink (1979), Jonathan Taylor Thomas (1981)

Standpoint

I’m completely aware that, from time to time, I get up on my blogging soapbox and fire off shots at the world of professional sports. And rightfully so. There’s a lot of things wrong with the conduct of professional athletes, coaches and owners.

But this past weekend I watched something that kind of reminded me, sometimes, a sporting event can actually inspire. Melanie Oudin, a 17-year old tennis player from Georgia (the US state, not the Eurasian nation), is staging comeback after improbable comeback in the 2009 U.S. Open.

Normally, I’m not a big fan of tennis. I’ve watched it occassionally with my Mom-Mom, but that’s been about the limit of my exposure to the sport. But I was flicking through the channels and it was the only thing that was on. That day, Oudin beat the 29th seeded player, Maria Sharapova. Yesterday, she beat the the 13th-seed, Nadia Petrova. She’s also beaten No.4 player, Elena Dementieva and former No. 1 player in the world, Jelena Jankovic. But I didn’t see those matches.

In any case, it was really kind of great to watch it all unfold. Oudin’s story is one of promise, no matter how the rest of it turns out. And we need more of that kind of stuff, people, because, whether you’re a cynical misanthrope like me or some sort of cock-eyed optimist, it’s important for all of us to know Oudin’s story is something we can repeat in one way or another.

For once, it’s nice to watch an athlete who still has a legitimate love of the game. Someone who isn’t looking at what they’re doing as a job. She’ll eventually become just like the rest of us and realize nothings good lasts for long. But she doesn’t know that yet. She is fist-pumping her way through one of the greatest times of her life. And we should all be happy be along for the ride

Plus, I really like Oudin because she doesn’t scream like some of these other banshees whenever she hits the ball. Seriously, ladies, every single time? Tone it down. There’s kids watching, for Christ’s sake.

Note: I know that’s not the kind of stuff you’re used to reading when you come here. If I turned some of you off with the sappy stuff, don’t worry. I’m sure during the course of today, something will piss me off and I’ll have it ready for you first thing in the morning.

Quotation

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ◊ Albert Schweitzer

Tune

Nate Ruess, lead singer of currently-on-hiatus The Format has formed a new band called fun. I always kind of liked The Format and fun. sounds pretty much the same. Try “All the Pretty Girls.”

Gallimaufry

→ We’ve all been hearing about the potential dangers of everyone getting a little too wrapped up in these social networking sites. Well, while I still maintain Facebook, Twitter and all the rest of them should be treated like everything else in life – mainly with simple common sense – there are some of us out there who need to get their heads out of their respective asses. Need an example? How about the two South Australia girls, aged 12 and 10, who found themselves trapped in a storm drain and, instead of alerting the authorities so that someone could come and find them, they decided their time would be better spent by updating their Facebook statuses. Luckily, at least one of their friends was not as dim as them, and actually got them some help.

→ Think your email is safe? Well, it’s not. At least not according to “Hacking Firms One Click Ahead of Law.” Sites like yourhackerz.com, if hired to do so, will break into your Gmail or Yahoo! account with relative ease. No matter how tricky and complicated your password may be.

→ I’m letting you know that I’m absolutely positive “How I Met Your Mother” is the funniest television show ever. I’m sure some of you disagree but, for the life of me, I can’t fathom as to the reasons why.