April 18th, 2012

word

gaucho [gou-choh; Sp. gou-chaw] n. a native cowboy of the South American pampas, usually of mixed Spanish and Indian ancestry

birthday

Samuel P. Huntington (1927), James Woods (1947), Rick Moranis (1953), Eric Roberts (1956), Eric McCormack (1963), Conan O’Brien (1963), Maria Bello (1967)

standpoint

I’ve been thinking a lot about this old blog of mine and trying to figure out why I’ve been unmotivated to update as much as I have in the past.

And then I revisited my first blog, the one I used to do on Blogger.com. and it struck me that I actually liked doing that one more in a few ways.

One, there wasn’t a stringent format. It consisted of random posts. When something entered my mind, I wrote about it instead of filing it away for an eventual post on this site.

Two, it was more multimedia friendly. Pictures and videos were much easier to include in posts. And, let’s face it, that’s much more fun anyway.

Third, the analytics were extensive. For those of you who don’t work on the web or blog, that doesn’t mean much of anything but, trust me, it’s important.

So now I’m in the middle of plotting my next move. I’m gonna think on it this week. I’ll let you know what I decide.

Thanks for reading.

quotation

Don’t worry about growing older or pleasing others. Please yourself. ↔ David Brown

tune

I’ve been listening to the latest album from The Shins, Port Of Morrow. So far, I’m digging on “No Way Down.”

gallimaufry

→ I couldn’t be happier about hockey right now. The Flyers are absolutely embarrassing the Pittsburgh Penguins. The only way I could be happier is if I actually got to watch one of these games in person. And that’ll be happening tonight. CAN YOU DIG IT?!?!?!?

→ Speaking of the phrase, “CAN YOU DIG IT?!?!?!?,” those of you who also follow me on Facebook might be wondering why I use it at the end of my status updates regarding the Flyers. Well, it’s an homage to my best friend, the late Harvey Forsyth. So now you know.

→ I saw Moneyball over the weekend and I liked it a lot. You should check it out.

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April 12th, 2012

word

pedantic [puhdan-tik] adj. 1. ostentatious in one’s learning 2. overly concerned with with minute details or formalisms, especially in teaching

birthday

Beverly Cleary (1916 and still alive!), Tiny Tim (1932), Herbie Hancock (1940), Ed O’Neill (1946), Tom Clancy (1947), David Letterman (1947), David Cassidy (1950), Jon Krakauer (1954), Andy Garcia (1956), Shannen Doherty (1971), Claire Danes (1979)

standpoint

I would love to offer up something amazingly poignant today but I simply don’t have it in me after the Philadelphia Flyers came back from an early 3-0 deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in overtime.

There’s nothing like playoff hockey.

quotation

You’re playing worse every day and right now you’re playing like the middle of next week  ↔ Herb Brooks

tune

I’ve never been much of a Talking Heads fan but I love “Life Is Long” by Brian Eno and David Byrne.

gallimaufry

→ So George Zimmerman was finally arrested for the murder of Trayvon Martin. But it’s Florida, the state that cheated Al Gore out of the presidency and exonerated Casey Anthony, so if you’re expecting some sort of satisfactory result, don’t hold your breath.

→ Sigh, Bobby Petrino, it’s douchebags like you that make it increasingly difficult to be a guy nowadays. I hope you get everything that’s coming to you.

→ Some of you seem completely uninterested with my recent iPhone 4S acquisition. For the record, I like it very much. Thanks for asking.

03.04.10 – A Thursday

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word

plethora [pleth-er-uh] n. 1. overabundance; excess: a plethora of advice and a paucity of assistance 2. Pathology Archaic. a morbid condition due to excess of red corpuscles in the blood or increase in the quantity of blood

birthday

Antonio Vivaldi (1678), David “Robber” Lewis (1790), Channing Pollock (1880), Knute Rockne (1888), Shemp Howard (1895), John Garfield (1913), Paul Mauriat (1925), Gloria Gaither (1942), Bobby Womack (1944), James Ellroy (1948), Catherine O’Hara (1954), Patricia Heaton (1958), Steven Weber (1961), Evan Dando (1967), Chastity Bono (1969), Buck 65 (1972), Jon Fratelli (1979)

standpoint

I know. Excuses. I’m full of them. But I’ve been looking forward to watching some NHL and there were more than a few games on last night and, well, you know what happened. Plus, I’m trying to get better sleep lately and all that crap. But, I promise, there will be a new Standpoint tomorrow. I’d stake my fortune on it.

quotation

Natives who beat drums to drive off evil spirits are objects of scorn to smart Americans who blow horns to break up traffic jams.Mary Ellen Kelly

tune

As the story goes, Conrad O. Johnson, the music teacher at Kashmere High School in Houston TX, went to an Otis Redding concert one night back in 1967. The next day, he decided to transform the style of his music program and – bam – that’s how the Kashmere Stage Band came to be.

gallimaufry

As much as I have a low opinion of Pittsburgh Penguins‘ superstar Sidney Crosby, it sucks when something like this happens. Seriously, people, have a little respect. This, however, is a demonstration on how Canadians can get a little too jacked for hockey. Settle down, will ya?

Dallas Cowboys owner/meddler Jerry Jones is a gigantic douchebag. I know it. You know it. And, apparently, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton knows it. Very nice job. I’m sure Payton meant the whole thing in fun but, still.

→ People are getting dumber. Especially when it comes to their kids. Seriously. I’d venture to say that 90% of parents under 40 are complete and utter morons. That number may be wrong, but, based on my exposure to this problem, I don’t think so.

02.08.10 – A Monday

word

ebullient [i-buhl-yuhnt, i-bool-] adj. 1. overflowing with fervor, enthusiasm, or excitement; high-spirited: The award winner was in an ebullient mood at the dinner in her honor 2. bubbling up like a boiling liquid

birthday

Samuel Butler (1612), John Ruskin (1819), William Tecumseh Sherman (1820), Jules Verne (1828), Kate Chopin (1850), Lana Turner (1921), Jack Lemmon (1925), Neal Cassady (1926), James Dean (1931), John Williams (1932), Ted Koppel (1940), Nick Nolte (1941), Robert Klein (1942), Mary Steenburgen (1953), John Grisham (1955), Vince Neil (1961), Joshua Kadison (1963), Gary Coleman (1968), Mary McCormack (1969), Seth Green (1974)

standpoint

I’m a football fan but not a huge one. I halfheartedly participate in two (2) fantasy leagues and have a moderate interest in my hometown Philadelphia Eagles, but I’m much less emotionally invested in the NFL than I let on. Most years, I watch the Super Bowl more out of some misplaced obligation to some archaic sense of manhood. But I didn’t feel the same way this year. I actually had a mildly strong desire to watch last night because I like both the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints, along with their respective quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.

But I was curious to see how Super Bowl XLIV would be a different experience for me. And, lucky for you, I chronicled it. Here goes.

Note: I was reasonably sure that the Colts would win and cover the spread (+5.5) and the over (57 pts.) would become a matter of fact.

Pregame

» Not going to lie, I watched golf until just about the start of the game so I didn’t get to see what inane crap led up to the actual footage from Miami.

» But I did tune in time to see the Colts get introduced onto the field to the same song by The Who that opens up every episode of CSI:Miami, which turned out to be all of The Who I needed.

» Queen Latifah sang America The Beautiful with a choir and musical accompaniment. It didn’t really work all that well. Looked like she was never really in sync. Carrie Underwood sang The Star-Spangled Banner and it was better. During all this, cameras were on Peyton Manning, who looked amped to the point he was cursing the fact Francis Scott Key and Katharine Bates were ever born.

» The next class of inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame were introduced as honorary whatevers to the coin toss. Emmitt Smith was the honorary coin tosser. Saints called heads. Smith flipped the coin directly at the Saints players, who sidestepped it. It was heads. Saints got the ball.

1st Quarter – 6:20(ish) PM

» Betty White and Abe Vigoda starred in a clever ad for Snickers. I’m completely sure those two actors were used because about 99% of viewers thought both had died years ago.

» The ad for the Boost Mobile Shuffle, featuring prominent members of the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears, was awful.

» In keeping with Hollywood’s trend of recycling, there’s another Robin Hood movie coming out starring Russell Crowe. Looks like both Braveheart and Gladiator ate a bunch of bows and arrows and vomited on each other. I’ll probably go see it.

» First quarter came to a close. Colts-10. Saints-0. I wasn’t paying much attention to the actual game.

2nd Quarter – 7:00 PM

» Pretty fast 1st quarter. At this point, I was certain the Colts were going to run away with the game.

» A Cars.com ad came on, detailing the life of a boy genius type doing all sorts of amazing boy genius type stuff. But when it came time to buy a car, he was at a loss. He looked to his mobile device for answers and, you guessed it, Cars.com came to the rescue. At one point during the ad, the boy genius delivered a baby Bengal tiger while on safari. That kicked off a conversation between my girlfriend and I where we discussed her desire to bring a baby panther into the apartment. Negotiations reached a stalemate after she refused to budge on the name of the baby panther. Oh well.

» The Saints began to make a game of it. Pretty sure they kicked a field goal.

» One ad had Jay Leno, Oprah Winfrey and David Letterman on the same couch talking about something. I’m not sure what because I was distracted. Leno didn’t look like he was actually there. The next ad (maybe) had Brett Favre making fun of the fact he never actually retires. I like it when celebrities/athletes know to do that.

» The Colts stopped the Saints on a 4th and goal from the 1-yard line with less than 2 minutes remaining in the half. See? I pay mind to the important stuff.

» I wasn’t quite sure how it happened but the Saints kick another field goal just as time expires on the 1st half. Colts – 10. Saints – 6.

Halftime – 7:50 PM

» The Who played. The Who sucked. I monitored Twitter feeds instead. Best Tweet? “Wake up your great grandma. The Who is on.”

3rd Quarter – 8:22 PM

» The Saints began the 2nd half with an onside kick. Which they recovered. Which turned out to be huge. Saints – 13. Colts – 10.

» According to a new Volkswagen ad, the classic car game, Punch Buggy, has now been expanded to include the entire Volkswagen fleet. As a matter of fact, it seems whatever substance it’s painting its cars with nowadays is so cutting edge, even Stevie Wonder can see it. Much to the chagrin of an arm sore Tracy Morgan. Classic.

» The Colts’ Joseph Addai ran in for a touchdown. Colts – 17. Saints – 13. I was a little disappointed about how good of a game it was becoming. I’m not used to the Super Bowl being about the Super Bowl. Not being able to run out of the room in between commercials was messing with my head.

» Two commercials gave me pause in different ways. First, the new E*TRADE baby wasn’t half as funny as the original. Second, Google aired its first ever television ad. I think.

» The Saints kicked another field goal which flew under my radar. End of the 3rd quarter. Colts – 17. Saints – 16.

4th Quarter – 8:56 PM

» Honestly, I should’ve been playing closer attention. The Saints started scoring. They took the lead. They intercepted a very important Peyton Manning pass at a crucial time. I watched the whole thing. I swear. But, as happens more than not, I became embroiled in a debate that made the game take a backseat.

» Super Bowl XLIV ended at 9:45 PM. The New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts by the score of 31-17. If I bet the game the way I thought it would go, I would’ve been dead wrong. Yet another reason why I’m not a gambling man.

Overall, a most exhilarating football contest. The best Super Bowl in years. Congrats, New Orleans. Call me when you’re done partying. That should be around June.

quotation

Everybody gets told to write about what they know. The trouble with many of us is that at the earlier stages of life we think we know everything- or to put it more usefully, we are often unaware of the scope and structure of our ignorance.Thomas Pynchon

tune

One band from the 80s that doesn’t get enough credit is The Housemartins. I like to think of them as a sort of catchier version of  The Smiths. Also, they’ve got one of the best titled songs ever – “The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death.” Actually, after just listening to it, it seems to work nowadays as well.

gallimaufry

→ I just got done reading King of Russia: A Year in the Russian Super League, and it was simple and great. Former NHL head coach and current Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach Dave King narrates his experiences as the first ever Canadian coach in Russia. The guy really knows his stuff and he provides great insight into Russian hockey and its players, especially Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Evgeny Malkin.

→ Speaking of the Pittsburgh Penguins, yesterday afternoon’s game between them and the Washington Capitals was just about as complete as you could ask for. Caps won it in overtime 5-4 after being down 4-2 going into the third period.

06.15.09 – Monday

Word: sylvan [sil-vuhn] adj. 1. of, pertaining to, or inhabiting the woods 2. consisting of or abounding in woods or trees; wooded; woody: a shady, sylvan glade 3. made of trees, branches, boughs, etc n. 4. a person dwelling in a woodland region 5. a mythical deity or spirit of the woods

Birthday: Nicolas Poussin (1594), Sam Giancana (1908), Yuri Andropov (1914), Mario Cuomo (1932), Waylon Jennings (1937), Harry Nilsson (1941), Xaviera Hollander (1943), Simon Callow (1949), Jim Varney (1949), James Belushi (1954), Julie Hagerty (1955), Helen Hunt (1963), Courteney Cox (1964), Ice Cube (1969), Leah Remini (1970), Jake Busey (1971), Justin Leonard (1972), Neil Patrick Harris (1973), Gary Lightbody (1976)

Quotation: Failure and success seem to have been allotted to men by their stars.  But they retain the power of wriggling, of fighting with their star or against it, and in the whole universe the only really interesting movement is this wriggle.E. M. Forester

Tune: Rolling Stone had this to say about Blitzen Trapper‘s latest release, Furr – “Throughout the album, Blitzen keep their songs highly tuneful, making Furr a breakthrough worthy of toasting with a microbrew, or several.” Check out the title track – “Furr”

Gallimaufry: What a fucking mess. Friday’s presidential election in Iran has left the country in turmoil with many, both inside and outside, calling the election a farce. Apparently, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad beat his opponent, Mir Hossein Mousavi, by a large margin. The newly-elected President said Sunday, “Some believed they would win, and then they got angry.” He then likened the riots in his country to those of  “the passions after a soccer match.” (I thought we Americans were the only ones who called it “soccer.”) He furthered with, “In Iran, the election was a real and free one.”  He was so confident in his victory he shutdown text-messaging capabilities and dissenting newspapers. Dubai-based news network Al Arabiya was warned repeatedly on Saturday to “be careful in reporting ‘chaos’ accurately.” Seems totally normal to me. Just like every other “real and free” election.   Kim Kardashian is looking to switch gears by – you guessed it – launching a pop music career. Here’s her vision – “I would like the music to sound a bit like Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and J-Lo with a bit on an R & B twist to it.” Awesome. Sounds like she’s talking about something completely new and different and not at all about something 600 other idiot celebrities are currently working on. It’s refreshing when a real musician talk about real music for a change. Last Friday, Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins won The Stanley Cup. Last night, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers won The NBA Championship. Both are proof that good things happen to shitty people. What an encouraging weekend it must’ve been for dipshits everywhere. 

Incoming: We’ll see what happens. Stay tuned.

06.01.09 – Monday

Note: All right, so I’m back. I took a week off to take care of some personal stuff and work on my other writing projects and in doing so I realized something: I can’t do this blog every weekday in the way that I was and still have time to pursue other goals. Now, don’t worry, there will still be daily content on here every Monday through Friday. It’ll just be a little different. Since the “Standpoint” section seems to be the one you all like the most, I’m separating it from each daily post. It will appear by itself and only three days a week. It was getting a little difficult to write five “Standpoints” per week and maintain the quality. This way, I’ll be able to write about more of the issues you really want to read about. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.

Word: pithy [pith-ee] adj. 1. brief, forceful, and meaningful in expression; full of vigor, substance, or meaning; terse; forcible: a pithy observation 2. of, like, or abounding in pith

Birthday: Jacques Marquette (1637), Brigham Young (1801), William S. Knowles (1917), Nelson Riddle (1921), Andy Griffith (1926), Marilyn Monroe (1926), Charles Wilson (1933), Pat Boone (1934), Morgan Freeman (1937), René Auberjonois (1940), Ronnie Wood (1947), David Berkowitz (1953), Teri Polo (1969), Alexi Lalas (1970), Heidi Klum (1973), Alanis Morissette (1974), Brandi Carlile (1980)

Quotation: Live your life so when the times comes for the funeral the preacher won’t have to bullshit the peoples. Babatunde Olatunji

Tune: I watched Zack and Miri Make a Porno last weekend. (It was better than people told me it’d be.) Anyway, during the scene where Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks first…ahem…actively participate in relations with one another, a song came on that was unmistakably by the band Live. After 1994’s Throwing Copper, I stopped listening to Live. (Except “Simple Creed.” I love that song.) They stopped making good music. Turns out that the song in the movie was “Hold Me Up,” a b-side from the Throwing Copper album. I liked the song a lot. And I’m OK with that because, even though I’d never heard it before, it was from an era when I thought Live was still kind of worthwhile. Plus, a good song is a good song no matter who’s performing it. All right, that’s not true. I don’t really believe that. Still, good stuff. I don’t think Live released the song anywhere. It’s not on the Zack and Miri Make a Porno soundtrack. But, as I’m known to, I was able to find a site where you can download “Hold Me Up” for free.

Gallimaufry: Despite disliking the movie Titanic on an almost undescribable level, I’ve always been kind of fascinated by the real-life story. Sadly, the last survivor of the tragedy, Millvina Deans, died yesterday. Dean was only 2 months old when the Titanic sank. ∞ Tone-Lôc, the rapper behind such megahit classics like “Funky Cold Medina,” “Wild Thing,” and, well, I guess just those two, collapsed during a concert in Florida on Friday. He reportedly suffered a seizure due to “flight delays and heat.” He’s expected to make a full recovery.  ∞ Lastly, I’m pleased to announce that the Detroit Red Wings are up 2-0 on the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals. As usual, Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby is proving to everyone what a douchebag he can be. Crosby aside, the Red Wings deserve the Cup again. Simply the better team.  

Incoming: Tomorrow – I’ll discuss the 2009 MTV Movie Awards.

05.20.09 – Wednesday

Word: swagger [swag-er] v. int. 1. to walk or strut with a defiant or  insolent air 2. to boast or brag noisily ∞ v. t. 3. to bring, drive, force, etc., by blustering ∞ n. 4. swaggering manner, conduct, or walk; ostentatious display of arrogance and conceit

Birthday: Honoré de Balzac (1799), John Stuart Mill (1806), James Stewart (1908), Gardner Fox (1911), Lee “Scratch” Perry (1936), Joe Cocker (1944), Cher (1946), Ron Reagan (1950), Jane Wiedlin (1958), Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (1959), Bronson Pinchot (1959), Ted Allen (1965), Mindy Cohn (1966), Busta Rhymes (1972)

Standpoint: Monday night, as I was watching the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it was impossible to miss Sidney Crosby. Even when he was doing absolutely nothing, the spotlight shown in his direction. He’s the new poster boy for the NHL, who would love for him to become the next Wayne Gretzky, whose combination of pure skill and squeaky-clean good looks brought the league into prominence in this country two decades ago. The problem is Crosby is no Gretzky. Even in this early stage of his career, he’s not popular with the fans or among his peers. And here’s why.

Most professional sports are just a live enactment of good vs. evil. In any contest, there are the good guys – those we ‘re all waiting to see win in dramatic fashion – and the bad guys – those we are waiting to fall miserably on their faces. And we enjoy watching either one because wishing for a team to lose is just as much fun as wishing for it to win. Sometimes even more so.

Take Joe Montana. With a name like that, he was destined to occupy a place among the good guys. Besides the name, the man possessed all of the qualities that one needs to become one of America’s heroes. In short, Joe Montana was a guy that no one thought would be anything more than a capable quarterback. Of course, as is often the case, people ended up eating their words as he led the San Francisco 49ers to some of the most famous comebacks during one of the greatest dynasties in sports history. His losses were sometimes just as spectacular as his wins. We all rooted for him. Whichever team was playing against Joe Montana became the enemy.

 Then we have Kobe Bryant, who was marked by the NBA to be its replacement for Michael Jordan, its most celebrated good guy. But things went wrong. The Los Angeles Lakers‘ superstar distinguished himself by openly feuding with Shaquille O’Neal and being the only guy in human history capable of pissing off Phil Jackson. Oh yeah, being accused of sexual assault didn’t really help, either. Still, Kobe prevailed and is currently one of the top basketball players in the world. But no one is happy about it and we all root against him. Whichever team is playing against Kobe Bryant becomes the favorite.

So we all loved Montana. And we all love to hate Bryant. But what about Crosby? What group does he fit into? Well, he’ll probably never be shown the kind of love the good guys enjoy. At least not outside of Pittsburgh. On the other hand, he’ll never earn a spot with the bad guys as one of professional sports’ villains. And that’s because he’s more disliked than he is hated. And you might think that being disliked doesn’t sound as bad as being hated. But it is.

Because, no matter what the particular sport or situation, what we’re all looking for is entertainment. And being a human highlight reel is only so entertaining for so long. Here’s what the San Jose SharksJeremy Roenick has to say about Crosby: I think he’s too quiet, too hum-drum, too cliched. I love the kid as a hockey player, but I think he can be more spectacular if he steps up and shows a little personality. Now while the outspoken Roenick might not be the best judge about the proper use of “personality,” his remarks mirror the public sentiment. Mainly, we find the guy boring. Outside of whining to officials about everything imaginable (he complained to the referee during a recent game against the Washington Capitals because he thought the fans were throwing an excessive amount of hats on the ice after a hat trick by rival superstar Alex Ovechkin), and his admittedly sick amount of talent, Crosby is vanilla. And while vanilla is good it doesn’t get anyone fired up.

The impression that he gives is a neutral one. Like maybe he’d be OK playing out the season in spectator-less arenas and simply concentrating on hockey. And, while that may not be true, it’s the vibe he gives off and one thing sports fans won’t tolerate is an athlete who refuses to acknowledge their part in the process.

What really sucks about all of this is, if the Penguins somehow manage to win the Stanley Cup, when Crosby lifts it over his head, most hockey fans will fill ripped off because we;ll feel neither the good guys or the bad guys triumphed. The boring whiner did.   

Quotation: By night, an atheist half believes in God. Edward Young

Tune: On advice from my brother Jeremy, I’m attempting to get into Say Hi To Your Mom. So far, I like what I hear. Try “The Death of Girl Number Two.”

Gallimaufry: Declining honeybee populations represent a potentially disastrous problem for the world’s ecosystem. And no one’s really been able to explain how it’s happening. But it looks like there might be hope. ∞ Hollywood is one step closer to completing its mission of destroying everything from my past. The most recent victim? Footloose, the 1984 Kevin Bacon classic that was so dorky-cool most guys didn’t seem to mind it was about dancing. If the initial casting choices for the remake are any indication, this movie is going to absolutely blow. ∞ Blink-182 has reunited and I’ve watched them the past two nights on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I’m a huge fan of the band’s albums. Ask anyone. But they’ve always been considered a shitty live act and, from what I’ve seen, that’s not a perception in danger of going away anytime soon.

Incoming: TomorrowAnnoying Sayings & Misused Words. Friday3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead and more.