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.

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03.17.09 – Tuesday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: stultify [stuhl-tuh-fahy] verb to make, or cause to appear, foolish or ridiculous

Birthday: Nat King Cole (1919), John Wayne Gacy (1942), Patrick Duffy (1949), Kurt Russell (1951), Gary Sinise (1955), Casey Siemaszko (1961), Rob Lowe (1964), Billy Corgan (1967), Mia Hamm (1972)

Occurrence: 1854 – The rubber band is first patented. Interesting, but I would like to know the first time someone figured out how to wrap it around their hand and point at people like a gun.

Standpoint: In today’s NFL, you’re just not a viable wide receiver until ESPN shows a clip of you getting arrested or questioned by the police. Apparently, it’s a rite of passage. This past Saturday morning, Donte Stallworth struck and killed Juan Sanchez, a man who had just finished his shift. Stallworth has now joined the ranks of Plaxico Burress, Javon Walker, Marvin Harrison and host of other professional wideouts who can’t seem to help but get busted for (or suspected of) criminal acts. Originally, it was reported that charges would not be brought up against the Cleveland Browns player, but now it seems a definite possibility. The most amazing aspect of this current trend of “bad boy” wide receivers is that, for the most part, every one of them is, or has the potential to be, an elite player. Randy Moss. Terry Glenn. Brandon Marshall. Koren Robinson. All great talents. All ended up destroying or diminishing their own careers for participation in events that, to the rest of us, seem completely absurd. The problem is well-documented. This is news to no one. So when does Commissioner Robert Goodell drop the hammer and start kicking these guys out of the league? And when do the teams start sending a real message by not signing these guys, no matter what their level of talent may be? The NFL has become a safe harbor for individuals who continually break the law (see Matt Jones), learn nothing from their actions and have the bank accounts to mount defenses O.J. Simpson would drool over. I’ll take drama-queen Terrell Owens over any of these guys. He may be a big problem in the locker room and a seemingly below-average human being but at least I know when I walk out of work he’s not going to run me over in his Bentley.

Quotation: How do I know what I think until I see what I say?E.M. Forster

Soupçon: The original Greek question mark became the English semicolon (;). I know I keep ripping off A.J. Jacobs but can you really blame me? I maintain a daily blog that includes an interesting fact section and I’m reading a book chronicling a man’s search for knowledge. I’ve just gotten to the “R” chapter of The Know-It-All so I’m almost done ripping it off.

Tune: Besides being great guys, Backyard Tire Fire is an outstanding live band. About a year ago, my brother and I went to The North Star to see The Beautiful Girls. BTF was the opening act and they put on a great show. After their set, I had lost my interest in seeing the main act and spent the rest of the night at the bar with the band. Great night. Check out “Corrine”.

Link: Bag of Songs – Superlative Philadelphia-based blog covering the world of music.

Gallimaufry: Not everyone is hurting during the recession. Condom sales are up due to, among other factors, people staying in more and couples holding off on having a child. Read Amanda Ruggeri’s article “10 Winners in the Recession” from U.S. News & World Report to see who else is prospering…Paste Magazine has made a list of the best independent movie houses in the country. Surprisingly, none of Philadelphia’s made the list…Looks like tough times ahead for Atlantic City, NJ. Casinos are experiencing record losses right now. Hope the Borgata is still there May 23rd when I’m going to see Joel McHale for my birthday. Fingers crossed, people…Hope everyone has a SAFE St. Patrick’s Day. Lots of drinking rookies out there. Be careful and don’t drive.