03.09.10 – A Tuesday

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word

repartee [rep-er-tee, –tey, -ahr-] n. 1. a quick, witty reply 2. conversation full of such replies 3. skill in making such replies

birthday

Amerigo Vespucci (1454), Samuel Barber (1910), Mickey Spillane (1918), Ornette Coleman (1930), Raúl Juliá (1940), John Cale (1942), Bobby Fischer (1943), Charles Gibson (1943), Robin Trower (1945), Jeffrey Osborne (1948), Bobby Sands (1954), Linda Fiorentino (1958), Steve Wilkos (1964), Juliette Binoche (1964), Emmanuel Lewis (1973), Thor Halvorssen (1976), Julia Mancuso (1984), Brittany Snow (1986), Bow Wow (1987)

standpoint

Two nights ago, we were all once again treated to the annual hullabaloo that is The Oscars. Lots of us were watching the show. 41.3 million of us. Granted, that’s not even 10% of the United States’ population but it’s still a large group of people, the largest in five years. Whoopdee-doo.

But why were we all watching? I suspect some of you actually watched out of your sheer love for the art of cinema. Or maybe you watched in an attempt to make sure you weren’t the only one in the office the next morning who couldn’t participate in the endless post-Oscar debates and be forced to, like, do work or something. Or maybe you flipped through the channels and happened upon the show and became immediately engaged by the obvious sexual tension between Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, this year’s co-hosts. Or maybe you’re like me and you simply watched the damn thing to beleaguer yourself with one of the prime examples of how crappy our culture has become.

I watched it, albeit in my usual offish fashion. But I did notice some amusing peculiarities.

→ In what’s being dubbed a “Kanye Moment,” some woman named Elinor Burkett, apparently one of the producers of  something called Music By Prudence, stormed the stage and stole the allotted speech time from the film’s director, one Roger Ross Williams. Some described it as “uncomfortable to watch.” Uh…all right. Now Burkett has two things in common with Kanye West: They both display an irreverent attitude toward award show decorum, and they both look like dudes.

Neil Patrick Harris needs to pull in the reins a bit. Does the guy know he’s allowed to turn down offers? At this rate, we’re all going to be sick and tired of him sometime later this week. Hey, NPH, maybe just be a homebody for a while, do a crossword puzzle (or maybe you’re a sudoku man, I have no idea) or repaint the living room like you’ve been saying you’re going to since forever. Or, here’s an idea. Maybe watch some television and try to find a channel you won’t see your own face.

Fisher Stevens, the guy who played that goofy scientist in Short Circuit and was in that episode of Friends that time won an Oscar for a documentary that had something to do with dolphins. Johnny Five is indeed alive.

→ Always the cutup, Ben Stiller came onstage to present the award for Best Makeup all done up as a character from Avatar. I thought he looked a lot like what Michael Jackson might’ve looked like twenty years down the road.

→ Throughout the entire show, George Clooney had a look on his face that, I swear, made me think the guy has some sort of beef being stuck in a chair with a camera up his nose for four hours. What’s up with that? Lighten up, buddy, you’ve come a long way since Booker Brooks.

The Hurt Locker won 6 times. Two of them involved sound and were accepted by some guy who looked like a recovering zombie. Also, the lady who directed it won Best Director and Best Film but all anyone wanted to talk about was that she was once married to fellow nominee James Cameron. I was glad she was able to get back at the Academy for what’s still considered one of history’s biggest snubs when it completely ignored Point Break. Not even a courtesy Best Supporting Actor nod to Gary Busey, for crying out loud. But Kathryn Bigelow showed them. Now who’s laughing? Definitely not Busey and, even if he is, he’s laughing about something only he fully understands.

→ I liked that thing they do when 5 actors get up on stage and say something seemingly heartfelt and ostensibly accurate about the nominees for Best Actor and Best Actress. Oprah Winfrey spoke about Gabourey Sidibe from Precious in the way she does about everything. No matter what Oprah’s prattling on about, she’s really just talking about herself. Sidibe probably didn’t care as she was most likely couldn’t stop thinking about hunky Gerard Butler, who she met and delivered the proposition, “Let’s grab a bottle of champagne and see where the night goes!” Later, she told more than one reporter, in regards to her attraction to Butler, “I’d hit that.” Whatever happened to playing hard to get? Gabourey, it’s all about the hunt and the chase. Don’t just throw it out there.

→ One of my favorite actors, Jeff Bridges won for Best Actor. Of all the movies mentioned during the show, Crazy Heart was one of two I’d actually seen. (Star Trek was the other.) Kudos to Bridges, by the way, who, in giving his acceptance speech, contributed yet another item to the long list every stoner keeps of shit you can still do when you’re high.

Overall, I enjoyed watching The Oscars. I might even watch next year. Hell, I might even get out there and see some relevant movies for a change. Who knows?

quotation

These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves.  From each of them goes out its own voice… and just as the touch of a button on our set will fill the room with music, so by taking down one of these volumes and opening it, one can call into range the voice of a man far distant in time and space, and hear him speaking to us, mind to mind, heart to heart.Gilbert Highet

tune

Sometimes, I’m resistant to things for no good reason. What can I say? I’m hardheaded. You love that about me, by the way. In any case, my wonderful girlfriend asked me to watch the new OK Go video about five times before I had the good judgment to trust her. I learned an important relationship lesson: Believe her when she tells me I’m definitely going to like something she’s sent me. (Five times.) Not only did I realize that (a) I like OK Go and, as is the case from time to time, I miss out on good music due to a some sort of stigma I’ve created out of thin air, and (b) I can’t ascertain how I’ve managed to escape the incredible ingenuity of Rube Goldberg Machines. They’re absolutely fucking nuts. Here’s the new OK Go offering titled “This Too Shall Pass.”

And if you suddenly find yourself yearning for some more Rube Goldberg Machine videos, worry not, I’m happy to provide them. Check these out.

gallimaufry

Reunited and it feels so good. T.O. and D-Nabb put aside their differences for (What else?) money. Poor Antonio Gates, stuck with those two as teammates.

→ Some may argue that Facebook made this possible. I’d say FB made it easier would be more accurate.

→ I didn’t need another reason not to vacation in balmy Alaska. But I got one anyway.

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09.15.09 – A Tuesday

WORD

itinerant [ahy-tin-er-uhnt, i-tin-] adj. 1. traveling from place to place, esp. on a circuit, as a minister, judge, or sales representative; itinerating; journeying 2. characterized by such traveling: itinerant preaching 3. working in one place for a comparatively short time and then moving on to work in another place, usually as a physical or outdoor laborer; characterized by alternating periods of working and wandering: an itinerant farm hand n. 4. a person who alternates between working and wandering 5. a person who travels from place to place, esp. for duty or business

BIRTHDAY

Marco Polo (1254), James Fenimore Cooper (1789), William Howard Taft (1857), Agatha Christie (1890), John N. Mitchell (1913), Nipsey Russell (1918), Bobby Short (1924), Cannonball Adderley (1928), Merlin Olsen (1940), Tommy Lee Jones (1946), Oliver Stone (1946), Wendie Jo Sperber (1958), Dan Marino (1961), Josh Charles (1971), Prince Henry of Wales (1984)

STANDPOINT

So, I was going to write about the plight of professional athletes in Philadelphia but I decided it’d be best to weigh in on this Kanye West-Taylor Swift debacle from the MTV Video Music Awards a couple of nights ago.

West, apparently upset that Beyoncé didn’t win in the Best Female Video category, came onstage and grabbed the microphone from Swift to publicly voice his objections to the final result. And everyone’s world was turned upside-down.

And rightfully so. It appeared as if Swift, one of the great thinkers of her generation, was about to share some of her poignant inner perspectives with all of us out here in the huddled masses. But West robbed everyone of hearing those life-changing words. For that, my friends, we should never forget or forgive. There was a great injustice done this past Sunday night. One that will undoubtedly leave a permanent mark on every facet of our society. Truly.

OK. If you’re having trouble figuring out the point I’m attempting to make, I’ll break it down for you – what Kanye West did to Taylor Swift doesn’t really matter for the simple reason that…well…it just doesn’t matter. I’m sure Swift was traumatized by the whole ordeal and I’m equally certain we’ll be hearing some overly-produced piece of fluff (that she and others will call “a song”) and she’ll be just fine.

President Obama was right when he called West “a jackass.” He didn’t say “enemy of the public.” Or “heinous criminal.” West acted like a jackass. Just like a lot of people you know.

Bottom line? It’s all about publicity and entertainment. I’d bet all of ten of my fingers that West and Swift have already privately resolved the situation. Unfortunately, the rest of us, dominated by the mindless, ultra-driven individuals who love to tell us what’s important and what’s not, will have to hear about this for a long time. Or, more likely until the end of the week. But it’ll feel like forever. At least to me.

QUOTATION

I always look for a woman who has a tattoo.  I see a woman with a tattoo, and I’m thinking, okay, here’s a gal who’s capable of making a decision she’ll regret in the future.Richard Jeni

TUNE

I thought since today would’ve been jazz great Cannonball Adderley‘s 81st birthday, it’d be best to commemorate it by sharing “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” – one of the greatest songs of all-time.

GALLIMAUFRY

→ Man, is this the year of the celebrity death or what? Sad to report Patrick Swayze died yesterday at the age of 57, finally losing his fight with pancreatic cancer. Swayze, while he was not always consistently making hit movies, was in some of the most popular films of all-time. The Outsiders. Red Dawn. Dirty Dancing. Road House. Ghost. Point Break. Donnie Darko. Rest In Peace, Dalton. BY THE WAY, I’d love for everyone who reads this to weigh-in on their favorite Patrick Swayze movie/moment.

→ One thing that will never ever change is this country’s obsession with “Seinfeld.” And rightfully so. Jerry and crew observed one of the most important rules of show business – always leaving the audience wanting more. And it is more we are about to receive as the cast of the popular sitcom ever will reunite on “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David’s HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Not exactly sure what the context will be, but Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Michael Richards will all appear on the third episode of the upcoming season.

→ I know you all are just excited as I am the Philadelphia Flyers opened up training camp this past weekend. What’s that? You’re not? Well, you should be. Jerk.