03.18.10 – A Thursday

word

polemic [puhlem-ik, poh-] n. 1. a controversial argument, as one against some opinion, doctrine, etc 2. a person who argues in opposition to another; controversialist

birthday

Mary Tudor (1496), John C. Calhoun (1782), Grover Cleveland (1837), Rudolf Diesel (1858), Neville Chamberlain (1869), Ernest Gallo (1909), Peter Graves (1926), George Plimpton (1927), John Updike (1932), Wilson Pickett (1941), Michael Reagan (1945), Bill Frisell (1951), Irene Cara (1959), James McMurtry (1962), Vanessa L. Williams (1963), Bonnie Blair (1964), Jerry Cantrell (1966), Queen Latifah (1970), Dane Cook (1972)

standpoint

Yesterday, rock legend Alex Chilton died of an apparent heart attack. He was 59.

quotation

A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything on real issues. ↔ Theodore Roosevelt

tune

I’ve got to be honest here. I’m not sure I’ve listened all the way through to any original song by Iron and Wine. The dude does a lot of good covers, though. Here’s New Order‘s “Love Vigilantes.”

gallimaufry

Good God almighty, can we put this health care thing to bed yet? A prime example of how this country will never get anything done again. Let’s wipe the slate clean and start fresh all ready.

→ With all the technology at our disposal, how in the world did it take one to two hours to fix this problem? Couldn’t they just pull a plug or something? Still, I would’ve loved to see the looks on all those overprotective mothers’ faces.

→ I’m not sure in which alternative dimension this is actually funny. Further evidence of the deteriorating state of our society. Which, by the way, sucks.

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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.

03.20.09 – Friday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: halcyon [hal-see-uhn] adj. 1. calm; peaceful; tranquil  2. rich; wealthy; prosperous  3. happy; joyful; carefree

Birthday: Napoleon II (1811), Henrik Ibsen (1828), Ozzie Nelson (1906), Jack Barry (1918), Carl Reiner (1922), Fred Rogers (1928), Hal Linden (1931), Lee “Scratch” Perry (1936), Jerry Reed (1937), Paul Junger Witt (1943), Pat Riley (1945), Bobby Orr (1948), William Hurt (1950), Jimmie Vaughn (1951), Spike Lee (1957), Holly Hunter (1958), Sting (1959), A.J. Jacobs (1968), Michael Rappaport (1970)

Occurrence: 1985Libby Riddles becomes the first female ever to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Women everywhere rejoice. Dogs everywhere still pissed.

Standpoint: Why? That’s the only question I have for Joaquin Phoenix. Furthermore, that’s probably the question the dude should’ve asked himself before deciding to retire from acting to become the next Matisyahu, with brother-in-law Casey Affleck in tow to film the whole debacle. Has Phoenix never heard of Keanu Reeves? Jared Leto? Juliette Lewis? Don Johnson? They’re all actors who tried their hands in the music biz and came up with less-than-spectacular results. (Oddly enough, the same doesn’t hold true for musicians who make the leap into acting. See Will Smith, Jon Bon Jovi, Queen Latifah, Justin Timberlake.) Hopefully, the talented actor regains his senses and comes back from his trip to Jupiter. Odds are he will. After the novelty of his act wears off, people will stop buying tickets and Phoenix will undoubtedly have to return to acting. Just a matter of time.

Quotation: I don’t think that there are any limits to how excellent we could make life seem.Jonathan Safran Foer

Stupefaction: In Florida, scientists are firing rockets at lightning. Seriously. I hate to ruin the ending for you but the lightning won, remaining the undefeated champ of shit you don’t wanna screw around with.

Tune: Be honest. If you went to high school or college in the 90s, there was at least one time you drove around with the windows down listening to “I’m Free” by The Soup Dragons.

Link: FutureMe – Send an email to your future self.

Weekend (Fridays only): Do you long to hear 80s music sung by an all-male chorus? I thought so. Check out “That 80s Show” performed by the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus at Prince’s Music Theater tonight and tomorrow night…For all of you with little ones, The Berenstain Bears’ Family Matters starts this weekend at the Walnut Street Theatre For Kids and runs through April 4th…Also on Saturday, why not check out one of the few remaining home games of The Philadelphia Phantoms as they take on the Binghamton Rangers at the Wachovia Spectrum – 7:05pm…Amazingly, tickets are still available for Morrisey’s show at The Academy of Music this Sunday (3/22) starting 8:00pm.

Gallimaufry: This week, California took time out of its busy schedule fighting gay marriage (see Prop 8) to debate whether legalizing marijuana would properly stimulate its flailing economy. Now there’s a debate worthy of everyone’s time and energy…March Madness is officially upon us and I still don’t care…I haven’t completely wrapped my head around it (who has?) but this bailout process reminds me of a video I once saw where a log sunk into quicksand…Want to feel better about yourself by listening to an audio clip of someone sounding like a jackass? Check out Lou Dobbs’ rant about St. Patrick’s Day…Following up on yesterday’s post, here is a link to the entire interview Jon Stewart conducted with Jim Cramer on The Daily Show…That’s it for me this week. Come back Monday for some more.

03.18.09 – Wednesday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: intrepid [in-trep-id] adj. resolutely fearless, dauntless

Birthday: Mary Tudor (1496), John C. Calhoun (1782), Grover Cleveland (1837), Neville Chamberlain (1869), Ernest Gallo (1909), Jack Warden (1920), Peter Graves (1926), George Plimpton (1927), John Updike (1932), Wilson Pickett (1941), Bill Frisell (1951), Irene Cara (1959), James McMurtry (1962), Vanessa L. Williams (1963), Bonnie Blair (1964), Jerry Cantrell (1966), Queen Latifah (1970), Dane Cook (1972)

Occurrence: 1850American Express founded by Henry Wells and William Fargo. Probably no one left with “1850” under the little “Member Since” on their credit card.

Standpoint: Nick Schuyler should be left alone to mourn and mend. He was the sole survivor of the ill-fated fishing trip that went wrong when the 21-foot boat that he and his three comrades (two current NFL players and one former collegiate player) capsized about 70 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Originally, Schuyler gave a vague recollection of the events surrounding February 28th but now, after spending some time recuperating from hypothermia at Tampa General Hospital, he apparently has come forth with more details that conflict with his original statements to the Coast Guard personnel who found him. According to him, two of his companions (Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith) became desolate, took off their life jackets and floated off into the water. Will Bleakley, the one who lasted the longest alongside Schuyler, thought he saw a light and discarded his life jacket to swim towards it. Now some people, led by the other men’s families, are questioning the validity of his story. It’s almost not even worth surviving a tragedy anymore because, on top of actually having to survive the rigors of said tragedy, you are forced to spend a lifetime recounting the tale and defending your version. Leave the poor guy alone. He’s been through enough.

Quotation: Perhaps your fear in passing judgment on me is greater than mine in receiving it. – Giordano Bruno

Soupçon: The name “Muppet” was derived from a combination of “puppet” and “marionette” by (who else?) Jim Henson.

Tune: Check out my friend Nicholas Chupein and the rest of the guys in Athens – an up and coming band from Chicago, IL. Drawing from a wide array of influences, Athens has successfully conjured up a unique and enjoyable sound that’s been described as, “Like reading Dr. Seuss while getting hit over the head with a guitar.” You’ll understand more once you buy “What Would We Wear Were We Werewolves?” It’s also available on iTunes.

Link: Overthinking It – A site that examines pop culture, by its own admission, maybe a little too much.

Gallimaufry: Since early 2008, Somali pirates have collected over $200 million by raiding vessels in the Gulf of Aden region. Check out this photo gallery of the pirates’ efforts from The Boston Globe. It’s amazing to me, and I’m sure most of you, the small ships they’re using to overtake the much larger ones…400 million light years away, two galaxies are colliding. Don’t worry, NGC 6240 poses no threat to us. This is the first time that scientists have been able to see, by combining images from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope, a galactic merger in process. It’ll take several million years for the process to complete so we’ve got that to look forward to, right?…Anyone else think it was funny that Martin Brodeur (522 career wins) passed Patrick Roy on the NHL’s all-time career wins list on St. Patrick’s Day?