November 30, 2011

Today’s post will be almost exclusively about my best friend, Harvey Forsyth, Jr., who passed away exactly one year ago. Tonight, there will be a happy hour for The Harvey Forsyth Memorial Fund at Field House from 6pm to 9pm. Please do your best to be there.

word

pal [pal] n. 1. a very close, intimate friend; comrade; chum 2. an accomplice

standpoint

So, for today’s post, I was looking for a cool, obscure word that would sort of sum up how close Harv and I were. But none of the words I looked at came close to the word above: pal.

When I read the first part, “a very close, intimate friend,” it made me chuckle. Harv and I were not shy about talking about how great we thought the other was, but if he ever heard me describe him as “a very close, intimate friend,” he would’ve said something like, “Dude, that sounds sort of gay.” And then I’d say it all of the time just to piss him off.

But it was the second definition that really made me smile: “an accomplice.” Harv and I were each other’s accomplices for the better part of 20 years. One of us needed to talk about something, the other was there. One of us needed a best man for our weddings, the other was there. One of us needed to blow off steam, have some Miller Lites and watch a Flyers’ game, the other was there. One of us needed whatever, it didn’t matter what it was, the other was there. One way or another.

And whatever we did, whatever happened to be going on, we laughed our way through most everything. And, holy shit, we laughed a lot. Harvey was my favorite person to make laugh. It seemed I could tell him any story and he would crack up. He knew me so well that he understood why something irked me or amused me or angered me. Hearing him laugh will always be the number one thing I miss most.

Which leads me to today’s quotation.

quotation

“Well, this is fucking depressing. Josh, say something funny.” ↔ Harvey Forsyth

When I think about all of the things Harv said to me, that line above is my favorite. A couple of our closest friends from college came to visit him in the hospital and after they left, our friend Phil stayed behind to talk about some affairs he was handling for Harv and April. I asked Harv if he wanted me to step out and take a walk while they discussed some very private matters. He peshawed me and told me to sit down. Obviously, I won’t go into to the details of what was discussed but it all centered around taking care of the business of Harv’s final wishes. At the time, it was a mostly hypothetical conversation because none of us truly thought the end was near. I sat silently and intently listened to every word, wishing it was four other people, any four other people, sitting in that fucking room. When the discussion wound down and the inevitable awkward silence fell on the room, Harv turned to me and said, “Well, this is fucking depressing. Josh, say something funny.” I said, “I stopped listening to you guys about seven minutes ago.” Not the funniest thing I’ve ever uttered, not by a long shot, but it had the desired effect. Everyone laughed, including Harv. And, even though, I’m sure I did make him laugh again after that, it’s the last time I actually remember.

tune

One time, Harv and I shanghaied a bootleg video of a Jane’s Addiction concert from the Hammerstein Ballroom ’97. We watched that goddamn tape about twice a month for two years until Harv’s conscience finally got the better of him and he returned it to its rightful owner. Here’s a fantastic, albeit not the best quality, clip from that show.

gallimaufry

These iPhone apps are getting a bit out of control.

→ I guess I’d heard that R.E.M. had broken up but it didn’t register until I read this interview with Mike Mills.

→ So after a mainly serious post today, here’s a little lighthearted romp of a slideshow featuring celebrities who are not what they used to be.

07.05.11 – a tuesday

word

barmecidal [bahr-muhsahyd-l] adj. giving only the illusion of plenty; illusory: a barmecidal banquet

birthday

P. T. Barnum (1810), Robbie Robertson (1943), Huey Lewis (1950), Bill Watterson (1958), Edie Falco (1963)

standpoint

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. As I wrote last week, I spent some time at the family vacation homestead down in Avalon NJ, and, truthfully, it was one of my favorite in a long list of memorable jaunts.

It’s summertime, people, so get out there and take some jaunts of your own. You won’t regret it, I promise.

In any case, tomorrow I will be back to business as usual,, spouting off in my quotidian manner, blurring the lines between optimism and misanthropy as best I can.

(Note: Be forewarned, there will be a post sometime this week about the current state of the Philadelphia Flyers. And, yes, I’m fully aware that it won’t be insanely popular but I need to get it off my chest, so just bear with me.)

quotation

I never give up and I keep talking until I get what I want ↔ Jerry Weintraub

tune

I used to listen to this song all of the time in college. Yesterday, it played on my iPod and I thought I would share it with you today – “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?” by R.E.M.

gallimaufry

There’s nothing wrong with this. We just have to realize that sometimes things need to change.

→ So far this season, Louie is not really doing it for me. Doesn’t mean I’m going to stop watching, I’ll probably watch the whole season no matter what. I am, however, optimistic about Wilfred. I mean how in the world can you screw up a show with such a great concept?

→ While on the beach last week, I blew through When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead: Useful Stories From a Persuasive Man, the memoir of Jerry Weintraub. Not the most important book I’ve ever picked up, but definitely one of the most entertaining and inspirational.

02.23.10 – A Tuesday

word

axiom [ak-see-uhm] n. 1. a self-evident truth that requires no proof 2. a universally accepted principle or rule 3. Logic, Mathematics. a proposition that is assumed without proof for the sake of studying the consequences that follow from it

birthday

Georg Friedrich Handel (1685), W. E. B. DuBois (1868), Peter Fonda (1940), Fred Biletnikoff (1943), Johnny Winter (1944), Patrcia Richardson (1951), Howard Jones (1955), Kristin Davis (1965), Emily Blunt (1983), Dakota Fanning (1994)

standpoint

The other day, I was having lunch with a buddy from college and, as those kind of conversations tend to, we got to comparing notes on what we knew about the old gang.

In the past few years, these types of dialogues have drastically changed. There’s no longer any conjecture about where this person ended up or that person ended up, no longer does either of you say, “Um, I don’t think so. I heard that Billy moved to Houston.” Because you both know Billy didn’t move to Houston. Billy lives a couple towns over with his wife and three kids. You know Billy is a lawyer and still digs the college basketball. You know Billy’s put on a couple of pounds. You know lots of shit about Billy. Your friends with him on Facebook.

The truth is, about 95% of your Facebook friends are just like Billy in that, without the social networking site, he would’ve become one of those whatever-happened-to-him guys. But that’s not the case anymore. It’s likely you know more about Billy now than you did back in college, when you saw each other every single day of each semester.

Billy may be the guy who fills you in on just about everything his kids have done that day. Or he may be that guy who either loves or hates President Obama and thinks you’re a complete moron if you don’t feel the same way. Billy might be an information gatherer, frequently sharing articles or videos he finds of particularly interesting. He might wear his heart on his sleeve, chronicling one failed relationship after the next.

He could be any one or any combination of the above people. He could be none of them. But he’s your FB buddy and you occasionally check his profile when his name randomly pops up somewhere or the other. And you you really don’t care one way or the other but, hey, it’s there so why not look at it? You might even exchange cursory emails with Billy, vaguely suggesting meeting up for a beer or sometime but you never do.

So why bother with it at all? I suspect because it makes us feel a little better about everything, especially nowadays when the world seems on the verge of one catastrophically bad decision sealing all our fates. It makes the world seem a little more cozy and, even if it’s just perception, that can’t be an altogether bad thing.

Facebook is making it nearly impossible to lose touch with anyone. Even if you’re not on Facebook. My best friend has no intention of signing up. But, because everyone he knows is all ready on it, he doesn’t need to. He’s in the loop whether he wants to be or not. All of us, participating or not, are now part of a larger consciousness that shows no signs of a growth stoppage.

Whether you like it or not, Facebook’s not going anywhere. Just be at peace with it.

quotation

You have to be critical, then you have to be an optimist. Or else you’re really stupid. ↔ Ted Danson

tune

I’ve got this new routine going on when it comes to music listening.  As with all music-related devices that have the misfortune of entering my life, my car stereo works but only to a point. The display is broken. It doesn’t work until I’ve been in my car for about a half an hour. But I can still put a CD in it and it’ll play. I can’t change the track I’m listening to, though, so I’m forced to listen to the album in its entirety. At least until the display comes back on but by that time I’m usually too into it to bother. So, every Friday, I’m putting a new album in and spending a week with it. This week’s album is R.E.M.’s Life’s Rich Pageant. I forgot how much I love “I Believe.”

gallimaufry

Are you like a lot of people out there, working in an office eight hours a day when four or five hours would probably suffice and find yourself with lots of downtime? Here are some ways you can pass the time. And before you thank me, let me just say, “You’re welcome.”

→ Speaking of Facebook, check this out. It’s not the actual article that’s entertaining, it’s the comments. One more piece of evidence there’s a ton of dipshits out there. I love the bold paragraph midway through the article informing people they’re not actually on Facebook. My favorite comment? “This is such a mess I can’t do a thing on my facebook .The changes you have made are ridiculous,I can’t even login!!!!!I am very upset!!!”

→ Thanks to everyone who sent me emails regarding my piece on the Winter Olympics yesterday. Much appreciated. Don’t be afraid to leave comments on here, too.