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.

Advertisements

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.

02.12.10 – A Friday

word

impugn [im-pyoon] v. 1. to challenge as false (another’s statements, motives, etc.); cast doubt upon 2. Archaic. to assail (a person) by word or arguments; vilify 3. Obsolete. to attack (a person) physically

birthday

Cotton Mather (1663), Charles Darwin (1809), Abraham Lincoln (1809), Lorne Greene (1915), Charles Van Doren (1926), Arlen Specter (1930), Joe Don Baker (1936), Judy Blume (1938), Ray Manzarek (1939), Michael Ironside (1950), Michael McDonald (1952), Joanna Kerns (1953), Arsenio Hall (1955), Bill Laswell (1955), Josh  Brolin (1968), Christopher McCandless (1968), Chynna Phillips (1968), Christina Ricci (1980)

standpoint

Everyone talks about how the 1990s were a legendary time for music with groups like R.E.M. and U2 coming into their own, and unknown bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam breaking out into the music mainstream.

For those of us who were in college during the 90s, we most likely enjoyed the best soundtrack ever to accompany warm beer from a keg and clumsy encounters with the other sex.

Even the one hit wonders were way better than their predecessors and those that have come since. Here’s 5 songs that make my last statement irrefutable.

5. The Refreshments – “Banditos”

4. New Radicals – “You Get What You Give”

3. Deee-Lite – “Groove Is In The Heart”

2. Harvey Danger – “Flagpole Sitta”

1. Hum – “Stars”

There’s tons and tons more, but I thought I’d start off with these classics. Enjoy!

quotation

Sleep, riches and health to be truly enjoyed must be interrupted. ↔ Johann Paul Friedrich Richter

tune

Finally. I found it. Years ago, I downloaded a demo by Glen Phillips titled “Easier.” He’s since released a studio version of it but it left me feeling a little light. It’s pretty effing great.

gallimaufry

Here’s hoping a speedy recovery to President Clinton, who underwent a heart procedure yesterday after experiencing chest pains. Apparently, Clinton is expected to make a full recovery.

→ Truth? Until yesterday, I had no idea who Alexander McQueen was. But, apparently, he was a cutting edge fashion designer who died Wednesday at the age of 40. As someone who’s now closer to 40 than 30, I hate hearing when someone that age dies.

→ Warning to my fellow bloggers: If you run an MP3 blog and you use Blogger, you’re about to be eradicated by Google. Probably a good time to move to WordPress, don’t you think?

01.18.10 – A Monday

WORD

pabulum [pab-yuh-luhm] n. 1. something that nourishes an animal or vegetable organism; food; nutriment 2. material for intellectual nourishment

BIRTHDAY

Montesquieu (1689), Daniel Webster (1782), Thomas Watson (1854), A. A. Milne (1882), Cary Grant (1904), Danny Kaye (1913), Ray Dolby (1933), David Ruffin (1941), Kevin Costner (1955), Mark Messier (1961), Dave Attell (1965), Jesse L. Martin (1969), Joanna Newsom (1982), Seung-Hui Cho (1984)

STANDPOINT

While I type this, NBC and Conan O’Brien are said to be close to a deal that will end the O’Brien’s stint as host of The Tonight Show after a mere seven months.

The complete failure of Jay Leno’s nightly 10pm show on NBC caused the network to move the 60-year old back to his original time slot of 11:35pm, leaving no place for O’Brien.

Everyone’s talking about it and there’s really nothing new to say on the issue but I’d like to encourage everyone who reads this blog to boycott Leno from here on out, in whatever forum the dipshit appears. It’s a heartless thing he’d doing here, not to mention meaningless.

Is NBC expecting everyone to watch Leno just because? Old people will probably go back to watching Leno because most old people, from as much as I can tell, like the kind of dopey crap he presents.

O’Brien will land on his feet. FOX is very interested in talking to him. Plus, he’s probably going to get somewhere near $40 million for his trouble. But still, NBC and Leno should be kneecapped for what’s gone on.

QUOTATION

Everything is handed to society now. Before, you had to dig for it. I like that — digging for it.Al Green

TUNE

In my head, I’ve a list of ten songs of which I will never tire. R.E.M.‘s “The Great Beyond” is one of them. Maybe number three on that list. I’m not sure.

GALLIMAUFRY

My dream of a New Orleans SaintsSan Diego Chargers Super Bowl was destroyed yesterday as the New York Jets (that’s right) beat Philip Rivers and crew in a surprising 17-14 upset. Let’s go, Saints!

→ Dear Mark McGwire, please shut the fuck up. We all know you did steroids. We all know you are now admitting it so that you can get a job in baseball. We all know that you’re a disgrace to athletes everywhere. We get it. Go away.

→ In a shocking development, MTV is actually producing a show featuring (I hope you’re sitting down) – MUSIC! Vampire Weekend did an episode of MTV Unplugged. And there wasn’t even a cameo by the cast of Jersey Shore.

09.28.09 – A Monday

WORD

inane [i-neyn] adj. 1. lacking sense, significance, or ideas; silly: inane questions 2. empty; void n. 3. something that is empty or void, esp. the void of infinite space

BIRTHDAY

Confucious (551 BC), Ed Sullivan (1901), Max Schmeling (1905), Al Capp (1909), Brigitte Bardot (1934), Rod Roddy (1937), Ben E. King (1938), J.T. Walsh (1943), Steve Largent (1954), Janeane Garofalo (1964), Mira Sorvino (1967), Moon Unit Zappa (1967), Naomi Watts (1968), Joseph Arthur (1971), Bam Margera (1979), Ray Emery (1982), Hilary Duff (1987)

STANDPOINT

When it comes to the world of music, I’m in a bit of a shitty spot.

Because, you see, no matter what your particular music inclinations (and I’m sure they’re fantastic), there’s a 73% chance I feel different. Yes. It’s confusing. Let me clarify a bit.

For me, there are only three sects of music listeners out there.

“I don’t care if it’s cool, I just like that song.” – You’re someone who has uttered the previous statement about 9,233 times. You turn on the radio. You hear a song that begs you to drive faster, tap your foot and sing at the top of your lungs. The song ends. Some smooth DJ informs you that the last song was the newest release by Pink, Nickelback or some similarly dreadful source. For about three seconds, you wrestle with the following contradictory facts: (a) you’re relatively sure the artist is somewhat uncool, and (b) you just don’t care because it made you bounce around and sing. If bouncing around and singing in your car is important to you, you’ll likely choose the last option. And, hey, that’s more than all right. Just don’t go around offering up your opinion when the rest of us are talking about what constitutes good music. You’ve eliminated yourself as trustworthy. Sadly, you’re definitely part of the problem. Yes, you’re a fucking moron if you think the new Green Day album is “really good” just because everyone else is listening to it. You either suck at evaluating music or you just don’t care enough to be discerning. Either way, you’re someone who contributes to the MTV culture and that’s just not OK. Ever.

“Even if I’ve listened to a band for years, once I hear one of their songs during a TV commercial, I think they’re shit.” – OK, I get where you’re coming from. You’re an indie rock enthusiast with a chip on your shoulder. You’re absolutely right. But you’re also absolutely wrong. Unfortunately, the music you like is conveying ideals and beliefs that you own, that you share. And it’s not likely these ideals and beliefs have anything to do with “selling out” or being the song employed in the promo for the upcoming season of fucking “Grey’s Anatomy.” It sucks that millions of people (who’ve done nothing but turn on the TV) have discovered one of your favorites songs of the past three years, a song you found because you do the legwork, you’re constantly researching, looking for good music. You’re head’s up. But your head’s also up your ass if you can’t be happy for Vampire Weekend because the guys in that band, while they probably adore playing the smaller artsy venues in front of you and 100 other people, are looking for maximum exposure. And, while it sucks you gotta hear people you know to be moronic talk about how “it’s great when they curse at the beginning of ‘Oxford Comma,’” deal with it. You owe it to those who’ve brought you so many hours of listening pleasure. The main reason you suck is because you make others feel uncomfortable about their choices. And, hey, who the fuck are you?

“What in the good goddamn is wrong with you people?” – Here’s the group I’m in with most of the people I call friends. It takes work to be in this group. You have to constantly adjust your position. But in a quality way.  Most of you out there see things in black and white. And that’s worse than listening to Creed. The world ebbs and flows, and you gotta ebb and flow with it, brother. Just because an artist is making supremely shitty music right now, doesn’t mean it’s gonna be that way forever. People change. Attitudes get readjusted. We all eventually get shown the light. I’m of the personal unpopular opinion one of my favorite bands, R.E.M., will come back around one day and get back to some seriously good business. You probably disagree. That’s cool.  

Here’s the bottom line: Listen to music you like. It’s fine. But you need to understand, no matter which group you fall into, you’re never gonna be completely right. Unless you’re me. Sorry abour your luck.

QUOTATION

If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don’t, they never were.Khalil Gibran

TUNE

In the spirit of my Standpoint, I offer “Sweet Pain.” A 90s song from a Blues Traveler, a band just about everyone’s deemed irrelevant. Listen to it. Do you feel what I can feel?

GALLIMAUFRY

→ I think Esquire sending someone who knows very little about pop culture to interview Gerard Butler had a great result. As a matter of fact, there’s not much Esquire can do that doesn’t meet with my immediate approval.

→ The LAPD is pretty fucking relentless. Just ask Roman Polanski, who’s been wanted by Los Angeles authorities for over 30 years. He was arrested this past Saturday night in Switzerland. Finally. Seriously, how in the world is the USA supposed to bring anyone to justice if it can’t bring down this guy? Top notch work, everyone. Now, how about you all get back to work on shit that really matters? Thanks.

→ Christ. Peter Forsberg wants back into the NHL. The team on the top of his wishlist? You guessed it, genius. My Philadelphia Flyers. Stay away, Peter. We’ve moved on.

03.12.09 – Thursday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: quiddity [kwid-i-tee] noun 1. the quality that makes a thing what it is; the essential nature of a thing  2. a trifling nicety of subtle distinction, as in argument

Birthday: Simon Newcomb (1835), Julia Lennon (1914), Jack Kerouac (1922), Billie “Buckwheat” Thomas (1931), Al Jarreau (1940), Sammy “The Bull” Gravano (1945), Liza Minnelli (1946), Mitt Romney (1947), James Taylor (1948), Ron Jeremy (1953), Courtney B. Vance (1960), Aaron Eckhart (1968), Graham Coxon (1969), Dave Eggers (1970)

Occurrence: 2001 – Talk-show host Morton Downey, Jr. dies. Geez. Remember that frickin’ guy?

Irksome: For the past few years, I’ve made it a point to collect the little rectangular scraps of paper found inside Chinese fortune cookies. Normally, it is an inspirational little number like, “When winter comes heaven will rain success on you.” It’s nice. Makes me look forward to the  winter months and the raining of my unavoidable success. Never mind that it should be snowing in winter, the sentiment is still a pleasant one. It’s inviting to read something that makes me feel good about myself after stuffing my face with questionable food. Lately, though, an odd trend has emerged. Here are three “fortunes” I’ve recently received: “Make two grins grow where there was only a grouch before.” “The universe without music would be madness.” “The speed of the leader determines the rate of the pack.” Huh? What kind of inspiration is this? What exactly is happening down at the fortune cookie factory? Thinking of a universe gone mad due to the absence of music is not something I particularly want to think about while digesting my sesame chicken. Fortune cookies are free, so bitching about it seems kind of pointless but would it be too much to ask for a corny little saying that makes me smirk instead of some abstract statement that launches me and my dinner companions into four-hour debate on how to turn a grouch into two grins? I don’t think it is.

Quotation: What’s in store for me in the direction I don’t take?Jack Kerouac

Soupçon: Everyone knows how to play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Research done by the University of Virginia’s Brett Tjaden suggest it is easier to play the Six Degrees game with over 650 other actors including Martin Sheen, Elliott Gould and Gene Hackman. The number one actor play Six Degrees with? Rod Steiger. You can read all about it in Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point.

Tune: I can’t decide if I like The Fray’s cover of “The Great Beyond.” R.E.M.’s original version has always been one of my favorite songs.

Link: 2Man Advantage – an always interesting and sometimes funny daily NHL blog.

Gallimaufry: WXPN 88.5, based at The University of Pennsylvania, airs The World Café with David Dye every weekday at 2pm. Great combination of otherwise unavailable music and superb interviewing by Dye makes it one of the best radio shows in the free world…Late Night with Jimmy Fallon update: I am still watching. Fallon seems to be getting a little more at ease with playing host. Don’t look now, but he might be coming into his own…Bristol Palin, daughter of Alaska governor Sarah Palin, and her fiancé have broken up. Didn’t see that one coming, did ya?