12.30.09 – A Wednesday

WORD

onerous [on-er-uhs, oh-ner-] adj. 1. burdensome, oppressive, or troublesome; causing hardship: onerous duties 2. having or involving obligations or responsibilities, esp. legal ones, that outweigh the advantages: an onerous agreement

BIRTHDAY

Titus (39), Rudyard Kipling (1865), Bo Diddley (1928), Del Shannon (1934), James Burrows (1940), Michael Nesmith (1942), Fred Ward (1942), Davy Jones (1945), Patti Smith (1946), Jeff Lynne (1947), Meredith Vieira (1953), Suzy Bogguss (1956), Matt Lauer (1957), Tracey Ullman (1959), Heidi Fleiss (1965), Tiger Woods (1975), Tyrese (1978), Eliza Dushku (1980), LeBron James (1984)

STANDPOINT

Well, tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and that means 2009 (thankfully) will be going away forever and 2010 will be ushered in with lots and lots of wishful thinking.

I know I, for one, will be happy to see 2009 end.

Every year, around this time, I can’t help but look back on what was going on 365 days previous and if I’m where I thought I’d be. (Fortunately, I’m not.) I’m relatively certain that’s what most everyone else does, too. Makes me wonder about how some of this year’s newsmakers thought this year would turn out…

Richard Poplawski was probably cleaning one of his many guns, unaware a mere four months later, he’d become one of the most despicable assholes ever by killing three police officers responding to a call from his mother.

Tiger Woods was most likely spending time with his family, sporadically scurrying to the bathroom to text message one of several women he was seeing on the side, unable to comprehend a year that saw him go from arguably the world’s most popular athlete to its biggest punchline.

Billy Mays, Brittany Murphy, Michael Jackson, Natasha Richardson, Patrick Swayze and Steve McNair were all as likely as not unknowingly ushering in their last change of the calendar year.

Barack Obama was, in all probability, conjuring the first year of his Presidency, one without all the fucking smoke-and-mirror nonsense perpetrated by his political rivals.

George W. Bush was definitely daydreaming about spending some quality time, sitting on the edge of his bed and staring at a blank wall.

Brett Favre was apparently relatively close to finally retiring, after three years of indecision. And that’s exactly what he did. Shortly after, he signed with the Minnesota Vikings.

Michael Vick was languishing in the midst of an 18-month stint in prison for slaughtering defenseless dogs, no doubt curious of where the end of 2009 would find him. Several months later, he’d find himself as the least productive member of the Philadelphia Eagles. Don’t worry, though, the initial outrage demonstrated by animal rights advocates was short-lived due to this country’s unnatural obsession with the NFL.

Yes, indeed, 2009 was kind of a screwy fuck of a year. Let’s hope we can get our act together for 2010.

QUOTATION

New Year’s eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights.Hamilton Wright Mabie

TUNE

I’ve always loved “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap. I just do. That’s it.

GALLIMAUFRY

Tomorrow night will be special, not only because it’ll be New Year’s Eve, but because it’ll feature a blue moon. And that’s not quite what you think it is.

→ Christ. David Goldman, who recently won a nine-year legal battle to get his son back, was flown home by NBC and some journalists’ group is upset for what their calling “checkbook journalism.” Mainly, I think they’re all pissed because NBC beat them to the punch. People will bitch about just about anything.

Van Morrison, 64, has proven it’s never too late to become a daddy. Again.

That’s it for me this year. I hope everyone has a fantastic New Year’s Eve. Be safe. Don’t be an idiot.

All of next week, starting Monday, I’ll be concentrating on more of looking back on 2009. Come back then for some more. And thanks for reading.

04.08.09 – Wednesday

Word: abscond [ab-skond] v. to depart in a sudden and secret manner, esp. to avoid capture and legal prosecution: The cashier absconded with the money.

 

Birthday: David Rittenhouse (1732), Betty Ford (1918), Carmen McRae (1920), Kofi Annan (1938), Stuart Pankin (1946), Tom DeLay (1947), Steve Howe (1947), John Schneider (1960), Izzy Stradlin (1962), Julian Lennon (1963), Biz Markie (1964), Robin Wright Penn (1966), Patricia Arquette (1968)

 

Occurrence: 1992 – Tennis legend and Philadelphia native Arthur Ashe announces he’s contracted AIDS from blood transfusions during one of his two heart surgeries. Because I hail from Philadelphia, I’m ashamed to admit that I thought he had contracted AIDS sexually.

 

Standpoint: So. After I wrote yesterday’s post, I started doing my nightly internet research. While I was flipping through my RSS Reader, I noticed that Glenn Beck was on my TV screen, ranting pretty intensely about Richard Poplawski. He condemned so-called “liberal bloggers” for casting blame on the right-wing portion of our nation and its attitude about gun control. (I was only half-listening, really. A good deal of my attention was being put to use wondering how in the hell the dude ever got a talk show. Why do networks always mistake yelling for charisma?) In any case, he was going on and on about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and casually alluding to the right to bear arms. Something struck me. Society is kind of fucking nuts. Nowadays, people are nearly hysterical about things like cigarettes, artificial sweeteners and Big Macs. (If you didn’t know, they’re bad for you.) People who smoke too much, use too much artificial sweetener or eat too much fast food are likely to die from some horrible disease. Proven facts. I’m not disputing them. But I’m reasonably confident that people who get shot at, even once, are more likely to die from the bullets hurtling at them. So why are tobacco, artificial sweetener and fast food companies under constant barrage and gun companies less so? It’s simple. The Second Amendment to which Mr. Beck was alluding. It says that we all have the right to own guns. No one ever thought to make a Constitutional Amendment about the right to puff on a Camel Light, pour Equal in coffee or woof down a Whopper. But as a United States citizen, Richard Poplawski was able to gather deadly weapons. The Constitution told him it was OK. I wonder if the loved ones of the fallen Pittsburgh Police officers give a rat’s ass about the Constitution right now. I know I don’t. I don’t think laws are made to be broken. I do, however, think laws should be re-examined after a certain amount of time and held up to our current reality. Gun laws need to be changed. Now.

 

QuotationThus the metric system did not really catch on in the States, unless you count the increasing popularity of the 9mm bullet.Dave Barry

 

Tune: Throw Me The Statue is a great band that I’ve had the opportunity to see in concert at least three times but, for various reasons, didn’t. Here’s “About To Walk”. (By the way, Matt Durkin, if you’re reading this, I want my Throw Me The Statue album back, punk. Also, the Elvis Costello album and the David Sedaris book.)

 

Link: 60 Incredible Aerial Photos from 640 Pixels – Simply amazing stuff.

 

Gallimaufry: Blockbuster Video is apparently close to kaput. Maybe that “no late fees” policy wasn’t such a hot idea…The actor who was inside the Darth Vader (James Earl Jones was the voice) suit for the first three Star Wars films (or the last three, depending on what level geek you are) hasn’t been paid residuals for Return of the Jedi yet. LucasFilm claims that David Prowse signed a contract that stipulates he only gets residual money when the film actually turns a profit. The studio claims that Jedi has yet to do that. You read that right…Fans of the FOX show House were taken off-guard last night when Kal Penn’s character, Dr. Kutner, committed suicide. Turns out the star of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle is set to become an associate director at the Office of Public Liaison at The White House. Is there any other place Penn could’ve been going to work where that secret would not have been leaked? I think not.

 

Incoming: Tomorrow – Finally. Your Annoying Sayings responses will be addressed. Friday – My “3 Incredibly Cool Things To Do In Philadelphia This Weekend”. (I know. The title is way too long. I’m working on it.)

04.07.09 – Tuesday

Word: defunct [di-fuhngkt] adj. 1. no longer in effect or use; not operating or functioning: a defunct law; a defunct organization 2. no longer in existence; dead; extinct: a defunct person; a defunct tribe of Indians

 

Birthday: Francis Xavier (1506), William Wordsworth (1770), Percy Faith (1908), Billie Holiday (1915), Ravi Shankar (1920), James Garner (1928), Wayne Rogers (1933), Jerry Brown (1938), Freddie Hubbard (1938), Francis Ford Coppola (1939), John Oates (1949), Janis Ian (1951), Jackie Chan (1954), Christopher Darden (1956), Russell Crowe (1964), Bill Bellamy (1965)

 

Occurrence: Today is World Health Day 2009. Click here to see where the World Health Organization is concentrating its efforts this year.

 

Standpoint: 53. That’s the number of people who have been killed by violent gunmen in the past month. Each incident is totally saddening. The most heinous one (in my opinion) occurred this past Saturday night in Pittsburgh, PA when Richard “Pop” Poplawski shot and killed three police officers from point blank range. Positively nauseating. Truly. Since the shootings and his subsequent arrest, we’ve come to know some things “Pop”. We know that he was stockpiling weapons due to the assault weapon ban proposed by President Obama. We know that he thought law enforcement was unable to protect society as a result of the current economic crisis. We know that he was discharged from the United States Marine Corps for attacking his superior. We know that he was a white supremacist who despised Obama. Lastly, we know that no one around him thought those facts were cause for alarm. His friends and family are sounding off about him like he was a normal guy who simply had a bad day. Here are a few samples: “He wasn’t a racist. He was a cool person. He thought he was losing some of his rights. He said he’d be ready if there’s ever an invasion of the United States and that he had stockpiled food and guns.” “I mean, he’s not a bad kid.” “He was just an easygoing, fun-loving guy, telling jokes.” Huh? A cool person? Not a bad kid? Easygoing, fun-loving guy? I’m confused. I live in Philadelphia, not Pittsburgh, so I’m not an expert on how people talk on the other side of Pennsylvania. When I describe a guy as “cool,” it usually means he’s a relaxed guy, not a guy who’s buying massive amounts of assault rifles online. When I say someone’s “not a bad kid,” I’m always referring to an individual who hasn’t had a standoff with the law. When I think of an “easygoing, fun-loving guy,” I don’t think of a guy who spends his time on white supremacy websites, writing angry rants on ‘the Zionist takeover of America.’” These people should be ashamed of and hold themselves partially responsible for the events of last Saturday night. (To be continued in tomorrow’s post.)

 

QuotationIf by gaining knowledge we destroy our health, we labour for a thing that will be useless in our handsJohn Locke

 

Tune: Joshua Radin is flat-out amazing. His songs have a way of making you happy about feeling miserable. Confused? Listen to “Star Mile”.

 

Link: Create Your Own Flower – Just what it says – Create your own flower.

 

Gallimaufry: Tired of sad and depressing news? Me too. Try this article about a family reunited with its dog, found after months at sea…You can’t attempt to reproduce actual US currency, but no one’s stopping you from creating your own. Communities in Boston and Detroit are printing their own money. Really…The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced this year’s inductees. After I’m sure what was a long and intense deliberation, the selection committee decided to include Michael Jordan.

 

Incoming: Tomorrow – More on this past weekend’s violent events. Later this week – Your Annoying Saying contributions. Cross my heart. I promise.